tv American Perspectives CSPAN December 12, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
states was a qualified immunity case and it was a case will be were defending a federal official who was accused of using excessive force. i was asked how the civil rights division instruct injuries -- instruct juries when the government is prosecuting a state police officer for using excessive force? i asked how i would know. i was arguing a case about qualified immunity. why would you expect me to know about how to instruct the jury in a civil rights criminal trial? it is a perfectly obvious question. the responsibilities of the federal government are far flung. the general should not take
positions on a particular institution, but be responsible to answering questions about all relevant operations. >> have any of the three of you found that you had no idea how to answer a justice's question? >> there were such situations. i do not recall them, of course. chief justice rehnquist always had a zinger. it was, "what is the best case for your position?" there is no way that you can answer that and get out ahead. if you did not know, that was a problem. if you did think that you knew it, he knew it better than you did. i thought that was one where i
was often done struck. >> -- dumbstruck. >> when they are in stride, they are understand what the court is driving at understanding what the court is driving at. so, i felt that i was arguing, thinking that i was in stride. little did i know that i was over the cliff. chief justice rehnquist seemed to be unperturbed by what i have been saying and suddenly had this look of gasoline alarm and springs forward and flips on his microphone and with his elephant like the memory, as if another case should be overruled.
i had not heard of this case. i responded, "absolutely and emphatically not." were we trying to do that? at times, you are going to be embarrassed the best response -- be embarrassed. the best response is to prepare relentlessly. i would close by saying that i always found the moot court experience humbling and i, for one, have always deeply appreciated and profited from most rigorous moot court .
-- court. you want it in a moot court as opposed to justice kennedy. >> i would like to last you -- as you all, what was the most difficult part, what was the most fun part, and is there anything you would like to see changed? >> i think that the probably most difficult part were those situations where there was a disagreement within the executive branch that you just could not make go away. we have all looted to this. you do have situations where tw+ parts of the executive branch of way in on an issue and they both
have long seeded, deeply rooted issues that are diametrically opposed. this was a problem because the fcc and the trust division were not only opposed, but they filed briefs on the opposite side of the case in the second circuit. it that can happen when an independent agency has independent litigating authority. that was a case where we were able to get the fcc and the justice department antitrust apartment on the same brief. there are cases where it is really an intractable this agreement. the most enjoyable part of the job is arguing cases in front of the supreme court. it is a high honor for any litigant to get to argue a case,
here. to get to do it for the united states of america is really something. i was solicitor general recently announced that it there was something that i could have changed i should have done it. >> been the doctor no of an administration, when there are serious issues coming to the supreme court, i have found that due process goes a long way. agency heads will come to make their case. if they are heard out, and they get the sense that they are getting a serious look at what they want to do, even though the answer is no, they feel that they have done their jobs. i think that one of the best things about being solicitor
general is enjoying the enormous respect that the office enjoys, not only in the justice department, but throughout the federal government. i remember a case that involves the defense department. i had said no and my assistant said that the secretary of the navy was on the line. i thought i was born to get chewed out -- going to get chewed out. he told me that he understood that i decided against taking big case before the supreme court. he said that they appreciated the attention that i devoted to working at through and to thank you very much. i felt a chill. the office of solicitor general was held in high regard by the federal government. >> the most unpleasant and
difficult, by far, in my experience, was conflict. conflict within the justice department. every administration, regardless of who the president is has a schizophrenic elements. i read this in a book where the author talked about the federal laws and police in the office of legal counsel -- the federalism police in the office of legal counsel. you find yourself in the solicitor general's office being more of an echo of john marshall then you do of john c. calhoun. you believe in the national economic union and our federal system. my personal one came in very
early. after studying a position, a particular statute passed by the congress of the united states was facially unconstitutional. i could not take that position and we did not take that position. the most enjoyable part was the sense of community within the office. there was a sense that this was really special. we knew we would not be there for a very long time. i would say that erwin griswold said to me, not long after i was privileged to take the office, that there was not one thing long -- was only one thing and wrong. the office does not enjoy article 3 life tenure. i knew that i was on worthy and that he should be there -- on
were the and that he should be there -- and were the -- unworthy and that he should be there. >> is there unanimity that justice marshall was right? thank you, everyone. >> the supreme court historical society hosted this discussion on tuesday in washington d.c.. you can watch this program again or other recent programs at c- span.org. just click on "america and the courts." >> tonight, on c-span, part of
today's senate debate on health care and on the omnibus spending bill. later, the opening seraph money for the conference in copenhagen -- opening ceremony for the conference in copenhagen. >> and now, a news conference on health care. the senate was in session today to debate a package of spending bills. formal debate on health care is expected to continue on monday. senate gop leader mitch mcconnell speaks first at this briefing. >> i can tell that everyone in the room is happy to be here on a saturday morning. good morning. i think a couple of observations this morning would be timely. yesterday, we heard from both
the cms -- the actuary reported that this bill will not mend the health care cost curve. i would mention comments that said, "if we pass health care reform legislation without addressing health-care spending, we will fail. -- we will fail." this bill does not pass that test. the other entity we heard from was cnn. this is growing evidence that
the american people are opposed to this bill. we saw two weeks ago that there was a 9% more americans that opposed the bill then supported it. now, we see 61% opposed and only 36% in favor. our friends on the other side should make -- they are employing their members to make history. many things have happened throughout history and many of them have been mistakes. if this is passed in the face of the overwhelming opposition of the american people, having failed to achieve the goal of holding down health care costs, it would be viewed as a historic mistake. >> to pick up on that point, the
american people are inclined their intuitive common sense to this bill. they said if you increase the size of government and cut medicare by $500 billion and you create a situation where employers are forced to raise their premiums significantly, then you are going to create a system that does not work very well for them. the reason for all this effort was that everyone should have insurance, that the cost curve of insurance should be brought down and the people that like their health care should be able to keep it. they have confirmed the common sense of the american people and said that after this bull is fully implemented, 20 million people will still not have insurance. the cost curve will actually go
up by $235 billion and literally millions of people will lose their insurance because of the fact that their employers will have to increase dtheir insurance costs. they said that this bill will jeopardize seniors access -- seniors' access to medicare. this is what they said. providers for medicare is a stood -- for medicare is a substantial cause, they may end their participation. that is a direct quote. they go on to say that 20% of providers will become
unprofitable and hospitals will close. a doctors' offices will close -- at doctors' offices will close -- doctors' offices will close. it will force seniors out of coverage that they presently have today. it is ridiculous. >> i just want to pick up on the point that my colleague from new hampshire made. as a senator from florida, we have the highest per capita concentration of seniors. this report says exactly what senator gregg said. health care will decline for seniors because there will be less providers and doctors and hospitals who want to give health care for seniors. it is not health care reform if the doctor is not the end. if you cannot find a health-care provider, how is that health care reform? the second thing is that this is
a gimmick. you paid taxes for the full 10 years and you only get benefits for six years. that is like going to someone and say in that this is your house and start paying now but you cannot move in until 2014. this was supposed to be a plan that cut the cost of health care insurance for the 170-180 million americans that do not have helped insurance. now seniors will have that access taking away -- taken away. we will cut medicare, we will raise taxes, that does not sound much like health care reform. when i go back to florida, the people that i talked to are very concerned about this bill. they tell us not to vote for this bad bill. please do not hurt our health care. we are not voting on health
care. we are not having amendments to make this bill better. we are talking about budget issues. we are supposed to be working on the most important issue facing the american people. they cannot even find the colleagues to talk about this bill. republicans are chomping at the bit to talk about this bill. they cannot find a democrat to do it. when they do find them, they are criticizing the bill. we should start over. get it right and take it step by step. >> my colleagues have talked about access. they are telling us what we expected to hear in the first place. in the state of alaska, access is beyond the concern, it is a crisis. it has been a crisis for a period of years. we do not have our own medical
schools and so we are not growing our own, if you will. unlike my colleague from florida, where he represents a state that has the highest per capita seniors, i represent a state that is the fastest- growing senior population per capita in the nation. you may not have thought that. you may have thought it would be nevada or florida. it is alaska. we do not have providers in our state's largest city who are willing to see new medicare patients. anchorage alaska -- anchorage, alaska has half the population of the state and there are 13 providers who are willing to take new medical -- newt medicare eligible individuals. -- new medicare eligible individuals. one provider said that in view
of what happens with reimbursement and in view of what you all are discussing back here, i cannot afford within my family practice to take on newt medicare eligible individuals. she is dropping out and that puts us down to 12. this is a crisis. when we look at proposed legislation that does nothing to expand access and an insurance card that gives you access, there are no providers that are willing to take you on, what have we done? we have gone beyond what is coming out of cms. we have gone to our states think-tank -- our states' think tank and ask them, give us an
analysis of the house bill. what it comes to is nothing good for alaska. this does not help us in a state where our medical -- medicare reimbursement rates are lower than medicaid reimbursement rates. there are all kinds of unique factors, but the bottom line is that this increases the premiums for individuals 10%-50%. it crowds out those that are up -- 10%-15%. it increases your taxes and at the end of the day, there is nothing in this for alaskans. this is not acceptable to us. you have to start over. >> any questions? >> the democrats increased the
defense spending and will not allow you to have a stand-alone vote. will you vote against it? >> the reason for raising the debt ceiling is something that senator gregg knows a lot about. there is a lot of unrest about -- among democrats to address this issue in coming years because we are drowning in a sea of debt. i will ask senator gregg to talk about the proposal that the democrats are resisting. democrats are resisting. >> no carrierringconnect 1200
sailors not wanting the bar to close. these people are spending like drunken sailors. they are not being accountable to the americanñiçó peopleçó. as a result, in order to avoid any decision that would make them accountable, they are trying to push that off into the future. we would like to have four issues raised. we would like to terminate tarp. this has become a piggy bank for spending. remember, all tarp funding are
going to things that will not be repaid. we believe that the stimulus package spending should be of rescinded because it is well past the recession and we are walking around with money many that were able to not spend the money. we believe that there should be some sort of freeze on discretionary spending. we believe that the konrad braden -- conrad great commission should -- >> senator gregg and senator mcconnell, why did you vote for all these bills and then vote against them when they're on the
floor? >> in my view, we should move the process along out of appropriations committee. that is tradition. when they get to the floor, hopefully there will be corrected and reduced. i take them seriously because i believe that the process is important to prove all of the appropriations bills. i do believe that when they get to the floor, they should be drawn back. ñii wouldñi support across-the-d cuts on all of those bills if we could get a vote. >> let me just add that three of bill and we voted against it. this is a time when the are sailors. xdñrçóñrthis would triple the nl
debt in 10 years. the least we could have exercised some restraint over domestic discretionary spending. >> in your discussions with the majority leader, do you sense the and democrats are trying to close down the bill and move to closure. >> they cannot close down the bill. they have serious problems. they have all kinds of -- all kinds of internal problems. my assumption is will go back and start voting on monday. that is what the american people expect us to be doing. the anxiety level on the other side is quite high. i do not think that anyone thinks this is inevitable next week will be interesting. >> just to follow on that
this is about 45 minutes. here have in front of us appropriations bills. we have heavy matters of the deficit. we have heavy matters of how that we're going to get the united states government to bring its fiscal house in order. i remind the senate that it was the last time that we have had a surplus was in 2001, and if we had been wise and had not cut the revenue of this country so significantly, we could have been good stewards of that healthy surplus and we could have paid off the national debt over a 12-year period, and we
wouldn't be where we are today, but we are, and in these matters that are weighing heavily on us, it seems that our attention is being continuously diverted to other things, such as white house party crashers and the unfortunate circumstances that one of the most famous athletes finds himself in, tiger woods. we have a debate about the health care bill, and it seems like that in the course of last summer that the whole health care was about one subject, and that was the question of a public option. and we now know that all the experts are telling us that if we have a public option, that
will be a part of this health insurance exchange, the exchange itself will only cover something like 15% to 20% max of the people, and the public option would only include something like four million or five million people, and that we're talking about like 1.5% of the total folks in the country. and yet, the debate raged all summer as if that were the only issue about the health reform. and so here we find ourselves trying to pass a health reform bill with so much attention diverted elsewhere with people
pushing and pulling and tugging, all the special interests, how in the world do you bring this together? how do you bring it together so that we can get the high threshold of 60 votes in the united states senate? on the one hand, there are the insurance companies. the insurance companies have a huge steak and now the -- huge stake and now the insurance companies are running tv ads all over the country trying to kill this bill because they realize there is going to be a limitation on their ability to do everything that they want to do and to charge what they want to do and to cancel at will and to have frivolous reasons such as a skin rash as a pre-existing condition and therefore we're not going to insure you.
and that is what has led to us getting to the point of saying enough. we're going to pass a health insurance reform bill. and then, of course, what comes to light is suddenly in this package that was not in the package that came out of the senate finance committee but is in this package, that there is actually a nod to the insurance industry that there is a limitation on the amount of payments that could be made on anyone's insurance policy in one year. well, there again is a lot of opportunity for mischief and abuse, and we've got to correct things like that. is there anyone that doubts that we don't need health insurance
reform and health care reform even though you're getting the opposite messages from the insurance companies? that you're getting the opposite messages from anybody that is a special interest that doesn't get entirely what they want? what are some of those? hospitals, doctors, all kind of health care providers, medical device manufacturers, and all the various interests of patients. but if you really look at it, you can't get all that you want, mr. special interest, and instead keep in mind the goal that we're trying to achieve, and that is take a system that
is near tilt and get it on the road to reform. there's another part of this reform that we have to do, and that is that the united states government cannot afford the cost escalation that is going on in its payment of medicare and medicaid. and so there are reforms that we can enact, many of which are in this bill, such as accountable care organizations that will follow the patient, electronic records that will modernize so that any doctor or health care provider that sees the patient will know up to date what has been the care so that records are not lost. emphasis on a primary care physician that can do a lot of preventable care before the
emergency ever gets there. and then, of course, utilizing a lot of the miracles of modern medicine, including the pharmaceuticals to hold off so that we don't get to that emergency, so that if you are not insured, you end up at the emergency room, or even if you are insured, you end up at the emergency room, which is the most expensive place to get care. is there a lot that we can do? yes. and it is what we must do. and with the hurdle in this united states senate being so high that we have to get 60 votes to close off debate, we have to be successful. it will not be pretty, and it will not be perfect, but it will
be a step in the right direction, and there are portions of this proposed law that will take effect not immediately but a year or two or three down the road, and if we have made mistakes, we can correct those mistakes, but we must be successful. for us to turn back now, no matter who is arguing against it, for us to protect a special interest, no matter who is arguing for that, at the expense of the greater good of remark would be a drastic mistake. and not one of us could be happy going home to our families for
christmas if we don't enact this, and it's because of that that i have -- that i feel very strongly that we will be successful, as difficult and astor trust -- and astor tourous as this -- and as torturous as this process is, and this senator will keep pressing for it until we get that final passage. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: madam president, i understand that maybe i will have my speech broken up by a unanimous consent request of the leadership, so i ask if that happens that my remarks be continuous throughout the
record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: there has been a lot of talk over the past few days about senator reid's so-called compromise. although he said he has broad agreement, i have yet to see any specific details. in fact, it sounds like members of his very own caucus, the democratic caucus, aren't really aware of these details either. now, i find it quite hard to understand how there can be -- quote -- unquote -- "broad agreement" on something when they don't know what's in it. and, of course, i hope that we'll see details very soon. something like health care reform affecting 306 million americans and restructuring 1/6 of our economy is something that should not be done in secret,
and when so-called compromises come out, i would expect we would have the same 72 hours on the internet for the public and the 99 members of this body other than the leader to review them in the totally transparent way that we have always been promised. and as this 2,074-page bill has been transparent as well as all of the amendments, because this is one of the biggest and most important pieces of legislation that i have worked in -- worked on in all my years in the congress. so i hope that senator reid is not planning to keep the details of his compromise under wraps and then ask us to vote on it. this piece of legislation is going to touch the lives of every single american from the cradle to the grave, so we owe it to our constituents to make
sure that we have sufficient time to study any changes to the underlying bill. we all need to remember that it's their money, the taxpayers' money that is being spent on this bill, not ours. but as i have said, so far senator reid is keeping this broad argument and broad agreement under wraps. so today, i can only talk about what i have heard from my colleagues or read in the newspaper, and who knows whether the newspaper or our colleagues in surmising what this compromise might be actually is. i've heard the majority leader is planning to expand the already unsustainable medicare program. the idea has been met with, of
course, strong opposition, as you'd expect from hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers. particularly from rural america. because expanding medicare to people ages 55 to 64 and paying medicare rates is going to make it even more difficult for our hospitals to survive because the federal government only reimburses 80% of costs. now, today, with people over 65, the government not paying more than 80%, it can be offset by private sector charges by the hospitals to a greater amount to make it up. but if you load another tens of millions of people on medicare, and it's just about broke
anyway, you can see that these -- that this deficit of our hospitals is going to be greater and it's going to be even more difficult to makeup because there's going to be less private paid people to make up the deficit. now, i said the hospitals, doctors and health care providers are bringing strong opposition to this idea of expanding the medicare program, because they fear that the largest expansion of medicaid in history and an expansion of medicare to peoples aged 55-64 will drive providers out of business, then what, of course, does that do for our seniors? it makes it even harder for low-income americans under medicaid and seniors under medicare to have access to care.
and what are the promises of the federal government in medicare worth if you don't have doctors to provide the services to the seniors when they get sick? i've already spoken over the last few days about why i agree with these providers and why i oppose that part of senator reid's so-called compromise. but of course now we have the administration's own chief actuary confirming that the medicare cuts already in this bill -- in other words, the 2,074-page bill without even considering the so-called reid compromise that we don't know what it is, the chief actuary has confirmed that medicare cuts already in the bill are so
severe that providers might even now end their participation in the program, even before you add on all the people 55-64. so if the compromise expands medicare even further, then this is going to make this problem even worse. i also find it curious that some would even consider this a compromise. for instance, speaker pelosi couldn't convince house democrats to support a medicare plan paying medicare rates. but that's exactly what senator reid compromise is proposing, i've been told. which doesn't sound like much of a compromise to me. in fact, let me quote another congressman, congressman wiener
of new york. doesn't see it as a compromise either. in fact, he sees it as a big step toward their ultimate goal of a single-payer health plan where government's going to run everything and you've got one choice, the government plan, you don't have choices like we have in america today. and congressman wiener said th this: "this expansion would perhaps get us on the path to a single-payer model." so i don't see this as a compromise to a government-run plan. in fact, in some ways it's worse, because this could harm seniors' access to care starting not down the road but on day o one. but i don't want to spend too much time today talking about medicare expansion. i think that i've made my feelings on this idea pretty clear.
instead, i'd like to focus on another aspect of the supposed new reid compromise that we're hearing about. this is what we're hearing abo about, that the newest reid proposal would have the office of personnel management operate a national health insurance plan. this may sound pretty harmless at first glance, especially since senator reid has refused to release any details, but there are some very big problems with the proposal, like having the office of personnel management take over. we use the terms around here, o.p.m. for the office of personnel management. it is the office in charge of the federal government's 2 million-person work force. one could consider o.p.m. as the human resource agency or
department for all of the federal government. dealing with everything from salaries to the operation of the federal employees health benefit programs. which i think is the reason that senator reid thinks that this would be -- this agency would be well-equipped to run the largest insurance company in the country. unfortunately, a former director of o.m.b. -- o.p.m. disagrees. he was asked about giving new responsibilities to the office personnel management and this former director, linda springer, she said this -- quote -- "i flat-outthink that o.p.m. doesn't have the capacity to do this type of role." federal employees have also expressed concern and people in this body, particularly the
other party, ought to be listening to the national treasury employees union or the national active and retired federal employees association. they have come out in opposition to this proposal of o.p.m. running a national health insurance company. in "the washington post" story highlighting union opposition, the author writes that unions raise these concerns. quote -- "legitimate concerns about expanding the size and scope of o.p.m. beyond its capacity." so there are already concerns from a former director and more than 5 mil million federal work, retirees and dependents that o.p.m. is not equipped to handle
this new responsibility. that alone should make any member pause before signing on to this so-called broad agreement. but i also think that it's important that members are aware of some of the challenges the office of personnel management faces with its current responsibilities, without loading it down with a lot more. because being human resources department for the federal government is obviously no easy task. in fact, i would imagine it's a pretty thankless job that entails a lot of long hours. so, please don't misconstrue any comments as an attack on o.p.m., its director or any of its employees. they do the best job they can under difficult circumstances. but they're going to have real problems if senator reid's
compromise does include a government-run insurance plan operated by o.p.m. if he's going to come out of nowhere with a new proposal to haisly hand the american health insurance system over to this government agency, i think it's important for the american people to know what they're getting into. we need to be asking some hard questions. is this expansion of the federal government necessary? we're about to vote to raise the debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion because the national credit card has maxed out, and some members of the senate seem intent about increasing the size of the federal government even more. a second question beyond just the generic one "can you afford
to expand the federal government role and the expenditures." second: should the office of personnel management, a government agency, be handed the keys to the largest health insurance plan in the entire country. i don't know that the current o.p.m. director, and i would imagine that he was a very nice person. since i don't know him, i don't want him to take offense to what i say but i think it's fair to point out that his position just prior to taking over at o.p.m. was running the national zoo. does this really mean that we should put him in charge of the national health insurance plan? the office of personnel management has consistently been criticized for being out of date and being inefficient on everything from processing national security projects to
administering federal benefits. and we've all heard about the massive backlog in people waiting for social security disability benefits. some 833,000 americans get it. 833,000 americans are currently on a waiting list to see if they calqualify for government disability benefits and some members blame o.p.m. for this backlog. so i'm going to put a chart up here from a person that i trust in the house of representatives, representative earl pomeroy, because i think he does very excellent work. and he heard about this backlog, so he made some comments about o.p.m. congressman pomeroy is a democrat from north dakota and a member of the very powerful house ways and means committee. he said -- and the quote is up
here -- "the office of personnel management is fiddling around, years go by before they can even get around to all the things they have to get around to." this seems to reinforce what the government unions and the former director have expressed about o.p.m.'s ability to handle this new responsibility. and i want to to to continue toe congressman pomeroy. "people are being hurt. some of the most vulnerable people in this country are being hurt every day because of bureaucratic bunning bling at o.p.m." again, senator reid hasn't provided enough details but congressman pomeroy's comments certainly raise concerns.
undermining the ability -- or the availability of disability benefits is bad enough, but do my colleagues want to also be responsible for setting up an unworkable system that leaves hundreds of thousands of americans on the waiting list for their health care benefits? government agencies, whether it's the office of personnel management or some other agency, do not have an impeccable track record. as president reagan often said, the nine most terrifying words in the english language are, "i'm from the government and i'm here to help." think of a health care system with the responsiveness of hurricane katrina or think of the efficiency of the internal
revenue service offer customer service at the department of motor vehicles. that doesn't sound like a recipe for real health reform to me. the office of personnel management has also taken considerable criticism for its handling of retiree benefits. the agency's own 2008 financial report stated -- and i quote -- "the office of personnel management had increased difficulty keeping up with retirement claims and had to decrease -- had a decrease in the number of customers satisfied with their own servi services." that's coming directly from the agency saying how it's coming up short performing to the needs of the american people and particularly government employees before we're talking
about adding a new government health insurance program to the responsibilities of o.p.m. now, "the hill" newspaper wrote this last week -- and i quote -- "watchdogs maintain the program is riddled with inefficiencies that ultimately cost both the agency and the federal government money." so i think that there are legitimate concerns about whether this federal agency is even equipped to take on the additional responsibilities of a whole new government countrywide program that is obviously a massive undertaking. but i also wonder why this proposal is even necessary. the bill already sets up government-run exchanges that would offer a choice of competing for profit or
not-for-profit plans. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have compared this system to the federal employee health benefit plan. this bill already has provisions that encourage national health plans. this leads me to ask the question: why does this bill need another layer of bureaucracy to create a national plan run by a government agency? some have suggested that this is just another backdoor attempt to end up with a government-run plan. another detail that has been reported supports this claim. we have been told that if not enough, not for profit plans agreed to contract with the office of personnel management or if they don't meet certain affordability standards, the office of personnel management will have the authority to
establish its own government-run plan. now, with some of the other provisions that are in this bill, this trigger approach seems to be rigged. there are at least two reasons why this is the case. first, the first undermines any ably to avoid -- ability to avoid the first government plan trigger to make health coverage more affordable. the bill puts in place a bunch of new regulatory reforms, a bunch of fees, and a lot of taxes that will drive up premiums, making it impossible for health plans to meet new affordability requirements. now, again, you're going to say you question this senator's judgment saying that. but don't take my word for it because we have the nonpartisan congressional budget office. a group of professionals that
like this so-called trigger is being rigged to shoot. i can only assume that this backdoor attempt to shoehorn in a government-run plan at the last minute, has to be an act of desperation. senator reid and his colleagues have seen the facts. you've heard them from our have seen the facts. you've heard them from our distinguished republican according to cnn poll from december 2 and december 3, 61% of the americans oppose this 2,074-page bill. and at a time when the democratic leadership is pushing a 1.8% increase in the deficit, we learned from the actuaries that this $2.5 trillion -- this 2,074-page bill bill bends the
cost curve up by increasing health care spending. whereas if you go back to day one of -- of this year when we first started talking about health care reform, one of the overriding goals was to bend that cost curve down. now, after 11 months of activity we got a bill with that cost curve going up. not one of the major goals that we set out to do. -- to do 11 months ago. this bill is also under pressure from opposition by the national federation of independent businesses speaking for the small businesses of america. the ones that do 70% of the net hiring also opposed by the national association of manufacturers, the chamber of commerce, the national retail federation, and almost every
other business group across the country. and because of this last-minute desperate attempt to apiece the far left -- appease the far left, this rumored new compromise is being opposed by doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. and these people were on board through most of these 11 months promising their support and now they see it going in the wrong direction. with all those factors, i don't see how anyone, let alone 60 senators, can vote for this bi bill. this last-minute desperate attempt to expand medicare and hand over private health insurance systems over to a federal agency, office of personnel management has this
step, if it materializes, has made a bad bill even worse. i have another part of a bill that i want to speak to, and this -- we have this 2,074-page bill bill before us, and -- before us and i want to refer to page 2,034, way at the tail end of the bill. section 90-12 of the reid bill. only takes up eight lines. but it could have a major impact on millions of retirees and even on the entire u.s. economy. in fact, listen to this, we've got the afl-cio, we've got the americans benefit council, and we've got the business roundtable, have all joined together in opposition to this
provision, section 9012. now how often do you have the afl-cio, the american benefits council, and the business roundtable -- that roundtable's the big corporations in america -- joining together in opposition to anything? but they're in opposition to section 9012 of the bill. now, this would prohibit businesses from fully deducting a subsidy they receive to maintain retiree drug coverage. medicare modernization act of 2003 created this subsidy to encourage businesses to keep offering retiree drug coverage once the part-d benefit was established. because back in 2003, our goal in passing the prescription drug bill for seniors was not to
disturb people that already had drug coverage and they liked what they had and they wanted to keep it. we didn't want these big corporations dumping these people off into something that they were unfamiliar with. so we helped to encourage companies and save the taxpayers money, and i'll refer to those specific dollar figures in just a minute. now, in federal tax policy, it's very unusual to provide a deduction for a business expense like retiree health costs if that expense is subsidized by a federal program. but in this case, the conferees decided to provide this unusual tax treatment for compelling health policy purposes. some that i've already referred to. that we ought to -- if people are satisfied with what they have, we shouldn't pass a bill
pushing people out of a plan of something they like. but it was also to save taxpayers dollars. because the rationale was that it was cheaper to pay a $600 subsidy than to have these people forced out of their corporate plan and then to have the taxpayers pay an age o of $1,100 that it would cost if the retiree joined the part-d government plan. you know what? after six years so far it has worked. millions of seniors have been able to keep their retiree coverage as a result of this subsidy. and the part-d program continues to come in under budget and also to receive high marks from our senior citizens. but the provision tucked away in this 2,074-page bill on gauge 2,034 -- on page 2,034 could
change all of that and, in fact, have severe consequences, and let me say, unintended consequences. not just on those retirees, but for the entire u.s. economy. in an effort to pay for this massive expansion of a government-run health plan, the reid bill proposes to eliminate the tax deductibility of this provision. this could cause employers all across the country to drop retiree coverage. this will not only break the president's promise by preventing millions of seniors from keeping what they have -- remember that promise during the campaign? it will also cause the cost of the part-d program to go up. in addition, accounting rules for retiree benefits will require that the businesses that do keep offering plans --
offering these benefits -- will have to report the total revised cost on the day the bill becomes law. so we have this opt he'd written in the wall street -- opt ed written in "the wall street journal," written about this. this could cause businesses to post millions of dollars in losses and significantly impact an already struggling economy. is this something that you want to do when we still have 10% unemployment? i think that the majority ought to give second thought to that. a letter sent on december 11th, from the chief financial officers of some of the largest employers in the country stated -- quote -- "the impact of the proposed medicare part-d changes would be felt throughout the overall u.s. economy as corporate entities an investors would be -- and investors would be forced to act." another letter signed by the afl-cio stated that this provision would -- quote --
"unnecessarily destabilize employer-sponsored benefits for millions of retirees." now, once again, how often do you get these large corporations in the afl-cio singing off the same song sheet? this simple provision tucked away on page 2,034 is just one more in a long list of policies that could have serious, unintended consequences for american businesses and retirees. at this point it appears the majority is so determined to get a bill at any cost that they will place -- put in place bad policies and promises to somehow clean up the mess later on. that's not the way to write legislation. that is not what the american people were hoping for when they were told congress was going to
fix the health care system. this provision is just one more reason that we need to scrap this product and go away to -- to the drawing board. i think in finishing, i'll just say what i probably said two or three times before, we're trying to fix the health care system. health care reform. the word reform implies all of that. if you were having a coffee clatch in rural iowa this very morning and one of us senators dropped in on it and he started asking us about a bill because they were already talking about health care reform, and any one of us told him that it would increase taxes, it would increase premiums of health insurance, that it wouldn't do anything about decreasing inflation of health care, in other words, costs are going to
go up yet and we're going to take $464 billion out of medicare, a program that's already in distress, to setup a whole brand-new government program, you know what every one of those people around the table would say? well, that doesn't sound like health care reform to me. so let's not denigrate the word "reform." i ask unanimous consent, along with my last remarks, to put a letter from the afl-cio in the -- in the record. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without >> keep up the latest on the senate health care debate on our companion station, c-span2.
we will have updates from the reporters and editors of congressional quarterly. now for iphone users, followed the debate with the new c-span iphone app. it is free, and with it you can listen to c-span, c-span2, and c-span3, along with c-span arabia. senators voted 60-54 in favor of the on the bus. this is about 40 minutes. >> at the present time, i rise to speak on the pending bill before us, one of the great pork-barrel earmarked bills, pieces of legislation i have seen come before this body. i like to quote from abc news. "'tis the season of pork,
congress gives $4 billion of the marks before returning to the district's, just before christmas. congress is poised to give the gift of pork. roughly $4 billion of it. included in the $447 billion omnibus bill, funding pet projects of key members of congress from both parties in all regions of the country. senate will vote on the bill this weekend. independent analysis of the bill reveal a whopping 12% increase in government spending for 2010 while the inflation rate in the country remains near zer zero." a 12% increase in spending when people are out of jobs, out of their homes. they cannot afford to -- the --
basically what they need to sustain their lives and we have increased spending by 12% and@@ this congress has not shown they're serious about the budget deficit in any way. the spending spree is continuing even as the deficit escalates to $two trillion. $800,000 for the lincoln center for the democrat from new york. senator tom harkin, democrat iowa, and representative leonard boswell, iowa got $750,000 for exhibits at the world food prize
haul and iowa. the world food prize haul and kiowa. -- price halt in iowa. to get dz 3-dz .4 million for a -- $3.4 million for a rural bus program in hawaii. the country needs to tighten it's belt. republicans have criticized the spending package, but many democrats say it funds key priorities. two of the biggest earmarks are from republican senators thad cochran and roger wicker of mississippi, at a cost of $8 million for improvements to four rural state airports. one airport serves fewer than 100 passengers a day. and another the mid delta regional airport sees even less. by the way, i've seen the pork extended to both of those airports over the years. the new funds would come on top
of $4.4 million the airports just received from the stimulus package. i am not making this up. we obviously have huge aviation and transportation needs this country and stuffing most millions of dollars in small, little used airports in mississippi is not a wise use of funds, said ellis. president obama had promised to curb the inclusion of earmarks in government spending bills but has yet to issue the threat of a veto. my friends, do not wait for threat of a veto. in march obama signed a $410 billion spending package that contained nearly 8,000 pet projects. quote, "i am signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it's necessary for the ongoing functions of government." obama said at the time. witbut i view it for more
mar-reaching -- far-reaching change. what has changed? what has changed? nothing has changed. senate majority leader harry reid said about the last omnibus, we have a lot of issues that we need to after to fund government, something that we should have done last year, but could not because of the difficulty we had working with president bush. difficulty working with president bush. who did harry -- did the majority leader have trouble working with this time? so, again, i would repeat to my colleagues, 1,350-page omnibus appropriations conference report, six bills, spends $460 billion, $4,052 earmarks totaling $3.7 billion, a full 409 pages of this conference report are dedicated to listening to congressional pork barrel spending, spending
on domestic programs in this bill increased 14% over the last fiscal year while spending on military construction an care for our veterans has increased bill only 9%. so let's look at a little bit of it? okay. housing, transportation, urban development are has over 4,000 earmarks. commerce, science, justice, 1,511 earmarks totalin totaling $17.15 million. the list goes on and on. we have a debt of $12 trillion, unemployment at 10%, nearly 900,000 families lost their homes in 2008. and it -- and it is every indication that the aggregate numbers for 2009 will be worse. with all this, we continue to spend and spend and spend, and every time we pass an appropriations bill with increased spending and load it up with earmarks, we are robbing future generations of americans of their ability to attain the
american dream. 43 cents out of every dollar that's spent in this bill is borrowed, and it's borrowed from our children and our grandchildren, and unfortunately generations after this. this is the greatest act of generational theft that's been committed in the history of this country. now let me just go through a few of these, if i might, and remind people really the context that this is in. my home state of arizona, 48% of the homes, quote -- under water "meaning they are worth less than the mortgage payments people are having to pay on them. we have small business people losing credit everywhere. and instead of trying to fix their problems and help them out, it's business as usual here in the senate of the united states of america and the congress. $200,000 for the washington national opera in washington, d.c., for set design,
installation, and performing arts at libraries and school. $13.9 million on fisheries in hawaii. it's always, always hawaii. nine projects throughout the islands, ranging from funding big eye tuna quotas, marine education and training, and coral research. $2.7 million -- this may be my favorite. up there, a certain one of them. $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space. $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space, guess where? at the university of nebraska. as i have said many times, a common theme, you will always have a location designated for these projects. that's why some of them may be worthwhile, but we'll never know because they don't compete them. they always earmark them for the particular place that they want
to help. unfortunately, that shuts out other people. there may be other places besides the university of nebraska that can support surgical operations in outer space. i -- i suggest bones and get dr. spock here and bones and get them out there and help them at the university. i don't know if they live in omaha or not, but i'm sure that to them and all the others on "star trek" that surgical operations in outer space may be one of their priorities. it certainly isn't a priority of the citizens of my state. now, one of the great cultural events that took place in the 20th century was the woodstock festival, so in order to really do a lot more research on that great cultural moment, we're going to spend $30,000 for the woodstock film festival outinitiative.
$200,000 to renovate and construct the laredo little theater in texas. people from all over america are flocking to the laredo little theater, and they want to invest $200,000 of their tax dollars into the laredo little theater. and the money would be used to replace worn auditorium seating and soundproofing materials. and so yeah, anybody got a little theater that they want -- worn auditorium seating and soundproofing, maybe they ought to apply to the senator from texas. $665,000 for -- i'm not making this one up -- for the cedars-sinai medical center in los angeles, california, for equipment and supplies for the institute for irritable bowel syndrome research. now, i have a lot of comments on them but i -- on that issue, but
i think i will just pass those so as to not violate the rules of the senate. $500,000 for the botanical research institute in fort worth. i'm sure the botanical research institute in fort worth is a good one. i would like to see other botanical research institutes able to compete. $600,000 for a water storage tower construction in ado, oklahoma. -- in ada, oklahoma. population 208. $200,000 for a visitors' center in a town in texas with a population of 5,240. money for elimination of slum and blight in scranton, pennsylvania. now, that may have been put in by the cast of "the office." $292,000 for elimination of slum and blight in scranton, pennsylvania. $200,000 for design and construction of the garapan public market in the northern
marianas islands. $500,000 for the development of a community center -- now, this is half a million dollars for a community center in custer county, idaho. the population is 4,342. $100,000 for the cleveland municipal school district. $100,000 for a school district. they just picked one and gave them $100,000. $800,000 for jazz at the lincoln center. $300,000 -- if you don't like jazz at the lincoln center, then go to carnegie hall. there is $300,000 for music programs there. i mentioned the rural bus program. $400,000 for orchestra iowa music education, cedar rapids, iowa, to support a music education program. $2,500,000 for the fayette county schools in lexington, kentucky, for a foreign language program. $100,000 to the cleveland municipal school district in cleveland, ohio, to improve math
and language skills through music education. $700,000 for the national marine fisheries service for the project, quote -- "shrimp fishing industry effort research continuation. "$1.6 million to build a tram between the huntsville botanical garden and the marshall flight center in alabama. how many places need need $1.6 million to build a tram? $250,000 -- it's probably going to go out to the statue of vulcan also. $250,000 for the monroe county fiscal court for the monroe county farmers market in kentucky. $750,000 for the design and fabrication of exhibits to be placed in the world food prize hall of laureates in iowa. $500,000 to support the creation of a center to honor the contribution of senator culver, an iowa state senator at the simpson college in iowa. $400,000 to recruit and train
closed-captioners and court reporters at the a.i.b. college of business in iowa. $250,000 for renovating the murphy theater community center in ohio. now, my friends, there is a lot more, and i will just go through them briefly, but the point is -- the point is you'll notice two things. one, that the preponderance of these pork-barrel and earmark projects are -- are allocated to members of the appropriations committee, which, first of all, is fundamentally unfair. second of all, you will find that each are designated to a certain place to make sure that none of that money isn't spent somewhere else in america where the need may be greater. and third of all, it breeds corruption. it breeds corruption. it is a gateway drug. what we're talking about is a gateway drug, and it's especially egregious now.
$300,000 to monitor and research herring in maine. $200,000 to study maine lobster. $250,000 for a father's day rally parade in philadelphia, pennsylvania. i mean, you know, i -- i scoff and make fun of a lot of these, but really? $250,000 for a father's day rally parade in philadelphia. $100,000 for the kentler international drawing space and art education program in brooklyn. here's a deprived area. $75,000 for art projects in hollywood, los angeles park. $100,000 for performing arts training program at the new freedom theater in philadelphia. $100,000 to teach tennis at the new york junior tennis league in woodside, new york. $2.8 million to study the health effects of space radiation on
humans at the loma linda university, loma linda, california. $200,000 for the aquatic adventurers science education foundation in san diego. $100,000 to archive newspaper and digital media at the mississippi gulf coast community college in perkinston, mississippi. $3.9 million on researching weaving and knitting at the following places -- clemson university, raleigh, north carolina, philadelphia university, and california. u.c.-davis in davis, california. $90,000 for a commercial kitchen business incubator at the el pejera community development corporation in watsonville, california. a commercial kitchen business incubator? $500,000 to study vapor mercury in the
$1 million to examine sea scallops and marine fisheries in bedford, massachusetts. $500,000 -- $300,000 for sea lion biological research. it $300,000 for bering sea crab management. $500,000 to upgrade the baltimore county courthouse security. 900,000 owlish for the operational costs and capital supporting the alien species action plan cargo inspection facility and maui. $2 million to st.-scape the city of tuscaloosa alabama. $100,000 for the engineering study of the bite connector. 400,000 less for a pedestrian i
up at -- $400,000 for a pedestrian overpass in des moines, iowa. monterey bay, california, another deprived area of america. $750,000 for the philadelphia museum of art transportation improvement program in brady, pennsylvania. $500,000 for park and ride lots at broward county, florida. $487,000 to restore walkways in new port cliff, rhode island, another low-income area up there in new port, rhode island. $974,000 for regional east-west trail and bikeway in albuquerque. the list goes on and on and on and on. up to nearly $4 billion. and, you know, the problem is, mr. president, among other problems, is that in the last campaign, the president of the
united states campaigned for change, change you can believe in. there's no change here. it's worse. it's worse because the conditions that americans find themselves in, out of their homes, out of jobs, high unemployment, tough economic conditions, and it's business as usual. spending money like a drunken sailor, and the bar is still open. so, again, i tell my colleagues again what i keep saying over and over and over again. there's a peaceful revolution going on out there, and they are sick and tired of the way that we do business here in washington. they don't think their tax dollars should be spent on these pork-barrel and earmark projects, and they're mad about it. and we're not getting the message here. we're not hearing them. we're not -- we're not responding to the problems and the enormous challenges that the
american people have today, and we are continuing this kind of obscene process, which not only -- which not only is wrong on its face but breeds corruption here in washington. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that the yahoo story by a.p. story "senate set to advance $1.1 trillion spending bill" be included. the abc news story and the fox news story "watchdogs cry foul over thousands of earmarks in spending bill" be included in the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i -- i'm sorry to be repetitive, and i know my colleague is waiting so i'll end with this. this is wrong. we all know it's wrong. the american people know it's wrong. people who vote for this kind of pork-barrel spending are going to be punished by the voters,
and we're going to end this obscene process and we're going to end it soon, as early as the next election. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, we are now considering a bill that represents the dramatic expansion in government spending. as the senator from arizona has so eloquently stated, this omnibus appropriation bill represents a 12% increase over last year, a fiscal year that ended with the largest deficit in american history of of $1.4 trillion. i don't know of any other area in the economy where people are spending 12% over what they spent last year. no family in america, no business in america is spending 12% more this year than they did last year. while we see 10% of our people
unemployed. millions of families across the country and small businesses are, in fact, tightening their budgets. but the budgets of these federal agencies, and of the federal government itself, keeps expanding. 33% increase of spending for foreign operations. a 23% increase in transportation, housing, and urban development. one of the worst things that this spending is doing is creating tremendous uncertainty, both here at home and other places like china, which are buying our debt, about whether we are ever going to get serious about our fiscal responsibility. the president asked last week why job creators were not stepping up and creating jobs. well, the fact of the matter is people are watching what we're doing here in congress, and they don't know what the rules will be six months from now or a year
from now or whether congress will ever recover from this binge its been on when it comes to spending. but it's clear we cannot spend -- we cannot spend our way out of this recession. job creators are scared. they're scared. and they're sitting on the sidelines because all of the spending, all of the tax increases, all of the government takeovers coming out of washington, d.c., these days, leave them with the answer is that they don't know what the rules are going to be and why in the world would you want to create a job, expand your business or make an investment when the very premise upon which you did so would change because of all the chaos here in washington. the facts of our debt crisis are not in dispute. the total public debt stands at about $12 trillion. we have in 2009, a $1.4 trillion
fiscal deficit. in other words, we spent more than $1.4 million than the treasury brought in in fiscal year 2009. and then we're accumulating dent even faster during this year than we did last. according to the treasury department, the deficit for the first two months -- two months of the new fiscal year was almost $300 billion. $300 billion for two months. a total larger than the full year deficits in 2002, 2006, or 2007. so in two months the deficit is worse than the entire years of 2002, 2006, and 2007. our deficits will average nearly $1 trillion every year for the next decade. $1 trillion every year for the next decade according to the administration. and this ought to be a shot,
this week's moody's investor service said its debt rating on u.s. treasury securities -- quote -- "may test the triple a boundaries." now the translation of that is that they are beginning to doubt whether -- at some point whether the united states government will be able to pay its bills or will default on those bills at some point. hopefully not any time soon. but this is the sort of pressure we are putting on -- not only on our ability to create jobs, but on our future and particularly on our children's future if we cause moody's investor service and others to rate u.s. treasury securities less than triple a rated. we know soon our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to have congress lift to -- lift the debt ceiling. this is like the credit limit on your credit card. once congress is bumped up
against that $12 trillion debt ceiling, congress is going to have a vote on whether to ask the american people, and people buying our debt, whether we can increase the limits of our credit card because we maxed it out. media reports indicate that the majority intends to slip this provision into a bill on funding our troops in afganistan. because, frankly, they're embarrassed to have a stand alone vote on raising the debt ceiling. especially because they know that there are many of us here on both sides of the aisle that will insist on some measure to affect some discipline on this spending binge as a condition to voting on the debt ceiling. but whatever the vehicle that the majority leader decides upon, they cannot hide the fact that we are borrowing money so fast that we'll have to raise the debt ceiling another 15%. conveniently this increase will get the government through the next mid-term elections, it's reported, according to some
experts. not a coincidence. no one, particularly those in control of the congress, want to have another vote on lifting the debt ceiling or asking the american people to raise the credit card limit before the next election. because they know the american people are increasingly angry and frightened by the spending binge that they see here and particularly the accumulating debt. that's not even getting to the financial crisis that entitlement programs are facing, like medicare and social security. we know that medicare, that its unfunded liabilities are rough roughly $38 trillion. now, i realize that number is so big that there are perhaps none of us that can fully comprehend how much money that is. but $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities for medicare alone. and, yet, the proposed medicare compromise, among 10 democrats, would roughly double the burden
of medicare and not fix it, but actually make things worse. well, madam president, i want to mention one other item of fiscal irresponsibility that i witnessed. i think we need to cancel one of the credit cards that been used by the administration, not just this it administration, but the past administration, and congress for purposes that congress never intended it when it authorized this program. the troubled asset relief program or tarp. and i know the senator from south dakota's on the floor. he's been one of the leaders in this effort because he believes, as i -- i think as i do that we can't mend it, so we need to end it. we need to cut out this revolving credit account that's being used for inappropriate purposes known as tarp, the troubled asset relief program. now, let's go back and look at why tarp was authorized by
congress in october of 2008. it's important to remember what the situation was at this time. treasury secretary henry paulson, and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke, had many conversations with legislators on both end of the capitol on both sides of the aisle. they said on their public on september 23, secretary paulson said that congress must act -- quote -- "in order to avoid a continuing series of financial institution failures an frozen credit markets that threaten the very health of our economy." in private the diagnosis was even more dire. we were told that we're literally days away from a complete financial meltdown in the united states unless congress act to authorize the troubled asset relief program. now, madam president, many of us, including myself, voted for tarp because we were told by the
-- the smartest people on the planet that unless we did this, our economy would suffer an economic meltdown. but i must tell you that i'm extremely disappointed when the very nature of the program was changed after congress authorized it. for example, we were told by secretary paulson, and others, that the money would be used for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to purchase toxic assets. well, you know, there's a saying that says, fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me. and we were fooled into believing that the tarp would be used to purchase these toxic assets and get them off the books as a way of protecting pensions, savings, and investments in hard-working american taxpayers. unfortunately, the very people who promised us and told us what
purpose the tarp would be used for misled us. because two administrations now, the previous administration and this administration, have used tarp as if it were a big government slush fund. they ignored the clear language of the tarp legislation and they have repeatedly defied the will of congress. now, let me briefly mention how the tarp funds have been used in a way that congress never authorized and never intended. only weeks after tarp was enacted the bush administration abandoned this stated goal of purchasing toxic assets. instead the administration fundle -- funneled billions of dollars directly into some of the nation's largest financial institutions, making huge purchases of stocks and warrants of some of the nation's largest financial institutions. the federal government, in other words, began acquiring ownership, stakes in banks, financial intiewkses, and --
institutions, and, yes, car manufacturers, with the full support of the obama administration. in fact, the obama administration has even gone so far as to use tarp to set executive pay in several companies and during the reorganization of general motors, the obama administration has secured bondholders who had loaned their money to these companies. now, madam president, i have been a -- been a vocal opponent of this misuse of tarp by both administrations. in december of 2008, i joined my colleagues in voting against the government bailout of the american auto industry, ignored by the previous administration an current administration. earlier this year i supported a tarp disapproval resolution that would have stopped the program dead in its tracks because of this misrepresentation of the purpose for which these funds would be used.
i also supported several initiatives that would have increased tarp transparency and congressional oversight. then in september i joined many of our colleagues in sending a letter to secretary tim geithner, of treasury, asking him not to extend his tarp authority beyond the end of this year. as the law allows thim to do. this -- allows him to do. this would have eliminated the need for the government to borrow more money. secretary geithner notified congress that he has extended tarp authority through october. now the -- reusing tarp funds, that is money loaned to the financial institutions, that is now being repaid, that treasury anticipates using this for a second stimulus plan. well, i guess that's because they think the first stimulus plan worked so well. you'll recall it was -- the stated objective was to hold
unemployment below 8%. it has gone above 10%. we need to learn from our mistakes as well as things we have done right. it would be a mistake to put more money, particularly tarp money, into a new stimulus plan and have it work so ineffectively as the first stimulus plan did madam president, repaid tarp dollars cannot pay for anything. tarp is let a credit card. every dollar spent is a borrowed dollar, adding up additional deficits, additional debt. using tarp on new spending would break the promise that the president made when he voted for tarp in this very chamber. at that time then senator obama said -- quote -- "if american taxpayers are financing this solution, then they have to be treated like investors. they should get every penny of their tax dollars back once the economy recovers." that was then senator obama, now
president of the united states. now, madam president, i would just conclude by saying congress should help the president keep his promises, even when it seems as he's changed his mind now by suggesting that we extend tarp and use tarp on a purpose that congress has never authorized or never intended. it seems like one -- like the bad ideas never end when it comes to spending and debt out of washington, d.c. these days. we know in addition to all of these other problems that i mentioned that i really haven't talked about, this health care bill which would exacerbate and makes much worse the deficits and debt situation and not make it better, all the time while not benning the cost curve down -- not bending the cost curve down but making it worse, raising premiums, raising taxes, cutting medicare. madam president, we need to end the tarp program because,
frankly, it is being misused in ways that congress has never authorized and never intended, and indeed over the very objections of congress. and we need to learn from our mistakes, and, frankly, the stimulus spending which i voted against because i thought it was based on an academic theory which had not been proven which was that the american people -- that congress knew better than the american people how to get the economy working again by direct spending, by spending borrowed money, the the $1.1 trillion in the stimulus plan. we need to end these free-spending ways and to show some fiscal responsibility. and the best way we could do that, in my opinion, would be to end this tarp program which has been the subject of so much >> the u.s. senate was in session today. joining us it is jennifer
shelton. the senate has been working again this weekend. what happened this saturday? >> the senate came in at 9:00 and i had a vote at 9:32 limit the bill. six different bills were not enacted during the regular appropriations cycle, and the temporary bill that has been funding the government until now expires december 18, so they have a short window to get this finished so the government can go want funding at elevated levels, not the same level it has been funded at the last couple years. >> can you tell us why the vote was held open longer than usual? >> the problems did not have to do with it being controversial, it was more the senators just were not there. senator lieberman is an orthodox jew, and he often times on
saturday walks from his home from georgetown and he walks over and a rise. almost an hour had gone by before he arrived, and he was wearing an orange scarf and it was exciting when the cast the votes and people could finally lead and catch their flights because senator mccaskill was waiting on the sideline to see if she was going to need to change her vote to get the 60 votes required to move forward on this bill. she wanted to vote against the bill and she did not want to have to change her vote. so lieberman arrived in time and senator byrd is getting older and often comes in a wheelchair. he came in late as well. >> what was the outcome of the vote and what does it mean for the omnibus bill? >> they got the 60 votes required. three republicans switched sides and three democrats switched sides.
it is almost definitely going to be passed tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., when the vote is going to start. that will be an adoption of the conference for the on the bus. hopefully, people have their fingers crossed that the president will be able to review this legislation before the 18th and they will not have to pass yet another temporary funding because they are trying to focus their agenda on health care. >> they also spend time talking about health care. any progress on that? >> health care is on hold right now what the congressional budget office reviews the new version that has been crafted by the group of 10 moderate and liberal democrats were trying to find language to replace the public option. the congressional budget office needs to turn in some sort of score that tells people how much this is going to cost. there is not a lot of detail of
what that new plan entails. they're just waiting and democrats are in a holding pattern saying in the next week that we will get the cbo report and they will delve back in. republicans have been pushing them to vote on the amendment and democrats want to focus on the omnibus and use this window where they cannot really move forward to their advantage to pass the spending bills. >> what are some of the health- care amendments awaiting action? >> there is a drug importation amendment that has gotten a lot of attention. it is a democrat amendment with a lot of republican support, including john mccain, who offered an amendment to go along with that. today, democratic leadership said they did not want to vote on the mccain amendment, but wanted to vote on the lot and byrd amendment. the drug importation amendment
would allow americans to import and purchased drugs from other countries. a lot of people in the pharmaceutical industry said this will be a risky thing, that could be dangerousçó for americs to have drugs that might not be regulated the same, but proponents of the bill say it would be a cost savings. that is really the major amendment that is out right now. >> the senate is back to work tomorrow. what is on the agenda? >> tomorrow, they hope to adopt a conference on the omnibus and be able to continue funding the government. >> jennifer is a reporter with "cq." >> we will have live coverage of the senate omnibus spending bill debate when they return tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. eastern time on our companion network, c-span2. read the bill and watch related
video on our website, c- span.org. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> next, the opening ceremony for the u.n. climate change conference in copenhagen. than house republicans and democrats talk about climate change and the controversy over leaked e-mail written by climate researchers. later, some of today's senate debate on health care legislation. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> tomorrow, the president of the committee of responsible budget, but author of "were made easy," and marked tapscott. they will talk about the proposal to make medicare available to americans between 55-64 years old.
washington journal" is live beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> political commentator michael fought riot teaches at george mason university. he looks at the rate historical relationship between african- americans and the gop. he is our guest sunday night on "q&a." >> this week, the opening of the u.n. climate change ceremony. president obama is scheduled to attend the final days of the conference with other world leaders next week. this lasts one hour, 15 minutes. >> distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, honored
guests, a warm welcome to copenhagen and to the opening of the united nations climate change conference, not 2009. -- climate change conference, 2009. [applause] ñitoday, we are honored to have withñi us his excellency, the prime minister of the kingdom of denmark, his excellencyñr, the president of the conference of the parties at this 14th session, her excellency, the minister for the united nations
climate change conference in copenhagen, her excellency, the mayor of the city of copenhagen , and the chair of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. distinguished delegates, ladies and gentleman distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, this climate change conference will be followed closely by people all over the world. many, including childrenñlhave already raised their voices on the host country's internet platform. to begin the welcoming ceremony, we would like to show 8 short film about this, and following the shelling of this
film, we will have a selection -- and following the showing of this film, we will have a selection from the danish girl'' choir. >> few doubt the impact of human influence over the predicted capacity. ñi>> they are imposing a cost on the earth, humanity, and this generation and the next. >> more than 250 million people, the shortage of resources, and focusing attention all over the world.
>> all countries will be severely hit if we do not act now and. >> who of hundreds of millions of coming refugees. >> i have heard of the forests filled with birds and butterflies, but i wonder if there will be there for my children to see. i am not afraid to tell the world how i feel. >> please help the world.
>> distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to welcome to the podium his excellency, mr. rasmusen, prime minister of the kingdom of denmark, to address our meeting. you have the floor. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, indeed people of the world, welcome to denmark. welcome to copenhagen.
welcome to two weeks where we are to perform what is most difficult in politics, to make difficult but necessary decisions now in order to address mounting problems of the future. global warming knows no borders. it does not discriminate. it affects us all. we are here today because we are all committed to take action. that is our common point of departure. the magnitude of the challenge before us is to translate this political will into a common approach, to forge an agreement that will provide for effective global solutions. climate changes higher on the agenda than ever, and so it should be. the grim projections from
science to grow more alarming each day. consequences of global warming. it is our mission to come to the aid of those who already suffer and to deliver a long-term solution to the mounting problem of global warming. this is our task. this is why we need a strong and ambitious climate change agreement here in copenhagen. the sheer magnitude of our task is matched only by our determination. for more than a year, we have been conductsing intensive consultation -- conducting intensive consultation in preparation for this conference. in that context i have had the pleasure of engaging with leaders from around the world, your leaders. without exception, they have
been supporting an ambitious agreement to halt global warming. i am of course painfully aware that we have different perspectives on the framing and precise content of such an agreement. and i'm sure that no one in this hall underestimates the difficulty we are daysing in finding a common approach in the coming two weeks. but the political resolve to forge a global agreement is manifest, and differences can be overcome if the political will is present, and i believe it is. as we move ahead over the next days, we will rely critically on you to help to develop an agreement that is most acceptable to all parties and at the same time strong and ambitious, an agreement that is
just in principle, an agreement that is effective and operational. to achieve that, we shall need all the technical skills and diplomatic entrepreneurship you command. the world relies on you to successfully conclude the country-driven process that you launched. it relies on us to support you in achieving that success in an exclusive and transparent manner. as i speak to you this morning, 110 heads of state and government have announced that they will be coming to copenhagen next week. in the conclusion of this conference. their presence reflects an unprecedented mobilization of political determination to combat climate change. it represents a huge opportunity, an opportunity the
world cannot afford to miss. your leaders do not come to copenhagen just to talk. they come to act, and they come not to agree to just anything, but to agree to an effective deal based on our fundamental principles, on our common resolve, and on the political, social and economic reality in our countries throughout the world. the agreement world leaders should adopt next friday here in copenhagen must be founded on the legal principles inscribed in the framework convention, and it must respond to all aspects of the mandates agreed upon in barley two years ago. it must seek to capture progress achieved within the negotiations both under the
convention and under the kyoto protocol, providing a powerful response. importantly, it must launch immediate action. the deal that we want leaders to sign off on will be one that affects all aspects of society, just as the climate change does . therefore, the involvement of civil society is of paramount importance. just like negotiators cannot do this alone, nor can politicians. the ultimate responsibility rests with the citizens of the world, who will ultimately bear the consequences if we fail to act. as decision-makers, it is our obligation to provide the framework for change, and we must unlock the potential for
low carbon prosperity. but in order to realize the full potential, our citizens must eventually make it happen. throughout 2009, some of the most important civil society stakeholders have gathered here in copenhagen, at conferences, symptom pose uniforms, round tables -- symptom pose uniforms, and they have voiced their concern and made their recommendations. scientists have assessed the latest facts, business leaders the opportunities, parliament easterns, and you, the political aspects. and we owe them our gratitude in preparing the ground work
and for having contributed to our negotiations. we need to listen to their advice because we are their representatives. the climate agenda has created global communities across all barriers, and we need this global momentum, and we need to build on it. let us not focus on what divides us, but let us keep focused on what brings us together. while you are here in copenhagen in search of new ways to handle climate change, i hope you will also find inspiration around you. we can change, and we have to change. therefore, we have tried to make a new and a different conference in copenhagen. we have no bottled water. only pure clean drinking water from the tap.
two thirds of all food here is organic. we have tried as hard as possible to limit the carbon footprint of the conference. if you have time, ladies and gentlemen, please entertain some inspiration outside the conference center. in copenhagen you will find a large variety of cultural and green tag events. looking in your conference kits , you were perhaps disappointed, or perhaps relieved not to find a figure arena of a mermaid or other souvenirs. we have decided to cut back on gifts and instead provide financing for scholarships for a two-year program in denmark. [applause]
the 11 climate scholars will return to their home countries with knowledge and results that can provide a better future, and so should we. leaders, grassroots and citizens all over the world have sent a strong message of hope for our planet. four million people have spoken their mind on the youtube channel. hope is the starting point of all major efforts. ladies and gentlemen, the world is depositing hope with you for a short while in the history of minekind. for the next two weeks, copenhagen will be copenhagen. by the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted to us here today, hope for a better future.
i call on all of you to make your contributions, to be constructive, flexible and realistic, to be tough in your efforts to reach agreement and show constraint to other negotiating partners. you must do all this, and still be ambitious, courageous and visionary. a deal is within the reach. to work together, we can accomplish what must be accomplished. so once again, welcome to copenhagen, and thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you, prime minister, rasmussen for your statement. distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is with pleasure that i invite the mayor of the city of copenhagen to address our meeting. madam mayor, you have the floor. [applause] >> prime minister, cleanses, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to copenhagen. i look very much forward to host you tonight, and especially to show you how the city hall square will turn copenhagen into hopen-hagen in the time to come. many of you traveled far to get here. all of you still have a long
journey ahead before we get a good result in copenhagen. citizens all over the world are calling for action. cities all over the world are ready to help you put all our hopes and goals into action. next week, mayors from more than 70 of the biggest and most important cities will come to copenhagen for the climate summit for mayors to stand side by side with you in the fight against climate change. today, cities are responsible for more than 75% of global co2 emissions. we also represent more than 50% of the world's population and some of the world's largest economies. so we may be part of the problem, but we are definitely
also part of the solution. and cities are ready to act. together with heads of state, we are ready to assume the mantle of leadership in reaching the same goal, a greener planet. al gore says it clearly in his new book, and i quote. if you want to go first, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. we need to go very far, very fast. end quote. and in copenhagen, we are ready to do so, and mayors from the world's biggest cities are ready to do so. i do hope you will join us. in copenhagen we have been working hard to prepare for your arrival. you are indeed some of our most important guests this year. as a former commissioner, i
negotiated for the e.c. in kyoto. i know what is expected from you. i know you will face days of hard work and nights without sleep. but on the optimistic side, i also know how solutions can be reached at the very last moment. so i am absolutely sure you will do a great job in copenhagen. i also hope you will be able to see some of the work we have been doing in copenhagen. we have been a vision ñiñiñiwe have a vision, a goal,n fact, to be the first carbon- neutral capital in the worldçó y 2025. this is surely a great challenge. we have fifty specific initiatives to achieve the city's targets of a 20% reduction in co2 emissions in
the period 2005 to 2015. but copenhagen is on its way. 97% of all households in copenhagen have district heating. xdnearly 50 percent of the citizens of copenhagen ride their bike every day. in copenhagen, the harbor is so clean that you can even swim in it, although it might be too cold just now. i hope you will have an opportunity to glimpse how copenhagen will become a city filled with efficient activities to engage the citizens and our many guests. conference, the city hall square in copenhagen will be transformed into a city of hope
. that's why we call it hopen-hagen. every day, hopen-hagen will be filled with experiences and exhibitions. a huge interactive globe will light up the december darkness, reflecting in ever-changing shades and hughes -- houston -- hues, the world's engagement with climate. and hopefully those type of messages will resonate with the negotiators here. i very much look forward to hosting you tonight at the reception at city hall and on the city hall square. so i bid you a very warm welcome and sincerely hope you will leave our city with a good
impression and many good experiences. but most of all, i hope that when you leave this conference hall, you will leave the planet safer and greener for the future. so please help us to turn copenhagen into hopen-hagen. please seal the deal. [applause] >> thank you, mayor, for your warm welcome and for your statement. distinguished, delegates, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the podium to address our meeting the cheer of the intergovernmental panel on climate challenge. doctor, you have the floor.
[applause] >> your excellency, prime minister of denmark, executive u.n. secretary, her excellency mayor of copenhagen, colleagues, members of the media, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. it is a great privilege for me to address this august gathering at the fwing of a potentially historic meeting which we all hope will lead to action, action which is required urgently on the basis of scientific assessment of climate change, presented in the report of the ar-4. this report was completed a few
weeks held before the 14th meeting held in bahli and has had a profound impact ever since. after that, we have had adequate opportunity to further, study and discuss the findings, and determine actions that are required to be taken globally. this conference must, therefore, lead to actions for implementation, and i quote, by all parties taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities, end of quote. woes of the most significant findings was conveyed by two simple by profound statements. i quote. warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations in global average of air and water temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and ricing global sea level.
and the other quotation which i now mention, most of the observed increase in temperatures since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in y.s.t. concentrations. in the 20th century, average global it will increased by 0.74 degrees celsius, and sea level rises aamounted to 17 cent meters. with this increase, several small island states and low-lying coastal nations like bangladesh, with land surface barely a meter or two above sea level would find that every storm represents a serious danger to life and property. the global community thus has a moral and material responsibility to do all it can to limit the growing impacts of climate change on these and
other vulnerable societies across the globe. indeed, we need to give practical expression to the provisions of article 2 of the unfcc, which defines the objectives of the convention as the achieve of stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interfeerns with the climate system. on the basis of the ar-4, we know that climate change in the absence of mitigation policies would in all likelihood lead to, one, possibly disappears of sea ice, two, increase in frequency of heat waves and heavy precipitation, three, increase in tropical cyclone intensity. four, decrease in water resources in many semiarid areas such as the mediterranean
basin, the western united states, southern africa and north eastern brazil. five, probably elimination of the green land ice sheet and resulting contribution of sea level rise of about seven meters. without met cation, future tense carb -- four to six meters of sea level rice. six, approximately 20% to 30% of speak cease assessed so far being at increased risk of stings, if global warming averages compete 1.5 to 2.5 degrees celsius. climate change is exacted to exacerbate curent stresses on water resources, including urbanization.
the resulting flood risk poses challenges to society, physical infrastructure and water quality. quality. it is likely that 20% of the , which as a fraction could exceed two billion people live in areas where river flood potential could increase by the 2018. in africa by "20/20," between 75 million and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to water stress due to climate change. and in some countries on that continent, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. another area facing serious impacts of climate change are the oceans, where the upat the time of carbon since 1750 has led to the ocean becoming more as i hadic, with an average ph
level increasing. the consequences of that could be serious for all forms of organisms. societies must respond to climate change by adapting to its impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. there are viable options that can be implementing in sectors with low cost and or high benefit-cost ratios. research suggestion that higher benefit-cost ratios can be achieved by implementing some adaptation measures at an early stage compared to long-lived infrastructure at a later date. based on this reality, this conference must put in place measures for financing adaptation projects in some of the most vulnerable regions in the world. this conference must lead to
urgent initiation of large scale actions. this must involve action in the developed countries because the developed country parties must take the lead in combatting climate change and the effects there of. mitt cation of emissions is essential because the ipcc has assessed its cost to be modest. to limit average temperature increase to two degrees to 2.4 degrees celsius, the cost of mitigation by 2030 would not exceed 3% of the global g.d.p. in other words, the so-called prosperity expected in 2030 would be postponed by just a few months. mitt cation carries many co-benefits such as lower levels of air.
>> it is gratifying that the leaders have recognized the significance of lower the average temperature by two degrees celsius. if temperature increase is to be limited to between 2 and 2.4 degrees, global emissions would be limited by 2015. some may question the goal of two degrees celsius as a ceiling because this would lead to sea level rise of 0.4 to 1.4 meters. this increase adding to the effect of melting snow and ice across the globe could submerge several small island states and bangladesh. there is now experience to show there are a wide variety of national policies and instruments available to
governments to create the incentives for mitigation action. there is no better real life laboratory to learn from than our host country denmark. through a series of enlightened policies, denmark has brought about a revolution in wind energy technology. modern detain us win turbines are now able to produce almost 100 times as much electric than the -- left than the turbines manufactured in 1980. it would be correct to assume that a move to renewable sources of energy would cause employment generation to take place with enhanced economic output. if you look at the example of denmark, sales of wind manufactured energy has grown from 200 megawithout, to 600
megawatts a year. it is economically attractive. denmark as generated jobs and revenues in this sector. the evidence is now overwhelming that the world would benefit greatly from early action, and that would only lead to costs in economic and human terms that would become progressively high. the ipcc has been able to provide substantial evidence that science provides us with the basis for undertaking changes that this conference must urgently initiate. given the wide-ranging nature of change that is likely to be taken in hand, some find it inconvenient to accept its inevitability. the recent incident of stealing the e-mails of scientists so that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts perhaps in an attempt to
discredit the ipcc. but it has transparent and objective data stretching over 21 years. i'm proud to inform this conference for the finding of the er-4 are based on measuremented by independent institutions worldwide that demonstrate thation on lapped, the atmosphere and the oceans. the internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the scientific community, including though individuals singled out in these e-mail exchange, many of whom have dedicated their time and effort to develop these findings in the cities of assessment reports in the past 21 years. the assessment process is designed to ensure consideration of
promise stablish the journal's. or, from other sources that have undergone robust and independent peer review. the process of the ipcc is subjective to repeat to review by experts as well as governments. there were a total of around 2500 expert reviewers performing this review process. onsequently, there is full opportunity for experts in the /+ñfield to access any piece of public literature and its basic findings. my colleagues and i are conscious of thexd responsibiliy we bear and the expectation that we must provide fair and objectively produced assessments of climate change. change. i owe a tribute and debt of gratitude to my predecessors,
and the tens of thousands of sign tiffses who have established traditions that establish impeccable consult in the pursuit of our collective goals. in this tribute, i find no basis for any competitions. lastly, i also are express my deep gratitude to this bode for the recentivity and appreciation that they have always displayed in accepting the results of our work. distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we give you our assurance of continuing with unflinching devotion to our duty and upholding the sacred trust you have bestowed on us. thank you very much. [applause]
>> distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the podium, the executive secretary of the climate change secretariat to address our meeting. you have the floor. [applause] >> my mom was holding my younger brother, and my oiler sister was holing my younger sister. the wind and the rain became stronger, and the tide level covered the bank. we dipped our legs in the mud
so we wouldn't drift away in the tide. when the water level was up to my dad's chest, we decided to climb trees. suddenly, the tree fell because of the strong winds, and then i was separated from my mom and dad. i clung to a tree trunk and floated along with it. the rain was really heavy, and it was painful when it hit my back. i drifted the whole night, and i was terrified. i couldn't find my mom, my dad and younger sister. these are the words of a 6-year-old boy speaking after a devastating cyclone. a few weeks later, he was reunited with his sisters and grandmother through save the children's family tracing
program. but sadly, there was never any news from his parents or his younger brother. in his words, i miss them, and i always wonder whether they are still alive. excellencies, ministers and ladies and gentlemen, it is repetitions of this that the world is here to prevent. welcome to copenhagen. it is clock has ticked down to zero. after two years of negotiation, the time has come to deliver. at this time of the year, many people are busy crepping their christmas cakes. to my -- preparing their christmas cakes. to my mind, the ideal christmas cake that needs to come out of copenhagen has three layers. the bottom layers consists of action on mitigation, finance,
technology, and capacity building. the second layers consists of ambition on emission reduction commitments and action. it also includes commitments to start up finance on the order of $10 billion per year as well as long-term finance. and the third layer, or the icing on the cake, consists of a shared vision on long-term cooperative action and a long-term goal. and i hope that prime minister rasmussen will light the candles on this cake next friday. over the row sent weeks and months, i have heard a multitude of statements calling for a successful agreement in copenhagen. and i have heard strong political statements calling for serious emission goals and captures significant technology
and financial support to developing country. there is a caribbean saying that goes one, one, dotty build dam. it means build a sturdy wall one brick at a time. solid success also needs to be built brick by brick and from the bottom up. in copenhagen, this needs to be done during the come days. copenhagen will only be successful if it delivers significant and immediate action that begins the day this conference ends. in the week ahead, the focus needs to be on crafting solid and practical proposals that will unleash prompt as on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology red capacity building. developing countries desperately need tangible immediate action on these issues. much of the work that has been accomplished over the past two
years can be turned into immediate action. solid action-oriented propose always will give real meaning for the commitment to success in copenhagen that has been building momentum around the globe. such proposals will also provide a strong foundation for further efforts. through the kof, the cmp, the awglp, and others, there are six days to get it done before ministers arrive. ministers will then have two days to take issues forward before leaders arrive. this means that there are a total of eight days to prepare a workable package that cons sists of both immediate and long-term components which leaders can endorse on december 18. the time for formal statements is over.
the time for restating well-known positions is past. the time has come for reach out to each other. i urge you to build on your achievements. take up the work that has already been done and turn it into real action. deliver. reach for success. ensure that millions of children across the world don't suffer the same fate as nele. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, for your statement. distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, this brings us to the end of the welcoming ceremony. please join me in thanking our
hosts, the government and the people of the kingdom of denmark, for their hospitality and the special guests for their presence here today. [applause] >> distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, you are kindly asked to remain in your seats in order to allow prime minister rasmussen and their guests to take their leave. following which i would like to invite to the podium his excellency mr. noit, president of the conference of its 14th session to officially open the its 15th session and conference of the parties serving as the meeting of the parties at its
>> distinguished delegates from all over the world, ladies and gentlemen, today we are beginning the historic 15th united nations climate change conference. here in copenhagen, governments from all countries of the world have come together to take a critical step on addressing the greatest risk facing mankind, the risk of global warming. this was first brought to our attention by scientists. and in response, governments of the world agreed to the united nations framework convention on climate change. it is now the world's most important mechanism for dealing
with this issue. we are all well aware that all the nations have exceptional expectations towards this conference. as indicated in the bali action plan and in crop14, this conference in copenhagen should set out the directions for fighting climate changes for several deg aids. countries with substantial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should make specific commitments to reduce such emissions. developing countries and especially the least developed countries can expect great financial, technical and organizational assistance for
aadaptation to climate change, but for quick social and economic development. it is nothing more than simple human solidarity. but the effort of prevention of climate change generates not only cost, they create also a great opportunity for all nations to introduce fundamental changes of their economic systems, with a chance for introduction of modern effective and energy-saving technologies, and a chance to gradually abandon fossil fuels for production of clean energy from renewable energy sosses. ladies and gentlemen, dear delegates, here in copenhagen,
it is an historic moment for our entire planet, and i think that each of us should have the same feeling that we are taking part in a really remarkable meeting. this feeling should awaken the spirit of solidarity and compromise in us. in these historic moments, let us all see above our particular interests, and during negotiations, let us always keep in mind the gre the global problem and a common goal of the country. only by acting in such a manner will we be able to reach a global agreement, an agreement that will serve