CongressHouse FloorSenate Floor • U.S. Capitol: 202-224-3121
MembersCommitteesPrayerRecordNewsReporters

May 28, 2011

Congress Last Week

House
Senate
GOP forces Senate pro-forma session, blocking Warren recess appointment
GOP opposition is preventing the Senate from completely adjourning for the Memorial Day recess.

The Budget - Toomey Speech

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.

Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Alabama for giving me the opportunity to speak on this extremely important issue. Let me follow up on the central point that Senator DeMint from South Carolina has been making.

When I go back to Pennsylvania and talk to my constituents about the fact that the Government of the United States, the world's biggest enterprise--an enterprise--is going to spend $3.6 trillion this year, and we are doing it without a budget, they look at me in shocked disbelief that this could even be possible. But it is possible because my colleagues in the Senate, my Democratic colleagues, refuse to produce a budget. It is an unbelievable abdication of responsibility.

My colleagues have asked the American people to elect them to the Senate, have asked the American people to be the majority party of the Senate, which they are, and their attitude is they have no responsibility to lay out a plan for how they want to spend the $3.6 trillion that they want to spend. They have no intention of laying out a plan of where the revenue is going to come from, how much is going to come

[Page: S3325]
from which areas, and how this money should be spent--no overall blueprint, no guidelines, no architecture for spending this staggering sum of money. This is an extraordinary abandonment of a very fundamental responsibility.

I have to say, I have a hard time listening to the criticism of the House budget by people who have offered no budget as an alternative.

Let me speak about the House budget for just a minute. It has taken a great deal of criticism from my friends on the other side in particular because 10 years hence, in this budget, they recommend reforms to Medicare that save Medicare. I want to stress this point. The current policies being advocated--not in a budget but advocated elsewhere by my Democratic friends--they are currently in the process of crushing Medicare because that is what is happening.

Talk to your doctors back home, talk to your hospitals. We have small hospitals across Pennsylvania that are increasingly finding it so difficult to operate. Reimbursements are being gradually crushed down. We have this threat that doctors' reimbursements are going to be dramatically cut. We have created in the President's health care overhaul this Independent Payment Advisory Board, as it is called, the purpose of which is to find ways to ratchet down reimbursements for health care providers.

One of the things that breaks my heart is how often I have had the conversation with doctors who tell me, often choking up in the process, they are encouraging their kids to pursue some other line of work, some other profession other than health care, the profession to which they have dedicated their life. But this is the state of affairs that we have today because of where Medicare is and where it is heading.

So the House comes along and offers a plan that saves Medicare, puts it on a viable, sustainable footing for future generations, and they get attacked for it. Is it the perfect plan? Is it the only plan? I am sure it is not. But it would work.

One of the things that makes so much sense about what they are doing is they are altering the payments as a function of people's wealth and health. It makes a lot of sense. So when younger people reach retirement age, they get more financial help from the government if their income is lower and their health is worse, and they get less if they are wealthy and relatively healthy. This mechanism would put individuals in control of their own health care and put the government on a sustainable path.

Frankly, I think we ought to congratulate them for doing some very thoughtful work. I am going to vote for the House plan. The House plan addresses a very long term structural problem we have for our budget and does it in a very thoughtful and sensible way.

I am introducing an alternative budget because I wish to focus on the nearer term. My focus is these next 10 years, because I think we have a crisis staring us right in the face and we have to deal with it now. So I think we have to deal with it in next year's spending and in the immediate future.

A big part of my goal and what we have demonstrated in the budget I have introduced and that we will have a vote on in a little while is that we can balance this budget within 10 years. I think that is a very important goal. My budget accomplishes that with two elements: policies that generate strong economic growth which have all kinds of benefits, not the least of which is it generates more revenue for the Federal Government; and the other part of this is we have to tighten our belt. This government has been spending way too much money. My budget ratchets that back. The combination brings us to balance within 9 years and generates a modest surplus within 10 years. In the process, we dramatically reduce the amount of debt as a percentage of GDP.

We just saw the Senator from South Carolina present a comparison of what a dangerous position we are already in compared to that of other countries that have racked up too much debt as a percentage of their economies. We are following on this very dangerous path. My budget starts to reverse that curve. It starts to lower the debt as a percentage of GDP and, by bringing the budget into balance, it will actually stop growing the debt altogether, which I think is a very important goal. Part of that is through pro-growth tax policies.

No. 1, in this budget we would ask the relevant committees in the two bodies to enact reforms that would simplify the Tax Code dramatically and allow us to lower marginal rates. The combination of a simplified Tax Code and lower marginal rates is absolutely guaranteed to generate economic growth. I would do it on the corporate side as well as on the individual side and, on the corporate side, move to a territorial-based access system so we wouldn't continue to have the tremendous competitive disadvantage we have vis-a-vis our trading partners.

On health care, we take a different approach for Medicare. We are focused on these next 10 years. Over the next 10 years we do two things: One, we end the fiction that we are going to cut doctors by 30 percent, or end the threat, depending on how you choose to look at it. So the sustainable growth rate, as it is called around here--this notion that we have to massively cut reimbursements to doctors all of a sudden--that is done away with. We recognize that would be a very imprudent policy.

Another thing we do is adopt one of the recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles commission on medical malpractice liability. That helps to save some significant money across the board on health care, and certainly that includes Medicare.

On Medicaid, we adopt a very similar approach to that which is done in the House budget, which is to say this is completely unsustainable in its current form. Medicaid has been doubling every 8 years and it is a big driver of the deficit we have in Washington. It is also a big driver of huge deficits across the 50 States. It is a big problem, because the States have little or no flexibility in how they administer this program. They have a big financial burden that comes with it. What I think we ought to do is take these resources, block grant them to the States, and give the States the flexibility to figure out a better way to deliver health care services to low-income people. I think among our 50 States, I am very confident there will be many that will come up with better models and as they do, they will be adopted generally, and we can put this program on a sustainable path, which it is certainly not on today.

On some other areas of spending, on nondefense discretionary spending, we have to cut it. We have grown it too much. In fact, the big surge in the deficit in recent years has come from the discretionary side. So what we call for is lowering nondefense discretionary spending to the level it was in 2006 and then freezing that for 6 years, after which it would be indexed to the consumer price index. Other mandatory spending, aside from the big entitlement programs, would gradually be reduced to just over their 2007 level. I say gradually. We do this so people have a chance to adjust. Frankly, the economic growth we would get from the lower marginal tax rates would help facilitate this. It gets lowered to 2007 levels by 2014, after which it grows at CPI.

Our budget calls for no changes whatsoever to Social Security, and it calls for none of the structural changes to Medicare because those would occur after the 10-year window and we are focused on just these next 10 years.

I would strongly stress that we are staring at a full-blown crisis. We don't know whether it is a year from now or 2 years from now or 18 months or even nearer. That is impossible to know. But it is impossible to deny that we cannot continue on this course. We cannot continue running multitrillion-dollar deficits--deficits that are 10 percent of our entire economic output, that rack up this huge amount of debt as we have done in recent years. That is not sustainable.

My first career out of college was in finance. When I was working in finance, the idea of the Federal Government of the United States of America even having a credit rating was not something that was understood to be that way. The United States of America was above the credit rating system. It didn't apply to us. A triple A rating wasn't even relevant because we didn't even talk about the creditworthiness of the United States, except to refer to it as the risk-free interest rate, the risk-free security, the security for which

[Page: S3326]
there was no risk of a failure because this was, after all, the Government of the United States of America.

Now we are in a position that is absolutely shocking to me. We very much are subject to a credit rating, but it is worse than that. We have S&P telling us they are actively contemplating the day on which they will lower our credit rating and we won't even be AAA. This is absolutely shocking to me and it has tremendously dire consequences.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I close by saying we cannot kick this can down the road anymore. We need to do something now. I have a budget that balances within 10 years and I urge my colleagues to support it. I thank the Chair.

(Senate - May 25, 2011)

May 27, 2011

House Vote - S. 990: PATRIOT Act Extension

H.Res. 281: Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the House amendment to S. 990

On agreeing to the resolution
Agreed to by voice vote.
House Rules quickly approves Patriot surveillance
The House Rules Committee met at 6:20 p.m. to quickly approve a rule for S. 990, which will extend Patriot Act surveillance authorities until June 1, 2015.

S. 990: Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011
A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.

Previous Senate Votes

On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment to the House Amendment
Passed by 97 votes: 250-153, 28 not voting

Senate Votes - S. 990: PATRIOT Act Extension

S. 990: Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011
A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.

Amendments

S.Amdt. 347 by Sen. Reid [D-NV]
Of a perfecting nature.
Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 990 with Amdt. No. 347
Cloture Motion Agreed to by 61 votes: 79-18, 3 not voting (3/5 required)

S.Amdt. 363 by Sen. Paul [R-KY]
To clarify that the authority to obtain information under the USA PATRIOT Act and subsequent reauthorizations does not include authority to obtain certain firearm records.
Motion to Table Agreed to by 75 votes: 85-10, 5 not voting

S.Amdt. 365 by Sen. Paul [R-KY]
To limit suspicious activity reporting requirements to requests from law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes.
Motion to Table Agreed to by 87 votes: 91-4, 5 not voting


Motion to Concur in the House Amendment (text: CR H3352) to S. 990 with Amdt. No. 347
Motion Agreed to by 49 votes: 72-23, 5 not voting


Paul accuses Reid of breaking his word on Patriot Act amendments
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lashed out at Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday night, accusing the majority leader of breaking his word by not allowing amendments to the Patriot Act extension bill. "Instead of honoring statements he made in February regarding allowing amendments and debate on the bill, Sen. Reid went through procedural hoops to go back on his word," Paul said. "By hurriedly attaching the extensions to the privileged small-business bill as an amendment, Sen. Reid denied the Senate the opportunity to debate the constitutionality of its provisions."

Sen. Paul to break silence on Patriot Act process
After holding a silent protest on the Senate floor all day Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) plans to address the chamber for an hour at 2 p.m. Wednesday on his concerns about how leadership has pushed an extension of Patriot Act provisions through Congress. Paul last addressed the legislative body on Tuesday, laying out his vehement opposition to the Patriot Act, which he says is unconstitutional.

Harry Reid: Rand Paul Can Offer Amendments to Patriot Act, But Only Ones I Approve
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has essentially told his fellow senators he won't allow amendments to the Patriot Act he disagrees with on the Senate floor. The May 25 statement on the Senate floor has resulted in a heated floor exchange and may require the Patriot Act to lapse for a few days before a final Senate vote is possible.

Obama Signs Last-Minute Patriot Act Extension
The Senate voted Thursday to extend the government's Patriot Act powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. Minutes before the midnight deadline Thursday, President Obama approved a four-year extension of the government's Patriot Act powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.

Rand Paul's Stand Against the PATRIOT Act
As it turns out, two PATRIOT Act amendments that Paul proposed were given a vote. Representative democracy depends on legislators taking these stands, and Paul made it happen.

Four-year Patriot Act Extension Passes Despite Rand Paul's Efforts
Congress passed a four-year extension of three provisions of the Patriot Act May 26, despite a spirited Senate effort to derail the bill by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who proposed amendments to exempt Americans' firearms records from the open-ended searches envisioned by the Patriot Act.

Congress: Patriot Act passes

House Votes - H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act

H.Res. 276: Providing for further consideration of H.R. 1540

House Report 112-88

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed by 58 votes: 239-181, 11 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 73 votes: 243-170, 18 not voting


H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.

Amendments

H.Amdt. 302 by Rep. Woolsey [D-CA6]
An amendment numbered 2 printed in House Report 112-88 to eliminate the availability of funds for procurement of the Navy and Air Force V-22 Osprey aircraft.
Failed by 252 votes: 83-334, 14 not voting
House defeats amendment to zero funding for V-22 tiltrotor
The House Wednesday evening overwhelmingly voted down an amendment to a Pentagon policy bill that would have ordered the Navy Department to spend no funds next year on V-22 tiltrotor aircraft.

H.Amdt. 305 by Rep. Hunter [R-CA52]
An amendment numbered 12 printed in House Report 112-88 to create a five-year pilot program to provide opportunity scholarships to dependent children with special education needs. Opportunity scholarships are set at $7,500 a year and would be available to approximately 250 children under the pilot program for the purpose of attending a private, public or charter school of choice. The Department of Defense would administer the program, in coordination with the Secretary of Education.
Failed by 11 votes: 203-213, 15 not voting

H.Amdt. 308 by Rep. Sarbanes [D-MD3]
An amendment numbered 24 printed in House Report 112-88 to strike Section 937 of the bill relating to Modification of Temporary Suspension of Public-Private Competitions for Conversion of Department of Defense Functions to Contractor Performance.
Failed by 28 votes: 198-225, 8 not voting

H.Amdt. 309 by Rep. Murphy [D-CT5]
An amendment numbered 25 printed in House Report 112-88 to give manufacturers the opportunity to provide information to DoD regarding how their bid for a contract will affect domestic employment. It allows DoD to take this information into consideration, but does not mandate that DoD consider this information when awarding the contract.
Failed by 5 votes: 208-212, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 310 by Rep. Cole [R-OK4]
An amendment numbered 27 printed in House Report 112-88 to preclude an executive agency from requiring an entity submitting an offer for a Federal contract to disclose political contributions as a condition of participation.
Agreed to by 98 votes: 261-163, 7 not voting
House votes to prevent government from seeking disclosure on political contributions
The House on Wednesday night approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent the Executive Branch from requiring companies to disclose their political contributions as a condition of winning government contracts.

H.Amdt. 311 by Rep. Garamendi [D-CA10]
An amendment numbered 28 printed in House Report 112-88 to require the Secretary to ensure that each contractor of the Department of Defense performing a prime contract at a military installation in the United States to set aside 40 percent, by dollar value, of its subcontracting work under the contract for local qualified subcontractors. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a subcontractor shall be considered local if its headquarters is within 60 miles of the military installation.
Failed by 89 votes: 168-256, 7 not voting

H.Amdt. 312 by Rep. Maloney [D-NY14]
An amendment numbered 26 printed in House Report 112-88 to require public disclosure of information submitted under Section 847 of this act.
Failed by 73 votes: 176-248, 7 not voting

H.Amdt. 313 by Rep. Himes [D-CT4]
An amendment numbered 30 printed in House Report 112-88 to require any savings as a result of shifting to civilian employees from contractors within the Department of Defense be directed towards deficit reduction.
Failed by 57 votes: 184-240, 7 not voting

H.Amdt. 314 by Rep. Jackson-Lee [D-TX18]
An amendment numbered 31 printed in House Report 112-88 to require the Secretary of Defense, prior to awarding of defense contracts to private contractors, to conduct an outreach program to benefit minority and women-owned businesses.
Failed by 42 votes: 191-232, 8 not voting

H.Amdt. 315 by Rep. Andrews [D-NJ1]
An amendment numbered 32 printed in House Report 112-88 to temporarily suspend the implementation and enforcement of workforce management and sourcing policies pursuant to the DODs efficiency initiative.
Failed by 69 votes: 178-246, 7 not voting

H.Amdt. 317 by Rep. Richmond [D-LA2]
An amendment numbered 37 printed in House Report 112-88 to prevent the payment of certain incentives with respect to a Navy shipyard in Avondale, Louisiana, saving the Department of Defense up to $310 million.
Failed by 70 votes: 177-246, 8 not voting
House finishes Wednesday work on NDAA — 11:10 p.m.
The House Wednesday night debated amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) until about 11 p.m. and considered several key amendments, although votes on these amendments were planned for Thursday.

House wrestles over war-on-terror measure
GOP leaders work to overcome opposition to a bill that would expand authority for the use of force.

H.Amdt. 318 by Rep. Mica [R-FL7]
An amendment numbered 38 printed in House Report 112-88 to require that the rules of engagement allow any military service personnel assigned to duty in a designated hostile fire area to have rules of engagement that fully protects their right to proactively defend themselves from hostile actions.
Agreed to by 100 votes: 260-160, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 320 by Rep. Flake [R-AZ6]
An amendment numbered 40 printed in House Report 112-88 to repeal the establishment of the National Drug Intelligence Center.
Agreed to by 74 votes: 246-172, 13 not voting

H.Amdt. 322 by Rep. Smith [D-WA9]
An amendment numbered 42 printed in House Report 112-88 to amend Section 1039 to allow transfer of detainees to the US to testify in federal court. The amendment strikes language barring transfer of detainees held abroad to the US. The amendment requires certification by the Attorney General prior to transfer.
Failed by 89 votes: 165-253, 13 not voting

H.Amdt. 323 by Rep. Buchanan [R-FL13]
An amendment numbered 43 printed in House Report 112-88 to require all foreign terrorists, with links to terrorist networks, who attack the U.S. or the Government be considered enemy combatants to be tried by military tribunals, not in the civilian court system.
Agreed to by 73 votes: 246-173, 12 not voting

H.Amdt. 324 by Rep. Maloney [D-NY14]
An amendment numbered 47 printed in House Report 112-88 to clarify that the exemption from Freedom of Information Act for Data Files of the Military Flight Operations Quality Assurance Systems of the Military Departments is for "information contained in data files of the military flight operations quality assurance system of a military department that would reveal flight patterns or tactical techniques or tactical procedures from disclosure under section.".
Failed by 239 votes: 91-329, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 325 by Rep. Mack [R-FL14]
An amendment numbered 48 printed in House Report 112-88 to make changes to the language of the Sunken Military Craft Act of H.R. 1540, (the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012)by clarifying the language of the Sunken Military Craft Act to restore its original intent, and would specify that a sunken military craft would be defined as a vessel only when on military noncommercial service when it sank.
Agreed to by 34 votes: 227-193, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 326 by Rep. Langevin [D-RI2]
An amendment numbered 49 printed in House Report 112-88 to coordinate federal information security policy through the creation of a National Office for Cyberspace, updating information security management practices, and establishing measures for the protection of critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.
Failed by 75 votes: 172-246, 13 not voting

H.Amdt. 327 by Rep. Amash [R-MI3]
An amendment numbered 50 printed in House Report 112-88 to strike section 1034 of the bill, relating to the authorization for use of military force.
Failed by 48 votes: 187-234, 10 not voting
Rep. Justin Amash Seeks Limits on Presidential War-making
The U.S. House of Representatives failed to remove a provision from the annual Defense Authorization bill that would give the President virtually unlimited war-making power, rejecting an amendment by freshman Republican Justin Amash of Michigan by a 187-234 vote May 26.
H.Amdt. 328 by Rep. Campbell [R-CA48]
An amendment numbered 53 printed in House Report 112-88 to terminate the Human, Social, and Culture Behavior (HSCB) Modeling program at the Department of Defense.
Failed by 292 votes: 63-354, 14 not voting

H.Amdt. 329 by Rep. Campbell [R-CA48]
An amendment numbered 54 printed in House Report 112-88 to reduce the baseline number of civilian employees at the Department of Defense by 1% every year for the next five years.
Failed by 224 votes: 98-321, 12 not voting

H.Amdt. 330 by Rep. Chaffetz [R-UT3]
An amendment numbered 56 printed in House Report 112-88 to require U.S. ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, leaving just those who are involved in small, targeted counter-terrorism operations. The amendment would further require the Secretary of Defense to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress within 60 days of enactment.
Failed by 172 votes: 123-294, 14 not voting

H.Amdt. 332 by Rep. Polis [D-CO2]
An amendment numbered 60 printed in House Report 112-88 to reduce the amount of troops stationed in Europe to 30,000 and would cut overall end strength levels by 10,000 a year over the next five years.
Failed by 228 votes: 96-323, 12 not voting

H.Amdt. 333 by Rep. Conyers [D-MI14]
An amendment numbered 61 printed in House Report 112-88 to prevent funds authorized in the Act from being used to deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of Members of the Armed Forces or private security contractors on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a Member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.
Agreed to by 411 votes: 416-5, 10 not voting

H.Amdt. 334 by Rep. Flake [R-AZ6]
An amendment numbered 62 printed in House Report 112-88 to eliminate funds for the Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund.
Agreed to by 118 votes: 269-151, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 335 by Rep. Ellison [D-MN5]
An amendment numbered 63 printed in House Report 112-88 to strike section 1604, Budget Item Relating to LHA7 Ship Program.
Failed by 66 votes: 176-241, 14 not voting

H.Amdt. 336 by Rep. Sanchez [D-CA47]
An amendment numbered 64 printed in House Report 112-88 to reduce the funding for Ground-based Midcourse Defense systems by $100,000,000.
Failed by 51 votes: 184-234, 13 not voting

H.Amdt. 339 by Rep. Jackson-Lee [D-TX18]
An amendment numbered 111 printed in House Report 112-88 to designate a National Day of Honor for members of the Armed Forces who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat areas.
Agreed to by 419 votes: 419-0, 12 not voting

H.Amdt. 342 by Rep. Turner [R-OH3]
An amendment numbered 148 printed in House Report 112-88 to require a report on the cost-benefit analysis of migrating the management headquarters for the Air Force's Enterprise Logistics System Program Executive Office.
Agreed to by 180 votes: 300-120, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 343 by Rep. Cravaack [R-MN8]
An amendment numbered 152 printed in House Report 112-88 to repeal Title VXII of the Department of Defense Authorization Act, 1985, which authorized the establishment of the United States Institute of Peace.
Agreed to by 32 votes: 226-194, 11 not voting

H.Amdt. 344 by Rep. McGovern [D-MA3]
An amendment numbered 55 printed in House Report 112-88 to require: (1) A plan and timeframe on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities; (2) A plan and timeframe on negotiations leading to a political solution and reconciliation in Afghanistan; and (3) A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on al-Qaeda. The amendment clarifies that nothing in this section limits the president under existing authority to go after al-Qaeda, share intelligence, or modify military strategy and tactics while redeploying US forces under the plan/timeframe required above.
Failed by 12 votes: 204-215, 12 not voting


On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
Failed by 49 votes: 185-233, 13 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 226 votes: 322-96, 13 not voting


House defeats effort to scale down Afghan war in close 204-215 vote
The House also approved a measure to prohibit ground troops from being sent to Libya.

House Passes $690 Billion Defense Bill
The U.S. House has passed a $690 billion defense bill that limits President Obama's authority on reducing nuclear weapons and deciding what to do with terrorist suspects.

House Votes On Libya Indicate Little Support for Intervention
Two bipartisan actions in the House of Representatives related to Libya may bode ill for congressional support for the U.S. role in military intervention there.

House approves Mark Center changes sought by Virginia
The House on Thursday approved legislation that could delay the transfer of thousands of defense workers to Alexandria's Mark Center, possibly avoiding the gridlocked traffic local officials said is inevitable if the center opens before road improvements are made.

Appropriate Siting on Chaplains Hill in Arlington Cemetery

[Page: S3460]  GPO's PDF 

---

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Veterans' Affairs Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Con. Res. 4 and that the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The clerk will report the concurrent resolution by title.

The bill clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Con. Res. 4) expressing the sense of Congress that an appropriate site on Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery should be provided for a memorial marker to honor the memory of the Jewish chaplains who died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the concurrent resolution.

Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to speak on the passage of S. Con. Res. 4, as amended, which would allow for the establishment of a Jewish Chaplains Memorial on Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery.

Since their inclusion in the Chaplain Corps in 1862, Jewish Chaplains have played a vital role in supporting members of the Armed Forces. In Arlington National Cemetery, Chaplains Hill serves as a memorial for military chaplains who have died in service to their country.

Chaplains play a critical role in the lives of our Nation's soldiers, providing spiritual guidance and emotional support in their times of need. In addition to their spiritual role, chaplains still remain a part of the military and give their lives in the line of duty.

Mr. President, in particular, one story poignantly tells of the service and sacrifice that chaplains make on behalf of their fellow serv ice mem bers. On January 23, 1943, the USAT Dorchester was attacked by an enemy submarine while off the coast of Newfoundland. Four Army chaplains remained on the sinking vessel ensuring that surviving crew members would be able to reach the lifeboats, even surrendering their own lifejackets to crewmembers in need. As the ship began to sink, the chaplains banded together to pray for the safety of the crew. In honor of that selfless act, Congress created the Chaplain's Medal of Honor, also known as the Four Chaplains Medal. One of the chaplains was Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, a lieutenant in the Army, who is one of the 13 Jewish Chaplains who would be honored by the memorial that this Resolution would establish.

I would like to thank the many groups and individuals involved in this project. Specifically, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Rabbi Harold Robinson, RADM CHC USN Retired, Kenneth Kraetzer, Mr. Sol Moglen and Ms. Shelley Rood. Without the work of these dedicated individuals, the sacrifice Jewish Chaplains have made on behalf of this Nation would remain unmemorialized in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I ask unanimous consent that the Murray amendment,

[Page: S3461]  GPO's PDF
which is at the desk, be agreed to, the concurrent resolution, as amended, be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements be printed in the Record.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment (No. 388) was agreed to as follows:

(Purpose: To express the sense of Congress on the establishment of an advisory commission on memorials at Arlington National Cemetery and facilitate evaluation and approval of future monuments and memorials at the cemetery)

In the resolving clause, insert before the period at the end the following: ``and that, in order to preserve, protect, and maintain the limited amount of space available at Arlington National Cemetery and ensure that future proposals for commemorative works are appropriately designed, constructed, and located and reflect a consensus of the lasting national significance of the subjects involved, the President of the United States, as Commander in Chief, should establish an Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Advisory Commission and procedures for the evaluation and approval of new monuments and memorials comparable to those in chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code (commonly referred to as the `Commemorative Works Act')''.

The concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 4), as amended, was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

The concurrent resolution, as amended with its preamble, reads as follows:

S. Con. Res. 4

Whereas 13 Jewish chaplains have died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Alexander Goode died on February 3, 1943, when the USS Dorchester was sunk by German torpedoes off the coast of Greenland;

Whereas Chaplain Goode received the Four Chaplains' Medal for Heroism and the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic efforts to save the lives of those onboard the Dorchester;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Irving Tepper was killed in action in France on August 13, 1944;

Whereas Chaplain Tepper also saw combat in Morocco, Tunisia, and Sicily while attached to an infantry combat team in the Ninth Division;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Louis Werfel died on December 24, 1944, at the young age of 27, in a plane crash while en route to conduct Chanukah services;

Whereas Chaplain Werfel was known as ``The Flying Rabbi'' because his duties required traveling great distances by plane to serve Army personnel of Jewish faith at outlying posts;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Meir Engel died at the Naval Hospital in Saigon on December 16, 1964, after faithfully serving his country during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Morton Singer died on December 17, 1968, in a plane crash while on a mission in Vietnam to conduct Chanukah services;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Herman Rosen died in service of his faith and his country on June 18, 1943;

Whereas Chaplain Rabbi Herman Rosen's son, Air Force Chaplain Solomon Rosen, also died in service of his faith and his country, on November 2, 1948;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Nachman Arnoff died in service of his faith and his country on May 9, 1946;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Frank Goldenberg died in service of his faith and his country on May 22, 1946;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Henry Goody died in service of his faith and his country on October 19, 1943;

Whereas Army Chaplain Rabbi Samuel Hurwitz died in service of his faith and his country December 9, 1943;

Whereas Air Force Chaplain Rabbi Samuel Rosen died in service of his faith and his country on May 13, 1955;

Whereas Air Force Chaplain Rabbi David Sobel died in service of his faith and his country on March 7, 1974;

Whereas Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery memorializes the names of 242 chaplains who perished while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States; and

Whereas none of the 13 Jewish chaplains who have died while on active duty are memorialized on Chaplains Hill: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that an appropriate site on Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery should be provided for a memorial marker, to be paid for with private funds, to honor the memory of the Jewish chaplains who died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, so long as the Secretary of the Army has exclusive authority to approve the design and site of the memorial marker and that, in order to preserve, protect, and maintain the limited amount of space available at Arlington National Cemetery and ensure that future proposals for commemorative works are appropriately designed, constructed, and located and reflect a consensus of the lasting national significance of the subjects involved, the President of the United States, as Commander in Chief, should establish an Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Advisory Commission and procedures for the evaluation and approval of new monuments and memorials comparable to those in chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ``Commemorative Works Act'').

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

NRA Position

[Page: S3420]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD a letter dated May 26, 2011, from the NRA.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

OF AMERICA,

Washington, DC, May 26, 2011.

DEAR SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Thank you for asking about the National Rifle Association's position on a motion to table amendment # 363 to the PATRIOT Act.

The NRA takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting gun owners' rights against government abuse. Over the past three decades, we've fought successfully to block unnecessary and intrusive compilation of firearms-related records by several federal agencies, and will continue to protect the privacy of our members and all American gun owners.

While well-intentioned, the language of this amendment as currently drafted raises potential problems for gun owners, in that it encourages the government to use provisions in current law that allow access to firearms records without reasonable cause, warrant, or judicial oversight of any kind.

Based on these concerns and the fact that the NRA does not ordinarily take positions on procedural votes, we have no position on a motion to table amendment # 363.

Sincerely,
CHRIS W. COX.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Intent to Object

[Page: S3419]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, consistent with Senate Standing Orders and my policy of publishing in the Congressional Record a statement whenever I place a hold on legislation, I am announcing my intention to object to any unanimous consent request to proceed to S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act.

In December of last year I placed a hold on similar legislation, commonly called COICA, because I felt the costs of the legislation far outweighed the benefits. After careful analysis of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, I am compelled to draw the same conclusion. I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective. At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA's prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.

The Internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century. It is increasingly in America's economic interest to ensure that the Internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the Internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the Internet, PIPA represents a threat our economic future and to our international objectives. Until the many issues that I and others have raised with this legislation are addressed, I will object to a unanimous consent request to proceed to the legislation.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

50th Anniversary of President Kennedy's Call to Go to the Moon


[Page: S3419]  GPO's PDF ---

Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, May 25, 2011, marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's speech that set the original dream of American exploration with a goal of sending a human to the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the decade.
President Kennedy's speech was more than a call for a Moon shot. It was 17 days after Alan Shepard became the second human in space, and the Nation was still recovering from a recession and recovering from the Cuban missile crisis. That year, President Kennedy took the unusual step of coming to Congress in May to address urgent, ``extraordinary'' national needs. During his speech, he said, ``In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the Moon ..... it will be an entire Nation. For all of us must work to put him there.'' He sounded the starting gun of the space race. In that race, the United States and its young President were determined to cross the finish line first.
America is no longer in a space race. We are in a race for our economic future. We are not racing other countries. We are racing ourselves. To win this economic race, we must do as President Obama has urged us. We must work together to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our competitors. That is why I fight so hard to invest in America's exploration and discovery which creates jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow.
As we were 50 years ago, our space program is embarking on a new journey. This year, after 30 years of great service NASA will retire the Space Shuttle with honor and dignity. We will bid goodbye to this workhorse that launched and fixed Hubble and built the International Space Station.
Last year, Congress gave NASA a new path forward. My colleagues and I fought to pass a new authorization bill. It was not easy. There was confusion and chaos about the path forward, and the austere budget environment required tough choices. The authorization law established a balanced space program. It increased investments in Science and Aeronautics so we can explore the universe, protect the planet, and make air travel safer and more reliable. The bill provided for new Space Technology research and development to make exploring space safer and more efficient. Finally, it gave us a sustainable human space flight program that extends the International Space Station lab to 2020, opens low Earth orbit to commercial providers, for cargo first, then crew, and broadens human reach beyond low Earth orbit.
NASA will begin building our next generation vehicles to go beyond low Earth orbit, the heavy lift rocket and the Orion capsule. The private sector will build commercial cargo and crew vehicles, with NASA providing the venture capital to get cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station while building a whole new industry.
The shuttle is retiring, but our missions in space will sail on. It doesn't matter how we get there. We can't be defined by our Space Transportation System. Our future in space will be built on innovation and discovery from commercial rockets taking cargo and someday astronauts to the International Space Station; to the James Webb Space Telescope discovering new galaxies and new frontiers in science; to new technologies to grab and fix damaged satellites in space with robots.
New technologies don't just happen. They come from American ingenuity that is built on discovery and innovation. They have made America great and they have made us a nation worth imitating.
As we look around the world, we see people who yearn to imitate the democracy we have, who brought down dictators and autocrats with American innovations like Twitter. They believe representative, parliamentary bodies can give them an orderly way to move government forward and will give them better lives, helping them compete in the world economy.
Already, emerging nations, like China, are imitating our investments in discovery and innovation. China is embarking on an ambitious space program that is reaching for the stars with satellites and astronauts. China is increasing its science research budget 20 percent each year, seeking to replicate our National Science Foundation.
I don't worry about being in a race with China or other nations. China can't beat us. We can only beat ourselves by losing our drive to reach for great goals and by failing to invest in the research and development that will help us achieve them. I will keep fighting to for the innovation and discovery that makes America worth imitating.
I believe in the space program. I believe in space technology, in green science that helps us understand and protect the planet, and in heliophysics that studies the Sun so we know when solar storms could knock out the power grid. I believe in the men and women of the space program like the astronauts who risk their lives to extend our human reach in space, the astrophysicists who teach us about dark matter and the origins of the universe, and the machinists who craft the precision robots that explore the universe for us. The men and women of the space program are the best of the American economy, creating jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow.
President Kennedy knew we needed all of the Nation's talents to go safely to the Moon. Fifty years later, we live in different, and more frugal, times. We must not let our urgent, immediate needs keep us from investing in programs that see results well into the future. While looking toward immediate national needs, President Kennedy also urged investments for the long haul. He wanted the United States to take risks on science that changed the world, putting people on the Moon, and on a civilian weather satellite in space.
While America waits on our new crop of innovations to mature, we will keep reaping the harvest of the discoveries and investments made long ago that have become the Internet, medical imaging like MRIs, and countless other products that help American companies invent new products and create new jobs.
In these frugal times, we should all work together to keep alive President Kennedy's spirit of exploration and discovery and win the future.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Honoring Our Service Men and Women this Memorial Day

[Page: S3418]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to honor the sacrifice of those to whom we are forever indebted: the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, both past and present, who died in defense of freedom. It has been and continues to be their duty, honor, and privilege to serve. With Memorial Day 2011 approaching, it is our duty to pause and honor those who have sacrificed.

Memorial Day has become the unofficial beginning of summer. Schools are beginning to break for summer vacation, community pools are opening for the season, and friends and family are gathering this weekend for barbecues. It is important that we not lose sight of the true nature of this holiday and I encourage all of us to take time to pause and remember the meaning of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our Nation's service. Since 1868, this time of year has been designated as a time to pause and honor our war dead. It was officially designated a Federal holiday in 1971. An often overlooked tradition is to have a moment of remembrance specifically at 3 p.m. local time.

Throughout the Nation over this holiday weekend we will see many American flags and flowers adorning the graves of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation. I will remember in particular the 104 Marylanders who have been killed in our most recent conflicts, and I will remind myself that our freedom isn't free. I will remind myself of their ultimate sacrifice and I will remind myself of the ongoing sacrifices their families continue to make each and every day.

I am immensely proud of the men and women--fewer than 1 percent of our population--who serve in our All-Volunteer Force. But there is a drawback, of sorts, to having an All-Volunteer Force: the sacrifices of the few are not felt by the many; therefore, they can be overlooked. We mustn't allow this to happen. This environment is much different than the conflicts of the past where nearly everyone had a friend, neighbor, or loved one who wore the cloth of our Nation.

I call on my colleagues and all Americans to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and take the time to pause and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom and for the continued success of this great Nation.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Honoring Our Armed Forces

[Page: S3417]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defense of our Nation. This Memorial Day, I join all Americans in honoring those brave souls.

Over the past decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have been deployed to fight on our behalf in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thousands of those courageous servicemen and women have lost their lives as part of these ongoing missions. More than 70 of these warriors called Mississippi home, including 7 brave fighters who have been killed in Afghanistan since we last observed this national holiday. These are the sacrifices that we should keep in mind as we commemorate Memorial Day 2011.

I am deeply grateful to the young Mississippians we have lost over the past 12 months, and my heart goes out to the families and friends they leave behind.

For the record, I now cite the names of these fallen heroes from Mississippi:

1SG Robert N. Barton of Roxie, 35, who died June 7, 2010;

PFC Joshua S. Ose of Hernando, 19, who died September 20, 2010;

PFC William B. Dawson of Tunica, 20, who died September 24, 2010;

SGT Eric C. Newman of Waynesboro, 30, who died October 14, 2010;

1LT William J. Donnelly IV of Picayune, 27, who died November 25, 2010;

SSG Jason A. Rogers of Brandon, 28, who died April 7, 2011; and

SSG David D. Self of Pearl, 29, who died May 16, 2011.

While their sacrifices will leave a deep void in many lives, I hope their families can find comfort in the fact that they served proudly and will be counted among the multitude of Mississippians who, over the long history of our great Nation, have bravely served and courageously given their lives for their country.

Mississippians traditionally identify themselves with a strong support of our national defense and a willingness to serve in our Armed Forces. We also hold fast to the memory of those lost in battle.

In fact, Columbus, MS, proudly claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, which was originally designated as Decoration Day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. This tradition evolved into Memorial Day, which was recognized as a Federal holiday in 1971.

As we again gather to commemorate Memorial Day, people across Mississippi will stop to reflect on all those who have perished protecting our Nation, whether in battles long ago or in the ongoing conflicts. We will also affirm our belief that Congress should ensure that those who join our Armed Forces will be the best equipped and best trained in the world.

As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I am thankful for the bravery and dedication of those who have fought and died for our country in our defense. They are true heroes, and we owe them our solemn gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

SERGEANT KEN HERMOGINO

Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, today I rise to remember the life and heroic service of SGT Ken Hermogino, who died on May 10, 2011, in Herat Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his military vehicle overturned. Fort Carson cannot replace a leader like Sergeant Hermogino. His passing represents a tragic loss for his hometown of Henderson, NV, and for our country.

Sergeant Hermogino's story is uniquely American. Within 2 months of the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children, Sergeant Hermogino began a military career that would span 10 years and two branches of the armed services. His exceptional character shone in the face of our shared adversity; he chose to serve when his country needed him most.

In 1998, he graduated from Basic High School in Henderson, NV, where he participated in the Marine Corps Junior

[Page: S3418]  GPO's PDF
ROTC program. This experience allowed him to build up the skills and discipline that would become the foundation of his success in the services. Outside of school, Sergeant Hermogino relaxed by skateboarding, BMX racing, and displaying his talent for fixing just about anything.

Sergeant Hermogino enlisted in the Air Force in 2001, and he served for 8 years as a medical administrator based in the U.S. and Manas, Kyrgyzstan. While he assisted fellow serv ice mem bers suffering from life-threatening wounds, Sergeant Hermogino always felt compelled to expand his contribution. His brother, Marvin Jeff, has said, ``He wanted to be more involved.''

In 2009, Sergeant Hermogino joined the Army and served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a member of the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Carson, CO. Sergeant Hermogino's bravery and exemplary service did not escape the notice of his commanders. He earned, among other decorations, the Air Force and Army Commendation Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Mark Twain once said, ``The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.'' Sergeant Hermogino's service was in keeping with this sentiment by selflessly putting country first, he lived life to the fullest. He lived with a sense of the highest honorable purpose.

Today's tribute to the memory of Sergeant Hermogino must also honor his profound love for family. In this spirit, I ask my colleagues to join me in extending our deepest respects and condolences to Norma, his mother, Renato, his father, and to his entire family. Please know that Colorado and Americans across the country are profoundly grateful for Ken's sacrifice. For his bravery in Afghanistan and across the world, he will forever be remembered as one of our country's bravest.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Adjournment Resolution

[Page: S3415]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, today the Senate declined to vote on whether to recess. Someone said the Republicans blocked the Senate from recessing. That is not correct. Republicans wrote a letter to the majority leader and said we should not recess until we have plans set forth and begin to take action to deal with the budget that we have not passed that is required by law to be passed.

That is what was done. So when it comes down to the moment to move to recess and vote to recess, as we are required to do to have a recess, a unanimous consent, or an actual vote, the majority leader chose not to vote. I guess he wanted to protect his members from having to actually be recorded voting to recess this body when we have not done our work.

The Budget Act, in the United States Code, in the Code book, the Budget Act requires that the Senate commence markup hearings in the Budget Committee by April 1 and that a budget be produced by April 15. Congress does not go to jail if it is not passed, I will acknowledge. There is no fine. Perhaps there should have been.

Congress writes laws. I guess they make sure that no consequences occur when they apply to them and they do not comply with their duties.

The majority leader decided to keep us in pro forma session through the week but to do it in a way that guarantees we will take no action on a budget. This is a sad thing. It is not a little bitty matter. Our Congress knows we are in a serious national crisis. I think we can't deny it, and we have to figure out how to respond to it.

I hope this letter--and I will make it a part of the RECORD--to the majority leader will have some impact on our colleagues and cause them to reconsider the actions that have been taken so far. This is what it says:

DEAR MAJORITY LEADER REID: Today marks the 757th day since Congress last adopted a conference report on a budget resolution. But while the Republican House has met its obligations this year, the Democrat-led Senate remains in open defiance of the law--last year the Senate did not even call up a budget for a vote and this year the Senate Budget Committee has not even marked up a resolution, as required under Sec. 300 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

Despite this dubious distinction, the Senate plans to adjourn for a week-long recess on Friday to coincide with Memorial Day, a holiday that honors our men and women in uniform. As our service members put their lives on the line to defend this nation, surely the least Congress can do is produce a plan to confront the debt that is placing the whole country at risk. House Republicans put forward just such a budget weeks ago--an honest plan for prosperity to overcome this nation's dangerously rising debt, cut wasteful Washington spending, and make our economy more competitive.

But, in this time of economic danger, the Senate continues to stonewall any and all action on a FY2012 budget. For this reason, we respectfully request that you delay any adjournment of this body until you or members of your party in the Senate bring forward a budget resolution and schedule a meeting of the Budget Committee--a power which resides solely with the majority--to work on that budget.

In an interview last week, you stated, ``There's no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion ..... It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.'' We find these remarks shocking, especially given the state of our fiscal affairs: the co-chairs of President Obama's own fiscal commission recently warned that, if we do not take swift and serious action to address our rising debt, the United States faces ``the most predictable economic crisis in its history.''

The House completed its work on the FY2012 budget resolution on April 15th. But no budget can become binding until the Senate acts. In our view it would be an astounding abandonment of responsibility for the Senate to go on recess without having taken any steps to produce a budget. We hope that, as required by law and in your capacity as Majority Leader, you change course and follow the example of the Republican-led House and provide the American people with the honest leadership and the honest budget they deserve.

Until a budget plan is made public, and until that plan is scheduled for committee

[Page: S3416]  GPO's PDF
action, on what basis can the Senate justify returning home for a one-week vacation and recess while our spending and debt continue to spiral dangerously out of control?

We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request and welcome any questions you might have.

We are out of sorts. The American people are not happy with this Congress. They say our polling numbers are the lowest they can get. In last fall's election, there was a shellacking, particularly of the big spenders, the ones who want to have more government programs and create more debt. There was an accounting and I guess there will be an accounting in the next election and we all better be sure we have tried to respond faithfully to the challenges America faces.

What has happened this week is a mockery, a sham, a joke. We had four votes yesterday. Each one of them was carefully and sophisticatedly structured to fail. The one that failed the biggest was President Obama's budget. It was voted down unanimously by this body, with zero votes. It was all designed to suggest it is impossible for the Senate to pass a budget. But the Senate doesn't even require a supermajority to pass a budget. Under the Budget Act that we have, it provides that it has a preference, has to be brought up properly, and can be passed with a simple majority.

The Democratic majority, similar to Republican majorities in the past, have to choose will they seek to pass a budget that has the broad support of both parties or will they simply use their majority and pass their budget? You should do one or the other. A good, bipartisan budget is always preferable, but sometimes we have different opinions. So if you have a different view from the other party and you can't reach an agreement, you have a majority, you can pass your budget. You know, when you do that, what happens. When you pass your budget, what happens? You lay out for the American people what you believe. It is one thing to criticize someone else, it is another thing to tell the world what you believe. The House has told the world what they think would be an effective budget for the future. What does the Senate say? Nothing. We haven't even commenced a markup in the Budget Committee.

A budget sets forth your vision for the future. It tells how much you want to cut taxes or raise taxes. It tells how much you want to raise spending or reduce spending. It says how much debt you expect to accumulate over the years to come or whether you would reach a surplus or a balanced budget. That is what a budget does. It holds you accountable. You have to defend it. You have to say what it is.

One thing I have been proud about is that the Republicans over in the House met their duty and produced a budget and they are prepared to defend it. Congressman Ryan knows what he is talking about. He worked on that budget and he is prepared to defend it. It has been terribly misrepresented, but he is prepared to defend it, explain it, and talk to anybody about it.

But if our colleagues in the Senate fail to produce a budget--don't produce one at all--it is kind of hard to hold them to account, isn't it? That is why it is pretty clear that Senator Reid said: Why, it is foolish for us to have a budget. It is foolish for us to have a budget because we would then be in a position to be held accountable. Was he talking about foolish for America to have a budget? Was he expressing a view that it is better for America that we have a budget? No. When he said it is foolish for us to produce a Democratic budget, he was talking purely politically. He was saying we think it is smart politics for us not to put our necks on the line to actually expose to the American people what we believe in. We would rather be in a position to criticize those people in the House who actually had the gumption--I guess he would say the foolish sense--to pass a budget and tell the American people what they think.

I have to say that is not a good situation. We didn't have a budget last year. We are not having one this year. Is there any wonder, then, our deficits continue to spiral out of control to a degree that we have never, ever seen before?

Many criticized President Bush--and so did I--for the $450 billion budget deficit he produced. I thought it was a stunning number. Since President Obama has been President, the budget deficits have been $1.2 trillion, $1.3 trillion, and by September 30, it is projected to be about $1.5 trillion. We will take in $2.2 trillion this year, we expect, and we will spend $3.7 trillion. Forty cents-plus of every $1 we spend is borrowed. We are not confronting that.

So we are taking a recess. When it came time to vote to recess, the majority leader figured out a way to not have to actually vote to go home because, I guess, his Members felt they would be embarrassed if they had to vote to go home after being in violation of the United States Code to produce a budget.

This is not going away. This issue is not going away. Every expert, including the chairman of the fiscal commission formed by President Obama, the chairman of which he appointed Mr. Erskine Bowles, told us in a written statement, delivered by Mr. Bowles and Cochairman Simpson, that this Nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. We are heading toward that wall at warp speed. We can have a financial crisis. In fact, Mr. Bowles was asked by our chairman, Senator Conrad: When do you think this crisis might occur? He said: Two years, maybe less. Alan Simpson said: I think maybe 1 year.

Surely, we have to get off the debt path we are on, spending so much more than we take in, and 40 cents of every $1 we spend is borrowed and we pay interest on it. The interest has the potential to damage our economy in a very significant and substantial way. It could put us in another recession. That is what Mr. Bowles was talking about--a debt crisis, another recession. Maybe it could be perhaps worse than the one we are in. Our projection for a fragile growth is not coming back as much as we would like it to. One reason, expert economists tell us, is that we are carrying too much debt and that has the potential to pull down our economy.

I think we are in a crisis. I think the economy is so naturally strong, the American people have so many capabilities and such a good work ethic that if we get the economy under control and our fiscal house in Washington under control, I believe the economy will come back. But we need to do it now, and every day we delay increases the risk that we will have a crisis occur.

I thank the Chair. I saw my colleague, Senator Klobuchar. I know she wants to speak tonight. I will repeat that this matter is not over. We are in a long-term battle for the future of America. We are in a long-term battle for the financial security of our Nation. Yes, it is about our grandchildren. But as Mr. Bowles told us and Alan Simpson told us and Alan Greenspan told us, we could have a debt crisis in just a few years. Would that not be a disaster--because of our failure to respond to the extraordinary debt we are incurring, that we have a financial crisis that could put us back into recession. I hope not. I don't think that is going to happen this year, but I don't know. We have been warned it might. It is scary.

So we are going to continue to talk about this. We are going to continue to use the rules of the Senate to try to force the Senate to comply with the rules of the United States Code that says we should have a budget. We have had 757 days without a budget. How many more will it be before we have a budget? We will continue that battle. It is going to be a battle for the financial future of our country. Hopefully, we will be successful and somehow, someway, as the pressure builds and the American people continue to have their voices heard, the White House, which today has been oblivious to these challenges, that the Democratic Senate, which has been oblivious to these challenges, will somehow get on board and seriously work with the House to confront the challenges we face and put us on a sound path to financial security for the future.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Job Protection Act and the NLRB

[Page: S3412]  GPO's PDF 

---

Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, last month the Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against the nation's largest exporter, the Boeing company--a company with 170,000-some employees, 150,000 of which in the United States, who sells airplanes around the world and makes them in the United States. The complaint basically said there was prima facie evidence of illegal discrimination because Boeing has decided to expand and build a production plant in South Carolina. Boeing's main operation is in Washington State, a State without a right-to-work law. In contrast, South Carolina is a State with a right-to-work law. This is notwithstanding the fact that Boeing has already added 2,000 employees in Washington State since announcing its expansion. At the same time, it has nearly finished this new plant in South Carolina, spending $1 billion, hiring 1,500 construction workers and over 500 employees to work in the facility. Then, all of a sudden, here comes this complaint.

This is not just a South Carolina matter. It affects the entire country and many of us have spoken out about it. I want to review it just for a moment.

This complaint against Boeing is just one indication of the Administration's anti-business, anti-growth, and anti-jobs agenda. That is why Senators GRAHAM, DeMint, and I--actually there are 35 Senators who are cosponsoring this bill--have introduced the Job Protection Act, to protect right-to-work states and employers from an independent government body run amok.

Our bill preserves the Federal law's current protection of state right-to-work laws in the National Labor Relations Act and provides necessary clarity to prevent the NLRB from moving forward in its case against Boeing or attempting a

similar strategy against other companies.

Now it seems the NLRB wants to change the rules governing how and when a company can relocate from one State to another. According to a May 10 internal memorandum from the NLRB General Counsel's Office, they want to give unions power over major business decisions and require companies, such as Boeing, to collectively bargain if it wants to relocate a facility.

As was explained by James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics, and Hans A. Von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, in a recent article in National Review Online:

NLRB wants to force companies to provide detailed economic justifications (including underlying cost or benefit considerations) for relocation decisions to allow unions to bargain over them--or lose the right to make those decisions without bargaining over them. ..... Either way, businesses would have to negotiate their investment plans with union bosses.

Sherk and von Spakovsky describe this as a ``heads I win, tails you lose'' scenario for unions. These decisions belong in the corporate boardroom, not at the collective bargaining table.

The goal of this NLRB is to place the interests of organized labor over those of business, shareholders, and economic growth. Their means is to change well-

[Page: S3413]  GPO's PDF
established law governing business decisions under the National Labor Relations Act.

The Supreme Court has reasoned that ``an employer must have some degree of certainty beforehand as to when it may proceed to reach decisions without fear of later evaluations labeling its conduct an unfair labor practice. Under the Dubuque Packing case and subsequent NLRB jurisprudence, a company may make a major business decision, such as relocation, outside of collective bargaining. Accordingly, the burden is initially on the NLRB's General Counsel to establish that an employer's decision to relocate work is unaccompanied by a basic change in the nature of the employer's operation, such as being part of an overarching restructuring plan.

The Dubuque test was most recently applied by the NLRB in holding that an employer, Embarq Corporation, did not violate the law by refusing to provide information about or bargain over a planned relocation of its Nevada call center to Florida. Both of those happen to be right-to-work States, as Tennessee is.

In a concurring opinion, NLRB Chairman Liebman expressed her desire to change the rules governing relocation decisions and collective bargaining. The Chairman noted her displeasure that, in her words, ``the law does not compel the production of'' information fully explaining the underlying cost or benefit considerations of a company's relocation decision. The Chairman then suggested requiring employers to provide unions with economic justification wherever there was a ``reasonable likelihood'' that labor-cost concessions might affect an impending decision to relocate.

In practice, the burden would shift to the employer, before making its relocation, to advise and explain to its union the basis for its decision, supported by detailed economic justification. Then, if it does turn on labor costs, the employer would be required to provide the union with information supporting the labor cost/savings underlying its decision. If the employer failed to provide such information and labor costs were a factor, it would be precluded from making those decisions without collective bargaining.

Following this decision against Embarq Corporation, the NLRB Associate General Counsel issued an internal memorandum on May 10 suggesting that Chairman Liebman's new test should now be examined and considered in all cases concerning relocations that come before the board.

Now, I am all for requiring employers to provide advance notice to their labor organizations and offering the economic reasons for a proposed relocation, a shutdown, or a transfer of existing or future work. Providing notice and reasoning is already required under existing law and jurisprudence. We included this in our Job Protection Act to make sure the spirit of the law was maintained. But, what the NLRB and Associate General Counsel are now proposing goes much further, changes understood law, and places an unreasonable burden on employers.

As was observed by Sherk and Spakovsky, this new test would raise the costs to businesses by dragging on collective bargaining, by preventing them from legally executing a decision that is in the best interests of their shareholders until bargaining hits an impasse, and by forcing them to provide detailed economic justification and negotiate their investment plans with union bosses before having the right to execute a relocation plan. Effectively, it would give a union a seat at the board of directors through the force of law and tip the scales of justice in their favor. If employers do not comply, then they will lose the right to later claim their relocation decision did not have to be collectively bargained under the National Labor Relations Act.

So as with the NLRB Acting General Counsel's action against Boeing, this potential new posture by the Office of the General Counsel represents a departure from well-established law. They do not like the outcome, so they want to change the rules and give unions greater leverage over their employers, who provide the jobs in the first place. They are more concerned about producing outcomes that facilitate the collective bargaining process, rather than those that foster economic growth, exports, and jobs.

Those decisions are best left to the owners, officers, shareholders, and directors of businesses, not organized labor or the Federal Government. This potential change in well-established law would be another blow to manufacturing growth and expansion in the United States and further incentive for manufacturers to expand or open a new facility in Mexico, in China, or in India to meet their growing need.

Republicans are not the only ones who are outraged by the direction the NLRB seems to be headed. William Gould, who chaired the NLRB during the Clinton administration, was recently quoted in Slate magazine expressing his unease with the board's action. Specifically, he said, ``The Boeing case is unprecedented,'' and he ``doesn't agree with what the [Acting] General Counsel has done [by] ..... trying to equate an employer's concern with strikes that disrupt production and make it difficult to meet deadlines ..... with hostility toward trade unionism.'' That is the Clinton Administration's NLRB General Counsel.

Coming back to the Boeing issue, which is set to be heard by an administrative judge on June 14, recent comments in the press from an NLRB spokeswoman shed further light on how the board's agenda flies in the face of the very concept of capitalism.

On May 19, various press outlets quoted this spokeswoman suggesting that the NLRB Acting General Counsel would drop his case against Boeing if the company agreed to build 10 planes in Washington, rather than 7. Specifically she said:

We are not telling Boeing they can't build planes in South Carolina. We are talking about one specific piece of work: three planes a month. If they keep those three planes a month in Washington, there is no problem.

So they can build planes in South Carolina, just not the three they had planned. So now the Federal Government or the NLRB is sitting on Boeing's board and determining the means of production for American industry while the economy continues to struggle. In Tennessee, we have had 24 months of 9 percent unemployment.

Our job is to make it easier and cheaper for the private sector to create jobs. The NLRB is not acting in the best interests of American workers through its continued attempts to depart from well-established law and dictate integral business decisions to companies.

I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a memorandum from the Associate General Counsel of NLRB, dated May 10, as well as an article from National Review Online, dated May 16.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL,

DIVISION OF OPERATIONS-MANAGEMENT

May 10, 2011.

MEMORANDUM OM 11-58
To: All Regional Directors, Officers-in-Charge, and Resident Officers.
From: Richard A. Siegel, Associate General Counsel.
Subject: Submission to Advice of Information Cases in Relocation Situations.

In Embarq Corp., 356 NLRB No. 125 (2011), the Board held that the Employer did not violate Section 8(a)(5) by refusing to bargain with the Union over its decision to close a call center in Nevada and relocate that work to its call center in Florida. Applying Dubuque Packing Co., 303 NLRB 386 (1981), enforced in pertinent part, 1 F.3d 24 (D.C. Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1138 (1994), the Board found that, although the decision did not involve a change in the scope or direction of the enterprise, and labor costs were a factor, the relocation was nevertheless not a mandatory subject of bargaining because the Union could not have offered labor-cost concessions sufficient to alter the Employer's decision. The Board also dismissed an allegation that the Employer had violated Section 8(a)(5) by refusing to provide information relevant to its relocation decision; since the decision was not a mandatory subject of bargaining, there was no obligation to provide information about it.

In a concurring opinion, however, Chairman Liebman suggested that she would consider modifying the Dubuque Packing framework with regard to information requests if a party were to ask the Board to revisit existing law in this area. Specifically, she identified an anomaly in present law, which provides somewhat inconsistently that: (1) an employer would enhance its chances of establishing that labor-cost concessions could not have altered the decision, under the Dubuque Packing standard, ``by describing its reasons for relocating to the union, fully explaining the underlying cost or benefit considerations, and asking whether the union

[Page: S3414]  GPO's PDF
could offer labor cost reductions that would enable the employer to meet its profit objectives,'' 303 NLRB at 392, and (2) a union is not entitled to such information if the Board determines in hindsight that the union could not have made sufficient concessions to change the decision and therefore that the decision was not a mandatory subject of bargaining. Chairman Liebman would consider modifying the Dubuque Packing framework by requiring employers to provide requested information about relocation decisions whenever there is a reasonable likelihood that labor-cost concessions might affect the decision. She posits that, if the employer provided the information and the union failed to offer concessions, the union would be precluded from arguing to the Board that it could have made concessions. If, on the other hand, the employer failed to provide such information where labor costs were a factor, it would be precluded from arguing that the union could not have made sufficient concessions.

The General Counsel wishes to examine the concerns raised by Chairman Liebman in Embarq, and determine whether to propose a new standard in cases involving these kinds of information requests. That determination will be made based upon a case-by-case review of submissions to the Division of Advice. Therefore, Regions should submit to Advice all cases presenting the question of whether an employer violated Section 8(a)(5) by refusing to provide information related to a relocation or other decision properly analyzed under Dubuque Packing.

Signed,
R.A.S.

--
[From the National Review Online, May 16, 2011]

The New NLRB: Boeing Is Just the Beginning

(By Hans A. von Spakovsky and James Sherk)

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) raised a lot of eyebrows by filing a complaint against Boeing for opening a new plant in a right-to-work state. But that action is just the beginning of the board's aggressive new pro-union agenda. An internal NLRB memorandum, dated May 10, shows that the board wants to give unions much greater power over employers and their investment and management decisions.

Under current NLRB rules, companies can make major business decisions (like relocating a plant) without negotiating with their union--as long as those changes are not primarily made to reduce labor costs. For example, a business can unilaterally merge several smaller operations into one larger facility to achieve administrative efficiencies. Companies only have to negotiate working conditions, not their business plans.

The NLRB apparently intends to change that. In the internal memorandum, the board's associate general counsel, Richard Siegel, asks the NLRB's regional directors to flag such business-relocation cases. Siegel explains that the Board is considering ``whether to propose a new standard'' in these situations because the chairman of the NLRB, Wilma Liebman, has expressed her desire to ``revisit existing law in this area'' by modifying the rule established in a case called Dubuque Packing.

Apparently, Liebman did not like having to apply the Dubuque Packing rules in a recent case involving the Embarq Corporation and the AFL-CIO. The NLRB decided that under the Dubuque Packing rules, Embarq did not violate the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to bargain with the union over its decision to close its call center in Las Vegas (a right-to-work state) and relocate that work to its call center in Florida (also a right-to-work state).

Specifically, the NLRB wants to force companies to provide detailed economic justifications (including underlying cost or benefit considerations) for relocation decisions to allow unions to bargain over them--or lose the right to make those decisions without bargaining over them. It is a ``heads I win, tails you lose'' situation for unions. Either way, businesses would have to negotiate their investment plans with union bosses. In the concurrence that she wrote in the Embarq decision Liebman expressed her displeasure that ``the law does not compel the production of'' such information to unions.

What Liebman envisions would raise business costs enormously. Current labor law and the attitude of the pro-union NLRB enables unions to drag negotiations on ..... and on ..... and on. Until bargaining hits an ``impasse,'' employers could not legally make any business changes opposed by their union.

The NRLB's goal is not just to prevent companies from investing in right-to-work states. The board apparently also wants to force employers to make unions ``an equal partner in the running of the business enterprise,'' something the Supreme Court ruled in First National Maintenance Corp. v. NLRB and is specifically not required by the NLRA. But the board wants business decisions made to benefit unions, not the shareholders, owners, and other employees of a business, or the overall economy. The Boeing charges are evidently just a first step toward that goal.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

Labels

Blog Archive

Follow by Email