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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 3, 2014 5:30pm-8:01pm EST

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perspective of michigan and the north. and the east and the west as we have listened to our colleagues. i would urge our colleagues to support this conference report. the presiding officer: all time is expired. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: khroefrplt we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the conference report to ab-- accompany h.r. 2642. the presiding officer: by i ask unanimous consent the quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate to provide for a end to the conference report to h.r. 2642 shall be brought to a
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close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 72, the nays are 22. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having
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voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. chiesa: thank you, mr. president. it's an honor -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please clear the well. the senator from new jersey. a senator: thank you, mr. president. it's an honor to speak for my first time in the united states senate. mr. booker: as i speak today on
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the urgent need to extent unemployment insurance, i feel the sense of profound gratitude that i first want to note. first, i feel this gratitude obviously to the people of the state of new jersey. it is remarkable the privilege they've given notice walk into this hall -- given me to walk into this hall, to stand, frankly, right in the area that the great senator, frank lautenberg, stood, to work here in this hall which is filled with such history, have the privilege of sitting there at the desk where you are sitting, mr. president, and even touch things that seem like they should belong in a museum, like a gavel from hundreds of years ago. to walk in here and see over our heads words like "courage," and "wisdom" and "patriotism." but most importantly, it's a privilege to walk here amongst my colleagues, all 99 of them, every single one senior to me in months and years served, in wisdom and in experience.
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it's my prayer, first and foremost, that i prove worthy of this incredible honor. but with all that said, i also realize that i joined this body at a time when congress isn't really thought that well of by the american public. in fact, this institutional -- institution's approval ratings are at an all-time low. i find that not surprising. even when i was running for this office, i encountered so much frustration in my days before i came down here, people who you would think would love congress would look at me and say, "go down there and give them hell." well, i think that's because so many people in america understand what we've endured for the last six years, which is the worst economy of my lifetime. and while we are seeing some progress in our national recovery, it has come slowly and unevenly, and many families are still hurting. americans believe that congress
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isn't doing all they can to address the urgent problems they face and believe that we have in some cases made problems worse. some people i understand have surrendered to cynicism, cynicism about government, cynicism about america's future, cynicism about the ability for people themselves to shape their own lives and their destinies. but we cannot allow the pain of so many americans to overshadow that long history that we all share. there's a reason why american history does not look kindly upon cynics and naysayers, for even with all of its wrenching pain and savage problems, our collective past offers a resounding testimony to overcoming impossible challeng challenges, to righting terrible wrongs, and advancing deeper and deeper meaning to those very
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american words "liberty and justice for all." that's what our nation is. the oldest constitutional democracy, a country founded not that its people get special treatment because of divine rights of kings and queens but because everyone is valued. now, we didn't get there right away. even in our founding documents, were native americans are referred to as savages, african-americans as fractions of human beings and women not at all, we have made progress. and i know i'm here in this chamber because of what this nation has done by coming together. and like all of my colleagues, all 99 of them, we are not here because of some royal lineage or entitled ancestor. i personally stand here, like others, because of the grit, work, sacrifice and discipline of my ancestors but also because they the blessing to labor in a
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nation that for generation after generation, advanced to greater and greater inclusion, greater and greater opportunity spread amongst more and more people. and our nation's enduring belief that when we struggle together for a common cause, america is better and, thus, we're all better. it is the understanding that we are a nation with a profound and sacred declaration of independence and that also our country has a historical course that profoundly proclaims a declaration of interdependence. we began and have endured because our ancestors understood the common cause that is ameri america. this cause was heralded by our greatest leaders in every single generation, the people whose
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words and speeches and example inspired notice be here today -- inspired me to be here today. george washington, an original founding father, reminded us of this principal american ideal in his farewell address, where i wrote, "the name 'american' belongs to us. he have in common cause fought and triumphed together. the independence and liberty we possess are the work of joint counsel and joint efforts, of common dangers, common sufferings and common successe successes." and so standing here, i'm grateful that i've never forgot forgotten what my mom has told me time and time again -- "boy, don't forget where you come from." well, i know from whence i come. i know from whence all of my colleagues come, and i'm proud that we, all 100 of us,
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descendants of slaves, of immigrants, laborers, factory workers, domestics, farmers who through toil brought from the earth hope, business people, who would impossible mountains before them climbed high and commanded forth new opportunit opportunity -- all of us, despite our political difference, share a common heritage and share a common desire to solve problems, to address the challenges that plague this nation, that hurt families, to serve our country so that we may give truth to the words like "courage," and "patriotism" and "wisdom," so that they never become simply empty words etched above our heads but they constantly fuel the passion and desire of our hearts. and that's why three months in,
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almost to the day, i'm inspired by the work of this body. i've not surrendered to the cynicism about it. i'm inspired by the remarkable people who sit around me right now. this is a great institution and i now have an even more fervent, relentless belief that together we can address our common cause and the common challenges afflicting our national strength. principal amongst these challenges facing the united states is the persistent economic hardship and insecurity facing too many americans. our economy, though improving, is nonetheless failing too many people. economic trends and challenges not of any individual's making, and particularly not of the making of those who felt the pain of this great recession the
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most, are forcing too many families out of the middle class and into poverty. this is not a throat jus threatt some. it is a threat to us all. a shrinking middle class and intractable poverty is a throat america -- a threat to america. it's a challenge to the very idea of who we profess to be as a nation, that each generation should do better than the one before, that we are a land of growing prosperity shared by a widening population, that the idea that anyone born in any station through hard work, self-discipline and sacrifice can make it in america. but over the last few decades, this is becoming less and less the case. you see, wages are stagnant and by some measures have declined
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for the middle class, and social mobility in america almost embarrassingly lags behind many of our competitor nations. more and more families are beginning to question that idea that in america, every generation does better than the one before. more and more people now are getting stuck and feeling stuck through no fault of their own in a dismal hope-subduing economic condition. i watched when i was mayor of new jersey's largest city how company after company shed workers during the recession, how retirement savings collapsed, how the ratio of people looking for jobs to jobs available jaggedly cut against the american worker. still standing now at roughly three americans looking for a job for every job that is available and amidst this
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jarring recession, other economic trends continue to deepen our national economic wounds. companies are now outsourcing jobs and investment. new technologies that bring incredible societal benefit but also are driving many jobs into obsolescence. and the worker in america is facing a weakening and weakening negotiating position. so as -- as a new senator, i am inspired by my colleagues, many of them and especially their incredible staffs, the unsung giants of our federal government, are working hard to meet the challenges. i profess that i feel for members on both sides of the aisle a true understanding of our common cause and our collective responsibility here in the senate. senator after senator that i talked to in my first three
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months is driving an agenda that gives my very hope sustenance, and i'm proud to roll up my cleaves and work with them, regardless of party. while we may have differences in approach and disagreements on strategy, the common call to improve our economy has senators nobly pushing what i believe are critically important legislative measures, measures that range from efforts to address our national skills gap, to expand educational opportunities, to boost our manufacturing sector, to lift small businesses, to promote research, development, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to stop the perverse incentives that drive jobs and investment yoafer sea overseas h more. but these critical and worthy efforts may take months or longer to move through congress and even more time to have an affect to expand our economy at the necessary rate.
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and, thus, they do not relieve us from the urgency to, right now, do more to help those families caught amidst these treacherous economic trends. families that so desperately want to work, who spend their days searching for jobs, sending out resume after resume after resume, going yo online and filg out application after application, afte after applica. tens of thousands of new jersey families wh who are visiting fod pantries, cashing out ira's, who are racking up credit cards just to pay for necessities, who are skipping prescriptions, who are missing rent payments, who are falling behind on their
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mortgages, letting their car insurance lapse, having their utilities canceled, having their children miss out, sitting out of field trips or after-school activities just because their parents can't afford the costs. this is why unemployment insurance is critical. it is america answering the call to help people in crisis, not of their own making. and i'm proud -- god, i am so proud that for the last 50 years america has answered that call time and time again to help others in crisis. you see, we are america. we have been america. this is our tradition. when times are tough, as the great new jersey poet sings, "we
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take care of our own." in fact, we are a nation that takes care of its own and reaches beyond. if there is a crisis, america is there. if there is a crisis, be it a typhoon in the philippines, an earthquake in haiti, america responds. be it an act of terror in new york, an oil spill in the gulf, flooding in colorado, or a hurricane barreling up the northeast, america responds. and our tradition is clear: when the vicious vicissitudes of the market create economic crisis for our people, at levels as high as they are now, america responds. extending unemployment insurance has always been viewed in this light. when senator robert wagner rose in the senate in the mid-1930's
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amidst a depression that cast millions of families -- my family -- into economic peril, he called the social security act and its unemployment insurance provision a compound in which blended elements of economic wisdom and social justice exist. and george bush, who extended unemployment benefits five times at a time when unimhoiment was lower than it is -- unemployment was lower than it is now, said in very plain english, "americans rely on their unemployment benefits to pay for the mortgage or rent, food and other critical bills. they need our assistance in these difficult times, and we cannot let them down." well, our inaction in the senate now in renewing emergency unemployment benefits at the end of december with national unemployment this high as it is
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now, has let millions of americans, the adults and their children, down, down into an avoidable economic misery. in new jersey, i found that it was particularly stinging to our residents, even confusing to them. there were times when it was not as bad as it is now we acted, with bipartisan, no-strings attached conviction for our fellow americans. not only do we act when the unemployment rate was lower than it is now, but we acted to extend unemployment insurance time after time when long-term unemployment insurance, when long-term your honolong-term unt half of what it is today. president after president, congress after congress responded. but not now. when times were better, we respond. but not now.
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when fewer people were struggling, rhea su we respondet not now. the when foreign competition www.nowasnot as fierce, we respt not now. when banks were irresponsibly overleveraged, when insurance companies were dangerously undercapitalized, when rating agencies rated trash as treasure, and when mortgage companies used reprehensible practices that harmed family after family, altogether threatening to create cataclysmic crisis, we responded, but not now. for millions of americans suffering amidst horrible economic conditions not of their own making, who play by the rules, who are looking for work, who are struggling, who are suffering, we have more than 50 years of history of responding and extending unemployment
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insurance, but not now. i'd be remiss if i didn't take a moment just to extend and single out my gratitude of the leadership of my colleague jack reed, for his efforts he has been incredible trying to extend these benefits. he along with other of my colleagues refuse to give up. he has worked quietly and relentlessly to find a bipartisan solution. he's offered compromise, offered pay-fors, he's offered a way forward that would bring hope. but so far that solution that is approved elusive. if we are to honor our collective legacy and tradition, we cannot surrein dmer this moment to the partisanship of today. so many people are depending on this body to come together and find a way, not left or right but forward for america because every week that we delay, 70,000
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americans lose their benefits. for thousands every week, that means losing a house, an eviction from a an apartment, depletion of savings. because 40% have children, it means depriving our children of things that we would consider the basics. nearly three weeksal i stood with senator reed and pledged to go back to new jersey and return stories of the people i met who needed our collective action, needed us to come together. 12 veangt events later, after sl across neerk new jersey, my heart has broken time and time again, the former m.t. manager working in riverreligious who has burned through his entire life savings, by the huntington woman whose home has gone into foreclose, working every day to
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find a job. by the soon-to-be father in patterson working hard every day to find a job but is wracked with worry about providing for his new baby. by the fadge of five in bridgetown who now struggles to find a job but also to afford the life's basic necessities, keeping the heat on, about how to even keep gas in the car and food on the table and told me em the strain and the stress it's creating in his oldest 10-year-old son. these stories from city to suburb, from barbara and robert's kitchen table to the county griddle lounge in clinton, new jersey, to the one-stop center in plainfield, niewrnlings, were eerily similar but were all avoidable with action from congress. ilene told me that she had been looking for work for a year. federal benefits allowed her to stay afloat and afford the
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things necessary to find a job, money for gas, dry cleaning, a cell phone. even in front of other job seek,she couldn't disguise her anger, her disappointment with washington. her anger was about feeling that she and others were being ignored. she told me that she felt ashamed of a country that would turn its back on its own people. she is made about a congress that she feels doesn't hear her, but she's mostly mad that anyone, especially a congressperson, would stay that she is lazy. she is right to be mad, especially about the absurd notion that unemployment benefits provide a disincentive to work. it's something i've heard too often, that somehow people are lazy or that unemployment insurance payments, as meager as they are, provide a disin my die to work. this to me is intellectually
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dishon e and according to most studies not true. this is one of those corrosive political strains that burns the collective gut of our national truth. pitting actually american against american and violates that american wisdom my mom always told me that we should not look down on another person unless we're extend ago hand of help. not calling them lazy. when i was mayor of newar can i saw good people doing just that, offering a hand of help. these lines motivated me as mayor to work even harder, to double down because there were lines at super kitchens were americans are helping americans, lines at the one-stop job center where americans were helping americans. but the longest lines i saw as mayor were when we had success
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successes, when a new business, super market or company would come to town and say they were hiring. the lines would go on for blocks or wrap around buildings with people desperate to work, even for minimum-wage jobs. i can vividly remember scenes just like that when newark opened a home depot or then-continental airlines. it was americans in line, with resumes in their hands and hunger to get to job, any job, to get to work. i heard that the last two weeks from former managers applying to entry-level jobs and people with no experience applying for minimum-wage jobs with no success and the people who really blew me away, who just set me back, because i honestly should have expected it but i didn't expect to hear it, it was when people told me in order to keep their pride and to keep their feelings of self-worth on
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top of all their stress and strain and unemployment, they found ways to volunteer at their local libraries, at their schools, at their churches. folks like mary who i met, mary told me she was helping other women look for work as she herself was. she was helping them develop skills while she was trying to find her own job. this is the america i know. from our cities to our wealthiest subburkes people want to work. they want to give back. they want to contribute. they want to represent the truth of who we are as a country. time and time and time i heard people say, we really don't want unemployment snuns. winsurance. we want a job. and even thoaks folks who had jobs told me of the pain of congressional inaction. i stopped to meet with folks in woodbury. i went to a restaurant, marlene,
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i think senator menendez could pronounce her name. i spoke with other business leaders. the community of business people told me how high the prevalence of unemployment was -- of unemployed people was and how many people were losing their benefits. they came to the conclusion. they watched how it hurt businesses in the tong. less money coming to people in their times of need, less money spent. and that meant less revenue for businesses, which meant that some businesses might not be able to hold on to as many employees. and then how those laid-off employees would need then unemployment insurance and more social services. the cycle feeds itself. if we fail to extend unemployment benefits, economists say it is going to cost the country almost a quarter of a million jobs this year alone. this is another government self-inflicted wound we can avoid. reinstating benefits will save
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19,000 jobs in new jersey alone, but it's bigger than that. every single job is a family out of distress. while all families are important, there are some that should weigh especially heavy on the conscience of our country. take new jersey state assemblyman bob andrews, an iraq war vet who lost his leg in service to our country. he pulled together a grume of veterans young and old for me to talk about at the rio grande diner in middl middle township. i challenge any congressperson who hasn't done so already to sit with veterans who are receiving unemployment benefits or who because of our inaction just lost them. it's not hard to find them. unfortunately, nearly 21,000 veterans lost their benefits earlier than anticipated when we
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failed to extend uninsured -- benefits back in december. and about 3,000 or more will join them each month unless we right this wrong. listen to the testimony of soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines who have come back into this economy after fighting on the front lines, after facing peril and danger most of us can't imagine. and then here in america, we have to face the harsh realities of despite their best efforts being unemployed and even face the potential horrors of homelessness, these men and women who fought for our country, who stood for our nation are not lazy. there's no disincentive to work in these benefits. these are people who signed up to go to war. the assemblyman told me how hard it was for his friends and even
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him to find a job. he told me of what it does to your spirit of what it is like to give your all for your country and have your country fail to do what is consistently done for others during times of crisis over the last 50 years, which is extend unemployment benefits. this man, bob andrews act, is shorter than me but he stands taller than i will ever stand and on a prosthetic leg. he works a job as an assemblyman in new jersey with honor, battling to give men with high unemployment like in cape may county. he has good days, he has bad days. fighting it out on the front lines of our economic struggle. this iraq war veteran is still fighting to protect his country to, advance it and make real his country for the lives of thousands of people. his cause is our common cause.
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this burden should not be his to bear alone. we two u.s. senators, like him, have jobs elected by the people. we swore an oath to be there for our countrymen. we too pledged our sacred honor to save america, to return to the words of general washington, the name america belongs to all of us. we must be there for everyone, especially in this time of trial. it's my hope that this body and this generation of americans find our measure of commonality to come together and find a way so that we can better tend to those in crisis and so that we too may add our humble measure to the greatness of that enduring american idea. let us extend unemployment insurance. i know yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: if i could praise my colleague for his eloquence and passion and say how right he is. i have a statement i'd like to put in the record. but i simply at this point, because i see the senior senator from new jersey here, commend him for his brilliance and for his dedication. and i thank my colleague for allowing me to speak. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i want to commend my colleague from new jersey for an eloquent and soaring speech that speaks to the collective aspirations that we should have in this body on behalf of the collective nation that we represent. and i am not at all surprised at senator booker's ability to
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relate to this body the lives of people from new jersey and across the country who depend upon us to respond to them in their times of need and to remind us of the greater nature of what we should stand for as an institution and on behalf of this country. and he did it, i think, with such aplomb and with such compassion and sincerity that i think it is an excellent beginning to what will be a very long series of remarks in the senate on critical issues that will both inform us and at the same time remind us of the high calling for which we are all brought to the senate. i just want to take one moment to add on to what senator booker said specifically on the topic
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for which he ultimately drove, and that is this question of unemployment. and i want to relate one story. i see the senator from utah is up. i'm going to relate one story and ask the rest of my remarks be included in the record. but it speaks to the very heart of what senator booker was conveying here. i get thousands of letters from people who depend on their meager unemployment benefits to avert complete economic disaster while they desperately look for work. and as senator booker said, these people are not lazy. they're not looking for a handout. they just want a job, any job. i want to talk about one constituent in particular, noel from atlantic county who described herself as -- quote -- "a middle-aged, unemployed single mother trying to raise two sons to be successfully contributing members of our society." she said in her letter that after her marriage ended --
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quote -- "i didn't shrug my shoulders and give up even though the system said i didn't qualify for assistance. i took care of my children and my home to pay the bills and avoid child-care costs. in 2000, when my children were school age, i found a minimum-wage seasonal job and worked hard to become a permanent employee. i worked even harder to rise up in the organization and become a respected manager. and when that company went bankrupt in 2009, i found another job within two weeks taking a large pay cut and making far less than i would have made on unemployment. i stayed with that company for four years until i was laid off in july of 2013. once again i didn't shrug my shoulders and give up. for the following 26 weeks i sought employment. i have joined every employment web site i could find and applied for any job remotely within my limited job skills.
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unfortunately, the responses i've gotten have not been encouraging. 13 years of retail experience, including 9 years of management experience translates into few opportunities. no one will consider me for any entry-level positions based on my previous experience. and she closed and said no, i do not think unemployment should be a way of life. no, i do not think you can be unemployed and disabled. no, i do not think three million unemployed americans are going to find jobs in 26 weeks. she's right. and she is are the type of americans that senator booker was talking about, and this is why the senate should act. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, we're better than this. this farm bill is a monument to every dysfunction washington indulges to bend our policies and twist our economy to benefit
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itself at the expense of the american people. the top-line talking point among defenders of this bill is the word "compromise." the farm bill, we're told, may be imperfect but it's a compromise we can all live with. they said negotiators from both houses and both political parties came together and hammered out a deal. they said this is just how you have to act to get things done in washington. there is, of course, some truth to this. but it's more of a half-truth. there absolutely is compromise in this 1,000-page $1 trillion mess. but it's not a compromise between house republicans and senate democrats. no. it's collusion between both parties against the american people. it benefits special interests at the expense of national interest. this bill does not demonstrate how to do things in washington,
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but it instead demonstrates how to do things for washington. the final product before us is not just a legislative vehicle. it's a legislative get-away car. and what did they get away with? well, the farm bill is really two bills, one that spends about $200 billion to subsidize the agriculture industry and another that spends $750 billion on the public assistance program previously known as food stamps. the farm bill is thus a beltway marriage of convenience between welfare and corporate welfare, ensuring the passage of both while preventing reform in either. instead congress broke out the neck bolts and sutures and put frankenstein's monster back together. this was the year the farm bill was supposed to be different. this was supposed to be the year when we would finally split the
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bill into its logical component pieces and would subject them both to overdue scrutiny and reform. this was the year we might have strengthened the food stamp program with work and other requirements for able-bodied adults to help transition beneficiaries into full-time jobs. this was the year we might have added an asset test to make sure wealthy americans with large personal bank accounts were no longer eligible for food stamps. but those reforms aren't there. those reforms aren't here, not in this bill. under this legislation, the food stamp program is not really reformed. it's just expanded. once again the give-and-take of compromise in congress boils down to the american people give and washington takes. yet, if anything, mr. president, the other side of this bill is even worse. not only did the conference
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committee fail to reform programs subsidizing agriculture businesses, the conference committee removed many of the few improvements the house and senate tried to include in the first place. for instance, the original senate bill, for all its faults, included a novel provision to limit farm subsidies to actual farms. actual farmers. the senate bill was also going to phase out crop insurance subsidies for wealthy americans with an annual income of more than $750,000. farmers who made three-quarters of a million dollars a year, after all, should not need taxpayer assistance to keep their farms afloat. the house bill included a transparency reform requiring members of congress to disclose any subsidies they personally received under the crop insurance programs. yet all of the above reforms mysteriously disappeared from the final legislation now before
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us. and it's not like the farm bill was a paragon of accountability and fairness to begin with. agricultural policy follows a trouble trend in washington, using raw political power to twist public policy against the american people, to profit political and corporate insiders. for instance, under this legislation, the federal government will continue to force taxpayers to subsidize sugar companies both in the law and in the grocery store. the bill maintains the so-called dairy cliff, keeping dairy policy temporary. this will create an artificial crisis the next time we take up a farm bill which will once again undermine thoughtful debate and reform. perhaps of all the shiny ornaments hung on this special interest christmas tree, the shineiest may be the actual crone niest handout to the
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christmas tree industry itself. under this farm bill, small independent christmas tree farmers will now be required to pay a special tax to a government-created organization controlled by larger corporate producers like some medieval tribute to futile lords. these costs will of course be passed on to working families. and so every december washington will in effect rob the kradgetts to pay mr. skraoupblg -- pay mr. scrooge in washington. yet, mr. president, even all this is squeaky clean legislating compared to this farm bill's most offensive feature. its bullying, disenfranchising shakedown of the american west. most americans who live east of the mississippi have no idea that most of the land west of the great river is owned by the federal government. now, i don't mean national
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parks, protected wilderness, national monuments and the like. we've got a lot of those and we love them. but that's a fraction of a fraction of the land that i'm talking about. i'm just talking about garden-variety land, the kind that is privately owned in every neighborhood and community across the country. more than 50% of all the land west of the mississippi river is controlled by a federal bureaucracy, and it can not be developed. no homes, no businesses, no communities or community centers, no farms or farmers' markets, no hospitals or colleges or schools, no little league -- no little league fields, no playgrounds. nothing. in my own state it's 63% of the land. in dagget county, 81%. in garfield county it's 90%. 90% of the land in garfield
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county isn't theirs. in communities like these, financing local government is a huge challenge. there like in the east, local government is funded primarily by property taxes. but in counties and towns where the federal government owns 70%, 80% or even 90% of the land, there simply isn't enough private property to tax to fund basic local services. or another sheriff's deputy to police the streets, a truck or blens to save their lives and protect property from fires. another teacher educate their children. to compensate local governments for the tax revenue that washington unfairly denies them, congress created, as only congress could, the pilt program. pilt stands for payment in lieu of taxes. now, under pilt congress sends a few cents on the dollar out west every year to make up for lost property taxes.
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there's no guaranteed amount. washington just sends what washington feels like sending. local governments across the western united states and especially in counties like garfield, dagget, and wayne county, utah, completely depend on congress making good on this promise. given this situation, there are three possible courses of congressional action. first, congress could do the right thing and transfer the land to the states that want it. second, congress could compromise and fully compensate western communities for the growth and opportunity current law denies them. but in this bill, it's neither. congress instead chooses option three. lording its power over western communities to extort political concessions from them like some two-bit protection racket. that's a nice fire department you got there, congress effectively says to many western communities.
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nice school your kids have. it would be a shame if anything nig would happen to it. these states and communities are looking for nothing more than certainty and equality under the law. yet congress treats these not as rights to be protected but as vulnerabilities to be shamelessly exploited. i've been on the phone with county commissioners for weeks who feel they have no choice but to support a policy that they know doesn't work. this bill takes away their ability to plan and budget with certainty and forces them to come back to congress hat in hand every year. county commissioners know that's no way to run a community. i share their frustration, and i applaud their commitment to their neighbors and their communities. i'm convinced that in the long run the best way to protect these communities is to find a real permanent solution, one that gives them the certainty and the equality under the law that they deserve.
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my vote against the farm bill will be a vote to rescue utahans from second-class citizenship and local communities in my state from permanent dependence on the whims of faraway politicians and bureaucrats in washington, d.c. mr. president, for all the talk we hear in this chamber about inequality, we nonetheless seem oblivious to its causes. this bill and thousands of other bills, laws and regulations like it, are themselves the root cause of our shortage of opportunity in america today. the end result of this legislation will be to disenfranchise and extort the american people to benefit special interests, to enrich the well connected at the expense of the disconnected. the true cost of that transaction, just another forced deposit and withdrawal from washington's dysfunctional favor bank, is a lot more than
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$956 billion. the true cost of this kind of unequal cronyist policy making is the trust of the american people. in the legitimacy of our political institutions, in the fairness of our economy, and in the good faith of their countrymen. our constitutional republic, our free enterprise economy, and our voluntary civil society depend absolutely on the equality of all americans under the law, the equality of all citizens opportunity to pursue happiness in their own communities, according to their own values, each on a level playing field with everyone else. this legislation dangerously subverts that principle and mocks any patriot who still holds it dear. all americans may be equal, but as george orwell might put it request if he were here today, under the farm bill some americans are simply more equal than others. i will not be part of it.
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and i encourage my colleagues to recognize that there is another way. there is a better way, a new approach that remembers what and who we're supposed to really stand for. what we're supposed to stand for is deliberation, open debate, and transparent amendment on this this floor in this chamber. these programs should not be coupled to shield them from scrutiny and protect them from reform. if we need food stamps to fight poverty and farm subsidies to maintain our food supply, let those programs stand on their own merits or not at all. furthermore, the land out west is not going anywhere. this should be an opportunity for us to bring our people together, not turn our regions against each other and turn the right to local government into a dangerous political football. it's time to have a serious debate about a permanent solution to federally owned
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lands that can improve economic opportunity and mobility while reducing the national debt and deficit. and all the evidence in this farm bill to the contrary, i believe we are capable of finding such a solution. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: senator booker, congratulations on your very eloquent maiden speech. it's great the to have you with us. i want to thank senator booker for calling on the better angels in all of us to do the right thing. opportunity and fairness for all are not just empty words, they are words to live by and words to live up to. so today i rise to add my support for extending unemployment benefits to those among us who need and deserve
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this life line. in december, over 2,000 hawaii workers lost their unemployment benefits. since then, about 250 more hawaii workers are losing their benefits every week. in the year 2008, our country was plunged into the deepest economic crisis since the great depression. many lost their jobs through no fault of their own. many are still unemployed. since 2008, unemployment benefits have kept over 11 million people out of poverty. unemployed workers spend their benefits immediately on food and other necessities. unemployment benefits go immediately into the local economy. every dollar of spending on unemployment benefits generates almost $1.60 in local economic activity. but this isn't just about numbers. for people struggling to find
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work, emergency unemployment insurance is a vital safety net. it can mean the difference between being able to get back on your feet or falling into poverty. these programs provide real hope and real opportunity for people. i know this because i've lived it. my mother raised three children by herself as a single parent. most of us have relied upon or know families who have used the earned unemployment assistance they paid for and when my mother lost her job through no fault of her own, her unemployment checks went for rent and putting food on the table for her three children while she searched for work. so i know the anxiety when the family breadwinner loses her job, when every dime makes a difference. those who say people on unemployment are lazy or don't want to work are insulting and
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injuring millions of americans about whom nothing could be further from the truth. high unemployment particularly hurts women. among female heads of households the u.s. unemployment rate was 8.7% in december. that's two points higher than the 6.7% unemployment rate for the nation as a whole. and neither one of these statistics takes into account workers who have given up looking for work. we should support a short-term extension of unemployment benefits while congress works on a needed longer-term bill. last friday president obama announced some new efforts to support the long-term unemployed. he gathered over 300 companies who have signed on to a set of best practices for recruiting and hiring unemployed. especially those long-term
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employed, to prevent discrimination against these americans. the the federal government will lead by example in a new presidential memorandum to improve its own recruiting and hiring of long-term unemployed people. congress can do its part by updating and strengthening job training programs like through the work force investment act, i hope which we will take up later this year. for right now, millions of families are counting on us to extend a vital life line to them. i urge my colleagues to support extending unemployment benefits. and i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: mr. president, thank you very much. i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that detailees nona mccoy and kevin battey battey -- i apologize if i
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mispronounced their last names -- be granted floor privileges for the duration of the consideration of the conference report to accompany h.r. 2642, the farm bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. i rise this evening to discuss the agriculture act of 2014, the farm bill conference report. now, this legislation has been delayed, mr. president, over two and a half years. weighing the entire time on the minds of farmers and ranchers all across the country. last tuesday, i came to the floor to explain why i was the only senator on the farm bill conference not to sign the conference report and why i cannot in good conscience support this legislation. i'm here today to go beyond my philosophical concerns with the
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direction of the legislation and will instead focus on how the 2000 farm will negatively impact agriculture in kansas, my home state, as well as other states. remember the farm bill is not a simple reauthorization or continuation of our nation's farm and food programs. we have already done that once with the one-year extension of the 2008 bill. instead, the legislation before us should be a wholesale rewrite of the programs and policies at the department of agriculture. when this bill is signed into law by the president, and fully implemented, our producers will have to make choices among new safety net programs, new regulations, and new rules. some of these choices will happen only once, and will be irrevocable. they cannot change for the next five years. this is a five-year bill. we owe it to these farmers and
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ranchers, small business owners, as well as the next generation of producers, to get this legislation right. unfortunately, i believe congress has missed the mark and that the conference report goes backwards toward protectionist subsidy programs instead of forward with innovative and responsible solutions. i'm not alone in that assessment, mr. president. as reported by the kansas city kansas city star, last friday, january 31, all four kansas house members voted no on what is arguably the single most important piece of federal legislation in kansas. now, that should grab everybody in america's attention. the entire house delegation from the wheat state was united in opposing this version of the farm bill. it is not that we do not appreciate agriculture.
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or that the producers and their families in our state, it is entirely the opposite. we care so much that after three years of work, three years, we will not settle for supporting backwards legislation just to get something done. i call it a look in the rear view mirror. i understand that compromises were made, but i cannot support a bill that marches backwards towards producers making bad decisions based off of government subsidies, retaliation against our livestock producers and once again agriculture taking a disproportionate cut in spending compared, yes, to federal nutrition programs. when chairperson stabenow and i started the process of rewriting the farm bill, kansas producers regardless of what they planted said over and over again their number-one priority and concern was the availability of crop insurance that protects in case
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of disaster. they were also fully aware direct payments would no longer be available to them and most were okay with that direction. however, kansas producers did not ask for a continuation of a target price subsidy program and they certainly did not want congress to raise the target prices of all commodities. two years ago, in 2012, the senate agriculture committee and the full senate passed a farm bill that ended the countercyclical and commodity subsidy programs. if signed in to law, the 2012 senate farm bill would have taken the federal government and the department of agriculture out of the business of sending signals to producers, essentially telling them what crops to plant. unfortunately that reform was never fully realized. we have something called the new
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price loss coverage program that is contained in this conference report. it sets high fixed target prices and subsidies for all commodities i and regions of the country. last week, after the final details of the bill were released, i talked with a young producer near dodge city, my hometown, that is a member of my voluntary ag advisory council. i fondly refer to them as my "ag posse." with a current cash price for wheat at the dodge city grain elevator around 6 bucks, $6, and a target price guarantee for wheat set at $5.50 a bushel for the next five years -- the next five years -- i asked this young, successful and informed producer, what are you going to plant? what he told me should not surprise anyone in this body or anyone. he said, "pat, i'm going to
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plant wheat for the government subsidy." his answer only r reinforces one of my biggest concerns with the conference report. when the federal government guarantees producers a subsidy triggered off a target price, a reference price, a countercyclical price, whatever price, whatever you want to call it, it always has and always will lead to planting and marketing -- marketing distortions. so today many producers have a college or advanced degree, often in business. they're going to evaluate the programs at the department of agriculture, make decisions that benefit their business's bottom line. so instead of planting grain sorghum or corn or soybeans, my friends in western kansas already knows that he is going to plant the crop that is he guaranteed to receive the highest subsidy payment from the government, not from the market.
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in this case, wheat at $5.50 per bushel over corn with a target price of $3.70 a bushel. now, i have yet to hear one explanation for why congress is not only including target prices for corn, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, rice, peanuts and barley, but raising and fixing their prices, regardless of movements in the market. now, kansas, kansas is the best breadbasket of the world, so you might think that kansas producers planting more wheat would be a good thing. however, simple economics and history demonstrate why this is such a dangerous road for the federal government to take. when all producers in kansas and the rest of america have the same price guarantees and signals to plant wheat, no matter where you are, and a majority of who makes the
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business decision to follow subsidy signals instead of the market, over time there will undoubtedly be more production tan demand. global or otherwise. we will have a surplus of wheat leading to lower wheat prices, and now this could normally be corrected by market signals. but with a fixed target price, farmers will continue to plant wheat for the subsidy -- that subsidy guarantee -- leading to further overproduction and even lower crop prices. we've been there before. we've had been there before. that's why we -- we've been there before. that's why we tried to reform the program about several farm bills back. this cycle of overproduction, low grain prices and expensive support payments could eventually lead back to the days of mandatory quotas -- happened before -- and acreage allotments -- happened before -- known as set-asides. paying farmers not go grow anything. we don't need to go back to those days.
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our producers in kansas want none of that from their federal government. so besides having high fixed target prices, the new price loss coverage program sets the price guarantee so high that some -- some -- are at or above the producer's cost of production. this would mean that the government is essentially subsidizing a producer so much that they are guaranteed to make a profit if they have a normal or average yield. and it gets worse. the early analysis that i have seen shows the target prices are high enough that rice, peanuts and barley growers will receive a subsidy payment 75% of any given year, likely triggering a payment four out of the five next years, the four out of the five years of this five-year farm bill. other commodities are not treated as favorably. with wheat prices likely to
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trigger a payment on average only 35% of the time. soybeans less than 15%. now, what that tells me is that the new target price guarantees are set high enough for a few commodities to trigger subsidy payments with a high frequency. folks, this is no longer a risk management tool or part of a responsible safety net. make no mistake, the price loss coverage program is nothing more than a profit protection program from some of our commodity growers. now, the loan commodity that -- now, the lone commodity that has moved out of the price supporters entirely, was forced to after learning the lesson the hard way. in 2002, the world trade organization ruled against the united states for our cotton programs, including a decoupled target price subsidy. so in a settlement with brazil,
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we have been paying their producers $147 million a year for damages. still paying them. as much as i disagree with the backwards direction of the commodity title, kansas livestock producers may have more beef with this conference report. kansas is in the heart of cattle country, and after multiple years of drought, three years of drought, livestock producers in my home state are waiting for disaster assistance that has been unnecessarily delayed for over three years. yet when taking the full conference report under consideration, both the kansas livestock association, the kansas pork association strongly oppose this bill. why? in a letter sent to me by testify in sternburger, president of the kansas livestock association, he says, "we are deeply disappointed the republican does not address our two priority issues, mandatory
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country-of-origin labeling" -- cool, that's the acronym -- "and the grain inspection packers and stockyards administration, gipsa" -- that's the acronym. both rules on cattle marketing. now, mandatory country-of-origin labeling, or cool, as the marketing program, however, our closest trading partners have found the practice anything but cool. canada and mexico are two of our biggest and historically strong markets for u.s. beef, pork and chicken exports. in 2012 alone, canada imported over $1 billion worth of u.s. beef and mexico imported over $800 million. if we do not come into compliance, as required by the world trade organization, canada and mexico will retaliate against the united states. now, without these markets,
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kansas livestock producers will lose value on their products, negatively impacting one of the biggest drivers of our state's economy. unfortunately, our efforts to fix cool in the farm bill conference committee fell short, to the displeasure of our livestock producers and trading partners. the gipsa rule on live stark marketing also should have been addressed in the final farm bill conference report as well. the house version of the farm bill, we're told, had strong provisions that would have let our livestock producers make their own marketing decisions instead of gipsa, yet the provisions were left entirely out of conference report with no explanation, no transparency, behind closed doors. finally, i have to address a major inequality in the final conference report and that is nutrition spending. when the congressional budget office released their official estimate of the budgetary effects of this agriculture act,
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i was more than disappointed. according to the letter, c.b.o. estimates that direct spending sphremg the programs authorized by -- stemming from the program'programsauthorized by fd amount to $26 billion over the period, in which $756 billion, almost $800 billion -- and, by the way, that lower figure is a bet on the economy improving and people getting off the snap program, which is -- which would be good, certainly, but certainly not certain. but the $756 billion would be for nutrition programs. now, when do you the math, that means 79%, almost 80%, of the total spending in the farm bill will go to nutrition programs, including snap, the supplemental nutrition assistance program. the final compromise includes $8 billion in food stamp savings mainly from tightening the
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low-income heating and assistance program, the infamous liheap loophole. that's a good thing. statements were gaming the system. -- states were gaming the system. i'm all for that. that amounts to, however, a 1% reduction to nutrition spending, just 1% out of a $750 billion program, if you believe the projections. i think it's probably more toward dollars 800 billion. the senate committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry recently released a statement within the headline, "deficit reduction: the 2014 farm bill showcasing the savings isavings" in this legislation. the release highlights the inequality between farm and food programs -- and i quote -- "farm subsidy programs were cut far more significantly than any other area of the budget under the agriculture committee's jurisdiction. by comparison, farm subsidy programs were cut by 31%, nutrition programs were reduced
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1%." you heard that right. farmers, ranchers, farm broadcasters listening in, you third that right. the farm bill once again prioritizes spending for food stamps over all other department of agriculture programs, including important conservation programs, including important research programs, including important rural development programs. now, i'm fine with reducing farm subsidies like the target price program, but we should have included additional reforms to the nutritional programs, which we tried to do in several votes, in a reasonable and responsible manner. not touching anybody's benefits, just look at the eligibility requirements. but the conference principals decided on the final compromise, again, behind closed doors. now, while we all want to provide much-needed certainty to producers -- goodness knows,
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it's been a long, long time since we've had a farm bill in place -- the conference missed an opportunity for greater and necessary reforms to our nation's farm programs, burdensome regulations on livestock producers, and federal nutrition programs. and after over three years of deliberation and disputes over the farm bill, our producers, our consumers, our taxpayers, our global trading partners expect and deserve more than found in this conference report. as conferee, i did not sign the conference report last week. that didn't give me any pleasu pleasure. as a kansan and a senator from a large agriculture state, i'm going to vote against this rear-view mirror legislation for all the reasons that i've itemized. now, having said that, i do want to take a moment to personally thank chairperson stabenow and chairman lucas over in the house
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for their unwavering drive and perseverance to finalize a farm bill. it is one thing for notice stand up and -- it is one thing for me to stand up and criticize it and find in my heart and in my mind in behalf of my kansas producers to vote now," because i think that's the right -- to vote "no," because i think that's the right vote, but i also know that they have endeavored, chairman stabenow and chairman lucas, to at least get a bill. it is a tall task to get a majority of the members of congress to understand that the farm bill is not simply a bill that you pay off. i can remember that time when i was chairman of the committee over in the house and i asked a colleague to help me on the farm bill. he said, why don't you just pay it? indicating his broad knowledge of the farm bill at that particular time. so the farm bill is not simply a bill that you just pay off. it instead represents important legislation for both urban, rural states and district and the stability of the world, if
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you will, knowing that we have to feed 9 billion people in the next civil decades. -- in the next several decades. but at least the chairs have beaten all the odds and are on the verge of completing a very complicated and time-consuming undertaking, to say the least. i must also thank my colleagues and friends on the house and senate agriculture committees for their knowledge, their expertise, their diverse perspectives on agriculture. and it' -- and it's going to be really hard to imagine that many faces in the senate ag room will not be there in person for the next farm bill five years down the road. senators tom harkin, senator saxby chambliss, both will be sorely missed as they have led the caucus through previous farm bills. but they were literally watch over the committee for years to come because their portraits are
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on the walls hanging above us. i think their eyes move when we consider amendments. senator max baucus will continue his service to the country as the next ambassador to china, but we will miss his advice and counsel in the committee. finally, it is hard to describe the void that will be created with the departure of senator mike johanns of nebraska. as the secretary of the department of agriculture, he has seen both sides of the farm bill, implementing one and writing another. even though -- even though, mr. president, nebraska left the big 12 for the big 10, this k state fan will admit that we will all miss having him around. so although i will not vote for the farm bill conference report, i promise to all of kansas agriculture that i fully appreciate the need for a farm bill, especially one that has been delayed for years. while we need a farm bill, we do
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not need this farm bill. i truly respect the farmers and ranchers and everybody connected with agriculture, what you do as a professor profession, for ourn a troubled and hungry wold world. i just wish the rest of the senate would do the same. i will continue to work and to advocate and to champion agriculture on your behalf every single day. mr. president, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i want to commend the junior senator from new jersey on his first speech on the senate floor. ihe brings a strong voice voice to the united states senate. hi am proud to stand alongside him. just five years ago, middle-class families got hammered by the worst economic crisis since the worst
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depression. these families didn't cause the crisis. they worked hard and played by the rules. but they ended up paying the price for wall street's wild risk taking and washington's failed oversight. people lost jobs, lost savings, lost homes. far too many of them are still struggling. for these families, every dollar counts. an extra couple of hundred dollars a week can keep food on the table or heat on during cold winter months. it can meaning the difference between making the rent or mortgage payment and being out on the street. that's what emergency unemployment insurance is for, to give folks a little bit of help that they need to chemicalp their heads above water while they search for a job. unemployment insurance represents a commitment as a country that we'll pitch in when our friends and neighbors have fallen on rough times, knowing that they would do the same for us. so far, republicans seem
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determined to break that commitment because of republican filibusters, 1.6 million americans and counting have lost access to unemployment insurance since the end of last year, including more than 60,000 people in massachusetts. their obstruction means that we cannot fulfill our commitment to the families that immediate it most. my republican colleagues should be looking for a way to say "yes." yes to helping middle-class american families and their 2.3 million children who rely on unemployment insurance. but once again they just want a way to say "no." extending unemployment insurance should be a simple matter. it happened five times during the bush administration and not once -- not once -- did republicans demand that the costs be offset by cuts or revenue increases elsewhere. but the republicans have insisted on a different standard
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this time -- filibustering because the extension of benefits wasn't offset. democrats thought this was wrong, but we compromised and we agreed to offset the cost. so did we have a deal? no. the republicans refused to take "yes" for an answer and filibustered again. why would republicans block the extension of unemployment benefits? some seem to believe that unemployment insurance is actually bad for struggling families. one republican senator recently said that emergency unemployment insurance does a disservice to people because it causes them to -- quote -- "become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy." last year's republican vice-presidential nominee, congressman ryan, said that federal safety net programs like unemployment insurance are --
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quote -- "like a hammock which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and daps." -- and dependency." this is an insult to hardworking people across this country, people who are doing their best and can't find a job. this is an insult to people like terry, a 41-year-old resident of gardner, massachusetts, who lost her job last year. here's what she wrote to me after congress let the unemployment insurance program expire: "my employer suddenly let me go, and i found myself unemployed for the first time since my very first part-time job at 15. i have been diligently looking for work, applying everywhere, but i haven't had any job offers." she writes that unemployment insurance is all we have. "i'm already on the brink of losing my home. we are struggling to hang on to what very little we have.
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i know i'm one of 1.3 million faces, but i'm a face from near your home. i'm a face that never thought i'd be in this situation. i'm a face that needs the help of my government's services that i have paid into for many, many years. i'm a face that has done everything i'm supposed to do but i feel like i've fallen aside and no one seiz sees me. i'm not an abuser of the system. i'm someone who really needs my government to be there for me now. please see me." terry isn't loo looking for a le of complacency and dependency. and she is a not the exception. you can't get unemployment benefits unless you prove that you lost year job through no fault of that yo of your own ane that you are actively looking for work. unemployment insurance is a critical lifeline for people who
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are trying their hardest and need a little help, a recognition that wall street and washington caused the financial crisis but main street is still paying the price. and there's the rub. republicans line up to protect billions in tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations with armies of lobbyists. but they can't find a way to help struggling families get back on their feet. people like terri are hurting. they worked hard their whole lie and paid into the system. the and after the worst economic crisis in generations, they're searching for jobs and scram baling to stay in the build class. they're not looking for a handout. they're looking for a chance to rebuild their lives. they would be there for us. we should be there for them. mr. president, i yield back.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president u i'm reminded, even at this late hour when most of the world has moved on to other pursuits, what a great privilege it is to be with two magnificent voices and advocates for fairness and economic opportunity, senator warren of massachusetts, senator -- my very good friend, senator booker of new jersey on his first occasion here on the floor. and i feel so really blessed and fortunate and privileged to be here with them. and at any moment on this floor in this body but particularly as we face this great challenge
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ahead. how to preserve and enhance our middle class in america, thousand make sure -- how to make sure that americaer fulfills its great promise that senator booker evoked so eloquently going back to the days of george washington and now with great leaders facing many of the same kinds of basic questions about whether we can provide that opportunity going forward, whether we are equal to the task in an creeingl increasy complex society. just today in "the new york times," a very profoundly telling story about markets losing middle-class consumers. only the high end and the low end retailers able to find markets for their products because our middle class is dwindling, squeezed by the vice
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of an increasingly desperate situation the and how desperate it is for people who are depending now on unemployment insurance, as they see the deed- she the deadlines for them aproposing. and they know that they will lose roofs over their heads, meals on their tables, families that they are struggling to keep together. as senator booker and senator warren said so well, the unfairness of the economic crisis caused by wall street and washington but visited upon mainstream america, middle-class america, main street america, still struggling to recover. and we know that this unemployment that we face today is deeper and more entractable -- intractable than at any time in our history. long-term unemployment is larger
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percentage weis tha-wise than in at this point in previous recessions. those consumers are lost to the retailers and to the mainstream smawsmall and middle-sized businesses. in connecticut as of last month, almost half of all the individuals who suffered a job loss -- 43.6% -- were unable to find work for six months or more. that's more than 60,000 people. and those numbers don't tell the stories. they are not the voices and faces that i have seen who are depending on a meager $300 a week and who have lost even that amount. rosa dicker, who has deep knowledge of health care reform from her previous work and has
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received only three callback interviews out of 500 jobs that she has sought, and her job search has lasted almost a year. michael kubecka, who went back to get his m.b.a. after years in the publishing business, repeatedly turn a way from employment. alyssa nebiat, proud to be employed from the age of 16, decades ago, but recently found herself aplaying for food stamps -- amig for food stamps. and then of course there's katherine hackett of connecticut who joined the president recently to speak out about the need for extending these benefits. katherine's family has sacrificed greatly for this nation because she has not one but two children serving in our
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military, and yet because of congress's inaction, katherine is struggling to pay for food and heating bills during her job search. there are good guys out there helping to find jobs for people. capitol workforce partners has done prey work. i have met with them and other job creators as well as job seekers around connecticut, and sometimes those job searches actually succeed because people are able to sustain their lives and continue to search for work. aaron london, one of the constituents whom i met as i've gone around the state, has found work after 10 months of unemployment, and she writes, "i could not be happier. i just love my new job. it is everything i was looking for." she is not a person who wanted
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to be without work. she is not a person who sought to be unemployed for ten months. none of these people are. none of the people on long-term unemployment insurance want to be without work. and she wrote to me, "it can take up to three months to get an interview. then if you have to follow up, it could be another month. so i do not think it is reasonable to offer only six months of unemployment benefits." that pretty much says it. now i want to emphasize one aspect of this problem that i think is absolutely unconscionable for this nation to tolerate, and that is the high unemployment rates among our veterans. this situation for post-9/11 veterans is beyond comprehension
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and beyond accepting. the male post-9/11 veterans in particular face rates of 8.6%, almost two points above the national average and many of these veterans have been out of work for more than six months. long-term unemployment among our veterans is a scourge that this congress has an obligation to address. they left good-paying jobs, many of them. they came back to a nation that said it was grateful, and now they find no jobs and no unemployment insurance to keep roofs over their heads he and food on that i be -- on their table. that is why i introduce hire a heroes act that would incentives
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companies to hire veterans. this credit expired last year but veteran unemployment remains a serious problem, and i urge the congress again to pass it. i've been joined by senator begich and senator udall in writing to the finance committee to urge it to approve this measure so that we can bring it to the floor. and i want to thank amvets for its support as well on a measure that is unfortunately increasingly important, and that is to ban discrimination against veterans in both employment and housing. believe it or not, this phenomenon occurs. most would find it incredible, and yet a measure is necessary to ban discrimination against men and women who served in uniform, who served and sacrificed, who have given to this nation. discrimination unfortunately is also a fact of life against the long-term unemployed, and i have
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proposed again and reintroduced the fair employment opportunity act which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of employment status. discrimination has been established by various studies, researchers at northeastern university; similar studies involving academics at yale, the university of chicago and the university of toronto have found that long-term unemployed, the longer they have unemployed are much more likely to be victims of discrimination. and i want to thank seven cosponsors on this bill: senators markey, gillibrand, sanders, shaheen, murphy, menendez and brown. and i urge other colleagues to support it as well. finally, i want to thank again senator booker. he honors not only his own long history of public service but also the memory of our late
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colleague, our extraordinary and esteemed colleague and my wonderful mentor and friend, frank lautenberg. he joins the ranks of others in the senate who are fighting for the needs of the economically disadvantaged. people, as he said so well, who play by the rules. they believe in this country, its ideals, its goals, and they want to serve it and give back and contribute. this nation depends on a covenant. it is the covenant that each of our generations leaves the country better for the one that follows. not only that the country is better for the next generation, but that each of our generations on our watch pledge to do better. that is the reason that we need
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to extend unemployment insurance. without it, we will be a lesser nation not just economically but in fairness and morality as well. i thank senator booker for reminding us of that fundamental fact about our nation, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. corymr. booker: i would like to say thank you to the senators who took time to listen to my maiden speech but also to those who spoke on the issue as well. cory-- i pray they spoke persuasively. mr. booker: i want to thank
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senator hirono, senator menendez, my senior senator especially. i want to thank senator warren who is still here and senator blumenthal. i want to thank senator jack reed and senate majority leader reid as well for their working on this issue. i finally want to say that i have already gotten word from people who actually saw some of the speeches from myself and my colleagues that even the words alone made a difference to them, at least they felt someone heard them, is understanding what they're going through, but that urgency persists. and my hope is that we working together can find a way to extend these benefits. but thank you very much, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 222, s. 376. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 222, s. 376, a bill to reauthorize the national integrated drought information system and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. ms. warren: i further ask that the committee reported substitute amendment be considered, the pryor amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the committee substitute as amended be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 340 and the senate proceed to its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 340 expressing the sense of the senate that all necessary measures should be taken to protect children in the united states from human trafficking, and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
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without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 341 and the senate proceed to its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 341, observing the 100th birthday of civil rights leader daisy bates and honoring her legacy as an american heroine. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be
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considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i understand that s. 189-- 1982 is at the desk and ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the tidal of the bill. the clerk: s.1982. wren i ask for its -- ms. warren: i ask for its second reading and object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard the bill will receive its second reading on the next legislative day. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. on tuesday, february 4, 2014; that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved
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for their use later in the day, that following any leader remarks the senate resume consideration of the conference report to accompany h.r. 2642, the farm bill, with the time until 12:30 p.m. equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, and that the senate recess from 12:30 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: there will be a roll call at approximately 2:35 p.m. on adoption of the farm bill conference report. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the
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you can follow the senate live on c-span2 when they return on tuesday. ..
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>> all of which are smaller in scale compared to the discussions last year. smaller tweaks and changes to the health care overhaul. but they will probably not get policy concessions and more republicans are acknowledging there is no desire to default on the debt. so there maybe proposals back and forth, but ultimately they are likely to pass some sort of increase in the federal borrowing limit before the end of the month. >> any change in the
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whitehouse's view to change? >> no, they are consistent and refusing to negotiate. their consistency has played a part in the negotiations. republicans expect them to stick to that. there is more awareness that that is not likely to change. >> and turning to immigration, what has been the reaction on capital hill and the whitehouse to the immigration principles released by the house? when we might we see something from the committee or floor? >> if we see anything, it will probably me early summer. some people know have reservations but by and large the content of what the house republicans are proposing which isn't a path to citizenship for already illegal immigrant, but a
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legal status is met favorable with the rest of the conference. but there are people that have deep distrust of the whitehouse and obama and they are concerned if they can trust the whitehouse to implement it fairly. the other is a question of timely and when you do an issue like this that could divide the midterm party. we are likey to see it happen before the primary elections. but there is a window when the house republicans can take it up. they have passed five but none have been considered on the committee. >> the senate is working on the final version of the farm bim. what are the main details and are you heard about plans to try to defeat it? >> i think the farm


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