(Senate - September 13, 2012)

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[Pages S6289-S6332]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I move to proceed to Calendar No. 499, S. 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will report the motion to 
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 499, S. 3521, a bill to 
     amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain 
     expiring provisions.

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I yield to my friend from Vermont.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Vermont is 


  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I am delighted that Father Marcel 
Rainville has offered the opening prayer for the Senate this morning, 
and I thank him very much for joining us in doing so.
  Father Rainville is a native of Vermont. He is a distinguished member 
of the Society of St. Edmund, an order which has a very long history in 
our State. Established in Vermont first at Keeler's Bay in 1891 and 
then in Swanton in 1895, the Society of St. Edmund still has its 
headquarters in Vermont. The society founded St. Michael's College, 
which was officially incorporated in 1913 as the first Catholic college 
in the State of Vermont with the authority to grant college degrees. 
The Edmundites have long stood for justice and civil rights in our 
country, including in Selma, AL, where they have a mission. The society 
has established a successful alternative school for African-American 
boys in New Orleans. The Edmundites have as a major part of their 
vocation the mission to help those who are most in need, and we 
appreciate all of the good work they do.
  Father Rainville was born in Swanton, VT. He was ordained as a priest 
in the Society of St. Edmund, and this year marks the 40th anniversary 
of his ordination. Father Marcel spent part of his life as a priest 
serving in the Edmundite mission in Venezuela, working with and 
sustaining the impoverished in a barrio in Caracas. He currently 
resides in Winooski Park, VT, where he has also served as chaplain. He 
currently serves as the director of formation for the Society of St. 
  It gives me great pride that he has given the opening prayer today in 
the Senate, and all of Vermont appreciates the wonderful work he has 
done. He is a kind and gentle human being and is much beloved in our 
State. I thank him again for being with us today, and I thank the 
Chaplain for his help in arranging this visit.

                           Order of Business

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, last night cloture was filed on the 
substitute amendment and the underlying bill, the veterans jobs bill. 
If we are unable to reach an agreement to move up the timing of the 
cloture vote, then we will have to have these votes as early as we can 
under rule XXII. Under such a scenario, the first rollcall vote on 

[[Page S6290]]

on the substitute amendment would occur shortly after 1 a.m. Friday 
morning, and that is tonight. If there are 60 votes to cut off the 
filibuster on the substitute amendment, then there will be up to 30 
hours postcloture on the substitute amendment prior to a vote on its 
adoption which would occur at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Immediately 
following the vote on the adoption of the substitute amendment, the 
Senate will proceed to the cloture vote on the underlying bill as 
amended. If cloture is invoked on the bill as amended, then there will 
be up to 30 hours postcloture prior to a vote on passage of the bill as 
amended. The vote on passage would occur about 2:30 p.m. Sunday 
  That is for the information of all Senators. Until we get this worked 
out, everybody better stay right where they are and not go places 
because we will have votes every day. We will then be able to finish 
this work on Sunday sometime late in the afternoon, and then, of 
course, with the Jewish holidays on Monday and Tuesday, we would come 
back and work on the CR and a couple of other things beginning 


  Mr. President, in the next hour, after I finish my remarks and 
Senator McConnell finishes his remarks, the majority will control the 
first half and the Republicans will control the final half. It will be 
1 hour that will be equally divided.

                        Veterans Jobs Corps Act

  Mr. President, as we know, it is Thursday, which means Republicans 
have once again forced the Senate to waste the better part of a week 
jumping through procedural hoops that do not do have one positive 
outcome for our country. This week the Senate waited out yet another 
filibuster. It was the 380th filibuster in the 6 years I have been the 
leader in the Senate. This time the Republicans are not just 
obstructing a measure that would create jobs, which they have done many 
times, they are obstructing the measure that would create jobs for the 
men and women who risked their lives over the past 11 years to protect 
our freedom.
  Each year 200,000 servicemembers reenter the workforce. The Veterans 
Jobs Corps Act, which is before this body, would invest in those 
returning veterans, easing the transition back to civilian life with 
job-training programs and priority hiring for first responder 
positions. If young veterans want to continue their service to country 
and community by becoming police officers, firefighters, or rescue 
workers, we should do everything we can to help them achieve that goal. 
This legislation would also create jobs for veterans restoring forests, 
parks, coasts, and public lands. The least we can do for those who have 
fought for this country abroad is to ensure they never have to fight 
for a job when they come home.
  The legislation that is before this body should sail through the 
Senate with bipartisan support. Remember, the substitute amendment is a 
bipartisan measure worked on by Senator Burr and others on the 
Republican side, but this worthy legislation has met one Republican 
stall tactic after another. Not only has this bill faced a strong 
series of procedural hurdles, the Republicans have larded it up with 
unrelated ideological amendments. That is what they want to do anyway. 
While some of these amendments are certainly important, they don't 
belong in any jobs measure, let alone a jobs measure that would assist 
returning veterans.
  Unfortunately, I am not surprised to see the Grand Old Party blocking 
a jobs bill. After all, that has been their tactic all this Congress. 
It has really been their tactic for 4 years. Republican leader Mitch 
McConnell said so himself. During the darkest days of the great 
recession, he said his No. 1 goal was to defeat President Obama--not to 
create jobs, not to do anything to boost the economy, but to defeat 
President Obama. Obviously, it is still true today. I am dismayed to 
see them blocking a jobs bill aimed at protecting those who protect 
this great Nation. This is really a new low for the Republicans. At a 
time when 175,000 post-9/11 veterans are out of work, and many of them 
are homeless, we can't afford to waste time with election-year 
  Less than 3 weeks before his death, President John F. Kennedy wrote:

       As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the 
     highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by 

  It is time that the Senate show its gratitude to a new generation of 
veterans with deeds. It is my hope that my Republican colleagues will 
find it in themselves to put American veterans first and political 
aspirations second.
  This bill could pass today and we could send it to the House and have 
the President sign it within a matter of days. It is a shame if that 
doesn't happen. I have gone over the schedule with everyone within the 
sound of my voice, and I hope we can move forward.
  Mr. President, will you announce the schedule of the day.

                       Reservation of Leader Time

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
leadership time is reserved.

                           Order of Business

  Under the previous order, the next hour will be equally divided and 
controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the 
majority controlling the first half.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum and that 
the time be equally charged.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. CANTWELL. 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 
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask the indulgence of my colleague 
from West Virginia. We thought the minority leader was coming to the 
floor to speak so we have gotten a little behind, but I appreciate his 
indulgence for me to recognize a very important Washingtonian.

                     Honoring Our Foreign Servants

  However, before I start, I wish to take a moment to say that my 
thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of the 
horrific attack that happened in Libya, and that it is now time to 
remember all of the men and women who serve our country abroad at these 
embassies and to thank them for their service and hope for their 

              Remembering George Hickman, Tuskegee Airman

  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, on a chilly day in January of 2009, 
Americans watched with pride as Barack Obama stood before the Nation 
and took the Presidential oath of office. For some, that experience was 
another milestone in a long journey to ensure America lives up to the 
idea that this country was built for everyone. The election of an 
African-American President shattered a barrier that many thought would 
never happen.
  The American struggle for civil rights has produced many seminal 
moments, including Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin 
Luther King at the march on Washington, and Jackie Robinson stepping to 
the plate for the first time. Before all of these events, however, 
there were the Tuskegee Airmen.
  George Hickman, a Washington resident and a Tuskegee Airman, was 
truly part of America's ``greatest generation.'' They were a catalyst 
for an eventual desegregation of the entire U.S. military. On March 19, 
1941, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was formed at Tuskegee Institute in 
  When the United States was waging war against tyranny abroad, the 
members of what became known as the Tuskegee Airmen fought it; they 
fought the globe for us. Breaking barriers is never easy. At the time, 
the competence and patriotism of these African-Americans sometimes were 
openly questioned, but the Tuskegee Airmen didn't listen to those 
critics. They were fighting for what this country could be, not what it 
  In the first class of graduates there were only five, but before the 
war ended almost 1,000 pilots went through training at Tuskegee. Of 
those, 450 flew planes in the 99th Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group 
in missions across Europe. They used the steely resolve they had shown 
in the face of racism to their advantage.
  The 99th conducted bomber escort missions with stunning success. They 
flew 200 of 205 of these missions without a loss of a single bomber to 
the enemy aircraft.

[[Page S6291]]

  The 332nd group achieved just as much. The Red Tail fighters came to 
be feared in the skies because of the feats like the one Lieutenant 
Pierson pulled off when he took out a German destroyer in the Harbor of 
Trieste, Italy, with just a 50-caliber machine gun.
  Equally important were the Tuskegee pilots who broke barriers at 
home. They may not have participated in combat, but they proved they 
were instrumental in powering the American military that eventually won 
the war. Amidst jeers and insults, the Tuskegee Airmen quietly went 
about their job with grace. Through grit and determination they 
barreled through dead ends and blocked doors and shined a light for 
others to follow.
  President Obama acknowledged as much when he said: ``My career in 
public service was made possible by the path heroes like the Tuskegee 
Airmen trail-blazed.''
  These important Tuskegee Airmen were pioneers, and among them was 
George Hickman from Seattle, proud and smiling as always, as we can see 
in this photograph.
  So I rise today to honor the life of this American hero and loyal 
Washingtonian. George Hickman passed away on August 19 at the age of 
88. We owe George Hickman a great deal because beneath that big smile 
lay a quiet determination and courageous spirit that helped him make 
America a better place for all.
  George grew up in St. Louis, MO. He loved building model planes which 
he bought for 10 cents at Woolworth's, and he dreamed of becoming a 
pilot. At age 18 he pursued that dream.
  When he graduated from high school in 1943, George trained with the 
Army's all African-American 99th Pursuit Squadron in Tuskegee, AL. He 
was a Tuskegee Airman and one of our Nation's first African-American 
  George's passion for aviation continued after his service was up, and 
as a mechanic with the Tuskegee Airmen he developed skills that allowed 
him to succeed in and graduate from college. Eventually George brought 
his expertise to Boeing when he moved to Seattle in 1955. Over a 29-
year history he rose through the ranks at Boeing, but that is not where 
this story ends.
  George was also an uplifting spirit, and he had the most radiant 
smile. We can see that from this picture. That smile was there for his 
community, his family, and everyone who met him. George became a well-
known figure at Seattle sporting events for the University of 
Washington Huskies and the Seattle Seahawks. In fact, people called him 
``our lucky charm.''
  For more than 40 years, he served as a press attendant and usher at 
UW sporting events. George never missed a game, including Rose Bowls, 
and he was there to give moral support to everyone. He even went to the 
basketball and volleyball games and gave high fives to everyone on the 
  As the University of Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar put 
it: ``He is a guy that is selfless. He is always trying to lift someone 
else up.''
  I also wondered, seeing this picture of George many times before 
today, if it was the steely reserve of being an airman that grounded 
him for what he considered to be really important in life; that is, 
lifting up other people. That is exactly what George did. The 
University of Washington community lifted up George too. They helped 
collect enough money so he could travel to Washington, DC, to be part 
of President Obama's inauguration, along with 188 other Tuskegee 
Airmen. Some estimates are that more than half of those Tuskegee Airmen 
who attended the inauguration are no longer with us.
  With George's passing, certainly there is one more angel in heaven 
with a very big smile on his face, but here on Earth we have one fewer 
American hero from the Tuskegee Airmen days to tell his story. So, 
today, I encourage all Americans to learn about the story of the 
Tuskegee Airmen. For those in the Pacific Northwest, I encourage people 
to visit the Museum of Flight in Seattle and the Northwest African 
American Museum because they both have exhibits on display that 
showcase this epic story. It is a great opportunity to reflect on the 
people who inspired our Nation's founding ideals and who ended up 
changing the course of American history.
  George Hickman may no longer be with us, but he will always be 
remembered for that very big smile, especially by those he touched in 
his life. His spirit will live on. It is almost as if he is saying in 
that picture: You can get it done. We can get it done.
  His legacy lives on through his children Regena, Sheri, Vincent, and 
Shauniel, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We will 
all carry on this legacy with the U.S. military and the trailblazing 
Tuskegee Airmen. George's spirit will also carry on back home at Husky 
Stadium and at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Many people, including the 
Seattle City Council, those at the university, and the Seahawks have 
all honored him in their special ways.
  So on behalf of a grateful nation, it is my pleasure to submit a 
resolution to honor the life of an American hero, a great 
Washingtonian, George Hickman. As his wife Doris summed it up: ``George 
loved his family and enjoyed life to the fullest.''
  George Hickman was a true American hero and an inspiration for all of 
us. I hope we agree to this resolution.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from West Virginia.

                    Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, first of all, I wish to thank my 
colleague and good friend from the State of Washington, Senator 
Cantwell, for honoring and recognizing a true American hero. We have 
had so many of them, and we still have so many, and I wish to thank her 
for that.
  As the country mourns for those we have lost in Libya and those who 
remain in harm's way to keep us all safe, we are reminded of the sacred 
debt we owe the men and women who put their lives on the line for us 
every day. No matter the generation and no matter the war, America's 
soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are always tough, always 
determined, and always victorious. Even when we have asked the 
impossible of them, they have served us well.
  However, how well have we served them? How well have we kept our 
sacred promise to care for those who, as Abraham Lincoln said, ``have 
borne the battle'' for us and for this great country of ours?
  The Veterans Jobs Corps Act is an opportunity to make good on that 
promise, but it is more than an opportunity; it is an obligation. It is 
also a duty and, most importantly, it is a privilege. It is one of the 
best welcome home celebrations we could give the men and women in our 
armed forces, as well as the 9/11 generation of their families--more 
than 1 million military spouses and 2 million children, many of whom 
have lived their entire lives in a nation at war.
  Today, one of our Nation's great challenges is a new generation of 
veterans coming home to a weak economy. Those veterans are disciplined 
and have some of the best training in the world, but now those veterans 
who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan now fight for jobs.
  The unemployment rate for these post-9/11 veterans is 10.9 percent, 
according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics this past August, and that 
is well above the national average. That is unacceptable. That is why 
every day in the U.S. Senate I will stand with our veterans--as I know 
the Acting President pro tempore does and all of our colleagues--24/7. 
That is why one of my top priorities in the Senate has been--and will 
continue to be--to make sure there are good jobs for our returning 
  I am particularly pleased that the Veterans Jobs Corps Act includes 
provisions to provide veterans with access to the Internet and 
computers to assist them in their job searches. This is important 
because, as we all know, today's veterans are tech-savvy.
  I have talked with Labor Secretary Solis about establishing an 
Internet portal for job seekers, and I will be working closely with the 
Secretary to make sure this provision of the act is up and running as 
quickly as possible.
  I do, however, suggest that we amend the legislation so it is 
abundantly clear that employment opportunities available through the 
Veterans Jobs Corps are maintained on one--only one--Internet portal--a 
simple, one-stop center for job seekers. In this technology age, we 
need a central clearinghouse to match veterans with available jobs.
  I also want to propose two more amendments to the Veterans Jobs

[[Page S6292]]

Corps Act that might have been overlooked.
  First, as written, the legislation addresses commercial driver's 
licenses, CDLs, as we know them, but not construction equipment or 
heavy equipment operating licenses. I suggest we amend the legislation 
to include reciprocity on licensure, which, clearly, will make it 
easier for veterans to get jobs operating this heavy equipment at 
construction and mining sites. They have been doing these jobs already 
every day in the military. There is no reason why they should have to 
face a complete new hurdle to get a new license for the same work here 
at home.
  And second, I would like the legislation to encourage Members of 
Congress to lead by example and hire qualified veterans for openings in 
all of our offices both here and at home. I proudly display the ``I 
Hire Veterans'' logo in my office, and many of our colleagues do. I 
have made this a commitment to every veteran: that we will do all we 
can to put them back into employment. But we must all lead by example.
  As members of the Veterans Jobs Caucus, we must do everything we can 
to end the unemployment crisis our veterans are facing. In fact, while 
I was in my great State of West Virginia during our most recent State 
work period, I had the privilege of working with a private sector 
partner, DuPont--International DuPont--which has joined the ``I Hire 
Veterans'' project. They have committed that for all of their new 
hires, at least 10 percent will be veterans. That is tremendous. This 
project is our new yellow ribbon and, as I have always said, if you 
want to really help a vet, hire a vet and then do business with folks 
who also hire vets.
  I have seen firsthand the positive impact veterans have on our 
economy. Leadership, teamwork, commitment, and trust--these are the 
hallmark qualities of all of our military heroes. And these are skills 
every American business--big or small--needs and can use today.
  Like every generation of warriors, today's young veterans make great 
hires. Their resumes include maturity, crisis management skills, and 
loyalty, and those resumes should be at the top of every stack of a 
person looking for a good employee today.
  Patriotism has many requirements and one requirement is to keep faith 
with those who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. 
It is one thing to recall President Lincoln's immortal words and the 
commitment to those who have ``borne the battle.'' It is another to 
live by them--to always stand with the men and women who have kept this 
Nation safe and free.
  They answered the call. We must do so as well. And I am so proud to 
support this legislation.
  Three million veterans have returned from military service over the 
past 10 years, and another 1 million are expected to return to civilian 
life over the next 5 years.
  Can we rise to the challenge, the way our warriors did in Iraq and 
Afghanistan? Can we make sure our economy is ready for them? Of course 
we can. And just as importantly, we must.
  So I ask all of my colleagues--Democrats and Republicans--to please 
vote ``yes'' on this most important piece of legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Colorado is 
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I commend my colleague from 
West Virginia for his eloquent and articulate and powerful remarks 
about the importance of standing with our veterans. We have work to do, 
as Abraham Lincoln so powerfully put it. I want to acknowledge the 
great work of my colleague from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. I thank the Senator.

                       Wind Production Tax Credit

  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I am here, as I have been on 
many a morning over the last number of months, to urge all of us to 
work together in order to extend the production tax credit for wind 
energy. The PTC, as it is known, is going to expire in a few months. 
That impending expiration not only threatens the jobs of tens of 
thousands of Americans but also threatens the continued prosperity of 
an industry that has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. We 
simply cannot let that happen. But each day we fail to act--and, in 
effect, abdicate our basic responsibility to support job creation--we 
are allowing jobs to be exported and we are truly abandoning a part of 
the bright future of American manufacturing.
  I have had the opportunity over the last several months, as I 
mentioned, to come to the floor and talk about the benefits of the 
production tax credit in individual States. Today I think it is timely 
and appropriate to highlight the great State of Arizona--a State I have 
a special affinity for, as does the Acting President pro tempore. We 
were both born and raised in Tucson, and we both, I know, share a sense 
of pride because Arizona has adopted a renewable electricity standard 
such as we have in Colorado, such as we have in the Acting President 
pro tempore's State of New Mexico. The important part is not just the 
adoption of that standard but Arizona's commitment to renewable energy 
has truly produced results.

  When you think about Arizona, you think about solar resources. The 
Sun shines many a day in Arizona. But it is also home to more than 
ample wind resources. In fact, the studies show that Arizona has enough 
wind potential to provide 40 percent--40 percent--of the State's 
current electricity needs. That is according to the National Renewable 
Energy Laboratory.
  Arizona is not letting that wind go to waste. It completed its first 
commercial wind project in 2009, and it has been steadily adding 
capacity ever since. This first project was the Dry Lake Wind Project, 
which is a wind farm comprised of 30 turbines in Navajo County, which 
is up in the northeastern section of the State, familiar to the Acting 
President pro tempore, quite near his home State of New Mexico.
  But Arizona is not stopping with this one project. There are at least 
seven wind manufacturers in Arizona that are creating good-paying jobs, 
and I want to mention one, Southwest Windpower. It is a national leader 
in the small wind market, and it has a manufacturing facility up in 
Flagstaff, which is in Coconino County, in the center of the northern 
part of Arizona.
  These online wind projects already power over 33,000 homes, and, as I 
have highlighted, current projects under construction are likely to 
drastically multiply that number. Why is this important? Well, we have 
clean, renewable energy that creates American jobs. You talk about a 
virtuous cycle. This is one.
  There is a large wind project proposed in Arizona. It is the Mohave 
County Wind Farm. It is up in the northwestern section of Arizona. It 
will produce 500 megawatts of electricity. Mr. President, 500 megawatts 
would power 110,000 homes per year. As importantly, that is an 
investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and, conservatively, it 
would create nearly 1,000 jobs. Those are impressive numbers.
  Why do I bring up this proposed project? Well, I bring it up because 
this investment is at risk. The BLM, under Secretary Salazar's 
leadership, has fast-tracked this project, and it is scheduled to begin 
construction next year. But our inaction here literally will thwart 
those plans. Without an extension of the production tax credit, the 
future of this project and the jobs and the clean energy it will 
produce are in jeopardy. That is flat out unacceptable. We have to act 
here in the Congress in order for the immense potential of wind power 
to be realized.
  I want to talk today about something I have not mentioned previously 
on the upside. When we produce power from wind in the arid West, we 
save an enormous amount of water. Recent estimates project that for 
every 1,000 megawatts of new wind power produced, we save over 818 
million gallons of water on an annual basis. I do not have to tell the 
Acting President pro tempore we are in a period of extreme drought not 
only in the Southwest but in the Midwest. When you add in the fact that 
Arizona has a very arid climate, fresh water supplies become 
increasingly precious. So when we take steps to reduce the demand for 
that fresh water, we make a downpayment on the future of the Southwest. 
Of course, we know that well in Colorado. We are the headwaters of some 
of the most significant major rivers that feed the water needs of the 
States all around us. But if we let the PTC expire, we risk all the 
jobs, the manufacturing, the water savings that would

[[Page S6293]]

have really positive effects on our economy.
  I see my good friend from Arizona is here, and I want to conclude. 
But I want to conclude on this note: This is not a partisan issue. On 
both sides of the aisle, we have strong support for the production tax 
  Just last month, the Finance Committee included an extension of the 
production tax credit on a strong bipartisan vote. Our good friend, 
Senator Grassley from Iowa, has led the effort here in the Congress, 
and we have support in both Houses. So I want to make a plea to all of 
us: Let's act in a bipartisan fashion. Let's renew the production tax 
  The production tax credit simply equals jobs. So we ought to pass it 
as soon as possible because the production tax credit equals jobs, and 
that is job one here for those of us in the Senate.
  In the House yesterday a group of Members--over a dozen of them--made 
this effort bicameral. They talked on the floor of the House about how 
the PTC has benefited their districts. Their remarks highlighted what I 
have been saying for months: Without the PTC, thousands of good-paying 
American jobs will likely be lost or shipped overseas. There is no 
reason that should happen. Let's pass the production tax credit 
extension as soon as possible.
  I thank the Acting President pro tempore for his interest and his 
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from South Dakota is 
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into a 
colloquy with my colleagues from Arizona, Alabama and New Hampshire.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 


  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, we come to the floor today to talk about 
the sequestration and the looming fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, the 
White House missed an important deadline last week by failing to 
provide Congress and the American people with a required report that 
details the administration's plan for implementing the $1.2 trillion 
sequester that is scheduled to take effect on January 2 of next year, 
less than 4 months from now.
  That report on both defense and nondefense cuts came about because 
the administration ignored repeated requests to provide Congress and 
the American people with details about the impact that sequestration is 
going to have on critical programs, particularly with regard to our 
military and national defense. Members of both parties agreed that it 
was necessary for the White House to produce this information, and so 
we were glad to see that Sequestration Transparency Act bill passed, a 
bill with which Senator Sessions, Senator McCain, and others of us were 
involved. The law required the administration to produce by September 
6, last week, a report on how they intended to implement sequestration. 
Yet so far we have not seen that report. Here we are, it is a week 
later, and so far President Obama has chosen to ignore a requirement 
that he signed into law just over a month ago.
  All Americans are required to play by the rules and follow the laws 
of the land. It seems to me, at least, the administration owes the 
American people and the Congress, under the law that was passed, a 
report that would detail the proposal they have with regard to the 
sequestration that is going to occur the first of next year.
  I think the reason that is important--it is important for a lot of 
reasons, but we do not have a lot of time here. If we are going to do 
something to avert what would be a catastrophe for our national 
security interests, we have to take the steps that are necessary to do 
that. Well, it is very hard to come up with a replacement or an 
alternative to what the administration proposes when we do not know 
what the administration is proposing.
  So we are hoping that when we get this report, which I hope will be 
soon since it is now a week overdue, we get an idea about what the 
administration proposes to do and then Congress can move forward, 
hopefully, with an alternative that would avert what would be a major 
disaster, as has been described by our military leadership in this 
country, to America's national security interests. I know the Senator 
from Arizona, the Senator from Alabama, and others will detail some of 
that, but I think it is important to point out what some of the 
President's own advisers have said.
  The Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has issued repeated warnings 
about the negative impact these cuts will have on our military, saying, 
``It would do catastrophic damage to our military and its ability to 
protect this country.''
  General Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, said that ``cuts of this 
magnitude would be catastrophic to the military.'' He went on to say 
that ``these cuts would incur an unacceptable level of strategic and 
operational risk.''
  It is interesting, there is a book out now by Washington Post 
reporter Bob Woodward, who describes President Obama and then-OMB 
Director Jack Lew when they were going through this process as 
insisting on these defense cuts during the debt ceiling negotiation. It 
is clear they wanted to use these defense cuts as leverage to get tax 
  In fact, if we breach the fiscal cliff, if we go over the fiscal 
cliff, it is now being predicted by the Congressional Budget Office 
that that will drive unemployment beyond 9 percent next year and plunge 
the country into yet another recession. In fact, they project--CBO 
does--that the GDP will contract by 2.9 percent during the first half 
of next year and by 5 percent over the entire year. Federal Reserve 
Chairman Ben Bernanke has also said that estimates ``do not incorporate 
the additional negative effects likely to result from public 
uncertainty about how these matters will be resolved.''
  We are heading toward a train wreck. We are heading toward a disaster 
for America's national security interests. It all started with the fact 
that this Chamber has not produced a budget for now 3 years in a row. 
This is what you end up with when you do not have a budget. We do not 
have a blueprint on how we are going spend $3.6 trillion of the 
American taxpayers' money, so we ended up with a budget control act 
which was cobbled together at the last minute to avoid a crisis on the 
debt limit last summer which put in place a supercommittee designed to 
come up with these cuts. When the committee failed, this sequestration 
process was triggered. That was last November. We have had almost a 
whole year now for the administration to put forward their plan about 
how they would implement this sequestration, these across-the-board 
cuts that disproportionately impact our national security spending.
  It is a disservice to the American people, disservice to the Congress 
for the administration not only to have not put something out prior to, 
but now since we passed legislation that was signed into law just a 
month ago that required the President to put forward this report, not 
to have received it yet so that we can have the time that is necessary 
to take the action that is necessary to avoid what would be a 
catastrophe and a disaster for America's national security interests.
  I hope we will receive that report. This fiscal cliff is real. It is 
not just the Congressional Budget Office; a lot of the outside analysts 
have looked at this and come to the same conclusion; that is, if 
something is not done to avert these cuts and to deal with the tax 
increases that will occur on the first of next year, we will go over a 
fiscal cliff, and that could be incredibly dangerous and have 
catastrophic consequences for America's national security interests but 
also for our economy and for jobs.
  I would like to yield to my colleague from Arizona, Senator McCain, 
one of the most respected voices on national security issues and 
someone who has been very active on this sequester issue and trying to 
get the Defense Department to at least let us know what they are 
intending to do with regard to the cuts that are going to impact the 
national security interests of this country.
  I yield to the Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be included 
in the colloquy with the Senator from South Dakota, the Senator from 
Alabama, and, naturally, the Senator from New Hampshire as well.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 

[[Page S6294]]

  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I think the Senator from South Dakota has 
laid out the problem. One of the regrets that I think all of us have is 
the failure of this message to get to the American people: the loss of 
1 million defense jobs, $1 trillion taken out of our economy, the 
devastation to our national security that has been so graphically 
described by our Secretary of Defense and our uniformed chiefs. And 
still I think most Americans do not understand how the word 
``sequestration'' applies in this particular situation. Now, maybe when 
this report--thanks to the legislation sponsored by the Senator from 
South Dakota--comes out as to the effects, it will give more visibility 
to the train wreck we are facing. It is a train wreck.
  I would like to remind my colleagues again that the President cut $78 
billion from defense in 2011. The budget request this year cut an 
additional $487 billion over the next decade, and this is another 
approximately $480 billion in addition to that. That is why our 
uniformed service chiefs say they will not be able to carry out their 
missions if this sequestration takes place.
  And the President of the United States, whose title is ``Commander in 
Chief,'' has said, as far as I know, one, that he wants us to agree to 
tax increases. There have been some comments he has made about, well, 
after the election, maybe we will sit down. That is not the job of the 
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces whose No. 1 priority is this 
Nation's security. The job of the President of the United States is to 
prevent the catastrophic consequence of sequestration on our Nation's 
national security.
  I stand ready--and I know my colleagues do--I stand ready to go over 
to the White House and sit down with the President of the United States 
and say: How can we avert this catastrophe for our Nation's defense? 
What is the answer? Well, as soon as the Republicans agree to tax 
increases, or, after the election, maybe we can sit down. Meanwhile, 
the Pentagon has to plan. They have to plan on what their budget is, on 
what their capabilities are going to be, what their acquisitions are 
going to be, how we are going to pay, make sure the pay and benefits of 
our men and woman who are serving are kept up.
  I will yield to my friend from Alabama in just a second, but this is 
really an incredibly frustrating situation. We are not going to take up 
the Defense authorization bill anytime soon. We are going through a 
veterans jobs act that never had a hearing, sponsored by a person who 
is not a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. There are six 
veterans jobs programs already in being today. Then I read in some of 
these periodicals that we are going to take up a bill from the Senator 
from Montana concerning some kind of hunting deal.
  Meanwhile, the Senate refuses to take up the National Defense 
Authorization Act, which has to do with defending this Nation. What is 
the role of the President of the United States on this issue? I ask my 
colleagues, are we, for the first time in 50 years--the first time in 
50 years--not going to pass and send to the President's desk for 
signature a defense authorization bill? Instead, we will go back and 
forth filing cloture and arguing on amendments and on which will be 
allowed or not allowed, fill up the tree, blah, blah, blah. Yet the 
majority leader of the Senate cannot take up the national defense 
authorization bill, the most important piece of legislation this body 
considers, and it may be that we do not take it up for the first time 
in 50 years.
  We must address the issue of sequestration. I again commit to making 
compromises, to doing things I otherwise would not agree to, because we 
cannot allow this train wreck that will endanger the lives of our 
citizens to take place. Do not take my word for it. Take the word of 
the Secretary of Defense appointed by the President of the United 
States and our uniformed chiefs appointed by the President of the 
United States with the advice and consent of the Senate that this is a 
devastating challenge to our national security. We just found out in 
the last couple of days that the world we live in is a very dangerous 
  I thank my colleagues for their involvement.
  I yield to the Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I think we should listen to Senator 
McCain. Senator McCain made a point that I think he understands. He is 
the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. He has served 
his Nation with a career in the military. And we have a Commander in 
Chief who is not leading. We have a majority leader in the U.S. Senate 
who is not leading. We are about to have no Defense authorization bill 
this year for the first time in 50 years.
  I would also note that this will be the first time since I have been 
in the Senate in maybe--I do not know how long--that we have passed not 
a single appropriations bill, zero, including a defense appropriations 
bill. It is going to be part of some massive, ominous CR for 6 months 
without any real oversight or thought as to how that money will be 
  I am a member of the Armed Services Committee and ranking member of 
the Budget Committee. I would like to point out how these cuts that, as 
Senator Thune established, were driven by the White House when they set 
up this committee last August--and we committed to reducing spending by 
$2.1 trillion over 10 years. Instead of spending $47 trillion, they 
would reduce it to $45 trillion. We are spending now at the rate of $36 
trillion over 10. We are still increasing spending over current rates, 
but it would not be quite as much.
  But the way this fell is remarkable. I wanted to show this chart. 
Under the fallback sequester, the defense budget shrinks while 
nondefense spending soars. Under the budget as proposed and in law 
today, the Defense Department, unless we take action to fix this 
sequestration, would have a reduction of 11 percent over 10 years in 
its programs, while the remaining five-sixths of the Federal 
Government--defense is only one-sixth--would get a 35-percent increase. 
This is the kind of poor management we ought to not allow to happen. 
The Secretary of Defense said it would be ``catastrophic.'' The 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said it would be ``catastrophic.'' Yet 
that is where we are heading.
  We need leadership now. It will take place in January. We need to fix 
it now because defense contractors and military budget people in the 
Department of Defense are right now trying to wrestle with what to do 
about it.
  This is not acceptable. So you say--they might say: The Defense 
Department has received dramatic increases. It ought to take more cuts.
  We have heard that said. It is really not so. Let me show you some 
things about spending. From 2008 through 2011, these are the increases 
in spending by department or major program. Food stamps has gone up 100 
percent--double. Medicaid went up 37 percent from 2008 through 2011. 
The Defense Department has increased 10 percent and basically last year 
had very little increase. The perception is that the Defense Department 
is the one that is driving the increases in spending. That is not 
accurate. Let me point out that under the Budget Control Act agreement 
of August 1 year ago, they totally exempted food stamps from any 
reduction, they totally exempted Medicaid from any reduction--not a 
dime--and that is why the cuts fall disproportionately on defense, and 
Social Security has no reduction. So these are things we need to 
understand as we wrestle with how to manage the people's money.

  I thank Senator Thune for his leadership. To Senator McCain, I just 
would say this is not a good way to do business. I don't believe it 
will eventually become law. But right now it is causing disruption in 
the Defense Department, in our procurement for the Defense Department. 
We need to do something about it sooner rather than later. It is very 
disappointing the Commander in Chief, the Chief Executive, doesn't see 
this problem and begin to provide leadership right now to fix it.
  I see my colleague from New Hampshire, a fabulous new addition to 
both the Budget Committee and the Armed Services Committee, has come to 
the floor. I am so pleased with her grasp of defense issues and her 
passion about it. Senator Ayotte.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into this 
colloquy with my colleagues.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Casey). Without objection, it is so 
  Ms. AYOTTE. It is an honor certainly to speak after the Senator from 
Alabama, who is the ranking Republican

[[Page S6295]]

on the Senate Budget Committee. He knows better than anyone else here, 
as my colleague from South Dakota said, had we done a budget for our 
country, we wouldn't find ourselves in a situation such as this, where 
we are going to put our national security at risk. It has been over 3 
years since this body has done a budget. I think it is outrageous. 
Having been elected in 2010, I am so angry about that, I have signed up 
to support the bill that says we shouldn't get paid until we have a 
budget because where we end up is with this sequestration deal.
  This is a lesson we should learn when we have an absence of 
leadership, when we have a majority leader who thinks it is foolish to 
have a budget, when we have absence of leadership from our Commander in 
Chief, who doesn't think this is a priority to resolve. The President 
should be calling all of us to the table to resolve this because of 
national security. Without resolving it, we end up putting our country 
at risk. The foremost responsibility we have in representing the 
American people under our Constitution is to keep them safe. If we 
don't do that, we have nothing else.
  We have seen the events over the last few days, as Senator McCain has 
described them. He is the ranking member of the Armed Services 
Committee and certainly someone known as being more knowledgeable about 
national security than anyone else in this body. I believe he is right. 
It is a dangerous time in the world right now. We are faced with Iran 
trying to acquire nuclear capability, we have the Middle East 
unraveling right now, and there is an absence of American leadership, 
  If we take, in addition to the $487 billion in reductions we are 
already planning for the Department of Defense, another $500 billion 
off that, with what we see happening around the world and the risks to 
our country--terrorists who still want to kill us for who we are and 
what we believe in--then as our own Secretary of Defense has said, this 
sequestration will be catastrophic, leading to a hollow force, shooting 
ourselves in the head. That is what our Secretary of Defense has said. 
  Mr. McCAIN. May I ask the Senator from New Hampshire, is it not true 
we went to her State and met with a major defense industry in the State 
of New Hampshire that employs thousands of people?
  Ms. AYOTTE. Yes, we did. In fact, I was at the same major defense 
employer in my State on Monday the same employer we went to--BAE.
  Mr. McCAIN. What do they say?
  Ms. AYOTTE. They say they are worried about sequestration because 
there are thousands of jobs at stake in New Hampshire. But more 
important, there is the capacity to make sure our troops have the very 
best equipment, the very best technology, and that we can prevent 
attacks on our country. When we send our troops into harm's way, we 
need to know they are protected. We have a responsibility to them.
  There are jobs at stake and there is safety to our troops. When we 
talk about hollowing out our force, we mean putting our troops at risk 
and, finally, not only that, but we think about our safety. So there 
are real jobs at stake. As the Senator from Arizona has said, my State 
estimates 3,600 jobs on the defense end and over 1 million jobs in this 
  Let's face it, I saw the workers, I have talked to them, and they are 
very worried we are not going to take up our responsibility; that there 
is an absence of leadership. Where is the Commander in Chief on this? 
Of all the things the President has responsibility for, this cannot be 
punted until after an election. This should not be used as a bargaining 
chip for other goals he wants to accomplish--increasing taxes in this 
country. He should be at the table right now. We are all willing to sit 
down and listen to ideas and to compromise with the other side, but we 
need the leadership of our President to do that.
  I understand the President may be too busy campaigning to do that, 
but this is too important to leave until after an election.
  Mr. McCAIN. Could I ask the Senator from Alabama, is it not true, if 
these cuts are enacted in the fashion they are designed right now, we 
are going to have a serious impact on our economy, to the point where 
it could result in even negative growth, according to objective 
  Mr. SESSIONS. The Congressional Budget Office and others, as Senator 
Thune indicated, have said if the tax increases are imposed and the 
sequester cuts are done, we could go back into another recession. The 
last thing we need to get this budget under control and our finances 
under control is another recession. It would be unthinkable for us to 
take action that would put us in that kind of context.
  As Senator McCain knows, there are requirements the defense 
contractors--any government contractor--has when they know they are not 
going to be able, under the law, to keep the number of people employed. 
They have to send them a notice they are going to be laid off in 
advance so they have an opportunity to find other work. They are 
preparing to send out those notices now, and that has a depressing 
effect on the economy as well, I think. It is a very serious matter for 
the economy.
  But most important to me is, when we start playing games with 
production and procurement of weapon systems and things, it costs the 
government more money. Wouldn't the Senator agree? If a contractor is 
producing 100 widgets and then they go to 50 widgets, then back to 100, 
doesn't the government often have to pay penalties and doesn't it drive 
up cost?
  Mr. McCAIN. Wouldn't that also be true if a defense contractor today 
literally has no ability to make plans for what their company or 
corporation would be expected to do on January 1 of 2013?
  Mr. SESSIONS. Absolutely; that is correct. Under the law, these cuts 
will take place in January. That will happen unless we pass a law to 
change it--unless we take action to change it. What, are we going to 
wait until December 31? Is that when we are going to deal with this?

  As Senator Ayotte suggests, we should do it now because it is the 
responsible thing to do to fix this problem and not leave the Defense 
Department in turmoil. They will not even send an answer to our 
request--Senator Thune, myself, Senator McCain--on where the cuts are 
going to occur, I guess because they do not want to or they do not know 
yet. But this is turmoil within the Department.
  Mr. THUNE. If the Senator from Alabama will yield on that, I think it 
is important again to point out this could be avoided. Actually, the 
House of Representatives passed a budget trying to avoid it. They 
addressed this in their budget. They restricted these reductions, did 
away with the 50 percent whack the Defense Department would get, which 
is disproportionate relative to their share of the budget. Defense 
represents 20 percent or about one-sixth of the budget, as the Senator 
from Alabama pointed out, but it gets 50 percent of the cuts.
  But the House of Representatives passed a budget that the Democrats 
have been down here attacking for the last couple days--the ``Ryan'' 
budget or the House-passed budget. At least they had a budget. We 
haven't had a budget for 3 years in the Senate.
  Mr. McCAIN. Isn't that known as chutzpah--to come down and attack the 
other body's budget when we haven't done a budget for 3 years, which is 
required by law?
  I have to hand it to them--I have to hand it to them. I congratulate 
my friends on the other side of the aisle who come down and attack the 
other body's budget when they haven't done one in 3 years. 
Congratulations for new levels of hypocrisy.
  Ms. AYOTTE. If the Senator from Arizona will yield, I too would call 
that hypocrisy. I mean, when there is no plan in the Senate for the 
fiscal state of the country, when the other side seems unwilling to 
actually do the work of the Budget Committee, when the majority leader 
calls it foolish--and by the way, when the President's own budget gets 
zero votes--
  Mr. McCAIN. Yes, the President did have a budget. It got zero votes. 
Not a single Member on the other side of the aisle voted for their own 
President's budget. Yet they will come down and attack a budget 
proposal which, by the way, puts us on a path to a balanced budget, and 
there is certainly no proposal I have ever seen coming from the other 
side. In fact, the answer, according to them, is spend more money--

[[Page S6296]]

spend more money. Let's have more of everything. Obviously, that has 
not been a very successful approach over the last 3\1/2\ years.
  Again, I don't mean to be too repetitive, but here we are and what 
are we debating--a jobs bill. It sounds great. It sounds great: a 
veterans jobs bill. What could be better or more important? We have six 
veterans jobs programs that haven't succeeded. The fact is we are not 
addressing the needs of the men and women in the military who will be 
veterans someday. We are not providing them with the equipment, the 
training, and the wherewithal to defend this Nation by both ignoring 
sequestration and not taking up the National Defense Authorization Act.
  My friends, I think the American people see through this charade we 
are conducting in these last few days before we go out to campaign and 
see if we can find and meet any Americans who are still in that 11 
percent who say they still approve of Congress.
  Mr. SESSIONS. We are going to have a lot more unemployed veterans if 
we don't fix this sequester because it is clearly going to cause the 
Defense Department to reduce personnel in a significant number; 
wouldn't the Senator agree?
  Mr. McCAIN. I totally agree.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Senator Thune mentioned the Ryan budget, a historic 
budget which changes the debt course of America and puts us on a path 
to prosperity and not decline. It is an honest budget, and it fixes 
this sequester.
  I would ask Senator Thune, doesn't the budget passed by the House do 
that? Isn't that proof that if we put our heads together, we can 
develop a way of dealing with this sequester; that it is not impossible 
to do?
  Mr. THUNE. Right, and it passed months ago. We all talk about the 
jobs impact, the Warren Act notices that are going to go out, and all 
the uncertainty created by not knowing what the impact of this is going 
to be, but the House of Representatives passed a budget months ago 
which spelled out in clear detail how they would avoid these Draconian 
cuts to the national security budget, replaced them with alternatives 
by finding reductions in spending in other areas of the budget, and put 
a budget out that actually accomplished that objective and avoided what 
we all know is going to be a disaster and a train wreck at the end of 
the year.
  So what happens? The Senate--the world's greatest deliberative body--
doesn't pass a budget for the third year in a row. Here we are, at the 
eleventh hour, less than 4 months away from when this would take 
effect, with defense contractors sending out pink slips to employees in 
the very near future, and the Senate has done nothing to avoid what we 
know is a very predictable crisis.
  Everybody knows this is coming. The Congressional Budget Office is 
predicting it, the Federal Reserve is predicting it, outside analysts 
are predicting it. Everybody knows the combination of tax increases on 
January 1 and the dramatic cuts in the Defense Department are going to 
take the country into a place economically that we don't want to go. In 
most cases, according to the CBO, they have said it is going to take us 
back into a recession. They are predicting a 2.9-percent contraction in 
the economy in the first 6 months of next year and unemployment over 9 
  It is not as though we don't see this coming. Yet here we are, as 
Senator McCain pointed out, talking about small-ball stuff. We are 
doing things that in somebody's opinion I am sure is important, but we 
know we have a disaster looking us right in the eye, and we aren't 
doing anything to address it.
  Again, it all starts with the failure by this institution, the 
Senate--the world's greatest deliberative body--not able to pass a 
budget, its most fundamental responsibility. The ranking member of the 
Budget Committee, the Senator from Alabama, knows full well. The 
Senator from New Hampshire is also a member of that committee. I am not 
sure why our committee exists if we aren't going to pass a budget, but 
we haven't done it now under the Democratic leadership here in the 
United States for 3 consecutive years.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I do believe we are at a point in 
history that this Congress has the responsibility. Sequester cannot be 
carried out in the way it is written today. It will do severe damage to 
the Defense Department. We are going to fix it at some point. It only 
makes good sense and good business for us to fix it now, to avoid the 
disruptions that are ongoing in our Department of Defense.
  Now I say we will fix it. I know there are a number of friends of the 
President who have long desired severe cuts in the Defense Department. 
He said he doesn't, but he at this point is taking action that I can 
only conclude indicates he favors these reductions to occur. The only 
way he might not do it is if we have the tax increase he wishes to see 
  Mr. THUNE. On that point, it looks as if what they are doing is 
running out the clock, doesn't it? They have a requirement by September 
6--last week--to produce at least their proposal. It is by law. We 
passed it. He signed it into law back in August. It was required last 
week, and we haven't seen it yet. It looks to me what they are doing is 
trying to run the clock out, hoping Congress is going to go home to 
campaign and they will not have had to do anything to deal with this--
until the lameduck, at which point they can use defense cuts as 
leverage to try to get tax increases.
  It is pretty plain what is going on here. But they have a requirement 
under the law to produce that. They haven't done it. The Senator from 
Alabama and I were authors of that legislation. The Senator from New 
Hampshire has been a great leader in trying to get the administration 
to put their proposal for implementation in front of us. That hasn't 
happened. That is, I think, the only conclusion anybody can draw.
  Mr. SESSIONS. The Senator from New Hampshire has campaigned on this 
and talked about these issues. I guess it has been frustrating to serve 
on the Budget Committee and the Armed Services Committee and to see as 
much dysfunction as has occurred.
  Ms. AYOTTE. It has. We have to do a budget, I would say to the 
Senators from Alabama and South Dakota, for our country. And we need to 
make sure that we protect our national security. That is why this 
problem has to be solved now. We need leadership from the President as 
Commander in Chief.
  I would point out, in response to the comments of the Senator from 
South Dakota, not only has the Department of Defense ignored this law 
of producing a plan as to how they are going to implement 
sequestration; the administration went so far as to have the Department 
of Labor issue an order saying: Employers, don't comply with the law of 
the Warren Act to tell employees that your job may be at risk and issue 
a layoff notice.
  That is how far the administration is going in not wanting to take 
this issue head on. But it is too important to the American people. We 
have got to resolve it. We are willing to try to resolve it. I am the 
cosponsor of another bill that would come up with alternative spending 
reductions to resolve it. We have got to do it now. We owe this to the 
American people. We owe this to our men and women in uniform.
  Again, if we do a budget and we do what is right for our country, we 
would never find ourselves in this situation.
  I see the Republican leader here. We certainly wish to hear from the 
Republican leader and would end this colloquy and yield back our time 
to the leader.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of our time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader.

                           MIDDLE EAST UNREST

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the attacks this week on our diplomats, 
our installations, and diplomatic security personnel have reminded all 
of us of the service of these brave Americans--the service they render 
to our country every single day, from the deadly attacks on a U.S. 
diplomatic station in Benghazi, to the attack on our embassy in Cairo, 
and now another attack on another embassy last night in Yemen; four 
Americans are dead; our flag is being desecrated. This is a moment for 
Americans to show our closest allies in the Middle East that we stand 
with them unequivocally. No mixed signals. Neither Israel nor any of 
our allies should ever have any reason to doubt that resolve.
  I am encouraged that Turkey has condemned the violence in Benghazi.

[[Page S6297]]

There is absolutely no justification for what happened in Cairo, 
Benghazi, or Yemen. None. We must do everything within our power to 
protect our representatives overseas and hunt down those responsible 
for these attacks.
  There were warnings yesterday that other attacks on other embassies 
may be imminent. This is a gravely serious moment. But America does not 
shrink from the defense of its core values or its interests overseas. 
We must project strength.
  The unrest in the Middle East--in Libya, Egypt, and especially the 
Sinai, Yemen, and Syria--presents a profound and formidable challenge 
to our interests, in addition to the U.S. Central Command, and to our 
allies. None of our Nation's enemies--al-Qaida, other violent 
extremists, Hezbollah, and especially Iran--should view this moment as 
a window of American vulnerability. Now is the moment to send a clear 
signal to longstanding allies such as Israel that they can rely on our 
support. And every member of our armed services, diplomatic corps, and 
intelligence community should know they have our support and gratitude 
in the challenging days that lie ahead.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.

                            The Ryan Budget

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about the so-
called Ryan budget plan, endorsed and fully absorbed by Governor 
Romney--which, when you read it, is nothing more than a diabolical 
blueprint for slashing services that help families, seniors, and 
children all across the country.
  The Ryan-Romney plan--which is the centerpiece of the Republican 
Presidential campaign, and certainly will grow more so--has finally 
come under the new scrutiny that it needed as people got a good look at 
it leading up to the GOP convention last month. I, for one, have been 
ashamed of this document for much longer. I was proud the Senate voted 
against it, although it was equally discouraging that a majority of the 
House voted for it.
  I am here today because I want to set the record straight on what, in 
my judgment, the Ryan-Romney plan would do to people in my home State 
of West Virginia, to the Presiding Officer's home State, and to the 
  The Ryan budget proposal tackles the deficit by shredding something 
called the safety net. If people aren't clear what that is, it is the 
net of public policy underneath the worst possible situation that 
somebody can come to in terms of health care or inability to live. 
Families have counted on that safety net for years in rough times, 
because they have had that safety net and they have used that safety 
  In essence, the unbalanced Ryan proposal guts programs for seniors, 
people who are disabled, children, families struggling to make ends 
meet, and then--most fascinating--turning those cuts into $4 trillion 
worth of tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans and corporations. 
And people say class warfare, but it is mathematics. They give the 
average millionaire a tidy little tax cut of $265,000 under the Ryan-
Romney plan while desperately undermining our economy.
  He says he hopes his plan will balance the budget by 2040. That is 
not very encouraging, and it is probably optimistic on his part if it 
were ever to take place. The Ryan plan does not contribute a single 
penny to deficit reduction, which is the great problem we are facing 
and which we are going to deal with--not a single penny.
  Consider how they shred health care, with $2.9 trillion in health 
care cuts, not just from repealing health care reform--an amazing thing 
to do--but also by gutting Medicare and Medicaid. In the passing of the 
health care act, all of a sudden 30 million Americans--by no means all 
those who are uninsured--get health insurance coverage. The act makes 
sure that they get health insurance coverage. The Ryan budget, backed 
by Romney, would take that possibility away from 30 million people who 
have lived without health insurance for many years.
  The Ryan-Romney plan would take Medicare that more than 50 million 
seniors rely on and turn it into a privatized voucher system. I know 
this has been said, and it has been said because it is true. They would 
cap how much the government spends on seniors' health care, regardless 
of their health care needs--letting profit-seeking private health 
insurance companies decide what to cover and what not to cover. That 
alone would cost every individual senior an additional $6,000 per year 
if that plan were to come into effect. If seniors are not able to pay 
the difference, then they are simply out of luck under the Ryan-Romney 
budget plan.
  This plan also rips apart the Medicaid Program by turning it into a 
block grant program. On this one, I get pretty indignant. Right now, 
Medicaid is a lifeline to 70 million Americans, including families and 
children living in or near poverty. Medicaid today provides long-term 
care for more than half of seniors in the United States of America. 
They can spend down--get rid of their assets--so they qualify for 
Medicaid so they can get long-term care. There isn't anybody in this 
country who isn't going to be faced with long-term care. The difference 
is that some can pay for it and some will have families absorb it 
through love and cultural tradition, but most can't. They have to have 
help. There is a little bit that is Medicare, but it is virtually 
Medicaid that provides long-term care. That is when you are in your 
declining years. That is when you are approaching death. That is when 
you are at your most dangerous and vulnerable situation. That is when 
you are scared. That is when your children come from other States to 
try to help--but then they start spending down the money they have 
saved for their kids to go to college. It is a desperate situation, 
even as it is today with full Medicaid coverage. This would affect 
those who need care at home, a lot of home health, and it would also 
affect seniors in nursing homes in terrible ways.
  The fact is that middle-income families in this country cannot afford 
the $80,000 or more per year that it costs to keep a loved one in a 
nursing home in something called long-term care. The only way to do it 
without bankrupting the entire family is with the help of Medicaid. 
Yes, it is a big program. Yes, we are going to have to face reality in 
some respects on its size. But scaling back Medicaid the way they do it 
in the Ryan-Romney plan so badly hurts American families, and it forces 
State governments to do things which they are not going to be able to 
afford to do. They are going to have to cut services or they are going 
to have to go more deeply into debt themselves.

  So the real prospect is of people in their seventies, eighties, 
nineties, et cetera, with no long-term care because of a theological 
point of view that government is awful--but what this is awful to is 
people. It is just terrible for people. The Ryan-Romney plan would mean 
millions more Americans could not afford basic health care--and we know 
what happens next. More people will get sick with untreated illnesses. 
Then health care costs will go up for everyone.
  That implies that people get health care. Yes, they do because they 
can go to the emergency room of a hospital. They will not always get 
services, but for the most part they get those services. But they are 
not paying for that; the average American is, which adds about $2,000 
to their family budget every year, paying for other people's health 
care because the uninsured do not have insurance and therefore they 
have no place to go. The idea of repealing the health care act and 
taking 30 million Americans--really, if we had more money we would have 
done the 45 or 50 million who are really uninsured and underinsured and 
taken care of them, but we did not have the money to do that.
  The nursing homes and the 1.8 million people who work there would be 
forced to slash their services or close their doors or certainly turn 
away seniors. In their frenzy to repeal health care reform, and with 
not a single proposal to replace it--the great silence--Ryan-Romney 
would also completely undo all of the new consumer protections to fight 
back against cruel health insurance practices.
  I chair the Commerce Committee. That is about all we dealt with for 
the past 2 years, health insurance companies and their practices. It is 
pretty depressing. For example, the new provision ending discrimination 
by health insurance companies against people with preexisting 
conditions--that is law. Under Ryan-Romney that would

[[Page S6298]]

end. I reiterate, women who are pregnant, millions of Americans who 
have diabetes, people with asthma, people with acne, have frequently 
been just turned down by health insurance companies when they ruled the 
roost. Now they don't rule the roost under the new health care bill, 
and a lot of money is being rebated to American people who were 
  The reform we passed allows parents to keep their children on their 
insurance plan until the kids are 26 years old. That is one of the most 
popular aspects in the country. That would disappear under the Ryan-
Romney budget plan.
  There is a lot of lack of understanding of the health care bill, and 
it is not wildly popular in some parts of the country. Where you and I 
come from, Mr. President, that is true. But, on the other hand, when 
one thinks of it as a bill, people do not know what is in it. When one 
explains to people what is in it and give them examples, such as up 
until the age of 26 children can stay on their family's health 
insurance plan; curtailing the restrictions of lifetime limits, the 
annual limits first and then lifetime limits in 2014, they are lifted 
so people get the health care they need.
  Pretty much every night on television we see stories of kids born 
with some terrible set of health problems. I remember one I talked 
with, an 8-year-old boy who had cancer, and his family. He had run into 
his annual lifetime limit. He died. This was 2 years ago. He died. He 
would not have died under the health care act, but the Romney-Ryan 
people want to scrap all that.
  One thing that is very well known is the prescription drug doughnut 
hole, which our reform bill actually had closed. It is a very big deal. 
It is very hard to understand how that comes about. What is a doughnut 
hole? But seniors understand it because they spend quite a lot of time 
paying premiums to health insurance companies but getting no benefits 
or health care coverage during that period in which they are in the 
doughnut hole. We stopped that in the health care bill. That would be 
repealed. They open that doughnut hole right back up, the Ryan-Romney 
budget plan, putting that $4,200 a year right back on the shoulders of 
our individual seniors all across the country.
  We can see a pattern here. It is absolutely appalling. It is 
appalling. They do not talk about it, but even Social Security is 
threatened by their plans. Social Security is a contract the American 
people have made with themselves. Virtually everyone pays in throughout 
their working years so that everyone has a safety net when they retire 
or they become disabled or they die young and have others in their 
family to care for--leaving a surviving spouse and children to struggle 
without help. Under our bill, of course, nothing is changed. They want 
to change that.
  Paul Ryan, for whatever reason, has been trying, since 2004, to 
privatize Social Security. He just flatout has. He can say what he 
wants. He can say he doesn't think that anymore--he actually doesn't 
say that, but that is what he believes because if someone has been 
doing something for the past 10 years, they probably believe in it 
pretty strongly--meaning he would like to see the American people bet 
their retirement savings on the stock market, which is usually not 
stable. I don't buy that. West Virginia seniors do not buy that.
  Think back to 2008 when the financial crisis hit. If every American 
had privatized Social Security accounts then, their retirement security 
would have been wiped out. Instead, while many people lost a whole lot 
of money in that stock market crash back then, their Social Security 
benefits were safe, and they knew it.
  People are fragile. Not everybody is a venture capitalist or an 
entrepreneur. Not everybody is born wealthy. People are living at the 
edge. Psychologically, they are living even more closely to the edge. 
Fear comes to them easily. So when we do something good like pass a 
health care bill which is going to help them, and then people come in 
and say they are going to repeal the whole act and everything about it, 
and then, yes, something about Social Security too--it is cruel. It is 
appalling and it is cruel. We need to protect and strengthen Social 
Security, not destroy it.
  Don't just take that from me. There is far-ranging opposition to the 
Ryan-Romney budget plan from economists to religious leaders. A group 
of Catholic Bishops--this interested me greatly because the candidate 
for Vice President on the Republican ticket said he got his sort of 
social values from his Catholic teaching.
  There is a group of Catholic Bishops recently who asked Republicans 
to stop championing Ryan's proposals because they were appalled by it--
Catholics are very strong on fairness for people and always have been--
because it is so hurtful to the poor. It fails their morality test.

  My colleague, Senator Kent Conrad, shared with us this week an 
amazing quote that I cannot stop myself from giving to you because it 
was from one of Ronald Reagan's economic advisers, a fellow named Bruce 
Bartlett, which bears repeating. He said the following:

       Distributionally, the Ryan plan is a monstrosity. The rich 
     would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would 
     be shredded to pay for [those tax cuts]. Even as an opening 
     bid to begin budget negotiations with the Democrats, the Ryan 
     plan cannot be taken seriously. It is less of a wish list 
     than a fairy tale utterly disconnected from the real world, 
     backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable 
     assumptions. Ryan's plan isn't even an act of courage [Bruce 
     Bartlett says]; it's just pandering to the Tea Party.

  I think Mr. Ryan is of the tea party, so I don't know of his need to 
pander to it. But anyway that is what this Reagan person indicated.

       A real act of courage would have been for him to admit, as 
     all serious budget analysts know, that revenues will have to 
     rise well above 19 percent of GDP to stabilize the debt.

  In the coming weeks and months we will continue to hear a lot of 
back-and-forth about the heartless policy proposals coming from Paul 
Ryan and Members of Congress who support his plan. This is a deadly 
serious debate--deadly serious, with enormous consequences for our 
country and for every person in it.
  It is my sincere and urgent hope that as more Americans come to 
understand exactly where the Ryan-Romney plan would take our Nation and 
its lifesaving programs and others, that they will decide to run in the 
opposite direction away from it. The Republican budget is a slap in the 
face to millions of Americans. We can and will reduce our deficit. We 
are going to do that because we have to. There is a strong and enduring 
consensus on that point. But we do not have to do it this way, and we 
must not do it this way.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on the veterans jobs 
bill. That is the legislation before us. We voted on it last night, and 
we will likely be voting on it again today and possibly tomorrow. I 
rise to speak on that bill.
  I have in fact offered an amendment to the bill because we should do 
all we can to support our veterans. It is very important. They put 
their very lives on the line for us, and we need to do all we can to 
support them. But we need to do it the right way, and that is why I am 
offering this amendment. We are talking about creating jobs for our 
veterans. The right way to do that is long-term jobs, quality 
employment, not short-term stimulus-type jobs. That is exactly why I am 
offering this amendment to the legislation that would include approval 
of the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
  The VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is an organization that does a 
tremendous amount for our veterans. We all know the VFW. We all know 
the great work they do on behalf of our veterans. The VFW is already 
working to help returning vets get jobs--and that is great. They are 
working to help our returning veterans get jobs constructing the 
Keystone XL Pipeline.
  The only problem is those jobs are in Canada. Those jobs are in 
Canada because they have not approved the Keystone XL Pipeline in the 
United States. After 4-plus years, it is still in the permitting 
process. Since the administration has approved the project, we need to 
step up and approve the project, and we can do that. This amendment 
would do that.
  I want to talk a little bit about what the VFW is doing to help 
veterans get jobs in the energy industry by doing things such as 
building the Keystone

[[Page S6299]]

XL Pipeline, as I mentioned, right now in Canada. VetJobs is a job 
placement company of which the VFW owns 10 percent, so it is partially 
owned by the VFW. They are working with the Edmonton Economic 
Development Corps to hire Canadians in Edmonton and the surrounding 
area in Alberta. Of course, we can see that is where the pipeline is 
being constructed in Canada. They are working right now to hire vets to 
work on such things as the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  Several days ago I spoke with Ted Daywalt. Ted Daywalt is the CEO of 
VetJobs. He told me that in Alberta they have listings in 17 different 
job categories and they could use between 12,000 and 15,000 people in 
Alberta, Canada, just working in the energy industry. Why not put those 
veterans to work right here at home? We all want to have good-quality 
jobs, but we want to have it near our home and not have to go to a 
different country to get that job.
  The Perryman Group estimates that the Keystone XL Pipeline will 
create 15,000 to 20,000 direct construction jobs right away, and that 
it will create thousands and thousands of permanent jobs in addition to 
those construction jobs. That is without spending any tax dollars, that 
is without adding to the deficit, that is without adding to the debt, 
and that is jobs here at home, not in Canada. Also, TransCanada, the 
company building the Keystone XL Pipeline, gives a hiring preference to 
veterans. They give a hiring preference to veterans in Canada and they 
give a hiring preference to veterans in the United States.
  In fact, they also sponsor a program that is actually delivered by a 
nonprofit entity called Helmets to Hardhats. They train returning 
veterans so they can do these kinds of jobs. So we can make these 
quality, long-term, permanent jobs available right away here in the 
United States by supporting this amendment. In addition, we get more 
safe, dependable, reliable energy.
  Has anyone checked gas prices recently? It is more than $3.80 a 
gallon on average in this country. That is more than double what it was 
when this administration started in office.
  There is another benefit as well. We reduce our dependence on oil 
from the Middle East. Now compare this legislation to the Veterans Job 
Corps proposal we are looking at in the bill that is under 
consideration right now on the Senate floor. The Veterans Jobs Corps 
proposal spends $1 billion. At this time we are $16 trillion in debt, 
and that is growing. We have legislation that spends $1 billion to 
create government jobs for our veterans. Well, let's take a look at 
those jobs. We want to create 20,000 jobs with that $1 billion, so that 
means $50,000 a job for 1 year. Then what do we do? We spent $1 
billion, we created a bunch of temporary jobs for 1 year. Then what do 
our veterans do? Do we spend more to try to keep this going? Where does 
this go?
  Instead of doing that, by approving this legislation I have offered, 
we can create thousands of more jobs and we don't spend anything and it 
creates tax revenues, it creates economic activity, and it reduces the 
deficit. It also helps us generate more energy for this country instead 
of more government spending, a bigger deficit, and temporary jobs.
  I think our veterans would very much appreciate knowing that they are 
working on producing and transporting more energy for the country and 
that they are helping to reduce gas prices at the pump for our hard-
working taxpayers and our consumers. I think they would also appreciate 
the fact that we are working to reduce our dependence on oil from the 
Middle East. Maybe that way we would not have to send them back to the 
Middle East for energy or security reasons. I think our veterans would 
appreciate that.
  The proposal we are putting forward creates permanent jobs, and it 
creates them the right way. I encourage support for it because it is 
about supporting and creating jobs in this country the right way and 
supporting jobs for our veterans.
  This amendment is about jobs, and it will help our veterans. It is 
about energy that will help hard-working Americans with gas prices at 
the pump. It is about economic growth which will help our economy. 
Economic growth and better control of spending is what we need to do to 
address the deficit and the debt. This legislation is about energy 
security, to make our Nation more energy secure.
  Here are my concluding questions: Why wouldn't we vote on this 
amendment? Why wouldn't we have a vote on this amendment? Why wouldn't 
we approve it for the benefit of our economy, for the benefit of the 
American people in our country and for the benefit of our veterans?
  I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Ryan Budget Plan

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, it is nice to see Paul Ryan back in 
Congress. It will be even nicer to see him back as a full-time Member 
in January.
  There has been a lot of controversy about Mr. Ryan and some of the 
things he states, why he states them, and the contrast with what he 
says and what he has done. Perhaps the least credible claim of all 
about Congressman Ryan is the idea that he is a serious deficit hawk 
and that his budget is a serious attempt at deficit reduction. He is 
not and it is not.
  The Paul Ryan budget is about ideology rather than commonsense 
solutions to the country's economic and fiscal problems. As more and 
more people are learning, it certainly is not about, as Bill Clinton 
said, arithmetic.
  In Ryan's budget, any savings achieved by his plan to privatize 
Medicare and gut investments in the middle-class do not go to reducing 
the deficit. He is saying he is creating that pain because we need the 
pain for deficit reduction. He uses all those savings to pay for 
further tax cuts to the wealthy.
  This chart explains it pretty well. Independent studies have found 
that the Ryan budget would raise taxes on the middle class up to 
$2,600. People earning between $50,000 and $100,000 pay $1,300 more a 
year, people earning between $100,000 and $200,000 pay $2,600 more a 
year, and then there is a whopping savings to people whose income is 
over $200,000.
  As a result of the massive giveaways to the wealthiest Americans, the 
Congressional Budget Office found that Ryan's plan failed to balance 
the budget until 2040. But even this conclusion relies on rosy 
assumptions supplied to CBO by Ryan himself.
  Ryan's plan could take longer to improve the fiscal outlook under a 
more realistic set of assumptions, even taking the unrealistically rosy 
assumptions that Ryan stipulates in his budget, for instance, that 
revenue levels would be 19 percent of GDP. That is almost certainly not 
true. His plan would not balance the budget until 2040.
  Independent experts, such as the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 
challenged these assumptions. Under more realistic assumptions, Ryan's 
plan would take far longer to balance the budget and cause the Federal 
debt to rise even further.
  Moreover, Ryan's spending cuts are totally unrealistic. Outside of 
Medicare and Medicaid, Mr. Ryan would slash the government, including 
defense, to 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050. Defense alone is 4.6 percent 
today. According to CBO the total has never been below 8 percent since 
World War II and defense has never been below 3 percent. Mr. Ryan would 
either have to make massive defense cuts--the very same defense cuts he 
decried on the campaign trail yesterday--or he would need to virtually 
eliminate the rest of the government, such as transportation, security, 
education, FBI, scientific research, and food testing. We know that is 
not going to happen.

  The larger point is this: In terms of deficit reduction, the Ryan 
plan is--there is no other way to state it--a fraud.
  This should come as no surprise. After all, Congressman Ryan 
supported the Bush policies that got us into this deep fiscal hole in 
the first place. From the Bush tax cuts to two unfunded wars to the 
unpaid-for creation of Medicare Part D, Congressman Ryan's fingerprints 
are all over the big-spending

[[Page S6300]]

Bush policies that turned Bill Clinton's surpluses into the record 
deficits inherited by Barack Obama.
  Ryan voted against the Simpson-Bowles framework. When Paul Ryan had a 
chance to walk the walk on deficit reduction, he joined all the other 
House Republicans on the Commission in voting down the report. He urged 
Speaker Boehner to abandon the grand bargain talks with President 
  The New York Times reported that during the summer of 2011, Ryan 
appealed to Representative Cantor to cut off negotiations between the 
Speaker and the White House because he didn't feel the terms of the 
emerging agreement adhered strictly enough to his conservative 
principles and the deal might politically benefit President Obama.
  It is not a secret the Ryan budget both hurts the middle class and 
does nothing for deficit reduction. The only people who would benefit 
are the very wealthy and, God bless them, they are doing well in 
America, but as recent statistics just showed, they are the only people 
gaining in income.
  One other thing I wish to add about Mr. Ryan, he seems like a nice 
man, a nice family, but his recent speeches have been so revealing. He 
did the same thing yesterday, once again showing he has learned nothing 
from the mistakes he has made in the last few weeks. When it comes to 
the big debates facing our country, Paul Ryan either has an extremely 
poor memory or he has a tendency to play fast and loose with the facts. 
In one speech, Congressman Ryan falsely blamed President Obama for 
shuttering the GM plant that actually announced it was closing during 
President Bush's term; for $716 million in Medicare savings that 
Congressman Ryan included in his own budget; and, third, for the 
Simpson-Bowles blueprint that Congressman Ryan himself voted against. 
That is just a sampling.
  Just yesterday he did it again. There you go again, Paul Ryan. He was 
giving a speech back in Wisconsin when he blamed the President--solely 
the President--for the year-end trigger, the sequestration, that was 
part of the Budget Control Act. Never mind that Congressman Ryan voted 
for the very same sequestration himself. Never mind it was his side's 
idea, in fact, to hold our credit rating hostage in the first place and 
insist on these dollar-for-dollar cuts he now decries. Never mind the 
fact that we all know that if Paul Ryan had opposed the sequestration 
proposal--the chairman of the Budget Committee in the House--it 
certainly would have failed. Now he goes to Wisconsin and said the 
President is to blame for sequestration. It is the same thing he did 
with Simpson-Bowles. It is not fair. It is not right. All we can do is 
shake our heads at this ``what is good for me is not good for you'' 
kind of double standard.
  I would say to Paul Ryan: You haven't learned much from your mistakes 
in the past few weeks. There you go again. Your budget proves it, and 
even your speeches, including the one yesterday, prove it again.
  I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hagan). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          VAWA Reauthorization

  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, today marks 18 years to the day since 
President Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act into law. Since 
that day, this law has protected countless women across the country, as 
seen most directly by the fact that annual rates of domestic violence 
have dropped by more than 60 percent.
  Today also marks a far less celebratory day in the history of this 
critical bill. That is because today is also the 139th day of delay by 
the House of Representatives since the Senate passed an inclusive, 
bipartisan VAWA bill by a vote of 68 to 31. It marks 139 days since 
House Republicans decided not to follow suit and to instead pass a 
version of our legislation that stripped vital protections included in 
our Senate bill--provisions that protect some of the most at-risk women 
in our country.
  It has now been 139 days since 15 Senate Republicans stood to join 
with us to pass this legislation because they knew the history of this 
bill. They knew that every time the Violence Against Women Act has been 
reauthorized, it has consistently included bipartisan provisions to 
expand protections to women who were not previously covered. They 
understand that domestic violence protections for all women shouldn't 
be a Democratic or a Republican issue.
  I hope Speaker Boehner and our colleagues in the House hear this: We 
are not backing down and we will keep fighting because 139 days is 
inexcusable. In fact, 1 day is inexcusable. It is now long past time 
for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. 
Their obstruction clearly is taking a toll on women across this 
  In fact, for Native and immigrant women and LGBT individuals, every 
moment our inclusive legislation to reauthorize VAWA is delayed is 
another moment they are left without the resources and protection they 
deserve. The numbers are staggering. One in three--one in three--Native 
women will be raped in their lifetime, two in five are victims of 
domestic violence, and Native women are killed at 10 times the rate of 
the national average.
  These shocking statistics aren't isolated to one group of women; 25 
to 35 percent of women in the LGBT community experience domestic 
violence in their relationship, and three in four abused immigrant 
women never entered the process to obtain legal status even though they 
were eligible because their abuser husbands never filed the paperwork.
  While these numbers are frightening, what is even tougher is when we 
sit down face to face with women who are at risk of being left out of 
this bill. Over this last August recess I held a number of roundtables 
in different corners of my State with women who had been trapped in 
abusive relationships. Many of them are from the communities of the 
women whom the House Republicans refuse to extend these provisions to. 
Through painful memories and many tears, they told me about how they 
feel all alone. Numerous women who are immigrants talked about how they 
were scared for themselves or their children, so they didn't report 
their husbands or boyfriends. Tribal women talked about how not only 
have they been abused but how they then had to watch their abuser do 
the same thing to other women on their reservation with no recourse.

  Every moment the House of Representatives continues to delay is 
another moment these women and 30 million women similar to them are 
left without the protections they deserve.
  These statistics should make it perfectly clear to our colleagues in 
the other Chamber that their current inaction has a real impact on the 
lives of women across America who are affected by violence. Where a 
person lives, their immigration status, whom they love should not 
determine whether the perpetrators of domestic violence are brought to 
  These women cannot afford any further delay--not on this bill. We all 
know what it will take to move this bill forward: leadership from 
Speaker Boehner. Today, the effort we started in the Senate in May--an 
effort that will continue for as long as it takes--is a call for the 
very same thing: leadership. It is time for Speaker Boehner to look 
beyond ideology and partisan politics. It is time for him to look at 
the history of a bill that again and again has been supported and 
expanded by both Republicans and Democrats.
  For 18 years this bill has expanded protection for vulnerable women. 
For the last 139 days, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have put 
this legacy at risk. It is time for them to do the right thing and pass 
the Senate's inclusive bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.
  Senator Leahy, who is chair of the Judiciary Committee, will be here 
shortly. He has put tremendous effort into making sure this bill is 
passed in a way that includes women across this country. We owe him a 
debt of gratitude, as well as all the members of the Judiciary 
Committee, some of whom will be here over the next hour to talk.

[[Page S6301]]

  Again, we are here to remind everyone there are women in this country 
who do not receive the protections of the domestic violence law that 
was passed. We are here to make sure we are going to stand for them and 
keep pushing until Speaker Boehner takes up this bill and passes it to 
protect women.
  I see Senator Leahy arriving on the floor just as I was speaking 
about him. He will be speaking about this issue. We owe him a debt of 
gratitude for standing for women across this country but especially 
for, this time, fighting to make sure this is an inclusive bill, passed 
on a bipartisan vote out of the Senate, and one that will change the 
lives of so many women. We owe it to them and Speaker Boehner owes it 
to them to take up this bill and pass it.
  Thank you. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I thank the distinguished Senator for her 
kind comments. She knows that this, whether in Washington State or the 
State of Vermont, is a major issue. She has voted for and supported the 
Leahy-Crapo bill, as has the distinguished Presiding Officer. I have 
said so many times on this floor that violence is violence is violence 
and abuse is abuse is abuse, and this should not be a partisan issue.
  Two weeks ago, in Tampa, Republican leaders from Congress and around 
the country sought to make clear their commitment to advancing causes 
important to women. Well, I will say as a Democrat I was pleased to see 
that commitment from the Republican Party. But now I hope they will put 
those words into action and prove that this was not just campaign 
rhetoric. While they have not asked me for advice, I would give some 
advice to my Republican friends. If they do want to show their 
commitment to women, one significant step Republicans should take would 
be to help us reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
  It was signed into law 18 years ago today--18 years ago today. I 
remember that day. I was there. As one of those who helped draft it, I 
was so proud to see it signed into law.
  This landmark bill, which fundamentally changed the way our country 
responds to domestic and sexual violence, expired, though, 1 year ago 
this month. There is no good reason why we cannot all work together to 
see that this lifesaving law is reauthorized immediately. It should not 
be a Republican or Democratic issue. It is an American issue. How can 
people say they are not opposed to violence against women?
  Just yesterday, the Republican attorney general from Utah and the 
Democratic attorney general from Maryland--people who have completely 
different philosophies--called on Congress to pass the Senate bill, 
which covers all victims, including immigrant women. In their guest 
column in Politico, the two noted that the bipartisan Senate bill would 
give ``a significant boost for law enforcement and public safety.'' At 
the same time, they said the politically charged House bill ``seeks to 
turn a bipartisan concern for abuse survivors into a partisan wedge'' 
and ``dramatically roll[s] back important protections for battered 
immigrant women and their children.''
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the Politico column, 
along with a statement released today by Attorney General Holder on the 
18th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, be printed in the 
Record at the end of my comments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. LEAHY. You hear these continued calls for action. We know the 
Leahy-Crapo reauthorization bill passed the Senate with a strong 
bipartisan majority of 68 votes. Every woman in the Senate--Republican 
and Democrat alike--voted for it. But Republican leaders in both the 
House and the Senate have hidden behind a procedural technicality. They 
refuse to allow the House to vote on the Senate bill.
  Well, that obstruction has to end. Too many lives are on the line to 
play these political games. Here in the Senate, we have twice asked 
Republican leaders to agree to take up a House revenue bill, substitute 
the bipartisan Senate VAWA bill, and send it to the House immediately 
to overcome this procedural concern. Each time they have refused this 
commonsense resolution. This contrasts how we moved forward earlier 
this year using the same process to overcome similar technical hurdles 
with both the Transportation bill and the FAA reauthorization 
legislation. So with a little bit of cooperation from the other side we 
could move VAWA now.
  People watching this and listening to this might think: Well, these 
are technical and arcane procedures. They are technical and arcane 
procedures. But they are stopping us from moving forward with the 
Violence Against Women Act. We can set them aside for Transportation 
and the FAA--both important things--but if you are somebody who has 
been battered and abused, if you are near death, do not talk to that 
person about technicalities.
  I have said many times on this floor--I still have nightmares from 
some of the crime scenes I went to as a young prosecutor. It was always 
at 2 and 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning. The ones easiest to handle 
were those where the victim lived, although sometimes just barely. I 
remember riding in the ambulance with a victim on the way to the 
emergency room to find out what happened. Many other times we were 
there waiting for the coroner to arrive because the body was on the 
  I wish everybody who is hiding behind these technicalities would come 
with those of us from both parties, those of us who have been 
prosecutors, who have gone to those crime scenes. I guarantee you, they 
would be back here saying: Get rid of those technicalities.
  I cannot understand the House Republican leadership hiding behind 
this excuse to avoid debating and voting on the bipartisan Senate bill. 
This is a good bill. It brought Republicans and Democrats together in 
this body across the political spectrum. The House Republican 
leadership should stop blocking it on this obscure technicality. The 
Speaker can waive the technicality. The House could vote on the Senate 
bill any time.
  I would like to see people stand up and say: Yes, I want to stop 
violence against women or I am going to vote ``no.'' Right now they are 
allowed to vote ``maybe.'' No victim wants to hear ``maybe.'' They want 
us to do something. Both in the House and the Senate, we have a 
privileged position as Members. Do not hide behind a technicality. Have 
the courage--have the courage--to stand up and vote ``yes'' or ``no.''
  The House Republicans could have allowed a vote on the text of the 
Senate bill as a House amendment or a House bill. Instead, they are 
choosing to hold up VAWA reauthorization for all victims. Please 
reconsider. Move forward with us to protect all victims of violence. 
And if you are unwilling to do that, if you are going to stand behind 
this, do not go home and campaign and say you have a commitment to 
  Battered women are in all categories. They go across all political 
spectrums. They go across all economic spectrums. Do not go back home 
and say: I am standing up for you. No, you are not standing up. You are 
hiding. You are hiding. You are hiding behind a technicality. Well, 
these victims cannot hide. They are sought out, and they become 
victims. Let's do something for them.
  Our bill was developed with the input of victims and the service 
providers who work with them day in and day out. It helps women who are 
victims of terrible crimes--the very people we claim we want to support 
and protect. It does so in important and responsible ways. Do not go 
home and say: I stand up for all of you; do not go home and say: I am 
standing for law enforcement; do not go home and say: I want people 
protected when you refuse to step around a procedural motion and 
protect them. Do not be that hypocritical.
  We have only a few precious days left this Congress to reauthorize 
the Violence Against Women Act. If the Republican leadership wants to 
help end domestic and sexual violence, well then, do so. Now is the 
time to act. Do not hide behind fiction. Have the courage to stand up 
and say you are on the side of victims. And if you are not on their 
side, then stand up and vote against them. Do not vote ``maybe.'' Do 
not hide behind a technicality. It is time to make good on our promise 

[[Page S6302]]

the victims of these horrible crimes. Helping them--no matter who they 
are--has to be our goal. Their lives depend upon it. Our lives do not 
depend upon it, but their lives depend upon it. They are counting on 
us. It is time to stand up.
  I yield the floor.

                               Exhibit 1

                    [From Politico, Sept. 11, 2012]

     Weakening Violence Against Women Act Betrays Immigrant Victims

                  (By Mark Shurtleff and Doug Gansler)

       All women who have lived through violence and abuse should 
     have the certainty that the law will protect them--no matter 
     their race, creed, color, religion or immigration status. 
     Unfortunately, Congress is now considering proposals that 
     would erode this certainty--and its failure to act is already 
     causing harm.
       We urge congressional leaders to move forward now to 
     reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, without 
     provisions harmful to immigrants.
       As long-time law enforcement leaders, we know this act is 
     crucial. Since passage in 1994, it has helped cut domestic 
     violence by more than half. Still, the scourge of domestic 
     violence remains a serious problem: One in four women 
     experiences an act of domestic violence or sexual assault in 
     her lifetime, and three women die every day at the hands of 
     abusive husbands or partners.
       Rates of trafficking women--often from one abusive context 
     to another--are also alarmingly high. Roughly 100,000 
     survivors of human trafficking live in the United States 
     today, according to the State Department, whose estimates 
     suggest as many as 17,500 foreign-born victims are illegally 
     brought in each year.
       We need every available tool to fight these serious crimes, 
     so we fully support reauthorization of the Violence Against 
     Women Act--but not in a dangerously altered form that would 
     harm vulnerable immigrant women.
       We don't use ``dangerously'' lightly. When the House sought 
     reauthorization, legislators made changes that dramatically 
     roll back important protections for battered immigrant women 
     and their children--leaving them vulnerable to abuse and, 
     worse, death at the hands of an abuser.
       Several House provisions would further endanger immigrant 
     survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse. These 
     provisions would leave them no legal way to break the cycle 
     of violence in which they are trapped and leave law 
     enforcement no way to bring perpetrators to justice. The 
     changes, for example, would discourage immigrant survivors 
     from calling the police, for fear of immigration issues--so 
     police can't intervene and save their lives.
       For many of these women, immigration status is one more 
     weapon that abusers use to intimidate them. Abusers often 
     threaten, ``You can't call the police. They'll just deport 
       Under the existing law, our response is clear: ``He's 
     wrong. You're safe.'' If we certify that a victim was helpful 
     to law enforcement during an investigation, she can seek 
     special legal immigration status--known as a U visa.
       But the House bill would make this visa temporary and take 
     away an immigrant survivor's incentive to come forward. 
     ``He's wrong; you're safe'' would be replaced with the far 
     less reassuring message ``You'll have to wait and see.''
       What kind of person does the U visa help? Consider 
     ``Stephanie,'' an immigrant living in Maryland who lacked 
     work authorization. She had already been sexually harassed by 
     work supervisors when a stranger followed her into a room in 
     the building where she was working and tried to rape her. 
     Stephanie was able to fight him off and immediately reported 
     the incident to police, who found the man nearby and arrested 
       After reporting the terrible crime, Stephanie learned she 
     would be eligible for a U visa for her cooperation with 
     police and the state's attorney. Her assistance helped get a 
     rapist off the streets. Today, Stephanie has her U visa and 
     is confident and self-supporting.
       The House bill would silence thousands of women like 
     Stephanie and derail our efforts to put their attackers 
     behind bars. Worse, it would further endanger some of the 
     very women whom the Violence Against Women Act is meant to 
       In late August, we received a reminder of reauthorization's 
     urgency. Our immigration authorities announced that they had 
     reached the limit of 10,000 U visas for the current fiscal 
     year, leaving a six-week gap before the new fiscal year 
     brings a fresh allotment. In the meantime, lives are at risk.
       The Senate's bipartisan reauthorization bill would increase 
     that visa limit to 15,000, a significant boost for law 
     enforcement and public safety.
       The law enforcement community now has 17 years of 
     experience with the Violence Against Women Act and has used 
     it successfully to combat human trafficking, sexual assault 
     and domestic violence. We have relied on it to protect 
     survivors of all stripes and hold their abusers accountable.
       These abusers don't differentiate by race, creed, color, 
     religion or immigration status. In seeking justice for 
     survivors, neither should we.
       The House version of the Violence Against Women Act 
     reauthorization seeks to turn a bipartisan concern for abuse 
     survivors into a partisan wedge. Congress must not let 
     partisanship stand in the way of our work to protect all 
     women, and their families, from harm.

                         Department of Justice

                        Office of Public Affairs

         [For Immediate Release--Thursday, September 13, 2012]

Statement from Attorney General Eric Holder on the 18th Anniversary of 
                     the Violence Against Women Act

       Attorney General Eric Holder released the following 
     statement today on the 18th anniversary of the Violence 
     Against Women Act:
       ``Since the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 
     became law 18 years ago today, VAWA has vastly improved our 
     ability to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual 
     assault, and stalking and has helped countless victims of 
     these crimes get access to needed services. It's important to 
     remember that none of this progress has been inevitable--it 
     has been the result of the tireless work of advocates, law 
     enforcement, prosecutors, and others. On the front lines of 
     this effort, the Office on Violence Against Women administers 
     VAWA programs, providing states, territories, local and 
     tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations with critical 
     resources to initiate and sustain efforts to reduce and stop 
     violence against women. As Congress moves to consider 
     reauthorizing this critical law, we urge lawmakers to come 
     together on a bipartisan basis, as it has historically, to 
     pass a VAWA reauthorization that expands rather than limits 
     victim access to justice and strengthens law enforcement and 
     prosecutorial tools to seek justice and hold violators 
     accountable. VAWA has been strengthened each time it has been 
     reauthorized, with bipartisan support, and this year after 18 
     years of progress, it should be no different.''

  Mr. LEAHY. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. BOXER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. BOXER. Madam President, before Senator Leahy leaves the floor, I 
want to thank him from the bottom of my heart. What he has shown is 
that he can team up in a bipartisan way to help the women of this 
country avoid needless, senseless, dangerous violence. I thank the 
Senator, and I stand here to support his efforts.
  The Leahy-Crapo bill is the bill we need to pass. Why? Because it is 
the bill that includes everyone. We do not want to leave out 30 million 
people. We do not want to leave 30 million people out of the Violence 
Against Women Act. That is what the House of Representatives does 
because they leave out immigrant people, they leave out the gay and 
lesbian community, they leave out students and Native Americans.
  When you look at those women and those groups, you find out, indeed, 
they have a very high percentage of violence in their communities--
violence against women that leaves women in deep trouble and threatens 
their lives. So only the Leahy-Crapo bill--only the Senate bill--which 
passed here with such a great number of votes can include everyone.
  So if you take, for example, Cristina, in my home State of 
California, whose boss threatened her with deportation unless she 
complied with his demands for sex, she is not covered in the House 
bill. This is a woman who is essentially being held hostage by her 
boss. He is using his power over her, and she is not covered by the 
House bill.
  The House bill, again, fails to protect LGBT individuals when they 
have problems with abusive partners and have been turned away in the 
past from shelters because the Violence Against Women Act did not cover 
the LGBT community.
  Mika is a student who struggled to get her college to enforce a 
restraining order against her boyfriend after he had assaulted her and 
stalked her. She should not have had to struggle. Under the Leahy-Crapo 
Senate Violence Against Women Act, Mika will be covered.
  Then-Senator Joe Biden, now Vice President Biden, wrote the Violence 
Against Women Act. It was a long time ago. I was in the House, and I 
was so honored when Joe Biden came and asked me to carry the House 
version of the bill. I did that, and I remember being so proud because 
Joe was such a leader on this and he had the faith in me to ask me to 
help him.

[[Page S6303]]

  But I can tell you, it was a struggle to get it done. It took several 
years to get it done. And when I got to the Senate, I watched Joe Biden 
team up with Senator Hatch, and I helped them on the floor. I was only 
able to get a portion of the bill passed in the House, so there was a 
lot more we needed to do, and we did it.
  I want to read a statement that Vice President Biden made today--he 
just sent it out--because it speaks to this issue. He said:

       Eighteen years ago today, the landmark Violence Against 
     Women Act was signed into law. It was founded on the basic 
     premise that every woman deserves to be safe from violence, 
     and since its passage, we have made tremendous strides 
     towards achieving that goal. We gave law enforcement and the 
     courts more tools to combat domestic violence and hold 
     offenders accountable. We created a national hotline to 
     direct victims to life-saving assistance. And since VAWA 
     passed, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by 
     more than 60 percent.

  It is important to reflect on what Vice President Biden is saying. 
Because of the Violence Against Women Act, we have seen a drop in the 
annual rate of domestic violence by more than 60 percent. And now we 
are here to say: Let's make it even better by including 30 million 
people who were left out of the bill.
  Quoting the Vice President, he says:

       But we still have much work to do. Three women still die 
     every day as a result of domestic violence. One in five women 
     have been raped, many as teenagers, and one in six women have 
     been victims of stalking.

  He writes:

       While women and girls face these devastating realities 
     every day, reauthorization of the strengthened VAWA 
     languishes in Congress. VAWA is just as important today as 
     when it first became law, and I urge Congress to keep the 
     promise me made to our daughters and our granddaughters on 
     that day--that we would work together to keep them safe.

  In closing, because I see Senator Coons is here--we are so happy he 
is here to talk on this issue, I feel it is important to note that over 
900 groups nationwide have signed a letter in support of the bill that 
includes these 30 million people--that includes everyone. We know this 
law is working. On today, the 18th anniversary of the VAWA being signed 
into law by Bill Clinton, let's pass this legislation and send it to 
President Obama, legislation that strengthens the law, is bipartisan 
like the Leahy-Crapo bill, and includes everyone.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I rise today in honor of the 18th 
anniversary of the signing of the Violence Against Women Act into law. 
As my good friend and colleague the Senator from California has just 
reminded all of us, it was my home State Senator, now our Vice 
President, Joe Biden, whose leadership in getting the Violence Against 
Women Act signed into law in the first place, moved us in this country 
toward a society that is more just, that is more safe, that is more 
  It is, in my view, incredibly discouraging that we are fighting today 
in the Congress a battle that he made such great early progress on and 
that should have been won decades ago. Why must we fight in 2012 such a 
protracted legislative battle to maintain, strengthen, and secure the 
rights of more than half of the population of this country and to 
extend the lifesaving programs supported by VAWA to those who need them 
of every background all across our country?
  It cannot be that it is because those who oppose VAWA's 
reauthorization believe that violence against women is no longer a 
threat. In my own home county, New Castle County, DE, earlier this year 
a man was arrested after a horrifying assault on his ex-girlfriend, 
committed in front of all five of her children. The victim's teenage 
son called 9-1-1 in a panic, terrified. This incident, one of sadly 
many in my home community, is just another stark example of how 
domestic violence continues to hurt and harm not just its victims but 
entire families, not just the woman or occasionally men who are the 
victims of domestic violence but the children who witness it and whose 
lives are changed by it.
  In a world where this sort of violence continues to happen in all our 
communities, we still need the Violence Against Women Act. We need it 
to be reauthorized. We need it to be reauthorized and strengthened. We 
need it to be reauthorized, strengthened, and broadened. It has been a 
full year since VAWA expired, and still we do not have a 
reauthorization signed into law. Reauthorization is a real opportunity, 
one built into the initial act, that requires us as a body, the House 
and Senate together, to sit down and sift through the data and to 
examine how these programs can be better, stronger, more efficient, and 
more effective. Every 5 years we have to take a hard look at where we 
are failing and where we are succeeding in this important work against 
domestic violence, the scourge that lives in the dark throughout our 
  Here in the Senate we have done that work. The House, sadly, has not. 
In my view, we must not let them be a roadblock to the critical 
progress we have been called upon to make. This is our time to make the 
necessary changes to improve VAWA and to reauthorize it, and we will 
not back down.
  In this year's reauthorization we made a number of critical changes, 
positive changes, and two that are particularly important to me: First, 
ensuring that every victim of abuse in this country is able to count on 
the law to protect them, regardless of who they are, where they live, 
or whom they love; and, second, ensuring that we reduce bureaucracy and 
strengthen accountability, to ensure that taxpayer dollars authorized 
through VAWA are spent wisely, responsibly, and effectively.
  The Senate reauthorization moves us forward by adding protections for 
victims of domestic violence regardless of their sexual orientation. 
The reality is, as we learned in reexamining VAWA and the experiences 
of the last 5 years, sadly the reality is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, 
and transgender Americans experience domestic violence at the same 
percentage as relationships in the general population, a shocking 25 to 
30 percent of all relationships. Yet nearly half of LBGTQ victims are 
turned away from domestic violence shelters and one-quarter are 
unjustly arrested as if they were the perpetrators.
  The Senate reauthorization makes plain that discrimination is not the 
policy of these United States. It says no program funded by Federal 
VAWA dollars can turn away a domestic violence victim because of their 
sexual orientation or their gender identity, whether the victim is gay 
or straight, American Indian, White, Black, or Latino. In my view, and 
the view of so many in this Chamber, they deserve protection from abuse 
and justice for their abusers.
  There are two other important changes in this VAWA reauthorization as 
passed through the Senate, both of which help ensure we bring 
perpetrators to justice no matter who their victims are or where their 
crimes are committed. These provisions support victims of crime 
committed on tribal lands and help law enforcement to secure needed 
testimony from victims who are unwilling to come forward due to 
reasonable fear of deportation.
  So in total I think all three of these important changes to the 
substance and scope of VAWA strengthen it, carry forward its initial 
spirit, and are completely appropriate things for this Senate and the 
House to do in our every 5-year reconsideration and reauthorization of 
  It is important to remember that VAWA goes beyond basic justice for 
our fellow citizens. It supports the investigation and prosecution of 
violent crime. Delaying this reauthorization means denying essential 
tools to law enforcement officers in my home State of Delaware and the 
Presiding Officer's home State of North Carolina and all across our 
  As someone who used to be directly responsible for a county police 
department, who worked in close partnership with all of the different 
elements, all the different nonprofit groups and civic and community 
groups, all of the elements from corrections to law enforcement to 
advocates to providers of services that were brought together in a 
positive and cohesive way by VAWA, I know how important this is to a 
holistic approach to combating domestic violence.
  If we are to tackle a problem this large, this pervasive, this 
dangerous, we need well-trained and dedicated law

[[Page S6304]]

enforcement officers. We also need support from the whole community to 
provide the whole broad range of services that can continue to make 
progress in pressing back on this evil in our country.
  In Delaware, that is exactly want we have done. In Delaware, VAWA has 
fostered a community of those dedicated to reducing violence, allowing 
each group to reinforce the other, and adding value that individual 
programs alone could not create. VAWA touches on everything from 
transitional housing to national hotlines, from the safe exchange of 
children to increased awareness on college campuses, from law 
enforcement grants in rural communities to sexual assault service 
programs in urban communities--not only for women, for men, for 
children but for whole families and whole communities.
  VAWA is an important piece of legislation, and that it sits 
unauthorized in the other Chamber of this Congress is, to me, a great 
shame and a great tragedy. We must not allow this anniversary of its 
initial signing into law to pass without redoubling our efforts and 
redoubling our commitment.
  My colleagues who oppose this reauthorization put all of this 
progress at risk. Their insistence on excluding some of our friends and 
neighbors just because of their background or their sexual orientation 
is unconscionable. We will keep fighting to secure VAWA reauthorization 
this year because the safety of our communities depends upon it and 
simple justice calls for it.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I am here today to talk about the 
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act which, as you know, we 
passed in April with the leadership of Senator Leahy and with the 
cosponsorship of Senator Crapo. We got that strong bipartisan bill 
through the Senate on a 68-to-31 vote.
  As you know, all women Senators, Democrats and Republicans, supported 
that bill, just like the two prior reauthorizations from 2000 and 2006. 
This bill improves the current law in many ways to better address 
domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We have heard from a 
long list of experts in our Judiciary Committee about the changes that 
were needed for this reauthorization, and we incorporated those ideas 
and language from people on the front line.
  As a result, this bill, this bipartisan reauthorization bill, is 
strongly supported by law enforcement, victim service providers, and 
faith groups across the country. I want to talk about some of the ways 
that this reauthorization bill builds upon the improvement that past 
reauthorizations made, but first I think it is important to mention the 
bipartisan bill does not ignore the current budget climate. It 
consolidates 13 programs in only 4. So when I hear about the old bill, 
to keep it going, this bill is actually better from an efficiency 
standpoint. It consolidates 13 programs into 4 in an effort to reduce 
duplication and bureaucratic redtape. It also cuts the authorization 
level for VAWA by more than $135 million a year. That is a 17-percent 
decrease from the 2006 reauthorization. So this was a clear 
acknowledgement that our country is going to have to make some changes 
in our fiscal situation as we go into this next year. That was one of 
the reasons this new bill, this reauthorization, was so important.
  We are doing more with less. No existing grant program receives an 
increase in authorization levels in this bill, and the legislation 
creates only one new program, at $5 million a year. That new program 
will support travel efforts to combat domestic violence on 
  In terms of policy, one of the biggest changes in this year's 
violence against women reauthorization is a greater focus on preventing 
and responding to sexual assault. We still have a lot of work to do in 
reducing sexual assault in America where nearly one in five women has 
been raped at some point in their lives, and over 42 percent were raped 
before the age of 18.
  As a former prosecutor, I am all too aware of the fact that 
prosecution and conviction rates for sexual assault are among the 
lowest for any violent crime. So in an effort to solve that problem, 
this year's reauthorization opens funding to programs that are more 
directly responsive to the needs of sexual assault survivors.
  I woke up this morning and read my town newspaper in the Twin Cities 
and saw that a 30-year-old rape-murder case was solved--30 years old. 
You think of the new technology that is available. It was solved 
because they kept the DNA from the scene. They were able to match it to 
someone in another State who had been imprisoned. They were able to 
charge that case. Think of the justice for those family members and 
also for the rest of the country where, hopefully, this conviction will 
be made. They will be able to make sure that person is behind bars 
  Those are the kinds of things that happen in this day with the new 
technology, but unless we have people trained to use that technology, 
unless we have people who are able to work with victims, unless we have 
victims who feel comfortable coming forward when they are sexually 
assaulted or a victim of domestic assault, none of it means anything to 
this system. That is why the VAWA bill is so important.
  Another area of improvement in this bill is the effort to more 
effectively provide services to victims from traditionally underserved 
communities. This bill adds new definitions that will help make sure 
VAWA-funded programs provide a variety of services that address the 
needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
  As Chairman Leahy's committee report points out, studies indicated 
that women of color are reluctant to turn to traditional domestic 
violence programs, and culturally specific programming may be more 
effective in meeting their needs. Our recent National Institute of 
Justice study found that women of color may be less likely to receive 
all the services they need.
  Domestic violence and sexual assault are problems that affect 
everyone in this country, and this new bill, this reauthorization bill, 
recognizes that fact. The Senate version of the VAWA reauthorization 
also includes a number of improvements that specifically address the 
needs of women living in tribal areas. It is a sad reality that Native 
American women experience rates of domestic violence and sexual assault 
that are significantly higher than the national average. So the VAWA 
reauthorization strengthens existing efforts to confront the ongoing 
epidemic of violence on tribal lands by expanding the tools available 
to Federal law enforcement.

  The Judiciary Committee worked closely with the Indian Affairs 
Committee to craft the most effective responses to the frighteningly 
high levels of domestic violence and sexual assault in tribal areas. 
One important provision gives tribal courts jurisdiction over a non-
Native American who has committed acts of domestic violence against 
Native American women in a small subset of cases that meet three 
specific criteria: No. 1, the crime must have occurred on a 
reservation; No. 2, the crime must be domestic violence; and No. 3, the 
defendant must live on a reservation. Why did we do this? Because we 
know a lot of these cases weren't being reported. These cases weren't 
being prosecuted. It is very difficult sometimes for State and Federal 
authorities, with their limited resources, to come in and handle these 
cases. It was simply a pragmatic response to a legal issue, and it is 
something which, as I said, in the Senate got broad bipartisan support. 
We have a significant Native American population in my State, so this 
change and several others will be very helpful in cracking down on 
these crimes.
  Finally, I will briefly mention one part of this reauthorization on 
which I worked hard. And I see Senator Hutchison of Texas in the 
Chamber, and it is good to see her because I am going to be talking 
about the amendment she and I worked on together, and that is an 
updating of our stalking laws.
  Current law focuses on what the victim knows and requires prosecutors 
to show that the victim experienced a certain level of fear in order to 
secure a

[[Page S6305]]

conviction. But sometimes the victims of stalkers, particularly high-
tech stalkers--stalkers who are putting camera equipment and little 
peepholes in hotel rooms, stalkers who are using the Internet--aren't 
even aware of what the stalker is doing until later, until suddenly 
they see a picture of themselves undressing or a picture of themselves 
without clothes on the Internet being distributed across the entire 
country, across the entire world, which is a real case that happened in 
this country with a sports reporter.
  Those are the kinds of things we are now seeing. So while they are 
experiencing it, they do not have that level of fear because it happens 
later. What we have done--Senator Hutchison and I and others--is to 
update the stalking law she was involved in before I even came to the 
Senate. We have updated that law to make it as sophisticated as the 
people who are committing these crimes.
  This is just a sampling of some of the important changes in this 
reauthorization bill. It is basically about making the Violence Against 
Women Act, which has been so important to our country and to women in 
this country, making it more efficient and updating it for where the 
real needs are. Things change over time. We learn new law enforcement 
techniques, and we have to be able to put those into action. That is 
what this is about.
  For me, this is about Officer Shawn Schneider, an officer in Lake 
City, MN, who got called to a scene to respond to a domestic violence 
crime. He went up to the front door, the door opened, and there was a 
17-year-old victim with a clearly agitated, mentally ill perpetrator, 
her boyfriend, who ends up shooting Officer Schneider. He died a few 
days later, leaving behind a widow and three little kids, and his 
funeral was right around the holidays. The last time his family had 
been in church was for the church pageant for Christmas. The next time 
his family walked down the aisle of that church was for his funeral--
the funeral of a little girl's father. She was wearing a blue dress 
covered in stars. That is what I remember--a little girl walking down 
the aisle of that church at her father's funeral.
  When I see that kind of thing, I know one thing: Domestic violence 
just doesn't have one victim; domestic violence makes an entire family 
a victim, an entire community and an entire nation. And when that 
officer was called to that scene, he didn't ask: Oh, is the victim an 
American Indian? Is the victim gay? Is the victim a woman or a man? He 
did his job. He showed up at the scene. Now it is time for us to do our 
job. The House of Representatives should pass this bill, and we should 
get this done.
  I thank the Presiding Officer, and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, I am pleased to follow the Senator 
from Minnesota because we did work on a piece of legislation, which she 
perfected. It was my bill that first passed on stalking that would take 
the antistalking laws nationwide because so often it happens across 
State lines, and so we had to put it all together so that if someone 
did cross State lines to stalk a woman or her children or a man or 
anyone, that would be prosecutable.
  I was so pleased Senator Klobuchar then came with a bill which I was 
proud to cosponsor which updated the technology criminals now use to 
harass, scare and really make life miserable for people they know. I 
had a stalker myself for about 12 years. I didn't know him, but he 
certainly did make my life different, that is for sure. And sometimes 
it is worse than what I experienced because there are actual threats.
  I will never forget the time I got a call from an attorney in the 
U.S. Attorney's Office in Austin, TX, and he said: I just wanted you to 
know we got our first conviction under your antistalking law. It was a 
man who was harassing his ex-wife and his children, threatening them 
with a gun, and we were able to put him away and make that family a lot 
safer. I thought, you know, we live to actually know something we have 
done makes a difference. So I thank the Senator from Minnesota for 
carrying that forward.

                     Honoring Our Foreign Servants

  I rise today, Madam President, to talk about Neil Armstrong and about 
NASA, but I can't stand here today with what is going on in the Middle 
East and not say that I join the thousands and maybe millions of others 
who mourn the loss of a U.S. Ambassador who was killed in Libya. You 
know, I would mourn any U.S. Ambassador who is killed in the line of 
duty, but it makes it even harder when we know this one was doing such 
a great job. Christopher Stevens had dedicated his life really trying 
to make peace and trying to be a force for the positive in the Middle 
East. He was our Ambassador to Libya.
  I am sad to say it appears this was a plot. It was not an accident. 
It wasn't something that happened because he happened to be in the 
consulate. It apparently was a premeditated murder of our Ambassador. 
And I know the whole country mourns the loss of someone who tried so 
hard to do what is right and to then have this happen. So I want to pay 
my respects to him and to all who knew and worked with him.
  In the travels I have been fortunate to make as a U.S. Senator, I am 
always so impressed with the representatives of the United States in 
our embassies and consulates throughout the world. Our Foreign Service 
representatives do a fabulous job. They take their lives and put them 
in danger sometimes, especially in countries that are strife-torn, as 
certainly Libya is right now and Egypt as well. So my great respect 
goes out to our Foreign Service community, and I think we have just 
been reminded of the service they give and the sacrifices they make.

                        Honoring Neil Armstrong

  Madam President, I wish to speak today about the life of a gentle 
giant, Neil Armstrong, and also about the future of NASA. This all came 
together this week because I have just returned from the National 
Cathedral, where I joined congressional colleagues, Senators, and many 
others in paying our final respects to a man who unquestionably was a 
true American hero. Of course, we know Neil Armstrong made world 
history when he stepped out on the Moon's surface for the first time an 
American had done so and he uttered those words that will be forever 
enshrined in American consciousness.
  They say that some seek fame and some have it thrust on them, but 
Neil Armstrong was the rare man who earned his fame and yet shied away 
from it at every turn. He preferred to live the life of, as he 
described it himself, ``a white-sock, pocket-protector, nerdy 
engineer.'' He chose to live a private life rather than bask in well-
deserved glory. For that, he was more than a hero, he was a role model 
we would all be fortunate to follow. We have too few of those today. 
Neil Armstrong served his country in Korea, where he was a fighter 
pilot and was shot down. He certainly served at NASA, which we all 
know, and he served his community as a professor at the University of 
Cincinnati. He was a serious, dedicated scientist who loved what he did 
and just wanted to get the job done.
  There is a story told about him of an incident that occurred during 
training before the Moon landing where his vehicle forced an ejection. 
His only injury was biting his own tongue, but it was a near-death 
incident nonetheless. It was a very lucky escape. Another astronaut saw 
Neil working at his desk and said he had heard about Neil being thrown 
out of his vehicle. Then he asked when it happened, and Neil said: 
About an hour ago. The astronaut--Alan Bean--later told Neil's 

       I can't think of another person, let alone another 
     astronaut, who would have just gone back to his office after 
     ejecting a fraction of a second before getting killed.

  I was lucky enough to know Neil Armstrong. We first met when he, 
Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan expressed concern over 
the administration's proposal to abandon NASA's manned space 
exploration program. They wrote an open letter. And let me tell you, 
when the first and last men to set foot on the Moon had an issue with 
the direction of NASA, everybody listened. It was a rare occasion that 
these astronaut leaders would speak publicly on such an issue, and 
considering Neil's propensity to shy away from the spotlight, it had 
even more significance. But he thought it was important, and a great 
bipartisan number of our colleagues agreed it was important that he 
chose to speak out on this very important issue.

[[Page S6306]]

  The plan proposed canceling the existing space exploration program 
and suspending plans to build a replacement for the space shuttle. It 
placed immediate reliance on commercial capabilities, which at the time 
were undeveloped and unproven. Neil was particularly concerned about 
leaning too heavily on commercial crew vehicles because he rightly 
believed NASA should have ultimate ownership and stewardship of the 
next phase of deep space exploration.
  When I asked if that group would testify before the Senate Commerce 
Committee and give us the benefit of their immense experience, Neil 
Armstrong and Gene Cernan were able to do so. Their testimony in May of 
2010 helped us craft the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2010, which we 
managed to pass with a balanced plan that prioritized NASA's 
development of future exploration beyond low Earth orbit, while putting 
significant resources into commercial development of crew vehicles to 
the space station. We passed it unanimously in the Senate, very 
bipartisan, and we passed it on Neil Armstrong's birthday--on August 5, 
  When the space shuttle was retired, some thought the space program 
was ended. You know, I took a group of Cub Scouts to Johnson Space 
Center in Houston just a few months ago. They have a great program for 
our Scouts--well, for any group who actually wants to go and spend the 
night at the visitor's center at Johnson Space Center. They get to tour 
NASA and hear about the great feats of our country in space. And one of 
the little boys said to our NASA administrator at Johnson: Gosh, I am 
really sorry the space program is ending. And I was shocked and the 
administrator was shocked, and we said: Oh, but it is not ending. The 
space program is not ending.
  If we allow people to think, if we allow our young--possibly the next 
generation of astronauts and scientists--to think the program is 
ending, are they going to be inspired to take those courses in 
aeronautical engineering that will give them the background to propel 
them to the next level of space exploration that is going to do things 
maybe we haven't even thought of yet? We would eliminate the potential 
that manned space exploration can produce in the next decade.
  We had a hearing in the Commerce Committee yesterday where we heard 
from NASA scientists about the Mars rover called Curiosity.
  It was just breathtaking to hear the advancements that we have made 
with that rover that is now plodding around exploring the dirt and the 
rocks and the atmosphere on Mars.
  One of the scientists pointed out that these NASA programs aren't 
just about exploration, they result in technologies that we use every 
day and that make our lives better right here on Earth. One pointed out 
that Curiosity is the first step in the next frontier of space, probing 
the atmosphere and geology of Mars. Each mission will build on the 
success of the last, and these robots and rovers that are going up now 
will be the precursors to the time when we put people--astronauts--on 
  There are myriads of practical results from NASA's programs, and 
there are many reasons to keep them alive and fully funded, but I think 
the astronauts--Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan put it best 
in their open letter:

       America's space accomplishments earned the respect and 
     admiration of the world. Science probes were unlocking the 
     secrets of the cosmos. Space technology was providing 
     instantaneous worldwide communication; orbital sentinels were 
     helping man understand the vagaries of nature. Above all 
     else, the people around the world were inspired by the human 
     exploration of space and the expanding of man's frontier. It 
     suggested that what had been thought to be impossible was now 
     within reach.

  Gene Cernan was one of those who gave the eulogy today at Neil 
Armstrong's memorial service at the National Cathedral. He gave a 
personal account. They were very close friends. They went fishing 
together. They had a long-term and lasting mutual respect, admiration, 
and friendship.
  America cannot lose its preeminence in space. We are the leaders of 
the free world, and we are the natural leaders beyond its atmosphere. 
This is not done in dominance or hegemony but to ensure that technology 
can be used for our economic benefit. The satellites we have discovered 
with the space exploration have transformed communications, and 
satellite-guided missiles have given us defense capabilities that hit 
the target with less collateral damage.
  This is my last of 19 wonderful years in the United States Senate, 
during which I have championed and fought for NASA and our manned 
spacecraft and space flight programs. I have worked with so many 
dedicated colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I am proud of what 
we have accomplished. I am asking that my colleagues do not let all of 
the hard work of the past be for nothing. We saved the manned 
exploration program, but there is so much more to be done. NASA must 
continue to be a priority.
  I am a budget cutter. I will match anyone with the budget cutting 
that I think we need to do in this country. But the key for Congress is 
to remember what the Constitution says: The purse strings belong to 
Congress. So our responsibility is to set that cap on spending--set 
that cap at the lowest level we can and cover our functions that are 
necessary to run the government of this country.
  The normal average spending of the Federal Government is about 20 
percent of our gross domestic product. We are up to 24 percent in the 
last few years. We have to come back. We have to come back to 20. We 
may have to go to 18 in order to end at 20, but we must not refuse to 
set the priorities that will make sure we have a strong economy in the 
future. We must invest in the programs that will yield the benefits 
that will keep our economy going, our people working, and our engineers 
able to continue to produce the great things that have happened in our 
space program, in our medical research, and more.
  This is so important to all of us. America's competitiveness depends 
on maintaining our dominance in science and technology. We cannot do it 
without NASA. Neil Armstrong left his mark on the American people and 
on generations around the globe. This is his enduring legacy. Ours must 
be to maintain the great organization--NASA--that made him a legend and 
helped make America the greatest Nation on Earth.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. McCaskill). The Senator from Rhode 

                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I am here on the floor again today, 
as I try to be every week, to speak about the continuing effects of 
carbon pollution on our planet, on our climate, and on our oceans. We 
have been away for the August recess, so it has been a while since I 
have done that.
  August has been somewhat eventful. We have had two party conventions, 
and we have had continued news about what is happening to our climate 
and to our world.
  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 
July was the hottest month ever in the contiguous United States in 
their 118 years of keeping records. According to NOAA's State of the 
Climate reports, nearly 63 percent of the country experienced moderate 
to exceptional drought in July and August. It is affecting all sorts of 
folks--farmers, obviously. Unexpectedly high spring temperatures, for 
instance, decimated the tart cherry production in northwest Michigan 
where 75 percent of the country's tart cherries are grown. Freezing 
weather, followed by a warmer than usual spring, destroyed the cherry 
buds, and more than 90 percent of that crop was lost. Grapes and 
peaches and apple harvests were also affected. Losses from this are 
estimated at $210 million, making this year the worst year on the books 
for Michigan fruit, just to give one example.
  Electricity generation, of all things, was also affected. Over the 
weekend, a Washington Post article documented electricity-generating 
facilities are struggling to supply consistent levels of electric 
generation because of these drought conditions. Lake Mead, Hoover Dam's 
reservoir, fell 103 feet below its targeted capacity. Low water levels 
have hindered barge transport of coal up the Mississippi River. Eight 
coal-fired and nuclear power plants in Illinois needed special 
permission to discharge cooling water that exceeded their Federal clean 
water permit ceiling of 90 degrees.

[[Page S6307]]

  NASA scientist James Hansen published a study last month concluding 
that the 2011 heat waves in Texas and in Oklahoma, as well as the heat 
wave at that time in Russia, were likely caused by climate change--by 
the carbon pollution that we are emitting--with the analysis that what 
the carbon pollution in our climate does is to load the climate dice in 
favor of more and more extreme storms and extreme conditions like these 
heat waves.
  Last week, the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data 
Center and NASA announced together that Arctic Sea ice has reached a 
record low of 1.58 million square miles--nearly 70,000 square miles 
smaller than the previous modern low. Of course, there are still weeks 
to go in the melting season, and so it will be a lower record than 
  In the past three decades the annual average temperatures have 
increased twice as much over the Arctic as over the rest of the world. 
The Arctic is really the leading edge for the climate changes that are 
occurring as a result of our carbon pollution. The average extent of 
the Arctic Sea ice has declined by 25 to 30 percent, and the rate of 
that decline is accelerating. Habitats are changing, extreme weather is 
increasing, species are moving, oceans are warming and rising, and 
Republicans and special interests are denying. They insist on keeping 
their heads in the sand. In this case, given the source of much of the 
denial propaganda, it is probably safe to say that they have their 
heads in the oil sands.
  The conventions that took place over August were instructive. I 
believe history will look back at the Republican Convention as a 
disgrace of climate denial in the face of the mounting facts. By 
contrast, President Obama pointed out clearly, simply, and plainly that 
carbon pollution is heating our planet, that climate change is not a 
hoax, that more droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke, that 
they are a threat to our children's future. I applaud the President for 
his leadership in this way.
  He was not the only Democratic leader to touch on this issue. Senator 
Kerry--who gave a brilliant and passionate speech on the floor before 
the August recess--in his remarks said this:

       Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country 
     does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the 
     planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures. And 
     that, too, is a responsibility of the leader of the free 

  President Clinton, in his wonderful magisterial speech, lauded the 
agreement the Obama administration made with the management, labor, and 
environmental groups to double car mileage. He pointed out:

       That was a good deal. It will make us more energy 
     independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions. And 
     according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it'll 
     bring another half a million good new jobs into the American 

  Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts reminded us of the Romney 
who understood climate change, who said he was for climate change--I 
think he meant he was doing something about climate change--back when 
he was Governor of Massachusetts. He reminded us: Now there's a Romney 
who believes it is a myth.
  Secretary Ken Salazar, who served with real distinction in the 
Senate, said of the deniers:

       Mock our sacred responsibility as stewards of God's Earth. 
     Their attitude isn't just sad; it's reckless and it's 

  Tom Steyer is the cofounder of Advanced Energy Economy. He said this 
about Governor Romney:

       Governor Romney's road to the future will lead to dirty air 
     and increasing climate volatility, uncertainty over energy 
     prices and less security, not more.

  He contrasted that with President Obama. ``President Obama's road to 
the future,'' he said, ``will lead us to energy independence, energy 
security, a safer and cleaner environment, and countless new jobs that 
can never be outsourced.''
  And as silent and mocking as the Republican convention and the 
Republican candidate were on this issue, they have doubled down since 
then. Over the weekend on ``Meet the Press,'' Mr. Romney restated that 
he is ``not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the 
planet.'' His energy plan makes no mention whatsoever of climate change 
or of promoting renewable energy technology. Instead, it details how 
the United States can exploit what the platform calls the domestic 
``cornucopia of carbon-based energy resources.''
  Our platform makes it clear that we take this seriously.

       We know that global climate change is one of the biggest 
     threats of this generation--an economic, environmental and 
     national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the 
     science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing 
     the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to 
     meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to 
     greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a 
     range of economic and social benefits.

  In our national security platform we state:

       The national security threat from climate change is real, 
     urgent and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet 
     will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new 
     suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural 
     disasters and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the 

  By contrast, the Republican platform calls on Congress to take quick 
action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas 
  We are at history's junction, as shown by these two conventions and 
these two platforms. The Republicans would take us back into the past 
on a tide of propaganda and denial to serve the special interests of 
the polluters. The Obama administration would take us forward to 
compete successfully in the world for clean energy innovation, clean 
energy technology, and clean energy jobs. It would allow us to meet our 
responsibility to our children and grandchildren to leave them a world 
as good as the one that was left to us. And it would, in addition, show 
that this great experiment in human liberty, the United States of 
America, this great democracy, is not for sale.
  The findings that we made in our platform I will quote again: ``We 
know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this 
generation . . . and we affirm the science of climate change'' follows 
the very strong findings of the American scientific community, indeed 
the world scientific community. Back in October 2009, a letter from a 
coalition of respected scientific organizations said this:

       Observations throughout the world make it clear that 
     climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research 
     demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human 
     activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are 
     based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary 
     assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of 
     the vast body of peer-reviewed science.

  These were esteemed organizations: American Chemical Society, 
American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, 
Botanical Society of America, and many others. They do not think the 
jury is out on this question. They know that in fact the verdict is in 
and we now have a responsibility to ourselves and to the future to act.
  Recently, Dr. Richard Muller, a converted climate skeptic, released 
findings from his research--which was, ironically, partially funded by 
the Koch brothers--that the Earth's land temperature has increased by 
2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years and 1.5 degrees of that 
over the past 50 years. He states, ``moreover, it appears likely that 
essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of 
greenhouse gases.''
  Another benchmark was a monitoring station in the Arctic that 
measured carbon dioxide at 400 parts per million for the first time. 
This is 50 parts per million higher than the maximum contraction of 
carbon in the atmosphere at which scientists predict a stable climate, 
and it is well outside the 170 parts per million to 370 parts per 
million range for carbon in our atmosphere that has persisted for the 
last 8,000 centuries.
  Essentially all of human development has taken place within a range 
of 170 to 300 parts per million in our atmosphere and we just broke, in 
the Arctic, 400 parts per million for the first time. We are not just 
off the road and over the chatter strip. We are way out of history's 
  Again, we are at a junction in history. I urge we go forward, that we 
drive our country toward successful competition for a clean energy 
future, that we meet our responsibility to our

[[Page S6308]]

children and our grandchildren, and that we prove to ourselves and to 
the rest of the world that our great American experiment in human 
liberty is not for sale to the polluting industries.
  I yield the floor.

                              The Economy

  Mr. BARRASSO. Madam President, I wish to take a few minutes today to 
talk about our Nation's economy. This speech is not about the economy 
that we wish we had; this speech is not about the economy that we used 
to have; this is about the economy that we have today.
  By now, Americans are all too familiar with the bad economic news. 
The front page of today's Wall Street Journal provides little respite 
from that bad news. It reads, and here is the headline, front page: 
``Household Income Sinks To '95 Level.''
  Let me say that again: ``Household Income Sinks To '95 Level.''
  The President talks about moving forward. But the reality is that the 
American paychecks are moving backward. The article goes on to describe 
a report from the Census Bureau, a report that illustrates what 
millions of Americans already know. We are not better off than where we 
were last year or the year before or the year before that. In fact, the 
Census Bureau data shows that household incomes in 2011 fell for the 
fourth consecutive year. Hard-working Americans do not need census data 
to tell them this, they know it. All they need to do is look at their 
paycheck. For many it is significantly smaller.
  While paychecks continue to shrink, the cost of everyday living has 
gone up. Gasoline prices have gone up another 30 cents a gallon in just 
over a month. Americans recently paid the highest price ever on a Labor 
Day weekend for gasoline. One out of every seven people in America is 
now on food stamps.
  In 2008, that was before President Obama's election, the poverty rate 
was 13.2 percent, and 38.8 million Americans were in poverty. This 
week's numbers show a 16-percent increase in just 3 years. Poverty 
rates remain stuck at their highest level since 1993.
  I made many of the same points last week in the response to the 
President's weekly address, but I believe it is important to make them 
again. While many Americans worry about their shrinking paycheck, far 
too many others have no paycheck at all. Today, 23 million Americans 
are unemployed or underemployed. Many of these folks are our friends, 
our neighbors, and family members. The undeniable truth is President 
Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any President since 
World War II.
  When the President was hyping his so-called stimulus program, his 
economic team claimed unemployment would not go above 8 percent and 
would be below 6 percent by now. Instead, it has been higher than 8 
percent for 43 straight months. According to last week's jobs data, 
unemployment dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent. Why does that 
happen? It didn't drop because of newly created jobs. It dropped 
because 368,000 Americans simply gave up looking for work. They just 
gave up.
  With the stimulus bill, the President promised jobs. The only thing 
he delivered was not jobs but more debt. It is bad enough that the 
stimulus was wasted. Even worse, he borrowed the money, much of it from 
  The reality is that America is not better off than it was 4 years 
ago. In terms of global competitiveness, the United States has dropped 
for 4 straight years. When President Obama took office, we were No. 1 
in the world. Now we are No. 7. Why? American businesses are at a 
competitive disadvantage. That is because of our tax rates. They are 
the highest in the developed world. American businesses are being asked 
to create jobs in the face of a regulatory onslaught the likes of which 
we have never seen before.
  Americans know what works. What works here in this country is low 
taxes, reasonable regulations, and living within our means.
  President John Kennedy understood that. He said:

       Persistently large deficits would endanger our economic 
     growth and our military and defense commitments abroad.

  He said that 50 years ago, in 1962. Washington's budget deficit that 
year, in 1962, was $7 billion. From $7 billion then to $1.2 trillion 
this year. For every year since he has taken office, President Obama 
has spent at least $1 trillion more than Washington took in--all of it 
borrowed. And there is no end in sight.
  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the government ran a 
$192 billion deficit last month alone. This is the highest deficit ever 
for the month of August.
  Under his watch, government continues to spend too much, borrow too 
much, and grow bigger every day. President Obama's record of failure 
has come at a great cost to our country and to our future. The 
President's policies have failed to produce the results, the 
accountability, and the solutions that the American people deserve. The 
Obama administration is simply not moving our country forward.
  A healthy economy comes from a growing private sector. Yet the 
President doesn't seem to appreciate or value the private sector. 
Remember, he said if you have a business you didn't build it, someone 
else did? In Wyoming and in communities all across this country there 
are bakers and florists and dry cleaners and farmers who did build 
their businesses and whose families have been working in them for 
generations. Those business owners know what President Obama does not. 
They understand, as Ronald Reagan put it, that you can't be for big 
government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy, and still be for the little 
  As a Nation we are being bled by overspending, we are being choked by 
regulations, and we are being paralyzed by a lack of affordable energy. 
Just look at one of the President's favorite legislative 
accomplishments, the President's health care law. The American people 
knew what they wanted from health care reform. They wanted the care 
they need, from a doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Instead, what 
did they get? They got a $700 billion cut to Medicare, a government 
mandate that everyone must buy insurance, funding for IRS agents to 
investigate you, but too little money for doctors to treat you.
  Similar to health care, the American people know exactly what they 
want from our Nation's energy policy. What they want is energy 
security. Yet the President continues to block the Keystone XL Pipeline 
and the oil and the jobs that come with it. The President has wasted 
millions and millions in taxpayer dollars on Solyndra, and the 
President continues to stifle domestic production of affordable 
American energy sources such as coal while driving up energy bills for 
the American people.
  Since energy security is not a priority for this President, what 
about financial security for our children and grandchildren? Washington 
has piled a mountain of debt on the backs of future generations, and 
the President keeps adding more. On his watch, the national debt just 
passed $16 trillion, with no end in sight.
  President Obama says he deserves a grade of incomplete on his 
handling of the economy, but people only ask for an incomplete grade 
when they know they are failing. He is now asking all of us to give him 
more time. The question is, Can we afford to give him that time?
  As I said in the beginning of this address on the floor of the 
Senate, it is not about the economy we wish we had or the economy we 
used to have; it is about the economy we have today. It is about 
reality. Instead of giving President Obama 4 more years to continue the 
policies that have not worked and are not working, it is time for a 

                            A Second Opinion

  Madam President, I would also like to take a few moments today to 
talk, as I do each week in the Senate, as a physician and give a 
doctor's second opinion about the health care law.
  I come to the Senate floor just about every week to talk about the 
health care law. I have practiced medicine in Wyoming for one-quarter 
of a century. I have taken care of families and many patients on 
Medicare. What I wish to do today is talk about the health care law's 
impact specifically on our seniors who rely on Medicare for their 
health care. Specifically, I wish to talk about how this law is going 
to impact those living in rural and frontier areas such as Wyoming.
  I know it can be very challenging for people living in rural 
communities to get the care they need, especially from

[[Page S6309]]

a doctor they choose. The associated press recently described this 
issue in an article entitled ``Boomers retiring to rural areas won't 
find doctors.'' The story highlighted the trouble Nina Musselman from 
rural Oregon had finding a new family physician when her previous 
doctor moved away.
  After 1 year of going to different physicians who would treat her 
temporarily, she finally found a new permanent provider. The words she 
used to describe her experience were: ``It's a sad situation for 
seniors.'' Unfortunately, because of the President's health care law, 
the situation for seniors--especially those living in rural 
communities--is only expected to get worse. The article not only 
confirms that fewer doctors are working in rural areas but also that 
the program pays rural doctors less for a procedure. This fact, 
combined with the cuts to the program scheduled to take place under the 
health care law, means seniors in rural areas will have greater 
difficulty finding a doctor to take care of them.
  Mark Pauly, a professor of health care management at the University 
of Pennsylvania put it this way: If the cuts to Medicare are allowed to 
go through, ``the doctors are saying: We're out of here.''
  Professor Pauly adds:

       The least they [the doctors] are saying is: ``We'll treat 
     Medicare patients like we treat Medicaid patients,'' which is 
     mostly not.

  Over the past 2 weeks the Republicans and Democratic parties have 
held their nominating conventions. The Nation has had an opportunity to 
hear from both Governor Romney and President Obama about their 
accomplishments and their visions for America.
  After hearing the President's speech, I was struck by the fact that 
he barely mentioned his health care law. The newspaper Politico stated: 
``In back-to-back speeches, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden all but 
ignored the Affordable Care Act.''
  It isn't surprising, given the fact that the law remains deeply 
unpopular with the majority of the American people. In fact, the latest 
Rasmussen poll found that half the people surveyed support repealing 
the health care law.
  The President and Washington Democrats might be trying to avoid the 
law. As a physician who practiced in Wyoming, I believe the topic is 
too important to ignore. All seniors, especially those in rural 
America, need to know how this law will impact their ability to get the 
care they need.
  Previously, the Institute of Medicine found that there are fewer 
primary care physicians--as well as other medical specialists--per 
capita in rural areas compared to urban areas. It is not just primary 
care physicians and it is not just specialists, it is both. So while 
people in rural America make up 20 percent of the Nation's population, 
they are only served by about 9 percent of the Nation's physicians.
  The Kaiser Family Foundation tells us the beneficiaries in rural 
areas account for at least 60 percent of the Medicare populations in 
Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. 
This is why I have such a passion for ensuring that all our seniors, no 
matter where they live, can receive their Medicare benefits. 
Unfortunately, all America knows is that the President's health care 
law made significant cuts to Medicare.
  Specifically, the Congressional Budget Office told us the law takes 
over $700 billion from the Medicare Program. This money will not be 
used to improve the health care received by seniors but, rather, to pay 
for a whole new government program for someone else. In fact, if the 
cuts in the health care law are implemented, the nonpartisan Actuary at 
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Medicare 
payments for inpatient hospital services would eventually be only 39 
percent of private insurance rates.
  The situation facing physicians is not any better. The actuary at CMS 
reported that in 2009 Medicare paid physicians approximately 80 percent 
of private insurance rates. Under current law, if the cuts are allowed 
to move forward, Medicare will eventually only pay about 26 percent of 
the rate of private insurance. There is no question that the 
ramifications of these cuts will directly impact the ability of seniors 
to receive the health care they need.

  As Professor Timothy Jost noted in the New England Journal of 

       If the gap between private and Medicare rates continues to 

  As it is under this law--

     health care providers may well abandon Medicare.

  For the millions of seniors who rely on Medicare, losing access to 
the program is simply not acceptable.
  When the President passed his health care law, he proudly stated he 
was expanding health care coverage for millions of Americans. What he 
failed to mention is that this expanding coverage is being bought at 
the expense of American seniors.
  Washington Democrats have long argued that the cuts to Medicare will 
do two things at the same time. They say it will expand health coverage 
for the uninsured and extend the life of the Medicare trust fund.
  In Wyoming and all across the country people know we cannot spend the 
same money twice. Apparently, the President and supporters of his 
health care law, right here in this body, think they can. Their logic 
defies math and it defies common sense.
  As a former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas 
Holtz-Eakin stated in a recent op-ed: ``Any suggestion that Medicare 
will last longer is an illusion--not a fact.''
  America's seniors cannot afford the spending illusions contained in 
the health care law. Congress must act and repeal the law before 
Medicare is transformed from a vital program into an empty promise.
  With that, I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sanders). Without objection, it is so 

                            The Ryan Budget

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I said earlier this week when we came in 
on Monday that every day I would come to the floor--and other Senators 
I know are coming to the floor--to let the American people know what 
Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are trying to hide from them. What they are 
trying to hide is what their blueprint is for America, where they want 
to take the country. People listen to all of their speeches on the 
campaign trail, but show me your budget and I will show you what your 
priorities are.
  A budget is a blueprint, and we have from Mr. Ryan, our colleague in 
the House, his budget. I think, if I am not mistaken, it has been 
passed twice in the House and I think almost every Republican voted for 
it; the same as here in the Senate. So if Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney were 
to be elected to the Presidency and Vice Presidency, they would then be 
able to move their budget through under a little-known procedure called 
reconciliation. It is a fancy word, but all it means is that it would 
go through with 51 votes.
  I think it is important for the American people to know what is in 
that budget, what is in that blueprint for America. That is why this 
week I have taken the time to talk about the impact of the budget on 
health care and on education. Today I wish to talk about the impact of 
this budget on where I live--rural America, in the Midwest, where the 
occupant of the Chair lives. What is the impact of the Ryan budget on 
those of us who live in small towns, in rural communities, those who 
live on farms, and ranchers in the West? What is the impact?
  First of all, I think it is important to step back and take a look at 
the Ryan budget blueprint overall. What it does is it further decimates 
the middle class in America. The very centerpiece of the Ryan budget is 
a dramatic shift of even more wealth to those at the top, targeting 
huge new tax cuts for the richest 2 percent.
  For those making over $1 million a year--I have used this chart 
before and I will continue to use it--for those making over $1 million, 
they would get $265,000 more in tax breaks. That is added on to 
$129,000 that they already get from the Bush tax cuts. So under the 
Ryan plan, if a person makes over $1 million a year, they will get 
$394,000 in tax cuts. They are entitled to that. That is an 
entitlement. If a person makes that much money, they are entitled to 
get that tax cut. So when we

[[Page S6310]]

hear people talking about entitlements, remember, it is not just the 
poor, it is the rich too. They get a lot of entitlements.
  They are going to have all of these new tax cuts. The total is $4.5 
trillion over 10 years. Where do they get that money? They don't want 
to say how they would pay for it, but we have to look at the budget. 
The Ryan Republican budget would partially offset the tax cuts by 
making deep, Draconian cuts to programs that protect the middle class 
and are essential to quality of life in our country--everything from 
education, student grants and loans, law enforcement, clean air and 
clean water, food safety, medical research, highways, bridges and other 
infrastructure, agriculture, and energy.
  As I said before, the Republican plan would end Medicare. The Ryan 
budget ends Medicare. They keep saying: Well, it ends it as we know it. 
Well, as we know it, that is what it is. It replaces Medicare with 
voucher care. Voucher care, not Medicare; voucher care. It would 
completely destroy Medicare. They say: Well, people can take their 
vouchers and keep Medicare, if they like, or they can go out and get a 
private plan. If one is a healthy elderly person, they might be able to 
get a cheap plan out there someplace. So all of the healthy elderly 
leave Medicare, which leaves only the sickest and the poorest in 
Medicare, so the costs skyrocket and it becomes unsupportable. That is 
the way to destroy Medicare.
  Again, they talk a lot--Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney--about reducing the 
deficit and balancing the budget. Even under the most rosy assumptions, 
the Ryan budget does not balance the budget until the year 2040--28 
years from now. Mr. Ryan is a true acolyte of former Vice President 
Cheney who, in a very unguarded moment, said deficits don't matter. 
Well, they obviously didn't, because we see how much the deficits went 
up under the Bush-Cheney administration. I always say Mr. Ryan has 
also--he won't say it but his budget shows it--they don't think 
deficits matter either because they have deficits for the next 28 
  Again, when I tell people this, when I outline the budget for folks 
back home, they say, You must be kidding; nothing could be that 
extreme. Well, the Ryan plan is extreme and unbalanced, and I am not 
making it up. Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized the 
Ryan budget. He called it rightwing social engineering. Well, all I can 
say is Newt got that one right. But that is Newt. Let's listen to the 
economic adviser to the icon of the modern day Republican Party, 
President Ronald Reagan. This is what he said. Let's hear what Mr. 
Bartlett said. He said: ``Distributionally, the Ryan plan is a 
monstrosity. The rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social 
safety net would be shredded to pay for them. . . .''
  A monstrosity. This is the economic adviser to President Reagan. 
President Reagan wouldn't have a chance in today's Republican Party, 
not with the Ryan budget.
  Again, the Ryan budget is radical--radical--in shrinking the size of 
government to what it was more than a half a century ago.
  Today I wish to focus specifically on the devastating impact of the 
Romney-Ryan budget on American agriculture and on our quest for clean 
renewable energy and energy independence. The Ryan budget would make 
deep reductions in our Federal commitment to America's farmers and 
ranchers, to rural communities, and to consumers, especially consumer 
safety. The Ryan budget calls for reducing funding for agriculture 
conservation over 10 fiscal years by $16 billion below the funding 
levels that we have now in the present farm bill. That amounts to about 
a 24.5-percent reduction in conservation of soil and water. Our Nation 
cannot afford to back off on our commitment to agricultural 
conservation, not at a time when climate and weather are becoming more 
variable and damaging to the land and when farmers and ranchers need to 
keep increasing production to meet demands from a growing population.
  More and more demands are being put on our land with a changing 
climate and that is why conservation funding is so critically 
important. Farmers and ranchers have made tremendous progress on 
conservation. Yet about a quarter--one-fourth--of U.S. cropland is 
still deteriorating from excess soil erosion.

  Concerning water quality, nitrates in the Mississippi River and its 
tributaries were 10 percent higher in 2008 than they were 20 years ago. 
There have been no consistent nitrate declines in the past 30 years. 
Here are a couple of photographs to illustrate what I am talking about. 
This is a nice, pastoral view looking over some rolling cropland. This 
is a gully. We can see they put up some plastic here to stop it, but 
this is where the rain comes down, hits it, washes it off, down into 
the ditches. That is sort of the ``before'' photo. That is before 
conservation practices. Let's take a look at the same picture after we 
have used Federal conservation plans and the farmer's own money. Look 
what we have now--a nice, grassy waterway that absorbs all of that 
rain. That is what conservation does.
  Concerning water quality, here is another picture. It is a picture of 
a gully washer, and we see the land being eroded there, the stream bank 
being eroded. That was before. This is what it looks like afterward--a 
nice stream with clean water, a lot of bank protection, a lot of trees. 
In fact, the farmhouse we saw in the last picture we can barely see 
above the tree line in this picture. That is what conservation does. 
The Ryan budget decimates that. It would cut 24.5 percent, almost 25 
percent, of all of the funding for conservation in America at a time 
when we know what is happening in the Mississippi River, with all of 
the nitrates going down the Mississippi River, with the land erosion. 
As I said, at a time when our farmers are being asked to produce even 
more and more to meet a growing population.
  Also, this doesn't just affect farmers, it affects all of us. Some 
people might say: Conservation, sure, that looks nice, saving the water 
and soil, but what does that have to do with me, because I live in Los 
Angeles or San Francisco or some place such as that. It has to do with 
the quality of life in America and it has to do with whether we are 
going to preserve the bountiful land that we have for future 
generations and whether we are going to commit ourselves to having 
clean water and cleaning up our rivers and our streams and to prevent 
our soil from flowing down the river.
  That is conservation.
  Another troubling feature of the Ryan budget is that it would impose 
new tighter limits on money appropriated for rural housing, rural water 
and wastewater systems, and economic development, as well as other 
vital Department of Agriculture functions such as food safety and 
agricultural research, education, and extension.
  The Ryan budget adopted by the House would overall cut the funding 
for, as we said, nondefense domestic appropriations by about 18.9 
percent, compared to the current appropriations levels, and that is for 
next year, that is for 2014 and for years thereafter.
  Let's consider rural development programs at the Department of 
Agriculture. For fiscal year 2012, we appropriated $2.4 billion. That 
is for rural development. That money provides assistance to rural 
housing, rural cooperatives and other small businesses, and rural water 
and wastewater systems. That figure for fiscal year 2012 that I gave 
you--$2.4 billion--was already 9 percent below the 2011 appropriation 
for rural development. The 2011 appropriation was 11 percent below the 
fiscal year 2010 funding.
  What would the Ryan budget do? Slash another 19 percent--18.9 
percent--from rural development funding. That would amount to a cut of 
roughly $454 million in 2014--$\1/2\ billion in cuts to wastewater 
systems, rural cooperatives, and rural housing.
  Consider the food and agricultural research, education, and extension 
sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. The fiscal year 2012 
appropriation for this was $2.3 billion. Again, that was a slight 
reduction from appropriations in recent years. It was $2.3 billion in 
fiscal year 2012, and in fiscal year 2010 it was $2.59 billion. So we 
have already taken some reductions. We already know our current levels 
of investment in Federal food and agricultural research are falling far 
behind what is needed to meet the challenges I just spoke about, the 
challenges of producing food, more food to meet a growing world 
population, the need for

[[Page S6311]]

exports, but to do it in an environmentally benign way, which saves 
soil and water for future generations.
  Well, the Ryan budget, again, lops off another 18.9 percent. That 
would be about $435 million in 2014--$\1/2\ billion from these vital 
programs. Again, these do not just affect farmers, these affect all of 
  Take food safety--just food safety. People like to know when they buy 
food someplace--they have a high expectation it is not going to make 
them sick. Well, the fiscal year 2012 appropriation was $2.5 billion 
for the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and $1 billion for the 
Food Safety and Inspection Service. That is the Department of 
Agriculture. That is FSIS, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, that 
deals with Federal meat and poultry inspection. The FDA handles 
everything else.
  Now, if the Ryan budget were adopted, again, there would be an 18.9-
percent cut to both the FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service. 
Listen to this. That would be a cut of about $472 million from the Food 
and Drug Administration--to inspect our food and our drugs to make sure 
they are safe--and a cut of about $189 million from the Food Safety and 
Inspection Service that inspects meat and poultry. So consumers would 
have much less assurance in the safety of their food.
  Need I remind people that the Senate and the House just passed this 
year a proposal to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration, to 
give them more duties, more responsibilities, to do more inspections of 
food coming into this country from overseas. President Obama signed 
that into law. It was supported by Republicans and Democrats, 
consumers, pharmaceutical companies, and food companies. Everybody 
supported it--a great bill.
  Now, here is the Ryan budget. They are going to take about $\1/2\ 
billion out of that per year. So we might have given them the authority 
in the authorization bill, but then we are going to cripple it and cut 
them off at the knees. We are going to cut them off--if we adopt the 
Ryan budget--by taking about $\1/2\ billion a year from the FDA.
  Let's take a look at what it would do about energy because this not 
only means a lot to Iowa, it means a lot to our country in terms of 
moving ahead to develop renewable, safe, domestically grown energy.
  The Ryan budget claims that President Obama has stifled domestic 
energy production by blocking or delaying the production of oil--both 
onshore and offshore--and gas. But what he fails to acknowledge is that 
under President Obama we have already opened vast expanses of public 
lands for oil and gas exploration, and production of both has 
increased--by 13 percent for domestic oil; 12 percent for natural gas--
since 2008.
  But most egregious about the Ryan budget is that it completely 
ignores and, again, hinders our development of renewable energy.
  Wind power. Wind power in America has now provided over 35 percent of 
the new electricity generation capacity installed in the United States 
over the last 5 years. In the last 5 years, wind energy accounts for 35 
percent of all of that.
  The wind power industry has doubled its electricity contribution four 
times just since 2000. Shown on this chart I have in the Chamber has 
been the growth of wind power capacity in the United States since 2000. 
It has doubled it four times and is continuing to grow.
  The wind power industry now accounts for 75,000 American jobs--75,000 
American jobs--heavily concentrated in California, Colorado, Texas, 
Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Well, Mr. Romney has 
said he wants to do away with the production tax credit, wipe all that 
  I wonder how the people of California and Texas and Colorado and Iowa 
and Illinois and Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania might feel about 
that--not to mention the other States where they are just now beginning 
to develop their wind energy potential?
  So the Ryan budget does away with the production tax credit, and Mr. 
Romney has given his stamp of approval on that.
  Now, likewise, with liquid fuels. Americans clearly want to increase 
production and use of domestic renewable fuels. We have responded in 
the past with tax credits and renewable fuel use requirements, the 
renewable fuels mandate. Small business entrepreneurs have built 
ethanol and biodiesel biorefineries all across the country. They now 
supply about 10 percent of the fuel used in our gasoline-powered autos 
and trucks.

  That is 10 percent that no longer comes from outside our borders. And 
here is the expansion, as shown on this chart, of all of the 
biorefineries in the United States just in the last few years. Look how 
they have grown. There are a lot of jobs there--a lot of jobs, a lot of 
liquid fuels. In fact, if you look at the chart showing the expansion 
of liquid fuels and the decrease of imports of oil, they just about 
match. Just take a look.
  Going back to 2000, this line shows the increase in ethanol 
production and this line shows the decrease in oil imports. Boy, they 
just about match. As ethanol production has gone up, oil imports have 
gone down.
  Well, the Ryan budget basically says we should roll back all this 
Federal intervention--just roll it back. But they say it is OK for the 
oil companies to go offshore and drill offshore, drill in very fragile 
areas of our country. I would not be surprised if they wanted to open 
up Yellowstone Park to oil and gas exploration pretty soon.
  I just want to share the Iowa experience, if I might, about renewable 
energy because I think it speaks to the potential that we have 
  Up until a decade ago--10 years ago--my State of Iowa was nearly 100 
percent dependent on energy imports. All of our gasoline and diesel 
came from out of State. Most of our electricity came from out of 
State--coal. By contrast, today Iowa generates about 20 percent of its 
electricity from instate wind power facilities. We now have about 7,000 
jobs in the wind power industry. We build the turbines, we build the 
blades, we build the towers--everything--there. We are teaching a whole 
new generation of young Americans at our community colleges how to fix, 
repair, replace, and maintain our wind generators.
  So instead of paying others for imported coal or for coal-based 
electricity from other States, Iowans are using their money to build 
and install and operate their own wind turbines and generating 
electricity from our own instate renewable wind resources.
  For liquid fuels it is the same. It is remarkable. As I said, 
remember, Iowa imported all of its oil and gas 10 years ago--gasoline. 
Iowa now has 54 biorefineries producing about 4 billion gallons of 
ethanol and biodiesel a year. That is 50 percent more than the total 
amount of liquid fuels that we consume in a year. So Iowa, in 10 years, 
has gone from a total importer of liquid fuels to a net exporter. We 
make more than 50 percent more than we actually use, so we get to 
export to other States. Again, that is good-paying jobs. It is a 
renewable resource, with higher incomes for farmers. It helps Iowa's 
economy better than the economies of the Mideast oil states.
  So America can follow in Iowa's footsteps but only if we continue the 
energy policies that have enabled these achievements. We need to extend 
the production tax credit to expand wind power and other renewable 
electric systems across the country, such as solar electric. The Ryan 
budget does not account for that. The Ryan budget drops all of these 
investments, in renewable biofuels also.
  So, again, as I said, each day we have looked at the Ryan budget and 
how it affects health, how it affects education. Senator Boxer from 
California and others have come out and talked about how it affects our 
transportation infrastructure in America. But I also wanted to point 
out what it does to our renewable energy sector and what it does to 
agriculture, especially conservation, and how it would decimate our 
efforts to ensure clean water and stop soil erosion in all of our 
  So before I close, I just want to provide a broader context so we 
understand the consequences of the Romney-Ryan budget. Going back to 
the 1930s, the American people have supported and strengthened a kind 
of unique American social contract. That social contract says we will 
prepare our young and we will care for our elderly. That contract says: 
If you work hard and play by the rules, you will be able

[[Page S6312]]

to rise to the middle class or even beyond. That social contract says a 
cardinal role of government is to provide a ladder or ramp of 
opportunity so that every American can realistically--realistically--
aspire to the American dream.
  Well, in one document, the Romney-Ryan budget would rip up that 
social contract, shred it. Do not take my word. Let's go back to Mr. 
Bartlett's quote again that I had right at the beginning. Do not take 
my word for it. It is right here. This is Ronald Reagan's economic 
adviser. He says:

       Distributionally, the Ryan plan is a monstrosity. The rich 
     would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would 
     be shredded to pay for them.

  How far do you think Ronald Reagan would get today with this 
Republican Party with that kind of statement?
  So, again, the Ryan budget would rip up that sort of contract, 
replace it with a sort of survival-of-the-fittest, winner-take-all. It 
is sort of ``tough luck; you are on your own.'' If you were born 
wealthy, if you live in the right circumstances, you are OK, or if you 
win the lottery, God bless you. You are OK if you win the lottery, but 
otherwise, tough luck, you are on your own.
  I agree with what President Clinton said last week when he said there 
are two competing philosophies here. One is the Romney-Ryan budget 
philosophy of ``you are on your own.'' The other philosophy is what I 
think we have been proposing; that is, we are all better off when it is 
a ``we are all in it together'' philosophy. Again, the Ryan budget, the 
Romney-Ryan budget is a blueprint for where they want to take America. 
This is not just some phony liberal thing thrown out here. This is 
their budget. This tells you where they want to go. It is a blueprint 
for a building. It is a blueprint for what they want America to become. 
Well, I do not think that is the kind of America my neighbors and I 
would find acceptable, certainly not one they find acceptable for their 
  Mr. Ryan said that he had developed his views on his budget--they 
were formed by Catholic social teaching. Well, I don't know; I went to 
Catholic schools most of my life, and that is not what I was taught. I 
was not taught that you are on your own, that government has no 
responsibility whatsoever to ensure that you have decent health, 
safety, education, that you have a decent retirement so that you do not 
get put in the poorhouse. I was taught that we are all in this 
together. I see the bishops say the same. The Catholic bishops say the 
Ryan budget fails the moral test--fails the moral test. They reiterated 
their demand that the Federal budget protect the poor, and I said the 
GOP measures fail to meet this moral criteria.
  So, again, I have taken this floor every day. I intend to take it 
every day from now until whenever we adjourn to keep pointing out, 
along with other Senators, what is in this Romney-Ryan budget. It is 
really scary.
  A lot of times when we go out campaigning, we tell people: This is 
the most important election ever. How many times have you heard that 
one? This is the most important election ever. You hear both sides 
saying that. Well, I have been through a lot of elections. I have said 
that a lot of times. I will not say that. I am not going to tell anyone 
this is the most important election ever, but I will say this: This is 
the scariest election I have seen in my lifetime--the scariest. Oh, 
sure, we have had our differences before with Republicans and 
Democrats. That is OK. That is fine. That is the political give-and-
take. And even under President Reagan, who was more conservative than 
any President we have had since probably Herbert Hoover or before, you 
know, sure they moved the country in a more conservative direction, but 
it wasn't like this. It wasn't anything close to what this Ryan budget 
is doing. Even Presidents who have run in the past, maybe with the 
exception of Barry Goldwater, but I do not know much about his budget--
I daresay I bet it was not this bad. I bet it was not anything close to 
this. This is why this is scary. This is turning America back to where 
we were before Roosevelt. I do not mean Franklin Roosevelt, I mean 
Theodore Roosevelt. That is how far back they would turn this country.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

                             The Farm Bill

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. STABENOW. I first wish to thank Senator Harkin as chair of the 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and past chair of the 
Agriculture Committee for his words of concern regarding the House 
budget as it relates to agriculture. I share those concerns and I thank 
him for speaking out on that. It is just one more reason to pass a farm 
bill. We need to get a farm bill done right now.
  Let me say to all of my colleagues, and particularly in the House 
because we have done our job in the Senate and we are ready to complete 
the task of getting a farm bill, we now only have 17 days, 17 days 
until the current farm bill expires on September 30. Seventeen days. We 
know as a practical matter, because the House says they are leaving 
next Friday, it is actually shorter, but we have 17 days before the end 
of the month, before the current policy expires and we begin to see a 
phase-in of policies that end up going back to 1949 by the first of the 
year on subsidies and planting restrictions and a whole range of things 
that cost a lot of money and make no sense.
  I am asking that the House come together, as we did in the Senate 
when we passed our bipartisan farm bill on June 21, and pass a farm 
bill in the House. We passed the Agricultural Reform, Food, and Jobs 
Act by a bipartisan vote of 64 to 35. I believe the votes are there in 
the House of Representatives if there is a willingness to have a 
bipartisan vote. I believe that together, Democrats and Republicans, 
there are enough votes to pass it, and the House has time to act. They 
are completing the continuing resolution today, and my understanding is 
there is nothing else of substance that is on the agenda for next week. 
And even if there was, 1 day--1 day--is all we are asking, 1 day to 
bring up and do the work for rural America, for agriculture, ranchers 
across the country, to create a 5-year farm bill policy that includes 
disaster assistance that will work for all parts of agriculture. We are 
asking for 1 day.

  Farmers across the country have been hit hard by disasters, as we 
know--very, very hard. It has been devastating for many of our ranchers 
and farmers between late frosts and the severe drought this year. We 
need to get a farm bill done. Why is that? Because the farm bill is 
also a disaster bill.
  I can speak from the standpoint of Michigan, where the warmth in 
March and then the late deep freeze eliminated almost all of our tart 
cherries. We are No. 1 in the country in tart cherries. We do not have 
any. Sweet cherries, apples, peaches hit, grapes, and that, along with 
the drought, means that every single county in Michigan is under a 
disaster declaration right now. We address that in the farm bill we 
  By the way, disaster assistance is in the farm bill the Senate 
passed, fully paid for with savings within the farm bill.
  We reinstate the livestock disaster program, and we make it 
permanent. We make it permanent. We support specialty crop growers who 
need crop insurance and do not have it now, such as our cherry growers. 
Tart cherry growers cannot purchase crop insurance because there is no 
crop insurance. In addition to helping them in the short run, we need 
to make sure we are ready for the future, and we do that in this bill.
  We put in place a new dairy program to make sure we are not seeing 
farmers go bankrupt. And our Presiding Officer from Vermont certainly 
understands and has led efforts. I remember 2009, 2010, what was 
happening, what we had to do. We know the current policy is a disaster 
waiting to happen for dairy. So kicking the can down the road, doing 
some long-term extension, and not taking any action on the farm bill is 
a disaster for diary, which, by the way, is the No. 1 single commodity 
in my State as well.
  We need to get the farm bill done.
  We make sure those who have lost crop this year because of the early 
warm spring and late frost as well as our livestock operators and 
others get help not just for the future but this

[[Page S6313]]

year, 2012. That is in the Senate-passed farm bill. It is also, by the 
way, in the House committee-passed farm bill, which is what the Speaker 
and the Republican leadership should be taking up on the floor of the 
  We also strengthen conservation, which is so critical because unlike 
the Dust Bowl of the thirties where soil was swirling around and all 
that was happening at that time, despite the horrible drought, soil is 
on the ground. Why? Because of conservation efforts and policies that 
have made a difference. We need to continue and strengthen that as we 
do in our farm bill for the future. It is critical that we move forward 
on conservation.
  So the House taking up a farm bill addresses the disaster assistance 
that needs to be addressed for our farmers and ranchers in a 
responsible way. It is paid for within the savings of the farm bill. 
And we make sure we do not have other disasters happening by not moving 
forward with improvements in policy for commodities such as dairy.
  I am proud of what we did in the Senate. It was bipartisan. We tried 
very hard. I worked very hard to create an opportunity where there was 
enough time in the summer for the House to be able to take action. We 
moved, as we all know, quickly, both in committee--Senator Roberts and 
I and all of our colleagues, with the leadership support on the floor, 
moved quickly in June to pass a bill so that there would be all of July 
and the beginning of August until the break for the House to act so 
that we could then go to conference committee in August and come back 
right now and pass a final farm bill, which is what should have 
happened. So now we are in plan B, which is at least--at least the 
House of Representatives ought to be doing their job in passing the 
farm bill so we can work on this in October and come back in November 
before the full Congress.
  I commend the leadership of the Agriculture Committee in the House 
and have great confidence that, working together with them, we can come 
together on our differences and put together a responsible, effective 
deficit reduction farm bill in the final analysis. But we can't get 
there until the House gives us some kind of a bill to work with.

  So I am asking the Speaker, I am asking the Republican leadership to 
take just 1 day, 1 day for rural America, 1 day for farmers and 
ranchers across this country so that we can address disaster assistance 
and long-term economic policy for rural America.
  The House leadership, the Republican leadership heard yesterday from 
hundreds of farmers from all over the country that we need a farm bill 
now. There were over 80 different groups who put that rally together to 
make it very clear that they do not want a stopgap measure, that they 
do not want to kick the can down the road or do another 1-year 
extension; they just want us to get it done and to get it done right 
now. Many of these farmers are in the middle of harvest. It is the 
earliest corn harvest in 25 years because of the drought. They took 
time from work to come here at their own expense, their own time to 
give a very clear message to the House Republican leadership. It is 
time to get this done.
  Frankly, it is past time to get it done. We have heard that the House 
wants to do a 1-year extension of current policy, but we are not going 
to support that. Do we really want to continue for another year the 
subsidies, such as the direct payments we eliminated in the Senate farm 
bill, the subsidies that go to people regardless of whether they are 
even growing the crop for which they are getting the subsidies? We 
eliminated four different subsidies and instead listened to farmers 
across this country to strengthen crop insurance. That is what we heard 
from Michigan to Kansas, from California to all across this country, 
that we need to strengthen crop insurance, and that is what we have 
  Do we really want to be in a situation where one more time there is 
not action on deficit reduction? The one piece of legislation we have 
passed in a bipartisan way that reduces the deficit of this country is 
our farm bill. Amazingly, we have $23 billion in reduced spending, in 
deficit reduction, which goes away with an extension. It won't happen 
if we kick the can down the road, so we need to get this done.
  I understand there are some in the House who don't believe we ought 
to invest in any kind of agricultural policy. I know there are those 
who think we shouldn't invest in nutrition or conservation of land and 
water or agricultural policy or energy jobs or a whole range of things, 
such as rural development, supporting our small rural towns. I 
understand they do not want to do a farm bill. I also know there are 
some folks who don't like the reforms we have. They want to continue 
those payments. I understand that. But I believe the majority of people 
in the House, just like the majority of the people in the Senate, will 
come together if given the opportunity and vote for reform, for deficit 
reduction, for a strengthened crop insurance program, other risk 
management tools for our farmers, a disaster assistance program that is 
permanent for livestock producers, help for our food growers, strong 
nutrition policy that includes focusing on waste, fraud, and abuse, 
rural development, and a streamlined, more effective conservation 
policy that creates flexibility and tools for our farmers as well as 
those who want to hunt and fish and protect our open spaces. I believe 
a majority of the House wants to get that done.
  I think it is very important, with 17 days left, that we remember 
what this is about. There are 16 million people in this country who 
work because of agriculture--16 million people. We talk a lot about 
jobs and job policies. I don't know of any we have debated on this 
floor that have impacted 16 million people and their families, and we 
came together to get this done because we understood that.
  Right now, despite the best efforts of the Committee on Agriculture 
in the House on a bipartisan basis to report a bill, the House 
leadership--the Republican leadership--will not take 1 day--1 day--to 
focus on 16 million jobs, economic development, quality of life in 
rural America for those who have been hit so hard by this economy, and 
the jobs of the future we have in this farm bill. Time is running out. 
Time is running out. We need to get this done. We understand that.
  Farmers know that when there is work to be done, they can't kick the 
can down the road. When a crop is ready for harvest, a farmer can't 
say: Gee, I am tired; I will do it next week. When the crop needs to be 
harvested, they have to get up and go do it. They do what needs to be 
done. And we had folks who came here yesterday, who left their fields 
and who basically said: Even though I have a lot of work to do at home, 
I have to go to the U.S. House of Representatives to tell the 
Republican leadership that it is time to get the job done.
  Mr. President, I would like to put into the Record a letter that was 
sent from 13 different leadership organizations on agriculture in this 
country. I will explain what is in it, but I ask unanimous consent to 
have printed in the Record a letter dated September 7, 2012, to 
Senators Reid and McConnell.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                September 7, 2012.
     Hon. Harry Reid,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Minority Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell: 
     The undersigned farm organizations support finding a path 
     forward to reaching agreement on a new five-year farm bill 
     before current program authorities expire on Sept. 30. We 
     were disappointed that the House did not consider the House 
     Agriculture Committee's bill before the August recess. That 
     bill, and the bill passed by the Senate in June, would 
     provide the disaster relief our farm and ranch families need 
     at this time.
       Instead, the House passed a separate disaster bill just 
     before the recess that would make supplemental agricultural 
     disaster assistance available for Fiscal Year 2012. 
     Specifically, the bill would retroactively extend the 
     Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage 
     Program (LFP), the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program 
     (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) so that 
     producers are helped for Fiscal Year 2012. All of those 
     programs expired in 2011. Offsets to pay for the disaster 
     assistance would come from imposing caps on two conservation 
     programs, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the 
     Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
       We know that some Senators will return from the recess and 
     encourage you to consider the House-passed measure. This is 
     something our groups do not support. We

[[Page S6314]]

     strongly urge you to refrain from this as we fear that 
     passage of a bill similar to the House bill could result in 
     further delays in completing a full five-year farm bill.
       In addition, almost identical provisions to retroactively 
     extend these four programs are included in the Senate-passed 
     farm bill and the bill reported by the House Agriculture 
     Committee, and these provisions are paid for in the context 
     of the measures included in the disaster bill. Those measures 
     would likely be included in any conference committee report. 
     It is imperative that we pass a comprehensive, long-term farm 
     bill. Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry 
     very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a 
     crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and 
     confident signals from our lawmakers.
       Assistance for cattle and sheep producers is very 
     important, and we strongly support helping them in the five-
     year farm bill, but it is also important to provide 
     assistance to producers of other types of livestock and 
     fruits and vegetables. The House disaster assistance bill 
     does not help hog or poultry producers and only provides 
     limited assistance via the grazing program for the dairy 
     industry. The bill does not help dairy producers who are not 
     located in a designated disaster county with grazing 
     assistance and does not address high feed prices for dairy, 
     hog or poultry producers. Many producers of fruits and 
     vegetables may not have crop insurance available to them as a 
     risk management tool, and they too need some type of help, 
     which this package does not address. The Senate-passed farm 
     bill contains many new, improved and reauthorized risk 
     management tools. It is a more comprehensive response to this 
     year's and future years' drought and other disasters that 
     impact crop and livestock production.
       The Congressional Budget Office scored the House-passed 
     disaster bill as costing $383 million. That expense is offset 
     by cuts of $639 million from the CSP and EQIP programs, 
     leaving $256 million to go towards deficit reduction. If the 
     House simply passed the five-year farm bill passed by the 
     committee on a bipartisan basis, this disaster bill would not 
     be necessary. The bill costs more than $600 million and would 
     not provide relief to livestock producers less than a month 
     earlier than a farm bill debated and passed in September. 
     Agriculture will already contribute a minimum of $23 billion 
     in deficit reduction by passing the farm bill. We do not need 
     to provide additional deficit reduction in this package only 
     month before we reduce the deficit far more than 
     agriculture's ``fair share.''
       Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees have 
     produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address many of 
     the core principles we believe are important, such as 
     strengthening crop insurance as a reliable risk management 
     tool. We remain committed to attempting to pass a five-year 
     farm bill as soon as possible, including the long-term 
     provisions it includes, which would help alleviate the 
     emergency conditions we are seeing across the country.
       American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean 
     Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National 
     Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers 
     Association, National Farmers Union.
       National Milk Producers Federation, National Sunflower 
     Association, Northarvest Bean Growers Association, United 
     Fresh Produce Association, U.S. Canola Association, USA Dry 
     Pea & Lentil Council, Western Growers.

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, this letter was sent to Majority Leader 
Reid and Republican Leader McConnell on behalf of the American Farm 
Bureau, American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat 
Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers 
Association, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers 
Federation, National Sunflower Association, Northarvest Bean Growers 
Association, United Fresh Produce Association, U.S. Canola Association, 
U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council, and the Western Growers, all saying: 
Don't do something short term; do the farm bill. They are all saying: 
Don't do some short-term effort that is only focused on disaster. Don't 
do an effort that does not complete the job.
  In regard to consideration of the House-passed disaster measure, they 

       We strongly urge you to refrain from this as we fear that 
     passage of a bill similar to the House bill could result in 
     further delays in completing a full 5-year farm bill.

  These provisions retroactively are in the Senate-passed bill and the 
bill reported from the House Agriculture Committee. They are paid for 
within the context of the farm bill. And they know, as we know, that in 
the final bill we present, they will be included. We certainly are 
going to include comprehensive disaster assistance, but they are asking 
us to do it in the context of a 5-year farm bill. That is what everyone 
is saying in farm country, in rural America, that it is not enough to 
just do a little bit here and there. And on top of that, it is not 
necessary. It is not necessary. We have a comprehensive disaster 
assistance bill within the contents of the farm bill. So does the House 
committee. We just need 1 day. There are 17 days left, and we are 
asking the House Republican leadership to invest 1 day in American 
agriculture, and I hope they will do it.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I would like to ask the chairwoman of the 
Agriculture Committee if she would be kind enough to stay for a few 
  I came to talk today about the Veterans Jobs Corps Act, but 
agriculture and food security is very important to this country.
  First of all, I wish to commend the chairwoman of the Senate 
Agriculture Committee for putting out an agriculture bill that I think 
really meets the needs of this country and definitely the agricultural 
  First of all, I just have to ask--the Agriculture bill sent out of 
the Senate provides a good safety net for those in production 
agriculture. I know the Senator took that into account. Whether you are 
a dairy producer, a corn producer, a wheat producer, or whatever, it is 
  The Senator comes from the State of Michigan. That is a little 
different from Montana, but we both know the Midwest has been under 
incredible drought. There have been fires all over this country. I 
talked to the ranking member on the train yesterday, and he was talking 
about fires in Kansas, and we have had fires in Montana.
  Is there disaster assistance in this bill, if the House were to take 
it up and pass it? Would we have to worry about that being taken care 
of in the farm bill?
  Ms. STABENOW. I wish to thank my friend from Montana, who, by the 
way, is a farmer. I have called him more than one time in Montana, and 
he has said: I am in the field. I am getting off the tractor. So he 
speaks with great authority. And the answer is yes, there is 
comprehensive disaster assistance paid for in the savings of our farm 
  Mr. TESTER. So if we combine that with the safety net, if we don't do 
a farm bill, as the House wants to do, and just have an extension, what 
will happen to that $23 billion in taxpayer savings?
  Ms. STABENOW. It goes away. There is no $23 billion in taxpayer 
savings if we don't pass the farm bill.
  Mr. TESTER. And if it is extended, would it, in fact, cost the 
taxpayers? That $23 billion would not only go away, but wouldn't the 
taxpayers have to pay for any kind of disaster extension?
  Ms. STABENOW. No question, we would be paying for disaster 
assistance. By the way, the reforms go away, and I know the Senator 
from Montana supports the reforms in the bill. We would see those 
subsidies continue--direct payments and so on--and we would be rolling 
back to a whole era of planting restrictions and huge subsidies back 
from the 1940s and 1950s.
  Mr. TESTER. One more point. If this farm bill goes away in 17 days, 
the farmers out there who need help from the bank to get an operating 
loan to continue on the next year, what will happen to those folks?
  Ms. STABENOW. The Senator raises a very important question because 
economic certainty means that farmers and ranchers are going to be able 
to know what is happening next year and can go to the bank and get 
those operating loans and plan for next year what they are going to 
plant. All that certainty will be gone. Everybody talks about how we 
need certainty for the future and the economy, and I couldn't agree 
more. This will do more to disrupt rural America and our ability to 
have a stable food supply and agriculture than anything else.
  Mr. TESTER. Once again I wish to thank the chairwoman of the Senate 
Agriculture Committee for such a great job passing a responsible bill 
out of committee and getting it through the Senate itself. The only 
thing I would like to say is, to my knowledge, the House works on 
majority rule. I doubt it would even take 1 day. If they want to roll 
up their sleeves and get after this, they could get the Senate farm 
bill passed there.

[[Page S6315]]

  Remember, this farm bill saves $23 billion, it provides a safety net 
for agriculture, has a great disaster component to it, and provides the 
kind of certainty for people to know, when they go to the bank, which 
is most farmers, and get that operating loan, they have a backstop that 
the bankers can depend on to offer that loan. So I thank the Senator 
for her great work.

                        Veterans Jobs Corps Act

  Mr. President, I rise today to call on the Senate to pass the 
Veterans Jobs Corps Act. Veterans and their families make great 
sacrifices so we can live freely in the greatest Nation in the world. 
Too many of our veterans return home and struggle to find good jobs. 
Our veterans deserve better. They earn our everlasting respect with 
their service and our best efforts to help them get good jobs when 
their service ends--jobs that will improve the communities they live in 
and jobs that will help us grow our economy.
  This bill takes good ideas from both sides of the aisle and does just 
that. It increases training and hiring opportunities for veterans using 
proven job-training initiatives, and it will give local governments the 
resources to hire qualified veterans as police officers, firefighters, 
and other first responders. At a time when local budgets around the 
country are tight, putting qualified veterans to work protecting our 
communities is smart policy.
  The Veterans Jobs Corps Act also helps rural America by training and 
hiring veterans to help restore and protect America's forests, parks, 
refuges, and veterans cemeteries. This is an important step forward, 
but investing in rural America must also mean investing in the veterans 
who are from rural America. That is why I added a provision to the bill 
that would bring more veterans jobs counselors to rural States across 
this country, including Montana.
  Job counselors work closely with veterans and local employers to 
connect former servicemembers with good jobs close to home. These 
counselors develop extensive knowledge of local job and training 
opportunities and maintain a list of resources that prepare veterans to 
enter the workforce. Right now the Labor Department allocates job 
counselors based solely on population without taking into account the 
distances that folks have to travel in rural America. That often means 
veterans in my State of Montana travel hundreds of miles for the 
employment assistance they have earned, and it leaves the six job 
counselors we have to cover tens of thousands of veterans over an area 
the size of the entire northeast border.
  My provision will fix this imbalance. It will give large and rural 
States such as Montana enough job counselors to serve all parts of the 
State and help to ensure that they are developing relationships with 
veterans and employers that will put more veterans back to work.
  The Veterans Jobs Corps Act is fully paid for, and it shouldn't be 
controversial at a time when our veterans continue to struggle or at a 
time when more and more veterans continue to return from the 
battlefields in Afghanistan. Our veterans fought hard for this country, 
and their families have sacrificed much. We owe it to them to put aside 
political differences and to pass this bill. It is a responsible 
measure that will make our communities safer, preserve our most 
treasured places, and will move this country forward. Our veterans 
earned nothing less.
  I especially want to thank Senator Bill Nelson for his leadership on 
this important bill. It deserves the support of the Senate.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Shaheen). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Madam President, like many of my colleagues, I am 
very proud to support the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012.
  Very simply, this measure keeps faith with our veterans, offers them 
employment opportunities commensurate not only with what they have 
given to the country, what they have served and sacrificed to 
accomplish and give back, but also with their skills and talents and 
gifts that have been enhanced and enlarged by their military service. 
This measure addresses the chronic and persistent problem of 
unemployment among our young veterans. It is a searing indictment of 
our Nation that unemployment among these young veterans is many 
percentage points higher than the average population.
  What is happening in this country is that a new generation is 
returning home--a new generation of veterans ready to work, wanting to 
serve in civilian life just as they had in the military. With the 
ending of the war in Iraq and the winding down of our presence in 
Afghanistan, 200,000 servicemembers are transitioning to the civilian 
workforce every year.
  In July 2011 there were 232,000 post-9/11 era veterans unemployed. 
That is 12.4 percent as an unemployment rate. The August jobs report of 
this year shows that the most recent unemployment rate for post-9/11 
veterans is 10.9 percent, and for Connecticut it is just under 10 
  There are many more statistics that show unemployment rates for these 
young veterans--particularly for our enlisted men and women coming back 
from Iraq and Afghanistan--are higher, some would estimate double the 
average rate across the population. They are an indictment of our 
commitment and our obligation unfulfilled so far by the greatest Nation 
in the history of the world.
  Too often in our history we have failed to keep faith, and we have 
left veterans behind. I have advocated measures in health care, 
counseling, training, and employment opportunities. But I want to focus 
on one measure in particular where all of us joined forces and reached 
a consensus as recently as last November.
  The Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012 is a new measure that would 
provide opportunities in conservation and in other kinds of public 
service, firefighting, and police. But there is an existing measure 
whose very life is threatened because it will expire in 2012. This 
measure is the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, specifically the tax credits 
under those measures for hiring unemployed or disabled veterans. Those 
tax credits will expire at the end of this year unless they are 
renewed. That is the reason I am introducing legislation, along with 
cosponsors Senators Webb, Cantwell, Tom Udall, Heller, and Mikulski, 
that extends the VOW to Hire Heroes Act tax credit through the end of 
  This measure is important to be extended because it offers these 
veterans new opportunities, and promotes and incentivizes employers to 
put our veterans to work.
  Hiring a veteran is not only the right thing to do to honor the men 
and women who have sacrificed, the men and women of our country, it 
also makes good business sense. Veterans are among our most highly 
skilled, capable, disciplined, reliable, and dedicated workers. 
Businesses ought to relish their services. Countless businesses big and 
small have already found that veterans are a tremendous asset to their 
workforce. This bill is important to build on the measures we have in 
place. Simply, it makes these veterans even more attractive.
  Last month I visited the Arna Machine Company in Bristol, CT, and I 
talked with a young veteran whose name is Nick Saucier, a former Army 
sniper who served in Afghanistan and now works there as a machinist. 
Being a former Army sniper, Nick knows about precision and care, taking 
your time to be on target. He is now training to use computer-assisted 
manufacturing software with the same care and precision and discipline 
that he developed in his Army training as a sniper.
  While I was at Arna, I talked to Stephen Shanahan, the president of 
the company, who is very proud and rightly proud of having 42 employees 
and growing in this tough economy. He is hiring and he said to me these 
tax credits have helped him fill positions with young qualified 
personnel who are veterans.
  I have also worked with Congressman Chris Murphy to survey 
manufacturers about veteran hiring. This legislation is the result of 
those conversations and discussions, the data and the

[[Page S6316]]

feedback we received, as well as consultation with my friend Bud Bucha, 
who has helped me time and again address the challenges facing 
  These tax credits will expire, they will end unless we renew them. We 
owe it to our veterans, to our business community, to manufacturers and 
small businesses that want to do the right thing, to make sure they 
have this incentive. I have heard from employers and veterans firsthand 
that many of them were not aware of this tax credit, so I have proposed 
as part of this legislation increased measures to create awareness and 
spread the word about these tax incentives so that big companies with 
their tax attorneys, but also smaller companies that may not have the 
consultants and the accountants to do this kind of work, know of it and 
take advantage of it.
  This measure also simplifies the process for veterans and small 
businesses to take advantage of the tax incentives. Currently, to be a 
``qualified veteran,'' individuals must gain approval through a local 
employment agency, which can be unnecessarily time consuming and 
burdensome to them and to the potential employer. This bill offered 
today would modify the Work Opportunity Tax Credit process to allow 
individuals to be considered qualified veterans for tax purposes if 
they simply provide a DD 214, have an honorable discharge, and valid 
proof of unemployment.
  This bill would also extend the amount of time employers have to take 
advantage of tax credits for hiring unemployed or disabled veterans, 
enhancing its use to countless small businesses as well as veterans. It 
would allow employers to take advantage of these tax credits for an 
additional 4 years, providing returning service men and women with a 
clear path to employment when they need it, and they will need it over 
these 4 years.
  I am very honored that this bill has been endorsed by the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars and the American Legion, which have been championing 
employment opportunities for veterans.
  I urge my colleagues to continue their support for veterans by 
supporting this legislation which will create more good jobs. We owe 
our veterans more good jobs. And it will grow our economy.
  Let me say, finally, nearly three-quarters of a million veterans--to 
be more precise, 742,000 men and women--are eligible for the employer 
hiring tax credits. Let's do the right thing. Let's extend these tax 
credits. We adopted them overwhelmingly last November in the VOW to 
Hire Heroes Act. We have it in our power and it is our obligation to 
meet this challenge. For our veterans we should do no less.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  Mr. PAUL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              Foreign Aid

  Mr. PAUL. Madam President, last evening I had a spirited exchange 
with the majority leader. The exchange was over whether we should send 
billions of dollars, billions of dollars we technically don't even 
have, to foreign countries that disrespect us, foreign countries that 
have tortured people who are friends of America.
  In Pakistan, Dr. Shakil Afridi helped us to get bin Laden. He has 
been tortured, kept in prison, and now been given a life sentence. I 
have asked one simple thing. I want to have 15 minutes, have a 
discussion, and have a vote on whether we should continue to send money 
to Pakistan. I have said we should send not one penny to Pakistan until 
this doctor is released. We offered at one time a $50 million reward 
for help in getting bin Laden. Young men and women sacrificed their 
limbs to go to Afghanistan, many sacrificed their lives to go to 
Pakistan to get bin Laden. And this man who helped get bin Laden, we 
are now letting him rot in a prison. We are now letting this man spend 
the rest of his life in prison.
  Do you know what this administration did? About a month ago they gave 
Pakistan about $1 billion more. Do you know how Pakistan responded? The 
head of the security agency for Pakistan said very snidely and with a 
great deal of arrogance: Come back and talk to us in 10 years about Dr. 
Afridi. They are going to keep him in prison for the rest of his life 
if he is not killed. His life has been threatened. Other prisoners and 
the public have threatened his family's life.

  Is this how we treat a friend of America? I have asked for 15 minutes 
to have a vote. Why don't they want to have a vote? Because they know 
the American people are with me. If you ask the question, ``Should we 
send money to countries that don't like us and disrespect us?'' 80 to 
90 percent of the American people are with me.
  They are afraid to vote on this issue. I have been giving them a 
chance to debate this for 6 weeks now. We have spent the whole week up 
here not having a debate because they do not want to have a vote 
because they know if they vote their position, which is to send your 
money to Pakistan and to Egypt and to Libya, the American people will 
not like it. So they are not willing to stand in the broad daylight and 
vote to continue this aid. They just do not want to have the vote.
  Last evening the majority leader said that his concern is over the 
veterans benefits bill. I also am concerned, so I have reconsidered my 
amendment. My amendment before would return the money to the Treasury 
and to counteract the debt. We would take the somewhere between $3 and 
$4 billion and send it back to the Treasury. But if what is holding 
this up is that the majority leader thinks this is not in any way 
connected with veterans benefits, why don't we take half of the $4 
billion that we would not send to Pakistan, let's take that half of 
that and put that into veterans benefits. I am willing to triple the 
size of the veterans benefits bill if we will take the money from where 
we should not be spending it.
  Some will stand and they will argue: Gosh, we have to be engaged in 
Pakistan because they have nuclear weapons. I am not saying disengage. 
I am just saying you don't have to bribe people to be our friend. We 
don't have the money anyway. We have to borrow the money from China to 
send it to Pakistan. I am not saying don't have relations with 
Pakistan. Many in Pakistan have been sympathetic to our country. Many 
in Pakistan have helped our country. But many in Pakistan, with a wink 
and a nod, look at us, take our money and laugh at us. They cash our 
check and they laugh at us.
  The American people are tired of this. Our Treasury is bare. There is 
a multitude of reasons why we should not continue to send good money 
after bad. Compound that with the tragedy that has occurred over the 
last couple of days, the tragedy of our Ambassador being assassinated 
in Libya and three of his fellow workers killed; the tragedy of our 
embassy being attacked in Egypt. We give Egypt $3 billion a year, and 
do you know what. Egypt cannot protect or will not protect our embassy. 
There was a phone call to the embassy from someone in Egypt saying the 
mob is coming. A phone call is not enough. Do you think they could have 
sent soldiers and tanks to protect our embassy? They gave us a phone 
call saying the mob is coming.
  Egypt needs to act as our ally if they want to continue to cash our 
checks. My position is: Not one penny more for Libya or Egypt or 
Pakistan until they act as our allies. Some say we have to keep sending 
it. Fine, let's send it when they act as our allies. Let's send it when 
they start behaving as civilized nations and come to their senses.
  I have an amendment, and I am going to ask unanimous consent to bring 
this amendment forward. I may be surprised, but I think the other side 
is going to object. I will be asking for 15 minutes of the Senate's 
time to vote on ending this aid. Instead, we are taking half of the $4 
billion we are squandering overseas and giving to people who don't like 
us and putting it toward the deficit and using the other half of that 
aid and putting it into veterans' benefits.
  If we are really talking about veterans' benefits and really serious 
about providing money for the veterans, let's take it from an area 
which is insulting to veterans. Let's take it from a country that 
insults every veteran in this country, Pakistan. Our men and women gave 
their lives to fight a war in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan 
to get the chief architect of 9/11, bin Laden. Let's memorialize those 
people who sacrificed their lives and the veterans by saying we are not

[[Page S6317]]

going to give money to a country that disrespects and disavows 
everything we have done over the last 10 years to combat terrorism.
  I ask unanimous consent we resume consideration of S. 3457, set aside 
the pending amendments, and call up my amendment No. 2838.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. KERRY. Madam President, reserving the right to object, let me 
first mention that, sadly, this afternoon we learned one of the four 
people who were killed in Libya, Glen Doherty, is a Massachusetts 
native, a former Navy Seal and State Department security official who 
was guarding and caring for the Ambassador and taking care of the 
wounded people there.
  As Senator McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Senator Lieberman said 
on the floor yesterday, I believe cutting the aid to any of these 
countries right now in this fashion is not the way to honor the memory 
of Ambassador Chris Stevens. He went there in great danger to help that 
country be free and have an opportunity for democracy. Glen Doherty did 
the same thing. He put his life on the line in order to help the 
  The Senator from Kentucky might be surprised to know that the Libyan 
people--by vast numbers--are grateful to the United States and are 
mourning the death of Ambassador Stevens. I heard the Senator from 
Kentucky--frankly, in a kind of arrogant statement is really the only 
way I can frame it--say several times: Start behaving like a civilized 
nation. Well, by whose standard and when? The Libyan and Egyptian 
Governments didn't do what is happening there. The Yemen Government 
sent its people to protect our people, and we helped negotiate the 
transfer of authority to this new government in Yemen.
  Are they having difficulties? Yes. Go back and look at the United 
States of America in the 1700s. We had some difficulties. We had to 
write slavery out of the Constitution, not to mention a bunch of other 
things. It takes time. The arrogance of suggesting that we are going to 
judge whether they are civilized today or tomorrow because a mob or a 
bunch of militants took matters into their own hands would just be so 
self-defeating and such a narrow effort that anyone could possibly 
  I ask if the Senator has ever been to Pakistan? Has the Senator ever 
been to Egypt? The Senator doesn't want to answer. I presume that means 
he has not. He ought to go to Egypt and see what those people are 
struggling to do. There was a revolution in Tehrir Square. It wasn't an 
Islamic revolution; it was a generational revolution, a bunch of young 
people with smart phones tweeting and Googling each other trying to 
touch the world and have a future. The Senator wants to cut off 
American assistance to these nascent democratic efforts?
  Whatever happened to the great commitment of the conservative 
movement in America to freedom and democracy and to help it develop? 
Just turn our back on it and pull out the aid? What the heck. Because 
we don't think they are civilized. I find it kind of stunning when the 
Senator says: Foreign countries that aren't friendly. The countries 
didn't do these things. It is the militant extremists and radical 
terrorists within those countries whom those people are struggling to 
beat back.
  Right now there are troops in the western part of Pakistan losing 
their lives by fighting extremists. Cut off the aid, and we send the 
message: If you don't do exactly what we say, exactly when we say, 
exactly the way we want, we are not going to give you the pittance we 
give you.
  We give less than 1 percent of the entire budget of the United States 
of America. Less than 1 percent goes into all of our foreign 
operations, all of our embassies, our security, and our aid. It is 1 
percent. The impact is extraordinary. The Senator wants to just cut it 
off? OK.
  We have 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, and they are largely supplied 
now somewhat from the northern route that has been created. They are 
also supplied from Karachi by road all the way over the Khyber Pass and 
down into Afghanistan. We have gone through a long process of working 
with the Pakistanis to be able to renew and do that.
  As everybody knows, we have decimated al-Qaida in the western part of 
their country. Civilians are being killed in their country in an effort 
to protect our country. They have endured that. Their political system 
has endured that, and we are just going to turn around and say we are 
going to pull the aid out and we only want to do it with 15 minutes on 
the floor of the Senate? Here is a major policy consideration, and we 
just want 15 minutes because it is that simple.
  These are four countries which are all critical to the future of the 
region in the Middle East. Egypt is an essential partner with respect 
to the potential of peace in the Middle East, one-quarter of the Arab 
  I have been to Egypt many times. I have sat with the new President, 
President Morrissey, and I have met with others engaged in this 
transformation. They are trying to be a legitimate democracy. Yes, 
their people won the election, and we are not exactly on the same page, 
but that is what happens in democracies. That is what happens when 
people vote. Are we not going to respect their democracy?
  I just say to my friend from Kentucky, there are critical issues at 
stake. We are not buying it. What we are doing is trying to help them 
to be able to make this transformation to a full-throated, full-blooded 
democracy that can respect its court system and its elected 
institutions, and it doesn't come easily.
  Their police were decimated in the course of the revolution. There 
was corruption and they are working to change that. There is a whole 
unbelievable transformation taking place. It is not going to be pretty. 
It is difficult. There are a lot of unscrupulous people we all know 
have hated us for a long time who would love to get the upper hand. If 
we pull out, we give them the upper hand. Stay there and we have an 
opportunity to do what Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, and a lot of other 
people were doing, which is stand and fight for the interest of the 
United States of America because we have real interests in those 
places. That is what this is about.
  First of all, it deserves more than 15 minutes. Secondly, it is not 
appropriate to do it on a veterans bill where we desperately need to 
get this help to our veterans. Do it freestanding. We ought to do it in 
the proper way. Do it through our committee. We will have a hearing. I 
am happy to have that done properly. This is not the way to do it, and 
this is not the moment to do it. It would have a profoundly negative 
impact that could contribute to even more violence and not stem it if 
that were our reaction.
  Madam President, I do object, and hopefully at some point I will be 
happy to have this debate. It is a worthwhile one, but this is not the 
time and this is not the bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Veterans Jobs Corps Act

  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, the Veterans Jobs Corps bill creates a 
new mandatory program that would cost $1 billion over 5 years. As the 
ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and someone who is committed 
to ensuring that we honor our commitments as part of our process in the 
Senate, I am concerned about the cost of the bill and the fact that it 
violates our budget agreement entered into last year.
  The spending on this new program is to be offset by, we are told, 
$119 million in direct spending reductions and $1.132 billion in new 
taxes. So it is a tax-and-spend bill.
  My staff on the Senate Budget Committee has confirmed that there is a 
302(f) Budget Act point of order against the Veterans Jobs Corps Act 
with the managers' amendment as it is presently. So that is the 
situation. So when I say we have confirmed that, what I mean is that we 
have talked to the Budget Committee chairman, Senator Conrad, and his 
staff, and they have

[[Page S6318]]

confirmed our conclusion that this violates the Budget Control Act.
  The 302(f) point of order lies against this bill because the Veterans 
Jobs Corps bill, as amended, would cause an increase in the budget 
authority and outlays above the Veterans' Affairs Committee's 
allocation that was deemed by the Budget Control Act. The Veterans Jobs 
Corps bill would specifically cause an increase in budget authority and 
outlays above the Veterans' Affairs Committee's allocation by $61 
million in 2013 and $480 million between the 5 years of 2013 and 2017. 
So the budget gimmicks in the Veterans Jobs Corps Act are significant 
and very troubling.
  The CBO accounting procedures don't catch this, but it is very real. 
They don't catch it because the people who wrote the legislation wrote 
it in a way so they could avoid the proper score from the CBO in this 
  The bill shifts the timing of corporate income tax payments so that 
it appears to collect $135 million in additional revenue in 2013. What 
does that mean? A month or so before these payments are due, they 
accelerate the receipt of those payments. The payments fall in this 
year, and bingo, we say we have another $135 million we can spend. 
Isn't that wonderful. We just accelerate the date and the time that it 
would be paid. However, this is simply a smoke-and-mirrors scheme since 
the timing shift in payments will lead to exactly $135 million less in 
taxes collected in 2014. In other words, if we were planning on 
collecting $135 million next year and we collect it this year, the 
people who owed the money next year don't owe it anymore; they have 
already paid it. So there is a hole in next year. I have offered under 
the Honest Budget Act, along with Senator Olympia Snowe and other 
colleagues, legislation that would end this pernicious gimmick. It is 
worse than a gimmick.
  This bill uses the exact same mechanism in 2017 and in 2018. The bill 
collects $392 million more in tax payments in 2017, but--and I have the 
chart from the Congressional Budget Office--it collects $392 million 
less in 2018. Do my colleagues follow me? We just accelerate the money, 
we spend the money, we get it this year, but we don't get it the next 
year. So over a period of time, this is a gimmick. It creates no new 
real money, but it creates the appearance of having real money and it 
is the appearance of money that is being spent, not real money. This is 
just one of the examples of how this country is going broke.
  If this gimmick was not included, the Veterans Jobs Corps bill would 
increase the deficit by $38 million in 2013 and by $324 million over 
the period of 2013 through 2017. About one-third of the total 
expenditure of the bill is based on this gimmick. Our Democratic 
colleagues have used this budget gimmick to claim that it decreases the 
deficit by $97 million in 2013 and by $68 million in 2013 through 2017, 
a 5-year period.
  I believe these points about the Federal budget process are 
indisputable. I know what CBO says about it. If we look at their 
numbers and we examine it over a period of 6 years, we see clearly that 
the money is not there. I invite any member who wants to suggest that 
this is real money the U.S. Treasury is receiving to come to the floor 
and explain how they think they are correct. I don't believe that I am 
in error.
  To put it simply, the money my Democratic colleagues claim in the 
bill as revenue isn't there. It appears to be there on paper, but that 
is not the truth. The American people need to know the truth.
  We simply spend more money on the Veterans' Affairs Committee 
allocations than was agreed to in the Budget Control Act. We are 
already violating that. We have done it already this year. As a result, 
we have eroded the small, but significant steps we took to bring some 
spending under control.
  The Budget Control Act would have reduced spending by $2.1 trillion 
over 10 years for the entire U.S. budget. Well, how much is that? We 
know that $2.1 trillion is a lot. It is a lot, but we plan to spend $47 
trillion over that 10 years. So we would be reducing our projected 
spending from $47 trillion to $45 trillion over 10 years. Surely we can 
do that. That is not a cut, because if we spend for 10 years at the 
current level of spending, we would be spending $37 trillion, so we are 
still increasing spending from $37 trillion to $45 trillion, just not 
$47 trillion. And the Republic is not going to sink into the ocean with 
those kinds of cuts, but it would begin to put us on a path of honesty 
and responsibility and end the unsustainable debt course we are now on.
  I am not happy about this. I will make this budget point of order 
formally when we get back on the bill. I don't know when that will be 
because for right now we have gotten off of it. But I want my 
colleagues to know what the situation is, because it may be at 1 
o'clock tomorrow morning when we have that done.
  I wish to say this: This Congress has had the worst record in 
decades, maybe in 100 years. We haven't had a budget for over 3 years. 
We haven't dealt with the sequester that has to be dealt with before 
the end of the year.
  This Senate--not the House but this Senate--has not passed a single 
appropriations bill. To my knowledge, I say to my colleague Senator 
Hatch, I don't believe we have ever failed to have a single bill, 
although several times we have only had a few. But now we have none, 
and they have made it a policy of the majority party not to bring up a 
single bill so we can cobble it all together in some big omnibus CR and 
pass it in the dead of night, maybe on Christmas Eve, after the 
election is over. We should have been doing that all year long.
  We haven't dealt with the tax increases that are going to hammer the 
economy in January, and we haven't passed a budget in over 1,000 days. 
The House has passed a good budget which would change the debt course 
of America and put us on a sound path. They sent over a Defense 
authorization bill. They sent over a Defense appropriations bill, and 
most of the appropriations bills, until it became clear Senator Reid 
said we are not going to pass them anymore. They sent over other good 
legislation that is dying in the Senate.
  There are ways to help veterans get jobs. There are already six jobs 
programs for veterans now--six of them now. Maybe they could be 
improved or fixed, and if we do it right, we could create a bill that 
helps veterans get jobs without violating the budget.
  Before I yield the floor, I am pleased to see my colleague Senator 
Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. His 
leadership on the Judiciary Committee and Finance Committee is well-
known in this body and I am honored to serve with him.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                          Unfinished Business

  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I wish to thank my colleague, who makes a 
lot of very important points here today, and I hope everyone in this 
body is paying attention.
  Back in June I came to the floor to discuss the many items of 
unfinished business the Congress must take up before the end of the 
year. Among those items are a number of tax-related issues that simply 
cannot be put off without inflicting more damage on our economy and on 
our American taxpayers.
  When I spoke on the floor regarding this tax agenda 3 months ago, I 
used this chart right here.
  Sadly, as you can see from this chart, things have not changed since 
then. We still need to resolve the death tax. As you can see, death tax 
relief is the third one down listed on the chart. It will expire at the 
end of 2012. We need to act in order to prevent a hike in the death tax 
in 2013. Unfortunately, rather than work to prevent an increase in the 
death tax, a number of my colleagues voted earlier this summer to 
expand it significantly.
  While we have passed a bill through the Finance Committee, the Senate 
has yet to act on the tax extenders, which expired 9 months ago. As you 
can see, we have not done the tax extenders, either, on the floor.
  We still have not acted to address the alternative minimum tax, or 
AMT, which is set to hit millions of Americans if we do not act to 
patch it. That is right there as the second item on this chart. This 
issue of the AMT, the alternative minimum tax, needs to be discussed in 
some detail because the failure to resolve the AMT is emblematic of the 
failure of this administration to take even the most basic steps to 
protect American families from the

[[Page S6319]]

tax increases looming at the end of this year. Nearly 4 million 
families paid the AMT in 2011. Yet, if nothing is done to address the 
AMT in this session, an additional 27 to 28 million families will be 
hit with a surprise AMT tax increase on tax day next April. Now, that 
bears repeating. There are 27 or 28 million families who have 
heretofore not been hit by the AMT who will be hit if Congress fails to 
act before the end of this year. But even that does not tell the whole 
story. More than twice that number, that is, 60 million American 
families, will have to fill out the AMT--alternative minimum tax--
worksheet on their tax forms just to determine whether they owe 
anything under the AMT. This is a textbook example of the 
administrative burden and deadweight loss that our complicated Tax Code 
imposes on the American economy. For those who will be hit by the AMT, 
this is not just a reality that will hit on April 15 of next year, it 
is a reality today. Those families ensnared by the AMT are required to 
make estimated tax payments, and Monday of next week, September 17, the 
third such payment is due.
  The AMT has become a unique burden because of the way it is 
structured. Unlike most provisions in the Tax Code, the level of income 
exempt from the AMT is not automatically adjusted for inflation. For 11 
years, we have passed legislation to temporarily raise the AMT 
exemption, which was originally meant for only 155 millionaires who did 
not pay any taxes. But each time we face an expiration of one of these 
temporary raises--like we do again this year--we risk seeing the AMT 
return to its permanent level. Over time, that becomes more and more 
problematic as more and more Americans have incomes that reach the 
unadjusted AMT income level. These temporary exemption increases have 
been enacted to prevent millions of middle-class American families from 
falling prey to the AMT. But now, the closer we get to the end of 2012 
without another AMT patch, the more likely it becomes that the tax will 
hit an unprecedented number of American families.
  Ultimately, we need a permanent fix for the AMT. This annual shell 
game needs to come to an end. This tax was initially created over 50 
years ago to address 155 high-income individuals who paid zero in 
income taxes--155 people. Because of its poor design, today an 
additional 27 million Americans, many squarely in the middle class, are 
now threatened by the AMT.
  The President and his allies assure us that AMT relief is a top 
priority, but that seems to be just more talk. The President's budget 
proposed a permanent fix to the AMT by replacing it with a so-called 
Buffett tax, but the President's math just never added up. Supposedly, 
nonpartisan policy experts and fact checkers have been eager beavers 
when it comes to criticizing the math in Governor Romney's tax 
proposal, but maybe they should check the President's math as well.
  If we do not eliminate the AMT, it will hit millions and millions of 
American taxpayers, unjustly so. The President claims a permanent fix 
is a priority of his. In his fiscal year 2013 budget, he proposed to 
offset it with the Buffett tax. People treat the President's fiscal 
year 2013 budget as though it never happened. In some sense, I 
understand that. It received not a single vote in the U.S. Senate, even 
with his own party controlling the Chamber. But that said, it is the 
President's budget. He wrote it. He presented it. He owns it. And how 
does it add up? Consider the math on his permanent AMT fix. Again, he 
proposes to replace the AMT--ostensibly helping middle-class 
taxpayers--with the Buffett tax--ostensibly hurting the evil rich. That 
sounds great until you look at the numbers. How much revenue loss would 
there be from a permanent AMT fix? Madam President, $864 billion, to be 
exact. And how much would the Buffett tax yield? Fifty billion 
dollars--a little less, actually. So the Buffett tax misses the target 
by over 94 percent. The President would need to increase his Buffett 
tax by over 1,600 percent to fill in the gap. There are not enough 
Pinocchios in all of Disney World to describe the phoniness that is the 
President's AMT proposal.
  Ultimately, the AMT needs to go in its entirety. It will probably go 
as part of comprehensive tax reform. Unfortunately, President Obama and 
his campaign are undercutting the prospects for tax reform every day 
with their dishonest attacks on Governor Romney's tax proposal, a key 
element of which has been endorsed by the Chairman of the President's 
own Export Council even as his desperate campaign attacks that same 
feature. But absent a permanent AMT fix, a temporary patch is both a 
viable and a necessary option.
  So here we are, with all of these must-address measures. We have the 
AMT, tax extenders, the death tax, sequestration, and, of course, the 
expiration of the 2001-2003 tax relief that threatens to throw our 
economy into another recession. Yet, at a moment crying out for 
Presidential leadership, we get campaign partisanship. The President 
and his allies only seem concerned about getting past the next 
election. At a time when serious solutions to our fiscal crisis are 
demanded, they offer no plans of their own. We hear that we need to 
stay the course, but the course we are on has provided us with four 
straight trillion-dollar-plus deficits and a debt that threatens not 
only our long-term but immediate fiscal well-being.
  The President's suggestion that we can solve these problems by 
cutting defense spending and raising taxes on the wealthy is a parody 
of serious fiscal policy. It might be good for a bumper sticker, a 
college sociology seminar, or an Occupy Wall Street sit-in, but the 
numbers do not add up.
  The President's mantra is that tax increases on the rich are all that 
is necessary to pay every bill and balance every budget. That is not an 
oversimplification. If you watch the President's campaign commercials, 
the only thing he says about balancing the budget is that he wants to 
``ask the wealthy to pay a little more.'' If that is truly the extent 
of the President's plan for solving our fiscal crisis, he is either 
being dishonest or he needs to invest in a new calculator.
  Let me give an example. Our Nation currently faces what some, 
including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, have called a fiscal 
cliff. With tax relief scheduled to expire at the end of this year, our 
Nation faces the possibility of being thrown into another recession. 
According to the CBO, that outcome is a certainty if the tax relief 
signed by both Presidents Bush and Obama is allowed to expire under 
current economic conditions. Yet, rather than working with the 
Republicans in Congress to extend that tax relief--tax relief that 
originally passed with bipartisan support and was extended in a similar 
fashion in 2010--President Obama has opted to hold American taxpayers 
hostage in order to extract a tax increase for those making more than 
$250,000 a year. And why? Not to help the economy and not to reduce the 
deficit but for electoral votes. The President and his supporters claim 
these tax increases are necessary if we are to get our fiscal house in 
order, but if you do the math, the President's proposal would only 
raise enough revenue to reduce this year's deficit by 5 percent. It 
would be just enough to fund the government's activities for about a 
  Whether we are talking about the Buffett tax in the context of the 
AMT discussion or the President's fixation with raising the top 
marginal tax rates in the midst of a historically weak economic 
recovery, it is clear that the President and his allies in Congress are 
not serious about addressing the issues most important to the American 
people. These issues will not go away after the election, but the 
President has offered no positive program for getting us out of this 
mess. And I have gotten quite a kick out of them saying Governor Romney 
should be more specific on what he is doing. Where is the President's 
plan? What is he going to do? How are we going to get out of this 
fiscal mess? Not a doggone thing being said except things that do not 
add up mathematically--to borrow a very important phrase by a person 
from the Democratic Party during our convention.
  Now, the President might envision himself as this century's Franklin 
Roosevelt, but in this campaign the only thing President Obama has to 
offer is fear--fear itself. His failure to offer solutions does not 
just have a theoretical impact, this failure of leadership hits real 
people in a real way. Do not just ask those making their quarterly tax

[[Page S6320]]

payments on Monday. Ask any small business owner whether they are 
worried about their taxes going up next year. Ask any American who is 
having trouble making ends meet if they are concerned that Congress has 
neglected to address so many issues that will dramatically impact their 
financial well-being.
  When the Senate recesses next week until after Election Day, I wonder 
what my colleagues in the majority will tell their constituents when 
they are asked why Congress has not acted on these items. This 
checklist right here that we were talking about before, all of those 
are important. We have to do those. My guess is they will say it all 
had to wait until after the election. That is all they can say because 
if they were to come clean, they would have to admit that they did not 
want to pass any of these things. They were more interested in 
campaigning on our tax problems than on fixing them.
  If we go until the end of the year without addressing these pressing 
issues, the wound to our Nation's economic and fiscal well-being will 
be entirely self-inflicted. These are matters that could have and 
should have been addressed months ago, and we need to address all of 
those issues. That we have arrived at this point--three-quarters of the 
way through the year--without fixing these problems should be an 
embarrassment to the President and those in Congress who are supportive 
of his agenda.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, I have a parliamentary inquiry. What is 
the parliamentary situation as it exists?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate is on the motion to proceed to S. 
  Mr. McCAIN. Is the pending legislation open for amendment?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. It is not. The Senate is on the motion to 
  Mr. McCAIN. How long has the Senate been on the motion to proceed?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate went to the motion this morning.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Presiding Officer.

                         Defense Authorization

  I was just glancing through the often-read calendar of business here 
that we chop down a lot of trees to provide on every Senator's desk on 
a daily basis. It is the Calendar of Business for Thursday, September 
13. On page 58, for order No. 419, is S. 3254, by Mr. Levin, ``a bill 
to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military 
activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and 
for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe 
military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other 
purposes.'' This was reported and placed on the calendar on June 4, 
2012. So for nearly 4 months we have had the Defense authorization bill 
pending on the legislative calendar.
  Meanwhile, we have been taken up with other important items, such as 
the one we are considering now, one that praises, as we all do, our 
veterans, with efforts for our veterans to obtain jobs. We already have 
six veterans job-training programs, but, what the heck, let's have 
another one.
  Meanwhile, the men and women who are serving in the military, who 
will be veterans, are not having authorized the equipment, the 
training, the programs, the health care, family support systems for 
military families, for example, strengthening training, oversight, and 
the prevention of military sexual assault, ensuring that reductions in 
military personnel are matched with comparable savings in civilian 
personnel and contractors over the next 5 years, without sacrificing 
mission-critical capabilities. It authorizes $135 billion for military 
personnel, for the men and women who are serving today, including the 
cost of pay allowances, bonuses, and a 1.7-percent much-deserved, 
across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed armed 
services. It also includes nearly $1 billion in unemployment benefits 
for members who leave military service and cannot find civilian jobs. 
It authorizes all our major weapons systems and every piece of 
equipment large or small that the Department of Defense needs and the 
men and women need who are still fighting in a war.

  We found out in the last day or so that we still live in an extremely 
dangerous world. It authorizes $525 billion for the Defense Department, 
$88 billion for operations in Afghanistan and around the world, and 
$17.8 billion to maintain our nuclear deterrent. I think we have just 
seen with the tragic death of our Ambassador that al-Qaida and other 
extremist organizations are making a comeback in places such as Iraq 
and Afghanistan; certainly extremists were present in Libya in the 
tragic death of four Americans.
  This legislation enhances the capabilities of our military and 
partners to counter and ultimately defeat al-Qaida and its regional 
affiliates which remain intent on attacking the United States and our 
  But there is an issue that all of us are concerned about, cyber 
warfare, those attacks that we know are coming sooner or later. This 
legislation improves the ability of our Armed Forces to counter 
nontraditional threats focusing on terrorism cyber warfare and the 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  I could go on and on about the importance of this legislation which 
has been before this body for 4 months. And what has the Democratic 
leader of this Senate done? We are about to go out of session next week 
without addressing the most important responsibility of this Senate and 
their elected representatives which is our Nation's defense.
  In the meantime, when we take up bills, the majority leader ``fills 
up the tree.'' A lot of people do not know what that means. That means 
we cannot have an amendment. Then we vote and we drop that particular 
piece of legislation. Then the next week we will take up a piece of 
legislation that somehow will enhance the majority leader's ability to 
maintain his position as majority leader, certainly not believing that 
that legislation will actually be passed by the Senate.
  Every year for 51 years the Senate has passed the Defense 
authorization bill, it has gone to conference and been signed by the 
President of the United States. The majority leader of the Senate and 
the Members on the other side of this body have been derelict in their 
duties, and we are about for the first time in 50 years not to 
authorize what the men and women who are putting their lives on the 
line for us every single day need very badly.
  You know, sometimes my colleagues wonder why the American people hold 
us in such low esteem. If we cannot enact legislation that has us carry 
out our most important duties as representatives of the people, 
including the men and women in the military, then I am surprised that 
so many Americans still approve of the way Congress operates.
  What have we watched here on the floor of the Senate for the last 4 
months since this bill was put on the calendar and could have been 
taken up, debated and passed by the Senate as we have every year for 50 
years? The majority leader of the Senate has refused to bring this bill 
before the body for debate, discussion, amendment and passage, our most 
solemn responsibility.
  All I can say is, shame, shame, shame that we have not fulfilled the 
responsibilities to the men and women who are sacrificing their very 
lives on our behalf, a failure of colossal proportions. All I can say 
is I believe that the American people are aware, and I believe the 
American people deserve a lot better than they are getting from this 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coons.) The Senator from New Hampshire is 
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I want to follow up on the comments of the 
distinguished ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee 
who, of course, through his own service and sacrifice for our country 
knows too well how important it is for us to stand with our men and 
women in uniform. I wanted to follow up on what he said.
  This body is about to go out and adjourn next week without passing a 
Defense authorization bill. It would be the first time in over 50 years 
in the history of our country. There is no plan that we have heard from 
the majority leader as to when we will take up this incredibly 
important legislation for our country.
  What Senator McCain has already outlined addresses issues such as pay 
for our soldiers and the equipment they

[[Page S6321]]

need and benefits they deserve and they have earned, and all of the 
important issues that impact the protection of our country, and making 
sure we stand in faith with our men and women in uniform.
  But I have to say that, unfortunately, this is part of a pattern of 
where we are right now in the Senate. It is very disappointing. I got 
elected in 2010. I know the Presiding Officer did as well. I came here 
because I saw that our country was in trouble. At the time I ran, we 
were $13 trillion in debt. Now we are $16 trillion in debt.
  I have the privilege of serving on the Senate Armed Services 
Committee. It really is a privilege. I am the wife of an Iraq war 
veteran, very proud of our men and women in uniform. I take that 
responsibility very seriously. But here we stand, about to adjourn 
without taking up Defense authorization, so important to our men and 
women in uniform. Here we stand about to adjourn with our military 
facing what is called sequestration, which is an across-the-board cut 
which our own military leaders have said will hollow out our force, 
will undermine our military security for generations. These are the 
words of our own Secretary of Defense, will break faith with our men 
and women in uniform. If we do not take action before January 1, this 
happens to our military, on top of the fact that we have not taken up 
Defense authorization.

  But not only that, it has been 3 years since the Senate has taken up 
a budget for our country, which is one of the reasons we find ourselves 
in the situation with the hatchet coming to our military in January.
  On top of that, the majority leader has not brought forward one 
appropriations bill that would go with, if done in the right way, the 
appropriate budgeting and responsible budgeting process for this 
Nation. Let's identify some of the appropriations bills. None of them 
has come to the floor. But there are two important ones I can think of 
for our men and women in uniform, the Defense appropriations and also 
the appropriations for our veterans. Yet none of that has come to the 
floor, and here we are about to adjourn next week, not doing the 
people's business, the reason why people sent us here. If we cannot 
have a budget and we cannot take care of the foremost responsibilities 
of the American people, which is to keep them safe through preventing 
Draconian defense cuts that are going to undermine and break faith with 
our military, and, by the way also will cost us a million jobs coming 
in January, along with I did not even mention our tax rates are 
expiring, yet we are all leaving town, I think it is irresponsible.
  I would call on the majority leader to bring up the Defense 
authorization bill now. Why can't we do a budget for this country? 
Without a budget, how are we ever going to address the fiscal issues 
that are burning and have led us to be $16 trillion in debt?
  I stand here today to talk about why we should bring the Defense 
authorization to the floor. I certainly do not want to be part of a 
Senate that for the first time in 50 years has not passed that Defense 
authorization bill for our men and women in uniform.
  Here is what is important as well. In the Senate Armed Services 
Committee we passed Defense authorization out of committee unanimously. 
At a time when I understand the American people are looking at us 
saying, there is too much partisanship, we see you fighting too much, 
this is a bill that passed with unanimous support from Republicans and 
Democrats from that committee. So in terms of a bill we can bring to 
the floor that is incredibly important to our country, incredibly 
important to our men and women in uniform, and a bipartisan bill, I 
cannot think of a better thing to do for our men and women in uniform, 
rather than continuing to have what we have seen from the majority 
leader, which is sort of political show votes rather than doing the 
real work the American people have sent us here to do.
  Defense authorization should be on the top of our list, preventing 
our military from these receiving these devastating cuts that are going 
to diminish our national security at a very troubling time in the 
world, and also averting this fiscal crisis that is coming in January. 
I think we should stay to do that. I think the American people would 
expect nothing loss of us.
  I thank the Presiding Officer. I know the Senator ran in 2010. I am 
sure you heard this when you ran for office. We need to do better by 
the American people. I know this. We owe it to our brave men and women 
in uniform to pass Defense authorization--bring it to the floor, debate 
it robustly, and then make sure it goes forward.
  The House passed their Defense authorization on May 18. We should do 
our job here as well and take it up right away. I hope the majority 
leader will do that.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank Senator Ayotte. She is a great 
member of the Budget Committee and a very active and aggressive member 
of the Armed Services Committee. She is the wife of an Iraq veteran, 
and knows and cares about these issues and contributes greatly. She and 
some of our other new Members have been flabbergasted to see how little 
has been accomplished in the 2 years they have been here. In my 
experience, Senator Ayotte, this is the worst performance in the 16 
years I have ever seen in the Senate. It may be the worst performance 
in 100 years.
  As the Senator mentioned, the House passed the Defense authorization 
act in May. They passed a Defense appropriations bill in July. We have 
had all summer and done nothing. The Senator is so correct. We had some 
intense and good debate in the Armed Services Committee over that bill. 
Yet when it finished, we had a unanimous vote. I thought that was 
special. So why did the bill not get brought up? I do not know. I feel 
as if we have missed an opportunity to do our duty. Not only have we 
not had a budget, not only have we not had a Defense Authorization bill 
or a Defense appropriations bill, we have not had 1 of the 12 
appropriation bills brought to the floor, not 1. I believe that has 
never happened perhaps ever before, at least in maybe a century. The 
decision that was made by the Democratic leader was supported by his 
conference. He cannot just do things that his conference does not 
support, so they have decided not to do this. We end up at the end of 
the year with this massive CR with multiple changes. They say it will 
be a clean continuing resolution to fund the government for 6 months at 
the same level of funding. That is not exactly accurate. There are some 
things in it. But it is not the way to do business--to have every one 
of the bills cobbled together, all 12 appropriations bills cobbled 
together, in one 6-month, half-year, appropriations bill. Because, you 
see, as of September 30, if we don't pass the appropriations bills, the 
government shuts down. Under the law and the Constitution this 
government cannot spend a dime that Congress has not appropriated. That 
is the way the government works. We have to appropriate money before 
some bureaucrat can spend it.

  The House has done their duty but not the Senate. We have not passed 
a single one. So what will happen to avoid the entire government being 
shut down, the entire Defense Department being hammered? What will we 
do? We will pass a continuing resolution that continues to fund the 
government. For now, we understand it will be 6 months, and that would 
be a substitute for doing what we should have done. What will we do 6 
months from now? Will we have another 6-month CR or will we actually 
pass appropriations bills?
  I appreciate the leadership of Senator Ayotte and her participation. 
I have heard her express her frustration as a new member of the Budget 
Committee that we haven't had a budget and didn't bring one up in the 
Budget Committee and didn't vote on it. As the ranking member of the 
Budget Committee, it was a deeply disappointing thing for me. That was 
a decision made by the majority leader, Senator Reid, who said it would 
be foolish to have a budget. Now we have gone about 1,233 days without 
a budget in this country and it has created this kind of dysfunction in 
our government. I don't think it is acceptable. I don't believe there 
is an excuse for it. I believe it has been done purely for politics, 
and that is not good, not when the men and women in uniform are serving 
us, at risk of their lives, losing life and limb on behalf of this 
Congress because we sent them there and asked them to undertake a

[[Page S6322]]

dangerous job. Yet we can't even get together and get a bill to the 
  I would say we worked hard in the Armed Services Committee. A bill 
Senator Levin and Senator McCain led us to pass was passed unanimously. 
It was bipartisan. There were some things I would have liked to have 
seen done differently, and Senator McCain and Senator Levin may have 
had different ideas, but we couldn't get everyone to agree with 
everything we liked. We did, however, get a pretty good bill and it was 
within the budget and it was the kind of legislation we need to pass.
  So the House has passed their authorization bill, within the budget, 
and similar to our bill. We should be able to conference and produce 
legislation in a reasonable amount of time. But when a bill such as 
that comes to the floor, people are entitled to have amendments. They 
are entitled to offer an amendment, as Senator Paul wants, to cut off 
funding for some foreign aid we have been putting out. But some people 
don't want to vote on that. It might not be an easy vote, but this is 
the Senate. People are entitled to offer amendments, they are entitled 
to have votes on issues they believe in and they campaigned on and they 
advocate and they are entitled to get their vote. But if it is a tough 
vote, it seems around here the leadership on the other side doesn't 
want us to talk about it. They do not want to be on record as voting. 
So that is a disappointment to us.
  I think Senator McCain spoke with clarity. He spoke as a man who 
served his country, who has been in harm's way, who suffered on behalf 
of our country, who understands foreign policy, who understands the 
Defense Department, and understands Congress. His comments were solid, 
on point and correct, and I hope all Americans listen to him.
  I appreciate the opportunity of sharing my disappointment at this 
point and just want to make one last point before I yield the floor.
  Senator McCain, earlier today, and I and others, talked about the 
sequester. That has to be fixed by the beginning of next year. It needs 
to be fixed now. We can fix it now. We will fix it, in my opinion, 
sometime between now and the end of the year. It would be so much 
better if we brought it up, confronted the difficulties of the 
sequester and fixed it now rather than leaving a cloud over the Defense 
  If we somehow fail to alter this sequester, this bill that is 
currently on the floor--the Veterans Jobs Corps Act--becomes very 
insignificant because we are going to be laying off so many members of 
our military who maybe just recently got back from a deployment 
overseas, in harm's way, who would like to make a career in the U.S. 
military. Maybe that is their plan and they all of a sudden get a blue 
slip. All of a sudden they hear Congress couldn't confront the 
sequester, we don't have money, and we are going to have to lay them 
  Don't think that is not possible. Because if this sequester goes in 
place, we are going to have to reduce personnel numbers in our military 
significantly. We have already taken almost $500 billion out of the 
Defense Department over 10 years. The sequester would take even more--
an additional $492 billion in this sequester--and it cannot be done 
without more personnel reductions.
  We have already assumed a decline of military personnel with the 
overseas deployments going down--some decline. But this would be a 
rapid, dramatic decline to meet the demands of the cuts of the 
sequester that are unwisely being imposed at this point, and it would 
cause substantial layoffs as well as substantial procurement problems.
  So I hope we will think about that as we go forward. If we can't get 
it done before we recess, it needs to be done promptly. It should have 
been done this summer, and I feel like the leadership of the Senate 
should have been active in that. I think the President of the United 
States should have talked to his Secretary of Defense, who said the 
sequester would be catastrophic, would hollow out the military. He 
should have talked to Secretary Panetta, and he should be over here 
with Congress providing some leadership, saying: Mr. Reid, fix this 
sequester. We cannot allow it to happen. I am the Chief Executive of 
the U.S. Government, I am the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, 
and you are going to do damage to the military of the United States. It 
is my responsibility as President to insist that you and Congress get 
this thing done. I am prepared to provide leadership and suggestions 
and help to get it done.
  Has the President done that? No. He has not said one word about our 
advancing or putting any effort into leadership that would lead us to 
fix this problem. I think that is disappointing. I have to say it is. 
Maybe others think it is all right for him to lead from behind, to sit 
in the White House and go make speeches and not worry about the 
sequester and not worry about the fact we haven't passed a Defense 
bill. I don't think so. I think you are still President of the United 
States, even when you are running for reelection. I think a phone call 
or two to the Senate leadership would get the ball moving. That is 
about all it takes, frankly.
  It seems to me the White House is perfectly happy with inaction. That 
is the bottom line, in my opinion. They are perfectly happy. They want 
to tell the Republicans: If you don't raise taxes, like we want taxes 
to be raised, we are going to hammer the Defense Department. But he is 
Commander in Chief. He has a moral obligation to those men and women, 
to make sure we are safe and they are treated fairly. I don't think 
that is responsible.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Failed Economics

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, anyone who happened to be watching the 
Senate floor a little earlier today got a taste of why, in the midst of 
a national job crisis, Americans are still in danger of being slammed 
by one of the biggest tax hikes in history; why the U.S. military is 
today at risk of cuts that would devastate national security; and why 
there is now a very good chance another major ratings agency will 
downgrade our Nation's credit.
  There is a reason all these things may actually happen, and it has 
nothing whatsoever to do with the Republicans:
  The Nation is at risk of an entirely avoidable economic calamity 
because the President of the United States and the Democrats who 
control the Senate would rather spend their time picking apart Paul 
Ryan and his budget plan--which the House has already passed--than 
producing one of their own. They would rather sit on the sidelines and 
hope people focus on the other guy's attempts to solve our most 
pressing domestic problems than bother to do anything about them 
themselves. This has been the Democratic M.O. for 2 long years, and it 
is a disgrace.
  Later today the House will pass a 6-month continuing resolution to 
fund the government beyond the end of the month. Why? Well, because 
Democrats refuse to do the basic work of government. The Democratic 
Senate hasn't passed a budget in more than 3 years. This year they 
haven't passed a single appropriations bill. For 2 years Democrats have 
done nothing--nothing but cast blame.
  The law says Democrats have to pass a budget. A simple majority can 
pass a budget. The law has been ignored. The President proposed a 
budget of his own. They have opposed that one as well.
  The Nation is just 3\1/2\ months away from going off a fiscal cliff, 
and they actually seem to welcome it because their overriding goal 
isn't to help the American people find work, it isn't to get a handle 
on the debt, it isn't to give small businesses a boost, it is to make 
government even bigger than it already is. And they are perfectly 
willing to let the country plunge into an even deeper economic mess to 
ensure they get the bigger government they want. That is how extreme 
Washington Democrats have become.
  They are on an ideological crusade. They spent the first 2 years of 
this Presidency putting their policies in place, and when they lost 
their big majorities in Congress they decided to sit on their hands 
rather than change their approach, as all of these challenges built and 
built and built.
  For 2 years this President got absolutely everything he wanted 
legislatively. Aided by giant majorities in both Houses of Congress and 
goaded on by a chief of staff who told him to brush aside any pleas for 
bipartisanship, he spent 2 years putting into

[[Page S6323]]

place the big government agenda he and his liberal allies had dreamed 
of--an agenda so extreme that their biggest challenge was making sure 
Members of their own party didn't defect.
  The results of those efforts are clear for all to see. Unemployment 
has been above 8 percent for 43 straight months. Growth is an anemic 
1.5 percent, the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. The 
Federal debt is a stratospheric $16 trillion. A full 15 percent of 
Americans are now on food stamps. The Census Bureau said just yesterday 
that household incomes have declined every year of the Obama 
administration, and one out of six Americans is living in poverty. And 
the labor participation rate--the percentage of those who can work who 
are actually working--is at its lowest point in decades.
  If we count people who have given up looking for work, unemployment 
is above 11 percent, not the 8 percent we read about. These are the 
grim realities of the Obama economy. And make no mistake, the framework 
for it was laid in 2009 and 2010.
  So, yes, President Obama and Governor Romney have different 
philosophies on how to lead America back to prosperity. But the biggest 
difference is this: One of them has had 4 years to implement his 
vision, and it should be obvious to everyone it has been a total 
failure. It has failed to lift us out of a jobs crisis. It has helped 
prevent the type of recovery we all know is entirely possible. Yet all 
we get from the President or from Democrats in Congress is feel-good 
rhetoric, attacks on Republicans who are actually working to solve our 
problems, and political show votes that are deliberately designed to 
  Blame the other guy and maybe people will not notice your own refusal 
to lead or the implications of your own vision. Because, make no 
mistake, in order to fund the government this President wants, there 
would be no choice but to go after the very middle class he claims to 
be fighting for.
  That is the dirty little secret behind the President's vision for 
America. That is the math he didn't mention in Charlotte, and that is 
the real story about what has been going on around here for 2 long 
years. The President and Democrats in Congress laid the foundation for 
the economy we are in right now. They were so sure it would work that 
the President said if it didn't, he wouldn't deserve reelection. Well, 
it didn't.
  So for the last 2 years Republicans in Congress have done everything 
we could to convince the President to go in a different direction, to 
change course. He didn't. He doubled down on the same failed policies, 
and when he wasn't able to get them through Congress, he blamed 
Republicans for the consequences. Well, blaming us for the results of 
his policies is almost as ridiculous as concluding that the vision 
behind them will be any more successful over the next 4 years than it 
has been over the last 4 years.
  It is time for Democrats, from the President on down, to stop blaming 
others and to start leading. Our problems are too serious and our 
challenge is too urgent to wait another day to act.

                      Tribute to James Billington

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, tomorrow the Librarian of Congress, Dr. 
Jim Billington, will mark 25 years on the job, and so I would like to 
just say a few words of congratulations in honor of his service.
  Dr. Billington has enjoyed a distinguished career. He is a Rhodes 
Scholar, earned his doctorate from Oxford, served in the Army, and 
taught history at Harvard and Princeton. He is a renowned author and a 
Russian scholar, advising numerous Members of Congress, administration 
officials, and even Presidents.
  Dr. Billington's tenure at the Library of Congress has been 
exemplary. His most significant contribution is certainly his vision to 
bring the Library of Congress into the 21st century by digitalizing its 
collection. Because of his actions, Dr. Billington has expanded the 
Library of Congress's reach into thousands of educational institutions 
and millions of homes here and throughout the world. Under Dr. 
Billington's leadership, the Library of Congress has strengthened and 
  So today we honor and we thank Dr. Jim Billington for an outstanding 
job leading the Library of Congress for the past 25 years. We wish him 
continued success and thank him for a lifetime of service to inspiring 
and educating others.
  Dr. Billington, congratulations.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I too wish to offer congratulations and 
gratitude to Dr. James H. Billington on the occasion of his 25th 
Anniversary as Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2012.
  Dr. Billington was sworn into office as the 13th Librarian of 
Congress on September 14, 1987, after being nominated by Ronald Reagan 
and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A distinguished Rhodes 
Scholar, author, and humanitarian, he has received over 40 honorary 
doctorates and has authored several books on Russia and the former 
Soviet Union. Earlier in his career he served in the U.S. Army and 
taught history at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Later he went on 
to become the director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for 
Scholars in Washington, D.C. where he founded the Kennan Institute for 
Advanced Russian Studies and seven other new programs as well as the 
Wilson Quarterly.
  Mr. Billington's tenure at the Library has been remarkable for his 
vision, his commitment to excellence, and for the wide-ranging 
intellect and experience he has applied to making the Library of 
Congress one of the most respected citadels of knowledge in the world.
  Dr. Billington led the Library into the digital age, giving on-line 
access to its many treasures to Members of Congress and people 
throughout the world with the Library of Congress National Digital 
Library Program, the THOMAS data base, and the Open World Program. He 
oversaw the establishment of the Kluge Center, an endowment fostering 
scholarly interaction between world thinkers and policy makers that 
includes a million-dollar prize honoring lifetime achievement in the 
study of humanity. His encouragement and enthusiastic leadership led to 
the creation of the Packard Campus Audio-Visual Conservation Center 
which consolidated all of the Library's recorded sound and film 
collection in a single, state-of-the-art facility for conservation and 
permanent archival storage. These are just some of the many 
accomplishments for which he will be long remembered.
  Dr. Billington has also overseen the restoration of the Thomas 
Jefferson and John Adams buildings. Today, the Thomas Jefferson 
building, with its pristinely restored marble columns, staircases, 
mosaics, and paintings is considered to be one of the most beautiful 
public buildings in America.
  As Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library and Chairman of the 
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, I extend my appreciation 
to Dr. Billington for his visionary leadership and extraordinary 
accomplishments that have made the Library of Congress, one our 
greatest national institutions, the remarkable place that it is today.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed 
to speak as if in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            The Ryan Budget

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, all week my Democratic colleagues in the 
Senate have been coming to the floor and using scare tactics and 
demagoguery on the so-called Ryan budget. Of course, what they are 
referring to is the budget that was passed by the House of 
Representatives months ago.
  I suppose it is fair anytime someone produces something to have that 
criticized, critiqued, scrutinized, looked at, and discussed. But at 
the same time it seems if someone is going to attack the product that 
somebody else had put forward the natural follow-up question would be: 
So what are you proposing? Where is your budget proposal?

[[Page S6324]]

  I think it begs the question on behalf of the American people that 
the Democrats in the Senate who want to attack the House-passed budget 
haven't produced a budget of their own.
  It has been over 1,200 days--1,232 to be precise--that we have not 
considered a budget in the Senate. For those who are trying to do that 
arithmetic in their minds right now, that is 3 years and 4 months--3 
years and 4 months without a budget in the U.S. Senate. That, at the 
same time that we continue to get bad news about the economy.
  This week we received news that Moody's intends, if we end up going 
over the fiscal cliff next year, to downgrade America's credit rating. 
That would follow with other credit rating agencies that have already 
made that assumption about the American economy and the American fiscal 
situation. We also received notice last week that the World Economic 
Forum had downgraded America's global competitiveness.
  When President Obama took office in January 2009, America was ranked 
first in the world when it comes to global competitiveness. We dropped 
down to fourth or fifth in the last year or two. But just in the last 
couple of weeks, the World Economic Forum has dropped the United States 
even further. We are now seventh in the world when it comes to global 
  The reasons they cite for that are many, but it comes back to the 
basic issues of spending and debt and taxes and regulations and redtape 
and the cost of doing business in this country. It seems as though the 
Democratic solution is to tax more so we can spend more. Raise taxes to 
grow government. That seems to be the only solution the other side is 
willing to put forward.
  Now, when I say that is the only solution, that is what we hear 
coming out of the White House in terms of the so-called fiscal cliff 
and in terms of the response to dealing with the sequester: Well, we 
could do away with the sequester if we just had more revenues. If 
Washington could just raise more money--more tax revenues--from the 
American people, this problem would all go away.
  But what it misses is the fact that the real issue in Washington, DC, 
isn't that we tax too little; it is that we spend too much. Washington 
has a spending problem that needs to be corrected. At least the House 
of Representatives put forward a budget plan that addressed the 
fundamental problems that plague our Nation's fiscal situation.
  You look at what we are facing in terms of obligations, liabilities, 
responsibilities in the years in the future--Medicare, Social Security, 
Medicaid, other programs--they continue to grow at two or three times 
the rate of inflation. That is not sustainable. That is going to lead 
us to bankruptcy. We are on an unsustainable fiscal path. The 
trajectory we are on today cannot be sustained over time. Yet we have 
not seen any proposal put forward by the Democrats here in the Senate--
not just for this last year but the year before that and the year 
before that. It has been 3 years and 4 months now since the Democrats 
in the Senate have put a budget on the floor that we would have an 
opportunity to vote on and to give the American people at least an idea 
about where we want to lead this country.
  So when they come down here, hour after hour, day after day, night 
after night, attacking the House-passed budget, I think the American 
people have to say to the Democrats here in the Senate: Where is your 
plan? Where is your budget? Show us what you would do. Show us how you 
would address the fiscal crisis we are facing.
  The answer is, there is none, it is nada, it is zero. There is not 
one, no budget, no plan, not this year or the year before or the year 
before that. For 3 years and 4 months now there has not been a budget 
put on the floor of the Senate for us to vote on, for us to discuss, 
for us to have any kind of conversation about the future of this 
country and what we are going to do to address the fiscal crisis that 
we all acknowledge exists.
  This is the most predictable crisis, as has been pointed out, in 
American history. We all know where we are headed. You can look at the 
numbers. It is not complicated. It is not rocket science. It is simply 
a function of math and the math is working against us, and every day we 
wait it becomes more complicated, difficult, and problematic, I 
believe, for us to solve this problem, and it further threatens the 
future and puts at risk our children and grandchildren and the quality 
of life and the standard of living they are going to experience and 
enjoy in their lifetimes.
  When the ratings agencies such as Moody's come out and say that this 
fiscal cliff, if we go over it, means a downgrade in the credit rating 
of the United States, when you have organizations such as the World 
Economic Forum say that the United States is now seventh when it comes 
to global competitiveness as opposed to first--which is where it was 
when the President took office--we all should take notice. It is 
another flashing light, another warning sign, another red flag, if you 
will, that things are not well in the United States of America. Yet the 
only proposal that has been put forward that would address that is the 
budget passed by the House of Representatives. Why? Because the U.S. 
Senate again has not passed a budget. We have not produced a budget now 
for over 3 years.
  It is interesting because one of my Democratic colleagues who was 
down here talking earlier this week described the budget as a set of 
values; in attacking the House-passed budget, that somehow the House-
passed budget represented the wrong values. It did not represent, 
somehow, American values. If the budget represents a set of values, 
what does it mean, then, when you do not have one? If you do not have a 
budget, what does that say about your values?
  It seems to me, at least, that at least the House of Representatives, 
to their credit, has put forward a proposal that, whether or not you 
agree with it, does address the fundamental problems we have as a 
Nation; that is, out-of-control Federal spending, a trajectory with 
regard to entitlement programs that literally will bankrupt the 
country, and a Tax Code that is overly complicated that needs to be 
reformed. Those were all addressed in the House budget. A lot of people 
attacked the whole idea in the House budget with regard to Medicare 
reform, which is referred to as premium support. Premium support is not 
a new idea. It is something that was popularized by liberal think tanks 
years ago. In fact, this year the House-proposed idea, when it comes to 
premium support, was something advanced by Representative Paul Ryan and 
Senator Wyden here in the U.S. Senate. It was a bipartisan idea.
  It was also something advocated by the Rivlin-Domenici task force 
that looked at our fiscal situation, made recommendations, and when it 
came to the notion of how to reform Medicare, premium support was 
something that was put forward as something that could be a new idea 
that can save the government--the taxpayers--money, introduce 
competition in the same way that the Medicare Part D Program has 
introduced competition and actually saved money over what it was 
proposed to cost.
  It is not a new idea. It is an idea that has been tried. When 
Medicare Part D was adopted, the premium support concept was included 
as part of that and you can see the results of that have led to lower 
costs, much lower costs than were predicted. Frankly, that is, I 
believe, because it introduced the element of competition into the 
whole way we deliver health care services under Medicare. That was 
something that was proposed and built upon, developed as part of the 
budget that was passed in the House of Representatives. But, again, it 
is something that is not new around here. It has had lots of support in 
the past from Democrats.
  It seems to me at least that if we know what we have today is not 
working, we ought to be willing to at least entertain a discussion and 
conversation about some ideas that might actually solve the problem and 
might work. Yet here in the Senate for 3 years we have not had a 
  Some would argue that the President of the United States has put 
forward a budget. In fact, as a matter of I guess delivering a set of 
papers to the Congress, he did do that. But I would argue and I think 
most would agree it was not a serious effort. It certainly was not a 
meaningful attempt to address

[[Page S6325]]

the issue of spending and debt or entitlement reform and that was 
evidenced by the fact that when it was put on the floor in the Senate 
to be voted on, it was defeated by a vote of 97 to 0. In the previous 
year the House of Representatives had a vote on the President's budget. 
That year it was voted down in the House by something like 419 or 420 
to 0. The President's budget for 2 consecutive years here in the Senate 
has not received one vote from any Democrat in either the House or the 
  That should speak volumes about the President's attempt to do this. I 
think what it suggests is it was not serious, it did not make a real 
effort at trying to address the issues of spending and debt and getting 
the economy growing again and reforming our Tax Code and driving down 
the cost of doing business in this country instead of increasing 
the costs, which is something that seems to be happening every single 
day. As I travel across my State of South Dakota and listen to 
businesses from other parts of the country, I hear over and over again 
that the cost of doing business is making us uncompetitive. We continue 
to be saddled with regulations, with requirements, with mandates, with 
taxes. Those sorts of things, the redtape of doing business, are making 
it incredibly difficult for our small businesses and job creators to 
get this economy back on its feet and get it growing again.

  I would simply say in response to the attacks that have been leveled 
by my colleagues on the other side on the proposal that was advanced 
and put forward by the House Republicans, that it would bode well if 
you want to have a debate about priorities, if you want to have a 
debate about values and if you want to have a debate about budgets, to 
have one. It starts with a budget. We don't have one. We do not have 
any plan for how we are going to deal with the very factors, the very 
elements that led organizations such as Moody's and the World Economic 
Forum to determine that the United States credit rating is in jeopardy 
and that our global competitiveness has dropped from first in the world 
to seventh.
  Those are things I think we ought to be talking about, and you cannot 
start talking about those things unless you have a plan, unless you 
have a budget that describes what you would do to address the drivers 
of Federal spending, the drivers of Federal debt.
  Again I cannot emphasize this enough: the only thing I hear coming 
out of my colleagues on the other side to address it is we need more 
revenues. We need to raise more taxes. We don't have enough revenue. If 
we could raise more revenue we could solve all those problems. I say to 
my colleagues what we have here in Washington, DC, is not a revenue 
issue, we have a spending problem. Washington does not tax too little, 
it spends too much. That is why we need to get spending under control, 
but it starts with the budget.
  I think it behooves our colleagues on the other side, as they come 
down here day after day and berate and attack and suggest somehow that 
the budget that was passed by the House of Representatives is not 
representative of American values, to come down here with something of 
their own that might lay out a plan that actually does address Medicare 
reform, Medicaid reform, tax reform--the things that we know have to be 
dealt with in the future if we are going to hand a better and more 
prosperous and stronger Nation to our children and our grandchildren. 
That simply has not happened.
  They can come down here and say what they want, but when there is no 
budget, there is no blueprint, there is no plan, then there is no path 
forward that addresses these difficult, complicated challenges and 
problems that face us and face our Nation in the future. I hope we 
eventually see that. I hope the President will come to the table and 
that we can sit down and talk about how we are going to solve the 
fiscal cliff we are headed over at the end of this year. Again, it is 
not just the credit rating, it is not just global competitiveness, it 
is the American economy that is at stake as well. The Congressional 
Budget Office has said if we go over this fiscal cliff where taxes go 
up on January 1, where these disproportionate cuts take effect on the 
military budget, we are looking at an economic recession next year, a 
contraction of the economy of 2.9 percent and unemployment above 9 
percent. This is about America's standing, about our competitiveness, 
and it is about jobs in the economy, fundamentally. It is high time 
that we had help and cooperation and an idea, perhaps, from the other 
side about how they would solve these problems. I hope we will get 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, first I note Senator Grassley is on the 
floor and I thank him for the courtesy of allowing me to go next.
  I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             The Farm Bill

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I take this time on behalf of Maryland 
farmers. They are hurting, along with many farmers around the Nation, 
because of the devastation from the drought. I am talking on behalf of 
the poultry farmers. As the Presiding Officer knows, in the Delmarva 
peninsula the impact they have had from the drought on the corn crop 
makes it extremely difficult to make ends meet. I am talking about 
dairy farmers in western Maryland. We have a robust agricultural 
community. It is one of the largest parts of our economy. That is true 
in just about every State in the Nation. We have seen the worst drought 
in 50 years. It is affecting 42 States in this Union. This is 
widespread. Congress needs to act.
  First we should encourage our colleagues in the House of 
Representatives to take up and pass the farm bill that we have passed. 
That was a bipartisan bill. It was a bill that was debated in this 
Chamber. It is a bill that would help our agricultural community to get 
through this crisis brought about by extreme weather. As I mentioned, 
the farm bill was a bipartisan effort. It dealt with many components 
that would help segments of our agricultural community as a result of 
the conditions from the drought. Let me mention a few.
  The livestock disaster provision that expired in 2011 in the farm 
bill is strengthened, it is made retroactive back to 2012, and it would 
help those who are in the cattle producing part of agriculture get 
through the conditions of this drought. Seventy-two percent of the 
cattle-producing areas are affected by the drought. It is going to have 
an effect on our entire country. We have a responsibility to make sure 
our farm policies help them get through the unusually disastrous 
weather conditions. As I mentioned earlier--and the Presiding Officer 
being from Delaware knows the poultry industry has suffered 
unbelievably. The reason, quite frankly, is--and I will talk a little 
bit more about this--the price to produce a chick in the poultry 
industry is so much dependent on the price for feed and corn. The corn 
price is extremely high as a result, in part, of the drought 

  The farm bill we passed would help the corn producers which, in fact, 
would help the poultry industry, so it is an important part of the farm 
bill. From my fruit and vegetable growers, the reform in the Crop 
Insurance Program would help them during these very tough times.
  Let me mention the conservation programs. I know Chairman Stabenow 
has talked about this frequently on the floor, but the farm bill we 
passed reforms the conservation programs and allows our farmers to do 
the right thing. One of the things we learned from the Dust Bowl--the 
crisis we confronted in the 1930s--was that we have to take care of and 
protect our water and soil. We need to be attentive to water and soil. 
After the Dust Bowl crisis, we passed in the Congress different types 
of conservation acts.
  The farm bill we passed in this House consolidates, reforms, and 
strengthens the conservation programs so our farmers can do the right 
thing not only for producing today but producing tomorrow and taking 
care of the circumstances we know Mother Nature will be throwing at us. 
We can't do anything about that until the House takes up the farm bill. 
They have yet to take it up.
  I urge my colleagues in the other body to take up this bill. We need 
to do that for many reasons, one of which, of course, is the extreme 
conditions that the agricultural community in this country is 
confronting as a result of this drought.

[[Page S6326]]

  Let me talk specifically about poultry. On the Delmarva Peninsula, 
the poultry industry is in crisis. It is in crisis. The Senator from 
Delaware, the Presiding Officer, understands this. Seventy-five percent 
of the cost to produce poultry is in the price of feed. The poultry 
industry uses corn for feed. They need to have corn. At the present 
time, corn is approaching $9 a barrel. What does that mean? If the 
price is at that rate, it would cost about $2 per pound to produce a 
chick for market. The retail price is $2 a pound. It doesn't take too 
much of an economic background to know we cannot make it under those 
economic conditions.
  Our poultry industry needs help. They need to be competitive, and it 
is difficult to do that when we are so dependent upon the price of 
corn. The problem with corn is we are competing uses. It is not only 
used in the food chain, it is used as an energy source as a result of 
corn-based ethanol, which distorts the food chain.
  I have introduced legislation, along with Senator Boozman and Senator 
Mikulski, that would modify the renewable fuel standards. Those are the 
standards which require a certain percentage of our renewables in corn 
ethanol. It would modify that, and let me explain how. It would link 
the amount of corn ethanol required for the renewable food standards to 
the amount of the corn supply. That makes sense. When we have more 
corn, fine, we can meet the renewable standards. But this year we have 
had drought conditions so we have much less corn. As a result, corn is 
going up in price, making it very difficult for our poultry industry. 
So then the requirements would be reduced. We think that makes sense. 
That is using market forces to help meet our energy needs but also to 
help deal with the realities of the poultry industry.
  I have also joined with Senator Hagan, Senator Chambliss, Senator 
Pryor, and Senator Boozman in authoring a letter to the Environmental 
Protection Agency calling for them to waive the renewable fuel 
standards conventional ethanol product mandate for this year. Again, 
let the farmers be able to compete. Don't let us distort the 
  Let me just say, in summary, agriculture is critically important to 
this country for many reasons. It is one of the largest parts of our 
economy, it is important for our national security, and it is part of 
our way of life. We lead the world in agriculture productivity. It is 
important for us on international trade and all the reasons I 
mentioned. We need to be attentive to how we deal with agriculture in 
this country. We need a farm and agricultural policy.
  The farm bill we passed is necessary to be enacted or we are going to 
have a lapse in our agricultural programs. We have done our work. It is 
critically important before the House goes home that they take up the 
farm bill. I hope they will pass our farm bill in order to help farmers 
in Maryland and around the Nation. I then hope we would also pay 
special attention to the poultry industry, to recognize that because of 
the price of corn related not just to the food chain but to energy we 
have a responsibility to help an industry that is so dependent upon 
corn as a commodity to produce the poultry product.
  We need to help our agricultural community to do the right thing. It 
is important for our country, and I urge my colleagues to pay attention 
to these issues before we recess for the fall elections.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal). The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I come to the floor to discuss the State of our economy 
and to give suggestions on how to improve it. But before I go to the 
main purpose of why I came here, I wish to say to the Senator from 
Maryland that I agree with him. The House of Representatives ought to 
take up a farm bill. I hope they will, and that is my urging.
  I also wish to take advantage of the opportunity to explain a little 
bit about ethanol and how that works in with the situation he brought 
up about increasing feed for chickens or any other animals.
  This year, farmers planted 96 million acres of corn. There were more 
acres of corn planted than in any other year since 1938. Most of that 
is because of the ethanol industry. If we didn't have the ethanol 
industry, we would normally plant somewhere between 80 and 85 million 
acres of corn.
  Let's assume we never heard of the word ``ethanol'' or the product 
ethanol, that it didn't even exist, and farmers planted the usual 80 to 
85 million acres of corn. Let's also assume we had the same drought we 
had this year--over about two-thirds of the United States--and the corn 
crop is going to be reduced because of it. If we planted 80 to 85 
million acres of corn and we had the same drought, we would still have 
the high price of grain we have right now, but we wouldn't have ethanol 
to blame for it.
  So the marketplace is bringing about the increased production of corn 
because of feed, fuel, and fiber. We should not be scapegoating 
ethanol, because if we didn't have ethanol to blame, we wouldn't be 
planting 95 or 96 million acres of corn. We would be planting about 80 
to 85 million acres of corn and we would still have the same high price 
and the same problem for the poultry producers.

                          Economic Leadership

  Now to the point that I came to the Senate floor. We all recognize 
our Nation faces challenging times. We have had years with unemployment 
at unacceptable levels and anemic economic growth that shows no sign of 
lifting us out of the situation. Meanwhile, rampant government 
spending, which we were promised would jump-start the economy and 
create jobs, has instead displaced private sector investment and choked 
off job creation. More and more Americans are starting to doubt that 
their children and grandchildren will have better opportunities than 
they had, not to mention the fact that they will be forced to pay for 
all that spending.
  We keep being told by President Obama and members of his party that 
change is just around the corner. If we just keep doing what we are 
doing, things will get better. After almost 4 years of failed policy 
and dashed hopes, that line is wearing thin. Fortunately, our problems 
are not insurmountable and the solutions are common sense. All that is 
needed is sufficient leadership to make the tough decisions.
  In fact, this is the same situation Great Britain faced in the 1970s. 
Britain was mired in debt and even had to go to the IMF for a bailout. 
Successive British Prime Ministers had recognized the looming financial 
problem for years but failed to get the budget under control. At that 
time, in the 1970s, Britain was known as the ``sick man of Europe.'' 
Still, as in this country, interest groups that benefited from public 
spending threatened to bring down any British Government that even 
considered measures to control spending.
  We see those same forces in the Congress of the United States telling 
us we can't cut anyplace. In fact, Britain did face massive strikes in 
the winter of 1978 to 1979, better known as the winter of discontent.
  As a result of the inability of several different Prime Ministers to 
take the difficult steps necessary to turn things around, many pundits 
started to speculate Britain had become ungovernable. There were even 
many British politicians who had decided the best they could accomplish 
was to manage the economic and political decline of Britain. We hear 
the term in the United States of a ``new norm.'' I hope we aren't 
getting into that same attitude the British had in the 1970s.
  But they had a leader who came along by the name of Margaret 
Thatcher. She utterly rejected the notion that decline was an option. 
In fact, she was famous for repeating the phrase: ``There is no 
alternative.'' So I would like to take those words, ``there is no 
alternative,'' as a guiding point for us in the Congress, Republican or 
Democrat, that we have to do something.
  ``There is no alternative.'' Prime Minister Thatcher meant that 
control of the policy based on uncontrolled spending had failed. If 
economic recovery was the goal, the only alternative was the free 
market. This meant cutting spending, reducing growth-inhibiting income 
taxes, and reining in government micromanagement of business--things we 
hear from the private sector in the United States today.

  Despite the hard lessons of experience, the prevailing economic 
theory of the day still held: that government

[[Page S6327]]

spending was good for the economy and that government central planners 
could operate more efficiently than private business left alone.
  That is the situation she was describing in Britain. However, for us 
in the United States, whether it is government or the private sector, 
it is like asking: Are 535 Members of Congress smarter to determine the 
direction of the economy or are the 308 million people outside of the 
Congress in the United States better prepared to do it, and which will 
do the most good?
  Now, Thatcher faced intense opposition both from true believers in 
the stimulus ideology and from those with a vested interest in the 
status quo, but having rejected national decline, as she did, as an 
option, there really was no alternative. She explained to the British 
public why her course of action was necessary and stood up to the 
special interests that stood in the way of prosperity. We hear from our 
constituents we ought to do something about those special interests, 
but we don't seem to do much about it.
  When the media began speculating she would fail to follow through and 
that she would lose her spine and make a U-turn as so many of her 
predecessors had done, Mrs. Thatcher's response was: ``You turn if you 
want to . . . The lady's not for turning.''
  What Prime Minister Thatcher provided for Britain is very simple: 
Leadership. That is what the United States needs today.
  Most Americans I talk to believe in our opportunity society and 
refuse to accept that the American dream of a better life for our 
children is dead or that there is a new norm or that America is in 
decline. For those of us who feel that way, restoring the dynamic 
American free market economy is essential. In the words of Margaret 
Thatcher, there is no alternative. We must reduce spending. There is no 
alternative. We must have low, simple, and stable taxes. There is no 
alternative. And there is no alternative to reducing and reforming the 
growing regulatory burden.
  During the last 3\1/2\ years, the national debt has grown by more 
than $5 trillion--an increase of 50 percent. This year will be the 
fourth consecutive year with trillion-dollar annual deficits. These 
deficits and a Federal debt that now totals $16 trillion are, in fact, 
dampers on private sector job creation.
  When Washington takes and spends the wealth created in the private 
sector, it crowds out new investments that would have been made by 
businesses and entrepreneurs, investments that would have resulted in 
the creation of new wealth and job opportunities for more Americans. 
The out-of-control spending has created a stagnant economy with 
unemployment stuck above 8 percent now for 42 consecutive months.
  Economic freedom must replace bigger government. Economic growth must 
be our top priority, and fiscal discipline in Washington is a 
prerequisite to sustainable economic growth. In the words of Prime 
Minister Thatcher, there is no alternative.
  The 4-year experiment attempting to increase economic prosperity by 
growing government and managing the economy through government 
intervention has failed. To address the anemic economic recovery and 
get America back to work, we must reduce the size and scope of the 
Federal Government. In the words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there is 
no alternative.
  Again, our Nation is $16 trillion in debt. How much is $16 trillion? 
Well, if we started counting to 16 trillion one second at a time, it 
would take a person over 500,000 years to reach that level.
  The Federal Government will spend more than $11 trillion just on 
Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years. Medicare and Medicaid 
serve a vital role in providing health care services to individuals who 
are poor, elderly, or disabled. But just because those programs have 
operated a certain way for 47 years doesn't mean they operate 
efficiently, even though we all agree they are part of the social 
fabric of America and must be maintained. If we want to save those 
programs for future generations, the current path of just saying no to 
every proposal and every special interest is not an option. In the 
words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there is no alternative. There is no 
alternative but to look at their very structure and ask the question: 
Can we do better?
  As we begin to take the steps to pull ourselves out of this fiscal 
mess, we also need to reform how Washington does business so we don't 
find ourselves in this situation again. One major step that could 
produce long-term fiscal discipline is a balanced budget amendment, but 
if we passed that today it would not get us out of the hole we are in. 
However, once we get out of the hole, it is going to keep us from 
getting into it again.
  The national debt now is reaching a point where if we do not 
intervene with a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget, it is 
going to become unsustainable. Mere laws have not controlled deficit 
spending because Congress can always change a law when it becomes 
politically expedient. I went through this one time because I was an 
author with a former Senator in this body by the name of Harry Byrd 
from the State of Virginia, not West Virginia. He and I worked together 
when I was a Member of the House. We got legislation passed requiring a 
balanced budget. For 15 years that law was on the books and never in 
those 15 years was there ever a balanced budget.
  So it makes it very clear that statutes will not control deficit 
spending. I concluded a long time ago that a constitutional amendment 
is a ``must'' to provide Congress with necessary discipline. The 
example right now of Europe's debt situation is sobering. Nations that 
allow debt to grow out of control risk default.
  Think of Greece as an example. If we do not take effective, 
corrective action, the European future could be ours, and maybe sooner 
than we think. The time for tinkering around the edges of the budget is 
over. We must take bold action to address the debt crisis before it is 
too late. In the words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there is no 
  Another area crying out for decisive action is our voluminous Tax 
Code. Uncertainty in our Tax Code and the threat of higher taxes is 
like an anchor preventing our economy from setting sail. At the end of 
the year, the across-the-board tax relief first enacted in 2001 and 
2003 will expire. Its expiration will lead to a higher tax bill for 
virtually every taxpayer, representing one of the largest tax increases 
in the history of the country, and, as my colleagues know, that can 
happen without even a vote of Congress. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben 
Bernanke has testified about the negative impact of higher taxes on a 
fragile economy.

  More importantly, I hear from employers that uncertainty about the 
future makes it difficult to plan, take risks, and make decisions to 
expand and hire. Tax certainty must be a priority in creating a 
progrowth environment. In the words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there 
is no alternative.
  Even President Obama has acknowledged the negative impact of tax 
increases on economic growth saying we shouldn't raise taxes in a 
recession. We remember because he campaigned on tax increases in 2008, 
but before he was even sworn in he warned people we can't have that tax 
increase now because we are in a recession. Nevertheless, nearly every 
day our President is on the campaign trail in 2012 talking about tax 
increases on the so-called rich claiming them to pay their fair share. 
But I have never had a definition from the President of the United 
States of what a fair share is.
  However, the so-called rich already pay the overwhelming majority of 
Federal taxes. Do my colleagues know that the top 20 percent of 
households currently account for 95 percent of Federal income taxes? 
Moreover, the top 1 percent we hear so much about bears nearly 40 
percent of the Federal income tax burden. It is no wonder our job 
sector, especially the nearly 1 million small businesses targeted by 
the President's tax increase, are reluctant to make business decisions 
and invest in this climate when taxes are going to go so high at the 
end of this year. There are businesses ready to expand and create jobs. 
There are millions of dollars in private sector investment waiting to 
be invested and to create jobs. But businesses are holding back, 
waiting for the heavy boot of higher taxes to drop. It is time we 
replaced divisiveness and demagoguery with a progrowth tax policy.
  This country does not need more taxes; we need more taxpayers. The 
way to get more taxpayers is to get

[[Page S6328]]

more people working. The way to get more people working is to encourage 
that investment. We need to take the uncertainty out of the present 
political environment here that has an impact on the economy.
  When businesses and entrepreneurs are willing to put everything on 
the line by opening a new business or expanding an existing business, 
we must assure them that they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their 
success, not punish them with a higher tax bill which takes money out 
of their cashflow. When a business operates on cashflow, they cannot 
hire people if they don't have the cash.
  So we must act decisively to stop job-killing taxes from going up. In 
the words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there is no alternative.
  It isn't just the threat, though, of taxes that has caused 
uncertainty and held back private sector investment. The threat of 
costly new regulations has paralyzed many industries. In fact, I hear 
more complaints from small businesses about regulation than I do this 
biggest tax increase in the history of the country coming before us 
this December.
  During the past few years, thousands of new Federal rules were 
finalized. Those who view government intervention into private 
enterprise as positive might say: So what.
  All of these rules come with real costs. This administration has 
issued about 200 major rules that each have an impact of $100 million 
or more. A Gallup poll taken at the end of last year found that 
compliance with government regulations is the single biggest issue 
facing small business owners today. When 70 percent of the new jobs in 
America are created by small business, we ought to be concerned about 
what these small businesspeople are saying is their No. 1 problem.
  On top of the outright cost of new regulation and the compliance 
burden, the uncertainty about when a new regulation might come down 
makes businesses reluctant to expand. In recent years we have seen 
regulation on top of regulation. No one knows when the next one will 
appear or how much it will cost.
  During the Great Depression, the avalanche of new agencies with 
newfound regulatory powers led to businesses sitting on large amounts 
of cash, even in industries that were not yet affected by the new 
regulations because the uncertainty about who would be targeted next 
froze private sector investment. Now we are seeing pretty much the same 
thing today.
  It would be one thing if these were essential protections for the 
environment or public health as proponents often claim, but for many of 
these new regulations the cost of compliance outweighs the public 
  It doesn't make any sense to try to regulate dust on farms when there 
is no practical way to stop the wind blowing. Still, I don't know how 
many years the EPA has been working on what they call a ``fugitive dust 
rule.'' Does it make any sense to make a dairy farmer fill out pages of 
documents to prove they have a plan in place in the case of an 
accidental milk spill? Well, they considered that regulation, but it 
was too outlandish that they made a public announcement they were not 
going to do that. Then why was EPA wasting time considering these 
regulations in the first place? There are legitimate forms of pollution 
that need attention, but even then the EPA seems intent on overkill.

  Did the Utility MACT rule, which was intended to limit mercury 
emissions from powerplants, really need to be the single most expensive 
regulation in EPA history?
  In addition to this rule, powerplants that rely on coal, like most of 
those in my State of Iowa, are facing a whole new string of overlapping 
rules with their own compliance deadlines and paperwork.
  These include the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the National 
Ambient Air Quality Standards, regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, 
cooling water intake regulations, clean water effluent guidelines, and 
coal ash regulations.
  Taken separately, each of these may have some justification, but when 
you put them all together, the cost and compliance burden is enormous, 
especially on small utilities.
  Yesterday there was a delegation of Iowa rural electric cooperatives 
in my office explaining exactly how costly this was to them and their 
  That leads many people to suspect that the real motivation for this 
burst of regulation is an ideological drive to artificially raise the 
cost of electricity generation using coal, which would hurt the economy 
in places such as Iowa that rely on coal for cost-effective energy. A 
regulatory approach that imposes excessive costs for little or no 
benefit does not do anyone any good.
  Regulatory agencies should be held accountable for meeting the cost-
benefit test and also--a little more difficult to measure--the 
commonsense test. The deluge of regulations in recent years and the 
uncertainty--there is that word again: ``uncertainty''--about what is 
coming next is acting like a wet blanket on our economy. We must put an 
immediate stop to unnecessary, costly new regulations. In the words of 
Prime Minister Thatcher, there is no alternative.
  In the long run, we need comprehensive regulatory reform. The 
Constitution vests all legislative powers in the Congress, which is 
directly accountable to the American people. However, over the years, 
Congress has delegated more and more authority to unelected and 
unaccountable bureaucrats. And once delegated, it is difficult to take 
back. As a result, then, we have a massive administrative state full of 
well-meaning but unelected government officials who have great power to 
write regulations with the force of law, with little or no democratic 
  This has led to the implementation of major policy decisions that 
impact the economy and the lives of the American people that likely 
would never have been approved if they would have had to have been 
voted on by the Congress.
  That is why I am an original cosponsor of the Regulations From the 
Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act. REINS is the acronym. The REINS Act 
would require every major Federal regulation to come before both Houses 
of Congress for a vote and be signed by the President before it can be 
implemented. This will allow voters to hold their Members of Congress 
accountable for ill-conceived regulations. It would be a check on the 
mistake that Congress makes by delegating so much power in the first 
place. It would also provide more transparency and predictability to 
the regulatory process, thus reducing job-killing uncertainty.
  Reforms such as the REINS Act would be a major change in how 
Washington does business, and that upsets a lot of apple carts. In the 
words of Prime Minister Thatcher, there is no alternative.
  If we want economic growth and jobs, if we want a brighter future for 
America, we cannot afford to dither any longer. We need leadership like 
Britain had under Margaret Thatcher that is willing to tell all the 
special interests and all the political power players, there is no 
  We must take steps I have outlined to reinvigorate the free market 
economy. Just like Britain in 1979, there is no alternative.
  We have tried President Obama's theory on economic stimulus. It was 
supposed to keep unemployment under 8 percent, and it has never been 
under 8 percent since the day he signed it. We saw a massive expansion 
of government and deficit spending as a result. More than $800 billion 
was spent on a failed economic stimulus bill that was supposed to keep 
unemployment down. We all know how that turned out.
  Government spending in the process has reached unprecedented levels. 
Today, the size of government--if you combine local, State, and 
Federal--is 40 percent of our gross domestic product. One hundred years 
ago, it was 8 percent. If it were true that government spending creates 
economic growth, then we should be living high off the hog today, but 
it is not.
  The private sector creates jobs. It is the responsibility of the 
government to merely create an environment that leads to job growth. 
Remember a very basic premise: Government consumes well. It does not 
create well. Through economic freedom, entrepreneurs are free to 
innovate and prosper. This economic success leads to higher standards 
of living and a better quality of life. Importantly, these gains do not 
then come at the expense of others. Because, contrary to what some 

[[Page S6329]]

here would have you believe, when someone produces a product or a 
service that others want, they are creating new wealth and everyone is 
better off. But too often around here, we think matters of the economy 
are a zero-sum game.
  One person's prosperity, then, does not come at the expense of 
another's. In fact, business success and economic growth lift all boats 
through employment gains, higher wages, and greater value to the 
  We sometimes hear it implied that individual success cannot be 
achieved without government involvement or intervention. Some people 
seem to believe that an individual's success must come at somebody else 
being deprived or that the success was only achieved collectively and 
with the help of government. This line of thinking concludes that 
government and society is, therefore, entitled to some of the fruits of 
that individual's labor. This line of thinking is in stark 
contradiction to our country's founding principles that government 
exists to protect the individual's right to life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness. Happiness is not found in a government paycheck 
redistributing what somebody else earned. In fact, government 
dependence leads to resentment.
  By contrast, this great American dream of ours is based on individual 
Americans working hard and earning their own success.
  A country with an increasing number of citizens dependent on a 
government that lives beyond its means and redistributes what remains 
of a once great economy would, then, cease to be the great America that 
we have had for 225 years. Such a future is unacceptable to most 
Americans, just as it was unacceptable to Prime Minister Thatcher, who 
said, there is no alternative.
  The American dream is our birthright and our obligation to posterity. 
We must return to progrowth policies and an opportunity society. There 
is no alternative.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Travel Tourism

  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, anybody who has been outside today knows 
that we had a beautiful day, and the last couple of days have been 
beautiful, so it is hard to believe that the summer is actually coming 
to a close. But as it does end, I wanted to take a few minutes this 
afternoon to highlight something that is very important to us in New 
Hampshire and to the country. That is tourism, particularly the outdoor 
industry association and its importance to local economies in New 
Hampshire and across this country.
  New Hampshire has long recognized the importance of conservation and 
the economic benefits that come from supporting outdoor recreation. Our 
beautiful State, like Connecticut, has an abundance of natural 
treasures, the White Mountain National Forest, our scenic lakes, our 
coastline--we may only have 18 miles of coastline but it is beautiful, 
with beautiful beaches and rocky coves.
  These treasures draw visitors from across New England, from all over 
the world. Protecting these natural resources is not just good for the 
environment, it is also critical for our economy. In fact, the outdoor 
recreation economy supports 53,000 jobs in New Hampshire alone, 6.1 
million American jobs across the country. That is more than we have in 
the construction industry, in the finance and insurance industries or 
in the education industry. And even in this time of economic recovery, 
outdoor recreation produces $646 billion in direct consumer spending.
  Again, that is more than the pharmaceutical industry, motor vehicle 
parts, and household utilities. Americans today spend nearly as much on 
snow sports as they do on Internet access, and considerably more on 
bike gear and trips than on airplane tickets and fees. This is all 
detailed in a report called the Outdoor Recreation Economy, which is a 
very interesting analysis of what the outdoor recreation economy means 
to this country.
  I recently had the opportunity to visit Eastern Mountain Sports. EMS 
is a New Hampshire-based business that specializes in outdoor apparel 
and equipment. At EMS, I saw the direct economic benefit that comes 
from our support for the development and conservation of outdoor 
recreation areas. I had a chance to talk to some of the 300 or so 
employees at EMS. They have stores throughout the east coast, and they 
are just one example of the countless businesses that have grown 
strong, thanks to the careful stewardship of our beautiful areas in 
this country, of the landscapes that so many of their customers visit.
  One of the ways we have preserved the great outdoors at the Federal 
level is through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund was 
created in 1965. It protects lands, forests, State and local parks, and 
critical wildlife habitat. This critical program also helps ensure 
hunting and fishing access, something also very important to New 
Hampshire. It supports battlefields, trails, sporting facilities, and 
outdoor recreation opportunities in every State.
  Every year since I arrived in the Senate in 2009, I have led a letter 
with Senator Leahy of Vermont to appropriators that supports robust 
funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The most recent 
letter was signed by 44 Senators from both sides of the aisle, a very 
strong showing of bipartisanship from supporters who know this is a 
program that works for the environment and works for small business.
  I am also pleased to cosponsor legislation--bipartisan legislation--
that is led by Senator Bingaman, which would permanently authorize the 
Land and Water Conservation Fund with dedicated funding. In New 
Hampshire, the LWCF has supported more than 650 local recreation and 
conservation projects and it helps protect locations such as the White 
Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Umbagog National 
Wildlife Refuge, and the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge.
  These scenic locations, whether they are enjoyed for relaxation or 
exercise, support jobs and local economies by increasing the demand for 
outdoor recreation equipment and by attracting visitors to our State. 
Those visitors eat in our restaurants, they shop at our small 
businesses, they stay in some of the most beautiful hotels you will 
find anywhere in America.
  The outdoor economy supports tourism, and tourism should be 
recognized as the economic engine that it is throughout this country. 
The travel and tourism industry is one of the top 10 industries in 48 
States in the country. It supports over 14 million American jobs. In 
New Hampshire, travel and tourism is our second largest industry, 
supporting over 60,000 jobs.
  I had the opportunity yesterday with a number of small business 
owners and representatives from New Hampshire to visit Brand USA, which 
is the national initiative that is the result of travel and tourism 
legislation passed by the Senate and Congress in 2010 to begin 
advertising the United States outside of this country. They have 
advertisements now in Canada, in the UK, and in markets that are 
important as we think about how we can attract visitors to the United 
States. In New Hampshire, it is not difficult to see why tourism is so 
important. Visitors are drawn to New Hampshire for our charming 
attractions, for our landscapes, for our foliage--which is about to 
begin, actually--and they provide a beautiful environment for families 
to spend time together.

  During August my husband and I actually had the opportunity to take 
all of our grandchildren--our 7 grandchildren; actually, our entire 
family, 14 of us--up to the White Mountains. We stayed at the Mount 
Washington Hotel, which is at the base of Mount Washington. It is a 
beautiful hotel where the Bretton Woods monetary conference was held 
back in the late 1940s. We had a great time. We went hiking, my oldest 
grandson went fishing with his father, one of my granddaughters went 
horseback riding with my daughter, we visited the flume, which is a 

[[Page S6330]]

occurring gorge in New Hampshire, and we ended the several days we were 
there visiting at a place called Clark's Trading Post, which is a great 
family business in New Hampshire. They work with black bears that roam 
the woods of New Hampshire, and they have been working with them for 50 
years, so it is a real trained-bear show. In addition to that, they 
have attractions from New England, they have a railroad, and it is just 
a great place for the family to spend the afternoon. This was a 
wonderful trip. It brought our family closer. It allowed the cousins to 
visit with each other. We came back rested, restored, and we had a 
great time investing in New Hampshire businesses.
  As our family saw last month, conservation programs such as LWCF are 
part of what we need to do to make sure those kinds of experiences are 
available to everybody in New Hampshire and across this country. They 
are a part of our responsibility to safeguard our environmental 
heritage. More than that, as the outdoor recreation economy shows, as 
so many reports show, they are an economic imperative that supports 
millions of jobs nationwide.
  I am going to continue to work to strengthen programs such as the 
Land and Water Conservation Fund and to promote tourism and the outdoor 
recreation economy, and I urge all of my colleagues to join these 
efforts because they not only protect America's great outdoors, they 
support the businesses and the outdoor recreation economy they sustain.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Durbin). Without objection, it is so 
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I have come to the floor this evening to 
make a few things abundantly clear about the Veterans Jobs Corps 
legislation the Senate is currently considering.
  First and foremost, the bill in front of us is fully paid for, using 
offsets that both Republicans and Democrats have supported in the past. 
So this bill is paid for.
  Secondly, no matter what Republicans try to tell us, this is a bill 
that includes ideas from both sides of the aisle. In fact, of the 12 
provisions in this bill, 8 of them started as Republican ideas.
  We in fact included Senator Burr's entire alternative to this bill to 
make it even more bipartisan. On top of that, we have included bills 
that are sponsored by Senator Toomey, Senator Boozman, Senator Johanns, 
and Senator Isakson. So don't let anybody tell you we have not been 
inclusive in this process.
  We know on this side that we do not have a monopoly of good ideas to 
help solve the problems of veterans who are looking for work today, and 
that is why we have included as many avenues to employment as possible 
in this legislation.
  Finally and most importantly, I want to make sure that everyone who 
is considering voting for the budget point of order that Senator 
Sessions has been out here talking about and indicated he may raise 
knows exactly what is at stake. Believe me, every single veteran in the 
country needs to know what is at stake as well. What his budget point 
of order says is we are now going to draw a line in the sand on what we 
will provide for our Nation's veterans. It does not matter if the bill 
is paid for. The point of order puts a pricetag on the care of veterans 
and then says not a dime more.
  This point of order really ties our hands. It says even at a time of 
war, even at a time when nearly one in five young veterans is out of 
work, at a time when the veterans' suicide rate is skyrocketing and 
when more young veterans are becoming homeless, we are done; veterans 
are on their own.
  It says even if we find offsets for new investments and ideas to aid 
our Nation's heroes--we paid for it--tough luck; nothing you can do. It 
says countless bills waiting for consideration in the Senate, sponsored 
by Republicans and Democrats, can be tossed along the wayside.
  When are we going to realize that our veterans are a cost of these 
wars; that helping to give them the skills and training to find work is 
a cost of war; that their transition home is a cost of war and it is a 
cost we are going to face, not just this year or next year or 10 years 
from now but for the rest of the lives of these men and women? When are 
we going to realize it is not enough to pat our veterans on the back 
for their service but not give them a helping hand when they come home? 
The budget point of order says we have done enough for veterans.
  I say we cannot do enough. Less than 1 percent of U.S. citizens have 
served. Less than 1 percent of U.S. citizens have served for the well-
being of the other 99 percent. It is simply wrong for us to say we are 
out of help.
  Veterans across the country are watching, they are waiting, and they 
are tired of excuses. They want to see we can get this bill to the 
finish line.
  I know some Republicans have pointed to the calendar as a reason for 
their opposition to this bill. Honestly I wish it were not September 
either and we did not have to deal with politics here in Washington, 
DC. But, you know, who could care less about what month it is or how 
many days out we are from an election? The nearly 1 million unemployed 
veterans looking for work. When you talk to them, their concern is not 
what month it is or how many days before election, it is about what 
jobs are available in their community. What training program can they 
take advantage of. What is being done to honor their two or three or 
more tours overseas.
  Our answer cannot be that we are all out of options. It cannot be 
that their service was worth only so much. I am here to urge 
Republicans to join us this evening in rising above politics as we have 
done time and time again throughout history for our veterans, to ignore 
the calendar and do what is right. Let's send a message from the Senate 
that our veterans come first; that we will keep our end of the bargain; 
that we will never put a price on the commitment we owe them.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in waiving the budget point of order 
when it is offered later this evening.
  I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to the Senator's request, the clerk 
will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Whitehouse). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, earlier our colleague, Senator Murray, 
complained that objections to the Veterans Jobs Corps bill was 
political--I think that was the thrust of part of her remarks--and that 
we should just pass it and move on.
  My sole problem with the legislation--and Senator Murray, as a member 
of the Budget Committee understands this--is it violates the budget and 
is subject to a budget point of order. It would spend more money on 
this legislation than the veterans committee is authorized to spend. If 
we do that, we are supposed to vote on it, and a budget point of order 
would lie, and those who want to waive the budget would move to waive 
the budget and we would vote. It takes 60 votes to waive the duly 
agreed upon spending limits we have in that regard. That was part of 
the Budget Control Act in which we raised the debt ceiling by $2.1 
trillion. We agreed to put some limits on spending--not much but some. 
Here we are already, after several different prior violations of the 
budget, back at it again. So that is the concern.
  Senator Burr has offered legislation that would help solve the 
problem of unemployment among veterans, and his doesn't violate the 
budget. We could support it. I would note that the veterans committee 
never had a hearing on this. Therefore, nobody ever: studied it, called 
expert witnesses, had hearings in public, or examined witnesses to find 
out if this plan is the best way to help veterans who are unemployed. 
We have six programs already that do this. Maybe it would be better to 
consolidate some of them and add a little to it. Maybe some of them 
ought to be eliminated and a new program that is outlined in the Murray

[[Page S6331]]

amendment could be utilized to do that. But we have had no real 
opportunity to do that.
  So what is the politics? I would say the politics is that the 
majority party and the majority leader, do not want to talk about real 
issues of great importance, so this bill is brought up and utilized to 
fill up the whole week. So we are not going to take up several other 
pieces of legislation that are important.
  It was suggested that those Republicans who don't favor this way of 
dealing with unemployment of veterans--if we don't do that, we don't 
like veterans and we don't like people who have served our country and 
we are insensitive about that. Let me ask a question. If those on the 
other side care about veterans--if they say this bill, which would cost 
$900 million, which is a lot of money but not that much in terms of 
what we deal with--so if we don't support this bill, they say we don't 
care about veterans. So let me pose this question: If my democratic 
colleagues care about our men and women in uniform who serve our 
country and veterans, how could they oppose authorizing the Defense 
  Senator Reid, the majority leader, blocked bringing up the 
bipartisan-approved Defense authorization bill. It has been passed 
every year for over 50 years. That amounts to $631 billion. If we don't 
pass that, we are not taking care of the pay raise for military men and 
women and a lot of other initiatives that are in there. I would just 
point out to my colleagues that it passed the Senate Armed Services 
Committee on a bipartisan basis--not just on a bipartisan basis, 
unanimously. Yet Senator Reid will not bring it up. The House has 
passed the Defense authorization bill. They passed it in May. We have 
never brought it to the floor. The leader has refused to bring it to 
the floor.
  I suggest if my colleagues have a question about the jobs bill for 
veterans for us, why don't we ask this question: What do they think of 
the military if they will not bring up a military authorization bill? 
Do they care about them?
  What about the Defense appropriations bill? The House has passed the 
Defense appropriations bill. The Appropriations Committee of the Senate 
has passed the Defense appropriations bill. It is on the Senate floor 
waiting to be called up and voted on. It is not being voted on, and we 
are, again, talking about $600 billion. But this $900 million bill is 
taking up the whole week and the other bill will not even be brought 
  One more question: If my Democratic colleagues are concerned about 
veterans and jobs, what about the sequester? We are on track to hammer 
the Defense Department with half of the budget cuts. The Defense 
Department makes up about one-sixth of the Federal Government spending. 
It is going to take half of the cuts. It has already taken almost $500 
billion in cuts. This would be another $492 billion in cuts to the 
Defense Department. Secretary Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, has 
told the President and the whole world this would be catastrophic. It 
would hollow out the military. It would endanger our ability to fulfill 
our mission, but we are on track to have that go into effect--those 
cuts take place in January--and we are going to have military officials 
reduce dramatically, if that occurs, the number of men and women in 
uniform. We are going to have people coming off the battlefield in Iraq 
and Afghanistan and other places wanting to make a career out of the 
military, thinking they could make a career out of the military, and 
all of a sudden, because of this sequester, they are going to walk in 
and they will get a pink slip. ``Sorry, we don't need you anymore. Good 
  We have plans under the cuts that are in place in the Defense 
Department to draw down the number of personnel. This would be 
dramatically more. Where are they going to get jobs? Many of the people 
who would also lose their jobs in that process work for defense 
contractors or civilian employees of the Department of Defense who also 
are veterans, who got jobs as civilian employees in the Department of 
Defense. They will be laid off.
  Why aren't we dealing with the sequester? Earlier today Senator 
McCain said it was a shame that we are not dealing with these issues. 
``Shame, shame, shame,'' Senator McCain said. I think that is right. 
Yet we are having the spectacle of the majority party in this Congress 
attacking the Republicans for not liking the military because we don't 
agree to a budget-busting bill on how to create jobs. That has never 
been through the committee for veterans, jobs for veterans--neve been 
through the committee and never had a proper process.

  I do not agree with that. We have a serious problem in this Senate. 
We have a majority party in this Senate that is refusing to undertake 
the basic requirements of the U.S. Senate. We have not passed a budget. 
We have not passed a single appropriations bill. We certainly did not 
pass a Defense appropriations bill. The Defense authorization bill, as 
has been noted, was passed for 50-plus years. It will not be even 
brought up to have debate on, and it passed the committee unanimously.
  What is this? This is a fear, it seems to me, a political fear. And 
the political fear is, if you bring up these bills, Democrats might 
have to vote on amendments and things, and they do not want to vote. If 
you get to bring a budget to the floor, well, you have a right to offer 
amendments about the future financial course of America, and we get to 
have full debate about it, and talk about it, and offer amendments and 
be on record as to what we believe in, how much debt we think we can 
sustain in this country.
  They do not want to do that. Senator Reid said it is foolish to have 
a budget. It is not foolish to have a budget, of course. That is why we 
are in such a fix today, I would suggest.
  So can we do more for veterans? I think we can do more, and I think 
we can help them with their employment circumstances. I served 10 years 
in the Army Reserve. One of my duties was to be the representative for 
the employer support of the Guard and Reserve, and that was to ensure 
that people who were called up for our National Guard or our Army 
Reserve or go on active duty--to make sure when they come back they get 
the job they had, they will not lose their employment position as a 
result of serving their country. That is one of the things we did.
  When I was a U.S. attorney, I prosecuted some cases--and we won--
where I felt people had lost their job as a result of being called up 
to military service. That is not acceptable. We need to protect our men 
and women. I have a history of that.
  But this bill does not guarantee that we are going to use the money 
wisely that is being spent. So I am amazed we are using our last hours 
here to move forward a bill that violates the budget when we do not 
have to. Senator Burr's bill does not violate the budget, and it will, 
I am confident, do the job, do the same kind of job for helping 
veterans get jobs. This is very odd, to suggest that somehow those of 
us on this side are using politics to block a benefit to veterans. Give 
me a break. That is kind of an odd charge, isn't it?
  I would say that people on our side are standing and asking 
principled questions. Yes, we want to do more for veterans. Yes, we 
hope to help them find jobs. But we agreed just last August to spending 
limits. We agreed just last August, in exchange for raising the debt 
ceiling $2 trillion, to reduce some spending--not a lot, but some 
spending. Here we are, just over a year later, and we are already 
busting those limits we agreed to. It is not right, and it cannot be 
the kind of thing we should be doing.
  One more thing, and it is obvious to those of us in the Senate, if we 
take a minute to think about it; and that is, sustaining the budget 
point of order, not waiving the budget, does not kill the Murray bill 
or the Burr bill. It simply says, go back to committee, have a real 
hearing, bring a bill forward that actually stays within the budget. 
That is all it says do.
  If we continue this process--and we have done it several times 
already this year--of violating the budget, pretty soon the budget 
numbers we have are going to be worthless. That would be my concern. 
Let's send the legislation back to committee, let's have a hearing, 
let's let a bill come forward, let's consider the six jobs programs for 
veterans that are already in place, see if they need to be improved, 
expanded, consolidated, how this bill should be passed to complement 
those programs, and see if we do not get the maximum benefit for 
veterans for every dollar the taxpayers have sent to us.

[[Page S6332]]

  To the extent to which we spend a dime above the budget, it is either 
borrowed or paid for by new taxes. There is no doubt about it. There 
are new taxes in this bill, new revenue that is in this bill. Some of 
it is gimmicky, I have to tell you, and it is not the way we should do 
business, in my view.
  I appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts. I believe the 
budget point of order should not be waived. We should not spend more 
than the deemed budget allocations allow. We should send this bill back 
to committee, tell them to get busy on a thorough review of the jobs 
situation of veterans, and come forward and produce a bill we can pass 
that does the job and does not violate the budget. We spend $3,700 
billion. We ought to be able to find $900 million somewhere in that 
budget to meet this challenge.
  I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that on Wednesday, 
September 19, following any leader remarks, the Senate resume 
consideration of S. 3457, and notwithstanding rule XXII, it be in order 
for Senator McConnell or his designee to raise a budget point of order 
against the substitute amendment No. 2789; that if a budget point of 
order is raised, the majority leader or his designee be recognized for 
a motion to waive the applicable budget points of order; that the time 
until 12 noon be equally divided between the two leaders or their 
designees on the motion to waive; that upon the use or yielding back of 
time, the Senate proceed to vote on the motion to waive; that if the 
motion to waive the applicable budget points of order is not agreed to, 
the cloture motions with respect to the substitute and the underlying 
bill be withdrawn and the bill be returned to the calendar and the 
majority leader then be recognized; that if the motion to waive is 
agreed to, at a time to be determined by the majority leader, after 
consultation with the Republican leader and notwithstanding rule XXII, 
the motion to commit be withdrawn; that all pending amendments be 
withdrawn with the exception of the pending substitute amendment No. 
2789; that there be 30 minutes of debate, equally divided between the 
two leaders or their designees; that upon the use or yielding back of 
time, the Senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the 
substitute amendment No. 2789; if cloture is invoked, the remaining 
postcloture time be yielded back and the Senate then proceed to vote in 
relation to the substitute amendment No. 2789; that following that 
vote, the Senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on S. 
3457, as amended, if amended; and if cloture is invoked, the 
postcloture time be yielded back, the bill be read a third time and the 
Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended, if amended, 
and following the vote on passage, the majority leader be recognized; 
if cloture is not invoked on the substitute amendment No. 2789, the 
cloture motion on the underlying bill be withdrawn and the bill be 
returned to the calendar; further, that no amendments, motions or 
points of order be in order to the substitute amendment or the bill 
other than those listed in this agreement; finally, that when the 
Senate receives H.J. Res. 117, the continuing resolution for fiscal 
year 2013, it be placed on the calendar; that on Wednesday, September 
19, it be in order for the majority leader to move to proceed to H.J. 
Res. 117 and file cloture on the motion to proceed; finally, that if a 
cloture motion is filed, notwithstanding rule XXII, the vote on the 
motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.J. Res. 117 
occur at 2:15 p.m., on Wednesday, September 19.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.