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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 10, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: for those -- are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, we're
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in a vote. mr. reid: madam president? [no audio] the presiding officer: are there any other senators wishing to vote or change their votes? on this vote, the yeas are 41, the nays are 56. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. mr. reid: madam president, for those students that are out there trying to learn what goes on in the senate and for those professors who teach what goes on in the senate, this is not totally new but it's -- it's in
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the category of being fairly new. this is an example of republicans filibustering not one of our bills but their own bill. how about that? 26 republican cosponsors and they filibustered their own bi bill. we have asked on a number of occasions what we've done around this body for decades -- you come up with a list of amendments, you come up with a list of amendments and we'll work through those amendments. you know why we don't do that anymore? the republicans can't agree among themselves what they want as amendments. they can't come up with a list. they're so tangled up with the tea party here, the tea party there, the people running for president.
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you know, they can't decide on a list of amendments to bring before the body. so what do they do? they block everything. i would hope -- i was hoping with a majority of the republicans sponsoring a bill that we could at least move forward on it. people who sponsored this bill voted against it. they have -- they are bringing to this body a new definition of what it means to sponsor legislation. i mean, who -- who of the people that has gone before us in this body would ever vote to filibuster their own bill? that's what they've done. mr. reid: but nothing new.
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i see on the floor the senior senator from new hampshire. she worked for more than a year with some republican colleagues to do something that is so badly in need in this country and that's doing something about energy efficiency. energy is wasted every day in this country. she and some of our republican colleagues worked on a measure to reduce the waste of energy. it was called the energy efficiency bill. and guess what? republicans voted to kill their own bill. they said -- i was originally told by republicans, go ahead and let's just vote on it as it is. oh, i thought, that's great, because they'd been working on it in committee, they put a significant number of amendments they would have dealt with on the floor, they put it in the
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bill and brought it to the floor. but then i'm told -- and i've said this before, i'll say it again because we need to repeat something that needs repeatin repeating -- give us a vote on the keystone pipeline. and all we want is a sense of the senate. i didn't like that because we'd already had an agreement. i came back and said, okay, do it. then we come back after a recess of a few days and they said, well, we've got a new deal now. what is that? we want a up-or-down vote on keystone. i said, you can't do that. we already have an agreement to get this thing moving. i go back and mostly talk to myself, quite frankly, because it's not very logical what i'm being asked to do, but i talked to myself for awhile and i come back and said, okay, we will have a vote on keystone, an
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up-or-down vote right here on the senate floor. they couldn't take "yes" for an answer even on that. and then the audacity, republican senators have come to the floor since then and said they won't give us a vote on keystone -- and said, "they won't give us a vote on keystone." they did it on shaheen-portman. we had an economic development revitalization act, one of the republican cosponsors there voted to block that. small business innovation, three republican cosponsors voted to block that. now, that's a new one for the professors and the students to figure out. you sponsor a bill and then you vote to kill it before you can even bring it to the floor. so i guess cosponsorship doesn't mean -- or sponsorship doesn't mean any more what it used to mean. it means i'm sponsoring this bill but watch out, because i may vote against myself. so we're going to continue, madam president, to work on this side of the aisle to try to get
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things done. but observers need look no further than republican sponsors voting against their own bills to see where the problem lies. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: executive office of the president. shaun l.s. donovan of new york to be director of the office of management and budget. department of state. douglas alan silliman of texas to be ambassador of the united states of america to the state of kuwait. dana shell smith of virginia to be ambassador of the united states of america to the state of qatar.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 2:00 p.m. will be equally divided in the usual form. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: madam president, i ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i have come to the floor this afternoon to discuss legislation that i introduced this week with our colleagues barbara boxer, patty murray and kirsten gillibrand. our legislation responds to the rising cost of child care in the united states and the impact that it's having on millions of working families. our bill called the helping working families afford child care act would help these working parents. it would help them afford child care so they can go to work and support their families. what it does is update the child and dependent care tax credit that was passed in 1976 and has only been updated once since that time.
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access to affordable child care is a necessity for working parents. i raised three daughters. i have seven grandchildren. so i appreciate just how important it is for working parents to know that their children are being supervised by quality caregivers. and sadly, i struggled with child care from the time my first child was born in 1974 until the year my last child finally went off to college in 2004. and unfortunately, i am watching my daughters deal with that same struggle for how to find quality child care for their kids. a working parent can be productive in the work force only when they know that their children are safe. that's why the rising cost of child care is a real burden for millions of families, especially for working mothers. child care costs are taking up an increasingly larger share of a typical family's take-home pay. in new hampshire, where i visited a great naeyc accredited
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child care center in nashua earlier this week and i saw their infant room where they care for infants, the average cost for care for an infant in new hampshire in full-time care in a child care center was almost $12,000 in 2012, the last year we have data for. $12,000. for a family trying to make ends meet, this is a huge cost. and in fact in the northeast, the cost of full-time, center-based care for children now represents the highest single expense for a typical household. more than housing, more than college tuition, more than transportation, food, utilities or health care. and unfortunately, as the cost of child care has grown, one critical tack credit that helps defray child care costs has
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failed to keep pace, the child and dependent care tax credit that was first enacted in 1976 with strong bipartisan support, supported by both democrats and republicans. this credit provides a tax credit to working parents for a portion of their child care expenses. however, the limits on the credit are not indexed to inflation, and so their value has actually decreased over time, and in fact the limits have been increased just once in the past 25 years. the tax credit simply is not keeping pace with the growing costs of child care. the helping working families afford child care act would update and improve this tax credit so that it responds to the increasing burden of child care costs. first, the bill would increase the amount of child care expenses that are eligible for the credit. right now, families can only
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claim expenses up to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more children. now, that just doesn't make sense in new hampshire or anywhere else in the country, but in new hampshire, the average cost of child care can exceed $11,000 for a single child. this bill increases the tax credit started in 2015 and indexes the costs to inflation so that they will continue to keep pace with rising child care costs. the bill also makes the tax credit fully refundable and phases out the credit for families making over $200,000 a year. so it better targets how the money is spent. right now, the tax credit is poorly targeted. it provides zero benefit for too many families who need it the most. by making the credit refundable, the bill better targets the tax credit to families who are most in need of child care assistance. now, madam president, i have
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been working on early child care and education for most of my public career, especially during my years as governor of new hampshire. and one of the lessons that i have learned is that providing access to affordable early childhood care and education is not just about helping families make ends meet. that's an important piece of it, but it's also a short-term and a long-term issue for our businesses and our economy. as governor, i worked with the new hampshire business community and established the governor's business commission on child care and early childhood education. to engage business leaders in addressing the state's child care and early education needs. we did a study that looked at the impact of the shortage of quality child care in new hampshire back in the 1990's, and we found that businesses were losing up to $24 million a year as a result of child
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care-related absenteeism and that nearly one in four employees were forced to change jobs or switch to part time as a result of their inability to find satisfactory child care. we have many national studies that show that quality, dependable child care for employees is vital to a company's productivity, and in fact researchers estimate that child care breakdowns leading to employee absences cost businesses $3 billion a year. $3 billion because parents are concerned about where their kids are. in addition, a majority of companies report that employee absenteeism is reduced when quality child care services are offered. employee turnover is also reduced. we know just how important an employee retention is to a businesses' bottom line. so the long-term benefits to our work are also clear.
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research shows that quality child care and early childhood development are critical to preparing our children for tomorrow's jobs. we know that the first five years are the most critical in the development of a child's brain. during these years, children develop their cognitive, social, emotional and language skills that form a solid foundation for their lives. research shows that children who receive quality child care do much better in school. they are less likely to drop out. they are more likely to learn to read at grade level. they are less likely to repeat grades. they are less likely to need special education. and they are less likely to get into trouble. the experiences children have in their first few years will affect them, their families and our society for the rest of their lives. so i think it makes more sense for us to invest in early statehood care and education because we can either spend the
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money then or we can spend a whole lot more money when kids don't get a good start in life and then wind up getting into trouble and wind up getting into prison. i used to talk about the cost of early care and education as being about a dollar for every every $7 that gets spent at the other end if we don't pay for these costs. it's a whole lot cheaper to pay for child care than it is to pay for prison. so that's why we have got to respond to the rising cost of child care. we have got to ensure that working families can afford quality child care. the legislation we introduced this week will help working families in the short term. it will especially help working mothers as they go to work. but it will support the early development of our children, which is so critical to our future, to our economy, to our work force. i am hopeful that we can get a lot of sponsors for this
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legislation, we can get bipartisan support just as the credit had when it passed in 1976, and we can provide the help that working families need. thank you very much, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i would first just like to say to the distinguished majority leader that the filibuster that resulted just previously was supported by a number of democratic members, but most importantly it occurred and was supported by members who did, in fact, favor the legislation, and the reason they refused to go forward with the bill is because senator reid in a dictatorial manner has announced that he intends to control amendments.
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you don't get an amendment unless you grovel to the majority leader. there is no reference to the majority leader in the constitution of the united states. he doesn't get to tell an individual senator they can't have an amendment on a bill. and he has been doing that consistently, and it's not right. we have been on this bill long enough to kasten or 15 votes. it's not a question of time. it's not a question of time the reason he will not allow amendments. the reason the majority leader will not allow amendments is because he wants to protect his members from actually being held accountable by the voters of the united states of america by having to cast votes and choose sides. that's what it's all about. it's gone on way too long. it's demeaning this senate, and he demeans the loyal opposition who are doing the only thing they have as a tool which is
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refuse to move forward with a bill if the majority leader is going to use parliament maneuvers to block anybody's amendment. i just wish tp weren't so, but i am not going to go quietly and say that he is able to come down and blame others for the problem he has caused. we could have already had this bill up for final passage. it's not a question of time. it's a question of control, domination of the senate. the majority leader is not entitled to do that. he is just not. it is not going to continue, and this is going to be broken sooner or later. if the majority leader wants to move important legislation, he is going to have to agree to a process that allows duly elected representatives of various states in america to be able to at least offer an amendment.
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madam president, my remarks today to discuss the nomination of shaun donovan to be the director of the office of management and budget. this is a very important office. i have voted against mr. donovan in the budget committee and would like to take this opportunity to share with my colleagues my concerns. my concerns are not related to his character or his personality or his decency, but his experience and qualifications to serve as the nation's chief financial manager, the director of management and budget. alexander hamilton explained in federalist 76 why the senate was assigned a role in the confirmation process. quote -- "it would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the president and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from state prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment and from a
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view of popularity. well, the president has the right to nominate and his nomination should be given deference, but as hamilton made clear when his nominee does not have the fitness necessary for a critical position, the senate should not provide its consent. the director of office of management and budget is one of the most important positions in the entire government,en trusted to oversee -- entrusted to over tea our massive federal bureaucracy and budget process during a time the nation is facing prefinancial danger. only weeks ago, the director of the budget office confirmed that the debt of this country is on an unsustainable path, and he meant exactly that. and he went on to say that america faces the -- quote -- risk of fiscal crisis.
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greece, what he means when he says a fiscal crisis. whoever holds the job of budget director must be one of the toughest, strongest, most able and disciplined managers in america. we ought to be looking for the very, very best. we need someone who already understands this massive federal government, the financial stresses that we are under, where the -- where the problems arise and how to manage it. somebody with the capability, the credibility to deal with strong-willed quab ne cabinet p, who history records always want to spend more and they need to be told "no" by the office of management and budget. well, sadly, what has become compleer is that the president does not -- clear is that the president did not choose mr. donovan because he met those criteria. that was not what he was looking for. a understanand mr. donovan doese
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close to meeting those qualifications. he just does not. i enjoyed meeting with him. but i asked him questions that deal with fundamental issues that everybody in congress understands he doesn't understand, because he hasn't had experience with them. instead it would seem that mr. donovan was chosen because he has good people skills and personality and is politically loyal and would defend the administration's goals and priorities, even when the result might be un-faiivel unfavorablee public's fiscal health. we've seen this time and again in the president's budget office. his past budget directors have done more to conceal financial problems that the budget director -- the congressional budget office has told us we face than to eliminate those
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problems. they've steadfastly sought to avoid serious discussions about the unsustainable debt course we're on and to lay out any credible policies to fix that problem. they've been unresponsive to congressional inquiry. they make false statements about what their budget would actually do. indeed, they have repeated -- mr. lew did it when he was director -- that our budget would pay down the debt, when in fact there was not a single year in his ten-year budget that the deficit was less than $500 billion. they made -- they've tried to break spending caps that are agreed to by the president and are in law, and they refused to comply with legal requirements to submit a plan to prevent medicare's insolvency, something
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the law requires him to do and president bush did. so the office of management and budget should be one of the least political departments in government. instead, the president has made it one of the most political. shouldn't the american people be able to look to their budget director with confidence, knowing that their tax dhars have been entrust -- tax dollars have been entrusted to someone with great wisdom and experience and independence? shouldn't they be able to know that their budget director will look the american people in the eye and tell them squarely what the true facts are that we're facing today? and could lay out a plan that would actually work to fix the debt course that we're on? consider: the president had the ability to scour the country for the most disciplindisciplined and giftedr he could find for this office. very few people of prominence would turn down a request from
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the president to fulfill that duty. a renowned manager of great financial acumen and recognized independence is what we're looking for, someone with a track record -- a proven record of saving taxpayers dollars, developing new efficiencies, taking on entrenched interest in the service of the public good, not the special interest good. they have to be capable of meeting with someone like paul ryan, house -- chairman of the house budget committee; meet with members of the budget committee like senator rob portman, who was also a former o.m.b. director; senator pat toomey, senator chuck grassley, senator ron johnson, a businessman and accountant. they know about these numbers. they've been working on them. they've been gorkting. they've been producing plans. he has no knowledge of that, cannot discuss it with them
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intelligently. he has shown no interest in it. i suspect he was stunned when he was offered this job. he sevenly ha certainly has notd himself for it. i'm saying, this is not the kind of person we need today. there's nothing in his background to suggest that he's up to the task that this urgent hour requires. more troublingly, mr. donovan himself has a poor record of financial management. at h.u.d. -- he was the secretary of housing and urban development. but at h.u.d. they received repeated and stark criticism from his own agency's inspector general. they appoint within these cabinet positions an inspector general who analyzes and acts independently to advise the secretary and the congress if something is wrong.
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well, i would suggest that what i'm going to say evidences that mr. donovan's skill is in spending money, making investments, rather than saving dollars and managing money. so his record at h.u.d. shows he spent money illegally, violating the anti-deficiency act, a very important act. on the great financial issue of our time, the nation's crippling debt burden, i asked mr. donovan at the hearing in the budget committee about what he would propose to fix the unsustainable debt course. shouldn't he do that? well, he offered no serious ideas to get our debt under control. clearly, he has no intention of providing the leadership needed to reverse our disastrous current debt course. for instance, the presiden press most recent ten-year budget
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planning that he submitted would break the in-law budget spending limits and increase our nation's total debt by an average of $800 billion a year -- on the next ten years under his budget for plan, we could be expected to average deficits of $800 billion a year, almost $1 trillion. indeed, in the tenth year it is virtually $1 trillion. so i asked mr. donovan about this, and he replied -- quote -- "the president's budget includes fully paid for, fiscally responsible investments that will create jobs, grow the economy, and expand opportunity for all americans." close quote. that's the answer we got. i submit, that's not responsive. that's not serious. it's not in touch with reality. when mr. donovan was forced to
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admit in follow-up written questions that the president's budget plan would add $6 trillion to the debt over the next ten years, he called the increase "nominal." it is precisely this cavalier attitude from government elites that are leading our nation to financial quat catastrophe. c.b.o. says this puts us on a path to a fiscal crisis. last year we paid $221 billion in interest on our $17 billion debt. but the congressional budget office projects that interest rates are going to return to more normal in a few years, and we continue to add more deficitses every year, and they project that in ten years interest on the debt would be $800 billion. that's -- it will pass the defense budget. interest in one year will pass the size of the defense budget by 2019. this is dangerous. we cannot continue on this course.
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what i would also share, that in talking to my colleagues about their discussions with mr. donovan, they expressed concern that when he met with them individually, he lacked basic knowledge about the fundamentals of the federal budget. consider the written testimony that he later provided to the committee about his specific plans for entitlement reform, the mandatory spending reform. "i have not written any papers or given any talks or lectures that specifically lay out a comprehensive plan for medicare or social security." close quote. so this is the person that's supposed to coordinate the effort to rein in spending and put us on a sound path. and i would say, not only has he not written any papers or electric tiewrklectures, i'm nos given any thought at all to fixing medicare and social
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security, two of the biggest problems this nation faces. i don't think he's ever expressed a serious thought about these issues. so in response to one question about medicare data, mr. donovan told me the data did not exist, but the data does in fact exist. and his response cited the very report in which the data was found. at the hearing, mr. donovan could not answer fundamental questions from senator johnson will the social security trust fund. that's very important. with only two years left in the president's president circumstance the nation needs to have someone at o.m.b. who can hit the ground running, who knows these issues. i asked him about defense. i'm a senior member of the armed services committee. he didn't understand the f-35 program. he was not able to converse intelligently about the troop levels we're having to real estate -- to reduce.
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he's never given any thought to it. so this lack of basic knowledge and professionalism is evidence in the inspector general reports about his tenure at housing and urban development. here, for instance is a representative example from an i.g. report issued on february 19 of this year about his multifamily projected refinancing program. they came up with a plan that supposedly refinanced housing loans and saved moafn. thi-- saved money. "h.u.d. did not have adequate controls to ensure that all section 202 refinancing resulted in economical and efficient yoat comes." they went on to say, "specifically, one, h.u.d. did not ensure that at heat half the debt service savings that resulted from refinancing were
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used to benefit tenants or to reduce housing assistance payments. two, consistent accountability for debt service savings was not always maintained. and, three, some refinancing were processed for projects that had negative debt service savings." in other words, i instead of saving money, the refinancings cost money. and that this -- quote -- "resulted in higher debt service costs than before the refinancing." it goes ton say, "these deficiencies were due to h.u.d.'s lack of oversight, inconsistent nationwide policy implementation regarding debt service savings realized from section 202 refinancing activities. "scwult, millions of dollars in debt service savings were not
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properly considerated for and available. the savings may not have been used to benefit tenants or for the reduction of housing assistance payments and some refinanced projects ended up costing h.u.d. additional housing assistance payments because of the additional cost of the debt service." close quote. well, that's not the kind of ghoaglowing review one would hoo are accompany a nominee to an office that would oversee the entire government of the united states of america. but the problems get worse. every year the h.u.d. inspector general conducts an audit to determine if h.u.d.'s financial statements are in order. when an agency's financial statements are in order, that agency is awarded an unqualified or clean audit, meaning there are no material defects in the way the agency is managing its books. so for the years 2012 and 2013,
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under secretary donovan's leadership, h.u.d. received failing grades or a qualified audit, which means material problems were found with h.u.d.'s financial statements. 24 agencies undergo the audit process every year. only two failed in 2013: h.u.d. and d.o.d. and we all know that d.o.d. has never yet reached the kind of accounting that the government requires in that massive agency. so h.u.d. is the only non-d.o.d. agency that failed ... last year. whereas h.u.d. has historically had problems with financial statements -- where d.o.d. has had them, h.u.d. has, prior to mr. donovan, received clean reports. the inspector general in failing mr. donovan noted that h.u.d.
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had improper budgetary accounting and lacked proper accounting for cash management. h.u.d. under mr. donovan's watch was also recently charged with an anti-deficiency act violation by the inspector general. a big problem in my opinion. it's ser -- it's serious. the anti-efficiency act essentially prohibits government the employees or agencies from spending money that had not been appropriated by congress. no president, no cabinet secretary can spend money under the constitution that has not been appropriated for that purpose by congress. so according to information received from h.u.d. inspector general, h.u.d. under mr. donovan's watch has at least seven instances of violating the antideficiency act. these violations include overobligation of personal -- personnel or payroll funds, making student loan payments in excess of the funds allowed for that purpose and obligating
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funds that were no longer available. and some of these were done after clear warnings to stop it. so in one of the most recent violations, h.u.d. paid more than $620,000 for a senior advisor to secretary donovan personally. his advisor, had i staff. but they paid for it not from mr. donovan's budget for that purpose, to hire staff with. they paid for it out of the indian housing funds, even though mr. donovan's advisor in his office was not employed in the public -- in the indian housing section. his pay, this advisor's pay was required to come from the funds in his office's budget. inspector general found that h.u.d. had ignored the advice of its own legal counsel and
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disregarded concerns that had been previously expressed by the house appropriations committee on antideficiency matters at h.u.d. i don't see how he could not be aware of this. this was his own advisor. his own lawyer said you shouldn't pay for it out of the indian housing funds. but he did it anyway. congress had specifically addressed h.u.d.'s salary funding for the secretary's senior advisor. it had been a subject of a house discussion, which is unusual, and previous a.d.a. violations. according to a july 26, 2010, house of representatives report -- quote -- "all senior advisors to the secretary should be funded directly through the office of the secretary." of course. in addition, a h.u.d. appropriations attorney and the h.u.d. staff wrote a january 13,
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2011, e-mail that a special advisor to the office of the secretary would need to be paid for by that office, the secretary's office, and not another office within h.u.d. so despite the direction in the house report and guidance from his own appropriations attorney, h.u.d. paid this advisor for his services from the indian housing program. self-schooling in june of 2012, congress again admonished h.u.d. for the lack of staffing data it provided and had available internally. congress wrote -- quote -- "this lack of essential information led to multiple anti-deficiency act violations in fiscal year 2011 in which h.u.d. hired more people than they had resources to pay. to date h.u.d. has not even
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tried to address these problems, and thus the committee has no faith in h.u.d.'s ability to appropriately staff its operations." it's a very serious criticism of the management ability of the man now put in charge of managing the entire government. it's not the kind of activity that warrants a promotion. finally, i have to say this. i have to mention this little matter. mr. donovan's membership in the owl club at harvard, an item many of our democratic colleagues found most reprehensible when justice alito came up for confirmation for the supreme court. this is a club that the late
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senator ted kennedy, when he was at harvard, resigned from because it didn't admit female members. indeed, harvard kicked the club off campus in 1984, but that was the very year mr. donovan became a member and remained so until 1987. i've heard no complaints from our colleagues about mr. donovan 's membership in the owl club even after it was kicked off campus, but they howled mightily when justice alito was found to be a member. so i'd ask my colleagues, in conclusion, that this sounds -- does this sound like the background of someone who really is the right man for the job at this time? that's my fundamental concern. i just do not believe that his background, skills and record indicates that he is ready for
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one of the toughest jobs in government. madam president, even more than most people, presidents in his second term, and they all tend to do this, is surrounding himself with a small group of political loyalists. secretary lew, secretary perez. do we need another loyalist that protects him better? wouldn't the american people and the president himself be better off with a strong, capable manager who can see through all the fog and the political fall deroll, we need someone who will act independently on behalf of the president and the american people who will respect the jurisdiction of congress and legitimate congressional powers, who will follow the law and submit a medicare plan as the law requires, because it's going
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into default. and the law says if it goes into default and medicare trustees send a notice -- and they have -- the president is supposed to submit a plan to fix it. and o.m.b. is the place that's always come from, come from previously. and shouldn't he tell the white house no if he's asked to do something that's improper for the financial future of america? well, i don't like having to oppose mr. donovan. he seems like a fun person. but he is the wrong man for this important job. i think he's been chosen for wrong reasons, not for the right reasons. i will oppose his nomination. and the president himself, i truly believe, and the nation would benefit from the most capable, strong and competent nominee the country can produce at this critical time. i thank the chair and would yield the floor.
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mr. kaine: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: i rise to introduce the educating tomorrow's workforce act of 2014. this is a bipartisan bill with senator portman who will follow me on the floor today. senator portman and i are working together as cochairs of the senate career and technical education caucus. let me first just explain why career and technical education is important to me. i grew up in a household in kansas city where my dad ran a union-organized iron working shop. he was the owner. ironworkers and welders, in a good year eight employees. in a bad year, five employees. my mother and my brothers and i worked in my dad's shop. and i came to appreciate working in that iron working shop, the tremendous craftsmanship and skill that went into being an ironworker. and that lesson has stuck with
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me for the rest of my life. and i really credit my dad with my work ethic. in a manufacturing welding shop you get to work early because you want to get the work done before it gets too hot in the middle of the day. i had the experience in 1980 to take a year off from harvard law school and go to honduras where i was the principal of the institute of technical loyola, which was a school that taught kids to be welders and carpenters. i was able to use the trade i learned in my dad's shop. what i saw in honduras was the same thing, that the acquisition of skills, whether it be welding, carpentry or other skills, is a great path to life success. but, madam president, one thing i noticed about the education system in my country, even as i was working in my dad's shop, even as i was a principal in the school in honduras, that in the united states we sort of downgrade career and technical education. when i was a kid it was called vocational education. and often in high schools especially, students that were
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thought to be kind of problems or not college material would kind of get tracked into vocational education curriculum, and that would usually not be a good sign. in fact, a friend of mine who is a middle schoolteacher in southwest virginia told me that she would often see her students after they had gone to the high school and ask, tell me what you're up to, and when a student said i'm in the vocational education program, the student would almost slump their shoulders like i know you're going to be disappointed to hear this. i'm in the vocational education program. career and technical education is a very important pathway for life's success and there should be no stigma surrounding career and technical education programs. but whether it's in our k-12 schools, the high end world or the mind set of parents or guidance counselors or even in the military. in the military today our military members can get tuition
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benefits but they can only be used for college courses. you can get up to $4,500 a year in tuition assistance benefit but you can't use $500 of it to take the certification exam from the american welding society to get your welding certificate. we still have a stigma against career and technical education and we shouldn't. c.t.e. yew numerates -- -- c.t.e. prepares students with industry recognized credentials, professional certificates, occasionally college credits and most importantly, training for careers as varied as nursing, physician assistant, business administration, manufacturing, oil and natural gas exploration, automotive maintenance, agriculture, welding software program, cull -- culinary arts and other careers.
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c.t.e. happens in k-12 school systems. it happens on community college campuses. it happens in four-year colleges. it happens in stand-alone institutions like the newport news shipbuilding apprenticeship program where people learn to manufacture the largest items on planet earth, nuclear aircraft carriers in submarines in newport news, virginia. taxpayers online. it -- it happens online. it happens anywhere where there is somebody who wants to obtain a skill and a qualified teacher who can convey and educate a student in that skill. c.t.e. programs are proven solutions for creating jobs, for retraining workers, older workers who need to find new skills so they can be successful and fill open jobs in the market. and ensure students of all walks, ages and walks of life are ready for a successful career. madam president, when i was governor, i worked on a number of educational issues, but one that i was very proud of was
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starting governors career in technical academies. we had 17 in virginia, governors schools that were college prep academic regional magnet public high schools. it started in the 1970's. when i was running for governor, i realized we don't have a single school in the state that is a career and technical education program that we have deemed fit to hang the governors label. this is a governors career and technical academy. i said this has to be as important as college prep. when i was governor, we started governors career in technical academies by the end of my one term -- that's all you get in virginia -- we had nine. the republican governor who followed me liked the idea. by the end of his term we had 23. the democratic governor that followed him is continuing to expand it. and we now have academies around the commonwealth developed as partnerships among schools, employers, business organizations and postsecondary institutions to confer these skills. last week during our break week,
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i traveled in virginia and i heard the same message from employers and educators. education has got to be job relevant. it has to start at earlier grades. completion rates need to be maximized. we need to make sure that all of our students have the skills that they will need to be able to build successful careers throughout their lives. one entrepreneur even said to me, "i'm so glad i ended up going to the valley career and technical education program in the shenandoah valley and went into c.t.e. because it has enabled me to be my own boss." i said what do you mean about that? he said, "if i had gone to college i would have gotten a good job offer from a good company, would have taken and probably would still have been there. i would have been having a good career but somebody else would have been my boss. but by going to a career school it encouraged me to be entrepreneurial. i start mied own -- started my
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own company." it is essential for the u.s. to invest in creating a world-class system of education across the spectrum to ensure technically skilled and well-trained workforce we need. that is why we are introducing this bill, senator portman and i, the educating tomorrow's workforce act. here's what the legislation does. it takes the existing carl d. perkins technical education program, which is the major source for federal funding for programs that connect education to real-world careers and it amounts it by, first, ensuring students have access to high-quality c.t.e. programs in their schools so they can prepare to be college- and career-ready. second, it defines what a rigorous program for c.e.t. programs is that links secondary and post secondary education is, to cull main kni culminate in aa post second-degree certificate. it emphasizes the opportunities
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for secondary students to earn college or post secondary credits while they're in credit. i was able to graduate from college in three years because of credits i earned in high school and that was at a time where that was critically important financially for my family that i was able to get through college in three years. this dual enrollment piece of our bill is a piece that senator portmaman worked hard to make se what is included. the legislation allows the per kin funding to be used sphwaits that would not to establish c.t.e. academies this alike we did in virginia. and finally the bill promotes the kinds of partnerships that we need between businesses, industries, postsecondary and other community sake holders. the southern regional education board cites that students with highly integrated c.t.e. programs where the c.t.e. programs and the academic programs are integrated
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together, that those schools have significantly higher achievement rates in reading, mathematics and sciences than students at schools that don't have integrated programs. in closing, madam president -- and then i want to defer to may colleague from ohio -- i noticed something when i was mayor of richmond and governor that was a change in the kind of economic development world. as mayor, i was often trying to get business to come to richmond and competing against savannah or the county next door. what i found it is what in these competitions, the closing factor was always the incentive factor. mr. mayor, what kind of tax incentives can you put on the table? you either beat the other guy or you don't. but by the time five, six, seven years i was later, the last incentive was not the incentive package. companies that were choosing to come to virginia or south carolina or singapore wasn't the tax incentives.
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it was the workforce. tell me, governor, that we'll have the kind of people we need when we open the door tomorrow. and give me confidence that we'll have the kind of people we need 20 years from now, long after the ribbon has been cut and the photos have been taken. are we still going to have the kinds of people we need to dot kind of work that has to be done? in today's world, talent is the most precious asset, more than oil, more than water, more than rare earth minerals. it's talent and human capital that's precious. recently we did something good in this body, democrats and republicans together. we passed the workforce innovation and the opportunity act. and it was passed in the house yesterday, to look at the nation's workforce programs and make them stronger. now we've got to make the policy changes that go into our education programs and match what we did in the w.i.a. reauthorization to prepare our students for a 21st century workforce. i very much hope that the senate moves forward on the carl d.
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perkins act this year. i've honored to have senator portman on the c.t.e. caucus here as the cosponsor of this legislation and, madam president, i now yield the floor to my colleague from ohio. mr. portman: thank my colleague from virginia and -- the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: thank you, madam president. i appreciated my senator -- senate colleague from virginia's comments today. he obviously has a passion for this issue, and it fits very well with what so many of us are trying to do here in the congress, which is to put in place policies that actually create more opportunity for our young people. we are living through the weakest economic recovery we've had in this country, since the great depression. and i know we've seen some improvement recently in the job numbers, but in fact unemployment remains way too high, if you take into account folks who have dropped out of
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the workforce altogether as compared to four or five years ago, we've got un-imhoiment rates at over -- unemployment rates at over 10%. and among young people coming out of school, it is even higher, it's double digits. the real numbers are worse than that when you take out the folks that have dropped out of the workforce altogether. the growth in our economy is too low. there are a umin of things we ought to do -- there are a number of things we ought to do. we ought to ensure we have a work force that's trained for these 21st century jobs that are out there. we also need to reform our tax code, put regulatory relief in place that's sensible, we need do much more to take advantage of our energy resources we have in this country and we need to get back in the business of exporting and trade. and so there are some things that relatively quickly we could do to get the country become on track, but really none is more important than having that workforce, because you can have
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a great environment, which unfortunately we don't have now for many businesses because we haven't created the climate for economic growth here with good policy in washington. but if you had that if you don't have the workers in this increasingly competitive global economy we're in, jobs will be created somewhere else, and that's happening right now. and it's happening partly because we don't have the skilled workers to be able to attract those jobs here, those businesses here, and to fill the jobs here in america. 4.5 million jobs are open right now they say, and that might surprise some people listening today because they're thinking, wow ... i can't get a job or my son or daughter can't get a job or my neighbor can't get a job. as i said, unemployment is high, and yet there are 4.5 million jobs open? when you look at those jobs and what's available out there -- and senator kaine talk add bit about this -- a lot of them
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require skills and workers who are shifting careers -- maybe they've lost a job who are in their 40's or 50's, skills they just don't have. it's i.t., high-tech jobs, health care jobs, bioscience jobs and, yes, it is manufacturing jobs. and, you know, my own state of ohio is a big manufacturing state. we're particularly sensitive to this. there are lots of manufacturers in ohio who are saying, if we'd the workers, we could add new jobs, new opportunities, grow this economy, and the spinoff from that, all the other jobs that are create created flew a successful manufacturing company that makes something is really the backbone of our economy. this is exciting for me to work with senator kaine and others to work with this to say, let's take a piece of this, career and technical education to encourage students to get the skills to being a these these jobs. some will do right out of high
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school. i was in ohio on monday. we had some employers and educators and students there. one was a senior in high school who is currently in technical school. for those who don't follow this closely, you probably are familiar with the word "vocational school." because that's what it's been called over the years. again, senator kaine and i have cosponsored this technical caucus here in the senate. we have a number of our our colleagues joining. this young man is a senior, is going back to his high school saying, you guys are crazy not to do this c.t.e. stuff. i'm getting great skills where i can get a great job and i'm getting college credit because they have one of these dual credit programs. and then there were two students who graduated earlier this year. they both have been in the c.t.e. program, both have been take advantage of it. but also working part-time as
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apprentices or interns. 19 years old, two young men. both of them are now out in the workforce working for these manufacturers in one of their -- and one of their bosses was there, one of the executives from one of these small manufacturing companies. these young men at 19 years old are making $50,000 a year. they've got benefits on top of that. they've got the opportunity now to run very sophisticated machines. both of them started off learning as apprentices. now they're both running machines. these are machines -- in one case it is plastic injection molding machine. and you know it's really exciting. and they're, by the way, being encouraged to go back to their high school to say, hey, four-year college, that's great. but here's another opportunity. they've both got some credit
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where maybe they can go back and get a degree someday. but in the meantime, they are providing the opportunity for these companies in ohio to have skilled workers so that they can compete globally and for them and their families thin thinker they're providing -- they're providing a tremendous opportunity rather than graduating with a bunch of debt. and the average bebt is th the e average debt is $20,000, $30,000 a year now. for the next four years even if they're not promoted -- which i think they will be having met them -- that's $200,000 that theiring about to be making and spending and investing in our commitment of so invest -- inve. there is a way for us to help get this economy moving by helping to fill this skills gap. in ohio alone if you go on right now, you will a he see about 140,000 jobs open. if you look at those jobs you'll see a lot of them require skills that simply aren't out there in
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the workforce right now. help provide these skills and you're going to see some of these jobs get filled. that exspanneds businesses here. we did as senator kaine said, just pass the workforce innovation and opportunity act, so called w.i.a. i was really pleased about that. the house just passed it this week. the senate passed it two weeks asmg there is something called the career act that senator bennet and i have been promoting the last few years. we were able to claw number of our provisions in there to add more account be, to add more -- to add more accountability, to add more performance measures. i was happy that that was done. that helps on retraining. we spent about $15 billion a year on that at the federal government level. what we're talking about today though is starting with the career and technical education even before you get into the w.i.a. programs and retraining programs that are necessary. we're talking about young people coming up and having this opportunity. according to the u.s. bureau of
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labor statistics, ohio is gaining jobs in manufacturing and that's great news. but we also hear in the latest skills gaps report by the manufacturing institute, 74% of manufacturers are experiencing workforce shortages or skill deficiencies that keep them from expanding their plant and operations and improving productivity. 74%. we can be doing a lot much -- much, much more to close that skills gap. the legislation that senator kaine and i talked to that we're introducing today is a really important step toward that. it is going to help open opportunities for the next generation of workers by ensuring that they do have these skills to participate in the 21st century economy. you know, we were talking a moment ago, some of us, about high school graduation rates and unfortunately we have unacceptably high numbers of people who do not graduate from high school still in this
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country. so there is a lot of discussion about postsecondary and so on, but we've got a real problem. our high school gra graduation e is too low. according to the u.s. department of education, 81% of high school dropouts say real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in school. it's interesting. average high school graduation rate is now about 80%, way too low. in fact, it's closers t closer . but even 80% as the average is way too low for high school graduation. they would have been more likely to stay in school if they had real-world learning opportunities. that's why the graduation rate for kids involved in c.t.e. -- the presiding officer: time has expired. mr. portman: i would ask for two additional minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. portman: for quids i kids in c.t.e. concentrations, it's a 90%. that's because they're getting
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that real-world subpoenas. so i think a good plie place tot again is this legislation that we're introducing today. this is legislation that begins with reforms to the perkins career and technical education act. it needs to be reauthorized. the reauthorization ought to include these reforms senator kaine and i had have talked b this is the major source of federal support for the development of c.t.e. skills. it was last reauthorized in 2006, so it has "no" got has --t to be modernized. it does a few different things. senator kaine has talked about it. it requires a more rigorous c.t.e. curriculum requiring them to incorporate key elements into the programs, things like academic and technical skills assessments. make sure they're accomplishing what they're supposed to. being sure that the c.t.e. curriculum is in alignment with whatever the local needs are, what the demands are. employers are look for kids that have specific kills.
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it also increases flexibility for states and localities allowing them to use the perkins grant funds to establish academies like the ones senator kaine started. it also improves the links between high scwool and post secondary education to identify credentials and post secondary certificates. we do a lost that in ohio, the dual credit programs that i talked about earlier. it promotes partnerships between local businesses, regional industries, helps create pathways between internships, service opportunities and so on. madam president, i believe this legislation is urgently needed and we've got to move forward with it. if we do we're going to be able to provide more opportunity for our young people, more jobs in this country because we'll be filling that skills gap and we'll be able to have more young people be able to have this experience these two young men that i met earlier this week where they are able to go out on their own, get a good job, good benefits, help themselves and
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their family. i thank my colleague from virginia for his hard work on this legislation, look forward to working with him towards its passage. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: the committee i'm privileged to share, homeland security and governmental affairs and which senator portman serves is responsible for working with the administration to help make sure federal agencies work better, we work more efficiently with the resources entrusted to us in this government. during my years in public service i've learned that an essential ingredient, maybe the most essential ingredient of any type to work well is leadership. it's what they say about integrity. if you've got it, nothing else matters. if you don't have it, nothing else matters. in an organization you've got great leadership, that's the most important thing. that is the case both in government and private sector in organizations large and small. part of our shared responsibility is to ensure we have effective leaders in place
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ak across our federal government. it is every senator's constitutional right to provide advice and consent on the president's nominations on a thorough and timely manner in the confirmation process. today we have an important nomination before us. it is the nomination of shaun l. s. donovan to be director of the office of management and budget. i'd like to express my sincere gratitude to not just shaun donovan. i'd like to thank his wife and his two boys, who sat through the hearing. attentive, listening, thoughtful. what a tribute to their dad. it's all well and good what the rest of us think but to have that kind of show of support from teenagers is pretty amazing these days. while sean has very large shoes to fill left behind by sylvia mathews burwell, i believe he is up to the task. and maybe more importantly, she
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believes he is up to the task. she did a great job as o.m.b. director, now running the department of health and human services. she knows shaun donovan, what he's made of, how hardworking he is and she's known it for a long, long time. secretary donovan's nomination was successfully reported out of the senate budget committee and the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. i'm hopeful we'll be able to do our part today and vote to fill this vacancy. we know shaun donovan is a strong leader, the secretary for housing and urban development for the last five years, guided the nation through one of the worst housing crisis in our lifetime. he can cut through red tape and find a way for agencies to work together more effectively. that is why the president asked him to chair the hurricane sandy
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rebuilding force. he's had high level experience in local government as commissioner of new york city department of housing, preservation and development. he's worked in the private sector, nonprofit sector. he knows this job. he knows his responsibilities from all angles. he understands how federal budget decisions impact not only federal age -- agencies, communities, businesses, individual americans and their families. i believe, madam president, he has the diverse experience, strong work ethic, leerm skills to get the job done and successfully continue public service as director of o.m.b. as director of the office of management and budget secretary donovan will be faced with helping to lead our country back to a more fiscally sustainable path. let me just say five years ago when this administration took office, they inherited a deficit that was $1 trillion. after the stimulus package it was $1.4 trillion. this year we expect it to have been reduced by two-thirds. is that good enough? shall we be satisfied and pat
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ourselves on the back? no but we're heading in the right direction. i think under shaun donovan's stewardship we will do just that. i believe the grand budget compromise we need must have three essential ingredients. number one, entitlement reform that saves money, saves those program for our children and grandchildren and does not savage old people or poor people. we need tax reform in not only -- the corporate rates for the rest of the world and forget about this inversion mess, the nonsense going on. do that but do tax reform in a way that generates additional revenues and reuse those revenues for deficit reduction. the third thing is to look at everything we do in government and say this, ask this question: how do we get a better result for less money? everything we do from a to z, and to act accordingly. o.m.b. is critically involved in all three of those approaches, whether it's entitlement reform that is consistent with our values to the least of these in
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our society; tax reform that generates additional revenues at lowest corporate rates, and actually getting more for our money, o.m.b. is essential and critical and the o.m.b. director is going to be the point person for making sure we make progress in each of those three areas. i know from my own conversations with shaun donovan which now stretch over five years that he will be a strong voice for fiscal responsibility and effective government management and senator susan collins of maine pointed out in introducing shaun donovan before our committee, he's known for using rigorous data analysis to get better results for government programs and save taxpayer money. he will be a leader of integrity and intelligence in a critical job. i mentioned the word integrity before. i'll say it again. integrity, if you've got it nothing else matters. if you don't have it, nothing else matters. he has integrity. he's a bright guy, very smart guy, hardworking, wonderful family, a great track record of
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working not just in government but in the private sector, nonprofits, state and local, federal. he's demonstrated what he can do, leading a big agency like housing and urban development. how he can lead in a cross-agency way, suffering under super storm steand. i think he's well qualified. i'm glad the president nominated him. i'm glad sylvia mathews burwell is still over at h.h.s. i'm happy to support shaun's nomination and hope all my colleagues do as well. thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that the vote of confirmation on the donovan nominee occur at 2:05 p.m. and that senator murray be in control at the final two minutes prior to the vote. that's my request. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you. mr. vitter: madam president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to discuss the growing crisis of unaccompanied daily children streaming across our southern border. it has been called a mounting crisis, including the security crisis it is. there are some 52,000 who have come across in the last several months according to recent reports up from just a few thousand a year ago. and the threat is that that will grow significantly. it is continuing to grow. this has been called a humanitarian crisis, and it is. these are in most cases vulnerable children who were taken through by human smugglers, by drug cartels, by other folks who do not, absolutely do not have their best interest in mind. and these children are often mistreated in all sorts of despicable ways through that journey. how do we address this crisis? well, it seems to me,
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madam president, we need to get our core response right. and the only way to stop this increasing flow is to make clear that this activity won't be successful. the only way to do that is to detain these illegal aliens in our country, keep them under our supervision until we quickly deport them to their countries of origin. that is the only response, the only message, the only visual that will stop this mounting flow from continuing to grow. that is the most humanitarian response that will stop more and more of these central and south american children from being put in this illegal trade and being victimized along the way. unfortunately so far, that is not the response president obama has made. after speaking for weeks about
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the 2008 change in immigration law as a factor in this scenario, when president obama presented a request to congress on this issue, he did not request any change in that law. he talked about it. he pointed to that law for weeks saying this was the root cause of the problem. and yet, in his request to congress, he's not proposing that would change that law. instead all he's proposing is more money, a lot more money, $3.7 billion. now some were response and some were resources that were undoubtedly necessary. but the lion's share of that, again, doesn't go to enforcement, doesn't go to deportation, doesn't go to sending these illegals back to their home country quickly, humanely and efficiently.
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it goes to feeding them and housing them in this country for an extended indefinite period of time. that's not what we need. again, what we need instead is whatever changes to the law are necessary to allow us to detain these folks in a proper humane way and quickly move them back to their home countries. and we need the will and the resources to get that done in a quick, efficient way. that's what i'll be proposing with many others in both the house and the senate. now for this to work, we also need the will and the cooperation of the administration. and i'm concerned that there isn't that real focus and real determination and real will. it's great to have the right law written down on a piece of paper, the right words on a page. but it's equally as important, perhaps more important, to have
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the right administration, the right spirit, the right execution, the right follow-through on those words on a page. unfortunately we haven't had that in the obama administration either. "the los angeles times," not exactly a right-leaning publication, has noted that deportations of illegals has plummeted from the high in 2008, plummeted every year since then to an absolute low in 2013 of about 1,669. from a high of 8,100 down each and every year to 1,600. now, this first drop probably had a lot to do with the change in the law to which president obama has alluded. we need to fix that. but these other drops have to do with the spirit and the focus
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and the determination or lack thereof of the present administration. similarly, about 600 minors, this is all illegals, about 600 minors were ordered deported each year from nonborder states a decade ago. a decade ago, 600. last year, only 95. again, the same plummeting trend, the same absolutely plummeting trend. that's what we need to fundamentally reverse. and to reverse that, i am joined with other members, as i suggested, to get the right solution here in the congress, both changes in the law that we need to make and the resources we need to hold these illegal aliens and quickly turn around the flow and send them back to their home countries.
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that's why i joined already with senator flake in his amendment which he was trying to propose on the senate floor this week to repeal the troublesome part of the 2008 law. that's why i'm going further drafting additional legislation to give this administration the mandate, the ability, the directive it clearly needs to change that practice and to change that policy. not to allow this, these illegals to be released into the country simply on the honor system that they might show up for a court date. we know that well over 90% never show up. not simply send more money to d.h.h. to properly care for these illegal aliens indefinitely with no end in sight. of course they need to be properly treated and cared for when they're in this country and
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beyond. but not just write a blank check to keep them here forever. but to change the law and have the procedure in place to detain them, not to release them, and to quickly effectively bring them back to their home country. that's what happens in a much more routine way for illegal aliens from border countries like mexico and canada. that's what happens effectively in those situations. we need to mirror that. we need to copy that and make sure that happens effectively when the illegal alien is from a border state. i wrote a letter to d.h.s. secretary johnson back in january of this year regarding this very issue before it became the current


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