(Senate - September 20, 2012)

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[Pages S6502-S6510]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I move to proceed to Calendar No. 504, S. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Nevada [Mr. Reid] moves to proceed to the 
     consideration of Calendar No. 504, S. 3525, a bill to protect 
     and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, 
     and shooting, and for other purposes.

                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. REID. I have a cloture motion at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The bill 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, 
     hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     proceed to calendar No. 504, S. 3525, a bill to protect and 
     enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and 
     shooting, and for other purposes.
         Harry Reid, Jon Tester, Joe Manchin III, Jeanne Shaheen, 
           Sheldon Whitehouse, Debbie Stabenow, Ron Wyden, Max 
           Baucus, Daniel K. Inouye, Kent Conrad, Mark Pryor, 
           Christopher A. Coons, Michael F. Bennet, Kay R. Hagan, 
           Robert P. Casey, Jr., Richard Blumenthal, Ben Nelson.

  Mr. REID. I ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum required 
under rule XXII be waived with respect to both cloture motions.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the President pro tempore of the Senate is 
on the floor and seeks recognition.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The President pro tempore.

                             H.J. Res. 117

  Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, today, as we near the end of the current 
fiscal year, the Senate is considering H.J. Res. 117, a continuing 
resolution to ensure that the Federal Government will remain 
functioning through March of next year in the absence of regular 
appropriations. Last Thursday, the House passed this measure by a vote 
of 329 to 91.
  This bill provides total discretionary spending of $1.047 trillion. 
This is the funding level the Senate Appropriations Committee 
recommended on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 27 to 2 and the level 
agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act, but this bill is $19 
billion more than what was approved by the House in the Paul Ryan 
budget. I am encouraged the House has finally repudiated its own 
budget. I am only sorry it has taken them this long to come to their 
senses. One of the primary reasons Congress now faces this CR is that 
the House broke this agreement on spending.
  I want my colleagues to know I support this measure even though it is 
far from perfect. In fact, I would say it is not a good bill, but 
passing it is much better than allowing the government to shut down 
over a lack of funding.
  Continuing resolutions are not new. As some of my colleagues are 
aware, I have served in this Senate for 49 years and 9 months. During 
my tenure, this Congress has completed its work and enacted all of its 
spending bills without needing a continuing resolution on only three 
occasions. In 49 years, three times. This is not a record we should be 
proud of, but it demonstrates how difficult it is to agree on funding 
for each of the thousands of Federal programs that the Appropriations 
Committee reviews annually. However, never before in history has the 
Congress passed a stopgap resolution in September to fund the entire 
government for half the coming fiscal year. It is unfortunate that it 
has come to this.
  Seven months ago, as we began this legislative session, the mood was 
quite different. There was broad support for acting on appropriations 
bills. Several Members on both sides of the aisle came to the floor to 
speak about restoring regular order and passing all 12 appropriations 
bills. Both the Republican and Democratic leaders spoke in favor of 
considering all of these bills. The Appropriations Committee was urged 
to conduct a budget review as quickly as possible and report bills to 
the Senate for consideration, and our subcommittees embraced this 
challenge. We shortened our hearing schedule, conducted thousands of 
meetings with executive branch officials and the public, and began to 
mark up bills shortly after receiving our allocation from the Budget 
  In most years the Senate Appropriations Committee begins its markups 
in June. This year the committee reported its first two bills in April 
and had nine bills ready for floor consideration by the end of June.
  By July the committee had reported out 11 bills, 9 of which were 
recommended with strong bipartisan votes, and by that I mean 30 to 0 or 
29 to 1. Despite the work of the committee, none of those bills have 
been considered by the Senate. The decision by the House to break faith 
with the Senate and the administration on funding levels and the 
inclusion of outrageous legislative policy riders in their bills 
drained the enthusiasm for acting on those measures. But the real 
culprit thwarting the efforts of the committee was a handful of my 
colleagues who insisted on delaying the business of the Senate.
  We have heard our distinguished majority leader cite the statistics. 
In 382 instances in the past 6 years he has been forced to file cloture 
to break filibusters. It is becoming very clear filibusters are 
crippling the Senate. This year, this Senate has been in session for 
105 days. By my count, on 31 of those days the Senate has done nothing 
but consider motions to proceed, as we are doing with this motion, or 
to invoke cloture. That means nearly 30 percent of the Senate's time 
this year has been completely wasted.
  Moreover, the Senate has only voted on amendments and legislation on 
21 of those days that we were in session. On 21 out of 105 days, we 
actually legislated and worked. The rest of the time was spent on a 
backlog of nominations or breaking filibusters.
  I have never experienced anything like this in my many years in the 
Senate. It is true that for some time the use of filibusters has been 
increasing, but this year it has truly exploded. I do not oppose 
filibusters. I believe the filibuster is one of the most critical tools 
Senators have to protect the rights of our constituents. This 
is especially

[[Page S6503]]

true for small States, such as Hawaii, which are at a disadvantage in 
the House of Representatives compared to States with very large 
delegations. In fact, the first speech I delivered in the Senate was in 
defense of the filibuster. I supported the filibuster. Times were 
different then.

  For example, I waited until April of that year before speaking on the 
Senate floor, and I spoke on the filibuster. When I delivered my maiden 
speech, legendary Senators such as Everett Dirksen, Richard Russell, 
Mike Mansfield, and John Stennis were all in attendance. Truly, times 
have changed, but the most striking difference between then and now is 
that a filibuster was used very rarely in those early days and only for 
matters of extreme importance to Members and their States.
  I did not agree with those who used the filibuster in the 1960s to 
try to stop civil rights legislation. I disagreed with those who used 
the filibuster against health care reform in 2010. But in both cases I 
defended the right to do so.
  This year the Senate has been held up, delayed, and rendered 
ineffective for at least 30 percent of its time by the abuse of the 
filibuster. These filibusters were not to highlight important policy 
differences, nor were they to protect a Senator's constituents. 
Instead, in virtually every case it was simply to thwart the ability of 
the Senate to function.
  So today is a sad day. The Senate is forced to take up a 6-month 
continuing resolution instead of acting upon regular appropriations 
bills. The bipartisan zeal for regular order last spring has been 
crushed by dilatory tactics of a few Members who have wasted the 
Senate's time. At some point, this body needs to alter either its 
behavior or its rules.
  In addition to discretionary funding, this resolution also provides 
$99 billion for overseas contingencies as requested and necessary for 
the coming year. Further, it continues funding at current levels to pay 
for disasters under FEMA and to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in the 
Social Security Program. Each of these is consistent with the 
authorities included in the Budget Control Act.
  In addition, the bill before the Senate provides only the bare 
minimum that is necessary to maintain the functions of our Federal 
Government. The administration sought approximately 78 proposals to 
ensure that critical programs and authorities could be continued for 
the next 6 months. This bill includes only about half of them because 
the House was unwilling to allow more.
  Provisions deemed essential by the Secretary of Defense to preserve 
authorities for ongoing programs in support of our efforts in 
Afghanistan and in Iraq are not in this measure. Special provisions to 
allow the Department of Defense to award contracts for critical 
programs were denied. Additional funding to activate new Federal 
prisons that currently sit empty was not included.
  This bill denies necessary authorities for dozens of programs. In 
some cases, the administration will find cumbersome work-arounds. For 
others it will have to slow down work on ongoing programs, and this 
increases costs and brings about inefficiency. Many programs will 
simply have to cease activity and await additional action on 
appropriations bills.
  We urged the House to include many of the provisions requested by the 
administration, but they refused. The bill would have been far better 
had more of these requirements been met. Yet I would point out that the 
House has not played favorites. No department was granted the 
authorities it required. The Defense Department has not been singled 
out for special help by House Republicans. If anything, it has been 
treated more harshly than many other agencies.
  So I support this bill because opposing it is not a responsible 
alternative. No one should be interested in delaying or defeating this 
bill. We simply cannot afford to shut down government operations.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this bill which will 
preserve our government. It is lean and it is stripped down, but it 
contains the funding and minimal authorities essential to ensure that 
the services provided for all Americans can be continued over the 
coming months.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Shaheen). The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, this continuing resolution results from 
an agreement reached between the President and the congressional 
leadership for a 6-month, clean CR that adheres to the fiscal year 2013 
spending levels set out in the Budget Control Act.
  The continuing resolution does not make reductions in programs for 
which the President requested less money in fiscal year 2013, nor does 
it make cuts that have been proposed by the Congress. Neither does the 
resolution increase funding for programs Congress or the administration 
deemed to be high priorities, with a few exceptions. The continuing 
resolution does not contain any new oversight provisions to guide 
agencies, nor does it include any new riders to limit the activities of 
the executive branch. In short, it puts the portion of government that 
we call discretionary on automatic pilot. Enactment of this resolution 
will, for the time being, avoid a disruptive government-shutdown fight.
  The resolution represents a lost opportunity. We have lost the 
opportunity to provide agencies with at least some certainty about 
funding for this fiscal year. We have lost the opportunity to make 
informed judgments about which programs are effective and deserving of 
additional resources and which programs should be reformed or 
terminated. Contracts will not be let in a timely and efficient manner, 
and acquisition and construction costs will rise with delay. The morale 
of the Federal workforce will suffer. Perhaps most importantly, we have 
lost a chance to supplant the looming sequester.
  Elections have consequences, as they most certainly should, but 
elections should not have the consequence of rendering Congress 
unwilling or incapable of performing its most fundamental duties in the 
times leading up to those elections. In my view, the thoughtful and 
dutiful appropriation of funds for our national defense and other 
government operations is such a fundamental duty.
  I deeply regret that the majority leader chose not to call up a 
single appropriations bill. Chairman Inouye has shown impressive 
leadership of our committee in reporting 11 of the 12 bills out of our 
committee. Most were reported on a broad bipartisan basis. The chairmen 
and ranking members of the subcommittees have put a lot of time and 
thought into the bills. The staffs have worked very hard producing this 
legislation. The other body has also produced a bill. It has passed 
seven of the appropriations bills in the other body and I suspect would 
have passed the others had there been any sign of movement in the 
  We can only speculate as to why none of the bills have been 
considered here in the Senate. Other issues were deemed more pressing 
or expedient for one reason or another. Perhaps votes on amendments to 
spending bills were deemed to be politically perilous, whatever the 
  At a time when addressing our Nation's fiscal situation is so central 
to our duty as Senators, it seems more imperative than ever that 
Members of this body have an opportunity to offer amendments to shape 
the spending bills. Our problems are sufficiently large that it will 
require all of our good ideas to make the day-to-day operations of 
government as efficient and effective as possible. This might mean we 
have to take votes on difficult amendments. But would that really be so 
  As a result of our inaction, we are compelled to pass this continuing 
resolution to fund the government. I would have preferred a shorter 
term CR in order to motivate action on the appropriations bills, but 6 
months is what has been agreed to.
  Proponents of this 6-month CR argue that the prospect of a government 
shutdown should be taken off the table so that we can focus on the 
complex issues facing us in the coming months. But do those issues look 
any more simple now that we are about to pass this CR?
  All manner of taxes are scheduled to go up on January 1. Medicare 
reimbursement rates will be cut dramatically. The debt ceiling looms. 
And due

[[Page S6504]]

to the inability of the supercommittee to propose a debt reduction 
package, we are facing a budget sequester that very few people seem to 
think is a good idea.
  Perhaps passage of this CR will help us address these pressing 
matters. I hope that it will. But I am not so sure it changes things 
that much.
  Regardless of who wins what in the upcoming election, we have a great 
deal of unfinished business to resolve in the coming months.
  None of my colleagues likely relish the prospect of voting in March--
up or down--on either a trillion-dollar omnibus bill or a trillion-
dollar full-year CR. Yet that is where we are headed if we continue to 
do nothing.
  Appropriations bills are not simply opportunities to spend more 
money. They provide regular opportunities for effective oversight of 
Federal agencies. And when we take the time to bring them to the Senate 
floor, they provide regular opportunities for the elected 
representatives of all the people to shape, as well as fund the 
operations of the Federal Government. I hope the Senate will not 
continue to deny the people that opportunity.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Mr. INOUYE. Madam President, I believe the record should show how 
much we appreciate the work of the distinguished Senator from 
Mississippi, the vice chairman of the committee, Thad Cochran. We have 
demonstrated to our colleagues that bipartisanship works in this 
Senate. All they have to do is watch us operate.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.

                       Remembering Jennifer Green

  Mr. KOHL. Madam President, I rise today with great sadness to inform 
the Senate that Jennifer Green, a valued member of my staff and a 
cherished member of the Senate family, passed away last weekend after a 
brief illness. It is a comfort to all who knew Jennifer that she spent 
her last hours in a room filled with the family she cherished so 
deeply, but no room on Earth would have been large enough to hold all 
those who mourn her, who have been touched and made better by 
Jennifer's beautiful smile, big heart, and easy friendship. She is 
sorely missed in my office, throughout the Senate, and even across the 
  Jennifer worked in my office for the past 14 years, but she served 
the Senate for nearly a quarter century, starting with the Sergeant at 
Arms when she was just 20 years old. Jennifer was often the first face 
visitors to my office would see. She did more than just arrange Capitol 
tours or point them to the nearest DC attraction; she worked out a 
botched hotel reservation, found a glass of water to soothe an 
overheated toddler, listened to worries about a failing farm, a sick 
grandparent, or a threatened job.
  Many of my constituents arrive in the office a little overwhelmed by 
Washington, perhaps a little angry at Congress, but after meeting 
Jennifer, they left knowing they had a friend here. Jennifer put a 
human, caring face on the Senate--a service to this institution that 
affected the way hundreds, and probably thousands, of Wisconsinites 
viewed their government.
  Of course, no one, not visitor or staff, could leave the office 
without an update on Jennifer's family, especially her beloved mother 
Beatrice Spicer, her father Floyd Spicer, her brothers and sisters, and 
her son Lorenzo Green. She was so proud of this fine young man, as we 
all are. Through Jennifer, we got to watch a mischievous little boy 
grow to a talented and strong man serving our country as a member of 
the U.S. Coast Guard. She made sure everyone got a good look at the 
handsome--and big--framed picture she kept in her cubicle of Lorenzo in 
  Jennifer made us all feel as if we were part of her wonderful family. 
She was always the first to ask to see the picture of a new baby, quick 
to drive a colleague to the doctor or listen to a staffer who lost a 
parent, ready to swap a recipe or dissect the Redskins' latest 
performance. And that was not just my experience and that of my staff--
Jennifer knew just about everyone who works on the Hill. We have had a 
steady stream of visitors stopping by the office to share memories and 
express their condolences. Thank you all for the comfort that has 
brought our staff.
  Jennifer's funeral will be held in her hometown of Princeton, WV, 
this Saturday. I urge anyone who wants to attend or to leave a message 
for the family through the funeral home to contact my office for 
details. We will also be organizing a memorial service for Jennifer 
here in the Senate in the coming weeks, and we will make sure all 
offices get plenty of notice so that her many friends can be there.
  Everywhere you look in the Capitol, there are plaques, pictures, and 
statues commemorating the men and women who built this great 
institution, but these, like all things physical, oftentimes fade or 
are forgotten. Jennifer touched the heart of the Senate, the people who 
work here, and the people who visit. Hers is a legacy and a 
contribution that time cannot erase.
  For everyone in my office and for the entire Senate, I offer my 
deepest condolences to Jennifer's dear family. I hope you can find 
comfort in knowing of all the good she did and the joy she brought in 
her time here. We will all miss her profoundly and hold her in our 
hearts forever.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the 
Record a copy of Jennifer's obituary.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                      Jennifer Denise Spicer Green

       Jennifer Denise Spicer Green, 46 of Lusby, MD, departed 
     this life Saturday, September 15, 2012, at Georgetown 
     University Hospital in Washington, DC. She was born February 
     23, 1966 in Princeton to the union of James F. Spicer and 
     Beatrice Spicer and was the youngest of five children. 
     Jennifer first accepted the Lord at Mt. Calvary Missionary 
     Baptist Church in Princeton and after moving to Maryland she 
     became a member of the Maple Springs Baptist Church in 
     Suitland, MD. She was a graduate of Princeton High School and 
     was a former employee at the Dairy Queen in Princeton. Her 
     first government position was doorkeeper of the Senate 
     Chamber, and she then worked as an elevator operator in the 
     Unites States Capitol in Washington, DC. Jennifer continued 
     her service as mail carrier under the Senate Sergeant at Arms 
     Office for the Senate Post Office. She then became a data 
     entry operator to U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois and 
     later accepted a position as front office receptionist with 
     the Special Committee of Aging. During the changing of 
     legislature, Jennifer moved to Charlotte, NC, where she 
     worked with the American Heart Association and Gerrard Tire 
     and Automotive. Upon moving back to Maryland, Jennifer 
     accepted the position as receptionist with the Senate Finance 
     Committee and then spent the last sixteen years with the 
     office of Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin in the positions of 
     Mailroom Manager, Photographer, and Intern Supervisor. During 
     this time she also worked part time for Senator Evan Bayh of 
     Indiana, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Senator 
     Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Senator Bob Casey of 
     Pennsylvania. She was preceded in death by her maternal and 
     paternal grandparents. Survivors include her loving son, 
     Lorenzo J. Green of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Alaska; 
     parents, Beatrice E. Burton Spicer of Princeton and James 
     ``Floyd'' Spicer of Atlanta, GA; step children, LaQuosha 
     Jackson, Willard Green, Jr., Byron Green, Latonya Green, and 
     Trea Green; three godchildren, Brittany Coleman, Mykisha 
     Avery, and Amanda Spicer; two brothers, Joey A. Spicer and 
     James ``Toby'' Spicer both of Princeton; two sisters, Cindy 
     E. Townes of New Carlton, MD and Donna M. Spicer of 
     Mooresville, NC; special cousin that was like a brother to 
     Jennifer, John ``Dexter'' Coles of Capitol Heights, MD; 
     faithful friend, Derrick Williams; and a host of aunts, 
     uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins and additional friends. 
     Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 AM, Saturday, 
     September 22, 2012 at the George W. Seaver Chapel of Seaver 
     Funeral Home in Princeton with Bishop Romey Coles, Rev. 
     Charles Stores, Rev. Jesse Woods and Rev. Terrance Porter 
     officiating. Burial will follow at Restlawn Memorial Gardens, 
     Littlesburg Road in Bluefield. Family and friends may call at 
     the funeral home from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM, Friday, 
     September 21, 2012 and 10:00 AM until the service hour on 
     Saturday. On line condolences may be sent by visiting Seaver Funeral Home in 
     Princeton is serving the Green family.

  Mr. KOHL. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                         Tribute to Ryan McCoy

  Mr. LEE. Madam President, I rise today to recognize and honor my 
friend Ryan McCoy, a departing member of my staff. Ryan McCoy is, in 
fact, much more than just a member of my staff; he has been the energy 
behind many of my legislative goals, and he is also a close friend. 
While no tribute of words could ever match the debt of gratitude he 
truly deserves, I would like to pay tribute in the official records of 
Congress to someone who fought to make a

[[Page S6505]]

difference both for the State of Utah and for our country.
  C.S. Lewis said:

       Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to 
     another: ``What! You too? I thought I was the only one.''

  My friendship with Ryan McCoy, my former legislative director, was 
born in that very way described by C.S. Lewis. We met back in 2009 when 
I was speaking to a group of Utahans about a topic near and dear to my 
heart: article I, section 8 of the Constitution. I spoke of my passion 
for the Constitution and for the principles of limited government 
embodied therein, and my message apparently struck something of a chord 
with Ryan, who had recently taken a greater interest in finding ways to 
restore those same principles. We spent several hours after the speech 
talking about what the Constitution meant to both of us. I had not 
always thought about running for office, but when Ryan suddenly 
prepared a PowerPoint presentation for me about the problems we face as 
a country and about the ways in which he and I, working together, could 
make a difference, I started thinking much more seriously about it.
  When Ryan and I discussed later his leadership role in my office, his 
wife Kara jokingly told him that he had no idea what he was doing. But 
the truth is that we needed to know only one thing, just one thing: 
that we could make a difference. In the end, I believe that was our 
greatest asset. Ryan and I shared a vision for change in Washington. We 
knew it would not come easily, but it had to come from people who 
wanted to make a difference. It had to come from people who had lived 
in difficult economic circumstances and felt the need for change as it 
tugged at their own pocketbooks and at their own individual freedoms 
being eroded by an ever-expanding government.
  At a meeting a few months after we met, Ryan spoke of the common 
goals we shared. He said that our movement would be based on a clear, 
unequivocal message that it was time to change course for our country. 
Ryan and I shared this vision, and Ryan knew others would catch on to 
it. In the nearly 2 years he served as my legislative director, he 
worked hard, he worked tirelessly, he worked constantly to keep us 
focused on these legislative goals and to keep us true to our 
  It is safe to say that I would not be here today without the hard 
work and dedication of Ryan McCoy. Once here, I would never have been 
able to do many of the things I have done without Ryan McCoy's expert 
assistance. Ryan will be remembered in my office as a respected leader 
and as a man who truly loves his country.
  Too often in the hustle and bustle of Washington, we tend to take our 
staff members for granted. It is when they leave that we truly see the 
impact they have had and the wide breadth of influence they had while 
they were here.
  As much as we will miss Ryan, we will also miss his wife Kara and her 
shared enthusiasm every bit as much. I thank Kara. She and Ryan have 
become an important part of my life, an important part of my family, an 
important part of my office family.
  In addition to thanking Kara, I also want to thank Ryan and Kara's 
children, Connor, Tate, Gage, and McCall, for loaning their dad to me 
for these few years. Kara once told me that during a particularly busy 
time in the Senate, one of their children--I do not remember which 
one--actually came to her and asked her where their dad had gone and 
whether or when he might be returning. I appreciate their sacrifice, 
and I hope they will grow up knowing their father is a true hero of 
mine--and always will be--one who works tirelessly for his country and 
for their future. I wish them the best back in Utah, and on behalf of 
myself, Sharon, and my entire staff, I extend my love and sincere 
appreciation to each of them.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.

                        Tax and Economic Policy

  Mr. FRANKEN. Madam President, two enormous challenges will await us 
when we return from recess. Our economy is still not yet fully 
recovered from a devastating recession, and the prospects for our 
middle class and for those aspiring to be in the middle class or to get 
back into the middle class remain uncertain. Meanwhile, our budget 
remains sorely out of balance, and our long-term debt crisis is putting 
our Nation's fiscal future at risk. These two challenges are, of 
course, linked. We cannot hope to solve our long-term debt problem 
unless we get our economy growing again, and we cannot hope to rebuild 
our prosperity unless we resolve our budget problems.
  So we will have big decisions to make when we come back, but in the 
meantime the American people will be wrestling with the same issues: 
What should we do to grow our economy and reduce our debt? What are the 
right investments to make?
  How should we pay for them? What sacrifices must be made in the name 
of fiscal responsibility? Who is going to make them? That is the debate 
our Nation will have over the next 6 weeks. Those are the questions we 
must be prepared to answer when we return. So before I go home to 
Minnesota to share my thoughts with my constituents, I wanted to take a 
few moments to share them with my colleagues.
  My view of what we should do in response to these challenges is based 
upon what we have done in response to similar challenges in the past. 
We are not the first Congress or the first generation to struggle with 
these issues. At the end of 2011, our national debt had reached 100 
percent of our gross domestic product. That is frightening. But after 
World War II, our debt was 121 percent of GDP.
  To be fair, we had something to show for it. We had won World War II 
and the world was a very different place in 1945 than it is today. But 
the point is that we were tested. How did we respond? Well, we invested 
in the things we believed would grow the economy. We invested in 
education, things such as the GI bill, which helped my mother-in-law, 
widowed at age 29, go to college.
  We invested in Pell grants which helped my wife Franni and her three 
sisters go to college. We invested in infrastructure. We built 40,000 
miles of highways in the 1950s. We invested in innovation and we won 
the space race which, in turn, led to the creation of whole new 
industries such as personal computers and telecommunications.
  Those investments paid off and our economy experienced three decades 
of incredible growth, growth that flowed to the top, to the middle, and 
to the bottom. Between 1947 and 1977, wages for the top fifth, the top 
fifth of workers, grew by 99 percent, and wages for those in the bottom 
fifth rose by 116 percent. I know that is hard to believe. The wages of 
the bottom fifth grew more than those of the top fifth. But that 
  Even though we remained a Nation in which many kids like my wife 
Franni grew up in poverty, we had enough to invest in a strong safety 
net that helped those kids like Franni and her sisters and her brother 
work their way into the middle class. We bounced back from World War II 
to build an economy with a middle class that was strong, secure, and 
accessible to almost everyone.
  Thanks in large part to the growth generated by that thriving middle 
class, we were able to lower our national debt to about 31 percent by 
1981; so 121 percent at the end of World War II, to 1981, about 31 
percent. Since then our economy has had some good times and some bad 
times. We have raised taxes and we have lowered taxes. We have had 
surpluses and we have had deficits.
  As this chart shows, our debt relative to GDP has gone up and down. 
We have seen the results of a variety of approaches to the issues we 
face today. In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan was elected on a 
platform that appealed to concerns that the government taxed too much 
and spent too much. His approach was later called ``starving the 
beast.'' Here is how he explained it. This is a quote. This is 
President Reagan.

       There are always those who told us that taxes could not be 
     cut until spending was reduced. Well, you know, we can 
     lecture our children about extravagance until we run out of 
     voice and breath or we can cure their extravagance by simply 
     reducing their allowance.

  Cutting taxes, cutting revenue to the government. When Reagan took 
office, he fulfilled his campaign promise and signed into law a huge 
tax cut, and on cue we began to amass enormous deficits almost 
immediately. In fact, President Reagan's Budget Director at the

[[Page S6506]]

time, David Stockman, has explained that 1981 was when the era of large 
permanent deficits began.
  The deficits were so bad in his first year, in 1981, that President 
Reagan had to increase taxes in 1982, and again in 1983. In fact, he 
ended up raising taxes 11 times; not because Ronald Reagan was a 
Socialist--at least I really do not think so--but, rather, because he 
could not ignore the arithmetic.
  Still that first tax cut was so big that over the course of his 
Presidency, our national debt nearly tripled. It did not grow rapidly 
during the administration of George H. W. Bush. Then he handed it off 
to President Clinton. And what he handed off was at that point the 
largest deficit in the history of our country.
  In President Clinton's 1993 deficit reduction package, he added two 
new tax rates, marginal tax rates, at the top end: 36 percent for 
income above $180,000, 39.6 percent for incomes above $250,000. The 
Republicans objected rather vehemently, arguing that asking the top 2 
percent pay a little more would send the economy into a recession, 
which, of course, would be detrimental to the goal of reducing the 
  The bill passed without a single Republican vote in either House. But 
the Republicans' dire predictions turned out to be wrong, extremely 
wrong. Between 1993 and 2001, this country experienced an unprecedented 
expansion of our economy. We created 22.7 million net new jobs. We 
decreased the number of Americans in poverty to record lows. We 
increased the median household income and we created more millionaires 
than we ever had before.

  Not only did President Clinton's deficit reduction plan reduce the 
deficit, it eliminated the deficit. President Clinton was able to hand 
off to President George W. Bush a record surplus. In fact, in January 
of 2001, we were on track to completely pay off our national debt by 
the year 2011. However, as we know, President Bush chose a different 
course. Whether you agree with the two wars we entered into during his 
administration, the new entitlement program that we created, or the two 
tax cuts we passed, the fact of the matter is we did not pay for any of 
those things. They all went on our national credit card.
  While the two tax cuts tilted toward those at the top--they did help 
some at the top do extremely well during the Bush administration--it is 
hard to say the things we put on that credit card created the kind of 
durable broad-based prosperity we saw in the 1990s or that we built in 
the 30 years after World War II, for that matter. It would be hard to 
say, because when President Obama took office from President Bush, the 
economy was hemorrhaging jobs at the rate of over 800,000 a month. And 
when the bill came for the Bush policies, we were staring at a 
projected $1.1 trillion deficit for 2009. That was the projected 
deficit that President Bush left for President Obama.
  So far I have talked about President Reagan and his approach of 
cutting revenue in order to force the government to cut spending. We 
saw what happened. We could not or did not cut enough spending to keep 
our budget in balance. We had huge deficits even when Reagan tried to 
backtrack and raise more revenue. I have talked about President Clinton 
and his approach of raising taxes on the top 2 percent in order to 
bring the budget into balance. We saw what happened. The economy grew 
and we generated a record surplus. I have talked about President Bush 
and his approach of cutting taxes and incurring large expenses without 
worrying about the ramifications on the deficit. We saw what happened. 
Deficits ballooned and when the economy crashed, it crashed hard.
  So what about President Obama? What has his approach been? Well, if 
you ask some people, including unfortunately many in this Chamber, they 
tell you that President Obama's approach was to go on a massive 
spending spree. Well, it is not true. Over his 4 budget years, Federal 
spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an 
annual increase of 0.84 percent.
  You can hash these figures out, but here is a chart that comes from 
Market Watch, a publication of Dow Jones which also owns the Wall 
Street Journal, that shows Obama's increase in spending from 2010 to 
2013. These are Reagan's. These are numbers from the nonpartisan 
Congressional Budget Office, from the Office of Management and Budget. 
You can see the growth of Federal spending. This is lower than it was 
under any of the Presidents I talked about.
  Indeed, the article that ran with this chart concludes that the 
growth of Federal spending under President Obama is the lowest it has 
been since the Eisenhower administration during the wind-down from the 
Korean war. But remember that besides a $1.1 trillion deficit, 
President Obama inherited an economy that in the month he took office 
lost over 800,000 jobs. That was January. The next month, February, 
2009, he lost about 700,000 jobs. But that is also the month in which 
we passed the Recovery Act. By the way, when the Recovery Act was 
passed in February of 2009, the unemployment rate was already above 8 
  The Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus, is what people usually 
point to when pressed to explain why they think President Obama has 
increased spending. But the truth is that more than one-third of the 
Recovery Act was tax cuts. The stimulus cut taxes for 95 percent of 
American families. Another one-third was fiscal aid to the States, 
which were feeling the same budget crunch as the Federal Government 
but, in most cases, didn't have the option of running a deficit in 
tough years. Without the Recovery Act, imagine how many more teachers 
and firefighters and police officers would have had to have been laid 
off, and imagine what that would have meant to our economy, never mind 
what it would have meant to our communities. But the one-third that 
gets the most attention was the one-third that went toward creating 
  Did it work? There are a few ways to answer that question, but the 
answer is the same every time: Yes. First, we can look at our chart and 
see that once the Recovery Act began to be implemented we started 
losing less jobs and then we started creating jobs. We have had 30 
straight months of private job creation--of growth.
  Secondly, we can ask economists. The most reputable economists, 
  Mr. REID. Would my friend yield?
  Mr. FRANKEN. Certainly.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, we are going to have no more votes today--
no more votes today. It is obvious to me what is going on. I have been 
to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious a big stall is taking place, so 
one of the Senators who doesn't want to be in the debate tonight will 
not be in the debate. He can't use the Senate as an excuse.
  There will be no more votes today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. FRANKEN. I thank the Chair. That is too bad.
  I was going over what happened, reviewing what happened once the 
stimulus package had been passed in February, when unemployment was 
over 8 percent. And we can see as it started taking effect we lost less 
and less jobs and have since had 30 straight months of private sector 
job growth. I said we could ask economists. Most reputable economists, 
including those of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, agree 
the Recovery Act created or saved anywhere from 2.5 million to 3.5 
million jobs.
  In the words of Mark Zandi, the economic adviser to Senator John 
McCain in his 2008 Presidential campaign, the Federal policy response 
to the financial crisis, including the stimulus, ``probably averted 
what could have been called the Great Depression 2.0.''
  But we don't have to take the word of Mark Zandi. We don't have to 
take the word of all the other reputable economists. We don't even have 
to take the word of the Congressional Budget Office, although the CBO 
sort of exists for those of us in Congress. We can ask Jamie, Cecil, 
and Sheila.
  This is Jamie, working on the Duluth Lift Bridge a couple years back. 
This is a picture of Cecil, who is working on a highway extension 
project. Let's give Cecil his due. He is working on a highway extension 
project in Brooklyn Park in the suburban Twin Cities.

[[Page S6507]]

Then we have Sheila. This is Sheila in front of her Bobcat working the 
night shift on an I-94 improvement project.
  These are people who were put back to work by the stimulus. Despite 
claims by some that the only jobs created by the stimulus went to 
government bureaucrats, we will notice Jamie, Cecil, and Sheila are 
not, in fact, government bureaucrats. Thankfully, we do not let 
government bureaucrats operate heavy machinery.
  What can we say about the approach of President Obama so far?
  He slowed the growth of Federal spending to its lowest level since 
Eisenhower. He has cut taxes--not just in the stimulus package but many 
times during his first term--to the tune of more than $850 billion. 
When the economy was at its low point, he made investments and put 
people back to work in the short-term and prevented things from getting 
even worse.
  There was another road we could have taken. That approach would have 
involved not just cutting spending but gutting the government, and it 
definitely wouldn't have involved making investments to put people back 
to work.
  We will never know whether that approach--known as austerity--would 
have gotten us results such as the ones reflected on the previous 
chart, but we do know what happened in countries where they tried this 
alternate approach. This is a chart of European countries that went the 
austerity route. This is GDP from 2008 to 2012. This would be where 
President Obama became President and this is Europe and we all were 
seeing a global meltdown. These are countries that did austerity in 
Europe, and this is the United States. The evidence tells us our way 
worked. President Obama's way worked and theirs did not.
  Of course, while we are better off than we were 4 years ago and 
better off than we would be if we had tried austerity instead of the 
approach taken by President Obama, which, if we look at the growth in 
spending, was pretty close to austerity, we are obviously still not 
where we want to be, either in terms of our economy or in terms of our 
  What is the right way going forward? First, let us talk about deficit 
reduction. It is clear to me that any solution that does not include 
both increased revenue and decreased spending simply isn't going to 
work. The hole is too big for us to tax our way out or to cut our way 
out. We have to do both. The hole is, in fact, so big we can't even get 
out of it just by taxing and cutting. We have to grow our way out too.
  That is why I think we need to invest in education, and 
infrastructure, and innovation. That means early childhood education, 
which has a return of investment in every study--quality early 
childhood education--of $16 for every $1 spent, and in workforce 
training, in roads and bridges and rural broadband, in clean energy and 
health care technology.
  I don't think only government can create jobs. I know that. But I 
know that only government can make those critical investments that will 
help the private sector create jobs, and I know it works when we do. It 
worked after World War II, it worked under President Clinton, and it 
worked in the Recovery Act. Those investments, however, cost money, and 
we will not be able to afford them unless we reduce our deficits.
  I think people who talk about cutting spending should say what 
spending they want to cut. I want to cut spending, so let me tell you 
what spending I want to cut.

  I want to cut the billions in subsidies we give to oil companies that 
simply don't need them. I want to let Medicare negotiate for 
pharmaceuticals under Part D, just as the VA does, because prohibiting 
Medicare from doing so amounts to a subsidy for pharmaceutical 
companies, one that, again, they do not need. I want to make cuts in 
our military budget, because as the comprehensive defense review 
found--begun under Secretary Gates and completed under Secretary 
Panetta--we can make hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the 
defense budget without compromising our fundamental security and 
military interests.
  Of course, we can't only cut the things we think are easy calls to 
cut. We are going to have to cut some things we don't want to cut. 
Speaking personally, I have already had to vote for some of those hard 
cuts, and it was not fun. But there simply aren't enough cuts to make. 
It is clear to me, if we are going to protect our most vulnerable 
Americans--our children, the sick, the disabled, our seniors--and make 
the investments that will grow our middle class and our economy, we are 
going to have to raise revenue.
  Just like President Reagan--but unlike some of today's Republicans--I 
know we don't raise revenue by cutting taxes. That is why I support 
restoring the Bush tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income but after 
that allowing the top marginal rate to go back to where it was under 
President Clinton. I know that, as they did in 1993, people will argue 
that doing so will hurt the economy. But I am equally confident that, 
as they were in 1993, they will be wrong.
  I know we all come to the debate about our Nation's challenges with 
different philosophies and different convictions and I respect that 
many of my colleagues feel they would be betraying their own political 
core by asking the wealthy to pay a little more or investing taxpayer 
dollars in job creation. I didn't feel great about all the cuts I had 
to vote for over the last couple years either. But I don't think we are 
going to get anywhere if we are so invested in following our own 
ideologies that we refuse to acknowledge the lessons of where we have 
been or the truth about where we are and where we are headed.
  We are not going to get anywhere if we can't agree that, yes, the 
government does have a role to play in helping the private sector 
create jobs; and, no, we will not cut the deficit by cutting taxes; 
and, yes, we are going to have to both raise revenue and reduce 
spending if we want to get a balanced budget; and, no, asking the 
wealthy to pay a little more will not drive us back into a recession.
  We have debated these issues a lot this year and we haven't resolved 
the argument. Now we are going home, and it is the American people's 
time. It is the American people who get to have their say. I hope that 
over the next 6 weeks we lead them in a debate worthy of the challenges 
we face--a debate rooted in the facts and mindful of our history.
  I hope when we come back we are ready to have that kind of worthy 
debate ourselves and then make the tough calls, as our constituents 
will in November.
  I wish my colleagues well over the recess, and I look forward to 
getting back to our important work when we return.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader.

                   Unanimous Consent Request S. 3576

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I see my friend, the majority leader, 
on the floor.
  I am surprised they announced no more votes a little while ago. We 
are prepared to finish business today. In fact, I intend to offer 
shortly the unanimous consent agreement that the majority leader 
himself was shopping last night. Our side of the aisle is prepared to 
finish up the business for this particular preelection session.
  I ask unanimous consent that at 5 p.m. today, the Senate proceed to 
the consideration of S. 3576, Senator Paul's bill regarding foreign 
aid; that there be up to 2 hours 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 consideration of Calendar No. 418, S.J. Res. 41; that there 
be up to 60 minutes of debate, equally divided between Senators Graham 
and Senator 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 30 
minutes of debate, equally divided between the

[[Page S6508]]

two leaders or their designees, with Senator Coburn controlling 15 
minutes of the Republican time, 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. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, reserving the right to object, we have had 
the stall for several days now. I wanted to make sure that one of the 
Senators who wanted to go to a debate would be able to do that tonight. 
So he can go now, because as I announced half an hour ago there is 
plenty of time to do the debate.
  As I have indicated before, we are anxious to finish the business we 
have to do this work period. I am happy to vote on the Paul amendment. 
I have said that. I am the one who arranged it so it is possible to 
vote on it. I have no regret as to having done that. I am happy to vote 
on the continuing resolution, something that has 80 or more sponsors.
  I am happy to have all these votes. In fact, we can do the debate 
tonight on the containment resolution and the Paul amendment. But 
understand this: We are not separating the vote on the CR and a piece 
of legislation that groups around this country have been trying to get 
done for years. It has been held up here. As I have said before, 
everything shouldn't be a fight here.
  The Senator from Montana, Mr. Tester, has assembled a broad package 
of bipartisan legislation that has wide-ranging support from 
Republicans. They are noted publicly in publications here saying they 
support it. They will vote for it. It has the support of sportsmen 
throughout this country. Getting to vote on this bill should not have 
to be a big fight. This is the sort of thing we ought to be able to 
simply vote on, and we are going to do that. But we are not going to 
separate the two. We are going to have a vote on the CR; immediately 
thereafter, we will have a vote on the motion to proceed to the 
sportsmen's bill.
  We can get the debate out of the way tonight. We can vote tomorrow. 
If not, we are going to vote tomorrow after midnight. That will take 
care of one vote, and the next will be sometime Sunday morning.
  We are not having these votes today, so everyone should understand. 
We are not going to do that for the reasons I have already indicated. 
So if we want to do this, we can do it early in the morning--that is 
fine with me--or we can wait until tomorrow night after midnight and 
then come in Sunday morning.
  So I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, just so everybody in the Senate will 
understand, both Democrats and Republicans, I just offered the consent 
the majority leader himself was trying to get last night.
  Senate Republicans are prepared to finish the continuing resolution 
today, prepared to vote on the Rand Paul proposal today, and prepared 
to vote on the Lindsey Graham proposal today. That was acceptable to 
the majority leader; it is not acceptable to him today. Obviously, 
something changed over on that side of the aisle.
  So I just want everybody to understand that I and all the members of 
my conference are prepared to finish the business of the Senate that 
was before the Senate at the suggestion of the majority leader as 
recently as last night.
  Mr. REID. While we are educating Senators, I would like to add a 
little to that.
  We are willing to vote on all these things, but we will do it 
tomorrow, not today. We want the debate to go forward. We are in very 
important Senate races across the country.
  So we will vote early in the morning, get all the debate out of the 
way or we will do it tomorrow night after midnight because we are not 
going to separate the sportsmen's bill from the rest of the stuff for 
obvious reasons.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I would only add that is a new development here that 
the majority leader is saying.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, there has been no new development. 
Everyone--Republican staff, Democratic staff, all my caucus--has known 
for a long time that we are going to have a vote on this sportsmen's 
package. This is no new development.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. REID. Madam President, we have a very important matter at 4 
today. The Secretary of State is coming to address all of us as to what 
is going on in the Middle East and around the world. There will be 
intelligence officers here and a lot of other people. So I ask 
unanimous consent that the Senate recess from 4 to 5 today to 
accommodate this very important Senators-only briefing.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Madam President, it is my understanding we have a couple 
Senators who would like to speak before that.
  Mr. CORNYN. Reserving the right to object.
  Mr. REID. I have no problem with the Senator from Texas speaking. I 
ask unanimous consent that Senator Cornyn be recognized for up to 15 
minutes; and when he completes that, the Senate go into recess for 1 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. I thank the majority leader for his courtesy.

                     Labor Force Participation Rate

  Earlier this month, we received another big job report and along with 
it a serious disappointment.
  The numbers speak for themselves. In August, a remarkable 368,000 
Americans left the workforce. They gave up, bringing the labor force 
participation rate, as it is known, to its lowest level in more than 
three decades.
  Fewer people are looking for work in America than at any time in the 
last 30 years. That is a national tragedy. The unemployment rate stayed 
above 8 percent only because they quit counting the people who have 
given up. But it had been above 8 percent for the 43rd straight month. 
If, in fact, the same number of people who were looking for work in 
January of 2009 are still looking for work today, the unemployment rate 
would be over 11 percent. That was the date President Obama took 
office, January 20, 2009. So if the same number were looking today as 
were looking for work then, it would be over 11 percent, to show you 
how those numbers don't reveal the true pain and the sacrifice of 
American citizens who are looking for work.
  I don't know of anyone who could look at the August job report or the 
June or July job numbers and feel good about the economy. I also don't 
know how they could now support a tax increase when the economy is 
growing at a much slower pace, contrary to their position--including 
the President's position--in December 2010, when the economy was 
growing at roughly 3 percent of GDP.
  Beyond our borders, the Europeans are mired in a debt crisis, the 
Chinese economy has slowed down dramatically, and the United States 
continues to face major economic headwinds. We can't afford any self-
inflicted wounds.
  All I am suggesting is that we maintain the current Federal tax rates 
until we can work together in a bipartisan way and adopt real tax 
reform. Yet the President occasionally calls that position extreme--
ironically, the same position he, himself, held in December of 2010, as 
I said just a moment ago.
  It seems the President does not always understand or appreciate the 
strong connection between taxes and economic incentives on small 
businesses and other people we are depending upon to create businesses 
or to grow existing businesses and create jobs and to put Americans 
back to work.
  We need look no further than the 2010 health care law, the law that 
went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Two aspects of it were found 
unconstitutional but not the tax on middle-class Americans.
  In addition to that middle-class tax increase, the law contains a new 

[[Page S6509]]

tax on medical device manufacturers that will discourage companies from 
building factories and creating jobs in the United States. That is not 
just my conclusion.
  For example, Cook Medical, which has roughly 4,000 employees around 
Bloomington, IN, recently announced it is canceling five new 
manufacturing plants it had scheduled to open over the next half 
decade. A senior official estimated the new medical device tax will 
cost his firm between $20 million and $30 million extra each year. That 
is why they are shuttering those additional five plants and killing 
those potential new jobs.
  Another medical device company in another part of the country--New 
York--Welch Allyn, recently announced it will be slashing 10 percent of 
its global workforce in response to this new tax.
  All of this is, sadly, predictable and it is common sense. 
Unfortunately, common sense doesn't seem, to most Americans, to prevail 
or to be all that common in Washington, DC, these days. But if we raise 
the taxes on these medical devices, it is only logical, it is only 
reasonable, it is only common sense to expect that these companies will 
produce fewer jobs and, in the process, less innovation.
  The irony of this discussion over taxes is we now have a growing 
bipartisan consensus in Congress and in Washington, DC, about the need 
for commonsense tax reform that would broaden the base, lower the 
rates, and help grow the economy by creating the proper incentives.
  That was the recommendation of the President's own bipartisan fiscal 
commission, the Simpson-Bowles Commission in December 2010--the 
President's own bipartisan fiscal commission--where Republicans and 
Democrats agreed this is a good place to start in reforming our broken 
Tax Code, paying down the debt, and getting our country and our economy 
growing again. It was also the recommendation of the Domenici-Rivlin 
panel, another bipartisan panel. Both recommended a more logical, more 
equitable, more growth-oriented Tax Code.
  Why, we may ask, is tax reform so urgent? Earlier this month the 
World Economic Forum released its new ``Global Competitiveness 
Report.'' America is not alone in trying to create jobs and grow our 
economy. We are competing with other economies and other countries 
around the world. As recently as 2008, the United States was ranked the 
most competitive country on the planet.
  In the latest index, we fell to seventh. We are heading in the wrong 
direction when it comes to competing in a global economy for the jobs 
so that Americans can work and provide for their families and put food 
on their tables and gain the dignity that goes along with working and 
providing for your family.
  Harvard Business School also surveyed 10,000 of its alumni to find 
out their views of America's competitiveness. At Harvard Business 
School, one of the premier business schools in the country, alarmingly 
71 percent of those who responded said America would become less 
competitive during the next few years. In other words, they were not 
optimistic about the direction of the country when it came to 
competitiveness and job creation. One of the biggest reasons for their 
pessimism is the bewildering complexity of our Tax Code. A large 
majority said the tax complexity is either ``much worse'' or ``somewhat 
worse'' in the United States than it was in other developed countries. 
That is why Americans now spend hundreds of billions of dollars on tax 
compliance, because of a broken, unnecessarily complex and impenetrable 
Tax Code--unless you have the money to hire armies of lawyers and 
accountants to help you figure it out.
  One more point about our Tax Code. Over time, our Tax Code has become 
larded with special provisions and tax expenditures that represent what 
has come to be known as crony capitalism. In other words, the Federal 
Government just doesn't spend money, the Federal Government has a Tax 
Code that benefits certain industries and sectors of the economy. Some 
of them we would largely agree on--such as the mortgage interest 
deduction or the interest you pay on your home mortgage. There is broad 
support for that, although everyone realizes we need to get all of 
these on the table. That is what Simpson-Bowles recommended. Let's get 
$1 trillion or more of these special tax expenditures on the table and 
look at the ones that still make sense and the ones we should do away 
with. As long as the Tax Code is as complicated as ours is, it is a 
drag on the economy. It promotes a culture of corruption, where people 
come to Congress and they lobby for special tax provisions that are not 
available to the broad population that benefit them. It seeks 
favoritism and rent-seeking, with companies and industries that try to 
gain competitive advantages through tax subsidies.
  If we want businesses to spend more time in productive activity and 
less time begging the government for tax breaks, we need to fix the 
broken Tax Code with a flatter, fairer, more transparent system which 
encourages working and saving and investing--not lobbying here in 
Washington, DC, for special breaks. If we want our tax laws to be 
respected and understood, they need to be clearer, simpler, and more 
  Given how much President Obama talks about fairness of the Tax Code, 
you would think he would be all over this. You might expect he would be 
an eager champion for tax reform. Instead, the President wants to use 
the Tax Code as an ATM machine to subsidize particular industries and 
interest groups while punishing others. We need to get them all on the 
table, bring them all out into the light of day and address all of 
these special tax provisions so we can simplify and make more fair our 
tax system, unleashing the growth potential of the entrepreneurial 
American economy to create jobs and prosperity that is sadly lacking 
now in the current environment.
  Unfortunately, President Obama, rather than attack this issue of 
crony capitalism, has promoted it. During the long government-run 
Chrysler bankruptcy process, the company-secured bondholders received 
less for their loans--29 cents per dollar--than the United Auto Workers 
pension funds. They got 40 cents on the dollar. The UAW pension funds, 
mind you, were unsecured creditors, entitled to less priority than the 
bondholders, who were entitled to the highest priority, but because of 
the way this was manipulated, the bondholders got 29 cents on the 
dollar, the union got 40 cents on the dollar.
  During the automobile bailouts President Obama let politics trump the 
rule of law. What do I mean by that? I believe that rather than let the 
rule of law apply, he injected politics and favoritism in the process. 
In his energy policy, which I alluded to a moment ago, he put politics 
before his fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer. We agree 
that the Federal Government has a role in funding, through the research 
and development tax credit and other ways, basic scientific research to 
promote innovation. But the President and Congress should not be using 
your tax dollars to make risky, politically motivated investments that 
benefit specific companies or industries at your expense.
  Solyndra offers the most conspicuous example. This now bankrupt solar 
energy firm received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Federal 
Government. According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration 
``remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra,'' even after being 
``warned that financial disaster might lie ahead.'' Then, as Solyndra 
went bankrupt, the administration violated the law by making taxpayers 
subordinate to private lenders.
  In other words, even though the taxpayers gave a $535 million loan 
guarantee to this company that went bankrupt, the ones who ended up 
taking it in the neck were the taxpayers rather than the private 
lenders who should have been subordinated to the taxpayers when it 
comes to getting paid. If President Obama is as concerned as he claims 
about dicey investments with taxpayer money, he should repudiate these 
kinds of boondoggles and let the market work to allocate capital. 
Washington should not be picking economic winners and losers.
  Speaking of winners and losers, the Department of Health and Human 
Services granted a series of 1- and 3-

[[Page S6510]]

year waivers from the annual limit requirements contained in the 
President's 2010 health care law. These waivers fostered the impression 
that certain companies, unions, and institutions would be exempted and 
given preferential treatment.
  The health-care law thus highlighted an inconvenient truth about big 
government: Any dramatic increase in federal regulations and 
bureaucratic authority will lead to a dramatic increase in rent-seeking 
and crony capitalism.
  Finally, a word about the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. Democrats argue that 
Dodd-Frank ended ``too big to fail.'' In fact, it codified too big to 
fail, because certain companies will now formally be identified as 
``systemically important.''
  Are we really supposed to believe that ``systemically important'' 
companies will be allowed to collapse? The more likely scenario is that 
these firms will be viewed as too big to fail--both by investors and by 
federal officials--the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were.
  As University of Pennsylvania law professor David Skeel has written:

       The companies that are cordoned off as systemically 
     important distort the credit markets, as a result of the 
     Fannie Mae effect. Because these institutions can raise 
     capital more cheaply than financial institutions that do not 
     enjoy implicit government protection, they have a competitive 
     advantage over smaller institutions. This may dampen 
     innovation in the financial system and lead to inefficient 
     allocation of credit to nonfinancial businesses.

  In short, regardless of what Democrats may think, Dodd-Frank has 
actually strengthened the nexus between Washington and Wall Street.
  The rise of crony capitalism under President Obama has led many 
people to question America's commitment to free markets and the rule of 
law. Likewise, the President's failure to revive our economy has led to 
widespread pessimism about America's future. I firmly believe we can 
turn things around and restore our global reputation, and I firmly 
reject the notion that our decline is inevitable. There is no reason we 
can't rejuvenate the Great American Jobs Machine and return to 
prosperity. But it won't happen until we get much better leadership 
from the White House.
  I yield the floor.