tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 25, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT
of for generations to come? now, it's my understanding that so far 449 amendments have been filed to this underlying bill, including second-degree amendments. we started off the debate on the senate floor with my amendment that would have required the border to be -- quote, unquote -- "effectively controlled" for six months before the secretary could legalize people that are already present here. we would call them under this bill registered provisional immigrants and we refer to that as r.p.i. status. clearly, the other side was afraid of the amendment that i offered because it would have fundamentally changed the bill by requiring that the border be secured before granting 11 million undocumented workers a pathway to citizenship. but not contrary to what the polls of this -- of the people
of this country are telling us, they want security first, legalization after security of the border. now, they've already cooked the books on this bill and don't want to make fundamental changes, regardless of whether they're good changes or not, just because they don't want to upset their deal. so they've insisted on a 60-vote threshold for amendments to pa pass. when my amendment was up, i refused on that 60-vote requirement and so they tabled my amendment. what about -- then that raises the question, what about the open and fair process that we were promised? we learned on day one of the immigration debate that all this talk about, quote, unquote -- "making the bill better" was just plain hogwash. it was all just a phoney and empty promise. the sponsors would take to the floor and say that they were ready to move and vote on amendments, but in reality, they
were afraid of any good change. they refused to let members offer amendments of their own choosing. instead, they wanted to pick what amendments members would offer. they want to decide who, what, when and how it would be disposed of. and, of course, that's not right. that's not the open process that was promised. in the last two weeks, we have only debated nine amendments on this bill. of those amendments, the majority leader tabled three amendments on a roll call vote. of the nine, we adopted three by a roll call vote, we rejected three amendments by a roll call vote and we adopted another three amendments by a voice vote. but i'm sure everyone would agree that debating nine amendments out of 450 is just not an open and fair process. so we have a lot more amendments that have been filed and not considered. these amendments would make this bill better.
now the sponsors of the bill are arguing that because we had a process in the judiciary committee that i have applauded as fair and open, that means we don't need such a open and fair process on the floor of the united states senate. but what does that say about the other 82 members of this body? that they shouldn't be allowed to offer amendments? well, the problem is, while the committee process was open, many amendments were defeated and no amendments were adopted that substantially changed the bill in committee. in order to address many issues with this bill, we'd like more votes on amendments before the end of the week. i'd like to discuss some of the amendments we'd like to see debated and considered before this immigration debate comes to an end just so people have a flavor of the kind of issues we feel have not been fully vented on the floor of the united states senate in this process that we were promised was going to be fair and open.
a number of amendments we'd like considered would strengthen provisions of the bill dealing with border security, something that the current bill fails to do in a satisfactory manner. as everyone knows, this has been a serious deficiency in the immigration reform bill, regardless of what polls in this country say, that they want the border secured first and then legalization. this does it the opposite way -- legalizes and then maybe the border will be secure. for example, lee amendment 1207 would prohibit the secretary of interior and agriculture from restricting or prohibiting activities of the u.s. customs and border protection on public lands and authorize customs and border protection access to the federal lands to secure the border. the coats amendment 1442 would require the secretary of homeland security to certify that the department o departmend security has effective control of high-risk border sections at the southern border for six months before the department can
process r.p.i. status applications. the coats amendment would also require the secretary to maintain effective control of those high-risk sections for at least six months before the secretary may adjust the status of r.p.i. applicants. the coburn amendment 1361 would be -- would allow customs and border protection to enforce immigration laws on federal lands. now, what's wrong with that amendment, enforce immigration laws on federal lands? other amendments would beef up our interior enforcement, which we all know is absolutely critical with respect to the success of our immigration system. this is an area where the underlying bill doesn't do enough. an excellent we haven't had an opportunity to debate and vote is on sessions amendment 1334. that amendment would give a number of tools to state and local governments to enforce the
immigration laws, including giving states and localities the ability to enact their own immigration laws, withholding specific grants from sanctuary cities that defy federal immigration enforcement efforts, facilitating and expediting the removal of criminal aliens, improving the visa issuance process, and, lastly, assisting u.s. immigration and custom enforcement officers in carrying out their jobs. another amendment, wicker 1462, would require information sharing between federal and non-federal agencies regarding removal of aliens which would allow for quicken forcement against individuals who -- quick enforcement against individuals who violate immigration laws. the wicker amendment would also withhold certain federal funding from state and federal governments that prohibit their law enforcement officers from assisting or cooperating with federal immigration law
enforcement. some of the amendments that we haven't considered would ensure that our criminal laws are not weakened by the bill. i have an amendment 1299 that would address some of the provisions in the underlying bill that severely weaken our current criminal laws. now, isn't that funny? you want to enforce -- you want to have a better immigration bill and you're going to weaken certain laws that are already on the books? specifically, my amendment 1299 would address language in the bill that creates a convoluted and ineffective process for determining whether a foreign national in a street gang should be deemed inadmissible or be deported. i offered similar amendment in committee where even two members of the gang of eight supported it. my amendment would have closed a dangerous loophole created by the bill that will allow
criminal gang members to gain a path to citizenship. specifically, in order to deny entry and remove a gang member, section 3701 of the current bill requires that the department of homeland security prove a foreign national, one, has a prior federal felony conviction for drug trafficking or violent crime; two, has knowledge that the gang is continuing to commit crimes, and; three, has acted in furtherance of gang activity. now, even if all these provisions could be proven, under the bill, the secretary can still issue a waiver. as such, the proposed process is limited only to criminal gang members with prior federal drug trafficking and federal violent crime convictions and does not include state convictions like rape and murder.
the trick here is while the bill wants you to believe that this is a strong provision, foreign nationals who have federal felony drug trafficking or violent crime convictions are already subject to deportation if they are already here and denied entry as being inadmissible. so the gang provisions as written in the bill adds nothing to current law and will not be used. it is, at best, a feel-good measure to say that we're being tough on criminal gangs while really doing nothing to remove or deny entry to criminal gang members. it's easier to prove that someone is a convicted drug trafficker than both a drug trafficker and gang member. so, as currently written, why would this provision ever be
used? and, simply put, it wouldn't be used. my amendment 1299 would strike this do-nothing provision and issue a new, clear, simple standard to address the problem of gang members. it would strike this do-nothing provision and improve a process to address criminal gang members where the secretary of homeland security must prove, one, criminal street gang membership and that the person is in danger -- a danger to the community. once the secretary proves these two things, the burden shifts to foreign nationals to prove that either he is not dangerous, not in a street gang or that he did not know that the group was a street gang. so straightforward and will help remove dangerous criminal gang members. my amendment also eliminates the possibility of a waiver.
1299 should have a vote to make sure that the bill doesn't weaken our current law. a number of other amendments that we'd like to see considered and would help ensure that individuals comply with the immigration law requirements and ensure that the r.p.i. process does not allow individuals who game the system. for example, rubio amendment 1225 would require r.p.i. immigrants 16 years old or older to read, write and speak english. fischer amendment 1348 would also insert an english language requirement as a prerequisite to r.p.i. status. cruz amendment 1295 would permit states to require proof of citizenship for registration to vote in federal elections. hatch amendment 1536 would ensure that undocumented immigrants actually pay their back taxes before gaining
legalization. another amendment, toomey amendment 1440, would increase the number of w non-immigrant visas available during each fiscal year and would help improve the visa system. other amendments that we should debate and vote on would strengthen our immigration system by making sure that we don't allow criminal immigrants to stay in our country and put on a path to american citizenship. for example, vitter amendment 1330 would make sure that undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes of domestic violence, child abuse and child neglect would be inadmissible. inhofe amendment 1203, it's entitled "keep our communities safe act." would allow the department of homeland security or a subsidiary agency to keep dangerous individuals in detention until a final order of
removal of that individual from the united states. cornyn amendment 1470 would make sure undocumented immigrants who have committed an offense of domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect or assault resulting in bodily injury, vield violated a protective ordr committed drunk driving would be ineligible for legalization. portman amendment 1389 would limit the discretionary -- discretion of immigration judges and the secretary of homeland security with respect to the removal, deportation and inadmissibility of undocumented individuals who have committed crimes involving child abuse, child neglect, and other crimes of moral turpitude concerning children. finally, we have an amendment, portman amendment 1390, would ensure that undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes of domestic violence, of stalking, of child abuse would be inadmissible.
now, i've gone through a whole bunch of amendments. these are all extremely important amendments that would ensure that the worst kinds of criminal immigrants do not gain a path to citizenship. so i urge the majority to allow us to consider these and other amendments that we'd like to offer to improve the bill instead of cutting us off and shutting off full and open debate of this very important issue, something that we were told from day one we'd have an open and fair process. and what we're doing here, voting this amendment to the house of representatives on thursday and friday, ends up not being a fair and open process. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the
senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i rise to speak on the immigration bill and i will do so particularly on the amendment process that my friend and colleague from iowa has just discussed. but first, let me say about two of the president's nominees whose confirmation we will address later today, or within the next day or so, and i would ask permission that my full remarks be entered separately in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you. penny pritzker as the secretary of commerce will truly be a great secretary of commerce in my view. she has experience and acumen and ability that will serve her well in building strong relationships in the federal government but also strong partnerships with the business community, promoting job creation and fostering sustained economic growth. she's been a strong leader not
only in her own business but in her community, and i look forward to working with her as the chair of the subcommittee on competitiveness improvement, innovation, and export promotion in the commerce, science, and transportation committee where i serve. secretary foxx if he becomes secretary of transportation likewise has a record of accomplishment as a local official, as a strong mayor, and i will look forward to working with him on investment in high-speed rail, distracted and drunk driving, rail safety, all of the issues that are so important to the infrastructure of our country and to the transportation issues that will help promote jobs and increase economic progress. and i will be submitting statements for the record at greater length on these two nominees who i believe really
embody the principle of excellence and dedication in public service. we're reaching a fateful and fiercefully important moment in the history of our country. when we have the great opportunity, the exciting and energizing prospect of providing a path to earned citizenship for 11 million of our fellow residents. they live alongside us in our neighborhoods and communities and they serve in community boards and all kinds of activities where they are indistinguishable from citizens except for the fact that they are not citizens. 11 million people living in the shadows, including young people brought to this country when they are infants or children, who know only english as a language, whose home is here,
and know only this country as their home, whose friends and life are here, schools, even military service. the dreamers, who are among those 11 million. and their parents. and loved ones who came with them to this country. and we have the historic opportunity to provide them with a path to earned citizenship. earned citizenship. paying back taxes and penalties, learning english if they don't know it already, and meeting the other strong standards and criteria that this act provides, and enhanced border security, a crackdown on illegal employment, better-skilled people afforded more opportunities to come to this country in a program i-squared that i have hoped to lead as well as lower skilled workers who want to fulfill the american dream. this legislation is about the american dream and it culminates
a careful and cautious and deliberate process led by chairman leahy in the judiciary committee where abundant opportunity was afforded to offer amendments and have them passed. in fact, a number of my amendments had have been adopted in the judiciary committee, strengthening due process, fighting human trafficking, affording opportunities to people who are in solitary confinement to seek release, and protecting american workers and standards and compensation for american workers against unfair and illegal competition from other businesses and other workers based on substandards, exploitation of workers here. those kinds of amendments have improved on a very important work done by the gang of eight,
and i want to join in thanking them, the group of eight, those eight senators who labor day so long -- labored so long and helped provide such a great model for us to move forward and improve further. and i believe that this legislation can be improved. two amendments that i've offered would help improve it. the little dreamers, who are too young to qualify right now for the expedited path to citizenship that is provided the dreamers under s. 744 would be helped by an amendment that i have drafted with support from the great champion of the dream act, senator durbin, who deserves so much credit for spearheading this effort over so many years. i've done it at the state level before coming here as a senator
when i was attorney general, but he has championed their cause year after year, congress after congress, and i have joined him in supporting an amendment to this bill that would help those littlest of dreamers, too young now to qualify for that expedited citizenship, to do so if they are in school or otherwise reach the criteria that the amendment would provide. and i thank senator murkowski for cosponsoring this very bipartisan measure with me so that anyone left out of the dream act because they are too young would be covered. and a second amendment that i believe would improve this bill would provide more whistle-blower protections for had second base visa workers -- h-2b visa workers. they come to this country to work here and they are dependent on their employers to remain here.
and so naturally if they are exploited, if illegal working conditions subject them to hazards, and if they provide the basis for unfair competition because they are paid less than the minimum wage, they are fearful of retaliation when they make complaints because their employer can discharge them and they are then automatically deported. so this whistle-blower amendment would provide them with protection. it is essential to making possible their redress and remedy when they are victims of illegal violation. those amendments would improve this law. but i recognize that this bill is a huge and historic step forward. it's imperfect, but i will not allow the perfect to be the
enemy of the good. and i will continue to fight for these amendments, these improvements in this law enabling the littlest dreamers to have those same opportunities as the dreamers, who have been brought to this country and now are here and can contribute so much to our nation. and i will continue to fight for whistle-blower protection, for all workers who may be exploited if they are brought here under visas. because whistle-blowers deserve that protection. they're protecting not just themselves when they complain but all workers. but i will vote for this measure even if there are no more amendments because i believe this measure fulfills the american dream of opening this country, a nation of immigrants, to others who have the american dream, and see this country as a beacon of hope
and opportunity. anyone who doubts it should do what i do regularly whenever i have the opportunity on a friday in connecticut, going to our federal courthouses and attending the immigration and naturalization ceremony. people come there with tears in their eyes, accompanied by their families, neighbors, loved ones, to celebrate one of the biggest moments in their lives, becoming a citizen of the united states of america. many after years of struggle to achieve that status. physical struggle to reach our shores, emotional separation from their families abroad, and professional hard work embodying the best about america. and i thank them for becoming united states citizens. i thank them for not taking for
granted what all too many of us do, the great privilege and right of being a citizen of the united states. let us seize this moment as a nation of immigrants to open our doors once again, open our hearts to those 11 million people who want simply a path to earned citizenship. a historic and rare moment in our history when the american people have come together in a deep and enduring consensus that now is the time to strengthen border security, as the amendment adopted yesterday would do, to crack down on illegal hiring, as this bill would do, to make possible for millions of americans what my father did, what others did to
become citizens of the greatest country in the history of the world. we owe it to ourselves as well as to our children to give them that opportunity, and our nation the opportunity to benefit from their strengths and talents and energy, and yes, their dedication to the country that has given them this historic opportunity. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: i would ask unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. fischer: thank you, madam president. i rise today to express my deep disappointment with the current immigration reform legislation,
and the extremely limited opportunity for senators to amend this bill. although i was not a member of the united states senate in 2009, i watched the debate on obamacare closely. i was amazed that the world's greatest deliberative body could vote on such a massive change to federal policy without having time to read or adequately amend the bill. failure to fully comprehend the consequences, intended or otherwise, left many americans skeptical, and rightfully so. we were told the need to act justified passage of this massive bill, and we were demonished that we needed to pass the bill to find out what's in it. the american people were not pitched sound policy. the american people were pitched
sound bites. public polling suggests the american people still haven't bought it, and with good reason. just a few years later, americans are just starting to learn the devastating real-life impact of the flawed health care policy, including the loss of current benefits and the sticker shock of rising premiums. the litany of broken promises seem endless. yet here we are again. another dire problem in desperate need of a solution, and this time it's immigration. i agree, and nebraskans agree, that we must address the problem of illegal immigration. the status quo is unacceptable. our border remains dangerously
unsecure and 11 million illegal immigrants currently enjoy de facto amnesty. we are told, madam president, that there is only but one solution, or rather, we are only allowed to vote on one solution that has been agreed upon behind closed doors by the majority leader and a small group of senators. we are told we have no choice but to pass this bill. the pundits in washington, they tell us that failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform will leave the republican party in an uncertain electoral wilderness. well, i for one am more concerned about the future of this nation, the future america i will leave to my children and my grandchildren, than i am about any political party's
electoral prospects. we are told that simply devoting tens of billions of dollars with no plan, that will solve the problem. we've tried throwing big money at big problems in the past. you know it didn't work then, and it won't work now. some have suggested that there has been plenty of time to reasoned revise this bill. they argue that there's only 119 pages of changes that have been added to the 1,200-page piece of legislation before us. but those changes, they're spread across and throughout the entire language of this bill. there's been little fixes here and there. but if you blink, you might miss an important word that's been
dropped or a clause that's been added, and the result is a lasting effect on generations to come. some of these changes include special carveouts similar to the cornhusker kickback that helped bring obamacare across the finish line. nebraskans know exactly what i'm talking about. these new carveouts include special treatment for the seafood industry, special treatment for hollywood and extensions of the failed stimulus program. i'm disappointed that the majority leader has once again rushed a bill of this magnitude and impact. it's just another artificial deadline imposed by the leader just so members can make it back for some backyard barbecues.
that's disappointing. i don't sit on the judiciary committee. the only opportunity i and 82 other members of the united states senate have to offer amendments to reform the flawed aspects of this bill is through floor debate. yet, we're being denied that opportunity by the majority leader. so far we've only voted on nine -- that's nine -- amendments. given the emotional, controversial, and the complicated nature of this issue, reforms are not made easily. we have a duty to make sure that we get it right and that we avoid the mistakes of the past. i've always believed that before we address any form of legislation that deals with the
legalization for our undocumented population, we must first fully secure the border. without a fully secure border, the united states will find itself in the same dire straits down the road. yet, the amendment offered by senators schumer, corker and hoeven falls short of this very necessary goal. we need a proposal that brings about verifiable, measurable results along the southern border. i support a carefully crafted border security plan that is strategy-driven, cost-effective, accountable and responsive to the needs of law enforcement officials. and those law enforcement officials have expressed concerns with the legislation before us. the schumer-corker-hoeven
amendment's attempt to reach a compromise on border security metrics has resulted in vague, ineffective standards. the border security amendment i filed would provide needed oversight to ensure border security goals are being achieved and maintained in a timely fashion. it requires the secretary of homeland security -- mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: could i ask the distinguished senator from nebraska for me to offer a unanimous consent request? mrs. fischer: yes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i of course express my appreciation to the senator for her courtesy and i ask unanimous consent that her statement not appear interrupted in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent not withstanding rule 22, at 2:15 today the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 180 under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: for further information of senators, at 2:15
there will be debate followed by a vote on penny pritzker to be secretary of commerce. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, madam president. thank you, majority leader. i was speaking about the border security amendment that i have filed and comparing that to what we are currently seeing in the proposed legislation before us. the amendment that i filed provides needed oversight to ensure border security goals are being achieved and maintained in a timely fashion. it requires that the secretary of homeland security and the commissioner of customs and border patrol submit a written certification that all border goals have been met. the homeland security inspector general must also sign off on
certification. and finally, congressional approval must be obtained. importantly, the definition of operational control in my amendment would maintain current law's definition rather than watering it down. but my amendment hasn't received a vote, madam president. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment also fails to require a biometric entry and exit system at land, air, and seaports. instead it simply provides a basic electronic screening system, and only at sea and airports. not land ports of entry. this is absolutely unacceptable, and it is remarkably weaker than the border security provisions in the 2006 and 2007
comprehensive immigration bills which required implementation of a biometric entry-exit system. the border security amendment i filed implements a biometric entry-exit system at all points and ports of entry. but my amendment hasn't received a vote. border security is a question of national security. it's not a position that can be watered down or compromised. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment does just that. we also need to make sure that we are being fiscally responsible. last time i checked, we are still $17 trillion in debt. yet, this amendment throws $46.3 billion at border security with
no plan -- no plan -- from the department of homeland security detailing how that money is going to be used. there is no clear justification for the amount detailed in this request. there is absolutely no strategy driving this funding request. there is also not nearly enough accountability. the reporting requirements to congress are toothless. i reject and i suspect nebraskans reject the idea that massive amounts of spending alone are the solution to our border security problem. in addition to the lack of strategy behind the funding, i'm concerned that this legislation provides legalization first and border security second.
specifically, this legislation creates a loophole allowing certain people who have overstayed their nonimmigrant visas to obtain a green card without returning home. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment also creates a number of loopholes for criminal aliens to remain in our country. under their proposal, the secretary of the homeland security has broad authority to waive deportations for certain criminal activity. for example, it would allow many members of criminal gangs to gain entry and the legal right to remain in the country. in a written statement, immigration and customs enforcement council president chris crane stated -- and i quote -- "the 1,200-page substitute bill before the senate will provide instant legalization and a pathway to
citizenship path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens and handcuff i.c.e. officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future. it provides no means of effectively enforcing visa overstays, which account for almost half of the nation's illegal immigration crisis." close quote. the list of problems, madam president, goes on. in short, this legislation and the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment remains fatally flawed. the american people demand and they deserve a better policy. i'm committed to working on lasting solutions that will reform our immigration system once and for all. but let me be clear. i will not support legislation simply because it might be bold
or politically expedient or could ingratiate me with the inside-the-beltway club. i vote for legislation if it is sound policy and if it will improve the lives of hardworking taxpayers and if it reflects the values of nebraskans. and this legislation, madam president, has a long ways to go. mr. mccain: will the senator yield for a question? will the senator yield for a question? mrs. fischer: yes, i will. mr. mccain: have you ever been to the arizona-mexico border? mrs. fischer: i have been been at the texas border. mr. mccain: at the texas border. may i ask when that was? mrs. fischer: that was in the early 2000's. mr. mccain: i just say to the senator from nebraska, she is so ill-informed the statement that i just saw, i don't know where to begin except to say if you don't think this legislation
secures the border, you haven't spent any time on the border, certainly not any meaningful time. and i can't express n.i.h. disappointment -- my disappointment in the series of false statements that the senator just made. mrs. fischer: madam president, if i may respond to that, i would say that i believe that my statement is correct. it reflects the values of my state. it reflects the values of those americans. and it truly reflects the concerns with this piece of legislation that is before us now. thank you, madam president. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, i would welcome the senator from nebraska to come to the border and see what's been done and what can be done with the use of technology and to somehow believe that our border cannot be secured by this legislation argues strenuously for a visit, and i invite the senator. i would be glad to join her at
any time. i yield. mrs. fischer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: madam president, i thank my distinguished colleague and friend, senator mccain, from arizona, and i look forward to accepting his invitation to visit his fine state. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: i'd ask unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. i rise again to talk about the critical importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform like my good friend from arizona, senator mccain, has been an advocate for. when i look at my state, coloradoans from all walks of life -- business leaders, religious leaders, our agricultural community and our civic leaders, regardless of political party -- agree that our immigration system is broken. and now we've run out of excuses to sit on our hands. this problem -- by the way, i see this problem as an
opportunity, and i want to discuss why i see it as an opportunity. it has touched every corner of our society, and this call for action has become too loud to ignore. but despite such widespread agreement on the need to move forward, there remains a vocal minority in our chamber and across the country concerned about the consequences of reform. there's a worry, and that worry that persists is that immigrants will somehow steal the american opportunity, that immigrants will take our tax dollars and take our jobs. well, let me say this. all of us here in the senate agree strongly that we should not be writing policy in washington that would endanger american jobs. i want to speak to that. ever since the economic downturn, coloradoans who have been fortunate enough to keep their jobs or recently find
employment as we dig out of recession are holding on to those opportunities. coloradoans have been laid off and lived through the bitter desperation of extended unemployment, looked with increasing concern at anything that might stand between them and opportunity. in the context of these worries, some people look at employed immigrants and see only unemployed americans. to see things, though, in that light, i believe misunderstands this legislation as well as our roots as a country and our long tradition of opportunity. this bill, the idea of fixing our broken immigration system and providing millions of americans a pathway to citizenship which is earned, is not a zero-sum game. in fact, it's built off one of the reasons that our nation is so exceptional. the broad spirit that any man or woman can pull themselves up from the most challenging circumstances and succeed. this bill is carefully crafted
and balanced. it will extend the american dream to millions now living in the shadows. and important for coloradoans, this legislation makes certainty for businesses and residents already legally here today. this is exactly the sort of certainty that our labor markets need. now, madam president, it's true, maybe except for the great state of north dakota, that we've made steady progress, but overall unemployment remains too high. we all want to be like north dakota with your very low unemployment rate. but our economy, the american economy, continues to grow. with colorado growing at the fourth-fastest rate in the nation. and in doing so, many of our business sectors, our economic sectors, our industries are experiencing higher labor demand than there's available domestic supply. take agriculture, for example, important to the presiding officer's state as well. the demand for labor on farms and ranches across the nation
far exceeds the supply of americans who are willing to fill those jobs. that labor shortage has resulted in crops left to rot in the fields and, therefore, unacceptable economic losses to our communities. farmers and ranchers tell me that today they're often left to hire undocumented workers to fill this labor gap, and this unregulated, under-the-table hiring hurts immigrants, who experience frequent exploitation, constant fear and often debilitating poverty. it also hurts americans who experience depressed wages and higher unemployment as a result of competition with this cheap undergroundwork force. madam president -- underground work force. madam president, that doesn't make sense. this immigration reform bill eliminates this unfair competition and ensures that all americans receive fair wages. now, let me talk more broadly. our current labor supply
challenges extend to many other sectors as well. jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math are growing at three times the rate of other jobs in the united states. with that in mind and in spite of high levels of unemployment, nearly 100,000 valuable american-based positions in critical high-tech firms like i.b.m., microsoft and intel have been left unfilled. and by 2018, estimates are that this number will increase to 230,000. now, this bill which we're so close to getting across the finish line, focuses heavily on breaking down current inequities in our visa system to help meet this labor gap and spur our economy in the process. the more flexible market-based system for visas included in this bill will ensure our
immigration system only brings workers here that businesses need. moreover, this bill will ensure that americans get a first pass at jobs before foreign workers are eligible to fill them. that's an important element, one that coloradans have told me that they demand. but it's not only about ensuring that the bill before us today doesn't displace current u.s. citizens. i would point out to my friends who are skeptical of this effort that immigrants in this country also have an incredible, a phenomenal history of creating jobs. let me share a couple of numbers with everybody. between 1990 and 2005, immigrants started 25% of the highest growth companies in this country, directly employing over 200,000 people. and since 2007, immigrant-founded small businesses have provided employment for 4.7 million people and generated almost $800
billion in revenue. big-time american companies like intel , google, ebay, and sun microsystems were all created by immigrants, companies that help form the very roots of our thriving tech industry. madam president, let me take a minute and thank the gang of eight specifically for their efforts to include a section in the bill that creates the invest program which focuses on incentivizing entrepreneurs like the founders of these iconic companies to come to the united states. this program, which draws on the bipartisan start-up visa act i introduced with senator flake and includes the work of senators moran, warner, and others, will ensure that the next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators can stay here in the united states and create good american jobs. last week, after listening to
advocates, senator warner and i filed an amendment that we think would bolster these provisions even further and we certainly hope our colleagues will think this is a good enough idea to include it in the final legislation. programs in the underlying bill like invest will help supercharge our economy by helping create thousands of jobs over the next decade. ralph waldo emerson once said, "america is another word for opportunity." and we take pride in our rich history of being a country where the key to earning a valued place in society is through ability and determination, where immigrants from all over the world alongside third- and fourth-generation americans can earn an honest living or start a business. it's incumbent on us as members of congress to actively ensure that america remains the land of opportunity. and, madam president, that starts with our children, including undocumented children.
our dreamers who know no other place but here as their home. now, i want to close by talking about a dreamer, oscar. i want to make the case for oscar and his family. oscar and his brothers, juan and hugo, are the children of parents who illegally immigrated into the united states, bringing their kids with them, and they now live in my state of colorado. and throughout their entire lives, they've lived in fear of the black cloud of deportation that's hung over them. i had the pleasure of meeting oscar here in washington a couple of months ago. he had a very simple request for a kid who grew up here in the united states. he wanted the opportunity for himself and his brothers to come out of the shadows and become someone. where are oscar and his brothers right now? they are in college pursuing degrees in engineering and psychology. let's design a commonsense policy that would allow them to
work after they graduate. let's give oscar and the millions like him the opportunity to come out of the shadows and become the next generation of american leaders, innovators, and job creators. so, madam president, this week we're faced with a choice -- we can put into place a bill that was negotiated by members of both sides of the aisle, one that takes historic steps, far-reaching steps to secure our borders and provides a tough but fair pathway to legal status and an exit from the shadows for those who are here illegally. a bill that will help crack down on employer exploitation and help give american businesses the secure and stable work force they deserve. or we can try and delay this bill and continue on with a broken system that continually undermines our economy by keeping millions in the shadows, a system that denies the best and the brightest a viable path
to citizenship and instead would encourage them to create jobs abroad for our global competitors, like china and india. let's not deny oscar and his brothers the opportunity to come out of the shadows and be the next generation of american leaders. let's continue to work on amendments and let's pass this comprehensive immigration reform bill this week. madam president, i thank you for your patience, for your forbearance, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
which states and localities need to get the federal approval to change the world with election laws. >> the supreme court announced its decision in the case of the shall be counter county holder and invalidated a part of the voting rights act. a cornerstone of american civil rights law. like many others across the country and i am deeply disappointed with the court's
decision in this matter. this represents a serious setback for voting rights and has the potential to negatively affect millions of americans across the country. in nearly half century since its passage in 1965 including the one they consistently enjoyed bipartisan support in congress as well as the executive branch. after extensive hearings will come section 4 and five of this important labour word reauthorize to win most recently in 2006 just seven years ago with the unanimous support of the united states senate and the near unanimous support of the house of representatives. this is a uniquely legislative function and responsibility that the constitution expressly gave to congress. the last reauthorization was signed into law by president george w. bush just as pry year
reauthorization had been signed by presidents ford, ronald reagan and nixon in accordance with a core non-partisan american values. after all as the congress recognized in the hearings held in 2006, racial and language minorities face significant discrimination and in some parts of the country. given the successful decisions of the voting rights act cases the last 18 months over the last 18 months the need for a vital were intact from voting rights act remains clear. lester a federal court cited the voting rights act in blocking the texas congressional redistricting map on the grounds that it discriminated against latino voters. in that case the court noted that the parties, and now i'm quoting, this is from the the core to from the noted they
provided more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have the space or the need to address here. provided more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have the space or the need to address here, will speed. the federal mcwhorter also noted, and i quote, the vital function will they played in prompting the state to change how it will implement the statute in the future elections so that will no longer disproportionately impact black voters. without the section for the formula needs of the discriminatory changes would have been subject to review and both could have been implemented immediately. these are just two of the many examples demonstrating that these problems have not been consigned to history. they continue to exist. there affects our real. they are off today, not yesterday, and they corrode the foundations of our democracy. our country has changed for the
better since 1965, but the destination that we seek has not yet been reached. indeed, the reading of today's opinions demonstrates that every member, every member of the supreme court agrees with this fact. as the chief justice wrote, and i quote again, voting discrimination still exists. no one doubts that, unquote. this is why protecting the fundamental right to vote for all americans will remain one of the justice department's highest priorities. the department of justice will continue to carefully monitor jurisdictions around the country for changes that may hamper voting rights. let me be very clear we will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action using every legal tool that remains to us against any jurisdiction that seeks to take advantage of the supreme court ruling by tendering eligible citizens full and free exercise of the
franchise. as the president has made clear, congress needs to act to make sure every american has equal access to the polls. the department also will work with congress and other elected and community leaders to formulate potential legislative proposals to address voting rights discrimination. because on their own, existing statutes cannot totally fill the void left by today's supreme court ruling. and i am hopeful that new protections can and will pass in this session of congress. the voting rights act has always had strong bipartisan support on a couple hill and today's ruling should not change that. this is not a partisan issue. this is an american issue. because our democracy is founded on ensuring that every eligible citizen has access to the ballot box. finally, we need to be clear about what happened today.
part of the voting rights act, but not all of it, was struck down. the constitutionally protected voting rights of all americans remain fully intact. and the right to vote, free from discrimination based on race or language requires our vigilant protection. we know from many decades of long, hard struggle, the best way to defend the right is to go out and exercise it. so, no one should conclude that today's unfortunate decision has rendered his or her voting rights in a valley or has made attempting to cast a vote on election day fuel. to the contrary, it is incumbent on all american citizens to stand up for their rights by registering to vote, by going to the ballot box, buy exercising the most fundamental law of all rights and by voting for their preferred candidates of any party. our democracy is dependent on each of us and on our active participation in the electoral
process. although today's decision represents a serious and an unnecessary setback, the justice department remains committed to moving forward in a manner that is consistent with the arc of american history which has always been a story of increasing equality, inclusion and access to the franchise. this is what makes the united states of america truly exceptional, and this is what we will zealously guard. thank you. >> [inaudible] >> the attorney general just a few moments ago reacting to the supreme court striking down part of the voting rights act of 1965 by a 5-4 vote. the law have been used in the south to open up places to minority voters. outside the court members of both sides spoke to reporters. >> good morning to everyone. and good morning to all of our friends and supporters especially those who have ldf
and barbara and everyone who has been very supportive and all the work that has gone into getting us to this point and representing our local units across the country. my name is charles white. i serve as the national field director for the naacp. we come this morning yet affirming and its belief in section 5. we heard, you know, in the court not saying much but gave us the juice in what we continue to meet in section 5 that the clearance is important. we believe that the scene advocacy work that we place on working with members of congress and the reauthorization of the voting rights act is the same kind of advocacy work used across the field that we will place making sure the formula of section 4 is one that is just and fair and represent the people in the jurisdiction that is covered.
again, lee thank thank all of te that have worked hard on behalf of the many people across this country who come from the jurisdiction of which we talk about. they are our members, our loyal supporters. and today i think is get a victory moment for us. it still marks that there is a lot of work to be done. i'm going to turn over to our friends from ldf who have been with us leading on the litigation part of the lawsuit. and i am going to ask now ldf to please come forward. thank you. >> good morning everyone. my name is cheryl. i'm the president and director council of the naacp legal defense fund, and i'm joined by my colleague, brian haygood. the naacp legal defense fund as you know is one of the nation's leading civil rights law organizations. we've folk don vv -- we have
worked on this even before it was an active and we were part of the team that litigated the shelby county case. we argued the case on february 27 before the supreme court. we represent black voters in shelby county alabama. it goes without saying we are deeply disappointed by the court's decision today. make no mistake about what has happened. the court has decided that it stands in a better position than conference to determine how to protect voting discrimination. the 15th amendment to the constitution makes it clear that it is congress that has that power. in 2006 when the voting rights act was up for the reauthorization, the congress exercised the power responsibly and in a bipartisan manner. over nine months they held hearings, the accumulated 15,000 pages of testimony, they looked of the evidence involving the voter discrimination in the jurisdictions that have been covered by section 5, and they determined that the same coverage formula that had been used for section 5 needed to be
extended. now the supreme court has said that that is unconstitutional. we believe that congress is in a better position than the supreme court to determine how the voting this nation plays out in this country. we are disappointed, but now the ball is in the congress' court. we should be turning our attention and our cameras across the street, because it is now congress'' time to do with it has done so many times in the past, come together, republicans and democrats, to reauthorize the to enact, or to an amended the voting rights act to ensure the protection of the minority voters in this country. this is a critical issue of democracy. this speaks to the core of american values. this decision by the court today is a game changer and it leaves virtually unprotected minority voters in the communities all over the country. i hope that when you are reporting on this case you will remember that your focus and
attention should not be on washington to the in your focus and your attention should be on the town council's and the school board districts and the county commission districts and the water districts and the utility districts all over the country particularly in the south where the minority voters struggle to have their voice heard and to be able to príncipe cui and political process. this is a critical date for the space participation in america. we will not soft soap it. this is a real threat but we believe strongly that congress can fix it. the supreme court in its decision said congress can fix it coming and we demand congress get to work, that come together finding a formula will respond to the supreme court concerns that will ensure that the minority voters in this country continue to have their voting rights protected and continue to be doubled to produce a paid equally and will be in the political process. >> there are two truths that flow from the supreme court's
decision striking the coverage provision of the voting rights act did the first that is a substantial act of judicial -- this is a substantial act of judicial activism and overreach. the court today parted from its own precedent over four decades, four times the supreme court has upheld section 5 as constitutionally upheld the provision that covers the jurisdiction covered by section 5 as constitutional. the second truth is this, there are now millions of minority voters in the places across the country covered by section 5 of the voting rights act which are vulnerable to the types of active and intense and pervasive voting discrimination section five protected them from for more than 48 years. the good news is this: that as we are providing these remarks, we are facing the nation's capital, which houses members of congress. and in 2006, congress in an overwhelmingly bipartisan effort, 98 [rollcall] zero in the senate, 390-38 in
the house voted together to reauthorize the voting rights act for another 25 years. it is the judgment of congress to reauthorize section 5 which so stand in the overreach of the supreme court today. we as scherlyn ifill mentioned, call on congress in this moment there is any moment it is now that the country can unify around the importance of protecting the voting rights act of those that have been made vulnerable by their state's persistent efforts to vote against them in the process. congress must take this seriously and seize the opportunity to get in a bipartisan way, seek to reenact a measure that will protect the voting rights of the measures that have been vulnerable since 1965 when the voting rights act was first passed. >> my name is ryan haygood i'm the director of the pri dissipation gravettian believe cp legal defense fund. haygood. we are separate from the naacp.
the naacp legal defense fund was founded by thurgood marshall 1940 and we worked closely with the naacp, but we have since our founding maintained separate boards and we are an entirely separate organization. >> good morning everyone. im barbara arnwine president and executive director of the lawyers committee for the civil rights under law. i am here today to speak to this decision. i want to say two things straight up about the decision. one is that it is deeply disturbing because it undermines and puts our democracy at risk. nothing is more important than ensuring that every single voter is free from racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination in the exercise of their vote. today's decision severely undermines the legal protections that have been vital for more than almost five decades of protecting voters of all
nationalities. i also want to say, the second problem is this decision is a betrayal of the american people. that there is nothing more critical than making sure that the highest court of our land gets it right when it comes to what is the appropriate coverage for protecting american people. by striking down section 4 of the voting rights act, buy saying that the coverage formula is outdated, the court has in essence this step in tremendous proportions by making that decision when the congress had 15,000 pages of records that generated 21 plus hearings what else could they have done? they looked at the states the were covered and they looked at the fact that over 80 present of all lawsuits involving voting
rights had been generated from these states. they looked at the fact the states accounted for more than 2,000 plus. findings by the part of justice and courts that there had been racial violations in the proposed practices and procedures that were stopped by this act, the great preventative stop sign that is section 5 now has lost one of its alarms. so what we've done today is go forward. we will of course go to congress and we will ask the congress to do everything that it can to come up with a new coverage formula. we will also have to renew our efforts in the states because what we have seen of all of these new voter suppression walls that have come out in the last couple of years really makes it imperative for there to be a great coverage formula to
stop the states from the misdeeds that have plagued our democracy for the last number of years. so i say today to our nation that the fight goes on. i say to the nation we have to unite like never before to preserve our democracy and i in for everyone to become active in calling upon their congress people to pass a new coverage formula. this court must look to the future. the court must protect every single voter. thank you debate >> thank you very much. i want to say again on behalf of the naacp and the legal defense fund and also the lawyers committee, first we will be calling on all of our units across the country to be on the lookout and to be on the watch for jurisdiction who will try to implement any kind of electoral changes in this interim.
with our partners, we will be sitting at a national hot line to receive complaints and reports of jurisdictions who will try to take advantage of this interim period. again, the naacp, the naacp legal defense fund, the lawyers committee, we will be vigilant even during this interim period and we will be asking our units, our local units across the country. again, i think all of you today. if there are specific questions you have for the partners i would ask that you ask those now. >> what would make you think that congress could fix this given the dysfunctional nature? >> congress has been dysfunctional before. >> thank you, sir. congress has been dysfunctional before. this is in the first time. we should remember we are talking about the voting rights act of 1965. congress wasn't a model of unity at the time, nor was it over the
last several reauthorization of the voting rights act. but we should remember that every time the voting rights act has been realized it was signed by president reagan and president bush. this is a piece of legislation that we recognize goes to the core of our democracy. and that's why i think it's so important that we recognize what has happened today because what has happened today the ball has been thrown not only in congress's cord with our court and the reality is the only way the congress will act as if we call and march and pressure come if we make it clear that we do not intend to go backwards on voting. some of the people standing behind me today that the people with the signs and hour in terms of the naacp legal defense fund or not even born when the voting rights was enacted pity and made their whole lives with these protections could they had this little expectation that they are going to purchase a pig in a democracy that protect all voters. are we prepared now to change
the contract that we have with our young people? are we prepared now to change america and turn our back on them? i think it is not only of to the congress, but it is up to us to demand as american citizens the country will only go forward and will not go backwards. the supreme court has failed the minority voters today. but now the congress has to do the right thing. for congress to do the right thing the only way that they have done it in the past is because we demanded it. in many ways although the ball is in the conagra's court, the ball is in our court. and i hope that americans of all races and every jurisdiction in the country will feel they have to stand up for the future of the country and they have to stand up for the space participation in the country. when people look at the country and they admire what america has been able to do over the last 50 years, they admire the progress that we made despite a history of slavery and racial discrimination exclusions that is what makes us special to the rest of the world. are we prepared to protect that
legacy or willing to let legacy go? we call on all americans. this isn't just an issue for civil rights advocates were just african-americans or latinos. this isn't just an issue for those in the south. this is the america that we have come to expect and that we have come to enjoy and we have become proud of and the question for us is or we willing to fight for it? we believe this is the stance american voters have to take in light of the supreme court's decision and they have to pressure the congress to do their job. >> thank you for your question. clearly the conference has the ability to correct the decision today by passing a new coverage formula. it will have to undertake a different kind of consideration and it did in 2006 but it means it is going to have to go state-by-state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction and make specific findings.
how any other person in america we pride ourselves on our democracy. we pride ourselves on the american people's ability to go to the polls and elect the candidates of their choice. it's absolutely imperative. if you care about your democracy, then today you stand up and say to your congressman, to your senator, that this decision is wrong and make sure they have the right to vote so that you demand a pass a new section that will answer to the courts demand and will protect everyone. it is absolutely imperative. we will spend the next however many months it takes, however many years it takes, we will not sit down, we will not be silent, we will not accept the
evisceration of our rights. we will fight every step of the way to make sure that the voting rights are available to every single american and we will use every tool legally come organizationally, we will do whatever is necessary to protect the rights of each and every american citizen. thank you. >> thank you very much. leading the work and bringing us all together historically has been the leadership council on human rights and we are glad to have wayne henderson and i am now going to call on him to come forward. >> thank you and good morning. voting is the language of democracy could get if you don't vote, you don't count. and so today american democracy suffered a blow. we are obviously disappointed that a narrow and activist segment of the supreme court has
turned its back not only on the contemporary problem of the voter suppression in america. but on the history that brought us to the point that we are today. fortunately, a bipartisan majority in both houses of congress responded to that history in 2006, and we authorized a voting rights act that was strong and meaningful under the power of section 5 of the 14th amendment of the constitution. today the court upheld the constitutionality of the most important provision of the voting rights act that they have challenged us yet again to go back to congress to demonstrate once again that the evidence is clear and irrefutable that voting discrimination occurs today in the united states and must be addressed to respond to the demands of a healthy democracy.
we are very confident that members of both houses of congress who helped lead the effort in 2006 many of whom are still there will respond to those challenges and help restore the power of section 4. one last point this is the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. the march on washington was the game changer and because of that catalytic role, the 1964 civil rights act and the 1965 voting rights act became law. we will use this anniversary not just to commemorate the history of what ultimately brought america to this day but rekindle our commitment to ensure that every person regardless of their race or economic circumstance is
given the full privilege of citizenship in this country that the constitution guarantees. so while we are angry and disappointed, we are inspired to respond to the challenge with the kind of force and impact that the ark of justice justice ginsberg referred to today in dr. king's's speech well once again ran over this land. >> thank you very much for bringing into perspective the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. the naacp along with those of the legacy organization for civil and human rights and labor organization will gather here in the nation's capital on august august 24th. saturday, august 24th for a commemorative march on washington. and like he said, it isn't coming together to commemorate what happened 50 years ago but to reinvigorate those of us that are out in the field who every day doing this work. now i turn to a passionate
advocate for our people come a passionate legal advocate, mr. gerry and mr. armond. >> well obviously we are disappointed that the supreme court has struck down section 4. it is an act of incredible activism as we have heard. it's also a slap in the face to the congress and the hard work that it undertook in 2006. the voting rights act is one of the few pieces of legislation that has enjoyed bipartisan support. in 1965, 1970, 1975, 1982, and even more so in 2006. so it's very disappointing the supreme court would think that it is the best decider of one racial discrimination and voting has ended in our country. it isn't. the constitution says those decisions should be made by
congress with appropriate legislation and the supreme court turned its back on the numerous precedents today as justice ginsburg pointed out in her dissent and also noting of course that this was a challenge in any other area of all the supreme court would never have done what they did today and turn its back on the rights of racial minorities in the country. i join with my brothers and sisters to say we will go to congress and we will fight because we have been in this fight a long time and we are not turning back now. there's nothing stronger than any that mind, said dr. king and we believe this congress knows just as it did in 2006 it can act in a bipartisan way and it will do so. i am confident because i know that one day we shall overcome. attorney from south carolina who argued the first cases under the voting rights act in the 1960's and has been authority year
advocate. >> this is an outrageous slap in the face of congress. bipartisan congress several times has recognized that we as a nation are better when all of us, white, black, every color and every ethnicity or part of the political process and part of our society and congress set out to eliminate racial discrimination in voting in the worst places. supreme court now has said congress, you are out of bounds because there has been some improvement but the 14th amendment and the 15th amendment did not in power the congress to simply get the job half done. they said congress has the power to eliminate, to end racial discrimination voting. this act is on its way to doing that and now the supreme court has crippled the congress halfway through. there is some precedent for this
back in the 19th century. 130 years ago, which was the last time the supreme court in 140 years this is a new 130 year novelty, but 130 years ago, the supreme court said the same thing. they took a civil rights act, important civil rights act of congress and said no, you don't have the power to do that. that decision ushered in the three generations of jim crow in this country. we don't expect this decision thankfully to bring back jim-crow but it will destabilize my state, destabilize the country, things that we have gotten used to, trying to comply with all the constitution, trying to make efforts to end discrimination that's when to be destabilized. we believe congress will step up to the plate as it has done again and again and overcome
this outrageous and disgraceful decision today. >> armand and jerry represent passionate work in this area and we thank you for the work you've done. again, the naacp and the naacp legal defense fund, the legal committee, the conference all of us will be calling on our passionate advocates across the country to keep watch and to keep an eye open for jurisdictions who may try to implement some kind of voting changes during this interim period. we will be setting up a hotline number and that will be revealed soon, that our organizations will be taking complaints from citizens across the country who may have continued complaints especially in these covered jurisdictions to begin again i want to thank you. our work doesn't end here and it points to the opposite side of the street and we will say to
the congress as we said in 2006 to keep the act together we believe that we are on the right side of history as we have always been and we believe in the basic fundamental right of democracy that is afforded to all of us as american citizens. again, thank you very much. >> can i ask you do you still believe that the south can be stigmatized, should be stigmatized when congress acts on this? >> it isn't a geographic stigma. section five applies to the voting rights in alaska, parts in new york, california. it applies to those jurisdictions with the history of past discrimination and who over a decade had failed to seek to come out from under the voting rights act which bill law permits. the jurisdictions, over 200 jurisdictions that have
petitioned to come out from section 5 have never been denied to read the truth is this is not about a geographic stigma. that is a mess. what we are acting to the talking about is the right to vote for every american and the voting rights act was an important tool to complement the 15th amendment of the constitution under which all americans benefit to get so i'm quite confident that the response in congress will be a bipartisan response just as it was in 2006. and i think that all americans who celebrate the importance of our democracy will be there in support of realizing. >> please i invite others to speak i don't think that is accurate at all. >> i think part of the problem -- >> scherlyn ifill, we've represented black voters in shelby county alabama in this case and we argued the case in the supreme court on february 27th. i think the premise of the
question actually reveals the problem of the court's decision today. because the reality is the 15th amendment does not ask the court thinks about how to deal with voting discrimination in this country. it actually doesn't matter what i think or even what you think. with the 15th amendment did is give congress the power to make the determination. and so the only question is the congress act responsibly? and win over nine months congress holds 52 hearings, amasses a 15,000 page record and looks at discrimination in the covered jurisdictions not going back to 1965 but since the last reauthorization from 1982 to 2006 and finds what it found over 600 objections to voting based on intentional discrimination in the covered jurisdictions, than it is our job, and in my view and i think the constitution contemplates that it is the supreme court's job to allow congress to exercise the authority that was
given by the framers of the 15th amendment. that's what they did under section 5 and the coverage formula. .. >> but congressmen and senators who voted for the voting rights act in 2006, and on occasions before the, they do live in our part of the country. we know that the job is not done. in south carolina, mississimississi ppi, alabama, other states, what the act does is a prod and helped to bring about the end of discrimination.
the end of practices that were bound so long in our state. human change does not come overnight. human change does not come overnight, and, therefore, it takes somebody from somewhere else to think that we don't have a problem anymore. we do have a problem. congress, including congressmen and senators from our states recognize that we do have a problem, that the voting rights act can help us overcome the problem. and what we have today is a decision mostly by justices who sit far away in this city, which is not, not any part of the country as far as i can tell, that we don't have a problem anymore because they read the record differently than congress so exhaustively did. >> do you have any message to the department of justice? is there anyway the department of justice to get around this or
does is take away any preclearance? >> it creates tremendous obstacles. what we do call upon the department of justice to do is to use its toolbox of litigation, its toolbox of providing guidance, its toolbox of speaking to the states to make sure that they do not run roughshod over the rights of racial minorities. i think it's important to understand that, to this question of stigma, to this question that you just put before us, that this court, it's a guarantee of equal justice under the law room means that it has to look at the rights of the people. but what it did today was it went decades, almost a century backwards. talking about states' rights again, sovereignty of states. once so important for states.
and forgot its role of protecting voters, protecting the american citizens rate. and it is important -- american citizenry. this tension that exists in their democracy, it's important for us to not go backwards to the states' rights doctrine. we know that the chief justice wrote this decision. we know what his ideology is been on the voting rights act for decades. it's no surprise that we have seen what is predicted he wanted forever, to strike down this provision of the voting rights act. i am disappointed at his colleagues, joined him, that they ran over the rights of congress, and that they forgot about their obligation, their deference to congress, and that they once again played a shell game of coming up with a new standard of review coming meaning that they put a higher
standard on congress and was existing before this decision, to come up with a coverage, a new coverage formula. i think that it is definitely, this fight over states' rights, neo-confederacy, is something that we will indeed address. it's, at the same time, the tragedy of this decision is that all of this continue to happen against a backdrop of modern-day voter suppression. yesterday, justice ginsburg talked about you have to be an ostrich with your head in the sand to have not understood the necessity for affirmative action programs as a remedial device. today, we see the ostrich with his head in the sand and ignoring all of these states that have been passing these voter suppression laws. many of them, most of them from these covered jurisdictions. and the court aired in leading
shelby county, which not only discriminated in 2002, but discriminated again in voting in 2008. found by the courts to have discriminated. not just a preclearance decision by the department of justice, but found by the courts itself. to allow this county with its dirty hands to come before the court and under such an important law is absolutely an american tragedy. and it calls upon this congress, it calls upon the american people to do what we must do to rise up and demand that the court deliver what its duty is. and that is the duty of justice. >> if you have individual questions, you can approach people individually. thank you all again. we've got -- >> there are rumors nelson mandela has died. could you comment on the
poignancy of the ruling today? >> we have no confirmation. thank you all. >> and we will have the oral argument in the voting rights case on july 1 at 10 p.m. eastern on c-span. president obama gives a speech on global climate change at georgetown university, and will call for a conference a plan to reduce carbon pollution. also for the us to prepare for the effects of climate change, such as increased severe weather. at speech coming up at 1:55 eastern, live on c-span3. the senate returns at 2:15 eastern to debate, and then vote on the president's nomination to the commerce department then the senate will return to debate on the
immigration bill with of those on possible amendments coming later in the day. >> there are about 1400 monuments and markers on the battlefield. the 1880s and 1890s. has been who fought in this battle are getting older, they want to make sure what they did here is remembered. they want to that by building monuments. in modern times the 20th and 20 -- 21st century of other ways that back in those days that's how they commemorated the service. this is a monument to the soldiers, monument to their leaders. so the monuments really help us interpret the story. the monuments are placed on the ground with the indians fought back most of the monuments are union monuments. about will be a union victory, we're in a northern state, the war will be a union victory. and quite only by the time the war ends there's not a lot of money in the south to build
monuments. especially in northern states. >> live all the coverage of the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg sunday starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern with historians, scholars and masters. followed at 5:30 p.m. for your calls and tweets. at 8 p.m., the commemorative ceremony, dramatic readings from eyewitness accounts of the battle followed by a candlelight procession. more calls and tweets for peter carmichael all day sunday on american history tv on c-span3.
>> now to the brookings institution for discussion on u.s.-mexico cooperation with assistant home and secure the alan bersin and mexican ambassador to the u.s., eduardo medina mora. both talk about improve coordination on drug trafficking and fighting organized crime. conversations about an hour and a half. >> okay. ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. thank you all for coming today. as we both launch the book, the end of no cell chip, which covers critical issues in the mexican relationship, and within mexico and looks to the exciting future of mexico, and also a book by my colleague, who was not at the oas and his monograph
would like to share with you. this afternoon, we have a remarkable panel. the biographies of which are in your program and i do not intend to repeat them. but what i want to stress is the following. a shared responsibility exists between the u.s. government and the mexican government. secretary clinton was perhaps the first two enunciate that, but since that time senior officials from washington have repeated that commitment that the balance in mexico -- the violence in mexico is also our violence it can do to the fact that we are the largest market for the illicit products which move towards our border, and that our inability to control the southward movement of arms and both cash make this a joint
enterprise. that joint enterprise was very close during the calderón administration. and david johnson who is with us this afternoon was the director of that department within the state department, which managed the initiative and we're very grateful, david, for your joining us this afternoon. and election, a new president, and a new policy is what we are seeking to understand. the situation is dynamic, and for many of us it is uncertain. therefore, we have asked senior official from the mexican government as well as the mexican ambassador to the united states, eduardo medina mora, who sitting here today but in the front seat of the audience, a citizen this afternoon for the moment. to join us to explain what is
this dynamic new security policy? because if there's a shared responsibility, we know we need to -- [inaudible] understand the chefs that are occurring. we also want to present, share with you the response from the u.s. government, and we await the arrival of assistant secretary alan bersin from the department of homeland security, because he has the border. he has the customs and immigration in his bailiwick. i sincerely hope that mr. snowden has not detained him somewhere, and that he will at any moment slip in through this door. i'm going to start off this afternoon asking ariel
moutsatsos, the minister for special affairs at the mexican embassy here in washington, to present to us the mexican strategy. thank you. >> well, thank you very much for having us here. thank you, diana. and thank you to everyone for being here. it's a pleasure to share this with you. i'm sure that you all understand that our great ambassador has a very unique sense of humor, and that's why he got me here, up in
the stage instead of him. so i think you also, the ambassador, for this opportunity. president nieto has stated in recent months that he was not going to be a new strategy, but rather more like a public security state policy, a justice policy, that can follow-up in what has been done, but certainly that space as a general line to address the issues of security and justice in mexico. we used to have more reactive approach prior to this administration. and the new approach of this
state policy for security and justice is to address the roots and causes of crime rather than just its consequences. in mexico, and in many parts of the world, there are two preconditions for full development of the country. the first one is my great economic stability. when i was 18, i heard all over the press and the media in mexico that there was an economic crisis in 1994, and we didn't know if we should don rice our economy because the peso was not very stable back in those days. and there were debates in the medium, in the cafés, and the policymakers and in the press on this issue. india and we did our homework, and today was one of the most
solid economies in the world. we implemented a state policy for economy, and we -- [inaudible]. we are looking now to fulfill the second precondition for full development in mexico, which is security and justice. president nieto has pointed out six lines of action to do so. the first one is planning. we are not looking to have much improvisation here, but rather a more plan to approach towards this issue. the second one is of course prevention, social prevention of crime. the national program for the prevention of violence and crime was already presented a few months ago that focus on 57
municipalities or delegations where 40% of crimes take place. and some additional actions in 251 minutes of penalties, of the more than 2400 municipalities that we have in mexico are being taken. they are actions to restore social fabric and revealed communities, to bring economic and educational opportunities, and certainly also related to treatment. in terms of human rights, we also have made important progress, but we have certainly as well lots of plants. we have a new victims law, and the undersecretary for human rights. and regarding the military jurisdiction, we do not have more trials under military jurisdiction where civilians are for events or situations where civilians are participating, or military personnel that is off
duty, is participating. coordination is also an important factor. coordination between our agencies at the federal level between the federal and the state and institutions. between state and municipality worries, and certainly we have divided the country in five regions to approach from a better perspective and from a more tailored a manner, the problems of security and justice there. we are privileging intelligence of our force. a few years back, the government, the federal government was kind of substituting the way that we approached the problem, substituting the governors. because we were more, we were having an approach where the federal government would just go to the states and take over the situation, take charge of the situation of the enforcement
there. and try to improve the security situation there. this is not what the constitution mandates, and it's serving up the approach right now. we are currently embracing a more shared approach where the federal government is supporting governors to do their work, and certainly supporting also municipalities throughout the scheme. and we are confident that that will make and is already being very, very positive for improving the situation. and if we make a difference in our country. may be the most important one, if each one for important than the other is institutional transformation. at the beginning of my presentation i said that we were to address the roots and causes of crime rather than just its
consequences. well, behind all the problem of organized crime lies institutional weakness. in mexico, we have a very strong state. we have a very strong state regarding location, regarding health. we are among the very few countries in the world with universal health coverage. we are also economically very strong to our social programs are very good, but in terms of security and justice we are not yet there. we need to make more regarding security and justice in our country. we need to strengthen our institutions to we articulate in that sense our cooperation with the united states on which we will talk about a bit later. and, finally, the last line of action is assessment and feedback, because this is certainly something that we would like to just to reach and assess on the process.
diana has asked me to talk a bit about the progress in justice reform. we will make, we have a deadline in 2016 when our system, our criminal system has to go from -- the one that we have right now, the more adversarial and accusatory of system. this is certainly to ensure due process, and to ensure also the presumption of innocence, expedite trials, ensure equality, damage repair, and the other characteristics that you are right now reading in the screen. it will be full and limited in chihuahua, and 29 other states are taking actions to achieve its inception. that's especially make progress in 20 of them. and we are also looking to
embrace an alternative justice criteria for minor felons. to avoid processing and imprisoning people unnecessari unnecessarily, to expedite the damage repairing and safeguarding danger of the victims. and certainly these new criminal model, the new criminal justice system does not include yet organized crime, but it will, include all types of crime in the long-term. regarding police and police reform, as you know, we have more than 2000 police cooperations in the country. this is because we have almost one corporation or every of our 2438 municipalities. the our municipalities where we don't have a lease corporation. police building is a matter of
creating critical mass. the numbers are very important to we need them also to be reliable, certainly, and effective. but creating radical mass, it's of the essence because that improves reaction. that improves the capability of them to operate in a wider and bigger every. let's call it jurisdiction, type the it's not jurisdiction because it's not police. it is preventive model of police. and at the same time, it's very important to secure peace and tranquility for the citizens in their communities. and that the territory is well-controlled by the police. each state will assess its municipal police forces, and the state of those forces if they require to become a single command force in a state. or they will stay as municipal
police forces that they would be reformed. third, and municipality in 10 states have already transferred public safety functions. and, of course, a command -- there is in place an initiative to create a single police command in our country. regarding the subject that it's been in recent weeks indie media, and in the minds of the people who follows this subject very close, very closely, it essentially is a working progress and is still in planning stages. but what we do know is that it will be a deploying a force. to have presents where the state is weaker, this is about -- [inaudible]. it seeks to cover by police force. if we have police training and structure, civilian command and
duties, it will be an evolution of the federal police, it means there will not be a substitute to the federal police like it was said, or i read somewhere. it's not pick it will be in addition to the federal police. with rules of engagement. it will have arrest authority and in the spirit of duties compatible start at 5000 element. currently, the federal police as 37,000 elements, approximately. and we have deployed, sometimes more, sometimes less around 45,000 armed elements from our armed forces. so this reaches more or less 90,000 elements. we believe necessary to have 100,000 elements in our territory in terms of our federal force.
the president has stated his intention to take the federal police force from 37,000 to 50,000 elements, and it grows to that number we will be reaching around 100,000 elements. and then we would think about a gradual recover of public sector to tasks by police force rather than a military. regarding international corporation, we have some coordination problems in recent years, especially in terms of cooperation from intelligence cooperation and exchange. so we have already set a single point of contact to exchange intelligence. this is certainly to avoid duplication of efforts regarding international corporation, to give effectiveness to government actions. but most importantly to avoid competition. in the past our corporation was based on best friend basis come
and agencies in mexico and agencies in the united states which use mutually we can to cooperate or exchange intelligence. this is not so and will not be so anymore, for the case of intelligence against organized crime. we will have a single point of contact so that we can have more coordination and more organization. and certainly in terms of training, technical assistance and corporation, they'll continue on a one to one basis. the special focus of this new approach will be on money laundering and weapons trafficking. and not as i said only in addressing the consequences. this is very interesting. the federal budget for fiscal year 2013 approved by mexican congress is, let me say this corrected, it's a big number,
$13,000,505,120,831. that stands for 1.06% of our gdp. this is to prevent crime, fight evictions, rescue public spaces. this is also for the judiciary branch on the contributions fund for public security of the states and the federal district. but this does not include the budget of every state, that every state is of course focusing on security and justice. this is only at the federal level, and it includes a eight or the assistance provided by the federal government to the states. so taking this into consideration and also bearing in mind that the initiative, the is committed to transfer a total of 1.4 billion. well, we can certainly reach the conclusion that mexico come regarding security and justice
is investing $13 for every dollar that the united states, to these matters. if we were to take in consideration what the states are also, yeah, destined to these, well, we would reach probably around 20 to one, our relation of around 20 to one, if not more for security and justice. that's been invested by the mexican government in comparison to the merida initiative let's make this country this is not a system. this is more like a shared responsibility because it's a shared problem and we need to seek a shared solution to this. and the united states, for us, it's what they are putting into the merida initiative is of course very meaningful and symbolic. but at the same time, it provides services and other
types of, well, services and equipment but certainly training that we cannot find in the market anywhere else. so that's more important than the money itself. it's a matter of cooperation in providing training and more in kind and in cash. this is, i know that the time is short, but this is more or less of a breakdown. i'm not sure if you can see these very clearly on the screen, but this is a breakdown of the federal budget for the year 2013 that he just talked about, this information will be available through diane. and in brief, just to wrap up, we're talking about a new integral approach that strengthens the security and justice institutions, that
completes the states of the country in terms of security and justice, that institutionalizes the solution to the problem of violence and organized crime, and disrupts the ability of the groups to -- in time and geography. the bottom line is that we are seeking to assure peace and tranquility for mexican families and their communities. from december 2012 to april 2013, and i'm sure that it will be addressed more thoroughly, there have been a total of 5000 homicides linked to organized crime. the same measure in the last five months of the previous administration reached 6432, so when comparing these consecutive pitch, well, there has been in decrease of 1136, and 136 homicides. that stands for 18% decrease in the. one is too many.
i think it's quite a good output. for mexico enforcing the law, certainly unavoidable obligation like our president said. with this i think it very much for your attention, and i look forward to the other presentations on the commenters and questions in this regard. thank you very much. [applause] >> i'm not going to ask the assistant secretary -- [inaudible] otherwise known as dhs. >> never touch the stuff. >> can we turn office powerpoint so that we listen and focus on mr. bersin? >> thank you, diana, and thank you brookings, mr. ambassador, ariel, thank you for the presentation. my job today is to describe at
least or outlined the response of the department of homeland security. my extension, denounced his government to the transition that has taken place in mexico. and in the context of any transition, whether it be mexican or in the united states, when you go from one administration to the next there is a tendency to emphasize the new and the different. and, of course, in any transition there will be changes. but what i suggest to this group is that we need to step back and take a look at the long-term strategic change that is taking place in the united states, a mexican relationship over the
last 12 years, certainly over the last six years, and even more pronounced over the last three and a half years. because i think in that long-term come in that recognition of the long-term strategic change we actually begin to understand and can project what is likely to happen over the next half generation, certainly the next decaeneratio, certainly the next decade. and, frankly, the law change that will not seek any alteration is in a fundamental shift that's taking place in a way the united states the government and mexican government view problems. both at the border but also in the interior of both countries. from the history, recognizing that since the u.s.-mexican war in the 19th century -- >> senators, we will leave this now to have a look at senators
returning from their weekly party lunches. >> good afternoon, everyone. the president is apparently in the middle of a speech right now, that from the kentucky point of you be best described as announcing a war on coal. in fact, that was the exact terminology used by one of the president's advisers in putting together the speech that is making today. a war on coal is more than just an impact on this particular form of energy. it also has a huge impact on manufacturing. in my state, for example, we have very low utility rates, largely because of the cold that we produce relatively close to the utilities. it is the way in which we are allowed to be competitive. so the war on coal impacts my state in two ways. it creates a depression in central appalachia. that is used in kentucky. and also since we have a number
of automobile plans and a loss of auto supply plans in our state, it drives the cost of production of parts and vehicles up. so this is a huge step in the wrong direction, particularly in the middle of the most tepid recovery after a deep recession in anyone's memory. >> reportedly, the president is announcing his latest tax on energy producers which has passed along quickly to consumers at a time when they can least afford it. i wish the president would look at the good news in america, which is the fact that we're producing more natural gas, more domestic energy here at home, and our carbon emissions are decreasing dramatically. in large part because the greater use of natural gas, yet the president and his administration continues to burden and overregulate the domestic production of domestic
energy in ways that disadvantage the american consumer and hurt jobs. in texas one reason we've been doing better than the rest of the country is because we have three distinct regions where we are racing or developing oil and natural gas, creating a lot of jobs, helping the economy grow, and making it a place where people want to come, work, and raise the family. the president can learn a lot of lessons from that instead of burdening and taxing america's energy producers and having to pass along to consumers. he needs to take his foot off the neck of the energy producers and job creators, and allow this important sector of our economy to prosper. >> this week is the one year anniversary since the supreme court upheld the obamacare tax, and what have we seen since that time? we've seen premiums go up. we've seen hours worked go down. and we have seen a co-pay be reduced for many americans.
and the presidents credibility gap is going with the american people when it comes to the economy, and that yet as my colleague said today, he is announcing get a new national energy tax which is going to hit people on fixed incomes and senior citizens the most. those of people who would be most vulnerable and most affected by the president's new national energy tax. and so i think the question that needs to be asked, are the senate democrats going to go along with the presidents of new national energy tax? and what is going to do two jobs and economy in this country. because when you combine the impact with higher premiums and the new take on -- reduced take-home pay of the obamacare legislation with the energy tax, it is day one to gut punch to the american economy and to jo jobs. >> well, the president's energy tax is going to be a direct hit to american jobs and american economy. it's an attack on affordable
energy and an attack on coal as the most available, affordable, reliable and secure source of energy there is. additionally, it's been reported the president is talking about the keystone xl pipeline and putting conditions on it. that essentially is surrendering our opportunity to put more americans to work. and i'm looking forward to putting the senate on record and scene where democrats stand on the presidents plans he's coming out with today, do they support hard-working americans and affordable energy or do they support the agenda of this president? i also have significant concerns about gene mccarthy was the president's nominee to be head of the environmental protection agency. she has recently reported to the senate that the things the bravest unbudgeted are things she has known nothing about so either she's ignorant of what's going on at epa, a place where she has been assistant director for the last four years, or she
is eric and and wants the senate not to know what she really knows. either way i think this tarnishes her chances of being approved by the senate, tarnishes her nomination. i think the american people need somebody at the epa that they can trust to be honest with th them. >> well, if there is a simpler economic formula and more american energy equals more american jobs, i don't know what it is. and the corollary would be more expensive energy equals less american jobs. the presidents talking about the kinds of things that the senate, when the senate was a democratic senate, there's a democratic house, they passed a cap-and-trade bill on the house side. democrats in the senate wouldn't even bring it to the floor because it was going to increase energy costs in our country. my state is about 82% dependent on coal. the president just a few months ago was for all of the above. now he appears to be only for a little slice of the above. i heard one of his supporters
thing yesterday that these policies would force people to conserve energy. senator thune said the last people to get the senior citizens people on fixed income, people are struggling at the bottom of the economy are the last people to get the energy-efficient refrigerators, the last people to get the new windows, the last people to get more insulation, the people that are most impacted by energy policies that drive their individual costs up. and they're also the most likely to be impacted by energy policies that make it harder to get a job. this is the wrong direction for the country at the time we are doing better, not worse using the energy we have. all of the metrics that you measure air quality by are much better than they were, and a country that really could take advantage of and all of the above strategy instead of focusing on what we don't have. let's focus what we have and
figure out how to make the most out of had two great opportunity. >> [inaudible] >> we know your position. is your opinion that the stopgap here is a house of representatives which might view this bill very similar or may not be able to do anything at all? >> i think it is great we're moving toward completion of the immigration bill this week. i hope the house will be able to pass a companion measure, it will have a conference and deal with an issue of this magnitude in the way that we should. so i look forward to seeing what the house can do, and hopefully we'll be able to get to a product, a conference report here later in the year that the house and senate can express themselves on. >> [inaudible] >> yes spirit your reaction to the supreme court ruling on the voting rights act?
>> i haven't read it yet. obviously, it's an important bill that passed back in the '60s, at a time when we had a very different america than we have today. in my state is not covered by the voting rights act. may be others who want to comment on it. at this point i think i'm just going to have to read it first, but i would say i do think america is very different today from what it was in the 1960s. does anybody else want -- i'm going to take one more. >> do you expect to reach an agreement about a further amendment? [inaudible] spent you were asking me a process question but i so they don't know the answer but i do think we are moving toward completion of the bill. it won't surprise you to know that a minority we would have more of an image rather than fewer. and we're still hoping to get
additional amendments. whether we do or don't it looks to me like the bill is headed toward completion later this week. thanks. >> [inaudible conversations] >> and now live to the senate which is just gaveled backend for consideration of the president's pick for commerce secretary. then more on immigration. midst of the immigration reform bill, expecting votes on amendments this week and then final passage. it's an historic and important measure and we have interrupted it briefly to consider a nomination that is important as well. it's the nomination by president obama of penny pritzker of chicago to be the next secretary
of commerce in the president's cabinet. i know penny pritzker and i know her family and i know the reputation they enjoy in chicago, in illinois and around the world. she's an extraordinary person. the pritzker family has been successful in business for many decades and many generations. she stepped up years ago and said to her father that she wanted to play a role in business leadership. there weren't that many women involved in business leadership at that time but her father said he'd give her an opportunity and he did. she became very successful with the corporation, with the family businesses and has made a name for herself over the years. she has decades of business, entrepreneurial and equally important for this job, civic experience. despite her success in the private sector, penny pritzker and her family have given unsparingly of their own time to help many important causes. she understands business and economic development but she also understands the reality of
the challenges that many families face across our country. we know the jobs report from earlier this month showed that we had 6.9 million jobs created over 39 consecutive months of private-sector job growth. that's progress. we've come a long way. but let's make no mistake, families are still struggling to find work and many that are working are struggling paycheck to paycheck to survive. penny pritzker will bring considerable experience to the department of commerce to help us create new businesses and job opportunities in america. she understands what it takes to build a business from scratch. she's done it five different times with start-up businesses. she's created jobs that support families and communities across america. more than creating jobs, she's helped countless people get the education they need to connect them with job opportunities. she leads skills for america's future, a national program bringing together business, community colleges and others,
preparing workers for good-paying 21st century jobs. in addition to education, penny pritzker is an ardent supporter of the arts which support economic development and tourism across the nation. she's a member of the american academy of the arts and sciences and a trustee of the kennedy center. there's no question that our economy is headed in the right direction. the question is, who will pursue today's efforts to continue that growth and lead us to future success? who will continue efforts to help american businesses in the global marketplace? we're on the right track. too many businesses, however, in america are still struggling to survive. expanding to new markets is one way to help american business and our economy. we need a secretary of commerce who will not only help small businesses grow and create jobs but also open opportunities for businesses to expand their products and services across the state, the country and the globe. penny pritzker called me a couple weeks ago and urged me,
if possible, to do everything i could to try to get her nomination moving before july. i talked to senator reid, who was fully supportive of the president's nominee. the reason she's anxious to do that is important trade discussions are going to begin after the 1st of july, with some of the leading economic powers around the world. she wanted to be at that table. it's important for america that she is. she knows what it takes to make business work. she knows the tools that businesses need. what's more, she knows economic development at all levels. colleagues from both sides of the aisle agree that we need job creation. penny pritzker has a proven track record in promoting jobs and growth and her leadership will help our country. her decades of experience will serve her well. miss pritzker's wide-ranging perspective will prove worthwhile to the future of our nation as we compete in the global marketplace. i urge my colleagues to support miss penny pritzker's nomination and look forward to working with her as she is hopefully going to
be the next secretary of commerce under the obama administration. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. pryor: madam president, i also rise in support of penny pritzker for secretary of commerce. i think she'll do an excellent job. madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent that -- that the following comments would be considered as part of morning business and i'll only take, say, three or four minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. pryor pryor: thank you, madam president. i rise today to honor ken duke of hope, arkansas. ken is an incredible athlete that has a great story and he's actually here with us today in the gallery. he is -- years ago was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager and he was forced for years to wear a back brace. and there were times when he had to wear that back brace for 23 hours a day. he underwent surgery and
numerous treatments. eventually they put a metal rod in his spine and the rod is still there today. now, despite of all those tough circumstances, he persevered and he went on to win his high school district golf tournament. he was wearing the back brace, no less, and then he became in recent years a strong advocate for those suffering spinal problems and he now hosts an annual charity golf tournament called "a day with duke." anyway, after playing golf for henderson state university -- and, might i say, go reddies -- after he played for henderson state university, he turned professional. and like many professional golfers, he had his good days and bad days, he had his ups and downs and that's a tough life. and he's been out there plugging away week in, week out. but this past sunday, ken had
one of his best days of golf that he's ever had in his care career. at the travelers championship in cromwell, connecticut, duke faced a tense playoff with chris stroud. after stroud had chipped in on the 18th hole, the men were neck and neck, both with 12 under pars. but ken pushed ahead, making a 2 1/2-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to clinch his first pga tour victory. this was not only a great shot and a great round of golf but it's also a great american story. arkansas is very proud of ken and we hope that there are many, many wins in the future. and i just wanted to say congratulations. and, madam president, with that, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. rockefeller: madam president, i have the honor to chair the commerce committee and, thus, have enormous interest in who our next commerce secretary is going to be. i don't think the president could have picked anybody bett better. i've known penny pritzker for 30 years. i got chicago relations in my family, too. and she is a force of nature. that's the thing i want people to understand. she is a force of nature. yes, she's wealthy. yes, she's experienced in business. yes, she's experienced in public service. she is a tiger of energy and purpose. the department of commerce is probably "the" most complicated -- i don't know about d.o.d. but i think it's the most complicated non-d.o.d. agency. i mean, you have oceans, spectrum, aviation, trains. i mean, there's a thousand different areas, including all
the oceans. and it takes a real leader, it takes a tough person and we haven't had a tough enough person for awhile. we had one but then because of health reasons that person had to resign. and i cannot imagine a better -- and i don't say these things often about nominees -- i cannot imagine a more perfect person to run the department of commerce than penny pritzker. and i hope that my colleagues will vote for her overwhelmingly. i thank the chair. i yield the floor. note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: i rise to speak once again on the immigration bill before us. before there was a judiciary committee markup, before there was an immigration bill, before there was even a gang of eight, most senators had three basic beliefs. the immigration system is broken, fixing it will be neither simple nor easy, and it absolutely needs to be done.
i share those beliefs. i also rely on two sets of experience. i served in this body and on the judiciary committee during the 99th congress when we considered the immigration reform and control act of 1986, commonly called the simpson-maz olie bill and during the 117th when we considered the immigration reform act of 2007. i voted against both of them. i opposed the 1986 legislation because it was self-proclaimed amnesty. i opposed the 2007 because it had been developed outside of the judiciary committee. my participation in the current immigration reform effort has been informed by those beliefs and those experiences. we simply must fix our broken immigration system but in in doing so must not repeat either of those substantive errors or -- from 1986 or the procedural errors from 2007.
as we all know, most of the media and political attention is focused on border security and legalization parts of this bill. but there's much more to it than that. i initially focused on two areas: first working with senators rubio, coons, and klobuchar, i focused on increased opportunities for high-skilled immigrants. the bill we introduced, the i scared bill has 28 bipartisan sponsors. working with senators rubio, feinstein and bennet i focused on working the guest worker program that will be so important for the agricultural sector of our economy. those discussions were led by senator feinstein and there's no question i played a significant role in those. this program is the product of two compromise between farm workers and growers. i had real questions whether that could be done but it was. i was glad to see it included as part of the gang of eight's original bill. another important provision that
was made part of the original bill was my proposal for permanently extending a visa program for religious workers. this provision would provide up to 5,000 visas for foreign nationals to work with religious organizations that help america's neediestiest people and underserved communities. i have supported this program for many years and am very grateful that the gang of eight offered to include it in the bill at my request. in addition, i commend the judiciary committee chairman, senator leahy, for conducting an open, fair, and thorough markup of s. 744 -- yes, s. 744. thankfully, this bill unlike the bill in 2007, is being handled through regular order. during the committee's consideration of s. 744 i found 24 -- filed 24 amendments, 20 within judiciary committee jurisdiction. i'm proud of the fact that 15 of those 20 amendments were made part of the legislation that is before us now.
i don't think proud is the word. i'm pleased rather than proud. for example, the committee adopted by voice vote my amendment establishing strong penalties for cultivating marijuana on federal lands. mexican drug cartels are driving the expansion of this plague using chemicals and diverting water sources that also harm the environment. my amendment will reduce the illegal drugs that enter the market and protect america's natural resources at the same time. the committee also adopted my amendment to establish a mandatory biometric exit system at the ten busiest international airports. preventing individuals from entering the country illegally is only one side of the coin. the other side, of course, is preventing individuals from overstaying their visas. and we know if that works in those airports, we then will i think be encouraged to expand that in many other ways. nearly half of those who are currently here illegally came into the country legally but did
not leave when they were supposed to. my amendment tackles part of that equation. i do want to respond to what some of my colleagues have said about this new biometric system. some have claimed my amendment dials back current law. let me be clear. i fully support the biometric exit system provided by -- provided for under current law. sadly, it has not been properly implemented. what good is it if legislation simply remains on paper? to the critics of my amendment -- do the critics prefer the status quo which has accomplished absolutely nothing? my amendment which deploy a real biometric system, something that current law has failed to do and, by the way, it's fully paid for. trust me, this is more than just a fig leaf. the judiciary committee also adopted once again by voice vote my amendment to improve education and training in the fields of science, technology,
engineering and math or the stem fields. while foreign high-skilled workers mayplay an important part in our economy we need to invest more in developing the american work force, especially the next generation. i look forward to seeing the stem account grow and provide hundreds of millions of dollars directly to the states for this critical education and training. that's in the bill now. and i am particularly pleased that the judiciary committee adopted a package of my amendments establishing a coherent and constructive approach to high-skilled immigration. these provisions will ensure that the h-1b and l-1 visas actually work for a change. i thank senators schumer and durbin for their willingness to compromise because these complex issues require a delicate balance of interests. this is the path i have pursued so far. from the outset of this process i've made it clear there are
issues with this bill under the jurisdiction of the finance committee. as the ranking member of the finance committee, i've been working in good faith to ensure that those matters were addressed in a responsible and productive way. toward that end, i filed amendments both in committee and here on the floor and have been working with my colleagues to vet get them included. these are important issues that simply cannot be overlooked. for example, there was the issue of whether immigrants receiving a change in status would be allowed to receive welfare benefits. under a long-standing provision of federal law, noncitizens including legal immigrants are not eligible for federal cash welfare benefits for their first five years in the country. to preserve that five-year ban for r.p.i.'s i know the administration believes it has the authority to permit states to allow it.
in order to prevent future administrations we need to clarify that the secretary of health and human services cannot permit federal welfare dollars from being spent on noncitizens. that's a -- that's a system i'm unwilling to support. and i'm pleased to that they have -- pleeched they have accepted my amendment. today i'm pleased to report that we have successfully negotiated provisions that will prevent the administration from waiving the five-year ban on welfare benefits as well as prohibiting the secretary from permitting this type of spending. they have been included as part of the compromise package we'll be voting on later this week. another problem with the original bill was it did not adequately address social security. specifically the bill did not state how periods of unauthorized employment would be treated in the calculation of social security benefits. once again, i have worked with my colleagues to reach an agreement on a provision that
says that periods of unauthorized earnings do not count towards determining social security benefits. the provision will among other things prevent people who did not have authorization to work in this country from going back and retroactively claiming unauthorized periods of work in which they used made-up or stolen social security numbers. this is a necessary step that will help preserve the integrity of our social security system. as with the provision on welfare benefits this is part of the leahy compromise agreement -- amendment. according to the congressional budget office and the joint committee on taxation, this provision will result in lower spending for social security and medicare. while i am pleased we've been able to reach agreement on these important issues there are other finance committee issues that not have been addressed. there is the issue of when those on the r.p.i. or blue card pathways will be eligible for
subsidies under the be affordable care act. i fieltd and amendment that would have placed those subsidies in the same category as of means tested programs which includes the five-year waiting period once immigrant attains the status of l.a.x. permanent resident. this is the issue of back taxes, there is also the issue of back taxes. i filed an amendment that would have required all r.p.i. applicants to pay their back taxes as a condition of receiving a change in status. neither of these two issues is adequately addressed by the current version of the legislation. in my view, these are serious problems that will need to be fixed before the bill is suitable for the president's signature. on top of that there is still the issue of border security. while the compromise legislation we'll be he voting on this week significantly improves upon the original draft of this bill, i believe we can and should do more. so as you see, madam president, there is still a number of issues that need to be resolved.
however, as i said all along this is a process. reporting the bill out judiciary committee was one step in that process and passing the bill here on the senate floor is another step, a first step. i don't think i don't think anyone should be under any illusions when the senate completes its work on the legislation this week the process is finished. the house of representatives is working on its own bill with an entirely different approach. they've already begun reaching out to my house colleagues to help address these issues that i believe are important particularly those that fall under the jurisdiction of the senate finance committee. i hope that the house will work to address what i see as significant shortcomings in the senate bill. and i will work hard to ensure those issues are resolved should the bill go to conference. with that in mind i plan to vote in favor of s. 744 peculiarity this week -- later this week. as i said before, i share the belief of most of my colleagues the current immigration system is broken and reform is absolutely necessary. as i see it, the only way to
reach that goal is to allow the process to move forward. once again, i'd like to commend my colleagues for their work on this legislation thus far. i hope they'll keep an open mind on future changes as well. while the final product is far from perfect, i believe we're on a path to reaching other a reasonable solution to the problems that continue to plague our nation's immigration system. i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of the capitol to move this process forward towards successful conclusion. madam president, i yield the floor. in fact, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their votes? if not, the yeas are 97, the nays are 1, and the nomination is confirmed. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, that's a clear -- a good vote for our new commerce secretary. we're very excited about that vote 97-1. i'm going to speak to that, but before i do that, i am going to turn this over to my colleague
from the state of louisiana, senator landrieu, for two minutes. thank you. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: one second, if i may, senator. the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid on the table. the senate will resume legislative session. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. i am going to speak in morning business for up to two or three minutes. i want to take a point of personal privilege. as we get to the end of this immigration debate and hopefully have a final vote on this bill sometime this week, it is a very important issue for our country, there have been any number of senators that have been involved in trying to negotiate a very complex and tough bill. and the gang of eight has done a terrific job, in my view, of managing lots of very controversial aspects to this bill. but a group of us not connected
directly to the gang of eight have been working on a group of amendments that are not central to the bill -- or potentially, let me say, noncontroversial. we have been working with republicans and democrats, parallel to the gang of eight. and i only ask the leadership on both sides -- the republican leadership, the democratic leadership -- to please look at the list that has been submitted to the record, not once, not twice, not three times, but five times; that has been well-circulated. and if there are any objections to the specific ideas in the bill -- not objections to amendments or that -- just specific objections to the ideas of the amendments, the substance of the amendments, please talk with me and i'll be happy to do everything i can because, as the
senator from arizona knows so well, who's been in the middle of this debate now for a long time, there have been hundreds of amendments offered in judiciary and voted on. there are over 250 amendments pending on the floor. some of them are extremely controversial. the republicans would like to vote on some of those. there are others that the democrats with a nts to vote on. i am -- that the democrats want to vote on. i am fine to vote on all of them or none of them. i'll stay here all night and vote on them. i don't have a dog in that hunt. what i have is a small -- relatively small group of amendments that republicans and democrats that are in the in the gang of eight have vote -- that are not in the gang of eight have voted on or have been talking about or working on that to our knowledge -- and our knowledge may not be complete -- but to our knowledge have no voiced opposition against them. and we're just hoping that whatever agreement is come to,
whatever agreement, that these -- this list of noncontroversial amendments would at least be given a chance for a voice vote. we don't need individual votes. we don't need a record vote. we just would like to have our voices heard. i see the senator from arizona. i'm happy if he wants to ask me a question or so. mr. mccain: mr. president, i can't speak for senator grassley, who is managing the bill in an outstanding fashion, but i would like to point from conversations that i've had with senator grassley that these amendments are in the process -- and as you mentioned, there are a number of them -- of being cleared. in other words, rather than just being judged noncontroversial, which i certainly accept the senator from louisiana's word, we really need to clear them with everybody. and i hope she understands. we hope that we can move forward rather rapidly with that process. i don't dispute that they're
"noncontroversial" but every senator wants to have these amendments cleared with them, and they've already started that process. so i appreciate the advocacy and the involvement of the senator from louisiana. she's been extraordinarily involved in this issue by helping us make the package much better, and i hope she will show some more -- i emphasize "more" -- patience as we try to get this package agreed to by both sides. ms. landrieu: i thank the senator from arizona, and i will show more patience. and everyone on the floor is showing a the love patience -- is showing a lot of patience with a very complicated bill. but i have asked privately and i want to ask publicly, for the process of clearing -- clearing -- uncontroversial amendments to begin, there's also a process going on to clear votes on controversial amendments. i am aware of that -- to clear
votes and a time agreement on controversial amendments. i am not asking for that. i'm asking for clearances to begin for no votes, voice vote only on noncontroversial amendments, and i'm glad i have the senator's support to look at that and hopefully we can work something out. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: thank you. i thank the senator from louisiana, as senator mccain said, for her continued patience. i think what she proposes makes a decorate deal of sense. -- makes a great deal of sense. there are a lot of amendments that are not yoafersial and i -- that are not controversialtained it that once cleared, they would be voted en bloc? ms. landrieu: by voice. mr. schumer: i think this makes sense. we're working on the ones that require votes. we should be working simultaneously on the ones that are not controversial and let's hope we come to some agreement so we can all vote on this bill
and move on to other business. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i ask that the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: i first want to thank the gang of eight for their work. our judiciary committee, as was discussed the last few minutes, for the incredible amount of patience and hard work that has gone into this bill, and i'm very hopeful we'll be able to work out the remaining issues and amendments. i think the strong vote yesterday showed an incredible sense of momentum and a bipartisan compromise. speaking of bipartisanship, i wanted to address the recent vote, the 9 7-1 vote for ms. penny pritzger. as a member of the commerce committee, i nts with ad to
spend a few minutes talking about her nomination. i think we all know she's extremely well-qualified. over the course of her career she has started and led a number of business ventures in a wide range of industries such as finance, real estate, hospitality, and transportation. she's been an advocate for business and assisted companies in expanding into new markets. she's also a member of the president's economic recovery advisory board and is chairman of skills for america's futures, helping to prepare workers for the 21st century. when i met are her, i was impressed by not only her experience, command of what's going on right now with our economy, but also her understanding of the department. as we know, the department oversees the economic development administration, the patent office, the national oceanic atmospheric administration and many others. beyond that, what we talked about was the fact that the commerce secretary can actually be an advocate for business
today and for jobs today. i think one thing that was long overdue is looking at our top exporting industries in america, whether it's farm machinery, agriculture, movies, all of our top exporting industries, medical device, and look at what we can do to help them expand in our country, not in other countries, so they are exporting to the world. my state has been built on exports over the last few years. we have an unemployment rate of 5.3%, so certainly the growth is due in part to the fact that we have recovered now 93% of the jobs lost in the downturn in our state. it is a lot about exports and it is also a lot about tourism you something that ms. pritzger is well-ainterquad with. i thinwe lost 16 nuclear 16% ine
9/11. every point weigh add back is 161,000 jobs right in this country. we're startin starting to do thw because we're finally advertising our country under "brand u.s.a.," something the department of commerce is greatly involved in overseas. but also because we are speeding up the wait time for visas, something the state department and the commerce department have worked jointly on. every visa that we get down to two to three days for a tour ifl--for a tourist visa means tt someone will choose to visit the mall of america in bloomington, or will choose to visit south carolina instead of going to another country, instead of going to london or instead of going to singapore. we want them to come to the united states of america. i think it is a big part of the job that the commerce secretary can do to continue the improvements we've seen with tourism, to make sure that everyone knows that you can have a great vacation in west virginia, mr. president, and to
keep that message going. another part of why i'm excited about ms. pritzger in this job is that we are seeing more and more women in the workplace. we just did a report on that with the joint economic committee. and we knead to see even more -- and we need to see even more women in areas they haven't been involved inasmuch, like manufacturing. at the same time, we have job openings in manufacturing and we need people to be trained in the new skills for today's manufacturing. this is no longer your grandpa's factory floor. they are new skills that are needed, robotics, advanced degrees, and others to run the equipment, to make the equipment, to repair the equipment. in a more general matter, this is something we discussed at our commerce hearing with her, with women, we just have 17% of board seats across manufacturing, 1%
of executives, 6% -- 12% of executives, 6% of c.e.o.'s. so there is a los lot of work tt can be done there. so i am very excited about the work ahead for her and i'm glad to see strong bipartisan support? -- support in the senate. i'd like to talk about one more issue that's vitally important to our country's middle class. we just focused on some of the business issues, whether it is reducing red tape, make being sure that we bring our debt down in a reasonable way, or whether it is simply about looking at industry by industry, what we can do to make sure our market share increases in america. we also have the issue of america's workers. what i'm here today to talk about is something vitally important to our country's middle class, and that is moving forward with the president's nominations for the national labor relations board so it can get back to work protecting the rights of working americans and
employers. over the course of the last few months the president has nominated a full slate of five very qualified people to serve on the nlrb. three democrats and two republicans, all of whom have sterling credentials and a track record of focusing on results and working across the aisle. the first two nominees were named in february -- february, mr. president. that is the month that we celebrate valentine tion da vale are now headed to the 4th of july. the remaining three were nominated in april. in makers the health, education -- in may, the health, education, labor, and pensions committee held a hearing on the nominees to the nlrb. i commend chairman harkin for moving forward on these nominations. until these nominees are confirmed and the nlrb is up and running, workers and businesses are continue to face uncertainty. nlrb rules impact people's daily lives and reflect our values as a country.
child labor laws that prevent young kids from being exploited and forced to work instead of going to school, fair pay laws that ensure women get equal compensation for equal work, laws that mandate decent working conditions to protect people from being hurt or injured on the job, and laws that uphold the fundamental rights of workers to organize. the impact of the nlrb, mr. president, is critical to workers. the board is the only option available to employers and companies who become the victim of unfair labor actions or run into barriers during negotiations with labor unions. it is there for employers and it is there for woanchts w workers. we have a responsibility to show some leadership and begin the process of vetting these nominees in the senate so the nlrb can get back to work. this is about providing stability and consistency to workers and businesses, but it's also about doing the right thng for american -- the right thing for american families.
my mom taught in public school until she was 70 years old. i have seen first hand how important it is for workers to have is tha that right to organd make their case. this is why i believe we need a good nlrb, a fair nlrb. here we have a president that's put up five nominees -- three democrats, two republicans. last time i checked, this president won the election and he has the right to nominate people for this job. america was built on a strong build class and the nlrb is a critical agency for moving america moving forward, for ensuring that every person with cork a steady -- can work a steady job and provide stanlt d provide stability for their families. i ask the senate to move forward with consideration of the full package of five nominees to the national labor relations board. thank you, mr. president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: thank you, mr. president. i ask that the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, we're going to have a number of members coming to the floor, but as you know, we are debating this historic -- historic -- comprehensive immigration reform, something as a member of the judiciary committee, i've worked long and hard on and actually worked on it back in 2007 when i first got to the senate. and i can't tell you the difference it is doing this five years later than it was back in 2007. this time we have a coalition that is incredibly strong, that has withstood a lot of different questions and issues about this bill, has been able to accommodate concerns raised within the gang of eight and then on the judiciary committee level and certainly we're now, after last night's vote, adding other requests and other things that members have. but i want to emphasize just why this bill is so important from an economic standpoint. when we were in the judiciary
committee, we had a hearing and we had a umin of people -- and we had a number of people testify about the bill and when it would do in terms of the debt, something i know you care about very much, mr. president. and we had a umin of republican economists -- and we had a number of republican economists come forward and talk about how this bill reduces the debt. then i held a hearing on the joint economic committee and actually called grover norquist as a witness. i was the first democratic senator that i know of to call him as my witness, but he came forward and talked about the effect that this bill would have in terms of reducing the debt. and lo and behold last week we got the true numbers from the congressional budget office, the engine partisan congressional -- the nonpartisan congressional budget office, which shows that it reduces the debt by $197 billion in ten years. and then in response to a question by senator sessions, it shows that it redices the debt
by $700 billion in 20 years. this is one example of what you're seeing. er you're going to see immigrant workers in the shadows come out, have to get on a path to citizenship that will take 13 years, that will have to pay taxes, have to pay fines, that will have to learn english, if they don't know english; they'll have to show their records and make sure they don't have any kind of significant criminal records in order to gain citizen shn. but it also means, mr. president, that they will be paying taxes that will contribute to the well-being of this country. and that they will be paying into systems that they haven't been paying into before to help other americans. the other point economically is the fact that you are going to see again a better legal immigration system. that's what our country was built on. everyone came from someone, from another country, when you look at the history of our country. for me it was slovenian and swiss immigrants. my grandpa worked 1,500 feet
underground in the mines. he never even graduated from high, saved money in a coffee can. my mom's parents came from switzerland. i am literally here standing on the floor of the united states senate, standing on the shoulders of immigrants, standing on the shoulders of a grandpa who worked in the mines, another grandparent who worked in a cheese phak trivmen factor. we have to remember that 90 of our fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants. 30% of our u.s. nobel laureates, 30%, borng in other countries. so when we look at this, yes, we have to look at enforcement side and the enforcement at the border. uncredibly important. but we have to look at the economic engine of america, what brought us to where we are ans we do that by welcoming in america's talent which will be our talent, some of which is
home-grown, most of which is homegrown, but some of which comes from other cufnls i see that senator bennet from the great state of colorado has arrived here. so we'll turn it over to him. thank you, mr. president. mr. bennet: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to thank the senator from minnesota for her remarks and say how much i appreciate her work on this legislation on the judiciary committee and beyond. and i wanted -- and the chairman is here today. i'd like to say thank you to him for his leadership both on the committee and on the floor. one way or another, something important is going to happen here this week, which is -- it should happen more regularly than it does, but it has not in the four years that i have been here, and that is a bill that actually is the result of thoughtful bipartisan -- i think in some cases i'd described it as nonpartisan work that's been
done first by the so-called gang of eight that i was pleased to be part of, then the judiciary committee itself, and now on the floor of the senate. and, mr. chairman, before i talk about immigration, i want to mention that we are still struggling out in colorado this summer with this terrible wil wildfires. and we've appreciated the federal cooperation that we've gotten, but it is a reminder to me when i stand on this floor how important it is for us to get past this partisan gridlock that we have and into a position where we're actually making sure decisions that allow us, among other things, to do the investments that we need to do to make sure that our forests have the fire mitigation that will prevent them from catching and burning the way they are this summer in colorado.
and today we've got the opportunity to try to work together on immigration. this is a bill that there have been opponents that have come out and said, this bill is going to cost us money this. bill is going to make the deficit worse. it is exactly the opposite. the congressional budget office has said that if we pass this bill, we'll see $1 trillion, nearly $1 trillion of deficit reduction over 20 years. this congressional budget office tells us that it will increase our gross domestic product by 5.4% over that same period of time. so this bill is a deficit-reduction bill. and those people around here that talk about deficit reduction -- and i'm one of them -- finally have the chance to do it in a thoughtful and measured way, in a useful and constructive way, rather than through a series of mindless across-the-board cuts that we've seen as a consequence of the sequester. so even in washington, d.c.,, $1
trillion is real money, mr. president. and they'that's the reason thatt to pass this imil. another reason we ought to pass this bhil is it creates a visa system that's aligned to the economic needs of america. 45% of fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants. nearly one in ten companies in colorado are imgrantings. agriculture is a $40 billion iny in colorado and tourism is colorado's second largest industry. we have a growing high-tech sector in colorado 23.6% of stem graduates from our state research universities are immigrants. we want them to earn those degrees if they're doing it in the united states and then stay here in the unite united statesd businesses in this country, invent our future with us in this country. today, because we have a broken immigration system, we're saying
to those graduates, go back to china and compete with us, go back to india and compete with us, we have no use for your talents here in this country. this bill fixes that. this bill has very important border security measures and measures to prevent future illegal immigration. i want to thank the senator from tennessee, who's on the floor, for his remarkable work to get us to this point with senator hoeven. the agreement on border securi security, which maintains a real and attainable pathway to citizenship, which was a bottom line for the group of eight senators who were working on this bill, was the result of several senators who were willing and who were determined to find a way to get this done. so i thank senator corker, i thank senator hoeven and i thank senator mccain and the other republican members of the group of eight for getting us here. this is how the senate should work, a process that leads to principled compromise.
on the border security amendment, you know, some opponents of fixing our broken immigration system continue to say that our bill doesn't do enough to secure the border. no reasonable person could look at this legislation and arrive at that conclusion. nearly $50 billion in additional spending at the border, 700 miles of fencing at the border. we double the number -- double -- the number of border agents on the southern border of the united states. we go from roughly 22,000 to 44,000. those numbers are directionally right. we double it. our resources that are devoted -- federal resources devoted to securing our border, we spend more money on that than we do on all other law enforcement that the federal government undertakes and now we're doubling it. and you might be critical because you'd say, well, you shouldn't spend that money, although, as i mentioned earlier, this bill results in
deficit reduction of almost a trillion dollars over 20 years. i could see how somebody might stand up and be critical about that. i can't see how somebody could seriously maintain that this bill does not secure our border. we call for an array of new technologies and resources at our border sectors to ensure 100% surveillance and rapid interdiction of threats and potential illegal crossings. everify is required to be used by every employer in the united states so we don't end up here the way we ended up here the last time. you know, with a broken system, where people -- small businesses either became the i.n.s. or were given fake documents and people came here where there were jobs, illegally, not legally. this internal enforcement mechanism will allow us to make sure that small businesses know who they're hiring and that we're turning away people that are not here and that are unlawful and shouldn't work here in the united states of america.
you know, this is the greatest country in the world but 40% of the people that are here that are undocumented are people that came lawfully to the, overstayed their visa and it's the consequence of our having a system to check people on the way in but never checks them on the way out. or whether they left at all. this bill fixes that problem. with a complete entry-exit system, with improved biographic and biometric tracking of those who come into and leave our borders. it's about time for us to begin to apply 21st century technology to this broken immigration system that we have. so, mr. president, there are many economic reasons why we should support this legislation, this bipartisan legislation, and we know it will help businesses, we know it will boost our economy, we know we're securing our borders. and, by the way, if people don't
believe me on this, i hope they'll listen to senator john mccain and senator jeff flake, who are the two republican border senators, senators from a border state who took me and others down there to see what the border actually looked like, who support this legislation, who have to go home to arizona and be able to defend this legislation by saying it secures the borders of the united states of america. they know what they're talking about. we also can't lose sight of what this bill means for people, for families who are suffering under the current system. here's one story and then i'll -- and then i will lead the floor. from a bright young woman in boulder, colorado, who i had the fortunate pleasure to meet. anna karina casas ebara. i first met anna at a bagel shop in boulder that my staff and i stopped in for a bite to eat. she waited on us and recognized me. when my staff overheard her
explaining the dynamics of the 112th congress, they suggested that she apply for an internship in my office. and she was an awesome intern. we had the opportunity to learn more about her story. 14 years ago, her mother brought her and her two younger brothers to the united states to escape an abusive marriage. her mom had consistently juggled two or three jobs to support them, and though anna was a good student, an old colorado law denied her in-state tuition. she had to work to pay for community college a few semesters at a time. her brothers who saw her opportunity denied, lost their motivation. one brother, who speaks better english than spanish, was deported. and the other brother, who has an american citizen wife and a baby, is facing possible deportation right now. she just published her story in the denver post. and she wrote -- quote -- "too many families share similar horror stories of separation. there are 11 million people who've entered this country illegally and the time is now to
provide them with a path to citizenship. it's time for immigration refo reform." i want to submit without objection anna's op-ed for the record. thank you, mr. president. and i'd like to say again how proud i am of the work that senator corker and senator hoeven have done to get us to this point. i hope that we will come to agreement on some amendments between now and the end or that we'll just take up this bill. but it's time for us to pass it. it's time for us to fix this problem for our economy and for the families all across this country. and i believe we can do it. and i think that the opportunity for this senate to show that after all it can work, it can work in a bipartisan way to produce -- that produces a meaningful piece of legislation that's very important to the american people. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas.
mr. pryor: thank you, mr. president. i don't want to interrupt the flow of the proceedings here but i would like to ask that my statement be made as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. pryor: mr. president, in the next few short days on july 1, the interest rate for subsidized stafford loans are set to double. the problem there is that with the subsidized stafford loans you're talking about students who tend to be lower income. many of these students are first-generation college students, and they tend to be people who work the hard toast get what they have, they tend to not have very much money, not very many resources, and not very many connections. they just don't really have a lot of advantages. mr. president, we've had several people from around the state of arkansas email or write my office. one is donovan, he's a father
who worked construction to support his kids. he has two kids in college, one in the marines, and one about to graduate from high school. he can't afford to pay his living expenses and for him and his family and their education without the help of student loans. kim is another person. she is a first-generation college graduate who is working to pay off $85,000 in student loan debts. and that means that as she's paying that down she doesn't have the money to save for her own children's education. brandon is another story. brandon goes to southern arkansas university, he's working hard to afford his education and pay for it but he's struggling with the high cost of tuition, room and board and books, and he's worried he won't be able to afford college if the interest rate goes up. last year, the senate and the congress generally passed a provision to keep the interest rate at the subsidized stafford loan at 3.4%.
i think that's the right policy. i think we want americans to further their education. i think that obviously it helps their personal enrichment, helps their family and their community but also help heps our country to keep us competitive in this global competent. economy. but again, we're about to see a jump to 6.8%. the reason i'm so concerned about it is in my small state of arkansas that's 68,000 -- 68,000 -- low-income and middle-income arkansas students who rely on these loans. unfortunately, what's happened in the congress as you know in the senate we had two votes a couple of weeks eco, both of them 235eu8d and you what see is at love finger pointing, a lot of press releases and press conferences but this is an area where we should find a bipartisan solution. this is a classic case if we work together, we can work it out. i've seen senators here in the last few weeks come together and work out difficult things. surely we can work through this
and work it out. the house says they have a permanent fix. i would disagree with that being a permanent fix. if you look at it, it really doesn't compare well to the plan that we voted down here in the senate a couple of weeks ago. and the democratic plan in the senate had 3.4% flat interest rate. theirs is market based and it rides the ten-year treasury. you have to go through calculation on how they do it but basically we all know that interest rates are not going down. interest rates are not staying the same. they're going up. everybody knows that. and when you start tying these things to interest rates, you know, do we not learn anything in the housing crisis if you get people in adjustable rate mortgages, sounds good on the front end but they can't pay. same thing with student loans. you get them on a lower rate on the front end that goes up over time and the house republican plan actually lets you change that rate on that loan every year. so you don't lock in once for
ten or 20 years. you lock in just one year at a time and you're going to ride that interest rate annually. it's very problematic. by the way, mr. president, i disagree with president obama on this. i think he happens to be wrong on this and i think, you know, we need to find a bipartisan solution. right here i have a couple of charts where we talk about this. this is the house republican plan here and these are the costs. the house republican plan goes up basically your bate interest payments almost $8,500, if you extend the current rate it $3,800-ish, if you don't do anything, it's $7,400, and that's real money. the difference here is real money for people, again, these are folks that tend to start out lower income, don't have a lot of opportunity. and you can see what the so-called permanent fix does, is it basically fixes it for higher payments over time which means you're going to have fewer
people that can plan to go to college, fewer people that thate able to go to college. you're going to have a higher default rate which means more people don't pay back which creates more problems as we go. but it's also going to hurt their spending power and, again, our competitiveness. so i supported the democratic plan but, again, i think there's merit in some of what the republicans offered. i just hope that this is a time when we can find a long-term solution, we can work together and work it out. students should shouldn't be pud because of congress' inability to work together. now is the time for to us come together. we need to come together for donovan, kim and brandon, the three arkansans i talked about. i know we can fix this and with that i yield the floor. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator from arkansas for his comments and, mr. president, i want to speak to the amendment and overall bill that is before us today.
i just want to say -- i want to thank the eight senators who have brought us to this point where we're looking at landmark legislation. i want to thank all involved last night who went through the first hurdle of putting in place the strongest border security plan anyone could have imagined. i don't think anybody can now look at this immigration bill and say that we're not doing what the majority of americans want to see happen, and that is to secure the border. i want to thank all involved in making that happen. i know over the last several days that has consumed our discussion, talking about the border being secure, something that i know people in tennessee and folks all across this country care about. and i want to thank again all the contributions that have been made, i want to thank those who were involved last night in a very strong bipartisan cloture vote. hopefully we'll have the vote on the amendment soon, and i understand that they're -- there are negotiations underway
to add as many as 20 or 30 more amendment opportunities for folks. i hope that people will try to narrow their list down. i can't imagine why hearing more amendments on this bill which can improve the bill is not something that we would all want to do. i want to thank those working towards that end. we have plenty of time to deal with numbers of important amendments. and many of them candidly in my opinion would make the bill even tronger -- stronger. today i want to speak to two things. number one, we've talked about security. i want to talk about the fact that i as a united states senator in the six and a half years that i have been here have never had the opportunity to be a part of a piece of legislation that if passed -- if passed in both houses and becomes law and the president signs it, obviously, we have the opportunity to immediately
affect in a positive way 11 million citizens who are in the shadows today, in many ways are already a part of our society, and can come out and be even more productive for the united states united states of america. i am thrilled to have that opportunity. now that it appears that this amendment is going to pass, and we have the opportunity to have a balanced immigration bill. i think the american people are compassionate and i think if they understand that we've done what we can to keep this problem from occurring again in the future, and if the people who came here and the way that they came are in the back of the line and have to do those things that are necessary to overcome that before they get their green card and then become citizens, i believe this is a bill that overwhelmingly will be supported by the american people. and it gives every single one of us an opportunity to be a part of landmark legislation that
immediately is going to affect 11 million people who now are in our country and many more people who come thereafter. but to move away from the human side and i know we'll have some budget points of order later, i want to speak to the economic side, a side we've not talked about much. another first for me -- another first for me and hopefully voting for this legislation after this amendment passes, i have never had the opportunity, ever in the united states senate, to vote for a bill that if it passes, it is going to bring $157 billion into the treasury without raising anybody's taxes. never have i had that opportunity. and that's what we'll be doing if we pass this legislation with the border security amendment that's now in place. over the next ten years, c.b.o. scores that we're going to have
$157 billion come into the treasury without raising anybody's taxes because of the fact we're going to have people coming in out of the shadows. mr. president, over the next decade c.b.o. projects we're going to have $700 billion coming in the treasury. i know the president, the presiding officer, has worked on deficit reduction. this will be the first opportunity we've had to do something like this that in no way affects people negatively but causes -- causes us to have much more in the way of resources coming into the treasury, lowering deficits, candidly helping seniors who are concerned about whether we're going to be able to maintain momentum with many of the entitlement programs that we have today. c.b.o. has actually scored to go something else. that if this bill passes, real g.d.p. growth is going to be at 3.3% over the first decade and 5.4% at the end of the second decade. again, this bill is something
that generates economic growth. and i have to say while both sides of the aisle talk greatly about economic growth, i got to tell you, my side of the aisle tends to focus more time on that issue and i applaud that. i think it's very important, i think it's the thing that rising tide raises all boats and households do even better, standard of living increases and what this bill is going to do, is it's going to cause our g.d.p. growth, if passed, to be even higher over the next two decades. i know people have talked a little bit about wages, and there is a study that in fairness does say that over the next decade there might be .1% .1% -- .1% -- affect on wages. but what it says is by the end of the second decade, wage increases are going to grow even more dramatically than they would without this bill.
productivity is going to increase. c.b.o. has scored recently that productivity is going to be much higher if we pass this piece of legislation, if people come out of the shadows, become more productive citizens, it actually causes us to produce even more goods and services in this president nation -- in this nation. and i think everyone understands because the people that will be affected by this, the 11 million undocumented workers and people that are in this country, because they're going to be paying into the system for ten years and -- ten years minimum, i might add, and not allowed to participate in social security and medicare, that what they're doing is actually giving additional life to both of those programs, programs that seniors around this country depend on tremendously. and i know that everyone understands, to digress, that yesterday c.b.o. said if this amendment we're debating passes, it will have a
tremendous impact on lessening the amount of illegal immigration that we have in our country, something that i know almost every american wants to see. so, mr. president, i just want to tell you, i know there's going to be some budget points of order, i have never in my life as a united states senator -- and i want to say in my life as a united states senator i've spent a lot of time on deficit reduction. as a matter of fact, i would put our efforts up in the office against almost anybody here over the last six and a half years in focusing on deficit reduction. this bill, as i said, i've never in my life had this opportunity. if we pass this piece of legislation, by sheer force of what's going to happen out in the marketplace, of what's going to happen by bringing people in out of the shadows and participating in a different way, without raising anybody's taxes -- as a matter of fact, maybe it gives an opportunity to
lower people's taxes down the road, who knows -- we are going to lower our deficit. i know there will be budget points of order. i plan to vote to override those because i don't think the off-budget items are being counted in the way that they should. almost all of us understand that medicare and social security are in distress. those programs are not being counted. and what's going to be discussed later with these points of order. i encourage everyone to override these points of order, taking into account the benefits this is going to have on the off-budget items. i might say, by the way, typically when we're dealing with these -- quote -- "off-budget items" we're actually dealing with them in the reverse, and that is people are not taking into account the negativity that is going to impact them. in this case there's actually a positive result. from a human standpoint, this is the right thing to do.
from a border security standpoint, this is the right thing to do. from a deficit-reducing standpoint, this is the right thing to do. and for raising the standard of living of all americans through economic growth, this is the right thing to do. mr. president, i thank you for the time, and i see -- i notice the absence of a quorum. thank you. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i think we should get a little perspective, at least as i see it, on the corker-hoeven-schumer substitute that was voted on
earlier and we'll vote again on. i think this is what happened. it became clear that the gang of eight bill last week was nowhere close to doing what it promised to do on enforcement. the flaws were too dramatic to hide, and the c.b.o. found it would only reduce illegal immigration by 25%, after they had promised dramatic changes in it. and i pointed out that it had holes all through it, like swiss cheese, and the c.b.o. essentially confirmed that. the bill was in trouble. support for the gang's proposal began to fall and the mood changed from overconfidence among the supporters to even panic. the gang knew that action had to be taken or things could be lost, so they got -- they went to senators corker and hoeven with this idea that they would just add 20,000 border patrol
agents to our current plan on the border and 700 miles of fencing. those of those projects they steadfastly rejected even rejecting senator cornyn's project to add 5,000 agents. one of the senators said it was dumb to do any fencing and they opposed the fence. these provisions of new enforcement was contrary to what the supporters had been saying for weeks. they promised america that their bill was the toughest ever, driving that message into homes all over america with tv advertisements. senator rubio, big business. mr. zuckerberg pretending he's a conservative advocate, running ads telling us all what we ought to know and do about this bill. and the goal, i've got to say, was to provide some sort of cover to get wavering democrats
and republicans to sign on to this new bill that's going to have 20,000 agents. well, why would they be willing to make such a dramatic unceremonious retreat on a position they have taken for months? well, first, they were desperate. something needed to be done. secondly -- secondly -- they know that the promises made in this substitute bill to build fences and to add 20,000 agents will never occur. it's not going to happen. so they're really not worried about that. it's the kabuki dance, the bob and weave, rope a dope. everybody knows how the process is working. the staff knows it. i think most of the media probably understands it. these promised actions are not going to happen in the future. the interests who pushed this bill never wanted to end the
illegality. i've been fighting on this for years. every time we get close to fixing everify. in fact, we had debates -- we had debates and i had to hold up bills to keep everify from expiring. forces were out there trying to kill everify for years and i held up legislation to insist at least we keep it alive. we weren't able to strengthen it which we needed desperately. that is the workplace situation where everify is. you apply for a job, they run a check on your social security number to determine whether or not you have a social security number. it identifies a lot of people who are illegally here and should not be taking jobs. well, so those forces never wanted a lawful system, and they objected to things that our. -- occur.
so their interest and the interests of those who met in secret to cobble this bill together always favored more immigration, legal immigration, and it seems to me quite an indifference to illegal. these are the voices that forced support for but blocked the creation of real border security fencing over the years. they have voiced support for everify but blocked extension of it and strengthening of it. they voice support for an entry-exit visa system that works at all land, sea and airports. indeed, we passed bills to do that. biometric, land, sea, and airports. this bill reduces that requirement through just entry-exit visa systems at air and seaports and not at land. and it's not biometric. that's a critical difference because we now have 40% of the people here illegally come on
visas and overstay. and we have no idea who is leaving the country. we clock them in on entry but we don't clock them out when they leave, so we know nobody who overstayed or not. so that's the situation where in. i see my friend, senator vitter, and i want him to have time to talk. i know he's due to be talking now. and i would say one more thing as he prepares to do his remarks. and that is we were promised, when the bill passed, that the economy would be better. wages would improve and g.d.p. would be up and unemployment wouldn't be adversely affected. the c.b.o. report, contrary to what my -- the c.b.o. report says unemployment will go up. and i've got a chart that they put out in their own report showing that. they say wages will go down over the next decade. and they say unemployment will
go up. and gross domestic product will increase some as a result of the situation, more people. but per capita, per person g.d.p. declines for 21 years. so, mr. president, we need to know that at this time of high unemployment, slow growth, low wage growth, we need to be very cautious about allowing millions of new workers to enter this economy at this time. we want to have -- we want to have immigration, but we want to have it at a rate that serves the national interest. and increasing it dramatically is not appropriate. i thank the chair. mr. vitter: mr. president? mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that at 11:30 a.m. wednesday, june 26,
all postcloture time on the leahy amendment number 1183 as modified be considered expired, that the pending amendment number 1151 be withdrawn, that if a budget point of order is raised against an amendment or bill during consideration of the leahy amendment number 1183 as modified and the applicable motion to waive is made, at 11:30 a.m. the senate then proceed to vote on the motion to waive the budget point of order. if the point of order is waived the senate proceed to vote on the leahy amendment number 1183 as modified. that upon the disposition of the leahy amendment, the senate proceed to the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the committee-reported substitute as amended. and if cloture is invoked it be considered as if cloture had been invoked at 1:00 a.m., wednesday, june 26. and finally the majority leader be recognized following the
cloture vote if cloture is invoked. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, related to that unanimous consent, i want to make a budget point of order which i'll do in just a second. but i would also ask unanimous consent that after i make the point of order and after the senator from vermont moves to waive it, i be recognized for up to 12 minutes to explain my budget point of order. mr. leahy: i have no objection. the presiding officer: without objection? mr. leahy: i have no objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. with that, the pending measure s. 744 as reported by the judiciary committee would violate the senate pay-go rule and increase the deficit. therefore, i raise a point of order against that measure pursuant to section 201-a of senate concurrent resolution 21, a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2008.
mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, pursuant to section 904 of the congressional budget act of 1974, the waiver provisions of applicable budget resolutions, the section 4-g-3 of the statutory pay-as-you-go act of 2010 i move to waive all applicable sections of those acts and applicable budget resolutions for purposes of the pending bill and amendments, and i ask for the yeas and nays. the pre the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, let me now talk briefly about my budget point of order. i made one specific budget point of order, perhaps the most serious, which is that this bill, as it came out of committee, increases the
deficit, plain and simple. the thing we constantly rail against, the thing we constantly promise we won't do any more of, it increases the deficit. however, mr. president, that's not the only budget point of order. there are at least 11 budget points of order against this bill. the senate pay-go point of order which i just explained. in addition, there is new direct spending authorized by the bill that would exceed the judiciary committee's authorization levels for a five-year period. in addition, there is new direct spending exceeding those authorization levels for the ten-year period. there are four points of order pursuant to section 403-e-1 that lie against the emergency designations in the bill. we say we're for budget discipline. the problem is whenever we want to bust the caps, bust the numbers, we just call certain
spending emergency. and this is clearly not emergency spending. this is an important problem, but it's not an unexpected emergency like an actual disaster or an attack by a foreign government. there are also four similar emergency designations made under section 4-g-3 of the statutory pay-go act of 2010. so again, mr. president, there are at least 11 separate, distinct budget points of order which lie against the bill. now, that's a big deal, particularly when we're running record deficits and have record debt, particularly when all of us from both sides of the aisle come to the floor regularly and say this is a huge challenge and we are doing something about it. we're going to pass a bill which breaks those rules, which busts those caps 11 different ways. now, mr. president, technically
my budget points of order that i just enumerated are about the underlying bill, but most of these also apply to the corker-hoeven substitute, the leahy substitute incorporating the corker-hoeven language. so they have the same budget problems, the same fundamental problems under that version. now, mr. president, this is real simple. it's about are we serious in reining in deficit and debt or not? are we serious or not? there is a bit of good news. in the last several months, say, since september of last year, this body has raised the same sort of budget point of order seven different times. seven different times, saying important bills bust the caps, increase the deficit, claim spending is an emergency when
it's not. and seven different times since last september, we sustained those budget points of order. we as a body said you're right, we shouldn't do that. we should get serious about spending. and seven times, by the way, on my side of the aisle, virtually everyone supported that budget point of order. and we did that in many cases where it was difficult politically to do it when veterans' benefits were an issue, when other important matters like hurricane sandy relief were at issue. so we have shown some amount of discipline through these budget points of order seven out of seven times since september. the question now is are we going to do it again or are we going to cave? this pay-go point of order is perhaps the most serious because it's about increasing the deficit, and that's what the point of order is about in
actually increasing the deficit over the last ten years. we have to top violating this rule if we're serious about deficit and debt. you know, the pay-go originally banned counting social security deficits to mask the deficit. spending in this bill is offset by $211 billion in social security revenue, so once again we're going to rob social security to claim we're moving toward balancing the budget. we need to get serious on all of these budget issues. we need to maintain the record we have had here in the senate since september. we need to sustain this important budget point of order when we vote tomorrow. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. vitter: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i support senator vitter's motion. there are multiple points of order that could be raised against this legislation. they have declared a number of the spending programs emergencies. therefore, if you vote an emergency appropriations, it doesn't count against the budget, but it's real spending all the same, and normally we
would expect that border enforcement and hiring of officers would not be an emergency. neither would other aspects of what we are doing here be considered emergency. we were told by the sponsors of the legislation repeatedly this bill will -- excuse me -- this bill will be paid for and it will be paid for by fees and fines contributed by those who are here illegally as part of their payment to get citizenship and legal status. well, that comes nowhere close to funding the legislation. this chart gives us some -- i'll get to it in a second, but this chart gives us an indication of where we stand with regard to budget implication under the legislation. so the fines and penalties and fees that are part of this maybe
bring in $6 billion or $7 billion. they said there was enough to pay for the bill. the bill originally started out at $6 billion. then it went to $8 billion. and then with the corker-hoeven amendment, it jumped to $46 billion. no additional fees on the illegal aliens. when they met with the support group, the gang of eight met with the real group that's been driving the bill, this coalition of special interests, they went to them and said we need to raise some more money. and they said well, you can't put in more fines on the people illegally. so they said yes, ma'am, we won't put any more fines on that. we'll put more fees on legal immigrants in the future. so they raise fees on legal immigrants but didn't raise fees on the people who are here illegally, that originally they said were going to pay for the entire bill. so that's important for us to
fully understand. the money is simply not there. i would note parenthetically that the 2007 immigration bill that was on the floor and we debated and eventually failed, that bill would raise as much as $8,000 per illegal individual. this bill only raises $2,000. and it's to be paid over ten years. this is not a burdensome payment. if you're going to say they paid a fine as the sponsors of the legislation did to become permanent residents and put on a path to citizenship. so it's about $17 a month, i calculated it out, roughly. now, that's not a big fine. you're allowed to work. you get a social security card, the ability to apply for any job in america on an equal status
with anybody else who has been unemployed looking for work, their children looking for work, they need a job. somebody who was just a few days before illegally here now has got full power under this legislation if it were passed to take that job. and so they can -- so the idea that $17 a month is somehow going to be breaking the bank is not accurate. now, the problem fundamentally with this situation is that it doublecounts billions of dollars. we need to understand how this process works, this doublecounting. it was part of the 2,000-plus-page obamacare health care legislation. this thing is over a thousand pages, 1,200 pages. and things get lost in it.
and what is lost fundamentally in it and the supporters of it ought to be more candid about this is that to make the -- their argument that the bill is going to bring in more money than it goes out, they have to doublecount social security and medicare money. they just do. senator corker has made that argument. basically, we have got this money coming in, and in one of the conventions of accounting that our budget team uses, the congressional budget office, it calculates all the money coming in to the government, all the money going out of the government, regardless of whether there is a trust fund or not. another form of accounting accounts for the trust funds and accounts for general revenue. it's called general revenue is on budget. off budget is social security
trust fund, medicare trust fund and some of our pensions and other funds. so look at this chart. i think it gives a picture of where we are. this is a true cost of this immigration bill. i am ranking republican on the budget committee. we wrestle with these numbers all the time. under this, they claim that they have got a unified budget surplus of $197 billion. that's the one -- that's the accounting method where all the money comes in and it is counted against all the money going out. but if you remove the social security surplus, that's $211 billion. if you remove the medicare surplus, that's 756. showing that instead of having a surplus, we have a $70 billion deficit. you say well, c.b.o. said differently. no, c.b.o. did not.
c.b.o. in its report explicitly shows that in its -- that the -- that the on-budget accounting is negative, that it adds to the debt. it counts a surplus in medicare and social security. now, how could they do that? well, these individuals, many of them, don't have a social security number, and not paying social security and medicare taxes. they are withholding the fica on our paychecks. they are not paying that. once legalized, they will pay that. there will be new money coming in to the treasury, and these sponsors of the bill so desperate to promote their bill and say it is paid for say that social security payment, that fica payment is now available for them to spend over here on all the things they want to spend their money on, and therefore it's created a surplus. but it ignores something very
important, mr. president, that each one of those individuals who are paying into medicare, paying into social security are going to draw out medicare and social security. it's their money. it's their retirement money. you can't put the money out for their retirement and spend it the same day and expect it to be there. this is how this country is going broke. this is how they handle president obama's obamacare. they doublecounted the money. well, you say that's not accurate. let me read you the letter i got from the congressional budget office director the night before we voted, december 23, we voted this -- i voted against it. the obamacare legislation passed on christmas eve. it finally got the 60th vote before senator brown from massachusetts could be installed
and this is what the c.b.o. said at the time. the savings to the medicare trust fund underrer obamacare would be received by the government only once so they cannot be set aside for future medicare spending, and at the same time pay for current spending under other parts of the legislation. to describe the full amount of medicare trust fund savings as both improving at government's ability to pay future medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and, thus, overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal condition." close quote. now, if that were a private business who sent out
solicitations to buy its stock and they said, we're on a good basis, we're making so much profit and they're counting as their profits the money going into their employees' pension plan, i think they'd be in big trouble. don't you? because it's not their money; it's money committed to the employees' pensions. you can't say invest in my company, i'm making a big profit, counting the money that's the employees' retirement money. this is what we've been doing. the senator from south carolina used to say, if we -- we've been looting the trust fund. and if we were in private business, we'd be in jail. i think there's too much truth to that. so i'll point this out. so this is undisputable really.
but because there is a score, a unified budget score method that says all money coombs i comes il money goes out, you can count this as a surplus. why is that? because most of the people that would be legalized under this bill, those individuals are in a situation where they're younger. they're maybe 35. so they will pay into medicare for a number of years, medicare for a number of years will see a surplus in their account. but after they reach retirement age and start retiring, the money is going to be drawn out. and in fact right mao the amount of money -- and in fact right now the amount of money paid into social security and medicare by american workers is not enough to cover the cost of their retirement. that's why both of those accounts are in serious trouble and we've got to do something about it. we need to be making it stronger, not weaker. this makes it weaker. you're taking the money that
should have been going to fund the retirement accounts of the people that were previously illegal, who are now legal, and spending it on something else. senator vitter is exactly right. there are multiple base sees for making a budget -- base sees for maying -- b bases for making a budget point of order. this will be the only one that we'll get to vote on but there are others how th out there thad have been raised also. so what about this argument that wages are supposed to be improved by the bill? we were old that and told that repeatedly -- we were told that and told that repeatedly. this is what the c.b.o. report says. "c.b.o. estimates that s. 744 would cause the unemployment
rate to increase slightly between 2014 and 2020." so this is a fact. so at a time of high unemployment, lower wages, we're passing legislation that will reduce -- will increase unemployment, make fewer people -- make more people unable to find work. and this is a chart that was in the c.b.o. report, not my chart. i didn't make this chart. it's in their chart. and it points out "the average wage would be lower under the current law over the first dozen years." so we're asked to vote for a bill that c.b.o. says would make the average wage of american working people lower for a dozen years. now, i don't see how that's rational, frankly.
we have seen since 1999 the wages of american workers have been decreasing as compared to the inflation index. their amount of money that they're making is falling compared to inflation. that's a tragic thing, and it's been continuous. i thought it might be temporary. but it's been continuing steadily. and one expert -- professor borjas at harvard -- attributes 40% of that to immigration already, and this bill will dramatically increase the flow of immigration. so i'm worried about -- so this is a chart that has down here 2021, 2023. before it hits the lin line back where it was. they say, well then it's improving. not so. not so. if the bill hadn't been passed, we would have had some increase all along. the lines would have been how much higher? i don't know how many years for
-- i don't know how many years it would take for this to get back to where it was if it had not been passed. at a time of high unemployment when you bring in millions of workers, that it's not going to pull down wages? you bring in more coal in america, more iron in america, more cotton into america -- the price of those products fall. you bring in more labor, you're going it have a lower wage rate, which david frum has written is what the bill was designed for to begin with, pull down wages. i just would say, this -- we need to think about this. i dispute this idea that there's no impact on wages by this immigration flow. so this is what will happen in the next ten years. we're going to legalize 11
million people, about half of those are not working effectively in the real job workforce. maybe they're doing part-time work, maybe family are taking care of them, maybe they're working in restaurants and lawn care companies off the books. all of a sudden they're going to be given legal status, and they'll be able to apply for any job -- truck drivers, forklift operators, coal miners, steelworkers, work for the county commission, city council, state of alabama. they can apply for all of those jobs. and so you're going to see a large increase in the supply of labor available for jobs for which they weren't eligible previously. secondly, well, what about the normal legal flow? we now admit about a million people a year into america. that's the most generous
admission rate of any nation in the world, and it is pretty significant. it is very significant. and we've been absorbing that, and i think we can continue at that rate. however, this bill, in addition to the 11 million i just mentioned, will increase by at least 50% the number of immigrants that come into the country every year hereafter. which is pretty significant. and, in addition, there's another 4.5 million that are waiting to come into america, and they've been tentatively approved, but there are limits on how many can come each year, and the so they're waiting their time. they did all a backlog. they are -- they call it a backlog. they're just waiting their time. that's 4.5 million. they've been accelerated. so, let's think this over. under the current law we were on track to admit 10 million people
as immigrants into america, and by "immigrants" i mean people who want to stay here, get legal permanent residence and become citizens. we're on the track for 10 million if you follow the current law. under this bill, we will admit over the next ten years to lawful status in america the 15 million i mentioned -- the 11 million plus the 4.5 million -- then we're going to increase by 50% the annual admission rate from 1 million to 1.5 million, meaning 15 million over ten, which means 30 million. so the number of people that will be given permanent legal status in america over the next ten years will be 30 million, not 10 million, as if the law had been properly applied. well, there's another category. these are people we refer to generally as "guest workers."
guest workers come not to become immigrants, not to stay in the country permanently, but just come to work in an area where they can find a job, and it's supposed to be in an area where there are not workers to do the work. that's the theory, at least the and hugh will that be impacted by this new -- and how will that be impacted by this new legislation in well, it's going to be double. "no" so thso the number of guess is going to double under this legislation. i would say, first of all, it is common sense that the average wage is going to fall. it is common sense that unimhoiment will gunemployment . it is common sense that it will be harder to get a decent job with health care and retirement benefits. it just is. and people can spin and they can quote grover norquist and those kind of things to say otherwise,
but professor borjas at harvard says differently; a federal reserve economist in atlanta says differently. the commission on human rights had hearings and every witness said it would be bad for workers already here. they will get hammered the most under this flow -- this dramatic increase this workers. well, they say it will increase g.n.p. well, it will. you legalize 30 million people, you're going to have a larger economy and it will be bigger. but the question is, per person, per capita, will america's productivity increase? will our g.d.p. increase? well, what did c.b.o. find? this is their chart.
it shows that it drops. this is the baseline today. if we passed a bill -- the per capita g.n.p. of the united states of america, each citizen, drops. that doesn't make us wealthier as a nation as a person much so what if the economy grows a little bit but everybody has less, because you've got more people. that's what they say. "s. 44 would reduce per capita g.n.p. by .7% in 2023." this is 2120 -- that's about 16 years that they chart that it will be lower than it would have been if the bill never passes. so why would we want to pass legislation that clearly reduces the per capita wealth of
america, our gross -- g.n.p.? i don't think that makes good sense. and i'm concerned about it and nobody wants to talk about it. they just want to pretend that there's no limit to the number of workers that can be brought in. and if that won't have a societal impact on -- and that that won't have a societal impact on americans. look, let's take a look at a few things here. this is "the washington post," two weeks ago when we got the job report dealing with the jobs for the month of may. it was considered to be fairly positive. it was about our normal average increase during the recovery period from the recession, but it still is not much. not so good. unemployment went up, even though we created, they said, 175,000 jobs. that sounded good. we created 175,000, but you have
to create about that many jobs each month to stay level, because we have more people coming into the workforce each month. look at what they said in the article. "the bulk of the job gains in may were in the service industry which added about 57,000 jobs, still about half of those were temporary positions." "suggesting that businesses remain uncertain of consumer demand. and missing from the picture were production jobs in industries such as construction and manufacturing." "manufacturing shed 8,000 workers." manufacturing jobs went down by 8,000.
the increase was in service industries. the increase in half of those were part-time or temporary, not full-time, permanent jobs. so anybody that says we're in great shape with regard to job creation is not telling you the truth. look at this article in yesterday's -- or today's "wall street journal." "nearly 12 million americans were unemployed in may, down from the peak of 15 million." we had at one point a few years ago 15 million americans working. we now have 12 million americans working. the percentage of americans in the workforce today continues to fall. i.t. thit's the lowest since ths
when women were entering into the workforce. that's why the percentage went up. but now we're down that level again. people are not finding work. the idea that you can bring in millions of workers, well above the current rate, and that this is somehow going to create jobs is hard for me to accept. if you create jobs at 175,000 a month, mr. adam luny of brookings institution says we're years away, closed quote, from where we need to be in unemployment rate. the real reason is economic growth has not increased much. and it goes on to cite some real
sad numbers that show the danger for people who have been unemployed for longer periods of time. it does appear, unfortunately, that somebody who's older, somebody who's not found the job for quite a number of months finds it even harder to find a job in the future. and this is the "wall street journal." they support immigration aggressively but this is their story. they talked about mr. ken gray, his frustration. in january of 2011, mr. gray's wife died after a battle with ovarian cancer. three months later, he was laid off from his job as an account manager at at&t, where he'd work for more than 20 years. sill grieving from the loss of his wife, mr. gray was slow to turn his full attention to his job search. by the time he did, the chicago
resident was long-term unemployed and he has struggled to get perspective employers even to respond to his applications. "you just feel so discouraged," mr. gray said. you ask yourself, what's the sense of sending in a resume if you don't hear something?" now 59, he's been living off his dwindling savings since his unemployment benefits expired last year. he says he remains determined to find work but long-term job seekers are twice as likely to leave the labor market as to find jobs. and many experts worry that many of them will never return to work. that could create a class of permanently unemployed workers and leave lasting scars on the economy." it goes on to say -- quote -- "once people reach a point where they're nthey no longer consider themselves employable, it's very
difficult to pull them back, says joe carbone, president of workplace, a connecticut work force development agency. 'we're losing thousands of people a day. this is like an epidemic.'." i don't think we can pretend this isn't reality. i think the c.b.o. numbers probably understate the problem. professor borjas' studies would indicate that and others would indicate that. well, how about another example? this is from "the new york times" on may 20, a month ago. written by jessica glazer. quote -- "the men began arriving last wednesday, first a trickle, then dozens. by friday, there were hundreds of them along with a few women. they set up their tents and
mattresses on the sidewalk in long island city, queens, unpacked their coronas and cards and settled in to wait as long as five days and nights for a slender chance at a union job as an elevator mechanic. on monday morning, those in line were more than 800, hoping for a chance at a job security with higher salaries and benefits. andres laraza, 25, had his eye on a position that includes minimum physical labor. every 18 to 20 months, the union accepts 750 applications for the 150 slots for a four-year program. while they waited, hopefuls lined the sidewalk along 36th street. the union had rented six
port-a-potties and hired a 24-hour security guard. overnight, they brushed their teeth with bottles of water, tucked into their sleeping bags, folding chairs or cars and tried to get some rest. on saturday, a light drizzle fell. gary dubotoka, 20, whose father is a member of the local, waited for his shot. he is studying electrical technology at orange county community college but would rather work with his hands than be in school. 'i just want to do whatever, wherever i got to start. i want steady work all the tim time.'." millions of americans, that's what they want. they want a job with a retirement benefit, a health care benefit and a steady job. we don't -- we're not creating enough of them. that's the problem. "after sunday's drenching rain,
monday morning drawn gray, a few arguments erupted as people tried to cut in line. finally at 9:00 a.m. monday, the first man in line disappeared inside and he came out and yelled "yay, i'm number one' and he stepped on the sidewalk. 'good luck, big guy,' said another man in line." well, this is the problem we're facing. and i would share with my colleagues, at the rate of immigration in the future, we'll have well over 100,000 new immigrants a month enter the country who are looking for jobs. we'll have more than that enter but we'll probably have about 100,000 or so plus a month looking for jobs. what does our congressional budget office say about our future economic growth pattern. c.b.o. each year as part of the budget process lays out a
ten-year projection of economic growth for america and they project all kinds of things. they're not perfect but they used the best data available from the labor department, academic studies, private business analysis and they project how many people would be employed. they are projecting for america's economy what i think a large majority of other economists and private-sector people are predicting. that is a new normal, where growth does not increase as fast as it has during boon times in the past. you've heard that phrase, "the new normal." that's what -- this is a new normal and that's what we're facing. they predict that from -- in the five -- the second five years of our ten-year budget window,
madam president, we'll increase jobs in america by 75,000 a month, well below the amount of people immigrating to america to get jobs under this bill. should we invite people to come who are not likely to have a job? should we invite more people to come than we have jobs for, when they will make the new immigrants that arrive before them unable to have a good job? should we bring in more immigrants than we can absorb, causing wages to decline for american citizens? finding -- making it harder for american citizens to find work? do we take those people that are not finding jobs and do we now then place them on the welfare roll and put them on a government subsistence program when they've been independent and able to prosper previously in the private sector? what is the right thing for
america, colleagues? i think we have to think about that. these numbers from c.b.o. show there will be adverse impacts on the economy, wages and unemployment at a time when we need to be doing just the opposite. we need to be creating jobs, putting people to work and we just simply have got to give first priority to those to whom we owe our allegiance, the people who fought our wars and pay our taxes and kept the country going when they were able to work. so i -- i raise that point. and people don't like to talk about it but i do believe it's honest and true, and a good immigration policy should be focused on a number of things. it should be focused first on the national interest, the interest of the american working people, whether they're lawful
immigrants and not yet citizens or whether they're lawfully here as citizens. we owe our obligation first to that cohort of people. they are loyal to our country and we owe them our loyalty first. and then we bring in people at the rate that we think we can absorb that's healthy for america. maybe a million people a year is about the right rate. that's where we are. i can accept that. but to have it increase by 50%, to have the guest worker program double on top of allowing early entrance and legality to 15 million. that is a -- a trend that i think is dangerous for america. so my position should -- is this. let's be prudent, friends and colleagues. let's be cautious here. let's don't be increasing the legal flow by 50% at a time of high unemployment, when it looks
like we're not going to be able to create enough jobs for those people who would be coming here. and we surely don't need to be doubling, it seems to me, the guest worker program at a time when we've got high unemployme unemployment. that's where we are, madam president. i believe that that needs to be considered. i think the american people who are out here watching what's going on in the congress need to be asking their senators and their members of congress who will be taking these issues up soon, are you thinking about us? who are you thinking about? are you thinking politics or are you thinking about me? who's thinking about me? you meet in secret with the chamber of commerce, you meet with la raza, you meet with politicians, you meet with the meatpackers group and -- and the immigration lawyers' association but you don't meet with the law enforcement officers who've told us this bill won't work. you don't have representatives from the heart and soul of
america in there. nobody's really expressing what kind of impact will be felt by them. well, that's what my concern is, one of my many concerns, as we wrestle with legislation. we can deal compassionately with the people that are here for a long time and i will support that, but i believe we need a system that ends the lawlessness and a system that serves the national interest of the american citizen. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. inhofe inhofe: madam presid? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, first let me ask unanimous consent which i be recognized as if in morning business for such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: let me comment also, the senator from alabama has -- s has really done a yeomen's
job. he's studied this thing, he's looked at all angles. he has one great advantage over me, he's an attorney who really understands the ramifications of this. let me just mention two things about the -- about the bill that concern me. one is that -- that i have been privileged maybe as much as any other member of this senate to speak at naturalization ceremonies. and if you've never done it before, i say to my fellow senators, do it. you'll have a totally different perspective on this whole issue that we're talking about. and that is getting to know people who have a -- go through the legal channels. you look out there and you see that they -- these are people who learned the language, who have studied the history, and i dare say would know as much about the history of the united states of america as we know in
this -- in this chamber. and anything that is going to fast-track a -- a -- citizenship is something that is concerning to me. now, that's not why i'm here today. i've decided to come down knowing that the president of the united states was going to make a -- a talk, and in this talk i want to make sure that people understand what he's advocating is the largest tax increase in the history of this country. and it's something that we know he's been trying to do in terms of his global warming activities over the last -- let's see, actually a long time, before he was first elected four and a half years ago. his speech on global warming, he started delivering on all the promises that he gave the environmentalists base during his campaign. when i talk about the environmentalists, i'm talking about a lot of the groups are