tv U.S. Senate CSPAN September 25, 2013 10:00am-2:01pm EDT
pertinent agencies. listen, if a major union that in his own words was boots on the ground, went door to door to get out the vote, raised money to scwiewr thsecure the quement vit do you think we the citizens will -- what do you think a single mom who says obamacare is slamming me and making plief harder, how do you think this administration listens to you if even the politically powerful are lamenting what's happening with this law? mr. hoffa continues, this is especially stinging because other stakeholders reitedly -- repeat lid received successful interpretations for grievances. most disconcerting is last week's huge accommodation for the employer community extending the statutorily mandated december 31, 2013 deadline for the employer minute and penalties.
notably two things are included there. one, mr. hoffa on behalf of the teamsters said that deadline for the employee mandate is statutorily mandated, that the law requires it. what he's saying there is the president is ignoring the law because he says it is statutorily mandated. number two, it is a gift for big business not being given to others. mr. hoffa continues, time is running out. congress wrote this law. we voted for you. we have a problem. you need to fix it. the unintended consequences of the a.c.a. are severe. perverse incentives are creating nightmare scenarios. the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees work hours below 30 hours a week. numerous employers have begun to cut work hours and many are doing so openly. fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits. mr. president, let me emphasize this is the president of the teamsters saying obamacare is causing workers to have their
hours forcibly reduced. that means less pay. and they're losing their current health insurance. any time the majority leader of the senate goes on television and says obamacare is working terrifically, this letter stands in stark contrast to that assertion. second, millions of americans are covered by nonprofit health insurance plans like the one in which most of our members participate, those nonprofit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the taft-heartily act. our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. under the a.c.a., assent preted by the administration -- as interpreted by the administration. our employees will be treated differently and not eligible for subsidies. as such many will be relegated to second-class citizens and shut out of the help the law offers. finally even though nonprofit plans won't receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans they will be taxed to pay for those subsidies. taken together these
restrictions will make nonprofit plans like ours unsustainable and will undermine the health care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies. this next paragraph is critical. on behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent, let me note that's not hundreds, that's not thousand. that is millions of working men and women we represent, and the families they support -- so millions more -- we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the affordable care act that will destroy -- not weaken, not undermine, not slightly impair. destroy the very health and well-being of our members along with millions of other hardworking americans. we believe that there are commonsense corrections that can be made within the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their current health plans and benefits just as you and the president pledged. until those changes are made,
however, that promise is hollow. we continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of americans, including members of our respective unions. we are looking to you to make sure these changes are made. signed james hoffa, general president of the international brotherhood of teamsters. when you've got the teamsters coming out and saying this is hurting millions of working men and women and their families, it begs the question, if mr. hoffa can no longer remain silent, if the teamsters can no longer remain silent, how long, mr. president, can the democratic members of the senate remain silent? i have no doubt that mr. hoffa and the teamsters received harsh criticism for this letter, because politically this letter was inconvenient for the party they have supported with time, blood, and treasure.
but yet, mr. hoffa said we can no longer remain silent because of the devastation being inflicted on the working men and women of america. if that's true, i'm hopeful that among the 54 democrats in this body, that we'll see first one and then maybe two and then maybe three and then maybe a dozen democrats with the same courage that james hoffa shows, the courage to say listen, i'm willing to make a statement that is contrary to the political leadership of the party i belong to and i fought to. to any democrats who are contemplating doing so, let me note that bucking your party's leadership inevitably provokes a reaction. inevitably provokes expressions and often strong expressions of displeasure. but let me also encourage any
democrats, there are worse things in life than a few harsh words being tossed your way. to be honest, that pales compared to the suffrage of the men and women of this country who are losing their jobs, health care, being forced into part-time work. any politician who whined someone said something mean about me has totally lost perspective compared to the hurt the american people are feeling. so i am hopeful, i want to appeal to the better angels of our democratic senators that you show the same courage mr. hoffa showed to be willing to buck party leadership and speak out for the men and women who are your constituents. and i make that same plea to the republicans, that you show the courage to buck party leadership and stand up to the men and women who are our constituents who are suffering under obamacare. any republican who votes for cloture, who votes to give harry
reid the ability to fund obamacare on a 51-vote partisan vote is directly participating in and responsible for funding obamacare. now, if a republican wants to say openly i don't think we can defund obamacare, i don't agree with this fight so i am siding with harry reid because on principle i think it's right, i don't agree with that, but i respect that view. you're entitled that view, you're entitled to articulate that view but i don't think you're entitled to vote with harry reid and the democrats, give harry reid and the democrats the ability to fund obamacare and then go to your constituents and say i agree with defunding obamacare. you don't get it both ways. if we're going to listen to the people, we need to be honest with the people and tell them what we're doing. that's what this fight is about, whether democrat senators and republican senators will listen to the people. we need to make d.c. listen. a senator: will the gentleman yield for questions and comments without his yielding the floor?
mr. cruz: i am happy to yield to my friend from louisiana for a question without yielding the floor. mr. vitter: i appreciate all the gentleman's comments and his correct recitation about what the impact of obamacare is across the country, particularly the hardworking men and women. and the gentleman is right, you know, these descriptive phrases like nightmare, another one is train wreck, they're not his words, they're not my words. they're actually words from supporters of the law. nightmare, as the gentleman pointed out, comes from the leader of the teamsters; a very powerful organization on the democrat side politically that strongly supported the law. the chairman of the senate finance committee that helped write the law called obamacare implementation a train wreck just a few months ago. not coincidentally that was right before he announced he wasn't running for reelection. so i appreciate that notation of
those descriptions from folks on the democratic side of the aisle, from folks who helped pass obamacare. this is clear proof that this is just not ready for prime time, is causing real pain and dislocation to hardworking americans. job loss. folks being moved into part-time work. jobs not being created. folks losing the health care they have now, which they enjoy. but the gentleman know, i think that leader of the teamsters, james hoffa, is even more upset today than he was when he wrote that letter, because in the intervening time something else has happened, which is that the administration bailed out congress with the special exemption, with the special subsidy, with the special rule, hasn't helped working-class americans that mr. hoffa
represents through the teamsters, but has bailed out congress. and that's what i have an amendment on the c.r. about. it would be a germane amendment. i'll present it. unfortunately, it seems clear that the plan is for the majority leader to block out all amendments, including mine, except the ones he chooses that would take out the defunding language from the house-passed bill. but again, what i'm talking about is a special bailout exemption subsidy for congress. this goes back to the original obamacare debate, and our distinguished colleague, senator grassley of iowa, proposed language which so many of us strongly supported that said every member of congress, all congressional staff, would have to go to the same fall-back plan under obamacare as there is for all americans.
first it was called the public option. then eventually the exchange. and amazingly, happily, i was pleasantly surprised at the time that language got in the bill and was passed into law. well, that became a classic case of what nancy pelosi said. we have to pass the bill to figure out what was in it. because after that language got in the bill and passed into law, then lots of folks around capitol hill read that provision, and they said, oh, you know what. they said, wait a minute. we can't live with this. we can't deal with this, because we're going to be in the same fall-back plan as there is for every other american with no special treatment. we can't deal with that. and then because of that, furious lobbying started on the
obama administration, folks like the distinguished majority leader talking directly to president obama himself, saying we need a bailout. we need a special fix, a special rule just for us. and sure enough that lobbying yielded results. and by many, many press reports, president obama got personally involved to ensure that a special rule was issued by his administration, the draft version of was issued just conveniently after congress left town for the august recess and got away from the scene of the crime. and that draft rule is completely improper, completely illegal because it goes beyond the statute and is inconsistent with the statute. but it's a special exemption for congress. it really does two things essentially. first, even though obamacare,
the statute explicitly says that every member of congress, all the congressional official staff have to go to the exchange, the rule basically negates that in a way and says, well, we don't know what official staff means, so we're going to leave it up to each individual member to decide what of their staff is official and what is not. who has to go to the exchange, who doesn't. the statute doesn't say that. the statute is re clear all congressional official staff have to go to the exchange. there is no discretion to individual members. and then the second thing this special rule, this special exemption does is even more egregious. it says, who ever does go to the exchange members, and whatever congressional staff do go to the exchange, they get a huge
taxpayer-funded subsidy that follows them there. now that's not in the statute. that's nowhere in obamacare. that's nowhere in that grassley provision as passed into law. and, in fact, there are other sections of obamacare that make it crystal clear that employees who go to the exchange lose their previous subsidy from their large employer that they may have enjoyed previously. that's clear in the law, completely inconsistent with this illegal rule made up out of thin air. so washington is getting a special exemption, a special bailout, a special subsidy completely unavailable to other americans. now that's just not right, and that's why i have an amendment. i tried to present it last week, was blocked out by the majority leader. i'm here again on the c.r..
it's important. it's necessary we vote, and we should before october 1, when this illegal rule will otherwise go into effect. my amendment is simple. it negates that illegal rule. it says, yes, every member of congress, all congressional staff and, oh, by the way, other washington policy-makers, the president, the vice president, all of their political appointees have to go to the exchange with no special treatment. no special exemption. no special subsidy unavailable to other americans. so if you are a lower-paid staff member and you qualified by your income for a subsidy available to every other american, fine, that's certainly available. that's equal treatment. that's washington being treated like the rest of america.
but no special exemption or bailout or subsidy; only those available to all other americans going to the exchange. so, we need a vote on this provision. it's directly relevant to the c.r. it's directly relevant to this debate, and this illegal obama administration rule will go into effect october 1, unless we act. that's why i demanded a timely vote last week. unfortunately, it was blocked out by the majority leader. he claimed, after threatening and bullying didn't work -- he claimed he had no objection to the vote, but still he didn't let it happen. well, here we are in the c.r. debate and that's why we need that debate and that vote now. but the problem is i.t. clear
that -- but the problem is, it's clear that the majority leader's plan and it's clear that this upcoming cloture vote would block all that out again. the majority leader would get his select amendments to take out of the house bill the provision that defunds obamaca obamacare, but nobody else would get any other amendment. i wouldn't get a vote on my amendment. there are plenty of other relevant and germane amendments. we wouldn't have votes on that. the and that's the plan being laid out for this week and that's what voting "yes" on cloture on the bill will enable. and so i can't do that, and i commend the senator from texas for helping lead this fight, helping point out the dangers and the tragedies of obamacare, particularly for working men and women and for also supporting the broader effort to make sure,
however america is treated, washington should be treated exactly the same. now, that really should be the first rule of democracy. the founders talked about that basic principle. federalist papers number 5 by mad i -- number 57 by madison, he talks about this principle. whatever is good for america needs to be good for washington. whatever is applied to those who are ruled needs to be applied equally in full force and in the same way to those who make up the rules, and that's what this specific part of this debate is all about. so i again thank the senator from texas for his leadership on this and the general issue. and i would just ask, does he think now that that special exemption has come out since the
hoffa letter, would he guess mr. hoffa is more or less upset now washington has been protected by the working americans that mr. hoffa represents are still in the dire straits described in that letter? mr. cruz: well, i thank the senator from louisiana for that very good question, and i thank him also for his support of this effort, his vocal support, his support from day one, and i thank him for appearing with us last night, appearing with us today, standing together to defund obamacare, standing together to oppose cloture because it would empower harry reid and the democrats to fund obamacare on a partisan 51-vote party-line vote. and it would shut out amendments to address an ameliorate the arms that are coming from obamacare that are hurting hardworking americans now. as to the question that the senator from louisiana asked, i certainly don't want to put
words in mr. hoffa's mouth. he is quite capable of speaking for himself. but i cannot imagine, given the language of his letter, that the exemption for congress would be iin any way different from the exemption for big business. they're both exemptions for political friends of the administration, and according to the language of his letter, he expressed dismay that they, another friend of the administration, did not get an exemption of the and i would note, that part of that letter is asking, give us a special exemption, too. and that didn't happen. but i'll make a prediction, mr. president. the senate doesn't act now, if it doesn't stand up and stop this before president obama leaves the white house, he will grant an exem shn to those -- he will grant an exemption to those union bosses. it is a trifecta of the union
bosses being granted -- it would be lawless, it would be contrary to law to grant an exemption to the union bosses. but it is also contrary to law to grant an exemption to congress and big business. that hasn't slowed the president down. there's no reason he wouldn't disregard the law for his union friends. it is not rocket science that that would not be ideal politics. the senator's courage in introducing his amendment, he's endured vilification that has been beyond the pale. i appreciate his courage standing for the principle that congress should be bound by the same rules as everyone else, thathat millions of americans shouldn't be put on to exchanges, subject to pain that members of congress are not. we should not operate under the principle one rule or thee, a different one for me.
and i'd like for awful you who say this -- for all of you who say this fight is not winnable, i would like to share, mr. president, with you a letter talking about fighting and winning unwinnable fights, because none of us can win this fight, but the american people can. fans of rush limbaugh note every year he reads something that his father wrote about the true story of the price paid by the signers of the declaration of independence. i think it is fitting to read this morning. it's called "the americans who risked everything." "our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor. it was glorious morning. the sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. up especially early, a tall bongy, red-headed west virginians found time to buy a new thermometer for which he poid 30 pounds; 1r5 schillings. will he bought gloves for martha, his wife, who was ill at home. thomas jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. the temperature was 72.5 degrees
and the horse flies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. it was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. the chairs were comfortable. facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, imu they would not be used today. the moment the door was shut, it was always kept locked. the room became an oven p. the tall windows were shut so the quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. small openings allowed a slight stir of air but also a large number of horse flies. jefferson records that 'the horse flies were dexterous in finding necks and the silk of stockings was nothing to them. all discussion was punk waited by the slap of hands on necks.' on the wall at the back facing the president's desk was a panoply consisting of a drum, swords and banners seized from
fort ticonderoga the year before. they were out thissin outshoutig it in the name of the great cojtsal congress. congress got to work taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissension. resolved that an ally pplication be made to the committee of safety of pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at new york. then congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. the declaration of independence was read aloud once more and debate resumed. thomas jefferson was the better writer of all of them and he had been somewhat verbose. congress hacked the exsection away. they did a good job as the side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and final text shows. they caught the phrase "by a self-assumed power." "climb" was weigh placed by
"must read." then the whole senseaged soon the whole paragraph was cut. jefferson crohned as they continued what he later called their degradations. inherent and inalienable rights came out. certain unrail yenable rights and to this day, no one knows who suggested the elegant change. a total of 86 alte alterations e made, leaving 137,000. after three days of wrangling, the document was fat a vote. here in the hall, patrick henry had once thundered, "i am no longer a virginian, sir, but an american. but today the loud sometimes bitter arguments stilled and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom." on july 4, 1776, the declaration of independence was adopted. there were no trumpets blown.
no one stood on his chair and cheered. the afternoon was waning and congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. for several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day. much to lose. what kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the declaration and who by their signing committed an act of treason against the crown? to each of you, the names franklin, adams, hancock and jefferson are almost as familiar as household words. nothing of umost of us know note other signers. george washington, alexander hamilton, patrick henry, all were elsewhere. ben franklin was the only really old man. 18 were under 40. three were in their 20's. of the 56 almost half, 24, were
judges and lawyers. 11 were merchants, nine were farm owners and others were politician us and ministers. with only a few exceptions, such as samuel adams of mass marks these were men of substantial property. all but two had families. the vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. they had economic security, as few men had in the 1th century. each had more to lose from revolution thank he had to gain by it. john hancock, one of the richest men in america, already had a price of $500 pounds on his head. yohe signed in enormous letterso that his majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward. ben franklin, reilly wroted, indeed, we must all hang together. otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately."
fat benjamin harrison of virginia told tiny garry of mass, with me, it will all be over in a minute, but you, you'll be dancing in the air an hour after i'm done." these men knew what they risked. the penalty was death by hanging. a great british fleet was already at anchor in ne new york harbor. they were sober men. there were no dreary-eyed, dreamy-eyed intellectuals, or draft-card burners here. they were far from hot-eyed fanatics yammering for an explosion. they simply asked for the status quo. it was change they resisted. it was a quality with the mother country they required. it was taxation with representation they desired. they were all conservatives, yet they rebelled. it was principle, not property, that brought these men to philadelphia. two of them became presidents of the united states.
seven of them became state governors. one died in office as vice president of the united states. several would go upon to be u.s. senators. one, the richest man in america in 1828, founded the baltimore and ohio railroad, one, a delegate from philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the sierns. it was he, frances hop kinson, not batecy ross, who designed the united states flag. a delegate from virginia, lee, had introduced the resolution to adopt the independence declaration of independence in june of 177. he was prophetic in his concluding remarks. "why then, sir, why do we longer delay? why still deliberate? let this her rise not to devastate and concur but to r reestablish the raven piece and law." the eyes of europe are fixed upon us.
she demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever-increasing tyranny which des lates her polluted shores. she invietz us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace and the persecutes repose. if we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of american legislators of 177 will be placed by posterity at the side of all those who have been deared virtuous men and good citizens. though the resolution was adopted on july 4, it was not until july 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign. it was not until august 2 that the signers met at philadelphia to actually put their nails on the declaration.e william ellory, delegate from rhode island, was curious to see the signers faces as they committed this supreme act of
personal courage. he saw some men sign quickly, but in no face was he able to discern real fear. steven hopkins, ellory's colleague from rhode island, was a man past 60. as he signed with a shaking pen, he declared my hand trembles, but my heart does not. most glorious service. even before the list was published, the british marked down every member of congress suspected of putting his name to treason, all became targets of vicious manhunts. some were taken, some had narrow escapes. all who had property or family near british strong hold suffered. francis lewis saw his home plundered, his estate destroyed. mrs. lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. though later exchanged for british prisoners through efforts of congress, she died from the effects of her abuse.
william floyd, a new york delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across long island sound to connecticut where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. when they came home, they found a devastated ruin. phillips livingston had all his great holdings in new york confiscated and his family driven out of their home. livingston died in 1778 still working in congress for the cause. lewis morris, the fourth new york delegate, saw all of his timber, crops and livestock taken. for seven years he was barred from his home and family. john hart of trenton, new jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife, soldiers rode after him and he escaped in the woods while his wife lay on her death bed, soldiers ruined his farm.
he was hunted across the countryside. when at long last emaciated by hardship he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried and his 13 children taken away. he never saw them again. he died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family. dr. john witherspoon, signer, was president of the college of new jersey, later called prince po*pb. the british -- princeton. the village occupied the town of princeton. they burned the finest college library in the country. judge richard stockton rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. the family found refuge with friends but a torrey sympathizer betrayed them. judge stockton was pulled from bed at night and brutally beaten
by the arresting soldiers, thrown into a common jail he was deliberately starved. congress finally arranged for stockton's parole but his health was ruined. the judge was released as an invalid when he could no longer harm the british cause. he returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the revolution. his family was forced to live off charity. robert morris, merchant prince of philadelphia, delegate and signer, met washington's appeals and pleas for money year after year. he made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for washington to cross the delaware at trenton. in the process, he lost 150 ships at sea. bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry. george climber, pennsylvania siren -- signer escaped from his
home but his property was destroyed. dr. benjamin rush also from pennsylvania was forced to flee to maryland as a heroic surgeon with the army, rush had several narrow escapes. john martin, a torrey in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area in pennsylvania. when he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. he was a sensitive and troubled man and many believe this action killed him. when he died in 1777, his last words to his tormenters were -- quote -- "tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it -- the signing -- to have been the most glorious service that i've ever rendered to my country." william ellory, rhode island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground. thomas lynch jr., south carolina
delegate, had his health broken from privation and spokes shaours. -- exposures. his doctor ordered him to seek a cure in the west indies and on the voyage he and his bride were drowned at sea. another was carried as prisoner of war to saint augustine, florida, when they were signaled out for indignities. they were exchanged at the end of the war. the british having devastated land holdings and estates. thomas nelson, signer of virginia, was at the front end command of the virginia military forces with british general charles corn wallace in york town, fire from 70 heavy american guns began to destroy york town piece by piece. lord cornwallace and his staff
moved headquarters in nelson's home while american cannon balls were making shambles of the town the house of governor nelson remained untouched. nelson turned in rage to the american gunners and asked why do you spare my home? they replied, sir, out of respect to you. nelson cried, give me the cannon. and he fired on his magnificent home himself. smashing it to bits. but nelson's sacrifice was not quite over. he had raised $2 million for the revolutionary cause by pledge pledging his own estates. when the loans came due, a newer peacetime congress refused to honor them and nelson's home was forfeited. he died impoverished a few years later at the age of 50. lives, fortune, honor.
of those 56 who signed the declaration of independence, 9 died of wounds or hardships during the war. five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. several lost wives, sons or entire families. one lost his 13 children two wives were brutally treated. all were at one time or another the victims of manhunts or driven from their homes. 12 signers had their homes completely burned. 17 lost everything they owned. yet, not one defected or went back on his pledged word. their honor and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact. and finally, there is the new jersey signer, abraham clark. he gave two sons to the officer corps in the revolutionary army. they were captured and sent to that infamous british hulk
afloat in new york harbor known as the hell ship jersey where 11,000 american captives were to die. the younger clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. one was put in solitary and given no food. with the end almost in sight, with a war almost won, no one could have blamed abraham clark for aseeding to the british request when they offered him his sons' lives if he would recant and come out for the king in parliament. he uttered a spare in this man's heart. the i think wish in his very soul, must reach out to each one of us down through 200 years with his answer. "no." the 56 signers of the declaration of independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent car tan line in his -- curtain line in history.
and for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. my friends, i know you have a copy of the declaration of independence somewhere around the house, in an old history book. newer ones may well omit it. an encyclopedia or one of those artificially aged parchments we got in school a few years ago. i suggest each of you take sometime each month to read will you the text of the declaration. there is no more profound sentence than this: we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. these are far more than mere poetic words.
the underlying ideas that infuse every sentence of this treaties have sustained this nation for more than two centuries. they were forged in the crucible of great sacrifice. they are living words that spring from and satisfy the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit. sacred honor isn't a phrase we use much these days. but every american life is touched by the bounty of this, the founders' legacy. it is freedom tested by blood and watered with tears. that's the story of signers of the declaration of independence, is the story of our shared legacy. and i will make this note to my friends on the republican side of the aisle and the democratic side of the aisle. as benjamin frankly wryly noted, indeed, we must all hang
together. otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately. that's a message all of us should think, are we going to hang separately because we've disregarded the will, disregarded the view of our constituents, because we've given in to the washington establishment? or are we going to stand together and say let's break the broken pattern of washington of empty showboats, of fixed procedures, of ignoring the will of the people, and let's come together much like james hoffa of the teamsters has and say we will remain silent no longer. we cannot ignore the suffering, the millions of americans who have lost their jobs cannot find jobs, have their hours forcibly reduced to 29 hours a week, are facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and are losing or at risk of losing their health insurance. our constituents, the american people, are hurting and suffering, and it is the role of congress to answer their call.
all of us must listen to the people he. together we must make d.c. listen. a senator: would the senator from texas yield for a question and comment without yielding the floor? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield to my friend from florida for a question without yielding the floor. mr. rubio: first of all, that is a very inspirational letter that you read and reminds us of our shared legacy as a nation. it also makes you appreciate the freedoms we have in this country, the opportunity to stand here today and have this vibrant debate, reminded that around the world people don't have that opportunity, reminded that around the world people are still losing not just their freedoms but their lives. for purposes of speaking out. i will confess that i hope we can avoid the hanging part of the situation that you've outlined and i'm sure we will because we're blessed to live in this republic. senator, as i do something every week where i take letters from my constituents, i read them in
a video on the air and then i answer them. i call it the constituent mailbox and i've been doing that since i got here. that's important because it allows us to answer the real questions of real people and their comments. they are not always nice letters, so we address those too because that's important. i think one of the benefits we have with the advances in technology is the people we serve and work for can now reach us directly and speak to us in realtime as opposed to the days gone by where people had trouble accessing their elected officials. with your indulgence, as you've yielded, given me time -- you haven't yielded the floor -- but as you've given me time i'd like to read a few of these letters i've received and e-mails i've gotten. the first is from someone named luis. he lives in cutler bay, florida, in south florida. here's what he writes. he writes there are so many companies with a large number of part-time workers. the latest company, trader joe's will lose her part-time health
benefits because of obamacare. she works as a substitute english teach tpher new jersey and the job does not offer health benefits to part-time substitute teachers. she has to be a full time teacher in order to receive health benefits. she decided not to leave her job at trader joe's because they offered her health benefits as a part-time worker. put yourselves in her own situation, with a a hard pill to swallow? what is she supposed to do noi now in this letter talks about a family member of hers that is a part-time teacher in new jersey but also works at a place called trader joe's, a restaurant. the reason why she works there is for the health benefits that it offers. now she's losing that. unfortunately, she's not alone. this is an article from "bloomberg" back on the 19th of september of this year. it highlights all these upheavals that are going on by private employers. ups is dropping coverage for employed spouses. i.b.m. is reworking its retiree
benefits. let me explain that one for a second. they're tb going to send their retirees to the exchanges. they said, the move was made to help keep premiums low for the rest of their workers that are impacted by obamacare. walgreens, the largest u.s. drugstore chain, has told 160,000 workers that they must buy insurance through a private exchange rather than continuing to have it offered by the company, by walgreens. this is not alone. stanford university researchers voiced concerns in a study last week. they wrote that the rising premiums could drive workers from employer plans to coverage under the health law, boosting costs for the government by as much as $6.billion. -- $6.7 billion. there are other examples of businesses doing this. talked about a trader joe's. that's a chosely held
supermarket chain. it said it would end benefits for part-time workers next year. this is the real disruption in real lives. so one thing is to stand here and have people debate about the theory of obamacare and what great things it might do for some people according to the supporters of this law. another thing is to put a human face on the story. we already know just from this e-mail alone of one person in america living in new jersey, a part-time worker and a worker at trader joe's who has lost hear benefits a will now be thrown into this uncertain world of exchanges because of obamacare. here's another e-mail. this one comes from kissimmee, florida, the home of walt disney world. this is from patty. "as mentioned in your letter" -- a letter i sent to secretary sebelius urging her to visit sea world to discuss the impact that obamacare will have when enacted in the near future."
"i am a part-time worker at valencia college." they are the backbone of retraining, the only access point of many of our people. if you are out there trying to support year family -- let's say you are a single parent trying to raise three kids and have to work during the day. community colleges offer one of the places where you can get an advanced degree and the skills you need. one of the best ways to improve your pay and economic security is to get an education. community colleges are an access point for people all over the country. i am a huge fan of community colleges. we have great ones in florida. valencia is one of the great ones. "my hours, too, have been cut from 29 hours to 25 hours to avoid any negative impact of the obamacare health care act. i have numerous e-mails from my supervisor and human resources stating that my hours are being cut specifically because of
this. i have lost the hours that made it possible to live in a severely -- on a severely reduced income and now know that i will never get those hours back. we have more people working and earning less. i am not really asking anything. i just like you to know what this government is doing to my ability to survive." this is not an emile from a millionaire -- an e-mail from a millionaire or a billionaire. this is an e-mail from a part-time worker at a community college with desperation that comes out from the e-mail. part-time worker losing hours. you know what those hours mean? four hours a week of paycut to someone? she writes about it. "i would just like you to know what this government is doing to my ability to survive." you want to know why a growing number of americans are starting to doubt whether the american dpreem is still alive? read this emaivmen e-mail. unfortunately, we're hearing stories about this all the time.
here's an article from cnbc published monday, 23rd of december, this week. "with open enrollment for obamacare about to begin, small- and medium-sized businesses are not hiring because of the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the new law, says the c.e.o. of the nation's fifth largest staffing company. companies are really not interested in hiring full-time people. that's the issue with obamacare expressed bob funk, telling cnbc's squawk box on monday. " he is the former chairman of the kansas city federal reserve. someone, the former auto czar at the treasury, mr. steve rattner, disputes his assertion and say, "i don't think with the aetch pro of the obamacare you see the numbers of people suddenly stopping hiring." mr. funk argues and counters, "we're out there on mainstream
and obamacare is affecting the job-hiring picture. it is affecting large- and small-sized businesses. we don't know what the rules are going to be. it is affecting businesses and pemplet hiring out there. that's why our industry is growing quite rapidly." so here you have a person tied to the government basically say, well, these guys out there don't know what they're talking bsm the numbers don't bear this utah out. then you have someone who remind them, i'm on the front lines much so mr. funk is on the front lines and he is very clear. "we are out there on main street and become being i obamacare ise job-hiring picture." this is from patty in kissimmee. "i have lo lost the hours that e it possible to live on a severely reduced income and now that i will never get those hours back as positions roadblock created by the -- as positions have been created by the extra hours."
they reduced her hours and created another part-time job to make up for it. this is the impact of obamacare. by the way, with all due respect to my clerks i will tel my colle member of the republican caucus is prepared to repeal obamacare right now. the debate we're having is about the tack tirks the right way to do t the one thing i would say what the last day has provided is an extraordinary opportunity to tell these stories. there's more. here's an e-mail from bill in panama city, florida. that's in northwest, florida. a great place for spring break if you are in college and can afford to go. maybe you've lost your part-time job and can't. "this is just a note to let you no he know that you can include me as another constituent who has seen my health care costs go up by over $200 a month. and i also just learned that my girlfriend, who works for a major corporation, is losing
their health care after she retires because of obamacare. i hope you will continue your fight to defund this disastrous bill." well, i wish, bill, that -- i obviously feel terrible for the situation you're facing and for the situation your girlfriend is facing. unfortunately, you're not alone. let me read you something that jim engel of fox news published on the 24th of this month, yesterday, right? he tells the story of andy and amy mangioni of louisville, kentucky, and of their two boys. he leads off by saying, "these are just the kind of people who should be helped by obamacare, but they recently got a nasty surprise in the mail. when i saw" -- this is a quote. "when i saw the letter, when i came home from work, described
it as a large red wording on the envelope and it said, your action required, benefit chairntion act now. he said, of course, i opened it immediately. and guess what that letter had in the mail? it had stunning news. his insurance, the insurance for his family, his two boys, whiffs wife and him, the insurance that they were buying in the individual marketplace, it was going to almost triple next year. from $333 a month to $965 a month. and in the letter, the carrier made it clear that the increase was in order to be compliant with the new health care law. mr. mangioni say, this isn't a cadillac plan, this isn't even a silver plan. that is high-deductible plan where i am assuming a lot of risk for my health insurance and nothing has changed. our boys are healthy, we're young. nothing has changed to warrant the tripling of our premiums.
" his wife adds, "well, i am the one that does the budget. eventually i've got that coming down the pike that i've got to figure out where we're going to cut, what we're going to do to afford a $1,000-a-month premium. the insurance carrier, humana, they declined to comment for the story, but the notice that they sent, it had a paragraph that sated following: "if your policy premium increased, you should know that this isn't unique to humana. premium increases generally will occur industry-wide. increases aren't based on changes in your health status, many factors go into your premium including a.c.a. compliance, which is obamacare, including the addition of new essential health benefits." robert zerkelbach, spoarksperson for american health insurance plans, which represents insure he is, explains, "for people who
currently choose to purchase a high-deductible, low-premium policy, that's more affordable for them, they are now being required by obamacare to add awful these new benefits to their policy." and that he says, is going to add to the cost of their health care and and health insurance premiums. this is a real-life story. it is not a letter from a millionaire or a billionaire. this is not the story of a millionaire or billionaire. this is a story of a husband, a wiervetion and two children -- a wife, and two children who are buying insurance as two individuals from the individual marketplace who will now have to cobble together another $700 a month and they have no idea how they'll do it. this is the real story of obamacare. here it is. these are the people we're supposed to be helping. these are the people that when they passed this thing, they went around telling people, we're going to help you get insurance. these are the people this is supposed to be helping. and look what it's doing. i wish that was the only eafnlings but i got an e-mail here from florida that says them, too. there's another e-mail.
this one from barbara in palm coast, florida. "i'm a master's level r.n. a nurse, who up until last week held a good job with good benefits. due to the many new restrictions on imloirks i have been reduced to part-time without benefits at age 64." it is starting to sound like a broken record. "my health care workers are being cut in hours due to obamacare. my company tried to offer me an insurance plan that i could afford to purchase, by i received a letter stating that it didn't meet the standards of the obamacare so i have until january ^1 to purchase more costly insurance or have consequences." this is terrible. this is a terrible, despicable larks she writes. and i agree. "that has damaged many more people." this is not from a millionaire or a billionaire. from the ink famous 1%ers that you hear these protests again much this is from a nurse in
florida. "i just want to live in a free country where i can work hard and support myself." "repeal this obamacare." well, you may ask yourself, is this really happening? people are losing access to their coverage? let me read you something from a conservative right-wing newspaper. "the new york times," september 22, 2013. "federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under president obama's health care law, but they rarely mention one big reason -- many insurers are significantly limiting the choitions of doctors and hospitals -- the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers. one more impact of obamacare. they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals and they are typically -- than are typically found in the commercial insurance plans. in a new study, the health research says that insurers pass
over schect providers in indiana, kentucky and tennessee among other states. in new hampshire, anthem blue cross and blue shield, a unit of we willpoint has touched off a furor by excluding ten of the states 26 hospitals from the health insurance plan that it will sell through its exchange. anthem is the only commercial carrier offering health insurance plans in this exchanges. let me tell you what this meefnltmeans.obamacare say, youd insurance, we're going to set up these government exchanges. and theoretically, not a terrible ievmentd you go online and shop between different countries. you find a price that works for you. you find a coverage that works for you. that's where you go. that's where people are going to be required to go. that's where the people that got cut off the wah walgreens insure have to go now. what are these companies doing? first, in states like shrks only
one insurance company applied. so there is no choice, no competition. the exchanges is one company -- anthem. number two, what are these companies doing in order to offer these plans? they're basically narrowing the doctors and the hospitals that will see you. you may say at least they get to go to a hospital or doctor. let me tell you where the problem is. remember what they said when this passed? if you have health insurance and you like it, if you have a doctor and you're happy with that doctor, you can keep it? not if you're on the exchange. because if they're narrowing the number of people, the number of doctors and providers, that means chances are you will no longer be able to keep going to the same doctor and same hospital you were going to before. now let's work that out. let's walk through this for a second. put yourself in the position of this nurse that wrote us. let's say you're chronically ill. let's say your child has asthma or some other condition. let's say you're just -- you
have four healthy kids but have to take them to the doctor at least once a year. you love the doctor you go to. they know your family, your history. when you have a problem you can call them on the phone, you get a call right back. it avoids emergency room visits, you can get your doctor on the phone. now you wake up and all of a sudden your company says to you, the insurance plan you're on right now, we're not offering it anymore. get it at the exchange. you go over to the exchange and find two things. one, it's more expensive. number two, your doctor ain't on the plan. that's a broken promise. that's specifically what they said this law wouldn't do and that's what it's doing. this is the real-life story of what's happening. you want to know why there's passion about this issue, you want to know why every republican member of the senate wants to repeal this thing, you want to know why privately some democrats wish it would go away? because of this. this is who we're fighting for. this is not just a fight against a bad law. this is a fight on behalf of
people across this country that are going to be hurt by this. i have no idea, these people who have written me, who are suffering, i don't know who they vote ford in the last election. -- voted for in the last election. i don't know if they voted for me in 2010. i don't know if they supported the law when it first came out. but i know they're being hurt by this. and i know they're being hurt by this in ways that will hurt all of us, that will hurt every single one of us. i talked about it earlier this morning. i repeat it today. there is nothing more important than preserving, reclaiming and restoring the american dream. it's the essence of what makes us special as a country. it separates us from the world. what is the american dream? it's pretty straightforward. this is a country where if you work hard and you sacrifice, you should be able to get ahead and earn a better life for yourself and for your family. does this sound like the story of a law that's making it easier for people to get ahead? does being moved from full-time to part-time work neighboring easier to get ahead? of course not.
does losing a doctor you're happy with make it easier to get ahead? of course not. does the fact that businesses are not hiring make it easier for business to get ahead because they're frayed of obamacare? -- because they're afraid of obamacare? does having your hours reduced make it easier to get ahead? of course not. if for no other reason this law needs to be repealed because of the impact it is having on the american dream. i will reiterate what i said on this floor as part of this process, you lose the american dream, you lose the country. what you have then, what you have then is just another rich and powerful country but no longer an exceptional one. the american dream is at the cornerstone of what makes us different and special, and it's being threatened by this. and that's why i feel so passionately we must do everything we can, everything we can to call attention to what this is doing and try to change it.
and i think if nothing else, senator, the great service of the last, what is it now, 19 hours, as your tie continues to loosen, if nothing else, i think people today across this country know more about this law and its impacts than they did a day ago. if nothing else, the people in this country are now increasingly aware of all the implications of this law on their lives, their dreams, their hopes and on their families. i believe this is just the beginning. and i hope that we can prevent these harmful effects from happening. but it doesn't sound like it. it sounds like there are still people here that are willing to shut down the government unless this thing is fully funded, unless we continue to pour your hard-earned taxpayer dollars. and the irony of it is for lewis in cutler bay, for patty in kissimmee, bill in panama city, barbara on the palm coast, palm coast, florida, for all the people in these articles that were sited, for the mangionni
family in louisville, kentucky. guess whose money is paying for this? yours. because of the stubborness of saying this is our law. the only way you can get relief from the negative impacts of this law is if you can afford to hire a lobbyist to get you a waiver. the only way you can avoid some of the disastrous impacts of this law is if you can somehow figure out a way to influence this administration to write the rules in a way that benefit you. that's wrong. that is wrong. and i hope we will do something about this. and i think the last 19-some-odd hours have been a huge step in that direction. senator, i'm sure that -- i guess my question would be to senator cruz, i'm sure you're getting letters like these from texas and across the country, given the events of the last day. this is what this is all about, isn't it? this is not a fight just against
a law. this is a fight on behalf of the people who are being hurt by it in the most fundamental way possible. it's hurting their hopes and dreams they have for themselves, for their family. it's undermining the american dream. is that not what this is all about? mr. cruz: i thank the junior senator from florida, and i would note that is precisely what this is about. this is a fight for the millions of men and women who are facing a stagnant economy, who are facing jobs that are drying up, or disappearing altogether, who are finding themselves being forcibly put in part-time work, being forced to working 29 hours a week or less, who are finding their health insurance premiums skyrocketing, and who are being threatened or facing already their health insurance being taken away. all of these are the very real consequences of obamacare right now for millions of americans. listen, there are people in this body who in good faith three and a half years ago could have believed this was a good idea.
it might work. i didn't think it at the time, but i understand that people in this body did. at this point with all the evidence, i would suggest that that case can no longer be made. that the evidence is abundantly clear. it's why the unions are jumping ship. it's why members of congress asked for an exemption. it's why it is now abundantly clear that this train wreck, this nightmare is hurting americans all over this country i will note a couple of things. first of all, i note that my assistant majority leader is on the floor, and i would make a request that either i -- i do not know if the assistant majority leader is in a position to speak for the majority leader or if he is not, i would make a request if the majority leader is monitoring this proceedings,
that he come to the floor because i would like to promulgate a series of unanimous consent requests, and i don't want to surprise the majority leader or the assistant majority leader. so i would like the opportunity to explain those requests before promulgating them. to give democratic party leadership an opportunity to think about it, spend time contemplating it, to make a decision whether they would consent or not. i would make a request, unless the assistant majority leader is prepared to speak for the majority leader, i would ask that the majority leader, if he can, i know his schedule is certainly very busy, but i would ask if he can to come to the floor so that i may lay out the unanimous consent request that i would like to promulgate. i would also note that for some time senator grassley from iowa has been waiting, and he has requested the time to raise a question. so if senator grassley at this point would like to ask a
question -- mr. durbin: mr. president? i would like to enter into a dialogue with the senator from texas without jeopardizing his control of the floor, if i could have consent for that purpose. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: the senator from texas, without yielding -- mr. cruz: on the condition it does not jeopardize in any way my control of the floor, i am amenable to that request. mr. durbin: first, i don't come in the place of the majority leader. he will speak for himself. we don't know what your unanimous consent request might be. if you would articulate it or describe it, i'm sure that we'll take it under consideration as we do with any requests from any senator. but this comes as a surprise at this moment, as you can understand. i just wanted to come to the floor and continue the dialogue which we started last night. after listening to my friend,
colleague, senator rubio describe a situation, i wanted to ask the senator from texas if i could ask him a question about the situation he described. senator rubio talked about the insurance exchanges and the insurance marketplaces and the fact that some of the lowest-cost health insurance plans that are being offered have limitations as to doctors and hospitals that a person can use under those low-cost plans. and i would ask the senator from texas -- i talked to him last night about judy, who is a housekeeper at a motel in southern illinois, at 62 years of age worked her entire life, has never had health insurance one day in her life. not once. never had it offered by an employer. never could afford it. now will be able to have health insurance for the first time in her life. and she qualifies under medicaid in the state of illinois. she won't pay for it. it's going to be coverage. in her case, even a limitation
of doctors and hospitals is a dramatic improvement over no doctor, no hospital, and relying on emergency rooms for her diabetes. so i'd ask the senator from texas, try to put yourself in the shoes of this woman who has worked her entire life. if you're being told you have a limitation on doctors and hospitals that you can use but you have health insurance, isn't that a dramatic improvement over a lifetime of no health insurance? that's what obamacare is going to offer to her for the first time in her life. to say that we shouldn't give her that opportunity is like someone saying if you can't fly first class, you can't get on the airplane. listen, a lot of people would be glad to sit back in economy if they could just make the trip that you and i can make because we're blessed with health insurance. so i would say to him, as you condemn obamacare, i go back to the question i asked you last night, judy, 62 years old, a
lifetime of work, diabetes, first chance to get health insurance. do you want to abolish the obamacare program that will give judy that first chance? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from illinois for that question, and i would respond threefold. number one, for judy, as you've described her circumstances, i would certainly support health care reform that increases competition, that increases free market alternatives, that lowers the rate of health insurance that is available to people by allowing interstate competition, creating a national marketplace. but in my view, any health care reform should empower individuals and patients to make health care decisions in consultation with their physicians, not having a government bureaucrat get in between them and their doctor. and if i may finish the remainder of my points, concomitantly you have told the story of judy, and i do think we should have reforms to address her circumstance.
but over the course of the last many hours, we have read scores, if not hundreds of stories, that are a small representation of the thousands or millions of people that are losing or at jeopardy of losing their health insurance right now. and they have to be balanced in this equation as well. and obamacare senior senator causing people -- and obamacare is causing people all over this country to lose their health insurance or be at risk of losing their health insurance. and i am sure if i were to promulgate the question to the senator from illinois, do you want all of these people who are losing their health insurance to lose their health insurance? all of the names that i read, i'm sure you would say no. but to date, no one on the democratic side of the aisle has proposed any way to fix that. let me make a second point and then i'm going to have a third point. and then if the senator would care for another question, i'm happy to do my best to respond. the second point, the senator from illinois made a reference to judy not needing to be in first class but being content to
be in coach. you know, i think that analogy is a powerful one, but what it really highlights is the special exemption that's been put in place for members of congress. because president obama has put an exemption in place for members of congress that says members of congress will fly first class, to use your airline analogy. but average americans who are being forced on to exchanges where their employers can't subsidize their premiums are not even flying coach. they're being put in the baggage department. and i will say i agree with the intent and the spirit of senator grassley's amendment to obamacare that was adopted. that is part of the law that the president is disregarding which is that if we are going to force millions of people to lose their health insurance, be forced into these exchanges, we should have skin in the game. congress should not be treated any better than the millions of americans we're forcing on to the exchanges. let me make my third point and then i'm happy to yield at that point for a question.
the third point is twice i have read in the course of this debate the letter from mr. who have farks the head of the teamsters. now, i assume the senator from illinois has read that letter. in fact, i expect the senator from illinois has had direct qufertions with the yoconversatf that letter, although i don't know that. and i would ask the senator from illinois, number one, has i read that letter? number two, does he think mr. hoffa is telling the truth? and, number three, in particular, does he agree with the following paragraph, "on behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, they can no longer stand silent in the face of obamacare that will destroy the very health and well of being of our members along with millions of other hardworking americans?" do you believe mr. hoffa is
telling the truth when he says that and if so, the democratic majority in this body have any plans, any proposals, any amendments to fix that problem for what mr. hoffa describes as millions of working men and women whose health care will be -- and the word he uses is "destroyed." i would happily welcome the senator from illinois's response. mr. durbin: i thank the snr from texas for this dialogue. first-class health care. let me tell how has first-class health care. the senator from texas has first-class health care. the snr from illinois has first-class health care. you see, members of congress, members of the senate and the house, under the federal employees' health benefit plan, the best health insurance in america -- we fly first class. our imloirk the federal -- our s 72% of the monthly premium. 150 million americans have that
benefit where an employer pays some share of t our pays 72%. we're lucky. we're fortunate. so are families, and so are staff. but what you're saying in abolishing obamacare, you not only want to fly first clarks you don't want other people to get on the plane. 50 million americans have no health insurance and you want to abolish the opportunity through the marketplace for them to buy affordable health insurance for the first time in their lives for many people. that's what it comes down to. don't say you want members of congress treated like everybody else if you are currently under the federal aviation administration -- under the fehb, are you currently you and your family covered by the federal employees' health benefit plan, which includes a 72% employer contribution from the federal government for your family's health care protection? mr. cruz: i appreciate the senator's question, but i will answer the senator's question when the senator first answers the three questions that i asked
him, none of which the senator has chosen to answer. have you head mr. hoffa's letter, do you agree with that paragraph, do you think he's telling the truth, and what if anything does the democratic majority purport to do about millions of working men and women whose health care, according to mr. hoffa, is being destroyed? because i would note, the senator from illinois made an allegation impugning my motives saying that i wanted 50 million people to be denied health care. let me be clear. that statement is categorically false. i want a competitive marketplace where health care is accessible, purchased across state lines, where it is personable, portable, where people have jobs so they can get health insurance and obamacare is what's denying health insurance to millions of americans. if you don't take my word for it assume you do not con contend tt mr. hoffa is being truthful?
mr. durbin: awr you are an attorney. the witness refused to answer his very own question. i've been approached by many labor unions. some of them have taft-hartley plans, some have trust fund plans, some have multistate plans and they need provisions made in the obamacare law to deal with their specific circumstances. under the ordinary course of legislative and congressional business, over the last three years, we would have addressed these anomalies in the obamacare program. sadly, we can't get anyone to come to the table from your political party. 42 or 43 times the house republicans have voted to abolish obamacare. not once have they proposed sitting down to work out any differences, work out any problemsing within lawsuit. i'm prepared to do that. i've told the labor unions, including mr. hoffa, the same. i know the administration feels
the same. but, unfortunately, those who are opposed to this plan want it to descend into chaos. they want as much confusion, as many problems as possible. they don't want to work to cover the 50 million uninsured in america. what you just described and said you could sign up for frankly is obamacare. we are talking about a marketplace. do you know how many companies will be offering health insurance in the state of texas under the obamacare plan? let me make sure i get this correct. it is my understanding, at least 54 plans are going to be offered in the state of texas. 54. choice and a marketplace for the first time ever for many people who were stuck with one plan or can't get into any plan. let me ask you this question, as we get back to this point: do you still believe that we should abolish that provision in
obamacare that says you can't discriminate against people with preexisting conditions who apply for health insurance? mr. cruz: i will answer that question, since i have not yielded the floor, i would like to make a broader point after that and hope his colloquy. we're operating under some time constraints, so i want to do what you asked, of detailing the unanimous consent request. and i also want to be respectful of both senator grassley and senator sessions who have been waiting to speak. you and i have engaged in multiple exchanges now and earlier. so let me answer your question. i believe we should repeal every word of obamacare. i think it has failed. i agree with james hoffa that on behalf of millions of working men and women and the families they support, the affordable care act will destroy the very health and well-being of our members along with millions of other hardworking men's. so i think we should repeal it. i think we should defund it in
the interim. it is a fight over defunding it. then i think we should adopt free market plans to lower prices, make health care more affordable, make it portable and allow it to go with individual -- dur did you now will the senator answer my questions, whether his family is protected by the government-administered federal employees' health benefit plan, the best health insurance in america, where his employer, the federal government, pays 72% of his monthly premium? will the senator from texas, for the record, tell us now and those who watch in debate whether he is protected and his family is protected? cruz cruces i am eligiblmr. crut but i am not currently covered under it. we in congress have first-class health care and under your analogy you want to stick judy in coach class. if you stick judy in coach class, guess what? members of congress are going
back in coach class. i don't think judy is in coach class. i think she is in baggage claim. mr. durbin: she is not on the plane. ruse crumr. cruz: you're concedg that the congressional health care plan is better than judy's under obamacare and you are saying that you support a special exem shong for members of congress that judy doesn't get. i disagree with senator grassley's amendment that we shouldn't be forcing millions of americans moo coverage that we're not willing to experience. i recognize the passion of the senator, but i would note that i have not yielded the floor. and i would like to describe the unanimous consent request, briefly describe the unanimous consent request that i would like to promulgate, and i would ask the assistant majority leader and the majority leader to confer with my staff and simply let me know if these requests would be amenable or not. i am not promulgating them at this time because i don't want to surprise leadership staff.
the first unanimous consent request that i would propose to promulgate is a request that we vitiate the cloture on the motion to proceed that is scheduled this afternoon and agree by unanimous consent to proceed to this bill. to my knowledge, i'm not aware of any senator in this body that opposes proceeding to this bill. i think all of us agree we should proceed to this bill. some of us think we should keep the government open and defund obamacare. but to the best of my knowledge, no one disagrees. if the majority is amenable, i would propose vitiating the cloture request and simply proceed. the second unanimous consent request that i would promulgate is, if all of the delays are put
in place, cloture on the bill would be scheduled to occur on saturday. now, in my view, in order to defeat cloture on the bill -- you know i want to defeat cloture on the bill; that is no secret -- i think the best chance to defeat cloture is for this vote to be visible to the american people, highly missable. and so, accordingly, i would be amenable to shortening the time for postcloture debate, such that that vote on cloture on the bill occurs on friday after i do not know rather than saturday. why is that? because i think friday afternoon a lot more american people are going to pay attention too whato what we're doing than on saturday. that may or may not be amenable to the majority. if it is, we can shorten this
time by a period because i think we have a better chance in prevailing in this fight if that vote -- and i note the majority leader is here, soy i don't know it -- so i don' i don't know ife heard the initial unanimous consent request, if it is amenable to the majority leader, we would negotiate the language with him. so the first one i offered, mr. leader -- and i have not yielded floor, but i am describing during my tiernlg the u.c.'s i would promulgate, the first would be to vitiate the cloture request on the one hand agree on the motion to proceed. because to my knowledge everyone in this body agrees we should proceed to this bill, although we have sharp disagreements on what we should do. the second u.c., if it is amenable to the majority, that i would suggest and i think the majority leader heard this as he was walking in, is to agree to shortening the time of postcloture debate such that cloture on the bill would occur friday afternoon rather than saturday. and the reason is -- and i'm
being very transparent about my reasoning -- i think it is better for this country if this vote is at a time that is visible for the whole country so that the american people have a voice in it. i think sticking it on saturday in the middle of football games disserves that objective. then the third object, that if the majority leader would be amenable i would put forward, as i understand it, under the rules of the senate in some 35 minutes my time will be automatically cut off as a new legislative day begins and begins with a prayer. but when i started this filibuster yesterday afternoon, i told the american people that i intended to ste stand until i could stand no more. i will observe to the majority leader, although i am weary, there is still at least strength in my legs to stand a little longer. so the third thing i would
simply ask is if the majority would consent to allow me to speak until the conclusion of my remarks and then begin the next legislative day and have the provider at the conclusion of those remarks? the majority says "no," then my time will end at noon under the rules of the senate. so it is entirely up to the majority whether to let me continue to speak or not. but given that i began by saying that i would speak until i can stand no more, i would ask that. i would note thawnders the rules of the senate, if the majority leader cares to ask a question, i can yield for a question in which he might share his views or if the majority leader want touses think about it, to discuss it with his staff, then i would note that the majority leader could simply convey to my staff, if any or none of those u.c.'s are amenable, then that's fine, we'll conclude at noon.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: is there a consent that i -- i just heard a lot of -- the presiding officer: no consent has been provided. mr. cruz: madam president, there's been no consent -- the presiding officer: the? er from texas. mr. cruz: i have the floor. i haven't yielded the floor to anyone. neither the majority leader nor any other member has the right of recognition right now. the majority leader wishes, he may ask me to yield far a question, and i might yield for that limited purpose. but other than that, no one has the floor, if i understand the rules of this body correctly. so -- the presiding officer: the senator is equity correct. mr. cruz: if the majority leader would care to ask a question, i would be amenable to yielding for a question. if not, that is his prerogative and i am happy to continue to talk about the issues of this country. mr. reid: i am without a question.
mr. cruz: very well. then, madam president, and i would simply moat to the majority leader, if those unanimous consent requests are amenable, i would ask that his staff convey that to my staff. and if not, i would ask that his staff convey that to my staff, so we know which way to proceed. regardl -- regardless, i want to make sure before we wrap up because i assume now in 31 minutes we'll be concluded, and i want to yield to senator grassley in just a moment because i don't want to miss -- i apologize senator grassley but i don't want to miss the opportunity to do something that in a limited amount of time is imperative that i do, which is to thank the men and women who have endured this, this baton death march. and i want to take a little bit of time to thank by name. i want to start by thanking the republican floor staff in cloakroom. i want to thank laura dove for her fairness, for her dealing
with crises and passions on all sides and for her effectiveness in the job. and this is an interesting occurrence to occur so early in her job and i thank her for her service. i want to thank robert duncan, patrick killker, mary elizabeth taylor. i want to thank democratic floor staff and cloakroom. meredith melody, dan tinsley. i want to thank the clerks and parliamentarians, the capitol police, the sergeant at arms and the secretary of the senate employees. and the parliamentarians, elizabeth mcdonough, lee hilldebrand, the journal clerk, the bill clerk, the daily digest, enrolling clerk, the chief reporter, "congressional
record" sylvia oliver, pam garland, joel breightner, doreen chendorain, mary carpenter, captions, joellen dicken, jim hall, sandra schumm. the sergeant at arms, secretary of national employees -- secretary of the senate pages, many of whom may have had to miss school and all those who work in the capitol complex. i want to thank my staff, many of whom all night have been here. and after this has proceeded i intend to enter their names in the record but i will not read them at this point in the chamber. i want to thank the democratic senators who have presided, senator baldwin, senator manchin, senator warren, senator donnelly, senator kaine, senator
schatz, senator baldwin, senator donnelly, senator durbin, senator heitkamp and senator markey. and i want to thank the republican senators who have spoepg -- spoken in support of our efforts. senator sessions, rubio, senator inhofe, senator enzi, senator roberts, senator vitter, very soon senator grassley. i want to thank the house members who have come over, representative amash, representative brown, representative hudson. i want to make special note of representative gomer who was here the entire night enduring this. i want to make a point particularly to the floor staff and everyone, y'all didn't choose this. i appreciate the hard work and diligence going through the night. that's not part of your typical job responsibility. we would not, i would not have imposed on your time and energy if i did not believe this was an issue of vital importance to the american people. but i want to thank you for your hard work and diligence and cheerfulness through what has been a very long night.
and i want to thank second to last senator mike lee. senator mike lee began this fight. senator mike lee has been here throughout the course of this battle. senator mike lee has been always cheerful, always focused, always ready to march into battle and always focused on the ultimate objective, which is serving the american people by standing and fighting to stop the train wreck, the nightmare, the disaster that is obamacare. we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for senator lee's principle, for his courage, for his bravery under fire. and i feel particularly honored to serve as his colleague and to consider him a friend. and last, i want to thank the american people. i want to thank people all across this country that watched on c-span, that tweeted, that engaged, that have been involved in this process because this is
ultimately about the american people and what this whole fight is about is whether this body, the democratic senators and the republican senators, will change the broken ways of washington and start listening to the people. that's what this fight is all about. and with those thank you's which i apologize but i felt obliged to conclude before 12:00 when my time will be cut off by force, i would note at this point senator grassley had wanted to ask a question. if he asks -- i am prepared to yield for a question if senator grassley wishes to ask me to yield for a question. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask my friend from texas to yield to me without losing his right to the floor for a colloquy. the presiding officer: would the senator so yield?
mr. cruz: with the reservation that i do not lose the right to the floor i am happy to engage in a colloquy with the majority leader. mr. reid: madam president, first of all, this is not a filibuster. this is is an agreement that he and i made that he could talk. let me say this. we're going to have a vote at about 1:00 today. and after that's over, we'll follow the rules of the senate. but my goal is to get this to the house of representatives as quickly as possible. i think a lot of this time has been, without talking about what's transpired to this point, i would hope that we could collapse the time dramatically and move forward so that the house of representatives can get what we're going to send back to them. you know, there's a possibility that they may not accept what we send them and they may want to send us something back. if we use all this time under the rules as they now exist --
mr. cruz: madam president, i did not yield my right to the floor. i was amenable to the colloquy but the majority leader is giving a speech. as i understand it, the majority leader is not going to consent to extend the time -- i have 24 minutes, and so i'm going to reassert my time on the floor since i have not yielded my time on the floor. mr. reid: if i could ask a consent agreement with the, with my friend. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cruz: there is objection. i'm sorry i cannot be asked to consent to an unnamed consent agreement. and given that the majority leader, as i understand it, is not going to consent to extend my time, then let me say quite simply to the majority leader that i will yield time to you for a question. when the majority leader is prepared to yield to the american people. but i'm not going to yield prior to that because senator grassley and senator sessions and senator inhofe are waiting to speak. and i believe they are endeavoring to listen to the american people. and if the majority leader is going to cut off and muzzle us
in another 24 minutes, then at this point i don't feel it is appropriate to allow the majority leader to consume that time. and so i will note to any of the senators who are here, if anyone would care to -- i know a number of you are waiting to ask questions, i'm prepared to yield to a question to any of you. mr. reid: i have a question i'd like to ask my friend from texas. the presiding officer: the senator from texas yield for a question? mr. reid: without losing his right to the floor. the presiding officer: without losing -- mr. cruz: i will yield for a question without losing the floor. mr. reid: from between 12:00 and 1:00, would my friend yield to senator mccain for 15 minutes of that time? mr. cruz: that question is asked, but it will not prove necessary absent the consent that i promulgated and i'm assuming that would not be acceptable to the majority because my time will end at noon
so there is nothing left to yield. stands under the senate rules when the new day begins my time -- as i understand it, under the senate rules when the new day begins my time yields. mr. reid: madam president, he has the right to talk from 12:00 to 1:00. i'm asking consent would he allow during that period of time senator mccain to speak for 15 minutes. mr. cruz: under my understanding, my time expires at noon, and absent a consent to extend it, i will honor the senate rules and allow my time to expire at noon. so there's nothing to yield. i will note senator sessions is standing, if he cares to -- mr. sessions: madam president? will the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i will yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: senator -- mr. reid: i -- the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. sessions: i -- mr. reid: parliamentary infirry, madam president -- parliamentary inquiry.
the presiding officer: does the senator from texas yield for a parliamentary inquiry? mr. cruz: given the majority leader has cut off our time for 20 minutes, i do not. the majority leader was welcome to come down during the past 20 hours and ask parliamentary questions at any time. i would note senator mccain did so, other senators did so. and at this point our time is expiring and i want to allow other republican senators who have appeared and asked to have questions to have the opportunity to do so. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: can i direct a question to my friend from texas? the presiding officer: does the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i would yield for one more question without yielding the floor. mr. reid: here's a question: you seem to not understand that you have after the prayer is given at 12:00, you have time until 1:00. during that period of time my question was because you still have the floor, would you yield 15 minutes of that to john mccain? mr. cruz: it is my intention, if the consent request that i asked is not agreed to, to
accept the end of this at noon under the senate rules. mr. reid: i understand. thank you very much. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: does the senator from texas yield? mr. sessions: for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: i thought that was a very gracious question, our offer the unanimous consent that we would vitiate the vote and 30 hours of debate. and you asked very little in exchange for it other than to continue, i guess, to talk -- mr. cruz: let me briefly clarify. i asked nothing in exchange for that. none of those were contingent on each other. those were three independent unanimous consent requests which are simply the majority leader wanted to consent to any of those. it wasn't an offer of horse trade. it was simply i think all three of those make sense. i think any one of the three of them make sense. if he chooses to reject them all
that's his prerogative and that's fine. i was just suggesting we not waste this body's time by doing so. succession session well, -- mr. sessions: well, to follow up on that, it seems to me that what you were saying would be an offer that would most everyone here would be pleased to receive and accept unless they have some surreptitious motive. in addition, i think your request to be allowed to continue to speak is reasonable. i think you've earned the right to ask that. you've now spoken and the american people are watching the fourth-longest time i believe any filibuster or just floor time has been held by a senator. i think that's a perfectly reasonable request to allow you to continue to express the concern that you've expressed. so i'm somewhat taken aback that it wasn't agreed to.
but to just again to make clear, it would seem to me little, if any, reason that they would object to that, majority would object to that. mr. cruz: well -rblgs -- well, i thank my friend from alabama. and i would note that unfortunately i'm not surprised that none of those consents were taken. i note the first two consents, one would think would be quite amenable. and yet throughout this debate the problem has been the majority does not want to listen to the american people and doesn't want to debate in front of the american people, particularly about the merits of obamacare. they don't want to talk about how obamacare is failing millions of americans. they don't want to talk about how millions of americans are losing their jobs, are not being hired. they don't want to talk about how millions of americans are facing being pushed into part-time work. they don't want to talk about how millions of americans are
either losing their health insurance or at risk of losing their health insurance. and so this process is all about, sadly, the democratic majority not listening to the american people. and the whole purpose of this filibuster was to do everything we could to draw this issue to the attention of the american people so the american people could be heard. and if the american people speak with sufficient volume, i continue to have confidence that this body, that the senators on both sides of the aisle will have no choice but listen. given that we have 16 minutes remaining, i want to -- i inadvertently omitted in my thank you's the doorkeepers and i don't want to do so. that was by accident. the doorkeepers tucker eagleson, don gazu tph*e s, liz berth garcia, sidney kessler, megan
sheffield. for any of the floor staff or others if i inadvertently omitted someone please accept my a poll skwreus. it is -- apologies. it is my intention to thank everyone. i want to note also that an additional member of congress, congressman steve king, joined us. i want to thank congressman king for joining us. and i i would note as we are in the last 15 minutes that if my friend and colleague, senator mike lee, would wish to ask a question, i would certainly be prepared to yield, as we are wrapping up. the presiding officerup.officere
gentleman from texas yield for a question? mr. cruz: yes. mr. lee: there have been those in the washington establishment who have been working against this effort. it was the american people who stood up in strong support of it. it was the american people who served as the heroes in this story, who spoke overwhelmingly to the congress, spoke overwhelmingly to the house of representatives, convinced the house of representatives to pass this great continuing resolution, one that keeps government funded, allows us to avoid a shutdown while defunding obamacare. that's what this effort has been all about. it's been about the people, the people we're trying to protect from this harmful law. across the country americans stayed up with us overnight forging this argument, helping us distribute this argument, choosing to forego sleep and to shoshow that there's support of this effort, and we greatly appreciate that. i want to take a moment to reflect on how al all of us who
have been up all night feel right now, with dry eyes, with a certain amount of grogginess and yet ultimately this is an exhilarating moment. it is exhilarating because we're inspired by the american people who have informed this message and have he i expressed their vs so well and forcefully with the american people. i am grateful to have been part of thisest. i ask you, senator cruz, as we come to the effort of this uphill climb that we've experienced over the last 24 hours, give or take, as we see that the cards are somewhat stacked against us, and today, although washington may appear to have the upper hand, don't we know that in our hearts, don't we know that the american people are with us? don't we know that the american people will have the fin final ? that, as george washington
predicted a couple of centuries ago, this country would always respect in good hand in the hands of its people? mr. cruz: i thank my friend, senator lee from utah. i think that's exactly right. at the end of the day, the united states of america, it is we the people that are sovereign. ultimately, every member of this body works for we the people. the reason there is such profound frustration across this country, the reason this body is held in such abysmally low esteem is that for too long washington has not listened to the american people. every survey of the american people -- doesn't matter what state, doesn't matter whether you're talking republicans, democrats, republicans, libertarians, the top priority is jobs and the american economy. and, madam president, you and i
both began serving nine months ago as freshmen in this body. i will tell you, my greatest frustration is during those nine months we have spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the commitment of we spent six weeks talking about guns and taking away people's second-amendment rights but when it comes to jobs and the economy in this united states senate, it doesn't even make the agenda. we spend mo time talking about fundamental tax reform, and virtually no time talking about regulatory reform. and when it comes to defunding obamacare, the single-biggest thing we can do to restore jobs and the economy, the democratic majority is not interested in that conversation. indeed, for the bulk of this conversation, with a couple of exceptions, the democratic majority chose not to engage in the debate. why? i would submit, because on the merits, on the substance, the
defense of obamacare is now indefensible. there may have been some, even many, who three and a half years ago when obamacare was adopted believed in good faith it was going to work. but at this point the facts are evident that it is not. at this point we have seen small businesses all over this country who are losing the ability to compete, who are not expanding, who are staying under 50 employees, who are not hiring and who are forcing employees to move to part-time work. according to the chamber of commerce, survey of small businesses, half of small businesses eligie for the employee mandate are either moving to part-time workers or forcing full-time workers to go part-time. this is not a small problem. this is not a marginal problem. this is a problem all over the country. you are a he talking millions of small businesses.
and another i believe it's 24% are not growing to stay under 50 employees. which means they're not hiring people. anyone struggling to find a job, small businesses provide two-thirds of all new jobs. small businesses are crying out that obamacare is killing them. and, unfortunately, the united states senate is not hearing their crisis. -- their cries. for the millions of americans that are facing the threat of being forced into part-time work, unfortunately, the united states senate is not hearing their cry. for the millions of americans whoewho are facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and facing the reality or myth of losing their health insurance, the united states nationa natiot hearing their cry. and the people who are facing this are not the wealthy.
they're not the powerful. they're not, as the president likes to say, the millionaires and billionaires. they're the most vulnerable among you they're young people. who are being absolutely decimated by obamacare. they are single moms who are working in diners, struggling but suddenly finding their hours reduced to 29 hours a week. the problem is, 29 hours is a week is not enough to feed your kids. single moms are crying out to the united states senate, fix this train wreck, fix this disaster. and for the struggling single mornlings fomoms, for young peo, unfortunately, the u.s. senate is closed for business. a senator: mada mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: thank you, mr. president. would the good senator yield for a question without yielding the floor? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. we have all but six minutes until time will expire.
mr. risch: i want to talk very briefly and sc request about the area you were talking about. my good friend senator rubio made reference to this story that i'm going to tell and i wish we had -- my good friends from the other side of the aisle are very good about bringing out pictures of people with sad faces. my only regret is i don't have a picture of somebody with a sad face. but i can assure you, these people are greatly sad saddened by this. we had a hearing in the small business committee and we brought people from around the country, small businesses, who were suffering under this terrible burden. you weren't here in the middle of the night when this abomination was shoved down the throat of the american people on a straight part-line vote in the middle of the night. we fought it tooth and nail, but now the american people are having to live with this. and it's good to be reminding them again what we have here. but this gentleman operated a business called dot's diners in
louisiana. he had -- i forgot -- six or seven diners. this bhans living the all-american dream. had quit a very good job, cashed in his retirement, borrowed money, he and his wife opened a diner. they did well because they worked hard, like you did all night tonight, sometimes they worked that hard. they opened more diners and were just about to open another one when the united states senate announced that they were going to force obamacare on the american people and on the small businesses of this country. they stopped immediately the plans to open a new one, and they then looked at what obamacare was going to cost them. and the cost of obamacare was substantially higher than the profits they were making in the business every year. so what they did is they went and got counsel and said, how can we get around obamacare? and what they were told is, if you have 49 employees, you're not outside of obamacare. so given that, what they did is they closed a diner and got down
to 49 employees and that's where they are. can you tell me, senator, i'd like to hear your thoughts on that and whether you believe that this is the way that the american -- the american government, the government that our founding fathers fought for and died farks is this what they should be visiting on the american people, particularly on small businessmen who are the backbone of this economy? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from idaho for his question and for his steadfast lee leadershid willingness to stand up an fight for the american people and stop this train wreck that is obamacare. my answer is, of course, no. small businesses all over this country are getting hammered by obamacare. the real losers are not even the small business owners. the real losers are the teenage kids that would get hired, the 56r7b8ghispanics, the african-americans, suddenly be
forced to reduce to 29 hours a week and denied the ability to get to the first and second wrung of the economic ladder. it is my flee this body, to the democrats, that they listening to the unions that are asking on behalf of millions of americans who are struggling to repeal obamacare, and that we not have a system where the rich and powerful, where big corporations and members of congress are treated to a different set of rules than hardworking americans. president obama has granted exemptions, illegally, to big businesses and members of congress. i don't think the american people should be subject to harsher rules. and so my plea to this body is that we listen to the american people, because if we listen to our constituents, the answer is, defund this bill that isn't working, that's hurting the american people, that's killing jobs, that's forcing people into part-time work, that's driving up health insurance premiums and
that's causing millions to lose or fear that they will lose their health insurance. i will close, as the time is wrapping up, by noting when at noon we will have a prayer, and i think it is fitting that this debate conclude with a prayer. because i would ask that everyone in this body ask for the lord's guidance on how we best listen to our constituents, listen to the pleas for help that are coming from our constituents. the final thing i will a he do l ask is the first two consents i mentioned. the majority leader may or may not agree. the first unanimous consent request, i ask unanimous consent that the cloture vote at 1:00 p.m. be vitiated, and that at the conclusion of my remarks, the motion to proceed to the resolution be agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: is there objection? the majority leader. mr. reid: reserving the right to object, mr. president, my friend has had an opportunity to
speak. i'll speak a longer period of time in a few minutes about his statements that he's made the last several hours. but he's spoken. at 1:00, the senate will speak and we'll follow the rules of the senate. i've said very clearly on a number of occasions, we should be moving quickly to get this to the house as soon as we can. i object. the presiding officer: shoarksd. mr. cruz: i will ask a second unanimous consent request. i ask unanimous consent that if a cloture motion is filed on the underlying measure, that cloture vote occur during friday's session of the senate, notwithstanding the provisions of rule i 22. mr. reid: mr. president, reserving the right to object, we're going to have a cloture vote at 1:00 and any consent agreements after that i would be happy to listen to them. at this stage, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
mr. cruz: well then it appears that i have the floor for another 90 second or so? and i -- and so i simply want to note to the american people who have so engaged that this debate is the in your hands. ultimately all 100 senators, all 46 republicans, all 54 democrats, work for you. the pleas from the american people, i can tell you in texas, are deafening. the frustration that the united states senate doesn't listen to the people is deafening. so i would call on all 46 republicans to unite, to stand together and to vote against cloture on the bill on friday or saturday. because otherwise if we vote with the majority leader and with the senate democrats, we will be voting to allow the majority leader to fund
obamacare on a straight party-line vote, a 51-vote partisan vote. the american people will understand that. and voting to give that power to the majority leader, i would suggest, is not consistent with the heartfelt commitment of all 46 members of this conference to oppose being abou obamacare. the only path is to stand together and oppose cloture. i would ask for my friends on the democratic aisle to listen to the -- the presiding officer: the hour of noon having arrived, pursuant to the order of -- the senate will be -- the senate will be in order. the senators know better and the senate will be in order. pursuant to the order of february 29, 1960, the hour of 12:00 noon having arrived, the senate having been in continuous session since convening yesterday the senate will suspend for a prayer from the chaplain.
the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our refuge and strength, may the fact that this chamber has reverberated with a marathon of speaking help us to remember our directed thoughts and words toward your throne in continuous prayer. for your nation. you have challenged us to pray without ceasing for the fervent prayers of the righteous avail much. during this challenging season, give our senators the wisdom to
make full and complete their commitment to serve the american people. equip our lawmakers with the power to clearly discern right from wrong so that integrity will govern their words and actions. lord, make them this day sentinels on the walls of freedom, worthy of the power and responsibility they exercise. guide and sustain them in the great unfinished task of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all people and nations.
we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, we all admire the senator from texas for his willing to talk. with all due respect, i'm not sure we learned anything new. the things he talked about have been talked about before on a number of occasions; in fact, endlessly. but it's been interesting to watch. but, mr. president, for lack of a better way of describing this, it has been a big waste of time. the government is set to shut down in a matter of hours, just a few days the government will close. and it's a shame we're standing
here having wasted perhaps two days, most of yesterday and a good part of today, when we could pass what we need to pass very quickly and send it back to the house of representatives. they're waiting for us to act. mr. president, it seems that in recent years rather than trying to get things done, we have a mind-set, in some people's minds, to delay and stall and try not to get anything done. i've talked about this before, mr. president. i do believe that what we have here with the so-called tea party is a new effort to strike government however they can, to hurt government. any day that government is hurt is a good day for them. it's, as i said before, the new
anarchy. mr. president, we should get this matter back to the house of representatives as soon as we can. they may want to change something in this, and we believe that if they have to do that, i don't think they should, but if they feel they have to, get it back to us. each hour that we waste is one less hour that we'll have an opportunity to look at this. our rules are different than the rules in the house. so this has been untoward, and i would hope that we don't r to waste more -- don't have to waste more time prior to sending this to the house. under the senate rules, there's lots of opportunities to waste time and that's what we do around here now. we waste time. the presiding officer has been here longer than any other senator, and he has seen how senators have worked together over the years to get things done, not to stop things from
happening. i haven't been here as long as the distinguished presiding officer, but i've been here quite awhile. i came to the congress in 1982, and i have seen the work with democrats and republicans. i look back with such pleasure at senator hatfield, senator danforth, an episcopalian minister from missouri, republicans both of them but they worked to get things done. the late john heinz, he was taken from us far too quickly in an unfortunate plane accident, but he was a senator who was a republican, worked to accomplish things for this country. john chafee, mr. president, if he did now what he did for me
and my reelection in 1992, he'd be booted out of the republican party. you know what he did then? he was chairman of the environment and public works committee. i sat on his committee and he came to me and said harry, i want you to get reelected. i'm going to help you get reelected. we'll do some hearings in nevada, and you can wind up conducting those hearings. that's how we used to work together to get things done. he liked the work i did on the committee. he was a republican, but he worked to get things done. he was a patriot. he was a hero in the coldest war, the korean war, brady's book written about the korean war, it was mostly about john chafee. so, mr. president, it's unfortunate that so much time is now spent wasted, not accomplishing anything. that's what this has been about, is wasting time.
the american people know they have been called upon by the junior senator from texas, they have been called upon time and time again, the american people, the american people. i'll tell you something, mr. president. the american people know that every hour that he has spoken or speaks pushes us another hour closer to a republican government shutdown. now i watched, witnessed a government shutdown. the gross national product was hammered by tens of billions of dollars quickly. we had a meeting this morning and the former secretary of treasury talked. he said i was here. i know all about that shutdown. he said the world had more confidence in the united states then than they do now, with government being hammered at every angle by the anarchists.
he doesn't know how badly we would be hurt with another government shutdown. he thinks it would be worse than the first one. so if anyone has any doubt that there are republicans rooting for a shutdown, they should just turn on the television. it's not all republicans, mr. president, and we know that. but they can look at tv and see that there are some working to almost single-handedly force us into a shutdown, because remember, bad day for government is a good day for the tea party. we could finish this bill within a matter of hours. but instead we find ourselves being pushed closer and closer to another shutdown. i know that my republican colleagues, the majority of them, mr. president, recognize this strategy for the foolishness that it is, and i'm glad to see them speak up.
two dozen of them have spoken up, saying, among other things, the dumbest idea that they'd ever heard, he had ever heard. another said that they were being forced into a box canyon and he could see no way out. one senator said it's political suicide. so, mr. president, i'm glad to see them speak up for common sense. and actions speak louder than words, and now in just 50 minutes it's time for common sense to prevail. i still have hope that we can avoid a government shutdown. but every hour we waste on this floor diminishes the hope of that. so, mr. president, following senator mcconnell, who wishes tpo speak now -- who wishes to speak now -- following senator mcconnell's remarks, i would ask the time until 1:00 be
equally divided until 1:00 p.m.. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: be divided with the two of us controlling that time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i want to start by acknowledging the work of my colleague, the junior senator from texas, who held the floor for nearly a day speaking passionately about an issue that unites every single republican. obamacare is wrong for america and needs to be repealed. the senator from texas is focused on the dangers of this law, explaining once again why we are all, all of us on this side of the aisle committed to overturning it. later this week, madam president, every republican will unite to vote against any amendment to add funding for obamacare. and this afternoon i'd like to
call on my colleagues across the aisle to once again listen to their constituents and actually join us in this effort. i'd like to ask senators to take their minds back to christmas eve 2009. some of us remember it very, very well. in the early hours of the morning the majority leader rammed through a massive 2,700 page takeover of the u.s. health care system against the will of the american people, against the principles of open and accountable government, and i would argue against their better judgment, because the people who voted for this bill didn't have to listen to all the speeches i was giving back there to realize it would never ever do what the president said it would. but they in the end obeyed the orders of the washington democrat leadership anyway, and
now our friends on the other side are seeing the results of their votes. obamacare is just as bad as many of us said it would be. and it's about to get a lot worse. this train is picking up speed, and there's a bridge out ahead. it's sort of like one of those wylie coyote cartoons, except this isn't funny, because these are people's lives we're talking about. we're talking about the college graduate who's faced with a choice between exorbitant premiums and government tax penalties. we're talking about the working mom forced to scrape by with fewer hours and smaller paychecks. we're talking about the small businesses that are unable to grow and hire more americans. and that's not even getting into the concerns about glitches that could expose personal information to fraud or about
americans losing the health care they like and want to keep. even the administration is having a terrible time spinning this law. just look at the cherry-picked report they released just today. about the best they could claim was that some premiums would be lower than projected. let me say that again. some premiums would be lower than projected. note i didn't say lower, but lower than projected. basically this law is a complete mess. so washington democrats have been able to brush the american people off back in 2009, just brush them off. but they have no choice but to deal with reality now. we've seen how this has worked out over the last four years. it's hard to blame them for looking back at their obamacare vote with a lot of regret. here's the good news. later this week the senate will
take up the house-passed c.r.. if passed, it will keep the government from shutting down without increasing government spending by a penny and -- and -- defund obamacare. for all for all those democrats who shanked it, here is your chance to get on the same page with the american people, because they overwhelmingly oppose this law. the american people overwhelmingly oppose this law and you can't open a newspaper these days without being struck by some new reason you should be opposed to it, too. remember, it's more than just our constituents who are opposed to obamacare. small businesses are opposed. even big labor bosses are souring on it. all we need are five democrats to show enough courage to stand against their party and with the american people on this vote. that's enough to pass the bill, enough to keep the government
open, and to keep obamacare funding out of it. before this train collides with reality. so i would urges my democratic colleagues to join us, the members of my conference, who are already united in our single payer significanc-- toour oppos. madam president, i yield the floor. -- yomr. durbin: madam presiden? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: came to the floor cephal times while senator cruz was speaking -- several times while senator cruz wa was speakg and addressed questions to him on obamacare. what i asked him about were the specific provisions in obamacare and whether he thought he agreed with them. he made it very clear he doesn't want any part of obamacare. what he has said is basically the provision in obamacare which says you cannot discriminate against a person or family
offering health insurance if they have a preerntio preexistig condition, that provision they object it. is there one of us alive that doesn't have someone in our family with a preexisting condition? asthma? diabetes? cancer survivors? high blood pressure? high cholesterol? think of all those possibiliti possibilities. it could be your child that disqualifies your family from big health insurance without the protection of obamacare. and senator cruz and the republicans would repeal that protection. there's also a provision in there that says you can't limit how much a health insurance policy will pay. why did we include that in the bill? because tomorrow morning's diagnosis of someone you dearly love could mean they're in for surgery or cancer therapy that
could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you may not have the coverage if your plan doesn't have the protection of obamacare. senator cruz and the tea party republicans would repeal that protection. senator stabenow from the state state oof michigan just held a s conditions. over 60% of the policies in america today do not offer maternal benefits for the baby and mother. over 60%. the obamacare provision requires every policy in america to protect new moms and their babies, every policy. senator cruz and the tea party republicans would repeal that provision. let me tell whales it includes. d. what else it includes. we say that faff young son or daughter frern out of college looking for a job and can't find one or only part-time one or one
that doesn't offer benefits, you can keep your son or daughter on your family health insurance plan up to age 26. that's peace of mind for a lost parents. my wife and i have been through that raising our kids. senator cruz and the tea party republicans would abolish and repeal that protection for family coverage. i'll also tell you that today across america they are announcing the marketplace insurance plans under obamacare. in my state, i.t. bee it's beend that the rates for families, for health insurance, are 25% below -- below -- what was expected. what it means for many families across illinois and across america for the first time in their lives there will be competition offering them health insurance for their families -- for the first time ever. repeatedly, i asked senator cruz about a friend of mine 62 years old, a hardworking lady in southern illinois.
she has worked her whole life. she's not lazy. she's tried everything she can. never had health insurance one day in her life, and she's 62. this gives her a chance for health insurance. and i've asked senator cruz, would you repeal that provision? and he said yes. that, to me, is what the debate comes down to. 50 million americans without health insurance, others with health insurance that doesn't there when you -- with health insurance that isn't there when you need it. people are looking to us to make sure the marketplace works for them and the competition works for them. that's what this is about. the sad reality is that senator cruz and the tea party republicans would rather shut down the government of the united states than to give these protections to american families. that's what it comes down to. i don't think all republicans on that side of the aisle agree with senator cruz. i think that's why repeatedly he's been appealing to his fellow republicans to stick with him. but many of them, as senator reid said earlier, understand
this is not a good message for america. we shouldn't be threatening to shut down the government over an issue. we shouldn't be threatening when it is clear that they don't have the votes on the floor to achieve that. and yet they're going to take us right to the brink. well, i think it's wrong. whether they're going to default on america's debt for the first time in history or shut down our government, i.t. goin it's goint america's economy. we need to create jobs and build a strong economy. this kind of desperation doomsday sensenbrenne scenario o kill jobs and hurt businesses. that isn't good for america's future. let's work together. there are ways to improve this bill, obamacare. i'm willing to sit down at a table any day of the week to explore those in a constructive, positive way. but simply threatening to shut down the government unless obamacare comes to an end, sadly, does not speak well of those who support it, and it
certainly doesn't address the certificate united states issues that we face -- address the serious issues that we face in this country. i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the sno senator from alabama. mr. sessions: we've had a, i think, national discussion and the american people have begun to focus on what is eminent, and that is the implementation of the obamacare legislation that is going to be a disaster, that is not prepared and as senator baucus, the chairman of the finance committee said, would be a train wreck. that's where we're heading. and the democratic majority has viewabsolutely refused to allowy amendments, legislative real estatlegislate --legislative ree problem. that's the problem we have here. senator mcconnell recalled how the past year on christmas eve -- and it was against the will
of the majority of the american people. and i remember senator scott brown from massachusetts ran against the health care to fill the vacant senator kennedy's seat. and he campaigned and said, you elect me in liberal massachusetts, and i'm going to kill health care. and republicans hadn't been elected in the senate in massachusetts in decades, and he won. and he was prepared to kill the legislation, providing the single vote that would deny them the 60 votes that they had to have to pass it. so they were able to rush it through before he could take office through the reconciliation process and move it into n. that fashion. it had problems. it couldn't been fixed otherwise. they were able to do that. so i want to recall to the american people the power, the force that was used to pass this bill, despite the consistent
pleas of the american people not to do it. i haven't forgotten that. i don't think the american people have. and so what has happened now? the senate refuses to discuss it. they don't want to discuss it because they don't want to enter into a legislative process that you would think would be perfectly sensible. the bill was passed, what, in 2009. i.t. iit's now about to hammer d the impact -- negative impacts are quite clear. it is about to hammer us, and they refuse to bring it to the floor. and so the house funded the united states government. they've sent a bill to the senate that funds the united states governmentment, excep, et doesn't fund the obamacare care part, requiring us to confront this issue once again. so what does the majority say and what does the president say?
they say, you're shutting down the government. we will -- basically they're saying, we will shut down the government. we will never pass anything that allows us -- that makes changes in this bill. we won't send back a compromise. we won't agree to have hearings and discuss how to fix it and make it better. no, absolutely. we're going to use the brute power of the majority party in the united states senate to deny that process. and i don't think that's right. let me just say, it's not a little by thety matter. my friend here -- it's not a little bitty matter. frendle here who imy friend has a tough job. in nevada he was asked, do you pleeive in a single-payer for health care in america. the quote i saw was, yes, yes, absolutely yes. yesterday in the budget
committee, i'm ranking republican on that committee, one of our he is schemed democratic colleagues when this matter came up said, i believe in a single-payer. in the budget committee earlier in the year, senator sanderse says this bill is not going to work. the only thing that's going to work is a single-payer. senator sanders, as we know, is known at least in the past as a socialist, and run as a socialist. so under the leader in the house, nancy pell low circumstance has said she believebelieves in the single-p. president obama in 2003 clearly said he favored a single-payer health care policy for america. what does that mean? who is that payer? i asked senator cruz that. he said, of course, the pair is the united states government. -- the payer is the united states government.
what they're proposing, what they desire, what they intend to impose on the american people, because they had a brief shining moment -- they had 60 senators in this body. they were to ram through a fundamental change in the health care policy of this country and the american people do not want it. and senator cruz didn't waste time. senator cruz raised this issue in a way i hope resonates throughout this country, just how serious it is the health care question facing our country. it is fundamentally the biggest change in government, in the size of government, we've had in decades. i guess since at least medicare, maybe bigger than medicare. and they say it's paid for. don't worry, it's all paid for. the american people know this can'ting so. how can you do all this and not
cost money? well, we've got a score from the congressional budget office. over the life of this bill, they've gimmicked it up to make it look like there's an advantage in the short term, but it's really not. i'm going to do you want that. but over the lifetime, the 75-year study that they do, it's going to add $6 trillion to the debt of the united states. that's close to how much our unstable social security will add to the deficit of america. so we've got social security, we've got medicare that's even larger unfunded mandates than social security over the next 75 years, and we're adding another $6 trillion to it? and the american people don't want it. well, this was just a recent paper from the university of
chicago economist case can i mulligan found that by 2015, a little over a year from now, the work disincentives in obamacare will have essentially erased all gains in labor productivity over the last decade. we know this legislation is hammering the american economy. do you not listen to the colleagues? i travel my state in august. i had several meetings with small businesses. it just pours out. businesses are trying to keep their number of employees below 50 so that he won't be impacted. -- so they won't be impacted. they are putting people on part-time. let me just say, we've never seen this in america. it's never happened to us before in our history, to my knowledge, nothing close to it. we've had marginal job gains
since january, hampered fundamentally by a lot of things but obamacare being one of them. clearly one of them. but more dramatically, 77% of the jobs that were created in this country since january were part-time. not covered in many ways by the obamacare matter. that's clearly, we're being told that repeatedly that businesses are hiring people part time to avoid the mandates of this terrible, disastrous legislation. and so they've just decided in for a penny, in for a pound as james carville said, i guess. we're going to stick and we're not going to allow it to come up for improvement. we're not going to allow it to come up for debate to see how -- i know the republicans have all indicated they support a way to deal with preexisting illnesses
in america. we can work on that. we can do a deal, legislation, so that young people can stay on parents' policies longer. those things are all possible. but what about people not getting jobs? what about people getting part-time jobs with no health insurance? this is not a waste of time. write it down. this is just the beginning. as john paul jones said, we've just begun to fight. we are not going to allow this country to socialize medicine. that's what the goal is. that's what the goal is. and we're not going to allow it. we're going to fight it, fight it, fight it. and we're going to demand that this legislation come back so it can be improved and made to work, and it's not working now. it's a train wreck. and it's hampering this economy. a famed economist said
yesterday, testified at the budget committee, mr. meltzer said he first testified before congress in 1949. he was so good and so clear. i think he's 91, one of the most distinguished economists in the last 50 years in congress no doubt. he said 70% of workers being hired part time is directly attributable to obamacare. he said it's bringing down employment rates and is creating uncertainty in the economy, of which there is no doubt. i don't think anybody can deny that. and people are losing jobs, and they're going on part-time jobs, and it's hammering the economy, creating uncertainty, a lack of growth in the economy, and it's going to continue to do so. and rates have gone up.
so we can improve the current system of health care. there is no doubt about that. but i'm telling you we do not need to have a system of health care in america that is run by the united states government. we do not need to do that. so i say we can all disagree about the right procedures to move forward in this body, but senator cruz stood courageously and he's highlighted that matter and it served a valuable national purpose. i thank him for it. i'm telling you it is time for us, all of us, to confront the reality that this thing is not working. it's hurting america. it's got to be fixed. and we're going to insist on it as time goes by. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york.
mr. schumer: how long does my colleague wish to ... okay, i'll ask unanimous consent that the gentleman be given 15 minutes, and then i get on the floor for the 5 minutes after him. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. schumer: not 15 minutes of our time. 15 minutes of their time. the presiding officer: the minority does not have 15 minutes. mr. schumer: okay. then i withdraw the last -- mr. reid: he can have, to make up whatever time, he can take it from us. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: so just point of information, so i'm in order after the senator from arizona? the presiding officer: correct. mr. schumer: okay, thank you. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, i won't take a lot of time here on the floor. the floor has been well used over the last day or so.
i would like to make sure that my colleagues and especially those who are not here -- who were not here in 2009 understand that there are many of us who are opposed to obamacare as it's called, the affordable care act, and the opposition that we mounted in 2009 is a -- 234n 2009. it's a matter of record, to start with, the senate finance committee considered the affordable care act over several weeks and approved the bill on october 13 of 2009. at that time, members of the finance committee submitted 564 amendments. 135 amendments were considered, 79 roll call votes taken. 41 amendments were adopted.
then the senate health, education, labor and pensions committee approved that -- the affordable care act by 13-10 after a month-long debate, 500 amendments were considered, more than 160 republican amendments were accepted. and then it came to the floor of the senate, and the affordable care act was on the floor for 25 straight days, including weekends between thanksgiving and christmas of 2009. 506 amendments were filled -- were filed, 228 of which were republican. 34 roll call votes were held. most roll call votes resulted in party-line votes, including a motion which i had to commit the bill to the finance committee for a rewrite. the final passage of the bill, because of our insistence in exercising every reasonable parliamentary procedure we cou
could, took place on christmas eve of 2009, much to the discomfort of many of my colleagues. but we fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost, and we lost, one of the reasons was because we were in the minority. and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation. but i couldn't -- i was extremely proud of the effort that we on this side of the aisle made to attempt to defeat what we thought was a measure that was not good for america. and it was an interesting debate and i think an educational one. we had a lot of -- i see my friend from illinois here. on several occasions, he and i basically had debates on the floor of the senate, which of course i won every one. but the fact is -- the fact is
that this -- this legislation was hard-fought, it was a legislative process, i didn't like the end of it but i'm proud of the effort that we made and, frankly, the other side of the aisle allowed that debate to take place.and again and again, we finally finished up on december 24 of 2009 at 7. at -- at 7:05 a.m. so to somehow allege that manufacture us are not or haven't fought hard enough i think does not com -- many of us are not or haven't fought hard enough i think did not comport with the action that took place on the floor of the senate. now, many of those who are in opposition right now were not here at the time and did not take part in that debate and i respect that. but i'd like to remind them that
the record is very clear of one of the most hard-fought, fair, in my view, debates that has taken place on the floor of the senate that the time that i've been here. and then i'd remind my colleagues that in the 2012 election, obamacare, as it's called -- and i'll be more polite, the a.c.a. -- was a subject of -- that was a major issue in the campaign. i campaigned all over america for two months everywhere i could, and in every single campaign rally i said, "and we have to repeal and replace obamacare." well, the people spoke. they spoke, much to my dismay, but they spoke and they reelected the president of the united states. now, that doesn't mean that we
give up our efforts to try to replace and repair obamacare, but it does mean that elections have consequences and those elections were clear in a significant majority that a majority of the american people supported the president of the united states and w renewed his stewardship of this country. i don't like it. it's not something that i wanted the outcome to be. but i think all of us should respect the outcome of elections which reflects the will of the people. so we just went through a -- a long, many-hour -- i can't call it a filibuster because a filibuster is intended to delay passage of legislation. there was no doubt that there was a time certain that -- that time on the floor would have to
expire, so i guess the kind of dispiks depiction i can say wass extended -- extended or t exteny that took place on the floor of the senate chvment is the rightt of any senator to do and i respect that right. and obviously the longevity of the discussion was something that was certainly admirable. but during the course of that discussion conducted by my friend from texas, he said -- quote -- "if you go back to the 1940's nazi germany, look, we saw in britain nevil chamberlain who told the british people, except the nazis, yes, they'll dominate the continent of europe, but that's not our problem. let's appease them. why? because it can't be done. we can't possibly stand against them." and then he went on to say, "i
suspect those same pundits who say defunding medicare -- obamacare can't be done, if it had been in the 1940's, we would have been listening to them; they would have been saying you cannot defeat the germans." i -- i resoundingly reject that allegation. that allegation, in my view, does a great disservice -- a great disservice for those brave americans and those who stood up and said what's happening in europe cannot stand. when the ship land -- was turned back and the passengers on that ship were sent directly to the gas chambers, when czechoslovakia fell and the -- and the slaughter continued, there were many who raised their voices. and then there were those who went to war because of the
barbaric and great threat to civilization and everything we stand for, amongst them were my father and grandfather. i do not agree with that comparison. i think it's wrong, and i think it's a disservice to those who stood up and shouted at the top of their lungs that we cannot appease and that we must act. and we did act. and it's a disservice to those who did act. now, i -- i spoke to senator cruz about my dissatisfaction about his use of this language and he said he only intended it to be applied to pundits and not to members of the senate. i find that a difference without a distinction. i find that something that i think i had to respond to. i do not -- do not begrudge
senator cruz or any other senator who wants to come and talk as long as they want to or as long as they can, depending on the rules of the senate, but i do disagree strongly to allege that there are people today who are like those who, prior to world war ii, didn't stand up and oppose the atrocities that were taking place in europe. because i have an open and honest disagreement with the process of not agreeing to move forward with legislation which i agree with, which was passed through the house of representatives, and comparing it to those who appeased, who were the appeasers, as senator cruz described them, is an inappropriate place for debate
on the floor of the united states senate. i thank my colleagues. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: would you be kind enough to tell us the state of time remaining? the presiding officer: there are 15 minutes remaining to the majority. no time remains for the minority. mr. durbin: senator schumer is going to come to the floor shortly and as soon as he arrives, i'm going to yield to him, but i would just like to say, in response to senator mccain, senator mccain, his father, his grandfather and his son, i'm sure as well as other family members, have made an extraordinary contribution to this country. and i know the pride that he's
taken. i am proud to count him as a friend and fellow colleague in the united states senate. and, yes, we have debated and i think at least to a draw on several occasions, and i respect him very much even when we disagree. and i know that he -- his statements were heartfelt. we started in congress with senator reid and senator mccain and i together in the house in 1982, and i hope that his statement is taken for face value, that we respect very much all of those who have stood up and fought for america. and though we may have many differences politically on the floor on issues, we will never question those who have risked and given their lives in defense of this great nation. madam president, i -- at the risk of taking more time than i should, i do want to say a word, though, that at the conclusion of this debate, we will have an important vote here on the floor of the senate. it's a vote on cloture on the
motion to proceed. and basically what it says is this -- shall we proceed to consider the bill that was sent to us by the house of representatives? the bill that was sent to us is not one that i agree with. i hope we can change it. but i certainly believe it would be a serious mistake for us not to give the 60 votes necessary to proceed to debate on this bill. that would literally bring us to a point where the government faces a shutdown. i don't want that to occur. whatever one may have as a position on affordable care act or any other provision, i hope that we have a resounding, positive, bipartisan vote to proceed to the debate. 30 hours after that, we'll vote on the motion to proceed, and then we will talk about bringing this bill to a close. senator reid has made it clear that he wants to move this through as quickly as possible, in an orderly fashion so that everyone has a chance to state their positions on the important
issues that are before us. what i feel about it is very basic. first, we have a responsibility to fund this government. one of my assignments here as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee -- it's an awesome assignment -- almost 60% of almost all the domestic discretionary spending of the united states government goes through this one subcommittee. it funds our department of defense and our intelligence agencies. and any failure or any reduction or delay we have in bringing this matter forward can jeopardize their important activities securing the safety our nation. i see that my colleague, senator schumer, has returned, and i yield the floor. mr. schumer: thank you. and, first, i thank my colleague from illinois. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. i thank my colleague from illinois for his courtesy. i thank the senator from arizona for his outstanding remarks, as usual. now, for 21 hours, madam president, we've heard the
senator from texas hold forth. what has he accomplished? he's alienated many of his own colleagues. he has taken 21 hours unnecessarily -- although he's entitled to speak when he wants, because the vote would have occurred whether he said 10,000 words, one word or no words. so, as leader reid said, it's not a filibuster. but most of all, he's shown the american people what he is willing to do. we all know the senator from texas has very strong views about obamacare. fair enough. that's why we have a senate. there's a time and a place to debate them. but he, in his view that he is right and everyone else is wro wrong, is willing not only to hold forth on the senate floor in a meaningless exercise, but, more importantly, urge his
colleagues to hold the american people hostage till everyone agrees with his view. he wants to hold the cancer patient hostage who won't get n.i.h. treatments if the government shuts down. he wants to throw the construction worker out of work, who's doing a job that is federally funded and won't be funded if the government shuts down. he wants to tell the recipient of social security that they may not get their checks if there aren't enough people at the centers to send those checks and make sure they get to the right place. because he wants to shut the government down. the senator from texas has passionate views. fair enough. but when the senator from texas thinks he is so right that he can trample on the rights not only of his own colleagues here,
who are in a bit of a tizzy about what he has done, but far more importantly, on the needs of the american people, something is wrong. you know, madam president, in this country, we have always he ieskewed ideologues, people who are sure they are so right that they don't listen to anyone else, they don't care about anyone else, and they don't care about the damage they cause as they pursue their goal. that seems to be what the senator from texas is doing. and i was appalled last night when he tried to make the analogy to world war tw world wd hitler, to somebody who lost relatives in the holocaust. to compare the two is absurd. and i know my colleague from arizona mentioned that as well. and i also was surprised that he
used the book "green eggs and ham" as he read to his daughters. because anyone who knows that book knows that the moral of that book is -- try something before you condemn it; you might actually like it. the main character in "green eggs and ham" resisted green expegz ha -- eggsand ham. maybe if he were a senator, he would stay on the floor for 21 hours. but maybe when he tasted green eggs and ham, he would actually like them. maybe senator cruz, as the president's health care law goes into effect, you may actually find that you and your constituents actually like t. so the bottom line, madam president, is very simple. there's a time and a place, as the scriptures say, we will certainly debate in the 2014 elections obamacare. i would note that we did in the 2012 elections and not a single democrat who voted for obamacare
in this senate lost. every single person who was up for office had voted for obamacare and was not defeated, even though that issue was used against them over and over again. you want to have that election again in 2014? fine, we w welcome it. and by the way, senator, we welcome it in 2016 as well. you want to have a debate on the floor of the senate about obamacare? fine. but don't -- don't -- hold not just this body -- because your exercise was meaningless -- don't hold the american people hostage simply because you're so sure you are right and everyone else is wrong. don't hold the social security recipient hostage. don't hold the road worker hostage. don't hold the person who depends on inspectors who
inspect our food or patrol our borders hostage. debate obamacare all you want, but, please, don't threaten to shut down government -- shut down the government because you can't get your way. i yield the floor. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i would ask if it's in order for me to ask consent to yield back the remainder of our time and start the vote? the presiding officer: that would take consent. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that be the fact.
a senator: i object. mr. reid: what is the objection? mr. reid: i renew my consent. srthe presiding officer: is thee objection? without objection. the clerk will robert the motion to invoke -- report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators under provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, meesh move to bring to a cloture to debate to proceed to calendar number 195, h.r. jez 59, a joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.j. res. 59, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close?
mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we now start 30 hours. i would hope that we could yield back a vast majority of that time. i have no problems. senators are allowed to speak under what the rules are. everyone knows what they are postcloture. but i would hope that we could expedite this. we have a lot to do and we should get there as quickly as we can. as i've indicated before, we -- every hour that we delay here is an hour closer to shutting down the government. and there are all kinds of articles written today about the disaster of that. closing the government will hurt our gross domestic product by tens of billions of dollars just like that. and this is leading up to the real battle that we'll have, raising the debt ceiling -- that to have the government pay their bills, which we've already incurred. so we'd hope everyone would keep that in mind and, again, as i
said at some length earlier, we've wasted enough time of the american people the last few months. let's start moving forward and get things done rather than just stalling, stalling. everything is a big, slow, slow walk. we've got to get past that. mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, i guess i have to disagree with the majority leader in saying we're wasting tiesm wasting ti. i think we've been discussing one of the most important issues on the minds of the american people. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, i certainly don't think we've been wasting time. we've been talking about an issue here that is on the mind of every american, as we are careening towards implementation of the obamacare health care plan.
we have heard from senator cruz and others, and we will be hearing from all of us on the republican side of the aisle, why we object and why we are working so hard to open the do door, to repeal, to replace, to correct the inequities that exist in this particular legislation. we've had discussions about this in our caucus. we're all prepared to come and to speak. yesterday i gave senator cruz credit for being the first through the door. he chose to use all of the 30 hours. that is his right as a senator. he brought to the attention of the american people the issue which we're debating here.
i think he made some very persuasive arguments in that regard. i want to address some of that in a minute. he also said that we need to start listening to the people. well, listening to the people is what all of us have done. we've heard their concerns. now as this program is rolling out and people are finding out what the specifics are, famously said by the then-majority leader of the senate that after it's passed, we'll learn what's in it. well, it was passed, passed without any republican support. we're now learning what's in it. i don't want to take the time -- i think the majority leader's point about moving this along so that we can get to the point war, where we can get this back to the house instead of sending it back monday, the day we run out of money at midnight to have
more opportunity to go back and forth a resolution to this issue, i think that's important. so i will shorten my remarks in that regard. but i have heard from the american people. i've heard from hoosiers. in fact, while i wasn't here when congress passed the health care law, and i wasn't here when it was fixed in the back rooms and structured to remake one-sixth of our entire economy, i was watching with dismay over are what was happening -- over what was happening. i was watching the world's best health care system, people from all over the world, come here for their health care, provisions that they have, any kind of a crisis. i was watching that being wrapped into one gigantic piece of legislation that tried to take one-sixth of our entire economy and structure is into a
law, which as we're finding out, just simply isn't working. i have testimonials, been all over the state of indiana. during my campaign year of 2010, this was the year. this was the issue, and visited with providers and hospitals and benefit -- and patients and those receiving benefits from our health care system. it was the issue, and i can guarantee you, i wouldn't be here today if the people of indiana thought this was a good bill. that this was in their best interest, that this was in their best health care interests going forward. and i've continued to do that traveling across the state, meeting with people, providers, citizens on the street. they pour their messages in by the hundreds every day during this last few weeks relative to this that issue we're debating right now. i spent the weeks of the recess back in indiana talking to people about this. so it's very important that we not just systemly rush this
through or wasting time. wasting time is certainly not the case. i take a back seat to no one in terms of my desire to replace this bill with something far more sensible. i have a -- i've offered a number of proposals which i think would be more sound, sensible, -l quality-effective health care proposals that many others also put forward. to simply say there's nothing we can change, there's nothing we can address here is to deny the very own conclusions of many of our colleagues who originally voted for this or who are still supporting this bill, the so-called train wreck coming down the line, we've got to fix this, we've got to make adjustments to this, we've got to modify this. yet, when we get to the point where we have the opportunity to do that, the doors slam shut. it's all or nothing. my way or the highway, as someone has said.
that's the story out of the white house. what i would like to share here, though -- and i know my colleague from oklahoma is going to go into more detail -- as we work through this, yes, we've had a difference of opinion in terms of tactics, of how best to achieve this. the goal is, of course, to replace it. the reality that we have to live up to and recognize is it's a hard truth that we're a minority here in the united states senate, the republicans. those of us who are united, every one of us, 46, 46 is short of 51, and it needs 51 in order to make a change, we have seen no evidence whatsoever of any democrat that's willing to cross the aisle and join with us in trying to bring some constructive changes to this health care bill, to try to address the situation which is coming down upon us and coming down on the american people in a
way that they absolutely do not support. we're going to need five of those to cross that aisle and join us in a vote if we're going to make a difference, if we're going to have the opportunity to do what all 46 of us who like to do and what i think the majority of the american people would like to do. i can speak -- i can't speak for the people in states outside of my state, although i read the news, and i think the story is the same. but i can speak for the people of indiana, the sound majority of people in indiana, hoosiers, see this bill as a disaster, a disaster for the economy, a disaster for their medical future. it's not working. we read about it every day. the exchanges are not put in place. the exemptions and the waivers shamelessly given by the white house to certain people that get their ear, leaving others in the lurch, the broken promises that have been broken repeatedly on the pwaeufsz what has been
said -- basis of what has been said about what this bill will do, what it will provide and how it won't hurt and there will be no negative impact, the broken promises are too long to recite all of those. i'm keeping a collection of that. it's pages of promises of what this bill is and what it will do and how great it is. "fabulous" was one of the words. and none of those promises have been kept. and so that's why we're here fighting, fighting hard to address this issue. but we can't do it when we're a minority. we can't achieve it. it's a hard truth. it's a reality. and without five people crossing the aisle, we're not going to be able to go forward. and in the meantime we're going to shut down the government. and i want to talk about shutting down the government. it hasn't been talked about here. we haven't looked at what is the end result of all this. and so as we determine, as we work through, as we decide how
to move forward tactically to achieve what we want to achieve, knowing that the president of the united states is simply -- i don't believe he said, gee, americans, i'm sorry. there was a big mistake to put forward that health care bill. give me the pen. let me sign the bill that repeals this. we'll start over. we'll work together. we'll do it bipartisan this time. i haven't heard that coming out of the white house, and i don't expect to hear that coming out of the white house. i've heard exactly the opposite. and i haven't heard that from our friends from across the aisle. exactly the opposite. so the reality is that we have to then determine how we go forward with this. some of us would like to take a vote. we would like to put members on record. on record as to whether they support this or not support this. and we would like that record to be put forth to the american people, and in the next election they can decide who they want to send back. do they want to send back
somebody who supports obamacare or do they want to send somebody back here who opposes obamacare? because the reality is we're not going to go for a year with a government shutdown. and i want to talk just a little bit about the consequences which i'm not necessarily advocating any particular going forward here at this point. but i think we need to weigh some of this information in terms of what we do so that we understand the reality that exists here, the hard truth that exists. number one, should should -- she government will not stop obamacare. will not stop obamacare. the congressional research service, under the request of senator coburn, who will be speaking next, has given us a nonpartisan report, factual report back that simply says the majority, the significant majority of the funding for obamacare is not under our control. it's mandatory.
it's automatic. the taxes, the 13 or 14 taxes in this bill don't get stopped, so the american people keep getting taxed for this legislation, and more than half of it, significantly more than half of it -- senator coburn i think will go into more detail on this -- we can't even effect. so, number one, whatever we do here will not stop obamacare from moving forward, which is why some of us have tried to look at, okay, what's the next step? what's the next alternative? we don't have the votes to defeat it. we would need 13 democrats to come across the aisle to support a sure veto by the president, should five of our friends decide to support us in this effort. the reality is that we will need 13 democrats to override a presidential veto, and i don't
think we're going to get though. in fact, i'm sure that we won't. and so what does a government shutdown mean, and let's way -- weigh this. i just attended a deployment ceremony about a month ago in indiana, where we sent some of our brave men and women to afghanistan. if we shut down the government their spouses at home will not get a paycheck. trying to hold down the home, maybe raise two or three children, paying the bills, her husband is over in afghanistan in harm's way, putting his life on the line for our defense, they don't get paid. that's a consequence of this shutdown. veterans lining up for the benefits they deserve and the care they need when they come home from the battlefield,
they're going to be standing in a long line waiting to get their applications processed. people waiting on social security checks and medicare checks and medicare reimbursements, even though those will be coming, as we've learned from past shutdowns, staff isn't there to process them on a timely basis. i have a major naval facility in indiana. people say how can you have a naval facility in indiana? 6,000 people work down there. they are doing cutting-edge work on electronic warfare, prevention of i.e.d. casualities. they are the go-to place for commanders who need something tomorrow. and we've got engineers and contractors down there with ph.d.'s and master's degrees from purdue university, rose homeland and a number of schools around the country. i've had the commander, chief of naval operations, marine corps,
army, air force, this is the go-to place for our armed services to fulfill a commander's request on how to save the lives of the people they're commanding. and they have an incredible record down at crane of finding solutions usually through electronic warfare initiatives, solutions to problems that are saving american lives. those people will be furloughed. those people won't be able to work. when the commander calls in and says, "i need this next week. my guys are dying. i need a way to stop it," sorry. the government is shut down. our defense contractors that work in those areas talk to me about how critically important it is to have this capacity to save american lives, to help us as we address conflicts around the world, to provide for defense for the american people. those people will not be paid.
they'll not be at work. i asked some drug companies, major drug companies and medical device companies in indiana, they have products waiting to be approved by the f.d.a.. lifesaving products, improving health products, those will not be processed if we shut this down. and i could go on and on. so i'm just -- well, let me add one more. the last time we had a shutdown, 10,000 medicare applicants -- we hear about 10,000 baby boomers every day. in the last shut down the number was far less than this. but today because 10,000 are playing every day, are retiring every day, those applicants in our past shutdown were all turned away. so people who have been paying into medicare, people who have been waiting to, when they turn
65, to enroll, it's all put on hold. a government shutdown suspends hiring of local law enforcement and border security officials. we had a great debate here, long debate, contentious debate, important debate about how we need to tighten up our border and get more agents on the borders to deal with our immigration problem. that all is suspended. so before we rush to judgment on how we ought to go forward, i would suggest we think about this. i would suggest that we think about the fact that whatever we do here doesn't stop this. whatever decision we make has consequences. and we do need to fund this government. and we know we're not going to shut down this government for the next three years and four months until we get a new president. and so something has to give. now, i wasn't one of the 99 that
slept through senator cruz's 30-hour discussion. first of all, i commend him for bringing the issue up here. he's passionate about it. this isn't a question of whether you're for or against. this is a question of tactics, how we can best achieve our goal. and i paid attention. i wasn't here because obviously he was going to hold the floor for the full 30-hour time. that's why i'm speaking now instead of yesterday or last evening. the only thing i could do last evening would be to ask a question. but i tuned in. i didn't hear everything. i did get some sleep last night, but i listened to a fair part of what he said. and, one of the things that caught my attention was when senator rand paul asked what i thought was a very, very pertinent question relative to what's the end game here.
and at some point we're not going to shut the government down forever. something has to give. and senator cruz, would you be willing to consider some compromise. that got my attention because i've offered one of those promises not as a solution, but as maybe, you know, if the repeal failed, if we couldn't get the democrats to come across the line, couldn't get the president to change his mind, which i didn't think we could, are there some options or things we could accomplish and maybe be part of this compromise. i joined from a congressman from e-inn, todd young -- from indiana, todd young. i introduced it here. the senate minority leader liked it. it calls for a one-year delay in the individual mandate. the president has already said that he's going to give employers a one-year delay. well, if he's going to give
employers a one-year delay to work out the messy details of all this and to try to come to a better resolution, acknowledging failure of the bill and a failure of the administration to get this put in place, what's fair about imposing it on individuals when you're giving the employers a break? a lot of people are getting kicked off their employer insurance because the definition of a full-time worker -- that's another issue that has been offered on a bipartisan basis that we will not be able to discuss here. but this one-year delay for individuals will give us an opportunity to really vet and work through this thing. and if that's a compromise, that is the next best thing because we can't achieve the best thing, which would be defund. if it turns out that we can't do that, at some point we're going to have to look at some type of
compromise. and i think reasonably senator paul asked a legitimate question. shouldn't we be looking at some type of compromise that keeps this issue alive, gives us a chance to continue to debate this, other attempts to change, modify, reform, repeal, replace, whatever? and ultimately put it in front of the american people in 2014 and say where do you want to go with this? people say we did that in 2012. in 2012 much of this had not been rolled out. people didn't understand what's in it. there's still great confusion about what's in this thing but we're learning more every day. in 2014 now that this is being implemented, we're learning a lot and what we learned we don't like and it's even worse than we thought. worse than our worst nightmares. so the american people will have a chance then to decide at the voting booth whether they want to continue going forward with obamacare or whether they want
something different. and i think the result will speak for itself and maybe that's the reason they want to rush this thing through. they don't want to face that. but that at least is a possibility of something that may gain bipartisan support, may put us on a path to addressing this. so it's all or once, now or never. if we don't do it now, never, it never can be done. i just don't buy that. partly i don't buy it, i don't want to buy it because we're not going to be able to achieve it. and if we're not willing to come up with some alternative which we can get bipartisan support for and then in order to keep this government going so we can pay those spouses whose husbands or wives are in the line of duty overseas serving this country, how can we tell them you're not going to get paid? you've got to stay on duty.
you can't come home and take another job. you can't take off your uniform. you're overseas putting your life on the line, and ambassador of germany going to landstuhl received all the wounded, critically wounded, just hours after an i.e.d. had taken their arms or legs or the concussions, and visiting those soldiers, how can we tell them you are not going 0 get your pay? because no one here is even willing to consider that if the goal is not achieved now, that's it, the government is down photographer. -- forever. so i'm asking my colleagues, before we make a decision on this now or never, we better weigh -- or don't worry, shut down won't impact our country. you better think about those
wives at home, those spouses at home raising kids while their husband or wife is on the front line of duty. better think about those veterans coming home that need help, that have brain injuries, that have wounds need to be addressed. we out to think about those people that are turning 65 and retiring and want to apply now for medicare because their companies dropped them. need to think about those individuals out there that are going to be mandated while the employers get a break. need to think about all the consequences here before we rush to some kind of false judgment that, oh, don't worry, a shutdown isn't really going to affect us. it will apply the leverage and the president will take the microphone and say, folks, i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry i brought this forward. and democrats will take the microphones and say, yeah, yeah, you were right.
boy, nancy pelosi was completely wrong, this thing isn't working. i'm hearing it, too. i'm hearing it back at home. so, you know, let's open up and -- and modify, replace, change, repeal, whatever. so i'm asking my colleagues to weigh all these things before we come to a final conclusion on this and let's not be lured into the seduction of saying this vote will determine whether or not we will ever be able to deal with this medicare issue. and it's not even a substantive vote. it's not even a vote on the issue itself. it's simply a vote on to move forward with the debate. it's impossible to explain our procedural motions around here. half the senators, including me, have trouble figuring out some of the arcane rules that run this place.
but this isn't an up-or-down vote on obamacare, this is a procedural vote. now, i know senator cruz would like to turn it into "the" vote in order to prevent something else from hang. happening. i personally think that's a tactic that won't work. but we have the same goal. i'm not criticizing senator cruz. he has energized people. he has brought this issue forward. i support that. but let's think about the end game. let's think about what may or may not be accomplished here and let's make sure we weigh the consequences of our next actions and its impact on the american people. madam chairman, with that -- madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from have have. mr. kaine: madam president, i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: madam president, i also rise to speak on the continuing resolution. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia is recognized. mr. kaine: we are coming up on the 150th anniversary of the most famous speech that's ever been given in america, the gettysburg address, that was delivered by abraham lincoln at gettysburg, pennsylvania, in november of 1863. in that address, president abraham lincoln, the founder of the modern republican party, talked about the meaning of the battle and stated that all americans should resolve that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth. and that's what we're debating today. should the american government be defunded and shut down? should our government perish? and the answer to this question is easy and obvious -- of course not. of course not.
if -- if a shutdown threat to the american government were external because of an act perpetrated by an enemy or anthrax put in the mal in the mt to us, the american people would rally with every ounce of their energy to battle against a government shutdown. and that's what's so amazing. there is a proposal on the table by a faction of congress homes to shut the government down, not an external enemy but a proposal by members of congress, a faction in both houses, to shut the government down. last night on the floofer the senate, i -- last night on the floor of the senate, i presided and then i stood to my feet and i asked the senator from texas a basic question: will you vote against the funding and continuation of government if you do not get your wish on the defunding of obamacare? and his answer was very simple. "yes." "yes." in his view, and the view of others who support this position, after 237 years of our
national life, if you do not get your way on one issue that is important to you, it is acceptable to shut down the american government. now, madam president, needless to say -- and the senator from indiana did a good job of saying it -- the consequences of shutdown are severe. 26 days of shutdown in 1995 and 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion, by the estimate of the congressional budget office. as senator coats mentioned, our active-duty military are required to stay on duty but they don't get paid. their paychecks get delayed and then we have to come back and try to figure out a way to pay them late. they and their families don't deserve that treatment. many civilians working in our military -- army nurses, for example -- might get furloughed and not paid. cybersecurity professionals, aviation mechanics, nurses.
we won't take new applications for medicare as people become eligible for medicare. in 1996, 10,000 seniors a day who were becoming eligible for medicare were turned away every day during the government shutdown. 2.4 million federal workers don't get paid in a shutdown, hurting their families, and many of those get furloughed. so whether it's meat inspectors or cancer researchers or folks who are negotiating trade deals to improve the economy, they will not be able to do the work that the nation needs them to do. and private businesses, like the newport news shipyard, the manufacturers of the most sophisticated manufactured items on earth, find their contracts are put in question and their employees are, therefore, put at risk. a shutdown is a huge blow to our economy and jobs. make no mistake, these economic hutdn are
negative. yesterday the budget committee held a hearing. we had both majority and minority witnesses, economists. i asked each of them, "would a government shutdown under current circumstances hurt the economy?" they all answered "yes." i asked them "is even the threat a shutdown harmful to the economy?" they all answered "yes." and further more, the economic consequences of -- and furthermore, the economic consequences of a shutdown are even magnified of the economic consequences of a potential default on america's debt. some are threatening default on america's debt if we don't defund obamacare. this is also economically irresponsible. not paying our bills for the first time in 237 years as a nation? america paid its bills when washington was burning during the war of 1812. america paid its bills during the civil war. the entire world knows that they can bank on the full faith and credit of the united states.
our constitution says that the validity of the public debt of the united states should not be questioned. those who threaten to repudiate our fiscal obligations or to shut down our government are engaging in economically descrublghtivdestructive dehaif. behavior. so it's painfully obvious that we should not shut down government, that we should not default on our fiscal obligations. so why are we even having a discussion about shutdown and default? what has brought us to a place where these unthinkable actions are being discussed and even promoted by some in both houses of congress? simple. some members of both houses are opposed to the affordable care act. they are committed to repealing it or defunding it at all costs, even accepting government shutdown or default on the debt of this nation.
what do we say to those who hold that view? well, first, to be plain, mr. president, i oppose those who want to repeal or defund the affordable care act, because repealing or defunding would mean that millions of americans who will be able to access affordable care through health insurance exchanges will lose that ability; that nearly 7 million young adults would lose coverage they have been able to gain through their family's insurance policies; that seniors will be stripped of medicare coverage for certain preventive care, and also medicare coverage to reduce prescription drug costs; that small businesses will lose tax credits that they can access if they ensure their employees. and this is a personal one to me -- i've experienced this in my family -- that people with a health history will once again be free to be turned away by insurance companies because they have a preexistinhavea preexist.
consumers who are getting rebates from insurance companies who overcharged them stop getting rebate checks. and in the states that have decided to embrace the medicaid expansion of the affordable care act, an estimated 5 million people who are now on the verge of being insured will have that protection taken away from them. and so for those reasons, i oppose repeal. now, mr. president, last year, i -- i told my voters in virginia that i opposed efforts to repeal the affordable care act and i had an opponent who pledged to repeal the affordable care act. and the voters heard both of those positions and they rejected repeal and they embraced keep it in place, reform and improve it. last year the president of the united states campaigned on
continuing the affordable care act and being open to improvements and he campaigned against someone who said it should be repealed or defunded, and the american public by a large majority said, we don't want repeal, we want to continue forward and reform and improve. the american public does not want repeal. the american public does not want defunding. the american public does not want default. the american public does not wanted shutdown. they're open to reform and improvement. and, mr. president, let me be clear, we should be open to reform and improvement of the affordable care act or any other part of our health care system or any other part of our system. we need to be open to reform and improvement. and the senator from indiana was wrong on one thing in particular. many in this chamber, including democrats, have voted for a.b.a. reforms, including the budget we passed in march, but the
minority party has stopped us from putting that budget into conference now for more than six months. there is a significant group of people in this body who would love to talk about reform and improvement but who reject shutdown and default. and this gets to the nub of the issue. last night i asked the senator from texas about reforms he was interested in, and he laid a number out on the floor. and -- and he had some that i liked, some that i thought were good. and i asked the senator, "have you prepared any legislation to make these reforms?" and he answered: "i don't currently have a reform proposal but i'm going to work with my staff to come up with some reform ideas." and, mr. president, this gets to the nub of the issue. there is a right way to approach health reform. and though i disagree with it, there's also a right way to approach a