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Senate Proceeding on Jul 14th, 2010 :: 1:20:45 to 1:54:00
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Tom Harkin

1:20:29 to 1:20:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: mr. durbin: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iow mr. harkin: mr. president, first i want to ask unanimous consent that steven hart, sean long, kara kruggerand jessie greenwald of my staff be granted floor privileges for the duration of today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without

Tom Harkin

1:20:45 to 1:54:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

1:20:50 to 1:21:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: objection, it is so ordered. mr. harkin: secondly, i want to thank my friend and majority -- our leader here, our whip, sator durbin, for really laying out ihink in very stark and honest and open terms what we're facing in this country today. and i wish to pick up on that and to carry it a little bit

Tom Harkin

1:21:11 to 1:21:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: further in talking about the number of people who are unemployed and what's happening to people across merck today who can't find work. and yet the congress sits here immobilized, unable to pass an extension of unemployed -- unemployment insurance benefits. it's really unconscionable

Tom Harkin

1:21:32 to 1:21:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: what's happening to so many people in america? through no fault of their own. people are really just at their end, the end of the line and they're looking to us asking us to do something and the congress sits here immobilized, unable to act.

Tom Harkin

1:21:56 to 1:22:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: unable to act because a small minority here in the senate on the republican side refused to let us move ahead with an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. i dare say if we could ever have a ve, if we could get a vote on it, we would get over 50 votes. a majority would vote for this,

Tom Harkin

1:22:17 to 1:22:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for the extension. but once again, under the rules of the senate, a minority of the senate gets to decide what we vote on. i wonder how many government classes that are being taught in high school today, even in college, i wonder how many of the students are really being

Tom Harkin

1:22:40 to 1:23:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: taught not govern in the united states senate. i wonder how many understand that in our democratic form of government, 41 senators decide what we vote on. 41 not 51. 41 senators decide what legislation comes before this body.

Tom Harkin

1:23:01 to 1:23:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i mean, you can go back to the framers of our constitution and read all that they wrote in our "federalist papers," what madison said and others and they all warned against the -- sort of the tyranny of the m and that's why they set up a system of majority rule. i think it was madison who

Tom Harkin

1:23:22 to 1:23:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: referred to the aspect of perhaps a -- a small junta being able to control legislation if we did not have a majority vote. well, we've turned that on its head, because today a minority, 41 senators, decide what we vote on. please explain that in terms of

Tom Harkin

1:23:45 to 1:24:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: our democratic principles to kids who are taking government classes around america today. go to other countries where we're trying to get them to establish democratic forms of government and tell them oh, it's okay to have a minority decide what you vote on. they've got to scratch their heads and say, "what are you talking about?

Tom Harkin

1:24:07 to 1:24:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we need a majority rule." and yet here in our own country, a minority rules in the united states senate. i know a lot of polls show that people are angry and they're mad at congress. i can understand that. if i had been out of work for 99

Tom Harkin

1:24:28 to 1:24:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: weeks and i had a family to feed and house payments to make and all of a sudden my insurance -- my unemployment benefits ended, i'd be pretty mad at congress too. and i think what the republicans are counting on is that this fall they'll be so mad they'll vote against whoever is running congress, and that's the

Tom Harkin

1:24:50 to 1:25:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: democrats obviously. that's what they're counting on, that people will just vote because they're mad, they're angry, they're going to vote the democrats out. and yet it's the republica, a minority, that's keeping us from voting on extending unemployment insurance benefits. well, i don't care what my friends on the other side of the aisle think.

Tom Harkin

1:25:13 to 1:25:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the american people will, they'll learn, they'll know. people are not stupid. the voters of this country are pretty smart. oh, you might fool them for a little bit, as abraham lincoln said, you can fool tm for a little bit but not all the time. and pretty soon they're going to catch on. they're going to catch on that the congress is not acting because a small minority of the

Tom Harkin

1:25:37 to 1:25:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: senate will not let us act. well, mr. president, a group o business economists recently released its economic outlook and they said that we're on track for the recovery. they give a large share of that credit to the recovery act that we passed last year, of course, without one single republican vote.

Tom Harkin

1:25:58 to 1:26:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i think what that bill did, the recovery bill, just prevented a catastrophe. but, quite frankly, the economy is still in doldrums. sales of new homes plummeted last month to 33 -- plummeted 33%, the lowest level in 40 years. according to the federal reserve,u.s. companies -- get

Tom Harkin

1:26:19 to 1:26:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this -- u.s. companies, private companies, are now hoarding an all-time high sum of $1.84 trillion in cash. companies in america are holding $1.84 trillion in cash. they're unwilling to invest, to hire or to expand.

Tom Harkin

1:26:43 to 1:27:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so again, a very fragile recovery could dipack into even another big ression. this -- now, we had the great depression in the 1930's,in the 1990's, as a result of the profligate spending and the huge tax cuts for the wealthy under the bush administration and the republicans that controlled

Tom Harkin

1:27:05 to 1:27:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: congress, as the senator from illinois pointed out, president obama was left with a deficit of $1.3 trillion. when president clinton left office, there was a budget surplus of about close to $300 billion. and so because of that, we've

Tom Harkin

1:27:27 to 1:27:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: had the great recession of the 1990 -- of the 2000's, 2007, 2008, 2009 and now 2010. a lot of figures are thrown around about how many are unemployed. the official unemployment is 9.5% and nearly 15 million workers, but the real unemployment, the real unemployment, including those

Tom Harkin

1:27:50 to 1:28:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: discouraged workers, those that are just working part i'm thyme because they can't find -- part-time because they can't find a full-time job, that is close to 26 million americans. 26 million americans can't find a full-time job, they're desperate, they need hel. right now there are five job seekers for every new job opening. actu

Tom Harkin

1:28:11 to 1:28:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: are more than eight. this is 26 million right now unemployed. they say officially there's about 5 to 6 unemployed workers for every -- five to six unemployed workers for every job opening. actually, it's closer to eight job seekers for every now, i was reading an article in the post post" yesterday.

Tom Harkin

1:28:32 to 1:28:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: michael d. tanner, a senior fellow at the cato institute, a libertarian think-tank, said -- quote -- "workers are less likely to look for workr accept less than ideal jobs as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed.

Tom Harkin

1:28:53 to 1:29:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that is not saying anyone is getting rich off unemployment or that unemployed people are lazy, but it is simply human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as the check is coming." boy, that almost takes your breath away, mr. president, that we have people like this in high

Tom Harkin

1:29:16 to 1:29:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: places that a setting economic policy or trying to set economic policy. "as long as they are protected from the full consequences of beingnemployed." what does he mean, they've got to starve,they've got to go out on the street corner here and hat in hand give up their homes, put their furniture out on the street, send their kids to the

Tom Harkin

1:29:37 to 1:29:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: orphanage? is that what mr. tanner says, e full consequences of being unemployed? maybe starving? can't get enough to even eat. what's he talking about, the full consequences? when there are eight people looking for every job? he says by extending unemployment benefits, it makes

Tom Harkin

1:29:58 to 1:30:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: people less inclined to look for work. you wonder where people like this come from, where did they gefer to school, what did -- did they ever go to school, what did they ever learn in their lifetimes, are they just so -- so uncaring about their fellow

Tom Harkin

1:30:20 to 1:30:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: human beings that they just say, let it happen, whatever happens, let it happen and the government can't do anything to help? well, we had that attitude prior to the 1930's, prior to the great depression, but i thought we'd turned the corner. i thought we recognized that government could be an instrument to make sure that people's lives were not miserable. that they didn't have to suffer

Tom Harkin

1:30:44 to 1:31:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the full consequences of being unemployed, about being thrown out on the street or starving or putting their kids in orphanages because they couldn't take care of them any longer. i thoughte turned the corner on that. but obviously there are some who would like to turn the clock back. well, eight job seekers for every one unemployed.

Tom Harkin

1:31:05 to 1:31:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they're hanging by a thread. their savings are exhausted. they have no safety net whatsoever now. they have no safety net. every day we get stories in our office, heartbreaking stories of families back home struggling to survive but there just aren't any jobs.

Tom Harkin

1:31:29 to 1:31:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i heard from a woman in waukon, iowa, she worked in the job for 33 years. the plant closed. she and 300 other workers lost their jobs. this is in a town of 3,500 people. she's a diabetic without health insurance. she has applied for more than 200 jobs. she's crying out for a job.

Tom Harkin

1:31:54 to 1:32:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: she wants to work but comes up -- but comes up empty handed because there's no jobs. i heard from a worker in the des moines area, been in the insurance indury for many years, laid off a year ago. her benefits were cut off last week. here's what she said -- and i quote -- "my concern is that my family cannot survive without

Tom Harkin

1:32:15 to 1:32:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the unemployment benefits. we've depleted our savings just to save the house and not get behind on the bills. i know there are others far worse off. please help pass the emergency unemployment insur extension." she's are hard-working people. they've tried their best. they've not shirked their duties and responsibilities of being

Tom Harkin

1:32:37 to 1:32:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: good citizens, hard-working citizens. so what we're talking about here i think is just a matter of fundamental fairness and decency and using the power of the government to make sure that people don't -- what did mr. tanner say? -- "suffer the full consequences of being unemployed," whatever that may

Tom Harkin

1:32:58 to 1:33:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: mean. and yet in the face of these families and this crisis, the extension of unemployment insurance benefits is stalled, i would say cruelly obstructed here in the united states senate. we'vtried to pass it time and time again in extension. every time it is blocked by our

Tom Harkin

1:33:19 to 1:33:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: republican colleagues on the other side of the aisle. as a result of this, more than exhausted their unemployment benefits. actual, when i took -- actually, when i took to this floor before the 4th of july recess, i talked about the number of people that would be out and i said it would be about 2 million.

Tom Harkin

1:33:40 to 1:34:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it's now 2.5 million. 2.5 million. last week, 2.1 million. this week, 2.5 million. these are people that are out of work. they've been out of work so long, they've looked for work, now their unemployment benefits are gon i ask people, just think about it. you know, around this place, we

Tom Harkin

1:34:01 to 1:34:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: all have jobs, don't we? we all have jobs. everybody works here on the senate floor has a job. i've got a job. you, mr. president, you've got a job. we get paid pretty darn well, too. we're not facing unemployment. no one who works here is facing unemployment. just think what you would feel like. just think what you'd feel like

Tom Harkin

1:34:24 to 1:34:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: if you got a pink slip yesterday and said "don't come to work next week." and you got house payments to make, you've got kids in school, maybe one in college or two, might even have car payments to make, and all of a sudden you're out of work and you can't find a job.

Tom Harkin

1:34:45 to 1:35:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and they say well, i'm sorry, you don't -- you can't get unemployment benefits either. what do you do? what do you do? put yourself in the shoes of these people. what would you do? how mad would you be at the united states congress and the government if you had worked all

Tom Harkin

1:35:09 to 1:35:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: your life, like this woman from waukon, 33 years, out of work, diabetic, no health insurance, has applied for over 200 jobs, can't find a job, and we cut off r unemployment benefits? how mad would you be? we keep hearing this, and i've heard it from the other side of

Tom Harkin

1:35:32 to 1:35:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: e aisle, i've third from sarah palin and others, that people are lazy, they just rely on those benefits instead of looking for work. even the distinguished minority whip, senator kyl, put it recently -- and here's the quote -- "continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work." there's eight people looking for

Tom Harkin

1:35:54 to 1:36:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: every job. how low do you have to drive people down? you know, i suppose if you paid people 50 cents an hour, you might get people work for you. to do things. is that what we've come to as a country, that people have to be pushed that far down before

Tom Harkin

1:36:18 to 1:36:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we'll respond? well, i think those who say that people are just lazy are just out of touch with reality. let's look at the facts. now, numbers vary from state to state, unemployment insurance benefits vary from state to state. right now it's a average nationwide. $300 a week.

Tom Harkin

1:36:41 to 1:37:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so for a family of four -- get this -- youet unemployment benefits, if you're lucky enough to still be on them, you're getting $300 a week average and that's about $15,000 a year. you keep your family going on $15,600 a year, huh, a family of four? poverty line is $22,000.

Tom Harkin

1:37:03 to 1:37:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so i suppose, according to my friend from arizona, senator kyl, i guess if youe getting $15,600 a year, that's a disincentive for you to try to find a job that pays more than $22,000 a year. i don't understand the logic of that reasoning. the truth is, the long-term unemployed would like nothing

Tom Harkin

1:37:25 to 1:37:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: more than to pull themselves up by their problem is in the economy right now, we're kind of short of bootstraps. another argument i hear from our republican colleagues is that extending the bee benefits will add to the deficit. their argument is that we should cut off some of the most

Tom Harkin

1:37:46 to 1:38:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: desperate people in our economy, take away their last meager lifeline because we're concerned about the deficit. yet, yet those very same senators are demanding that we extend hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest americans in our

Tom Harkin

1:38:07 to 1:38:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: society. my friend, the senator from vermont, senator sashed sanders, was here yesterday morning, gave a great speech on what's happening in our society in terms of the few controlling more and more and the rest getting less and less. as he pointed out, the top 1%, the top 1% of the richest people

Tom Harkin

1:38:29 to 1:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in merck -- in america, control 90% of the wealth. 90%. the rest can get all the rest. and yet my republican colleagues says we've got to keep giving them more tax breaks but we cannot help people who are unemployed t. will add to the deficit. well, extending these tax breaks for the wealthiest in our

Tom Harkin

1:38:50 to 1:39:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: society also adds to the deficit. but i guess, i guess in their way of thinking that's lrt. lrt -- that's all right. and, again, when we talk about extending these tax breaks, my friends on the republican side, they don't say we have to find an offset for it.

Tom Harkin

1:39:11 to 1:39:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they say, no, add that to the deficit, we don't have to pay for that. but if we want to extend unemployment benefits, we have to somehow pay for that. again, i'm sorry that i'm lost in the logic of that. according to our republican colleagues, adding massively to the deficit to finance tax

Tom Harkin

1:39:33 to 1:39:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: breaks for the wealthy is fine, but adding to the deficit to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed is unacceptable. well, i just happen to think those are misplaced priorities. but let me speak a little bit about deficits because they are a concern and they're something that we do have to pay attention to and we're going to have to

Tom Harkin

1:39:55 to 1:40:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: fix for the long term. we are in a fiscal mess but it was not so long ago then-vice president dick cheney dismissed the need for fiscal responsibility. when they were cutting tax breaks for the wealthy, spending more and more, here's what he said -- quote -- "deficits don't matter."

Tom Harkin

1:40:19 to 1:40:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: vice president dick cheney said, "deficits don't matter." and again, under his administration with president bush, they didn' matter. boy, the deficits just spiraled out of control. and i don't remember any significant republican dissent from mr. cheney's viewing during

Tom Harkin

1:40:41 to 1:41:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: during -- view during that period of time that deficits don't matter because they were off going after weapons of mass destruction in iraq, and that misplaced war has cost us pretty close to a trillion dollars, not counting untold lives lost, people injured for life. and the tax breaks for the

Tom Harkin

1:41:04 to 1:41:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: wealthy spiraled us again into a deficit. but mr. cheney said deficits don't matter. well, i tend to disagree with mr. cheney: defici matter.they mattered because when mr. clinton was president,

Tom Harkin

1:41:25 to 1:41:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we got out of the deficit hole. mr. mr. harkin: in: we got out of that. mr. harkin: well, they said deficits don't matter when republicans were in control. now they say deficits do matter. they blame the federal government's fiscal mess on prident obama and actns taken by this congress.

Tom Harkin

1:41:46 to 1:42:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, that takes a wholesale rewriting and an airbrushing of recent history. as we all know, it was the administrations of president reagan and george herbert walker bush in the 1980's that launched america into a new era of large budget deficits. president clinton then spent the following eight years cleaning

Tom Harkin

1:42:08 to 1:42:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: up the fiscal mess that he inherited. in 1993, president clinton, along with the democrats, democratic congress, passed a painful but a courage oas deficit-reduction plan -- courageo deficit-reduction plan without one single republican "yes" vote in the senate. that plan not only produced record budget surpluses, it

Tom Harkin

1:42:33 to 1:42:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: expanded our economy economy, people were employed. it -- expanded our economy, people were employed. it put us on a path by the year 2000 to completely eliminate the debt within a decade. we could have wiped out the national debt. and i remember that date. i was here. 1993, i remember the senator from texas, senator gramm,

Tom Harkin

1:42:54 to 1:43:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: getting getting up, whaling about how this plan was going to destroy america, it was going to plunge us into fiscal crisis. it was going to create unemployment, it was going to create a disaster. well, we passed it without one republican vote. and look what happene, the economy grew, unemployment went

Tom Harkin

1:43:15 to 1:43:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: down, we paid down the national debt, we left in 2000 with a huge budget surplus. and yet in 1994, the year after we passed that without one single republican vote,republicans were all over country taking the democrats to

Tom Harkin

1:43:37 to 1:43:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: task for raising taxes. and you know what happened in 1994? democrats lost the senate and lost the house and republicans took over. but we were able to keep that program intact. they couldn't repeal it. and we kept it intac during the 1990's, resulting in a good,

Tom Harkin

1:43:59 to 1:44:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: strong economy, more employment, less unemployment, and, as i said, putting us on a path to pay off the national debt. and then 2001, george bush comes to office, republicans gain control and again into deficits once more in our country.

Tom Harkin

1:44:22 to 1:44:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: huge deficits. well, as my friend from illinois said, according to c.b.o., when president obama took office, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit. when president bush took office in 2001, we had about a $300 billion surplus. what a difference. what a difference.

Tom Harkin

1:44:44 to 1:45:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: what a difference. and now, because of the profligate spending and the deficits of those eight years of bush, because of the huge hole we were in when president obama took over, our economy's in a tailspin and now we're trying to work our way out of it. that's why we had the

Tom Harkin

1:45:06 to 1:45:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: recovery act, and the recovery act helped us gain more jobs in this country. as i said, it kept us from having a catastrophe. now, we know that we can bring the defit back under control. we did it during the clinton administration and we can do that again. as my friend from illinois said

Tom Harkin

1:45:27 to 1:45:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: just yesterday, president obama nominated jack lew to serve as director of the white house office of management and budget. he held that same position in the clinton administration, in the later years of the clinton administration. and so again we're looking to mr. lew to help us work our way out of this mess that we're in. so i can say that we democrats

Tom Harkin

1:45:49 to 1:46:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: are proud of our record of fiscal responsibility, but forgive us for asking why is it that again and again and again we democrats are cast in the role of the shovel brigade in the circus, cleaning up after the elephants? why are we always doing that?

Tom Harkin

1:46:10 to 1:46:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and then people get mad because we have got to clean up the mess. well, i'm tired of being the shovel brigade after those elephants. now, we all understand that deficits are unaffordable and unsustainable.

Tom Harkin

1:46:32 to 1:46:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: however, among economists, a broad array of economy nifts this country, among many senators -- i'm one of them -- i believe there is a more immediate and urgent concern, and that is getting a recovery from the deepest economic downturn since the great depression. do unemployment benefits cost money? of course they do. are they in our long-term

Tom Harkin

1:46:54 to 1:47:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: national interests? absolutely. the single most effective way to reduce the deficit is to keep the recovery on track. and if we can do that, we can reduce the deficit, according to the c.b.o., from 10% of g.d.p. this year to 4% by 2014. i would be the first to say we can't do it oversight.

Tom Harkin

1:47:17 to 1:47:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we didn't do it overnight in the 1990's. it took us literally eight years, but it built up slowly and towards the end we were really -- we were really rolling by the year 2000. low unemployment, the economy was booming, we had budget cypruss. but it took a long time to get there, and it's going to take us

Tom Harkin

1:47:40 to 1:48:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: some time to get back there again. but extending unemployment benefits is an essential way to keep us on that bath to recovery. economists calculate that for every dollar invested in unemployment insurance safety net generates about $1.63 in economic activity. again they tell us if you're

Tom Harkin

1:48:02 to 1:48:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: going to spend government money, if you're going to do that, you get the most bang for the buck by putting it in food stamps because poor people get food stamps, they go out and they buy food. the next is unemployment benefits. when you give it to people that are unemployed, they go out and they spend that money. they buy things, they buy food, they pay their rent, they pay

Tom Harkin

1:48:24 to 1:48:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: their food bills, the pay their clothing bills, they pay for car payments, house payments, all those things just to keep afloat. so that srs economic activity. look down here, extending the bush tax cuts. for every dollar that we extend of bush tax cuts, we only get back 49 cents.

Tom Harkin

1:48:45 to 1:49:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: compare that to unemployment benefits. yet, the republicans want us to do this: spend every dollar that we have on a -- extending the bush tax cuts for which we'll get back about 49 cents. they don't want to do unemployment benefits that for every dollar we spend, we get

Tom Harkin

1:49:08 to 1:49:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: back $1.63 in economic activity. mr. president, as i said, unemployed households spend these dollars on immediate needs. the recovery act alone in iowa, more than 3,700 jobs were created in 2009, thanks to the economic activity of the recovery act. now, did that get u out of the recession?

Tom Harkin

1:49:29 to 1:49:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: no, but it sure in heck helped a lot of families and kept us from sinking even further. so that's why we had the recovery act which has at least kept us out of a depression. david walker, mr. president, is the former comptroller of the currency under the bush administration, the george w. bush administration.

Tom Harkin

1:49:51 to 1:50:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: now he's president of the peter g. peterson fou organization that has single mindedly focused on cutting long-term defits. last week, he testified before the bipartisan deficit reduction panel. he said that it is -- quote -- "a myth that we cannot address our current economic crisis and

Tom Harkin

1:50:12 to 1:50:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: our long-term fiscal crisis at the same time." yet, that's what we're hearing from republicans. we can't do both of those. we have to focus on the deficit and don't worry about the crisis we have right now. david walker continued -- quote -- "in our view, the answer is to continue to pursue

Tom Harkin

1:50:33 to 1:50:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: selected short-term initiatives designed to stimulate the economy and address unemployment, but to couple these actions with specific, meaningful actions designed to resolve our long-term structural deficits." well, i agree. we have got to address the short term and then think about the things we have to do here to

Tom Harkin

1:50:55 to 1:51:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: address the long term, the long term problems of the deficit. so again, for the sake of all the families who have written in to my office, for all those families that are at the end of their line, i urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stop obstructionism and do the right

Tom Harkin

1:51:16 to 1:51:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: thing right now for people who desperately need our help. stop the filibuster. there are more than 50 votes, there is a majority here to extend unemployment benefits. i ask the minority to allow us just to vote on it, to help these families in desperate need all over the country.

Tom Harkin

1:51:40 to 1:52:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so, mr. president, it is my intention, as often as i can to get to the floor to continue to speak about the desperate need of these families. we can't just continue to ignore it. and to those who think that they can gain politically at the polls in november, who think

Tom Harkin

1:52:02 to 1:52:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they can gain politically by having people suffer more, by having them more desperate and more destitute, i say that is an

Tom Harkin

1:52:23 to 1:52:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: aberration, that is a total, i think, abdication of our responsibility as officeholde, as people who are sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. it is unworthy, it is unworthy of a great country for their leaders, for their elected

Tom Harkin

1:52:44 to 1:53:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: leaders to somehow think they can gain political gain by making people more desperate than they are today. so i hope that we can have the vote, we can extend the unemployment benefitsnd we can help people who really need a lifeline right now.

Tom Harkin

1:53:05 to 1:53:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: anything short of that is not worthy of our great country. mr. president, i again urge the minority to let the bill come up for a vote so that we can vote it through, and it should be done this week. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. president, i withhold that request. mr. president, i have eight unanimous consent requests for coittees to meet during

Tom Harkin

1:53:27 to 1:53:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. harkin: mr. president, i yield the floor and i absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the rol

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