[Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 10 (Thursday, January 16, 2014)]
[Pages S385-S425]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will resume consideration of the House message to accompany H.R. 
3547, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       House message to accompany H.R. 3547, an act to extend 
     Government liability, subject to appropriation, for certain 
     third-party claims arising from commercial space launches.


       Reid motion to concur in the amendment of the House to the 
     amendment of the Senate to the bill, with Reid amendment No. 
     2655, to change the enactment date.
       Reid amendment No. 2656 (to amendment No. 2655), of a 
     perfecting nature.
       Reid motion to refer the message of the House on the bill 
     to the Committee on Appropriations, with instructions, Reid 
     amendment No. 2657, to change the enactment date.
       Reid amendment No. 2658 (to (the instructions) amendment 
     No. 2657), of a perfecting nature.
       Reid amendment No. 2659 (to amendment No. 2658), of a 
     perfecting nature.

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I come to the floor today as the 
chairperson of the Appropriations Committee--a committee I am honored 
to chair--to support the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal 
year 2014. This bill passed the House on Wednesday with a stunning and 
amazing vote of 359 to 67. The purpose of this agreement is to fund the 
operation of the Federal Government for the remainder of fiscal year 
  The vote in the House, which I hope will be paralleled here in the 
Senate, shows what working together based on civility, listening to 
each other, being willing to compromise but not capitulate on 
principle, negotiating on what are the appropriate fiscal levels--this 
shows we can get the job done.
  In today's era of shutdown, slowdown, slamdown politics, where 
negotiating occurs on cable TV rather than in committee rooms, we 
worked together. Setting aside partisan differences, working across the 
aisle and across the dome, we looked to find how we could put together 
a bill both sides of the aisle and both Houses could agree upon.
  This is what the American people deserve: Us doing the business of 
the country, legislating in due diligence and regular order. They want 
a government that works as hard as they do, and working under a very 
stringent deadline, we were able to do this. After 3 years of damaging 
cuts that have hurt our efforts to help people, this agreement turns 
the corner.
  We recognized that we needed to focus on growth in jobs and lower the 
unemployment rate but not increase our debt or our deficit. We worked 
very hard to do that, to increase the kinds of public investments the 
American people would approve of--keep America strong, keep our economy 
strong--and to do the diligent work we need to do.
  This bill is something called an omnibus bill which includes all 12 
appropriations bills. That means we have 12 subcommittees--defense, 
health and human services, labor and education, energy, water, 
financial services--and each one has to do their funding work. 
Ordinarily, we would bring one bill up at a time, but that was not to 
be. So where we are is this is a consolidated bill of all 12.
  We have been working on this since the President sent his budget to 
us this spring. We held over 50 hearings, listened, did due diligence, 
and marked up our bills. We were ready to come to the floor in the 
fall, but it was not to be. We had to wait for the Budget Committee to 
do its work to give us a top line so we could get to our bottom line.
  On December 18, just before Christmas, Congress gave us that cap on 
discretionary spending. We knew what we wanted to spend, but, again, we 
know we have to be a more frugal government. We know we have to be 
smart not only about spending but about saving, getting rid of dated, 
duplicative, and dysfunctional programs, and we were able to do just 
that. On December 18 we were given a cap on discretionary spending of 
$1.02 trillion. We met that cap. We worked nonstop over the holidays, 
resolving differences in both money and in certain policy areas.
  What we do today is we come here with an agreement that is 
bipartisan. I emphasize that. The agreement is bipartisan. It is 
bicameral; that means both sides of the Capitol. It has also been one 
of compromise but not, on either side, capitulating on principle.
  I am proud to say this agreement meets our national security needs 
and ensures the readiness of our troops and keeps us safe at home. It 
also meets the compelling human needs of our middle class and our most 
vulnerable. At the same time, it also invests in America's future by 
strengthening our physical infrastructure and also supporting research 
and development to save lives, spur growth and innovation and 
everything from lifesaving biosciences to aeronautics. And we want to 
make sure we are looking not only at jobs today but jobs tomorrow.
  Before I give more detail about this agreement, I will highlight one 
of the reasons I am very proud of something we have done in this bill. 
Our legislation pending before the Senate restores the full cost-of-
living adjustment for our working-age disabled military retirees and 
survivors of our departed servicemembers. Their COLAS were mistakenly 
reduced by 1 percent in the recent budget agreement. This agreement 
fixes that error.
  I wish to make this note: It is limited in scope. It fixes the error 
for disabled

[[Page S386]]

military retirees and departed servicemembers. It is not the 
comprehensive pension reform necessary. We will await the Presidential 
commission which will come before the Senate, and we will be able to 
implement and work on their recommendations in due time.
  I encourage my Members that to vote for this bill is to support the 
fix that helps our most vulnerable patriots. It is limited in scope but 
an important downpayment to restoring full COLAS for military retirees 
of working age who are either disabled or are part of the departed 
  This agreement provides for our national security. It has $11 billion 
more than current levels for operation and maintenance, $1 billion for 
the National Guard and Reserve so that our units are ready for missions 
overseas and/or at home. The resources also support the Defense 
Department's 3 million Active-Duty, Reserve, and civilian employees. 
This bill, if it passes, eliminates the need for civilian furloughs in 
2014, and it also prioritizes readiness.
  The agreement funds important areas in other protections of national 
security--an area I am very keenly interested in. An increasing threat 
to our people and our economy is cyber security. One need only look at 
the headlines. From Target to Neiman Marcus, 40 million Americans or 
more were hit by hackers whom we expect came from a non-NATO member 
country. There is a growing nexus between organized crime and those who 
have other predatory intents to the United States. We have $11 billion 
in here for cyber security for the Department of Defense, the FBI, 
Homeland Security, and important research agencies.
  This agreement also keeps its promises to veterans in terms of health 
care, and we pay particular attention to the VA disability backlog. We 
believe that if you were on the frontlines over there, you shouldn't 
face a long line here when you have applied for your disability 
benefits. Working with the relevant authorizing committee, we believe 
we have been able to come up with it.
  This bill also makes important investments in America's human 
infrastructure and meets compelling human needs in health care, 
education, and childcare. We have increased our investment in Head 
Start by $1 billion, making sure 90,000 more kids across the Nation are 
part of early childhood education programs that improve their school 
and reading and math readiness. We have also increased the childcare 
development grants by $154 million, meaning 22,000 more lower income 
families will be able to afford childcare--about 24,000 children in 
Maryland alone.
  In our committee, we believe welfare should not be a way of life but 
should be a way to a better life. Childcare development grants enable 
women to move from welfare to work.
  Also, for those who are working at a minimum wage where often full-
time work means full-time poverty, if you are going to work, childcare 
should not eat up half of your already modest income. The child care 
development grant is a tool, along with the child care tax credit, to 
enable people to be able to work and make sure work is worth it.
  We are also very conscious, on both sides of the aisle, of the need 
of Federal support for special education. We do not want a continued 
unfunded Federal mandate, where we require certain programs for special 
needs children but do not meet the Federal responsibility for paying 
for it. We have money in the bill for this.
  Energy assistance and help with food and housing we have been able to 
do here. But we believe the best social program is a job. There is no 
doubt about it. To be able to work at a full-time job that supports a 
person's family and let's them get on the opportunity ladder for the 
American dream is what we hope to do. We believe, many of us, that with 
jobs helping build America's infrastructure we meet two needs. We have 
an aging, decrepit, sometimes even dangerous infrastructure. The money 
in this bill will go to important programs such as the harbor 
maintenance trust fund and also TIGER grants to help with 
transportation, so we can rebuild America's infrastructure and at the 
same time put Americans to work on rebuilding our infrastructure.
  Also, at the same time we believe we need to look at the jobs of 
tomorrow, where we fund the kind of basic research that only government 
can do, that leads to new ideas, that will lead to the new thinking in 
the private sector that will create the new jobs tomorrow. That means, 
for example, for the National Institutes of Health, we increase it $1 
billion. It means they will be able to do 400 additional studies. It 
will also deal, not only with our cures for cancer but also the brain 
initiative will help speed along finding a cure or cognitive stretchout 
for Alzheimer's. This is good public investment.
  When we look at Medicaid funding, a cure for Alzheimer's or cognitive 
stretchout will not only save families the awful consequences of 
Alzheimer's--my father died of that--but it will also help our budget. 
When we look at Medicaid, 80 percent of the beneficiaries on Medicaid 
are children, but 80 percent of the money goes to long-term care for 
people who have either Alzheimer's or other neurological impairment 
diseases such as Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's, and so on. When we 
can find a breakthrough on Alzheimer's, it will also help lower the 
cost of Medicaid, and we will be able to put it in other programs.
  There is much more to be said about this bill and I will say it 
later. I see my vice chairman is on the floor and he will want to speak 
and there are others who are also present. I will speak during the day, 
but I want you to know I am proud of this bill. We did the job that was 
given us. We played the hand that was dealt us, and what we have come 
up with is a good deal for the American people. We tried to be smart 
about where we spent the money and we tried to be very smart in how we 
saved money.
  I yield the floor and look forward to continued debate and passage of 
this bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Booker). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Mr. President, I will join my friend and long-time 
colleague, the senior Senator from Maryland and chair of the Senate 
Appropriations Committee Senator Barbara Mikulski, who has just spoken, 
in strongly supporting passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 
for fiscal year 2014. This bill is a product of a bipartisan and very 
collegial negotiation between both parties in both Houses of Congress. 
It is in very large part a compromise of what the House and Senate 
produced in their respective committee processes last summer.
  We, of course, have our differences and each of us would like to have 
many features in this bill different, but that is the nature of a 
negotiation and ultimately of a compromise, and that is where we are 
  There is much we would like and much we do not like in this bill, but 
on balance I believe it represents a middle ground upon which we can 
all comfortably stand. It is certainly far better than the alternative, 
which would be another confrontation, another government shutdown, and 
another giant step further away from establishing some sense of regular 
  It is a matter of record that I did not support the Bipartisan Budget 
Act of 2013. It is and remains my strong preference that we continue to 
reduce our discretionary spending levels and, more importantly, our 
long-term mandatory spending levels. As I have said many times, once 
the Congress has decided what our spending levels are to be, I believe 
it is the responsibility of the respective appropriations committees to 
decide how those funds will be spent. The bill before us does exactly 
  This legislation adheres to the statutory budget caps for defense and 
nondefense spending set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. It 
carries forward a spending level for defense programs that avoids a $20 
billion sequester for 2014. The bill funds total discretionary spending 
below the 2004 level when adjusted for inflation.
  Enacting this funding measure will allow Congress finally to advance 
its current priorities instead of relying on the spending priorities of 
the past, which of course is the unavoidable consequence of a 
continuing resolution. Seven out of twelve bills in this omnibus have 
been relying on appropriations priorities dictated by the fiscal year 
appropriations for 2012. Instead of giving the executive branch 

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unfettered discretion, this bill includes hundreds of limits on how the 
executive branch can spend taxpayer dollars. It provides continuity for 
key government functions and avoids the uncertainty of additional 
continuing resolutions.
  Since the President took office, we have enacted 20 continuing 
resolutions. This bill today provides no new money to implement 
ObamaCare by holding flat the funding for certain accounts at the 
Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue 
Service. It funds the financial regulators who implement Dodd-Frank at 
a level that is $424 million below the President's request.
  We will hear many times today that this bill is not the bill any 
individual Senator would have written, and that is true. It includes 
concessions that many would not like to make. But it also contains 
funding or limits on funding for priorities that are important to 
Members of both sides of the aisle. In my view, this is the 
prerequisite for a legislative compromise and is what we have achieved 
with this bill.
  I again thank the chair of this committee Senator Mikulski and 
commend her for setting a tone that made this agreement possible. I 
join with her in strongly urging our colleagues to support this 
measure, just as the Members of the House did yesterday by a vote of 
359 to 67.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to engage in a 
colloquy with my colleagues, Senator Graham, Senator Ayotte, and 
Senator Roberts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I bring to the attention of my colleagues 
the front page of the Washington Post this morning: ``Hill balks at 
shifting CIA role in drone war.''

       Congress has moved to block President Obama's plan to shift 
     control of the U.S. drone campaign from the CIA to the 
     Defense Department, inserting a secret provision in the 
     massive government spending bill introduced this week that 
     would preserve the spy agency's role in lethal 
     counterterrorism operations, U.S. officials said.
       The measure, included in a classified annex to the $1.1 
     trillion federal budget plan, would restrict the use of any 
     funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to 
     carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon. . . . 

  The Appropriations Committee is supposed to appropriate. The 
Appropriations Committee has no business making this decision. How many 
of my colleagues knew that this provision was in this mammoth 
appropriations bill? I bet a handful. The job of the Armed Services 
Committee and the job of the Intelligence Committee is to authorize 
these things. There was no hearing in the Armed Services Committee, 
there was no hearing in the Intelligence Committee on this issue. 
Instead, a major policy decision that has to do with the ability to 
defend this Nation against the forces of violent Islamic extremism is 
now being decided in a secret annex of a mammoth appropriations bill.
  It is not the first time I say that the appropriators have 
authorized. The appropriators have gotten into the business of the 
authorizing committees in a way that is a violation of every procedure 
and process this Senate is supposed to be pursuing.
  I believe Senator Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services 
Committee, will be as outraged as I am. I believe the chairperson of 
the Intelligence Committee will be as angry as I am. This is a 
fundamental function of government that has to do with national 
security and it is hidden in a provision, in a secret provision of the 
mammoth appropriations bill. I say to the distinguished chairperson and 
ranking member, that is not their business.
  Some of us have been speaking out for more than a year about the 
terrorist attack of September 11, 2012, which took the lives of four 
American public servants in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador 
Chris Stevens. We have spoken out because of the many questions that 
still remain unanswered to this day.
  We have spoken out and will continue to speak out despite efforts of 
partisans and proxies of the administration to sweep all of this under 
the rug. The latest snow job came in December, from the New York Times, 
that ever-reliable surrogate of the Obama administration, which 
published a long report challenging some key facts about the Benghazi 
attack. But as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, everyone is 
entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts. The facts 
are stubborn. In reality, what the Times report does is propagate 
myths. Let's review some of the facts.
  The Times claims the following:

       Months of investigation . . . centered on interviews with 
     Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack 
     there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or 
     other international terrorist groups had any role in the 

  The Times goes on to claim:

       Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al-Qaeda. . . .

  Here are the facts. Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were present in 
Benghazi, and they were involved in the attack of September 11, 2012. 
The New York Times itself reported on October 12:

       American officials said [the attack] included participants 
     from Ansar al-Shariah, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and 
     the Muhammad Jamal network, a militant group in Egypt.

  All of these groups are affiliated with Al Qaeda. The New York Times 

       Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local 
     extremist organizations, like Ansar al-Shariah with Al 
     Qaeda's international terrorist network.

  Again, here are the facts. In an interview yesterday with CNN, the 
Senator from California acknowledged correctly that Ansar al-Shariah, 
which played a major role in the attack, is linked to Al Qaeda. We are 
drawing on the work of our Intelligence Committee which yesterday 
released its report on the Benghazi attack and its aftermath.
  In that report you will find numerous references by the intelligence 
community before the attack that make clear the nature of the Al Qaeda 
threat in Benghazi. The claims that Al Qaeda had not infiltrated 
Benghazi rests on the same rhetorical sleight-of-hand that holds that 
while groups may align themselves with Al Qaeda, may seek and receive 
direction from Al Qaeda, may share similar terrorist goals of Al Qaeda, 
and may even call themselves part of Al Qaeda, but if they are not 
sitting along the Pakistan-Afghan border or are not part of so-called 
core Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda senior leadership, then somehow they are not 
Al Qaeda.
  This is the same bizarre language and logic that may have led then-
Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to claim just days after 
the attack that ``we have decimated Al Qaeda,'' this despite the fact 
that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups are proliferating and gaining traction 
all across the Middle East and North Africa, including in Benghazi.
  The fact is that the attack against our diplomatic facility in 
Benghazi on September 11 was carried out in part by Al Qaeda-affiliated 
terrorists who had a safe haven in parts of eastern Libya. As the 
Senate Intelligence Committee report finds, the Intelligence Committee 
provided ample strategic warning about the negative security trends in 
Benghazi and the likelihood they would further deteriorate. This was 
the opposite of an intelligence failure; this was clear as day.
  Despite these clear warning signs, the State Department was 
unprepared. Our diplomatic facility in Benghazi was insecure and had 
already been attacked multiple times. Our military was not postured and 
ready to respond to contingencies in a part of Libya where attacks 
against westerners and western interests had already occurred and where 
the threat of more attacks was growing.
  The false narrative the New York Times is furthering just so happens 
to align with the Obama administration's account of events, but, again, 
facts are stubborn, and the Senate Intelligence Committee report 
clearly supports the conclusion that the administration knew or should 
have known of the terrorist threat in Benghazi during the relevant 
period and should have pre-positioned assets or made other preparations 
to better protect our people serving there.
  The administration and its allies will continue to try to sweep 
Benghazi under the rug--including the fact that we have still not 
received testimony and the presence of the individuals who were present 
and moved to Germany the day following the attack on the

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Embassy and the deaths of four Americans.
  Contrary to the President's repeated claim that the tide of war is 
receding and contrary to his administration's talking point that Al 
Qaeda has been decimated, the reality is that Al Qaeda-affiliated 
groups are emboldened now from central Asia to the Middle East and 
north Africa, all the way to west African countries such as Nigeria and 
Mali. Indeed, nothing brings this home more tragically than watching 
the black flags of Al Qaeda hoisted over the Iraq city of Fallujah. 
Ninety-five brave soldiers and Americans died in Fallujah, 600 were 
wounded, and today we see the black flags of Al Qaeda hoisted over the 
city of Fallujah. The problem is getting worse, and that is in large 
part due to this administration's disengagement from these regions.
  Look at Libya today. It is a country that we and our NATO allies 
intervened to save from the wrath of an anti-American tyrant, and it is 
now characterized by chaos, lawlessness, and ungoverned spaces that are 
exploited by those who seek to do harm to our Nation and our interests. 
According to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, 15 Libyans who 
cooperated with our investigation into the Benghazi attack have been 
  The administration can blame the Libyans for these problems, just as 
they blame the Iraqis for Iraq's problems, but they can't escape their 
share of the blame for failing to support these people who want and 
need our help to secure their countries. That is why Chris Stevens was 
in Benghazi. That is why he risked and ultimately gave his life. He 
believed it was in our interest to lead events in the world and support 
our friends and those who wish to be our friends in their effort to 
build stable, successful societies with effective democratic 
governments. The greatest way we can honor his sacrifice, and those of 
his colleagues, is by recommitting ourselves to their mission.
  Unless America actively supports those in the broader Middle East who 
wish to replace despair and extremism with hope and freedom, I fear the 
tide of war will eventually get us again.
  I note that my colleague the Senator from New Hampshire is on the 
floor, and I would ask her and my colleague from South Carolina, is it 
not true that in this Intelligence Committee report, which is very 
encompassing, except for one mention in the minority views, there is no 
individual who is held responsible? So now we have a situation where 
bureaucracies are responsible but individuals are not. I find that 
  Also, my friend from South Carolina has been trying to interview 
witnesses for a number of months, if not years, who were at the scene 
of the attack and then moved to Germany the following day. Isn't it 
true that we have never been able to interview those witnesses, which 
could have cleared up any arguments or any doubt about what the attack 
was all about?
  Mr. GRAHAM. I thank my colleague for the question. I finally got to 
interview a survivor about a month or so ago with Senators Menendez and 
Corker. I have only been able to interview one witness after all of 
these years and months.
  If I could, I wish to thank the Intelligence Committee for doing a 
lot of hard work, but let's not lose sight that this is not just about 
the State Department. My focus is going to be comprehensive, and 
Senator McCain has called for a joint select committee, along with 
myself and Senator Ayotte, for over a year now. Why? You don't want to 
stovepipe this. The Intelligence Committee tells us in pretty good 
detail about the failures of the State Department, but here is my 
question: In the September 14 White House meeting where the 
Intelligence Committee prepared talking points for the White House that 
clearly established that this was a terrorist attack with Al Qaeda 
people involved--who changed those talking points in that White House 
  I have an email--which I hope will be here in a moment--from General 
Petraeus. Basically, somebody in that meeting or before the meeting is 
saying to General Petraeus that the White House wants to take 
references to Al Qaeda out and basically sanitize the talking points. 
He is upset, but he says: Well, go ahead and do what they want. Nobody 
admires General Petraeus more than I do, but, quite frankly, somebody 
needs to revisit that.
  Where was the intelligence community for 2 weeks when the President 
of the United States--not Susan Rice--was telling the entire world: We 
think this was a protest caused by a video, when the intelligence 
community knew differently? To my friends in the intelligence 
community, you need to answer that question. What input did you give? 
Did anybody pick up a phone and call somebody at the White House? They 
need to tell the President to quit doing that because it is not 
  Another question: On September 15, 16, and 17 of September, all the 
survivors were interviewed by the FBI in Germany. I have talked to one 
survivor. I can tell you, in a quick summary, the man was brave and the 
people on the ground in the State Department deserve medals for going 
through what they did. But let me tell you this: He said there was no 
protest. There was not one report from Benghazi about a protest around 
the Embassy.
  The Turkish Ambassador left not too long before the attack. Do you 
think he would have walked out in the middle of a protest? Do you think 
the Ambassador would have gone to bed if there was a protest? The 
people in charge of security never reported a protest because there was 
not one, and he said there wasn't one. He said: I saw on my screen--and 
he was in charge of security at the time--16 to 20 heavily armed 
people running through the gate and carrying a banner in Arabic. At the 
time, I didn't know what it said. I now know it was the banner of Ansar 
al-Sharia, the Al Qaeda affiliate.

  And to my friends the New York Times, journalism has died at that 
paper. Do you really believe this wasn't a preplanned terrorist attack 
with Al Qaeda affiliates in charge? The gentleman said there were four 
gun trucks around the compound. It was a coordinated military attack, 
and they were lucky to have survived.
  Who started this? Who planned this? The man's name was Qumu, the 
former Gitmo detainee. I can't say his last name, but I think it is 
Qumu. The man who started Ansar al-Sharia came from Gitmo. He was a 
former Gitmo detainee, a Libyan who went back to Libya and started this 
group. The ``60 Minutes'' report identified him and a Mr. Khattala as 
the organizers of this attack. All I can say is that there is no 
mystery about who planned this. It was an Al Qaeda affiliate in Libya.
  On August 16 a cable was sent back from Chris Stevens to Washington 
at the State Department saying: We can't defend the consulate because 
10 training camps of Al Qaeda exist in Benghazi; the Al Qaeda flag is 
  By the way, the Red Cross had left Benghazi and the British had left 
Benghazi because of attacks by terrorist groups. This was long before 
September 11.
  Don't tell me we don't know. We do know. It was terrorists. It was a 
former Gitmo detainee who was bin Laden's bodyguard. What did he have 
to do--have a card? The guy who was in Gitmo whom we let go was core Al 
Qaeda. He was bin Laden's bodyguard. They caught him in Pakistan. He 
fought in Afghanistan.
  Now, what we don't know from this report is who in the White House 
changed the talking points.
  You want to know what Chris Christie did? Fine. Absolutely fair game. 
We know what he did when he found out what his people did about the 
traffic jam. He fired them. He got up in front of the whole world and 
said: I am embarrassed. It is my fault. I am going to fire the people 
who did this bad thing.
  Name one person who has been held accountable for this bad thing 
called Benghazi. Name one person at the State Department who has been 
fired for ignoring repeated requests for additional security on the 
consulate coming from people in Libya.
  By the way, the Accountability Review Board--what did I learn in my 
interview with the survivor? I found out for the first time that villas 
B and C--the places that were attacked in Benghazi, the State 
Department consulate--had their lease renewed in July for an entire 
year for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I didn't know that. It was 
leased for well over half a million

[[Page S389]]

dollars. So you are going to tell me they were going to close the 
consulate in December? That was the conclusion of the Accountability 
Review Board. That is not accurate.
  I will tell you what I think they were going to do. I think Hillary 
Clinton was going to go down in December and announce that the 
permanent facility would be open in Benghazi.
  To Hillary Clinton's and Susan Rice's credit, these two women pushed 
the President to keep Benghazi from being overrun during the war with 
Qadhafi. They got involved, and to their credit they pushed the 
President to get involved militarily to prevent the slaughter of 
everybody in Benghazi.
  I have been told that the plan for Benghazi was to have a permanent 
footprint and for Secretary Clinton to go down there as one of her last 
acts to say: We are here, and we are here to stay. The problem with 
that scenario is that the security had deteriorated because we had 
absolutely no plan to fall on after the fall of Qadhafi.
  Mr. McCAIN. I think a lot of people who are observers really have to 
view this and the actions on the part of the administration--the 
statement by now-National Security Adviser Susan Rice on every Sunday 
talk show was that this was the result of a hateful video, a 
spontaneous demonstration, and that Al Qaeda has been decimated. We can 
only view that and some of these actions in the context of the fact 
that it was a political campaign. There was a Presidential campaign 
going on, and the rhetoric time after time and rally after rally from 
the President of the United States and his surrogates was this: Bin 
Laden is dead. Al Qaeda is on the run. The tide of war is receding.
  All of these events that took place at the consulate in Benghazi and 
the death of Christopher Stevens contradicted that storyline. Still, I 
cannot understand why 2 weeks later the President of the United States 
was before the United Nations and still talking about how this was due 
to a spontaneous demonstration and hateful video. You can only 
understand that, in my view, it was in the context of a storyline that 
was propagated throughout the 2012 Presidential campaign.
  Mr. GRAHAM. I think the White House, in my view--this is a reasonable 
conclusion but not a fair conclusion because we don't know exactly what 
happened yet. But I can tell you this: Somebody at the White House on 
September 14 pressured the intelligence community to change the story 
of Benghazi. And on September 15, why did they pick Susan Rice? She 
said that Secretary Clinton was tired and had gone through a lot of 
trauma. I am sure that is true, but I know Secretary Clinton pretty 
well. I think she is tough.
  Let's put it this way: She could not be on TV to talk about what 
happened at the State Department because she was distraught? I don't 
buy that. Does anybody believe that about Secretary Clinton? And if it 
is true, it is something the American people need to consider. I don't 
believe it is true. I don't believe she was incapable of going on 
television, as Susan Rice says. I believe they picked a person very 
loyal to the President who would say whatever needed to be said. What 
she said was so far away from the truth that it needs to be 
investigated. What she said was so beneficial to the President's 
reelection that it needs to be investigated.
  She was speaking definitively about Benghazi on September 15 while 
the FBI was interviewing survivors on the 15th, 16th, and the 17th. Why 
would any administration go on national television and tell the world 
what happened in Benghazi while the FBI is still interviewing people 
who were in the attack? And where did the FBI's interviews go?

  I talked to the Deputy Director of the FBI who is now retired. He 
said not one person interviewed by the FBI in Germany ever said there 
was a protest; all of them said it was a terrorist attack. So how could 
the FBI have interviews from every person on the ground in Benghazi who 
worked for the State Department saying that there was no protest and it 
was a terrorist attack, and that not get into the system? Did the FBI 
just sit on these interviews? Who did they give those interviews to? 
How could Susan Rice tell the American people and the world we know 
what happened in Benghazi before the interviews were over? She went on 
television to spin this story. How could the President of the United 
States, after the interviews were taken, go before the American people 
time and time again for weeks and tell a story about a protest that 
never occurred? This may not be a big deal to my colleagues, but it is 
a hell of a big deal to me.
  When Abu Ghraib blew up, Senator McCain and myself said: This is not 
a few rotten apples; this is system failure. Before the surge, when 
Iraq was falling apart, we said: This is not working, no matter what 
people in the Bush administration are telling us. We know better. We 
have been there. When Gitmo was a mess, we didn't sweep it under the 
rug. We worked with Senator Levin and Senator Feinstein, two great 
Americans, to get the definitive truth as best we could about failures 
at Abu Ghraib, about Gitmo, and we spoke truth to power when it came to 
  Mr. McCAIN. Regarding Iraq, we called for the resignation of the 
Secretary of Defense because of the failures in Iraq.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, we did.
  Now here we are, years later, and the families have no clue as to 
what happened to their loved ones. Quit blaming the dead guy. This 
suggestion that Chris Stevens had fault for his own death--Chris 
Stevens was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be 
doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together. So 
there is not going to be any blame on the dead guy.
  I wish to ask a question of Senator Ayotte. The Senator from New 
Hampshire has followed this as well as anybody. Can the Senator 
describe for us from her point of view the unanswered questions and 
whether she thinks there is evidence that this was a preplanned 
terrorist attack versus a protest?
  Ms. AYOTTE. I wish to thank my colleagues, the Senator from South 
Carolina and the Senator from Arizona, who have been relentless in 
finding the truth about what happened in Benghazi where our ambassador 
and three brave Americans were murdered.
  There are so many questions, but I would start with the 
accountability question the Senator from South Carolina raised. No one 
has been held accountable. Who has been held accountable for the 
  If we look at this intel report, it is very clear the intelligence 
community, according to this report, provided ample strategic warning 
that our people in Benghazi were at risk. There were failures, and no 
one has been held accountable. Why?
  As I look at these talking points, the question was raised: Why was 
the reference to Al Qaeda removed from the talking points? Who did that 
in the context of a Presidential campaign? But also, take a look at 
these talking points. There is no reference in these talking points to 
a video. Look at the actual language of the talking points.
  Why is it that the spokesman for the President, on September 13, is 
out there saying that this is a reaction to this movie? Why is it that 
Susan Rice, the Ambassador, is on television on multiple shows blaming 
the video? Not only was it absolutely wrong when she said Al Qaeda was 
decimated--and it was misleading, particularly the fact that Al Qaeda 
had been removed from the talking points, but there is no reference in 
the talking points to a video. So who in the administration made up the 
video story?
  That is important for the American people to know because it wasn't 
just Ambassador Susan Rice who relied on the video story. It was our 
President of the United States who talked about the video and talked 
about it, frankly, after the Ambassador went on all of the Sunday shows 
on September 16. In fact, the President said as late as September 18 
when asked--basically, he talked about the video and said: You had a 
video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy 
character--here is what happened--who had made an extremely offensive 
comment. So we have the President of the United States, as late as 
September 18, and then again on September 20--we have the President 
saying on Univision Network, responding to the possible involvement of 
Al Qaeda: Is Al Qaeda involved? Here is what we do know: That the 
natural protest that arose because of the outrage from the video were 
used by the extremists to see if they could harm U.S. interests.
  Where did the video come from? Even what the intelligence community 

[[Page S390]]

up with, which was deficient and which was clearly subject to political 
influence because it removed the reference to Al Qaeda, has no 
reference to a video. So I think there are a lot of questions that need 
to be answered.
  Here is the most important question: Why has no one been brought to 
justice? The President, I believe it was on September 12, said: We will 
find out who did this, and we will bring them to justice. For those 
families, those victims, no one has been brought to justice. In fact, 
we have people such as Abu Khattala, who was a former commander of 
Ansar al-Shariah, who is believed to have been there that night sitting 
in cafes in Libya giving press interviews, and yet there is much 
evidence to suggest that he is likely to be involved in this, and many 
other terrorists, but no one has been brought to justice. So why is 
that? Why doesn't anyone have the curiosity not only to answer the 
questions of what happened that night but also to ensure that justice 
is done?
  Mr. GRAHAM. If the Senator will yield, I am trying to find the press 
statement of the White House official that says the President has 
consulted with his national security team--I am paraphrasing--about the 
threats we face throughout the world and that we are ready. This is on 
September 10. What does this report tell us about September 11? We were 
so far away from being ready that it is unnerving. So there is a lot to 
be asked. Why would somebody in the White House issue a statement on 10 
September talking about being ready for any contingency anywhere and 
basically assuring the American people the President is on top of this 
when, clearly, he was not?
  Mr. McCAIN. Another question for my colleagues: The attack went on 
for a period of some nine hours, as I recall. Over that period of time, 
with the hundreds of airplanes, aircraft that we have and the ships and 
other military capabilities we have in the area, in the Mediterranean, 
we were not able to get any real significant help. There are a number 
of accounts of where a team supposedly landed, were held at the 
airport, were not allowed to move in, and all of that. All of these are 
questions that have not been answered.
  General Ham told the Senator from South Carolina and me over the 
phone that he didn't have any assets that were capable of reaching 
Benghazi. Does he mean we don't have the capability over an 8- or 9-
hour period to get some relief to an ongoing attack? Again, what was 
the hangup that kept people at the airport who finally did get there?
  Mr. GRAHAM. If I could follow along with that thought, because it is 
a very good question, No. 1, if the Secretary of Defense and the 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly testified they knew it 
was a terrorist attack from the moment it started and told the White 
House, how did that get lost? How can they start talking about a 
protest and video when our own Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff in real time tell the White House, but they 
only spoke to the President once with a prescheduled meeting just when 
the attack started? The Secretary of Defense----
  Mr. McCAIN. We still don't know what the President did that evening.
  Mr. GRAHAM. We know he has answered one question. He said he wanted 
to be transparent and open and let everybody read the story of 
Benghazi. We have deployed a small force asking questions, and the 
answer to one question, finally: Did you call anybody in Libya, Mr. 
President, that night? No. We have a rescue team held up at the 
Benghazi Airport for 2\1/2\ hours.
  Ms. AYOTTE. May I also add to that the President--we heard testimony 
that obviously the Secretary of Defense and others knew right away this 
was a terrorist attack. Let's not forget the 16-minute interview where 
he is asked about that on September 12, and he said it is too early to 
tell exactly how this came about. When he is asked directly if this is 
a terrorist attack, he would not identify it as a terrorist attack.
  I will also add this. What is so sad about this is no one has been 
held accountable. The warnings were there. Not only were the warnings 
there from the August 16 cable that came from the embassy, from 
Ambassador Stevens, saying that the consulate could not withstand a 
coordinated attack, but what has been lost in all of this? When we talk 
about the New York Times trying to erase Al Qaeda from this, the day 
before, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda, released a video just 
before September 11, 2012, just before this terrorist attack--which, by 
the way, occurred on September 11, of course, which should have given 
us a pretty direct clue that this was a terrorist attack. But al-
Zawahiri issued this video acknowledging and eulogizing the death of 
Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone strike and calling for terrorist attacks. 
Al-Libi was a Libyan who served as the second in command in Al Qaeda 
under Zawahiri and was a top leader in the Libyan Islamic fighting 
  Think about the evidence that was there before, not only what we 
didn't do to protect that consulate but the warnings that a terrorist 
attack was coming.
  Mr. GRAHAM. If I may, who was the person who decided to approve a 
year's lease on this piece of property in July after it had been 
attacked in June? They blew a hole in the wall that 40 people could go 
through on June 10. So somebody said: Hey, this is a great site; let's 
extend the lease for another year, to July 2013. They never reinforced 
it, never added any appreciable security, and denied all the security 
requests. This goes on and on.
  If we want to know about the bridge, that is great. If we want to 
know about what Chris Christie knew when and what he should have known, 
great, go for it. All fair. Does anybody care about what our President 
did that night? Does anybody really care if the President of the United 
States, for two weeks, talks about a protest that never happened, while 
all of the evidence suggests otherwise? Does anybody really care that 
the consulate was a death trap and nobody in Washington ever responded? 
Does anybody care that nobody has been brought to justice? Does anybody 
in this country care that somebody in the White House, on September 14, 
obviously for political reasons, took the intelligence and turned it 
upside down? Does anybody care that Susan Rice, who has nothing to do 
with Benghazi, was the spokesman for the country, telling a story not 
founded in fact, founded in political advantage? I think Americans do 
  Ms. AYOTTE. Let me ask the Senator from South Carolina this. Does 
anyone care that the Secretary of State claimed she knew nothing about 
this August 16 cable? She didn't know about these cables leading up to 
what had happened in Benghazi, about the warning the Red Cross left and 
the French left, the hole blown through the consulate, and the August 
16 cable. Yet Secretary Panetta was aware of it. Chairman Dempsey was 
aware of it when he came before the Armed Services Committee, but the 
Secretary of State wasn't aware of it.
  Mr. GRAHAM. How can the Secretary of Defense know about the security 
environment in the Benghazi Consulate and the Secretary of State not 
know? All I can say is it does matter.
  Mr. McCAIN. The fact is no one, no one to this day has been held 
responsible for the tragic deaths of four brave Americans--no one. The 
Intelligence Committee report I appreciate. The whole bureaucracy is 
responsible. Individuals are the ones that run bureaucracies.
  I am disappointed that the Intelligence Committee did not have the 
courage to name the names of the people responsible.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, let me first thank Senator 
Shelby and Senator Mikulski for their very hard work on this Omnibus 
appropriations bill. That is what I am down here to speak on. The 
American people sent us to make choices, sometimes very tough choices. 
They do not expect perfection, but they do expect us to be fair and to 
get the job done.
  Americans are tired of shutdowns and sequestration and stopgap 
funding. Today we are making decisions we were sent here to make. The 
annual appropriations process is the right way to do the people's 
business. Instead of kicking the can and passing the buck, lurching 
from crisis to crisis, I think we are making some significant progress.

[[Page S391]]

  This was my first year on the Appropriations Committee. I especially 
wanted to thank Chairman Mikulski for her leadership, her unfailing 
support, and for doing such an amazing job. She once said, ``It is not 
how long I serve but how well I serve.'' Senator Mikulski has proven 
once again on both counts she is truly exceptional.
  This bill returns some sanity to the budget process in Washington. I 
am pleased that for the most part it does well by New Mexico. New 
Mexico plays a unique role in our Nation's national security. This bill 
provides strong funding levels for the safety and security of our 
Nation's nuclear deterrent, including the important B61 project at 
Sandia National Labs. The President's request of $537 million is fully 
funded. The highly qualified employees at Sandia will continue their 
vital mission making sure these weapons are managed safely and 
securely. This is not something we should shortchange.
  This bill also provides equally important funding for Los Alamos 
National Laboratory in northern New Mexico. The workforce there has 
been reduced in recent years. This bill will stabilize things for 2014. 
Both of these labs are critical for nuclear security. But they are much 
more than that. They are also engines for the innovation in aerospace, 
biotech, cyber security, and new energy technology.
  New Mexico is proud to host both of these labs. But the Department of 
Energy also has an obligation to our State and other States on legacy 
cleanup. The funding levels do not fully meet our request, but they do 
provide strong increases over 2013 for cleanup at Los Alamos and at the 
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM. These cleanup activities 
are a serious obligation of the Federal Government and are a source of 
skilled, well-paid jobs for man New Mexico families.
  New Mexico is also home to three Air Force bases and the Army's White 
Sands Missile Range. This bill contains nearly $150 million in 
construction and infrastructure projects, including $60 million for a 
TRICARE facility at Holloman Air Force Base. These projects will 
benefit national security, they will create jobs, and will meet our 
obligations to the men and women who are serving their country.
  The Federal Government also plays a very important role in New 
Mexico's water infrastructure. We are an arid, Western State. Prudent 
water management is crucial for our economy. We cannot afford the waste 
that comes from neglected infrastructure. This bill contains over $120 
million in funding for Federal water assets in our State and includes 
the Navajo-Gallup pipeline, and the Middle Rio Grande Project.
  We have been struggling with intense drought. Rural areas and small 
towns in particular have been deeply affected. Some small communities 
are seeing their wells run dry. They need help and they need it now. 
The $1.7 billion in USDA rural development water funding is absolutely 
essential. This historic drought requires that we rethink how we use 
water throughout the West. We need to be smart about our strategy. We 
need strategies that work for individual communities. That is why I 
advocated for greater funding for the WaterSMART grants, helping local 
governments and water districts improve water efficiency.
  The conference report promotes an innovative drought water-sharing 
arrangement along the Rio Grande, where we are facing difficult 
tradeoffs between agriculture, the environment, and urban uses.
  This bill also helps meet our obligations to our Nation's veterans. 
The backlog at the VA is unacceptable. Frankly, it is an outrage. No 
veteran should wait 1 year or more on their claim. This bill funds a 
10-part plan to resolve this problem: improving IT infrastructure, 
better training, and hiring additional personnel. We dedicated $250 
million specifically to carry out the VA's rural health initiative to 
ensure that veterans in rural and remote areas are not left behind, 
utilizing telehealth solutions and mobile clinics, bringing veterans 
the care they deserve without long drives.
  I will keep fighting for veterans in New Mexico, including those in 
rural areas, making sure they have access to the health care they have 
earned. Many veterans are understandably upset with the recent change 
in the COLA for working-age military retirees. I am outraged too. This 
cut was included in the recent 2-year budget agreement passed in 
December. I did not support this provision and I am working hard to 
repeal it. Thankfully, this bill ensures disabled veterans and spousal 
benefits will not be subject to the cuts. Congress has the rest of 2014 
to do the right thing. We need to fix this mistake for good for all 
  This year, I have had the privilege to chair the Appropriations 
Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. I am proud 
of the work we have done to safeguard our financial system, protect 
consumers and support job creation and to strengthen our Federal 
  The bill provides $112 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement 
Network, fighting terrorist financing, money laundering, narcotics 
trafficking, and other illicit financial activity.
  To protect the public and consumers, the bill fully funds three key 
agencies. For the CPSC, $118 million to help protect the public against 
risk from injury of consumer products; for the FTC, $298 million to 
combat consumer fraud, fight identity theft, and promote consumer 
privacy; for the FCC, $340 million to maintain robust networks for 
emergency communications, political debate, social interaction, and 
business transactions.
  To support job creation, the bill provides $929 million for the Small 
Business Administration. It also supports the Small Business 
Development Centers to provide critical guidance to small businesses 
and emerging entrepreneurs. The bill supports community development in 
underserved areas, including tribal nations, providing $226 million for 
the CDFI Fund.

  For the Federal courts, the bill provides a much needed increase, 
$6.5 billion in discretionary funding, 5 percent above the fiscal year 
level of 2013. Budget cuts have forced the courts to downsize and 
furlough staff. This bill provides the judiciary the staffing and 
resources it needs for court offices, probation, pretrial services, and 
in particular Federal defender offices will be adequately staffed.
  The bill also calls for significant investments in the government's 
capital projects. For the first time in 3 years, it provides the 
General Services Administration a total of $1.653 billion for 
construction and repair of Federal buildings and courthouses. I would 
like to thank my ranking member Senator Johanns for his effort this 
year. He was friendly, honest, and straightforward. It has been a real 
privilege to work with him.
  Finally, I must thank our subcommittee staff, Marianne Upton, Diana 
Hamilton, Emily Sharp. Like all the committee staff, they have spent 
time over the holidays, on weekends, and uncounted long hours to help 
complete the final bill.
  In closing, I am very happy to be here talking about the good work of 
the Appropriations Committee and that good work that has been produced 
in this bill that is before us for New Mexico and for the Nation.
  But I must mention one problem that remains. It is a great concern 
for many of us from the West. Funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes 
Program, known as PILT, has expired. These funds compensate counties in 
New Mexico and throughout the country where the Federal Government owns 
a good deal of land, land that cannot be taxed, cannot be developed, 
cannot be used to help pay for services such as roads and schools and 
public health and public safety.
  PILT is a lifeline to my constituents in many rural communities in 
New Mexico. I joined with my friend Senator Enzi of Wyoming urging that 
this crucial funding be included in this bill. Unfortunately, it was 
not. I realize PILT has not been in the appropriations bill for several 
years. In fact, it is preferable for it to receive mandatory, long-term 
funding. But we must find a solution and we must find that solution 
soon. I am calling for PILT to be included in the upcoming farm bill 
conference report.
  It is a commonsense solution to this very real problem. PILT is a 
long-term funding program. Our rural communities across the West need 
consistency. They need to be able to plan for long-term projects. 
Mandatory long-term funding is the only real solution.

[[Page S392]]

I hope my colleagues will work with me.
  With that, I would urge all of my colleagues to vote yes on the 
Omnibus appropriations bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, if I might respond to the very generous 
comments of the Senator from New Mexico about the work of the 
committee, I would also like to respond to his comments about PILT. The 
Senator from New Mexico has spoken very eloquently, as have other 
Senators from the West, about the need for this Payment in Lieu of 
  The Presiding Officer is a newcomer. I am sure he finds that we speak 
a different language and our constituents say: We use TILT and PILT. 
They wonder if we are tilting in the right direction. But to use plain 
English and plain needs of States that have a large amount of land that 
is held by the Federal Government, PILT stands for Payment in Lieu of 
  So there is tremendous land owned by the Federal Government in New 
Mexico; am I correct?
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. The Senator is absolutely correct. In some 
of our counties, 70 percent of the land in the county is Federal 
Government land. So what happens, as the chair pointed out, is the 
Federal Government says because that cannot be developed and it cannot 
be taxed, we are going to pay you in lieu of taxes.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. But they have not been paying?
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. No. The program which has been in place a 
very long time has expired. We have run out of money. These counties 
need to be able to plan for their projects. So that is where we are.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I think this is an issue of fairness and justice. I 
know the Presiding Officer comes to the Senate as a mayor. I came 
through the route of starting on the city council. We are local 
government people. We know how we had to struggle with unfunded 
mandates. Many of us have large Federal institutions in our State that 
we love, such as the U.S. Naval Academy in my district.
  That does not pay taxes, but, my gosh, we are happy to have them. I 
think we have to resolve this PILT issue. I would say to the Senator 
from New Mexico, who has spoken to me frequently about this issue, and 
to all of the Senators from the West on both sides of the aisle: Let's 
work on this.
  I pledge to you that as we move on fiscal year 2015, if it is 
appropriate to be in appropriations, we will be doing it. But I will 
also work with other relevant authorizing committees. We have to crack 
this problem. It has been languishing far too long. I think it is a 
justice issue, that if the Federal Government owns land on which it 
doesn't pay taxes, prohibits it then from being placed in other 
developmental use that could be taxed, we have to in some way pay our 
fair share.
  Isn't that the Senator's perspective?
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. That is exactly my perspective. In these 
counties, the programs run out. The counties have planned on this money 
because they have been getting it year after year, and we have to find 
a way to do this.
  I wish to applaud Chairwoman Mikulski. They are our people, as the 
Senator knows--there are Western Senators, Democrats, Republicans, and 
they have all talked with the chairwoman. We have been talking to the 
authorizing committees. We have talked to Senator Stabenow in 
Agriculture in terms of the farm bill. We think there is a way this can 
be worked out.
  I am very encouraged to hear that the chairwoman also believes it can 
be worked out, is willing to look at this next year in the 
appropriations process, and work with the authorizers to see this gets 
  Ms. MIKULSKI. As the Senator's colleague and also someone who comes 
out of local government who knows the challenges local governments 
face, we have worked on this, again, on a bipartisan basis.
  I have spoken to Senator Stabenow and believe she is willing to 
proceed on how we could do this as well.
  I thank the Senator for his comments. I think we have a path forward 
to talk with Senator Stabenow, with others who are involved in the farm 
bill, and to move forward, and yet move forward on this bill and lay 
the groundwork for 2015 so we don't have this recurring problem.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. I wish to tell the Senator how much all of 
the Senators on this issue appreciate the chairwoman's hard work. I 
think we need to stay focused. What happens with these counties is they 
wish to know early on whether the money is coming and how much. If they 
don't know, they aren't able to spend it wisely.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. If I could respond to the Senator.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Please.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Municipal government is usually in a different fiscal 
year. Baltimore City Council began January 1, the Federal Government, 
of course, is October 1, and we are finally getting settled on January 
16. We are a little behind the schedule, but we are not behind the 
eight ball. We are going to work on this.
  I thank the Senator for his work, along with Senator Johanns, a 
former Agriculture Secretary and Governor, I might add, and the way the 
Senator worked on the Subcommittee on Financial Services.
  The Presiding Officer, a Senator from New Jersey, took the seat of 
the late and beloved Senator Frank Lautenberg, and Senator Udall took 
Senator Lautenberg's seat as the chair of the Financial Services 
Subcommittee. Senator Lautenberg would be very pleased to see this 
today. Although he would want to be here, the fact that the two 
Senators are in the Senate is very good.
  Senator Udall essentially had a battlefield promotion. The Senator 
proceeded with such diligence and had constantly in his mind the 
mission of the agencies, enormous controversy at IRS, and had to step 
into some very complicated issues. The Senator's faithfulness to duty, 
the way he went about it with such diligence and verve, is indeed to be 
commended. I know Senator Lautenberg would believe that his gavel 
passed into very competent hands. We thank the Senator. We also wish to 
thank Senator Johanns because he helped to carry the momentum.
  This is the way the Senate ought to be. Even in a time of great 
sadness we were able to do our job.
  I yield the floor, and 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.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                         Unemployment Benefits

  Mrs. MURRAY. As the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee 
leaves, I thank the Senator for her tremendous leadership. I thank the 
Senator for her leadership in getting this bill to the floor.
  I come to the floor today to talk about another topic, and that is 
the 1.4 million Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits and 
the over 70,000 people who continue to lose them each week. The Senate 
has found itself in an all-too-familiar place. Once again, some 
Republicans are refusing to be able to say yes even to the most 
reasonable of offers, and it is a problem we have seen in this body too 
many times.
  Over the course of the 16-day shutdown last October, we tried time 
and time again to find compromises to end that manufactured crisis, 
return Federal workers to their jobs, and reopen our Federal parks and 
buildings. But for too long Republicans refused to listen to the 
American people and embrace compromise. Instead, they were standing 
firmly in a partisan corner--and it is a pattern of what we saw last 
year in our efforts to pass a budget.
  In March of the past year--as every Senator, I am sure, will 
remember--we spent a week on the Senate floor in a very open process 
debating and voting on amendment after amendment until the very wee 
hours of the morning. On March 23 we finally passed our budget after 
the House had passed theirs the

[[Page S393]]

day earlier. I thought at that time the next step would be to start a 
conference as quickly as possible. I thought it was a no-brainer.
  This is what the American people were expecting, the two sides to get 
in a room, work out our differences, and avoid another crisis. Every 
time we tried to start that budget conference--21 times in the Senate--
a Senate Republican stood up and said no. They no longer wanted to go 
to conference, they no longer wanted to follow regular order, they only 
wanted to obstruct. That took us to a government shutdown, a debt limit 
crisis, and a lot of pain for families and communities across the 
country before we could get them in a room with us in a budget 
conference and agree to a deal the American people expected.
  That has been sort of the Republican playbook in the Senate. They say 
no for as long as they can, they play politics for as long as they can, 
they hold out and obstruct as long as they can, until the pressure from 
angry Americans finally reaches a fever pitch, and then, when it is far 
too late, hopefully come to their senses.
  It is getting to be far too late for every single American who lost 
their unemployment benefits. In fact, as last week's unemployment 
report showed, nearly \1/2\ million Americans recently gave up 
entirely. Those who haven't given up spent every single day desperately 
working to get on a job. Unemployment benefits make all the difference 
for them and their families while they scour the want ads, pound the 
pavement, and send out resume after resume.
  In fact, I have heard from many people in my home State of 
Washington, story after story from men and women. One of those was from 
a man named Gary who lives in Spokane. Gary wrote to me about his wife 
Linda and how at ``56 years young'' with a degree in accounting and an 
MBA in finance Linda is still unable to find work. After exhausting her 
unemployment benefits, Gary and Linda are now forced to live off of his 
Social Security disability insurance. They are now facing monthly 
medical expenses and rent of over $1,000 just to stay healthy and keep 
a roof over their heads. Gary's benefits cover about $900 of those 
  With each passing day this Congress fails to act Gary and Linda find 
themselves further and further behind. Gary concluded in his note to me 
in a simple plea, written in all capital letters, that said: ``PLEASE, 
  I also recently heard from a woman who was laid off from her job at a 
plant in Keyport, WA.
  She said:

       This year, I have applied for over 200 jobs and, in spite 
     of a stellar resume, have only gotten 4 phone interviews.
       I have lowered my standards throughout the year and applied 
     for jobs far below my pay grade to no avail . . . my husband 
     and I have had to claim bankruptcy . . . [and] I truly worry 
     about losing my home and displacing my children.

  These are real people, as the Presiding Officer well knows.
  I have heard from Traci, a former executive assistant with 20 years 
of experience, in Everett, WA. After taking time off from work because 
she had to care for her dying mother and a daughter who was suffering 
from bipolar disorder and drug addiction, Traci found herself without a 

  After her mother passed away, Traci fell ill, and it made it very 
hard for her to look for work. While Traci was receiving unemployment 
benefits that were barely enough to cover the care her daughter 
required, she was just barely making it. She told me that now she 
cannot afford food and has lost over 50 pounds. She spends every day 
searching high and low for one break. She said: ``I just need time for 
someone to give me a chance.''
  A chance. That is all she is asking us for. That is all they are 
asking, all of these people. They don't want a handout, they don't want 
to be a burden. They need support while they get back on their feet and 
on the job.
  We in the Senate need Republican support to do that. We are ready and 
willing to move forward. We have worked to find compromise. When 
Republicans wanted this extension to be paid for, even though it has 
been extended time and time again without pay-fors under Republican 
Congresses and Republican Presidents, we said OK, we will try and find 
  That wasn't enough. When Republicans signaled that they didn't want 
to pay for an extension by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest 
Americans, we again looked to find a compromise.
  When we put forward savings from policies that have either been 
agreed to by both sides or have been taken from proposals championed by 
Republicans, they once again said it wasn't good enough.
  When they asked for amendments, we offered amendments. They again 
said no.
  Unfortunately, Republicans have now reverted once again to pure 
politics aimed not at the vast majority of American people who want to 
see this extended, but instead squarely at their most conservative 
audience possible. Nowhere is that more evident than in the pay-fors 
they have offered--whether it is the minority leader's amendment that 
predictably seeks to undercut health care reform or the Ayotte 
amendment, which is a very disturbing signal in that after joining us 
in passing comprehensive immigration legislation, Republicans are now 
doing a complete 180 on immigration in an election year. With that 
amendment, Senate Republicans are indicating that they are actually 
going to begin targeting U.S. citizens, children who are U.S. citizens, 
simply because they were born to undocumented workers. I think that is 
shameful, and I am shocked that we have reached this point.
  These policies aren't going anywhere. Republicans know that. In the 
end, all they amount to is nothing more than delaying tactics while 
American families' lives are hanging in the balance.
  Make no mistake, families across the country are teetering on the 
brink today. In fact, nowhere is that more clear than the last 
heartbreaking story I came to the floor to share with you. I received 
this yesterday from a woman named Shiela, who for the last 13 years has 
worked a middle-management job at a national corporation in my State. 
She started her letter by saying: ``I've never written to any 
government official, but I'm compelled to do so today.''
  Then she told me how she, her husband, and two children had lived a 
fairly comfortable life, but all of that changed last year when her 
employer decided to downsize, and she was one of the many Americans who 
was laid off.
  Her husband, who works in real estate, was struggling in a very weak 
market, as we all know. Suddenly, Shiela's family of four found 
themselves relying on just over $500 a week in unemployment assistance.
  Having graduated from college and business school, Sheila--like so 
many others--found herself in need of these benefits, and she said 
never in a million years did she think she would be in that spot.
  These are her words:

       I've worked for so many years, paid my taxes, did the right 
     thing for others . . . and now I need help.

  In October, Sheila's family lost their house. They are now renting. 
They do not know if their daughter will still qualify for the student 
loans she is currently receiving. Sheila's checking account is now 
overdrawn. Her car payments are past due. She started getting notices 
from her utility companies. And as my staff talked with her yesterday, 
she said she was headed out the door to apply for food stamps.
  Because of the Republicans' refusal to work with us, we will once 
again be going home to constituents such as Sheila to explain why this 
extension hasn't gotten done. I know I will be pointing out the fact 
that we have compromised time and time again to try to get something 
done here; that we have all but begged Republicans from the start to 
work with us on this effort, but I can't help but wonder how 
Republicans are going to explain their actions.
  While I normally don't come to the floor to give advice to my friends 
on the other side of the aisle, I would certainly like to suggest they 
do not stare into the eyes of someone who just had to apply for food 
stamps for the very first time in their life and explain that they 
can't act until ObamaCare is destroyed. And I hope they do not tell 
those who are about to lose their home they can't help them until they 
find a way to cut childcare credits for U.S. children. And I hope they 
do not tell Americans who spend their days working hard and applying 
for jobs that pay a fraction of what they have been making they will 
only be willing to help

[[Page S394]]

them if all of their political demands are met. And I especially hope 
they do not think making arguments about procedure or amendments or 
arcane rules of the Senate that only people here in DC pay attention to 
is an excuse for walking away from 1.4 million Americans at a time when 
all they want to see is results.
  What I do hope is that the experiences they have coming face-to-face 
with these families will change their tone when they come back here in 
a week. I hope the stories, such as the ones I shared here today, will 
once again be the pressure that Republicans have required over and over 
to finally act. And I hope that soon they will join us in passing our 
nonpartisan, commonsense bill and finally delivering some certainty and 
some security for struggling Americans who deserve it.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mrs. MURRAY. Yes, I will.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. First, I thank the Senator for the work she did in the 
Budget Committee, because that budget she worked so diligently on on a 
bipartisan basis with Paul Ryan has enabled us to have the allocation 
for discretionary spending that has enabled our coming here today to 
make sure the government will function, that it will work as hard as 
the taxpayers who pay for it, and that we will have no government 
shutdown and no crisis environment. So I really want to thank the 
Senator for that.
  The question I have for the Senator is in regard to her role as the 
chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing, Urban 
Development, and Related Agencies. Has the Senator had a chance to look 
at what she thinks will be the positive job impact of what she has been 
able to do? Because the Senator funds transportation for the United 
States. There are TIGER grants that are so important to Maryland and 
the Port of Baltimore, and also the issues related to housing. In my 
own hometown the renovation of housing for the elderly--most of it 
built in the 1970s and 1980s under Carter and Reagan--needs to be 
rehabilitated. They need to be reformed so they meet new ADA standards, 
all of which would put men and women to work where, in my State, the 
job rate among construction workers is enormously high. So building 
bridges and building homes would sure go a long way. Has the Senator 
had a chance to look at any of that?
  Mrs. MURRAY. Let me respond to the chairwoman of the Appropriations 
Committee, Mr. President.
  I came to the floor today to talk about the millions of Americans who 
are in need of extended unemployment benefits, but I would tell my 
colleague that everyone I have ever talked to on unemployment would 
much rather have a job. As to the question the Senator has asked me in 
relation to my role as chair of the subcommittee on transportation and 
housing and the bill we are about to pass here in the Senate, it will 
have an impact on creating jobs and building that infrastructure so 
people will have that job certainty. It is extremely important.
  On the transportation side of my appropriations bill, the TIGER grant 
program the Senator has described will bring not only jobs to 
communities but real projects that will help build a foundation for 
future economic growth.
  There is no one who questions that transportation infrastructure 
brings jobs today, provides economic development for the future, and is 
absolutely the way people get to work and home in a timely manner, 
bringing certainty for so many families we know. That is a critical 
part of my subcommittee.
  The other part of my subcommittee, as the Senator mentioned, is 
housing. Those issues are so important. I think most people forget if 
you don't have a place to live it is pretty hard to go to work. 
Providing some of these programs we do, such as section 8, and some of 
the reforms we have put in here, is absolutely critical for so many 
Americans to be able to have the stability and to get out and get a 
job, so that we don't have to be arguing over unemployment extension 
here but actually how we can make the investments so this country can 
work and survive.
  I hope we can provide those extensions today, as we struggle to get 
back on our feet, but meanwhile pass this critical bill the Senator has 
authored so we can provide jobs and economic support, which is what 
people want.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I thank the Senator for her tireless effort.
  I want to comment on the work the Senator from Washington State did 
in her role chairing the subcommittee on transportation and housing. 
What a bipartisan effort that subcommittee put forth. Senator Murray 
and the Senator from Maine Ms. Collins worked on a bipartisan basis on 
transportation, which is what the committee funds, and on housing.
  When I speak of housing, this is housing that is primarily related to 
meeting compelling human need. It also has the money for Community 
Development Block Grants.
  Going back to the days when I referred to the Senator as ``Mr. 
Mayor,'' now ``Mr. President''--the Presiding Officer--we know--City 
Council Barb and formerly Mayor Booker--what Community 
Development Block Grant money means in our local communities. In my 
State, Community Development Block Grant money is key to local 
governments solving local problems without a ``one size fits all'' from 

  What I like about the Community Development Block Grant money is that 
its criteria for funding is it has to deal with blight, it has to deal 
with unemployment, and it has to meet compelling human need. And 
whatever they do, it also usually results in good-paying jobs in 
construction. But it is not decided by Washington: Thou shalt build 
such-and-such under such-and-such Washington rules. It is decided in 
Newark, in Baltimore, in Phoenix.
  What is so important about the CDBG money in transportation and 
housing is money comes locally. There is Federal criteria--again, 
eliminate blight, deal with unemployment, and it has to meet a 
documented need--but it is decided locally by mayors and city councils, 
by county commissioners, or whatever the form of local governance.
  So this is what they did. They worked on a bipartisan basis for 
adequate funding for CDBG to meet compelling need in the area of 
housing, particularly housing for the elderly--the so-called section 
202s, many of which were built a long time ago and now need to be 
retrofitted and remodeled. Again, this meets need--coming up to the 
compliance of what we now know in things such as universal design to 
keep people out of long-term care or assisted living. This is a 
wonderful way to meet human need and also generate jobs. So they have 
done a great job.
  I wish also to comment on the leadership they provided, and it was 
across all of the appropriators in this committee. We are not a 
committee that makes a lot of fuss; we are not usually a bunch of 
chest-pounders harrumphing about a policy. We were once referred to in 
a major historical work about our work as the quiet guardians of the 
purse. We are not quiet while working with each other, but the work is 
not well known or well noticed because we have done it in a tone of 
solving problems and keeping the problem the problem, and not making 
personalities the problem. That has been done by every single 
subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee in the Senate. I am proud 
of them. I think transportation and housing has been an exemplary one, 
but we will hear this today from others who will be coming up to speak 
about it. We have done a good job, and I hope other Senators will come 
to the floor to talk about the work of the committee. If they have any 
questions, if they want to debate or comment, we are open to those 
  I do hope we can move the bill along. I know cloture doesn't expire 
until tomorrow, but, gosh, if we all come and everyone could have their 
say, I think we could finish it today. It might be late, but I think we 
could finish, and then go on with other pressing Senate business. So I 
urge those who wish to speak on the bill to come to the floor.
  I know other Senators will be coming, but until then, 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.
  Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S395]]

  Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I rise to talk about the business on the 
floor, which is the Omnibus appropriations bill. Let me start by 
thanking Chairwoman Mikulski for her leadership. She has put long hours 
in on this over the Christmas and New Year's break. When most people 
were home with families and doing things in their home State, on 
vacation, she never stopped working. Her team, her staff on the 
Appropriations Committee, never stopped working. The staff, as always, 
is kind of the unsung hero around here. They did so many great things 
to put this together, both Democrats and Republicans, House and 
Senate--everybody had to work together to get this done and I am proud 
they did.
  I am also proud to be one of the appropriations subcommittee chairs 
who was able to work on this legislation. As you know, I am chairman of 
the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. I have worked with my 
counterpart Senator Blunt, the ranking member of the subcommittee, to 
craft part of this bipartisan bill. Again, Senator Blunt has been 
wonderful to work with. We appreciate him and his staff as well.
  When people hear agriculture appropriations, they often think about 
farming. That is understandable. We all understand why. That is 
certainly a key part of the bill, but that is not all it does. Our bill 
helps farmers with operating loans, conservation practices, marketing. 
It funds programs that benefit rural communities such as clean drinking 
water and rural housing, and it supports nutrition programs that help 
kids across the country.
  It also funds international food assistance such as Food for Peace 
that allows crops grown here at home to be distributed around the 
  This bill, in addition, touches on the Food and Drug Administration. 
That is an agency that is vitally important to the United States. Here 
again, just like agriculture is one of the core strengths of the U.S. 
economy, pharmaceuticals is another area where America leads the world. 
It is critically important that we have a highly functioning FDA in 
order for us to keep that competitive advantage.
  This bill overall has a huge impact over the U.S. economy, but my 
subcommittee's part in this bill also has a very significant bearing 
over the U.S. economy that will continue this recovery. Getting people 
back to work, getting people focused on domestic jobs and the fact that 
we make things here and grow things here is critically important for 
our future.
  For example, look at what it is doing to my home State. If I could, I 
could go around to each one of these desks in the Senate and talk about 
specific things it is doing in everyone's State, but just in my home 
State, it is providing funding for many of our universities, including 
the University or Arkansas at Fayetteville and Arkansas State 
University in Jonesboro, to conduct cutting edge agricultural research. 
It is supporting economic development grants for the Delta Regional 
Authority, which is in our region of the country, to boost the quality 
of life in the Delta region. It is providing our kids with a safe and 
stable food supply by supporting, again in our State, the Arkansas 
Children's Nutrition Center in Little Rock, and it is investing in the 
technology of tomorrow by funding the National Center for Toxicological 
Research in Jefferson County, AR.
  The NTCR, which is part of the FDA, is also very important and people 
take it for granted because they don't know what it does, but it is 
very important. Now they have a new focus on nanotechnology, which they 
have been doing in the last few years, and that will be a game changer 
as well. Those are just a few of the challenges.
  I could stand here for an hour or so talking about the benefits of 
the bill and talking about all the provisions and lots of matters that 
are contained in this bill, but I think overall it is most important to 
note the agriculture appropriations bill and the omnibus bill overall 
are an agreement reached because of bipartisanship. We have to look 
back at what Senator Murray and Congressman Ryan did. I appreciate what 
they did. They laid the groundwork for us to be here today. It was a 
bipartisan effort, went through both Houses, bipartisan, big votes, and 
we saw a huge vote in the House of Representatives yesterday. I hope we 
will see a large vote in the Senate today or tomorrow or Saturday, 
whenever we get this done. Certainly I hope it is going to be today. 
Nonetheless, this is a victory for bipartisanship and the agriculture 
appropriations part of that is important.
  But overall, the fact is that Congress is back in business. We are 
getting things done. We are getting back to what our chairwoman would 
call regular order. We are working together and that is the only way we 
can get things done in Washington. But it is also the only way we can 
secure our Nation's economic future. I hope we will see a lot more 
bipartisanship in 2014. I know it is an election year. All the talking 
heads tell us it is going to be hard to do, but certainly I hope we can 
get that done and 2014, I hope, is a much more productive year in the 
Congress than 2013 was.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. King). The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, again I rise to compliment a 
subcommittee chairman. The Senator from Arkansas took over this 
committee for the first time this year, so he is a new chairman, but he 
was not new to the issues. I thank him for the work he did and the 
bipartisan tone which he set. Again, he has done an excellent job, 
working with the Senator from Missouri Mr. Blunt. What was impressive--
when we say agriculture, that is one word, but agriculture in this 
country is very diverse. Am I right that the Senator handles everything 
from artichokes to catfish?
  Mr. PRYOR. We sure do. We handle, as the Senator says, everything 
from artichokes to catfish and everything in between. In our bill we 
take the entire Department of Agriculture, with the exception of 
forestry--that goes to another subcommittee--and we also do FDA. If you 
look at--for example, I mentioned, agriculture is one of the core 
strengths of the U.S. economy. It may not be very exciting. We may take 
it for granted because in this country we have always had productive 
agriculture, but if we look at the different advantages it gives us as 
a nation in lots of different ways, we need to keep that core strength 
going, just like the pharmaceuticals and the Federal Drug 
Administration; it is critically important.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I also thank the Senator for what he and the Senator 
from Missouri did, what Mr. Blunt did, in terms of food safety. I 
believe when we did the continuing resolution we were--and also when we 
were shut down--food safety faced the need for inspectors. We both 
share, in our States, chicken. Chicken is a $2 billion industry over on 
the Eastern Shore. A lot of good people have good jobs because of good 
chicken. But without those inspectors, our poultry industry would have 
been halted.
  What were the consequences in those days and what has the Senator 
done in this bill?
  Mr. PRYOR. That is exactly right. Had we not had those food 
inspectors, it literally could have shut down the poultry plants--but 
also the beef and pork and other types of facilities--overnight. It 
could have shut them down and been very disruptive.
  One of the great things about agriculture in the United States is we 
have created a lot of efficiencies in the agriculture economy. So when 
you have something disruptive such as this, these inspectors can't 
inspect the meat and they just cannot operate, you start to cause all 
kinds of disruptions, all kinds of inefficiencies.
  Then what happens is the price of that chicken fillet at the grocery 
store goes up. When we go to a restaurant it goes up.
  We do not need to jeopardize our food supply, either on food safety 
grounds or on supply grounds, because we have--if we look at the United 
States and what we spend as a per-capita share of our income, we spend 
less on food than any country in the world. It is in relative terms. We 
have to use that per capita, because if we have a higher standard of 
living here, and we do, but it is something we are very fortunate about 
and because of this legislation and because of what Senator Stabenow is 
doing with the farm bill--it is all a team effort--we are going to keep 
that advantage and keep that food and fiber cheap.
  Those are all domestic jobs. That is very important. This is growth 

[[Page S396]]

raised here, processed here, and served here. It is great for domestic 
jobs. It has a huge ripple effect on the U.S. economy. This bill is 
part of that and I am proud to have a hand in it.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. The Senator from Arkansas as well as his ranking 
member, the Senator from Missouri Mr. Blunt, has done a great job. 
Sometimes Congress gets the rap when we grow the deficit, but here in 
agriculture, the subcommittee grows good jobs and they grow them by 
making sure we have a solid approach to agriculture itself, where 
farmers and producers and distributors are able to do their job. And 
the work of the FDA, through food safety, has not only kept America 
safe, but it enables those who produce food in our country to have the 
right inspections so we have the right confidence to go out to the 
  We are very proud of what they do.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I would say in conclusion, as I look on the 
floor and I see Senators from Alabama, from Maryland, from Maine, from 
Connecticut, agriculture touches each of these States. It touches them 
differently. Agriculture is truly a matter of national pride. Every 
State contributes, basically every person benefits from it.
  Again, I was honored to be part of this. The chairwoman deserves a 
lot of credit for working in a bipartisan way and getting it through 
both Houses.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I am pleased to follow my colleague 
from Arkansas and join him in applauding the chairwoman of the 
Appropriations Committee Senator Mikulski for her extraordinary and 
historic work on this measure which serves so well our values and goals 
and our traditions in the Senate of bipartisan service, putting America 
first over partisanship. I join my very distinguished colleague from 
Arkansas who has highlighted so well the values served by agriculture 
in America and served well by this appropriations bill and by the 
measure Chairwoman Stabenow is seeking to forge, again through 
bipartisan work involving both Houses of this body.
  Agriculture serves so many of our basic values in this Nation--
environmental and consumer values, patriotism and pride in a way of 
life. In Connecticut, we know deeply and urgently how threatened are 
these values and traditions, this way of life and the environmental 
consumer issues at stake.
  I am pleased that we are near a compromise, on the verge and the cusp 
of an agreement on the farm bill that will serve the interests of 
farmers in Connecticut and around the country.
  The dozens of dairy farmers with relatively small farms around 
Connecticut have said to me again and again that they need help and 
certainty. That was the message they gave me as I visited their farms 
around the State of Connecticut time and again, and now apparently help 
and certainty are on the way.
  I am pleased that the farm bill conferees have reached a compromise 
on the dairy provisions in the farm bill. We are going to be studying 
them very closely. They have only just been announced. Apparently, the 
new deal announced by the farm bill conferees would keep the margin 
insurance program but remove the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. In 
place of that Dairy Market Stabilization Program, the deal revives the 
recently expired Milk Income Loss Contract Program known as the MILC 
Program. The Milk Income Loss Contract Program is a transitional 
program while the new margin insurance plan is being set up by the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture.
  Without going into all of the details, I think this agreement 
represents progress, and I am going to carefully scrutinize it and seek 
to improve it from the standpoint of Connecticut's dairy farmers. But 
there can be no doubt--none whatsoever to anyone in this body, which I 
think we would all agree--as to the importance of the milk industry, 
beginning with the dairy farmers. Indeed, reflecting the importance of 
milk to America is the fact that it is the only beverage, other than 
water, that is permitted on the floor of the Senate, as far as I know.
  I am pleased and proud to have a glass of milk on the floor today. 
This is a first for me in my young experience as a Senator. I am not 
sure if it is a correct parliamentary inquiry, but I say to the 
Presiding Officer: Got milk? I'm willing to share.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. This issue is a very serious one because the lives 
and livelihoods of our farmers are at stake. There is the open space 
that may be sacrificed if dairy farms surrender and are forced to 
abandon this way of life due to the increasingly high costs of feed, 
fuel, and labor that are pressing them as they also encounter potential 
price reductions. So they are squeezed. Dairy farmers are squeezed.
  In Connecticut we mostly have small family-owned farms like the 
Fairvue Farms in Woodstock, Hytone Farm in Coventry, Mapleleaf Farm in 
Hebron, Fort Hill Farms in Thompson, Cushman Farms in Franklin, and 
Graywall Farms in Lebanon. I have visited a number of them. I know 
firsthand how hard these farmers work simply to keep their farms going. 
These six farms make up the Farmer's Cow, a group of Connecticut 
family-owned farms dedicated to producing some of the very best milk in 
  Their milk is so good, in fact, they opened a milk bar--that is 
right, a milk bar--in Mansfield called the Farmer's Cow Calfe & 
Creamery where you can choose from five or six different types and 
flavors of milk to help wash down their delicious and fresh sandwiches, 
salads, cheeses, and ice creams.
  Visit Connecticut and visit the Farmer's Cow Calfe. These are the 
farms we need to support and keep going. These are the hard-working men 
and women we need to support. We can and must support our dairy farmers 
in Connecticut and around the country.
  In fact, in Connecticut we have more than 150 dairy farms on 70,000 
acres--18 percent of our State's land--which translates into $2 billion 
in economic activity for the State of Connecticut alone. These farmers 
need help. They need stability and certainty. Unfortunately, some 
Members in the House of Representatives have delayed the farm bill for 
far too long, leading dairy producers to wonder whether the Federal 
Government is a friend or a foe to their businesses.
  Even though Connecticut's dairy industry is a significant contributor 
to the State's agricultural industry and general economy, the 
industry's strength and survival depend greatly on the support that the 
Federal Government can and must provide.
  In Connecticut, in 1975 there were 817 dairy farms. Today there are 
150 dairy farms. I think that experience is probably reflected by every 
State represented in this body. Every one of my colleagues, perhaps, 
can attest to the diminishing number of dairy farmers and farmers in 
general. Connecticut is doing its part and doing its share so that 
farms in our State are sustained, and the Federal Government ought to 
do its part as well.
  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Connecticut ranks 45 
out of 50 States in receiving agriculture-related subsidies. 
Connecticut received $127 million between 1995 and 2010 compared to the 
$22 billion received by Iowa and the $24 billion that went to Texas. I 
have nothing against those States. I am not criticizing those amounts, 
but the amount we received in Connecticut is a fraction--a small 
fraction--of what is needed to sustain our dairy farmers, and that is 
why I will be urging and advocating for dairy farmers in Connecticut 
under this deal. Their interests are shared nationwide. We need to make 
sure that the agreement announced yesterday by the farm bill 
conferees--keeping the margin insurance program, but removing the Dairy 
Market Stabilization Program and reviving the MILC Program--truly 
serves milk producers in our Nation, not just the processors but 
consumers and farmers. We must do right by America's dairy farmers, an 
often under-represented group in this body, and make sure we do right 
by our farmers and consumers by giving them the certainty and help they 
need to continue a way of life and a product that is vital to our 
health and well-being as a Nation.
  I thank the Presiding Officer, and I yield the floor.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Will the Senator from Connecticut yield for a question?

[[Page S397]]

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. I am pleased to yield for a question.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. First, let me thank my colleague for his generous words 
about the work of this committee. What is on the Senator's desk? I am 
drinking water.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. I have milk. I offered to share my milk with the 
Presiding Officer. I know that Maine has its share of farmers. I 
understand the Presiding Officer is not allowed, under our Senate 
rules, to respond in substance, but I would be glad to share with the 
chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I say to the Senator from Connecticut: I have been in 
the Senate for 25 years, and I have seen a lot of Senators try to put a 
lot of different drinks in those glasses, but I have never seen milk on 
the Senate floor. Is that permissible?
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. I am told it is a permissible beverage on the floor. 
If it is not, I am sure I will be subject to appropriate disciplinary 
  Ms. MIKULSKI. For all of us who just yearn for a calcium-rich diet, 
it is refreshing to see that. We salute Connecticut and its strong 
agricultural presence in our economy, and I thank the Senator for 
bringing a nutritious beverage to the Senate floor that is allowed 
under the rules. If it is not allowed, I am sure we can have the 
appropriate committee of jurisdiction allow it.
  I think what the Senator is saying is we have a lot of people in our 
country who work in agriculture, and agriculture is not one field. 
Agriculture in the United States of America is diverse, and we can't 
let these small farmers fade away.
  I am seeing new, emerging farmers in my State--whether it is for 
dairy or beef, and so on. With the so-called farm-to-fork movement, 
this could be the dawn of a new age in agriculture while we preserve 
that which has been traditional and fed America during good times and 
bad. So I thank the Senator for his work and his advocacy, and I look 
forward to working with him.

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. I thank the chairwoman for her remarks. I wish to 
express to her, as I do to all of my colleagues, that agriculture and 
farming really are a way of life. We need to make sure our family farms 
and all farms are sustained. We sometimes tend to neglect or take them 
for granted.
  Again, I thank the distinguished Senator from Maryland for the time 
and attention she has devoted over the many years she has been here to 
the farms of Maryland and the farms of America. I think it is a cause 
we share. Whether it is Alabama or Georgia or Maine or any other State 
represented on the floor here today, we need to make sure we provide 
the safety net where it is necessary and the support when it is due but 
also keep in mind that consumers ultimately are the beneficiaries, the 
men and women and children, having four children myself. Also, having 
for a time actually worked on a farm, I know this product is central to 
the American existence and the American way of life.
  I thank the chairwoman, and I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I see the Senator from Arizona is on the 
floor, and I would inquire of the Senator if at 12:30 he is planning to 
speak on the War Powers Act.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the chairwoman. I was awaiting the arrival of my 
colleague from Virginia, who was going to speak first.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I say to the Senator from Arizona, I think this is an 
important discussion. We will do it any way the Senator from Arizona 
wishes. If my colleague wishes to proceed, that would be fine with this 
side of the aisle. Whatever way the Senator from Arizona wishes to 
proceed on this important topic is fine.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Senator from Maryland. I hope the Presiding 
Officer will chastise the Senator from Virginia for being tardy. I know 
he is very capable of that. So I will go ahead and begin, although I 
had planned on the Senator from Virginia being first. He is the sponsor 
of the bill which I am cosponsoring. I thank the chairwoman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Chair.
  (The remarks of Mr. McCain and Mr. Kaine pertaining to the 
introduction of S. 1939 are printed in today's Record under 
``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I wish to talk about the omnibus for a 
brief time before Senator Leahy has some remarks to be made.
  First of all, I thank the chair and ranking member of the 
Appropriations Committee and their staffs for their hard work to draft 
a sensible funding bill that I think meets the needs of the American 
people, a bill that helps us move past the stalemate and disagreements 
of the past few years and does what the American people sent us to do; 
that is, roll up our sleeves, work together, work hard, and govern.
  Recently, folks have put politics and partisanship ahead of our 
constituents and our responsibilities, and the results have not been 
pretty. But thanks to Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby and 
their counterparts in the House of Representatives, we now have a 
responsible bipartisan bill we can work with, one that invests in our 
future to strengthen our economy but that makes tough choices so we can 
continue to get our fiscal house in order.
  Approving this bill helps avoid another round of devastating 
sequester cuts, avoid a government shutdown, and avoid some of the 
bitterness that is dragging down economic growth.
  In Montana, our seniors, children, women, and civilian members of the 
military--to name a few--felt the sequester cuts head on. Kids could 
not go to Head Start. The elderly could not get meals, women faced cuts 
to reproductive health programs, Defense Department employees were 
forced to stay home, and our military was dangerously close to being 
hollowed out.
  This bill makes smart choices to continue to reduce our deficit, 
while investing in core national priorities--those being education, 
health care, infrastructure, research and development, and defense.
  At the same time, it continues our fiscally responsible approach to 
governing by reducing or eliminating funding for dozens of programs 
that had been left on autopilot after 2 years of continuing 
resolutions, and it repeals the recently enacted reduction in the 
annual cost-of-living adjustments for disabled military retirees and 
for survivors of military retirees.
  This particular change is very important for folks who have been 
medically retired and for survivors, the folks who are more likely to 
be on a fixed income, and it was done without any fanfare and without 
any grandstanding. Senator Mikulski and Senator Shelby figured out how 
to fix it.
  Let's be clear. This is one step in a two-step process. We have more 
work to do to address the military pension issue to make sure it works 
for the men and women of the military who have made great sacrifices on 
our behalf.
  I also thank Chairman Reed and Senator Murkowski for putting forward 
a smart Interior bill. By ending sequestration, we are able to make 
some real progress in Indian Country and in protecting some of 
America's most unique landscapes.
  The Interior bill increases funding for the Indian Health Service, 
which is necessary, it increases funding for Indian education and for 
promoting good stewardship of our public lands.
  This Interior bill is critically important to States such as Montana. 
It will improve the quality of life for folks on our seven 
reservations. It will create more tourism and recreational 
opportunities throughout Montana. I am concerned, however, by the 
absence of one measure. It is a measure approved by the Senate 
Appropriations and Rules Committees. It is bipartisan. It saves money. 
It brings more transparency and accountability to a town that needs 
more of both. More than one-third of the Senate is a cosponsor.
  This act is called the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act. Right

[[Page S398]]

now, candidates for the Senate do not have to electronically file their 
campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission. Now 
they can voluntarily e-file. Maybe the Presiding Officer did. But many 
of our colleagues do not.
  Instead, all a Senate candidate has to do is take a big stack of 
documents, drop them at the office door of the Secretary of the Senate, 
and head back to the campaign trail. Then what happens? The Secretary 
of the Senate then sends the documents to the FEC which spends time and 
money hiring contractors to put those reports on line where they can be 
viewed by the public. This costs taxpayers nearly $500,000 and God 
knows how many staff hours each year to make this information 
available. But the biggest cost is to the American people, particularly 
to our voters, who have the right to know who is funding the campaigns 
of their elected officials. It is not as if I am proposing a new idea. 
Candidates for the House of Representatives must electronically file 
their financial reports. Presidential candidates e-file. Yet the Senate 
is stuck in the dark ages. In an era of smart phones and cars that 
drive themselves and combines that harvest fields using GPS, today the 
Senate is dropping stacks of paper at officials' doorsteps.
  I proudly voluntarily e-file my campaign finance reports. I know many 
of our colleagues do as well. But that is not enough. Ironically, we do 
not know why my bill to improve transparency and save money did not 
make it into the funding bill. I am told it was blocked by the House of 
Representatives. A few folks over at the House are pointing fingers 
back over here. That is finger-pointing instead of accountability, 
politics instead of governance. We can do better.
  Here in the Congress, we consistently demand transparency from 
Federal agencies. That is the right thing to do. But we need to also 
look in the mirror. We are not doing what we demand of others. But 
Americans are demanding this funding bill as well. It is a step forward 
to responsible government. It makes tough choices to getting our fiscal 
house in order while investing in the future.
  This Omnibus is a good bill. It puts our country on more solid 
footing. It delivers more certainty to small businesses so we can count 
on them to grow and create jobs. Our constituents sent us here to find 
common ground. This kind of responsible bill is why we are here. So, 
once again, I thank the chairwoman and the ranking member for their 
hard work in bringing this bill to the floor. I look forward to seeing 
its final passage.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I want to address my remarks, first, to 
the chairman and the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. I 
think you have done a lot of hard work. You have done something that 
even though I am not in the consensus, you have done what the Senate 
was designed to do, build a consensus around a bill. There is no 
question this bill will pass today. So my congratulations to you and my 
sincere thanks for some of the things you put in the bill that we have 
been working on that are good governance projects. So I want to say 
that from the start.
  I am not going to talk specifically about the bill. I am going to 
talk in bigger, broader terms of the problems that are facing us as a 
country. I have in my hands a book that contains $9 trillion worth of 
cuts. Hardly anybody in the Senate has read it. They may not agree with 
50 or 60 or 70 percent. But there is certainly somewhere in here 
consensus for us to actually save a whole lot more money than we are 
  In 2009, a young lady by the name of Madeline showed up outside the 
Senate. This is what she had draped around her neck. ``I am already 
$38,375 in debt and I only own a dollhouse.''
  Since that period of time, we have managed to markedly change that 
situation for her for the worse, because today, if she were outside, 
she would have this sign on her neck. It would say $54,602 and she 
would only own a dollhouse.
  The point I am trying to make is this hole is getting deeper and 
deeper and deeper. Although I did not vote for the budget agreement, 
because I think it could have been done better, it was an agreement and 
had a consensus as well. My criticism is not that the Members of this 
body worked a consensus, which is exactly what the Senate is supposed 
to do, but I think as we have done these things we might have lost 
sight of the big picture. So I want to share with you for a minute what 
the big picture looks like, because it is not pretty.
  According to generally accepted accounting principles, that is not 
the way we run the government, by the way. We do not use real 
accounting principles. We use all the tricks and smoke and mirrors we 
can. This number is indisputable.
  The unfunded liabilities for the Federal Government are $127 
trillion. Think about that. We cannot even imagine how much that is. 
Our national debt is $17.33 trillion as of last night. I checked it. 
There are 14 million households in America. If you take the Federal 
liability per household, it comes out to $1.11 million. So $1.11 
million is what the debt plus the liability is for every family in this 
country. It is growing. I know we cannot solve this problem over 1 year 
or 2 years. I am so thankful to the Senator who is leading the 
Appropriations Committee in her position. I have the most wonderful 
respect for her. She is a listener. She wants to do right.
  But what we have to do is change the direction of this. It needs to 
go the other way. That requires everybody. If you think about it, if 
the average family per capita income--this is what it was last year in 
this country, $53,000--can you imagine how we are going to leverage and 
afford just the interest cost on $1.11 million?
  If you add 5 percent on a million bucks, that is $55,000. That is 
more--just the interest costs are more than the median family income in 
this country. So there are parts of this bill that are in front of us 
that I am highly critical of. I do not like the fact that we play a 
game with CHIMPs, change it to a mandatory program. To me it is not 
straightforward to the American people. It is not being honest about 
what we are actually doing.
  What we are actually doing is digging the hole deeper. Let me outline 
some things we could have done that we did not do before we had the 
budget agreement, before we had this appropriations bill. The GAO over 
the last 3 years has identified about $250 billion we could take a 
large portion away from by eliminating duplication and by putting 
metrics on programs. Now think about that. That is $250 billion a year.
  I have been out here giving speeches on all of this and everything 
that is duplicative. But the problem is that the appropriate committees 
have not met to look at the GAO recommendations. They have not acted on 
them. They have not responded to them. The administration, I will give 
them credit; in their budget the last few years, they have looked at 
those GAO reports and made recommendations in their budgets for 
elimination and consolidation. But we have essentially ignored them.
  I know how tough it is to build a consensus in the Appropriations 
Committee that will get you the votes you need to accomplish that. From 
the parochial concerns to the budget concerns, I understand that. I am 
glad we have a number now. I am glad we have a bill that has a number. 
I think the number is too high if we are ever going to do anything 
about this. But the fact that we do not do anything that will make a 
difference in the future in terms of driving this number down--just 
think. Let's say the GAO is 50 percent right. Let's say they are only 
50 percent right. What if we consolidated, put metrics on programs and 
streamlined them as they recommend and we saved $150 billion a year. 
That starts going in the right direction. It changes. We start going in 
the right direction. Now think for a minute. If we have no recessions 
over the next 20 years and we have great economic growth, 4 percent, we 
still do not solve this problem. Because the interest costs are greater 
than the GDP growth associated with our country.
  I wanted to give the background of why I come out here all the time 
and raise the issue of why we are stealing the future from our 
children. Nobody can deny the fact that we have not done the work. The 
reasons we have

[[Page S399]]

not done the work are multiple. But most of it is we just will not do 
the work. We do not have the leadership that requires us to do the 
  Think about Madeline. Let's say she gets a great college education 
and is in the upper quintile in our country in terms of her earnings 
when she is 25. With normalized interest rates, she is going to fall 
behind. So I know we are talking out in the future, but one of the 
things Thomas Jefferson wanted out of the Senate was for us to be long-
range thinkers, not to think about the problem right now, think about 
what the problem is going to be.
  In my 9 years here, I have failed in my ability to convince my 
colleagues that we ought to be worrying about this problem. Because the 
promise of America was opportunity. The promise of the poor house is no 
opportunity. What we have set up for the average American family in the 
future is the poor house.
  It does not have to be that way. We can fight among the priorities, 
but the one thing we should not by fighting about, the one thing that 
we should know that we can fix is why would there be 679 different 
renewable energy programs? Can anybody give any possible justification 
for that? It is just $15 billion a year, but if you consolidated them 
down to 20, you could save $5 billion a year. That is $50 billion over 
10 years.
  Why are there 253 different Department of Justice crime prevention 
grants? Each of them has an overhead. What we found when we studied 
this is people get a grant from one, then use the same grant 
application to go to another grant overhead in DOJ, get the grant from 
another section, another program, for exactly the same claim. The right 
hand does not know the left hand. If you consolidated them, one, you 
would get more money to each individual grant, and, No. 2, you would 
not have the duplication and fraud and lack of compliance we know these 
grant programs are loaded with. We have done the work. We have done the 
  We have actually studied them--or why are there 209? Think about 
this--science, technology, engineering, and math incentive programs, 
education programs, 13 different agencies, $3.5 billion a year. Why do 
we allow that to happen? This is the real face of who it is going to 
affect. Yet we won't do the hard work.
  It is not the appropriators' job to do that work; I understand that. 
But one of the things appropriators could do is say we are not going to 
fund any of these programs unless we consolidate them and put metrics 
on them. Finally, if they expected to come out in March--and I am so 
pleased the chairman wants to run the appropriations bills and to get 
back to normal--to say to the Judiciary Committee, if you want these 
justice grants run, consolidate them, put restrictions on them, 
streamline them, and then we will fund them.
  So everybody will know, we are prorating 1 year about $480 billion of 
money for programs that aren't authorized at all. One of the strengths 
of the Appropriations Committee could be that we could put some demands 
on the authorizing committee to clean this up.
  I want to state a couple more.
  Health care has been in the news. How many of us realize we have 91 
different health care training programs spending $14 billion a year? 
Some of my colleagues probably know that, but in the committee of 
jurisdiction they have done nothing about it.
  I don't object to spending $14 billion on health training programs or 
any of these other things as long as we are doing it wisely, but what I 
would suggest is for the 91 different programs--which should be 
probably 4 or 5--the overhead associated with the others is saved for 
the American public. We could save a significant amount of money for 
Madeline. Because the real story is our excesses, our lack of work, our 
lack of consolidation, our lack of streamlining, our lack of 
elimination and duplication, our lack of demanding the metrics so that 
we know the programs we are funding out there are working.
  We are not going to pay the price for it, nobody in this room. The 
people who are going to be paying the price for it are Madeline's 
generation. How are they going to pay for that? What is going to 
happen? What is the real cost associated with that? It is not a pretty 
picture. This is what it is: It is a markedly declining standard of 
  Most people don't know that median family income in real dollars in 
America today is at the exact same level it was in 1989, and it is 
going backward. Even with a growing economy, it is going backward. The 
assets available to a family are declining while the obligations for 
that family are increasing, and we are responsible for that. It is not 
something we can't fix, it is something we choose not to fix.
  I also would say that I have one large concern in this bill. We 
increased NIH back to $1 billion. We are still not where we were 2 
years ago, but we started with $800 million more at the Defense 
Department, duplicating programs that are already running at the NIH. 
We are making my list bigger, not smaller. We are going in the wrong 
  We have great people at the NIH. We have a great leader in Francis 
Collins. They have markedly improved the management of their grants, 
their oversight of their grants. Yet we are going to take $800 million 
and move it over to another set of overhead--with people not nearly as 
experienced, not nearly as knowledgeable. We are going to be spending 
money in the Defense Department to study things we are spending money 
for for the exact same type of thing at NIH. So we are not going to get 
great value for this money. What we are going to do is waste it. That 
$800 million should have gone to NIH and every other nonmilitary-
related medical program over there. That money should have gone to the 
  When we talk to the Senators who started this, both Tom Harkin and 
our former colleague, now deceased, Ted Stevens, they would admit to us 
in private that it was a mistake to ever start it this way, because we 
are wasting a ton of precious dollars that could be used to save 
somebody's life, but somebody has a reason for that. I don't know what 
it is, but I will say in this bill we have $68 billion of 
appropriations for the Defense Department that have nothing to do with 
the defense of this country. We don't get all of these savings if we 
take it out of the Defense Department, but we get $3 billion or $4 
billion if we take it out of the Defense Department. That $3 billion or 
$4 billion could fund NIH back at a level it should be funded or 
protect Madeline from further decline in her standard of living.
  I have made my point. I understand my perspective is not in the 
majority, but I will guarantee my perspective is with the majority of 
Americans, that we ought not to have 679 renewable energy initiatives. 
I don't think we would find anybody in the country who would disagree 
with me that they ought to be consolidated. They ought to be run 
efficiently. They ought to have metrics on them, as well as the other 
hundreds of sets of duplications.
  We are going to get another report next month from the GAO, actually 
in March. It will be their fourth. They are so discouraged because they 
do all this hard work, make recommendations, and then we sit on them. 
We don't act.
  If I were to have a challenge to my colleagues, it is first to read 
the reports over the past 4 years and look at the data that shows where 
we are really wasting money. Then, please, for Madeline and the sake of 
her generation, act on it. Don't ignore it.
  I know it is not easy work. It is hard work. I have done oversight 
for 9 years in the Senate. But it can be done, it should be done, and 
the Madelines of America are worth it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Hirono). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. The remarks by the Senator from Oklahoma are very 
interesting and telling. I listened to him carefully, and I believe 
basically he is right on the point. I believe basically that we all 
agree with the Senator that it is important to reduce the waste and 
duplication in our government. He points out a lot of it. GAO has done 
it too.
  Our staff has met with the GAO several times on ways to address this 
problem. We know the problem; we have to act on it, and we have to take 
it very seriously. GAO, as Senator Coburn said, is coming out with a 
new report. If we work on this, the government is going to be more 
efficient. We

[[Page S400]]

are going to save money, and we are going to respond to problems in 
America much better. We are a long way from doing this. I appreciate 
his remarks this afternoon and I hope a lot of my Senators were looking 
at that and listening to him.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. JOHANNS. I ask unanimous consent to speak for approximately 12 
minutes as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. JOHANNS. I rise today to discuss a bill my colleagues and I 
introduced to establish trade promotion authority, otherwise referred 
to as TPA. Senators Baucus and Hatch, along with Congressman Camp in 
the House, introduced the Congressional Trade Priorities Act only last 
week. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on it today.
  This bill would resurrect the partnership between Congress and the 
administration to promote a robust trade agenda. That partnership, 
known as TPA, came about as a way to thoughtfully and pragmatically 
exercise Congress's constitutional authority to regulate foreign 
commerce. TPA effectively combines this authority with the President's 
authority to negotiate treaties.
  Congress therefore provides the marching orders to the President, and 
the President, in turn, gets an up-or-down vote on the agreement that 
is negotiated. Some might ask why would we do this? Why should Congress 
set rules for itself to consider trade agreements through a very 
special legislative process? Simply put, negotiating modern trade 
agreements would be virtually impossible without providing some 
assurance that agreed-upon provisions, negotiated provisions, won't be 
picked apart after the negotiators shake hands.
  Trade agreements span a multitude of issues affecting international 
commerce. To reach these agreements there needs to be extensive 
negotiation by representatives of the countries involved, but Congress 
is hardly equipped to engage in multilateral negotiations with foreign 
countries. We know that. We can hardly negotiate with each other these 
  TPA allows Congress to set priorities for trade agreements and engage 
with the President throughout the process. During floor consideration, 
amendments cannot be offered because it would undermine our Trade 
Representative. It would undermine our Trade Representative's hand in 
  Imagine our negotiators signing a deal, shaking hands with our 
counterparts from other parts of the world, and then bringing the deal 
to Congress. Then, after 535 people offer a plethora of amendments, 
they have to go back to the other countries and try to reopen 
negotiations because everything has been changed. No one would ever 
negotiate a trade deal with the United States again.
  So why is that a bad thing? Should we negotiate trade agreements at 
all? I would argue, unquestionably, the answer is absolutely yes. White 
Houses from Reagan to Obama would agree.
  Furthermore, the overall benefit of free trade is undisputed by the 
economists. A free rules-based trading system is much better for 
America than a system where the government picks winners and losers, 
and it is better for American jobs when the playing field is a level 
playing field.
  I want to give an example: Colombia. In 2011 Congress passed a trade 
agreement with Colombia--already one of our most important allies in 
Latin America. That trade relationship is thriving as a result of that 
agreement. Consider this: Between 2011 and 2013 U.S. goods exports to 
Colombia have increased 18 percent. At the same time U.S. goods exports 
to the rest of the world have decreased by 2 percent. Trade agreements 
are a great benefit to Americans as well as in corners of the world 
where they need a strong ally.
  Unfortunately, that is a message that doesn't always make it through. 
Instead, we hear a chorus of scare tactics about job losses, 
environmental concerns--whatever it is. Critics ignore the proven power 
of trade to expand job opportunities and to improve the standard of 
living, not only here but around the world. At the same time the lives 
of millions of people around the world improve. Almost all economists 
would agree that countries should move toward more free trade, not 
  One need only examine tariff rates to understand why it is in our 
best interests to pursue trade agreements. U.S. barriers to trade are 
already very low by global standards. Our average tariff rate is 3.5 
percent. Compare that to our current trade negotiating partners. 
Vietnam has an average tariff rate of 10 percent. Malaysia's average is 
6 percent. Japan and the EU both have average tariff rates of 5.3 
percent. Only New Zealand has a lower rate than we do. So trade 
agreements help to level the playing field by bringing down tariffs 
imposed on our goods by our competitors. Put simply, trade agreements 
knock down barriers. They open doors for U.S. producers and 
manufacturers to get our economic engine going again.
  Critics falsely claim we are going to experience a flood of cheap 
imports as a result of new agreements.
  My friends, that simply doesn't make sense when our tariffs are 
already low. Trade agreements bring down our competitors' high tariffs. 
They level the playing field.
  The benefit to trade is especially clear for agricultural products--
huge drivers of the economy in my State. Our average tariff on these 
imported products is 5 percent. Malaysia's is 11 percent, the European 
Union's is 14 percent, Vietnam is at 17 percent, and Japan has an 
agricultural tariff rate of 23 percent. These countries all already 
have a number of trade agreements in place with other countries. That 
means we face restrictions while our competitors reap the benefits of 
the open market. We are on the sidelines while other countries are 
filling the orders and creating the jobs. Trade Promotion Authority 
paves the way to lowering these barriers and, in some cases, 
eliminating them altogether.
  Of course, tariffs are not the only barriers our exporters face, and 
TPA would help us address the others too. Countries also impose 
nontariff barriers, often claiming some illegitimate basis in science, 
and they have brought our industries to their knees. Modern trade 
agreements address those barriers as well, and we cannot get good trade 
agreements inked without TPA.
  In general, the U.S. abides by true science-based trade standards. 
This is less common, however, in the rest of the world, to say the 
least. Trade agreements help bring export markets in line with the same 
kind of science-based standards that we apply to our imports. So if you 
are concerned about foreign countries blocking American exports, you 
should support TPA. Without TPA it becomes much harder to open those 
markets for American workers.
  We should all get behind this TPA bill and get it across the finish 
line so that new trade agreements can clear the way for more Americans 
to be hired as export demand increases.
  I am pleased President Obama now recognizes the immense benefit that 
trade provides to our great Nation. Despite being all talk and no 
action on trade early on, this administration is currently negotiating 
the two largest trade agreements in history. In my opinion, it is time 
for the partisan bickering to end. There are clear job-creating 
benefits to our country, and it is time for the President to make that 
case to the American people and to his allies in Congress.
  In a couple of weeks the President will have an opportunity to do so 
in the State of the Union address. I hope he follows through. Given the 
ambition of potential agreements across the Pacific and the Atlantic, 
the President must lay the groundwork, the vision, for the passage of 
this legislation. Creating jobs in this Nation is too important to 
leave at the mercy of electioneering politics. It really is time to 
act. So my hope is we will pass TPA quickly so we can put Americans 
back to work.
  Madam President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S401]]

  Mr. SESSIONS. My late colleague Senator Byrd liked to say there have 
been two great Senates in the history of the world: The U.S. Senate and 
the Roman Senate. He understood the special and crucial role the Senate 
fulfills in our constitutional Republic. The Senate is where the great 
issues of our time are supposed to be examined, reviewed, and discussed 
before the whole Nation, in public. Yet in the last few years we have 
witnessed the dramatic erosion of Senators' rights and the dismantling 
of an open process.
  We fund the government through massive omnibus bills. This is the 
bill before us now--1,583 pages stacked up here before us that no one 
really has a chance to read or evaluate or analyze. Senators are 
stripped of their rights to offer amendments. We won't have amendments. 
Bills are rushed through on the threat of panic, crisis or shutdown. 
Pass it today or the government shuts down. Secret deals rule the day. 
Work is done outside the public view, and so millions of Americans are 
essentially robbed of their ability to participate in the process by 
examining what their Senators do.
  Under the tenure of Majority Leader Reid, the Senate is rapidly 
losing its historic role as that great deliberative body. If this 
continues, America will have lost something very precious.
  One of the tactics by which Majority Leader Reid has suppressed 
Senators' rights and blocked open debate is the technique called 
``filling the tree.'' This basically means that when a bill comes to 
the floor, the leader will use his right of first recognition to fill 
all the available amendment slots on a bill and then block anyone else 
from offering an amendment. One man stands in the way of his 99 
  I say one man, but not really all alone does he stand there. His 
power exists only as long as his Democratic colleagues support his 
blocking of amendments.
  This prevents the body from working its will. It prevents legislation 
from being improved by amendment, and it prevents Senators from being 
accountable to their voters on the great issues of the day. This is, of 
course, why it is done. It has nothing to do with time. It is done 
because the majority leader does not want to have his colleagues vote.
  Our majority leader has used this tactic--filling the tree--80 times 
already. To put this in perspective, the six previous majority leaders 
filled the tree only 49 times combined. Senator Reid has filled the 
tree on 30 more occasions than the six previous leaders combined. In so 
doing, he denies the citizens of each State their equal representation 
in the Senate. Majority Leader Reid, in his efforts to protect his 
conference from casting difficult votes in order to shield them from 
accountability, has essentially closed the amendment process. He has 
shut down one of the most important functions that Senators exercise to 
represent the interests of their constituents.
  Recently, this tactic manifested itself in a dramatic way. To the 
surprise and shock of many, the December spending agreement contained a 
provision to cut the lifetime pension payments of current and future 
military retirees, including wounded warriors, by as much as $120,000 
over their retirement period. Other Senators and I have had many ideas 
about how to fix this problem, but we were blocked from offering them 
by the majority leader. I tried to offer an amendment to replace the 
cuts by closing a fraud loophole used by illegal immigrants--cited by 
the Department of the Treasury--to claim billions of dollars in free 
tax credits they are not entitled to--billions. It would more than pay 
for this. But Senator Reid and his conference Members, save one--one 
broke ranks--stood together to block my amendment from a vote.
  So I would ask my colleagues: Are you comfortable with this? Do you 
like having to beg and plead with one person for the right to offer an 
amendment in the Senate? Do you believe the Senate should operate 
according to the power of one man?
  This omnibus bill, though it restores pensions for our heroic wounded 
warriors, leaves more than 90 percent of those cuts in place. Shouldn't 
we be allowed to offer amendments to provide a fair fix for all our 
warriors and veterans?
  But blocking amendments is only one of the many abuses. The other 
erosion of the Senate has also been front and center in the budgeting 
process. We are now in our fifth year without adopting a budget 
resolution. We went over 4 years without the Senate even passing a 
budget, as required by plain law in the 1974 Budget Act. Instead, 
taxpayer dollars are being spent through a series of late-minute 
negotiations and legislative pay caps that are driven through the 
  Then we face a massive omnibus bill--this 1,583-page monstrosity--
which is rushed to passage without any amendments or meaningful review. 
The American people have no real ability to know what is in it or to 
hold us, their elected representatives, accountable. That is, of 
course, why it is being done.
  Today the Senate and the House are considering another omnibus bill, 
one that will spend more than $1 trillion, with thousands of items of 
government spending crammed into this single legislative proposal. The 
bill will be sped through under the threat of government shutdown, with 
very little debate and no ability to amend.
  If you don't accept what is in the bill and vote for it and pass it, 
Senator Reid says, I will accuse you of blocking the bill and shutting 
the government down. You don't dare vote no. So it is yet another time 
when we must pass it to find out what is in it. My staff and I have had 
less than 48 hours to digest this behemoth, but already we have found 
provisions that would not survive if considered in the regular order 
where we have amendments.
  How is the process supposed to work? Each year, Congress is supposed 
to adopt a budget resolution. The law requires it. Then, based on 
spending levels contained in the budget resolution, individual 
committees report 12 authorization bills. I serve on the Armed Services 
authorization committee. Based on the expertise and experience of 
Members serving in those committees, they authorize spending. Senator 
Levin is our Armed Services Committee chair. Senator Inhofe is the 
ranking member. Senator McCain is on the committee. These are people 
who have given years of their life to understanding the challenges of 
military matters.
  Then the 12 subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee are to 
produce appropriations bills for their area of the budget, such as 
defense, homeland security, and agriculture, which are then to be 
individually considered, debated and amended on the Senate Floor. So 
they actually appropriate the funds that the authorization committees 
authorize to be funded. That is the way the process is supposed to 
work. This gives each Member, when the appropriations bill hits the 
floor, a chance to review and analyze each part of the budget and offer 
suggestions for saving money, improving efficiency, and better serving 
the taxpayers. That is the way it is supposed to work.

  But under the tenure of Senator Reid the budgeting process has been 
totally mismanaged. We have ceased consideration of appropriations 
bills altogether, basically, relying more and more on autopilot 
continuing resolutions and catch-all behemoth spending packages like 
this one. In fiscal year 2006, for example, every single appropriations 
bill was debated, amended, and passed in the Senate. In 2006 every one 
was passed, considered, and voted on, and that was good. That is better 
than we had been doing in the previous years. There were failures 
during the previous years.
  But in 2013--here we are, here--the red indicates that no bill was 
passed in the Senate. In 2013, again in 2014, none were individually 
passed. All the funding was done as part of this omnibus process.
  I want my colleagues to look at this one more time. The green shows 
that the bill was brought forward to the floor and was passed. The 
yellow shows it was brought forward out of committee but not passed on 
the floor. The red shows it was not even brought to the floor, brought 
out of committee to the floor to be considered. Do you see how the red 
has continued in the outyears?
  What is happening today is contrary to good policy. It is contrary to 
the whole idea of what a Senate and a Congress ought to be doing. We 
have to stop it. I know we have had a lot of frustrations lately, but 
that does not excuse this trend. It has to end.

[[Page S402]]

  In my first year as a Senator--I guess the second year I was a 
Senator, 1998--every bill was passed. Every bill was passed in 2010. 
But we have gotten away from that completely. We can go back to that. 
It is not impossible. Those bills when I first came here were all 
debated and amended on the floor and went to conference with the House 
to settle our disagreements, and then a bill was sent to the President 
for his signature or veto. Over time, however, that has happened less 
and less frequently, to the point that nowadays we do not debate 
appropriations bills at all.
  Look, Senator Mikulski is a great leader in the Senate and one of the 
people I admire greatly, and so are Senator Shelby and others. How we 
got into this process I do not know. But I will just say this: I think 
it is fair to say that Republicans have clearly advocated for bringing 
the bills to the floor and having debates on them. I--ranking on the 
Budget Committee--have clearly advocated we process a budget the way we 
are supposed to do. But Senator Reid has made the decision, backed by 
his conference, to not bring up these bills. It is a political 
decision. It is a decision to avoid having to take votes on disputed 
questions of what should be funded and what should not be funded. That 
is the problem we are in. So we have crammed all these appropriations 
into this huge bill under threat of a government shutdown.
  A more ominous development, however, is the breakdown of the 
appropriations process in the Senate and how it is infecting the House 
of Representatives. It is spreading like the plague over there. In the 
first year of their majority, the House passed--worked and marked up 6 
of the 12 appropriations bills and sent them to the Senate, but the 
Senate did not consider a single one of them. Last year the House 
passed eight appropriations bills and sent them over to the Senate. 
Again the Senate did not act, refused to consider them individually. 
This year the futility of the efforts of the House began to show as the 
House passed only four bills. Why should they pass them and send them 
to the Senate if they are not going to be considered on the floor in a 
normal, regular order? So they are beginning to erode what they have 
been doing.
  All of us, both parties, have a responsibility to reverse these 
trends. All of us have a responsibility to return to regular order. It 
is in the national interest. It is the right thing to do. All of us owe 
our constituents an open, deliberative process, where the great issues 
of the day are debated in full and open public view. Each Senator must 
stand and be counted on these issues, not hide under the table and 
avoid being held accountable. The democratic process is messy, 
sometimes contentious, and often difficult. People disagree. But it is 
precisely this legislative tug-of-war, this back-and-forth which forges 
a national consensus.
  While secret deals may keep the trains running on time in the short 
run, sometimes they keep the train running in the wrong direction--a 
direction different from what the American people would like to see. 
Sometimes it hides bad spending, bad appropriations, bad legislation 
that ought to be exposed in the light of day.
  Secret deals rushed through without public involvement only deepen 
our divisions, delay progress, increase distrust, and make it harder to 
achieve the kinds of real reforms the American people have been 
thirsting for and demanding.
  Having to cast many votes on tough issues really does clarify those 
issues and what the differences are amongst us. That process, I truly 
believe, openly conducted, can lay the groundwork for more progress 
than we have today and reduce contention. It will clarify facts and 
then lead to the finding of common ground. Only through an open 
legislative process can we create the kind of dialog, the kind of 
debate, and ultimately the kind of change necessary to put this country 
back on the right track.
  I am going to continue to work to restore the regular order. I really 
believe it is important. I respect my colleagues. I am hearing more and 
more my Democratic colleagues expressing these same concerns, and I 
think there is some unease at the extent to which this process in the 
Senate has been undermined.
  Maybe we can make progress and return to the great open debate and 
regular order that has made the Senate the wonder of the legislative 
  I yield the floor. 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. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, pending before the Senate is something 
called the consolidated appropriations bill. It is consolidated because 
it consolidates the work of 12 separate subcommittees. As the chair of 
the full committee, I also chair a subcommittee called commerce, 
justice, science. I would like to say that what we did in our bill 
advanced, really, the protection of the United States in terms of 
Federal law enforcement, important domestic violence programs, but also 
we promoted trade and new ideas in science. I would like to share what 
we did. Before I do, I want to explain--many people do not understand, 
at this point, the Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee.
  The Budget Committee gives us the macro picture, what should be spent 
on discretionary spending, mandatory spending--spending for veterans 
benefits, which I believe ought to be mandatory--and also what our tax 
policy should be. Senator Murray of Washington State led that effort. 
We passed that bill in April. We tried to go to conference, but there 
was objection to it. Finally, after 3 weeks of shutdown, we were able 
to get a budget.
  This committee was given the job, after the budget was passed, to do 
the work of the Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations Committee 
takes the work of the Budget Committee and puts it in the Federal 
checkbook, line by line.
  I would like to elaborate on that, but I know the Senator from New 
Hampshire has come to the floor--one of our newer members of the 
committee, but she is not new to good government. She comes to the 
Senate with an incredible background of serving New Hampshire, 
particularly in the executive branch as Governor. She brings a sense of 
what government can do--that Yankee frugality for which New Hampshire 
is known.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I thank the esteemed chair of the 
Appropriations Committee for her kind words, and especially for all of 
the work she has done to get us to this point where we have an 
appropriations bill before us. I know she has worked very hard with 
Ranking Member Shelby, the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal 
Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey.
  It was Senator Mikulski's leadership on this bill that got us to an 
agreement to fund the government for the rest of 2014, and to do it in 
a way that will support job creation, economic growth, and our national 
security. So I thank the chairman.
  I am a new member of the Appropriations Committee. I am currently the 
chair of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, and so I also want to 
thank Senator Hoeven, the ranking member of our subcommittee. It has 
been a real pleasure to work with him to draft the subcommittee work 
for the Legislative Branch Subcommittee.
  For New Hampshire, this bill includes funding for the continued 
development for the new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, of which we are 
very proud. The first round of those tankers will be based at Pease Air 
National Guard Base in New Hampshire.
  It also makes investments in the new military construction project at 
the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. We are very proud in New Hampshire of 
both Pease and the shipyard because they play a very important role in 
our national defense. These strategic investments will create jobs, 
boost the State's economy, and support our men and women in uniform.
  I am also very pleased that this omnibus bill funds the Beyond Yellow 
Ribbon Program. This is a program that connects service men and women 
and their families with community support, training, and other 
services. As

[[Page S403]]

we look at the men and women coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, the 
Beyond Yellow Ribbon Program has been a very important program to help 
reconnect those returning servicemembers to their community. It has 
also been very important in New Hampshire. The Beyond Yellow Ribbon 
Program has been critical in States such as New Hampshire with many 
members of our National Guard and Reserve returning from duty overseas.
  The legislation before us also funds the complete activation of the 
Berlin prison, just as it funds the Bureau of Prisons. In New Hampshire 
that funding is going to allow us to get to a full complement of about 
340 local jobs in northern New Hampshire, which is very critical to the 
northern part of our State. It is going to provide a $40 million annual 
boost to the economy in northern New Hampshire.
  I am especially appreciative to the chairwoman of the committee and 
to all of the members for the effort to help the fishing men and women 
in New Hampshire who have just been devastated by declining fish 
populations. The bill authorizes $75 million in disaster relief for 
those members of our fishing community, so many of whom have had their 
whole livelihoods taken away from them. This disaster relief money is 
going to help them during these difficult times. It will help them to 
recover and rebuild what I believe is one of the most critical economic 
sectors still in New England. It is certainly one of the oldest.
  I am also pleased that this bill reverses some of the reckless cuts 
from sequestration and instead makes important investments in the 
future of this country--in our education, infrastructure, and in 
science and innovation.
  Yet it also makes strategic cuts. For example, one of my favorites in 
the bill is that it prohibits taxpayer-funded expenditures on oil 
paintings for public officials. This is an idea that Senator Coburn and 
I have been working on over the last year, and I think it is exactly 
the kind of government spending we need to get rid of. It sends a 
message--a signal. Even though it is not a lot of money, it is symbolic 
for the public to know we are trying to address anything we can, and 
this is one piece we can agree on, and hopefully it will lead to 
others. The bill also requires all Federal agencies to become better 
stewards of taxpayer dollars because it invests in inspectors general 
in agencies across the Federal Government. Inspectors general help 
those agencies better identify waste and cut spending.
  While making smart cuts, the bill also invests in priorities, such as 
science and innovation. It provides more funding for medical and energy 
research and development. Very important efforts are under way at the 
National Institutes of Health. They are finally going to see some 
relief in this bill.
  It supports education, including funding programs such as Head Start, 
which have been cut under sequestration. Head Start has been cut in New 
Hampshire. It is particularly important because the more we learn about 
the importance of how children learn, the more we understand how 
critical early childhood education--programs such as Head Start--are to 
their future development.
  The bill also makes infrastructure investments, something on which we 
have been too far behind in this country. It is going to help us as we 
look at rebuilding our Nation's deficient roads and bridges and 
creating jobs.
  As we all know--and I know the chairwoman would readily admit--this 
bill is not a perfect bill, but the legislation before us is a product 
of the kind of bipartisan compromise that we have to have more of in 
Washington these days.
  While I am very pleased that the bill addresses military retirement 
cuts for some retirees--survivor widows, survivor benefits, and for the 
disabled--we still need to keep working until those cuts are repealed 
entirely for all military retirees. It is something that I have 
introduced legislation on, and I will continue to work on it. I know 
there is a commitment from so many of us here in the Chamber to address 
  I will also continue to work to provide full funding for the Low 
Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, which helps seniors and 
low-income New Hampshire families pay their heating bills, especially 
during the cold winter months. This bill makes a small increase in that 
program, but unfortunately, it is not enough to address the challenges 
so many families in New Hampshire and in the cold parts of this country 
are facing as we continue through this very cold winter.

  Small businesses in New Hampshire have not forgotten that during the 
shutdown they faced uncertainty and declining revenues. Federal 
employees in New Hampshire struggled to make ends meet while being 
furloughed, and that shutdown--a completely manufactured and 
unnecessary crisis--cost this economy $24 billion.
  I think--in talking to business people around New Hampshire and 
around the country--one of the most important things that this bill 
does is it takes the prospect of another manufactured crisis off the 
table. It puts in place a responsible plan to grow this economy, create 
jobs, and it takes away the uncertainty that has so plagued families 
and businesses across this country.
  I had the opportunity this week to meet with the head of the business 
roundtable. One of the things he pointed out to me is that right now we 
are seeing the lowest percentage of private investment in our economy 
that we have seen in a very long time--in decades. It is most important 
that we in Washington provide the business community some certainty so 
they will make those investments because that is how we create jobs.
  We need to put people back to work, and I think this legislation goes 
a long way to create that certainty and say to the business community 
and to those people who are unemployed: We are going to keep working on 
your behalf. We are going to try to make those investments and make 
sure we create the jobs to put you back to work, to keep this economy 
strong and growing, and to keep this country competitive.
  In closing, I just want to say to my colleagues that now is the time 
for us to build on this bipartisan success we have seen and that the 
chairwoman has been able to accomplish with all of her other 
negotiators. We have this opportunity to build on that and to further 
promote job creation and economic growth.
  Our country needs us to work together on behalf of small businesses, 
on behalf of the middle class, and on behalf of families. We need to 
pass this bill. We need to keep working together and address the 
challenges this country faces.
  I urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to support this bill.
  I yield the floor, and again I thank the chairwoman for her efforts.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. The Senator from New Hampshire is very generous with 
her remarks, and I want to respond by saying a few things.
  First of all, the way the Senator speaks about New Hampshire is the 
way I also speak about Maryland. When people think about government 
spending, they think it just goes out in the ether and doesn't generate 
anything. As the Senator has said, what is spent by the Federal 
Government really creates jobs in the private sector.
  She spoke about prisons. First of all, we appreciate New Hampshire's 
willingness to accept a prison. Many States don't want them, shy away 
from them or are afraid of them. New Hampshire has really met a 
national need, and we know that the staffing that will be provided by 
the exceptional, patriotic work ethic of the people of New Hampshire 
will keep our country safe.
  Those same guards and administrative staff will be out in their 
community spending money on housing, at the local grocery store, maybe 
needing a wedding planner or whatever. So that is one area.
  In terms of New England fisheries--for those of us who are coastal 
Senators, we know what that means. Fishing and seafood is part of our 
history, and it is actually part of our State's identity. For us in the 
Senate, the coastal Senators have kind of an affinity with each other 
for it.
  We thank the Senator from New Hampshire for what she has done.
  I also want to comment that the subcommittee on legislative affairs 
that you chair also--it is not like it funds legislators. It funds 
things such as the Capitol Police, who are sentry here doing their job.
  I thank my colleague for her work, and we are so pleased to have her 
on the committee.

[[Page S404]]

  Mrs. SHAHEEN. I thank the chairwoman very much.
  Mr. NELSON. Madam President, would the Senator yield?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I just want to take this opportunity to 
thank the two Senators who are present. In America's space program, 
which was potentially on a downward slope, the two Senators have 
crafted an appropriation that will keep us with a very robust American 
space program, including the first ``A'' in NASA, which is aeronautics. 
From science to the new big rocket, its capsule Orion, to the 
commercial, to the unmanned program exploring the heavens, the 
chairwoman and the ranking member have it right. I wanted to take this 
opportunity to express my profound thanks. The Senators are continuing 
the dream that we built on 3 years ago.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I thank the Senator from Florida. It is wonderful for 
both me and Senator Shelby. Senator Nelson is an astronaut Senator. To 
hear an astronaut Senator say he thinks we are doing the job right 
means a lot.
  The Senate has been blessed by having three astronaut Senators: 
Senator Jake Garn, a Republican from Utah, Senator John Glenn of Ohio, 
and Senator Bill Nelson.
  Some of us have been in orbit a long time, but Senator Nelson 
actually knew what he was doing. So I thank my colleague very much. We 
are trying to add gravity to this bill.
  Mr. NELSON. The Senators are doing it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, I want to pick up on what Senator 
Mikulski was talking about. Senator Nelson has not only been an 
advocate for the space program for NASA--and he is. As most everybody 
knows, has been up there. I was traveling with him one time, and I 
believe we were over Asia, and he was showing me from the plane--we 
couldn't see as well as he could--the rotation. I was very impressed.
  He has been a stalwart in the advancement of the space program. We 
both worked hand in glove with him.
  I do believe this is a pretty good appropriation considering where we 
are. I am hoping we will get back to regular order since Senator 
Mikulski and I have advocated for this. We are hoping maybe later today 
we can vote this bill out with a vote like the House had yesterday.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, I am pleased to come to the floor 
today to follow-up on the very eloquent remarks by the Senator from New 
Hampshire and the ranking member and chairwoman.
  I am here today to offer a few comments about the appropriations 
bill. But before I do, I thank the chairwoman and the ranking member 
for really being a great inspiration to all of us. Amidst all of the 
controversy and dustups and toxic atmosphere and nonpartisanship going 
on--or lack of cooperation going on--it is wonderful to see the two of 
them working so closely together on a bill that is so important to the 
  As the great Senator from New Hampshire said: This is a bill for the 
people, for jobs, and for our economy. It sends very positive signals 
across a breadth of industries where the Federal Government is stepping 
up to be a more reliable partner in these public-private partnerships 
that are represented in the funding of this bill--whether it is 
building our highways, building our space programs, funding our 
Department of Defense, sending money to cities and counties that are 
doing all sorts of innovative and remarkable things with community 
development block grant funding with a lot of private partners.
  Contrary to popular belief and contrary to some things you might hear 
on the radio and on television these days, the Federal budget does a 
lot more than fund the government. It does a lot more than funding 
government employees. It is sending out literally millions of green 
lights to small business contractors and to large businesses saying, 
Let's go. The yellow light was blinking a few days ago; the red light 
has been on for the last couple of years. This bill literally sends out 
millions of blinking green lights saying: Get to work. Let's go to 
business. Let's build highways. Let's build levees. Let's build a space 
program. Let's invest in the middle class.

  In addition, I wish to say how proud I am that under the leadership 
of Senator Mikulski, she has managed to do this within budget 
constraints. This is not a free spending bill; this is a smart spending 
bill within constraints so we are also mindful of reducing our debt 
over time, mindful about paying down our bills.
  That is what is so remarkable about this and why I am so proud to 
support it. I hope we can get as strong a vote as the House did on this 
bill to show strong bipartisan support, because while it does address 
our debt and our deficit, it does so in a smart way with investments in 
what we have agreed to that make a difference to the private sector.
  I can tell my colleagues that in Louisiana this is going to have 
immediate positive effects, and I wish to highlight a few of those now 
in terms of the Homeland Security bill. I am proud and happy to be the 
chairwoman of the Homeland Security appropriations bill. I have worked 
very closely with my colleague Senator Carper, who is chair of the 
authorizing committee, and our ranking members, Senator Coburn and 
Senator Coats, as we authorize stronger parts of Homeland Security and 
then fund some of these initiatives. I will hit the highlights of just 
three or four.
  One of them is the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is in our Homeland 
Security bill. It is a very important component of our government. It 
is one of the most popular components of our government--popular 
broadly with business and with people. It is, of course, very popular 
with the people the Coast Guard has saved from drowning or from wrecks 
in our open seas, but also for the hundreds of companies and businesses 
that have contracts with the Coast Guard to provide some real cutting-
edge shipbuilding that needs to go on in this country. The Senator from 
Alabama knows this, the Senators from Mississippi know this, the 
Senators from Maine, the Senators from Louisiana. We have lost a great 
deal of shipbuilding in our country to other countries. It is important 
that we keep as much shipbuilding here through the Homeland Security 
bill and through the Defense bill here in America--ships that are made 
in America, ships serving Americans, providing good, solid jobs.
  I am proud to support this, along with the tremendous support of 
Senator Cochran, who is a member of my committee, and particularly 
Senator Begich, from Alaska, who fought very hard for a good outcome on 
the Coast Guard budget, which is above the administration's request and 
has a modest increase and will be supporting so many important projects 
for our Coast Guard and the men and women of our Coast Guard. It 
provides $10.2 billion overall, which is a significant increase, and we 
did so within our budget constraints.
  Another piece I wish to highlight is our enforcement of Immigration 
and Customs laws. We are in a big debate about immigration reform and 
the importance of finding common ground on immigration reform for the 
benefit of our businesses and our economy here in America that demand 
clear rules of the road, clear processes for people to become citizens 
and to pay their taxes, who have come here legally, and for people who 
are here without the current legal papers to give them a path to 
citizenship once taxes are paid, once they get in line behind people 
who have come here legally. Protecting our borders is an important 
component of that as well. In our bill we have put the resources 
necessary behind enforcing those tough immigration standards and 
  We are protecting our border, providing resources for the bill, and 
that is important to many people in this country as well as people in 
Louisiana, to have an immigration system that makes sense as well as to 
provide appropriate jobs and labor to come in and help with so many of 
the jobs we have in Louisiana today.
  We also had a focus in our bill--I think the chairwoman will be happy 
to hear this--about stepping up an additional 2,000 Customs officers at 
our airports. We have an international airport in New Orleans. We get a 
lot of international travel. We may be a little

[[Page S405]]

city, but we fight way above our weight, as does our State, when it 
comes to international travel. We are a very sought-after destination 
and we are very happy about that. But there are other States such as 
New York and Nevada and Chicago that have international travel. Even 
the State of the Presiding Officer, North Dakota, which is a smaller 
State--there is a tremendous amount of business coming into the State 
of North Dakota, both domestic and international, because of their oil 
and gas jobs and their energy sector jobs. What a howdy-do it is, 
arriving at our airport or to work with businesses here, or to partner 
with businesses here to create jobs, and one has to wait in line in 
Customs for 5 hours. That is no way to greet business men and women 
bearing gifts of investment and money for our country.
  I have taken a strong leadership position on this with the travel and 
trade organizations, both in hospitality and in international business. 
I wish to thank their coalition for fighting hard to make sure this 
bill reflects the fact that business is global, it is international. 
Our business people are out and in all the time, building wealth for 
America and, hopefully, the world, but for America, and business people 
come here to help create wealth and help our middle class to grow. 
Having Customs agents who operate, making lines shorter, will certainly 
help that, while keeping our country safe, but also keeping it open for 
business. Louisiana is a trading State and we are a big port State. We 
understand trade, we understand international business, and I am happy 
to be able to fight hard for those priorities.
  I wish to mention two other issues. Many committees are working on 
cyber security. Homeland Security does not take the lead on cyber 
overall; the Department of Defense and National Security Agency do. But 
when it comes to securing our government and our government private 
sector partners, Homeland Security does take the lead. We have stepped 
up some investments in cyber security. As the Senator from Alabama most 
certainly understands in his leadership role, this is a real threat not 
only to our government, to the Department of Defense, to our government 
as a whole, but to many businesses in America--private, large 
businesses, and medium and small. They are feeling the effects of these 
saboteurs and attackers. The government has to stay focused and well 
invested, working with the private sector, to make sure our defenses 
and our security are up, and our bill recognizes that.
  Finally, something close to my heart and close to my home is the 
funding for disaster relief. I hope no one ever has to go through what 
we went through along the gulf coast for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I 
know everybody has had terrible storms and floods. But there has never 
been a storm or a disaster such as this, and I pray to the Lord there 
will never be another one after it. The damage that was done in dollar 
amounts, the damage that was done across a vast stretch of land, from 
Alabama to Texas, the devastation it caused in terms of numbers of 
homes and businesses lost is unparalleled.

  Sandy was a terrible superstorm, and because the northeast is more 
dense than we are down South, they lost more homes technically than we 
did, because the dollar damage is still far exceeding in the aftermath 
of Katrina and Rita. But whether it is Sandy in the east or whether it 
is floods in North Dakota, which they have had their share of, or 
Colorado or whether it is storms on the gulf coast, we have to be ready 
with money to send immediately when people need help.
  I am going to say this because it has been a matter of argument 
between some here: When a disaster strikes, I am not going to look for 
an offset. I am going to look for the Coast Guard and FEMA to show up 
with the equipment they have to help people who are either drowning, on 
their roofs, or watching their houses burn to the ground. I am not 
going to look for an offset. So as long as I am chairman of this bill, 
we will have money in this bill to use on an emergency basis when 
emergencies occur, as they do fairly regularly, unfortunately, in the 
States we represent down in the gulf coast. Because we are right in the 
middle of that hurricane alley, these storms are getting bigger and 
more fierce, and we have to be at the ready.
  We have helped Maryland. We have money in for Sandy recovery and 
there is money in here still for the ongoing recovery. It is phasing 
out now in the gulf coast, but there are still some projects that have 
ongoing work, even 9 years after Katrina and Rita.
  Let me say it has been a pleasure to work with my colleagues. I wish 
to thank the members of my committee, particularly my ranking member 
Dan Coats from Indiana, and I really want to thank Senators Begich and 
Cochran for their great work with the Coast Guard and helping me 
negotiate this through the process. Again, I think these are just some 
of the highlights of our bill. Nothing would have been possible without 
Senator Mikulski and her determination to get the green light on, 
because people in my town, in my State are tired of yellow and red. 
They want to work. They want to go to work. They want to build 
buildings and build roads and get projects underway. We have lots of 
permits pending that the money in this bill will allow to be released. 
So I am proud to vote for it. This is all about jobs, economic 
competitiveness for America, and good jobs for Louisiana. I am sure 
every Senator, or almost every Senator, will say the same about this 
bill, because it was well done. It is a job well done.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Madam President, I rise today to again express my great 
disappointment about a matter of importance to Wyoming and many other 
public land States that have not been properly addressed by this 
omnibus bill in the Senate. Instead of producing a legislative solution 
based on discussions with our colleagues, debate and consideration in 
committee, and a fair and complete process on the floor, we have a bill 
before us that was put together by making another deal. Simply put, the 
Senate fails to do its job when we refuse to allow a fair, free, and 
open debate about an issue that is of such great concern to the people 
who will be affected by the decision.
  It is no secret; anyone who has seen the Senate in operation as we 
take up this legislation will know that the back-room deal does not 
include critical funding that nearly 1,900 counties in 49 States--49 
States; that is all but 1--and 3 U.S. territories rely on. One would 
think this kind of participation would draw an extraordinary amount of 
interest by us all to make sure this bill was written with the best 
interests of all the States and all of our constituents in mind. 
Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.
  So what program is it that draws such interest from 1,900 counties, 3 
territories, 49 States--concern from such a widespread portion of our 
Nation? I am speaking, of course, of payments in lieu of taxes. It is a 
program that has been in place for decades; it is not an issue that is 
new to the Senate. That is why I recently led an effort by several of 
my Senate colleagues urging that appropriators include this critical 
funding in the Interior appropriations. If they had done that, we would 
have already completed the work to produce a well-reasoned, well-
thought-out answer to an issue of such importance to the States. 
Unfortunately, our efforts seem to have fallen on deaf ears, so here I 
am before my colleagues hoping with all my heart that I can make the 
Senate understand how crucial this funding is to almost every State in 
the Union.
  This body often overlooks the important role of local government in 
the lives of our constituents. I know this because before I came to the 
Senate I served as a mayor, as did another handful of people in this 
body, and I know there are several others who have been county 
officials. Communities and counties are responsible for providing fire 
protection, law enforcement, sanitation, public health, and education, 
just to name a few. They provide these services largely by raising 
revenue. One common source is through property taxes. In States where 
there is little federally owned land, local communities have a large 
number of private homeowners to help provide these services. However, 
there are States where the Federal Government decided to retain most if 
not a majority of its ownership of the land. The problem is that these 
Federal lands cannot be taxed.

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Yet local governments must still provide critical fire, law 
enforcement, and health services in these areas and for the people who 
work on them. In order to make up this shortfall, Congress created 
payment in lieu of taxes to compensate local governments to offset the 
losses caused by having nontaxable Federal lands within their 

  For decades, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program has provided 
counties and local governments with funding to help meet critical 
community needs. One of the reasons the Payment in Lieu of Taxes 
Program was instituted was because of the creation of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act, which placed a major hurdle on the Federal 
Government from disposing of public lands. In place of the Federal 
Government's ability to move land from Federal to private ownership 
Congress decided to reimburse county and local governments with 
payments that would replace the revenue lost from the property taxes 
they would have received if those Federal lands had been transferred to 
private ownership. It seemed the only fair thing to do back then, and 
it is still only fair to live up to our obligations as a nation to 
provide the States with the revenue they are losing because of the laws 
we have enacted.
  I have to tell you, we are talking about 1,900 counties in the United 
States; 49 States. In some of those counties, it is 40 percent to 80 
percent of their total revenue. That is a big cut to make--in 1 year. 
No transition, just boom, gone. How do you adjust to that if you are 
those local government people trying to figure out how to balance your 
budget? After all, I am not aware of anybody who lives at the Federal 
level. They all live at the local level. So it is the local folks who 
have to take care of the people.
  If we fail to adequately address this issue, we are forcing our 
communities to make do with less--a lot less--because we are breaking a 
promise we have made. By doing so, we are forcing them to reduce--or 
even eliminate--the vital resources upon which their citizens rely.
  I wish to emphasize and make it clear that this is not an additional 
source of revenue. It is not a bonus. County and local governments 
depend on this revenue when they plan their budgets each year. It is 
part of the law. They count on it, and without it, their budgets are 
stretched and strained and they will be bankrupt.
  The decision by the Appropriations Committee to not include the vital 
payment in lieu of taxes funding in the omnibus will place counties 
across the country in very difficult positions and great financial 
hardship for them all, especially since there was no transition, there 
was no warning. It was just done.
  We need to stop playing games with the Payment in Lieu of Taxes 
Program and find a way to ensure it is adequately and fairly funded now 
and for years to come. We could learn a lesson from local governments. 
I remind you, that is where everyone lives. Many are obligated to have 
a balanced budget. That forces communities to budget in advance, debate 
priorities, and stick to considering spending measures through the 
normal legislative process.
  As we look for ways to adequately fund payment in lieu of taxes, we 
also need to be sure we are not robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was 
extremely disappointed about the provision in the conference report--
now, a conference report comes to us for an up-or-down vote. We do not 
have any chance to debate them on the floor. We do not have a chance to 
amend it. But the conference report for the highway reauthorization in 
2012 robbed the abandoned mine land trust fund--trust fund--to pay for 
the payment in lieu of taxes obligation that time. They got paid, 
though, but we stole from a trust fund to do it. Again, it was a 
conference report, so there was no opportunity for amendments on it--
just like this omnibus. States rely on those funds to clean up high-
priority abandoned mines. We should not pit those funds against each 
  Yes, the Federal Government is out of money. We are going to have to 
prioritize. We are going to have to move some things around. We are 
going to have to bring down the deficits so eventually we can hopefully 
bring down the debt. This is not the only time we have been doing this 
sort of thing.
  Twice now we have robbed the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. 
Where do they get their money? Any private company--private company, 
not Federal company--any private company that has a pension fund has to 
pay a tax into this Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so that in 
case they go out of business, the people who were promised a retirement 
will be compensated. They will get compensated 60 percent of what they 
were promised--just 60 percent. But we have raised that amount 
dramatically twice now on private corporations that were providing 
retirement for their workers.
  That is all voluntary. They do not have to provide retirements for 
their workers. If we keep raising that amount, and it does not go to 
provide assurance that their employees will get their retirement, why 
would they keep their retirement going?
  People are going to lose retirement in the United States. Nobody is 
starting defined benefit plans right now because of the extra taxes we 
are putting on it. Twice now we have raised that price, and we have put 
it to something other than it was promised for. Here is the real 
kicker: We said that for the next 8 years we are going to steal that 
money, so we can spend that amount this year.
  I am not sure it is legal. How do we force future Congresses to be 
sure to pay the money--no, we will have already spent the money--so we 
are asking them to pay back the money, and we are asking them to steal 
it out of a trust fund. We have to quit stealing from the trust funds. 
That is the same thing with the abandoned mine land trust fund. That 
was stealing for 10 years to pay for 2 years. We cannot keep doing 
  Somehow we have to have the kind of budgeting we are expecting these 
local governments, these towns and cities and counties to do, where 
they have to balance their budget. We do not have to balance our 
budget. We just steal the money. But there is a point at which we 
cannot steal the money anymore.
  What do we do now next time on the Transportation bill, when we have 
already obligated 8 more years of the Pension Benefit Guaranty 
Corporation to the current highways? We will not have collected that 
yet. Where do we steal it from next time?
  Infrastructure is extremely important. We are going to have to 
eventually prioritize around here. We are going to have to do the same 
thing we expect of those towns and counties that we are stealing the 
payment in lieu of taxes money from in order to keep this business 
  The Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program represents a promise we made to 
counties and local governments all across the Nation. They are looking 
to us to see how we will act and to see how we will keep that promise. 
If we fail to do so, it will have an impact on almost every one of us 
who will surely hear about the repercussions when we go back home to 
meet with our constituents. I encourage and urge the Senate in the 
strongest terms to reconsider the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program and 
the impact we may be bringing to people across the Nation by failing to 
include it in this legislation.
  These are governments that--they have property taxes on the private 
property. What happens if the people with the private property do not 
pay their taxes? The local government gets to put a lien on it and gets 
to put it on the market. Maybe that is what we ought to do with this 
Federal land: put a lien on it, put it on the market.
  It is a debt the Federal Government said they would pay and they are 
not paying. It is payment in lieu of property taxes. If the property 
taxes are not paid, there is a way the local government can make up for 
it, but there is not if the Federal Government just decides to quit 
paying, and that is kind of what we did. We said taxes are hard to pay. 
If everybody in America said taxes are hard to pay and quit paying 
them, we would be in one heck of a fix. We cannot do that to the towns 
and counties either.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, before the Senator from Wyoming leaves 
the floor, I wish to comment about some of the things he said about

[[Page S407]]

PILT and assure him that should the ambassadorship go forward for 
China, should Ron Wyden become the chair of the Finance Committee, I 
will become the chair of the Energy Committee, and he has my commitment 
now to help him work on that.
  I am very well aware, having served on that committee for 10 years, 
how important PILT is--payment in lieu of taxes--to some of the States 
in the West, primarily less populated States. Their tax base is very 
affected by the fact that the Federal Government owns a great deal of 
  The Senator knows only 2.5 percent of my State is Federal land. 
Through the Chair, I would like to ask the Senator what percent of his 
State is Federal land.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Madam President, 49 percent of Wyoming is Federal land. We 
understand the value of having some Federal land. We like the people 
who come to visit it. But there are a lot of expenses that go with 
that, and to just jerk the money away--right away.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Yes.
  Mr. ENZI. In the committee the Senator is talking about with Senator 
Wyden, what we have always talked about is a transition to do anything. 
There are a number of ways we could transition this that I do not think 
would hurt the Federal Government or hurt the local counties, but it 
requires a lot of flexibility, it requires going through the regular 
process in committee and then coming to the floor and making some 
decisions. This is wrong to just steal it one time.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. If I could be recognized.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I want to commit to work with the Senator. I am very 
sympathetic and understand his position, and we will be talking to the 
leadership on both sides to see what we can do. It is very hard for 
that money to come away at such an abrupt time, and there are some 
issues that I know are pending before the committee where that could 
potentially get resolved. So I just wish to offer my help and support 
at the appropriate time.
  (The further remarks of Ms. Landrieu are printed in today's Record 
under ``Morning Business.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Warren). The Senator from Texas.

                         Unemployment Insurance

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, 4\1/2\ years ago the United States went 
through a terrible recession, what we now know as the great recession. 
But since that time we have had the slowest economic recovery since the 
Great Depression, and our labor force participation rate, which is a 
fancy way of saying the number of people, the percentage of people who 
are actually in the workforce looking for work, is much lower than it 
was at the height of the recession. So even though the unemployment 
rate is coming down little by little, the main reason that is true is 
because people, many people, are simply giving up looking for work. 
Last month alone 345,000 people dropped out of the workforce. Even when 
we look exclusively at workers between the age of 25 and 54, their 
participation rate is significantly lower than it was when President 
Obama took office.
  Meanwhile, 4 million people who are still in the workforce have now 
been jobless for more than 6 months. As I mentioned, if the Obama 
economic recovery had been as strong as the Reagan recovery in the 
1980s, we would currently have millions more private sector jobs. So 
what is the President's big idea for helping the economy getting back 
on track? Last night, according to published news reports, he was 
drinking martinis and plotting his 2014 political strategy with his 
fellow Democratic Party members.
  He apparently told the Democrats present--at least reportedly--that 
he would continue to go it alone if he could not get bipartisan support 
for his agenda by issuing more Executive orders. He would do that if 
Republicans did not cave in and give him every single thing he wants on 
every issue.
  So rather than talking to Republicans in bipartisan discussions about 
how we can come together on real solutions to the problems that face 
our economy and people being out of work, the President instead has 
defaulted in favor of poll-tested ideas and political gimmicks leading 
into the runup to the 2014 election.
  Sipping martinis and plotting politics while millions of Americans 
are out of work shows how out of touch the President has become, and 
unfortunately so many of the folks who vote with him on each and every 
issue that comes before the Senate. But putting last night's party 
aside for a moment, I would ask my friends across the aisle a few 
questions about the recent Senate debate about unemployment insurance.
  The first question: If extending unemployment insurance benefits for 
the long-term unemployed is so important, why did the majority leader 
not schedule a vote last month before those benefits expired on 
December 28? That is the first question.
  Second question: Why would you want to add $6.4 billion to the 
national debt, when the national debt is already $17.3 trillion? Why 
would you want to do that if you knew the bill had no chance of 
passing, because Republicans were not going to agree to a bill that 
adds to the national debt?
  You might ask whether it is hard to find $6.4 billion in an annual 
spending budget of $3.8 trillion. I will do the math for you. The $6.4 
billion is roughly .0017 percent of what the Federal Government spends 
in a given year. It seems to me that would be relatively easy to do.
  In fact, Republicans had amendments that would pay for the 3-month 
extension as well as restore the pension benefits for the military that 
were cut in the earlier budget deal. But the majority leader refused to 
allow an open amendment process that would have allowed a vote on 
either one of those. I would ask the majority leader, rhetorically--he 
is not here in the Chamber, but I am sure he has people listening--why 
is it the majority leader refused to allow any progrowth measures to 
the final bill? Republicans had a number of amendments that would have 
improved the education and training component of our unemployment 
compensation system.
  If you look at the three major causes of long-term unemployment, one 
is education. We need to deal with that. The other is family choices, 
harder for government to have an influence on. But the third is jobs 
and the job environment.
  But the majority leader blocked every single opportunity to address 
either education reforms or job training or to deal with progrowth 
measures which have actually created more jobs so fewer people would 
have to be on unemployment and more people would be able to find work, 
as I know they would prefer to do.
  So if the majority leader and our Democratic friends who joined in 
blocking every Republican idea to either pay for it or to help improve 
job training or to improve the private sector's ability to create jobs 
and allow people to go to work, I would like to hear the answer to 
  There is a much better way to fuel job creation, reduce unemployment, 
and promote upward mobility that does not involve playing politics 
while millions of Americans are looking for work. For starters, let's 
pick some of the low-hanging fruit. I bet the Presiding Officer, based 
on some of the remarks I have seen attributed to her, would agree with 
this one: The Canadian Government has spent years urging President 
Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would create thousands 
of well-paying jobs, middle-class jobs right here in the United States. 
This administration, this President, actually promised Republicans in a 
meeting he had with them last year that he would make a decision by the 
end of last year, 2013. We are still waiting for his decision. All we 
hear is the sound of crickets when it comes to the Keystone XL 
Pipeline. But this President and this White House, this administration, 
could effectively create those jobs with the stroke of a pen approving 
the Keystone XL Pipeline. It does not get much easier than that.
  Indeed, even the President's own former National Security Advisor has 
said publicly he thinks the President ought to do this, because this is 
not just an economic issue, this is not just a jobs issue. Every barrel 
of oil we transport on the Keystone XL Pipeline from a friendly country 
such as Canada means less oil we have to import from

[[Page S408]]

volatile regions of the planet such as the Middle East.
  But beyond the pipeline issue, which is the lowest of the low-hanging 
fruit in terms of creating jobs and getting the economy moving again, 
the Obama administration should generally stop hindering our domestic 
energy production. We have had a renaissance in energy in America 
thanks to innovation in the private sector, primarily the now some six-
decades-old practice of fracking, which has gotten a bad rap in some 
corners, but also horizontal drilling, pioneered by none other than 
George Mitchell of Texas who recently passed on.

  This combination of fracking and horizontal drilling has led to a 
proliferation of domestic energy supply, natural gas and oil right here 
at home. Again, every barrel, every MCF of gas we produce here 
domestically means less energy we have to import from abroad.
  We all know that nationwide the oil and gas industry represents a 
rare bright spot in the U.S. economy. According to one study, by 2035, 
unconventional oil and gas resources alone will be supporting 3.5 
million jobs and contributing $475 billion to our economy. Why would 
not the President and our Democratic friends embrace something like 
that, that would create so many jobs right here in the United States, 
instead of playing political games and plotting out the next election?
  Yet on top of that, to make matters worse, the administration is 
proposing a proliferation of new regulations on fracking that occurs on 
Federal lands. I think my friends who perhaps are not familiar with 
this process should listen. Fracking has been going on for at least 60 
years in Texas under the regulatory authority of the Texas Railroad 
Commission and local jurisdictions. But if you drill a well and you put 
the casing in and you cement it properly, there is absolutely zero 
threat to groundwater or drinking water, because the target of the 
fracking is deep below the surface. So by using good drilling practices 
and cementing of the casing, there is virtually zero threat to drinking 
water and the concerns that many people have expressed but which are 
not grounded in experience.
  Think of it this way: If the Federal Government has made such a hash 
out of health care after ObamaCare by taking over one-sixth of the 
economy and our national health care, what I worry about is what they 
would do if the Federal Government decides to take over regulation of 
fracking. Because it has been handled appropriately at the State and 
local level. I am afraid they will make a hash out of that as well.
  In addition to the other regulations I am concerned about, the 
administration has announced new regulations that would impose massive 
additional costs and deliver very little in the way of economic or 
environmental gains. More regulations are never a good idea if they put 
an additional burden on business and produce no tangible benefit to the 
environment. But they are especially harmful at a time when our 
economic recovery is so anemic and our economic recovery remains so 
fragile. We simply need to stop placing additional burden by additional 
regulations on the vital sectors of our economy that we need in order 
to grow and prosper and create new jobs, especially when there is no 
demonstrable environmental benefit.
  For that matter, let's eliminate all new regulations that do not pass 
a simple cost-benefit analysis. One new study shows that the Obama 
administration has imposed more than $112 billion worth of net 
regulatory costs on the U.S. economy and added an equivalent of 158 
million hours of additional paperwork on American businesses.
  My colleagues Senator Portman and Senator Roberts have each sponsored 
new legislation that would introduce safeguards against unnecessary 
job-killing regulations. This brings me to ObamaCare. One of the things 
that organized labor, which was one of the biggest supporters of 
ObamaCare, has now come back to the White House and complained about is 
the fact of the incentives for employers to take what was full-time 
work, a40-hour workweek and make it part-time work.
  Indeed, that is because the President's health care law defines full-
time employment as a 30-hour workweek, so people even working part time 
have to be provided full benefits that those on full-time work 
ordinarily would qualify for.
  But as a result, as many of these labor leaders told the President a 
few short months ago, many Americans have had their full-time jobs 
reduced from full time to part time. This trend will only get worse as 
the administration decides to enforce the employer mandates.
  If the majority leader would allow, we have two bills on our side of 
the aisle that would address that. Senator Collins of Maine and Senator 
Scott of South Carolina have proposed defining full-time employment as 
a 40-hour workweek that would provide some benefit and some relief to 
people who have seen their hours cut.
  One more example of low-hanging fruit: Republicans and Democrats both 
agree that education is a critical need to allowing for upward 
  With that in mind, we should be doing everything possible to support 
successful education reform initiatives across the country. Yet the 
Obama administration has done frequently the opposite. Witness what has 
happened in Louisiana where the administration is trying to derail 
Louisiana's school voucher program where parents get to choose where 
the money goes, not the government.
  This is all very easy. Some things would be harder, such as major tax 
reform, although I would point out that until recently Members of both 
parties agreed that the goal of tax reform would be to lower marginal 
rates as we eliminate a lot of the tax expenditures or deductions or 
subsidies or the like.
  We want to adopt those kinds of progrowth tax reforms, but we are 
never going to make any real progress as long as our friends across the 
aisle insist on using this to raise more money for the Federal 
Government to spend and not reduce marginal rates--in other words, to 
basically undermine the benefit of progrowth tax reform only in order 
to get an additional $1 trillion or $2 trillion to spend.
  The stalemate on tax reform reflects a broader problem in Washington. 
Despite the long-term unemployment crisis and despite the massive drop 
of people in the workforce and actually looking for work, the President 
has still failed to put forth any serious job creation agenda. Sure, he 
wants the government to take more of your hard-earned tax dollars and 
spend them, because he thinks the government can do a better job than 
you can spending your own money, but it hasn't worked. Jobs and the 
economy remain Americans' top concerns. Yet, unfortunately, the 
President is already now in full reelection mode, recognizing that in 
his second term his ability to get things done is going to be highly 
dependent on the midterm elections in November 2014. Hence, rather than 
working with Republicans to try to address these problems, there are 
team meetings at the White House sipping martinis and planning strategy 
for November 2014.
  Americans deserve better. They deserve a comprehensive job creation 
agenda that includes serious tax reform, serious regulatory reform, and 
serious health care reform, an agenda that makes it easier for business 
to hire workers and easier for families to pursue the American dream. 
We have done our best to propose such an agenda but, unfortunately, we 
are still waiting for the majority leader and the President to take us 
up on that offer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. I am going to speak briefly. My Republican colleague 
across the aisle has noted he would like to speak next.
  I want to take a moment and talk about what has been unfolding on 
Capitol Hill, with the House, Senate, the Republican caucus, and the 
Democratic caucus working together to produce an appropriations bill, a 
spending bill, a bill we refer to in Congress as an omnibus, meaning 
that it covers all 12 sections that are normally allocated within the 
appropriations or spending bill world.
  I am a new member of the Appropriations Committee. This is the first 
time I can stand on the floor and feel as though I have gone through a 
process that is something similar to what our colleagues have done in a 
bipartisan way over many generations. But that bipartisan collaboration 
has been sorely missing in the time since I first

[[Page S409]]

came to the Senate. I am pleased to see in this particular moment it is 
a ray of hope that perhaps we can restore a rational budgeting and 
spending bill process to address the issues facing America.
  I was delighted that Senator Murray led the Senate, working with 
Congressman Ryan, to produce a budget that went through both Chambers.
  I am very pleased that our two leaders in the Senate, the Senator 
from Maryland and the Senator from Alabama, brought the two sides 
together to work with the House to produce this spending bill, because 
in the absence of a spending bill that has been deliberated on, what we 
have is a continuing resolution--which means we might continue to keep 
spending the money as we did in the past, even though the needs of the 
present have diverged from the needs of the past. That is inherently 
wasteful to keep doing the same thing we did before when different 
challenges are presenting themselves to our Nation.
  I wanted to note a few of the things that were done in the course of 
this bill that I think are very relevant to the challenges we face in 
  Let me start with the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. When I 
went over to visit Oregon's men and women in uniform in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, they said: When we come home, we hope we will have a job, 
and we hope our public leaders will work to try to help those jobs be 
  Indeed, when someone comes out of that theatre of war and back into 
civil society, the structure of a job is very important to your sense 
of purpose, your sense of rhythm, your financial stability, your role 
in the family. So we have in Oregon a robust Yellow Ribbon 
Reintegration Program to help bring employers together with our men and 
women who were in uniform overseas but have now come home. We have so 
many who serve in the Guard who have gone overseas. They don't come 
home to work on a military base and still have a daily rhythm, they 
come home to civilian life.
  Restoring and preserving this Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program 
that was done in this bill is very important to many of our men and 
women who were in uniform overseas and have come home. It was zeroed 
out in the President's budget. It was restored in this process. I was 
delighted to be part of the effort to make sure that happened.
  A second item that is very important to Oregon is hazardous fuels 
reduction in our national forests. Our forests are dryer than they were 
before. We have more lightning strikes due to the changing weather 
patterns and, therefore, we have had more acres, thousands of acres, 
  We need to invest not only on the back end when there is a fire, we 
need to invest in the front end to thin out the forests that are 
overgrown, to get rid of the fuels that are on the floor of the forest 
that increase fire intensity and make it more likely that the fire will 
go from the ground of the forest to the canopy and be out of control. 
Those funds were dramatically cut by the administration and largely 
restored in the appropriations process. We need more in that area. We 
need to do more on the front end, but it was a big step forward to do 
what was done in this bill.
  A third issue affecting Oregon is small ports. The last fiscal year 
there was no set-aside for small ports. I have many small ports on the 
Pacific coast of Oregon, as I know many States have ports on either 
coast or the gulf coast. These small ports are very important to our 
economy, and they shouldn't be neglected. The set-aside is very 
important to make sure they have the chance to repair their barriers, 
their breakwaters, to dredge out the slips or to dredge the anchorage 
in general, and so this is very good.
  What about the debris that has been floating over from the tsunami in 
Japan and then cleaned up on the Oregon coast? Yes, this bill says yes, 
the funds that are available can be used to reimburse the communities 
that had to do this on their own because we had not yet acted in this 
Chamber to provide them with resources. That too is addressing an 
evolving issue.
  I want to speak particularly to the investment in education, the 
extra $1 billion for Head Start and the extra $1 billion that will go 
to support IDEA and title I funding, large formula allocations.
  We have 200 school districts in Oregon. Those school districts are 
often way too small to have a grant writer to compete in some 
newfangled competition for X, Y, or Z. They need core funds to reduce 
the number of students in the classroom, to address the challenge of 
providing education for students with disabilities. This budget helps 
significantly in that direction.
  I wish to say thank you again to the leadership that was displayed, 
the bipartisan leadership of the Senator from Alabama and the Senator 
from Maryland. Well done. I am honored to be part of this process of 
trying to shape our Senate spending plan, our congressional spending 
plan, to address emerging challenges in America.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.


  Mr. ROBERTS. Earlier today Senator Graham and Senator McCain spoke to 
this issue. I could not speak at that time as I had a conflict, but my 
remarks are pertinent to the issue they spoke about.
  It has been an agonizing 16 months. But this week, through the 
investigation efforts of the House Armed Services Committee and the 
Senate Intelligence Committee, we have learned that circumstances 
surrounding the terrorist attacks on our U.S. consulate in Benghazi and 
the murder of four Americans, as told by this investigation, simply are 
not factual.
  A year of news reporting and these congressional findings confirms an 
egregious disconnect between what the administration has alleged and 
the facts of what happened. As we say in Kansas, simply put: It just 
doesn't add up.
  We now know this tragedy did not have to happen and, most certainly, 
the hard-to-understand actions and behaviors of those involved have 
added unneeded hubris, scandal, and conduct difficult to comprehend. 
This is a mess that still has to be cleaned up. It demands clarity, 
honesty, and simply owning up to the truth.
  I come to the floor to discuss this tragedy not so much as a 
Republican Senator from Kansas, but always a Marine. I fear our lack of 
truth and understanding has broken a bond that those who risked their 
lives for our Nation all share and believe in--the bond that if they 
come in harm's way, we have their backs, and we will be there for them. 
This is a speech I wish I never had to make. But I feel compelled to 
make my plea to this administration yet again--specifically to 
President Obama--to give the American people and the families whose 
lives were lost in Benghazi a full accounting. It is long overdue.
  A month after the attacks I wrote the President, as a Marine, with 
the deepest concern regarding his personal handling, and that of his 
administration, of the Benghazi attacks and the damage it continues to 
do to that sacred bond our men and women in uniform have of sacrifice 
for each other. That extends to those who serve our country overseas in 
a civilian capacity as well.
  I am once again asking this President, our Commander in Chief, to 
actively restore the trust and sincerity once made with that promise 
never to leave anybody behind. If he and others responsible for this 
tragedy do not restore this trust, I truly believe the future morale 
and effectiveness of our military services are at stake.
  As I travel through Kansas and speak with my constituents, regardless 
of their background, they want to know what really happened in Benghazi 
and why. Why has it taken so long to get the answers?
  Many asked me directly, when will the President be forthright with 
the families of those killed and injured in the attacks? When will the 
President stop covering up the bad decisions made on September 11, 
2012? Most emphatically they say, please, please, do not forget about 
  However, the response has been a dogged all too familiar tactic of 
delay, nonresponse, and the hope that somehow tomorrow it will all go 
away. Well, this is not going away.

  I applaud my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee for the 
recent release of 450 pages documenting these classified hearings held 
over the

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past year. I applaud my colleagues on the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence for their report released yesterday detailing the events 
surrounding the attacks. The headlines from this report now read: 
``Benghazi could have been prevented.''
  While the results of these investigations have brought more truth to 
light, they have also brought more questions to mind. As a Marine, I 
know there is no mission our Marines cannot accomplish or complete. If 
press reports are accurate, I do not understand why our Marine rapid 
response unit was delayed by an hour--required to change out of their 
uniforms into plain civilian clothing--and then, ultimately, simply 
turned away.
  Our commanders have testified it was the State Department that 
declined the Marines in Benghazi, yet they have been reluctant to point 
the finger at the State Department. Somebody made this call. Someone 
gave this order. Facts are stubborn things, and as more relevant facts 
are now becoming public, the obvious questions increase.
  In the Senate Intelligence Committee's report--and I urge every 
Member to read this report because it is a good report--it is made 
clear that individuals within the administration have continued to 
stonewall Congress from the truth. I am not going to go into every 
detail here on the floor--it is all here in this report--but enough is 
  Congress has the constitutional duty to ensure the Executive Branch 
does not abuse its power. That power has been abused. No one who has 
played a role in this debacle has been held accountable--no one--let 
alone brought to justice, as promised by the President. In fact, just 
the opposite. We have released individuals who have returned to start 
working on the next terrorist attack.
  Likewise, this report makes it clear U.S. personnel raised alarms for 
months before the attacks. Requests for additional security were made 
by the previous Ambassador as early as February 2012. Yet, the State 
Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, 
Charlene Lamb, rejected the request because Libya was a ``political 
game,'' and the administration did not want to ``look bad,'' according 
to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report.
  The absurdity and egregious behavior of putting politics before 
security is overwhelming. Lives were at stake. It has been confirmed 
that our top military leaders, General Ham, General Dempsey, and 
Secretary Panetta, knew immediately--immediately--this was a terrorist 
attack and not a protest. And so did the President.
  We knew AQIM, AQAP, the Muhammad Jamal Network, and Ansar al-
Shariah--founded by Sufian bin Qumu, a former detainee--were all 
involved. This just raises more questions. Why were there no 
contingency plans in place? We had actionable intelligence. The British 
left. The Red Cross left. There certainly were no flags flying in 
Benghazi by any western nation, and the consulate had already been 
  Why didn't we deploy immediately, with the assumption there would be 
follow-on attacks? Why were those who paid the ultimate sacrifice left 
to their own devices that day--on September 11--that anyone could 
anticipate would bring trouble?
  Our generals have testified the United States was not even looking at 
Libya, but rather Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan. Less than 1 year after 
Qadhafi, and no one was concerned about safety in Libya? Does anyone 
believe this assessment? Given the turmoil and danger, did the State 
Department really believe that we could normalize Libya? That the 
country was stable?
  This has been an incredible example of condescending arrogance and 
elitism, putting politics and personal agenda ahead of protecting the 
lives of Americans. The insult is that 16 months later we still can't 
get the truth. We now know, without a shadow of doubt, there was 
actionable intelligence. Yet no action was taken. I personally, as a 
Senator and, yes, as a Marine, am fed up with the lack of 
accountability this administration has taken in response.
  I am fed up with the stonewalling by several of those in the State 
Department who have ignored a request from the Intelligence Committee 
for testimony.
  When then Secretary Clinton came before Congress to testify, she 
replied: ``What difference does it make?'' The difference is our 
Ambassador and three other patriots did not have to die. The families 
of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty 
deserve better from this country. They deserve more from this 
  With that in mind, I want to make a simple and very respectful 
request of the President. I simply ask that he take the opportunity 
during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, January 28, to give 
those families and all Americans the whole story.
  Mr. President, I simply ask that you be forthright with the American 
people. Help us get beyond this tragedy. Help us restore confidence and 
faith for our personnel serving overseas and in harm's way, that the 
sacred bond of always having their back is not gone.
  Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with 40 young Marines, all 
second lieutenants, who are just about to finish The Basic School at 
Quantico, VA. They are going to be great officers. I hope someday some 
of them will be Senators and Congressmen. I looked each one of them in 
their eyes and let them know, because they needed to know, that a 
bipartisan majority in this Senate has not forgotten about that 
promise--the same promise that was made to me when I joined the Corps. 
I say to President Obama: I hope you can make that promise again soon, 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota. Madam President, the omnibus funding 
bill before the Senate today is a remarkable accomplishment and a 
welcome reminder that Congress can function effectively when Members 
are willing to sit down and work through their differences. The large 
margin by which the omnibus passed in the House is a testament to the 
bipartisan nature of the agreement and to the determination, skill, and 
leadership of Chairwoman Mikulski and Congressman Rogers.
  With passage of this bill in the Senate, the threat of another 
government shutdown is averted and the crippling effects of the 
sequester will be reversed.
  America's vets are well served by this agreement. As chairman of the 
Senate's Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and 
Related Agencies, I worked to provide the VA with robust funding to 
ensure our vets receive the benefits they have earned and deserved.
  The bill provides $63.2 billion for the VA, $2.3 billion above last 
year. It fully funds a host of vital programs, including compensation, 
pensions and health care, and it targets funding for crucial 
initiatives for homeless vets, rural health care, medical research, 
suicide prevention, women vets, and Iraq and Afghanistan vets, to name 
just a few.
  Of major importance, the agreement also includes a comprehensive plan 
to address the massive backlog of vets' disability claims. In 2013 the 
backlog of compensation claims for service-related disabilities soared 
to record levels. In March of 2013 the backlog of claims pending for 
more than 125 days had grown to over 630,000 claims--more than 70 
percent of the total claims pending. As of this week there are 403,761 
claims in the backlog.
  The Department has made substantial progress over the past several 
months, but thousands of vets continue to face lengthy delays in having 
their disability claims processed. In response to this problem, I 
included in the omnibus a 10-point action plan to give the VA 
additional tools to address the claims backlog and to strengthen 
training, oversight and accountability. This includes important 
upgrades to computer hardware in VA regional offices and $100 million 
in overtime and training money to work through the backlog in 
processing vets' disability claims.
  It is critical we do not sacrifice accuracy in the name of 
expediency, and my plan also includes quality review teams, spot 
audits, and additional training for claims processors.
  Of special importance to South Dakota, I have worked hard to expand 
VA health care to rural vets. Nationwide, nearly 30 percent of 
America's vets live

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in rural areas that are often far from major VA medical centers or 
clinics. The omnibus appropriations bill builds on the rural health 
initiative I launched in fiscal year 2009 to close gaps in VA medical 
care in rural and remote areas. The bill provides $250 million for 
rural health care, including telehealth and mobile clinics for vets in 
rural and highly rural areas, including Native American populations.
  Our vets deserve the best and highest quality care from the VA. The 
fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill provides the VA with 
significant new tools and funding to carry out its mission, and I look 
forward to the bill's prompt passage.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I thank the Senator from South Dakota 
for all the great work he has done at the subcommittee level. He has an 
enormous responsibility in that subcommittee. It is all about military 
construction--over there and here.
  Many don't realize our military bases are really towns, and they need 
roads and water supplies. If you talk to a garrison commander, such as 
those in Maryland, they are small cities. Fort Meade employs over 
35,000 people in Maryland--that is a lot of people--from those who work 
in the commissary to some of our most sensitive national security 
  So he has done a great job. But what he has really thrown his heart 
into is veterans. His son is a veteran. One of the things early in my 
chairmanship we discussed was this issue of the veterans' disability 
backlog. Senator Johnson led the way, along with Senator Mark Kirk, his 
ranking member, on extensive hearings and due diligence, where we don't 
throw money at the problem, but we really work on solving the 
problem. There are very specific line items here that should help with 
this review process. But, as Senator Johnson has said, also accuracy, 
because if they are not accurate then they present other problems, 
either for the veteran or for the taxpayer.

  He has done a great job. In another way he chairs the Banking 
Committee as the authorizer, of which the Presiding Officer is well 
aware, and his wise counsel for many of the aspects we needed to deal 
with on financial services was most welcome.
  I must say to the Senator he is a great Member. The way he and 
Senator Kirk worked was outstanding. Senator Kirk himself is a veteran, 
a Naval Reserve officer. They knew just how to tackle the problem, and 
tackle it they did. I think veterans all over should know we are going 
to meet their health care needs. We are going to deal with the 
disability backlog area. We are also going to make a downpayment on 
this working-age military COLA for both the disabled and the survivors. 
And we are going to say: Promises made, promises kept.
  I thank the Senator and his counterpart Senator Kirk. We appreciate 
what they have done. I think it has been an enrichment to the overall 
bill to have done what has been done in the Military-VA.
  Madam President, we are waiting for other Senators to come to the 
floor. I have to talk about my own subcommittee.
  I chair the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee, and my ranking 
member is also the vice chairman of the full committee, Senator Shelby. 
We worked very hard on this bill, also with our counterparts in the 
House, Chairman Frank Wolf and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah. The CJS 
bill we agreed upon provides $51.6 billion in discretionary spending. 
It focused on community safety, on our jobs and our economy. We used 
those priorities to guide funding decisions, from Federal law 
enforcement to space exploration. What could keep America safe? What 
could make America great? We cannot have vital communities unless they 
are safe.
  The CJS bill has money in here for key grants to help State and local 
police departments. The legislation we worked on adds money toward the 
COPS Program that will put cops on the beat.
  We also want to deal with the prevention of violence as well as the 
prevention of crime. This bill includes money for the Violence Against 
Women Act, $29 million more than sequester. What it will mean is more 
help to local enforcement to prosecute, more money to help with 
prevention for those who are victims of domestic violence and to be 
able to provide lifesaving shelters and then transitional housing. We 
are very proud of that.
  As we add more police to the streets and neighborhoods in our 
communities, we want to make sure the police are safe, and we were able 
to have funding in here to provide a grant program to buy bulletproof 
vests. We are often disturbed when we talk to our local police chiefs 
that the crooks and drug dealers and bums have better equipment, 
technology, better guns, more rapid guns, or they have bulletproof 
vests while our police officers are out there defending us without 
vests. We wanted to make sure our officers have what they need.
  We also have money in here to deal with prevention. We have money for 
youth mentoring programs but also to tackle gang violence in our 
  This is where bipartisanship really worked. Our colleague Senator 
Kirk of Illinois, who struggled with terrific gang problems in Chicago, 
acknowledges we have gang problems in every city. He worked very hard 
to present to the committee a gang violence program and we were able to 
put money in that so that there can be local solutions.
  Acknowledging that indeed schools need to be safe, we also helped 
create a grant program, modest in funds, where local police departments 
working with the Department of Education and the parents can come up 
with ways to keep those schools safe.
  This bill also has a strong focus on cyber security where we have 
money in here to fund the Department of Justice, to prevent attacks in 
case criminals, particularly organized crime, are behind the keyboard. 
Before it was Al Capone raiding banks. Now it is hackers, both in this 
country and around the world, stealing credit cards, stealing our 
identity. Over 46 million people were victimized. This provides money 
particularly to the FBI and the National Institutes of Standards to 
develop the tools and techniques and actually implement them to do it 
and to work with the private sector on advice and guidance on what 
steps they could take voluntarily to be able to protect themselves.
  We also funded Federal law enforcement. In this legislation we have 
added more money for the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. 
  What is the U.S. Marshals? Is this the days of Wyatt Earp? Do they 
ride the range? Actually they ride our roads, making sure they are 
going after the most-wanted fugitives. When we have on TV the 10 most 
wanted, it is the marshals who are in hot pursuit, with the authority 
to go across State lines. They do it. They also have the legislative 
mandate to implement the sexual predator laws. They are the ones who 
are charged with actually finding, identifying, to make sure they are 
filing their registration, and keeping our children safe. Then they are 
charged with the responsibility of keeping our courthouses safe. You 
may recall a few years ago the terrible shootout in Atlanta. Many of 
our courthouses themselves could be in danger. Because of the violence 
when you have these types of prosecutions, they can also invite 
violence against the judges. These marshals do that job. We believe 
while the high profile agencies may be the FBI and DEA, and we 
recognize that, there is also the Marshals Service.
  In the area of science, Senator Shelby of Alabama, my ranking member, 
and I also funded America's space program. This total funding will be 
$17.6 billion. Working with Senator Shelby, we wanted to have a 
balanced space program to assure America's premier leadership in human 
space exploration and in space science and also in aeronautics. We 
worked with the SLS rocket, which will take human beings beyond the 
Earth orbit. The bill has $1.6 billion for that development. But we 
also funded operations and research on the International Space Station.
  The Presiding Officer might have read recently that NASA has extended 
the duration and operation of the space station. It costs a lot of 
money to build it and there was a lot of risk of human lives to go up 
there and assemble it. ``Gravity'' might win in the Academy

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Awards, but we have real-life astronauts who keep that space station 
together, kept it operating, and now that we have been able to 
accomplish it, it is time to do the compelling research that could be 
done only by a lab in the sky in microgravity or no gravity at all, to 
be able to do this. We look forward to being able to conduct the 
  Also, because we are Americans and we believe in the private sector, 
we now will have commercially crewed vehicles going to the space 
station. It is going to be amazing.
  We had the space shuttle. What a workhorse the space shuttle was. It 
took astronauts, researchers, up to the space station. That useful life 
came to an end. We depend on the Russians, with the Soyuz, to do that. 
We appreciate that, making the Soyuz available--I might add at a really 
hefty, hefty, hefty price. But we know we wanted to have our own way of 
getting up there. Thanks to the development of commercial crews--again 
the American way of competition for the best, most safe vehicle, at the 
best price--they are going to be able to do it.
  I am very proud that a company based in Virginia but hiring 
Marylanders, Orbital, has a rocket being launched from Wallops Island 
that now takes cargo, an unmanned vehicle taking cargo--not risking the 
life of an astronaut, taking cargo to the station.
  We also have funding for space science to understand and protect the 
planet. We think we have done a very good job in that.
  Also in the area of science, yes, funding for the National Science 
Foundation and also in weather, what we have done in terms of weather. 
Most people think they get weather from the Weather Channel. I bet if 
they are from Boston, like the Presiding Officer, you are mesmerized by 
it. But the Weather Channel gets its information from the Weather 
Service that is operated by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration. We want to make sure we have the best mathematical 
models and the best satellites working with international partners to 
make sure we make the best weather forecasts. It saves lives and it 
also saves money.
  For every mile we can be accurate in the prediction of a hurricane, 
we save $1 million in evacuation costs. In Maryland, Ocean City, we are 
vulnerable. So every dollar we can save--and Key West--all of us, 
hurricanes, or a nor'easter--we will understand that. We have put money 
in there. And we have done other things to promote the economy. I am 
proud of what we did in Commerce, Justice to keep America safe, to do 
the jobs today and the jobs tomorrow.
  I note the subcommittee chairman on Labor, Health and Human Services, 
and Education is here.
  I yield the floor and such time as he may use.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, I come to the floor to speak in favor of 
the Omnibus appropriations bill we now have before us. First and 
foremost, it is noteworthy that this is a bill, not a continuing 
resolution. For the first time in years, Congress has returned to 
regular order in the appropriations process. Senior members of the 
Appropriations Committee from both parties have come together to 
negotiate their priorities, program by program.
  As the chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human 
Services, Education, and Related Agencies, I view this as a huge step 
onto a better path. The Labor-H bill, as it is sometimes called, has 
been in continuing resolution every other year since 2009. This is an 
irresponsible way to allocate $160 billion in taxpayer funds, and I am 
pleased that we are putting a stop to that kind of destructive trend 

  For the past year I have had people come up to me and say: There is 
no way you are going to have an agreement on Labor-HHS. Labor-HHS will 
be left behind, and it will be folded into a continuing resolution.
  I guess no one could imagine that Democrats and Republicans would be 
able to sit down and come to a fair agreement on health and education 
issues. I think that attitude sold our subcommittee short. I am proud 
to say we have worked out a fair agreement with my ranking member 
Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas, as well as my colleagues on the House 
side, including Chairman Jack Kingston and ranking member Congressman 
Rosa DeLauro. No one got 100 percent of what they wanted in this bill, 
which is often a sign of a pretty good deal.
  Despite the fact that I wanted to do more to alleviate the disaster 
cuts for 2013, I would like to speak about a few of the essential 
investments in this bill that I hope my colleagues will join me in 
  First, the bill advances my long-standing priority of shifting the 
American health care system--so-called--from a sick care system to a 
genuine health care system, emphasizing prevention, wellness, and 
public health. It provides a $1 billion increase for the National 
Institutes of Health, as well as major new funding for brain research 
and a new initiative to discover ways to prevent and cure Alzheimer's 
  In addition, this bill allocates nearly $1 billion from the 
Prevention and the Public Health Fund, which I created in the 
Affordable Care Act, title IV, which I was in charge of drafting. There 
has been some confusion about this fund in news reports, so I will 
correct the record.
  In the past years resources from the fund have been diverted to other 
health care purposes. This year, however, this omnibus allocates 100 
percent of the resources from the fund to prevention and wellness 
activities. It has been reported that the omnibus cuts or eliminates 
the fund. I read that in the paper this morning. I read that the 
prevention and wellness fund was cut by $1 billion.
  Well, that is just not so. That is a misinterpretation. Believe me, 
if they cut $1 billion from prevention and wellness, I would not be 
here supporting the bill. Section 219 of division H of this bill 
allocates the money, so that is what we did. Far from eliminating the 
money, we identify where that money is to go, including $160 million 
for immunization programs, $104 million for cancer screenings, and $105 
million for smoking cessation programs. On October 1, another 
appropriation of $1 billion will be deposited in the fund under the 
Affordable Care Act, and, again, I intend to allocate the fund just as 
we did in this omnibus.
  If there is any doubt in anyone's mind that the fund is alive and 
well and fulfilling the purpose for which it was intended, consider 
this: The American Public Health Association has praised this Omnibus 
bill specifically for allocating the prevention fund. They said:

       We are also pleased that the bill fully allocates available 
     funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for the 
     first time.

  As the author of that fund, I consider the allocation of these 
resources to prevention and wellness as a major achievement in this 
  This bill also includes significant new investments to support early 
learning initiatives. We included an increase of over $1 billion for 
Head Start, which will more than restore cuts from sequestration. 
Nearly half of that increase will be used to expand early Head Start 
for kids from birth through age 3. In addition, the bill provides $250 
million which can be used to help States develop high-quality early 
learning programs for low- and middle-income 4-year-olds. Both of these 
investments improve access to high-quality early learning experiences 
for children from birth to kindergarten. I truly believe these 
investments lay the foundation for future prosperity by preparing 
America's next generation.
  One of the reasons it is important to reassess programs every year is 
to respond to current events and changing needs. The Nation was 
devastated by the tragic shootings that occurred last year in Newtown, 
CT. This bill provides increased resources for providing the mental 
health and school safety activities we have been talking about for over 
a year. The bill includes $140 million--an increase of $29 million--for 
specific activities that support safe school environments. The bill 
also provides $1.13 billion--an increase of $213 million--for mental 
health programs, such as mental health first aid training grants, the 
National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, suicide prevention, and the 
mental health block grant.
  Other highlights of this bill: It supports the economic recovery by 
providing workers with job training and by protecting workers' rights. 
In education, it makes it possible for the

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maximum Pell grant to rise by an estimated $85, to $5,730 this year. It 
allocates an additional $700 million for community health centers, 
which is so important to my State of Iowa and, quite frankly, to every 
State in this Nation. It provides higher funding for activities that 
support safe and healthy workplaces and, as I said, school 
  Most in Washington know that the staff of the Appropriations 
Committee worked diligently on this bill all through the holidays. We 
all appreciate and commend their excellent work. I would like to thank 
these unsung heroes for all of the long days and nights and weekends 
they worked.
  I first wish to thank my clerk, the head of my group on Labor-HHS, 
Adrienne Hallett, and her team: Mark Laisch, Lisa Bernhardt, Mike 
Gentile, Robin Juliano, Kelly Brown, and Teri Curtin. On the minority 
side, I thank Laura Frih-Dell, Jennifer Castagna, and Chol Pak.
  I also thank Chuck Keifer and Gabriel Batkin--on the full committee--
for their hard work and diligence and for sticking with us through this 
to make sure we got it done. On the minority side, I thank Bill Duhnke 
for all his hard work.
  I also thank the two principals who are here today. First, I will 
thank my longtime friend, going back to our days in the House together, 
Senator Dick Shelby from Alabama. These were long and tough 
negotiations, but the one thing I have always appreciated about my 
friend from Alabama is that he is fairminded and willing to negotiate. 
He understands it is a two-way highway around here. You give a little, 
you take a little, and we work these things out. Again, I thank my 
friend for hanging in there and getting this hammered out.

  There are not enough accolades in my book or any book I know that has 
been written to say what a great job Senator Barbara Mikulski did. She 
gave it her all and really worked hard with Senator Shelby and her 
counterparts on the House side to bring this bill to fruition.
  There were a lot of doubters who said: No, we won't get it done; they 
are not going to be able to hammer it out.
  Barbara Mikulski never gave up. She was willing to stay there for 
long hours days on end to get this job done. Again, I think a lot of us 
who served on the Appropriations Committee for a long time--30 years 
for me--I guess in all the time I was on appropriations, we had four 
chairmen. We had John Stennis from Mississippi when I first got here 
and, of course, Senator Byrd, Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska, and 
Senator Dan Inouye from Hawaii. We think of them as sort of the giants 
of the Senate, which is a well-earned accolade or praise, I might say. 
People probably wondered what would happen now that they are gone. We 
had the sad passing a year ago of Dan Inouye. Well, I can tell you, no 
longer are they wondering who is going to take over the Appropriations 
Committee. Senator Mikulski has stepped in and pulled us all together--
I think on both sides of the aisle--and worked this out. Again, I give 
my highest compliments to Senator Mikulski for her hard work, her 
intellectual approach, and her rigor in working with others to make 
sure we got to this point.
  Most in Washington, as I said, know that our staff works very hard, 
but there is just one other person I want to single out. He is not 
here. In fact, he is not even on the Senate side, but I worked with him 
for a long time, going back to when Congressman Obey chaired the House 
committee on Labor-HHS back in the early 1990s. He has been a longtime 
member of the House appropriations staff. David Reich is currently the 
minority clerk for Labor-HHS. He is retiring once this bill passes. 
David has spent nearly his entire career working on the issues in this 
bill. He has been on or around the Labor-HHS subcommittee since 1996. 
His collaborative nature, his insightful questions, and his thoughtful 
approach to the drafting of this bill will be sincerely missed. I wish 
David well and thank him for his dedicated public service to our 
country and especially to this committee.
  In light of the investments I mentioned, plus many more that I simply 
don't have time to talk about, I urge all of my colleagues to support 
the Omnibus appropriations bill. Given the tight overall budget, these 
are all remarkable achievements.
  I have always taken pride in the fact that the Labor-HHS bill, as it 
is called--Labor, Health and Human Services, Education bill--is a bill 
where we invest in America's human infrastructure, and that is what 
this bill does. We have had to make some tough choices, but this new 
bill lives up to that high calling of investing in America's human 
  Again, I thank my friend and colleague from Alabama. We were together 
on the Labor-HHS committee until he took the position as the ranking 
member on the full Appropriations Committee, but we always had good 
comity of working together, and I appreciate it very much.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, I would like to respond to some of the 
remarks by my colleague and friend from Iowa. I think he is right on 
point when he said this is the first time we have been able to bring 
the appropriations process--I hope--back to regular order, which is 
what we need. No one wants to shut the government down. My goodness, 
neither side wants to do that. It is no good, and the American people 
don't want it. This is a good bipartisan effort. Senator Mikulski and 
other members of the Appropriations Committee have worked together.
  I have been at odds sometimes--and a lot of times together--with 
Senator Harkin. I first met him 35 years ago when I first went to the 
House. He had been there a couple of years--a veteran. We have worked 
together on a lot of issues.
  Senator Harkin is absolutely right when he says we can't say enough 
about the leadership of the chairperson of this committee, Senator 
Mikulski. She has reached out to both sides. She wants the process to 
work, as do most of us, and this is an example of that.
  I hope later this afternoon that we are going to get a good vote, 
just as the House did, on this bill. This a big step in how we should 
be running the government.
  I yield the floor.

                         USE OF FUNDS FOR GUAM

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I rise today together with Senate Armed 
Services Chairman Levin and Senator McCain to clarify the intent of 
section 8102 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act contained 
in the consolidated appropriations bill, 2014. This language should not 
be interpreted to supersede section 2822 of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
  I concur with the reporting requirements and limitations established 
by section 2822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2014 and fully expect the Department of Defense to comply with 
them prior to obligating funds for projects in Guam.
  We have also sent a letter to Secretary Hagel from me, Vice Chairman 
Cochran, and Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky of the 
House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee directing the Department to 
comply with the requirements in section 2822 prior to obligating funds.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the joint letter sent 
to Secretary Hagel on this subject be printed in the Record.
  Mr. LEVIN. I thank the Senator from Illinois for addressing this 
important issue. I appreciate both his assessment and his clarification 
of the relationship between the provision in the National Defense 
Authorization Act and the provision in the DOD Appropriations Act. 
Senator McCain and I have spent a long time working on this issue, and 
we believe that the reporting requirements and limitations established 
by section 2822 are in the best interests of the Department of Defense 
and the country. I appreciate the willingness of the Senator from 
Illinois to work with us to ensure that the Department abides by this 
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank Senate Armed Services Chairman Levin for working 
with me to clarify language in the consolidated appropriations bill of 
2014 that directly contravenes section 2822 of the Fiscal Year 2014 
National Defense Authorization Act. To date, Congress has not received 
sufficient cost-analysis supporting the Department of

[[Page S414]]

Defense's proposed movement of troops from Okinawa to Guam. For this 
reason, in the authorization bill, the Armed Services Committees 
explicitly prohibited any premature investments in Guam until the 
Secretary of Defense provides Congress with, among other things, a 
report on military resources necessary to execute the U.S. force 
posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
  I also appreciate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Durbin 
for agreeing that the reporting requirements in section 2822 of the 
NDAA must be satisfied before the Department of Defense can obligate 
funds for investments in Guam if the report finds they are needed. In 
furtherance of these requirements, I fully expect the Senate Armed 
Services Committee will provide close and careful oversight over the 
use of any monies that may be appropriated for the transfer of forces 
covered in this section and obligated by the Department for that 
purpose and, specifically, hold hearings to determine the extent to 
which any plan to realign forces from Okinawa to Guam will sufficiently 
support our operational requirements in the Asia-Pacific region.
  Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Chairman and Senator McCain for their 
leadership on this issue.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                Congress of the United States,

                                 Washington, DC, January 15, 2014.
     Hon. Chuck Hagel,
     Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, The 
         Pentagon, Washington, DC.
       Dear Secretary Hagel: We are writing to clarify the intent 
     of Section 8102 of the Department of Defense Appropriations 
     Act contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Bill, 2014. 
     This language should not be interpreted in any way to 
     supersede Section 2822 of the National Defense Authorization 
     Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Public Law 113-66).
       We concur with the direction contained in the National 
     Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 and fully 
     expect that funds will only be obligated for projects in Guam 
     once the Department complies with Section 2822.
       Thank you for your attention to this matter.
     Thad Cochran,
       Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, 
     Subcommittee on Defense.
     Richard J. Durbin,
       Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee 
     on Defense.
     Pete Visclosky,
       Ranking Member, House Committee on Appropriations, 
     Subcommittee on Defense.
     Rodney Frelinghuysen,
       Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee 
     on Defense.

  Mr. LEVIN. Madam President. The bill before us is an important 
compromise. Neither side got exactly what it wanted, but this 
legislation will provide much-needed certainty across the government. 
It keeps the government open for business and helps us turn a corner 
toward a more regular funding process. It represents much-needed relief 
from the cycle of crisis and shutdown which has dominated here for too 
  This bill will fund a strong military, cutting edge research 
projects, and investments in our Nation's families and young people.
  For Michigan, the bill will provide much needed funding exciting new 
research at Michigan State University, for long overdue harbor 
dredging, to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, for new 
transportation projects, and for small airports.
  This bill isn't perfect. It shortchanges our financial regulators, 
zeroes out funds for some local communities with large amounts of 
Federal land, and leaves some other programs at lower levels than is 
required. Hopefully the PILT funding will be authorized in the farm 
  This bill is a significant improvement from years of shutdown threats 
and continuing resolutions that have put our Nation's government on 
autopilot. This is the first time in 3 years that we will have 
completed all 12 appropriations bills to properly allocate funding for 
all Federal agencies.
  For the military, the bill provides $487 billion in base DOD 
appropriations--the funding level established in the budget agreement--
and $85 billion for overseas contingency operations. As a result, it 
appears that DOD's operations and maintenance funding will be reduced 
by about $9 billion this year--a substantial reduction, but less than 
we feared would be the case. While this is a tight budget, I am more 
concerned at this point about the much greater reductions in DOD 
funding that will be required in fiscal year 2015 and subsequent fiscal 
  I am pleased that the Defense appropriations bill is consistent with 
key actions that we took in the National Defense Authorization Act, 
including provisions on Guantanamo detainees, measures to address 
sexual assault in the military, and the implementation of the New START 
Treaty. I also commend the Appropriations Committee for amending the 
military retired pay COLA change included in the budget agreement to 
exempt medical retirees and survivor benefit plan annuitants. The Armed 
Services Committee will be holding hearings to review this issue.
  While I have concerns about a few specific provisions, I believe that 
this is a good Defense appropriations bill and one that deserves our 
  For cutting-edge research, the bill restores $1 billion of much-
needed funding for the National Institutes of Health that was cut last 
year due to sequestration. This funding is needed to avoid further loss 
of promising research and make the investments needed to ensure that 
NIH can continue to support the next generation of scientists and fund 
cutting-edge research.
  For families and children, the bill will fully fund Head Start. Last 
year, 1,800 children across Michigan were forced out of early childhood 
programs due to sequestration, and the new funding in this bill is 
expected to restore and even grow this important early childhood 
  In addition to Head Start funding, the bill also includes a 
significant increase in funding to educate children with disabilities.
  Now, I'd like to talk about a few specific projects that are 
especially important to Michigan.
  First, the bill includes the full $55 million requested for the 
Department of Energy for fiscal year 2014 to help fund the Facility for 
Rare Isotope Beams, FRIB, at Michigan State University. FRIB will let 
scientists, for the first time, create rare isotopes like those 
produced in supernovae.
  These isotopes will be studied, advancing our knowledge of the 
origins of elements and the universe, as well as furthering applied 
science fields like biomedicine, nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry.
  The facility will attract top scientists from around the globe, and 
is a key piece in attracting and training the next generation of 
nuclear scientists. FRIB will help keep Michigan, and the United 
States, at the forefront of cutting edge science.
  Second, the bill provides important funding for Great Lakes projects. 
I'm pleased that restoration and protection of our treasured Great 
Lakes will advance with the funding provided in the bill.
  Appropriators fully responded to a request from the Senate Great 
Lakes Task Force, which I co-chair by including $300 million for the 
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which strategically targets funding 
at the most significant problems facing the Great Lakes.
  In addition, the bill provides more than $30 million for the Corps of 
Engineers to fight Asian carp and other invasive species from getting 
into the Great Lakes. The bulk of that funding will be used for the 
electric dispersal barrier, which was designed to keep the carp from 
advancing through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. We need to 
recognize that this barrier is only a short-term fix, however, and 
focus on separating the two basins for a permanent solution. I'm 
pleased the omnibus includes $3 million for the Corps to refine its 
design of such a solution and I will press to speed its implementation.
  I'm also glad the bill includes language that I requested that would 
authorize the Corps of Engineers to implement emergency measures to 
prevent invasive species from dispersing into the Great Lakes by way of 
any hydrologic connection to the Mississippi River basin.

[[Page S415]]

  I'm also pleased the bill increases funding by about $12 million from 
last year for dredging of Great Lakes harbors and channels, operation 
and maintenance of locks, and repair of breakwaters. The Great Lakes 
navigation system handles over 160 million tons of cargo, and it is 
critical this system operates effectively to support our economic 
growth and international competitiveness.
  I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to restore the 
payments in lieu of taxes, which are used for such critical needs as 
public schools, emergency response, and road maintenance.
  The bill also restores funding for drinking and wastewater 
infrastructure by providing about $2.4 billion to states for investing 
in these vital water projects, which will both protect public health 
and our water resources.
  Finally, this bill includes important provisions to help our State's 
transportation system.
  I am pleased the bill again includes language allowing the M-1 Rail 
project in Detroit to use private funds as a match to federal dollars.
  In addition, I am pleased that the bill provides funding that for the 
FAA to keep open contract control towers at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in 
Battle Creek, the Coleman A. Young Airport in Detroit, and the Sawyer 
International Airport in Marquette.
  This bill is an important compromise, and I am glad that Democrats 
and Republicans, from the House and Senate, were able come together to 
craft this measure.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I first want to congratulate Chairwoman 
Mikulski and Vice Chairman Shelby for their leadership in bringing 
these appropriations bills to the floor for final consideration. While 
I would have preferred these bills to have been brought to the floor 
individually so that they could be amended, this nevertheless is a 
noteworthy achievement.
  The 2-year budget agreement negotiated by Senator Murray and 
Congressman Ryan provided the framework for the bill we are considering 
today, allowing the Appropriations Committees to begin our work of 
developing bills that will responsibly fund the government.
  Since passage of the budget agreement, the Appropriations Committee 
members have worked tirelessly to craft a true compromise.
  As the ranking member for the Transportation and Housing 
Subcommittee, I worked with Chairman Murray to negotiate a bipartisan 
Transportation and Housing bill. While this bill makes prudent spending 
reductions--it is $3.2 billion below the original Senate bill and 
nearly $1 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level--it 
continues to invest in important transportation and housing programs. I 
would like to mention a few highlights:
  First, the TIGER program, which supports transportation 
infrastructure and economic development in our local communities, is 
funded at $600 million. Given the current state of our Nation's 
highways and bridges with so many being structurally deficient, we 
included additional resources to help eliminate some of the backlog of 
vital construction projects.
  Second, while the overall funding level for the FAA is reduced by 
$167 million from the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, we worked to 
provide sufficient funding to ensure air traffic controller and safety 
inspector staffing losses are made whole. The bill also fully funds the 
Contract Tower program to prevent administration officials from 
arbitrarily closing towers as they attempted to do last year.
  Further, the bill includes program reforms for the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development, which will streamline program 
requirements, increase oversight, and reduce costs to the taxpayer.
  I am proud that the THUD bill strikes the right balance between 
fiscal responsibility and meeting our Nation's housing and 
infrastructure needs.
  The other divisions of the bill are equally important--from national 
security, to energy, to health and human services--and I would also 
like to acknowledge the work of the other subcommittee chairs and 
ranking members in completing action on their bills.
  For our military and our Nation's security, I particularly appreciate 
that this bill includes $100 million for the procurement of the fifth 
DDG-51 from Bath Iron Works, which Senator King and I advocated. This 
funding will allow the Navy to send a tenth DDG-51 to sea that is 
capable of performing many roles and missions in support of our 
national defense. Not only will it add stability to the workforce at 
Bath Iron Works in Maine, but it also will result in significant 
savings for the taxpayers. The multiyear, 10-ship procurement will save 
approximately $1.5 billion--that is the equivalent of an extra 
destroyer at no cost. I thank Chairwoman Mikulski, Vice Chairman 
Shelby, Subcommittee Chairman Durbin, and Subcommittee Ranking Member 
Cochran for this important funding.
  I am also grateful to see the $11.5 million in military construction 
funding that will go toward the consolidation of structural shops and 
improve the efficiency of operations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. 
While the Department of Defense has delayed or cancelled $4.1 billion 
in military construction projects during the next five budget years, 
this project was accelerated to 2014 due to efforts by members of the 
Maine and New Hampshire delegations to increase investments to address 
long overdue modernization needs at PNSY.
  For our veterans, I am pleased this bill restores the full cost-of-
living increase for disabled military retirees and for survivor 
benefits, rectifying provisions in the recently-passed budget agreement 
that unfairly singled out current retirees. Unfortunately, this will 
not protect all military retirees from a decreased cost-of-living 
adjustment on their pensions. We must continue to work on behalf of our 
retired servicemembers and their families to ensure that they receive 
the full benefits they have been promised and have earned by their 
service to this country. Congress should act quickly to pass 
legislation I have cosponsored that completely restores the COLA for 
all military retirees.
  This bill also provides several million dollars in additional funding 
for medical research, including for Alzheimer's Disease research, 
treatment, and caregiver programs. This is an important initial step 
toward the goal of doubling funding for Alzheimer's research and 
eventually reaching the level of $2 billion over five years, as 
recommended by the Alzheimer's Advisory Council. We must continue our 
efforts in 2015 to increase Alzheimer's research given the tremendous 
human and economic price of this devastating disease. We are spending 
$142 billion annually in Medicare and Medicaid costs on caring for 
people with Alzheimer's.
  I also want to thank Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Pryor and 
Ranking Member Blunt for addressing the needs of our Nation's farmers 
and growers, providing critical support for research, and making 
important nutrition and food security investments during difficult 
economic times. In particular, I am pleased that the agreement expects 
USDA to amend its arbitrary decision to exclude the fresh white potato, 
the only fresh vegetable or fruit to be excluded, from the Women, 
Infants and Children, or WIC program. Fresh white potatoes are a 
healthy, affordable, and delicious food choice, and it only makes 
common sense to include this nutritious vegetable in the WIC package.
  This bill also makes important commitments to our energy 
infrastructure. I would like to thank Subcommittee Chairwoman Feinstein 
and Ranking Member Alexander for recognizing the potential for creating 
jobs by providing robust funding for the Department of Energy wind 
program, which funds the offshore wind demonstration projects. Federal 
seed money is helping overcome barriers to the development and 
implementation of new and innovative technologies, such as deepwater 
offshore wind, which can position the U.S. as a global leader in this 
promising clean energy field.
  To help address the high cost of residential energy, particularly for 
those living in northern, rural states such as Maine, funding is 
provided in this bill for the weatherization program. This program 
plays an important role in permanently reducing home energy costs for 
low-income families and seniors and training a skilled workforce.
  Moreover, for our most vulnerable families and seniors, the increased

[[Page S416]]

funding for LIHEAP will help ensure that recipients do not have to 
choose between paying their energy bills and paying for other 
necessities such as food or medicine. LIHEAP continues to be an 
indispensable lifeline for many Americans during these challenging 
economic times and exceptionally cold winter.
  Helping to meet the water infrastructure needs of smaller States and 
regions is another vital piece of our national infrastructure. I am 
pleased this bill includes funding for the operation and maintenance of 
Army Corps projects at ``small, remote, or subsistence harbors.'' Ports 
and harbors are the economic lifeblood for many rural communities--a 
fact not fully accounted for under the Corps' budget metrics, which 
tend to favor larger ports.
  The bill also continues to support our Nation's fisheries, which are 
so important to the economies of our coastal communities, particularly 
in Maine. In September 2012, the Commerce Department declared a 
disaster in the Northeast groundfish industry. A vital $75 million is 
included in this bill to help fishermen in Maine and in other areas of 
the country who have had their livelihoods affected by fisheries 
disasters in recent years. This funding could be used to provide both 
immediate economic relief to Maine and the region's struggling 
groundfish industry, and to make targeted investments that will allow 
the fleet to survive and become more sustainable in the years ahead.
  The American people are weary of watching a Congress that can't work. 
We saw the result of this dysfunction when the government shut down in 
October. We simply must avoid another shutdown and put our Nation back 
on sound financial footing. That is why I urge my colleagues to support 
the compromises the Appropriations Committees worked so hard to 
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, today I come to the floor to discuss the 
consolidated appropriations bill of 2014, upon which we will soon be 
voting. While I am pleased that this bill will prevent another 
government shutdown and hopefully signal to the American people that we 
can actually work together, I will not be voting for this bill due to 
serious concerns surrounding specific policy riders and spending 
provisions. I am also seriously concerned about the process whereby we 
are passing a 1,582 page, $1.012 trillion spending bill that we 
received at 8 p.m. Monday night--giving us very limited time to time to 
carefully review or debate and no ability to amend.
  Now, this is not a new occurrence in Congress. According to the 
Congressional Research Service, between 1977 and 2013, there were only 
4 years when all appropriations were enacted on time--fiscal year 1977, 
fiscal year 1989, fiscal year 1995, and fiscal year 1997: ``[O]ver half 
of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year were enacted on 
time in only one instance (1978). In all other fiscal years, fewer than 
six regular appropriations acts were enacted on or before October 1. In 
addition, in 12 out of the 37 years during this period, none of these 
regular appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the 
fiscal year.'' This is unacceptable and must change.
  With our country facing a rapidly growing $17.3 trillion debt, which 
amounts to more than $54,000 per citizen, it is time for Congress to go 
back to the ``regular order'' and consider each one of the 12 
individual appropriations bills in turn to fund the activities of our 
government before the end of the fiscal year, with ample time for 
debate and amendments, instead of ramming through a massive 1,582-page 
Omnibus appropriation bills like the one before us today. The American 
taxpayer expects more and deserves better than what we are giving them 
in this bill.
  The Omnibus includes appropriations policy riders and pork barrel 
projects that should raise red flags for all of my colleagues. For 
example, tucked away in the classified portion of this bill is a policy 
rider that has serious national security implications and is a prime 
example of the appropriators overstepping their bounds. This provision 
will halt the transfer of the U.S. drone counterterrorism operations 
from the CIA to the Department of Defense. In doing so, it summarily 
changes a very important policy that guides how we do certain 
counterterrorism operations abroad from a direction that the President 
has specifically prescribed. And how did most of us become aware of 
this major policy change? By reading this morning's Washington Post; 
that is how. This is outrageous, and it should not have happened. While 
there may be differing opinions on who should control drone 
counterterrorism operations, we should be able to debate these 
differences in the committees of jurisdiction and eventually on the 
Senate floor. The fact that a major national security policy decision 
is going to be authorized in this bill without debate or authorization 
is unacceptable and should not be the way we legislate on such 
important national security issues.
  The $1 trillion Omnibus also includes a wasteful provision directing 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, to continue developing the 
duplicative Catfish Inspection Office--even though the FDA has a 
similar inspection office. According to the Government Accountability 
Office, GAO, this duplicative office will cost taxpayers roughly $15 
million a year once up and running. Both the Office of Management and 
Budget, OMB, and GAO have recommended that Congress repeal the catfish 
program because it is ``wasteful and duplicative'' of FDA's seafood 
inspection services.
  The fact remains that the Catfish Office won't improve food safety. 
Its true purpose is to ban catfish imports for several years while USDA 
bureaucrats iron out their procedures with foreign inspectors. A New 
York Times article from November 2013 explains how this program would 
disrupt our trade relations with Asian countries. Some nations, 
including Vietnam, have threatened WTO retaliation against our 
agriculture exports, like beef and soybeans.
  During the Senate debate on the farm bill, I was joined by Senator 
Shaheen and 11 other Senators in offering an amendment to that bill 
that would have eliminated the Catfish Office, but the managers blocked 
a vote on our amendment. The House version of the farm bill includes an 
amendment to eliminate the USDA Catfish Office, but Senate conferees 
are, likewise, blocking a vote in conference. I urge the Senate 
conferees to the farm bill to drop their opposition and allow a vote in 
conference on this important provision. Appropriators should have not 
included this policy rider in the omnibus. Instead, we should move to 
eliminate the duplicative and wasteful USDA Catfish Office.
  In addition, the Omnibus bill includes $120 million in unrequested 
funding for Guam in direct contravention of the bicameral decisions of 
the Armed Services Committees. There is absolutely no justification for 
this. That is why the Armed Services Committees have expressly 
prohibited such funding in the NDAA. To date, Congress has not received 
sufficient cost-analysis supporting the Department of Defense's 
proposed movement of troops from Okinawa to Guam. For this reason, in 
the authorization bill passed just last month, the Armed Services 
Committees explicitly prohibited any premature investments in Guam 
until the Secretary of Defense provides Congress with the strategic 
plan which includes, among other things, costs associated with the 
movement to Guam and a report on military resources necessary to 
execute the U.S. force posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
  While this language will stay in the Omnibus bill due to the 
inability to offer an amendment to strip it, I am thankful to Senate 
Armed Services Chairman Levin for working with me to clarify the 
language. I also appreciate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee 
Chairman Durbin and Vice Chairman Cochran for agreeing that the 
reporting requirements in section 2822 of the NDAA must be satisfied 
before the Department of Defense can obligate funds for investments in 
Guam if the report finds they are needed. I fully expect the Senate 
Armed Services Committee will provide close and careful oversight, 
including hearings, over the use of any monies that may be appropriated 
for the transfer of forces covered in this section and obligated by the 
Department for that purpose.
  Yet another example of the abuse of the appropriations process is the 
continued inclusion of a misguided policy rider that prohibits the 
Postal Service from moving to 5-day mail delivery, which would save the 
Postal Service $2

[[Page S417]]

billion a year. This congressional mandate was initially put in place 
in 1984 and is the only roadblock keeping the Postal Service from 
transforming the way it delivers mail, while still being able to 
provide universal service. The Postal Service continues to lose 
billions of dollars each year; however, some in Congress have decided 
that they know better than the Postal Service leadership and continue 
to prohibit the Postal Service from modernizing and transforming the 
way it does business. Congress must accept the fact that the Postal 
Service's current way of doing business is no longer viable. The 
American public communicates and conducts business in a completely 
different way than they did even 5 years ago. We must allow the Postal 
Service to adapt to changing times in order to have a Postal Service in 
the future, and this includes 5-day mail delivery to save $2 billion a 
  In addition to these unacceptable policy riders, the bill also 
includes other examples of pork barrel spending for programs, some 
duplicative, such as $65 million for Pacific Coast salmon restoration 
for States including Nevada, a program that even President Obama has 
called duplicative and mocked in his 2011 State of the Union Address; 
$80 million in additional funding for Amtrak, which continues to 
operate in the red year after year; $15 million for an ``incentive 
program'' that directs DOD to overpay on contracts by an additional 5 
percent if the contractor is a Native Hawaiian-owned company.
  There is language that makes it easier for the DOD to enter into no-
bid contracts for studies, analysis, and unsolicited proposals. The 
language in the bill makes it ripe for wasteful spending and earmarks 
for pet projects. For example, Department of Defense may eliminate 
competition and use a no-bid contract for a ``product of original 
thinking and was submitted in confidence by one source.'' With the 
Department facing cuts now and into the future, this type of vague 
language could lead to costly wasteful spending on programs that DOD 
neither needs or can afford.
  There are $600,000 for a program at Mississippi State University to 
research how to grow trees faster for replanting after hurricanes.
  There are numerous ``Buy America'' provisions that hurt competition 
and innovation, drive up the costs of procurement, and further 
increases the taxpayer burden; $10 million for the USDA High Energy 
Cost Grants Program that go to subsidize electricity bills in Alaska 
and Hawaii; $10 million for a DOD Youth Challenge Program that was 
neither requested by the President nor authorized to receive funding in 
the fiscal year 2014 NDAA; and $3.3 million increase in the STARBASE 
Program. According to the Internet, this ``nice-to-have'' but not 
``necessary-to-have'' program ``focuses on elementary students, 
primarily fifth graders. The program's goal is to motivate these 
students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM, as 
they continue their education. Military volunteers apply abstract 
principles to real-world situations by leading tours and giving 
lectures on the use of STEM in different settings and careers.'' With a 
war going on and budget crisis at our doorstep, this is how we elect to 
spend our increasingly scarce defense dollars? We should leave the 
education of our children to our teachers and parents and not our 
  There is a $7.7 million increase for the Civil Air Program, or CAP. 
CAP is a volunteer organization that provides aerospace education to 
young people, runs a junior cadet program, and assists when possible in 
providing emergency services. Its members are hard-working and we are 
grateful for their volunteerism. This year, as in the past, the Senate 
Armed Services Committee authorized CAP funding. However, CAP is 
auxiliary and thus should not be funded given the need for the military 
to tighten its purse strings and fund programs that are a priority to 
our national defense, not auxiliary.
  The bill also includes $375 million for Army, Navy, and Air Force 
``alternative energy research'' initiatives. As I have stated in the 
past, this type of research has yielded such shining examples as the 
Department of the Navy's purchase of 450,000 gallons of alternative 
fuels for $12 million--over 26 dollars per gallon.
  There is over $460 million in funding for Defense Department to do 
research dealing with research for alzheimer, autism, prostate and 
ovarian cancer, HIV/AIDS and numerous other diseases and illnesses. 
While this type of research is important, it should not be funded by 
Department of Defense. It should, instead, be funded by the National 
Institutes of Health, the budget of which this bill more than doubles 
over last year's.
  We cannot continue this process where massive, unamendable, thousand-
plus page spending bills totaling trillions of dollars are voted on 2 
days after being made available to Members of this body. No Senator 
could have read and fully understood the long-term impact the policy 
and spending provisions this bill will have on the future of this 
Nation. It is a shameful way to do business. The American taxpayers are 
tired of Washington and our uncontrollable spending habits as well as 
our inability to cut wasteful, underperforming, and duplicative 
programs. Furthermore, our refusal to reform our broken tax system and 
our unsustainable mandatory programs have contributed greatly not only 
to the current fiscal crisis in our country, but to Americans' 
unfavorable opinion of the institutions of our government. We must 
change course and have a fair and open process to fund the Federal 
Government, not a closed process. For all of these reasons, I will not 
be voting for this appropriations bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I appreciate the comments from my two 
dear friends, the Senator from Iowa and the Senator from Alabama. They 
have been friends of mine for decades, and we have traveled and 
conspired together--always conspiring for the good of the country, of 
course. We have shared our thoughts, our philosophy, and our plans, and 
because we have joined together, we have better legislation.
  I want to add my voice to those who have spoken in support of the 
Omnibus appropriations bill. I spoke about it earlier this week, so I 
won't repeat others, but I want the American people to understand the 
importance of what we are doing.
  Only Chairwoman Mikulski could have said it as well as she did. This 
compromised bill represents the end of--and hopefully for a long time--
``shutdown, slowdown, slamdown politics.'' If I spoke for an hour, I 
would not say it as well as the senior Senator from Maryland did. It 
shows that the people here want to govern. When they have had enough of 
political stunts and are no longer intimidated by extremists, they can 
work together to get it done.
  Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Shelby, Chairman Rogers, and 
Ranking Member Lowey made it possible for the House and Senate 
Appropriations Committees to do what we all do if we are given the 
chance. Democrats and Republicans come together and we forge 

  Two days ago I spoke about the portions of this omnibus bill that 
fund the Department of State and foreign operations. But I also know--
and I can say this as the most senior member of the Appropriations 
Committee--the bill also provides funding for many vital domestic 
programs that have suffered some very painful cuts in recent years. It 
provides increased funding for public health, including mental health. 
It is going to increase the National Institutes of Health budget by $1 
  In Vermont, local community health centers are essential for rural 
families. This bill includes nearly $700 million more for these health 
centers nationwide. I know how important they are. I remember during my 
first term in the Senate helping to start one of our first community 
health centers in the tiny county of Grand Isle, with a beautiful 
archipelago of violets in Northern Lake Champlain. We also have Head 
Start Programs. These are some of the hardest hit by sequestration and 
the bill will help rebuild these programs by investing nearly $1 
  The bill invests $194 million more in the Women, Infants, and 
Children Program, providing nearly 90,000 more mothers and children 
with nutrition assistance. Talk about something that has a rebounding 
effect in this country. We all know a hungry child going to school is 
not going to learn, and they

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are not going to be as productive a member of society later on. None of 
us in this Chamber goes hungry. No Senator goes hungry except by 
choice, but a lot of children and a lot of infants go hungry. Now, 
90,000 more can be given nutrition assistance.
  Many Americans are struggling to pay for college, and this bill 
maintains funding for the Pell Grant Program and increases funding for 
TRIO and GEAR Up Programs that help low-income and first-generation 
students get a college education. Many of these programs reach 
Vermonters through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. I am 
pleased this bill includes investment in this and similar nonprofits 
around the country.
  The omnibus includes funding for programs authorized by the Violence 
Against Women Act for grants to rural areas, for transitional housing, 
for sexual assault services, for legal assistance for victims, and 
support for Native American victims.
  I remember how we joined together in a bipartisan way to pass the 
Violence Against Women Act, and when they wanted to diminish it in the 
House of Representatives, some very brave Democrats and Republicans 
stood and said: No, let's pass the bill the Senate passed. We added a 
number of things, including Native American victims--something that 
even some of the previous supporters of the bill were going to take 
out. We kept it in.
  The bill raises the cap on the Crime Victims Fund by $15 million, 
which is a historic high. It means more money for victims assistance 
grants at the State and local levels. How I wish we had such money when 
I was a prosecutor so we could help victims of crime.
  It also makes a lifesaving investment in the bill the former Senator 
Ben Nighthorse Campbell and I wrote, the bulletproof vest program, to 
protect police officers and other first responders. Every year we hear 
of police officers whose lives have been saved because of the 
bulletproof vest program.
  We provide increases for homeless assistance grants and the Low-
Income Energy Assistance Program. We preserve funding for Rural 
Economic Area Partnership Zones--something extremely important in the 
basically rural State of Vermont.
  The omnibus also lifts the pay freeze impacting thousands of Federal 
workers in Vermont and millions across the country and all 50 of our 
  The bill makes strong investments to support our National Guard. I 
was the cochair of the National Guard Caucus, along with Senator 
Lindsey Graham, who will agree with me on how important that investment 
is. It overturns a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act that would 
have reduced cost-of-living adjustments for medically retired 
servicemembers and survivor benefit plan recipients. It paves the way 
for Congress to repeal the reductions for all impacted military 
  This bill is not exactly what I might have written, what Chairwoman 
Mikulski would have written, what any one of us would have written if 
we could write it alone. But after years and years of gridlock on 
appropriations, we wrote a bill that can pass. So there are 
compromises. There are programs that are not funded at the levels many 
of us wanted, including some provisions important to Vermonters.
  I am disappointed that because of limited budget caps we were unable 
to make larger investments in the Byrne JAG Program and the juvenile 
justice program, which continue to face steep cuts year after year.
  I am disappointed the omnibus includes authorizing language we have 
been debating as part of the ongoing farm bill negotiation. This 
antifarmer policy rider will tie the hands of the Grain Inspection, 
Packers & Stockyards Administration and is an unfortunate case of 
legislating on behalf of powerful corporations while leaving our family 
farmers out in the cold.
  But I would say that even on the things I would have wanted to 
include, and many of us would want to include, the alternative was 
another continuing resolution and more sequestration, which, without 
question, would have been far worse, especially for programs that I 
support and I believe the distinguished Presiding Officer supports and 
most of us support.
  So we have taken an important step back from the destructive politics 
of the past few years. Let's hope it is only the first step. Let's hope 
we can go on from here to make progress on other important issues the 
American people sent us to address.
  I do not see any Senators seeking recognition. I suggest the absence 
of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Markey). The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, as have so many of my 
colleagues, I rise to speak to this important Omnibus appropriations 
bill that we have before us today, and I too wish to thank the Senator 
from Alabama, whom I count as a friend, and the Senator from Baltimore 
and the great State of Maryland, more broadly, for all the great work 
they have done and their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee as 
well. We are showing the country we can work together. We are going to 
start the new year on a different note. I am excited to be a part of 
that effort. I will support the bill.
  I come to the floor, as have a number of my colleagues, to speak 
about some of the business yet unfinished, to set the stage for more 
work we can do going forward. But before I do that, I wish to mention 
some of the specific good news in the bill.
  I am looking at my good friend from Alabama. We have had a lot of 
fires in Colorado over these last number of years. This bill takes some 
important steps to help us combat the threat posed by what are now very 
fast-moving, indiscriminately burning, modern mega fires. We have had 
mega hurricanes and mega tornadoes. We have mega fires now in the great 
State of Colorado. We have seen those fires not just in my State but 
all over the West. In the Southeast we have seen increasing fires as 
well. So the budget includes about $3 billion for firefighting and 
wildfire prevention programs, which is essentially the same level we 
have seen in recent years.
  I am a little disappointed that the bill doesn't include the 
bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. This is a bill that I worked 
on with Senators Wyden and Crapo. It is, therefore, bipartisan. It 
would allow the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior 
to access funding to support emergency wildfire suppression efforts. It 
is a lot cheaper to suppress fires at the beginning than to let them 
get out of control. It is also a lot cheaper to prevent fires from 
happening in the first place, and I will talk more about that. If we 
look at current projections, they only suggest that fires are going to 
increase in intensity and duration, and it underscores the need for us 
to get ahead of this growing threat to our communities--again, not just 
in Colorado but all over our country.
  There are fiscally responsible reforms in this Wildfire Disaster 
Funding Act which would help us confront the skyrocketing threat that 
modern fires pose to our States' fiscal health as agencies work to 
protect life and property while being responsible stewards of taxpayer 
dollars. That is just one of the many reasons I am going to continue to 
lead the fight--it is a bipartisan fight, a bipartisan cause--to see if 
we can't get this approach in place. This is a plan that will truly 
help us with these fires that threaten our communities.
  I am also proud that Colorado is leading the way in pioneering 
commonsense wildfire prevention strategies that cut through redtape and 
then leverage private sector know-how to create jobs while reducing the 
fuel loads in our forests. We don't have enough Federal employees. We 
don't have enough government moneys to do all we need to do in our 
forests. One of the ways we can do more of that with this private-
public sector type of partnership is to reauthorize the Good Neighbor 
  The Good Neighbor Authority was a pilot project in Colorado 
initially, and it has been successful. We want to expand it and apply 
it in other locales and in other States, and we have succeeded in doing 
that. It will allow agencies to work collaboratively across arbitrary 
Federal boundaries to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risks.

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  This bill also reauthorizes the job-creating Stewardship Contracting 
Authority, which allows the Forest Service and the BLM to partner with 
local businesses to improve fire safety on our public lands. This has 
been a critical tool in Colorado, and it is important that we include 
it in this bill.
  So where do I think we have some shortcomings? I mentioned a couple 
of successes and important provisions in the bill. The bill doesn't 
address several key needs in my State, including support for the 
Emergency Watershed Protection Program and Payment in Lieu of Taxes 
Program. It is known as PILT. I listened to the Committee on 
Appropriations chairwoman and I listened to the Senator from New Mexico 
Tom Udall and others speak about PILT today. I wish to touch on both 
the EWP, Emergency Watershed Protection Program, and the Payment in 
Lieu of Taxes Program. We had real devastation in my State last year 
during the fall with historic amounts of rainfall and then the floods 
that followed. We had enormous support from all over the country. We 
deeply appreciate that outpouring. It was the most destructive natural 
disaster in our State's history. Now the floodwaters have subsided, 
thankfully--some 3 months ago--but we are still learning the true 
extent of the damage. Families and towns are clearing debris from their 
neighborhoods and from their water sources. They are working to rebuild 
their communities house by house and business by business.
  Yet, despite this widespread damage from the floods and the broad 
consensus that more help is needed, this budget does not fund the 
Emergency Watershed Protection Program. This is a very important and 
crucial flood recovery program, and it has been applied all over our 
country, I think in almost every State.
  If we do not get support sooner rather than later, we could see 
additional flooding this spring. We have a spring thaw that happens all 
over our State. Streams will overrun their banks, particularly because 
we have so much debris still in many of those stream courses. So we 
need these resources. It is simply not acceptable that we would not 
have them in hand before the spring runoff.
  The Federal Government's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the 
NRCS, estimates that we need at least $122 million to protect lives and 
property from future flood damage. That support, as I have said, is not 
included in the bill, but I am going to continue fighting to secure 
this critical aid for Colorado's flood-ravaged communities.
  Finally, I want to turn to the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program. As I 
mentioned earlier, many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle 
have expressed their disappointment that the budget does not include 
PILT funding. It includes--when it works--funding for rural counties 
across the country. Fifty-five of our 64 counties in Colorado qualify 
for payment in lieu of taxes funding. Those counties qualify because 
there are Federal lands within those counties.
  Those lands are an important part of the character and heritage of 
the West. But because Federal lands are not subject to local property 
taxes, they do not support essential services such as schools, roads, 
teacher hires, our firefighters, and our police.
  I want to give you an example of what I am talking about.
  Ouray County is in the southwestern portion of Colorado in the San 
Juan Mountains. It is home to about 4,400 people. Over half that county 
is public land, and half of the local school kids are already on free 
or reduced-price lunch programs. That county's budget is picked to the 
bone. Without $400,000 in PILT funds, Ouray County will not be able to 
maintain local roads or provide other basic services that residents 
there depend on.
  Those funds may seem small by the standards here in Washington, DC, 
but they are indispensable for the rural communities in my home State 
of Colorado and across the West. That is why this week I introduced a 
bill that would fully fund PILT, and I am really pleased Senator Heller 
from Nevada has joined me. That fully funded PILT approach would give 
our rural communities certainty when it comes to their budgets and 
their futures. This is a commonsense approach. Let us pass it without 
delay. I am going to continue to work with all of my colleagues who 
support the PILT Program to ensure that we do the right thing.
  I want to take a minute to speak to my county commissioners all over 
Colorado from those 55 counties I mentioned. I know you are wondering 
how you are going to keep critical public services going over this next 
year. To you I want to make this pledge: I will fight doggedly, I will 
fight every way possible, to make sure you have those PILT funds to 
which you are entitled and you need to make sure your communities are 
secure, are safe, and are preparing for the future.
  I want to conclude by saying, again, I intend to vote for this bill, 
in part because of the critical functions across our government that it 
supports and because, as the Senator from Alabama mentioned just a 
while ago, it avoids another costly and unnecessary government 
shutdown. But I do raise some concerns. I know we will tend to the 
unfinished business that I mentioned. I am going to continue working 
with everybody on both sides of the aisle. I am going to keep fighting 
for the great State of Colorado in the process. We will do our part to 
be a great State in the United States of America.
  I appreciate the Presiding Officer's attention. I appreciate the 
Presiding Office's service.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, with the distinguished senior Senator from 
Alabama on the floor, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 4:45 
p.m. be equally divided and controlled between Senators Reed of Rhode 
Island and Durbin; further, that the time from 4:45 p.m. until 5:15 
p.m. be controlled by the Republican leader or designee; that at 5:15 
p.m. there be 15 minutes equally divided between Senators Mikulski and 
Shelby or their designees; that at 5:30 p.m. today the mandatory quorum 
required under rule XXII be waived and the Senate proceed to vote on 
the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur; that if cloture 
is invoked, the motion to concur with an amendment be withdrawn, all 
postcloture time be yielded back, and the Senate proceed to vote on the 
motion to concur; that if the motion to concur is agreed to, the Senate 
proceed to the consideration of H. Con. Res. 74; that the concurrent 
resolution be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. SHELBY. No objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair hears none.
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. I tell the distinguished Presiding Officer, he can tell by 
all the various clauses of that why we Senators are merely 
constitutional impediments to our staff who write it up, and why I held 
it in my hand to read it and make sure it was done right.
  With that, Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair notes the excellent work of the 
Senator from Vermont, and the clerk will please call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I never would have imagined that today the 
Senate would be meeting without one of our true heroes, a recipient of 
the Congressional Medal of Honor, Senator Danny Inouye of Hawaii. He 
and Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska guided the Subcommittee on Defense of 
the Senate Appropriations Committee for decades with a steady hand and 
a commitment to working on a bipartisan basis.
  I have been fortunate in working on this appropriations bill to have 
as my ranking member Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi. He has 
carried on that legacy of bipartisanship. He is my friend. We trust one 
another. That has made this job so much more complete and satisfying. 
We have conferenced a massive Defense appropriations bill on an 
expedited schedule and we encourage our colleagues to vote for it on 
final passage.
  Virtually 60 percent of all of the domestic discretionary spending of 
the United States of America is included in this one appropriations 
bill. Now for

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nearly 2 years the Department of Defense has been in a state of 
paralysis because of budget uncertainty caused by the Budget Control 
Act, sequestration, the threat that was never supposed to become a 
reality, and, sadly, the 16-day totally unnecessary government 
  This bill is the first step in regaining stability and providing a 
solid foundation for our Department of Defense to plan for its future. 
It represents a return to regular order for both the Budget and 
Appropriations Committees and for Congress. Finally, we are going to 
exert our constitutional responsibilities over the power of the purse, 
to make certain that every Federal tax dollar is spent responsibly.
  We are really indebted in particular to two of our colleagues. 
Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington, chair of the Senate Budget 
Committee, sat down with Paul Ryan, the House Republican chair, and 
hammered out a budget agreement, the first in I believe 5 or 6 years. 
Then the assignment was sent to the Appropriations Committee chair, 
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. She was able to sit down with Chairman 
Rogers from the House of Representatives. The two of them worked out an 
agreement on the actual spending that would follow this budget 
resolution. That was no small feat.
  It is also a fiscally responsible bill. It provides $572 billion for 
the current fiscal year in this appropriation, meeting the spending 
caps that were established in the budget. It meets the spending target 
$25 billion before the President's request, by making 1,065 more 
strategic and thoughtful reductions--1,065 reductions in spending from 
the President's budget request.
  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned us and the Nation 
several years ago: If we do not get the people right, the rest will not 
matter when it comes to our national defense. This agreement implements 
the wisdom of General Dempsey. It provides necessary resources to the 3 
million men and women who proudly serve America in the Department of 
Defense. Passage of this bill means that nearly 800,000 civilian 
employees at the Department of Defense finally will get the pay raise, 
at least some pay raise, which they certainly deserve, rather than face 
the threat of furloughs which they faced over and over.
  Unfortunately, this is the first pay raise since fiscal year 2010, 
but it will make it a little bit easier for middle-class families who 
work for our government in defense of our Nation to make ends meet. The 
agreement also contains a pay raise for our military. We all heartily 
support it.
  It funds operations of readiness at $11 billion higher than it would 
be under a full-year continuing resolution. It means our soldiers, 
sailors, airmen, and marines can get the training they need before 
deploying into harm's way. Training and readiness means survivability.
  It provides a $1 billion increase in the National Guard and Reserve 
equipment account, includes $218 million for TRICARE to ensure 
servicemembers and their families will not pay higher out-of-pocket 
costs for medical care, $25 million to fully implement the 
implementation of Senator Murray's Special Victims Counsels, so that 
the victims of sexual assault in the military through this 
appropriation will have the advocates, have the counselors, and have 
the champions they need.
  We have increased an already robust budget for suicide prevention by 
$20 million, to encourage the Department to expand community-based 
initiatives, offering greater support as well for the Guard and 
Reserve. We made sure that the medical care our servicemembers receive 
will still be the most advanced in the world. It adds $200 million to 
peer-reviewed medical research programs. No apologies.
  Some Members may come to the floor and criticize the Department of 
Defense for being engaged in medical research. I can stand and defend 
every single line item. I will tell you, it will not only benefit our 
military and their families, it will benefit America and the world for 
this medical research to take place.
  It has $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological 
health, $10 million for prosthetic research. I want to thank 
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She has joined me in this 
effort. She, more than any other Member of Congress, understands the 
critical importance to have the modern prosthetics and orthotics for 
those members of the military who suffer a loss of limb during their 
course of serving our country.
  For embassy security, which is a topic we hear from the other side on 
almost a daily basis, we have added marine security guard detachments 
at 35 more State Department posts overseas, as well as Marine Corps 
response forces around the globe.
  Finally, we add a technical correction. I want to make it clear, 
because this has been the subject of great debate on the floor of the 
Senate and the House, we added a technical correction to the COLA 
offset regarding military pensions to make it clear that Congress 
never, ever intended this to impact medically retired personnel or 
their survivors. I appreciate the leadership of three of my colleagues 
on this issue: Senator Murray, Senator Pryor, and Senator Shaheen.
  We protect the Defense industrial base. We increase science and 
technology funding for all the branches by $400 million. We add $175 
million for the Rapid Innovation Program and $75 million for the 
Industrial Base Innovation Fund.
  I had the good fortune of visiting Rhode Island during the course of 
this week. Make no mistake. The men and women who work in these 
facilities to build the most advanced, innovative, and technical 
defense equipment in the world constitute a precious national resource. 
We want to make sure we are committed to them so they will be ready to 
help us in the future to defend America.
  There are two provisions in this bill I want to mention quickly that 
relate to Illinois. The first is related to the James Lovell Federal 
Health Care Center in North Chicago. It is a multiyear pilot program to 
try to do something which seems so obvious, to blend the medical 
facilities and hospital at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station with 
the North Chicago Veterans Hospital. It is one of the most challenging 
things I have ever seen in government. We are getting it done. This 
bill continues to invest in that concept. I want to thank Senator Kirk. 
He has been my partner in making sure that this happens from the start.
  Second, the bill takes a major step forward in preserving and 
sustaining the skilled workforce at manufacturing arsenals in support 
of the Department of Defense. Coming out of two wars, we know the value 
of these workers. When we had to put shields on humvees to save the 
lives of our servicemembers, we turned to the Rock Island Arsenal. In 
dramatic fashion they responded with the very best equipment to save 
our men and women in uniform. We want to make sure they are ready for 
the next challenge, whatever it may be. So we have included $150 
million in industrial mobilization capacity to stabilize their rates, 
to make sure they will continue to serve our military so well.
  I see my colleague Senator Reed has come to the floor. I know we have 
a limited amount of time. I want to make a point which I think he will 
appreciate. When it comes to major Defense programs, this bill contains 
$1.2 billion to fully fund two Virginia-class submarines under a 
multiyear contract.
  I visited with the engineers, welders, electricians, and machinists. 
They have been worried about their jobs through the sequester, and 
further sequestration would have meant a major disruption.
  The agreement also supports the strong view of Congress that we 
should not retire 9 ships with a century of useful life left in them.
  We fully funded Navy Growlers, P-8s, and other aircraft, as well as 
added advanced procurement for additional Super Hornets.
  In the Army, we protected procurement of Army Chinook, Apache and 
Black Hawk helicopters, as well as provided an additional 14 
helicopters to the Army National Guard.
  We also remain a steadfast partner with Israel. The bill fully funds 
U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs. It adds an additional 
$173 million for the Arrow programs and David's Sling, and also fully 
funds Iron Dome procurement.
  We also had to make a lot of tough decisions to reach our spending 

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Some programs have significant cuts, and that is going to have an 
impact somewhere.
  But what is the alternative to this bill? The only answer is a full-
year continuing resolution. The Department of Defense has never 
operated under a full-year CR, and I hope it never does.
  A full-year CR would mean untold billions of dollars would have to be 
realigned from literally thousands of programs. It would be a financial 
management nightmare. Programs might be forced to stop in their tracks 
because funds were not provided in the right lines, and the effects 
would ripple throughout the defense industry and American jobs.
  This bill takes care of our highest priorities, but not everything 
can be a priority. I ask that Senators recognize that we had to make 
some hard choices, that we managed to do more with less, and that the 
alternatives are much worse.
  I inherited an awesome responsibility from Senator Inouye. I also 
inherited his tremendous staff.
  They have worked especially hard this year over the holidays with no 
fanfare and at great personal sacrifice to ensure that we could get to 
this day. So I would like to take a moment to thank them.
  On the Democratic staff: Betsy Schmid, Colleen Gaydos, David Gillies, 
Katy Hagan, Kate Kaufer, Erik Raven, Jennifer Santos, Teri Spoutz, Andy 
Vanlandingham, and Maria Veklich.
  On the Republican staff, I would like to thank: Stewart Holmes, 
Alycia Farrell, Brian Potts and Jacqui Russell.
  This defense bill provides for the national defense in a responsible, 
thoughtful way.
  It reverses the harshest impacts of sequestration, and provides 
additional funds to ensure that our troops get the training and 
equipment they need.
  It also looks toward the future, boosting research in medical care, 
science and technology, and manufacturing innovation.
  I hope all of my colleagues who support a strong military and a 
strong national defense will support this good bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, first let me thank the Senator from Illinois 
for his great leadership on the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and 
for joining me in Rhode Island to see those great workers at Electric 
Boat and many other defense industries in Rhode Island.
  I too want to commend Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Chairwoman 
Patty Murray. We would not be here today without their extraordinary 
efforts, Herculean efforts by two extraordinary individuals. I also 
want to thank my colleague from the great State of Alaska, Lisa 
Murkowski, for her work. She is an extraordinary colleague, 
collaborator. We have worked together to make this Interior 
subcommittee bill a very good one.
  Chairman Ken Calvert of the House, ranking member Jim Moran, both 
superb participants and collaborators in this effort. Jim is retiring. 
I want to thank him for his distinguished service to Virginia and to 
the Nation.
  I am very pleased in particular in this Interior subcommittee bill 
that we could make a strong investment in clean water and drinking 
water through the revolving fund or, as it is known, the SRF fund. This 
is not only about the environment and public health, it is about jobs. 
In fact, adopting our provisions in contrast to the House's lower 
numbers will keep approximately 97,000 more Americans on the job this 
year. That, I think, is significant. It is not just about the 
environment, it is also about keeping people at work.
  We have also ensured that we can staff all of our agencies, including 
the EPA, so they do not have to face furloughs, so they can have 
continuity of operations, so they can do their jobs more efficiently 
and more effectively.
  For the Department of the Interior, the bill provides solid funding 
for resource agencies, including the National Park Service, Fish and 
Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, as well as the U.S. Geological Survey. The bill also includes 
$306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  With respect to our cultural agencies, we have also been able to 
restore sequester cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and 
Humanities, and we increased funding of the Smithsonian, which will 
help them complete the National Museum of African American History and 
Culture for its opening in 2015.
  One challenge in the Interior bill is the firefighting costs. These 
are costs that cannot be avoided and they continue to increase. We have 
fully funded these costs and we have done that by increasing resources 
significantly. But we have to be aware, if these costs continue to 
grow, it will be something that is very difficult to sustain. So we 
have to apply our efforts going forward to see if we can, through 
suppression efforts, through other efforts, begin to control the cost 
of firefighting. This is something, particularly for our Western 
colleagues, that is absolutely essential. We responded to this need 
completely and thoroughly.
  I want to also commend my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee 
for the other aspects of the bill, Senators Harkin, Feinstein, Murray, 
and Durbin. Their subcommittees produced great results. The Low Income 
Heating Assistance Program, LIHEAP, the Weatherization Program has been 
adequately funded, funding for Job Corps, TIGER grant funding, and 
Chairman Mikulski particularly effectively added $75 million for 
fisheries disasters, which the Presiding Officer from Massachusetts and 
myself are very keenly aware of and very appreciative of.
  Funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission, funding for the 
Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This is going to help make sure 
the Dodd-Frank legislation that we passed is actually implemented and 
the markets are operating efficiently. This is critical to our economic 
viability and our economic progress.
  As Senator Durbin mentioned, I am extremely pleased that two 
Virginia-class submarines were included in this appropriations bill. 
They are built in Groton. They all begin in Quonset Point, RI, but they 
are built in Groton finally and often in Newport News. This is a 
program vital to our national security, vital to employment. About 
2,800 people in Rhode Island will benefit from these important 
  I think we have to do more to invest in our people, invest in our 
economy, infrastructure, et cetera, but this bill goes a very long way.
  Let me also pay tribute to people who really deserve, as they say, a 
shoutout. That is the staff members who did this work: Rachael Taylor, 
Ryan Hunt, Virginia James, Rita Culp, and Tiffany Taylor on my side. 
Senator Murkowski's extraordinary staff: Leif Fonnesbeck, Brent Wiles, 
and Emy Lesofski. They did extraordinary work.
  Before I leave the floor. Let me conclude one point: We will come 
together this evening on a strong bipartisan basis to pass this 
appropriations bill. But we still have remaining work to do on the 
unemployment insurance bill. I hope in the intervening days that we can 
find a path forward to pass an unemployment insurance bill on a 
bipartisan basis because if we do not, there are 1.5 million Americans 
without benefits, 70,000 more a week lose their benefits, and our 
economy is losing out, because it is approximately $600 million a week 
that is being sapped from the economy, as estimated by Professor 
Lawrence Katz at Harvard if we do not act.
  Now is the time not only to put these appropriations to work, but 
also to put our UI programs to work, so that not only can we help 
Americans, but we can also help our economy. I want to thank in this 
regard, with respect to the UI efforts, Senator Heller and Senator 
Collins. They are extraordinarily thoughtful Members, who are 
committed, as I am, to helping their constituents and doing it in a 
wise and prudent way.
  With that, let me recognize the chairwoman who has come to the floor 
and say, thank you, chairwoman, for an extraordinary bit of work. Not 
surprising coming from a giant like yourself. Thank you.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I thank the Senator from Rhode Island for his comments. 
I appreciate them. They were well said. But the compliments should be 
reversed. This is a committee effort. What I am so excited about for 
this bill is that it is bipartisan, bicameral. It

[[Page S422]]

was agreed upon in the House by an overwhelming vote of 359 to 67.
  I look forward to this same type of vote in the Senate, but we did it 
because we listened to each other, we functioned with maximum respect, 
and saw where we could compromise without capitulating on principle.
  I note that other Senators will be coming shortly.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CRUZ. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CRUZ. I rise to speak of pragmatism and irresponsibility.
  Four years ago, when this body was debating the law known as 
ObamaCare, reasonable minds perhaps could have differed as to whether 
that law might work. The essence of pragmatism is looking to the facts 
as they are today and responding.
  Today reasonable minds can no longer differ in terms of whether 
ObamaCare is working.
  Today it is abundantly clear that millions of Americans are being 
harmed right now by this failed law.
  Today it is the essence of pragmatism to acknowledge the facts of the 
future of ObamaCare and for Congress to step up and act to stop the 
harm that has been caused by this body.
  Irresponsibility, on the other hand, is seeing undeniable harm, 
undeniable facts, and saying, nonetheless, we will do nothing.
  What are the facts from the American people?
  The facts that we now know today are that already at least 4.7 
million Americans have received cancellation notices, have had their 
health care plans cancelled because of ObamaCare.
  This was, of course, after President Obama repeatedly looked in the 
TV cameras, spoke to the American people, and made the promise: If you 
like your health care plan, you can keep it, period.
  We now know that promise was false, and for over 4.7 million people 
painfully false in their lives.
  Pragmatism is responding to the facts and doing something about it. 
Unfortunately, what have the Senate majority leader and the Senate 
Democrats done to protect Americans from ObamaCare? Nothing.
  These facts are known and Senate Democrats have done nothing. At 
least 4.7 million Americans lost their health insurance because of this 
body. The omnibus bill that this body is galloping to approve does 
nothing for the 4.7 million Americans who have had their health 
insurance canceled.
  It is not only health insurance plans. What else are the facts that 
we know now?
  As Time magazine observed: ``Keeping your doctor under ObamaCare is 
no easy feat.''
  President Obama looked at the American people and said: If you like 
your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.
  We now know that promise too was deliberately, repeatedly, false. 
Millions of Americans are facing the very real prospect of losing their 
  A good friend of mine, a cancer survivor, is facing the very real 
prospect--because Texas Oncology has suggested it does not intend to 
participate--of losing his cancer doctor, not being able to go to the 
doctors who saved his life. This is the father of two young children 
facing the terrifying reality of losing his doctor because of the 
conduct of the Congress.
  In response to millions of Americans losing their doctors, what have 
the Senate majority leader and Senate Democrats done? Nothing. The 
essence of irresponsibility is seeing a harm, seeing the facts, and 
refusing to act.
  What else do we know? We know ObamaCare is killing jobs all across 
the country. Indeed, ObamaCare is the biggest job killer in this 
  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said:

       Of small businesses that will be impacted by the employer 
     mandate, one-half of small businesses say they will either 
     cut hours to reduce full-time employees or replace full-time 
     employees with part-time workers to avoid the mandate. 24 
     percent say they will reduce hiring to under 50 employees.

  The President has recently been talking about income inequality. This 
exacerbates income inequality. It is why the rich have gotten richer 
under President Obama. But the people who are struggling--young people, 
Hispanics, single moms, people like my dad, who 56 years ago washed 
dishes for 50 cents an hour as a teenage immigrant--those are the 
people getting their hours reduced because of ObamaCare; those are the 
people getting laid off because of ObamaCare.
  Income inequality is increasing. What have the Senate majority leader 
or Senate Democrats done to protect Americans from ObamaCare? The 
answer is simple: Nothing. In response to the millions of Americans 
being forced into part-time work, losing their jobs, nothing from 
Senate Democrats.
  What else do we know? The New York Times front-page headline 
explained ``New Health Law Frustrates Many in Middle Class.''
  I recognize that not everyone is inclined to listen to a Republican 
from Texas. So let me instead quote that famed rightwing rag, The New 
York Times, discussing ObamaCare.

       Ginger Chapman and her husband, Doug, are sitting on the 
     health care cliff. The cheapest insurance plan they can find 
     through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will 
     cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of 
     their annual income . . .

  Mr. Chapman is a retired fireman who works on a friend's farm and he 
and his wife have two sons. Mrs. Chapman had this to say about the cost 
of that insurance:

       That's an insane amount of money. How are you supposed to 
     pay that?

  In response to the middle class, frustrated at getting hit with 
skyrocketing premiums, what have the Senate majority leader and Senate 
Democrats done? The answer is the same: Nothing.
  But going beyond that, it is not just the middle class that is 
getting hurt. If we were to look at one demographic group that is 
getting hammered the worst by ObamaCare, it is young people. ObamaCare 
is a law designed to be a massive wealth transfer from young people to 
older wealthier Americans.
  Forty percent of young Americans today believe ObamaCare will bring 
worse care, 51 percent believe it will bring higher costs, and 57 
percent of young people disapprove of ObamaCare. And what is the source 
of this information? Another famed rightwing institution--Harvard, a 
Harvard Institute of Politics poll.
  Young people in particular are getting hammered by ObamaCare, and 
what have the Senate majority leader and Senate Democrats done to 
listen to the young people who are losing their jobs, who are forced 
into part-time work, who are facing skyrocketing premiums? The answer 
is simple: Nothing.
  Looking beyond that, Forbes reported that ObamaCare is to increase 
individual market premiums by an average of 41 percent--41 percent. 
That is real money from hard-working people who are being hurt because 
of the failures of this body. And what have Senate Democrats done in 
response? Nothing.
  Looking beyond that, in my home State of Texas, the average premium 
increase for Texans will be 26 percent in the individual market. But 
let's take a 27-year-old Texas man. The average premium increase will 
be 70 percent; for a 27-year-old Texas woman, 22 percent. These are 
young people who are struggling, who are starting to build a family, 
and their premiums are going up because of ObamaCare. What have the 
Senate majority leader and Senate Democrats done to listen to young 
people who are being hurt? The answer is simple: Nothing.
  Let's look beyond that, though. Let's look beyond Texas and let's 
talk about State by State some of the very real harm. Let's take a 
State picked at random--the State of Nevada. If we look at the State of 
Nevada, 24,600 policies have been canceled in Nevada; in the individual 
market, a 179-percent premium increase.
  One might hope that these 24,600 people who had their health 
insurance canceled would have Senators representing them. One might 
hope these people paying 179-percent premium increases would have 
Senators representing them standing up and saying: Let's act right now. 
But what have the Senate majority leader and Senate Democrats done to 
respond to the people of Nevada? The answer is absolutely nothing.

[[Page S423]]

  Let's look at some other States. The State of California. In 
California, that bright blue State on our west coast, 1.1 million 
policies have been canceled; a 27-percent increase on average premiums. 
What have Senate Democrats done to respond to Californians suffering 
because of ObamaCare? The answer is simple: Nothing.
  Let's take another State: Arkansas. Arkansas people are hurting 
because of ObamaCare. The State is not tracking cancellations, but in 
the individual market in Arkansas a 138-percent increase in premiums.
  For the millionaires, many of whom populate this Chamber, 138 percent 
may not be that much. But if you are struggling in Arkansas, you need 
help. You need relief. And what have Senate Democrats done for the 
people hurting in Arkansas because of ObamaCare? The answer is nothing.
  Let's look at another State: Louisiana, 92,790 policies canceled 
because of ObamaCare; a 53-percent increase in average premiums because 
of ObamaCare in the individual market.
  I will note, one Senator from Louisiana has fought hard for those 
92,790 people in Louisiana who have had their health insurance 
canceled, and another Senator in this Chamber has fought hard to ensure 
the response is not to relieve them from ObamaCare. What have Senate 
Democrats done in response to the people in Louisiana who are hurting? 
The answer is simple and it is tragic: Nothing.
  Let us look at another State: New Mexico, 26,000 policies canceled; 
142-percent increase in the individual market. What have Senate 
Democrats done to listen to the citizens of New Mexico being hurt 
because of ObamaCare? The answer is nothing.
  Let's take one more State: The State of North Carolina, 183,800 
policies canceled.
  I want my colleagues to think of the single mom raising three kids 
who receives a notification in the mail that her policy has been 
canceled not because of anything she has done but because of Congress's 
law that is not working.
  A 136-percent increase. I want my colleagues to think of the 
immigrant struggling hard--like my dad was when he was washing dishes--
who discovers his premium has gone up 136 percent. What have Senate 
Democrats done to respond to the people of North Carolina who are being 
hurt because of ObamaCare? The answer, tragically, is nothing.
  Four years ago, reasonable minds might have differed, but today these 
are the facts. And the facts are Senate Democrats are not listening to 
the American people. They are not responding to the harm they have 
caused. I am going to suggest that is the essence of irresponsibility.
  I have filed two amendments. One amendment to the omnibus bill would 
simply provide that ObamaCare would be defunded so long as it is the 
case that ObamaCare is causing Americans to lose the health insurance 
policies they wish to keep, increasing their premiums, and preventing 
them from seeing the doctors they want to see.
  All of those, by the way, were promises President Obama and Senate 
Democrats made to the American people that ObamaCare wouldn't do, and 
it is exactly what they are doing.
  This amendment, if Senate Democrats disagree that they have done 
nothing, presents the opportunity for them to do something. Right now 
they can step in and say: It is the essence of pragmatism to recognize 
this isn't working, people are hurting, so let's start over.
  So, accordingly, I am going to ask the first of two unanimous consent 
  I ask unanimous consent that my amendment No. 2685, to prohibit the 
funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act so long as 
the Act is harming the healthcare of Americans, be called up and agreed 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Hirono). Is there objection?
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I want to turn to a second amendment I 
have introduced. This second amendment provides real relief to the 
millions of Americans who are being hurt because of ObamaCare, but it 
also corrects something this body did just recently that was wrong. 
Recently, this body acted to decrease the pensions of millions of 
veterans--millions of men and women who have served our Nation, who 
have fought for our Nation, and who have bled for our Nation. This body 
decreased their pensions irresponsibly. So this second amendment I 
would introduce defunds ObamaCare because millions of Americans are 
hurting, and it uses the savings from defunding ObamaCare to restore 
the pensions to the hard-working men and women of the military, which 
never should have been taken away in the first place.
  This is an opportunity for all 100 Senators to demonstrate we stand 
together with the working men and women in the military and with all 
Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, struggling to achieve a 
better life.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that my amendment No. 2686, 
to prohibit funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 
and to fulfill our Nation's promise to our military retirees, be called 
up and agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, last year Members of this body could say 
they didn't know. They didn't know people's plans would be canceled. 
They didn't know premiums would skyrocket. They didn't know people 
would be shut off from seeing their doctors. Now they know. Now they 
know. And the response of the majority leader and Senate Democrats, 
tragically, is to do nothing.
  This body faces a choice--a choice between pragmatism and 
irresponsibility. Once this body makes this choice, ultimately, in 
November, the American people will have a choice as well. At the end of 
the day, every elected official should not ignore the facts but should 
listen to the American people. We need to make DC listen.
  The majority leader and Senate Democrats right now are not listening 
to the American people. Instead, they have chosen a course of conduct 
of doing nothing, that is not responsible, and I hope that, in time, 
they reconsider.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, we have had a spirited debate today for 
very important reasons, and I will conclude my remarks on this bill by 
observing that, with very few exceptions, we have heard nothing but 
positive comments from our colleagues today here in the Senate.
  We have also heard what an important step this will be to reestablish 
the regular order of the Senate appropriations process. In the 
appropriations world, regular order means receiving the President's 
budget, holding hearings, marking up bills, and bringing them to the 
floor of the Senate with an open amendment process, which both sides of 
the aisle need and want.
  The passage of this omnibus bill will be a giant step, I believe, in 
that direction, which is in the best interests, in the long run, of 
each individual Senator as well as this entire institution.
  I would be remiss if I did not once again recognize the chair of the 
Appropriations Committee Senator Barbara Mikulski, my colleague, and 
the leadership that she demonstrated in creating an environment in 
which a compromise could be reached here. Anyone who has attempted to 
bring a single bill to the floor of the Senate understands what a 
difficult undertaking that can be. This particular legislation contains 
12 separate appropriations bills.
  I also recognize the efforts of the respective ranking members of 
each subcommittee. The Christmas holiday, as we all know, is usually an 
opportunity to refocus their attention on their families and their home 
States. This past year, however, we asked them to once again go the 
extra mile, to skip their

[[Page S424]]

holidays, to make this bill a reality. Because of that and their work, 
they have done that--without hesitation.
  As has already been mentioned by a number of my colleagues, no bill 
ever reaches the floor of the Senate without the effort of many 
different staff members. In this instance it took the effort of 
literally dozens of staff from both sides of the aisle to bring this 
together. I personally thank them all for their incredible dedication 
and professionalism and literally unceasing effort over the past 
several weeks.
  I urge my colleagues once again to support this important 
legislation, to fund the government and move this body one step closer 
to being the place we would all like it to be.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, we are coming to the end of a long day 
and a really long journey. This journey began last year when this 
committee was dealing with a crisis situation in December 2012 when our 
beloved and esteemed chairman Senator Dan Inouye passed away. 
Simultaneously, we were dealing with the emergency legislation to fund 
Hurricane Sandy relief. At that time I was asked by my colleagues, 
based on our seniority system, to become the chair of this committee. 
It was my goal in taking over the committee that I wanted to continue 
the great tradition of Senator Byrd, of Senator Ted Stevens, of Senator 
Danny Inouye, of Senator Thad Cochran, that we would work on a 
bipartisan basis in the interests of the United States of America. 
Although we come from different places, different States, and have even 
different priorities, we are one country. It requires us to make sure 
we do our job.
  An Appropriations Committee is one of two committees that are 
constitutionally referenced. When our Founders wrote the Constitution, 
they said that there should be a committee that has an annual 
Appropriations Committee for public review and public vote, and there 
should be a finance committee to raise the revenue. They didn't call it 
the finance committee, but a revenue committee to raise the money to 
pay the bills.
  This bill meets its constitutional responsibility. This is the bill 
that funds the Federal Government for fiscal year 2014. We are a little 
late, but we have gotten the job done, and we have done that job with 
due diligence, starting with President Obama giving the Congress his 
  Remember, the President proposes, the Congress disposes. We took the 
President's budget request, and we held our due diligence hearings. 
However, we faced a real problem. The Budget Committee, which sets the 
overall cap on discretionary spending, had not passed that. Many said 
you must have a budget. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Murray, 
through hard work, we voted on a marathon budget bill that 
overwhelmingly passed in March. I was so optimistic. I thought: Great, 
the Budget Committee is done. They have an April 15 deadline. They are 
going to go right over to the House and begin negotiations, and we will 
get our allocation with our cap. Remember, we have a cap on 
discretionary spending. We cannot be wild spenders.
  However, it was not meant to be. There are those in the Congress, in 
the Senate, who did not allow the Budget Committee to meet. Some 22 
times Senator Murray asked to go to conference. We were delayed. We 
missed our October 1 deadline. We did not bring up our individual 
bills. But we did have all our bills marked up in full committee in 
full view by August 1. That is what we operated on.
  Then in the fall, when we did get our budget, we did get our 
discretionary spending and a very stringent deadline. On December 20 we 
began to move to work with the House to come up with an agreement.
  We did. We worked across the aisle, and I thank the Senator from 
Alabama, my vice chairman, for helping me create the environment. Our 
mutual respect for each other enabled us to work in a mutual way to 
move our bill forward.
  We reached across the dome to the House Members. We have worked 
together, and we have finished the bill. We brought to the floor what I 
think people could vote for. Yesterday it passed the House with 359 
votes, with only 67 votes against it. I hope we have a successful 
margin today. These efforts show that we Democrats and Republicans can 
work together for the good of the country; that we can avoid drama 
politics with cliffhangers and fiscal cliffs; we can avoid shutdowns; 
we can avoid government on autopilot.
  Most of all, those are process arguments. I did not come to be a 
member of the appropriations committee to be a process guru. Process 
gets you to the objective you seek, and the objective that I seek is to 
make sure that the United States of America is the best country in the 
world; that we lead the world in demonstrating American exceptionalism; 
that the greatest deliberative body continues to deliberate rather than 
delay; that the greatest country in the world, through American 
exceptionalism, knows how to resolve conflict, which we were able to 
  We compromised without any side capitulating on principles--give and 
take on money, give and take on policy. But that is what America is, 
give and take.
  We were able to do that. At the same time, when I say the greatest 
country in the world, we ensured national security. We met compelling 
human need. We continued the opportunity ladder that enabled my family 
to rise as an immigrant family, and the family of the Presiding Officer 
to rise as an immigrant family. The Senator from Texas, he speaks so 
eloquently, often, and frequently about his father. We need an 
opportunity ladder in this country, and we have it in this bill.
  We also wanted to make sure that we have jobs today and are looking 
for those investments in research and development for jobs tomorrow. 
But we will never forget our veterans. We have money in this bill for 
adequate funding for veterans health care, fixing the disability 
backlog. I know earlier in this debate the COLA for disabled military 
retirees and survivors of working age was raised. We have fixed that, 
waiting for a comprehensive solution later on in the year.
  I think we have a bill that meets the test of working to ensure 
America's exceptionalism, protecting our national security, continuing 
that great opportunity ladder that made the United States of America 
great. At the same time, we made those public investments; we were a 
frugal committee that kept an eye on public debt.
  I urge my colleagues to pass this bill.
  There have been many accolades for me today. I thank you for them. 
This is a committee. This bill is not about a ``me.'' Behind a ``me'' 
there is a whole lot of ``we.'' Working on a bipartisan basis, I thank 
my vice chairman, the Senator from Alabama, Mr. Shelby, for being a 
gentleman of the old school, meaning courteous and civil. He was 
insistent, he was persistent on those priorities that he represented, 
and also on keeping that frugal eye that he is known for. But we were 
able to work together to create a climate in our committee where there 
was confidence that everybody could be at the table and everybody could 
have their say.
  I thank his staff for their professionalism: Bill Duhnke, Dana Wade, 
Chris Ford, Jane Lee, and Shelby Begany.
  My own staff were no slouches either, and I thank Chuck Kieffer, 
Gabrielle Batkin, Melissa Zimmerman, Brigid Houton, Vince Morris, Kali 
Matalon, and Eve Goldsher who helped.
  But also, all of us had fantastic subcommittee staff, and that staff 
has backed those subcommittee chairmen. They worked every single day 
since December 20, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas 
  Now we are at the end of this journey. As we conclude and vote on the 
omnibus, the consolidated appropriations bill, I hope the overwhelming 
majority of the Senate votes yes. Then, later on this month we will 
hear President Obama's State of the Union. He will give us his budget. 
We are going to start all over again with the same atmosphere of 
respect, openness, and due diligence.
  Madam President, I know there are just minutes left before the vote. 
If there is no objection, I yield back the time and urge the Senate 

                             cloture motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to

[[Page S425]]

     concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 
     3547, Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act 
     and the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
         Harry Reid, Barbara A. Mikulski, Benjamin L. Cardin, 
           Christopher A. Coons, Patrick J. Leahy, Brian Schatz, 
           Jack Reed, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Patty 
           Murray, Richard Blumenthal, Jeff Merkley, Mark Udall, 
           Tom Harkin, Mark Begich, Mary L. Landrieu.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call 
has been waived. The question is, Is it the sense of Senate that debate 
on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment 
to H.R. 3547 shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. The clerk will call 
the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) and the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 72, nays 26, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 12 Leg.]


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)


     Johnson (WI)

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote the yeas are 72, the nays are 26. 
Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the 
affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  Cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer falls as being 
inconsistent with cloture.
  Under the previous order, the motion to concur with an amendment is 
withdrawn. All postcloture time is yielded back.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion to concur.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to 
be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) and the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of New Mexico). Are there any other 
Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 72, nays 26, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 13 Leg.]


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)


     Johnson (WI)

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion to concur in the House amendment to 
the Senate amendment to H.R. 3547 is agreed to.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I move to reconsider the vote and I move to lay that 
motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.