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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 8, 2021 11:59am-3:59pm EDT

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>> the storm is upon us. julie, will take it away from here. i learned a lot. thank you again, mike. >> and, of course, we here at politics and pros really want to sincerely thank mike and collin for the important discussion, very revealing and audience for question, your patronage help us bring these types of events. go ahead and follow the link in the chat to purchase your copy of the storm is upon us or just click on over to and check out events calendar for everything else coming up this summer. it's going to be a good one and from ours to yours, stay safe and stay strong and, of course, staying well read and well informed and we will see you next time. thank you both so muc.
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the presiding officer: today's opening prayer will be offered by reverend lisa schultz of the church of the advent from washington, d.c. reverend schultz: let us pray. eternal god, our hope for the years to come. we praise you that you have rescued our nation throughout its history. through dangers, toils, and snares you have sustained this land we love. through wars, droughts, and pestilence, you have been a fortress for our faith. lord, when all seemed hopeless, you have continued to be an unfailing bulwark. continue to inspire our senators with manifestations of your
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wonderful love and power. provide our lawmakers with the confidence to believe that you have not brought us safely this far to leave us. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, august 8, 2021. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable martin heinreich, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. the presiding officer: are we in a quorum? -- we are not in a quorum call. mr. schumer: the senate has voted to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill and bring debate on the substitute amendment to an end. i repeat that democrats are
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ready and willing to vote on additional amendments to the bill before moving to final passage. once again that will require the cooperation of our republican colleagues. i hope they will cooperate so we can move more quickly. otherwise we'll proceed by the book and finish the bill. i said yesterday we could do this the easy way or the hard way. yesterday it appeared that some republicans would like the senate to do this the hard way. in any case we'll keep proceeding until we get this bill done. now on another related matter, as the senate approaches final passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, i want to shine a spotlight on a part of the legislative process that doesn't see the light often enough -- the office of the senate legislative counsel. there's an old political saying that the legislative process is like watching sausage get made. you'd rather not know.
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the office of legislative counsel occupies a particularly difficult part of the of the sausage making. turning senators broad outlines for legislation into specific and precise legislative language, it's a very hard job. for over a century this group of hidden experts have had a hand in crafting every major piece of legislation introduced in this chamber. a century ago many scoffed at the notion of having a team of professionals help the senate write legislation. it was actually a new yorker, i'm prude to say, elahu u root, who oiling -- who suggested it in 1912. it took a few years after he made his plea, but the complexity led to the creation of the original drafting service. during its first four years, the, quote, legislative drafting
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service handled 518 requests. by the 114th congress, however, they were receiving more than 65,000. it's an amazing work load. unglamorous, but vital and essential. over the past few weeks, as we have worked on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the members of the legislative council have sacrificed weekends, family gatherings and many, many hours of sleep to allow the senate to do its work. i've seen it. we've called them up at 11:00 p.m. and said you're needed to get this ready by the morning, and they don't flinch. they just roll up their sleeves and work in their professional way. so we've always asked a lot of the legislative counsel, but they stepped up and did their job with excellence. there are a lot of members of the team who deserve recognition
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beginning with the team's leader, deannna edwards. let me mention them who deserve acknowledgment, heather burnam, mark mazone, christina canalley, patrick ryan, heather lowell, matt mcgee, john getchis, ruth ernst, measuring mcgonegal, vince joan, rob silver, everyone frank and molly dunlop. to every single person i mentioned thank you, thank you, thank you for your incredible and indispensable
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work. your skill and dedication makes it possible for this chamber to serve the american public. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the
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senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, the random violence on the streets of chicago results in monday morning reports that break your heart. 100 people shot. 100 people shot on the 4th of july weekend. the following weekend, 50. the weekend after that, 70. it never stops. these mass shootings have become part of life in many cities across america, and it's a heartbreaking reality. there are many ways to look at it. i have tried my best to understand it and to respond from a legislative point of view, but as we contemplate the possibilities and debate the opportunities that we have to change things, the killing just goes on and on and on. the city of chicago, like many cities in the united states, is awash in guns, awash in guns. the police, i believe the
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statistic is they have confiscated 16,000 so far this year and still counting. thousands and thousands and thousands of guns. in the roughest parts of chicago, you wave a couple $20 bills and you will have a handgun in a matter of minutes. and that really is no age check involved in it. young kids as much as older folks are buying these guns right and left, claiming they are for self-defense and many times just putting them into the machinery of crime and death that has become such a predictable part of life in that great city. chicagoans across every possible democrat -- demographic this morning are shocked and grieving to learn that another chicago police officer was killed in the early morning hours. the slain officer was just 29 years old, 29.
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she was assigned to the community safety team. a special unit of officers from various districts who are pooled and sent to the meanest, most dangerous hot spots in the city. her name has not been released. she and another chicago police officer were shot last night when they pulled over a car in the englewood neighborhood on chicago's south side. the second officer is hospitalized as well and fighting for his life. two suspects have been arrested and the third is being sought. gun violence and gun death are daily threats in many neighborhoods, neighborhoods where it's easier to find the gun than to find a job. sadly, it's increasingly a a more tall threat to the chicago police officers who work in these neighborhoods. several months ago, i had an impromptu, unreported meeting
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with the chicago police force and invited anyone in who wanted to sit with a senator and tried to explain what's going on. eight of them showed up. they are pretty well representative of the chicago police department, black, white, and brown, male, female, hispanic, african american, young and old. and they talked about the world they lived in and how the odds were against them on the streets of chicago. the bad guys just have too damn many guns. and that is a reality. they don't buy those guns in the city of chicago, incidentally. they buy them outside of chicago. northwest indiana. gun shows with no background checks. the gangbangers just take a 15, 20-minute trip over the indiana, illinois border, go to a gun show, and load up their trunks with more guns, bring them back in, sell them in the streets of chicago. that's a reality. and guns come from unlikely places.
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too many guns come from states like louisiana and mississippi where they have gun standards that are weaker than some other places, but they also come from down state illinois. i'm not going to try to sugarcoat that. those are the reports. it troubles me, too, because when i talked to the police, they say we need federal help. what they would like to be able to do is try to track these guns, try to determine their sources and cut them off. the agency that does it is the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms agency. we are trying now, desperately trying now to get the approval of the senate for a person to head that agency. and no surprise, the ranks are closed against this person on the other side of the aisle. those who are listening closely to the gun lobby are trying their best to make sure that a.t.f., this federal agency, doesn't have strong leadership, doesn't exercise all its authority under the law to make us safer. that doesn't make it any easier
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for the chicago police, and they end up paying the price. the latest fallen hero is the first chicago police officer killed by gunfire in more than two and a half years, but nearly 40 chicago police officers have been shot or shot at in the line of duty this year. that is part of the duty, the responsibility they face as a -- as they prowl the streets and alleys of the city. chicagoans mourn for the police officer who lost her life. we are going to pray desperately for the recovery of the wounded officer. but thoughts and prayers are not enough to end gun violence. in chicago and nearly every community in america. we all know that. we need better laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and also out of the hands of people with serious mental illness and others who shouldn't have them either. america's families and police officers deserve our best effort to make the streets safer in
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chicago and many other american cities. mr. president, i ask that the next statement i make be in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. i have been listening to criticism from the other side of the aisle about our plan to improve american families' economic security and interest in the long term and to strengthen our economy, and i have to wonder why do republicans never worry about deficits when they are passing trillion-dollar tax cuts that shower nearly all of the benefits on millionaires and wealthy corporations? why do republicans only rediscover a concern about the debt when they are asked to support policies that help middle-class working families, low-income individuals? these are people struggling to get into the middle class. soar when someone proposes a long-term solution to make america's economy more resilient and more prosperous for
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everyone, they are opposed to it. that's big spending. republican welfare for the rich has always been a bad investment. 40 years of trickle-down economics has given america the greatest income inequality since the gilded age in our history and the largest national debt in our history. republicans' devotion to trickle-down tax cuts has given us a shrinking middle class, a hallowed out industrial base and a crumbling infrastructure. it has made a small sliver of lavishly wealthy people in our country and left the rest behind. the republican economic agenda has left the majority of americans asking how are we supposed to pay for child care, our kids' college education, medical bills, or for the skilled nurses that mom and dad are going to need? will we ever be able to retire? trickle-down economics doesn't have answers for those real-life
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questions, but our republican colleagues keep doubling down on it. i predict, without fear of contradiction, now that we have a democratic president, someone on the republican side of the aisle will come around again with a balance-the-budget constitutional amendment. it happens without fail. republicans always turn to that whenever there is a democratic president, even though the debt that president inherited was historic. and whether trick ofdown tax cuts add to our national debt, are they really worried? they never say a word about deficit and debt until they are in the minority. donald trump proposed more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts with most of the benefits going to wealthy corporations and individuals. did the republicans complain about the national debt then? no. did they insist that such an expensive gift must have bipartisan support? no. they passed their trickle-down
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tax cut through reconciliation without a single democratic vote. donald trump promised that his tax cut would be, quote, rocket fuel for the economy. that may be a rare trump boast that turned out to be true, although not exactly the way he meant it. we now have a handful of billionaires who decided to launch their own personal space programs. they are so wealthy racing themselves into space while regular working people worry about rent, child care and getting along here on earth. the trump tax cut gave the wealthiest americans a fat windfall. according to americans for tax fairness, the nation's 651 billionaires sought their net worth spike by more than $1 trillion during the first nine months of the pandemic while the rest of the pandemic worried about how to pay the bill with a smaller paycheck or
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no paycheck at all. after donald trump signed his tax bill, surrounded by quite a few of my republican colleagues in the senate, he headed to a christmas eve dinner at mar-a-lago in florida, and like santa claus, he announced to the members at his own private club at mar-a-lago, you all just got richer. that was the real effect of the trump tax cuts. the congressional budget office estimated that trump tax cuts will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt over 11 years. where is the republican outcry over that. the notion of $3 trillion to help working families pay less for the essentials of life, cut their taxes, give them an opportunity to be in an economy creating jobs, really compares in comparison to the $1.9 trillion to -- of tax cuts
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to the wealthy. economickists at the london school of economics analyzed the trickledown tublghts over 50 years, 1955 to 2015. they found that trickledown tax cuts consistently benefit the wealthy but had no effect on employment or economic growth and led inevitably to wider economic inequality. the authors of the study were asked why some politicians pushed for tax cuts for the wealthy people. they pointed to one reason. the power of wealthy individuals and corporations to set policy agendas through lobbying and campaign contributions. you know what is going on, mr. president, the wealthy people who are contributing to politicians and causes that support their lifestyle but they don't want us to know.
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is that why no republican senators support president biden's build back better plan to help american families and our economy because billionaires have more lobbyists and deeper pockets? two renowned economy economists -- two renowned economists from yale looked at the major indicators of economics for every president back to franklin roosevelt. they found by any major indicator, gross domestic product, productivity, stock prices, the economy has grown significantly faster under democratic presidents than republicans. six of the presidents that presided over the fastest job growth have all been presidents. the four presidents with the slowest job growth, republicans.
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donald trump campaigned promising to be the greatest jobs creator. there were three million fewer jobs. he's the first president since hubert hoover to lose jobs on his watch. democrats are once again cleaning up the republican mess with the help of the american recovery plan, which not a single republican senator or congresswoman supported, america's economy added four million jobs during the first six months of joe biden's presidency. that's the fastest growth of any president in american history. here's another fact from the national bureau of economic research. between 1953 and 2020, america's economy was in recession 23% of the time at the time that republicans held the white house compared to the time that a democrat held the office.
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for the past 20 years, republicans -- let me say it again. in the past 40 years, republican presidents have run up larger deficits than democratic presidents. donald trump promised to get rid of the national debt in eight years through trade policy. instead it was a costly disaster and the national debt skyrocketed by more than $7 trillion during his tenure. the "washington post" analysis found that growth in deficit under donald trump is the third biggest increase relative to the size of the economy of any u.s. president with his tax cut being the major culprit. i could go on citing facts and figures, democrats look at human qualities, like child care, medical reserve, renewable energy and climate resilience,
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investments that grow the economy and raise wages and living standards for everyone. we should have no apologies to democrats, particularly when it comes to climate change. that is a fact of life, sadly in america. we see the results reported on the news, whether it's fires or extraordinary weather events, they are happening with increased frequency. it seems the republicans ignore that reality. we cannot afford as a nation to do that any longer. history shows that our approaches worked in responding to many of these challenges. our solutions produce a stronger, more sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone. stronger economic growth allows us to pay down our debt rather than continuing to add to it with more tax cuts for the top 1%. republicans can refuse to support our plan to build better, that's their choice, but, please, spare us lectures about fiscal responsibility. there is nothing responsible about repeating the same trillion dollar mistake over and
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over and making small businesses and working families pay for it. mr. president, i always thought that a laugher curve was the most appropriately named economic device in history. it's a laugher and we see it over and over again why it is. giving tax breaks to the wealthy might make for a happy christmas at marrow mar-a-lago, but not the rest of the country. the real test is not whether we put votes on the board and that is the bottom line in the senate, but whether the senator will hold, whether or not we have a strong enough center in the senate dedicated to responsible investment and infrastructure and can overcome the forces outside. former president trump has been making speeches about how bad it is to have an infrastructure
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program. well, i'd like to remind the former president, he had no infrastructure program. talked big, delivered nothing. now we have a chance under president biden to have one that is bipartisan in nature an truly will help this economy and this country over the long run. in addition, i believe we have to move further and we certainly will with a budget resolution. the notion of having quality child care available and -- available to families, it is a critical factor in family welfare and good outcomes for children. two extra years of education beyond the -- 12th grade is the ticket for better jobs, training, and better workers in the 21st century. as we stand here, our major challenge, i suppose, them neme,
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foe, is china. some of us can remember something called ping pong diplomacy, which occurred roughly when i came out of china. that was opening up, we called it red china then, to the world and giving them an opportunity to compete and to be part of the world conversation. and it happened dramatically. i remember visiting china several times and the first time watching them in their jackets on their bicycles taking their kids to school, what i found in later visits, a really developed economy. the chinese have a plan. they are mercantilist first and marketing around the world successfully, successfully because they have a plan, we don't have a plan, not until this president arrived. president biden said, first, we invest in our people and make certain their lives are easier to be led and successful.
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i support him completely in that effort. i hope many will. it should be bipartisan. if we have sympathy for the wealthiest in our country, i beg my republican friends, have sympathy for the middle-income families who are struggling every day to get by. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3684, which the clerk report. the clerk: calendar number 100, h.r. 3684, an act to authorize fund for federal highways, highway safety programs and transit programs and for other purposes. mr. carper: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, we just heard from the senior senator from illinois. i remember when he was a junior
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congressman from illinois, elected in 1982, elected with about 80 other democrats and republicans across the country and one of them was me. he has been a colleague off and on. i left the house to be a governor in delaware and he came to the senate. now we get to work together again. he is a smart guy, a very bright guy and a very caring person and very good at not just working with democrats but working across the aisle and i admired that about him in the house and i admired that about him in the senate. he's passionate about a lot of thiks, but -- things, but one of them is an important one, immigration reform. immigration reform may seem like far afield from what we're talking about here today, but the eight years i was privileged to be governor of delaware, bill
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clinton was president, more jobs were created in eight years than in any other time. we did see a lot of job creation and economic growth and i was the beneficiary of that as were other people in my state and around the country. the -- one of the reasons why i believe that there should be immigration reform, it is something we ought to have done, should do, we are not reminded, when i was a stranger in your land, did you welcome me, but also it's good, it makes good business sense. one of the keys to economic growth, whether it's my state or the state of new mexico, where the presiding officer is from, the key is workforce, people who are trained or trainable, able
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and willing to do the work that needs to be done. we have a little bit of a mismatch right now in our economy with respect to the skills with a lot of folks without jobs who would like to have a job, maybe a better job. there's a mismatch in what employers are looking for and what a lot of workers bring to the workplace. a big part of what we have done in these legislative packages, i call them care packages in the last year or two, is to provide money for workforce development are redevelopment to equip people with the tools that they need. the reason why i mention these things, the immigration reform, workforce training, retraining, those are important ingreed -- ingredients to keep our economy moving in the right direction now and ought to keep it going. i -- when i was privileged to be governor of the first state, we built a highway, i took the
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handoff from republican governor, we built a highway from i-95 in the northern part of our state down past the dover air force base down to the dover beaches. dover has more beaches than any state in the country, i'm told. it is an important component of the economy. beaches are an important part of the economy for most of us. for people to get to the beaches, they needed roads, highways, and bridges. we built route state 1, and built a highway from one part of the state to the other. we took 495 which circles the city of wilmington and shut it down and resurfaced it. we resurfaced 495. we did a lot of things not just
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to help the people of delaware to move products, but also to help interstate commerce and that is a key ingredient for those serious about growing the economy of our country. we've got to invest in our roads, highways, bridges and in our rail. as it turns out, mr. president, i came down here today on a train as i do many days. god willing, i'll go home tonight on a train. it's an amtrak train. interestingly, if you were to take a ton of freight and move it from say washington, d.c. or boston, you can do it on about a gallon of diesel fuel. think about that. a ton of freight from washington, d.c. to boston, massachusetts on a gallon of diesel fuel. out of the corridor they use different fuels to move their
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locomotives. but one of the beauties about the legislation we've been debating here for the last week or two is that we, we actually, in terms of getting the economy moving or keeping our economy moving, we provide significant investments in passenger rail service. we also provide significant investments in road, highways, and bridges. and we provide significant investments in rail to be used by freight. and we make significant investments in our ports. a lot of people are going to be involved, as the presiding officer knows. a lot of people are going to be involved in doing all the work involved in the different kinds of investments i just mentioned, and those are good jobs. many of them are union jobs. they'll pay the prevailing wage and provide a lot of income for communities and for the folks
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who do that work. the other thing, at the end of the day when work is more or less completed, we've made a lot of progress on roads, highways, and bridges, broadband deployment, ports, rail, our airports. at the end of the day we will have created a ton of jobs, and we're going to leave in place an economy that is more efficient, more productive at the same time. and it will enable us to grow our economy. one of the things that i most enjoyed in the last campaign was hearing joe biden talk about climate change or global warming. he said when he heard the words climate change or global warming, the words that came to mind for him, the word that came to mind for him was jobs. was jobs. it's possible to do good and do well at the same time. it's possible to build a more
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efficient, more productive economy and a clear economy that puts people to work as we do that and continue to work in the years to follow. and we will also end up at the end of all those investments and all that work, we'll end up with far fewer emissions from cars, trucks and vans. god willing we'll end up with fewer emissions from our stationary emitters from greenhouse gases. the second greatest emitter in our country is cars and the third greatest is manufacturing operations, cement plants, for example. those are the three top ones. the legislation that's before us enables us to probably make greater progress with respect to those three sources of carbon pollution than just about anything i can think of. the president hosted a press
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conference the other day out at the white house. he invited several of our colleagues to join him and participate. he also invited the auto industry, the big three, to come, and other companies as well. there were folks there from the environmental community. it was a great is celebration. what the president did is he signed an executive order which said basically why don't we, just like this legislation before us, build on a foundation of legislation that was reported out of the environment and public works committee on drinking water, wastewater sanitation and investments and legislation reported out of the environment and public works committee which i had the privilege of leading that focuses on roads, highways, bridges and climate. the press conference was designed to really complement
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what we're doing here today. the presiding officer was there along with others, as i recall. but the president in concert with the auto industry have basically come to an agreement. just like our legislation on the floor today and for the last week was built on the work of several committees, including the commerce committee, rail safety, including the energy and natural resources committee, including energy and nuclear energy. it's built on the work of the banking committee with respect to investments in transit, built on the work of our committee too. the president's executive order was based on an agreement between five auto companies from about a year ago, in the state of california, california resources board, to gradually step up over a period of years
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from 2022-2026, required reductions from mobile sources and reductions in greenhouse gases and with the idea that after 2026, we'll expedite and increase the amount of reduction that would be expected in greenhouse gases from our mobile sources. in any event, it's going to be hard for the auto industry which was represented at the press conference, it's going to be hard for them to meet the kind of goals laid out in the president's executive order unless we make investments not just in roads, highways, bridges, but also in charging stations and fueling stations. and as the presiding officer knows there are investments in our committee's bill, in this bill that's before us today to make significant investments in charging stations and fueling stations. when we say fueling stations, i'm not talking about necessarily gasoline and diesel.
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actually i'm thinking of hydrogen and the finance committee piece of the bill in the regulation package we'll take -- in the reconciliation package we'll take up, there's legislation that provides tax incentives to really build a much more efficient and clean economy in a variety of ways. our presiding officer has worked along methane, reduce methane emissions and provide maybe an economic structure where leakage of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, but we want to reduce that, to develop an economic model that rewards companies, refineries and others to reduce their methane emissions and figure out how to invest that money in ways that produce clean energy. with respect to clean energy,
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hydrogen. delaware used to build more cars, trucks and vans per capita than any other state. we're not a big state. we have about a million people. we have had as recently as ten years ago about 3,000 or 4,000 men and women working at a chrysler plant near newark where the university of delaware is located. the energy plant near wilmington also had about 3,000 employees. when we went into the great recession a decade or so ago, both companies went into bankruptcy. we lost both of those plants. the question is what do we do about it and how will we recapture those really good jobs, union jobs, high-wage jobs, high-skill jobs? how do we recapture those jobs. one of the ways that we can do it is providing an infrastructure that supports
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energy-efficient vehicles. electric vehicles and hydrogen powered vehicles. i remember being at at detroit auto show ten years ago. it's the first time i met a rising star at general motors, later to become the first woman c.e.o. and senator stabenow was nice enough to introduce me to mary that day. i remember that day i think the vefer -- the chevrolet volt was named the car of the year. runs on battery, at the time it got 38 miles on a charge. when the electricity went away it was all used up. the battery then, it could run on gasoline, a classic hybrid. but that's 38 miles on a charge. ten years later my family and i bought an electric-powered vehicle. it gets 326 miles on a charge.
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326 miles on a charge. you think about from 38 miles a charge a decade ago to 326 miles on a charge today,s that is one heck of an improvement in increase. that's where people are going to go. i drove to the train station this morning. it is just a fun car to drive. it has great torque and it's just a fun car, great-looking car. when you drive it, you have the joy of knowing you're not polluting our planet. if we can provide the electricity in sustainable ways, renewable ways -- offshore wind, for example, solar -- that's even better. that's even better. we're at a point right now where i think about 3% of the vehicles on the road in this country are powered by electricity or hydrogen or some other sustainable source. three percent. that's up from about 1% just a
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couple of years ago. and that may seem small, but when you look at the market capitalization of tesla compared to i think any of the big three, the market capitalization of tesla is enormous compared to the other companies from which i bought our family cars for decades. they're getting into the race, renewable energy, electric vehicles, hydro powered vehicles have a little bit of catching up to do. the market capitalization of tesla, the market says hydrogen-powered, fuel cells, that's where the market is going and send a very strong signal for investment purposes. and that is where we're going. and we in this country can choose to follow the parade or
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we're going to lead the parade. and we can follow the parade led by the chinese and japanese and others toward this new future or not. i want to go back to the detroit auto show. i was there a couple years after the chevrolet volt was named the car of the year. i was walking around the place, huge place, and i was walking around, mr. president, and i came across a, they call it a stand at the auto show. it's not really a stand, but they have these platforms on which vehicles, they may be two or three feet up. and they have platforms. they have different models. sometimes they are models just being launched ment -- launched. sometimes they are models of the future. one day i was at the detroit auto show about five years ago, i think it might have been toyota. i went by their stand and it was really different. they had built around the
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vehicle on the stand, they had a framing, it was like two-by-fours. what i was was told was a garage, and there was a car in the garage. you had to use your imagination, but there was a car in the garage and there was a house attached to the garage. i asked the person from, i believe, toyota. i said what is this? and they said this is the future. and they had actually named their future, this division of the company, i think it's called mara or something like that, which means future. the idea there is to use fuel cells and hydrogen. they told me that day, that combination can help propel that vehicle that's in that make-believe garage. it can keep the house that's there alongside of it using -- heat that house in the winter and cool that house in the summer. i said really? he said yeah, that's the future.
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that's becoming real. that's becoming real. and one of the pieces of legislation that i bunch of us worked on is how do we provide hydrogen, how do we provide hydrogen in a clean way so we don't contribute more to greenhouse gases. there is a process. i know relatively little about chemistry. there is a process called electrolysis where we can use electricity and water and create hydrogen in a clean, sustainable way. those are some of the things that are going on. and the reason why i mention them is because in order for us to lead the parade on cars, trucks, and vans, low-emission vehicles around the world, and in order for us to create the kind of good-paying jobs that will flow from that economic activity, in order to get reduction in not just carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases,
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but in other pollutants, the way to do that is to invest. and it's not all on the federal government. we provide r&d for technologies through a variety of ways. but the idea is for us to make those investments in ways that can be monetized, if you will, by businesses, by industry to create good-paying jobs and do good and do well at the same time. create economic value, create good-paying jobs, and help us meet our targets to reduce greenhouse gases in this country. by a great deal by the year 2050. that's the goal of the crept administration, it's the goal -- of the current administration, it's the goal of a lot of us here in this body and across the country. those -- i had not thought, madam president, of giving that talk.
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but it was just off of what senator durbin was talking about. i wanted to share that with everybody today. i love to quote albert einstein. a lot of people remember albert einstein used to say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. that's a pretty good quote. but my favorite is in adversity lies opportunity. in adversity lies opportunity. i believe that with every fiber of my being. we face plenty of adversity politically here in this country today with threats against our country from terrorism, threats against our planet from too much carbon in the air, greenhouse gases, but as it turns out in almost every one of those fronts, there is opportunity to make a better world and to make a better world that provides a lot of jobs and a lot of economic opportunity. and with that having been said,
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i don't see anyone waiting to speak, madam president, so i'm going to use my prepared remarks. i should be finished by about sundown. it may seem that way, but it won't be. but these are too good for me not to remember. madam president, it's good to see you this morning -- this afternoon. i rise to talk about the down payment that the bill before us makes in terms of climate by making investments in clean vehicles and clean vehicle infrastructure. long before i began representing delaware in the united states house of representatives and later as governor and as senator, i was a naval flight officer in the vietnam war and the last vietnam veteran serving in the u.s. senate today. we had a lot ofization. one that is fitting for climate change is this -- all hands on deck. all hands on deck.
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this is an all hands on deck moment. it requires us to move past divisive rhetoric and to work together to find solutions. today we are showing that we can work together and make real progress here in our nations capital. that's what the people who sent us here want us to do. fortunately, we now have a president and i think a majority of members in congress who understand that we can no longer wait for climate action. we need to take that action, take those steps. on president biden's first day in office, he put the united states back in the paris climate agreement. soon after, president biden told the world we would put this country on a path to reduce over half of our climate emissions by the end of the current decade. the president then laid out a road map for the american jobs plan on how he would reduce emissions, replace our crumbling infrastructure, and grow our economy, all at the same time. the bill before us today does
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not fully realize that transformation as some of us had hoped. for many years it fell short of the investment we need to reach our climate goals. this bill does make, in some cases historic investments in sustainable infrastructure and a cleaner economy. as many of our colleagues know, some of the most more than climate investments we can make in the federal government are investments in clean transportation. the transportation sector is the largest source as i said earlier of greenhouse gas emissions in our economy. wonderful 28% come from cars, trucks, and vans that we drive. reducing emissions from our mobile sources, our cars, trucks, and vans is a critical part of reaching our nation's climate goals. the environment and public works complete c committee i am privileged to lead with senator capito of west virginia and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. we worked together earlier this
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year to pass surface transportation reauthorization that advances many of the climate goals in president biden's americans jobs plan. i might add we have 20 members of our committee, ten democrats, ten republicans, and we voted unanimously report the bill out of committee to the senate floor where it became part of this legislation that is before us today. our bill includes an historic climate title with over $18 billion in investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make our roads more resilient to its changing climate. within the surface transportation climate title is significant funding in support of a national network of clean vehicle recharging and refueling infrastructure throughout our nation's highways and our state roads. this investment is about giving americans a real joys when it comes to figuring out what they want to drive and ensuring that every driver in america and every region of our country can
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conveniently access fueling and charging stations for electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles. madam president, investments in clean vehicle infrastructure is more important today than ever. every c.e.o. of our nation's car manufacturers tell us the same thing. the future of the auto industry is zero-emission vehicles. let me say that again. the future of the auto industry in this country and around the world is zero-emission vehicles. the global market is rushing to zero-emission vehicles, and our car companies need to invest in electric vehicles or be left behind. i mentioned a woman i met at the detroit auto show a number of years ago. i called her last year and urged her and general motors to join five car companies which had
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found common cause with the california board and several other states on stepping down and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles they manufactured. i urged her to bring g.m. into the fold and join with the other five or so companies that had found common cause with california and a bunch of states, including my state of delaware. but she said to me we're not prepared to do that just yet. she went on to say the future is electric. she said the future for the industry is electric. i'm all in on electric. she said we need three things in order to be successful in doing that and making that transition. the first thing we need is 300-mile range. 300-mile range before recharging. i just bought a vehicle a month or two ago, madam president, it gets 326 miles on a charge. that's up from 38 miles a charge
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on a car ten years ago, the chevrolet product. it was a huge improvement. but anyways, i said we need the 300-mile range. they have it in their cars now, several of their models. ford has that. chrysler is moving that direction. a bunch of the foreign companies as well. anyway, in addition to the 300-mile range, we need fueling stations, charging stations. we need them, she said, not just in a couple of places, but we need them all over the country. and the third thing she said we need, we need technology where people can charge, recharge their batteries and not in hours around the country but in minutes, but in minutes. my wife and our son, older son and i drove over the 4th of july
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weekend. we drove from wilmington, delaware, to wilmington, north carolina, in our new electric vehicle. and we had to recharge it a couple of times, but it has a 326-mile range. the other thing along i-95, there are a lot of charging stations. we have a vehicle that actually tells you where the charging stations are so you don't have to worry about and have range anxiety. but we don't have enough charging stations. the legislation that is before us today will not create enough in and of itself, but the tax -- investment tax credit that will be part of our finance committee package later on will help encourage a whole lot of investment from the private sector. using a little bit of federal money -- actually quite a bit of federal money to incent investment by the private
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sector. i was talking to folks from a company -- i think it was a tennessee-based company. i don't want to mess up their name. but they have truck stops throughout the country. largely trucks, they fill up on diesel fuel and they sell gasoline. they have food and that kind of thing. and they -- they're interested in investing in charging stations and fueling stations, hydrogen fueling stations. what they need is an incentive to do that. the legislation that's before the finance committee provides that kind of incentive, and i think we'll make a difference. the need for the charging station, fueling station is not going to be on the federal government's time, not state and local governments. it's not going to be the wawas of the store, the convenience stores of the world. it is really all of us. there is a role for the federal government to encourage those
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investments. speaking of general motors, general motors has announced its intention to produce only electric vehicles by 2035. only electric vehicles by 2035. ford has announced that all of the vehicles it sells in europe will be electric by 2030. jaguar will go electric in 2025. volvo has announced it will sell only electric cars by 2030. volkswagen has announced its plan to increase its sales of electric vehicles by 2030. 70% of the vehicles it sells in europe and 50% of the vehicles it sells in the u.s. will be electric. mini, pliek mini cooper has also announced its transition to electric vehicles. mercedes just announced its new cars will all be electric by 2030 in markets that are ready for electrification. and the list goes on. the leading trade association for the auto sector states that it is committed to net zero
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carbon transportation and believes that the nation will lead the development in the adoption of electrification and other innovative technologies will -- and this is a quote -- shape supply chains, define global standards, and potentially reshape the international marketplace. a recent letter from the alliance for ought motive innovation, the united auto workers, and the motor equipment manufacturers association states that both business and labor has committed to working toward net carbon zero transportation future that includes a shift to electric drive vehicles. to accomplish this, they believe that the united states must have a comprehensive national vision and strategy. a comprehensive national vision and strategy. expanding and improving access to clean vehicle infrastructure will facilitate increased
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consumer demand. the more clean vehicles spurring cleaner air. it will help the climate and grow the economy. the thing that we love most of all about our electric vehicles is it is just fun to drive. it is, as we say in delaware, a hoot. it's great torque, great acceleration, a lot of fun to be out on the road. that more than anything else will help sell a ton of them and provide the infrastructure that they need. with all the good work we did in our e.p.w. committee op the surface transportation bill, we shouldn't be surprised that the e.p.w. bill is part of the foundation, $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill that is before us today. the bipartisan compromise before us expands investments. charging and refueling infrastructure to a total of think about $7.5 billion. the bill also includes funding for electric school buses and electric transit buses. specifically, our bill authorizes a grant program for
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alternative fuel corridors that will provide much-needed funding to strategically deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors that will be accessible to all drivers. we also create a community grant program to provide funding to expand access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, especially in rural and disadvantaged communities. this bill will also provide an additional $5 billion distributed by formula to the states to build out easy charging so that drivers and car buyers can be confident having access to a nationwide network of charging infrastructure. as i said before, madam president, this is just a down payment on what we can and must do in terms of climate action. however, as everyone who has bought a house knows, sometimes down payments are the hardest to do and the most important step toward success.
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i'm going to close with this. my colleagues know that i try to focus on the areas where we can find consensus. we just had a funeral out in wyoming a couple of days ago to say goodbye to our beloved colleague, senator mike enzi, who was the author of the 80/20 rule. that says we agree, in his works, he used to work with ted kennedy on the health, education, labor and pensions, an amazingly productive committee. ted kennedy was a senior democrat and mike enzi was a senior republican. i asked mike enzi on the floor, how come two leaders of the committee, one liberal democrat and one rather conservative republican, how do you get so much done? we use the 80/20 percent rule.
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we agree on 80% and 20% we put aside to work on another time. if mike enzi is looking down on us, he would say, amen, we should follow his lead. i always want to get things done by working with my colleagues across the aisle because i think bipartisan solutions are laughing solutions and i'm committed to working with our republican friends in the senate on getting all these actions across the finish line in this congress. i -- we will continue to work toward these urgent needs in the budget reconciliation process. again, it's an all hands on deck moment, requiring meaningful investments in climate action in a lot of different ways. a lot -- the last thing we cannot afford to do is inaction.
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we cannot wait and delay. we have to put in place commonsense policies, some of which i talked about today, a lot of which is included in the legislation before us, policies that can spur economic investments in our nation's aging infrastructure, support the millions of americans considering buying a clean car today or sometime soon. my hope is that we can work together to support our nation's clean energy infrastructure and move our economy to a brighter future. before i yield the floor, let me say to the presiding officer, my appreciation to her and the work that she and the committee that she serves on and helps to lead the energy and natural resources committee i mentioned it, the largest source of carbon emissions comes from our mobile sources, but, number two, is power plants, and the presiding officer is doing good work and helps to address emissions there
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and the rest of us look forward to partnering with you in the days ahead. thank you for your good leadership. and, with that, i would reserve the balance of my time and yield. the presiding officer: the
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senator from delaware. mr. carper: before the member from ohio speaks, democrats shouldn't say complimentary things about our republican colleagues, i suppose, but i want to applaud him for the leadership that he and senator sinema and 20 other colleagues have offered us in trying to get us to a good place and bringing the legislation before us. we're grateful for his leadership. he has about another year, year and a half or so to serve in the senate and i and the rest of us want to make sure that that is a very productive period of time. hopefully we can get this done and we will not just celebrate together, but we'll do good work, we'll have done really good work together. thank you. i yield. mr. portman: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: madam president, i appreciate my colleague from ohio. he -- from delaware.
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he is the chair of a lot of work that pent into this package -- went into this package. he and senator capito from west virginia worked together on a bipartisan basis. and my recollection is in the underlying bill that we pick up in the broader bill passed with a vote of 22-0 out of his committee and that's because they did good work in finding out where there was common ground and, frankly, the american people deserve to have good roads and bridges and infrastructure to drive on, travel on so it's a big part of this bill and i thank him for his work on that. we have now voted twice to proceed to this very important legislation to finally after a lot of years of talking about it make a major improvement to our nation's roads, bridges,
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railroads and ports, electric infrastructure, grids and more. it is overdue. and i'm delighted to say that twice now we have voted to proceed to final passage. one was a vote of 66-28, the other was a vote of 67-27. and, frankly, there were a couple of people on our side of the aisle who were not able to come vote, one of whom has covid, and in both cases they had travel difficulties, we would have two more positive votes on our side. it is a supermajority and it's because the legislation makes sense for the states represented here in this chamber and for the american people. it will improve the lives of all americans. it will make life better so the mom who's stuck commuting who would rather be spending time with her family every day, you know, is going to have the
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ability through better transportation infrastructure toll have fewer minutes and hours every day in gridlock. the truck driver who leaves home, you know, says good-bye to his family and goes on a long haul and thinks, am i going to be safe, will be safe thanks to this legislation. we have two trucks collide on a bridge in ohio. it's not safe. there's no shoulder on the bridge because the traffic is bearing twice the number of vehicles that it was designeddor. the mom who -- designed for. the mom who has been taking her daughter to the public library parking lot, 30, 40 miles from her home to get internet access for her daughter to do her homework will now be able to have internet, be able to have broadband in his community right up to her home because of this
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historic investment in -- ensuring that the digital infrastructure is put in place so you don't have this divide. we have counties in ohio that just don't have internet, period, others have very slow internet. we've got about 30 counties that are part of appalachia and another large group that are unserved and another group underserved. that makes a big difference because those kids are going to fall behind, particularly during the pandemic when they had to access the internet to keep up in school and even post-pandemic we have to make sure that the learning possibility is there and telehealth, there are veterans in southeast ohio who aren't able to make the drive to the v.a. clinic in columbus or elsewhere but they can take advantage of telehealth, and they have to the extent they have access to it during the pandemic and it's actually been
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quite helpful. but if they don't have access to the internet and high enough speed internet, they can't get the health care that they need for appointments. it's also important for business. if you're a small business owner and these parts of the country that don't have internet access, it's really tough to get off the ground and these are the very areas of the country where we want to have more economic development. so that's in this legislation as as well, in terms of water infrastructure, ohio a lot of aging water infrastructure. only a quarter of the bill goes into hard assets. that's untrue. a lot goes into roads and bridges and water infrastructure is a hard asset. ask people in ohio told they have to fix your sewer system and drinking water system, and they can't afford it. especially the big and mid-sized
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cities, they are excited about that. our ports, that's infrastructure. ships are lined up at some ports right now, including out west and if you're a consumer and trying to buy something and wonder why you can't get it, including, you know, maybe an electronic device you want or maybe it's a part to an automobile that you want, a lot of it is it's stuck -- this stuff is stuck right now because our ports are not efficient enough and capable enough to handle what they should be able to do. our land ports, if you're concerned about the southern border and the ability to screen trucks and cars coming in to try to keep some of this deadly fentanyl and other drugs from coming over our southern border you should want this infrastructure because it will provide a lot for the ports. there's a lot in here that will make lives better and that's obviously one reason this is so popular because people do expect
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that here in america, this great economy we have, we should be able to lead the world in infrastructure, and we don't. there's a study out saying, in fact, we're not in the top ten in terms of infrastructure around the world. it also will make our infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters and other crises. it will make our nation safer and more secure. it will grow our economy in a million small but meaningful ways. what the economists say when they look at this legislation, and by the way, every president in modern times has proposed a big infrastructure package for this reason, they say it will make your economy more efficient. so we have fallen behind on infrastructure and if we can catch up, the economy is more efficient, therefore we're not productive, therefore the economy grows, therefore more tax revenue comes in from infrastructure. it's not money that will be spent next year. think of the project in your community. it might be helped.
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that project may last for ten, 15 years even before it's finally completed. so this money goes out over time for hard infrastructure. that's one reason it doesn't affect inflation in a negative way. in fact, it's counterinflationary because it invests in hard assets and jobs over time. if you're in business, think about your capital expenditures, it is different for your cap ex. it's going to also take some important steps to repair, replace, and build assets that will last for decades. again, that makes life better for people, makes the economy more efficient. it also is something that, as economists look at it, they believe will be counter inflation air inflationary. it's been made clear in poll after poll this is something that brings this country
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together. so unbelievably there was a poll by cnbc showing 87% of the american people think that it is important that we in congress invest in our roads and our bridges. within a couple of months, another poll by cbs showed that 78% of the american people -- 87% people supported repairing bridges and roads. another poll showed that people support pipes for drinking water. that's what the bill does. and we need the investment. let's be honest. the american society of civil engineers views our -- gives our infrastructure in america a grade of c minus. that is not very high. they project our economy stands to lose more than $10 trillion in g.d.p. -- $10 trillion in our economy by 2039 if we fail to invest in these repairs.
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we have fallen to 13th in the world in infrastructure like key foreign competitors like china spend four times more on infrastructure than we do. china is spending four times more as a percent of their economy than we do. why? because they want their economy to be more efficient it they want to compete with us and win. we want to compete with them and have american workers win. 13th in the world is based on a study that is done periodically to ensure that we're comparing apples to apples. they are looking at all kind of things. america has a very strong, competitive economy generally, but infrastructure is a weakness for us. so this is the world economic forum. they put this study out periodically. i follow it, i look at it because it has a lot of different things, not just infrastructure as far as how our economy is doing. how are we doing permitting? not so good.
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guess what. we have permitting reform in the package. the permitting reform will allow the federal dollar to go further. think about it. if it takes six, ten, eight years to permit a project, the enormous cost in that but if you can do it in two years, which is the goal of our permitting reform, that makes a huge difference. if you have an energy project, whether it's a fossil fuel project or whether it's a renewable energy project, you can have as many, i'm told in one case 35 different permits. by the time you finish the first 30, you've got to go back to the first one again to get it again. it's crazy. we had a project in ohio actually shut down because they couldn't handle the permitting. it was hydropower along the ohio river. that's in this legislation too. historic permitting reform. and that should make sense to every taxpayer. yet we want to go through the environmental studies, that's
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fine. but let's do it efficiently, quickly, allow one agency to be in charge, require there to be a dash board for anybody to look up and find out where that project is. that keeps it moving, very transparent. that's in this proposal. there are some good things in here that ensure that the money that is spent is spent more wisely than it has been in the past. let's be sure people can't come back and sue after the fact. we take the amount of time that someone can come back after the fact and sue on a project from six years to two years. that's very important to developers. that's very important to our workforce. it's very important to the building trades in this country. you look at the list of supportf this project, it's unbelievable. the american farm bureau and 30 farm groups have come out for this proposal. for those in big ag states, i would say listen to your farm bureau and they'll tell you this is very good for the farmer that
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wants to get his crobs to the market. in ohio, we've got a lot of soybeans. we want to get them to the elevator and be efficient but we want to send them all over the world. so we want our ports to be efficient. you have the national association of manufacturers supporting this, the american chamber of commerce, the business roundtable and the afl-cio building trades council. the men and women who do the work, they strongly support this legislation. so it's going to help in terms of jobs, competitiveness. again, it's no wonder that so many people over the years have said we need to fix our infrastructure. every president in modern times, by the way, has had a proposal to do so. the joke here in washington is it's infrastructure week again, because, frankly administrations over time have had infrastructure week, we're going to get infrastructure done this week and nothing has happened. congress has been stuck. we've been in gridlock on this,
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kind of like the gridlock during rush hour in so many of our cities today. that we want to fix with this bill. that gridlock here has kept us from doing what we're trying to do in this legislation. $550 billion in additional funding over the next five years is what this is. others have said it's $1 trillion. it's $550 billion, actually a little less, $548 billion is what the number is. a shot in the arm not for the next year or five years, but over the next 20 years or 30 years, this money will be spread out over time. but this is part of how we get america on a track where we have good-paying jobs and more efficiency in our economy long term. every president, as i said, has tried to get the infrastructure bill done. one of the presidents is our most recent president,
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president donald trump who pushed to pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill during his time in office in his budget. as a developer, he gets it. he understands the importance of infrastructure, and i applaud him for that. and honestly, i think he changed the discussion a little bit on my side of the aisle. i think he got more republicans thinking, you know, one of my colleagues told me recently that two things the government ought to do and do well is national defense and infrastructure. i think there are other things government does as well, but that's not a bad list for what the priorities ought to be for the federal government. look at the interstate highway system as an example, well it needs help now. i appreciate the fact that president trump got the discussion going among republicans who might not previously who focused on that. here's just a few highlights of what we've secured in this legislation. we're going to provide billions in funding for some of our most
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pressing hard infrastructure needs, $110 billion in new spending over the next five years to construct, rebuild and maintain our interstate highway system, our roads, and our bridges. that's going to make a big difference for us in ohio. we have 123,000 miles of roads, and where traffic, congestion occurs in ohio, we have an estimated $4.7 billion lost each year, lost time, wasted fuel, according to the american society of civil engineers. $4.7 billion because of traffic congestion in ohio alone. they also say there are currently more than 46,000 bridges in our country that are considered structurally deficient and in poor condition. think about that. 46,000 bridges considered instruct -- considered
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structurally deficient and in poor condition. yet trips are taken across these bridges every single day. 178 million cars or trucks go over these same structurally deficient bridges. ohio, by the way, is number two in the nation for bridges. we have lots of bridges in ohio. we have lots of lakes and rivers. we have nearly 40,000 bridges but nearly half of those are not in good condition. that's why i'm pleased this bill provides $12.5 billion for the investment act that are competitive grants to improve our nation's bridges based on whether they are major bridges of commercial activity, based on their condition, based on their safety. we've got $60 billion total to help state and local government fund major construction projects like the long-awaited brent bridge corridor in my hometown of cincinnati, ohio.
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we've been talking about replacing the red spence bridge for as long as i've been here. let's get it done. we're going to make reforms to the permitting process because it will help on that bridge and others to do it more quickly, more efficiently with less cost to the taxpayer. again, i want to commend the trump administration because they prioritized that issue, but the legislation that we had passed here to help with speeding up permitting sunsets. and so this legislation that we're voting on here actually ends that sunset and, therefore, ensures we can continue that permitting going forward. if we don't do it in this bill and don't do it soon, we're not going to have projects signing up for this interagency council on permitting because of the sunset. they know that they're not going to be able to take advantage of
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it. that's really important. we also strengthen the provision to make it cover more projects and ensure that, again, we're going to get these permitting reforms to make this dollar, this federal dollar go further. and we're going to make the necessary investment in the future of our economy by providing $65 billion to increase access to broadband services to connect more americans to the internet. in ohio, it is estimated there are about 300,000 households lack access to the high-speed broadband that many of us take for granted. we assume everybody has it. people don't. it's holding folks back from being able to get the schooling they need,s the health care they need, or to have the economic opportunities that come with being connected to the internet. these are just a few highlights, and i could go on. but the bottom line is that we are dedicating almost $550 billion over the next five year to go toward a wide range of priorities that will
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collectively have a positive impact on the people i represent and all americans. importantly, we have funded our bill through a number of responsible pay fors without any new taxes on working families, on small businesses, on large businesses, on anybody. this is being done without tax hikes. that's significant because, remember when we first started talking about infrastructure, it was in the context of a proposal from the biden administration for a huge increase in taxes. it was a $2.65 trillion package and included incredibly steep tax increases. in fact, taxes increased much more than taxes were cut back in 2017 in that proposal, about four times more. some say five times more. but we decided, no, let's not do that.
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let's pull infrastructure from this package, really core infrastructure, because infrastructure is being defined in ways that it had never been defined before, including so-called soft infrastructure. social spending for nursing homes or for health care or for electric car companies outside of infrastructure. we said no, let's just pull the core infrastructure out of it and let's take the taxes off. and that's how we got down to, again, $548 billion, and without taxes. so from the start, we have said some of our pay fors will not be fully reflected in the formal c.b.o. score that came out on thursday but instead will be reflected in c.b.o. estimates. what's c.b.o.? c.b.o. is the congressional budget office. it's the group up here that we have to rely on in terms of our legislation to say how much
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something costs. republicans and democrats alike love to complain about c.b.o. in fact, often it's republicans complaining about them on my side of the aisle because they don't give enough credit to the feedback effect from tax cuts. democrats kind of just the opposite. they think there should be more feedback effect. in other words, a dynamic score as relates to spending. and we disagree on their calculation of scoring. but that's who we have to rely on. so the c.b.o. estimates that just came out, including what they said about their official score, was disappointing to me because they didn't follow what we wrote in the law. and we've had this discussion, and they are the arbiter. so my same republican colleagues who have complained about c.b.o. over the years in other contexts are now saying, look, the c.b.o. score isn't high enough. you said about half of it would
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be paid for by official c.b.o. scores. it is but they didn't give us credit for it. one example is c.b.o.'s limitation that they can't account for states returning to the federal treasury the money that we dictated they had to return in our bill. they just won't do it. $53 billion was in our legislation for unused funds from the enhanced covid u.i. supplemental put in place during covid-19. recouping this outdated supplement is a win for the american taxpayers, and everyone should support sending it back to projects like infrastructure that help move our economy forward rather than for other purposes. and yet c.b.o. gives us no credit for that. c.b.o. is not fully able to reflect the funding streams that will help pay for our legislation in other ways as well. i'll give you perhaps the two most striking examples of this.
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one is that working with the white house, working with the office of management and budget, working with the individual agencies, we were able to determine that some of the covid-19 funds that this congress had sent back to the states through agencies was not being spent, and so we wanted to repurpose that money for this purpose. remember, we spent a lot of money, including $1.9 trillion recently, but even before that, four different pieces of legislation sending money out to the states for covid-19 purposes. and so we said, well, if it's unused covid funds let's return it to the treasury and apply it to this. and it makes sense. infrastructure is something states and localities are eager to have. better infrastructure, and appropriate to use some of that funding. so we said in our proposal that
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$41.8 billion would be rescinded based on what we got from o.m.b., from the individual agencies on their unobligated funds. the white house signed off on it, we all signed off on it, republican and democrat. unfortunately c.b.o. chose to give us credit for just $13.4 billion rather than $41.8 billion. frustrating. it's the difference of $28.4 billion in savings. now what they say is that we're not convinced that even though these are unobligated balances, which we've been able to prove, by the way, and we have documents from the white house now after the fact showing this again, but they said, well, we don't believe that these agencies that have extra money are going to spend the money. that's one of the reasons they gave. we think they'll just keep the money. when has an agency not spent the money that congress provides them, i would ask my colleagues.
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i would give you a real-world example of this. as we started to look for unused covid funds, it turns out the u.s. department of agriculture had extra funds, they had not staffed anybody and weren't planning to. when we heard we were nosing around to pull back some of those funds for a good purpose, for infrastructure, they came up with another program. they had the discretion to send the money out under another program and they came up with one and said we've got this money covered. you're not allowed to touch it. that's one of the challenges with the c.b.o. scores. they took $28.4 billion in savings and just decided because they knew best that this was not going to be available because the agencies were going to spend it, even though they haven't spent it and they had no reasons to spend it, they had no plans to spend it. again, the office of management and budget at the white house this confirmed that. another example.
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we went from a savings of $65 billion from the next auction for spectrum down to $20 billion in response to concerns by colleagues on our side of the aisle that this might affect our national security. so $65 billion in savings, c.b.o.-scored savings in this legislation went to $20 billion, working with the department of defense carefully, working with the office of management and budget, working with the armed services committee here, ensuring that we weren't going to touch any spectrum in that future sale that had a national security implication. so that reduced our c.b.o. score. we understood that, but we wanted to be sure we weren't taking any risk by getting any any -- having any issue with regard to d.o.d. spectrum that they didn't want to provide. c.b.o. then in their report on
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thursday decided that they weren't going to give us credit for that $20 billion. they took it down to about $10 billion. we lost $9.8 billion on a c.b.o. score there. again, when we pushed on that, they said well, we just need to know that the white house is going to move ahead with a spectrum auction. well, they are. he sent us a letter saying they are. again, this is a little arbitrary, don't you think? how can c.b.o. decide? just as they took $30 billion away from the c.b.o. score, with regard to repurposing covid money, which is based on the unobligated balances that the white house agreed to, o.m.b. agreed to, but c.b.o. is saying somehow the agencies aren't going to spend that money. i mean, all the records, if you look at what happens, is that they will spend the money. so we are saving the money.
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we're pulling it back. applying it to a good purpose -- infrastructure. so i would just caution my colleagues who again traditionally are contraceptive of c.b.o., somehow in this case think c.b.o. is perfect to look a little closer at these scores and look at the fact that they are not necessarily accurate. what this legislation does not do, the investment jobs act, it does not include the spending that democrats included in their first package and certainly they are now including in their $3.5 trillion spending proposal they unveiled earlier this month. this is an important point that my colleagues shouldn't miss. the president has said that the package, the $3.5 trillion, will not include more poor infrastructure funding. that was pulled out of his original package, the $6.65 trillion. we took about half of the core
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infrastructure out there and took out all of the taxes. we're at $548 billion. he made a commitment both privately and publicly, as have democrats up here, that that's the negotiation on the core infrastructure. so the roads and bridges we talked about earlier. the water infrastructure, the rail, the ports. that can't be double dipped in terms of also including that in the $3.5 trillion. now, they will have a lot of other spending in there that is social spending, that is not this capital expenditure spending we talked about. many of my colleagues know what cap ex means, that you typically borrow for your cap ex and it's long-term spending for hard assets. but that's not -- that's not what the $3.5 trillion is about, and that's why i strongly oppose it, as do my colleagues on this side of the aisle.
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the president having said that the package will not double-dip, we won't have that in there, is very important to remember because we save taxpayers not only huge tax increases by finding a bipartisan solution here, but we save taxpayers from a lot of additional spending that otherwise would have occurred. this investment in repairing and upgrading our nation's infrastructure will have real lasting benefits for our country, through building out hard assets that improve productivity and improve efficiency without adding to inflation. it will create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs in industries ranging from construction and plumbing to electrical engineering and software development, with one recent study from the association of equipment manufacturers finding that the legislation could trade around half a million jobs by 2024. this is why every business group in america is supporting this legislation, as well as all the ag groups, over 30 ag groups, including the american farm bureau. it's why the afl-cio building trades council is supporting it.
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they're going to provide a lot of the workers for this. even more importantly, given the recent economic news we have seen, is this proposal will not cause inflation to increase. as democratic economist larry summers on the other side of the aisle and many of us here on the republican side of the aisle had been warning about for months, including me, inflation is here, with prices for consumers up 5.4% over this time last year. and this right of inflation in my view could well go up even further. douglas holtziken, now head of the american action forum, a conservative economist, michael strain, director of economic policy studies at the american enterprise institute, a.e.i., also a conservative scholar, have said that our bipartisan infrastructure package will slow down inflation. they said, quote, improving
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roads, bridges, and ports will make it less costly for businesses to operate, allowing them to increase their output per hour and putting downward pressure on consumer prices. so i know some of my colleagues want to conflate these two, the $3.5 trillion extravaganza with huge tax increases and long-term spending. the money will go out the door in the next year or two. they're not the same. i think it's irresponsible to say they are the same. the bottom line is that the infrastructure investment and jobs act will provide an risk investment in hard infrastructure with input from a bipartisan group of senators while avoiding the tax hikes that would hurt our economy, destroy jobs, and undermine our competitiveness around the world. and importantly, for the sake of future bipartisanship here in congress, it's an infrastructure plan that allows us to avoid the repeat of the covid-19 spending bill, the $1.9 trillion that
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passed under this partisan process of reconciliation. it's also the alternative way that we ought to operate around here instead of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that is coming next. it demonstrates to the american people that we can, in fact, work together to get big things done in a responsible way. president biden promised to govern in a bipartisan manner. in his inaugural address and in his campaign. unfortunately, he hasn't done that with regard to the covid package, $1.9 trillion under reconciliation, the $3.5 trillion that they are now going to attempt to pass here in this chamber. but this, this bipartisan package is an opportunity for all of us to fulfill that pledge, to figure out how to work together to get big things done. it's a genuine compromise. it's not the bill i would write.
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it's not the bill my colleague, kyrsten sinema, would write on the democratic side of the aisle. but it's good for the country. it builds our core infrastructure. it doesn't raise taxes on the american people. it will grow the economy. it will lead to more tax revenue coming into the treasury. and yet it includes responsible pay-fors. soon i hope we will all be able to vote on final package of this legislation. as i indicated, we have already had two votes to proceed to final passage. i think it's time for us to come together and to enact this bipartisan achievement for our nation, for our economy, and for the people we represent. madam chair, i would now like to make another entry into the journal, but in a separate part of the journal with unanimous consent.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: madam chair, i want to address a specific part of the legislation that is before us. it relates to cryptocurrency. as we know, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that more and more people are investing in. and we should want that to continue and continue in a healthy and sustainable way. there is consensus here in washington and around the country that there should be better and more consistent reporting on cryptocurrency transactions. by the way, this would be a good thing for honest, tax-paying holders of cryptocurrency, which is the vast majority of them, who today have to figure out their basis and sometimes their gross proceeds when filing taxes because they don't get a 1099. the form 1099 that a financial institution would give you if you invested in stocks or bonds
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or other financial instruments often is not available for holders of cryptocurrency, which creates problems. standardizing this basic information reporting by cryptobrokers for tax purposes is going to help provide more certainty for everyday americans looking to invest in these digital assets. the experts at the nonpartisan congressional joint committee on taxation and the treasury department say that this would lead to better tax compliance as well. so the information reporting would lead to better compliance with the tax code. the question is who should issue that 1099 in a cryptocurrency context? again, the consensus is that it should be the brokers of cryptocurrency. you just as it is for stocks and bonds and other financial instruments. in the underlying bill, a broker is defined as any person responsible for regularly
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providing any service effectuate ing transfers of digital assets by cryptocurrency, which for tax purposes means the a sale on behalf of someone else. some crypto brokers already comply with these standard information reporting obligations, but for those who have not yet adopted these practices, this rule change is going to make it easier for their consumers to pay their taxes due. the concern has been expressed that some in the cryptocurrency industry who are not brokers could be inadvertently caught up in this definition. the treasury department, the nonpartisan congressional joint committee on taxation and others believe that the current language is clear and that the reporting requirements only covers brokers, but my view is that we should work to clarify this given the potential for con fusion on an extremely important issue. in particular, we want to be
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sure miners and stakers and others now or in the future who play a key role by validating transactions were sellers of hardware or software for digital wallets or note operators or others who are not brokers are clearly exempted. well, it's not the intent of the underlying bill to include them, i believe we can do more to make this clear, which is why i will continue to work with colleagues to clarify the intent of the information reporting language. there have been a number of amendments that have been failed to try and make this provision more clear, and i have been working with my colleagues, senator warner, senator wyden, senator toomey, senator lummis, senator ossoff, senator sinema, on a potential solution that i believe will help reassure stakeholders that these individuals will not be considered brokers while maintaining the information reporting in this bipartisan
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legislation. today we will continue these important discussions, and i'm hopeful we can come to a solution that will provide certainty for taxpayers and avoid any potential loopholes for bad actors. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: madam president, i want to thank senator portman for his outstanding work, all the great work that he is doing on this bill. with senator sinema and others. i'm hopeful that we can get some of these amendments, bipartisan amendments on the infrastructure bill on to the floor. i know my colleague, senator hagerty, is going to work on that here in a minute. i support what he is trying to do. i have an amendment, for example, that's very bipartisan. it would help all the tribes in america, alaska native tribes, lower 48 tribes to simply get the authority to extend the
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spending of their original cares act money that they got in march of 2020. they just got authority to actually start spending it. all we want to do is extend the deadline. no additional money for anybody. i think every senator here supports it. these are some of the bipartisan amendments that we're debating. hopefully we're going to get votes on these. whether you're going to be for the bill or against the bill, it will improve the bill. i know mine would. senator cornyn has one i'm supportive of and cosponsoring. so there's a number of amendments that we hope we can get to debate here on the floor. but as you know, madam president, the senate has a lot of other work besides just this and i just want to talk about a little bit of that work that's going on now. right now we're going to turn to
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the senate majority leader, senator schumer, after this debate and turn to a completely different bill. and that's the $3.5 trillion partisan tax and spend spree that is just completely inappropriate right now for our country especially after the democrats finished up a partisan bill in february of $2 trillion. this is a reckless amount of spending that they are looking at doing, and i'm pretty sure some of my colleagues know that. but part of what's going on here, madam president, is the hijacking of the democratic party by the far left. you're seeing that in a whole host of areas. let me give you one other area that is really important from the senate perspective and that's on noims -- nominees.
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i've been coming down to the floor where we have advice and consent role as u.s. senators. one in particular who is being put up for a position for the bureau of land management that has enormous power in my state. enormous. and somehow the president of the united states has decided to put someone who is not just an extremist, but a violent extremist, an echo terrorist, tracy stone-manning. i've been coming to the floor to speak out against this. somebody -- this nominee clearly undertook activities as part of a group called earth first, tree spiking, they call it, that is actually meant to harm americans who are legally harvesting logs and timber. that's unbelievable that we're actually even debating this
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nominee. now, some of my colleagues said, well, that was a while ago. she's sorry about that, but then she came before the senate, didn't tell the truth to senators. that should be number two, strike two, you're out. but here's strike three, madam president, and this has happened. her husband, in a harper's magazine, i guess he's some kind of far-left radical too. said that firefighters who try to put out fires in national forests should let their homes burn to the ground the burn to the ground. she ten months ago applauded her husband's views on that. the person who looks like they are going to be the b.l.m. manager is saying that if there's a fire, say a national forest in alaska, you have a cabin there, let the fire burn
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the cabin down. this is just outrageous and this is only ten months ago. it's disturbing, madam president, and i ask that the president pull that nominee. i'd also request that another nominee, here we go again, that has been put forward by the biden administration should also be withdrawn. and i think some of even my democratic colleagues have concerns about mr. david chipman to head up alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives, a.t.f. he is another extreme activist this time against the second amendment and second amendment rights. he will be in charge of an agency, if confirmed, that's actually in charge of law enforcement with regard to firearms. as the senior senator from iowa
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so aptly put it, many see putting a committed gun control proponent like david chipman like putting a tobacco executive in charge of the department of health and human services or antifa in charge. count me in with the vast majority of my constituents in alaska for feeling the same way. madam president, i want to talk briefly about why i feel so strongly about this nominee and of coming down to speak out against this nominee as well. the second amendment is not some lower-class constitutional right. it's the second amendment to the constitution. in my office i actually have the bill of rights emblazeoned on
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the wall of my office, every word of it, to remind me and others who come there just how important this is for our country. my colleagues believe that the second amendment was as important as other amendments, freedom of speech, the right to a jury trial, protections against search and seizures, they wouldn't be supporting mr. chipman as ted of a.t.f. the law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing our nation's firearms laws. they just wouldn't. let me talk a little bit about his background. i respect mr. chipman's 25 years as an a.t.f. agent, but when he left government, he spent his time working as a gun control advocate and is well known for his extreme views on restricting the second amendment. for instance, in an online site in 2019, he said the following, which is remarkable, quote,
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while at a.t.f. i conducted studies involving people who failed background checks to determine how many later committed crimes with a gun. many did. i'm still quoting him. this is a perfect opportunity to arrest people before committing crimes rather than responding after the fact. let that one sink in. anyone here seen the movie "minority report" with tom cruise. let's arrest people before they commit a crime. he's actually advocated arresting people who failed background checks. this is extreme to say the least. and it's apparently not only the second amendment he wants to do away with. in his recent confirmation hearing, he appeared to want to ban all rifles larger than a ..22 caliber.
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rifle. couldn't define a so-called assault rifle, but good luck protecting yourself in the alaska wilderness with a .22. he also called for some more burdensome regulations on some popular sporting rifles under the national firearms control act and in his work restricting the second amendment, he's lobbied congress for universal background checks and instituting age-based gun bans which would definitely not work in my state and wanting to establish a national firearms transfer delay period. madam president, not only is he who's style to second amendment rights -- hostile to second amendment rights, but remarkably the person they want to put in charge of firearms is scoanding to the people -- condescending to people in america who own
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them as so many on the far left are, especially first-time gun owners. in an interview in april 2020, during the hype of the pandemic, when it started, he mocked first-time gun owners purchasing firearms. remember, this was a rel uncertain time -- a relatively uncertain time in the country and he said families were putting themselves in danger by buying a firearm. he said they should put their firearms behind, quote, their beef jerky and cans of tuna. they have been saving for the apocalypse and only take out the guns when the zombies appear. this is the person that is put forward to be in charge of firearm laws. he thought he was being clever in the same way that president
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obama spoke about guns and religion. not everyone finds this funny. especially my constituents. we need firearms to put food on the table, to defend ourselves in the wild, rural, urban, native, not native, all races, all income levels, responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of my state. so is valuing our constitutional rights, especially our second amendment. we understand these rights form the foundation of our democracy and when these rights begin to erode, when people in power pick and choose at will which rights of our bill of rights they want to protect and enforce our democracy erodes with it. my constituents in alaska do not think mr. chipman is remotely
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qualified. and, by the way, i'm starting to hear it's not just republicans who have this view, but some of my democratic colleagues have this view and i hope that's true. further, several former a.t.f. career officers, with whom mr. chipman served sent a letter recently to the senate saying his strong personal belief on firearms issues will create serious long lasting problems for the bureau and the effective execution of its law enforcement mission. madam president, the biden administration should withdraw nomination just like it should withdraw tracy stone-manning's. our country doesn't need radical officials in charge of very important agencies, particularly important for my state, who do not view the law and the constitution and -- in the way they should. i hope my colleagues on both
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sides of the aisle work to defeat these nominees if and when they come for a vote in the senate. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. hagerty: i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be -- a senator: the following amendments be called up and they be the only remaining amendments in order. first ernst 2639, cornyn-padilla 2602, wicker-stabenow 2206, cruz 2389, lee 2517, grassley-klobuchar 2500, crapo 2507, blackburn 2308,
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warner-portman, cantwell 2588, wyden-murkowski 2603, cantwell-brawrn 2621, van hollen 2613, as modified, cruz-lieu hawn 2690, sullivan 2586, shelby 2535, rounds 2636, sinema-portman number 2620. further, that the senate vote in relation to all pending amendments with no amendments in order to the amendments prior to a vote in relation to the amendment. and that if a roll call is ordered, then 60 affirmative votes except for lee numbered 2517, warner 2617, wyden 2498,
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ernst 2639, and grassley 2500 and that there be two minute ps for debate equally divided prior to each vote. the presiding officer: is there an objection. ms. sinema: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. ms. sinema: reserving the right to object. thank you, madam president. as my esteemed colleague from tennessee is aware, and as we all are aware, the senate operates under unanimous consent, reserving the right and prerogative to any one senator object to moving forward when consent to not present. as the senator from tennessee made clear yesterday in his remarks on the floor, he has declined to provide unanimous consent for a time agreement moving forward in this postcloture time period. i'm sure it is no surprise that there are senators on both sides of the aisle who object to unanimous consent on one or more of the amendments listed in his proposed list today.
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i'm sure that he offers the same level of respect to those senators denying their unanimous consent as has been offered to him as well. now, i am proud to report that throughout this bipartisan process we have produced over the course of a number of months a piece of legislation drafted entirely by the independent and bipartisan members who worked together over this number of months. we've introduced the legislation and we've had robust debate and i'm proud to say consideration of 22 amendments on this bipartisan bill. it has been an open and welcoming process. as we are currently in the postcloture debate time, again as i mentioned, it requires unanimous consent to both move forward with all of the amendments or any of the amendments as well as a time agreement. and as we have seen today, we do not have unanimous consent on either a time agreement or on moving forward on amendments. and, therefore, madam president, i propose that we continue moving forward under
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regular order. and with that, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. hagerty: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. hagerty: the senator's objection exposes the democrats' true intention. i never objected to consider amendments on this bill, not once. democrats say that they want amendments, but they can't take yes for an answer. democrats' true intention is to rush this bill through so that they can hurry up and light the fuse on their $3.5 trillion spending spree, a socialist debt bomb, then leave town for vacation. they want to vote on amendments, why would the senator object to my reasonable request? the only way that democrats will agree to amendments is if they can rush this bill through. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. brown: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: madam president, listen -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. braun: please suspend the quorum call. i was listening earlier, senator carper talking about the bill in front of us, i think there's a lot of merit to address difficult subjects like infrastructure. i believe defense is the most important thing we need to do and i generally have questions about that, why we don't do audits, you know, why we don't adhere especially to budgeting there, why we don't do budgets across the entirety of the federal government. i think give or take it's been 20 years since we've done one
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and i've adhered to it. so in looking at our infrastructure plan and the merits within it, everyone is going to find something that they like and i'm talking about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. i think with the roads and bridges and a lot of the hard physical infrastructure, the need is even more for that. senator carper, who used to run a state, i used to be on a school board in my hometown for ten years, served as a state legislator with the intention of going there to do something on infrastructure in indiana, the crossroads of america, living in the southern part of the state that has never had its fair share, and i think you need to be entrepreneurial through government in certain cases, especially at the local and state level where you're
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accountable to where your entrepreneurialism through government -- and i almost don't like to use that word because i've been a main street entrepreneur my entire life, and it's hard to use that as an analogous term to what we do here. anyway, senator durbin was talking about i think more than just the content of the bill. i generally, whenever i'm coming down to vote for something, look at the principles that i know have worked in the real world in building a business, in running a school board, local or state government, he referred to something that really caught my attention and that inevitably in times like these we will then on our side revert to wanting to do a balanced budget amendment. of course i've been a proponent of that and term limits as well. not at the local and state
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level, but here. i don't think that the founders ever intended us to grow a government like this that for all the good intentions of policy that we want to put in place to where we do it on the back of borrowing money and not doing it in a way that is painful takes political will. i'll never forget back in indiana back in 2017, 70% of hoosiers wanted better infrastructure. we polled, 70% didn't want their taxes to go up. a fiscal conservative like me even got in trouble talking about paying for it, not borrowing the money, not pushing it down the road. at least there you can make the argument you need a dedicated stream of payment for something that we most agree is essential. when you drive that point home
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and when you took it through regular order, listen to this, nearly two to two and a half months in a three and a half month session, we ran it through ways and means committee and roads and transportation. and by the time we were done, we had roughly 45 out of 47 witnesses, stakeholders from the manufacturing association to the farm bureau to the indiana truckers association for it. we got people to buy in. and how did we do it? we did it with diesel and gas taxes. some complained that we were raising taxes. it was in the context, though, in indiana of a balanced budget, rainy day funds. we've got one of the best business climates in the country. so it was within a system that was working. i think what disturbed me listening a little bit ago is i agree with senator durbin.
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this is a shared blame in terms of how we've gotten here. my observation, building a business, frustrated each night when i would come home, listen to the news, starting roughly nearly two decades or so ago when we went from democrat and republican administrations that did believe in maybe having some political will, in other words, paying for the things we do here in a way that is not borrowing the money. and borrowing money sometimes is okay if it's a tangible asset that's an investment. that kind of makes sense and this has a little bit of that component as well. but in general when you become a nation of consumption and spending and you're putting it on display in a way like we have over several decades here from
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the gulf wars to what we did in 2008 and 2009 looks like small change compared to what we're doing now, and i don't begrudge trying to get things done in an effective way. but i want the american public to be clear that when you borrow money to spend it or consume it, that is never -- that has never ended up well in the long run. i read a book given to me by mike enzi called the empire bed. actually on that reading it took a dismal subject, looked at it historically, put a little humor alongside it because you need that to get through it to see how this all ends up. it's never worked well. if you are by nature spending and consuming and borrowing the money to do it, i did not need to be a finance guy from
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business school and have an economics degree from undergrad to know that that doesn't work. even the folks that lean towards kinsingon economics, the milken friedman folks, no one, including the liberal economists, are buying into this idea of the modern monetary theory. that, to me, just does not make sense. when i look at where we are at today, talking about infrastructure, which polls well because the american public knows we need it. but then when we dispense it in a way that's irresponsible in terms of how we pay for it, i couldn't have been for that from the get-go. and it was also inextricably linked to the $3.5 trillion of using a word like
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infrastructure, which we all know refers to tangible and now trying to do it on stuff that isn't tangible, that's consumption. i think the merits of discussing child care, the high cost of post-secondary education, but we ought to do it like we did back in indiana when we were talking about infrastructure, run it through regular order, bring in experts and stakeholders across the country to buy into it. here i see, and i used it just recently, if you try to be entrepreneurial through government, which i think is what's on display here, part of that equation is, yes, you've got to take a little risk, you've got to get it out there. but no one would put this much at stake and try to be entrepreneurial by borrowing the money. you'd be almost certain to fail
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because in the real world school board, local state government, especially in enterprise, you've got other rigors that won't let you do that. and you cannot count on a fed like since last year has been accommodating and basically printing money in the baivment by -- basement by buying a lot of this debt and is committed to do it even on this as well as the major piece that's going to drop here in a few days. so my concern is that maybe we, as republicans, are a little slow footd when it comes -- footed when it comes to engaging in real issues. i agree with senator durbin that we've been on this journey for a long time. that doesn't mean you double down and triple down and do -- listen to this. i got here two and a half years ago, roughly $18 trillion in
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debt. we're now roughly $28 trillion in debt. not including what we're going to do here on this hard infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion. all of it has merit for discussion. but if you spend money and consume it and borrow it without having the political will of doing what you have to do in any other entity, pay for it sustainably, it's not the foundation for this place or any entity. i want to give you a little description about what we do here currently. we spend $4.5 trillion a year, we take in revenues of $3.5 trillion, that's a chronic trillion dollar deficit. that's borrowing 23 cents, roughly, out of every dollar that you spend.
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and, again, it's not for a tangible investment, it's for consumption. and now with what we're baselining into the future, that is going to go up close to $1.5 trillion and we ought to be looking at what's driving the current dysfunction and try to get this place into a solid footing rather than putting it in peril where history has shown this doesn't work out. any country that's tried it has not had it work out. the europeans who have fashioned a system maybe a little bit -- erring on that side, that's in never had an economy that grows much more than 2%, and probably four or five years ago when the euroand the european union -- euro and the european union looked like it would work, italy
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spain, couldn't do it. it threatened the integrity. the euro impacted them as well. they had to go through the hard medicine of getting back in line. so when we get through in this exercise, again we're talking about something we need, but if we don't couch it in the discipline of having political will, in doing it to where it's going to be sustainable and not to where it's going to put us even more in peril in terms of our federal balance sheet, it doesn't end up well for our kids and our grandkids. that's what worries me. end on two notes. we've got geopolitical competition. senator durbin mentioned that as well. the chinese, even they have shed communism. they've become almost expert state capitalist, have an
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authoritarian system that will probably be their limitation in the long run. if they'd ever liberalize their capital markets or god forbid their political system, you can't imagine the impact that would have on us and our currency. so they are playing the long game. they are savers and investors and we've got to be careful because they've at least realized that you can't replace the productive economy with a centralized system. and they are actually moving in a direction, sadly, with an authoritarian political system underlying it. one other place i'll use as an example. we should be looking at what is driving our trillion dollar deficits. he mentioned the laugher curve. we were pre-covid at a point where i think it's a sweet spot
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of where we needed to be. wages were rising in the most difficult places. i, more than probably any other senator since i'm the freshest off the street of a main street enterprise, there was a little company that grew into a national one over 37 years, basing it on having a conservative balance sheet. not to ruin your business by borrowing too much money, even when you have access to it. and here i see that same thing happening here. we will be outrun by our competitors that are long-term thinkers, that are investors, not spenders and consumers. and if we wanted to really right the ship, we ought to be tackling the high cost of health care. we all agree, i think that that is a broken system, and one side of the aisle wants to dump more government into it by making it a one-payer system. what we ought to do first is
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reform the industry like i did in my own company with health insurance with a few simple principles. made it consumer driven to where every individual should be a health care consumer, not relying on your insurance that pays for everything from your employer or the government doing it. that's giving us a health care system that warren buffett cites as a tape worm on our economy. we should have common interests there. make it transparent so we can shop for it like you do anything else, including a big screen tv, groceries. you have transparency, you can compete in terms of how you shop. that would work. if we did that with health insurance, with health care costs, we could start the process here because medicare -- medicare that our
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elderly depends on -- goes broke in roughly five years. automatic benefit cuts across the board. that's waiting to solve something once you're in a crisis. we ought to roll up our sleeves on it, on social security, and we need to quit turning discretionary spending which requires budgeting into mandatory spending simply because we don't want to go through the rigor that any school board, state government, local government, or especially business would do to be successful in the long run. so i think we've got a bit of time that we could do this and maybe do it preemptively, or we can run this thing into the ditch. and for the people that love the federal government, want to grow it as a growth business, that are political entrepreneurs, i would think that side of the aisle would be
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especially concerned about its long-term health. and for those of us that always talk about it and then seem to be part of the same old thing that occurs each year, that's being a hypocrite, because we've gotten here not with one party driving us. both have been in the vehicle that's ready to run us into the ditch. i yield the floor. mr. braun: mr. president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. romney: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. romney: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. romney: i ask that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. romney: thank you. i have some remarks today and i drafted them out. i'd ask that they be available for the record, but i'm going to actually summarize them. so maybe both can be kept as part of the record. i'll submit them in that way. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. romney: thank you. it is said that politics is the art of the possible, and i'm afraid that over time someone might argue that politics has become the art of confusion. there's so much confusion that goes on around issues of
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significance, that sometimes the media has a hard time of what is a fact and not a fact. perhaps in some cases the confusion is purposefully spread by politicians like me and some others and i would like to reduce the confusion for those paying attention to this debate and i'll begin by focusing on some things that i think we can all agree on. the first is that we as a nation need to invest in our infrastructure. our highways are in disrepair. people spend too long getting to and from work. people in businesses shipping goods from one place to another find they get stuck in traffic for a long period of time, it hurts our economy and makes it difficult to be competitive globally. i think we can agree with that. bridges as well, we have structural engineers that say thousands of bridges are in disrepair. some are in such bad repair that
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trucks have to go the long distance routes to avoid those -- those bridges that are so damaged. we need also to make an investment in rail. for a time i left in the northeast, people traveled from boston to new york and new york to washington and on amtrak in many cases it takes almost as long to get to those places in amtrak as it would be to drive because the rail is in disrepair and because we compete on that -- passengers compete on that rail with freight. so we need to up grade. our transit in many cases is in disrepair. we use a lot of technology for our rail cars. modern technology has the cars themselves that are powered as opposed to a locomotive engine. we can improve the technologies we're using. we're just out of date. i think we can do a better job connecting communities through
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transit systems like buses that can change their routes as commuting routes also change. i think we can agree broadband ought to be available to all americans whether in rural areas or low-income areas. kids need to be able to connect to their schools and get their assignments and follow what's going on in the world through the media, through the internet. people need to be able to use telehealth to get consults with doctors. if we're going to have economic growth in our urban areas or rural parts of our country, we need to have businesses know they have access to high-speed internet or they simply won't go there. our water systems are in need of repair. we have some water systems that date back a hundred years. pipelines back a hundred years. we're going to have to upgrade some of these. we have lead pipes such as in flint, michigan. that disaster there can't be repeated anywhere else and we have to do a good job to make
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sure we -- in some cases we are beginning to remove and replace lead pipes. wildfires are becoming a bigger and bigger issue on the american west. and we need to have a better program to mitigate and prevent wildfires. our power grid in many cases needs to be upgraded. it's vulnerable to cyberattack. it's also vulnerable to various weather events that cause blackouts in various parts of our country. fortunately with regards to power in this legislation, we also add some efforts to look at new technologies, nuclear, hydrogen, battery power and so forth as a way to reduce our dependence on oil and gas. permitting reform. i think we also recognize that sometimes it takes us way too long for projects to get under way. that adds to cost and it's frustrating to consumers as well. all these elements and more are
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addressed in this bipartisan infrastructure agreement that's before the senate right now. that's what this bill is all about. addressing those infrastructure needs. i would note that this is not a partisan issue. it has not been. every modern president -- well, i should say every president in the modern era has proposed an infrastructure package, the need to improve our infrastructure. president trump, the last administration proposed a $1.5 trillion plan. the bipartisan proposal is $550 billion, about one-third of president trump's proposal. now, again, confusion -- we hear all sorts of numbers but this is $50 50e billion -- $550 billion above what we normally spend. if you add in what we normally spend, that gets you to about a trillion. but that's a different matter.
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that's the normal run rate over the five years. if you add that to $550 billion, you get almost a trillion. there's confusion also about how many pages there are. i mean, the reality is, yeah, there are 2,700 pages in this bill. and i think the public says how in the world could anyone possibly read something like that and keep up with it. well, as the presiding officer knows, about 2,000 pages of this were already passed by the various committees of jurisdiction. and some of the people that are most vocal crit -- owe crit siding the 2,700 pages to read, they've had access to portions of them because they're on the committees that passed them. and of course in addition to the 2,000 pages, there are other pages that have been written and are before committees to consider. something else i'd note. and that is in addition to not having raised taxes to pay for
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this $550 billion infrastructure program, this bill is paid for. the congressional budget office has scored about one half of it as being paid for under their rules. the other half is also paid for by real dollars. not the way c.b.o. scores it under their rules but just as real. sometimes, for instance, a pile of funding, a pile of cash, has been previously allocated and not used. and so it goes back to the treasury and the c.b.o. says we can't score that because it's already been appropriated once. i understand that but it's real dollars. and you might say why don't we just let it go back to the treasury and reduce the deficit. let me tell you something. that will never happen because our democrat friends are planning on putting in place a $3.5 trillion bill of their own which would surely grab all of that money and everything else that comes along.
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so it's not going to go back into the accounts of the federal government to reduce the treasury -- excuse me o -- to reduce the deficit and debt. instead it's going to be used on the spending spree that my colleagues across the aisle are planning on carrying out soon. i affectionately call that $3.5 trillion spending spree the blue whale. it's very, very large, the largest. it's soft and it's blue. but ours is going to be used for real, hard infrastructure. of course it's about one-seventh the size of the bluff whale and i -- blue whale and i might call it the roadrunner by comparison. i recognize there's been some criticism of this bill, and it's not without faults. it was after all the product of work by republicans and democrats. ten of us were tasked by our group of 22 to see if we could
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come up with something. and to get republicans and democrats to agree to something together means that there are some things we like better and some things my colleagues across the aisle like better. there are some things if it just were up to republicans we wouldn't have in there. my guess there are some things if it was just up to democrats they wouldn't have in there. but it was after all a meeting of people from both parties to find something that could actually get a bill done because as the presiding officer knows, we've had several presidents try and get a bill done and it's never gotten across the finish line. so this was an effort to say let's break the logjam and get something actually accomplished so we can deal with the infrastructure challenges that we virtually all agree america faces. now, criticism is expected and i'd note criticism is also pretty easy. any time you have a bill that's worked out by compromise between two sides, why, the side that looks at the other side's work
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is going to criticize it. i can point at all the things i don't like about the bill. i won't waste anybody's time doing that i do ask my colleagues okay, if you don't like this bill, what bill do you like instead? what would you do instead? president trump's $1.5 trillion bill, how would you pay for that one? what would you spend that money on? because ours is one-third the size of that proposal. so one can stop and say what would you do instead. i know some people would say, well, nothing at all. we don't want to spend any money at all, no bill. let's not spend a dollar on infrastructure. that's i'm frayed not an option in reality because we have to options. one is to accept the bipartisan work of our respective colleagues and the other is to say hey, because the democrats have the house and the senate and the white house, just let them do it all by themselves without any republican input at all.
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and i'm pleased that the president decided not to take that course and that the democrat leadership here in the senate concluded as well. that's not the right course to take. the bipartisan approach was better. but let me note that if the option were taken to have a democrat-only bill, my estimate is that it would cost about $500 billion more than our $550 billion bill, that it would expand union rights through davis-bacon with prevailing wages on areas where it's not currently existent. there would be more money going into things like transit and amtrak, more money for lead pipes, more money for administrative costs. we hold administrative costs under 3% of this bill. there were many efforts to try and raise that as high as 10%. that would mean tens of thousands of new federal government employees. we held it at 3%. that in my opinion would change if it were simply a partisan one-party bill. we made some of these funding
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efforts into loan programs where states are people who would take advantage of the funding would ultimately pay them back. my guess is if it were a bill that did not have our input, some of these would be transferred into grants. now, there's another criticism that gets raised and that's that this bipartisan agreement and the bill before us is just a gateway to the blue whale, that this is going to open the door to the $3.35 trillion -- $3.5 trillion plan that the president has proposed. i don't really follow that one terribly well, that argument because obviously if there's no agreement on this legislation, if it doesn't pass or if the house blows it up in some way, why then this effort, the hard infrastructure effort will just be added to the blue whale, to the $3.5 trillion. that's going to get done anyway. and this would become part of that. so there's going to be an effort to pass a blue whale one way or
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another. i hope it doesn't pass, by the way, but this is not just going -- this is not a getway to anything but a gateway to better bridges, better water, better broadband in rural communities and a better economic vitality for our country. now, i do admit that i do understand and appreciate the argument that's being made. one criticism that's being made of this bill by some in my party, which is by being in favor of this legislation for $550 billion, we're going to confuse the voters and they're going to think that we're also all part of this big blue whale thing. we're spending 550 and my colleagues across the aisle want to spend $3.5 trillion and it's all one big massive spending mess and it's going to be hard for the voters to understand the difference. and we're going to get blamed for the whole mess.
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i subscribe to what lindsey graham said. he said, i think we can make it pretty clear to our voters that we love one and we hate the other. that's what my republican colleagues would hopefully say. that's the way i would say it. i love one and hate the other. but i -- i happen to feel that this is not so much a matter of confusion as a matter of recognition, what's right for america. because by being for this bill, even though there is a risk of some confusion, we do save about $500 billion for the american people and reduce the deficit over time by about $500 billion. we do restrict davis-bacon from being expanded into areas where it's not now. we do hold down some of the transit spending and the amtrak spending. we hold that add -- down administrative costs and the number of federal employees that are going to be hired for these programs. so in my opinion we have to put aside sometimes the politics for what's absolutely right for america. i'm sure some people are a
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little disturbed when they see headlines that say oh, this bipartisan effort would look like a win for biden. well, it's a written -- it's a win for republicans. it's a win for biden. it's a win for democrats and a win for the senate to say we can work together. that we can overlook partisan differences to do something for america. i'm convinced that this is a win for america. i support this legislation. i'm proud to have been part of the effort to help draft it and negotiate it. i admire and respect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that have worked on this legislation. we calculated just the other day that we had had over 50 meetings amongst that group of individuals, the ones that i attended, over the last several months in preparation for this bill. it's not a slap together effort. it was carefully considered. can was drawn upon and built upon legislation already passed by committees overwhelmingly
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time and time again wherever we could. and i certainly hope that the senators from both sides of the aisle will join together in passing this legislation, sending it to the house, that the house will address it in a way that's consistent with what we have agreed to, and we can send it to the president and help america finally get its infrastructure in order. thank you, mr. president. and i suspect the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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