(Senate - November 06, 2013)

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[Pages S7841-S7846]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. REID. Madam President, I move to proceed to Calendar No. 236, 
H.R. 3204.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to the bill (H.R. 3204) to amend the 
     Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to human 
     drug compounding and drug supply chain security, and for 
     other purposes.

  Mr. REID. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S7842]]

                        Remembering Ike Skelton

  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, last week our Nation lost a true American 
hero. In the last 40 years no member of the Congress has been more 
dedicated to America's defense and those who defend it than my good 
friend and former colleague Ike Skelton.
  Growing up in Lexington, MO, his dream of joining the military like 
his father was cut short when he was diagnosed with polio. A true sign 
of his determination occurred when he overcame this hardship and went 
on to serve his Nation in a way he could never have imagined as a young 
patient at Warm Springs, GA, at a center founded by President Franklin 
Roosevelt and focused on their common challenge of how to overcome 
  Ike served in the Missouri State Senate for 4 years. He was 
encouraged by a family friend, another Missourian named Harry Truman, 
to represent Missouri at the national level. A few years after that 
encouragement he eventually followed President Truman's advice and was 
eventually elected to the House of Representatives, where he started to 
serve in 1977 and continued to fulfill his dream of protecting America.
  As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton 
successfully led an effort that transformed Whiteman Air Force Base to 
house one of the most iconic military aircraft in U.S. history, the B-2 
Bomber. Fort Leonard Wood grew from a training base for the newly 
enlisted to a center for many of our military schools and the Army 
Corps of Engineers. By ensuring military bases remained in Missouri, 
Ike Skelton's legacy continues to protect our Nation's military and 
provide hundreds of jobs in our home State.
  From the time he was a young boy, Congressman Skelton loved our 
country and its history, and now after years of service he has earned 
his own spot in our Nation's history. It was truly a great privilege to 
serve Missouri in the Congress with him and to benefit from his 
friendship and advice.

                              Health Care

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  On page S7842, November 6, 2013, in the first column (in four 
places), the following language appears: . . . 

  The Record has been corrected to read: . . . Skelton

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  On page S7842, November 6, 2013, in the first column, the 
following language appears: . . . Senator Truman}s . . .
  The Record has been corrected to read: . . . President Truman}s 
. . .

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  Madam President, I would like to talk about another topic. I am sure 
it is no surprise to anybody that it has been more than a month now 
since the embarrassing Web site rollout of the President's health care 
plan and it still is not working. The Obama administration has been 
forced to take down the Web site on numerous occasions, and it often 
didn't work at a critical moment when they were trying to explain how 
it was finally beginning to work. While reports have surfaced showing 
that only six people managed to enroll on the first day, the 
administration still refuses to put out any real numbers about how many 
people have actually signed up for coverage.
  I have sponsored a bill demanding that we have more transparency and 
more answers about how $400 million has been spent on an exchange that 
does not work. They had 3\1/2\ years to get ready, interjecting 
ourselves into 16 percent of the economy and everybody's health care 
coverage, and it is still not working. The administration acted 
surprised. President Obama claimed the system was temporarily 
overwhelmed by a large volume of interested shoppers. Another person in 
the administration estimated that there might have been hundreds of 
people online before the Web site crashed. In a time like this, the Web 
site crashing for any reason is really not a very good excuse.
  Prior to the launch, HHS officials insisted that the exchanges were 
on track. They insisted they had been tested. They insisted it was 
working the way it was supposed to work, just as people are now 
insisting the President's health care plan is going to work the way it 
is supposed to work. At recent committee hearings in the House, Marilyn 
Tavenner, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid 
Services, and Secretary Sebelius each testified they were confident 
that these glitches, as they called them, would be improved by the end 
of November. These were the same people who were saying it would work 
on the 1st of October.
  It is long overdue for the President and the administration to level 
with the American people. It is also important to understand that the 
Web site is the easiest thing they are going to be asked to do.
  The President recently said during his White House Rose Garden 
speech: ObamaCare is not just a Web site; it is much more. Well, I 
could not agree more. I will say again that the Web site is the easiest 
problem they will be asked to solve. It should not become a proxy for 
whether this plan should work, and I think most Americans are going to 
figure that out.
  As Senator McConnell said earlier about the Kentuckians he has heard 
from, I heard from all kinds of Missourians who have seen their work 
hours reduced and their health care premiums rise. We know this is not 
good for the workforce. We have seen too many people responding with 
part-time work and trying to keep numbers under 50 so they don't have 
to comply with a law they don't think they have to comply with.
  In 2009 the President famously promised: If you like your health 
plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your 
doctor. He was still saying that in 2012 when he said: If you already 
have health insurance, you can keep your health insurance.

  Unfortunately, that is not the case for the 3.5 million people in the 
individual market who have already received letters saying they are not 
going to be able to keep their health insurance. The Washington Post's 
Fact Checker gave the President four Pinocchios for his repeated pledge 
that you can keep your policy if you like it, and maybe that is because 
five Pinocchios aren't possible and four is all they can give for a 
statement that turns out to not be correct. NBC News reported last week 
that 50 to 75 percent of at least 14 million consumers who buy their 
insurance individually can expect to receive a cancellation notice.
  Now the administration comes up with a response such as, well, this 
only affects 5 percent of the people in the country. If it affects your 
family, it affects 100 percent of the people in your house. And if 5 
percent of the people in the country is 14 million people and whoever 
is insured under their policy, we shouldn't act as though there is no 
consequence at all.
  It is no surprise. They had plenty of time to prepare.
  The Springfield News-Leader, my hometown newspaper, recently reported 
on Becky Supak, who is 63. She suffers from blood clots, and she had 
insurance through the Missouri high-risk pool. One of the things 
Republicans wanted to do, the conservatives wanted to do when this bill 
was passed was figure out a way to expand these high-risk pools. The 
idea that there were no other ideas out there is just wrong. The 
Missouri high-risk pool, as do all the others, will go out of existence 
as of December 31. Becky's insurance has been costing her premiums of 
around $650 a month. She has a preexisting condition. She hadn't had 
insurance before she got into the high-risk pool, but she was in that 
pool and it was serving her needs. Now she has been told her insurance 
will cost her $1,043 a month--a $400 increase on a working salary--and 
that would allow her, she hopes, to keep the same doctors she has now.
  One of my constituents said his wife, who had a preexisting 
condition, will lose her policy the same way. Thanks to what is 
happening here, they don't know whether they can get more coverage. 
They are going to have to close the high-risk pool, look for coverage 
other places, and it is almost certain that coverage is going to be 
higher than they had and almost certain to have less coverage than they 
  Greg, a pastor from Poplar Bluff, MO, said he received a letter from 
his health care provider of over 10 years announcing it will no longer 
be his health care provider as of January 2014. He was happy with his 
old insurance. He is now forced to find another plan. He wants to know 
why they canceled, but the only explanation he can get is the machine 
that says that due to health care regulations, they are being forced to 
drop some of their older clients.
  Sara of Hannibal, MO, comes from a family of quintessential small 
business owners. If their business had been affected, their choice 
would have been to close the business. Sara recently received a letter 
stating that after this year her current choice of policies won't be 
  So it turns out that it is actually only if the White House likes 

[[Page S7843]]

plan, you get to keep your plan. This idea that you should ``just shop 
around,'' the idea that it is going to be less expensive, doesn't work.
  This morning the Wall Street Journal talked about States that are 
beginning to tell insurance companies: No, you really need to offer 
these policies for at least another 3 months. And in California, if 
their insurance commissioner is right, 3 months of additional offering 
of the 115,000 policies that have already been canceled would mean 
those policyholders could save as much as $28.6 million in 3 months. So 
whoever thinks these costs are going to go down, apparently the 
insurance commissioner in California says costs for these people are 
going to go up annually by over $100 million. Maybe that is why we are 
going to find out a lot more once the Web site starts working.
  In Missouri and in all States, we are seeing more Americans receiving 
cancellation letters announcing their dropped coverage. Some people 
will also be forced to pay higher premiums. I think we are going to 
find that most people will be forced to pay higher premiums.
  Now is the time to work together. Now would be the time to start over 
and come up with good plans to make the best health care system in the 
world work better. As my colleague from New Hampshire--a Senator and a 
mom--Senator Ayotte has said as maybe only a mom can say it, it is time 
for a time-out for ObamaCare.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.


  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, there is no shortage of reasons why I 
am proud to represent my home State of Washington. Our State is an 
economic leader. We are home to the American aerospace industry and a 
thriving agricultural sector. Dozens of companies create new products 
and new jobs with cutting-edge technology. We are a leader in 
protecting the environment and educating our children. Washington State 
is a place tens of thousands of servicemembers and veterans call home. 
I am here today because I wish to speak about another way Washington 
State has set an example for the entire country; that is, our State's 
proud history of protecting the rights of all of our citizens, 
including members of the LGBT community.
  In 2006 Washington State passed one of our country's strongest 
antidiscrimination laws--one that serves as a model for the Federal 
legislation we are considering here today. In 2007 and 2008 we passed 
additional legislation to further protect the rights of same-sex 
couples, and 1 year ago today our State voted proudly to uphold 
landmark marriage-equality legislation. What we have to show for it is 
really two results. First, we have a thriving LGBT community made up of 
individuals and families who can feel safe and respected and valued as 
does anyone else. Second, we have a growing economy that is anchored by 
businesses that respect their employees and judge them by only that 
which matters: their hard work and ability.
  I rise today to simply ask my colleagues who don't yet support this 
legislation to take a look at my home State of Washington because in 
places such as Seattle and Spokane, we are proving every day that 
protecting the rights of our LGBT friends and neighbors isn't just the 
right thing to do; it works and it makes our country stronger.
  Some of my colleagues have said that extending employment protections 
for our LGBT friends and family members is too hard. Some of them said 
it will create problems for businesses and communities. Well, I invite 
them to come to Seattle and ask businesses there whether it has been 
problematic to respect their employees' rights. I would invite them to 
visit Amazon or Starbucks or Nordstrom or Microsoft--just a few of our 
State's successful businesses that have taken the lead in protecting 
the rights of their LGBT employees. We know in Washington State that it 
is wrong to discriminate against people. We know that a person's race 
or religion or gender has nothing to do with their ability in the 
workplace, and we know that sexual orientation and gender identity 
don't either.
  Most all of our constituents--four out of five Americans--falsely 
believe LGBT Americans already have the protections included in this 
bill, and most people believe that because denying Americans their 
rights doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense that some men and 
women can be fired from their jobs just because of who they are or whom 
they love. We know it is not fair in my home State of Washington, but 
people in every State--from Virginia and Mississippi to Arizona and 
Idaho--know the same.
  Many of my colleagues have cited these statistics, but they are worth 
repeating. Two-thirds of all Americans, including a majority of 
Republicans, believe in protecting LGBT citizens from employment 
discrimination. Despite that, more than half our country lives in 
States in which their rights are not protected. I am proud my State 
does protect those rights, but we can't stop working until the same is 
true in all 50 States. So for any of my colleagues who still aren't 
convinced that LGBT Americans deserve the same rights as all of us, my 
invitation to visit Washington State stands because it is not enough 
that my constituents are free from discrimination, their constituents 
deserve the same.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KING. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Basic Functions Of Government

  Mr. KING. Madam President, I rise this morning in high hopes but with 
deep concern. The high hopes are that a budget conference at long last 
is taking place, that representatives of the Senate and the House are 
meeting together--met last week and I know have been meeting informally 
this week--in order to try to achieve, finally, a budget for this 
fiscal year. My concern is that it has been so hard to get here, it has 
been so difficult, and that we are now in a process where we do not 
seem to be able to function.
  I am worried about the country. I am worried about whether we are 
going to be able to address our problems. This is not a speech about 
subject matter. It is not about global climate change or employment or 
the minimum wage or health care, but it is about whether this 
institution can function in order to confront any of those problems.
  When I was a young man, there was a famous book. It was kind of a 
cult favorite called ``Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.'' 
Sometimes I feel as though that is where we are here. This institution 
has been so compromised in its ability to function that it has become 
the norm and people have low expectations, even people who are here.
  I remember being on the floor a few months ago when one of the 
Senators stood up and said: This amendment should be subject to the 
normal 60-vote requirement, and my head snapped back because there is 
no such thing as a normal 60-vote requirement. For 200 years, we did 
not function with a normal 60-vote requirement. That has become a 
rather new innovation. I am not going to talk about the filibuster or 
the 60-vote requirement, but the idea that this Senator asserted it was 
normal indicates a change in attitude about the way this place 
  Another example is that, to my knowledge, the conference committees 
that are going on now on the budget and on the farm bill, I believe, 
are the first two conference committees convened in this entire year. I 
worked here as a staff member 40 years ago and remember going to 
conference committees rather frequently--walking through the Capitol 
with my boss and going to the meetings and seeing the Senators and the 
Congressmen sit down and argue and disagree and agree and compromise 
and reach settlements on legislation on a fairly regular basis.
  It is cause for celebration. It took a government shutdown, in 
effect, to produce a simple conference committee. Statistically, I am 
told this is the least productive Congress in American history thus 
far--no budget in 4 years. A budget is the basic function of any 
government. I understand there has been 1 appropriations bill out of 48

[[Page S7844]]

in the last several years. The result has been a complete and total 
loss of confidence from the public.
  That has significance. That is important because in our economy 
confidence is the mainspring. This is not an academic concern. I am not 
giving a lecture about civics. The lack of functionality of this 
institution is damaging the country. For example, we know from studies 
that just the shutdown cost our economy $24 billion, for no purpose 
that I could discern. But there is an untold broader cost.
  The reality is that two-thirds of the American economy is driven by 
consumer spending. Consumer spending is driven by confidence, by the 
millions of individual decisions that people make in their daily lives, 
based on how they feel about their future, how they feel about their 
country, how they feel about their personal situation.
  Part of that is whether they feel they have representatives in 
Washington who are representing their interests and, in fact, are 
capable of serving the needs of the country. Ironically, this lack of 
confidence that is generated by events such as the shutdown harms the 
economy and therefore makes the deficit worse. The very best way to 
solve the deficit problem is not necessarily taxes or cuts, it is 
growth in the economy. If the economy grows, the deficit shrinks. That 
was part of what happened in the late nineties, the last time we had a 
budget surplus, because the economy was roaring along.
  It is also about national security. I was provoked to come to the 
floor by reading a speech made recently by Robert Gates, one of our 
most distinguished public servants, the former Secretary of Defense. He 
talked about the defense posture of the country and the national 
security situation. Here is what he said toward the end of his speech:

       Let me close with a word about what I now regard to be the 
     biggest threat to national security--

  The biggest threat to U.S. national security.

     the political dysfunction within the two square miles of 
     Washington, D.C. encompassing the White House and Capitol 

  Those are strong words. He is not talking about Al Qaeda. He is not 
talking about a resurgent China. He is not talking about a world threat 
of terrorism. He is talking about us as the greatest threat to U.S. 
national security. He went on to say:

       American politics has always been shrill and ugly business 
     going back to the Founding Fathers. But as a result of 
     several polarizing trends we now have lost the ability to 
     execute even the basic functions of government, much less 
     solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing this 

  Basic functions of government: passing a budget, operating the 
government itself, paying our bills--the basic functions of government. 
Secretary Gates said:

       Looking ahead, it is unrealistic to expect partisanship to 
     disappear or even dissipate. But when push comes to shove, 
     when the future of our country is at stake, ideological zeal 
     and short-term political calculation on the part of both 
     Republicans and Democrats must yield to patriotism and the 
     long-term national interest.

  This lack of functionality, this chaos, if you will, also affects us 
internationally. Tom Friedman, this weekend, had a column. I thought 
the title was rather provocative. It was, ``Calling America: Hello? 
Hello? Hello?''
  ``Few Americans,'' Friedman says, ``are aware of how much America has 
lost in this recent episode of bringing the American economy to the 
edge of a cliff. . . . ''
  People always looked up to America. He quotes a citizen of Singapore.

       People always looked up to America as the best-run country, 
     the most reasonable, the most sensible. And now people are 
     asking: ``Can America manage itself and what are the 
     implications. . . . '' [for the rest of the world]?

  Our Constitution has always been based upon two somewhat competing 
principles in tension with each other. One is the fundamental purpose 
of the Constitution, which is to create an effective government. The 
Constitution was not what ran this country immediately after the 
American Revolution. We experimented with something called the Articles 
of Confederation. It did not work. The chaos and the economic problems 
of that period is what led the Framers to draft the Constitution in 
that blessed summer of 1787.
  But the one principle in the Constitution is right in the preamble: 
To form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, to provide for the 
common defense, to ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general 
welfare. That is government.
  At the same time, the Framers were concerned about the ancient 
question of who will guard the guardians; how do we control the 
government we just created in order to protect ourselves from its own 
  They built this elaborate system of checks and balances. They had 
never heard of Rube Goldberg in 1787. But if they had, that is what 
they did. They created an elaborate, cumbersome, slow system. They 
wanted it to be that way in order to curb the excesses of the 
government they had created. They wanted it to be slow and cumbersome. 
They succeeded beyond their wildest imagination.
  Those two principles, governing and checks and balances, as I say, 
are in tension in the Constitution. The problem is, we seem to have 
reached a moment in time where the governing part has been taken away 
and all we have left are checks and balances. We have a system that is 
ridiculously easy to monkey wrench if you do not have the basic 
commitment to governing. That is the problem we face today.
  So what do we do? We have to do something. That brings me back to 
where I began at the budget conference. This budget conference is very 
important. This is not one of many conferences that are going on. This 
is a--I do not want to say a last chance, but it is one of our last 
chances to show the American people we can govern. It is almost less 
important what is in the deal than that there be a deal, that the 
parties show they can come together, that they can solve a problem.

  Just the fact of the headline, ``Congress passes a budget which the 
President signs'' would electrify the country. It would be the most 
positive thing we could possibly do for the economy. By the same token, 
a headline that says, ``Congress once more fails to act'' will be one 
more weight on the future of the country, one more stone in the pile of 
evidence that we can no longer function; that this system which has 
served us so well for so long can no longer serve us as it must.
  What do we do to get there? As I say, we do something. I hope and 
pray and urge and support the chair of the Budget Committee, the House 
chair of the Budget Committee, the members of that conference to try to 
find solutions that will not make everybody happy, by definition, but 
at least will show we are able to do the most basic function of 
  How do we get there? We listen. We have a company in Maine that has a 
sign on the wall that I think we ought to put in this room. It says: 
All of us are always smarter than any of us. The wisdom of the group--
there is tremendous experience and wisdom in this institution if we can 
bring that to bear, but it does not work if people are not listening. 
If people say: I know the answer, I have all the results, I do not need 
to listen, I do not have anything to learn, we will never get there if 
that is the idea.
  When people say to you: I am not going to compromise, what they are 
saying is: I have all the answers. I am entirely right.
  I have never known anyone that was entirely right. So we need to 
listen. Yes, we need to compromise. We need to remind ourselves of the 
pretty simple oath we take. The oath that we take when we come into 
this place is to the Constitution of the United States. It is not to a 
political party. It is not to an ideology. It is not to a particular 
issue, no matter how precious to us or our constituents, it is an oath 
to the Constitution of the United States.
  I hope and pray that if we can hold to that and remind ourselves why 
we are here and the heavy weight of responsibility that we bear, we can 
find solutions, we can solve problems, we can begin to rebuild the 
trust the American people want to have in their government, if we can 
only prove ourselves worthy of it. It is a heavy responsibility. It is 
one, I believe, we can meet and do so with honor and good faith to that 
oath we all took.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.

[[Page S7845]]

  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I see the Senator from the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts is on the floor. I would inquire, through the Chair, 
how long she is seeking to speak. We were about to proceed to the 
consideration of the amendment that has been filed by Senator Portman 
and cosponsored by Senator Ayotte, Senator Heller, and Senator McCain.
  This is a rather complicated parliamentary situation. Then there is 
going to be a debate. If the Senator from Massachusetts is going to 
speak very briefly, I would withhold. If she is going to speak at 
length, then since we have Members on their way, I would proceed.
  Ms. WARREN. I would tell the senior Senator from Maine, my plan had 
been to speak for less than 10 minutes. But if that does not work, I 
certainly will yield to the Senator from Maine and do what she 
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I would ask unanimous consent that the 
Senator from Massachusetts be permitted to speak for no longer than 10 
minutes. If she were a little shorter than that, it would make me very 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Ms. WARREN. Madam President, I wish to thank the Senator from Maine. 
I will do my very best.
  I rise to speak about the importance of passing the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act, a bill I am proud to cosponsor and to support. It 
has taken us far too long to arrive at this day. For nearly 40 years, 
Members of Congress have worked to pass legislation that would protect 
LGBT Americans from discrimination in the workplace.
  Much has changed since Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act of 
1974. Equal marriage is now the law in 14 States--21 States and the 
District of Columbia have enacted laws to protect against employment 
discrimination based on sexual orientation. Sixteen States and the 
District of Columbia also protect against gender identity 
  The Supreme Court has rejected DOMA, a law that legalized 
discrimination against same-sex spouses by calling that law exactly 
what it was: unconstitutional. In the private sector, a majority of 
Fortune 500 companies have adopted policies to protect workers from 
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Polling 
data shows that a majority of small businesses have similar policies in 
  By nearly every measure, we have made progress in a long march toward 
equality. Yet in the face of all of this progress, nearly one-half 
century since Congress first enacted title VII of the Civil Rights Act 
prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, 
sex, and national origin, we still have not extended these basic 
Federal protections to LGBT Americans.
  The failure to treat all our citizens with the same dignity is 
shameful. In America, equal means equal.
  Many have tried hard to reach this day, and our legislators from 
Massachusetts have long been leaders in this fight. Senator Ted Kennedy 
and Congressman Barney Frank both spent decades working on this issue. 
Senator Paul Tsongas from Massachusetts introduced the first Senate 
bill to prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT Americans all 
the way back in 1979.
  Progress has been slow. The last time the full Senate voted on ENDA 
was 1 year ago, when a version of the law championed by Senator Kennedy 
failed to pass by one single vote, 49-50, back in 1996. In 2007, the 
House passed a version of ENDA introduced by Congressman Frank, but the 
bill made no progress in the Senate. Today, there are 55 cosponsors of 
ENDA in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, representing the broad 
majority of support for the bill and signaling the tremendous progress 
that has been made.
  It is all the more shameful that it has taken us this long to arrive 
at this day because Americans believe in equality. According to one 
survey, some 80 percent of Americans believe it is already illegal to 
discriminate against workers based on their sexual orientation, gender, 
or identity. Unfortunately, however, this is one rare instance where 
the American people are giving Congress way too much credit, because 
the truth is we haven't acted yet. The consequences of congressional 
inaction remain all too real for millions of LGBT Americans.
  Despite the successful efforts in many States to pass 
nondiscrimination measures, Americans living in over half the country 
can still be discriminated against in the workplace based on sexual 
orientation or gender identity. It happens. Between 15 and 43 percent 
of LGBT individuals have reported experiencing discrimination or 
harassment in the workplace. A quarter of transgender Americans have 
reported being fired from a job due to their gender identity, and a 
whopping 90 percent have reported experiencing harassment and 
mistreatment. There has been a lot of progress toward a more inclusive 
nation, but for LGBT workers a law to stop employment discrimination 
can't come fast enough.
  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act pending in the Senate will 
protect LGBT individuals in the workplace, update the law to reflect 
what the vast majority of Americans already believe to be the law, and 
help fulfill our constitutional responsibility to protect equality in 
our Nation. ENDA doesn't provide any special rights to any particular 
group of Americans. It does not compel any religious organization to 
change its views. It just creates a level playing field for LGBT 
workers. It makes sure all workers are judged by the work they do, not 
by who they are or who they love.
  America is ready for this day. An overwhelming majority of voters, 
both Democrats and Republicans, support the enactment of this law. They 
know it reflects the values of our Nation.
  America's businesses are ready too. Recent polling shows that a large 
majority of small businesses support the Employment Non-Discrimination 
Act. As for big businesses, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have 
already implemented policies prohibiting discrimination against gays 
and lesbians in the workplace.
  Raytheon, one of the Nation's top defense contractors and a proud 
Massachusetts-based company, bars LGBT discrimination. One executive at 
Raytheon is quoted as saying the organization's ``culture of inclusion 
absolutely gives us a recruiting edge'' when it comes to hiring the 
best and the brightest.
  Shortly before his death in March 2009, Senator Kennedy joined with 
Senators Merkley, Collins, and Snowe in what would be his final attempt 
to push this bipartisan legislation over the finish line. At the time 
Senator Kennedy eloquently explained his continuing support for ENDA by 
noting that ``the promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as 
justice is denied to even one among us.''
  Those words were true in 1974 when Bella Abzug introduced the 
Equality Act. Those words were true when the Senate came within one 
vote of passing ENDA in 1996, those words were true when Senator 
Kennedy offered them in 2009, and those words are true today. The 
promise of America will never be fulfilled so long as justice is denied 
to even one among us.
  We deal with a lot of different kinds of legislation in the Senate. 
This week we have a chance to vote on a law that is a measure of who we 
are as a people and what kind of a world we want to build. I believe in 
a world where equal means equal, and that is why I will be voting to 
outlaw employment discrimination against my neighbors and my friends.
  Senator Kennedy, Senator Tsongas, and Congresswoman Abzug are no 
longer with us, but, as so many others, they fought hard to get us 
here--to get us one step closer to equality for all of us. It has taken 
us far too long to arrive at this day, but we are here now, and we are 
not going back.
  I thank the Senator from Maine for giving me this time.
  Ms. COLLINS. 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. COLLINS. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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