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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 26, 2013 10:00am-2:01pm EDT

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october 1 through december 15, known as a continuing resolution, or c.r. passed by the house last week, it would also he funded health care law. yesterday majority leader reid filed an amendment that would strip the health care law defunding language and would shorten the length of the c.r. by one month from december 15, to november 15. the next procedural vote is scheduled for tomorrow, although senators may agree to push that up to today. a final passage vote is expected by this weekend. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. god of love and light, you never fail those who trust you. as people make contingency plans for a possible government shutdown, give us your grace in
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our difficulties, enabling us to rest in the assurance of your wisdom and love. lord, when our senators have done their part in all honesty and diligence, may they resolutely commit themselves to the unfolding of your loving providence. teach them to say even in dark season, "father let your will be done." forgive us our penchant for division, as you stir our hearts to look for common ground. we pray in your merciful name. amen.
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the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., september 26, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable brian schatz, a senator from the state of hawaii, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following my remarks and those of the republican leader, the senate will resume consideration of the continuing resolution. at 10:30 this morning, after senator mcconnell and i finish
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our remarks, the majority and republicans will control alternating one-hour blocks with the majority controlling the first hour. i filed cloture last evening on the continuing resolution. as a result, the filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to the resolution is 1:00 p.m. today. absent consent the cloture vote will occur one hour after the senate convenes tomorrow. friday. mr. president, as i said yesterday, i tell everyone here today, we know what the end is like here that we have. we can finish this sometime saturday. but it would seem to me we should do everything we can to get this back to the house as quickly as we can. so it would be my suggestion that we have the ability to wrap this thing up today, and i would suggest that would be the most -- that would be the best thing to do. but it's up to my republican colleagues as to whether they
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will let that happen. mr. president, yesterday i warned of the economic consequences if a few extremist republicans shores -- force a government shutdown. already the stock market has slipped and that's an understatement. for five days in a row, the longest continuous period since 2012, the stock market has gone down, and they all say it's a result of the fear of the government shutting down. and why should the financial markets feel any differently? people are still speaking about closing the government. now, the talk by a few over here, republicans, have stopped the last 24 hours. but they over there are picking up where the long talk over here ended. close the government.
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the tea party is still insisting on a shut down. hard to comprehend, but it's true. the dark consequences don't end just by saying that. if the federal government closes its doors, seniors applying for social security won't be able to apply. veterans applying for disability will not be able to apply. they'll be forced to wait until the federal workers return to their posts. mr. president, the f.b.i., because of sequestration and other anomalies we have around here anymore, are talking about furloughing their employees, closing their offices one day a week. across the country mortgage loans and small businesses would be delayed. members of the military will be forced to defend this country without even a paycheck as thanks. and billions of dollars will
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drain from the economy every day the government is closed for business. now, mr. president, this is not hyperbole, not conjecture. it's the truth. because if you look back at history, it pretty well determines where you are on a given day. and if you look back when newt gingrich and the republicans controlled congress, the house of representatives, they shut down the government in 1995 because president clinton wouldn't meet their every demand, and it cost the country tens of billions of dollars. so yesterday i urged republicans to consider the impact of a shutdown on the country. the economic price shouldn't be the only thing keeping republicans up at night. they should worry about the political consequences as well. mr. president, we are all politicians, all 100 of us. and a new poll, brand-new poll,
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cbs -- respectful organization, respected organization -- says 80% of americans -- that's almost as much as favor background checks on guns -- 80% of americans, you rarely get 80% of americans to agree on anything, but they agree that those that want the government to be held hostage to obstruct these concessions are somebody they won't vote for. mr. president, 75% of republicans feel that way in this poll. so those of us who remember the government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 know the story didn't end well for republicans. just ask charles krauthammer. there is no more respected
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conservative, really conservative columnist than charles krauthammer. he's been a conservative columnist for "the washington post" since the 1980's. here's what he wrote a week or two ago -- quote -- "every fiscal shutdown has rebounded against republicans. the first in 1995 effectively marked the end of the gingrich revolution." direct quote "as they did in the 1909's today's red cal republicans have called -- radical republicans have called for concessions they know we will never agree to. senate democrats won't agree and the president won't agree. the senate will never pass, nor will president obama sign a bill that guts the affordable care act and denies millions of americans access to lifesaving health care. a statement made by john mccain yesterday said it all. he had some credentials to talk
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about that, mr. president. he was the republican nominee for president of the united states. he didn't like what happened with health care, and he talked about it here. he wished it hadn't passed but it passed. he said it was a fair fight. and he and the republicans lost. move on to something else is what he said. the senate will never pass, as i've indicated before, a bill that guts the affordable care act, obamacare. tea party republicans have demanded the implausible and are bound to shut down the government unless they get it. mr. krauthammer and i don't agree all the time, but he aptly measured the fallout from the shutdowns of mid-1990's and correctly predicted a similar result in a modern shutdown. modern shutdown. he wrote, "nearly two dozen
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mainstream republicans have also said -- quote -- 'this gambit is doomed to fail.'" he also wrote this is about tactics. if i thought it would work i would support it but i don't fancy suicide. it has a tendency to be fatal. that's an understatement, mr. president. that's close quote. i commend republican senators who have spoken up in favor of reason. you can't imagine how satisfied i am, because that's how we used to get things done here. i can look back at john breaux from louisiana. if he thought we weren't doing enough on this side of the aisle, he would reach out to the republicans and work something out. so what republicans senators said the last few days is really important. they've spoken out for reason,
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calling the tea party's shut down ultimatum a boxed canyon, a suicide note and the dumbest idea ever. although these reasonable republicans dislike obamacare as much as their more radical colleagues, they also realize the futility and danger of political hostage-taking. they know this country can't be governed by one faction of one party on one side of the capitol. governing must be a cooperative effort that sets aside the ideological or parochial concerns in favor of what is best for the nation, for the economy and for middle-class families. on november 14, 1995, the first day of the first government shutdown, president clinton urged republicans in congress to govern with him instead of fighting against him. this is what he said. "there is, after all, a simple
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solution to the problem. all congress has to do is pass a straightforward bill to let government perform its duties and pay its debts. then we can get back to work and resolve our differences in an open, honest and straightforward manner." mr. president, i do every thursday a welcome to washington. a lady from boulder city, nevada, came up to me. she said, "i work for the park service, and we're so afraid. we at the park service, we don't know what we're going to do. the last time there was a government shutdown, the parks closed. there is so much confusion." that's the way it is throughout government. so, mr. president, i offer today the same advice president clinton gave in 1995. let government perform its duties. the day out of this predicament
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is as simple as it was in 1995. again i invite my republican colleagues to return with me to the time we worked to resolve our differences in an open, honest and straightforward manner. mr. president, i'm going to take a few minutes and apologize to my republican counterpart, but we have to understand the american people have to understand how serious what is going on around here. tom freedman wrote yesterday in the, his op-ed piece. he's a renowned syndicated columnist. he's won three pulitzer prizes, had six or seven best-selling books. "the republican party is being taken over by a tea party faction not interested in governing on any of the big issues: immigration, gun control, health care, debt and
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taxes, where with minimal compromises between the two parties we would separate ourselves from the rest of the world. instead this group is threatening to shut down the government and underline america's vital credit rating if it doesn't get its way. this kind of madness helped to produce the eut -- idiotic sequester and arbitrary across-the-board budget cuts beginning in 2013 that is already undermining one of our strongest assets." and here he goes, "ask dr. francis collins, the crown jewel of biotech innovation in fiscal year 2013 the sequester required the n.i.h. to cut $1.6 billion across the board. 5% of each of its 27 institutes and centers, irrespective of whether one was on the cusp of a medical breakthrough and another was not. there was still an ability
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within each institute to make adjustments. but as n.i.h. director, i could not decide to emphasize cancer research and down modulate something else," collins explained. "because of the sequester and the fact that n.i.h. has been losing ground to inflation over ten years, we will not be able to fund 640 research grants that were scored in the top 17% of proposals we received," collins said. he goes on to say, "they would have been funded without the sequester but now they won't. they include new ideas on cancer, diabetes, heart disease, all the things that we as a country say are a high priority. i can't say which of these grantings would have led to a next breakthrough or which investigators would be a nobel prize winner years from now. of these top research proposals, 150 were from a previous budget cycle but would return to n.i.h.
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to secure financing for another three years because they thought they were really on to something and a peer-review board agreed. now we're cutting them off, collins said. in 2014, n.i.h. was planning to offer new money to stimulate research proposals in a dozen areas including how to speed up the use of stem cells to cure parkinson's and other diseases, thousand better manage pain and sickle cell disease and how to improve early diagnosis of autism. all were shelved because of the sequester, said collins. why ask people to submit applications we would just have to turn down? in addition in 2013 n.i.h. had to turn away from its research hospital 750 patients who wanted to be part of a clinical trial for disorders which medicine currently has no iranians. america's -- has no answers. america's medical system depends highly on n.i.h. the private sector won't do it.
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so we're cutting the medical research that is essential to prevent costs from going upward. we're doing it because one of our two parties has been taken over by angry radicals and barking fools. the old leadership is running scared. but when the republican party goes this war off the raicialtion it isn't even remoting challenging president obama to challenge his base on taxes and entitlements. thus, as a great country with so much potential slowly become ungreat? mr. president, not only do we have sequester now, they want to do even more an shut the government down, not extend the debt ceiling. this is a bad time for america. i hope people dhom their senses. -- i hope people come to their senses. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: later this morning in maryland the president will try yet again to
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sell his name-sake health care plan to an increasingly skeptical public. he will claim that americans will have lots and lots of options under obamacare. unfortunately, keeping the plan you have and like will not be an option for a great many americans. and it must be frustrating for the president that folks seem to keep tuning out all this happy talk, but it's not hard to see, frankly, why americans aren't buying the spinment over the -- around thest aren't buying the spin. over the past 50 years i've participated in more health care town halls in my staivment i've met with health care professionals, doctors, and nurses. i have met with patients, and i've met with everyday
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kentuckians, folks who are just concerned about providing health care for their families. many of the kentuckians i've met with are a lot more knowledgeable about obamacare than the washington intelligentsia might like it assume. in fact more than a view of them seem to know more about the law than some of my colleagues who rammed it through congress. and let's be clear. a person doesn't need a ph.d. to understand that a thraw drives costs -- a law that drives costs up rather than down is a bad deal. kentuckians understand that the new government bureaucracies are less likely to lower costs and improve care than they are to just simply get in the way. and so it is for these and so many other reasons that kentuckians and people right across this country are rightly concerned about obamacare. two nights ago i had another great opportunity to connect on this issue with kentuckians via
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a teletown hall. and i'll tell you, the good people of my state are as concerned about this law as ever. one woman who participated said she thought she had been making it but reports that she will now be forced to get a second job due in no small part to obamacare. i've received more than 50,000 letters from constituents frustrated by obamacare as well. single parents want to know what they're supposed to do when their hours are cut. families want to know why washington is okay with their insurance premiums going up by double digits. small business owners want to know how they're ever, ever going to comply with more than 20,000 pages of regulations. they want to know how they're going to be able to keep their employees insured, workforces growing, businesses expanding,
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and far too often their doors open once this law comes online. one kentuckian from henderson wrote to tell me about the small trucking business she and her husband own. they've got 13 employees and they've always provided insurance for all of them. but their agent recently told them their premiums would go up 100% -- 100% increase in premiums. here's what she wrote to me. "we can't afford this even if we raise the portion that the employees pay. then they wouldn't be able to afford it." that was the experience reported to me by a woman and her husband running a small business in henderson. these are the utterly predictable consequences after law rammed through over the objections of the american people early on a cold, dark christmas eve morning. until a few brave democrats join
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our united republican conference in voting to get rid of obamacare and starting over with a real bipartisan reform, we're going to continue hearing the same heart-wrenching stories over and over and over again. we're going to keep seeing articles like the one that appeared earlier this week in "politico." it's titled, "obamacare:one blow after another." and i want to read the opening paragraph. "the obamacare that consumers will finally be able to fine up for next week," it says, "is a long way from the health plan president obama first pitched to the nation. among other things,, "millions of low-income americans won't receive coverage and a growing number of workers won't get to keep their employer-provided coverage."
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and just yesterday we heard the district of columbia's exchange hit a huge bump in the road, just days before launch. i wouldn't be surprise fundamental we see more stories of these types of problems popping up all across our country. let's talk about premiums, too. a few weeks ago one veteran at a ton who will wants to know how this law -- at a town hall wants to know how this law could possibly be free. of course it's not free. he was right. and premiums are part of that story. based on the administration's own data, along with some intrepid reporting, here's how much more a single 27-year-old can expect to pay under obamacare in columbus, ohio: 436% increase for a 2-year-old under obamacare in columbus, ohio. in charlotte, north carolina, it's 523%, little rock, 613%
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more. 613%. imagine for a moment you're 37, you've done -- you're 27, you've done everything right, studied hard, graduated from college, got car insurance payments, utility bills, renters' insurance, 401(k) contributions, health insurance, of course, then there's gas, food, and maybe, just maybe, occasionally having a little bit of fun. and then you lose your employer-sponsored health plan thanks to obamacare. you get dumped into the exchanges, so jack up those monthly health insurance payments by $ 300%, 500%, even even600%? what are you supposed to do?
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stop contributing to your retirement account? you can't very well give up the car you need to get to work, or food, or paying back their student loans. none of sthees good option, mr. president. -- none of these is a good option, mr. president. and they're not good for our society either. we shouldn't be setting up disincentives for 27-year-olds to insure themselves or contribute to their own retirement. but this is just the incentive structure that obamacare creates, and when you consider how hard the obama economy has hammered mil millennials alread,
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it's hardly fair to whack them again, especially when some of them are just barely hanging on as it is. so this law is a mess. it needs to go. it's way past time to start over. and as i've been saying all week, we need just five brave democrats to join us to make that happen. so i hope some of our democratic friends who voted toker this law will look them -- who voted for this law will look themselves in the mirror and truly think about whether protecting the president's pride is really more important than helping the american people. because we owe our constituents better than obamacare. we can do better than this. and with your help we can do that. with your help we can start over with the kind of real bipartisan reform that kentuckians and americans are actually hoping for. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.j. res. 59, which the clerk will report. the clerk: h.j. res. 59, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time will be controlled in one-hour increments with the majority controlling the first hour and alternating thereafter. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, the families that i talk to in my home state of washington are not interested in partisan back and forth that we see so much of here in washington, d.c., they are thinking about how they're going to get their bills paid, and they're wondering when and if they'll be able to save enough to real estate tire. and they're -- to retire. and they're hoping that they'll be able to give their children a better future. they rightfully expect us to focus on strengthening the
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economy and creating jobs, which will make it easier for them to reach those important goals. now, we've had an opportunity in the -- many opportunities in the last few months to move forward on legislation like the senate budget and the appropriations bills that were approved in senator mikulski's committee, which could remove some of the uncertainty that is putting a drag on our economic recovery. but, instead, we're here today on the floor of the senate to debate a temporary -- a temporary stopgap measure to fund the government just days away from a possible shutdown. now, i think all but a few of my colleagues would agree with me that these circumstances are far from ideal. so, as we work to pass this bill, this temporary stopgap bill, and continue negotiations on the longer-term budget deal,
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i think it's really important to consider exactly how we got to this point, what this continuing resolution means in the context of ongoing discussions, and what needs to happen for us to reach a more comprehensive agreement that works for our families and for our economy. now, as we all remember, mr. president, if democrats and many republicans as well had their way, we could have begun a bipartisan budget conference between the house and senate months ago and prevented this chaos. when the senate passed a budget, i was very hopeful that both sides would come together and work out an agreement that would end this cycle of governing by crisis and allow us to focus on creating jobs and economic growth. well, democrats have come to the floor 18 times now -- 18 times -- to try to begin a bipartisan conference with the house on our
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budget resolutions. many republicans thought this made sense. they agreed we should at least sit down and try to get a deal. but, as we all know now, a an extreme minority of the republicans saw things differently and they believed they would have more leverage if they created a crisis like the one we're approaching now thank a few months ago when there wasn't a looming deadline. and those tea party republicans backed by the republican leadership stood up and said "no" to the bipartisan budget negotiations 18 times against the wishes of members on both sides of the aisle. so today when we could have been focusing on the real challenges americans are facing, we are instead focused on preventing the tea party from shutting down the government. all because tea party republicans want another shot at dismantling the affordable care act, which, by the way, was passed by a supermajority, upheld by the supreme court and was a major issue the american
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people weighed in on in the 2012 election. mr. president, in the house continuing resolution tea party republicans are fighting to take away health care coverage for millions of americans and get rid of crucial services like prevention and wellness visits for medicare patients, prescription drug savings for our seniors that we fought so hard for, and coverage for over 92,000 americans who have preexisting conditions. this is absurd. it is a nonstarter. there is no way democrats are going to give in to these demands that are so clearly harmful to the american people. and the same is true of the fight the tea party republicans are trying to pick over the debt limit. now, some republicans claim it's typical to threaten a catastrophic and unprecedented default in order to extract political concessions, but the
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fact is the opposite is true. the vast majority of debt limit increases in the last three decades occurred independent of efforts to reduce the deficit or put in place budget reforms. and while democrats are more than happy to negotiate on the budget, and we've been trying to do that for the last six months, we do stand firmly behind president obama and are not going to negotiate about whether the united states of america pays its bills. we believe families and businesses should not have to deal with any more of that uncertainty. and honestly, mr. president, i do think a lot of republicans agree. more than a dozen republicans have spoken out to discourage the tea party from starting a pointless debate over defunding the affordable care act in the bill to prevent a government shutdown. and i know that quite a few
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republicans agree brinksmanship over the debt ceiling is the height of irresponsibility. mr. president, given all the in-fighting we've seen recently, governing by crisis clearly isn't working for republicans. it's certainly not helping democrats make the investments we feel very strongly our country needs to succeed in the 21st century and it has put a completely unnecessary burden on our families and our economy. it seems the only ones benefiting from this perpetual crisis mode are tea party republicans. and i see no reason to keep doing them any favors. so i would like to call on the house republicans to cut the tea party loose, give up these partisan games, and pass the senate's bill to prevent a government shutdown. now, this bill by no means is a permanent fix. it is not even close. it is temporary. and it continues the cuts from sequestration that are already in place and locked into law
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until we get a bipartisan deal. but it will keep our government operating while those negotiations continue, and that is critical. because even though some might not be able to see it here in washington, d.c., a government shutdown will have serious consequences for families across this country. my home state of washington is home to more than 100,000 uniformed and civilian defense employees at places like joint base lewis-mcchord and fair child air force. mr. president, if this government shuts down, those men and women in uniform will still have to go to work the next day but they won't get paid for it. thousands of civilian defense employees in places like tacoma and widby island and spokane would be forced to do the same and thousands more could face furloughs. mr. president, these hardworking americans and families across my state and the country are
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already dealing with the consequences of gridlock and dysfunction in washington, d.c.. they're dealing with the across-the-board cuts from sequestration which continue to pile up. hundreds of thousands of our defense employees who are now having to wonder about the effects of a shutdown have been furloughed already and have taken pay cuts. crucial supports and opportunities for vulnerable families and communities from head start to meals on wheels have been slashed, and sequestration is crippling our ability to plan for the future and make the kinds of investments in research and education and infrastructure that will help our workers succeed. i hear about the impact of these arbitrary cuts whenever i'm home in washington state. i know every single one of my colleagues here has heard similar stories. the cuts are only going to get worse with time, and they simply have to go. so, mr. president, when we send this legislation back to the
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house, republicans have got to put an end to the tea party temper tantrums and pass our bill without any gimmicks and without any games. and after we do that, i hope we can lead the tea party brinksmanship behind. so those of us on both sides of the aisle who believe in commonsense bipartisanship can move forward with negotiations on a desperately needed longer-term deal. and in those negotiations, i'm going to continue fighting for an agreement that ends this governing by crisis and supports our families and economies by replacing sequestration with smarter deficit reduction, evenly divided between spending cuts and new revenue from the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations. i'm fully aware that the republicans have their priorities as well, and i have never said reaching an agreement would be easy. but i know many democrats and republicans are sick of
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brinksmanship and crisis. i know they understand like we do that compromise is part of our job description. and i truly believe if those republicans work with democrats, we can reach that critically needed fair, bipartisan agreement that we've been working towards. mr. president, i've heard some of the tea party republicans here in washington, d.c. dismiss the damaging and costly disruptions a shutdown could cause. some even seem to think that a default wouldn't be that bad despite warnings from countless economists that default would be in fact catastrophic. but americans across the country who are still fighting to get back on their feet don't have the luxury of dismissing these risks, because they are the ones who are going to be affected, and they are rightfully expecting us to work together and reach a fair budget agreement that offers hardworking families more opportunity and more security. i believe putting the gimmicks
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and games aside and keeping the government open is a necessary step towards that goal. so i'm going to vote for this temporary continuing resolution and against the tea party's dysfunction and brinks manship and i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same. mr. president, part of the reason i'm confident that we can reach an agreement is because i know what we can do when we do work together. during this last summer i worked with senator collins to write the transportation and housing appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year. it included priorities of members on both sides of the aisle and it was approved in our committee with the support of six republicans. that bill received that strong bipartisan support because it helps families and it helps communities. it gets workers back on the job. it was fiscally responsible, and it laid down a strong foundation for long-term and broad-based economic growth.
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our bill stands in stark contrast with the across-the-board sequestration cuts we have been operating under for the last six months. rather than slashing crucial investments in our infrastructure, our bill supports critical transportation projects across the country and it fully funds the highway and transit grant programs that allow our states and local agencies to keep our transportation system working. rather than leaving our cities and towns who have been hit hard by the recession to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, our bill strongly supports community development grants, which offer the tools to strengthen small businesses and local economies. instead of asking the most vulnerable to bear the burden of spending cuts, our bill funds a critical piece of the safety net, housing assistance, homeless structures to millions of families and seniors who are one step away from the street.
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mr. president, as any business owner will tell you, it makes no sense to slash the investments that allow you to compete and prosper in the long term just to make the numbers work in the short term. and the investments that are laid out in our bill are great examples. they make our country stronger by supporting job creation and economic growth and by keeping our commitment to help those most in need get back on their feet. the need for these investments far exceeds the resources in our bill, but the bill that senator collins and i wrote keeps our commitment to our states and to our communities and makes sure agencies in the bill can meet their statutory responsibilities. that will not be the case as sequestration for yet another year, which would make these commitments impossible to keep. it's important to note, mr. president, that the housing and transportation bill addresses challenges our country faces today.
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a full-year bill enables congress to adjust funding levels to meet current needs and to implement new policies that address the problems that have come to light in recent years. this is something that does not happen when we opt for long-term continuing resolutions. for example, as a great example, we know that one in every four of our bridges is now considered deficient by the federal highway administration. our bill includes funding to repair our replace deficient bridges across the country in order to protect the safety and reliability of our transportation system. if we simply extend the funding levels that we debated two years ago, then those investments and many others that create jobs and protect public safety and support the most vulnerable will be lost. and we'll also lose the improvements our bill makes to programs, including reforms that address he concerns members have raised the last time the transportation and housing bill
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came here to the senate floor. our bill, mr. president, includes important section 8 reforms that will reduce costs and create efficiencies. it contains reforms to improve the oversight of public housing agencies and boards and assures accountability for property owners that don't maintain the quality of their assisted housing and it increases accountability in the cdbg program. mr. president, it's so important that we enact those reforms and do the important oversight of federal programs and agencies that the public expects us to do. so for all those reasons, mr. president, we need to pass this continuing resolution so we keep the government running. and then we've got to move forward on a longer term budget agreement that replaces sequestration with more responsible deficit reduction, a bill that puts our families and our economy first and allows us to enact real thoughtful solutions to our country's challenges instead of these
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stopgap measures that do not move us forward. investing in our families, in our communities and long-term economic growth shouldn't be partisan and i think that the bipartisan work that went into the housing and transportation bill and the strong support that it received in committee proves they don't have to be. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i rise in support of the democratic amendment to the house continuing resolution. we have offered this amendment because its content offers a clear path forward to do three things. number one, avoid a government shutdown. number two, to lay the groundwork for ending sequester for hopefully the next two
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years, which means finding a way to reduce our public debt in each of those years by $100 million. and, number three, to get rid of the theatrical veto bait, provocative amendments that are in the house bill calling for the defunding of the president's affordable care act and also for the way they structure public debt. we offer this amendment because we think it is the best way forward. the american people expect to do our job. now it is thursday morning, 10:45, and we're just getting on the amendment. and why? because for the last several days we had to put up with theatrical politics rather than get the job done. senate deliberation. we have gone from being the greatest deliberative body in
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the world to the greatest delayed body in the world. the american people are fed up and so are many of us here. when all is said and done, more gets said than gets done. now this is the time to act. we have an amendment on the floor. it's open for full debate, and i'm absolutely for that. but we need to do the business of government to be able to do our job. now, we must replace the sequester and allow a 2014 omnibus appropriations to move forward before the end of the year. now, that sentence alone shows what's wrong in communicating with the american people. factually it is accurate. it is absolutely truthful. but nobody understands sequester. nobody understands the words
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like "omnibus" and nobody understands what we're doing, or, most of whawcialtion we are, what we are not doing. now, sequester was an invention of the congress, working with the president, to say that we will reduce public debt over a 10-year period by $110 billion a year. if we fail -- and to do it in a balanced way. strategic cuts, a review of mandatory spending, and additional revenue. and if we fail to do that, if we fail to do that, sequester triggers, which means across-the-board cuts. 50% in defense, 50% in domestic. now, the problem with across-the-board cuts is it cuts good programs as well as
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programs that are dated, duplicative, or dysfunctional. i oppose that. i'd rather make strategic cuts arrived at by the committee that i chair, the appropriations committee. for the last year, our committee has done its due diligence. our job is to review programs and to put them in the federal checkbook and bring them to the floor for debate, for amendment, and then for passage, and to send it to the president. what we want to do in this bill, in our amendment, is to change the date from the house bill from december 15 to november 15 to keep the pressure on, to get the deal needed so congress can get to work and enact 12 fiscally responsible appropriations bills, lay the groundwork for canceling sequester for two years, and
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invest in america's needs today and the needs of the future. this amendment is important for two reasons. it prevents a government shutdown. the president has already said he will veto any bill that defunds obamacare. he will veto any bill that undermines the full faith and credit of the united states. you can huff and puff for 21 hours, but you can't blow obamacare away. i will repeat: you can huff and puff for 21 house, but you can't be -- for 21 hours, but you can't be like the magic dragon that blows the affordable cat away. so if we pass the house continuing resolution, the president will veto it. more wasted time of getting the job done. our agencies, instead of doing the job of fulfilling their mission, making wise use of
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taxpayers' money, being rbeingresponsive to the american people, they're -- being responsive to the american people, they're planning for a shutdown, which amounts to a slamdown. the president can sign the continuing resolution and keep the government opening if we pass the senate amendment, which will keep the government open until november 15, which gives us one month to arrive at pragmatic solutions, cancels the provocative elements in it -- the elimination of obamacare and the public debt -- and also moves -- lays the groundwork for moving forward. there will just be a few things that will happen if we can enact a clean continuing resolution, meaning keeping the government open by october 1. there are consequences here. this isn't just about showbiz. government has to be open for
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business. an estimated 800,000 civil servants will be sent home or furloughed. now, what does that mean? you know, if you're an f.b.i. agent during this time, you will be on your job. you will be at your duty station. but when you're working, you won't get paid. you'll get an i.o.u. what does that say to people who put themselves in the line of fire? we're going to -- shutting down the government means that we will -- that we will affect essential research discoveries will be put on hold. the n.i.h. clinical center won't be able to admit new patients for new clinical trials. weather forecasters, food safety inspectors, those issued involved with public safety will be at their duty starks but thel
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be at their duty stations, but they will be receiving i.o.u.'s. we've already told them there will be no cost of living increase for three years, and we want to recruit the best and the brightest for the f.b.i. to oversee our drug approval process or to be board control agents, work that is dirty and dangerous out there? what are we doing here? we show a contempt for the people that work for the government. and by -- and that also shows the contempt for the people neigh for the government. -- that pay for the government. our government should be working as hard as the people who pay the taxes to support the government. the way they work hard is to put the money in there for the mission and purpose of these agencies, insist that they do their job, and we insist that we get rid of the dated, the duplicative, and the dysfunctional. we lay the groundwork for doing
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this. and, in fact, we've been doing it all year long. i chair the appropriations committee. it is made up of 12 subcommittees. you'll be hearing from my subcommittee chairmen throughout the day. i'm so proud of them. for the last year of this a listened. they've taken the president's budget -- for the last year they've listened. they've taken the president's budget. they've analyzed it, they've reviewed it, they've scrubbed it and they've squeezed it. i'm really proud of them. and out of what they are ready to bring to the senate floor keeps the mission and purpose intact, makes wise use of government -- of taxpayers' dollars, has listened at every single hearing to inspectors general, where we learn about the dated, dysfunctional, or duplicative, and we're ready to move. but we can't move if we have the
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theatrical showdown politics. now, this has grave impact. what we are facing here will have a negative impact on our economy. it will add to the uncertainty for businesses to be able to make wise decisions. it will also slow down in a way the impact through jobs -- we fund infrastructure and other needed programs. it will impact public safety, and it will impact our future generations because of the big hit on research and development that comes up with the new ideas for the new jobs. later on today i will be talking about the n.i.h., which is in my state. yes, the n.i.h., because of n.i.h. funding, thousands of people work in maryland, but
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thousands of people are working for the united states of america. and what is it? at the end of the day, they're trying to come up with cures and cures that can be where we create -- so we're talking about saving lives, doing the basic research that then helps us have jobs in biomedicals and pharmaceuticals and also improve the lives of our people, improve our economy and get the job done. so, mr. president, i will have more to say. but right now i want to turn to senator pryor, who is the chair of the agricultural subcommittee. he's a new chairman, but he's not new to getting the job done. in fact, we refer to him as "tight wad pryor." he has looked at the programs. he has really analyzed how we're really going to get value for the dollar and, at the same
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time, feed the hungry, care for the sick -- feed the hungry here and around the world and also make sure that that important vibrant sector of our economy, the agricultural industry, is viable. i yield the floor to senator pryor. mr. pryor: thank you, mr. president. i would -- before i get started, i'd ask unanimous consent that bob ross, a detailee from the department of agriculture to the subcommittee on appropriations andsappropriationsand mike heled floor privileges for the remainder of the 113th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. pryor: mr. president, i rise today to talk about the agriculture appropriations bill, but i have to start by thanking our chairwoman of the appropriations committee. she has already done so many good things for that committee and for the senate and obviously she is been a great senator for
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the state of maryland, and we see that greatness, as she leads the appropriations committee. and i think all the members of the committee, both democrats and republicans, would like to thank her for her service and her leadership. mr. president, today i do want to talk about the agriculture appropriations bill and the impact a government shutdown would have on the activities it supports and the negative ripple effects -- and there would be many negative ripple effects that would come to our nation's economy if that does in fact happen. you know, mr. president, when people hear the phrase "agriculture appropriations," they naturally think about farmers, and that is certainly a key part of what is in our agriculture sector and in this bill. but that is certainly not all that it does. the bill helps farmers with things like operating loans and
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conservation projects and marketing. awful those arall of those are . but it also funds programs to benefit rural communities, to do things like supply clean drinking water, it supports nutrition programs, it helps kids all across the country, but it also not only does food -- things like the international food programs, programs like food for peace, et cetera -- but it also has the food and drug administration in it. and that's critically important. we need a strong, robust f.d.a. this bill has been very bipartisan. this bill is about investing in our future. what we do here in this bill is we actually try to save money. we understand there are budget constraints on. we get that. we want to lead the way by responsible - governing.
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but making sure that we do things in the right way. by making smart, targeted investments, and saving taxpayer dollars by eliminating redundancies and streamlining loan programs and doing things to make the u.s. department of agriculture and the f.d.a. spend their money wisely. but, at the same time, we are trying very hard not to reduce any services on hardworking americans and we're also certainly trying not to hurt any industries in this country. sequestration is already taking a toll on many of these programs. you look at the cuts a cuts thae agencies have had to undergo in the last two or three years, you're already seeing a strain on the budgets and difficulties there. a government shutdown would wreak havoc in our economy. and i think i speak for most
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americans, certainly most arkansans, when i say, i am currently undergoing shutdown fatigue. we're tired of this. we're tired of the drama. we're tired of, you know, honestly, the other chamber impaiembarrassingembarrassing td doing these dra dramatics. people are just tired of t when i'whim-- people are just tired of it. when i'm at home, people come up to me and say, what is wrong with congress? in fact, i was at a major fund-raising event for cancer research in little rock on pry n friday evening, i had a half a dozen people come up to me and say, what is going on with the hart? why do they continue to do dwhash is going on with the house of representatives? why do they continue do this? and i agree. it is hard to watch. it is not good for the congress. like i said, i have shutdown
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fatigue. we don't need anymore drama. we need to get back to the business of governing. let me tell you, governing isn't always easy. we have to make hard decisions. that's why we run for these jobs. we run to make good and wise decisions for our people and nation. that's the way it's supposed to wonch work. i think my colleagues will agree with me when i say that strengthening our economy and creating jobs is our number-one priority right now. we look at the recession we've been through. we see the hardships folks have gone through. strengthening our economy and creating jobs is our number-one priority. and this bill will help us do it. again, it's hard to get to that number-one priority when you have some of the shenanigans going on here in the u.s. house and some of the, this manufactured crisis that they've created. but what i want to say about
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agriculture is that it is one of the core strengths in the u.s. economy. we do a lot of things well. our economy does a lot of things well. but no one does agriculture better than america. it's something we should be proud of. kwaoeuft honestly -- quite honestly, we do it so well, we probably take it for granted sometimes. but it is a core strength in the u.s. economy. if you want one little bit of evidence for that, look at our trade deficit. everyone in this chamber knows that our trade deficit is not good. we know it's bad. we know it's ugly. we want to change that. we want to make it better. but our trade deficit would be horrendous. it would be horrendous if it were not for agriculture. that is our number-one export. this is something that we need to be mindful of. agriculture is very, very good for the u.s. economy. and you take something as simple -- and i mean, here again we take this for granted. but you take something as simple
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as raising chickens. that's not very exciting. but you have to think about the impact it happens on the communities where this happens. first someone has to build the chicken house. someone has to deliver the chicks. someone has to deliver the feed. someone has to maintain the trucks that delivers the kh*eubgs -- chicks and feed. someone has to supply water. someone is paying taxes on all this and it is helping local schools, fire, police, et cetera. someone has to pick up the chickens and they deliver them to the processing plant. it starts over and over. someone has to build the plant. someone has to do that, someone has to do this. there is a huge ripple effect in the u.s. economy on everything about agriculture. it's not just the farmers. it's not just the farmers. it is the ripple effect and the positive it has -- positive effect it has on the economy.
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let me just take an example of arkansas. arkansas -- and i'm sure this is true in many other states. i haven't looked at the numbers, but i bet this is true in 35 or 40 other states. and that is it is our largest industry. listen, we love having our fortune 500 companies there, and we have several that are based in arkansas. we have even more than that that have some sort of facility there or some plant or some site of some sort. we love that and we're proud of that. but agriculture is our number-one industry. one in six jobs in arkansas is tied to agriculture. it's $17 billion net effect on the economy, and it's 25% of our state's economy. here again, if you went to other states, i was talking to debbie stabenow not too long ago, and she says in michigan we're all known for manufacturing, heavy manufacturing -- and they are. but she said our second-largest industry is agriculture. and she's chairman of the ag committee. she fought very hard to get the
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farm bill back on track. and much to her credit, she's moved that ball further down the field than i think just about anyone else could. but another reason that i want the house to stop with this manufactured crisis and to follow the senate's lead and to pass a commonsense, comprehensive farm bill -- and i don't say that lightly. i have a lot of respect for the house. certainly they are a separate institution within this branch of government. i certainly have a lot of respect for that and their position and their role. it's critical. but they need to follow the senate's lead on this. they need to follow the senate and do what the senate has done. we're trying to be responsible. we're trying to show leadership here. we're trying to get things back on track. but, you know, when i mentioned arkansas just a moment ago, we're not alone in this. there are over three million farmers in the u.s., and agriculture -- as a nation,
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agriculture employs about 22 million people. the ages appropriates bill would -- aprops build would allow to us build on this economic powerhouse we have in this country. this bill helps farmers get started. it helps farmers increase their yield. and it helps them become better stewards of the land. funding these programs creates jobs in rural america. and let me tell you, if you haven't been there recently, rural america needs jobs. so you take a program like the usda rural development programs, they create construction jobs. they rebuild homes and schools and other facilities, and they keep our rural communities strong. we don't want the tale of two nations here where you have urban and suburban america and rural america and rural america is left behind. we don't want that. we want rural america to be strong as well. almost every member of this body has sizable rural portions of their state.
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we want those areas of those states to grow and be prosperous. so we in this bill provide guaranteed loans for rural businesses to let them grow, to get small and emerging businesses where they need to be. and we also provide money for creation and expansion of businesses in rural settings. a government shutdown would stop these programs. it would bring these programs to a dead halt in rural america. why break the momentum? our economy is just turning the corner. we do not need to do this. you know, we can't forget the role that ag aprops, that the ag aprops bill plays in keeping our families and communities safe. and one thing i have to say is the food and drug administration, they do a great job. again, a lot of people just take them for granted because they do such a good job. but, you know, we have the safest food supply in the world and we have the safest drug supply in the world.
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do we want to jeopardize that? no. please, let's not jeopardize that. why are we playing games with people's food and medicine? it makes no sense at all. in arkansas alone, the f.d.a. oversees -- now this is an unbelievable statistic. in arkansas alone, the f.d.a. oversees 1,300 facilities. 1,300 facilities in my small state. and they also have presence there with the national center for tobgs cological research in every son county and that employs about -- in jefferson county and it is a vital part of what f.d.a. does. we're proud to have them there. arkansas has 85 poultry and 50 meat processing plants. these are inspected by the food service -- food safety inspection service. fsis. last year senator blunt, my good friend from missouri, and i worked very hard with the chairwoman of the committee and
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others in this chamber to make sure that those meat inspectors stayed on the job because the day that they miss, that jeopardizes thousands of private-sector jobs and productivity and disruption to a very, very efficient market. so we were able to do that here again all that's in jeopardy because of the games that they're playing with the house on this issue. the progress we made when it comes to infrastructure would also stop. so we don't want to see that. we want to lay that foundation for future economic growth. we all know that infrastructure creates jobs. things like clean water, waste disposal system, broadband expansion -- that's something we've been fighting for not just in rural arkansas but in every rural state. these investments are critical to growing our nation's businesses and they're critical to local communities.
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this helps all americans. the programs i've talked about today, they're supported by members of both side of the aisle. we got a 23-6 vote. senator blunt and i worked hand in hand. we produced a better bill because we did work together. it's a good, solid case for bipartisanship and how you get things done. and it's really one of the strongest bipartisan votes we've had on the committee so far. but nonetheless, today let me urge my colleagues to please follow the example of the appropriations committee generally, but the ag aprops subcommittee specifically. let's come together and let's do what's best for our economy and for the american people. and again, mr. president, before i yield the floor, i want to thank senator mikulski for her leadership. it's not always easy to lead
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senators. they're like a bunch of cats sometimes, trying to herd cats. but nonetheless we are responding to her leadership because she is doing great things not just for the state of maryland, but for the country and the senate, and we appreciate that. mr. president, with that, i will yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. president. before beginning my remarks, let me i ask unanimous consent that rita cull -p, a detailee for the committee on appropriations be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 113th congress and tiffany taylor, detailee from the department of interior be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the first session of the 113th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. president. let me begin where senator pryor left off, and that is to commend our chairwoman for extraordinary leadership not only on behalf of her constituents but for the nation. these are very difficult it times, and we all feel much more
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confident because of her leadership, because of her commitment, because of her incredible and energetic advocacy for a commonsense, common purpose in terms of of not just our appropriations but in terms of the way we conduct ourselves in the united states senate. and so we are extraordinarily fortunate to have her leadership. mr. president, i'm here along with many of my colleagues to address the looming fiscal deadlines and, more importantly, how do we keep our economy growing and our jobs increasing. that is really why i believe we were sent here. not to engage in some of these procedural arguments. not to challenge basic presumptions and the history of our country, which we've always managed to keep with some few exceptions our government open and with virtually no exceptions we've paid our bills.
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and yet today we are consumed by these debates when most every american in every corner of this country is asking us what about our jobs? what about growth? what about the future for our children? so we have to go ahead and refocus on growing our economy, investing in our country. and part of that is to fund our government and to pay our debts. a big part of that. one other last point that should be made too is that the presumption that we are going to deny 30 million americans health care is not going to help our economy. it won't create jobs. it will do quite the opposite. it will set us back. it won't move us forward. we had a substantial debate. we passed legislation.
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the supreme court of the united states declared the legislation constitutional, and we're going forward now, as most americans want us to do, to deploy it, to fix it where it needs to be fixed, but not to use it as a political wedge for purely political means. for the first time to achieve a dream of many people over many decades that every american will have affordable access to health care. by the way, to do what other nations have been able to do is to reduce the cost of health care so that we can afford it not just today but in the generations ahead. and the idea that you would threaten a government shutdown to try to achieve this objective, i think is something that is unfortunate and inappropriate. we are facing two fiscal
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deadlines, and they can be reduced to very simple questions: do we fund the government? do we pay the nation's bills? my answer, the answer of the vast majority of my constituents is simply, yes, we do. we have to. we understand that we have to go ahead and have an economy that works and a government that helps that economy work. we have to be efficient and effective, but we can't leave simply to the mercies of the market and to the fates what happens in our economy. we have to take purposeful action. and that means we have to have a government that is prepared and able and resourced to act. now, if there is a shutdown, if republicans force a shutdown of the government, it will have extraordinarily adverse consequences to thousands of rhode island workers, my constituents, people all across this country. it would hurt our economic
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growth obviously. rather than doing this, we should be working to expand our growth. we should be doing more to get people back to work. imu we've heard both chambers, republicans talking about another round of brinkmansship. we saw this in august of 2011. and the results there were palpable. it set back our economy. it suppressed job creation. it took what looked like a growing economic momentum and it literally deflated that momentum. our credit rating was downgrading for the first time i think in anyone's recollection, perhaps in history. it was a shortsighted political game that hurt people all across this country, and yet here we are again apparently prepared to play the game. people do not want us to be
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gaming their futures, their children's futures. they want us to be helping them investing in those futures in a positive, an, and, we hope, collaborative effort. will we pay our bills by voting to raise the debt ceiling? will we keep the government open and working so that we can help people who need help, so that we can continue to research issues, so we can continue to innovate, so we can continue to build literally the country? we believe we must do this. this march senate democrats passed a budget that set spending levels, responsibly replaced the sequester, reduced the deficit and including $150
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billion package that would start creating jobs immediately, help our fill 20th century jobs. the house also passed a budget. it's in stark contrast to ours, but they have a budget, too. so the basic constitutional approach, the basic procedural approach, is to bring those two budgets to conference, to ierch ou-- to iron out the differences and have a plan to go forward and fund the government and meet our basic needs. but we can't do that because repeatedly republicans here have objected to going to cfns. now, thi -- to going to confere. now, this is very ironic since the refrain you heard several years ago is that the senate democrats don't have a budget, et cetera. it was a pretty good political response. it ignored the fact that in the budget control act of 2011 we
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actually set budget limit limitd effectively had a budget. but now it's sort of, never mind. they've got a budget, bute don't want the congress to have a budget. we need to pass a budget. we need to responsibly deal with sequestration. we have to create jobs and strengthening the middle class. now last friday, the house republicans played their latest card in this gambit that's extended over several years to achieve their political goals by holding the economy hostage. this time they want to defund health reform as a continue of keeping the government open. indeed, a tactic i believe many republicans in this body have rejected. and i think sensibly rejected. and there's no doubt that if the house vision prevails, it will hurt our economy. it will reduce revenue. it will waste taxpayers'
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dollars. according to the congressional budget office, the shutdowns of the mid-1990's reduced g.n.p. by half a percent. those episodes under the clinton administration -- again, prompted with a little agenda, not an economic agenda by the republicans in the house -- cost americans cost an jobs and grow. every week the government is shut down, it will cost the government $30 billion. this is a very expensive political gambit, something that should be rejected on its face but also rejected because of the adverse harm, the demonstrable economic harm it will do the country. so if you do care about the jobs and the economy, the last thing you want to do is shut the government down. first of all, it eliminates directly lots of people who work for the federal government, who pay taxes, who provide critical taxes.
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the secondary effect is they can't do their jobs so other things stall, and then the local vendors in the communities who rely on the government contractors lose their birks and i--lose their business, and it a downward spiral. everyone here, particularly the chairmen and women of the committees, recognize this. i have the privilege of chairing the interior appropriations subcommittee, and a shutdown would be very, very disruptive. for example, lease sales and permits for oil, gas, coal, and other minerals on federal lands and waters will be stopped. processing onshore oil and gas drilling applications will stop. processing applications for permits to drill offshore will stop. review and approval of offshore
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exploration and development plans will stop. what will be the effect? well, this will delay revenue, obviously. both for the federal government and for the private sector, for those private entrepreneurs who are out there investing their own capital to try to develop natural resources and provide them to the marketplace, they'll lose out, too. another example: public access to recreation and federal lands will virtually cease. the national parks, wildlife refuges will all be closed to visitors. campgrounds, marinas, and other visitor concessions will be closed to the public. if you go to any national park, there is typically around it a group of small businessmen and women that provide backpacking
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gear, that provide rental of rafts and boats and outdoor equipment. what happens when the park closes? their business goes to zero practically. and that's a consequence that is predictable, in fact inevitable. there's another aspect to this government shutdown, too. while many federal employees will be furloughed -- again, directly losing their pay, not contributing their tax dollars to the national economy -- there are some who just can't be. in the interior department alone, thousands of federal workers will continue their jobs in order to protect life and property, but they won't be paid. this will include the park police. they were one of the first responders a few days ago to the navy yard shootings, typical of their ethic of service and dedication to the country, they
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risk theirisked their lived liv. those men and women on the park police will still stand guard but they won't be paid. and it also includes park rangers who provide valuable safety. it would include tribal law enforcement officers for our tribal police departments, tribal child protection services, and the oil and gas inspectors who have to go out and make sure existing operations are being conducted in a technically appropriate way. turning to the e.p.a., administrator gina mccarthy that is said, e.p.a. effectively shuts down with only a core group of individuals that are there in the event of a significant emergency. e.p.a. is planning to furlough approximately 95% of its total workforce. staff will not be reviewing air,
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water applications. it will impact jobs and impact the industry's overall we willness. if you want to stop major construction projects, then just take out the permitting process. nullify it, because they can't go forward legally without permits, permits from e.p.a., permits from local regulators, and you will have a huge contraction. you will have project projects e been planned and they will be put on hold, and it will ripple through the economy. earnings foe.p.a., for example,p certifying thacertifying that ae meeting certification standards. here one of the great examples of what the president's
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leadership has done, the revitalization of the american automobile industry, could be jeopardized simply because of the fact that they can't have their vehicles certified because the e.p.a. is basically closed. and a shutdown compounds the hidden costs of the sequester. it is an inefficient and blunt industry, the sequestration. it force forces the agencies toe makdecisions that do not allow m to prioritize, and it frustrates all of us, and it will complicate and compound our life going forward. you know, we're already feeling -- put aside for the moment a potential government shutdown. we're already feeling the effects of the pending sequestration. we're seeing forced furloughs up in rhode island at the new port navy base and other facilities. and we're seeing the ripple effect of that the local businesses--
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--they're saying demand go down, revenues go down. they are financial viability be threatened. rhode islanders have been -- who have been laid off in private enterprises and other enterprises, through no fault of their own, are seeing their unemployment insurance cut by the sequester already. the average benefit of $37 7 is being cut. they estimate 6,000 to 7,000 rhode island remembers being affected, taking $1.4 million per month directly out of ow economy. our economy is still battered. 9% unemployment. and this is something that is causing pain and hardship to families throughout my state, and we're now even cutting back on the very modest benefits that they might be receiving after losing their employment. head start, an extraordinarily
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valuable program, serves mo tha- serves more than 2,400 children in my state. sequestration has reduced funding by $1.3 million, which is a big number when it comes to the smallest state and area in the country. to manage these cuts, the staff has been laid off, transportation has been reduced, other support services. but even with those savings, 370 slots -- 370 children -- don't call them "slots." call them "children." they won't get access to head start. that means many in cases their parents can't continue to work because they can't leave their child alone. and the problems become more ans more complicated. -- become more and more complicated. these problems reach very far across the spectrum. and then there's one other point i want to make here, is that some people are saying sequestration is bad, but we
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really just have to deal with the defense aspects of it, because, you know, that's the most important thing. these other programs, you know, they can go their way. well, it was interesting because one of the premiere leaders in the defense industry, former chairman of lockheed martin, former under secretary of the army, he's served on so many different boards, the national academy of engineering, defense science board, the american institute of aeronautics and astro naughtics. in a speech recently, mr. augustine said that much of the non-defense spending that people are sort of dismissing as unimportant is more critical to our national security or at critical as some of the defense programs. he talked about how today's youngest generation will be the first in history to be less
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well-educated than their parents, if trends continue, and they're likely to be less healthy, particularly if we don't continue to support the health care improvements under the affordable care act. one of the startling discoveries is the military, according to mr. augustine, is claiming that 70% of today's young people are ineligible for military service. because of mental, physical, and moral shortcomings. now, the mental and physical shortcomings are a function of two things: education and health care. and we're proposing to say, let's cut them. let's drop this whole proposal about affordable care, and who will be the beneficiary of affordable care and better head start and better education? probably 70% of those young people who can't qualify to be recruits in the united states army.
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so you think we have a problem with national defense? we do have a problem with defense. but it's not simply by buying more platforms, more ships, more planes. it's by having a generation of americans who can stand up and serve. and, mr. president, i could go on, but i just simply want to say that we are in a situation where we have to basically do what we've always done. stood up and said we're going to keep the government moving. we're going to make choices about priorities, but we're going to keep our government open. and we'll debate those choices. we'll debate those priorities, and we will come to a conclusion and we'll move forward. and, oh, by the way, we're going to pay the debts we've already accumulated. the american people should understand this. this is -- the presiding officer: the majority time has expired. mr. sessions: i request an additional 30 seconds. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. sessions: we're not saying listen let us borrow more money so we can spend this money. we're just trying to pay for a program and appropriations that have been approved by the congress, both republicans and democrats, both the house and the senate. these are accumulated debts. many of those debts were accumulated in the previous administration fighting two wars. we're not -- and we shouldn't turn our back for the first time in our history in what we have voted previously to spend. and indeed, if we do that, it will create chaos in economic markets, chaos that we have never seen before. and the markets internationally are so fragile that we dare not risk this. and with that, mr. chairman -- mr. president, excuse phaoerbgs i will yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, before i begin my other remarks today, i would like to say a few words about my friend arnold garcia who announced his retirement as editor of the awes awes -- austin american statesman. during a time of polarization in washington and other cities across the city, arnold enjoys the respect and admiration of republicans and democrats alike. he's a veteran of the united states senate army and the texas national guard. and he spent 40 years at the austin american statesman serving as head of the editorial page for more than two decades. one of the most prominent and influential journalist in texas, arnold has a deep love and respect for our state, his country, and the men and women who defend us.
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he is by all accounts a fair-minded reporter, which is saying something if you're in our business, because we know there is a natural adversarial relationship between the press and elected officials. but i know everyone in texas who knows arnold agrees that he's a fair-minded reporter who's always made time to talk really to almost anyone, has always had an open door for those who wanted to have a discussion on virtually any topic. so i just wanted to say a few words today about arnold garcia. arnold, i salute your pioneering accomplishments. i thank you for all of these years of your friendship. and i wish you and your family nothing but the best in this next chapter of your life. mr. president, turning to the topic du jour, along with many
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of my republican colleagues, i've spent the past several days discussion all the negative consequences of obamacare. i think it's important to remember that these are human consequences, not just about numbers. when taxes and premiums rise, when doctors are forced to drop their patients, when people lose their preexisting insurance coverage and when full-time jobs become part-time jobs, when our health care safety net is stretched to the breaking point, each of these has a profound impact on the lives of real people. that's especially true for the neediest and most vulnerable among us who rely on the safety net programs that the president's health care law is further weakening. to better appreciate the consequences of obamacare, we should consider the following questions.
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first, what does obamacare mean to a 28-year-old college graduate who can only find part-time work and who's living with his parents? well, it means he will either pay higher insurance premiums or pay higher taxes. and it also means he'll have a harder time finding full-time employment and starting a career. the second question, what does obamacare mean for a single mom who's insured through medicaid, that safety net program i was talking about? it means her family's primary insurance program, a program that's already broken, for example, in my state only one doctor out of every three will see a new medicaid patient because it reimburses at such a low rate. so medicaid is already failing to reliably deliver access to
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health care. but with obamacare and the dumping of millions of additional people into this broken program, it means that this program will be flooded with millions of new distinguishes, and it phaoepbts phaoepbts -- means medicaid will be less effective at delivering access to quality health care to the most vulnerable people in our society, the very people it was designed to protect. question number three, what does obamacare mean to a 70-year-old retiree who is enrolled in medicare? well, it means that fewer and fewer doctors will accept him or her as a patient. again, because medicare pays doctors at a fraction of what private health insurance pays in terms of reimbursements for their services. and it also means obamacare also means unelected bureaucrats will soon be making decision about
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whether they will get the care that their doctor believes they need. the fourth question is what does obamacare mean for a working family that's been receiving employer-provided health insurance from their small business? well, it means they very easily could lose their existing coverage and get dumped into an obamacare exchange. it means they could very easily find themselves paying higher premiums for lower-quality insurance. the final question i would ask is what does obamacare mean for a small business owner with 49 employees? well, it means they have a powerful incentive to keep below that 50 cap, 50 employee cap which would then kick them over into the employer sanction if they don't provide government-approved health care
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for all their employees. so their incentive is to keep employment low, not hire any more workers because of obamacare's extensive regulations and financial penalties. as we think about each of these questions, we should also think about what business owners across america are telling us -- i dare say all of us -- about obamacare. for example, a small business owner named linda peters who runs a radio communications company in anchorage, alaska, said obamacare's health insurance tax -- quote -- "hurts our future and threatens the stability of the small business sector." in arkansas, the owner of little rock tours and travel arcs woman named gina martin said -- quote -- "none of us really understand how we're going to continue to stay in business." close quote. and in louisiana, the owner of
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dot's diner restaurant group, a gentleman by the name of larry katz, told a senate committee that he was being forced to -- quote -- "forced to put 16 people out of work just to save himself from the negative effects of obamacare." then in north carolina, a franchise holder of the popular five guys burger chain, a man named mike ruffer, estimated obamacare will cost him nearly 60 thousand additional dollars a year. each of the business owners that i mentioned lives in a state with at least one democratic senator who voted for obamacare back in 2009. i want to emphasize once again, mr. president, that obamacare is not inevitable. any law that congress passes, it can repeal, it can amend, it can change.
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the members of this chamber now have an opportunity to correct the mistake that senate democrats made in 2009 when obamacare passed on a party-line vote. all democrats voted for it. all republicans voted against it, including me. we have an opportunity to stop this law before it does any more damage to people like those i mentioned and millions more across america. as if adding insult to injury, just yesterday we learned that the i.r.s. has somehow now misplaced $67 million that was allocated to the obamacare slush fund, and i dare say given all the money being pushed into the implementation of obamacare, we can expect more stories like that in the weeks and months ahead unless congress acts. as i said, i'm proud to say i
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voted against obamacare four years ago because i simply did not see how it could possibly work. i was concerned about the higher taxes on hardworking american families like my constituents in texas. i was concerned about the command and control of washington, d.c. on all the health care decisions that should have been left to doctors and patients and families trying to work together to determine what's in the best interest of those individuals and those families. and, yes, i was concerned that government would continue to cut reimbursements to providers which would make it more and more likely that fewer and fewer doctors and hospitals could actually see medicare or medicaid patients. and i was concerned that obamacare represented a statement and an attitude that
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washington knows best and that nothing anybody else has done at innovative medical facilities around the country, in different states, none of that matters because washington really knows best. many people had the audacity to say that even though obamacare was popular when it was -- unpopular when it was passed that people would learn to love it, sort of like when social security and medicare were passed. many of our democratic colleagues who were responsible for giving us obamacare have what we don't have often in life, and that is a second chance. and these senate democrats who voted for obamacare now having seen the sorts of stories and heard the sorts of stories that i just described, they now have a second chance to help save the american people from a looming disaster. when you have people like
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senator max baucus, chairman of the senate finance committee, on which i serve, telling kathleen sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, that the implementation of obamacare is like a train wreck, we ought to listen. when some of the biggest cheerleaders for obamacare, like organized labor, are now traveling to the white house and saying, please, mr. president, won't you give us a waiver or exemption because this is turning out different than you told us it would. full-time work, 40-hour workweek is in jeopardy because in order to protect themselves from employer sanctions, people are moving people from full-time work to part-time work, which is one -- or if they can hire people at all, which may be one reason why the labor participation rate, which is a percentage of americans who are actually in the workforce looking for work, is the lowest
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it's been in the last 30 years. as i said earlier, this is -- each of these stories is a human tragedy, and the stories behind the numbers, i think, tell a very sobering tale. but we are not powerless to deal with this looming disaster with this impending train wreck, as senator baucus said. and i hope senate democrats will vote with senate republicans and take a stand as we will have a chance to do when we get a chance to vote to defund obamacare on the continuing resolution. and if we do, we will be protecting the american people from one of the most unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable laws in modern history. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator? south dakota. mr. thune: i'd like to elaborate on the comments of my colleague from texas who i think laid out in very clear terms what's at stake in the debate we're having here and really what the vote that we're going to have here in the not-too-distant future means. because i think it's pretty clear, if you look at any objective measurement, any metric, that obamacare is a huge disaster. and obviously we've seen tremendous anecdotal evidence of that. you travel your state or around the country, you talk to anybody who is in business, and the message comes back very clear that obamacare is making it more difficult and more expensive for them to create jobs. it's creating a lot of unsent. there are mandates and requirements associated with the new law because employers are
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being forced to provide a government-approved plan, and so costs go up. that means there are people that aren't getting hired that otherwise might have gotten hired. people are looking at reducing thair theitheir workforce and oy just creating a tremendous amount of disruption in our commitment of and -- inour comme middle-class is being crushed by the president's policies and obamacare is certainly no exception. yesterday we saw in "forbes" magazine, a report on a recent study done by the manhattan institute that obamacare will increase insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97% to 99% and for younger women by 5 fo 5%. that is more than just a grim statistic in my state. it is a grim reality facing thousands of young men and women. by comparing a typical low-cost
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plan for a healthy 30-year-old in south dakota this year with a bronze plan in south dakota's health care exchange next year, the premium increases, mr. president, are staggering. younger women are going to face a 223% premium increase and men, a 300% premium increase when you compare new data from the health and human services department with data from the government accountability office. that's a $1,500 increase in health care premiums each year for women and more than a $2,000 increase in health care premiums for men. so the money that could be used, the money that could be used for other things is now going to be going toward this increase in health insurance premiums that people are going to have to pay to get covered. so they could have been using that to pay off a student loan,
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they could have been using it to save for a home for start a family. and so this has a tremendous impact on the economy and particularly those who are going to get hit hardest in my state of south dakota, not unlike other states across the country, it is young people, younger men and women. the administration and the president are out talking about how the h.h.s. study or report confirms what they've been saying, that somehow premiums are going to go down. well, the reason they are saying that, mr. president, is they are comparing the exchange premiums, what they think people are going to pay, with what c.b.o., the congressional budget office, preducted they might pay earlier -- predicted they might pay earlier this year. so it is a hypothetical, a mythical comparison. there's nothing to it. phit is fiction, if you will. what you've got to do is make this real for people. when you compare it to what they're paying today, young
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people in particular are going to see dramatic increases in their premiums. and so the study was a complete -- or the report was a complete fraud, in terms of giving and informing people with real information about what their health insurance premiums are going to be under these exchanges. as i just pointed out, when you compare what they would be paying under the exchanges in my state of south dakota with what people are paying today for similar type consequently, the increases are -- for similar type cofnlg coverage, the incree staggering. now, they're going to say, some of these individuals are going to be eligible for premium tax credits to help cover the cost. but not everyone is eligible for those premium tax credits. there are going to be a lot of people who are noting about to be eligible for the credits, and those credits don't cover all the cost. according to a new analysis by avalier health, americans could
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face steep cost-sharing requirements like co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles layered on top of the monthly premiums which are going to increase dramatically. it is clear that health care costs are going up, particularly -- particularly for younger americans. president obama promised that health care premiums would go down by an average of $2,500 per family. if you look at what the real situation is with regard to families, mr. president, those premiums have actually jumped by more than $2,500 since the president took office and since obamacare became law. so we've got costs that continue to increase, despite the president's programs to the contrary; household income has been dropping since the time the president has been in office, about $3,700 according to a recent study. the and so when you sit there -- and so when you sit there and if you're an american family and looking at your economic situation, you're saying, let me get this straight. i have higher costs and lower
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incomes. how does the president suspect that we're going to be able to cover these higher costs? well, that's the reality, as i said, that most americans are dealing with and that people in my state of south dakota, particularly millennials who are going to be most harmfully impacted by the new plan, are going to be dealing with. now, with respect to jobs, the other thing i'd like to point out, because obviously the cost of health care is a very, very important situation and something that every american has to think about, as they think about their own personal economic circumstances, but you also have to have jobs. and most people get health insurance coverage, a lot of them do, through their job. well, what is the obamacare legislation doing to jobs and to our economy? nearly three in four small businesses playen to fire workers or -- plan to fire workers or cut hours. according to "investors business
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daily," more than 200 employers have cut jocks o jobs or slashe. it's important to point out that 60% of the jobs that have been created this year are part-time jobs. not full-time jobs, part-time jobs. because the way the obamacare legislation and the law is structured, it is a disincentive for companies to grow, because if they get bigger, if they get more than 50 employees, they're subject to a the love these new regulations -- they're subject to a lot of these new regulations if they approve government-approved health care. there is also a definition the law of what a full-time employee is. if you are someone who works more than 30 hours, air a full-time employee. so what are companies doing? businesses doing? they're hiring more and more people to work 29 hashes a -- they're hiring more and more people to work 29 hours a wreak. the president will go down in
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history as the president who et crude the most part-time jobs. but americans want full-time jobs. they want a job that will help thep plan for their childrenes education and for their own retirement. having to work more than one job doesn't get it done for them. that's why we see this trend occurring of part-time jobs being created largely because of mandates imposed in obamacare. the middle class is being squeezed from both ends. americans' premiums are going up while their takehome pay is going down. the impact is as clear across the country as they are in my state. i want to give you an example of a business owner. he was asked about the higher mandates in obamacare. "you'll just to increase accordingly and have to cut jobs. and you probably won't hire as many people of the and i think you'll see a lot of that."
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end quote. that's a small business eastern i--that's a small business owner responding about the impact of obamacare on his ability to create jobs and hire people and expand business and grow the economy in my state. it's no wonder, mr. president, that the president's approval rating is under water, nearly 60% of americans say they oppose obamacare. it is the president's signature accomplishment. and so while the president's signature -- support for the president's signature law it i.n.s. to fade -- continues to fade, we're also stheeg it's impacting the president's rating. more americans view the president unfavorably. according to yesterday's gallup poll, the president is struggling with his own base. support has dropped 13%. the effects of these policies and particularly obamacare in the specific is having an impact
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on the president's standing and i think people are understanding what the impacts are wharkts effects of this are, what the results of this are, and they're starting to react accordingly. now, the other thing i guess i would mention, which is of great concern to anybody who is thinking about going into an exchange or looking to this next week when the exchanges -- quote -- "go live" or go online is that there are an awful lot of glitches or bumps. you've got premiums on the rise, workers' jobs, wages, and hours are being cut, and glitches and bumps when it comes to implementation. the latest example of an obamacare glitch comes from the district of columbia exchanges. a report that came out just yesterday said that the district of columbia obamacare exchanges experiencing -- i quote designation "a high error rate." a high error rate in calculating the tax credits that low- and
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middle-income people are going to receive. you can't make this stuff up. the government-run exchange is rendering, and i quote, "a high error rate" in handling your health care. who would have thought that would be the case? these exchange shoppers will not have access to the premium prices until mid-november. that's according to that recent report on the district of columbia. well, there's similar glitches happening at the federal level as well and in other states. oregon and colorado have faced setbacks. reuters reports on monday, and i quote again, "employers -- "employees running connect for health colorado told board members that the exchange would not be able to calculate federal subsidies either at least for the first few weeks." inaccuracies, glitches, malfunctions. this law is not ready for prime
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time. mean while we've got top democrats here in the congress who i think are in complete denial. the president said earlier this summer, i think it's important for us to recognize and acknowledge that this is working the way it's supposed to. representing pelosi on the house side said, the implementation of this is fabulous. senator reid said on "meet the press" not too long ago, "obamacare has been wonderful for america." that message is being lost on merntionamericans, mr. presiden. we have an opportunity to correct that. we have a chance hat a do-over here. we can fix this, we can correct this wrong. it didn't take a 2,700-page bill and 20,000 pages of regulations to fix the problems that we have in our health care system today. but what we have now is a government takeover one-sixt-sif our economy and we are seeing what that means for many americans: higher premiums, higher costs, fewer jobs, lower
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takehome pay, glitches and bumps when it comes to complementation. at a minimum what we ought do is delay the implementation of this, not just for a favored few, not just for those select constituencies that the president wants to grant waivers and exemptions, but we ought to allow a delay of this for all men's because it is not ready for prime time. and i think ultimately maybe what, you know, drives or motivates people to stay with this, in spite of all this -- every day, news stories, headlines talking about the flaws, the errors in implementation, the i guess overpromises that were made by the administration when it comes to what costs were going to be for people and whether or not they'd be able to keep their own insurance, but when you look at all that the cumulative effect of all that the wise thing for us to do is to recognize that this is a mistake. and, at a minimum, delay its
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implementation. at the best, my favorite scenario would be that we repeal it and start over. but i think we've got a lot of people here, as was mentioned by senator reid not too long ago, whose goal really is to get to a single-payer system. if that's your goal, then you want this thing to muddle along that the only alternative is a single-payer, in other words socialized med sun. i don't think that's consistent with what the american people want, not consistent with our heritage of freedom and competition and giving people in this country more choices. that might explain why many of the things we have proposed -- alternatives we have proposed on this side. aisle -- consistently get voted down. why don't we allow people to buy insurance across state lines, create interstate competition? that drives prices down. why don't we allow pooling for small businesses so that they can get the benefit of group purchasing morning hour? why don't we reduce the cost of defensive medicine by ending
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junk lawsuits in this country? why don't we allow people to have their own refundable tax credit so they can buy their own health insurance and come up with a system that's portable, that creates competition, that allows people to have more choices, that is based upon market impulses and market principles? when you got a free market and it's working, mr. president, you get much lower cost because competition -- competition brings that about. wcialtion i hope we can get to the that point where we say that this was the wrong direction. we're going to have chance to vote on that later today. the vote that's going to be before us -- and i'm not aware of any republican in this chamber that's not going to vote to defund obamacare. we have an opportunity as republicans and democrats to acknowledge ar what the american people have already he can recognized and that is this is not working. it is not working as intended and planned.
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the best thing we can do is give the american people a break, give the american economy a break by delaying its implementation and, more importantly, just repealing it and starting over and doing this the right way, building upon the strengths that we have in our health care delivery system today, acknowledging that there are challenges and weaknesses but things that can be fixed without passing a 2,700-page bill and 20,000 pages of regulations. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, madam president. i appreciate the senator from south dakota and his words but also his leadership, not only in this area but in so many areas that -- of such importance thash facing our nation. so again, we appreciate him very, very much. with the exchanges to open in a matter of days, we're getting an up-close-and-personal look at how bad this law is for arkansans. on monday, the obamacare premiums were released for the
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arkansas exchanges. the exchanges were supposed to provide choices. the president said it would be like booking travel on expedia. do you know how many insurance companies you can pick from this magnolia? two? in pine bluff, hellen in a and lake village -- two. in jonesboro and hot springs? three. there aren't a the love options and none of them are affordable. sticker shock, i think, is the best which to describe the response i've heard from arkansans. yesterday a caller to my fort smith office said he could barely afford his diabetic medicine. with the new premiums, he simply can't afford them. that's one example of many similar calls that we have received and are receiving. with the price tag of nearly $3 trillion, the law creates more problems than it solves. it drives up health care costs,
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busts our budget, bankruptcies medicare and deflates our economy. on top of that, it doesn't create economic stability for arkansans. it raises their taxes. on some level, even president obama acknowledges this won't work. he has delayed without legal recourse the employer health care mandate. more relief for other allies will certainly come. it is clear that the white house is picking and choosing who has to comply with the law, which leaves the rest of america asking, "where's my exemption? why can't everyone get a special deal?" they rightfully want to know why they have to follow a law that the president's allies aren't following. every republican in this chamber wrote the president shortly after he made this decision to delay the employer mandate. we demanded that he extend relief to the public. in fact, we asked him to permanently delay implementation for everyone.
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senator coats and i, along with several other of our colleagues, have introduced a bill that would accomplish just that. because this law is not just bad for u.s. businesses, it's bad for workers, it's bad for american families. the president says he's working for a better bargain for the middle class. this law crushes the middle class. it's going to make coverage unaffordable for everyone, including the very people the president seeks to provide coverage to: low-income workers. because the law is poorly written, a worker making $21,000 a year may be offered plans with premiums that are nearly $2,000. how is this affordable? for a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible upwards of $3,000 before coverage kicks in. that's almost a quarter of the annual salary of a worker making $21,000 and this is supposed to be affordable. one of my constituents hit the nail on the head during a
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telephone town hall that i had on monday night when he said this law is actually making health insurance more expensive for the average person. nowhere in the 20,000 pages of regulations can you find one that drives down the cost of health care. that's the core of the problem. this law has to be replaced with reforms that drive down the cost of exph insurance and make it ty affordability. instead of allowing the government to dictate our health care needs, we should strive to reward quality health care, encourage healthy living and minimize waste through patient choice and health care ownership. we should pass laws that expand health savings accounts. we should allow more small businesses, people like my barber, to pull together with other barbers and purchase group insurance to cover their employees at a lower rate.
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we need to allow americans to purchase insurance across state lines, like we do our car insurance. and there are other reform avenues that we can explore, some i think that we can even get the majority and the froze support. -- majority and the president to support. every republican in this chamber wants to do away with this law. we may disagree on strategy but we all seek the same goal. for me and many of my colleagu colleagues, it's hard to find the logic in opposing a bill that defunds obamacare. again, this bill that the house has sent us does exactly what we are trying to accomplish. it defunds obamacare and keeps the government open. we must also ensures it keeps us on a path to fiscal responsibility. now, if the majority leader attempts to restore the funding for obamacare, you can be assured that i will vote against it. my vocal opposition to the law, my record of voting against the original bill and my support of
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efforts to repeal it are evidence that i want to replace this law with real reform that will drive down the cost of care and increase coverage for all. however, at the end of the day, it's not wise to force a shutdown by holding a bill -- holding up a bill to continue the funding of government. our troops in harm's way deserved to be paid. seniors in arkansas need their social security checks on a timely manner just to get by, and arkansans who have jobs that require government action, regardless of the situation, will have their livelihoods at stake as a result of a shutdown. and perhaps most concerning is what a shutdown could do to the narcotics this vermarkets in the economy. our economy is in a far more precarious condition than it was during the last shutdown. the retirement savings of millions of arkansans could take
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a dramatic hit. we face a serious crisis. health care costs are crippling this country and many americans lack access to quality, affordable care. it's stifling our nation's overall economic development. these are real difficulties patients, physicians and hospitals face. i understand this problem firsthand. for 24 years i practiced optometry with my brother and my partners in arkansas. my experiences as both a health care practitioner and clinic owner led me to understand there is a right way and a wrong way to address this crisis. the president's health care is the wrong way. let's move forward by supporting the house-passed continuing resolution that defunds obamacare. let's work together for affordable and effective health care reforms through free market principles.
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i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia rnl. mr. isakson: madam president, i rise to address the senate with regard whether or not to close debate and go to the debate and the final vote, if you will, on the house-passed version of the c.r. which strips -- which puts in the language that defunds obamacare. i will vote "yes" for cloture so we can go to the vote that i have promised my constituents in my state 57 different sometimes tiems in other votes -- times in other votes i've cast in the senate in defunding the obamacare legislation because i believe there is a better way to do it. we only have two options before us. one is to end debate and go to a vote on legislation passed out of the house that will continue the government and defund obamacare, understanding the leadership will have an amendment to strip the defunding out, which i will vote against that amendment because i want to be consistent with the other 57 votes i have taken. but the other alternative is an alternative not to shut off
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debate, to continue the debate, which means we come up to monday night midnight when the fiscal year ends and the government shuts down. government shutdowns are a bad idea. they're bad for the people that send us here to this country to represent them. they're bad for seniors on social security. they're bad for those whose husbands and sons and daughters are fighting in harm's way in afghanistan and other parts of the world t. hurts our military. -- world. it hurts our military. it hurts our health care system. and it doesn't do anything to stop obamacare. what a lot of people don't realize is, you shut the government down, you're not shutting down obamacare. a great percentage of that is mandatory funding. you -- if you shut the government down, you're actually encouraging obamacare and discouraging our government to function as it should. i will not vote to shut the government down. i will vote to end the debate and i will vote in the way that i have promised every citizen of my state since the obamacare legislation came before us. look, i'm on the help committee. we had did the markup on the affordable care act in 2009.
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like almost every other member of the united states senate, i was here on christmas eve 2009 and voted against the obamacare legislation on the final vote. since that period of time, we've had a plethora of votes and challenges and opportunities and i have remained consistent. i'm not going to all of a sudden in a debate change my consistency and vote to shut down the government and continue obamacare. i want to be consistent with the way i voted. i want the senate to take up its responsibility. i want us to be sure we do not shut down the government for our people. i want to be sure nrve the senate has -- sure everybody in the senate has their opportunity to cast their vote, both on the continuing resolution and on whether or not obamacare stays or whether obamacare is defunded. that is the question before us, not whether or not we shut the government down. so while i respect and appreciate everybody's position, i just think it's irresponsible for us as a senate to knowingly and voluntarily shut down our government and extend obamacare when we have the opportunity to have the debate, have the vote, strip the -- strip out the funding for obamacare and move
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forward. i don't know how it will end up. i think i know. but i know one thing -- inaction and not voting is wrong. people of georgia sent me here to take action, not to avoid action. they sent me here to run government, not to shut the government down. in fact, i got to the united states senate and the united states house because of a government shutdown and i want to tell that story. in the 1990's, when president clinton was president and newt gingrich was speaker, the issue of -- many issues came about on fiscal spending. and the speaker and the president and the minority and majority leader of the senate, bob dole, got in a conflict overextending the budget or not. the republicans took the position, we'll shut the government down rather than yield to what president clinton wanted to do. and so the government shut down. about three weeks later, the government was brought back, the speaker, speaker gingrich, came back and capitulated. we reopened the government. but he lost a lot of ground. and two years later he was elect by a narrow margin but was not elected speaker and resigned. i replaced him.
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careful if you shut the government down; you might get another me. so that's what happens. the voters speak out. the voters make sure we're accountable. it cost us the speakership, it cost us the leadership in the house and politically that's unsustainable and something we shouldn't do. i want to be a part of doing my responsible action, voting like i've told my voters i'm going to vote. instead of shutting the government down, having the vote that we need to have to see to it which way we're going to move forward as a country. madam president, i yield back the balance of my time and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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senator is recognized. a senator: i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. madam president, i have six 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. udall: thank you, madam president. and for this hour of majority time, i ask consent that the following senators have 15 minutes each. senator udall of new mexico, senator merkley, senator baldwin and senator whitehouse. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. madam president, five years ago, our economy went off a cliff. we all remember just how bad it was. wall street crashed, great industries faced ruin, trillions of dollars in savings of american families gone, wiped
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out. that was the reality, and it was a nightmare for millions of americans. they lost their jobs, they lost their homes. so many saw a lifetime's work disappear through no fault of their own. five years later, we are slowly making our way back. we've seen 42 months of private-sector job growth but that's 7.5 million jobs. that's a new start for millions of americans, but as families in new mexico know, having a job in this can economy doesn't mean the struggles are over. we're move forward but not fast enough. too many folks in my state are still looking for jobs, or they're working and still struggling to pay for rent, food, and gas. and they still haven't caught up to where they were before, even though they are working harder than ever. new mexico's unemployment
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remains too high. it is at 6.9% and has been struck around 7% for way too long. we still have a ways to go, so we can't afford any more self-inflicted wounds. no more manufactured crises, no more government dysfunction. unfortunately, we're seeing that again and again. a minority of radical obstructionists in the house and in the senate are threatening a government shutdown unless they get their way. they want to repeal the law of the land, even though they lack the votes to do so. they are driving us towards another cliff. they are willing to endanger the full faith and credit of the united states all for their narrow ideological agenda. and the american people will be the ones who feel the consequences. there is no reason for this drama that threatens our
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struggling economy. the american people don't want this. from wall street to main street, most americans are watching -- watching this spectacle with disbelief. they're looking for progress, for recovery, and they're getting gridlock. over and over with no budget, no long-term plan, and if this continues, with the government in paralysis. all this to drive a tank, all this to drive a tank through health care reform. the american people don't want to shut the government to prevent people from getting their health insurance. they want jobs and they want economic recovery. it's clear to folks on all sides of this desperate stunt that this is dangerous. for even the u.s. chamber of commerce, not exactly a leftist group, has said stop it. they told the house last week -- and this is what they said to the house of
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representatives -- it is not in the best interest of the u.s. business community or the american people to risk even a brief government shutdown. likewise, the u.s. chamber respectfully urges the house of representatives to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner and thus eliminate any question of threat to the full faith and credit of the united states government. we need to move past these partisan games and get back to working on our economy. we need to provide stability so that our nation's families and businesses can grow and prosper. we need to pass a bill that prevents a government shutdown and funds the programs critical to our economic health. i want to talk about the effect on my home state of new mexico. new mexico's economy can't afford these partisan games. we're already struggling with
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sequestration. in new mexico, sequestration is a painful reality. having a chilling effect on our economy. folks are worried about their jobs. the most vulnerable groups -- the poor, families with children, seniors and native americans -- face serious cuts in education and social services. our state has two great national laboratories, sandia and los alamos. their work is essential to the security and safety of all americans. keeping our nation's nuclear stockpile safe and secure. we are host to three air force bases as well as white sands missile range. this budget impacts -- this budget impasse is damaging to these installations and it threatens economic chaos in the nearby communities. businesses that rely on federal contracts wonder if they can keep their doors open. sequestration is already
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damaging small businesses that survived the recession, businesses like queston construction, a general contractor. their president, tina cordova has seen the number of employees shrink from near 40 to just 18 today. and then there are the businesses like p.s.c., a 100% native american woman-owned security personnel business that had to let go employees last year, threatening shutdowns only makes this worse. these partisan games are also hurting the small businesses that depend on tourism. according to the national park service, new mexico's national parks and monuments had 1.5 million visitors last year. we can't afford to close down sites like bandolier national monument, carlsbad caverns,
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and a host of other unique and special places. customers who visit these sites stay in hotels and eat in our restaurants. tourism means big dollars for new mexico and our businesses, about $5.9 billion in direct spending. but here we are with a house resolution that is playing politics with our economy. this is a dead end. we're on the wrong train, on the wrong track, and going nowhere. americans understand this and i think that's why they are so disappointed in us. our economy can't afford even the threat of government shutdown. too many businesses and families are still barely making ends meet five years after wall street crashed. today's vote is some good news. we are facing obstruction but we are moving forward in a bipartisan way, i believe the
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senate can do its job. it can pass a bill to fund the government without partisan poison pill amendments. then it will go back to the house with little time to spare, we can only hope that the house leaders will come to their senses and allow a bipartisan bill, not a partisan bill, to move forward. but when that happens, if it happens, we have more challenges ahead. the house has drastically underfunded programs that the american people depend on. i just talked a bit about the impact on new mexico, now i'd like to talk for a minute as chairman of an appropriations subcommittee. we see the needs out there. we see the need for investments. we can't keep kicking the can down the road hoping that somehow a miracle will happen and our roads and bridges will fix themselves. that our veterans will get the resources they need without funding, that our national labs will be able to take on
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additional responsibility without additional resources. in the case of my subcommittee, financial services and general government, we're making sure our financial systems are sound so that americans won't have to worry about a collapse, about losing their retirement or their homes or their life savings. or making -- we're making sure we don't need a government bailout again. that we're protecting consumers against fraud. the house bill would put all of those important functions at risk. we can't afford that. the american people can't afford that, and we will continue fighting for a commonsense path forward. and one of the areas in my subcommittee is small business, funding the small business administration. if we go into a government shutdown, the small business administration closes down, all
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those small businesses across america that rely on loans, that rely on advice, that rely on small business development centers, aren't going to be able to do that. so taking an idea from the beginning of a business, through a business plan, it's going to thwart entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. we can't afford that. so i would plead with my friends over in the house, when you get our bill, you're going to get it this week or near the end of the week, please think long and hard and pass it and then let's move forward. thank you, madam president. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you very much. i rise today to address some of the challenges we face here on september 26. now, the significance of that date is it's only four days before september 30, the close
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of the financial year. on october 1, the start of a new financial year. and so it has been our responsibility as a congress to prepare for october 1 by passing a budget, reconciling that budget with the house of representatives, using that budget to produce 12 appropriation bills, reconciling those 12 appropriation bills and have the spending plan completely in place so that we smoothly begin the start of a new financial year. no crises. just adults working out a spending plan for the next 12 months on time. well, i'd like to say that's where we are today, but instead, as i stand here on the floor of the u.s. senate, we are only five days away from a shutdown
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of the u.s. government, a shutdown because that spending plan has not bet put together -- has not been put together. now, for many americans who have been following the challenges of the last couple years, this will sound a little bit like deja vu all over again, to quote yogi berra. because we've been here before. we've been to a crisis before. indeed, it was april 2011 when we had a new government shutdown and it had a huge impact on job creation and it had a big impact on the stock market. in other words, it wounded our economy at a time when americans want us to build a strong foundation for a better economy, to create jobs for the middle class, put people back to work, to get momentum built up, to put american families in a better place. but instead, we have this manufactured crisis.
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in april 2011, courtesy of my colleagues, who felt more about exercising partisan warfare than caring about the success of our middle-class families. and, quite simply, that's just wrong. and then it was just months later, in july 2011, that we had a debt ceiling crisis. well, this is quite interesting because the debt ceiling is simply a term for paying the bills we've already incurred. now, president reagan had something to say about this. president reagan said, don't mess with the good faith and credit of the united states of america; we pay our bills on time. and we paid our bills on time. we didn't manufacture crises to do damage to the economy because of the poison extreme partisanship gripping this chamber and the chamber on the
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other side of capitol hill. well, not only did that combination of crises do significant damage, but 2012 we faced the big fiscal cliff. this is where the tax structure, as developed under the bush presidency, were set to expire, so a new set of policies had to be worked out. and so there we went, unable to have that adult responsible conversation due to the extreme partisanship gripping this chamber and the other chamber, and so we had a crisis at the close of that year. and, quite frankly, it did damage as well. because suddenly businesses are looking out and seeing not only did we have the recession, the great recession of 2008 as a result of out-of-control failures in regulation that allowed predatory mortgages and
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predatory securities, securities that melted down and took the large part of america's financial world with them. not only did we have that, but now we have this follow-on inability to have reasonable, thoughtful, commonsense budget plans in place to take us forward. well, 2012 led to march 2013, three months later, and now when he the delayed implementation of the sequester. the sequester coals from the budget control act, an act that i voted against because members on both sides of the aisle described it as dumb and dumber. so dumb we won't threat happen. i thought it was so dumb it should never be written into law and so i voted against it. but i was on the losing side of that battle. and so this diabolical financial plan has exploded on to the american scene in march 2013 creating a significant,
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significant problem for the american economy, significant damage to the american economy. and so here we are six months later, unable to complete our budget and our appropriation bills for the coming financial year so as a pattern, we see ourselves lurching from crisis to crisis, manufactured crises from poisonous partisanship rather than working together to address the challenges of working families and the middle class. and the american people are quite tired of it. that's why they rate the quality of work that we're doing so low. that's why they rate gross is low -- that's why they rate congress so low. you know, there was a time not so long ago when there was a very different story. when i was growing up, the story about congress was we had a great depression and we came
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together as a nation and recognized many of the problems that contributed to that. those problems included letting banks stop doing loans and start gambling on risky ventures, and we stopped that. we put in glass-steagall. it included having mortgages that were balloon mortgages that could be called at any time, which meant that you had to be able to return to the mortgage market to get a replacement loan. but that created a crisis for a family if there was a -- a crisis in which the loan was called and you couldn't actually go get another loan. so we fixed that. we created fully amortizing long-term mortgages with no balloon payments and we created the call feature. we created the securities and exchange commission to take on the predatory scams and practices of wall street so people could have faith in investing. and with faith in investing, it meant you had the capital to fuel a strong comeback. we created the federal deposit insurance corporation so people
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could trust putting their money in banks knowing that the bank wouldn't collapse and take their money with them. we did all these things as a congress coming together to respond to a great national problem. oh, sure, there was some partisanship, some disagreement between the parties, but there was a diseer deeper understandit we must americans must work together as americans, including on the floor of this house, to the greater benefit of our american families. and that's apparently been lost, been lost not in these last few days but these -- these last few years. and then we had world war ii. in a short period of time, with congressional help, we transformed our economy into a war me and played a big role in basically resolving a worldwide terrible crisis. and then after world war ii, we -- we rebuilt through our loan programs and our trade
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relationships much of the world economy and we rebuilt our own economy, creating the largest middle class the world has ever known. these are what we did in this chamber and in the chamber on the other side of capitol hill, the decisions that were made together to put america back on track. but today we don't have legislators thinking about the health of america. they're thinking about the next election. they're thinking about their own election. they're thinking about how to undermine our president. our president. he's america's president. he's not the democrats' president or the republicans' president. he's our president. and he only gets to sign or veto bills if we send him those bills. it's our responsibility in this chamber to work together in a respectful, responsible fashion to do the basic work that is at
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the foundation of our ongoing expenditures to get the budget in place, to get the spending bills in place. the story of this year is really one that belongs in a fiction novel, because here we go. the u.s. senate passed a budget. the u.s. house passed a budget. so immediately, next day, the conference committee should begin. but, no, it didn't happen, because senators in this chamber decided to filibuster that conference committee and stop there being any conversation between the house and senate about getting a common budget. this is really akin to burning down the house, blocking the house and the senate -- and by the house, i mean a house that encompasses this whole legislative process. it's like lighting a bomb and letting it blow up. don't let the budget process proceed. don't let there be a conference
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committee. completely irresponsible. should be a sign worn on every legislator who has blocked there being a conference committee on the budget, because without a budget, you can't get common appropriation bills because they're based on different numbers. let's look at the appropriations process. there are essentially 12 spending bills called appropriation bills, and if we look at the period from 1988- 2001, that 13-year period, we passed the vast bulk of appropriation bills every year through this chamber before the next fiscal year started. the vast bulk. some years we got every one done, some years most of them done, but the process worked. now let's come to the modern era. 2008, zero, zero appropriations bills passed through here. 2009, we actually got half of them done, six. 2010, zero.
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2011, one. 2012, zero. this year, 2013, zero. any schoolchild in america grading the senate on their success in getting the spending bills in place would give us an f, an f for failure because we can't come together as responsible parties and have a debate on this floor, adopt amendments and have an up-or-down. -- up-or-down vote. well, i can tell you this does enormous damage in multiple ways. the first source of damage is that we end up with late-night emergency continuing resolutions, and when you have a continuing resolution, it means you keep doing the things you did before, whether they made sense or not. so for every person who believes we should spend a dollar wisely -- and i certainly do --
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then we should take advantage of a year's worth of conversations and testimony about what's not working, and we should end those programs, not keep continuing them. and when those hearings show that more money is needed in certain areas to make america work better, then we need to spend more in those areas, not continue spending less. so this effort to blockade the budget process is a determination to continue government waste and inefficiency. so i propose that the senators who are blocking the budget committee from even getting a number and blocking the spending bills should come to this floor and say yes, i'm for government waste because that's what they're doing. they are wasting the taxpayers' dollars. they are investing in inefficiency. meanwhile, businesses across america are looking at these set of crises. april, 2011, july, 2011,
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december, 2012, march, 2013, september, 2013, and they're going we're not reinvesting in america until this chamber and the other chamber on capitol hill get their act together. so we're not lurching from crisis to crisis, doing great damage to the economy. they know they can't sell their wares unless there is a middle class ready to buy them. there can't be a middle class if there aren't jobs, and there can't be jobs if they are lurching from crisis to crisis. the end is not in sight. we have colleagues on this chamber, in this chamber right now planning to have another crisis over the next debt ceiling, the responsibility to pay the bills that you have already incurred. we have members who are not remembering that president reagan said do not mess with the good faith and credit of the united states of america. if they want to mess with the good faith and credit with the united states of america which
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increases interest rates, which puts an essential tax on all americans. so the fact that we don't have momentum of the amount we would want in the economy is a result of this deliberate determination to force us to lurch from crisis to crisis. our families, our middle-class families, they're worried about a lot of things. they are deeply concerned about the cost of college. they are deeply concerned about living wage jobs. they are deeply concerned about funding for k-12. they're concerned about things that affect the real quality of life and the success of our families in every way, and they wonder why is it that we're lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis, whether in getting a spending plan in place and doing more of the things that make sense. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. chair. i ask for permission to speak
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for an additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you. i want to wrap up by saying this. anywhere you look in america, you see problems for public safety, for public education, for college education, for living wage jobs. these are the pillars of the success of the middle class. let us focus on those problems and do right by the american people and quit the irresponsibility and self-manufactured damage that is happening here on capitol hill. thank you very much, mr. president. i look forward to the remarks of my colleague, senator baldwin. ms. baldwin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin:
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progress for the american people. some of my colleagues other side of the aisle here in the u.s. senate have voiced support for a responsible approach and rejected this path. for that, i applaud their independence. but some here in the senate are committed to playing the same political games offered by the house. and here are the rules of the games that they are playing: crisis to crisis governing, uncertainty for our economy, and for families and businesses, economic insecurity. instead of working together across the party aisle to create jobs and move our economy forward, a minority of extremists are intent on threatening our economic
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recovery with brinksmanship, meant to appeal to a narrow political interests, namely, their own. instead of working together to pass a responsible budget that invests in the middle class, this political game calls for locking in the sequester cuts and putting up a roadblock to economic growth. instead of working together to do what's best for middle-class families, moving health care reform forward, this political game of drama and division insists on shutting down the government unless health care is repealed for millions of americans. and instead of working together to do what's best for businesses and the economy, they are creating jet another manufactured -- yet another manufactured crisis that threatens the full faith and credit of america with a
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government default, knowing full well that would hurt economic growth and the families and businesses who are working so hard to move our recovery forward. ms. baldwin: let's be clear about how they would like to see their game end. according to independent economists, the damaging effects from the sequester are slowing down the economy and killing jobs. locking in these devastating sequester cuts would gut investments in economic development, innovation and education. the house republican budget would cut the national institutes of health by $8 billion compared to the senate budget. this would cost 25,000 jobs, compromising the next generation of research in our country. and holing back the development of treatments for cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's and other
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chronic diseases. repealing the affordable care act would mean that children with preexisting conditions can be denied health care by insurance companies. repealing america's new health law would mean that many young people would not have health insurance coverage because they can no longer stay on their parents' health insurance until they are 26 years old. repealing obamacare would mean that women will no longer have free preventative health care, and we will go back to the day when women can be charged more than men for their health coverage. they will shut down the government unless we agree to increase the out-of-pocket costs for seniors on their prescription drugs and deny them wellness programs. they are threatening a government default which would weaken our economy when we
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should be doing everything we can to strengthen it. they don't seem to care that even the hint of defaulting on our obligations by a minority of republicans in congress had severe consequences for our economy when it last happened in the summer of 2011. the stock market plummeted and the u.s. credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our nation's businesses froze hiring in august of 2011, and that was one of the months of job growths over the last two years. consumer confidence dropped and widespread uncertainty was created for middle-class families. the last thing we need right now is more political games. the last thing we need right now is to create another self-inflicted economic wound in washington that will hurt middle-class families, small
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businesses, those that are working so hard to get ahead. we need to create jobs. we need to invest in the middle class and build an economy that produces shared prosperity. instead of protecting tax breaks for the wealthiest americans and tax loopholes for big corporations, it's time for republicans to join our efforts and ask those at the top to pay their fair share, and it's time for republicans to join our efforts to continue making smart spending cuts that reduce the deficit without shortchanging our future, and it's time for republicans to join with us in passing a responsible budget that strengthens the middle class while also giving american businesses the center they need to grow our economy. and it's time to break this
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destructive, destructive pattern of bringing the country to the brink and instead return to making washington work for the american people. chairwoman mikulski has called for a return to regular order so that congress can pass individual appropriation bills every year, and she is 100% correct, and i support her efforts because regular orderious us to prioritize key investments that support the middle class and avoid these annual shutdown showdowns. as i have traveled the state, wisconsinites have told me that the powerful and well connected seem to get to writ their own rules in washington, while the concerns and struggles of middle-class families go unnoticed here. they feel like our economic system is tilted towards those at the very top, that our
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political system exists to protect those unfair advantages instead of to make sure that everybody gets a fair shot. last week, an economic report was released that showed that inclement quality has been worsening and expanding. with almost all, in fact 95% of the income gains since our economic collapse five years ago going to the top 1% of income earners. the american people would be right to expect that both parties work together to offer solutions that address the challenge of closing this gap, but it has been ignored by those playing the games of threats and divided we stand politics. they are wrong to ignore the gap
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between the economic security that americans work so hard to achieve and the economic uncertainty that they are asked to settle for. they are wrong because if we can't close that gap, we might someday talk about the middle class as something we used to have as opposed to something that every generation can aspire to. unfortunately, the divided we stand crowd in congress refuses to be governing partners committed to meeting this challenge and advancing our common good. but worse yet, the threats of a government shutdown and a government default are immensely disrespectful to the hard work of people who get up every day and through their sheer grit and determination have helped to
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move our country forward. the american people deserve better. they deserve to have their hard work respected. our economy demands better. it demands that heart work is re -- hard work is rewarded. senate democrats have a plan to keep the government running while ensuring that millions of americans don't lose access to affordable health care. republicans should join us so that we end this shutdown crisis and the irresponsible political game of division. it's my hope that those who choose divisive politics over progress for america's economy reconsider and begin to join us on this bill and work with us to once and for end -- for once
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and for all end the drift from one crisis to the next. this is not a political game, and those who continue to play these games need to stop and get to work and get to work with us to move our economy forward. mr. president, i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, thank you. as the senator from wisconsin has said so eloquently, we are indeed nearing the brink of the self-imposed catastrophes of government shutdown or government default or both. and unless speaker boehner can find a way to restrain his right-wing tea party extremists, find a way to work sensibly with democrats and steer us back from the brink, then an unnecessary and
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self-imposed calamity awaits. i should probably be more specific. it's not just self-imposed, it's tea party imposed. and while we try to find our way around this unnecessary tea party-imposed disaster, a real disaster is looming. it's a real disaster, it's really looming, and we could address it. instead, we're having to fend off totally unnecessary disasters cooked up by right-wing treatment extremists. it is infuriating. when the real disaster has fully hit us, folks will look back at this era and they will wonder what was wrong with them? who were those people? the warnings were everywhere, and they did nothing? instead, they wasted time threatening each other with cooked-up calamities rather than deal with the real disasters?
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that's disgraceful. and they'll be right. of course, the real and looming disaster is what unprecedented levels of carbon pollution and unprecedented levels of atmospheric carbon of doing to our weather and to our oceans. that's for real. that's mother nature. that's not just political gamesmanship and hostage taking, and that is what brings me here now for the 44th time to say it is time for us to wake up to the threat of climate change. while congress keeps sleepwork walking on this issue, i'm proud to say president obama has woken up. last week his administration announced important new partisan pollution standards for future power plants. these standards will reduce the carbon pollution that's been wreaking havoc on our oceans, our atmosphere and our health.
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those of us who believe in science and who are awake to the changes already happening all around us should rally behind the president and even administrator -- e.p.a. administrator gina mccarthy to support these proposed standards. just look at the evidence of what carbon pollution is doing to our planet. according to news articles, the intergovernmental panel on climate change or ipcc will soon announce it is now more certain than ever that human activity is the main cause of the recent climate changes we have seen. this may surprise some of my republican colleagues who have tried pointing to a recent slowdown in surface department as -- temperature as evidence that climate change has stopped. according to the ipcc, this phase is, unfortunately, only
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temporary. as other slowdowns have been in the past. if you look at the history of global warming and of temperature, you can see that across time you can add steps in because of the variability that is inherent in our climate. but nobody could look at that and not see the constant rising thread that runs through it. no regression analysis, to use the technical term, would not show that global warming is real and the fact that we are at a step is, well, here's what richard muller, noted physics professor at u.c. berkeley has to say in an article that came out today. he quoted himself from 2004 when he wrote "if we mistakenly believe that natural fluctuations in climate are small, then we might conclude mistakenly that the cooling could not be just a random
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fluctuation on top of a long-term warming trend. and that might lead in turn to the mistaken conclusion that global warming predictions are a lot of hooey. if, on the other hand, we recognize that natural fluctuations can be large, then we will not be misled by a few years of random cooling." which has happened over and over through the progression of climate change. he followed on today, "the frequent rises and falls virtually a stair-step pattern, are part of the historic record and there is no expectation that they will stop whatever their cause. the land temperature record is full of fits and starts that make the upward trend vanish for short periods regardless of whether we understand them, there is no reason to expect them to stop.
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the current pause, he concludes, is consistent with new mexico prior pauses. when walking upstairs in a tall building, it is a mistake to interpret a landing as the end of the climb." whatever the cause of these recurring steps, even contrarian scientists recognize the principle that is operating here, more carbon dioxide leads to more warming. it's as simple as that. that's a 150-year-old established basic principle of physics. and the oceans, which i talk about a lot in these speeches, have a lot to do with this. the deep oceans absorb excess heat, saving us from a lot more heat here on the surface. researchers say oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat over the last 50 years.
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if the ocean has absorbed this much of the heat, think what a small fluctuation what the ocean is doing will do to our atmospheric temperature. 93-point 4 -- 93.4%, only 2.3%. you don't have to wiggle this much to create the changes and os straitions -- oscillations we've seen in the stair step of climate change. oceans don't just absorb the heat, they also absorb our carbon emissions, emissions that would otherwise be in our atmosphere causing more warming. that has already made the oceans more acidic with dangerous consequences for marine life as this continues. but it spared us even more extreme climate effects here on land. environment america recently
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released a report earlier this month highlighting the power sector's pollution which creates an enormous amount of this. in 2011, 5.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted in the united states. just over 40% of that total, 2.2 billion tons came from the power sector, that's the green sector. the inner circle, the red one, is the emissions just from the 50 dirtiest power plants in america. one out of every eight tons of america's carbon dioxide emissions, the ones that are causing these changes in the oceans, the ones causing the changes in the atmosphere, come from these filthy 50 power plants, like luminent's martin lake plant in texas emitting the
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equivalent of 3.9 million cars. or the james h. miller jr. plant emitting the equivalent of 3.4 million cars. or the champion, georgia hour's sheerer plant, the largest emitter of carbon pollution in america which emits as much pollution as 4.4 million cars. if these 50 plants were an independent country, that country would alone be the seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. just behind germany, just ahead of south korea. from my state's perspective, these out-of-state power plants are a hazard. it is out-of-state power plants that emit the chemicals that turn into ground-level ozone in downwind rhode island. rhode islanders pay the price. particularly on bad air days, and we've had six of them sar
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in 2013. about 12% of rhode island's children and 11% of our adults suffer from asthma, and ground-level ozone puts them at greater risk. we've got a lot of good rhode island reasons to clean up the power sector. that's why i support the administration's proposed standards for new power plants. the standards will limit the effects of climate change by telling industries it's time to clean up your act, time to stop dumping toxic pollution, it's time to get responsible about what you are doing to our environment and our health, to our children, our oceans, and our atmosphere. we can still avoid the worst outcomes of climate change, some changes can't be avoided, some are already happening. but if we act now, we can avoid the worst predictions for heat waves, sea level rise, ocean
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acidification, storms and other disruptions. that's why we in congress should support the president's goal to reduce u.s. emissions to 17% below our 2005 output by the end of this decade and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. the standards for new power plants are a good first step but we also need to clean up existing power plants, particularly these 50, which i'll remind everybody emit more carbon dioxide than south korea. and we should get serious here in congress and fix the market failure, the market failure in our power sector that ignores the true costs of burning these fossil fuels. we should pass carbon fee legislation. what do we see instead here in congress? well, here's an example. last week a house subcommittee hearing on the president's climate action plan brought out these wildly misleading statements. we can say over 40 years we've
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got almost no increase in temperature, went one. the arctic ice has actually increased by 60%, went another. in reality, surface temperatures are up about one full degree fahrenheit over the last 40 years. and that increase in arctic sea level, in arctic sea ice, i should say, is only relative to last year's all-time record low. the national snow and ice data center reported that this year's summer minimum is the sixth lowest in the 34 years records have been kept and it is right in line with the long-term rapidly declining ice cover trend. the republicans did a lot of complaining at the hearing about the president's climate action plan. to my republican colleagues who don't like the president's plan i say come to the table, let's
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negotiate climate legislation in congress. republicans in congress should support a carbon fee, as many republicans outside of congress do. if you don't like polluting interests having to bear 100% of the costs of complying with the carbon pollution standards, let's look at a carbon fee. a carbon fee by contrast would give those same companies an opportunity opportunity to work with congress to share in some of the revenue generated by the fee, or the revenue could be returned to the american people as a tax cut if republicans prefer. even as a corporate tax cut if republicans prefer. or we could use that revenue to forgive all federal student debt in this country. forgive all federal student debt in this country. what a shot in the arm that would be to our economy.
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or, we could give struggling seniors a $1,600 social security raise. there are a lot of wonderful things that could be done, but my colleagues must first come to the table. what they can't do is deny. to deny is to lie. and the time for that has passed. it is time to wake up. i thank the presiding officer, and i yield the floor. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that this hour of time for the republicans be divided as follows. first for myself 12 minutes, then senator hatch, 15 minutes; senator portman, 10 minutes; senator coats, 10 minutes; senator toomey, 10 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. vitter: thank you,
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mr. president. mr. president, i rise again in strong support of my no washington exemption from obamacare amendment. i have refiled it on the c.r. which is before us, the spending bill, and it is a germane amendment as i've filed it to the c.r. it's amendment number 1983. mr. president, again, we're on a timetable, a collision course where unless we act, a horrible policy and an illegal obama administration rule will go into effect. and so it is important that we vote and we act and we do that now. that's why, mr. president, as soon as we came back from the august recess, i brought this to the attention of the senate and the congress and the country and i demanded a vote. it wasn't my choice to be on that tight timetable. certainly wasn't my choice that
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the administration issue a draft illegal rule, but that is where we are. and so we must vote and act before october 1. and so after being blocked out of a vote on that on the previous matter on the floor, the energy efficiency bill, blocked out for two weeks by the distinguished majority leader and others, after being blocked out from that, i bring it again in the context of the spending bill as a germane amendment, number 1983, to this spending bill. again, mr. president, the principle is clear and to me it's the first principle of democracy. in our case of the united states of america, what's good for america should be good for washington. and what is applied to america should absolutely be applied in the same way to washington. across the board, certainly including obamacare.
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mr. president, we had a debate about that several years ago during the obamacare debate and actually that concept at least won out and we were able to add a grassley amendment to the bill which was passed into final law. i was a strong supporter of that language. was somewhat amazed that we got it included, but we did in the democratic process, and it is now part of the law, part of the statute. and that law says clearly, unequivocally, every member of congress, every official congressional staff has to go to the exchange for their health care, the same fallback plan as is there for the american people under obamacare. i advocated for that strongly since the very beginning of the obamacare debate. whatever the fallback plan for america is, that should be the
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plan for washington. that should be the plan. no other choices, no special privileges or exemptions or subsidies for washington. and so that was part of the statute that passed into law. but i guess, mr. president, it was a classic case of what nancy pelosi said, we need to pass a law in order to figure out what's in it. because after it passed, a lot of folks on capitol hill read that provision and said, oh, you know what. we can't live with this. we can't let this stand. we need to, quote, unquote, "fix this." and so there was furious scheming and furious lobbying to fix that simple concept that what applies to america should apply to washington. where that ended up, after months of scheming and lobbying, was the president of the united states, president obama, getting personally involved. this is confirmed in numerous news reports.
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and making sure, ordering his administration to issue a special rule to save congress from this horrible fate that's being visited on at least 8 million americans. and so right as congress was leaving for the august recess, conveniently getting out of town, away from the scene of the crime, the obama administration issued this draft rule. and in my opinion, it is clear clearly, unequivocally illegal because it's in conflict with the language of the statute. the rule does two things. first of all, even though the statute says clearly that every member of congress and all official congressional staff go to the exchange, the draft rule says, well, we don't know what official staff is so we're going to leave that up to every individual member of congress to decide who on his or her staff istaffis official staff for this
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purpose. we're never going to secondguess that. so in theory, a member of congress can say, well, my committee staff is official staff, my leadership staff is an official staff. in fact, in theory, under this proposed rule, a member of congress can say nobody on my staff is -- quote -- "official staff" for purposes of this provision. and o.p.m. has made clear, we're not going to second-guess that. that's ridiculous on its face. and, second, mr. president, the rule says for members and any staff who do go to the exchange, they get to take a big, fat taxpayer-funded subsidy with them, subsidy that's completely unavailable to any other american at that income level going to the exchange. that's not in the statute at all. that's contrary to the statute, the letter, the law, the spirit. that's contrary to it
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completely. and again, mr. president, that's what provoked me to act with many other members and i want to recognize and thank all of the cosponsors of this important legislation on the senate side and also congressman desantos of florida and all house cosponsors of identical legislation on the house side. so our fix is simple and it's basic and it's important, and it is, first of all, let's live by the law with regard to congress. so every member of congress, all congressional official staff have to go to the exchange as mandated by law with no special deal, exemption, subsidy, only what's available to other americans going to the exchange. the whole purpose of that language was for congress to feel the dislocation and inconvenience and experience of
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millions of other americans going to the exchange, 8 million or more going there against their will. they had health care. they had employer-provided health care. they heard the president say, if you have coverage that you like, you can keep it. and they found out that was a big lie. and now they're losing that and going to the exchange. the whole purpose of the language was that congress walk in their shoes. and this amendment goes further and applies the same principle of fairness to the administration, says the president, the vice president, all of their political appointedees do the samappointee exchange, just like every other american does, no special exemptions, subsidies, no special rules. now, mr. president, again, this is very time sensitive because this rule is set to be made
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final october 1. that's not my choice. i think the rule is flat-out illegal. that's a decision and action on the administration, but it does demand that we vote and act now. that's why, mr. president, as soon as we came back from the august recess and went back into session, i filed the fix and i demanded a proper up-or-down vote. unfortunately, that was blocked out for two weeks by the distinguished majority leader and so i come to the floor again in the context of this spending bill. very appropriate to have the debate on this spending bill. this is spending we're talking about. i've filed it as a germane amendment to this spending bill. and we need a full debate and vote on this matter before october 1. now, mr. president, interestingly in the previous bill, after blocking me out of
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any vote, the distinguished majority leader said he had no problem with the vote on this clean, up or down. up-or-down. i guess he said that in theory, because it never happened in practice. buts this a perfect, opportune, appropriate time to have that up-or-down vote. won't delay anything. it's perfectly appropriate that it be on the spending bill. this is a germane amendment. and so, mr. president, i urge us to vote and act and not block out this debate and not block out this vote. my request is as simple and basic and straightforward as that and i think it's consistent with the distinguished majority leader's promise that we'd have a vote. he said that. again, that must have been in theory because he blocked it in practice. so, mr. president, in that spirit, i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendments be set aside and it be in order to call up my amendment numbered
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1983. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. [inaudible] the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. vitter: mr. president, reclaiming my time. i just think that's very unfortunate, it's very inconsistent with what the distinguished majority leader said. we need a debate, we need a vote on this matter. it should happen before october 1 and it will happen. i can guarantee you that. i don't know when. i don't know if it will be before october 1, but it will happen. we will have this debate and vote. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utahment mr. hatch: mr. president, it's no secret that the so-called affordable care act is a train wreck waiting to happen. mr. hatch: some of it has
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already happened. we know that. the american people know that. my constituents all over utah know that. but sadly, the president of the united states doesn't seem to know it. in fact, the president is out today trying to convince the american people that his signature domestic achievement is a winner. few people believe him, however, and no amount of spin on his part will change that. frankly, republicans have been saying obamacare would be a disaster since well before it was enacted. indeed, if you look back over the original debates over obamacare, you'll find that we predicted virtually all of the problems we're seeing now as the administration attempts to implement this poorly crafted law. let's just take a look at some of the predictions that we made. we predicted, for example, that in order to avoid the employer mandate, businesses would cease hiring new workers and that they would move existing employees to part time.
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obamacare requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer their workers health coverage of a minimum value or pay a penalty. as we predicted, a number of small businesses, which are the main job creators in this country, are simply opting to unilaterally limit their full-time employees in order to avoid the man day. the -- avoid the mandate. just think about that, mr. president. we have the lowest labor participation rate since the carter administration. but instead of working to create the jobs that american families and workers need, more and more businesses have stopped hiring to avoid the costs that come with obamacare. the law definds -- quote -- "full-time employees" as those working more than 30 hours a week. as a result of this bizarre definition, many employers have opted to simply cap workers' hours. that is happening everywhere, mr. president. it's happening in the private
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sector and among public schools and municipalities. in fact, it's happening so often that even the leaders of big labor, who are among the biggest supporters of obamacare, have publicly argued that the law is destroying the 40-hour work we week. that's just one republican prediction about obamacare that came true. we also predicted that obamacare would cause people who currently have health insurance to lose it. we all remember the president's infamous promise that -- quote -- "if you like your plan, you can keep it." sadly, our post-obamacare experience hasn't borne that out. at the time republicans said that there was no way that he could fulfill that promise, and we were right. according to the congressional budget office, millions of americans are likely to lose their current employer-provided health insurance under the president's health law. we also predicted that the costs of health insurance premiums
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would skyrocket as insurance companies struggle to comply with all of the new mandates under the law. this is also happening. numerous studies have shown that the cost of premiums have continued to go up since obamacare was passed and are predicted to go up even further next year as the law is more fully implemented. the question is how high are the costs going to go? yesterday, the administration released a report claiming that obamacare is bringing down the cost of health insurance premiums. specifically, the report claims that premiums -- quote -- "will be 16% lower than predicted or projected." unquote. well, mr. president, lower than projected is not the same as lower than they are now. if you compare the costs of obamacare health plans with the costs of plans available on the market today, it is indisputable that the costs are going up under the law. the administration is free to
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cherry pick data in order to make the best case possible. indeed, that's what they have done with this most recent report. however, even when they cite the most favorable data available, we see that obamacare is making health insurance premiums more expensive in this country. and when you look at the more complete picture of the data, you will find that it's even worse. as the manhattan institute for policy research reasonably found, individual market premiums will increase 99% for men and 62% for women nationwide under obamacare. this once again was not unforeseen. while the president was claiming that his health care plan would reduce premiums by an average of $2,500 a year, republicans predicted the costs would actually go up under the law. as it turns out, we were right on that one, too. republicans also predicted that health care spending would increase as the result of obamacare. the president, as you recall, promised that the law would
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lower the costs of health care. however, health care spending is projected to increase dramatically as a result of obamacare. republicans also predicted that obamacare would increase the deficit. and wouldn't you know it, the former director of c.b.o. has projected that the health law will add $500 billion to the deficit in the first ten years and more than $1.5 trillion in the second decade. we have predicted that middle-class families would see their taxes go up as a result of obamacare. if you look at the law, you will see that it includes no fewer than 11 taxes and penalties that directly impact the middle class, including taxes on medical devices, prescription drugs and flexible spending accounts. in addition, republicans predicted that health insurance exchanges where people go to sign up for obamacare's mandated insurance and the system of verifying and approving premium and cost-sharing subsidies for
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people in those exchanges would be a nightmare to manage. this has been confirmed time and time again as the administration has continually missed deadlines and offered only scant details as to how these exchanges are going to work. even as they are set to go live on october 1. studies from the general accounting office have confirmed -- from the government accountability office have confirmed that the exchanges are not likely to be ready in time. in fact, just yesterday, the district of columbia announced that it will be delaying the implementation of its exchange because of -- quote -- "high error rates." unquote. two other states, idaho and minnesota, also might delay their exchanges. during the debate over obamacare, republicans predicted that despite all the claims that -- quote -- "health care reform is entitlement reform" unquote the law would not shore up our unsustainable entitlement programs. we're set to spend more than
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$10 trillion on medicare and medicaid over the next ten years. the c.b.o. has called our health care entitlements our -- quote -- "fundamental fiscal challenge." unquote. and according to the c.b.o., the congressional budget office, the president's health law hasn't done anything, has not done anything to diminish the problems facing these massive programs. so like i said, mr. president, none of the problems we are seeing today were unforeseen. republicans predicted all of these difficulties years ago. we weren't psychic. we just know how markets work. and more importantly, we have learned from experience just how inept government can be when it ventures into uncharted territory. the democrats who drafted this monstrosity either didn't understand the inherit problems with the legislation or they just plain didn't care. i suspect it was a little of
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both. at the time, they were more concerned with just getting something passed so the president can claim victory on one of his central campaign promises that they were passing something that would actually work, and now we're all seeing the results. and only part of the results. i'm only mentioning a few things here today. nearly every week, we learn of another problem the administration is having with implementing obamacare. like i said, we constantly hear announcements that certain elements of the law are going to be delayed. we have heard this about the employer mandate, the small business health insurance market and employee automatic enrollment in the exchanges. now, we got the latest announcement just today, madam president. today we found out that the obama administration is postponing online enrollment in some of the small business exchanges that were scheduled to open this coming tuesday. the administration makes these
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delay announcements almost nonchalantly, never acknowledging that they are indications of a larger problem with the law. instead they simply pressed forward, ignoring the warning signs and pushing our nation's health care system even further towards the cliff. it's clear what needs to be done here, madam president. it's not complicated or convoluted. on the contrary, it's quite simple. this law needs to be eliminated and congress should do whatever is in its power to get that done. this has been my position since the day the law was passed and it continues to be my position today. i have supported repealing obamacare. i have supported delaying it. and i support defunding it. i've introduced multiple pieces of legislation that would repeal the most preej parts of obamacare, including the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the medical device tax and the health insurance tax. with days to go before the exchanges go live on october 1, i have legislation backed by 31 of my colleagues delaying them
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until the g.a.o. can certify the private and personal information of consumers and patients will be secure. i've come here to the floor on numerous occasions to call for either repeal or a permanent delay to the implementation of the law, and regardless of how the debate over the continuing resolution plays out, i will continue to do so. madam president, this law costs more and will do far less than was promised when the bill was first drafted, debated and passed. the democrats who wrote this law and forced it through congress may have thought the american people were naive enough to believe all the promises that came with obamacare, but from the beginning, polls have shown that the majority of americans do not support it, and with good cause. that's why i have publicly applauded the house of representatives for passing its continuing resolution that defunds obamacare. getting rid of obamacare is just the first step. once we do that, we need to work together on a bipartisan basis to find a way to reduce health
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care costs for the american people, while also making sure that we cover the american people. we have seen what happens when one party tries to fix health care on its own. what we got was a disaster of a law that has actually increased health care costs, all while imposing new taxes and mandates on the american people and creating chaos in the entire american health care system. the american people deserve better, madam president, and the legislation before us today is the first step toward giving them that. i understand that the democrats are going to peel out the one provision that we all on the republican side support. everyone on the republican side supports defunding of obamacare and starting over and doing it right and doing it in a bipartisan way instead of this partisan way that has wound up with the biggest fiasco that i've seen around here in all my 37 years in congress. i'm concerned, madam president.
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we can do better. this has become too much of a partisan exercise, and frankly i'm very concerned that our country is going to really suffer because some of our friends just think they have got to continue to support this dog of a bill, even though day after day after day, we find more and more reasons to oppose it. well, we have brought these things up before -- maybe not some of these because some of these are just occurred, just in the last day, as a matter of fact. think of the fraud and think of the open door for scam artists because they're going to go ahead on october 1 with individuals, saying that they think it's fine, that there has been no independent verification done by this administration or by anybody to make sure that the
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private information of our individual citizens is protected. it's a disgrace. it's a disgrace that we're letting them get away with it, and it's a disgrace that's going to come back to hammer us as members of congress who didn't do our job right in the first place and who continuously keep supporting a bill. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. qrl quorum quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. portman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: madam president, in the next couple days we're going to have a chance --. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent the senate come out of the quorum call and go into --. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: the next couple days we're going to have a chance to vote on obamacare and this will be an opportunity for


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