tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 9, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
bring legal action earlier in the process so we can avert mistakes at the outset, so we don't force small businesses to go through this onerous, complicated, costly process and then find out whoops, we made a mistake, the agencies made a mistake. and they said well, then, you know what? you're going to have to fight it and go through another rule-making process, which takes months if not years. it's just not going to happen. that's why we're not stimulating economic growth. because we've got thousands of regulations. so, as a result, we have provided small businesses the ability to bring legal action, to seek judicial review prior to the rule becoming finalized. so when an agency failed to comply with its existing small business review requirement -- this is a commonsense approach, mr. president, to ensure agencies abide by the law prior
-- prior -- to a rule being made final. it's a not a partisan mairchl it is just practical sense. now, if somebody hasn't run a small business, you probably don't understand it, don't appreciate what it takes to start or run a small business, the ingenuity on the one hand and the cost involved. if you got a small operation with five employees, ten employees, 20 employees, those are most of the small businesses in america. but they add up. 75% of all the net new jobs in america come from small businesses, 9.1% unemployment. remember, in the last two and a half years, other than four months, we've had 9% or higher unemployment rates, mr. president. i mean, that's a dire commentary of where we stand today after we have spent $2 trillion -- $2 trillion and the deficit is
growing, the debt is growing, we're facing, you know, the potential, you know, of a debt crisis if we don't deal with this massive accumulation of debt. that's why job growth becomes such an imperative. that's why regulatory reform, you know, is urgent, and that's why we could do something about it, we could work across the aisle instead of making broad accusations, this is going to decimate the environment, this is going to decimate workplace safety, this is going to decimate health care. if these the case, then the president must be doing the same thing because he's just revokd more than $1 billion of regulations from agencies in four months. we can't even have a hearing in four months on the issue. if hearings are so important to the outcome, i'd be more than happy to have hearings to get it done. but we can't even get hearings.
can't work it out. it's just talk, talk, talk, mr. president. you know, some of my proposals had bipartisan support. in fact, you know, interestingly enough, mr. president, this proposal regarding judicial review was a provision that actually the small business committee chair, the senator from louisiana, proposed and senator cardin from maryland, a nearly identical provision is section 605 of the small business business investment and invention act of 2010 and the 111th congress. they they obviously agreed with the approach. so it's nothing partisan about this. we ought to be able to work this owvment there's nothing complicated about it. there's nothing complicated about addressing a fundamental issue facing small business. i just want to get it straight, because it's clear it's not understood. we're just making some
generalized characterizations about something, about which people haven't read the amendment, don't understand it, can't sort of reason it out. and if you disagreed coming up with something so we can move with urgency, with dispatch, because we're losing jobs in america, we're losing business businesses. this would help enormously. that's why my legislation that i've introduced with the senator from oklahoma and others has broad support from every major small business organization in america, because they understand. they're hearing from their membership. our amendment includes a number of provisions. you know, that would be important that i've mentioned. we asked the internal revenue service to consider small business rule making and that the agencies review their rule structures. i think we should ask the
internal revenue service to consider it as well. they have a broad effect on small businesses across america. well, mr. president, i've spoon on this issue at greater length because i think it's that important. i'm ranking member of the small business committee. i have been chair of the small business committee. when i -- since 2003, in either capacity. my state of maine is a small business state, more than 90% of small businesses. so i fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of the situation, the circumstances in which they find themselves. and they're struggling to survive. that's why on the interchange fee that i supported yesterday was important to small business and retailers and merchants, absolutely. it is an important issue that consumed a lot of time here in the senate, both this year and
last year, as it should. i certainly didn't complain. i didn't complain, because i understand that. it didn't have a hearing, a new proposal, it didn't have any hearing. i didn't complain. you know? but it's important to understand. i just want everybody to understand, not everybody amendment that's offered here on the floor, every proposal, has a hearing. in fact, far from it. very few ever do. and so what if hearings? we had a hearing in the small business regulation last fall. that's why i'm working this out. but we can't work it out. there's no processing mechanism. it's all tawfnlgt no action. -- it's all talk, no action where it matters most. i feel the despair and anxiety of my constituents. i feel it inyou don'tively.
i -- i feel it intuitively. i have been in the legislative process a better part of four decades. and my whole reason for serving in public office is to rise to a higher level. i believe it is my responsibility to solve problems, mr. president. on behalf of the people that i represent and hopefully the country. there are only 100 united states senators t matters for our states and it matters for our country. i would hope that we could aspire to a higher level than this and certainly in the aftermath of the last election where there was an indisputable message from the american people beg and pleading with us to solve problems. we have an individual and collective responsibility. we know how to do it, and we can
do it. t-the genius of america has always been to work together to solve our problems. that has been the hallmark of the innovation and the stick-to-it-tivnness and account-do spirit. i know it is possible if we in a process here in the united states senate allowed for it. when i get up every day, mr. president, tabs what i can do for the -- tabs what i can do for the people that i represent. the uncertainty is permeating the american psyche to feel and understand the fear that people get up with every day wondering
if they're is going to find a job or keep a job, and even if they get a job, it's about a third of what they were making before. i heard that story yesterday from some constituents and the hundreds that came in to apply for a job, you know for a third of what they're making, how they're going to keep afloat their families, their home, if they can keep t that's what it's all about. and why stn that we can't replicate it here in the actions and speaking to the american people and to give voice to those fears and say, we're going to do it, mr. president, that we're going to do it right here and systematically tackle those issues one after the other and just do it and do it as long as it takes. if we have to work weekends because americans are working weekends, two and three jobs. they're doing everything. we take recesses. we do this. we obfuscate. the word that comes to mind,
sort of create confusion, a masquerade, we're doing something to mix it up. but the practical impact in the eaives what we're doing is directly felt at home on the average american. i know we can do better, mr. president. there have been soaring moments in this chamber, and there can be again. this is one of the most consequential times in our economic history, and we have an obligation to lift the spirits of the people up by working together on the issues that matter. and this is one issue that matters because there are 30 million small businesses in america. they're the job general rairtds and creators, and if we don't recognize the reality of this type of reform and we can't get
it done, then we have failed to do our jobs. and i regret that. because i believe definitely we can do it and working with out instead of talking about hearings at some point, some of the ambiguity, as if we can appreciate or understand what's understanding in the real world and households every day and on plain streets. and if you don't, then i'd suggest you take a few main street tours and talk to small businesses and talk to their fears. and these are americans who are working mightily hard to make a difference in this world, and all they want is a better life for themselves and their family and their children, and in fact we're retreating. we have an obligation to stand up and to do what's right. i hope we can find our way somehow, somewhere.
an this is a great place to start to make a difference. i yield the floor, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i appreciate the passion with which my colleague spoke, and i couldn't disagree more with her when she says we're masquerading as if we're doing ssmght were we mask raiding when we brought the small business small businesses bill to the floor and senator landrieu stood here day after day after day and only faced a filibuster from the republicans, and we could not get that bill done and millions of jobs were in the balance? were we filibustering? no. they were. were we masquerading?
were we masquerading when we brought the f.a.a. bill to the floor, which my colleague, senator snowe, played a huge role in? and thank good we passe god we . were we masquerading? that bill was held up because the house republicans have not chosen conferees, and we are waiting to have a 21st century aviation system in this great nation, where we're using radar that was used in the last century, practically the century before. come on! we're trying to do our job. she talked about the last election. i'll talk about the last election. i was on the ballot, so i can talk about it. it was about jobs. it was about jobs. and i told my people, when i get back here, jobs, jobs, jobs.
and i'm proud to say that we have on the floor right now a bill to reauthorize the economic development administration, a program that's been around since 1965 and one which has a stellar record of attracting $7 of private capital for every dollar that we spend. the cost of each job created is approximately $3,000 per job, and they're good jobs. the chamber of commerce arm is supporting this. the afl-cio, and we are dealing with amendment after amendment after amendment, and it's fine. it's everybody' everybody's rigi appreciate the fact that we will be voting on this amendment at 2:00 and we even have an amendment to do away with the agency that we're trying to reauthorize by senator demint even though he had in 2005 a very big press release lauding
the e.d.a. and as recently as last year his staff attended a workshop where he was meeting with the e.d.a. and praising the e.d.a. for their work to reinvigorate jobs. so i appreciate their lecture and it is their right to do it. it is just not true. what's masquerading here are republicans who filibuster almost every single thing that we do. now i hope and hope and hope that we're going to get to the series of amendments. we're being very cooperative with our colleagues. we're going to take these -- some of these amendments are for show. fine. everyone has their rights; fine. but let's get it done, and let's get going with an authorization of a bill that's going to create jobs. that's the whole idea of it. and the last time we voted on it, we had a unanimous vote. since 2004, we had a unanimous
vote, and george bush signed this into law. i just want folks to know i have about another couple of minutes of remarks, and then i'm going to yield such time as he may require to senator brown. a senator: mr. president? mr. thune: what are the rules of discussion or debate right now? when the senator from california wraps up her remarks, wouldn't it be appropriate to have someone from the other side speak at that time? the presiding officer: we don't have a unanimous consent agreement controlling the order of the speakers. senators from maine and california control the time as they yield. mrs. boxer: i would be happy to make the unanimous consent request that at the conclusion of my remarks, senator brown would speak for how many stph-pbts take ten minutes -- how many minutes? take ten minutes and then it would go to senator thune, is that all right? ms. snowe: let me object.
mr. thune: i don't know if there is any time agreement here, but my understanding is that it's been going back and forth. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. anything else? california. mrs. boxer: i have said -- i have offered a unanimous consent agreement, we are functioning, dividing the time between the two of us. it is my decision to yield to senator brown because senator snowe has spoken for a very long time, and i want him to have the time, and i'm wrapping up my comments. and i'd be happy to put in a unanimous consent request that after senator brown's remarks, ten minutes, that we turn to senator thune for 10 or 15 or 20 or whatever it is you want. mr. thune: mr. president, point of clarification here. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: my understanding is the senator from california cannot yield time to another senator. the presiding officer: the senator can yield time but not the floor. the senator from california.
mrs. boxer: thank you. so is there objection to my unanimous consent request that senator thune go right after senator brown for as long as he wishes. ms. snowe: mr. president, reserving the right to object. you've been addressing the senate. so wouldn't it be appropriate for the senator from south dakota now to speak? mrs. boxer: the unanimous consent sthaeuft right to -- is that i have the right to call on senator brown. i can yield to senator brown is my understanding. the presiding officer: you can yield time but not control the floor. mrs. boxer: i was going to yield time to senator brown. the presiding officer: not give senator brown the floor. mrs. boxer: then i will yield to him for some questions. and i can do that under the rules. the presiding officer: that is correct. mrs. boxer: so that's what we'll do, unless my colleagues would rather do it the way we said before. if not, i'll just yield for
questions. either way. it's up to you. mr. thune: mr. president, the request was that at the conclusion of the senator from california's remarks that the senator from ohio would have how many minutes? the presiding officer: ten minutes. mrs. boxer: then senator thune would be recognized for as much time as he wishes. mr. thune: i don't have an objection to that. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator from maine. ms. snowe: reserving the right to object, i also want to include the senator from oklahoma, senator coburn. the presiding officer: at the conclusion of senator thune? mrs. boxer: reserving the right to object, and i will not object, could we just have some indication of time frame? ms. snowe: 50. mrs. boxer: i have the time; is that right? the presiding officer: let me make sure. ten minutes, up to ten minutes for senator brown from ohio. then senator thune to follow. then senator coburn to follow.
mrs. boxer: that is correct. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the senator from ohio. mrs. boxer: i have one more question. i still have the floor. the presiding officer: yes. mrs. boxer: i said at the conclusion of my remarks, we would turn to senator brown. how many minutes remain on either side? the presiding officer: 16 minutes on the majority and 47 on the minority. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. i'm going to wrap up in a couple of minutes here and come back later, but i think it's very important -- and i reiterate what i said before -- that i don't think we're masquerading around here. i think we're trying to do our work. the bill that's before us was voted out of the committee. it had hearings. it had a vote. it was bipartisan, unlike the amendment offered by my friend that never had a hearing. so let's be clear, we're not masquerading. we're doing our work. and i only hope that this bill gets better treatment than the
small business bill my friend -- my friend speaking for small business, we all know small business is the engine of jobs, and that's why it was shocking to me that the republicans filibustered the last small business bill that was on this floor. outrageous, when we say we want jobs. now the reason i'm going to vote against -- to table the snowe amendment or against the snowe amendment, there are many. one is the process. we haven't had a hearing. it's very far-reaching. i also want to talk as chairman of the sraoefplt and public -- chairman of the environment and public works committee. one of our biggest regulations that stem from it have to do with the clean air act. the way my friend has put forward her amendment, there would be no benefit put into a regulation because of its impact on the health of us and our families. and the clean air act has been attacked by those who want to say let's not have regulations
for this segment of business and that. we just had a vote in california, 60% of the people, republicans, democrats, independents, more than 60% said we want to see our health protected. so here's what's happened. in 2010 the clean air act prevented 160,000 cases of prepare mature death. premature death. now we're going to come in with some regulation, never had a hearing, never had a vote, that's going to not take into account the benefit of a health regulation like that. by 2020, that number is projected to rise to 230 cases of premature cases. in 2010, the clean air act prevented 1.7 million fewer asthma attacks. mr. president, we want jobs. we want people healthy. they can't go to work if they can't breathe, because if you can't breathe, you can't work. so let's not get up here and pass something, hasn't had a hearing, hasn't had a vote, and
suddenly say we'll no longer take into account the benefits of some of the regulations we have. in 2010 the clean air act prevented 130,000 acute heart attacks. in 2010 the clean air act prevented 3.2 million lost days at school. so, my point is, yes, we want regulations to be sensible. yes, we want them to be flexible. yes, we should work together to make sure that our businesses aren't facing undue delays and all the rest. and i'm very, very, very willing to do that. but what i'm not willing to do is to pass something that has far-reaching impact, that we don't even know what it would mean to the health and safety of our families, and that would absolutely ignore the benefits of regulations that protect our children's health, their safety, their well-being, and our working families, because a lot
of these regulations are meant to protect them. so i hope we will vote down the snowe amendment. i appreciate the passion on all sides. and i believe truly we're not masquerading here. we have a bill here with real impacts, a bill that i've shown has made a major difference in job creation, in business creation, and in taking hope really to our most ravaged communities; such a good program that even senator demint, who says he doesn't like this program, certainly throughout his career has praised the progress that it's done in his state. so with that, i yield the floor. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i thank the senator from california. i thank the senator from south dakota also for his indulgence. i will be no more than ten minutes. i listened to senator boxer.
this e.d.a. issue is really, really important for job creation. i know that when it comes to something like there's a whole array of issues that e.d.a. is involved with in job creation. just one of them is what e.d.a. does with ink bay tors, accelerators. i was last week in shaker heights, ohio, where there was a place called the launch house. it used to be an auto, it used to be an auto dealership. there are now 40 entrepreneurs working there, and we know that investment, e.d.a. investment, public dollar investment in these incubators pays real dividends. the e.d.a. estimates a $10,000 investment creates 50 or more jobs. we're seeing that in places like shaker heights, ohio, and youngstown, athens, ohio, is the home of the national association of incubators, and they know what that means. i think, mr. president, as i
listened when i was in the -- when i was presiding before the senator from alaska was presiding and i was in the chair, listened to some of the debate and i was a bit amazed by it. let's remember a little bit of history in this country, that when i hear my -- when i hear the talking points apparently distributed to all 47 of the republican senators all coming to the floor and blaming government regulation for every problem known to humankind, forgetting government regulation is seat belts, air bags, safe drinking water, prohibition on child labor, food and drug administration so that our food is -- our food is pure and our pharmaceuticals are safe. but they just lump it all together and say get rid of all this government regulation. i think the history they need to think about is the last time they preached and preached and preached on the senate and house floor about deregulation, they were successful in deregulating
wall street and look what happened to that. when i hear this preachy, we've got to get rid of government regulation, let's be a little more specific. there are some regulations, to be sure, that we should do away with. when i hear them talk trillions of dollars of regulation, a lot of that is what keeps our food pure, our drinking water safe, our workplaces safe, our quality of life better for the broad middle class. let's just not forget that. mr. president, i want to speak for the last five or six minutes, if my remarks will be separated in the record, about something that my colleagues will be debating fairly soon i believe, and that is pending trade agreements with south korea, colombia and panama. it's a bit of deja vu, as yogi bera said, deja vu all over again, the promise of new american jobs is an echo we hear every three or four years. time for a new trade agreement, time to promise lots and lots of
new job creation, promise more exports for the united states. we heard it with nafta, the north american free trade agreement almost 20 years ago. we therd with pntr with china in the late 1990's. we heard it with central america free trade agreement. now we're hearing it again with colombia and south korea and panama. i recall both republican and democratic administrations saying 200,000 new jobs created by nafta. i heard proponents of pntr promise a more balanced trade relationship with china, new jobs from u.s. exports. we've seen increased exports to china but nothing like the number of -- you know, there are jobs created because of that. i acknowledge that. but nothing like the export from china of goods to the united states, which in essence is outsourcing jobs in the united states. there's a company in northwest ohio, in bryan, ohio, called the
ohio art company. they make etch-a-sketch many of us played with as kids. wal-mart went to that company, the biggest retailer in the world went to that company and said we want to sell your product for less than $10 at wal-mart. you know what they did? they basically shut down production in the united states, moved to china so they could sell it for under $10, costing hundreds of jobs in that northwest ohio community. what's happened with this? in 1999, before pntr, before promises about increased jobs we had a $68 billion trade deficit in goods with china. last year it was $273 billion. about $600 million or $700 million every single day we bring in -- we buy from china and then we sell to china. i hear this word unsustainable in this body all the time about medicare, about the -- whatever they're talking about. you can't kaoepl adding to that -- keep adding to that
trade deficit and think tkpwerg to have the jobs -- think we're going to have the jobs. in april alone our trade deficit was $21 million in wupbl month. when i hear this year the korean trade agreement, the president of the united states is going to submit it to congress fairly soon, i assume, depending on what happens with the trade adjustment assistance, this president h -- has made this trade agreement with korea, significantly better than the last president's trade agreement with korea. the congressional budget office estimates this agreement will cost -- in addition to the jobs issue, the congressional budget office estimates this agreement will cost about $7 billion over the next ten years. $7 billion. my conservative -- my conservative friends on the other side of the aisle are going to say how are we going to pay for this $7 billion? they want to offset cuts, they want to offset any kind of -- any other kind of spending, but they don't seem to want to offset spending on this trade agreement.
so it's costing us $7 billion, this trade agreement. so free trade, it simply is not free. the administration says this agreement is expected to support, not create, support 70,000 jobs. do the math. it's about $100,000 for every job supported, but do another piece of math, if i could ask the indulgence of the presiding officer. george bush the first said for every billion dollar trade deficit or surplus, that translates -- these are his numbers -- translates into about 13,000 jobs. when i mentioned that trade deficit with china a minute ago, ago, $21 million just a minute ago, 13,000 jobs either gained or lost if it's a budget deficit -- trade deficit i mean of $21 billion. that means $21 billion at 13,000 jobs for every billion dollar loss. so you can see without belaboring this point or putting too fine a point on it, you can see that there is significant job loss from these trade agreements.
the obama administration sought to address the bush administration's neglect of auto -- american auto makers which the free trade agreement that the bush administration negotiated with north korea did, but i fear we haven't gone far enough. korea is the most closed automotive market in the world, to american and to other foreign autos. no manufacturer can export vehicles in significant volumes into korea, not toyota, not volkswagen, not ford, not fiat. u.s. exports into korea in 2010 were 7,500 units, a country approaching perhaps 90 million people, 95 million people, exports, we sell them 7,500 cars. imports currently make up about 6% of the korean auto market, 6% of cars driving around south korea are made somewhere other than south korea. that's not quite fair trade. this korean fair trade agreement
doesn't get us there. the obama administration improved it but nothing like it needs to be. i caution my colleagues, a korean free trade agreement is a permanent agreement. if we pass this agreement in a couple of months, what we pass establishing that formalized trade agreement with that major industrial country in east asia is a permanent relationship. it doesn't sunset, like a so-called authorization, it doesn't sunset the way many of my colleagues have recently let the trade adjustment assistance lapse for service workers or workers who lose their jobs to countries we don't have a free trade agreement with. some of my colleagues insist trade adjustment assistance needs to be reauthorized in short-term little baby steps, year-by-year intervals while they press for more permanent trade intervals. here's the deal, madam president. i know you in north carolina have shown on these trade agreements. here is the deal that they want us. they want us to pass permanent trade agreements, but then they want to take care of workers just one year at a time, six
months at a time, six weeks at a time the last time they reauthorized this. so this just doesn't make sense, madam president. the trade agreement with korea is significant for job growth in our country, for protecting jobs in our country. there is nothing wrong with the words protecting jobs in our country. but at the same time, before we even consider that, we need to make sure we pass the free trade -- the trade adjustment assistance. we should have learned our lessons from nafta, from pntr with china, from the other trade agreements, that the promises coming from the administration, on job creation, when it comes to trade agreements are mostly empty promises. madam president, i yield the floor. i thank senator thune from south dakota for his indulgence. mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i rise in support of the legislation -- or the
amendment i should say that has been proposed today by my colleagues from maine and oklahoma, senators snowe and coburn, the freedom from restrictive executive demands and onerous mandates of 2011. this is a -- a, i think, very common sensical piece of legislation. it's something that certainly responds to a concern that i hear from small businesses all across this country about the need for relief from burdensome one-size-fits-all federal regulations. you know we hear a lot of discussion here in the senate and around this town, around the country for that matter because that's where it really matters about creating jobs. yet for all the rhetoric about job creation, it seems that there is very little that is actually being done with regard to the substance of putting the right kind of policies in place that will make it cheaper and easier for small businesses to create jobs. it seems like everything that we do here makes it harder, more
difficult and more expensive for our small business to create jobs. as the senator from maine has very correctly pointed out, 70% of the jobs in our economy are created by small businesses, and i think that there are a whole range of issues that impact small businesses in this country in their ability to create jobs. my colleague from ohio just talked about trade. i happen to have a view on trade that we ought to have trade agreements that are fair, that are enforcable, obviously, but that we are a country that benefits enormously from the opportunity to export the things that we grow and make here to other countries around the world. just to give you an example of one particular country, one of the bilateral trade agreements that is under consideration or i wish was under consideration has been negotiated and has not been submitted by the white house yet to the congress for consideration is along with columbia. and i mentioned this earlier today in some remarks on the floor that if you look at it and
its impact on agriculture in this country, in 2008, in the commodities of corn, wheat and soybeans, our country had 81% of the market, colombian market when it comes to those three agricultural commodities. in 2010, that was down to 27%. why? because a lot of other countries that had negotiated free trade agreements with colombia have stepped in to fill the void because we don't have that kind of agreement. mr. president, this has very direct impacts on the american economy, because when you lose that kind of market share, down to 27% in 2010, that is a significant amount of jobs that are impacted by industries in this country. same thing would be true with panama and south korea, all of which would be our trade agreements that are teed up that have been sitting and languishing for three or four years now without action in the united states senate. it's absolutely insane for us
not to be moving trade agreements that could benefit our economy and create jobs at a time when job creation certainly at least risk -- riskally around here is stated to be the number-one priority that we deal with. when it comes to jobs and the economy -- and i think there are a number of things, as i said, that impact that, trade being one, but a number of policies coming out of washington that impact small businesses and their ability to create jobs. clearly, tax policy is one. tax policy is something that i think needs to be reviewed in this country. we need tax reform. it's long overdue. it's making us noncompetitive with other countries around the world because our tax laws are outdated relative to other countries, our tax rates are higher relative to every other industrialized country in the world with the exception perhaps of japan. that is something that we need to be looking at if we're serious about being competitive and about growing our economy and in the global marketplace
creating the kind of jobs we need here at home. we have got to have trade policies, tax policies that are conducive to economic growth and job creation. the other area, however, that we really can be impacted by what happens in washington is regulations, and that's what this particular amendment is really all about. it's about making regulations coming out of washington, d.c., reasonable, making them based upon common sense, making them based upon science, making them just from a -- any objective bystander or person out there, observer who looks at these regulations to say, you know, they are trying really hard not to make it more difficult for jobs -- for small businesses to create jobs in this country. but i think what happens too often is the exact opposite. it looks like what's coming out of washington are heavyhanded, burdensome requirements, mandates and regulations which drive up the costs of doing business in this country, and frankly i don't disagree with
what some of my colleagues on the other side have said about regulations that are important to public health and safety. what i am talking about here is excessive, overreaching regulations which, madam president, in some cases go beyond the congressional attempt, the statutory purpose that congress when they enacted the laws wanted to see take place. and so you have got regulatory agencies that go way beyond the congressional intent in the statutory purpose with regard to to -- to many of these policies that are being put in place. now, i have to say, madam president, when i travel my state of south dakota, and for that matter, outside the state of south dakota and i talk to small businesses, i talk to agricultural producers, the just overriding theme, consistent theme that i hear over and over again is that you have got to get these regulatory agencies, these out-of-control regulatory
agencies under control. they keep spinning out and kicking out more and more regulations that are making it more difficult for us to grow our businesses and to create jobs. now, maybe that's a function of the fact that we have a government that has gotten too big and out of control. if you look at government today relative to historical standards, we're looking at government as a percentage of our entire economy being somewhere in the 24% to 25% range. i mentioned earlier this morning in some remarks on the floor that back in the year 1800, our government was actually 2% of our entire economy, our entire economic output at that time, 2% represented what we spent on federal government. today we're spending a quarter, a quarter of every dollar of our entire economic output is just federal government. that doesn't include state and local governments, when you add those and you get up over 40%. and the trajectory we're on today will take us up to 40% spending on federal government
to g.d.p. in the not-too-distant future. if you look at 2035, 2040, that's where we are headed if we stay on our current path. so it necessarily follows, i suppose, that when government keeps getting bigger, more expansive, more government regulations, more government red tape, more bureaucracy, it is a natural outgrowth of a growing government. what i frankly think makes the most sense, madam president, is for us to be creating jobs in the private economy. what we have seen here in just the last few years is the government economy is growing relative to the total economy. the private economy thereby is shrinking, because we have seen over the last four years the average, the average of the federal government as a percentage of our economy being 20.6%. so 20.6% of our entire economy is spending by the federal government. now it's 24% or 25%. so we are on a path, we are rapidly ramping up, rapidly growing the size of government relative to our entire economy. that, madam president, is not
where we want to go if we're serious about creating good-paying, permanent jobs for people in this country. those jobs originate and come from the private sector. they come from small businesses. that's where we want to create the jobs in this country. and so i would say that the amendment that's being proposed by the senator from maine and the senator from oklahoma is a very reasonable one because all it's simply saying is that before these new regulations go into place, the small businesses ought to have access to some review and perhaps even if necessary to the court system to make sure that those regulations are consistent with the legislative intent and not overly burdensome and putting an unnecessary and excessive burden on our small businesses. and so i think it's a very common sense -- and if we're serious about job creation, serious about economic growth, getting the economy back on track, this is the very type of
legislation that we ought to be supporting. too often around here, we end up off on these tangents working on things that really don't have an impact on job creation. i will say that one of the things that we should be working on and that we're not -- and it's now been 771 days since congress passed a budget. think about that. $3.8 trillion in annual spending, and it's been 771 days now since congress passed a budget. it strikes me at least that if we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order and sending signals to the economy and to the market, that we want to create jobs, the first thing that we could do is get the fiscal house in washington, d.c., in order, and yet we have had 771 days now without a budget. i think if you are really serious about getting the economy back on track, you have to also restrain spending. you have got to grow the economy, you have got to restrain federal spending, and because when you -- when you have a government that's growing
at the rate that ours is, it does crowd out private investment, makes it more difficult for small businesses to get access to capital to create jobs because they are competing with the government. butback to the issue at hand hee and that's regulations, i just think that whether it's a farmer, rancher in south dakota -- and by the way i spoke yesterday with someone who was in town representing a livestock organization in my state -- number-one issue, number-one issue: overreaching government regulations, driving up the cost of doing business in this country. and you look at some of the proposals and suggestions that are out there and sometimes it's -- it falls into the category, if you can't make this kind of stuff -- you can't make it kind of stuff up. there was a proposal under consideration recently at the e.p.a. which they have not -- to be fair -- promulgated regulations on yet -- or proposed regulations on yet but that would regulate fugitive
dust. imagine and think about what that means in an agricultural area of this country. what it essentially meanings it you couldn't have dust from your property drift over onto someone else's property. some of this stuff just borders on insanity. and i think that's the point that is being made by the amendment by the senator from maine. is let's use some common sense. let's use some reason here. let's, if we're going to have these regulations, at least put them forward in a way that doesn't disproportionately, adversely affect small businesses and make it more difficult for them to create jobs. another example, just last month the d.o.t. started seek need for commercial driving licenses who are individuals that were driving off-road farm equipment like tractors. well, i -- where i come from, that's a pretty important part of our economy. you have a lot of young people working in farm operations, a lot of people, period, who are out there, who grow up learning -- or knowing how to drive track
terks how to handle farm equipment, and this particular requirement would force them to get a commercial driving license. some of this stusks like i said, it falls into the category, you can't make these kind of things up. the e.p.a. recently threatened ranchers in the frints hills region of kansas to stop or limit the control burn of their prairie pastures, ways practice that allows for the new growth of grass to feed cattle or be faced with e.p.a.-mandated regulations. the list, madam president, goes on and on and on. and it strikes me again that when you have as many of these studies that are out there and lots of data support these arguments that we ought to be responding in a way that recognizes that science, data, input from people who are impacted by these regulations out to have more of an influence on the regulations that are imposed by these agencies what.
this does is it simply puts in place a way in which small businesses can get access to that kind of a review. so i would -- i hope that my colleagues here in the senate will support the snowe-coburn amendment and move us in a direction where we are dealing fundamentally with the issues that are important to our economy right now. because for all the rett rirks as i said earlier, about -- because for all the rhetoric, as i said earlier, about wanting to grow the economy and create jobs, it seems that every policy coming out of washington, d.c., is contrary to that object tivment whether that's tax policy, trade policy, energy policy but perhaps more importantly, regulatory action coming out of the executive branch of the government and running amok by creating all kinds of roadblocks and hurdles and impediment impediments to jn in this country. when you're at 9.1% unemployment, when you have as
many people out of work as we have and who have been out of work for as long as they have, you would think that first and foremost we believed looking at policies -- we would be looking at policie policies that make ir and less expensive to create jobs in this country. and what is happening is we are making it more difficult and more expensive to create jobs by these excessive, overreaching runaway regulations that are coming out of federal agencies every single day. it is, madam president, hands down, the thing that i hear more than anything else from people in my state of south dakota. as i said, whether that's the farm bureau or livestock group or a small business organization, regulations -- government regulations -- right now is the thirng that they state most -- is the thing that they state most often is the biggest impediment to them going out and creating jobs. so this is a very commonsense amendment of it is something that our small businesses are all wanting. this to me is something that
this senate ought to act on today and i hope we will get a strong, affirmative vote. madam president, i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: would the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: is the senator aware that there are at least four other bills -- senator vitter, senator roberts, senator collins and senator portman -- in addition that senator lieberman is developing a comprehensive bill on reg reform? is the senator aware of those other bills? mr. thune: well, i would say through the chair that there may be many efforts, as there typically are here in the senate, to address some of the issues, and a lot of our members have different ideas about how best to do that. i happen to bleaive that the proposal put forward by the -- i happen to believe that the proposal put forward by the senator from maine is a very reasonable, commonsense approach to this. the regulatory flexibility act is something that is in need of some revisions, particularly in light of the fact that we have so many regulations coming out of these agencies that are so
costly, so difficult, and so burdensome for small businesses in this country. i think we ought to be at every opportunity looking for ways to lessen the cost and the difficulty for our small businesses to create jobs. ms. landrieu: well, through the chair, i understand that senator coburn, under u.c., has the next 15 minutes, but i would just and he $ $end my question through the chair. i think the senator is right. there are some regulations that are coming fairly fast and furious, but i think the senator would also understand that the normal process is reviewing the bills at the committee level, comparing and contrasting, and then bringing the best approach to the floor, and that's what some of us are objecting to. it's not the goal of reducing regulations; it's the process. thank you. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: thank you. i've listened to the debate all morning, as an original cosponsor with senator snowe on her bivment i want to track about the e.d.a. first and then
i'll talk about other things. what moves us don't realize, because most of us haven't taken the time to look, there's 80 economic development programs in the federal government through four agencies, and it spends $6.6 billion a year. not one of them has a metric on it to see if it is successful. we have heard all morning em $3,000 per jofnlt no oversight on it novment committee oversight on it. no hard work to see -- there's not a metric on within of these programs to see if it is working. now we have a bill on the floor to spend another $500 million a year on something we have no idea what -- we have anecdotal evidence. but what does the o.i.g. say. they say, first of all, this program has been used as congressional slush fund to direct money to friends of members of congress. that's what they say. fully one-third of the projects in this never come to completion. so the money that was spent on it ends up being totally wasted.
and we're reauthorizing a bill that nobody can show the statistics that it is in fact effective. and it's not just that we're reauthorizing this bill. we have 79 other programs. ask yourself a question: we're $14 trillion in debt, we're nearly bankrupt, we're running a $1.5 trillion deficit, and we got a bill on the floor to spend $500 billion and we don't know whether it works or not. we claim through anecdotal, we see positive things every now and then. well, there's positive outcomes to illness, too. but the fact is we don't know what we're dosmght and what the congress ought to be doing is saying if in fact it is a role for the federal government to have economic development activities, then we ought to center it in one area and we ought to have one or two programs, not 80, with 80 sets of administrators, 80 se sets of commissions and $6.6 billion a
year of which half of it doesn't accomplish any purpose for the american people other than make the senators and congressmen feel good. because they think they may have done something. so the whole idea that we would put forward a bill that has never truly been oversighted in terms of the way everybody else would oversight the way they spend their money, to see if it is effective, in the whole -- not anecdotal evidence of one company or one benefit. put it all together. and if we have a role, let's put together a program that will work, one. number two, that has metrics on it so we can measure whether or not it is effective when we're actually borrowing the money to do this. by the way, if we actually pass this bill and $500 million gets spent, we're going to borrow $200 million from the international financial community to do it. and when we know a third of it is wasted, that just doesn't make any sense.
so the whole idea of congress passing this e.d.a. bill in light of not doing oversight on the other 79 economic development programs under the other four agencies is the definition of insanity. we don't know what we're doing. let's talk about regulation for a minute. there's well over $2 trillion in the united states sitting in small, medium, and large businesses right now that's not invested for jobs. you know, why is that? why are people afraid to go out and invest and get a return on capital? it's because they don't see any clarity in the future. and the administration that we have today has issued 40% more regulations, 40% more regulations than any administration in history in the first two years.
and one of the reasons people don't have confidence is they can't handle the regulatory framework that's coming at them so fast. the other thifng a observed -- the other thing i've observed is that when regulations are written, they're oftentimes written without people with the real knowledge of what they're writing the regulations for. 80% of the regulations written in this country are written by lawyers within the agency with which they're working. now, i like lawyers. that's good enough. but how about having somebody that has real experience in the area at which they're writing the regulation rather than a lawyer write a regulation for them? a good example is one of the good things about the new health care bill was going to be where we combined things together into
accountable care organizations, where we end up putting hospitals and doctors and physical therapists and mental health workers all together and then we work as a team so we can cut the cost and not have duplication and get better outcomes. the regulations on that were 220 pages long with 65 things you have to do every day on every patient. to report back to the federal government. well, that's just idiotic. it's assinine. and yet that's the regulations that came out on one of the few positive things that came out about the affordable care act. the senator from maine outlined the cost of business regulation to small businesses and large businesses. it's $1.7 trillion a year. that's fully 12% of our g.d.p. is the cost of regulations that are coming from the federal government. and all this bill says is, a way
to force the administration and the agencies -- and it doesn't matter if it is a republican or democratic agency -- administration; they're both the same. doesn't have anything to do with who -- what party is in power in the administration. but to hold the agencies accountable, to look at the impact that the regulations that they write, so that they're not counterproductive to our country. we're in a time period where we're at great risk as a nation, great risk. because we're so overly exposed on our debt and our deficit. for every 1% increase of interest rates that we're going to see next year, it is going to cost us, the taxpayers of america, $150 billion additional. and there's no question, we're going to see interest rates rise in this country. so to not create the confidence of the small and medium
businesses to go out and build that next production line or build a way to produce this next new idea because what they're seeing is so much blowback from an unaccountable, misdirected federal government, and so what senator snowe wants to do is totally connected with common sense, but, you know, we don't want to do that. we don't want to do that and the excuse is we haven't been through committee. well, let me tell you, a third of the bills that come to the floor of the senate never have been through the committee. and now we're saying an heaments to come through the committee? that's ludicrous. it's also false. it is, we really don't want to let go -- we don't trust the american people. that's what it really says. is we really don't trust the american people to use common sense. the reason we don't is because
we have no connection with common sense whatsoever in this body. and because we can't figure it out, we don't think they can. and so big brother has to tell you every time, every location, at every situation what you can do. and the thing that's changed in my adult lifetime is when i was a medical device manufacturer in the 1970's, the presumption was on the government to prove in t i was doing something wrong. with our regulatory framework now, the presumption is on you, the american citizen to prove you didn't do something wrong. and that's why this overregulation, this attendance to detail that matters nothing except on the top of a pin, and it's out there and it is so costly in terms of the cost of compliance that makes no difference in terms of somebody's outcome. but the main thing that's costing is it's costing us jobs.
it's kofgs us the very -- costing us the very thing that built this country, the idea that you can build on an idea with hard work, minimal capital and make it a success. except the thing that's blocking that now is the regulations coming from the federal government. this is a straightforward bill. hold the bureaucrats accountable. if they're not going to be held accountable, you've got a way to hold them accountable. i don't get it. i don't get why anybody would be objectionable to this, because it's not stopping regulations. it's just saying you've got to figure out whether it's prudent. and if you're not following the regulatory flexibility act, we're going to make you because we're going to give you a basis from a court of law to be able to do that. what's wrong with that? nobody's addressed what's wrong with that. what they've just said is, no, we don't like it. we don't want it, so we're going to do everything we can to make sure an amendment that will actually fix the problems in this country, start creating
jobs, will actually move money sitting on the sideline into investment to creating opportunities and new jobs for americans when we have 17 million americans who really want to work that can't, we're going to defeat it. we're so disconnected with what really is important in this country, it is so frustrating. i'm surprised i still have hair on my head. senator snowe knows more about small business in this senate than any other senator. she's worked on it for years. she knows the problem. she's offered a solution that is common sense, that will work, that won't cost a lot of money, but will rein in the bureaucracy when they do the wrong thing or they don't follow the law. and for us to say no, not going to do it because there may be a small amount of risk that
something might go wrong, that's exactly the same way the bureaucracies work. let me tell you how they work. they never do what's best for the country. they do what's safe for the bureaucracy. that's why we have so much regulation. it's because they don't want to get criticized. you can't walk through life without getting criticized. nobody's perfect and no agency's perfect. so let's hold them accountable. let's help them be better. let's be uplifters to them. let's put some tools there that will enable us to have a good regulatory framework that actually accomplishes the purposes of regulations but doesn't destroy what small amount of manufacturing and business we have left. with that, madam chairman, i'd like to put a statement into the record and would yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. i understand our side has about 50 minutes left in this debate. we'll be vote on the snowe
amendment at 2:15. so i'm going to speak at least for the next 15 or 20 minutes. there's no one else on the floor on our side. and we'll continue to try to answer some of the issues that have been raised in the last few minutes about this particular amendment. first of all, i have a great deal of respect for the senator from oklahoma. nobody prely has worked hard -- nobody really has worked harder on trying to bring more efficiencies to the federal government. he spent hours and hours and hours in meetings, official meetings, informal meetings on budgets, efficiency and regulations. i have a great deal of respect for the senator from oklahoma personally. but i do take offense at some of the, not just suggestion but accusations and specific attacks made on this floor against the government. two or three were just issued from the speech he just gave,
statements like this: the bureaucracy never takes risk. well, i'd like to ask him what bureaucracy did he think supported the elimination of osama bin laden? does the senator from oklahoma believe there were no risks taken by this bureaucracy that he so routinely and, i think, -- he so routinely wants to degrade to no good end? i would ask him if he was still on the floor, no risks were taken by anyone when they launched the strike against osama bin laden that eventually killed him. would the senator from oklahoma suggest that we have no
regulations on wall street. we should just trust the big international bankers of the world to do what's right every day for the people of oklahoma. i know that the people on wall street wake up every morning and think to themselves while they're eating breakfast, what can i do today to help the people in oklahoma or in louisiana? of course that's absurd. there is a place for appropriate regulation, and bureaucracies aren't always bad. and when george washington led the creation of this country, he most certainly had in his mind a government that worked for the people, by the people.
let's fix the government. let's not tear it down by statements that have no basis in tpafbgt, that do -- no basis in fact, that do not uplift people, do not encourage people. they numb people. they make people angry. they make people think there is no hope when there is. there are thousands of people that put on a uniform every day and go to work for this country. they are mothers, they are fathers, they are grandparents, they are aunts and uncles. they work hard and they do not deserve the disparaging remarks that come too often from the other side of this aisle. if you don't like government, you've made it plain, then fix
it. and one of the ways to fix it is to take a bill. this is not an amendment that senator snowe has. it is a bill. i have seen it. she's asked me to cosponsor it. i have dekhraeupbd. it is -- i have declined. it is a bill. it is a major bill that has jurisdiction, that will find its jurisdiction in not one committee -- not the small business committee -- but in five committees, have jurisdiction over the aspects of senator snowe's bill. one of the reasons that we shouldn't vote favorably, not because we're not for reg reform, is because this bill has ramifications that go far beyond the small business committee, of which i chair, and it goes to about five or six other committees that need to have a look at the provisions in her bill. that's one reason. we've asked to go through the committee process.
number two, there are at least, to my knowledge, four other bills that attempt to fix this overregulatory reach, which i agree with senator thune, i agree with senator coburn, and i agree with senator snowe needs to be tapped down, harnessed. not eliminated, but tapped down and harnessed and made less onerous for all business. not just small business, but for all business. but there are at least four other bills that i know that are attempting to do that. one by senator vitter. one by senator roberts. one by senator collins and one by senator portman. i have not had the opportunity to review in detail all these other bills, but i'm sure they have some very excellent points to them. the committee process allows a chairman like senator lieberman who's not here today, which would have primary jurisdiction
over this, to bring all five bills before his committee, hear the best aspects of each, potentially combine them into a bill and bring them to the floor. you know what, senator lieberman, i know, has offered to do that in his committee. that bill could potentially come out of committee potentially with senator snowe as the lead author since she's worked very hard on it, with others as cosponsors, a bill in which democrats and republicans could agree to that could give real relief on reg reform. this is not about finding a solution. this is about public relations, campaigns, and republican rhetoric about the election. and that's what i object to. if this were really about regulatory reform and finding a solution, the five senators that have bills and other senators that i know -- senator mccaskill, for one, who is
here today, who is developing a bill; senator carper, who has spent years on this subject and is quite the expert -- they would all come before the homeland security committee, which i have the privilege of serving on, and in a short amount of time -- just a few weeks -- figure out something that the majority could support. this isn't about fixing the problem. this is about bumper stickers for elections, and i am very tired of it. and i'm not the only one. as chair of the small business committee, i can promise you that our committee, which senator snowe is the ranking member, has worked every day very hard through this recession to put forward bills on this floor that could help create jobs, bring relief. in fact, one of the most burdensome regulations that the
business community was just screaming about, our committee was very aggressive in helping to eliminate, and that was section 1099 which would have required every business to report to the i.r.s. any purchase that they made for goods 0 over 600. it would have brought many businesses to its knees buried in paperwork. did our committee sit around and twittle its thumb? no. we worked hard. we had the only hearing in congress, i think, on the 1099 and repealed it. commerce helped, it took awhile to find the right offset. the minute it was brought to our attention, the chamber of commerce and others, we said we made a mistake. it's going to take us awhile to find the $20 billion to offset it but we'll look and before that goes into effect we'll repeal it. and we did.
so when members on the republican side come to the floor and say democrats don't care about regulatory burdens, i find that offensive, and it's not helpful. this bill is not on the floor on regulatory relief. this bill is on a small but effective economic development program that happens to work beautifully in my state. and contrary to what the senator from oklahoma and others said, this program in louisiana, as far as louisiana is concerned, actually works. one of the reasons that it works so well is because many of the decisions about the grants are not done in washington but done at the regional level. our office happens to be in austin, texas. when the chamber of commerce come to visit me, not always huge supporters of the democratic caucus. but when my chambers come to see me, they say to me, senator, one of the best programs that our members like and feel the federal government does a very good job are these e.d.a.
grants, because they're not that bureaucratic. they make quick decisions. they help us fill gap financing in programs that make a meaningful difference to the people in our community. i didn't raise the subject when i went to speak to the chambers of commerce. they raised it to me. now, maybe the senator from oklahoma is correct that some of these moneys were earmarked, but we don't allow earmarks anymore. so this program is going to go without earmarks directed by members, and it's going to be done at a regional basis. and these programs have been at least in the louisiana's experience, quite effective. louisiana tech, one of my universities, received a $2 million e.d.a. grant. i'm going to submit this to the record. our ongoing partnership with e.d.a. has greatly enhanced the university's overall economic development efforts.
we're creating the e.d.a. university center, et cetera, et cetera. from the mayors of both cities, monroe and -- i mean, i don't know. i do trust my local elected officials. i do trust the people i represent. when they say a program works, i like to believe them. the list of projects recent investments in louisiana, $1.2 million to tulane university. can i tell you one thing about tulane university, since it was damaged significantly after hurricane katrina? we have over 45,000 applicants to this school. why do people want to come to tulane? not only because it's a great school, but it's in a great city that's rebuilding itself. you know what's helping us rebuild ourselves? an e.d.a. grant that some people would like to eliminate. $1.2 million -- to tulane university. it's the microloan program.
i believe the people at tulane university. i have a great respect for scott cowen and their board. everywhere i travel around the united states as a senator, i could not be prouder. when people come up to me and say what a great university tulane is. i don't need somebody in washington telling me how good this program is. i have the people i represent at home telling me. $775,000 to the downtown development district which was under water after katrina, given to the idea village. do you know where the idea village was latest advertised? maybe on the front page of "enterprise" magazine. maybe in "time" magazine. this idea village is one of the best ideas in the whole country. you know who funded it? the program that senator boxer is trying to reauthorize. $400,000 for start-up funds for the creation and development of stimulus funds to support fledgling enterprises in the greater new orleans region.
our seafood industry went completely, no pun intended, under water after the b.p. oil spill. this agency stood up and gave them, when no one else would -- b.p. wouldn't give them a penny, ken feinberg wouldn't give them any money. they gave them $350,000 to keep their head above water at the seafood promotion board. that's why people are eating in large measure gulf coast shrimp today. i don't know what report senator coburn is looking at, but the may 19 report says right here, g.a.o. stated that they have not concluded duplication on these issues and their future work on overlap and duplication. i don't know if the senator has asked his chamber of commerce from oklahoma, but i'm going back to my office and i'm going to call him myself because i'd like to find out. maybe their program works a little differently in oklahoma than it works in louisiana, but when i called my people at home -- and they'll tell me -- senator, some of these programs
aren't worth a hill of beans and you should eliminate them. these programs are too difficult. i have that all the time by some programs, not all the time but some programs. this isn't one of them. and the reason i'm a little exercised is because i'm like deja vu. i came down to this floor four weeks ago to try to get a similar program in size, a 1.2 -- no, i'm sorry. what was our program? 1.29 sbir? $1.2 billion program that's worked so well. senator warren rudman had created it. it was a great program. it's really like the country's best venture capital program for all small business. it makes money. it doesn't lose money. and we got the same thing done to us by the other side of this side of the aisle that says we don't really care about small
business over here because we have to talk about x., y. and z. so, i mean, this is like the second time one of our chairmen -- i was the first, now senator boxer is trying to build, bring to the floor not a complicated program. it's a little program but it has a big bang for the buck. it gets rave reviews from the people in my state, republicans mainly, but democrats as well, and we can't seem to get this program approved until we take bills that members want to put on the bill that have nothing to do with this bill that haven't gone through committee. so i'm going to be voting against senator snowe's bill, but to make clear, i support senator snowe's efforts to reduce regulatory reform. my people in louisiana are screaming about this.
i've tried to communicate this to the administration in many ways, whether it's e.p.a. or the corps of engineers or the more recent that's coming out of one agency that wants all of my oil field workers to put on hazmat suits to go to work. now, if you put on a hazmat suit in louisiana when it's 100 degrees, you couldn't get to the oil rig because you would be fainted before you got there. so i am not unaware, i want the senator from oklahoma to understand, of some ridiculous rules and regulations that come flying out of some of our agencies, but the way to fix it is not to bring a bill to the floor that has not had a hearing, when six different committees have jurisdiction, when senator lieberman who has the lead jurisdiction as chair of the homeland security has indicated a complete willingness to take this on. there are enough bumper sticker
printing operations in louisiana -- in america today. there's only one united states senate. and i suggest we start acting like a louisiana -- like a senate, like a u.s. senate and stop acting like a bumper sticker -- a bumper sticker operation, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i just want to make a couple of comments. i said in my earlier comments, there are some good things with the e.d.a. the fact is they are all self-reported, there is no data, there is no metrics. any time you send money to the state of oklahoma, i guarantee the people who get the money are going to like it, but there isn't one metric, one set of metrics that measures the effectiveness of the money that's been spent through e.d.a. in terms of job creation.
fully one-third of the dollars don't get through to completion over the history of the program. you know, the very idea that we would defend -- the bureaucracy didn't help us on 9/11 because they were stovepiped, they wouldn't communicate. the bureaucracy failed to ensure the safety of the levees in new orleans, this same bureaucracy that doesn't need to be controlled. the bureaucracy didn't protect us from the financial crisis in 2008 because we didn't do the oversight. the bureaucracy didn't protect the gulf from the deepwater horizon. we had a bureaucracy that was supposed to be in charge of that, but they didn't do it. the point is is -- and the sbir, you had my full support on sbir, you know that, senator landrieu. you had my support on that because that's one of the proven programs inside the s.b.a. administration that actually has metrics on it that works. so the debate is is whether or not we hold back the pregnant framework. you know, i find it really ironic, you agree with us in
principle but aren't going to vote with us on this amendment because it didn't go through a committee. it is amazing -- i'm going to finish my points and then i'll leave the floor because i have something else i have to do. it is amazing the negative effects that we all are hearing from all across the country, every state, every senator's hearing how regulation is drowning out opportunity for investment to create jobs in this country. every program has some positive aspects to it. the question isn't whether they have positive aspects. it's what's our priority now that we're bankrupt? where should we be spending the money to where we get the most bang for the buck? and how do we pull back the regulatory framework so that it's common sense oriented rather than bureaucratic oriented? and that's what senator snowe is trying to do. and to give some -- some type of power to the very people that are being regulated, because we
certainly won't do the oversight. we haven't done the oversight. you know, it is really interesting when the g.a.o. put out this last report on duplication. you're right, they didn't say in these particular programs, but i put out a report nine months before that that detailed the duplication in these programs, and it was published. so you can find -- the point is is we're strangling business and job development, small and medium. the big guys can take all this regulation. they are already staffed up. the small businesses can. the medium sized businesses can. we have to give them a way to force commonsense on the bureaucracy. that's all this does. and to not -- everybody hears it from all of their constituents, is that the regulation is killing business formation and job creation.
why would we not want to put some balance? i don't understand it. and we -- and the real problem with the regulatory agencies is us because we won't oversight them. just like there was no oversight hearing on the e.d.a. nobody ever asked the question where are the metrics. we have all this anecdotal evidence how great it is when we give money to the states that they can do things, but where's the numbers that show the job creation? for every $1,000 that gets spent, there is a self-reported but there is nothing that looks at it to say here statistically is the way. and if e.d.a. is the best way to create jobs in this country, i'm all for it, but i want to see some data that says that right now. you know, we have -- we have job training programs, 47 of them in this country. we spend $18 billion on them a year. we have 104 science, technology,
engineering and math programs across nine different agencies. we're spending $16 billion on a year. we have no data on either of those programs anywhere. but we got it out there. we have no idea what we're doing because we won't ask the hard questions and we won't study it. nobody would have 104 science, technology, engineering and math programs. we have 64 programs, 20-some of them are outside the department of education to improve teacher training quality. we -- we -- the reason we're in trouble is because we haven't done our job on oversight. so you can claim anecdotal evidence that something's good, but you ought to know that when we spend $1,000 we don't have today of the american people's money because we're borrowing it from china, we ought to be danger -- dang certain that's going to create some because our kids are paying the bill. the next generation is paying the bill and they are going to pay that bill through a markedly
lower standard of living. with that, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. snowe: how much time is remaining on the republican side? the presiding officer: 13 minutes. ms. snowe: thank you, mr. president. i would like to make a few points, mr. president. really, it's about solving problems. that's what this is all about. and i just -- it truly amazes me that an amendment of regulatory reform that everybody agrees on principle and everything else, that it goes to the heart of the issues concerning the economic well-being of small businesses and hence america's well-being in these desperate times, and yet we can't manage to get together and to work on these issues. i made a number of good-faith changes in my legislation. i would have done more if i heard any response on the other side to working those out. i made five major changes to the proposition back in april to respond to this, but there was
no response. and then i hear about these hearings. can somebody please tell me where it is in the rules of the senate that every amendment has to have a hearing? we just had a major vote yesterday, mr. president, on interchange. for the second time, important to small businesses. but even the committee of jurisdiction didn't have a hearing. so this is again i describe as politics of obfuscation. get to the heart of the matter and solve the problems for america. it isn't about who authors it, who is doing it. let's do it. that's the point. we're not doing it. we're just sitting here, talking, recessing, going to go home today, going to do something else, going to have recesses. we have got five committees who have jurisdiction on this issue. we're going to have to have a road map pretty soon. i don't want to go home and tell my constituents, well, what
happened on regulatory reform? well, let me get this straight. let me get this straight. we have five committees, there are a number of bills and time's running out and people have to leave and we can't have enough time to debate this. that's what i was told this morning. all of a sudden, i was given a call, saying sorry, you're going to have to do it right now. i said well, is the bill over? we just started. there are a number of pending amendments that haven't even been addressed yet, let's vote on those. this is an important issue. let's give this the equivalency of, you know, the interchange amendment. let's do something that's important for small business. absolutely not. this is about jobs at a very difficult time in america. and let me repeat, 40 months after the start of the four deepest postwar recessions, our economic output averaged 7.6%. here we are, our g.d.p. has only
increased .1%, mr. president. those are terrible numbers. behind those numbers are people and human beings because it means we're not creating jobs. bureaucracies mean by definition -- and i read -- a concentration of power, absolutely. they are unelected. we're elected. we understand the problems, and even the president, let's read this headline, obama to scale back regulations to spur economic growth. and you know what's interesting about this, no one is accusing the president of decimating the environment or the workplace or health care. understanding that, and six days after i was deny add vote on this very bill where i made five different adjustments to respond to the other side, you have the
president's economic competitiveness council coming out with four major priorities, one of which is regulations -- need to improve regulations and decades of overlapping and uncoordinated regulations, even by the administration's -- this white house's own estimate that regulations this last decade cost anywhere from $44 billion to $60 billion, last year alone with a $26 billion increase over that $1.7 trillion. this is a serious issue, mr. president. i'll work it out. can we work it out? can we do it? do we have the capacity to work on issues anymore? thoroughly and deliberatively? it's been almost two months and we haven't gotten any further than the man on the moon. we don't even have a hearing.
somewhere somebody's god bills. great. bring them up. let's debate them. let's do something. let's do something for small business. they desperately need it, mr. president. and now i'll be glad to yield to the senator from illinois. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. kirk: thank you. i would like in this context to focus on economic policy and look at where we are with the state of economic union and the state of illinois. if we look at the basic numbers, we see that we will take in about $2.1 trillion in tax revenue, but our government is currently projected to spend $3.4 trillion in tax revenue, yielding a deficit of approximately $1.3 trillion that we will have to borrow from the american people, china, and other foreign powers. total unfunded lieblghtds o liaf
the federal government is $61 trillion yield ago per american debt of $196,000 per person. when we lack at economic growth and the way to expand the available pie for the united states, our economy last year grew at a $2.8% rate. china, on the other hand, grew at $10.3%, and libya currently under attack by nato grew at 4.2%. in fact, quiz question: which economy grew more last year? the united states or iran? answer: the iranian economy grew by a faster rate than the united states. the situation probably is even more bleak in the state of illinois. the state of illinois, we're going to take in about $27 billion in revenue. spending $33 billion, for a $5.8 billion gap. this is for a state whose credit
rating is deteriorating quite rapidly, having not funded its pensions to a greater degree than almost any other state. unfunded liebilityd of the state of illinois: $62 billion. for a per-citizen debt on top of the federal debt of $4,800. when we look at our state and its economic growth, the state of illinois at just 1 moi 9% growth. other states: wisconsin, even with its highly controversial governor, now rapidly improving its business climate at 2.5%. the state rated at the number-one state to create jobs and businesses in america -- texas -- at 2.8%. and the state that's on fire, the state of indiana, at 4.6%. this is clearly a sign that things are going well in indiana. things are going well in china. things are even going better in libya than in the united states. and it shows that we need to change course for our country
economically. to back the amendment of the gentlewoman that she has here and to make sure that we can lay out better, more pro-productive policies like the small business bill of rights, that represents ten new policies to accelerate economic growth, on behalf of that entity which represents half of all the jobs in the united states in my own states. these are private-sector jobs, they are sustainable, they do not depend on a failed stimulus, which is now running out of gas. and given the records here, i think we can see that it's clear that we ought to go back to economic fundamentals to correct our system and look clearly at the state of economics where we are now. with that, i'd like to yield back to the gent spl lady from maine and -- yield back to the jengtsgentle lady from maine and thank her for the time.
ms. snowe: i would lieu now like to yield to the senator from massachusetts, senator brown. the presiding officer: the senator from maine has four minutes and the remaining time for the democratic side is 35 minutes. the senator from maine. ms. snowe: yes, i would ask unanimous consent for additional time since the bill -- since the vote isn't going to occur until 2:15, so we could equally diswied it? ms. landrieu: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. snowe: mr. president, i now yield the remainder of the time to senator brown. it is regrettable since this is an important issue, that
wouldn't couldn't have more time until then on this key issue. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to begin by expressing my support for what senator snowe has been doing and for the e.d.a. reauthorization bill. i applaud the committee for producing a good and comprehensive bill, and as you know, these e.d.a. grants provide vital resources not only for massachusetts' economic development and businesses but also other states throughout the country, to help communities get back on their feet in this tough economic climate. for that reason, the reauthorization of this is incredibly important, and i would encourages that it be done so, i rise to speak about two amendments on this bill that affect the abilit stability of r small business, senator snowe's amendment is one that i have consistently supported because it is a commonsense solution. when i am traveling around my state, no matter where i go, no
matter who i speak with from c.e.o.'s all the way down to the worker who's just doing the everyday work, over and over is their plea to get rid of the one-size-fits-all federal regulations that are prohibiting businesses. we need business certainty and stability in order to create an economic climate to make jobs not only be created but to be retained, not only in mass but for the country. and this amendment would require that federal agencies can conduct comprehensive analysis on the potential impact of regulations on small businesses and has the support of the nfib and the u.s. chamber of commerce and simply put, burdensome regulations are hurting our small businesses and job creators and preventing them from growing and hiring. and it is a sthaim this amendment got -- and it is a shame that this amendment got caught up in partisan volleying. i am happy to speak about it today. iralso want to turn the senate's
attention to amendment 405 to repeal the 3% withholding tax, a malignant and business-threatening provision based on s. 164, the withholding tax relief act of 2011 which enjoys bipartisan support and is critically needed now. the ranking member of the small business committee, senator snowe, is a cosponsor, so are 14 of my colleagues. we need to repeal once and for all this onerous and costly unfunded mandate. that is jobs amendment, plain and sirnlings and it would repeal a part of our tax code that programs promises to kill jobs. as you know, mr. president, we've had many, many comments about how this bill would in fact cost potentially as high as $75 billion to implement and the moneys received back to the federal government would be about $8 billion over that same peempletd it is absurd. any tax that costs more to implement than brings in revenues should be repealed immediately. and taboo mongtszs ago i received a message from the massachusetts state secretary of
finance, jay gon jay gonzalez. i would encourage -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. brown: i would encourage that we also adopt that amendment. thank you. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, thank you. i know that the senator from california was on the floor this morning, senator boxer, advocating for the passage of her bill and urging colleagues to vote against the snowe amendment. and i am here to support that position. i'd like to respond briefly to senator coburn's last couple of statements about where the bureaucracy failed and he didn't have to remind me, of course, that the bureaucracy failed to respond to katrina and rita, the largest disasters by far in the
history of the country. but we've spent six years fixing that bureaucracy, not printing bumper stickers for reelection campaigns. and you know what? it's worked. because our efforts to fix the bureaucracy have really helped the people of missouri and arkansas and tennessee and montana and indiana that are currently experiencing terrible disasters, as we speak, and the bureaucracy that showed up at the superdome is a lot better in many, many, many ways -- it's better today than it was for the bureaucracy that showed up at the supe superdoavment and thats because we -- at the super dome. and that's because we had hundreds and hundreds of hours of committee work done with work
that takes debate in the work of the committees. when you are working on major pieces of legislation that have major impacts, that's where it is done. besides the freedom act that is on the floor today, there is it the regulatory responsibility for our economy act sponsored by senator roberts with 46 cosponsors. i'm assuming that there are -- i don't have the list, but i am assuming that there are democratic and republican cosponsors. that's a major regulatory relief bill. there is a bill by senator collins called the curb act, clearing unnecessary regulatory burdens. the curb act. it has two cosponsors. and then there's a smaller bill by senator portman that has no cosponsors, but he is the lead sponsor, that has -- that looks like to me it is a smaller bill
and has just limited scope, but nonetheless, on regulatory reform. there could be 12 other bills filed in the senate. i don't know. and hundreds of other bills filed in the house. forget the house bills. when bills like this are filed in the senate, the usual route and the most effective route is to go through the subcommittee of jurisdiction. you can understand in this topic, which is so broad, regulatory reform, it's regulatory reform in the department of commerce, and regulatory reform in the department of e.p.w., environment and public works, regulatory reform for the department of homeland security, regulatory reform in the department of defense. there are many committees of jurisdiction. but what everyone has greed is to have the hearing in the homeland security, which is broad jurisdiction and get the work done. senator lieberman is not here
today because he's on jewish holiday. he has said time and time again he will have this hearing in the committee and that is the appropriate place. so we can come forward with a bill on regulatory relief. there are a couple of reasons why this particular approach is flawed, and i'd like to read the comments -- i'd like to read just three specific reasons why this particular freedom act is not in the proper position that it should be. but the way to fix it is not debating on the floor of the senate on a bill that has -- is not germane to really the bill that we're debating, that we're trying to pass. it's to have this kind of debate in committee. so that we can work out these details. senator snowe, has shown herself to be in the past and still today willing to work in a very
cooperative manner, and the place to do this is in committee. one, the bill, as currently drafted, would allow judicial review before the completion of rule making. that provision in the freedom act would undermine regulatory certainty making it harder for businesses, not easier, harder for businesses to plan for the future and compete in the marketplace. it would also invie excessively costly and unwielding litigation. we don't want to have more lawsuits. we want to have less lawsuits. that's one of the problems that small businesses are facing today. lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. the last thing we want to do is encourage more of them. many people have reviewed the technical writing, the technical writing of the bill in its current form and believe it will result in more lawsuits, not less. we'd like to fix that in
committee. the amendment would make it harder, not easier, to see the actual cost of regulation by expanding the regulatory flexibilities act definition to include indirect effects, which i can understand why she wants to do it. but in interpreting the language as the senator has written it, this legislation would likely undermine any reliable and meaningful economic analysis of regulation, thereby distracting the agencies from focusing on what the actual impacts of the rules would be. and finally the amendment inappropriately links regulatory decisions to budget cuts, decisions about regulation should be based on sound economics and science and not on the threat of budget cuts. this is just a preliminary review of some of the current problems. and senator snowe is right, i guess. if we stayed on the floor for the next two or three or four weeks and the other senators who are not on the floor would agree to come and debate their bills
on the floor, which is highly unusual. but why not just go to the homeland security committee, have all the sponsors of these major pieces of legislation present their bills and have that committee work through these technical difficulties? because it is an important issue. many of us support reg reform. we know that there are some burdens, particularly on small business. we'd like to get it fixed. so let's fix it instead of continuing to rail on the subject on every bill that comes before the senate, whether it has anything to do with reg reform or not. and then one thing i want to point out to the senator, and i point this out with the greatest respect, about six months ago or longer now, we were both on the floor trying to pass the small business jobs act bill, one of the most significant bills that
have actually helped to bolster this economy, help provide literally, literally billions of dollars of loans to small business who couldn't get them anywhere. their credit card companies had raised the rates so high or the banks had shut down their lines of credit. senator snowe and i worked together to bring a bill to the floor, and we did and passed it, unfortunately, without the support of the other side of the aisle. but in that debate the senator from maine said, because i included in that bill with a 60-vote margin, i got senator voinovich and senator lemieux to vote for the small business lending fund, which was a little unusual, she said, not included in the overall first and foremost, it has not had a single hearing with respect to this issue. and in my view, it does resurrect the controversial tarp program. and because it hasn't had a hearing, this should not pass. and yet, within a year she's
back arguing against that argument, that her bill which hasn't had any hearing in the committee, should pass. so, you know, there is some inconsistency here. now i say this with the greatest respect to the senator from maine, but we have got to, if we want to be serious about reg reform, do have this debate in the committee of jurisdiction, which is right now homeland security. and then have the other chairmen of the committees, the other chairmen try to cooperate with that committee and bring something to the floor. we will be happy, many of us, to vote for. but doing this in this way is not helpful. it's not going to fix the problem. it's only going to make the burden on small business worse. and we've got to move past it.
so i want to put into the record the statement that senator snowe made on the sblf. i want to put into the record the three very clear explanations about why the bill in its current form should not be agreed to. can these be fixed? yes. but this is not the place on the senate floor when there are many other bills as well. senator snowe could remain -- the senator from maine could remain the main sponsor because she's put in the most work. she's been -- you know, she's been a tireless advocate. she should get tremendous praise for bringing forth this issue and keeping the fires burning and pushing the senate to this end. and that would be terrific. and many of us would join that effort. but this is not the bill to do it on. this is not the place to do it. and i would suggest that, again,
taking this to the committee of jurisdiction, working out, bringing the administration forward so that we could actually make some real progress on curbing regulatory overreach by the federal government would be welcomed by all. i'm going to suggest the absence of a quorum. i see the senator from vermont is here on the floor. i'm assuming he wants to talk about this, and others. and i think, mr. chairman, how much time do we have stphraeuplg would the clerk tell us how much time we have remaining? the presiding officer: 24 minutes. ms. landrieu: thank you. mr. sanders: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the final ten minutes be equally divided and controlled between senators snowe and boxer with senator boxer controlling the final five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, i yield myself ten minutes of majority time.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, there are a number of huge issues facing our country. our middle class is collapsing. poverty is increasing. we are in two wars. we are concerned about global warming. quality of our education. and massive unemployment. so this country today has its share of serious problems that we have got to address. right now a whole lot of attention, not inappropriately, is on our very large deficit and a $14 tr-pb-plus -- and a $14 trillion-plus national debt. this is an issue which is perhaps going to come to a head within the next few months as it becomes time to whether or not we raise the debt ceiling. i just want to say a few words
on this issue. number one, when we talk about deficit reduction, mr. president, it is important for us to understand how we got to where we are today. how did it happen? how do we have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year and a $14-plus trillion national debt? not so many years ago at the end of president clinton's tenure, this country had a significant budget surplus, and the expectation twhas that surplus was going to grow in the years to come. but then a number of things happened during the bush years. number one, we became engaged in two wars. number two, we passed a medicare part-d prescription drug program. number three, we bailed out wall street. and, number four, we gave huge
tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country. and then as a result of the wall street-caused recession, revenue dropped, and the result was that we now have a very, very high deficit and a very large national debt. but it is important to remember how we got to where we are today. it is also important when we talk about deficit reduction to take a look at american society today in order to determine what is a fair way, a fair way to address deficit reduction. and when we look at american society today, the trends are very, very clear. the middle class is in many ways disappearing as a result of stagnant or in fact lowered wages for millions and millions of american workers. median family income over the
last ten years has gone down by about $2,500. the middle class is hurting. many millions of americans in fact have left the middle class and entered the ranks of the poor. poverty is increasing. but at the same time as the middle class is shrinking and poverty is increasing, there is another reality that we cannot ignore, although i'm afraid many of my colleagues choose to ignore it. and that is that the people on top are doing phenomenally well. over a recent 25-year period, 80% of all new income went to the top 1%. the top 1% now earns more income than the bottom 50%. and when we talk about distribution of wealth, we have the top 400 americans, the 400 wealthiest americans owning more wealth than the bottom 150 million americans.
that gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider. and it's important to discuss that issue about what's happening to the middle class, to lower-income people and the growing gap between the wealthy and everybody else when we address the issue of deficit reduction. now, my republican colleagues in the house came up with an idea that i think most people almost can't even believe that they would pass it; it seems so incomprehensible. so at a time when the middle class is really, really hurting, things are getting worse as a result of a recession, our republican colleagues say, well, what we want to do is move to a deficit reduction by making savage cuts in medicaid, in education, in infrastructure, in nutrition, in virtually every program that low and
moderate-income americans depend upon. and furthermore, what we want to do in the house wharbgs they have done is to -- what they have done is to end medicare as we know it, convert it into a voucher program, give seniors a check for $8,000 and have them go out and get a plan from a private insurance company which clearly will be totally inadequate for most seniors and end up raising their out-of-pocket expenses. and then when it comes to the wealthiest people who are doing phenomenally well, not only do our republican colleagues not ask the wealthiest people in this country or the largest corporations to pay one nickel more in taxes to help us with deficit reduction. they come up with this brilliant idea that we're going to give $1 trillion in tax breaks over a ten-year period to the wealthiest people in america. so the rich are getting richer. they get tax breaks. the middle class is shrinking, and what they are asked to do is
to assume huge cuts in programming which will impact them very, very strongly. this is clearly the robin hood proposal in reverse. we're taking from working families who are really hurting and giving it to the wealthiest people who are doing phenomenally well. now, mr. president, the republican plan is clearly absurd, and i think most americans understand that. the question is: what will the president do? what will the democrats do? and it is my very strong hope that the democrats have got to be strong on this issue. the president has got to be strong on this issue. and that the president has got to go out to the american people and win the support that is there for a deficit-reduction package of shared sacrifice. to say very clearly to the american people that, no, we are
not going to move to a deficit reduction solely on the backs of the most vulnerable people in this country. no, we're not going to decimate medicare so that elderly people will not be able to get the health care they need when when they are old and sick. no, we're not going to throw millions and millions of people off of medicaid and endanger families who have their parents in nursing homes; that we must have shared sacrifice. that the wealthy and large corporations must be involved and also contribute toward deficit reduction. so, there is a lot of responsibility on the president, but let me make it very clear. i personally, as a member of the budget committee, as the senator from vermont, will not be supporting any package that does not call for shared sacrifice. and with that, mr. president, i
mrs. boxer: mr. president, we are working on a bill -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mrs. boxer: i would ask that that quorum call be dispensed with, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: we're working on a bill that's a jobs bill, plain and simple. it doesn't have any fancy parts to it. it's a reauthorization of a program that was set up in 1965. the purpose was very clear, to go into areas in our states where the communities are hurting for jobs, where the communities are hurting for business, and it works in a way that every dollar we put into the program attracts $7 of private investment. and i'll show you the job creation on some of these charts that we see. it will take me a second to get. at the $500 million funding
level that's authorized in this bill, the e.d.a. is projected to create up to 200,000 jobs a year, and over the life of the bill up to a million jobs. and it's done at a very low cost per job, $3,000 per job is what it costs federal taxpayers because of all the leverage that comes in as cities join in, counties join in and so on. i have a -- a list of -- kathy, if you could give me of the projects that we're going to talk about today. i have talked about a number of projects that have been funded through the e.d.a. over the course of this debate the last few days, and i talked about them in california, and minnesota, and i wanted to add just a couple of other recent projects from across the country. in california, e.d.a. awarded awarded $3 million to the
endland valley development agency, in a county that's going through a tough time, san bernadino, to support the renovation of an existing building at the former norton air force base. this project is going to help the conversion of that base into a commercial and light industrial area, attracting new companies who were interested in locating there. this investment funded by the department of defense's office of economic adjustment and administered by the e.d.a. is part of a $3.6 million project that will create 100 jobs and generate $20 million in private investment. so here you have a $3 million investment that is going to be leveraged to $20 million. it's pretty extraordinary, and this is the bill we're talking about. in florida, the e.d.a. awarded nearly $4 million to construct a new wastewater system for western palm beach county. the region suffered flooding in 2008 from tropical storms hannah and fayecauseed environmental
damage and closed local businesses. the construction is going to support three city industrial parks, a general aviation airport, as well as major inland port and intermodal centers that are being developed, and that investment is part of a a $5.3 million project that will create 240 jobs, save 270 jobs and generate $48 million in private investment. so a $4 million investment attracting $48 million in private investment. in idaho, we have a very good example of a $4.4 million grant to the college of southern idaho in twin falls to fund the construction of the applied technology and innovations center. this is a new leed-certified facility. it will help the college meet the region's need for a higher skilled work force. they will learn to operate computer-driven manufacturing equipment and maintain alternative energy systems and
the use of sound construction processes for these green buildings. this investment is part of a a $6.9 million project that will create 486 jobs. in indiana, e.d.a. provided provided $2.4 million. in kansas, $1.4 million to the city of hutchison. and i will go on with this in my remaining time that i will have later, but the point is this is a jobs bill and it's being hijacked by a through of amendments. and i see the handwriting on the wall. i have been here long enough to know what's going on. there is no cooperation. we have got everything from the snowe amendment to endangered species dealing with a spicken that somebody wants to take off the endangered species list. i mean, you know, i wasn't born yesterday, as you can tell, and i know what's happening here. this is a dance. it's a slow dance and it unfortunately signals to me maybe the slow death of this
bill. i think that's really sad. when you have a bill that has been supported by republican presidents, democratic presidents over the years and the last vote on this floor unanimous in 2004, unanimous consent. george w. bush signed it. i have fought george w. bush in a number of areas. he and i saw eye to eye on this one. this isn't controversial. so i hope we can dispose of this amendment, and i will have more to say on the amendment in a couple of minutes. i will yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senator from maine has the next five minutes.
ms. snowe: mr. president, i would urge my colleagues to support this amendment. it's about jobs, it's about small business, it's about the well-being of american families. just remember this, the stock numbers. the unemployment rate at 9.1%. the average being over the last two and a half years 9.4%. 23 out of the last 28 months unemployment has been at 9% or higher. housing prices are at the lowest level since mid 2002. this is the longest recession since 1948, since we were engaged in recordkeeping. these are stark, grim numbers. that's what regulatory reform is all about. what i'm hearing here today is a
bureaucratic process and response, exactly what we're trying to attack. this isn't indiscriminate as some have described on the other side of the aisle about this regulatory reform measure. it's very consistent, and i know the senator from louisiana was talking about several of the issues, and i would like to go through them. first of all, she mentioned developed concerns with the judicial review, but this was exactly the provision that she and senator cardin introduced in their own legislation in the 111th congress. the senator also spoke about tying budget cuts to the s.b.a. to this amendment as a way of paying for some of the costs and defraying some of the costs of this amendment, but again those are proposed by the small business administration, the inspector general, and they were in the administration in the president's budget. the senator from louisiana talked about the problems with considering indirect economic effects of small businesses when issuing rules, but again we use
the exact same language that came from the president's chief small business regulatory appointee, the chief advocate at the small business administration. so this isn't indiscriminate, but mischaracterizing the provisions because they don't bother to read the bill. and i made a number of changes in order to address the concerns on the other side. if there were further concerns, i would have addressed those as well. so i think we have to make sure that we get our facts straight because it's about small businesses and jobs. that's what it is about, mr. president. that's what this is about. and we're just stalling, deferring, delaying. we heard about hearings. we didn't have hearings, since i was a denied -- denied a vote on this very issue on may 4. the president came out a few days later and said regulatory reform was one of the top four issues for america on economic growth and job creation. then we hear all about this bureaucratic conversation about
hearings and multiple jurisdictions and committees and committees. well, i have to say, mr. president, i have never known amendments to require hearings before they can sit on the floor. in fact, i know the senator from california had 19 amendments in the last congress. 19 amendments, eight of which were accepted and none had hearings. yesterday, we had a major hearing on interchange. we didn't have a hearing, didn't have a hearing on that major issue, didn't have a hearing the first time it was considered and adopted. i'm just making a point. this is just bringing up issues to obfuscate, to obscure a major issue. i don't know exactly what the concern is, to be honest with you, mr. president. there are some issues here to address, then let's address them, but to just postpone and debating. the talk goes nowhere, there are no hearings, no nothing. no, the president scaled back regulations, as i said earlier, and i'm reading it again.
an effort to spur economic growth, including the environmental protection agency. he didn't undercut the endangered species act. he didn't look at all these other issues. nobody is accusing him of scaling back every environmental law that has ever been on the books. so i think that we ought to get away from extreme mischaracterizations and inaccuracies and untruths here. let's talk about the facts, let's read the bill, let's know what we're talking about and get our facts straight. this goes to the heart of economic growth. it goes to jobs, it goes to the american people's well-being. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. boxer: here's what i want to say. yes, i have offered many amendments on this floor as have all of my colleagues, but if i see an amendment and colleagues see an amendment that could hurt, we believe the health of people, i'm going to say, yeah, let's have a hearing. i want to show you a picture, a picture of a child with asthma.
it is not -- she is beautiful. this is not a pretty picture. i'll show you another picture of a little boy with asthma. that is also a beautiful child and a terrible picture. and let me tell you, we're trying to protect these children. we're trying to protect our families. we're trying to stop premature deaths. and how do we do it? yes, we have regulations, and have they worked? you bet they have. and that's why i say if you're going to change them, yes, i hope we would look at the -- everybody's motivated in the right direction. jobs, absolutely, but i've got to tell you, when you're sick, you can't go to work, and if a breadwinner dies prematurely, the family is destitute. and let me show you just one act that would be impacted by this snowe amendment and why i think we ought to have an alternative amendment. if you look at the study that
was required by congress, you would find out that in just 2010 alone, the clean air act prevented 160,000 cases of premature death. if you look at 2010 alone, 1.7 fewer asthma attacks. if you look at acute heart attacks prevented, 130,000. what happens in the snowe amendment, all you're going to look at is the economic benefits, not the health benefits. mr. president, it flies in the face of common sense and our moral responsibility here. so here's what i see wrong with this amendment. it hurts protection for families and communities, it stops or delays important protections for those people, it ignores public health and safety benefits, only looks at the benefits of economics. yes, we have to do that but we also need a balanced approach. as i said, if someone is sick and they can't go to work, they can't keep a job, so it would
also create additional expensive litigation. the amendment allows polluters to sue federal agencies during the public comment period on a proposed federal safeguard that allows one polluter to hold up an important, let's say, drinking water or clean air protection standard for months, maybe years. so i urge a no vote on this. let's get together and come up with something that balances economic growth with protection of the health of our families, and i would yield the floor and i hope that we would now go to a vote under the previous order. i would ask for the yeas and nays on the amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. all time is yielded back. and the question is on amendment number 290. and the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 53. the nays are 46. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid on the table. the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president. senator mcconnell and i have discussed what we
should do the rest of the day. we have a number of senators who have come to both of us wanting to offer amendments. we think is that we need to have people offer amendments so we can find the universe of the amendments, so we can work through these and try to come up with some reasonable way to proceed forward. having said that, i want people to offer amendments on my side.
senator mcconnell, i think, feels the same way on his side. and then we'll make a determination later today as to how we will proceed on this next week. i think it would be fruitless
at this stage to have a bunch of votes -- well, we'd have to have consent to have the votes. i don't think there will be any votes this afternoon.
the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment, and i call up my amendment number 389. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. kohl: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from wisconsin, mr. cole, proposes an -- mr. kohl proposes an amendment 389. at the end of the bill insert the following -- the presiding officer: without objection.
mrs. hutchison: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i call up amendment number 423. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i ask -- the clerk: the senator from texas, mrs. hutchison, for herself and others proposes amendment 423. mrs. hutchison: i ask unanimous consent to dispose with reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, this is an amendment that i hope will save our businesses and our states the millions and dollars that they are now spending to implement the health care reform bill that is in the courts. today -- or actually it was yesterday the court in atlanta, the 11th circuit court of appeals in atlanta heard arguments from the government
and the states about whether the florida district court ruling that the health care law is null and void because it is unconstitutional should be upheld. since we are in this court fight, and this will surely go to the supreme court. there is no doubt that either side that loses is going to appeal. my amendment would put a moratorium on the implementation of the law. so it would save the federal government and the taxpayers who are paying for it. it would save the state governments that are trying to implement a law that might be unconstitutional and costing millions of dollars to adjust their systems. and the businesses across our country that are trying desperately to determine if they're going to be able to even offer health insurance or if they want to offer health insurance to their employees anymore.
mr. president, we're at a time when there is unprecedented regulatory burden on our businesses. we are facing a $14 trillion deficit in this country. trillion. we are looking at having to raise that debt limit if we don't severely cut spending and get our house in order. so, in the past two years alone this federal government has borrowed an additional $3.2 trillion. washington passed a health care reform bill that cost nearly $2.6 trillion and a stimulus bill that cost $789 billion, and now we have higher unemployment since the stimulus bill passed. the u.s. economy is frozen. job creators are facing new levels of taxes. now they're looking at this
health insurance cost going up, and on top of that new regulations. heavy-handed government regulation is not what we need right now. the health care reform bill is a perfect example of government regulations hamstringing our businesses with more red tape and bureaucracy. over a yea -- a year since that bill was passed, businesses are still facing unprecedented premium increases, as high as 20%. employers are finding their policies being canceled because insurers are closing up shop due to new federal regulations. health care reform is requiring individuals and businesses to buy government-approved health care, or they pay hefty fines. health reform has discouraged businesses from hiring because if you go over 50 employees, the new federal regulations are going to be costly or, again, you're going to be fined if you don't decide to opt in.
a new study out this week confirms that health reform will not let you keep your health plan as promised. this report found that when businesses fully understand all the new regulations required under health reform, as many as half of them say they will definitely or probably stop offering health insurance benefits to their employees. that would leave as many as 78 million americans on their own to find health insurance for themselves and their families. that is why i have filed amendment number 423, to delay further implementation of health reform until the courts determine whether it is constitutional. my amendment would pause further implementation of this law so that we don't spend millions more of taxpayer dollars at the federal level, at the state level, and costing small businesses as well when it could
be struck down. 26 states have sued the federal government, and a florida district court found in favor of these 26 states, saying the federal government, the congress, had overstepped and overreached its authority. so that mandating the individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional. the 11th circuit court as i said earlier is hearing this case as we speak, and we should not burden any further the businesses and the states and the taxpayers that support the federal government until we know if this law really is constitutional. let's just put a moratorium, a pause so that no one is going to get penalized for not continuing the implementation process, clarify and then if it's constitutional, there is plenty of time to go forward, but if it
isn't, as i hope is the case, we will be able to start all over to make more affordable health care available in this country without cutting medicare, overburdening our taxpayers and businesses and maybe we would get our economy going and stop this rising unemployment that we are seeing in our country right now. 9% unemployment is too high, and health care reform is a part of the problem that is causing it. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and that i be allowed to call up amendments 417 and 418 en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the
amendment. the clerk: the senator from ohio, mr. portman, reports en bloc amendments numbered 417 and 418. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the amendments. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: today we're considering a bill intended to promote economic development, and i think it's only appropriate that we also talk about regulations, because unfortunately our regulatory mandates are stifling economic growth today and they are keeping us from creating the jobs that we so badly need. i hear all over the state -- and i'm sure my colleagues do as well -- companies are saying we would like to expand, we have a good idea, we have a business plan that works but we're deterred by the cost of complying. it's the red tape. it's also the uncertainty, so it's not just the bureaucracy and red tape that is adding cause. it's the future. regulatory burden on employers, by the way, is growing, and it's already a mess. there is a recent study by the small business administration
and the obama administration which estimates that the annual toll now of federal regulations on the american economy is is $1.75 trillion. that's more than the i.r.s. collects in income taxes in a year. with the employment or unemployment rate now at 9.1%, we can't continue to ask businesses to spend more on red tape. instead we want them to invest in job creation. the current administration unfortunately, i believe, is moving in the wrong direction on this score. we have seen a sharp increase over the past couple of years and new what are called major or economically significant rules. those are defined by regulations that impose a cost on the economy of $100 million or more. according to the office of management and budget in the obama administration, the current administration has been regulating at a pace of 84 of these new major rules, over over $100 million per year. by the way, that's about a 50% increase over the regulatory input during the clinton administration, which was about 56 major rules per year. i was very encouraged by the
words of president obama as he introduced his january executive order on improving regulation and regulatory review, but now we need action. we need to be sure that the agencies are actually taking the measures necessary to provide regulatory relief for job creators and reducing this drag on our economy. one commonsense step that we can take right now is to strengthen legislation that's already in place. it's called the unfunded mandates reform act. it was passed by congress and signed into law by president clinton in 1995. it was bipartisan legislation. i was one of the authors of this legislation in the house of representatives. umra as it's called, unfunded mandates reform act, was a bipartisan act that said basically regulators had to evaluate costs and find less costly alternatives before adopting one of these so-called major rules. the two amendments that i'm offering today would improve umra in a way that's entirely consistent with the principles that president obama himself has
laid out in his january executive order on regulatory review. the first amendment would require agencies specifically to assess the potential effect of new regulations on job creation and to consider market-based and nongovernmental alternatives to the regulation. it would also broaden the scope of umra to require cost-benefit analysis of rules that impose direct or indirect costs of of $100 million or more. and it would require agencies to adopt the least costly or least burdensome regulatory option that achieves the policy goals set out by this congress. commonsense ideas. the second amendment, 418, would extend umra to the independent agencies. 1995, it was imposed upon the federal government but not on independent agencies as independent agencies have grown and so have their regulations. this would be an agency like the s.e.c., the securities and exchange commission, or the sfta
or the new consumer financial protections bureau which has gotten a lot of attention here in the senate in the debate over the health care bill. right now they are exempt from the cost-benefit rules that govern all these other federal agencies. so major rules issued by this what's called headless fourth branch of government are not even reviewed for cost-benefit justification by the office of information and regulatory affairs at o.m.b. which reviews regulations from all the other agencies. based on information from the g.a.o., it now appears that only 200 regulations were issued between 1996 and this year with an impact of $100 million or more on the economy that were from independent agencies. so again over 200 regulations that were not subject to the review under umra because they were from independent agencies. closing this loophole is a sensible reform. by the way, it was endorsed by the president's own regulatory czar, mr. cass unstein who wrote
in a 2002 law review article that it only makes sense to extend umra which would have been in effect for several years at that point. no major regulation, whatever source, shall be imposed on american employees or state and local governments without serious consideration of what the costs are, what the benefits are, and whether there is available a less burdensome alternative. that's what these amendments are all about. both of them would move us further toward that goal. i urge my colleagues to support them both. madam president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
i rise to speak to amendment number 428, the regulation of mortgage servicing. madam president, we've spent a lot of time here in washington talking about many topics, but often not getting to the issue most important to the american citizens. that is, getting them comeback to work, creating jobs -- getting them back to work, creating jobs. creating jobs should be the paramount concern of every person in this town, and we're not going to get job growth going again until we deal with the housing crisis that started this recession and that is blocking our recovery. three years ago our economy was nearly destroyed by a combination of high-risk, high-cost, subprime mortgages and reckless bets on wall street. since then, we've fixed many of
those problems in subprime mortgages. we have ended three of the key predatory practices. one of those was undocumented loans, otherwise known commonly as liar loans, where the information was fictionalized. and then we had the prepayment penalty. it was a steel trap in which a mortgage document would look people in a a loan with a an exploding interest rate and it would prevent people from being able to get out of the loan. 60% of the families in these predatory loans, these families qualified for regular, ordinary, fully amortizing 30-year prime loans, which leads us to the third points, which were the undisclosed bonuses, otherwise known as steering payments or
kickbacks, that were paid to mortgage originators when they steered families from the prime loan with the fair interest rate and 30-year amortization into the predatory subprime, with an exploding interest rate and a steel trap prepayment penalty. well, it's good that we ended those practices for the future. but for the families that have been caught up in the flood of foreclosures, it's as though we rebuilt the levees but we haven't done anything to take away the water that's still flooding their living rooms. just last week new reports -- the case-schiller index shows that home prices have reached their lowest level since 2002. well, if home prices are that low, it's also hard to build new
homes. indeed, a recent report said the number of new homes being built each month had reached the lowest level since 1965. that's almost 50 years ago. quite simply, our economy is not going to recover until our housing economy recovers. a home is the single-biggest investment that most families make and it is the key to their financial success. it is obvious the key to happiness in retirement. in addition to the impact on millions of families -- and we are looking at the possibility of 5 million to 8 million more families facing foreclosure, stemming from this predatory crisis that melted down our economy in 2008 and 2009 -- in
addition to the impact on those families, it has an impact on our communities. when there is an empty house on the street, it pulls down the value of every other home on that street. well, as much as $2,000 to $5,000 per home. well that further drives down prices. that means that more foreclosures, more families under water, less confidence in the recovery, more inclination to hold on to every dollar rather than to spend it in our comirks and so the consumer spending is suppressed. and our g.d.p. is directly linked both to the amount of money invested and we know that many companies around america are signature on vast sums rather than investing them. and on the amount of money the families spend. so these things all tie together to whether our economy is going to succeed or remain in its
current paralyzed shape. often it's important to take these big numbers and translate them to individual stories. and i'd like to share with you today a story, a story about tim paulette and his son in my state of oregon. we received this article from the economic fairness oregon, and it's titled "a homecoming with no home." and i'll just read the first paragraph here. mr. collette says, "my biggest problem now is my son comes home from the military in august, and my home is being foreclosed on in 18 days. he's been hit by an i.e.d., people shooting at him, and he just wanted to come home and sleep in his room, in his bed,
and be safe for 15 days, and i told him, i'd make that happen. i don't know how yet, but i wi will." mr. collette shared his story with oregon lawmakers at a recent hearing on foreclosure reform, and i thank him for sharing his story. and for tim and countless others, it didn't need to be this bad. we have a program here in america called the mortgage modification program or hamp program, housing affordable modification program. that program hasn't worked very well. indeed, it is a voluntary program, and it has been more or less a nightmare for the families that have been applyi
applying. often a servicer will encourage families to apply, because they make more money when a family is behind on their payments than when they're current on their payments. so often the servicer will say, you know, you probably qualify. what you need to do is stop making your payments for a period of three months or maybe it's six months, or what you need to do is cut your payments in half and that'll show financial distress, you'll qualify for that this program. and so the family follows those directions, understands that they're in the process of getting a modification, and then it turns out the servicer has a different story to tell, often saying that, you know what? your credit score isn't very good because you've only been making half payments for six months, so, you know what? you don't qualify after all, and you owe us a lost money. and if you don't pay us, we're foreclosing. that's the nightmare of a program that was supposed to help families that has often
hurt families. mr. collette's family is one of these stories of going through the difficulty of this program. he bought his home in 2006. at the time it seemed like a great investment for him and his son, especially considering that he was in a position to put down more than $100,000 as a down payment. it's situation that very few families can emulate. and he was able to afford his mortgage payments quite easily within his income. but when wall street's bad bets sparked the national recession, everything changed. he lives in one of the hardest-hit areas of the state of oregon, shoots county, and the construction industry dried up overnight, and, therefore, his business -- his construction
business dried up overnight. he called his mortgage severs and began the mortgage modification process. and he did what the bank asked of him. at the time the bank extracted partial payments actually for years on the false hope that tim could receive a long-term fix, and so month after month his equity -- that original $100,000 down payment -- was siphoned away. it was siphoned away through bank fees. it was siphon ad way through declining property values until there was nothing left. had his request for modification been processed promptly, either he would have been approved or denied. if he had been approved, thald that would have been great. it look locked in his payments and he could have proceeded with that fine financial foundation.
if he had been denied, he would have had the ability to say, i've got to make a decision then. do i put this home up for a short sale, do i put it on the market and try to sell it senator what's owed to the bank? -- for what's owed to the bank? he would have had some savings to pick up and start over. well, tim did all that was right and he played by the rules, but he's in a precarious position today. and in just nine weeks his son overseas serving our country will come home, and let's hope that a homecoming with a home, not a homecoming without a home. now, this amendment does three important things. and the first is that it establishes a single point of contact, so that when a family talks to their servicer, they don't have to start from scratch
every single time in explaining their story. and with that single point of contact, there will be somebody who has a coherent file, because so often each time a family talked to a different person at the servicer, that person had lost the file or lost key papers in the file or was sent additional information that had been requested but didn't put it into the file and so a single, coherent point of contact. the second thing that this amendment does is it ends the dual track in which a servicer provides to pursue foreclosure at the same time they're talking to the customer about a modification. very simply, they set aside under this amendment -- would set aside that dual track, that foreclosure track, until they make a decision. they can make it over a longer period of time, over a shorter period of time.
but until they make the decision, until the customer has set aside the foreclosure track. that would reduce a lot of the stress, a lot of the confusion, a lot of the enormous frustration that families face. the third point in this amendment is that it requires a third party review before a servicer sends a home into foreclosure. that simply guarantees that the law has been followed, that there was a coherent examination of the paperwork and a foreclosure is in order at the same time the modification has been approved or foreclosure is in order at the same time the modification is on the verge of being approved. or that a foreclosure doesn't proceed because a document is missing from the file. now, connecticut and maine have such a program. and it has kept 60% of the families that would otherwise be
out of their house in their house. so three basic, fundamental reforms. i want to thank my republican cosponsor, olympia snowe, who stepped forward on behalf of homeowners across this nation to say, "yes" for fairness. i'd alo like to thank the other dozen or so senators who in the last day have signed up as cosponsors. many of them have been real champions in their states, and some of them have worked very hard on these issues, including senator reid and senator whitehouse. in fact, i note akaka and blumenthal and levin and inouye, sanders, shaheen, senator whitehouse and senator wyden, and i imagine many more will join us. i encourage my colleagues to support fundamental fairness,
single point of contact and the foreclosure dual track and have a third-party review so homeowners have a chance, like mr. colette, to stay in their homes. thank you, madam president. mr. levin: madam president? madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendments 411 and 412. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: i reserve the right to object. mr. merkley: i reserve the right to object.
the presiding officer: the consent request is pending. mr. mccain: madam president, i would is it ask unanimous consent to call up both amendments. it's my understanding that amendments are allowed. if there's some amendments that are not allowed, i think we ought to understand that. i understand the strength of the ethanol lobby, but there was an agreement that amendments that would be allowed to be called up. if that's not the case, then i
would obviously have to resort to other parliamentary measures. i repeat my unanimous consent request to set aside the pending amendment and call up both amendments 411 and 412. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing no objection. mr. mccain: thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes amendments en bloc numbered 411 and 412. mr. mccain: madam president, i'll be brief about discussing both of the amendments. the first, 411, is a s an amendment -- is a simple amendment that would prohibit the u.s. department from storing ethanol storage facilities, an effort on the part of the
ethanol lobby to take more and more of u.s. taxpayer dollars. i would remind my colleagues that the taxpayers have already provided billions of dollars to ethanol producers over the last 30 years. last year alone, the ethanol tax credit cost the taxpayers $6 billion. in the final hours of the last congress the ethanol tax credit was extended for an additional year and will likely cost the taxpayer an additional $5 billion to $6 billion this year. now seeking to double dip in the federal treasury, advocates in the ethanol industry are seeking support for infrastructure nor ethanol such as pwhrerpbd pumps and -- blender pumps and storage facilities. the department of agriculture was happy to comply with the request to fund infrastructure instruction. in april 2001, the secretary of agriculture issued a rule that -- get this -- would classify blender pumps as a renewable energy system.
in other words, pumps are now a renewable energy system which would qualify it for funding under the rural energy assistance program. madam president, there is no one -- no one who believed that the rural energy assistance program would apply, putting ethanol pumps in storage facilities and gas stations. when congress created the rural energy assistance program, it didn't have any intention of paying gas station owners to upgrade their infrastructure and further subsidizing the ethanol industry. according to to the usda a pump costs an average of $120,000 to install. with over 200,000 pumps in the united states it would cost over $20 billion to convert them all. a corporate welfare project of
significant proportions. i might point out an amendment similar to this was overwhelmingly supported in the other body during the consideration of h.r. 1 by a vote of 261-158. it's time we stop this. i'm a well-known opponent of ethanol subsidies to start with, because it's never been of any value. it has distorted the market, and it has been an incredible waste of taxpayers' dollars. but now they want to go further by having us pay as much as $20 billion so they can install under the rural energy assistance program blender pumps and storage facilities. so the ethanol advocates today have issued a release opposing this amendment because it would enforce the foreign oil mandate over our transportation fuels
marketplace. by blocking a job-creating effort to promote the installation of flex pumps. so now this is all about jobs; we want to create jobs by spending taxpayers' dollars to build pumps. well, we hope that my colleagues would take a look at this and support this amendment. the other amendment, 411 -- 412 basically eliminates davis-bacon requirements from this legislation. so my -- the issue of davis-bacon is well-known. so all it would do is, in my view, reduce costs by some 60% from market rates if we are indeed not imposing the davis-bacon act requirements. while i'm on the floor, i want
to just mention to my colleagues that as we face increasing costs at the gas pump, $4 or more. there are predictions that the cost of gasoline and a barrel of oil will continue to increase. and this administration continues to reject nuclear power in every possible way, yesterday a house committee released the latest evidence detailing the administration's mishandling of the yucca mountain nuclear waste repository, providing further examples of this administration's blatantly political decision to terminate the yucca mountain project and close the facility. i quote from the committee report. it says -- quote -- "despite the president's continued assertions that his nuclear waste management policy decisions would be driven by sound
science, the administration has repeatedly refused to provide a scientific or technical justification for a shutdown decision. instead simply stating that yucca is not a workable option. this coincides with an april 2011 g.a.o. study that reported 'd.o.e. decided to eliminate the yucca mountain repository program because according to the department of energy officials, it is not a workable option and there are better solutions that can achieve a broader national consensus. d.o.d. did not cite technical or safety issues." there's a simple reason that either department of energy secretary chu nor no other member of the administration has put forth a single scientific justification on the decision not to move forward with yucca mountain, because there is none. because there is none.
in the n.r.c. atomic safety and licensing board rejected the department of energy's request to withdraw the license application, it noted -- and i quote -- "conceding that the application is not fraud nor the site unsafe, the secretary of energy seeks to withdraw the application with prejudice as a 'matter of policy because the nevada site is not a workable option.' in fact, according to the house report, the n.r.c. staff review of d.o.e.'s yucca mountain application agreed overwhelmingly with the department of energy on the scientific and technical issues associated with the site, ultimately concluding that the application complies with applicable nuclear regulatory commission safety regulations necessary for the site to proceed to licensing for construction. the political interference orchestrated by the administration comes with a very
real cost. as of 2010, the taxpayers have spent $15 billion to research and develop the yucca mountain site. in addition, even while the administration is attempting to terminate the place, the energy industry and, therefore, ratepayers are still contributing to the nuclear waste fund that was established to pay for a nuclear waste repository. according to the congressional budget office, the nuclear waste fund is holding over $25 billion of ratepayers' money. to date no one has stated whether or not the energy industry or the ratepayers will be refunded those fees, and it's likely the taxpayer will end up footing the bill for the lawsuits filed against the federal government by those that have been unfairly charged. the need for a permanent waste repository remains clear.
in fact, a draft subcommittee report from the president's blue-ribbon commission on nuclear waste stated -- and i quote -- "permanent disposal of nuclear waste is needed under all reasonably forseeable scenarios and that we do not believe that new technology developments in the next three to four decades will change the underlying need for a storage strategy combining interim sites with progress toward a permanent facility. thereby, completely refuting statements by the administration that technology and temporary storage sites are a sufficient replacement for permanent disposal. in fact, the administration and the secretary of energy himself have publicly stated that our most promising technology to lessen the burden of storage, waste reprocessing is not even being considered as a viable option for addressing waste
storage needs. unfortunately, it's been reported that members of the commission have been told that under no circumstances are they allowed to recommend yucca mountain as a permanent waste repository. regardless of where the scientific evidence leads them. according to the general accounting office office, the termination of yucca mountain would setback the opening of a new geological repository by at least 20 years and cost billions of dollars. and of course these billions would be in addition to the $15 billion taxpayers have already spent to research and develop the yucca mountain site. it's prely a sad day when -- it's really a sad day when we allow politics or political influence to cause us to allow at least $15 billion of the
taxpayers' money to be wasted and to really doom to a large degree the future of nuclear power in this country. we need to have energy self-sufficiency. i believe in wind. i believe in tide. i believe in solar. but nuclear power must be a part of any equation if we're going to be truly energy independent. and by closing yucca mountain, by wasting already $15 billion or more of the taxpayers' money, we have made that goal much, much harder to reach. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 440 that is at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? no objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oregon, mr. merkley, proposes an amendment numbered 440. at the end of the bill add the
following: -- mr. merkley: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to dispose of further reading. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you. i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the remarks of the presentation by the junior senator from oklahoma that i be recognized as in, as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and call up amendment number 436. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes an amendment numbered 436. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous
consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: madam president, as a matter of right, i ask that my amendment be modified with the changes that i now send to the desk. further, i make the point that i retain my right to the floor after the modifications are made under the precedent of the senate. the presiding officer: the senator has the right to modify the amendment. mr. coburn: madam president, i now send a cloture motion to the desk on the pending amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the
the clerk: risch; inhofe, corker, enzi, isakson, barrasso, alexander, cornyn, sessions, brown of massachusetts. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma has the floor. mr. coburn: i ask the -- my colleague, my senior senator from oklahoma, highway don't think is on the floor -- who i don't think is on the floor
right now to allow senator brown to bring up an amendment. i would yield to him at this time. mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts is recognized. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i thank the gentleman that spoke before me. i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendments be set aside in order to call up amendment number 405. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from massachusetts, mr. brown, proposes an amendment numbered 405, at the end add the following: in general, the amendment. mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: thank you. i ask consent to dispense with further reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: thank you. i just wanted to discuss for main the modifiation to my
amendment. corn prices today are at their highest level since 1974. corn supply is at its lowest level since 1974. we have tremendous problems with food inflation in this country and what we put forward it this afternoon was a modification to the blending tax credit as well as the import tax fee on ethanol and we'll look forward to that debate as we come forward. the federal government now spends $6 billion a year paying over 40 cents a gallon to have ethanol blended, which is already mandated by law that they have to blend it anyway. so this, in essence, will save $3 billion this year for the federal government. number two is it will take significant pressure off of corn price, which will lower food prices both here and abroad.
mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to set aid side the pending amendment for the consideration of the following 3, 429, 430, and 438. are. mr. merkley: madam president, i reserve the right to object. senator, if you can hold off for just a moment, we'd like to consult with the chairwoman. mr. inhofe: all right. while i am holding off, my understanding is that some of the rest are getting in the cue. the same treatment has been afforded those before me.
mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i want to amend my previous request and -- and ask unanimous consent to set the pending amendment side for the consideration of two of the amendments number 430 and 438. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. inhofe, proposes an amendment number 430. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the
reading. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. inhofe, proposes amendment number 438. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: and, madam president, i had asked by unanimous consent that i be considered -- that i consider to speak as if in morning business, which i know you will honor, however i want to mention this -- one much these two amendments, i think it's very significant and it's somewhat similar, i think, to the amendment offered by the senior senator from maine. and what it has to do is with the -- with these various regulations that are actually coming -- most of these are coming from the environmental protection agency. one of the serious problems that we have in the committee that -- on which i am the ranking
member, the environment public works committee, chaired by senator boxer from california we have oversight over the enviromental protection agency. we've been watching what has been happening in the last several months. many of the things that they have been trying to get through through regulations here on the floor of the senate, they've been un -- they have been unable to do -- excuse me, through legislation, and so they're trying to do the very things they're unable to get done legislation by regulation. and these are very expensive. right now we have a problem with our economy. we have an over regulation that is just killing a lot of the businesses that are throughout and what i'm trying to do as an amendment, and that is what amendment 438 is, is to get into the record -- the bill sets up a committee to assess the effects of the e.p.a.'s regulatory mandates including the
provisions of the clean air act, the clean water act, the solid waste disposal act including greenhouse gases regulations, boiler mack, coal ash disposal. the assessment includes the evaluation of the cumulative effects of the e.p.a.'s mandates on employment, economic development and this type of thing. it does not otherwise modify or affect the statute. the reason i want to have it this in here is we have now quantified what it is costing the american people in terms of employment, in terms of dollars, and just greenhouse gases, for example, we know that the cost, if they do anything like the cap-and-trade that they have tried to do through legislation, and that is exactly what they're attempting to do through regulations, the e.p.a., somewhere between $300 billion and $400 billion of loss in g.d.p. per year, that's every year.
you can call that a tax increase if you want to. that's exactly what it is. the same as a loss in g.d.p. in my case in oklahoma, because it's confusing when we in this -- and this administration have been talking about hundreds of billions an trals of dollars -- and trillions of dollars, no one has a handle on what it costs. in my state of oklahoma, i have a running track on how many families file tax returns. in my state of oklahoma, if you take the number of files that file -- families that file a tax return and you do the math, that would be a little over $3,000 per family if we were to pass a cap-and-trade regulation. what is wrong with this? a lot of people are out there saying, inhofe, you have been wrong all this time, and since you are wrong on the -- you may be wrong, or what if you are wrong, my response is this, we have a very fine director of the enviromental protection agency, lisa jackson. i can remember talking to her about, you know, what would
happen if we were to pass any of these bills where we are going back to maybe the warner-lieberman bill or the waxman-markey bill or even by regulations, cap-and-trade, the cost would be excessive, however, my question to her was, if we were successful in doing this, would this reduce the greenhouse gaseses? and the answer is no. the reason it wouldn't is that it applies only to the united states of america. if we're going to have a tax increase on every tax-paying family and in my state in oklahoma, $3,000, and they admit we're not getting anything for it, we need to stop from doing that. i could say the same thing about the ozone, the national ambient air quality standards, that would be a loss in g.d.p. the boiler mac rules and regulations, some $1 billion lost in g.d.p., utility mec, in
compliance costs, between the years of 2011 and 2030 and that -- and cement mack, some billions of dollars. we needs need to tell the american people what the cost simplify all these things. in doing this, this will be done by this amendment, senate amendment number 438. and we will be hopefully able to get a vote on that. now, madam president, i'm going to take a little time on something else that is -- has to be said today. and that is what i've been on the floor six times already talking about and i -- and the only reason i'm continuing to do this is because somehow the state department, the french, the unite the nations and all of them seem to be laboring under this misconception that i'll go away and i won't talk about it anymore.
the problem we have right now started some time ago. i'll just share with you a new development today and we're talking about the rigged election that took place in cote d'ivoire, and the fact that someone whose name isal a sane quattara. we've demonstrated very clearly, won the election by fraudulent means. the president of that country is lawyerent gbagbo. he has been president for a number of years. his wife has been a gracious and a great first lady. now, what i want to do today -- this is the seventh time i've been on the floor talking about this -- is give you the latest of this grave swraition in cote d'ivoire. and i can sole only say that it consider be and i can only say that continues to be a targeted genocide and supporters of the perceivepresident lawyerent gba.
the last time we talked about it on april 4 when we first started talking about this we were hoping that we'd be able to stop the state department and others from going along with what's going on now in cote d'ivoire. i know it is complicated. a lot of people don't remember the genocide in rwanda in 1994. now we look back and say, what a horrible thing that was. sure it was horrible. but right now what's going on in the streets of abidjan in cote d'ivoire is something that has sursurfacsurfaced to the americ. what's going on now s. proves what i've been saying for the last seven days that the rebel leader quattara is still carrying on death squads, killing people in the streets of abidjan and cote d'ivoire. that's the death squad. these are the people that are murdering today as we speak and torturing people in abidjan.
i bet there aren't a hndzful of people that even know where abidjan is. but this is the city, the capital of cote d'ivoire, a beautiful country. and these people coming from from the north under this alassane quattara are in there today. i don't know how many hundreds of people they're murdering today. but they're doing it they're torturing and they're raping. but before i tell you what the most recent information that came out from the human rights watch, i'm going to remind you of what i said back on the 27th of may. that was when amnesty international, they reported that a manhunt -- i am quoting now from amnesty international. what i said right here from this podium that a -- quote -- "manhunt was launched against gbagbo loyalists in abidjan and several senior officials close to him were beaten in the hours after his arrest." that was two weeks ago. i'm further quoting now from the amnesty international. "in the west of the country, thousands of people fled their homes, and many are still living
in the forests, too frightened to return." locket this. this is the burn, charred bodies of people who have been tortured to death. it just happened. it's going on today right now. there's a man who is severely beaten. he died right after that. a little small child was put to death in the same way. there they are in the middle of excuses. that's going on now. and gaton mutu said "human rights violations are still being committed against real and perceived supporters of lawyerent gbagbo, alassane with a tear rase failure to condemn these could be seen as a green light to continue. quattara must be publicly state that all violence against civilian population --" that's what the mandate was two weeks ago. that's what they are a supposed to do two weeks asmght they went ton say in the amnesty
international, "attacks against villages inha habited by people belong belonging to ethnic groups considered supporters of gbagbo continued in the first weeks of may," according to amnesty international. between the 6th and 8th of may, dozens were killed, several villages were burned. they justified these acts by saying they were looking for arms and liberian mercenaries and they want -- went on to describe this. there is an article in "guardian" magazine that talked about this. they said "an amnesty delegation spent two weeks on the ivory coast gathering more unanimous 100 witnesses' statements from people who survived the massacre in duekoue." this is in that small town of duekoue. the neighboring vaidges on march 29. all statements indicated a systematic and targeted series
of killings committed by the uniform republican forces loyal to quattara who executed hundreds of men and -- on political and ethnic grounds. bever killing them, he would ask their victims to give their nairnlings show identity cards, and some of these cards were found beside the bodies. a woman who lived in duekoue told researchers 'they came into the yards and chased the women. then they told the men to line up and asked them to state their first and second names and show her identity cards. they then executed them. i was present,' quoting a woman. 'three young men were shot to death in front of me.' and this amnesty report also accuses the u.n. mission, which has a base less than a mile from duekoue of what they called fatal inertia. that means they did nothing. they let this go on. we're talking about the united nations.
people around here, there are a lot of liberals in this body who don't think anything worthwhile is -- is worthwhile unless it comes from some big body like the united nations and that's what's happening right now. so i want to go ahead dish know that there's someone else on the floor that wants to speak, but i'd -- i just want to be sure that we - are informed that whai talked about two weeks ago today is still happening today. now, what happened today is the newly released report by human rights watch, stwaitz -- and i am going to quote now -- this came out today: "armed forces loyal to president alassane quattara killed at least 179 supporters of lawyerent gbagbo since taking control of the commercial capital of abidjan in mid-april of 2011. ""the report goes on to detail the gruesome detail, elbaradeiic
episodes of the torture and deaths at the hand of the quattara forces. this is happening today, right now. here are a few examples today. with a farrah's forces -- this is from the human rights watch, "quattara's forces searched areas former controlled by pro-gbagbo militia and the majority of documented abuses occurred in the pro-gbagbo strong hold town, in the south part much -- you got to keep in mind the quattara forces came from the muslim area of the north. most killings were pointblank excuses of youth. you're seeing a point-blank -- that's what it looks like, madam president, right there. a gun to the head. most killings were pointblank excuses of youth from ethnic groups generally aligned with gbagbo in what appeared to be collective punishment for these groups. one man described how republican
forces -- soldiers killed his 21-year-old brother, two of them grabbed his legs, another one held his arms behind him, a fifth one held his head, then a guy pulled out a knife and slit my brother's throat. he was screaming. i saw his legs shake after they slit he his throat, the blood streaming down as they were doing it." "they said they had to eliminate all of the young patrons that they had caused" -- all right, during the raid in abby jarntion the forces, the u.n. forces, the french and quattara, they went in and it happens that the seated president, president gbagbo, he had not a lot of armaments, but he had a whole lot of young people and they were armed not with weapons but with baseball bats, with wooden clubs, and they surrounded the palace to try to protect him knowing that they would kill their president. this is where they are today. these are the young kids. this is in a gas station up
here. they're all lined up there. they're executing some of them, starving, beating the rest of thevment there's pictures that -- of what is going on. these young patrons were young supporters of president gbagbo who surrounded his palace in a human chain armed with just sticks and bats. against the u.n.-french attack helicopters which were bombing gbagbo's residence, now being searched out by quattara's forces for torture and death. this report came out. "another woman who witnessed the killing of 18 youths was brutally raped by the republican force soldiers after being forced to load their vehicles with pillaged goods. on may 23 an elderly man in the same neighborhood saw republican forces execute his son, whom they aciewsdz of being a member of the pro-gbagbo millishavment another witness described seeing the republican forces slit the throats of the youth in front of his father after finding an
ak-48 and grenade in his bedroom during a 4:00 a.m. bedroom search. the witness was forced to hand over his laptop computer, cell phones and was murdered." human rights documented similar pillages of houses and scores of witnesses in abidjan." personally talked to these people who witnessed this going on. the witness like many others interviewed by human rights watch waited to flee abidjan to his family village but had no money for transportation since the republican forces had taken everything. human rights watch said" -- it disowmented 54 extra judicial excuses at detention sites including police stations an the oil -- that was the station that we just now saw. there is eight execution of the young kids taking place. in addition to the killings that i'm reading now from the human rights watch. the human rights interviewed a young man who had been detained by d. -- detained by the forces
and arrested for to other reason than their age and ethnic group. neither every detainee described being struck by guns and ropes and fists for participation in the young patrons. those are the young people sursurrounding the palace. several described torture including forceable removal of teeth from one victim and placed a burning hot victim in another victim and then cutting him. mr. president, the human rights report that witnesses consistently identified the killers and abusers as the republican forces of quattara and they were overseen by the quattara and the some o soros. soros is the general of quattara, responsible for going into duekoue. that's where they murdered all the people and the source they speak of was the one responsible for that under the supervision and direction of alassane with a tear ravmen-- quattara.
society human rights report calls on the humane treatment of anyone detained. i hope this report is ghg to drought attention so that at least the snait state department knows what's going on because our state department is going along with all of this. they had an opportunity to voice themselves and to come up with a solution. the solution is to offer amnesty or to send him to a country where he would be able to -- to live. now, i have been very capitol hill of the state department in the handling of this situation in cote d'ivoire from the beginning. i sent them evidence months ago that showed that quattara had engaged in massive election fraud during the last years of the presidential election. i called for an investigation. i called for a new election. of course, it all met on deaf ears. i also called upon the state department to inquire as to the health and safety of president
laurent gbagbo and his wife. today we have nothing. so lastly, i had urged our state department to use its power to influence and to allow the reconciliation process in cote d'ivoire to begin by allowing gbagbo to go into exile, and i pointed out that at least half of the population of cote d'ivoire, they support gbagbo. i acknowledge of one african leader who is willing to accept gbagbo right now in his country. it's a sub-sahara african country. the state department has been aware of this for over a month. again, i strongly suggest that is the solution to the problem. it has been done before. it was done in haiti with baby doc duvelier and was sent into exile in france. i know people are tired of hearing me talk about cote d'ivoire, but i had a very pleasant experience yesterday. i met the nominee for the under secretary of state for political affairs. his name is bill verns. i had a chance to visit with him about this and other problems
that we're having now. i found him to be very receptive. i'm convinced that he embodies the high traditions of the foreign service: selfless, nonpartisan diplomatic service. he indicated to me that he will follow through with my previous request with the state departments and specifically regarding the health and well-being of the gbagbos. lastly, i -- and i appreciate that and i look forward to working with him. so i will finish by letting you see the two gbagbos. this is the president. i believe he still should be the legitimate president of cote d'ivoire. the election was stolen from him. that was the happy guy that i knew, laurent gbagbo. this was him right after they took him. this side of his face is bashed in. his wife is a beautiful lady. her name is simone gbagbo. here is a picture of her as i have known her for over 15 years. a gracious lady, everyone loves her. and after they took her, the alassane quattara, this is what she looked like after that.
use your imagination what happened. they ripped her hair out by the roots, went dancing up and down the streets of abidjan with the hair. and put that other one up there, too. this is where you have to use your imagination. this is what's going on today, because we can't get the state department to cooperate. there they are, the death squad of the alassane quattara, and there is the first lady, the beautiful simone gbagbo. so lastly, i just hope somebody cares. i hope somebody in the state department cares enough to intervene and allow that party to go into exile. there is already an operation for that. almost every president of every african country who has called me is in agreement with what we're trying to do here. with that, i'll yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon is recognized. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and i call up amendment number 427. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from
oregon, mr. merkley, proposes an amendment numbered 427. mr. merkley: madam president, i ask that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. merkley: thank you. i yield the floor. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. mccain: call for regular order on amendment number 436 as modified and send a second-degree amendment to the desk. the presiding officer: the senator has a right to call up the regular order. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes an amendment numbered 441 to amendment -- 436 as modified. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i thank my friend from illinois for allowing me to do this. i appreciate it. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with
senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i have actually three items that i'd like to ask be entered in the record in separate places. i ask consent that that be allowed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i think most of us involved in public life realize that few people meet us and many more people meet those who represent us, and that's why if you're a success as a congressman or senator or as an elected official, you really have to rely on the people who work for you, who time and again will represent you. their approach, their sense of caring, their promptness, their courtesy will reflect on you, and if you're lucky, really lucky, you will have some extraordinary people who work for you, who cover you with glory every single day and even when you don't know it. now, i started in politics and
was lucky to have two early mentors. as a college student, the senator who held this seat, senator paul douglas, who inspired me to even take an interest in government. and later, a man he introduced me to, senator paul simon, whom i succeeded in the united states senate. i spent more time with paul simon, and he truly was my mentor and i inherited many of my good habits from him, but i also inherited something else. i inherited one of his biggest fans and hardest workers who came on my staff. her name was betty -- is betty hamilton, and she first had her brush with public service in 1984 when she volunteered to work on the senate campaign of paul simon. paul had a way of bringing out the best in people and bringing the best people into politics. betty sure fit the bill. in that first campaign, betty used to pull her two toddlers, will and ben, in a little wagon as she walked door to door in her neighborhood knocking on doors and dropping literature
for paul simon. she was part of an army of volunteers who helped paul score an upset victory in a very tough year politically. six years later, when her youngest son started in school, betty signed on as a volunteer coordinator and office manager for paul simon's re-election campaign. after that election, betty joined my staff back when i was still in the house of representatives. she has been with me ever since. betty works in casework. it sounds simple and routine, but it's not. most of her work is with senior citizens. if an older person in southern illinois calls my office because they are having a problem with social security or medicare or some other federal program or agency, betty most often takes that call. the people she works with often have no place else to turn. they can't afford lawyers. they just need someone who cares and someone who is competent. they have been incorrectly denied medicare or disability payments or some other benefit
they are really entitled to. they have tried but they can't cut through the bureaucracy to resolve their problem and many of them are desperate. some have spent every penny they have ever saved and have nothing left. they are on the verge sometimes of even losing their homes. betty hamilton listens to them and then she gets to work, making phone calls, writing letters, sending emails, trying to make the wheels of government turn the way they should. she is an advocate for fairness and good government. over the years, betty has talked with more than 8,000 people in illinois. they're the lucky ones. she has saved hundreds of people from losing their homes. she has given them hope. i go back on fridays in springfield and i usually have a couple thank yous on my desk, and they always relate to staffers who have done a good job, and usually betty's name is on them. i can't count the number of people who have written to me to thank me for the work that betty has done. many sound like the mother who
wrote to me recently and said thank you for helping me, i greatly appreciate it. it's good to be able to pay my bills and take care of my kids. special thanks to betty hamilton. i know that betty worries some nights about the people she is trying to help. she has come in to work many saturdays to write one more letter, make one more call she thinks might help. just last week, she helped someone in my state select select $31,000 in disability payments that had been incorrectly denied them. now, like most people who grew up in st. louis like betty, she is a die-hard st. louis cardinals baseball fan so she will know what i mean when i say the highest compliment that i can give her is that i consider betty new hampshire the stan musial of casework. like stan the man who played for the cardinals for 22 years, betty has worked for me for two decades. like him, she is a modest person and like stan musial, betty hamilton has compiled a long and consistent record of success that is likely to remain unbroken for a very long time. betty didn't take to government
initially. she has a master's degree in horticulture. four years ago, her husband john, then retired from the state of illinois, decided they would buy a farm near springfield where they could raise some of the best produce, green beans and tomatoes you ever tasted, and you could find betty and john at the springfield farmer's market downtown on wednesdays and saturdays. i know, i have seen them there the last two saturdays. i recommend to everybody in springfield don't miss their stand, it's the best. that's where i'm going to be able to see betty from now on. she is retiring from my office and i'm going to miss her. more importantly, the people who have had her fine service, her fine public service will miss her, too. i hope we can carry on in betty hamilton's tradition. we are going to miss her greatly. madam president, i ask my second statement in the record be made at this point. i ask consent. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: madam president, back in the year 2000, my wife loretta and i went to the democratic convention in los angeles and we ran into a young college coed from illinois west
leean -- wesleyan university in bloomington, illinois. she was originally from the twin cities in illinois. her name was sara nelson. sara nelson had a class assignment to cover the convention for a weekly newspaper in illinois. so she was out there sleeping on the floor of somebody's apartment, wandering around, trying to write a story for a weekly newspaper. she was a bright, smiling young woman, and loretta and i liked her instantly. as fate would have it, we ended up on the same plane flying back to chicago when the convention had ended. we all landed at midway late, and as loretta and i were leaving the baggage section, we saw sara nelson sitting on her bag by the curb and we said sara, are you -- where are you going? she said well, i missed my bus down to bloomington, illinois, which is a little over 100 miles away and i have to wait for one that will come later tonight. we said well, you're in luck because loretta and i are driving down there, so come on down and get in the car.
she hopped in the car with us and we drove down to bloomington. during the course of that trip, we got to know her even better and like her even more. she told us how much she loved politics and government and that she was soon going to graduate from illinois wesleyan university. and so we said to her -- i said to her why don't you call me sometime. maybe you could be an intern in my office, and she agreed to do that. she was not only an intern, she was one of the best, and as a result, as soon as she graduated from college, we hired her. she went to work as a caseworker herself, did a lot of work on immigration and citizenship and did a great job and then there was an opportunity for her to work as my deputy director for the entire down state portion of illinois. this was in 2006. so sara nelson took off and became my representative, going all over the state and speaking for me at meetings and representing me and working on projects, projects as important as the new courthouse in rockford, illinois, and the new bridge across the mississippi river near granite city that
connects with downtown st. louis. there was no project too daunting for sara. she took them on. and in the meantime, to no one's surprise, she found the person she wanted to marry. his name is john fraelich. she and john got married several years ago. we went to the wedding and it was a beautiful event. her family came down from minnesota, and the two of them were perfect. john was in medical school, studying to be an orthopedic surgeon, and lo and behold shortly thereafter, about a year or so, along comes baby naomi, the baby who was born to john and sara. i can't tell you how much she loves that baby other than to say it has replaced both politics, soccer and the world cup in her list of the most important things that she is interested in. i see sara out in the park on the weekends pushing the stroller, sometimes running behind it with little naomi just giggling along the way. well, there is some good news
for minnesotans, bad news for illinois as this story comes to an end. john fraelich as i mentioned is a medical student and he is going to start his fellowship at the mayo clinic in rochester in just a few weeks, so sara and naomi and john are moving on. i'm going to miss her. she has been a terrific asset on my staff and a terrific person. she is a great mom and has been a great ally in the course of the years that she has worked for me. loretta and i wish sara and john and naomi the very best and thank them for the wonderful years of service that they've given to me and to the state of illinois. madam president, the last statement i'd like to make relates to a piece of -- i ask consent that it be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: madam president, ten years ago, i embarked on a legislative mission to pass a bill called the dream act, and the purpose of the dream act was to give to young people who came to this country as children and who were raised in the united
states, who have graduated high school, done a good -- made a good life here in this country, to give them a chance to become legal in the united states of america. they are long-term u.s. residents. they have good moral character. they graduated high school. and we say if you will complete at least two years of college and military service in good standing, we'll give you a chance to become legal. there are thousands of young people who fit this description in the united states. they were brought here as kids. if their parents came to the united states and overstayed a visa, these children shouldn't be held accountable. they were children. we don't hold children accountable for any wrongdoing by their parents. they grew up here. they pledge allegiance to the flag in the classrooms here. they sing our national anthem. many of them speak no other language than english. the premise of the dream act is we should not punish the
children for their parents' actions. instead the dream act says to these students america is going to give awe chance, a chance to continue to live here and make this an even better nation. the dream act is not just the right thing to do. it makes america a better country. the young people who would qualify for the dream act are class valedictorians, star athletes and rotc leaders, future doctors, soldiers, computer scientists and engineers who will make this country even better. the dream act would strengthen our national security by giving thousands of highly qualified well-educated young people the chance to enlist in the armed forces. the dream act has the support of not only secretary of defense robert gates but also general colin powell. and it will help our economy by giving these talented young people the chance to become engineers and entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers, small business owners and nurses. that's why the dream act has the support of business leaders from across the political spectrum.
rupert murdoch and the c.e.o.'s of companies like microsoft and pfizer. the talented young people who would be eligible for the dream act call themselves dreamers. when i embarked on this mission ten years ago they used to hold back in the shadows after a meeting and whisper to me as i went by that they would be saved if the dream act is passed. now they are stepping forward so america can see who they are. every day these dreamers kapbgt my office to tell -- contact my office to tell me the stories. these stories energize me to keep up the fight. the last time we had a vote on this on the senate floor was last december. we had a majority but it takes 60 here. i want to revisit that issue and give these young people a chance. let me tell you the story of two of these dream act eligible people. herta luso was brought to the united states from albania when she was 11. she and her mother settled in
gross point, michigan, a suburb of detroit. herta came here legally but shortly after arriving her mother filed an application to stay in the united states. herta learned english and became an academic star. in high school she was a member of the varsity track team and member of the national honor soefplt herta is a junior at the university of detroit mercy where she is an honor student studying to be an electrical engineer. she has a grade point average of 3.98. she is also very involved in the community, volunteering in homeless shelters, tutoring programs and her church. this is what one of her friends says about her. i am humbled by her willingness to serve. i have had the privilege of going to the same church at which she faithfully serves. she spends hours tutoring kids
and serving in a jew kwror high -- junior high volunteer class. in 2009, after nine years of legal proceedings, the government placed herta and her mother in deportation proceedings. he's what herta said about being placed in deportation. i was shocked. my friends are here, my education is here. my community is here. all of a sudden i was asked to leave behind everything, everything i know and go back to a country i barely know. when i lived there i was little, so i don't remember it much and i barely speak the albanian language anymore. herta's community rose to her defense. thousands of people signed an online petition to stop her deportation. last year the department of homeland security granted herta a one-year stay. the department is now considering whether to delay it for another year. i hope they will. would it be a good place of taxpayers' dollars to deport
herta? of course not. there is so much discussion in america today about what we need from our young people for america to succeed in the future in the so-called stem fields. science, technology, engineering and math. every year we issue thousands of h-1b visas to bring foreign workers to the united states in the stem fields. now herta is a straight "a" student in electrical engineering, a stem field. she doesn't need an h-1b visa. she is a homegrown american talent. why in the world would we create a law to allow someone who has never lived in the united states to come here and legally reside to become an electrical engineer and tell herta, who's lived her all of her life that she remembers that she has to leave? that is just plain wrong. herta came to capitol hill to speak at a briefing i sponsored for the dream act. this is what she said. i'm a typical story. there are thousands like mine. please support the dream act so students like me don't have to
leave. we are worth it. this is a country we have come to love. herta is right. she and thousands of others are worth it. they have so much to contribute to america if we just give them a chance. let phaoefp introduce you to -- let me introduce you to one other student. this is juliet garabay. julietta was brought to the united states in 1929 at the age of -- 1929 at the age of 11. she was on the dean's list and the president's honor roll and volunteered more than 500 hours at hospitals in dallas and austin. she went on to earn a master's degree at the university of texas. she is a member of significant in a theta tau, the national honor society of nursing. here's the problem. julietta is undocumented, cannot legally work in the united
states of america. let me tell you something else about her. she is married to staff sergeant arman weinrich who serves in the reserves. here is a picture of them at her graduation. staff sergeant wi nrick is awaiting deploying. he will go overseas to serve our country but while he's wrong his wife could be deported. that is wrong. julietta sent me a letter. i desperately need the dream act to pass so i can practice my beloved profession of nursing. i've been dreaming of being a nurse for the past seven years since i earned my license. once the dream act passes i'll join the military in hopes of making up for lost time and serve the country i call home as a nurse. do we need more nurses in america? of course we do. in fact, the united states imports thousands of foreign trained nurses each year to meet the needs of our country.
what's wrong with this picture? this young lady has a master's degree in nursing from the university of texas. and i'm sure my colleague on the floor would acknowledge one of the most highly regarded universities in america. she has this master's degree and they're planning to deport her. if they do, she'll probably cross paths in the airport with a nurse coming here on a work visa from some foreign country to work in our hospital. that isn't fair. it isn't smart. it just doesn't make sense. the dream act would give julietta a chance to serve the america she loves, the america she calls home. i first introduced the dream act in 2001, since then i have met so many immigrant students who would qualify like herta and julietta. they are americans in their heart. they are willing to serve their country. we have to give them a chance. i ask my colleagues, please in your heart of hearts think about the fairness behind this
legislation. let's support and pass the dream act. it's the right thing to do. it will make america a stronger nation. madam president, i yield the floor. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington is recognized. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that following my remarks, the senator from texas, senator cornyn, be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor today to talk about our obligation to protect workers across america and to urge my colleagues to support the protecting america's workers act, which i'm very proud to introduce today. madam president, middle-class families across is this country -- across this country are struggling. so many have lost their homes and jobs and are fighting to keep their heads above water. we are working hard here to create jobs and get the economy back on track, but we also owe it to middle-class families to make sure that those jobs are safe and healthy. madam president, in 2009 alone there were 4,340 deaths in
workplaces across america. and over 3 million more were injured or sickened while on the job. you know, if more than 4,000 americans were killed in one day, it would be on the front page of every newspaper in this country. if an epidemic in this country claimed 4,000 lives, it would lead the nightly news each week. but that's not the way it works with workplace injuries. they happen a few at a time, spread out across the country in communities like anchor test in my home state -- anacortes in my home state of washington where a fire broke out in a refinery. these were men and women taken too young. workers who took on tough jobs and worked long hours during difficult economic times to provide for their families. they were people who made
tremendous sacrifices and who really embodied so much of what is good about their community and their state. and they have been dearly missed. washington state investigators looked into that incident, and they determined that that tragedy could have been and should have been prevented. the problems that led to what happened were known beforehand. they should have been fixed, and they weren't. and that is heartbreaking. in every worker, in every industry deserves to feel confident that while they are working hard, their employers are doing everything they can to protect them. that, madam president, is why i'm proud to reintroduce the protecting america's workers act. this legislation is long -- a long overdue update to the occupational safety and health act of 1970, or the osha act. since that groundbreaking law was passed over 40 years ago, we
know american industry has changed significantly. businesses and workplaces have become much more complex. workers are performing 21st century tasks, but the government is still using a 1970 approach to regulations to protect employees. it doesn't make sense. it needs to change. we need to update the way we as a country think about our worker safety regulations, and this law is a very important step in that direction. this is not about adding more regulations. it's about having smarter regulations. it's about having regulations that protect workers and makes sense for business. madam president, the protecting america's workers act makes a number of key improvements to the osh act. i want to highlight just a few. first of all, it increases protections for workers who blow the whistle on unsafe working conditions. you know, protecting workers who tell the truth is just common
sense. in fact, in other modern laws like the consumer product safety improvement act or the food safety modernization act, they do exactly that. but since the osh act has not been updated, the vast majority of workers today don't have similar protections. the important part of my bill would make sure that a whistle blower's right to protection from retaliation cannot be waived through collective bargaining agreements. and they have the option to appeal to the federal courts if they feel that they're being mistreated for telling the truth about dangerous practices. the protecting america's worker act also improves reporting, inspection, and other enforcement of workplace health and safety violations. it expands the rights of victims and make shaours employers who -- makes sure employer who oversee workplace violations -- this is a good bill. i'm proud to have a number of cosponsors here in the senate as
well as the support of many prominent national groups in our efforts to improve workplace safety. you know, nothing can bring back the workers we lost in communities like anacortes, but we certainly owe it to them to make sure that workers everywhere are truly protected on the job. so i urge my colleagues to support the protecting america's workers act and to keep working with us to make workplaces safer and healthier across america. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cornyn: madam president, i want to speak briefly today about medicare and about the law, and specifically a law that congress passed in 2003 which provided for something called the medicare trigger. this was when the medicare trustees would indicate that a
medicare funding warning should issue according to that law, then the president of the united states, under that law, must within 15 days submit to congress proposed legislation to respond to that warning. so what does all of this mean? well, we know that the medicare trustees made the situation clear that medicare will run out of money by the year 2024. medicare's unfunded liabilities are more than $24 trillion and growing. in other words, there's a $24 trillion gap between the promises that the u.s. government s. has made to seniors -- has made to seniors and the funding to pay for it. and, of course, as the chief actuary act stated, this is
actually an optimistic scenario that we can fund medicare through 2024. madam president, the president of the united states has failed to comply with this law duly passed by congress and signed into law, and i don't really know why the president has failed to meet this legal responsibility of the law. i hope it's an oversight. i hope it's one that he will correct shortly. but having no plan while the president has criticized the house for the plan that they have passed is bad enough, but failing to submit a plan when the president of the united states is required to do so by law is a violation of the law, something the president has taken an oath to uphold. and be -- there's no doubt about it, in section 802 entitled "presidential submission of legislation," use its the word
"shall." it is not "may." it's not kings can." it's not "it would be a good idea." it says "the president shall submit to congress been a a-15--- within a 15-day period beginning on the date the budget submission by congress is made, propose legislation responding to this medicare funding warning. mark the 15th day since the president submitted his budget and the medicare trustees as we all know have been ringing the alarm bell for years. but unfortunately this is not the only provision of the thraw the president has neglected -- of the law that the president has neglected. we could talk about the greek debt crisis. on tuesday, the president talked about it with angela merkel, the
chance letter of germany. he said, "we pledge to cooperate in working fully through these issueissues on both a bilaterals but also on international and financial institutions like the international monetary fund." obviously greece has suffered a debt crisis. they have the international monetary fund, funded by various nations to bail them out. unfortunately, when the united states has a debt crisis, if we do nothing about it, there will be no one left to bail us out. but the problem with the president's statement about the international monetary fund is that congress has also spoken on that issue. senator vitter and i sponsored an amendment last summer that in-- that was incooperated into the so-called dodd-frank act or the financial services regulatory reform bill. this amendment was approved unanimously by the senate and
became law by the president's hand. this provision included in section 1501 of dodd-frank requires this athe treesh secretary to determine whether or not -- requires the treasury secretary to determine whether or not the i.m.f. loans will likely be repaid and certify that to congress. furthermore, if an i.m.f. loan will not be repaid, the treasury secretary is required to direct the repayment of the loarch. these provisions became law for reason because we sought to protect u.s. taxpayers from being used by the i.m.f. to bail out foreign nations that have been making irresponsible spending decisions. so, madam president, as i said earlier, i hope the president's failure to comply with this mandatory requirement under the medicare law we passed in 2003, that this is simply an oversight. but we know that so far the president and the majority party
in the senate has not submitted -- the president has actually submit add budget which doubles the debt in five years, triples it in ten years, but he has made no response to the medicare trustees' statement that medicare will be insolvent in 13 years. instead, he's attacked the only people that have been responsible enough to come up with a proposal. admittedly, there may be some -- the proposal may not be perfect, but it is a responsibility of all of us to do what we can to try to solve problems, not just to attack people and use for political advantage when other people try to step up and meet their obligations. so, the issue is respectful of the law, and the issue is whether the checks and balances in our constitution are still in place. and the question whether the president somehow considers himself above the law or whether the law applies to him just like it does to each one of us. i hope, madam president, this is an oversight.
senator from wyoming is recognized. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor again today as i have week after week since the health care law has been passed, with a doctor's second opinion about the health care law. as you know, i've practiced medicine for 25 years in wyoming take care of wyoming families, and, madam president, i have great concerns about this health care law that has been passed by this body, as wellals the house, signed -- signed by the president and the american people continue to learn more and more about this health care law understan and the more theyo learning the more concern they have about this health care law being bad for patients, bad for providers, the nurses and doctors who take care of those patients, and bad for the payers, the taxpayers of this country who are going to get hit with an incredible bill. and now, madam president, the main thing i want to talk about today is a new report that has come out that says to me that
the taxpayers are going to get hit with a bill even much higher than they initially thought. and -- and it's report from a group -- it's the mackenzie quarterly and it's called "how u.s. health care reform will affect employee benefits." you know, madam president, in the debates and in the speeches that the president had given in the were u run-up to the electid the vote on this bill, he said that if you had care that you liked, you could keep it, that the american people had a plan that they liked, they'd be able to keep it. and it was a promise that he made to the american people, a promise that the american people wanted to believe, but now this report shows that the american people were right in being skeptical and, as we see, the more the american people learn about the health care larks the
less they like it and the more they oppose it. so what this report says is that it is a shift away from employer-provided health insurance will be vastly greater than expected and will make sense for many companies and lower-income workers alike. when you work your way through this report, what you see is that more and more private companies that today -- today -- provide health insurance for their employees will be much less likely to be willing to provide that insurance in the future. but why? because it's going to be a lot more expensive to provide the insurance. the mandates, the quality and the high level of expense involved with providing that insurance, that's going to be a significant burden to those companies. and if they don't provide the insurance at all, that they're
they're -- there are going to be other chances for those employees, and it will actually be cheaper for the business to not provide insurance, give the people a raise, but just pay the penalty of the health care law and leave people without the insurance. when you take a look at this overall health care law, you see it is one where this body and this president raided medicare, took $500 billion away from our seniors on medicare. not to save medicare but to start a whole new government program. and now with the president's payment advisory board, he additionally wants to ration medicare, ration medicare. raided medicare, rationed medicare. is it any surprise that people on medicare are having a much harder time finding a doctor as doctors refuse to see patients on medicare?
so with all of this, now we get this report. this report that says -- and this is a very reputable national consulting firm. this report says that they have -- they did a survey of 1,300 employers across the country, different industries, different geographies, different employer sizes, and the results really ought to be a huge wake-up call for all workers and all families across the country, because what this -- what this group has seen from this study is that overall 30% of all employers, 30% of all employers will either definitely or probably, so likely stop offering employer-sponsored health coverage in the years after 2014.
that's when obamacare goes fully into effect. among employers with a high awareness of how the program actually works for health care reform, who have actually studied what the law says, well, in that group, those who are most well informed, they are saying more than 50% and upwards to 60% will pursue other options, likely to stop offering their employers health coverage. well, at least 30% of the employers would gain economically from dropping coverage even if they completely compensated the employees for the change of losing their insurance. this is very alarming for our country. i will tell you, madam president, that there was a really well-written editorial in yesterday's "wall street journal" by grace marie turner. i'm going to have it included as part of my testimony.
she is the presidentf the galan institute and co-author of a book equaled "why obamacare is wrong for america." having read the book, i will tell you that a lot of the things i have been talking about during the debate leading up to the vote on obamacare and that i have been talking about afterwards as a doctor's second opinion are included in her book, but she specifically writes about no, you can't keep your health insurance. now, there are about 150 million americans who get their coverage at work. we're not talking about people on medicare. we're talking about nonelderly americans who get their coverage at work. the congressional budget office when we were debating the health care law, they estimated that oh, maybe nine million, ten million of those people or about 7% of the employees who currently get their health insurance through work may lose their health insurance at work, in spite of the fact that the president says if you like what
you have, you can keep it. but this survey of 1,300 different companies, organizations that provide health insurance, 30% of them say i don't think we're going to follow that route. well, you are talking about a significantly larger number than the congressional budget office had even anticipated. the numbers are astonishing, and in a study last year, doug holtz-eakin, the former director of the congressional budget office, he estimated -- not what the current c.b.o. said. he thought maybe 35 million workers would be moved out of employer-covered plans into subsidized coverage, paid for by the taxpayers, and he thought by getting to that number, it would add an additional trillion dollars to the estimate of what
the real costs were going to be for the president's health care law. if these numbers are true, this newer, higher number of 30% pulling out and maybe 50% once they find out what's actually in the law and the mandates on these businesses, the additional costs at a time when we're looking at 9.1% unemployment in this country, the costs are going to go even higher with the significant subsidies that exist for families making up to to $88,000 a year. so i come to the floor, madam president, to say that the more we learn about this health care law, the more unintended consequences, that many of the predictions made about this health care law from this side of the aisle are now coming true. and i've spoken in the past about -- about waivers.
we now are at a point where three million people who get their health insurance through work, three million people covered with health insurance in this country have gotten waivers, whole states have gotten waivers so that they don't have to live under the mandates of the health care law. they are going to be back for waivers again next year and the year after that. we see additional concern with what's really in this health care law. as nancy pelosi said, first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it. as more and more people find out what's in it, we're finding that more and more people maybe had coverage that they liked are not going to be able to keep that coverage, are going to lose that coverage, and the taxpayers are going to get stuck footing the bill. and that's why i come back to the floor week after week with a doctor's second opinion, because there is new information that comes out week after week as
this mckinneyzie and company study report came out this week. that's why, madam president, i continue to say we need to repeal and replace this terribly broken health care law. thank you, madam president. with that, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: