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Senate Proceeding on May 23rd, 2011 :: 0:48:05 to 1:14:20
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Jeff Sessions

0:47:52 to 0:48:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: clerk will call the roll. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and i would ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i'm deeply concerned by our growing

Jeff Sessions

0:48:05 to 1:14:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

0:48:13 to 0:48:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: financial crisis and really deeply angered by the failure of this senate to take any meaningful steps to address it. and i'm going to announce steps that i will take to try to force this senate to do its job since our democratic leaders seem determined to prevent the

Jeff Sessions

0:48:34 to 0:48:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: people's work from being done. as ranking member of the budget committee, i feel like that -- not feel like. i see quite plainly that the process that that statutory act

Jeff Sessions

0:48:55 to 0:49:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: requires is not being followed, at a time in which we have never faced a greater systemic long-term debt crisis as we face today. the fact calls for a budget to be produced by april 15. the budget committee to have meetings by april 1, and here we are toward the end of may about to recess, we have not even had a hearing in the budget

Jeff Sessions

0:49:19 to 0:49:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: committee on the markup of a budget. budgets are, of course, able to be passed by a simple majority in the senate, and they have given a majority party in the senate the opportunity, really the responsibility to set forth their vision about the financial

Jeff Sessions

0:49:40 to 0:50:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: future of america, to set forth their priorities, how they would conduct the people's business. now, we know the house of representatives met that deadline. they passed a historic budget, but the united states senate has not done so. all we've seen from majority

Jeff Sessions

0:50:03 to 0:50:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: leader reid really are political games, cynical games. i hate to say, distractions and gimmicks to avoid confronting the fiscal nightmare we're now facing. how else can you explain why, in the middle of the crisis, democratic leaders have not even

Jeff Sessions

0:50:25 to 0:50:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: produced a budget, have not even allowed the committee to work on one. we haven't even met to mark up one. we are required by law to produce a budget in committee and to pass that budget on to the senate floor, but this process has been shut down. we have not produced a budget in 754 days.

Jeff Sessions

0:50:47 to 0:51:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: let me repeat. this great senate in a time of financial stress and danger has not passed a budget in 754 days and has, it appears, no intention of doing one this year.

Jeff Sessions

0:51:09 to 0:51:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: today, i join with the newest member of our budget committee, senator kelly ayotte of new hampshire, to send a letter to senator reid, signed by every republican senator in the senate, pressing him to finally allow the senate to begin work on a budget. but we are told in the media

Jeff Sessions

0:51:31 to 0:51:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that the democrats' refusal to put forth a budget is just good strategy. that it's best that they avoid putting a plan on paper. here's an excerpt from a recent article in the "wall street journal." fittingly, the article is

Jeff Sessions

0:51:53 to 0:52:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: entitled "democrats unhurried in work on budget." i'd say that's true. this is what the article said -- quote -- "as a political matter, the democrats strategists say."

Jeff Sessions

0:52:14 to 0:52:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and the report has talked to the democratic strategists, staffers, no doubt." the democratic strategists say there may be little benefit in producing a budget which would inevitably include unpopular items. many democrats believe a recent house g.o.p. proposal to overhaul medicare is proving to

Jeff Sessions

0:52:35 to 0:52:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: be unpopular and has given democrats a political advantage. they are loathe to give up that advantage by proposing higher taxes. senate democrats plan to hold a vote on the ryan plan. hoping to force g.o.p. senators to cast a vote on the medicare

Jeff Sessions

0:52:57 to 0:53:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: overhaul that could prove politically difficult." now, this is astonishing. is it the position of the great democratic party that their vision for deficit reduction is so unpopular or unfeasible that they won't even articulate it in

Jeff Sessions

0:53:20 to 0:53:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: public let alone offer it up as a budget? the heads of the fiscal commission warn -- this was the commission president obama appointed. they warn an economic crisis may be just one year or two away. that was the testimony they gave us in committee. it could be a year, a little

Jeff Sessions

0:53:42 to 0:54:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: sooner or a little later, seder skin bowles, chairman of the debt commission, along with alan simpson who said it could be one year, in his opinion, we could have a debt crisis. not a little warning from people who spent months hearing witnesses and studying the debt

Jeff Sessions

0:54:03 to 0:54:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: situation facing our country. but it appears that the leaders of the senate would prefer to hide in the hills and take spots at republicans from the distance? is that what they prefer? chairman paul ryan and the house g.o.p. have put forward a plan

Jeff Sessions

0:54:25 to 0:54:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to get this country out of a looming debt crisis, make our economy more competitive, save medicare for future generations. it's an honest, courageous plan that will improve the quality of life for millions of americans and do the job, short term and long term. it may not be perfect.

Jeff Sessions

0:54:46 to 0:55:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i'm not saying it's perfect. i'm saying it's a serious plan, seriously considered. it confronts both long-term and short-term problems and reforms medicare and puts it on a path to -- to salvation. but all we hear is attacks.

Jeff Sessions

0:55:09 to 0:55:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: by contrast, the budget that the president sent forward doubles our national debt and puts our entire country at risk, even though the president promised it would -- quote -- "not add more to the debt." close quote. and have us -- quote -- "live within our means." close quote.

Jeff Sessions

0:55:30 to 0:55:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: those were the president's words. and i have to say in the ten years of his budget, analyzed by the objective congressional budget office, they tell us that the lowest single annual deficit out of those ten would be about -- would be $740 billion. a stunning amount.

Jeff Sessions

0:55:52 to 0:56:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: they would average almost almost $1 trillion in the last years, eight, nine and ten of his ten years budget don't show the debt going back down but going up to a trillion dollars. it was one of the most -- it was the most irresponsible budget, i do believe, that has ever been presented to this nation. it's a stunning failure to lead

Jeff Sessions

0:56:14 to 0:56:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: at a time of financial crisis. it doubled the debt. it increased the debt over the projections of our base line as it is. instead of helping, it made it worse because it raised taxes and raised spending, and it raised spending more than it raised taxes. so where do our colleagues in

Jeff Sessions

0:56:35 to 0:56:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the senate stand? they refuse to put forward their own plan. last week, senate majority leader reid said the democrats don't need a budget. -- quote -- "there is no need to have a democratic budget, in my opinion." close quote.

Jeff Sessions

0:56:57 to 0:57:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he said it would be foolish to present one. well, the only thing that's foolish is violating the congressional budget act in such a sin tall attempt for political gain. the decision not to produce a budget is not a decision based on what's best for our country but based, as you could see, from the quotes of the staffers

Jeff Sessions

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

Jeff Sessions: and actually senator reid's own quote, it was designed for political advantage. the house, the ryan budget is honest, and if anybody confronts the budget situation in an honest way, they know your budget is going to have to have some bad news. it's going to have to tell people that things can't

Jeff Sessions

0:57:41 to 0:58:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: continue as they are today, but we're going to have to do better. we're going to have to reduce spending. so maybe for some people, that's not popular. so isn't that what we are paid to do here is serve the national interests, tell the truth about

Jeff Sessions

0:58:02 to 0:58:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: what's happening in our country? so we find ourselves in the remarkable position this week of having senate democrat leaders bring forward not a senate budget but to bring forward the house republican budget, only to vote it down while offering no alternative of their own.

Jeff Sessions

0:58:25 to 0:58:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: what a cynical ploy. think about it. senator reid said, well, we're going to bring up the house budget and we're going to vote on it, and every member of his caucus -- i'm sure he has already counted the heads -- will vote no and has no chance of passage. what good is that?

Jeff Sessions

0:58:47 to 0:59:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the senate has a stat -- a statutory duty under the budget act to produce a budget. we have not even attempted to produce a budget. so the only attempt -- so they will attempt to bring forward a budget that they have no intention of working on, no intention of taking seriously, no intention of opening for

Jeff Sessions

0:59:09 to 0:59:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: amendment or discussion, and only one goal -- to use their majority to vote it down. i look forward to the chance to support the house budget. i look forward to casting a vote which says we will be getting our spending under control, that we will deal honestly with our

Jeff Sessions

0:59:31 to 0:59:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: budget challenges, short and long term. i look forward to voting for a budget that creates jobs, makes us more competitive and deals honestly with the debt threats that we have. but let's look at the bigger picture this week. the planned series of votes are designed by the majority leader to fail, of course.

Jeff Sessions

0:59:52 to 1:00:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: designed as a gimmick to distract attention from the senate's failure to produce an honest plan. they are designed to keep this senate from doing its job, really, in defending this republic from grave financial danger.

Jeff Sessions

1:00:13 to 1:00:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so i, therefore, will not provide unanimous consent for any prearranged package of votes doomed to fail, intended to fail. anyone can call up these budget votes consistent with the rules any time they wish, but a package deal that wastes the

Jeff Sessions

1:00:34 to 1:00:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: senate's time i cannot and will not support. the majority leader is wasting the american people's time. i am here to speak honestly and just tell the truth about that. that's the plain fact. it's a political gimmick that's going on.

Jeff Sessions

1:00:55 to 1:01:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and i further, i will not agree on any unanimous consent on any motion to adjourn for the memorial day recess. if we're going to close down this chamber for another week without having produced budget, without having even scheduled a committee hearing, then i'm not going -- then i'm going to require that we have a vote it.

Jeff Sessions

1:01:16 to 1:01:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: let's vote to go home not having done the people's business. paul ryan is leading. speaker boehner is leading. the house republicans are leading. they've produced a document that can be defended, that has integrity, that deals with our short-term spending problem and

Jeff Sessions

1:01:37 to 1:01:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: our long-term spending problem. it's not perfect, of course. we have the opportunity to amend it. we have an opportunity to pass a budget of our own that might be different. but it will get us off the unsustainable path we are on, i can tell you that, it will do

Jeff Sessions

1:02:00 to 1:02:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that. but our democratic leader and the democrats who control the chamber who a asked to be given leadership in the senate, are refusing to allow a budget to go forward. they're refusing to share with the american people the contents of the plan they say they have

Jeff Sessions

1:02:22 to 1:02:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: behind closed doors. they say they've got one. you read in the paper they've got one. well, why don't we see it? so on memorial day, a week from today, we honor those who have fallen serving their country. we honor the brave men and women

Jeff Sessions

1:02:44 to 1:03:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: who have risked and given everything for our freedom and our future. we truly do. we honor those who gave their last breath to preserve our way of life. but now that way of life is threatened by a tidal wave of

Jeff Sessions

1:03:06 to 1:03:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: debt that we trophy -- debt we refuse to confront. it is a debt we have created that we are growing and that is up to us to stop, to defeat. that the senate would go into resthes week refusing to work -- recess this week refusing to work on a budget or refusing to even hold a public meeting on

Jeff Sessions

1:03:27 to 1:03:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it, public hearing on it, is unthinkable. our soldiers serving overseas will not get the next week off. why should the senate get a week off after failing miserably to do its job? so my message to the majority leader is simple: if you object to the house g.o.p. plan or to

Jeff Sessions

1:03:49 to 1:04:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: other republican plans, then you must come forward with your own honest plan to prevent financial catastrophe and create a more prosperous future.

Jeff Sessions

1:04:10 to 1:04:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: indeed, mr. president, i would close with this quote from the preamble to the fiscal commission report. this was a bipartisan commission created last year, appointed and called into being by -- at the request of president obama.

Jeff Sessions

1:04:31 to 1:04:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he appointed the chairman, erskine bowles, and senator alan simpson was the cochairman. and this is what they said in the preamble this is what the commission said in their preamble, because they anticipated just this kind of political difficulty. they anticipated that politicians in our country would

Jeff Sessions

1:04:54 to 1:05:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: do exactly what they're doing in the united states senate. not what they did in the house, where they faced up to their responsibility, but in the senate. this is the quote: "in the weeks and months to come, countless advocacy groups and special interests will try mightily through expensive, dramatic and heart wrenching media assaults

Jeff Sessions

1:05:17 to 1:05:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to exempt themselves from shared sacrifice and common purpose. the national interest, not special interest, must prevail. we urge leaders and citizens with principal concern about any of our recommendations to follow

Jeff Sessions

1:05:39 to 1:05:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: what we call the basara rule. 'don't shoot down an idea without offering a better idea in its place.'" erskine bowles, chief of staff to president clinton. alan simpson, one of the more respected members to serve in

Jeff Sessions

1:06:00 to 1:06:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the united states senate. that's the bipartisan debt commission's challenge don't shoot down somebody else's idea without offering a better

Jeff Sessions

1:06:21 to 1:06:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: idea in its place that's exactly what the majority leader plans to do. we don't need a democratic budget, he said. it would be foolish for to us produce one. we'll just call up this house budget and we'll attack it and with our senate majority, we'll vote it down but we won't produce our own, we won't produce any other alternative, we won't tell the american

Jeff Sessions

1:06:47 to 1:07:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: our prospects and plans are for getting this country off the unsustainable debt path we're on and on to the path of pros expairt job creation and sound financial future. -- path of prosperity and job crea future. why don't we hear it?

Jeff Sessions

1:07:08 to 1:07:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: because it', as one of their staff members inside that comment to the press, it has -- might cause somebody to be -- object. we might have, as the debt commission w groups and special interests" who are going to rise up and complain about anything that reduces a dime that they receive receive.

Jeff Sessions

1:07:30 to 1:07:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i don't deny an honest budget at this point in history, where 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed, we're going to have to reduce some spending and some good people are going to really feel it. and it's not going to be easy, just like the debt commission told us. don't we know that? i thought that was what the past

Jeff Sessions

1:07:51 to 1:08:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: election was last fall, when the big spenders and the high-tax guys got shellacked? i thought congress would get the message. apparently we haven't. mr. sessions: the debt situation we're in is not a little bitty

Jeff Sessions

1:08:12 to 1:08:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: thing. under the congressional budget office analysis -- we call it scoring -- of president obama's ten-year budget, last year we had interest on the debt that we now owe of a little over $200 billion. according to the analysis of the president's budget, in the

Jeff Sessions

1:08:34 to 1:08:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: 10th year under his plan, the congressional budget office estimates that we will pay in interest in one year $940 billion. now, i know that's so much money and it's difficult for people comprehend it. alabama is a state of just about average size.

Jeff Sessions

1:08:55 to 1:09:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we're about 1/50th of the united states. we have a lean government that's making some serious reductions in spending because our money hasn't coming in -- come in, and we have a constitutional amendment that requires the budget to be balanced. but the amount of money that alabama spends on its general

Jeff Sessions

1:09:18 to 1:09:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: fund obligations is $1.8 billion. and under the budget that has been submitted to us by the president two or three months ago, just his proposal -- congress has to pass the budget, not the president; he submitted his proposal -- it would cause

Jeff Sessions

1:09:39 to 1:10:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the interest on our debt in one year to reach $940 billion. that's way above what we spend on defense. it's way above what we spend on medicare. it's the the america, interest on the debt.

Jeff Sessions

1:10:02 to 1:10:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and that's why mr. bernanke, mr. alan greenspan, our former chairman, the international monetary fund, moody's, the debt commission have all told us this is unsustainable, you can't continue. we won't go ten years debt crisis. when asked, mr. bowles said we could maybe a little sooner, maybe a

Jeff Sessions

1:10:23 to 1:10:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: little later. i'm not predicting that. but if we don't change, that could happen, as expert after expert has said. so i hope that somehow, some way in the days to come that we'll see the regular order be

Jeff Sessions

1:10:44 to 1:11:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: reestablished, that our colleagues -- they say they've got a budget, they say they'v they've -- they've certainly talked to the democratic members on more than one occasion about it. let's bring it forward and let's see it. maybe it has some good things that we could agree on. it will probably have some things i wouldn't agree on. but it could be passed.

Jeff Sessions

1:11:05 to 1:11:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you can't filibuster a budget. under the budget act, it can be passed by a simple majority. a budget can clear the united states senate. but you know what? if you produce a budget, you have to tell the american people what you really believe about

Jeff Sessions

1:11:26 to 1:11:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: america, where you really want this country to go. do you want a limited government or you want to continue to expand a larger and larger government? do you want to raise taxes more and nor to sustain spending levels higher than we've ever had them before?

Jeff Sessions

1:11:47 to 1:12:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is that what we want? or are you prepared to make reductions in spending? one or the other has to occur. we cannot continue to borrow at the rate we are borrowing, as every expert has told us. so i'm challenging the leaders of this senate who asked for the

Jeff Sessions

1:12:08 to 1:12:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: job, who asked to be leaders of the senate, asked to be given the responsibility of helping guide our nation, to step forward and provide leadership. in the joint statement issued by mr. bowles and by alan simpson that they submitted to the

Jeff Sessions

1:12:29 to 1:12:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: budget committee, they said this nation has never faced a more certain financial crisis. actually, i'll get the words straight. the nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. in other words, to the experts that they heard from and who

Jeff Sessions

1:12:51 to 1:13:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: testified to them and based on their own study, they believe we're heading to a financial crisis. alan greenspan recently said i think the congress will at some point pass reform in spending and budget matters. the only question is, will they pass it before or after the debt

Jeff Sessions

1:13:13 to 1:13:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: crisis hits. so we have that challenge. we are -- we have no higher duty than to protect our people from a foreseeable danger. that danger is out there. we're heading right toward it.

Jeff Sessions

1:13:34 to 1:13:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it's time for to us stand up and be honest and face that challenge. and i don't believe business as usual should continue and i will object to it insofar as i'm i would thank the chair and yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk

Jeff Sessions

1:13:57 to 1:14:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: will call the roll.

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