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Senate Proceeding 07-20-10 on Jul 20th, 2010 :: 3:20:30 to 3:36:40
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Tom Harkin

3:20:15 to 3:20:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: quum call: a sator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: madam president, i ask that furth under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that gabriella mercado, tom stanley

Tom Harkin

3:20:30 to 3:36:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

3:20:38 to 3:20:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: becker and anthony tucci of my staff be granted floor privileges for the remainder of today's session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, after months of obstruction, we have overcome a shameful effort by the republican minority to block the extension emergency unemployment benefits. because of the obstructionism of

Tom Harkin

3:20:59 to 3:21:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: those on the other side of the aisle, more than 2 million unemployed americans have seen their benefits terminated in recent weeks,9 days ago, to be exact. they are among the nearly 6.8 million americans that have been out of work for more than half a year. that's the highest number of unemployed we've had since we

Tom Harkin

3:21:25 to 3:21:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: started keeping track in 1948. since 1948, this is the highest number of long-term unemployment we have had. in recent weeks, i have come to the floor several times to share the heartbreaking letters and e-mails that i have received from long-term unemployed workers in iowa.

Tom Harkin

3:21:47 to 3:22:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the families are struggling to survive. these iowans are trying their hardest, doing everything they can to find work, any kind of work, but the jobs just aren't there. officially there are five job seekers for every new job opening. officially and more accurately, there are more than

Tom Harkin

3:22:08 to 3:22:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: eight job seekers for every opening. so here we have has gone up to 26 million, and yet there are 3.2 million job openings. so there's about 8, between 5 and 8 u every job opening.

Tom Harkin

3:22:30 to 3:22:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i say to those desperate families in iowa and all across america, we have listened to you, we've been fighting desperately here over the last 49 days to get an tension of unemployment insurance benefits. every time we've tried it, we have been obstructed by the

Tom Harkin

3:22:52 to 3:23:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: minority, by the republicans. and so, thanks today to the first vote cast by the new senator from west virginia, senator carte goodwin. thanks to his tpeurt vote --

Tom Harkin

3:23:13 to 3:23:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: thanks to his first vote, and i might say to senator goodwin who was sworn in about 2:00 p.m. and then cast his vote, i say to the senator from west virginia, you can be rightly proud of the first vote you cast in the united states senate to help lift up people who in many cases lost all hope, to make sure that

Tom Harkin

3:23:35 to 3:23:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: families get the necessary wherewithal to put food on the table and keep their families together. so thanks to the first vote of the new senator from west virginia, today we were able to get cloture to stop the filibuster, to stop the filibuster. i also want to thank the two republicans who also voted with

Tom Harkin

3:23:56 to 3:24:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: us today to make sure that we were able toet this extension into law. but, let history remember that on three occasions this summer republican senators pulled out the stops to filibuster and kill efforts to extend unemployment benefits. and during that time, we heard

Tom Harkin

3:24:18 to 3:24:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: rising chorus o talk radio and even from some senators. they said that by extending unemployment benefits, that would be a bad idea so many words, people are lazy, and they're just relying on their benefits instead of looking for work. as the distinguished minority

Tom Harkin

3:24:40 to 3:25:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: whip, the junior senator from arizona, senator kyl, put it recently, and i quote -- "continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work." end quote. madam president, i believe this is woefully out of touch with

Tom Harkin

3:25:01 to 3:25:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the reality of trying to survive on unemployment benefits. let's look at the while the numbers vary from state to state, the average weekly unemployment benefit nationwide is only about $300 a week. well, as this chart shows, $300 a week on u.i. benefits adds up

Tom Harkin

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

Tom Harkin: to about $15,000 a year roughly. average. well, the poverty line for a family of four is $22,000 a year. so is the senator from arizona saying that someone who's getting $15,000 a year -- family of four -- would rather get that

Tom Harkin

3:25:47 to 3:26:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: than find a job and make well over $22,000 a year, which would be the poverty line? they'd ratherxist on $15,000 a year than, say, $45,000 a year or $55,000 or $,000 a year? this is incredible to think that

Tom Harkin

3:26:08 to 3:26:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: someone would say that when there are eight people looking for every single job. there's one job for five to eight people out there. and to say somehow by giving them $15,000 a year, $300 a week, this is going to keep them from going to work. preposterous.

Tom Harkin

3:26:31 to 3:26:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: absolutely preposterous. this line of argument is not it is shameful. shameful to say that about hard-working americans, who through no fault of their own are out of a job. ieep saying every time i come

Tom Harkin

3:26:52 to 3:27:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to the floor, we all have jobs here. every time i come to the senate and look around, i see fellow senators and staff, we all have jobs. we're not worried about tomorrow. but what if -- just think about your own family. what if you were out of work and you had been out of work for a

Tom Harkin

3:27:13 to 3:27:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: year, and you're out there looking for work. and for every job there's eight other people out there looking for that you've got to put yourself in the shoes of those kind of families. so it is shameful to say that somehow by giving people unemployment benefits, that

Tom Harkin

3:27:35 to 3:27:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they're not going to go back to work because of that. i have more faith in the american people. the american people want to work. in fact, figures show that we are still the most productive nation on earth. productive. more output per hours of work

Tom Harkin

3:27:56 to 3:28:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: than world. does that somehow point to lazy americans? no. if given the opportunity, americans can outwork anybody anywhere in the world, if there's only a job. so to say that somehow unemployment benefits encourages

Tom Harkin

3:28:19 to 3:28:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: people t be lazy flies in the face of the facts of hard-working americans, how har they work and how productive american workers are. well, there's little question that the long-term unemployed would like nothing more than to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but this economy

Tom Harkin

3:28:43 to 3:29:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: right now is very short on bootstraps madam president, our republican colleagues have put out another justification for stopping unemployment benefits. they say that extending the benefits will add to the deficit. they argue that we should cut off some of the most desperate

Tom Harkin

3:29:04 to 3:29:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: people in our economy. we should take away their last meager lifeline out of concern for the deficit. yet, these very same senators today are demanding that the 2001 and 2003 tax breaks for the

Tom Harkin

3:29:25 to 3:29:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: wealthiest 1% of americans be extended for another ten years. let me repeat that. these same senators on the republican side who are arguing that we can't extend the unemployment benefits because it would add to the deficit are shough some of the same senators -- are some of the same senators

Tom Harkin

3:29:47 to 3:30:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: who are saying these tax breaks that president george bush and a republican congress gave to the wealthiest 1% of americans in 2001 and 2003, that those tax breaks should be extended for another ten years. and they're saying that the cost of those tax breaks should not

Tom Harkin

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

Tom Harkin: be offset. they should just simply be added to the deficit. let's be clear about what my republican friends are saying. they're saying that the huffily $30 billion cost of extending unemployment benefits f of the most desperate workers in

Tom Harkin

3:30:31 to 3:30:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: our society is unacceptable if it adds to the deficit. but extending tax breaks for the most fortunate and privileged americans, which would cost a whopping $670 billion over the next decade, they're saying, well, just add that to the

Tom Harkin

3:30:53 to 3:31:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: deficit. $30 billion to help people who are out of work, who are desperate, to help them feed their children, stay in their homes, pay their mortgages, keep their families together -- that $30 billion we can't spend because it adds to the deficit. however -- however, we can

Tom Harkin

3:31:18 to 3:31:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: extend these tax breaks for another 10 years t costs $670 billion. oh, we can add that to the deficit. that's what my republican friends are saying. well, this is breathtaking. this is breathtaking to hear this line of argument. it is nothing more than a return

Tom Harkin

3:31:39 to 3:32:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: -- a return to the bush years when the president, with a republican majority here, dragged us into a billion-dollar war and turned major surpluses into historic deficits. to historic deficits.

Tom Harkin

3:32:02 to 3:32:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, madam president, today finally the senate said, no, we're not going to go any further on this. we drew the line. we had our vote. now shortly we'll vote on passage of the bill. 49 days too late. imagine, if you will, that

Tom Harkin

3:32:23 to 3:32:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: you're one of those persons and you've got a family -- maybe you've got an illness in the family, maybe you've got a kid who's sick, maybe you've got a child with a disability, maybe some other unfortunate things have happened to you, and you've been out of work and you've lost your unemployment benefits 49 days ago.

Tom Harkin

3:32:44 to 3:33:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: what have you done for the interim 49 days? think about it. think about what you'd do. well, i am sorry -- i apologize to all those -- well, i am sorry -- i apologize to all those americans on behalf of the united states senate that we

Tom Harkin

3:33:05 to 3:33:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: didn't pass this 49 days ago. but the republican minority would not let us do it, because of the filibuster -- because of a filibuster. which requires 60 votes. we didn't have 60 votes. until today. i'm sorry people had to wait 49 days, but the unemployment extension that we pass -- that

Tom Harkin

3:33:29 to 3:33:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we will pass today will be retroactive, so it'll fill in those last 49 days. so i hope that -- and trust -- that many of the bills that piled up on your kitchen table, maybe the mortgage payment that wasn't made and maybe your mortgage company is calling you all the time, hounding you about

Tom Harkin

3:33:51 to 3:34:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it, maybe you've had to go out and get one of those awful pay-day loans or something like that with high interest rates to tied you over. i open hope that soon -- i hope that soon you'll be able to get your u

Tom Harkin

3:34:12 to 3:34:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that'll help you out. this will be extended to the end of the year. we'll get you uneloyment benefits until the end of the year. and i hope that the programs that we're working on that will turn this economy around -- tomorrow, the president will sign into law the financial reform bill that we passed here last week.

Tom Harkin

3:34:34 to 3:34:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this is going to go a long way towards reassuring the markets, that we're going to have openness, we're going to have transparency, that we're going to now deal openly and forthrightly with our financial institutions, and we're going to demand of them that they deal openly and forthrightly with the

Tom Harkin

3:34:55 to 3:35:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: american people. so i'm hoping that the economy will turn around. but the economists say that things are still kind of dicey. well, if that's the case, our obligation is to make sure that we have a safety net. and the biggest safety net of all sun employment insurance benefits. -- is unemployment insurance

Tom Harkin

3:35:16 to 3:35:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: benefits. so i'm sorry that we had to wait 49 days because of the republican intransigence and raising the filibuster on this. but we finally got it done today, and pretty soon those checks will be going out to our american families. i just hope that we don't have to keep extending it.

Tom Harkin

3:35:37 to 3:35:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i hope the economy turns and. but if it doesn't -- if it doesn't -- i say to my republican friends right now, as we go into next year and these tax breaks that they want to extend for the wealthiest 1%, i'm sorry. that's going to have to take a back seat to the people who are

Tom Harkin

3:35:58 to 3:36:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: unemployed in this country and to make sure we do everything possible to get them b jobs, to get them back to work, and to make sure they get the unemployment benefits need until such time as those jobs do return. madam president, with that, yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the

Tom Harkin

3:36:20 to 3:36:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: clerk will call the roll. sniel.

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