(Senate - September 19, 2012)

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[Pages S6405-S6422]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, pursuant to rule 
XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, 
which the clerk will state.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     proceed to calendar No. 511, H.J. Res. 117, a joint 
     resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 
     2013, and for other purposes.
         Harry Reid, Daniel K. Inouye, Patty Murray, Bernard 
           Sanders, Jeanne Shaheen, Richard J. Durbin, Sheldon 
           Whitehouse, Debbie Stabenow, Ron Wyden, Max Baucus, 
           Mark Pryor, Christopher A. Coons, Jon Tester, Michael 
           F. Bennet, Kay R. Hagan, Robert P. Casey, Jr., Richard 
           Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to proceed to H.J. Res. 117, a joint resolution making 
continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013, and for other purposes, 
shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. The clerk will call 
the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. KYL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe,) and the Senator from Illinois (Mr. Kirk).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Inhofe) would have voted: ``yea.''
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 76, nays 22, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 194 Leg.]


     Brown (MA)
     Brown (OH)
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)



                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 76, the nays are 
22. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Montana.

                             The Farm Bill

  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, 3 months ago the United States Senate came 
together and passed a full 5-year farm bill. We did not kick the can 
down the road. We passed a bill, working together, that provides the 
certainty America's farmers and ranchers need to continue supporting 
rural jobs and putting food on our tables. So there is absolutely no 
excuse for Congress to adjourn without sending this bill to the 
President's desk to be signed into law. Still, because the House 
refuses to even bring this bill up for a vote, it looks as though that 
is exactly what is going to happen. It is shameful.
  Passing the bill in the Senate was not easy; everyone had to make a 
compromise. But the farm bill touches on the lives of millions of 
Americans in every single State. It is too important not to act.
  The Senate's farm bill is true reform. We cut the deficit by more 
than $23 billion over 10 years. We streamlined programs to make them 
more efficient. We went back to the drawing board on commodity programs 
and created a true safety net--one that works for America's farmers as 
well as for the taxpayers--again, cutting the farm program by $23 
  The House Agriculture Committee pushed out a bipartisan farm bill as 
well. I give the House Agriculture Committee a lot of credit. It is no 
secret that there are differences, but even to begin working out those 
differences the House needs to catch up, because despite having a 
bipartisan farm bill that passed the House Agriculture Committee, the 
House leadership is refusing to take it up.
  This isn't my first farm bill. I can tell my colleagues from personal 
experience that this action in the House body is unprecedented. House 
leadership has never blocked a farm bill that

[[Page S6406]]

has been reported out of the House Agriculture Committee.
  On September 30, our farm safety net programs expire and the farm 
program expires--just 11 days from now. This is our last chance to give 
America's farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve.
  This is also an opportunity to provide much-needed disaster 
assistance. Not long after we passed the farm bill in the Senate, a 
drought began to stretch across the United States. It was on the news 
virtually every night and has been for months. Wheat and cornfields 
have been drying up. Without enough forage, ranchers had to face the 
decision to either sell their herds or purchase extra feed, cutting 
into their very thin margins.
  As of this week, more than 2,000 counties have been designated as 
drought disaster areas by USDA, and 36 of them are in Montana. That is 
well over half of our State in a disaster.
  There is a consensus in Congress and across the countryside that 
something must be done, and the farm bill is that something. We had a 
bipartisan vote here in the Senate by a large margin and, as I 
mentioned, a bipartisan vote in the House Agriculture Committee.
  We have so many reasons to be grateful for the hard work of America's 
farmers and ranchers. They help sustain healthy rural economies. And 
because of the strength of America's agriculture, they put food on 
tables around the world. In 2011, agricultural exports reached $137 
billion, with a record surplus of more than $42 billion.

  Agriculture supports 16 million jobs nationwide. In Montana, one in 
five jobs is tied to agriculture. The farm bill is our jobs bill.
  Last week many Montana farmers and ranchers came to town to talk 
about the farm bill. They each told me and other Senators and House 
Members the same thing: We need a farm bill, and we need it now.
  Three of those Montanans were Bing Von Bergen from Moccasin, Ryan 
McCormick from Kremlin, and Charlie Bumgarner from Great Falls. Bing, 
Ryan, and Charlie, similar to many Montana farmers, plan to go into the 
field next month to plant their winter wheat. They will be doing so 
with the current farm bill expired. They will be doing so with no 
certainty of what the farm programs will be--that certainty which 
community bankers happen to rely on to advance loans so farmers can 
  They do not want to see the farm programs expire. They do not want 
short-term extensions. They need the certainty of a full 5-year farm 
  I urge the House to listen to what farmers and ranchers across the 
country are saying: The time to pass the farm bill is now.
  Holding up a farm bill with wide bipartisan support is playing 
politics with the livelihood of our hard-working rural constituents. 
Instead, let's do our job so farmers can do theirs. Let us answer their 
calls and pass a 5-year farm bill now.

                        Tribute to Russ Sullivan

  Mr. President, I would like to take a few moments to tell you about a 
dedicated public servant and his son--Russ Sullivan and Alhaji Amadu 
Hassann, or AJ, as he was known by his family and friends.
  AJ died on July 28 of this year. But in his short life, he inspired 
people through his exuberance for life, his courage, and his 
determination. Born in Sierra Leone, west Africa, in 1992 during the 
midst of a brutal civil war, violence served as the backdrop to AJ's 
early childhood in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
  As a young boy, AJ, his mother, and two sisters were forced to flee 
their war-ravaged country to Guinea, where they found safety in a 
refugee camp. However, life in the refugee camp was difficult. There 
was no work for the adults, no formal schools for the children, and 
little hope for a better life. Unable to return to their homeland, 
their lives were put on hold for 8 years as refugees.
  But AJ remained hopeful for a brighter future. That day came in 2002, 
when their father, who was living in the United States, was able to 
bring AJ and his sisters to America.
  The children--15-year-old Ousmatta, 11-year-old AJ, and 9-year-old 
Laretta--moved in with their father in Virginia. However, their father 
had struggled in America. Similar to many who do not have steady work, 
he did not have health insurance. So when AJ's father got a tooth 
infection, he ignored it. Left untreated, the infection spread 
throughout his entire body and AJ's father died.
  An aunt tried to raise the three children on her own but had 
difficulty making ends meet. The children were split up. A cousin took 
in Laretta, Ousmatta stayed with their aunt, and AJ was taken in by a 
man named Russ Sullivan.
  Russ has long been serving as a foster parent in the community. He 
has mentored dozens of young men, becoming the legal guardian of some 
and helping hundreds see a different course for their life. Russ took 
in AJ. Then Russ took on additional responsibilities of becoming AJ's 
legal guardian.
  So who is this man Russ Sullivan? Russ Sullivan is the staff director 
of the Senate Committee on Finance. He is known in the Senate--as 
Senator Harry Reid has said--as ``a problem solver.'' Russ has 
developed a reputation for leadership, dedication, and respect for his 
colleagues. His staff admires him, his colleagues trust him and admire 
him, and I am honored to call him a friend. Nobody who has met and 
worked with Russ Sullivan has a different point of view. I have never 
heard anyone utter a criticism of Russ Sullivan, and no one ever will; 
he is that kind of man.
  Philosopher Thomas Carlyle once said: ``The work an unknown good man 
has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly 
making the ground green.''
  That is Russ. His name is not in lights. People do not know about 
him. He is working to solve problems and make the ground green.
  Under Russ's nurturing care, AJ began to adjust to his new life in 
America. AJ had boundless energy and loved to play soccer. He was fun 
to be around, had a great sense of humor, made friends easily, and 
loved to flirt with the girls.
  AJ completed high school but had no intention of going to college. 
That was until Russ came into his life. In April 2011, AJ told a 
newspaper reporter that his life changed after meeting Russ. This is 

       I was just going to do what everybody else was doing--drop 
     out and get a job. But after I met Russ, everything changed 
     about my mentality toward life. He started pushing me and 
     getting me to think harder. . . . He's a great man, and I 
     thank God I met him. . . .

  AJ first enrolled at Salem International University and after 1 year 
transferred to the University of West Virginia. He majored in sports 
management and loved being a ``Mountaineer.''
  Then tragedy struck. In a senseless act of violence, AJ was assaulted 
in front of a local college hangout. He fell, hit his head hard--back, 
head snapped--and over the next few hours slipped into a coma.
  On Capitol Hill we were in the middle of deficit reduction 
negotiations. When Russ received the news about AJ, he rushed from 
Washington to West Virginia, where he stayed at AJ's side.
  Over the next month, Russ was traveling back and forth--back and 
forth--from West Virginia to Washington. This is during the 
supercommittee talks. Russ was juggling not only his career but also 
AJ's medical treatment. He was also forecasting what we could do. He 
was fostering several other boys--this is not the only boy Russ was a 
foster father for--and Russ kept working with the extended family and 
friends in the loop. He kept working with them and telling them and 
keeping them informed about AJ's condition.
  I often hear the media reports about Capitol Hill 
being dysfunctional--the sides are polarized and compromise is a dirty 
word. But when Chris Campbell, the Republican Senate Finance staff 
director, heard the news about AJ's injury, he enlisted his staff and 
the Republicans stepped up to help. They took Wednesdays.

  For the next couple months, Russ's boys--18 in total when they are 
all home from college; imagine, Russ Sullivan is the foster father for 
18 different young men--knew that Wednesday night was pizza night, 
coming from the pockets of the Republican Finance Committee staff. 
``Wednesdays'' was that night.
  AJ was moved from the West Virginia hospital to Children's Hospital 
and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, DC, where he remained for the

[[Page S6407]]

next several months until his death in July.
  We mourn for the loss of this young man--who brought an incredible 
light to this world and light to Russ's world and to all who met him. 
He brought such a light in such a short period of time.
  We are fortunate to have Russ working on Capitol Hill. Russ 
epitomizes public service. He is honest. He is direct, upbeat, 
positive, looking for solutions, cutting through all the redtape. He 
always seeks to understand the arguments and keeps searching for the 
common ground--constantly. Senator Reid keeps asking me: Can Russ help 
here? What can Russ do about this, in trying to reach out to the other 
side to find an agreement. He has always been someone I respect and 
trust. He is also someone I have come to admire.
  Months have passed since AJ's death, but his zest for life remains in 
the hearts of those closest to him. Russ continues mentoring and 
helping others, changing lives one after another.
  Just last week, Russ witnessed a victory for another one of his boys. 
The boy had been wrongfully convicted of a crime and was facing 
deportation. But because of Russ's continued diligence and commitment, 
his innocence was proven and the conviction was overturned. That was 
just a few days ago.
  Harvard Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter once said: ``A vision is not 
just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, 
a call to become something more.''
  Russ sees the vision of what could be and rolls up his sleeves to 
make it happen.
  I know I speak for all of us on the Senate Finance Committee--and 
many of us in this body as a whole--when I say: Thank you, Russ. Thank 
you for making us want to find our better selves, thank you for working 
to make the future better, and thank you for all you do.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I am personally very grateful for the 
wonderful remarks of my colleague, the chairman of the Finance 
Committee, because I do not think any words could express how much Russ 
means to all of us. He is a wonderful man. He is a wonderful leader on 
the committee. He is honest. He is straightforward. He works with you. 
Frankly, we all think the world of him on our side as well. I just wish 
to compliment the distinguished chairman for his beautiful remarks 
about a tremendous person and the foster children he has worked with.
  Russ is the epitome of greatness on the Senate Finance Committee and 
as a staff member of the Senate. So I wish to personally pay tribute to 
him and express my sorrow over the loss of his son AJ and express my 
love and affection for him. He is a good man, helping a good chairman. 
We work together very closely, and I have a lot of regard for what the 
chairman just said and a lot of regard for Russ and wish him the best.
  I hope the Good Lord will comfort him and comfort his soul during 
this very trying time.
  Mr. BAUCUS. I say to the Senator, thank you very much. I know Russ 
deeply appreciates that, and we all do. I thank the Senator.

                Unanimous Consent Request--S.J. Res. 50

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, on July 12, 2012, the Obama 
administration's Department of Health and Human Services issued an 
Information Memorandum informing States that for the first time in the 
16-year history of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, 
HHS would permit them to waive welfare work requirements.
  This action undermines a robust work-first approach that was one of 
the key features of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.
  If allowed to stand, this action could result in activities such as 
journaling, bed rest, and smoking cessation classes being counted as 
work for the purposes of meeting Federal welfare work performance 
  This change in policy presents a serious substantive question. Should 
taxpayer dollars go to welfare recipients who are not working but are 
instead journaling or working to quit smoking?
  But it presents serious institutional questions as well because the 
action by the Obama administration was, quite simply, a unilateral 
power grab that usurps the constitutional power of the legislative 
branch, and every Member of this body ought to be concerned about it. 
That is no small thing.
  Our Constitution, for good reason, locates the lawmaking power in the 
Congress. That is because our Founding Fathers understood that in a 
republic of laws, the lawmakers must represent the people directly. The 
people must have a close hold on the representatives who create the 
laws under which we live.
  If changes are going to be made to the welfare work requirements, it 
should be up to the Congress to make them. Faceless bureaucrats at HHS 
should not be the ones making changes to the welfare work requirements. 
Yet that is exactly what happened here.
  Unelected bureaucrats at HHS are attempting to change the law--a law 
passed by the Senate and the whole Congress. If left unchecked, welfare 
policy is being substantially changed by the Obama administration in a 
way that never would have been acceptable to the people's elected 
representatives in Congress.
  No administration should be permitted to disregard the laws Congress 
passed and simply make up their own rules.
  For 16 years, no President, Health and Human Services Secretary or 
Governor--regardless of political party--believed welfare work 
requirements could be waived.
  If the Obama administration believes welfare work requirements should 
be changed, they should submit a legislative proposal to Congress.
  In the 3\1/2\ years before the July 12 information memorandum, the 
Obama administration never offered a legislative proposal to change the 
welfare work requirements.
  The unprecedented nature of the Obama administration's power grab is 
supported by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.
  On September 4, 2012, the GAO responded to an inquiry from Ways and 
Means chairman Dave Camp and me.
  They determined that the July 12 information memorandum was a rule 
that should have been submitted to Congress. GAO further found that as 
a rule, the information memorandum was subject to the Congressional 
Review Act. The Congressional Review Act provides Congress with an 
opportunity to review and, where appropriate, disapprove rules issued 
by the executive branch.
  When more and more of the rules that govern the American people are 
being made by anonymous and unelected bureaucrats with no 
responsibility to reflect the priorities of the American people, the 
Congressional Review Act is a critical device and one we should always 
uphold. It allows the people's representatives in Congress to stand up 
and reject a rule emanating from the Federal bureaucracy.
  The Committee on Ways and Means favorably reported the resolution of 
disapproval last week. The full House of Representatives will consider 
the resolution of disapproval this week. I have introduced S.J. Res. 
50, a resolution of disapproval here in the Senate. I am pleased that 
my legislation is cosponsored by 21 of my colleagues.
  The Congressional Review Act also provides for fast-track 
consideration of a resolution of disapproval when a Senator has secured 
at least 30 Senators on a discharge petition. That means no filibuster. 
I am pleased to report that I have well over 30 signatures on the 
discharge petition. Unfortunately, this expedited process does not kick 
in until later this month.
  The Senate will be voting on my resolution, there is no question 
about that. The only question is when. In my view, we should take up 
this matter now. It is a critical issue for the American people, and it 
is a critical issue for this institution. As the people's 
representatives, it is a dereliction of duty to stand by while 
unelected officials attempt to change the law unilaterally without the 
constitutionally-prescribed input of the people's representatives in 
Congress. For that reason, in a few moments I will propound a unanimous 
consent request for debate, followed by a vote on proceeding to the 
resolution of disapproval. It is a simple request. A vote on the 
resolution of disapproval is inevitable. The only question is whether 
the majority will allow a vote in a timely manner.
  Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Finance be 
discharged from further consideration of

[[Page S6408]]

S.J. Res. 50, a joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by HHS 
regarding welfare waivers; that there be 2 hours of debate on the 
motion to proceed equally divided and controlled between the two 
leaders or their designees; and that the Senate then proceed to a vote 
on the adoption of the motion to proceed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Klobuchar). Is there objection?
  The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I reserve the right to object. Under my 
reservation, let me first thank my colleague from Utah for bringing 
this matter before us. But, like him, I was in the Congress in the late 
nineties when we passed the TANF law. I remember being part of welfare 
reform. Prior to that time, we had what is known as AFDC, aid for 
dependent children, which was an entitlement program that offered the 
States the opportunity to move forward without risk because they were 
guaranteed a certain amount of money for every child who was eligible--
for every family who was eligible for welfare funds. We changed that to 
provide for temporary assistance for needy families, TANF.
  I remember very clearly working with the States and working with my 
distinguished colleague, and what we told the States was this: You are 
going to get a block grant. That means you are going to be bottom-line 
responsible for the program, that there will no longer be a guarantee 
on the number of families who are enrolled in welfare as to dollars you 
are going to receive.
  We promised two things: We told the States we were going to give them 
the tools they needed to get the job done. We provided the funds so 
they could provide for job training so that the people on welfare would 
have adequate skills in order to get jobs. We promised them childcare 
so that children could be taken care of while they were in the 
  We provided the tools, but we also said we would provide the States 
the flexibility to get the job done. We provided accountability, and 
accountability was the participation rate, which could be satisfied in 
different ways, which said the States have the flexibility to get the 
job done--a model of federalism--but we would let the States experiment 
to figure out the best way to accomplish the end result: getting people 
off of cash assistance, getting them into the workplace.
  Now, let me point out to my colleagues that the waiver authority has 
been in the law for a long time, section 1115. We have had our 
disagreements with all administrations on the use of the waiver 
authority. My colleague refers to the GAO's report which dealt with 
five waivers that were requested from 2000 to 2009. Those State waivers 
sought relief from specific requirements. It did not bring forward an 
innovative new approach to try to use State experimentation to get the 
best results.
  It is interesting that in 2008, under the Bush administration, Health 
and Human Services documented that the waiver authority indeed existed 
as it related to the participation rates and the way in which they 
could be satisfied.
  Secretary Sebelius has made it clear that the waiver will only be 
used for a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent. So she 
is looking at using the waivers to increase participation rates, to 
increase the number of people who are actually employed. If there is 
not progress within a year, the State runs the risk of losing the 
waiver. It is focused on improving employment outcomes for 
  I must say that I am extremely disappointed about the partisan nature 
of this discussion. I say that because I think we have all seen the ads 
that have been put on the networks by Governor Romney that accuse the 
Obama administration of eliminating the work requirement on TANF, on 
welfare, when the fact is that the use of this waiver authority has 
been to strengthen the work participation rates--to strengthen the work 
participation rates. These ads have been condemned by major news 
sources on both the left and right. They understand this. So you would 
think that once Governor Romney understood that his ad was misleading 
and wrong, he would take it off the air, but instead he has actually 
increased the usage of this ad, which I find to be outrageous. Maybe it 
is consistent with Governor Romney's recent disclosure of his concern 
for half of America, saying it is not his problem.
  My job--our job--is to consider the needs of all of our constituents. 
TANF is a program that I think represents a model in federalism. It 
allows us to learn from the States so we can take their best models and 
use them for national policies. That is the reason for federalism. That 
was the reason we went to TANF reform. What the waiver authority is 
being used for is to give us that experimentation.
  We have heard from more and more States that Congress mandates too 
much. I hear from my Republican colleagues all the time that we have 
too many mandates. Well, some States have a better way of doing it. 
Rather than spend their money dealing with the mandates, they said: 
Look, we will accomplish the bottom line. We will get more people 
working. We will get better results. We will get people better trained. 
We will not only get people employed, but they will have the skills to 
go up the employment ladder, to really succeed and have good-paying 
jobs in their lifetime. Let's do what is right, and then you can learn 
from us, rather than having to listen to the specific mandates some of 
my colleagues would like to see in stone here from Washington.

  This was a commitment we made to the States in the nineties. The 
waiver authority is in existing law. The Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, Secretary Sebelius, is only using it for innovative 
approaches that increase the work responsibilities of the State, not 
diminish them. That has been well documented.
  For all of those reasons, I do object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I appreciate my colleague's remarks, much 
of which I agree with. That still does not negate the fact that the 
administration has acted unilaterally as the executive branch to usurp 
powers of the legislative branch. That is the issue. It is a very 
important issue. It is the responsibility of the Congress, not the 
President, to give the States flexibility with regard to the work 
requirement. The Constitution is pretty explicit on that.
  GAO reported today that even though States had requested or inquired 
about waivers, no administration--not the Clinton administration, not 
the Bush administration, not the Obama administration--believed they 
had waiver authority; that is, until July 12 when HHS did this. I think 
they knew they were wrong.
  The latest GAO report details how whenever States requested TANF 
waivers in the past, HHS responded that no such authority exists. 
Between 2000 and 2009, during the Clinton, Bush, and even Obama 
administrations, HHS has consistently told States they have no waiver 
authority. Specifically, GAO finds that at least five States asked HHS 
about TANF waivers during that period. In two of those cases, GAO said 
the HHS official response said they ``did not have authority to provide 
waivers.'' In the three other cases when States asked informally, GAO 
reports that HHS responded saying that ``the requested waiver authority 
was not available.''
  Separately, in 2005 and 2007 HHS published two ``program 
instructions'' about flexibilities in TANF, both indicating that no 
waiver authority existed. In these instructions, HHS stated, ``We have 
no authority under current law to waive any of the TANF requirements'' 
and ``We have no authority to waive any of the provisions of the Act.'' 
Only the Obama administration has claimed the ``authority,'' 
circumventing Congress.
  Look, this is not just a political issue, as the distinguished 
Senator from Maryland, one of my dear friends here, said. We both 
graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. I have great 
admiration for him and great feelings toward him. But only the Obama 
administration has claimed this ``authority'' circumventing Congress. 
The latest GAO report highlights that only the Obama administration has 
claimed the authority to waive welfare work requirements. Further, GAO 
notes that this action by current HHS officials is in response to the 
President's February 2011

[[Page S6409]]

memorandum, which, according to subsequent administration guidance, 
solicited ``input on significant statutory barriers that could be 
addressed through waivers.''
  Especially when viewed in the context of the President's ``we can't 
wait'' agenda, it is clear that this HHS proposal is part of an 
organized administration effort to circumvent Congress and its 
legislative authority. We have seen that time after time with an 
abusive use of Executive orders.
  Look, TANF has worked amazingly well because of the work requirements 
in TANF. There is a good reason no other administration has tried to 
pull this type of a stunt.
  Whether you agree with the administration or not, it seems to me we 
ought to first uphold the rights and powers of the legislative branch 
of government that cannot be circumvented just because a President 
wants to do something on his own. That is what is involved here. I 
think we ought to all stand, Democrats and Republicans, and say: Look, 
you are not going to be able to do this. If you want to do it, then you 
are going to have to do it through statutory changes or at least ask 
Congress for permission.
  That is the purpose of asking for this vote which has been objected 
to. I guess we will do it during the lameduck session. But the purpose 
is to stand up for the rights of the Congress of the United States and 
especially the rights of the Senate that are being ignored.
  There is a lot more I can say about it. That basically covers it. I 
appreciate my colleague's feelings on this matter, but to put it in the 
category that this is Mitt Romney trying something--Mitt Romney has had 
basically nothing to do with it other than he agrees with what we have 
done. He said that after we did it. He did not come to me and ask me to 
do it.
  The fact is we are standing for the legislative prerogatives that we 
really ought to stand for and that the GAO said should be stood for 
because they declared it a rule. The GAO is not in the pockets of 
Republicans or Democrats; it is there to try to determine these types 
of issues that are extremely important legal issues, extremely 
important legislative issues, extremely important separation-of-powers 
issues. So that is what we are doing here, and it really shouldn't even 
be a political issue. We ought to just vote and let it go at that. But 
it has been objected to, and I am willing to wait until the appropriate 
time to have a vote.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I very much appreciate my friend Senator 
Hatch, and we are good friends, and I very much appreciate the point he 
makes. I do need to correct at least two points.
  One, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh undergraduate, not 
law school. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, 
and I want to make sure my friends in Maryland know it was their law 
  Mr. HATCH. If the Senator will yield, I certainly retract my 
statement on that. But I feel bad the Senator didn't graduate from the 
University of Pittsburgh, as I did.
  Mr. CARDIN. Well, I was afraid to apply. I wasn't sure I would get 
  The second point, on a more substantive matter on this debate, is 
that I wish to point out the requests that were made for waivers 
between 2000 and 2009 were from the final requirement. They didn't seek 
to bring forward a demonstration program or a different way to get to 
their results. The difference here is that States should have the 
flexibility to come in with innovative ways if they accomplish at least 
what we set out in law for them to accomplish. In fact, with these 
demonstration waivers, they will have to do better on the end result on 
people working. I just wanted to point that out because I thought there 
were differences from the prior requests that were made and Secretary 
Sebelius's response.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I would just add that if they want that 
type of authority, they should come to the Congress and ask for it 
because we put that authority subject to Congress's decisionmaking, and 
it shouldn't be done unilaterally by an out-of-control approach by the 
executive branch. That is what is involved, and it is important. 
Whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, we ought to have an 
understanding of the legislative and executive branches and our rights 
and prerogatives in Congress. There is nothing that says States can't 
add work requirements that are legitimate work requirements in the 
statute. They didn't need this type of unilateral decision by the HHS 
Department to do that. That is the point.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont is recognized.
  Mr. SANDERS. I thank the Chair.
  (The remarks of Mr. Sanders and Mr. Franken pertaining to the 
introduction of S. 3562 are located in today's Record under 
``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. FRANKEN. I thank the Chair.
  (The remarks of Mr. Franken pertaining to the introduction of S. 3557 
are located in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. FRANKEN. Madam President, I yield the floor, and 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. HARKIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            The Ryan Budget

  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, today as I have done for days since we 
have been in session since we returned from our August break, I have 
been talking about the impact of the Ryan budget, which is now the 
Romney-Ryan budget, on America and what it would mean for our future. I 
take the floor today as I have in the past to talk about one aspect of 
it. In the past I have talked about impact on health care, on 
education, on the social safety net. Today I wish to talk about what 
the Romney-Ryan budget does to our infrastructure, to job training, to 
avenues to the middle class for people.
  The real question the American people face this coming election is: 
Are we going to restore and rebuild the middle class or are we going to 
continue to shift even more and more of our wealth to just a few at the 
top at the expense of the middle class?
  My Republican friends have made clear where they stand on this. They 
have done so when nearly every Republican in Congress voted in favor of 
the Ryan budget plan which Governor Romney embraced as ``marvelous.'' 
The very centerpiece of the Ryan budget is a dramatic shift of even 
more wealth to those at the top, huge tax cuts for the richest 2 
percent. Those making more than $1 million a year would get an extra 
$394,000 a year in tax breaks under the Ryan budget. That is on top of 
the $265,000 they already have. That brings it up to well over 
$400,000, almost $500,000 a year they would get.
  We keep hearing a lot of talk about entitlements for the poor. 
Governor Romney, when he talks about entitlements, always focuses on 
the poor. How about this. If you make over $1 million you are entitled 
to it. You will not hear him talk about that entitlement.
  How do the Republicans in the Ryan budget pay for these huge tax cuts 
that total over $4.5 trillion over 10 years? The Romney-Ryan budget 
would partially offset the tax cuts by making deep, Draconian tax cuts 
that undergird the middle class and that are essential to the quality 
of life in this country--everything from education, student grants, 
loans, to highways, bridges, other infrastructure projects.
  Last, the Romney-Ryan budget offsets big new tax cuts for those at 
the top by actually raising taxes on the middle class. Yes, you heard 
me, that is exactly right. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates 
that under the Ryan plan, middle-class families with children would see 
their taxes go up on average by more than $2,000.
  The bottom line is that the Ryan budget does not reduce the deficit. 
The savings they gain by slashing spending and raising taxes on the 
middle class basically go to offsetting the $4.5 trillion in new tax 
cuts, which, I just pointed out, go to the wealthiest Americans.
  I think this shows you right here what would happen to the deficit. 
We always hear the talk about balancing

[[Page S6410]]

the budget. The truth is Representative Ryan and Mr. Romney are not 
interested in balancing the budget. Their plan would not balance the 
budget until 2040--28 years from now.
  As I said earlier, Mr. Ryan is a true acolyte of former Vice 
President Cheney who, in an unguarded moment, said that deficits don't 
matter. That was Vice President Cheney. If you look at the debt piled 
up under the Bush years, you will see they didn't think deficits 
  Look at this. Here is the debt held by the public under the Ryan 
budget from 2013 to just 2022, in the next 10 years. Look at the debt. 
The debt does not go down, it goes up. Where does this debt go? Tax 
cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that is where it goes.
  Representative Ryan doubles down on the theory that if we give an 
even greater share of wealth to those at the top, it will magically 
trickle down, a theory that was tried under President George W. Bush. 
But in the years after those Bush tax cuts we know what happened to 
jobs in America--they plummeted in the years after George Bush and 
those tax cuts went into effect.
  Today I want to focus specifically on the impact of the Romney-Ryan 
budget on our Nation's infrastructure and job training. Both, I 
believe, are crucial for the creation of middle-class jobs in a 
competitive global economy. Regrettably, the Ryan budget would be a 
devastating one-two punch to our Nation's economy and slash investment 
in infrastructure which would slash hundreds of thousands of well-
paying jobs. It would radically reduce funding for job training, 
reducing opportunities for the unemployed to get retooled for jobs in 
sectors of the economy that are doing well, where they are needed.
  The United States now competes in a global marketplace. To improve 
our competitiveness and to give our workers the education and skills 
they need to compete, both our public and private sectors must make a 
robust investment in infrastructure, education, and job training.
  Overcrowded and crumbling roads, outdated waterways, other means of 
transportation and transport have a profoundly damaging effect on our 
economy. This increases the time and expense of moving goods, it hurts 
our global competitiveness, as I said, especially at a time when our 
rivals in the global marketplace are investing heavily in both 
infrastructure and job training.
  Even maintaining our current levels of infrastructure investment will 
have negative consequences for our economy. That is if we just maintain 
what we have.
  The American Society of Civil Engineers predicts that, if current 
trends continue, by 2020 our continuing infrastructure will result in 
900,000 fewer jobs and $900 billion in lost economic growth.
  This was the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2011. They said:

       The deficiencies in America's roads, bridges and transit 
     systems cost American households and businesses roughly $130 
     billion, including approximately $97 billion in vehicle 
     operating costs,

  You can read that to mean potholes and things that bang your car up.

       --$32 billion in delays and travel time,

  If you have been stuck in a lot of traffic.

       --$1.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in 
     environmental costs.

  That is the Society of Civil Engineers. That is not part of the 
Democratic Party or any party. This is a nonpartisan economic look at 
what is happening in our infrastructure.
  By slashing these investments to even lower levels, the Ryan budget 
will only make these problems worse, not better. In fact, the Ryan 
budget cuts transportation spending by one-third in the first year.
  We are not talking about a little nip and a tuck on infrastructure. 
Here is the fiscal year 2012--enacted--transportation budget: $89 
billion. The Ryan-Romney budget for next year, $57 billion. It is 
almost a one-third cut. Think what that would mean to the jobs in 
America. Think what it means to our crumbling infrastructure.
  Then you have to compare how much we are investing in our 
infrastructure to what one of our biggest competitors, China, is doing. 
Here is China. As a percent of their gross domestic product, they are 
spending 9 percent of their GDP on infrastructure. Here is the United 
States. In 1960, when I was a college student working summer jobs, 
laying pavement and building bridges on the Interstate Highway System, 
we were spending 4 percent of our GDP on infrastructure. We are now 
down to 2.4 percent. And the Romney-Ryan budget would take that even 
  So already our Federal investments in infrastructure are inadequate. 
For example, we have failed to bring the half-century-old Interstate 
Highway System into the 21st century. Again, the Romney-Ryan budget 
would make that even worse. The Romney budget would make deep cuts to 
funding for the Corps of Engineers which is already grossly underfunded 
and struggling to maintain a deteriorating waterway system so crucial 
for the movement of bulk goods, and, I might add, also crucial for 
flood control.
  The Ryan budget would also take a meat axe to Federal funding for job 
training and education, America's pathway to the middle class. It would 
jeopardize vital job services for millions of Americans. Thirty-one 
million Americans got Federal help with their job searches last year--
help to write their resumes, prepare for interviews, information about 
the best jobs available in their local area, referrals to job openings. 
Several hundred thousand were also able to participate in job training 
under Federal programs. This gave these American workers the 
opportunity to compete for good jobs so they have a shot at the middle 
class. It created a steady supply of skilled workers for U.S. 
businesses, made their operations more productive, and it helped them 
to grow.
  Think about it; several hundred thousand people out of work were able 
to participate in job training because of Federal programs. That is 
part of Mr. Romney's 47 percent that he says he doesn't care about, who 
are the takers in our society. No, no, Mr. Romney, they are not takers. 
These are people struggling to make a better life for themselves and 
their families. They want job training. They want better education. 
They want to upgrade their skills. They want to work. The Romney-Ryan 
budget would pull the rug out from underneath them and say: Tough luck, 
you are on your own. I don't think they should be on their own; they 
should be part of our American family.
  Without sustained robust investments in quality infrastructure and 
well-trained workers, America will fall behind and job creation will 
suffer. This is a critical threat to the future of the middle class in 
our country.
  In essence, the Ryan budget essentially rejects the very possibility 
that the Federal Government can act to spur economic growth, boost 
competitiveness, and create good middle-class jobs. But this flies in 
the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. At critical 
junctures going back to the beginning of our Republic, the Federal 
Government has stepped up to the plate, acting decisively to spur 
economic growth, foster innovation, and help create jobs. In 1791, 
Alexander Hamilton presented to Congress his landmark Report on 
Manufactures, a set of Federal policies designed to strengthen the new 
Republic's economy by creating a network of roads and canals.
  The most visionary 19th century advocate of Federal investments to 
spur economic growth was the first Republican President, Abraham 
Lincoln. In 1862 he signed the Pacific Railway Act to finance 
construction of the transcontinental railroad, one of the great 
technological feats, by the way, of the 19th century. But Lincoln did 
more; he created the Department of Agriculture to modernize agriculture 
and distribute free land to farmers. As a proud graduate of Iowa State 
University, I also note Lincoln dramatically expanded access to higher 
education across the United States by signing into law the Land Grant 
College system. Taken together, these initiatives had a transformative 
impact on the U.S. economy.
  It is humorous to imagine how today's Republicans would have reacted 
to Lincoln's agenda. What if Abraham Lincoln were to present this today 
to the tea party? He would not get anywhere.
  Later, in the 1950s, there was another Republican president, Dwight 
Eisenhower, who championed one of the greatest public works projects in 
our national history, construction of the

[[Page S6411]]

national highway system. A 1996 study concluded that the Interstate 
Highway System is an engine that has driven 40 years of unprecedented 
prosperity in America.
  In recent times, the Federal Government has funded and spearheaded 
scientific discovery and innovation. The Department of Defense invented 
the Internet. It was Federal research that led to the invention of the 
global positioning satellite system. Any discussion of the Federal 
Government's historic role in discovery and innovation and job creation 
must acknowledge the staggering achievements of the National Institutes 
of Health. More than 80 Nobel Prizes have been awarded for NIH-
supported research. So it is absurd to claim that the Federal 
Government cannot serve a positive and even profound role in boosting 
the economy and spurring innovation. But the Romney-Ryan budget demands 
that we permanently hobble the Federal Government. That is the Romney-
Ryan budget. This negative, defeatist viewpoint is dead wrong, and the 
disinvestment it advocates will only send our country into a death 
spiral of stagnation and decline.
  Going back to the 1930s, the American people have supported and 
strengthened a kind of unique American social contract. The social 
contract says a cardinal rule of government is to provide a ladder of 
opportunity so that every American can realistically aspire to the 
American dream. The Ryan budget would rip up that social contract.

  Don't take my word for it. Former Reagan economic adviser Bruce 
Bartlett on the Ryan budget said this:

       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.

  The Ryan budget rips up the social safety net, disinvests in our 
infrastructure, cuts funding for job training, cuts money for 
education, cuts money for health care. As I said, it is a negative, 
defeatist viewpoint that will set our country into a death spiral of 
stagnation and decline.
  The Romney-Ryan budget would replace the unique American social 
contract that we have with a survival-of-the-fittest, winner-take-all 
philosophy that tells struggling, aspiring Americans and their 
communities: Tough luck, you are on your own.
  I agree with former President Bill Clinton. We have two philosophies: 
the Romney Ryan budget--tough luck, you are on your own--or the other 
philosophy that we are all Americans and we are all in this together. 
We are all mutually supportive. We believe in a ladder, a ramp of 
opportunity, and, yes, we believe the Federal Government has a powerful 
role to play in making sure all Americans can aspire to the American 
dream. They can reach the middle class. They can achieve the highest of 
their potentialities and their abilities. That is the difference.
  I think the American people need to know what is in the Ryan budget. 
One might say: Well, a budget is a budget.
  A budget is a blueprint. Just as we build a building, we have to have 
a blueprint; a budget is a blueprint for the future of where we want to 
go. Communities have budgets, families have budgets, schools have 
budgets. We have a budget so we can plan. It represents where we want 
to be in the future. The Ryan budget is a blueprint for defeat and a 
death spiral into stagnation for America.
  I believe the more the American people understand and know what is in 
that Ryan budget, the more they are going to turn it aside and say: No, 
we can do better than that in America. We need a budget that reflects 
our hopes and aspirations and our abilities as Americans to work 
together to achieve the American dream for all.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Merkley). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill 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.

                              Fiscal Cliff

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, the Senate is sort of wrapping up its 
business, if you will, until after the election. It is ironic, in a 
way, that there are so many big issues in front of us as a nation--so 
many challenges--yet we are talking about things I am sure are 
important, but, once again, we are punting, kicking the can down the 
road on all the big crises in front of us as a nation.
  I have to say that never before has a President and a Senate done so 
little when the Nation's challenges are so great. People have talked 
about the fiscal cliff repeatedly, and people have talked about the 
fiscal crisis in which we find ourselves in terms that I think ought to 
frighten all Americans. It certainly ought to frighten Members of 
Congress when we talk about the most predictable crisis in American 
history, probably in human history. It is not like it is any surprise 
what is going to happen. We are repeatedly reminded by all of the 
experts that if we don't deal with this issue of the fiscal cliff, it 
will have devastating, catastrophic impacts on our economy, on our 
national security, on our country, and on the American people. Yet we 
are not addressing it and doing what we should be doing to avert the 
disaster ahead of us, the fiscal cliff that faces us on January 1 of 
this next year.
  It is not as though there isn't already a lot of evidence that we 
have big problems. We just crossed the $16 trillion level in terms of 
our debt. We have added over $1 trillion of debt every single year now 
for the past 4 years, since President Obama has taken office. That is 
$50,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. Everybody in 
America--man, woman, or child--now has $50,000 as their share of 
Federal debt. So it is a fiscal crisis unlike anything we have seen 
before, and it has, as I said, been predicted.
  The Congressional Budget Office has said if we don't deal with the 
fiscal cliff, it will plunge the economy into recession. They have 
suggested that it will reduce by 2.9 percent the size of the economy. 
We actually will have a contraction of the economy in the first 6 
months of next year.
  They have also projected it will drive unemployment above 9 percent. 
Granted, we are over 8 percent today. We have been at 8 percent now for 
43 consecutive months. That is the longest stretch in history. In fact, 
if we go back to the time the Bureau of Labor Statistics started 
keeping unemployment data and we add up the data for the 11 Presidents 
from Harry Truman through the end of the George W. Bush 
administration--about 60 years--there were 39 months where the 
unemployment rate exceeded 8 percent. That is 11 Presidents in about 60 
years of history where we have had unemployment above 8 percent.
  We have now had unemployment above 8 percent for 43 consecutive 
months. So 39 months in the first 60 years since they started keeping 
data, and 43 months now in a row under the current administration.
  We have the Federal Reserve telling us if we don't deal with our 
fiscal crisis, the economy is going to soften next year.
  We have ratings agencies such as Moody's suggesting that if we don't 
have a plan in place not only to deal with the sequestration that is 
going to occur at the end of the year in a way that is paid for but 
also to deal with the longer, structural problem--the debt and deficits 
crisis we have in this country--we are facing a downgrade in our credit 
  You had the World Economic Forum come out just recently with their 
assessment about the world's most competitive economies. Back in 
January of 2009 when President Obama took office, the World Economic 
Forum found that the United States had the No. 1 most competitive 
economy in the world. In terms of global competitiveness, the United 
States was ranked No. 1. Now we have dropped. We had dropped to fifth, 
and this year, just recently, as I mentioned, when they came out with 
their current rankings, the United States had dropped down to seventh. 
So in a short 4-year timespan, we have gone from first in terms of 
global competitiveness down to seventh. That does not speak well for 
the steps that are being taken here in this country to make America 
competitive in the global economy, to deal with the problems of 
spending and debt and the fiscal cliff that is ahead of us.
  It is interesting to note that at the World Economic Forum--what did 
they point to in terms of their analysis?

[[Page S6412]]

Why did they come to the conclusion that the United States had fallen 
from first in January of 2009 when the President took office to seventh 
here this year? Well, they pointed out spending, debt, taxes, 
regulations, redtape--all the things that come from Washington, DC; all 
the things that are controlled by policies here in Washington; the 
regulations that continue to spin out of various government agencies 
that drive up the cost of doing business in this country, that make us 
less competitive; the higher taxes that are being assessed on our 
economy in so many different ways; and, of course, all the taxes that 
are going to take hold, take effect as part of ObamaCare, the health 
care law that was passed a couple years ago, that begin to kick in. So 
you are going to have higher taxes. You have the redtape associated 
with doing business in this country and the bureaucracies, the 
mandates, the requirements that are imposed on our small businesses and 
our job creators. And then, of course, as I said, you have this massive 
amount of debt that hangs like a cloud over our economy. These are all 
factors that contribute to this assessment that has basically 
downgraded the United States from the No. 1 position in terms of global 
competitiveness to No. 7.
  So the question before the house is, What can we do? What should we 
be doing to avert that crisis? Well, it strikes me, at least, that it 
starts with having a plan and working together, having the President 
step forward with a plan that would make sure our economy does not go 
into a recession next year; that makes sure the defense cuts that would 
occur under the sequester--which are terribly disproportionate relative 
to the size of the defense budget as a percentage of our total budget--
do not harm our national security interests; figure out ways to solve 
that problem; reduce spending in other areas to redistribute the cuts. 
Defense represents only 20 percent of the entire budget, but it gets 50 
percent of the cuts under this across-the-board sequester that would 
take effect on January 1 of next year.
  Our national security experts and our military leadership have said 
that if these cuts take effect, we will have the smallest Army since 
the beginning of World War II. You have to go back to 1940 to find a 
time when we would have had an Army that is that small. You have to go 
back to 1915, before World War I, to find a time when we would have had 
a Navy that is as small as it will be if these cuts take effect in the 
number of ships we have at our disposal. And we would have the smallest 
Air Force, literally, in the history of the Air Force.
  That is what our military leadership is telling us will happen if 
these devastating cuts take effect. You have had the Secretary of 
Defense, Leon Panetta, the President's own Secretary, say that this 
would be catastrophic, that these cuts would be disastrous. You have 
the service chiefs saying the very same thing.
  So we have all this right in front of us, staring us in the face, and 
instead of dealing with that crisis we are putting bills on the floor 
that really do not have near the consequence--as I said, I am sure 
important; I am not denigrating at all any of the legislation the 
Senate is considering, but it seems to be right now geared a lot more 
toward the election than it is about saving the country and doing the 
things that are necessary to avoid this cliff that is ahead of us and 
all the disastrous consequences that come with it.
  Now, just again, a point of fact, and I mentioned this before. We 
have had now 43 months of 8 percent unemployment or above. We have 23 
million Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed. We have 
seen that the data continues to suggest how sluggish our economy is, 
the impact it is having on the middle class in this country. In fact, 
middle-class Americans are continually hit by continued bad news.
  You start with the fact that since President Obama took office, 
average incomes have gone down almost $4,000. Added on top of that is 
the fact that fuel prices have literally doubled in that timeframe--now 
more than doubled. In fact, we hit, in the month of September--this 
month--the highest fuel prices ever for the month of September. That is 
a cost that is borne by middle-class Americans. One of the biggest 
costs, biggest expenses in their lives is dealing with getting their 
kids to and from school, getting to work, taking care of the day-to-day 
activities for which they are responsible. The cost of fuel is a very 
important pocketbook issue for middle-class Americans. Then you have 
news the Kaiser Foundation came out with that says health care premiums 
have gone up by 29 percent. That is despite all the assertions when 
ObamaCare was being debated that it would drive health care costs down. 
In fact, the President, as he campaigned for office 4 years ago, talked 
about bringing the premium for an average family down by $2,500. Well, 
the opposite has happened. According to the Kaiser Foundation, health 
insurance costs have gone up by 29 percent. Instead of coming down by 
$2,500 for the average family, they have gone up by over $3,000 for the 
average family. So whether it is health care costs, fuel costs, tuition 
costs, which, by the way, have gone up by 25 percent, or average 
incomes that have gone down, you see this worsening picture for average 
Americans. All of that will be dramatically complicated by what is 
going to happen on January 1 if we do not take action to avert that 
  What happens on January 1? As I mentioned, you have an across-the-
board cut. It is across the board in the sense that everything gets 
hit, but not everything gets hit proportionately. Defense, as I said, 
gets 50 percent of the cuts although it represents only 20 percent of 
the budget. You are going to have all these cuts that take effect 
that hurt the national security budget and the jobs that go with that, 
but you also have taxes going up. Tax rates go up on January 1, which 
will absolutely devastate job creation in this country if they are 
allowed to take effect. In fact, the total amount of tax increases that 
will hit us on January 1, if Congress does not take action, over a 10-
year period is about $5 trillion--about $5 trillion over a 10-year 
period in additional taxes.

  Even if you say, as the President does, that you want taxes to go up 
just on people who make more than $200,000 a year or couples who make 
more than $250,000 a year, you are harming almost 1 million small 
businesses--the very people we are looking to to create the jobs to get 
the economy moving again--almost 1 million small businesses that file 
income tax returns. They are passthrough entities or flowthrough 
entities organized as subchapter S corporations or LLCs; therefore, 
they file their business income on their individual tax returns. And 
they would see their taxes go up--almost 1 million small businesses 
that represent 25 percent of the workforce, hire 25 percent of the 
workforce in this country. So that is a huge tax increase that is 
facing job creators in this country come January 1 of next year.
  These are things on which the House, the Senate, and the President of 
the United States ought to be focused. Yet we are not getting that 
focus. In fact, it is hard to get even information from the President 
of the United States about how he would implement the sequestration 
proposal. We had passed legislation earlier this summer which he signed 
into law in August which required him to submit to the Congress a 
proposal for how he would implement sequestration. We finally, after a 
delay--he missed the deadline--received that last week, but, again, it 
lacks specificity, it lacks detail. Congress asked to have that on 
program, project specific areas, and we did not get that. So as a 
consequence, again, we are still operating without the information that 
is necessary to do something to replace that sequestration.
  I have to say that the House of Representatives has attempted--they 
passed in their budget--in the subsequent reconciliation bill that went 
with it--a replacement for this sequestration so that we would not have 
this $\1/2\ trillion cut in our national security budget and all the 
attendant problems and risks that come with that. Yet that was not 
picked up, that was not acted on here in the Senate.
  So, unfortunately, we are where we are, which is we are going into 
the election season now. We have not dealt with the across-the-board 
cuts, the sequestration. We have not dealt with the issue of taxes 
going up on January 1 on the people who create jobs in this country. 
For that reason, we have all

[[Page S6413]]

these analysts--independents analysts, government analysts--concluding 
the same thing; that is, we are headed for a train wreck. That is what 
we ought to be focused on right now.
  Frankly, that is not going to happen unless we get some leadership 
from the President of the United States. We have to have the President 
engaged, involved in these discussions if we are going to try to solve 
this problem. I would hope the leadership here in the Senate would be a 
partner to that as well. I know there are Republicans here who have 
tried to get votes on ways to replace the sequestration or come up with 
a substitute for the defense cuts that it includes. We have tried and 
actually gotten some votes on actually extending the tax rates at the 
end of the year, but that was voted down here. But the Democratic 
leadership in the Senate has to be a party to discussions, as does the 
President of the United States, in order for us to do what is necessary 
to avert what we know is going to be a calamity come January 1 unless 
we change course.
  As we begin to conclude this particular session of the Senate--I see 
that my colleague, the Senator from Wyoming, Mr. Barrasso, who is a 
physician, a doctor, is here. I know he has spoken at great length 
about the impact of many of the policies that are coming out of 
Washington on our small businesses, on our middle class, and I 
certainly would want to give him an opportunity to make some 
observations about that as well. But I want to conclude by saying I 
hope that before this catastrophe hits us, we have the foresight and 
the willingness and the courage to take on these big issues. You cannot 
solve big issues in this city without leadership. It is going to take 
leadership from the President of the United States. It is going to take 
leadership in the Senate. As I stand here today, we have not seen that. 
We have not passed a budget in 3 years. We have not dealt with any of 
the long-term problems that are posed and raised by the fiscal cliff 
that hits us on January 1 of next year. I hope that changes. I hope to 
see that leadership. And I hope we can get this country back on track.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I would like to associate myself with 
the remarks of the Senator from South Dakota, who speaks so eloquently 
on the major issues facing our Nation, the concerns of people all 
around the country: their quality of life, the cost of energy, the cost 
of their health care, the impact of government regulations and rules 
that make it harder and more expensive for small businesses to add 
workers to their rolls.

                            A Second Opinion

  I come to the floor today as a physician, a doctor who has practiced 
medicine in Wyoming, taking care of families there for about a quarter 
of a century, to do as I have done week after week since the health 
care law was passed: to give a doctor's second opinion about the health 
care law because one of the reasons I got involved in politics was, as 
a doctor, I have concern for my patients, worried that they were not 
getting the care they need from the doctor they want at a lower cost, 
realizing the impacts of costs on the availability of care, the quality 
of care. So when the health care law was passed, I had great concerns 
because I felt it was going to end up being bad for patients, bad for 
the providers--the nurses and doctors who take care of those patients--
and terrible for the American taxpayer.
  It was interesting that during the discussion of the health care law, 
Nancy Pelosi, the then-Speaker of the House, said that in terms of the 
health care law, first you had to pass it before you got to find out 
what is in it. Well, the law has been passed, and as more and more 
people are finally finding out what is in it, the law continues to be 
very unpopular. But it is interesting that when a law is written behind 
closed doors, passed in the dark of night, when people on the side who 
voted for it actually never read it, did not understand the 
implications, that here we are 2 years later with so many people still 
saying: What is in it?
  One of the things I want to visit about today is an editorial in the 
New York Times from just a couple of weeks ago. It was while I was 
traveling around the State of Wyoming, visiting with people, visiting 
with former patients, that an editorial came out with the headline ``A 
Glitch in Health Care Reform.''
  Well, for 2 years I have been coming back to the Senate floor, week 
after week after week, talking about things that were in this health 
care law--unintended consequences, things people did not realize were 
there, did not understand were there, were surprised to find out were 
  So the headline is ``A Glitch in Health Care Reform.'' Right under 
that, the subheadline is ``Millions of middle-class Americans could be 
left without affordable coverage.'' And then my favorite line, the 
first line, the first paragraph:

       Confusing language in the health care reform law has raised 
     the possibility that millions of Americans living on modest 
     incomes may be unable to afford their employers' family 
     policies and yet fail to qualify for government subsidies to 
     buy their own insurance.

  Confusing language. That is what happens when a law is written behind 
closed doors, not read by the people who voted for it, and the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives of the United States of America says: 
First, you have to pass it before you get to find out what is in it. 
And this is an editorial in the New York Times 2 years after the health 
care bill has been signed into law: Confusing language. ``A glitch in 
health care reform. Millions of middle-class Americans could be left 
without coverage.''
  So it is not a surprise that I will continue to come to the floor 
with a doctor's second opinion because we will continue to find where 
confusing language leaves people confused.
  Now, one of the areas that is so often discussed on the Senate floor 
is the Congressional Budget Office. Well, they came out today with a 
new report. It talks about the health care law. No surprise. They said 
they got it wrong a couple of years ago. They have relooked at the 
numbers. This is the Congressional Budget Office that is supposed to be 
an expert on making some assumptions and making some suggestions and 
some predictions. Today they came out with a report called ``Payments 
of Penalties for Being Uninsured Under the Patient Protection and 
Affordable Care Act.''
  Now, let's go back. Payments of penalties for being uninsured. Well, 
this is a health care law that reaches into every home in America and 
says: You must buy a government-approved product. You must have health 
insurance. Not enough money to pay for doctors to care for patients but 
plenty of money for IRS agents to investigate the American people.
  What does it say when we go through the report? They said, well, they 
thought there would be about 4 million people who would have to pay 
penalties for being uninsured under the health care law. Well, they 
were only wrong, they say, by 50 percent. They were off by 50 percent; 
not 4 million but 6 million Americans will be penalized and have to pay 
taxes under the health care law which the Supreme Court found to be 
  Well, it may not be unconstitutional, but it is still unworkable, 
very unaffordable, and very unpopular. So I come to the floor week 
after week as new reports continue to come out saying CBO was wrong. 
The New York Times, talking about ``confusing language.''
  You know, I would say James Madison, the father of the Constitution, 
had it right when he said:

       You should pass no laws so voluminous they cannot be read, 
     so incoherent they cannot be understood.

  But that is what Democrats in the House and the Senate did when they 
passed and when the President signed the health care law.
  Now, another report has just come out within the last couple of days. 
I recall the President, when he was talking about the health care law, 
said computerizing medical records would cut waste and eliminate 
redtape. Now what does the report say? Well, it says the amount of 
paperwork, the amount of manhours put into just complying with the 
rules and the regulations they have come up with--they are predicting--
and I will get into those who have done the predictions--that 
businesses and families will end up spending 80 million--80 million--
hours a year on paperwork trying to comply with this health care law.

[[Page S6414]]

  Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Fred Goldberg said the 
current form of the Obama health care law ``will be a needless 
administrative and compliance quagmire for millions of Americans.'' The 
Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives under 
committee chairman David Camp found that more than half of those 80 
million manhours will be consumed by small businesses. That is the 
group that can least afford to have to spend this kind of time, this 
kind of manpower. Talk about productive work and nonproductive work, 
this goes into the category of nonproductive work. So they are either 
going to hire more people to just do paperwork or take people from 
doing productive work and move them onto the nonproductive side.
  They are talking about 40,000 full-time people working the number of 
hours they would work to get this 80 million manhours of work. It is 
wasteful. It creates no wealth overall to the economy. It is not a 
productive activity. So those are the things we see week after week.
  Then, finally, last week there was a group of franchise owners who 
were traveling around visiting with Members on Capitol Hill about the 
impact of the health care law on them and on their small businesses. 
They want to hire people. They want to get people to work. We know 
under the President's economy, there are 23 million Americans who are 
either unemployed or underemployed, people looking for work, looking 
for better work, looking for more hours.
  But let's look at the incentives as well as the consequences that are 
included in the health care law. Well, these small franchise owners 
will tell you that in order to try to comply with the law and not be 
driven out of business because of the expense of the penalties and the 
high level of insurance they would have to provide to their workers, 
they only have a couple of choices.
  One of the choices--they do not like it, but one of the choices is to 
cut the number of hours an employee works because then they are a part-
time employee. Then they do not have to receive the benefits of the 
mandate, of the health care law. That is not what they want to do. It 
is not what the employees want. They want to work more hours. But the 
consequences of what the Democrats in this institution have passed, the 
consequences are that people who want to work more are going to lose 
that opportunity.
  The other thing they are looking at is saying, well, just drop paying 
for insurance at all and pay the fine. Pay the penalty because the 
consequences and the incentives are such that the fine is, from a 
business standpoint, the path to follow rather than to provide the high 
level of insurance the President mandates. It may be a lot more 
insurance than people want or need or that the businesses can afford.
  So I will continue to come back to the floor to talk about the 
President's broken promises. He said: If you like what you have, you 
can keep it. We now know people who like their health insurance are not 
going to be able to keep it. He said the insurance rates would drop by 
about $2,500 per family per year. We have seen the rates have gone up 
more than $3,000 a year instead of dropping $2,500 a year.
  The promises are many. The realities are quite different than what 
the President has promised. That is why the American people continue to 
find the health care law unpopular. It is why our seniors who have seen 
700 billion of their Medicare dollars taken away from them, not to save 
Medicare but to start a whole other government program for others, that 
is why they know it is going to be harder to find a physician to take 
care of them, especially if their physician retires or if they move to 
a new location.
  That is why I will continue to come back to the floor to continue to 
talk about trying to help people get the care they need from the doctor 
they choose at a lower cost. This health care law is bad for patients. 
It is bad for providers, nurses, and doctors who take care of those 
patients. It is terrible for the American taxpayers. That is why I 
believe we need to repeal and replace this broken health care law.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

                            The Ryan Budget

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I come to the floor this afternoon to 
talk about the upside-down values and blatant dishonesty that 
Congressman Paul Ryan and other Republicans have put down on paper and 
are trying to present to the American people as their responsible 
budget. The truth is it is anything but. The Ryan budget would be 
devastating for middle-class families. It would gut our investments in 
education and job training, research, and our Nation's future. It would 
do all of that while cutting taxes for the richest Americans and 
biggest corporations.
  Now, if that is not bad enough, it gets even worse. The Ryan 
Republican budget would permanently cut tax rates for the wealthiest 
Americans to the lowest level in more than 80 years--more than 80 
years. It would cut taxes for the rich below the scheduled top rate of 
39.6 percent, below the Bush tax cut rate of 35 percent, all the way 
down to just 25 percent if you are a millionaire or billionaire. But 
even that is not all.
  What Paul Ryan and the Republicans do not want people to know is 
their budget does not even add up. It is fiscal fraud. It is a bait-
and-switch. It is a desperate attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of 
the American people. Ryan and the Republicans claim they would pay for 
their massive tax cuts for the rich by ``closing loopholes and ending 
deductions.'' But they never say which loopholes they would close or 
which deductions they would eliminate.
  In fact, they have been pressed over and over to lay out their plan 
by the media, by the public, by Democrats. And they refuse. It is just 
a big secret. This past weekend, both Governor Romney and 
Representative Ryan were asked again and again to offer even one 
deduction they would limit. Pick one. Any one. They were asked that so 
the American people could judge their plan. Both refused. It begs the 
simple question: What are they hiding?
  Well, a former Reagan adviser, Bruce Bartlett, slammed Ryan's budget 
in the Fiscal Times writing: ``He offers only the sugar of rate 
reductions without telling us what the medicine of base broadening will 
be. . . . ''
  He says:

       Any tax reform plan that simply asserts it will collect a 
     certain percentage of GDP in revenue while specifying the 
     rate structure but not defining the tax base is fundamentally 
     dishonest, in my opinion.

  Well, I agree. Why is this? Why are Ryan and the Republicans so 
specific about the taxes they are going to cut for the rich and so 
vague about how that is going to be paid for? Well, Ryan and the 
Republicans know when we do the math it becomes very clear that under 
their Republican budget the rich pay less and the middle class pay more 
and the national debt continues to grow. The math does not add up.
  Here is why, here is what the Republicans do not want the American 
people to think about: The most expensive loopholes and deductions, the 
ones Republicans would need to eliminate to even start paying for these 
cuts for the rich, those are the ones that middle-class families depend 
on and the ones they benefit from the most, such as the personal and 
dependent exemptions, deductions for their home mortgages, charitable 
contributions, State and local taxes, child tax credit, college tuition 
  If these deductions are eliminated while tax rates are slashed for 
the rich, it would mean a massive transfer of the tax burden onto the 
backs of our middle class. The richest Americans get a massive tax 
cut--an average of over $250,000 a year for someone who makes $1 
million a year, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center--but 
the middle class, those families who depend on those critical 
deductions such as the home mortgage deduction, end up paying more. 
They would benefit far less from the marginal rate cut than the extra 
they would pay after losing those deductions.
  If that sounds unbelievable, that is because it is. If that sounds 
like something no elected official would ever want to talk about doing, 
well, that is exactly right. So what Ryan and the Republicans do when 
they are asked is simply deny it. They simply say: Oh, that is not the 
case. They claim that loopholes and deductions will only be eliminated 
for the rich, and the middle class does not have to worry about 
  Well, that sounds nice, but here is what they will not tell the 

[[Page S6415]]

people: It does not add up. The Tax Policy Center took a look at a plan 
that made a similar claim. Even viewing it in the most generous way, 
they could not get it to work. They said:

       Even when we assume that tax breaks--like the charitable 
     deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for 
     health insurance--are completely eliminated for higher-income 
     households first, and only then reduced as necessary for 
     other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality--the 
     net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income 
     households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income 

  That last point is very important. According to independent analysts, 
if you cut rates for the rich as much as the Republicans want, and pay 
for it by closing loopholes and ending deductions, there is no way to 
avoid having the middle class pay more. That is a fiscal reality. It 
lays bare the fraud in the Ryan Republican budget.
  Not only does the Ryan Republican budget decimate programs middle-
class families depend on, not only does it end Medicare as we know it 
and push health care costs onto the backs of our seniors, not only does 
it cut investment in jobs, in education, in training, in research, in 
innovation, in roads and bridges, it does not even add up. It is a 
fiscal fraud. I am hoping, now that the American people have the 
opportunity to see this clearly, Republicans will stop playing games. 
Let us get serious about the fiscal future of our country and work with 
us on a balanced approach to cut spending responsibly, call on the 
wealthy to pay their fair share and actually reduce the deficit and the 
debt. As soon as they are ready to do that, as soon as they are ready 
to accept reality and end this fiscal fraud, I know Democrats are ready 
to make the kind of balanced and bipartisan deal the American people 
expect and deserve.

  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. 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, we are trying to work through all the issues 
we have. There are a few of them--not too many but a few. But I want 
everyone to know we can finish all of our work tomorrow. We can finish 
it all tomorrow, but we are not going anyplace. We are staying here 
until Tuesday, probably 3 or 3:30, because we have Yom Kippur on 
Wednesday, and then we will be right back here on Thursday. We have to 
finish our work.
  So that means if we can't work things out, we are going to be here 
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I know we talk about this once in a 
while, and usually we are able to work things out, and I am glad we 
are. But just in case we can't, no one should think they are going to 
be able to catch an airplane out of here on Friday.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 3525

  Mr. President, I will be very quick. I know the assistant leader for 
the minority is here and I don't want to take a lot of his time.
  The Senator from Montana, Mr. Tester, has assembled a broad package 
of legislation. It is bipartisan in nature, and that is an 
understatement, to support the needs of sportsmen throughout the 
country. He has worked with these groups, and I have been in meetings 
with him where he has tried to get Democratic Senators to back off and 
let this package go forward, and there have been adjustments made 
because of problems Republicans had and Democrats had. So I appreciate 
very much his work.
  What his bill does is to combine about 20 bills that are important to 
the sportsmen community around this country. These measures would 
promote hunting, fishing and recreational access and they would foster 
habitat conservation through voluntary programs. More than 50 national 
groups support this. These are sportsmen and conservation groups.
  This is an example of leadership that is important in this body, to 
work on things that bring together a disparate group of bills, 
bipartisan in nature, and try to move forward. We ought to pass this 
package today.
  I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to Calendar No. 504, 
S. 3525, the Sportsmen's Act of 2012; that the bill be read a third 
time and passed; the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, with 
no intervening action or debate; and any statements related to the bill 
be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I had asked 
the distinguished majority leader if I requested an amendment to his 
request to add a piece of legislation that he and I both support 
whether he would have to object to that, and I am presuming his answer 
is he would have to object. As a result, rather than doing that and 
forcing him to object, I will simply pose my objection at this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I rise to discuss the Sportsmen's Act. The 
Sportsmen's Act is a good piece of legislation. It is a piece of 
legislation where, quite frankly, it would be one of the few times in 
this body Democrats and Republicans could come together and actually do 
something that is good for this country and not play politics with it.
  The outdoor traditions in this country are deep and are an important 
part of our heritage. That is why 2 years ago, when I became chair of 
the Sportsmen's Caucus, I made it a goal to do something, something 
significant, that would help this country's hunters and anglers.
  This week we have an opportunity to play politics as usual or to get 
something done. This Sportsmen's Act is the biggest package of 
sportsmen's bills in a generation. It combines, as the majority leader 
said, nearly 20 different bills--all important to the sportsmen 
  These bills increase access for recreational hunting and fishing. 
They support land and species conservation. They protect our hunting 
and fishing rights. Most important, they take ideas from both sides of 
the political aisle. It is not about Democrats. This bill isn't about 
Republicans or Independents. This bill is about Americans and the great 
outdoors we all share as a nation.
  This bipartisan bill is supported by 56 different conservation and 
wildlife groups, ranging from the Nature Conservancy and the National 
Wildlife Federation to the NRA. It earned their endorsement because it 
includes a wide range of responsible provisions that are important to 
sportsmen and women across America.
  In my role as chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, 
sportsmen continually tell me about the importance of access to public 
lands. Right now there are 35 million acres of public land that 
sportsmen cannot access. That is why this bill requires 1.5 percent of 
the annual funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund set-asides 
to increase public land access, ensuring sportsmen across the country 
access to some of the best places to hunt and fish in this country.
  This bill also reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation 
Act. This voluntary initiative provides matching grants to landowners 
who set aside critical habitat for migratory birds such as ducks. Over 
the last 20 years, volunteers across America have completed more than 
2,000 conservation projects and protected more than 26 million acres of 
habitat under this successful initiative. The North American Wetlands 
Conservation Act is a smart investment in both our lands and our 
wildlife, and it needs to be reauthorized, as this bill does.
  My widely supported bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
reevaluate the price of duck stamps to keep up with inflation. Revenue 
from these duck stamps has been used to purchase or lease more than 6 
million acres of wetlands and preserve a viable waterfowl population. 
This bill also funds new shooting ranges while encouraging Federal land 
agencies to cooperate with State and local authorities to maintain 
existing ranges.
  This is a responsible bill that takes into account the needs of the 
entire sportsmen community. Some folks around Washington are asking: 
Why is this important? But hunting and fishing is a way of life in 
places such as Montana. One in three Montanans hunt

[[Page S6416]]

big game, and over 50 percent of Montanans fish. Outdoor recreation 
contributed $646 billion in direct spending to the economy in this 
country just last year. Hunting and fishing is not just recreation, it 
is a critical part of our economy.
  In Montana, hunting and fishing brings $1 billion a year to our 
economy, nearly as much as our State's cattle industry. It is big 
business. It drives and sustains jobs. With bow hunting season open and 
rifle hunting season opening in just a few days, this bill is as timely 
as ever.
  The Sportsmen's Act of 2012 is balanced, it is bipartisan, and it is 
widely supported. It is also fiscally responsible. The bill has no 
  I have been chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus for 2 
years. In that time I have had folks from all over the country telling 
me why they love to hunt and fish. They have also told me how outdoor 
activities support our economy and create new jobs while sustaining old 
ones. But they have also told me about how much their outdoor heritage 
means to their families and about how concerned they are about losing 
those traditions.
  Frankly, they have told me about how frustrated they are with 
Washington and how too many good ideas--ideas from both parties--get 
left behind because of political gridlock right here. By approving this 
sportsmen's package, we will conserve some of our most productive 
habitat, pass on our hunting and fishing traditions to future 
generations, and entrust the lands and water we share to them.
  Sportsmen from across the West have been waiting for a bill such as 
this for a generation--a bill with widespread support that preserves 
our outdoor economy and secures our outdoor heritage for our children 
and grandchildren. I know it is getting close to election season, but 
we have time left.
  The time we are working on is the taxpayers' dime, and I think we 
ought to get something done. Let's take some good Democratic ideas and 
some good Republican ideas and pass them. Let's actually do something 
for the 90 million sportsmen and women who reside in this country and 
build our economy. Now is the time.
  We have an opportunity to take a bill that does good things for this 
country across the board that, quite frankly, if a vote was held on 
this bill today, I am confident would pass with a large bipartisan 
majority. But as long as we are going to play political games and as 
long as we are going to hold up legislation, we will never get to the 
point where we can do what is right by the American people.
  I urge we get to work and get it done.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Whitehouse). The clerk will call the roll.
  Ms. COLLINS. 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. COLLINS. Mr. President, earlier today I voted against invoking 
cloture on the motion to proceed to a 6-month spending bill, a stopgap 
measure, and I wish to explain to my colleagues and my constituents why 
I voted that way.
  I am deeply disappointed that the Senate has been unable to complete 
the annual appropriations bills on time before the start of the new 
fiscal year. This is a failure that only reinforces the public's 
perception of gridlock in Washington. It is not as if the start of a 
fiscal year is a surprise to Members of this body. It happens every 
year on October 1. We know the spending authority is going to run out 
and we know one of the most important responsibilities of the Congress 
is to pass the appropriations bills.
  While the House of Representatives has managed to pass 7 of the 12 
annual spending bills, the Senate majority leader regrettably has not 
brought a single regular appropriations bill to the Senate floor for 
  It is important to note that the Senate Appropriations Committee did 
its job. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Inouye and Vice Chairman 
Cochran, we have reported 11 of the 12 appropriations bills, in many 
cases with strong bipartisan support. For example, as the ranking 
member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing 
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, I worked very closely with 
the subcommittee's chairman, Senator Patty Murray, to craft a truly 
bipartisan bill for fiscal year 2013. The T-HUD bill strikes a balance 
between thoughtful investment and fiscal restraint. In fact, this bill 
honors an allocation that is nearly $14.5 billion or 22 percent less 
than fiscal year 2010 levels. These deep cuts reflect an even deeper 
commitment to getting our fiscal house in order.
  I am proud of the work Senator Murray and I did on this bill and the 
strong bipartisan vote of 28 to 1 this bill received from the 
Appropriations Committee this past April. Like our bill, the 
Agriculture appropriations bill, the Commerce, Justice, and Science 
bill, the Department of Defense bill, Energy and Water, Homeland 
Security, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans 
Affairs, and the State Department and Foreign Operations bills were all 
reported from the Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan basis.
  In putting together all of these bills, the Appropriations Committee 
functioned the way committees are supposed to function. We worked 
together to develop thoughtful and fiscally responsible bills that 
could be brought to the full Senate for consideration, debate, 
amendment, and, most likely, passage. But, instead, not a single one of 
those bills--not even those bills for which the counterpart had been 
passed by the full House--was brought to the Senate floor.
  I am very disappointed that House and Senate leaders have announced 
that rather than consider and complete these appropriations bills, they 
would instead kick the can down the road by passing a 6-month stopgap 
funding bill. The House has done just that and will soon leave town.
  With 2 weeks left in the fiscal year, it is still not too late. There 
is no reason why the individual spending bills could not be brought to 
the Senate floor, allowing Senators to offer amendments and letting the 
Senate work its will on this important constitutional responsibility. 
Given the state of our Nation's economy and the need to ensure that tax 
dollars are wisely and appropriately spent, it is simply unacceptable 
that we would agree to put our government on autopilot for the next 6 
months rather than working together to establish priorities, make the 
tough choices to evaluate programs, and to restrain spending.
  Long-term continuing resolutions such as the one we are about to 
consider represent an abdication of our responsibility and often end up 
with government departments and agencies, particularly the Department 
of Defense, incurring additional costs due to delays and uncertainty. 
Think how difficult it is for Federal managers to decide whether they 
can enter into long-term contracts to consider changes in programs, to 
manage the dollars they have, when they don't know what is going to 
happen 6 months from now. In some cases we do even shorter continuing 
resolutions that create chaos and additional costs throughout the 
Federal Government.
  As our Nation struggles to recover and to regain its economic 
footing, we must provide more certainty by completing appropriations 
bills on time. I am extremely disappointed this did not occur for 
fiscal year 2013 and, therefore, I will continue to oppose the 
continuing resolution to protest what I believe is a failure of 
  Let me be clear: I do not support a government shutdown, but it is 
unacceptable that not a single one of the regular appropriations bills 
has been brought to the Senate floor for consideration. Indeed, it has 
been more than 3 years since the Senate has passed a budget. This is 
simply wrong. We must do our work. The American people deserve better.

                             CYBER SECURITY

  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I rise as chairman of the Homeland 
Security Appropriations Subcommittee to engage with the ranking member 
of the subcommittee to clarify some apparent confusion on the 
continuing resolution provision regarding cyber security.
  The language in section 137 of this continuing resolution regarding 
cyber security is explicit and clear. The phrase that is apparently in 
question refers solely to improvements in the Federal Network Security 
  Federal Network Security is a limited program that provides security

[[Page S6417]]

systems on Federal government networks.
  No funds or language expand any Department of Homeland Security 
  And, none of the funds or language in section 137 have anything to do 
with regulation of private sector infrastructure, and we have confirmed 
that in writing with the Department of Homeland Security.
  Without this provision, the program will be suspended due to lack of 
available funding and the monitoring of Federal civilian networks will 
be delayed by as much as 6 months, leaving them vulnerable to 
infiltration and subsequent breach--and that is all we are trying to 
prevent with this provision.
  Federal systems are increasingly targeted by individuals, 
sophisticated criminal organizations, and nation states that desire to 
do us harm. There were 106,000 cyber security incidents on Federal and 
other systems reported in 2011. We should not postpone critical 
investments to secure Federal systems.
  I should also add that this provision is an abbreviated version of 
what is contained in both of the House-passed and Senate-reported 
Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bills--
something our Committees have been working on all year.
  I will now yield to the subcommittee's distinguished ranking member, 
who I believe agrees with this clarification.
  Mr. COATS. I concur with the clarification of my distinguished 
colleague from Louisiana on the continuing resolution funding and 
language regarding cyber security.
  I strongly support the inclusion of this provision and see it as 
essential, but also limited in scope to only the securing of our 
vulnerable Federal civilian networks.
  There is clearly disagreement about the best way to address cyber 
security more broadly, but that is a completely separate issue from the 
provision in this continuing resolution.
  As a result, I want to make it very clear to my colleagues that this 
provision does not intrude upon the authorizers' jurisdiction, enable a 
new Executive order on cyber security, or fund new actions to regulate 
private sector infrastructure in any way.
  Again, I thank the Chairman for yielding to me on this issue, and I 
yield the floor.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I thank the ranking member for his concurrence. I 
concur with his remarks.
  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.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. JOHANNS. 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. JOHANNS. I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 minutes as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                      Recognizing Nebraska Heroes

  Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, I am here today to recognize two 
incredible heroes from Blue Hill, NE, for their courageous actions 
amidst a terrible tragedy.
  On September 5, an accident between a schoolbus and a semitrailer 
claimed the lives of four members of this close-knit farming community 
in Webster County, NE. My thoughts and my prayers continue to be with 
the victims, their loved ones, and the entire Blue Hill community 
during this very tragic time.
  But through the sorrow of this terrible tragedy, a story has emerged 
that truly epitomizes the word ``hero.'' As one Nebraska newspaper 

       By the grace of God, not all of the kids riding the bus 
     home from school [have been] buried. But their fates could 
     have been much different, if not for two guardian angels.

  There were five other students riding the bus on that day who, 
because of the selfless actions of two brave men, are still alive 
today. Ron Meyer and Phil Petr arrived on this horrific scene just 
moments after the crash. Immediately, the two bravely ran onto the 
burning bus, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. They 
swiftly and courageously pulled five children to safety. A nearby 
rancher who witnessed their actions said he is sure the five survivors 
would have encountered a much different fate had Ron and Phil not been 
there that day. They are guardian angels whose heroic actions will 
never be forgotten.
  There were other heroes who arrived on the scene and acted quickly to 
provide care--first responders who also deserve to be commended. First 
responders risk their lives to save others each and every day, just as 
our gratitude to them should be expressed throughout the year. But 
special recognition is owed to average citizens who happen upon 
horrific scenes and take heroic action.
  Although Ron and Phil would never ask for it, many in this community 
have called for their heroism to be recognized and to be honored, and I 
could not agree more. Their willingness to risk their own lives to save 
others serves as a source of inspiration for all of us.
  I am honored to call them my fellow Nebraskans, and I want to 
personally thank them. I thank them for their courage and their 
  Acknowledging their heroism in no way lifts the grief and the sorrow 
that gripped the community and our State after this crash.
  I pray that God brings peace and healing to all those who have been 
affected. But because of Ron and Phil, my prayer is also a prayer of 
  I thank God for these heroes. I know that no recognition can 
adequately convey the gratitude felt by the families of the five 
children whom they saved from that burning bus.
  Mr. President, I stand before you today on behalf of the Blue Hill 
community and all of my fellow Nebraskans to offer my deepest 
appreciation to Ron Meyer and Phil Petr.
  May God bless them and God bless all those affected by this terrible 
  I thank the Chair.
  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 (Mr. Bennet). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, we are trying to work through and finish all 
the issues we need to address before we can finish this work period. I 
wish to make it very clear to everyone, as I said a couple hours ago on 
the floor, that we can finish all our work tomorrow. But if we don't 
finish it tomorrow, we are going to continue to work on Friday, 
Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, until late in the afternoon.
  We have to get done a few things that are important. I know there are 
a lot of things we aren't going to be able to do, but that has been the 
way it has been all Congress. I am prepared now to ask consent to move 
along on one very significant part of what we need to do. The consent I 
will read into the Record in just in a short time addresses voting on a 
continuing resolution we need to keep the government running. It 
addresses votes on very different concerns of others who have sought to 
hold up consideration on the continuing resolution. I believe, with 
this consent, we have gone that extra mile.
  The junior Senator from Kentucky, Mr. Paul, has been said to be 
holding up everything. We have two American Ambassadors, one to Iraq 
and one to Pakistan, and one would think we should be able to get this 
done. We have had something extremely important sponsored by, I think, 
81 Senators, a containment resolution relating to Iran. So without 
belaboring the point, I have worked things out with Senator Paul, and 
we are going to have a vote on something he has wanted a vote on for a 
long time. We can do that.
  I explained to a few Republicans earlier today--in fact, some last 
night--that I was working with Senator Paul and I think we have done 
that. He has been reasonable, and even though ideologically I sometimes 
disagree with him, I have always found him to be someone I can talk to. 
So I will be terribly disappointed if this person, whom it has been 
said by the Republicans appears to be holding up everything, now isn't 
holding up everything and that the Republicans, if there is an 
objection to this, are just hiding behind him because there is no 
reason we shouldn't

[[Page S6418]]

be able to move forward with this legislation.

  Unanimous Consent Request--S. 3576, S.J. Res. 41, and H.J. Res. 117

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding cloture 
having been invoked, at a time to be determined by me, after 
consultation with Senator McConnell, it be in order and the Senate 
proceed to the consideration of S. 3576, which is the legislation I 
have just referred to by Senator Paul, the text of which is at the 
desk; that there be up to 60 minutes of debate, equally divided between 
Senators Paul and Kerry or their designees; that upon the use or 
yielding back of that time, the Senate proceed to vote on passage of 
the bill; that the vote on passage be subject to a 60-vote affirmative 
threshold; that if the bill does not achieve 60 affirmative votes, it 
be considered as having been read twice, placed on the calendar; that 
following the vote on passage of that legislation, S. 3576, the Senate 
proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 418, S.J. Res. 41; that 
there be up to 60 minutes of debate equally divided between Senators 
Kerry and Paul or their designees; that upon the use or yielding back 
of that time, the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the joint 
resolution; that if the joint resolution is not passed, it be returned 
to the calendar; that following the vote on the joint resolution, the 
Senate resume consideration of H.J. Res. 117, the continuing 
resolution; that the motion to proceed be agreed to, there be up to 60 
minutes of debate, equally divided between the two leaders or their 
designees prior to a vote on passage of the joint resolution; that the 
vote on passage be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold; that 
following the vote, the majority leader be recognized; and, finally, 
that no amendments, motions or points of order be in order during the 
consideration of these measures.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I appreciate 
the majority leader's attempt to put several of these items together. I 
would note that our side has only had a little over an hour to try to 
work this through our membership. I know there is one objection that I 
will need to interpose, but I would encourage the majority leader to 
meet with Senator McConnell when he is available so they can continue 
to work on this as a potential way to proceed. But at this time, on 
behalf of Senator John McCain, I will interpose an objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, to everyone within the sound of my voice, I 
say again, we shouldn't be surprised. Even though there had been all 
this focus on Senator Paul, that he was holding up everything, that is 
not the way it is. He is not holding up everything. It is the 
  All this has been cleared on my side. It is unfortunate. We will 
continue to work to reach an agreement. We need to move this vote on 
the CR. Unless we have some agreement, it is going to occur at 8:45 
tomorrow night, which is when the 30 hours expires. So I think we need 
to continue to see if we can work our way through the logjam the 
Republicans have put up here.
  If nothing happens, we will be out of here in a little bit tonight 
and proceed to vote tomorrow night. But Rand Paul is not holding up 
things, as has been rumored around here for weeks.

             Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 8 and S. 3412

  Mr. President, on July 25, the Senate conducted two important votes 
on dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff. That day the Senate voted 
on extension of the tax cuts enacted in 2001, 2003, and 2009. 
Democrats, and a majority of the Senate, voted to extend tax cuts for 
98 percent of American families while at the same time reducing the 
deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years. Republicans, on the other hand, 
insisted on a vote on their plan--a plan that provided tax breaks 
averaging $160,000 for millionaires at the same time it increased taxes 
by $1,000 for 25 million American middle-class families. On July 25, we 
held votes on those two plans. The Senate voted down the Republican 
plan on a bipartisan basis by a vote of 45 to 54. The Senate passed the 
Democrats' plan by a vote of 51 to 48.
  Since then, the House of Representatives also voted on this matter 
and the House sent the Senate its revenue measure. Now that we have had 
the debate and the votes, it is time to go to conference with the 
House. The Senate has voted and so has the House. It is time for us to 
resolve our differences. We believe the tax extenders should not apply 
to people making more than $250,000 a year. We should extend them for 
people making less than $250,000 a year. So let's have a conference on 
this. This process would be important.
  Unfortunately, I am sorry to say, my Republican friends often place 
roadblocks in the way of routine Senate business. This is simply 
routine. Just last week, Moody's said it would probably cut America's 
credit rating if congressional leaders couldn't reach an agreement to 
address the fiscal cliff and produce long-term deficit reduction. The 
bill the Senate passed in July is a big part of dealing with that 
fiscal cliff and the American people deserve their leaders to move to 
advance this legislation, and that is why I am going to ask the 
following consent, which is simply going to conference on a bill that 
has passed the House and a bill that has passed the Senate.
  I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the consideration 
of Calendar No. 502, H.R. 8; that all after the enacting clause be 
stricken and the text of S. 3412, a bill extending the tax cuts I have 
referred to in 2001, 2003, and 2009 for 98 percent of Americans and 97 
percent of all small businesses, which passed the Senate on July 25, be 
inserted in lieu thereof; that the bill, as amended, be read a third 
time and passed; the Senate insist on its amendment, request a 
conference with the House on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses; 
and the chair be authorized to appoint conferees on the part of the 
Senate, consisting of the membership of the Finance Committee; with all 
of the above occurring with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I ask 
unanimous consent the agreement be modified so that rather than 
amending H.R. 8, that bill--namely H.R. 8--would be considered read a 
third time and passed. This request would let that bill go directly to 
the President's desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the modification?
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I hope the Record can pick up the smile on 
my face. Why in the world--when the Senate has already acted, with a 
majority of the Senate saying we do not believe there should be taxes 
extended to the rich; that we believe in protecting the middle class--
would we agree to extending all these tax cuts? We can't do that. That 
was a bipartisan vote set out in the Senate. That was the Senate's 
  We are asking simply to go to conference on the Senate's position. 
The other side is insisting the minority position prevail. That is an 
unusual situation and that is not the way democracy in America works. 
So I would not accept his modification to my request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the Senator's original 
  The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Reserving the right to object, the unanimous consent 
request of the majority leader is that we have 60 minutes, equally 
divided, in a vote on the Rand amendment. Is that part of the unanimous 
  Mr. REID. It would be 60 minutes on the amendment, equally divided 
between Senator Kerry and Senator Paul. If the Senator wants more time, 
and we are not doing much now, we could have more time.
  Mr. McCAIN. I would hope the majority leader would have some 
understanding that we are talking about cutting off aid to several 
countries that are allies which could have an incredible effect on the 
entire Middle East. The majority leader wants to have 60 minutes, 
equally divided, on a measure that, if passed, would have the most 
Draconian effects on the entire Middle East, a part of the world that 
is in turmoil now. The majority leader wants to have 60 minutes, 
equally divided, and with no amendments, obviously, as it is the 
majority leader's practice not to allow any amendments. I may want to 
have a side-by-side. This is an issue of the utmost gravity and the 
utmost importance and the majority leader wants to have an hour, 
equally divided.

[[Page S6419]]

  It is absolutely mind-boggling, and I think if we are going to cut 
off all aid to several of our allies, including the Camp David 
agreements which call for aid to Egypt, including an ally in the region 
called Libya where we just lost our brave Ambassador--and the majority 
leader wants to have 60 minutes equally divided and with no one allowed 
to have any amendments, second degree, side-by-side, and then says 
Republicans are at fault?
  I say to the majority leader, I have watched this Senate deteriorate 
in a way that is almost spectacular. Here we are on the day before the 
majority leader wants us to go out of session, and we are supposed to 
just have a vote on an amendment that has the most profound effect on 
this Nation's security, with 60 minutes equally divided.
  I don't have a smile on my face, I tell the majority leader. I have a 
look of incredulous dismay and disgust.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, it would seem to me that the Senator's 
concern should be directed toward Senator Paul, not me. It sounds to me 
he may vote against the Paul amendment from what I have heard. If he is 
that concerned about it, I think we should get it up, and if we want 
more time, we could have more time on it. But at this stage, no 
amendments would be called for, and I think we should vote on the Paul 
  I think it is pretty clear as to what has gone on this past Congress. 
When the Republican leader says his No. 1 issue is to make sure Obama 
doesn't get reelected, I think that probably is what has held up this 
Congress from doing all kinds of things.
  Now, let me rewind. Since I have been the majority leader--which has 
been 6 years--we have had to try to overcome 380 Republican 
filibusters. This is two now. During the same period of time--6 years--
that Lyndon Johnson was President--and he was majority leader before he 
became President--he had to file cloture once.
  My friend from Arizona and I have served together now 30 years in the 
Congress. His agitation should not be directed toward me. They are the 
ones holding up hundreds of bills in the Energy Committee and basically 
everything we have tried to do because their No. 1 goal, if they follow 
their leader--and they have done a pretty good job doing that--has been 
to make sure the country is in such a shape that maybe they may get 
lucky and have Governor Romney elected.
  So if there is going to be objection by the assistant majority 
leader, I understand that. But don't be blaming Rand Paul for 
everything being held up.
  Here is what we have held up, and I will mention it just briefly. 
Wouldn't it be nice if America had an ambassador to Iraq? Wouldn't it 
be nice if America had an ambassador to Pakistan? Wouldn't it be nice 
if a piece of legislation that has 81 cosponsors dealing with the Iran 
containment resolution, that we could vote on that?
  So as I have indicated--and this will be the third time today--we 
have work to do--not a lot but we have work to do. One is to pass the 
continuing resolution, and we will do that. We can either do it the 
hard way or the easy way. As you know from the vote on the motion to 
proceed to that, there is overwhelming support for that. That is as 
bipartisan as anything could be. The Speaker and I worked on this with 
our staffs, and we came up with something I think is pretty fair. So we 
are going to pass that. If the Republicans want to stall on that like 
they have on everything else, they can do that. But we are going to 
finish this.
  The American people need that done, and we are going to get it done. 
It may take a vote on Saturday, it may take one on Sunday, but we are 
going to finish the CR. So everybody should understand we are not going 
anyplace. My No. 1 place to go is the Senate. That is my life, the 
Senate. So I am going to be here and make sure that we do as much of 
the people's business as we can, in spite of their No. 1 goal being to 
defeat Obama rather than trying to legislate for the American people.
  As I understand it, the request that I made has been objected to, and 
the request of the Senator from Arizona has been objected to; is that 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader's original request, H.R. 
8, has not been objected to.
  Mr. KYL. And the leader is right with regard to intentions. His 
intention was to object to my request; mine is to object to his 
request. That is correct.
  Mr. REID. So we have dual objections.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The majority leader.

                      Unanimous Consent Request--
                           H.R. 9 and S. 3521

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, last month the Senate Finance Committee 
reported bipartisan legislation on what are called the tax extenders.
  The Finance Committee tax extender legislation addresses a 
significant part of the so-called fiscal cliff. The Finance Committee 
bill would extend relief from the alternative minimum tax through 2013. 
It would extend tax incentives for renewable energy and energy 
conservation through 2013, and it would extend through 2013 the 
traditional extenders, among which are the R&D tax credit, the State 
and local sales tax deduction, and the tuition deduction.
  The Finance Committee reported that bill with a strong bipartisan 
vote of 19 to 5. The bill cuts taxes by $205 billion. It cuts taxes by 
$143 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone. Passing this bill today would 
help remove some of the uncertainties surrounding tax policy. Passing 
this bill today would help our economy. Passing this bill is the least 
we should do now.
  So I ask unanimous consent the Senate Finance Committee be discharged 
from further consideration of H.R. 9; that a Baucus amendment, which is 
at the desk, the text of which is identical to S. 3251, the Family and 
Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012 as reported by the Finance 
Committee, be agreed to; that the bill, as amended, be read a third 
time and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with 
no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill 
be placed in the Record at the appropriate place as if read.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, it is our view 
that the extension of many provisions of the Tax Code, which is the 
subject of the leader's request, makes some sense if we extend all of 
the provisions of the Tax Code we can.
  With that in mind, I ask that the consent be modified so that the 
text of House-passed bill H.R. 8 be added to the substitute referred to 
by the leader; further, that the bill then be read a third time and 
passed as amended.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, we have already reached that position. That 
is not how things work in a democracy or, I doubt, anyplace else. So I 
object to my friend's suggested modification.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the original request?
  Mr. KYL. We would also then object to the original request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, would the majority leader yield?
  Mr. REID. Sure.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I am not against the Rand Paul amendment 
being voted on by the Senate. I do object to an hour equally divided. I 
object to the fact that we do not have either side-by-side or second-
degree amendments, which is the normal parliamentary procedure.
  Since the majority leader had to inject the ``No. 1 objective is 
defeat Barack Obama'' routine again, I would like to point out this is 
the least productive Congress since 1947; that for the first time in 51 
years we are not taking up the Defense authorization bill; for the 
first time in 51 years, when we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, that 
we can't find the time in the Senate to take up the bill that is so 
important to the security of this Nation.
  So the majority leader shouldn't be proud of his record, as he 
mentioned, including the fact that this Congress is the least 
productive since 1947. But most of all, in 50 years--in 50 years--we 
have not taken up the Defense authorization bill that we have taken up 
for 50 years because other majority leaders who set the calendar have 
understood its importance to the men and women who are serving in the 
military and our national security.
  I again urge that instead of this back-and-forth and mutual 
objections and nothing getting done around here--I know and the 
majority leader knows we could take up the Defense authorization bill 
and get it done in a matter

[[Page S6420]]

of a few days, and we could have since June. But instead we do this 
back-and-forth, which makes us the least productive Congress since 
1947, with an approval rating by the American people that deservedly is 
in the single digits.
  So I repeat: I would be glad to enter into a unanimous consent 
agreement on the Rand amendment, although I would also tell the 
majority leader that we may now be establishing a precedent that one 
Senator can hold up the entire Senate until that Senator gets the vote 
he is demanding.
  I could hold up the Senate and demand a vote on the National Defense 
Authorization Act, which was reported to this body in June. Senator Kyl 
could hold this body hostage for a vote because of the various pieces 
of legislation they have. I am not doing that, but I am saying when we 
are looking at an issue as serious to this Nation's security as cutting 
off all aid in one fell swoop without even amending, or with an hour of 
discussion, I think it is almost incredible that we would consider such 
a parliamentary procedure when we are talking about what is at stake.
  So I hope we can work out an agreement. I don't feel like staying 
here this weekend either, but I also have some concern about the safety 
and security of the men and women who are serving in our diplomatic 
corps overseas because if that amendment did pass, I guarantee you, you 
would see a reaction in these countries if we announce arbitrarily that 
we are cutting off all aid to them.
  So I think we ought to understand the consequences of the Rand 
amendment, and it probably would take more than an hour equally 
  I thank the majority leader for listening.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, to my friend--and he is my friend for whom I 
have admiration and respect--the senior Senator from Arizona makes my 
case. He is absolutely right. This is, I am sorry to say, the least 
productive Congress perhaps ever. Why? Because everything we have tried 
to do they have objected to. Everything.
  Once in a while we are able to work together to get something done, 
but he has made my case for me, absolutely, because their No. 1 goal 
has been to defeat the President of the United States for reelection.
  Now, we have had a lot of debates. Senator Paul has been here many 
times talking about this issue. I have no lock on wisdom around here. 
There are a lot of people who have much more wisdom than I do. But I do 
have the obligation to try to move legislation along on things that we 
have to work on here. If people want more time on this, fine. I have 
worked with Senator Paul. He has agreed to this. If there are some 
reasonable changes, I will agree to those. I am not locked in. But 
whoever wants to do this, I would suggest they go to Senator Paul, not 
to me. I am happy to be a conduit to try to get something done that is 
reasonable and fair.
  If an hour is too short, we haven't been doing much today, there is 
plenty of time to debate legislation. So I am happy to do that.
  Mr. President, I understand the rules of the Senate fairly well. This 
is not the first time a Senator has held things up. I came here during 
the days of the Senator from Ohio, Howard Metzenbaum, and he was pretty 
good at slowing things down and holding things up. Jesse Helms was 
really good at it, and we have had a number of others.
  So as I have said on the Senate floor, I think we should change some 
rules around here. I am not for getting rid of the filibuster. I don't 
want to get rid of the filibuster, but we need to change the filibuster 
rule. Why should we have, on every piece of legislation, a motion to 
proceed? It takes the Senate a week to get on a bill when a single 
Senator objects to it. That doesn't sound very good to me.

  I hope with a new Congress we can change some of the rules around 
here. But I am happy to work with my friend from Arizona. I know he is 
someone who travels the world. He has been in the forefront of changes 
that have taken place in this world. I understand his concern about 
this legislation.
  If he has something else he thinks might work better than this, talk 
to Senator Paul. I am always reachable, any time of the night or day.
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, might I make a response to the leader?
  Mr. McCAIN. I believe it is not Senator Paul who sets the parameters 
for how many hours of debate and amendments and others; I believe it is 
the majority leader. Could I talk to the majority leader about how long 
the debate should be or whether we can have amendments? That is all I 
am saying.
  Mr. REID. I will say this so it will save a lot of trouble for 
anybody. We are not going to have amendments to this. Amendment days 
are over. We have been blindsided many times on amendments.
  I will be happy if my friend can come up with something that will 
allow maybe a side-by-side or something. I will be happy to do that. I 
am open to negotiations in any way that is reasonable. If someone does 
not want to contact Rand Paul, I will--if somebody feels awkward doing 
that, I do not. I feel totally free to talk to any Senator about 
anything. That is why I reached out to Rand Paul.
  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, if I might continue, I think the point is 
this unanimous consent was made before everyone had been fully 
consulted. I appreciate the leader is trying to move things along, but 
it does illustrate the proposition that everyone needs to be consulted 
so the question of time and potential other considerations could be 
dealt with. I suspect, through the leader's good offices, that will be 
done this evening and tomorrow morning. Perhaps something can be worked 
out, as I said when I interposed my objection.
  But one point I wanted to make is this. The objection I interposed on 
behalf of Senator McCain tonight has nothing whatsoever to do with the 
Romney campaign against President Obama. We just heard my colleague, 
Senator McCain, talking about the concerns he has cutting off aid cold 
turkey to some very important countries in the world in the middle of a 
  Who will be another speaker raising those same concerns tomorrow? Our 
Democratic colleague, Senator Kerry. This is a bipartisan question of 
whether this is the right policy for our country. I suspect the Obama 
administration and the President himself would generally be supportive 
of the position expressed by Senator McCain and Senator Kerry.
  I wish we could have a conversation around here, just once, without 
having it portrayed as some kind of partisan political exercise. This 
is not a partisan political exercise. It is a question of reasonable 
people having different views about what the best policy is, and the 
lives of Americans are on the line so it needs to be considered 
carefully, thoroughly, and with other options possibly being raised. 
That is what my colleague Senator McCain is saying. That is why I 
interposed the objection on his behalf.
  I do think, if the parties can get together tonight, tomorrow, 
potentially work out a way to approach the issue so it can be debated 
for the appropriate length of time and any alternatives presented, then 
we could move on with things. But let's do it in the context of the 
issue before us, not suggesting it has something to do with the 
Presidential campaign because that would be incorrect.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the reason I went into that is because my 
friend Senator McCain talked about how little we have accomplished. I 
didn't bring that up. I indicated why we have accomplished so little.
  I also say to my two Republican friends who are on the floor--there 
are three actually--this: The resolution, a piece of legislation that 
Senator Paul is putting forward, I am not going to vote for it. Senator 
Paul knows that. Democrats are not going to vote for this. The problem 
is the Republicans are split, not us. They are split. Their own caucus 
is split on what to do with the Paul amendment, not us.
  I am happy to work with everybody. I have conferred. I say to the 
Republican assistant leader, I talked to my leadership team this 
morning. I talked to my caucus today about this. Republicans have a 
caucus the same time we do and they knew, and they knew before the 
caucus because everybody knew, what was going on with this. It was no 
secret. I talked to Republican Senators before their caucus. This is no 
  The hour time I put was arbitrary. I acknowledge that. If somebody 
wants more time to debate this issue, I am fine. I don't care.

[[Page S6421]]

  I appreciate my friends' involvement, both of them.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.

                       Disclosure of Tax Returns

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, as a matter of senatorial courtesy, 
since I am referring to some things that the majority leader has said 
previously, not recently but previously, I have informed him of what I 
was going to say.
  On August 2, the majority leader decided that the valuable time of 
this body would be best employed by speculating on the contents of the 
tax returns of Presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney. These 
remarks also touched on the vetting process of the Senate Finance 
Committee. It is that aspect of this to which I want to refer.
  As a senior member of the Finance Committee as well as former 
chairman and ranking member, I have come to familiarize my colleagues 
with the committee's vetting process.
  On Thursday, August 2, the majority leader exclaimed:

       As we know, he has refused to release his tax returns. If a 
     person coming before this body wanted to be a Cabinet 
     officer, he couldn't be if he had the same refusal Mitt 
     Romney does about tax returns.

  This statement demonstrates a misunderstanding of the confirmation 
process for Cabinet officials and the Finance Committee vetting process 
in particular. The fact is, most prospective Cabinet officers do not 
need to disclose their tax returns. Actually, no prospective Cabinet 
officer is required to make their returns public in ordinary 
circumstances. To my knowledge, the Finance Committee is the only 
committee that asks nominees to provide copies of tax returns. 
Specifically, the Finance Committee asks that nominees provide copies 
of their last three Federal tax returns. The committee may request 
further returns if it is warranted by the circumstances of that 
particular time.

  The committee asks for this information for a few reasons. To begin 
with, many nominees referred to the Finance Committee, such as the 
Secretary of Treasury and the Commissioner of the IRS, will be able to 
exercise significant influence over tax policy and administration. 
Additionally, the examination of a nominee's tax return sheds light on 
the nominee's character. Over the last few years, several high flyers 
in the Obama administration have come up short when measured by their 
tax returns. Therefore, the vetting process utilized by the Finance 
Committee has received a lot of attention.
  Only two Cabinet officers and one position with the status of Cabinet 
rank are referred to the Finance Committee. These are the Secretaries 
of Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as 
the U.S. Trade Representative. As I said before, to my knowledge, the 
Finance Committee is the only committee of the Senate to request copies 
of actual tax returns. This means that not counting the Vice President, 
there are 19 members of the Cabinet who do not release their tax 
returns during the Senate confirmation process.
  As I said, no Cabinet official is required to make his or her tax 
returns public. This goes to the details of the Finance Committee's 
vetting process. All nominees referred to the committee are required to 
submit copies of their last three filed tax returns. These copies, 
along with other financial data, are shared with a very limited number 
of staff, specifically designated by the chairman and ranking member of 
the Senate Finance Committee.
  While being reviewed, the returns themselves are kept under a very 
tight control. Most staff for the committee and ranking member do not 
have access to the tax returns. Neither the chairman nor the ranking 
member may unilaterally release the tax returns or information obtained 
from those tax returns. This means that even when I was chairman of the 
committee, rules prohibited me from unilaterally releasing a nominee's 
tax return or even making public that nominee's specific tax 
  When an issue is identified pertaining to a nominee's tax 
information, the chairman and the ranking member jointly determine how 
to proceed. Information is only released under bipartisan agreement and 
after consultation with the nominee.
  For example, Secretary Geithner was given the opportunity to withdraw 
his nomination before the world learned of his failure to pay all his 
taxes. He was also provided an opportunity to review the bipartisan 
memo the committee eventually released.
  In sum then, no nominee vetted by the Finance Committee needs to make 
their tax returns public, and in the majority of the cases no 
information is released. Additionally, the purpose of the vetting is 
not to damage the credibility of the nominee. I bet those seeking 
Governor Romney's tax returns are operating under a completely 
different standard. I especially find it interesting that the majority 
leader compared Governor Romney to Cabinet officials when speculating 
as to the contents of Governor Romney's returns. There seems to be an 
implication that a discovery of unsatisfied tax obligations would be 
problematic to the leader. While the majority leader may want to 
speculate as to whether Governor Romney has paid his taxes, there are 
nominees and officials of the current administration we know did not 
completely satisfy their tax obligations.
  I will start this trip down memory lane with our current Treasury 
Secretary. Due in large part to his failure to pay self-employment 
taxes, irregularities in Mr. Geithner's returns added up to his owing a 
total of $48,268 in taxes and interest to the IRS. Those seeking a full 
accounting of the episode may read the bipartisan memorandum prepared 
by the Finance Committee, which is part of the record of his January 
2009 nomination hearing. As I said, we don't need to speculate whether 
Secretary Geithner completely paid his taxes. We know as a fact he did 
not, to the tune of over $48,000.
  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disclosed that in preparation of her 
confirmation she filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007. 
She voluntarily made this information public in the form of a letter to 
Chairman Baucus and me. This letter was printed in the record of her 
nomination hearing. The result of those amended returns was that she 
paid a total of $7,040 in additional taxes and $878 in interest to the 
Internal Revenue Service.
  Finally, I wish to mention former Senator Tom Daschle, who was the 
administration's nominee to be Secretary of HHS for a brief period of 
time in 2009. Although Mr. Daschle withdrew his nomination before the 
committee held a hearing on his nomination, it was widely reported, 
including in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, that he 
failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes in the 3 years prior to his 
  In mentioning Secretaries Geithner and Sebelius and Mr. Daschle, I am 
not suggesting anything beyond the reported facts of their 
circumstances or that their tax errors were intentional. I just want to 
remind the majority leader of these situations where it is not 
necessary to speculate on whether taxes were owed.
  While I appreciate the leader's newfound attention to the Finance 
Committee's vetting process, I wish to assure everyone has clear 
understanding of how this vetting process in the Senate Finance 
Committee works. I will be happy to discuss the committee's procedure 
with any interested colleague. I am sure Ranking Member Hatch and his 
staff would also be happy to discuss the process with anyone who was 
  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. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Begich). Without objection, it is so 

                           A Higher Standard

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, first of all, I extend my appreciation to 
the senior Senator from Iowa, Mr. Grassley. He indicated he was going 
to say a few things about me and he told me beforehand, and I 
appreciate that. That is the way the Senate should operate. So I 
appreciate very much my friend from Iowa doing that.
  He came to the floor and, in effect, said that I said--I have said it 
on a number of occasions, but he picked one date--that Governor Romney 
could not be confirmed as a Cabinet officer because to be a Cabinet 
officer, you have

[[Page S6422]]

to give at least 3 years of your tax returns. Sometimes they ask for 
more. So my friend Senator Grassley came to the floor and suggested he 
could be confirmed. Well, not really. The Senator from Iowa conceded my 
point. Mitt Romney could not be confirmed for Treasury Secretary. He 
could not be confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He 
could not be confirmed as Trade Representative. He could not even be 
confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Public Affairs and 
a number of other positions.
  But there is a larger point to be made here. And why they would bring 
this up again I do not know, but they did. But there is a larger point 
to be made here. When you are running for the highest office in the 
land--President of the United States--you are also held to a higher 
standard of conduct than someone who wants to be a Cabinet officer or 
sub-Cabinet officer who gives us their tax returns.
  The least Mitt Romney owes the American people--the least he owes 
them--is some honesty and openness. That we do not have.
  The Senator from Iowa is correct about one thing--and this is what he 
said: The contents of a candidate's taxes do speak volumes about his 
character. That is what Senator Grassley said, and I agree with him.
  Let's not forget, Mitt Romney could solve this problem tomorrow--
tonight--by releasing his tax returns, which he refuses to do. Why?