(Senate - October 27, 2005)

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[Pages S11953-S11976]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of H.R. 3010, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 3010) making appropriations for the 
     Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
     Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
     September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.


       Sununu amendment No. 2214, to provide for the funding of 
     the Low-Vision Rehabilitation Services Demonstration Project.
       Sununu modified amendment No. 2215, to increase funding for 
     community health centers.
       Thune further modified amendment No. 2193, to provide 
     funding for telehealth programs.
       Murray amendment No. 2220, to provide stop gap coverage for 
     low-income Seniors and disabled individuals who may lose 
     benefits or suffer a gap in coverage due to the 
     implementation of the Medicare part D prescription drug 
       Harkin modified amendment No. 2283, to make available funds 
     for pandemic flu preparedness.
       Clinton/Schumer amendment No. 2313, to provide for payments 
     to the New York State Uninsured Employers Fund for 
     reimbursement of claims related to the terrorist attacks of 
     September 11, 2001, and payments to the Centers for Disease 
     Control and Prevention for treatment for emergency services 
     personnel and rescue and recovery personnel.
       Coburn amendment No. 2233, to prohibit the use of funds for 
     HIV Vaccine Awareness Day activities.
       Coburn amendment No. 2230, to limit funding for 
       Dayton amendment No. 2245, to fully fund the Federal 
     Government's share of the costs under part B of the 
     Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
       Dayton amendment No. 2289, to increase funding for disabled 
     voter access services under the Help America Vote Act of 
       Santorum amendment No. 2241, to establish a Congressional 
     Commission on Expanding Social Service Delivery Options.
       Santorum amendment No. 2237, to provide grants to promote 
     healthy marriages.
       Durbin (for Boxer/Ensign) amendment No. 2287, to increase 
     appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century 
     community learning centers.
       Bingaman (for Smith/Bingaman) amendment No. 2259, to 
     provide funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program within 
     the Health Resources and Services Administration.
       Bingaman amendment No. 2218, to increase funding for 
     advanced placement programs.
       Bingaman amendment No. 2219, to increase funding for school 
     dropout prevention.
       Bingaman/Salazar amendment No. 2262, to increase funding 
     for education programs serving Hispanic students.
       Harkin amendment No. 2322, to prohibit payments for 
     administrative expenses under the Medicaid program if more 
     than 15 percent of applications for medical assistance, 
     eligibility redeterminations, and change reports are 
     processed by individuals who are not State employees meeting 
     certain personnel standards.
       Cornyn amendment No. 2277, to increase the amount of 
     appropriated funds available for Community-Based Job Training 
       Landrieu amendment No. 2248, to increase appropriations for 
     the Federal TRIO programs for students affected by Hurricanes 
     Katrina or Rita.
       Landrieu amendment No. 2250, to provide funding to carry 
     out the Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Act.
       Landrieu amendment No. 2249, to require that any additional 
     community health center funding be directed, in part, to 
     centers in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane 
       Collins/Feingold modified amendment No. 2265, to fund 
     grants for innovative programs to address dental workforce 
       Murray amendment No. 2285, to insert provisions related to 
     an investigation by the Inspector General.
       Ensign amendment No. 2300, to prohibit funding for the 
     support, development, or distribution of the Department of 
     Education's e-Language Learning System (ELLS).

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the time until 
10 a.m. shall be equally divided between the majority and the minority.

                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority leader is recognized.


  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, this morning the time until 10 a.m. will be 
equally divided for debate prior to the cloture vote. That cloture vote 
is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. promptly. We

[[Page S11954]]

will be on the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. We started that bill now 
6 days ago, last Friday. Senators have had ample opportunity to debate 
and offer amendments. Therefore, I expect that we will invoke cloture 
this morning. Once cloture is invoked, the chairman can begin the 
process of bringing that bill to a close. If we work together and 
Members are reasonable with their requests for amendments, we will be 
able to finish the bill tonight. If we are unable to get passage of the 
bill tonight, then we would return to session tomorrow and stay on the 
bill with votes until completion. That gives added incentive for people 
to finish it today, but we will be here tomorrow to vote if we do not 
finish it tonight.
  Today we may also receive the Agriculture appropriations conference 
report from the House, and I will be talking to the Democratic leader 
about the scheduling for consideration.
  Finally, we have some Executive Calendar nominations ready for Senate 
action, including a couple of judges. We need to dispose of those 
nominations as soon as possible.

               Withdrawal of Nomination of Harriet Miers

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, over the last several minutes, Harriet 
Miers has formally requested to withdraw as a nominee to serve as 
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. I had a conversation with Ms. 
Miers early this morning, and she told me that it was last evening that 
she spoke to the President and formally requested her nomination to be 
withdrawn. She stated clearly to me this morning and in a letter, which 
I will refer to shortly, that she felt that withdrawal was in the best 
interest of the United States. She came to this decision on her own, 
based on what she has experienced and witnessed and with the requests 
that are currently being made and as she projected forward to the 
hearings, again, in the best interests of the country. This morning she 
was gracious and forthcoming, confident, expressed appreciation for all 
of the work that has been done to date in the Senate and asked me to 
express that to each of the Senators, asking me to say thank you for 
their individual courtesy over the past several days and weeks. As one 
may expect, she was disappointed but confident and upbeat.
  Earlier this morning, following that, I did talk to the President. It 
is appropriate, because things are moving so quickly for me, to quote 
from her letter, again, to use Harriet Miers' own words. As this is 
addressed by the political pundits and the commentators over the course 
of today, I think it would be helpful for our colleagues to hear 
directly what Ms. Miers sent to the President.

                                                 October 27, 2005.
       Dear Mr. President: I write to withdraw as a nominee to 
     serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the 
     United States. I have been greatly honored and humbled by the 
     confidence that you have shown in me, and have appreciated 
     immensely your support and the support of many others. 
     However, I am concerned that the confirmation process 
     presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is 
     not in the best interest of the country.
       As you know, members of the Senate have indicated their 
     intention to seek documents about my service in the White 
     House in order to judge whether to support me. I have been 
     informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be 
     expected to testify about my service in the White House to 
     demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy. While I 
     believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence 
     for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the 
     efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information 
     will continue.
       As I stated in my acceptance remarks in the Oval Office, 
     the strength and independence of our three branches of 
     government are critical to the continued success of this 
     great Nation. Repeatedly in the course of the process of 
     confirmation for nominees for other positions, I have 
     steadfastly maintained that the independence of the Executive 
     Branch be reserved and its confidential documents and 
     information not be released to further a confirmation 
     process. I feel compelled to adhere to this position, 
     especially related to my own nomination. Protection of the 
     prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of 
     my confirmation are in tension. I have decided that seeking 
     my confirmation should yield.
       I share your commitment to appointing judges with a 
     conservative judicial philosophy, and I look forward to 
     continuing to support your efforts to provide the American 
     people judges who will interpret the law, not make it. I am 
     most grateful for the opportunity to have served your 
     Administration and this country.
           Most respectfully,
                                              Harriet Ellan Miers.

  Those are her words, and I think they are very direct. I did have a 
chance to talk to the President moments ago. He says that he accepted 
this withdrawal. Harriet Miers will continue as White House counsel, of 
course. And I believe that we can expect another nomination in the very 
near future. I will be talking to Chairman Specter a little bit later 
this morning.
  I yield the floor.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Democratic leader is recognized.

                             Harriet Miers

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I have heard, since I have been in 
Washington these many years, about what a tough town it is. I rarely 
have felt that in my work here. But today I feel what some have said. 
For Harriet Miers, this is a tough town.
  Here is a fine woman, gentle and kind, has a lengthy career. Her 
record: First woman to become a member of a large law firm in Texas; 
first woman to be president of the Dallas Bar Association. The Dallas 
Bar Association is larger than most State bar associations. She 
followed that with being the president of the Texas Bar Association, 
one of the three or four largest bar associations in the United States. 
She has served in elective office for a short period. She has had 
extensive experience in the courts.
  I was in Texas this past weekend with a bunch of Democratic lawyers, 
members of the Democratic Party. They all said the nicest things about 
Harriet Miers. She was a fine litigator.
  It is no secret I thought she would be an appropriate nomination for 
the President. I suggested that to the President in a meeting that was 
attended by the distinguished majority leader. I believe the 35 to 40 
percent of the people who have served on the Supreme Court with no 
judicial experience before getting there have been equally as good as 
those people who have come to the Court with judicial experience. I 
believe those Justices with whom I had lunch a few months ago, who 
said, we would like to have people with no judicial experience come to 
the Supreme Court--that is what they said--were right. I believe they 
are still right.
  I have talked a little bit about Harriet Miers. She called me this 
morning. I agree with the distinguished Republican leader that she was 
upbeat, but she wasn't happy. She was very disappointed. It was obvious 
she was very disappointed. Who wouldn't be? In her experience as a 
lawyer, elected city councilperson, in her whole career she has shown 
that she has been a strong supporter for law firm diversity policies, a 
leader in promoting legal services for the poor. She made statements, 
written and otherwise, where she spoke her beliefs on basic fairness.
  I believe, without any question, that when the history books are 
written about all this, it will show that the radical rightwing of the 
Republican Party drove this woman's nomination right out of town. 
Apparently, Ms. Miers didn't satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme 
Court with rigid ideologists. The only voices heard in this process 
were the far right. She wasn't even given a chance to speak for herself 
before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her credentials, which are 
excellent, weren't good enough for the rightwing. They wanted a nominee 
with a proven record of supporting their skewed goals.
  I hope our President, in choosing a replacement for his lawyer--and 
that is what she is--will not reward the bad behavior of his rightwing 
base. President Bush should reject the demands of these extremists and 
choose a Justice who will protect the constitutional rights of all 
Americans. The President should listen to all Americans, not just 
extreme elements of his own party.
  I repeat what the distinguished Senator from Maryland said, Ms. 
Mikulski, that she sensed a whiff--I think that is a direct quote--of 
sexism in all of the attacks on this nominee.
  Mr. President, it is over with. She has given her withdrawal to the 
President. I don't think it is a good day for our country.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Who yields time?
  Mr. REID. I yield to the distinguished Senator from New York.
  How much time do we have, Mr. President?

[[Page S11955]]

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Eight minutes 11 seconds.
  Mr. REID. And that is equally divided; is that right?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority has 7 minutes 42 seconds.
  Mr. REID. While the distinguished majority leader is here, Mr. 
President, through you to the distinguished Republican leader, we had a 
half hour set aside and I took more than my share. You didn't take much 
time. I ask unanimous consent that there be 30 minutes for morning 
business and the vote at 10 o'clock be scheduled at 10:15.
  I understand the Senator from New York is not talking in morning 
business. I withdraw my request. I yield to her whatever time she may 
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from New York is recognized.

                           Amendment No. 2313

  Mrs. CLINTON. I thank the Chair. I ask unanimous consent that at the 
conclusion of my brief remarks my colleague, Senator Schumer, be 
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Subject to the control of the time, yes.
  Mrs. CLINTON. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. President, I believe amendment 2313 is pending before the Senate; 
is that correct?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Pending before the Senate is H.R. 3010.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Is amendment 2313 at the desk?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The amendment is the pending amendment, 
the one we go on in regular business.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry: Will we be going 
to regular business before the cloture vote?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. We are on the bill at this time.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Then if we are on the bill at this time, I wish to 
speak briefly about amendment 2313 and ask that it be pending before 
the Senate.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has the right to make that 
amendment the regular order if she desires.
  Mrs. CLINTON. I do desire, Mr. President, to make amendment 2313 the 
regular order.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. CLINTON. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. President, this amendment addresses a problem that is quite 
unprecedented with respect to the funds that were appropriated 
originally from this body following the attacks of September 11. The 
funds were part of the original emergency appropriation passed by the 
Congress and signed by the President. The money addressed in this 
amendment is intended for use for medical services and related matters 
on behalf of first responders, construction workers, and others who 
worked at Ground Zero, who were in a variety of ways injured, whose 
health was impacted, often leading to employment-ending disabilities. 
The people who gave so much in the immediate aftermath of those attacks 
include, of course, those who lost their lives and also those who as 
part of the rescue and recovery operations suffered long-lasting 
physical and mental damage.
  A number of those people have not been able to return to work. They 
are suffering from ailments ranging from physical disability, loss of 
limbs, loss of the use of limbs. They have suffered an incredible range 
of lung-related and breathing diseases--asthma, respiratory 
dysfunction. Others have suffered greatly from the stresses they 
confronted, particularly working on what was called ``the pile'' day 
after day after day; some who worked out at Freshkills, the formerly 
very large landfill on Staten Island where the remains of so many who 
lost their lives, including the debris from the cleanup, were taken and 
deposited. Detectives worked there hour after hour after hour 
recovering evidence, and often that evidence included, tragically, body 
parts. Many of these people who were directly impacted continued to 
work as long as they could. They tried to return to some semblance of 
normalcy. Unfortunately, they often could not continue.
  The money that was directed to be used for their medical and 
employment-related needs was caught up in some of the efforts to deal 
with the budget currently, and an unprecedented rescission of these 
funds previously appropriated was called for.
  On both sides of the aisle, in the Senate as well as the House, we 
have a number of our colleagues who understand completely the need for 
these funds to be reinstated and available for the purposes they were 
intended. Certainly, the Governor of our State, the mayor of our city, 
along with representatives of many of the workers, the police officers, 
detectives, the firefighters, the construction workers, and others who 
were adversely impacted because they responded to the need for their 
services and their heroic efforts, are all united in our effort on both 
sides of the aisle at all levels of Government to make sure that what 
was promised is fulfilled.
  I greatly appreciate the chairman of the committee and the ranking 
member working with us over the last weeks to make sure we correct this 
unprecedented rescission. I believe the amendment has been agreed to by 
the chairman and ranking member. I hope we are able to move forward 
with that expeditiously today.
  This is a righting of an inadvertent wrong. I don't think the full 
intent and understanding of what these funds were for was perhaps 
appreciated, but there seems to be a great willingness, which I greatly 
appreciate, on behalf of the majority----
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mrs. CLINTON. And so, Mr. President, let me, if I could----
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. There is no further time for the minority 
to yield.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, may we have unanimous consent to use the 
leader time?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The leadership time is reserved. The 
leadership is to use that time.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be given 2 
minutes. It can be deducted from the Republican time.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, that request can be 
agreed to.

  Mr. SCHUMER. I thank the Chair. I want to add my voice in support of 
this amendment on behalf of Senator Clinton and myself.
  We all know the help this country has generously offered those who 
put their lives on the line--some survived, some did not--after 9/11. 
Many emerged wounded. I want to add one other element here. When we 
negotiated with the President for the $20 billion, there was a great 
moment of unity. When this Congress stood up, it was a great moment of 
unity. I have to say the President has never wavered in his commitment 
of the $20 billion. In fact, the White House has been generous in 
granting us flexibility--seeking to take $2 billion of the tax dollars 
and move them to transportation.
  This one rescission is the only mark where there has been a wavering 
in the commitment made to New York in those bleak weeks right after 9/
11. We don't know how it came about. I doubt it came from the 
President--maybe somebody in OMB. But removing this rescission rights 
that wrong and keeps the ledger unblemished about this Nation's 
commitment to $20 billion to New York.
  I thank Senator Specter and Senator Cochran for understanding that 
need, and Senator Clinton and I look forward to the fact that this 
amendment, which will now be in the Senate bill, will prevail in the 
House and that the White House will help us make that happen.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator's 2 minutes have expired.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
remainder of the time be allocated to Senator Schumer and myself.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered. There 
is 5 minutes 44 seconds remaining.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, as you can tell from both Senator 
Schumer and myself, we are very grateful for this understanding and 
pending action that will give us a chance to right this wrong. Again I 
think it is difficult to trace how it happened. I believe it is in the 
rush of trying to figure out how to maybe make things balance a little 
bit more that this was seized upon.
  I ask unanimous consent that letters from Governor Pataki and Mayor 
Bloomberg be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

[[Page S11956]]

                                                Executive Chamber,

                                                State Capitol,

                                     Albany, NY, October 21, 2005.
     Hon. Thad Cochran,
     Chair, Appropriations Committee, Senate Dirksen Office 
         Building, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Robert C. Byrd,
     Ranking Member, Appropriations Committee, Senate Hart Office 
         Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senators Cochran and Byrd: I would like to voice my 
     strong concerns over a provision in the House Labor-HHS 
     Appropriations bill which would rescind $125 million from the 
     New York State Workers' Compensation Board sent to New York 
     as part of the response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist 
     attacks. As the Senate considers its own Labor-HHS 
     appropriations bill, I would ask that this rescission not be 
     included. If it is not feasible to reverse the rescission, 
     then I would respectfully ask that you support passage of a 
     new emergency appropriation.
       Under P.L. 107-117, Congress provided New York a total of 
     $175 million for the Workers' Compensation Board. The funding 
     was for paying benefits to the volunteers who responded to 
     Ground Zero or the Staten Island Landfill and to pay claims 
     to the employees of uninsured employers. These funds were 
     made available ``until expended.''
       Consistent with Congressional intent, I am requesting that 
     all funds from the initial appropriation remain available to 
     ensure that the continuing needs of affected individuals are 
       I appreciate that you have incredibly difficult decisions 
     to make given the funding constraints under which you must 
     pass the Labor-HHS bill. However, the aftermath of 9/11 
     continues to manifest itself with responders' illnesses 
     emerging late and lasting longer than expected. To rescind 
     the funding provided to deal with these needs would be 
     turning our back on the very people who stepped up to the 
     plate in the wake of a national emergency.
       Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.
           Very truly yours,
     George E. Pataki.

                                             The City of New York,

                                          Office of the Mayor,

                                   New York, NY, October 24, 2005.
     Hon. Thad Cochran,
     Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee,
     Capitol Building, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Arlen Specter,
     Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health 
         and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, 
         Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Robert C. Byrd,
     Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Committee,
     Capitol Building, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Tom Harkin,
     Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, 
         Health and Human Services, Education and Related 
         Agencies, Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairmen Cochran and Specter and Ranking Members Byrd 
     and Harkin: In the aftermath of the attacks on the World 
     Trade Center (WTC), the Federal Government promised to 
     appropriate $20 billion to help New York City in its recovery 
     efforts. As you are aware, $125 million of that Federal 
     funding has been rescinded. I am asking your support for an 
     amendment to be offered by Senators Clinton and Schumer to 
     restore these funds to meet the ongoing needs of those harmed 
     by the September 11th attacks and (their aftermath. The funds 
     in question were originally to be used to process workers' 
     compensation claims, but have not proven necessary for that 
       It is impossible to predict exactly the needs of the 
     governments, businesses and individuals hurt by such a 
     crisis. Jurisdictions affected by major disasters, be they 
     man-made or from natural causes, should get the benefit of 
     hindsight to make full and proper use of allocated funds. 
     Thus it is important that the Congress allow these 
     jurisdictions to come back to Congress to make revisions in 
     the federal assistance provided.
       In New York, there is still a need for New York State to 
     retain $50 million of the aforementioned $125 million, but we 
     are writing you about the remaining $75 million. New York has 
     significant, ongoing needs for continued monitoring and 
     possible medical treatment as a result of the September 
     11th attacks.
       It is our understanding that Senators Clinton and Schumer 
     will be offering an amendment to restore this $75 million so 
     it can be used to administer baseline and follow-up screening 
     and clinical examinations and long-term medical health 
     monitoring, analysis, and treatment for emergency services 
     personnel and rescue and recovery personnel through the FDNY 
     Bureau of Health Services and Counseling Services Unit, the 
     NYPD, Project Cope, the Police Organization Providing Peer 
     Assistance (POPPA), the World Trade Center Health Registry 
     and the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental 
     Medicine working with the State and City of New York.
       The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) estimates that 
     this funding would enable the World Trade Center (WTC) 
     Medical Monitoring Program, that the Department's Bureau of 
     Health Services runs in partnership with Mt. Sinai Medical 
     Center, and the FDNY Medical Treatment Program to continue 
     for several more years, although additional funds would be 
     needed beyond that time period. The WTC Medical Monitoring 
     Program monitors and treats the WTC rescue and recovery 
     workers and volunteers affected by environmental contaminants 
     and other exposures at the WTC site. It is the only long-
     term, national program that provides periodic medical 
     monitoring exams, as well as short- and long-term medical 
     treatment, for the approximately 12,000 FDNY rescue workers 
     and 12,000 other responders who could be at risk for WTC-
     related illnesses as a result of their efforts in rescue and 
     recovery, service restoration or debris removal and clean up 
     at the WTC site. Federal and private funding is due to expire 
     in 2009 for the monitoring program and 2007 for the treatment 
     program. This is a much-needed amendment that would continue 
     this federal partnership for several more years.
       The FDNY's workforce was the most severely affected by 
     September 11, 2001. On that day alone, the Department 
     suffered 343 fatalities, and 200 of our responders needed 
     medical treatment--some for life-threatening injuries. In 
     all, more than 12,000 FDNY rescue workers performed rescue 
     and recovery efforts from September 11, 2001 through July 
     2002. Since then, nearly 4,000 have developed respiratory 
     and/or mental health-related illnesses. Potentially disabling 
     conditions that our rescue workers face include asthma, 
     chronic bronchitis, chronic sinusitis, gastroesophageal 
     reflux disorders and psychological distress as a result of 
     their repeated exposures to the injured, the dying, the dead, 
     human remains, potentially life threatening situations for 
     themselves and other traumatic events. Our FDNY rescue 
     workers are also concerned about other potential exposures to 
     environmental toxins. More than 500 firefighters have 
     qualified for early retirement disability.
       This funding would also provide critical support for the 
     New York City WTC Health Registry. The WTC Health Registry, 
     operated by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 
     tracks many highly affected subgroups present on 9/11, 
     including Lower Manhattan residents, children, building 
     survivors and visitors, as well as rescue workers and rescue/
     clean-up volunteers. The Registry has enrolled 71,000 
     persons, including those who were contacted from known 
     employer and building listings, as well as eligible 
     individuals who voluntarily enrolled. The Registry is 
     designed to maintain contact with and systematically document 
     potential health effects related to 9/11 through periodic 
     monitoring of mental and physical health conditions over the 
     course of the next 20 years. To benefit participants and 
     others affected by the disaster, the Registry provides 
     immediate information on health and mental health outcomes, 
     as well as available resources and treatment options. It is a 
     unique resource open to health experts around the country 
     conducting more in-depth health investigations. Special 
     studies by a number of academic institutions have already 
     begun, with the Registry providing a means to contact 
     interested participants. The findings of these studies will 
     benefit individuals affected by 9/11 and physicians concerned 
     with their care.
       The Registry provides one of the few opportunities to 
     conduct future population-based assessments of WTC health 
     effects on different affected populations. It was established 
     with funding provided through the federal Agency for Toxic 
     Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The cost of this 
     program is modest and provides a platform to monitor the 
     public health consequences of the WTC attacks and develops 
     essential health and emergency preparedness information. This 
     amendment will ensure that the Registry receives funding for 
     several more years. It is also essential that the federal 
     government keep faith with the 71,000 WTC survivors who 
     enrolled by ensuring the stability and long-term survival of 
     this crucial project.
       Thank you for all you have done to help us on behalf of 
     those affected by September 11.
     Michael R. Bloomberg,


     Nicholas Scoppetta,
                              Commissioner, Fire Department of the
                                                 City of New York.
     Thomas R. Frieden,
                                       M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner,
     Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

           Fire Department of New York--Mt. Sinai Partnership

       To continue the existing medical monitoring and treatment 
     program, the FDNY needs federal assistance for a 30-year 
     medical monitoring program that to date has been funded by 
     the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the 
     National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 
     This would allow the FDNY Bureau of Health Services to 
     continue to provide comprehensive periodic follow-up 
     monitoring exams to FDNY WTC rescue workers (active and 
     retired) at periodic (e.g., 18-month) intervals, thereby 
     maintaining needed services and medical continuity for this 
       Based on current patient enrollment and the anticipated 
     health/economic needs of this population, the FDNY needs 
     federal assistance to support the medical treatment for the 
     FDNY WTC rescue workers (active and retired). This funding 
     would support necessary medical and mental health treatment 
     programs already in place for what we estimate to be, 
     conservatively, 30 percent of the FDNY WTC responder 
     population. Funding for these monitoring and treatment 
     programs would allow the FDNY to provide to

[[Page S11957]]

     our WTC rescue workers the same level and number of medical 
     and mental health services as Mount Sinai plans for the non-
     FDNY WTC responders.
       The FDNY treatment program, treating an estimated 3,000 
     patients, has a current budget of $15 million annually. The 
     Mt. Sinai portion of this program has a similar budget. 
     Funding for these programs is uncertain after 2007. The FDNY 
     monitoring and evaluations program, treating an estimated 
     12,000 patients, has a current budget of $5 million per year. 
     Funding for this program is uncertain after 2009.

                  World Trade Center Registry (WTCHR)

       The WorId Trade Center Health Registry is designed to 
     monitor the physical and mental health of the 71,000 
     enrollees for 20 years. The Registry is the only systematic 
     way to document and verify the possible long-term 
     consequences of the WTC disaster in groups most directly 
     affected by the attacks, such as residents, children, 
     building survivors, visitors, and rescue/recovery workers and 
     volunteers. This is the largest effort ever in the U.S. to 
     systemically monitor the health of persons exposed to a 
     large-scale disaster.
       The Registry has developed a comprehensive resource guide, 
     which is updated regularly, to help WTC-affected persons find 
     physical or mental health services and other 9/11-related 
     assistance. It is the only comprehensive and updated resource 
     directory for people affected by the attack. To accompany 
     this, the Department is collaborating with Mt. Sinai Medical 
     Center to develop a set of clinical guidelines for physicians 
     treating patients affected by 9/11.
       An average cost of $46 per enrollee per year is required to 
     support the registry for its 20 year life span--a modest cost 
     to monitor the health consequences of this major disaster and 
     to develop essential health and emergency preparedness 
     information. Average annual and recurring support of $3.31 
     million is needed to support the registry. A cooperative 
     agreement between ATSDR and the New York City Department of 
     Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) provides partial and 
     declining support only through 2007, leaving a shortfall 
     averaging $2.2 million through that date. After 2007, no 
     funding has been committed to support the $3.31 million need. 
     New York City is working with our federal partners and 
     representatives to secure long-term funding for WTCHR.

  Mrs. CLINTON. This money has been counted on to meet the needs of so 
many of these workers, through the workers comp system, through the 
health care system. We fought very hard to make sure there was a 
sufficient amount of money for the diagnosis of the various physical 
and mental ills that people suffered after 9/11. I was very grateful we 
were able to do that. People are being diagnosed. They are being given 
some help. Unfortunately, without this money, that help cannot 
continue. After 9/11, we learned that many of the people who were 
involved in the horrible bombing in Oklahoma City years before were 
finally coming to ask for help, that they had been suffering in 
silence. Often there had been terrible memories that interfered with 
their ability to continue working. This is something that we know from 
experts is, unfortunately, a very long-term, slow-moving problem, that 
not everybody suffers the same way immediately. There are those for 
whom it takes longer to come to grips with what has happened. We are 
seeing that. We are seeing still people who for the first time go to a 
physician, for the first time ask for help. I have worked closely with 
the fire department over the last 4 years and they have been absolutely 
superb in trying to make sure that help was available, people knew 
about it, but they are the first to tell you not every one of the 
firefighters was ready to ask for it. They had to be convinced it was 
OK to do.
  So having this money reinstated will fulfill the promise we have made 
to all of these men and women that we are not going to forget them, we 
are going to take care of them; that when they are ready to ask for 
help, they will get help, and that the resources will be available for 
them to get that help.
  It is very heartening, and I obviously understand we are going to 
have a challenge in the conference committee, but all of our colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle in the House, particularly those who serve 
on the Appropriations Committee, are part of this team and are working 
hard to make sure their leadership understands what our leadership 
does, which is that this is keeping faith with the people who kept 
faith with America, a lot of brave and heroic and very extraordinary 
human beings who ran toward danger instead of away from it. I am very 
grateful that this will be in the Senate bill and we will be able to go 
with a united front on behalf of the Senate joining with those in the 
majority and minority in the House to make sure we provide this funding 
as soon as possible.
  I appreciate all the hard work we have seen from the chairman and the 
chairman's staff, from the ranking member and the ranking member's 
staff. This was a challenge they undertook because they supported what 
we were trying to do and understood how significant it was to correct 
this situation.
  I also appreciate the chairman of the full committee and the ranking 
member of the full committee who have similarly been very supportive in 
helping us work out a solution to this issue.
  I can only hope that when we get to conference the House will 
understand and accept how we have worked this out and give us a chance 
to make our case. I believe it is a worthy case. It has bipartisan 
support. I think the House will see that and understand it.
  I am grateful to everyone who has helped us get to this point.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Vitter). The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. STEVENS. 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. STEVENS. Mr. President, on behalf of the chairman of the 
subcommittee, Senator Specter, I want to state that this amendment 
restores $125 million previously appropriated to New York as part of 
the emergency supplemental bill under chapter 11, relief and recovery, 
passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Bush on January 
10, 2002.
  The funds would be used for such purposes as mental health treatment 
and long-term health monitoring of rescue and recovery personnel.
  The amendment is fully offset.
  I ask for a voice vote on this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 
  The amendment (No. 2313) was agreed to.
  Mr. STEVENS. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mrs. CLINTON. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  Mr. STEVENS. I call for the regular order.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the hour of 10 a.m. 
having arrived, pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate 
the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on H.R. 3010: The 
     Labor-HHS appropriate bill.
         Bill Frist, Arlen Specter, Thad Cochran, Michael Enzi, 
           Wayne Allard, Jon Kyl, Rick Santorum, Richard Lugar, 
           Mike DeWine, Craig Thomas, Mel Martinez, Sam Brownback, 
           Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Thune, Orrin Hatch, Robert 
           Bennett, Mike Crapo.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on H.R. 
3010, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006, shall be 
brought to a close? The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. The 
clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senator was necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Lott).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Corzine, 
and the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. Rockefeller) are necessarily 
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 97, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 275 Leg.]



[[Page S11958]]

     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)

                             NOT VOTING--3

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 97, the nays are 0. 
Three-fifths of the Senators duly sworn and chosen, having voted in the 
affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois is recognized.
  Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as if in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Obama and Mr. Durbin are printed in today's 
Record under ``Morning Business.'')

                           Amendment No. 2193

  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, before moving ahead to the amendments on 
the flu pandemic, there are some amendments which have been cleared and 
which have been accepted on both sides.
  I call up Thune amendment No. 2193.
  This amendment provides $10 million for the telehealth programs 
within the Department of Education. The amendment is fully offset. I 
believe it has been agreed to by my distinguished ranking member, 
Senator Harkin.
  Mr. HARKIN. We have no objections on this side.
  Mr. SPECTER. I urge its agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2193), as modified, was agreed to.

                           Amendment No. 2265

  Mr. SPECTER. Amendment No. 2265, the Collins dental health workforce 
needs amendment, provides funding which will grant innovative programs 
an opportunity to move forward to address the dental workforce needs. 
The amendment has been cleared.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2265) was agreed to.

                           Amendment No. 2269

  Mr. SPECTER. Amendment No. 2269, the Lautenberg amendment, provides 
for a prohibition for the use of funds for abstinence education 
information that has proved medically inaccurate. Again, it has been 
cleared on both sides of the aisle.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Specter], for Mr. 
     Lautenberg, proposes an amendment numbered 2269.

  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To prohibit the use of funds to provide abstinence education 
        that includes information that is medically inaccurate)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:
       Sec. __. None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to provide abstinence education that includes 
     information that is medically inaccurate. For purposes of 
     this section, the term ``medically inaccurate'' means 
     information that is unsupported or contradicted by peer-
     reviewed research by leading medical, psychological, 
     psychiatric, and public health publications, organizations 
     and agencies.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2269) was agreed to.

                    Amendment No. 2214, as Modified

  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I call up the Sununu amendment numbered 
2214, as modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment is so modified.
  The amendment (No. 2214), as modified, is as follows:

       After section 221, insert the following:
       Sec. 222. For carrying out the Low-Vision Rehabilitation 
     Services Demonstration Project by the Secretary of Health and 
     Human Services, an additional $5,000,000: Provided, That both 
     accounts made available on page 137, line 9 are reduced by 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2214), as modified, was agreed to.

                    Amendment No. 2308, as Modified

  Mr. SPECTER. Now the Alexander amendment 2308, as modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Specter], for Mr. 
     Alexander, proposes an amendment numbered 2308, as modified.

  The amendment (No. 2308), as modified, is as follows:

       At the end of title III (before the short title), add the 
       Sec. __. (a) There are appropriated, out of any money in 
     the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $7,000,000 to the 
     National Assessment Governing Board for the purposes of 
     implementing a National Assessment of Educational Progress 
     test in United States history.
         (b) On page 192, line 20, strike $418,992,000 and insert 
     $411,992,000 in lieu thereof.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2308), as modified, was agreed to.

                    Amendment No. 2219, as Modified

  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I call up the Bingaman amendment numbered 
2219, as modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Specter], for Mr. 
     Bingaman, proposes an amendment numbered 2219, as modified.

  The amendment (No. 2219), as modified, is as follows:

         At the end of title III (before the short title), insert 
     the following:
       Sec. __. (a) In addition to amounts otherwise appropriated 
     under this Act, there is appropriated, out of any money in 
     the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an additional 
     $4,900,000 to carry out part H of title I of the Elementary 
     and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6551 et seq.).
       (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the 
     amount made available under the heading Health Resources and 
     Services Administration for construction and renovation is 
     further reduced by $4,900,000.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment, 
as modified.
  The amendment (No. 2219), as modified, was agreed to.

          Amendments Nos. 2220, 2241, 2237, and 2249, en bloc

  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent it be in order to 
make a germaneness point of order against the following amendments en 
bloc: Senator Murray, 2220; Senator Santorum, 2241; Senator Santorum, 
2237; Senator Landrieu, 2249. I now raise a point of order that the 
amendments are nongermane.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the Senate may make a point 
of order, en bloc.
  Mr. SPECTER. Technically, I raise a point of order that the 
amendments are nongermane.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The point of order is sustained. The 
amendments fall.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, what is the pending amendment or business 
before the Senate?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The pending amendment is the Ensign amendment 
No. 2300.

                           Amendment No. 2283

  Mr. HARKIN. I ask unanimous consent to set the pending amendment 
aside and return to amendment No. 2283.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the matter before the 
Senate is amendment 2283.
  The Senator from Iowa is recognized.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, before I talk about this amendment that 
has to do with avian flu, I add my congratulations to the Chicago White 
Sox for a sterling performance--four straight games in the World 
Series--to congratulate the team, and to congratulate their owner, 
Jerry Reinsdorf. The last time the Chicago White Sox won

[[Page S11959]]

the World Series was 1917. Of course, they were the Black Sox at that 
time. And the outstanding performer during that 1917 classic was a guy 
by the name of Joseph Jefferson Jackson from Greenville, SC. Baseball 
fans and aficionados perhaps may not recognize his real name, but they 
will recognize the name Shoeless Joe Jackson.
  In 1999, along with Senator Thurmond and Senator Hollings, we 
introduced a sense-of-the-Senate resolution. It was accepted by the 
Senate. Commissioner Selig agreed to review the Shoeless Joe Jackson 
case to reinstate him to baseball. However, 6 years have passed and Mr. 
Selig has done nothing.
  With the winning of the World Series by the Chicago White Sox, it is 
time to revisit this issue. In that regard, Senator DeMint from South 
Carolina and I have submitted a resolution. We will be talking about it 
later today at an appropriate time when Senator DeMint and I can both 
be on the Senate floor. I want Senators to know we have a sense-of-the-
Senate resolution that Senator DeMint and I will be submitting similar 
to the one we offered in 1999 once again trying to honor one of 
baseball's all-time great players who suffered a great injustice at the 
hands of the then Commissioner Landis, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was 
a commissioner of baseball for almost 40 years. It was Commissioner 
Landis who banned Shoeless Joe Jackson from baseball, and robbed him of 
his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. We will have more to 
say about that later today.
  I congratulate the Chicago White Sox on a great victory and thank my 
colleague and my friend from South Carolina for working to get this new 
resolution. Hopefully, we will take it up in the Senate this afternoon 
and pass it sometime this afternoon.
  Mr. President, we have an amendment before the Senate that is crucial 
to maybe even our most basic survival as a nation, perhaps crucial to 
the survival of our economy and the future. I know that sounds like 
overblown rhetoric, but everyone has probably been reading lately about 
the threat of an avian flu pandemic. It has been on all the news 
magazines and all the news shows. Newsweek magazine last week had a 
very comprehensive expose or at least a delineation of the flu, how it 
is spread, how virulent it is, and what it can do to us. So I don't 
think it is overblown to say this perhaps could be the biggest threat 
our country has faced in the last 100 years.
  As has been pointed out in numerous articles and I think elsewhere in 
the Newsweek article I referred to earlier, what this pandemic could do 
to us as a people is even more threatening than what a few terrorists 
could do and, as they point out, even a few terrorists with a nuclear-
type device. This pandemic could literally--estimated by the experts, 
not by me--cause the death of anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million 
Americans, with tens of millions of Americans hospitalized without any 
capacity to take care of them. This would cause a disruption in our 
economy the likes of which we have probably never seen.
  I have been involved in looking at avian flu for the last several 
years, tracking it and keeping in close contact with the National 
Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
in Atlanta. I always try to be careful we do not unduly alarm people. I 
don't want to put myself nor do I think we should put ourselves in the 
position of unduly alarming or generating a phobia that paralyzes our 
country, but alarm bells must be rung. The warning signs are there. We 
have to start preparing. The time for planning and thinking about it 
has passed. We have to do something immediately.
  The amendment we are debating allows the United States to 
dramatically step up emergency preparations for an avian flu pandemic. 
Last month, I offered on the Defense appropriations bill a similar 
amendment that provided $3.9 billion to prepare for such a pandemic. At 
that time, we did not know when or if the Labor-HHS bill would ever 
come to the Senate. Obviously, this is the appropriate place for it 
since this appropriations subcommittee under the leadership of Senator 
Specter has jurisdiction over both the Department of Health and Human 
Services and also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 
also the National Institutes of Health.
  Between last month when this amendment was adopted on the Defense 
appropriations bill and now, I have gone back to NIH, the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention, and a number of drug companies involved 
in either vaccine production or the production of antivirals to get a 
better handle on what it is we need to do. Just what is it?
  I will admit that in the first amendment, which I offered on the 
Defense appropriations bill, we were missing some information. But now 
we have that information. So the amendment we have before us today is a 
more robust version of that earlier amendment we had on the Defense 
appropriations bill which was adopted by the Senate. This version is 
based on more and better information.
  There is a broad consensus in the scientific community as to the 
steps we need to take to get ready for a potential pandemic. Reflecting 
that scientific consensus, this amendment will do four broad things.
  One, as our first line of defense, it will dramatically step up 
international surveillance of avian flu outbreaks overseas.
  Two, it will ramp up our vaccine production infrastructure here in 
the United States.
  Three, it will give us resources to build up both stockpiles of 
vaccines currently believed to be effective against avian flu as well 
as stockpiling antiviral medications that you take if, in fact, you get 
  Fourth, this amendment will strengthen our public health 
infrastructure at the Federal, State, and local levels, which today is 
simply not equipped to cope with a major pandemic.
  Some have suggested that we be patient and we wait for the 
administration to put forward a plan to fight avian flu. We have 
already waited too long. I am not saying we don't need a plan. We do 
need an action plan. But we have been warned for years. The first 
warning came in 1997 that an avian flu pandemic was not just possible 
but likely, just as we were warned for years that the levees in New 
Orleans would fail in the case of a major hurricane. Yet the Federal 
Government did not come forward with any plan of action. I am not 
saying this Government under President Bush. It was previous Federal 
Governments. We did not heed the warnings. As I might even say, we were 
warned in 1997 about a coming avian flu pandemic. Well, nothing was 
done then either. There is a lot of blame to go around. I am not 
blaming anyone. I am saying, look, we have turned a blind eye and a 
deaf ear to our warnings. Now we have to take action.
  Within the last year, the threat of a pandemic has become even more 
urgent and immediate. The alarm bells are ringing at full volume, and 
we in Congress cannot in good conscience wait any longer. We need to 
act. If the administration offers a plan at a later date, that is fine. 
It will almost certainly have to include the elements we have in our 
amendment. We are all talking to the same people, after all.
  But here is the thing. I do not know when they are going to come up 
with their plan. I do know at least there is talk around here that we 
are going to adjourn by Thanksgiving, finish our business, be out of 
here by Thanksgiving. Well, if the administration comes up with a plan 
next week, or the week after, and we are out of here, what happens in 
terms of needing the resources, the money? That is what we have.
  Our responsibility as appropriators is to come up with the money. 
That is what this amendment does, so that if the administration does 
come up with a good action plan, we will not have lost any time. The 
money will be there, and we can move ahead as rapidly as possible.
  There is no question the United States is woefully unprepared for a 
major outbreak of human-to-human transmitted avian flu. We have had 
clear warnings, as we did prior to 9/11, prior to Katrina, but, again, 
the Federal Government did not do anything. Now we have been warned in 
no uncertain terms about avian flu, but, again, under two 
administrations, nothing has happened.
  As many of my colleagues know, avian flu--or H5N1, as it is called in 
the scientific community--has passed from

[[Page S11960]]

bird to bird and from birds to humans. We know of one specific case--we 
know of one specific case--where it went from human to human. Now, 
there may be others, but we do know of them. And we do know that 50 
percent of the humans who have been infected with avian flu have died--
50 percent. It has a 50-percent mortality rate. We also know another 
thing: Every chicken, every member of the poultry family that has been 
infected with avian flu dies--100 percent. This is a very virulent 
  Experts in virology at the Department of Health and Human Services 
say it is only a matter of time before the virus mutates and human-to-
human transmission becomes both widespread and sustained. That has not 
happened yet. We have had some cases of the avian flu jumping from a 
bird to a human. As I said, we have had one known case of it going from 
one human to another; and, I might add, both died. We have had no cases 
where the transmission is both sustained and pervasive, widespread, but 
the virologists say it is only a matter of time before that happens.
  An outbreak in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, or anywhere such as that, 
could trigger within weeks a worldwide outbreak, facilitated by air 
travel, the mass movement of people across borders. As I said, 50 
percent of the individuals who have been infected have died. You can 
envision a nightmare scenario, a kind of 21st century ``Black Death'' 
that is not difficult to picture. Indeed, most experts say it is not a 
matter of if but when.
  Let me quote from an article that was in the recent Newsweek magazine 
of October 31, an article by Fareed Zakaria, entitled ``A Threat Worse 
Than Terror":

       ``A flu pandemic is the most dangerous threat the United 
     States faces today,'' says Richard Falkenrath, who until 
     recently served in the Bush administration as deputy Homeland 
     Security adviser. ``It's a bigger threat than terrorism. In 
     fact it's bigger than anything I dealt with when I was in 
       One makes a threat assessment on the basis of two factors: 
     the probability of the event, and the loss of life if it 
     happened. On both counts, a pandemic ranks higher than a 
     major terror attack, even one involving weapons of mass 
     destruction. A crude nuclear device would probably kill 
     hundreds of thousands. A flu pandemic could easily kill 

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Newsweek article be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                            [From Newsweek]

                       A Threat Worse Than Terror

                          (By Fareed Zakaria)

       ``A flu pandemic is the most dangerous threat the United 
     States faces today,'' says Richard Falkenrath, who until 
     recently served in the Bush administration as deputy Homeland 
     Security adviser. ``It's a bigger threat than terrorism. In 
     fact it's bigger than anything I dealt with when I was in 
     government.'' One makes a threat assessment on the basis of 
     two factors: the probability of the event, and the loss of 
     life if it happened. On both counts, a pandemic ranks higher 
     than a major terror attack, even one involving weapons of 
     mass destruction. A crude nuclear device would probably kill 
     hundreds of thousands. A flu pandemic could easily kill 
       Whether this particular virus makes the final, fatal 
     mutation that allows it to move from human to human, one day 
     some virus will. The basic factor that is fueling this surge 
     of viruses is China's growth. (China is the natural habitat 
     of the influenza virus.) As China develops, it urbanizes, and 
     its forests and wetlands shrink. That forces migratory birds 
     to gather closer together--and closer to human habitation--
     which increases the chances of a virus spreading from one 
     species to the next. Also, growth means a huge rise in 
     chicken consumption. Across thousands of homes in China every 
     day, chickens are slaughtered in highly unhygienic ways. 
     ``Every day the chances that this virus or another such virus 
     will move from one species to another grow,'' says Laurie 
     Garrett, author of ``The Coming Plague,'' who has been 
     writing brilliantly on this topic for years.
       Nobody really disputes that we are badly unprepared for 
     this threat. ``If something like this pandemic were to happen 
     today,'' says Falkenrath, ``the government would be mostly an 
     observer, not a manager.'' The government can't even give 
     intelligent advice to its citizens because it doesn't 
     actually know what to say. We don't know whether people 
     should stay put, leave cities, stay home or go to the nearest 
     hospital. During the cold war, hundreds of people in 
     government participated in dozens of crisis simulations of 
     nuclear wars, accidents and incidents. These ``tabletop 
     exercises'' were conducted so that if and when a real crisis 
     hit, policymakers would not be confronting critical decisions 
     for the first time. No such expertise exists for today's 
     deadliest threat.
       Beyond short-term measures for this virus--mainly stocking 
     up on Tamiflu--the only credible response to the development 
     of countermeasures. The best response would be a general 
     vaccine that would work against all strains of the flu. 
     That's a tall order, but it could be achieved. The model of 
     the Manhattan Project is often bandied about loosely, but 
     this is a case in which it makes sense. We need a massive 
     biomedical project aimed at tackling these kinds of diseases, 
     whether they're natural or engineered by terrorists.
       The total funding request for influenza-related research 
     this year is about $119 million. To put this in perspective, 
     we are spending well over $10 billion to research and develop 
     ballistic-missile defenses, which protect us against an 
     unlikely threat (even if they worked). We are spending $4.5 
     billion a year on R&D--drawings!--for the Pentagon's new 
     joint strike fighter. Do we have our priorities right?
       The final sense in which we are unprepared is that we have 
     weak global organizations to deal with pandemics. The bird 
     flu is a problem that began in Guangdong, China, and spread 
     to Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Romania and now possibly Iran. 
     It may move next into Africa. Some of these governments are 
     competent; others are not. Some hide information from 
     everyone; others simply refuse to share it with the United 
     States. We need a system that everyone will follow. The World 
     Health Organization should become the global body that 
     analyzes samples, monitors viruses, evaluates cures and keeps 
     track of the best practices. Yet the WHO leads a hand-to-
     mouth existence, relying on the whims and grants of 
     governments. A year ago its flu branch had five people. Now 
     it has 12. It needs a much, much larger staff and its own set 
     of laboratories around the world that would allow it to 
     fulfill this clearinghouse function. Countries have finally 
     agreed to a new set of conventions that give the U.N. and the 
     WHO some of the authority they need. And Kofi Annan has 
     appointed one person to coordinate the global efforts to 
     fight pandemics.
       Many people believed that globalization meant that 
     government would become less important. But as we see, 
     today's world has actually made government more crucial. Only 
     government can tackle a problem like this one, not by being 
     big but by being smart and effective. And we need good 
     governance not just at home but beyond. Without effective 
     international coordination, we are doomed to failure. John 
     Bolton once said that you could chop off 10 floors of the 
     United Nations and we'd all be better off. Let's hope that 
     the scientists fighting global diseases aren't on any of 
     those floors.

  Mr. HARKIN. We have to ask some very tough questions now. Where do 
our preparedness efforts stand? What can we do better? We are facing a 
threat, a huge threat. We are doing nothing. We can do better. We must 
do better for the American people to prepare for an avian flu pandemic.
  First, let's look at the issue of global surveillance, which is No. 1 
in terms of the first part of our amendment that we have addressed.
  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing a great job 
working in cooperation with the World Health Organization and 
governments in affected regions to detect the disease and to help stop 
its spread. Dr. Gerberding, the head of the Centers for Disease Control 
and Prevention in Atlanta--I don't know if she is getting any sleep now 
because this is topmost on their agenda. They are on the case.
  Surveillance can alert us to an outbreak, and governments can then 
take measures to isolate the disease. This is our first line of 
defense. The sooner we identify and contain an outbreak of human-to-
human transmitted avian flu virus, the better off we will be. To coin a 
well-worn phrase: It is better to fight them over there than to fight 
them here. It is better to stop H5N1, isolate it, contain it where it 
might break out, rather than having it transmitted and brought to other 
countries and brought to America.
  Again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know how to do 
this. We had success with surveillance during the SARS outbreak a 
couple years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
managed to control its spread. It never got to America. I think the 
closest it got, if I am not mistaken, was Toronto. But we also learned 
some invaluable lessons from the SARS episode. We learned we have to be 
prepared, that our surveillance efforts have to be more than they have 
been in the past.
  Secretary Leavitt, who I know has also been on top of this, recently 
took a tour of Southeast Asia. He took Dr. Fauci, the Director of the 
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Gerberding, 
and others. I

[[Page S11961]]

know they met with people in various parts of the governments of 
several countries in Southeast Asia.
  What I heard back from that is, while the governments are willing to 
work with us, and to report and survey, a lot of times they do not have 
the capacity, they do not have the knowledge, they do not have the 
wherewithal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They 
could use our help. Many of these outbreaks of avian flu in those 
countries are in remote locations, and the central government may not 
have a lot of control over that.
  If you take a small village where they have a lot of poultry, and 
maybe that is one of their major sources of livelihood, and where they 
do not understand the dimensions of avian flu and what it means, well, 
maybe they do not report it, or it may be reported in a minor way. We 
need people there on the ground who can move rapidly to the sites to 
see whether a case of avian flu has broken out.
  As I understand it, the governments of these countries are willing to 
work with us to allow us to do that, but we do not have the resources 
to do that right now because the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention simply does not have the money. That is what is in our 
amendment: to give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the money 
to be able to respond and get CDCP action prone, right now, in those 
  Secondly, what is the status of our capacity to produce vaccines here 
in the United States? Unfortunately, the news is almost all bad. It is 
astonishing that the United States has one plant--one plant--capable of 
manufacturing flu vaccines. That plant happens to be in the State of 
our distinguished chairman, Pennsylvania. It is a great company. They 
do great work. I have met with them. They use one technology. It is 
egg-based technology. That is basically the technology we have been 
using for a long time in which to grow vaccines from a virus strain.
  So since we only have that one plant right now, in the event of a 
worldwide pandemic, the U.S. would have to rely on imported vaccines, 
vaccines other countries may not be willing to ship to us. In other 
words, the first responsibility of any government is to protect its own 
people. If this pandemic ever breaks out, I doubt any other government 
is going to be willing to ship us vaccines. They are going to want it 
for their own people.
  We are very vulnerable. We need to play some catch-up ball. The 
Federal Government needs to help private industry develop more vaccine 
manufacturing capacity. These should be next-generation cell-based 
facilities, which would then be capable of producing vaccines at twice 
the rate of egg-based facilities.
  This is the only way we are going to be able to produce enough 
vaccine rapidly enough to deal with a major outbreak. Right now it is 
all egg-based. As I understand it, the manufacturing plant I mentioned 
is in the process of enlarging its capacity for egg-based vaccines. 
That is all well and good, but that still will not be enough to protect 
us in the future. It will not be sufficient to take a strain of the 
virus and develop a vaccine specifically for that virus in a short 
period of time. Some say it would take 2 to 3 years to produce a 
nonegg-based production capacity. I don't accept that. This is a matter 
of incredible urgency. We have already given one grant to a company--it 
is public, I can mention it--Sanofi Pasteur, which is the company based 
in Pennsylvania that already has a cell-based vaccine manufacturing 
plant which they are increasing. The Government has already given them 
a grant--it was under a competitive bid situation--to build a cell-
based plant. That is all well and good. But we have to do a lot more 
than that. We need two or three on line being built now, not just one.
  Our goal should be to have the research and production capacity to 
isolate a virus, convert it to a vaccine, produce enough vaccine for 
the American populace, all within a timeframe of 3 to 6, maybe 9 months 
at the most. We can do that. That can be done. We don't have the 
capacity to do it right now, and we are a long way from reaching that 
  Again, keep in mind that H5N1, the strain of the virus that is there 
now, we have a vaccine for that. The National Institutes of Health, 
under the great leadership of Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Fauci at the 
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases--Dr. Fauci got a 
strain of the virus earlier this year. They then began a crash program 
to develop a vaccine. They have. That vaccine is now in clinical 
trials. It looks as though it is going to be pretty good against H5N1. 
But we have been warned by experts that H5N1 may not be the strain that 
comes here. It could be H5N2, N3, N4, N5, something else just as 
virulent. Experts believe the vaccine being developed will have some 
effect, perhaps, on different strains, but they can't be sure.
  What we need is a vaccine manufacturing capacity, cell-based, so you 
can manufacture a vaccine in a hurry, so if a different strain were to 
hit here, we could again isolate the virus, develop the vaccine, and 
have a vaccine within 6 to 9 months, not just developed but also 
manufactured in sufficient capacity to vaccinate our people. That is 
also in our amendment.
  I hasten to add that in our amendment, we don't specify exactly how 
this is to be done. We will leave that up to the Secretary--hopefully, 
working with us in a collaborative effort--to figure out the best way 
of doing it. The point is to get the money out there now, to know it is 
there, that we can move ahead with contractual relationships, cost-
share agreements, guaranteed purchases, whatever it takes to get these 
facilities constructed in the shortest possible timeframe.
  The third part of our amendment, we need an aggressive program of 
purchasing and stockpiling vaccines and antivirals. I just talked about 
vaccines. Vaccines are what you take to prevent getting the illness. 
Antivirals are what would you take if you get the illness so you don't 
get very sick. The World Health Organization a few years ago 
recommended that nations stockpile enough antiviral medication to cover 
at least 25 percent of the population. Guess where we are right now. 
One percent. We have enough antiviral medication to cover 1 percent of 
our people. Again, we have to play catch-up ball. Antivirals are the 
medications one would take if they get sick. It will prevent a lot of 
people from dying, help them get through the illness.
  I had Senator Kennedy prepare this chart, which illustrates how 
unprepared we are. These are the stockpiles of antiviral medicine. 
Australia has enough for 20 percent of the population; Great Britain 
has enough for 25 percent, the World Health Organization 
recommendation; France has 25 percent; Japan is rapidly building up, 
they are at 17 percent. The U.S.A. is at 1 percent stockpile of 
medications. Again, if the pandemic hits here, are we going to go to 
Britain and say: Send us some of yours, or Japan or France or some 
other place? No. They are going to keep their antivirals for their own 
people. That is why we need to put the money out right now to begin the 
purchase of antivirals and to stockpile them. It has a long shelf life 
so we don't have to worry about it. That is the antivirals.
  As for vaccines, we are facing a catch-22 situation. We won't be able 
to produce a vaccine until we actually see what the variant is, H5N1, 
H5N3, whatever it might be that causes the outbreak. Scientists at NIH 
have developed a vaccine for H5N1. They believe it will be effective 
against some of the future variants, but we don't know exactly how 
effective. It is the best we have. It will at least provide some 
protection. We should be stockpiling it now.
  The fourth part of our amendment is the public health infrastructure. 
Right now our public health infrastructure is simply not capable of 
dealing either with an avian flu pandemic or even a major act of 
bioterrorism. Let's assume we build up adequate stocks of the vaccine. 
Let's say we are able to get a crash course and we can get up to 25 
percent, like Great Britain, in our antivirals. Let's say we can do 
that in a short period of time. I believe we can, if we put the funds 
out there. Let's say we have all that. It is going to go for naught if 
we don't have a public health infrastructure to deliver it, to identify 
the people who need it, to make sure these drugs and antivirals and 
vaccines get out there.
  One thing I am upset about--the President's budget for fiscal year 
2006 proposed to cut $120 million from State public health agencies. 
That is the

[[Page S11962]]

wrong way to go. Our amendment doesn't just restore that; it goes a lot 
further. It is not enough just to restore the funding. That funding 
would basically take care of ``normal'' illnesses people get around the 
country. It wouldn't even come close if we had an outbreak of avian 
flu. We need to hire more public health professionals, epidemiologists, 
physicians, lab technicians, others. We need people who are trained and 
educated to recognize, to know how to isolate, to know how to put the 
rings around populations if avian flu breaks out, and how to distribute 
it, who gets these, who is the first line of individuals.
  Someone is detected having avian flu; let's say they do get H5N1. How 
do we find out who that person came in contact with in the last 48 
hours, track them down, get them the vaccines immediately, or the 
antivirals? Did the person work in a building that had central air-
conditioning that could have taken the virus and spread it around? Who 
works there? Get them the antivirals and the vaccines immediately. This 
takes expertise. This takes people. This takes a knowledge base and 

  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know how to do it. 
They can do it for minor outbreaks now. But something this big, we need 
to do more to build up that public health infrastructure. In consonance 
with the public health infrastructure, we need to dramatically increase 
the surge capacity of hospitals all across the country. Most hospitals 
right now have trouble coping if we have a bad flu season with what we 
call ordinary flu. They would be overwhelmed by an avian flu pandemic.
  Dr. Rick Blum, president of the American College of Emergency Room 
Physicians, recently said:

       We have pumped billions of dollars into preparedness since 
     9/11, but virtually none of that has gone to the one place 
     where we know 80 percent of patients go first, [the emergency 

  For example, most victims of avian flu would need ventilators to help 
them breathe. Right now there are only 105,000 ventilators in the 
entire United States, three-quarters of them in use on any given 
typical day. So we have to prepare for surge capacity. Where do the 
tens of millions of Americans go? Don't take my word. Ask the experts. 
That is what they are saying: a million to as high as maybe 10 million 
  We have our work cut out for us. We face enormous technical and 
logistical challenges. We have no time to waste. This amendment would 
provide for nearly $8 billion for a comprehensive national effort to 
prepare in the ways I have outlined. More specifically, the total is 
divided up as follows: $3.080 billion would be allocated for 
stockpiling antivirals and the necessary medical supplies to deal with 
a pandemic once it has broken out; $3.3 billion would go to stockpiling 
flu vaccines, expanding the U.S. flu vaccine manufacturing capacity and 
for vaccine-related research; $600 million in additional grants to 
State and public health agencies for their own emergency preparedness; 
$750 million to improve hospital preparedness and surge capacity--where 
is the overflow going to go--and for health technology information 
networks; $60 million for stepped-up global surveillance--this would 
quadruple the current level of surveillance we have right now, our 
first line of defense--$75 million allocated for communication and 
outreach to the public in case of an avian flu pandemic.
  Again, this is where you have to tread lightly. You want to get 
people informed. People should be understanding of this. If a case of 
avian flu were to break out in this country, we don't want panic to 
ensue. People need to be adequately informed and advised. This has to 
do with communications and outreach.
  Lastly, $100 million will be channeled into research and CDC lab 
capacity related to an avian flu pandemic.
  Now, this is about double what we had in the Defense appropriations 
bill almost a month ago. And the reason for that is simply because in 
the meetings we have had with Government officials, with drug 
companies, and others, it has become clear that the big gap in the 
amendment we offered earlier was the $3.3 billion in stockpiling flu 
vaccine and getting money out there to rapidly build cell-based 
technology through vaccine-manufacturing plants. We have to do that 
right away.
  I know the analogy may not be correct, but when people say you can't 
do that in a big hurry, I say just think about the Pentagon over here, 
how big it is. Have you ever seen the Pentagon? We built the Pentagon 
in 9 months during World War II, by the way. Now, I know that vaccine 
manufacturing is not the same but, come on, we can do it. We can build 
the facilities. A lot of it is in equipment. But if the money is there, 
we know we can get the equipment built. Maybe we can't do it in 9 
months, but don't tell me we can't do it within a year and a half, or 
at least have a couple on line within a year. That is really the big 
difference between this amendment and the one that was offered a month 
ago on the Defense appropriations bill.
  Let me again sum up by saying this is the proper bill for it to be 
on. If we had had Labor-HHS earlier, we would have offered the 
amendment to that. This is the proper place for it. We do have the 
jurisdiction. It ought to be here. And, again, we are not tying the 
hands of the Secretary or anyone else. We are not being absolutely 
specific on how you do things in the amendment. We want the money to be 
there. When the administration comes up with their plan and they want 
to move ahead, it is there. We have 3 more weeks--I don't know how many 
weeks. Everybody tells us 3 more weeks. Let's face it, there are a lot 
of things happening in the administration--Supreme Court Justices, 
other things that are bouncing around here that divert attention. We 
cannot divert our attention. We cannot. We have to get this money out 
there and get it appropriated.
  I will have more to say perhaps later on. I know there are other 
Senators who wish to speak on this amendment and about the threat of an 
avian flu pandemic. So I will yield the floor at this time and just say 
I hope we can have a strong vote or have this amendment accepted as we 
did under the Defense appropriations bill that was taken up earlier. 
And, again, this is emergency funding--emergency funding. It ought to 
be emergency funding. It is something we have to do. We just cannot 
wait any longer.
  So I will yield the floor and ask any Senators who want to speak on 
this amendment to come over and speak.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I commend my distinguished colleague from 
Iowa for his leadership on this very important issue. I spoke briefly 
yesterday about the matter and expressed my agreement with the basic 
thrust of what the Senator from Iowa is seeking to accomplish. There is 
no doubt that we face a tremendous potential problem with the impact, 
which could be devastating, as Senator Harkin has outlined.
  We have been awaiting a plan from the administration because in the 
normal course of events, with the expertise at the Department of Health 
and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control, we would look 
to the administration to give us an appraisal as to what their plans 
are, what their evaluation has been, and how much money they think they 
  Senator Harkin has gone over a number of facts and factors, but the 
executive branch has more at its disposal than does the Congress, at 
least at this stage. Our subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on this 
issue. It is fair to say that we have been under a heavy workload in 
preparing this bill, and we have had other very heavy commitments, most 
notably in the confirmation proceedings which were recently concluded 
for Chief Justice Roberts, and the confirmation hearings which have 
been intense for Ms. Harriet Miers until her withdrawal this morning.
  We have been in touch with the executive branch and have sought to 
get information from them as to what they would like to have done. And 
I have a call in to Secretary Leavitt at the moment, the Secretary of 
Health and Human Services, to get as much information as we can from 
the executive branch.
  We have been exploring an alternative and are in the process of 
modifying the amendment from the Senator from Iowa to call for the 
disbursement of these funds at the discretion of the President after 
consultation with certain designated Members of the Congress. We are 
now talking about the

[[Page S11963]]

breadth of what we have in mind: The chairmen and ranking members of 
the Appropriations committees of both Houses, perhaps adding the 
chairmen and ranking members of the Appropriations subcommittees on 
labor, health and human services and education. Also, the suggestion 
has been made about having the chairmen and ranking members of the 
committees on health, education, labor, and pensions. We are trying to 
sort through that now to have a workable consultation but leaving the 
judgment to the President.
  We are well aware of the very substantial sum of money which is in 
this amendment, in the range of $8 billion. We are also well aware of 
the scope and magnitude of the problem. It would have to receive 60 
votes to have an emergency designation but, again, with the 
expenditures in the hands of the President, there is about as good an 
assurance as you can have it would be wisely disbursed.
  At any rate, we are in the midst of trying to work this through. If 
the Congress does not act--we are not too far away from adjournment--
the funding will not be present. The President can't spend money 
without the appropriation coming from the Congress. If there is to be 
an emergency supplemental, all of that takes time. And once you go 
through a supplemental, then there is the risk of it becoming a 
Christmas tree with many other items being included.
  So when we have the appropriations for the Department of Health and 
Human Services and this subcommittee working with that Department and 
with the Centers for Disease Control, we are the logical subcommittee 
to take up the issue and to grapple with it. We, obviously, are very 
concerned about the responsibility for appropriating this kind of 
  So that is where we stand. I note the senior Senator from Illinois 
has come to the floor, and Senator Harkin and I would urge anyone else 
who wants to speak to come to the floor now because we are going to be 
moving for a vote on this subject in the immediate short timespan.
  Mr. HARKIN. Will the Senator just yield for a minute?
  Mr. SPECTER. I do.
  Mr. HARKIN. I want to respond by thanking the chairman and my good 
friend from Pennsylvania for his great leadership on this issue. You 
said it about me, but you have been the chairman. You have led this 
subcommittee. You know what is needed. You have been first and foremost 
in insisting that we get the funds necessary for both CDC and for NIH 
for this research.
  I might just say again for public knowledge, obviously our chairman, 
the Senator from Pennsylvania, has to wear other hats. As chairman of 
the Judiciary Committee he has been tied up a lot on Supreme Court 
nominees, and I recognize he has had to deal with that on his side, in 
chairing that committee. It is an awesome responsibility, and I commend 
him for the work he has done, by the way. I thought the hearings on 
Judge Roberts were superb, and I commend my friend for his leadership 
in chairing that committee.
  So we find ourselves in the situation now where we have asked for 
information in the past, but things happen around here and we move on 
and our focus gets diverted a little bit on this and that. That is 
human nature. I understand that. I hope we can hear back from the 
  I say to my friend from Pennsylvania that I have no problem in 
modifying the amendment or whatever it might be that would say that the 
money is there. In fact, the amendment does not say how they would 
spend it. It would be there for them. If there is any way we can modify 
that, if they have some other ways on what to do, that is fine with me. 
I do not mind that at all. I am just concerned that we have it there so 
that we don't have to come back at some point and they can't say, well, 
we would do it, but Congress didn't appropriate the money.
  I sure do not want to have that sitting on our plate, I say to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I rise in support of the amendment being 
offered by the Senator from Iowa. It might not be this winter, it might 
not be next winter, but it is going to happen. The virtual certainty of 
a pandemic flu is what public health leaders are telling us we as a 
country need to be prepared for. So are we prepared? The obvious answer 
is no.
  Last week, HCD Research polled 846 doctors from across the country 
about their sense of how well prepared America is to face a pandemic 
flu. Four out of five of the doctors surveyed said America is not 
prepared for a public health crisis that we have been told is virtually 
certain to occur.
  When it comes to public health challenges, America can do better. 
What is our national leadership on this issue? We still do not have a 
national pandemic preparedness plan. The administration has been 
working on a plan, literally, for years.
  As we head into this flu season, still there is no plan coming from 
this administration. Communities need Federal guidance. This is not an 
issue where every village, every town, every State can make its own 
  California's State health officer said:

       While state and local officials have been taking what steps 
     they can to prepare for avian flu, they've been eagerly 
     anticipating a national preparedness plan to tell them how to 
     seal up those gaps. And where is that plan? The 
     administration tells us to expect one sometime soon but it is 
     long, long overdue.

  Japan has had its national pandemic preparedness plan in place since 
1997. Canada, Austria, Great Britain, all have a national preparedness 
plan in place. We look forward to seeing this plan from this 
  In the meantime, I am joining Senators Harkin, Obama, and Kennedy to 
offer this pandemic flu amendment. Senator Harkin has been our voice 
and our leader on this issue. Senator Kennedy has made a lifetime of 
public service devoted to public health issues. Senator Obama, my new 
colleague from the State of Illinois, was one of the first to speak out 
in our State and bring this to my attention and the attention of so 
many Members. I salute all three of them for their extraordinary 
  This proposal would make $8 billion available to immediately ramp up 
preparation for the flu pandemic, whether it is the H5N1 strain now 
rampant in birds or another virulent strain that might threaten us. We 
know this pandemic is virtually inevitable, in the words of Dr. 
Gerberding of the Centers for Disease Control.
  What does this amendment do? It gives the Federal health agencies 
what they need to move immediately and aggressively to get this country 
ready for a global pandemic flu.
  Let's start with hospitals. That is an important line of defense for 
people sick with flu. Communities and hospitals need to develop surge 
capacity to figure out how to take care of people when the beds are 
filled and the emergency room is overwhelmed and the neighboring 
counties face similar situations. The Trust for America's Health 
anticipates U.S. hospitals will swell by more than 2 million people if 
we face this flu pandemic. But Health and Human Services Secretary 
Leavitt has worried aloud that communities haven't even prepared for 
this surge in hospital admissions.
  The American College of Emergency Physicians President Rick Blum 

       We've pumped billions of dollars into preparedness since 9/
     11 but virtually none of that has gone to the one place where 
     we know that 80 percent of the patients go first.

  Whether it is a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or a public 
health disaster, hospitals are stretched now to have staff to handle 
the daily flow of patients. They are already operating with a real 
shortage of nurses and other health professionals.
  Realistically, aren't a significant percentage of those health care 
workers going to get sick themselves if we have a new pandemic or stay 
away from the clinical setting once the pandemic hits?
  These are serious and important questions we need to ask, answer, and 
be prepared to face.
  The Harkin amendment provides $750 million for communities to prepare 
for additional hospital beds and working with shortages of doctors, 
nurses, and other health professionals.
  The amendment also provides $3 billion so the Federal Government can 
get in line to buy antiviral medicines to have on hand for an outbreak 
of flu. Until there is cash in hand to purchase the drugs, the 
Government cannot contractually commit to buy them; they cannot even 
get in line to buy them.

[[Page S11964]]

  The United States has about 2.3 million courses of antiviral 
medications stockpiled--2.3 million for a nation of our size. We expect 
another 2 million by the end of next month. That is enough to treat 
about 2 percent of the U.S. population, far short of the international 
standard of 20 to 25 percent.
  Senator Frist has asked the Secretary to try to increase that 
stockpile to ensure treatment so that we could treat 50 percent of 
America. Our amendment would provide Secretary Leavitt with the 
resources he needs to make it happen. We go beyond political rhetoric 
to political reality.
  Our amendment also provides $3.3 billion so we can intensify our 
search for a vaccine that could protect Americans from contracting flu 
in the first case. If we can develop and manufacture a vaccine that is 
effective against the pandemic flu, we might be able to stop this flu 
epidemic in its tracks. Testing drugs is expensive. It is time 
consuming. We have to invest in it and invest in it now.
  The amendment also adds $60 million for global surveillance. I heard 
one public health official describe this as ``situational awareness.'' 
Margaret Chan, who leads the pandemic flu planning efforts for the 
World Health Organization, estimates there is a window of only ``20 to 
21 days'' in which a local outbreak could be controlled before it is 
turned loose on the world.
  Fareed Zakaria, in the recent issue of Newsweek on this particular 
issue of the flu pandemic, wrote as follows:

       Many people believed that globalization meant that 
     government would become less important. But as we see, 
     today's world has actually made government more crucial. Only 
     government can tackle a problem like this one, not by being 
     big but by being smart and effective. And we need good 
     governance not just at home but beyond. Without effective 
     international coordination, we are doomed to failure.

  If we hope to contain this flu, we have to know where and when the 
first outbreak occurs, and we can only do that if we step up the work 
we are doing with other countries to monitor contagious diseases.
  Karen Hughes, a confidante of President Bush, now with the State 
Department, recently spoke about the $5.5 million the United States has 
spent on technical assistance to other countries--$5.5 million. That is 
not enough, and we know it.
  Secretary Leavitt concluded his trip to seven Asian countries with 
this observation:

       Right now, the world's surveillance is not adequate to 
     protect us.

  Many people in the Bush administration are acknowledging the problem. 
What we want them to do is acknowledge the solution, the Harkin-
Kennedy-Obama amendment. We need this money. Americans deserve Federal 
leadership. We need leadership that prepares us for a disaster, not 
just telling us it is coming but doing something. America can do better 
to make our individuals and families safe from these public health 
  A few weeks ago, President Bush praised John Barry's book, ``The 
Great Influenza,'' a historical account of the 1918 pandemic flu. If 
you read the book, you will find John Barry was critical of the role of 
Government in that influenza outbreak. He blamed lack of preparation in 
this country on Congress. Here is what he said:

       They cut every budget request in half.

  Are we facing the same thing today? Are we doomed to repeat that same 
mistake when it comes to this avian influenza? We will not be if we 
take the leadership initiative of Senator Harkin. We are not seeing the 
leadership from the White House at this moment that the country needs. 
It is time for Congress to move decisively, to enact this amendment, to 
provide direction in funding and progress to prepare the United States 
for the virtual certainty of a pandemic flu outbreak.
  Senator Frist has made it clear he wants the Senate to finish its 
business and go home by Thanksgiving, but unless and until we address 
the avian flu pandemic, we should not go home. We should go home to an 
America that gives thanks that its leaders in Congress--in the House 
and the Senate--had the vision and determination to deal with this 
public health challenge. Our work will not be completed until we do.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.

             withdrawal of the nominations of harriet miers

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, the Harriet Miers confirmation process 
has been one of the most unusual and troubling Supreme Court 
nominations in our modern history.
  The loudest voices heard in this process were the voices of the 
extreme factions of the President's own political party.
  They had a litmus test, and they decided Harriet Miers didn't meet 
that test even before giving her a fair chance to have her own voice 
heard. That is not what the confirmation process is about, and their 
litmus test is not what the Supreme Court is about.
  The more Ms. Miers's record indicated that she might in fact be 
personally committed to the basic constitutional rights and liberties 
that make our country what it is for all Americans, the more committed 
those extreme groups and their partisan voices in the media became to 
prevent her nomination from being confirmed by the Senate.
  Most of us in the Senate were ready to give Harriet Miers a fair 
chance and a fair hearing. We wanted to have a dignified process in 
which the evidence would come first, and then the decision, and Harriet 
Miers deserved that chance.
  It is disingenuous for the President to suggest that Senators' 
insistence on White House records was somehow responsible for the 
withdrawal of the Miers' nomination. If the President were willing to 
stand up to the extremists in his party, a realistic compromise could 
easily have been found on this issue.
  The fact that the White House and Senate Republicans were not willing 
to stand up for principle and fairness against the extremists in their 
midst should be disturbing to all Americans. But now we have all seen 
that fringe of our society at its worst, and we know that their agenda 
is not the Nation's agenda.
  President Bush has an opportunity now to unite the country. In 
choosing the next nominee, he should listen to all Americans, not just 
the far right.
  If he does, we can have a smooth and dignified confirmation process 
and avoid the kind of harsh battle that the extremists on the right 
seem bent on provoking.
  President Bush should take whatever time is necessary to find a 
consensus nominee to fill Justice O'Connor's seat on the Court.
  Justice O'Connor is willing to serve the Court and the Nation for as 
long as it takes, so there is no need to rush to send a new nominee to 
the Senate. Hopefully, the next selection will share Justice O'Connor's 
values and her commitment to the Nation's progress in achieving equal 
rights for all.
  We are reminded that the nomination of Justice O'Connor was sent to 
the Senate by President Reagan and had a unanimous vote in the Senate. 
She has served with great distinction and eloquence and is a beloved 
figure in the United States.
  That kind of nomination brought the country together. It certainly is 
an opportunity now for the President to follow what President Ronald 
Reagan did in bringing the country together on a Supreme Court nominee. 
It seems to me that would best serve the country, best serve the 
Constitution, and best serve the Supreme Court.

                    Amendment No. 2283, as Modified

  Mr. President, I thank my friend from Iowa, Senator Harkin, for his 
extraordinary leadership on the issue of avian flu. I thank my other 
colleagues in the Senate--Senator Reid, Senator Barack Obama, Senator 
Durbin, and others--who have been important voices in helping us focus 
the attention of this body on the issue of avian flu.
  I also acknowledge the support that has been given to the Harkin 
proposal by the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee dealing 
with health, Senator Specter. I also acknowledge and commend the work 
of my colleagues and friends, the chairman of our Health, Education, 
Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Enzi, and Senator Burr, the 
chairman of the Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health 
Preparedness. He has spent a great portion of his time in the Senate, 
working on biodefense and related public health threats, and the

[[Page S11965]]

challenges in developing countermeasures, vaccines and antivirals to 
deal with new public health challenges.
  We are at a very important step. We are on an issue which is of such 
central importance to health care that we have seen the Senate come 
together. There are a lot of issues that are divisive, but it seems 
that we are making remarkable progress in this area.
  Our legislation is timely. I remind the Senate that this issue, 
pandemic flu, has been a concern of the world community for some time. 
This chart says, ``The U.S. Missed the Warning Signs of the Flu 
Pandemic.'' The Institute of Medicine warned us about this in 1992; 
then we had the General Accounting Office warning us in November of 
2000. This is what the General Accounting Office had stated:

       Influenza pandemic. Plan Needed for Federal and State 
     Response, November 2000.

  Despite these warnings, we still do not have a plan.
  The warnings continue: In the year 2001, we had the warning of the 
European Commission, and in 2002 the World Health Organization. And 
then we have had recent outbreaks take place in South Korea and 
  The current avian flu strain poses a deadly threat. If you have this 
virus, this chart displays the chances of survival. One can see from 
this chart that there is only a 50-percent chance of survival. Granted, 
there have only been several dozen cases in each of these countries, 
but nonetheless, this figure, of 50 percent, does show that we are in 
great danger if there is a pandemic.
  We have seen other countries move ahead: Japan released its pandemic 
plan in October 1997; Canada, February 2004; the Czech Republic, April 
2004; Hong Kong, February 2005; Britain, March 2005; and the United 
States, we're still waiting.
  What is important here is the fact that we are taking three major 
approaches to preparing for a pandemic.
  One, we are going to have an important commitment to stockpiling 
antivirals and vaccines. That is going to be enormously important, 
particularly given the fact that we have such an inadequate stockpile 
today. We've stockpiled antivirals for only 1 percent of the 
population. This is incredibly low in comparison to other countries. 
With this amendment, we will have the opportunity to stockpile what is 
  Secondly, we will be supporting efforts to detect the potential 
spread of the virus globally and in the United States, and we provide 
resources to contain it and improve our surge capacity, which is 
enormously important.
  I know there are some differences with our friends and colleagues on 
the other side about the public health aspects of this. And I know 
Senator Burr is strongly committed to doing a review of the entire 
public health system and making a series of recommendations--which I 
think are going to be enormously important, and I look forward to 
joining him--but this is a small downpayment to ensure we begin making 
progress in the area of pandemic preparedness and public health.
  A review of any other country's pandemic preparedness plan will show 
that it is not only the stockpiling of the vaccines and antivirals 
that's needed, but also the public health component. So this has that 
dimension, which is very important: improving the public health system, 
and stockpiling antivirals and vaccines.
  The third aspect, which will be included in the proposal by Senator 
Enzi and Senator Burr and others, will deal with the incentives that 
will be made available to industry to develop countermeasures and 
vaccines, and also, hopefully, some compensation, for example, for 
first responders who might take a particular vaccine or antiviral that 
might not have gone through the complete safety process at the FDA and 
still, as a first responder, be committed and dedicated to protecting 
the public. We want to make sure that if those individuals, who are 
committed to protecting the public, suffer from an adverse reaction to 
the vaccine or antiviral, they won't be left high and dry. They deserve 
protection for themselves and for their families.

  This is a complex issue, but I think the Senate has come together and 
will come together with the succeeding legislation in a very important 
  The final dimension is where the administration, HHS, will be in 
terms of their plan. We eagerly await its release. We understand it 
will be forthcoming in a very short period of time, but we don't have 
it yet.
  We have seen examples of national pandemic plans, for example, the 
Canadian plan which was issued in 2004, that talks about what does this 
plan address? Who is responsible for pandemic planning? It goes into 
the roles and responsibilities of all of the different governmental 
  Why is this an important health issue? It goes into great detail 
about what is going to be communicated to the public, the legal 
considerations, the ethical considerations, and then it goes into what 
preparations are being made. It addresses specific components of the 
preparation: surveillance, vaccine, antivirals, health service, 
emergency planning, emergency service, public health interests, 
communications, and then what needs to happen to ensure a comprehensive 
response. It goes into a whole series of recommendations and details 
what will be involved in the recovery.
  This plan is very thorough. I think the American people are entitled 
to that kind of plan in order to protect their health and safety.
  I thank Senator Harkin, Senator Specter, my friend and colleague 
Senator Enzi, Senator Burr, and others who have been involved. I think 
this is going to be an enormously important and historic action by the 
Senate when it is completed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Graham). The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I express my appreciation for the comments 
of Senator Kennedy, Senator Harkin, and others on the floor, discussing 
the importance of this biodefense legislation in the overall response 
to bird flu and other potential infectious diseases.
  I express special thanks to Senator Burr and Senator Kennedy for 
their help on the subcommittee that has been in charge of this, for the 
extensive hearings they have had, which have included a number of 
meetings many of us attended with experts from around the world who 
deal with these problems, and for coming up with a comprehensive 
solution that will address whatever happens to come up, whether it is 
avian flu, SARS, or some other pandemic we have not envisioned yet.
  We have a bill that was reported out of the committee a little over a 
week ago that deals with that comprehensive response. I am hoping 
everybody will take a look at the work we did on that. Again, I want to 
express my thanks to Senator Burr for his work and the leadership he 
has provided.
  One of the key principles of that legislation is that our response 
activities must be more broadly focused, not focused solely on the 
latest, newly emerging disease. So that, even if bird flu never becomes 
a pandemic, we will be prepared for the next infectious disease, as I 
mentioned, perhaps even a new SARS outbreak. The money spent will not 
be wasted because the process that will be set up will be able to 
handle a wide range of things.
  Given that, I believe the additional funding for a potential flu 
pandemic should be focused on broader response activities. In examining 
the initial amendment proposed by Senator Harkin, and as Senator 
Kennedy discussed on the floor yesterday, the overall funding was 
intended for stockpiling antivirals, strengthening public health 
responses, increasing global health surveillance, dramatically 
increasing the vaccine infrastructure, improving hospital preparedness, 
including surge capacity and health information technology systems, and 
other key elements.
  These elements are broader than bird flu. If targeted appropriately 
and implemented properly, it will mean that we Americans will be better 
prepared for whatever new infectious disease comes our way, not just 
bird flu. That is why I have worked with Senator Harkin to come up with 
an amendment that clarifies we are going for the broader picture that 
all of us worked on in committee.
  I was pleased with the unanimous response we had for getting it out 
of committee. So rather than the funding provided in the Labor, HHS 
bill being for a very limited thing, we want to focus on the broader 
context we have all worked on and agreed on, for the most part. We will 
be bringing a bill to the floor, I hope, to cover this in great

[[Page S11966]]

detail and then a second bill that will deal with public health.
  I appreciate the work Senator Harkin has done on this and the way he 
has brought it to the attention of the American public. I appreciate 
the work of Senator Burr on this to have a bill that actually does this 
comprehensively. I also appreciate the way people are working together 
to come up with a safe, secure United States.
  I particularly thank the Senator from Texas for her indulgence, and I 
yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I do thank the Senator from Wyoming 
for the great leadership he is providing for our Nation to start 
preparing us for the different types of flu viruses that might come our 
way. I know he has worked very hard on this in his chairmanship of the 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. I certainly was 
pleased to hear his comments on this very important issue. It is one 
that is important for all of us to assure that our country is ready if 
we have the kind of pandemic that could happen. It reminds me of Y2K 
when many were concerned that computers would crash all over America 
when we turned into the next century, and because we were prepared, 
there was no crisis. That is what I hope is the result of our 
addressing the potential flu strains that may be making their way 
across the world and could affect Americans in the future.

                             Harriet Miers

  Mr. President, I particularly will talk today about my friend Harriet 
Miers. All of us were stunned this morning--I certainly was--when I 
heard she had submitted her resignation as a nominee to the Supreme 
Court because I have total confidence in her. I have total confidence 
she would have been a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States. I have that confidence because I know her.
  Many people were making judgments before they knew her. They were not 
giving her the benefit of the opportunity to come into an open forum 
and talk about her views.
  She wrote today to the President: As you know, Members of the Senate 
have indicated their intention to seek documents about my service in 
the White House in order to judge whether to support me. I have been 
informed repeatedly that in lieu of records I would be expected to 
testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my 
experience and judicial philosophy. While I believe that my lengthy 
career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, 
I am convinced the efforts to obtain executive branch materials and 
information will continue.
  This is a letter that was written by a woman who cares more about our 
country, more about our President and his role and the respect for his 
role under the separation of powers in the Constitution, than she cares 
about a wonderful cap for a wonderful career, and that is her career. I 
admire her even more, if that is possible, for the decision she has 
made. I have to say I am disappointed in that decision because I know 
she would have been a superb Justice. She would have been a strict 
constructionist. She would have been a judge who knew the place of a 
judge, not to make law, which is a requirement and responsibility for 
those elected for that purpose. She would have been a Justice who 
looked at and interpreted the law.
  I will tell my colleagues what else Harriet Miers would have done 
that I think is very important. She would have known what it was she 
could do on the Supreme Court to give guidance to legislatures, to 
Members of Congress, to clients who are being represented by lawyers 
throughout the country, about how the law should be interpreted. She 
would have given the guidance to legislatures about what the 
constitutional requirement would be.
  When one is giving tests for discrimination, for instance, the 
Supreme Court has said there are varying tests for discrimination. 
There are rigid tests in some circumstances, there are more moderate 
tests in other circumstances. I would like to have had someone on the 
Court with real-world experience to more clearly define those tests so 
that Congress, so that legislatures, would know when they pass a law 
more how the Court would interpret that law in light of a more clear 
path to the right result.
  I would have liked someone who has had the experience of living in a 
part of the country that is different from other members of the Court. 
I think we need diversity of geography. I think there are different 
issues in eminent domain, in business and commerce, in regard for 
private property rights, in States that have a lot of Federal lands 
versus States that do not have a lot of Federal lands. There are 
different approaches to these issues by people who live in different 
parts of the country and I think that kind of diversity is important.
  This is a woman who has been a leader in the legal field. She worked 
her way through SMU Law School. She was also case notes editor of the 
Southwestern Law Journal, which is now the SMU Law Review. She became 
one of the first women to be hired by a major Dallas law firm as an 
associate. She then rose to lead that law firm, to be the managing 
partner, the first woman to do so in the State of Texas. She worked in 
the leadership of the bar association, which is the legal organization 
that sets the standards of ethics, propriety, and practice for our 
lawyers in this country. She rose to be the first woman president of 
the Dallas Bar Association and later the first woman president of the 
State Bar Association.
  I graduated from law school about the same time she did. I graduated 
from the University of Texas. She graduated from SMU. I know how hard 
it was to get a job. I know the obstacles she faced. I know she did not 
have the door opened for her with her outstanding record at SMU that 
many of our male colleagues in law school had. Yet, she attacked those 
barriers with a positive attitude and spirit. She knew if she proved 
herself, she would be rewarded as anyone else. She never gave up.
  She caught the eye of a Governor of Texas, and she had been a 
Democrat. I think everyone knows she was a Democrat in the early years. 
Most people in Texas were. In 1989, she made a decision that she wanted 
to support a Republican, George W. Bush. That changed her views in many 
things. I think some of the things that were being brought up from 
before she changed her views and her support have been used to indicate 
she is not firm in her views. Well, I think she is firm in her views. I 
think she is firmly a strict constructionist, a person who has proven 
herself intellectually in business, in experience, and in leadership. 
She would have been a terrific Justice. I do not think she was given 
her due.

  I am disappointed, but I do not question her decision because I know 
she made the decision on the right points and for the right reasons. 
She wanted to protect the Presidency from invasion of the rights of the 
  Can you imagine if a President had to stop and think--before asking 
advice from his legal counsel or his top staff as he is trying to make 
an important decision for our country: If I ask this question in 
writing, is that going to be recoverable in the public arena? Do I then 
have to temper what I say?
  A President cannot talk to each of his staff members all day. He has 
many other responsibilities, so he has to communicate in writing. I 
think he should be able to communicate with his key staff people as he 
is in the decision making process, and I think he should not have to 
worry that it is going to, all of a sudden, be misconstrued in the 
public arena when it was part of his decision making process.
  That is what Harriet Miers is also trying to protect. She is giving 
up probably something she never dreamed she would be, because it is the 
pinnacle of a legal career to be a Justice on the Supreme Court. She is 
giving that up because she believes that right of the President would 
either be invaded or it would be made a cause celebre, and that would 
not be healthy for our country or for the President. So she gave up 
what could have been a dream of hers, to do what is right for our 
  I want to reaffirm my view that she would have been an excellent 
Supreme Court Justice, that she had the right background and 
experience, that she would have brought a viewpoint that is a very 
important viewpoint to the Court. You know, if we didn't want diversity 
of experience in making these

[[Page S11967]]

important decisions, we would have one Justice of the Supreme Court; we 
wouldn't have to have nine. Our Founding Fathers decided to have nine. 
I think they were right, as they are in so many parts of the 
Constitution that they thought would be important for the Constitution 
to last over 200 years. I think diversity of experience and background 
is very helpful for a Court of nine Justices.
  I am disappointed today, but I am very supportive of her decision 
because it was her decision and because she made it for the right 
reasons. I wish her well and I am very pleased she is going to stay as 
White House Counsel, one of the most important jobs in the White House. 
She will continue serving our country. When I talked to her this 
morning she was upbeat, she was positive, she was strong, and I know 
she will be a great contributor to the United States of America and to 
the President she serves. I commend her today, with all that she has 
gone through, for the grace with which she has gone through it.
  I yield the floor.
  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. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SPECTER. I understand there are other speakers who wish to be 
heard on the pandemic amendment. I urge them to come to the floor now. 
We still have quite a list of amendments to deal with. It is Thursday 
afternoon. I know that is a signal of Members' special interest.
  To those who have amendments they want to have heard and disposed of 
before we go to third reading and final passage, I urge them to come to 
the floor at this time.
  In the absence of any Senator seeking recognition, 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. GREGG. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I rise to address the issue which is being 
debated here relative to the amendment by Senator Harkin regarding the 
avian flu and how we are going to address this very serious potential 
pandemic. We all recognize this is a threat of dramatic proportions, 
not only to our society but to the world generally. As a Congress, we 
have tried to begin to address this matter relative to other issues 
that could have an equal impact, involving biologics that could be used 
against our society in a terrorist attack.
  Three years ago I authored a bill called the BioShield bill. Along 
with a number of Members of this Senate, including Senator Kennedy, who 
was the ranking member of the committee I chaired at that time, the 
HELP Committee, we put together a package which basically created a 
structure which we hoped would lead to development of vaccines to 
address the threat which was posed by the use of biological weapons 
against our country, specifically things such as smallpox, anthrax, 
botulism, and plague.
  That proposal, the BioShield bill, was funded at $5.6 billion, which 
is a lot of money. The reason we put that much money in the pipeline 
was because we wanted to create an incentive for the pharmaceutical 
industry and for startup biological companies to begin to develop 
  Our country, regrettably, has seen basically a devastation of the 
vaccine industry. We used to have 30 to 40 companies that were involved 
in the production of vaccines. Regrettably, that number is down to 
three or four. The reason we have seen this dramatic reduction in 
companies that are willing to invest in research and then develop 
vaccines is pretty simple. The return on investing in a vaccine is 
significantly less than the cost of investing in that vaccine as looked 
at through the eyes of a pharmaceutical company or those of a 
biological company, because of the threat of lawsuit.
  The fact is, the potential liabilities created by doing a vaccine are 
so huge that no amount of projected return on investment, from an 
investment standpoint, ever justifies creating a vaccine. So the 
vaccine companies have essentially contracted in this country and the 
assets which were being used to develop vaccines historically are now 
being used to develop other types of pharmaceuticals.
  The second reason there has been a contraction, at least in these 
areas, is there is no use for these vaccines unless an event occurs 
because there is no smallpox in this world right now, thank goodness, 
and vaccines against smallpox would not be necessary unless there were 
a smallpox outbreak. And there could not be a smallpox outbreak unless 
there were a terrorist event that uses smallpox as a weapon. It is a 
fact that you cannot have a smallpox outbreak in this world today 
unless there were an intentional decision to spread the smallpox by 
somebody who had a terrorist intent. So for a company to go in and 
develop a vaccine for that means they would be developing a vaccine 
which has no market.
  The BioShield theory was: Put a lot of money in the pipeline to 
create an economic incentive for companies and researchers and 
biological groups to pursue creation of vaccines only in those areas 
where there is no vaccine today or there is limited vaccine 
availability today and where the threat is not a common threat that 
would be spread in a way other than through terrorism.
  We listed the top six threats, No. 1 being smallpox, No. 2 anthrax, 
followed by things such as botulism and plague spread by a terrorist 
event, and said we would use this $5.6 billion to try to develop these 
  We thought we had therefore moved the issue along and started to 
resolve the issue. It turns out we did not. It turns out the BioShield 
bill, even though it had $5.6 billion behind it, has not energized the 
market or research atmosphere we hoped for. It turns out that only $1 
billion has been spent on purchasing smallpox capability, the known 
manufacturing process for which had already existed. So we have learned 
a fairly significant lesson here which needs to be applied to the avian 
flu issue, and that is why it is important. The lesson is this: Even 
though you put a lot of money in the pipeline, you are not going to 
resolve the problem--the problem being resolved, of course, by having 
scientists being willing to develop ways to address these types of 
disease threats--unless you also put in place the mechanisms to create 
the atmosphere for the production of the vaccine.
  So last week or 2 weeks ago the HELP Committee passed a creative and 
strong bill, which was authored primarily by the Senator from North 
Carolina, Mr. Burr, which attempted to address the entire issue in a 
packaged way of how you energize the American creative spirit to 
produce responses and vaccines which will protect us from not only 
terrorist threats but things such as avian flu.
  One of the key elements of that is money. But another key element of 
that is the liability protection. So I came to the floor today to make 
it clear that even though it is correct that we need to put a 
significant amount of money in place, and put it in place soon--the 
amendment offered by the Senator from Iowa relative to the Defense 
bill, I think is the right approach. This amendment as an emergency 
supplemental, if it is put in place with the defense money being 
considered and in the context of what the administration is going to 
send up here as a proposal, probably within the next week, also may 
well be the right course. But all this money that is going to be put on 
the table is not going to solve the problem unless we are also 
sensitive to the fact that there are other forces out there that are 
limiting the willingness of the research community and the vaccine 
development community to pursue solutions. We have to take all those 
hurdles out of the way, not just one of them out of the way.
  It is critical that we do a comprehensive approach to this. I 
understand within a week or so the White House is going to send us a 
comprehensive approach. It is critical that we get that type of 
leadership on this. But we, as a

[[Page S11968]]

Senate, at least, have already proposed a comprehensive approach 
through the proposal of Senator Burr, and we should make sure any 
movement in this area be tied to the proposal of Senator Burr and the 
HELP Committee, which was reported out, and the much more comprehensive 
amendment of Senator Enzi.
  This is a much more complex problem than putting money into it. We 
already know from our personal experience through the BioShield that 
putting money into it is not going to get the type of response we need. 
It has to be more than dollars; it has to be policy.
  Some of the specific things we need to do, beyond reforming the 
liability structure so we have people willing to participate in the 
vaccines, is to purchase a vaccine where it is available. Some 
obviously are available now, but the vaccine for avian flu is limited. 
Tamiflu has some serious limitations in its applicability, although 
there are other things in development which may work a lot better.
  We also have to have research capacity to handle an event like this 
in basic things such as surgical masks and hypodermic needles and bed 
  All this has to be put together in a comprehensive structure, and 
there has to be a clearer form of how we would execute were we to be 
hit with a pandemic, with the responsibility being allocated and people 
knowing who they would be reporting to and how we would get action 
  There are a lot of things in play here to effectively address the 
avian flu issue, much of which is being addressed as a Congress, but 
much of which has to be addressed also by the administration and which 
we expect to see in the next few weeks from the administration--and 
dollars are only part of it.
  I wanted to put that caveat on the table. If we were to simply vote 
for the proposal from Senator Harkin and say we have done our job, we 
need to pass the Burr language. And we need to make sure the 
administration is aggressively pursuing a comprehensive and orderly 
approach to how they will deal with it, should an outbreak occur. I 
know they are. Every State is. My own State has already set up a very 
sophisticated approach of how they are going to deal with the necessity 
of potentially isolating people, and with the potential of having to 
ration the vaccine. These are going to be very difficult questions of 
how you deal with bed capacity and things such as that. There is a lot 
more to do. I wanted to discuss this in the context of the BioShield 
bill and what we need to do. This is more than a dollars issue.
  I yield the floor and 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. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, this is a quote:

       A flu pandemic is the most dangerous threat the United 
     States of America faces. It's a bigger threat than terrorism. 
     In fact, it's bigger than anything I dealt with when I was in 

  This is not a quote from me or from the Presiding Officer. These are 
the words of Richard Falkenrath, who until very recently served as 
President Bush's Deputy Homeland Security Adviser. He is not alone in 
this assessment. Administration officials and public health experts 
have warned the next flu pandemic is not a question of if but a matter 
of when. If we don't take action now, the consequences of a global flu 
pandemic could be devastating. And perhaps that is even an 
  A respected U.S. health expert has concluded that 1.7 million 
Americans could die in the first year alone of an outbreak. Remember, 
in 1918, the last flu pandemic, as many as 60 million people died in 
the world. The world's population was one-third of what it is now.
  In addition to the 1.7 million Americans who could die during the 
first year, according to health experts, the economic costs would be 
  Every week, the possibility of this threat grows closer. It is now in 
Croatia. Anyone who watches the news knows that the bird flu is 
sweeping much of the globe.
  When we started debating a possible flu pandemic here in the Senate, 
the bird flu was contained in parts of Asia. Now it has moved into 
Turkey, and even as far west as Great Britain. Anyone who watches the 
news knows scientists recently determined that the last flu pandemic 
outbreak in 1918 started in birds, and it made its way into humans.
  It has not been shown without any fault, any degree of being wrong, 
because it could be wrong--because the birds are dying from avian flu 
doesn't mean it will get to us, but it did in 1918. Will the virus jump 
to humans? That is the question. Shouldn't we be prepared if in fact 
that is the case?
  I read one news account of a friend in Congress who said we don't 
want to spend a lot of money for something that might not happen. We 
have to be prepared. We have to be prepared. We should do everything we 
can to make sure Americans are prepared and protected--and we are not 
  Despite repeated promises, this administration has yet to release the 
President's Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan. We have 
written letters; no response. I don't know why.
  The World Health Organization deems such a plan essential to proper 
readiness. A draft of this plan was ready months ago, but no final plan 
has been released. At least we were told it wasn't.
  As a result, preparations for a pandemic have been needlessly delayed 
and the Federal Government is ill prepared to handle such a pandemic. 
We don't have the capacity to rapidly manufacture vaccines in mass 
quantities. We lack an adequate stockpile in antiviral medications, and 
our health care infrastructure is woefully unprepared.
  We are already behind nations such as Canada, Britain, and Australia, 
and we are falling further behind these nations each day we fail to 
act. Some nations finalized their avian flu plans months ago. They are 
implementing the protections, and we are still waiting for this 
administration to give us something as basic as a plan. America can do 
better. In fact, America must do better.

  Senate Democrats have provided leadership on this issue. We have 
added much needed resources for pandemic preparedness in the Senate 
appropriations bill we passed nearly a month ago. We have offered 
legislation, the Pandemic Preparedness and Response Act. That would 
build on our commitment to preparing our Nation for the possibility of 
a pandemic. Unfortunately, the funding remains tied up in a conference 
with the House and the Senate, and we haven't acted on this 
comprehensive legislation.
  The recent spread of bird flu to Europe proves we can't afford to 
drag our feet. The Senate must act immediately so we can limit the 
human and economic costs of a potential avian flu pandemic. That is why 
I am cosponsoring Senator Harkin's amendment to provide $7.9 billion 
for a comprehensive national effort to prepare for an avian flu 
pandemic. The amendment will allow us to take the following steps to 
prepare our Nation for a potential pandemic:
  No. 1, quadruple our funding for global surveillance relating to 
avian flu so we may rapidly detect the emergence of a new strain of 
flu; dedicate more than $3 billion to vaccine research and improving 
our domestic infrastructure.
  We are woefully unprepared to do this.
  We must increase our hospital surge capacity and funding for State 
and local health agencies so the American people can be assured there 
will be an adequate supply of health care providers and institutions to 
care for them in the event of a pandemic.
  The legislation calls for conducting an outreach program to health 
care providers and to the American public.
  With this legislation, we must stockpile effective antivirals 
adequate to treat at least 50 percent of the population and other 
medical supplies.
  Finally, it calls for improving research and lab capacity related to 
an avian flu pandemic. This, to me, is the most important.
  I congratulate the ranking member of this subcommittee, Senator 
Harkin of Iowa, for this legislation. It is badly needed. I hope there 
will be a bipartisan vote to support this amendment.

[[Page S11969]]

  I understand there are efforts being made to weaken this so-called 
second-degree amendment to give the President the authority to do all 
of this, and he would be obligated to do it only if he saw it was 
necessary. We are looking at that second-degree amendment now to see if 
there is any way we can work with the majority, who are offering this 
  The avian flu pandemic may be inevitable, but the devastating 
consequences are not. We need to heed warnings and take action now. I 
hope my colleagues will join in supporting us by making the investments 
necessary to make sure this Nation does everything possible to protect 
Americans from the threat of the global flu pandemic.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Burr). Without objection, it is so 

                             Harriet Miers

  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I respect Ms. Harriet Miers' decision to 
withdraw from consideration for the Supreme Court. At the same time, I 
do regret our constitutional process was not complete. Instead of a 
hearing before the Judiciary Committee and a debate on the Senate 
floor, Ms. Miers' qualifications were subject to a one-sided debate in 
news releases, press conferences, radio and TV talk shows, and the 
editorial pages.
  I acknowledge the rights of everyone to express themselves as they 
see fit, but that should not have precluded Ms. Miers from getting 
basic due process. There was a decisive imbalance in the public forum, 
with the case for Ms. Miers not heard because of the heavy decibel 
level against her.
  I have repeatedly noted her excellent work in handling complex civil 
cases. Had the constitutional process been followed with a hearing, she 
would have had an opportunity to establish that her intellect and 
capabilities demonstrated in her 35-year professional career could be 
carried over in the field of constitutional law and the work of the 
Court. Whether she would have been confirmed remains an open question, 
but at least she would have had the major voice in determining her own 
  Ms. Miers did deliver late yesterday evening, on time, her responses 
to the committee request for supplemental information on her 
questionnaire. Eight large boxes are in the committee's possession, but 
now there is no reason to read or analyze those responses.
  The Judiciary Committee carefully did not intrude on the President's 
executive privilege. The committee studiously avoided asking what 
advice Ms. Miers gave to the President, and that limitation would have 
been continued in any hearing, with an adequate range of questions 
available to enable the committee to decide on her qualifications for 
the Court.
  We must guard against having the Miers proceedings become a precedent 
for the future.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of an op-ed piece which I had 
submitted to the Washington Post yesterday and the Washington Post 
agreed to publish be printed in the Record at the conclusion of these 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. SPECTER. I thank the Chair.
  I note Senator Byrd is here.

                               Exhibit 1 

         Washington Post-Accepted Op-Ed Referenced on the Floor

       Just over three weeks ago, President Bush nominated White 
     House Counsel Harriet Miers to fill retiring Justice Sandra 
     Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. Since then, 
     political pundits and outside groups have loudly expressed 
     their opinions, one way or the other, on the nomination. 
     There has been a great eagerness in some quarters, outside 
     the Senate, to prejudge the nomination.
       Fortunately, the Constitution does not leave the 
     disposition of Presidential nominations to pundits or outside 
     groups. The question whether to confirm a President's nominee 
     is left to the careful consideration of the Senate, where we 
     have an established process for examining a nominee's fitness 
     for the bench. That process will begin on November 7, when 
     the Judiciary Committee begins its hearings on Ms. Miers.
       Confirmation hearings offer a nominee the opportunity to 
     introduce herself to the Senate and the American people. The 
     hearings allow Committee members to ask questions of the 
     nominee, to develop a record, and to present an informed 
     recommendation to the full Senate. In order to receive a 
     favorable vote in the Committee, Ms. Miers will have to 
     demonstrate her qualifications to serve on the bench. A 
     crucial qualification to serve on the Supreme Court is the 
     aptitude to decide difficult legal issues, including 
     important Constitutional questions, and to explain those 
     decisions in opinions.
       It is true that Ms. Miers has not had deep experience in 
     Constitutional law, but that is far from a disqualification 
     for the bench. Few lawyers, aside from sitting federal judges 
     or a few Constitutional law practitioners, have such 
       Thus, while Ms. Miers needs a crash course in 
     constitutional law to prepare for the hearings, the same 
     could be said for virtually any nominee to come before the 
     Senate Judiciary as a Supreme Court nominee. In the past 
     century, we have had many justices without constitutional law 
     experience, who never the less brought the legal acumen and 
     intellectual abilities to tackle the vital and challenging 
     work of the Supreme Court. These include, for example, Sandra 
     Day O'Connor, who had never served on a federal court or 
     practiced Constitutional law. Similarly, Justice Hugo Black, 
     before his election to the Senate, specialized in labor and 
     personal injury law. Yet, he is regarded as one of the 
     greatest justices of the 20th century.
       Moreover, the Supreme Court's docket is not limited 
     exclusively to Constitutional law issues. Roughly 40% of the 
     Court's docket tends to involve constitutional issues. 
     Business and commercial law issues, with which Ms. Miers is 
     well acquainted, make up another 20% of the Court's docket.
       As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I have known and 
     worked with Ms. Miers closely. As White House Counsel, she 
     plays an important role in advising the President on 
     complicated legal and policy issues.
       Consequently, I work with Ms. Miers on nearly all the 
     matters that come through our committee, from nominations to 
     legislation, from the USA PATRIOT Act to asbestos liability 
       Based on my personal experience, there is much to recommend 
       She is, as all acknowledge, a good and decent woman with 
     whom it is a pleasure to work. She has a logical, 
     disciplined, and sharp mind. She will bring to the bench, if 
     confirmed, the knowledge of a practicing trial attorney--a 
     perspective sorely lacking among the current Justices. As the 
     President has observed, Ms. Miers had a wealth of practical 
     experience as a lawyer in private practice. I have reviewed 
     her record and found that she has handled a wide range of 
     complex cases.
       She is also a woman who fought up through the ranks. She 
     went to law school at a time when women were discouraged from 
     joining the field, yet she rose to manage a 450-person firm 
     and became head of the Texas Bar Association. Ms. Miers comes 
     to the Committee with many strengths and an accomplished 
       This is not to say that it is all easy sailing for Ms. 
     Miers. I have not made up my mind. Nor have most of my 
     colleagues. Like every Supreme Court nominee in recent times, 
     Ms. Miers still has the burden of demonstrating the depth of 
     her substantive knowledge on constitutional issues, issues 
     such as the intersection of the First Amendment's guarantees 
     of free speech and freedom of religion, the scope of 
     Congress's powers to legislate under the Commerce Clause and 
     Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the scope of executive 
     power, and the criminal defendant's protections found in the 
     Bill of Rights.
       Like every Supreme Court nominee in recent times, Ms. Miers 
     bears burden of proving she has the aptitude to address the 
     complex issues that will come before the Court. She deserves, 
     and she will receive, a full and fair hearing at which she 
     will have the opportunity to demonstrate her fitness for the 
       Until then, I hope that the American people and my 
     colleagues will keep an open mind. 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.

                          Sense of Foreboding

  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, the American people enter this fall season 
with apprehension, trepidation, and a somber sense of foreboding. 
Gasoline prices, which peaked above $3 per gallon in September, now 
seem stuck at levels once thought absurd. Gas prices in West Virginia 
hover around $2.57 per gallon and can vary significantly in some areas, 
rising precipitously at times.
  Heating costs are projected to soar this winter, with many households 
expected to pay an additional $350 to heat their homes with natural gas 
and heating oil. It makes one shiver, thinking of winter in those 
mountains of Appalachia.
  People are already struggling with inadequate wages, are being forced 
to curtail everyday expenses simply to buy gasoline, to fill up their 
tanks. Senior citizens on fixed incomes are already forced to choose 
between prescription drugs and food. That is a tough choice. They must 
now confront life-threatening heating costs. This winter is coming. I 
can feel it in the air.

[[Page S11970]]

  This winter, with energy costs rising, the Federal safety net will be 
needed to provide essential support for countless Americans. Many are 
watching with incredulity the fraying of that safety net.
  On the farms and in the cities, in rural and urban neighborhoods, 
Americans have been shaken by the Government's inability to respond 
effectively to Hurricane Katrina while the Government focused on tax 
cuts for the wealthy and massive spending requests to rebuild Iraq--
what a shame; we should never have gone there, no; it was no threat to 
our national security, and I said so at the time--massive spending 
requests to rebuild Iraq. Our Nation's infrastructure was weakening 
from neglect at home while all this was happening. Katrina highlighted 
that erosion, focused our attention on that erosion and the high cost 
of forgoing critical infrastructure repairs.
  Just a few days ago, that erosion was further highlighted as 
Americans watched the wooden 173-year-old Whittenton Dam threaten to 
give way in Taunton, MA, forcing the evacuation of yet another American 
  This winter, the country must confront the threat of an avian flu 
pandemic as public health officials warn that our Nation's health 
infrastructure remains woefully inadequate. Remember the influenza? 
Remember the flu of 1917 and 1918? I don't remember it exactly, but I 
had it. My mother died in that pandemic. I was less than a year old. 
She said to my father: Give ``the baby'' to the Byrds. One of my 
father's sisters had married a Byrd, Titus Dalton Byrd. They did not 
have any children. They had a child prior to my birth, but their child 
had died--his name was Robert Madison--so they had no children left. My 
mother's wish that my father give me, the ``baby,'' to Mr. and Mrs. 
Titus Dalton Byrd, the ``Mrs.'' being my father's sister. Yes, that is 
why I am here today. It was their wish that my father give me, the 
baby--there were three older brothers and a sister--give them all to 
somebody, but give the baby to the Byrds. They took me in, changed my 
name, and brought me to West Virginia, away from North Carolina. And 
here I am.

  Earlier this week, Hurricane Wilma pummeled southern Florida, causing 
heavy flooding and power outages. The cleanup costs could be enormous.
  Rather than addressing these weaknesses and providing the American 
people with some reassurance, the Congress incredibly and inconceivably 
is looking for ways to further siphon funds away from our safety net 
and domestic investments. It is as if we have learned nothing--
absolutely nothing--from Hurricane Katrina.
  A hope and belief seem to exist, and fingers are crossed all across 
this town, that no one will connect how the budget cuts being 
considered will affect those hurting from high energy prices.
  Eight Senate committees--eight Senate committees--have drafted 
reconciliation legislation to cut domestic investments in order to 
prefund $70 billion in additional tax cuts, many of which will not take 
effect for several years. They are backloaded. Now, get that: tax cuts. 
Oh, it is so easy. Ah, how I love to vote for tax cuts. That is easy. 
It does not take any courage to do that. Tax cuts. I have been in 
politics now 60 years next year, in various and sundry legislative 
branches, and the easiest vote I ever cast was for tax cuts.
  Some of these spending cuts are coming from the very same programs 
that are providing essential disaster relief to the victims of 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, such as those used to provide temporary 
health services. They comprise much of the safety net for our Nation's 
most vulnerable, as well as for Americans afflicted by disaster.
  The reconciliation process has been touted as a means to contain the 
budgetary costs of Katrina, but that is a specious, spurious argument. 
The reconciliation process would worsen--worsen now; not improve--our 
fiscal position. With $70 billion in new tax cuts and an estimated $39 
billion in spending cuts, the result is a deficit that increases by $31 
billion--$31 for every minute since Jesus Christ was born; $31 for 
every minute--oh, the clock is ticking; that clock is ticking--$31 for 
every minute since Our Lord Jesus Christ was born. Under the process 
being considered, Katrina costs would continue to mount, without 
offsets, while the safety net is further worn away.
  The argument for reconciliation makes even less sense when you 
consider that Katrina costs are one-time, unforeseen emergency 
expenditures. Meanwhile, no action, none, no action has been taken to 
pay for trillions of dollars--trillions. How long would it take to 
count a trillion dollars at the rate of $1 per second? How long would 
it take to count a trillion dollars at the rate of $1 per second? Man, 
can you imagine that? How long would it take? Thirty-two thousand 
years? These young pages who have quick minds can figure that out. 
Thirty-two thousand, I am not sure about that figure. If it is not 
32,000, it is 34,000 or 36,000. Thirty-two thousand years--I will stick 
with that figure for now--at a minimum, at the rate of a dollar per 
second. Can you believe it?
  There are trillions of dollars of tax cuts. No action has been taken 
to pay for those trillions of dollars of tax cuts or the hundreds of 
billions of dollars of costs for Iraq--a war that we should have never 
been in. We should never have gone. And they are still struggling to 
find a reason why we went. Too late now. I said then I don't believe 
there are weapons of mass destruction. I think there have been in some 
years gone by but not now. And have they been found? No. And I and 22 
others--yes, 22 others; one Republican among the 23; one Senator who is 
now dead and gone; he died in a plane crash--23 souls, including my 
own, said: No. No, we won't go. We are not going to vote to give this 
power to declare war to this President or any President. We are not 
going to do it. Twenty-three of us. But there we are. We are there.
  So with the hundreds of billions of dollars of costs for Iraq, no 
action has been taken to pay for that, even though these costs are as 
plain and obvious as any in the Federal budget. I simply cannot fathom 
why the administration believes that reconstructing Baghdad does not 
have to be paid for, while reconstructing Mississippi and Louisiana and 
Alabama requires offsets.
  Can you imagine that? Reconstructing Baghdad does not have to be paid 
for, while reconstructing Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama 
requires offsets. It does not make sense. It does not make good sense. 
It does not make common sense.
  Nor has any action been taken to find savings elsewhere in the 
bloated--bloated--Federal budget. The Defense Department's budget 
comprises one-sixth of the Federal budget and surpasses the total 
discretionary budgets of every other agency and office of the Federal 
Government combined. The Pentagon is not even able to pass a standard 
audit. How about that. The Pentagon is not even able to pass a standard 
audit, and it has not been able to for some years. I will say that 
again. The Pentagon is not even able to pass a standard audit or to 
conduct effective oversight of military expenditures in Iraq. May God 
help us.

  Government auditors have found substantial sums of defense contractor 
waste and fraud. Astonishingly, the Department of Defense pulled its 
inspector general out of Iraq last fall. Yet the Defense Department has 
not been asked to examine its $450 billion annual budget.
  All of the savings, all of the deficit reduction is supposed to come 
from the safety net for working families--people who work with their 
hands or at their desks--and from essential domestic investments that 
have been dangerously--dangerously, dangerously--foolishly neglected 
for too long. The sacrifice, too often, is being asked of working 
families, while others remain blissfully exempt.
  The budget reconciliation process at this point in the year and under 
these circumstances is ill-conceived. We are missing an opportunity to 
ferret out real waste in the Federal budget and to reform programs that 
could yield real budgetary savings. And worse, we are opening the door 
to a dangerous process.
  Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee--I believe it was 
yesterday--included in its reconciliation package language that would 
repeal the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act. This is a 
critically important law. It allows Customs to distribute to American 
companies and

[[Page S11971]]

their workers the duties that it collects on unfairly traded, meaning 
``dumped,'' imports. Yes. I am the daddy of that. Yes. I am the daddy 
of that child. It is called the Byrd Rule. There are several things 
that are called the Byrd Rule, but that is the one we are talking 
  It allows Customs to distribute to American companies and their 
workers the duties that it collects on unfairly traded, meaning 
``dumped,'' imports. The funds go only to those--now listen; the 
funds--I say the fines for these violations go only to those who have 
been injured by foreign producers who violate our trade laws.
  The funds go to crawfish producers in Louisiana. Hear me now. They go 
to shrimp producers throughout the Gulf States. Hear me. They go to our 
lumber industry. That is a big industry. They go to raspberry growers. 
They go to honey producers and beekeepers. They go to garlic growers in 
California, to makers of pasta, to makers of steel, to makers of steel 
bearings and other products manufactured all across our Nation.
  Companies in nearly every State of the Union receive funds under this 
law, and the funds are essential. They enable our industries to invest 
in their facilities and in their workers, to upgrade their equipment 
and technology. What could be wrong with that? That is a good law. The 
World Trade Organization doesn't like this law, but the WTO is wrong. 
The WTO doesn't like this law, but the WTO is wrong, wrong, wrong, I 
say to the four corners, the four winds of the Earth--wrong. The WTO 
ruling in this case was created out of whole cloth. Nothing in the WTO 
agreements prohibits us from reimbursing U.S. industry with duties 
collected--how and from what--on unfairly traded imports. If the 
trading partners didn't violate the law, they wouldn't have to pay 
these fines. They violate the law, yes.

  The administration was directed by Congress in both the fiscal year 
2004 and 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Acts to negotiate a solution to 
this WTO dispute in ongoing trade talks. The Appropriations Acts 
explicitly--plainly, clearly--state that U.S. negotiations shall be 
conducted within the World Trade Organization to recognize the right of 
WTO members to distribute moneys collected from antidumping and 
countervailing duties as they deem appropriate. The WTO cannot infringe 
on the sovereign right of the Congress to legislate. They can't do 
that. The United States needs to keep this important trade law on the 
books. Keep it on the books.
  I have talked to the President. I have talked with the administration 
about that. I have talked with our Trade Representative. Keep it on the 
books. They first said they would fight for it. After Katrina, we send 
a terrible message by continuing with this flawed reconciliation 
process. You watch how it works. I helped to write that law. The 
reconciliation process was never intended by those of us on both sides 
of the aisle--we are about all gone now, who created that process--to 
be used as it is being used. We send a terrible message when the 
American people call for deficit reduction and instead we lead them 
erroneously into more debt.
  I hope the Congress will take the time to reconsider the flawed 
assumptions underlying this reconciliation process. It needs to do so 
before the process gets even further out of hand.
  I thank all Senators. I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Martinez). The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Harriet Miers

  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, as the administration searches for a new 
nominee for the Supreme Court, I hope the White House will not retreat 
to a political corner and choose a nominee who will only serve to 
divide the Nation and divide this Senate. I urge the President--hear me 
now--to select a nominee cut from the same cloth as the new Chief 
Justice of the United States--moderate in approach, steeped in thought 
and experience, and committed to the protection of the U.S. 
Constitution, which I hold in my hand. In partnership, the President 
and the Senate must do all that they can to avoid rancor and extreme 
partisanship. That begins with real consultation and a nominee who can 
bridge the gap between political philosophies.
  I found it noteworthy--I did--that questions about Harriet Miers' 
nomination came from Senators, organizations, and individuals from 
diverse political philosophies. It does not matter who is asking the 
questions about a nomination; these questions serve the long-term 
interest of the Nation, those people out there, the American people who 
are watching us through those lenses.
  Unfortunately, in this age of partisan politics dominating all else, 
questions too often are labeled as obstructionism. You remember that? 
Obstructionism. If you ask questions, you are an obstructionist. Get 
that, I say to these fine young pages. Nothing could be further from 
the truth. No.
  Republican Senators--yes, the Senators who sit over on that side of 
the aisle--and Democratic Senators, who sit over here, had serious 
questions concerning the judicial philosophy of this nominee. Asking 
questions and insisting upon answers from judicial nominees helps to 
make certain that the American people have faith in their courts. 
Asking questions is not something to be labeled as obstructionist. How 
many times have I said that? Rather, it is patriotic to ask questions. 
Asking questions is part of my duty, part of your duty, Mr. President, 
part of each Senator's duty as citizens.
  I think now would be a good time for the Senate to consider a 
proposal first put forward by Senator Specter in which I joined in the 
105th Congress. We introduced legislation to establish a formal 
advisory mechanism for the Senate in the selection of Supreme Court 
Justices. Under that proposal, the Senate Judiciary Committee would 
establish a pool of possible Supreme Court nominees for the President 
to consider based on suggestions from Federal and State judges, 
distinguished lawyers, law professors, and others with a similar level 
of insight into the suitability of individuals for appointment to the 
Supreme Court. The President would, of course, be free to ignore the 
pool if he chose to do so, but the advice required by the Constitution 
would be formally available and the President would know that the 
individuals in the pool had received a bipartisan nod from the Senate 
committee required to do the vetting.
  Senator Specter and I have talked about reintroducing this 
legislation in the coming days in an effort to guarantee that a broad 
spectrum of individuals are nominated for the Supreme Court and that 
the Senate is able, more fully, to fulfill its constitutional role. I 
am glad there are 14 Senators, ladies and gentlemen, Republican and 
Democrat, evenly divided, who joined together and who saved the Senate 
from a terrible blunder called the nuclear option. Some call it the 
constitutional option. There is nothing constitutional about it. It is 
unconstitutional on its face, the so-called nuclear option. What a 
shame that would have been. But the 14 Senators, Republican and 
Democrat, saved the Senate. That was a historic moment.
  I say the President was right when he called Senators, when he sought 
the advice of Senators, when he sent Judge Roberts' name up here. Yes, 
for once he called me and asked what I thought. I complimented him on 
calling Senators, seeking their advice. The phrase is advice and 
consent, not just the word ``consent.'' It also has the word 
``advice.'' So I said, and the 14 said, we want to be in on the takeoff 
as well as on the landing. So seek our advice. Yes.
  Mr. President, seek our advice. Say to us, Lend me your ears, and I 
will lend you mine. He did that. The President did that. I complimented 
him on it. I hope he will do that now. I hope he will not send up a 
lightning rod, somebody who will just polarize the country and attract 
bows and arrows.
  Mr. President, listen to the advice and consent clause in this 
hallowed document, the Constitution of the United States. Read it. It 
says ``advice.'' Hear me, Mr. President. Call Senators again. Don't 
send up someone who will divide the Senate, who will cause a 
filibuster, and then some would seek to cut off the freedom of Senators 
to speak. Be careful. Mr. President,

[[Page S11972]]

please call. Please call me. If you don't call me, call somebody else. 
Call Senators. Ask them what they think. You can discard our viewpoint 
if you wish. You don't have to accept our advice. I don't have anybody 
particularly in mind, but call me. Will you do it, Mr. President? I 
hope you will.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                         Defense Authorization

  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I certainly appreciate the words of the 
Senator from West Virginia. In that light, let me point out that last 
night the Senate adopted a unanimous consent agreement to resume 
consideration of the Department of Defense authorization bill. Under 
the agreement, each side would be allowed to offer 12 amendments to the 
bill, all of which must relate to the bill or the jurisdiction of the 
Armed Services Committee.
  Let me start by congratulating the Democratic leader for working 
tirelessly to bring this bill back before the Senate. Senator Reid 
recognizes that Congress has a responsibility to the American people 
and to our brave men and women in uniform to debate and pass a 
responsible Department of Defense authorization bill. I thank him for 
his efforts.
  Congress has an additional responsibility, and that is to put our 
Iraq policy right and return the focus of our country to our top 
national security goals. That policy, and particularly the failure of 
the administration to offer a reasonable, flexible timetable for 
bringing home our troops, is making us weaker. It is making us less 
safe, and it is making our enemies stronger. The perception of a 
massive, indefinite American troop presence in Iraq is feeding the very 
insurgency that we are trying to defeat. That is why I now call upon 
the majority and minority leaders to agree that they will allow the 
Senate to debate and vote upon an amendment calling for a flexible 
timetable for returning our troops home. This doesn't have to be 
exactly the resolution I introduced in June, or it doesn't have to 
include the December 31, 2006, target date for completion of the 
primary military mission that I proposed back in August.
  There are plenty of Members deeply concerned about Iraq whose 
leadership has been and will continue to be crucial, people such as 
Senators Levin, Kerry, and Dodd. Senators Byrd and Kennedy have also 
been vocal about their concerns. There are plenty of Members on the 
other side, also, with whom I have spoken and shared some of my 
concerns about our Iraq policy. I welcome the opportunity to work with 
my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come up with a reasonable 
amendment that will finally start the process of getting our Iraq 
policy and our broader national security strategy on track.
  Obviously, I do not have to remind anyone here that the United States 
suffered its 2,000th casualty in Iraq this week, and there have been 
more since then. Every one of our servicemembers in Iraq and their 
families deserve clarity about the mission they are serving and the 
timeframe for that mission. And the American people and the Iraqi 
people, too, need to know that we have a plan to complete our military 
mission and draw down our troops in Iraq.
  Mr. President, the Senate needs to do its job. When the Senate 
finally resumes consideration of the Defense authorization bill, and I 
hope that will be very soon, we need to finally address and put our 
Iraq policy right. The Senate will consider up to 24 amendments at that 
time. Clearly, this should be one of them. I hope my colleagues agree 
with me and that we can work together to ensure that we live up to our 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor. 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. FEINGOLD. Mr. 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 2279, as Modified

  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise today with my colleague from 
Maine, Senator Collins, to offer an amendment to fund the Automatic 
Defibrillation in Adam's Memory, the ADAM Act. But first I would like 
to thank the Senator from Pennsylvania and the Senator from Iowa and 
their staffs for the hard work that obviously went into drafting this 
bill in the face of tight budget restraints.
  Mr. President, in 2001, I learned about Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old 
high school student and a star athlete in southeastern Wisconsin. 
Tragically, during a timeout while playing basketball at a neighboring 
Milwaukee high school, Adam suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died 
before the paramedics were able to arrive.
  After his death, his friend, David Ellis, joined forces with the 
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to initiate Project ADAM to bring CPR 
training and public access defibrillation into schools, to educate 
communities about preventing sudden cardiac deaths, and to save lives. 
The ADAM Act called for the establishment of a national Project ADAM 
clearinghouse. Such a clearinghouse would provide schools with the 
``how to'' and technical advice to set up public access defibrillation 
programs. This clearinghouse responds to a growing number of schools 
that have the desire to set up such a defibrillation program but often 
do not know where to start.
  The ADAM Act was signed into law in 2003--and we are very pleased 
with that--but it has yet to be funded. The amendment Senator Collins 
and I offered would simply fund the ADAM Act clearinghouse with 
$800,000 for fiscal year 2006.
  Mr. President, at this time, I would like to call up my amendment and 
ask that it be modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 2279), as modified, is as follows:

         At the appropriate place in title II, insert the 
         Sec. __. In addition to amounts appropriated under this 
     Act, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise 
     appropriated an additional $800,000 to carry out section 312 
     of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 244). The amounts 
     on page 137, line 9 shall be further reduced by $800,000.

  Mr. FEINGOLD. I understand that the amendment will be accepted, and I 
want to thank the managers in advance for that as well.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor. 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. OBAMA. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Alexander). Without objection, it is so 

                           Amendment No. 2283

  Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise first to commend Senators Specter 
and Harkin for their diligence and hard work on what is an enormous 
bill, particularly given the tight budget they had to work with. I also 
personally thank Senators Specter and Harkin for adopting an amendment 
into the managers' bill relating to scholarships for low-income and 
minority students and for expansion of positive behavioral 
interventions and support within schools to encourage better 
discipline. I thank them and their staffs for working with us on this 
  In addition, it is my understanding that there has been a meeting of 
the minds between the two sides of the aisle around what may end up 
being the most significant aspect of the Labor H appropriations bill.
  Yesterday, I joined Senators Harkin, Kennedy, and a number of my 
colleagues in introducing an avian flu amendment. I know we had been 
able to attach an amendment to the DOD appropriations bill that made 
significant headway in funding the work that needs to be done to 
prepare this nation for pandemic flu. Obviously, this Labor H bill was 
the more appropriate vehicle to fund preparedness activities. The fact 
that Senator Specter and Senator Harkin have agreed to work something 
out on this issue is extremely important.

[[Page S11973]]

  I will mention a couple of things that I believe make this avian flu 
amendment so significant. A number of Senators have talked on the 
Senate floor very eloquently about the threat of avian flu and the lack 
of preparedness and relative inactivity in the United States compared 
to our European and Asian allies. In the United States, we do not have 
a national preparedness plan for a pandemic. We do not have a stockpile 
of antivirals. Our public health system is weak, and the vaccine 
infrastructure is fragile. All of these areas desperately need 
attention, and the amendment that I hope will be adopted unanimously 
will provide the funding to do just that.
  I am not going to rehash what was discussed earlier, but instead I 
wanted to spend a few minutes on the non-health aspects of avian flu, 
because it is important to fully understand the scope of the potential 
problems that a pandemic might cause. Obviously, the health concerns 
should be our immediate focus, and the Harkin amendment and the avian 
flu bill I introduced back in April do just that. However, we cannot 
ignore the economic and social implications of the pandemic flu. They 
deserve our urgent attention.

  As Dr. Michael Osterholm has warned us, the arrival of a pandemic flu 
would trigger a reaction that would change the world overnight. We know 
that a vaccine would not be available for at least 6 months after the 
pandemic started. We also know that we only have enough antivirals in 
our stockpile to treat 1 percent of the Nation's population. As such, 
if an avian flu pandemic hits, foreign trade and travel would be 
reduced or even suspended in a desperate but fruitless attempt to stop 
the virus from entering new countries. This is not speculation. Some 
will recall that Hong Kong's Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food has 
already threatened to close the border with the Chinese mainland if the 
H5N1 strain of avian influenza moves into the human population.
  Domestically, transportation would also be significantly curtailed as 
States or communities seek to keep the disease contained, and 
unaffected areas try to keep infection out. Such efforts at self-
protection would have a devastating effect on the world economy, which 
relies on the speedy distribution of products. There would be major 
shortages of food, medicines, light bulbs, gasoline, and spare parts 
for military equipment. Potentially, we would have shutdowns in the 
production of microchips that fuel so much of our technology.
  To use just one example, currently, two U.S.-based companies supply 
most of the protective face masks for health care workers around the 
world. Neither company would be able to meet increased demand during a 
pandemic, in part because the companies depend on multiple suppliers in 
multiple countries for the parts to make the masks.
  Businesses today rely on the world's real time economy, and have not 
established alternative supply chains nor emergency plans for 
production and distribution. In a time of pandemic, the labor source 
could be severely affected as well, compounding the supply chain 
  Our Government officials also have not yet addressed the social 
implications of a pandemic. We had a taste of that in what tragically 
happened with Hurricane Katrina. We witnessed desperation and confusion 
as people scrambled to survive and to find their loved ones. We are 
going to have to develop protocols and plans now so we can prepare the 
public for whatever public health measures may be needed, including 
possible quarantine or isolation.
  The closest the world has come to this scenario in modern times was 
the SARS epidemic in 2003. Over a period of 5 months, about 8,000 
people were infected and about 10 percent of those infected died. Once 
SARS emerged in China, it spread to 5 countries within 24 hours, and to 
30 countries on 6 continents within several months. The economic 
consequences of SARS were staggering. The 6-month epidemic costs to the 
Asian-Pacific region alone were estimated at over $40 billion.
  As avian flu is significantly more contagious and more deadly, you 
can only imagine the potential scope of economic devastation that we 
might face. Senator Harkin has mentioned that the warning bell is 
ringing and we need to heed its urgent call to action. Time is running 
out and this administration must act now if it is to prevent the severe 
economic, security, and health consequences from pandemic flu.
  Let me close with one last comment. I heard some colleagues in 
discussions, both in the media and on the floor of the Senate, suggest 
that we should not succumb to panic. I know at one point an analogy was 
drawn between what we are calling for with respect to investments in 
pandemic flu preparedness and Y2K.
  Let me just make two points. No. 1, we are absolutely certain that 
some form of pandemic will occur in our lifetime. We do not know if it 
will be caused by a H5N1 virus that mutates and spreads by human-to-
human contact, similar to the 1918 pandemic. But unless history has 
completely taught us the wrong lessons, we can expect some form of 
pandemic that has severe consequences, and right now, we do not have 
the infrastructure to deal with it.
  What that means is whatever investment we make now--for example, in 
developing a cell-based technology rather than an egg-based technology 
to develop vaccines--that is a sound investment even if we are lucky 
and this H5N1 virus does not end up mutating in such a way that it can 
cause a pandemic, because we will now be prepared for whatever pandemic 
occurs. We will have the infrastructure to rapidly produce the sort of 
vaccines that are necessary. This is a smart investment for us to make 
on the front end. The second point is one that, again, I think has been 
highlighted by what happened in New Orleans and the gulf coast. 
Sometimes the costs of doing nothing are so high that in the same way 
that you or I buy catastrophic health insurance hoping that we never 
have to use it, this is one of those situations where we have to devote 
the dollars to prepare and develop a plan, hoping that we never have to 
use it.
  I am extraordinarily grateful that Senator Harkin, Senator Specter, 
and other leaders on this committee have been able to come to an 
agreement that should allow us to finally fund the preparedness and 
readiness activities that are going to be necessary for us to meet the 
challenge of avian flu.
  Mr. President, 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. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                    Amendment No. 2218, As Modified

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I send to the desk a modification of 
amendment 2218, and ask unanimous consent that it be so modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 2218), as modified, is as follows:

                    AMENDMENT NO. 2218, As Modified

     (Purpose: To increase funding for advanced placement programs)

       At the end of title III (before the short title), insert 
     the following:
       Sec. __. (a) In addition to amounts otherwise appropriated 
     under this Act, there is appropriated, out of any money in 
     the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an additional 
     $7,000,000 to carry out part G of title I of the Elementary 
     and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6531 et seq.).
       (b) On page 183, line 15, strike ``$1,057,385,000'' and 
     insert ``$1,050,385,000'' and on line 21 strike 
     ``$417,924,000'' and insert ``$410,924,000''.

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, this is an amendment that the Senator 
from Texas, Mrs. Hutchison, and myself are offering to add an 
additional $7 million to the funding for advanced placement instruction 
in our schools. This is an issue she and I have pursued for many years.
  It is my strong belief one of the clearest ways we can improve the 
quality of education in our school system is to encourage more students 
to take advanced placement courses, to encourage more teachers to get 
the training necessary to teach those advanced placement courses. Those 
are courses the college board has identified as specified standards 
  It is clear to anybody who is involved in secondary education in this 
country that a student is advantaged in their later education and in 
their career if

[[Page S11974]]

they have the opportunity and take advantage of the opportunity to take 
these advanced placement courses in high school. There are many high 
schools in my State of New Mexico that do not offer advanced placement 
courses to their students. I think that is a shame in this day and 
time. I think it is very unfortunate we do not make this opportunity 
available nationwide to more students and encourage it.
  A recent report which the Presiding Officer and I have requested from 
the National Academy of Sciences talks very extensively about the 
importance of developing the scientific and technical building blocks 
we need for this country to strengthen our economy. They recommend in 
that National Academy of Sciences report that we can do a variety of 
things to improve the quality of education from kindergarten through 
the 12th grade, in addition to doing various things at the university 
level and, of course, doing a variety of things with research and 
development as well.
  One of their recommendations is directly applicable to this amendment 
which we sent to the desk. The recommendation is that we set out to 
quadruple the number of students in advanced placement math and science 
courses by the year 2010. There are approximately 1.2 million students 
who take those courses today. The suggestion is that in the next 4 or 5 
years we should increase that to 4.5 million students. That is an 
enormous undertaking. That is an easy thing to say but a very hard 
thing to do.
  The recommendation in the appendix attached to the National Academy 
of Sciences report indicates that the estimate they have would cost 
something in the range of an additional $350 million per year for us to 
be able to achieve this kind of improvement. We are not asking for that 
$350 million in this amendment. We are asking for $7 million. We are 
asking to get closer to what the President requested in the budget he 
sent to the Congress earlier this year. We are asking to go up to $40 
million for advanced placement instruction.
  That is a very modest request, but we are informed it is all that is 
possible, given the budgetary constraints under which this bill is 
  I think it is an extremely good amendment. It is a very important 
focus for us to have as we try to begin to focus on an agenda that will 
make this country more competitive in world markets. I know the 
Presiding Officer feels this needs to be a very high priority for this 
country. I certainly do, as well as the Senator from Texas.
  I hope our colleagues will support this amendment.
  I yield the floor so Senator Hutchison can explain her views on the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I thank my colleague, Senator 
Bingaman. We have been working on increasing the amount put in the 
advanced placement program for years. Together, we actually started the 
Federal funding for this program. It has been a phenomenal success.
  In fact, in a recent study on the lack of emphasis in science in our 
country in high schools and colleges, one of the recommendations made 
by the commission, which I think the Presiding Officer of the Senate 
sitting in the chair today is familiar with, * * *
  One of the recommendations is increasing the Advanced Placement 
Program. That is exactly what we are doing with this amendment.
  The Advanced Placement Program allows students to pursue college-
level studies while still in high school. It is celebrating its 50th 
anniversary and it is now in 15,000 schools around the world, including 
60 percent of high schools in America. Through these programs, students 
experience a rigorous college level curriculum and have the chance to 
earn college credit, advanced placement, or both.
  According to a U.S. Department of Education study, participation in 
advanced placement courses is a stronger predictor of success in 
college than test scores or grade point averages. A 2002 study by the 
University of Texas at Austin showed that among students with the same 
SAT scores and class rank, advanced placement students scoring three or 
higher on the exams performed better in advanced college courses than 
students who participated in concurrent enrollment or who did not skip 
any college courses at all.
  Research has also shown that 61 percent of students who take two or 
more advanced placement exams graduate from college on time. By 
contrast, only 29 percent of other college students earn a degree 
within 4 years.
  When you consider the average total charges at a 4-year public 
institution in the 2005 school year were more than $12,000 per year and 
$29,000 per year for private colleges, graduating within 4 years 
becomes a very important objective.
  While much growth has occurred in advanced placement participation, a 
vast gap still exists between the 57 percent of the class of 2004 who 
embarked on higher education last fall and the 13 percent of the class 
of 2004 who were prepared to succeed in college by having mastered an 
AP course in high school. Currently, 40 percent of students entering 4-
year colleges and universities are requiring some remedial education 
while 63 percent of students at 2-year institutions do. This is a 
significant concern. One or more remedial courses, particularly in math 
or reading, negatively influence the likelihood that a student will 
obtain that bachelor's degree.
  Last year, a fellow Texan and current Assistant Secretary of 
Education, Tom Luce, wrote a book entitled ``Do What Works: How Proven 
Practices Can Improve America's Public Schools.'' Among other programs, 
the book highlighted the importance of advanced placement courses in 
educating today's students. In his book, Secretary Luce states:

       Advanced Placement courses are increasingly viewed as a key 
     to driving higher educational achievement by all students, 
     particularly economically disadvantaged and minority 

  Secretary Luce dedicated his book to Edith and Peter O'Donnell, two 
great Americans who know and understand the importance of educating our 
youngsters. Peter O'Donnell recently sat on the Commission of National 
Academies which published a report entitled ``Rising Above The 
Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter 
Economic Future.''
  The report outlined a number of recommendations to strengthen 
America's competitiveness with the ultimate goal of creating new, high-
quality jobs. One of the recommendations was to train additional 
advanced placement instructors to teach advanced courses in mathematics 
and science. Some ways we can do this are by subsidizing test fees for 
low-income students who are enrolled in AP classes and plan to take an 
AP test, and by expanding teacher training and participation in online 
  President Bush requested $51 million in his budget for this program. 
That would be an increase of $22 million from last year.
  This amendment I am cosponsoring with Senator Bingaman would 
accomplish the President's funding goal by adding an additional $7 
million. It is very important we do this. It does have offsets.
  I particularly thank Senator Specter and Senator Harkin and their 
staffs for helping find the offsets, realizing the importance of this 
  My friend Peter O'Donnell was certainly on the mark when he suggested 
advanced placement would start our students in a higher echelon of 
academic programs to better prepare them for college. These programs 
will also help them get through college within a 4-year period, which 
is becoming more and more of an issue in public and private 
universities around our country.
  I thank Senator Bingaman for being a partner with me on this. Since 
1998 we have worked on this together. If we can continue to increase 
the program and, therefore, increase the number of participants, we 
will see the college students who perform better having more 
opportunities for science and math careers, which is very important for 
the future of our country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I thank my colleague very much for her 
strong advocacy for this amendment and this program. I also say a word 
of commendation about Peter O'Donnell and the work he has done in this 

[[Page S11975]]

He was very generous in giving of his time to brief me and my staff on 
progress that has been made in the State of Texas in expanding advanced 
placement through the private foundation he has established there. It 
is a very impressive model the whole country needs to emulate. This 
modest amendment will be a step toward helping more to happen around 
the country.
  I ask unanimous consent Senator Reid of Nevada, Senator Boxer, and 
Senator Feinstein be added as original cosponsors.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. As I understand it, we are ready for a vote on this 
amendment at this time unless the managers would like to postpone it.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. A voice vote would be fine with us.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no debate, the question is on 
agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2218) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

            Unanimous-Consent Agreement--Executive Calendar

  Mrs. HUTCHISON. I ask unanimous consent at 3 o'clock today the Senate 
proceed to executive session and to consecutive votes on the following 
nominations: No. 386, John Smoak, to be United States District Judge 
for the Northern District of Florida; and No. 384, Susan Neilson, to be 
United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.
  I further ask unanimous consent there be 2 minutes of debate equally 
divided prior to each vote; further, that following those votes the 
President be immediately notified of the Senate's action and the Senate 
then return to legislative session.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Iowa.

                      Amendment No. 2244 Withdrawn

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask consent to withdraw amendment 
numbered 2244.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Amendment No. 2262

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, last evening I called up for 
consideration amendment 2262 and then had it laid aside. I call it up 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, this is an amendment that is very 
important. I hope we can get a vote before the afternoon is over. The 
amendment would invest an additional $60 million in our Nation's future 
by strengthening 8 programs: the Migrant Education Program, the English 
Language Acquisition Program, the High School Equivalency Program, the 
College Assistance Migrant Program, the Dropout Prevention Program, the 
English as a Second Language Program, the local family information 
centers, and also the Hispanic-serving institutions.
  The funding additions this amendment calls for add up to the total 
$60 million. This is an amendment that is strongly supported by the 
Congressional Hispanic Caucus, by the National PTA, and by the Hispanic 
Education Coalition, which is an ad hoc coalition of national 
organizations dedicated to improving educational opportunities for the 
more than 40 million Hispanics who live in this country today.
  The Migrant Education Program is the first item. The title I Migrant 
Education Program was established to provide a compensatory education 
program designed to deal with the difficulties encountered by children 
of migrant families. Some of the children attend three or four schools 
in a single school year.
  They have a great need for coordination of educational services among 
the States and local districts where they live, often for short periods 
of time. The MEP builds the support structures for migrant students so 
that they can achieve high levels of success both in and outside of 
  The U.S. Department of Education reports that more than 750,000 
students were identified as eligible for the program in Fiscal Year 
2001. Additional funds are necessary to ensure that these children are 
able to meet the challenges mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. 
This amendment will provide an additional $9.6 million in needed 
  This amendment would also increase funding to States and local school 
districts in order to ensure that as many of the 5.5 million children 
with limited English skills as possible learn English, develop high 
levels of academic attainment, and meet the same challenging State 
academic standards as all children.
  Title III is a formula grant program that distributes funding to all 
50 States based on the number of limited English proficient LEP and 
recent immigrant students. The funds are used for developing effective 
language acquisition programs; training for bilingual/ESL teachers and 
regular teachers and educational personnel; parent involvement; and 
providing services for recently arrived immigrant students. This 
amendment requests an additional $10.3 million for Language Acquisition 
Grants, which restores the program's funding to its Fiscal Year 2003 
  This amendment would provide modest increases for the High School 
Equivalency Program HEP and the College Assistance Migrant Program 
CAMP. The HEP helps migrant students who have dropped out of high 
school earn a GED. The CAMP assists migrant students in their first 
year of college with both counseling and stipends. These programs 
provide farmworker migrant students with education opportunities and 
support that will help them to become productive members of society.
  Migrant students are among the most disadvantaged youth in this 
Nation. Current estimates place the dropout rate for migrant youth at 
between 50 and 60 percent. Before CAMP, there was no record of a child 
of migrant farm workers ever having attended college. Both programs 
have been very successful in helping migrant students become productive 
members of society.
  According to the Department of Education, in 2003-2004, almost 10,000 
students were served by HEP CAMP, and 63 percent of the HEP 
participants received a GED, and 84 percent of CAMP students completed 
their first year of college in good standing. This amendment provides 
an additional $5.7 million for these programs.
  The Dropout Prevention program help States and school districts to 
implement research-based, sustainable, and coordinated school dropout 
prevention and re-entry programs in order to raise student achievement. 
At a time when schools are focused on narrowing achievement gaps 
between differing subgroups of students, it seems that Congress would 
want to retain Dropout Prevention, a program specifically aimed at 
providing schools with the tools to help students achieve a high school 
  Support for dropout prevention is even more significant when 
considering that the primary source of Federal funding for public 
schools, authorized through the No Child Left Behind Act NCLB, focuses 
mainly on elementary schools. More than 90 percent of title I funds--
the principal NCLB program--are directed to elementary schools. Such an 
emphasis on elementary education is necessary and appropriate, but 
equally important is continuing an investment of resources throughout 
the education continum in order to meet the needs of middle level and 
high school students.
  The Dropout Prevention Program is the only Federal program actively 
working to reduce the Nation's dropout rates, and, as recent headlines 
tell us, it is a problem that is far more severe than previous data 
  A report by the Urban Institute finds that only 68 percent of all 
students in the public high school class of 2001 graduated. 
Furthermore, it states that only 5 of all black students and 50 percent 
of all Hispanic students grate. Nearly half of all black and Hispanic 
students do not graduate from high school. This is a problem that has 
reached enormous proportions. The Dropout Prevention Program was 
eliminated in this legislation. This amendment restores $5 million to 
this program.
  The Local Family Information Centers Program was authorized under the 
No Child Left Behind Act to provide parents of title I students, 

[[Page S11976]]

English language learners, with information about their children's 
schools so that they can help their children to meet the high standards 
we have set under NCLB.
  The Local Family Information Centers also help parents to hold their 
local and State school officials accountable and become more involved 
in their children's education. This amendment would increase funding 
for these centers by $13 million.
  The need for increased funding for English as a Second Language ESL 
is evident by the growing demand for services and the lack of resources 
to meet that need.
  Enrollment in Adult ESL has increased 105 percent over the past 10 
years, yet there is a lack of programs and funding to ensure that all 
who desire to learn English have access to appropriate services.
  Currently, community-based organizations must piece programs together 
with volunteer labor and facilities. The need for more targeted 
services is overwhelming. Demand for English-language instruction far 
outweighs supply, waiting lists for classes typically range from 
several months to years, and many States do not have the capacity to 
meet the demand.
  The current $70 million in funding is insufficient to meet the 
enormous demand for ESL services. As the labor market continues to 
require English-proficient labor, investing in ESL programs will 
strengthen the labor pool and return a more versatile productive 
workforce. This amendment provides an additional $6.5 million for ESL 
  Currently, 35 percent of Hispanics are under the age of 18. The 
Educational Testing Service has projected the U.S. higher education 
system will grow by 3.5 million additional students by 2015 and that 
nearly 40 percent of these new students will be Hispanic. HSIs serve 
the largest concentrations of the Nation's youngest and largest ethnic 
  The impending emergence of more than 100 new HSIs mostly in CA, TX, 
FL, NM, IL, in the next few years and the rapid growth of the Hispanic 
college-age population underscore urgency for immediate, major, and 
sustained increases in title V funding.
  At a time when the current labor force is reaching retirement age in 
substantial numbers, Hispanics already represent one of every three new 
workers joining the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics. By 2025, the Bureau projects that one of two new 
workers joining the U.S. labor force will be Hispanic. This amendment 
would provide an additional $9.9 million in assistance to these great 
  We must do everything possible to provide every child with the best 
education we can. This amendment would provide small but much-needed 
increases to programs that can make a difference in the lives of 
millions of children. I urge my fellow Senators to support these 
greatly needed programs by providing them with the proper resources.
  This is a very worthwhile amendment. It puts resources to use where 
they are most needed--not just in my State but throughout this country.
  The fastest growing minority population in our country is the 
Hispanic community. We need to ensure these young people growing up are 
well educated, are prepared for the challenges for the 21st century. 
This legislation helps greatly with that effort.

                           Amendment No. 2259

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, let me briefly describe one other 
amendment at this point. I called this amendment up yesterday, as well, 
amendment 2259, dealing with the Drug Assistance Program, an amendment 
Senator Smith and I have worked together on to add additional funding 
for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, or ADAP.
  We had an amendment voted on last night by Senator Coburn to shift 
funding to this function by taking funding from the Centers for Disease 
Control. Our amendment does not do that. Our amendment provides $74 
million in much-needed funding. It would be emergency funding for the 
AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
  This is a very meritorious amendment. It is an amendment I hope all 
colleagues will support. Some Members of this body voted against the 
amendment of the Senator from Oklahoma in anticipation of supporting 
this very important amendment I am talking about now.
  The AIDS Drug Assistance Program provide life-saving assistance to 
over 136,000 uninsured or underinsured HIV-infected individuals each 
year. As the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has increased, 
largely due to advances in HIV treatment, the importance of and demand 
for ADAP has grown so that, as of September 2005, a total of 2,187 
individuals were on ADAP waiting lists in nine States.
  As the National ADAP Monitoring Project says:

       When an individual is on a waiting list, they may not have 
     access to HIV-related medications.

  We are talking about life-extending and life-saving medications. In 
fact, it has been reported that patients on ADAP waiting lists in West 
Virginia and Kentucky have passed away.
  Furthermore, as of March 2005, due to funding shortfalls, 21 States 
have some sort of cost containment measures in place, including waiting 
lists, that often impede access to care. This includes increased cost-
sharing, reductions in eligibility income limits, and limitations on 
covered treatments.
  We as a Nation, are rightfully committed to providing billions of 
dollars of support for HIV/AIDS care and treatment services to those 
living with HIV in nations across the world and we should be. However, 
here at home, it is unforgivable that there are Americans with HIV 
dying because they are on waiting lists for life-saving drugs or having 
life-saving medications rationed to them in various forms.
  A story entitled ``Dying for AIDS Drugs'' documents some of the 
stories of those who have lost ADAP coverage or are on waiting lists. 
As the story reads:

       Margaret Nicholson, a Springfield, Oregon, homecare 
     attendant who survives with her mother and husband on less 
     than $20,000 a year, lost her ADAP coverage because she 
     couldn't afford the new co-pays; she has now gone 4 months 
     without seeing a doctor and is scraping by on pill samples. 
     In North Carolina, HIV doctor Aimee Wilkin says some of her 
     waiting list patients, forced to seek medicines through drug 
     company charity programs, have faced multiple treatment 
     interruptions, the result of bureaucratic delays, exposing 
     them to the risk of HIV drug resistance. In Kentucky, 
     caseworkers are so desperate they're asking churches to pass 
     the hat to sponsor someone's pills for a few weeks at a time.

  In our great Nation, this is unacceptable and should end. This 
amendment, sponsored by Senator Smith and myself, would go a long way 
to address the ADAP shortfall and I urge its passage.
  I hope we can also have a rollcall vote on this amendment.
  I ask for the yeas and nays on Senate amendment 2262 at this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I also ask for a rollcall vote on Senate 
amendment 2259.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is in order to request 
that at this time.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. I yield the floor.