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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 4, 2010 12:00pm-5:00pm EST

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also today scott brown of massachusetts gets sworn in at 5 p.m. eastern. he replaced kirk who is scheduled to give his farewell address. live now to the senate here on c-span 2. senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty and everlasting god, in whom we live and move and have our being, we invoke your divine presence among us.
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draw our senators nearer to you and to one another, as you give them the gift of your peace that is beyond all human understanding. lord, give them also courage, fortitude, and stability that will keep them firm and steadfast in the face of difficulties. may they serve with fidelity the cause of our nation and of our common humanity. lord, help them to build alliances with others who seek to bring sense and system to our disordered world. we pray in your holy name. amen.
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the presiding officer: 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. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, february 4, 2010. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kay r. hagan, a senator from the state of north carolina, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: the majority leader. reid following leader remarks, there will be 20 minutes for debate prior to the vote on confirmation of the nomination of patricia smith to be
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solicitor of the department of labor. upon disposition of that nomination, there will be two hours of debate prior to a vote on invoking cloture on the nomination of martha johnson to be administrator of general services. under the previous order, if cloture is invoked, all postcloture debate time will be yielded back and the senate will road to vote on her confirmation. for the information of senators, senator kirk will give his farewell speech at 3:45 or thereabouts today. senator-elect brown will be sworn in at 5:00 p.m. today. madam president, i say publicly here for senator kirk, i am not sure i will be able to be heemplet the president has called. something at the white house, i have to be there. i will do my utmost best to be back at 5:00 for the swearing in of senator brown. madam president, since i last asked unanimous consent to have confirmed three important nominations, one is the top
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intelligence official with the department of homeland security, the other is the top intelligence official at the state department. the other is would be the third-highest ranking member in the entire pentagon. the other is -- i said three. there's actually four that i asked consent on. a fourth is an individual who would be the ambassador -- the appointment to the national -- to the international disarmament conference, chemical conference. thesall of these things dealingh these programs that the united states should be involved in. but we've had a rejection from the republicans. there are people out there, evil people, trying to do damage to our country. every day, every week, every
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month, every hour, and it's hard for me to comprehen to comprehee with impeccable records, like phillip goldberg, an appointee of president bush to be ambassador to bolivia -- he has an outstanding record of doing things for our record -- ande ad he's being objected to. the person assigned by the white house and secretary clinton to be in charge of inte intelligent the state department. karen wagner, eminently qualified. i have never, ever heard anything suggested that there's beebeen anything wrong with ther background or qualifications. yet an objection to her being the person who deals with the safety of our homeland. laura kennedy is the woman to be our united states representative
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to the conference on disarmament. we're a nuclear power, and the united states doesn't have anybody at these conferences. and then finally, general clifford stanley to be under secretary of defense. this man would be the third-highest ranking person at the pentagon. one of the things he's responsible for is making sure that all of our troops around the world have everything they need. he's responsible for making sure that 30,000 people that are headed for afghanistan can go to afghanistan when deemed ready to go. by the pentagon -- that's his job. there's no one to do that. i can't imagine why anyone would object to that. but they've done it. now, madam president, i don't have -- there isn't enough time in the world -- senate world at least -- to move cloture on every one of these. we have spent all week -- all this week -- on two people. it's thursday today. i know we were interrupted yesterday because of the
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retreat. we spent all day on monday, tuesday, and now thursday on two nominees, one to be the solicitor of the department of labor -- that is a lawyer for the entire department of labor. and the one we're working on today is to have someone to run the general services administration. the largest real estate holder in the world is the general services administrator, the federal government's property. and we have no one to run that, so we had to file cloture. so everyone within the sound of my voice understands it takes a long time to do that, lay it down, file cloture, two days, 30 hours. so it's just not right. and i hope that we can get more cooperation here. i have been someone, madam president, who has tried hard not to do -- have the president do recess appointments.
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but what alternative do we have? what alternative do we have? all the -- we -- we have on the calendar dozens of people who have been held up, dozens. and i've only picked out a few. these are people dealing with the safety and security of our country. i think it's just, without explanation why this is happening. now -- so, i again ask unanimous consent that the senate consider the following nominations en bloc and we proceed to executive session: calendar number 561, that's general clifford stanley to be under secretary of defense; calendar number 603, laura kennedy to be united states representative to the conference on disarmament; calendar number 614, phillip goldberg to be the assistant secretary of state for
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intelligence; and calendar number 615, karen wagner to be under secretary for intelligence at the department of homeland security. that the nominees be confirmed en bloc, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table en bloc, any statements related to the nominations appear in the prord as if given and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: madam president, reserving the right to object -- and i am going to have to do that -- i just wanted to indicate that senator shelby has been in discussions with the administration over an issue with which i'm not terrible familiar, and i believe that is the genesis of his objection. he is not able to be here at the moment to state his position. maybe we can in discussions with him make some progress on these sooner rather than later. but for the moment i'm constrained to object on his behalf. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid: i understand the objection of the senator, the republican leader. but i don't know what my friend, senator shelby -- and i say that -- he is my friend -- i don't know what problem he has. whatever it is, i would almost bet a lot that it has nothing that would be comparable to holding up these extremely sensitive, keeping-our-country-safe positions. i just think it's outlandish. and i can't imagine this is the right thing to do. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: a little earlier today the massachusetts secretary of state formally certified the election of scott brown as the new u.s. senator and the newest member of this body. he'll come to washington and be sworn in on the senate floor, as is customary, later today. and we all look forward to welcoming him.
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the people of massachusetts are eager to have senator brown working on their behalf. republicans look forward to having him join our conference. this was certainly a high-profile election, but now it's time to get to work. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. and under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination: department of labor. m. patricia smith of new york to be solicitor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 20 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees -- between the senator from iowa, mr. harkin be, and the senator from wyoming, mr. enzi, or their designees. who yields time?
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mr. enzi: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: thank you. i rise again in opposition to the nomination of patricia smith to serve as the solicitor of the labor department. as i noted monday, the framers crafted the system of checks and balances to ensure that each government branch has the means to review the actions of the other branches. here in the senate, one of those checks is our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on executive branch nominations. the leader earlier talked about the amount of time that it takes for cloture on people.
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it does take quite a while, but it's part of the process. now, i can tell you when there's a hearing on a person, if there are 270 questions to start with and the other people in a similar position have a couple dozen questions, you know that there's a little bit of a problem that could develop with that one person, depending on how they answer or dean don't ar the questions. and this isn't something new. this isn't something that just happened this yeemplet i was chairman of the "help" committee for two years and then ranking member for wo two years and durg that period of time, president bush had an f.d.a. position that was stopped. it was the first director that actually worked in the mine. that's the mining safety person. and a surgeon general and othe others. then the schedule was set up so there were no recesses so there couldn't be recess appointments. so this is an ongoing thing and
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both sides should take note of that and ask the person making the nominations to come up with reasonable nominations, not people that have a set agenda already set out that will result in the kind of conflicts that we've had on some of these nominations. this advice and consent is the responsibility i take very seriously. nominees before the senate must be qualified and have presented their credentials to us completely and honestly. senators have the obligation to only confirm nominees that possess the strength and character for a position of public trust. i rarely oppose presidential nominees. i believe the president is ultimately responsible for the conduct of his administration, so he has the right to select his team -- up to a point. the new york commissioner of labor patricia smith's long record of public service which my colleagues in the majority have discussed in detail would
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ordinarily have made a bipartisan choice to lead one of the most important offices in the u.s. labor department. unfortunately, her misleading testimony to the "help" committee has caused me to lose confidence in her nomination. i spoke on monday about the specific factual inconsistences and on tuesday i discussed a number of other concerns about ms. smith's agency and a program he created and complemented in new york. also i posted a 41-page report detailing my concerns with ms. smith's nomination on the "help" committee web site. the the report found ms. smith misled the "help" committee. i ask consent that report be made a part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: the majority acknowledges there are factual inconsistencies between what ms. smith said before the "help" committee and official documents from the state of new york. the suggestion that the rationale for these inconsistencies lies in the fact that ms. smith was busy running a large agency and cannot be held accountable for this small program is simply not supported
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by the facts. official documents show the following: ms. smith named the program, she personally met with the organizer and community organizing advocates, developing where her subordinates in november 2008. she personally met with the five trade associations concerned about the program. she personally promoted the program in speeches internally to her staff and in the media. ms. smith was involved in close to 100 communications about the program, either being referenced or as the sender or recipient. she admits her program was the topic of numerous personal discussions she had with the new york governor's office. "beginning in the late fall of 2008, i also discussed the pilot on numerous occasions with jeff manns, i have no written notes from the k-fps and cannot take he will on -- conversations and cannot tell you on what days they took place. there was never a conversation
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specifically devoted to the pilot. the purpose of the conversations was to apprise him of the ideas for the pilot and get the approval of the governor's office. i had a telephone conversation with the assistant counsel, david wine stein of the governor's counsel's office and deputy secretary mann's on february 4. i answered questions about how the program operated." i heard suggestions from the other side of the aisle that because the program does not appear illegal or immoral ms. smith should get a pass for factual inconsistencies. however the wage and hour watch was ethical or illegal is irrelevant as to whether her testimony was misleading. the majority argues there was a possible breakdown between ms. smith and her deputy that kausd this misleading -- caused this misleading deputy. if confirmed, ms. smith would be in charge of legal compliance for a department whose budget projects spend ten times what she oversaw in new york.
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$104.5 billion in 2010, i ask my colleagues why would we consider expanding her responsibilities tenfold when she was unable to see her subordinates effectively in new york? in august i noted my concerns to president obama and offered my assistance in ensuring a qualified replacement would be confirmed quickly. i joined nine republican "help" committee members in urging chairman harkin to refrain from approving this nominee in committee and made the same offer of assistance in ensuring a qualified nominee was given a swift review. it is clear that ms. smith's statements misled the committee. it's also apparent that each inconsistent statement in effect down played concerns held by the republican members. most disturbing, however, is that her written committee responses suggest ms. smith knew her testimony was misleading as
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early as july 2009 but did not correct the problem until contacted by majority staff in september, which is more than two months later. i strongly believe that confirming someone as a head legal officer for a cabinet agency under these circumstances sends the wrong message to the american people and the career staff that she'll oversee. i'm also particularly disappointed that such a controversial nominee is being forced through before newly elected senator scott brown is sworn in. these sorts of actions may be part of the reason public confidence in congress in the government is so low. i urge my colleagues to oppose this nomination, and i yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. mr. harkin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: madam president, i've listened again to my friend -- and he is my friend. we've worked together on a lot of issues and will continue to work together on a lot of
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issues. i listened to senator enzi's comments and i was thinking is there anything new here? we've heard all this before on and on and on and on and again. no matter how many times they repeat it, it doesn't seem to hold much water. i would grant that ms. smith made two mistakes in her testimony, two mistakes in her -- when she period before the committee -- when she appeared before the committee, which she corrected. one of those had to do with the origins of the program. when she was asked about this, she thought at that time that that program had originated among her staff. what she found out is that some of her staff had been talk to go outside groups about that and that -- the idea seemed to come from a meeting of different people about both within her agency and outside. so ms. smith corrected that; hardly a cause for her not pursuing this position.
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again, why would she want to mislead the committee on that when there's nothing wrong with it? so the idea came from an outside group. so what. it doesn't make any difference. she was just trying to answer honestly where she thought the idea had originated within her agency. again, she corrected that, as we let people do. the second one had to do with, about the expansion of the program. and i remembered -- and i read the testimony -- i read the record more than once on that. she has answered that in writing back, it was a question by senator burr about whether or not she had plans for expansion, something like that, and she said no to that. what she meant to say, when she reread it, she had not authorized an expansion of the program. yes, she had had discussions with her staff and maybe others
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about if the pilot program actually worked and was successful, yes, they would plan to expand it. but they had to get the pilot program through first to see what went wrong, what went right, does it need to be changed, does it need to be modified before there could be an expansion. again, she corrected the record on that saying she had not authorized an expansion of the program at that point. again, two minor mistakes corrected in writing, hardly a cause for denying her this position. as i pointed out yesterday, you know, we correct the record all the time around here when we speak on the senate floor because maybe i made a mistake and what i really wanted to say i didn't say it correctly. i probably shouldn't say this, but sometimes reporters don't kind of get the nuance of what we wanted to say perhaps and how we wanted to say it, and so we correct the record all the time.
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it's done all the time around here between what we say and what you read in the "congressional record," because human beings make mistakes. so, again, hardly a cause for denying patricia smith this position. now, again, i dare say i haven't heard anyone question her qualifications. eminently well qualified for this position. and as i said the day before yesterday, and i put in the record a number of letters from business groups in new york supporting her, saying that she was fair and judicious, worked with them. she's run the department of labor in new york, i think $11 billion agency, if i'm not mistaken, with about 4,000 employees. no one has ever questioned her ability to run that agency. we've heard, well, if she didn't
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know what was going on with this little $4,000 pilot project, she can't run an agency. well, again, you know, we always delegate to staff, especially if you have a large staff, you're running big things, little things like that that they can do. again, i heard my friend say that she knew about this program. of course she knew about the program. she knew about the pilot program. quite frankly, i think she was kind of excited about the program to see whether or not it would work or not and if it was a legitimate, good program that would work to help inform people of their rights under the law. surely my friend is not saying that's something that shouldn't be done, help people inform them of their rights or to report violations of the law. surely no one is saying that no one, if they see a violation of the law shouldn't report it. that's what this watch, wage watch was supposed to do. she made it clear in her
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statement in january of 2009 in her statement -- not staff's statement, but her statement and her e-mail to her subordinates that this was not an investigative arm, they weren't replacing staff. this was merely an informational group and also to see if there were any violations of law to report it in. surely no one would say that's not a legitimate function of volunteer groups. so, again, madam president, we're here to vote on final passage of the nomination of patricia smith for solicitor of the department of labor. i'm glad we can finally bring this to a close. it's gone on too long. we've been considering it on the floor since monday postcloture, and in all that time there's been very little in the way of debate. we've only had two republican members come to the floor to
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speak and explain why they oppose this critical nomination. there's nothing new about patricia smith that we've learned since monday. intkaoerbgsd there's nothing that has emerged that we didn't know when we voted her out of committee in september. we know she's well qualified extremely. everyone acknowledges this. she has an impressive record at the new york department of of labor. she is strongly supported by her local community. she has corrected in writing these two errors she made when she testified before the health committee last year. in the four months that have passed since the republicans first threatened to filibuster her nomination, we haven't heard one new piece of information that could change anyone's mind about whether she's a qualified candidate to serve as solicitor of hraeup. all the last -- labor. all the last four months of
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delay has achieved is to delay the department to perform its mission. this government cannot function if we as senators entrusted with the power to advise and con consent abuse that power -- i repeat, abuse that power by using extraordinarily procedural tactics to block the nominations of qualified people. the filibuster, as i understand it, was supposed to be reserved for extreme cases when there are critical policy issues at stake, when the country may be divided on it. it's not supposed to be a routine delay tactic for every nominee that the minority party disagrees with, or that one person disagrees with. you know, the american people are getting fed up, and they should be. we can't even get routine business conducted around here anymore. the american families are sitting around the kitchen table worried about a lot of things: about their health care, about their kids' education, and more
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than anything, about their jobs. they don't have one, about when they're going to get one. or if they have one, can they keep it. how are they going to pay their bills if they become unemployed? we can't help them, we can't help the families of america by spending day after day of time here in quorum calls, with the lights on, the electricity running and people here, and we do nothing. we just sit here because the republican side has engaged in a filibuster. playing these procedural games do not advance our country one bit. we can, however, help our families by attacking the jobs problem with every weapon in our arsenal, and that includes a fully staffed and strong department of labor. so while i'm sorry it has come to this, this long filibuster, all these days wasted, i'm glad
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this process has come to an end. it's time to vote so we can let patricia smith get to work, so we can get back to the business here of helping our families across america. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. enzi: madam president, what's the time situation? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming has 2 minutes and 40 seconds. the senator from iowa has 34 seconds. mr. enzi: thank you, madam president. this argument about using the filibuster, i have to say that both sides have used the same cloture techniques. i think that if you check with the bush nominees that we usually withdrew those and put someone else in. of course that had something to do with the relative size of the majorities. the problem here is with how the program was run. we keep talking about whether it was legal. it probably was legal, but there are some things done there that
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i don't think the average person wants done to them. the wage and hour program twos recruit and train public interest groups to go into businesses with compliance literature and interview employees to discover violations of the wage and hour law. it was expanded to include osha. the state of new york gives participants to disseminate and official cards identifying them in their group as part of a program for when they enter businesses. as part of this process union organizers were directed to gather telenumbers, vehicle license plates and home addresses of business owners as well as details about the employees working there. labor organizers and community activists were allowed to use this information for their own organizing activities. state organization cards were provided to the individuals but the state conducted no background check on those they trained and provided identification cards. is that the kind of a program we'd expect her to federalize if she became the solicitor? a deep concern is how she
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described it as not conducting any background checks. when questioned about it, she explained that there's no formal vetting process for the new york department of labor. they didn't consider the possibility of background checks on the groups but ultimately rejected the idea after quiring after why the neighborhood watch griewrps are semiconductorred to background checks. the department was informed the groups participate participatine partnership are not subject to a check. but there's a difference in how they work. the national sheriffs association neighborhood watch program is purely an observe-and-report program calling the police about suspicious activity in a public area is different than investigating the wages and hours of individual employees and recording their personal contact information. so for these reasons and the ones i've given on previous occasions and senator isakson has given and that members of committee have expressed, i
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would urge them to oppose the nomination. i yield the floor and the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mrharkinwelllet me just put one thing to rest here. no one on the wage watch was authorized to enter any business until the business owner agreed to that. the only exception was if the public wa was allowed. surely they could go into a department store or restaurant where the general public went. but they couldn't go into any business without the business owners. and they couldn't do anything other than what the general public can do right now. we need more people doing what these volunteers were doing and making sure that people's rights are respected. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. mr. harkin: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, the --
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the ayes are 60. the nays are 37. the confirmation of the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. under the previous order, there will be two hours of debate prior to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the johnson nomination, with the time equally divided and controlled between the leaders or their designees. mr. lieberman: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank the -- the presiding officer: will there be order? the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: general service administration, martha n. johnson of maryland to be administrator. mr. lieberman: madam president, i rise -- the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. madam president, i rise to urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to vote for cloture on this nomination, the nomination of martha johnson to be administrator of the general services administration, so that this critical agency -- the presiding officer: order in the chamber, please. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. the point of cloture here is to allow this critical agency to finally have a permanent leader. it would be the first time in nearly two years, and i think
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potentially could save america's taxpayers billions of dollars in the bargain. let me just give you a few examples of what's at stake, which is to say what the general services administration can do for us. last year federal agencies bought $53 billion worth of goods and services, and they did so through contracts negotiated by the general services administration, the g.s.a. having g.s.a. negotiate these procurements lets the individual agencies focus on their core missions, doing what we created them or previous congresses created them to do. it also allows the federal government to leverage our buying power, because if the buying is occurring from one central agency, we can get, in conventional terms, volume discounts, leading to lower costs and, therefore, savings to
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the taxpayers. but we need strong leadership at g.s.a. to ensure that these savings are a reality. for example, in 2007, g.s.a. awarded the networks contracts to provide the telephone network and information technology services to all federal agencies. that is a program estimated to be valued at at least $68 billion in the course of its ten-year lifetime. these contracts will allow agencies to take full advantage of the technologies that their colleagues in private sector use every day to increase efficiency and lower costs. but without a permanent administrator at g.s.a., agencies have been slow to move to the network services costing taxpayers more than $150 million
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to date and an additiona additional $18 million every month. given g.s.a.'s wide responsibilities in providing information technology and telecommunication services, i'm concerned that we lack a confirmed administrator at a time when we are also trying, of course, to strengthen our cyberdefenses. government websites and private websites are constantly under attack. g.s.a. needs to play and can play a very important role in ensuring that our federal i.t. systems are resistant to those cyberattacks. and, furthermore, because of the government's buying power, g.s.a.'s purchases will have a natural positive spillover effect in the private sector. in other words, g.s.a. by its
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own requirements associated with purchases can drive technologies that then become more available to the general public and i'm thinking here specifically of technologies that can defend against cyberattack against private companies as well as public websites. here's another example about another function of the g.s.a. g.s.a. is effectively the government's landlord with 8,600 buildings and assets under its control that r that are a sal -e valued at more tha than $500 billion. it is the -- if not the largest property management organization in the world. another of g.s.a.'s role is to help other agencies dispose of buildings and properties that they no longer need.
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across the government, mr. president, these numbers are stunning and unsettling. there are different agencies that own thousands of buildings worth about $18 billion that are not being used. every day i hear members come to the floor saying we need to work hard to trim the fat from the federal budget so that we can cut the deficit. i agree. yet the nominee for g.s.a., the very agency established to help make government operations more cost efficient has been languishing without a leader for over half a year and i think in that sense losing some opportunities to save some money. what's really frustrating, mr. president, is that a hold has been placed on this nominee for reasons that have nothing to do with her qualifications or personal history and that's why i'm -- i'm glad that senator
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reid filed a cloture petition here and we forced this nomination to the floor. this is really important and a totally -- in a totally nonpartisan way that we get a full-time administrator in here at g.s.a. martha johnson's nomination received the unanimous support of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee in june of last year. more than half a year ago. and so that says that she had total bipartisan support on our committee based on her experience and qualifications. and i'm confident that she has wide bipartisan support in the full senate as well. i hope and trust we will see when the vote occurs on cloture and the final confirmation around 3:00. i hope this is -- this nomination is a -- is a -- a call to action and common sense
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not only bipartisan cooperation, but the cooperation of every member here who has the right to hold up nominations, but really ought to think about the public interest and the national interest when they do this that -- that we cannot continue the practice of holding nominees hostage. mr. president -- as president obama obama said yesterday for reasons that are parochial and unrelated to the nominee's ability to do the job that they've been nominated before. i think these kinds of actions damage the senate as an institution and further reduce the public's respect for how we do our business. i'd like to remind my colleagues at this point just how well qualified this nominee is. to begin with, ms. johnson is a former chief of staff for the g.s.a. so she already knows the agency inside and out and will be ready to roll up her sleeves and get
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to work on day one. this is crucial to the efficiency and morale for an agency that has not had a permanent administrator since april of 2008. almost two years. 2008, april, was the time when the former director was asked to resign by the previous administration. g.s.a. has since been run by five acting administrators who just could not act with the same authority as a presidentially appoint senate-confirmed person in that top job. but both before and after her government service, martha johnson's career shows quite an extraordinary work -- mix in the private and academic sectors that we should want. ms. johnson holds a b.a. in history and economics from oberlin and m.b.a. from yale
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business school and taught some classes. after graduating from yale, ms. johnson began her career as a manager at an engine company and had a series of other management positions in the private sector and was asked by president clinton to become associate deputy secretary of commerce and then chief of staff of g.s.a. from 1996 to 2001. since leaving the government service in 2001, ms. johnson has served as a vice president for the council for excellence in government, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of government at all levels. and, most recently, she served as vice president for computer sciences corporation. so this is an extraordinarily experienced and qualified nominee. and that's why i think she
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deserves and i believe will receive broad bipartisan support when this matter comes to a vote around 3:00. so, mr. president, it's past time for g.s.a. to finally have a permanent administrator and we happen to have a nominee here who is remarkably well suited for the job. i urge my colleagues in the senate to vote yes on cloture and then we can have a -- a final vote, get this able person on the job working for the american people. and i think help us not only manage the federal government's activities better, but to save billions -- literally billions of dollars for american taxpayers. i thank the chair. i yield the floor, and i would yield, if i might to my friend and colleague from louisiana, whatever time she needs to speak at this time. i thank the chair. the presiding officerms. landri.
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president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you. i thank the senator for yielding his team. he has an hour under his control and i intend to take the full hour that is left speaking in favor of the nominee that he has so eloquently he described in terms of background experience and the arguments that he's making about trying to bring more civility and bipartisanship to this body and the importance of getting some of these very important federal officials appointed so that government can work better, more efficiently. it's been my pleasure to serve with the chairman now for several years on the homeland security committee and i'm family with the -- familiar with the work that he and his ranking member, susan collins, the senator from maine have done together, they have shown a real example of bipartisanship. i would hope that his calls for this nominee to move forward
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will be heeded. i'm on the floor to speak about a different subject. one that is very, very important to the state of louisiana and the people of our state. and an issue that has been mischaracterized for months now in all sorts of venues, and i thought taking an opportunity today for a couple of hours to go through the request by the state of louisiana for a -- a change or a realignment of our f-map formula, the formula that funds our medicaid system would be a good thing to do. it's a good thing for several reasons. the most important of which is not to bring us this subject again for further review to try to clear anything that people have said about me.
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i've been in public office now for 30 years. people have said all sorts of things about me as a public official. i would venture to say that every member of this body has been called some very choice names. that is actually not why i'm here to defend myself. the record will do that. what i am here to do is defend the people of louisiana and to express clearly and strongly why and how. our delegation came forward united in a very public way to press our case here in washington, the only place that this can be fixed. why we felt as a delegation strongly united, democrats and republicans, to press this case to the federal government to get some immediate and necessary and urgent relief for the people of our state. i make no apologies for leading
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this effort. i do not back up an inch from the year-long effort that we have undertaken. and i'm here today because i actually don't have any idea at this moment what will happen to the health care bill that we have worked on for the better part of a year. i don't know if we're going to have a bill. i don't know if it's going to be the senate version or the house version. i don't know if it's going to be a bill passed by 0-plus -- 60-plus or more people on the senate side and a wide majority in the house. i don't know if there is reconciliation that's used. those discussions are happening, actually, right now above my pay grade. but what is in my pay grade, what i actually do get paid to do here is to represent the people of louisiana, and i intend to do that for the better part of this hour and for the rest of the day. because there's been some great misunderstanding about this in the national media.
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not much in the mainstream media, but on the fringes, but sometimes those fringes can be quite loud. and i'd like to try my best to silence them a little bit at this point. the mainstream need hayes been, for the -- has been for the most part, been taking their time to understand it. and i appreciate it. and i appreciate the newspapers in my state who actually know more about this than any media outlets. they would because they have covered it longer and have editorialized it generally in my favor and the delegation that has stood strong except for two members that have folded on this issue. so i want to start and i'm going to try to just take everyone through the con rollingicly the -- chronologically the time frame. first of all, i, and the state of louisiana, have been criticized for a secret deal, for something that happened at
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the end of the process that people didn't really know about. i want to call to your attention the "times-picayune" headline dated january 11, 2009. now, we're in february of 2010. so this was a year ago. this was a year ago. i also would call the attention to my critics that this date is actually almost two weeks before president obama was ever sworn into office. just to remind people. this meeting called by my governor, who's a republican governorror, happened in a public place in the governor's mansion in baton rouge and five members of our delegation was there and the entire delegation was represented. it is reported at length in several papers. this is the "times-picayune". this is the headline, "jindal
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reviews wish list for louisiana delegation; aid for recovery, health care stressed." this is the other headline, "governor jindal stresses urgent need for federal government to fix faulty fmap rate. let me repeat that. "governor jindal stresses urgent need for federal government to fix faulty fmap rate." not special fmap rate, not rates every state is fixing, but faulty fmap. i will explain why we think it's faulty in a minute. "the advocate," august 29 -- this was in july. these meetings continued through the year. jindal, republican governor, landrieu, democratic senator, pushed for federal funding fix. so i just want to put my critics on notice, and i'm going to
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submit letters and documents and these articles. nothing about this effort was secret. nothing. and if there is one member of this body, either the junior senator from louisiana or the great senator from arizona or any other senator that would like to come and talk to me about this secret effort, i would look forward to hearing your comments on the floor of this senate sometime today because i'm staying here until 6:00 or 7:00 until we go out of session tonight. i thought it would be good to spend the better part of the day. if anyone, any support wants to come down and say that they thought this was some kind of secret arrangement, i think the editors of our newspaper would be very interested since they have been reporting on it since the first meeting on january 11, 2009.
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secondly, i would like to show a letter signed by our entire delegation to make another point. my critics have said oh, there she goes again. senator landrieu just running off on her own, making all sorts of terrible things and making the state of louisiana look bad. i have spent 30 years of my life trying to represent the people of my state and make them look good. even when they were wrong, i have defended them, and when they were right, i praised them. and when i was wrong, i apologized, and when i was right, i was very proud of my work. never, never in my life have i ever or will ever throw the people of my state under a bus to save my reputation or my job. i know what i am inside.
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i don't need anyone to remind me of the goodness that i have inside. my parents do that, my husband does that, my children do that for me every day. and i don't most certainly need anyone and i don't need this job badly enough. maybe some people do, i don't -- to throw the people of my state under a bus to protect myself politically. i want to show everyone a letter on may 4, and i'm going to read every single signature because i'm actually proud to lead this delegation. i only have one democrat besides myself, but other than about one member of this delegation, we have some pretty extraordinary leaders, and i'm proud of them. and they are very conservative and some are very liberal and some are in the middle, and we have a very diverse delegation.
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i signed this letter. rode alexander signed this letter. charlie, bill cassidy, a member from baton rouge, david vitter, the junior senator, charles bustane from la mayette, steve scalise, al johnson, and joseph gao, the newest member, vietnamese member of congress from the new orleans area signed this letter. this was made public. actually, some members put out their own press releases. and the letter basically says to secretary sebelius, who was finally sworn in after being held up for months when she finally got an office." we write you today to follow up on an april 9 letter. your office received louisiana secretary allen levine." that's our secretary."
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while many states will face challenges to their medicaid program in the coming years, we believe that louisiana's case is unique." we believe louisiana's case is unique. "as you may be aware, our state is still rebuilding from hurricanes katrina and rita in 2005, as well as hurricanes gustav and ike in 2008, including the rehabilitation of the health care system in the new orleans area. these extensive recovery efforts have inflated louisiana's per capita income, but they were only temporary and do not actually reflect the increases due to incomes and industry not related to the hurricane recovery. since the fmap formula per capita to calculate how much each state will receive, we are greatly concerned that the post-hurricane per capita income increase would significantly impact our fmap allocation. we ask that you meet with
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secretary levine to develop a solution to the unique problem that our state is facing. this is an example of one letter. i have many others, signed by our entire delegation asking the officials up here, from the white house to kathleen sebelius to other powerful members up here to please look at louisiana's situation, because ours alone among the 50 states was unique, and i'll explain why in a minute. so the fact that this was secret is a lie. the fact that it wasn't supported by our delegation is a lie. and now i want to explain what our problem is, and this map explains it, or chart, better than i could. as anyone knows how this map federal formula works for medicaid, medicaid is a voluntary program to a certain
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extent that states can enter into to cover their very poor. the federal government says if you want to do that, if you're a wealthy state, we will pick up 50% of your effort. if you're a moderately wealthy state, you know, we'll pick up 60% of your effort. and if you're one of the poorest states in the union -- not that louisiana isn't an extraordinary state, but we have high poverty relative to other states, just like mississippi and alabama, west virginia. we know who our cohorts are. we have been at this a long time. and for us, the federal government says if you try to cover your poor, we will pick up 70% for you, which is the right thing to do. the federal government should help the poor states a little bit more than the wealthier states. it's actually what's taught in the bible. i wish we would follow it a little bit more around here. but anyway, so for years this is
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what's occurred. 1999, the federal government paid 70 cents of every dollar. you can see basically, and it's done by an income calculation, because our income, we have gotten a little bit richer here you can see, a little bit richer, a little bit poorer, but a little bit richer. all of a sudden, because of a unique set of circumstances that happened because of katrina and rita and ike and gustav. not because of any politics up here, but because of hurricanes and levee breaks and a catastrophic flood and an influx of federal dollars which came to help which we're grateful for, our congratulations were terribly distorted and skewed when the new calculation was made, and as a result, ours would have fallen -- the federal government's portion would have fallen to 63%. so from an average of about 70%,
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we would have fallen to 63%. that doesn't sound like a lot, but it would have meant about a a $400 million to to $600 million -- i will give very rough -- $400 million to to $600 million difference, and either the people of my state would have had to cut cut $400 million to $600 million out of programs today or they would have had to raise raise $400 million to to $600 million in taxes. that's a lot of money, even here in washington where we throw around a billion dollars and a trillion dollars like it's nothing. i can promise you there are people sitting around their kitchen tables in louisiana, way down in tibideaux and way up in mansfield, louisiana, thinking where are we going to come up with $500 million? this is -- this is terrible, senator. we didn't do anything. we're not that much richer.
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we're actually still struggling from the recovery. doesn't anyone in washington understand that we did not get an -- we are not 40% richer than we were two years ago? does anybody know up there that we're still struggling with this recovery? and i assured them i knew and our delegation knew and that i knew some people that might be understanding. i mentioned to them actually that i would bring this to harry reid, i said, because he is a good man, he has a good heart. i think if i explained this to him and to kathleen sebelius, who is a very good secretary and get their staffs to look at it, perhaps they would agree with us that we needed some special assistance. and i thought there might be one person, one person with a heart on the other side of the aisle.
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i still think there may be. but i said, you know, let's just try. so our delegation went to work. and lo and behold we have a health care bill coming along. it's a bill that some people like and some people don't, but it is most certainly germane to my subject. it is most certainly germane to my subject. so i say this is nice. i know we're going to be on health care. let's see what we can do to get this in this health care bill. i don't know what the bill is going to look like. i don't know if i can vote for it when it finally comes. i don't even know if i'm going to be for it, but it's a health care bill, this is the health care amendment. some people have actually criticized me recently and said, you know, the senator put it on the wrong bill. the senator discussed this at the wrong time. the senator has ruined the efforts of the state to get help because she asked for this
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amendment. was i supposed to ask for it on a transportation bill? was i supposed to ask for a medicaid fix on a jobs bill? was i supposed to ask for it on a lands bill? you know, forgive me for asking for a health care amendment on a health care bill. so i did. we pursued it openly. we pursued it bipartisanly, and we pursued it intelligently and smartly on the health care bill. and i assured my republicans privately and publicly i know you're not for the bill. you don't have to vote for the bill. i may not vote for the bill. i didn't know i was going to vote for the bill until the very end, and i'm going to talk about why i decided to vote for the bill. i said but no matter how we vote on this bill, let's really make
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a case as strong as we can that this should be fixed. and we basically agreed to do that, and the record will show that. so at some point later as the debate moved over here to the senate, i was asked to present on any number of occasions just like every senator here was asked what are the things that you think are the most important in this health care bill as we begin the debate. i wasn't on the health committee. i'm not on finance. so those of us not in health and not on the finance committee submitted our documents which i'm going to release today to the leader and said these are the things that we think are most important. this was always on that list. i'm proud that it was on the list, but what i want people to
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realize is it wasn't the only thing on the list. it wasn't the first thing on the list, and it wasn't on the list in any letter or correspondence that said if this doesn't get on, i'm not voting for the bill. in every correspondence, public, in every public meeting and every private meeting, i pressed for this issue, but never did i say at any time that if this wasn't in the bill, then i wouldn't vote for it or if it was in the bill, i would vote for it because i don't believe in that. as strongly as i feel about this provision and the merits of it, i would never have asked my colleagues. i did ask my colleagues to understand a few other things, and they can tell you that i said this in any number of meetings, and unfortunately some of them were locked up with me for days, so they actually got to hear this over and over again. i said i cannot vote for this
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bill unless it drives down costs. i cannot vote for this bill if there is a government-run public delivery system. i will not vote for this bill if there is an employer mandate. i can only vote for this bill if it extends coverage to people that don't have it in a way they can afford it where they have choices in the private sector. i said that speech a hundred times in my state. i was on the radio. i have been here on this floor. my colleagues have heard it any number of times, and i said to my colleagues if you're going to cover children who can stay on their parents -- cover them through their parents' insurance, if the underlying bill, whether it comes from the senate or the house, is going to cover children up to 26 years old, which is a very good reform, something i think the american people support, most
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certainly the people in my state would love to be able to keep their children on their own health insurance until they are 26. i said i would be hard pressed to vote for a bill if you left out children that don't have parents. since i'm the cochair of the adoption caucus and the cochair of the foster care caucus with chairman grassley, i felt very empowered to speak those words to those leaders here. because my job -- part of my job i've taken on myself is to try to represent children in foster care. i don't do a very good job every day and sometimes i don't do the job i should do for them. but i try my best and when we're in those meetings, they have no one speaking for them. they most certainly don't have the money to hire a lobbyist. they most certainly have no money there advocating for them. every now and then i speak up for them -- and i wish i'd do it more -- and so i said i really,
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if you're going to put that in the bill so that every child in america goats stay on their parent's health insurance until they're 26, do you all realize that we have 22,000 children that graduate and come out of our foster care system that don't have any parents, so what are we going to do for them? and they said we don't know, i think we'll just leave them out. and i said i don't think you will, because if you really want my support for this bill, that has to be in there. now, i said that on the floor, i said it in meetings. this was not in that conversation. this was we need it, we believe that we have a $400 million to dlrs 600 mill -- $600 million fix. we'd not -- we'd love you to fix it owl, we'd love the full $600 million but we'd appreciate whatever you can do to help us. and, frankly, the reason we should fix it not only will it be good for louisiana but by chance, if any other state, when the earthquake hits memphis, itt
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will someday, and when the earthquake hits california -- it will someday -- you know what? if this is in the law, they won't have to pay double for their medicaid three years after that disaster because there will be this adjustment that says if your rates arbitrarily or artificially are distorted by the fact that you've got an increase in public assistance coming in to your state, we won't count you as having a 40% increase in income. and it will help, contrary to the senator from arizona. it doesn't just affect louisiana. for the time being it does, but in the future it would affect a lot of other states, and that's the right thing to do. because nobody should be punished for having a disaster. why would you punish?
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this money, this $400 million, is to protect the poorest children in my state. children who lost their parents in the flood, their grandparents in the flood, children that lost siblings in the flood, children that are still not back in their houses. why would we punish these children, these disabled people, the poor people on medicaid because the federal government's levees broke? why would we do that? i don't think we want to. so i'm not going to stand by silently while the people of louisiana are criticized for asking for something in a public way, describing our situation, expressing that we are unique among the states in this and
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asking for assistance. i think the white house understands this. i know that kathleen sebelius understands this. i'm most certainly confident that the leadership on the democratic side. i'm very interested in what the republican leadership has to say about this. they have been very quiet. and if this isn't the place to ask for it, mr. president, where is the place, because i'd like to go? if this isn't the time to ask for it, what is the time? because this budget is being crafted right now by my legislators. not two years from now, right now. and they're either going to know that they have $350 million to
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work with or they're not. they're either going to raise $350 million on the backs of my people that can hardly pay the taxes they're paying now, or they're going to cut off some more either elderly or the poor or the disabled who rely on medicaid. so if this isn't the time, when would i come? now, to close, because i have just a few more minutes, i'm going to read the one statement that my governor has made publicly on this for the record. you know, being in public office takes more than being intelligent, it takes more than being a fancy resume, it takes more. some people have more of those than others. this is what my governor said. on november 20 to cnn: "the bill
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is awful but it's unfair to criticize senator landrieu or the rest of our delegation for fighting to correct this injustice to louisiana. our entire delegation is working together across party lines to correct this flawed formula." this is the one statement that he made. so i'm going to -- i see my colleague on the floor to speak about other matters. i'm going to rest for a moment but i'm going to be on this floor until 6:00 today. i'm not leaving. and if any senator from the democratic side or the republican side wants to debate me on any aspect of this, i would kindly ask them to let's get this over with today.
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so i will look forward to seeing them. i will be here until 6:00. and if they don't come, then i would hope that they would keep their mouth about something they know nothing about. thank you. mr. bond: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri is recognized. mr. bond: i thank the distinguished chair. today i rise to shed some light on the situation going on at the general services administration, the g.s.a., a tangled mess of bureaucracy i have been fighting for the last five years. in the past, i've worked very cooperatively with g.s.a., but for some reason, somehow they have gotten themselves and us in a situation that is untenable. yesterday, the president accused me of holding the nominee to be
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administrator, martha johnson, hostage. i feel no joy in holding up this nominee, but the hostage i am concerned about is not the one looking for this distinguished position in washington. instead, the hostages i am worried about are the 1,000 people working in a federal office building dump in kansas city, at the mercy of an agency that refuses to act to remedy a problem they acknowledge exists. again, the hostage, with due respect, is not martha johnson, the hostages are the 1,000 kansas city workers at the banister complex. now, as senators, we have a few tools at our disposal to carry out our responsibilities. one of these important responsibilities is oversight of the federal government, and one of those -- these tools is to force the senate to debate and
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actually vote on an issue rather than be just a rubber stamp to the administration. while he has criticized me for using this oversight tool, the president wielded it himself when he was a senator in this very chamber. senator reid, our distinguished leader, shares some responsibility in delaying martha johnson's confirmation. you see, the johnson nomination actually passed out of committee in may. was she ever called up for a vote? no, because until july, when i formerly placed a hold on the -- formally placed a hold on the nominee, the senator from nevada, according to "congress daily" delayed her confirmation to ensure that taxpayer dollars were still being used to send federal employees to las vegas. senator reid has his priorities regarding the delay on this nomination and i have mine. he wants more federal employees able to come to las vegas, and i
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certainly understand his reasons. it's very important for his state. but i want federal employees in kansas city to work in a building with a roof that doesn't leak and doesn't have other risks of contamination. now, some are complaining about the delay of this nominee. the truth is that the majority leader could have confirmed martha johnson in may, june or july. in addition, the majority leader waited until thursday to file cloture and he could have picked any date in the last seven months but he waited until last thursday. we had thought we had -- we had made progress, and every time we thought we made progress, somebody in the administration pulled back that small step of progress. there are many reasons why a senator might wish to place a hold on a nominee that are related to our oversight responsibility, and i think it's important to have debates like this not only when the qualifications of the nominee are at stake but when a federal bureaucracy stops being
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responsive and serving of the people and the communities in which they work. that's the real issue here. martha johnson's qualifications are not in doubt, but as you will hear in a minute, the g.s.a. is not being responsible to the people of kansas city and most specifically to the federal workers there. history goes back about five years. it's part of a larger plan to move all tenants out of the dilapidated banister federal complex. g.s.a. initiated a plan to construct a thou building in downtown -- new building in downtown kansas city in order to move the jobs out of the complex. now, that was -- that was a long time ago, and at the time, they were looking for a lease-to-own process. the community of kansas city, the leadership, the elected
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officials, the employees and kansas city's financial community had worked with the g.s.a. to get a building, a new building to replace the banister complex. the existing building, by any stretch of the imagination, is extremely expensive to operate, will be sparsely occupied, is not conducive as a good workplace and must be replaced. after three years, the plan brought together with g.s.a.'s participation, the leadership of the kansas city community at all levels, from the mayor to the council to the business community, the finance community who was going to put up the money, they -- they came together and they got a commitment, the financing would be available to construct on a lease construction basis. so what happened? with no warning, g.s.a. called up the environment and public works committee the week of the
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markup when it was supposed to be approved, they effectively put their own hold on the project they developed and approved citing g.s.a.'s shift away from proceeding on a lease construction basis. now, for anyone following the project, this latest move by g.s.a. was very difficult to understand. after all, three months earlier, in june of 2008, g.s.a. was holding round-tables with real estate developers on the value of lease construction plans and telling them how they could seek and pursue such projects. in scrapping their own plan, g.s.a. ensured that after all other tenants vacated the inefficient 5.2 million-square-foot complex, more than 1,000 federal employees would be stuck working there. that is about 5,000 square feet per employee. this nonsensical plan will -- would cost taxpayers $13 million to $15 million annually just to
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mothball unused space and operate shared hooght and cooling equipment. -- heating and cooling equipment. that's $13,000 to $15,000 a year per employee for the unused space. g.s.a. was so convinced that this was the best path forward that for nine months, they even went so far as to conduct an analysis to justify the continued use of the banister complex. but then in a 60-day analysis, g.s.a. concluded that the banister complex should be a midterm hold, approximately 15 years. that translates into nearly 10 years of continuing to run a complex at 20% capacity. does that make sense? i can't figure any -- any -- building manager, any spornlg party, in the private sector or in government, that thinks that works out. it doesn't take a madge
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maetician to figure out the numbers. -- it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out the numbers. put paper to pencil. anybody can do that. but then g.s.a. agreed to their original position in 2009 that the new building was g.s. a.'s preferred option. i know this is getting confusing because we've been confused. imagine how the kansas city community feels after being jerked around for five years, where we sat down and worked with the staff -- and a very helpful staff decided -- laid out the path forward. that sound like a good idea. everybody at home was on board, the kansas city community was on board. then somebody in the administration, whether g.s.a. or above put a halt to every one of those steps forward, every single one of them. every time they laid out something, nothing happened. we're beginning, quite honestly, to feel a little bit like
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charlie brown. every time we get ready to kick the football, somebody in the administration moves it. so where are we now? now that g.s.a. that is gone back to their original objective that they earlier rejected, unfortunately we're not even one step closer to the new building for these workers. g.s.a. has still taken no action, still put nothing on paper, made no commitments. is there a way forward? what is their way forward? let the people of kansas city know what you're going to do, how you're going to do it and when you're going to do t we can't even find that out from them. there's no official plan out of g.s.a. now, g.s.a. clearly agrees that the new federal building is needed, so it shouldn't be asking too much for somebody who represents them and the community to be told their plan, that they have stubbornly refused to produce one. i have met with ms. martha johnson. i have worked with the p.b.s.
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commissioner. they are fine people, wonderful people. i think they're qualified. i have asked that g.s.a. come p with an official plan to move kansas city forward. they've refused. bureaucracy has broken its word once again and i want the chance to tell my colleagues that they've done. mr. president, my bottom line: the reason i am on the floor today opposing this nomination is quite simple: as missouri's senior senator, my job is to fight on behalf of the people who sent me here. my yob is to make sure that the bureaucrats in washington do their job and serve the people across the nation and in kansas city. g.s.a. continues to ignore the kansas city community. my efforts have always been about keeping 1,000 jobs in kansas city, not blocking one position in washington. but my colleagues should be aware, there's more bad news at this very same banister federal complex. at the same time g.s.a. has been
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unwilling to move forward on the same building, they've also been unwilling to be aware of the ongoing health concerns of the employees at the banister complex. in the next day or so, tests will come back on the levels of trichlorethylene or t.c.e., a dangerous carcinogen at the banister complex. these tests will called for after local tv station reported unexplained illnesses affected banister workers and a possible link to toxins, such as t.c.e. and beryllium at the complex. while the pending teflts are of great concern, they are of great concern to the imleerks their families, but most of all we're hearing from the parents of children whose children were in the day-care center at the complex. they want to know to what their children might have been exposed.
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and these scares and reports are coming more and more frequently to us from the banister complex. it's alarming that i learned about this information not from g.s.a. but from the media, based on media reports, the implications for health of these workers could be very serious. so i've called for an investigation. i have asked the inspector general of g.s.a. to get to the bottom of these alarming health allegations. i will work with proper authorities on all levels of government. the environmental protection agency, the missouri department of natural resources, mott mo department of health, the agency for toxic substances and disease registry to uncover any additional information. and it goes without saying that i will demand more transparent and comprehensive testing throughout the banister complex. for the safety of the workers, we need to know what is going on, what is happening at banister, what has gone on in the past, who knew about it, why they did nothing about it and
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how to move immediately to protect these potentially at risk. the bottom line is that these workers deserve answers. the situation at g.s.a. tells the american people that all they can expect out of washington right now is business as usual, keep going forward, don't listen to the people we're supposed to serve. a government that is out of fuca government that is out of touch with their concerns can slow that. for these reasons, i will vote against the nomination and ask my colleagues to do the same. mr. president, i yield the flo floor. i thank the chaimple chair. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: i thank the presiding officer. mr. president, i just want to take a few minutes to express my
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frustration and my dismay at the roadblocks which have been placed in the way of senate nominations for key positions in the dment o department of defen. the 0 obstruction takes place -- these obstructions -- there's five of them -- at a time when these nominees are critically needed by the department of defense. we are a nation at war. our national security interests require us to end these obstruction tactics and immediately fill these five positions with highly qualified patriots. each of these nominees has been favorably reported by the senate -- e-- excuse me, to the senatey the committee on armed services. they've responded to extensive
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advanced policy questions and nobody has informed me of any concern about the qualifications of any one of these five nominees, and yet there's an objection here on the floor of the senate every time these nominations are considered for confirmation. if any senator has a concern about any of these five defense department nominees, i wish they would let me know about that concern so we can address those concerns. we've heard from nobody. we have a unanimous approval by the armed services committee of five defense department nominees. they've been signature on our calendar since -- they've been sitting on our calendar since december 2, over two months, while these positions go unfilled and we're in the middle of two wars. now, one of these nominees is retired marine general clifford stanly. he was nominated to be under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. this position is critically
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important. it's responsible for our military readiness. it's responsible for our total force management. it's responsible for military and civilian personnel requirements that they be filled. this position is responsible for pay and benefits. let me repeat this. the pay and benefits of our military personnel are the responsibility of the person who's been nominated for this position, and he's been sitting, waiting for confirmation for two months. now, what kind of a message is this to the men and women who put on the uniform of this country? military and civilian personnel training is the responsibility of this office. military and civilian family matters, exchange, commissary, nonappropriated fund activities, personnel requirements for weapons support, national guard and reserve personnel matters, health care for the military and
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their families. general stanley was the first african-american regimental commander in the marine complete he has served with honor and distinction. he is now retired. we are lucky that we could get someone like general stanley to fill this position, to come back into public service and fill this position. and yet there's a hold on his whom nation since december the 2nd. the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs have both made personal appeals to me and to other members, including i think the leadership of this body. to confirm general stanley so he can perform those essential duties which i've outlined. his nomination again was unanimously supported by our committee and our distinguished presiding officer is a wonderful member of our committee. it's -- no one, again, has
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brought any problem with this nomination to my attention. no one has said he's not qualified. i think there'ser unanimous consensus that he's extraordinarily well-qualified. so while we've got service members who have volunteered to serve and their families under great stress, they're fighting for our interests in two wars. we've got a critically important person who's awaiting confirmation for a position which affects every one of their lives. it's unconscionable that these roadblocks are placed in the way of these nominees. another critical nomination is that of frank kendall iii. he was nomineed tthe individual confirmed to this position is responsible for assisting the under secretary of defense for acquisition technology and logistics and
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supervising the department's acquisition, establishing policies for acquisition including the procurement of goods and services, research and development, developmental testing, and contract administration. we got all these problems with contracts, with testing, with development, with cost overruns. we've reformed our law now so that we've got much better acquisition rules in place to try to see if we can't get rid of some of these cost overruns, and so we've got a nominee to fill the position of deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition of technology and our friendseour friends on the f the aisle -- someone over there -- has got a hold on his nomination, i know for no reason reemented to his qualification. -- i know for no reason related to his qualification. there's been no issue with
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regard to any of the five nominees. so again we've got a critical position, as i indicated, again particularly when we have acquisition reform, which we've just adopted. it is so essential to control the costs of our national defense. and mr. kendall's nomination, like general stanley's nomination, has been before the senate since december 2, over two months. another nomination is that of erin conaton. we all know her. nobody has race raised an issuet her. we are a lucky to have her. and yet there's a hold on the other side of the aisle for some unspecified reason, nothing to do with her, but here she is in a position which is so important to the air force. she is, if designated by the
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secretary, going to be the under secretary of the air force serving as the executive ealings agency for space. she is not only the chief management officer of the averse air force -- we have pea got all these problems, and our presiding officer knows about the problems of auditing, knows about the management and business problems that we have in our defense units. he knows it from experience here in the senate. knows it from his own personal life experience how important this is and we can't get the woman who probably is as knowledgeable about this subject as anyone, based on all of her years over at the armed services committee, we can't get her off the senate calendar. terry yonkers. this assistant secretary is responsible for the overall supervision of all matters related to air force installations, environment and logistics, including planning,
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acquisition, sustainment and disposal of air force real property and natural resources, environmental program compliance, energy management, safety and occupational health of air force personnel. these are important, vital positions to the well-being of our men and women in uniform. it is unconscionable that one or more people on the ear side of the aisle -- on the other side of the aisle continue to put holds on these nominations. we can't find out any problem -- because there is none -- with their qualifications. it's just endless holds. endless filibuster threats, endless roadblocks to stop these and so many other nominations. these are defense department nominations in the middle of two wars, and these roadblocks have got to be removed. i hope we'll take up these nominations, all five of them immediately. we have service members willing to risk their lives in defense of the nation, the least we can do as a senate is to confirm
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nominees to the critical positions to lead the department of defense. again, finally -- and i know my great friend from illinois who's sitting three feet away from me has made the same suggestion that she's pressed so hard to get these roadblocks removed -- if anybody has a problem with these nominees, would they please come to the floor and tell us. they can tell us, hopefully publicly, but they can tell us privately. we've heard nothing. these nominees, all five of them were unanimously approved. we don't know of any problem. we know their qualifications and they're extraordinary in every one of their cases. this filibustering that is' going on around here and the threat of filibustering and the constant roadblocks that are thrown up in front of these nominees are really unconscionable. they go beyond anything i've
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ever seen around here in 32 years. we all know there's people who object to nominees, hopefully, usually because they have an objection against something the nominee has done or said n. this case there's nothing like that. this is some unrelated matter apparently which has caused somebody to say we're going to hold them hostage while they try to extract some concession out of somebody. we just simply, it seems to me, as a body have got to find a way where we can get our nominations back on to a reasonably decent track. and i say that with greater emphasis when in the middle of two wars we've got five essential nominees. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. levin: yes. mr. durbin: i am not 100% pure. i have held up a nomination in the past. but i always state my purpose. and the two i can recall immediately were to get agencies to do things they said they would have done long before. and in fact they did them and i
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released my hold immediate hreufplt it was issuing -- immediately. it was issuing a report, not a matter of filling a job or project or something like that. it's been done, but i think if it's done with transparency and a timely way we can live with it. in this particular instance, when we're seeing our calendar stacked up with nominations, there is one that struck me. this dr. stanley, who is trying to take a position with, if i'm not mistaken, manpower and readiness -- mr. levin: in charge of it. mr. durbin: for the department of defense. if i remember correctly, this gentleman has served 33 years in the u.s. marine corps, was a major general and was the first african-american regimental commander in the history of the u.s. marine corps. it is clear that he's qualified. there is no question about his patriotism and love of his country. the fact that he would go through this process, let them
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go through every aspect and every corner of his life to prepare him for this nomination and then to go there thu on the floor -- to go through this on the floor by the senator from alabama. when he was considered before your committee, did anyone question this man's ability or service to this nation? mr. levin: quite the opposite. his references were superb. not only was there no objection raised, it was quite the opposite. we were delighted he was willing to come out of retirement and serve. these nominees are pefrbg a public service -- performing a public service, in many cases getting a lot less pay than they would get in the private sector. many of us, including me, have placed holds on nominations. that's not unheard of. usually there's some reason you have that you're willing to disclose and that you want to take up with the nominee or you want some report that has not been filed that was promised. you want something that relates to the nominee.
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the objections here, the roadblocks here have nothing to do with these nominees. there is no objection tease nominees. my good friend from vermont has come to the floor. he has to live with this a lot more than i have to live with it. this is probably 20% of my time. he's got a roadblocks in front of the judicial nominees that take up probably more than half of senator leahy's time. mr. leahy: if my two friends would yield on that point, it has gone way beyond anything i have seen in 35 years here in the senate by either democrats or republicans. just ridiculous. i'll give you one example. not something from my committee but i mentioned it the other tkaeufplt during the height of the -- the other tkaeufplt during the height of the kpupb kpupb -- during the height of the h1n1 flew, there was an anonymous hold on the nomination of the surgeon general. this went on for months and
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months and months. finally the hold was lifted. he was confirmed unanimously. we've had judges supported by both parties and nominations come out of the committee and the distinguished deputy majority leader who is a member of the committee, knows they come out unanimously. they would be held up for months. we finally vote cloture, waste three days of the public's -- at the cost of hundreds of thousands at the time, and they have a vote and it's virtually unanimous. i mean, this is being childish. it goes beyond being -- misusing a parliamentary procedure. it becomes childish. i thank my two colleagues for letting me go there. mr. durbin: mr. president, i
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know the senator from vermont is going to take the flo his indule for a few minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois is recognized. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask unanimous consent to be recognized for up to five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. durbin: mr. president, in my era in politics, one of the most frightening things that you could ever hear when you were about to go into an event is if the host event called you to the side and said you'll be speaking, and you're following ted kennedy. that was the worst news you could receive. no one in the world wanted to follow ted kennedy. he was just that good and well loved, and a man who had given his life to public service and to his state of massachusetts. well, our friend paul kirk, who is seeing his tenure in the senate come to an end either day or in this week, had the unfortunate responsibility to follow that great man.
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but if there was ever a person who could stand up and take the job, it was paul kirk. he came to the senate not just as a former staffer of senator ted kennedy after senator kennedy passed away, but is truly a very close friend of senator kennedy. on the day he was sworn in, senator paul kirk of massachusetts said he assumed these duties feeling the profound absence of a friend, but a full understanding of his devotion and understanding of public service. paul kirk promised to be a voice and a vote for the causes which senator kennedy believed in. and for four months and ten days, he honored that promise for his old friend and to the people of massachusetts. i will tell that you paul kirk in his short time here served with dignity and integrity. we thank him and his wife, gail, who made a personal sacrifice to let her husband come here and take up this responsibility for this are important chapter in his life and this important chapter in the history of the
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united states senate. i think it's fair to say paul kirk never dreamed that he would be a senator. he graduateed from harvard law school in 1964. he worked as an assistant district attorney in massachusetts. he came to washington in 1968 and worked on senator robert kennedy's presidential campaign. he considered quitting politics, as many people did, after robert kennedy's political assassination. but ted kennedy convinced him to pick up the following standard and carry on in bobby's work. for the next eight years paul kirk worked in the senate as one of ted kennedy's closest aides. he was with senator kennedy in 1980 when the last of the kennedy brothers ran for president. i remember that so well, as the down state coordinator of the ted kennedy for president campaign in illinois. in 1985 paul kirk took on the challenge of chairing the democratic national committee in the middle of the reaganer remarks quite a political challenge for any democrat. he served as cochairman of the commission on presidential debates, chairman of the john f.
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kennedy library foundation since 1992. he's a good fellow with a great sense of humor. and i can tell you what's been said about him. he's never been known for excitement. one friend said of paul kirk several years ago -- quote -- "behind that quiet exterior is a quiet interior. he's just that sort of person. soft spoken but effective." he may not speak in a lion's roar like ted kennedy, but his reverence for america and his belief in this great of nation and sense of justice is just as strong. on the saturday before thanksgiving during the effort to break the filibuster on health care reform, senator kirk came to the floor and told the story of a woman from summerville, massachusetts, who finished college, prepared for grad school and suffered organ failure. in many states that woman might have found herself in a critical state and medical debt and surely she wouldn't have been able to find insurance. but because of massachusetts'
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first in the nation near universal health care program, paul kirk told us that young woman can still obtain affordable health care even though she now has what is characterized as a preexisting condition that will require her to be on medication for the rest of her life. senator kennedy was proud of what massachusetts, his home state, achieved in health care, ensuring that americans in every state had decent, affordable health care, paul kirk said, was the cause of his life too. it has been senator kirk's consuming goal in the senate and i hope that it will soon become a reality. we're just too close to a solution on health care and the need is too great for us to stop now. in 1968 when ted kennedy became majority whip, the position i now hold in the senate, then majority leader mike mansfield welcomed him to the leadership and said of all the kennedys, the senator is the only one who was and is a real senate man. part of what made ted kennedy a real senate man was his personality and his
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inexhaustible patience and optimism. part of it was his great staff. the kennedy staff has always been known as the a-team. i ask unanimous consent for 60 additional seconds. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: the kennedy staff has always been known as the a team in the united states senate. they're smart, they're talented and they're dedicated. after they leave ted kennedy, they go places unimaginable for most staffers. some have been with senator kennedy for decades and continue with senator kirk, legendary kerry parker, the chief staff writer, michael myers, whom i know from his act kwreufrts on the floor was -- activities on the floor, has worked so hard on health care reform. he's been amazing. i want to thank all the staffers for senator kirk and previously for senator kennedy for carrying on that standard of justice and fairness. thank them as a group for their service to massachusetts and to america. because of them, countless
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others like myself have been enlisted in the kennedy causes, in the kirk causes with a great deal of pride. special thanks to the kennedy family, especially vicky, ted, caroline for sharing so*pl so much of the man. finally, i want to welcome senator scott brown to the united states senate. as senator kennedy, if he were here, would say fault you. senator kennedy was always eager to reach across the aisle and find solutions to the problems we face. i look forward to the opportunity to do the same with the man who will succeed him in the united states senate. i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i see my friend from wyoming on the floor. he has -- as he's being recognized, i would ask consent that when he finishes i be recognized for ten minutes to speak about vermonters who have
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been in haiti helping with the devastation. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from wyoming is recognized. brass -- mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, there's been significant attention given to efforts by the united nations to establish a global climate change agreement. the efforts have been based in large part on information contained in reports prepared by the united nations intergovernmental panel on climate change. supporters repeatedly cite figures and conclusions in the u.n. reports to justify a complete overhaul of the world economy. supporters have been steadfast in claiming that the report is conclusive, in claiming that the scientific data is solid and in claiming the integrity of the findings are above reproach. any mistakes identified and pointed out are minimized and
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ignored. mr. president, they have been singing this song for years. the u.n.'s top climate official is dr. r.k. pechari. the chorus of defenders of the reports have grown louder as the house of cards they have built is falling apart. there have been disclosures of e-mails that say scientists manipulated the science. there's been scientific conclusions that are not properly peer-reviewed. each week the list of errors grows and the excuses from dr. pechari, the man in charge of the climate report changes well, they've been thin. i come to the floor as a senator who serves on the energy committee and environment and public works committee. i came to the floor to tell you and our nation that the united nations scientists are manipulating data to further
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political goals. political goals of passing a climate change accord that will cost the world billions. now, this isn't my bein accusat. the person making the charge is actually the person who verified the false conclusion. it's -- it's better to hear it from that person's own words. his name is dr. murry lowl, he is a retired indian academic. he was one of those of the united nations asia support. he is behind the bogus claim that the united nations climate change group reports that the him laya glaciers will have melted by 20356789 he admitted -- they called it a fact -- as climate change supporters like to state. it was included in the report. this is why he says purely to put political pressure on world leaders. let me repeat. he said the so-called fact was
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included in the united nations report purely to put political pressure on world leaders. according to dr. lowoll, he said it related stoaferl countries in this region and water resources. he goes on to say he thought if we could highlight it, well, it will impact policymakers an politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. the so-called fact in the record is just not true. on july 21st, the economist stated when informed about the error in the united nations report, they did nothing. and the claims were and i'll -- quote -- "dismissed by dr. pechari." the "times of the united kingdom reports" reports that the united nations wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters. in an article written by
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jonathan leak, he stated that the united nations climate channel faces new controversy for wrongly linking warming to an increase in the number of severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes an floods. the original whring between climate change -- link between climate change and natural disasters was based on an unpublished report. torgt the "times" it has not been subjected to routine scientific authority and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link was too weak. despite the warnings once again, the united nations intergovernmental panel included the fiction in its report. well, today the claim by the united nations that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of natural disasters is a large part of the political debate across the nation.
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how many politicians have made the claim that hurricane katrina was the result of climate change? well, now they know this inconvenient truth. according to the "times," the actual authors of the claim on natural disaster withdrew the claim, but the united nations has not. every day new scandals are emerging about the so-called facts in the u.n. reports. claims that ice is disappearing from the world's mountain tops. they were apparently based on a student dissertation and an article in mountain nearing mag -- mountainneering mag glean. there were claims that global warming might wipe out 40% of the amazon rain forest. this is in addition to the
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details by the climatic research university at east anglia university. these are the e-mails that raised the questions about u.n. scientists. this demonstrates a coordinated effort by trusted scientists to surpress dissenting views and manipulate data and methods to skew the u.n. reports to reach a politically correct view of the impact of climate change. scientists at the research unit said they admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. they lack any raw -- the lack of any raw data prevents other scientists from checking their work and raises additional questions, mr. president, about the accuracy of the data used in the united nations reports. the actions by scientists and others to suppress data that
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contradicts their conclusions is misleading, unethical, and unacceptable. their conduct needs to be investigated. senator inhofe and i have written to the u.n. secretary moon to have the u.n. conduct an investigation into the original climategate revelations. that request has not been acted upon. revelations of ongoing scientific relations is disturbing, concrete action by world leaders is needed. the integrity of the data and the integrity of the science has been compromised. today i call for government delegations of the u.n.'s general assembly and the u.n. secretary moon to pressure r.k. pechari to step down on the united nations intergovernmental panel on climate change. it is time to conduct an independent investigation into the conduct of this climate
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panel. mr. president, dr. pechari should be removed from any involvement with the investigation. recent reports over the weekend raise questions about whether or not dr. pechari knew of the false information in the u.n. report months before the disclosure. these claims were first reported in the times of the u.k. and stated that pechari was told that the intergovernmental panel on climate change, their assessment that the glaciers was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it. if that's true, mr. president, that would mean that dr. pechari failed to alert the world to this mistake before the december copenhagen conference. investors business daily in an editorial stated, if we're serious about restoring science to its rightful place, the head of the u.s. panel on climate change should step down.
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evidence shows that he quarterbacked a premeditated fraud. walter russell reed, project director for the pew forum, was quoted this week saying after years in which global warming activists lectured everyone about the overwhelming nature of the scientific evidence, it turned out the most prestigious agencies in the global warming movement were breaking laws, hiding data and making inflated bogus claims resting on, in some cases, no scientific basis at all. president obama, secretary of state clinton, and u.n. ambassador rice need to apply all the necessary pressure to ensure that dr. pechari is removed. i also call on president obama to direct his cabinet to stop supporting any policies -- any policies that relied in whole or in part on the fraudulent united
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nations reports. it's time to have scientific data behind such policies independently verified. administration policies relating to climate change will cost millions -- millions, mr. president, of american jobs. we need to get this right. to continue to rely on these corrupted u.n. reports is an endorsement of fraudulent behavior. it is a signal to the american people that ideology is more important than their jobs. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: mr. president, i have 10 i ask unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders, i ask i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and printed in the record.
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the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, like many others, january 22, i spoke in this chamber about the earthquake that struck haiti on january 20th, and the unprecedented deaf station it caused -- devastation it caused. we know that an estimated three million people have been affected including some 700,000 people displaced from port-au-prince an living under plastic or makeshift shelter. as many as 200,000 more may have died. tens of thousands suffered injuries including many whose limbs had to be amputated as a way to only save their lives and to extricate them from the damage. hundreds of thousands of children have lost one or both of their parents. it is hard to quantify the scale
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of human suffering. think of it, mr. president, thousands of commercial buildings, 200,000 homes, the presidential palace, the national cathedral, as well as the parliament buildings and government ministries, u.n. headquarters are either heavily damaged or destroyed. roads, ports, communication facilities, extensive damage. 90% of the schools in port-au-prince were destroyed. this rebuilding is going to take years. even with the help of the international community, the united states, a neighbor here in this hemisphere. the generosity of the american people and the other countries has been extraordinary. hundreds has been raised from
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corporations, individuals, school children. there have been countless tons of donations of food, clothing, medicine. it is especially heartening to see the commitment and dedication of volunteers, many of whom received word that the -- after the earthquake began to pack to go to haiti, not knowing where they would be, but knowing they had a skill an would be there to help. one such group is the vermont haiti relief team. it includes members of the vermont haiti project and the vermont federation of nurses and health professionals. they traveled to haiti, have helped some of them. they have talked to some of them and helped with the recovery have heard and read their stories, i've seen the photographs they sent back. it is -- here's one photograph carrying out, obviously, a patient on a stretcher. now, i was a -- as a
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developmenter, as an american, i -- as a vermonter, as an american, i could not be more proud of what they're doing and the lifesaving work that they're doing. our little state of vermont as far north from the -- as haiti could be, we're up there on the canadian border. we answered the call immediately. -- immediately to come and help a neighbor in the he hemisphere. on january 7, 11 volunteers from vermont arrived in the dominican republic. it is a remote border town where some of the injured were taken from haiti immediately after the earthquake. where many more have arrived. the vermont health workers joined with other doctors and nurses to care for hundreds of patients in the area. they established wound clinics to evaluate an treat injuries,
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they cared for over 250 amputees. they worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the victims and their families. and, you know, what they did helped so immensely, but i look at the -- just this one photograph. look. look at his face in helping this child. some couldn't speak the language. none of them knew the people before they came there. all they knew, they were fellow human beings suffering and the sense that we have in vermont and so many other places, if your neighbor is hurting, you're hurting and you help the neighbor and they went and helped. it's lifesaving work. it's also life changing work. these vermonters will return having endured, improvised, that made a difference to the experience of a lifetime. how many of us can say that we
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made a difference in someone's life? they have. but their own lives have been changed. they're confronted with hundreds of injured people. they had just a handful of medical personnel, no supplies. there was no 10 to 5 or 8 to 5. this was around the clock with volunteers from haiti and the dominican republic and other countries. sometimes the electricity worked, sometimes it did not. death surrounded them. the team also traveled to another area in haiti where a clinic was established. they worked with haitians and other relief organizations to create a wound clinic. after two weeks of working in difficult conditions, the first team of vermonters is coming home. they are exhausted physically and emotionally, but they are proud of the help they provided
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to the haitian patients and being able to represent vermont in the relief effort. this vermonter is proud of them and proud of the second team that has now arrived in haiti that has already begun working. the vermont haiti relief team hope to send volunteers for two-week rotations to support the hospital and the clinic for the next three to six months. i have been there, mr. president. i have been to haiti. i know how poor a country it is. my wife marcelle is a registered nurse, now retired. she has gone in those hospitals. she has seen how little there is to it. she knows how somebody coming with their skills, what a difference that makes and with international support not only from our country but from others in bringing down the equipment that was lacking, the supplies that was lacking, what a
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difference that makes. marcelle and i are very impressed with the commitment of these vermont volunteers. this is not an easy job. this is an ee moacial, physically exhausting, but think what they have done. so i thank them for their hard work and dedication, for their selfless example. mr. president, what happened in haiti was as great a tragedy as any one of us will hear of. but what it has done is touched the generosity of people. we don't ask what their political parties are, what their race is or where they're from. they all went to help, and look at this help. the help has to continue. i will make sure as chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee that the united states help, and europe and
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asia, the middle east and the far east people are helping. it must continue. for this small group of vermonters who went down there, lives were saved, lives were changed. children were rescued. and we vermonters are proud. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of martha johnson occur at 2:45 p.m. with the time until then be divided equally. with the provisions of the order governing this nomination remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask further unanimous consent that upon disposition of the nomination of martha johnson, the senate resuming legislative session, the senate then proceed to a period of morning business, with senators permitted to speak
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therein up to ten minutes, except that when senator kirk is recognized, he be allowed to speak for 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum but i ask consent that the time under the quorum call be divided equally. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. thelerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. burris: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. burris: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. burris: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i would like about six minutes to speak on morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. burris: thank you, mr. president. we remember the giants of american history, those who led troops into battle or rose to high office or gave their lives
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for something greater than themselves. the warriors, the statesmen, the heroes who fought to defend our values and our freedoms. we quote their words and etch their names into stone. we rightfully honor their place in the annals of history. mr. president, the quiet moments of our history are often over looked. there are many unsung heroes whose action gives shake to our national identity. too frequently, these brave men and women are pushed to the margins or relegated to obscurity. that is why i'm here today to honor one woman who did not fight in wars, give great speeches or perish on the battlefield. make no mistake, those pursuits are noble, and it is right that we honor them.
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but our quiet heroes have just as much claim to our national attention and also deserve our respect and praise, so today i would ask my colleagues to pause and to think of just such a quiet american hero. she never wore a uniform, although in a sense she led a great and diverse army. she never rose to high office, although she paved the way for others, including myself, to do so. rosa parks began her life in a world that largely considered her to be undeserving of equal rights. she knew the injustice of segregation and was no stranger to racism and hatred. she grew up in a poor tuskegee, alabama, where she wasn't even allowed to ride the bus to
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school, but thanks to the life of principal activism and a moment of quiet courage on a city bus in montgomery, alabama, this poor country girl would grow into a strong woman whose name would become synonymous with freedom and equality. and when she passed away, not on a foreign battlefield but quietly in her home at the age of 92, she was mourned by her friends and neighbors from home -- from back home in alabama, but also an entire nation. in a funeral held at the national cathedral and lasting for a full seven hours, mr. president. such was the impact rosa parks had on our social and political landscape. such was the indelible mark she left by her decision that on the first day of december, 1955, to
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say no, to refuse to accept what she -- that she was a second-class citizen, to claim what was rightfully hers as an american. not by force, not by attacking or degrading her fellow man, but by insisting with quiet conviction i am equal, i am a woman or a man's equal. on that day, she knew that her cause was just. she had unshaken faith not only in the righteousness of her beliefs, but in the heart and soul of this great nation. that its people would turn away from bigotry and hate. and unjust laws would be changed, mr. president, and that the great promise of america
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lies not in the imperfect here and now, but an hour -- in our ability to find who we wish to become, to chart our own course and remake our destiny. rosa parks was not alone in this belief. there were many others from all backgrounds and walks of life who shared a familiar faith in america's ideals. but by refusing to give up her seat on that bus in montgomery, rosa parks brought those ideals to life. she helped to give wings to a movement that grew and gathered steam and inspired millions to work tirelessly on the side of justice and equality. today, rosa parks would have celebrated her 97th birthday just this morning. i join leader reed -- leader reid and our congressional
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colleagues to commemorate this milestone, and as we observe black history month, i think of no finer way to begin this time of remembrance and celebration than by honoring the legacy of a great american like rosa parks. so i ask my colleagues to join me in remembering this quiet pinier and millions of others like her. ordinary people were not afraid to reach for extraordinary things. regular folks who see this country and this world as they are but are not afraid to imagine what they can be. few of these unsung heroes will ever see their names in print or etched into a collective history. it all reminds us of the enduring greatness of the united states of america and the fulfillment -- and the fundamental goodness of our fell human beings. thank you, mr. president.
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i yield the floor, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the mom nation of martha -- nomination of martha n. johnson to be administrator of general services. signed by 18 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory
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quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of martha n. johnson of maryland to be administrator of the general services administration, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rules. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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p the presiding officer: are
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there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, on this vote, the yeas are 82, the nays are 16. i was there of the senators duly -- three-fifths of the senators duly chosen an sworch having vote in the afimp affirmative, e motion is agreed to. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. the senate will come to order. the senate will please come to order. the majority leader.
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mr. reid: i think it's to everyone's advantage that we complete work today. so i am convinced that this will be the last vote of the day. now, i would say this: i've been working with senators grassley and baucus and of course the republican leader, trying to get something teed up for monday and i think we're makmaking a lot of progress in t ramplet it appears that we'll have a cloture vote on a nominee on monday. i've all talked to the republican leader about this several days ago. and we're also going to move forward on a jobs package monday. we're either going to do one on a bipartisan basis -- i sure hope we can do that; that's really -- that eelly would be good for the country and good for us. if not, we'll have to do one that i will -- it would be my amendment rather than an amendment of a bipartisan group of senators. so i hope we can do that. we will have that worked out later today more than likely. but this will be the last vote
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for today. oh, madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we also are working on someone to replace judge alito in the new jersey circuit, and we -- his name is joseph greenaway. we hope that also can be done on monday. the presiding officer: thank you. under the previous order, all postcloture time is yielded back. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? hearing none, the ayes are 94. the nays are 2. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is
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considered made and laid on the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. there will now be a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to 10 minutes each. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. dorg according i'll be -- mr. dorgan: i'll be brief. the vote that just occurred was a vote on a nomination of martha johnson of maryland to head the general services administration. that vote was reported by the committee unanimously to the u.s. senate on june 8th of last year. june 8th of last year. it has been blocked since that moment and now we have a vote. we didn't have a vote in july, not in august, september, october, november, december, january. we had it now, seven or eight months later. after blocking it for seven or eight months, 92 senators voted
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yes. explain to the american people how you block a nomination for seven months that you support. try to explain it. in my judgment it is a shameful disrespect for good government to block nominations for months after months. and the same is true with individual issues that are brought to the floor of the senate. and i'll give you a couple of quick examples. an appropriations bill blocked on the floor of the senate and then 80 people voted yes. credit card holders bill of rights, blocked in the senate, finally 90 people voted yes. department of defense appropriations filibustered in the senate and 88 senators voted yes. if ever there was a demonstration for all to see how unbelievably broken this process is, it is today, once again, that after seven or eight months a very qualified candidate
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reported out unanimously of the committee of jurisdiction to head the g.s.a. was blocked for seven months and now gets 92 people to vote yes, which means we have a lot of people in this chamber who block things they intend to vote for later. it is an unbelievable example of why this place doesn't work. a minimum amount of cooperation in my judgment, would go a long way to helping make this place the -- work the way it should. this nomination should have taken 10 minutes on the floor of the senate last june after it was reported out unanimously by the committee of jurisdiction. so if i sound irritated by what's going on, i think a good many members of the senate are irritated by what i believe is a show of disrespect for good government. madam president, i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. land land madam president, i know -- ms. landrieu: madam president, i know under the previous arrangement, the senator from massachusetts will be giving his farewell remarks. i would like to speak for only
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the next four minutes prior to him coming to the floor. madam president, i spoke on the floor earlier about explaining to my colleagues and providing some additional information about the fair resolution that the senate came to help louisiana and any other state that would have been similarly impacted through a very difficult medicare -- medicaid, i'm sorry, medicaid readjustment rate. i spoke at length this morning about that. i want to show this chart that clearly outlines our particular and unique and disastrous situation. since 1999 and before, the state of louisiana, you were a governor, madam president, so you know, paid approximately 30%
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of our medicaid dollars and the federal government picked up about 70%. we're in the lower one-third of states on a per capita basis have been since the -- have been since the civil war, remain that way to this day. what happened after katrina and rita was because of the great generosity, not only of this body and congress and the former president and this current president and private sector dollars, billions and billions an billions of dollars -- and billions of dollars poured into our state driving our per capita income up an unprecedented 40%. that has never happened in the history of the medicaid program. the state that comes closet to a per capita increase, i believe, or -- several states they increased only by 14%. the bottom line is if our delegation had not sought
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some -- some fix, some arrangement, some workout of this problem, the people of louisiana, who have been impacted by the largest disaster in recent memory would have had to pay $472 million more for basically the same program. the formula was flawed. the point i want to make in my final minute is this: i am proud to lead this effort to fix this. the effort was not a secret effort. it was a public effort called by the governor -- republican governor bobby jindal in a press conference two weeks before president obama was sworn in as president to talk about this issue in a public forum, not at private forum. it was not a last-minute effort. it started a year ago. it was not a special deal for me. it was a timely and fair resolution for the people of
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louisiana, one which they still deserve. the consequences of failure in my final 15 seconds is: the people of louisiana, if this is not fixed, a health care issue on a health care bill, if it's not fixed, the people of louisiana will either have to cut $472 million out of our budget this year -- that's a lot of money out of a budget even by washington standards that's a lot -- or raise taxes. so i'm going to continue to come to the floor to speak proudly, openly and forcefully about this. i thank the senator from massachusetts for allowing me to clarify a few points on this and i'm going to submit some documents for the record to substantiate what i've said today. thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. kirmr. kirk: madam president, ik
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permission to speak for the time i may consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kirk: thank you, madam president. i rise for the honor of speaking from the floor of this senate chamber for the last time. with the swearing in of senator-elect scott brown of massachusetts scheduled for later this afternoon, our time -- my time as a united states senate is nearing its close. i repeat for the record my most sincere congratulations to scott brown on his impressive victory. we will work together to assure that he and the people of massachusetts were well served during the transition, and i wish him all the very best in his service in the united states senate. under the saddest of circumstances, the loss of your colleague and our close friend, senator ted kennedy, my appointment to this office has allowed me to serve my
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commonwealth and country in ways i could not have imagined just a few months ago. it has enabled me to work closely with many old and new senate friends. women and men who have been sent by their constituents to work together to make our nation a better place. these months have helped me to understand even more personally why senator ted kennedy devoted his public life to the work of the united states senate. why he took such pride in its history and its accomplishments. why he reached across the aisle to find common cause with allies who shared his hopes and why from time to time he called upon this body to reach beyond the politics of the moment to
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achieve a greater good for the country's future. the lessons of his legacy will live on in this chamber and in the institute devoted to the study of the senate that will bear ted kennedy's name. i discovered when just a boy how ee moshely difficult it was to to -- how emotionally difficult it was to say goodbye, so i learned to use two other words that come much easier at times like this. those two words are "thank you." i was not elected to this post but i am deeply grateful to the people of massachusetts who through their elected representatives gave me the opportunity to serve them. particular thanks for the senate president teresa murray and house speaker bob deleo for
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their representation. i will always be grateful to cover patrick for his confidence in me. it was my special gift to have had senator kennedy's trust and friendship since signing on as a member of his senate staff some 40 years ago, but following his death, to be encouraged by his family, his devoted wife vicki, his daughter kara, his son ted jr. and his son patrick, to consider an appointment to succeed the man who they so loved and who achieved so much in this body is an honor for which no words of thanks are adequate. i will forever be grateful to my friends and colleagues john kerry and chris dodd and so many others for their warm and generous welcome to the senate. we shared a bond of sorrow with
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every other senator, that the realization that after 47 years of legendary service, ted kennedy would no longer be occupying this desk. it was a time of emotional stirring, to be sure, but i found resolved in the certainty that senator kennedy himself would be the first or just to persevere and that that attention to senate duties was the most obvious way i could honor his memory. in undertaking those duties, i thank the majority leader harry reid and his entire leadership team for their encouragement, support, and wise counsel, and i thank the assistant majority leader dick durbin of illinois for his very generous remarks about me on the floor earlier today. and i thank my senate freshman colleagues who have been a source of strength to me and i
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predict will be a source of strength and leadership in this great body in the years to come. to all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to the officials of the united states senate, the secretary, the parliamentarians, the clerks and reporters, to the sergeant at arms, the doorkeepers, the secretaries for the majority and minority and their able staffs, to the chaplain, and of course to the pages. each and all of you have been extraordinarily thoughtful to me , patient with your tutelage and generous with your kindness and courtesy, and i will remember each of you with affection and appreciation. finally, i would like to thank the kennedy-kirk staff. the kennedy staff has enjoyed a reputation of professional excellence through the years. why? because they strove to match
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their boss' unmatchable work ethic and his tireless quest for excellence in the united states senate. they shared senator kennedy's commitment to do all within one's ability to make america a better and more just society and to make a positive difference in the lives of its people. i am grateful that many kennedy staffers were killing to stay on as kirk staffers. it has been my pleasure to share a special bond with them, and with the capable young recruits who joined our ranks to begin their public service with this short-term freshman senator. special thanks go to senator kennedy's and my chief of staff eric mogilnicky. eric managed our efforts with common competence during months of distraction and heartache. to barbara suliotis, director of our massachusetts office who served senator kennedy and the
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constituents of massachusetts with devotion and distinction, from his very first campaign in 1962 until this very day. and to carrie parker with whom i began my own senate service over 40 years ago. carrie was the loyal and wise legislative assistant, constantly at senator kennedy's side, helping to craft and guide a legislative legacy that shall remain a standard of excellence for the ages. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the list of my staff be inserted in the congressional record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kirk: thank you, madam president. these are outstanding public servants who have my heartfelt appreciation and every best wish for the future. over three months ago, in my maiden speech from this desk, i chose to speak about senator
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kennedy's top legislative priority to make quality health care affordable and accessible to all americans. since then, much has been accomplished in both houses of congress to bring us closer to that long-awaited goal. following the election results in massachusetts just over two weeks ago, it was suggested that we let the dust settle before deciding what our next steps should be on health care reform, but we must not let so much dust settle that it buries all the sensible and necessary ideas that have been suggested. comprehensive health care reform must remain an urgent priority of the 111th congress. but madam president, before we move forward to the path of health care reform and the many other critical issues that
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demand our attention, i respectfully submit that the united states senate -- and by that i mean each individual united states senator must pause to answer this question -- will the majority and minority walk that path together and work together on the business of the people we represent or will the people we represent watch the united states senate that belongs to them revert to the calculated politically polarizing standoff that has alienated the country during these past few months? with the results from massachusetts, much has been made of the fact that the numbers have changed in the united states senate and that is true. the numbers have changed. but the american people are asking a more important
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question -- will anything else change? will the democratic majority, despite its still solid numerical advantage be forced to cling to a 60-vote strategy as the only path to forward progress on matters small and large, procedural, as well as substantive? will the republican minority misread the massachusetts results as vindication of a strategy to just say no to any measure proposed by a democratic president of the united states or by their colleagues on this side of the aisle? in my first speech from this desk as the 100th member and the most junior member and the 60th democratic vote, i said i was hopeful that a newcomer's perspective would be received as a constructive contribution to
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the debate and that the debate should not be about one party reaching 60 votes. it should be about 100 senators reaching out to each other to reform a system that better reflects the true values and character of our nation. now some four months later, i feel obliged to repeat this observation to my colleagues, democrats as well as republicans -- bipartisan comity and collaboration must replace the polarization that threatens to proifn the atmosphere and impede the work of this body. the united states senate is in need of its own form of climate change, and only united states senators of goodwill and of good faith and of both parties can
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bring that about. madam president, the american people are filled with anxiety, anger and impatience. they are facing issues of job security, health security, retirement security, home security, tuition security, and the list goes on. their crises should not be dividing their senate. it should be uniting it. when the american families we are honored to represent are imperilled by economic hardship and uncertainty, they expect democrats, republicans and independents to work together in their common interests, and they deserve no less. lest anyone be misled by the message of the massachusetts election, they should examine the exit polls. voters were asked if the
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senator-elect should join his republican colleagues and try to block the president and congressional democrats or should he work with them in a bipartisan manner? among all voters, cooperation won by more than 3-1. 76% to 21%. and among those voters who supported the senator-elect bipartisan cooperation was preferred to obstruction by almost 2-1. 61% to 36%. madam president, i spent a part of my career as national chairman of one of our two major political parties. it was my job to be partisan. it was my job to weigh each decision asking whether or how
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it might give us a political advantage in the short run or in the next election. that is what party chairmen are expected to do. that is not what united states senators are expected to do. there is always the possibility that my closing remarks will be dismissed by some as idealistic or unrealistic or partisan or as just the perspective of a short termer who doesn't understand how the process works. to them i respectfully suggest that they listen as well to the words of the last republican senator elected from massachusetts. this is what senator edward w. brooke, an elder statesman of the republican party, said when he received congress' highest civilian honor, the
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congressional gold medal less than three months ago. "i'm here to tell you," he said ," that politics is not an evil thing, it's a good thing, and when used properly, it does good things. i think of the awesome responsibilities of the house of representatives and the united states senate in these years of crisis. not only this country, this world looks to you. -- looks to you." then, turning away from his audience to directly address the majority and minority leadership of both houses of congress, senator brooke said this -- "when republicans and democrats get together, they can do anything. and the country is waiting for you to do anything. they just want relief. you have the responsibility, you have the authority, you are the people on earth that are going
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to save this country and save the world. think about that. we've got to get together, he said. we have no alternative. there's nothing left. it's time for politics to be put aside on the back burner. madam president, i submit that senator brook is correct. we have no alternative. the republican and democratic members of the united states senate have no alternative but to work together in a bipartisan spirit with a level of civility and cooperation that is equal to the dignity of this institution and to the magnitude of what is at stake for american families. the united states senate is at its best and is rewarded favorably by the electorate when it has teamwork and
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collaboration that brings results for the people it is meant to serve. we have seen it throughout history. we have seen it in statesmen like ted kennedy and ed brooke. we have seen it in so many others who have served in this chamber with distinction. and i know, i know that there are senators of goodwill of both parties who long for that spirit today. we are among the very few who are privileged to serve in this historic body. as i complete my own duties he here, i could not leave with a clear conscience without urging all my colleagues to seize this opportunity and this mutual obligation. to take the long view, to put partisan politics aside, to come together in good faith and goodwill to better serve the institution we revere, the
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people we represent, and the nation we love. madam president, with gratitude for the privilege of serving the people of massachusetts in the united states senate for the last time, i yield the floor. [applause] [applause]
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[applause] mr. kerry: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: madam president, i want to thank my colleague, paul kirk, for his eloquent and i think important comments to the united states senate. he said a moment ago that he hoped that a newcomer's perspective would be constructive contribution to the debate, and i think that all of my colleagues would agree that whether in the caucus or in his maiden speech before the senate or in his comments just now, paul kirk has made an important contribution to the senate. madam president, shortly after he took the oath of office
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last -- mr. president, shortly after he took the oath of office last september, i said that paul was smart, modest, polite, civil, and willing to share credit and that despite all of that i still thought he'd be a terrific united states senator. i think all of us would agree that he has been a terrific united states senator in a short span of time. at a time of enormous upheaval in massachusetts, a time of mourning, there was no one who was more suited for the moment than paul kirk, and there was no one who understood the meaning of the moment i think better than paul kirk. ted kennedy's friend of 40 yea years, everyone would agree paul hit the ground running here. he was familiar with teddy's staff and was able to bring highly qualified people himself. he had a command of all the issues that were facing the senate.
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he had a special understanding of the politics that were at play in washington. paul was always aware, as he said with his dry whit, that he was a short timer, but in his months here, he didn't just decide to come here and be satisfied to simply serve out the term. he led just as he expressed to us he knew people expected him to. he cast an all-important vote, obviously, in the senate's historic passage of comprehensive health care refo reform. but, frankly, much more important than a decisive vote, he provided a clear and compelling voice in the democratic caucus for important features of the health care reform bill, especially the community living assistance services and supports act, or the class act, as it's known. that is an act that paul fought for hard based on his commitment
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to providing much-needed insurance support to americans with disabilities, to allow them to live independently in their communities. it was a cause, i might add, that marked ted kennedy's life, but also paul's. and paul didn't just work on health care reform. as a member of the senate armed services committee, he asked tough and prescient questions of the secretary of state, of the defense secretary, of the chief of staff, admiral mullen, about the military mission in afghanistan, the kind of questions which i know his mentor, ted kennedy, would have been proud of. he also cosponsored legislation to achieve greater parity in domestic partner benefits between the federal work force, the private sector employees, and he worked with me to extend unemployment insurance benefits that will benefit as many as 40,000 massachusetts residents as well as get $80 million in federal grants for massachusetts community health care centers. in all of this -- paul spoke
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about it a few minutes ago -- this amazing array of staff who are assembled behind him, in all of it, he was served superbly by senate staffers he inherited from ted kennedy and those he brought to the senate. and these outstanding men and women deserve our thanks, as he has given them, all of our thanks in the senate and well wishes for the next chapter in public service. mr. president, one of the early speeches in the senate, paul kirk spoke at length about his friend. ted. he said senator kennedy was not one to sit idly by. he acted. he acted to help as many people as possible. well, the same can now be said of senator paul kirk, though obviously for a much shorter period of time. he was not one to sit idly by. in the short-term that he has been here, he did act and he has helped as many people as possible.
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when he was selected to replace his friend in the senate, i was then reminded -- and i think i mentioned this on the floor -- of ted kennedy's fondness of the poet robert frost and of a line of one of his poems. frost wrors, "men work together, i told them from the heart, whether they work together or apart." teddy and paul worked together for much of their lives. even though they've been apart these past months, they've never stopped working together in the spirit and in the causes that paul has embraced in his time here. as i think about the comments that he just made in talking about what we need in the united states senate, i couldn't help but look across the aisle and -- and not see a senator here. i regret that, mr. president. you know, i'm not -- senator inouye to my right has served here much longer than most of us and senator leahy and senator dodd, but we i think were part a
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senate a number of years ago where that just never would have been the case. so it is what it is. i hope they hear his comments. i hope that all of our colleagues will reach for this moment, as senator kirk has asked us to, and in doing so we will keep faith not just with his service but with the service of our dearly beloved friend, ted kennedy. i want to thank paul kirk for his service to the people of the country and the commonwealth of massachusetts and the way in which he kept faith with the spirit of the law which sent him here. i think he has served us all well, and we will miss him. i yield the floor. mr. kerry: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be reunderstand ised. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: thank you, mr. president. before i speak, i've got to spend a minute and talk about paul kirk and gail kirk and how much they've given to this country for many, many years. and what a great honor it has been for me to serve in the united states senate with paul. he embodies all that's good about this country. he is someone who has incredible intellect, judgment, and he's a lot of fun to be around. i just want to tell you, whatever you do, paul, gail, we all send you our best. paul has not maybe been a long-term senator but a great senator. thank you. mr. president, on tuesday night, the senate spoke with one voice expressing serious concern about
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ongoing attempts by china and other countries to restrict precedent in condemning the recent cyber attacks in china n a bipartisan effort, a truly bipartisan effort, we unanimously passed s. res. 450 introduced by myself and senators brownback, casey, kyl, feingold, lieberman, mccain, specter, and webb. a broad spectrum of the united states senate who all agreed on this issue. this resolution reaffirms the centrality of freedom of expression and the press as cornerstones of u.s. foreign policy. it frames such freedoms as part of u.s. efforts to promote individual rights and voices concern over the ongoing efforts by many countries -- and i mean many countries -- to restrict free expression, highlighting the attempts to censor, restrict, and monitor access to the internet. the impetus for this resolution
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was a recent cyber attack on google's corporate infrastructure and at least 34 companies reportedly originating in china. google is evidence to suggest that a primary goal of this attack was access gmail accounts of chinese human rights activists, journalists and didissidents. this attack was one of only many recent attempts to exploit computer networks of numerous individuals and institutions. these cyber attacks are unconscionable violations of national security interests, in addition to violations of intellectual property rights. for the passage of this -- with the passage of this resolution, countries from which such attacks originate are countries which take steps to restrict or monitor the internet should consider themselves on notice. the notice calls on chinese government to conduct a thorough
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review of the recent attacks and to make this investigation and its results transparent. this is not just about cyber warfare, and it's not just about china. this resolution highlights a much broader and far-reaching problem of state-sponsored efforts to restrict free and unfettered access to the internet. as technology continues to vecialtion an increasing number of governments have employed repressive tactics to monitor and control the internet. in countries such as iran and china, a growing effort has been made to silence the voices of their citizens and restrict the free flow of information. according to the 2009 freedom on the net report conducted by freedom house, the government in china employs a sophisticated multilayered and wide-ranging apparatus to curtail internet freedom. it also employs legal and
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economic means to coerce internet service providers, web hosting firms, and mobile phone companies to delete and censor online content. finally, it requires domestic chinese and foreign companies with companies in china such as google and others to adjust their business practiceses to allow increased filtering and supervision by the government of china which limits the data available on search engines. this resolution urges companies to engage in responsible business practices in the face of such pressure from foreign governments by refusing -- refusing -- to aid in the curtailment of free expression. and welcomes the diplomatic initiative announced by secretary clinton in her january 21 speech on internet freedom to support the development of technology aimed a at censoring intervention. the resolution highlights violations of free press in
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china such as ongoing jamming of radio free asia, voice of america and other international broadcasters despite the unimpeded broadcast to the united states of chinese-run media outlets. we allow klein to broadcast on the china radio international in the united states yet they jam all of our broadcasts by voice of america in their country. this is not fair and this is not reciprocity and it is not being abouting a nation that homes to be one of the great nations of the world. it pays tributes to the professional and citizen journalists to persevere in their endeavors in china despite the extremely high rate of imprisonment in china. they're also a practical benefit. as secretary clinton recently said, an i quote, "countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of internet users risk
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war walling themselves off from progress." i am grateful for the widespread support we've passed with s. res. 405 and i thank the other cosponsors. the united states must not sit back as voices in china, iran, and around the world are silenced. it is -- it is my hope this resolution will help promote an environment of expanded freedoms especially when it comes to internet and the press. i ask unanimous consent the text of the resolution be included in the record along with my statement. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: i have yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, on roll cl 20, i voted "no." it was my intention to vote "aye." therefore, i would ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to change my vote as it will not affect the outcome. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i thank the chair and would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president chairman of kentucky -- mr. chairman on roll call -- a. the presiding officer: a quorum call is in process. a senator: i ask that the qrum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bunning: mr. president, on roll call vote 20, i voted no. my intention was to vote aye. therefore i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to change my vote since it will not affect the outcome of the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bunning: thank you. and i suggest the absen of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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