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Senate Proceeding 03-01-11 on Mar 1st, 2011 :: 1:45:30 to 1:55:50
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David Vitter

1:45:17 to 1:45:37( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: mr. leahy: madam president, i thought the -- the amendment pending is the managers' amendment? the senator has just regular order with respect to his amendment. mr. vitter: madam president, i now send desk.

David Vitter

1:45:30 to 1:55:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: David Vitter

David Vitter

1:45:38 to 1:45:59( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the presiding officer: amendment is so modified. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. i'll be happy to explain -- we've been in contact with the distinguished chairman and his staff. this modification simply merges what was previously a separate toomey amendment and a separate vitter amendment. we had hoped to have votes on those as a first-degree and a

David Vitter

1:46:00 to 1:46:22( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: second-degree amendment. that wasn't possible. so that is merged a.m. let me explain what that amendment does. the basis of this amendment, as senator toomey's full faith and credit act. and it's very important and it simply say, if we ever as a country reach our debt ceiling, then even if we go beyond the

David Vitter

1:46:23 to 1:46:44( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: debt ceiling, we will use all the tools available to the treasury secretary to continue, for as long as possible, to pay, to make good on u.s. debt. we're not going to immediately default on u.s. debt. madam president, there's been a lot of scare tactics, in my opinion, suggesting that if we

David Vitter

1:46:45 to 1:47:06( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: ever reach that day of bumping up against our statutory debt ceiling, the very next day, the very next hour, the u.s. will default on its debt, not make good on our obligations of the u.s. treasury. that isn't true. it doesn't have to be true. and this important reform will

David Vitter

1:47:07 to 1:47:27( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: ensure that it's not true. we get far more revenue into the u.s. treasury than has to be spent simply to service the debt. so the underlying toomey bill, which is the heart of this amendment, says we will make good on those obligations. they will be the top priority. the original vitter amendment,

David Vitter

1:47:28 to 1:47:51( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: which is now merged fought with the toomey amendment -- merged together with the toomey amendment, says the exact same thing with regard to social security payments. madam president, i'm sure we would all agree that seniors on fixed incomes depend on their social security checks. so the vitter part of this now-merged toomey-vitter

David Vitter

1:47:52 to 1:48:13( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: amendment says that we will honor social security payments in the same status as debt at payments, and we'll use federal revenues first for those purposes before we do anything else. what that means, madam president, if that -- if we ever do bump up on the debt ceiling, we would not stop social

David Vitter

1:48:14 to 1:48:35( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: security checks the next day, we would not stop social security checks the next month. we could go many weeks, probably a few months honoring all of those commitments in the areas of social security and debt on u.s. treasury notes. so that is the purpose of this now-merged toomey-vitter

David Vitter

1:48:36 to 1:48:58( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: amendment. we're not suggesting that it's necessarily a good idea to bump up on the debt ceiling. we're just say, let's all take a deep breath. let's not use scare tactics. let's not use hysteria. let's plan ahead. what we hope will be the outcome is that we will not only deal

David Vitter

1:48:59 to 1:49:19( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: with the debt ceiling in a responsible way, but before that we'll also deal with our underlying fiscal crisis in a responsible way. we'll make real and serious budget reforms to get on a fiscally sustainable path, which we're clearly not on right now. just this morning senator toomey

David Vitter

1:49:20 to 1:49:41( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and i were in the banking committee hearing where chairman ben bernanke of the federal reserve testified of the and chairman bernanke said gefn, as he has numerous times, that the fiscal path we're on as a federal government is completely unsuccess stannel.

David Vitter

1:49:42 to 1:50:03( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that is a -- he also said that is the single-biggest long-term threat to our economy, and he also said, while it is a long-term problem, it could manifest itself in serious negative consequences in the short term. so this could rattle our economy

David Vitter

1:50:04 to 1:50:24( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and even begin to create an economic crisis, who knows when, possibly in the short term. so the clock is ticking, and we need serious budget reform. and this combined toomey-vitter amendment would, i think, take the hysteria out of the

David Vitter

1:50:25 to 1:50:46( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: discussion and hopefully urge us to take concrete action on that serious budget reform before it's too late. with that, madam president, i'd like to yield to my distinguished colleague -- mr. leahy: would the senator yield for a question? mr. vitter: i will be happy to yield far a question. mr. leahy: you are talking about 112.

David Vitter

1:50:47 to 1:51:10( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: does that mean you're withdrawing 113? mr. vitter: yes, we'll be seeking a single vote on the amendment, as modified. mr. leahy: so am i correct that 113 is withdrawn? the presiding officer: it is not withdrawn at this time. mr. vitter: we will, first of all, as as i understand it, it

David Vitter

1:51:11 to 1:51:33( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: has bee as i understand it, it will has been modified. mr. leahy: you modified 112. i don't know what you want to to do to do with 113. mr. vitter: in i could yield to my colleague from pennsylvania, i think he could answer the question. but from my point of view, we are seeking a vote, a single vote, which i think we're vea

David Vitter

1:51:34 to 1:51:54( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: close to locking in, on the new modified amendment, which is a combination of the separate vitter and toomey amendments. mr. toomey: thank you for yielding. as soon as we can work out the specifics with the staff, that's exactly the intention that senator vitter and i came to, so a single vote on the merger of

David Vitter

1:51:55 to 1:52:15( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: two amendments, and i would just take a moment to thank senator vitter for his help on this. madam president, senator vitter was kind enough to offer the text of my legislation, as an amendment to the patent reform bill. i think what he is adding by suggesting that the legislation should require the treasury to

David Vitter

1:52:16 to 1:52:37( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: prioritize not only the debt service so that we can avoid under all circumstances a default -- avoid a default by the united states government, but also make sure that social security payments get the priority they deserve. the fact is, in the -- i think unlikely and i would say certainly unfortunate event that we were to reach the debt limit without having raised it, the

David Vitter

1:52:38 to 1:52:58( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: federal government would still take in more than enough revenue to pay all of the interest service on the debt and all social security benefits. it's entirely manageable from an operational, functional point of view. total revenue to the government from tax purposes alone is on the order of 70% of all expected expenditures.

David Vitter

1:52:59 to 1:53:19( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: debt service is only about 6%. so i appreciate senator vitter's help on this, and by combining this, what we really do, if we can pass this legislation, which i hope we will, we can take off the table the specter of a default, we can take off the table the specter of any senior citizen not getting their social security payment, and what we

David Vitter

1:53:20 to 1:53:40( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: can then do is really have an honest discussion about how are we going to reform a process that's gotten us into this fix? gotten us to the point where we're running a debt of 10% of g.d.p., where our total debt is screaming towards totally unsustainable levels. i can tell you the folks in pennsylvania know very we will that you cannot continue living

David Vitter

1:53:41 to 1:54:01( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: beyond your moneys, as this government has done. i see this as a very constructive and important opportunity to begin to have there discussion about how we're going to get this process under croavment i appreciate the help from senator vitter and i will yield back my time to him. mr. vitter: i thank my distinguished colleague and again this amendment, as

David Vitter

1:54:02 to 1:54:22( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: modified, simply says that if we were ever to reach the statutory debt limit for the federal government, then revenue coming in would go first to service two things -- social security checks and interest on the federal debt. so that would not put -- be put in jeopardy for months down the line.

David Vitter

1:54:23 to 1:54:44( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and the purpose of this amendment is to try to take, quite frankly, again, madam president, some of the scare tactics and some of the hysteria out of the debate. and to urge us to act. none of us want to bump up on the debt ceiling. none of us are advocating that. what we're advocating is to take

David Vitter

1:54:45 to 1:55:05( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: action now, real, serious budget reform, to put us on a more fiscally sustainable path. we need to do that now. that's why we came to the floor with these concerns on the patent bill. we need to do that now. we need to act now. we need to get on the fiscally sustainable path now. the clock is ticking, as

David Vitter

1:55:06 to 1:55:27( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: chairman bernanke reminded us before the banking committee this morning. with that, madam president, i look forward to locking in a vote on this matter and in the consent that establishes that, we will be happy to withdraw the other amendment and simply have one vote on the now-combined

David Vitter

1:55:28 to 1:55:42( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: toomey-vitter amendment. with that, madam president, i suggest the ab the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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