Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Mar 12th, 2008 :: 2:02:55 to 2:24:47
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Kent Conrad

2:02:45 to 2:02:55( Edit History Discussion )

Kent Conrad: okay. all right. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, soou the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, mr. president. i want to make sure my sometime

Jim DeMint

2:02:55 to 2:03:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: counted against the resolution and not the amendment that was just brought up. the presiding officer: it will be counted against the resolution. mr. demint: thank you, mr. president. i rise this morning

Jim DeMint

2:02:55 to 2:24:47( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint

2:03:10 to 2:03:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: to speak on an amendment that i will offer to the 2009udget resolution on behalf of myself in a bipartisan -- and a bipartisan group of reformers here in the senate. this amendment creates a one-year

Jim DeMint

2:03:27 to 2:03:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: moratorium on all earmarks. it does so by establishing a 67-vote point of order against bills, joint resolutions, conference reports, and messages between houses that contain congressional earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:03:44 to 2:03:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: for the fiscal year 2009. this is very important to the budget debate. as we look at this budget, the planned spending over the next ten years, we have clearly, both parties, helped to wreck the budget

Jim DeMint

2:03:56 to 2:04:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: at the federal level. while every month we expect famili es across this countryhi to balance their budget. i'd like to start with a little background. gr before i came to congress, one of my jobs

Jim DeMint

2:04:14 to 2:04:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: was training quality development people avend organizations, and we worked on quality improvement, quality process improvement for a number of years. and one of the great consult nents that field,

Jim DeMint

2:04:28 to 2:04:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: tom peters, wrote a book "in search of excellence." and one of the examples he gave in the book related to improving quality, was a person who got on an airplane and pulled down their tray and saw

Jim DeMint

2:04:45 to 2:04:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: a coffee stain there. and people could say a coffee stain on a tray in an airplane is not a big deal. but many tim es we get our queues about quality or about who we can -- cues about quality and who

Jim DeMint

2:04:56 to 2:05:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: we can trust or not from the real substance. his point was, if you see a coffee stain, you not only are concerned about how the cleaning service does in that airplane, you -- you wonder if they're not

Jim DeMint

2:05:12 to 2:05:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: able to clean up a coffee stain, are they really maintaining the engines? is this a safe plane to fly in? for us near congress -- for us here in congress, our coffee stain is earmarks. earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:05:27 to 2:05:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: tell americansme that we cannot be trusted to spend their money in a way that's efficient and for the goodfo of ourf country. americans know that if we continue to throw their tax dollars at bridges to

Jim DeMint

2:05:41 to 2:05:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: nowhere or hippie museums or a number of things that i'll talk about today, that if we can't be trusted to do those things, certainly how can we be trusted tost do the big things here in this country?

Jim DeMint

2:05:56 to 2:06:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: we've lost our moral authority, we've undermined the trust of the american people. a lot of that goes right back to our coffee stain which is earmarks. mr. president, in 2006, many inan this body,

Jim DeMint

2:06:10 to 2:06:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: particularly my friends on the other side, promised to clean up earmarks in washington. but after just one year, things have gone back to business as usual. the number of earmarks had fallen to

Jim DeMint

2:06:31 to 2:06:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: 2,600 in 2007 because we were able to stop this huge omnibus spending bill that was going through. but now earmarks are back up to all-time highs. this year, thereea are 11,612 earmarks costing $17.2 billion

Jim DeMint

2:06:43 to 2:06:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: according to the citizens against government waste. it's the highest level of earmarks in history. it came through in c this omnibus appropriation bill which we were given less than 48 hours to review.

Jim DeMint

2:06:56 to 2:07:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: no one read it, full of earmarks, full ofar wasteful earmarks and wasteful government spending.. and we sti ll expect the american family to balance their budget while we continue to wreck the budget

Jim DeMint

2:07:10 to 2:07:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: here at the federalat level. last year we worked together to pass earmark reforms, but unfortunately many of these reforms have been gutted or ignored. as many of my colleagues know, the earmark rule

Jim DeMint

2:07:26 to 2:07:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: we pass 98-0 was -- passed 98-0, was watered down behind closed doors and then passed despite our objections. those in this body who oppose change insisted on continuing business as usual. i'd

Jim DeMint

2:07:37 to 2:07:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: like to review just a little bit the history of theto debate so everyone knows how we got to this place. d for americans who may be look not guilty and still wondering what earmarks are -- look

Jim DeMint

2:07:49 to 2:08:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: not guilty and still wondering whandt earmarks air -- and i frankly confess when i came to congress, i didn't know what ann earmark is. but it's when every member in senate feels its their responsibility

Jim DeMint

2:08:04 to 2:08:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: to take ae piece of taxpayer money and designating it to a particular favorite product -- a project or cause or organization back in our congressional district or state 6789 i want stead of doing what's

Jim DeMint

2:08:16 to 2:08:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: good for the country, we use what's good for the next election and we use taxpayer dollars to enhans our image back b home. 2007 started off with a pretty hopeful note. i actual offered speaker pelosi's

Jim DeMint

2:08:27 to 2:08:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: earmark transparency measure as an amendment to the senate ethics bill. but unfortunately thefo leadership on the other side tried to kill the pelosi transparency language which would have w required

Jim DeMint

2:08:42 to 2:08:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: disclosure of all earmarks instead of just 5%, as we had here on the senate side. but th e effort to kill myo amendment failed and we won the day. republicans voted with me and a few brave democrats,

Jim DeMint

2:08:56 to 2:09:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: claire mccaskill and some others, joined us in saying enough is enough, america needs to know what we're spending. we were able to pass thatt transparency bill. but the originalgi pelosi-demint

Jim DeMint

2:09:07 to 2:09:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: transparency rule that was part of senate bill 1234ub last year and agreed -- senate bill number 1 last year and agreed to unanimouslyun said authorization earmarks could not be added or airdropped into

Jim DeMint

2:09:20 to 2:09:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: conference reports with thert house. but that provision has been gutted and ignored. the original pelosi-demint transparency rule r gavee senators the right to force a votee on individual earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:09:36 to 2:09:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: that were added into conference reports in the dark ofar night. n but that provision was secretly gutted. the original pell pelosi-deminti- transparency rule said bills containing earmarkcos could not be

Jim DeMint

2:09:51 to 2:10:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: n brought to the floor until we had at least 48 hours to read the bill on-line in an easily searchablele format that was not easily searchable with this bill that you're looking at on the table. but

Jim DeMint

2:10:01 to 2:10:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: that provision too has been gutted and ignored. in fact, in less than 24 hours, we brought this bill to the senate floor, the largest appropriation bill in our history that contained over 11,000 earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:10:15 to 2:10:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: and it passed in less than 48 hours. no one read that bill. we're wrecking the federal budget and com mittee is still expect -- budget and we still expect americans toca balance their family budget.

Jim DeMint

2:10:29 to 2:10:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: the original pelosi-demint transparency rule said neither the senator nor his or her family could financially benefit from an earmark, but that provision has been changed to the point where it's almost

Jim DeMint

2:10:42 to 2:10:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: meaningless. the original pelosi-demint transparency rule said the parliamentarian, who is a nonpartisan and whose job is to make impartialmp rulings, would be responsible for determining if bills brought to

Jim DeMint

2:10:56 to 2:11:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: the floor complied with the earmark transp arency rules. that was a good rule. but that's been gutted. the provision has been changed so that now the majority leader and the chairman of appropriations

Jim DeMint

2:11:08 to 2:11:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: verify if it's met the rules. the list goes on and on. the senate also passed legislation last year to ban the practice of what we call phoneal marking or letter marking, which occurs when senators

Jim DeMint

2:11:22 to 2:11:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: secretly request earmarks by pressuring agencies with phone calls or letters without complying with the earmark disclosure rules. now, that provision has been gutted. last year the majority promiajsed

Jim DeMint

2:11:35 to 2:11:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: to cut t he number of earmarks in half but they didn't. instead, we passedea the second highest level of earmarks in history, and you can see from this chart republicans did a lousy job containing

Jim DeMint

2:11:51 to 2:12:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: the number of earmarks. but we were able to by stopping an omnibus appropriation bill before we left the majority to reduce the number to 2,600. but last year back up to the second highest level in history.

2:12:06 to 2:12:23( Edit History Discussion )

a lot of broken promises. and i also want to review some things about the earmark system and why it's broken. in the last 20 years, pork-barrel earmarks have exploded. in 1987, ronald reagan vetoed

2:12:23 to 2:12:41( Edit History Discussion )

a bill that had only 121 earmarks, and here's what he said. i haven't seen this much lard since i handed out blue ribbons at the iowa state fair. 121 earmarks. i mean, we're dealing with tens of thousands

2:12:41 to 2:12:57( Edit History Discussion )

of earmarks now every year. by 2005, earmarks had skyrocketed to about 14,000 wasteful earmarks into our spending bills. in fact, since 2000, congress has spent more than $188 billion of american

2:12:57 to 2:13:12( Edit History Discussion )

taxpayer dollars, over 7,000 pork-barrel projects. americans are outraged about a system that hands out their tax dollars based on political influence and congressional seniority instead of on the

2:13:12 to 2:13:26( Edit History Discussion )

merit of the projects. here are just a few examples of the results of earmarks in the favor factory over years -- the last several years. and keep in mind as i read these earmarks, this is american

2:13:26 to 2:13:47( Edit History Discussion )

-- hard-working american tax dollars coming to us. we're expecting the family to use their money responsibly, to balance their checkbook. here's what we're doing with their tax dollars. the international

2:13:47 to 2:14:05( Edit History Discussion )

fund for ireland, funding the world toilet summit for $13.5 million. richard steel boxing club, $100,000. this is at a time when we're creating debt and waste every year. animal waste research and management,

2:14:05 to 2:14:27( Edit History Discussion )

$4.75 million. a study to determine if poultry litter can generate electricity, $225,000. the tiger woods foundation -- he's hurting for money -- $100,000. golf charity, $3 million taken out of the

2:14:27 to 2:14:48( Edit History Discussion )

department of defense budget for golf charity. museum of glass, $550,000. a fake prison museum, $100,000. the rock 'n roll hall of fame, a clear national priority, $200,000. historic cl library,

Jim DeMint

2:14:48 to 2:15:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: $800,000. wine research, $11 million. baseball hall of fame, $750,000. the national wild turkey federation, $500,000. grasshopper research, $775,000. bike paths, $6.8 million. montana sheep institute, $400,000.

Jim DeMint

2:15:06 to 2:15:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: national peanut festival, $200,000. or meantal meantal fish research, $ $00,000. grammy institute, $800,000. the american film institute, $90,000. d&a study of bears, $1 million. study to analyze bear fur,

Jim DeMint

2:15:29 to 2:15:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: $300,000. wood research, $9.5 million. cowgirl hall of fame, $90,000. indoor rain forest, $50 million. water-free mens you're naturals, $2 million. charlie wrangleonument, $2 million. teapot museum, $500,000.

Jim DeMint

2:15:44 to 2:15:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: an 85-foot speedboat the navy didn't want and refused to use, $4.5 million. woodstock hippie museum, $1 million. coconut road highway project that was unwanted by the city it was sent to, $10 million.

Jim DeMint

2:15:57 to 2:16:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: shirts for the u.s. marine corps that were found to melt in battle and cause severe disfiguring burns, $2 million. national drug intelligence center that duplicates work already done by 19 other federal agencies

Jim DeMint

2:16:16 to 2:16:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: in which the o.m.b. asked to be shut down, we still gave them $400 million. and, of course, the bridge to nowhere in alaska, $320 million.| there are pele who will come to this floor and cite some earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:16:28 to 2:16:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: that they say are good and certainly we can find some but for every one earmark that could be justified, we can find hundreds that sound just like the ones that i read today. at a time when our country

Jim DeMint

2:16:41 to 2:16:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: is in severe deficit, when we're at war and the american family is straining every month in their budget, we're throwing their money away. coffee stain after coffee stain, demonstrate ing to the american

Jim DeMint

2:16:57 to 2:17:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: people that we don't have the commitment to do what's best for this country. this is just scratching the surface. did i read a couple of dozen? there are almost 12,000 right here that americans will

Jim DeMint

2:17:10 to 2:17:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: never know how their money is spent. besides the waste, earmarks have also led to corruption. let me say that i have spent enough time working with my colleagues to know that most are not corrupt.

Jim DeMint

2:17:24 to 2:17:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: they love their country and they want to make if a better place. you but the system of earmarking has taken our energy and diverted it away from solving national problems and waste ed it on the tax

Jim DeMint

2:17:38 to 2:17:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: -- of steering tgax dollars back home. in this per perversion of purpose has un doubtedly led to real scruption scandals that have cause ed the american people to lose trust in congress. in 2006,

Jim DeMint

2:17:53 to 2:18:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: former congressman "duke" cunningham was sentence ed to eight years in prison for trade ing earmarks for over $2.4 million in personal bribes. as reported by abc news at the time, cunningham actually

Jim DeMint

2:18:08 to 2:18:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: kept a bribe menu where he listed what payments he demanded in return for earmarks for government. you know, this card here shows an escalate ing scale for bribes starting at $140,000 in and a luxury yacht

Jim DeMint

2:18:24 to 2:18:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: for a $16 million defense department contract. each additional $1 million in contract value required $50,000 in bribes. the rate dropped to $25,000 per additional $1 million once the contract went over

Jim DeMint

2:18:41 to 2:18:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: $20 million. also in 2006, former lobbyist jack abramoff was sentence ed to nearly six years in prison for corruption and fraud. a abramoff pleaded guilty g to fraud in numerous indian tribes that he helped

Jim DeMint

2:18:52 to 2:19:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: secure earmarks for. it was jack abramofff who called the congressional appropriation process "the earmark favor factory. "for his ability to secure millions in taxpayer funds for his clients. and there

Jim DeMint

2:19:06 to 2:19:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: are thousands of lobby lobbyists who are sent here by towns and ousts, small colleges, organizations who are up here trying to get a piece of these federal handouts that we call earmarks. it's corrupting

Jim DeMint

2:19:21 to 2:19:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: the whole process. why is it so easy for these earmarking -- this earmarking system to lead to corruption? mr. president, it's because there's so little oversight. rather than being funded based on merit,

Jim DeMint

2:19:36 to 2:19:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: they are chosen based on political influence and congressional seniority. is a sewer or highway project in west virginia more worthy than one in wyoming? simply because the state senator holds a high-rank

Jim DeMint

2:19:50 to 2:20:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: appropriations seat?at i don't think so. americans are frustrate ed withh congress. congressional approval is at all all-time historicl- lows. voters voters threw out the republicans in 2006 hoping for

Jim DeMint

2:20:05 to 2:20:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: a change. but not much has change ed. wasteful washington spending hasn't stopped. we continue to wreck the federal budget as americans are struggling to balance theirsce. the congressional favor factory

Jim DeMint

2:20:17 to 2:20:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: hasn't been close ed; it's just under new management. when members of congress are sworn into office, we take an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united this constitution

Jim DeMint

2:20:29 to 2:20:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: prescribes a limited role for the federal government, whose purpose is to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general

Jim DeMint

2:20:44 to 2:20:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. this purpose statement should give congress a clear focus on national priorities in the good of the nation as a whole. but, unfortunately, many in congress

Jim DeMint

2:20:53 to 2:21:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: havsse forgotten that oath and lost sight of our congressional pu rpose. i did not raise my hand and swear allegiance to the state of south carolina and promise to get them as much federal money

Jim DeMint

2:21:06 to 2:21:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: as i could. and those who say that it's t a constitutional responsibility to earmark are not use ing quotes from this document of the constitution. in fact, everything e in here suggests a national priority. it suggestions

2:21:20 to 2:21:32( Edit History Discussion )

a uniformed way in collecting taxes. it says no preference should be given to state when money is a appropriat ed and it says this, which is key: that no money shall be drawn from the treasury but

2:21:32 to 2:21:45( Edit History Discussion )

in consequence of appropriation made by law. over 95% of the earmarks that t we produce here in this congress are not law. they're not constitutional. and there is no excuse for them at all. we can't

Jim DeMint

2:21:45 to 2:21:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: hide behind this constitution.on it does not give us the authority -- explicitly or implicitly -- to take on a local and state role, decide where water and sewer plants go, where bike paths go, which

Jim DeMint

2:21:57 to 2:22:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: local museum should be funded. it's not our job. but it is a reason that we're not dealing with the broken tax code, a broken social security system, a broken medicare system system, and how we deal

Jim DeMint

2:22:11 to 2:22:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: with keeping jobsjo in this country because we're spending most of our time trying to figure out what needs to be done back in our local communities. mr. president, the primary culprit of most of

Jim DeMint

2:22:26 to 2:22:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: the problems that we're dealing with here is the addictive power of congressional earmarks that we're trying to stop today. my objection to earmarks is not to specific members. the requirement that earmarks

Jim DeMint

2:22:37 to 2:22:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: now have namesw on them makes them more personal, but it's really the earmarking system that's the problem. when members of congr oess invest their time in securing federal fundsfu for secure plants

Jim DeMint

2:22:52 to 2:23:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: and bike paths, as i've mentioned, they're doing more than assuming a federal role for a local they're locking themselves into vote ing for whatever bill that contains their projects.s that's

Jim DeMint

2:23:04 to 2:23:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: how leadership here in congress gets us to vote for bills that are billions over budget and contains lots of bad policy as they cram in their projects that make it very difficult for us to vote against

Jim DeMint

2:23:18 to 2:23:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: against. for this reason, congress has repeatedly, regardless of which party is in charge, demonstrateon ed an inability to curb out-of- out-of-control spending. members who may otherwise vote

Jim DeMint

2:23:31 to 2:23:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: against massive spending bills end up vote ing "aye" because it contains a project for a special interest back home. in january the first baby boomer received her first social security check.

Jim DeMint

2:23:46 to 2:23:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: in just three years she'll qualify for medicare. with 77 million americans in line right now behind her, now is the time for congress to address the long-termg fiscal crisis that lies ahead. social

Jim DeMint

2:23:59 to 2:24:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: security and medicare are trillions of dollars underfunded underfunded. yet we're focused on use ing earmarks to deal with local issues like determine ing the location of local parks and community centers,

Jim DeMint

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

Jim DeMint: and we're failing to address these serious national problems. we're wrecking the federaled budget while americans are struggle ing to meet their family budget. i didn't come to washington to fight against

Jim DeMint

2:24:23 to 2:24:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: earmarks. i didn't even knowdn what they were when i got here. i came here to work on tax re reform and fixing social security and med icare, but theut culture of emarks is distract distracting the

Jim DeMint

2:24:36 to 2:24:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jim DeMint: attention of congress for much-needed national reforms. so i have made eliminate ing earmarks an urgent and immediate goal. one of the things i found out in trying to improve the quality culture

2:24:47 to 2:25:00( Edit History Discussion )

in organizations is you have to understand the root causes of problems and not spend your time treating symptoms. the root cause of many of the problems, particularly the the waste wasteful spending in

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