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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  December 13, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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assisted suicide or school prayer. the administration may have strong reasons, a philosophical or political, even, to see one side or the other prevail, but they do not re@m r@ @ @ p of what a solicitor general is called on to do. here she is part of the investigative powers, president of the united states, and the president has strong views on a
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particular subject. nonetheless, there is the question if this particular vehicle is one we want to be involved in. there are examples so divisive about abortion and school prayer. and fundamentally, an area of philosophy i would talk about, the solicitor general's office should be there. there is a development of low wall and due process, an extremely important part of the court's work. so what the court does in a particular case will shape one of the most important dimensions of our civic life together. ditto for the establishment clause. the united states is deeply
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concerned about the establishment or the religion clause more generally. my sense was that no, we should not take a passive the court is determined to take the case. the court should have the benefit of the thoughtful analysis. record does not call upon the solicitor general to express the views of the solicitor general. it exercises its discretion and the control of the docket. therefore they are saying to that this is important. we need to resolve this issue in this sensitive area.
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it would be odd for the solicitor general to have something as important has that. >> i agree that the government should sparingly participate in cases raising these very controversial surface issues. i think it is contributing to the orderly development of the wall. that is how we characterize involvement in matters that do not seem to directly affect the united states. these are important issues. but i think that what is important is that the government, if it is going to be involved, actually does something helpful to the justices and courts. it is possible for the solicitor general to draw on the entire government for the information
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that might have bearing on decisions the court has to make in this area. and i think that you are involved in the case having to do with what a person can be taken off life-support. my recollection is that you might have revisited the virginia hospitals. >> well, this is information most private parties cannot offer to the court. there is this wisdom, this knowledge with the federal government. so the challenge is to determine that it is really going to be helpful to the court, and as he said, and this has to do with changing positions, he wanted to be known as the solicitor general of the united states, not a counselor general, and i always have taken that as a challenge for anyone who serves in the office. >> i might even have a slightly different view.
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i always think that when the united states filed a brief in the supreme court, in some respects, the most important section of that brief is maybe the one that is read the most rapidly, but that is the interest of the united states, supreme court rules require that to be in the brief and require articulations of why it is that the united states is interested in a particular case, and i think that if there is a case that is interesting but does not directly implicate the interests of the united states, i think that the burden for getting involved in that case, the justification for getting involved in that case, what to be a very high one. i do not think that just because the case is controversial or important for that the united states should necessarily file a brief, and there certainly are very important cases -- to pick a couple of related cases, very
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important issues about circumstances in which the death penalty is unconstitutional -- the federal government did not participate in either of those cases. and the reason was that a federal statute already provided for the rule that the capital defendants in those cases were seeking to been from the amendment. so it was already impermissible to use capital punishment for somebody who was a juvenile at the time the offense. dallas federal law, and it seemed to me in a case like that were under federal laws somebody would not have capital punishment administered to them about what was there, weighing in on the amendment us speech
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and circumstances, there was not a great rule in that case. and it is particularly important for whoever the administration not to take a position that is not just a stretch but is actually contra to long-term interest of the government. the government is likely to be a taker of property. for the government to take a position that there ought to be a clause, the federal government tends to be an establishment of religion, not and establish she. if you allow my license with the praise. therefore, even though it might be attractive to take the position that certain things are
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an establishment, i think that it's hard to justify, because it goes against the interests. another important job is to appear in this courtroom and present oral arguments on behalf of the states. so let me just touch that briefly and ask whether you felt any different healing arguing as solicitor general. was there any factor that differentiated solicitor general from arguing in other capacities as a private lawyer, and how did you manage to prepare for that,
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given all of the other significant responsibilities you had? >> they are called weekends. ñrit is simple. .
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>> whereas, when you argue for the united states, the first case i've argued for the united states was a qualified immunity case and it was a case will be were defending a federal official who was accused of using excessive force. i was asked how the civil rights division instruct injuries -- instruct juries when the government is prosecuting a state police officer for using excessive force? i asked how i would know. i was ar jury in a civil rights criminal trial? it is a perfectly obvious question. the responsibilities of the
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federal government are far flung. the general should not take positions on a particular institution, but be responsible to answering questions about all relevant operations. >> have any of the three of you found that you had no idea how to answer a justice's question? >> there were such situations. i do not recall them, of course. chief justice rehnquist always had a zinger. it was, "what is the best case for your position?" there is no way that you can answer that and get out ahead. if you did not know, that was a problem. if you did think that you knew it, he knew it better than you
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did. i thought that was one where i was often done struck. >> -- dumbstruck. >> when they are in stride, they are understand what the court is driving at understanding what the court is driving at. so, i felt that i was arguing, thinking that i was in stride. little did i know that i was over the cliff. chief justice rehnquist seemed to be unperturbed by what i have been saying and suddenly had this look of gasoline alarm and springs forward and flips on his microphone and with his elephant
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like the memory, as if another case should be overruled. i had not heard of this case. i responded, "absolutely and emphatically not." were we trying to do that? at times, you are going to be embarrassed the best response -- be embarrassed. the best response is to prepare relentlessly. i would close by saying that i always found the moot court experience humbling and i, for
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one, have always deeply appreciated and profited from most rigorous moot court . -- court. you want it in a moot court as opposed to justice kennedy. >> i would like to last you -- as you all, what was the most difficult part, what was the most fun part, and is there anything you would like to see changed? >> i think that the probably most difficult part were those situations where there was a disagreement within the executive branch that you just could not make go away.
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we have all looted to this. you do have situations where tw+ parts of the executive branch of way in on an issue and they both have long seeded, deeply rooted issues that are diametrically opposed. this was a problem because the fcc and the trust division were not only opposed, but they filed briefs on the opposite side of the case in the second circuit. it that can happen when an independent agency has independent litigating authority. that was a case where we were able to get the fcc and the justice department antitrust apartment on the same brief. there are cases where it is really an intractable this agreement. the most enjoyable part of the
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job is arguing cases in front of the supreme court. it is a high honor for any litigant to get to argue a case, here. to get to do it for the united states of america is really something. i was solicitor general recently announced that it there was something that i could have changed i should have done it. >> been the doctor no of an administration, when there are serious issues coming to the supreme court, i have found that due process goes a long way. agency heads will come to make their case. if they are heard out, and they get the sense that they are getting a serious look at what they want to do, even though the
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answer is no, they feel that they have done their jobs. i think that one of the best things about being solicitor general is enjoying the enormous respect that the office enjoys, not only in the justice department, but throughout the federal government. i remember a case that involves the defense department. i had said no and my assistant said that the secretary of the navy was on the line. i thought i was born to get chewed out -- going to get chewed out. he told me that he understood that i decided against taking big case before the supreme court. he said that they appreciated the attention that i devoted to working at through and to thank you very much. i felt a chill.
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the office of solicitor general was held in high regard by the federal government. >> the most unpleasant and difficult, by far, in my experience, was conflict. conflict within the justice department. every administration, regardless of who the president is has a schizophrenic elements. i read this in a book where the author talked about the federal laws and police in the office of legal counsel -- the federalism police in the office of legal counsel. you find yourself in the solicitor general's office being more of an echo of john marshall then you do of john c. calhoun.
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you believe in the national economic union and our federal system. my personal one came in very early. after studying a position, a particular statute passed by the congress of the united states was facially unconstitutional. i could not take that position and we did not take that position. the most enjoyable part was the sense of community within the office. there was a sense that this was really special. we knew we would not be there for a very long time. i would say that erwin griswold said to me, not long after i was privileged to take the office, that there was not one thing long -- was only one thing and wrong. the office does not enjoy
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article 3 life tenure. i knew that i was on worthy and that he should be there -- on were the and that he should be there -- and were the -- unworthy and that he should be there. >> is there unanimity that justice marshall was right? thank you, everyone. >> the supreme court historical society hosted this discussion on tuesday in washington d.c.. you can watch this program again or other recent programs at c-
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, i -- i rise to speak on the bill -- the pending bill before us. one of the great pork barrel earmark-billed pieces of legislation that i seen come before this body. i'd like to quote from abc news by jonathan carl and def inn -- devin pryor, this is the season of pork, i quote -- "before
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returning to their -- excuse me. "just weeks before returning to their districts for christmas, congress is poised to give the gift of pork, roughly $4 billion of it. more than 5,000 earmarks were included in the $447 billion omnibus bill, funding pet projects of key members of congress from both parties in all regions of the country. senate will vote on the bill this weekend. independent analysis of the bill reveal a whopping 12% increase in government spending for 2010 while the inflation rate in the country remains near zer zero." a 12% increase in spending when people are out of jobs, out of their homes. they cannot afford to -- the -- basically what they need to
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sustain their lives and we have increased spending by 12% and 4,500 earmarks. $4 million -- said brian -- quote the spending spree is continuing even as the deficit escalates to $2 trillion. the earmarks are all explicitly listed in the bill, right next to the members of congress to inserted them. $800,000 for jazz at new york lincoln's center for gerald -- representative gerald naler, democrat new york, senator tom harkin, and representative leonard boswell got $750,000 for exhibits at the world food prize hall in iowa.
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the world food prize hall in iowa. hawaii democratic senators dan inouye and daniel akaka helped to get dz 3-dz .4 million for a -- $3.4 million for a rural bus program in hawaii. the country needs to tighten it's belt. republicans have criticized the spending package, but many democrats say it funds key priorities. two of the biggest earmarks are from republican senators thad cochran and roger wicker of mississippi, at a cost of $8 million for improvements to four rural state airports. one airport serves fewer than 100 passengers a day. and another the mid delta regional airport sees even less. by the way, i've seen the pork extended to both of those airports over the years. the new funds would come on top
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of $4.4 million the airports just received from the stimulus package. i am not making this up. we obviously have huge aviation and transportation needs this country and stuffing most millions of dollars in small, little used airports in mississippi is not a wise use of funds, said ellis. president obama had promised to curb the inclusion of earmarks in government spending bills but has yet to issue the threat of a veto. my friends, do not wait for threat of a veto. in march obama signed a $410 billion spending package that contained nearly 8,000 pet projects. quote, "i am signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it's necessary for the ongoing functions of government." obama said at the time. witbut i view it for more
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mar-reaching -- far-reaching change. what has changed? what has changed? nothing has changed. senate majority leader harry reid said about the last omnibus, we have a lot of issues that we need to after to fund government, something that we should have done last year, but could not because of the difficulty we had working with president bush. difficulty working with president bush. who did harry -- did the majority leader have trouble working with this time? so, again, i would repeat to my colleagues, 1,350-page omnibus appropriations conference report, six bills, spends $460 billion, $4,052 earmarks totaling $3.7 billion, a full 409 pages of this conference report are dedicated to listening to congressional pork barrel spending, spending on domestic programs in this
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bill increased 14% over the last fiscal year while spending on military construction an care for our veterans has increased bill only 9%. so let's look at a little bit of it? okay. housing, transportation, urban development are has over 4,000 earmarks. commerce, science, justice, 1,511 earmarks totalin totaling $17.15 million. the list goes on and on. we have a debt of $12 trillion, unemployment at 10%, nearly 900,000 families lost their homes in 2008. and it -- and it is every indication that the aggregate numbers for 2009 will be worse. with all this, we continue to spend and spend and spend, and every time we pass an appropriations bill with increased spending and load it up with earmarks, we are robbing future generations of americans of their ability to attain the
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american dream. 43 cents out of every dollar that's spent in this bill is borrowed, and it's borrowed from our children and our grandchildren, and unfortunately generations after this. this is the greatest act of generational theft that's been committed in the history of this country. now let me just go through a few of these, if i might, and remind people really the context that this is in. my home state of arizona, 48% of the homes, quote -- under water "meaning they are worth less than the mortgage payments people are having to pay on them. we have small business people losing credit everywhere. and instead of trying to fix their problems and help them out, it's business as usual here in the senate of the united states of america and the congress. $200,000 for the washington national opera in washington, d.c., for set design, installation, and performing
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arts at libraries and school. $13.9 million on fisheries in hawaii. it's always, always hawaii. nine projects throughout the islands, ranging from funding big eye tuna quotas, marine education and training, and coral research. $2.7 million -- this may be my favorite. up there, a certain one of them. $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space. $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space, guess where? at the university of nebraska. as i have said many times, a common theme, you will always have a location designated for these projects. that's why some of them may be worthwhile, but we'll never know because they don't compete them. they always earmark them for the particular place that they want
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to help. unfortunately, that shuts out other people. there may be other places besides the university of nebraska that can support surgical operations in outer space. i -- i suggest bones and get dr. spock here and bones and get them out there and help them at the university. i don't know if they live in omaha or not, but i'm sure that to them and all the others on "star trek" that surgical operations in outer space may be one of their priorities. it certainly isn't a priority of the citizens of my state. now, one of the great cultural events that took place in the 20th century was the woodstock festival, so in order to really do a lot more research on that great cultural moment, we're going to spend $30,000 for the woodstock film festival outinitiative.
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$200,000 to renovate and construct the laredo little theater in texas. people from all over america are flocking to the laredo little theater, and they want to invest $200,000 of their tax dollars into the laredo little theater. and the money would be used to replace worn auditorium seating and soundproofing materials. and so yeah, anybody got a little theater that they want -- worn auditorium seating and soundproofing, maybe they ought to apply to the senator from texas. $665,000 for -- i'm not making this one up -- for the cedars-sinai medical center in los angeles, california, for equipment and supplies for the institute for irritable bowel syndrome research. now, i have a lot of comments on them but i -- on that issue, but i think i will just pass those
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so as to not violate the rules of the senate. $500,000 for the botanical research institute in fort worth. i'm sure the botanical research institute in fort worth is a good one. i would like to see other botanical research institutes able to compete. $600,000 for a water storage tower construction in ado, oklahoma. -- in ada, oklahoma. population 208. $200,000 for a visitors' center in a town in texas with a population of 5,240. money for elimination of slum and blight in scranton, pennsylvania. now, that may have been put in by the cast of "the office." $292,000 for elimination of slum and blight in scranton, pennsylvania. $200,000 for design and construction of the garapan public market in the northern
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marianas islands. $500,000 for the development of a community center -- now, this is half a million dollars for a community center in custer county, idaho. the population is 4,342. $100,000 for the cleveland municipal school district. $100,000 for a school district. they just picked one and gave them $100,000. $800,000 for jazz at the lincoln center. $300,000 -- if you don't like jazz at the lincoln center, then go to carnegie hall. there is $300,000 for music programs there. i mentioned the rural bus program. $400,000 for orchestra iowa music education, cedar rapids, iowa, to support a music education program. $2,500,000 for the fayette county schools in lexington, kentucky, for a foreign language program. $100,000 to the cleveland municipal school district in cleveland, ohio, to improve math and language skills through
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music education. $700,000 for the national marine fisheries service for the project, quote -- "shrimp fishing industry effort research continuation. "$1.6 million to build a tram between the huntsville botanical garden and the marshall flight center in alabama. how many places need need $1.6 million to build a tram? $250,000 -- it's probably going to go out to the statue of vulcan also. $250,000 for the monroe county fiscal court for the monroe county farmers market in kentucky. $750,000 for the design and fabrication of exhibits to be placed in the world food prize hall of laureates in iowa. $500,000 to support the creation of a center to honor the contribution of senator culver, an iowa state senator at the simpson college in iowa. $400,000 to recruit and train
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closed-captioners and court reporters at the a.i.b. college of business in iowa. $250,000 for renovating the murphy theater community center in ohio. now, my friends, there is a lot more, and i will just go through them briefly, but the point is -- the point is you'll notice two things. one, that the preponderance of these pork-barrel and earmark projects are -- are allocated to members of the appropriations committee, which, first of all, is fundamentally unfair. second of all, you will find that each are designated to a certain place to make sure that none of that money isn't spent somewhere else in america where the need may be greater. and third of all, it breeds corruption. it breeds corruption. it is a gateway drug. what we're talking about is a gateway drug, and it's especially egregious now. $300,000 to monitor and research
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herring in maine. $200,000 to study maine lobster. $250,000 for a father's day rally parade in philadelphia, pennsylvania. i mean, you know, i -- i scoff and make fun of a lot of these, but really? $250,000 for a father's day rally parade in philadelphia. $100,000 for the kentler international drawing space and art education program in brooklyn. here's a deprived area. $75,000 for art projects in hollywood, los angeles park. $100,000 for performing arts training program at the new freedom theater in philadelphia. $100,000 to teach tennis at the new york junior tennis league in woodside, new york. $2.8 million to study the health effects of space radiation on
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humans at the loma linda university, loma linda, california. $200,000 for the aquatic adventurers science education foundation in san diego. $100,000 to archive newspaper and digital media at the mississippi gulf coast community college in perkinston, mississippi. $3.9 million on researching weaving and knitting at the following places -- clemson university, raleigh, north carolina, philadelphia university, and california. u.c.-davis in davis, california. $90,000 for a commercial kitchen business incubator at the el pejera community development corporation in watsonville, california. a commercial kitchen business incubator? $500,000 to study vapor mercury in the atmosphere at florida state. $1 million to examine sea
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scallop fisheries in massachusetts marine fisheries in bedford, massachusetts. $500,000 -- $500,000 to -- to -- $300,000 for seal and stellar sea lion biological research. dollars 300,000 for bering sea crab management. $500,000 to upgrade the baldwin county courthouse security in fair hope, alabama. $900,000 for the operational costs and capital supporting the alien species action plan cargo inspection facility in maui. $2 million to streetscape the city of tuscaloosa, alabama. $100,000 for an engineering feasibility study of a bike connector in hiram, ohio. $400,000 for a pedestrian overpass in des moines, iowa. $300,000 for a bike path in
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cellular, texas. $900,000 for a river freight development study in missouri. $800,000 for a scenic trail in monterey bay, california, another deprived area of america. $750,000 for the philadelphia museum of art transportation improvement program in brady, pennsylvania. $500,000 for park and ride lots at broward county, florida. $487,000 to restore walkways in new port cliff, rhode island, another low-income area up there in new port, rhode island. $974,000 for regional east-west trail and bikeway in albuquerque. the list goes on and on and on and on. up to nearly $4 billion. and, you know, the problem is, mr. president, among other problems, is that in the last campaign, the president of the united states campaigned for
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change, change you can believe in. there's no change here. it's worse. it's worse because the conditions that americans find themselves in, out of their homes, out of jobs, high unemployment, tough economic conditions, and it's business as usual. spending money like a drunken sailor, and the bar is still open. so, again, i tell my colleagues again what i keep saying over and over and over again. there's a peaceful revolution going on out there, and they are sick and tired of the way that we do business here in washington. they don't think their tax dollars should be spent on these pork-barrel and earmark projects, and they're mad about it. and we're not getting the message here. we're not hearing them. we're not -- we're not responding to the problems and the enormous challenges that the american people have today, and
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we are continuing this kind of obscene process, which not only -- which not only is wrong on its face but breeds corruption here in washington. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that the yahoo story by a.p. story "senate set to advance $1.1 trillion spending bill" be included. the abc news story and the fox news story "watchdogs cry foul over thousands of earmarks in spending bill" be included in the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i -- i'm sorry to be repetitive, and i know my colleague is waiting so i'll end with this. this is wrong. we all know it's wrong. the american people know it's wrong. people who vote for this kind of pork-barrel spending are going to be punished by the voters, and we're going to end this
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obscene process and we're going to end it soon, as early as the next election. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, we are now considering a bill that represents the dramatic expansion in government spending. as the senator from arizona has so eloquently stated, this omnibus appropriation bill represents a 12% increase over last year, a fiscal year that ended with the largest deficit in american history of of $1.4 trillion. i don't know of any other area in the economy where people are spending 12% over what they spent last year. no family in america, no business in america is spending 12% more this year than they did last year. while we see 10% of our people
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unemployed. millions of families across the country and small businesses are, in fact, tightening their budgets. but the budgets of these federal agencies, and of the federal government itself, keeps expanding. 33% increase of spending for foreign operations. a 23% increase in transportation, housing, and urban development. one of the worst things that this spending is doing is creating tremendous uncertainty, both here at home and other places like china, which are buying our debt, about whether we are ever going to get serious about our fiscal responsibility. the president asked last week why job creators were not stepping up and creating jobs. well, the fact of the matter is people are watching what we're doing here in congress, and they don't know what the rules will be six months from now or a year from now or whether congress
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will ever recover from this binge its been on when it comes to spending. but it's clear we cannot spend -- we cannot spend our way out of this recession. job creators are scared. they're scared. and they're sitting on the sidelines because all of the spending, all of the tax increases, all of the government takeovers coming out of washington, d.c., these days, leave them with the answer is that they don't know what the rules are going to be and why in the world would you want to create a job, expand your business or make an investment when the very premise upon which you did so would change because of all the chaos here in washington. the facts of our debt crisis are not in dispute. the total public debt stands at about $12 trillion. we have in 2009, a $1.4 trillion
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fiscal deficit. in other words, we spent more than $1.4 million than the treasury brought in in fiscal year 2009. and then we're accumulating dent even faster during this year than we did last. according to the treasury department, the deficit for the first two months -- two months of the new fiscal year was almost $300 billion. $300 billion for two months. a total larger than the full year deficits in 2002, 2006, or 2007. so in two months the deficit is worse than the entire years of 2002, 2006, and 2007. our deficits will average nearly $1 trillion every year for the next decade. $1 trillion every year for the next decade according to the administration. and this ought to be a shot,
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this week's moody's investor service said its debt rating on u.s. treasury securities -- quote -- "may test the triple a boundaries." now the translation of that is that they are beginning to doubt whether -- at some point whether the united states government will be able to pay its bills or will default on those bills at some point. hopefully not any time soon. but this is the sort of pressure we are putting on -- not only on our ability to create jobs, but on our future and particularly on our children's future if we cause moody's investor service and others to rate u.s. treasury securities less than triple a rated. we know soon our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to have congress lift to -- lift the debt ceiling. this is like the credit limit on your credit card. once congress is bumped up against that $12 trillion debt
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ceiling, congress is going to have a vote on whether to ask the american people, and people buying our debt, whether we can increase the limits of our credit card because we maxed it out. media reports indicate that the majority intends to slip this provision into a bill on funding our troops in afganistan. because, frankly, they're embarrassed to have a stand alone vote on raising the debt ceiling. especially because they know that there are many of us here on both sides of the aisle that will insist on some measure to affect some discipline on this spending binge as a condition to voting on the debt ceiling. but whatever the vehicle that the majority leader decides upon, they cannot hide the fact that we are borrowing money so fast that we'll have to raise the debt ceiling another 15%. conveniently this increase will get the government through the next mid-term elections, it's reported, according to some experts.
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not a coincidence. no one, particularly those in control of the congress, want to have another vote on lifting the debt ceiling or asking the american people to raise the credit card limit before the next election. because they know the american people are increasingly angry and frightened by the spending binge that they see here and particularly the accumulating debt. that's not even getting to the financial crisis that entitlement programs are facing, like medicare and social security. we know that medicare, that its unfunded liabilities are rough roughly $38 trillion. now, i realize that number is so big that there are perhaps none of us that can fully comprehend how much money that is. but $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities for medicare alone. and, yet, the proposed medicare compromise, among 10 democrats, would roughly double the burden of medicare and not fix it, but
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actually make things worse. well, madam president, i want to mention one other item of fiscal irresponsibility that i witnessed. i think we need to cancel one of the credit cards that been used by the administration, not just this it administration, but the past administration, and congress for purposes that congress never intended it when it authorized this program. the troubled asset relief program or tarp. and i know the senator from south dakota's on the floor. he's been one of the leaders in this effort because he believes, as i -- i think as i do that we can't mend it, so we need to end it. we need to cut out this revolving credit account that's being used for inappropriate purposes known as tarp, the troubled asset relief program. now, let's go back and look at why tarp was authorized by congress in october of 2008.
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it's important to remember what the situation was at this time. treasury secretary henry paulson, and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke, had many conversations with legislators on both end of the capitol on both sides of the aisle. they said on their public on september 23, secretary paulson said that congress must act -- quote -- "in order to avoid a continuing series of financial institution failures an frozen credit markets that threaten the very health of our economy." in private the diagnosis was even more dire. we were told that we're literally days away from a complete financial meltdown in the united states unless congress act to authorize the troubled asset relief program. now, madam president, many of us, including myself, voted for tarp because we were told by the
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-- the smartest people on the planet that unless we did this, our economy would suffer an economic meltdown. but i must tell you that i'm extremely disappointed when the very nature of the program was changed after congress authorized it. for example, we were told by secretary paulson, and others, that the money would be used for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to purchase toxic assets. well, you know, there's a saying that says, fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me. and we were fooled into believing that the tarp would be used to purchase these toxic assets and get them off the books as a way of protecting pensions, savings, and investments in hard-working american taxpayers. unfortunately, the very people who promised us and told us what purpose the tarp would be used
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for misled us. because two administrations now, the previous administration and this administration, have used tarp as if it were a big government slush fund. they ignored the clear language of the tarp legislation and they have repeatedly defied the will of congress. now, let me briefly mention how the tarp funds have been used in a way that congress never authorized and never intended. only weeks after tarp was enacted the bush administration abandoned this stated goal of purchasing toxic assets. instead the administration fundle -- funneled billions of dollars directly into some of the nation's largest financial institutions, making huge purchases of stocks and warrants of some of the nation's largest financial institutions. the federal government, in other words, began acquiring ownership, stakes in banks, financial intiewkses, and --
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institutions, and, yes, car manufacturers, with the full support of the obama administration. in fact, the obama administration has even gone so far as to use tarp to set executive pay in several companies and during the reorganization of general motors, the obama administration has used that leverage to benefit its union allies over the rights of secured bondholders who had loaned their money to these companies. now, madam president, i have been a -- been a vocal opponent of this misuse of tarp by both administrations. in december of 2008, i joined my colleagues in voting against the government bailout of the american auto industry, ignored by the previous administration an current administration. earlier this year i supported a tarp disapproval resolution that would have stopped the program dead in its tracks because of this misrepresentation of the purpose for which these funds would be used. i also supported several
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initiatives that would have increased tarp transparency and congressional oversight. then in september i joined many of our colleagues in sending a letter to secretary tim geithner, of treasury, asking him not to extend his tarp authority beyond the end of this year. as the law allows thim to do. this -- allows him to do. this would have eliminated the need for the government to borrow more money. secretary geithner notified congress that he has extended tarp authority through october. now the -- reusing tarp funds, that is money loaned to the financial institutions, that is now being repaid, that treasury anticipates using this for a second stimulus plan. well, i guess that's because they think the first stimulus plan worked so well. you'll recall it was -- the stated objective was to hold
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unemployment below 8%. it has gone above 10%. we need to learn from our mistakes as well as things we have done right. it would be a mistake to put more money, particularly tarp money, into a new stimulus plan and have it work so ineffectively as the first stimulus plan did madam president, repaid tarp dollars cannot pay for anything. tarp is let a credit card. every dollar spent is a borrowed dollar, adding up additional deficits, additional debt. using tarp on new spending would break the promise that the president made when he voted for tarp in this very chamber. at that time then senator obama said -- quote -- "if american taxpayers are financing this solution, then they have to be treated like investors. they should get every penny of their tax dollars back once the economy recovers." that was then senator obama, now
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president of the united states. now, madam president, i would just conclude by saying congress should help the president keep his promises, even when it seems as he's changed his mind now by suggesting that we extend tarp and use tarp on a purpose that congress has never authorized or never intended. it seems like one -- like the bad ideas never end when it comes to spending and debt out of washington, d.c. these days. we know in addition to all of these other problems that i mentioned that i really haven't talked about, this health care bill which would exacerbate and makes much worse the deficits and debt situation and not make it better, all the time while not benning the cost curve down -- not bending the cost curve down but making it worse, raising premiums, raising taxes, cutting medicare. madam president, we need to end the tarp program because, frankly, it is being misused in
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ways that congress has never authorized and never intended, and indeed over the very objections of congress. and we need to learn from our mistakes, and, frankly, the stimulus spending which i voted against because i thought it was based on an academic theory which had not been proven which was that the american people -- that congress knew better than the american people how to get the economy working again by direct spending, by spending borrowed money, the the $1.1 trillion in the stimulus plan. we need to end these free-spending ways and to show some fiscal responsibility. and the best way we could do that, in my opinion, would be to end this tarp program which has been the subject of so much abuse and
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