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Senate Proceeding on Jun 8th, 2011 :: 7:24:30 to 7:45:20
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Tom Harkin

7:24:16 to 7:24:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: republican budget, the so-called ryan budget in the house. this has been widely condemned, of course, for its plan to end medicare and for its radical cuts to medicaid, but i hav come to the floor today to highlight yet another extreme element of that republican budget. its unprecedented assault on education funding and the grave

Tom Harkin

7:24:30 to 7:45:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

7:24:37 to 7:24:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: threat this poses to school reform efforts across the united states. this republican budget would slash funding for education by 15% next year, 2012. even more drastic cuts to education funding would come in each of the these draconian cuts to education could not come at a

Tom Harkin

7:24:59 to 7:25:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: worse time for america's public schools. the final budget agreement for the current fiscal year reduced education funding by by $1.3 billion. it zeroed out, for example, these -- the successful striving readers initiative. the only comprehensive federal program to help struggling adolescent readers. and i might just add that that

Tom Harkin

7:25:20 to 7:25:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: budget ended all literacy programs for kids in america funded by the federal government. the federal government now doe not fund one literacy program in america. that's how bad it's gotten. meanwhile, cash-strapped state and local governments are slashing school budgets, firing

Tom Harkin

7:25:41 to 7:26:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: tens of thousands of teachers in texas. governor rick perry has called for a $10 billion cut in education funding. in new york city, mayor bloomberg has proposed laying off 6,000 teachers. madam president, i have an unusual perspective as both the chair of the appropriations subcommittee that funds our federal education programs and also as a chair of the

Tom Harkin

7:26:02 to 7:26:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: authorizing committee, the health, labor and education pensions committee which authorizes pension programs. there is no question in my mind that combined federal, state and local budget cuts pose a grave threat to education reform efforts across the country, just as these efforts are reaching critical mass. here's why.

Tom Harkin

7:26:23 to 7:26:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: 48 states in the -- and the district of columbia have collaborated to create high-quality common education standards for the first time. the obama administration's race to the top initiative has jump-started ambitious state-level reforms ranging from expanded charter schools to

Tom Harkin

7:26:44 to 7:27:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: stricter teacher and principal accountability. in the "help" committee, working with senator enzi and i together are working on a bipartisan effort to reauthorize elementary and secondary education act. however, it's wishful thinking to expect improvements in school quality at a time when we're laying off teachers, increasing

Tom Harkin

7:27:05 to 7:27:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: class sizes and reducing instructional time. i'm struck by the fact that the republican budget's assault on education comes at a time when america's competitors are surging forward. for example, china has tripled its investment in education and it's building hundreds of new universities.

Tom Harkin

7:27:28 to 7:27:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: even in times of austerity and shrinking budgets, smart countries don't just take a chain saw to themselves. they continue to invest in the future, and above all, they continue to boost investments in education. so, madam president, as we go forward with education reform in the united states, we're building on strength. most kids in affluent

Tom Harkin

7:27:50 to 7:28:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: communities already attend high-quality public schools, and they go on to higher education. our challenge is to ensure that all american students have this opportunity, including the nearly 20% of children who live in poverty. now, again, certainly money is not the only factor in creating high-performing schools, but it

Tom Harkin

7:28:12 to 7:28:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: does take money to modernize school facilities, to hire highly qualified teachers, to create effective assessment systems and to provide appropriate instruction for students with special needs, to demand reform without resources is to set up students and teachers to fail. let me repeat that.

Tom Harkin

7:28:34 to 7:28:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to demand reform without the resources is to set up the students and the teachers to fail. in the months ahead, congress will be focused on reducing the deficit and trying to prevent a default on america's debt obligations, and of course this is appropriate, but it must not preclude sustained strong investments in the education of our young people.

Tom Harkin

7:28:56 to 7:29:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we need to invest more, not less, in helping states and districts to close the gap between world-class schools that are in the affluent suburbs and the struggling schools in the poor urban and rural communities. we need to provide resources to ensure that the goal of graduating students who are

Tom Harkin

7:29:17 to 7:29:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: college and career ready applies to all students, including kids with disabilities, including english language learners. and in the face of steadily rising college tuition, we must maintain the maximum pell grant. so kids from low-income families can achieve the american dream

Tom Harkin

7:29:41 to 7:30:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and get a college education. madam president, hundreds have attributed the g.o.p. loss in the special election in new york's 26th congressional district to voter anxiety and their -- voter anxiety because of the plan that the republicans have to end medicare. so a lot of the pundits have said, well, this recent election

Tom Harkin

7:30:03 to 7:30:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in new york's 26th congressional district was a result of that. but public dissatisfaction with the republican budget goes way beyond medicare. americans see this budget as unbalanced and unfair. especially when it comes to education. the american people are asking, why do the republicans insist

Tom Harkin

7:30:25 to 7:30:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that trillions of dollars are available for new tax cuts, mainly for big businesses and the wealthy, but supposedly we can't afford to sustain funding for public education? this is a classic case of eating your seed corn. it's an approach that does not

Tom Harkin

7:30:46 to 7:31:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: remotely reflect the priorities of the american people. the republican budget, as i have said before is premised on the idea that america is poor and broke. our best days are behind us. we have no choice but to slash investment required in order to keep our middle class strong. i totally disagree. many americans are hurting

Tom Harkin

7:31:07 to 7:31:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: because of the struggling economy. but the united states overall remains a tremendously wealthy and resourceful nation. quite frankly, madam president, we are the richest nation on the face of the earth. even further, we are the richest nation in human history.

Tom Harkin

7:31:29 to 7:31:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we have the highest per capita income in america of any major nation. so one has to ask the question, if we're so rich, why are we so poor? the question is not the lack of money. it's not the lack of wealth. it's because the system is broken. we have a system malfunction in

Tom Harkin

7:31:51 to 7:32:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this country and we have to right that system. because we are an optimistic forward-looking people. we can do things. we can work together. and we can meet any challenge. but we expect the government to be on our side, not holding us back, not dragging us down.

Tom Harkin

7:32:13 to 7:32:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: not shorting our futures. not telling people who are low income or recent immigrants to this country or kids who don't have a good start in life that, sorry, we can't give you a world-class quality education. we can't afford to have the best teachers. we can't afford to have good

Tom Harkin

7:32:35 to 7:32:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: schools for you. now, if you happen to be wealthy, and you live in wealthy area that has high property taxes, and you have a good school and you have good teachers, good 4. -- good for you. but if by happenstance of birth, you are born to a family that doesn't have any money and maybe

Tom Harkin

7:32:56 to 7:33:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the parents never went to college, maybe, as i said, they're new immigrants to this country, maybe they don't speak english that well, poor area, in an urban area or poor rural area, you've got low-quality schools, low-quality teachers. chances are you never had any

Tom Harkin

7:33:17 to 7:33:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: early learning available to you. so when you started kindergarten, you were already way behind. those kids in that affluent school in high income areas. is that -- is that what we're about? is that what we're trying to say that -- that we're going to have

Tom Harkin

7:33:39 to 7:33:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this kind of almost like class warfare that if you're born wealthy and stuff, you've got to made. if you're when it comes to education. that's what the republican budget says. we're not going to have a quality public education for our kids. well, as i said, this does not reflect the values of the american people.

Tom Harkin

7:34:00 to 7:34:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we want to make sure that our public education system is good for all children. that all have the best qualified teachers that they have good schools. good facilities, the latest technology. that they are challenged to do their best and that the that if they do their best and they study hard and get good grades, they'll be able to go to

Tom Harkin

7:34:22 to 7:34:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: college and not have a mountain of debt hanging over their heads when they graduate. we have done great things as a society. things that we have to do together which we cannot do as individuals, like building an interstate highway system, a --

Tom Harkin

7:34:47 to 7:35:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: a rail genome and, again, creating world-class universities. we've done this. we've done this as working together, as something that we can do together as government that we cannot do as individuals. through our government we come together to provide a ladder of opportunity to give every

Tom Harkin

7:35:08 to 7:35:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: citizen a shot at the american dream, a ladder of opportunity that includes pell grants, g.i. bills, job traing, early learning and, yes, world-class schools. madam president, i am convinced the great majority of americans share this positive vision. now, again, we are determined to bring deficits under control,

Tom Harkin

7:35:30 to 7:35:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: but we cannot eat our seed corn. we've got to make smart investments in education and we refuse to be dragged backward into a winner take all society where the privilege and the powerful sees an even greater share of the wealth even as our schools are crumbling, our middle class is struggling and decling.

Tom Harkin

7:35:52 to 7:36:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for nearly half a century, robust federal investments and quality public schools and access to higher education have been a critical pillar undergirding the american middle class. the american public would take a jackhammer to that pillar. this, i believe, it is a grave mistake.

Tom Harkin

7:36:13 to 7:36:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the middle class is the backbone of our nation, it's time our leaders showed the backbone to defend it. madam president, i'd like to take this opportunity also to -- to strongly oppose the amendment offered by the senator from maine.

Tom Harkin

7:36:34 to 7:36:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: if passed, the amendment would impose severe and unnecessary burdens on agencies charged with protecting the american people and would severely weaken our vital health and safety protections. my republican colleagues have tried hard to make the word regulation into a bad word. they've created an absurd are

Tom Harkin

7:36:56 to 7:37:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: caricature, of the nameless bureaucrat arbitrarily imposing rand om names and rules on businesses and the only purpose is to make sure that the business fails. that's ridiculous. most americans understand this is grossly distorted. the truth is that the amendment offered by the senator from maine, senator snowe, is not about the government working

Tom Harkin

7:37:17 to 7:37:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: more efficiently, a goal that we all share, it's about using the sort of feel-good slogan of regulatory reform as a cover for an effort to paralyze the ability of the government tone force vital health and safety protections. really, in effect, the snowe

Tom Harkin

7:37:38 to 7:38:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: amendment really ought to be called the buyer beware amendment. go back to the days when the snake oil salesman could sell you anything and you took it at your own risk when we didn't have food drug laws and food safety laws and things like that protect people.

Tom Harkin

7:38:01 to 7:38:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it was a buyer's beware society. do we want to go back to that? i believe the american people want clean air and clean water and know they're not adult rated. the snowe amendment would weaken environmental protection. believe the american people want to make sure their children's toys are safe, that they're not loaded with mercury and other -- and other elements that will

Tom Harkin

7:38:22 to 7:38:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: destroy their health. the snowe amendment would mean weaker protection of toys and other consumer products. i believe the american people want workers to come home safely at the end of the day. the snowe amendment would be more injuries and deaths in

Tom Harkin

7:38:43 to 7:39:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: mines and other hazardous workplaces. i believe the people want the food they eat to be safe an untainted. the snowe amendment would mean that we could not enact a recent bipartisan food safety bill which we just passed last year. bipartisan. but when you pass a bill, obviously the food and drug administration is going to have to issue regulations.

Tom Harkin

7:39:05 to 7:39:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, the snowe amendment would severely restrict that and, again, you'd be playing russian roulette with the food you eat. maybe it's safe, maybe it's not. buyer beware. i believe in the wake of the financial meltdown, 2008, which almost caused another great

Tom Harkin

7:39:27 to 7:39:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: depression, americans want oversight of bank and other financial institutions. the snowe amendment would mean that banks would be free to do the reckless predatory practice it's that nearly wrecked our economy. mr. president, there are already important checks on regulatory authority. the law already requires agencies to perform

Tom Harkin

7:39:49 to 7:40:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: comprehensive assessments of the impact of regulations on business and local government. there's an extensive notice and comment period under the administrative procedures act where those impacted by potential rules, including small businesses, are given an important say in regulation.

Tom Harkin

7:40:10 to 7:40:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: agencies already engaged in regulatory flexibility analysis to ensure that their oversight does not needlessly overburden small businesses. in contrast, the aim of the snowe amendment is to impose additional hurdles to dramatically slow down the issuance of critically needed rules and in many cases stop the

Tom Harkin

7:40:31 to 7:40:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: rule-making process all together. for example, the snowe amendment would require an analysis of -- quote -- "indirect impact on small businesses." indirect impact. whatever that means. well, let me cite perhaps an example. instead of the mind safety --

Tom Harkin

7:40:53 to 7:41:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: mine safety health administration spending resources to protect miners, the amendment could require the agency to determine whether a new mine safety standard indirectly harms, say, a small paper company that supplies paper to the mine's corporate offices. this is a ridiculous waste of

Tom Harkin

7:41:14 to 7:41:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: resources and time. so we don't even know what the indirect impact means. that could mean almost anything. likewise, the amendment would permit businesses to sue to block a rule even before it's finalized. in other words, businesses could seek to litigate a proposed

Tom Harkin

7:41:35 to 7:41:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: rule. well, i often hear my republican colleagues speak against -- quote -- "activist judges" i can think of few mention more activist than for unelected judges to review a rule before the lengthy comment process to finalize a rule. it already takes year for

Tom Harkin

7:41:56 to 7:42:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: agencies to promulgate health and safety rules. this amendment would exacerbate the problem and further clog up the court system. think about all the court cases that would be filed. just on a proposed rule. before it even goes to the comment period, before it's even finalized.

Tom Harkin

7:42:17 to 7:42:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: moreover, the bill requires an agency to review the impact of all -- all its current rules on small businesses to determine if a rule must be inside, rescinded or continued unchanged. in other words, rather than addressing new problems and implementing new acts of congress, an agency would need

Tom Harkin

7:42:41 to 7:43:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to spend all its times reviewing past-settled regulations, some of which may have been in effect for the last 50 years. now, to its credit, the obama administration already is conducting a comprehensive rigorous review of all rules in order to see which ones should be repealed, modified or kept in place. we should let this careful

Tom Harkin

7:43:04 to 7:43:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: review take place before implementing severe constraints on agency rule making. so, mr. president, the snowe amendment would make government less responsive. it seeks to cripple the government's ability to make sensible, lifesaving regulations. again, it ought to be titled the buyer beware amendment.

Tom Harkin

7:43:25 to 7:43:47( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: if you like living in that kind of society, i suggest you go to some third-world country where you don't know what you eat or what you drink or the air you breathe or the water you consume is safe and healthy. if that's the kind of america you want, you should support the snowe amendment. but if you want an america where our kids are safe from -- from

Tom Harkin

7:43:48 to 7:44:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: dangerous toys, where you know the food that you eat is going to be safe and the water you drink and the air you breathe, where you know that there are safety rules in place so that you're not going to be unduly injured or harmed at the workplace, if is the kind of america that operates better and is more

Tom Harkin

7:44:09 to 7:44:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: functionally buyer beware -- kind of society, then i suggest you should oppose the snowe amendment. and, again, i urge my colleagues to oppose the snowe amendment as ill-advised as, again, it's an amendment that -- that is a part of a bill that's never even gone to the committee hearing process.

Tom Harkin

7:44:30 to 7:44:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and if nothing else, it ought to go through committee, have hearings and let's see if -- and let's see if it has any support at all out there before we bring it to the floor of the senate. so i urge my defeat the snowe amendment. floor.

Tom Harkin

7:44:51 to 7:45:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, with all due respect, i plan to be supporting the amendment that's been addressed by my good friend from iowa. you know, regulations and having come from the small business world, i'm fully aware of the cost of these things.

Tom Harkin

7:45:14 to 7:45:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and tomorrow i'll be introducing an amendment that is going to go -- address something different but rulely something with higher

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