OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 154
(Senate - December 15, 2014)

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[Pages S6860-S6863]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                      OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, I wish to clarify my understanding of 
the following report language included with H.R. 83, the Omnibus 
Appropriations Act:

       The Secretary is directed to operate the marketing 
     assistance loan program in a way that encourages redemption 
     and minimizes forfeitures of loan commodities to the Federal 
     government, and enables the orderly marketing of loan 
     commodities throughout the year. Further, the Secretary shall 
     ensure that the marketing assistance loan program remains a 
     viable tool for all producers to use in marketing loan 
     commodities freely and competitively.

  The Senate Agriculture Committee has confirmed this language simply 
intends to encourage USDA to better inform farmers of the status of any 
marketing loan gains they may receive during a marketing year for 
eligible commodities.
  Furthermore, it was also conveyed by minority staff of the Senate 
Agriculture Committee that the referenced language in no way seeks to 
change implementation or enforcement of Section 1603 of the 
Agricultural Act of 2014.
 Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, I wish to thank Chair Mikulski for 
her tireless work in keeping our government open for another year. I 
understand Chair Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby have worked hard on 
this bill.
  In the big picture, this bill continues to honor our commitment to 
our veterans by allowing advance funding for Veterans Administration 
accounts so they are locked in a year in advance, ending uncertainty. 
This bill also provides desperately needed funds to respond to and 
prepare for Ebola at its epicenter. This bill keeps faith with the 
American people who dream of a better life by increasing Pell Grants 
and making college more affordable. It creates jobs by strengthening 
our infrastructure, building roads and bridges, to keep the economy 
moving, and helps develop our economy by investing in research in 
agriculture, health, and geosciences, among other areas.
  I am glad that the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program 
was fully funded at $40 million. The program is one of the successes in 
collaboration and forest management and deserves strong support. The 
Land and Water Conservation Fund--LWCF--also received sustained funding 
at the same level as last year. Although this is only one-third of the 
total authorized for LWCF, I am pleased that the program received 
consistent funding and I remain hopeful that we will fully fund this 
program in the future. I am also glad that the National Park Service 
received $10 million for the Centennial Challenge. As the National Park 
Service moves into celebrating its centennial, it is so important that 
our parks receive the care and attention they need.
  However, I also have to voice my disappointment over a number of 
provisions included in H.R. 83, as well as several provisions that were 
blocked from inclusion in H.R. 83. Keeping the government running is 
imperative but it should not come at the cost of stripping the rights 
of voters, further chipping away at what is left of our eroding 
campaign finance laws, and rolling back Dodd-Frank protections meant to 
reduce taxpayer risk from ``too-big-to-fail'' entities, just to name a 
few of the objectionable provisions in this bill.
  One such provision greatly expands donations to the Republican and 
Democratic parties by allowing a tenfold increase in the maximum amount 
that donors may contribute to their political party's various national 
committees in one election cycle. The donation amounts skyrocket from 
$32,400 to $324,000 per year and ultimately up to a total contribution 
of $1.5 million to a party per each 2-year election cycle. At a time 
when more and more Americans are convinced our political system is 
rigged toward the rich, this provision only confirms that view.
  This bill also contains a provision that will put taxpayers back on 
the hook for big banks by rolling back the regulatory protections that 
Congress put into place in response to the financial crisis that 
devastated our economy in 2008. With the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress 
sought to ensure that high-stakes gambling on Wall Street by reckless 
risk takers would not threaten the livelihood of the American taxpayer. 
As part of this effort, Dodd-Frank included a provision known as the 
``swaps push out'' which requires Federally insured banks to separate 
out their riskiest activities into subsidiaries. This way, the risky 
trading activities that contributed to the meltdown would be separated 
from the insured banking entity and ensure that banks--not taxpayers--
would be responsible if risky trades fail. Today, this spending bill 
repeals that provision and once again potentially leaves the taxpayer 
on the hook for Wall Street gambling gone wrong.
  I am particularly dismayed that last-minute partisan maneuvering has 
left America's rural counties in the dust. Two funds that are lifelines 
for cash-strapped rural counties and school districts struggling to 
fund basic education, road improvements, law enforcement, and other 
public services were hurt by this bill. First, House Republican 
Leadership blocked repeated efforts to include the Secure Rural 
Schools--SRS--funding program, though it came with offset funding. 
Instead, they split it from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program--
PILT--funded PILT, and left SRS behind. This is a problem for two 
distinct reasons. First, PILT is a laudable program for rural counties 
around the country who host our public lands. But so is SRS, which 
funds education, roads and critical services in more than 700 counties 
across the country, and these counties will now be forced to lay off 
teachers, close libraries and jails, and lay off sheriffs. Second, 
PILT's formula is connected with SRS funding levels, in fact, and while 
this bill includes funding for PILT, in the absence of Secure Rural 
Schools, the funding level for PILT provided in this bill actually 
reduces PILT payments as compared to last year. We have seen this movie 
before and it never ends well--a last-minute scheme worked out largely 
in private to solve a complex problem without the full and public 
consideration of Congress--leads to mistakes. This is one of those 
mistakes that will reverberate across rural America. I am disappointed 
this mistake was not averted simply by providing SRS funding.
  Speaking of hampering rural America, there is another provision 
missing that would help the rural West and one missing that would help 
the rural West were it included. This package fails to include the 
Wildfire Disaster Funding Act--a bill I introduced with my colleague 
Senator Crapo and 17 additional bipartisan cosponsors, and which was 
also a strong bipartisan measure in the House. This legislation would 
have solved the problem of paying for the ever-increasing costs of 
fighting wildland fires without decimating the agencies' core budgets, 
where they get the money to pay for their essential work--including the 
forest restoration work that can help us get ahead of these infernos. 
Our commonsense solution would have paid for these natural disasters 
like other natural disasters are paid for, instead of cannibalizing the 
agencies' budgets.
  In addition, this bill interferes with the work that private 
landowners are

[[Page S6861]]

doing for sage grouse restoration. This bill blocks the administration 
from complying with its Endangered Species Act obligations--and its 
deadline in a court-approved settlement agreement--by barring any funds 
from being used in efforts to list the sage-grouse under the Endangered 
Species Act. Now, while I join my colleagues and others in wanting to 
see a listing avoided, this kind of blunt force prohibition of 
compliance with legal obligations--one that sends the message that 
these obligations can be ignored when they are deemed inconvenient--is 
very disturbing. In my State, and across the West, numerous parties 
have come together to try to tackle the threats to this species, which 
is just an indicator of threats to an entire ecosystem. I commend these 
great efforts by ranchers, conservationists, Governors and others who 
have come to the table, signed agreements, and worked hard on the 
ground to protect the landscape and avoid a sage-grouse listing. Those 
efforts are the right way to avoid a listing, not through dangerous 
riders as we see in this bill. It is my hope the administration will 
continue to work to manage and improve sage-grouse habitat to avoid 
undermining those efforts.
  On a global scale, this legislation would reverse a policy that takes 
a step toward saving our global climate. The United States has made 
tremendous and continued progress to reduce its greenhouse gas 
emissions as well as transition our electricity sector to cleaner 
energy sources. That progress gets undermined if other nations continue 
to grow their economies based upon high-carbon emitting electricity 
sources such as coal, without also putting in place the technologies to 
clean it up, capture, and store the emissions from those powerplants. 
It only makes sense then that the United States currently has in place 
a policy that it will not use its funds, through the Export-Import Bank 
and through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to build power 
sources overseas that are dirtier than are allowed here at home, and 
that will continue polluting the atmosphere for many decades. A rider 
carried by this legislation up-ends that agreement.
  This bill is flexible in its approaches to environmental 
degradation--it easily transitions from the global, as discussed above, 
to the very local: this legislation bans the Department of Energy--
DOE--from implementing or enforcing light bulb efficiency standards. No 
environmental improvement is too small or too commonsensical to not 
attract an opponent.
  This legislation hampers progress by taking aim at particular 
agencies: it takes aim at environmental protection by going directly 
after the Environmental Protection Agency. At a time when climate 
change is already hurting Americans and holding back the United States 
economy, the omnibus takes aim at the only agency with the authority to 
regulate greenhouse gas emissions, slashing its budget to levels not 
seen since 1989.
  And this bill takes aim at the Internal Revenue Service by cutting 
their budget by another $400 million. That's the lowest level since 
2008. Now, I get it. Some people might think that is a good thing: who 
wants to fund the tax collector? Except that the IRS is responsible for 
more than just cashing checks; it also has to make sure that tax fraud 
is under control, that Americans get their tax refunds in a timely way, 
and that taxpayers can get their questions about their taxes answered, 
again, in a timely way. All of that is hobbled by an insufficient 
budget.
  In addition, it is hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news 
these days without finding a story about ever more aggressive efforts 
to dodge taxes. The average American does not cheat on her taxes, but 
for those who do, the IRS needs the resources to catch them. Otherwise, 
every honest, hard-working American ends up on the hook for more. By 
continuing to cut the IRS budget, I am afraid Congress is sending a 
message that tax enforcement is not so important. It communicates an 
unfortunate signal that fighting tax cheating is not a priority, and 
enforcement is not a priority. Ultimately, that is a problem for every 
American taxpayer.
  Congress also continues to cut funding to the IRS while adding more 
duties to the agency, including in this spending bill. Next year is 
already a busy year for the IRS. In addition to administering the 
filing season and combating identity theft and fraud, the IRS will also 
be implementing the late-passed extenders bill, the Foreign Accounts 
Tax Compliance Act, and the health premium tax credits.
  But that is not all. Congress is cutting the funding, but telling the 
IRS to use the funding to improve the 1-800 help line service and 
allocate resources to improve response time. Why? Because maintaining 
an acceptable level of service for the American taxpayer has been 
strained substantially due to previous budget cuts.
  Congress is asking the IRS to do all these things while cutting 
funding. Congress is telling the IRS to do more, but with much, much 
less.
  I have long been an ardent proponent of tax reform. We have a broken 
tax code in desperate need of fixing. Why does that matter in this 
context? I will tell you why. If Congress finally succeeds in 
meaningfully reforming our antiquated tax code, implementing those 
changes will require a substantial investment in the IRS. Will Congress 
have the same attitude toward funding the IRS when it is charged with 
the implementation of a reformed and modern tax code? I wonder, and I 
worry.
  On the defense side, there is no doubt that this omnibus bill 
includes funding for important national security priorities. However, 
it also contains billions in wasteful and unnecessary military 
spending--like nearly $500 million to buy more F-35 Joint Strike 
Fighters than the Pentagon requested. The bill also contains more than 
$8 billion for nuclear weapons activities, which is nearly $390 million 
more than the President requested. During the Reagan years, we spent 
about $8 billion annually to develop, test, produce and maintain more 
than 20,000 nuclear warheads. Today we spend that same $8 billion on 
fewer than 5,000 warheads. What is wrong with this picture?
  This bill also handicaps efforts to invest in infrastructure and keep 
our Nation competitive. Buried in the pages of this bill is a $100 
million cut to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic 
Recovery, or TIGER, grant program. Since Congress created this program 
in the 2009 Recovery Act, the competitive grants have played a critical 
role in funding road, rail, port and transit projects across the 
country. Cutting this program makes absolutely no sense when Congress 
is struggling to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and meet 
infrastructure needs in Oregon and across the country.
  And I would be remiss if I didn't highlight my disappointment with 
the multiemployer pension provisions. These reforms were rushed through 
by a few House Members in private during the final days of the 
legislative year without consideration by the Senate Finance Committee 
and other committees of jurisdiction. That flawed process has produced 
a lopsided solution leaving existing retirees to shoulder a 
disproportionate share of sacrifice. It also will result in the rolling 
back of a major tenet enshrined in pension law--never take away money a 
pensioner has already earned. Under this bill, for the first time, 
Congress will allow multiemployer plans to cut retirees' earned pension 
benefits. This is unprecedented and I worry about the impact on 
retirees and the slippery slope we are about to head down.
  No matter what one thinks about the underlying policy, legislation 
this complex and controversial requires thorough review and analysis. 
That hasn't happened here. In fact, no one in the Senate, including the 
committees of jurisdiction, had the opportunity to fully review these 
provisions. Even a single, small, unintentional misstep in the rush to 
legislate could have serious and negative consequences to retirees and 
businesses alike. I am working hard to protect retirees' pensions, and 
jamming these reforms through Congress virtually sight unseen is no way 
to solve the problems with multiemployer pensions.
  As a conglomerate, these provisions tip the balance of this fine bill 
to one that I cannot support and with that I regretfully voted against 
its final passage.
  Mr. REED. Madam President, I wish to explain my opposition to the 
Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

[[Page S6862]]

  For months, I worked hard alongside Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, 
Ranking Member Richard Shelby, and our colleagues on the Senate 
Appropriations Committee to craft a bipartisan agreement, which fit 
within stringent spending limits, to fund the government and strengthen 
our economy.
  Regrettably, the last minute addition of an unrelated bill on 
multiemployer pension plans tilted the balance away from a bill that 
reflects a tough bipartisan compromise to a bill that, hastily and 
without thorough review, makes fundamental changes to numerous private 
retirement plans. Moreover, another provision of the bill seeks to undo 
a portion of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection 
Act that would force large banks to separate the riskiest derivatives 
trades away from subsidiaries that benefit from federal deposit 
insurance.
  Because of the inclusion of these provisions, I am unable to vote for 
the omnibus. It is a shame, because there is otherwise much good here.
  This compromise bill includes federal funds, which I advocated for, 
to boost economic and community development and environmental 
restoration projects in Rhode Island, as well as key education, 
manufacturing, workforce training, health care, nutrition, energy 
efficiency, transportation, and defense initiatives.
  I thank Chairwoman Mikulski for her boundless energy and ceaseless 
efforts in putting a bill together with these kinds of investments.
  As chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I am 
proud of what we were able to accomplish. I particularly commend 
Senator Lisa Murkowski for being an outstanding partner, as well as her 
clerk, Leif Fonnesbeck, and her subcommittee staff, Brent Wiles, and 
Emy Lesofski. I also thank the majority staff: Rachael Taylor, Virginia 
James, Ryan Hunt, and Rita Culp for their work and guidance during my 
tenure as chairman.
  I especially wish to recognize Virginia James, who is retiring this 
January after a distinguished 27-year Senate career. Ginny has served 
as a trusted adviser on tribal health, science, and arts and cultural 
issues to both Democrats and Republicans, stretching back to her days 
serving as an aide to former Appropriations Committee Chairman Mark O. 
Hatfield. There are many Federal agencies--from the Smithsonian and the 
National Gallery of Art to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Indian 
Health Service--that owe Ginny a debt of gratitude for her work, as 
does the Senate. She will be missed for both her skill and her humor.
  Because of the bipartisan efforts of the staff and members of our 
Subcommittee, the Interior Appropriations bill included in this omnibus 
legislation has $2.356 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water 
State Revolving Funds, which is $581 million above the fiscal year 2015 
budget request. This funding will help states and localities make 
important infrastructure investments, create jobs here in the U.S., and 
improve environmental quality.
  While I am disappointed that the House insisted on the inclusion of a 
few controversial policy riders, I'm pleased that we were able to 
eliminate many of the most damaging legislative provisions that those 
on the other side of the aisle were demanding. These provisions would 
have impacted the ability of agencies under the Subcommittee's 
jurisdiction to do their jobs to protect the public and the 
environment, including their ability to address climate change.
  I am dismayed, however, that the House refused to accept the Senate's 
language that would have allowed for a more rational way to account and 
pay for emergency wildfire suppression. Every member of the House 
Interior Appropriations Subcommittee had cosponsored nearly identical 
legislation and the House Committee report expressed support for this 
change. Yet the House refused to adopt it in this agreement. I believe 
my colleagues in the West may regret not taking the opportunity when 
they had the chance.
  I am also disappointed that my colleagues in the House could not 
agree, at long last, that it is time for oil and gas companies to pay a 
share of the costs of inspecting their on-shore drilling operations.
  There are other aspects of the omnibus that are troubling.
  As the long time champion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance 
Program (LIHEAP), along with Senator Susan Collins, I regret seeing the 
program cut by $34 million. Although significantly higher than the 
President's request, the reduction comes after years of cuts or 
stagnant appropriations. Meanwhile, the number of households eligible 
for LIHEAP assistance continues to exceed available funds and those 
receiving assistance have seen their grants decrease. I hope we can do 
better in the future.
  While the bill includes important investments in surface 
transportation and aviation systems, I think we should be doing more, 
given the benefits to our economy. I am especially disappointed that 
the TIGER grant program, which has helped advance a number of critical 
transportation projects in Rhode Island, has been cut by $100 million 
from a year ago.
  I am also troubled by language that would set aside the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration's Hours of Service regulation in order to 
have further study of the rule, which has been in effect for nearly 
1\1/2\ years. While I welcome additional studies on driver safety, I 
don't think it is appropriate to simply set aside a rule that has been 
the subject of more than a decade of work and legal review. What 
concerns me most is that it could force truck drivers, who have one of 
the most grueling jobs in the country, to work longer hours, 
potentially increasing fatigue and putting more people at risk on our 
roadways.
  The bill also hobbles the Department of Homeland Security, providing 
only enough funding to keep it running until February 27 of next year. 
This is the response by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to 
the actions the President has taken with respect to immigration. Due to 
this intransigence, some initiatives to secure the border cannot be 
funded nor can measures to address the humanitarian crisis of children 
crossing our Southwest border or security weaknesses at the White 
House.
  Even if these faults could be overlooked because of the many positive 
provisions in the bill, it is, for me, irreparably damaged by two 
controversial riders that have nothing to do with funding the 
government.
  The bill would repeal section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street 
Reform Act. Section 716 prevents bank subsidiaries that are covered by 
federal deposit insurance or that take advantage of Federal Reserve 
lending programs from engaging in the riskiest derivatives trades. In 
essence, the riskiest derivatives trades would be pushed out from these 
subsidiaries in an effort to reduce systemic risk and provide greater 
assurances that Wall Street gambles would not be subsidized by 
taxpayers.
  Whether you are in favor of preserving or repealing section 716, 
everyone should understand by now that the last thing Congress should 
be doing is passing incredibly complex and consequential derivatives 
legislation with little deliberation as part of an omnibus 
appropriations bill.
  Serious concerns have been raised about repealing Section 716. Some 
have pointed out that the riskiest derivatives are so volatile that it 
will be impossible to charge the proper deposit insurance premium to 
account for the additional risk that the most unpredictable swaps will 
bring to FDIC insured banking subsidiaries. In other words, the 
potential losses could far exceed the amounts that have been reserved 
for contingencies. This should be concerning to all of my colleagues, 
especially in light of the 2008 financial crisis.
  It is clear that big Wall Street banks have more than had their say. 
I merely ask that taxpayers be given an equal opportunity to have their 
say before they are asked yet again, perhaps years from now, to bail 
out Wall Street for their excesses.
  The deep irony is that when my colleagues and I transparently fight 
for foreclosure prevention for Americans who were harmed by the 
recklessness of big banks and financial institutions, we are told that 
it was our constituents who were reckless and that we shouldn't be 
encouraging moral hazard. By repealing a section that seeks to 
establish a prohibition against federal government bailouts of swaps 
entities, some of my colleagues are revealing

[[Page S6863]]

their view that our largest banks should be held to a significantly 
lesser standard than distressed American homeowners. They seem to 
believe that when it comes to the potentially reckless choices of 
banks, they can continue to wreak havoc in our financial markets--and 
if their bets fail spectacularly, taxpayers will be there to clean up 
their mess. This shouldn't be the case.
  If Members want to debate and vote on this issue in the open, I 
welcome the opportunity, but to avoid the debate by tucking this 
provision in a 1,600 page funding bill is a disservice to the 
seriousness of the issue. I am disheartened that despite what past 
experience has shown us, we are rushing towards what could be another 
grave mistake.
  While much attention has been paid to the repeal of section 716 and 
other controversial pieces of this legislation, I am even more troubled 
by the last-minute addition of a bill that would make major changes to 
the multiemployer pension system.
  The multiemployer pension program, guaranteed by the Pension Benefit 
Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is in financial distress. Just 1 month 
ago, the PBGC's annual report raised a number of concerns about the 
increasing deficits of the multiemployer pension program. Alarmingly, 
the report predicted a high likelihood of many plans failing over the 
next decade, which would jeopardize the PBGC's ability to ensure 
retirees even a minimum guarantee on their pensions. We must take 
action to ensure that middle-income employees and retirees do not have 
the rug cut out from under them and lose retirement benefits.
  We should have a thoughtful, open debate about how we ensure that 
middle-income employees and retirees receive the pension benefits they 
have earned so they are able to enjoy a secure retirement. We need a 
solution that honors these retirees' lifelong work.
  Regrettably, this legislation--for the first time--opens the door to 
cutting pension benefits for current retirees. It would renege on the 
commitments made to middle-income families across the country. 
Hamstrung by budget constraints over the last few years, we have not 
done as much as I would have liked to protect programs that provide 
much needed support to hard-working families. My efforts to extend 
unemployment insurance, which benefits a broad cross-section of 
Americans, have been rebuffed by House Republicans time after time this 
year. And now even hard earned pension benefits are not safe.
  The financial stability of multiemployer plans is a serious challenge 
that Congress will have to confront. However, we must consider a range 
of options before we move to dismantle the longstanding protections 
afforded to employees and their families by the Employee Retirement 
Income Security Act (ERISA). One of the most important aspects of this 
law stipulates that benefits for troubled multiemployer pension plans 
must be paid out first with remaining assets. The legislation we are 
considering flies in the face of that commitment by allowing benefit 
cuts to be the first option for restoring solvency to these plans.
  Any solution is going to require tough compromises from everyone, but 
all stakeholders should have the opportunity to participate in crafting 
a solution instead of having it developed in secret and rammed through 
as part of a must-pass spending bill. This is the sort of action that 
infuriates the people we represent. But more important than process, 
this bill will have an effect on people's lives for years to come and 
gives further cause for Americans to think that their government 
doesn't have their back or care about their economic security. We 
shouldn't approach it so frivolously. We need to make sure the policy 
is right.
  Given the outstanding efforts of Chairwoman Mikulski and my 
colleagues on the Appropriations Committee it is difficult for me to 
say this, but because of the reasons I have explained, I voted no on 
this bill.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Madam President, this is not the time for another 
government shutdown. The American people have had enough of 
Washington's dysfunction. They want us to do our job and work together 
to get the job done. Since the Budget Committee, on which I serve, 
crafted a bipartisan agreement that ended last year's government 
shutdown and paved the way for a cease-fire on recent budget wars, the 
economy has gained an average of 240,000 jobs per month. In Wisconsin, 
our economy continues to lag behind, so we need to build on this 
progress and strengthen the economic security of families and 
businesses that are working hard to move our economy forward.
  This bipartisan appropriations bill will help do that by increasing 
the Child Care and Development Block Grant funding by $75 million; 
increasing the maximum Pell grant award; providing a cost of living pay 
raise for our men and women in the Armed Forces; increasing funding for 
science and research at the National Institutes of Health by $150 
million; providing grants to States for job training and assistance to 
dislocated workers; extending Trade Adjustments Assistance for workers 
who lose their jobs due to international trade; and moving bipartisan 
Manufacturing Hubs legislation forward that I support to keep our 
country on the leading edge of advanced manufacturing.
  I also fought to include in this legislation a number of provisions 
that will help us build a stronger made in Wisconsin economy, including 
support for our shipbuilding industry and transportation 
infrastructure.
  With all of these benefits, I am the first to admit that this bill is 
far from perfect. But we have a divided government and I recognize that 
I can't get everything I want in this bill, just as my colleagues 
across the aisle can't get everything they want in this bill. This bill 
is a compromise.
  Let me be very clear here: Republicans' insistence on including a 
Wall Street giveaway is extremely objectionable to me. I also strongly 
oppose a provision that weakens our already loose campaign laws and the 
changes made to multiemployer pensions deserved a full debate in the 
Senate, as separate legislation, not tucked into an appropriations bill 
by the House of Representatives at the last minute. I agree with my 
colleagues who have said these provisions represent the very worst of 
creating an uneven playing field for those hard working Americans who 
ask for nothing more than a voice in Washington and fair shot at 
getting ahead. I would also add that these provisions in particular are 
a direct assault on our proud progressive traditions in Wisconsin.
  But what would have happened if we did not pass this bill now? I can 
tell you what will happen because we saw the path the Republican 
controlled House of Representatives wanted to take. Republicans tried 
to add more than 30 additional harmful policy provisions--from more 
Wall Street giveaways to rolling back workers' rights to eroding 
environmental policy--but Senate Democrats were able to use their 
current leverage as the majority party in the Senate to keep them out. 
If this bill did not pass now, Republicans would have had the power to 
add more objectionable provisions when they will hold majorities in 
both the House and Senate next year.
  I supported this bipartisan compromise because I believe it is our 
job to deliver progress for the American people, not an endless drift 
from one crisis to the next or a government shutdown.

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