Amendment Text: S.Amdt.6 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (01/31/2013)

This Amendment appears on page S414-415 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Pages S413-S426]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to the consideration of H.R. 325, which the clerk will report 
by title.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 325) to ensure the complete and timely payment 
     of the obligations of the United States Government until May 
     19, 2013, and for other purposes.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum and that 
the time in quorum call be equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, thanks in part to filmmaker Steven 
Spielberg, there is renewed interest today in America's 16th President, 
Abraham Lincoln.
  A century and a half ago, during one of the most critical times in 
American history, Lincoln faced a nation divided by ideology and war. 
Only through fierce determination and moral courage was Lincoln able to 
preserve the Union.
  Today, we again are in an ideological divide. Too often, Congress 
fails to agree on key social and economic issues.
  Politics is winning out over progress. Like the America of the 1860s, 
the unwillingness to compromise has crippled our ability to move 
forward as a nation.
  As we discuss America's fiscal responsibility today, I would like to 
share the words of Lincoln. One of my favorite quotes is this: ``You 
cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.''
  As a nation we have a responsibility to fulfill existing commitments 
to pay our bills, and it is a responsibility we cannot evade. As we 
know, the Federal Government officially hit its current authorizing 
spending limit--also known as the debt ceiling--on December 31, 2012.
  Over the past month, the Treasury Secretary has been using 
extraordinary measures to continue funding the government and sending 
out Social Security checks and veterans' benefits. Treasury's action 
only bought limited time. The debt limit deadline was moved from 
December 31 to mid-February or early March. Needless to say, a feeling 
of uncertainty has spread across the country. However, on January 23, 
the House of Representatives approved a plan to ensure America can meet 
our obligations through May 18.
  The bill, H.R. 325, which we have before us today, also provides an 
incentive for action on the Federal budget. The legislation includes a 
provision that would withhold the pay of lawmakers in the House or the 
Senate if their Chamber fails to pass the budget blueprint by April 15.
  Since 1917, Congress has always taken appropriate action to avoid 
defaulting on America's bills. We must continue to fulfill our 
responsibility. We must not fail now. There is too much at stake.
  Failure to pass this bill will set off an unpredictable financial 
calamity that would plunge not only the United States but much of the 
world back into recession and more. Every single American would feel 
the economic impact. There would be radical cuts in military salaries, 
veterans' programs, Social Security benefits, and education. Tax 
refunds may not be issued, and our country's credit rating would almost 
certainly be downgraded significantly.
  I understand the concern over America's deficits and debt. I share 
those concerns, and I strongly believe we must develop a long-term plan 
to cut the debt and get America's fiscal house in order.
  Let me remind you, over the past 2 years we have made real progress 
at cutting deficits and debt. We have done so working together across 
the aisle.
  In 2011, we passed $1.4 trillion in spending cuts. Earlier this 
month, Congress passed legislation that reduced the deficit by another 
$600 billion. Together, with interest savings, these two actions will 
cut the deficit by about $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
  Add to this the savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and 
Afghanistan and the savings to America's Federal budget reach almost 
$3.5 trillion over 10 years--all together $3.5 trillion over 10 years--
which we already are doing as a consequence of winding down the wars in 
Iraq and Afghanistan. That is real progress.
  In the coming weeks we will have to confront the deficit issue again 
when sequestration of spending programs starts on March 1. March 27, 
the day the continuing resolution for appropriations expires, brings 
tough choices. That is why we are here, to make the tough decisions, to 
do the hard work.
  The threat of defaulting on our fiscal obligations is extremely 
dangerous. It puts America on unstable ground. We all are aware how our 
political brinkmanship of 2011 led to the first ever downgrade of our 
country's credit rating. It sent shock waves in stock markets across 
the globe and nearly crashed the American economy.
  We have the opportunity today to avoid that calamity. We have the 
opportunity today to avoid another destructive budget battle. H.R. 325 
ensures America can meet our obligations through May 18 and provides 
the Congress with a necessary calm between fiscal storms.
  The House of Representatives adopted the bill by a bipartisan vote, 
285 to 144, and it is supported by the administration. The bill before 
us is necessary to remove the threat of default that would throw the 
U.S. economy into chaos. It gives us time to work together on a 
sensible, balanced solution to our Nation's fiscal challenges without 
undermining the Nation's economy. It deserves our support.
  I congratulate Speaker Boehner on his leadership with regard to this 
issue and the House for its bipartisan approach to a tough but 
necessary vote. Let's pass this legislation today and move on to the 
debate over what further deficit reduction options we need to help keep 
America's economy moving forward.
  In the words of Lincoln: ``The occasion is piled high with 
difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.''
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, right now the Federal deficit stands at 
roughly $16.4 trillion. I don't know how anyone can hear that number 
and not be appalled, nor do I believe there will be, over 10 years, 
$2.5 trillion in deficit reduction. In fact, I don't see any deficit 
reduction except, perhaps, bringing our soldiers back, but that is not 
particularly deficit reduction since it looks as though we are going to 
have difficulty maintaining the military with the strength it has had 
in the past.
  Think about it, $16.4 trillion. It is incredible. The Federal 
Government is currently operating with just $25 million of so-called 
headroom underneath a statutory debt limit which, to be more precise, 
is $16.394 trillion. We are told that we reached the debt ceiling at 
the beginning of the year, and in order for the government to pay for 
obligations without further borrowing, Treasury has been using so-
called ``extraordinary measures,'' such as changing the finances of 
certain Federal savings plans.
  Sadly, the use of such measures has become the norm under this 
administration and under this Senate majority, where budget and debt 
decisions are continually made through last-minute, closed-door deals. 
I don't think the American people can stomach another cliff scenario. I 
don't think they

[[Page S414]]

want to turn on the news and see another clock counting down to the 
latest in a string of perfectly avoidable crises.
  There is a better way to legislate. I am not talking about some novel 
or unheard of approach. I am talking about doing things through the 
regular order. Anyone watching the Senate operate over the last few 
years probably doesn't know what I am talking about. There is a process 
that has been established to facilitate compromise and move even 
controversial pieces of legislation over the finish line.
  Under this process bills are assigned to committees where they are 
debated and discussed in hearings and markups. Committees are able to 
consider and process proposals before legislation is brought to the 
Senate floor. While this system isn't perfect, moving a bill through 
the committee greatly improves its prospect for passage in a divided 
  This isn't meant to be a civic lesson. I know my colleagues 
understand how the committee process works. As we debate yet another 
major piece of legislation that hasn't gone through a committee, I 
don't think a reminder is out of order. We need to return the Senate to 
regular order, which includes processing budgets through the Senate 
Budget Committee and processing the debt limit through the Senate 
Finance Committee.
  We are told if we pass this legislation, the administration will be 
able to borrow to be able to pay off incoming obligations until May 19. 
Then, presumably, we will be back to the use of ``extraordinary 
measures,'' which as I understand it will get the government through 
the end of July before we are once again talking about a possible 
  That is not the way to run a government. Prospects of more debt limit 
impasses and threats of future defaults serve only to elevate 
uncertainty among the American people about whether the Federal 
Government will honor its financial obligations. Unfortunately, this 
administration has continued to play on this uncertainty for political 
purposes. Rather than working with Congress to resolve our fiscal mess, 
the President throws out suggestions that Social Security recipients 
would not receive their benefits or that our troops would not get paid. 
Indeed, it seems that the President is more interested in engaging in 
political fights and manufacturing straw men than he is in eliminating 
threats to the fiscal security of our Nation's seniors and our troops.
  At the same time, we wait for the first Senate budget in 4 years. I 
was heartened when I heard the news that the Democratic leadership 
plans to move forward with a budget this year. However, I am 
disappointed by indications that no effort will be made in the budget 
to rein in our unsustainable entitlement programs. I hope that is not 
true because, to borrow a phrase from the President, ``We can't wait.'' 
Entitlement reform can't wait.
  Even the trustees of Social Security and Medicare have stated that 
the entitlements are unsustainable, and they urge quick action. Those 
trustees include senior officials in the Obama administration who could 
hardly be viewed as deficit hawks.
  These are the problems our Nation faces. Our fiscal and economic 
well-being literally hang in the balance of these debates. If the 
Senate is going to be up to the challenge of fixing these problems, we 
are going to have to start doing things differently. We shouldn't wait 
until the Nation's finances reach yet another cliff sometime this 
summer before we start talking again and addressing our unsustainable 
fiscal situation. That is not what the American people want to see, and 
that is not the direction in which we should be going.
  I believe my colleague from Montana feels the same way; that we can 
start the talks now in committees and do the things we should in 
committee and report bills to the floor. Even if we can't support them, 
at least they will be done the right way. A return to regular order 
would provide a potential solution, but it wouldn't require that we 
begin work immediately; that we don't just wait until the last minute 
and have these decisions made in the office of the majority leader.
  Even if we were to pass the stop-gap debt limit suspension measure 
before us, there is precious little time for us to act. I have 
suggested and will continue to suggest that the Senate Finance 
Committee begin to engage now on a longer term debt limit solution. The 
bill before us would only eliminate the prospect of Federal default 
until sometime in the summer. That means if we go through regular 
order, we have only a few months at best to debate, have hearings, 
process proposals, and make decisions.
  I am not under any illusions this process will be easy. If we want to 
avoid another cliff scenario in late July, this is the best way to go 
forward. It is the best path forward.
  We don't need any more last-minute deals to avoid going over cliffs. 
We certainly don't need any more countdowns or threats of default and 
downgrades to our Nation's credit rating. Of course, we don't need to 
wait in the hopes that President Obama will finally break his string of 
failures to arrive at a so-called grand bargain. We have the tools at 
our disposal to address these problems, but, as I said, we need to 
start now, immediately.
  As the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, I am committed 
to working with my colleagues on the committee--those on both sides of 
the aisle--to reach a long-term solution on the debt limit. I believe 
this process can put us on a path to tax and entitlement reform, which 
is the key to righting our Nation's fiscal course and putting us on a 
better economic footing.
  The measure before us is not a long-term solution to the debt ceiling 
or our fiscal predicament, nor is it intended to be. I am convinced 
that if we want a long-term solution, and if we want to avoid facing 
yet another cliff, we need to restore regular order in the Senate. I 
think anything short of that is not going to work.
  We have good people on both sides of the floor, people who love this 
country, people who really can work together if they will. We have 
committees set up to take care of these problems, but they are being 
bypassed. We must find ways of working through the committees.
  We have a number of people on both sides who need to deal with the 
uncertainties, the problems and the difficulties in these fiscal 
matters. I have confidence in our chairman and in his leadership, and I 
know this is not his fault. I think he would prefer regular order, as 
would I. It puts a lot more burden on us as committee members, but that 
is where it ought to be. We ought to be able to face these problems.
  We have excellent people on both sides on the Finance Committee. I 
would like to see the Finance Committee do its work and have the 
confidence that we should and get this done in a proper manner, in the 
right way, before we go off the fiscal cliff again or before we need to 
be faced with the fiscal cliff.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                    Amendments Nos. 6 and 7, En Bloc

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I have two amendments at the desk and I 
ask for their immediate consideration, en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendments.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Ohio [Mr. Portman] proposes amendments en 
     bloc numbered 6 and 7.

  Mr. PORTMAN. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendments be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are as follows:

(Purpose: To require that any debt limit increase be balanced by equal 
                  spending cuts over the next decade)

       At the end of the bill, insert the following:


       (a) Debt Limit Control.--
       (1) In general.--Subchapter I of chapter 31 of title 31, 
     United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 
     3101A the following:

     ``Sec. 3101B. Debt limit control

       ``(a) Declaration of a Debt Limit Warning.--
       ``(1) In general.--In the event of a near breach of the 
     public debt limit established by section 3101, the Secretary 
     of the Treasury shall issue a debt limit warning to the

[[Page S415]]

     Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways 
     and Means of the House of Representatives that shall include 
     a determination as to when extraordinary measures may be 
     necessary in order to prolong the funding of the United 
     States Government.
       ``(2) Definitions.--In this subsection:
       ``(A) Extraordinary measures.--The term `extraordinary 
     measures' means measures that may be taken by the Secretary 
     of the Treasury in the event of a breach of the debt limit by 
     the United States to prolong the function of United States 
     Government in the absence of a debt limit increase.
       ``(B) Near breach.--The term `near breach' means the point 
     at which the Secretary of the Treasury determines that the 
     United States Government will reach the statutorily 
     prescribed debt limit within 60 calendar days notwithstanding 
     the implementation of extraordinary measures.
       ``(b) Presidential Submission of Debt Limit Legislation.--
       ``(1) Savings recommendations from the president.--Any 
     formal Presidential request to increase the debt limit under 
     this section shall include the amount of the proposed debt 
     limit increase and be accompanied by proposed legislation to 
     reduce spending over the sum of the current and following 10 
     years by an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the 
     requested debt limit increase. Net interest savings may not 
     be counted towards spending reductions required by this 
       ``(2) Calculation.--The spending savings under paragraph 
     (1) shall be calculated against a budget baseline consistent 
     with section 257 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit 
     Control Act of 1985. This baseline shall exclude the 
     extrapolation of any spending that had been enacted under an 
     emergency designation.''.
       (2) Subchapter analysis.--The table of sections for chapter 
     31 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
     after the item for section 3101A the following:

``3101B. Debt limit control.''.
       (b) Congressional Requirement to Restrain Spending While 
     Raising the Debt Limit.--
       (1) In general.--Title III of the Congress and Budget Act 
     of 1974 is amended by inserting at the end the following:


       ``(a) In General.--
       ``(1) Point of order.--Except as provided in subsection 
     (b), it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of 
     Representatives to consider any bill, joint resolution, 
     amendment, motion, or conference report that increases the 
     statutory debt limit unless the bill contains net spending 
     reductions of an equal or greater amount over the sum of the 
     current and next 10 fiscal years. Net interest savings may 
     not be counted towards spending reductions required by this 
       ``(2) Components of net spending reduction.--
       ``(A) Calculation.--The savings resulting from the proposed 
     spending reductions under paragraph (1) shall be calculated 
     by the Congressional Budget Office against a budget baseline 
     consistent with section 257 of the Balanced Budget and 
     Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. This baseline shall 
     exclude the extrapolation of any spending that had been 
     enacted under an emergency designation.
       ``(B) Availability.--The Senate and the House of 
     Representatives may not vote on any bill, joint resolution, 
     amendment, motion, or conference report that increases the 
     public debt limit unless the cost estimate of that measure 
     prepared by the Congressional Budget Office has been publicly 
     available on the website of the Congressional Budget Office 
     for at least 24 hours.
       ``(C) Prohibit timing shifts.--Any provision that shifts 
     outlays or revenues from within the 10-year window to outside 
     the window shall not count towards the budget savings target 
     for purposes of this subsection.
       ``(b) Senate Supermajority Waiver and Appeal.--
       ``(1) Waiver.--In the Senate, subsection (a)(1) may be 
     waived or suspended only by an affirmative vote of three-
     fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.
       ``(2) Appeal.--An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the 
     Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be 
     required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a 
     point of order raised under subsection (a)(1).''.
       (2) Conforming amendment.--The table of contents set forth 
     in section 1(b) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
     Control Act of 1974 is amended by inserting after section 315 
     the following new item:

``Sec. 316. Debt limit increase point of order.''.

    (Purpose: To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for 
                   automatic continuing resolutions)

       At the end of the bill, insert the following:


       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``End 
     Government Shutdowns Act''.
       (b) Automatic Continuing Appropriations.--
       (1) In general.--Chapter 13 of title 31, United States 
     Code, is amended by inserting after section 1310 the 
     following new section:


       ``(a)(1) If any appropriation measure for a fiscal year is 
     not enacted before the beginning of such fiscal year or a 
     joint resolution making continuing appropriations is not in 
     effect, there are appropriated such sums as may be necessary 
     to continue any program, project, or activity for which funds 
     were provided in the preceding fiscal year--
       ``(A) in the corresponding appropriation Act for such 
     preceding fiscal year; or
       ``(B) if the corresponding appropriation bill for such 
     preceding fiscal year did not become law, then in a joint 
     resolution making continuing appropriations for such 
     preceding fiscal year.
       ``(2) Appropriations and funds made available, and 
     authority granted, for a program, project, or activity for 
     any fiscal year pursuant to this section shall be at a rate 
     of operations not in excess of the lower of--
       ``(A) 100 percent of the rate of operations provided for in 
     the regular appropriation Act providing for such program, 
     project, or activity for the preceding fiscal year;
       ``(B) in the absence of such an Act, 100 percent of the 
     rate of operations provided for such program, project, or 
     activity pursuant to a joint resolution making continuing 
     appropriations for such preceding fiscal year; or
       ``(C) 100 percent of the annualized rate of operations 
     provided for in the most recently enacted joint resolution 
     making continuing appropriations for part of that fiscal year 
     or any funding levels established under the provisions of 
     this Act;
     for the period of 120 days. After the first 120 day period 
     during which this subsection is in effect for that fiscal 
     year, the applicable rate of operations shall be reduced by 1 
     percentage point. For each subsequent 90 day period during 
     which this subsection is in effect for that fiscal year, the 
     applicable rate of operations shall be reduced by 1 
     percentage point. The 90-day period reductions shall continue 
     beyond the last day of that fiscal year until the new 
     appropriation has been enacted.
       ``(3) Appropriations and funds made available, and 
     authority granted, for any fiscal year pursuant to this 
     section for a program, project, or activity shall be 
     available for the period beginning with the first day of a 
     lapse in appropriations and ending with the date on which the 
     applicable regular appropriation bill for such fiscal year 
     becomes law (whether or not such law provides for such 
     program, project, or activity) or a continuing resolution 
     making appropriations becomes law, as the case may be.
       ``(b) An appropriation or funds made available, or 
     authority granted, for a program, project, or activity for 
     any fiscal year pursuant to this section shall be subject to 
     the terms and conditions imposed with respect to the 
     appropriation made or funds made available for the preceding 
     fiscal year, or authority granted for such program, project, 
     or activity under current law.
       ``(c) Expenditures made for a program, project, or activity 
     for any fiscal year pursuant to this section shall be charged 
     to the applicable appropriation, fund, or authorization 
     whenever a regular appropriation bill or a joint resolution 
     making continuing appropriations until the end of a fiscal 
     year providing for such program, project, or activity for 
     such period becomes law.
       ``(d) This section shall not apply to a program, project, 
     or activity during a fiscal year if any other provision of 
     law (other than an authorization of appropriations)--
       ``(1) makes an appropriation, makes funds available, or 
     grants authority for such program, project, or activity to 
     continue for such period; or
       ``(2) specifically provides that no appropriation shall be 
     made, no funds shall be made available, or no authority shall 
     be granted for such program, project, or activity to continue 
     for such period.''.
       (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections of chapter 
     13 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
     after the item relating to section 1310 the following new 

``1311. Continuing appropriations.''.

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to offer first a commonsense 
amendment to begin to address our Nation's unprecedented national debt. 
It is hurting jobs in our economy today and is placing an immoral 
burden on our kids and our grandkids. This is called the Dollar For 
Dollar Deficit Reduction Act. It ensures every time we raise the debt 
limit we cut spending by the same amount over a 10-year period.
  We all know the growth of the national debt is not sustainable. In 
the past 4 years our national debt has risen by $6 trillion and is 
projected to add another $9 trillion over the next decade. These 
numbers are huge, too big to comprehend. So let's put it this way: If 
we don't do something, we are really in trouble. Between the end of 
2008 and 2022--so 9 years from now--the average household share of the 
national debt will have risen from $90,000 a household to $160,000 a 
household. That is how big the debt will get. Today, it is about 
$130,000 per household.
  We know we need to do something. Democrats and Republicans alike talk 
about it a lot. The debt limit is an opportunity to have this debate. 

[[Page S416]]

decades will bring even more debt, with the Congressional Budget 
Office--a nonpartisan group here in Congress--now projecting the debt 
will top 200 percent of our economy in 25 years. Again, this is 
unprecedented. It is about 100 percent of our economy right now.
  And, by the way, the projection that the debt will be 200 percent of 
our economy in 25 years is a rosy scenario that assumes we will have 
peace, prosperity, and relatively low interest rates. I think we can 
all agree that saddling our children and grandchildren with this 
enormous debt is not just bad economics, it is immoral.
  In reining in the debt, the Congressional Budget Office makes clear 
that spending is driving future deficits. When we look at the future 
deficits, it is spending that is creating a major problem. Again, 
according to the Congressional Budget Office, revenues will surpass 
their historic average, which is about 18 percent of our economy, as 
soon as the economy begins to recover. Spending, which has been 
historically 20 percent of our economy, has already jumped to over 23 
percent of our economy and is projected to rise to 30, 40, 50 percent 
of GDP over the next several decades. So clearly we have a spending 
  The amendment I offer today will ensure that debt limit increases are 
matched with equal cuts in Federal program spending over the next 10 
years--so for a decade. There are no gimmicks, no timing shifts, but 
these will be real cuts in the growth of Federal spending.
  This chart shows what the results of this would be for the country. 
The top lines are spending. This is the blue line. The bottom line, the 
red line, is revenue. So here we are today, 2013. Again, the spending 
as a percent of our economy is just over 23 percent. If we continue to 
go the way we are going, what will happen, based on these relatively 
rosy scenarios about our future, is we will see a dip in the spending 
as a result of our economy and then it goes up and quickly begins to 
climb further from that over the coming decades. Revenues, again under 
the current scenario, continue to grow to the point they go above the 
historic 18 percent. Here it indicates that by 2022 they would be at 
19.1 percent. Spending, under the proposal we have before us today--
this amendment, the dollar for dollar amendment--goes to 19.6 percent, 
so just about at the 20-percent historic average.
  This of course means we are very close to balance. And it means, 
again, there is a reasonable result to this, which ends up with 
spending being very close to the historic average, revenue coming above 
its historic average, and again we are back on track toward fiscal 
discipline and toward fiscal sanity. That means we can have a stronger 
economy--the kind of robust economy we all hope for--bringing back the 
jobs and not leaving to our kids and grandkids such an enormous debt 
and deficit.
  We would still have a deficit here, a small one, and this would be 
positioning the deficit to get to balance because it would be such a 
relatively small deficit compared to what we have had in the past. If 
enacted, the result will be about $3 trillion in savings over the next 
decade. This is roughly consistent with what other groups have talked 
about, including the Simpson-Bowles Commission and others. Given the 
$44 trillion in spending projected over the next decade, this $3 
trillion in savings should not be too much to ask. In fact, simply 
limiting spending growth to about 3 percent per year would accomplish 
this same result.
  So that is essentially what is being required here when you say there 
will be a dollar-for-dollar reduction in spending over 10 years every 
time you raise the debt limit by $1. The result is that, again, by 2022 
the deficit will fall to less than 1 percent of GDP--very close to 
balance. The debt as a percentage of the economy would actually be 
declining as well, and it actually declines to the point where, 
according to the Simpson-Bowles Commission and others, it would be 60-
some percent of the economy, which many view as having stabilized our 
debt. Again, we have a lot of work to do even at that point, but at 
least it stabilizes it. It actually declines by about 19 points as a 
percentage of the economy from its peak in terms of our debt. Future 
generations would be spared this crushing debt and the economic 
stagnation we otherwise will face if Washington does nothing.
  Some may contend that the debt limit is the wrong place to have this 
spending debate. I have heard this a lot as I have been promoting this 
idea. I have to respectfully disagree. The debt limit is about all that 
has worked. The debt limit is not just about paying past bills, it also 
presents an opportunity to talk about the future--what should our bills 
be in the future? It is not about, as the President often says, paying 
our past bills. Those should be paid. It is about what bills we are 
going to rack up going forward. We have to make a change. If we don't, 
the country is headed toward bankruptcy.
  Furthermore, nearly every single deficit reduction bill over the past 
28 years has been linked to the debt limit. In fact, I would say every 
single one of the significant deficit reduction packages in the last 
few decades has been linked to the debt limit. It is all that has 
worked around here.
  In 1985--there are some Members in the Senate today who were here 
then, and they will tell you that the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill, which 
came out of the Senate, helped reduce the deficit. It was attached to 
what? A debt limit bill. Since that time, the three largest deficit 
reduction packages in the 1990s--1990, 1993, and 1997, including the 
1997 Balanced Budget Act--were all linked to what? A debt limit 
discussion. So it is really all that has worked.
  The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, which a lot of Democrats were very 
supportive of, was in 2010. That came out of a debt limit discussion.
  Finally, of course, the debt limit was the impetus for the Budget 
Control Act just 2 years ago, when this Congress made a commitment to 
save $2.1 trillion over the decade. So just 2 years ago, we agreed to 
this dollar-for-dollar provision, and it was done as part of the debt 
  As we discuss the dollar-for-dollar amendment pending today, we have 
to remember that this is really where the idea came from. Dollar-for-
dollar came out of the Budget Control Act. So for folks who attempt to 
label this idea as untenable, too aggressive, or without precedent, 
remember that the dollar-for-dollar legislation passed only 2 years ago 
with only 95 Democratic votes in the House and 45 of the 51 Democrats 
here in the Senate voting yes. So the idea certainly has precedent, and 
given the results we talked about earlier, it is a commonsense way to 
address the debt limit debate today and in the future if this body is 
going to be serious about getting Washington's spending and debt under 
  By the way, it wouldn't apply to this first short-term debt limit 
extension. This would apply to the debt limit extension that we all 
hope will be a longer term agreement with Republicans and Democrats, 
including, as the chair and the ranking member of the Finance Committee 
just talked about, tax reform and entitlement reform--working together 
to solve these problems. This would provide the impetus to do that.
  So whether that is in 3 months or, as some are suggesting, 6 months 
from now, given the fact that Treasury will be able to use some 
authorities to help extend that debt limit, that is when this would 
apply. It would not apply to this short-term debt limit, but it is 
putting the discipline in place now that we employed only 2 years ago 
to be able to get real savings for our country.
  The debt limit is also an important tool for deficit reduction 
because it is all we have had. And when you think about it, we haven't 
had budgets. The only recent restraint came in the context of the debt 
limit and dollar-for-dollar reductions in the Budget Control Act. This 
is partly because the Senate has not passed a budget, as we all know 
and we all have heard about, in over 3 years. I understand the majority 
is committed to passing a budget in the Senate this year. I commend 
them for that. I hope they will. But reconciling it with the House, of 
course, will be a challenge, and future years also remain uncertain. So 
in the absence of a budget, the fact remains that the debt limit has 
been the effective tool we have used.
  By the way, the fact also remains that now nearly two-thirds of all

[[Page S417]]

spending is not even subject to the budget. Why? Because it is on 
autopilot. It is not annually appropriated. It is the mandatory 
spending. So even if we have a budget, which I hope we do, still, the 
debt limit is the most likely way for us to get at the bigger picture 
since 62 percent of spending is on autopilot--or mandatory--and not 
subject to the annual appropriations process that would be part of the 
budget agreement. This is why the debt limit is likely to remain the 
most successful tool for deficit reduction.
  Common sense tells us that while Washington pays its past bills, it 
also has to take steps to reduce its future bills. Based on one poll I 
saw, 72 percent of Americans agree that when you increase the debt 
limit, it should be matched by equal cuts, dollar-for-dollar--72 
percent of Americans. It is common sense. We did it 2 years ago. It 
leads us to a result that seems reasonable.
  Most people think we need to get spending under control. The revenues 
are going to go up based on the CBO projections here, and we get to 
virtually a balance over 10 years if we put this in place, with the 
permitting of about 3 percent growth in spending every year. So this is 
not an unreasonable result. It is a sensible solution. Congress did it 
a couple years ago.
  I hope my colleagues will join me on a bipartisan basis to say that 
with regard to the longer term debt limit extension we are facing 
somewhere in the 3- to 6-month period, that we put in place this 
discipline and then allow the committees to do their work. We should go 
back to regular order. The Finance Committee chairman has made this 
point repeatedly, and so has the ranking member. Other members have. We 
need hearings. We need to have an open process. We don't want these 
last-minute bills that people haven't had a chance to read and staff 
hasn't had a chance to review.
  This would put us in that position--knowing that we have this 
discipline in place, we can achieve this, and we must achieve this for 
the sake of our kids and grandkids. I urge my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. President, I now would like to offer a second amendment. I have 
been asked to offer these two amendments together. The second amendment 
is another idea because it doesn't have to do with the debt limit per 
se, but it has to do with how we avoid government shutdowns. This is 
bipartisan legislation, and it is a bipartisan idea whose time I 
believe has come.
  Every year since 1997 and in all but 2 years since 1985, Congress has 
reached the October 1 fiscal year-end without doing all the 
appropriations bills. Think about that. Every year since 1997, we have 
not been able to reach agreement on all the appropriations bills, and 
only twice since 1985 have we ended the fiscal year with having all the 
appropriations bills done.
  What is the result? In some years there has been a relatively quick 
vote on what is called a continuing resolution to continue government 
spending in those areas where we haven't completed our work. In other 
years the result has been a real showdown, with the threat of 
government shutdown. And then in some years we have had an actual 
government shutdown. In fact, it has happened way too often, and the 
reason is that, again, we haven't been able to come together as 
Republicans and Democrats, the House and the Senate, working with the 
President, to put forward these appropriations bills in regular order, 
and so we face these shutdowns. And we actually have faced some last-
minute budget bills, many of which are full of surprises because 
Members haven't had a chance to read them and staff has not had a 
chance to review them.
  These shutdowns, by the way, when we have had them, have created real 
problems. Americans hoping to travel abroad find that their passport 
applications can't be processed. Disease surveillance ceases at the 
Centers for Disease Control. Recruitment of Border Patrol agents stops. 
Families planning to go on vacations to national parks find their 
destinations closed. It is not a good way to run a government, and I 
think we should avoid those shutdowns.
  Some make the reasonable argument that these shutdowns are an 
acceptable price to pay if they lead to spending cuts. I understand 
that is an argument out there, but in fact, as I look at it, I think 
the opposite has occurred. The 1996 government shutdown that a lot of 
people talk about produced such a large backlash that it seems as if a 
lot of lawmakers decided to abandon spending restraint altogether. A 
proof point might be that after that 1996 shutdown, nondefense 
discretionary spending nearly doubled over the next decade. So it seems 
to me as though the case for spending restraint was harmed, not helped, 
by the 1996 government shutdown.
  The last-minute budget bill that usually results from the threat of 
government shutdown tends to have a lot of surprises in it. It is a 
real problem because over the years Congress has found itself just 
hours away from a government shutdown, often forced to vote on these 
thousand-plus page bills--an omnibus spending bill that folks have not 
had a chance to read and our staffs haven't sufficiently reviewed. It 
is not the fault of our Appropriations committees, which do their best 
under tight deadlines. I think it is the fault of these artificial 
deadlines themselves.
  With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, we could all use more 
time to better understand what we are voting on. This bipartisan 
amendment would solve these problems.
  For all regular programs or activities whose appropriations bills 
have not been approved--whether it is all the bills or whether it is 
only one bill--the End Government Shutdown Act would automatically 
continue the current level of spending, no significant disruption, no 
crisis for citizens, no furloughed employees, no rush to approve a 
last-minute budget deal that people haven't had a chance to look at.
  Yet we don't want these continuing resolutions to take the pressure 
off lawmakers to complete their work, so after 120 days there would be 
a 1-percent reduction in spending. It would be across the board in a 
normal year. Because the new fiscal year is October 1, this would mean 
lawmakers would have until January 29--well after the holiday break--to 
complete their work on the appropriations bills.
  And this year, should Washington fail to come to an agreement on the 
continuing resolution, spending would remain at whatever the current 
level of spending is for those first 120 days.
  Under this amendment, after the 120-day period, spending levels on 
any remaining unfinished bills would continue to be reduced across the 
board 1 percent every 90 days. I doubt that would be necessary because 
I think the appropriators of the House and Senate would come together 
to solve the problems. But every 90 days, there would be an additional 
1 percent reduction until the appropriations bills for the yearlong 
continuing resolution have been enacted.
  These eventual small cuts are designed to keep both sides at the 
bargaining table. They aren't so small as to be irrelevant, but they 
are not so large as to gut any programs. Priorities of both Republicans 
and Democrats would be subject to the same across-the-board cuts, and 
both parties, therefore, would have an incentive to come to an 
agreement to fully fund the priority programs and reduce funding for 
lower priorities.
  This bipartisan amendment may not be each lawmaker's idea of perfect. 
It is certainly not mine. I would rather get all the appropriations 
bills done, but that is not what is happening. But we should all agree 
that it improves upon the current situation where we bounce from crisis 
to crisis, worried about government shutdowns as well as the rushed 
bills we have to vote on to avoid shutdown. The American people want us 
to complete our work in a logical way, and this amendment helps us to 
do that.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this 
commonsense, bipartisan approach.
  I yield the floor.

                            Amendment No. 8

  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I have an amendment at the desk and ask 
for its consideration.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. If the Senator from Pennsylvania will withhold? After 
he speaks, the Senator from Montana will speak, and then may I be 
recognized on the Portman amendment? I ask unanimous consent I be 
recognized after the Senator from Montana.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S418]]

  Without objection, the pending amendment is set aside.
  The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Toomey] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 8.

  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To protect Social Security benefits and military pay and 
require that the United States Government prioritize all obligations on 
    the debt held by the public in the event that the debt limit is 

       At the end of the bill, insert the following:

                   SENIORS ACT.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the 
     ``Ensuring the Full Faith and Credit of the United States and 
     Protecting America's Soldiers and Seniors Act''.
       (b) Prioritize Obligations on the Debt Held by the Public, 
     Social Security Benefits, and Military Pay.--In the event 
     that the debt of the United States Government reaches the 
     statutory limit as defined in section 3101 of title 31, 
     United States Code, the following shall take equal priority 
     over all other obligations incurred by the Government of the 
     United States:
       (1) The authority of the Department of the Treasury 
     contained in section 3123 of title 31, United States Code, to 
     pay with legal tender the principal and interest on debt held 
     by the public.
       (2) The authority of the Commissioner of Social Security to 
     pay monthly old-age, survivors' and disability insurance 
     benefits under title II of the Social Security Act.
       (3) The payment of pay and allowances for members of the 
     Armed Forces on active duty.
       (c) Limited Debt Limit Authority.--
       (1) In general.--If the Secretary of the Treasury 
     determines, after consultation with the Director of the 
     Office of Management and Budget, that incoming revenue will 
     not be sufficient to finance the priorities listed in 
     subsection (b) over the following 2 weeks, the Secretary, in 
     coordination with the Director of the Office of Management 
     and Budget, shall--
       (A) notify Congress of the expected revenue shortfall; and
       (B) raise the debt limit by the amount necessary to cover 
     the difference between incoming revenue and the revenue 
     needed to finance the priorities listed in subsection (b) on 
     a 2 week basis.
       (2) Limit.--The debt limit increase provided by paragraph 
     (1)(B) may not exceed the difference between expected outlays 
     for the listed priorities and expected revenue.
       (3) Excess revenue.--If incoming revenue exceeds the amount 
     projected by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation 
     with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, 
     needed to finance the priorities listed in subsection (b) 
     over the 2-week period, any amount in excess shall be held in 
     reserve and applied to the following 2-week period.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I wish to address the substance of this 
amendment, but let me start with a little context on this underlying 
bill. The underlying bill, of course, suspends the debt ceiling from 
now until May 18. What that means is in the meantime, the 
administration will be able to borrow as much money as it wants within 
certain constraints, but a very large sum of money over the next 3\1/2\ 
months, at which point the debt ceiling will be reinstituted at a 
higher level. We expect the government will probably borrow something 
on the order of $400 billion between now and such time as the debt 
ceiling is reestablished.
  We have $16.4 trillion in debt today, so by the time the debt ceiling 
is reapplied, reimposed, it will be just under $17 trillion. At that 
point we will be right back to the standoff we were at very recently, a 
standoff over what to do about this massive amount of debt we already 
have and the massive amount of additional debt the administration would 
like to create. The administration's position is very clear: They want 
additional borrowing authority with no strings attached--no conditions, 
no limits on future spending. They just want to be able to keep 
borrowing. Some on our side of the aisle believe very strongly that any 
increase in the debt ceiling that authorizes still more borrowing needs 
to be accompanied with some measure of spending discipline so we can at 
some point begin to regain control over these out-of-control deficits 
and the debt.
  In any case, what we know for sure is that this tension will reemerge 
and that we do not have a resolution in place now. If this measure 
passes, which very likely it will, and it will be signed into law, we 
have just kicked this can down the road until May--maybe June or July 
at the most--but we surely will be back at this point where we are 
having this argument.
  Here is what else we know. We know that tax revenue, ongoing tax 
revenue coming into the Government's coffers, is going to be about 75 
percent of all the money the Government is planning to spend in the 
coming year--or is likely to spend. Since 75 percent does not cover 
everything, the other 25 percent is meant to be borrowed. Therein lies 
the necessity of raising the debt ceiling, precisely to fund the 
difference between all the Government wants to spend and the tax 
revenue it is going to have.
  It is important to note, by the way, that raising this debt ceiling 
is not about paying for past bills incurred. I know that is repeated 
around here all the time. It is totally untrue. We have a funding for 
the appropriations process that expires at the end of March. There is 
no appropriation that is in place going forward. The debt ceiling 
increase, the authority to borrow more money, is all about funding 
future spending, which is part of the reason why some of us think this 
is a very sensible moment to try to bring some discipline to that 
future spending.
  What would happen if we do not raise the debt ceiling right away? If 
we do not, we would have to have a 25-percent cut in all government 
spending. That is pretty massive. That is pretty problematic. The 
administration and some actually go way overboard in the threats they 
attach to this. They threaten to inflict the maximum possible economic 
damage if the debt ceiling is not raised promptly upon the point at 
which they run out of their maneuvering room. So you hear threats about 
a default on our debt and senior citizens will not get their Social 
Security check and our military folks will not get paid. All kinds of 
the most disruptive, most damaging, and most dangerous kinds of 
outcomes are threatened by the administration. This is unnecessary. 
This is not true. This is not what would happen. But there is an 
incentive, of course, to try to scare and intimidate Republicans into 
giving the administration the unconditional ability to keep on 
borrowing and spending as they have been doing, and that is why we hear 
  My amendment is an attempt to absolutely minimize the disruption, the 
danger, and the drama. It is an attempt to get away from ``government 
by cliff'' and to have a sensible approach to bringing our spending 
under control. It is called the Full Faith and Credit Act. What it does 
is it says very simply, since none of us can guarantee the debt ceiling 
is going to be raised on any particular date--we all know how we are 
going to vote. We cannot control anyone else's vote. We certainly 
cannot control a single vote in the House and we cannot control what 
the President is going to do. Therefore, we can never know for sure 
whether and when and under what circumstances the debt limit will be 
  My point is the sensible and prudent and responsible thing to do is 
have a plan to minimize the downside if the debt ceiling is not raised 
immediately upon reaching it. This has nothing to do, by the way, with 
the current circumstances of suspending the debt ceiling. This is all 
about the next time, in May or June or July, when we find ourselves 
facing these circumstances.
  What my bill says is, if we get to that point, the Federal Government 
would be obligated to prioritize three categories of spending: That 
would be interest on our debt to make sure we do not default on our 
debt and create a financial crisis; it would be Social Security 
payments to everybody who qualifies for a Social Security payment so 
that no senior citizen has to worry and wait to get their check; and it 
would be Active-Duty Military personnel so that no soldier has to worry 
or wonder whether they are going to get paid.
  By the way, what my bill does is it goes a step forward and says not 
only will the Federal Government have to prioritize those three 
categories, but it says in the event on any given day the tax revenues 
were not sufficient to cover those three payment obligations, the 
Treasury Secretary would be authorized to borrow additional amounts to 
ensure that those payments were made.
  What does it do? It guarantees that it would be absolutely 
impossible, under any circumstances, to default on our

[[Page S419]]

debt, to miss a Social Security payment to anyone, or to be late with 
the military pay to anybody. That is what it would do. It would take a 
little bit of the drama and the risk and the uncertainty and the 
potential damage to the economy off the table and allow us to have an 
honest, sensible discussion about how we are going to get spending 
under control.
  Mind you, these three categories of spending, if you add them all 
together, cumulatively account for about one-third of all the spending 
the government is scheduled to engage in over the course of this fiscal 
year. Ongoing tax revenue is about three-quarters of all the spending 
that is going to occur. So clearly there is far more than enough tax 
revenue to cover these items, but tax revenue comes in in a lumpy 
fashion. It doesn't come in smoothly and uniformly over the course of 
the year, hence the provision that allows the Treasury Secretary to 
borrow in the event that they needed to in the short run to smooth it 

  Let me say something that is of more fundamental importance. This 
amendment is not intended to be a replacement for raising the debt 
ceiling. Unfortunately, as long as we are running structural deficits, 
we are going to have to borrow money to fund them. This amendment, if 
it were to pass and be signed into law, does not mean we would not have 
to raise the debt ceiling at some point. Of course we are going to have 
to until we get to the point where we have balanced budgets and do not 
have to continue to run deficit spending.
  By the way, I do not think it is desirable or optimal to cross into 
that threshold where we are living under the rules of prioritization, 
because it is very disruptive to not be paying all the other bills on 
time as we ought to. That is much better. But my point is, there is 
something even more important here and that is to fundamentally bring 
our spending and deficits under control. Trillion dollar deficits, a 
total debt that now exceeds the total economic output of our country--
we have a disastrous fiscal situation on our hands. It is right now 
costing us jobs, economic growth today, and it is guaranteed to result 
in a full-blown fiscal crisis and a meltdown if we do not change the 
path we are on.
  The only time we have ever been able to persuade this President to 
agree to significant spending reductions was the last time we argued 
over the debt limit and we did end up getting spending cuts as part of 
that. I think the urgency of getting our spending under control and 
getting our fiscal house in order so we can avoid a fiscal crisis and 
have the kind of economic recovery we need is what necessitates a 
prioritization bill so we can take the shrill excesses and the threats 
that some are claiming off the table and have a real discussion and 
real solutions about how we are going to get spending under control.
  My strong hope is that we can bring an end to ``government by 
cliff.'' Senator Portman has an amendment, I believe, that he is going 
to introduce, which would prevent the danger of a government shutdown 
in the event that a CR, a continuing resolution, expires. It makes all 
the sense in the world. We should not find ourselves backed up against 
the wall at midnight on December 31 with a great calamity threatened if 
we do not pass some bill that nobody has ever seen. This is a terrible 
way to run the government and that is what we have been doing. What my 
bill does is it eliminates the risk of default and it creates the 
opportunity for us to bring some spending discipline associated with 
any future debt limit increase. The bill of Senator Portman will avert 
the risk of a government shutdown.
  I fully support his other efforts to make sure we have a dollar in 
savings for every new dollar in debt we create. We have an obligation 
to do that. We have already have too big a debt burden. We have to 
begin curbing the problem that causes it, and that is too much 
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. As I say, it will not 
have any effect on the specific bill under consideration to temporarily 
suspend the debt limit. It will make a much more manageable and a much 
less disruptive discussion when we address the debt limit once again in 
May or June--or when that day surely will arrive.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I rise to speak on two amendments. It will 
be the first amendment offered by the Senator from Ohio, his first 
amendment, and also I will speak on an amendment offered by the Senator 
from Pennsylvania. I think the Senator from Maryland, the chairman of 
the Appropriations Committee, will speak on the second Portman 
  I chuckled this morning. I see two new Members, very able Members of 
the Senate, who are now members of the Senate Finance Committee, follow 
their urges to offer amendments immediately to bills before the Senate. 
Senator Portman is doing that, Senator Toomey is doing that, and I 
commend them, very much commend them for being so interested in the 
subject and allowing their intellectual juices to flow and come up with 
something that is new and different and in their view might make some 
sense. I think part of this is because of the newly found efforts here 
in the Senate, and desire in the Senate, certainly among rank-and-file 
Members, to do something.
  What you hear around here is: ``Regular order.'' That is something I 
very much subscribe to, namely let the committees do their work. 
Senator Portman and Senator Toomey are certainly following that 
tradition by offering amendments so the Senate Finance Committee, or in 
this case the Senate floor, is doing its work with respect to the 
pending measure.
  I want to start by saying how much I appreciate the efforts of the 
Speaker, Speaker Boehner. He has done a good job giving us a few 
months' breathing room here in the Congress with respect to the debt 
limit increase; that is, having the House pass on a bipartisan basis a 
measure which extends the debt ceiling limit for another several 
months, to May 18. That gives us a chance to figure out how we are 
going to get our fiscal house better in order, cut the debt, and deal 
with some other vexatious issues such as the sequester and the 
continuing resolution.
  The amendment, I must say, though, offered by my good friend from 
Ohio is a throwback to an effort that was undertaken essentially a year 
or two ago. With all due respect, it didn't work. What was that? 
Namely, it was the Sanders amendment, which is for every dollar 
increase in the national debt there be a dollar cut in Federal 
spending. This was something that was tried, the House of 
Representatives tried, the Speaker negotiated with the President, and 
it didn't work. Frankly, it led to a big confrontation, if you will, on 
August 11, where the debt was reaching its limit, there was no 
agreement on spending cuts, and the credit agencies began to downgrade 
U.S. credit. It didn't work. I again say I am very proud of the Speaker 
for trying a different approach.

  It is also important to point out that if this amendment were to 
pass, we would have to send this bill back to the House. We are already 
now on a good track for the Senate to pass, without amendment, the 
House-passed bill. If that happens, then the world knows that the U.S. 
Government will not be in debt until at least May 18, and because of 
measures the Treasury Secretary will not exceed the debt limit until 
sometime in August.
  We will be in debt. We have a big debt. The debt is about a $16 
trillion debt, but we will not reach our debt limit if the House bill 
is passed by the U.S. Senate. In my judgment, it is very important that 
we pass this House amendment so that we in the Senate and the House of 
Representatives can get to work on how we reduce the debt and how we 
get our house in order as best as we possibly can.
  I thank my friend from Ohio for his approach. Dollar for dollar, this 
has been attempted in the past. It has been rejected by the Speaker in 
the House of Representatives, and it has been rejected by the majority 
of the House of Representatives. This is an idea that was once tried, 
but it didn't work. I submit, with all due respect, it would not work 
this time either for the reasons I just mentioned and for the 
additional reason that it would further complicate an effort to 
increase our debt limit for a short period of time, which allows us to 
do our work.
  I now wish to turn to the Toomey amendment. Again, I thank my 
colleague from Pennsylvania, a member of

[[Page S420]]

the committee, for industriously coming up with an idea. I must say, 
with total respect, I don't think the idea works. Basically the idea is 
that when the debt limit is reached, the limit would be increased only 
for the purpose of addressing principal and interest on the debt held 
by the public or Social Security benefits and military pay, and that is 
it. The debt limit is automatically increased only for those three 
reasons and not for other reasons; that is, not for other programs the 
U.S. Government has an obligation to fund.
  What are some of the other programs? Medicare, veterans' benefits, 
disability benefits, Medicaid, Pell grants, special education for 
disabled children, and highway funding. The list is extremely lengthy. 
I just mentioned a few.
  What happens if the Toomey amendment is law? First of all, we have 
reached our debt limit. What are the credit markets going to think? 
What are credit agencies going to think? They are going to think, oh, 
my gosh, the U.S. Congress has not increased its debt limit but for 
essentially on a daily basis Social Security, interest on the debt, and 
military pay. It is not for military procurement or men and women in 
the Air Guard. It is just military pay. It sounds as though it is just 
for active-duty pay. Think of what will happen. Think of the chaos. 
Other agencies are not going to know whether they will be funded. They 
have no idea. According to the Toomey amendment, it is up to the 
Treasury Secretary to prioritize. How can he do that when there is no 
money there and the debt limit is not increased? Frankly, I cannot 
believe this amendment is even offered. With all due respect to my 
friend from Pennsylvania, it is so nonsensical.
  With respect to the two amendments that are offered here, the first 
being the Portman amendment, I say to my friends, it has been tried in 
the past and it didn't work. It didn't work when the President and 
Speaker were trying to negotiate a deal on August 11. It caused chaos 
in the markets. That is one of the reasons the markets fell so much in 
August of 2011.
  If this amendment is agreed to, it will have to be sent back to the 
House. It will mean putting this issue of extending the debt limit 
increase for 3 months in tremendous jeopardy. I don't think we want to 
do that. I think it is the wrong thing to do.
  The second amendment, the Toomey amendment, is totally unworkable. It 
will cause even more chaos at a time when we are trying to calm the 
markets, at a time when we are trying to get more confidence, more 
credibility, not less. In my judgment, both--especially the latter--
will result in a lot more worry in the markets, not more confidence. It 
will create more worry, more uncertainty, and for those reasons I think 
these amendments should be rejected.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I stand as the chair of the full 
Appropriations Committee to respond to two Portman amendments. I will 
comment on one and speak to the one related to automatic CRs, which is 
in the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee.
  First I will speak to the dollar-for-dollar cuts, which the Senator 
from Montana and chair of the Finance Committee spoke to. I want to say 
I absolutely support his position. As an appropriator, I agree with his 
arguments. The dollar-for-dollar cuts would make the Boehner rule 
permanent. It would raise the debt limit by mandating a $1 trillion cut 
in spending. This amendment could allow the minority of 41 Senators to 
dictate the fiscal policy to the majority.
  I also oppose the Portman amendment related to automatic continuing 
resolutions. What does the amendment do? It sounds good. I must say I 
have great admiration for the Senator from Ohio. He has a well-known 
reputation for working on a bipartisan basis. When he was in the House, 
he worked so well with my colleague Senator Cardin. I look forward to 
having these kinds of discussions and seeing how we can work out some 
of these issues.
  In listening to the debate, I think we are all in agreement of our 
goals, but we disagree on the means.
  As I read it, Senator Portman's amendment says if Congress fails to 
pass an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution related to it, 
instead of a government shutdown, automatically a continuing resolution 
would go into effect.
  Now that sounds good. However, there is an additional part that says 
every 3 or 4 months, if Congress fails to replace the CR, it would 
decrease agency funding by 1 percent across the board.
  That sounds pretty good too because, after all, what is 1 percent? 
Well, 1 percent compounded has Draconian results. This amendment would 
set up essentially the framework for many sequesters that would go into 
effect automatically if Congress doesn't pass the appropriations.
  I agree with the Senator from Ohio that we need to follow regular 
order, which means bringing up appropriations bills one by one, open, 
transparent, debatable. If you want to shave or save, offer amendments. 
If we had regular order, we would be able to pass our bills.
  We cannot have a situation in the Congress where we have not been 
able to bring up bills because of the filibusters and deleterious 
tactics of some Members, and then when we can't bring them up, we are 
punished for it.
  I oppose this amendment for three reasons. The amendment is the wrong 
solution, regular order is the solution.
  Mr. President, I note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. COATS. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COATS. In deference to the Senator from Maryland, I went through 
the cold-and-cough crud that caused her to begin coughing, so I fully 
understand why she needed to take a break. I am more than willing to 
step aside when she comes back.
  In the interest of time, since I am next up--I know we are trying to 
move toward a vote at 12:15 p.m.--I wish to proceed. I will be happy to 
suspend when the Senator gets back.
  This afternoon the Senate will vote on a bill recently passed by the 
House to suspend the debt ceiling for 4 months. First, I wish to 
commend the House on one aspect of the legislation, which I strongly 
support, and that is the suspension of salary for Members of Congress 
if we do not pass a budget by April 15.
  As I mentioned on the floor yesterday, Congress, by law, is required 
to pass a budget. It has been nearly 4 years since it has done so. As a 
result, the Senate has blatantly ignored its legal duty, not to mention 
its moral duty, to enact a budget. This is completely irresponsible, 
and, quite frankly, it is embarrassing. If this body cannot fulfill its 
most fundamental duty under law to pass a budget, then I say we don't 
deserve to get paid.
  However, another aspect of the bill that would suspend enforcement of 
the Federal debt limit until at least May--and according to recent 
statements issued by the administration possibly until August--concerns 
me. I understand why the House is taking this approach for political 
and tactical reasons, but unfortunately, this decision only continues 
the practice of governing from crisis to crisis, cliff to cliff, and 
pushing through flawed, haphazard legislation at the last minute as we 
did with the vote on the fiscal cliff, which is a great example of how 
this body should not function.
  As a result of this practice, Members are left deciding between 
choosing the lesser of two evils. Never again will I, nor I believe 
many of my colleagues, support any legislation that is negotiated in 
secret, bypasses the regular process where we have an opportunity to 
take it up in committee and amend it, if necessary, and then present it 
to the Senate for debate and evaluation or amendment. Never again will 
I support something that takes us into the wee hours of the night into 
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and then just have a few minutes to 
try to evaluate it with no debate and no opportunity to amend. This is 
no way to govern a country. It is no way to strengthen a weak economy 
and spur job creation, and it is no way to restore confidence among 
consumers and investors, which is such a critical factor in making for

[[Page S421]]

robust growth, which we are not enjoying right now. Eventually all of 
us have to stand up and say enough is enough. Pushing these debates up 
until the last minute, creating our fiscal cliffs, and passing short-
term measures must cease.
  The people of Indiana have had enough. Across the country the 
American people have had enough of Washington postponing real action on 
the most serious challenge facing our country, namely the out-of-
control plunge into further deficit spending and debt.
  Both Republicans and Democrats, the President and the Congress, 
liberal and conservative economists and nonpartisan people, all agree 
that our continued increase in debt is unsustainable. We all know that 
what has been fueling this fire that has engulfed our fiscal house is 
spending. To date our meager efforts to deal with this looming fiscal 
calamity are like trying to put out a five-alarm fire with the 
occasional squeeze of a squirt gun.
  I note that the Senator from Maryland is on the floor. If she wishes 
to resume, I would be happy to suspend my remarks.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Is that okay with the Senator?
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I thank the Senator for the courtesy. Both the Senator 
from Montana and I have been hit by this bug.
  Mr. COATS. I was hit by it 2 weeks ago so I fully understand what the 
Senator is going through.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Little germs are doing to me what my opponents 
couldn't, which is stop me from talking. I thank the Senator for his 
  Mr. President, I oppose the Portman amendment related to automatic 
Continuing Resolutions with cuts if Congress does not pass 
appropriations bills. I acknowledge the legitimacy of his concerns, and 
I agree that we are all tired of governing from crisis to crisis. And I 
share his goal of keeping the government open so our Federal agencies 
can carry out their missions, and serve the American people. But I very 
much oppose this proposed solution.
  Now, what does the amendment do? It sounds good, and I must say, I 
have a great admiration for the Senator from Ohio. And he has a well-
known reputation for working on a bipartisan basis. He has worked so 
well when he was in the House with my colleague, Senator Cardin. And I 
look forward to having these kinds of discussions and seeing how we can 
work out some of these issues. I think in listening to the debate, we 
all are in agreement of goals, but we disagree on means.
  His amendment, as I read it, says if Congress fails to pass an 
appropriations bill or a Continuing Resolution related to it, instead 
of a government shutdown, an automatic Continuing Resolution would go 
into effect. That sounds good. However, there's an additional part that 
says, after four months, if Congress fails to replace the Continuing 
Resolution, it would decrease agency funding by one percent across the 
board. Well, that sounds pretty good too. Because after all, what is 
one percent?
  Well, one percent every 90 days compounded has draconian results. 
This amendment would set up essentially the framework for mini-
sequesters that would go into effect automatically if Congress doesn't 
pass appropriations bills.
  I oppose this amendment for three reasons. First, the amendment is a 
wolf in sheep's clothing. The amendment's stated purpose is to 
establish automatic Continuing Resolutions, but the amendment wouldn't 
just extend funding for government operations. It would also cut 
funding one percent across the board for every 90 days that Congress 
doesn't pass Appropriations bills or a Continuing Resolution. Mr. 
President, this amendment just creates a new crisis instead of 
providing confidence and clear direction. This type of robotic-cutting 
Continuing Resolution would add uncertainty to the operations of the 
Federal government.
  Second, this amendment is the wrong solution to a long-standing 
problem. A problem we have become too familiar with, and too 
comfortable with. I'm talking about not operating according to regular 
order. I agree with the gentleman from Ohio, we need to follow a 
regular order. Regular order means Congress receives the President's 
budget. Regular order means the Appropriations Committee holds hearings 
and marks up bills. Regular order means bringing up appropriations 
bills on the Senate floor, one by one, a process that is open, 
transparent, and allows debate. If a Member wants to save money or 
shave spending on these bills, that Member can offer amendments. If we 
had regular order, we would be able to pass our bills.
  The solution to the problem of governing from crisis to crisis, of 
avoiding Continuing Resolutions and government shutdowns, is not an 
automatic Continuing Resolution. The solution is to get back to regular 
order, where Congress makes smart decisions about where to make needed 
investments and where to cut. Permanent robotic-cutting Continuing 
Resolutions are not the solution.
  You have a situation in Congress where we haven't been able to bring 
up bills because of filibusters, and because of the dilatory tactics of 
some Members. We can't bring our bills up, and we're punished for it. 
There are those who have thrown sand in the gears of regular order by 
tying up appropriations bills with controversial riders and calls for 
draconian cuts, and then complain when we have to do Continuing 
Resolutions to keep the government working for the American people. 
They can't have it both ways. Regular order is the solution.
  Third, this amendment simply gives up Congress's Constitutional 
responsibility, the power of the purse. This amendment would put the 
government on auto-pilot for months, perhaps even years. In a divided 
Congress, it is hard to come to an agreement on spending. But every 
time we pass a Continuing Resolution, we are giving the executive 
branch more and more control over the federal budget. This means 
Congress gives up control to OMB and Cabinet officers.
  By not passing our bills, we weaken Congressional oversight. The 
Appropriations Committee is the only committee that reviews every 
spending account of every agency. The Committee digs down further than 
any other committee to make sure that agencies are not wasting taxpayer 
dollars. And when we find things that need to be fixed, we fix them in 
our bills. But if we can't get our bills to the President's desk, then 
our efforts at oversight are not realized.
  Mr. President, I agree with the Senator from Ohio that we should stop 
our dependence on Continuing Resolutions, especially long-term 
Continuing Resolutions. They are a terrible way to govern. It is time 
for us to show we can govern. The American people want to see us 
govern. We all need to work together in good faith and in a timely 
manner. This is what the Appropriations Committee does.
  Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
  Mr. President, I also oppose the amendment from the Senator from Ohio 
that demands a dollar in cuts for every dollar increase in the debt 
  Under this amendment, the debt limit could not be raised without 
spending cuts equal to the amount to be raised, unless the requirement 
is waved by a super-majority of 60 votes. This amendment would make the 
``Boehner Rule'' permanent. The amendment means that in order to raise 
the debt limit by $1 trillion, Congress would need to cut $1 trillion 
in spending over the next ten years.
  This is a terrible amendment. The point has been made before, but I 
make it again. The debt limit is not about cutting spending, it is 
about paying for spending that Congress has already authorized. If 
enacted, the Portman amendment would require trillions and trillions of 
dollars in cuts to earned benefits programs over the next decade. Cuts 
to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and all of our other 
mandatory programs. It would also squeeze discretionary spending, 
including defense, to the point where I doubt our agencies could carry 
out their most basic responsibilities.
  I remind my colleagues that under this amendment, if the Congress 
were to pass a tax cut, revenues would fall but spending would not. So 
the next year, when less revenue comes in, Congress would be forced to 
pay for the tax cut with equal spending cuts. If Congress passed 
another huge tax cut for the wealthy, like the Bush tax cuts, then 
Congress would have to cut programs for the middle class to pay for it.

[[Page S422]]

  And I also remind my colleagues that if Congress passed emergency 
spending, like the Sandy bill, then guess what? Next year, Congress 
would have to find even more cuts to earned benefits or to 
discretionary spending to pay for that.
  The Senate has a history of always protecting the rights of the 
minority. But it is one thing to protect the interests of the minority 
party, and it is quite another to allow a minority of 41 Senators to 
dictate policy to the majority. By requiring an affirmative super-
majority of 60 votes to raise the debt without draconian spending cuts, 
this amendment gives veto power to the minority over most fiscal 
decisions that the majority supports. Tax changes, spending, earned 
benefit reforms, Budget Resolutions, and even Reconciliation. That is 
simply not acceptable.
  Mr. President, the objective of this amendment is obvious to me. The 
American people do not support cuts to their earned benefits, to Social 
Security and Medicare. This amendment is a way to force huge cuts in 
these programs without ever having to justify them.
  I suggest that if Members want to cut a trillion dollars from Social 
Security over the next ten years, let them come down and offer an 
amendment that does just that. And if Members want to change the rules 
for Medicare, in order to remove Americans from eligibility for 
Medicare, or from Medicaid, let them come to the floor with legislation 
in hand to do just that.
  We're talking about trillions of dollars here. Chained CPI is not 
going to do it. Cuts to providers won't do it. And that's the problem. 
Cuts of this magnitude require immediate cuts to Social Security. And 
these cuts reduce the number of people helped by Medicare and Medicaid. 
And of course, they gut non-defense discretionary spending. And I say 
to my colleagues, if I'm overstating the case, I look forward to 
someone coming down here and offering legislation that saves trillions 
of dollars and doesn't do those things.
  We need to get our financial house in order. But we need a balanced 
solution, one that includes revenues, sensible reforms to earned 
benefits that save money but do not hurt the middle class, and spending 
  This amendment could not be less balanced. This amendment is all cuts 
and no revenues, and contains not one specific policy that would save a 
single dollar. Tens of millions of middle class Americans work their 
whole lives, play by the rules, and pay their taxes every year so one 
day they can retire with some dignity and some security guaranteed to 
them. That's the promise this government made, and it's a promise the 
Congress needs to keep. With reforms to revenues and with reforms to 
our earned benefits programs. With frugality. With compromise. That's 
the solution to our fiscal challenges.
  Mr. President, this amendment would fundamentally rewrite the social 
compact between the government and its citizens. Without a single 
hearing. Without a single witness. This approach is unacceptable, and I 
urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I send my sympathy and empathy to the 
Senator from Maryland. Having gone through the same thing, I fully 
understand what she is dealing with and trust she will recover quickly.
  Picking up where I left off, dare a politician stand here and 
acknowledge this? Many don't want to. But the truth is this: The main 
driver of our debt and deficit spending is the runaway mandatory 
spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
  Despite those who claim it is political suicide to touch these 
programs and despite the fact none of us are saying we should eliminate 
these programs, this is an area where many don't want to tread. But I 
believe these programs, which provide much needed benefits for many 
Hoosiers and Americans, need to be preserved. But our goal and our 
challenge is to find common ground on not how to eliminate these 
programs but how to save these programs, both for current retirees and 
for future generations. If we don't take steps to reform these 
programs, we risk not only bankrupting our country, we risk having to 
tell the recipients of the benefits of these programs we no longer can 
fulfill their needs and our propositions.
  It is difficult for me to support any effort to increase the debt 
limit when we continue to avoid taking the necessary steps to eliminate 
deficit spending and control our debt in the future. Despite several 
bipartisan attempts over the last 2 or 3 years, including efforts by 
the Simpson-Bowles Commission--the President's Commission--the Gang of 
6 and the supercommittee of 12, we have failed to put together a 
credible, long-term deficit reduction package. How then can we continue 
to raise the debt limit over and over again without agreeing on a way 
to reduce it in the future?
  Repeatedly and thoughtlessly raising the debt limit represents a 
political moral hazard, a taxpayer bailout for big government 
politicians who don't want to be bothered by controlling spending. 
Congress continually increasing the debt limit is akin to consumers 
having the ability to increase their own credit borrowing limit with no 
oversight. We just keep increasing the credit limit to pay for more and 
more spending. It reminds me of a parent dealing with an irresponsible 
teenager who was given a credit card, asked to stay within the credit 
limits but month after month after month continues to exceed the limit 
as the debt piles and the interest on the debt accumulates. Eventually, 
the parent has to take away the card and take the scissors and cut it 
up. At what point do we in the Congress take the congressional credit 
card, cut it up, and get control of our spending?
  I urge my colleagues and the President to focus not on how to get 
enough votes to raise the borrowing limit again but on how we can truly 
begin the essential task of eliminating deficit spending and reducing 
our debt as a percentage of GDP.
  Part of what makes America so remarkable is we have the ability in 
this great country to control our destiny. The problems we face are not 
insurmountable, but they are not avoidable either. It is time we take a 
stand and do what the people we represent sent us to do. It is time we 
make the changes we pledged we would make when we were seeking office, 
and it is time we take control of our country's financial future and 
put America on a path to prosperity.
  With that, I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I am going to lay out and discuss a motion 
to commit which I have at the desk, and we are going to be voting on 
that motion to commit later today. It is very simple, very 
straightforward. In fact, I will read it:

       Mr. Vitter moves to commit the bill H.R. 325--

  That is, of course, the debt limit increase which we have at the desk 
which we are debating--

     to the Committee on Finance with instructions to report the 
     same back to the Senate within 7 days with legislative 
     language that makes changes in existing programs that reduce 
     Federal spending by the increase amount required by section 
     2(b) . . . over the period of fiscal years 2013 to 2022.

  It is very simple. By whatever amount we are increasing the debt 
limit, so too would we reduce spending. The idea is to start actually 
paying for what we spend or at least paying for the extra we are going 
to borrow. It is a commonsense idea, a straightforward approach, and it 
is not Draconian. We can do it. It starts to put discipline into the 
  This bill before us suspends the debt limit until May 18. That is 
estimated to mean between $300 billion and $400 billion in additional 
deficit spending. So under this motion to commit, that is the savings 
we would find. Those are the cuts we would make: $300 billion to $400 
billion total over 10 years. Obviously, that is $30 billion to $40 
billion a year. That is thoroughly doable. It is meaningful. It takes 
some work, but it is thoroughly doable, and those savings would be such 
a small percentage. The part for this year would only be about 3 
percent of the deficit and around 1 percent of total Federal spending.
  If we can't find between $30 billion and $40 billion a year in 
savings, is

[[Page S423]]

there truly a way we can agree to major budget reforms? If we can't 
find those modest savings, should we be borrowing more money to just 
spend and spend and spend?
  Let me be clear. My limited motion is not enough. We need more 
spending cuts and we need more and fundamental budget reform and we 
need it now. But I am proposing a reasonable first step that is 
concrete and meaningful as a downpayment toward fiscal soundness.
  This bill is short term. It is a patch. It is for 3 months. But it 
puts us on the right path. It is a concrete, meaningful first step.

  Surely, we should have learned by now; Congress passed the last debt 
limit deal in 2011, but we got a credit downgrade anyway. As we 
continue to rack up more and more debt--without spending reform, 
without budget reform--a new downgrade has to be on the way. It is not 
a question of if; it is a question of when.
  All the credit rating agencies have maintained their negative 
outlook, including after the fiscal cliff deal. The problem, as it was 
with the deal passed on New Year's Day, is not that we are taxed too 
little; the problem is we clearly spend too much. Not enough folks in 
this building recognize that. Everybody in the real world recognizes 
that, and certainly the credit rating agencies recognize that.
  So why don't we take this reasonable, concrete first step? Again, my 
modest amendment is a small downpayment but an important step, concrete 
action during the time for which this bill would increase debt, as we 
work toward a more comprehensive solution.
  If we are going to raise the debt limit, we must at least show the 
taxpayers, the credit rating agencies, and the world that we are 
serious about getting our fiscal house in order. Without this type of 
amendment--or in this case a motion to commit--we are not saying that 
in any way, shape, or form with this bill. That is why without this 
sort of motion to commit or a roughly similar amendment, I cannot vote 
for this debt limit increase.
  I urge all of my colleagues to join me in a bipartisan way around 
this approach. I think it would be a step in the right detection.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, the debt limit alone, under the current 
administration, had been increased by over $5 trillion. That is simply 
  Not to worry, I have recently been told. We have made massive 
progress toward promising deficit reduction. I hear this even though we 
have not seen any significant actual reduction.
  I have been hearing bold claims by my friends on the other side of 
the aisle about having attained trillions in budget ``savings'' and 
deficit reduction in just the past couple of years alone. They have 
gone so far as to say that we have had $2.4 trillion of deficit 
reduction legislated in the past 2 years. Of course, the deficit 
reduction has not been realized. It represents promises and plans that 
even Democrats seek to undo. It is amazing to me that they make these 
  I have heard bold claims that we have somehow legislated deficit 
reduction totaling as much as $3.6 trillion from my friends on the 
other side. I have heard that deficit reduction that has been promised 
can be broken down to an 80-to-20 ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes.
  While I often applaud creativity, I have to say these deficit 
reduction claims and the ratio of spending reductions to tax hikes is 
more than creative. It is more like Enron accounting, and if you were 
running a company in the private sector and made such claims, you would 
probably end up in jail.
  Let me make a few brief comments on the Democrats' Enron accounting 
of deficit reduction.
  First, the so-called spending cuts they identify have not yet been 
realized, and even they are working hard to undo some of them, if not 
all of them.
  Second, the so-called spending cuts are only cuts if you are 
selective in the starting point you use to measure whether spending is 
being cut. Relative to what spending levels would be, had we not had a 
Democrat spending spree, spending has increased even if you include 
plans put forward in the Budget Control Act, which have not yet been 
  Third, the spending-cut-to-tax-hike number thrown around by my 
friends on the other side of the aisle counts only one discrete tax 
hike--the one associated with the fiscal cliff bill.
  Why do Democrats want to entirely ignore the massive tax hikes 
associated with ObamaCare that have already gone into effect, with more 
to come?
  Fourth, spending cuts that my friends on the other side of the aisle 
are banking on when they devise their Enron accounting have not yet 
been set in place. Until fiscal year 2013 comes to a close, those 
spending reductions have not actually occurred, and Congress has a long 
history of promising cuts without delivering.
  It is ironic to me that my friends on the other side of the aisle 
fight tooth and nail against any true reductions in the outsized 
spending of the current administration. Then when budget realities 
force consideration of reductions, and legislation is passed promising 
reductions, Democrats boast of having cut spending to reduce deficits.
  Finally, when it comes to actually implement any spending cuts, 
Democrats want to undo them and replace them with yet more taxes. That 
is what we are hearing from the other side with regard to the 
  I believe our country faces a large spending problem and that our 
debt is too big and grows too fast. I believe presenting a picture of 
our finances that would pass muster only in the Enron accounting 
department is a disservice to the American people. If my friends on the 
other side of the aisle want more tax hikes to pay for more spending, 
then they should just say so. And some of them do, by the way, and I 
compliment them for doing that, even though I think it is crazy. 
Cloaking their desires in manufactured claims that we have somehow cut 
spending 4 to 1 relative to tax hikes is simply dishonest. And I do not 
think I have been wrong in calling it Enron accounting.
  Frankly, I am getting a little sick of it because they throw these 
figures around as though they are really tax cuts, and they are not tax 
cuts, and they never will be according to my friends on the other side 
in what their actions show. So it is important that we get rid of the 
fuzz and get rid of the buzz and get rid of the phony stuff and the 
Enron accounting and start realizing that we need to have some real tax 
  Frankly, we need to have some real spending reductions. Even if we 
cannot get tax reductions, we ought to all be working on spending 
reductions. We ought to be looking at every aspect of this economy, 
every aspect of our budget, every aspect of our legislation, and we 
ought to be looking for as many spending reductions as we can find.
  Spending is out of control. Even today, you know they are going to be 
spending well over 22 percent of GDP, according to the best of 
estimates. The economic results of yesterday that were in the paper of 
this slow growth ought to be waking up everybody on both sides of the 
aisle that we are not doing our job. The reason we are not doing our 
job is because we phony up these numbers that are not really spending 
reductions, and then we act like everything is hunky-dory, when, in 
fact, things are not hunky-dory.
  We are in real trouble in this country, and it is inexcusable to let 
the greatest country in the world have to go through this type of 
charade because we are unwilling to face the music that every 
individual family in this country has to face on balancing their 
budgets and on balancing ours.
  I think it is time to cut the charade and quit talking about spending 
reductions that do not materialize and amount to nothing but Enron 
  Mr. President, I ask that both sides be charged equally for the time 
we are in a quorum call.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is the order.
  Mr. HATCH. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S424]]

                            Amendment No. 9

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to call up amendment 
No. 9.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Paul] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 9.

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

    (Purpose: To prohibit the sale, lease, transfer, retransfer, or 
delivery of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks, or certain other defense articles 
                or services to the Government of Egypt)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:


       (a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the United States Government shall not license, approve, 
     facilitate, or otherwise allow the sale, lease, transfer, 
     retransfer, or delivery of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks, or other 
     defense articles or services listed in Category VI, VII, or 
     VIII of the United States Munitions List to the Government of 
       (b) United States Munitions List Defined.--In this section, 
     the term ``United States Munitions List'' means the list 
     referred to in section 38(a)(1) of the Arms Export Control 
     Act (22 U.S.C. 2778(a)(1)), as in effect on January 1, 2013.

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise today to present an amendment that 
would stop the transfer of F-16s and Abrams tanks to Egypt. I think it 
particularly unwise to send tanks and our most sophisticated fighter 
planes to Egypt at a time in which many are saying the country may be 
  Ironically, a year ago, the Arab spring occurred. Hundreds of 
thousands of people gathered in Tahir Square to protest against the 
government that was instituting martial law. Ironically, the current 
President now has instituted martial law. Once again, the dread 
``indefinite detention'' is threatened to citizens in Egypt.
  As the rioting expands, many see Egyptian descending into chaos. What 
is President Obama's response to this? To send them some of the most 
sophisticated weapons we have, F-16 fighters and Abrams tanks. I think 
this is particularly unwise. This amendment will stop it. I think this 
is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious 
zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that Jews were 
``bloodsuckers'' and ``descendents of apes and pigs.''
  This does not sound like the kind of stable personality to whom we 
should be sending our most sophisticated weapons. I think it is a grave 
mistake to send F-16s and Abrams tanks to a country that last year 
detained American citizens on trumped-up political charges, to a 
country that currently is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-
up political charges.
  I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated 
weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to 
burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and 
tanks, to a country that allowed a mob chanting ``death to America'' to 
threaten our American diplomats.
  I am concerned that these weapons, some of the most sophisticated 
weapons in the world, someday may be used against Israel. I am 
concerned these weapons threaten Israel's security. I am concerned that 
we are sending weapons to a country with a President who recently was 
seen to be chanting ``Amen'' to a cleric who was saying, ``death to 
Israel'' and ``death to those who support Israel.''
  I think it is foolhardy to support and send arms to both sides of an 
arms race. We send 20 F-16s to Egypt, which already has 240 F-16s. We 
send 20 in addition. What does Israel feel? They have to have two for 
every one Egypt has. It escalates an arms race and makes it more 
difficult for Israel to defend herself.
  Today we have a chance to stop this folly. I urge my colleagues to 
instruct the President that we will not send any more F-16s and any 
more Abrams tanks to the current Government of Egypt.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, what is the parliamentary situation?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate is considering H.R. 325.
  Mr. McCAIN. How much time is remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Only Democratic time remains.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed 
10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I speak in opposition to the amendment 
evidenced by my friend, the Senator from Kentucky, which would prohibit 
the sale, licensing, approval, facilitation, transfer, retransfer, or 
delivery of any defense articles and services to the Government of 
Egypt, including F-16 aircraft and M-1 tanks.
  There are many problems with this amendment. I would like to explain. 
First, the amendment is not revenue neutral. The Congressional Budget 
Office has not provided an official score, despite my request, but 
there is a way to avoid the basic fact that there are numerous costs 
associated with this amendment. The defense articles the Senator from 
Kentucky wishes to block and prohibit are manufactured by American 
workers and defense companies. They have contracts to produce this 
equipment, and American workers are doing that as we speak.
  If the Federal Government steps in, as my colleague's amendment would 
mandate, those contracts would have to be immediately broken, and U.S. 
production lines would have to be shut down immediately. There is a 
cost of breaching a contract in this country, and there should be. That 
does not change just because the government is the one doing the 
breaching. This is also as it should be.
  So the Senator's amendment would obligate the Federal Government to 
pay the many costs to American businesses and workers for breaking our 
commitments to them. Furthermore, many of these defense articles have 
already been produced. They have already been paid for. They are 
technically the property of the Egyptian Government already. If the 
Congress prohibits these defense articles from being delivered to 
Egypt, they become the responsibility of the U.S. Government. We will 
have to store them somewhere, and that is not free either.
  In short, there are a lot of hidden costs in this amendment. If this 
provision becomes law in its current form, it will add to the national 
debt. This is fiscally irresponsible, and I cannot support it on these 
grounds alone.
  Second, and more important than the costs associated with this 
amendment, it is harmful to America's national security interests. I 
know as well as anyone that Egypt is beset now with many problems.
  I was in Egypt 2 weeks ago with a bipartisan delegation of my 
colleagues. The Muslim Brotherhood-led government, which I would remind 
my colleagues was elected by the Egyptian people, has done a poor job 
of governing in an exclusive and pluralistic way, establishing the rule 
of law, and building democratic institutions.
  The results of the Egyptian Government's failing are plain to see in 
the awful street violence and expanding unrest in Egypt. President 
Morsi's government has not been able to stem the violence and has often 
made matters worse. Egyptian police seem to have neither the capacity 
nor the legitimacy to restore order. The fact is, despite its flaws, 
the Egyptian Army remains one of the major stabilizing forces in Egypt 
today. If, God forbid, the current unrest worsens, and Egypt tips 
deeper into civil conflict, the one force in that country that might be 
capable of pulling Egypt back from the abyss is the Egyptian military.
  If the Senate were to adopt the amendment proposed by the Senator 
from Kentucky, we would not only be harming the effectiveness of the 
Egyptian military, which, by the way, is not objected to by the 
Israelis, who probably understand better than anyone what defense 
capabilities might be used someday to threaten their security, we would 
be rupturing a decades-long partnership and denying and squandering our 
influence with the leaders of one of the most important institutions in 
  The ramifications of this decision would be enormous, especially when 
it comes to the ability of U.S. ships, including U.S. aircraft carriers 
and other

[[Page S425]]

vessels, to transit the Suez Canal securely and effectively. I would 
urge the Senator from Kentucky to call the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff and ask him what effect this would have on the U.S. military 
and America's overall national security.
  As I say, this amendment would be even more detrimental to our ally 
Israel, for which the continuing instability in Egypt is an abiding, 
clear and present danger. I have seen no objections raised by our 
Israeli allies to U.S. military assistance to Egypt, nor do I expect to 
see any. Here too I would urge my colleague to pick up the phone and 
call the Israeli Ambassador or just recall what I am sure he heard from 
Israel's leaders during his recent visit there a few weeks ago.
  This amendment is absolutely harmful to the national security of our 
ally Israel. The timing of the amendment is also detrimental because 
our government is currently engaged in discussions with the Egyptian 
Government and military about the need to shift our security 
cooperation more toward the kinds of programs and equipment Egypt needs 
to combat the threats they increasingly face: porous borders, a rising 
threat from terrorism, deteriorating conditions in the Sinai, and a 
security sector in dire need of reform. It is in Egypt's interest to 
move in this direction, as they are beginning to do. It is in our 
interest to help them.
  If we adopt this amendment, the promise of this entire endeavor will 
be destroyed. Egypt will suffer, Israel will suffer, and the United 
States will suffer.
  I oppose this amendment because it is uninformed and oblivious to the 
world challenges America faces and our continuing need to work with 
America's partners, imperfect and frustrating though they may be, to 
defend our Nation, our interests, and our allies in an increasingly 
dangerous world.
  Finally, the Middle East is in a period of transition and change that 
we have not seen practically in its entire history. The Egyptians are 
key and vital to what happens in that part of the world. It is the 
heart, soul, and center of the Arab world. One out of every four Arabs 
who live in the Arab world lives in Egypt. It is the cultural and 
historic center of all the Arab world.
  It is vital we do whatever we can to see that Egypt makes a 
transition to a free, democratic, and open society. That is in grave 
danger today. To pass this amendment today and send this message to 
Egypt in this very unstable and unsure time, I believe, would be 
exactly the wrong message at this time. I would also point out that 
this legislation has nothing to do with Egypt. It has nothing to do 
with Egypt.
  A decision of this magnitude, in my view, requires hearings, debate, 
and legislation that would stand by itself, rather than in a 15- or 20-
minute discussion on the floor of the Senate. For that reason alone, I 
urge my colleagues to overwhelmingly--as we have other amendments of 
the Senator from Kentucky--reject this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. PAUL. I find the argument spurious and, frankly, absurd that not 
giving F-16s to Egypt is somehow against the interests of Israel. 
Imagine this. The President of Egypt has called Jews bloodsuckers and 
descendents of apes and pigs. The President of Egypt has also said that 
when we look at the relationship of Israel and her supporters--he stood 
next to a cleric, chanted ``Amen'' and said ``Amen,'' that we should go 
after and destroy Israel and the supporters of Israel.
  Somehow it is a good idea to ship weapons to this country and to this 
religious zealot? I find it absurd that that would be in Israel's best 
interests. Somehow, the argument is made that, oh, this will lead to 
stability in Egypt. Well, giving F-16s is somehow going to stabilize 
unrest in Egypt? It makes no sense whatsoever.
  I would say that when we look at this and we hear arguments such as 
this will cost money, do you know whose money it was that bought these 
F-16? It was our money to begin with. We send the money to Egypt and 
then they buy the weapons from us.
  If we are worried about a place to store the F-16s, why don't we give 
them to our military? Everybody seems to be saying it is a problem, 
this sequester, and there is not enough money for our military. Why 
don't we give the 20 F-16s to our military? Why don't we give the tanks 
to our military? Apparently, these are more tanks that are being given 
to Egypt than often different contingents of our Marines have at any 
one given point in time.
  I would say keep the money and keep the weapons in our country. Mark 
my words, it is a mistake to send these weapons to Egypt. It is not in 
Israel's best interest.
  For people to come down and argue it is in Israel's best interest to 
send weapons to a country that professes hate, professes a disbelief in 
the Holocaust, that professes they are in favor of destroying Israel--
that is whom we are supposed to send these weapons to? It makes no 
sense at all.
  Our foreign policy often makes no sense at all. I do think we need to 
reassess. We made this deal with Mubarak. We didn't make this deal with 
Mursi. Currently, Egypt is unraveling. I think it is a terrible mistake 
to send these weapons to Egypt, and I hope my colleagues will consider 
  I yield back the remainder of my time, and I suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Baldwin). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Amendment No. 6

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate, equally divided, prior to a vote on amendment No. 6, 
offered by the Senator from Ohio, Mr. Portman.
  The Senator from Ohio is recognized.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, we had a debate earlier on this. This 
is the Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act. It makes all the sense 
in the world.
  Here we have a $16 trillion national debt, now exceeding $130,000 per 
household in America. We are told by the Congressional Budget Office 
that there is $9 trillion more coming over the next decade.
  We have to make this difference here on this bill. We have to take 
this opportunity to ensure that we are, in fact, beginning to reduce 
spending, getting this under control, as we once again are asked to 
extend the debt limit.
  This would not apply to this particular short-term debt limit, by the 
way; it would set up the discipline for the next debt limit, which is 
anywhere from 3 to 6 months from now.
  Now is the time for us to come together as Republicans and Democrats 
and determine how we indeed reform the entitlement programs, put tax 
reform in place, go through regular order in the Finance Committee, as 
the chairman and others have called for, to ensure that we can get this 
under control.
  It is a commonsense proposal. We did it 2 years ago. Most Democrats 
and most Republicans here on the floor supported it in the past. About 
95 Democrats in the House have also supported it. It is a dollar-for-
dollar reduction over 10 years as we raise the debt limit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, on January 23, something marvelous 
happened. What was that? The House, on a strong bipartisan basis, 
passed a bill which would raise the debt limit, which would extend the 
debt limit to May 18. It was bipartisan. Speaker Boehner is to be 
  This town is criticized for its lack of working together because it 
is just too partisan. Speaker Boehner found a solution to help us 
relieve the pressure so we can get our job done and get the deficit 
spending under control.
  The method suggested by the Senator from Ohio is a step backward. We 
have tried that. We tried that a couple of years ago, and it didn't 
work. We all remember August 11, when the markets basically collapsed 
when the credit agencies began to downgrade our debt.

[[Page S426]]

  So I say let's follow the lead of the bipartisan Speaker, who found a 
way through great leadership to pass a provision. We should pass the 
same provision because if we don't, then we will be back to chaos.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Amending the provision means it has to go back to the 
House. If you think the markets are in disarray today, just think of 
the lack of confidence that would prevail if this amendment were to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, I move to table the Portman amendment 
and ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Kerry) and the Senator from Washington (Mrs. Murray) are necessarily 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 44, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 6 Leg.]


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)


     Johnson (WI)

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The motion was agreed to.