Skip to main content

tv   Senate Session  CSPAN  April 13, 2015 2:00pm-5:01pm EDT

2:00 pm
5:30 vote scheduled on a district court nomination. also possible the senate could return two, on an antihuman trafficking measure after negotiations fell apart a few weeks ago because of abortion language in the bill. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. immortal invisible god only wise in light inaccessible, you are hidden from our eyes.
2:01 pm
we're grateful that we can turn to you throughout life's seasons, for you are the source of our hope for the years to come. lord in a world of change and decay, you remain the same yesterday, today and forever. strengthen our lawmakers with your spirit and inspire them with your precepts. may they always place their confidence in you, for your steadfast love and faithfulness sustain us. undergrid america with a foundation of right living that
2:02 pm
exalts a nation, as you deliver us from the evils that bring national decline. surround us all with the shield of your divine favor. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
2:03 pm
the presiding officer: the senate will receive a message from the house of representatives. the majority secretary: mr. president, a message from the house of representatives. the presiding officer: mr. clerk. the house reading clerk: i have been directed by the house of representatives to inform the senate that the house has passed house concurrent resolution 27, a concurrent resolution establishing the budget for the united states government for fiscal year 2016, and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017- 2025, in which the
2:04 pm
concurrence of the senate is requested. the presiding officer: the message will be received. the democratic leader. mr. reid: another day another report highlighting how obamacare is helping americans. today's proof comes from a gallup poll which finds that nine out of ten americans report having health insurance. here are a few excerpts from an associated press story about this poll. underlining a change across the nation nearly nine out of ten adults now say they have health insurance, according to this extensive survey which was released today. a gallup poll found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9% for the first three months of this year the lowest level since the survey began its tracking. coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall. the affordable care act has three major objectives --
2:05 pm
increased coverage, slower rate of increase in costs and improved health. the first one is clearly a win said dan winner's research for the poll. coverage is increasing. there is no question about it. on balance, it is estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since the fall of 2013 when the law's first open enrollment season was about to begin. the survey also found that hispanic saw the biggest coverage gains of any ethnic or racial group. at a time when republicans are very keenly trying to court the hispanic vote, i will repeat that said mr. winters. at a time when the republicans are very keenly trying to court the hispanic vote, a large chunk of hispanics are gaining insurance via the affordable care act. recent gains in coverage have benefited people up and down the income ladder, but the most notable improvement has been
2:06 pm
among those making less than $36,000 a year, a group that traditionally struggled to get and keep health insurance. mr. president, a little short comment on this. you know, when we have people who make less than $36,000 a year have insurance coverage, it saves us money. they're not having to go to their primary care physician which is an emergency room, the highest cost of health care delivery of anything within the united states, so this is really really, really very good news for america. obamacare is working. more and more evidence is mounting every day. so it's time we stop trying to destroy the law that is helping millions and millions of americans. mr. president, let's talk a little bit about loretta lynch. we have now passed the first 100 days of the republican-controlled senate. we all remember the lofty promises made by the republican leader and his party before they assumed party but we're still struggling to finish two issues that should have been resolved
2:07 pm
weeks ago. democrats have been ready to move forward on both the loretta lynch nomination and the so-called doc fix. this doc fix that we're going to talk about a little later is so important, not only for the doctors but also for their patients. medicare is an important part of our health care delivery system and it really benefits older americans. today marks though, the 157th day since president obama first nominated loretta lynch as attorney general. for more than five months, democrats have been ready to take up and confirm loretta lynch's nomination, but in november of last year -- back in november of last year, after she was first nominated the republican leader said -- quote -- -- miss lynch will receive fair consideration by the senate and her nomination should be considered in the new congress through regular order." i'm not making this up. this is what the republican leader said. i quote it verbatim.
2:08 pm
even though democrats were ready to move the nomination before we -- before the elections there were some republicans that said we would like a little more time to take a look at her and we agreed to that. we based this upon what the republican leader said, that she would receive fair consideration by the senate. well that hasn't happened. january came and went, and loretta lynch's nomination never got a confirmation vote on the floor. democrats were ready to confirm a new attorney general but republicans weren't and aren't. february and march flew by and republicans still aren't ready. now we're halfway through april and once again senate democrats are ready and willing to confirm the new attorney general but the republicans are not. miss lynch has a spotless record. no one can question her integrity, her background, and there's no question that she shouldn't have to wait any longer. mr. president, let's spend a little bit of time talking about the sustainable growth rate, the doc fix or the s.g.r. before the senate recessed for
2:09 pm
the easter break republicans were unable to agree on how to prevent a physician pay cut. we were ready to proceed and last night -- on the last night we were here. we said when we come back, we still want to move this forward. we want three simple amendments, and we still feel the same way. we're willing not only to have those amendments, but we will give a very, very short time agreement on each one of them. the republican leader said when the bills come to the floor he wants to have amendments. we don't want to amend this bill to death. we want three simple amendments. we said that the night we were here closing the senate for the easter recess, and we say it again. i wish republicans would have joined us years ago in our efforts to repeal this faulty law, but they didn't do that. but regardless of the history we have an urgent need before us today to get this bill done. each day that passes without doing this s.g.r., this sustainable growth rate, to get rid of it is basically what we're doing, would be a good day for america and it also would
2:10 pm
be a good day for america if we can confirm loretta lynch. each day that passes without her confirmation without a doc fix is just another example of republicans' inability to govern. mr. president, would you announce the business of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, there will now be a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. under the previous order the veto message to accompany s.j. res. 8 is considered as having been read and it will be printed in the record and spread in full upon the journal. mr. hatch: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president i'd like to take a few minutes once again to talk about the ongoing effort here in congress to replace the medicare sustainable growth rate or s.g.r. formula. as we all know, s.g.r. has been a problem pretty much since its inception. members of both parties are tired of passing temporary
2:11 pm
s.g.r. patches that have usually been cobbled together at the last minute behind closed doors. this constant, seemingly unending cycle has only grown more tiresome as the years have gone by. that's why a little over two years ago a group of leaders in both the house and the senate set out to fix this problem once and for all. i was part of this effort, mr. president. i was joined in the senate side by former finance committee chairman max baucus. together senator baucus and i worked with the leaders on the house energy and commerce and ways and means committees to craft legislation that would repeal and replace the s.g.r. with an improved payment system that rewards quality efficiency and innovation. while many critics deemed our efforts a lost cause we introduced our bill in late 2013 and got it reported out of the finance committee on a voice vote. that same legislation formed the basis of the s.g.r. bill that passed overwhelmingly in the
2:12 pm
house with 392 votes at the end of march. now the bill is before the senate. it is my hope that we will act quickly to pass this bipartisan, bicameral legislation and send it to the president's desk as soon as possible. this s.g.r. bill is historic for a number of reasons. first of all it demonstrates what congress is truly capable of when members work together, and while that type of cooperation used to be commonplace around here, it has in recent years been in short supply. the bill also represents a step forward in the effort to reform our nation's entitlement programs. the bill contains bipartisan reforms to the medicare program and it's not limited to fixing the broken s.g.r. system. to go along with the permanent s.g.r. fix the bill includes a meaningful down payment on medicare reform without any accompanying tax hikes. these reforms include a limitation on so-called medigap
2:13 pm
first dollar coverage, more robust means testing for medicare parts b and d and program integrity provisions that will strengthen medicare's ability to fight fraud. i'm aware that these are not transformative reforms and that much more work will be necessary to put medicare, not to mention our other entitlement programs, on a more sustainable trajectory. however, any senators, who like me, have been clamoring for entitlement reforms should welcome these changes. after all for years the idea of bipartisan medicare reforms seemed at least far-fetched. president obama and his allies here in congress have stated repeatedly that before they'd consider changes to our safety net programs, republicans would have to agree to massive tax hikes, but here we are just one senate vote away from enacting meaningful and bipartisan medicare reforms into law. of course, as i said last month
2:14 pm
before the house vote, this bill is not perfect. anyone who is determined to vote no could likely dig through the bill and find a reason to do so. i have my own thoughts as to how i'd like to improve the bill, but let's be honest. while i've only been in the senate for 38 years or so, i don't remember voting on many perfect bills particularly not on a subject matter this complex and under a divided government. so while i understand the impulse that some may have to hold out for a better, more ideal solution to the s.g.r. problem, i think it would be a grave mistake to pass up this bipartisan opportunity we have before us now. as i see it, we have two options. we can hold out for a better bill one that satisfies every demand and subject ourselves to many more years of the last-minute, time-consuming s.g.r. patches that are loathed by everyone in congress and everyone in the health care industry or we can pass the bipartisan bicameral bill we
2:15 pm
have before us now fixing the s.g.r. problem once and for all and setting the stage for future entitlement reform. it should be pretty clear where i stand mr. president. this is a good bill, and it's coming at the right time. i want to commend the leaders in the house from both parties that worked so hard to reach a deal not to this legislation and to pass it with such an overwhelming consensus. i know it wasn't easy. it is now up to us here in the senate. let's get this done the president. i hope all of my colleagues will join me in supporting the gathering bill wetland with -- s.g.r. bill and with that i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
2:16 pm
2:17 pm
quorum call:
2:18 pm
2:19 pm
2:20 pm
2:21 pm
2:22 pm
2:23 pm
2:24 pm
2:25 pm
2:26 pm
2:27 pm
2:28 pm
2:29 pm
2:30 pm
2:31 pm
2:32 pm
2:33 pm
quorum call:
2:34 pm
2:35 pm
2:36 pm
you you you go you us
2:37 pm
2:38 pm
2:39 pm
2:40 pm
2:41 pm
2:42 pm
2:43 pm
2:44 pm
mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president i ask consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: thank you mr. president. mr. president, over the course of the easter recess i went to meet with the president of honduras president her hernandez -- president hernandez about the limited albeit progress that his country is making against crime as well as all the drugs that are coming in. i had gone to honduras with our
2:45 pm
four-star marine general general kelley, the commander of united states southern command and between the u.s. military and the coast guard, we have been successful. as a matter of fact, i even went on some simulated drug interdictions out in the crabbian off of key west -- out in the caribbean off of key west. they showed me how one coast guard fast boat can interdict a drug smuggler fast boat. ans basically they shoot out the engines. they can do that from another fast boat or they can do that from a helicopter. that has had an effect. there are less drugs coming out of south america going into honduras, which is one of the three central american countries
2:46 pm
that had become so prime for the drug trade. they come in in big shipments into honduras, el salvador, guatemala. then they break them down into much smaller packets and go through this very efficient distribution system that goes north through the rest of central america and into mexico and from there on up to the united states. it's hard to catch them when there are the much smaller packets of cocaine going north. and, therefore we really made an effort to assist the three central american countries -- guatemala, el salvador, and honduras.
2:47 pm
needless to say there's a lot of corruption in the governments, the local police of all of those three countries and, as a result, the drug lords find it fairly easy pickins to buy off people and buy off gums. so president hernandez came into office wanting to really make a difference. he started doing some shows of force. he's worked with general kelley on this. but the fact is that it is still a very violent country with not only the drug trade but also human trafficking. but the trends are in the right direction. a year ago honduras was the murder capital of the world.
2:48 pm
it was about 86 murders per 100,000 of population. they have cut that down to about 66 per 100,000 of population still very, very high. but the trefnedz trend is in the right direction. and so i want to commend president hernandez. i want to commend the first lady of the country. they have been trying to help their country with its economy so that the extreme poverty that is so evident in that part of the world is not a caldron bubbling that is ripe for corruption and for paying off people to transport the drugs. in addition, of course, there's
2:49 pm
the human trafficking. there's part of it for the sex slaves and that's a trade that often parents sending their children north thinking they will have a better life and the young girls are just brutally treated and ultimately forced into prostitution. but part of it is also because of the poverty the hopelessness of the parents that their children have no future, and they are willing to turn, after paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a human trafficker trafficker they're willing to turn their children over to a coyote to transport those children to the north. now, some of them do make it -- don't make it.
2:50 pm
the and it is true -- and it is true. some of the reforms that the hernandez government have been putting in place have lessened the migration of these young. but there's a lot more to do. and that's where i would commend the senate to take a look at the administration's request for central america. they call it -- it's got a name something like progress for alliance. it's about a billion dollar appropriations request that will help with the economic development, the medical care in that very poor region of the world. and if the congress will approve that request i think we will continue to see the fruits of our labors, a very positive
2:51 pm
outcome. as long as there is such a difference between the economic elites and the very poor huge majority that are very poor, we're always going to have those problems. but at least we are seeing the steps in the right direction. while i was there our ambassador asked me in the assembled press to announce that in another week the naval hospital ship, the comfort, will be coming anchoring off the coast of honduras and for one week will offer the medical services of navy doctors and nurses and a whole host of private doctors and nurses from
2:52 pm
this country that are volunteering their time to come down and help with the medical attention that is so desperately needed in that part of the world. mr. president, i commend the senate that we seriously consider favorably the request of the administration for this billion-dollar request into central america. at the end of the day it's going to lessen the drug trade going north through those countries and stop the family deprivation -- lessen the family deprivation of which they would dare risk their children to be sent north with a coyote. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
2:53 pm
2:54 pm
2:55 pm
2:56 pm
2:57 pm
2:58 pm
2:59 pm
3:00 pm
quorum call:
3:01 pm
3:02 pm
3:03 pm
3:04 pm
3:05 pm
3:06 pm
3:07 pm
3:08 pm
3:09 pm
3:10 pm
3:11 pm
3:12 pm
3:13 pm
3:14 pm
3:15 pm
un quorum call:
3:16 pm
3:17 pm
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
3:21 pm
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
3:24 pm
3:25 pm
3:26 pm
3:27 pm
3:28 pm
3:29 pm
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you madam president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you madam president. my home of cleveland ohio, is one of our nation's historic great centers of industry, our manufacturing base helped to build our country's infrastructure to win world war ii to spur our economy to new heights in the 20th century. we're not only home to great makers, we're home to great creators as well. we're the home of rock 'n' roll, the rock 'n' roll hall of fame
3:30 pm
is downtown cleveland. of great athletes and authors people like jesse owens and it. -- and toni morrison, a few hours to the west. and we're home to great art. cleveland is the home to the nasa designated great lakes science center. and one of the largest and best art museums not just in the united states but in the world the cleveland museum of art. in the early 1900's, midwest cities saw cultural explosions. cities were prospering. government and business leaders alike sought to harness that new wealth to build livable world-class cities. museums were established across the midwest, that's why cities like cincinnati and of course cleveland, cities that may not have been the nation's largest when you look at dayton young township and toledo but were cities that were prosperous,
3:31 pm
created great products, great wealth and had huge contributions to start these cultural centers. that's why ohio has -- is one of the leading states in the nation of locations for art for good art museums and pretty much all of our major cities. arm museums were status symbols, in many ways they were the sports arenas of the early 20th century. it was in climate the cleveland museum of art was established 99 years ago opening in june, 1916. we mark last year and the next couple of years the hundredth anniversary of the cleveland city club and the 100th anniversary of the cleveland orchestra also. so much happened in that decade in cleveland ohio and cities like it across the country. the original marble neoclassic building was an instant icon and a signal to the world that cleveland would take its place as a world-class city city and a
3:32 pm
center for the arts. a hundred years later the cleveland museum of art is thriving has a permanent collection that is world renowned it possesses a deep commitment to the local community. under the direction -- the leadership of director william grizz wall and steven kenner in the museum is expanding in every direction working to engage the community in using new technologies to educate visitors. i had the privilege of visiting the art museum in the last week or so, talking with dr. griswold looking at the new africa exhibit on tour that has been collected for cleveland and got a chance to see a good bit of this beautiful museum. i've been many times each time i go i come away with a greater appreciation for the institution, the art the curators the collectors, the people who work there. dr. griswold shared with me that kay he was appointed as director, he was with some european friends who told him
3:33 pm
the cleveland museum of art was their favorite art museum in the entire world. the museum's recently completed $350 million expansion and renovation will better integrate the museum with the surrounding community. it's transformed the museum spaces prepared this institution to inspire and educate ohioans for the next hundred years. it beckons young people and students many low-income students in the immediate area with a few square miles around the museum to come visit and learn about our cultural heritage and look to the future. when i met with dr. griswold, he -- back up for a moment. this capital improvement was the largest capital improvement any museum in ohio history supported some 1,100 lowell jobs. the project injected more than $360 million direct cannily into our state's economy, the impact will be felt for years to come.
3:34 pm
a it approaches the centennial celebrations next year, the cleveland museum of airport will continue to attract visitors no from cuyahoga county and around the world. 2013, 600,000 people visited that museum, more than a third of them were outside of ohio. these -- more than heavy million visitors were responsible for $80 million in consumer spending in the city. the first director, frederick alan whiting believed a museum should serve not as an ivory tower but an educational institution. he wanted to bring art to people not just into the museum. the museum established its first education department, they held in 1919 the first annual exhibition of cleveland artists and craftsmen, became money as the may show and showcased local artists for the next 73 years. dr. griswold continues that tradition of community engagement. when i let with him he told me leaders of cultural institutions
3:35 pm
have a responsibility to partnership in my stay's contribution. 's -- participate in the city's transformation. they've elevated the education and interpretation department. education the museum is aimed at a general audience, not just art buffs and historians. baron threatally, my sister-in-law teaches -- has headed the art history department at case western reserve university. she talks to -- katherine talks to me about integrated case is in the art history department with that museum. it's a classroom for students to a classroom for the whole community beyond case. studies show a high concentration of the arts in communities, leads to higher civic engagement. students who take art classes take dance lessons generally do better in school. dr. griswold and his team are in the forefront of the use of
3:36 pm
technology to educate and to connect visitors with the museum's collections. the cleveland art museum also home to the country's largest multitouch screen, the collection wall. this huge wall stands at 40 square feet and features more than 4,100 works of art from the museum's collection. the museum has -- to get a feel for the reach and the breadlet of a museum of this stature in one of our nation's great cities the museum has 20 curators on staff it recruits for these positions around the world. we have in cleveland the cleveland institute of art, we have great universities, when it comes time to look for a new curator, the cleveland art museum however they look worldwide. the museum's collection includes 45,000 objects stance nearly,, spans nearly 6,000 years of history. this february, the museum's art and identity in west africa exhibit opened after five years of work by curators, features
3:37 pm
170 objects from more than 60 collections around the world. we know that strong communities require strong cultural institutions. from the cleveland institute of music to the fine arts garden to the botanical gardens to the cleveland museum of airport cleft continues to enrich our state. thanks to the art museum, the cleveland museum of art and dr. griswold relatively new on the job for their contributions his to our community. i ask unanimous consent for the following remarks to be a different place in the world. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: madam president, let me start with a story. more than 15 years ago a friend and i -- i met with friends, i flew to south texas at my own expense. i wanted to see how the north american free trade agreement was working. my first year in congress 20
3:38 pm
plus years ago in the house of representatives i helped to lead the opposition to the north american free trade agreement i stood up to a president of my own party, president clinton who i think was wrong on the north american free trade agreement, since then i've disagreed with president bush, a president not of my party on his trade policy. and i wanted to see four or five years after nafta was implemented what it looked like what went on along the u.s.-mexican border. so as i said i flew to south texas, rented a car with a couple friends went into mexico. here's what i found. i walked into a neighborhood where thousands of workers lived, workers who were working in formerly u.s. plants that because of nafta had crossed the river and were relocated in mexico. some areas called maquilladoras. these were american plants relocated to mexico producing with very low-income workers and selling with no environmental and labor standards and selling
3:39 pm
those products back in the united states. it's a -- 20th century-21st century way of doing business for far too many companies. unknown in human history to my knowledge have so many companies as they have in the united states incorporated their business plans where they shut down production in sandusky or mansfield, ohio and moved to china and sell those products back into the united states. so i wanted to see wait looked like. as i walked through this neighborhood where thousands of workers live, very abject, poor conditions, these were workers working for most cases american companies south of the border in mexico at very low wages. i walked through these neighborhoods, i saw people living in shacks, these shacks were often made of packing materials. maybe wooden crates from products that had been shipped in for assembly at these plants cardboard boxes often with the names of the companies on those cardboard boxes.
3:40 pm
so i walked through the neighborhood i saw kind of a meandering through the neighborhood this ditch -- these ditches filled with industrial and human waste. who knows what was in those ditches. children playing on -- nearby, children walking across, jumping across the ditches sometimes playing far too near these ditches with this -- these toxicsways. the american medical association those days called that area by the -- in mexico across from the u.s., across the rio grande river, the most toxic place in north america. then i wept to an auto plant. it was a new auto plant. it looked a lot like a u.s. auto plant. it was new, it was modern, newer many in the united states. the workers were working hard, the machines were new the floors were clean there was one difference between the u.s. auto plant a plant at at evonne lake or lorain, ohio,
3:41 pm
between the u.s. -- you know what the difference was the difference was the mexican auto plant had no parking lot because the workers in mexico weren't paid enough to buy the cars they make. or go halfway around the world. go to china and go to an apple plant, a -- apple has hired a chinese contractor. an apple plant and the workers don't make enough no those plants to buy the iphones they make. or go some bangladesh and a designer clothing factory and -- an apparel factory and the workers don't make enough to buy the apparel they make or go to this side of the globe and go to colombia and go to a place a farm where they're growing cut flowers. the workers don't make enough to buy for their girlfriends and wives enough for valentine's day, they don't make enough to buy the cut flowers they're growing for americans. that's what's happened around
3:42 pm
the world. you see the same things. a race to the mom. almost anywhere that the united states passes trade agreements, we see workers overseas making products they can't afford for themselves. these trade agreements would be different if workers were paid enough that they began to make products made in dayton, ohio or in troy, ohio. instead, these workers can't afford to buy the products they're making. that's what our trade deals force american workers to compete with. jobs that pay pennies an hour, they lead to a downward wage spiral across the globe. why do he want most people in this gallery most in this country unless they're in the top 5% or 10% judge haven't they gotten a raise? the middle class hasn't seen the incomes go up. even though companies are more profitable executives pay themselves higher bonuses but the middle-class wages have been stagnant partly because of these
3:43 pm
trade agreements. 35 partly because my friends on the other side of the aisle won't let us fix the tax code to where if you shut down in the united states and you get a tax break, american companies get a tax break for shutting down production in this country and moving it overseas and partly because of trade policy. the reason people don't get raises a big reason is because of a trade policy and a tax policy that far too many politicians in this body have allowed to max, madam president -- to happen. madam president, that's why we can't afford another agreement like the trans-pacific partnership. we can't allow today a fast track. the last thing we need is another nafta the north american free trade agreement. we don't need a trade deal negotiated in secret and rushed -- hence the term fast track -- with no amendments no real oversight no access to reading the text of this body. it would -- it would intrigue
3:44 pm
people people if they knew it is harder forea senator or a senator's staff to get the opportunity to read the trans-pacific partnership this newly negotiated trade deal, harder for us to get access to read that than it is to read about the iran sanctions or the c.i.a. report or a classified department from the department of defense. it's actually harder to get access to the trans-pacific partnership, to trade agreement than it is to national defense and national security concerns. what are they trying to hide? why would that be? i've spent much of the last couple of weeks talking with workers and businesses around ohio. i met with workers like darryl parker a former worker at g.r. steel's warren, ohio plant former president of the steelworkers' local. the plant has a proud history to 1912. closed three years ago, it was the fourth largest flat rolled steelmaker in america.
3:45 pm
it didn't close because of performance. these are some of the most productive workers in the world. it was unfair trade. i met with a former american standard worker. vinny lost his job in 2007 when the plant moved to mexico. we can't allow this to continue. we have no business passing fast track, to fast track jobs out of this country to fast track weaker environmental rules and worker safety rules. trade policy should ensure a level playing field for all companies competing in a global economy. instead, our trade policies unfair to small businesses, it's unfair to, were, it's -- to workers it's unfair to communities where plants shut down one after another. the communities then lay off teachers, they lay off firefighters they lay off police officers, they lay off municipal wall garbage collection workers because their tax base has shrunk because their jobs have gone overseas.
3:46 pm
when we face stagnating wages increasing middle class insecurity rising inequality at home. corporate profits are up, c.e.o. pays reached record levels. productivity of workers is higher. but fundamentally the workers aren't sharing in the wealth they've created for their employers. the reason our economy works so well after world war ii is as productivity went up, profits went up, wages went up. but instead since -- since the assault on organized labor on trade unions and the decline of unionization in this country productivity continues to go up profits continue to go up, executive compensation and bonuses continue to skyrocket yet wages have stayed flat and most americans have not had a wage increase. last year wall street -- get this, wall street bonuses just the bonuses on wall street were double -- were double -- what all minimum-wage workers in the country combined earned. say that again. wall street bonuses mostly
3:47 pm
their christmas bonuses but whenever they're given, wall street bonuses together pretty much in one city, wall street bonuses were double what you will athe manipulate-wage workers in the country made combined. we need -- minimum wage-workers in the country made combined. we need to invest workers with paid sick and family leave with equal pay for equal work. we need to invest in infrastructure. we know what's happened particularly in my state when state government has cut support for local communities. we know what happens to our highways, we know what happens to our streets, we know what happens to our bridges. and we know fundamentally that trade done right creates prosperity. i want trade. i want more of it. i want -- i think ohioans want trade. but we want trade that provides provides -- that builds an onramp for workerrers and lifts americans from poverty and around the world. earlier this month i visited the ford plant near cleveland in
3:48 pm
brook park, ohio. ford brought its manufacturing ofy quo boost enengines back from spain and brought 450 new jobs to cleveland. some companies like ford are beginning to re-shore american jobs because they know our workers are skilled and efficient. but auto companies need protections from foreign governments' unfair trade practices. while i disagree with president obama on trade promotion authority, fast-track and on trans-pacific partnership agreement, i give him credit for being more aggressive than president bush and president clinton on enforcing trade rules and trade laws. it makes a difference in helping to create jobs. trade agreements must include provisions protecting our workers and our companies from foreign governments that artificially manipulate their currency. japan, for an example has a history of shutting out american auto companies and manipulating its currency to benefit their own manufacturers and this policy has worked for japan not for us. in 2013 for every -- get this,
3:49 pm
for everyone car the u.s. sold to japan we imported cars from japan. that doesn't sound like a level playing field where our car companies -- where cars made by american workers get an opportunity to sell in -- into japan. korea not much different. too much is at stake. our capacity to outcompete and outinnovate our competitors depends on our capacity to outmanufacture them. that means trade policies that create opportunities for workers workers, for small businesses to earn a living wage and to join the middle class. i urge my colleagues to demand increased transparency in this process. i urge all of us to say no to a deal that shortchanges our workers and companies and does not ensure a level playing field. we can't allow another trade deal. we had nafta we had pntr with china, we had cafta we had south korea, we had colombia. one trade agreement after another sells out our workers and ships jobs overseas.
3:50 pm
it's time for a very different trade policy. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:51 pm
quorum call:
3:52 pm
3:53 pm
3:54 pm
3:55 pm
3:56 pm
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
4:01 pm
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
quorum call: quorum quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. booker: i appreciate the senator from my grandmother's home state of iowa. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are this a quorum call. mr. booker: if it's okay, i will loo toik ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without
4:06 pm
objection. mr. booker: thank you very much. madam president i rise today with some excitement that i get to tell a story that is in america, thank god a common story, but this take on this common story also has its difficulties. this story is, in fact, a love story. the first time that jim obergofeel met the love of his life john arthur, neither of them were swept off their feet. like a lot of couples they met at a bar though through mutual friends. they met then a second time, but the sparks didn't really fly then either. it wasn't until a few months later that they met for the third time a at a new year's eve party, and this time they fell in love. jim and john like to joke that theirs was a story of love at
4:07 pm
third sight. following the new year's eve party, john and jim began building their lives together in cincinnati ohio. the next 20 years they spent it doing so many of the things that connected couples do. they said "i love you" for the first time. they saidthey had their first fight but their brondz bond grew and grew and this incredible couple moved in together buying their first home buying another home. working together, they moved from job to job but stayed together trasming, making friends, becoming involved with their community. they built a life of love together. jim and john's love story is a familiar one. they crossed that familiar
4:08 pm
relationship milestone and faced so many of the same probing questions many of us who are single often get: why aren't you married? have you thought about getting married? hey, what about marriage? well, of course, they had thought about marriage. their bond was that strong. they were so deeply in love and committed, but their response, unfortunately, was that they had thought of it, but they wanted it to actually mean something legally. they wanted it to be right and just. they wanted their major to be affirmed before all for it to have the depth and the meaning of law. they wanted it to be recognized just like it was for other american citizens. they wanted that ideal deep in our country's mayor country's heritage
4:09 pm
flowing through all of our roots that they together as a couple, could have a life, could have liberty, and could pursue their happiness. well for them, the time of equality and freedom in our country for all of us who see that ideal and are moved by it, it was for them at that time and for all of us seemingly far off. but i tell you this. what i love about america is that you cannot slow down the dream of freedom and equality. it marches forward. we were founded with this ideal and this is freedom's most fertile ground. look at our history and you see all the attempts to stop these fundamental ideals of freedom and equality under the law. people and tire rants with
4:10 pm
brutality -- with people and tyrants withtyrantswith brutality try to assassinate its coacts. but just at the statue of freedom, freedom rises and it will come. jim and john watched the progress march in our country as so many of us did with encouragement slowlily -- painfully slowly but steadily it marched forward. and as they watched and waited, they went on living their lives of love together. almost 20 years their union their bond has committed people with unconditional love. unfortunately, though, john began having problems walking and after months of tests the doctors appointments, the prodding and the probing john was diagnosed with a.l.s.
4:11 pm
the typical prognosis for a patient with a.l.s. is two and a half to five years. well jim became john's primary caregiver. he leapt up. he had unconditional love, and there were definitely trying times. but he said he considered it a privilege -- privilege -- to care for his life's love. two years after john's diagnosis in 2013, he was receiving who hospice care and confined to a bed in a hospital -- the hospital bed in their cincinnati home when the supreme court ruled in favor of edith windsor declaring that the defense of marriage act was unconstitutional and setting the stage for an even greater national movement towards marriage equality, setting the
4:12 pm
stage after years of struggle and fights and sacrifice for equal rights, for equality under the law for love to be affirmed in marriage between two americans, to be affirmed and equally recognized, not condemned, not banned, not maybe legal. and so son on a warm day in june, after spending 20 years of love, of commitment, of unconditional bonding they built a life together. it was at this moment that jim leaned over to john sitting there in his hospital bed. he kissed him and proposed. let's get married. because ohio has yet to recognize marriage equality and with john confined to his bed this was going to be
4:13 pm
challenging. their options were limited. transporting john to a state that would recognize their marriage would require a special medically equipped airplane, and it would require a lot of money they did not have. jim asked for ideas on facebook and people came forward unprompted. jim and john's friends raised $13,000 to cover the entire cost of a specially chartered medical plane. a few weeks later jim john, and john's aunt paulette, who became ordained to perform the service boarded a plane in ohio that took off and landed nearby in maryland. in this state they recognized marriage equality. in this state they recognized the love of two american citizens. and for seven and a half minutes
4:14 pm
on the tarmac in baltimore baltimore-washington international airport john and jim, two americans had their wedding. sitting on the tarmac, jim holding his partner of 20 years' hands, they held hands and even though one lacked dexterity and strength they held onto each other, and jim said this to john: "we met for the first time. my life didn't change. your life didn't change. we met a second time. still nothing changed. then we met a third time and everything changed. as you recently said, it was love at third sight. and for the past 20 years six months and 11 days, it's been
4:15 pm
love at every sight. in a cramped medical airplane, john's aunt began the formal vows. she started to say quks i. "take each other's hands" but realizing they had never let go of each other's hands. they exchanged their rings jim helping john place the ring on his own finger. and after the ceremony, they left that maryland tarmac to fly back. jim and john arrived home to the realities of a disease like a.l.s. john was dying. and while they had taken their eternal vows together, while their marriage was affirmed by love affirmed by this
4:16 pm
unbreakable commitment, affirmed by loving family and by friends affirmed legally by the state of maryland, their marriage was disavowed by their home state the state that john would eventually die in. the men though, at this time decided to work with a civil rights attorney who feared that absent their action on their part john's death certificate would list him as "unmarried" an assault on the dignity of two great men, house and senate -- his life with his partner 20 years of commitment and ultimate affirmation of their years their marriage would mean nothing according to the government on this document, the last documentation of john's life this insult, his love, his life of love of meaningful commitment and bond, it would be denied on this paper by their government.
4:17 pm
denied negated disallowed by his government. this man married to the love of his life would die in his home, in his state listed on that final government document as "single." with their attorney, the men filed a lawsuit to have john and jim's marriage legally recognized in ohio. a week and a half after their marriage a district judge in ohio ruled to recognize their marriage but that was just the start of a long legal fight. in the last months of john's life, jim worked with the attorney to continue the fight for recognize -- recognition of their citizenship rights as americans. people would ask jim why when your husband is dying would you use the last days together to fight this, to do this? jim's response was simple: why not? jim could not think of any
4:18 pm
better way to honor his husband to live up to their vows, to demonstrate the power of their love the power of their commitment the power of love in our world. a little over three months after their marriage, the inevitable eventually arrived. john passed away at the young age of 48. amid his overwhelming grief jim found a small but substantive source of solace. on john's death certificate he was listed as married with jim's name listed as his surviving spouse. the state of ohio, though, appealed the decision to list john as married. their government went to court to strip he and his beloved of this recognition and they won. with state officials making it their mission to change john arthur's death certificate.
4:19 pm
jim now stands as the named plaintiff in an appeal to the united states supreme court appealing to the highest court in the land to have their citizenship rights recognized, their love recognized, their vow and commitment be worthy of recognized that they are full american citizens. they joined with cases from three other states also seeking that affirmation of citizenship of equality under the law. together all these cases have come to represent the cause paving the way for marriage equality to become a reality in our nation. jim and john's story is moving, as their case is being heard in a building with emblazoned on its side the highest ideal of
4:20 pm
our land: equality under the law. their story is heartbreaking. it is inspiring. unfortunately, in our nation right now it is all too common. this story of theirs about the persistent unyielding, indefatigueable love conquering indifference about our ideals of equality conquering inequality in our country this call of their hearts for each other reflects the larger cause for our country for itself, for us to live our truth. it calls that question forward: what kind of country will we be? will we be the nation of love and freedom and equality? will we be the nation that every single generation has had people standing up for these ideals,
4:21 pm
people pushing to march forward for our country these ideals? this is not a question about sexual orientation or race or gender. it is a question about whether our country will live up to the eye dpeels -- ideals we say every time we pledge allegiance to our flag: liberty and justice for all. will we have equality under the law or will we tolerate a government that denies some citizens' fundamental rights while granting them to others? this is the question that is being called. it's a question that echoes throughout our history. it is sojourner truth standing in akron ohio at the women's convention calling the question, ain't i a woman? it's a question by family members i heard standing strong saying defiantly, i am a man. i too am american citizens
4:22 pm
proclaiming those words generation after generation as strained as chains, fought jim crow. it is what susan b. anthony said when she called the truth of our country. she said it's we the people, not we the white male citizens nor we the male citizens. but we the whole people who formed the union. this is the ideal. the love of our country the sacrifice for our principles, this ideal has been fought for generation after generation. the question was called by abolitionists, by suffragists they called the question will we be a nation of liberty and justice for all. throughout our history the question was called will we have freedom for all? will truth march on? our truth march on as it did in selma, as it gathered in church basements and protested at stonewall. it came together at seneca
4:23 pm
falls. will we live our truth despite the assassinations of its advocates like milk and king, like matthew shepard or emmett till. will our march come to fruition, this fight for recognition of full citizenship beyond race, beyond creed beyond color beyond orientation? it is this dream that must be secured for all of our citizens as langston hughes said so clearly, there is a dream in this land with its back against the wall to save the dream for one, we must save the dream for all. when we fight for this dream here the time is nigh. the anguish has gone on long enough. and i tell you i found out just preparing my remarks that we still face these weary years and too many silent tears. i sat with staff members and
4:24 pm
learned of some of their struggles right here, capitol employees. one of my young staffers shared that he entered his adult life unsure if his full citizenship rights would be an option in his lifetime. could he have equality under the law? could he be married like many gay men and lesbians decades before him he was afraid his country would cast his love as unmeaningful at best. at worst vile and immoral. yet today in this case before the supreme court it makes him hopeful that we can live in a country that one day recognizes his love, his value his dignity as being equal under the law. another staff member told me that he feared that his coming out as gay would mean that his own family would never accept
4:25 pm
him. he shared what he described as a defining moment in his own valuation of his self-worth when he came out as gay to his deeply religious grandmother. she held his hands tightly in her own looked at him in the eyes and proclaimed, "i will always love you and i will love anyone who loves you." all across america right now there are weary years, there are silent tears, there is unspoken pain in a country that does not value the dignity worth and equal it citizenship rights of too many. what message does it send? how many stand in uncertainty and fear and despair that threatens to consume the potential of young people? i see the data of suicide rates rising for our gay lesbian bisexual and transgender teens. we cannot give any implicit support for any idea that they are lesser or less worth or less
4:26 pm
citizens. and we all should come together and condemn so-called therapies that purport to change who people are at their core as if it is not enough, as if they are not worthy. all across the country the struggle is going on from intimate personal struggles to public fights, stories of love meeting fear, stories of hope meeting despair of families and communities coming together to stand up and say "i am an american. i am a citizen. i deserve equality under the law as jackie robinson said then, it is true now the right of every american to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time. jim and john and all america have a right not to second-class citizenship, but first-class
4:27 pm
citizenship to honor their first-class love. well i'm a prisoner of hope today. i'm not going to let disappointment after disappointment undermine my infinite sense of hope for our country. our history as a nation is a screaming testimony of the perpetual achievement of freedom and light and truth overcoming inequality and hatred. just three years ago only six states and washington, d.c. had marriage equality with 34 million americans living now in marriage equality states, 37 states now and d.c. have marriage equality, meaning now 224 million americans live in states that honor equal rights to marriage. this movement has been a strong validation of our country's history. it is a shining example that progress can come.
4:28 pm
however, just because of the arc of freedom bending towards justice does not mean it won't meet resistance. as kingsworth said change never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. we are the architects of our nation. we are the truth tellers light workers and lovers that must exalt our principles. we cannot fail now. love is on the line. citizenship is on the line. we are interdependent. we need each other. we cannot deny the worth of one american without denying the worth, dignity and strength of our nation as a whole. the story of jim ogerfile and john arthur is a story not just of unconditional love and unconditional hope, it's not just about the two of them, but
4:29 pm
it's about our country. this is the story of all of us, of america. it's a story of what our truth will be. one of this incredible partnership has passed away, but i know their love marches on. and i believe in this country our truth will march on and equality and justice will have its way. madam president, i'd like to yield to my colleague, the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: senator sessions wants to take the floor in a moment. i will be brief but i wanted to thank senator booker for his always stirring words and for his sense of justice and fair play and leadership in so many ways. i met jim about a year ago and had a brief meeting not too long
4:30 pm
after the court decision by judge black in the cincinnati southern district court in ohio. i spent a half an hour with jim in my office. he never wanted or he never expected to be famous. he never expected to come to washington to meet with senators. he never expected to travel the country giving speeches. he was once a high school teacher. he jokes that -- or people who have been with him as he traveled the country have joked when he would speak to crowds of hundreds or even thousands about his experience with his beloved john and what's happened, he wishes the students had listened to him so closely. without a pin -- you cannot hear a pin drop when he spoke to hundreds, not necessarily always the case always as a high school teacher. but he wanted to live his life in a normal way as most americans do. he never expected to have his story, his marriage litigated
4:31 pm
before the united states supreme court. but that's really the mark of character, that jim has taken his grief and his pain and helped to change the world and that's what he's doing. his marriage is still not equal in my state of ohio. i'm embarrassed by that. i was frankly embarrassed when ohio ten years ago passed a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage. i thought it was a terrible public policy mistake. i think that it left too many people behind and honeymoon people heartbroken. jim and his late husband john, arthur story is one of love and sacrifice. it could happen to any one of us it could happen to any of us. frankly, it happens to too many families. so as senator booker pointed out, they flew to maryland where john's aunt paulette roberts officiated their marriage on the tarmac in a medical plane. paulette remarked -- quote --
4:32 pm
"if marriage vows mean anything, then these two are more married than anyone i have ever known." that speaks to their commitment, it speaks to their love, it speaks to the seriousness with which they took their wedding vows. just three months and the seriousness of the relationship for 20 years prior to that. just three months and 11 days later, john passed away. jim has been fighting for his marriage ever since. the question is why should he have to do that. no one ever voted to allow my wife and connie and me to stand before our family and acknowledge our love and commitment. when we were married we were benefiting from a right not -- get this, a right not extended to the minister who officiated our wedding. the woman who officiated our wedding, kay huey, had had a marriage -- had had a commitment ceremony 18 years earlier. it wasn't until late last year that she traveled to new york with the woman she loved and was officially married legally married in new york.
4:33 pm
you still can't do that in ohio. it's outrageous that you can't do that in ohio. i'm hopeful after jim's case is argued a couple of weeks from now and the court hands that decision down it will stop that bigotry and inequality that's hidden under the banner of with tradition for far too long. keep in mind -- and senator booker i thought laid out a lot of this history very well. ohio once passed laws to keep black people and white people from marrying. ohio yans came together like we -- ohioans came together like we always do. we repealed that unfair law. we have a long history of fighting for justice and equality. we won't rest until we achieve that justice for jim and for john. i look at the pages that sit before us who are mostly 16 and 17 years old. this is something that makes no sense to most of them. when i was talking to jim earlier in my office, he had made a speech in athens, ohio, to ohio university students. he told me most of them couldn't
4:34 pm
understand why state laws would prohibit somebody from marrying the person whom they love. they couldn't understand why the state government, the ohio state government would spend my tax dollars and jim's tax dollars and the tax dollars of hazel's parents mother, the page from ohio the tax dollars of all of us to fight this -- to fight this court battle so that jim's marriage could be denied. if the supreme court rules in jim's favor -- and i think it will -- jim's name will go down in the history books along with roe as roe v. wade, in brown brown versus board of education. it's not what jim was after. it would be fitting for a love that spanned decades and was strong enough to carry jim here to washington. the moment has come for our supreme court to stand on the right side of history and join americans who support marriage equality. as senator booker said, 37 states the district of columbia now allow marriage equality. i don't like it that we have to
4:35 pm
rely on the supreme court to get my state to change its laws. we have politicians that look backward rather than forward. that's too bad. we have politicians that are willing to deny human beings basic rights, basic civil rights basic rights of decency and fairness. i'm hopeful that jim's courage and jim's outspokenness and jim's willingness to join on behalf of john and his fight and make this fight that will help change my state and help change our nation. and i know, madam president i can't look to the gallery and thank somebody so i won't look to the gallery but i will still thank jim from here. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president i just would like to share a few thoughts as we head into this
4:36 pm
week because we will be confronting the question of how to fix the payments to our physicians who treat medicare/medicaid patients. if we do not take action, there will be a 21% reduction in the amount of money they are paid to do work for the federal government. this is an unacceptable alternative, but it's what current law says, and congress needs to fix it. in fact, we have been dealing with this for 17 years and for 17 years congress has in some way or another fixed the doctor payment plan and raised their pay so that they don't take a cut. and as years have gone by, the size of the cut that needs to be fixed has increased to, as i said 21% today if we don't act. so i think that the uniform universal belief that we should
4:37 pm
do that, and do it on a permanent basis so we don't have to have doctors calling congress every year saying are you going to change the law so i can continue to do medicare work, and if you don't change it and i'm cut 21%. i'm out of here. i can hardly make a living on what you pay me now and having a big cut will not allow me to continue to do medicare work for people in need. so it's a big issue and a real issue. i have favored a permanent fix for a number of years and would offer, though, to my colleagues that many of us who have been concerned about the financial condition of our country have successfully insisted each one of those 17 times that the new money is needed to pay the additional funding be paid for and that is by finding wasteful
4:38 pm
spending less important spending somewhere in the government of this country and using that money to make up the difference. and we've refused to pass it by just borrowing the money. and remember, this is an entitlement, and by that means once the government says what the rate will be, the doctors will go out and do the work and they'll demand payment whether the government has any money or not. whether we're in deficit or not. and if the government doesn't pay them the rate agreed upon, they can file a complaint and we'll have to -- the government will have to come up with the money. so what we really needed was a real finding of wasteful spending on less essential spending and divert that money to pay for this increase in pay for doctors on a permanent basis. so it appears that speaker boehner and the democratic
4:39 pm
leader pelosi in the house got together and agreed on a bill, and they passed it in the house with a big vote, every single democrat in the bill and it was sent to the senate, and we were voting at that very time, at that very day on the budget for the senate, and we were proud of our budget. it wasn't a spefer budget, i supported it, but it balanced. if we had followed the plans in that budget and if we follow those, we were on path to balance the budget. we would be spending about 4,000-plus billion dollars ten years from today. we would be increasing spending all right but not as much as has been projected but we were going to see $3 billion surface. so instead of having a deficit in the tenth year, we are going to have a $3 billion surplus.
4:40 pm
that's something to celebrate. after decades here of deficits, trillion-dollar deficits, a thousand billion-dollar deficits. i think we have averaged a thousand billion-dollar deficits for the last six years. unbelievable. and we have committed as the american people to do something about it. the budget control act and other efforts have brought that down. well, they wanted to send the bill over. they passed it with a big vote. they sent it over and we have just had 700 amendments filed to the senate budget. we finished the budget process at 3:00 a.m. what many of us wanted them to do was just pass this at 3:00 a.m. with hardly any knowledge of what's in it and without a real understanding of how much it was going to cost. and we were told by a number of people that it was paid for. don't worry about it. it's been taken care of.
4:41 pm
so there was concern about that. senator mcconnell didn't bring it up at 3:30 in the morning right before we go to recess. it was unseemly to have done that for any of a whole host of reasons. but we are coming up to the deadline. the deadline was, i believe last friday, and we need to get this taken care of, but we need to do it responsibly in a grown-up fashion. so the house members really didn't have the bill to study. they just follow mainly talking points which if you read their talking points, i might have voted for it, based on what they were telling their members. the talking point said this. it pays for all new future spending. so to pay -- not have a 21% cut but to -- to pay them at the
4:42 pm
rate -- a more appropriate rate, it's going to cost more money. so they were told that it would -- all the new future spending would be paid for. number two it said it allows -- quote -- congress to go through regular order and legislate thoughtfully close quote. so we were going to pass it at 3:30 in the morning without it having gone through a committee and without having a real firm long-term cost estimate from c.b.o. as to what it would actually cost. they also said in their talking points -- quote -- "it offsets all new spending." and what that means to members of congress is that it wouldn't add to the debt because somehow the increase in spending for the doctors would be offset by a reduction in spending somewhere else. and then they used a phrase we use around here. they claim it bends the cost curve. it would bring down costs.
4:43 pm
but this is not accurate. so here are the problems. number one it's not paid for. our own congressional budget office said it would add $141 billion to the deficit in deficits to the united states government. over ten years you add those up $141 billion. and they said the net increase to the debt would be $174 billion. well where does that -- how does it get to be more than 141? but when you spend $141 billion more than you have, you have to borrow the money and when you borrow the money you pay interest on the money. and the congressional budget office said that it would be -- would add an additional $33 billion in interest payments just over that ten years. many promoting this legislation said well, there may be a shortfall in the first ten
4:44 pm
years, but over 20 years the reductions in spending we found somewhere are going to bring in enough money to pay for it fully then. but what did the congressional budget office say? the congressional budget office said this -- quote -- "it will increase budget deficits in the -- quote -- second decade. so instead of reducing the deficits or paying for the cost of this by changes now that would benefit us 15, 20 years from now it adds more. the committee for a responsible federal budget, a fine, responsible nonpartisan group headed by mia mcginnis did a study of this. they said over 20 years it would add $500 billion to the deficit. those numbers to my knowledge have not been disputed. i think that's a pretty accurate
4:45 pm
figure. it's not going to reduce the deficit ten years. it's going to add $174 billion. it's not going to add -- reduce the deficit over 20 years. it's going to add $500 billion. so this violates the budget control act that we passed in 2011 that's in law today. we'd have to pass -- and that is something we should not be doing. we need to adhere to that agreement that the president signed and we in both houses of congress agreed on in a bipartisan way to hold spending down. not going to balance the budget the budget control act account doesn't but it helped a lot. we ought to at least adhere to it. so this violates the budget control act and is subject to at least eight different violations, points of order
4:46 pm
we call it, where you can object because it violates the budget at least eight different ways in which this legislation violates the budget control act. and of course it violates the house and senate budgets that we're just now in the process of passing. so the senate has passed its budget they had a $3 billion surplus in the tent year -- the tenth year. not paying down any of the debt except $3 billion in the tenth year but just not having annual deficits takes us ten years to finally balance the budget. which we need to do. and experts have told us we need to do. because we're on an unsustainable financial path. so our budgets go further than that. the house and the senate budgets do and if we pass a bill that adds $174 billion to the deficits it will be at least
4:47 pm
$17 billion, i suppose in the tenth year so instead of having a $3 billion surplus we'll have a $14 billion deficit. and telescope day we're celebrating the fact that -- the day we're celebrate the fact we altered the spending habits of our country we were ask asked to pass a bill that will wipe out all of that. it's just not responsible in my view. we're just not able to tout the fact that there's -- we passed a balanced budget. maybe that's why they'd like to pass this bill before the final agreement between the house and the senate occurs in conference and we have a firm budget. we just now have a house budget and a senate budget. maybe they wanted to do that so the first thing we do isn't to bust the budget we just agreed
4:48 pm
to. i wish i didn't have to say these things, madam president. i wish i didn't have to say them. but the truth is, this is not responsible. this is not maintaining faith with the american people who sent us here. and i think on both sides of the aisle, certainly on the republican side, there were real commitments made to our constituents that if we were here, we would do something about these deficits. and we were going to bring this government under control and produce a budget and a budget that balances. so -- and in addition it is claimed and asserted that this legislation represents a permanent fix that will not have to continue to come forward each year to come up with funding or
4:49 pm
some legislation to keep the doctors' pay at a reasonable rate. but it's not a permanent fix either. it's not a permanent fix. as has been reported. it's only about nine years, and there are huge, long-range concerns. look there's another thing that it does. and colleagues, we've got to understand this. being on the budget committee we went through this and it's so important. one of the greatest manipulations and gimmicks we are doing in the way we spend the taxpayers' money and why our deficits are so large and our debt has become $18 trillion plus of which we pay interest on it, $220 billion last year and it will grow every year according to c.b.o.
4:50 pm
why we double count money it's unbelievable that we do this. so here's what they propose. they'regoing to cut medicare part a in this legislation. that's the benefits that -- benefits that go to doctors and hospitals, they want to cut them about $55 billion, i believe the figure is. and then they are using this $55 billion to pay the physicians under part, what, c of medicare, the nontrust fund money. so they're cutting medicare trust fund, that money is the money that comes off your paycheck every week and goes to pay for your medicare when you become retired. that money goes into a trust fund. it has trustees. and if you cut the cost of doing business for medicare, the sponsors of the bill say it will extend the life of medicare one year. that's probably correct. if you cut what you pay to
4:51 pm
doctors or hospitals or medical devices or drug companies you reduce what you pay, you can extend the life of medicare, its financial solvency. it's going insolvent just like social security is going insolvent -- insol vint. we need to do some things to help extend its life so our seniors don't have to worry about not having health care in the future. well how is it double counting jeff? well they're using the money the trustees -- the trustees of medicare money that's being saved. how does it get over outside of the medicare trust fund and get spent for doctors and that part of medicare? how does it get out of there? the trustees of medicare loan the money to the u.s. treasury. now, we have it, colleagues,
4:52 pm
the money that's use used to -- used to pay the doctors from medicare cost reduction is border money just the same as they border it from a financier in london or beijing. and interesting is paid to the medicare trustees. you can't count the money twice. you can't save the money here and say it improves medicare -- legally it doesn't improve medicare -- but it provides no money to spend mane on a new program outside of medicare and the congressional budget office has told us this. butty they're scoring i think it's $55 billion they claim is going to pay for this new expenditure by double counting the money. obamacare did that, i believe almost $500 billion. they cut medicare expenses and used the money to fund an
4:53 pm
entirely new program. but the money didn't go directly to the u.s. treasury, it went to the trustees of medicare who loaned it to the united states treasury. and double counted the money. you'd like to know where we're going broke that's one of the big reasons this country is on a reckless course and nobody wants to talk about it or confront it because if you do it reduces spending and people around here like spending too much. by the way i know our hospitals would like to see the doctors get paid more and have this problem fixed but a big chunk of what's claimed -- of the -- that portion of this new expenditure that is actually paid for appears to be $31 billion in cuts to providers like hospitals. so we're cutting hospitals here
4:54 pm
to pay doctors and our hospitals are struggling, too. well madam president let me just conclude this way -- this is why the american people don't trust congress. some of our members they get their feelings hurt when they go home and some tea party person or somebody else accuses them of wasting money and not managing well and they get all offended by it. but i got to tell you the tea party got more -- got more right thank look. this is another example of reckless, irresponsible spending. before adjourning for our recess two weeks ago at the middle, 3:00 a.m., we passed a balanced budget plan and we were proud of it. we went home the last two weeks and told our constituents we're
4:55 pm
going to work to accomplish that balanced budget goal. and try to make sure it becomes a reality. but what is the first bill we take up since adopting the balanced budget goal? what's the first bill? we're taking up a bill to dig us $174 billion deeper in debt the first ten years. the first major legislative accomplishment of our new congress is going to be adding almost $200 billion to the debt over ten years and then perhaps $500 billion ever or half a trillion over 20 years. it's not necessary. i don't see how that we can look our constituents in the eye and say we're producing a balanced budget when if this bill passes we don't have a balanced budget. well was the plan really to balance the budget? people might ask.
4:56 pm
or just produce talking points? just a fine complain, claiming we've got a wail. our new congress was sworn in only three months ago and we are already shattering our promises to our constituents. i think -- i think it's fair to say we're acting irresponsibly. not only are we continuing to allow the debt to explode but aren't really being honest with our constituents about it. before they cast their votes how members were told this bill -- quote -- "pays foreall new future spending" -- close quote and that it -- quote --"offsets all new spending" -- close quote. but this is inaccurate. it's not true. it adds to the deficit every single year. so we're going to offer second amendment so that this bill lives up to the promises of the sponsors. a good amendment a paygo
4:57 pm
amendment that i think senator lee will probably offer would put us on a path that says you have to pay for this new expenditure. and i think we need to have that vote and i think it needs to pass. that would be responsible. then we can honestly say we've made choices. and that's what you should do in this body. there's a limited amount of money and a virtually unlimited number of requests for good projects that we should spend money on. we're sent here to make choices, set priorities, do the right thing manage money carefully, that the states all over this country have sent to us had extracted from them sent to washington to be spent wisely and honestly, i suggest. and one of the most summations things is, we spend what,
4:58 pm
$3,800,000,000,000 a year. we can't find $15 billion a year to fix the doctor payments? we can't find $15 billion in this whole 3,800 billion a year that will actually be able to fund the doctors in the way we should fund them without adding to the debt? you bet we can. i've got a list of them. others have a list of them. there will be some suggestions as to how this could be done. we don't need to gimmick up this legislation and it is legislation that undermines the promises we've made that we're going to be fiscally responsible. so we don't vote on talking points. that's the thing.
4:59 pm
we vote on legislation. and legislation can be studied and it becomes law and our congressional budget office and the center for medicare and medicaid services, and the ma macguineas and the responsible budget group can add the numbers up. they've read them and added them and they don't add up. so this is legislation -- we're not voting on talking points. and without change, it is a massive debt increase that puts a balanced budget even further out of reach. mr. president, it means a lot to me that we as a congress
5:00 pm
establish credibility with those we serve. and one of the parts of doing that is to be honest and to say we do have a tight situation here. we're going to have to make some tough choices but not brutal choices. we could find $17 billion a year out of all of this money that we spend without doing anything but eliminateing fraud, waste, and abuse, duplication, unwise spending. we don't have to savage children or the military to do this. but it's hard work and every time you talk about reducing this program or that program a group shows up and pushes back. well that's why we're here. as my wife says to me when i complain don't blame me; you asked for the job. that's what we asked for, to be in the united states senate. and make these


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on