Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 13, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST

9:00 am
proliferation. number two, a big problem is pakistan is a failed nation state. i would sit at the stand is a candidate for failed nation state that is. -- i would say pakistan is a candidate for failed nation state candidate. -- status. being a training ground for terrorist is something we must work with them with. as we analyze pakistan, as we try to put into perspective what it means to get along, as reformat what our aid, support will be, i think we have to take seriously these three areas. they are in america's interest. we will have to shore up relationships. i think the relationship with india is a prime example of a relationship that is waiting to broaden and expand its links
9:01 am
with the united states. it is us another platform, another set of eyes and ears. .. recognize and complement a nation state that shares many of our bellies. -- values. is it a lively and colorful during election time? absolutely is. they share our values. as the level of uncertainty plays out, indeed with afghanistan, as the players began to position themselves to fill a void, russia will want to play a role. china will won the chinese then say, we have never had this situation without the united states being involved in securing all of us, and they, for the first time, have to wake up saying, do we get involved?
9:02 am
that will be an important moment in chinese decision making because for them, it's a first. they never involved themselves in anything like that. for us securing our interest in the region, looking out for three primary areas, suring up a relationship with india, i think, long term is what the nation needs in the region. >> mr. speaker, last thoughts? >> there's four immediate needs, two echoing with what the governor began with. we have to expand our independence and capacity to be a reserve source of energy. we need to recognize how the world is if we end up in a mess in the persian gulf, and only an american energy production meets that. second, i concur with the governor, 23 not the arsenal democracy, there's no stability
9:03 am
in the planet. you can't be the arsenal democracy unless you have an arsenal. we have to rebuild our manufacturing capability. third, i think one of the lessons of pakistan and iraq are we need to liberate our intelligence capabilities. we, today, rely on foreign countries to provide us far too much intelligence, and that means in many cases, they are not necessarily giving us the truth, but what they want us to believe, and lastly, i would say we actually need to have a national conversation and a national dialogue about creating a strategy for all of radical islamism because if you go back and look at 9/11, it's not a single nation state. the fact is that these forces in the age of the internet are growing everywhere. for example, the many adras in pakistan are funded by the saudis, the leading per veigher of hatred around the planet relating to the sunni wing of islam like the shia side.
9:04 am
we have to think what is the overall strategy for dealing with the problem, not just one country at a time. >> thank you. i promised you no buzzers, no bells, no horns. that's good. >> we're grateful. >> well, we are too. let's move on to another interesting topic in foreign affairs. mr. newt gingrich, you start on this one, it is the issue of iran, and if you'd spend about five minutes or give us your thoughts on that country. >> i'll use lost time. are you willing to accept them having nuclear weapons or not? everything else is second. if you decide, if after you are done dancing you accept their nuclear weapons, there's one set of possible strategies. if you are determined they not have nuclear weapons, i believe you have to not only be for regime change because there's no practice call scenario in which
9:05 am
you can take out their weapon systems without them rebuilding them, and you can't go back in and take them out every four years because the world won't tolerate it, and further more, we don't know. i see all these studies. i was asked to come in and read the various reports on wmd and iraq after it got to be a big mess, and i read the original reports. you know, the cia was years off in estimating when the soviets would get an atomic bomb. they were have far off on the pakistani bomb. this idea we have magically accurate intelligence and therefore lots of extra time or don't have extra time is six months or a year is ridiculous. the truth is they hardened their systems, put them underground, took the logical conclusion from the israeli raid and iraq in 1981 and said, gosh, if we build buildings aboveground, the americans find them and kill them. they have huge underground
9:06 am
facilities, some under mosques, some in the middle of cities. i mean, the idea you wage a bombing campaign that accurately takes out all iranian nuclear programs i think is a fantasy. it is -- it would be a huge mess with collateral civilian casualties, and you have to either say to the iranians, you dismantle the program, or we take steps to stop you. first steps are serious economic steps, serious political and psychological steps and diplomatic steps, and by serious, i mean, for example, they import 40% of their gasoline, produce lots of oil, only have one refinery. they literally have to import 40% of the gasoline. serious steps include giving communications and there's a movie on pope john ii and ronald reagan showing you the joint alliance of margaret thatcher, ronald reagan, and pope john
9:07 am
paul ii to defeat the soviet empire. we didn't wage a war, but crowded it on every front adopting strategies to undermind and break it. closing on this thought because i think, again, it's one the reasons i use clear language to get people's attention. mark, author of black hawk down, wrote another book about the hostage crisis of 1979-1980. the subtitle of the book is "iran's first shots in the war against america." that's 1979. they see themselves as being at were with us for over 30 years. we find excuses. they kill americans in lebanon, in saudi arabia, now trained and supplied al-qaeda for the embassy bombings in east africa. they've had a consistent pattern of being our enemies, and we've had a consistent pattern of
9:08 am
denying it, apologizing it, walking from it. i believe we can't allow them to have a nuclear weapon, be for regime change and adopt a strategy that's clear unless they disarm their entire system, we are going to replace their regime and ideally non-militarily, but not tolerate an iranian nuclear weapon. >> thank you, mr. speaker. governor huntsman? >> i agree with what the speaker put forward on iran. first of all, let me say that i believe iran is the transcendent issue of this decade from a foreign policy standpoint. i'd like to say in terms of the big picture, afghanistan is not the future. iraq is not our future. the future of this country really is how well prepared we are to meet the 21st century competitive challenges and they are economic, educational playing out largely over the pacific ocean in countries i
9:09 am
lived in, having lived overseas four times. if you step back from that grand picture, you'd have to say that the tran sen didn't issue of the decade, the transcendent threat from a foreign policy standpoint is iran. we forget we had a much different relationship with iran pre-1979. is there an element of society reservoiring good will towards the united states? perhaps. i think we missed the opportunity with the so-called persian spring in 2009. huge opportunity missed by this president. we go into libya where arguably we have no real definable national security interests, scratch our heads over syria, and we lecture israel all the while, and i say during all of this, the center fusions continue to spin in iran. they are moving towards nuclear stay tut. i believe the mullas in teheran
9:10 am
already made a decision for themselves that they want to be a nuclear power. they look at north korea and see they have a few crude devices, and they are essentially untouchable. they looked at libya, they gave up their program in exchange for international friendship and relationships. i think they concluded that they want the credibility, the leverage that a nuclear weapon gets them. the center fusions spin, and ultimately it goes from low enriched product to a high enriched product to make a weapon. they'll have enough material. the united states is going to have to be ready, i think, to con prompt the reality of what to do -- confront the reality of what to do, and in this case, you then have to say as the speaker mentioned, the question for us in the country is can we live with a nuclear iran. i think china decided they can live with it. i think the russians are less certain about that. they care more about
9:11 am
proliferation concerns than the chinese do. if you can live with a nuclear iran, saudi raib why goes nuclear, -- saudi arabia goes newark -- nuclear, and turkey, and i think that presents a scenario that's unsustainable in the middle east in terms of the proliferation concerns particularly in the language that's very real used by the government in teheran against israel, so i say if you can't live with a nuclear iran, and i can't, you have to say what to do? i think all options are on the table, and i believe we're going to have a discussion with israel. i don't know when it's going to happen just beyond what we're having now, but in the next one to three years, and we better be prepared because it's going to go something like this 6789 we have enough intelligence leading us to believe there's material out of which a bomb can be made. are you with us? i think we better then remind,
9:12 am
be able to remind the world what it means to be a friend with the united states, what the alliance with israel actually means. there's an economic component, security component, and there's a values component to it, and i think there's a regional stability component that we need to then stand up and be prepared to address it. i would have to agree all options need to be on the table, and the mullas in teheran need to know all options are on the table and there's zero ambiguity in terms of what we're prepared to do and no blue sky in terms of where we stand with israel. >> hard to talk about iran without discussion of israel, mr. speaker. can you touch on that as well? again, additional thoughts as well, but clearly, the iranians have made rather clear their feeling about israel. >> let me build on what the governor said from his ambassador days. if you're the chinese, and you think to yourself, okay,
9:13 am
iranians have a nuclear weapon, could take out israel, that's okay, could hit america, that's okay. the chinese don't see a threat from that of iran. they wanted world market to exist, they are not stupid, but they are not primary threats to them, it's not part of their value system. what i tell people about the iranian system is there's two steps. if you're an israeli prime minister and you remember the holocaust and you think about the death of millions of jews and you look at the idea that two or three nuclear weapons is a holocaust. israel's a small country, urban population, no more than three weapons require a holocaust. am i going to take the risk of presiding over the second holocaust meaning for all purposes virtually the end of
9:14 am
judaism on the planet. they don't take the risk. you call the american president saying i have two planning choices. if you will help me, i'll go conventional. if you don't help me, i'm using as many nuclear missiles as i need to to take out iranians. you can be the guy sitting on the side when the nuclear war occurred with all consequences or you help me. what i won't do is not allow israel to be subject to the threat of a holocaust, and the american president has a big decision to make then. i think this is a -- i agree with governor huntsman. this is a not very far down the road decision. my first meeting with a foreign leader as speaker, not yet sworn in, and speaker folly said prime minister was coming to the state, would i see him? in december of 1994, we sat down and former chief of staff, prime
9:15 am
minister, and he said to me, iran is an existential threat to israel, and we can want deal with it -- cannot deal with it by ourselves. it's too big. the reason i want a deal with the palestinians is to clear the space to focus on iran. now, that was 17 years ago. we still have not cleared the space to deal directly with iran, and the clock is running, and i think i agree with the formulation the governor had. this is the biggest national security threat of the next ten years. china is a challenge in the long run, and not necessarily a threat, but a challenge economically and technological, but iran is thee problem of the near future. >> last words, governor? >> i would just say there will be talk about additional sanctions with respect to the relationship with iran. my sense is that will do no good at all.
9:16 am
the president will go out and talking about layer after layer of sanctions that's been tried for awhile. it won't work because teheran already decided they wanted to go nuclear, and the chinese and the russians, the key members of the u.n. security counsel, are not going to do it. they will not work with us. there's sanctions in place right now. in order for the sanctions to have impact whatsoever beyond that which already is done, would be to go down to the annex portion of the sanctions and list specific names, trading houses, companies, and banks you are willing to sanction. china will not go that far. they like the or story language, and the russians do as well, and when it'sst it's down to specifics of siding individuals, that's not going 20 happen -- to happen. we have to conclude this is the united states doing it our way at the end of the day, which is not all bad. i think we work better when left to our own devices. with respect to israel, you know, when you look longer term,
9:17 am
at some point we all have to figure out how to improve the region. you know, we're in tactical mode now looking at the least saying, you know, there's israel the centerpiece relationship, ensure we remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally and maximize values inherent in that bilateral relationship. beyond that there's iran. the transcendent challenge of the decade and syria because they're a subsidiary on the brink of disaster today anyway own the conduit of which you get a lot of material and support for hamas and hezbollah, a regime now with asad, not much more support than some in lebanon and iran, and you have to say, we're in tactical thinking mode, longer term, how do you put the pieces back together again? i think that is where the u.s.-israel relationship is important because we have a free trade agreement with israel,
9:18 am
oldest we have dating back to 1975, and why do we have, just take iran off the table for now, why the arab spring playing out? why the uncertainty playing out? not like the events the 1948, but it's that way because there's two things at play. one, there's the problem of long standing dictators who just would not go away whether tunisia, egypt, libya, and second, you had real pockets of discontent. you had no economic growth, no opportunity, no possibility for jobs in parts of north africa and the middle east, so what to do? you know, you rise up, you join these causes to take on the long standing dictator, and i think longer term, the only way we put the pieces back together is by doing what this country has not done in a very long time, and that's beginning to pull the levers of economic power. we don't do trade agreements anymore. we need to.
9:19 am
we don't engage on investment and international economic relationships anymore. i think israel provides a very powerful opportunity to take that free trade agreement, expand it beyond, and have it spillover and impact the region today resee through a lens that's very troubling, but longer term, as people, we have to say how do we begin putting the pieces back together? how do we bring state to people who -- stability to people today who don't have them? >> you began the transition to the next subject. you can have this one first. the question is the arab spring which became the arab summer becoming arab fall and winter. let's talk about the spring as a movement as you just eluded and sort of where does it leave us from here? we still have problems, obviously. what's next, where do we go, and as you just begun to elude, what can we see our role being in this as these countries begin to stand up to dictators you just
9:20 am
talked about? >> well, i think we're in a period of great uncertainty now in the middle east. you can't force history. i mean, the speaker knows that as a great historian. you can't force them. they have to play out. i think we make a mistake as a nation by intervening and trying to pick winners before we know who is up and who is down. i mean, the events following the end of the empire, different lay of the land and different powers involves. the era of the period of uncertainty plays out, but, you know, as it plays out, the rest of the world takes note in interesting ways. long standing dictators, lack of economic opportunity, the chinese pay attention to that. when we lived in beijing, they were frightened what it means in terms of long standing dictators and regions of china with not enough economic rift. they were concerned with their domestic security bureaus on high alert looking out for anyone who might be gathering under the banner of jasmine
9:21 am
revolution and they even banned the u.s. ambassador's name frustrate internet which d name from the internet which i thought was cool at the time because i was associated with american values. the world is watching it play out. we have to be careful how we handle it. look for groups that share our values, but then i have we have to ensure they don't become something that is inconsistent with our values longer term, and that's the challenge of picking early on. i was against the united states doing what they did in libya. newt may disagree on that. i couldn't see a definable or discernible american security interest there. the events would have played out as they did anyway. with syria, i see it a little bit differently because it is a conduit, a pipeline used by iran for complete activities of disablization in the region, and i see that makes it a national security issue, and one that we
9:22 am
need to pay some attention to, so i think we need to be cautious about how this transformation occurs. i think we have to be a little careful about who we end up supporting and throwing our bets behind, and i do know this -- while the breeze of change is blowing, and the great uncertainty is here, we have certainty in the relationship with israel, and i go right back to the anchor that we have in the region that we need to somehow remind the world once again what it means to be a friend and ally of the united states, to allow the world to understand there's no blue sky between the united states and israel. we're not throwing precooked outcomes on the table like the president did in terms of the border. we can't force the peace process. why would they want to negotiate a peace agreement with egypt showing no signs who is up or down. you can't expect in an uncertain environment to make progress at
9:23 am
all, and we should not force it, but be a facilitator, look at what happened after the madrid accord of 1991 and the follow on with oslow in 1998 saying we have the context for a two-state solution here. you can't force it. let's take -- let's take the advice of the leadership of israel before we know when it's right to play a helpful nurturing or facilitating role. >> mr. speaker, the arab spring, there's thoughts about a number of issues in the last coup 8 days with regard to israel and the middle east. your thoughts? do you agree? >> i think they are different than the arab spring. i think there are three large pieces that we could learn from about the arab springment the first was the way that the obama add bhrgs got -- administration got rid of mubarak shook everybody.
9:24 am
the governor's made an important point that people have to have a sense if you're an ally of the united states, there's some staying power. mubarak was our ally for a long time, covered for us under very difficult circumstances. the iraq campaign probably couldn't have occurred without mubarak. they had can wantly help -- consistently helped us in the israeli environment, they had not 4 to defend their border for a long time, not worrying about the sinai, and obama dumped in, and reagan's 100th birthday and secretary was concerned about the whole pattern of the way this administration deals with people because he said everybody else watches you, and so you're the saudis and when an american president dumps an ally, others say, can i rely on you? how long? there are ways to have gotten him to retire with dignity that
9:25 am
would not have indicated a capricious willingness to dump somebody who had take a lot of heat who helped us for years. that's the first thing to think about. second, it's a real problem to have an intelligence system as crippled as ours is by the way laws evolved since 1957. the truth is we don't know who in benghazi, the leading city producing an hi tf american -- anti-american fighters in iraq, and we have no idea who these people are. our intelligence is not good enough, and 10 you have -- this is true across the whole region so the congress has so crippled the intelligence system that we sit in the embassies talking to the local intelligence people who tell us what they want us to know for their reasons. it's an enormous problem. the third is what the governor eluded to which is if you don't
9:26 am
have a strategic plan, not trying to broadly shape the culture, you know, go back to see what we did in world war ii in japan, korea, in europe. we had a very, very large and comprehensive effort. things like the fullbright scholarships, ect.. i mean, you could imagine a strategy that says we want to maximize the liberation of women, maximize entrepreneurship and economic growth, maximize people who understand modernity. what do you do? recreate the u.s. information agency as a free standing agency, translate books into arabic because there's few books translated worldwide, and there's college scholarships to the u.s. to have a generation growing up understanding something other than that shia and other madrassas. i tell people, my dad served in creigh that in 1953, and when when visited years ago, and i know you've been there many
9:27 am
times, south korea's an amazing country. it's self-governing, independent, a lively press. it's the 1th or 14th wealthiest country in the world. it didn't happen overnight. as late as 1969, it had the same per capita income as ghana, and yet it took off. americans should be proud of that. to have the long view, you have to find non-military engagements that are sustainable that on a bipartisan basis you can explain to the american people that lead tome to decide this is a commitment they are willing to make. >> governor, anything else you'd like to add to this? i want to get to our next point, but if you have a word or two more? >> i can see any daughter nodding off over there, so i've gone on too long any way. [laughter] >> let's move on in the interest of your daughter. [laughter] >> i want to get -- >> she's my senior foreign policy adviser, so that's not a
9:28 am
good thing. >> she also picked the coin toss for you. i saw that backstage. [laughter] another important point -- >> in her defense, she nodded off while i spoke. [laughter] >> i want to talk a little bit all of this and how all of this relates to something you both talked a lot about which republicans talk about all the time which is reducing the debt, which is a huge burden on our country, but doing that in a way that does not disstabilize america's place in the world and our foreign interests and particularly our military. the debt and defense spending, the relationship between both of those, mr. speaker, you go first on this one. >> i think there's three or four thingsment first of all, decide what threatens you in the world and what the goals are in the world, and build strategies and structures to meet that, and that's the first priority in government. i mean, if you're not safe, if
9:29 am
you're not being defended, if you're not strong enough that no enemy decides to attack you, you are about to have the most expensive decision you've made. i'm opposed to the sequester, a purely political gimmick to allow the president to side through july because they couldn't get anything positive done. the idea to cut defense by a random $500 million is an impossible way to approach this. in 1981, i help found the military reform caucus during the reagan defense build up, and the reason was i told people i'm a hawk, but a cheap hawk, and i really think, you know, i've been a big advocate of strong america now, a group thatments to apply cig sigma to government. apply it to the defense and state department too, u.s -- the agency for the national development also. there's no reason to justify waste in defense because it's in
9:30 am
a uniform or because it has defense on it. when you think about how rapidly ipads and iphones and other things change today and look at the weapons system process taking 12-20 years, you know it's wrong. there's a lot of stuff we can shrink and flatten, but i was starting by saying create the defense system needed, create the foreign policy you need, and then let's talk about how to get to a balanced budget. you want to do it as up expensively as you can, but you want to ensure is gets done. getting to a balanced budget, the folks for strong america now believe you can save bout $500 billion a year by modernizing the government. i think that's probably at a minimum the correct number number. i think there's ways to reform the entitlements. we propose the the right of every younger american to have a personal social security savings account along the chilean and texas models. there's a long out year impact on spending. there's steps to take on medicaid and medicare with huge
9:31 am
outnear effects on spending. i would never say that the richest country in the world can't sustain what it needs to do in foreign and defense policy, but do it as efficiently as we can, and that's not the key to balancing the budget. his $2 trillion deficit is more domestic and entitlements than defense. >> governor in >> with two boys in the u.s. navy, i think about their future, and our posture. it puts it in a different context all together. first, debt. when we have $15 trillion in debt and rising, it's got to be seen as something other than just debt. i believe it's got to be seen as something as a national security problem because you don't grow. when you are 70% debt to gdp, there's a sluggish impact on the ability to get on your feet, and if you want to see coming attractions on the debt side,
9:32 am
former senior negotiator of january pa ten years ago, they are entering their third lost decade of economic growth because of structural barriers and debt. look around the bend in europe and take a look at italy, 120% debt to gdp, and greece is 170% to gdp. the debt issue is such that all spending programs, everything's on the table, and for folks to say that, you know, medicare, you know, showbt shouldn't be there, nonsense. you know, we are at a point in the country where we cannot afford the luxury anymore. everything's on the table. look at defense, and $700 billion almost, and if we can't find efficiencies there, spending more than the rest of the world combined, more than in the height of the cold war, and for us, it's a function of priorities, not just money spent, but a function of priorities. i agree with newt completely, and that is whatever we do on
9:33 am
the defense spending side must follow a strategy, and that strategy smowb part of keeping us -- should be part of keeping us safe. that's the bottom line, and keeping us safe is consistent with being the second decade in the 21st century. i would say a strategy that really does, again, when i kind of listed the four components of a foreign policy that i would follow up front, fixing our core, get the economy right in order to project any power at all, to pay the bills in terms of our defense systems. second, having an economy that leads our foreign policy. you know, it used to break my heart being in beijing, second largest embassy in the world, look at neighboring afghanistan, 100,000 troops there, the chinese went there to take the mining concession. there's something wrong with that picture. we secure the environment, and people benefit economically from it. i want to ensure we have a strategy, a foreign policy strategy, a national security strategy that is driven by
9:34 am
economics, and third, counterterrorism. i think that's going to have a huge impact on our defense priorities, on our spending, deployment patterns, national security structure going forward. as far as the eye can see, there's a problem called terror not going away any time soon. it will be under different names, and we have to be real about that, and that means not only the way we spend, the way we prioritize our defense programs, but also the friends and allies we reach out to i think will be part of that as well, but then finally, let me just say as we follow strategy consistent with being second decade into the 21st century, i think we have to be smart enough to say there's a lot of waste in the procurement and purchasing side of the pentagon. if you stop to ponder where we were post world war ii where we had, i think, newt mentioned it,
9:35 am
an 11-ship navy, 115 aircraft carriers, a nabc100 strong producing a hundred ships a year. we have a nav sea now producing 25,000 people and five ships a year. look at the cost compared to a sky hawk or f-4 phantom from the vietnam era, and there's a cost escalation not consistent with materials and labor. there's something on the procurement side, the red tape, the numbers involved, the purchasing practices, and i think there's a huge opportunity for the country to lift up the hood of the car and make fixes there that i think will be better for the people longer term as we all know we need to find greater figure sighs in government -- efficiencies in government. >> mr. speaker, final words on debt and defense, and if so, we've been through this sort of,
9:36 am
i assume you call it a false premise, in order to decrease the budget deficit, we have to somehow deal with defense. we have to deal with a lot of things, your thoughts on that? >> two things. i mean, first, i think you ought to put defense spending and state department and agency for national development spending under the same test you put anything else. that is, once you decide to do something. when i was a kid, my dad, 27 years in the army was stationed in germany, and we were there to stop the soviet union from occupying west germany, and the soviets were down the road in east germany. there's no soviet union. there is no east germany. we still have army headquarters there. you have to ask yourself a question. why are we sitting there? i mean, other than habit, the africa headquarters, the african command headquarters, and i used
9:37 am
to teach geography -- [laughter] now, i mean, there's a point you look at the guys saying give me a break, okay? i'll start with that. second, i think that it's very important to pick up on what the governor said about procurement. i mean, if we used to have a policy that said if you flew something, and then we decided to buy it. now we have a policy, we study for ten years to decide whether or not to study it for ten years to think about it for ten years. we have a national space administration with no vehicles to get to the space station. what are the billions and thousands of employees for? they sit around and think space. . you know how hard it is to get to this period and spend this much money and have no vehicle to get to space? there's thousands and thousands of people who write reports for each other to read of what they
9:38 am
might do someday if they bought system. there could be a deep overhaul making the state and defense department and aid function better. we'd get better defense with a thoroughly modernized leaner system than what we have today. >> let me just say -- >> go ahead. >> finally on this point, as you look at the map, at last count, 700 installations to be to newt's point, 700 installations in 70 countries around the world. 50,000 troops still in germany in 20 installations yow. have to say, the russians are not coming anymore. at some point we have to recognize that, and we also have to recognize the rise of the asia-pacific theater. the pay comoar. there's not going to be a massive land war any time soon, but more as an asymmetric threat, and the rise of the asia-pacific region, that's
9:39 am
three quarters of the trade. that's the rising militaries of the 21st centuries. whatever we focus on, and nobody is isolationist about it, it's just smart, being a realist about where we have installations, a carry over, containment from 1946 compared to where we need to be today. >> i'm going to -- you started into a nice segue, governor, because as the wheel house and china on the pacific rim, we have about time for one more question or so in this format. if we make up the pace a little, a lot, we might get to it. that's up to you guys. governor, you start this one -- [laughter] i already put it blunt. it's up fair to force me into -- it's unfair to force me into these decisions. >> i'm not with the press, but a volunteer. >> yeah. [laughter] >> okay.
9:40 am
>> in any event, governor huntsman, you spoke about china. our next topic is china and the pacific rim. talk a little as a general topic, and here could lead to the next topic. >> let's just say that, you know, the relationship of the # 1st century is the u.s.-china relationship, no question about that. looking more at the pay com, the pacific -- asia-pacific operating area, i think for us whether it's militarily or from an economic policy stand point is going to be something we really need to know a lot about. it'd be good to have a president who actually understood that part. a couple of things we need to be mindful of thinking about china to inform us as we develop a relationship that i think is workable over time. a couple things playing out. one, we have elections next year, so i've heard. the chinese, they don't do elections. they have leadership changes, and when you stop to ponder the
9:41 am
nature of the changes that are about to take place at the 18th party congress, you stop to say probably 65%-70% of the top 200 leaders will be turning over. look at the standing committee of the bureau, the largest board of directors body, seven of the nine members will be turning over in that body. i think the most sweeping change since 1949, and with that is the rise to power of the 5th generation. you know, i know members of the fifth generation, i knew members of the fourth, some in the third. they are a nationalistic generation. they don't remember necessarily the events from 1960-1964, the great leap forward. they barely remember the cultural revolution, 1966-74. they've been terribly informed, though, by 30 years of 8% economic growth, blue sky. thaifer time a-- their time arrived, they can do
9:42 am
no long, and that presents a challenge all by itself for the united states because unlike the earlier generation who saw china at the most chaotic, they were humbled by that, and they never wanted to see that again. you've got a different generation with a much different world view which could inform our thinking about how to proceed. second, what's the objectives? two things i think we need to site as objectives. one, china's economy is going down from a gdp stand point, inflation is up, and manufacturing zones are on the rise 10% a year. there will be political uncertainty because of the unemployment when you have unemployment that rises, and already in a country from 800 million farmers to 200 million farmers. a country with 600 million redundant farmers, and they become part of the large work force that roams the countryside
9:43 am
100 million strong, putting strains on the city centers. that's the nightmare scenario for the communist party, and they are trying to avoid that. i'm not sure they can, but significant to where we sit today, the investment that just knee-network drops itself is the risk profile is different. it is something i might not want to bet on longer term. i want to find another market takes us here to the home base. we would be crazy in this country if we didn't recognize that shifts happening in the macroeconomic environment and say we are going to do what we have to in the country to win investment here at home so, you know, where i was earlier today and, you know, peter borrow and other places in new hampshire to think we can bring to life some of the old brick buildings that lost energy and vitality because of manufacturing, we can win that back if we're smart about it because that investment
9:44 am
dollar, stop thinking capital is a coward flees risk wherefore it is and finds safe haven, and if your risky environment flees, go elsewhere, china is a risky environment. we need to embark on a strategy allowing us to win back our manufacturing base because i believe the country is on the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance if we do it right. that's going to come out of china's hyde. two, we need a real dialogue with the chinese allowing us to engage on the issues that make up relationship. it's a terribly large and complicated relationship, one including north korea, iran, burma, south china sea issues, global economic rebalancing, and the list goes on and on and on, and so the u.s. government goes in hitting one issue at a time without fully realizing every issue impacts the other issue. i chinese see them in toe tea #al. they are the greatest long term
9:45 am
thinkers in the world. we're the best short term thinkers in the world. we have to mesh the two and make it work, and 40 years now of the relationship, richard dixon stepped out and we have to figure out how to develop a dialogue that is somewhat similar to what we did in the days with the soviet union, not that there's a cold war atmosphere, but regularize the dialogue. it's not obviously margins of apec or g20 meeting or something else. it's dedicated to a relationship that now will lead the world in terms of economics and security standpoint. we need a better sense of what their strategic intelligences are in the region, a better sense of where they spend their defense dollars and what the priorities are. we know very little about that. we have to sit down in the meetings and solve the trade issues because every issue you work on with the chinese tends
9:46 am
to impact another issue. you can't do it in isolation. i would like to say that after they have leadership changes wrapped up in 2012, they'll need one year to consolidate power, typically what happens after you have new leaders in position in china. ping rises to the presidency, and they have a year to consolidate power, and by 2013 and 2014 or 2014-2017 we'll have running room to put a relationship together with the chinese with greater flexibility without politics playing out. chinese told me when i was there, you know, in china, we have politics too, by the way,. we complain about our system, but they have politics too. they'll be void of politics in 2013, and we'll have an ability under two or three years with the right leadership to forge a relationship then to allow this kind of dialogue that i believe
9:47 am
will bring stability and opportunity to the world and to our people. we should count on that. >> mr. speaker? >> well, first of all, governor huntsman and ambassador huntsman knows more than about china than i do. they used to say that to me too, and i never knew what it meant. [laughter] >> you're not yelling your time, are you? >> no, but i think he's very, very knowledgeable on this topic, and i largely agree with him. the most important relationship of the next 50 years a the american people and chinese people, not always the same as the two governments. there are times we have tension with an authoritarian regime for reasons that go to the core values, but we have to be very careful not to get involved in a long term split in which the chinese people conclude we're the enemy. if they are positive towards each other, the planet will be vastly better than deciding inevitably in a bipolar
9:48 am
conflict. second, manufacturing. the boston consulting group did a study in august saying by 2015, south carolina and alabama will be less expensive as centers as manufacturing than coastal china. total cost, not just labor costs. there's an opportunity, and the chinese are becoming more expensive, we become better at manufacturing, and there's a chance we can modernize into genuine competition. there's challenges for us that are partly military. take a map of the world, most of the campaigns we fight and plan to fight in europe or in the middle east are very short range. the pacific is enormous, and this is a major problem on how we recapitalize our military. much longer aircraft, much more naval power than we currently have. you need to rethink how you project power because the objective requirements in europe and in the middle east are very
9:49 am
short legged # and very need, and so you really have to rethink how to approach these things. also, on the one hand pulled in and the secretary defense pulled us into counterterrorism in terms of how to think about strategy and operations in investment to deal with the chinese. you have to recapitalize and modernize. in navy, air force, space, cyber capability, and they are different requirements, and the challenge to us is to be able to do both of them. we have to be good at counterterrorism and modernize to compete with the chinese. in the long run back to a theme we started this afternoon with, if you don't fundamentally rethink what we do here, you cannot compete with china. if we do the right things here, china can't compete with us. if we are determined to be domestically stay stupid, it's
9:50 am
impracticable to ask the chinese to match us in stupidity. [laughter] the report i helped create and senator redman from new hampshire helped chair and i served on as speaker came back and said the greatest threat to the united states is a weapon of mass destruction going off in an american city from a terrorist. the second greatest threat is our failure to modernize education and invest in math, science, and technology and said that's a greater threat than any conceivable conventional war. we building the arsenal democracy is unbelievably important, and that means you have to rebuild the basic arsenal. i would also say that we have to look at doing our job and recognizing that in a very real way, east germany owe it to the entire human race. i thought it was very telling when the president went to brazil, said how proud he was
9:51 am
they were drilling offshore, and he said we really want to be your best customer. that's exactly backwards. we do not hire a president of the united states to go around the world to be a foreign purchasing agent. we hired the president of the united states to go around the world to be a salesman, and one of the places the governor and i are in total agreement, we ended the era when the sheer scale of the economy allows us to help everybody else on the planet, and we entered an area like the germans we think every morning about exports, trade agreements. we have to be as sophisticated as any of the competitors, and that's an enormous change in both parties, democrat and republican, from where we have been requiring institutional change in washington to develop that attitude and execute it in a way to allow us to remain the most powerful country in the world. >> governor, last word? >> i'll say this because this is
9:52 am
a critically important part of the engagement with china going forward, and that is taking it out of washington and beijing where it's been for 40 years. the people live elsewhere. we have huge opportunities on a sub national basis to get governors and governors, mayors and mayors, principles and principles, and entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to the. the driving force in china today in the party, it's their citizens increasingly able to access information about the world, and who are driving conversation. this is 5 country with 500 million interpret users, 800,000 bloggers, two of whom had readerships each of 125 million, and they are driving conversations about political reform and human rights and religious tolerance and the role of the internet in society in the ways it would have landed anyone in prison a few short
9:53 am
years ago. i want to see more of what i was able to capture when i visited a high school outside of bedford here, the chinese language program invited me in to talk to the students in chinese, which was a lot of fun, and there was growing curiosity and interest and just as the speaker mentioned, the people to people thing. we got to keep something going that allows access, allowing opportunity, that allows the united states to continue doing what it always does well which is lead by its values because the world is still looking for our values whether we recognize that or not, and our values still drive, shape, and mold events, our values change history still, and i believe that in the chapters ahead in china, we'll be responsible for some of the changes taking place because of the people-to-people interaction. >> well, gentlemen, we are just half way through the ten points, which i think is pretty good; right? how about that? i think that's pretty good.
9:54 am
[laughter] [applause] going to closing statements unless you guys want a quick lightning round of five questions. no, probably not. >> we do that -- >> i understand. that was just a joke. >> don't ask a raise your hand question. >> no, we don't do that for sure. go ahead to the closing statements then. you have three minutes, a little more or less, a little more. beginning with you, speaker newt gingrich. >> well, i just want to close the way we started thanking you for this, and governor huntsman chatting about it, agreeing to do it together. there were no got-you moments, there were not any efforts to trap each other, but people who look at the totality of the dialogue agree it's probably as sophisticated and as candid a discussion of america in the world as you've seen in any recent presidential campaign. i want to thank the governor who's extraordinarily
9:55 am
knowledgeable. this is what we should have a lot more of because this is a substantive, an effort -- we're a country in enormous trouble, and we need leaders who are willing to talk with citizens at a pretty sophisticated level because that's where we are. we are not going to solve these things with 30-second -- what's the solution on libya in 30 seconds. it's nutty. this is not a hollywood game or a reality show. this is reality. we are trying as a people to have a conversation to enable us to have this kind of future that it solves our problems and brings us together. if i become the nominee, i'll challenge the president to seven three hour debates because i think this format is helpful allowing you to get thingsout you can't get in the normal debate. thank you, all, for participating and making this possible, and governor, thank you for the positive approach
9:56 am
and knowledge you bring to bear on this. >> thank you, mr. speaker, and for the good speaker to become the nominee he has to overcome our operation here on the ground in new hampshire, but today, rolled out to the tune of, i don't know, 140 volunteer leaders in all ten counties and 90 towns, pretty remarkable. it's a great privilege to be here with this crowd, and pat, thank you very much. again, you know, this is the window, new hampshire, this is the window through which the rest of the country gets to see, analyze, and assess the candidates running for highest office in the land. you all punch above your weight, and when you make a decision come january 10th, the rest of the world looks, and they ask how that happenedded, why it happened, and they look at it and analyze because you have an opportunity to see the candidates up close, experience these thing, and honored and
9:57 am
delighted i've been able to participate in one that allows us to share real ideas, real thinking about america's role in the world. we got half way through it, pat, maybe another round with other candidates if they dare show up, which i think would be a great -- [laughter] which i think would be a great thing. can't way to compare and compare this format with the donald trump debate in the coming days. [laughter] [applause] i'll close with this, pat, the thing in my head as we had this time together is don't ever underestimate the extent that the light that emanates from the united states transforms the world. we're still 25% of the world's gdp, still have the most presumption of productive workers in the world, still have democracy, human rights, free marketses. we project that when we are strong. we're not strong today. the world is a better place
9:58 am
where america is strong. i say whatever happens, whoever becomes the nominee, may a good republican go on to win and may the first order of business in the area of foreign policy and national security priorities be fixing the core of this good country because we deserve it as people. thank you so very much. [applause] >> this is a -- [applause] this was truly a great discussion, and we thank you for joining us. mr. speaker, whether you or governor huntsman are the nominee decide to challenge the president to five -- how many? seven? i bet you $10,000 he doesn't show up. [laughter] [applause] [laughter] thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for joining us. [applause]
9:59 am
>> thank you so much. >> hey, thank you. really appreciate it. thank you. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> students wanted you to have the uniform of examine time. >> oh, terrific. >> there you go. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you, all, very much. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you very much, thank you for being here. >> thank you for tuning in. [inaudible conversations]
10:00 am
[inaudible conversations] >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to begin the day. general speeches for the first couple of hours, legislative work gets underway at noon eastern. there's two balanced budget amendments today. they come as a result of the deal to raise the debt limit. lawmakers break between 12:30 and 2:15 to attend the weekly party caucus meetings. now live senate coverage here on c-span2. almighty god, the center of our joy, guide our lawmakers through
10:01 am
this day by your higher wisdom. give them the clarity of thinking needed to solve the complex problems of our time. as they depend on your words and guidance, give them peace that comes from knowing they are instruments of your glory. lord, help them never to be silent in the presence of injustice or impurity. replace fear with faith, falsehood with truth, and greed with justice. we pray in your holy name. amen.
10:02 am
the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., december 13, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jeanne shaheen, a senator from the state of new hampshire, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks the senate will be in a period of morning business for two hours. the republicans will control the first half and the majority will control the final half. following morning business the
10:03 am
senate will be in consideration of s.j. res. 10 and s.j. res. 24. both resolutions regarding the balanced budget amendments. the republican leader and i yesterday arrived at an agreement that we would have eight hours of debate on this matter. i think it should be good debate. people have been looking forward to this debate for some time. some are more interested than others, and this should give them ample time to say whatever they feel about this issue that's ripe for debate here in the senate, and certainly votes we'll have tomorrow morning. the senate will recess from 12:30 to 2:15 for our weekly caucus meetings. h.r. 1633 is at the desk and due for second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 1633, an act
10:04 am
to establish a temporary prohibition against revising any national ambient air quality standard, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object to further proceedings on this matter at this time. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar under rule 14. mr. reid: last month republican leaders repeated this mantra over and over. we support a payroll tax cut for working families. but, madam president, we haven't seen any proof of this yet. it's only been talk. senate republicans have twice voted down their own payroll tax proposal and house republicans weren't able to bring their faln to vote for -- their plan to vote for weeks. we understand they're going to have a run at that tonight. madam president, i served in the house of representatives. and when i served in the house of representatives, no one would ever consider pushing something through with a majority of the
10:05 am
majority. when i served there, bob michael was the republican leader. tip o'neill was the speaker. jim wright was the majority leader and the speaker. and they always worked together on a bipartisan basis to get legislation passed. it's only a new thing that now the republicans are saying that we're not going to pass anything unless we can do it on our own. that's unfortunate. madam president, i spoke to the speaker yesterday. i have the highest regard for him. i consider him a friend. but i said to him as serious as i could we're not going to finish the work of our country this year unless we work together. you can't pass anything in the house unless you get democratic votes. because anything you pass with strictly republican votes fails over here. and over here we can't pass anything unless we get republican votes. it's a fact of life. we have issues, madam president, we have to complete this year.
10:06 am
so we have to understand, as i explained to the speaker yesterday, we have to do this together. we can't magically say 53 democrats are going to pass something here and in the house, even though republicans have the majority, they know that we have a bicameral legislature and they have to get something passed over here also. so i'm very disappointed in what the speaker has done to get a vote over there that he thinks will pass. he keeps adding ideological candy to the proposal. last week they were supposed to have a vote. this time they couldn't get the republican votes to do it. i suggested that they go to either the former speaker, nancy pelosi, or steny hoyer, the minority leader over there. i don't know the exact name of his. but the two leaders, pelosi and hoyer. the suggestion was turned down.
10:07 am
this ideological candy that they've added to this bill to get rebel kwrus rank and file republicans on board is not going to soefrl here. they added a provision of fast track, track it to the tea party, which, madam president, is not opposed by president obama. it's not opposed by him. he's saying this is such a big deal that, for example, the state of nebraska feels that unless there's major changes made, it would badly damage the most important aquifer we have in that part of the country. in fact, probably the biggest, most important one we have anyplace in the country. so, madam president, as was announced yesterday by the secretary of state, she said if the republicans are trying to push this on me, i can't make a decision in three months. that's what the legislation calls for. and if they do that, i will have
10:08 am
to turn it down. secretary of state said that in writing. in effect, as some have said, what they're trying to do is kill the hostage. the hostage is the keystone pipeline. and if they push this through, it is bound and doomed to failure. but tell everyone to prove where they're coming from, republicans, jim jordan who is a republican congressman, said about the keystone pipeline -- quote -- "frankly, the fact the president likes it makes me like it even more." i repeat, the president has not said, madam president, that he doesn't like it. but as a result of what's happened in nebraska and other places along that pipeline, there are major studies that need to go forward. president obama and the democrats in the senate already declared the house legislation dead on arrival, yet after weeks of delay republicans are going to vote on it tonight. they're wasting time catering to the tea party folks over there
10:09 am
when they should be working with us on a bipartisan package that can pass both houses. we've offered solutions, serious, good-faith proposals with bipartisan support. if republicans continue to block these reasonable plans to cut taxes for 160 million workers, of course there will be consequences. middle-class americans will notice when they open their paychecks in january they'll have less money to spend and they'll have the republican congress to blame. no one else. madam president, also for the third time in two weeks senate republicans filibustered a qualified nominee, one of the president's nominees. last night they blocked confirmation of mari aponte to serve as ambassador to he will will -- to he el salvador, a job she already has. she formed a strong partnership with el salvador in many different areas during her time as ambassador. i hope that the republicans will
10:10 am
come to their senses before her term expires at the end of the year and approve this good woman. i had a republican senator come to me after the vote and said he believed that republicans wanted to vote for her, and he was glad that i moved to reconsider the vote. i hope that in fact is the case. last week republicans blocked the nomination of richard cordray to serve as head of the consumer financial protection bureau. consumer financial protection bureau. mr. cordray has a record of protecting consumers from predatory lenders. two days before that, republicans blocked the nomination for the court of appeals for the d.c. circuit. an exceptionally well-qualified person and great resume, exceptional legal mind. she was blocked. all three nominees were qualified. all three had bipartisan support. all three were committed, enthusiastic public servants.
10:11 am
the republicans opposed the nominations for one purely partisan reason. to deal a blow to president obama. this kind of republican obstructionism has become commonplace. it also has consequences. the republicans mean to hurt the president but once again hurt our country instead. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: today the house of representatives will vote on a bill that extends the temporary payroll tax cut as well as unemployment insurance and which won't add a dime to the federal deficit.
10:12 am
in other words, the house bill would do both of the things the president and senate democrats have described as their top legislative priorities before the close of this year. so it was surprising, to say the least, to read this morning that president obama and my friend, the majority leader, are now plotting to block this very legislation. even to the point of forcing a government shutdown over the inclusion of a job-creating measure that the president thinks will complicate his reelection chances next year. that's what's happening in washington this week. and the american people need to know about it. so let me repeat what's unfolding right now here in the capitol. yesterday the members of the senate appropriations committee, democrats and republicans alike, agreed to a spending bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. that's next september 30. and today republicans in the
10:13 am
house will consider a bill that contains the president's top priorities: an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. but here's the problem. the house bill also includes a provision to accelerate construction of the keystone x.l. pipeline, a project that's been described as the biggest shovel-ready project in america. and evidently the president doesn't want this project approved before his election next november, because a small faction of very liberal voters he's counting on to help him get reelected don't like the pipeline. we've already had three years of environmental studies. this project was not only ready to go from an environmental point of view, it's shovel-ready, will produce jobs almost immediately as soon as the president signs off on it. here's a project that would create tens of thousands of jobs, as i indicated, right away. also wouldn't cost the taxpayers a dime to build.
10:14 am
it's being built by the private sector. it would reduce the share of energy that we import from unfriendly countries overseas, and which everybody from labor unions -- labor unions -- to the u.s. chamber of commerce says they support because it would create tens of thousands of jobs right away. the teamsters support getting the pipeline started right now. the afl-cio sports getting the pipeline start -- supports getting the pipeline started right now. this is the kind of project the democrats themselves, including the president, have been saying all year that they want. but the presidential campaign seems to be getting in the way, to the point that my friend, the majority leader, now says he's willing to hold up a bipartisan bill to fund our troops, border security, and other federal responsibilities rather than letting the president decide if this pipeline project should move forward. let me say that again. the president and the democratic
10:15 am
majority leader, my friend, harry reid, are now saying they'd rather shut down the government than allow this job-creating legislation to become law. that's what would happen if they succeed in blocking this bipartisan funding bill from coming to the floor for a vote. house republicans have given the president everything he asked for today. they think instead of producing more relief to those who continue to struggle in the economy that we should also help prevent future job loss and incentivize the creation of new private sector jobs all at the same time. that's what the house bill does. it goes beyond government benefits, beyond government benefits and takes us a step towards addressing the jobs crisis at hand. most people would view this proposal as evidence that the two parties are put putting their best ideas on the table and addressing both sides of this jobs crisis. the relief side and the incentive side.
10:16 am
most people would call it a balanced approach. unfortunately, the president doesn't seem to be happy these days unless he's got an issue to divide us over. if the republicans are proposing it, he's against it. regardless of how many job losses it prevents or how many private sector jobs it would help create and he's not even trying to hide it. the majority leader signaled yesterday he and the president are so determined to turn even the most bipartisan job-creating legislation into a political issue that he'll ask his members to hold off signing the government funding legislation they've already agreed to on a bipartisan basis just to hand the president what they view as a political victory this week. this isn't just irresponsible. it's reckless. the house is about to pass a bill we believe certainly going to consider today that would help working americans by
10:17 am
extending the temporary payroll tax cut, help unemployed americans by extending unemployment insurance, and which would help americans looking for work by accelerating construction of the single biggest shovel-ready project in america. this is the biggest construction project in america. ready to go. it only needs the sign-off from the president of the united states. it deserves to pass with broad, bipartisan support. they had a vote on that earlier this year in the house. 47 house democrats voted to get this project started. so i would suggest that our friends put the political games aside and give the american people the certainty and the jobs that they deserve. take up the house bill, pass it right here in the senate, and send it to the president for a signature without theatrics and without delay. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the
10:18 am
previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for two hours with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. snowe: i ask unanimous consent to be recognized for 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. snowe: thank you, madam president. this morning i rise to speak to the question that the united states senate will be focused on over the next day or so regarding a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. madam president, i don't think there's any doubt we have to reverse this fiscal recklessness not just for our time but or all
10:19 am
time. i have consistently and vehemently challenged a balanced budget amendment for the past three decades in both the house and the senate. to prevent precisely the kind of fiscal quagmire we are enmeshed in today as our federal government's borrowing anistonnishing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend. in my 30 years in the united states congress, i have cosponsored a balanced budget amendment 18 times, have spoken to it, made statements in favor of it 35 times. so i've had some experience in this battle to get the federal government to balance revenues with expenditures. and i learned that without a self-restraining mechanism the debt over time only goes in one direction. in fact, we have debated in the united states senate since 1981 on five different occasions a constitutional amendment and the u.s. house of representatives it's been debated four times since 1981 through 1997 and we've seen what's happened with
10:20 am
the mounting debt. so the impending vote to amend the constitution represents an unambiguous choice between changing business as usual in washington or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford that has brought this country to the edge of our fiscal chasm. the status quo that has led to more than three years without passing a federal budget, the status quo that has brought us the first-ever downgrade of america's sterling triple a credit rating, the status quo that was exemplified by the super committee's inability to agree on $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. now we have two competing balanced budget amendment proposals pending before the senate in somewhat of a partisan duel that has become regrettably all too predictable in washington. our nation is on the edge of a
10:21 am
fiscal cliff and as i said, the reason first--- recents first-ever downgrade of our credit rating. 20 million americans unemployed or underemployed. this should not be two competing proposals on an issue as critical as our nation's fiscal health and survival. why are we presented the idea of balancing the budget within the constitution on the 80 -- 87th day of our legislative schedule this year? and yet here we are in the 347th day of the calendar year. 87 days we've been in legislative session, and yet we can only consign about eight hours or so to the idea of debating the mighty question of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. prior consideration in the united states senate, whether
10:22 am
it was in 1982, it was 11 days, in 1986 it was eight days, 1995 it was more than a month. 1997, it was another virtual month. and here we are giving eight hours to debate two competing proposals. rather than working through the differences, through the amendment process, airing one another's legitimate differences so we could ultimately resolve the question once and for all whether or not we should have a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. amending is consistent with the traditions and practices of the united states senate. yet regrettably, we will be denied that opportunity. which is unprecedented frankly, on this question. it's a question that clearly
10:23 am
deserves much greater deference than is being accorded here in the united states senate. thomas jefferson once wrote "i place economy among the first and most important republican virtues -- yes, that's republican with a small r -- and he went on to say public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. he wrote in 179 "i wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our constitution, i mean an additional article taken from -- taking from the federal government the power of borrowing. well, he understood. he understood the perils of borrowing and we're not even going as far as thomas jefferson was advocating. but he also recognized the
10:24 am
danger of debt and deficits do matter. he said one generation should not pay for the debts of another, no more than we should pay the debts of a foreign nation. he couldn't have been more right. we have now entered what some economists have labeled an economic danger zone because our gross national debt is approaching 100% of gross domestic product. our outstanding federal debt exceeds the entire size of america's economy. there's no question it's stunted economic growth costing millions of american jobs at a time when we are experiencing the longest period of long-term unemployment in the history of this country, the second worst recession in a hundred years. just as disturbingly, the government currently pays $200 billion annually in interest to foreign countries,
10:25 am
to foreign countries, that hold our treasury bonds. countries like china and russia. as illustrated in this chart, the cost of the net increase alone in interest will more than triple in the next ten years by the year 2021. that is just the net interest that we will pay. to foreign countries because of our bonded indebtedness. in fact, the c.b.o.'s most interest estimate is it will reach 9%, more than the u.s. spends on social security and medicare. and that's what -- c.b.o. has been addressing, warned that growing debt would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal
10:26 am
crisis in which investors would lose confidence in the government's ability and the government would lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates which is exactly what's happening in europe. it could happen at any moment in time. it could be a small item that ultimately precipitates and triggers a debt crisis. that puts this economy in jeopardy and peril as we experience so trawmentally in america -- trawmentally in america -- trawm atally in 20808 2008. if interest rates were just one percentage point higher per year over the next decade, the deficit will balloon by $1.3 trillion from increased costs. to put these numbers in perspective, you have to look at the past. our nation accumulated in the
10:27 am
first 200 years its first trillion-dollar debt. in 200 years. yet in just the past three years alone, the national debt has soared by nearly $5 trillion. let's just repeat that for a moment. the first 200 years, we accumulated $1 trillion in debt. the last three years we have accumulated $5 trillion. so, when the president stated last summer we don't need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs, well, not exactly. if that were true, madam president, if such an amendment isn't required for us to do our jobs, then why do we find ourselves waloing in this economic morass. if congress possessed the possibility to forestall
10:28 am
skyrocketing death of its own volition, why are we mired in a major debt crisis? why is the c.b.o. and so many other forecasters reiterating and underscoring the negative outlooks for the future if we don't grapple with this debt? the facts speak for themselves. in 1986 when the senate failed by one vote to pass a balanced budget amendment, the national debt topped $2.1 trillion. in 1995 we lost it again, and the national debt at that time was $4.8 trillion. in 1997, the senate again, lost it by one vote, passed the balanced budget amendment, the national debt was $5.3 trillion, a number we found staggering. but apparently it wasn't staggering enough.
10:29 am
as the abysmal track record following the 1997 tramally demonstrates because in 1999, just two years after that fateful vote, the debt rose to $5.6 trillion. by 2009 it rose to $11 trillion and last year to $13.5 trillion and now today it is at $15 trillion. the bottom line is that from 1997 to 2011, the debt has almost tripled. you know, in 1992 when i was serving in the u.s. house of representatives we debated a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. one of several times. and i argued for a balanced budget amendment on the floor. and during the debate, i said we have no way of knowing how bad things might get. if we continue without a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.
10:30 am
we can only speculate, madam president, where we would be had we passed that balanced budget amendment some 14 years ago. but we can no longer afford to speculate about where we will be with respect to our debt 14 years from now. let us not be confused as we hear all the usual diversionary excuses why this amendment shouldn't pass. i have heard it time and time again over the last three decades, as i've indicated, and those excuses have been reiterated time and again. and nine times it's been considered between the house and senate over the last three decades. how a balanced budget amendment will be overly restrictive, spending reductions too substantial, and that other measures will be equally
10:31 am
effective without changing our constitution. well, let us not be distracted by the siren's call of this masterful art of deflexion. during the course of the debate in 1992 in the u.s. house of representatives and i was getting my statement in, i was challenged by a colleague when he asked "what if appropriations exceeded estimated revenues?" what if the president and congress underestimated the amount of federal revenues in a fiscal year? what if it requires budgetary adjustments as a result of a contracting economy or inaccurate estimates? well, as i said at the time, as i do now, welcome to the real world. what are families and businesses doing every day, trying to project their costs, their current costs, their future costs, whether or not they'll
10:32 am
have a job, what their health insurance is going to be. or businesses knowing what their future health care costs are going to be. the cost of living goes up for individuals and businesses. and on and on it goes. that's the real world. but it's not one in which we live here in the senate and the u.s. house of representatives, and one which we have long ignored, to our fiscal peril. not to mention 49 states that have adopted balanced budget requirements. these are issues that day in and day out that state capitals have to deal with, as the presiding chair knows, being a former governor of the state of new hampshire. they had to make choices. my husband was a former governor of maine. you have to make choices in tough times. that means you have to establish priorities. you have to understand what's coming in and what's going on, and you've got to balance it. why should the federal government be any different?
10:33 am
because obviously it hasn't worked, you know, on our own devices. it hasn't worked through any other means. so now we have a fiscal gap here in washington that not only is a disparity between our revenues and expenditures, but it's also a shameful imbalance between the trust the american people placed in us as elected officials and the responsibility we must carry out if we have to demonstrate the worthiness of that trust. madam president, absent a permanent mechanism that compels and forces the congress to set and fulfill its fiscal priorities, we'll continue blithely in our wayward practices obviously. we only have to learn from the past to understand the future. and rest assured that we have
10:34 am
tried every statutory structure possible, yet nothing we have implemented has withstood the test of time of circumvention and gimmickry. we did have statutory effects of -- positive effects of statutory limits, the statutory balanced budget act of 1997. but, unfortunately, we've allowed them to lapse because we could do it statutorily. you couldn't do it with a constitutional amendment. a constitutional amendment would not allow these efforts to wither on the vine and would bind congress to congress. so when we talk about a deficit-reduction package for the few taourbgs no matter what we -- for the future, no matter what we do today could be undone tomorrow by the next congress if we do not have the binding effects of a constitutional amendment. that is the big difference. that's what congress knows. they do not want their hands tied. that's what this is all about, madam president.
10:35 am
not to tie our hands, to make all the decisions we want irrespective of the impact on the mounting debt. we have squandered historic opportunities. i tried for the legislative trigger back in 2001 when we had projected surpluses to pay down the national debt, invest in social security and medicare but it was dismissed and derided. we tried to get that through but people weren't thinking about the future. i knew we had to take surpluses and protect them and invest in the future, but unfortunately that didn't happen. people want to spend without restraint. as we sadly know, the promises were empty about getting this, a handle on our budget. that's why we haven't had budgets in the last three years. that's why we haven't passed appropriations -- one appropriation for the first time since 1974, sense the budget act. this is all correlated, all cause and effect.
10:36 am
if you have no discipline in the budget pro serbgs you have no -- process, you have no discipline in spending and the mounting debt. the reality could not be more stark about the necessity for a balanced budget amendment. and, yes, we do need one if we're ever to ensure the perpetuity of fiscal balance and restraint. finally, madam president, let me just say -- and i know even vice president biden spoke to this issue, expressing the same frustration i do today in the 1995 debate in the senate. he said there's nothing left to try except a balanced budget amendment. exactly. that's where we are. i don't understand why we hired a position here today where we have two competing amendments. it's not if we don't have differences. certainly. why not have one amendment, why not amend it? that's what the united states senate is all about. it's become a all or nothing
10:37 am
proposition, a zero-sum game. we have two separate votes on two separate measures creating a parallel universe with two different balanced budget amendments but zero opportunity to reconcile our differences. we know what the strategy is. it's called lip service. it is to allow everyone to say they voted for a balanced budget amendment while the armies of the status quo employ every weapon to ensure that it doesn't happen. i regret that we're not treating this issue, as i said earlier, with the deference that it deserves, an issue that 70%, 80% of the american people support at a time in which the united states congress has an approval rating, an approval rating of 9% and 12%. it varies from day to day. i say that we should be collectively embarrassed about
10:38 am
how this reflects on the institution, because we're not focusing on the issues that matter to people in their daily lives. and this matters because they understand that we are shackling future generations. the choice couldn't be more clear. we can either bring disrepute among ourselves by continuing to mortgage our future, to cover the fiscal offenses of today. or we can rise to the occasion, madam president, and meet our moral responsibility and bequeath the generation to come a nation unencumbered by the shackles of perpetual debt. the decision is ours and history awaits our answer. thank you, madam president. mr. cornyn: madam president? sproeup the senator from texas. -- the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: can i inquire of the chair how much time remains in morning business on our side? the presiding officer: 39 1/2
10:39 am
minutes. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent to speak in that remaining period of time, at least senior senator -- at least as much time as i may use. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you. i want to express my appreciation to the senator from maine. this is a fight people have fought for so long that some have become very cynical about whether or not we actually will ever act in a responsible fashion to deal with the runaway debt that our country has -- continues to accrue with about 40 cents out of every dollar being spent today, continues to be spent of borrowed money. and we know that this is not just a theoretical problem. this is very real. when we look at what's happening in europe with countries engaged in a sovereign debt crises that have made promises they can't
10:40 am
afford to keep. and the day of reckoning has come to europe. and the day of reckoning for the united states may not be far behind. but i think it's really important to lay a few foundational points. let me start with the preface of the constitution of the united states of america, because what we're talking about doing is amending the constitution, something we've only done 27 times since the founding of our country. but the constitution of the united states starts this way. it says "we the people of the united states of america, in order to form a more perfect union, established justice, ensured domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, to ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america.
10:41 am
so this constitution, it's important to recognize, madam president, this is a constitution created by the american people. this is not something handed down from on high that we cannot change or should not change. this is our constitution. we own it. and it's within our power to amend the constitution when circumstances make it prudent for us to do so. let me also refer to article 5 of the united states constitution. this is the basis upon which we are seeking to amend the constitution by this vote tomorrow. article 5 says, "the congress with two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the constitution." and then should the joint resolution pass with two-thirds vote in both houses, then it goes to the state where 38
10:42 am
states -- three quarters of the states would have to ratify that amendment before it becomes the fundamental law of the land. there is another provision in article 5 that i'll talk about in a minute which allows the states in the face of inaction by congress to ask for a constitutional convention to be established for that purpose. but as i said, i will save that for a later time. madam president, all 47 members on this side have cosponsored senate joint resolution number 10. but this does not have to be a partisan endeavor. indeed, the last time, in 1997, when there was a vote on a constitutional amendment, and it failed by one vote in the senate, 11 democrats joined republicans to come within one vote of passing that joint resolution, which it had already
10:43 am
passed the house of representatives. so this is -- this does not have to be, and it should not be a partisan undertaking. but let me just remind my colleagues what did our financial situation look like in 1997? our deficit was $107 billion. that's right, $107 billion. today it's roughly $1.3 trillion. $107 billion in 1997. today $1.3 trillion. our national debt, which recently broke the $15 trillion mark, back then it was roughly $5 trillion. we've seen almost a three fold increase in our national debt since 1997 when we came within one vote of passing a constitutional amendment and sending it to the states. well, we know that throughout
10:44 am
american history, our government has faced fiscal challenges. our founders had their own when they had to amendment the articles of confederation to provide for a constitution that allowed us to deal with our financial problems. but what are the differences between those faced by the founding generation and those we face today? back then, government was the solution to the problem, and today the size and growth of government is the problem. and the american people understand the difference clearly. as i said, the american people are absolutely repulsed by the idea that congress continues to spend 40 cents out of every dollar that it spends in borrowed money. i know people like to say this is a problem for the next generation and beyond, but all you have to do is look across
10:45 am
the atlantic ocean to what's happening in europe today and you realize, no, this is our problem. this generation, now. in europe, and the ramifications could easily extend to the united states and create a recession, if not worse, here in the united states as we go through a sovereign debt crisis. the american people also understood this debt we bear is a job killer because it dampens economic growth and only by the private sector economy growing do you get the sort of job creation that will help get us out of this mess. and right now, we're muddling along at roughly 2% of g.d.p., which is not even enough to deal with the unacceptably high unemployment. yes, we had a break last week when we saw the unemployment rate come down a little bit, but a closer look at the statistics reveal that it was because so many people quit
10:46 am
looking for a job. they gave up. well, we also know this is a national security risk, this high debt. former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mullens, said the debt was the single largest threat to our national security. this is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. you wouldn't think that that was part of his portfolio, but that's what keeps him awake at night and worries him, our debt and the fact that china is the major purchaser of that debt, someone whose interests are not exactly aligned with ours to say the least. and secretary of state hillary clinton has said the debt undermines our capacity to act in our own interests and sends a message of weakness internationally. and then there's a quote from a former colleague of ours, madam president, way back in 2006, who said "increasingly, america's debt weakens us
10:47 am
domestically and internationally. he said "it's a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies." close quote. and you may have guessed it. yes, that was then-senator barack obama. what i think people find absolutely unnerving, disappointing, and yes, even shocking is the lack of leadership on this issue. not only because our national debt is a growing fiscal problem as well as a national security risk, it has created a crisis of confidence in our political system, and people's confidence in the congress' ability to do what we get paid for, what we got elected to do, and that is to solve our nation's problems, including our nation's fiscal problem.
10:48 am
president obama understands this very well. that's why he appointed a bipartisan fiscal commission, now called the simpson-bowles commission that came up with $4 trillion in deficit reduction along, debt reductions along with other recommendations like tracks reform that would make us more competitive globally. but in 2010, in december, 2010, when that report was rendered, what has the president done with regard to that report that got bipartisan support, i believe 11 out of the 18 members, including three republican senators at that time, judd gregg, mike crapo, and tom coburn? the president walked away from it. he walked away from it. what did he do when he gave his state of the union speech shortly thereafter? he didn't even mention it. what did he do? did he come up with a
10:49 am
counterproposal or a different proposal? no, he held back, waited till the chairman of the house budget committee, paul ryan, and house republicans passed a budget out of the house, something that has not happened in the senate for more than 900 days, the president attacked. engaged in scare tactics that really i believe are beneath the dignity and responsibility of the office of president of the united states. well, leadership on the national debt has not only been lacking from the white house, the congress hasn't done much better. and it's true as the senator from maine has said, that the basic conundrum we have in times when we passed deficit reduction legislation like gramm-rudman-hollings and the other is purely statutory fixes are fine but they can't bind
10:50 am
future congresses. we need a constitutional amendment that will make at this time law of the land that cannot be ignored by future congresses when we do, as i hope we will do, embrace our responsibility to pass this constitutional amendment. well, the facts show that -- show that the time for a strong balanced budget amendment is now. it is today. joint resolution 10 is a strong balanced budget amendment that will protect the american people from runaway deficits and reckless spending. if ratified by three quarters of the states, that's 38 states, it will require a two-thirds supermajority of congress in both chambers to approve a deficit in any fiscal year. a supermajority would be needed in a time of emergency to approve a deficit in any given year and it can't be open ended. it has to happen each year that
10:51 am
a deficit might be run. and we can imagine that emergencies could occur, but it shouldn't be a routine matter as it is now where we engage in deficit spending. this amendment would provide exceptions that only when a majority of both chambers -- that it would require a majority of both chambers to approve a he deficit during a time of declared war and a 3/5 supermajority in both chambers could approve a deficit during military conflicts. for those of our colleagues who are worried that this balanced budget amendment would provide such a straitjacket it would deny us the flexibility to respond to our nation's emergencies, in the amendment itself is provided the means to deal with those extraordinary circumstances. joint resolution 10 would also require a two-thirds majority to approve outlays beyond 18% of g.d.p. that's roughly what our revenue has been, roughly 18% of gun,
10:52 am
although -- g.d.p., although today spending is at 25% and because of the recession and the fragile economic recovery, our -- our income is roughly 15%. so we're running a roughly 10% annual deficit. this resolution, this amendment would require a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. we don't have a tax problem. we have a spending problem. and we are not able to keep up with the promises we made both in terms of entitlement and other spending. and this would require the discipline of two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes in order to balance the budget so we could do it when there was a broad consensus that was necessary but not provide the easy out to just raise taxes in order to balance the budget. unless two-thirds said that was all right. and then it would also provide a
10:53 am
3/5 supermajority to raise the debt limit. finally -- and this is important, madam president, -- the balanced budget amendment, senate joint resolution 10, would require the president to submit a balanced budget to the congress each year. now, the president has historically submitted a budget, and i -- in i believe roughly february of each year but it's rarely balanced. indeed, the last budget submitted by president obama was not even brought up for a vote by our friends across the aisle and when we insisted upon a vote on that budget, it cost 97-0. no democrat and no republican voted for president obama's last budget because it continued the reckless spending and the debt. it's important that this body support a strong balanced budget amendment and not just a fig
10:54 am
leaf or cover vote because senate joint resolution 10 has the strongest provisions on spending and taxes in addition to provisions that would allow us to balance the budget. i know there's another alternative that will be voted on, but i'm afraid this alternative offers more of a mirage than a real solution. first of all, it does not include all spending. this would make government accounting even more mistifying, even more opaque, less transparent. can you imagine families and small businesses doing something like that, saying, well, we're going to balance our budget but we're not going to include all the spending that we do. small businesses and our families don't have the luxury of moving things off the balance sheet and sort of enron style accounting, and neither should their government. either you balance the budget or you do not.
10:55 am
the alternative that we will be presented an opportunity to vote on next to this strong balanced budget amendment, this alternative does not protect the middle class from higher taxes. it does not -- it would not have stopped the 21 tax increases that have been enacted in the first three years of the obama administration. that's right, 21 tax increases during the first three years of this administration. the problem is not that -- with washington is not that it is too difficult to raise taxes. the problem is that it is too easy. a real solution to our debt crisis must permanently change the propensity to tax and spend with reckless disregard. a strong balanced budget amendment will actually solve the problem. let's remember that the disease here in washington that the balanced budget amendment is designed to cure is out-of-control federal spending
10:56 am
and big deficits are just a symptom of that disease. any doctor will tell you just treating the symptom doesn't treat the disease and without treating the underlying causes of the symptoms we would not be making matters better. we would just be creating, again, another illusion of a solution. the strong balanced budget amendment which i support along with 46 of my republican colleagues and i hope a significant showing on the other side, will treat the disease along with the symptoms. an amendment with too many exceptions and loopholes will not. a strong balanced budget amendment will reassure financial markets and the american people that we understand the magnitude of the problem. as i talk to my constituents in texas and others around the country who are the type of people that we're looking to to create jobs by making the investments, by starting businesses and by growing existing businesses, they tell
10:57 am
me that with the growing debt, with uncertainty about tax policy, with overregulation and with the unwillingness to deal with sovereign -- a potential sovereign debt crisis and slow economic growth in the private sector, that they're just going to sit it out. they're sitting on the sidelines. they're not going to take imprudent risks with the capital they've acquired after going through this recession and becoming leaner and becoming more efficient, they're not ready to get back in the game until they get a signal from us that we're actually serious about solving our financial problems. well, unfortunately, the president not only has neglected his own bipartisan fiscal commission, the simpson-bowles commission and fallen for the siren call of his political visors -- advisers that don't
10:58 am
offer a political solution but rather to attack those who do, the president has compounded his mistake in this area by saying we don't need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs. well, presumably that refers not only to our balanced budget amendment but to an amendment offered by the democrats as an alternative to senate republican balanced budget amendment. the president claimed that a balanced budget amendment is not necessary. because the constitution already tells us to do our jobs and make sure the government is living within its means and making responsible choices. who does he think he is fooling? who does he think he's kidding? the president does himself no credit and indeed, i think demonstrates a lack of commitment to dealing with our nation's problems when he says things like that.
10:59 am
he knows that the experience of this congress has been, whether it's republican administrations or democratic administrations, that without a balanced budget amendment we simply are not going to have the tools necessary to get the job done. according to one white house spokesman, balancing the budget is not complicated. well, if it's not complicated, how come the president of the united states hasn't submitted a balanced budget proposal? s his last one because it broke the bank made the debt worse, didn't solve the problem, was rejected 97-0 by a bipartisan vote in this body. the same spokesman said all that's needed is that we put politics aside, quit ducking responsibility, roll up our sleeves, get to work, get beyond politics as usual. i have to say, madam president, what bunk is that?
11:00 am
don't they know how little credibility that sort of rhetoric has when it comes to solving the problem? just saying it does not make it so. what people are looking for is concrete action by the congress. you know, the strange thing to me, madam president, when the president of the united states invited republican conference over to his -- the executive office building several months back, he asked for ideas around the table. and several of us, including me, told him, mr. president, if you would embrace solutions to solving these problems, we would work with you, because we are americans first and not members of political party first. we are americans. we didn't come here just to posture and to act like we're solving a problem while doing nothing. we actually are willing to do it, because frankly, we're
11:01 am
concerned. and many of us are beyond concerned. we're scared. this is no longer just for our children and grandchildren. this is about the present generation. this is about us. all we need to do is look at what's happening in europe. and it could be our problem in the forseeable future. and i'm not just talking about decades. i'm talking about years. and it could be earlier. everything you read about the sovereign debt crisis in europe and the history of these crises in the past is once the public loses confidence in the ability of a sovereign nation to pay its debt back, then things slip away very quickly. we've seen that happen in europe with the prices, the price of the debt on italian bonds and others, greek bonds go through the roof because people know they can't be paid back. and if people doubt, begin to
11:02 am
doubt for a minute our lack of resolve at dealing with this fiscal crisis and this debt crisis, we could well be not just in a similar mess, we could be worse off, because there will be no european union. there will be no i.m.f. to bail out the united states of america, the largest economy in the world. madam president, let me just close for now by saying that this is not just a matter of conjecture, whether a balanced budget amendment would help and would work. 49 different states have some form of balanced budget requirement. vermont is the only one that does not. of these 32 states have constitutional provisions. additional states require that their governor actually propose a balanced budget or require a balanced budget indirectly by prohibiting the state from carrying a deficit into the next year. but the point is this is not just a matter of conjecture and guesswork.
11:03 am
we know because we've seen it happen at the state level, that a balanced budget requirements are effective. and what do they do? well, we know that state balanced budget requirements are only effective when combined with limitations on tax and spending. states with limitations on taxing and spending are less likely to raise taxes to balance the budget than states without such a limitation. states with tax and spending limitations have a slower growth of government than states with such -- excuse me -- without such limitations. in other words, states with tax and spending limitations have a slower rate of growth and cost of government and size of government than states without them. so we know that a balanced budget amendment can work. and i hope that my colleagues, as frustrated as i am on a bipartisan basis, with the lack
11:04 am
of leadership on this, will show leadership. we shouldn't just look for leadership over at the white house or anywhere else. we ought to look at ourselves in the mirror and say what can i do to solve this problem? and i submit that a balanced budget amendment would go a long way to putting us on the path to fiscal responsibility. we can't do it overnight because we didn't get into this mess overnight. but just as vice president biden said in 1995, "i have concluded that there is nothing left to try except the balanced budget amendment." that's what vice president biden said in 1995. i agree with him. if it was true then, it's even more true now. so i hope that tomorrow when we have a chance to vote, we will vote for a real solution, a real balanced budget amendment, senate joint resolution 10, that
11:05 am
will avoid the temptation to act once again like we're doing something without actually delivering a solution to the problem, by providing a cover, a fig leaf that once again will undermine the public's confidence in our commitment and our willingness, in our leadership when it comes to the nation's problems. ultimately, madam president, the american people will have the final say on this. if we don't do it tomorrow, then the american people will have another chance to have an election and vote and presumably choose people who will deal with the problem. and ultimately we know, getting back to article 5 of the constitution, that if congress does not propose a solution, to quote article 5, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states that there shall be
11:06 am
called a constitutional convention for proposing amendments. so, the final word is not with members of congress although we can solve the problem tomorrow if we voted on it and passed it and encourage our colleagues in the house to pass it. ultimately there will be an intervening election. but ultimately beyond that the constitution, which is the constitution of we the people of the united states, the people of the united states will have the final word, whether it be in the next election, in 2012, or by means of a constitutional convention called on the application of two-thirds of the states, of which i'm told about 20 applications are already pending. madam president, i yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
11:07 am
quorum call:
11:08 am
11:09 am
11:10 am
11:11 am
11:12 am
the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: madam president, i'd like unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: madam president, i rise today to talk about jobs and politics. there are a lot of folks in washington who pay lip service to jobs and a lot of people who are playing politics. it sure doesn't seem like many folks are interested in doing the hard job of creating jobs. folks all over montana have been asking for good-paying, livable wage jobs, jobs that can't be outsourced, jobs that put folks to work in a forest, jobs that build the energy infrastructure this country needs. right now there are two proposals that will do just that. first i'd like to talk about my forest jobs and recreation act. this bill will stabilize the wood products industry in montana by ensuring a dependable timber supply that will give certainty to loggers in the woods and workers in the mills. this bill will allow for the
11:13 am
restoration of 100,000 acres of national forest lands in montana, reducing the chances of out-of-control forest fires that could devastate our communities or watersheds and our way of life. recent data released by the forest service shows that wildfires that burn where the trees were thin were less expensive to fight, they were easier to control and did less structural damage to neighboring buildings. this bill also puts people to work by rolling up roads, improving our wall street quality and -- improving our water quality and protects nearly a million acres for our children and grandchildren in wilderness and recreation areas. this is a bipartisan solution supported by industry and conservations. it is a product of people who were on polar opposites of the issue who came together for solutions for how we can manage our forests better. we can take a lesson from their example.
11:14 am
they brought those solutions to me to be put into law. this is a bill that will move the country in the right direction with a responsible, balanced solution, and it will create jobs. but rather than getting this bill passed, it has become a political football in the appropriations process. some house republicans seem to be more concerned with their own jobs rather than creating montana jobs by passing my forest jobs and recreation act. that isn't fair to montanans anxious to get back to work. we lost over 1,700 jobs in the timber industry in 2009, more last year and still more this year. i would ask folks who are negotiating this final deal right now to think about the folks who are counting on us to set politics aside and do what's right for our country and for montana. this same logic applies to the keystone x.l. pipeline. right now the president has the
11:15 am
power to create jobs by approving this pipeline. he could make the decision to approve this pipeline in the very near future. now let me be clear, he should do it right. doing it right means approving this pipeline while respecting private property rights. i support the the pipeline but will never support a corporation, much less a foreign corporation given the right to take away property from americans or any american without negotiating in good faith. doing it right makes sure the highest safety standards are followed throughout montana and rural america. i do not believe we should have to wait until january of 201 for a decision that can create american jobs right now. in montana we need the jobs. we need the ability to provide incentives to boost production in places where it makes the most sense like the bakkan formation in eastern montana. many people don't know the keystone pipeline will include
11:16 am
an onramp in baker, montana, that will tap in the bakken good formation and ensure the most out of the american resource. it matters to our national security. the keystone x.l. pipeline will transport north american oil and move this country away from spending billions of dollars per year in middle eastern countries that don't like it very much. at the same time, madam president, i am concerned about the way folks on both sides of this issue are handling it right now. we do not need to tangle this issue up with a payroll tax in the house bill that would add more than $25 billion to our debt. and that would cut medicare benefits. folks, it's time to quit playing politics and start doing what's right, whether it's the keystone pipeline, it's time to move forward, working together to create jobs in this country. but instead, politicians on both sides are using these important items as political football and that's too bad.
11:17 am
we should be acting responsibly to create jobs with this pipeline and to put folks back to work in the woods with my bill. instead, we're watching political maneuvering designed to score points rather than create jobs. and we all know that when it's -- and we all know that this is how washington acts. people who lose are the hard working americans and manhattan yants to -- montanans who want to get back to work and main the power structure that powers america. i'm proud of my support for the keystone x.l. pipeline and the jobs it will create. we need a quicker decision based on the merits of the project. after setting aside their differences, montanans also deserve the passage of the festivity forest. it's time america takes a page from those who constructed the bill. they set aside nearly 30 years of partisan bickering to find solutions where everyone gives a
11:18 am
little and gains a lot. it's the right thing to do. with that i yield the floor, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they is the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to engage in a colloquy with my colleagues for the remainder of the democratic time in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: thank you, madam president. madam president, i understand that some of my colleagues here in the senate and in the house as well do not believe that global warming is real, and they do not want to see our country and in fact other countries around the world take
11:19 am
the necessary actions to deal with this issue. and that's fine. everybody is entitled to their opinion. but it does seem to me to make a bit of sense that we listen to the leading scientists of this world, not only in our own country but throughout the world, and hear what they have to say about global warming and the need to respond. madam president, the national national academies of science in our country, the united states, joined by academies of science in the united kingdom, in italy, in mexico, canada, france, japan, russia, germany, india, brazil, south africa, have said, and i quote, "climate change is
11:20 am
happening even faster than previously estimated, and the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable" -- end of quote. so they're not talking about whether climate change is real or not real. what they are saying and what scientists all over the world are saying is that climate change is happening even faster than previously reported. madam president, 18 scientific societies, including the american geophysical union, the american chemical society, and the american association for the advancement of science, said said -- and i quote -- "observations throughout the world make it clear climate change is occurring and rigorous
11:21 am
scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gas emitted by human activities are the primary driver. these conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science" -- end of quote. that comes from the american geophysical union, the american chemical society and the american association for the advancement of science. further, madam president, it is not just scientists in our own country or throughout the world who are talking about climate change, who are talking about the need to respond vigorously to that crisis, but right within our own government, the united states government, we have the department of defense, the department of defense
11:22 am
saying --, and i quote -- "climate change is an accellerant of instability" -- end of quote. what that means is when there is drought, when countries around the world are unable to grow the food that they need, when there is flooding and people are driven off of the land, and when people migrate from one area to another, this creates international instability which is of concern to the department of defense. the c.i.a., the c.i.a. understands, quote, "that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world contributing to poverty, environmental degradation and the further weakening of fragile governments, as well as food and water scarcity." that's from our own c.i.a. but it is not just scientists around the world, not just
11:23 am
government agencies in the united states. you have a business whose life and death, whose profit margin depends upon understanding this issue, and that is the insurance industry. if the insurance industry ends up paying out a whole lot of money when there are disasters, they're going to lose money. they have to understand climate change and the disasters, weather disturbances that occur from that and this is what they say in a report from the national association of insurance commissioners found there is -- quote -- "broad consensus among insurers that climate change will have an effect on extreme weather events" -- end of quotes. and those are guys whose profit margins depend upon that analysis. madam president, -- madam president, many americans and people around the world are concerned about the future
11:24 am
impacts of global warming on our planet, and what's going to happen ten, 20 years down the line, and that is terribly important. we have to understand what climate change is going to do to our planet in years to come. but we don't have to just look at what may happen 20 or 30 years from today. we should be looking at what is happening right now this the year 2011. the world health organization reports annual weather-related disasters have tripled since the 1960's, causing more than 60,000 deaths per year. national climactic data center shows that 26,500 record high temperatures were recorded at weather stations across the united states this summer, texas set the record for the warmest summer of any state
11:25 am
since instrument records began in 1895. oklahoma set a record for its warmest summer, exceeding records set during the dust bowl era of the 1930's. drought in texas has led to wildfires that have destroyed more than 1,500 homes in texas. a 2010 heat wave in russia killed 56,000 people, the heat wave in europe in 2003 killed 35,000 people. we can look at pakistan, which in 2010 had a record 129-degree temperature. all of that is consistent with what scientists have been warning us about for years. nasa's james hansen said climate change rolls the dice, end of quote, in favor of more extreme weather events. hansen said the 20 whether
11:26 am
greenhouse emissions are contributing to this you disturbances, is -- quote -- "yes, humans probably share responsibility for the extreme event." a number of colleagues are coming to the floor but i want to give the mike over to a senator who has been an absolute leader on this whole issue, fighting for -- fighting for the environment and that is senator whitehouse of rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you, senator sanders. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: the statement you've made is truthful and important, but there's actually more to this story even than that. at another time i'll discuss at greater length the ocean's dimension to what is happening to our planet as a result of the carbon pollution that we are
11:27 am
emitting at literally unprecedented levels in human history but for now let me just say that it is very severe, very dire, and to everyone who is listening and paying attention, the ocean is emitting warning signs that we disregard at our peril. but in addition to the threat of environmental harm, connected to the problem of carbon pollution is a huge opportunity. and that's the opportunity of clean energy, clean energy will drive the decades to come, clean energy jobs can and should be powering our economic recovery. madam president, we are in a race right now. we are in a race for dominance and for preeminence in the clean
11:28 am
energy economy that is emerging all around the world other countries see it, they're competing in that race, they're putting everything that they have into winning that race. but because we have a political system that is still listening to the dirty, polluting, energy industry, and using the politics of washington to interfere, we are constantly having to fight to stay even. one of the things we're fighting right now to preserve is the section 1603 treasury grant program which will expire at the end of this year if we do nothing. this program has been vital for our renewable energy industry. it has leveraged nearly $23 billion in private sector investment, supported 22,000 projects which collectively power more than one million homes. this is big. this is no longer some tiny
11:29 am
little cottage industry. the national renewable energy lab estimates the 1603 program has supported up to 290,000 u.s. jobs. and if you look more largely at the renewable energy sector, renewable energy is more labor intensive, creates more jobs than fossil fuel energy per dollar invested, creates more jobs than fossil fuel energy per megawatt generated, and the clean economy as a whole, including renewable energy and energy efficiency and environmental management, employees -- employs 2.7 million workers in this country, more than the fossil fuel industry. but the fossil fuel industry owns this town and they keep stepping on this larger growing, clean energy industry. we are seeing it, unfortunately, out there in real life. americans invented the first
11:30 am
solar cell. in 1995, america had 40% of the global manufacturing volume. we're now down to 7% of the global manufacturing volume of solar cells. china is investing $20 billion more in clean energy every year to accelerate ahead of us. european countries have feed-in tariffs so investors can know what their clean energy product will sell for and that is attracting capital and growth there. and we simply are not keeping up. we are now in the united states of america the home to only one of the top ten wind turbine manufacturers. this is an unhealthy place to be and we need to get back into this fight. mature industries that america leads have demonstrated the important role for government intervention at the early days.
11:31 am
our commercial aviation industry has been the envy of the world through its entire history. the united states of america subsidized airmail to help support this fledgling industry. it purchased planes for military purposes to help support it and supported it with aeronautics r&d. the same thing should be happening in clean energy and we need to work very hard to make sure that this 1603 treasury grant does not die on the cutting room floor as we come to the end of this year. because if it does, jobs will go with it. there'll be an immediate response. projects will be terminated. people will be laid off. divisions of companies and smaller companies will close, and it is an unnecessary self-inflicted injury that we should avoid. let me just bring it home. in rhode island, this project has facilitated solar panel installation on three new bank
11:32 am
branches the t.d. bank has opened up in barington, in east providence and in johnston, rhode island. those projects created jobs. they put people to work. they lower the costs for those banks of their electrical energy, and they get us off foreign oil and away, step by step, from these foreign entanglements that we have to get into to defend our oil supply. on the larger scale, the city of east providence, rhode island, is in the middle of planning a 3-megawatt solar project on an old landfill, land that had gone out of use, effectively, but is now going to be generating power for that city. construction has also begun on three wind turbines out at the fields point waste water treatment facility in providence. these turbines will meet more than half of our biggest water utility's energy needs. a company called hodge's badge. if your child has ever won an award, has ever won a badge in a track meet, in a horse show, in a school production, you
11:33 am
probably got a ribbon for it and that ribbon was probably made by hodge's badge. it's a great rhode island company. it has 95 employees. they have just gone completely clean energy. and they're doing that to protect those 95 jobs. they're doing it to lower their energy costs. and they're doing it to do the right thing. so as -- i want to salute senator sanders for his eloquence on the real problem of climate change and the campaign of lies and propaganda that has interfered with our ability to deal with what is a real and emerging problem. but also to point out that the second step in this is that there are jobs and there is economic success behind the clean energy industry that will lead us out of the predicament that we are creating for ourselves because people here are in the thrall of the polluting industries. thank you very much, senator sanders. mr. sanders: thank you very much, senator whitehouse. and i just want to reiterate the
11:34 am
very, very important point that senator whitehouse has just made. this struggle to transform our energy system to move away from fossil fuel, toned the absurdity -- to end the absurdity of importing over $300 billion a year in oil from saudi arabia and other foreign countries and move to energy independence, this effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions so that we save the planet, this effort also has to do with creating jobs in the midst of the worst recession since the great depression. and i would hope that every member of the senate is on the side of american workers in helping us to grow sustainable energy companies so we create the jobs we need in this country rather than let china and other countries dominate those industries. and with that, mr. president, i am very proud to give the floor
11:35 am
over to the chairperson of the energy -- of the environmental and public works committee, certainly one of the great environmental leaders here in the united states senate, senator barbara boxer of california. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. mr. president, what is the time remaining in senator sanders' block? the presiding officer: 36 1/2 minutes. mrs. boxer: so is the senator satisfied if i take about seven minutes at this time? is that all right? mr. sanders: that would be fine. mrs. boxer boxer: all right. i want to say how proud i am of the environment and public works committee. to be the chairman of a committee that has such incredible senators such as those you've just heard from, senator sanders, senator whit whitehouse. we have senator cardin, senator baucus, gillibrand, merkley, lautenberg. i hope i'm not leaving -- leaving those out. these are the environmental voices.
11:36 am
we -- those voices, the commonsense voices for jobs, for clean technology, for a bright, bright future for our nation. so to be the chairman of that committee is an honor beyond my every expectation. it's not to say we don't work with republicans. we do, on public works matters. we work very well with senator inhofe and his team of republicans on public works. but when it comes to the environment, there is nobody home over there. there is nobody home over there. as a matter of fact, they do harm. and today i'm going to talk about the need to create jobs through this sector, but i also want to say while my colleagues are here, an interesting development that has happened on the payroll tax cut bill that the house is about to pass. colleagues, we have a term and kind of an inside-the-beltway
11:37 am
term, when extraneous provisions are added to a bill that will bring down the bill, we call that a poison pill amendment. i have never said to you, when i china phrase, poison pill amendment, that it's literal. in this case, they have attach attached, my colleagues, to the payroll tax cut, which is on the one hand giving a tax cut to the middle class, a literal poison pill by rolling back a clean air act provision that will require a very small percent of the boilers in this country to cut back on the filthiest of all pollution, including mercury, arsenic, and lead. i'm going to say that again. mercury, arsenic, and lead. if i were to stop anyone in the street without -- they don't need a degree in science -- are
11:38 am
those good things or bad things for you? they didn't even have to see the movie "arsenic and old lace" to know that arsenic is bad. and lead damages the brains of our kids. and mercury has horrible impacts, particularly on the children. so they have attached a poison pill, colleagues, literally -- because it will kill 8,100 more people than otherwise would have been killed from pollution -- and they've attached that to the payroll tax cut. so how's that for a christmas gift? hi, i'm your snort. -- hi, i'm your senator. here's a tax cut for you of about a thousand dollars. sorry, but you might die from breathing in too much poison in the form of mercury, led, and arsenic. -- in the form of mercury, lead and arsenic. that's what's going on here. honestly.
11:39 am
we've asked for a lot from santa in our day but we never asked for lead, arsenic and mercury. so the reason senator sanders took to the floor today and the reason i'm proud to be here is because we all say here in this chamber we care about jobs. we all say here in this chamber, we want to be energy independe independent. we all should add to that we want less pollution. our colleagues on the other side never mention it. and we should add to that, we want less carbon pollution, which is leading us to extreme weather conditions, climate change, but they don't say that. we say that. how do you do it? well, there are many ways. one is to enforce the clean air laws we have, by the way. that will help get carbon out of the air. fuel economy. but a very easy way, as we
11:40 am
extend this payroll tax cut -- which we all want to do for our middle class -- is to say we should extend those clean energy tax breaks that allow us to move toward innovation. you hear a lot of talk from the other side about how solar energy is in decline and they talk about solyndra and the problems there. let me tell you something. that mind-set would mean we never would have made it to the moon, because we know what happened to apollo 1 -- it was not good. we didn't walk away from going to the moon. we expected there would be problems with the program that we put together. that's why we had $2 billion to i yield thoffset any companies t not make it. do we stop cancer research because a lot of the scientists'
11:41 am
leads don't pan out? we don't walk away from cancer research. but our friends on the other side, the minute they can seize on something to walk away from clean energy, they do. i come to the conclusion, mr. president, there's only one reason for it and that reason is they represent, in my opinion -- this is my -- my opinion -- big oil, big polluters, the people who over the years have tried to stop us from moving away from those fossil fuels. you know, all you have to do is read the history books to see how big oil teamed up with the auto industry to take out all the railroad tracks that they could to stop the competition. all you have to see is the movie "who killed the electric car." you can't even find those -- those g.m. cars. they took them and they
11:42 am
literally flattened them and they bought time for the ga gas-guzzling cars, until finally, finally, with president obama's leadership, we were able to influence the companies in detroit to make them understand the very simple fact that if we move to cleaner burning fuels, if we move to fuel economy, they're going to make a lot more money because that's the future. so what we face here, instead of seeing an extension of the clean energy provisions to help us move towards solar, to help us move away from fo away from foso help us get to independence, to move away from the middle east dictators, we see nothing. what do we see? we see another poison pill in one of their bills over there to repeal the standards for light bulbs. what are these people thinking? they need a light bulb to go off in their own head.
11:43 am
we have to move toward energy efficiency. it is a win-win-win-win-win. i want to talk about california in my remaining time. we have seen great progress there. we've added 79,000 jobs in the clean energy sector just in the past seven years. and that clean energy sector remains one of the most promising industries in our state. and people are happy. we're going to put a million solar rooftops on in california. i know senator sanders has been calling for this for years. california's doing it with governor brown, leading the way with the legislature. and you know what that means? it means that people are going to work in california. you can't be in china unless you have an extremely long arm and put a solar rooftop on in los
11:44 am
angeles or in riverside county or san francisco or san diego. so we need to reauthorize 1603, that treasury grant program, which allows developers to receive a grant in lieu of a -- a credit, in lieu of a write-o write-off. so that means that they will get the funding and they can move forward their projects. it's leveraged $22 billion in private-sector investment. and if we extend the program, we'll be creating 37,000 jobs. now, i -- i have to ask rhetorically, what is wrong with the republican party that they don't understand that when you extend these kind of tax credits, you move away from the dictators who control the oil supply and who would turn on us and have in a minute. you create jobs here at home.
11:45 am
the air is less polluted. the kids have less asthma. there are very few things that we could come to the floor and say are such a win-win-win. and there is 48-c, the manufacturing tax credit for facilities that manufacture clean energy equipment components. we know there's a demand for these programs. so i want to say to my colleagues on the e.p.w. committee, i hope they'll join me at 2:30, we're going to have a press conference to talk about the need for protecting the air that we breathe and for the need to see a payroll tax cut that doesn't come over here loaded down with things that are going to lead to -- riders unrelated that are going to lead to the death of our people. a simple message. no poison pills that poison the people, please. i hope they'll join me there.
11:46 am
but i want them to know, and i want to say senator whitehouse organized a letter that was critical to get all of us on this letter and senator whitehouse just through the chair, how many signatures did you get? mr. whitehouse: we had over 30. the number is still climbing retroactively but more than 30 democratic senators. mrs. boxer: i would say that is a very large number of senators to put their names on letters. these letters are hard -- people are busy, they don't have time. when you get 30 names on a letter and we say extend these tax cuts for jobs, for the environment, for all the good things, and i ask unanimous consent to put that letter that senator whitehouse organized into the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you. and i would yield back to our leader on this really important bloc of time. i would yield my time back to
11:47 am
senator sander. and we are determined to get this right for the american people. thank you. mr. sanders: thank you very much, senator boxer. not only for your words but your leadership on the environmental committee. and i want to reiterate a very important point senator boxer made. she reminds us of great moments in the history of this country. this country with great difficulty, but persistence, built a railroad ahead of the rest of the world that went from the east coast to the west coast. it wasn't easy. this country led the world in putting a man on the moon. it wasn't easy. great expense, difficulties. but we did it. does anybody not think that this country can lead the world in transforming our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels to energy efficiency, to
11:48 am
sustainable energies like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, other technologies? can we not lead the world in making our own country more energy efficient, making our air cleaner, but also in creating large numbers of jobs as we weatherize our buildings, as we build the solar nanls we need to build -- panels that we need to build, the wind turbines, as we put more engineers and scientists to work to help us in this energy transformation. mr. president, i want to pick up on a point that senator whitehouse made a moment ago. is that while we talk about energy transformation, while we all understand that over a period of years the oil industry, for example, has received billions and billions of dollars of permanent tax
11:49 am
breaks, what we are fighting for right now is to see that the 1603 renewable energy grant program is renewed. as senator whitehouse indicated, 1603 allows renewable energy developers to get a grant instead of a tax credit. since 2009, when this program was enacted, it has leveraged nearly $23 billion in private investment, supporting 22,000 projects in all 50 states and supported approximately 290,000 jobs, according to the national renewable energy lab. since 1603 was enacted, solar jobs doubled to more than 100,000 jobs. so we have got to make sure that
11:50 am
before congress adjourns for christmas holidays that we renew 1603, enormously important for the renewable energy industry, enormously important for jobs in our country. and with that, i would yield the floor to senator whitehouse. mr. whitehouse: thank you. senator cardin has arrived so i'll hand off to him in just a moment. but to your point about the imbalance between support for the fossil fuel energy industry and the renewable energy industry, the first being one that hurts our national security, pollutes our air and costs a fortune and is phasing out, and the second being one that is growing, that is clean and is the way of the future, according to the environmental law institute, the u.s. invested almost six times more in subsidies for fossil fuel from 2002 to 2008 than we did in renewable energy. so by a factor of six times
11:51 am
we've got our thumb on the scales supporting the old, dirty industry against the new rather than supporting the new the way our international competitors are doing and i'd like to ask unanimous consent that a response from secretary chu to a letter that senator sanders and that i and other senators wrote to him about the status of our -- and success of our clean energy investment be added to the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, senator sander. senator cardin. mr. cardin: let me thank my colleagues for yielding. i thank senator whitehouse and senator sanders and senator boxer was on the floor. i want to underscore the point about having a level playing field, where we've tilted the field in favor of fossil fuels over renewables. my colleagues have talked about the difference in the direct subsidies. i'd like to add an additional element here. when you look at the sub cities we give to the fossil fuel
11:52 am
industries, they're permanent. they're in the tax code. they don't go through the annual exercise of an extender. and what does that mean? the lack of predictability and sustainable energy means there's a higher cost for investment. it tilts the scale in favor of the oil and gas. rather than on sustainable, renewable energy sources. i could just mention three. in the congressional research service did a report on this. the three -- just three of the provisions that benefit the oil industry, the excess of percentage over cost depletion, the expensing of exploration and development costs and the amortization of geological and geophysical expenditures. just those three provisions that are permanent in our tax code between 2010 and 2014 will cost the taxpayers over $10 billion. so we are subsidizing the oil industry, and we shouldn't be doing that. because we should be encouraging
11:53 am
a transformation to sustainable issue issues as my colleagues have pointed out for the purposes of national security, for -- what's good for our environment and what's good for jobs. this is about jobs. and that's why we can't go home until we've extended the tax provisions particularly 1603 but other of the energy-related sustainable energy provisions. i want to talk just one moment, if i might, about the production tax credits that we need to extend. because i want to talk about one specific project in maryland on a brownfield site that we're dealing with waste energy. some might say that doesn't expire until 2013 but here's the problem: you have to have it in production by that date. and on waste energy projects it's not going to be in production by that date. if we don't extend it this month, the project will be at a standstill in baltimore.
11:54 am
1,900 jobs are at stake. 1,900 jobs are at stake on just that one project, which, by the way, helps our environment, helps our energy, and also helps our economy. and that's why it's critically important that before we leave that we extend these sustainable energy tax credits so that we can get the investment. quite frankly, mr. president, i would like to see us make some of these permanent. we make it permanent, we get predictability. we get predictability, it's less cost. it encourages more activity in this area. and that's what we should be about, creating jobs for our -- for our country, the wind energy credit alone would allow us to create another 54,000 jobs. so this is about job growth for america. it's about our energy security, and it's about a cleaner
11:55 am
environment. it's about america's future. and that's why we have taken the time here today to point out to the american people that congress needs to make sure that it has acted on these areas before we adjourn for the year. we owe that to the people of this country. and with that, mr. president, i will yield to my friend from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank the senator from maryland not only for his important remarks now but for year after year the strong work that he is doing in trying to create jobs in america in sustainable energy. now i'd like to yield to the senator from rhode island for his thoughts. mr. whitehouse: thank you, senator sanders. i want to go back to this question of the jobs and the economic value that we get from clean energy.
11:56 am
the department of energy reports that the clean energy sector alone directly employs nearly 1.6 million in the united states. nearly 1.6 million families depending on the paycheck they get from the clean energy sector within that, we've -- it's growing, the u.s. has created over 100,000 solar-focused jobs. 100,000 solar-focused jobs and at least 75,000 jobs related to wind energy installation in 2010. in rhode island we're seeing that coming on, the newspaper today, "the providence journal" reported on a permit application pour the cable that will connect an off-shore wind facility that is going in off block island back to the grid onshore to bring the power from that
11:57 am
installation back and into the new england energy grid. but when it gets going, think of the jobs that are going to be involved in that. senator reed and i worked very hard to shore up, get money to shore up the waterside, the side of the pier at quonset so it would be capable of dealing with very heavy-duty installation, barges, things like that, so the quonset point facility is now ready for this construction. we have the trains and the new highways to bring in the pieces of these big turbines. the turbines are so big you can't build them in china, in europe. you have to assemble them onshore and put them right on the barge. so the assembly of them will take place in rhode island. right at quonset. and that will be a lot of jobs.
11:58 am
and then you have to barge them out and you have the brarnlg had barge operators and the captains and the tugs, and then you sink the base and you have to have divers and builders and people who are expert in that kind of marine construction. and then you put them up, and you have to operate them and you have to maintain them, and what they do is they contribute clean energy to the grid. they're a constant supply because of the wind over the atlantic being such a powerful resource and it's kind of a win-win situation. and so we see the need to get behind this in a really immediate way in rhode island. and it would be one of the great tragedies if we let the chinese and the belgians and the french and the dutch and whoever else get ahead of us in this competition. we don't need to, it's wrong, we're taking ourselves out of a race that we should be winning when we do that. and i commend senator sanders
11:59 am
for his effort to bring us together today to continue to make this point. there are jobs here. there is an energy industry that is going to lead the economy of the next decades of this world, and we want america to beth the front of it -- be at the front of it and not have sand thrown in our gears by the dirty, polluting energy industry that is on its way out as its last contribution to the damage that it's now doing to our economy and to our environment. senator sanders. mr. sanders: i want to thank my friend from rhode island for his remarks and for his extraordinary effort in fighting for jobs and for protecting our environment. you know, mr. president, if you read some headlines today in the media, you might think -- especially the right-wing medi--


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on