(Senate - May 22, 2013)

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[Pages S3745-S3752]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S. 954.

                           Amendment No. 925

  Under the previous order, there will be 2 minutes of debate equally 
divided in the usual form prior to a vote in relation to the Shaheen 
amendment No. 925. Debate will commence on the Shaheen amendment No. 

[[Page S3746]]

  The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, my understanding is Senator Shaheen is 
going to take the first 30 seconds of 1 minute on behalf of speaking in 
favor. I don't see her on the floor. I will take the second half.
  I believe I see her now, so at this time, if she is ready, I yield to 
the Senator from New Hampshire.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Pennsylvania.
  This amendment would address the only program within the farm bill 
that hasn't been reformed: the Sugar Program. What we have now is a 
sweet deal for sugar growers and a bad deal for consumers.
  Right now, according to the Department of Commerce, we are losing 
three jobs in manufacturing for every one job we save in the sugar 
grower industry. That is not a good deal for job creation in this 
country. We need to change it.
  I yield to my colleague from Pennsylvania.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from New Hampshire. 
She is absolutely right. It makes no sense to have a program that 
forces American consumers to pay at least 30 percent more than the 
going rate for sugar to force taxpayers to subsidize these producers. 
Also, we can lose jobs because, as the Senator pointed out, our own 
Commerce Department has found that for every job it saves, three 
manufacturing jobs are lost. This is a modest amendment that takes us 
back to the 2008 levels.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, on our side, let me tell my colleagues 
if they want to preserve jobs, vote against the Shaheen-Toomey 
amendment. The U.S. policy on sugar defends more than 142,000 jobs in 
22 States and nearly $20 billion in annual economic activity. Their 
amendment is bad policy. The taxpayers do not pay a penny on the Sugar 
Program. Domestic production is supported by import restrictions which 
have been used wisely over time, so this amendment would effectively 
kill America's no-cost Sugar Program.
  Senator Cochran will take the last 30 seconds.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, this amendment is being portrayed as a 
reform of sugar policy, but it is far more harmful than that. These 
proposed changes would undermine the policy of our domestic industry by 
transferring American sugar-producing jobs to other countries. Those 
producers are less efficient and heavily subsidized.
  U.S. sugar policy has operated at zero cost to taxpayers for the past 
decade and has provided American consumers dependable supplies of safe 
high-quality sugar at low prices.
  I urge Senators to oppose the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  There is a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal). Are there any other Senators 
in the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 45, nays 54, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 134 Leg.]


     Johnson (WI)


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The amendment (No. 925) was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, if it pleases the Chair, I would like to 
say a few remarks about sugar, but I am not sure about the chairwoman's 
  I thank the chairwoman of the committee and the ranking member. I 
know they are deciding what other amendments we are going to take up 
later this evening and how the votes will proceed. But let me again 
just thank my colleague from Michigan for her great lead and leadership 
on the farm bill.
  This sugar amendment was very important to the people of Louisiana 
whom I represent, and I want to just thank my colleagues for their vote 
to keep a program in place that has worked at no cost to the taxpayer--
no direct cash. It is monitored or organized or designed through an 
import restriction program that allows for the robust production of 
sugarcane and sugar beets in our Nation.
  I thank Senator Shaheen for the wonderful way she handled the debate. 
We have different views about this, but we are colleagues and we work 
together very well. There are two sides to this issue. I think the 
evidence on our side is stronger. She would probably disagree. But I 
thank our colleagues for supporting the sugar caucus.
  In Louisiana, sugarcane is being produced on over 427,000 acres in 22 
parishes. Production is about 14 million tons, which is about 20 
percent of the total sugar grown in the United States.
  Last year, in 2012, Louisiana sugar mills produced 1.6 million tons 
of raw sugar, the largest amount we have ever produced in our State. 
This production represents a huge part of our State's economy. The loss 
of market for this product would be devastating. Let me say that the 
State of Hawaii, the State of Florida, states such as Minnesota and 
North Dakota and South Dakota that have strong sugar beet crops, it is 
very important for them as well.
  Are the consumers hurt by this? Absolutely not. The U.S. sugar price 
is 14 percent below the world average, and 24 percent below the average 
for developed nations. So our policy is a good balance of encouraging 
domestic production and keeping prices stable and affordable for the 
  Let me say for candy production--and I have a small amount of candy 
produced in Louisiana. I am very proud of these companies. American 
food manufacturers say they are shedding jobs, but in my view this has 
nothing to do with U.S. sugar policy. In fact, U.S. sweetened product 
manufacturers are prospering and expanding. Candy production is rising, 
not falling, up by 9 percent since 2004. In addition, sugar represents 
just a tiny portion of the price these food retailers charge for their 
products--1 percent of the cost of a cupcake, 2 percent of the cost of 
a candy bar, 3 percent of the cost of a carton of ice cream, and 5 
percent of a bag of hard candy. So I think our arguments won the day. I 
appreciate our colleagues supporting the sugar caucus. We thank you for 
keeping this bill intact with the balance it needs to move forward so 
we can have a robust farm agriculture reauthorization bill for this 
United States.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, as we heard last summer and again 
throughout this week's debate, government subsidies are at the heart of 
both our agricultural and nutritional policies here in the United 
States. Subsidizing food costs in the form of payments for groceries is 
the core of our supplemental nutrition assistance program. Insurance 
premiums paid by our corn

[[Page S3747]]

and soybean growers are directly subsidized in the farm bill on the 
floor today. And adverse market payments, what we once called direct 
payments, are available to crops such as peanuts and rice if the price 
for those commodities fall below a certain threshold. These government 
subsidies are used all across our country--from Iowa to North and South 
Carolina; and from Missouri down through Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas.
  Now we have heard from several members from these and other States 
the many opinions about the validity or usefulness of these subsidies. 
And I certainly have my own opinion about how the agricultural policy 
in the United States should be reformed and shaped. However, today, I 
stand to discuss a unique program--our country's Sugar Program. For 
those of you who are not familiar with the program, it consists of 
three components--a domestic allocation component, a tariff quota 
component, and a loan component. Now, aside from the loan component, 
uniquely, the Sugar Program in the United States does not require a 
direct government subsidy. In fact, from 2002 to 2011, the Sugar 
Program in the United States cost the government zero dollars, a 
glaringly low amount compared to the various other commodity programs 
that I previously listed.
  There is a reason for this difference. Our Sugar Program is not an 
agricultural program--it is a trade program. We do not set the price of 
sugar in the United States artificially high by sending taxpayer money 
directly to that industry as we do with corn, soybeans, peanuts, or all 
the other various agricultural commodities here in the United States. 
We set the price of sugar in the United States by limiting the amount 
of sugar that we import from foreign countries.
  This distinction cannot be ignored. This distinction creates a 
fundamentally different set of policy decisions for my colleagues here 
in the Senate as we continue this important debate on our Sugar 
  Furthermore, this distinction requires acknowledgement in the sense 
that it changes our discussion about the Sugar Program here in the 
United States from how it impacts our domestic industries to how it 
interacts with same industries and policies in the international 
community. We cannot support any policy that ignores international 
realities at the detriment of our own domestic industries.
  In implementation, and by necessity, this reality means two things: 
One, in debating the sugar policy here in the United States, because it 
is inherently a trade policy, we must do so with international 
realities in mind, and No. 2--when viewed through this lens, does any 
amendment that would reform this program without consideration of these 
international realities make the best sense and, more importantly, set 
a positive precedent?
  I would argue it does not and would offer my colleagues, in the 
context of trade, the following facts: The Brazil Government, through 
the form of direct payments, forgiven loans and pension payments, and 
fuel mandates, subsidized the sugar industry in their country to a tune 
of $2.5 billion last year alone. Brazil controls 50 percent of all the 
world's sugar exports. To put that into context, Saudi Arabia controls 
only about 19 percent of the world's oil exports. Countries such as 
China, Thailand, and India, countries that the United States does not 
have free-trade agreements with, all subsidize their sugar industries 
in some form. And even in Mexico, the government owns and operates 20 
percent of the country's sugar industry.
  These countries, regardless of whether we repeal our sugar program 
here in the United States, will continue to generously subsidize sugar 
production for their own countries. In this context, I would ask my 
colleagues to seriously question the appropriateness, the benefits, and 
more importantly the risks to American jobs, if reforms to our Sugar 
Program were to pass without any link to the overall international 
dialogue. The 142,000 jobs and the $20 billion annually that our 
domestic industry provides to our economy would be at risk while at no 
point in our discussion have we accounted for the protectionist 
policies that exist for the sugar industry in other countries all 
around the world.
  To be clear, I am not arguing that, as a country, we need to be trade 
protectionists. To the contrary, I think our country will excel in the 
21st century only if we eliminate barriers to trade and increase the 
flow of goods all around the world. But what I am saying is that if we 
are going to eliminate a trade program, let us do it in the context of 
a trade debate. Otherwise, we will lose jobs, industries, and overall 
leverage to other countries without even bringing them to the table to 
negotiate. I would argue it would be more appropriate to address reform 
of our Sugar Program in the context of international trade.
  Very simply, we should repeal our entire Sugar Program if the largest 
sugar-producing countries in the world eliminated their own trade 
protectionist policies as well. We must ensure that we do not negotiate 
against ourselves in this international context by eliminating a 
program important to an industry in our country that is unfortunately 
forced to deal with these international realities. And I encourage my 
colleagues to consider the precedent they would set for their own 
industries in their own States when they consider the various 
amendments offered in this debate introduced to reform our Sugar 
Program. We must put this debate in the proper context while at the 
same time acknowledging the benefits of free trade to the United States 
and to citizens in countries all across the world.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. President, I am here to talk about the importance 
of a bipartisan, commonsense, 5-year farm bill to Indiana's agriculture 
and rural communities as well as our entire country.
  This bill, passed with bipartisan support in the Agriculture 
Committee, protects the estimated 16 million agriculture-related jobs 
across the country. Last year, Indiana and many other States were 
plagued by severe drought, leading to a loss of crops and livestock, 
hurting our food supply and the livelihoods of farmers and their 
communities. Farmers in Indiana and around the Nation need the 
certainty of a 5-year farm bill that reflects and addresses the 
inherent risk of feeding and fueling our world. The Agriculture Reform, 
Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 strikes the right balance, ending direct 
payments and improving risk management tools to give farmers what they 
need to manage natural disasters or severe market downturns that are 
completely outside of their control.
  In this budget environment, where we are looking for ways to cut 
spending and make government more efficient, it is important to note 
this bill would reduce the deficit by $23 billion. We made the tough 
decisions necessary to cut spending, increase accountability, and 
eliminate duplicative or unnecessary programs to continue our efforts 
to get our fiscal house in order.
  In my home State of Indiana, this bill is critical. Nearly 190,000 
Hoosiers work in agriculture. Eighty-three percent of the State's land 
is devoted to farms or forests. Agriculture contributed nearly $38 
billion to Indiana's economy in 2011. Clearly, the certainty of a 5-
year farm bill is important not only for the producers in our State but 
to the entire State's economy and overall well-being.
  While no bill is perfect, there are a few areas of this bill I worked 
to improve based on feedback from Hoosiers. During the Agriculture 
Committee debate, I introduced an amendment with Senator Roberts that 
would give the next generation of bio-energy crops access to base 
levels of risk management so a reasonable safety net will be in place 
for energy crops. This bipartisan amendment, passed as part of the 
overall bill, would amend the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance 
Program to offer coverage for crops producing feedstock for energy 
  Further, the amendment would direct USDA to research and develop risk 
management tools for promising new sorghum crops. I support the many 
Indiana farmers who have and continue to contribute to our domestic 
energy security. Also, during the committee discussion, I helped 
introduce an amendment that would put the USDA, not the OMB, in charge 
of conservation program technical assistance funding levels. This gives 
USDA the authority to make sure that technical assistance

[[Page S3748]]

reflects the needs of producers in the field and the stakeholder 
community, while allowing conservation practices to be adopted on a 
broader scale. We need robust technical assistance to give producers 
the assurances they need to know they are implementing practices 
correctly. These decisions should be made more reflective of needs on 
the ground.
  Further, I have continued my efforts from the 2008 farm bill to 
ensure that there are not restrictions on Hoosier farmers who want to 
grow fruits and vegetables. After a successful Farm Flex pilot program, 
I worked to expand full planting flexibility for farmers in Indiana and 
across the country wanting to grow what they want to grow on their own 
  Finally, I am proud to cosponsor an amendment with Senator Grassley. 
We should pass this amendment. It protects livestock and poultry 
farmers from having their personal information released by the EPA. It 
is outrageous that earlier this year the EPA released the personal 
contact information of over 80,000 livestock and poultry owners from 
across the Nation, including many from Indiana. This blatant violation 
of privacy must not happen again. I hope my colleagues will support the 
Grassley-Donnelly amendment when it comes up for a vote.
  Put simply, this farm bill makes sense. It is an example of 
Republicans and Democrats working together to do good things for the 
American economy and America's people. I look forward to working with 
our colleagues in the House on a farm bill that we can get signed into 
law. No one is going to get 100 percent of what they want, but it is 
100 percent necessary to get this farm bill done. I urge prompt passage 
of this bill by the Senate and for our colleagues in the House to do 
the same.
  Farmers in Indiana and across our great Nation deserve more than 
partisan political gridlock that prevented a 5-year bill last year. 
This year we need to get it done.
  I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MORAN. 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. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to address the 
Senate as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              Startup Act

  Mr. MORAN. Thank you very much.
  I want to tell a story. It goes back to the summer of 2011. Back at 
that point in time, we had 30 straight months of unemployment above 8 
percent. I decided it was important to work on legislation to jumpstart 
the economy and to work in every way possible with my colleagues to put 
Americans back to work.
  With a foundation of compelling data showing that nearly all of the 
new net jobs created since 1980 had been created by companies less than 
5 years old, Senator Warner and I introduced the Startup Act in 
December of 2011. The Startup Act was a jobs bill written to help 
entrepreneurs who have been responsible for most of the job creation in 
our country over the last 30 years.
  The legislation made changes to the Federal regulatory process so 
that the cost of new regulations did not outweigh the benefits and 
encouraged Federal agencies to consider the impact of proposed 
regulations on startups, particularly.
  Our bill made commonsense changes to the Tax Code to encourage 
investment in startups and reward patient capital. The Startup Act also 
sought to improve the process of commercializing federally funded 
research so that more good ideas out of the laboratories were put into 
market where these innovations could be turned into jobs by companies 
and spur economic growth.
  Finally, the Startup Act provided new opportunities for highly 
educated and entrepreneurial immigrants to stay in the United States 
where their talent and new job ideas could fuel economic growth and 
create American jobs.
  When I began work on the Startup Act, I did not intend to write an 
immigration bill. My goal was simple: Find the most cost-effective way 
to jumpstart the economy and create American jobs. After reviewing the 
academic and economic data, it became clear that these strategies to 
create American jobs must include highly skilled and entrepreneurial 
immigrants. Immigrants to the United States have a long history of 
creating business in our country. We can all think of examples of 
individuals who have done so: Sergey Brin cofounded Google; Elon Must 
cofounded PayPal, SolarCity, SpaceX, and Tesla; Min Kao founded Garmin 
in my home State of Kansas. There is a long list of people from other 
countries who created businesses here in the United States that now 
employ thousands and thousands and thousands of Kansans and Americans. 
Of the current Fortune 500 companies, more than 40 percent were founded 
by first-or second-generation Americans. Immigrants are now more than 
twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a business. In 2011, 
immigrants were responsible for more than one in every four U.S. 
businesses founded.
  Today, one in every 10 Americans employed at privately owned U.S. 
companies works at an immigrant-owned firm. The immigration bill 
drafted by eight of our colleagues and reported by the Judiciary 
Committee recognizes the importance of entrepreneurial immigrants. The 
legislation creates new visas for immigrant entrepreneurs and awards 
points for the merit-based visa for successful entrepreneurship. Yet 
this bill could be improved significantly to reflect more accurately 
how new businesses grow and hire workers.
  Done right, an entrepreneur's visa has the potential to create 
hundreds of thousands of needed jobs for Americans. Now in its third 
version, Startup 3.0 creates an entrepreneur's visa for foreign-born 
entrepreneurs currently in the United States. Those individuals with a 
good idea, with capital and a willingness to hire Americans, would be 
able to stay in the United States and grow their businesses. Each 
immigrant entrepreneur would be required to create jobs for Americans.
  In many instances our country already has made a commitment to these 
entrepreneurs, allowing them to study in our universities and work 
temporarily at American companies. Providing a way for immigrant 
entrepreneurs to stay in the United States and create American jobs 
makes economic sense.
  Earlier this year the Kauffman Foundation studied the economic impact 
of immigrant visas in the entrepreneur's visa in Startup 3.0. Using 
conservative estimates, the Kauffman Foundation predicts that the 
entrepreneur's visa could generate 500,000 to 1.6 million jobs over the 
next 10 years. These are real jobs with real economic impact that could 
affect real American families and boost our GDP by 1.5 percent or more, 
a 1.5-percent increase in our gross domestic product by this provision 
of the legislation alone.
  Anticipating floor consideration of the immigration bill, I have been 
speaking with entrepreneurs, investors, and startup policy experts to 
develop an amendment that would improve the legislation. In my view, we 
have an opportunity to create jobs for Americans by making certain 
highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants are able to start a new 
business and contribute to the growth of American companies. If we miss 
this opportunity, we risk losing the next generation of great 
entrepreneurs and the jobs they will create. I will offer an amendment 
to the immigration bill to accomplish these goals and hope my 
colleagues will join me in supporting the changes to the legislation 
that would result in the creation of jobs for Americans.
  While it is important to provide a straightforward and workable way 
for entrepreneurial immigrants to stay in the United States so they can 
employ Americans, we also need to make sure the immigration bill 
addresses the needs of growing American businesses.
  The current problem is twofold. American schools are not producing 
enough students with the skills our economy demands. While American 
universities do a great job of attracting foreign students to study 
advanced subjects, few pathways exist for these talented graduates to 
remain in the United States and contribute to American prosperity.

[[Page S3749]]

  One reason for this problem is our Nation's high schools have fallen 
behind in STEM education--science, technology, engineering, and 
mathematics. Forty percent of high school seniors test at or below 
basic levels in math. Fifty percent of our high school seniors test at 
or below basic levels in science. By 12th grade only 16 percent of 
students are both math proficient and interested in a STEM career, and 
fewer than 15 percent of high school graduates have enough math and 
science to pursue scientific or technical degrees in college. It is no 
wonder that by the time American students go to college few are 
choosing to major in a STEM area subject. According to the National 
Science Foundation, college students majoring in non-STEM fields 
outnumber their math and science-minded counterparts 5 to 1.
  Moreover, the growth rate of new STEM majors remains among the 
slowest in any category. Unfortunately, research shows that this gap 
continues to widen at a time when the number of job openings requiring 
STEM degrees is increasing at three times the rate of the rest of the 
job market. The number of students pursuing math, science, and 
engineering is declining. The demand for the jobs is increasing. Should 
this trend continue, American businesses are projected to need an 
estimated 800,000 workers with advanced STEM degrees by 2018, about 4 
years away, but will only find 550,000 American graduates with those 
degrees they need.
  How do we solve this problem and prepare America for the future? 
First and foremost, we need to do more to prepare Americans for careers 
in STEM fields. This will take time, but our efforts to improve STEM 
will yield positive results across the economy, even for those without 
STEM skills.
  Second, as we work to equip Americans with the skills for the 21st 
century economy, we also need to create a pathway for highly educated 
foreign students to stay in America where their ideas and talents can 
fuel economic growth.
  Startup 3.0, the legislation Senator Warner and I have introduced, 
addresses this immediate need by creating STEM visas. Foreign students 
who graduate from an American university with a master's or a Ph.D. in 
science, technology, engineering, or mathematics would be granted 
conditional status contingent upon them filling a needed gap in the 
U.S. workforce. By working for 5 consecutive years in a STEM field, the 
immigrant would be granted a green card with the option of becoming an 
American citizen.
  The immigration bill we will soon consider attempts to address the 
immediate needs for more qualified STEM workers and the longer term 
need for Americans to develop the skills needed to fill those jobs. I 
am hopeful these aspects of this bill will be strengthened in order to 
provide growing American businesses with the skilled employees they 
need now and in the future. If growing American companies are unable to 
hire qualified workers they need, these businesses will open locations 
  I was in Silicon Valley last year, and executives at Facebook told me 
they were ready to hire close to 80 foreign-born but United States-
educated individuals, when their visas were denied. Rather than forgo 
hiring these skilled workers, the company hired them anyway, but they 
placed them in a location in Dublin, Ireland, instead of the United 
States. Facebook was ultimately able to get the visas for these workers 
after training them in Ireland.
  All too often companies end up housing these jobs permanently 
overseas. When this happens, it is not only those specific jobs we lose 
but also the many supporting jobs and economic activity associated with 
them. Even more damaging, more damning to me than the loss of those 
highly skilled workers who are now working in some other country, the 
end result is that someone among that group will start another company 
such as Google, be an entrepreneur, and start another company that 
creates jobs, but not in the United States--in Canada or in Dublin, 
Ireland. The United States loses both employment today and an 
opportunity for American jobs to be created in the future because our 
immigration policies failed to help our country retain highly educated 
and skilled individuals.
  To me, this story and many others like it illustrate the importance 
of getting the policy right. Creating workable ways to retain highly 
skilled, American-educated workers and entrepreneurs is about creating 
jobs for Americans and growing our Nation's economy.
  The United States is in a global battle for talent. If we fail to 
improve our immigration system, one that currently tells these 
entrepreneurs and highly skilled individuals we don't want you, they 
will take their intellect and skills to another country and create jobs 
and opportunities there.

  Some of my colleagues may think I am exaggerating what is at stake, 
but this week Canada's Immigration Minister was in Silicon Valley 
recruiting entrepreneurs and promoting Canada's new startup visas. They 
have billboards in California encouraging those STEM-educated 
individuals to move to Canada where they have an immigration policy 
beneficial to them and their jobs. This Minister's message was simple: 
The United States immigration system is broken, so bring your startups 
to Canada, where we will get you permanent residency and the 
opportunity to build your business. Canada put up billboards along 
Highway 101 between Silicon Valley and San Francisco enticing 
entrepreneurs to ``pivot to Canada.''
  In fact, six other countries besides Canada in the short time I have 
been a Member of the Senate have changed their laws and policies to 
encourage these individuals to find jobs and create businesses in their 
countries. We have done nothing. For the sake of our country and the 
millions of Americans looking for work, we cannot afford to lose 
talented entrepreneurs.
  As the Senate begins debate of the immigration bill in the near 
future, I encourage my colleagues to keep in mind the other 11 million, 
those 11.7 million American workers who are looking for work and the 
many others who have become so discouraged they have given up.
  The United States is the birthplace and home of the American dream. 
For years our country has been seen as the land of opportunity for 
innovators and entrepreneurs. We must do everything possible to make 
certain that remains true in the face of growing competition. When the 
immigration bill comes to the Senate floor, I will offer amendments to 
improve the bill and encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting 
commonsense changes that will allow the United States to win the global 
battle for talent. Doing so will make certain that immigrant 
entrepreneurs have a home in the United States. In their pursuit of the 
American dream, they will create jobs for Americans and strengthen the 
American economy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.

                           Amendment No. 965

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President I call up amendment No. 965 and ask for 
its immediate consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Vermont [Mr. Sanders], for himself and Mr. 
     Begich, proposes an amendment numbered 965.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to setting aside the 
pending amendment?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SANDERS. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other 
  edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the 
    food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically 
                         engineered ingredient)

       On page 1150, after line 15, add the following:

                   ENGINEERED FOOD ACT.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the 
     ``Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food 
       (b) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) surveys of the American public consistently show that 
     90 percent or more of the people of the United States want 
     genetically engineered to be labeled as such;
       (2) a landmark public health study in Canada found that--

[[Page S3750]]

       (A) 93 percent of pregnant women had detectable toxins from 
     genetically engineered foods in their blood; and
       (B) 80 percent of the babies of those women had detectable 
     toxins in their umbilical cords;
       (3) the tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United 
     States clearly reserves powers in the system of Federalism to 
     the States or to the people; and
       (4) States have the authority to require the labeling of 
     foods produced through genetic engineering or derived from 
     organisms that have been genetically engineered.
       (c) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Genetic engineering.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``genetic engineering'' means a 
     process that alters an organism at the molecular or cellular 
     level by means that are not possible under natural conditions 
     or processes.
       (B) Inclusions.--The term ``genetic engineering'' 
       (i) recombinant DNA and RNA techniques;
       (ii) cell fusion;
       (iii) microencapsulation;
       (iv) macroencapsulation;
       (v) gene deletion and doubling;
       (vi) introduction of a foreign gene; and
       (vii) changing the position of genes.
       (C) Exclusions.--The term ``genetic engineering'' does not 
     include any modification to an organism that consists 
     exclusively of--
       (i) breeding;
       (ii) conjugation;
       (iii) fermentation;
       (iv) hybridization;
       (v) in vitro fertilization; or
       (vi) tissue culture.
       (2) Genetically engineered ingredient.--The term 
     ``genetically engineered ingredient'' means any ingredient in 
     any food, beverage, or other edible product that--
       (A) is, or is derived from, an organism that is produced 
     through the intentional use of genetic engineering; or
       (B) is, or is derived from, the progeny of intended sexual 
     reproduction, asexual reproduction, or both of 1 or more 
     organisms described in subparagraph (A).
       (d) Right to Know.--Notwithstanding any other Federal law 
     (including regulations), a State may require that any food, 
     beverage, or other edible product offered for sale in that 
     State have a label on the container or package of the food, 
     beverage, or other edible product, indicating that the food, 
     beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically 
     engineered ingredient.
       (e) Regulations.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs and 
     the Secretary of Agriculture shall promulgate such 
     regulations as are necessary to carry out this section.
       (f) Report.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in 
     consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall submit 
     a report to Congress detailing the percentage of food and 
     beverages sold in the United States that contain genetically 
     engineered ingredients.

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I will be very brief, as I spoke on this 
issue before. Here is the story, using my own State of Vermont as an 
example, but it exists all over the country. This year the Vermont 
House of Representatives passed a bill by a vote of 99 to 42 requiring 
that genetically engineered food be labeled.
  Yesterday, as I understand it, the Connecticut State Senate, by an 
overwhelming vote of 35 to 1, also passed legislation to require 
labeling of genetically engineered food. In California this issue was 
on the ballot. Monsanto and the other biotech companies spent something 
like $47 million against the right of people of California to have 
labeling on GMO products, and they won. The people who support labeling 
got 47 percent of the vote despite a huge amount of money being spent 
against them.
  In the State of Washington, over 300,000 people have signed petitions 
in support of an initiative there to label genetically engineered food 
in that State.
  A poll done earlier this year indicated that some 82 percent of the 
American people believe labeling should take place with regard to 
genetically engineered ingredients.
  This is a pretty simple issue, and the issue is do the American 
people have a right to know what they are eating, what is in the food 
they are ingesting and what their kids are eating.
  The problem is that a number of States, including Vermont, have gone 
forward on this issue. They have been met with large biotech companies 
like Monsanto who say if you go forward, we are going to sue you. And 
it will be a very costly lawsuit, because we do not believe you have 
the right as a State to go forward in this direction because you are 
preempting a Federal prerogative.
  I happen not to believe that is correct. What this amendment does is 
very simple. It basically says States that choose to go forward on this 
issue do have the right. It is not condemning GMOs or anything else. It 
is simply saying that States have the right to go forward.
  There have been some arguments against this amendment, and let me 
briefly touch on them. Genetically engineered food labels will not 
increase costs to shoppers, as we all know. Companies change their 
labels every day. They market their products differently. Adding a 
label does not change this. Everybody looks at labels. They change all 
the time. This would simply be an addition, new information on that 
label. In fact, many products already voluntarily label their food as 
  Further, genetically engineered crops are not better for the 
environment. Some will say, well, this is good for the environment. The 
use of Monsanto Roundup-ready soybeans engineered to withstand exposure 
to the herbicide Roundup has caused the spread of Roundup-resistant 
weeds which now infest 22 States, 10 million acres in 22 States, with 
predictions for 40 million acres or more by mid-decade. Resistant weeds 
increase the use of herbicides and the use of older and more toxic 
  Further, there are no international agreements that permit the 
mandatory identification of foods produced through genetic engineering.
  As I mentioned earlier, throughout Europe and in dozens of other 
countries around the world, this exists. It is not a very radical 
concept. It exists throughout the European Union and I believe, very 
simply, that States in this country should be able to go forward in 
labeling genetically modified foods if they want, and this amendment 
simply makes it clear they have the right to do that.
  I look forward to the support of my colleagues with that amendment.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Let me say, for purposes of the Members, now that we 
have completed our official voting for today, I want to thank everyone 
for all of their hard work and the staff for all of their hard work. It 
is a continuing pleasure to work with my ranking member Senator 
Cochran. We are in the process of securing a time for a vote, hopefully 
in the morning, and then we have a number of votes tomorrow.

  We are on a path to getting this done. With the cooperation of the 
Members, we are hopeful we will have a number of votes tomorrow and be 
able to complete this very important bill.
  I would just remind colleagues that 16 million people work in this 
country because of agriculture. It is probably the biggest jobs bill 
that will come before this body, and we are very grateful for 
everyone's patience and willingness to work with us to bring this bill 
to completion.
  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. MURPHY. 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. MURPHY. Mr. President, I would like to thank the chairwoman of 
the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry for her great 
work in bringing a bill to the floor today that does a lot of justice 
for families in Connecticut and across the country who are fighting 
every single day to put food on the table for their loved ones.
  The fact is, although people have an impression that our State is a 
wealthy one, we have a handful of the poorest cities in the country, 
and we have tens of thousands of people who have been ravaged by this 
economy. These nutrition programs funded in the underlying bill are an 
absolute lifeline for families who have been, largely temporarily, hit 
straight across the brow by this devastating recession.
  In Connecticut, though, for some people who don't know our State, it 
is hard to imagine that 11 percent of the population is today receiving 
SNAP benefits. One out of every ten people--one out of every ten 
families in Connecticut--right now relies on food stamps to either pay 
for their food in whole or in part. That is over 400,000 people in 

[[Page S3751]]

  These are people such as the 87-year-old retiree from Southbury, CT, 
who lives in a small, very reasonable condo. She lives on about $1,100 
a month. She has gone through a $100,000 home equity line of credit, 
but her condo fees and her electric bill--because she lives in a little 
condo that is heated by electricity alone--basically eat up the 
entirety of her budget. She couldn't eat without foods stamps. She 
couldn't eat without these benefits. They keep her alive, as they do 
for millions of seniors all across this country.
  On the other end of the age spectrum is another Southbury resident. 
Southbury, frankly--Connecticut, in general--doesn't have a reputation 
as being a town in need, but they have hundreds of SNAP recipients, 
just as in every town across Connecticut. Mrs. Smith is an unemployed 
mother. She made a six-figure salary for decades. When her husband 
became disabled, she was the sole breadwinner for her family. The 
recession hit her, just as it has hit hundreds of thousands of others 
across the country, and she lost her job. It is now the $300 she gets 
per month in SNAP benefits that allows her to feed her kids.
  She is out there doing everything we ask. She is looking for a job. 
She is trying to get back to work, but she has lost her unemployment 
benefits. They have been exhausted, and now she needs this money in 
order to live.
  The fact is 61 percent of all SNAP participants are families with 
children, and 33 percent of all SNAP recipients are families with 
elderly or disabled members in their families. These are the most 
vulnerable in our country, and they need a strong SNAP program in this 
  I am one of a handful of Senators who cast a vote yesterday to add 
some money back, but the fact is the real comparison is not the 
difference between the underlying bill and that amendment. The real 
comparison is between the bill we are debating now and the budget 
pending before the House of Representatives today.
  The House Republican budget would absolutely devastate, eviscerate, 
obliterate the Food Stamp Program--basically rescinding this Nation's 
longstanding commitment to making sure kids have enough to eat when 
their families are out of work or have hit hard times.
  One of the reasons Republicans in the House in particular have come 
so hard, so consistently against foods stamps is because they 
categorize it as an overly generous handout to people who don't need 
it. Well, this week I am testing that theory. This week, because we are 
debating this bill on the floor of the Senate, I decided to see what it 
would be like to live on the average food stamp benefit for people in 
my State of Connecticut.
  That average benefit in Connecticut is about $4.80 a day. I am 
finding out--now 3 days into this--even on this budget for just a week, 
it is pretty hard to eat enough to just not be hungry, never mind 
eating healthy foods. I went to the grocery store to buy some fruit and 
vegetables for the week and could barely find anything that fit within 
that budget. I was able to buy some bananas for 69 cents a pound. I 
wanted to get some peanut butter, but the only kind of peanut butter I 
could get was the kind loaded with preservatives because the stuff that 
is better for you costs a lot more.
  Over and over again, people who are right now on food stamps are 
going hungry, never mind the kind of hunger they would be confronted 
with if we further cut this program. They have to make choices every 
day when feeding their kids: Do I give them enough calories so they 
will go without hunger pains for the day or do I try to get them a 
smaller amount of food that is maybe a bit better for them? That is 
what these families have to think about every single day.
  I am not suggesting doing this budget for a week allows me to walk 
more than a few steps in their shoes, but it is an education on how 
little one gets out of this benefit today, and it is a caution for this 
body to stand up to the House of Representatives, if the farm bill gets 
to conference, to make sure these cuts don't get any worse.
  The stories of the senior citizen and the unemployed mother in 
Southbury, CT, are two of millions of stories all across this country. 
These are people who have paid their dues, who are playing by the 
rules, but who just need a little help from us in a bad economy. By no 
means is this program an overly luxurious handout.
  Let me tell you, from a very brief anecdotal experience, it is pretty 
hard to go without hunger on $4.80 a day, never mind trying to provide 
a healthy meal for your kids.
  I just wanted to come to the floor this evening and applaud the 
efforts of our colleagues who are trying to push through a bill that 
will get to conference so we can be in a strong position to defend the 
nutrition titles of this bill which are keeping people--kids, the 
disabled, and the elderly--alive today.
  There are those of us who would have liked to have seen even more 
support in this bill for nutrition programs. We failed in that attempt 
earlier this week, but we are united in the fact that a farm bill that 
comes out of the House and the Senate and goes to the President's desk 
has to keep the promise we have made to generations of kids across this 
country--we are going to make sure you have enough to eat.
  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.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that on 
Thursday, May 23, following the cloture vote on the Srinivasan 
nomination, and notwithstanding cloture having been invoked, if 
invoked, the Senate resume legislative session and consideration of S. 
954; further, that the Senate then proceed to vote in relation to the 
pending Sanders amendment No. 965; that there be no second-degree 
amendments to the Sanders amendment prior to the vote; that the 
amendment be subject to a 60-affirmative vote threshold; finally, that 
the time consumed during consideration of S. 954 count postcloture.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I want to discuss my amendment regarding 
the Environmental Protection Agency's release of farmers' information. 
By now, many of my colleagues have heard about the Environmental 
Protection Agency's release of individual personal information to 
environmental activists.
  This should not have happened. The EPA released information on over 
80,000 farmers nationwide, and over 9,000 Iowans. I can't even 
characterize some of these Iowans as livestock producers; many of them 
are simply hobby farmers. There is a person on the list who has 12 
horses; another gentleman on the list has one pig.
  It is downright absurd that EPA would collect this kind of 
information and then hand it over to environmental activists. Given 
what we have seen recently with the egregious actions by the Internal 
Revenue Service, we should all be outraged by the continuing pattern of 
overreach by this administration.
  This whole situation just doesn't pass the commonsense test. We have 
seen acts of eco-terrorism in the past against farmers. Farmers 
shouldn't have to fear their personal information being released to 
groups who may want to use the information to harass or terrorize 
family farmers. This amendment would restrict EPA's ability to release 
such data.
  Since EPA can't put an end to this reckless behavior, then Congress 
needs to step in and fix the problem for EPA. I urge my colleagues to 
support this amendment.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, today I wish to discuss amendment No. 
945, which was accepted by the Senate yesterday via unanimous consent. 
This is an important amendment, and I would like to thank the chairman 
of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow, and the ranking 
member, Senator Cochran, for their willingness to work with me to see 
that this amendment was accepted.
  My amendment will help farmers in Alabama and many other States 
benefit from Federal agricultural irrigation programs. Expanding 
irrigation can help protect against drought and can dramatically 
increase agricultural production, which is why I supported

[[Page S3752]]

the creation of the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, AWEP, 
several years ago.
  AWEP, which receives approximately $60 million annually, is a 
``voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and 
technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement 
agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to 
conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality,'' 
according to the USDA. AWEP assists farmers with the use of upland 
water storage ponds, irrigation system improvements, water quality 
improvement, and other similar efforts. It is a good program. According 
to ALFA--the association representing Alabama's farmers:
  Since 2009, the AWEP Initiative has made available over $3.5 million 
to benefit the local economy. In Alabama, 102 farmers have improved 
efficiency in their irrigation operations which resulted in savings of 
about 875 million gallons of water per year.
  However, USDA currently limits access to AWEP to farms that have been 
irrigated previously a requirement that prevents most Alabama farmers 
from being eligible for this useful program. Farmers are often required 
to show past irrigation records, irrigation water management plan 
documentation, or a map showing farm acres with irrigation history. 
This prior history requirement prevents some worthwhile agricultural 
water enhancement projects from being eligible for AWEP assistance, 
particularly in States where irrigation has not been significantly 
used. According to data in the 2007 USDA Agriculture Census, many farm 
acres throughout the country do not have a history of agricultural 
irrigation. This is especially true in my State. According to ALFA, 
``only about 5% of Alabama's farms have irrigated cropland,'' and this 
prior history requirement ``has prevented the program from being more 
widely utilized'' in Alabama.
  My amendment No. 945, which was accepted, as modified, by unanimous 
agreement in the Senate yesterday, eliminates this unwarranted 
restriction and will help ensure that more farmers are eligible for 
USDA irrigation assistance programs. I thank the chairman and ranking 
member for their work in modifying my amendment to ensure that this 
clarification of law only applies ``in states where irrigation has not 
been used significantly for agricultural purposes, as determined by the 
Secretary.'' As a State with relatively little agricultural irrigation 
in present use, Alabama and other similarly-situated States are clearly 
covered by the relief provided by my amendment.