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Senate Proceeding on Jan 22nd, 2010 :: 1:27:35 to 1:36:30
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Amy Klobuchar

1:27:31 to 1:27:52( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: thank you, mr. president i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president th senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask for unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i rise today to speak in support of amendment number 3302, the

Amy Klobuchar

1:27:35 to 1:36:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

1:27:53 to 1:28:14( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: bipartisan task force for responsible fiscal action offered by my colleague, senator conrad, and senator gregg. i have been an early sponsor of this bill from the beginning, from when i first came to the senate, and i want to thank them for their leadership on this issue. mr. president, under the previous administration, we saw

Amy Klobuchar

1:28:15 to 1:28:35( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the debt of the united states double. they were basically handed -- they were handed a budget surplus, and they turned it into an enormous budget deficit. over the next eight years, sadly, with no work, if we do nothing, it is projected to double again. long-term projections vary, but it is clear that this course is

Amy Klobuchar

1:28:36 to 1:28:56( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: not the course that we want to take. despite years of talk from both parties, little progress has been made, which is why i believe that to ensure the nation future economic security, we need to establish a budget commission dedicated to examing this problemmed in detail and coming up with recommendations to address the long-term fiscal challenges of

Amy Klobuchar

1:28:57 to 1:29:17( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: this country. and i don't want just to have, mr. president, a study that sits on a shelf. the american people deserve better than that. that's why i believe it is very important to have the statutory commission with an up-and-down vote on the recommendations of the commission. it has worked before for social security. and i believe that it will work here.

Amy Klobuchar

1:29:18 to 1:29:38( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: i really appreciate the administration's work on this. the proposal they have nied have a presidential -- a presidentially appointed commission. that is a viable tern and i think the better alternative is this one and that's why i urge my colleagues to vote for t mr. president, we can no longer afford 20 hide our heads in the sand hoping that the fiscal

Amy Klobuchar

1:29:39 to 1:30:00( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: outlook will correct itself. we need to make changes and we need to act now in order to keep our debt from spiraling permanently out of control. difficult fiscal decisions have been put off for too lon we need to make tough decisions nowecause we're spending too much and the path that we are on is unsustainable. this of urse was made more

Amy Klobuchar

1:30:01 to 1:30:22( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: difficult by the economic crisis that we faced last fall. on a bipartisan basis, we had to do something to make sure we shored up the credit markets, to make sure we ensured financial stability for our country. we had to invest in america, invest in jobs with targeted investment. but now, mr. president, we cannot keep going on this course that we're on. gross debt is likely to exceed

Amy Klobuchar

1:30:23 to 1:30:43( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: 100% of g.d.p. within the nt few years, nearing levels not seen since the end of world war ii. each citizen's share of today's debt i more than $38,000. the prior administration, as i noted, ran up the federal debt to the point where today we are forced to spend over 8% of our budget simply to pay interest on the federal debt.

Amy Klobuchar

1:30:44 to 1:31:05( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: in 2008, american taxpayers paid more than 50 billion to our creditors in interest payments alone. that's money we're sending to other countries instead of ending it here in the united states. the more we spend to service our debts, the less we have for infrastructure investments, health care, energy, innovation, and other priorities that are so important to the american people.

Amy Klobuchar

1:31:06 to 1:31:26( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the threat that our debt poses to the economic security of the united states cannot be ignored. as this economic crisis has shown, credit can dry up overnight. with almost 70% of our debt financed by foreign countries and investors, our government literally couldn't pay its bills without the help of china, our biggest creditor.

Amy Klobuchar

1:31:27 to 1:31:47( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: if faith in the american economy were to falter and foreign countries stopped extending credit, we would be faced with a host of bad choices. even without another crisis, many of these programs will on the path to insolvency, and economic growth cant make up the difference. these are issues that must be addressed. that is why it is so important that we step back and look at

Amy Klobuchar

1:31:48 to 1:32:08( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the long term. focus on this debt. at the same time, knowing that we have to have a safety net for the ople of this country. we looked at the health care bill. we'll see what we come up with now as we look at changes to that bill. it actually saved the senate bill $130 billion on the deficit in the first ten years.

Amy Klobuchar

1:32:09 to 1:32:29( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: $1.3 trillion over the next ten years. that clearly has to be a piece of this reform as we look at the cost to the american people, how we can deliver health care more efficiently. i believe it is time to change the way washington works when it comes to our long-term fiscal outlook. it is not about being a democrat, mr. president. it's not about being a republican, not about being an independent.

Amy Klobuchar

1:32:30 to 1:32:51( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: it's about guaranteeing that we get something done for the people of this country. this bipartisan fiscal task force provides a path to restoring our financial stability by creating a bipartisan commission to study our spending and make recommendations to effectively reduce that spending. now, when i first heard about this idea, i was at one of our bipartisan breakfasts.

Amy Klobuchar

1:32:52 to 1:33:12( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: i just arrived in washington. i commission to do this? why can't the people in this body just do this? and i have realized a few things over the years. one, we haven't seen of improvement. two, we haven't been able to get the kind of bipartisan work going that i have seen. three, we have this idea of a commission that's worked in the past.

Amy Klobuchar

1:33:13 to 1:33:33( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: so after being here for about a year, i decided you know what? this is not a bad ide you can have experts work on this. you can come up with some ideas on a biptisan basis for reducing spending, for bringing down our deficit, for bringing down theebt, and i've decided that this is the way to go beuse right now there is no movement on this at all in this body or in the house.

Amy Klobuchar

1:33:34 to 1:33:54( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: now, this is how this task force would work. first, it would be compromised of 18 members from both political parties, 10 democrats and eight republicans. 14 of the ten task force members would have to report the recommendations to ensure the recommendations the task force makes to congr bipartisan in order to fast track the process, there is a set time

Amy Klobuchar

1:33:55 to 1:34:15( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: frame under which the task force would make recommendations and a set time frame for ensuring that congress would give them an up-or-down vote. this task force would not be used to force legislation through coness. it would just force congress to come to the table decision. now, let me address one final point. some are arguing that

Amy Klobuchar

1:34:16 to 1:34:37( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: projections for the near term look so bleak that any talk of deficit and debt reduction should be sidelined. i disagree. everyone knows that when times are good, it becomes much harder to tighten the purse strings. this crisis has brought the issue of the deficit to the forefront. the people of this country know it. they know that they have to watch their own checkbook. they know that they have got to

Amy Klobuchar

1:34:38 to 1:34:58( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: balance they want to see washington working on this. they understand we have an economic crisis. they didn't cause this crisis. people on walltreet making bad decisions. people in government allowing some things like subprime mortgages to go through. there are a lot of people that can be blamed for this. they understand that we not only have to work on this short-term issue of investment in our country and transportation and that we had to do something to

Amy Klobuchar

1:34:59 to 1:35:20( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: shore up the financial crisis so that our whole financial system wouldn't go down the tube. it's hard to swallow. when people think about it, they get that. but they also w people that represent them are working on this debt for the long term. that we ve a plan, that we're doing something to chisel away at this deficit, to bring it down. that's what they expect from us. they don't want to send all this

Amy Klobuchar

1:35:21 to 1:35:41( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: money to china in interest. they want to be spending in the united states of america on roads and bridges, on their kids, on their families, on their kids' educations, on their houses. that's where they want to be spending this money, not on interest over in china. so, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to ve for this bill. i understand it will be most likely coming up next week, i

Amy Klobuchar

1:35:42 to 1:36:02( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: think it is. a very important effort going forward. i commend the white house for the economic work they have done. there is a group of us that has been working on this bill and trying to get this through. i think it is very important not just for this year but for the generations to come. it is time to look past the next election, mr. president, to the next generation.

Amy Klobuchar

1:36:03 to 1:36:21( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: thank floor. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the

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