the commodity futures modernization act of 2000
(Senate - December 15, 2000)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S11878-S11885]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]





            the commodity futures modernization act of 2000

  Mr. FITZGERALD. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Commodity 
Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (``CFMA''), the proposed legislation 
to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (``CFTC'') and 
to amend the Commodity Exchange Act (``CEA''). This legislation is the 
Senate companion of H.R. 5660, which Congressman Thomas Ewing 
introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives and which is part 
of the final appropriations measure. As an original co-sponsor of the 
CFMA, I am proud to join Chairmen Gramm and Lugar in supporting 
legislation to provide much needed regulatory relief to the United 
States futures exchanges, to remove the eighteen-year-old ban on single 
stock futures, and to bring legal certainty in the multi-trillion 
dollar derivatives markets.
  The CFMA gives a substantial boost to Chicago's futures industry and 
the 200,000 jobs that depend on it. The Chicago futures exchanges will 
be given an opportunity to compete on a level playing field with the 
world markets. Burdensome federal regulations will be removed and a new 
regulatory structure will be implemented that will give our nation's 
most important futures exchanges the ability to compete equally with 
world markets in product innovation and the ever-changing demands of 
the marketplace. Chicago's exchanges will now have the opportunity to 
offer single stock futures so that they can compete with global markets 
already trading those types of futures. This is potentially an enormous 
market for Chicago's exchanges and U.S. investors. It goes without 
saying that this market is absolutely necessary for Chicago to remain 
the center for world futures trading.
  I commend Chairman Lugar on his efforts to act swiftly to modernize 
the CEA and to implement the recommendations of the President's Working 
Group on Financial Markets (``PWG''). The challenges involved in such 
an undertaking are enormous and I appreciate Chairman Lugar's 
thoughtful and comprehensive approach to this complex task. As Chairman 
of the Subcommittee on Research, Nutrition, and General Legislation, I 
have been actively involved in the evolution of the CFMA and am 
committed to working closely with Chairman Lugar, Chairman Gramm, and 
my other colleagues to ensure that the United States derivatives 
markets remain strong, competitive, and viable. The CFMA codifies the 
recommendations of the PWG to enhance legal certainty for over-the-
counter (``OTC'') derivatives by excluding from the CEA certain 
bilateral swaps entered into on a principal-to-principal basis by 
eligible participants. The market for OTC derivatives has exploded over 
the past two decades into a multi-trillion dollar industry. These large 
and sophisticated markets play an important role in the global economy 
and legal certainty is a critical consideration for parties to OTC 
derivative contracts. Accordingly, the CFMA recognizes that legal 
certainty for OTC derivatives is vital to the continued competitiveness 
of the United States markets and achieves this certainty by excluding 
these transactions from the CEA.
  The provisions of the CFMA also address the problem that federal 
regulation has not adapted to the rapid growth of the financial markets 
and today serves as a substantial restriction on market competitiveness 
and modernization. In order for the United States to maintain the most 
efficient markets in the world, regulatory barriers to fair competition 
must be removed. The CFMA reduces the inefficiencies of the CEA by 
removing constraints on innovation and competitiveness and by 
transforming the CFTC into an oversight agency with less front-line 
regulatory functions. The provisions for three kinds of trading 
facilities with varying levels of regulation provide needed flexibility 
to both traditional exchanges and electronic trading facilities by 
basing oversight of the futures markets on the types of products they 
trade and on the investors they serve.
  Finally, the CFMA removes the Accord's prohibitions on the trading of 
single stock futures and small indices. Stock index futures have 
matured into vital financial management tools that enable a wide 
variety of investment concerns to manage their risk of adverse price 
movements. The options markets and swaps dealers offer customers risk 
management tools and investment alternatives involving both sector 
indexes and single stock derivatives. It seems only fair that futures 
exchanges be allowed to compete in this important market.
  The CFMA lifts the ban on single and index stock futures restrictions 
to allow the marketplace to decide whether these instruments would be 
useful risk management tools and to enhance the ability of the U.S. 
financial markets to compete in the global marketplace. The bill 
reforms the Accord to allow both futures and securities exchanges to 
trade these products under the jurisdiction of their current 
regulators. The CFMA also allows both the

[[Page S11879]]

SEC and the CFTC to enforce violations of their respective laws 
regardless of whether the products are traded on a futures or 
securities exchange and requires that the agencies share necessary 
information for enforcement purposes.
  The CFMA represents an arduous effort to remove burdensome regulatory 
structures and provide much needed legal certainty to the United States 
derivatives markets. This effort has produced comprehensive legislation 
that is designed to remove impediments to innovation and regulatory 
barriers to fair competition for the United States financial markets. 
The positive impact of this legislation on Chicago's futures markets 
cannot be overstated. The CFMA is vital to Chicago remaining the 
derivatives capital of the world and gives Chicago's futures exchanges 
the ability to lead the way in the potentially explosive single-stock 
futures market.


                    restricting cruise ship gambling

  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I would like to engage the Senator from 
Hawaii in a colloquy regarding a provision of interest to him, that 
would restrict cruise ships from gambling in the State of Hawaii. For 
the benefit of our colleagues, I would like to ask the Senator if he 
would explain the clear intent of this provision.
  Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I would be happy to have a brief 
discussion with Chairman Stevens on this matter. As he knows, on many 
occasions I have expressed to my colleagues in this Chamber my strong 
opposition to gambling in the Hawaiian Islands. Our State of Hawaii is 
one of only two states in the entire country that prohibits gambling of 
all kinds. When Federal laws, including the Gambling Devices 
Transportation Act, more commonly known as the Johnson Act, affecting 
the ability of cruise ships to conduct gambling operations were relaxed 
over the past decade, I was involved in drafting those provisions to be 
sure that the longstanding Federal prohibition against the possession 
and operation of gambling devices be maintained with respect to the 
State of Hawaii. Unfortunately, I understand that a foreign cruise line 
seeks to exploit a loophole in Federal law and circumvent this long 
standing prohibition. This legislation closes this loophole.
  This recent announcement by a foreign cruise line--that is 
substantially owned by foreign gambling interests--to permanently based 
a large cruise ship with an extensive casino on board in Hawaii for 
year-round operation on cruises that will begin and end in Honolulu has 
prompted this amendment. This amendment ensure that there is no 
ambiguity in the intent of the Johnson Act's application to the State 
of Hawaii by expressly preserving the act's original prohibition of the 
transportation, possession, repair, and use of any gambling devices 
aboard vessels that embark and disembark passengers in the State of 
Hawaii, as defined in 19 C.F.R. 4.80a(a)4.
  I want to make clear to my colleagues that this provision would not 
affect any State other than Hawaii. Moreover, it would not prohibit 
current gambling operations on board cruise ships that, for example, 
begin or end their cruises on the mainland or in foreign countries, 
even if they call at multiple ports in Hawaii, so long as the gambling 
facilities are closed when the vessel is in Hawaii and the passengers 
do not begin and end their trip in Hawaii. Passengers could either 
begin or end their trip in the State, but could not do both. A vessel 
that is operating in dedicated service in Hawaii, however, cannot 
escape the Johnson Act's broad prohibitions simply by calling at 
Christmas Island or some other similar foreign port.
  I have made clear that I do not want gambling in Hawaii many time and 
in particular on the occasions that we have debated the Johnson Act and 
gambling on cruise ships. I have been unwavering in my position that 
gambling on voyages beginning and ending in Hawaii will not be accepted 
practice. This provision should clarify any ambiguity in the Johnson 
Act as to what types of gambling operations on board vessels are 
allowed and not allowed in Hawaii. I can assure my colleagues that if 
gambling interests believe they can exploit and circumvent the spirit 
and intent of Federal laws prohibiting gambling in Hawaii, I will be 
back in this Chamber to attempt to make the necessary changes to 
continue our State's longstanding prohibition on such activities.
  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, we all recognize the Senator's diligence 
in keeping the gambling industry out of Hawaii. Would I be correct then 
saying this provision would not have any impact on those cruise ships 
that begin or end their voyages in a foreign port or on the mainland so 
long as they don't gamble while in Hawaii?
  Mr. INOUYE. The Senator is correct.
  Mr. STEVENS. I thank the Senator for his explanation.
  Mr. INOUYE. I appreciate the opportunity to explain this matter for 
our colleagues.


               coal waste impoundment study clarification

  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, conference report language has been added to 
H.R. 4577, the fiscal year 2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill to 
address concerns about the safety of coal waste impoundments. A study, 
which is to be completed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 
nine months, will be funded by monies included in the Mine Safety and 
Health Administration's (MSHA) Fiscal Year 2001 appropriations. Because 
MSHA has regulatory authority for coal waste impoundment oversight, I 
hope that MSHA officials will play an active role throughout the course 
of the study. The NAS study is intended to review the coal waste 
impoundments and report on viable methods and alternatives to prevent 
another dam failure like the one that occurred in Martin County, 
Kentucky, in October of this year.
  I would like to clarify the understanding of the chairman and ranking 
member of the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations subcommittee regarding 
this conference report language. Is it their understanding that the NAS 
study should involve the participation of experts to include, but not 
be limited to, members of relevant state and federal agencies, such as 
the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Surface Mining 
and Enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as 
industry, labor, citizen, and environmental groups, which have either 
been, or may be, impacted by impoundments in their areas? Further, in 
addition to addressing how best to assure the stability of existing 
impoundments, is it the understanding of my distinguished colleagues 
that this NAS study should also address alternative methods of coal 
mine waste disposal and placement in the future?
  Mr. SPECTER. As I, too, have had a long-running interest in coal 
mining and health and safety matters, I thank the Senator for his 
interest in this important coal matter. Yes, I believe that it is 
important for a range of stakeholders to be involved in this study as 
well as to look at both the current and future issues related to coal 
waste impoundments.
  Mr. HARKIN. I would like to thank the Senator from West Virginia for 
his leadership on this subject. It is also my understanding that 
relevant federal, state, industry, labor, citizen, and environmental 
parties should participate in this study so as to gain a broader range 
of views and recommendations on the current problem and future 
solutions in order to prevent such problems as he has described from 
occurring again.


                        Swan Lake-Tyee Intertie

  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I would like to engage the distinguished 
chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee in a short 
discussion on an item which is included on page 171 of the conference 
report on the recently passed Interior appropriations bill, H.R. 4578. 
In that bill, there is a reference to utilizing the Alaska ``Job in the 
Woods'' program for projects ``that enhance the southeast Alaska 
economy, such as the southeast Alaska intertie.'' May I inquire of the 
distinguished chairman if that language refers specifically to the 
currently proposed Swan Lake-Lake Tyee Intertie project for which the 
Forest Service completed its final environmental impact statement and 
issued its record of decision on August 29, 1997?
  Mr. GORTON. The distinguished chairman of the Appropriations 
Committee is correct. That reference is specifically intended to refer 
to the Swan Lake-Tyee Intertie project and was inadvertently referred 
to as the southeast Alaska intertie. I hope the Record

[[Page S11880]]

will reflect this clarification and will result in an expeditious use 
of the funds.


                                 liheap

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Chairman, as you know, many members on both sides of 
the aisle have concerns about the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance 
Program (LIHEAP) and the lack of an advance appropriation for that 
program in fiscal year 2002. As you know, home heating costs have 
skyrocketed over the past year in many areas of the country. The LIHEAP 
program helps over four million low-income households with their 
heating bills. Usually this appropriations bill includes advance 
funding for LIHEAP so that states have time to plan their program, but 
due to a provision in the budget resolution capping advance 
appropriations we were not able to do so this year.
  I hope, as I know you do, that we finish our work on this bill before 
October 1 next year. But if we do not, I think we should do everything 
we can to see that any continuing resolution for fiscal year 2002 would 
include sufficient funds for States to properly run their LIHEAP 
programs.
  Mr. SPECTER. As you know, I have been a strong supporter of the 
LIHEAP program and I am aware of how essential the program becomes in 
times of high fuel prices. While I hope that a continuing resolution 
will not be necessary next year, I would certainly support including 
funding for the full winter season in the first continuing resolution 
for fiscal year 2002, if that is necessary.


                        catholic social services

  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I would like to engage the distinguished 
chairman of the Senate VA-HUD Appropriations subcommittee in a short 
discussion on an item which is included on page 79 of the Conference 
Report H. Rept. 106-988 (H.R. 4635) for the VA-HUD appropriations bill. 
In that bill, there is funding available for Catholic Community 
Services. I am told that reference is incorrect and that the funding 
should actually be made available for Catholic Social Services for 
renovations and construction at the Brother Francis Shelter and AWAIC's 
transitional housing. I would ask the distinguished subcommittee 
chairman whether it was his understanding that Catholic Social Services 
was the intended recipient of this funding rather than Catholic 
Community Services, and if so, would the chairman make note of this for 
the Record?
  Mr. BOND. The distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee 
is correct. That reference is specifically intended to refer to 
Catholic Social Services for renovations and construction at the 
Brother Francis Shelter and AWAIC's transitional housing and was 
inadvertently referred to as Catholic Community Services. I hope the 
Record will reflect this clarification and will result in an 
expeditious use of the funds.
  Mr. STEVENS. I thank my colleague.


                       authoritative root server

  Mr. BURNS. Will the chairman yield for purposes of a colloquy?
  Mr. GREGG. I yield to the Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BURNS. I understand that the Internet Corporation for Assigned 
Names and Numbers, ICANN, intends to request that the Department of 
Commerce transfer the Internet's authoritative root server to ICANN's 
control. The authoritative root server is the foundation of the 
Internet, which cannot function without it. Would the chairman agree 
that the Department of Commerce should retain control of the 
authoritative root server until the appropriate committees of Congress 
have reviewed the legality, appropriateness and implications of such a 
transfer?
  Mr. GREGG. I agree with the Senator from Montana that Congress should 
be given the opportunity to exercise its oversight responsibility over 
this important issue.
  Mr. HOLLINGS. Will the chairman yield to me on this issue?
  Mr. GREGG. I yield to the Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. HOLLINGS. Mr. Chairman, I would like to join you in supporting 
the statements made by the Senator from Montana. As managers of the 
Commerce, Justice, State bill, you and I have the responsibility and 
expectation of providing agencies under our jurisdiction with 
congressional input and guidance. On an issue of this great 
importance--transferring the a-root server to ICANN--it is critical we 
carefully look at the implications a decision like this would have.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Will the chairman yield to me on this issue?
  Mr. GREGG. I yield to the Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRY. I share the concerns expressed by the Senators from 
Montana and South Carolina about the premature transfer of the 
authoritative root server to ICANN. Control of this root server 
includes the power to dramatically affect all aspects of Internet 
activity, including e-commerce and our national security. The 
Department of Commerce should not transfer the root server to ICANN 
until Congress has had the opportunity to review the wisdom of such a 
transfer.
  Mr. GREGG. I agree with the views expressed by my ranking member, 
Senator Hollings, and the Senators from Washington and Montana on this 
matter.


                           Antidumping duties

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I would like to commend the chairman of 
the Finance Committee for his bipartisan efforts which resulted in the 
passage of section 1425 of H.R. 4868, the Miscellaneous Tariff Act. 
This section is intended to address an unfortunate situation involving 
the imposition of antidumping duties on a number of entries of conveyor 
chain from Japan. At the time of these entries, the applicable 
antidumping duty cash deposit rate was 0 percent. As a result, no cash 
deposits were made on these entries by the U.S. importer. Through no 
fault of the U.S. Customs Service, the antidumping duties and interest 
subsequently imposed when these entries were liquidated as a result of 
the Department of Commerce administrative review process now represents 
a severe and unanticipated hardship on the U.S. importer, Drives, Inc., 
based in Fulton, Illinois. This legislation is intended to address this 
situation by having the Customs Service reliquidate the entries at the 
antidumping duty cash deposit rate in effect at the time of entry.
  Mr. ROTH. The senior Senator from Illinois is correct and I thank him 
for his kind words. He is correct with regard to the purpose and 
intended effect of this section. My understanding is that the 
antidumping duty order covering these entries has recently been 
revoked. I also understand that the domestic industry association that 
was the complainant in the dumping proceedings is aware of this 
legislation and does not object.
  Mr. DURBIN. That is correct. In accordance with this legislation, the 
identified entries will be re-liquidated with no antidumping duties 
assessed. Moreover, no interest charges which relate in any way to 
antidumping duties will be assessed. Since the deposit rate at the time 
of entry of all of the identified entries was 0 percent, this will have 
the effect of liquidating the entries at the cash deposit rate in 
effect at the time of entry.
  Mr. ROTH. We should note for the record that during the drafting of 
this legislation, a few words were inadvertently left out, with the 
unintended consequence of the language being not as clear as we would 
like for Customs' interpretation. It was our intent with this 
legislation that re-liquidation should occur within 90 days of 
enactment. This was the intent of the Congress when it reviewed and 
passed this section.
  Mr. DURBIN. The senior Senator from Delaware is correct. There was a 
mistake made in drafting the language. Regardless, the intent of the 
original legislation, and the intent that can still be interpreted from 
the law as enacted, is to have the Customs Service re-liquidate the 
entries at the antidumping duty cash deposit rate in effect at the time 
of entry. I thank the Senator from Delaware for his guidance and 
appreciate working with him on a bipartisan basis.
  Mr. ROTH. I thank the Senator from Illinois.


                            asbestos victims

  Mr. DeWINE. I notice my colleague from Ohio, Senator Voinovich is on 
the floor as well as the majority leader. I think I speak for my 
colleague when I say we are extremely disappointed that our bill, S. 
2955, was not able to be passed in this Congress. That bill is very 
important to asbestos victims and two of our State's largest employers.

[[Page S11881]]

As we all probably know, our nation is facing an asbestos litigation 
crisis. A crisis for which the federal government, in my opinion, 
shares responsibility. From World War II through the Vietnam war, the 
government mandated the use of asbestos to insulate our naval fleet 
from secondary fires. This mandate is the cause of many tragic 
disabilities. Unfortunately, while the federal government would be one 
of the largest asbestos defenders due to this mandate, an aggressive 
and successful litigation strategy to assert sovereign immunity has 
allowed them to evade any monetary culpability.
  Since the federal government is not paying their fair share of the 
costs, the former asbestos manufacturers are burdened with asbestos 
claims. Of the approximately 30 original core defendants, over two 
dozen have gone bankrupt, in large part due to asbestos claims. The 
situation has reached the crisis stage. Good companies, providing good 
jobs, and providing payments to victims, are in significant peril. The 
recent bankruptcies of several former asbestos manufacturers have 
placed an even more overwhelming burden on the remaining defendants. 
Due to joint and several liability, the remaining defendant companies 
are now paying an even higher share of asbestos claims. The markets 
have taken note. Stock market values are declining, making it more and 
more difficult for these companies to receive the financing they need 
to survive. The very future of these companies, the very future of 
these jobs are at stake.
  But, it is not just the companies who are suffering. Asbestos victims 
are also suffering greatly. They are not receiving the awards to which 
they are entitled. If something is not done to correct this situation, 
good companies will continue to go bankrupt, good jobs will continue to 
be lost, and asbestos victims will not receive any compensation.
  We must act now to do this. I understand the majority leader 
understands and appreciates the urgency of this situation. I would ask 
that the bill that Senator Voinovich and I have introduced would be one 
of the first bills considered when we return for the 107th.
  Mr. VOINOVICH. I wholeheartedly agree with my colleague, Senator 
DeWine. I do not think we can stress enough that this really is a 
matter of survival for these companies and their employees. The 
government bears some responsibility here, we simply must get this bill 
done as soon as possible. The companies, their workers, and asbestos 
victims--after all when the companies go bankrupt it affects payments 
to victims--need certainty that this will be brought to the Senate 
floor at the earliest possible date next year. We need to work to keep 
these companies afloat.
  Mr. LOTT. I appreciate the concerns of the two Senators from Ohio. 
They have made a very strong and convincing case on the need for a 
solution to this problem. I pledge to work with them to see that this 
issue is addressed as early as possible in the 107th Congress.


              disaster-resistant wood construction program

  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, as you know, natural disasters exact a 
tremendous toll on our nation. In just two decades (1975-1994), 24,000 
individuals nationwide lost their lives to natural disasters. An 
additional 100,000 were injured, and the resulting property damage 
reached a staggering $500 billion.
  Hurricanes are responsible for 80 percent of these $500 billion in 
damages. The continued rapid building of homes and commercial 
facilities along our coastlines increases the potential for even higher 
natural disaster costs in the future. Since Congress often responds to 
these disasters with emergency supplemental appropriations, it makes 
sense to also support the development of technologies and building 
techniques to mitigate damage resulting from hurricanes and other 
natural disasters.
  Mr. GREGG. I agree with my distinguished colleague from Maine that we 
need to do what we can to mitigate the devastation caused each year by 
natural disasters. Exciting new building techniques and technologies 
hold promise in this regard.
  Ms. COLLINS. They certainly do. And one of the most exciting 
technologies involve wood composites. The fact is, most natural 
disasters directly affect wood construction, which is used for 99 
percent of houses constructed nationally. The University of Maine 
Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center (AEWC) has developed new 
technologies to reinforce wood construction materials with fiberglass 
material. These fiberglass-reinforced wood composites are two to three 
times stronger, more impact resistant and more ductile than their 
unreinforced counterparts. Homes and buildings constructed with these 
advanced materials should greatly enhance occupant protection from 
hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadic missiles, and other natural threats. 
In addition to their benefits in new construction, these technologies 
can be used to retrofit and strengthen existing wood buildings. The 
University of Maine and its industry partners require $4 million in 
fiscal year 2001 funds to complete material and wood panel testing on 
these technologies, and to start developing building code provisions to 
transition the new disaster resistant panels into residential and 
commercial construction.
  I commend my good friends, Chairman Gregg and the subcommittee's 
ranking member, Senator Hollings, for their efforts thus far to 
allocate additional funds to the National Institute of Standards 
Scientific and Technical Research Services programs. I am particularly 
pleased with the additional funds that have been allocated to the NIST 
Building and Fire Research Laboratory, which is ideally suited to 
develop improved building technologies resistant to natural disaster.
  I would strongly encourage the NIST Building and Fire Research Lab to 
support development work on advanced wood composites, demonstrate the 
performance of reinforced-wood composites under simulated hurricane 
wind conditions, and introduce the new construction materials into 
national building codes and standards.
  Mr. HOLLINGS. I thank my good friend and colleague, Senator Collins, 
for her kind remarks regarding this subcommittee's work on the FY '01 
Commerce, Justice, State, and judiciary appropriations bill. I 
recognize the importance of investing in advanced building technologies 
that can resist damage from hurricanes. As you know, South Carolina has 
experienced several costly and disastrous hurricanes. Yet our coastal 
economy continues to expand and to serve as a commercial and recreation 
resource to our State and the Nation.
  I agree with my colleague that development of fiberglass-reinforced 
wood composites is important, and I also encourage the National 
Institute of Standards and Technology to support the development and 
deployment of these materials. Improvements to wood building materials 
will result in direct benefits to the people of South Carolina and all 
other coastal communities in the United States.
  Mr. GREGG. I thank my distinguished colleague from Maine as well and 
share her concerns about the impact of natural disasters on the lives 
of people and on the economy. In the past, government has worked 
effectively with the building industry to make homes and commercial 
buildings better and safer through building codes and standards, and by 
supporting improvements in building technology.
  The subcommittee is very interested in the contributions that the 
NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory can make to improve the 
quality of building products. Fiberglass-reinforced wood composites can 
greatly increase the safety of homes subjected to natural disasters. I 
agree that the National Institute of Standards should pursue with the 
University of Maine the development and demonstration of fiberglass-
reinforced wood composites for improved building materials.


            expansion of a successful executive mba program

  Mr. L. CHAFEE. Mr. President, I would like to clarify the intent of 
the conferees regarding a provision in the conference report 
accompanying H.R. 4576, FY01 Defense appropriations bill (H. Rept. 106-
754). Within this legislation is $2 million for the expansion of a 
successful Executive MBA program, jointly administered by the Naval 
Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Newport, Rhode Island and Bryant 
College, Smithfield, Rhode Island. The funding

[[Page S11882]]

will be used to expand the current student enrollment from 30 to 60 
Navy personnel and to expand and upgrade Bryant's technical 
capabilities. Specifically, funds will be used to expand and upgrade 
Bryant's network bandwidth to gigabit speed, as well as fund 
technological enhancements to Bryant's new Bello Center for Information 
and Technology, allowing Executive MBA students better access to 
valuable information resources. This, in turn, will assist them in 
their studies at Bryant. The $2 million for the expansion of this 
program will not only allow 30 more military/government personnel to 
earn an MBA at Bryant, but will link those students with expanded 
technical resources at Bryant. This linkage will allow Executive MBA 
students access to all information available within Bryant's resources 
and create the capability to interact with each other and with other 
students on and off campus.
  Is this description what the conferees intend?
  Mr. STEVENS. Yes, that is correct.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I do not mean to be the skunk at the 
picnic party, but I believe there are some realities to be faced. Those 
realities are that we are establishing on the last evening of the 106th 
Congress some standards that are going to be either positive paths 
towards greater cooperation in the next Congress or will be impediments 
to achieving success in what will be the most divided National 
Government in our Nation's history.
  I am afraid what we are doing tonight will not make a positive 
contribution. The fact is that at 7:08 p.m. on a Friday evening, we are 
taking up in one enormous piece of legislation--a piece of legislation 
which dwarfs the New York City telephone directory in size, a piece of 
legislation which not one single Member of this body or the House of 
Representatives has ever had an opportunity to read.
  The fact that we are about to adopt this legislation without the 
normal debate and opportunity to understand what is in this bill is not 
a positive sign because, in my judgment, the kinds of bipartisan 
cooperation that we will require in the future are going to be based 
upon respect, understanding, and a due regard for our constituents who 
also deserve to be served better than we are doing this evening.
  It also, frankly, has to be based on a level of trust among Members 
when commitments are made, that there is a sense of a solemn 
obligation. This body cannot function, as no human institution can 
function, unless there is a fundamental level of trust and regard among 
its membership. This document does not reflect that trust.
  My fundamental concern about this appropriations bill, which will 
expend approximately $180 billion of our taxpayers' money, is that it 
takes the wrong fundamental path.
  Contrary to myth, the 21st century has not begun. The new century 
will actually commence at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2001. The first 
Congress of the new millennium, the 107th Congress, will convene on 
January 3. This historic Congress will find itself at the proverbial 
commencement of the century and a fork in the road. Two very different 
fiscal paths will lie in front of it.
  The path we select will play a major role in shaping our country's 
future in the 21st century. One path maintains the fiscal discipline 
that has marked the latter half of this decade. It has played an 
integral part in creating the longest economic expansion in U.S. 
history. This expansion has created over 20 million jobs since 1993. It 
has reduced unemployment to a 30-year low of 3.9 percent in October of 
this year. During all of this, inflation has remained at its lowest 
core rate since 1965. Those are all achievements for which we can take 
considerable pride.
  This first path views the projected budget surplus as a means to 
continue this economic success by continuing to pay down the national 
debt.
  This first path also recognizes that a portion of the surplus should 
be used to address some of the long-time intergenerational challenges 
which are confronting our Nation--securing Social Security's future and 
modernizing Medicaid. Social Security is in fine shape today. Payroll 
tax revenues exceed the funds needed to pay current benefits by record 
amounts.
  This positive cash-flow, however, will not last long. In just 15 
years, payroll tax revenue will no longer be sufficient to pay 
benefits. We need to act now to strengthen the program's finances so 
that today's workers and tomorrow's retirees will have the security of 
knowing that their Social Security benefits will also be paid.
  Medicare faces a similar long-term funding shortfall, only it begins 
5 years earlier, in 2010. In addition, Medicare has one substantial 
deficiency. That is its focus on sickness rather than wellness. Thus, 
Medicare needs to be fundamentally reformed to conform with modern 
medicine and the desires of its beneficiaries. That will require the 
inclusion in Medicare of a prescription drug benefit. Virtually every 
preventive program currently in use has prescription drugs as a 
substantial component of its treatment modality. A portion of the 
surplus should be devoted to fixing these deficiencies in Social 
Security and Medicare.
  I just described the first path. There is a second path. That 
alternate path veers off to a far different destination. That path 
focuses on short-term desires, the here and now, and foregoes fiscal 
discipline in favor of new spending programs and tax cuts. It views the 
surplus as a giant windfall to be doled out to favored constituencies 
as if Christmas lasted 365 days. In short, this is a path back to the 
past.
  This final bill of the 106th Congress represents another step down 
the wrong path, the path to the past. The Senate is considering the 
final 2001 appropriations bill, a bill that combines the Department of 
Labor and HHS, the Departments of Treasury, Postal, and the legislative 
branch. This agreement also clears the Department of Commerce, 
Department of State, and Department of Justice bill for signature.
  Discretionary spending in these combined bills totals nearly $182 
billion. This bill follows the pattern established by most of the 
previous appropriations bills considered by the Senate. Its total 
spending greatly exceeds the standard established by the Senate in the 
budget resolution adopted in April of this year. Section 206 of the 
budget resolution proposed a cap on discretionary appropriation 
spending for the fiscal year 2001 at $600 billion. That level would 
have allowed discretionary spending to grow at a rate that was above 
inflation, a rate of approximately 3.5 percent. What do we have before 
the Senate at 7:15 in the evening of December 15? We have a bill which 
allows spending to grow by 8 percent, more than twice that tolerated 
under the budget resolution.
  I admit I support many of the programs funded in this bill, but we 
must exercise restraint. We must establish some sense of priorities. I 
have spoken on the Senate floor on several occasions earlier this year 
to decry specific appropriations bills as they were being considered. 
The common complaint I have had with each of these bills has been that 
they have been crafted in a vacuum without a clearly defined blueprint 
to give Congress the full picture of the implications of its actions 
before it acts. It is as if a carpenter about to build a home would 
start to build the living room without any awareness of what the rest 
of the house was going to look like.
  The budget resolution should have provided exactly such a blueprint. 
But it has failed to do so. A good part of the reason it has failed to 
do so is that it was developed without the full participation of all 
Members of the Senate. It was a partisan document, representing one 
point of view but not providing the context around which all Members of 
this body as reflective of the public of the United States could give 
their support. In addition, it was crafted with wholly unrealistic 
expectations of where we were headed.
  Let me demonstrate in this chart back to the year 1997. In 1997, we 
passed a budget resolution that capped discretionary spending at $528 
billion; we actually spent $538 billion. By 1998, our commitment to 
fiscal discipline had grown stronger and we only exceeded the budget 
resolution by $2 billion. Since that year, every year, we have had 
substantial deviations from our budget resolution. In every year, we 
have spent substantially more than we had committed ourselves to do in 
our budget resolution.

  To go back to that example of the carpenter and the house, it is as 
if the family said: we have a budget. We can afford, based on our 
income, to build a

[[Page S11883]]

$100,000 house. But they build a $125,000 house which stretches their 
financial capability.
  This year we had a resolution that said we spent $600 billion; with 
this legislation tonight, we will spend $634 billion. We have overspent 
our budget by $34 billion. This chart exposes the failure of our 
current budget process. Each year we pass a budget resolution which 
establishes limits, and each year we break the resolution.
  The fiscal year 1999 budget resolution which was supposed to be a 
spending limit of $533 billion had a final tally of $583 billion. In 
the year 2000, the limit was supposed to be $540 billion and the final 
tally was $587 billion. As I indicated, this year was supposed to be 
$600 billion and we have concluded now at $634 billion.
  The last 3 years highlight the dangers of considering spending bills 
without a credible budget, one that establishes reasonable parameters 
and results from the participation of both parties.
  While that is my fundamental objection to this budget and why I will 
request to be counted as voting no when we take the final voice vote on 
this matter, this legislation also includes changes to the Medicare 
program that will result in greater payments to providers. This bill 
increases payments to Medicare providers by $35 billion over the next 5 
years, $85 billion over the next 10 years. My primary objection to 
these changes is that too much of the $35 billion for the first 5 years 
and $85 billion for the next decade is funneled into one aspect of the 
Medicare program--health maintenance organizations, HMOs. In my 
opinion, and more importantly, in the opinion of the experts, the HMOs 
do not need and cannot justify the level of additional appropriations 
which they are about to receive.
  While I appreciate the modest improvements for beneficiaries which 
are included in this bill, the fact remains that HMOs, which enroll 
less than one out of six Medicare beneficiaries, will receive almost 
one-third of the overall funding. I am alarmed by increasing payments 
to HMOs because we are told by the experts that the payments are 
already too high. The General Accounting Office says under current law:

       Medicare's overly generous payment rates to HMOs well 
     exceed what Medicare would have paid had these individuals 
     remained in the traditional fee-for-service program.

  The General Accounting Office concluded that Medicare HMOs have never 
been a bargain for the taxpayers. Increasing HMO payments will not keep 
them from leaving the markets where they are most needed.
  One of the several outrages in this area is the requests that were 
made that if we were going to provide this generous additional payment 
to HMOs, one-third of the money for less than one-sixth of the Medicare 
beneficiaries, that they would have to commit they would not, as they 
have done in many areas in my State and virtually every other State, 
pack up leaving beneficiaries without coverage.
  Or in other areas, as I recently experienced in the city of 
Jacksonville, HMOs have been driving down the benefits within their 
plans. I found while working at a pharmacy in Jacksonville earlier this 
year, most of the HMOs in that city have now put a cap on the annual 
payments of prescription drugs, and that cap is $500. As anyone who 
knows about the cost of prescription drugs, a $500 annual limit, 
particularly for an elderly population, is a very meager benefit. If 
you take this overly generous additional payment, you have to make some 
commitments to the beneficiaries relative to your willingness to stay 
and serve in the communities where you are currently providing services 
and to maintain your service benefit level. None of that is in this 
final bill. This is a check being written with no response, in terms of 
protection for beneficiaries.

  According to the testimony from Gail Wilensky, chair of the Medicare 
Payment Advisory Commission, she states that plan withdrawals--that is, 
withdrawals from HMOs:

       . . . have been disproportionately lower in counties where 
     payment growth has been the most constrained.

  What Ms. Wilensky is saying is that where you have constrained 
reimbursements to HMOs, you have less withdrawals than you do where you 
are, as we proposed to be in this legislation, excessively generous.
  It comes down to priorities. Should we spend billions on HMOs or try 
to help frail and low-income seniors, people with disabilities and 
children?
  The managed care industry and its advocates in Congress have thwarted 
every effort to reform the Medicare+Choice Program so that it does what 
it was designed to do--save money while providing reliable, effective 
health care services.
  A prime example of this occurred almost a year ago in this Chamber. 
In 1997, under the Balanced Budget Act, we provided for two 
demonstration projects to provide for the outrageous idea that there be 
competitive bidding among HMOs, to let the marketplace--which we all 
laud as being the best distributor of resources--let the marketplace 
decide what should an HMO be paid. This happens to be the same practice 
which is used in the private sector in its selection of HMOs and in 
some of the largest public employee HMO plans. Implementation of such a 
process had the potential of saving taxpayers and the Medicare program 
millions of dollars. It could have ensured that HMOs with the best bids 
were awarded contracts. It would have eliminated the discrimination 
against rural and smaller communities vis-a-vis the large communities 
which now get the largest HMO reimbursement.
  Unfortunately for the American public, last year the managed care 
industry convinced their friends in Congress to beat back even these 
two demonstration projects. In so doing, they assured that we would not 
have a competitive system, a system that based contracts on merit. In 
fact, they would not have to compete at all. In fact, there would be no 
basis by demonstration of what would be the potential benefits to 
competition.
  This year the HMOs have launched a multimillion-dollar lobbying 
effort to pressure Congress to increase their payment rates, and they 
have been successful. The HMOs are claiming that their current rates 
are too low, yet these are the same HMOs that committed congressional 
homicide when they killed a proposal that would have allowed a more 
market oriented system which would have resulted in higher 
reimbursement rates if the market indicated that was appropriate. This 
is the equivalent of a man shooting his mother and father and throwing 
himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
  Worse yet, the bill fails to provide adequate accountability 
requirements for these plans. The House bill, when it was originally 
passed, required that any new funds be used for beneficiary 
improvements. This bill, this conference bill, contains no such 
requirement.
  To be honest, there are some high points in this bill, as few and far 
between as they might be. I was pleased to learn the bill being 
considered added new preventive benefits for Medicare beneficiaries.

  I strongly believe Medicare must be reformed from a system based on 
illness to one based on maintaining the highest standard of health. I 
have introduced legislation to this effect. The benefits I included 
were based on recommendations made by the experts in the field: the 
United States Preventive Services Task Force. Therefore, I was 
disappointed to find that this bill fails to provide Medicare coverage 
for hypertension screening and smoking cessation counseling, which are 
the highest two priorities as identified by the United States 
Prevention Services Task Force in its ``Guide to Clinical Preventive 
Services.''
  This bill also provides access to nutrition therapy for people with 
renal disease and diabetes, but leaves out the largest group of 
individuals for whom the Institute of Medicine recommends nutrition 
therapy, people with cardiovascular disease. This is the recommendation 
of the Institute of Medicine, a recommendation which has been 
politically rejected.
  I believe strongly that additions to the Medicare program must be 
based on scientific evidence and medical science, not on the power of a 
particular lobbying group or the bias of a single Member. It appears to 
me that instead of taking a rational, scientific approach to 
prevention, the Members who constructed this Medicare add-back 
provision used a ``disease of the month'' philosophy, leaving those who

[[Page S11884]]

need help the most without relevant new Medicare services.
  When I asked why did the authors of this bill ignore the expert 
recommendations, why did they provide that seniors with cardiovascular 
disease could not take advantage of the nutrition therapy, what was the 
answer? I was told that it was excluded because it was too expensive.
  It does not take a Sherlock Holmes, or even a Dr. Watson, to 
understand what is happening. This bill provides $1.5 billion over 5 
years for prevention services to our older citizens. It provides a 
whopping $11.1 billion for the HMO industry. Clearly, the money is 
there but the real goal is not to direct it to the greatest need. It 
is, rather, to herd seniors into HMOs as a means of avoiding the 
addition of a meaningful Medicare prescription drug benefit for our 
Nation's seniors.
  Whether you believe in the broad Government subsidization of the 
managed care industry or in providing benefits to seniors and children, 
we should all agree that taxpayers' money should be spent responsibly. 
This legislation does not meet that test. Congress has the 
responsibility to make certain that the payment increases we offer are 
based on actual data rather than anecdotal evidence or speculation. How 
can we justify that over the next 10 years the managed care industry--
Mr. President, I ask you and our Members to listen to this startling 
fact--over the next 10 years the HMO industry will walk away with 
almost the same amount of funding increase as hospitals, home health 
care centers, skilled nursing facilities, community health centers, and 
the beneficiaries combined. That allocation makes no sense.
  One of the most appalling omissions of this bill is the exclusion of 
a provision which would have given the States the option, under another 
important program, Medicaid and children's health insurance coverage, 
to make that coverage available to legal immigrant children and 
pregnant women.
  Current census data shows us that last year nearly half of low-income 
immigrant children in America had no health coverage. Congressional 
Republicans and Democrats, Governors--and I am proud to say including 
Gov. Jeb Bush of the State of Florida, Christie Todd Whitman of New 
Jersey, Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts, and the Clinton 
administration--have been advocating for the inclusion of this 
commonsense provision in this balanced budget add-back bill. But some 
in Congress have opposed the inclusion of a provision that will provide 
health care coverage for indigent immigrant women and children, arguing 
that the welfare reform law removed legal immigrants from the health 
rolls.

  There was a reason why they were removed, and that reason was money. 
By limiting the number of people eligible for Medicaid and children's 
health insurance, the Federal Government was able to save some dollars. 
This provision had nothing to do with the overall worthy goals of 
welfare reform, which were encouraging self-reliance, self-sufficiency, 
and discouraging single parenting. There is no evidence that legal 
immigrants come to the United States to secure health benefits. In 
fact, in the last decade immigrants have been moving from high benefit 
States such as California and New York to low benefit States such as 
North Carolina and Virginia.
  There is also no denying that the money to cover this population of 
approximately 200,000 persons is available if we choose to use it. The 
proof is covering children and pregnant women is not only humane, it is 
fiscally responsible. The Medicare ``give back'' package is aimed at 
keeping strapped hospitals solvent. These same struggling hospitals 
bear the brunt of providing uncompensated emergency room care for 
children without health insurance whose families cannot afford to pay. 
Taxpayers are eventually going to wind up paying the cost of citizen 
children born prematurely because their legal immigrant mothers could 
not get prenatal care.
  This bill is disturbing for both what it has and what it does not 
have. As I said, it does not have a clear blueprint towards a path of 
sustained fiscal responsibility.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of my 
remarks an article written by Dr. Robert Reischauer entitled ``Bye-Bye 
Surplus'' be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See Exhibit 1.)
  Mr. GRAHAM. Dr. Reischauer outlines the four ingredients present in 
today's political environment that are likely to lead to a feeding 
frenzy that will lay waste to the surplus that we have until now 
guarded. Those ingredients are: No. 1, the need for the next President 
to affirm his administration's legitimacy; No. 2, even larger budget 
provisions; and a compliant Congress, and finally a weakening economy.
  Why should we worry about all this? Why should we at this stage, at 
7:35 on a Friday evening, suddenly become exercised about the issue of 
fiscal discipline? Some budget observers believe the Federal surplus 
may be revised upward by as much as $1 trillion when the new budget 
estimates are revealed. If that is the case, the unified budget surplus 
for the next 10 years will rise to roughly $5.5 trillion.
  Given these larger surplus projections, one may ask why Americans 
should be concerned with the deterioration of budget discipline. 
Americans should worry because Congress is frittering away the hard-won 
surplus without a real plan for utilizing those surpluses, without 
addressing the long-term, major challenges facing Americans--Social 
Security, Medicare, and paying down a $5.5 trillion national debt. 
Americans should care because we are sleepwalking through the surplus. 
We are denying ourselves the chance to face major national challenges. 
We are leaving to our grandchildren the credit card bills that our 
generation has accumulated.
  The Congressional Budget Office recently released its long-term 
budget outlook. The findings in that report are not encouraging, but 
they are not surprising. That may explain why the report garnered such 
little attention.
  What were the Congressional Budget Office findings?
  The Federal Government spending on health and retirement programs--
Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security--will dominate the long-term budget 
outlook. Spending on major health and retirement programs will more 
than double, rising from 7.5 percent of gross domestic product today to 
16.7 percent 40 years from now. Why? The retirement of the baby boom 
generation will drastically increase the number of Americans receiving 
retirement and health care benefits, and the cost of providing health 
care is growing faster than the overall economy.
  Saving most or all of the budget surpluses that CBO projects over the 
next 10 years--using them to pay down the debt--would have a positive 
impact on these projections and substantially delay the emergence of a 
serious fiscal imbalance.
  There could be no more clear delineation of the long-term problem. 
Equally clear is the proffered outline of the short-term steps Congress 
can take to begin to address this problem: Save the surplus; pay down 
the debt.
  Yet despite the obvious, Congress seems content to take the easier 
path and to fritter away the surplus. We have an obligation not to let 
this happen.
  The ugly days of deficits taught Congress some very valuable lessons. 
One of those lessons was the need to prioritize. We all have 
expectations. We all are representing our constituents to the best of 
our ability. We all have a sense of our national responsibility. But 
the tool that forced us to do what was required was the one that said 
that for each additional dollar of spending, a dollar of spending had 
to be reduced or a dollar of taxes had to be raised. That is what 
discipline is about.
  The surplus has eroded that discipline. We are failing the American 
public by not having honest, open debate about the tradeoffs that are 
necessary if we create programs, build projects, or cut taxes.
  Few Congresses in the history of this Nation have squandered their 
opportunities as much as the 106th. Few Congresses in the history of 
this Nation have had the opportunity of redemption that awaits the 
107th Congress. Few Congresses will be judged more harshly for 
avoiding, trivializing, and ultimately failing to seize that 
opportunity.

[[Page S11885]]

  For those reasons, I have asked that I be recorded as ``no'' on the 
final vote on the omnibus appropriations bill.
  I thank the Chair.

                               Exhibit 1

                [From the Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2000]

                            Bye-Bye, Surplus

                       (By Robert D. Reischauer)

       A president with no mandate to pursue his campaign 
     promises. A Congress hardened by four years of partisan 
     combat, scarred by a bitter election and immobilized by the 
     lack of a party with a clear majority. Isn't this the recipe 
     for continued gridlock? Won't legislative paralysis leave the 
     growing budget surpluses safe from plunder for another two 
     years?
       Don't bet on it. A torrent of legislation that squanders 
     much of the projected surplus is much more likely than 
     continued gridlock, because four key ingredients needed to 
     cook up a fiscal feast of historic proportions will all be 
     present next year.
       First, there will be the new president's desperate need to 
     affirm his administration's legitimacy. There's no better way 
     to do this than to quickly build a solid record of 
     legislative accomplishment, one that convinces Americans that 
     the era of partisan gridlock is over and the new occupant of 
     the Oval Office deserves to be president of all the people, 
     even if he didn't win a convincing majority of the popular 
     vote.
       The second ingredient will be new and even larger 
     projections of future surpluses. These will make the 
     president's legislative agenda look like the well-deserved 
     reward for a decade of fiscal fasting rather than a return to 
     reckless budget profligacy. During the presidential campaign, 
     the two candidates debated how best to divide an estimated 
     $2.2 trillion 10-year surplus among tax cuts, spending 
     increases and debt reduction. The budget offices' new 
     projections, which will be released early next year, will 
     almost certainly promise even fatter, juicier surpluses, 
     surpluses that will boost the expectations of all of the 
     greedy supplicants.
       Rather than being bound by gridlock, the 107th Congress 
     will be poised for a feeding frenzy, the third ingredient for 
     the fiscal feast. Nervously eyeing the 2002 election, when 
     each party will have a reasonable shot at gaining effective 
     control of Congress, Democrats and Republicans will curry 
     favor with all important--and many not so important--interest 
     groups. While the election campaign underscored the different 
     priorities of the two parties, it also revealed many areas 
     where there was bipartisan agreement that more should be 
     spent. Education, the top priority of both candidates and the 
     public's primary concern, could benefit from a bidding war if 
     each side tries to prove that it is the ``Education Party.'' 
     Increases in defense spending also have broad bipartisan 
     support. And then there is the irresistible impulse to shower 
     resources on health research (NIH), Medicare providers and 
     farmers, to name but a few.
       The size of the projected surpluses, the uncertain 
     political environment, and the argument that those surpluses 
     are ``the hardworking people of America's money . . . not the 
     government's money'' will make a large tax cut almost 
     inevitable. No one will stop to ask whose money it was when 
     the hard-working people's representatives racked up $3.7 
     trillion in deficits between 1980 and 1998 or whether we owe 
     it to our kids to pay down the increased public debt these 
     deficits generated. Instead, large bipartisan majorities will 
     rally around and add to a presidential proposal that includes 
     marriage penalty relief, rate cuts, tax credits for health 
     insurance, new incentives for retirement saving, and an 
     easing of the estate tax for struggling millionaires who have 
     had to suffer through a period of unprecedented prosperity 
     and soaring stock values.
       A weakening economy--the final ingredient--will wipe away 
     any lingering qualms lawmakers may have about wallowing again 
     in waters of fiscal excess. No matter that the vast majority 
     of economists welcome slower growth because they believe that 
     the current 4 percent unemployment rate is incompatible with 
     price stability. If the unemployment rate drifts up close to 
     5 percent--a level that labor, business and the Fed 
     considered unattainable as recently as 1995--the summer 
     soldiers of fiscal prudence will cut and run, slashing taxes 
     and boosting spending, claiming as they retreat that these 
     actions are the only way to save the nation from another 
     Great Depression.
       The current fiscal year will be the third consecutive one 
     in which the budget, excluding Social Security, has been in 
     surplus. The last time such a record was achieved was 1928 to 
     1930. If the new president and the 107th Congress do what 
     comes most naturally, we may have to wait another 70 years to 
     celebrate such an accomplishment. Worse yet, we will wake up 
     after the fiscal feast to discover that the surplus has been 
     squandered while the nation's foremost fiscal challenge--
     providing for the baby boomers' retirement--has not been 
     addressed because that required difficult choices and 
     political courage.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the conference 
report is agreed to.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is 
a treasure that thousands of Americans enjoy every year. From day 
hikers to adventures making the 2,167 mile trip from Georgia to Maine, 
all who travel the footpath enjoy a remarkable wilderness experience.
  The National Trails System Act of 1968 designated the Appalachian 
Trail as one of our nation's first scenic trails and authorized the 
Secretary of Interior to protect the trail through the acquisition of 
land along the trail or by other means. Over the years, Congress has 
supported this important effort through appropriations that have 
enabled the National Park Service to acquire more than 3000 parcels of 
land, protecting ninety-nine percent of the trail for future 
generations.
  Despite the success of the last thirty years, more work needs to be 
done to ensure that the trail is preserved in its entirety. The longest 
remaining unprotected segment of the Appalachian Trail crosses 
Saddleback Mountain, in the Rangeley Region of western Maine. The 3.1 
miles that traverse the Saddleback Mountain range is one of the trail's 
highest stretches, offering hikers an alpine wilderness trek and 
extraordinary vistas. The mountain is also home to Saddleback Ski Area, 
which draws skiers to an area of Maine where many are employed in the 
tourism industry.
  For nearly twenty years, the National Park Service and the owners of 
the ski area have sought an agreement that balances the preservation of 
the trail experience as it exists today and development opportunities 
at the mountain that would draw additional skiers to the resort and the 
region. Some have been inclined to suggest that skiers and hikers 
cannot share Saddleback Mountain, but I have always maintained that 
with careful planning, preservation and economic development can 
coexist. Consequently, I have long urged both sides to work together to 
find a resolution that satisfies the interests of those who cherish the 
Appalachian Trail, as well as those who live and work in the Rangeley 
Region.
  Mr. President, the impasse between the National Park Service and the 
owners of Saddleback Mountain is drawing to a close. The agreement so 
many have labored to achieve has been all but finalized, and with the 
passage of the bill before us today, Congress will establish the 
framework by which this matter can be resolved. Included in the bill is 
a provision proposed by me and Senator Snowe directing the Secretary of 
Interior to acquire the land necessary to protect the Appalachian Trail 
as agreed to by both the Department and the owners of Saddleback 
Mountain. The language also directs the Secretary to convey the land to 
the State of Maine.
  I would like to express my appreciation to Appropriations Committee 
Chairman Stevens and Subcommittee Chairman Specter for working with 
Senator Snowe and I on this matter of importance to our State. I would 
also like to thank Interior Subcommittee Chairman Gorton for including 
the Saddleback acquisition in the list of projects approved for Title 
VIII funds in the FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill. Their support, 
along with the dedication of many others who have been involved in the 
negotiations, will ensure that skiers and hikers can share in the 
enjoyment of the natural beauty and wonders of Saddleback Mountain for 
generation to come.

                          ____________________