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Senate Proceeding on Mar 17th, 2011 :: 3:48:10 to 4:15:05
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Jeff Sessions

3:48:08 to 3:48:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: skilled that the quorum call the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, we'll be soon voting on a continuing resolution to continue funding of the united states government for three weeks. i believe that will reduce spending over that three-week

Jeff Sessions

3:48:10 to 4:15:05( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

3:48:31 to 3:48:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: period by $2 billion a week, which is far less than the debt we're incurring each one of those weeks, significant progress. added to in a previous week's c.r. i think it keeps us on track to

Jeff Sessions

3:48:53 to 3:49:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: achieve a $61 billion reduction in federal spending this fiscal year which ends september 30. this is important that we take action. it is a matter that is important financially to american business interests, foreign business

Jeff Sessions

3:49:14 to 3:49:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: interests who may be thinking of investing in the united states and people who might buy our huge number of treasury bills that we sell week and are purchased by people all over the world. they want to know, do we have

Jeff Sessions

3:49:35 to 3:49:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: our house in order or not? is this a safe place to invest money or not? and we need to do something now. when majority leader reid proposed not $61 billion but that we reduce spending only $4 billion throughout the rest of this fiscal year, i said then and believe now, that is hole a

Jeff Sessions

3:49:57 to 3:50:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: product of a -- that is only a product of being in the washington bubble. we're bubblized people. we're in denial about the reality of the crisis that we face, and i do not want to talk down the american economy. i believe the american worker is competitive and is willing to work and be competitive, can be

Jeff Sessions

3:50:18 to 3:50:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: competitive. but we cannot burden that worker down with excessive well, how does that happen? i'm ranking republican on the budget committee, and we've

Jeff Sessions

3:50:39 to 3:51:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: heard testimony from doctors rogoff and rhin reinhardt, written a book entitled "this time it's different." struggles of debt crises over the past 20 years shows a consistent pattern of problems. one of the things they concluded

Jeff Sessions

3:51:04 to 3:51:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is that when a nation's debt reaches 90% of the total economy -- 90% of g.d.p. -- the economic growth in that country slows down, and the median was 1%. but the average was more than 1%. some countries had more than a

Jeff Sessions

3:51:25 to 3:51:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: 1% drop in growth. japan has a higher debt than i think the highest in the world. they've had an interesting way that they've been able to finance it. but they've had no growth for quite a long time. it is consistent with the rogoff reinhardt study. does that apply to us?

Jeff Sessions

3:51:47 to 3:52:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we will, we are about 95% now. our debt is surging. by the end of this fiscal year september 30, the numbers are that our debt wi g.d.p. we wilwell above the figure. what does 1% growth mean?

Jeff Sessions

3:52:09 to 3:52:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: if you're looking for growth of 1% or 2%, it is half your growth maybe. what does it terms? experts have said that a 1% reduction in your growth amounts to a million jobs lost -- a

Jeff Sessions

3:52:31 to 3:52:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: million jobs lost. so i believe we're beginning to feel a negative pull on our bounce back from this recession as a result of growing debt right now, not years down the road as some people have been saying and predicting we're going to have a debt cris down the road. i hate to say it.

Jeff Sessions

3:52:53 to 3:53:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: all i can tell you is what i've been told at our committee. erskine bowles -- he was president clinton's chief of staff, he was appointed by president obama to cochair the debt commission with senator alan simpson; they testified before our committee last week. and that is what they said about

Jeff Sessions

3:53:15 to 3:53:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the nature of the crisis we face. they spent weeks studying the numbers, hearing from experts all over the world, economists and others about our debt situation, and they have reported that we've got to take action now. in a joint statement, presented to the committee, they

Jeff Sessions

3:53:36 to 3:53:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: said that this is the most predictable financial crisis this nation has ever in other words, we're on a course -- they say if we don't change course, it'll be the most predictabl and so senator conrad, our democratic

Jeff Sessions

3:53:57 to 3:54:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: concerned about these issues, asked him about mr. b bowles, a -- and mr. bowles said, two years, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. and senator simpson contributed

Jeff Sessions

3:54:19 to 3:54:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to the discussion and said, i think a well, i hope we don't have some sort of debt crisis in a career. but the fact that that has even been discussed should be a cause of alarm for us.

Jeff Sessions

3:54:40 to 3:55:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and let said we could have a debt cris in two to three years in january. and moody's has discussed downgrading our debt, warned that they might downgrade our debt in less than two years. so we need to take action now. that's the deal. that's the matter.

Jeff Sessions

3:55:02 to 3:55:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and we got a big -- and we had a big election last fall. we had some fine new members elected to the house and senate. the american people felt when they elected these people, i'm absolutely confident, that they would come to washington and help us get off the wild spending debt course we're on. i believe the american people get it. they're not in a bubble.

Jeff Sessions

3:55:24 to 3:55:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: they know you can't continue this way. and soy they're prepared to take -- and so they're prepared to take some action and we need to do it. if we fail to doing is something, i think it would -- if we fail to do something

Jeff Sessions

3:55:45 to 3:56:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: significant, i think it would send the wrong message around the world. you're still not changing your course. well, you may have heard the president said in his state of the union -- and i urged him before that to talk straight to

Jeff Sessions

3:56:06 to 3:56:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the american people about the threat that we face. he did not do so. in the first 37 minutes of his speech, it was new investments he called on us to make. investmentvestments, of course, is new spending. he never once took a few moments

Jeff Sessions

3:56:28 to 3:56:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to explain to us the kind of things that mr. erskine bowles said, mr. alan greenspan said, how we're on an unsustainable course. he never acknowledged that we're on an unsustainable course. he never warned us that we're going to have to tighten our belts, like mayors are doing, like governors are doing all over america, like governor

Jeff Sessions

3:56:52 to 3:57:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: mansion had to do in west -- like governor manchin had to do in west virginia. if you don't have money, you have to change course. but i was really disappointed. and i think some of my democratic colleagues -- senator manchin has raised disappointment that we haven't had that kind of national dialogue as to why we have to

Jeff Sessions

3:57:14 to 3:57:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: ask the american people to receive somewhat less from the federal government than they've been receiving. why do we have to do? because we're facing a crisis and good leadership to me means that the leerpd has to tell the people -- tell the people what the threat is what the danger is and how we're going to get out of it. and i truly believe that one of

Jeff Sessions

3:57:36 to 3:57:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the highest duties of any member of congress or any leader america is to protect the american people from foreseebilitforeseeabledangers. as erskine bowles said, this is the most predictable crisis we've ever faced. it's heading to a bad end. hopefully not as soon as they

Jeff Sessions

3:57:59 to 3:58:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: warned us it could happen, so we'll have time to get off this course, but that's important. so the president says in his state of the union that we'll be living within our means. he did a radio address after he submitted his budget, and he said that we're going to be living within our means.

Jeff Sessions

3:58:23 to 3:58:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: my budget puts us on a track to prosperity. we are going to continue to invest, and we'll be living within ash means and paying down the debt. -- living within our means and paying down the debt. and the key chairman or director of the office of management and budget, where all the money has to be managed inside any president's administration,

Jeff Sessions

3:58:45 to 3:59:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: mr. liu says that we're going to be living within our means and paying down our debt. basically they're saying don't worry; you guys are getting all hyped up. this is political talk. we can still invest. we can still spend. don't worry about it.

Jeff Sessions

3:59:08 to 3:59:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: well what do the facts say? we don't need political talk. we need a fact-based budget. we need fact-based discussions. and the the fact are, we're not going to be paying down our debt in ten years under the president's budget. we're not going to be living within our means.

Jeff Sessions

3:59:30 to 3:59:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: what is the his own budget is four volumes. these are the figures in his budget, his projections, his plan really because that's what a budget is. it's your plan for the next decade. in that plan, spending levels that increase

Jeff Sessions

3:59:51 to 4:00:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the total gross debt of the united states from $13 trillion to $26 trillion. under that budget plan, the lowest single annual deficit that occurs is over $600 billion. the highest deficit president

Jeff Sessions

4:00:14 to 4:00:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: bush ever had was $450 billion. that was too high. the lowest he's projecting in his own numbers is $600 billion. and more troubling, years seven, eight, nine, ten of his budget, the deficits of going up. that's almost about $900 billion in the tenth year.

Jeff Sessions

4:00:36 to 4:00:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so the deficit's course is not a good course. how could they say that? how could the president look the american people in the eye and say my budget is going to call us to live within our stphaoepbs and mr. l -- within our means? and mr. liu say that? i examined him in the budget committee.

Jeff Sessions

4:00:57 to 4:01:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i said the lowest deficit you're going to have is $600 billion. how is that living within our means? he said, well, there's something called the primary deficit. i said what? the primary deficit. what is that? you don't count interest. you don't count interest. well, when you are a family

Jeff Sessions

4:01:18 to 4:01:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: who's living in tight times today, trying to squeeze their budget, do they not count their interest on their credit card or their mortgage payment? how can you say you're balancing the budget, you're living within your means and not count interest that you pay on the debt? all the money we borrow, we have

Jeff Sessions

4:01:41 to 4:02:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to pay interest on. the $13 interest, -- the $13 trillion, the $14 interest, we pay interest on that. last year our interest pay for the united states of america was about $208 billion or so.

Jeff Sessions

4:02:02 to 4:02:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: $200 billion in interest payments. what about the tenth year under the president's budget? $844 billion, according to his numbers. this is the fastest-growing item in the entire budget. and, mr. president, they assume

Jeff Sessions

4:02:25 to 4:02:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: interest rate at 3.5%. i don't think -- most experts would not believe that's going to remain so low. this is historically very low. historically we average about 6% on our debt.

Jeff Sessions

4:02:46 to 4:03:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so, if it went from 3% to 6%, to 7% instead of $840 billion, i guess it would be $1.9 trillion in interest payments. and that could happen. that could happen if we don't get off the unsustainable path we're on.

Jeff Sessions

4:03:07 to 4:03:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so i'm really frustrated about this. people say, well, this c before us is only discretionary spending. it's only a small part of the overall budget. you shouldn't even attempt to fool with it. you're just wasting your time. no, no, no. we're going to have to take every part of the budget step by

Jeff Sessions

4:03:29 to 4:03:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: step and see what we can do to contain the growth of spending or even reduce spending to eliminate some spending that's totally so, that we get no real benefit from. that needs to be eliminated. we need to make our government more productive, lean and efficient. we can do that.

Jeff Sessions

4:03:53 to 4:04:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i go back to the point that we're on the wrong course. we cannot continue on the course. the house of representatives have passed a proposal, a continuing resolution that would reduce spending through the rest of the fiscal year a total of $61 billion. we should meet that.

Jeff Sessions

4:04:15 to 4:04:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we should accept that. that's not too much. it's probably not enough, but it is enough to count. for example, it's a $61 billion reduction in baseline u.s. spending. the total spending, you reduce the baseline, even if next year

Jeff Sessions

4:04:37 to 4:04:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you start going up 1%, that 1% will be on a baseline that's $61 billion lower. and over a period of time -- we've calculated the numbers. over ten years that $61 billion plus the interest you don't have to pay will save the united states treasury $860 billion, close to $1 trillion.

Jeff Sessions

4:04:58 to 4:05:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that's a real good step. that does make a difference. and people who deny it makes a difference are wrong. and it's not going to savage anybody unless some of these programs just aren't working and they ought to be zeroed out.

Jeff Sessions

4:05:23 to 4:05:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i want to make that point clear. well, what about -- how much is the entitlement, i mean the discretionary spending, the money we spend here on education, on highways, on stuff of that nature, defense? that's about --

Jeff Sessions

4:05:44 to 4:06:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: well, discretionary non-defense is about 12 % of the budget. 60% or so is in social security and medicare, and growing in an unsustainable rate. it's just not healthy, and we need to take steps now to save social security, put social

Jeff Sessions

4:06:06 to 4:06:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: security on a path that our seniors can rely on it and our young people can have confidence that when they become senior citizens that they can rely on it also. it is not that difficult to do. by editorial boards around the country and experts and economists and professors and

Jeff Sessions

4:06:27 to 4:06:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: congressmen and senators for years. but the crisis is getting more real and acute now. but what did the president do? not one word about that in his state of the aoupb kwror or his -- in his state of the union or his budget. his budget doesn't do anything about any of the entitlements.

Jeff Sessions

4:06:48 to 4:07:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you can't cut discretionary spending and you can't cut entitl in effect, they're saying nothing is to be challenged. i don't think that's a rational approach to the crisis that we're in today.

Jeff Sessions

4:07:11 to 4:07:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i know it's not a rational approach to it. we've got to work together. we've got senators together right republican, that are trying to figure out a way to make some alterations in the trajectory of our debt in america to put us on a sound path. democrats and republicans.

Jeff Sessions

4:07:33 to 4:07:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: senator warner, senator chambliss, i think senator manchin and others are talking. they'd like to see us do something historic. i really think we do. but on the budget committee, secretary -- administrator jack liu said that the president wasn't for any change.

Jeff Sessions

4:07:55 to 4:08:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he agreed -- he took the view that social security doesn't have a problem. nothing's going to happen until 2037. what happens then? it falls off a cliff. that assumes you count this paper that's supposed to be backing it up. but the money's been spent.

Jeff Sessions

4:08:16 to 4:08:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: social security is always debt paper. we need to get it on a sound course, and we can do t. we've .com to work on medicare, which is even more problematic and more dangerous and get them on a sound course. we need to get our head together on discretionary spending and contain our growth in discretionary spending, all of

Jeff Sessions

4:08:38 to 4:08:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: which is possible to do. all of which is possible to do. we've got the opportunity to put our country on a road to prosperity and growth. we'll need to do some things such as reforming our tax laws to more fairly raise revenue in

Jeff Sessions

4:09:00 to 4:09:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a way that allows more growth to occur, because we need to have growth. we've got to create jobs. we need to redo our energy policy and produce more american energy and hold the cost of energy down. not drive up the cost of gasoline and electricity on the

Jeff Sessions

4:09:21 to 4:09:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: american people. the leadership in this country ought to be working to reduce energy costs, not drive up energy costs. momentum, i think, is on the side of this. a lot of republican-democrat talk is going on.

Jeff Sessions

4:09:42 to 4:10:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: majority leader reid offered his pittance reduction, $4 billion reduction, ten democratic senators defected. they didn't vote for it because they didn't think it reduced spending enough. we had three republicans not support the they thought it ought to go lower than that.

Jeff Sessions

4:10:04 to 4:10:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so the momentum out there is to go further than we're going. the american people get it. our expert testimony and witnesses tell us that. we've seen bill gross of the pimco bond fund, the largest fund in the world saying they're not buying any more u.s. treasuries, basically a call on the united states to reduce our

Jeff Sessions

4:10:25 to 4:10:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: debt. he didn't have confidence in it, not willing to buy it any more at the rates we're offering. so we need to get busy and do some things. and it's going to have to be done in a bipartisan way; there's no doubt about it.

Jeff Sessions

4:10:46 to 4:11:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so there are two choices, mr. president. i believe truly one is a tougher road, but it's the road to prosperity. it can return us to the kind of leadership role in the world we need to be on, and the other road is the road to decline. you know, nothing comes from nothing.

Jeff Sessions

4:11:08 to 4:11:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: nothing ever could, julie andrews sang. there's no free lunch. debts have to be paid. interest has to be paid on debts. this is reality. we don't live in a fantasy world. so the time to stand and be

Jeff Sessions

4:11:29 to 4:11:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: counted is now. this $61 billion reduction in spending through the last seven, six and a half or so months of this fiscal year is a statement. it's actual. it's real. it will reduce the total

Jeff Sessions

4:11:52 to 4:12:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: indebtedness by $861 billion over ten years. we could do more. but congress being what it is, it's slowly coming around to the challenge, we're not ready probably to do more. we need to do 61 billion. we do not need a compromise halfway, some $30 billion reduction in spending.

Jeff Sessions

4:12:13 to 4:12:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i do believe that would show weakness on our part, a lack of resolve which would not be a good signal for our fragile economy today. so, we need to meet the test, to face the defining challenge of our time, and that's spending.

Jeff Sessions

4:12:34 to 4:12:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the dominant issue facing america today, no doubt about it, it dwarfs every other issue. i wish it weren't so. i wish we were here at a time, when i came, 1997, well, i guess we were still fighting over spending then trying to contain spending.

Jeff Sessions

4:12:57 to 4:13:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: by 1998, 1999 we were in surplus. they started in 1994, they made some tough decisions. it's going to be harder this time. the hole is deeper. the demographics and the systemic threats to our financial order is greater than it was. there's just no doubt about it. but we can do it. and i think it's our time to

Jeff Sessions

4:13:20 to 4:13:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: fulfill our duty, the duty to our nation and people to preserve the american heritage. we are standing at a time in this country where we have to make a choice. let's make this choice. let's do this three-week extension, take it down $6

Jeff Sessions

4:13:42 to 4:14:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: billion more over that three and then let's come back and just do 61 and celebrate the first real step in a decade to contain growth and spending. and promise that this is the beginning, that we're going to review all of our financial situation in this country, and

Jeff Sessions

4:14:05 to 4:14:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we're going to do it in an honest, above-board way; fact-based, not politics, not smoke and mirrors or fantasy budgets. but real numbers facing real threats. if we do that, i think the american people will be supportive. they were supportive in the last election. i believe they'll be supportive

Jeff Sessions

4:14:26 to 4:14:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: again. mr. president, i thank the chair for the opportunity to speak. i thank you for your leadership on these issues in the senate. i believe there's a growing consensus here that progress must be

Jeff Sessions

4:14:57 to 4:15:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i would yield mr. sessions: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the

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