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Senate Proceeding on Jul 14th, 2010 :: 2:43:05 to 3:18:40
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Byron Dorgan

2:42:56 to 2:43:17( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. dorgan: i ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. the presiding offir: -- mr. dorgan: i ask to speak in morning business for as much time as i may consume. the presiding officer: without objection.

Byron Dorgan

2:43:05 to 3:18:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

2:43:18 to 2:43:39( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: mr. dorgan: the to do list is long and difficult in the senate and we have witnessed all of this year a determined minority to impose as a set of human brake pads to try to stop almost everything here in the senate including providing extended unemployment insurance during the deepest recession since the

Byron Dorgan

2:43:40 to 2:44:00( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: great depression, provided an -- provide an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work. it's unbelievable to me. it seems to me that everyone should understand that when you are in a deep, deep recession, as we have been, and we're coming out of it, but that's the time when you just extend unemployment benefits because it's necessary to do.

Byron Dorgan

2:44:01 to 2:44:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and, yet, it too has gotten caught in this trap of saying no everything. but i wanted to go over just a bit, some of the to-do list here in the united states senate. first and foremost, there's no question that one of the most significant challenges facing this country is debt and deficits. everybody understands that. the question is, how do you deal

Byron Dorgan

2:44:23 to 2:44:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: with it? now, this president, i know he's criticized for describing what he took over, but it's pretty important. you go to a rental car dealership and they want you to see what the car's like before you rent it. this president ran for president, but when he took over this economy, had had he done -- had he done nothing, not lifted

Byron Dorgan

2:44:44 to 2:45:05( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a finger, the national budget deficit was going to be $1.03 be $1.3 trillion. the economy he was left had 680,000 people losing their job in that month. this economy was in steep decline. that's what he inherited. it's not my taking a halhour

Byron Dorgan

2:45:06 to 2:45:27( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to describe what was wrong, it's just stating the obvious. so what do we try to do about that? the president has created this commission to try to address the deficits and debt that has come from this steep economic decline. when a country is experiencing a very deep recession, you have less revenue coming in -- we

Byron Dorgan

2:45:28 to 2:45:48( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: were losing about $400 billion a year in revenuehat we used to get and didn't get. then you have higher expenditures going out because you have the economic stablizers that you pay for in order to help people during times of economic distress. and so we had these unbelievable

Byron Dorgan

2:45:49 to 2:46:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: federal budget deficits, not surprising. that's going to happen when you have a very steep economic downturn. but you can't, it seems to me, go into this without a structural imbalance, as we had, and then have a deep recession d have these deficits explode and then not have a plan to deal with them. and so the question is,or all of us -- the president and the congress -- what do we do?

Byron Dorgan

2:46:11 to 2:46:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: society president appointed a commission -- so e president appointed a commission, a pretty high-level commissn, to say, all right, come up with a set of recommendations by the end of this year. what are the range of issues, with everything on the table. yes, military spending, entitlements, all of it. what is the menu that is necessary to put this country

Byron Dorgan

2:46:32 to 2:46:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: back on track? now, in 2001, president bush proposed very large tax cuts. i voted "no." on the floor of this senate, i said -- well, the reason i'm voting no is i don't think we should provide ten years of very large tax cuts just because we had a surplus lt year -- which

Byron Dorgan

2:46:53 to 2:47:13( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: was the last year of bill clinton's president sivment we had a budget surplus. and they estimated that not only would we have a budget surplus for that year but for the next ten years. i said, let's be a little bit conservative. what if something would happen? what if we don't have those surpluses?

Byron Dorgan

2:47:14 to 2:47:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: they said, don't worry about that. let's give very large tax cuts and most of it by the way went to the wealthiest americans. and so, without my vote, it passed. and it did a lot of strange things. among the tax cuts was a cut in the estate tax that took the estate tax over these nine years down, down, down, and down so that this year we have a zero

Byron Dorgan

2:47:36 to 2:47:56( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: estate tax. think of it. the estate tax in this country is year is zero. and we have about 400 billionaires in country. i believe four of them have now died in this year. this is the "throw mama from the train" year, as the title of the movie goes. this is the year, if you have a

Byron Dorgan

2:47:57 to 2:48:18( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: lot of money and you're going to go -- this is the year i suppose those who are related to you might think there's some divine providence here. let me jus today's newspaper. george steinbrenner, a very colorful owner of the new york yankees, died.

Byron Dorgan

2:48:19 to 2:48:39( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i didn't know george steinbrenner but he was quite an extraordinary man, i'm sure. a very successful businessman and a successful and controversial owner of the new york yankees. but he was also a billionaire. "the washington post" talks today about this year the steat

Byron Dorgan

2:48:40 to 2:49:00( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: estate tax is at -- the estate tax sat zero. so this estate will have no tax at awvment a lot of the $1 billion estate or perhaps bill geats' $50 billion estate -- or bill gates $50 billion estate,

Byron Dorgan

2:49:01 to 2:49:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: has not borne any tax. it's never had to bear a tax to send kids to school or provide for our defense it. now?1 we've had four die this year and because we have this goofy process the previous administration created to go to a zero estate tax this

Byron Dorgan

2:49:23 to 2:49:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: year and then spring back to an estate tax next year, it is just nutty. you want to know how you reduce the federal budget deficit, how about fix ago few of these things? that ought to be on the to-do list. how about 23eu68ing the estate tax -- how about fismg the estate tax? it is impair acing for those who

Byron Dorgan

2:49:44 to 2:50:07( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: understand fiscal policy and understand there is a responsibility for all americans not just to be glad they are americans but also a responsibility to participate in the things that americans have to participate in together and that includes, yeah, paying some taxes the and, yes, that includes some estate taxes. it is embarrassing that we've a zero estate tax for the wealthiest americans at this point.

Byron Dorgan

2:50:08 to 2:50:29( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: makes no sense to me at all. we had an extension proposed, an extension of the tax cuts for middle-income workers that comes from the 2001 tax bill that president bush pushed through the congress. one of my colleagues was on a show this sunday and said, well, we want to also give a tax cut to the top 2% of the american income earners.

Byron Dorgan

2:50:30 to 2:50:50( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and the moderator of that show said, well, that's going to cost $680-some billion. how are you going to pay for that? a understand my colleague, who talks -- and my colleague, who talks a lot about federal budget deficits anded need to deal with them, said we don't have too deal with tax cuts.

Byron Dorgan

2:50:51 to 2:51:12( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it seems like basic arithmetic books that allows to you add one and one and get two. from time to time, at least. and so you're going to deal with the federal budget deficits by extending tax cuts to the wealthiest americans? you go to deal with the -- you're going it deal with the federal budget deficit by having a zero estate tax obligation for

Byron Dorgan

2:51:13 to 2:51:33( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: somebody that dies and has a billion or billions of dollars? or what about the notion of going to war twice in iraq and afghanistan and not paying for a penny of it? we have all of these gatherings to say goodbye, particularly in the national guard, to say goodbye to a national guard unit that's going to be sent to iraq and afghanistan. we say goodbye, godspeed, be safe.

Byron Dorgan

2:51:34 to 2:51:57( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: when they're home, we say, welcome home. we do everything except we don't pay the bill. we send them to war, have them strap on ceramic body armor in the morning, walk in harm's way, get shot at. but this congress doesn't have the courage to decide we ought to pay for wars as we fight them.

Byron Dorgan

2:51:58 to 2:52:18( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a it's been piled on the debt. some of us who have said, let's pay for recent year, have been told -- we're trying to raise revenue to pay for the cost of sending america's men and women to go fight for this country. it used to be that was something that was essential, not optional. it was the more thing to do.

Byron Dorgan

2:52:19 to 2:52:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: our responsible thing to do. all of this has been charged -- all of it is added to the debt. so the soldiers get to go fight and come home and they will a pay the bill as well. makes no sense to me. i've described at great length the tax avoidance that's going on in this country.

Byron Dorgan

2:52:42 to 2:53:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i described some of the highest income earners get to pay 15% carried interest. so they get to pay some of the lowest rates. some of them are running them through tax haven countries in deferred compensation schemes in order to avoid paying anything. they want everything that america has to offer except the responsibility to pay their taxes.

Byron Dorgan

2:53:04 to 2:53:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that's true with some very large american corporations as well. out in the gulf, the licensed company drilling for b.p., trans transocean, they had, i believe, 1,200 employees in houston, texas, and 12 employees in switzerland. what was the deal there?

Byron Dorgan

2:53:26 to 2:53:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: well, they'd moved their home to switzerland, despite the fact that's where they had a dozen imleerks and they had 1 2,00 in houston. why would they move their corporate home to swits? to avoid paying taxes, i asiewvment move your headquarters to a low-tax country, a tax haven country, and then claim that you're not american. when it comes to paying taxes.

Byron Dorgan

2:53:48 to 2:54:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: but you want to be an moron for every other responsibility. well, there's a to-do list. maybe shut down some of those schemes. how about an estate tax for estates with billions of dollars? highway about paying for the cost -- how about paying for the cost of wars as our soldiers are asked to go fight it?

Byron Dorgan

2:54:09 to 2:54:30( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: cutting spending -- i mean cialtion some come outere and talk a lot about cutting spending. i support cutting spending in the right way. we have a lot of areas where federal agencies can tighten their belt. it's one thing to talk about. it is another thing to do it. some years ago when i came to the congress, there was $46 billion aloe educated to build a

Byron Dorgan

2:54:31 to 2:54:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: new -- allocated to build a new federal couhouse in north dakota. yes, nays my state. i curt it from $46 billion to $23 billion. cut it in half. the courthouse got billed for $19 billion.

Byron Dorgan

2:54:53 to 2:55:15( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i've come to the floor being critical of what is to be spent on the ports of entry. yes, those are in my state as wevment i think all of us ought to take a hard look at federal spending and take a look at where we can and should begin to make some cuts. finally, when you talk about

Byron Dorgan

2:55:16 to 2:55:37( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: deficits, we talk a lot about budget deficits. nobody talks much about the trade this morning story. trade deficit last month jumps economists downgrade growth forecasts. i wrote a book about this several years ago and described

Byron Dorgan

2:55:38 to 2:55:59( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: in that book in great detail what's happening. shipping jobs overseas, going in search of low-wage countries where you can move your production in order to produce and sell the product back in our country. all of that ratchets up this unbelievable deficit. we've had trade deficits in recent years of $7 i bilon 800 billion in trade deficits.

Byron Dorgan

2:56:00 to 2:56:21( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that's money that we're going to owe to ourselves. you can't make that case with the trade deficit. that's money we owe to other countries. and we're going to repay that someday with a lower standard of living in our country. but this is also not just about dflts. it is about jobs. when you run these kind of trade deficits and see plants closing their factories here in this

Byron Dorgan

2:56:22 to 2:56:42( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: country. five milon factory workers have lost their jobs because we see this unbelievable drain of jobs leaving our country in search of lower wages elsewhere. we've got to address this. we've got to address right way. i'll talk about that at some point on another day. but this is not rocket science

Byron Dorgan

2:56:43 to 2:57:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to understand that debt is debt and deficits are deficits and we've got to address these issues. now, one other point on this economy. i was on a program the other day, cnbc, and they said, what abt this notion that what you're doing here on promoting

Byron Dorgan

2:57:04 to 2:57:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: additional regulations on wall street and other issues, that you're antibusiness? you democrats in congress and the democratic administration are antibusiness. i've heard a couple of c.e.o.'s say that. and i said, you know, it's byzantine to meevment l a tell you what's antibusiness. you want to run a big compa in this country and manufacture and do business here.

Byron Dorgan

2:57:26 to 2:57:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: you want to look at something that's antibusiness? go look at wall street and see what they did. sierra leone the cesspool of greed they created with an unbelievable bubble of speck listing, un-- of speculation, unpressed in this country. credit default swaps and much,

Byron Dorgan

2:57:48 to 2:58:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: much more. loans to homeowners who couldn't repay them. the creation of something called liars loans saying come and get a loan from uand you don't have to disclose what your income s no-doc loans. come and get a loan from us. you don't have to disclose your

Byron Dorgan

2:58:09 to 2:58:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: income or pay any principal the first year. or don't tell us what your income is don't pay any principal the first year and we'll make the first 12 payments for you. they would take these loans and pay big bonuses to the brokers and wrap them into securities

Byron Dorgan

2:58:32 to 2:58:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and sell the securities up up to hedge fund, investment banks and they were all making massive profits. then you had oarsz they would take a look at those securities and make wagers. credit default swaps. will these bonds be good or won't they? it is unbelievable what was going on in this country. the whole thing was a house of cards and it came collapsing

Byron Dorgan

2:58:53 to 2:59:13( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: down and now we decide we're going to put some regulations in place to say top it, you can't do that anymore. you damn near ruined this country's economy. woe won't let do you it anymore. what's the reaction from some manufacturing i won't mention the name. one of the top c.e.o.'s says that's antibusiness.

Byron Dorgan

2:59:14 to 2:59:34( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it is not antibusiness to put in place effective, tough regulations to say, do business the rye way. you do what you've been doing, we're going to put handcuffs on you because it almost ruined this country's economy. it is not antibusiness to insist that business be done the right way. when in the basement. s.e.c. four companies come in

Byron Dorgan

2:59:35 to 2:59:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and get the securities and exchange commission in the middecade, last decade to change the rules so they could go from 12 times leverage to 30 times leverage and they do it with almost no notice for anybody -- all these little hand shakes that go on -- when all that sort h. sorlt of thing is going on, or when regulators are hired who

Byron Dorgan

2:59:56 to 3:00:16( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: say, you know what? don't worry, this is going to be a new business-friendly place. we won't look. do what you want. we don't care. en all of that happens and it causes near collapse of the american economy and american way of life, we have a right without being called antibusiness to say

Byron Dorgan

3:00:17 to 3:00:37( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: there needs to be effective regulators and effective regulations to make sure this won't happen again. it was 15 years ago that i wrote the lead story for the "washington monthly magazine." and the title was "very risky business." that was the lead story in the

Byron Dorgan

3:00:38 to 3:00:59( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: "washi that i wrote 15 years ago. what was it about? pwafrpblgz in -- banks in america trading the interests in proprietary accounts. i said you might as well put a that is gambling. and we ought not allow it because you know who will pick up the bill? the american taxpayer.

Byron Dorgan

3:01:00 to 3:01:21( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it was ten years ago that i stood newspaper this senate that i stood up and proposed repealing of the law of the great depression, glass-steagall and others put in place to protect our countries. it prohibited certain practices that led to the great depression. then all of a sudden, it's time to modernize, that's old-fashned. the proposal to repeal those

Byron Dorgan

3:01:22 to 3:01:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: laws went through here like hot butter -- or hot knife through butter, rather rather. just eight of us voted "no." eight of us. i stood on the floor of the senate and said i think within a decade we're going to see massive taxpayer bailouts. i didn't have a crystal ball. i just felt this was an unbelievable mistake. the fact is we have a right and

Byron Dorgan

3:01:44 to 3:02:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a responsibility to put together effective regulatory mechanisms that will prevent this from happening again, and i understand there are interests out there that will howell so loud -- tha ld that will howl so far you can hear them from coast to coast. doesn't matter. this is about what is best for the american people, what is best for the country's economy

Byron Dorgan

3:02:05 to 3:02:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to be able to expand and create jobs once again. now, madam president, the to-do list, as i indicated, is fairly lengthy. i've not touched a number of issues. i think that the most important thing obviously is to find a way to create newao jobs. as i indicated, to me, it's a little like a bath tub where

Byron Dorgan

3:02:26 to 3:02:48( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: you've got a the faucet is we need to try to create conditions in which n jobs will be created. how do you do that? give people confidence about the future. it's hard to have confidence if you take a look at the economic circumstances of this country right now. if people are confident they do things that manifest that

Byron Dorgan

3:02:49 to 3:03:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: confidence and the economy expands. that is our responsibility to do. that means tackling these tough issues. even as we try to provide that additional confidence that will give people a feeling that they can expect a better future, can make investments, can hire people, then we also -- that's part of the faucet here to put new jobs into this economy. we also need to plug the drain.

Byron Dorgan

3:03:11 to 3:03:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: every single day we've got jobs leaving for china and elsewhere in search of cheap labor. i've spoken about that many times as well. as i sd, i've written a book about that. we need to work on all of that, and jobs has to be the issue number one. it is the most important issue. it makes everything else possible for the american people. and right now as i speak, there are millions and millions and

Byron Dorgan

3:03:32 to 3:03:53( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: millions of people who are out of work. five million americans have lost their jobs just in the manufacturing area in the last eight years. we're short somewhere perhaps in the neighborhood of 18 million to 20 million jobs in this country. we've got to get the engine moving again.

Byron Dorgan

3:03:54 to 3:04:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we've got to get the opportunity to expand jobs all across this country, and there's a lot to do to make that happen. madam president, i wanted to, while i was on the floor in a manner that is unrelated to the economic discussion, i wanted to make a point about another piece of pub worked on for some while. the house of representatives

Byron Dorgan

3:04:15 to 3:04:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: last week passed a piece of legislation through the agriculture committee that would lift the travel ban that is now imposed on american citizens to cuba. let me ask consent in a separate part of the record to describe the cuba travel the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dorgan: i've been to cuba and met with everybody, the cuban government, the dissidents, people who have been

Byron Dorgan

3:04:36 to 3:04:58( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to prison. it's 90 miles off our shore, and there is an embargo and a travel ban to cuba. this describes the number of presidents under which this embargo has existed. as you can see, a fair number of presidents have come and gone as this embargo to cuba has been in place. the problem with it that i see

Byron Dorgan

3:04:59 to 3:05:19( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: is this: this embargo is, and has always been, president castro's bigst excuse. your city is falling down, your economy is in trouble, things are awful in cuba. and is he responsible?

Byron Dorgan

3:05:20 to 3:05:40( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: yes, because this 500-pound gorilla had his fist around our neck. his biggest embargo with cuba. cuba is a communist country. i do have interest in trying to help the cuban people. i think, deciding, for example, that we're going to tell the american people we will restrict your right to travel, we're

Byron Dorgan

3:05:41 to 3:06:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: going to infringe on your freedom. our government says you can't travel, american citizen, to cuba. i think that is unbelievable. by what right does our government say you can't travel to cuba? let me

Byron Dorgan

3:06:04 to 3:06:24( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: travel. perfectly appropriate, if you can get a iran, according to the office of foreign assets control and the treasury department. they, by the way, are supposed to in the basement of the deep bowels of the treasury department, they're supposed to be tracking money to terrorists. t about a fourth of their

Byron Dorgan

3:06:25 to 3:06:45( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: resources are devoted to tracking american citizens who are suspected of vacationing in cuba. think of that. in a world beset by terrorist threats, we got folks who are trying to figure out are there american people, are there citizens who have gone to cuba th we can track down and levy a $10,000 fine against?

Byron Dorgan

3:06:46 to 3:07:06( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: you can go t that's not a problem. if you're an american citizen, want to go to iran, that's if an american citizen, and you'd like to see kim jong-il while he's still in office, you can go to north korea. that's not a big deal. we don't have a problem.

Byron Dorgan

3:07:07 to 3:07:27( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: want to go to communist north korea? no problem at all. want to go to china, a communist country? not a problem. want to go to vietnam, a communistountry? that's no problem. i've been to both, by the way. why have we said that about vietnam and china? because we have a very specific policy with respect to that.

Byron Dorgan

3:07:28 to 3:07:49( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we've said we believe that engagement through trade and travel is the most effective way to move both china and vietnam towards greater human rights. let me say that again. our official policy, republicans and democrats, has been that we believe the most effective way to move communist countries, towards

Byron Dorgan

3:07:50 to 3:08:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: greater human rights is through trade and travel through engagement, we call it. engagement. the only outliner to that is cuba, 90 miles off our fidel castro who pokes his finger in our eye every chance

Byron Dorgan

3:08:11 to 3:08:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: he gets, and so we decided to which hasn't worked at all, which includes restricting the american people's right to travel. then in 2003, leading up to the elections in 2004, president bush made this even tighter. he eliminated people-to-people visits in 2003, eliminated secondary school education

Byron Dorgan

3:08:32 to 3:08:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: travel, restricted family travel to once every three years, restricted amateur athletic travel. essent tight. the they all felt good

Byron Dorgan

3:08:53 to 3:09:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: were going to restrictions around cuba and tell those cuban americans who felt that that's the right thi to do that this was something do to be helpful here's what the office of foreign assets control says about travel to cuba.

Byron Dorgan

3:09:15 to 3:09:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i just described north korea is fine travel to iran is finer. vietnam is fine. they say unless otherwise authorized any person subject to u.s. jurisdiction who any travel-related transaction to cuba violates the regulations. let me describe to you some of these notorious violators who

Byron Dorgan

3:09:36 to 3:09:57( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: our government tracked down and tried to levy a $10,000 fine against. this is joan scott. she is holding a bible. the reason joan scott is holding a bible is this young woman went to havana to pass out free bibles. american woman, went to havana, to pass out free bibles. what happened to her? did the cuban government get

Byron Dorgan

3:09:58 to 3:10:18( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: ahold of her and give her a bad time? no, the american government did. the american government tracked her down and tried to levy a fine because she was suspected of traveling to cuba. isn't that something? it's unbelievable. here met. i've met joan scott. this is joan slote.

Byron Dorgan

3:10:19 to 3:10:40( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i met both of them. joan slote is a bicyclist. she's a grandma in her mid70's. she joined a canadian group to go bicycle in cuba. her government then tracked her down, and not only tried to fine her $10,000, but tried to attach her social security payments and take them

Byron Dorgan

3:10:41 to 3:11:01( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: her government; it's unbelievable. then finally, carlos lazo, sergeant lazo who i described before. he went to iraq and fought for america and won a bronze star. then came back to his country

Byron Dorgan

3:11:02 to 3:11:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and he had two sons in government, one of which was sick in his government. the american government told this bronze star medal winner, very courageous soldier coming back from the war that he wasn't able to go to visit his son. restricted his right to travel. here's the point. the point is the u.s. house of representatives through the

Byron Dorgan

3:11:23 to 3:11:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: agriculture committee has now ssed legislation that eliminates the restriction, eliminates the things that were done by the previous administration to try to stop shipment of food to cuba. and i believe we have the votes in the senate to move that position as well. i actually offered the amendment about ten years ago here in the senate that is now law that

Byron Dorgan

3:11:44 to 3:12:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: opened for the first time the ability to ship food and medicine for cash to cuba. i just felt it was immoral. i think it's immoral to use food and medicine as a weapon, and that's what we're doing, including food and medicine as part of the embargo. i offered the amendment. it's now law. we shipped a couplbillion

Byron Dorgan

3:12:05 to 3:12:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: dollars worth of food to cuba, paid for in cash. but the previous administration decided to change the rules and require payment before shipment as opposed to payment when the goods transferred. that was an opportunity to try to shut down agricultural sales to cuba. so the house has changed that. we would do that as well. i just think it's really important to take this action.

Byron Dorgan

3:12:26 to 3:12:49( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i was really pleased last week when i read what the house of representatives did. i think it is the right thing. and i want to mention a couple more quos if who else believe we ought to lift the travel ban, fo example? well, marcelo rodriguez do, a

Byron Dorgan

3:12:50 to 3:13:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: political prisoner in cuba. ms. sanchez does. she's one of the leading political bloggers about cuba. guitermo faritas, hunger striker. oscar chepo, former political

Byron Dorgan

3:13:11 to 3:13:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: prisoner. here is a letter to the house of representatives signed by 74 cuban human rights leaders who believe we ought to lift the travel it seems to me that i have visited with folks in cuba who are political dissidents.

Byron Dorgan

3:13:32 to 3:13:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: they don't like their government. they're doing everything they can to get a new government, a better government. but they also believe that this embargo and the travel ban does not serve their interest. madam president, i believe that

Byron Dorgan

3:13:53 to 3:14:13( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: at some point when the legislation -- when it's appropriate, we will be be able here in the united states senate to do what the house agriculture committee has done, and that is lift the travel ban and undo some of the detrimental things that were done as well in the tightening in 2003. i and senator enzi, along with

Byron Dorgan

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

Byron Dorgan: 38 other cosponsors -- that's 40 united states senators, have cosponsored our legislation that would lift the travel ban to cuba. and i believe that when we have the opportunity, senator enzi and i will offer that, and i believe we will have the votes to pass it here in the united states senate. once again, it is unthinkable to me that we've decided we're going to try to punish the cuban

Byron Dorgan

3:14:35 to 3:14:56( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: government by restricting the rights of the american people. and we've done it for 40 years, 50 years. by what authority, by what justification do we believe the federal government ought to tell the american people you can travel whever nuclear power plant this wofrld -- you can travel wherever you want in this

Byron Dorgan

3:14:57 to 3:15:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: world, but you can't go to cuba. by what justification does the government have the right to restrict that right to the american people? the answer is none. it's long past the ti? -- long past the time to fix it and that's what i believe we will do here in states sen madam president, i yield the floor and mak that a quorum is not present. the presiding officer: the clerk

Byron Dorgan

3:15:23 to 3:15:44( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: will call the roll. quorum call: mr. dorgan: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. dorgan: i ask the quorum call the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dorgan: let me just in two

Byron Dorgan

3:15:45 to 3:16:05( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: minutes or so mention that the f.a.a. reauthorization bill which we have passed out of the commerce committee and out of the full senate passed 93-0 here in the senate, senator rockefeller and i, senator kay bailey hutchison and others are working very hard to try to negotiate an opportunity to get a report that we can bring back

Byron Dorgan

3:16:06 to 3:16:27( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to both the house and senate to get this done. the reason this is urgent and so important is the modernization of our air traffic control system is long overdue and there's so much that is needed in this f.a.a. reauthorization bill. it deals with safety issues. i held, as chairman of the aviation subcommittee, i held a

Byron Dorgan

3:16:28 to 3:16:48( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: number of hearings on the coming and -- colgan crash in new york that took the lives of so many and i wanted to -- to just make a point, i know people are wondering what's happening on that legislation. we had meeting yesterday for over an hour. we're going to have another meeting this week. we had a meeting the week prior

Byron Dorgan

3:16:49 to 3:17:09( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to the break last week. we're working very hard to try to find a way to bridge the gap. i think we're very close to being able to get something we can bring back to both the house and senate. my hope is that early in this work period we can get this done. i talked to senator rockefeller late, late last night by phone after our meeting in the afternoon. so senator kyl and many others

Byron Dorgan

3:17:10 to 3:17:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: have been involved, senator warner. this is a very big piece of legislation. changing our air traffic control system, moderzing our system from a ground-based system to g.p.s. system is a big, big challenging project but we have to get at it.

Byron Dorgan

3:17:32 to 3:17:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: this bill has languished way too long. we've reauthorized it many, many times now. it's time boat i signed by the -- it's time to get it signed by the senate. i hope that senator rockefeller and i and senator hutchison and others can b senate to vote on it. madam president, i yield the floor. madam president, let me also just finally say i -- i didn't

Byron Dorgan

3:17:53 to 3:18:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: mention that the kagan nomination is going to come to the floor during this work period, i'm sure, and i strongly support the kagan nomination and intend to vote for her nomination. i think she's an awfully good nominee and i know many of my colleagues will as well. i fully expect her to pass the united states senate quite easily.

Byron Dorgan

3:18:15 to 3:18:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i expect the nomination to be madam president, i yield the floor and make a point of order that a quorum is not present. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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