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Senate Proceeding on Feb 14th, 2008 :: 0:05:54 to 0:21:48
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Jeff Sessions

0:05:54 to 0:06:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: consideration of s. 1200 which the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 1200 to amend the indian health care improvement act to revise and extend that act. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum.

Jeff Sessions

0:05:54 to 0:21:48( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

0:06:29 to 0:06:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i ask unanimous consent the call of

Jeff Sessions

0:06:38 to 0:06:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the quorum be dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so orderjeed. mr. sessions: i ask i be allowed to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without

Jeff Sessions

0:06:54 to 0:07:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: mr. president, the congressional budget process which will begin soon is clearly broken. since 190, only three times has congress enacted all appropriations bills by

Jeff Sessions

0:07:10 to 0:07:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the start of the next fiscal year which is october 1. during that same time, 138 continuing resolutions have been needed to keep the government running. in otherth words, congress -- if congress does

Jeff Sessions

0:07:24 to 0:07:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: not appropriate money, it cannot be spent by the executive branch. it cannot be spent by the government, period. so, when we don't pass an appropriations bill to fund the department ofde defense,

Jeff Sessions

0:07:37 to 0:07:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the department of housing and urban development, they cannot operate. they should shut down. as a result, we come through with emergency -- not "emergency" -- but continuing resolutions to allow funding

Jeff Sessions

0:07:54 to 0:08:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to continue at the professional year's level while we debate and argue over the appropriate appropriations for that next fiscal year. repeatedly, we have been late. on average, there have been 4.8 continuing

Jeff Sessions

0:08:19 to 0:08:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: resolutions each fiscal year. on average, we've been almost three months late passing the appropriations bills puttingng us well intoo the fiscal year. for fiscal year 1996, 10 years ago, the final appropriations

Jeff Sessions

0:08:35 to 0:08:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: bull was signed almost seven months late. over the past 13 budget cycles, congress has passed ten omnibus spending bills. these omnibus bills occur when, instead of passing one of the 12 appropriations

Jeff Sessions

0:08:52 to 0:09:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: bills as we are set up and we plan to do, they can't pass them individually. they are so far behind that they are allll cobbled together and moved at one time in an omnibus bill creating so much momentum it

Jeff Sessions

0:09:05 to 0:09:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is difficult to stop a bill like that and certainly almost impossible to read and know what's in it. on average the spending packages have come binned 7 -- combined 7.6 regular appropriations bills.

Jeff Sessions

0:09:23 to 0:09:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the average omnibraus bill iils 7.6 of the 12 appropriations bills piled all together in one bill d passed, basically, through the senate and the house. last year, congress enacted a $550 billion

Jeff Sessions

0:09:39 to 0:09:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: -- 1,600 page -- omnibus package that combined 11 of the 12 required appropriations bills in one. it was passed in late december, not long before christmas within people were anxious to go home; i'm

Jeff Sessions

0:09:59 to 0:10:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: sure that's part of the plan. and it all moved forward; 1,600 pages -- mr. president, it is unlikely many members of this congress, of this senate, read it. basically, they would send out their staff

Jeff Sessions

0:10:12 to 0:10:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to determine if something that they especially cared about was in it and if what they wanted was in it they vote for the bill. that is the way things have gone around here. it is not a good policy.

Jeff Sessions

0:10:31 to 0:10:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: this package that we passed last december was the largest omnibus bill since 1988 when we enacted a $598 billion package that included all 13 bills. finally, the broken process has resulted in almost

Jeff Sessions

0:10:56 to 0:11:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: $1.7 trillion in deficit spending over the past 13 budget cycles. we, there's no single cure, i will certainly admit, for all of what ails congress but a two-year appropriations, would be, i am convinced,

Jeff Sessions

0:11:09 to 0:11:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and have been for quite a number of years, a tremendous step in the right detection. it is a good government reform. i'd like to talk about that a little bit. biennial budget has been supported

Jeff Sessions

0:11:24 to 0:11:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: by the last four presidents. it is a very simple concept. under current budget law congress must pass the 12, one-year appropriations bill each year to fund the federal government. when biennial --

Jeff Sessions

0:11:40 to 0:11:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: with biennial budgeting, 12, two-year r appropriations bills would be enacted instead of one year. the change from one year to do-year budget cycle would have a great manyy benefits. mr. president, i

Jeff Sessions

0:11:53 to 0:12:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: want to emphasize -- this is not a partisan matter; this is a matter that i believe will strengthen the congress and help us increase some of those very, very poor rating that we have with the american

Jeff Sessions

0:12:17 to 0:12:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: people. a change from one year to two-year budget would deal with this problem that's a reality for us that, under the country system, currentsystem, the budget appropriations process is never ending.

Jeff Sessions

0:12:34 to 0:12:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we should have completed lastt year, before october 1, the new fiscal year if, the appropriations funding for the next fiscal year. we didn't gethat done until december 24, or late december. so, we were

Jeff Sessions

0:12:51 to 0:13:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: already -- now we will be starting, soon, trying another series of 12 appropriations bills to try to pass them before october 31st. we're already behind. last year it took 325 days from the release

Jeff Sessions

0:13:07 to 0:13:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of the president's budget until the appropriations process was completed on december 26. now, only 40 days later, the process has begun again with the submission of the president's new budget on february 5.

Jeff Sessions

0:13:20 to 0:13:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: limiting budget decisions to every other year congress would have considerably more time to spend passing critical legislation whether it be immigration reform -- which we need it do -- tax cuts, or

Jeff Sessions

0:13:35 to 0:13:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: legislation addressing our nation's housing problems, congress could focus more on important legislative matters rather than just always every year backed up, jammed up, with appropriations debates, arguing

Jeff Sessions

0:13:52 to 0:14:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: over pork and earmarks and that kind of thing, among others. now, some will argue that two-year budgeting would increase the need for enacting supplemental spending. they say, well, you'll have

Jeff Sessions

0:14:05 to 0:14:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: supplemental, emergency spending, and as such they will still not save a lot of time or be a healthy process. let me ask this: how much more supplemental emergency spending can congress do? over

Jeff Sessions

0:14:22 to 0:14:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the last ten budget cycles, even though we are passing the years every single year, congress, over the last ten budget cycles, has enacted at least 25 supplemental emergency appropriations packages.

Jeff Sessions

0:14:38 to 0:14:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: ese packages have approved almost $884 billion in an additional emergency spending.~ that is a really shocking number. but i would add this, though, mr. president. when someone does bring up an emergency

Jeff Sessions

0:14:54 to 0:15:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: spending bill and there may be a number of times that it's quite legitimate, and ask that it be brought up and spent above the budget -- and that's what emergency spending does; we approve a budget;

Jeff Sessions

0:15:07 to 0:15:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we should stay within the budget; we pace pass an emergency bill; it goes above the budget. we says it's emergency spending that's so important that we don't adhere to the budget; we're going to

Jeff Sessions

0:15:22 to 0:15:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: spend the money anyway and of course all of that go straight to the debt since we're already in deficit and even more spending above is even more money that goes to our debt debt. but it takes 60 votes

Jeff Sessions

0:15:38 to 0:15:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: at least and a person is able to come to the floor and object and create a discussion and demand a super supermajority of 60 votes to have emergency spending, and i think that in itself would deter

Jeff Sessions

0:15:51 to 0:16:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: some frivolous use of emergency spending. i really dovment so i think we'd be safer, even thoim a sure we will have emergency spending packages, because we certainly have had them even with a one- one-year

Jeff Sessions

0:16:09 to 0:16:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: budget cycle, i do think -- the taxpayers won't be defense less when those budget -- those emergency bills come up. another big thing -- all of us in the congress -- and i think all of us in the

Jeff Sessions

0:16:24 to 0:16:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: senate -- know in our hearts, know into the deepest part of our being that we are not doing a good job of oversight over this massive government that we are supposed to be manage ing. we just don't

Jeff Sessions

0:16:35 to 0:16:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: do a good job of oversight. one reason we we don't do an over oversight in an effective way is because we have to pass the fund funding bills and we're always argue ing over how much should be spent on

Jeff Sessions

0:16:49 to 0:17:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: thiens or that program, how much should be spent on this pet project or that one, and we spend our time doing that, and we're really not going going out and looking at agency ies and departments with

Jeff Sessions

0:17:02 to 0:17:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a fresh view. the office of manag oement and budget has made a long list of agency ies that are poorly performing, that they question the legitimacy of, and if we would focus on that effectively, i

Jeff Sessions

0:17:17 to 0:17:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: think we could do a much, much better job. also, i would suggest, that with a two-year budget, federal agencies could fus more on their core missions. the department of defense, for example, spends

Jeff Sessions

0:17:29 to 0:17:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: untold hours preparing their budget every year, and it creates a lot of un uncertainty because they're never sure whether this or that program will be continued and it makes them -- causes quite

Jeff Sessions

0:17:44 to 0:17:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a by the of stress and uncertainty. agency ies are spending thousands of hours on their annual budget process. and constituent groups and organizations can save a lot of money. they come up every year.

Jeff Sessions

0:17:58 to 0:18:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we see them. they're some of the best people we know. and those people come up every year. they would n't have too come up but every two years, save some money for those ancy ies and departments departments

Jeff Sessions

0:18:10 to 0:18:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that are worried about their departments and maybe save us a little energy on the air travel. finally, two-year budgeting would create a more stable system of government because congress has prove en

Jeff Sessions

0:18:27 to 0:18:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it cannot complete its processes in each year. it just can't do it. funding delays, which surely occur less often -- would surely occur less often and less frequently with a two-year budget and

Jeff Sessions

0:18:40 to 0:18:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the federal agency ies could function more effectively. process often does drive policy. the current budget process -- the current appropriations process, we know, is not working working. it's an

Jeff Sessions

0:18:53 to 0:19:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: embarrassment to us. it embarrasses us every year, not just because the democrats failed last year in their first year in the majority but because republicans failed, too, to consistently pass budgets

Jeff Sessions

0:19:08 to 0:19:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in an effective way. it is a bipartisan problem. so we need to look no further than the $400 billion deficit projected for this year for our nation's $9 trillion debt to know that we're not being effective

Jeff Sessions

0:19:21 to 0:19:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in manage ing the taxpayers' money. so by itself, a two-year budget will not end the profligate spending of congress, that's for shiewmplet but a two-year budget cycle would be a huge improvement, i have

Jeff Sessions

0:19:33 to 0:19:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: no doubt about it. 21 states currently operate a two-year budget cycle. i think it's time for congress to do the same. when i was working on this the last several years when the republicans had

Jeff Sessions

0:19:50 to 0:20:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a majority in the senate, i felt like that there might be a slight advantage to the majority party because the majority party has an agenda. they have items that they feel obligate ed to effectively

Jeff Sessions

0:20:03 to 0:20:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: promote promote. but they are not able do it oftentimes because all the time on the floor in the senate is spent on trying to pass appropriations bills. so whether it helps the majority or minority

Jeff Sessions

0:20:14 to 0:20:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: party, i'm not sure. but it'll help the taxpayers. it's good government reform. it is not a partisan thing we're talking about. we're talking about an historic change in the way we do business business. it'll

Jeff Sessions

0:20:26 to 0:20:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: help every agency and department of government to -- agency and department of government, because they've they'll have at least two years of a solid budget with whichbu to work from. they'll only

Jeff Sessions

0:20:40 to 0:20:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: have to put together their proposals every two years instead of every year. congress will be able to deal with it one time and then during the off year we would be able to examine how we're spending

Jeff Sessions

0:20:57 to 0:21:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: money and make new proposals and new ideas for improving the health care system of america, the savings system of america, the defense of america. i thank the chair. i note my colleague, senator alexander,

Jeff Sessions

0:21:12 to 0:21:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is here from tennessee. i know h e sphrongly shares this view, as we have both worked with and met with senator pete domenici dim, longtime former chairman of the budget committee committee, a member

Jeff Sessions

0:21:26 to 0:21:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of the appropriations committee in the senate, who's championing this battle, and frankly, i think it would be a nice tribute to senator domenici if when he completes his tenure, distinguished

Jeff Sessions

0:21:37 to 0:21:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: as it has been, in the united states senate that we would pass a two-year budget.ye i thank the chair and yield the floor. mr. dorgan: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota.

Byron Dorgan

0:21:48 to 0:22:00( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: mr. dorgan: mr. president, i understand that senator alexander has not indicated to me his presence on the floor -- or the purpose of his presence, but we're most anxious to get started on the indian

Byron Dorgan

0:21:48 to 0:23:06( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

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