Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Feb 13th, 2009 :: 2:23:50 to 2:36:20
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Sheldon Whitehouse

2:23:50 to 2:24:12( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: t recognizes the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: today, all over the country, millions of americans went to work unsure whether they would bring home a paycheck or a pink slip. today, millions of americans got up, put on their suit, left the house -- not to go to work but

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:24:13 to 2:24:33( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: for ano visit to the unemployment office, another spot in a long hiring line. today, millions of americans will have that late-night session at the kitchen table trying to figure out how they're

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:24:34 to 2:24:56( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: going stressed family budget. and today millions of americans worried how they could afford it, if a child or elderly parent were to get sick. in my home state of rhode island where the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in decades, the second highest in

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:24:57 to 2:25:17( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: this over and over again. this past sunday i had one of our community dinners that we hold. this was at the tri-city elks lodge. more than 200 people came from all over the state to talk about eir struggles to afford health care in this economy.

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:25:18 to 2:25:38( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: from all, the message was the same: we're trying to get by by times are tough and we feel the deck is stacked against us so we just can't make ends meet. what can you do to our committee, our country is in cris, americans are urging us to take action now before things

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:25:39 to 2:25:41( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: get worse, before i

2:25:42 to 2:26:02( Edit History Discussion )

so this week the senate took action. it was not easy. it is not perfect. and it won't be cheap. but it was the right thi do. the bill we passed on tuesday will create or save 12,000 jobs just in rhode island over the next two many of those jobs will come

2:26:03 to 2:26:23( Edit History Discussion )

from new investment in rhode island's infrastructure including millions for road and bridge repair, to imrfn drinking water -- to improve drinking water and to help families weatherize their homes and cut their energy bills. the recovery plan will provide a refundable tax credit, a down payment on the middle-class tax cuts that president obama

2:26:24 to 2:26:44( Edit History Discussion )

promised this country. that credit will reach 470,000 rhode island workers and families giving as much as 00 of breathing room in a family's budget in this year when every little bit counts. i'm also proud that the recovery

2:26:45 to 2:27:07( Edit History Discussion )

bill will provide a one-time 50 payment to those living on social security or ssdi. in the ocean state we know that for vulnerable seniors that little bit of extra help from the federal government can make the difference between housing and homelessness, between health and sickness.

2:27:08 to 2:27:28( Edit History Discussion )

approximately 138,000 rhode islanders receive social security so this bill willean more than 4 million into rhode island's economy for rhode island seniors and those who are disabled. the recovery plan will send an additional 00 in unemployment insurance rhode island workers who have

2:27:29 to 2:27:50( Edit History Discussion )

lost their jobs and it will provide extended unemployment benefits to an additional 17,000 laid off rhode island workers. the bill we passed doesn't stop there. it increases pell grants so people who can't find work can go to college, improve their skills, a come back into the

2:27:51 to 2:28:11( Edit History Discussion )

workforce better trained and in better days. it increases funding for food stamps, forehead startnd other childhood -- and for head start an other childhood services all for struggling families to weather the storm. and it includes 8 billion in medicare and medicaid incentives to build health information

2:28:12 to 2:28:33( Edit History Discussion )

infrastructure, to improve the quality and safety and efficiency of our health care system. the bill we passed will put people back to work. it will jump-start our faltering economy and it will support struggling families. it is not a perfect bill but at this moment in this crisis it is

2:28:34 to 2:28:54( Edit History Discussion )

necessary. we tried to do this together with our republican friends. president obama reached out has hand in unprecedented ways. george bush never once came to the senate to talk to senate democrats. president obama traveled to

2:28:55 to 2:29:15( Edit History Discussion )

congress to meet with the republicans. came over here to meet with the senate republicans. he did individual calls meeting. three republican senators -- senator snowe and collins of maine and ranking member of our judiciary committee, senator specter -- heard his call, put their

2:29:16 to 2:29:39( Edit History Discussion )

country first and helped us pass this bill. i don't agree with all the compromises they required but without them we might have had no bill at all. but from the vast majority of republicans in congress, from every republican member of the house of representatives, what did president obama get for his pains?

2:29:40 to 2:30:01( Edit History Discussion )

they slapped away his hand of friendship. and they gloated about it saying "the good egg you laid open the president's deck," the goose egg meaning zero republican votes in the house of was "just beautiful." they

2:30:02 to 2:30:24( Edit History Discussion )

to take inspiration from taliban. they said their boycott of president obama's bill was a political shot in the forward and their party leader said this: you and i know that in the history of mankind and womankind government -- federal, state or local -- has never

2:30:25 to 2:30:45( Edit History Discussion )

created i guess his history book ended at the chapter on herbert hoover. mr. steel, read on, read the next chapter about franklin delano roosevelt and the works project administration and the citizens' conservation corps and how the good government us out of the great depression.

2:30:46 to 2:31:07( Edit History Discussion )

another measure of whether our republican friends were being fair is to look at the agents they have made. do they make sense? we should do housing first. we've heard that. fixing the housing market is indeed important but actio speak louder than words and while the republicans words call for action, their "obstruction."

2:31:08 to 2:31:29( Edit History Discussion )

they resist the most effective thing we can do to stem foreclosures which is senator durbin's bill to allow bankruptcy courts to modify loans on principle residents. and when we tried to address the housing crisis a few months ago they stopped all the bills. refused to allow us to move

2:31:30 to 2:31:50( Edit History Discussion )

forward because they said expanding -- remember this -- oil drills was more point and we had to do that first, the number-one issue facing the american public. look where we are now and how important oil drilling is in our crisis. if we had done housing first, can you not just see the saying "jobs first

2:31:51 to 2:32:11( Edit History Discussion )

iear our friends would rather move the goalposts than move legislation. it's full of spending and it's too big. ye recession of consumer spending and business spending is what is draping the economy and -- drinking the economy and the whole idea is to counter balance

2:32:12 to 2:32:32( Edit History Discussion )

the los of that spending with government spending. and you know what? it's probably not enough. our economy has already lost more than 3.6 million since the height of the business cycle in december and 11.6 million americans are looking for report. a report absence of this legislation would could lose another three

2:32:33 to 2:32:54( Edit History Discussion )

to four million jobs. this legislation will create or preserve three million to four million jobs, 11.6 milli americans out of work. this accomplishes the first necessary step of stopping the bleeding but more, i suspect, will be required to cure the paint. the danger this bill is too small is worse than the danger

2:32:55 to 2:33:16( Edit History Discussion )

than it is too big. the bill doesn't all create jobs. that's true but let's look at two examples of provisions that don't create jobs: pell grants and died. pell grant money lets people step out of the market for jobs at a time when it is highly stressed, train up, improve their skills and move back in at better times.

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:33:17 to 2:33:38( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: isn't that doesn't that make sense for our country? th senator's time is expired. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent to speak for three more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: the health care spending will protect state budgets and protect people's health care as they ride out the storm.

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:33:39 to 2:34:00( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: isn't that the decent thing to do as this storm hits american sneams another argument -- some of it isn't soon enoug well, health and information technology, for instance, will take awhile to r is necessary infrastructure to avert the 5 trillion health care calamity that is now bearing down on us. it has to be done sooner or later. the recession will almost

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:34:01 to 2:34:22( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: certainly be here two years from now, and if it does take a little w just all the more reason to start now? and call the "oh, please," argument the company that ran up nearly trillion of debt under george bush. and now that barack obama has

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:34:23 to 2:34:44( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: been elected, and when every economist is saying this is the time for deficit spending, now they suddenly get religion about deficit spending? if this weren't so serious, it would practically be funny. finally this, if our opponents really cared about jobs and putting people work with effective valuable

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:34:45 to 2:35:05( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: infrastruc widespread opposition to the 0 billion for school repair and cons this money could have put contractors to work on weatherization and conservation measures t. would have make schools cleaner and it would have lowered local fuel budgets and it would have reduced dependence on foreign l. what does opposition to that

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:35:06 to 2:35:26( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: tell you? and what did they argue for here's a golden oldie. reduced corporate tax rates. how many companies do you think are out there recording big taxable profits in this economy? on even brief consideration, the republican arguments against the

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:35:27 to 2:35:47( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: bill don't hold water. it's instant replay of the same tired, f us in this mess in the first place. barack obama did not ask for this mess. i inherited this mess. barack obama would rather have come into a growing economy and a trajectory to a debt-free america like george bush and dick cheney did. but that's not what they left

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:35:48 to 2:36:09( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: him. and now he's the guy who has to dig us out of their mess. in the least one could ask the party whose president made the mess not slap away barack obama's hand of friendship.

Sheldon Whitehouse

2:36:10 to 2:36:20( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: i'm sorry, but i won't help you clean up my mess unless you do it my way? after weeks to ventilate their arguments, our friends now have an opportunity to show that when all is said and done, they care

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