(Senate - February 13, 2009)

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[Pages S2288-S2313]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate now 
proceed to the conference report to accompany H.R. 1, the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with the time until 5:30 for debate, 
with the time divided as follows: the majority controlling 30 minutes 
and the remaining time under the control of the Republican leader or 
his designee; that a budget point of order be in order and if raised 
against the conference report, then a motion to waive the applicable 
point of order be considered made; that at 5:30 p.m. the Senate then 
vote on the motion to waive the point of order; further, that the vote 
on the waiver of the point of order count as a vote on adoption of the 
conference report, with a 60-vote threshold; that no further points of 
order be in order during the pendency of the conference report; and 
that upon adoption of the conference report, the motion to reconsider 
be laid on the table, with no further intervening action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I wish to publicly express my appreciation 
for the thoughtful time certainty on this by the Republicans. As they 
know, we

[[Page S2289]]

have a couple issues on our side, one is a death and one is the health 
of one of our Members. They have been very thoughtful and understanding 
of our situation. For that I will always be grateful.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I would like to propound a unanimous 
consent request for speakers on our side.
  I ask unanimous consent that the following Republican speakers be 
recognized for up to 7 minutes each: Chambliss, Graham, Ensign, 
Alexander, Shelby, Hatch, McCain, Sessions, and that Senator Coburn be 
recognized for up to 30 minutes.
  Mr. ENSIGN. Reserving the right to object, is it in that order----
  Mr. McCONNELL. No.
  Mr. ENSIGN: Or is it just total time?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the conference report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the 
     two Houses on the amendment of the Senate to the bill (H.R. 
     1) making supplemental appropriations for job preservation 
     and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency 
     and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and 
     local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending 
     September 30, 2009, and for other purposes, having met, after 
     full and free conference, have agreed to recommend and do 
     recommend to their respective Houses this report, signed by a 
     majority of the conferees.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will proceed to the consideration 
of the conference report.
  (The conference report is printed in the House proceedings at pages 
H1307 through H1516 of the Record of February 12, 2009.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time on the conference report?
  The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask that I be recognized for 7 minutes 
and be informed when I have used 6 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, this debate is coming to an end, and it 
never really started. We are bringing a conclusion to a process that 
will spend $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years, and there has never 
been a thoughtful discussion between the parties to figure out how we 
can get there from here.
  The Republican alternative was $440 billion, I believe. It had tax 
cuts. It had spending on unemployment benefits extension, food stamp 
extension. It had a $35 billion, $45 billion amount of spending for 
infrastructure, shovel-ready jobs. It was an alternative that also had 
a trigger that said that once the economy got back on its feet and we 
had two quarters of positive GDP growth, any unspent funds would be 
frozen, and we would look at trying to get back to a balanced budget 
situation. In other words, it had a slowdown provision. There is 
nothing in this bill that is going to slow down spending.
  The compromise that has been reached--$440 billion was the Republican 
alternative--we are going to settle on a bill of about $787 billion-
plus that received no Republican votes in the House. I think they lost 
seven or eight Democrats in the House. Apparently, they are going to 
pick up three Republicans in the Senate.
  I would argue that if the shoe were on the other foot, if Republicans 
were in charge and we lost more Republicans than we picked up 
Democrats, that would be a lead story. So the idea that this is 
bipartisan does not meet any realistic test of bipartisanship, and that 
is a loss. Mr. President, $1.1 trillion unfocused over 10 years, in 
terms of job creation, is a huge loss to the next generation of 
Americans who are going to pay this bill.
  We had a chance to start over early on in this administration. The 
attitude that started this process in the House, ``We won, we write the 
bill,'' never changed. It came to the Senate. We spent 1 hour 40 
minutes marking up this bill. We have had a handful of Republican 
amendments accepted. I am not saying our version is the right way 
completely. I am saying the difference between $440 billion and $787 
billion and $819 billion, the House version, is not $787 billion.
  There has never been a real effort to try to find common ground. The 
percentage of this bill that is tax cuts is 27 percent of $787 billion; 
27 percent of the amount is for tax relief. A $400 rebate check is a 
great part of the tax provision. Last year, we gave people $500 tax 
rebates. That did not stimulate the economy. The $400 will not.
  What stimulates the economy is cutting taxes for consumers as well as 
business. As Senator Thune from South Dakota said about 75 percent of 
the jobs in America are created by small business. If your goal is to 
stimulate the economy and create new jobs, one test of this bill would 
be how much did you do for small business.
  Less than $3 billion in the entire package is directed to small 
business. I would argue that if 75 percent of the jobs come from the 
small business sector and only $3 billion of the money is allocated for 
small business relief, we missed this thing by a country mile.
  This bill started out of the House as a ``We won, we write the bill'' 
spending package that never had a focus on job creation. There are so 
many things in this bill unrelated to creating a job in the next 18 
months that it is, in my opinion, a failure as a stimulus package.
  Of the $580 billion of this bill that is appropriated--about 53 
percent of it is appropriated--only 11 percent of that money hits the 
economy in the first year. Fifty-three percent of the appropriated 
funds are not spent until after 2 years from now.
  So the goal I had working with our Democratic colleagues and the 
White House was to try to create as many jobs as possible by 
stimulating the economy through a combination of tax cuts and spending 
that would create jobs in the near term and, yes, help people who have 
lost a job. We have failed miserably in that endeavor, in my opinion. 
We have run up the cost of this bill, and every dollar that is wasted 
in the stimulus package that does not create a job is one less dollar 
to jump-start housing and banking.
  To my colleagues, you all know this one fact. We will never get out 
of this economic mess until we deal with the banking problem and the 
housing problem. We have wasted a lot of money in this bill that could 
have gone to banking and housing. There will be a request in the 
future, mark my words. The TARP funds left to deal with banking and 
housing of $315 billion are not nearly enough to deal with the toxic 
assets that cripple the ability to lend, not nearly enough, in my 
opinion, to deal with the foreclosures that are coming in waves in this 
  The stimulus package is important, but it was, in my opinion, the 
least-effective measure to jump-start the economy. We put all the money 
in the thing that works the least, and we designed it in a fashion 
where it will work hardly at all. This is a blown opportunity to come 
together in a bipartisan fashion to deal with banking and housing. We 
put all our resources upfront in a stimulus package that has very 
little to do with creating jobs and a lot to do with growing 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used 6 minutes.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, we have created more Government, new 
Government than we created jobs. We lost the spirit of bipartisanship 
we were yearning for. It is going to be hard for us to come back to the 
American people after this monstrosity of a bill is understood in the 
next couple weeks and ask for more money in housing and banking.
  I am disappointed in the process. I am disappointed in the final 
substance of the bill. We spent $1 trillion in about 2 weeks, with very 
little discussion.
  Finally, America wants this Congress and this new administration to 
be smart and work together. We are not being smart, and we sure as heck 
haven't worked together.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I claim the 7 minutes that is part of the 
unanimous consent agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized.
  Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, the scope of this legislation is enormous 
and endangers our country's future economic health.
  Currently, the U.S. debt burden is huge, but it is going to rise to 
54 percent of the economy in just the next 2 years. That is before we 
take into account this omnibus spending bill that

[[Page S2290]]

is still to come before the Congress, another round of TARP, and 
approximately $1 trillion that we have in the bill before us today. 
When we add the Children's Health Insurance Program that was passed, 
TARP, a supplemental, the omnibus bill, we will add an additional $2 
trillion to our national debt. That means higher taxes for our 
children, our grandchildren, and actually just in a few years for 
almost all Americans.
  We have been borrowing against future generations. Keep in mind that 
we have a $60 trillion debt out there in Social Security, Medicare, 
Medicaid, and other entitlement programs. That money has to be paid 
  We have to ask ourselves: What will the credit markets around the 
world think? What will they think about the idea of the United States 
being actually solvent? The previous administration, as we heard from 
the other side, spent money like crazy. I am not going to defend them. 
I was one of the people fighting against a lot of that spending.
  The spending that is before us today is unprecedented. Unfortunately, 
in the so-called stimulus bill, only about 25 percent of the bill is in 
true tax relief. A lot of it is disguised as tax relief, but it is just 
spending. Not all tax relief is equal when it comes to stimulating the 
economy. Unfortunately, some of the tax relief in this bill that was 
actually good was stripped out of the bill.
  Today, as a percentage of GDP, Government spending last year was 
around 21 percent. This year, it is going to be close to 30 percent. 
The historical average over the last 40 years is around 20.6 percent. 
If we continue to add and add, in not too many years, it is heading 
toward 40 percent. This amounts to the Europeanization of the United 
States. Why is this? The government takes up a large percentage of the 
budgets of Europe's economies. These are more socialist-type economies, 
and that is the percentage of their gross domestic product they spend 
on government.
  Let's consider the cost of this bill. If we count everything that is 
going to expire in the stimulus and say it is not going to expire over 
the next 10 years, the true cost of this bill is somewhere around $3 
trillion. We have to ask ourselves: When was the last time a Federal 
program was cut or was discontinued? That does not happen around here. 
Once we put something in place, it seems to be in place forever.
  The assumptions in the bill that the spending put in place is 
actually going to go away in 2 years seems a little ridiculous to me. 
That is why we actually should be honest about the true cost of this 
  According to CBO, all the stimulus spending will do little to help 
our long-term economic growth. It will help some in the short term but 
not in the long term. We have to think about not just short term. Too 
many companies in America were thinking short term. We have to think 
long term as well for our, once again, children and grandchildren.
  We did not even receive this 1,100-page bill until 11 p.m. last 
night. Thanks to all my staff, and the Republican Policy Committee 
staff. They spent most of the night and today going through this bill. 
There is no way everybody is going to know everything that is in this 
bill because of the difficulty of trying to go through an 1,100-page 
bill in less than 24 hours.
  We need to look at history. Japan, in the 1990s, gave us valuable 
lessons about not what to do. They spent $6.3 trillion. Unfortunately, 
they spent it building a lot of bridges to nowhere, roads to nowhere.
  We heard we need a lot of infrastructure spending in this country. If 
this bill had only answered that call. This bill has very little to do 
with infrastructure. Only a small percentage of this bill actually 
deals with infrastructure. That is unfortunate. Japan also failed to 
address the underlying problems in their banking system. Japan created 
zombie banks. These are banks that should have failed but were not 
allowed to. Japan also suffered from a bad course of monetary policy. 
While the parallels may not be exactly the same between Japan and the 
U.S., we may be headed in the same direction. That is why a lot of us 
are afraid that this stimulus bill before us today is actually not 
going to cure our economic woes.

  The housing industry is what brought this whole economy down. We 
understand that. The American people in my State of Nevada know it was 
the housing crisis that brought the economy down. So if we don't fix 
housing, how are we going to fix the economy? The underlying problem 
with the patient here is the housing problem.
  I had an amendment that actually would have gone a long way toward 
fixing housing. My amendment had three components. The first was that 
Americans would have been able to get a much lower interest rate--
somewhere between 4 to 4.5 percent. About 40 million American 
households would have qualified for it. It would have given the average 
American household about $450 per month more for their budget. This was 
permanent, though, it wasn't just a one-time check. This was a 30-year 
fixed interest rate. That actually would have helped stimulate the 
  The second part of the amendment was that we took a provision from 
Senator Isakson.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 1 additional minute.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. ENSIGN. The second part of the amendment would have given a 
$15,000 tax credit to buy homes. That would have helped to stimulate 
the housing market. Unfortunately, in this bill, that was dramatically 
cut down. And the third part was to help those houses underwater.
  This spending bill that is before us could have been made so much 
better if we had sat down in a bipartisan fashion--not as Republicans, 
not as Democrats, but as Americans. I hope we learn from the way this 
bill was done that it is not the way we need to fix some of the major 
problems the country will face in the future. I hope we can actually 
sit down in a bipartisan fashion.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, may I be informed when 6 minutes of my 
7 minutes has expired?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will notify the Senator.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. President, here is what we know of the so-called stimulus bill.
  This bill will give American workers $8 a week in their paychecks in 
exchange for passing along a $1 trillion debt to our grandchildren. The 
entire New Deal, in today's dollars, cost only half of what this bill 
  We know that if we were to spend $1 million a day, every day since 
Jesus Christ was born, we would still spend less money than the cost of 
this bill.
  We know that if you were to add the cost of this bill to the national 
debt that we already have, it would cost each American household more 
than $100,000 to pay off our country's debt.
  We know that in the bill there is $50 million that could be used to 
save red-bellied harvest mice in the San Francisco area, something that 
Speaker Pelosi has supported.
  We know that in the bill there is $8 billion for a levitating train 
from Disneyland to Las Vegas that the majority leader is very 
interested in.
  We also know that people are hurting. That we need to do something to 
help the economy. And that something includes a real stimulus bill. But 
we know this is not the right approach.
  Mostly, this is spending, not stimulus. Most of the spending in the 
bill does not come soon enough to help create jobs quickly. Most of the 
tax cuts in the bill--such as the $8 per week for working families--are 
welcome but not stimulative.
  We know this is a lot of money. An example of how much money is that 
it took us until about 1980, from the beginning of our Republic, to 
accumulate a debt that equals the amount of this bill. Or to look at it 
another way: The entire annual Federal budget in the early 1980s was 
about the amount we are spending in this bill.
  We know this is not temporary. Even though stimulus bills, as defined 
by Speaker Pelosi, are to be timely, temporary, and targeted, this is 
not. We know that because of the mandatory spending it adds to the 
long-term budget. We know that because the Senate rejected Senator 
McCain's amendment which said that after two consecutive quarters of 
economic growth above 2 percent, the new spending would stop. So this 
bill is not temporary.
  We know we are bailing out States with much more money than they

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need. In my State of Tennessee, it had a $900 million dollar shortfall. 
That is a lot of money for our State. But our legislature and Governor 
are handling that, with some pain. Yet we are giving Tennessee almost 
$4 billion, as if we had the money to spend.
  We know we are not seriously thinking about how much spending is too 
much spending in Washington, and how much debt is too much debt. We 
know that we establish policies in this bill--huge policies in 
education, energy, and health--in 2 weeks, without careful 
consideration that deserve enormous consideration.
  I used to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Its 
budget today is about $68 billion. We are adding $40 billion a year to 
that Department for the next 2 years. Does that mean we are completely 
satisfied with what is happening in kindergarten through the 12th 
grade? If we are to add $40 billion a year, should we not be asking 
what can we do differently to reward outstanding teachers, to add 
charter schools, to offer parents more choices for afterschool programs 
for their children? Surely, we can have a debate about education, or 
energy, or health care if we are going to spend that much new money.
  We know there has been a lack of bipartisanship. The refrain seems to 
be: We won the election; we'll write the bill. That was not the tone of 
the election. That was not what we looked forward to on the Republican 
side of the aisle.
  We know what we should have done instead. We know we shouldn't have 
spent the whole piggy bank on a spending bill that doesn't include much 
stimulus. We know that we should have reserved as many of those scarce 
dollars as we could to focus on fixing housing first and making sure 
that we don't underestimate the difficulty we have in getting toxic 
assets out of the financial institutions in this country so they can 
start lending again and on Main Street we can start doing business 
again. We know those are the things we should have done instead.
  This bill doesn't pass muster with truth in labeling. It claims not 
to have earmarks, although that levitating train from Las Vegas to 
Disneyland looks a lot like an earmark.
  We know that the two provisions in the bill that seemed to do the 
most to help were cut by the conference report in substantial ways. I 
am speaking of Senator Isakson's $15,000 tax credit for home buyers who 
would buy homes in the next year, which was gutted. And Senator 
Mikulski's and Senator Brownback's effort to give encouragement to 
automobile and truck buyers all over America to revive the automobile 
  We know that if we are to add $87 billion over 2 years to Medicaid 
for the States that we may be making the program so rich that we will 
never be able to decide what to do about it when we have our national 
health care debate. We are preempting that discussion without very much 
  I know what bipartisanship is. I have participated in it. When I was 
Governor of Tennessee, I worked with a Democratic legislature. We 
became the first State to pay teachers more for teaching well. I said 
what I thought we ought to do and the Democratic speaker said what he 
thought we ought to do. We sat down together.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has spoken for 6 minutes.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. I thank the Chair.
  We took some of Speaker McWherter's ideas and some of my ideas. We 
came to a conclusion and we together announced the result.
  President Bush and the Congress did the same thing with No Child Left 
Behind when President Bush working with Senator Kennedy and 
Representative Miller. Senator Bingaman and Senator Domenici gave us a 
good example with the energy bill. Seventy of us cosponsored the 
America Competes Act. And the Gang of 14 helped keep the Senate 
functioning and produced good Supreme Court nominees.
  I am disappointed that we have not risen to the occasion. This bill 
should have been easy to do in a bipartisan way. I hope that this is 
not a symbol of what is to come with more difficult pieces of 
legislation, like health care, climate change, and entitlements.
  I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Mr. President, during the last 18 months, our economy has 
been crippled by an unprecedented financial crisis. What began simply 
as rising defaults on subprime mortgages has rapidly evolved into the 
greatest economic storm since the Great Depression.
  Shackled by mounting losses on mortgage-backed securities and falling 
home prices, our banking system has retracted from normal lending. 
Starved of financing, our economy is rapidly deteriorating, while 
millions of Americans face unemployment.
  Unfortunately, we have watched two succeeding administrations--the 
Bush administration and now, I fear, the Obama administration--propose 
plans to revitalize our economy that have failed to live up to 
  We are now told that the solution to the current crisis lies in this 
stimulus bill before the Senate. Proponents claim that this bill will 
jump-start the economy and reinvigorate private commercial activity. I 
  This bill has been poorly conceived and hastily crafted. First, the 
immediate impact of this bill is far too small. According to the 
Congressional Budget Office, only 12 percent of the discretionary 
spending in this bill takes place in the year 2009. Secondly, this bill 
is not targeted to maximize its impact. It simply funds, I believe, a 
wish list of government programs rather than focusing on creating jobs 
and bolstering the incomes of all Americans.
  Finally, I fear that the supporters of this bill have been resting 
far too heavily on their Keynesian ideological crutch rather than 
devising good policy here.
  We are told that Professor Keynes said that government spending was 
the key to restoring long-term economic growth. We need to remember 
that Professor Keynes' views evolved a great deal over time. He was 
continually changing his opinions when confronted with new facts and 
circumstances. His famed ``general theory'' of employment, interest, 
and money was borne of his concern that the old policy prescriptions 
were not working.
  Because his thinking was always changing, Keynes was often criticized 
for being inconsistent. He famously replied:

       When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?

  I believe we need a solution that fits the facts and circumstances of 
our times, just as Keynes sought to provide a solution to address those 
of the United Kingdom at one time.
  Our solution, I believe, needs to focus on restoring our banking 
system. Unless our banking system is nurtured back to health, our 
economy will remain crippled, and much of what is in this stimulus 
bill, I believe, will have been wasted.
  It is worth remembering that the first thing Franklin Roosevelt did 
upon becoming President of the United States was address the Nation's 
banking crisis, long before he embarked on the New Deal spending 
programs. Another example I believe we should keep in mind is the 
experience of Japan during their so-called lost decade. You will recall 
that during the 1990s, the Japanese experienced a banking crisis as 
well. Rather than deal with their zombie banks, Japanese policymakers 
enacted numerous stimulus bills. And despite those spending sprees, the 
Japanese economy continued to stagnate as they increased Japan's debt-
to-GDP ratio from 60 percent to a staggering 180 percent today.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a list of economists, including several Nobel Prize winners.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       Burton Abrams, Univ. of Delaware; Douglas Adie, Ohio 
     University; Ryan Amacher, Univ. of Texas at Arlington; J.J. 
     Arias, Georgia College & State University; Howard Baetjer, 
     Jr., Towson University; Stacie Beck, Univ. of Delaware; Don 
     Bellante, Univ. of South Florida; James Bennett, George Mason 
     University; Bruce Benson, Florida State University; Sanjai 
     Bhagat, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder; Mark Bils, Univ. of 
     Rochester; Alberto Bisin, New York University; Walter Block, 
     Loyola University New Orleans; Cecil Bohanon, Ball State 
     University; Michele Boldrin, Washington University in St. 
     Louis; Donald Booth, Chapman

[[Page S2292]]

     University; Michael Bordo, Rutgers University; Samuel 
     Bostaph, Univ. of Dallas; Scott Bradford, Brigham Young 
     University; Genevieve Briand, Eastern Washington University.
       George Brower, Moravian College; James Buchanan, Nobel 
     laureate; Richard Burdekin, Claremont McKenna College; Henry 
     Butler, Northwestern University; William Butos, Trinity 
     College; Peter Calcagno, College of Charleston; Bryan Caplan, 
     George Mason University; Art Carden, Rhodes College; James 
     Cardon, Brigham Young University; Dustin Chambers, Salisbury 
     University; Emily Chamlee-Wright, Beloit College; V.V. Chari, 
     Univ. of Minnesota; Barry Chiswick, Univ. of Illinois at 
     Chicago; Lawrence Cima, John Carroll University; J.R. Clark, 
     Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Gian Luca Clementi, New 
     York University; R. Morris Coats, Nicholls State University; 
     John Cochran, Metropolitan State College; John Cochrane, 
     Univ. of Chicago; John Cogan, Hoover Institution, Stanford 
       John Coleman, Duke University; Boyd Collier, Tarleton State 
     University; Robert Collinge, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio; 
     Lee Coppock, Univ. of Virginia; Mario Crucini, Vanderbilt 
     University; Christopher Culp, Univ. of Chicago; Kirby 
     Cundiff, Northeastern State University; Antony Davies, 
     Duquesne University; John Dawson, Appalachian State 
     University; Clarence Deitsch, Ball State University; Arthur 
     Diamond, Jr., Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha; John Dobra, Univ. 
     of Nevada, Reno; James Dorn, Towson University; Christopher 
     Douglas, Univ. of Michigan, Flint; Floyd Duncan, Virginia 
     Military Institute; Francis Egan, Trinity College; John 
     Egger, Towson University; Kenneth Elzinga, Univ. of Virginia; 
     Paul Evans, Ohio State University; Eugene Fama, Univ. of 
       W. Ken Farr, Georgia College & State University; Hartmut 
     Fischer, Univ. of San Francisco; Fred Foldvary, Santa Clara 
     University; Murray Frank, Univ. of Minnesota; Peter Frank, 
     Wingate University; Timothy Fuerst, Bowling Green State 
     University; B. Delworth Gardner, Brigham Young University; 
     John Garen, Univ. of Kentucky; Rick Geddes, Cornell 
     University; Aaron Gellman, Northwestern University; William 
     Gerdes, Clarke College; Michael Gibbs, Univ. of Chicago; 
     Stephan Gohmann, Univ. of Louisville; Rodolfo Gonzalez, San 
     Jose State University; Richard Gordon, Penn State University; 
     Peter Gordon, Univ. of Southern California; Ernie Goss, 
     Creighton University; Paul Gregory, Univ. of Houston; Earl 
     Grinols, Baylor University; Daniel Gropper, Auburn 
       R.W. Hafer, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville; 
     Arthur Hall, Univ. of Kansas; Steve Hanke, Johns Hopkins; 
     Stephen Happel, Arizona State University; Frank Hefner, 
     College of Charleston; Ronald Heiner, George Mason 
     University; David Henderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford 
     University; Robert Herren, North Dakota State University; 
     Gailen Hite, Columbia University; Steven Horwitz, St. 
     Lawrence University; John Howe, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; 
     Jeffrey Hummel, San Jose State University; Bruce Hutchinson, 
     Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Brian Jacobsen, Wisconsin 
     Lutheran College; Jason Johnston, Univ. of Pennsylvania; 
     Boyan Jovanovic, New York University; Jonathan Karpoff, Univ. 
     of Washington; Barry Keating, Univ. of Notre Dame; Naveen 
     Khanna, Michigan State University; Nicholas Kiefer, Cornell 
       Daniel Klein, George Mason University; Paul Koch, Univ. of 
     Kansas; Narayana Kocherlakota, Univ. of Minnesota; Marek 
     Kolar, Delta College; Roger Koppl, Fairleigh Dickinson 
     University; Kishore Kulkarni, Metropolitan State College of 
     Denver; Deepak Lal, UCLA; George Langelett, South Dakota 
     State University; James Larriviere, Spring Hill College; 
     Robert Lawson, Auburn University; John Levendis, Loyola 
     University New Orleans; David Levine, Washington University 
     in St. Louis; Peter Lewin, Univ. of Texas at Dallas; Dean 
     Lillard, Cornell University; Zheng Liu, Emory University; 
     Alan Lockard, Binghampton University; Edward Lopez, San Jose 
     State University; John Lunn, Hope College; Glenn MacDonald, 
     Washington University in St. Louis; Michael Marlow, 
     California Polytechnic State University.
       Deryl Martin, Tennessee Tech University; Dale Matcheck, 
     Northwood University; Deirdre McCloskey, Univ. of Illinois, 
     Chicago; John McDermott, Univ. of South Carolina; Joseph 
     McGarrity, Univ. of Central Arkansas; Roger Meiners, Univ. of 
     Texas at Arlington; Allan Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon 
     University; John Merrifield, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio; 
     James Miller III, George Mason University; Jeffrey Miron, 
     Harvard University; Thomas Moeller, Texas Christian 
     University; John Moorhouse, Wake Forest University; Andrea 
     Moro, Vanderbilt University; Andrew Morriss, Univ. of 
     Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael Munger, Duke 
     University; Kevin Murphy, Univ. of Southern California; 
     Richard Muth, Emory University; Charles Nelson, Univ. of 
     Washington; Seth Norton, Wheaton College; Lee Ohanian, Univ. 
     of California, Los Angeles.
       Lydia Ortega, San Jose State University; Evan Osborne, 
     Wright State University; Randall Parker, East Carolina 
     University; Donald Parsons, George Washington University; Sam 
     Peltzman, Univ. of Chicago; Mark Perry, Univ. of Michigan, 
     Flint; Christopher Phelan, Univ. of Minnesota; Gordon 
     Phillips, Univ. of Maryland; Michael Pippenger, Univ. of 
     Alaska, Fairbanks; Tomasz Piskorski, Columbia University; 
     Brennan Platt, Brigham Young University; Joseph Pomykala, 
     Towson University; William Poole, Univ. of Delaware; Barry 
     Poulson, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder; Benjamin Powell, 
     Suffolk University; Edward Prescott, Nobel laureate; Gary 
     Quinlivan, Saint Vincent College; Reza Ramazani, Saint 
     Michael's College; Adriano Rampini, Duke University; Eric 
     Rasmusen, Indiana University.
       Mario Rizzo, New York University; Richard Roll, Univ. of 
     California, Los Angeles; Robert Rossana, Wayne State 
     University; James Roumasset, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa; John 
     Rowe, Univ. of South Florida; Charles Rowley, George Mason 
     University; Juan Rubio-Ramirez, Duke University; Roy Ruffin, 
     Univ. of Houston; Kevin Salyer, Univ. of California, Davis; 
     Pavel Savor, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Ronald Schmidt, Univ. of 
     Rochester; Carlos Seiglie, Rutgers University; William 
     Shughart II, Univ. of Mississippi; Charles Skipton, Univ. of 
     Tampa; James Smith, Western Carolina University; Vernon 
     Smith, Nobel laureate; Lawrence Southwick, Jr., Univ. at 
     Buffalo; Dean Stansel, Florida Gulf Coast University; Houston 
     Stokes, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago; Brian Strow, Western 
     Kentucky University; Shirley Svorny, California State 
     University, Northridge.
       John Tatom, Indiana State University; Wade Thomas, State 
     University of New York at Oneonta; Henry Thompson, Auburn 
     University; Alex Tokarev, The King's College; Edward Tower, 
     Duke University; Leo Troy, Rutgers University; David Tuerck, 
     Suffolk University; Charlotte Twight, Boise State University; 
     Kamal Upadhyaya, Univ. of New Haven; Charles Upton, Kent 
     State University; T. Norman Van Cott, Ball State University; 
     Richard Vedder, Ohio University; Richard Wagner, George Mason 
     University; Douglas M. Walker, College of Charleston; Douglas 
     O. Walker, Regent University; Christopher Westley, 
     Jacksonville State University; Lawrence White, Univ. of 
     Missouri at St. Louis; Walter Williams, George Mason 
     University; Doug Wills, Univ. of Washington Tacoma; Dennis 
     Wilson, Western Kentucky University; Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale 
     College; Huizhong Zhou, Western Michigan University.

  Mr. SHELBY. Mr. President, all these economists agree that government 
spending is not the way to improve economic performance.
  Over the past year, I have repeatedly called for an extensive 
examination of the origins of this economic crisis and of the potential 
solutions. So far, the majority has refused. In the absence of any 
analysis or detailed information, they have chosen time and again to 
solve the crisis by throwing money at it. I believe this is laying the 
groundwork for a much greater economic catastrophe.
  It took until 1982 for our publicly held debt to cross the $1 
trillion mark. In the 27 short years since, we have amassed a debt 10 
times that amount. Now we are about to vote on a measure that will, in 
a single year, add to the national debt what it took nearly 200 years 
to accumulate.

  I fear this is a day we will come to regret, not only because I 
believe the stimulus bill will not work but because it will mark the 
day when our generation decided we were not capable of enduring the 
consequences of our own actions, and therefore future generations must 
shoulder the burden we could not find the courage to bear ourselves.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. 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. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise this afternoon to talk about the 
economic recovery package, a package that will create jobs, put money 
in the pockets of the middle class, and strengthen our investment--
three extremely worthy and necessary goals. It is a package that will 
turn our economy around--and Lord knows we need it.
  Let me say, I have heard much talk from the other side claiming they 
are against this package because it increases the budget deficit and 
the national debt too much. For instance, I heard my good friend from 
Arizona this morning talking about generational theft. There is one 
surprising thing: When we talked about $1 trillion for the war in Iraq, 
all told, we never heard about generational theft. When President Bush 
talked about $2 trillion of tax cuts, mainly for the wealthy, did we 
ever hear the words ``generational theft''? Did we ever hear we should 
not do tax cuts for the wealthy or fund the war in Iraq because it was 

[[Page S2293]]

theft? Because it would increase the deficit? No, we didn't. I am not 
commenting on whether those two actions were worthy, but we certainly 
did not hear any qualms from the other side.
  The GOP was a borrow-and-spend party for each of the 8 years 
President Bush was in office. They doubled the national debt in 8 years 
and by some estimates added $30 trillion to future liabilities over 8 
years. Our friends on the other side of the aisle simply have no 
credibility when it comes to the issues of deficits and debt because, 
until 3 months ago, they didn't give a hoot about it. Only now, when 
there are Government programs for education and health care and 
transportation, do we hear about Government debt. But we never hear 
about it when it comes to funding wars overseas, like Iraq, or when it 
comes to tax cuts for the wealthy--that is perfectly OK. Where were our 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle for the last 8 years as the 
debt skyrocketed, as generational theft occurred? Where was my good 
friend from Arizona, who talked about this earlier today when I was on 
the floor?
  Mr. COBURN. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. SCHUMER. I will only yield, since I have only 5 minutes, on the 
Senator's time.
  Mr. COBURN. I will be happy to yield myself the time. The Senator 
paints with an awfully broad brush. I have been in this Senate for 4 
years. He knows very well that I voted against most appropriations 
bills. I talked about the debt in almost every speech I have given. So 
I hope we would talk about individuals rather than a group because it 
is not necessarily representative of all on my side.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Reclaiming my time, I think my colleague from Oklahoma 
makes a fair point. There have been occasional Members, such as the 
Senator from Oklahoma, the Senator from Ohio, the Senator from Maine, 
Ms. Snowe, who have talked repeatedly about increasing the debt. But by 
and large, the speakers we have heard this morning and this afternoon 
and the votes we have seen from the other side of the aisle, both under 
George Bush and now--we didn't hear much talk about generational debt.
  Mr. SANDERS. Will my colleague yield?
  Mr. SCHUMER. I am happy to yield on my colleague's time since I only 
have 3 minute left.
  Mr. SANDERS. Sure. Does my friend recall that for many years under 
President Bush, the Republican leadership told us how imperative it was 
to repeal the estate tax, which would cost this Nation $1 trillion over 
a 10-year period? Mr. President, $1 trillion--and who were the 
beneficiaries of that tax break? The top three-tenths of 1 percent.
  We are spending $800 billion, including tax breaks for the middle 
class, rebuilding this country. What does my friend think about $1 
trillion for the top three-tenths of 1 percent as opposed to putting 
money into the middle-class and working families?
  Mr. SCHUMER. I thank my friend from Vermont, and, reclaiming my time, 
he is exactly right. Let's look at it this way: Does anyone really 
believe that if a Republican President had helped construct a stimulus 
package with $800 billion of tax cuts, that we would hear talk about 
generational debt and that we would hear talk about not voting for the 
bill because it increased the national debt? Obviously not.
  Despite the claims to the contrary, the issue that most--not all--
Republicans have with this package is not that it is too big. Oh, no; 
that is a Trojan horse. The issue is plain and simple that they did not 
like investments--they do not like the Government to spend money on 
education and schools, they don't like the Federal Government to spend 
money on helping people with their health care, they don't like the 
Government to spend money on transportation, helping rebuild our roads 
and bridges, or spending money on changing our energy policy so we are 
not dependent on foreign oil. Oh, no. It is OK to spend money on the 
military--something I usually support--it is OK to spend money on tax 
cuts for the very wealthy but not to help the middle class with health 
care and education and transportation.
  That is why we took the majority. That is why we will stay in the 
majority, because the average middle-class person knows. They do not 
want a profligate government. They do not want a government that wastes 
money--absolutely not. But I think they want a government that is there 
for them and makes their lives a little better. They know that all the 
hue and cry of generational theft and increasing the national debt is 
only coming because this stimulus package helps the middle class with 
smart Government programs on education and health care and 
transportation. It is that simple.
  My colleagues, this package is very much needed. Without it, we could 
end up in a Great Depression, as the deflationary spiral goes down. To 
talk just ``no,'' as so many on the other side do, is reminiscent of 
Herbert Hoover. Back in 1930, there was a recession about the level of 
this one, and Herbert Hoover said, ``Do nothing.'' The recession became 
a depression.
  God forbid that happens now. President Obama is struggling mightily 
to prevent it from happening. He should have broad support from both 
sides of the aisle because, simply, this package is a mixture of 
spending and tax cuts--I think it is 56-44; because this package has 
accepted major amendments from the Republican side, the largest of all 
from the Senator from Iowa--a reduction in the alternative minimum tax, 
something I have long supported. So this is a balanced package.
  The horror the other side shows when the Government will get itself 
involved to help the middle class results in only getting three 
Republican votes. What more do my colleagues want us to do? Do they 
want a package just of tax cuts only, no help for health care, no help 
for education, no help for transportation? Do they want a package that 
is aimed and skewed at the wealthiest among us who are those who least 
need the help? We have let them offer amendments. We have accepted a 
good number of those amendments. Yet we have three votes.

  We want to be bipartisan, and we understand that each side mistrusts 
the other. But I say to my friends, we have reached out, we have 
accepted suggestions, we have put many tax cuts in this proposal that 
might not get a majority support on our side alone in an effort to 
reach out even though we think there are better ways to stimulate the 
  When we meet you halfway, don't give us the back of your hand and say 
it is not bipartisan. Don't say: It has to be all our way or 90 percent 
our way before we will vote with you. Don't let the hard-right base of 
this Republican Party keep a stranglehold on you and prevent us from 
marching forward together, because the country needs better. The 
country needs more. The country does need bipartisanship, but more 
important even than bipartisanship, as very important as that is, it 
needs help. It needs help to get this economy out of the mess, to 
create and preserve 3 to 4 million jobs, to put money in the pockets of 
the middle class, and to rebuild an infrastructure that is aging and 
will hurt our economy long after, God willing, this recession is over.
  To my colleagues, please, on the next bill--it is too late for this 
one--rethink the attitude. We are trying. You have had amendments and 
amendments. A good number have been accepted. Republican input, albeit 
from three, has been large in this package. Join us. We want you to. We 
are not going to insist on a bill that is 100 percent spending just as 
you should not insist on a bill that is 100 percent tax cuts. We are 
not going to insist on a bill that only invests in the things we care 
about. We will meet you part of the way. But don't give us the back of 
your hand because we have made real efforts and we know the arguments 
about debt and generational theft ring hollow because you didn't make 
those arguments once in the last 8 years when the deficit ballooned--a 
few did--when the deficit ballooned because of spending on the Iraq war 
and spending on tax cuts, largely for the highest income people in 
  I hope we pass this package. It is not perfect. I would draw it 
differently. My colleague from Vermont would draw it differently than I 
would. But it is a lot better than sitting here arguing and doing 
nothing. The country is in tough shape. We have had the most difficult 
economic time since the Great Depression. It requires concerted and 
smart action that President Obama has outlined. Please join us and help 
us move

[[Page S2294]]

this country away from the difficult times we are now in.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah is recognized.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, as I understand it, I have 7 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I enjoyed listening to my colleague from 
New York, as I always do. I was very interested in Senator Schumer 
saying that they have met us halfway. The first two bills out of this 
administration have been the C.H.I.P. bill--that was completely put 
together by Democrats without any input at all from Republicans and 
especially from people like me who wrote the original CHIP bill. The 
second bill was a stimulus package that was put together with no real 
impetus and no real help from the Republicans or any of us from this 
side. If you watched the process, it was basically we were told: Take 
it or leave it. When it finally passed by a narrow vote on this floor, 
by really 1, it immediately went into a conference where basically 
Republican ideas were not really considered. We were left out of 
negotiating this bill.
  I cannot help but paraphrase one of the leaders of the White House 
who said: We Democrats love crises. Why? Because then we can pass 
legislation we would never otherwise get through the Congress of the 
United States or through the elected representatives of the people in 
the two bodies in the Congress.
  I am outraged by the amount of government expansion that is contained 
in this bill. The Majority Democrats have seized this opportunity to 
put all kinds of programs in here that are not stimulus, some of which 
may be very valid in the regular appropriations process, but many of 
which are not stimulus, and are eating funds that should be going to 
help pull us out of these difficult times. The legislation clearly 
states that the funds appropriated in this bill should be for emergency 
uses, yet there is plenty in this legislation that is not imminent.
  I have to say that when my friend from New York, Senator Schumer, 
talks about tax relief they put in this bill, it is not true tax 
relief. When you start calling it a ``Make Work Pay'' tax credit, where 
they give refundable tax credits to people who do not pay income taxes, 
that is not a tax cut. It is not even tax relief. It is a cost to 
everybody else who works and pays income taxes, and it is not going to 
produce any jobs.
  Now, I am not against helping those who do not pay income taxes. I am 
not against helping people who are out of work. But, let's call it what 
it is--spending. And let us not put this in a stimulus bill, which is 
supposed to be effective immediately. Those provisions will not be 
effective for 2 or 3 years from now.
  I have been in the Congress 33 years this year. There has not been 
one day in my 33 years in the Senate where the fiscal conservatives 
point of view has been in the majority, not one day. We have won some 
battles because of great Presidential leadership or just plain gutsy 
leadership by the conservative Republicans, fiscal conservative 
Republicans. But, the Congress has been run by the more liberal left 
Democrats and a few Republicans who will side with them on these 
issues. This has created too much spending.
  One of the Senators on the floor yesterday said, how can we take 
advice from people who ran us into bankruptcy over the last 8 years?
  Well, Congress has exceeded the President's budget 20 times in the 
past 28 years. And it has always been because of the liberal left along 
with a few liberal Republicans to make a majority in the Senate.
  Since President Reagan, Congress has exceeded the President's budget 
every year except the years when President Clinton was in the White 
House. Now, why did we match President Clinton's budget when he was in 
the White House? It was the first time you had a Republican Congress, 
and a President who agreed to a lower budget.
  Today, the government spending as a percentage of gross domestic 
product is moving towards 40 percent. That is government spending as a 
percentage of GDP that is more in line with Europe. 40 to 50 percent 
spending of GDP is where Europe is. We are going through the 
``Europeanization'' of the United States of America.
  We have always had to give in to the left, because they have always 
been too many liberal people and a few Republicans who support liberal 
spending. This has led to threats to our principles of freedom, self-
reliance, and market-driven prosperity.
  An example is how our government is taking over the financial sector. 
Why are managers and shareholders of failed financial institutions not 
first in line to bear the consequences of their mistaken actions? Why 
are we not following the principles of a free market society?
  The economy has been stronger than the Democrats have been portraying 
it during those Republican years and during the Bush years, in 
particular. Democrats keep blaming the current economic decline on the 
failed economic policies of the past 8 years. But the economy grew each 
year over the past 8 years. We have only seen a decline in GDP over the 
past 6 months under which both Houses being controlled by Democrats. Do 
not miss the point. Over all of these years, we have had a liberal 
control of spending in the Congress, and you cannot blame President 
George W. Bush for that. He could have vetoed more, I have got to admit 
that, but the spending came from the left.
  We are headed toward Government spending being 40 to 50 percent of 
our gross domestic product. And since the bailouts started last year, 
we have only added nearly $2 trillion to our national debt. That did 
not happen when Republicans were in control of the Congress. The 
financial rescue package with $700 billion and more for AIG and other 
banks, we are beginning to wonder when the spending will end.
  I was amazed that in the last election, the Democrats, who had voted 
for the financial rescue legislation, went out and chewed up a few 
Republicans who also voted for that legislation. Even though most of 
the Democrats voted for it, they chewed Republicans up for voting for 
it and defeated them at the polls--talk about hypocrisy.
  We have seen very little success for our money, but even worse, we 
have used it to save management and shareholders of big banks, even as 
homeowners were forced into default and Main Street businesses faced 
bankruptcy. Now we have a stimulus package of $787 billion.
  While there is bipartisan concern over the economy, this is a 
partisan plan. This stimulus bill will explode the size of Government. 
Why? Because the more you explode it, the more you get people dependent 
upon the almighty Federal Government. The liberals who have been 
running us into bankruptcy over all of these years will put us even 
more into debt.
  I think conservatives need to be more alert. If these provisions are 
made permanent, and there will be a massive attempt to make these 
permanent, the expansion of Government is going to be enormous. I do 
not know what you call it other than socialism.
  Do not get me wrong. I am for a stimulus bill that would work, that 
would help homeowners, that would strengthen research and development, 
that would cut corporate and small business tax rates so that they can 
employ more people, that would move farther and farther toward creating 
jobs. That would be effective.
  However, this bill does not do that. I hope our colleagues will vote 
against it. We have to stand up on something, and this is a bill we 
should stand up on.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. I wish to be recognized for a unanimous consent 
request. I understood under the current unanimous consent we are going 
back and forth. I would ask that Senator Sanders be recognized up to 5 
minutes, then Senator Coburn be recognized for up to 30 minutes, and 
then I be recognized for up to 7 minutes, and if a Democrat comes in 
and wants to speak between Senator Coburn and myself that they be 
allowed to do so.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Vermont is recognized.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, my sense of history is a little bit 
different than my good friend from Utah. I was under the recollection 
that George W.

[[Page S2295]]

Bush was President for the last 8 years. My recollection was that the 
Republicans controlled the House and the Senate for 6 of those 8 years. 
My recollection is that during the last 8 years, 6 million Americans 
slipped out of the middle class and went into poverty. My recollection 
is that median family income for middle-class working families declined 
by over $2,000. My recollection is that, yes, the wealthiest people in 
the country did very well under President Bush but that ordinary people 
struggled to keep their heads above water.
  The bill we are addressing this evening is not perfect. I would have 
written it differently. I suspect everyone here would have written it 
differently. But what it does do is that in the midst of the greatest 
economic crisis this country has faced since the Great Depression, what 
we do is begin to address the unmet needs of the American people and we 
begin marching forward to create the millions of jobs this country 
desperately needs.
  Most importantly, we begin the process of moving America in a very 
different direction so that, in fact, this country does not fall into a 
great depression from which it would take us years and years and 
tremendous human suffering to dig our way out.
  What this legislation does is says that after years of neglect, let 
us create millions of good-paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling 
infrastructure. In the State of Vermont, our bridges need work, our 
roads need work, our water systems need work. That is true all over 
this country.
  Let us put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. 
That is what this legislation does. For decades now, people have been 
saying what a terrible shame it is, how silly it is that we import 
every single year hundreds of billions of dollars of oil from foreign 
countries. How silly it is. Well, finally we are beginning to address 
that absurdity. We are saying now and we are investing in energy 
efficiency, we are investing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, 
sustainable energy.
  Let's end the talk of moving us into a new energy direction. Let's 
invest in those areas so that America, in fact, can become energy 
independent. My Republican friends over the years have said what we 
need to do is give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country. 
In fact, right now, today, despite the fact that we have the most 
unequal distribution of wealth and income of any country, the 
Republican leadership today says, let's repeal the estate tax.
  Do you know that if we did as the Republicans wanted and repealed the 
estate tax completely, we would provide $1 trillion in tax breaks to 
the wealthiest three-tenths of 1 percent, millionaires and billionaires 
all? Not one person in the middle class would gain one nickel from that 
effort. It is one trillion dollars for the three-tenths of 1 percent.
  Then they come to the floor of the Senate and they say, what a 
terrible thing, you are investing $800 billion rebuilding America, 
creating 3.5 million jobs, giving millions of middle-class and working-
class Americans tax breaks. What a bad idea that is. You should do not 
that. We should not invest $800 billion rebuilding America. We should 
give $1 trillion to the top three-tenths of 1 percent. That is the 
contrast in terms of how they want to go and how many of us want to go.
  What this bill does is not only begin the process of rebuilding our 
infrastructure, not only begin the process of moving us away from 
fossil fuel and foreign oil, what we also understand is that middle-
class families cannot afford to send their kids to college. So we are 
putting a significant sum of money in and expanding the Pell grant 
  This bill understands that in these hard economic times, when 
millions of our fellow Americans have lost their jobs, hunger in 
America is a real problem. So we are putting money in for food stamps. 
We are putting money into energy, homeless shelters so that those among 
us, those least able among us, are protected.
  Working-class and middle-class families cannot afford childcare. We 
are putting billions into helping them get the childcare they need, the 
Head Start they need, and creating jobs in that area as well.
  This is an 800-page bill. It is not perfect. Everyone knows that. But 
this bill begins the process----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. SANDERS. Of moving the country in the right direction. It should 
be supported.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma is recognized.
  Mr. COBURN. I ask unanimous consent that the Senator from Nebraska be 
recognized next.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. NELSON of Nebraska. Mr. President, I thank my friend from 
Oklahoma for the courtesy of extending 5 minutes of his time on the 
front end of his time, so I will not be going between Senator Coburn 
and Senator Chambliss.
  Our Nation's economy is in trouble. Over the course of America's 
history our economy has been in trouble before but rarely this much. 
Job losses in my State of Nebraska and across the Nation are climbing, 
and the recession that began some 13 months ago is accelerating.
  Of the 3.6 million who have lost their jobs, nearly half received a 
pink slip in the last 3 months. Everyone in Congress knows we need to 
act, and to act soon, to try to stop our economy's downward slide, and 
to ease the increasing hardship felt by millions of American families, 
business owners, workers, students, and seniors.
  The time is now to begin turning this recession toward recovery. 
Congress cannot wait another 3 or 6 months to see if economic 
conditions worsen. By then it could be too late and we could be in a 
depression which it could take years to overcome. Now is the time to 
provide the tools the American people will use, with creativity and 
drive, to rebuild the economy and return us to prosperity.
  The $789 billion economic recovery plan before us providing jobs 
creation and tax cuts for millions of Americans has the best chance to 
do that, I believe. It is timely. This plan is a vast improvement over 
the first proposal considered several weeks ago.
  In the Senate, we faced a reality that any economic recovery plan 
would require at least 60 votes to overrule a filibuster attempt and 
win passage. So I and a number of colleagues came together to work 
across the political aisle with a shared goal: Scrub as much pork, 
nonstimulative spending, and fat as possible from the bill to focus it 
sharply on saving and creating millions of jobs. The group I dubbed the 
``jobs squad'' included my friend Senator Susan Collins of Maine and 
five other Republicans and some 15 Senators in my own party. I thank 
each of them for their contributions to making the bill better and for 
helping Congress respond to a national economy in crisis.
  This legislation before us is also targeted. There has been a lot of 
criticism of the final bill before us, and I agree it is not perfect. 
One criticism I have heard is that it will leave just $13 to $15 in 
people's pockets per week. To many hard-working Americans, that is 
somewhere between $700 and $800 a year, money they can use to pay 
electric or gas bills, buy food or medicine, provide clothes for their 
children, take a bit of the stress out of their lives.
  Let's look back a moment to recent history. In 2003, under the 
previous administration, Congress approved a major tax cut bill that 
included $20 billion in economic stimulus for States. Senator Collins 
and I coauthored the provision to help States cope with the loss of 
State revenues tied to the tax cuts. The $20 billion in State aid was a 
one-time boost designed to end when it would likely no longer be 
needed. Eighteen months after the tax cut bill passed, the aid to the 
States ceased. We have safeguards in the current economic recovery bill 
that will shut off spending in a similar timeframe. And 78 percent of 
the spending in this bill will be completed by the fall of 2010, 
overcoming the old wives' tale that this money will only be spent at 
the end of the legislation.
  This legislation clearly is temporary. As I said, it is not perfect, 
but it has the support of such major organizations as the National 
Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and, in my 
State, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and others. Members of these 
groups will be able to use money from this legislation quickly to hire 
new workers, tackle infrastructure needs nationwide, expand

[[Page S2296]]

their businesses, and begin to get our economy moving again. The bill 
will have a major impact on States across the Nation as well. For 
example, my State of Nebraska stands to receive a total of $1 billion 
from the recovery plan. Nebraska's K-12 school districts will receive 
about $236 million to prevent cutbacks, teacher layoffs, to modernize 
schools, and for other purposes. For State flexibility money, Nebraska 
will receive about $52 million to help rebuild vital educational and 
other State infrastructure. It can also be used to help State 
government provide services and avoid layoffs of critical employees 
such as State troopers and public safety officers. Nebraska is 
estimated to receive another $310 million in additional Medicaid 
assistance, preserving needed health coverage for low-income Nebraskans 
who will feel the economic downturn more than many others.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used 5 minutes.
  Mr. NELSON of Nebraska. I thank the Senator from Oklahoma for the 
time. I thank the Chair.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I have been sitting here for about an 
hour. I have to think the American people are pretty sick of what they 
have been hearing. We heard the Senator from New York talk about how 
bad the Republicans were. We heard the Senator from Utah talk in Hobson 
fashion. It doesn't come anywhere close to solving the problem. I think 
we ought to have a discussion about how we got here. How do we find 
ourselves in the mess we are in? I think we can look at history.
  There was a great historian named Alexander Tytler. He looked at the 
ancient Greeks and looked at what happened to them as they fell. He 
said this about republics. He said: All republics fail. They fail as 
soon as the people figure out they can vote themselves money from the 
public treasury.
  There is no question we are in hard times. There is no question we 
need to do a stimulus package. There is no question the Federal 
Government has the power to make a big difference in a lot of people's 
lives who are hurting right now. I don't think it would be fair to say 
that there is anybody in this Chamber who doesn't want to try to 
accomplish that. The difference is, how do you do it? In doing so, what 
kind of problems do you create?
  The way we got here is abandoning this little booklet. If you read 
article I, section 8 of the Constitution and then read what the 
Founders had to say about article I, section 8, it is called the 
enumerated powers. They were very clear in the role of the Federal 
Government. We are in trouble today, this Nation is in trouble today--
not something we can't get out of, we can; not something that the 
American spirit won't overcome--because we let the politicians abandon 
the very clear rules and wisdom that was given to us by a unique, 
almost ordained group of individuals over 200 years ago who saw a 
vision and said: How do we keep this?
  When we abandon this book, as we have and as we did, and we get into 
trouble, it is important to recognize what we did wrong, if we are 
going to try to fix it.
  The other thing I am tired of hearing about--and I think the American 
people are too--this isn't a Bush, Clinton, or Obama thing. This is a 
Congress thing. No President can spend money without us allowing it to 
happen. I almost laughed when I heard the claims on the Senate floor 
from both sides about the trouble we are in and how we got there and 
deficits and the Senator from Vermont and his claim of a trillion 
  I think the CBO cost on that was $60 billion on estate taxes. But the 
idea that we would put a blame on anybody other than ourselves, the 
truth of that is, go look at the votes on appropriations bills for the 
last 8 years. It is nearly 100 percent on one side and almost 95 
percent on this side of people voting to spend money we didn't have for 
things we didn't need.
  It is important the American people, as they see us trying to work 
through a process, No. 1, reject any partisanship they will hear. When 
somebody starts being partisan, turn the TV off because what it means 
is, they don't have anything substantive to talk about if they are 
pointing their finger at somebody else.
  The second question we ought to ask is, is what we are doing going to 
fix the problem? Here is the problem. The problem goes back to this. We 
set up two agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to socialize the risk 
for homeownership, a total violation of what is in this book. It is a 
total violation. Then we said: Maybe we can help people a little more, 
so let's go to subprime mortgages and let's bonus the people who work 
at the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The more subprime mortgages 
they take, the more money they make.
  If I remember, one former leader of Fannie Mae made $140 million 
because we bought mortgages he knew people weren't going to be able to 
pay for, but the incentive was there, in a quasi government-owned 
agency, to do something that is outside of the enumerated powers of the 
  So as we abandon principles, the best way for us to solve the 
problems in front of us is to go back and look at the principles.
  The other concern is, do we have the potential to make things worse? 
Nobody has talked about that today. Does what we are doing have a 
potential downside? You can't talk to one economist who doesn't say 
yes. As a matter of fact, by CBO's own score, 10 years from now this 
will either have zero effect or anywhere from a minus 2 to a plus 
three-tenths effect on the economy. The reason for that is we are going 
to borrow so much money, as we do in this bill, we are going to crowd 
out private investment. The Government is going to have all the money, 
and people will not be able to borrow money to invest in new ideas 
which create opportunity, which create jobs, which create increased 
standards of living.
  So going back, how did we get here and what is the real problem for 
us to create a stimulus bill right now, before we have a way to solve 
the housing and mortgage crisis--because the bank problem wouldn't be 
there if the mortgage and housing crisis wasn't there, for us to fix 
those first before we do this and for us to have a plan to do that--as 
a physician, one of the things I notice is, if somebody comes into the 
emergency room with chest pain, it is one of three or four things. 
Either they have an esophageal spasm or their esophagus is irritated or 
they have terrible reflux where the fluid from the stomach acid is 
burning the esophagus or they are having angina, heart pain, due to 
lack of blood supply. If you treat the symptoms, you can make that 
angina go away, but they still have a vascular abnormality around the 
heart that could kill them.
  My worry with this bill is that we are treating symptoms. We are not 
treating the disease. We are arguing, partisan arguing: Was this a 
bipartisan bill, wasn't it a bipartisan bill; you did this over the 
last 8 years, you did this. We need the country thinking forward, not 
backward. The guide for that has to be the Constitution, which every 
Member of this body is sworn to uphold but violates daily. We are in 
this trouble because the Congress put us in this trouble. The blame 
lies solely here.
  Let me talk about the bill for a minute. This is the bill. I won't 
pick it up and wave it around for fear I would be called into account 
of using theatrics. But do the American people realize nobody who is 
going to vote on this bill has read it? There is $727 million worth of 
spending on every page of this bill. That is what it averages out. So 
not counting interest, we have a less than $800 billion bill that had 
30 amendments in the Senate before it went to conference. We hear they 
are accepted. Some of them were accepted. We voted on one unanimously, 
and it got thrown out in conference, just a simple little thing like 
maybe we ought to make sure that contracting is competitively bid. Now 
the language reads we ought to try to do that, but we will not make 
sure that happens.
  I brought along with me, thanks to somebody down in the Senate gift 
shop, this little green item. It is called a thimble. In Oklahoma, we 
have a statement for that kind of thinking. It is called ``there is not 
any more commonsense than what can fit in a thimble.'' So when we take 
out something that is agreed to unanimously in the Senate to mandate 
competitive bidding so even if

[[Page S2297]]

we are wasting money, we waste it efficiently, you have to wonder what 
is going on.
  Let me tell you what is going on. This is a massive bill. Supposedly, 
it doesn't have any earmarks, which is laughable, if you have been 
around here any period of time.
  The conference did clean it up so you can't truly find out where the 
earmarking is. You could find it out a little bit before it went to 
conference. Now you can't pinpoint it all. But we are going to move 
from earmarking to a concept called ``phone marking.'' It is a new 
concept. It is more powerful than earmarking. Phone marking is this: 
This bill gets signed, $500 billion of it is going to be disbursed 
through the agencies. Guess what is the first thing that is going to 
happen after President Obama signs this bill. Members of Congress and 
Senators are going to be on the phone saying: I want this money spent 
here and here and here, and if you don't, in your appropriations next 
year, you are going to suffer.
  That is exactly what will happen with the money in this bill. 
Everybody who works inside Washington knows exactly that will be what 
  We have heard talk about the earmarks. I won't try to repeat some of 
the things that are in this bill. But I will talk about one. We have a 
private company that was developed. It has spent several million 
dollars developing a railroad from California to Las Vegas.
  Do you know what this bill does? It wipes them out. They invested 
private capital to develop a railway. In excess of $10 million has 
already been invested in that, and with the wisp of one earmark, we are 
going to bankrupt people who invested their life savings to try to do 
something good because the Government is now going to do it through an 
earmark and going to try to accomplish something that has only been 
done in one country and not effectively. It costs $100 million a mile 
to build a maglev train, and we are not going to see any of that money 
spent for 4 or 5 years because the technology is not here.
  That aside, there also was an amendment that truly would have done 
something to fix the real problem: housing--the Isakson amendment, with 
a $15,000 tax credit, if you are buying a primary residence, whether it 
is a foreclosed home or a new one. It would have done something 
magnificent in terms of lessening the crisis in housing.
  What did we do? Out. It had an overwhelming vote in the Senate, but 
it is out. How do you explain that? What is going on here? What is 
going on here is the initiation of what Alexander Tytler talked about: 
the failure of a republic. And it is about short-term politically, 
expedient thinking to the benefit of politicians, instead of what is 
the best right thing we can do for our country.
  The very claim that Senator McCain did not offer a substantive bill 
that would have significantly increased the number of jobs created, at 
a significantly lower cost, as scored by CBO and as scored by outside 
economists, is a spurious claim.
  Another thing that got added into the bill is the most dangerous 
precedent for health care in this country we have ever seen. We are 
now, with this bill, embracing Great Britain's health care system. What 
we are saying is that we are going to allow the Government in the 
future to decide what care you will get. It is called comparative 
effectiveness, and it is going to be based on cost, not clinical 
outcomes. We are going to abandon the knowledge of physicians, the 
experience they have with their patients, the 8 to 12 years of 
additional training they have and the lives that have been dedicated to 
improving the health of their patients. We are going to abandon that to 
a bureaucracy where the Government says: We know best.
  We are going to do that because we cannot afford Medicare in the 
future, and we are going to say, just like England says, if you only 
get 1 more year of life, then the most we can spend on you is $49,000. 
If you are 75 years of age and you are a Medicare patient and you fall 
and break your hip, we are sorry, we are not going to do it because it 
is not cost-effective.
  The first leg of you losing a doctor-patient relationship and the 
freedom to have health care decisions made by you and your caregiver is 
buried within this bill and will kill health care in America as far as 
its quality. You will get access--you will get to wait just like Canada 
and England do--but you will kill the quality and will kill medical 
innovation in this country. This country leads the world. Mr. 
President, 7 out of every 10 major breakthroughs in medicine occur in 
this country. And the reason? It does not mean we have a good system 
now. It needs to be improved.
  Here is the theory as I have observed it in the 10 years I have been 
in Congress: Never do what is best when you can do what is safe. That 
is how it operates in Washington and throughout the Federal agencies. 
They are risk averse, just like the politicians are risk averse to 
challenging priorities in this bill, that we ought to have priorities 
to spend the money for what would get the most jobs, the most economic 
  I had an amendment that was adopted. It had 73 or 74 votes. It got 
watered down and divided in conference because a lot of special 
interest groups said: Oh, no. You can't do that. So what did we do? 
They are not a priority as far as what we should be doing right now. As 
a matter of fact, 80 percent of--most of the groups that were 
complaining about it get their funds from private sources. The best way 
to get them funded back up is getting private sources moving again in 
terms of the economy. But what did we do? We chose the politically 
expedient path. Again, it was not often thought of--political 
expediency--by the people who created this country who risked their 
lives and their fortunes to make sure we have the freedom we have 
today. But yet we are abandoning that.
  It comes back to: What is our heritage as a nation? What is the 
heritage we as a nation have been brought forward with? I will tell you 
what I think it is. I think the heritage we have is that one generation 
was willing to make hard choices and hard sacrifices so the generation 
that followed would have greater opportunity--greater opportunity--a 
higher standard of living, more freedom, more liberty.
  What have we done? We are going in reverse. What we have been doing 
for the last 10 to 15 years in this country, what we have been saying 
is we will take it now. Kids, you lump it. As an example of that, if 
you look at 2008, the Federal Government spent $25,000 per household of 
your money. A good portion of it--a third of it--was borrowed. But we 
spent $25,000 as a Federal government per household. With this bill, we 
are going to spend $38,000 per family--just with this one bill. And we 
are hurrying it up. We have to get it done right now because there are 
CODELs, trips, and junkets waiting for Members to go on, including the 
Speaker of the House.
  So we have a bill that nobody has read, that has some real questions 
about whether it is going to be stimulative, that has taken out good 
financial controls such as competitive bidding, taken out listing 
priorities, and we are going to vote on it tonight, with nobody ever 
having read it. That is about as bad as the partisan bickering we have 
  Does it serve us well to hurry and do something when we do not know 
what we are doing? Now, there are some staff members who know some of 
what is in here. But there is not one person who knows the full extent. 
Mark my words, within a month, we will be back in here passing a bill 
to do all the corrections to this bill that we do not have right and 
correct at this time. That is how sloppy we do our work. So it is not 
only sloppy in terms of our effort, it is sloppy in terms of our 
  I would also add we are going to move from $2,000 per family in 
interest costs to $4,817 per family this next year. Now, in my State, 
the average family income is below what the Federal Government is going 
to spend with this bill. In my State, average family income is under 
$36,000. Yet we are going to spend $38,000 this next year per family in 
this country, and we are going to justify we had to do it to get us out 
of trouble. And we are going to do it because we did not fix the real 
problem, we are treating the symptoms. We are all going to feel good, 
and we are all going to take the invite of the Senator from New York to 
come on over and join us.
  The fact is, my oath as a Senator should disallow me from ever voting 
for this bill. Anybody who votes for

[[Page S2298]]

this bill will be violating their oath to this Constitution. America 
demands something be done. They are right. We need to do something. 
Should we do it sloppily? Should we do it without focus? Should we do 
it without temperance? And should we do it in a timely manner to make 
sure we are not treating the symptoms as reflux or esophageal spasm, 
but we actually go in and take the clot or the plaque out of the artery 
that surrounds the heart? Isn't that what we should be doing? Shouldn't 
we be fixing the real problem?
  While we are at it, we ought to be fixing us because we are the 
cocommitters of the real problem. Shouldn't we all be thinking long-
term rather than short-term political benefit? Shouldn't we be 
realizing what is expected of us?
  I would hope Americans tonight, if they have children, will go and 
look into the eyes of their children. There is something you see in 
children in this country that is very different than when you look in 
the eyes of some starving African child or some Third World country 
child. What you see, when you look into those beautiful brown, blue, 
green or hazel eyes, is hope.
  I think about my four grandkids and the one who is on the way. When I 
look in their eyes, I see hope. Then contrast that with the pictures 
you have seen of the despair and look of no hope of the kids around the 
world who have not had the opportunity of this country. What we are 
doing is we are stealing some of that hope tonight from our children.

  If you do not have a young child but you have one who has grown up, 
think back to that picture you have on the wall and look into those 
eyes and say: Do you want to steal that hope? Because that is what we 
are doing. We are limiting their liberty economically. We are limiting 
their freedom to be the best and brightest and have the greatest 
potential that any society has ever offered their youngest citizens. 
That is what we are doing with this bill.
  I will close with this and reserve the remainder of my time. There 
was a President we had who made a statement that was fairly popular, 
but it has great application right now. He said: Freedom is a precious 
thing. It is a precious thing. It is never guaranteed. It is not ours 
by inheritance. It has to be fought for and maintained and won by every 
  As we embrace this bill, we are selling out the heritage of our 
country. We are denying the hope and joy in those young eyes and we are 
limiting the freedom our children will enjoy. We can do better. We must 
do better for this country. Our country needs statesmen who will 
sacrifice themselves for the best interests of the country rather than 
the best interests of their party or the best interests of their 
political career.
  Freedom is precious. We are going to take a bit of it away tonight. 
It is going to go away, and you will see a little decrease in the 
glimmer of those children as they contemplate and we contemplate their 
  Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of Colorado). Who yields time?
  The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I think I have 7 minutes under the 
consent. Will you let me know when I have a minute remaining, please.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will notify the Senator.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to this 
bill, and I do so somewhat reluctantly because I do not think there is 
an individual who is a Member of this Senate who does not agree that 
something needs to be done.
  We are in a financial crisis in this country today. We are in not 
just a financial industry crisis but every household has their own 
financial crisis they are looking at. We have folks out of work. We 
have folks who are looking at their homes being foreclosed, some of 
whom are even still working. We have real issues that need to be dealt 
with. The question becomes: How do we solve this problem? How do we, as 
policymakers, act in a responsible way to address this crisis?
  There are three real issues that need to be addressed, in my opinion. 
First of all, the issue that got us into the crisis mode we are in is 
the housing industry. The housing industry crisis started years and 
years ago. I could go all the way back to the Carter administration and 
talk about bills that were passed by this body that started the ball 
rolling. It steamrolled in subsequent administrations and came to a 
head last summer and last fall, when we saw foreclosures reach an 
alltime high, and they have gotten higher ever since. We saw the 
financial sector of our economy collapse. But that does not do us any 
good to talk about that.
  We have to deal with the cards we have in our hand today, and we have 
to look forward. But let us make no mistake about it, if we do not fix 
the housing crisis this country is in, all the hundreds of billions of 
dollars and trillions of dollars we have obligated and are about to 
obligate are not going to be spent in the correct manner because we 
have to fix the housing market. We have too many households in America 
that are upside down. Upside down means the home they have now is worth 
less than what they owe on it. Those particular households all across 
America are struggling right now with the decision of whether they are 
going to continue to make their house payment or whether they are going 
to just let the foreclosure proceed so they don't have to make a 
payment on a house that is worth significantly less than what it was 
when they bought it.

  There was a provision we debated on the floor of this body last week 
called the Isakson amendment. My colleague from Georgia introduced that 
amendment which would have allowed a $15,000 tax credit to anyone who 
buys a home in the next 12 months. That $15,000 tax credit would have 
gone a long way towards incentivizing individuals to buy homes and take 
these houses that have been foreclosed on out of the inventory of the 
financial institutions across this country and allowed our developers 
to get back to work. It would have taken those developers now in their 
own partially developed--or in some instances totally developed--
subdivisions and given them the opportunity to get back into the 
marketplace with credit being freed up and continue to develop those 
subdivisions and build houses and put carpenters back to work and 
plumbers back to work and folks who lay carpet back to work. That is 
the kind of stimulus that needs to be done to get the housing industry 
back on track.
  Unfortunately, during the conference that took place over the last 
several days, starting, I think, at midnight the other night, from what 
I hear, and concluding maybe at midnight the next night, that provision 
was taken out.
  So with this bill, as we see it on the Senate floor today, the 
Isakson amendment has been so watered down that it is meaningless. It 
is not going to be an incentive on the part of anyone to buy a home.
  Now, we don't have one single provision in this bill that is going to 
be voted on, on the floor of the Senate tonight, that is going to 
really stimulate and invigorate the housing sector of our economy.
  Secondly, there was another amendment I thought was a pretty good 
amendment. I didn't know about it until we got the bill on the Senate 
floor, but it was a Democratic amendment by Senator Mikulski from 
Maryland. Her amendment basically said: Look, you are not going to 
stimulate the automobile industry by writing checks to Detroit. The way 
you stimulate the automobile industry is to put people in the showrooms 
around America. I am trying to buy a car right now, and I was 
particularly interested in what she had to say because what her 
amendment did was to allow an individual who bought a car and financed 
that car to deduct the interest paid on that loan at the end of the 
year off of their income taxes. Pretty good idea. For somebody who is 
in the market for an automobile, that may have been the final thing 
that put them over the top. Unfortunately, that particular amendment, 
too, has been so watered down that it is meaningless. It is not going 
to do one thing to incentivize or stimulate an individual to go out and 
buy a car today.
  The next issue that needed to be addressed is job security and job 
creation. Are there provisions in this bill that seek to create jobs? 
You bet there are. Out of $789 billion, I would hope some of those 
billions of dollars would do that. Certainly, with respect to part of

[[Page S2299]]

that money that is going to infrastructure projects, to build roads, to 
build highways, to do waterworks projects, there are going to be jobs 
created by that, and I have an appreciation for that fact. However, the 
fact is, it falls way short when it comes to looking at the percentage 
of spending that is allocated in this bill to infrastructure projects. 
It is minuscule--minuscule--compared to the total amount of $789 
billion that has been allocated, and when you add the interest, the 
$1.2 trillion that we are going to obligate tonight if this bill does, 
in fact, pass.
  There is a way we could have addressed job stabilization and job 
creation. In the McCain amendment that was on the Senate floor, there 
was a provision in that amendment that said we can incentivize the 
small business community--which is the heart and soul of the job 
creation sector of our economy--we can incentivize that small business 
community to grow their business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Do I not have a minute left?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. I am sorry, I thought you were going to let me know 
when I had 1 minute left.
  I ask unanimous consent for 1 additional minute.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I ask 
unanimous consent for 1 additional minute to Senator Inouye of Hawaii.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, the fact is, that amendment should have 
passed. It didn't pass. That would have gone a long way toward 
stabilizing and creating jobs in this market.
  The third part of this is that we need to be compassionate. We need 
to extend unemployment benefits. That is an appropriate part of 
spending but, again, minuscule compared to what is being spent here.
  This total amount of $789 billion which translates into $1.2 trillion 
has to be paid back. The Lord has blessed my wife and I with four 
grandchildren, two of whom we have had for about 10 and 12 years, and 
two of whom were just born about 60 hours ago. It is those 
grandchildren of mine and the children and grandchildren of everybody 
in this Senate and all across America who bear the responsibility of 
paying this money back. When we spend money, we are obligated to spend 
it judiciously and responsibly. This expenditure of $1.2 trillion is 
not going to stimulate this economy, and this bill ought to be 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.


  Ms. MURKOWSKI. It is my understanding that the language in section 
1610 that reads ``is otherwise authorized by statute to be entered into 
without regard to the above referenced statutes'' is intended to ensure 
that existing Federal procurement laws applicable to programs that 
allow for set-asides and direct-award procurements for service-disabled 
veteran-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, tribal 
enterprises, women-owned businesses, HUB Zone qualified businesses and 
other entities covered through SBA programs, as well as, for example, 
the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act Program, remain fully applicable to 
contracts initiated under this Act, is that correct?
  Mr. INOUYE. The Senator is correct. Nothing in this act overturns or 
changes the existing procurement laws for the SBA or similar programs 
or the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. Since approximately 80 percent of the 
jobs in the United States are created by small businesses and since one 
of the main purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 is to get people back to work as soon as possible, the intent of 
this stimulus package is that small businesses, including those 
participating in SBA programs, will be able to participate in spending 
programs contained in the bill so long as the contracts are awarded 
following existing Federal law for competitive and direct award 
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. I thank the Senator for this clarification.


  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I seek recognition to clarify a provision 
in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is my view that our 
national transportation policy should promote a balance between the 
highway and rail freight shipment modes. In promoting this concept of 
modal balance, I have particular interest in the well-being of the 500 
short lines and regional railroads of America. I am advised that these 
railroads operate 50,000 miles of line, nearly 20 percent of the entire 
system. They connect communities and entire rural regions of the 
country to the mainline rail network. These carriers provide essential 
economic and environmental benefits primarily in rural regions of the 
country, including those in my State.
  Pennsylvania has 54 small railroads that operate over 3,000 miles of 
line. It is estimated that if these railroads are abandoned, 
Pennsylvania highway users would sustain additional pavement damage of 
$87 million annually. This alone, in addition to the documented 
environmental and congestion relief benefits of freight rail, is a 
notable public benefit to highway users. In 2007, Congress enacted 
Public Law 110-140, the Energy Act of 2007, and chapter 223 created a 
new program of capital grants to class II and III railroads to preserve 
this essential service. I believe that this provides an authorization 
and public interest justification for funding small rail projects with 
stimulus appropriations.
  There are two programs within the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act that are of particular applicability. They are both adopted from 
the Senate version of the bill. First, the Senate bill included a $5.5 
billion discretionary program that could be used for highway, transit, 
as well as freight and passenger rail projects. The conference report 
funds this at $1.5 billion. There is a threshold that the projects must 
be between $20 million and $500 million. I am informed that this is too 
high a threshold for most short line rail projects. Fortunately, the 
conference report stipulates that the Secretary may waive the 
requirement for smaller cities and regions. It is my understanding that 
these investments may include short-line railroad projects that meet 
public benefit tests such as those stipulated in the Energy Act of 2007 
and provide a benefit to highway users. Second, the conference report 
includes $27.5 billion for highways and surface transportation 
infrastructure. The conference report explicitly states that grants may 
be for passenger and freight rail transportation projects. The 
flexibility criteria states that a project must be eligible under 
Section 133 of title 23 601(a)(8) which reads in part ``for a public 
freight rail facility or a private facility providing public benefit 
for highway users.'' My understanding is that short line rail projects 
that ``provide a benefit to highway users'' are be eligible for this 
  I would ask the distinguished chair of the Transportation, Housing 
and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee 
if I am correct in my understanding that the Secretary may waive the 
$20 million minimum requirement under the discretionary grant program 
and that short line and other freight rail projects that provide a 
benefit to highway users are eligible under the $27.5 billion highway 
infrastructure investment.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, yes, the Senator from Pennsylvania's 
understanding is correct. The conference report does give the Secretary 
of Transportation authority to waive the minimum grant size under the 
discretionary grant program for the purpose of funding significant 
projects in smaller cities, regions or States. Additionally, funds 
provided for investment in highway infrastructure maybe be used for 
passenger and freight rail transportation and port infrastructure 
  Mr. SPECTER. I thank the Chairman.

                  economically distressed communities

  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise to engage my colleague, the chair 
of the Environment and Public Works Committee, in a colloquy. The 
Reinvestment Act we are passing today provides a unique opportunity for 
some of our most economically distressed communities to connect to our 
Nation's transportation network. We have ``shovel ready'' projects that 
are in need of funds. As the chair knows,

[[Page S2300]]

these Federal funds have enormous potential to help complete work on 
projects and help bring jobs and economic development to our 
communities. I ask my colleague, in helping to draft this legislation, 
is it her intention to ensure that projects already under development 
in distressed communities receive full consideration under the law?
  Mrs. BOXER. Projects in economically distressed communities are a 
high priority in this legislation and those projects should be 
addressed on an expeditious basis under applicable Federal 
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, our Nation is in a serious recession. The 
American recovery and reinvestment conference report that we now have 
before us will help create or maintain 3.5 million jobs.
  The question before my colleagues is this: Will we act together to 
reinvigorate our economy, turn the tide on this recession, and create 
those 3.5 million jobs, or will we say no?
  When we cast our vote today, we are not choosing between the bill we 
personally would have written and the bill before us. The choice before 
us today is between the bill we have before us and doing nothing. And 
we simply cannot afford to do nothing.
  The recession is the most pressing threat to our national security.
  I have spoken often on the floor over the past several weeks about 
the alarming job losses that continue to escalate each day. That alone 
should be enough to convince my fellow Senators we must act.
  Yesterday, we heard a new argument for action. President Obama's top 
intelligence advisor, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, 
told us yesterday that the deteriorating global economy is now the 
greatest threat to America's national security--a security threat more 
grave even than terrorism.
  He said:

       Roughly a quarter of the countries in the world have 
     already experienced low-level instability such as government 
     changes because of the current slowdown.

  Director Blair said that the most immediate fallout from the 
worldwide economic decline for the United States will be ``allies and 
friends not being able to fully meet their defense and humanitarian 
  We have a bill before us that is ready to be sent to the President's 
desk. What could any of us be waiting for? The global economy will only 
recover if the largest economy in the world--ours--begins to recover. 
That is what this bill is designed to do.
  The bill provides a long list of critical investments. The powerful 
investments in America contained in this package are too numerous to 
list, but here are a few highlights:
  On infrastructure, the conference report includes a critical $8 
billion investment for our intercity passenger rail system. This 
funding will take us a long way toward the goal of transforming our 
national transportation system, including rail service for many people 
in my home State of Illinois who want to ride the trains today but 
simply can't find a seat on our overcrowded trains.
  The conference report invests $4.7 billion in extending broadband 
access to underserved areas, so that all American families and 
businesses can benefit from the technology of the 21st century. These 
investments will create good-paying jobs here in America. And all 
Americans will benefit from stronger transportation and 
telecommunication systems in this country.
  In the area of tax cuts, 95 percent of all working families in 
America will receive a tax cut of up to $800. Mr. President, 26 million 
families will be shielded from paying additional alternative minimum 
tax payments for 2009. Small businesses will benefit from new tax 
provisions related to expensing, net operating loss carrybacks, and 
capital gains. These tax cuts will help American families keep food on 
the table and will help many small businesses stay in business and 
weather the storm of this economic downturn.
  On education, Pell Grants will be increased by up to $500 per student 
so that more students can stay in school even as the finances of their 
families deteriorate. Illinois students will receive over $650 million 
from this national investment in their future.
  A new American Opportunity Tax Credit will provide eligible students 
with up to $2,500 to help with tuition and expenses. Over 150,000 
students in Illinois will benefit.
  Some argue that we shouldn't be investing in education because it 
isn't ``stimulative.'' I disagree. What is the impact on the economy if 
students all over the country have to drop out of school because their 
families can no longer afford the cost of higher education? How does 
that help turn around our economy and sustain our economic strength 
over time? An investment in those students pays off now, and it pays 
off again later, as they emerge from school better prepared to 
participate in a renewed economy.
  On health care, out-of-work Americans trying desperately to maintain 
the health care coverage they received from their former employer will 
receive help from the Government with their COBRA payments. The 
Government will pay 65 percent of COBRA premiums for up to 9 months 
while these individuals look for work.
  States will receive more Medicaid funds to help low-income children 
and their families keep their Medicaid coverage. My home State of 
Illinois, for example, will receive $2.9 billion over 2 years.
  It is critical that families receive this modest but vital help as 
they try to stay afloat and desperately look for new jobs. Providing 
insurance against the costs of health emergencies is a fundamental way 
to help struggling families, and it produces an immediate, stimulative 
effect as the fund flows.
  Voting no is the real generational theft. Now, some of my colleagues 
on the other side of the aisle have claimed that this bill amounts to 
``generational theft.'' My answer is this: We are stealing from our 
children's future if we fail to act today. If we don't act, we are 
stealing from millions of children the one thing that is more important 
than anything else: hope.
  We are trying to save or create 3.5 million jobs with this bill. 
Those jobs aren't just numbers on a page; they represent real lives--
real fathers and mothers who either can or cannot make ends meet for 
their little ones.
  Are we not stealing hope from our children if we tell millions of 
parents that they have to go home to their kids and explain that there 
is no more money coming in to put food on the table?
  Are we not stealing hope from millions of children if we take away 
the security of being able to sleep in their own bedrooms each night, 
if we stand aside as they are thrown out on the street when the banks 
come to take away the keys to their homes?
  Are we not stealing hope from our children if there is not enough 
money to allow them to go to college because all of the money that 
might have been saved needs to be used now to keep the family from 
going bankrupt?
  This bill commits generational theft?
  We have been told by economists across the political spectrum that 
today's economic malaise is greater than anything we have experienced 
since the Great Depression. We have been warned of the potential for a 
decade of more lost growth.
  What is the cost to our children, if they inherit an economy from us 
that is stuck in reverse or neutral for years and years? If we have a 
way out of this crisis and we fail to act, isn't that the real 
generational theft?
  Voting no today steals hope from our children. Voting no today steals 
economic growth from our children. Voting no today steals a more secure 
future from millions of children.
  That is the theft we commit today if we fail to send this recovery 
bill to the President's desk.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I would like to speak on concerns I have 
with the Medicaid and welfare provisions in the conference agreement we 
will be voting on shortly.
  This bill would provide an $87 billion slush fund for the States.
  As I have said on the Senate floor numerous times during this debate, 
States don't need $87 billion for their Medicaid Programs.
  The Congressional Budget Office analyzed an amendment I wrote to 
target funds just for enrollment-driven increases in Medicaid spending. 
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office gave us the answer for how 
much it would cost to provide federal funding for the additional 
Medicaid enrollment

[[Page S2301]]

caused by the economic downturn. And that cost is not $87 billion; it 
is 1.8 billion.
  The remaining $75 billion in this bill goes to helping States fill in 
their deficits. Giving States almost eight times what they need for 
enrollment-driven Medicaid does not meet the definition of targeted in 
my book.
  Now, we will hear that this $87 billion Medicaid slush fund for 
States is necessary to avoid tax increases at the State and local 
level. We will also hear that vital State services will be cut unless 
the Federal Government cuts this big blank check to the States. But 
when asked to tie the taxpayer dollars to guarantees that the States 
will not raise taxes or cut services, we have been turned back by 
Members on the other side.
  I heard some folks on the other side of the aisle claim the formula 
for distributing the funds better targets relief to the States that 
need it most by using unemployment rates in the formula.
  Using unemployment makes sense to target--there is nothing wrong with 
that. But it doesn't work if you then funnel the money for the States 
through Medicaid.
  Let me explain. Every State has a different sized Medicaid program--
some States have bigger Medicaid Programs and some have smaller ones.
  By using Medicaid to distribute the 87 billion, the formula in the 
bill necessarily biases the funds towards States with large Medicaid 
Programs, like California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.
  Now we'll hear that those States need more because they have larger 
Medicaid Programs. But remember it only takes $10.8 billion to pay for 
enrollment-driven Medicaid spending increases.
  So States like California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York get 
favored treatment and everyone else gets short-changed.
  Simply put, this way of targeting misses the target. The formula in 
this bill clearly fails the targeting test of the three Ts.
  This bill also undermines key principles of welfare reform. While it 
makes sense to provide a safety net for families that have lost their 
jobs, this bill moves welfare policy in the wrong direction.
  The historic Welfare Reform law signed by President Clinton already 
has a built-in mechanism to help states during an economic downturn. 
That law provides welfare contingency funds for States in economic 
  But rather than make the existing contingency fund more accessible to 
States, this bill creates a new fund that includes policies that are 
not consistent with the principles of meaningful welfare reform.
  For the first times since the abolishment of the aid to families with 
dependent children program, this new fund gives States financial 
incentives for expanding their welfare caseloads. Rather than encourage 
States to reduce their welfare rolls, this provision rewards States for 
enrolling families on welfare.
  This bill also relieves States of the responsibility to engage able-
bodied adults on welfare in work training, work experience programs or 
  It makes no sense to promote policies that encourage States to expand 
their welfare rolls while loosening requirements on States to provide 
work training, work experience programs or education. At this critical 
time, these job training activities are even more important than ever.
  These changes will not stimulate the economy nor will they lead to 
productive jobs. In fact, these policies could trap families in deep 
and persistent poverty.
  Mr. President, that is clearly not what we should be doing in this 
bill and it is another reason why I am unable to support the 
  Mr. President, I am back again to speak about some provisions that 
are buried deep within this stimulus bill that was put together behind 
closed doors without input from the minority. I know this was done 
behind closed doors because I was a conferee to the negotiations and I 
wasn't even in the room.
  Now, I have always been a strong advocate of opening up Government, 
making it more transparent, making it more accountable, and shedding 
some sunlight on how the Government works for the people. So, in that 
vain, I am here today to shed some light on provisions hidden away in 
the conference report that will actually hurt transparency and 
accountability of taxpayer dollars.
  Inspectors general are the front line against fraud, waste, and abuse 
of taxpayer dollars at Federal agencies. They are independent from the 
Federal agencies they oversee and are independent from Congress. They 
are the watchdogs that are responsible for sifting through all the 
budgets and expenditures by conducting audits, performing program 
evaluations, investigating allegations of wrongdoing, and working 
closely with whistleblowers to uncover the truth. Inspectors general 
point out problems that need to be fixed and save taxpayers billions of 
dollars a year. They are integral to any effort to stamp out waste and 
deter fraud and abuse. So, I was pleased to see that they weren't 
forgotten in the bill and were given some more resources to oversee the 
billions in new spending. However, tucked away in this bill is a 
provision that threatens to micromanage these independent watchdogs in 
a manner that is contrary to not only the spirit and intent of the 
Inspectors General Act of 1978, but the 31 years of results these 
dedicated fraud fighters have worked to achieve.
  I will point my colleagues to division A, page 465 of the conference 
report. There, section 1527 is, ironically titled, ``Independence of 
Inspectors General.'' Great title, something you would think you would 
like to support. If you keep reading, it states that ``nothing in this 
subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general 
to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered 
funds.'' Again, a nice statement that reinforces the fact that we want 
inspectors general to be independent, but, unfortunately, the provision 
doesn't stop there.
  If you read a little further you will find that the bill gives a new 
entity, the ``Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board'' the 
authority to, request ``that an inspector general conduct or refrain 
from conducting an audit or investigation.'' It goes on further to say 
that if an IG objects to being told what to do and acts independently--
as we expect them to--he or she must submit a report to that board, the 
agency they oversee, and to Congress within 30 days.
  Now, I don't know about everyone else around here, but that sounds to 
me like a lot of redtape for an independent watchdog to go about doing 
their job. In fact, it is fitting that the acronym for this board is 
RAT, because that is what I smell here.
  But, most importantly, this provision strikes right at the heart of 
any inspectors' general independence. It appears to me that the 
majority that crafted this bill, isn't all that interested in 
transparency and accountability. Let me say it loud and clear: I don't 
like this one bit and from the chatter I hear, the IGs don't like it 
either--especially if it involves a criminal investigation.
  Now, some of my colleagues will say this isn't too burdensome and 
that it will help coordinate the work of inspectors general. Others say 
that the new board will contain IGs who will have input so it won't 
stifle investigations. Both of these arguments lack merit when you peel 
the onion back.
  Any new limitation on the independence of inspectors general is 
dangerous. Here, even though an inspector general is allowed to buck 
the new board and continue an investigation they are told not to do, he 
or she must then put together a report for that board, the agency that 
is being investigated, and Congress, all within 30 days. This will take 
resources away from investigating and auditing fraud, and turn a truly 
independent IG into a report writer.
  As to the argument about the make-up of the new board, it is true 
that inspectors general will make up the bulk of the board. However, it 
will be chaired by either: the Deputy Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget, a Presidential appointee confirmed by the 
Senate, or any other individual subject to Senate confirmation. So, 
based upon this model, you could have a situation where the President 
appoints a sitting Cabinet Secretary to oversee the board that oversees 
the inspectors general that oversee the agency run by the Secretary in 
charge of

[[Page S2302]]

the board. I don't want to even try to imagine the scenario where the 
head of the board is a private sector corporate figurehead of a company 
that has a financial conflict stemming from the fact that the company 
receives stimulus money. The system this bill creates is not only 
unworkable; it is loaded with potential for conflicts of interest that 
are simply mind blowing.
  I also question the need for yet another board full of Government 
officials. Why do we need yet another Government entity? The inspectors 
general have worked cooperatively for years via the President's Council 
for Integrity and Efficiency, PCIE, and the Executive Councils for 
Integrity and Efficiency, ECIE, which are made up of inspectors 
general. These entities were recently rolled into the Council of the 
Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, CIGIE, by the Inspector 
General Reform Act of 2008. This new board created by the stimulus bill 
will simply duplicate already existing efforts in addition to hindering 
the independence of inspectors general.
  We have repeatedly recognized the need for independent IGs and we 
unanimously passed the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 that was 
signed into law by President Bush last October. That law was passed 
because Congress and the IGs recognized that changes were needed to 
strengthen the independence of inspectors general. It included simple, 
straightforward reforms such as ensuring each inspector general had 
access to independent legal advice free and clear of agency influence. 
It seems to me we all agreed independence was needed for IGs so long as 
it occurred when there was a Republican President. I hate to think that 
there is some conspiracy here, but when we have all backed the 
independence of IGs in the past, you have to question the change of 
direction buried deep within this bill.
  This is a dangerous provision that will hamper oversight, restrict 
transparency, and damage the independence of inspectors general. It 
works against the pledge of transparency and accountability that 
President Obama has advocated for and puts another layer of bureaucracy 
between taxpayers and the truth about how the hundreds of billions of 
dollars are spent.
  Mr. President, I would like to talk about an immigration provision 
that was included in the final conference report, as well as a couple 
that were not.
  First, the good news. I was pleased to hear that the conference 
report retained the Sanders-Grassley amendment to ensure businesses 
that receive TARP funds go through a very rigorous hiring process 
before employing new H-1B visa holders. Hiring American workers for 
limited available jobs should be a top priority for businesses taking 
taxpayer money through the TARP program. With the unemployment rate at 
7.2 percent, there is no need for companies to hire foreign workers 
through the H-1B program--particularly in the banking industry. 
According to an AP article, the banking industry requested more than 
21,800 visas for foreign guest workers over the last 6 years. At least 
100,000 workers were laid off in the banking industry in the past few 
months. Now that many qualified American bank employees are unemployed, 
banks who want to hire workers shouldn't have a hard time finding what 
they need from an American workforce.
  The Sanders-Grassley language requires that a company receiving TARP 
funds and applying for workers under the H-1B process must operate as 
an ``H-1B dependent company.'' This means they will still be able to 
hire H-1B visa holders, but must comply with the H-1B dependent 
employer rules which include attesting to actively recruiting American 
workers; not displacing American workers with H-1B visa holders; and 
not replacing laid off American workers with foreign workers. This 
restriction would last for 2 years.
  So this amendment would ensure that TARP recipients comply with 
strict hiring standards in order not to displace qualified American 
workers. The bottom line is that if banks are going to be getting TARP 
money--American taxpayer money then they need to be hiring American 
workers. While I support the H-1B program, it needs to be used in the 
way it was intended and not to replace qualified American workers. This 
amendment helps to ensure that taxpayer money going to assist companies 
get back on their feet also helps American workers keep and/or get 
  Now, the bad news. I am extremely disappointed that the final bill 
doesn't include some very important E-verify provisions. The House 
passed stimulus bill included language to extend the E-verify program, 
a program that allows employers to verify the social security numbers 
and legal status of newly hired employees. The E-verify process has 
been an extremely successful program for employers. In addition, the 
House passed stimulus bill included language that would have made it 
mandatory for companies receiving TARP funds to use the E-verify system 
when hiring new employees. These two provisions passed the House with 
broad bipartisan support.
  Here on the Senate side, my friend Senator Sessions filed several 
amendments to extend E-verify and require TARP recipients to use E-
verify. I fully supported those amendments. Unfortunately, the good 
Senator from Alabama was blocked from offering his amendments to the 
Senate bill--even though, if given the chance, I am sure that his 
amendments would have passed with the same overwhelming vote as the 
House amendments.
  I was ready to support the House E-verify provisions in conference. 
As we all know, Republican conferees were shut out from any negotiation 
of this conference report. But we were extremely hopeful that the 
provisions were going to be retained, because of strong bipartisan 
support on both sides of Capitol Hill.
  So I was really surprised to hear that House leadership stripped E-
verify completely from the conference report. Many people supported 
these provisions and understood their importance. These E-verify 
provisions would have helped stimulate the economy by preserving jobs 
for a legal workforce, so it is outrageous that they were not included 
in the final conference agreement. The American taxpayer is spending 
nearly a trillion dollars to spur the economy. It's not much to ask 
that the companies receiving hard earned taxpayer dollars actually make 
sure they are employing legal workers. The exclusion of both the E-
verify reauthorization and the requirement that companies getting TARP 
money have to use the E-verify program is truly a colossal failure on 
the part of our congressional leadership to stimulate the economy and 
ensure that jobs go to legal workers.
  The fight is not over. I am a strong believer in the E-verify 
program. I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure that 
this important program is reauthorized and utilized by as many 
employers as possible.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, section 405 of division A of this 
conference report involves an amendment to section 1304 of the Energy 
Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is under the jurisdiction 
of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, of which I am the 
chair. It is a provision that deals with the standards and protocols 
that will be used in Smart Grid demonstration projects. With respect to 
these demonstration projects, the conference report states that the 
Secretary of Energy ``shall require as a condition of receiving funding 
under this subsection that demonstration projects utilize open 
protocols and standards (including Internet-based protocols and 
standards) if available and appropriate.'' This is a clarification of 
language originally passed by the House of Representatives on the 
subject. It makes clear that all protocols and standards used by Smart 
Grid demonstration projects must be open. Some of those open protocols 
and standards may involve sending information over the Internet. Others 
may use other means of data transfer. The parenthetical inclusion of 
Internet-based protocols and standards under the requirement for open 
standards means nothing more than that to the extent that an open 
standard uses the Internet, it is still an open standard, but (1) the 
universe of open standards and protocols is not considered to be 
limited to only those which use the Internet, and (2) the mere use of 
the Internet would not cause a standard to meet the criterion of being 
open if it were not otherwise an open standard. There is no intent in 
this language to discriminate for or against any given

[[Page S2303]]

open protocol or standard, or to promote any one technology solution 
over another, so long as they are available and considered to be 
appropriate by the Secretary of Energy. The Senate expects the 
Secretary to conduct the process of making awards under this authority 
in a way that ensures there is no discrimination for or against any 
open protocol and standard that is otherwise available and appropriate.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, the Senate tonight will send to the 
President the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I think this 
legislation is a first step not only in turning the economy around in 
the short term, but also in laying the groundwork for rebuilding and 
growing it over the near and longterm. But we need to do much more.
  I think it is important to lay down a marker right now that our job 
on rebuilding this economy is not finished. We must continue to focus 
on making the right kind of investments, ones that help us realize our 
maximum economic potential and ones that update our economic engines 
for the 21st century and beyond. To do this, we must make a commitment 
to invest in our capacity to innovate and in our capability to 
commercialize new technologies and discoveries.
  I have worked with many of my colleagues, especially Chairman Baucus 
and Senator Hatch, on bolstering the incentives that support our 
country's research capabilities.
  For example, I have long been a supporter of making the R&D tax 
credit permanent. I continue to believe that we have done ourselves a 
tragic disservice by failing to provide long-term predictability to the 
very businesses that are driving economic growth and are at the 
frontline of every innovation and discovery that moves us forward as a 
  We all know that if the high-wage jobs of the future are going to be 
created in the United States we have to make the necessary investments 
in intellectual infrastructure to keep American business competitive in 
the global economy.
  Investing in America's intellectual infrastructure is key to economic 
growth and instrumental in spurring entrepreneurial innovation and job 
creation. It is just as important as our commitment to physical 
  Yet, thousands of companies employing U.S. workers in cutting-edge, 
research-oriented industries such as biotechnology, high technology, 
and clean technology are suffering from the same fate that has affected 
our U.S. manufacturing companies. Without credit markets properly 
functioning and with little to no investment from the equity markets or 
venture capital, this next generation of job creators will shrink and 
become less competitive in the global economy if we do not take action.
  Economic analysis tells us that because R&D doesn't produce fast cash 
it is often a target when times are rough and companies need to reduce 
costs. It is in our collective interest as a country to help companies 
take a different path during this economic downturn and find ways to 
help innovative companies sustain and increase their R&D spending now 
so they are better positioned to succeed when economic conditions turn 
  I will ask to have printed in the Record a letter from 11 technology-
oriented, R&D-dependent trade associations such as the Biotechnology 
Industry Organization, BIO, the Advanced Medical Technology 
Association, AdvaMed, and others--that represent companies employing 
hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers reliant on our commitment to 
intellectual infrastructure.
  This letter was recently sent to all members of the Senate Finance 
Committee and outlines an approach that would allow small businesses to 
accelerate their use of accumulated net operating losses, NOLs, if they 
invest in U.S.-based research and development.
  Expanding incentives to encourage more R&D activity in the United 
States will be essential to the American innovators who are developing 
the technologies of the future.
  We must commit to considering new and thoughtful legislative 
approaches like this one that can truly move us forward in creating the 
high-quality, high-paying jobs of this century, and I look forward to 
working with my colleagues on these issues.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the letter to which I 
referred be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                 January 15, 2009.
     Hon. Max Baucus,
     Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Charles B. Rangel,
     Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Charles E. Grassley,
     Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Dave Camp,
     Ranking Member, House Ways and Means Committee Washington, 
       Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Grassley, Chairman 
     Rangel, and Ranking Member Camp: The thousands of companies 
     represented by our organizations, and the U.S. workers they 
     employ, are key drivers of the innovation that enables 
     America to compete in today's global marketplace. As such, we 
     respectfully request Congress take action in the upcoming 
     economic recovery package to invest in America's intellectual 
     infrastructure to support and create the high-quality, high-
     paying jobs of the 21st century.
       Specifically, we ask that you support efforts to spur U.S.-
     based research and development (R&D) during the economic 
     downturn by allowing small businesses to elect a one-time 
     accelerated use, at a discount, of a portion of their 
     accumulated net operating losses (NOLs) in exchange for 
     giving up the future tax benefits associated with those 
     losses. This proposal, if enacted, will help America's 
     cutting-edge companies weather a difficult storm at a time 
     when the U.S. capital markets are largely frozen to many of 
     our nation's most innovative businesses. Further, this 
     proposal will help to ensure that U.S.-based R&D by smaller 
     firms does not drastically decline or disappear as America's 
     capital markets recover from the current financial crisis. 
     Failure by Congress to move quickly to enact this temporary 
     proposal could result in a sharp decline in R&D on cutting-
     edge technologies (many of which are in fields where the U.S. 
     is currently the global leader) and additional job losses.
       Investing in America's intellectual infrastructure is key 
     to economic growth and instrumental in spurring 
     entrepreneurial innovation and job creation. Innovative, 
     research-intensive industries enhance America's living 
     standards while creating high-quality, high-paying jobs. 
     American innovation is increasingly challenged by more 
     rigorous global competition and the future of the American 
     economy depends on critical investments today to lay the 
     groundwork for the breakthroughs of tomorrow. Without 
     investment in these fields, the U.S. will find it more 
     difficult to compete in a 21st century global economy.
       We respectfully urge you to invest in America's 
     intellectual infrastructure by including a proposal to 
     accelerate the utilization of NOLs in the upcoming economic 
     recovery and reinvestment legislation. We thank you for your 
     consideration of this request and we look forward to working 
     with you to get our economy moving again in a way that 
     protects and creates the high-paying jobs associated with 
     America's innovation economy.
         James C. Greenwood, President and CEO. Biotechnology 
           Industry Organization; Stephen J. Ubl, President and 
           CEO, Advanced Medical Technology Association; Mark G. 
           Heesen, President, National Venture Capital 
           Association; Mark B. Leahey, President and CEO, Medical 
           Device Manufacturers Association; Jonathan Zuck, 
           President, Association for Competitive Technology.
         Marianne Hudson, Executive Director, Angel Capital 
           Association; Patricia Glaza, Executive Director and 
           CEO, Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries 
           Organization; Sean Murdock, Executive Director, 
           NanoBusiness Alliance; Zack Lynch, Executive Director, 
           Neurotechnology Industry Organization; Bretton 
           Alexander, President, Personal Spaceflight Federation; 
           F. Mark Modzelewski, Founder and President, Water 
           Innovations Alliance.

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today, the Congress considers critical 
legislation to renew America's promise of prosperity and security for 
all of its citizens. I am pleased that the greatly needed relief 
provided in the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act includes an 
investment in health information technology that takes meaningful steps 
to protect the privacy of all Americans.
  I have long held the view that American innovation can--and should--
play a vital role in revitalizing our economy and in improving our 
Nation's health care system. That is why I have worked so hard with the 
lead sponsors of this bill to makes sure that privacy was addressed at 
the outset, as our Nation moves towards a national health information 
technology system.
  I commend the lead sponsors of this legislation in the House and 
Senate, Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker

[[Page S2304]]

Pelosi for making sure that the economic recovery package includes 
meaningful privacy safeguards for electronic health records. I also 
commend the many stakeholders, including, the Center for Democracy & 
Technology, the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc., Consumers 
Union, the American Civil Liberties Union and Microsoft, that have 
advocated tirelessly for meaningful health IT privacy protections in 
this legislation.
  The privacy protections in this legislation are essential to a 
successful national health IT system. Without adequate safeguards to 
protect health privacy, many Americans would simply not seek the 
medical treatment that they need for fear that their sensitive health 
information will be disclosed without their consent. Likewise, health 
care providers who perceive the privacy risks associated with health IT 
systems as inconsistent with their professional obligations would avoid 
participating in a national health IT system.
  The economic recovery package includes several of my recommendations 
to better protect Americans' health information privacy. First, the 
provisions give each and every American the right to access his or her 
own electronic health records, and the right to timely notice of data 
breaches involving their health information. The recovery package also 
imposes critical restrictions on the sale of sensitive health data and 
on the use of Americans' health data for marketing purposes. Lastly, 
the legislation makes sure that the Secretary of the Department of 
Health and Human Services receives input from individuals with specific 
expertise in health information privacy and security, as the Secretary 
develops a national health information technology system.
  These and many other privacy safeguards in the bill will help tackle 
the difficult, but essential task of ensuring meaningful health 
information privacy for all Americans. But, we can--and should--do 
more. There is much more to be done to ensure that Americans have 
greater control over their own electronic health records. Another 
critical issue is the use of new technologies to better secure 
sensitive health records, so that data breaches involving health and 
other sensitive personal data do not occur in the first place.
  Yesterday, we celebrated the bicentennial of the birth of our 
Nation's 16th President--Abraham Lincoln--who once remarked that ``you 
cannot escape the responsibility for tomorrow by evading it today.'' We 
all have a responsibility to ensure quality health care that is both 
efficient and respectful of all Americans' privacy rights. I am pleased 
that the Congress acted to address the issue of health information 
privacy at the outset of the ambitious effort to fully digitize 
America's health records during the next 5 years. During the months and 
years ahead, Congress must build upon this early privacy success with 
more work on health information privacy on behalf of all Americans.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the American people are counting on us to 
act to stabilize and revitalize the economy, and passage of the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is an essential part of that 
effort. I am encouraged by how promptly the Senate and House have been 
able to reach a compromise on this critical legislation. I support 
final passage because it will create jobs and make investments to 
bolster our economy in both the short and long-term.
  The Nation is in a deep recession and the situation is particularly 
dire in Michigan where the unemployment rate is the highest in the 
country. The Bush policy, still supported apparently by all but three 
Republicans, was a failure. It provided repeated tax cuts to the 
wealthy with the hope that some of it would trickle down to help those 
who really need it.
  The legislation before us will provide tax breaks to our working 
families. It will provide a tax cut to 3.9 million Michigan workers, 
and allow over 120,000 Michigan families to benefit from a tax credit 
to make college more affordable. This legislation will also create or 
save 3.5 million jobs over the next 2 years, including jobs in health 
care, clean energy and construction. It will also strengthen the social 
safety net by increasing unemployment insurance benefits by $100 a 
month for over 1 million Michigan workers.
  That is why it is so important that we take aggressive action now.
  Job creation must be our No. 1 priority as we work to turn the 
economy around, and jobs are the focus of this conference report. 
Shovel-ready infrastructure projects are the most immediate way to 
create jobs and get the economy moving quickly. The recovery plan 
includes $48 billion in funding for ready-to-go road, bridge, rail and 
other projects to immediately and directly create jobs. This 
legislation is expected to provide Michigan with approximately $1 
billion dollars in highway and transit formula funds, allowing for 
significant repairs to roads and bridges and purchases of buses for our 
public transit authorities. There is additional funding which will 
hopefully result in investments in the Midwest High-Speed Rail 
corridor, and improvements to Amtrak that can help bring commuter rail 
to Michigan.
  I am hopeful the Army Corps will direct a significant portion of the 
$4 billion toward the Great Lakes to address the backlog of ready-to-go 
projects and maintain this vital maritime highway of the Midwest.
  I am also hopeful that the EPA will direct a portion of its funds for 
cleaning up contaminated sediment under the Great Lakes Legacy Program. 
One report concluded that there is a 2\1/2\ to 1 ratio of return on a 
Federal investment on restoring the Great Lakes.
  The recovery package also contains $6 billion in funding for water 
infrastructure. These projects immediately create jobs and play a 
critical role in protecting public health, improving the environment, 
and creating a sustainable and strong economic climate in which 
commerce can thrive. Specifically, Michigan is slated to receive more 
than $150 million to address wastewater projects, and $70 million to 
upgrade water mains, leaking pipes, and water treatment plants. These 
job-creating water infrastructure projects will address current needs 
in Michigan, while investing in upgrades that will prepare us for years 
to come. In addition, this legislation contains $200 million for 
environmental infrastructure that the Army Corps would manage. In 
Michigan, this funding could be used to address combined sewer 
overflows, which dump harmful pollutants into the Great Lakes.
  Additionally, the conference committee legislation contains $750 
million for the National Park Service, NPS. The NPS has a significant 
backlog of deferred maintenance projects that can be started within the 
next 18 months which will create jobs and help restore and enhance our 
national treasures. Michigan's four National Park units and the North 
Country National Scenic Trail have significant funding needs, and a 
number of projects have been delayed for years. I am hopeful that the 
NPS will direct a sizable portion of the $750 million included in the 
package to address the significant needs of Michigan's parks and 
  I am pleased that the $100 million for brownfields competitive grants 
can be awarded for both cleanup and site assessment projects. I asked 
the conferees to expand the flexibility for these grants so that more 
Michigan communities could benefit from this funding, and I am pleased 
that the final bill contains this broader language.
  The funding in the conference report will create jobs by making smart 
investments in technology and modernization efforts that will continue 
to pay dividends by helping us compete in the global economy. I am 
especially pleased the bill includes $2 billion in grants to encourage 
companies to invest in the development and production of advanced 
batteries and battery systems, which will fuel the energy-efficient 
vehicles of the future and make it more likely they will be produced in 
U.S. factories. In so doing, the conferees have adopted the Senate 
approach of focusing exclusively on grant funding rather than loan 
guarantees, which I believe will go much further in providing American 
manufacturers the resources and support they need to manufacture these 
batteries in U.S. facilities. This funding is critical because battery 
manufacturers and other manufacturers are deciding now where to locate 
their production facilities, and we cannot afford to lose those 
facilities and the associated jobs to other countries that are willing 
to offer greater financial incentives than we are.
  I am also pleased that the conference report includes significant 
measures to

[[Page S2305]]

expand the American market for advanced technology vehicles. It will 
make these vehicles more affordable for consumers by increasing the 
availability of consumer tax credits for plug-in hybrid vehicles. 
Instead of making the tax credit available only for a total of 250,000 
vehicles as is in current law, the conference report will make these 
tax credits available to consumers who purchase the first 200,000 plug-
in hybrid vehicles sold by each manufacturer. Taking this important 
step will help America get to the goal set forth by President Obama of 
putting 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015. I am 
pleased that the conference report also includes some funding for 
Federal agencies to aggressively lease alternative energy vehicles--
such as hybrid vehicles--to support a wide variety of agency missions. 
Government leasing of these vehicles will help stimulate production of 
these vehicles. We cannot just preach about the need to produce these 
vehicles. We must lead the way in purchasing them, even though their 
up-front cost is greater.
  The conference report also makes a clarification in the Tax Code to 
prevent an unintended tax consequence that would have hurt auto 
companies and others receiving TARP funds. This clarification will 
limit section 382 of the Tax Code in instances where a change in 
corporate control is the result of restructuring required by the 
Government pursuant to a TARP agreement. This maintains the clear 
intent of 382 while preventing unintended results that would have hurt 
these companies at the very time the Government is stepping in to help.
  This legislation also helps those who have lost their jobs by 
including important measures that will help States modernize their 
current unemployment insurance programs and includes administrative 
dollars and funds to incentivize States to do this. For my home State 
of Michigan this means they will receive more than $90 million straight 
away. This plan will also provide a further extension of unemployment 
benefits which will help the more than 400,000 unemployed workers in 
Michigan who are unable to find a job in these hard economic times and 
the, on average, 13,000 individuals whose unemployment benefit will 
expire this month alone. Additionally, it will provide an additional 
$100 per month in unemployment benefits, pumping money directly into 
depressed economic areas and exempts the first $2,400 unemployment 
benefits from income tax, meaning more of these funds can go to 
recipients and help grow the economy.
  The bill provides funding for important job training in new and 
expanding fields, as well as funding to enhance and expand education 
initiatives aimed at ensuring that our next generation of Americans is 
able to meet the challenges of a global economy. Specifically, it 
includes $53.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, 
including $40.6 billion to local school districts using existing 
funding formulas, which can be used for preventing cutbacks, teacher 
layoffs, or other purposes; $5 billion to States as bonus grants for 
meeting key performance measures in education; and $8.8 billion to 
States for high-priority needs such as public safety and other critical 
services, which may include modernization, renovation and repairs of 
public school facilities and institutions of higher education 
  The bill includes $3.95 billion for job training including State 
formula grants for adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs, 
including $1.2 billion to create up to 1 million summer jobs for youth. 
The training and employment needs of workers will also be met through 
dislocated worker national emergency grants, new competitive grants for 
worker training in high growth and emergency industry sectors, with 
priority consideration to training for ``green'' jobs, including 
preparing workers for activities supported by other economic recovery 
funds, such as retrofitting of buildings, green construction, and the 
production of renewable electric power.
  It includes $13 billion for title 1 to help close the achievement gap 
and enable disadvantaged students to reach their potential; $12.2 
billion for special education/IDEA to improve educational outcomes for 
disabled children. This level of funding will increase the Federal 
share of special education services to its highest level since the 
inception of the program. Finally, the bill provides $15.6 billion to 
increase the maximum Pell grant by $500, which will help 7 million 
students pursue postsecondary education. Further, the bill includes 
$2.1 billion for the Head Start and Early Head Start to allow 
additional children to participate in this proven program, which 
provides development, educational, health, nutritional, social and 
other activities that prepare children to succeed in school.
  The tax provisions in this legislation will create a refundable tax 
credit of $400 for working individuals and $800 for working families, 
covering 95 percent of working families. Taxpayers can receive this 
benefit through a reduction in the amount of tax that is withheld from 
their paychecks, or through claiming the credit on their tax returns. 
This will mean direct and immediate relief for nearly 4 million 
Michigan workers and their families. The legislation also expands the 
child tax credit and the earned-income tax credit to ensure that more 
low-income families get the full benefit. There is also a new, 
partially refundable $2,500 tax credit that will help make 4 years of 
college more affordable for an estimated 121,000 families in Michigan. 
For many struggling families, these targeted tax cuts will help them 
make ends meet in these tough times. Putting extra money in families' 
pockets will offer an immediate boost to the economy.
  Together, the provisions in this bill offer significant hope for our 
Nation's economic future. Still, a comprehensive economic recovery 
effort is balanced on a three-legged stool consisting of creating jobs, 
unfreezing credit markets, and addressing the housing crisis, including 
reduction in the flood of foreclosures.
  As the housing crisis worsens, I will continue to urge Treasury to 
move quickly to implement a loan modification program to help prevent 
avoidable foreclosures. While much still remains to be done with 
respect to ending the crisis in our financial sector, the financial 
stability outline put forth by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner this 
week outlined some new approaches so that recipients of the so-called 
TARP funds will cooperate with mortgage foreclosure mitigation programs 
and provide reports of how the Federal loans are used and will expand 
their lending. This is a positive step in the right direction toward 
resuming the flow of credit, but Congress must continue to exercise 
stringent oversight of the TARP program and we must work to reform our 
financial system to restore commonsense regulation of this industry.
  This legislation represents a significant and essential step in 
stabilizing our economy. The infrastructure projects will create 
Michigan jobs, the tax provisions will help Michigan families and the 
investments in technology and modernization will pay dividends for 
years to come. While there are major challenges before us that we must 
address in order to end this recession, passage of the Economic 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act will give us some urgently needed 
  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I support the conference report for H.R. 1, 
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This vital legislation will 
create jobs, ensure that States can continue to provide essential 
health and social services, improve education, and assist veterans.
  This legislation will create jobs by encouraging innovation for the 
development of clean energy and strengthening our Nation's 
infrastructure. Additionally, the legislation includes funding for the 
Economic Development Administration to create additional economic 
  Our States are confronted with declining revenue while citizens have 
increasing health care and social service needs. This bill will provide 
funding to States so that they can continue to provide health care 
coverage and essential social services that will help our constituents 
in this great time of need. States must be good stewards of these 
resources and utilize them for their intended purposes. This recovery 
bill will also provide relief to workers and families hardest hit by 
the economic recession.
  In order to ensure that we have a well-educated workforce both now 
and in the future, I am pleased to support

[[Page S2306]]

the provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 
designed to increase and support educational opportunities for our 
country's children as well as provide much needed resources and 
infrastructure improvements for educators nationwide. The establishment 
of a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund will help schools suffering during 
this difficult economic time to retain teachers and continue programs 
vital to helping students achieve their academic potential. I also 
applaud the inclusion of $100 million for impact aid. Due to the 
significant military presence in Hawaii, these funds are vitally 
important to Hawaii's public schools.
  I have been working, along with other members of the Veterans' 
Affairs Committee, to advocate for the needs of veterans in the context 
of this recovery and reinvestment bill and am pleased that the 
conference report includes funding that will benefit VA and the 
veterans it serves.
  Although I wanted the final agreement to include more of the Senate's 
shovel-ready projects to improve health care and other services 
veterans receive from VA, I am grateful the conference report includes 
more than a billion dollars in immediate funding that will create jobs 
while improving services for veterans.
  The conference report also includes $50 million to make key 
improvements to Veterans Benefit Administration IT systems and $150 
million to provide a temporary increase in claims processing staff.
  In addition, there is $50 million included in the conference report 
that is intended for VA's National Cemetery Administration. This 
funding will be used to provide much needed cemetery infrastructure 
support and repair and investment in VA's National Shrine Initiative. I 
believe the funding will help meet our obligation to provide final 
resting places for veterans and honor their service.
  As helpful as this infusion of funding will be, more resources are 
needed. I remind all of my colleagues that these funds only begin to 
address existing, unmet needs. When it is time to begin work on the new 
budget, we must provide a robust VA appropriation to meet the new 
fiscal year's costs.
  I am glad that the conference report retains a provision to make sure 
that certain veterans facing financial hardship in this time of 
uncertainty receive an economic recovery payment. I will continue to 
work with my colleagues to secure additional resources for VA.
  I commend my colleague, Senator Inouye, for his ongoing advocacy on 
behalf of the Filipino veterans of World War II. This conference report 
contains an authorization for a lump sum payment for funds that were 
appropriated last session for these veterans.
  I look forward to having the conference report signed into law 
quickly so that we can begin our economic recovery and assist our 
citizens in need.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to offer my support for 
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  Our economy is in dire straits. And urgent action is required to get 
the economy moving and reverse the alarming trend of job loss that is 
currently plaguing our cities.
  This Nation is in the grip of the most serious recession in more than 
seven decades. American families are increasingly facing tough choices 
as economic indicators tumble across the board.
  Bad news has fallen like a row of dominoes. Our current economic 
situation is a result of many different problems, all developing at the 
same time. The major factors: The collapse of the subprime housing 
market sent shockwaves through the financial sector of the American 
economy. This was the direct result of a scheme in which poorly 
underwritten loans promoted by unregulated mortgage brokers and lenders 
were sliced, diced, securitized and spread all over, with severe 
consequences that are global in scope. Unregulated markets schemes like 
this were a fertile breeding ground for greed and fraud. The Enron 
scandal of the late 1990s was a smaller-scale precursor, costing 
taxpayers billions of dollars and ending in the collapse of the energy 
giant, as well as the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in Enron 
investments held by more than 50 mutual funds and insurance companies.
  Enormous State deficits have deepened with the combined effects of 
rampant foreclosures and plummeting property values which have 
significantly cut into revenues. And local governments, trying to 
maximize returns for taxpayers with investments in firms like Lehman 
Brothers, have lost their money. They are looking to the State for 
help, and the State is looking to the Federal Government for help.
  The financial sector is currently held aloft by a lifeline from the 
federal government. Main Street is also looking to Washington to 
provide an injection of financial stability.
  There are many different vectors of this economic crisis. But there 
is only one sure solution. And that is the infusion of large amounts of 
capital into the marketplace from the only place with the capacity to 
do so, which is the Federal Government.
  It is time to give the American people some good news for a change. 
It is estimated that the bill could help sustain and create up to 3.5 
million jobs over the next 2 years--with 396,000 in California alone.
  The bill before us is far from perfect. But we need to give the 
President the flexibility and resources he needs to create jobs and 
revive our ailing economy.
  This bill will not meet every need, and some difficult choices have 
been made in order to move it forward with the 60 votes it needed to 
secure passage in the Senate.
  But faced with a choice of taking action to confront this crisis, or 
simply dithering away as families lose their jobs, their homes and 
their hope, I think the choice is clear: We must support this economic 
recovery package.
  President Obama inherited an unprecedented fiscal mess when he took 
office last month: National debt: $10.7 trillion; this year's budget 
deficit: $1.2 trillion, projected; GDP: Fell by 3.8 percent last 
quarter 4th quarter 2008, the worst showing in 26 years; unemployment 
is skyrocketing: 7.6 percent nationwide. Since the recession started in 
December 2007, 3.6 million jobs have been lost. More than 598,000 jobs 
were lost in January. Economists say 3 million more could be lost by 
the end of this year.
  In California we have a 9.3 percent unemployment rate, Dec. 2008. 
There are at least 1.7 million unemployed workers in California. We 
have the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the Nation. There were 
837,665 foreclosures filed in 2008 up 110 percent from 2007. State 
budget deficit has reached $42 billion. This has real and serious 
  The Governor has had to halt public infrastructure projects. Public 
employees are being furloughed and local governments are planning to 
slash the critical services upon which taxpayers depend.
  The bill before us will not solve every problem, but it will provide 
funding for critical investments that will create jobs and get our 
economy moving again.
  First, transportation: $29 billion for highways and bridges. 
California's share by formula will be at least $2.6 billion; $8.4 
billion for public transit--i.e., subway, bus, and light rail projects. 
California's share by formula will be $1 billion; $1.3 billion for 
Airport capital improvements, funding allocated by competition; and 
$9.3 billion for intercity passenger rail, including $8 billion 
targeted at building high speed rail funding allocated by competition.
  In total, the bill provides roughly $50 billion for transportation. 
These projects will not only modernize the corridors used to transport 
passengers and goods that move across America, they are also a critical 
part of the jobs creation goal of this package.
  Experts estimate that between 27,000 to 37,000 jobs are created for 
every $1 billion invested in transportation projects. So an estimated 
1.5 million jobs could be generated by transportation projects funded 
in this bill.
  Second, water. We have a huge water infrastructure problem in this 
country. The Government Accountability Office and EPA report that the 
nation faces a $300-500 billion water and wastewater funding gap over 
the next 20 years. That is why it is so important that this bill 
includes a substantial investment in water infrastructure:
  Army Corps of Engineers: $4.6 billion for construction, maintenance, 

[[Page S2307]]

that will create 37,000 direct jobs and 102,000 indirect jobs; clean 
water and drinking water state revolving Funds: $6 billion. California 
would receive $444 million; Bureau of Reclamation: $1 billion, 
including $126 million for title XVI Water Recycling and Reuse 
  The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates 
that for each additional job created in the water and sewer industries, 
3.68 jobs are created in all industries.
  So, investing in these projects will help create millions of jobs 
here at home, and better protect human health and the environment. This 
is a vital investment.
  Third, housing.
  It is widely recognized that the roots of this economic recession 
were in the bursting of the housing bubble. Last year, there were more 
than 830,000 foreclosures filed in California alone, an increase of 
more than 100 percent over 2007.
  So it is important that the bill makes a major commitment to 
stabilizing the housing market--and to helping hardworking Americans 
avoid the devastating loss of their homes through foreclosure.
  The bill provides a public housing capital fund of $4 billion to help 
local public housing agencies address a $32 billion backlog in capital 
needs. California's share by formula will be $118.5 million; home 
investment: $2.25 billion for State and local governments to acquire, 
construct, and rehab affordable housing.
  It is critical that Congress do whatever we can to help restore and 
foster the American dream of home ownership--and this bill is part of 
that effort.
  Fourth, the bill also boosts funding for our Nation's health care and 
education systems and provides increases for other safety nets, 
  $87 billion for Medicaid. California will receive an estimated $10 
billion; $13 billion for title I education; $12.2 billion for special 
education; $2.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start; $20 
billion for additional food stamps benefits; and an additional $100 per 
month in unemployment insurance benefits.
  Finally, Energy.
  This legislation makes a serious down payment towards our permanent 
shift away from fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable energy 
  The bill invests in efficiency, providing $5 billion to weatherize 
the homes of low income individuals through the Weatherization 
Assistance Program.
  It also establishes a tax credit for 30 percent of the cost to 
homeowners that weatherize their own homes, and provides cities with 
$3.2 billion in block grants to assist them with building codes, 
efficiency improvements to their own facilities, and renewable energy 
  These efforts will help us realize the goal of weatherizing millions 
of homes.
  It invests in a ``smart grid,'' putting $4.5 billion into an effort 
to improve electricity delivery through technology.
  The legislation will allow WAPA to build new powerlines, to deliver 
renewable electricity to California consumers who would otherwise 
continue to depend on coal power.
  And finally, this legislation establishes a grant program at DOE and 
expands a loan guarantee program.
  These two steps will help capital intensive wind, solar, geothermal, 
and cellulosic biofuels projects move forward even at a time when 
financing capital projects has become all but impossible.
  Bottom line: these are all investments that will either provide an 
immediate benefit to local economies by adding jobs or will help shore 
up the safety net for Americans who have been hit by the crisis.
  This is a very welcome sum of investment in States that are facing 
grim scenarios today.
  One headline in the Monterey Herald recently asked whether the 
``Golden State is rusting.''
  But the truth is, California is not alone in suffering these 
consequences. Every State in the Union is feeling the painful effects 
of this downturn, and every State needs this injection of investment at 
this critical time.
  President Obama has stated clearly that this economic recovery 
package is the tool he needs to get our economy back on track and move 
this country forward.
  The millions of people who are losing their jobs and their homes have 
no use for partisan bickering. Re-enacting Washington's usual 
ideological battles won't stop any companies from downsizing, free up 
any credit for businesses in need, or put food on the table of a family 
in need.
  Candidly, I would have written a very different bill than the one 
before us. And there are some aspects of this bill that I would still 
like to change--I would have liked to see more job-creating 
infrastructure projects and fewer costly tax cuts.
  But despite the imperfections in this bill, I believe we must 
recognize the enormous task at hand by providing the president with the 
resources he needs to get the job done.
  This bill is a major part of that effort, and it should be approved.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I rise on this occasion to speak on the 
economic stimulus conference report that is before this chamber--at a 
time when we face the longest and deepest recession since World War II, 
and a moment of economic peril not seen since the days of the Great 
Depression almost 80 years ago.
  There has been a great deal of healthy and vigorous debate about this 
stimulus package--here in the Congress and certainly throughout 
America--and rightfully so, given the magnitude of the legislation we 
have deliberated upon over the past few weeks. And let me say, I well 
recognize this process got off to a less than stellar start.
  And yet, especially given that people look to the Senate to temper 
the passions of politics--to provide an institutional check that 
ensures all voices are heard and considered--should we have allowed 
that inauspicious beginning to establish a permanent detour from 
ultimately passing an economic stimulus package that economists from 
across the political spectrum have said is urgently required?
  I believe the answer to that question is no. And in that light, I 
extend my gratitude to Majority Leader Reid for bringing us together in 
forging the much improved package we consider today. I thank Chairman 
Baucus and Ranking Member Grassley of the Senate Committee on Finance, 
Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran of the Senate Committee on 
Appropriations, as well as Senators Collins, Specter, Nelson, and 
Lieberman for their yeoman leadership in yielding this consensus-based 
solution. I also thank those who argued against this package--because, 
frankly, I agreed with a number of their arguments, and ultimately the 
concerns expressed have helped to improve this final product.
  Indeed, we lost 3.6 million jobs since the onset of the recession, 
the most since 1945. The Department of Labor has reported the number of 
people receiving unemployment benefits has reached 4.8 million, an all-
time high since record keeping began in 1967--and that doesn't include 
the nearly 1.7 million getting benefits through an extension last 
summer. At the end of January, we learned that the economy shrank at 
its fastest pace in nearly 27 years in the fourth quarter of 2008. Our 
gross national product dropped at a 3.8 percent annual rate, worst 
since 1982.
  And with more than 11 million jobless Americans today, inaction has, 
frankly, never been a viable option. In fact, economist Mark Zandi of 
Moody's advised both Presidential candidates McCain 
and Obama, I might add--projects an even higher unemployment rate of a 
remarkable 11.1 percent--should we fail to pass a vigorous economic 
stimulus package. That is 11.1 percent--and that is unacceptable. We 
cannot stand on the sidelines.
  That is why I have said from the outset--as I stated on the Senate 
floor at the beginning of last week--that I wanted to support a 
stimulus package. But at the same time as I also said, I could not 
support just any package. The fact is, we are confronting a 
multidimensional crisis that requires a multidimensional approach, and 
we can ill afford to get it wrong.
  Our approach must be successful, as it must also go hand-in-hand with 
monetary policy to ensure that vital credit--that is the lifeblood of 
our economy--is flowing to American individuals and businesses.

[[Page S2308]]

  Already Congress passed a rescue plan for financial institutions, but 
the lending expected to free up our credit markets has yet to take 
effect. Already, the Treasury Department has issued a second component 
to the rescue plan, which I might add is regrettably long on 
aspirations and short on details. And already the Federal Reserve has 
essentially exhausted its options to improve the economy through 
monetary policy, having reduced interest rates to zero--something else 
that hasn't happened since the 1930s--and lent more than $1 trillion to 
stabilize the financial and credit markets. So, as I said during the 
mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee, we ought to remember that for 
us, in crafting fiscal policy to meet this historic challenge, there 
are no ``do-overs.''
  That is why I have said repeatedly that this isn't about how much we 
label as ``tax relief' and how much we label as ``spending.'' Rather, 
in the final analysis, it's been about the merits of the individual 
measures in this legislation, and whether the totality of a package can 
deliver job creation and assistance to those who have been displaced--
because both elements are essential to turning the economic tide and 
aligning our nation for a more prosperous future. In short, the 
challenge has been to fashion a measure that meets the ``what works'' 

  Critical to that test is whether a stimulus measure is timely, 
targeted, temporary, and achieves the critical equilibrium of creating 
jobs and assisting those displaced by this economic crisis through no 
fault of their own. There has been widespread agreement, even from the 
harshest critics of this bill, that economic stimulus must meet this 
standard. That is exactly what a Washington Post editorial called for 
when it advocated a focused stimulus as the most viable approach. And 
after a week of intense, bicameral negotiations and compromises, this 
economic stimulus package--while not what everyone may have wanted--
while not everything I would have wanted--meets that threshold.
  It has not been easy arriving at this point. At the beginning of 
deliberations on the floor and throughout the amendment process, I was 
deeply concerned this bill more closely resembled omnibus legislation 
rather than emergency stimulus legislation. Indeed, as the Senate 
considered and adopted amendments on the floor, this package had 
actually ballooned to $920 billion. Let me repeat that--$920 billion.
  Let's look at the House-passed bill. The House bill was voted out at 
$819 billion. And then the Senate bill ultimately passed at $838 
billion. But now, with our efforts over the past week, this package has 
emerged as a $787.2 billion conference report that is not only more 
narrowly tailored toward stimulus, but actually has a lower overall 
cost than either the House-passed bill at $819 billion or the Senate-
passed bill at $838 billion. And that is no insignificant achievement.
  At the same time, the package isn't only right--it is right sized. As 
the President has stated, we will lose $2 trillion in consumer demand 
this year and next--demand, I might add, that must be ``backfilled'' in 
our economy with a substantial investment in both tax relief and 
targeted, effective expenditures that will create jobs. The fact is, 
given the monumental level of this recession, we can't just be throwing 
pebbles in the pond. Rather, we require the ripple effect of a 
boulder--while at the same time ensuring that this is not an open-ended 
passport to spending in perpetuity.
  I know that there are those who criticize the top-line number on this 
package. And given this legislation is deficit-financed, the cost and 
the stimulative affect of each of the elements of this bill should be 
of concern to all of us. I said on the floor at the beginning of this 
process that we cannot overload this bill with items that are not 
within the strictures of stimulus. We must ensure that programs that 
may well be worthwhile policy but not economic stimulus are not 
considered in this package, and instead are vetted through the budget 
and regular legislative process. We cannot, under the auspices of 
stimulus legislation--open the door to permanent spending that exceeds 
the life and purpose of what is before us today.
  But in terms of the actual size of the package, let's consider for a 
moment the economic stimulus packages passed in 2001 and in 2003--and 
compare the cost of those measures with the cost of this package, and 
the economic conditions at those times, with the far worse economic 
conditions of now.
  In June 2001, when the economy was in recession as well, we responded 
with a $1.35 trillion package. In the quarter when that bill passed, 
the economy grew by 1.2 percent, and unemployment was at 4.5 percent. 
In 2003, we passed a bill that was essentially a trillion dollar 
package masquerading as a $350 billion bill. During the spring of 2003, 
when that bill passed, the economy grew by 3.5 percent and unemployment 
was at 6.1 percent.
  Fast forward to today with this $787 billion package on the floor. 
The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the third 
quarter of 2008, and 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. The 
unemployment rate is currently at 7.6 percent. Furthermore, over the 
past 13 months alone, as I mentioned earlier, the economy has lost 3.6 
million jobs. By comparison, we lost a total of 2.7 million total jobs 
in the 2001 recession. The bottom line is this package is not by any 
means out-sized for the times--it is right-sized.
  When we began our deliberations in the Senate, the spending in the 
Senate package reached $366 billion. Fortunately, through our 
bipartisan efforts, we were able to trim that spending by an additional 
$55 billion in nonstimulative items. Today, this package contains a 
total of $286.5 billion in tax provisions, $311 billion in 
discretionary spending appropriations, and $192.4 billion in 
nondiscretionary spending items more narrowly focused on job creation 
and assistance to those displaced.
  On the spending side of the ledger, we demonstrated our commitment to 
job creation by investing in infrastructure. For example, the 
compromise accelerated the timeline for spending out 50 percent of the 
money for roads and bridges from 180 days to 120 days--with the 
remaining 50 percent required to be obligated within one year--to 
further frontload the stimulative effect. Right now, the U.S. 
Conference of Mayors has a list of nearly 19,000 shovel-ready projects 
nationally, totaling almost $150 billion. Moreover, the Federal Highway 
Administration projects that for every one billion dollars spent, 
28,500 jobs are created, and with the 7.5 billion contained in this 
Conference Report for highways alone. That is 783,750 jobs just for 
roads and bridges.
  We included $40 billion for enhancing unemployment insurance as CBO 
said last year that the cost-effectiveness of such a policy for 
stimulative effect is ``large''. . . the length of time for impact is 
``short''. . . and recently, Moody's estimated that every 
dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in near term GDP. 
I thank Chairman Baucus for including in this conference report my 
provision to exclude the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits from 
taxation, to further maximize the provision's stimulative impact. And 
as increasing food stamps is also among the most immediate and 
effective stimulative steps we can take--we provided $19.9 billion to 
do just that.
  I am also particularly pleased, as ranking member of the Small 
Business Committee, that we included such critical job-creation funding 
as $730 million for the Small Business Administration's lending 
programs. This spending is targeted toward increasing access to capital 
and lowering the cost of capital for our Nation's small businesses that 
have created fully two-thirds of America's net new jobs, that created 
or retained 770,000 jobs in FY 2008 alone, and will unquestionably be 
at the forefront of leading us out of this crisis. The bill contains 
many of Chair Landrieu's and my priorities, such as ones to slash fees 
for SBA borrowers and reduce them for lenders; increase funding for the 
microloan program; and a new program targeted toward small businesses 
struggling to make loan payments.
  Additionally, on the spending side we provided vital Medicaid 
assistance to the states--and I have heard the arguments against it. 
But does anyone seriously believe that with 45 states currently 
experiencing a shortfall and a projected, combined budgetary gap of 
$350 billion over the next 2 years won't have a profound impact on our 
national economy, as States grapple with raising taxes or slashing 
spending to balance their budgets?

[[Page S2309]]

  We also included $28 billion for adoption of Heath Information 
Technology by health care providers. This would not only actually 
result in an eventual $10 billion in savings, but also improvements in 
care and costs, while creating an additional 40,000 jobs that will 
endure. As we grapple with the gravity of our economic circumstances, 
doesn't it make sense to simultaneously create transformational, well-
paying jobs that, rather than looking to the past, will endure and 
ensure that America is competitive in the global economy of the 21st 
  As I mentioned earlier, this package also contains more than $286 
billion in tax relief--with many provisions I was proud to ensure were 
included as a member of the Senate Finance Committee--that will 
directly result in job creation and retention, and bolster our economy.
  The President's signature making work pay tax credit, which the 
President agreed to trim in this conference report, will provide 
additional money in every paycheck to more than 95 percent of working 
families in the United States, which Mark Zandi has said will be 
``particularly effective, as the benefit will go to lower income 
households . . . that are much more likely to spend any tax benefit 
they receive.''
  I am pleased to have helped retain in this legislation relief from 
the alternative minimum tax as it will not only boost the value of the 
making work pay credit but will also ensure that around 30 million 
Americans won't be ensnared by this onerous levy. We increase 
eligibility for the extraordinarily successful refundable portion of 
the child tax credit that I originally spearheaded to reach low-income 
families earning between $3,000 and $9,667 a year. I have heard the 
arguments before against refundability, but this program reaches people 
who may not earn enough to have federal tax liability but who work and 
contribute local taxes and payroll taxes and will, therefore, get 
additional money into the pockets of those most likely to spend it.
  When it comes to tax relief and America's greatest job generators, 
our Nation's 27.2 million small businesses, this package contains 
provisions I authored to help them sustain operations and employees. 
This includes enhanced section 179 expensing for 2009, allowing small 
businesses throughout the Nation to invest up to $250,000 in plant and 
equipment that they can deduct immediately, instead of depreciate over 
a period of 5, 7, or more years.

  The conference report also contains a provision to extend to 5 years 
the carryback period of net operating losses for small businesses with 
up to $15 million in gross receipts which will help small businesses 
sustain operations with a cash infusion during these trying times. This 
modification was the result of a last-minute negotiation, and I very 
much appreciate the personal efforts of Chairman Baucus.
  This agreed-upon measure makes a welcomed, commonsense change to 
reduce to 90 percent the requirement that small business owners prepay 
110 percent of their previous year's tax liability. The purpose of 
quarterly prepayments is to ensure that the Government gets every penny 
owed. Because of the recession and the credit crunch, the overpayment 
of quarterly income taxes by America's small business owners is 
unnecessary, because few businesses are experiencing 10 percent growth, 
and harmful because it drains vital cash flow away from an ongoing 
  The conference report also retains a provision I joined Senators 
Lincoln and Hatch in spearheading to lessen the impact of the built-in 
gains tax on small businesses. This change is absolutely essential at a 
time in which our Nation's credit markets remain frozen and small 
businesses are struggling to meet their financing requirements. This 
provision will benefit up to 900 small businesses in my home state of 
Maine and hundreds of thousands across the country.
  We must not neglect our Nation's distressed and rural communities. 
This conference report rightly recognizes that imperative by including 
an additional $1.5 billion in each 2008 and 2009 allocation authority 
for the new markets tax credit. And my understanding is that the 
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which administers 
the incentive, can allocate the augmented 2008 credit authority within 
90 days, which will create 11,000 permanent jobs and 35,000 
construction jobs.
  This agreement also contains tax credits for renewable energy that I 
have long fought for that will create more than 89,000 jobs. Frankly, 
if we had not dithered last year and opted to pass the extension of the 
renewable tax credits at the beginning of 2008, we would have already 
been on the road to creating 100,000 new jobs. I know in my home State, 
there are a number of wind farm projects, for example, that could be 
ready to move forward right now.
  I am also pleased that the stimulus bill contains a provision I 
helped to draft that will allow base communities across the Nation that 
have been significantly affected by a closure or realignment to qualify 
for vital recovery zone economic development bonds.
  Finally, I am pleased this bill includes a provision I wrote to 
expand the definition of ``manufacturing'' as it pertains to the small-
issue Industrial Development bond, or IDB, program to include the 
creation of ``intangible'' property. For example, this would allow the 
bonds to be used to benefit companies that manufacture software and 
biotechnology products by helping them get the financing necessary to 
assist their operations in innovating and create new jobs. Knowledge-
based businesses have been at the forefront of this innovation that has 
bolstered the economy over the long-term. For example, science parks 
have helped lead the technological revolution and have created more 
than 300,000 high-paying science and technology jobs, along with 
another 450,000 indirect jobs for a total of 750,000 jobs.
  There will be those who say the cost of this package is too much, and 
others will say it is too little. Some will say it should have higher 
levels of tax relief, others that we should focus almost entirely on 
spending. There are 535 Members between the House and the Senate who 
all have their own legitimately held beliefs about this legislation. 
There are millions of Americans with their own, differing views, 
questions, concerns, and expectations.
  At the end of the day, I must return to my own evaluation--again, 
shared by so many across the political spectrum--that inaction is not 
an option and, frankly, time is of the essence. I also return to my 
standard for evaluating a stimulus: Is it sufficiently focused on 
creating jobs and assisting those who have been displaced. In that 
light, this package deserves to be passed now and signed into law. It 
is supported by organizations such as the National Association of 
Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Institute of 
Building Sciences, because they also believe it will create jobs. On 
balance, this is the right approach at the right time that offers us 
the best course for economic recovery and, therefore, I will be 
supporting this conference report.

                               sales tax

  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I rise for the purpose of entering into a 
colloquy with the senior senator from Montana regarding the car 
purchase tax credit introduced by Sen. Mikulski and included in this 
conference report.
  Mr. Chairman, my home State of Delaware does not have a State sales 
tax, which this provision addresses. However, a ``document fee'' of 
3.75 percent is collected when a new vehicle is sold in Delaware. This 
fee is the equivalent of a State sales tax, although it is not called 
that term.
  Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Oregon and New Hampshire lack State sales 
taxes. Instead, these States levy fees and/or taxes or allow local 
governments to levy fees or taxes on new vehicles. For example, in your 
home State of Montana, there is a county option tax on vehicles. In New 
Hampshire, towns and cities can collect fees on motor vehicles. Hawaii 
levies a four-percent excise tax on goods, which includes automobiles. 
This tax is passed along to Hawaiian new car purchasers.
  As the purpose of the Mikulski amendment is to encourage Americans to 
purchase new automobiles, is it the chairman's understanding that it is 
the intent of Congress that the document fee in Delaware is the 
functional equivalent of a State sales tax?
  Mr. BAUCUS. The Senator is correct. In fact, IRS currently counts 
vehicle registration fees based on a vehicle's value as a personal 
property tax, which

[[Page S2310]]

is deductible. This is true even if the State calls the fee a 
``registration fee'' or a ``vehicle use fee.'' In Montana, new 
passenger vehicles are subject to a $217 fee, as well as a county 
option tax-based on the value of the vehicle. The same standard should 
apply to Section 1008.
  Mr. CARPER. I thank the Senator. Additionally, in lieu of paying 
States sales taxes or in the case of Delaware, a document fee, is it 
the intent of Congress that the motor vehicle registration fees on new 
vehicles collected by State or local governments in Alaska, New 
Hampshire, Oregon, Hawaii and Montana qualify for a deduction as 
defined under section 1008?
  Mr. BAUCUS. Yes, that is correct.
  Mr. CARPER. I thank the Senator and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to proceed on my leader time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, across the country Americans are 
struggling with a very bad economy. Every day we hear more 
heartbreaking stories about foreclosures and lost jobs. The situation 
is serious. It appears to be getting worse. It was in the midst of this 
scenario that our new President took office. As did all of us, the 
President wanted to do all he could to help the economy. So he asked 
Congress to put together a stimulus bill aimed at preventing as much 
future damage as possible.
  From the very start, Republicans supported the idea of a stimulus. 
All of us, Democrat and Republican, thought it was important and 
necessary. The question was, what kind of stimulus? What would it look 
like? What would it cost? Who would it help? Where would it go? Most 
importantly, would it work?
  These are important questions, particularly when the economists tell 
us that a bad stimulus is worse than no stimulus at all. As the 
President's top economist, Larry Summers has written:

       Poorly provided fiscal stimulus can have worse side effects 
     than the disease that is to be cured.

  These questions naturally lead to another: How do we measure whether 
a stimulus will work? Well, according to Summers, it is a fairly simple 
three-point test. First, in order to be effective, a fiscal stimulus 
must be timely; second, it must be targeted; and, third, it must be 
clearly and credibly temporary. So using the standard outlined by the 
President's own top economist, Republicans have asked: Is this bill 
timely? Is it targeted? Is it temporary?
  The answer, I have regretfully concluded, is a resounding no. This 
bill fails on all three points. This means, in my view, that 
congressional Democrats have put together a stimulus that by Democrats' 
own standards is likely to fail. Yet, with interest, this bill is 
expected to cost taxpayers $1.1 trillion.
  So the question now is, what can the taxpayers expect for their 
money? Well, at a time when millions are struggling to hold on to their 
homes and jobs, Democrats in the name of stimulus want taxpayers to 
cover the cost of golf carts, electric motorcycles, and ATVs; $300 
million for new government cars; $1 billion for ACORN-eligible block 
grants; $50 million for out-of-work artists; $165 million to maintain 
and build fish hatcheries--$165 million for fish hatcheries; $1 billion 
for the Census. I defy anyone to explain to me how $1 billion for the 
Census will stimulate the U.S. economy.
  So a stimulus bill that was supposed to be timely, targeted, and 
temporary is none of the above. This means Congress is about to approve 
a stimulus that is unlikely to have much stimulative effect.
  That is why an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office actually 
predicted a potential sustained economic decline--decline--as a direct 
result of this bill. That is why I can't support it.
  This is one of the most expensive pieces of legislation Congress has 
ever approved. Including interest, as I have said, it is expected to 
cost $1.1 trillion. To put that figure in perspective, consider this: 
If you spent $1 million a day every day since Jesus was born, you still 
wouldn't have spent $1 trillion. This is an extraordinary sum of money. 
It deserves an extraordinary level of scrutiny.
  Yet even based on the ordinary standards of evaluation, it easily 
fails the test. Even if the bill were timely, targeted, and temporary, 
we would still have to look at the pricetag in the context of all the 
other spending we are all soon going to be asked to consider. The 
American people need to remember this stimulus is just one piece of the 
Democrats' overall spending plan.
  Soon we will be asked to consider $50 billion for housing and 
unspecified hundreds of billions of dollars--possibly even another 
trillion--for troubled banks. We will also soon be voting on a $400 
billion Omnibus appropriations bill that will bring the total 
discretionary spending for this fiscal year to $1 trillion for the 
first time in American history.
  This isn't Monopoly money. It is real. It adds up. It has to be paid 
back by our children and their children, and the American people still 
don't have the facts about the total cost.
  We need to tell the American people the whole story. If Americans 
can't be assured these programs they are paying for will work, they 
should at least be told what they are going to cost.
  Even the Democrats admit this bill is a $1 trillion risk. Today--this 
very day--the Democratic majority leader of the House asked his members 
to pray: ``Pray that this bill works.'' Why? Because, as he said, he is 
not sure that it will. I can't take that big of a risk on this big of a 
commitment of the American people's money.
  I know everyone believes their efforts will help strengthen the 
economy and create jobs. No one should doubt that. Everyone is trying 
to do the right thing. My concern is not the motivation behind these 
efforts but the wisdom--the wisdom--of these efforts.
  This bill has been roundly criticized for being loaded with wasteful 
spending and hundreds of billions of dollars in permanent--permanent--
Government expansion. Our plan would have reduced monthly mortgage 
payments and made it easier to buy a home. Workers would have been able 
to keep more of what they earn. It is also about half the cost of the 
Democratic plan.
  Every Member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, wants the economy 
to recover. The question is, which plan would work? In my view, it is 
highly unlikely this one will. I can't take that big of a risk with 
other people's money. I will vote against it, and I urge my colleagues 
to do the same.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii is recognized.
  Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act, I believe, is a good bill. It is not perfect. It may have 
imperfections, but I believe it deserves our support.
  Many compromises were made, and the final compromises that we made in 
conference were very difficult. There is no doubt those of us on this 
side of the aisle had to make some very difficult decisions and some 
painful cuts to programs that I personally believe would have been of 
great benefit to the American people. But in the end, I remain 
convinced we have gained far more than we have lost, and this bill is 
essential in beginning the task of turning our economy around.
  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create more than 3.5 
million jobs. This is nothing to sniff at. It will provide tax cuts for 
working families, aid to our States, and will allow us to invest in our 
future by rebuilding our roads, schools, and mass transit systems.
  As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I know that the $311 
billion in appropriated funds that are contained in this bill will make 
a difference as we confront the economic crisis. For example, the funds 
will prevent layoffs of State employees, will allow for increased 
funding for education, health care initiatives, improved energy 
efficiency, and many other vital investments.
  With this large influx of Federal funding now headed to our States, 
including my home State of Hawaii, it is essential that each State has 
a plan of action in place to ensure that these resources are invested 
quickly and responsibly, and in the right places. In Hawaii, for 
example, we have established working groups of State and local 
officials and community leaders to identify priorities that will have 
the most effective and timely economic impact in local communities 
throughout the State.
  Before concluding my remarks, I want to take a moment to thank the

[[Page S2311]]

Members and staff of the Appropriations Committee for all of their 
dedication and hard work in taking this bill from conception to 
completed legislation in a matter of a few months. On our committee, we 
have 12 subcommittees, each of which was involved in this bill. It is 
the subcommittees, the chairmen and ranking members who, along with 
their subcommittee clerks and staff, are the people who have carried 
the load on this bill. I believe that the Senate owes them its 
  At this time, I wish to inform the Senate that division A of the 
conference report on H.R. 1 does not contain any congressionally 
directed spending items as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate.
  There is no quick fix or easy answer to this grave economic crisis, 
but I am confident this plan will begin to put America on the road to 
  I believe the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the 
right medicine for what ails our economy. It will not fix our problems 
overnight, but it will begin the process. We face some tough times in 
the coming year, but this legislation will have an impact. It will help 
millions of Americans, directly and indirectly and, most importantly, 
it will give America confidence that we can overcome this crisis.
  I thank the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama is recognized.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to be recognized 
for 2 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I want to say something at the 
conclusion of the debate. I have spoken a number of times and have had 
my say, but this is not a normal bill. This is the largest expenditure 
in the history of this Republic, or of any nation in the history of the 
world. Some have said--and we heard this from the Administration--that 
they want to remake the economy. A press person asked me today: What do 
you think happened to bipartisanship?
  I said, well, I don't know if I can hold hands and walk down the road 
to socialism. I don't want to walk down the road together to say our 
heritage of limited Government and lower taxes and individual freedom 
and responsibility ought to be altered.
  What I am concerned about, at my deepest level, is that this step, as 
huge as it is, is only one of many that we are going to see. We had the 
Wall Street bailout of $700 billion. We hear there may be another $500 
billion coming on housing and that kind of thing, because there's not 
much housing benefit in this.
  This endangers our heritage. It is not a little bitty matter. I am 
proud of my colleagues who have said no. I believe it is the right vote 
and I hope and pray that yet it might fail.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from Arizona is recognized.
  Mr. McCAIN. How much time remains on both sides?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The proponents of the legislation have 3\1/2\ 
minutes, and the opponents have 8\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. McCAIN. What is the disposition of the Senator from Illinois?
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I believe we have 3 minutes and a few 
seconds and I will use that time.
  Mr. McCAIN. Would the Senator wish to go now or wait for me?
  Mr. DURBIN. I defer to the Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Senator.
  Mr. President, we are, obviously, about to vote affirmatively on the 
legislation before us. I want to say that I think the debate has been 
good and respectful. I congratulate the Members on the other side of 
the aisle and the President for their success in achieving the 
timetable that they laid out for the passage of this legislation.
  I point out that the allegation that this is a bipartisan piece of 
legislation is simply not accurate. A total of three Republican Members 
in the entire Congress will be voting for this bill--only three. That 
is not a bipartisan approach, by any measure.
  I think there are some hard facts we should not ignore as we address 
and dispose of this issue and move on to others. I remind my colleagues 
that the current national debt is $10.7 trillion. The 2009 projected 
deficit is another $1.2 trillion. The cost of this legislation before 
us is $1.124 trillion; that is, $789 billion plus interest. The 
expected omnibus spending bill, which will be coming shortly, is 
roughly $400 billion. The expected supplemental request for Afghanistan 
and Iraq will be an additional $80 billion. We will be addressing 
appropriations bills for 2010 that will be over a trillion dollars. We 
are already spending $700 billion on TARP I and II. And estimates, 
according to the media, are that TARP III will be somewhere around $1.5 
  We are on a spending spree of unprecedented and historic proportions. 
We are committing what some of us have called generational theft 
because we are laying this debt on our children and our grandchildren.
  My colleagues--and the Senator from Illinois who has been here 
constantly and has argued his side effectively--will point out that 
Republicans did the same thing. I agree, and Republicans were punished 
in the last election for doing so.
  What grieves me the most about this process we have been through is 
that it started out with a phrase by the Speaker of the House that ``we 
won, we wrote the bill.'' I think I understand the lesson. That is the 
process that it has been through, without Republican involvement and 
without Republican negotiations, which I think are necessary to achieve 
the consensus that is necessary when we are addressing an issue of this 
  This has not been a bipartisan effort. The other side will emerge 
victorious in a few minutes, but we have to face additional challenges. 
I mentioned TARP III--$1.5 trillion--and the expected war supplemental 
request. There are all of these new challenges--not to mention national 
security challenges and policy challenges.
  I think I understand the message from the 2008 election. I think I 
understand it very well. That message is that the American people don't 
want business as usual. They do want us to sit down together. We want 
to be in on the takeoff, so that we can be in on the landing. We want 
to work together with the other side.
  This is not the example that I think the American people want us to 
exercise as we address the enormous challenges. We need a stimulus 
package, we need to address the war in Afghanistan, and we need to 
provide for the much-needed services to Americans as revenues decline 
with a bad economy.
  I end my remarks and yield back the balance of my time by saying 
again: Congratulations to those who will succeed in passing this 
legislation. The next time--and it will be soon, because I understand 
there will be an omnibus appropriations bill, TARP III and others--let 
us sit down and negotiate and work together. When we come out with a 
solution and legislation, we can tell the American people that we 
learned the lesson but, most importantly, we will reflect their wishes 
that we have worked together to address some of the most difficult 
challenges of anyone's lifetime.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois is recognized.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have listened to the critics of this 
legislation. What would they have us do? They would have us do nothing. 
What they offer is one-half of this bill, in the hopes that that might 
do it. We tried that. I say to the critics of the bill that we tried 
their tax cuts last year under President Bush, and they didn't work. We 
tried their TARP under President Bush, and it didn't work as well as we 
had hoped.
  Now we are asking for a chance. This President, President Obama, 
inherited the worst economic crisis in 75 years. He is showing 
leadership, and he came with a solution and offered it to the 
Republicans and said sit down with us, work with us together. Only 
three Republicans out of all those elected on Capitol Hill would do so. 
This President made direct overtures to bring in Republicans, to try to 
find a solution to these problems, and they refused to do so. Many of 
the same Republicans--not the Senator from Arizona--who have spoken 
earlier supported amendments to this, adding to the cost of this 
package $70 billion in the Finance

[[Page S2312]]

Committee, up to $30 billion on the floor; and after their amendments 
were adopted, they said, of course, we cannot vote for the bill because 
it costs too much--after they added some $100 billion in costs to the 
  They cannot have it both ways. They cannot ask us, as Democrats, to 
stand with President Bush when he tried to solve it and then walk out 
the door when we face this crisis under President Obama. We have 
invited the Republicans to join us, and three stepped forward. I salute 
them for their courage in doing so. I hope more will do that in the 
  A lot of the arguments are about the impact on the next generation. 
Consider the impact on the next generation of Americans if their 
parents lose a job. Consider the impact on kids in the next generation 
if their home is foreclosed upon. Consider the impact on the next 
generation if they are forced out of college because their parents 
cannot pay the bills. In this bill, we address each of those issues, 
providing tax relief to working families, creating up to 4 million 
jobs, giving people a chance to stay in their homes and trying to help 
them pay for a college education. Yes, we have our eye on the next 
  What we are doing in the bill is trying to give a lifeline to our 
economy for those who are suffering in Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, and 
all across this country. This is a serious effort to find a solution. 
We have tried to work together. It is a transparent approach with full 
accountability, and we will do our best to pass it and turn this 
economy around and give America the new day it deserves.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mrs. Hagan). All time has expired.
  Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, in keeping with the previous unanimous 
consent agreement, I believe this point of order and final passage are 
both combined in one vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
  Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, pursuant to section 294(a) of the 2008 
budget resolution, S. Con. Res. 21, of the 110th Congress, I raise a 
point of order against the emergency designation in section 5(a) of the 
conference report.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, a motion to waive 
the applicable point of order is considered made.
  The question is agreeing to the motion.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Kennedy) was absent.
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 60, nays 38, as follows:

                    [Rollcall Vote Nos. 63, 64 Leg.]


     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)



                             NOT VOTING--1

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Durbin.) On this vote, the yeas are 60, 
the nays are 38. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn 
having voted in the affirmative, the motion to waive section 
204(a)(5)(A) of S. Con. Res. 21 regarding emergency legislation is 
agreed to. As a result, the point of order falls.
  Pursuant to the previous order which imposed a 60-vote threshold for 
the adoption of this conference report, this vote also constitutes the 
vote on the adoption of the conference report.
  Pursuant to that order, the conference report to accompany H.R. 1 is 
agreed to, and the motion to reconsider that vote is considered made 
and laid upon the table.
  Mr. REID. 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. REID. 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. GRASSLEY, Mr. President, yesterday I spoke about how the trade 
adjustment assistance provisions in the conference report represent the 
one shining example of bipartisanship in this mammoth legislation. It's 
unfortunate that the overall conference report wasn't the product of a 
similarly bipartisan process, but that missed opportunity should not 
detract from the tremendous bipartisan effort that my colleagues and 
our staffs undertook to bring about this significant achievement in 
reforming and reauthorizing our trade adjustment assistance programs. I 
want to take a moment to note for the record my appreciation to those 
who have worked so hard to produce this good compromise legislation on 
trade adjustment assistance.
  I will begin by thanking my colleagues on the House Ways and Means 
Committee, Chairman Rangel and Ranking Member Camp. Our bicameral 
negotiations over the last 6 weeks have been intensive, and at times 
difficult but always professional and constructive. Chairman Rangel was 
ably advised by Tim Reif and Viji Rangaswami, his respective staff 
director and deputy staff director on the trade subcommittee, as well 
as Alex Perkins, international trade counsel to the chairman, and 
Indivar Dutta-Gupta, adviser to the chairman on the professional staff 
of the subcommittee on income security and family support. Congressman 
Camp was ably advised by his chief trade counsel, Angela Ellard, as 
well as David Thomas, international trade counsel to the ranking 
  Of course I must thank my partner on the Finance Committee, Chairman 
Baucus, with whom I have been actively overseeing the operation of our 
trade adjustment assistance programs since the last time we implemented 
reforms in 2002. We have been negotiating over this legislation since 
April of last year, so this is the culmination of a lot of effort by 
our two staffs. My thanks begin with his staff director, Russ Sullivan, 
and extend to Demetrios Marantis, his chief international trade 
counsel, and the rest of his trade team, particularly Hun Quach, Ayesha 
Khanna, and Darci Vetter, as well as Amber Cottle, Chelsea Thomas, and 
Janis Lazda. I would also like to thank Liz Fowler and Neleen Eisinger 
from his health staff, and Anya Landau French, formerly of his trade 
  On my staff I want to thank first my staff director on the Finance 
Committee, Kolan Davis, and my deputy staff director and chief tax 
counsel, Mark Prater, for their wise counsel in managing the 
legislative processes that have led to today's achievement. I also want 
to thank my chief international trade counsel, Stephen Schaefer, who 
has spearheaded my oversight of trade adjustment assistance since 2003 
and led my negotiating effort these many months, as well as David Ross, 
my international trade counsel, who played an integral role in the 
negotiations that produced today's compromise. In addition, I want to 
thank David Johanson, my international trade counsel and agricultural 
trade specialist, for his role in negotiating a reform of the trade 
adjustment assistance for farmers program, and Claudia Bridgeford 
Poteet, my international trade policy advisor, for her advice and 
support. Additional members of my staff that merit special recognition 
include Mark Hayes, my chief health counsel, and Andrew McKechnie, also 
on my health staff, as well as Kristin Bass and Colette Desmarais, 
formerly of my health staff. I also want to thank Chris Condeluci, my 
tax and benefits

[[Page S2313]]

counsel, as well as Lacee Oliver, an intern on my Finance Committee 
staff, and John Kalitka, a former detail to my Finance Committee trade 
staff from the Department of Commerce, for their work on trade 
adjustment assistance.
  Our work has been supported by the substantial efforts of dedicated 
professionals at the Department of Labor, and my appreciation there 
begins with Erin Fitzgerald in the Division of Trade Adjustment 
Assistance, as well as Mark Morin and Lois Zuckerman in the Office of 
the Solicitor, and Erica Cantor, the administrator of the Office of 
National Response. I also want to thank Mason Bishop, Blake Hanlon, and 
Geoffrey Burr, formerly of the Department of Labor, as well as Justin 
McCarthy and John Bailey, formerly on the White House staff of the 
previous administration.
  I mentioned that Chairman Baucus and I have been engaged in joint 
oversight of the trade adjustment assistance programs since 2002, and 
our oversight has included requesting a series of reports from the 
Government Accountability Office to examine various aspects of the 
operation of these programs. Among current and former personnel at the 
Government Accountability Office who merit special recognition for 
their hard work are Sigurd Nilsen, Dianne Blank, Lorin Obler, and Wayne 
  Finally, I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of our House and 
Senate legislative counsels to deliver timely drafts and constructive 
critiques of proposed legislative provisions. On the House side I want 
to thank Sandra Strokoff and Mark Synnes, and here in the Senate I want 
to thank our experts on customs and international trade law, Polly 
Craighill and Margaret Roth-Warren.
  As you can see, today's achievement is the result of the dedication, 
hard work, and commitment of many individuals. It is the culmination of 
years of effort, and I am confident that the result will serve to 
benefit American workers in Iowa and across the United States for years 
to come.
  Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, although I voted against the motion to 
waive the Congressional Budget Act on the conference report to 
accompany H.R. 1, the so-called stimulus bill, and on the adoption of 
the conference report to H.R. 1, I must acknowledge the courtesies and 
thoughtful leadership of the Appropriations Committee by the 
distinguished Senator from Hawaii, Mr. Inouye.
  He carried out his responsibilities as chairman of our committee in a 
fair minded way that reflected credit on the Senate.
  This legislation was written by our committee, but in many respects 
it reflected the attitude and interests of the other body. The bill in 
my opinion creates too many new programs and policies that will have a 
major impact on the Federal budget for years to come.
  Our Nation faces an economic emergency, but a health information 
program is not an emergency and should not have been included in this 
bill. Upgrading the elective grid is not an emergency and neither is 
improving our Nation's scientific capacity, but they should have been 
considered in the President's budget request and through a deliberative 
congressional process.
  There are many things like this that should not have been included in 
this bill.
  The process has been anything but deliberative.