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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 24, 2013 2:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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100% of the vote tend to be democratic seats because those tend to be urban seats where republicans don't field a candidate. you get this lopsided distribution where democrats can rack up millions and millions of votes in those districts that have no competition. in the few dishes that are competitive, some are red, some are blue. once you aggregate those and democrats get more votes but that's simply a function of the fact that a lot of the non-competitive seats happen to be democratic seats. so i would not use the national vote as an indication of sort of the national mood of the country if only because what you really have our 435 local elections. >> we are almost out of time, and before we have closing statements year, was there anybody who wanted to say something that has not had a chance? is there a final question from anyone? we started asking questions
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about the electorate and how it's changing, and we've gotten at least one answer to the question why the government may shut down. because we have partisan drawn districts in which members are voting the way their districts want them to vote. and if they don't agree that's because that's what their constituents want. it seems to me that's a very interesting question to probe at another time, perhaps on redistricting and partisanship. but nevertheless, i would like to thank bill mcintuff, elizabeth williamson, michael bloomfield, and our own antoine yoshinaka and dante chinni and presentation about suburbia. [applause] thank you all. and everybody can go to class. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> live look at the u.s. capitol here today. senate to back after recessing at about 2:15 p.m.
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live camera look now outside those camera lunches. we will move to that as we can. outside was called the ohio clock, oftentimes senators will come to the mics to comment, and if they do, there it is now, picture of that. while we wait, some congressional tweets for you. republican congresswoman lynn jenkins says the senate must act to protect americans from the reality of the president's health care law. vermont democrat senator patrick leahy tweets, this kind of bumper sticker politics appealing to our worst instincts is childish and irresponsible. and new mexico democratic senator
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>> talking their about a bill that the senate will take up. the house passed a resolution to keep the government funded with language that would defund obamacare, the affordable care act comment and senator ted cruz of texas threatening to use a filibuster as leverage against democrats. we will continue to follow tweets and bring them to you as they become available. again, we are outside the ohio clock in the capital, as the senators are expected to finish up their weekly party caucus lunches and the senate due back in session at about 215 time i.
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we will look in on this for a few minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> outside the ohio clock at the capitol waiting for senators to finish up their party caucus lunches. in the event they come to the microphones to speak, the senate is going back in session at about 2:15 to continue work on a continuing resolution, or see our.
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news on that front -- or c.r. news on that, the senate's number two democrat says the chamber may come out in favor of a smaller patch for bankrolling the government. then the one envisioned in a temporary spending bill passed by the republican dominated house. the idea, says senator dick durbin of illinois, would be to get congress working sooner than maybe some are on a more sweeping piece of legislation, known as an omnibus spending bill that he hopes would reverse some automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. that being reported by "the associated press." [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> when the senate returns at 2:15 p.m. eastern, more work on the continuing resolution, or c.r. earlier today senate majority leader harry reid emphasized that he would not allow a filibuster of the c.r., at least
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not for the initial test vote scheduled for tomorrow. that responding to texas senator ted cruz is threat to filibuster. some republicans breaking with republican texan senator, one is senator lloyd bond of missouri. it's been reported by the "washington post" said he will join with senate gop leaders mitch mcconnell and john cornyn, and oppose a filibuster of the budget. senator roy blunt in the house and senate has repeatedly voted to defund, repeal and delay president obama's health care law, but said. i believe there's growing evidence that it will not work. blood continues this week, i will continue that fight by supporting the house passed continuing resolution which defund obamacare and keeps the government open without increasing federal spending. i won't vote -- ended to final
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passage on the house c.r. again, republican senator roy blunt saying he will oppose an effort by senator, senate majority leader harry reid to us -- restore obamacare to the budget and opposing ted cruz is republican of texas strategy to filibuster procedural votes to bring that to the floor and debate. we are at the ohio clock waiting for senators to come from their weekly party caucus lunches. in the event that some may come to the microphones to speak. [inaudible conversations]
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>> we will leave the ohio clock as senators are finishing up their party caucus lunches momentarily. they should be back in session to continue work on the temporary federal spending bill, known as the continuing resolution. senate floor is better. we'll go live. this is live coverage on c-span2.
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ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. quoll cull madam president, i ask that the call of the -- ms. mikulski: madam president, i ask that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: we are not in a quorum call.
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ms. mikulski: oh. can i just proceed? officer sphe yes. ms. mikulski: thank you. as the chair of the appropriations committee, i rise to oppose the continuing resolution that the house passed last week on a party-line vote of 230-189. i am so frustrated for all of the people of maryland and all of the people of the united states that should have a government that they can count on to operate, that they count on a government that works as hard as they do that they can count on having a government that they pay for. however, what we have here is a manufactured crisis with his tre-- withhistrionic theatrics o brings to a shutdown. the c.r. that was sent over to
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us is loaded with political ideology. what does it do? the first thing it wants to do is defund the president's affordable care act, to take away the health care from those who need it. it also is designed to create a crisis over the debt ceiling and undermine the full faith and credit of the united states of america. now, our president has been clear. he will veto any bill with these toxic political riders, and he is right. and we will support him. much will be said in the media over the next several days about something called "the continuing resolution." there we go again. washington-speak that nobody in america understands. there we go with budgetspeak where they're saying, what are they trying to accomplish? let me explain it in straight-talk way.
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a continuing resolution is a straightforward, simple act in which we extend the government's funding beyond october 1 to a date certain. it's meant to continue the funding. it is always historically meant to be on, one, short term; numbr two, a stopgap resolutions as we work towards resolving matters. it is also designed to keep the united states government open and functioning while we work out our difficulties. so that's what a continuing resolution is meant to be. it was never meant to be a vehicle for controversial, provocative, poke-it-in-your-eye, stick-it-to-you, controversy
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legislation. it was also never meant to be a negotiating chip for a grander bargain to resolve our issues. nor was it ever designed to be a weapon in the fight over the size and role of government. that's the authorizing committee. that's what we do in our appropriations committees at the subcommittee level. that's what senator murray and her budget committee worked on when we passed the budget. that's where those fights come in, not at the end of the fiscal year. it's the same old tricks and techniques year after year since president obama has been elected. they not only want to throw sand in the gear of the obama administration, they want to throw cement into the gears of the functioning of government. well, i think that's outrageous. the house continuing resolution is a manufactured crisis, driving us towards a shutdown. we have plenty of real crises in our country. the crisis of sustained, chronic
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unemployment at 7% or higher in many of my communities or in certain sectors, like construction, or in the rural parts of my state. it's also a real crisis for those who need health care. it is a real crisis for those who are seeking higher education and can't afford it. appeared look at our crisis in -- and look at our crisis in the foreign policy arena. at the very day the president is speaking at the u.n. to project american power, the other side is trying to make us powerless to function on the senate floor. if they wnt want to project amen power, show that the greatest parliamentary deliberative body in the world can be parliamentary and deliberative and solve our problems. if you want to project power, it starts here showing that we can govern ourselves. we start by acting right, focusing on solving real
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problems with real solutions, and getting off of this brinkmanship style. the president said he'll veto t the riders are veto-bait. this is all designed to use up a lot of time. and a lot of resources smsource. i was elected to the senate to be a legislator, not a prop for a political farce. this is not gilbert and sullivan. this is the real deal. the american people are fed up with manufactured crises and so am i. so let me tell you our view about where we want to go and who's the "we?" i believe i.t. not only the democrats in the senate. i believe that there are pragmatists object both sides of the aisle -- on both sides cht n both sides of the aisle that want to find common ground, that we can begin to draw down public debt but also have an opportunity to be pro-dproaj in our country, that we focus on important issues of national
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security, rebuilding america with infrastructure, rebuilding our human infrastructure in terms of our educational system and also our research and development to come up with the new ideas that will lead to the new jobs in the new century. the way we want to do this and the way i'm suggesting is that the american people would like us that when the -- the 0er party would like us to have a continuing resolution december 15. that's one more gimmick to bring us to christmas eve where we have a the although of theatrics and jingle bells, jingle bells while we try to solve our situation. i want a short-term c.r. i would like that between now and november -- not a long term, not something just to dillly or dither. i'm tired of dillly and dither. a short-term c.r. for sometime around mid-november and that the purpose of that, that we would
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use that opportunity to get to a vote in december that would be on the funding of all of our bills, arrived at by a vote here, a conference committee with the house, where our spending would be sensible, it would be affordable, it would meet compelling human need, the national security institute -- the national security issues of the united states of america and rebuild our infrastructure. this isn't hard. but in order to get that, we need to clear out the toxic political items in the c.r. so i want a clean c.r., a clean c.r. means getting rid of the political riders of defunding obamacare and striking the debt limit rider. second, to have a shorter date. my recommendation would be around november 15, because a
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longer-term c.r. means more autopilot functioning of government, more government dysfunction. november 15 keeps the pressure on both of us, on both sides of the aisle, to get the job done. what is getting the job done? first of all, we would like to cancel sequester and we would like to cancel sequester in a balanced way. what is sequester? we have to come up with about $110 billion in reducing debt. to do that, we can do that through additional strategic accounts. as an appropriator, i'm willing to look at them. number two, revenue what about those loopholes that mitt romney talked about? let's bring some of those back and examine them. and let's look at some of the items in mandatory spending. this is the way that we can enact our bills and invest in our country and protect our
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country. our nation faces long-term fiscal challenges. it does demand action from the congress. but the place for those negotiations is not in a continuing resolution. it belongs in the budget committee. and six republican senators who are planning to filibuster this week are the same ones who threatened and blocked the filibuster for the budget that the senate passed to be able to go to conference in the house. so they blocked the budget. then they blame us because we don't have a budget. go figure. the house and senate appropriations committee, the appropriators have marked up annual funding bills. we're ready to make sure we can go to do our work, but we need the budget committee to give us a top line. we can't get to conference because, as i said, republicans have objected to this. now they want to have a simple
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stopgap which leads to a showdown and a shutdown. if we don't come together, we will have very serious consequences. if we do not act, a claimed k-rplt by october 1 -- continuing resolution that enables us to come to an early outcome, let me tell you what will happen. the government will shut down. doesn't that look great for the united states of america? we say to emerging democracies all over the world, hey look at us. hey look at us. we need to show that we can govern. it has not only consequences in the way we're viewed in the world, it provides uncertainty for business. it will be terrible for our economy. it will have a direct impact on jobs. business will not know what the government's going to do, so they don't know what they can
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do. so they will not be spending to create jobs. so all we're doing is creating more chaos. we want to be sure that small business administrations approve loans. they need to be open to do that. rural development housing and farm loans are available to go out so we can help where that is. we want to make sure that crucial lifesaving discoveries at n.i.h. happen. right now if we have a shutdown, this will be the -- the people will not be able to be admitted to the national institutes of health clinical trials and programs because they don't know that they will be continued. weather forecasters will be told that they're not essential service. we are now looking aimpact on federal law enforcement. tkpweubgd item by eye -- i could go item by item. i will talk more about those
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items as time goes on. let me conclude by saying this. during this last year, on both sides of the aisle, the appropriations committee has functioned well. i would like to thank both my democrats, my subcommittee chairman -- i see senator durbin, who chairs the defense committee. but i'd also like to thank the republicans. my vice chairman of the committee, senator shelby of alabama, helped me move -- supported me in every step on the process. we tpufrpb shunned -- functioned with civility, intellectual rigor, open amendments during the committee process. it was transparents. we had "yes" votes, we had "no" votes. but everybody had their day and everybody had their say. we were able to move our process forward, though we disagreed sometimes on a funding level for this or a funding level for that. but we came to a conclusion.
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i really want to thank them for their cooperation in the process. now we are here where we could take the next step. yes, we have to debate some of those line items. we do need to debate some of those programs. but we can't move forward unless we resolve the shutdown showdown. so let's pass a continuing resolution that takes us to mid-november. let's make that continuing resolution a clean c.r., which means let's get rid of the political riders. with our goal in december is that we pass an omnibus bill that is affordable, sensible, meets compelling human needs, national security needs, our human infrastructure, and also lays the groundwork for new jobs by funding research and development. and at the same time to cancel sequester because we've arrived
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at it in, again, a balanced way where, yes, we could make additional strategic cuts, where we could also though need to look at some of the items in mandatory spending. and, yes, let's also look at some revenue. i think we can do it. and if we want to project american power, the way to do that is right now show that we can govern. let's not get ourselves into a box where we're heading to a showdown. let's not get ourselves in a situation where we end up with a shutdown, because this will not be a way that builds confidence, builds our economy and makes america continue to be as strong as we can. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, my understanding under the unanimous consent that the senator from texas is to be recognized, but i would ask if he would allow me five minutes
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to follow the senator from maryland and then i'd yield the floor to him. i thank the senator from texas. madam president, i want to stand in support of the statement made by the chairman of the senate appropriations committee. we have served together in the house, now in the senate. i am happy to serve with her in capacity as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, the largest in dollar amount that has this responsibility. and i think what she has spelled out on the floor is very straightforward and very honest. we were challenged here in the senate to come up with a budget resolution this year. many of our critics said you've come up with excuses. now come up with a budget resolution. and we did. and we did. six months ago we passed a budget resolution, and then we asked for consent to go to a conference committee with the house to work out our differences. time and time again senators on the other side of the aisle objected to our meeting with the house to work out our
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differences. oh, they had a different reason every day. the net result was we couldn't have the conference committee to reach an agreement with the house on how much we'd spend on budgets. and then senator mikulski told each of us in our appropriations committee, do your work. sit down with your republican member and come up with a spending bill for next year that is sensible. that is sensible. and we did. time and again we worked these out on a bipartisan basis, brought them through kph-d ready for -- committee ready for floor action. the first bill came to the floor, transportation, if i'm not mistaken. senator patty murray brought it to the floor. we wanted to bring this first spending bill to the floor. let's debate it, let's get it done. and the republicans objected, objected to considering this appropriations bill on the floor. so they objected to a conference committee on a budget. they objected to the spending bills. and here we are at the 11th hour, approaching october 1 without the money to continue
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the functions of government. and now we are facing a slowdown this week. and we are going to begin what may not technically be a filibuster but at least is a delay in meeting our responsibility to fund our government. some have said the house republicans and others, if you do not stop president obama's health care reform act, we'll shut down the government. that isn't fair. as senator mikulski has said, there are people across america counting on the functions of our government. and this notion that we're somehow going to shut down the government with this political threat is unacceptable. unacceptable to the american people and unacceptable to this great institution. senator mikulski's correct. we ought to have a short-term c.r. so that we can get down, roll up our sleeves and finally finish this business. whether you're a democrat, republican or independent, people are fed up with this do-nothing congress that doesn't address the real issues american families are facing across our nation. we need to really roll up our sleeves and get it done, to have
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long speeches that go on for hours, delaying the funding of our government jeopardizes the most basic functions of what we need to achieve right here. we need to come together on a bipartisan basis. a filibuster, delay, long speeches may get the attention of the media for a few minutes but it won't solve america's problems. the last point i want to make was her strongest point. the president is at the united nations this week meeting with leaders around the world to try to bring a more peaceful world in a very dangerous climate in many places. he wants to let people know that america will use its leadership and its power to come together to make this a better world, and what message is coming out of the united states senate? that we are divided, we're fighting with one another, we're facing filibusters, and on and on. this isn't what america should be projecting. let's project the kind of unity and the kind of determination that has made this a great nation. let's fund our government. let's solve our problems. let's stop the obstruction.
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madam president, i yield the floor. mr. cruz: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today in opposition to obamacare. i rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million texans and for 300 million americans. all across this country americans are suffering because of obamacare. obamacare isn't working. and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are
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not listening to the people. they're not listening to the concerns of their constituents. they're not listening to the jobs lost to the people forced into part-time work, to the people losing their health insurance, to the people who are struggling. a great many texans, a great many americans feel that they don't have a voice. and so i hope to play some very small part in helping provide that voice for them. madam president, i intend to speak in opposition to obamacare. i intend to speak in support of defunding obamacare until i am no longer able to stand, to do everything that i can to help americans stand together and recognize this grand experiment three and a half years ago is quite simply not working. i want to also say at the outset that i am particularly honored
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to be standing side by side with my friend and colleague, senator mike lee from utah. senator lee has shown visionary leadership in standing up and taking the mantle of leading the effort to defund obamacare and to challenge this train wreck of a law. and senator lee has been repaid at times with vilification from official washington. and i will tell you, madam president, in my judgment, there is no senator in this body, republican or democrat, who is more principled, who is more dedicated, who is more fearless and willing to fight for the principles that make this nation great than is senator mike lee. and it is a singular privilege to serve with him and to stand side by side with him and so many others in this body, and even more importantly, so many millions of americans all across
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this country. there is a problem in washington, and the problem is bigger than a continuing resolution. it's bigger than obamacare. it's even bigger than the budget. the most fundamental problem, the frustration is that the men and women in washington aren't listening. you talk to the men and women on the street, that's the message you hear over and over again. why don't they listen to me? why don't they hear what we have to say? they aren't listening to the millions of people, democrats, republicans, independents, libertarians across the spectrum who say our elected officials, they get to washington and they stop listening to the people. we just had a six-week recess during august where a substantial percentage of members of congress chose not to hold town halls during the six weeks we had to be back in our home states. not even to give the constituents a chance to say
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their views. because it's very easy when those of us who are in elected office have been here for a long time to believe washington knows better, to believe that all the solutions are found in washington, d.c., and the rest of the country is better, as they say, of small children, neither seen but not heard. we need million os of people to get an answer. manmillions of people are asking for accountability, truth, the truth about oh obamacare is failing the men and women of america. it is time, quite simply, to make d.c. listen. and, madam president, that is a point i intend to make over and over again because the fundamentally what we are trying to do. we are trying to gather the
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american people to make d.c. listen. the whole debate we're having here today is not over strategy sm it's not about process, it's not about procedure. if you read the papers, it looks like it is. it's all about the cloture to motion, to the-whatcha, to the whichitch. and to most of the american people, their eyes glaze over. and even people in washington, d.c., their eyes glaze over. it's not about pundits or consultants or those who are making money back and forth on the political process. they have always been with us. and, madam president, i am confident they will remain with us for all time. the problem is, d.c. isn't listening. the problem is, our elected leaders are not listening to their constituents. everyone in america understands that obamacare is destroying jobs, it is driving up health
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care costs, it's killing health benefits, it's shattering the economy. all across the country in all 50 states. it doesn't matter what state you go to. you can go to any state in the union. it doesn't matter if you're talking to republicans or democrats or independents or libertarians. americans understand this thing isn't working, and yet washington is pretending not to know. washington is pretending to have no awareness. instead, you have politicians that give speeches about how wonderful obamacare is. and yet at the same time, they go to the president and ask for an exemption from obamacare for members of congress. if obamacare is so wonderful, why is it that its loudest advocates don't want to be subject to it. i'll confess, madam president, that's a very difficult one to figure out. d.c. is using a rigged process to keep obamacare funded, to
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keep this job-killing bill funded. and what they want to do is ignore the men and women of america and keep up with business as usual. you know, people wonder why this congress have such low approval ratings. madam president, i remember when all 100 of us were in the old senate chamber for a bipartisan meeting and multiple senators stood up and expressed frustration with the row approval rating. it vair yuz varies, 10%, 14%, is abysmal. and some suggested the reason was we're not legislating enough. we just need to pass some more laws, by golly, and the american people will be happier. you have, i have to admit, that doesn't comport with just about anything i've everrered in the state of texas. -- i've ever heard in the state of texas. that doesn't comport with what i've heard from any stitc
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constituents. i'm going to suggest it's because congress is not listening to the american people. you know, every poll that's been done, for years now, when you ask the american people: what is your top priority? the answer is consistently jobs and the economy. over and over again -- jobs and the economy. and again, that's -- that's national. that is in your state, my state. that is in all 50 states. jobs and the me and the answer you get. and it's always not partisan. mr. cruz: you can ask republicans, you can ask democrats, you can ask independents and they say, we need jobs, we need the economic growth back. and yet i will tell you, madam president, you and i have both served in this institution some nine months -- not very long -- but in the time we have been here, we have spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the economy. doesn't make the agenda. it apparently is not important enough for this body's time. we spent six weeks talking about guns, talking about taking away
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law-abiding citizens' second amendment rights. and we spend virtually no time talking about fundamental tax reform, about regulatory reform, about getting the economy going. and politicians wonder: why is it that congress is held in such low esteem? well, when congress -- and -- and this is unfortunately a bipartisan issue on both sides. mr. cruz: we need to do a better job of listening to the people. if the top priority of the american people is jobs and the economy, madam president, i'm going to suggest to you the top priority of congress should be jobs and the economy. you and i should both be scratching our heads trying to think of a time we weren't talking about jobs and the economy, because i'll tell you, we certainly haven't gotten it taken care of yet. the american people are frustrated because their elected officials don't listen. when we're home on the campaign trail, we say we listen. and yet something about this senate floor, something about washington, d.c., i don't know if it's the water, something in the air, the cherry blossoms,
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but people get here and they stop listening to the american people. you know, throughout the state of texas, as i travel -- and i spent the month of august and the beginning of september traveling virtually every day on the road throughout texas and across the country listening, hearing the stories. the american people are hurting. this is a difficult time. loork the very rich -- look, the very rich, they're doing fine. in fact, they're doing better under president obama than they were before. but hardworking american families are struggling and their life has become harder and harder and harder. and, madam president, obamacare is the biggest job killer in this country. american people want -- the american people want to stop this madness and so do i. here in washington, we pass million-dollar bills, billion-dollar bills no one's ever read, often without even voting on them. we call it "unanimous consent." it's only unanimous because they
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don't let anyone know. here in washington, we spend $2 trillion more than last year and then tell voters we saved money. the system is deliberately designed to hide what we're really doing n. this debate right now over obamacare and the continuing resolution, voting to pass bills called procedure, as if it doesn't matter -- we pretend it doesn't matter -- it does matter. our leaders right now demand approval for bills before they're amended. everyone come to the floor, vote for the bill, then we'll amend it to make it say the opposite of what it says right now. but you've already voted so don't worry about it. we're told to agree to the bills without even knowing what the final product will be. and that -- that -- is what's happening right now. our leaders in both parties are
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asking us to support a bill to cut off debate on -- to support a bill, to cut off debate on a bill without even knowing what's in it. it is, as the former speaker of the house, nancy pelosi once observed -- quote -- "pass it to find out what's in it." that's how washington does business. let me tell ya how this is likely to unfold. senate majority leader harry reid has said he intends to offer an amendment to determine the future of our health care system. and based on the public press reports -- and i would note, you have to rely on the public press reports because this body doesn't know -- but based on the public press reports, that amendment is going to fully fund obamacare. it is going to strip the language the house of representatives passed to defund obamacare to listen to the american people. the central vote that the senate
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will take on this fight will not occur today and it will not occur tomorrow. the first vote we're going to take on this is a vote on what's called cloture on the motion to proceed. very few people not on this floor have any idea what that means, and even i suspect a fair number of people on this floor are not quite sure what that meansmenmeans. that will simply be a vote whether to take up this bill and whether to begin debating this bill. and i expect that vote to pass overwhelmingly if not unanimously. everyone agrees we ought to take this up, we ought to start this conversation. the next vote we take will occur on friday or saturday and it will be what is called cloture on the bill. madam president, that is the vote that matters. cloture on the bill, the vote friday or saturday is the vote that matters. why is that? because that vote is subject to
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a 60-vote threshold. if republicans vote with democrats, then this body will cut off debate on the bill. cloture is simply cutting off debate. it is saying, we're not going to talk about it anymore; we are silencing the voices of the senate, we are silencing the voice of the people and we are cutting off debate. now, why does that matter? because once you invoke cloture, the rules of the senate allow the majority leader to introduce the amendment to fund obamacare and then to have it pass with just 51 votes. not 60, 51. now, madam president, as you are well aware, there are more than 51 democrats in this body. postcloture, after this body has voted to cut off debate, the democrats can vote on a straight party-line vote to fund obamacare. and, madam president, i'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret. when that happens, every
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republican, if we get to that point, will vote against it and every republican will then go home to his or her states and say, "look, i voted against obamacare." that's actually the preferred outcome. to have a vote but yet to have the result be business as usual continues in washington. you know, it's a little bit like the world wrestling federation. it's wrestling matches where it's all ridding, the outcome is pre-- rigged, the outcome is predetermined. they know who's going to win and it's all for show. you know, there's some members of this body that if we could have a hundred show votes saying, "here's what we're for, but, mind you, none of them are actually going to change the law, none of them are actually going to occur, none of them are going to make one iota of difference to the american people because they'll never become law" but we'll get to vote over and over on proving how committed we are to principal a, b, c, d, or e,
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that, cure yesly curiously, woua significant number of senators happy. madam president, our constituents deserve more. no more fake fights. no more hiding your votesmen vo. no more games. no more trying to fool the american people. we need to make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen. i want to stand and fight for the more than 1.6 million americans who've signed a national petition against obamacare. and to the millions more who didn't because they were told by a politician, it's not possible; don't even try to fight because it's not possible. you know, i'm reminded of a children's story. my wife heidi and i are blessed to have two little killers, caroline and catherine, age 5 and 2, and one of my favorite
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children's stories, actually from when i was a kid, was "the little engine that could." the little engine that could, the train going up that said over and over again, "i think i can, i think i can, i think i can." you know, if you listen to a of members of this body, that message would be simple -- that the engine can't. what they'd say to that train when it starred a it started atf the hill, it's no, you can't. you can't stop obamacare. it cannot be done. except there's nothing we can do. except, are millions of americans out of work? yes. are millions of americans struggling? yes. are millions of americans seeing their health insurance premiums skyrocket? yes. are millions of americans at risk of losing their insurance because of obamacare? yes. but washington tells our constituents, no, no; never mind. can't be done. cannot be done. it is impossible. the rules of washington say this
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cannot be done. and you wonder why this body has such low approval among the people. when we go out and tell the american people it can't be done, there's nothing that can be done to stop obamacare, what we're saying really is, we're not willing to do it. we're not willing to stand up and fight. we're willing to give speeches. oh, no, if we want to have a speech contest, we can line up and -- and fall over backwards who can give the best speech against obamacare. but when it comes to actually standing and fighting, when it comes to actually having the opportunity to listen to the american people, then an awful lot of members of this body at least so far have not shown up to battle. you know, there are a lot of
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folks in -- in the washington establishment who don't want to hear from us. the chattering class is quick to discipline anyone who refuses to blindly fall in line. that's -- that's the way washington plays. there are rules. you are not supposed to speak for the people. there's a way things are done in washington. and make no mistake, d.c. depends upon americans not paying attention. they know that most americans are quite reasonably working too hard to provide for their family, they're too busy spending time with their friends and family, they're too busy working to try to make sure their family is provided for, they're going to church, dealing with the day-to-day burdens of life. you know what they've learned? the american people have learned that when we get involved, even then it seems like washington politicians rarely listen.
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madam president, i believe that can change. madam president, i am standing here today to salute, to celebrate the american democratic system. i am standing here today to suggest that if senators listen to their constituents, if we listen to the american people, the vote would be 100-0 to defund obamacare, even though senators who voted for it, who might have believed it would work -- now, madam president, many of us have disagreed. if i had been here, unsurprisingly, i would have voted against obamacare. a number of members of this body voted in favor. but regardless of how you voted three and a half years ago, one of the great virtues of life is learning, is looking at the evidence, looking at the facts and seeing when something isn't
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working. you know, you look at the labor unions. three and a half years ago the labor unions were enthusiastically supporting obamacare. why? because they heard the promises much they theard it wa-- because promises. and they believed the promises and that's understandable. and yet one of the things we've seen this year is one labor union after another after another saying, whoa ... this thing isn't working. this thing is hurting us. this thing is hurting our members, and, by the way, the people who ar who it's hurting e hardworking american families and to see one labor union after another -- when you see james wh hoffa sayg obamacare is destroying the 240-hour workweek, that is the backbone of the american middle class. now, madam president, that's not me saying that. that's not a republican
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politician saying that. that's not any politician from washington. that is the teamsters. so, madam president, i would ask you, submit the question to the american people. do the american people want to destroy the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the american middle class? that's not a close question. people talk about how we're a 50-50 nation, how there is a tight partisan divide. i don't believe it. i actually think on questions like that there's an overwhelming majority of americans that say, of course not. of course we shouldn't destroy the 40-hour workweek. of course we shouldn't break the backbone of the american middle class. if more politicians just listened to the people, we would respond and avert this train wreck. and yet, mada mr. president, the politicians of washington tell us, don't worry about it; obamacare is just gimmick to be
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peachy keen. the senate is too busy to do anything to avert this train wreck. gnarring's minnow, mind you, ths not too bus sto busy to avert os from it. the bubut the american people kw that it can't be done. you just have to accept. you know, mr. president, americans have never been people who accept failure. americans have never been people who accept impossibility. if you look to a rag-tag bunch of colonialists in the 18th century, the idea that we would stand up to great britain, the british earnlg the mosbritish a. it can't be done. i guarantee you all of the pundits that we see going on tv and intoning in deep baritone
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voices, this can't be done, if this were back in the 18th century, they would be going on, i don't know, maybe pigeon carriers or something, they would being saying, this can't be done. accept your subyou go gas emissions, accept your taxation, accept that this is impossible. you know, if you fast-forward to the civil war, a time of enormous pain, anguish, bloodshed in the united states, there were a lot of voices then who said the union cannot be saved. can't be done. accept defeat. i suspect those same pundits, had they been around in the mid-19th century, they would have written those same columns ... this cannot be done p. if you go to the 1940's,
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nationalcy germany, look, we saw in britain nevada i will nevill, accept the nazis. let's appease them. why? because it can't be done. we can't possibly stand against them. and in america there were voices that listened to that. i suspect those same pundits who say it can't be done, if it had been in the 1940's we would have been listening to them. they would have gotten beyond carrier pigeons and letters and they would have been on tv and they would have been say, you cannot defeat the germans. you go to the late-1960's when a president, john f. kennedy, told this country, we're going to send a man to the moon. if john f. kennedy said we're
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going to send man to the moon, there would have been a lot of people who said, it's imocialtion cannot be done. -- it's impossible, cannot be done. yet john f. kennedy had the vision to say that americans can do things, whatever we set our minds to. if you go to the late-1970's, is 1980's, i remember being told the soviet union can't being defeated can't be done. we've got to accept malaise, we've got to accept second-class citizenship, we've got to accept -- they've no got a lot of weap. we can't stand up to the soviet union. and there was a president, a president whom i admired deeply, president ronald reagan, who had the temerity to say, what's your strategy on the cold war? answer: we win, they lose. now, at the time those same washington fonts of wisdom said, it can't be done.
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no, no, no ... you can't win. win something a two-dimensional -- winning is a two-dimensional strategy. you need to push for detente, whatever that meefnlts you need to push for something short of actually winning. so we get to obamacare. what do all those voices say? can't be stopped, you can't win. cannot defund it. mr. president, by any measure, obamacare is a far less intimidating foe than those that i have discussed, with the possible exception of the moon. the moon might be as intimidating as obamacare. and yet those same voices of washington give the same message that they've said over and over and over again. just the opposite of the message of that little engine that could, "no, you can't, it can't be done, no, we can't." so what should we have instead? and you know what?
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you hear echos from these panels -- we ought to have a volt. w-- we art to have a vote. by gosh, we really, really, really dislike obamacare. can we add a couple more "reallies?" and we wonder why our constituents look at us and say, what on earth are you doing? what on earth are you doing? do you actually care that we're losing our jobs? do you actually care that we can't find a care? do you care that our small businesses aren't growing? do you care that health insurance premiums for people who are struggling are skyrocketing? do you care that more and more americans are losing their health insurance? we don't need fake fights. we don't need fake votes. we need real change. we need a better economy. we need more jobs. we need more freedom.
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and critical to doing that is stopping obamacare, because americans shouldn't have to worry about what washington is doing to them, what washington is doing to make their life harder, what washington doing is to take away their job, what washington is doing to drive up their health insurance premiums, what washington is doing to jeopardize the health insurance you have now. mr. president, i cannot tell you how many times across the state of texas i have had men and women come up to me, some with disabilities, some in wheelchairs, say to me, please, stop this bill. stop obamacare because i don't want to lose my health insurance. it is jeopardizing the health insurance coverage that i've got now. mr. president, we all remember when president obama told the american people, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. now, at the time, that sounded real good. any of us who liked our health insurance wanted to keep it.
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so we liked that promise. that's the kind of promise we like from our candidates, our officeholders. and yet, as i mentioned earlier, one of the great faculties of higher reason is the ability to learn, the ability to learn from evidence and facts, and we have learned that that promise did not in fact meet reality. because the reality is that millions of americans are at risk of losing their health insurance. just a few weeks ago, ups sent a letter to 15,000 employees saying, we are terminating spousal health insurance. because of obamacare. 15,000 employees, their husbands and wives told, sorry, your health insurance is gone. now, the promise was, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. for those 15,000 ups employees, for their husbands and wives, that promise has been disproved
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by reality. this body would step up and stop obamacare, if we did one thing, just one thing: if we listened to our constituents. and so that's, together what we have to do, is make d.c. listen p. you know, a lot of folks in washington are angry we're even having this fight. a lot of folks in washington are angry -- you know, it is fascinating how many politicians in washington think this isn't even worth our time. mr. president, i will point out, as is usually the case, almost always the case, the senate floor is largely empty. everyone's schedules are apparently busy enough that standing up, coming together to stop obamacare doesn't make it
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onto the priority list. we ought to have all 100 senators on this floor around the clock until we come together and stop obamacare. if you talk to our constituents, that's what they would like. if you talk to our constituents, our constituents would say, what possibly do you have to do a thithis is more important than getting the economy going again, than bringing back jobs in what possibly do you have to do that is more important than stopping me from losing my health insurance, stopping me from losing my health care? that's what i hear from my constituents over and over again. and, mr. president, i'm confident you hear it from your constituents and everyone of us hears it from our constituents, because that's what americans are saying in all 50 states. we shouldn't have to worry about what the next rule, the next regulation, the next tax is that's going to be handed down from the d.c. ruling class.
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you know, obamacare alone has produced over 20,000 pages of regulation. i'm confident that you have not read 20,000 pages of obamacare regulations. i can tell you, i haven't read 20,000 pages of obamacare regulations. and i would wager all the money in my bank account that there is no member of this body who has read 20,000 pages of obamacare regulation. and yet, mr. president, what is washington telling small businesses all across the country? you're bound by 20,000 pages of obamacare regulation. and more and more is coming. another 3,000 pages every six months. so it is going to keep coming and coming and coming. you know, i remember doing a tellltele-townhall a couple of s ago. one woman asked, how do i comply with all of these regulations, the burdens of obamacare?
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it was quite striking. she said, i don't even know where to stample start. and i confess, i felt embarrassed. because i said, ma'am, i don't know how to tell you that. the complexity is so much, it's a causing more and more -- what it's causing more and more small businesses to do is to just stay small, to avoid obamacare altogether, because they can't decipher the rules and regulations. if they have under 50 employees, they can get out from under it. i cannot tell you how many small businesses are not hiring right now, because if they're at 30 -t 30 or 40 employees, they're not subject to obamacare. if they get that 50th employee, they ought to be one heck of an employee. because, boom, they're subject to the obamacare regulations and crushing costs. so, mr. president, to the men and women who are at home today who are out of a job, i point
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out to you that if it weren't for obamacare, every small business that has an opportunity to expand right now and that isn't expanding because of obamacare, that's a job you're not able to get. you want to know why the job economy is so bad, why there's so few jobs, why we've got the lowest work force participation in decades in the united states? well, small businesses generate two-thiferredz otwo-thirds of an the economy, and small businesses have been harmed under obamacare unlike ever before. -- have been hammered under obamacare unlike ever before. if we listened to our constituents, we would step forward and act to avert this train wreck. the only way that will happen is if the american people demand it, if together we make d.c.
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listen. that's what this fight is about. it is about ensuring that the american people have a voice, ensuring that those who are struggling, those who are without a job, those who are afraid of losing their insuran insurance -- their health insurance, that washington listens to them, that washington acts on their needs. mr. president, anyone who wants to know why this body is held in low esteem only has to look out to the empty chairs. if you're out of a job wondering what the senate is doing to get our economy moving, to help small businesses create new jobs so you can go to work and provide for your family, the
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answer is displayed right in front of you. if you're concerned about the health care of yourself, of your family, if you're seeing more and more people losing their health insurance and you're -- what about my family, what if i lose my health insurance because. obamacare? -- because of obamacare? and you can, what is the united states senate doing to listen to you? the answer right now is an empty chamber. mr. president, our system was based on a profound notion that sovereignty resides with the american people. that every one of us -- you know, sometimes people in the senate behave as if they have no bosses. as if they're autonomous rulers. and washington is a little bit a town where it treats the people
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in washington, they behave like kins and queens of their own themedoms. and yet, mr. president, every one of us has a whole lot of bosses. in my instance, identify go, i't 26 million bosses back in texas, who are the 26 million texans who i work to represent. those who supported me and those who didn't. it's my job to represent for every one of them, to fight for every one of them. and the most fundamental problem -- bigger than obamacare -- is the problem that washington has stopped listening to the american people. you know, it is quite striking, mr. president, that in discussions about obamacare among elected officials, you hear more complaints about "i don't like all the phone calls i'm getting from my constituents" than you do about obamacare. it is apparently an imposition on some members of this body for thei#-#-f-o-r-t-h-i-r-s-t-i-c-h-
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w-e- #-#-f-o-r-t-h-i-r-s-t-i-c-h-w-e- n-t-s-t-o-p-i-c-#-#-d-a-i-s-h- v- #-#-f-o-r-t-h-i-r-s-t-i-c-h-w-e- e-f-s-o-m-s-t-i-c-h-m-o-r- b-r-a- #-#-f-o-r-t-h-i-r-s-t-i-c-h-w-e- i-n-c-e-l-z-s-n-i-e-# today just today i've heard multiple senators complaining too many phone calls from my constituents. what a remarkable complaint. what a remarkable complaint. you know, mr. president, you and i both worked in the private sector. the private sector, if your boss picks up the phone and calls, i
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suspect neither you or i sat on our computer playing solitaire when our boss picked up the phone and called. neither one of us said boss, i'm too busy. boss, i don't want to listen. you may have priorities for the business but not me. i know better than you. none of us did that, because in the private sector there is a quick and immediate response. you tell your boss in the private sector, boss, my time's too important for you, i don't care about your priorities, i'm not going to listen to you, and i suspect that will be your last data place of employment. why is washington broken? because you've got 100 people, a significant number of whom on a daily basis tell their boss, tell their constituents i'm too busy for you. don't even bother to call my office because it just -- you know what? it ties up my staff. it's annoying. i know better than you do. i know the priorities better than you do.
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what a broken system, mr. president? what a broken system. we work for the people. and why are the people unhappy with washington, why are they gusted with washington? because washington isn't listening to them. you know, there's a game instead that's focused on maintaining the status quo, stayin. staying in office -- that's what's important. because, mr. president, it is apparently very, very important to be invited to all the right cocktail parties in town. now, i'll confess, i don't go to a whole lot of cocktail parties in town. i'm pretty sure you don't either. but there are members of this body for whom that is really, really important. you know, at the end of the day, we don't work for those holding cocktail parties in washington, d.c. we don't work for the
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intelligencia in the big cities who write newspaper editorials. we work for the american people. we work for single moms. we work for young people. we work for seniors who are struggling. we work for hispanics and african-americans. we work for every american who believes in the american dream. and this body isn't listening to the people. indeed, the very fact that over 1.6 million americans have signed a petition and picked up the phone, have been calling offices in this great chamber is viewed as an inappropriate imposition. mr. president, what an indictment of this body. that we think it is somehow i will legitimate that the american people would ask -- illegitimate that the american people would ask us not to folk on priorities, not to focus on some parochial issue.
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by the way, are the phone calls -- the phone calls are not coming from our district saying, "senator, please take more of the american people's tax money and send it back to our district. we'd like some more pork." those aren't the calls. those around the calls we're getting. the -- those aren't the calls we're getting. the calls are people who are saying, listen, jobs and the is my number-one economy. why isn't it congress's? jobs and the economy, why? because if you're work, if you're work not guilty a good job, you're providing for your family. makes it easier for families to stay together, moms and dads. makes it easier for them to raise their kids, raise them with good values. makes them easier to provide good education for their kids. and when you have one job, it lets you begin to climb the economic ladder to a better job and a better job and a better job. that is the american peter. -- that is the american spirit. and yet we have tens of millions of people in this country out of
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work. every month we get the reports from the bureau of labor statistic that says, even more people have given up looking for work. now, the odd way our unemployment statistics work, that makes unemployment, the number the newspapers report, go down. because when a few hundred thousand people say, "all right, i give up,; it's s; it's so hop, i'll never find a job," that curiously results in unemployment going down. because the number record in the paper is the number that the reported number of people looking for work are unable to find it. i'm going to suggest to you, the number of people who are giving up -- that's even worse. what a sad testament, given the american spirit, the american spirit that we can do anything we set our minds to, that anyo anyone -- you know, the great blessings of this nation, mr. president, have been
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fundamentally that it doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter who your daddy was, doesn't matter whether you were born into great wealth and privilege or whether you were born into humble means. anyone in this country can achieve anything based on hard work, perseverance, and based on the content of your character. what a tremendous, unique blessing that is in the united states of america. and, mr. president, the reason this obamacare fight matters so much is that is imperiled right now. in order for anyone with nothing to achieve anything, they have to be able to get a job to start. they have to get ur to get undet rung of the economic ladder in order to get a chance to the third or the fourth or the
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faith. just weeken fifth. just last week, the "wall street journal" had an article about the young people coming out of college who haven't gotten a job so they have a part-time job. they finds an employer who doesn't want to hire them full-time so they get hired for 29 hours a week. and when you think about young people, if you don't get the first job, you're not going to get the second. and you're not going to get the third. and the impact for young people what obamacare is having is absolutely devastating. and what the data is showing is that will be them without their lives. when they're not working, not climbing the economic ladder, that that delay will stake withh them forever. that is a travesty. mr. president, wher where's the
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outrate? where are the senators standing here saying whashes saying, whe travesty of the young people because what we have wrought, because of obamacare? that should unite all of us. that -- if we were listening to the american people, that would be where our attention would lie. and so fundamentally what this week interes-- what this week ie need to make d.c. listen, make them listen to the single mom working at a diner, struggling to feed her kids, who's just been told she's being reduced to 29 hours a week. who's speaking for that single
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mom right now? mr. president, who's talking about how obamacare is forcing more and more people into part-time employment. and by the, she doesn't get health insurance? instead, forced into 29 hours a week, what does that single mom do? she gets a second job. so now she's working two jobs. now she's away if her kids even more. she doesn't have health insurance at either job now. but she's got to travel from one to the other, she's got to deal with two quon flicting schedules because one job wants her to work on tuesday and another one wants her to work at both time on tuesday. she goes both of her bosses and they both say, you've got to be there at that time on tuesday afternoon. who is speaking for that single mom right now? mr. president, on friday or saturday of this week, we will vote on cloture.
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anyone who votes "yes" for cloture, anyone who votes to cut off debate on this bill is voting to allow senate majority leader harry reid to fully fund obamacare. that's a vote that i think is a profound mistake. it's a vote that i hope all 46 republicans will stand united against. it's a vote in time that i hope that more than a few democrats will stand against. mr. president, to fix the problems in this country, this doesn't have to be a partisan issue. many of the president's most vocal supporters have started coming out against obamacare. why? because the facts show it's not working. because if you get beyond the
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team mentality in washington, if you get beyond the partisan focus in washington and you ask is this thing good for the american people, it is very hard on the merits to make the case that it is. it is very, very hard. you know, it's quite interesting, in the course of this debate there have been more than a few newspaper articles, more than a few attacks from our friends on the democratic side of the aisle and also from our friends on the republican side of the aisle. i told my wife i now pick up the newspapers each day to learn just what a scoundrel i am and just what attack will have come, some on the record and some, the ones often even better are the anonymous ones. i have to say there is no courage like the courage in washington in the anonymous congressional staffer. i've chuckeled at more than a
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few of them. you know, it says something, mr. president, that members of this body, the congressional staffers, members of the media want to make this about personalities. they want to make this about a battle of this senator versus that senator, this person versus that person. so it's all personal. it's like reading the hollywood gossip pages. that's how this issued is covered. it's not by accident. because one of the ways washington has discovered for not listening to the people is distraction. distract the people with smoke and mirrors. mr. president, this fight is not about any member of this body. this fight is not about personalities. look, most americans could not give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in washington. who cares? you know, almost all of us are
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in cheap suits with bad haircuts. who cares? what the american people care about is their own lives. what the american people care about is giving their kids a better future. what the american people care about is having a job, a job with a future, not a job where they're working 29 hours a week, punching a clock where they feel like they're going through the motion, but a job where they say i've got a career, i can see the next step, i can see the future for my family. that's what the american people care about. so, mr. president, regardless of the rocks that will be thrown -- and they will continue to be thrown -- i have no intention of engaging in that game, no intention of speaking ill of any senator, republican or democrat, because it's not about us. and anyone who is trying to make this a battle of personalities is trying to change the topic from the topic that should
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matter: whether or not obamacare is helping the american people. mr. president, if you focus on the substance, the evidence overwhelming. this law is a train wreck, and every day the headlines come in, more jobs lost, more people losing their health insurance, more premiums going up, more people pushed into part-time work. and yet, every day, mr. president, the united states senate goes about its business and says we're too busy to listen to the american people. now there are different games, to be sure, that go on on both sides of the aisle. many of our friends on the democratic side of the aisle right now endeavor to convince the american people pay no attention to your lying eyes;
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obamacare really is a terrific thing. that's not going terribly well. but on the republican side of the aisle, there's a lot of energy and attention focused on saying, well, yes, obamacare is terrible, but under no circumstances could we ever do anything about it. that's beyond us. we are destined to lose. and so, what we're interested, many on the republican side of the aisle, is let us cast a show vote. two, three, ten, as many as votes as possible to say obamacare is really bad. but we can't fix it. you know, that problem, it crosses that middle aisle. whether you're telling your constituents it's really working owl well despite the objective facts to the kraeur, or whether -- contrary, or whether you're telling your constituents
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i agree it's a terrible thing but i can't do anything to fix it, in both cases you're not listening to the people. that is something we need to correct, mr. president, all of us, all 100 of us need to listen to the people, mr. president, together, we need to make d.c. listen. if we don't, the frustration will grow. if we don't, the disillusion with washington will grow. if we don't, the approval rating of congress will keep going down, keep going down, keep going down. the only way to fix this problem
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is to demonstrate that we understand, we understand the facts, that we're not driven by partisan ideology, we're driven by doing our jobs, listening to the american people. and, mr. president, it is my fervent hope that over the course of this week, over the course of this debate that all 46 senators on the republican side will unite and that more and more democrats will come together and say listen, we have an obligation to our constituents. and that's an obligation we're going to honor. a senator: would the gentleman yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield without yielding the floor. mr. lee: i ask my distinguished colleague, the senator from texas, a series of questions with regard to this concept to make d.c. listen.
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you know, it's interesting that we have this discussion right now at a time in our history when never has it been easier for so many people throughout the country with so few resources to be heard by so many. in the past you had to own a newspaper or perhaps in more recent years you had to own a radio station or a television company or something like that to be heard by a lot of people. but these days pretty much anyone can gain access to a telephone or to the internet. they can send an e-mail. they can submit a post. it's one of the things that has made possible a ground swell of people. you mentioned just a few minutes ago 1.6 million americans just in the last few weeks signing a petition asking for congress to make a decision to protect the american people from the harmful effects of obamacare. they want government funded just
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as we want government funded. they want government to be able to continue to do the things that government does. they want people to be able to rely on government to protect them, to protect our borders, to protect our sovereignty, protect our homeland against those who would harm us. they want government to be able to carry out its basic functions and its responsibilities. and so they want their government funded. but they don't want that held hostage by something else. they don't want that funding tied to the funding with obamacare in the sense that they want to keep government funded, but they want us to defund obamacare. the house of representatives showed that d.c., at least that side of d.c., that side of the capitol was listening. i applaud the speaker of the house and the other leaders in the house of representatives who did that. that suggests to me that they
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were listening on that side of the house. and they had many millions of americans calling out on the telephone through mail, e-mail, every conceivable medium for relief from this bill. they listened. they listened because they understand that the american people are being hurt by this. and this ask the same questions that you and i and others have asked. how many more americans will have to lose their jobs because of obamacare before congress acts? how many more americans will have to see their wages or their hours cut as a result of this ill-conceived law before we do something about this? how many more people will r to lose access to health coverage before congress does something? last friday we saw home depot, one of america's great companies, one of america's great success stories, one of
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america's great employers announce that 20,000 employees will be losing their health coverage. how many more stories like this will we have to hear before congress does something to protect americans from the harmful effects of this law, a law that was passed a few years ago without a single republican vote in the house of representatives, a law that was passed just a few years ago without a single republican vote in the united states senate, a law that was passed, all 2,700 pages as it was then constituted without, as far as i know, many, if any, members of this body or the other body in the capitol having had the opportunity fully to read it. since then, of course, it's expanded. we've had an additional 20,000 pages of regulations promulgated, increase rather exponentially the impact of this
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law. the popularity of the law has not improved with time, just as the complexity of the law has not become less problematic in the intervening three and a half year period. so as we look at this, we think about the fact that it is important for congress to listen to the american people and again today it has never been so easy for so many americans with so few resources at their disposal to make sure that they are in fact heard. so we have to ask ourselves the question, and i have to ask you the question, how long will it be before congress acts? i'm pleased, senator cruz, that you referred to the opportunity crisis, the economic opportunity crisis in america, and you referred to the economic ladder in this country. you know, he think it's an interesting fact that we need to
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consider that according to one recent study published, i believe, just in the last few weeks, that for the first time in american history 40% of those born in america into the bottom quintile of the american economy, the bottom 20% of income earners in this country, 40% of the bottom 20% will remain in the bottom 20% throughout the duration of their lifetimes. to my knowledge, that has never happened in this country. to my knowledge, this undercuts what has long been a very distinguishing, enviable characteristic of the united states, what has made this the greatest civilization the world has known, a country that regardless of where you were born or regardless of the circumstances in which you came into this world or came into this country, you can make it. and in fact your chances of doing so were relatively strong.
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yet, 40% of those people, we now understand, will stay there throughout the duration of their lives. another study came out also a few weeks ago indicating that in 34 states and the district of columbia, an individual or a family is actually likely to see a dip in their well-being, a dip in their standard of living if instead of receiving welfare benefits, they decide instead to shed those benefits and go on to an entry-level job. that's sad. that's sad because that suggests that our government, as well-intentioned as many of those programs might be, may well have set in place a series of conditions that trap people, especially parents, into a vulnerable poor condition. if there's one thing that parents, i think, feel somewhat universally is a degree of risk
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aversion. people don't like to take risk that could jeopardize their ability to provide for their children. if we've set up a set of conditions in which people, in order to maintain their level of certainty that they might have while surviving under a system of welfare benefits provided by the federal government, if they become locked into that, locked into poverty in perpetuity because of that, that's disconcerting because if the risk is always too high to make that jump on to an entry-level job, without the entry-level job there will never be the secondary job, there will never be the first raise or the second raise, the first or second or third or fourth promotion. without those things, there is no ladder. without those things, there is an opportunity lost in which people remain in the bottom wrongwrungs of that very ladder. we see at the top wrungs, a
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system of crony capitalism, that has the impact of keeping some people, some big businesses artificially held in place at the top of the economic ladder, at the expense of others, at the expense of would-be competitors, who are driven out or held out from the beginning from the competitive marketplace, through the oppressive intervention of the government, through the government's favoritism, and through the government's ability sometimes, regrettably, to choose winners and losers in the marketplace. and you see where most americans are, right in the middle of the ladder. in the middle wrungs you see people working, trying to get by from day to day, they're able to survive, they're able to provide for the basic needs of their families. but they'd like to do better. they'd like to be able to provide a more comfortable living for their family. and they find, very often, that no sooner do they find an increase in their income than that same increase has been
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gobbled up by a combination of oppressive taxes, oppressive regulations, and the devastating impact of inflation. when those things happen, we find that people are unable to make their way up that economic ladder. so we find ourselves at a precipice of sorts. we find ourselves about to embark on a very bold experiment in which we rather dramatically expand the role of the federal government, injecting it more directly, more completely, more dangerously into one of the most personal aspects of most people's lives, into the health care industry, an industry that comprise comprises a very signit portion of our nation's economy. in an area in which people feel strongly about their own right about their own inate, inherent need and desire to maintain a degree of control that is not subject to the will and whim of
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government bureaucrats in washington. and at the same time that the government is doing that the government will be consuming an increasingly large share of the resources moving through our economy, making it even harder for people who are trying to get by to do so and do so without undue interference from the government. this is an issue that's important to so many people. this is an issue that reminds people of the fact that whenever government acts, it does so at the expense of our own individual liberty. it does so at the expense of our ability to live our lives, as we would live them. it does so very often at the expense of the american economy. it does so very often at the expense of economic opportunity for americans. you see, because when we expand government, we expand its cost, we maw make ourselves as a couny
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less free, we leav leave oursels with fewer alternatives. there is a role for government to play in health care? absolutely. of course there is. no one disputes that. are there improvements that can be made to our health care system? certainly there are. but a 2,700-page law that was passed after members of congress were told they had to pass it mureinorder to find out what's , that has expanded since then to include within its penumbra 20,000 pages of regulatory text, a law that has become less and less popular as time has gone on ... this has become very, very difficult and we find that this becomes less and less of something that the american people support.
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so i would ask you, senator cruz, do you feel like the american people have every right to speak out on this? and specifically, do you feel like the american people have every right to expect that those of us serving in the united states senate will do everything that we possibly can, even casting difficult votes, even casting procedural votes that might be difficult to cast or difficult to explain? do they have every right do that, even if it causes great inconvenience for them? and for us in the process of complying with their issues? mr. cruz: well, i thank my friend from utah for that very good question. and the answer is, absolutely yes. that's the foundation of our nation. you know, if you look at the history of government in the world, it hasn't been pretty. the history of government for most of the existence of mankind has been a story of oppression,
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a story of rulers imposing their will on their subjects. for millennia, we were told that rights come from government, they come from kings and queens, and they are to be given to the people by race to be taken away by the whim of the ruler. that has been the state of affairs for most of the history of humanity. and, you know, the founding of our nation embodied many revolutions. the first revolution was a revolution that was a bloody revolution fought with guns and bayonets. but even more important than that revolution was the revolution of ideas that occurred. and the revolution of ideas that began this nation was twofold.
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first of all, america began from the presupposition that our rights come from god. it's tha for that reason the declaration of independence begins "we hold these truths that all men are created equal. we're endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." that is and was a revolutionary idea, and it led to the second revolutionary aspect of the founding of our nation; that we inverted the concept of sovereignty. for millennia sovereignty began at the top. it was the ruler. it was called the sovereign.
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the word sovereignty defriefs that notion. the sovereign is where sovereignty resides. the american framers torne turnt notion on its head. we said, nu-huh. sovereignty resides with our people. that's why our constitution begins "we the people." because this nation wasn't founded by rulers, it wasn't founded by elected officials. it was founded by we the american people. that is the only place sovereignty has ever resided in the united states of america. the constitution in turn was created to lend power to government, not to give it. to lend it and to lend it, i would suggest, only in good behavior. thomas jefferson referred to the constitution as chains that bind the mischief of government.
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that sovereignty is an idea we need to get back to. because, mr. president, i'm going to suggest that for sometime now the united states senate has not behaved as if we, the people, are sovereign. for sometime the united states senate has not behaved as if each of us collectively has 3 million bosses. for a long time the united states senate has behaved as if the rules that matter are the rules that are here in washington, d.c. that is why, mr. president, that the most important objective of this week is to make d.c. listen. the most important objective of this week is to reassert that sovereignty is with we, the people, that calls from our constituents that town haul hale not a pesky annoyance.
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www.the core oit is the core ofo listen to we, the people. and right now we, the people, are hurting. if you get outside washington, d.c., you ask them about obamacare, over and over and over again the answer you get is is, this thing isn't working. you know, mr. president, a few weeks ago i hosted a small business round table in cu curville, texas, a delightful town in the beautiful hill country -- anyone who wants to come to texas, i would encourage you, curville is a great destination in texas. this was a small gathering in texas, about 20 small business owners. i asked each of them. i aid, let's go around the room. if each of you could introduce yourself, share a little bit about yourself, and then share a concern that's weighing on your
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heart, share something you're praying about, share surgery a worried about, share something that you're focused on right now. now, mr. president, it was a totally open-ended question. they could have talked about any issue under the sun p. they could have talked about syria, they could have talked about guns, they could have talked about anything. we went around the table one after the other after the other after the another. over half of the small businesses around that table said to me, ted, the single-biggest object strack --i face in my business is obamacare. hands down. there's nothing that comes close close. it was striking, there were probably four or five that relairelayed this story. one said, you know, we've got a great opportunity to expand our business. i have an opportunity to make the restaurant even bigger, expand it, and from a business
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perspective, this opportunity looks really good. but he said, you know, we've got between 30 and 40 employees. if we expand the business, we'll go over 50, and if we go over 50, we're subject to obamacare. and if that happens, i'll go out of business. so, you know what? i'm not pursuing the expansion. we're not going to do t we're going to stay the size we are. and one person after another around the table said the same thing, said they had 30 employees, 35, 40 employees. they had great opportunities to go open another location, expand into a new aspect, and one after the other says, we will not do it because if we get over 50 employees, obamacare will bankrupt us. i want you to think about each of those four or five businesses and the 10 or 20 jobs that each of them didn't create, isn't creating right now because of obamacare.
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and then i want you to multiply that by thousands or tens of thousands of small businesses all across this country that could be creating jobs. i want you to think about all the people right now that are at home wanting to work. and, ub know, ther you know, th, by the way -- some politicians in this country suggest that people are lazy, don't want to work. i don't believe that. i think americans want to work. americans want the self-respect that comes from going to the office, from working, from providing for your faming, from working to -- from providing for that you are family, from working to achieve the american dream. can you give into hopelessness? yes, when you keep banging your head into a wall over and over and over again trying to get a job and you don't get an any an, it's only natural for people to feel despair. but i want you to think of the millions of jobs that we could
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have but for small businesses that are not growing, not expanding, not creating those jobs. another small business owner around that table, mr. president, owned several fast-food restaurants. she had a problem. she owned enough fast-food restaurants that she had over 50 employees. and i'll mention that the restaurant business and the fast-food business side of it in particular is quite labor-dependent, and i doubt there's a sector of this economy that has been hurt more by obamacare than the restaurant business and the fast-food restaurant business. so her problem was she had enough stores, this she was over 50 employees. that strategy wouldn't work for her. so she described how she has already forcibly reduced the hours of every one of her employees to 29 hours a week. and i'll tell you, mr. president, this woman, she almost began to tear up. she was emotional and this was
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not -- she was not happy about this, to put it mildly. she said, listen, we've been in business a long time. many of these employees we've known 10 or 20 years. these are single moms, these are people -- look, if you're work at a fast-food strarnghts you're not -- a fast-food restaurant, you're not at the pinnacle of your career. you're struggling to pay the bills. these were single moms struggling to pay their bills and they can't feed their kids on 29 hours week. but they can't feed their kids if i go out of business either. and if we're subject to obamacare, we go out of business. now why 29 hours a week? well, mr. president, just like the 50-employee threshold, obamacare kicks in, it counts an employee if he or she works 30 hours a week. so one of the things it is forcing small businesses all over the country to do is to force their employees out of good, full-time jobs into 29 hours a week.
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because they don't get hammered with the costs and burdens of obamacare. mr. president, i'll mention another small business owner that i think will particularly hit home with you because i know the issues that resonate with you. it's an individual who manufactures hunting blinds. they're camouflaged to look like trees. they're really very clever creations. and he described how he has been forced to move his manufacturing overseas, to move it to china. so right now he's manufacturing in china. and he said, listen, i want to manufacture here in the united states. that matters to me. i care about that. he said, listen, this would be 150 to 200 good manufacturing jobs here in the united states now, mr. president, you and i both come from states where there are a lot of people in our
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states who are struggling who would love to see 200 more manufacturing jobs. you know, manufacturing used to be a tremendous strength of our economy and the manufacturing sector has been so hammered in recent decades. and yet what this small business owner said is because of obamacare, if i brought that manufacturing back to the united states, those workers would all be subject to obamacare and i can't be competitive in the business. it will drive me out of business. now, mr. president, i would ask you to take each of those small business owners and multiply it by the millions of small business owners across this country. the millions of small business owners who aren't growing, the millions of small business owners who are forcing their employees, forcibly reducing their hours to 29 hours a week, the millions of small business
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owners who are considering moving operations overseas or have already because of obamacare. why is the economy gasping for breaths? why are people not able to get jobs? because obamacare is killing jobs. and the senate should listen to the people. we need to make d.c. listen. a senator: will the gentleman yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yield being the floor. mr. vitter: thank you. and would the gentleman acknowledge, does he understand, as i do, that as this monstrosity goes into effect october 1, as it has all of these really devastating impacts on individual small businesses, as that happens, under a special illegal rule from the obama administration, congress and washington get an exemption, they get a special pass, they get a special deal that no other american gets under the law? mr. cruz: i thank the senator for his question and he is
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absolutely right. there are many scandalous aspects of obamacare. how it was passed on a brutal partisan vote, rammed through with late-night deals have that earned rather infamous nicknames, such as "the cornhusker kickback," that have sadly become part of modern political lore, and "the louisiana purchase," with all respect to my friend from the great state of louisiana, who was not involved in that. and one of the most sorry aspects of obama administration is the -- is the aspect that the good senator vitter refers, to is the aspect that president obama has chosen, at the behest of majority leader harry reid, at the behest of democratic members of the senate, to exempt members of congress and their staff from the plain language of
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the statute. now, when obamacare was being passed, senator chuck grassley, a towering giant in this body, a strong, principled conservative introduced a commonsense provision to obamacare that said, listen, if you're going to force obamacare on the american people, if you're going to create these health insurance exchanges and you're going to force millions of people on to these exchanges, then congress shouldn't operate by better rules than the american people. and so he introduced a very simple amendment that was designed to say, let's treat members of congress like the american people so we don't have this two-class system. and at the time, it's been reported -- i was not serving in this body at the time, but it's been reported on that that was voted on and accepted because
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democratic senators believed the bill would go to conference and in the conference committee they could strip it out and it would magically disavmenmagically dis. but then because of 9 the magic, horror of all horrors, congress should behave like the rest of the american people became the law of the land. and so what happened? majority leader harry reid and the majority members of the party, had a closed-door meeting with the president and said let us out of obamacare, we don't want to be on these exchanges of one would assume they're reading the same news reports that the rest of us are leading, that obamacare is a train wrer wrecks not working. and the last thing members of congress wanted to do was to have their health care compromised. and the president directed his administration to exempt members
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of congress and their staff. ignoring the language of the statute, disregarding the language of the statute but just say, you guys are friends of the administration, we're taking care of you. and i -- i want to take a minute in response to this question to commend the senator from louisiana. the senator from vitter introduced an amendment to reverse this exemption and it was a bold amendment. it was an amendment that said, looks we as members of congress should be subject to the same rules of the american people. we shouldn't be treated by different special rules for us. and, indeed, senator vitter's amendment said, members of congress should be subject to obamacare, our staff should be subject to obamacare, and members of the administration, the political appointees of the obama administration, who, by the way, are not on the exchanges, they should be, too. so if the president and his cabinet appointees and his political officials want to go into your communities and tell you how wonderful obamacare is,
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let them do so from personal experience. let them do so not being exempted. let them do so subject to on the same exchanges, subject to the rules the american people are. and the reason i want to commend the senator from louisiana is his introducing that amendment prompted a response that, mr. president, i'm going to suggest brought disgrace and disrepute on this body. it prompted a political response that targeted the senator from louisiana personally. now, we all know the old saying that "politics ain't bean bag." but the nastiness with which the democratic majority responded to senator vitter for daring to say that the washington ruling class should be subject to the same rules as the rest of us was extraordinary for washington, d.c.
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and, in fact, i would note that the majority leader and the junior senator from california, as i understand from public news reports, proposed a response to the vitter amendment that said, any senator who votes for the vitter amendment, regardless if it passes, if you simply cast a vote in favor of it, he or she will lose their health insuran insurance. now, i have to admit, i -- when i first hertd of thi heard of td amendment, i shook my aide in amazement. i had never heard of such a thing. and i suggested to a friend who's a law professor, i said, you know, that would make a marvelous law school final exam, to imagine that this -- this amendment is passed into law, to ask your law students to catalog all of the immediate ya myriad h
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such a proposal would be unconstitutional. you know, i would fact, mr. president -- in fact, i made this point to the law professor i was talking to -- i said, if you, as a private citizen, came to any member of a private citizen and said, senator, if you vote the way i want you to, i am going to pay you thousands of dollars that you can deposit in your personal bank account, you, mr. law professor, mr. private citizen, would promptly and quite rightly be prosecuted for bribery. it's a criminal offense. it's a felony. if, on the other hand, you or any other member, any other american citizen went to a u.s. senator, went to senator vitter and said, senator vitter, if you don't vote the way i want, i'm going to take thousands of dollars out of your personal bank account, i'm going to extract them forcibly from your personal bank account.
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well, mr. president, as i told the law professor, then you would be guilty of extortion and you would be charged and no doubt criminally convicted, because under the black letter definition, that conduct -- threatening to pay someone individually thousands of dollars or take thousands of dollars away from them as a direct quid pro quo for how a member of congress votes -- constitutes either bribery or extortion. now, let me be clear. no member of this body is guilty of bribery or extortion. why? the simple is the constitution debate and speech clause protects all of us such that given that their action was proposing an amendment themselves, there's a constitutional immunity such that i'm not suggesting that anyone is guilty of bribery or extortion. but i am saying that the content of their amendment, if any private citizen who didn't happen to be a member of the senate did the exact same thing, he or she would have committed a
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felony under the plain text of those definitions. and so i would to commend senator vitter for shining a light on basic fairness, for endure, the vilification that was -- enduring the vilification that was unfairly directed his way. and for making the point that outside of washington is simple commonsense. i will suggest to you, mr. president, that if any one of us gets a gathering of our constituents together, i would suggest to you if we get a gathering of constituents from the opposing party and you ask any town hall in your state, "do you believe members of congress should be exempted from obama administration, we should have a special rule, we should disregard the language of the statute and not be subject to obamacare like the american people are?" the answer would be overwhelmingly no, and it doesn't matter where in the country you are, it doesn't matter what party you are.
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and so i thank senator vitter for having the courage and principle t to highlight the particularly unfortunate aspect of obamacare. mr. vitter: will the gentleman yield for a further yes? mr. cruz: happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. vitter vitter: will the genn also given that history on the issue, given that illegal rule to exempt congress to have a special bailout, a special subsidy for congress that the obama administration is putting into law without valid authori authority, that given that we're debating and acting on a spending bill this week, we should be voting on that, we should get a vote on my amendment, your amendment together to block that illegal rule this week? also give than the majority leader said he had no problem with a vote on that in threery, said that last week -- in
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theory, said that last week, that he should allow a vote on this crucial amendment, which will be filed to the bill, which will even be a germane amendment on this spending bill, this week before this illegal dprecial exemption rule goeexemptionrule. would the gentleman agree? mr. cruz: i agree enthusiastically. and senator vitter highlights one of the many reasons why every republican in this body should vote against cloture on the bill on friday or saturday and why i believe a great many democrats should vote against cloture as well. because, as we understand it, we are told the amendment process on this bill is going to be rigged, that the amendment process on this bill is going to be that once debate is cut off, there will be a bill simply to fund obamacare in its entirety, to delete the house language and that other amendments will not be allowed, that senator
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vitter's amendment will not be allowed, that an amendment repealing the medical device taxes will not being allowed, that amendments getting the i.r.s. out of the business of obamacare will not be allowed? that, instead, it will be a rigged playing field.ñ and the only way to prevent that rigged playing field is for senators to stand together and vote "no" on cutting off debate on friday or saturday when we have that vote. if we stand together and vote "no," that forces this body to deal with the problem. otherwise we know how the kabuki dance ends. if cloture is invoked, if debate is cut off on the bill, very shortly thereafter the majority leader has publicly announced he'll introduce an amendment to fully fund obamacare. that will be just 51 votes, so every republican will get to vote no. every republican will get to tell his or her constituents they voted no and yet magically or wonderfully it will pass
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because it will be a straight party line partisan vote. and other members will be silenced. i think senator vitter is correct we should vote on the vitter amendment. indeed, i would like to see the vitter amendment broader. another senator, another member of our conference indicated if the vitter amendment were brought up, he would offer an amendment to it to expand it to all federal employees. i think that's a terrific rule. right now federal employees earn substantially more than the private sector does. i don't think there's any entitlement to take our tax dollars and to live in a privileged condition being a federal employee. and listen, if members of this body are going to go on television and tell the american people obamacare is great, it's really good, it's terrific, it's so great, then they should be eager to live under it. you can't have it both ways. either obamacare is a train wreck, in which case we ought to
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listen to the american people and fix it. or obamacare is wonderful and terrific and fantastic and all of the great adjectives that proponents of the bill have used, in which case members of congress and staff members and federal employees should all eagerly embrace it. and so i very much agree with senator vitter that it is critical that we vote on the vitter amendment, and it's critical we make clear to the american people that there are not two sets of rules. there's not a ruling class in washington that somehow gets treated different. and let me talk for a moment about congressional staff members. because, you know, behind closed door this issue generates a lot of passion.
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and, look, there are a great many congressional staff members who are dedicated public servants, who have taken often substantial salary cuts to come to washington to serve this country, to work brutal hours. and i'll tell you that among congressional staff, just like among members, the vitter amendment, the idea that they would be subject to obamacare deeply, deeply concerns them. it concerns them on the money side and it concerns them on the quality of care that they will be able to get and the quality of health insurance that they will be able to get on the exchanges. and to make it real, i will simply note that there are multiple members of my staff who have had very, very serious, even life-threatening health issues for whom the limited health insurance, the subpar, the poor-quality health insurance that many fear will be
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available on the exchanges, that's not a passing concern. it's not an academic concern. it's not a concern that's sort of let's put in talking point. it is very real for a great many congressional staff, including staff in my office. and you know what? if the vitter amendment passes, if congress is subject to the same rules as the american people, there may well be quite a few congressional staff that tender their letters of resignation, that leave. i have had one staff member already indicate she was retiring after many years' service and the possibility of put on obamacare was a real factor in that decision. now if we lose some good talent for congress, that will be a shame and a hardship for every office. but you know what,
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mr. president? what does that say? what does it say if obamacare is such a disaster that congressional staffers -- and mind you, a lot of these congressional staffers who may tender their letters of resignation are staffers worbing for democratic -- working for democratic senators who drafted obamacare, who fight for obamacare every day, what does it say that staffers would be willing to quit because the quality of health care under obamacare would be so poor that they'd rather go somewhere else rather than be subject to those laws? i think that speaks volumes. and the lesson -- listen, neither senator vitter nor i have any interest in the long term in seeing congressional staff, in seeing federal employees on obamacare. but it does have a value of highlighting how bad it is if this body is content to leave the american people stuck in obamacare, then you better
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believe we ought to be subject to the same rules. and if we're not willing to live under those rules, if we say, wow, obamacare scares the heck out of us and we don't want to be subject to it, then the proper answer is not to vilify the senator from louisiana or any other senator in this body. the proper answer is to step in and save the american people. in fact, let me suggest something, mr. president, that would have a powerful, clarifying impact on this body. if only senators would behave as if their constituents were at least as important as their congressional staff, if only senators were to behave as if their constituents were at least as important as they are, to be honest, our constituents are more important. our constituents are our boss. they are the ones, they are the reason we are fighting.
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and the fact that this body is so torn apart by the notion that each of us would be subject to obamacare, subject to the same rules the american people are, it just highlights how broken washington is. that shouldn't be controversial. that should be obvious. and let me suggest to every member of congress, to every staffer who is dismayed -- and to be honest, mr. president, saying they are dismayed is an understatement to describe the degree of deep, deep concern and even panic about this. let me suggest to every member of congress and every staffer who is feeling that panic, direct that panic not to our own skins. direct that panic to the american people. direct that panic to the single mom working at the diner,
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working two 29-an-hour a week jobs who's faces the consequences of obamacare. under obamacare, this administration, this president is getting ready to force millions of people on to exchanges where they are very likely to lose their health insurance. now, in the privileged corridors of washington, the risk of losing your health insurance, boy, that gets people worried. and it should. but it should worry us even more all the people across this country. and you know what? the majority leader, members of congress can get a sit-down with the president of the united states. and i'll be honest, 26 million texans, most texans can't get a sit-down with the president of the united states.
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if you're powerful, you can get a special exemption. so we've seen the president, he started out by exempting every big corporation in america. giant corporations for a year, he said doesn't apply to you guys. now the language of the law explicitly applies. there is no year delay in the language of the law. and for over 200 years we have operated as a nation of laws, not men. we have operated as a nation that says if that's what the law says, then it kicks in january 1 and not a year from now. what did the president say? no. big companies have come to us, and my friends in big business, i'm going to give you a year-long exemption. let me note, mr. president, if obamacare were so terrific, why would the president be wanting to delay it until after the next
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election? you know that year delay, the timing is not entirely coincidental. the employer mandate was supposed to kick in january 1 of next year, and the president unilaterally and contrary to law delayed it one whole year until after the november 2014 elections. mr. president, if the representations that so many members of this body make to the american people were true that obamacare is terrific, is wonderful, then i would think the president would be eager to have it kick in before the election. if it were a good thing, you would want the good stuff to happen before the election and not after the election. and the fact that it was moved for big businesses is an indication of just how badly this law is failing. but it's not just big businesses that have got an exemption. members of congress, senators -- senators can get a closed-door
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meeting with the president of the united states. and with much fanfare, the president came to the capitol, met with the democratic caucus. and as was widely reported, they asked for a special exemption, and they got it. now how about american people? they can't go in. look, one of the reasons people are so unhappy with washington is they get a sense that there are special rules that apply. wall street gets special exemptions. the big banks get special exemptions. dodd-frank hammer community banks, hammers the little guys. but what happens to the big guys? they keep getting bigger. why? they get rules made in washington that favor the big guy over the little guy, and you wonder why there's such dissatisfaction in this country. when you see those rules, if you got political friends in this administration, you too can get an exemption.
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now we saw with much fanfare that just recently the labor unions -- and labor unions have more and more been expressing their dismay about obamacare as they've realized in practice the thing isn't working. just recently the labor unions came to the obama administration and said, hey, we want an exemption too. big businesses got an exemption. members of congress got an exemption. shouldn't labor unions, shouldn't union bosses get an exemption? and with much fanfare, the administration reportedly told them no. mr. president, i'm going to make a prediction right here and now, if the united states congress does not act, if we don't show leadership in defunding obamacare, if we don't stand together in imposing cloture on friday, if we don't act to avert this train wreck for the american people, before the end of this president's term, we are going to see him grant an exemption for labor unions. that's been the pattern.
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friends, political buddies, they get a slap on the back. they get a special treatment. so, it wouldn't have been great politics to grant the labor unions an exemption right now. right in the middle of this debate, right when you've got over 1.6 million people signing a national petition, right when congress is debating it. gosh, it would have looked really bad to grant an exemption then. you know, it's a little reminiscent of the president's remarks concerning mr. putin that were caught on tape before the last election, which is tell vladimir i'll be able to -- i forget the exact language. but work with him a lot more after the election. i don't think it takes any stretch of the imagination at all to understand that give it a little time. let the pesky people that are sort of worked up a little bit on obamacare, let them
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dissipate. and then we'll quietly do the exemption for labor unions. let me note by the way the point quietly. one of the self-described -- quote -- "fact checkers" -- and there's a whole -- we may talk long enough that i may talk a little bit about fact checkers because that's a particularly pernicious bit of yellow journalism that has cropped up that lets journalists be editorial writers and pretend they're talking about objective facts and basically concluded as a factual matter, not as a matter of opinion, that anyone who disagrees with them is objectively lying. but one point that one of the so-called fact checkers in "the washington post" took issue with was an observation i've made that president obama is quietly granting exceptions. i will note that the exception for big business was announced
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in a blog posting by a midlevel political appointee in the treasury department, if i remember right on a friday. i may be wrong on the date. i think it was on a friday. in washington language, by any measure when you announce a major policy that impacts the whole country, that exemption giant businesses from your rule that you're jamming on the american people -- and you don't do it from the white house, you don't do it from the president, you don't do it as an announcement, you don't take questions on it. you simply put a blog posting from a midlevel staffer. that counts as quietly. it hasn't been quiet since then because everyone happened to notice. and so my prediction right now, mr. president, is if we get past this, if the forces in this body who defend the status quo -- and wow, are there a lot of forces that defend the status quo. there's there's a lot of people
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vested interest, if they prevail, if obamacare goes into effect before the end of this administration, you will see an exemption for labor unions like the exemption for big business and members of congress. so what are we left with then? we're left with a system where obamacare is a rule, for as leona helmsley famously described them, "the little people." for everybody that doesn't have juice and power and connections in washington -- for everybody -- look, to the men and women at home, maybe you have an arm of lobbyists work being for you, maybe you have senators' cell phones on your speed dial, maybe you can walk the corridors of power, and in that case, maybe you, too, can get an exemption. but if you're just a hardworking american trying to provide for your family, trying to do an
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honest day's work, make your community better, raise your kids, set a good example, then the message this president has sent and sadly, the message the senate has sent is, you don't count. we're going to treat everybody else better than you. mr. president, that is exactly backwards. it is the hardworking american that we work for, not the lobbyists that wander the halls, but the single mom in a diner. and they're the people who are losing. now, mr. president, i want to talk about the harm to jobs and economic growth that's coming from obamacare. americans continue to suffer from high unemployment and
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severe underemployment. instead of helping job growth, obamacare's mandates and costs are causing businesses to stop hiring workers, to cut employees' hours, and they're increasing the cost to operate businesses, small businesses in particular are being hammered by obamacare. here are some recent statistics on unemployment and underemployment. according to the statistics for august of 2013, there are 11.3 unemployemillion unemployed pen. the unemployment rate is listed at 7.3%. yet college graduates under 25 face just a 3.5% unemployment. you know, former democratic vice-presidential nominee john edwards used to talk about two americas. i didn't agree with a lot of things john edwards said as a
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political candidate, but i actually agreed with that notion, and it is a tragic notion, that there are two americas. there are two americas, anchts , between the ruling class and everyday americans, but there are also two americas between those of wealth and privilege and power and everybody else. if you are lucky enough to be a college graduate, your unemployment rate is 3.5%. that's pretty good. the people who are getting hammered, who are losing under obamacare are the most vulnerable among us. they're young people, hispanics, african-americans, single moms. for black teens, the unemployment rate is over 10 times higher than it is for college graduates. 38.2%. mr. president, let me ask you, when small businesses aren't
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hiring, when small businesses are laying people off, when small businesses are forcing employees to work 29 hours a week, who do you think that's impacting? it doesn't impact the titans of industry. the rich and powerful are not losing their jobs. they're not finding themselves forced into part-time work. we talked about the fast-food restaurant. the fast-food business -- the fast-food business that dr induy is being hammered. the and you want to talk about what a tremendous -- and you want to talk about wit about wha tremendous avenue for employment and particularly the opportunity. when you think about the unemployment rate for african-americans of 32.8%, the fast-food avenue has been an area of advancement. i would note that i don't view that from the perspective of
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abstract numbers on a piece of paper. i view that from a very personal perspective, because 55 years ago when my father came from cuba, he was 18, he was pennyless and he couldn't speak -- he was penniless and he couldn't speak english. but he was lucky. he was lucky to get to america. he was lucky to be able to apply for a student visa, to be accepted to the university of texas, to flee the regime where he had been imprisoned and tortured. by the time he was a teenager, my father had endured more than the vast majority of members of congress will ever experience. i will note with that background it does make the back and forth of washington pretty mild by comparison. you know, if someone says something mean about you in the
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newspaper, it may not be altogether pleasant, but it's pretty darn mild compared to being beaten and almost killed in a cuban jailed, like my dad was 5 year 5 years ago. but when he landed in austin -- if i could, mr. president, i would ask you to put yourself in his views, not literally because i think your feet are bigger than his, but figuratively. when my dad landed in austin, he couldn't speak english, he didn't know anybody. imagine being in a strange land where you can't speak english, you've got $100s sewn into your underwear. if you are an 18-year-old kid from cuba and you can't speak english, there are not a lot of jobs you can get. if you can't speak english, it is pretty hard to get a job where you've got to deal with
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customers who are going to expect you to speak english, and at that point he didn't have a lot of skills. i was a teenager -- he was a teen aifnlg his first job was -- he was a teenager. his first job was washing dishes. he made 50 cents an hour. why did he get that job in -- wy did he get that job? he didn't have to speak english. he was perfectly capable of taking a dish, scrubbing it and setting it aside. and he did that over and over and over again. now, i'll tell you something. when my father was here, he had no means of support other than washing dishes. so what he did, one of the reasons he wanted to work in a restaurant, is that restaurants would let you eat while you were working. it was one of the perks of working at a restaurant is the employees were able to work. and my father had to money for food. he barely had money to pay for a tiny little apartment.
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he started in the dorms and tuition. that was it. so he didn't have money to buy food. so what he did was eat at work. since he liked to work seven days a week, he worked seven days a week. and he'd go in -- and he only ate during those eight hours. during the eight hours he would work, he'd eat like crazy. he'd just feed his face because when he left the office, the next 16 hours he wasn't eating anything. he wasn't buying food, wasn't doing anything until the next eight hours he showed up at work, that was the next time he was going to eat. now, some people may look at a dish-washing job paying 50 cents an hour and turn their nose up at it. say, well, who really cares about people in jobs like that? sometimes this senate behaves like that, who really cares about people in jobs like that? but, you know, after some time
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my father was here, he learned english. i'll teem you how h tell you hod english. my father signed up for spanish 101. so when he was a freshman at u.t., he signed up for spanish 101. why would a native speaker sign up for spanish 101? he'd sit in the classroom and try to basically reverse-engineer everything. so the professor would say "milk" is "ls "leche." as the teacher was teaching span iraq, he'd try d.o.d. -- as the teacher was teaching span iraq, he'd do everything backwards. i would go with my parents all the time to movies. my dad used to go a movie on saturdays. and he'd sit there and watch the same movie in english typically
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three times. he'd just sit there and watch it. when he first came to us a stirntio-- came toaustin, he'd t was going on the first, second, or third time. but then he'd do it again and then he'd do it again, and the hugh man brain ihugh man brain s thing. he'd start following the plot. but the third time he had he could follow it even more. so relatively quickly, my father learned english. now, i will note, mr. president, he had a pretty exquisite incentive to learn english. his incentive to learn english was, if he didn't, he was going to flunk out of school. because he was taking his classes in english. he took mostly math classes and math was the sort of thing that you didn't need as much language as you do in other top iefnlingr
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to-- inother topics. once learned english, he managed to get a promotion. he got a promotion to be a cook. now, being a cook was -- that was a good -- look, being a cook was a lot better than being a dishwasher. paid a little bit more. it paid better than 50 cents an hour. now, he had to speak enough english that when someone came in and ordered, let me get a steak and po potatoes, he'd havo get them a steak and potatoes. when my dad was a cook, the place was called "the toddle house." the cooks were in front of the people. it doesn't exist anymore. my father described it it is a a denny's combined with a big
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house. my dad learned thousand flip pancakes, which i got to tell you, as kid on a saturday or sunday morning when your dad is make pancakes, it is very cool when he can flip them and catch them. but he had to do that. he also, i will credit my father, he invented -- this wasn't for the restaurant, but he did it anyway -- but he invented green eggs and ham. he did it two ways. the easy way was he would put green food coloring in eggs. "green eggs and ham" was my favorite book as a little boy. you can actually do it -- the food coloring is a little bit cheating. but if you take spinach and mix it into the eggs, the eggs turn green. so my dad worked as a cook to finish his way through the university of texas. 1961 my dad graduate add, got a math agree.
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and his -- got a math degree. he got hired as a teaching assistant. he started take take graduate classes. he got hired teaching undergrats math. teaching was better than washing dishes or being a cook. it paid more and had more forward advancement. so he enjoyed being a teaching assistant. he had all sorts of clever final exam questions that he would give. he taught college algebra. i remember one of his final questions was, you have a triage with sides 11, 20, and 9. compute the area. he would get students that would write pages and pages of trying to put awful these various equations, trying to figure out the area. almost all of them were wrong. the basic rule of geometry is
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for a try age, any two sides, the sum of any two sides has to be longer than the third side or else they don't actually meet. a try l of sides 11, 20, and 9 -- 9 and 11 add up to 20, that is a straight line. the area is zero. so he enjoyed kind of coming up with clever final exam questions. that was one of them. but from there, after being a teaching snarnghts h assistant,d for and got a job with i.b.m. this was 1962-1963. the early 1960's. and from there, he got the skills as a computer programmer, he worked in the oil and gas industry and he went on with my mother subsequently to start a small business. a seismic data company. i grew up, my parents were small business owners. when i
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talk about small businesses, like a great many americans, the majority of americans, it's -- it's not a hypothetical. i've grown up as the son of two small business owners, of seeing the hard work, the challenges of trying to run a shaw small busi. and, in fact, i saw my parents' business go bankrupt when i was in high school. i saw the upsides and the downsides of being in a small business. it ain't easy. but, you know, mr. president, if my father had not been able to get that first job, washing dishes making 50 cents an hour, he never would have gotten a second job. he never would have gotten his second job as a cook. if he hadn't gotten his second job, he wouldn't have gotten his third job as a teaching assistant. if he hadn't have gotten that job, he wouldn't have been hired by i.b.m.f. he wouldn't have been hired by i.b.m., he
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wouldn't have been able to start a small business. you know,, earlier this afternoon, the senator from utah talked about -- you know, earlier this afternoon, the senator from utah talked about opportunity, talked about the american dream. when you look at a statistic like the fact that african-american teenage unemployment is 38.2%, you're talking about a generation of young people that aren't getting that first job. they aren't getting the equivalent today of that job washing dishes making 15 cents an hour. they're not getting hired flipping burgers in the fas fast-food restaurant because the impact on the fast-food restaurant is so devastating that it's hammering those workers. and, you know, the travesty of that is not that they don't get to flip burgers. flipping burgers is not necessarily -- it's honorable work but it's not necessarily the fulfillment of someone's life ambitions. but it is so frequently a
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steppingstone to the next job and the next job and the next job. and if you're a young kid, look, one of the things you have to learn are basic work skills. how to show up. how to show up on time. you know, a lot of teenagers are not very good at showing up on time. they don't understand how to show up on time. even some u.s. senators haven't figured that out. and yet if a young american doesn't get a job or they learn to work with coworkers, they learn to work with customers, they learn to work with their boss, they learn to watch their language and not use profanity, they learn to be courteous, to be respectful, to be diligent, to be responsible -- those are the skills it takes to achieve in any job. you know, some time ago i tweeted a speech that ashton kutcher gave. it's a terrific speech. it was a speech at one of these
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award shows where he talked about the value of hard work. and one of the things i remember he said is he said, you know, in my life, opportunity looks an awful lot like hard work. that was a great message. it was a great message to young people. part of the reason i tweeted it out and to salute him -- i don't know mr. kutcher. i've watched his tv shows and his movies. i don't know him personally. but you know what? he can speak to millions of young people who've never listened to you and would never listen to me. and so i salute him for carrying a message to young people about hard work and diligence and working towards the american dream. and the greatest travesty of what's happening with obamacare is a generation of young people being denied a fair chance at the american dream. if you look at economic growth,
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according to the bureau of economic affairs, g.d.p. growth over the last four quarters has been an abysmal 1.6%. 1.6%. historic average since world war ii is 3.3%. our economy is stagnant and obamacare is a big, big part of the reason why. and yet, mr. president, let me ask you: where is the urgency in this body? mr. cruz: where is it that when you go home and you talk to the men and women of west virginia, to the men and women of texas, they're hurting, they understand 1.6% economic growth is unacceptable and it's hurting the american people. where is the urgency in this body? where is the urgency to say, we got to stand up and do something to turn it around?
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jobs are being lost because of obamacare. a u.s. chamber of commerce survey of small business in 2013 found that 71% of small businesses say obamacare, maybe it hard to her hire workers. -- harder to hire workers. the study also found that two-thirds of small businesses are not ready to comply with obamacare rules. now, why do we care about small businesses? look, on one level, we care about the entrepreneur, the more raish yus algers, the people working towards the american dream. but even more fundamentally, small businesses produce two-thirds of the new jobs in this country f country. if small businesses are suffering, jobs are suffering and america is suffering. and obamacare is an absolute disaster for small businesses. 41% of small business owners have held off on plans to hire new employees and 38% say they
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have pulled off on plans to grow their businesses in direct response of the law. and, by the way, the most agreajous partegregious parts oe still haven't kicked in yet. 48% of small business owners say obamacare is bad for business. less than 10% say it's good for business. janey richardson of white castle explained obamacare's impact on their business. in the five years prior to the health care law, we were opening an average of eight new white castle restaurants each year. in 2013, we plan to open just two new locations. while other factors have slowed our growth, it is the mounting uncertainty surrounding the health care law that brought us to a standstillmenstill. now, mr. president, i want you to think about that for a
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second. eight while castles a year. i like their -- white castles a year. i like their little burgers. that dropped to two. that means six a year in the last four years. that's 24 white castle restaurants. now, number one, just as a consumer, i'm a big fan of eating white castle burgers. that's 24 places you can't go to get them. but that's not the real hardship from it. the real hardship, i want you to think of all those jobs at those 24 restaurants, every one of which would have multiple shif shifts, would have managers, have cashiers, would have kids just mopping the floor. and those jobs would all object the ladder to success. on the economic ladder towards the american dream. even within a fast-food restaurant, there has been tremendous opportunity for investment. maybe you get hired mopping a floor because you don't have any other scivmentz oother skills.
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or like my dad, washing dishes because you don't have any other skills. but if you work a little while, maybe you can move over to the fries or the griddle. you can move to the cashier desk, learn to count change. look, a lot of kids don't know how to count change. sadly, the educational challenges we have, a lot of kids don't necessarily have the skill to count change and yet you can learn that. and then if you demonstrate hard work, perseverance, customer service, maybe you get promoted to assistant manager. and then one day manager. and then, who knows? you know, just a few weeks ago i had dinner, the number of franchisees who own fast-food restaurants for one particular very well-known hamburger chain, and i listened to their stories. i -- i start most meetings, if they're small enough that this
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is feasible, like the kucville small business gathering, i ask them, go around, share an issue that is of a concern to me. i remember one ja an gentleman,n african-american gentleman, who described exactly that path, how he got hired in an entry-level position at a fast-food restaurant, how he advanced skills and got advanced. then he got hired as an assistant manager, then he got hired as a manager. and then he saved up and bought his own restaurant. and it was interesting. at the table there were people, some of the franchisees had pretty extensive -- i think there was one fellow that had 27 fast-food restaurants so there were some people that had been very successful business people. but i remember this african-american gentleman who had relatively recently saved up to buy his first restaurant that he owned. and the pride that he justifiably felt, the pride that i felt -- i mean, what an
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incredible country. and yet what was interesting is he described the exact same challenges that the fella who owned 27 restaurants, who was far wealthier and -- and had a far bigger business, the exact same challenges and what all of them said going around the table, every one of them said obamacare is devastating. they didn't say, it's kind of, sort of a little problem. they didn't say, it's making life more difficult. they said, it is devastating. it is going to put us out of business. we don't know what to do. this is a disaster for our business. a march 2013 federal reserve report on current economic conditions explains that employers in several federal reserve districts cited the unknown effects of the affordable care act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff. in may 2013, moody's economist mark zandi attributed a slowdown
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in small business hiring to obamacare. the u.s. chamber of commerce second quarter 2013 small business survey found that washington policies continue to hatcher hirinhamper hiring and h over a quarter of small businesses saying they have lost employees in the last year. and health care concern, mr. president, is the very top concern. concern about obamacare has increased by 10 points since june 2011 and by 4 points since last quarter. 71% of small businesses say the health care law makes it harder to hire. only 30% say they are prepared for the requirements of the law, including participation in the marketplaces. among small businesses that will be impacted by the employer mandate, one-half of small businesses say that they will either cut hours to reduce
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full-time employees or replace full-time employees with part-time workers to avoid the mandate. 24% say they will reduce hiring to stay under 50 employees. mr. president, let me repeat those numbers because those numbers are deeply troubling. among small businesses that will be impacted by the employer mandate, one-half -- 50% -- say that they will either cut hours to reduce full-time employees or replace full-time employees with part-time workers to avoid the mandate. one-half. i'm not talking about a few small businesses. you're talking about half of them. 24% say they will reduce hiring to stay under 50 employees. that is a disaster for small
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business. it's a disaster for jobs. and it's a disaster for american families who are struggling. and the outlook for hiring remains grim. the majority, 61% of small businesses, do not have plans to hire next year. madam president, a grand rapids, michigan, company reported that they had to lay off over 1,000 people due to the obamacare medical device tax. 1,000 people. i want you to think in grand rapids, michigan, a thousand people out of a job directly because of imairk obamacare. obamacare. and then i wanted you to think of their powses, i wan spouses,o think of their kids, where one or more of the breadwinners? breadwinner in the family lost their job because of obamacare.
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on september 18, 2013, the world-reknowned cleveland clinic announced it would cut jobs and slash 5% to 6% of its $6 billion annual budget to prepare for obamacare. this isn't just impacting fast-food restaurants. this is impacting everyone. look, the cleveland clinic has a $6 billion annual budget. and yet, they're forced to fire employees. the cleveland clinic is cleveland's largest employer. you know, madam president, every four years, the presidential election, both parties purport to care passionately about what happens in the great state of ohio. both parties focus and descend on ohio and a handful of other swing states as the center of
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the universe. and yet, as we sit here now in 2013, not a presidential election, somehow the concern about what's happening to the cleveland clinic in ohio has diminished. the cleveland clinic is cleveland's largest employer, and it's the second largest employer in the state of ohio after wal-mart. now, i would suggest if all of the folks from this body and the political peats who descend on -- parties who descend on ohio every four years actually generally are concerned about what's occurring in ohio in a nonpresidential year, we should see the floor of this senate filled with senators concerned about the impact obamacare is having directly on cleveland and the state of ohio. the cleveland clinic is responsible for 80% of the economic output of northeast ohio, according to a 2009 study. it is the largest provider in
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ohio of medicaid health coverage for the poor, the program that will expand to cover uninsured americans under obamacare. the cleveland clinic has close to 100 locations around the state. they employ 3,000 doctors. its main campus is recognized worldwide for its cancer and cardiovascular treatment. now, madam president, some members of this body might say well, these are hard times. everyone's struggling. so maybe the cleveland clinic is just responding to economic challenges. who is to say what the cleveland clinic is doing has anything to do with obamacare. well, madam president, the answer to that is who is to say the -- to say?
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the cleveland clinic is to say. a spokeswoman for the cleveland clinic said -- quote -- "to prepare for health care reform, the cleveland clinic is transforming the way care is delivered to patients." she added that $330 million would be cut from the clinic's annual budget. you want to talk about direct job losses from obamacare, go to cleveland, ohio. go to those working at the cleveland clinic. go to those depending on the cleveland clinic for health care, and that's one very real manifestation of the train wreck that is obamacare. according to the "star ledger," in a story printed september 12, 2013, barnabas health, which employees over -- employs over 19,000 people is laying off employees. why? well, according to barnabas health, the reason is obamacare.
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according to a spokeswoman for barnabas health -- quote -- " health care reform, in combination with medicare cuts, more patients seeking outpatient care and decreasing patient volumes. as a result, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our work force. decisions like this are never easy, and we are working with these employees to help them look for other opportunities within the barnabas health system." now, madam president, this is not us putting words in their mouth. this is people on the ground in the states dealing with the very real struggles and the disaster that is obamacare.
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the problem we face in washington is that our elected officials aren't listening to us and we need to make d.c. listen. we need to make elected officials in both parties listen to the very real hardship that is coming from obamacare. madam president, i'd like to share a number of real constituent letters concerning obamacare, so this is not me speaking. as i said at the outset, the reason congress is held in such disrepute, so little approval, is because for many years now, elected officials in both parties have refused to listen to the people, and there is a sense of despair that no matter what the american people say, our elected officials won't listen, because they are more
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interested in themselves, they are more interested in getting an exemption from members of congress for obamacare than they are in fixing the problem for the american people. and that level of disillusion is not irrational. it's based on a very real problem. and yet, i'm inspired that if and when the american people stand up and make our voices heard, that our politicians will have no choice but listen. i remember early on, madam president, you and i are relatively new in this body. we have been here nine months. i remember early on standing at this very desk along with my friend senator rand paul and his historic 13-hour filibuster on drones. i remember when senator paul began that filibuster, many members of this body viewed what
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he was doing as curious if not not -- as a strange issue that most members of this body were not concerned about. and we saw something incredible happen during that time which is the american people got engaged, got involved, began speaking out and it transformed the debate as a result of the american people's involvement, it transformed the debate. if you want washington to listen, the only way that will happen is if it comes from the american people. so let me read some letters from the american people who don't have the opportunity to come to the senate floor, and so i hope in a very small way to provide a voice for them. a small business from alice, texas, quote on august 9, 2013 -- "we, the undersigned employees, are growing
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increasingly concerned with the apparent disregard for small businesses in the middle class that is on display by the united states government. when we're trying to figure out how we're going to cope with the 14% increase in health insurance premiums we are facing, despite the fact that we had a lower average employee age and loss ratio than we have had at any point in our 21-year history. the increases because of insurance companies preparing for new taxes and unreasonable requirements within obamacare. on top of struggling to find the means to cover our own group of employees, our government now makes it clear that part of the massive amount of taxes we pay a year will be used to cover 75% of health insurance costs for members of congress and their staffers. as waivers are granted daily, shielding big business, unions, government agencies and various other affordable care act
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supporters, it is clear the burden will rest firmly on middle-class small businesses like us. we strongly encourage our elected officials to place a higher importance on public service than self-service. madam president, let me read that sentence again." we strongly encourage our elected officials to place a higher importance on public service than self-service." we are hurting badly because of this, as are many disillusioned businesses with whom we communicate in our industry. headlines nationally report hiring freezes and layoffs due to increased costs on businesses large and small. the weight is too heavy at the worst time, and as a result, the
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economy will soon break. we urge congress to defund or repeal the affordable care act with no further delay. now, madam president, that's not me speaking. that is from a small business in alice, texas, and i would note that's not even the c.e.o. speaking. that is a letter signed by the employees of that small business, because they are hurting. but let me note, it's not limited to the state of texas. i guarantee you there are people hurting in every one of the 50 states, every one of the states we represent. a commercial real estate broker from chesapeake city, virginia, wrote on september 20, 2013 -- "i want to share with you how obamacare is affecting my business. i'm a commercial real estate broker in virginia, and i'm
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already feeling the effects of this disastrous bill. i am currently in the process of analyzing an apartment portfolio for sale for a client and recently the occupancy has dropped dramatically in this class c low-income community. the community is not subsidized, as these tenants are paying out of pocket for rent. most of the tenants' work in fast food, janitorial and low-paying service-related jobs. a great deal of them had their hours cut to 29.5 hours per week and cannot pay the rent. our occupancy has dropped as well as the income. our management company has reached into the city of richmond for rent assistance for these tenants but to no avail. not only are these people going to be forced into government housing, but my client will realize a smaller equity
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harvest. this is a disaster, and it affects everyone. as you can see by this scenario, many are affected by this bill. also, a class a franchisee with a national restaurant chain whom i represent is experiencing the pain from this bill. they are being forced to sell off to a larger franchisee because they cannot afford to comply with the requirements. i wish the american people understood how severely the economy will be impacted. thank you for fighting the good fight. we are behind you. madam president, let me read again two sentences from that letter from a commercial real estate broker in chesapeake city, virginia.
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most of the tenants work in fast food janitorial and low-paying service-related jobs. a great deal of them had their hours cut to 29.5 hours per week and cannot pay the rent. so they're losing their housing. i want you to think for a second of the spiral that comes from this. if you have someone that's working as a janitor, if you have someone that's working flipping burgers, if you have someone washing dishes like my dad did, and they have their hours forcibly reduced to 29 hours a week, as so many people across this country are having happen because of obamacare, they can't provide for their family on that, so they can't pay the rent, as these people can't. but not being able to pay the rent means some of them may move to government housing. and what's the answer? look, they are losing their hours because of obamacare. the answer is not well, let's give them a rent subsidy.
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let's tax people even more. first let's pass rules and laws and regulations that prevent people from getting decent jobs. then let's jack up the taxes even more so we can pay them to subsidize their rent and subsidize their housing because they can't afford to pay their rent, they can't afford to pay their housing because of a law we passed that forcibly reduced their hours. madam president, that is the path to destruction in this country. far better that we get back to our founding principles. far better that we get back to what has made america great, which is our free enterprise system, a robust free enterprise system that encourages small businesses to grow and prosper, that encourages people working a job as a janitor to work hard and get a promotion and climb that ladder to pay their own rent, to pay for their own food for their kids to work and to
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advance. these cries, madam president, are coming from all across the country, and yet washington isn't listening. we need to make d.c. listen. a small business owner from port clinton, ohio, wrote on september 19, 2013, i strongly urge you to stand up for the middle class and small business and vote to defund obamacare. as a small business owner, we have always offered health insurance, after meeting our health insurance representative, we learned that the lowest coverage level of obamacare is estimated to be about $400 a person, twice what we pay now for excellent coverage. with big business and government being exempted from this policy, again, a small business owner, an individual, are left with all of the costs
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for everyone else. this could well end up closing our business and then there will be 15 more individuals collecting from the government. a constituent from knack adoashas,. in texas wrote "i snead knead a little help here. can you explain something to me? my health insurance premiums for my wife, three children and myself were $850 or so back in 2010. after obamacare was passed, my premiums are now $1,400 or so. this january when obamacare is implemented, it is estimated by blue cross/blue shield i could see a 25% increase in premiums. that will be almost $1,800 a month for premiums plus on my h.s.a. plan my deductible is $10,000. if my calculator is correct,
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that is $21,600 per year out of my pocket before the insurance company pays a penny. i also own a small business and have four others on our group plan. if this cost increase is across the board with the others as well, my business will stop the benefit of insurance and each will be on their own to get coverage. i understood this health care overhaul would be a benefit. from where i am sitting, it is only a burden. if you can, please repeal this before it gets worse." madam president, we are hearing these voices from americans all over the country. both republicans and democrats in this body. all we need to do is listen to the people. a veterinarian from montgomery, texas wrote on february 20, 2013, "i'd like to bring to your attention a troubling
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development. i am a veterinarian and in the past, had to use a group health care policy offered by the american veterinarian medical association. i am currently under my husband's insurance. however, a number of my colleagues use one of the various plans avma offers. the avma insurance is being canceled at the end of the year. this decision is due directly to obamacare. here is the text of that notification. group health and life health insurance trust programs and new york life attribute the program's demise to regulatory requirements put in place as a result of the patient protection and affordable care act signed by president obama in 2010. company officials told trustees that the challenges of complying with provisions of the law that take effect in 2014 are the
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primary reason new york life opted to quit the association health insurance market entirely. new york life has underwritten the american vettary medical association trust medical coverage for the past 20 years. a number of veterinarians are contract labor called relief veterinarians. these vets contract out on a daily or weekly basis to fill in for doctors at various clinics when someone takes a vacation and during seasonal business basis. many don't have access to health care any other way. this is a travisty. perfectly good plans are being discontinued due to a perfectly awful law. this health care law is directly contributing to people losing their health care. my husband and i made long-term
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plans to potentially retire early and use an avma plan until eligible for medicare, and we had always had the safety net of the avma insurance if something happened with his job. for me, avma's decision is currently an inconvenience. however, it removes an option for me in the future. my colleagues, on the other hand, will likely be forced into inferior health care or pay penalties through no fault of their own. now, madam president, we all remember when president obama told the american people if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it. now, even in these cynical days of politics, promises should mean something. for this woman and her husband, that promise is a hollow failure she is losing her health insurance because of obamacare.
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madam president, that's not me saying that. not some politician saying that. that is from her own words. now, the rules of the senate do not allow her or any other small business owner walk onto the senate floor and speak out to say why am i losing my health insurance, why am i struggling, why is my business going under? so, madam president, i am doing my very, very best to in some small way help provide a voice for those people who are struggling, those people who are hurting. but, madam president, if this body were operating the way it should, there should be a hundred voices, 100 of us, democrats and republicans, should be standing side by side reading letter after letter like this. because you know what, these are our bosses, the people we work for and they are struggling.
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these letters are not ideological letters. they're not coming from a partisan perspective. they're people seeing on the ground this law isn't working. and yet d.c. doesn't listen to them. the democrats in this body tell america obamacare is great, obamacare is terrific, i'm sorry you lost your health care, but obamacare is terrific. and the republicans in this body, sadly, more than a few of them say we will take lots and lots of symbolic votes against obamacare, but there's nothing we can do. madam president, if every republican senator stands together and votes no on cloture this friday or saturday, there is something we can do. we can stand up and say we are listening to the american people. this law isn't working and
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people are suffering. and they're not interested in political games. they're not interested in show votes. they're not interested in the fact that if the majority leader succeeds in cutting off debate on this bill -- and there's a 51-vote threshold on an amendment to fund obamacare -- at that point every republican will happily vote no. and that may be solicitous from the personal political perspectives of the republicans in this body, but wit doesn't benefit the american people one iota. it doesn't benefit the american people, doesn't stop obamacare. it doesn't fix the problem. that's what we should be doing. a constituent from euliss, texas wrote on july , 2013, i have been disabled since 1997
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and on a fixed income. my wife lost her job of 16 years in 2008 and was not able to find a good job. so she was forced to take her social security last year at age 62. she is a 41-year-old type 1 diabetic and her medical costs are expensive. luckily, i was paying for medical and long-term disability insurance when i was working which allowed me to continue to medical insurance with a company even after i became disabled. i got a letter in may of this year informing me that i was going to lose this medical coverage come 2014. since we are both on a fixed income, it will be impossible for us to maintain our mortgage and to start paying for all of our health costs. repeal obamacare. madam president, these are voices from the people.
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this is a disabled man, a senior couple who is suffering, who is losing their health insurance because of obamacare. every one of us has an obligation to listen to the people. look, i understand in washington, you know, in a football game we all cheer for our respective teams. i cheer when the houston texans win a game. and i'm not generally thrilled having grown up in houston in the 1970's when the pittsburgh steelers win a game because i remember as a kid year after year seeing the steelers, sadly, trounce the oilers and the great earl campbell when the steelers had one of the greatest football teams every to play the game. i understand that. it's a 2k3w50d thing to cheer for your team. and in politics sometimes we
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cheer foreteam, too. i understand a great many democrats who take the view, well, democratic president signed the law, democrats passed the law on a straight party vote so we got to cheer for our team. you know, i will note that more than a few democratic members of this body privately when they're behind closed doors are worried about what's happening to obamacare. they're seeing the problems. but yet publicly they're still cheering for their team. madam president, this isn't a team sport. this is life and death. there is a fundamental divide between the people and washington. and we need to make d.c. listen listen, listen to the people. mr. paul: would the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the
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floor. mr. paul: senators don't always ask for advice, i thought i'd come down and make sure you have comfortable shoes on, get enough feet, try not to eat on television, that's a little bit of free advice, that sometimes shows up. my question really relates to obamacare and i think you've done a a good job of bringing attention to something that i think is going to be a tragedy for the country. as we get involved with this there's so much talk about tactics and this and that, whether now is the right time, when is the right time to do this but i think really the question is do we need to talk about something that's going to affect 16% of our economy? a sixth of our question economy. do we need to bring up an issue, bring attention and try to stop something that can be damaging to really to the people it precisely is intended to help. i think it's personally, you know, not a good idea to shut down government. i think it's also, though, not a good idea to fund obamacare. can they both go together?
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can do you one without the other? some, like the president, have said, oh, republicans, they just want 100% of what they want or they're going to shut down government. can you say something so patently false and get away with it, is my question. is president wants 100% he of what he wants. he wants obamacare as he passed it with only democrats and he wants it never to be changed, he wants no compromise, he wants what he wants or he's willing to shut down the government. that's what this debate is about. obamacare was passed with only democrats. no republican input, no republican votes, and now when people are saying there are problems, his own people are saying there's problems. the teamsters have said it's a problem. authors of the bill are saying it's a trek train wreck. the former president came out and said it's going to hurt the people it was intended to help. so we have all of these people saying for goodness' sake, slow
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this train down, stop this train, stop this train wreck of obamacare and all everybody cries about is, oh, somebody wants to shut down the government. the president doesn't want to compromise. what we're talking about is we don't want to spend money on something that's not going to work and hurt the people precisely people it was intended to help. but the thing is, how do we fix it? what do we do? can we scrap the whole thing? well, the democrats control one body. we control the other body. they control the presidency. well, historically what would happen, and i think what the american people would like to see is, we stand up, as the senator from texas is and say what we're for. we're for a different solution. we're for competition. for for the free market. for bringing health care to everyone with a lower price. we need to through this whole deb action of giving people obamacare and it's going to be
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expensive. everybody is going to pay more. many people still won't have insurance and the ones who do have insurance are going to pay more. so what would we like? why are we here today? why is the senator from texas here today? to say to the president we need what does the president say? my way or the whao*eu. how do we get there? stand up for what we believe in so they can come and talk. does it mean we will get 100% of what we want? no. but if we don't stand up for what we believe in, how will we have dialogue? how will we get to compromise? how will we get them to talk to us? we're not asking for 100% of what we want. but we're asking for a dialogue. how do we get the dialogue unless somebody is willing to stand up and say enough is enough. when we look at this, if we want to ever get to the point of
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getting to compromise, the only way we get there is by standing up and saying we believe in this. it isn't about us demanding 100% of what we want. but right now if you look at this objectively, the president is getting 100% of what he wants. obamacare passed by only democrats, not one republican vote. so really how do we get to what the american people want, which is dialogue and compromise? we have to look at a deadline. we have a deadline. and my question to the senator from texas is: does he want to shut down the government? is that his intention? or is it the president's intention to shut down government? or is it perhaps that when deadlines come forward, it is a good time for dialogue because no one ever seems to talk at any other time? so i would ask the senator from texas what are your intentions? do you want to shut down government or would you like to find something to make obamacare less bad? i know we would both like to repeal it. but would you accept anything in
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between? mr. lee: i thank the senator from kentucky for his very fine question, and let me say at the outset before i respond directly to the question that i remember not too many months ago standing on this same senate floor in the midst of your historic filibuster, and i will say it was one of the proudest moments of my life indeed during your filibuster on drones. that was the first time i had ever spoken on the senate floor, and i have observed multiple times that i will go to my grave in debt to rand paul, to have the opportunity for the marisa time -- and there will only be one first time that anyone gets to speak on this floor -- to have that first time be in support of that tremendous filibuster that mobilized and unified the american people. and i will note one of the things i remember you shared with me afterwards was the advice you just did a minute ago. i remember asking you, i said what did you think?
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you were pretty weary at the atd and your comment at the time was i wish i had worn more comfortable shoes. that struck me as pretty good advice. i'm going to make an embarrassing admission here right now. i'm going to get to your question in a second but i wanted to make an embarrassing admission first which is for many years when i was in private practice, when i was solicitor general, i wore a particular pair of boots, my argument boots. they are black ostrich boots. litigators are superstitious boots so any time i went to argue a case i wore my argument boots. i had them resoled four or five times. when i had the great honor of serving in this body, being sworn in to the united states senate, when i was sworn in standing on those steps just in front of us, i wore my argument boots, and i've worn them every day since. i don't believe there's been a day on this senate floor that i haven't worn my argument boots.
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so i had a choice with which i was confronted which is do i follow through and wear my argument boots or do i listen to the very sage counsel from my friend from kentucky and go with more comfortable shoes. and i will embarrassingly admit that i took the coward's way out and went and purchased some black tennis shoes. actually, i think they are the same model that the senior senator from utah, orrin hatch, wears on a regular basis. and so i am not in my argument boots. and i'll confess i really do feel embarrassed by that. and so this is -- i'm pretty sure since we're on the senate floor and c-span is covering it that this may not be protected by the pen tapbt privilege, but i do feel this is a confession of sorts. the question that senator rand paul asked is an excellent question. his question was do i, does
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anyone here want to shut down the government, and the answer is absolutely not. we should not shut down the government. we should fund every bit of the government, every aspect of the government, 100% of the government, except for obamacare. and you know what? that's what the house of representatives did? the house of representatives, 232 members of the house, including two democrats, voted to fund every bit of the federal government, 100% of it, except for obamacare. i would note last night on the floor of the senate i asked the majority leader to consent to passing the continuing resolution the house passed, passing it into law, had the majority leader not stood there and said i object. i majority leader had every
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opportunity to shut down the government. let me be clear, we should not shut down the government, and i sincerely hope that senator reid and president obama do not choose to force a government shutdown simply to force obamacare on the american people. that would be a mistake. instead what we should do is listen to the american people make d.c. listen. a senator: would you yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield without yielding the floor. mr. paul: since we're making it clear the republican alternative here is not to shut down government, our desire is to have no obamacare care? we desire not to have it. we think he went the wrong direction. but we don't control all the government. we don't control the senate. it is controlled by the opposition party. we don't control the presidency. my question to you is if you can't get everything you want, if you can't defund obamacare, which is exactly what you and i both agree on and millions of people across america want us to get rid of obamacare, but if you
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can't, if you stand today and argue and cannot get rid of it, will you accept a compromise? will you work with the president? will you work with the majority leader if they are willing to come and say, you know what? we're right, we messed up on a bunch of this. there's a lot of people that are going to be hurt by obamacare, there's a lot of workers who are going to lose their job, real workers who are full timers are going to lose their benefits, lose jobs. are you willing to work with us? are you willing to work with the leader, senator reid, with the president to find a compromise? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from kentucky for that question. i think it's a very good question. you know, this afternoon you and i and all the republican members of the conference spent some two hours in a closed-door strategy session, and i'm not going to reveal what anyone else said there but i certainly feel comfortable revealing what i said there, which is if we are going to make real progress in
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solving the problem that is obamacare, in listening to the american people, in mitigating the job losses that people losing their health insurance, all of the harms that are coming from obamacare, we've got to stand and fight right now. the battle before this body is the cloture vote that will occur on friday or saturday of this week. if all 46 republicans vote together in unity to support the house republicans and to deny majority leader reid the ability to fund obamacare on a straight party-line vote that puts us in a position to address the problem. now your question was would i vote for something less than defunding obamacare? personally no. why? because i've committed publicly over and over again to the
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american people that i will not vote for a continuing resolution that funds one penny of obamacare. and i'm reminded of when i first arrived in the senate, i spent two years campaigning. the senator from kentucky, senator paul, campaigned with me in texas over and over again. you want to talk about a rock star, you should see when rand paul shows up in texas, the huge fans that would come out for senator paul and for his dad. and i spent two years campaigning in texas saying the first bill i'll introduce in congress will be a bill to repeal obamacare. when i showed up, lots of reporters, i made a bill to repeal obamacare. they said why did you do that? my response was i spent two years campaigning telling the american people that would be the first bill i'd introduce, and they were utterly befuddled why anyone would do who they say. my answer to your question would i vote for something that i was a middle ground, compromise to obamacare, no.
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why? i told the people of texas i would not vote for a resolution that funds obamacare. that being said are there members of our conference who would like to see a compromise, who would like to see a middle ground, that is perhaps not what i very much want and will fight for with every ounce of strength i have, but that mitigates some of the damage of obamacare, that responds to the people who are suffering from obamacare? i think there are quite a few senators who would like to see that happen. and if republicans roll over on the cloture vote on friday or saturday, if we allow the majority leader to fund obamacare with 51 votes, we will get no compromise. there will be no middle ground because there is no reason to compromise. it's much like in a poker game. i know the senator from kentucky, many of his libertarian supporters enjoy a good game of poker. as a texan, i will admit to not being entirely adverse to it
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myself. in a game of poker, if somebody makes a bet and then says to you, "if you raise me, i'm going to fold," you will lose 100% of your poker games. that is a path to losing. for those members of the republican caucus who are perhaps not as adamant that we should insist on complete and total defund now, i don't intend to waiver from that position but there may be others who disagree, if you want to get to any middle ground that is not a symbolic vote to tell our constituents, but that actually changes the law to make things better for the men and women at home, to mitigate the harms of obamacare, the only way to do so is for republicans to stand united and to deny the majority leader the ability to fund obamacare on a 51-vote partisan vote.
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a senator: would the senator from texas yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. roberts: let me ask the senator, get to the bottom line. former speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, our respected leader of the senate, harry reid, because of his position, secretary of health and human services, kathleen sebelius, and president barack obama, they have all said publicly -- they have all said publicly that the affordable health care act is the first step to a single-payer system. listen to the folks on the other side of the aisle, and many of them say the same they think. now let me ask you, we can call it single-payer system, we can call it national health insurance, but is this not the
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first step toward socialized health care? socialized health care. and is stopping socialized health care worth pulling out all of the stops and fighting the fight? mr. cruz: i thank the senator for that very fine question. you are exactly right. socialized medicine is and has been everywhere in the world it's been complemented -- implemented a disaster. and obamacare, its intended purpose is to lead us unavoidably down that path. i thank the senator from kansas for his good question on that front and for his leadership. and i would note there are some republicans, some commentators who have said don't fight this fight. don't fight to defund. why? because obamacare is going to collapse on its own weight. if we just stay quiet, if we
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don't take any risks, give it time, it's getting worse and worse and worse, stay out of the way, it's going to collapse on its own weight, and there is both truth and falsity in that prediction. there is no doubt obamacare is going to collapse, but the problem is the way it will collapse if it is implemented is likely to permanently damage the private health insurance system to result in millions and millions of people losing their health insurance and having no ability to go back. and that's what enables majority leader reid to go on television and say fear not, this will lead us to single-payer government health care, because when obamacare collapses in shambles, he doesn't say this but this is the necessary reasoning that leads him to this, when obamacare collapses in shambles, it will take down the private health insurance business with it. so there will be nothing left. now listen, i commend the
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majority leader for his candor. i mean, there is a degree of courage in embracing socialized medicine. there are a number of members of the democratic caucus who embrace socialized medicine and i think every one of them shows courage and candor. i am very happy to debate at great detail whether socialized medicine would be good or bad for this nation. i don't think the american people are conflicted. if you look at the nations that have socialized medicine, every place it's been implemented you see low quality, you see scarcity, you see waiting periods and you see government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor. so if you go in for government treerntle you may be told you're going to have to wait six months. you're going to sl to wait a year, or, you know what? a bureaucrat in the ministry of what oyoumacallit might say, you
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know what? you don't get that treatment. so to those on the republican side, those commentators who say this is a risky fight, i've never once suggested this is an easy fight. but in my 42 years on earth, i have yet to see any fight that is worthwhile that is easy. senator roberts, in your years as a marine, i would venture to guess you never saw a fight that mattered that was easy. none of us were elected to this body to do easy things. and if the majority leader is right that leaving obamacare alone will necessarily lead us to socialized medicine because the private health care will collapse, obamacare will
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collapse, and there will be nothing left, what a call to urgency. indeed, i would say the majority leader, in making that argument, should be one of the most effective spokespersons for saying we ought to have 46 republicans united and voting against cloture on this bill to say, no, we are not going to let a partisan democrat vote fund obamacare because we're not going to be complicit in any way, shape, or form to destroying the private health insurance business and to forcing americans into socialized medicine. and let me note, in the meantime, even for those who somewhat serenely say this is going to collapse on its own, the process will inevitably be painful. we're seeing -- just a few minutes ago i read a letter from a constituent in texas who's
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disabled on a fixed income whose wife is retired, whose lost his health insurance because of obamacare. there are millions of americans, millions of americans in kansas, in kentucky, in alabama, in texas, in states all over this country who are worried right now because their health insurance is in jeopardy. and in my view, the decision of some members of this senate to say, well, let obamacare collapse, either on the republican side because when it collapses it'll all just magically go away, or on the democratic side, because when it collapses, it will lead us to socialized medicine, you know, it's easy for members of this body to say such things from the cheap seats, particularly when the president has granted an exemption to members of congress from obamacare. where, you know, well, if the system collapses, if millions of americans are suffering, it's
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not going to be us, it's not going to be our staff. the president has carved us out for special rules. so it's just going to be the american people. madam president, the most fundamental divide that is happening here is this body has stopped listening to the american people. we ought to have the urgency for this man and woman in texas, whose disabled on a fixed income and retired and wants to keep his health insurance that we have for ourselves and our staffs, we ought to have that kind of urgency. and, you know what? if it was our wife or our husband's health insurance, we wouldn't say, well, let the system collapse because in time there will be a political victory. i guarantee you, if it was our spouses, if it was your daughter's or son's health insurance, particularly if they had significant health issues, not a one of us would be serene and say, well, let it collapse,
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because we want to immunize ourselves from the criticism or because we want to ultimately move to socialized medicine. i think the stakes here have never been higher. in my view, the cloture vote that we will take on either friday or saturday of this week is the most important vote that i will have taken, i think any member of the senate have will taken, in the nine months that i have served in this body. because it goes fundamentally to, will we respond to the suffering that obamacare is causing? will we respond to the millions of people who are jobless? will we respond to the people getting forced into part-time work? will we respond to the people frai-- to thepeople afraid of lr health care? or will we continue to say, for me but not for thee?
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different rules aplay to washington, apply -- different rules apply to washington, apply to the ruling class. the president can grant exemptions to the ruling class and to members of congress, but hardworking americans, you guys are left in the cold. i would suggest that is a fundamental be a did i indication of our responsibility -- a fundamental abdid i indication of our -- that's a fundamental be a did i indication of our responsibility. we should be here fighting for the people. mr. sessions: will the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: by chance, or particularly by the significance of it, my first question was very, very similar to what senator roberts has asked. i have given a lot of thought to this. i haven't signed the letters or said how i was going to vote on this issue, but it was called to
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my attention that senator reid, the majority leader, flatly stated a month ago he believed in a single-payer system. i asked him, do you believe -- is it your goal to move toward a single-payer system? his answer yes, yes, absolutely yes -- close quote. i just left a budget committee hearing. we have a great team there, on the republican and democrat side. my friend sheldon whitehouse and i had a little discussion on the bill. i would ask you this, senator cruz, so i said, well, the majority leader said he favored a single-payer system. he said, i do, too. it wasn't long ago in th the but committee, senator bernie sanders said he favored a single-payer system. and senator roberts mentioned others, and of course the
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president did. i checked the president's quote in 2003, he denied it since when he was trying to get the votes to pass it. in 2003 he said he was a proponent. quote -- "-- of a -- quote -- "single-payer universal health system." close quote. so i think this is a huge national issue. the legislation before us today is clearly driven by an agenda to have a single-payer -- so i'll ask you, senator cruz, if there is a single-payer, who will be the payer be? mr. cruz: the government, which ultimately means the taxpayer, hardworking american families. mr. sessions: so, in other words, the federal government -- mr. cruz: i'll continue to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: so, let me ask you first ... so, in other words, the government is going to be the
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one the pays for everything in health care in america. there will be only one payer, the government. and it will then, since it is a predominant power here, it would be able to dictate health policies like the socialized medicine policies that have failed around the world, would it not? mr. cruz: the senator is absolutely correct. once the government is paying for health care, it controls health care. and that has proven to be the case in every country in the world. now, i agree with the senator from alabama, that it is commendable that there are some members of this body that openly embrace socialized medicine. that that is -- that is commendable for candor. i don't agree with it as a policy matter, but i actually think there is virtue to speaking honestly about what it is you support and to not occupy
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the middle ground to take take it slightly out of context, as teddy roosevelt observed, those cold, timid souls that know neither victory or defeat. one of these problems of the debate over obamacare, there are relatively few who are candid that what obamacare is designed to do -- and it is worth noting, as senator sessions has, majority leader reid is not a passive observer from the sidelines. he is the man responsible, in his role as majority leader, for passing obamacare through this body, with only democratic votes, without a single republican vote. and so when he says that it is designed to lead to a single-payer system, when he says that it is designed to lead to socialized medicine, we
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should trust that he knows what he's talking about on that. mr. sessions: mr. president, will the senator yield again for a question? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield for a a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: and isn't it true, since senator reid has made his position crystal clear ideologically and based on the actions you've observed and i've observed, that h he is steadfasy resisting any change whatsoever in the legislation that's passed, certainly any change that would constrict its power and reach? mr. cruz: i think senator sessionsessions is exactly corr. if you look at the way this rote is -- this vote is set up, republicans are being asked to vote with majority leader harry reid to shut off debate on this bill. any republican 0 votes "yes" on friday or is the day to invoke cloture will be voting alongside majority leader harry reid to
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give leader reid the authority to fund obamacare using just 51 votes 0en a straight part-line vote, which is exactly how it passed in the first place. at the same time, the majority leader has made clear that he's not going to allow other amendments. he's not going to allow amendments that would improve obamacare, that would fix obamacare. he's not going to allow senator vitter's amendment, as we talked about earlier, that would correct, would get rid of the congressional exemption and treat members of congress the same as the american people, get rid of president obama's lawless exemption and stop treating members of congress like a privileged ruling class who are different from the american people. but leader reid has said he's not going to a how a vote on that, not going to allow a vote on repealing the medical devices tax, that is killing innovation, killing jobs.
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if republicans are complicit in shutting off debate and allowing just a single vote on allowing obamacare, then we have only ourselves to blame. if we give the majority leader to do that, we should not be surprised when he exercises it. now, it is within the power of the 46 republicans in this body to say "no," to say "no, we will not shut off debate that allows the majority leader to use 51 ^ votes to fund obamacare on a straight party-line vote." we will not be complicit in the process that treats members of congress ace as a privileged rug class and that ignores the crisis for help from the american people. all we have do to do that is for republicans to stand toct to stand united -- to stand together, to stand united. it is my hope, my fervent hope,
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that the voices of dissension within the republican conference will stop firing at each other and start firing at the tampleght let me be clear who the target is. the target is not democrats. i don't want us to start firing at democrats or the president or anyone else. it's not about us. the target is about obamacare. it is fixing this train wreck that is hurting the american people, and if members of the republican conference in the senate could devote one-tenth of the ferocity that they have devoted to fighting within the caucus on this issue, to actually stopping obamacare -- not a symbolic vote, not a press release, no the a speech, actually fixing the problem -- i could think of nothing better
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this senate could do. and you know what? if instead of a hundred senators this chambered citizens picked from our states at random, i guarantee you, not a one of them would say in discussing this, you know what we need is a bunch of symbolic votes. they wouldn't do it. regular people who live on planet earth, a symbolic vote is not a good thing or bad thing. they would say, if you grabbed any hundred -- i wouldn't even have partisan screen on it. i'd grab a hundred people at random and i guarantee you they would say, we got to fix obamacare. this thing is hurting people. the problem is, too many members of this body are not listening and we need to make d.c. listen.
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mr. sessions: madam president, without yielding the floor, will the senator yield for another question? mr. cruz: happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: well, i noticed that the jobs created -- there's been talk about a modest number of jobs, a real low number of jobs actually being created this year and the reports were that 77% of those jobs that were created this year were part-time, not full-time jobs. allen meltzer, one of the great economists in the last 50 years and knowledgeable observers of our economy, just testified in the budget committee maybe three hours ago that obamacare was a factor in that occurring. would the senator agree that we've had this extraordinary increase in part-time jobs rather than full-time jobs and that is hammering working americans who need full-time
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work? mr. cruz: senator sessions is absolutely right. one of the most devastating consequences of obamacare is it is forcing so many americans into part-time work. u.s. chamber of commerce 2013 second quarter small business survey found that among small businesses that will be impacted by the employer mandate, one one-half of small businesses, 50%, say that they will either cut hours to reduce full-time employees or replace full-time employees with part-time employees to avoid the mandate. and 24% say they will reduce hiring to stay under 50 employees. now, as smart sessions knows, those are not -- now, as senator sessions knows, those are not -- this is not one isolated anecdote here or there. this is, according to the chamber of commerce, 50% of small businesses reducing
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employees' hours forcibly or just hiring part-time employees instead. this is an enormous problem. and who gets hurt? let me point out, when someone gets their hours reduced to 29 hours a week, it's never the c.e.o. it's usually not the lawyers. it's usually not the physicians, the professionals. it's absolutely never senators and members of congress. the people whose hours get forcibly reduced are almost without exception the most vulnerable among us, they are young people, they're hispanics, they're african-americans, they're single moms. it's the single mom working in a driern struggling to -- diner struggling to feed her kids, to be a good example to her kids. who suddenly finds instead of having one job working her fingers to the bone to take care of her kids, she's got to get two. because, look, 29 hours a week is not enough to provide for your kids.
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so suddenly she's got two. both 29 hours a week. she's got to commute from one to the other. she has to deal with two bosses. boss number one says i want you to work tuesday morning. boss number two says i want you to work tuesday morning. what's a single mom supposed to do? earlier this afternoon i read from a stitch we want letter talking about low-income housing in virginia. where a significant percentage of the residents of those -- that low-income housing were janitorial workers, were working in the service industry, were paying the represent out of -- e rent out of their own pocket. and because of obamacare, because of their having their hours reduced, they weren't able to pay the rent. in fact, let me read two sentences from this constituent letter from a commercial real estate broker in chesapeake city, virginia. "a great" -- "most of the tenants work in fast food,
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janitorial, and low-paying service-related jobs. a great deal of them had their hours cut to 29.5 hours per week and cannot pay the rent." so they're losing their apartments and being forced to -- to live elsewhere. this is a tragedy playing out across this country. and it is incumbent on this body to the listen to the people. we need to make d.c. listen. mr. sessions: madam president, will the senator yield for a question only without yielding the floor? mr. cruz cruz: i will yield fora question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: senator cruz, is -- is -- i know that you're aware that the number of people employed in the work force today has fallen to the lowest level since 1975, that wages have
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declined and we've had a surge from, we learned today in our budget committee hearing, from around 300,000 people working part-time to 3 million, i believe -- or a million. and these are bad trends. but one place has avoided all of that and that's the washington, d.c., area. it has had more job growth, higher-income job growth than any place in america. if this bill becomes entrenched into law, will it not create a huge increase additionally of government workers and bureaucrats in and about this city, all riding on the backs of american workers? mr. cruz: the senator from alabama is absolutely correct. one of the disturbing trends we've seen in recent years is the boom business in our economy is government. now, there are lots of consequences to that. one is that the best and the brightest, they learn, hey, you
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want to have success? go into government. private sector -- that's apparently not what america is about. you look at right now government employees who are paid substantially more than their counterparts in the private sector. it's one of the reasons why senator vitter's amendment to say that members of congress shall be subject to the same rules as the american people and not to have the special exemption president obama's put in place is so important and why i support an even broader amendment that would include all federal employees on the obama administration exchanges -- on the obamacare exchanges because our friends on the democratic aisle routinely say obamacare is terrific, it's great. if that's the case, then members of congress should be excited about being on those exchanges, which are apparently so great for our constituents. and so should federal workers. but they're not.
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indeed, as the senator from alabama knows well, this issue has caused probably more consternation among members and congressional staff than -- than probably any other issue because people are quite rightly afraid of losing their insurance, losing their coverage. that concern's not irrarchlt there are many good -- not irrational. there are many good public servants who are government employees and even members of the senate, it's not irrational at all for them to be concerned about losing their health insurance and forced on to poor-quality health insurance. but that desire shouldn't push us to say, let's exempt them, we don't want to be subject to them. that desire should push us to fight for hardworking american families. that desire should say, if we don't want to be on the exchanges, let's not make anyone else be on it. that divide, the divide between
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washington, the ruling class, and the american people is the most significant reason for the disillusion we see in this country. the view from americans all over this country -- and this is true of conservatives and liberals -- that washington doesn't listen, politicians don't listen. you know, we just had an august recess. a significant number of members of this body had no town halls, didn't go back and listen to their constituents. you can't fault americans for saying politicians don't listen to us when, in fact, politicians don't listen to us. that's what this fight is about. listen, if it is just up to washington, we're not going to act to do anything to stop obamacare. tore one thing, members of congress and their staff are exempted so there's no urgency here. but if we listen to the american people, there is urgency.
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that is why it is so critical that we make d.c. listen. mr. sessions: well, madam president, will the senator yield for another question? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: senator cruz, i know you're aware that senator baucus, the chairman of the finance committee, a longtime is that right who will be in -- announced i believe he's not going to run again, but shepherded this bill through and worked pretty well in many ways to try to make it better -- lost some battles in that time -- has referred to this as a train wreck because there's so many things going wrong right now d. the senato.did the senator hearm him? and so my -- it seems to me that we're at a point where we've got
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to push hard -- and that's what the conclusion i've come to. and i'll ask your opinion. it seems to me we're at a position where we need to push hard to force discussion of this legislation. because the majority leader wants to make an even bigger government, to take it even further, and he is blocking and going to resist any attempt to have real debate, real amendments to be offered, he will not allow votes and he's going to fill the tree and otherwise dominate the senate so we can't even have the classical debate and amendments and votes to improve this train wreck of a legislation. is that the way you see the situation we're in today? mr. cruz: senator sessions is -- is absolutely correct, and, you know, i would note, first of all, that -- that the senate
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democrat, who's the lead author of obamacare, as you rightly note, has referred to obamacare's implementation as -- quote -- "a major train wreck." now, that's not me speaking. that's not senator sessions speaking. that's the lead author of obamacare, a democratic senator. i -- i commend his candor. it is, indeed, a major train wreck. i have no doubt that more than a few of his colleagues on that side of the aisle were unhappy with him for speaking the truth on that. you know what? there should be a lot more truth speaking in this body, not engaging in partisan team politics but speaking the truth for the american people. look, that was commendable for senator baucus to speak up for the american people and say, this is a major train wreck. we need to all acknowledge it's a major train wreck and then step forward to avert the train wreck.
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and -- and senator sessions' second point is a very important one. i would note that senator sessions is an elder statesman in this body, has served admirably a great many years fighting for the citizens of alabama. and is well experienced when a day and a time existed when the senate operated like a deliberative body, where senators could speak and offer amendments and amendments could be considered. that doesn't occur now. the practice that senator sessions referred to -- i suspect some folks at home might not be familiar with -- called filling the tree. filling the tree has become commonplace. what filling the tree is a procedural and parliamentary trick that only the majority leader can do. the majority leader has a privileged role under the senate rules in that he has priority of recognition, the ability to insist he is the first senator on the floor to be recognized. and filling the tree enables to do what he has said he's going
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to do on this bill, which is file an amendment to fund obamacare in its entirety and then fill the tree so that no other senator can offer any amendments on. so that the other 99 senators are muzzled, so that we can't amendments to improve obamacare, we can't offer amendments to fix obamacare, we can't offer amendments to do anything. indeed, the more liberal members of the democratic caucus can't offer additional members to adopt a sing he feel-payer authorized -- a single high sinr authorized payment system. there should be open amendments and open debate. that's one of the great strengths of this body, is that all 100 senators, for most of the history of the senate, could
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offer any amendment at virtually any time. that has all but disappeared. and why has it disappeared? you know, it's not -- for folks who are at home who are watching this debate, it's easy to -- to let the procedure make your eyes glaze over. when you hear someone talk about invoking cloture on the motion to proceed to the -- you know, it sounds like it's utterly incomprehensible to virtually anyone in the country. indeed, more than a few people on the floor of the senate right now i suspect don't quite understand what it means. but what's all the procedure about? why should you care about filling the tree? you should care about it because it's a tool of power. of silencing the people and using the positions of power to
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enforce washington's ideological view on the rest of this country. if we got out of washington, d.c., if we went to the american people and said what are your top priorities -- you know, we actually have. we don't have to hypothesize about that. the american people say over and over again jobs and the economy are their top priorities. the american people want obamacare stopped because it isn't working, it's killing jobs, it's pushing people into part-time work, and yet this senate has not been listening to the american people. we need to make d.c. listen. mr. sessions: madam president, will the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: senator cruz, i would also just observe -- and you probably are all aware that there is a budget point of order against this whole continuing
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resolution, but i wanted to mention a couple of things. i want to thank you for having the courage to stand here and raise the concerns that i'm hearing all over my state. i had three separate meetings in august as i travel the state with small business groups. it's difficult to overstate the concerns they have with this legislation. they tell me without a doubt it's impacting their willingness to hire, the uncertainty in the workplace, and it is damaging business in america, and they are really passionate about it, they are struggling to get by, they are laying off people, and they're not happy about it. they say this bill alone is the primary thing that's hammering them in this country. and so i guess i have come, given a lot of thought to it. i'm beginning to see that we have just got to use the opportunities that we have to
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confront this issue and talk about it and try to force some changes and improvements. and so i appreciate you. and i'm going to support you. i'm going to oppose any advancing to -- of the final bill that doesn't provide some change in this obamacare legislation. i didn't sign the letter, and i have got some great friends who see it differently than i do, likewise are totally opposed to this legislation. so i want to be sure the people who are listening need to know, good people i think can disagree on this, but you have stood up and you have raised this question and you have forced us to confront it and talk about it, and i think it's good. so i intend to support you, and i'm not going to vote to move a bill where we are sure we're
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going to be blocked from having any meaningful discussion of one of the most historic damaging bills in maybe the last 100 years that would basically move us to single payer, government-run socialized medicine, and i think that's where we're heading. so i thank you for your leadership. hopefully we can begin to force this senate -- the house has already acted. they have repeatedly acted to fix this legislation that's so damaging, but the senate, the democratic senate, refuses to act, refuses to listen. and that's the problem i have. one way i have to express that is to support your position. so thank you very much and good luck. mr. cruz: i thank the senator from alabama for his question and fundamentally for his -- his support. your support is very meaningful.
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senator sessions is a man who is respected in this body, who commands the respect of his peers, and let me note if you just read the newspapers, the votes have already been decided on this. if you watch the tv commentators -- i read one newspaper article. it was actually a news article, it talked about the effort to defund obamacare, which is doomed to fail, comma. that was the lead of what was purported to be an objective news article. a lot of folks in official washington, the washington establishment have said there is no way this can happen. now, three weeks ago, they said there is no way the house is going to vote to defund obamacare. three weeks ago, you read it was impossible, it cannot happen, will not happen, and yet on friday the house voted overwhelmingly to defund
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obamacare. this week, all of the same pundits -- you know, there is a funny thing. everyone who said it was impossible in the house, there are apparently no consequences for their being proved laughingly, totally, completely wrong. and they all come out and with the same certainty, the same deep baritone voices say it is impossible that the votes will be there in the senate. the republicans will not stand together. well, let me point to just a minute ago. senator jeff sessions, who as he knows was not on the letter that senator mike lee circulated, was not initially part of the group. according to the press that wasn't on the letter was not necessarily going to oppose this, and senator sessions here courageously standing up, and i appreciate your leadership, your principle, and your courage, and i'm going to suggest this debate is having exactly the function it's supposed to. back when this body was, in fact, the world's greatest
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deliberative body as it was reputed to be, debates were about moving hearts and minds and making the case. how can we best serve the american people? you know, now, sadly, debates usually occur in an empty chamber, and the washington establishment tells us this is the result of the vote before it happens. and so let me just note for those of you keeping score at home that the momentum has consistently been in favor of defunding obamacare. two months ago, everyone said it was impossible. the american people weren't behind it, the house wasn't behind it, the senate hasn't behind it, it couldn't happen. we saw the american people unite. we saw over 1.6 million americans signed a national petition, we saw the house unite, and now the senate must unite, and i am grateful to senator sessions for his leadership and his support. a senator: would the senator from texas yield for a question without yielding the floor? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for
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a question without yielding the floor. mr. rubio: i want to thank the senator for his efforts here today in the weeks that have led us here. i would ask the senator from texas -- let me preface this by saying, so much of the focus, if you read the coverage, watch the news, all the focus is on what is going to happen, the process, the votes, who is going to vote what. i think that's important. we will have conversations about that in moments to come. but what i am most enthusiastic about here over the last few hours is there is an increasing focus on the why. why are people so passionate about obamacare, particularly those who oppose it? why are there a growing number of americans coming out and saying that obamacare is about an idea? and why are republicans united against obamacare? we do have a tactical debate going on in the republican party about the right way to accomplish stopping obamacare. what there is no debate about among republicans is that this is a bad idea for the country. why are we so passionate about that? and so i only speak for myself with what i am about to say but i think it speaks for others.
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i will ask the senator from texas to comment in a moment about this. i think sometimes when you are born and raised as i have been, your whole life in this country, i think just speaking for myself, i think sometimes it's easy to take for granted how special america is because this is all you have known and this is all we have ever been around, so we just take that for granted a little bit. i had a blessing, though. similar to the same one that the senator from texas had. i actually grew up around people that knew what life was like somewhere else. they knew that what america had was special because they lived somewhere else and they knew what the world was like outside of america. it's a reminder that what makes america different and special from the rest of the world is that it is one of the few places in human history where no matter where you start out in life, no matter how poor you were, no matter how poor your parents were, no matter how disconnected they may be from power, if you are willing to work hard and you are willing to sacrifice, you can achieve a better life. now, for us americans, that
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seems, of course, right? that's the way it's always been. it's not. in fact, for almost all of human history, that has not been the case. in much of the world, that's still not the case. for almost all of human history, almost everyone that's ever lived is basically trapped by whatever you were born into, so if your parents were poor, you were poor. if your parents were farmers, you were a farmer. i want you to think about what that means for a moment. imagine for a second, because all of us have dreams and hopes when you are young especially. imagine for a second if you are someone with talent and dreams and aspirations and ambitions, but knowing that in the society you live in that none of that matters because you're not from the right people, you don't come from the right family. imagine how frustrating that must be. that is the story of humanity up until about hundred years ago. when the american experiment began, based on something very powerful that the senator from texas talked about a moment ago, the idea that every single one
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of us has a god-given right to go as far as our talent and our work will take us. and the result is the most extraordinary story in all of human history. and i point that out today because i remember growing up knowing, my parents wanted me to clearly understand that i would have a chance to do things they never had the chance to do because i lived in an extraordinary place, unlike anything that had ever existed before. fast forward to today and the challenges we face as a country. you know the one thing that most worries me, as i analyze american politics and the state of our country? there is a growing number of people that are starting to doubt whether that dream is still true. a growing number of people that are starting to wonder is it still true that if you work hard and you sacrifice, you can get ahead? you know why they are doubting that? because they are working hard. they are working harder than
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they ever have. they are sacrificing. not only are they not getting ahead, they are struggling to keep from falling behind. and there are a lot of reasons why this is happening. you know, globalization has changed the nature of our economy. so have advances in information technology. we have an emerging skills gap in this country where unfortunately many americans have not acquired the skills needed for these new middle-class jobs in the 21st century. we have to address those things. societal breakdown is real. it's having an impact. in fact, it's one of the leading causes of poverty in the united states, and that's troubling, too. but for those of us who are in the federal government and the policy-making branch of government, i think it's time we realize that one of the leading threats to the american dream is the policies that are being pursued at the federal level. policies that are undermining the free enterprises. and here's why that's important -- because the only economy, the only economic system in human history that
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rewards hard work, sacrifice and merit is the american free enterprise system, and the evidence is all over the world. look all over the world at people whose families have lived in poverty for generations, who now have joined the middle class. they live in countries that are trying to copy the american economic example. they don't live in countries that embrace socialism. they don't live in countries that embraced big government. they live in places that are trying to move towards free enterprise. free enterprise has eradicated more poverty than all the government programs in the world combined. that's the story of free enterprise, and that's why it is startling that over the last few decades, federal policies have contributed steadily to undermining the free enterprise system. we can talk about all those policies, but obamacare's an example of that. you ask yourself, well, how does obamacare undermine the free enterprise system?
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well, there are a few examples. first of all, because of the disruptive costs and the rules created by obamacare, there are thousands of middle-class jobs that will not be created. these are jobs that were going to be created, that someone wanted to create. i met a restaurant owner. i think he was from louisiana. he testified before the small business committee. he wants to open up new restaurants. he has specific sites in mind. he knows he can make it work. he's not going to do it. he cites obamacare as the reason why. those are jobs that were going to be created that do not now exist. because of obamacare. that undermines the free enterprise system. obamacare has a mandate. it's already been discussed here on the floor. it says if you have more than 50 full-time workers, you have to live by a bunch of mandates that it creates. you know what the result of that has been? businesses that are close to that number are deciding i don't want to have 50 full-time employees. i want 49 or 48 so that doesn't
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apply to me because i can't afford for that to apply to me. those are jobs that were going to be created or those are jobs that are still there but now they are part time. that means you lost money out of your paycheck. it also has redefined -- obamacare has redefined what part-time work is. american economic reality is part-time work is anything less than 40 hours except for obamacare. it's anything less than 30 hours. what's happening? people that are working part time are losing their hours. real-world example, sea world in florida announced it's moving 2,000 of part-time employees from 32 hours a week to 28 hours a week. that's not just a statistic. these are people that are losing four hours' worth of pay a week. the very people that this bill is supposed to be helping, the working class, the middle class, the people trying to get ahead are the people it's directly hurting and that's just one example. we could be here -- you may be
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here all night senator cruz but we -- you could be here all night citing examples of real people being hurt in this way. this is the experience of this and, by the way, one more point that hasn't been talked about enough. medicare advantage is a program that gives seniors choices. it has competition. different companies that provide medicare advantage benefits compete for the business of seniors by offering additional benefits. my mom is a medicare advantage recipient. she's on a medicare advantage plan and she is heavily marketed every year because like all seniors are in that area because they want her business. and how do they compete? offer transportation, offer free pharmaceuticals, offer, you know, whatever it may be. guess what, obamacare takes money out of are medicare advantage. not to save medicare, to fund obamacare. you know what's going to happen early in january? these seniors are going to get a letter in the mail sailing your medicare advantage plan no longer offers x or y, whatever
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somebody's benefits are. this is who is being hurt by this. so why are we passionate? why are we here about this? look, we have an ideological objection to the government being involved in this way in such a widespread way in health care but beyond that now, we are passionate about this opportunity that we have to stop obamacare because of the impact this is having on real people. and at the end of the day that is what we are fighting for here. we're not fighting against obamacare, we are fighting for these people. this includes people, by the way, that voted for the president. this includes, by the way, people who didn't vote for me or the senator from texas, we're fighting for them. because they're going to be hurt by this. if your dream is open up your own business one day and to grow it, obamacare is hurting you. it's going to make it harder for you to do that. if your dream is to do what my parents did which is to work
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work a job so your kids could have a career, obamacare is hurting you. it could cost you the insurance you have now that you're happy with. it could cost you hours out of your paycheck. it could cost you your very job. what about if you're working part time as -- while you go to school at night, paying your way through school as part-time work. obamacare is hurting you. you're going to lose hours at work potentially because of this. what about if you graduated from college, you finished college, done everything asked of you, right? what do we tell gleam america, graduate, get your degree and you can have a career and a better life. what do they want to do? graduate from college, get married, buy a house, start a family. a lot of people are having to put that off now for a lot of reasons, obamacare will be one of them. that job you wanted, that career you wanted to start may not be created now because of obamacare. you've worked -- you've worked your whole life like the three
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million seniors in florida, worked their whole life with the hope of retiring with dignity and security and stability. you sign up for a medicare advantage plan and now obamacare is hurting you. there is the irony in all of this. the very people they said this plan, this bill, this idea would help are the very people it's hurting the the most. that, by the way, is the experience of big government. i know that big government sounds peeling sometimes when you're hurting, when you're struggling to make ends meet and a politician says i'm going to create a new program entitled jobs for americans or health care for everybody. and you're struggling. this stuff sounds enticing. the problem is it never works. it never works. any time and everywhere it's ever been tried it has failed. and it will fail again. it doesn't work. in fact, big government hurts the people who are trying to make it.
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if you're a multibillion-dollar corporation, if you're a millionaire and billionaire, you may not like big government but you can afford to deal with it. if you're a major corporation in america, you can hire the best lawyers in america to navigate whatever complex rules the government throws at you. if you really don't like it you can hire the best lobbyists in this city to write the laws in your favor or try to get them written in your favor. but if you're trying to start a business by using the free wi-fi at starbucks, if you're using the spare bedroom at your home to start a business, you can't navigate all that big government stuff. you can't afford to hire a lobbyist to get a waiver from obamacare. that's the irony, the very people that big government promises to help are the people it hurts the most. are the people it hurts the most. and we're seeing it again with obamacare. who is getting waivers from obamacare? the people who can afford to
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influence it. that's the experience of big government, it's the experience of obamacare. that's unfair. that's just not fair. it's not fair in america for people who are willing to work hard and to sacrifice not to be able to achieve a better life. it's wrong. and the only way to assure that those opportunities are there are to embrace the free enterprise system, not to undermine it or try to replace it with an expansion of government that in the end will collapse under its own weight. but that's the direction we're headed in right now. you want to know what the biggest issue facing america politically is? it's not whether democrats or republicans win the next election. it's whether we'll continue to be an exceptional country or anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything or whether we'll come like the rest of the world. another powerful country, another rich country, big economy but no longer the place where hard work and sacrifice is
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enough. that's the choice we're being asked to make. on issue after issue that becomes before this body and especially on this one. look, i'll yield back to the senator from texas by just saying this: my parents were never rich. i've told the story before but i tell it not so much to tell you about me but to tell you about us. because this is our story, not just mine. my parents were never rich. they came here, they didn't know anybody, had no money, no connections. barrel spoke the language. they struggled. when they first came here, they struggled. they were discouraged. sometimes they wondered if they made a mistake. maybe they should have stayed back in cuba, they thought. but they persevered, they hung in. ten years after they had been here, my dad working as a bar extender --, bartender, my
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mom as a maid and a cashier, they bought their first home in 1966. by 1971 they were so optimistic about the future after they had both turned over 40 years of age, they had me and my sister a year and a half after that. talk about optimistic about the future. america fundamentally changed their lives. because of free enterprise. my dad had a job at those hotels because someone with access to money risked it. took a risk. and said i'm going to invest this money in opening up a hotel because i believe in my idea and because someone took a risk, my dad had a job. my mom had a job. they weren't rich, we never owned multiple homes or had a yacht or traveled to europe. nothing wrong with any of those things but they lived the american dream. you know what why? because they lived the life no wrun one in their family history had ever lived in temples of ska
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sta built and security, and they were able to provide for their children every the country they themselves never had. this is what we know as the american dream about beingible able to fulfill your god-given potential whatever it may be. and it is what is at play here right now. because there are millions of people in this country trying to do just that. millions of people across america that are trying to do what my parents were able to do for me and what your parents were able to do for you. and our job here is to make it easier for them to do it, not harder. our job here is to do everything we can to ensure that this is the one country on earth where that's still possible. and when we pass bills like obamacare that we claim help people like this, we're not helping them. we are hurting them. and if we hurt them, we hurt the country because there can't be an america without an american dream. we can't be special and exceptional without the american
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dream. and that's what's being undermined by big government and by obamacare. and that at the end of the day is why we're so passionate about this. that's why this is an issue worth fighting for. and i would just ask the senator from texas as you were reading earlier today stories and cases you heard from around the country, that's what these people are telling us. that's what they're saying to us. they're saying all we want is a chance to turn our dreams into reality, all we want is a chance to be able to work hard and sacrifice so that we can achieve a better life. and all we want is for you guys to give us a chance. isn't that what this issue is all about, dismor? -- senator? mr. cruz: the junior senator from florida is absolutely correct. i agree entirely and let me say, senator rubio, you inspire me. senator marco rubio is a
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critical national leader. when senator mike lee began this fight, marco rubio was there on day one. from the beginning, despite the howls of protest, despite official washington saying that he should know better than to stand up against the d.c. establishment and stand for the people. and let me tell you, i don't know that there is any more effective, more articulate, more persuasive voice for conservative principles than my friend, marco rubio. you know, he was raised in florida -- his race in florida two years ago was supposed to be impossible. i know it because i read it in the paper over and over again, many of the same people who were saying this fight is impossible, they all said with that same certitude, with that
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same deep bear tone lois voice -- baritone voice, this young lad rubio has no chance of winning this race and if it were up to official washington, they would have been right. by every measure of official washington, the winner of that race had been picked, it was the governor of the state, all of washington was behind him. and the only thing that was standing with marco rubio was the people. when he started, he was at 3% in the polls. a condition i know well because two years later i found myself in a very similar position. and yet he ran a campaign where he crisscrossed the state of florida listening to the florida people and getting support from the grass roots. his victory in 2010 was a transformational moment in american politics. and it's also emblem attic of what -- abethlehem attic of
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what this fight is about right here. if you trust the talking heads on television, if you trust the reporters who tell us what's up and what's down, what's white and what's black, then obamacare is here to stay, america just has to continue to suffer with it because we can never, ever, ever do anything to change it. and as long as this body, the united states senate, believes the opinions of these hundred people in this room are more important than the american people, that will remain true, an accurate description. but that's not our job. our job is to listen to the people. you know, marco, his father, his parents were cuban immigrants, his dad was a bartender. a family experience that resonates powerfully with me because i came from such a similar experience. but more importantly than that, marco rubio's story is the american story.
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there is not a member of this united states senate, there is not a person in this country who doesn't have a story just like that. somewhere in our backgrounds. the most unique aspect of the united states of america i believe is that we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom. i think it's the most fundamental aspect of the d.n.a. of what it means to be americans and it's what unifies all of us is that as americans we value liberty and opportunity above all else. and because of that experience, one of the things i admire about senator rubio is he views issues in this senate not from how it impacts the titans of industry, the c.e.o.'s, but from how it impacts people like his dad and my dad. people who were struggling,
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climbing the economic ladder, seeking the american dream and you know what, if you're today a bartender at a nevada hotel or if you're today washing dishes at a restaurant like his father and my father, respectively, obamacare is hurting you. it is hurting you powerfully in a way that all the united states senators who have an exemption from obama -- barack obama don't have to worry about. maybe you'd like to wash dishes but because of obamacare there's no job for you to get hired or it's hurting you because what used to be a 40-hour a week job has suddenly become a 29-hour a week job and your boss has told you look, i don't have any choice. obamacare kicks in at 30 hours a week, and it will bankrupt me.
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so suddenly you, struggling, are either working 29 hours a week and unable to feed your kids or you're having to find a second 29-hour a week job and julg a crazy schedule that make your life even more difficult than it was before and that's not to mention your concerns about health insurance. maybe you've got a health insurance plan that you've been struggling to pay but it's important to you, you want to make sure your kids are covered, you want to make sure your spouse is covered, and yet you see every year your premiums going up and up and up and up. do you remember when president obama was defending the obamacare bill, he told the american people, he promised the american people, he said, as a result of obamacare, the average family's health insurance premium will drop $2,500.
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and he said, that's going to happen by the end of my first term. now, madam president, i would point you tel out the presidentt term ended nine months ago. and by the end of the president's first term, that promise was proven not just a little off the mark, not just kind of, sort of a little bit not entirely accurate, it was improved 100% categorically objectively false. let me suggest to every american, if your health insurance premiums have dropped $2,500, as the president promised you -- as the president promised the average family -- so that there would be tens of millions for whom that was true, then i would encourage you to enthusiastically stand up and defend obamacare. but there's a reason it's so profoundly unpopular -- because it hasn't happened. premiums have gone up and the american people are hurting as a
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result. and d.c. should listen to the people. we should make d.c. listen. oa senator: will the gentleman yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. a senator: i'd like to ask the senator from texas whether the senator from texas has received similar comments that i've received from manufacture my constituents and from other -- some of my constituents and from other constituents, concerned citizens, in recent months. i'd like to highlight a few of these and ask if these are familiar with concerns you've heard expressed. mr. lee: let me start by sharing one expressed by shawn from utah who says -- quote -- "i do not like the fact that the president is picking winners and picking and choosing which parts of the law he will enforce. we need the three branches of government to keep freedom ali alive." well, shawn from utah, i share your concern. and i would add to that, shawn
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from utah, the fact that this is really what started this effort. in other words, during the first week of july 2013, when the president announced that there were several provisions of the law he simply would not be implement, he simply would not be enforcing, along the lines with what congress enacted with the affordable care act in 2010. it was at that point that i, along with several others, put our heads together and realized, you know, if the president's saying that this law's not ready to implement, if the law objectively is not ready to implement, if, as we now build understand it, is going to make health care less affordable rather than more for so many americans, perhaps congress shouldn't be funding its implementation and enforcement. perhaps that ought to be telling us something. so it is important to remember, as shawn from utah points out to
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us, that we do have three branches of government. this is the legislative branch. our job is to make the laws. the president does not have law-making authority. the president can seek changes in a law, just as other citizens can seek them from congress, but congress does have to act. and although the president wields the veto perntion the veto pen -- veto pen, the veto pen is not the legislation pen. he doesn't have the power to legislate on his own without the assistance of congress. it's one of the reasons why we're in this debacle today. it's one of the reasons why we have, along with so many millions of americans, expressed this position that we would like to fund government while defunding obamacare. this is something that the american people are calling out for and something that they're requesting. it's something that the house of representatives acted boldly and bravely in doing, in standing behind the american people, and this really is what we're doing, this is the whole reason why
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we're concerned about this. because we want to stand with the american people and with the house leadership, speaker boehner and the other leaders in the other body in congress that bravely put forward this legislation to keep government funded while defunding obamacare. one of the things that we have been concerned about today, one of the things that i think we need to focus on in the next few days is the fact that what the house of representatives acted last week, passing this legislation, this continuing resolution to keep government funded while defunding obamaca obamacare, in order for to us stand behind them, we've got to monitor the manner in which that legislation is reviewed over here. now that the house-passed continuing resolution has reached the senate, we've got a few options. there are a few acceptable ways of treating this legislation now that it's been passed by the house. one very acceptable approach would be for us to say, okay,
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let's -- let's bring up the house-passed continuing resolution, the resolution that funds government but defunds obamacare and let's have an up-or-down vote. let's -- let's vote for it as is, the same way that it was crafted in the house of representatives. that would be an acceptable approach. i would be comfortable with that. another acceptable approach would be to say, instead of just taking up -- taking it up and -- and passing it or not passing it as is, let's have an amendment process. let's allow democrats and republicans, as they may deem fit, to offer up amendments, let's debate those amendments, discuss their relative merits, their pros and their cons, let's put those before the american people in the few days we have left before the existing continuing resolution expires, and let's vote on all those. and then at the end of it, we'll get to the bill itself as it may have been amended by that point. that would be acceptable as we well. what is not acceptable is what many have suggested will occur.
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many have suggested that the majority leader will bring up this bill and instead of saying, let's vote on it as is, or instead of saying let's have an amendment process,' apparentl apparently -- he apparently wants to have his cake and eat it too. he wants to have it both ways. he wants to bring it up and subject it to one and only one amendment -- an amendment that would strip out a very critical part of the legislation, a part of the legislation that is probably the "without which not" element. for manufacture th many of the s who voted for it. the provision defunding obamacare. he wants that amendment and no other. that's not acceptable. and under tha that circumstancen my opinion, and in the opinions of several of my colleagues, some of whom you've heard from today, the appropriate way to rej sthear concern is to vote
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against low -- way to register that concern is to vote against cloture on the bill if, in fact, that is what the majority leader chooses to do. that's why we're fighting this particular battle today. that's much of what we're discussing today, is why it is that we should not be facilitating the senate leadership's effort to, in effect, gut the house-passed continuing resolution of an extraordinarily critical eleme element, an element without which it could never have passed in the house of representatives and an element that, frankly, the american people expect us to take up and discuss and debate. so either way -- open amendment process, fine? up-or-down vote on the bill as is, fine. what's not fine is an effort to try to have it both ways. let me share with you another comment here, i comment i received by a man named michael, also from utah. "we're getting a bigger and bigger government. they're telling us what we
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should have and what we're entitled to instead of protecting a free people, paving our own path. government gets bigger while the job market is getting crushed. i work for a company in the middle of layoffs and more are to follow. we cannot continue like this." this is an acknowledgment that so many people across our great country are making as they discover the impact of this bi bill, of this bill passed into law some 3 1/2 years ago that has not increased in popularity over the last three years. time might not have increased its popularity. in fact, it's had quite the opposite effect. but time has had the effect of expanding its volume. it's gone from 2,700 pages when it was passed to more than 20,000 pages now when you add the implementing regulations. that's quite stunning. the length of it is itself quite stunning. it reminds me of something that
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james madison wrote, i believe it was in "federalist" number 62. he said, if i may paraphrase him, it will be of little benefit to the american people that their laws may be written by individuals of their own choosing if those laws are so voluminous and complex that they can't reasonably be read and understood by the american people. well, 2,700 pages is a little too long. it's a lot too long. and i certainly know that 20,000 pages is much, much, much too long. that brings to mind a comment that i received from marcia, also from utah, who writes this: "however well-intentioned obamacare may be, i do not feel this is the best solution. i think something less wordy and more succinct would be a much better plan. if you can't say it in five pages or less, it may be best unsaid. the changes already enacted have made it more difficult for me to get medical care, not a big
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help." well said, marcia, and very well said. when we vote on legislation that people haven't read, the american people tend to suffer. when we perpetuate a mistake once made, embodied in a 2,700-page bill, things go from bad to worse to much, much wor worse. what we have right now is an opportunity for us to debate and discuss the merits of something that perhaps was not adequately debated and discussed 3 1/2 years ago when this law was passed. when members of congress were told, you have to pass this law to find out what's in it. well, we know a lot more about what's in it now. the american people have concerns. and it's appropriate that we have the discussion now in connection with spending legislation. because, after all, congress does have the power of the pur
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purse. congress is given this power, this responsibility of making decisions regarding taxing and spending. it was for this reason that the founding generation wisely put into the hands of the house of representatives the power of the purse, giving the house of representatives the responsibility to initiate or originate bills relating to this power. it's the house of representatives that is, after all, the branch of government, the end of congress that is most directly responsive to the needs of the people, and it's appropriate that we have this discussion, as we're talking about funding or not funding a piece of legislation that is going to require a lot of money and is going to be proving costly to the american people in many, many ways in the coming years. and i say costly in many ways to reflect the fact that it's not
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just that it costs the government money. it costs the american people a lot of things as well. it's costing them jobs. it's costing them wages. it's costing them access to health care in many, many circumstances. let me read you something that i received from randy. randy's from my neighboring state of idaho. randy writes, "my wife and i have a small business with about 20 employees. we struggle to stay in business. we feel that if and when obamacare is implemented, we will not be able to continue to be in business." randy, i can't tell you how many people i've heard make very similar comments. from one end of my state of utah to the other, and from people across america, you're not alone, randy; a lot of people out there are concerned as well. that's one thing people lose in addition to wages or jobs or access to health care. some of them lose the opportunity that they have to
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stay in business. we're not talking about millionaires and billionaires. we're talking about hardworking americans who put a lot on the line in order to make a decent living, in order to provide jobs for their few employees. this is something we need to look out for. this is something that we may not, we must not lightly brush aside. here is something else that some americans will sometimes lose, something that they were promised that they would not lose -- access to a doctor that they like, access to a doctor that they come to trust over the years. this one comes from jack of the state of texas. jack says -- "my family doctor of 25 years is talking about an early retirement because policies obamacare is going to require him to follow that will compromise the oath he took when he became an m.d." this is sad, jack. this is something that we were
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promised would not happen. this is something that should not happen. this is something that we're told is happening from time to time. ryan also of texas writes -- "my mother is a middle-class mortician whose health care coverage is going up by 68%. for this poorly envisioned law with no other changes she simply cannot afford to maintain health care coverage without significant changes to her lifestyle, and for what? sometimes we have to ask that question, and for what? sometimes we have to ask the question, the same question that physicians are required to ask themselves, are we doing harm? it's my understanding that when a physician becomes licensed, he or she must take an oath, an oath that involves an obligation to first do no harm. we as lawmakers have to ask ourselves that question from
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time to time. we as lawmakers have to view ourselves as subject to a similar obligation to first do no harm. you know, some have said that when you're carrying around a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. i wonder why that is sometimes true of congress and the law-making power. because of the law-making power that we wield, sometimes when we assume problems, we assume that we automatically, inevitably have the right solution. well, in some cases, there may be true. in other cases, it might be true in part, but that power might be used incorrectly. sometimes when legislation is hastily drafted, thrown together in a hurry rather than for purposes of making sure that it's part of a cohesive whole, something that will be a coherent mechanism that can be implemented in a commonsense
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fashion, sometimes if it's thrown together too hastily and these cautions are ignored, we can end up doing a lot of harm. we can find ourselves first doing harm above all else, and that's not okay. when we look at this law, we look at the fact that the american people are funding its implementation, we discover that it's much deeper than something that deals with an individual mandate or an employer mandate. we're a set of -- or a set of regulations governing the insurance industry. it's much, much more than that. it's much more than what people will have to do with regard to the reporting of some fairly personal details about their lives to the i.r.s., an agency that americans have come to trust substantially less than they already did, as if that were possible. it's about the fact that the
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american people, in addition to being made less free by this law, in addition to being made less prosperous by this law, are also required to fund its implementation and its enforcement against them. that's where the power of the purse must come into play. that's what makes it so appropriate, so essential, so vital that we have the discussion right here and right now, as we consider spending legislation, spending legislation that may well represent our last best hope of achieving a degree of delay or defunding of this legislation before its primary operative provisions take full effect. that's why it's important for us to have this discussion right now. let me emphasize again the importance of the cloture vote and the position that we're taking on that. it is grounded fundamentally in
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the understanding that the house of representatives acted in a manner consistent with what the american people have been asking, and i can't emphasize enough the fact that house speaker john boehner and his leadership team in the house, the house republicans have supported him in this effort, they did great work. they stood valiantly with the american people who are calling out overwhelmly for them to take this step, to keep government funded but defund obamacare, and that's what they did. now that they have acted, there are two approaches we could take to this that are perfectly appropriate. we could vote on that legislation as is, up or down, or we could subject it to an amendment process, allow democrats and republicans alike to present amendments, to make the house-passed resolution better, as they might deem fit. we can debate and discuss and vote on each of those. sure, it can be time consuming, sure, it can be grueling, but that's our job. we took an oath to do that job,
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yet we do this all the time. maybe not as much as we should, but just a few months ago in connection with the budget resolution, we as senators stood and sat, all night long. we voted all night long until 5:00, 6:00 in the morning. people got a little cranky at times, but that's what we're here to do, not to be cranky, but we're here to vote, to cast votes on amendments. that's what we had to do that day because there were a lot of amendments. that's what we should be doing with this if, in fact, we decide we want amendments to the house-passed resolution. so vote on it up or down as is, fine. subject it to an open amendment process, fine. trying to have it both ways, the majority leader telling us this will be subject to one amendment and one amendment only, an amendment that would gut and render the operative provision that was so important to so many house members, that's not okay. that's why those who agree with
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us on this point, those who feel that way, those who feel that the american people need us to stand up for them should vote no on cloture when we get to cloture on the bill later in this week. and so i would ask my colleague from texas, these concerns that i have expressed, these statements that have been made from people around the country, some of them my constituents in utah, some of them from other parts of the country including a couple from texas, what similarities do you see between these statements that i have read today and comments that you have heard from your constituents as you have traveled your great state, a state of great expanse and a state of close to 30 million people? what similarities do you see between these statements and those you have heard around your state? mr. cruz: i thank my friend from utah for that very insightful
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question. let me note, there are many reasons why i love the senator from utah, but very near the top of the list is the fact that when he -- quote -- paraphrases the federalist papers, it is darn near a word-for-word verb tim quote. mike lee is extraordinary, and it is an honor to stand by his side and serve with him. the stories you have read are exactly continent with the stories i have heard all across texas and frankly all across the country. this thing isn't working. it's not political, it's not partisan. it has nothing to do with what team you're on. the facts are clear. there is a reason why the unions are jumping ship. there is a reason why teamsters president james hoffa says obamacare is destroying the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the american middle
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class. there is a reason why the i.r.s. employees union has asked to be exempted from obamacare. these are the guys in charge of enforcing it on the rest of us. they have asked to be exempted because it's not working. the facts are clear. it's a train wreck. as the lead author, democratic senator put it, it is a train wreck. and in fact, let me share some of the tweets that have come in the preceding days. the preceding days, the american people had a chance to speak out about obamacare, and in particular there was a hashtag defund obamacare because. the last several days, americans all over this country have tweeted their reason why obamacare should be defunded.
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and i will note to senator lee that some months ago he and i stood on this same senate floor side by side with our dear friend, senator rand paul, supporting him in his historic filibuster on drones, and at that time i had the opportunity to read tweets that were supporting rand's filibuster. and to the best of my knowledge, that is the first time tweets had been read on the senate floor, which i have joked to my wife makes me happy because now 20 years from now if there is some obscure political geek trivial pursuit game, that i'm pretty confident i am going to be an answer as to the first person to have the chance to read tweets on the senate floor, and i'm going to do my best now to be the second person, and now i'm reading tweets that concern the hashtag defund obamacare because, but i will note there has been another hashtag, tonight, make d.c. listen, and that hashtag has been trending
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higher and higher, make d.c. listen, and as the evening goes forward, i fully expect for those of you who have something that you want to say but you're not currently able to come to the senate floor, maybe in a few years you will be. maybe you will be elected to the senate, stand at your desk and make the argument, but right now you're not. let me encourage you to tweet with the hashtag make d.c. listen, and i expect later in the evening to read a sample of those tweets so that we can help provide voice to those millions of americans who are frustrated that d.c. isn't listening. but these are some of the tweets of the past few days with the hashtag defund obamacare because. it's just another way to gain control over people. defund obamacare because i don't want the government dictating my health care. because i don't trust the government to run my health care. because it was sold to us on lies. you can keep your insurance.
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no. my coverage reduced to nearly nothing, premiums the same. because it's too intrusive on our privacy. because it's killing jobs and stifling the economy. because it's forcing small businesses to lay off full-time workers and replace them with part-time workers to avoid bankrupting mandates. because congress should be representing us, we, the people, a majority of americans, don't want obamacare. because it adds layers of government, inefficiency, centralizes control to ivory tower bureaucrats, massive drag on the economy. because it will lead to singlepayer health care -- singlepayer is all caps, and care is in quotes, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. because it's not even
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implemented yet, and it has already raised my insurance rates and reduced the quality of my medical care. because cancellation notices from my carrier due to a.c.a. kind of ruin the narrative like it, keep it. bombs away on a.c.a. because i don't want the government deciding my family's health care. because the cost of health care will increase with quality decreaseing. empower the free market. because it is a threat to jobs and our economy. because i got laid off. my chances of finding another job are slim, too. none now. because it's time people in d.c. do what's best for this country instead of their political party. let me read that one again. because it's time for people in d.c. to do what's best for this country instead of their political party. you know, if we listen to the
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people, if we make d.c. listen, this wouldn't be about party, this wouldn't be about democrats sticking to the bill they passed, this wouldn't be about republicans afraid of political blame and repercussions. this would be about 100 senators listening to the people and saying this bill isn't working. because it kills jobs, and the backbone of the american middle class. because it's killing free clinics and reducing access to care. because americans love freedom. because it's a job-killing machine, up to and including doctors. because i don't want government to control my health care. because the free market works and government regulation does not. because americans can't live on part-time wages and pay the outrageously high cost of obamacare. because it violates americans' first amendment right to religious liberty.
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because we the people don't want it, and the government works for us. let me repeat that one again. because we the people don't want it, an the government works for us. and let me note something, by the way. that hashtag was a simple hashtag, defend obamacare because. that's the messages coming from the people. washington isn't listening. it's why tonight make d.c. listen is trending higher and higher as a hashtag because that's what this fight is about. washington isn't listening to the people. because it has already resulted in great doctors leaving medicine. because government is not meant to force me into something they have no business in. because i'm against force and coercion from government. if it was a great idea, it would be voluntary. now, that says something.
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if it was a great idea, why is the federal government forcing you to be a part of it? and, by the way, why at the same time is the president granting exemptions to big corporations and to members of congress? if it's a great idea, they wouldn't have to force you to participate. if it was a great idea, members of congress would not have asked the president for an exemption so members of congress get a special rule that doesn't apply to the american people. because i don't want bureaucrats involved in my physician's decisions on my health care. because i value my freedom. because it's ruining the 40-hour workweek, according to unions. because it is crony capitalism for the health care industrial complex. because you don't want a bunch of bureaucrats deciding which medical treatments you can and can't receive. what do they know?
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because the government should not -- should not is in all caps -- own our medical data. because the i.r.s. will be enforcing it. now, that's a pair that gives you comfort. the i.r.s. in charge of it, the i.r.s. employee unions asked them to be exempted from obamacare and right now they're assembling the largest database in history of our health care records. we've seen the i.r.s., their willingness to abuse their power. and under obamacare right now they just have access to our health care records. it's not like anyone should be concerned about that. because it is a job-killing economy-strieg health care-ruining, debt-exploding, out-of-control government mess. i like that one. because it is a job-killing, economy-destroying, health care-ruining, debt-exploding, out-of-control government mess.
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because obamacare is all about socialistic control of we, the people and nothing to do with, quote, fixing health care. because it was rammed through in the dark of the night. and that should matter. because it is already come between me and my doctors and it's not even fully implemented yet. next time you see your physician, you want your friendly neighborhood federal bureaucrat sitting down and being part of the physician's meeting? i don't. and i know texans don't, either, most americans don't, either. because it's a trojan horse. once inside, it will destroy us. because even the unions agree it's not working. because we need the i.r.s. to get out of our lives, not make health care decisions for us. because it will cost americans their jobs. because it's a red herring being used to move the country to
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single pair system -- single payer system. as we noded earlier, some people dismiss, single payer, this is designed to go there, young that's just crazy tinfoil hat wearing stuff. but there's an old saying, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. some people are worried about single payer, and they have good reason to be particularley when the united states majority leader sends on -- goes on television and says the purpose of obamacare is to government associationized health care. that is the express purpose from those who voted for obamacare. to destroy the private health insurance system and to move to single-payer government associationized medicine. because honestly, the people do not want it.
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because problems cannot be solved by larger government than the one that created them. because after three years, they're still trying to sell it to us. that's a good point. if it were such a great idea -- at the time they said once people get it, they're going to love it, it's going to work. and if it had, we'd be having a very different discussion. if it had worked, the american people would support it. we'd see the results. we'll he we'd see the benefits. and we wouldn't have this debate. if it were working well, we wouldn't be having this debate because the american people would support it. the facts are clear and so even those who voted three years ago ago, unless your view of serving in office is hey, once i vote i stick to it no wat the facts say, no matter how much people are hurt,, i ain't changing no matter what. i can't believe there are many senators in this body that want to approach voting like that. that's not a responsible way to
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approach your job. the facts are clear, this thing isn't working and all 100 of us ought to act to avert this be train wreck. because it is and will continue to destroy jobs, slow hiring and move others to part-time status. because if you don't, your doctor might just retire early. how many know a doctor that's retiring early? i know a few that are retiring early. think that's good for our health care system, seeing doctors retire early? i know older doctors advising students don't go to med school. do you think that's going to expand our health care if we advise students not to go to medical school? that's what obamacare is doing. because you don't want an i.r.s. agent deciding if your mom lives or dies. because it makes health insurance less affordable. my premiums will be higher to beside people who ntd --
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subsidize people who can't afford insurance. because the i.r.s. have shown they're willing to abuse power for political gain. because it's not about care. it's about government control. because i shouldn't have to pay for the murder of innocent unborn babies through abortion. because if it worked, democratic senators would not have needed to be bribed to vote for it. because the death panel is an unchecked bureaucracy accountable to no one. because i love my current health care and doctors. do you like your current health care? do you like your doctor? do you want to keep seeing your doctor? i'll tell you, americans all over this country are losing their health care because of obamacare. they're losing the ability to see their doctors. that's what happens if the senate doesn't act to defund
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obamacare. because the majority of the country is against it. because premiums up 100% after dropped off spouse's plan. elimination of coverage, reduction of choices and treatments. these are real people tweeting. they're sharing their stories of why they don't like obamacare. you notice these stories are not because i'm a republican, because i'm a democrat, because i believe in this ideology. it's because this thing is hurting me and my family. if this body were listening to the people, we'd have a hundred senators concerned about all the americans being hurt by obamacare. and here and any hour of the night ready to act to stop it. because no one wants to live in their parent's basement forever. because reagan once said you can't be for big government,
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big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy. boy, ain't that the truth. because i don't want to may more taxes to fund it. because it does nothing to reduce costs while hurting full-time employees who are dropped to part time. because it makes health insurance less affordable. my premiums will be higher to subsidize people who can't afford insurance. because it actually does add a dpiem to the deficit, and a lot of them. because -- three words, in all caps -- internal revenue service. because it's killing full-time jobs and stunting the growth of businesses that want to hire. because government should not be in charge of something as important as health care. because the devil himself wouldn't put the i.r.s. between you and your doctor. i like that one, too. because the more exemptions that are given out, the more
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obamacare won't work. because i can't afford to get two jobs, pay outrageous prices for crappy insurance. i'll lose my full time. because that time congress passed a law and then excluded themselves. hashtag health care hip hypocri. because doctors and hospitals are already becoming limited. because it's designed to collapse private insurance and force us all to single-payer. socialism. again, i would note that's not hypothetical, that's what majority leader harry reid has publicly said on television. because insurance isn't very helpful when you can't find a doctor. because i don't need a spend a decade of my life filling out government forms. because baby boomer doctors will retire in droves, plus more who won't practice in this environment. because if it's not good enough for congress, it sure as
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shooting is not good enough for the people. you know, those are sentiments we're hearing from all across the country. those are sentiments that reflect the views of the american people. not just in texas, in all 50 states. not just republicans. democrats, independents, lynner terrence. -- libertarians. the american people understand when you have a law that is killing jobs, when you have a law that is hammering small businesses, when you have a law that is forcing people into part-time work and working 29 hours a week, when have you a law causing skyrocketing insurance premiums, when you have a law that is causing more and more people to lose their health insurance, you have a law that's not working. you have a train wreck.
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as the democratic senator who is the lead author of this bill described it. and yet right now the united states senate is not listening to the american people. the democrats in the senate understandably have circled the wagons. they passed this bill, and even if it's a sinking ship, we have yet to see democrats come out and say we tried it, and it didn't work. let's listen to the american people. i hope the time comes this week where we see some courageous democrats stand up and let me say to any democratic senator senator who does so, he or she will receive withering criticisms from the partisans in your party. now, i will note as someone not entirely unfamiliar with receiving withering criticisms from one's own party, there are worse things in life. i promise you that is in the
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order of things to be worried about, really quite low. you know, i'm loot more concerns -- a lot more concerned about a single mom working in a diner trying to feed her kids than i am about whether some united states senator or congressional staffer wants to run to a newspaper and say something mean about me. so any democratic senator who is thinking about responding to the concerns that i know you're hearing from your citizens because we're hearing it all over the country, let me suggest a little bit of grief for breaking party discipline. it's really a small price to pay for doing your job. for listening to the american people. and let me say to the republicans, there's a lot of concern about political blame,
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there's a lot of concern about, well, if we would just get a symbolic vote so we can say we're opposed to it but let's not actually do anything to change obamacare, let me suggest to my republican friends that we should worry a lot less about blame and credit and politics and just worry about firming the darn thing for the american people. if we get back to an economy where jobs are booming, small businesses are thriving, people struggling and want the american dream can get that first josh and get that second job and climb the economic ladder, can advance, provide for their family, that answers a whole lot of problems. you know, i've heard some partisan observers say obamacare
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really isn't the biggest job killer in the country. well, number one, it's ironic that that's the particular debate whether it's the biggest job killer or the second biggest job killer. but let me tell you, i don't think there's any debate on that question. so let me point to you a list by "investors business daily" of 300 cuts to work hours or jobs. if you don't believe obamacare's the biggest job killer in the country, look to the facts. this year, report after report has rolled in about employers restricting work hours to fewer than 30 a week. the point where the mandate kicks in. data also point to record low work week in low-wage industries. and it's low-wage industries in particular, because the people who get hammered by this, it's not the c.e.o.'s, it's not the rich. the rich have done just fine
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under president obama. it's hardworking american families, it's people who are struggling, it's young people, it's hispanics, it's african-americans, it's single moms, they're the ones who are losing their jobs or being forced to work 29 hours a week. "investors business daily" come piled a list -- compiled a list of job actions providing strong proof that obamacare's employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels. afs septembeas of september 18,r obamacare scorecard included 301 employers. the state of alabama, houston county or houston texas -- in texas, we pronounce it houston -- cut the hours of part-time employees to fewer than 30 hours per week. in california, biola university cut student work hours to a maximum of 25 per week. suspended the limit due to the employer mandate delay.
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so, now that's an interesting thing. they cut it and then when the employer mandate delay kicked in, they suspended that limit. you want to understand cause and effect, look to the behavior, look to the suffering, look to the job losses that are coming as a direct result of obamacare. florida, beil's department stores restricted part-time hours to fewer than 30 hours a week. florida's sea world entertainment -- ar any of you r taken your kids to sea world? -- they cut part-time workers from 32 hours to a maximum of 28 hours a week. that's sea world. that's a big employer. illinois, palmer place restaurant cut hours for some workers below 30 hours a week. kansas, selina family ymca cut part-time employee schedules to a maximum of 25 hours a week. new jersey, middletown township public schools cut hours for
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paraprofessionals below 30 hours per week. the great state of texas -- actually doesn't state "great state" on the list but i view that as implied -- sam houston state university limiting student work hours to 29 per week, impacting multiple job holders. michigan, auburn hills reduced hours for part-time seasonal workers to fewer than 30 per week. pennsylvania, friendship community cut part-time hours below 30 per week. and that, by the way, is a group home for adults with disabilities. so not only are the folks at friendship community working to help adults with disabilities but they're getting their hours cut. that's their penalty for making a difference in their community. michigan, meridian public
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schools cut schedules of hourly workers to fewer than 30 hours per week. arizona, arizona state university limited course loads for nontenured associate faculty members. maine, maine's subway, the subway franchisee, reduced worker hours to no more than 29 per week. new york, fingerlakes community college capped course loads for adjunct faculty. south carolina, tsunami surf shops -- i like the name of that; that's a surf shop with an attitude -- will limit workers to fewer than 30 hours per week. illinois, southern illinois university limited graduate teaching assistants to 20 hours a week. indiana, vinscends cut the hours of part-timers to 29 per week.
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california, the mexican-american opportunity foundation cut the hours of employees working up to 39 hours a week to less than 30. you want to talk about a real impact from this law? georgia, georgia military college cut the hours of adjunct faculty to below 30 per week. illinois, the subway franchisee reduced hours for hourly wage earners to below 30 per week. indiana, ball state university limited work hours for graduate assistants. new jersey, toms river will cut part-time hours. north carolina, forsythe technical community college reduced hours for adjunct faculty hours to below 30 per week. north carolina, wilkes community college reduced teaching loads to below 30 hours a week.
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and let me just go through a few of these that are much the same. texas consolidated restaurant operations, texas, dave and busters, pennsylvania, philadelphia university; virginia, kvat food stores; missouri, three rivers college; alabama, the university of alabama capped student work hours at 20 per week. you know, that -- that may, in fact, be justifiable punishment for their having beaten texas a&m. but it's still not good for the students who would like to work more than 20 hours a week. florida, brevard county. florida, bucod de peppo restaurant chain. florida, hillsborough community college. for florida, st. petersburg college. indiana, hancock county. indiana, morgan county. michigan, central michigan university. negligent, nemf trucking company.
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north carolina, henderson. ohio, white castle. we read a letter from white castle earlier today. they used to open eight new restaurants a year. they've reduced it to two. think of all the people that don't get jobs because there's no white castle open, not to mention all of the hungry college kids that at 3:00 in the morning are just craving a white castle. and they can't find one. oregon, sherry's restaurants. pen, carnegie museum. tennessee, onita special school district. tennessee, scott county school system. tennessee, stewart county school system. texas, jim's restaurant. virginia, christopher sevidez restaurant and catering. wisconsin, minaqua hazelhurst lake tomahawk school district. wisconsin, trigg supermarkets. alabama, university of north unh
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alabama. california, fat burger. now, there's truth in advertising. iowa, lee county. michigan, delta county. texas, bee county. idaho, boundary county. north carolina, rutherford county. pennsylvania, lawrence county. michigan, kinowah hills public schools. new jersey, city of burlington public schools. texas, the lion and rose british restaurant and pub. texas, m.t.c. restaurant management. utah, the millard school district. arkansas, the area agency of aging -- on aging of western arkansas. arkansas, wal-mart stores inc. anyone heard of them? increased temp share of work force to fewer than 10% from 1% to 2% before this year.
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california, c.k.e. restaurants. the list goes on and on and on. every one of those -- i read the first, i don't know, 50, 75 of the 301. it's all over the country. it's every state. now, you know a lot of folks in this body may say, "well, that doesn't impact us. what's the problem?" "you know, you serve in the senate, your salary's guaranteed no matter what." besides, we're exempted from obamacare. what's the problem? look, government is a boon business. you look at the counties surrounding washington, d.c., they are booming. why? because government's growing, growing and growing and growing. and every place that i just re read, there are men and women working and almost none of them
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are wealthy. almost none of them are fat cats. almost none of them are, as the president likes to invoke so often, millionaires and billionaires. they're 22-year-old kids, some who are recent college graduat graduates, some who dropped out of high school. but they're trying work. they'd like to make a better life and they're not able to do so, they're not able to do so because of obamacare. every one of those names -- and, you know, listening to those names, it was easy even to zone out. oh, another name, another name. those are just empty names. every one of those names, there are men and women and their kids who are suffering because of that. you've got a job, you're working hard, you're trying to provide for your family and you're told, congratulations, you're work 29 hours a week -- you're working
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29 hours a week, courtesy of the united states senate and obamacare. you want to talk about a failed law? now, in the last election, young people voted overwhelmingly for the reelection of the president, and indeed, some of my friends on the democratic side of the aisle believe that a new dawn has arrived, that young people will remain permanently democrats and -- and, thus, keep a democratic majority in the senate for time immemorial. i'm not convinced of that. but i will say, it's interesti interesting. you could not design a law to do more damage to young people than obamacare if you sat down and tried. if you sat down and said, let's really pound the living daylights out of young people, you couldn't do it. we'll talk later tonight about
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premiums that are going up, especially on young people, because one way to understand obamacare is it is a massive wealth transfer from young, healthy people to hav to everyo. so if you're young and healthy, congress looked at you, licked your chops and said, "you're for dinner." but not only that, the people who are getting their hours forcibly reduced are overwhelmingly young people. they're people who are starting their climb on the economic ladder. and if you don't get that first job, you don't get the second, you don't get the third and it impacts you for a long, long time. you know, just recently i read an article in the "wall street journal" that i think is relevant for every young person to read because it makes -- it explains how obamacare is impacting you not just for today but for decades to come. i think young people have a particularral cute desire to see -- a particularly acute desire to
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see this senate act this week to defund obamacare because it's young people paying the price. so don't take my word for it. take the "wall street journal." on september 19, 2013, the "wall street journal" had a major article that was entitled "wanted: jobs for the "new lost generation." there's now a title for your generation, if you're a young person, the lost generation. now, i mentioned, if you were trying to design a law to hurt young people, obamacare, you couldn't do better than that? well, it's produced a lost generation. here's what the "wall street journal" said. "like so many young americans, derrick weatherell is stuck. at 23 years old, he has a job but not a career. and little prospect for advancement. he has tens of thousands of dollars in student debt." and let me note. i know what student debt is
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like. it was only two years ago i paid off my student debt. i had take out loans to pay off my law school. there are a lot of young people who have student debt. i'll tell you, you combine student debt with a dead-end job or not being able to find a job at all, and it is a recipe for a lost generation. so derrick weatherall has tens of thousands in student debt but no college degree. that's becoming more and more common. people take -- take out loans to get a college degree but they don't end up finishing, they're not able to finish. he says he is more likely to move back in with his parents than to buy a home. you know, the american dream used to be everyone wanted to buy their own home, have a white picket fence, have a swing out front that your kids can play on. you know, that was our parent's dreams. that was their parent's dreams. that has been the american dream for generations. ask young people, how many of
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you feel that dream is a realistic prospect for you? it was for your parents when they were your age, and let me tell you, the policies that this congress has put in place because we're not listening to the american people are a direct cause of that. obamacare is a direct cause of that. well, mr. weatherall says he is more likely to move back in with his parents than to buy a home. and he doesn't know what he will do if his car, a 2001 chrysler sebring with well over 100,000 miles breaks down. anyone else has a car that's 12 years old with 100,000 miles that's wondering what will happen if in the morning you turn the key and nothing happens. if you have a good job, if you're climbing the economic ladder, if you have career prospects, you can deal with that. if you're stuck in a dead-end job and going paycheck to paycheck, that's a huge problem.
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quote -- "i'm kind of spinning my wheels," mr. weatherall says." we can wishfully think that eventually it's going to get better, but we really don't know, and that doesn't really help us now. there are millions of americans who feel exactly like that. mr. weatherall is a member of the lost generation, a group that is now only beginning to gain attention from many economists and employment experts. so young people should feel particularly privileged that you've coined a new term for your generation, the lost generation, because of obamacare and the policies of this administration. from oakland to orlando and across the ocean in birmingham and barcelona, young people that have come of age admits the most prolonged period of economic distress since the great depression. most, like mr. weatherall, have little memory of the financial crisis itself, which struck
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while they were still in high school, but they are all too familiar with its aftermath, the crippling recession, which made it all but impossible for many young people to get a first foothold in the job market, and the achingly slow recovery that has left the prosperity of their parents' generation out of reach, perhaps permanently. quote -- "this has been for quite a while now a hostile environment for young people," said paul taylor, executive vice president of the pew research center which has studied the impact of the recession on young people. this is all they really know. the financial crisis that struck five years ago this month opened up a sinkhole in the u.s. economy that swallowed americans of all ages and backgrounds. retirees lost life savings, families lost homes, millions of americans lost their jobs. five years later, that hole is being filled, however slowly.
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the unemployment rate is down to 7.3% amidst slow, steady job growth, although as we noted earlier, that 7.3% vastly understates it because so many have given up looking for work altogether. the stock market has rallied to new highs. home prices are rebounding. total output has surpassed its pre-recession peak. but the recovery has left many young people behind. the official unemployment rate for americans under age 25 was 15.6% in august. down from a peak of nearly 20% in 2010, but still more than two and a half times the rate of those 25 and older. a gap that has widened during the recovery. in other words, it's gotten worse for young people during the past few years. moreover, the unemployment rate ignores the hundreds of thousands of young people that have taken shelter from the weak
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job market by going to college, enrolling in training programs or otherwise sitting on the sidelines. any of a senator: all know anyone, any of y'all doing that right now, going to school, because, gosh, jobs are so lousy, maybe i will try to do something in school and maybe things will get better. if obamacare keeps hammering small businesses so they don't hire new workers, so they keep reducing hours, the prospects for things getting better are not very bright. even those lucky enough to be employed are often struggling. little more than half are working full time, compared with about 80% of the population at large and 12% earn minimum wage or less. let me repeat that. for young people that were working. little more than half are working full time. if you're a young person, if you're hoping to start a career,
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being forced into a part-time job because of obamacare is a big problem. the immediateian weekly wage for young workers has fallen more than 5% since 2007, after adjusting for inflation. it's getting worse for young people. for those 25 and older, wages have stayed roughly flat, so it's young people that are really getting hit by this. let me ask young people what urgency do you see in the united states senate? the floor of the senate filled with senators saying there is a crisis with young people, let's step forward and help them get jobs. no. you've got senators who have got very busy calendars. there are cocktail parties to go to. responding to the crisis that young people are facing, it's not high on the priority of enough members of this senate because washington isn't listening to the people. that's why the hashtag is
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trending make d.c. listen because we need to make d.c. listen. this generation's struggles have few historical precedents, at least in the u.s. so y'all should feel excited. you have made history. although unfortunately not for a good reason because the government has put policies in place that have so hammered small businesses, they have created a job market that makes life incredibly difficult for young people. the recession of the early 1980's was comparable but was followed by a rapid recovery. well, gosh, what happened in the early 1980's? president ronald reagan was elected. he implemented policies the exact opposite of this administration's policies, instead of jacking up taxes by $1.7 trillion, as this congress has done and this president has done. president reagan slashed taxes and simplified the tax code. instead of exploding government spending and the debt, president reagan restrained the growth of
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government spending. instead of unleashing regulators like locusts to destroy small businesses, president reagan restrained regulation, and the result was incredible growth. for young people who have never known anything other than these abysmal economic conditions, there is another way. every time we've implemented pro free enterprise policies of restraining taxes, restraining regulation, reining in out-of-control government spending and debt, the result has been small businesses have prospered and thrived, they have created jobs and the result has been young people you can get full-time jobs, advance towards a career and towards the american dream. the economic legacy of the great depression was a race to a large degree by world war ii and the boom that followed. no similar rebound looks likely this time around.
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what a crying shame. wouldn't it be nice if this week we forced them to change that sentence? suppose this week, washington, d.c., changed. these this week senators in this body, republicans and democrats, decided we're going to do something we haven't done in a long time. we're going to listen to the people. the earmark that i their top priority is jobs and the economy. suppose members in the u.s. senate said hot diggety, our top priority in the united states senate is the economy. suppose they same and said we're going to stand together on cloture. in the vote on friday or saturday, all 46 of us will vote against cloture because obamacare is the biggest job killer in this country, it's hurting the american people. and suppose democrats said, you know, even though we supported obamacare, we have seen how it's implemented, it's not working, it's a train wreck, the american
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people are hurting, and we're going to respond, we're going to respond to young people. the young people, by the way, that on twitter and social media we're reaching out to all the time. you know, lots of politics is real interesting, but nothing is better for a young person than a growing economy and opportunity to have a job to work to achieve the american dream. but yet "the wall street journal" says no similar rebound looks likely this time around. i'll tell you what. if we contact in an historic show of courage to defund obamacare, that will change. what evidence does exist suggests that today's young people will suffer long-term consequences. now, this is congress. you may say the job i have now is not great but it will be fine in a few years. when young people are stuck in dead-end jobs, when you don't get opportunity now, it echoes throughout that generation for
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decades. one recent study by yale university economist lisa kahn found that after the 1980's recession, new college graduates lost 6% to 7% in initial wages for every 1 percentage point in the unemployment rate. the effects shrank over time but even 15 years after graduation, those who finished college in bad economic times earn less than similar people who graduated in better times. somer in caught up at all. so this stagnant economic growth if you're a young person, i'm sorry to tell you it's not just a problem now. if you don't see the senate finally listening to the american people, finally working to bring back economic growth, the stagnant economic opportunities we have right now are likely to haunt the lost generation of young people for decades to come. there is an urgency that should have this senate floor packed.
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you know what, a lot of men and women in this body have kids who are in that generation, and we should be horrified, we should be outraged at the future of young people it jeopardized. mr. weatherall, the son of an electrician, grew up in imperial missouri, a very small town south of st. louis, where job opportunities were limited even when the economy was strong, which it wasn't when he graduated in high school in 2008. he enrolled at the university of missouri st. louis, juggled a full course load at a full-time job at a local grocery store and tracked his near constant commitments on a dry erase board in his room. eventually, the schedule wore him down. he withdrew from school in 2011, although he says he still plans to complete his degree. he owes $27,000 in student debt, roughly his annual pre-tax
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earnings, with three semesters still to go. mr. weatherall is better than many of his peers, better off than many of his peers. he works at schnuck's, a locally owned supermarket chain, where he is a union member, and by the way, that is one of the reasons why so many unions that supported obamacare are turning on it now. he receives health benefits and is paid $12.65 an hour. that is enough to cover $400 in monthly rent and $200 in student loan payments, but it leaves little left over for an emergency fund, let alone retirement savings. how many young people right now are able to save for retirement? that's something else that will echo for decades because savings when you're young are most important for retirement because through compounding interest, they can grow over the years.
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quote -- "it's kind of unsettling not being able to put anything away," says mr. weatherall, a political science major. even more unsettling, mr. weatherall has noticed that more and more of his co-workers have college degrees. some from well-regarded colleges like washington university. what he had intended as a job to help pay his way through college has now turned into a destination for college graduates. quote -- "i think a lot about whether i'm ahead or behind," he says. "i really hope i'm not ahead." what does that say when what used to be a part-time job that would help people pay their way through school becomes a destination for college graduates. you know, my dad was working his way through the university of texas as a dishwasher and then a
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cook. that job is what let him get the education. how different it would have been if after he had gotten his degree he had shown up and they said let's start washing dishes. americans aren't the only ones asking such questions. i'm going to pause in this article, because it's 8:00 right now. and i mentioned before that heidi and i are blessed to have two little girls, caroline and katherine. caroline is 5, katherine's 2. i love my daughters with all my heart. they are the joys of my life. i will tell you the hardest aspect of public service is not someone saying something mean about you in the press. the hardest aspect of public service is being away from those
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little precious angels, coming up here to d.c. i'll tell you, it is -- it breaks your heart on monday mornings when you walk out of the house and one girl grabs one leg, one girl grabs the other, and they say don't leave, daddy. well, right now caroline and katherine are both at home getting ready to go to bed. and they both turned on the television. they're both watching c-span. i will confess caroline and katherine don't usually watch c-span. there are far too few animated features. because the girls are watching, heidi is watching with them, i want to take an opportunity, an opportunity i don't usually have when i'm in d.c. to read them a


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