Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 13, 2013 3:00pm-5:00pm EST

3:00 pm
president obama promised us that under the new health care law, we would save $2-b,500 but our premiums will be increasing by over 7,000 a year. another couple contacted me saying that their rates will double and cost them an additional $7,000 per year. they wrote, "we are both in our second careers and in our 50's working hard and doing two jobs. blue-collar couple who are very healthy, under the so-called affordable care law. our rates are going to double." scott from concord wrote to me, "i currently have a great family plan through my work. this plan costs me $240 per month. on january 1, this plan will cost me $600 per month. i can't afford to pay such a high premium. now i am forced to get a plan that has a 50% greater deductible and much higher
3:01 pm
co-pays." i also heard from a mother from manchester. she has a little girl who is scheduled to have surgery at the beginning of january. as any mother would be, sh she s worried and now sh she has been told that her plan has been canceled. she wrote, "liked and my current plan is not available through the exchange. i will have to purchase a plan with a higher deductible. the new plan will cost over $1,200 per month, increasing my premium, which is currently just over $1,000 per month. the new plans through the exchapping have a smaller net -- exchange have a smaller network of doctors, so i could be losing my doctors, too." finally, i am hearing frustration and concerns from my constituents about the web site. david in bedford wrote me that "my wife and i are semi retired and we have been trying since october 1 to obtain health insurance through we've also used the telephone
3:02 pm
option but are unable to obtain coverage. we are very concerned with being without coverage on january 1 of 2014. i hearclose quote. i heard a similar concern from a resident in greenburg who expressed concern about private information put on the web sievment i heard the same from a registered nurse from milford expressing frustrations about how the exchange is working. and there are many more pieces of correspondence that i have received from my constituents. and i won't share them all on the floor today, but their voices deserve to be heard. because this law right now, people in new hampshire are losing coverage that they thought they could keep. they are getting premium increase notices that they cannot afford to pay that are attributed to obamacare. and, finally, as i've risen to the floor before and spoken, some are having their hours cut
3:03 pm
because it defines the workweek now as a 30-hour workweek. and unfortunately people who do want to continue to work more are being harmed by this. so as i've done before, i come to the floor today to call for a timeout on obamacare, a timeout because we are seeing that the problems with this law are much deeper than a web site. we hope that those will be fixed. of course, they haven't yet. "the washington post" reported today that they may not even be fixed with what the administration has represented, at the end of this month. that said, what about the canceled policies, the premium increases, the lost hours? it is time to have a timeout where we do what should have been done in the beginning. instead of passing a law of this magnitude on a partisan basis, people need to come together to address health care, rising costs, access, and the issues that the american people want us to take on. but this law is not the answer,
3:04 pm
and the american people and the people of of new hampshire deserve better. thank you, mr. president. mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i know that senator murray is next. i want to ask that three members of my stative granted floor privileges for the duration of today's session. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: i come mrs. murray: i come to to the floor to talk about early education. i want to thank chairman harkin, whose leadership on this critical issue ^+s unparalleled. i'm delighted he is on the floor today as well. i also want to thank senators casey and hirono for their strong support of early childhood education. they are great partners in this work as well. and, mr. president, of the 535
3:05 pm
members of congress, i just have to say, each one of us comes to washington, d.c., with our own unique backgrounds. we're a collection of military veterans and farmers and business owners and a lot more. well, as for me, i come to congress as a mother and a preschool teacher. when my kids were much younger, i found out that their wonderful preschool program was being closed down by my state because of budget cuts. so when they were very yurntion young, iput them in my car and d to our state capital, 100 milesway, to explain to our legislators why they couldn't cut this important program. legislators told me there was nothing someone like me could do to sthaiive program. one legislator in particular told me i was just a mom in tennis shoes and i had no chance of changing anything. said i couldn't make a difference. well, that made me slightly mad.
3:06 pm
and i drove home and i picked up my phone and i started calling other moms and dads and they called moms and dads from around our state. and over time, about three months, we organized thousands of families in our state and we wrote letters and i would held -- and we held rallies and the legislatolegislature reinstatedt prasm i went on to teach as preschool teacher and then i served on my local school board. so, mr. president, when i eventually did come here to wawrksd as a u.s. senator, i knew firsthand that if we want to strengthen our economy and give our kids a brighter future, we could not wait until they were teenagers or adults to invest in them. i had seen that in my own classrooms, that when young children get the attention they need, they are miles ahead of of their peers on a path to success. i saw my own students who knew how to raise their hand or ask questions or stand in line to go
3:07 pm
to recess were the ones that were then able to go on to tackle a full curriculum in school. so that's why this week i joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce legislation that will give every american child access to high-quality early education. the bill, the strong start for america's children act, aims to significantly increase access to and quality of early learning programs that start when a child is born and last until their first day of quinnde kindergart. this legislation authorizes a federal program that supports our individual states' efforts to educate their youngest citizens. it makes sure sha that early learning programs everywhere have quality teachers and meet high standard but it also provides states and school districts and preschool programs the flexibility they need to meet their local children's needs. and although i approach this issue today as a grandmother and
3:08 pm
a mother and a former preschool teacher, many of my colleagues have their own reasons to support early education. former law enforcement officers and lawyers and sheriffs whom i work with know that when we invest in our children at a young age, they are more likely to stay oust trouble and out of jail. business leaders and economists know that when we spend $10en ae spend $1 on a child's education in the first few years of their life, we save as much as $17 throughout their life. our military leaders tell me that 75% of our nation's 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible to serve their country, often because they can't pass the necessary math and reading tests. so it's not only teachers who are fighting for pre-k. it is generals and sheriffs and c.e.o.'s, and, mr. president, 50 years of research backs this up. we know that 80% of a person's brain development occurs before
3:09 pm
the age of five. but while china is aiming to provide 70% of their children with three years of preschool by 2020 and india is doing the same, we today do not have a national strategy to get the youngest americans ready to learn. a nobel prize-winning economist, james hekman says that scwi -- l begets skill. i heard from a kindergarten teacher who told me that while some of her students in kindergarten are practicing writing their names on their work, others are learning how to hold a pencil. these children at an early age are already playing catch-up. so when a child, who's benefited from early education, knows how to open up a book and turn a page, someone can teach them to read. but, mr. president, in classrooms across our country,
3:10 pm
some children are falling behind, and that gap between children who start school ready to succeed and those who don't has serious implications for our country's future. though historically we've investevested in education to ba path to middle class, we are now falling behind. we now rank 28th globally in the proportion of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-k and 25th global any public funding for early learning. that cannot continue. so, mr. president, in the coming weeks and months, i'll be working with my chairman, senator harkin, who is here today, with many others to work towards making some smart investments in our education system to move this legislation forward. our country is in very large part the product of decisions that were made decades ago. the decision to make public education a priority now will have an extraordinary impact on the next generation.
3:11 pm
we are choosing every day between being a country that is struggling to catch up or being a country that has the knowledge and the power to continue to lead. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to again advocate for no washington exemption from obamacare. an issue i've talked about with several of our colleagues in this body, joined by many supporters of the push in the house of representatives. and i think it's very important. you know, as we hear story after story from americans in each of our states about p what they're facing, being dropped from policies they liked, they wanted to keep, having premium increases of 1,000% in some
3:12 pm
cases, getting their work hours cut back to under 30 hours a week, as we hear all these horror stork stories, the fact s that washington essentially has an exemption from all that pain, has a big taxpayer-funded subsidy a this nobody else in america at the same income level can get. thand realland that really need. and one critical component of this issue is the fact that even though the obamacare statute said clearly that every member of congress and all of our official staff had to go to the exchanges for their health care -- and of course mentioned nothing about any huge taxpayer-funded subsidy; in fact, that language was considered and not included -- even though that's crystal clear under the stawrkt statute, the a administration issued a special rule to get around that clear language. part of that rule, which i think
3:13 pm
is outrageous on its face, says, well, we don't know who official staff are. we can't determine that. so we're going to leave it up to each individual member of congress to determine who their official staff are. and as long as they deem certain staff nonofficial, then they don't have to go to the exchanges at all. they don't have to follow that clear mandate in the statute itself. well, again, mr. president, when you're talking about folks who've worked on our staff and committee staff and leadership staff, that's ridiculous. they're clearly official staff. they're not campaign staff, they're not off-capitol hill, outside of government. they're not working for other entities. they're clearly official staff. this is just one of the major ways this illegal rule doesn't end run around the -- does an
3:14 pm
end run around the clear language of the statute. in trek reaction to that part oe illegal ruling, i entered a bill that simply says, these decisions by each individual member of the senate and the house need to be made public, but the there needs to be full disclosure, when anyone is using this end run around and say, yes, this person works for me, but somehow they're not "official" so they don't have too follow th the mandate of obamacare to go the exchanges. i put that in the form after bill, which i have filed both as a free standing bill and as an amendment to the measure before the senate today. now, whatever we think about the underlying issues -- and i know there's disagreement -- to me it should be a no-brainer that there is full disclosure about
3:15 pm
how each individual office handles the situation. that is not fully disclosed now. some members may choose to say it to the press, to answer press questions, but it is not public information. it seems clear to me that how each office elects to handle that situation, how each elected member elects to handle that situation should be, by definition, public information, fully disdisclosed. and the measure i'm talking about right now, that's all it does. it doesn't prohibit anything else from going on. i object to that; i have other measures that i'll push to prohibit it. but all the measure i'm talking about right now does is make sure that that information, that election by each individual member is public. there's full disclosure about something i think clearly the public has a right to know about. so i'm simply here on the floor
3:16 pm
lobbying for that measure to pass and lobbying for a vote opportunity up or down on that important provision. now my first choice would be a simple vote on the measure in front of the senate right now, the drug compounding bill. and i have no interest in delaying progress of that bill. i simply want an amendment vote on the measure i'm describing. we can vote it up or down. either way i think it's crystal clear that this bill will proceed to become law. if my amendment is adopted, it would be voted on in the house. i think it would clearly be passed, become law. that's my first choice request here. if that's not possible, i do have a second choice request, which is to simply make this vote in order in the context of the next major bill coming to the floor, the national defense
3:17 pm
authorization act. again, a simple amendment, a simple vote. and i have no interest in delaying the time running on the consideration of this bill, on delaying votes on this bill, or of delaying debate and voting on other amendments on the defense authorization bill. it seems to me that that's a very basic, straightforward request. a vote on a pure disclosure provision. by the way, this provision has been hotlined on the republican side, and there is no republican objection to the substance of this provision. it's pure disclosure. we all think it should be public information. there is no objection. and so, mr. president, i would simply ask unanimous consent to proceed in this way and expedite in the process consideration of all of this, including the
3:18 pm
compounding bill on the floor right now. the distinguished floor manager for the bill said a few minutes ago he doesn't want delay on this bill. i don't want it either. there doesn't have to be any delay. and in fact, this unanimous consent will expedite all of that consideration. in that spirit, i ask unanimous consent that all remaining time on the motion to proceed to h.r. 3204, the compounding bill, be yielded back, that the motion to proceed be agreed to, that my amendment number 2024 be the only amendment in order, that no second-degree amendments be in order, and that the amendment be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold for adoption. i further ask that there be two hours of debate equally divided and that upon the use or yielding back of that time the senate proceed to a vote on my amendment. following the disposition of my amendment that the bill as amended, if amended, be read a third time and passed, and the
3:19 pm
motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. vitter: mr. president, reclaiming my time, that's unfortunate. that could dispose of this bill and pass this bill he today. very straightforward, expeditious way of passing this bill with no delay. mr. president, i said i had a second choice, path forward which i think is very, very reasonable as well related to the national defense authorization act so let me propose this unanimous consent. and i would ask unanimous consent that all remaining time on the motion to proceed to h.r. 3204, the compounding bill, be yielded back, that the senate proceed to h.r. 3204, that the
3:20 pm
bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. i further ask that the senate then proceed to the consideration of s. 1197, the national defense authorization bill, that my amendment which is at the desk be called up and that not withstanding rule 22, my amendment remain in order, that no second-degree amendments to my amendment be in order, and that the amendment be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold for passage. sproeup -- the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. harkin: on behalf of leadership i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. vitter: mr. president, reclaiming my time again, i think that is unfortunate. that would be an even quicker ride tpaort on the kpoupbgt -- on the compounding bill because had that unanimous consent been agreed to, the compounding bill would have passed the senate. it would have happened right now and we would move on to something that clearly needs time for debate and discussion
3:21 pm
and amendments to the national defense authorization act. so, mr. president, in closing, let me just underscore all i am seeking, urging, and, yes, demanding is a clear up-or-down vote on a pure disclosure provision. let the public know, as i think they clearly have a right to, how each individual member is handling the situation. if a member actually has the gall, in my opinion, to say all these people who work for me are not official staff and, therefore, they can right out ignore the clear language and mandate of obamacare that says congress and all staff must go to the exchanges for their health care, people have a right to know that. and, by the way, a lot of members including myself say no, we're all going to the exchanges. that's what the law says. it's perfectly clear.
3:22 pm
and that's what we're going to live by. and a lot of members are doing that. either way, the public should know what's going on. there should be full disclosure, and that's all the provision i'm discussing today does. and so it has been completely cleared by hotline on the republican side. there is no objection. i would urge us to move forward with a simple straightforward vote on it so we can expedite consideration of this bill on the floor, so we can move more quickly to the national defense authorization bill which does merit a lot of significant floor time, so we can have amendment votes on that bill immediately and not have any controversy about that. i urge that reasonable and expedited and clear path forward. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, i
3:23 pm
want to say a couple things about my objections. i know a lot of senators when they object always use that phrase "reserving the right to object." i think if you look in the senate rules, there is no such provision for reserving a right to object. i've always made it my habit that if you object, you object. and then when you get time on the floor, you explain why you objected. thus i'm taking my time now to explain why i objected. the senator from louisiana propounded two unanimous consent requests. the first was basically that we go ahead and get to the bill, the compounding bill that we're on right now, that his amendment which has nothing to do with the bill, by the way, and i think he would agree to that, has nothing to do with the bill. not even relevant, not even
3:24 pm
germane to this bill. it has something to do with obamacare and whether or not we tell people how our staffs are going on the exchange or not. so it has nothing to do with this bill. it seems odd that the senator from l.a. says he wants inalienable right to be able to offer an amendment to this bill but no one can offer an amendment to his amendment. kind of a double standard to my way of thinking. he says that they vote on his amendment and that no second-degree amendments be in order. why not? amendments were allowed to be in order on the bill that were nongermane and not relevant. why shouldn't there be a second-degree amendment allowed on his amendment? kind of a double standard. he wants it all his way without thinking about the rest of the united states senate. well, again, that's why i keep saying we need the rules changed
3:25 pm
so that not one person can demand such outrageous accommodations. so, again, this bill is so important to get passed and to get to the president so we can begin this process of protecting the health and safety of the american people and we know how to treat compounders and they have to register and stop doing what they have been doing in the past. this is vitally important. the senator says we can expedite it if we're only going to do it my way. why should we have to do it his way when 97 people already voted on this bill, when it passed the house by unanimous consent. why should it be, well, this one senator has the right to stop this bill. slow it down unless we meet the demands of that senator. this is outrageous, i think, in terms of how we conduct our business in the united states
3:26 pm
senate. again, i have argued for a long time that the rules need to be changed. i've also argued for a long time that the minority ought to have the right, the inalienable right to offer amendments, but amendments that are relevant and germane to the bill before you. otherwise you get amendments on everything from timbuktu to where on any bill, and that you can keep offering them and offering them and offering them. it's my understanding that the majority leader offered to the senator from louisiana an up-or-down vote on his amendment. not on this bill, but on some point an up-or-down vote as long as that was the definitive vote on the build -- on the amendment it wouldn't kaoepl coming up. it is further my understanding that the senator disagreed with that, that he wanted the right to bring it up again and again and again and again and again. i think this is, again, it's
3:27 pm
just an outrageous imposition of one senator's views and considerations on the entire united states senate. so, i would say to the senator that there ought to be some way for the senator to get an up-or-down vote on his amendment not on this bill. it's not relevant, not germane. i don't think it is relevant or germane on the defense bill. i'll say more on that in a second. we've got a lot of things coming down the pike here before we leave here this year or even in the next session of this congress to accommodate the senator from louisiana on his amendment. but why should we have to keep voting on it time after time after time if we have one dispositive vote on it, up or down, which is, as i understand, the majority leader offered. secondly, as regards the second
3:28 pm
unanimous consent proffered by the senator from louisiana to which i objected on behalf of the majority leader, i am not the chairman of the defense authorization committee, nor do i have the right to bring legislation to the floor. again, the senator wants everything accommodated to his wishes because if you read the unanimous consent, the senator asks the senate then proceed -- well, there's a word missing there. it means to the consideration of s. 1197, the defense authorization bill. that's the right of the majority leader. that's the majority leader's right to bring legislation on the floor. not my right, not the senator from louisiana's right. i don't know whether the senator wants to go to the defense authorization bill or not next. i don't know. that's not my decision to make. but the senator from louisiana says he wants to make that decision.
3:29 pm
taopbd make sure the senate -- and to make sure the senate does just that, well, i say to the senator from louisiana, when he becomes majority leader, then he would have that right. so again, he wants, again, to be able to bring up his amendment, again, which has nothing basically to do with the defense authorization bill, and, again, that no second-degree amendment be in order on his amendment. again, a little bit of a double standard. he wants the right to offer a nongermane, nonrelevant amendment to a bill, but nobody can offer an amendment to his amendment in the second degree. well, i think we see this for what it is. the senator obviously wants to vote on his amendment maybe today and maybe tomorrow and maybe next week and maybe next month. and i don't know how many times he wants to vote on his amendment. he was offered the right for an
3:30 pm
up or down dispositive vote, up or down on that amendment. but it's my understanding and it's only my understanding -- i don't know whether this is correct or not -- but that that was turned down by the senator from louisiana. so i say that's why i objected to both of those, on the one because of the compounding bill that is necessary to get it through, and i don't know whether the senator's amendment would fail or lose. i don't know. but i do know that the house has said that they will not take the compounding bill back. now, you might say that the house is unreasonable in that. i don't run the house. i don't run the house. all i know is the house passed it, sent it over here and said if it is amended, they will not then revisit it. well, that's what the house said, so if the senator's amendment, as worthy as it might be to some, if it's put on the
3:31 pm
compounding bill, that is the end of the compounding bill. that is the end of protecting the people of america, their health and their safety that we have worked so hard on to come together on on this bill. that's why it has no place on this bill. it may have a place. i say that senators should have a right for a vote on his amendment at some point, on either a relevant bill for a freestanding bill that the senator gets the right to a up-or-down vote on his amendment, either as a freestanding build itself -- bill itself or as a relevant or germane amendment to some other bill that's on the floor. he should have that right. but not, not to stymie, to stop a bill that is so vital to the health and safety of the american people. so that's why i object. i yield the floor. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the comments of the distinguished floor manager. i just want to respond very briefly. my goal is a clear up-or-down
3:32 pm
vote on this pure disclosure proposal, and i am open for suggestions for that to happen in any reasonable time frame, meaning this calendar year. i have focused on these two bills simply because it seems to me from what i know of the senate schedule and floor activity, these are going to be the only opportunities in terms of amendment for votes, but if there are other opportunities we can identify for this year, if we can identify an opportunity for a vote on a freestanding bill, i am all ears and i am completely open to that, and i want more amendment votes in the senate, not fewer, and if there is a side by side idea, that's fine by me. i'm completely open to that. i simply made these concrete suggestions because based on what i know of the majority leader's plans for the rest of the calendar year, these are going to be the amendment opportunities. and by the way, the only reason i put in my second consent to
3:33 pm
turn to the defense bill is because that is exactly what the majority leader articulated as his desire and his plan, to turn to that as soon as possible, to take up amendments. so i am open for any reasonable opportunity this year for this vote, and, again, this is a pure disclosure provision. i don't see why i should be partisan or controversial, and it has been cleared through hot line on my side. so if there are any other suggestions of how this could happen, i am completely open to that. unfortunately, i had a phone call with the distinguished majority leader last week and proposed various options, and his response was simply no, no, no, no, no, no other ideas, no other options, no. but i am completely open to those other ideas. obviously, as part of the tradition of the senate that
3:34 pm
nongermane amendments are considered all the time. in fact, with regard to the defense bill, that's the norm, not the exception. there are usually significant nongermane amendments, often by the majority side, sometimes by the majority leadership, which are critical votes on the defense authorization bill. that's not unusual at all. and i am for more amendment votes. and if there are alternative ideas on this topic, more amendment votes there, not fewer. so i look forward to moving forward in a productive, effective way toward getting this simple vote on disclosure and toward moving in an expedited way through this bill and to the defense bill and whatever else is on the senate calendar as determined by the majority leader. but again, so far the response is no across the board, not any sort of alternative suggestion.
3:35 pm
finally, with regard to the idea of having one vote and one vote early, there is a clear, practical problem with agreeing to that, and that is the following. for instance, what if there was one vote on my disclosure provision on the defense authorization act? that bill is going to a conference committee. so it would obviously be possible for my amendment to be adopted 100-0 and then be dumped in the conference committee and stripped from the bill, and then i would have foregone the opportunity to ever bring up the subject again this entire congress. that's a fool's agreement, and i'm not going to agree to a fool's agreement. i need to be able to protect my rights to revisit the issue, particularly when it would pass through a vote under that
3:36 pm
scenario and then be stripped in conference. so i hope we find a productive way forward. again, this is a pure disclosure provision. i'm asking for a simple up-or-down vote in whatever context presents itself this calendar year, this bill, the defense bill, and i am open to other suggestions. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: thank you, mr. president. before i begin, i would like to offer my condolences to my friend and colleague from oklahoma, senator inhofe and his
3:37 pm
family, on the tragic loss of their son. both my wife and i will continue to keep their entire family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. mr. president, i rise today to talk about the president's broken promises on obamacare and there effects on the people of nevada. for more than a month now, the american people have witnessed just how poorly this burdensome law has been implemented. people all over the country are frustrated with the problems plaguing, as they should be. the government spent hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars to overpromise and underdeliver on the signature legislation of this administration. but there are serious problems in addition to the web site, and one glaring issue, in particular, that i would like to focus on today. we have all heard from the law's supporter that obamacare would give uninsured americans access to health insurance. time and time again, they have
3:38 pm
promised that people who already had their health plan could keep it. in fact, president obama made the exact promise on numerous occasions. in a speech to the american medical association, in june of 2009, president obama said this -- "no matter how we reform the health care, we will keep this promise to the american people. if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. one of my constituents sent me a letter last week telling me that wasn't the case. sonny from the las vegas area wrote i wanted to tell you that we have lost our wonderful health insurance plan. sonny's family received a letter from their insurance company telling them that their existing plan didn't qualify under the affordable care act. they were automatically reassigned to a new plan that
3:39 pm
costs about $400 more per month. let's remember what the president said, this time in august of 2009 during his weekly presidential address about what he called phony claims regarding health reform. if you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep that plan, period. but yet another one of my constituents, kirk, from northern nevada, was just notified that his current health insurance had been canceled. he went to the exchange to find a new policy and shared his story with me, and he wrote -- "despite higher deductibles and higher co-pays, my you? insurance under this devastating law will be more than 250% of what i am paying now. and again, march 15, 2010, just a few days before the law was passed, albeit unread by a party-line vote and signed into
3:40 pm
law, president obama said this -- "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. and if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." i wonder how president obama and the law's supporters would explain that statement to mark in reno. mark received a letter telling him that his current plan was no longer offered. the plan, the letter detailed, was canceled in order to --quote, unquote -- meet the requirements of the new laws. mark was given the option to keep his plan for one additional year if he accepted a rate increase, even though he just saw a rate increase in september. mark goes on to tell me, and i quote, "as an individual health care plan holder and a self-employed individual, the a.c.a. appeared to punish me for doing the right thing by having a health care plan for the past ten years and rewards those who did not." end quote.
3:41 pm
but yet, as recently as this past july, president obama promised this. if you already have health care, the only thing that bill does is make sure that it's even more secure and insurance companies can't jerk you around. president obama made this statement more than two years after the administration admitted in comments in the federal register that 40% to 67% of existing individual policies would lose their grandfather status. the president knew that millions of americans stood to lose their existing policies, but he repeatedly told the american public under no uncertain terms that they could keep their plans. i think steven from washoe county would likely take issue with that promise. he told me that he now has health care that costs $293 per month. however, he just received a
3:42 pm
letter from his health care provider informing him that the costs of his health care would increase to $546 per month on january 1. that means his health insurance costs will nearly double next year. there is nothing affordable about that. there is nothing secure about that. on september 26, just days before the exchanges opened to a disastrous rollout, the president repeated yet again what this administration knew wasn't true. the first thing you need to know is this -- if you already have health care, you don't have to do anything. well, i have another letter here from a father from reno. he writes -- "i'm writing to tell you that i am now eating crow. a few weeks back, i wrote to you and expressed my support for the health reform and my dissatisfaction with the government shutdown.
3:43 pm
since then, i have received notification from my insurance company informing me that my current policy is being discontinued. i then began shopping for a new policy for myself and my family and have found that rates are two to three times what i'm currently paying and that my max out of pocket will double, all for basically the same plan as what i have now. in essence, i have been put into a situation where i can either save for my kids' college education or buy health care. but this tickler closes with something that really highlights the tough financial decisions facing the american people in these difficult economic times. this father says i'm unfortunately one of those people who makes too much money to qualify for federal subsidy but not enough to sell my house, which is still under water from the housing crisis of 2008.
3:44 pm
this is the reality of the health care law. now in addition to trying to save for his children's education and attempting to recover from the housing crisis, a father has been forced off the plan he liked, and the options available are two or three times more expensive. these stories don't fit with the narrative that we've heard for nearly five years. now president obama is trying to backtrack on the dozens of times he made his promise to the american people. just last week, he said now, if you have or had one of these plans before the affordable act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since that law passed. that's just not true. that is not what he promised. and now my constituents are receiving cancellation notices for their existing plans.
3:45 pm
the administration argues that even though many people are losing their existing plans, those plans were subpar policies and their new policies will be better. but that ignores the promise. mr. president, my constituents liked their plans. they decided what was best for them. what plan fits their individual and family needs. the president and the administration knew before the legislation passed that millions of americans would lose their current plans. they admitted it in the federal register after the bill was signed into law. but the whole time they continued to promote this promise and dismiss any concerns as fearmongering or phony claims. and that, mr. president, is unacceptable. these personal stories is why i'm proud to cosponsor the if you like your health plan, you can keep it act, introduced by my colleague, senator johnson from wisconsin. this is a simple but necessary
3:46 pm
bill to give americans the ability to keep their health plan if they like them. the people of nevada deserve better and they deserve to have a government that keeps its promises. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:47 pm
3:48 pm
3:49 pm
3:50 pm
3:51 pm
3:52 pm
3:53 pm
3:54 pm
mr. murphy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. reports are emerging of another school shooting today. early reports out of pittsburgh that three people have been shot at a high school there, that police right now are searching for the shooter in the woods surrounding the high school.
3:55 pm
we hope and we pray that the three reported victims will survive, but this is just becoming a regular part of our workweek here in washington. that we can expect at some point during the week that we are going to turn on the tv, on to one of the cable news networks and find a live report from a school or a mall or a church somewhere out in this country where a shooting is in progress. it's happening at a rate that i don't think any of us could have expected. and this number, mr. president, is growing at a rate that i don't think any of us could have expected. i brought this chart down to the floor of the united the senate r going on about six months since the failure of our commonsense
3:56 pm
antigun violence bill this spring, and this number represents the number of americans who have died through gun violence since december 14, december 14 means something to everybody in this chamber but term certainly to those from connecticut, that's the day in which 26 6- and 7-year-olds died in sandy hook. 10,465 have died. and i've been trying to come down to the senate floor since the failure of that bill just to tell the stories of these victims because if statistics don't do the job, if the sheer numbers alone don't convince people that something should change, well, then maybe hearing about who these people are might change things. we hope that we won't add to this number with some new young
3:57 pm
victims from the reported shooting in pittsburgh today. these shootings happen in unlikely places. schools now, unfortunately, are a likely place for a shooting to happen because they seem to happen with some regularity in schools. in part because we do very little, if anything, to stop them. with legislation from this chamber. but they're happening in other unlikely places as well. clubs, for instance, in new haven, connecticut, have been the site four times just this year of major shootings. just a few weeks ago on october 26, police in new haven responded to an early saturday morning shooting at a place called the key club cabaret. they got there and found that 26-year-old he cana robinson had been -- aircrafta robinson had
3:58 pm
been killed in a shooting spree that injured amanda john, 29-year-old jihad brumsley, and 24-year-old albert dickinson -- dickerson as well as 25-year-old yvette sterling. officers rushed to the scene as hundreds of patrons were running out. they walked in and found six victims of gun violence. just a dispute in a club resulting in the death of erica robinson and a few more. a few days ago in cyprus, texas, there was another shooting in a club in which two high school students were killed, and 19 others were injured. actually this was at a house party. shortly before 11:00 p.m. on
3:59 pm
november 9, 2013 there was a house party celebrating a young woman's 18th birthday. and because of a local dispute between two rival groups, queric richardson, 17 years old, was killed and aeriel shepherd as well. according to authorities, richardson was shot in the head while he was running away from the house party. and students returned to school on monday, there was a lot of crying as they mourned the death of two of their classmates. school parties celebrating 18th birthdays, clubs in places like new haven, bridgeport, connecticut, places you don't think that you are going to end up being shot at when you walk into are now
4:00 pm
the scenes of pretty vicious shootings, as are our schools. and, mr. president, shootings are increasingly happening in another way as well. by accident. i, unfortunately, in preparation for a lot of these speeches, rifle through a lot of pretty grizzly reports, and increasingly you're seeing more and more accidental shootings ending up in tragedy. in waterbury, connecticut, again just a few weeks ago, dow kling and shawn french, both 22 years old, were playing around with their .22-caliber rouger inside an apartment in waterbury when the gun went out and dow was shot to death. his best friend, shawn french, who shot him are said, "i'm sorry. i wish it was me and not him. i wish i could trade places with
4:01 pm
him. i really do." a week earlier in henderson, nevada, just another example by which sharice pencomb was playing around with a gun with her friend, collin lowry and the remmington .45 was load and they didn't know it was loaded and it shot sharice dead, 23 years old. described as an amazing coworker, so sharing, she was kind, she was always helpful, she always wanted to do something to help out. she was just generous. and just because they didn't understand the gun was loaded and they were being reckless, playing around with a firearm, shrice is dead. -- sharice is dead. and so that's why people out there don't understand why we can't have an honest conversation about changing things. and even when those conversations are attempted to take place, they get shut down and cut off.
4:02 pm
a pretty innocent op-ed piece in the "guns and ammo" magazine just suggested that maybe people should get a few hours of training before they get a concealed carry permit. and as a consequence of running that editorial, the editor of "guns and ammo" had to resign and step down, simply because he ran an op-ed by an author that suggested that maybe people should get some training before they have a concealed weapon. and so even when we try to engage in these discussions, we can't have them because the folks that get their money from the gun industry, whether it be the n.r.a. or these magazines, aren't even allowed to have these conversations, despite the fact that 84% of gun owners support universal background checks. despite the fact that 50% of gun
4:03 pm
owners support a restriction on high-capacity ammunition clips. despite the fact that 46% of gun owners think that it's a good idea to ban high-powered assault weapons. organizations like guns and ammo or the n.r.a. are out of step with gun owners who don't want to see this number continue increasing, who don't want to turn on the tv to see another school shooting. the reason that i come down here, mr. president, to talk about who these victims are is because the conscience of this nation should be enough to move this place to action. and it's about time that gun owners and nongun owners alike get together to do something about this. there is much more agreement than there is disagreement amongst both people who own guns and people who choose not to own guns. and whether it's background checks or a ban on illegal gun
4:04 pm
trafficking or just a simple requirement that you get a little bit of training on how to use a gun so that you don't fire accidentally and end up shooting your best friend, there are simple, commonsense bipartisan things that we can do to make sure that this number doesn't continue to accelerate at the pace that it has since december 14. i thank the chamber for its time. i yield back and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
4:07 pm
a senator: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we arement mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be visited. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you very much. may i ask unanimous consent that i allowed to speak as if in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. mr. president, i am here today for now the 50th time to urge my colleagues to wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to our oceans and our atmosphere. once a week, 50 weeks. why? why do i do this? well, first, because it's real. it's very real. it's happening. here's the change in average
4:08 pm
global surface temperature since 1970. it's pretty hard to deny. of course, if you are a denier, you will look at it and you will see from the same data that it stopped. well, what the deniers who tell you that it's stopped don't tell you is that, yeah, and it's stopped five times earlier on the way up. in fact, you could say that climate change has stopped six times since the 1970's and even went down. but it didn't stay stopped long. look at the linear trend for the whole data set from 1970 to 2 2013. no one can deny over this period that the earth is warming. this decade was warmer than the last, which was warmer than the
4:09 pm
one before, which was warmer than the one before that. let's look at nasa's entire historical surface temperature record going back to the 19th century. listen to what university of california berkeley physics professor richard muller has to say about the temperature reco record. "the frequent rises and falls, virtually a stair-step pattern, are part of the historic record and there's no expectation that they will stop, whatever their cause. the land temperature record is full of fits and starts that make the upward trend vanish for shoreshort periods. regardless of whether we understand them, there is no reason to expect them to stop." and here you can see again these short steps in the upward march. one reason we can't expect these upward steps to stop is that we know what's driving them.
4:10 pm
what's driving climate change is something even contrarian scientists accept. that is, more carbon dioxide leads to more warming. simple as that. a 150-year-old established basic principle of physics. this is the october 1861 edition of "the london, edinburg and dublin philosophical magazine and journal of science." it includes a manuscript by fizz diss john tindle entitled "radiation of heat by gases and vapors." he says, "to account for different accounts of heat being preserved to the earth at different times, a slight change in the atmosphere's variable constituents would suffice for this. such changes, in fact, may have produced all the mutations of
4:11 pm
climate which the researches of geologist reveal." ththe various constituents to which tindle referred include carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor. that's since 1861. president lincoln took office this year. and here we are today having to explain on the floor of the united states senate the physics of what carbon dioxide does in the atmosphere. it's not just the principle that's established. there are lots of measurements. the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now exceeds 400 parts per million. for the last 800,000 years at least -- 800,000 years -- and perhaps actually millions of years, we have been in a range of 170 to 300 parts per million. that's been the whole of human existence.
4:12 pm
homosapiens have been around for about 200,000 of those 800,000 years. and it's only now, it's only since the industrial revolution that we've broken out of that safe window that has protected us through that entire history of our species and now we've broken to 400. and that's a measurement. look at the oceans. oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases over the last 50 years. absorbing all that heat makes the oceans rise. oceans have absorbed about 30% of our carbon emissions which would otherwise be in the atmosphere causing more warming. absorbing that carbon makes the oceans mor more acidic. and that's all stuff we measure. at the newport tide gauge, sea level is up almost 10 inches since the 1930's, when we had our catastrophic 1938 hurricane
4:13 pm
in rhode island. you measure that. it takes basically a ruler. we're about three to four degrees warmer in the winter in narragansett bay than we were 50 years ago, when my wife's u.r.i. mentor was doing his doctoral thesis. three to four degrees. you measure that. it takes a thermometer. and the ocean is asid fighting at the fastest raid recorded in 50 years. you measure that with a litmus test, which anybody with an aquarium does. it's one thing to be against science. it's another to be the party against measurement. so the polluters and front groups don't talk much about the oceans. but that doesn't change the fact this is real and it is past denying. so that takes me to the second reason i do this and that is that it is plain, old-fashioned
4:14 pm
wrong when people lie and trick other people, particularly when people are going to be hurt by the lies. and it's worse when there's money behind the trickery, when it's purposeful. lies cannot go unanswered and that is another reason that i speak. and there isn't just lying going on. there's a whole carefully built apparatus, phony baloney organizations designed to look and sound like they're real, messages honed by public relations experts to sound like they're true, payroll scientists whom polluters can trot out when they need them, and the whole thing big and complicated enough you could be fooled into thinking it's not all the same beast. but it is. it's like the mythical hydra -- many heads, same beast. one day folks are going to look back at this and those behind it are going to be disgraced for
4:15 pm
what they did. and it's going to be a scandal. and that's the third reason i speak. we are all going to be judged very harshly. with all the dread power that history has to inflict on wrong, the polluters and their collaborators will be judged harshly. the republican party will be judged harshly for letting itself be led astray by them. but -- and here's where it really hurts. the failure of american democracy this is causing will also be judged are harshly, and that will stain the reputation of our great american experiment. we in this generation have been passed this precious experiment by generations before us that fought and bled and died to put it safely in our hands, and we do this: we foul it by lying and denying for a bunch of pollute
4:16 pm
polluters. some generation we're going to be. if you believe this world needs america, this matters, because a world fouled and changed by carbon pollution in ways we could foresee but denied. this episode will darken the lamp that america holds up to the world. we are a great country, but not when we're lying and denying what's real. the atmosphere is warming. ice is melting. cease are rising and acidifying and it's time for the misleading fantasies to end. mr. president, here's how we go forward. first, price carbon right. make the big carbon polluters pay a fee to the american people, as i've proposed with representative waxman and blumeeblumeheadquarter and sena,
4:17 pm
a cost which they now happily push off to the rest of us. i know, at present political conditions do not allow us to price carbon. so we must change those political conditions. and we can. recently president obama changed the calculus for polluters. carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants -- no more unchecked carbon dumping. 50 power plants emit one out of every eight tons of america's carbon dioxide emissions. these 50 dirtiest u.s. power plants emit more than canada, emit more than korea. when the big polluters see the cost of complying with those new standards coming down at them, they may take a second look at an economywide carbon fee.
4:18 pm
and here's a news flash chon when the polluters' calculus begins to chairng the political calculus here in congress will change, too. nothing says we have to wait for the polluterrers to figure this out on their schedule. there are armies on our side. it's not just the environmental groups like the natural resources defense council, league of conservation voters, environmental defense fund, see ira club, or national wildlife federation. it's not just virtually every major scientific organization like the american association for the advancement of science, the american geophysical union and the american neat i don't remember logical society. we have faith-based groups like the u.s. conference of catholic bishops, interfaith power and light, the coalition on the environment and jewish liervetion and the jewish council for public afirst. we have fishing, wildlife, and outdoor groups like trout
4:19 pm
unlimited, if he is ants for forever, and ducks unlinlt the. they're joined by the nfl, the national basketball association, the national hockey league as well as the american lung association who prefer to see kids playing outside in clean, healthy air. we have the joint chiefs of staff on our side, joined by nasa, the national academies, even the government accountability office, the congressional watchdog. and, by the way, about nasa, let's not forget, nasa scientists sent a an s.u.v.-sizd rover to mars, they're driving it around on mars right now. i'll put nasa scientists up against the polluters' payroll scientists all day long. we've got insurers and
4:20 pm
reinsurers whose business depends on understanding the mounting risk of natural disasters, folks like munich, lems and the reinsurance association of mechanic. we've got state and local governments who are already acting, nine northeastern states including my own rhode island engage in cap and trade through regi, the regional greenhouse gas initiative. four florida counties share resources and strategies for adapting to climate change through a bipartisan southeast florida regional climate change quocompact. a coalition of investors worth nearly $3 trillion just wrote to 45 fossil fuel companies seeking explanations about risks facing their fossil fuel investments. divestment campaigns are popping up at college campuses across
4:21 pm
the nation. major utilities accept the science and are investing in renewables and improving efficiency. energy companies pg & e, the public service company of new mexico, and excelon all quit the u.s. chamber of commerce after a chamber official called for putting climate science on trial like the scopes monkey trial of 1925. america's flagship companies like general motors, ford, coca-cola, pepsi, nike, apple, wal-mart, and alcoa all recognize the serious implications of climate change. this support is lateent, though, and it is unorganized. it is time to wake up and to gather our armies. we've got to create allied command, assemble our divisions, agree hon a strategy, go into action. that will affect the cal could you laws in congress.
4:22 pm
and most importantly, mr. president, we have the american people. 65% of voters support the president -- quote -- "taking significant steps to address climate change now." 65%. another poll found that 82% of americans believe we should start preparing now for rising sea levels and severe storms from climate change. those in congress who would deny science to protect the polluting interests increasingly look ridiculous even to their own side. misleading statements in the media like the stuff in "the wall street journal" are losing their battle and losing their audience. it is not just time to wake up; people are waking up. inestably, the truth will be -- inevitably, the truth will be fully known. the polls show that climate change is a losing tactic. four out of five voters under 35
4:23 pm
support the president's action to address climate change. 52% of young republican voters would be less likely to vote for someone who opposed the president's climate action plan. even a majority of texans say more should be done about global warming by all levels of government with 62% of texans saying more should be done in congress. and for those last holdout deniers comes this: 53% of young republican voters -- republican voters under age 35 -- said that they would describe a climate denier as -- quote ---quote ----quote -- "igf touch, or crazy." republicans outside of congress are trying to lead their party back to reality and away from what even young republicans are calling ignorant, out of touch,
4:24 pm
and crazy extremist views. they support a revenue-neutral carbon fee. republicans like our former colleagues in congress sherwood bowler and robert enink list, republicans like former environmental protection agency administrators william ruckelshaus, lee thomas, william rilely, and christine todd whitman who served under presidents nixon, reagan, george h.w. bush, and george w. bush respectively. advisors to former republican presidents like president reagan's secretary of state george schultz, art laffer known as reagan's economist, and david frum, speechwriter for george w. bush. and here's what the republican presidential nominee had to say five years ago, and i quote, "in the end, we're all left with the same set of facts.
4:25 pm
the facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in washington. good stewardship, prudence, and simple common sense demand incef the narcotic are stil market are of energy. this has to change before we can make the shift away from fossil fuels. there will be costs we warrantes counting and these terrible costs have added up now in the atmosphere, in the oceans and all across the natural world. we americans like to say that there is no problem we can't solve, however complicated, and no obstacle we cannot overcome if we meet it together. iblg thii believe this about our country. i know this about our curntion and now it is time for us to show those qualities once agai again." it is indeed time for us to show those qualities once again.
4:26 pm
it is time to wake up, it is time to turn back from the misleading propaganda of the polluters, the misguided extremism of the tea party, and the mistaken blee that w beliefn ignore without consequence the harm that our carbon prostitution is caution. it is time to face facts, be adults, and meet our responsibilities. mr. president, i give these speeches because climate change is real, because the campaign of denial is as poise onous to our democracy. and because i am request of the, i am confident that we can dough this, we can strnge strengthen r comirks we can redirect our future, we can protect our democracy, and we can do our
4:27 pm
duty, our duty to the generations that will follow us and that will look back in shame unless we change our program. but we have to pay attention, mr. president. we have to wake up. i yield the floor. mr. coons: mr. president, i come to the floor once again to talk about jobs and economic growth. we are continuing to see signs of a steady improving economy, with more than 200,000 jobs created last month. in the jobs report released just last friday. of those, 19,000 were new manufacturing jobs. we've had 43 state straight -- d 43 straight months of private-sector job growth. but the unemployment rate remains high. the budget conference committee met and we heard from c.b.o. director dr. elmendorf and he
4:28 pm
let us knee in his view, the lack of clarity about the path forward for all of us here, for the solutions we need for the budget and for the deficit, is one of the greatest drags on job creation and competitiveness. in our budget conference committee, we need to come together and reach a balanced budget deal that repeals sequester and allows the appropriations committee ably led by chairman mikulski, to move forward with an omnibus appropriations bill for this fiscal year. we cannot afford, in my view, another long-term continuing resolution at the current sequester levels. as we heard today from dr. elmendorf and as we've heard from other sources, the sequester will have killed 750,000 jobs by the end of the year and next year these ongoing, steady, grinding cuts could kill another 800,000. these are jobs, these are investments by the federal government that could be helping the private sector create jobs
4:29 pm
and repairing our crumbling infrastructure. in delaware alone we have 175 deficient bridges being neglected. these are jobs that help families to put food on the table. in kent county, delaware, sequester has hurt those who serve our nation, who operate the base, who serve our country valiantly. the these are jobs that could be going to help research a cure for cancer. n.i.h. supported more than 500 jobs in delaware in 2011 and now cuts are costing those jobs and setting us back in the fight to find a cure for cancer and many other diseases. sequester has been devastating to delaware and the whole nation, and we need to replace it with a smarter, more balanced set of spending reforms that maintain investments that will allow our country to be competitive. in particular, mr. president, if i might, we need to refocus or jobs by investing in infrastructure and focusing on manufacturing. in my view, the 19,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector that we
4:30 pm
just learned were created in the last month were a promising development but far from as many as we should be filling. why? because manufacturing jobs are high-quality jobs. they pay more in wages and benefits. they help create secondary local service jobs. they contribute more to the local economy. and manufacturers invest more in private r&d than any other sectors in our economy. i spent eight years in a manufacturing sector in delaware. i was part of a large site location team that went around the country trying to decide where to build a state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing plant. to make a long story short, in the end we decided on a location where there was a skilled and reliable workforce, a responsive government that invests in the local infrastructure. and certainly we considered other factors: tax rates and incentives offered by the state and local government.
4:31 pm
really the skill of the workforce and quality of the infrastructure were essential to the decision we made, surprising decision in terms of where we ultimately located. we invested, were able to get up and running a state-of-the-art plant in a record amount of time and contribute significantly to local employment and hroet cal tax base. -- local tax base. this taught me a lot of about the importance of infrastructure and workforce skills. if i could mention two things the world economic forum ranked the united states 25th overall in infrastructure, a key drag on our competitive. the american society of civil engineers says we're falling behind by 250 billion a year in deferred maintenance in investments not made by federal, state, and local governments. in my view, the case for infrastructure investment is a no-brainer. this is exactly the sort of thing that we should be doing and that the sequester is preventing us from doing, making wise, timely and needed investments and improving our infrastructure. another critical foundation for growth as we saw was a skilled and adaptable workforce.
4:32 pm
we can be the world's manufacturing leader again but not without investing in workforce skills and workforce training. there are many programs that this can help make this possible. one i like to point to is the federal, state and local partnership called the manufacturing extension partnership that helps make it possible for university-based researchers to partner with local manufacturers to deliver skills training that keeps them at the cutting edge, that makes them more productive. in today's modern manufacturing workplace there are fewer people but they are more productive because of their skills. back in august i visited a new facility,ed i.l.c. tkpwraeulg plastics manufacturing -- grailing manufacturing plant which is a great example of what it will take for america's manufacturing resurgence to continue and to grow. this plant has already brought more than 100 jobs to sussex county, delaware. these aren't the manufacturing jobs of the past. the men and women who work on this line need to be able to
4:33 pm
collaborate and communicate, do advanced math, kwoult control work and -- quality control work and oversee high tech machinery and have an intimate understanding of the products they are working with. in the end this company looks forward to probably doubling the number of jobs at this facility in sussex county and these are jobs that had left the united states to go south to a lower-wage country and that have been brought back, brought back from as far as mexico to seaford, delaware where there are delawareans employed at this facility. let me conclude, if i might, mr. president, by simply saying here in congress we have the opportunity if we work together across the aisle to find a pathway towards making these investments in the skills of our workforce, in the infrastructure of our country that will help grow our economy and help create good manufacturing jobs today and tomorrow. one of the core challenges we face in the budget conference committee is to find a path forward that will respond to the call that i hear up and down the
4:34 pm
state of delaware and i presume my colleagues here from their home states that we should make principled compromises that allow to us invest again, to replace the sequester with a more responsible and balanced package of revenue and cuts that allow us to return to investing in the skills and infrastructure necessary to grow our economy. thank you, and with that i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming is recognized. mr. barrasso: thank you. it has been more than six weeks since the obama administration launched its health insurance marketplace. this afternoon the obama administration finally confirmed how few people have been able to select insurance through the exchange. according to the white house, only 106,105 people have selected coverage since october 1. now this doesn't mean people actually bought their coverage t. just means they selected a
4:35 pm
plan. for most of these, it was through the state-based exchanges. so the people may be wondering how the washington-run exchange did. only 26,794 people selected a plan through low expectations met with even lower reality. the numbers paint a bleak picture of the confidence that the american people have in the health care law and the faulty web site created to sell it. the administration's goal was for a half a million people, 500,000 americans to sign up in the month of october. the month of october alone. instead we now know that only a little over 100,000 people have actually signed up. the reason the numbers are so low and so disappointing is that the web site is totally broken and the american people are discovering that the coverage offered on the exchange often
4:36 pm
costs them more than they can afford and more than they were previously paying. so far the obamacare exchanges have only succeeded at crashing people's computers or lightening their wallets. and to make matters worse, for every one person who has selected an obamacare plan either from state or the federal exchanges, 40 people have received cancellation notices. this isn't what the president repeatedly promised and it's not what the american people deserve. mr. president, enough is enough. it's time to give americans what they wanted all along, access to quality, affordable health care. it's time to stop this train wreck and ease the damage being done by this terrible law. to help make that happen, senator graham and i will introduce a bill that lets
4:37 pm
states opt out of some of the health care law's most burdensome provisions. under the choice act states can opt out of the mandate for insurance or face a tax penalty. under our bill, states could also opt out of the health care law's benefits mandates. these are the requirements that health insurance plans provide numerous expensive services that many people may not want, may not need, will never use, can't afford, and do not want to pay for. the obamacare has already issued hundreds of waivers to businesses and it has delayed the employer mandate by a year. states should have the same opportunity to give relief to their citizens. we know the numbers coming out
4:38 pm
of wyoming. in wyoming we see over 3,000 people have received cancellation notices, yet only 85 people have been able to select a plan. i was at the target store in caspar this saturday. a former patient came up to me, somebody i had operated on. he told me he had received a cancellation notice. a small businessman, he works hard for himself and for his family, and the insurance that he had worked for him, it was something he could afford. what he told me is he now has to pay a higher premium and also more out-of-pocket costs in terms of a higher co-pay and higher deductibles and he's frankly just not sure what he's going to do. the people i talk to tell me about all of the mandates, the higher costs, the bad side effects of the president's health care law and they tell me that this is not what they wanted in health care reform. got a letter from one woman from new castle, wyoming.
4:39 pm
she told me that she's losing her insurance plan also. the reason she's losing it is it doesn't meet the president's requirements that she have maternity coverage. as she points out, she doesn't need maternity care, she said, because she's had a hysterectomy and she doesn't like washington telling her that she has to pay twice as much to get a plan that covers it; something doesn't want, will never use, doesn't need, can't afford. when it comes to health care and health care coverage, one size does not fit all. states should be free to help the citizens of those states to get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs. a lot of people in this country don't want all these new mandates, all the burdens and the higher costs. all they actually wanted was president obama to keep the promises to allow them to have
4:40 pm
what the president promised them, that they could keep the insurance and the doctor that they already had. after all, that's what the president said. so we have millions of people getting letters from their insurance company canceling their insurance plans. and as of today i know that number is over 4.2 million. over 42 people canceled for every 1 that actually got insurance through the exchange. and the reason, one of the reasons for all of the insurance plans being canceled in spite of what the president told repeatedly the american people is something called the grandfather regulation that the obama administration actually wrote. the president's own people wrote the regulation so that people can't keep the insurance that they want in spite of the president's repeated promises. this was a rule that the obama administration wrote to force more people off the insurance plans that they had before the
4:41 pm
law was passed and forced them into new washington-approved plans. well, three years ago republicans saw that this regulation was going to lead directly to the millions of cancellation letters that have now gone out across the country. so my colleague from wyoming, senator enzi, took the lead and he took to the senate floor to try to stop this destructive rule from the obama administration. he introduced a bill that would immediately overturn the administration's restrictive regulations about people keeping their plans. senator enzi pointed out back then three years ago that the administration's rule would have caused millions of people to lose their insurance they had and that they liked, and he was right, and the washington democrats here on the floor of the united states senate didn't seem to care. every democrat member of this
4:42 pm
body, every democrat in the united states senate voted to make sure that the restrictive regulations stayed on the books. and because of that vote, now we have over four million americans looking for new insurance plans that satisfy obama administration mandates but they've lost their insurance in spite of the president's repeated promises that if they like what they have, they can keep it. many of them, like my friend and former patient who i ran into this past weekend in caspar, many of them are learning that their co-pays and their deductibles will be much higher than the plans that they have lost. once they get those plans, many of them are going to find out that their costs have increased. but not just that, their choice of doctors has shrunk as well. they may not be able to go to their family doctor because he or she won't be covered by their new plan anymore. now last week president obama
4:43 pm
finally admitted that he and his administration weren't, as he said, as clear as we needed to be. not as clear as he needed to be? that is what the president regrets? that he wasn't as clear as he needed to be. millions of people who are losing their doctors, they don't want an apology. they don't want a new government handout. what they want is what they had before this law came into effect. they want president obama to live up to his promise and to allow them to keep the coverage that they had and they like and that worked for them. even former president bill clinton has called for a change. remember the obama administration has called president clinton he the so-called secretary of explaining stuff. they had him traveling the country trying to convince people that their health care law was going to work out well for everybody. well now it looks like he's trying to explain to president obama how badly the president's
4:44 pm
own health care law has hurt americans who are losing access to their insurance plans and to their doctors. bill clinton said justed other day, he said -- quote -- "even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got." well, that's exactly right. not only should president obama take steps to keep his promise to the american people, he should support republicans who want to help all americans who are being harmed by the president and the democrats' terrible health care law. today's enrollment numbers show what a disaster that law has been, and the president should support the state health care choice act so that states can serve their citizens and opt out of this terrible law. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. note the absence of a quorum.
4:45 pm
the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:46 pm
4:47 pm
4:48 pm
4:49 pm
4:50 pm
4:51 pm
4:52 pm
4:53 pm
4:54 pm
4:55 pm
4:56 pm
4:57 pm
4:58 pm
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
quorum call:


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on