BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 107
(Senate - July 18, 2011)

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[Page S4625]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                          BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the budget and the 
debt ceiling, following the Senate's failure to invoke cloture on a 
measure expressing that shared sacrifices from all Americans--including 
the wealthiest--are necessary to reduce the budget deficit.
  As the Senate Budget Committee chair has proposed, we must reach an 
agreement that strikes a balance between raising revenues and cutting 
spending, in which all Americans contribute to the solution.
  Congress faces an important task. Americans are following this debate 
because they have a stake in its outcome.
  If we do not raise the debt ceiling, it will force the government to 
choose which of its many obligations it will meet.
  As President Obama pointed out last week, we cannot guarantee that 
veterans and Social Security recipients will receive the checks we owe 
them on August 3 if we fail to reach a compromise. If we fail, we will 
damage our credit rating and worldwide confidence in our financial 
system.
  To avoid such a situation, I call on all of my colleagues to 
negotiate in good faith so that the creditworthiness of the United 
States is not compromised. I hope we can reach an agreement that will 
bring down the debt without placing most of the burden on the 
vulnerable among us--the sick, the poor, the long-term unemployed, and 
the elderly.
  While we must reduce spending, we cannot forget to continue investing 
in our Nation's future. I came of age during the Great Depression and 
served in World War II, along with my colleagues Senator Inouye and 
Senator Lautenberg.
  We were the beneficiaries of one of the Federal Government's greatest 
investments: the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly 
known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. This visionary Federal legislation 
enabled returning World War II veterans--many who, like myself, came 
from families of modest means and may never have otherwise attended 
college.
  The G.I. Bill not only changed the lives of its beneficiaries, it 
changed the United States by laying the groundwork for the emergence of 
our middle class, which remains the backbone of our country.
  Many other valuable investments made in the years that followed, such 
as the Interstate Highway System and Federal funding for research 
programs at the Nation's leading universities, propelled America into 
one of history's greatest periods of economic expansion, social 
advancement, and technological innovation.
  None of these investments simply happened. They were made by past 
Congresses and Presidents from both parties. These legacies have proven 
repeatedly that dedicated social and economic investments are effective 
drivers of recovery, growth, and future success. As we move forward and 
make difficult but necessary choices to cut spending, we must 
strengthen those programs that are restoring our economic health.
  Reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction will 
undoubtedly require all of us to make difficult compromises on spending 
and revenues. As debate on these issues continues, I urge each of my 
colleagues to remember the obligation that we have to preserve the 
Nation's creditworthiness--and to defend our veterans and those 
depending on Social Security and other safety net programs from harm--
as we continue to make needed investments for recovery.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.

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