[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 90 (Thursday, June 14, 2012)]
[Senate]
[Pages S4163-S4174]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM AND MODERNIZATION ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED--
                                Resumed

  Mr. REID. I now move to proceed to Calendar No. 250, S. 1940.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will report the bill by 
title.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 250, S. 1940, a bill to 
     amend the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, to restore 
     the financial solvency of the flood insurance fund, and for 
     other purposes.


                                Schedule

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, following my remarks and those of Senator 
McConnell, if any, the next hour will be divided and controlled between 
the two leaders. It will be equally divided. The majority will control 
the first half and the Republicans will control the final half.
  We are still working on trying to finish an agreement to the farm 
bill so we can move forward. It is disappointing we don't already have 
something, but hope is still here, and I hope we can get that done. It 
is a very important piece of legislation, but a few Senators are 
holding this up and that is too bad. I have agreed we can have some 
amendments. I had a nice colloquy on the floor yesterday with Senator 
Coburn, who is concerned about this bill and legislation generally. He 
indicated that he thought it was a good idea to have a number of 
amendments and start voting on them, so I hope we can get there. We 
can't do all 250 amendments that are out there, but we can do a lot of 
them, so let's see where we are. I hope we can get it done.
  We are on the flood insurance bill. We have to get to that. The flood 
insurance expires at the end of this month.
  We will continue to work on an agreement with the farm bill.
  I also hope to reconsider the failed cloture vote on the nomination 
of Mari Carmen Aponte, to be an ambassador to the Republic of El 
Salvador.
  Votes are possible throughout today's session. Senators will be 
notified when they are scheduled.
  Would the Chair announce the business of the day.


                       Reservation of Leader Time

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
leadership time is reserved.
  Under the previous order, the following hour will be equally divided 
and

[[Page S4164]]

controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the 
majority controlling the first half and the Republicans controlling the 
final half.
  Mr. REID. I note the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                            EPA Mercury Rule

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, last December, the Environmental 
Protection Agency finalized a rule called the Mercury Air Toxics 
Standard for powerplants. This rule is important, and it was long 
overdue.
  Many Americans might not realize that before last December, there 
were no Federal standards for mercury or the other toxic air pollution 
pouring out of our Nation's powerplants. Thirty-two years ago, Congress 
directed EPA to limit toxic air pollution from all big polluting 
industries. In response, EPA set standards for nearly 100 industries 
across our Nation. However, until December, there were no such 
standards for the utility industry--the biggest source of mercury, 
arsenic, and other toxic air pollution in the country.

  Now there are standards in place, estimated to provide $3 to $9 of 
health and economic benefits for every $1 invested in pollution 
controls. We should be celebrating this sensible yet significant public 
health achievement. Yet from the other side of the aisle we only hear 
about the $1 that the polluters have to spend to clean up. We never 
hear about the $3 to $9 the rest of the public saves as a result of the 
pollution being cleaned up.
  We hear about the cost to the polluter all the time. We never hear 
about the cost, for example, of an asthma attack caused by soot and 
ozone. We never hear about the public health cost to all of us of the 
child having to go to the emergency room for an asthma attack. We never 
hear about the cost to the business of the mom who is not at work that 
day because she is off on a sick day taking care of that child in the 
emergency room or, if she is working on a regular wage, maybe it is on 
her. Maybe she does not get paid for that day because she is in the 
emergency room with her child. We never hear about that cost.
  How about the simple cost of a mother stuck in an emergency room with 
a child having a pollution-provoked asthma attack, waiting anxiously--
waiting for the nebulizer to kick in, waiting for that little oxygen 
meter on the child's finger to show that the oxygen levels are back 
where they should be? That is not even counted--the worry of a mom for 
her child having a pollution-caused asthma incident. We never hear 
about that. We never hear about the dollar side. All they talk about, 
all we hear about from them is the $1 the polluter has to pay to clean 
up their pollution--never, in this case, the $3 to $9; in other cases 
it is $35 to $1, over $100 to $1.
  Instead, we have colleagues on the other side who want to halt this 
progress--notwithstanding the savings for virtually every American--
with a resolution we are facing now that would void these new 
standards--standards that have just emerged after 32 years for the 
first time regulating toxic pollution out of utility plants. This 
resolution would not only void the new standard, but it would bar EPA 
from ever setting similar limits on powerplants in the future.
  In speeches against these public health standards, one of my 
colleagues appears somewhat confused about the mercury air toxic 
standards. I wish to set the record straight on two points. One, this 
colleague has complained that the technology does not exist to meet 
these standards. That is the complaint: the technology does not exist 
to meet these standards. But if you look at the Clean Air Act, it 
directs the EPA--as EPA did--to set these standards based upon the 
performance of the top 12 percent in the industry--the actual 
performance of the top 12 percent in the industry. In other words, at 
least one out of every eight powerplant units must already be meeting 
each of the standards that is set. This is not a case in which the 
technology does not exist. This is a situation in which one out of 
every eight plants is already meeting it. The technology assuredly 
exists, demonstrably exists. What EPA is doing is leveling the field so 
that utilities do not get a competitive advantage by running dirtier 
powerplants than their fellow utilities.
  This colleague has also complained that the rule establishes 
standards for toxic air pollution other than mercury. Well, limiting 
all toxic air pollution at once is more efficient for the utilities 
than tackling each pollutant separately. Frankly, if we are going at 
mercury once, and then later arsenic--and over and over the utilities 
had to go back and recalibrate--we would be hearing complaints that was 
the wrong way to do it. So if you do it all at once, they complain; if 
you do it separately, they would complain. The bottom line is, any time 
polluters are asked to clean up their act, some people are going to 
complain.
  In section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act, Congress told the EPA that 
they shall establish emission standards for each category of major 
sources of the toxic air pollutants listed in section 112(c). Congress 
provided a list of 180 pollutants, which EPA used as the basis for the 
powerplant standards. You cannot fault EPA for that. Moreover, the 
staggering health benefits of this rule--4,700 fewer anticipated heart 
attacks, 130,000 fewer cases of child asthma symptoms, 5,700 fewer 
emergency room visits each year--flow from limiting all toxic air 
pollution from powerplants--not eliminating, limiting all toxic air 
pollution from powerplants rather than just mercury.
  In pointing out that EPA correctly sought to limit all toxic air 
pollution from powerplants, I do not want to gloss over the importance 
of setting those Federal mercury standards. As I indicated earlier, 
powerplants are the largest source of airborne mercury pollution in the 
United States.
  Mercury, as everybody knows, is a neurotoxin that can be most 
devastating to developing nervous systems. The reason we have the 
phrase ``mad as a hatter'' is because hatters used mercury in their 
work and it affected their brains. It is a neurotoxin. Exposure to 
mercury in utero, or as a child, can permanently reduce a person's 
ability to think and learn. For this reason, women of childbearing age, 
infants, and children must avoid mercury exposure.
  What does this mean for Rhode Island? Many of you have heard me talk 
about the out-of-State air pollution that plagues my State. Most air 
pollution in Rhode Island is not generated from within our borders. It 
is sent from sources hundreds, even thousands of miles away. It is sent 
by powerplants out of State in significant measure.
  On a clear summer day in Rhode Island, we will be commuting in to 
work, and we will hear on the drive-time radio: Today is a bad air day 
in Rhode Island. Infants, seniors, and people with respiratory 
difficulties should stay indoors today; otherwise, it is a beautiful 
day--a summer day when kids should be out playing. But if they have 
asthma, if they have a respiratory ailment, no, they are condemned to 
stay indoors--not because of anything that happened in Rhode Island but 
because of out-of-State pollution, mostly from these powerplants.
  So the same sources that create those bad air days for Rhode Island--
that force seniors and infants and children, people with respiratory 
difficulties to stay indoors on an otherwise fine summer day--also send 
us mercury pollution, which is why, although Rhode Island does not have 
a single coal-fired generating unit within its borders, our health 
department has to issue fish advisories.
  If there is one emblematic image of American families doing something 
in the out-of-doors, it is the parent or grandparent taking their 
child--their son or their daughter--or their grandchild fishing. Norman 
Rockwell has captured this image. Many of us have similar images stored 
away in our childhood memories.

  Yet today if a child goes fishing with her grandfather in Rhode 
Island, she cannot eat the fish she caught. The Rhode Island Department 
of Health warns that pregnant women, women thinking of becoming 
pregnant, and small children should not eat any

[[Page S4165]]

freshwater fish in Rhode Island. The health department also warns these 
populations not to eat some saltwater fish, such as shark and 
swordfish, because they have high levels of mercury stored in their 
fat. The health department suggests that no one in Rhode Island should 
eat more than one serving of freshwater fish--not just children, women 
who are pregnant, and women thinking of becoming pregnant--no one in 
Rhode Island should eat more than one serving of freshwater fish caught 
in our State each month in order to protect against mercury poisoning.
  Finally, the health department warns that no one should ever eat any 
of the fish caught in three bodies of water in Rhode Island: The 
Quidnick Reservoir, Wincheck Pond, and Yawgoog Pond. For those of us 
who remember fishing as kids and eating what we caught, this is a sad 
state of affairs, and this is a state of affairs caused by polluters. 
This cost of a family not being able to go to Quidnick Reservoir, to 
Wincheck Pond to catch a fish, to take it home, to fry it up, to eat 
it--to do things that are as American as apple pie, in some respects--
is because of the polluters.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, will the Senator yield at this point for a 
question?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Of course.
  Mrs. BOXER. First, I want to thank the Senator so much--so much--for 
taking to the floor today and explaining to everyone within the sound 
of his voice that we face a very important vote, because we have a 
colleague on the other side of the aisle who wants to say to the 
Environmental Protection Agency: Stop your work and allow polluters to 
continue to poison this atmosphere and those of us who live in it. You 
are talking about mercury. There is arsenic, there is lead, there is 
formaldehyde. We have to say to the utilities: Clean up your act. We 
are giving them enough time to do it.
  I want to ask my friend a question, and then I will yield altogether 
to him. The question is, is my friend aware that the cost-benefit ratio 
of this rule that Senator Inhofe wants to now repeal is 9 to 1? In 
other words, for every $1 that we put in to make sure this pollution 
goes away or is controlled, there is $9 of benefits in health? Is my 
colleague aware of that?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. First of all, let me thank my wonderful chairman of 
the Environment and Public Works Committee for joining me on the floor 
and asking me this question. The figure I have used--I have been more 
conservative--is in a range between $3 and $9. But there is a very 
significant payback. As I was pointing out, that payback actually 
counts in hard dollars to the public. It does not count things such as, 
as I mentioned in my speech, the worry of a mom spending the day in the 
emergency room waiting for her child's breathing to recover. It may 
take into account her or her employer's economic loss. It does not take 
into account her worry. It does not take into account the grandfather 
not being able to take the fish home from Yawgoog Pond because it is 
now poisonous because out-of-State polluters have dumped mercury into 
the atmosphere and into the pond for so long.
  Those are real costs if you have a traditional American kind of 
family and people go fishing together and do things such as that. You 
cannot do that any longer. That does not even count in the equation. 
The polluters get to take that away from America for free in that 
equation.
  But, as I said, what is interesting is that our friends on the other 
side only seem to think about, only seem to notice, only seem to talk 
about the $1 that the polluters have to pay to clean up their act. They 
do not talk about the folks who get the jobs repairing the pollution, 
building the scrubbers--the American jobs that creates. They just talk 
about their cost, and they do not talk at all about the cost on the 
other side--the health care costs, the job losses, the loss of 
education, the long-term health damage that people undertake.


                         Surface Transportation

  While the Senator is on the floor, let me tell my chairman how proud 
I am of the job she did yesterday on our highway bill. Getting out 
there with those big trucks and with the big, heavy paving equipment 
was a wonderful way of demonstrating to the public what has happened 
here, which is that the most important jobs bill the Senate has passed 
this year is being blocked by the House to eliminate or damage the 
summer construction season for highway work.
  In my State, as I think I have told the Senator, we have more than 90 
projects on the roster for this summer's highway construction season. 
Forty of them are falling off because of the delay from March until 
June that the Republicans already forced on us.
  As the Senator has told me, they are trying to push for another delay 
that is going to knock more projects off, put more people out of work. 
Ours was a bipartisan bill. It could not have been better and more 
openly and transparently run by the Senator and her ranking member, 
Senator Inhofe.
  There are 2.9 million jobs at stake. Everybody gets that our roads 
and highways need repair. Yet a group of Republicans in the House of 
Representatives will not agree to go forward. And time is running out 
on this summer's construction season.
  Mrs. BOXER. Right.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. They get the benefit of knocking down jobs in the 
runup to the election, which I think is a disgraceful way to go about 
the Nation's business. But we cannot move them. The irony and the 
tragedy here is, if Speaker Boehner would call up this bipartisan 
Senate transportation bill, it would pass.
  Mrs. BOXER. That is right.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. It would pass with Republican votes and Democratic 
votes, and we could put people back to work across this country right 
now, doing the work that every American knows our highway system needs. 
This is not bridges to nowhere. This is bridges that people drive 
across to get to work. This is potholes and highways and places like 95 
that goes through Providence on a viaduct. It is falling in so much 
that they have put planks underneath it to keep the pieces that fall 
through from landing on the Amtrak trains and the car traffic 
underneath.
  We need this work. We need these jobs. It is so disingenuous and so 
cynical to stop this work just because there is an election coming. 
What the Senator did yesterday to press on that was very important. I 
appreciate that.
  I see Senator Udall.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Colorado is 
recognized.


                                Wind PTC

  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I rise again to continue the 
fight for our effort to extend the production tax credit for wind. I am 
going to continue to return to the floor every morning until we get the 
PTC extended.
  It has a positive economic effect on each and every one of our States 
and we ought to immediately extend it. If we do not, there are 
tremendous risks because there will be uncertainty. There will be 
37,000 jobs at risk, per the estimate of the American Wind Energy 
Association, in 2013, if we let this important, crucial tax credit 
expire.
  On the other hand, looking at this prohibitively, a recent study by 
Navigant concludes that a stable tax policy would allow the wind 
industry to create and save 54,000 jobs. That is a clear choice. Do we 
want to lose 37,000 jobs or do we want to create and save 54,000 more?
  Over the last number of years in tough economic times, the wind 
industry has been a bright spot. We have seen growth in the wind 
industry on the manufacturing side, and these are good-paying jobs. But 
we are at a make-or-break moment for wind energy. If we let the wind 
PTC expire, we will lose thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in 
investment.
  We also run the real risk of losing our position in the global 
economic race for clean energy technology. Other countries are taking 
note. While we are dithering in the Congress, our foreign competitors 
are literally eating our lunch.
  I am about to attend a hearing in the Energy Committee on our 
competitiveness in the clean energy sector. We are going to be 
discussing how China is outpacing us in the clean energy economy. The 
witnesses, I know, will emphasize--because I have seen their 
testimony--that we have to improve and maximize domestic manufacturing 
capacity or we risk losing these jobs to overseas competitors.

[[Page S4166]]

  I wish to give an example this morning. In North Carolina, there is a 
company, PPG Industries. It is a fiberglass company, hundreds of 
employees. They have been threatened by foreign competition in the last 
few years. Fiberglass is a primary component of wind turbine blades. 
The company has found new buyers in the wind industry.
  I wish to quote the manager, Cheryl Richards, of this factory. She 
has urged us to act. She said:

       That's investment in the U.S. That's investment in jobs, in 
     technology, in the future, in clean energy. If we're not 
     doing it, there are people across the ocean who will. And 
     they'll be happy to sell their products here.

  So while we cannot get our act together in Congress to pass the wind 
PTC, our economic competitors in Europe and Asia have moved ahead. They 
have developed robust manufacturing capacity to serve both their 
domestic demands, and now they are beginning to sell all over the 
world.
  To emphasize how real this threat is, I wish to show all of the 
viewers and my colleagues what has happened in the past when the PTC 
has expired. Look back in 2000. There was a 93-percent drop. There was 
a 73-percent drop from 2001 to 2002. It does not make sense. I hear 
this from Coloradans. I hear this from Americans.
  Wind project developers in the United States and American 
manufacturers are not receiving orders. We could see another boom-and-
bust cycle, where we get a 73-percent or 93-percent drop in 
installations. Our economy does not need that, especially right now. So 
there is a time for leadership. It is time to show the American people 
we can bridge partisan divides in the Congress, we can act, and we can 
take urgent action.
  Let's get the wind PTC reauthorized as soon as possible. It is within 
our power to stop sending jobs overseas, to prevent falling behind 
major economies such as China, Germany, India, and to stop harming 
domestic industries and manufacturing.
  Again, look at this chart. This tells the story. We have to stand and 
do the right thing. Let's start by passing the wind PTC extension now. 
We can do it today. I am going to continue coming back to the floor of 
the Senate until we get the wind PTC extended.


                         Tribute to Tejal Shah

  As my time begins to expire, I wished to take a moment of personal 
privilege and note that Tejal Shah, who has been working in my office 
as a fellow from the State Department, is leaving my office this week. 
She is returning to the State Department to continue doing her work 
there.
  I wish to thank her for the phenomenal support she has given me, for 
the knowledge and skill she has brought to my office. I wish her well 
in her efforts at the State Department.
  I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of Colorado). Without objection, it 
is so ordered.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to 
speak for 5 minutes as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The 
Senator from New Mexico is recognized.


                              Utility MACT

  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, I also, as my colleague 
Senator Whitehouse did, wish to thank the chairman, Barbara Boxer, for 
her hard work and her leadership to protect our air and our public 
health on this crucial vote that is going to come up later this month.
  I rise in opposition to the resolution of disapproval that we expect 
Senator Inhofe to offer. This resolution would permanently block the 
EPA from reducing mercury and toxic pollution from powerplants in the 
United States. The standard is called the Maximum Achievable Control 
Technology standard or Utility MACT.
  By blocking this standard, this resolution is bad for public health. 
This resolution is also bad for America's natural gas producers. This 
resolution is especially bad for electric utilities that did the right 
thing and followed the law. Environmental protection should be a 
bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats both passed the Clean 
Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other environmental laws by wide 
margins.

  I urge both parties not to support this resolution. Here are some key 
points on the public health issues that are before us when this 
resolution comes to the floor: The Environmental Protection Agency 
estimates this standard will save 4,000 to 11,000 lives per year by 
reducing toxic pollution. The EPA also estimates this standard will 
prevent nearly 5,000 heart attacks and 130,000 childhood asthma 
attacks.
  Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin. It is mostly a threat to pregnant 
women and young children. We took lead out of gasoline, we can also 
take mercury out of smokestacks. Similar to many westerners, I know the 
Presiding Officer and I both enjoy fly fishing. In too many areas in 
America, we have mercury advisories for fish from American lakes and 
rivers.
  In New Mexico, most of our streams are under mercury advisories, 
which means pregnant women and children cannot eat the fish from those 
streams. We cannot put a price on healthy children. But if we try, this 
rule produces tens of billions of health benefits each year.
  This resolution of disapproval could permanently block these 
benefits. I would also like to talk about the impact of this resolution 
on natural gas. Natural gas has much lower toxic emissions than coal. 
It has no mercury. It has no soot, known as particulate matter. Recent 
discoveries of U.S. natural gas have led to a 100-year supply. Natural 
gas prices are low. While that is actually bad for New Mexico's economy 
in some places, it is good for consumers.
  Natural gas has increased its market share in the power sector from 
20 to 29 percent recently because it is a lower cost and cleaner fuel. 
EPA standards do not ban coal, but they do call on coal to compete on a 
level playing field and reduce its pollution. If we pass this 
resolution, we will inject further uncertainty into the utility sector, 
which is balancing its portfolio to more equal shares of coal and gas 
as opposed to being overly reliant on coal.
  I support research in defining ways to clean up coal. If we put our 
minds to it, we may be able to take out the toxic pollutants.
  I see the Senator from Arizona is on the floor. I first wish to thank 
him for allowing me a couple minutes to get my statement in.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. McCAIN. If the Senator from New Mexico desires a few extra 
minutes, I would be more than happy to yield.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. I thank the Senator. I will take 1 more 
minute to finish.
  Finally, I would like to note that this resolution is a bailout of 
companies that would rather spend money on lobbying than on pollution 
controls. The EPA standard does not harm responsible coal companies. It 
is achievable with current technology. It is my understanding that most 
or all of the coal plants in New Mexico already have the technology to 
meet these standards. The Public Service Company of New Mexico has 
invested in mercury controls to reduce pollution in our State. Across 
the Nation, many other utilities have as well.
  A variety of business groups support EPA's mercury standard, 
including the Clean Energy Group of utilities, the American Sustainable 
Business Council, and the Main Street Alliance. Those standards are 
required by the Clean Air Act. If we block them, we will punish the law 
abiders and bail out the procrastinators. I urge my colleagues to 
oppose the resolution of disapproval.
  Once again, I thank Senator McCain.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.


                         Farm Bill Authorizing

  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I note the Presiding Officer was paying 
close attention to the Senator from New Mexico. I think that is 
entirely appropriate for that to happen. I am sure it certainly has 
nothing to do with family allegiance.
  The Senate is considering the farm bill, which we do every 5 years. 
During

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this debate, Americans will hear speeches about spending reductions and 
cuts to farm subsidies. I concede that there is some of that in this 
bill.
  Unfortunately, so far we have failed to have an open and fair 
amendment process that should be the case in the Senate. I have several 
amendments I would like to have considered. Similar to my other 
colleagues, we have been prevented from doing so. I have been in this 
body for some years during the consideration of previous farm bills. I 
have always been able to have a couple amendments considered and voted 
on.
  Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case in the consideration 
of this farm bill.
  It is very regrettable and unfortunate that we cannot just start 
voting on amendments and then see where we are. Instead, we have the 
filling of the tree and other language, and most Americans have no idea 
what we are talking about. But it does prevent this body from 
considering the amendments of Members on both sides of the aisle. It is 
unfortunate.
  Also, the fact remains that the programs authorized under this farm 
bill consume a colossal sum of taxpayer dollars. It is over 1,000 pages 
and is estimated to cost $969 billion over 10 years. Again, that is 
$969 billion over 10 years. That is about $1 billion per page. It is a 
60-percent increase from the previous farm bill, which was passed in 
2008. While I believe it is necessary to assist low-income families 
with nutrition programs, we should keep farmers out of the red when a 
natural disaster strikes.
  I am also mindful of the taxpayers who are saddled with a $1.5 
trillion deficit and a ballooning $15 trillion national debt. The farm 
bill is certainly ripe for spending cuts. Some have taken place--not 
nearly as much are necessary. As usual, the farm bill, being 1,000 
pages long, is filled with special deals for special interests.
  I acknowledge that the Senate bill generates $23 billion in savings, 
and that is a notable accomplishment. We have finally done away with 
Depression-era farm subsidies such as ``direct payments'' and the 
``countercyclical program,'' which encourages overproduction, thereby 
triggering more farm subsidies to compensate for depressed prices. 
Unfortunately, it seems that Congress's idea of farm bill reform is to 
eliminate one subsidy program only to invent a new one to take its 
place. Cutting direct and countercyclical payments actually saved the 
taxpayers about $50 billion, but rather than plug that money into 
deficit reduction this farm bill blows $35 billion of its own savings 
on several new subsidy programs.
  For example, we have a new agricultural risk coverage subsidy 
program, or ARC, which works by locking in today's record-high crop 
prices and guaranteeing farmers up to an 89-percent return on their 
crop. ARC could cost taxpayers anywhere from $3 billion to $14 billion 
each year, depending on market conditions. We also create a new $3 
billion cotton subsidy program called STAX, which the Brazilian Trade 
Representative has signaled will escalate their WTO antidumping 
complaint against the United States. I wonder how many of our taxpayers 
know that we already pay Brazil $150 million a year to keep our cotton 
programs. Why would we make things worse?
  This bill authorizes the creation of a new marginal loss subsidy 
program for catfish. This bill maintains a $95 billion federally backed 
crop insurance program, which also subsidizes crop insurance premiums. 
We then pile on a new $4 billion program called supplemental coverage 
option, or SCO, that subsidizes crop insurance deductibles. Subsidized 
insurance, subsidized premiums, and subsidized deductibles--I am hard 
pressed to think of any other industry that operates with less risk at 
the expense of the American taxpayer.
  This is all part of farm bill politics. In order to pass the farm 
bill, Congress must find a way to appease every special interest of 
every commodity association, from asparagus farmers to wheat growers. 
If you cut somebody's subsidy, you give them a grant. If you kill their 
grant, then you cover their insurance programs.
  Let's look at several other handouts that special interests have 
reaped in this year's farm bill, which may account for the size of the 
bill.
  The bill authorizes $15 million to establish a new grant program to 
``improve'' the U.S. sheep industry. We are going to spend 15 million 
of your taxpayer dollars to improve the U.S. sheep industry.
  The bill authorizes $10 million to establish a new USDA--Department 
of Agriculture--program to eradicate feral pigs. I have always been 
against pork spending, but now we are going to spend $10 million to 
establish a new USDA program to eradicate feral pigs.
  The bill authorizes $25 million to study the health benefits of peas, 
lentils, and garbanzo beans--$25 million to study the health benefits 
of peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans. I know mothers all over America 
who have advocated for their children to eat their peas will be pleased 
to know there is a study that will cost them $25 million as to the 
health benefits of peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans.
  It authorizes $200 million for the Value Added Grant Program, which 
gives grants to novelty producers such as small wineries and--I am not 
kidding--the occasional cheesemaker.
  There is $40 million in grants from the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture to encourage private landowners to use their land for bird-
watching or hunting. We are looking at a $1.5 trillion deficit this 
year, and we are going to spend $40 million to encourage private 
landowners to use their land for bird-watching or hunting. I am all for 
bird-watching, and I support hunters--not to the tune of $40 million.
  The bill authorizes $700 million for the Agriculture and Food 
Research Initiative--$700 million. That funds a variety of research 
grants, such as testing pine tree growth in Florida or studying moth 
pheromones. I have no clue what a moth pheromone is. When did it become 
a national priority to study moth pheromones?
  There is $250 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Urban 
Forest Assistance Program, which spends Federal funds to plant trees in 
urban parks and city streets. There is a new program that spends $125 
million to promote healthy food choices in schools. There are already 
at least four other healthy eating educational programs in this bill. 
There are already four, but we are going to add another $125 million 
program for another healthy eating educational program.
  There is $200 million for one of my all-time favorites, the Market 
Access Program, which has been there for years, which subsidizes 
overseas advertising campaigns of large corporations. We have, of 
course, the infamous mohair wool subsidy, which has been fleecing the 
American people since 1954. When Congress passed the 1954 farm bill, 
they wanted to ensure a domestic supply of wool for military uniforms 
by paying farmers to raise, among other things, angora goats for 
mohair. This may have held merit then, but nobody can dispute that 
mohair became obsolete, thanks to synthetic fibers. Today we use mohair 
in custom socks, fashionable scarves, and trendy throw rugs. Some of my 
colleagues may recall that Congress killed off mohair subsidies in the 
1990s. Unfortunately, goats are reputed to eat just about anything, and 
our hard-earned tax dollars are no exception.
  By the time Congress passed the 2002 farm bill, mohair subsidies had 
been restored. The mohair program, which costs taxpayers about $1 
million a year, may not be particularly expensive compared to most farm 
programs. I suppose where some of my colleagues see a minor government 
pittance for wool socks I see a disgraceful example of how special 
interests can embed themselves in a farm bill for generations.

  As if field corn and ethanol subsidies weren't nefarious enough, this 
farm bill includes a new carve-out for popcorn subsidies--I am not 
making it up. This is a perfect example of farm bill politics. Thanks 
to a provision snuck into a 2003 appropriations bill, popcorn started 
receiving millions of dollars in ``direct payment'' subsidies. However, 
because the new farm bill eliminates direct payments, the popcorn 
industry is scrambling to be added to the newly created ARC Program. 
Under this farm bill, popcorn will be subsidized to the tune of $91 
million over 10 years, according to CBO.
  The cooking oil that movie theaters use to heat popcorn is already 
subsidized, as well as the butter they put on top. So popcorn is doing 
fine is the

[[Page S4168]]

truth of the matter. The price of popcorn has risen 40 percent in 
recent years, thanks in part to ethanol, and recent free-trade 
agreements with Colombia and South Korea are creating a boom for 
American popcorn exports. There isn't a kernel of evidence that they 
need this support from taxpayers.
  The Sugar Program is another masterful scam. The USDA operates a 
complex system of important tariffs, loans, and government production 
quotas that restrict sugar imports and keeps sugar prices artificially 
high. The sugar barons will tell us that the Department of Agriculture 
Sugar Program operates at ``no net cost'' to the American taxpayers 
because sugar didn't receive ``direct payments.''
  In actuality, businesses and consumers bear the burden of the Sugar 
Program by paying higher costs for any sweetened product. Every year, 
American consumers are forced to pay an extra $3.5 billion on sweetened 
food products.
  Just yesterday, the Senate voted to table an amendment to phase out 
the Sugar Program, which is quite a sweetheart deal for sugar growers.
  Finally, one of my favorites of all time is regarding catfish. I have 
an amendment that will repeal the farm bill provision that directs the 
USDA to create a new catfish inspection office. I am grateful for the 
support of my colleagues who cosponsored it. What we are attempting to 
do with this amendment is simple: It puts an end to the latest attempt 
by southern catfish farmers to restrict catfish imports.
  Five years ago, a protectionist provision was snuck into the 2008 
farm bill that requires the Department of Agriculture to begin 
inspecting catfish. As my colleagues know, the USDA inspects meat, 
eggs, and poultry but not seafood. That is a whole new government 
office. It is being developed at USDA just to inspect catfish. Catfish 
farmers have tried to argue that we need a catfish inspection office to 
ensure Americans are eating safe and healthy catfish.
  I wholeheartedly agree that catfish should be safe for consumers. The 
problem is that FDA already inspects catfish, just as it does all 
seafood, screening it for biological and chemical hazards. If there 
were legitimate food safety reasons for having USDA inspect catfish, we 
would not be having this discussion. Don't take my word for it, just 
ask USDA.
  When the Department of Agriculture completed an internal assessment 
for the program in December 2010, the Department said it could not 
establish a ``rational relationship'' between the catfish office and 
the risks to human health, concluding, ``There is substantial 
uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of the catfish inspection 
program.'' The Department of Agriculture estimates that this 
questionable program will come at a cost to taxpayers of $30 million 
just to create the office and another $14 million each year thereafter.
  GAO has also extensively examined the catfish office. In February 
2011, GAO released a report saying the catfish office is at ``high 
risk'' for fraud, waste, and abuse, and it is ``duplicative'' of FDA's 
functions and would fragment our food safety system. Just last week GAO 
issued a new report, titled ``Responsibility For Inspecting Catfish 
Should Not Be Assigned to USDA,'' and they called upon Congress to 
repeal the catfish office.
  This isn't the first time consumers have been hoodwinked by southern 
catfish farmers. When the Senate considered the 2002 farm bill, they 
slipped in an obscure provision that made it illegal to label 
Vietnamese catfish as ``catfish'' in the United States. At that time, 
the State Department had recently reopened trade relations with 
Vietnam, and domestic catfish farmers in Southern States found 
themselves competing against cheaper catfish imports. Domestic catfish 
farmers wanted to discourage American consumers from buying Vietnamese 
catfish by marketing it under the Latin name ``pangasius,'' or 
``panga,'' even though it is virtually indistinguishable from U.S.-
grown catfish.
  Although the panga labeling law was enacted, it ultimately backfired 
on catfish farmers because panga catfish remained popular with American 
consumers. It is a senseless law, and my colleagues may recall that I 
came to the floor to fight against it. I asked the question: ``When is 
a catfish not a catfish?'' Why would Congress pass a law that renames a 
species of catfish into something else? Why single out catfish and put 
it in the same category as USDA-inspected beef. Ironically, catfish 
farmers are lobbying USDA to re-relabel Vietnamese ``panga'' back to 
``catfish'' to ensure Asian imports are subject to this new catfish 
office.

  So the catfish office offers no legitimate food safety benefit. Its 
true goal is to erect trade barriers on Asian catfish imports to prop 
up the domestic catfish industry and make American consumers pay more.
  The farm bill before us has some laudable parts to it. There are some 
reductions in spending. When we examine the bill, however, we find more 
and more of this kind of special interest, unnecessary spending, and 
programs that either are protectionist in nature or programs that have 
been inserted sometimes in the middle of the night in the past. We have 
also just begun to examine a number of provisions in this bill, which I 
did not discuss today.
  I wish the small business men and women in my State had a bill for 
small business, a bill that would help them in the very difficult times 
they are experiencing, in the terrible economic times which have caused 
them to not be in business anymore so that they and their families are 
going through the most difficult of times. This is obviously a well-
intentioned bill, but I also think in these harsh economic times it is 
far from the kind of legislation we owe the American people.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                    Preserving Waters of the USA Act

  Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss one of the biggest 
threats to economic growth in this country, and that is this 
administration's job-killing regulatory agenda.
  My goal in the Senate is to promote policies that create jobs. With 
my home State of Nevada leading the Nation in unemployment, I do not 
believe the private sector is doing just fine, and I support 
commonsense policies that give our job creators the necessary tools to 
provide for long-term economic growth.
  Under the current administration, they seem bent upon issuing 
regulation after regulation that threatens existing jobs and preventing 
new ones from being created. As I have stated before, you cannot be 
projobs and antibusiness at the same time.
  With unemployment at 11.7 percent in Nevada--and it continues to lead 
the Nation in unemployment--the only things as scarce as jobs in Nevada 
are private property and water. Roughly 87 percent of Nevada is 
controlled by the Federal Government, and the remaining 13 percent is 
heavily regulated by the Federal Government also. Nevada is also one of 
the driest States in the Nation. Because of this, water is a very 
precious commodity.
  As we debate the farm bill, I am proud to join with some of my 
colleagues in their efforts to provide some much needed regulatory 
relief for American farmers in rural America. However, the latest 
efforts by this administration go well beyond the agricultural sector.
  For years there has been a concerted effort to expand the regulatory 
reach over water in this country. After years of failed attempts to 
legislatively change the scope of regulatory authority over water, the 
EPA is now trying to overturn both congressional intent and multiple 
Supreme Court decisions to further their goal of overregulation.
  To put it into context, if this regulation were enacted, it would 
give the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to regulate 
irrigation ditches, large mud puddles, or anything that contains 
standing water, regardless of whether it is permanent, seasonal, or 
manmade. Never before under the Clean Water Act have Federal 
regulations extended this far. This was not the intent of Congress when 
writing the Clean Water Act, and Congress has repeatedly rejected any 
legislative effort to alter the existing law.
  More disturbing, the administration has bypassed public outreach and 
has

[[Page S4169]]

neglected to consider the economic impact of their proposed action. 
This is in addition to ignoring the fact that the Supreme Court twice 
affirmed the limits of the Federal authority under the Clean Water Act. 
But apparently the EPA believes it does not have to adhere to laws of 
the land.
  Expanding the Federal regulatory overreach into water also infringes 
on private property rights. It stops investments and development and 
infrastructure projects, including housing, schools, hospitals, roads, 
highways, agriculture, and energy. In my home State, this regulation 
will hurt farming, ranching, mining, and construction--the same middle-
class, blue-collar jobs this administration claims to care about.
  In an already struggling economy, we cannot afford to create 
additional regulatory barriers that will cost jobs and prevent future 
economic growth. That is why Senators Barrasso, Inhofe, Sessions, and I 
have offered an amendment to the farm bill, as well as a stand-alone 
piece of legislation that would preserve the current definition of 
waters of the United States. The Preserve the Waters of the United 
States Act is simply straightforward legislation that would preserve 
the current definition of Federal waters as well as uphold private 
property rights.
  Opposition to this legislation has been disingenuous. It is 
ridiculous to assert that supporters of this important legislation are 
opposed to clean water. What I am opposed to is the Federal Government 
continuing its overreach and further hurting our economy and 
jeopardizing personal property rights and States rights. I am opposed 
to giving Washington bureaucrats the authority to regulate your 
backyard. And I am opposed to this administration using a closed-door 
process to issue job-killing regulations that have become far too 
common.
  I had hoped for a vote on this amendment that will allow the Senate 
to make a clear choice between jobs and an extreme environmental 
agenda. Unfortunately, the amendment process has once again broken 
down, and we will not have the ability to openly debate this important 
issue.
  I encourage my colleagues to support the Preserve the Waters of the 
United States Act and show their constituents that they stand with job 
creators. There is a vast and diverse coalition of support for our 
efforts to limit the Federal Government's overreach. It includes local 
governments, municipalities, manufacturers, small businesses, and many 
more.
  As an outdoorsman, I am committed to good stewardship of our natural 
resources and believe that we do not have to choose between a healthy 
environment and economic prosperity. The Preserve the Waters of the 
United States Act is a commonsense solution that will prevent jobs from 
being destroyed and keep private property rights from being further 
eroded by this Federal Government. I respectfully urge all of my 
colleagues to support this legislation and bring it to a vote.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                          Farm Bill Amendments

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I will be speaking about two amendments 
that I intend to offer as part of the farm bill. I think both 
amendments are extremely important, and both amendments have the 
support of the vast majority of the people of our country. They may not 
have the support of powerful special interests, but I think that from 
Maine to California, people will be supporting these amendments.
  The first one is amendment No. 2310, which is cosponsored by Senator 
Barbara Boxer of California.
  All across our country, people are becoming more and more conscious 
about the foods they are eating and the foods they are serving to their 
kids, and this is certainly true for genetically engineered foods. This 
is a major concern in my State of Vermont, I know it is a major concern 
in Senator Boxer's State of California, and it is a major concern all 
over our country.
  This year in my State of Vermont, our legislature tried to pass a 
bill that would have required foods that contain genetically engineered 
ingredients to have that information on their labels. That information 
would simply give consumers in the State of Vermont the knowledge about 
the ingredients that are in the food they are ingesting--not, I 
believe, a terribly radical idea.

  I personally believe, and I think most Americans believe, that when a 
mother goes to the store and purchases food for her child, she has the 
right to know what she is feeding her child, what is in the food she is 
giving to her kids and her family. This concern about genetically 
engineered labeling brought out a huge turnout to the Vermont State 
legislature of people who were supportive of this concept. In fact, it 
was one of the most hotly debated and discussed issues in our 
legislature this year. Over 100 Vermonters testified at a committee 
meeting--the Committee on Agriculture meeting of the State of Vermont--
in favor of this legislation. We are a small State. Hundreds more 
crowded in the statehouse to show their support.
  What people in Vermont, and I believe all over this country, are 
saying, simply and straightforwardly, is: We want to know what is in 
the food we are eating and whether that food is genetically engineered. 
Clearly, this is not just a Vermont issue. Almost 1 million people in 
the State of California signed a petition to get labeling of 
genetically engineered food on the November ballot. In California, a 
big State, 1 million people is a lot of people. In other words, what we 
are seeing from Vermont and California and all over this country is 
people want to know what is in the food they are eating and they want 
to know whether that food is genetically engineered. I thank Senator 
Boxer of California for representing the people of her State in 
cosponsoring this legislation.
  This is not just a Vermont issue. It is not just a California issue. 
According to an MSNBC poll in February of 2011, 95 percent of Americans 
agree that labeling of food with genetically engineered ingredients 
should be allowed. Those polling numbers have been consistently over 90 
percent dating back to 2001.
  What we are seeing in polling, year after year, is people want to 
know what is in the food they are eating. Not everybody agrees. 
Monsanto, one of the world's largest producers of genetically 
engineered food, does not like this idea. Monsanto is also the world's 
largest producer of the herbicide Roundup, as well as so-called Roundup 
Ready seeds that have been genetically engineered to resist the 
pesticide. It is no mystery why Monsanto would fight people's right to 
know. Business is booming for this huge chemical company. It raked in 
over $11 billion in revenues and cleared $1.6 billion in profits in 
2011. This year is going pretty well for Monsanto.
  Once it seemed possible that Vermont could pass the bill. That is 
because the people of the State of Vermont want to see that legislation 
passed. But our friends at Monsanto threatened to sue the State if that 
bill was passed. Sadly--and this is what goes on in politics, not just 
on this issue but on so many issues--despite passing out of the House 
Committee on Agriculture by a vote of 9 to 1, the bill did not make it 
any further because of the fear of a lawsuit from this huge, 
multinational corporation.
  Today, we have an opportunity, with the Sanders-Boxer amendment, 
amendment No. 2310, to affirm States rights to label food that contains 
genetically engineered ingredients. This amendment recognizes that the 
10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly reserves powers in our 
system of federalism to the States and to the people. In other words, 
that is what federalism is about. This amendment acknowledges that 
States have the right to require the labeling of foods produced through 
genetic engineering or derived from organisms that have been 
genetically engineered. Simply put, this amendment gives people the 
right to know. It says that a State, if its legislature so chooses, may 
require that any food or beverage containing a genetically engineered 
ingredient offered for sale in that State have a label that makes that 
information public and clear.

[[Page S4170]]

  It also requires that the Commissioner of the FDA, with the Secretary 
of Agriculture, shall report to Congress within 2 years on the 
percentage of food and beverages in the United States that contain 
genetically engineered ingredients.
  There are strong precedents for labeling. The FDA, as everybody 
knows, already requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, 
additives, and processes. If we want to know if our food contains 
gluten, aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats or MSG, we 
simply read the ingredients label. Similarly, the FDA requires labeling 
for major food allergens such as peanuts, wheat, shellfish, and others. 
But Americans, for some reason, are not afforded that same information 
when it comes to genetically engineered foods.
  Here is a very important point to make. What I am asking now, for the 
people of America, is something that exists right now all over the 
world. Genetically engineered foods are already required to be labeled 
in 49 countries around the world, including Russia, the United Kingdom, 
Australia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, China, New Zealand, and others, 
and the entire European Union allows its countries to require such 
labels, which is essentially what this amendment is about. It is not 
telling, but it is allowing States the right to go forward, if that is 
what the people of those States want.
  If this is good for 49 or more countries around the world, why is it 
not acceptable in the United States of America? The answer is pretty 
simple. We have a large, powerful, multinational corporation that is 
more concerned about their own profits than they are about allowing the 
American people to know what is in the food they are eating.
  Let me clarify just a few pieces of information regarding genetically 
engineered foods. Monsanto claims there is nothing to be concerned 
about with genetically engineered foods. In the 1990s, there was a 
consensus among scientists and doctors at the FDA that GE foods could 
have new and different risks, such as hidden allergens, increased plant 
toxin levels, and the potential to hasten the spread of antibiotic-
resistant disease, but those concerns were quickly pushed aside in the 
name of biotechnology progress. Their concerns were not, however, 
unfounded.
  In May 2012, a landmark independent study by Canadian doctors 
published in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology found 
that toxins from soil bacterium which had been engineered into Bt corn 
to kill pests was present in the bloodstream of 93 percent of pregnant 
women as well as in 80 percent of their fetal cord blood. In the wake 
of this study, action is being taken. In 3 days, on June 17, the 
American Medical Association will consider resolutions that ask for 
studies on the impacts of GE foods and labeling. Resolutions calling 
for labeling of GE foods have already been passed by the American 
Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association.

  There is a great need for this information because there have never 
been mandatory human clinical trials of genetically engineered crops--
no tests for the possibility of it causing cancer or for harm to 
fetuses, no long-term testing for human health risks, no requirement 
for long-term testing on animals, and only limited allergy testing. 
What this means is that for all intents and purposes, the long-term 
health study on GE food is being done on the American people. We are 
the clinical test.
  Let me clarify just a few things about labeling genetically 
engineered food. GE food labels will not increase costs to shoppers. 
Everybody knows companies change their labels all the time. They market 
their products differently and adding a label does not change this. In 
fact, many products already voluntarily label their food as ``GMO 
free.'' Further, genetically engineered crops are not better for the 
environment. For example, the use of Monsanto Roundup Ready soybeans 
engineered to withstand the exposure to the herbicide Roundup has 
caused the spread of Roundup-resistant weeds which now infest 10 
million acres in 22 States, with predictions of 40 million acres or 
more by mid-decade. Resistant weeds increase the use of herbicides and 
the use of older and more toxic herbicides.
  Further, there are no international agreements that prohibit the 
mandatory identification of foods produced through genetic engineering. 
But as I mentioned, 49 other countries already require it.
  The Sanders-Boxer consumers right to know about genetically 
engineered food amendment, amendment No. 2310, is about allowing States 
to honor the wishes of their residents and allowing consumers to know 
what they are eating. If this is not a conservative amendment, I do not 
know what is. Americans deserve the right to know what they and their 
children are eating and that is what this amendment is all about. 
Monsanto and other major corporations should not be the ones to decide 
this issue. The Congress and the American people should make that 
decision. Without commonsense labeling requirements, the 295 million 
American citizens who favor labeling, the overwhelming majority of 
Americans who in poll after poll said yes, want to know whether the 
food they are eating contains genetically engineered products. They are 
not being listened to. On behalf of the American people who want to 
know what is in their food, I urge support for this important 
amendment.
  I have another amendment, but I will come back at another time to 
talk about the amendment, which will demand that the Commodity Futures 
Trading Commission do what the law requires of them; that is, end 
excessive speculation in the oil futures market, but I will hold off on 
that until a later time.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Brown of Ohio). The Senator from New 
Jersey is recognized.


            Unanimous Consent Agreement--Executive Calendar

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 12 noon 
today, the Senate proceed to executive session and that the motion to 
proceed to the motion to reconsider the cloture vote by which cloture 
was not invoked on Executive Calendar No. 501 be agreed to, the motion 
to reconsider be agreed to, and that there be 30 minutes for debate 
equally divided in the usual form; and that following the use or 
yielding back of time, the Senate proceed to vote on cloture on the 
nomination, upon reconsideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.


                         Agriculture Production

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I want to spend a few moments talking 
about one of our job-creating titles in the farm bill, but first I want 
to thank colleagues who are continuing to work on this bill. As we 
continue to do the business of the Senate, they are working through the 
amendment process and coming together with what I am optimistic will be 
an agreement for us to be able to move forward so we can complete our 
task on the farm bill.
  I thank the ranking member of the committee, Senator Roberts, for his 
leadership and his staff and my staff for working so hard together. 
There has been a lot of coffee involved for folks to be able to stay 
awake on some late nights right now. They are doing a great job, and we 
are very optimistic as we move forward in this process.
  One of the reasons we need to get this done, as I have stressed many 
times but it bears repeating, is this is a jobs bill. As the 
distinguished Presiding Officer from Ohio knows--as well as myself, 
coming from Michigan--jobs are a big deal. Jobs are a big deal across 
the country, but we have been in the middle of it in terms of the 
recession. We are now seeing optimism because we are recommitting 
ourselves to making things and growing things in this country.
  We make a lot of great things in Michigan, not the least of which is 
automobiles, but a lot of other things also. I know Ohio, as well, is a 
great State for making things. Both of our States are also States where 
we grow things, and I appreciate the leadership of the Presiding 
Officer who is on our Agriculture Committee and has played a very 
significant role in getting us to

[[Page S4171]]

this point. The distinguished Presiding Officer, Senator Brown, has 
helped with major reforms in this bill. He has put forward a bipartisan 
proposal that relates to moving a risk-based system to support our 
farmers. I appreciate very much the Senator's leadership on that as 
well as a number of other things.
  But this is about growing things. Almost one out of four people in 
Michigan has a job because we grow things. We have more diversity of 
crops than any State, with the exception of California, and so that 
means every page of the farm bill matters to Michigan, which is why 
over the years I have paid attention to every single page of the farm 
bill.
  Overall in our country 16 million people work because of agriculture. 
They may be involved in production, they may be involved in packaging, 
they may be involved in processing, they may make the farm equipment, 
or they may be involved in a variety of things, but they work because 
we grow things in America. Our one area of huge trade surplus, and 
where we have grown in the last 2 years by 270 percent, is in 
agriculture. We are creating jobs here and exporting, and so this is a 
jobs bill.
  I want to talk specifically about a very important piece where we 
bring together making things and growing things in our economy, and 
that is the energy title of the farm bill. The energy title reflects 
the important work being done by America's farmers, ranchers, forest 
managers, and rural small businesses to help improve our energy 
security.
  Since we added this title in the 2002 farm bill--I was pleased to be 
a strong supporter in doing that--the Rural Energy for America Program 
has helped put in place nearly 8,000 projects and jobs that have helped 
farmers lower their energy bills and actually produce electricity that 
goes back to the electric grid. In the last 10 years, we have seen 
incredible advances in advanced biofuels and biobased manufacturing, 
which is the ultimate way to bring together making things and growing 
things, both of which are supported and strengthened in this bill.
  The farm bill is also an energy bill and it is a jobs bill. There are 
more than 3,000 companies doing innovative, biobased manufacturing, and 
using agricultural products instead of petroleum to manufacture 
finished products. Those companies have already created over 100,000 
jobs and are growing every day. Many of these businesses are in rural 
communities, and supporting those businesses is one of the best ways we 
can create jobs and economic growth in small towns all across our 
country.
  This kind of manufacturing is also a win-win for the farmers. They 
get new markets for their products and, in some cases, markets for 
their waste products.
  We have also seen tremendous growth in biofuels. This farm bill 
shifts our focus to the next generation of advanced biofuels, such as 
cellulosic ethanol, to continue lowering prices for families at the 
pump. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin and the 
University of Iowa, ethanol has already helped keep gas prices more 
than $1 lower than they otherwise would be. It is the only competition 
we have at the moment at the pump. As a consumer, what we need is more 
choice and more competition so that depending on foreign oil is not the 
only choice.
  Many of our colleagues have different feelings about our energy 
policies, and the great thing about the farm bill is that it doesn't 
matter what we believe or where we come from, it is a winner because it 
creates choices. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, this 
bill is a winner. If we want to make America more energy independent so 
we are not relying so much on foreign oil, this bill is a winner. If we 
want farmers to pay lower energy bills so they have more money to hire 
workers and improve their business, this bill is a winner. And if we 
want Americans to pay lower prices at the gas pump, as we all do, this 
bill is a winner for every American.
  I especially want to thank Senators Conrad, Lugar, Harkin, Ben 
Nelson, Bennet, Brown, Klobuchar, Thune, Casey, and Hoeven, who worked 
very hard at putting together the energy title and the necessary 
funding to continue supporting these innovative farmers and businesses 
all across our country. I appreciate their leadership in working with 
us and being able to get this done.
  I want to talk about some of the specific areas we have in the energy 
title. There is something called the Rural Energy for America Program, 
also known as REAP. It is one of the most successful programs in the 
energy title, and one we hear about most often from farmers and 
ranchers across the country.
  This program helps farmers with loan guarantees and grants to 
purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy 
efficiency upgrades. Farmers have been able to put solar panels, wind 
turbines, as well as biomass energy and geothermal and hydroelectric 
and other forms of renewable energy technology on the farm. Since 2003, 
REAP has supported 7,997 different energy-efficient projects that have 
generated or saved 6.5 million megawatt hours, which is enough power to 
meet the annual needs of nearly 600,000 households.
  As a caveat, I also want to say that when we talk about all of these 
alternatives, I also see this from the standpoint of making things. 
When we look at a big wind turbine, a lot of folks see energy use. I 
see 8,000 parts. We can make every one of them in Michigan and probably 
an awful lot of them in Ohio. So when we talk about creating energy 
efficiency opportunities, we are also talking about creating 
manufacturing jobs in the process. REAP is a big success story, which 
is why we continued the program and streamlined the application process 
for farmers and small businesses applying for small and medium-sized 
projects.

  Each project funded by REAP can make a significant impact, as I said, 
on utility costs incurred by the businesses. For example, one company 
in Georgia created an on-farm solar system that will produce about 
60,000 kilowatt hours per year to lower the company's power bills. 
Another Kentucky company used an energy efficiency grant to improve 
lighting and support a refrigeration/freezer project that would give 
them 63 percent energy savings--63 percent. That is a pretty big deal 
when we are paying the bills.
  The next part I want to talk about is something called biobased 
markets and part of a larger biobased manufacturing effort that I am 
very enthused about. Biobased manufacturing is rapidly becoming a 
critical component of our new economy. According to USDA, there are 
3,118 registered biobased companies in the United States that have so 
far created about 100,000 jobs, and growing. With customers demanding 
more choices, oil prices rising, these innovative companies are taking 
new approaches, turning agricultural products into manufactured 
products. So as we can see, all across the country there are 3,000 
companies. This is a huge area that is growing, the innovation process, 
where we are literally taking agricultural products and replacing 
chemicals, replacing petroleum and plastics, and doing a variety of 
things that allow us to create new markets for farmers, get us off of 
foreign oil, and create jobs. I would argue that in the next 5 years we 
will see many, many, many more dots on this map as a result of the farm 
bill and private sector efforts that are going on across the country.
  In the 2008 farm bill, we created the biobased program to develop and 
expand markets for these biobased products. Here are a few examples: 
Papermate makes a biodegradable, retractable grip pen manufactured by 
Sanford Newell Rubbermaid in Georgia. This pen is made from 
biodegradable components that include an exclusive corn-based material 
to produce less waste and more compost.
  Purell Advanced Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer is a green-
certified product made by a company in Ohio, containing ingredients 
from renewable resources. It kills more than 99.9 percent of most 
germs. It is a product that is biodegradable.
  Greenware Cold Portion Cups made by Fabri-Kal Corporation in Michigan 
are made from materials such as plant-based and post-consumer recycled 
resins. My colleagues will note that this looks familiar because it is 
the same kind of cup we use in the Senate. This is something we are 
using and thereby supporting the biobased economy.
  By including biobased manufacturing in the Biorefinery Assistance 
Program

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within the energy title, we are expanding economic opportunities for 
farmers by giving them new markets for crops to grow and we are 
supporting cutting-edge manufacturing businesses that are making these 
products and creating these jobs.
  We also have done other pieces that will strengthen this effort. I 
might mention, though we don't have a picture of it with us on a chart, 
one of the exciting things I am seeing in Michigan, as we bring 
together making things and growing things, is the extent to which our 
automakers are using biobased products in the making of automobiles. So 
for anyone who is buying a new Ford vehicle today--I sound like an 
advertisement--but a new Ford vehicle or a great new Chevy Volt or a 
number of new great American-made vehicles we have today, we are 
sitting on seats made from soy-based foam. We have soybean in the 
seats. Soy-based foam was actually started over 80 years ago with Henry 
Ford and has been something we have focused on, on and off, for 80 
years. But now it has become a major effort. A major company in 
Michigan called Lear is making these seats. They are biodegradable. 
They are lightweight. We get better fuel economy. And as I often tell 
my friends, if you get hungry, you get something to munch on.
  So the truth is we are seeing huge advances. One may very well have 
cupholders in their car that have a corn-based or wheat-based or other 
kind of agricultural-based product in the plastic, rather than 
petroleum--another way to get off of foreign oil. They are 
experimenting with tires, rather than using petroleum in tires. I think 
there is an explosion here of opportunity for innovation with our 
farmers and our manufacturers, with our universities, our scientists. 
It is very exciting, and it is part of the next generation for us of a 
new economy and new jobs. This farm bill strengthens that effort, 
working with the private sector, to help us rapidly move forward on 
jobs.
  One of the other ways we support efforts to create and then the 
commercialization of products, to be able to move forward as it relates 
to creating, producing more products and so on, is to give consumers a 
way to find these products. So we have something called the USDA 
Certified Biobased Product label.
  The mission of the BioPreferred Program is to develop and expand 
markets for biobased products through preferred Federal purchases of 
biobased products across the Federal Government and a voluntary 
labeling program to raise consumers' awareness and to help make sure we 
know that what we are buying is, in fact, a biobased product. Since the 
program was created in the last farm bill in 2008, there are now 64 
different categories of biobased products and almost 9,000 products--
9,000 products--approved for preferred Federal purchases. It is in 
everybody's best interests for us to be encouraging these new markets, 
encouraging innovation, and at the same time addressing other critical 
needs for our country, including getting off of foreign oil. In 
addition, another 430 products from 150 companies have been certified 
to carry the USDA Certified Biobased Product label. So this is 
important. And there are new efforts happening. The President, the 
Secretary of Agriculture, and I have come together to urge, in fact, 
that we increase the amount of biobased labeling that is going on and 
make sure that consumers are looking for this label.
  We then have the Biorefinery Assistance Program which is a very 
important piece of all of this. The Biorefinery Assistance Program was 
originally created in the 2002 farm bill to support the development and 
construction of demonstration-scale biorefineries to determine the 
commercial viability of some of the processes that are involved in 
converting renewable biomass to advanced biofuels. It also guarantees 
loans for companies that are developing, constructing, or retrofitting 
commercial-scale biorefineries using these new technologies. In the 
last 2 years, companies participating in this effort have created 
nearly 300 direct jobs, and it is estimated that as this program is 
written into the 2012 farm bill, it will help these innovative 
businesses hire another 450 people as well.

  We also expand eligibility for the program to include biobased 
manufacturing. This is a very important piece of this bill. We are now 
going from refineries, talking about advanced biofuels, to expanding 
the opportunity for tools for our biobased manufacturers within the 
rubric of the energy title and the focus on jobs.
  We are talking about loan guarantees for companies to leverage 
private dollars. So for just over $400 million in loan guarantees, we 
have leveraged $1.5 billion in private dollars to help companies with 
the cost of retrofitting and building new commercial biofuels plants. 
When operational, these facilities are expected to produce 113 million 
gallons of advanced biofuels and generate almost 25 million kilowatt 
hours of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an 
estimated 600,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide which, by the way, is 
the equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road. I have a little bit 
of a mixed feeling about that. Actually, we would much prefer to do it 
this way and keep great new advanced vehicles on the road.
  In 2011, the USDA awarded $6.9 million in grants and $13.1 million in 
loan guarantees to 17 anaerobic digester projects--here we are talking 
about waste on the farm and turning it into energy--which will create 
enough energy to power 10,000 homes.
  There are so many opportunities for us, whether it is animal waste, 
food waste. We have a facility in Michigan that will be opening in the 
fall that is up by Gerber Baby Food. We are the international home of 
Gerber Baby Food in Fremont, MI. There is a new biobased facility 
opening that will use all the food waste to generate energy--
electricity--for the northwestern area of Michigan. There are so many 
opportunities for us right now, using, again, food waste, byproducts 
from agriculture, and so on, where we can blend those together and 
create jobs and get us off of foreign oil.
  The Biorefinery Assistance Program has helped build seven first-of-
their-kind biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels in States from 
Florida to Oregon, Michigan to New Mexico. One of the companies, called 
INEOS New Plant Bioenergy, has just begun commissioning their plant in 
Indian River County, FL, which will use citrus and other municipal 
solid waste to produce 8 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol every 
year and 6 megawatts of renewable electricity. They have over 100 
people working on the job, completing this first-of-a-kind plant, using 
85 percent U.S.-manufactured equipment, by the way, for the facility.
  There is so much. I could spend a long time going through all of the 
exciting efforts going on, literally from the east coast to the west 
coast, North and South, where creative entrepreneurs are coming 
forward, with support from the USDA to be able to get them through what 
is often called the valley of death, as they have a great idea but are 
trying to get it to commercialization, and efforts that are leveraging 
private dollars and public dollars to be able to have these companies 
move forward into full commercialization. Then they can create jobs, 
create renewable energy, get us off of foreign oil or create other 
kinds of products--all kinds of opportunities for us around products.
  That leads me to another important piece, which is R&D, which is 
always a very important part of what needs to be done as we are looking 
at these new ideas. Entrepreneurs, companies large and small, many 
small businesses--in fact, most of them start as small businesses with 
a great idea, and they are looking for how to turn that into a great 
business, and hiring people, and so on. The Biomass Research and 
Development Initiative is an integral component to bridging the gap 
between technology development and commercialization. As I said, this 
is often called the valley of death. If you are somebody out there who 
is an entrepreneur with a great idea, how do you actually convince 
somebody to invest in it so you can move forward? Nearly $133 million 
in grants was provided through the research and development effort from 
2003 to 2010 and they helped leverage $61 million in private 
investment.
  One of the great success stories among many comes out of Wisconsin. 
We heard about this during one of our farm bill hearings when Lee 
Edwards, CEO of Virent Energy, came in to tell us about the great work 
his company is doing. They were awarded a grant as

[[Page S4173]]

seed money to develop their technology with the University of 
Wisconsin. Virent now has over 120 employees and plans to expand again 
after receiving a contract from Coca-Cola to develop a 100-percent 
plant-based bottle for its carbonated beverages. Virent's technology is 
feedstock-neutral and produces drop-in jet fuel and renewable 
chemicals. Their corporate partners include Cargill, Coca-Cola, and 
Shell.

  We also have the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which helps farmers 
and ranchers who want to plant energy crops for biomass that would be 
converted to biofuels or bioenergy. In 2011, this program supported 
between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs.
  Our investment in the BCAP could result in companies hiring--in this 
farm bill, we are told--between 2,000 and 2,600 additional new 
employees. We have also addressed issues around collection, harvest, 
storage, and transport to address problems that had occurred in the 
last farm bill.
  This program provides financial assistance to owners and operators of 
agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land as well. I have not 
talked a lot about forest land, but certainly biomass efforts--what has 
been done around forest by-products--are very important as well.
  Steve Flick of Show Me Energy received the first BCAP project area, 
covering approximately 50,000 acres in 38 counties in Missouri and 
Kansas. Individual farmers within the boundaries of the project area 
can now sign contracts with the USDA to grow dedicated energy crops. 
This is another provision we have in the bill. Show Me's plant in 
Centerview currently pelletizes crops into biomass fuel for space heat 
and electric power. This technology will eventually provide liquid 
fuels that can replace gasoline and diesel. Steve Flick also testified 
at our hearing in February.
  I could go on and on with examples. We have a very exciting project I 
visited not long ago in Alpena, MI, in the northeastern part of the 
State, which is a plant working with a paneling company that makes 
decorative panels, doing beautiful paneling work with 100-percent wood 
paneling. They are now taking what used to be waste that they sent to a 
waste treatment facility and pumping it right next door to a new 
company that is creating cellulosic ethanol. And they are now looking 
for other products. One of them will be a new green biodegradable 
effort to de-ice runways. So there are all kinds of possibilities.
  What I am excited about is that this farm bill is focused on small 
businesses, farmers, ranchers, working with the forestry industry. How 
do we grow the economy by taking the two great strengths that have 
created the middle class of this country--growing things and making 
things? That is what this title is about; that is what this bill is 
about.
  I am anxious to get us through this process so we can complete this 
bill and get on to the next generation of jobs.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut is recognized.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, first, let me thank my distinguished 
colleague from Michigan for her extraordinary leadership on a milestone 
bill. I am so proud to be supporting this bill and to be in this 
Chamber speaking with her on issues that affect every American, not 
just farmers or those in States that may be recognized as farm States. 
The kind of leadership that has just been heard, I think, is a model 
for all of us, and I thank her.


                              S.J. Res. 37

  Mr. President, I want to talk today about two issues that directly 
affect the health and safety of Americans of all ages, but particularly 
our seniors, and begin by associating myself with the remarks made 
earlier by Senators Whitehouse and Boxer with respect to S.J. Res. 37.
  I strongly oppose efforts underway to roll back Clean Air Act 
provisions that are critical to the health and safety and well-being of 
every man, woman, and child in this country.
  Last December, the EPA finalized a rule aimed at reducing mercury and 
other toxic emissions from electric-generating units by about 90 
percent. This rule affects the most toxic emissions in the United 
States--mercury, acid gas, nickel, selenium, cyanide. These rules are 
more important than ever.
  The effort to roll them back should be resisted and rejected, and I 
hope my colleagues will join with me in opposing the Senate joint 
resolution that would not only stymie but stop efforts to protect 
Americans against the most toxic emissions.
  I fought for these kinds of protections as attorney general. In fact, 
I took action as attorney general to compel these kinds of rules, and I 
believe the EPA is acting responsibly now in promulgating them.


                    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

  Mr. President, I want to thank my colleagues, on behalf of myself and 
Senator Kirk, for approving, Tuesday, a resolution designating 
tomorrow, June 15, as ``World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.''
  The resolution Senator Kirk and I submitted, and that this body 
agreed to, recognizes the scourge that elder abuse represents here in 
America and around the world. I thank my colleagues for supporting it 
overwhelmingly, and I thank the President of the United States for 
proclaiming tomorrow, June 15, as ``World Elder Abuse Awareness Day,'' 
and I thank Secretary Sebelius for announcing today that $5.5 million 
in funding for States and tribes will be available to test ways to 
prevent elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  This initiative helps to implement the Elder Justice Act which was 
enacted as parted of the Affordable Care Act. I believe this kind of 
initiative brings together in partnership local, State, and Federal 
authorities and private groups to combat this epidemic.
  The abuse of elders is a spreading epidemic. We have statistics that 
indicate how it is, in fact, spreading. Elder abuse incidents have 
increased by 150 percent in the last 10 years alone. A recent study of 
the GAO shows that every year 14 percent of all noninstitutionalized 
adults are victims of abuse or neglect or exploitation, whether it is 
physical or financial or even sexual. So the statistics show a trend 
that is undeniable--not only in the 2 million adults who are maltreated 
every year but in the $2.9 billion taken from older adults each year as 
a result of financial abuse and exploitation. That is $2.9 billion 
every year taken from older Americans.
  But the statistics only tell a fraction of the story because the fact 
is only 1 out of every 44 incidents of financial abuse is reported. Mr. 
President, 43 out of 44 incidents are unreported. In fact, of all 
incidents of abuse, 22 out of 23 are unreported. And the reasons are 
diverse. They may be because of shame, embarrassment. In fact, one of 
the most common reasons for underreporting is that the victim is 
related to the perpetrator.
  Sadly, shamefully, tragically, all too many victims of elder abuse 
suffer at the hands of relatives. It may be a daughter or son. It may 
be a brother or sister. All too often they are victims at the hands of 
caregivers who are entrusted with their care, literally in positions of 
trust for people who may suffer physically from debilitating illnesses 
or from dementia or other kinds of afflictions. So this population is 
among our most vulnerable, and we must take stronger steps to protect 
them.
  As attorney general, I sought to lead such efforts. In fact, 
Connecticut now has stronger measures against elder abuse, such as more 
thorough background checks as a result of these initiatives.
  As a member of the Committee on Aging, I held a hearing in Hartford 
very recently to document this spreading epidemic and the way it 
affects all of us--all of our relatives, all of our friends. It cuts 
across all lines of geography, race, gender, even income group. So this 
epidemic must be stopped.
  That is why this resolution is important in calling attention to the 
problem. The President's proclamation enhances awareness, and I thank 
my colleagues for their continued effort and their involvement in this 
cause.
  What is required at the end of the day is more resources--more 
resources for law enforcement authorities who have such a critical role 
in protecting

[[Page S4174]]

those who suffer from it, and deterring those who would commit it, and 
having partnerships among State, local, and Federal authorities. Those 
partnerships must seek out and encourage greater reporting so that 
efforts can be taken to stop and deter it.
  I will continue this battle. I thank my colleagues for joining me and 
for agreeing to this resolution and for demonstrating that we care. We 
care as a body and as an institution. It is not a Republican or 
Democratic issue. It is truly bipartisan because this generation has 
worked hard, accumulated savings, counted on security, and is depending 
on us, trusting us for their safety. We know the number in this age 
group will only grow--in fact, double--within the next years. That is 
why we must address it. I thank, again, my colleagues for doing so.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________