LEGISLATIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 47
(Senate - March 18, 2009)

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[Pages S3338-S3348]
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                          LEGISLATIVE SESSION



  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of H.R. 146, which the clerk will report by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 146) to establish a battlefield acquisition 
     grant program for the acquisition and protection of 
     nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of 
     the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and for other 

  The Senate resumed consideration of the bill.

       Bingaman amendment No. 684, in the nature of a substitute;
       Coburn amendment No. 680 to amendment No. 684, to ensure 
     that the general public has full access to our national parks 
     and to promote the health and safety of all visitors and 
     employees of the National Park Service;
       Coburn amendment No. 679 to amendment No. 684, to provide 
     for the future energy needs of the United States and 
     eliminate restrictions on the development of renewable

[[Page S3339]]

       and Coburn amendment No. 675 to amendment No. 684, to 
     prohibit the use of eminent domain and to ensure that no 
     American has their property forcibly taken from them by 
     authorities granted under this Act.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma is recognized.
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, first of all, I ask unanimous consent to 
have printed in the Record the statement of the Secretary of the 
Interior, Ken Salazar, given yesterday before the Senate Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources. I think Members will find significant 
support for my amendment on alternative energy in his statement.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

Statement of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, Before the Senate 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Energy Development on the 
                Public Lands and Outer Continental Shelf

       Thank you, Chairman Bingaman, Senator Murkowski, and 
     Members of the Committee, for giving me the opportunity to 
     come before you today to discuss energy development on public 
     lands and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) under the 
     Department of the Interior's jurisdiction. This is my first 
     hearing before you since my confirmation as Secretary of the 
     Interior and it is an honor to be here.
       President Obama has pledged to work with you to develop a 
     new energy strategy for the country. His New Energy for 
     America plan will create a clean energy-based economy that 
     promotes investment and innovation here at home, generating 
     millions of new jobs. It will ensure energy security by 
     reducing our dependence on foreign oil, increasing 
     efficiency, and making responsible use of our domestic 
     resources. Finally, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
       During his visit to the Department for our 160th 
     anniversary celebration two weeks ago, the President spoke 
     about the Department's major role in helping to create this 
     new, secure, reliable and clean energy future. The vast 
     landholdings and management jurisdiction of the Department's 
     bureaus, encompassing 20 percent of the land mass of the 
     United States and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental 
     Shelf, are key to realizing this vision through the 
     responsible development of these resources.
       These lands have some of the highest renewable energy 
     potential in the nation. The Bureau of Land Management has 
     identified a total of approximately 20.6 million acres of 
     public land with wind energy potential in the 11 western 
     states and approximately 29.5 million acres with solar energy 
     potential in the six southwestern states. There are also over 
     140 million acres of public land in western states and Alaska 
     with geothermal resource potential.
       There is also significant wind and wave potential in our 
     offshore waters. The National Renewable Energy Lab has 
     identified more than 1,000 gigawatts of wind potential off 
     the Atlantic coast, and more than 900 gigawatts of wind 
     potential off the Pacific Coast.
       Renewable energy companies are looking to partner with the 
     government to develop this renewable energy potential. We 
     should responsibly facilitate this development. 
     Unfortunately, today, in BLM southwestern states, there is a 
     backlog of over 200 solar energy applications. In addition, 
     there are some 20 proposed wind development projects on BLM 
     lands in the west. These projects would create engineering 
     and construction jobs.
       To help focus the Department of the Interior on the 
     importance of renewable energy development, last Wednesday, 
     March 11, I issued my first Secretarial Order. The order 
     makes facilitating the production, development, and delivery 
     of renewable energy top priorities for the Department. Of 
     course, this would be accomplished in ways that also project 
     our natural heritage, wildlife, and land and water resources.
       The order also establishes an energy and climate change 
     task force within the Department, drawing from the leadership 
     of each of the bureaus. The task force will be responsible 
     for, among other things, quantifying the potential 
     contributions of renewable energy resources on our public 
     lands and the OCS and identifying and prioritizing specific 
     ``zones'' on our public lands where the Department can 
     facilitate a rapid and responsible move to significantly 
     increased production of renewable energy from solar, wind, 
     geothermal, incremental or small hydroelectric power on 
     existing structures, and biomass sources. The task force will 
     prioritize the permitting and appropriate environmental 
     review of transmission rights-of-way applications that are 
     necessary to deliver renewable energy generation to 
     consumers, and will work to resolve obstacles to renewable 
     energy permitting, siting, development, and production 
     without compromising environmental values.
       Accomplishing these goals may require new policies or 
     practices or the revision of existing policies or practices, 
     including possible revision of the Programmatic Environmental 
     Impact Statements (PEISs) for wind and geothermal energy 
     development and the West-Wide Corridors PEIS that BLM has 
     completed, as well as their Records of Decision. The 
     Department of Interior will work with relevant agencies to 
     explore these options.
       We will also, as I have said before, finalize the 
     regulations for offshore renewable development authorized by 
     section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave the 
     Secretary of the Interior authority to provide access to the 
     OCS for alternative energy and alternate use projects. This 
     rulemaking was proposed but never finalized by the previous 
       For these renewable energy zones to succeed, we will need 
     to work closely with other agencies, states, Tribes and 
     interested communities to determine what electric 
     transmission infrastructure and transmission corridors are 
     needed and appropriate to deliver these renewable resources 
     to major population centers. We must, in effect, create a 
     national electrical superhighway system to move these 
     resources from the places they are generated to where they 
     are consumed. We will assign a high priority to completing 
     the permitting and appropriate environmental review of 
     transmission rights-of-way applications that are necessary to 
     accomplish this task.
       Developing these renewable resources requires a balanced 
     and mindful approach that addresses the impacts of 
     development on wildlife, water resources and other interests 
     under the Department's management jurisdiction. I recognize 
     this responsibility, and it is not a charge I take lightly.
       At the same time, we must recognize that we will likely be 
     dependent on conventional sources--oil, gas, and coal--for a 
     significant portion of our energy for many years to come. 
     Therefore it is important that the Department continue to 
     responsibly develop these energy resources on public lands.
       In the past 7 weeks, the Department has held seven major 
     oil and gas lease sales onshore, netting more than $33 
     million for taxpayers. And tomorrow I will be in New Orleans 
     for a lease sale covering approximately 34.6 million offshore 
     acres in the Central Gulf of Mexico. This sale includes 4.2 
     million acres in the 181 South Area, opened as a result of 
     the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. Continuing to develop 
     these assets, through an orderly process and based on sound 
     science, adds important resources to our domestic energy 
       Based on this approach, I announced last week that I would 
     be hosting four regional public meetings next month in order 
     to gather a broad range of viewpoints from all parties 
     interested in energy development on the OCS. In addition, I 
     directed the Minerals Management Service and the U.S. 
     Geological Survey to assemble a report on our offshore oil 
     and gas resources and the potential for renewable energy 
     resources, including wind, wave, and tidal energy. The 
     results of that report will be presented and discussed with 
     the public.
       The meetings will be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, New 
     Orleans, Louisiana, Anchorage, Alaska, and San Francisco, 
     California, during the first two weeks in April.
       These meetings are an integral part of our strategy for 
     developing a new, comprehensive, and environmentally 
     appropriate energy development plan for the OCS. I have also 
     extended the comment period on the previous Administration's 
     proposed 5-year Plan for development by 180 days. We will use 
     the information gathered at these regional meetings to help 
     us develop the new 5-year plan on energy development on the 
       Similarly, again based on sound science, policy and public 
     input, we will move forward with a second round of research, 
     development, and demonstration leases for oil shale in 
     Colorado and Utah. While we need to move aggressively with 
     these technologies, these leases will help answer the 
     critical questions about oil shale, including about the 
     viability of emerging technologies on a commercial scale, how 
     much water and power would be required, and what impact 
     commercial development would have on land, water, wildlife, 
     communities and on addressing global climate change.
       We are also proceeding with development onshore, where 
     appropriate, on our public lands. As I noted above, the 
     responsible development of our oil, gas and coal resources 
     help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but this 
     development must be done in a thoughtful and balanced way, 
     and in a way that allows us to protect our signature 
     landscapes, natural resources, wildlife, and cultural 
       We also need to ensure that this development results in a 
     fair return to the public that owns these federal minerals. 
     That's why the President's 2010 Budget includes several 
     proposals to improve this return by closing loopholes, 
     charging appropriate fees, and reforming how royalties are 
     set. Of course, I'll be happy to discuss these in more detail 
     after the Administration's full budget request is released in 
     the coming weeks.
       Implementation of the President's energy plan will 
     ultimately focus the nation on development of a new green 
     economy and move us toward energy independence, and I and my 
     team are working hard to put that plan into place.
       Mr. Chairman, I know you and the Committee, along with the 
     Majority Leader and others in Congress, are working hard on 
     these issues. I believe we are being presented today with an 
     historic opportunity to enhance our economy, our environment, 
     and our national security. Too much is at stake for us to 
     miss this opportunity.
       Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. I am 
     happy to answer any questions that you may have.

[[Page S3340]]

  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, we are putting the cart before the horse, 
because one of the things the Secretary spoke about yesterday is that 
we have to figure out how to transfer all this renewable energy from 
Federal lands. What this bill and what a previous amendment that I have 
offered and that is now pending would do is to say this bill is going 
to offset that. We are not going to know where we need to send it or 
how we need to send it. With this bill, we are going to deny the 
options to the Secretary of the Interior in terms of transmission lines 
with geothermal, with solar, and with wind.
  Mr. President, I also ask unanimous consent to have printed in the 
Record the opening statement of the chairman of the Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee, Senator Bingaman, because I am very pleased with 
his statements on oil and gas and renewables, and it again would 
support the amendment I have offered that we should not preclude 
renewables from this bill.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                   Energy Production on Federal Lands

       I want to welcome my colleagues, our witnesses and 
     especially Secretary Salazar to today's hearing on the 
     important topic of energy development on public lands and the 
     Outer Continental Shelf. Our Nation has abundant energy 
     resources, a good portion of which are found on our onshore 
     public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. These resources 
     are owned by all of the people of the United States, and 
     their management is entrusted to the Federal Government.
       That's why we're particularly pleased that our new 
     Secretary of the Interior is here today to tell us about his 
     vision for the development of our energy resources on public 
     lands, both onshore and offshore. Secretary Salazar has 
     important decisions to make--decisions that may prove 
     essential to our Nation's energy security and economic well-
     being--but also decisions that will impact the landscape and 
     our environment for generations to come.
       I look forward to hearing more about the Administration's 
     plans in this regard. I hope that Secretary Salazar can share 
     with us his vision for how we can determine the best places 
     for energy development on the OCS, and how we can move 
     forward to get more energy production--both oil and gas and 
     renewables--in a safe and environmentally sound manner from 
     the Outer Continental Shelf.
       I know that the Secretary is also interested in our onshore 
     oil and gas leasing program. We recognize the contribution of 
     that program to our energy supply. I hope that under his 
     leadership, the BLM can resolve any resource conflicts up 
     front, so that this important program can run smoothly and 
     efficiently. To this end, it is also important that the 
     inspection and enforcement program at the BLM be well-funded.
       Finally, this Administration is clearly committed to 
     renewable energy. I know Secretary Salazar is. The Department 
     of the Interior and the Forest Service have a key role in the 
     siting of generation and transmission facilities for wind and 
     solar energy. I know that Secretary Salazar has already 
     undertaken initiatives to bring about more renewable energy 
     production on Federal lands.--Jeff Bingaman, Chairman, 
     Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

                 Amendment No. 682 to Amendment No. 684

  (Purpose: To protect scientists and visitors to federal lands from 
          unfair penalties for collecting insignificant rocks)

  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and amendment No. 682 be brought up and 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. Coburn] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 682 to amendment No. 684.

  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment 
be considered as read.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Text of 
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, this is a very simple amendment. We do 
have a problem with thieves stealing significant fossil remains from 
public lands, but the way the bill is written currently is that we are 
going to hit a fly with a sledgehammer. What we are going to do is put 
Scout leaders and troops, graduate students, and the regular public in 
line for tremendously harsh penalties if they inadvertently or 
inconsequentially pick up a small rock that might have a fossil.
  All this amendment does is it tells the Secretary that ``they shall 
allow,'' without penalty, the insignificant capture of these small 
items--not to resell, not for going on the black market, but actually 
for educational purposes--by Scout troops, graduate students, college 
classes, and the like.
  What we know from the history is that there have been significant 
difficulties in terms of the lack of law enforcement on public lands. 
This goes back to one of our other amendments we talked about earlier, 
which is not only is there a backlog in the repair and care of our 
public lands, but we don't have the money to enforce and protect the 
very assets which we think are paleontological assets, which we know 
are valuable both for history and science. We haven't had the forces 
capable of even enforcing what is already illegal. It is already 
illegal to steal those items from public land.
  So what this amendment does is just change the wording from ``may'' 
to ``shall''; that the Secretary ``shall allow casual collecting'' that 
will not harm any of our public lands and will not put the truly 
innocent--simply inquiring minds--at risk of the harsh penalties of 
this segment of the bill. It is as simple as that. All it does is 
lighten up on the inadvertent and the non-inappropriate looking for 
small fossils and small rocks that may not even contain fossils. We 
have already had testimony that the majority of the people who have 
been arrested under the illegal statute have not been those who have 
been in the black market. It has been Scout leaders and graduate 
students and college professors who have actually been out there.
  So I think it is a commonsense amendment, and I hope my colleagues 
will consider it and adopt it so that we don't overshoot on what is 
intended to be a solution to a very serious problem.
  I would also like to spend a moment in rebutting some of the words of 
the Senator from California. I have not yet offered, but intend to 
offer, one amendment that will in fact strike some earmarks from this 
bill. The San Joaquin River has, no question, been engaged in a 
lawsuit. But if you ago back to 1924 and see what the Federal 
Government said about the salmon run over this area, it was already in 
decline. As a matter of fact, it was in a decline to a level very close 
to what we have seen today.
  What we have had is a lawsuit that has reached a settlement that now 
we are to pay $1 billion with the specific goal not of 100,000 salmon, 
not of 30,000 salmon, but the goal in the settlement is 500 salmon. The 
likelihood of achieving that, for $1 billion, first of all, is 
unlikely. The ultimate outside costs are going to be tremendous. What 
are the costs? Through this lawsuit, we are going to put at jeopardy, 
put at risk, $20 billion worth of economic activity in one of the most 
fertile areas of California.
  The Congressman who represents 85 percent of that district and his 
constituents are adamantly opposed to this settlement because they know 
what it is going to do in terms of the water resource for that 
agricultural community. Not everyone supports this settlement, as the 
Senator from California said, certainly not the Congressman 
representing the district.
  The other claim Senator Feinstein made is it would be less costly 
than the alternative litigation. If you use the two analyses done in 
the late 1990s regarding the economic impacts of water supply 
reductions, estimates paint the total costs of this settlement to the 
community at over $10 billion; $10 billion is the economic loss to be 
associated with this settlement.
  At a time of economic difficulty, the last thing we need to be doing 
is cutting out another $10 billion of economic productivity.

                 Amendment No. 677 to Amendment No. 684

  I ask the pending amendment be set aside and amendment No. 677 be 
called up.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. Coburn] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 677 to amendment No. 684.

  The amendment reads as follows:

 (Purpose: To require Federal agencies to determine on an annual basis 
the quantity of land that is owned by each Federal agency and the cost 
               to taxpayers of the ownership of the land)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

[[Page S3341]]


       (a) Annual Report.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), not later than 
     May 15, 2009, and annually thereafter, the Director of the 
     Office of Management and Budget (referred to in this section 
     as the ``Director'') shall ensure that a report that contains 
     the information described in subsection (b) is posted on a 
     publicly available website.
       (2) Extension relating to certain segment of report.--With 
     respect to the date on which the first annual report is 
     required to be posted under paragraph (1), if the Director 
     determines that an additional period of time is required to 
     gather the information required under subsection (b)(3)(B), 
     the Director may--
       (A) as of the date described in paragraph (1), post each 
     segment of information required under paragraphs (1), (2), 
     and (3)(A) of subsection (b); and
       (B) as of May 15, 2010, post the segment of information 
     required under subsection (b)(3)(B).
       (b) Required Information.--Except as provided in subsection 
     (c), an annual report described in subsection (a) shall 
     contain, for the period covered by the report--
       (1) a description of the total quantity of--
       (A) land located within the jurisdiction of the United 
     States, to be expressed in acres;
       (B) the land described in subparagraph (A) that is owned by 
     the Federal Government, to be expressed--
       (i) in acres; and
       (ii) as a percentage of the quantity described in 
     subparagraph (A); and
       (C) the land described in subparagraph (B) that is located 
     in each State, to be expressed, with respect to each State--
       (i) in acres; and
       (ii) as a percentage of the quantity described in 
     subparagraph (B);
       (2) a description of the total annual cost to the Federal 
     Government for maintaining all parcels of administrative land 
     and all administrative buildings or structures under the 
     jurisdiction of each Federal agency; and
       (3) a list and detailed summary of--
       (A) with respect to each Federal agency--
       (i) the number of unused or vacant assets;
       (ii) the replacement value for each unused or vacant asset;
       (iii) the total operating costs for each unused or vacant 
     asset; and
       (iv) the length of time that each type of asset described 
     in clause (i) has been unused or vacant, organized in 
     categories comprised of periods of--

       (I) not more than 1 year;
       (II) not less than 1, but not more than 2, years; and
       (III) not less than 2 years; and

       (B) the estimated costs to the Federal Government of the 
     maintenance backlog of each Federal agency, to be--
       (i) organized in categories comprised of buildings and 
     structures; and
       (ii) expressed as an aggregate cost.
       (c) Exclusions.--Notwithstanding subsection (b), the 
     Director shall exclude from an annual report required under 
     subsection (a) any information that the Director determines 
     would threaten national security.
       (d) Use of Existing Annual Reports.--An annual report 
     required under subsection (a) may be comprised of any annual 
     report relating to the management of Federal real property 
     that is published by a Federal agency.

  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, this is a simple amendment, too. It is a 
good housekeeping amendment. What this amendment does is requires the 
Federal Government every year to detail to the people of this country 
the amount of the property that the Federal Government owns and the 
cost of that land ownership to taxpayers. Do you realize right now we 
have 21,000 buildings that are owned by the Federal Government sitting 
empty? We have 40 million square feet of excess space that is not being 
used, just by the Department of Energy alone.
  The Federal Government currently does not disclose these assets. As a 
matter of fact, they do not even know what they are. What this 
amendment would do is ask the Federal Government, through the OMB, to 
create an inventory of Federal assets as far as land and buildings are 
concerned. We do not know what it costs us to maintain it. We don't 
know if it is economical for us to continue to maintain it as a Federal 
Government property or whether we ought to put it up for sale or we 
ought to cede it to the States, to an Indian tribe or some other 
Government agency where it can be utilized. We just don't have the 
knowledge. Without this kind of knowledge there is no way that Congress 
can manage Federal properties and Federal lands.
  What this would specifically require is the Office of Management and 
Budget to issue a report detailing the following: the total amount of 
land in the United States that is owned by the Federal Government; the 
percentage of all U.S. property controlled by the Federal Government, 
that is controlled--maybe not owned but controlled; the total cost of 
operating and maintaining Federal real property, including land, 
buildings and structures; a list of all Federal property that is either 
unused or vacant--that is something we should know which we do not 
know--and the estimated cost of the maintenance backlog on Federal 
land, buildings, and properties by agency.
  This will give taxpayers greater transparency. It allows the 
taxpayers to know what kind of poor stewards we are with Federal 
property and land. It will also give us a focus to direct the 
maintenance backlog that we have today, to create a priority for it. We 
can see it in light of all the maintenance problems by agency.
  It also will help us when we are considering a bill like this one. 
Nobody knows the total impact of this bill--this bill, 170 bills. 
Nobody has done a study to say what the total impact is going to be. We 
don't know what the total impact is going to be on energy transmission. 
What we do know is it is going to hinder it greatly. What it does is it 
gives us a management tool.
  According to the Congressional Research Service, the total amount of 
Federal land is unknown. In fact, different sources show significantly 
different estimates. This is their direct quote:

       The estimate of $650 million assumes the four Federal land 
     management agencies have reasonably accurate data on lands 
     under their jurisdiction, and the Department of Defense.

  I would note that this amendment specifically excludes any properties 
that should not be known publicly, that are of national security or 
defense nature.
  It is interesting, the Government tracks property we own, but the 
taxpayers cannot track the property the Government owns. Let me repeat 
that. Government at all levels tracks the property we own, but the 
taxpayers are not allowed to track the property the Government owns 
through them--ridiculous. The Government should have to disclose 
exactly the same information, when it is not a national security issue, 
that we have to disclose on our own property.
  What we do know is that the Federal Government controls more than 
one-fourth of the Nation's total land, and that continues to grow. It 
is going to grow by almost 3 million acres in this bill. Between 1997 
and 2004, the latest years for which reliable information was 
available, Federal land ownership increased from 563 million to 654.7 
million acres. In 7 years it grew 100 million acres. That is 100 
million acres on which nobody is collecting any property tax. It is 100 
million acres we are not taking care of. It is 100 million acres that 
have facilities and structures and backlogs on maintenance issues on it 
that are costing us dearly every year. As the Federal Government takes 
more land, the costs of maintaining the property increases and the 
maintenance backlogs continue to grow.
  It also does something else. In this 100 million acres of growth in 
the 7 years up to 2004, that is 100 million acres that is not available 
to the American public to utilize in a productive way, in a way that 
could build capacity, could build wealth, could build jobs. None of 
that happens. The only jobs that come with Federal Government programs 
or Federal Government property is Federal jobs that are not necessarily 
productive of new assets, new wealth, and new job creation beyond it.
  The other thing we know is, as this 100 million acres has been added 
over the previous 7 years, that the maintenance backlog of what we do 
own has fallen further and further behind. We know, according to the 
GAO, the maintenance backlog just at the Forest Service--not the 
national parks--we know that is somewhere between $12 billion and $19 
billion. But the Forest Service has tripled.
  The other problem I mentioned earlier, of the 21,000 buildings we 
have now that we are not utilizing, we could reduce the debt by $18 
billion just in the maintenance costs to those buildings. Think about 
that. We have 21,000 buildings sitting. We are not doing anything with 
them except maintaining them, and we are spending $18 billion that we 
do not have taking care of buildings whereas we could get $18 billion 
for those buildings if we would dispose of them. But we have been 
blocked in this body from proposing real property reform.

[[Page S3342]]

  The first step, then, is to know what we have, and this is just a 
guess of what we have. I mentioned earlier that the Department of 
Energy--I said 40--it is 20 million square feet of excess capacity. 
That is three times the size of the Pentagon. So three times the size 
of the Pentagon, you could put five U.S. Capitols inside the Pentagon 
in terms of square footage.
  The other benefit from this is transparency will help us every time 
in every way. Knowing what we need to know about Federal property, 
knowing what we need to know about maintenance backlogs, is key to us 
fixing the problem. We cannot manage Federal property unless we know 
what we are managing, unless we have the details and the data. My hope 
is this amendment will be accepted and that the American people can 
actually know what they own, much like the Government knows what they 
  I have one other amendment to offer, but I will defer that to a later 
point in time, and at this time I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. McCaskill). The Senator from New Mexico 
is recognized.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Madam President, I believe at 2 o'clock we are 
proceeding to vote on a nomination and then also on three of the six 
amendments that are being proposed by the Senator from Oklahoma to this 
omnibus lands bill. I just want to speak briefly about the three 
amendments that we are expected to vote on in the sequence of votes 
beginning at 2 o'clock.

                           Amendment No. 680

  As I understand it, the first of those is an amendment, SA 680, 
prohibiting construction in the national parks. This amendment 
prohibits the National Park Service from beginning any new construction 
until the Secretary determines that ``all existing sites, structures, 
trails, and transportation infrastructure of the National Park Service 
are--fully operational; fully accessible to the public; and propose no 
health or safety risk to the general public or employees of the 
National Park Service.''
  The amendment excludes from the new construction ban, first, ``the 
replacement of existing structures in cases in which rehabilitation 
costs exceed new construction costs''; or, second, the second area that 
is excluded from the construction ban would be ``any new construction 
that the Secretary determines to be necessary for public safety.''
  The amendment, as I read it, would eliminate the ability of Congress 
to determine what funds should be appropriated to each park. In all 
likelihood, the Secretary would never be able to make the certification 
called for in the amendment since there would always be some backlog. 
So this amendment would ensure that we would not proceed with new 
construction in our national parks.
  The amendment also appears to prohibit the expenditure of already 
appropriated funds, if the construction has not yet begun, which would 
negate funds recently appropriated as part of the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act and also funds contained in the Omnibus Appropriations 
Act that was approved by this Congress.
  For those reasons, I urge my colleagues to oppose that amendment.

                           Amendment No. 679

  The second amendment I wanted to talk about is Coburn amendment No. 
679. That amendment states:

       Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, nothing in 
     this Act shall restrict the development of renewable energy 
     on public land, including geothermal, solar and wind energy 
     and related transmission infrastructure.

  Madam President, the proponent of the amendment argues we should not 
designate the wilderness or national park or other conservation in the 
areas set out in this bill because they will restrict our sources of 
energy. I disagree with that.
  For example, the bill, as it stands before us, designates 15 new 
wilderness areas. None of those areas have significant energy 
development potential. Three of the wilderness areas are within 
national parks where energy development is already not allowed. So the 
wilderness designation would not change that in any way.
  The remaining wilderness areas are on land administered by the Bureau 
of Land Management or the Forest Service, and those agencies have 
provided information to our committee, the Energy Committee, that the 
new wilderness areas have low or no potential for energy development 
within the areas designated.
  In addition to the wilderness areas, the amendment would undermine 
the designation of several other areas that are created to protect 
naturally significant features. For example, the bill designates a new 
national monument and a new national conservation area in my home State 
of New Mexico, one of which will protect a series of fossilized 
prehistoric trackways and the other which protects a large cave system. 
Neither site is appropriate for energy development. Neither designation 
would reduce the contribution made by New Mexico as a major energy 
  We are currently working on an energy bill in our Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee that will encourage the development of renewable 
energy. However, the areas designated in this bill will not reduce our 
Nation's ability to develop these resources.

                           Amendment No. 675

  The third amendment I wished to briefly describe or discuss is the 
amendment No. 675 offered by the Senator from Oklahoma. This amendment 
states that no land or interest in land shall be acquired under this 
act by eminent domain.
  First, it is important to understand that there are no provisions in 
this act that grant the Federal Government eminent domain authority. 
That authority already exists. It has existed since the founding of the 
  The use of eminent domain authority, however, is limited and 
controlled by the fifth amendment and by certain Federal statutes. 
These provisions require just compensation when eminent domain is 
actually used.
  Secondly, there are no major land acquisitions in the bill. The 
amendment could impact the water projects that are authorized by the 
bill, particularly the Indian water rights settlement and rural water 
projects that are authorized in titles IX and X of the regulation.
  Eminent domain, while sparingly used, has at times been a crucial 
tool for the Bureau of Reclamation in its attempts to complete 
important water projects. Examples that come to mind are the Central 
Arizona Project. My colleagues from Arizona are very familiar with the 
benefits that has brought to the State of Arizona.
  The Central Utah Project, again, my colleagues from Utah undoubtedly 
know the value of that project. In such cases, without this tool, it 
likely would have been impossible to complete the reservoirs and 
drinking water pipelines and irrigation canals that are so crucial to 
the communities that are served by those projects.
  The amendment that is being offered is problematic for several 
reasons. Let me recount those: First, it would impede the construction 
or increase the cost of several of the water projects provided for in 
this bill. This could result in the failure to complete projects or to 
implement one or more of the Indian water rights settlements that are 
being resolved.
  The Navajo settlement, which includes a rural water project critical 
to the Navajo people, is one of particular importance to me. It needs 
to be fully implemented without delay, and elimination of this 
authority would impede that. The language of the amendment is not 
limited to Federal agencies. Accordingly, it would be interpreted to 
restrict eminent domain by State-based entities if Federal money is 
involved as part of a condemnation.
  The Eastern New Mexico Project is an example of a project where the 
local water authority will be responsible for securing rights of way 
for the project. It does not intend to condemn any property rights, but 
it will have that power, if needed, to deliver much needed water to the 
communities in rural New Mexico that will be served by the project. The 
Coburn amendment could interfere with the authority of that local 
entity to complete that project.
  Finally, the Bureau of Reclamation indicates it has at times used so-
called friendly condemnation to acquire State and local lands when the 
relevant government entities do not have the authority to sell such 
land. This has been a valuable tool to the Bureau of Reclamation and 
could be prohibited by the Coburn amendment.

[[Page S3343]]

  In sum, for well over 100 years, the Bureau of Reclamation, as one 
agency, has balanced public needs with private property rights to help 
address critical water needs throughout the West. I expect that 
Reclamation's approach will not change as a result of anything in this 
bill. The Coburn amendment is unnecessary, would likely complicate the 
work done by numerous communities to address the water issues that 
affect their future.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose that amendment as well.
  I yield the floor. I see my colleague from Oklahoma is here and would 
like to continue with his other amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma is recognized.
  Mr. COBURN. While I thank the chairman, the Senator from New Mexico, 
for his words and his comments, I would note that true eminent domain 
was not truly exercised in this country until the authority was given 
in 1960, not at the start of our founding. As a matter of fact, we 
believed in property rights in our founding. It is only since 1960 have 
we decided the Government knows better than a private landowner.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record the present 
ongoing debate on eminent domain between the Friars and the National 
Park Service on the Appalachian Trail, just to show you how 
controversial the taking of land of private homeowners, landowners is, 
when we, in our ultimate wisdom, say we know better than the people who 
own private land in this country.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

     Friars and National Park Service Face Off on Appalachian Trail

                   Eminent domain proceedings halted

                        (By Margaret O'Sullivan)

       The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement at 
     Graymoor met with officials from the National Park Service: 
     Judy Brumback, Chief of the Acquisitions Division and Pamela 
     Underhill, Park Manager of the Appalachian Trail; US Senator 
     Charles E. Schumer and Congresswoman Sue Kelly on August 7. 
     The topic was the disputed 20-acre parcel the National Park 
     Service wants as ``a buffer area'' for the Appalachian Trail. 
     As reported in this paper on July 19, 2000 the Park Service 
     obtained an easement on 58 acres of Friar land just north of 
     the contested section in 1984 when the Friars sold the 
     development rights of that parcel to the Park Service. The 
     following year the agreement was violated when a pumphouse 
     for a sewage treatment plant was built by the Franciscan 
     Friars on the land.
       After a private meeting on a hot and humid August 7, 
     between the Friars and the Park Service, moderated by Senator 
     Schumer and Congresswoman Kelly, Senator Schumer said that 
     letters had been going back and forth to the Park Service 
     since May this year and finally the situation had come to a 
     head. He stated that ``good news'' is on the way: The lawsuit 
     is on hold, the parties have come back to the table for talks 
     and they have a basic agreement in that their goals are not 
     really in conflict.
       A further meeting is scheduled for August 23, 2000 when 
     discussions will take place in order to resolve the dispute. 
     Senator Schumer further stated that it is great to have the 
     Friary here--it is probably the best part of the Appalachian 
     Trail, if one was caught in a storm or in need. The Friars 
     welcome anyone who might need assistance, a shower or a meal 
     while hiking the trail. As Senator Schumer indicated, there 
     are many solutions short of legal action. He said he has ``a 
     nose'' for when disputes will escalate or get resolved and it 
     is positive for the community to bring both sides together. 
     The situation should be resolved amiably; there are no gains 
     by continued fighting.
       Congresswoman Kelly said that recently the National Park 
     Service had turned down a request from her office to arrange 
     a meeting between the Friars and the Park Service to resolve 
     the matter. Instead the National Park Service initiated 
     eminent domain proceedings through the Justice Department. 
     She hadn't thought another meeting would rake place this soon 
     but stated that ``it appears that the Park service is finally 
     coming to its senses.'' ``Their decision to pursue this case 
     using such heavy-handed tactics is wrong. The Justice 
     Department should play no role in this matter. The Friars 
     contribute to our community every day. Their work has touched 
     the lives of countless individuals and the Hudson Valley 
     community as a whole. I don't want to see their work hindered 
     in any way.'' She said it was a good sign that the Justice 
     Department had withdrawn any legal action and emphasized that 
     the dispute is not about development but about the use of 
       Rev. Arthur M. Johnson, Minister General of Graymoor, (Fr. 
     Art) thanked both Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Kelly for 
     ``pressuring'' the two factions to get together face to face. 
     He felt that the Friary and the National Park Service 
     actually had a common goal, and that is people. Hiking the 
     Appalachian Trail gives people a natural experience while the 
     Friary wants to continue their ministry to help those in 
     need. Many hikers, over 400 a year in fact, have experienced 
     the Franciscan hospitality while hiking the Trail, a service 
     recognized by hikers and the Park Service alike. He felt it 
     was a ``win-win'' situation for all.
       Pamela Underhill, Park Manager of the Appalachian National 
     Scenic Trail, agreeing in principle with Fr. Art, stated that 
     it was rewarding to meet and felt that the lines of 
     communication had vastly improved. She too touched on the 
     common goal theme, which offered both a ``Godly and natural 
     retreat.'' She reiterated the need for a ``buffer zone'' 
     along the trail, which is the heart of the matter. Although 
     Ms. Underhill and Fr. Art had both hiked the Trail, they had 
     never hiked together--August 7th was the first time.
       They hit the trail along with other Friars, Senator 
     Schumer, Congresswoman Kelly and members of the press. All 
     agreed that it was very beneficial to actually see the site 
     in question, and the position of the pumphouse in proximity 
     to the Appalachian Trail. Putting their ``worst fears'' on 
     the table, Pamela Underhill stated that she is concerned 
     about the Trail and development of any land in close 
     proximity to the Appalachian Trail. Fr. Art's concerns were 
     about the future of their ministry. He did not want to see 
     any plans they may have for the future undermined which could 
     curtail their ability to sustain the needed infrastructure to 
     minister to the thousands of men and women who come to 
     Graymoor each year.
       Both sides are optimistic about the upcoming meeting on 
     August 23rd.

  Mr. COBURN. I would also note the testimony yesterday given by the 
Secretary of the Interior on his idea that we have to figure out where 
the transmission lines are going to run.
  This bill goes against exactly his testimony before your committee 
yesterday. Because what he said was, we need to plan ahead where the 
transmission lines are going to go. We need to know that before we 
block off anything else. That was the implication of his testimony.
  For these renewable energy sites to succeed, we need to work closely 
with other agencies, States, tribes, and interested communities to 
determine what electric transmission infrastructure and corridors are 
needed and appropriate to deliver the renewable resources to major 
population centers. Our own Secretary of the Interior, our former 
colleague, says we have the cart before the horse.
  What we heard in opposition to the first amendment, No. 680, is a 
continued slight to the American people in terms of taking care of the 
properties we have. Now, the GAO says, and the IG of the Department of 
the Interior, it is somewhere between $12 and $19 billion in backlog.
  What we hear is nobody wants to put a priority in taking care of what 
we have. What we want to do is build more new and let what we have 
crumble. The last thing we should be doing is building something new 
until we take care of what we have. Go to any of our national parks and 
talk to the people who are in charge of the maintenance and they will 
tell you: Congress never gives us the money to take care of it. And it 
is growing at $1 billion a year in terms of backlog.
  I understand the chairman's reluctance to accept these amendments. I 
respect him greatly. But we are going to continue on doing what we have 
been doing, which is a shame looking at our national parks.
  I have not even talked seriously about the backlog at the Forest 
Service. So if we want to deny the amendment to not start new 
construction unless the Secretary certifies it is something for safety 
or that it would, in fact, help us build something that would cost more 
to fix than to repair, then we are going to keep on allowing this 
backlog to grow. That is exactly what this bill does. This amendment is 
not trying to stop or play any games, it is saying, let's catch up with 
the real need we have in our parks now. Let's catch up with the needs 
on the National Mall. Let's catch up with the $200 million backlog at 
the Statue of Liberty. No, we are not going to do that. We are going to 
authorize all these new programs. Then we are going to fund the new 
programs because we look better doing it than taking care of the very 
valuable assets we have.
  I disagree with my colleague from New Mexico on the importance and 
the intention of that amendment. The amendment is to cause us to focus 
on priorities which this body has not. One of the reasons we have not 
is because we do not have my other amendment

[[Page S3344]]

saying we need a list of what we have, where we have it, what the 
problems are, and what the backlogs are.
  With that I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Brown.) The Senator from Iowa is 
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              2010 Budget

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, yesterday I had an opportunity to 
address my colleagues on my concerns with the budget sent to us by 
President Obama, a bloated budget crawling with tax increases. Today, I 
would like to be more specific in that discussion.
  Almost 3 weeks ago, President Obama sent his first budget up to 
Capitol Hill. The deficit and debt proposed in that budget are eye-
popping. President Obama is correct when he says he inherited a record 
budget deficit of $1.2 trillion. Let me repeat that because this 
Senator and the Senator from Idaho are willing to be very transparent 
on what the numbers are. You do not argue with them.
  I can say we agree with what President Obama said, that he inherited 
a record budget deficit of $1.2 trillion. This is a chart that shows 
the pattern of Federal deficits over the past few years. We go out to 
the year 2019 because the Congressional Budget Office always looks 
ahead in their projections. You can see what those deficits are--
obviously, very high where we are right now because of the recession we 
are in and things of that nature.
  But from the talk around here, especially the talk from the 
Congressional Democratic leadership, you would think they got majority 
power just this January, 2 months ago. You would think there was no 
role of the Democratic Party in creating deficits that President Obama 
inherited. Now we even have some in the administration who are joining 
this chorus. A very smart guy, a guy we all ought to respect for his 
understanding of economics, former Treasury Secretary Summers, now 
Director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday on a news show 
that a Republican President--and emphasis upon Republican Congress--had 
left President Obama with this inherited deficit.
  Well, I am sure Senator McConnell would have liked to have been 
majority leader, but he would be glad to correct Dr. Summers and let 
him know he was not majority leader but was minority leader during the 
years of 2007 and 2008.
  Likewise, Congressman Boehner, though he would like to be Speaker, 
was not Speaker. He would be glad to point out he was leader of the 
minority, the Republicans, within the minority in the House and not 
Speaker during 2007 and 2008.
  So the correction comes from the fact that Congressional Democrats 
and the last Republican administration agreed on the fiscal policy in 
the last Congress. The Congress, namely the Democratic leadership, 
together with former President George W. Bush and that administration, 
wrote the stimulus bill, wrote the housing bills, and had a great deal 
to do with financial bailouts.
  The congressional Democratic leadership wrote the budgets and the 
spending bills of 2007 and 2008. So we need to set the facts straight. 
President Obama did, as I said twice--I will say again--inherit the 
deficit and debt. But--and a very important ``but''--the inheritance 
had bipartisan origins, the Democratic Congress, on the one hand, and a 
Republican President on the other hand.
  Now, what is more, the budget the President sent up would make this 
extraordinary level of debt an ordinary level of debt.
  We have to think about the budget coming up because this is budget 
month. These issues are going to be driven home to the people. We have 
an extraordinary level of debt in this budget. It soon may look like an 
ordinary level of debt, and it will be. What is now an extraordinary 
burden on our children and grandchildren would become an ordinary 
  I have a chart that shows this inherited debt. The inherited debt 
meaning what was inherited by this administration on the day they were 
sworn into office, January 20 of this year, is here. This black line is 
the percentage of gross national product. This is real dollars. So you 
see by 2019 how it grows and how it still is very big debt. But this 
inherited debt is not a pretty picture. But the picture gets uglier 
because in the last year of the budget, meaning the budget the 
President sent up here, debt held by the public would be two-thirds, 67 
percent, of our gross national product. In other words, what was 
inherited has the national debt coming down to about 42 percent of 
gross national product, but what is happening from this point on with 
the budget we have, this black line will come up here at 67 percent. 
That is the legacy of this budget.
  That number assumes also the return of a healthy economy, which we 
all hope happens. I suppose most Presidents would assume a healthy 
economy, but it is not a certainty. That means President Obama's budget 
assumes that a prosperous United States will carry the debt to more 
than two-thirds of the gross national product as we look out 10 years 
ahead, and the Congressional Budget Office does that on an automatic 
basis. That number, if the economy is healthy, will be 67 percent, 
right here, that black line. If the budget is not as healthy as what 
they project then, of course, that black line will be higher than 67 
  In terms of proposed tax policy, the President's budget does contain 
some common ground. If President Obama wants to pursue tax relief, he 
will find no better ally than we Republicans. If President Obama wants 
to embrace fiscal responsibility and reduce the deficit by cutting 
wasteful spending, Republicans on Capitol Hill will have his back. From 
our perspective, good fiscal policy keeps the tax burden low on 
American families, workers and small businesses and keeps wasteful 
spending in check. For the hard-working American taxpayers, there is 
some good news in this budget. President Obama's budget proposes to 
make permanent about 80 percent of the bipartisan tax relief plans set 
to expire in less than 2 years. For 8 long years, Republicans have 
tried to make this bipartisan tax relief permanent. Now the Democratic 
leadership seems to have seen some of that light. They now agree with 
us Republicans that families should be able to count on marriage 
penalty relief, on a double child tax credit. Democratic leaders now 
seem to agree with decisions that were in the bipartisan tax bill of 
2003, agree with us Republicans that low-income seniors who rely on 
capital gains and dividend income will be able to rely on low rates of 
taxation as they draw on their savings.
  Democratic leaders now agree with Republicans that middle-income 
families will be able to count on relief from the alternative minimum 
tax. They were never supposed to be taxed in the first place, but it is 
not indexed. So they would agree that we protect middle-class taxpayers 
from the AMT which was not indexed. President Obama will find many 
Republican allies in his efforts to make these tax relief policies 
  I wish the budget I am referring to, the budget that came to the Hill 
a couple weeks ago, was as taxpayer friendly, but it is not. There is a 
lot of bad news for American taxpayers. If you put gas in a car, heat 
or cool your home, use electricity to cook a meal, turn on the lights, 
power a computer, there is a new energy tax for you in the budget from 
the President. This tax would exceed a trillion dollars. I better say 
``could'' exceed because the figure in the budget is less than that, 
but most everybody around here thinks it is going to be over a trillion 
  This budget also raises taxes on those making more than $250,000. 
That sounds like a lot of money to most Americans. If we were only 
talking about the idle rich, maybe the news wouldn't be so bad. But we 
are not talking about coupon clippers on Park Avenue. We are not 
talking about the high-paid, corporate jet-flying, well-paid hedge fund 
managers in Chicago, San Francisco or other high-income, liberal 
meccas. Many of the Americans targeted for this hefty tax hike are 
successful small business owners. Unlike the financial engineers of the 
flush, liberal meccas of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, a lot of 
these small businesses add value beyond just shuffling paper. There is 
bipartisan agreement that small business and all these businesses are 
the main drivers

[[Page S3345]]

of our dynamic economy. Small businesses create 74 percent of all new 
private sector jobs, according to latest statistics. On Monday, my 
President, President Obama, used a similar figure of 70 percent. 
Whether it is 70 or 74 percent, it means the vast majority of small 
businesses create most of the new jobs in America. They are the 
employment machine. Both sides agree we ought to not hurt key job 
producers that small businesses are.
  President Obama also mentioned his zero capital gains proposal for 
small business startups. It might surprise you, but we Republicans 
agree with President Obama on that issue. We are still trying to figure 
out why Democratic leadership doesn't agree with the President on that 
small business-friendly proposal, because we tried to get a better 
proposal in the stimulus bill. If we also agree that small business is 
the key to creating new jobs, why does the Democratic leadership and 
the President's budget propose a new tax increase directed at these 
small businesses of America that are most likely to create new jobs? 
Wait a minute, please. Many on the left side of the political spectrum 
say only 2 or 3 percent of the small businesses are affected by this 
tax increase. That figure was developed by a think tank, and it is 
based on a microsimulation model. Treasury studies show the figure to 
be considerably higher. But to focus solely on the filer percentage is 
to miss the forest for the trees. It is to assume that all small 
businesses have the same level of activity, that they employ the same 
workers, that they buy the same number of machines, that they make the 
same number of sales. Common sense has to prevail, and common sense 
will tell you that can't be the case.
  In fact, it is not the case. The data on small business activity 
tells a different story. I come to that conclusion this way. According 
to a recent Gallup survey, over half the small business owners 
employing over 20 workers would pay higher taxes under the President's 
budget. This chart depicts the number of small businesses hit by this 
tax increase. We point to different levels of employment of small 
business being affected by this. We get to a point out here where we 
have 950,000 businesses, one-sixth of small businesses, with 1 to 499 
employees are hit by it. Do we want to destroy that employment machine? 
I don't think so. But this tax proposal will do that.
  I have another chart that shows that roughly half the firms that 
employ two-thirds of small business workers, those with 20 or more 
workers, are hit by the tax rate hikes in the President's budget. I 
will not go through all of them, but we can see here, 50 percent of the 
employers with employees of somewhere between 20 and 499 are hit by 
that big, fat tax increase.
  According to Treasury Department data, not mine, these small 
businesses account for nearly 70 percent of small business income. So 
there is a big tax hit on small businesses that employ 20 or more 
workers. It is a marginal tax rate increase of 20 percent. Everybody, 
Democrat or Republican, ought to think about how these dynamic small 
businesses, responsible for two-thirds of small businesses, will react. 
That 20 percent in new taxes has to come from somewhere.
  We Republicans will also scrutinize the budget for other major new 
taxes. We have discussed the new cutbacks on itemized deductions. I am 
referring to home mortgage interest, charities and State and local 
taxes. We Republicans will question a broad-based energy tax that 
actually cuts jobs and could, according to the Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology, cost consumers and businesses trillions.
  In these troubled economic times, we ought to err on the side of 
keeping taxes and spending low and reduce the deficit. Keeping taxes 
and spending low, along with reversing the growth in Federal debt, will 
push the economy back to growth. It is the only way we will provide 
more opportunities for all Americans.
  Getting our private sector going, making small business strong is the 
basis for getting out of this recession and continuing to grow. I hope 
throughout this process of the budget debate, we will remember a firm 
fact that ought to be common sense, but I am not sure in this town it 
is seen as common sense: Government does not create wealth. Government 
consumes wealth.
  I hope my colleagues will listen to my friend from Idaho as he gives 
his version of the budget. He is an outstanding member of our Finance 
Committee, and I appreciate his work.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hagan). The senior Senator from Idaho is 
  Mr. CRAPO. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CRAPO. Thank you very much, Madam President.
  I appreciate the opportunity to come to the floor this morning and 
join with my colleague, Senator Grassley from Iowa, who is the ranking 
member of the Finance Committee. It is truly a pleasure to serve with 
him on that committee. He is one of those who, day in and day out, year 
in and year out, fights for fiscal responsibility at the Federal level. 
I appreciate his support and share in the comments he has made already 
  I wish to start my remarks by talking about a meeting I had this 
morning in my office with a couple of mayors from two Idaho cities and 
a number of young students whom they brought with them from their 
respective cities to come to Washington, DC. These two mayors have 
established a mayor's council of students in their cities and work with 
these students on public issues and help these young people find an 
effective way to be active and involved.
  As they came to visit with me today, they brought up two issues. The 
first issue they brought up was the alarming rate of high school 
dropouts and the need for us to pay attention to our educational 
system. They talked with me about a number of interesting ideas we 
should pursue as we try to regain America's lead in excellence in 
education. I am going to have more to say about that on the floor and 
in other contexts on another day.
  But I thought it was very interesting; the second issue they brought 
up with me was directly relevant to the remarks I planned to make on 
the floor today; that is, they brought me a set of petitions--I am 
holding them in my hand right now--with the signatures of about 400 
students in Idaho, whom I think properly reflect many, many, more than 
they, who have asked that we pay attention to our national debt and our 
inability--our inability in Congress--to achieve fiscal responsibility.
  These young people said what I and many others have been saying, only 
they said it best; that is, that our inability to control our fiscal 
house here in Washington, DC, is jeopardizing their future and it is 
jeopardizing their children's future and their children's future.
  Now, we often say that on the floor, but I had the opportunity today 
to meet with these young people who looked me in the eye and asked me 
to do everything I can to help protect them from what they see 
happening as a result of a runaway Congress and a runaway spending plan 
in this Congress that will specifically fall on their shoulders to 
  Well, they talked with me about things such as who owns our national 
debt. They pointed out, as most Americans are starting to realize, that 
foreign nations own most of our national debt, which raises additional 
threats to our security.
  Today, China and Japan are the primary holders of our national debt. 
As I think many Americans have noted recently, the Chinese are starting 
to wonder whether this investment in U.S. debt instruments is a viable 
investment because of the spending policies of our Nation.
  Well, I am here to talk about the budget that this Senate and this 
Congress are now beginning to consider. In addition to sitting on the 
Finance Committee, I sit on the Budget Committee. In the next few 
weeks, the Budget Committee is going to begin its deliberations on the 
budget the President has submitted to us.
  Every year, the President submits to Congress a budget. I do not 
think in any year I have served in Congress has the Congress actually 
adopted the exact budget the President has proposed. But the 
President's budget proposal acts as a guide from which the Congress 
then crafts its own budget.

[[Page S3346]]

  I believe this year Congress must be very careful in following the 
proposals or using as a model or a guide the budget which we have been 
  As shown on this chart, the budget that has been proposed to us will 
increase taxes by approximately $1.4 trillion. This number is hard to 
get at because we do not have the details yet. The reason I say that is 
because many--including myself--believe that is a very low number in 
terms of the actual amount of the tax increases. I will explain that in 
a moment.
  It increases discretionary spending by $725 billion. These are 10-
year numbers. As my colleague from Iowa said, the budgets project out 
over a 10-year cycle, and it increases mandatory spending by $1.2 
  If you look at the spending side of this for a minute--for those who 
do not pay attention to our discussion of different pieces of the 
budget here in Washington, mandatory spending generally is spending 
that previous Congresses and previous Presidents have already debated, 
passed into law, and signed into law and is ongoing. I call it spending 
that is on autopilot because this spending will happen regardless of 
whether Congress ever votes or meets again. It is law, and regardless 
of the status of the economy, regardless of the demographics of our 
Nation and what is happening in the world in which we are living today, 
the law requires this spending occur. It is what often we call 
entitlement spending--``entitlement'' because the law has created an 
entitlement, and if a person qualifies in a certain way, they are 
entitled to receive payment under the law.
  Now, the vast majority of this entitlement spending, as most people 
know, is Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. There are other 
entitlement laws, mandatory spending laws, in the United States, but 
the vast majority--the vastly largest percentage--are Medicare, 
Medicaid, and Social Security. Also added into this category of 
mandatory spending is interest on the national debt because that also 
must be paid.
  So you can think of the mandatory spending or autopilot spending as 
basically this column here, as shown on the chart, that represents 
about two-thirds--roughly, about two-thirds--of all the spending in 
each year's average budget.
  The discretionary spending is everything else. That is what we 
actually vote on in Congress every year in our appropriations process. 
As I have said, it is roughly about a third of our budget. That 
spending can also be divided roughly in half. Approximately half of it 
is national defense and security spending; and approximately half of it 
is everything other than defense. So you often hear us talk about 
nondefense discretionary spending. That is what we are talking about: 
the things Congress actually votes on every year.
  Together, our discretionary spending and our mandatory spending are 
the spending side of our budget. As you can see on this chart, we are 
proposing in both categories dramatic increases over the next 10 years. 
The fiscal restraint is not there. At a time when Americans are 
tightening their belts, this budget grows the size of Government by 9 
percent--9-percent growth for nondefense programs in just the year 2010 
alone. If you go back to the 2009 budget we adopted and finalized in 
our appropriations process in this Congress and add the growth there 
into it as well, you will see a 20-percent growth--a 20-percent 
growth--in our nondefense spending in this country since the year 2008.
  The fiscal restraint is lacking in this budget proposal. In fact, 
there is only one category of this budget in which there is any actual 
reduction in spending, and that is in the defense side of the ledger. 
There are actual proposed reductions in defense spending in the 
President's budget. But only in that category.
  If we look at the tax side for a moment, you can see there is $1.4 
trillion of new taxes. As I said a minute ago, that number is kind of 
hard to quantify. Why is that hard to quantify?
  Well, the President has said his tax policies would reduce taxes for 
95 percent of American taxpayers. That statement can only be accurate 
if you only look at one kind of tax; namely, income taxes. I believe it 
is correct that in the income tax category, there will not be an 
increase for the vast majority of Americans, and, in fact, for 
most Americans we might actually see a reduction.

  But if you look at all the other proposals for tax increases and tax 
adjustments in the President's budget, you see there is going to be a 
huge increase in tax payments by Americans in every category of income 
in this country.
  Those taxes include things such as a brandnew--and this is the part 
that makes it difficult to give a final number--a brandnew tax on 
energy. It is part of what some have called the cap-and-trade proposal 
the President has made on carbon fuels. Others have called it a cap-
and-tax approach.
  The point, however, is, under this new energy proposal, somewhere 
between $600 billion and $2 trillion of new cost will be put on carbon-
emitting energy sources, and Americans will pay those increased costs, 
primarily in their utility bills. The President himself has said this 
proposal would cause electricity rates to skyrocket. We do not know 
exactly to what level, but everyone who uses electricity, everyone who 
pumps gas at the gas station, everyone who uses natural gas can expect 
to see--and we do not know the details yet, which is why we cannot give 
the details on the numbers, but they can expect to see significantly 
increased costs for them in their household budgets.
  Now, some would say that is not a tax. That is just a fee or it is 
just an increase in the price of your electricity as a result of some 
national policies. But however you say it, the fact is, there is a 
projected revenue to the Federal Treasury to come from people who will 
pay more on their electricity bills and pay more on their gasoline and 
other fuel bills that will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.4 
trillion. Many of us think it is going to be closer to $2 trillion.
  The list goes on.
  It is proposed the capital gains and dividends tax rates go up. Some 
argue that only hurts wealthy people. In fact, the argument made on 
this floor so often is: Any tax increase is justified as being a tax 
increase on only the wealthy. Well, if you look at dividends and 
capital gains and look at the kinds of people in this country who own 
stock, either in their own individual account or through a pension 
fund, it reaches far deeper than just the wealthy. The people who are 
impacted day in and day out by having to pay tax on dividends and 
capital gains are far more people than simply those who are the so-
called wealthy.
  The list goes on.
  The bottom line is, the budget will raise taxes by about $1.4 
trillion and raise spending--both in discretionary and mandatory 
levels--a greater amount.
  Now let me look at this last category shown on the chart. It is 
called mandatory savings. The number there is zero. Now, why do we have 
that column? In order to change--remember the law I told you about 
earlier: The entitlement programs are already the law. If we are going 
to change and gain savings in this category of mandatory spending, we 
have to literally vote to change the law. It takes 60 votes in the 
Senate to do that because we always face a filibuster when we try to 
find savings in this category of entitlement spending.
  But in the budget proposal the Budget Committee will put forward, the 
Budget Committee is allowed to propose that there be savings here. And 
then, if the Budget Committee can get that proposal adopted in the 
budget, our respective committees of jurisdiction in the areas where 
the entitlements lie are required by the budget to find those savings 
and make law-change proposals to Congress so we can achieve some 
  The reason I have this column on the chart is because in the budget 
that has been proposed, there are no savings proposed. There is not 
even a request that $1 of savings be found in the entire entitlement 
system. That is wrong also.
  Now, let's go to the next chart.
  This is a chart that shows the deficits we expect to face--not the 
national debt but the deficits, the yearly deficits we expect to face. 
That means the amount of money we will spend beyond our projected 
  The blue line, as shown on the chart, is what we call the BEA 
baseline. What that means is that is current law. If we do not change 
any law and do not do

[[Page S3347]]

anything in Congress and do not put any more increased spending into 
place, what would our deficits look like? We can see there is a big 
spike here, in about 2009 and 2010, and then it drops off dramatically. 
Under current law, it tails down rather dramatically over the next 10 

  Now, one of the reasons it goes down so dramatically over the next 10 
years is that we have a number of tax cuts that were passed in the 2001 
and 2003 timeframe that are going to expire, which means if we do 
nothing, taxes are going to go up dramatically, and we are going to see 
the deficit drop dramatically because everybody is going to be paying a 
lot more taxes. If we allow those tax cuts to stay in place--and I 
believe we are starting to get some consensus that we do that--then 
this line for what current law would be with those tax cuts staying in 
place would be somewhere between the red line and the blue line.
  The point I wish to make, though, is the red line is the proposed 
budget we are now dealing with. As my colleagues can see, the spending 
in excess of revenue is dramatically higher than current law under the 
proposed budget.
  There is another point that needs to be made, and I think this point 
shows it as well as anything. The President has said his goal is to 
reduce the deficit by half in the next 4 to 5 years, but as my 
colleagues can see by the chart, that will happen anyway under current 
  Now, why will that happen anyway under current law? That will happen 
anyway under current law because this spike we are looking at is the 
result of the phenomenal spending spree that Congress has been on since 
last fall. Actually, even going into the spring of last year, you may 
recall that Congress, to stimulate the economy, passed a $158 billion 
bill, I think it was, for rebate checks, to send rebate checks out to 
Americans so they could stimulate the economy. Well, we have seen that 
those checks didn't actually stimulate the economy, but it did add $158 
billion to our spending.
  Then we had the $700 billion TARP bill, $350 billion under President 
Bush and $350 billion under President Obama. We had the $800 billion 
stimulus package, much of which we will be spending out in this 
timeframe. We have had the auto bailout, and actually part of it--most 
of it, so far--has come from the TARP dollars. But we are seeing a 
spending spree by Congress which is driving these deficits up 
dramatically over the next 2 years.
  But assuming--and this is an important assumption--assuming Congress 
does not continue this pattern of bailouts and Congress does not 
continue this pattern of $800 billion stimulus spending bills, then we 
should see this spending rate of Congress drop back down. So assuming 
Congress doesn't continue this rampant spending spree it is on, the 
deficit will return itself to half without any real effort and, in 
fact, without any real cuts in spending.
  The last thing this chart shows that is very notable is, in the 
outyears--again, current law starts seeing us get our deficit under 
control, but the proposed budget starts us growing this deficit and 
leaves it at a permanent level around $600 billion. We are dealing with 
a proposed budget that leaves America with a proposed ongoing and 
growing deficit for the indefinite future of about $600 billion. That 
is not good enough. We need to be following a line on our deficit that 
brings us toward balance, and we can't do that. We can't achieve that.
  One last point: We had Secretary Geithner before our Budget Committee 
last week to talk about this budget. In his comments, Secretary 
Geithner acknowledged that the tax increases that are being proposed--
the ones I had on the previous chart--are going to actually harm our 
economy in our effort to build back right now. He acknowledged the 
point that this is the wrong time to be increasing taxes and that taxes 
at this time would have a chilling effect on our ability to restimulate 
our economic activity. But he defended these tax increase proposals by 
saying that they are not projected to take place until the year 2011, 
at which point the economy is supposed to be back in good shape. 
Therefore, we can let the economy get healthy again, and then we can 
hit it with some tax increases and then it will be OK.
  Well, first of all, I don't believe it is necessarily going to be OK 
to hit the economy as it is starting to stabilize again in 2011, even 
if it is starting to stabilize at that point. But there is no consensus 
that we will be out of this difficulty by that time. So I asked 
Secretary Geithner: If the economy is not strong by 2011, will you 
still push for these tax cuts--increases--or are these tax increases 
contingent on a strong economy? In other words, if we don't have the 
strength you are projecting we will have, will you still propose the 
tax increases? He ducked the question.
  I think the reason he ducked the question is because the answer was, 
yes; the taxes are going to go up regardless of what happens with the 
economy, and we are just hoping and projecting that we are not going to 
have any problem there because we think the economy is going to be fine 
in 2011.
  Well, I certainly hope the economy is fine in 2011, and I don't think 
that will be a good time to hit it with a huge tax burden again anyway, 
but it is clearly wrong to put into place a path toward tax increases 
when we don't know whether the economy is going to remain strong.
  Let's put up the last chart. The last chart just shows the debt we 
are growing. The chart before was deficits. The debt is the 
accumulation of all of our deficits over time. You will see right in 
here and around the 2009 timeframe, we were at around $6 trillion--
actually, it was growing up into the $7 trillion and $8 trillion level, 
and Congress is starting a spending spike that is starting to drive up 
our national debt. It is hard to get a handle on our national debt 
right now, but it is between $10 trillion and $11 trillion. It is 
projected that our national debt--excuse me, the debt held by the 
public, and there are different pieces of the debt--but the debt held 
by the public--that is the debt we talk about when we talk about China 
and Japan and other nations buying our bonds and pension plans and so 
forth. The debt held by the public under this proposed budget will 
double in 5 years and triple in 10 years. That is remarkable and it is 
scary that we could have a budget that proposes a wall of debt like 
this and does not put into place any kind of spending restraint 
proposals but adds increased taxes, which will make it harder for our 
economy to keep up with this spending level, and proposes no effort to 
address the entitlement growth that is probably the biggest driver of 
spending in the Federal budget.
  I guess I should clarify that--the biggest driver except when 
Congress gets engaged in stimulus packages and bailouts, at which point 
Congress becomes the biggest driver. But assuming we can stop the 
tendency in Congress to spend as rapidly as we have been doing over the 
last 6 months, then we must turn our attention to the entitlement 
programs and begin to find a way to find savings in them.
  So I will conclude with this: Many have said on this floor that this 
budget spends too much, taxes too much, and results in too much debt. 
It couldn't be said more succinctly or better. This budget jeopardizes 
the economic strength of our Nation. It taxes far too much, it spends 
far too much, and it leaves us with a legacy of debt that our children 
and our grandchildren will face to their detriment.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas is recognized.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, I have been listening to Senator 
Crapo's remarks, and I think he has made some excellent points. The 
Senator is pointing out the long-term consequences of this incredible 
spending proposal that has been put before us on top of two incredible 
spending proposals that we have passed in the last month in this 
Congress. So I do hope the people of America start looking at the long-
term effects of this spending increase at a time when our economy is 
seriously in jeopardy. I hope we can stop it at the budget and start 
showing the American people that we know everyone is concerned about 
their future. Everyone is concerned about their jobs, their retirement. 
We need to act accordingly in Congress; and that is, to spend taxpayer 
dollars wisely and not continue to borrow as we have been just in the 
last 2 months. It is going to be a spiral that I don't know how we 
overcome. So we have to start overcoming it right now, and that is with 
the budget proposal that has been put before us.

[[Page S3348]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia is recognized.

                           Coburn Amendments

  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Madam President, I rise to speak in support of the 
three amendments filed by Senator Coburn that we are going to be voting 
on shortly to the omnibus lands package.
  With this country in the dire economic straits we are in, with the 
housing market crumbling, and with all of the major issues we have on 
our plate, I am not sure I understand why we are here dealing with a 
lands package today but, more importantly, why we are dealing with this 
lands package.
  This omnibus lands package is truly antistimulus because it will 
erect new barriers to energy exploration and squander billions of 
taxpayer dollars on low-priority, parochial programs and frivolous 
  The bill is another direct challenge from Congress to President 
Obama's pledge to clean up the earmark process. Last week, the 
President pledged to eliminate earmarks that didn't serve a legitimate 
purpose. He also said that each earmark must be scrutinized at public 
hearings. None of the individual earmarks in this bill were subject to 
public hearings, nor would many Americans describe earmarks such as a 
$3.5 million birthday bash for St. Augustine, FL, a legitimate public 
  The omnibus lands bill should be subject to a full and open amendment 
process. For months, the leader on the other side has argued that the 
bill is ``noncontroversial'' and should pass by a voice vote, with no 
amendments and no recorded rollcall votes. Yet, last week, 144 Members 
of the House of Representatives voted against the bill because it does 
need major revision. More than 100 organizations, ranging from the U.S. 
Chamber of Commerce to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, have 
expressed their opposition to this package.
  The bill blocks the development of both renewable and oil and gas 
energy resources--one of the critical issues we are still facing in 
this country even with the price of a barrel of oil down and the price 
of a cubic foot of natural gas down. But they are not going to stay 
down. One bill in the package locks up at least 8.8 trillion cubic feet 
of natural gas and more than 300 million barrels of oil in a single 
field, which is equal to nearly twice as much natural gas as all 
Americans use in a year. All of that will be off limits at a time when 
we are seeking to take advantage of our natural resources in this 
country. The bill includes 92 National Wild and Scenic Rivers 
designations, covering over 1,100 miles that will prohibit any pipeline 
or transmission crossing. In 19 cases, the bill permanently withdraws 
Federal lands from future mineral and geothermal leasing.
  Since the Senate last considered the lands bill, Secretary Salazar 
has withdrawn major energy leases in both Utah and Wyoming that were 
the subject of a coordinated lawsuit brought by extreme anti-energy 
  The three amendments we are going to be voting on do three basic 
things to try to improve this package. First, amendment No. 679 strikes 
provisions that restrict the development of renewable energy on public 
lands, including but not limited to geothermal, wind, solar, biomass, 
and related transmission infrastructure. Amendment No. 680 bars new 
construction until all current sites are certified by the Secretary as 
fully operational, ensuring full access by the public and posing no 
health or safety threat. The National Park Service is currently facing 
a $10 billion maintenance backlog. Yet we are going to be adding to 
their inventory. The third amendment prohibits the use of eminent 
domain for any provision authorized in the bill.
  These are basic, commonsense amendments that ought to be supported by 
everybody here. If we are going to have this lands package debated and 
voted on--and, again, I am not clear as to exactly why we are dealing 
with this in the middle of our other crises--certainly we ought to make 
commonsense amendments applicable to basic provisions in this huge 
package that is going to be the most major acquisition of lands by the 
Federal Government, which is already the largest landowner in our 
country over the last two decades.
  With that, I urge adoption of the Coburn amendments on which we are 
getting ready to vote.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cardin). Without objection, it is so