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Senate Proceeding on Sep 23rd, 2009 :: 3:58:00 to 4:06:50
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Claire McCaskill

3:57:56 to 3:58:21( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: quorum call: the presiding officer: the presiding offi senator from missouri. a senator: i would ask the quocialg be set the presidinofficer: without objection a senator: madam president, i wanted that i cannot call up an -- i understand that i cannot call up an amendment right now because of the rules that are current until place but i would like to speak about an amendment that i will be offering at a later time when the rules permit. the presiding officer: without

Claire McCaskill

3:58:00 to 4:06:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill

3:58:24 to 3:58:44( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: objection. mrs. mccaskill: the amendment that i'ming offering speaks to what i see is a fundamentally flawed process to our appropriations in congress. i am in the majority in this body as it relates to the summing of earmarks. i realize that i am wuch very few in my --ly one of very few in my par and not a whole but a

Claire McCaskill

3:58:45 to 3:59:06( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: few more on the other side of the aisle that do not participate in the earmarking process. my amendment really is calling into attention i hope how this process is flawed and why we need change the process. there are two -- there are many problems with the process but two of them i'm going to speak briefly today. one is the process is

Claire McCaskill

3:59:07 to 3:59:27( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: fundamentally unfair. it's rather mysterious, how much money gets set aside for earmarks, and who does this and where it happens. it's even more mysterious as to how the decision is made as to how the earmarks are distributed among the members. i would point out that in looking at the appropriations

Claire McCaskill

3:59:28 to 3:59:50( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: bills that we've had so fashion, it's very clear that the process is heavily weighted towards the members that serve as appropriators. i guess that. that'sart of the cull thorough has grown up -- culture that has grown up around earmarking. that is, if you're an appropriator, you're entitled to get more. i'm not sure that's a good way

Claire McCaskill

3:59:51 to 4:00:11( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: to spend public money, but i i think it's important to point out that that is the process. 50% of the earmarks in this bill -- of all the earmarks in this bill are going to the members of the committee. last week, it was even mor egregious. i don't think most members realized that when we vote on the -- voted on the

Claire McCaskill

4:00:12 to 4:00:32( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: transportation -- the thud bill last week, the transportation, housing and urban development and transportation last tbheerks the transportation part of the bill, there was $1.6 billion in earmarks. over 50% of that money went to four members' four states.

Claire McCaskill

4:00:33 to 4:00:53( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: so, out of states got more than half of all the money. well, when i tell that to people in missouri, they go, huh? how does that happen? how can that happen? and i frankly don't have a very good answer for them. the other problem i'd like to

Claire McCaskill

4:00:54 to 4:01:14( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: call to the attention colleagues today is not just the process as it relates to how earmarks are distributed but what we -- where these earmarks come from. this money is not growing on a secret tree somewhere that we're harvesting. it is -- they're coming out of programs. they're coming out of budgets. and one of the things that i

Claire McCaskill

4:01:15 to 4:01:36( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: found most troubling is that many of these earmarks are coming out of competive grant programs or formula grant programs. now, formula is a formula because there's a predictable about how the money is distributed based on the size of the state, based on population, depending on the program, based on geography. but it's a formula everybody understands.

Claire McCaskill

4:01:37 to 4:01:57( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: taking money out of a formula fund to earmark takes it from a predictable process based on merit to a very unpredictable process based on who you are. the same thing with competive grant programs. competitive grant programs are ones that -- where merit is

Claire McCaskill

4:01:58 to 4:02:18( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: supposed to rule the day, based on criteria set forth. the amendment that i will offer basically wipes out the earmarks in one of these competive grant programs. the program i'm referring to is a great program. it's called "save america's treasures." it was created by disif order in 1998.

Claire McCaskill

4:02:19 to 4:02:39( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: -- it was created by disif order in 1998. there are specific criteria as to what a project has to have in order to qualify for this money. $20 million. now, this is a small example. i admit, this is not going to change the -- as we keep talking about bending the cost curve. but phs just a great example of example of what i'm talking b it

Claire McCaskill

4:02:40 to 4:03:00( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: began as a competive program and it has begun to morph into something other than a competitive program because now half of the money this year will be earmarked, leaving all $10 million for a competive program. so if your state doesn't get an earmark, either in the house or in the senate in the bill, then

Claire McCaskill

4:03:01 to 4:03:22( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: the chances of your getting any of the money have been cut in havment it is only $10 million for the whole country for these grants which are to restore america's treasures, historic treasures across the country. that's a problem. now, is this an isolated problem? no. no. in fairness to this subcommittee, this is a little problem compared to some of the

Claire McCaskill

4:03:23 to 4:03:45( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: other competitive grant programs that have b earmarking. the hijacking of public money for earmarking from the competitive grant bust is going on everywhere and let me give you another couple of examples. last week when we did the transportation, housing and urban development appropriation,

Claire McCaskill

4:03:46 to 4:04:07( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: there were two good examples. they are programs that began to provide competion to valued programs across the country. the first one is the neighborhood initiative. and that is at h.u.d., the housing and urban development department n1998 congress created this department. now, the interesting thing is it

Claire McCaskill

4:04:08 to 4:04:29( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: was created to help people that were doing welfare-to-work projects, greatntentions, great program. ironically, h.u.d. began granting these awards to people based on the competive criterion to ts acongress had given them. congress tells -- nds the program and

Claire McCaskill

4:04:30 to 4:04:51( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: tells h.u.d. these are the competitive base seize on which you should -- bases on which you should make these grants. there were no earmarks in 1998 after congress created the program. beginning in 2001, however, every dime in this program under the neighborhd initiative program has gone to earmarks.

Claire McCaskill

4:04:52 to 4:05:13( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: once again, a competive merit process morphs over into a completely earmarked process. now, how about another example of a program? the economic development initiative also in h.u.d. congress introduced the program in 1994. once again, a congressional program. funds were to be awarded competitively and for the first

Claire McCaskill

4:05:14 to 4:05:34( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: couple of years they were. e.d.i. funds were awarded competitively. congress started earmarking the account dm 1998. by 2001, the entire account was earmarked. so congress began it as a good idea, said do it competively. by 2001, competion

Claire McCaskill

4:05:35 to 4:05:56( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: ironically, the statute that sets out the criteria for competitive e.d.i. is still on the books. it's still in the law. but we no longer follow it because there's been a decision to morph that competive program into an earmarked program. i just think that competion is

Claire McCaskill

4:05:57 to 4:06:18( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: a good thing, and this isn't about a biewsh crate somewhere -- a bureaucrat somewhere sprinkling fairy dust and supplementing their judgment for the judgment of congress. the examples i have given were programs that were designed to be competive and in twoft three instances they were designed to be competive by congress itself and somehow they

Claire McCaskill

4:06:19 to 4:06:40( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: have morphed over into a pecking order of priorities based on someone's seniority or the committee they serve on or even if they're in some political trouble. it seems like to me a goofy way to spend money, especially the public's money. i would ask my colleagues to consider this amendment. all it does is restore the program to a competive basis and allow every state to compete

Claire McCaskill

4:06:41 to 4:06:54( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: on the same basis for the money in that competive program. and when the fipple is right, i will call up the amendment once the rules allow me to do so.

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