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Senate Proceeding 11-13-07 on Nov 13th, 2007 :: 1:22:19 to 1:38:43
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Tom Harkin

1:22:19 to 1:22:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: x quorum call: @ quorum call: is x quorum call: mr. harkin: i ask consent to speak as if in morning business

Tom Harkin

1:22:19 to 1:38:43( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

1:22:31 to 1:22:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, earlier today, president bush vetoed the labor, health and human services, and education bill. i wish

Tom Harkin

1:22:46 to 1:23:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i could say i was surprised. but quite frankly, few actions by this president surprise me anymore. this is a good bill, a bipartisan bill, a bill that cleared both houses with clear, strong majorities.

Tom Harkin

1:23:03 to 1:23:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in fact, the first one cleared here by 75 votes. it's a bill that reflects the critical education, health, job-training needs of our country, especially for americans who are at the bottom rungs of

Tom Harkin

1:23:17 to 1:23:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the social economic ladder. the bill was endorsed by thousands -- actual, 175, to be exact, health, education, social service and labor organizations in this country. there are disability groups

Tom Harkin

1:23:28 to 1:23:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in this letter, disease advocacy groups, school groups, community action partnerships, religious groups -- millions of people across america are represented on this letter. this morning, president

Tom Harkin

1:23:43 to 1:23:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: bush turned his back on all of them. he seems to have no problem pouring billions of dollars into iraq for schools, hospitals, job programs, health needs. but when it comes to those priorities here

Tom Harkin

1:23:56 to 1:24:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in america, the president says no. i think after spending all these billions of dollars on schools, hospitals, job programs and health needs in iraq, it's time start investing some of that money here

Tom Harkin

1:24:13 to 1:24:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in america. the president insists insists insists that we have to stick to exactly the top number in his budget. well, quiterankly, if we did that, we would be cutting things like the low-income heating

Tom Harkin

1:24:26 to 1:24:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: energy assistance program for the elderly at a time when we know fuel prices are going to be extremely high this winter, student aid. the president completely, completely zeroed out the social

Tom Harkin

1:24:37 to 1:24:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: services block grant and cut the community services block grant by 50%. and national institute of health health, under the president's budget, we would have -- we would be cutting the national cancer

Tom Harkin

1:24:51 to 1:25:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: institute. at a time when we're really starting to make some progress in the fight against cancer and alzheimer's and parkinson's and so many other things. he cuts funding for the n.i.h. special education.

Tom Harkin

1:25:04 to 1:25:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: again, we need to put more money into special education to help some of our beleaguered property taxpayers in our states. social security, we have a backlog of several hundred thousand cases in

Tom Harkin

1:25:13 to 1:25:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: social security. people have a right. they've paid in all their lives to social security f. they've got a problem and they -- if they've got a problem and they've got an appeal pending or a case

Tom Harkin

1:25:24 to 1:25:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to be heard, 700,000 backlog right now, year and half. about a year and a half wait right now to get social security security. it's unconscionable. well, we put money to here to reduce that backlog.

Tom Harkin

1:25:37 to 1:25:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: community health centers, we wanted to fund more community health centers in this country. as one of the really great things that we've done in this country to help people who aren't getting sufficient

Tom Harkin

1:25:51 to 1:26:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: health care needs, to get them at their community health care centers. it's done a great job nationally. head start, putting more money into head start programs. no child left behind, we put more money

Tom Harkin

1:26:04 to 1:26:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to there to meet our needs in title 1 schools, teacher training. well, these are all the things that were in our bill. but i know before it was bipartisan. i've worked very closely with senator

Tom Harkin

1:26:18 to 1:26:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: specter, our ranking member. there were dozens of provisions and funding increases in the bill that were requested specifically by republicans on the other side of the aisle who requested that we

Tom Harkin

1:26:33 to 1:26:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: increase funding in these areas. but unfortunately, it seems mr. bush is more interested in provoking a confrontation than in governing responsibly. he recently dismissed the funding in this bill as --

Tom Harkin

1:26:50 to 1:27:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: quote -- "social spending." as though somehow it pays for ice cream socials or saturday night socials or something like that. "social spending." i've never ever heard that referred to like that before.

Tom Harkin

1:27:00 to 1:27:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, i think this is out of bounds, it's out of touch. it shows how isolated this president really has become. every dime of additional fund not guilty this bill goes to bedrock special programs and services

Tom Harkin

1:27:18 to 1:27:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that have been shortchanged in the last few years. i just mentioned them all: community health centers, head start, n.i.h., special ed, student aid, pell grants. well, these are all things that have

Tom Harkin

1:27:40 to 1:27:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: been shortchanged.~ as i said, the president's budget would cut n.i.h., cut liheap, eliminate the community services block grant, special training. apparently mr. bush sees this as frivolous social

Tom Harkin

1:27:58 to 1:28:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: spending. social spending. i couldn't disagree more. now, again, we have to keep it in context, the veto. the president's veto this morning. we have to keep it in context. during the six years that

Tom Harkin

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

Tom Harkin: the republicans controlled congress, mr. bush did not veto a single appropriations bill. many, including many that went over his budget. he never vetoed one of them. now the democrats are in charge this

Tom Harkin

1:28:29 to 1:28:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: year. yes, we have gone over his budget in some of those areas i mentioned, and some of those areas with not just the support of, but the encouragement of republican members whopbted to put -- who

Tom Harkin

1:28:40 to 1:28:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: wanted to put more money in some of these areas. i guess because the democrats are in congress now, the president has said he's going to veto them all. and he did this morning, vetoed this bill. but

Tom Harkin

1:28:57 to 1:29:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: he never vetoed one in six years, even though they were above his request. it just smacks of the most blatant form of partisanship and politics in this town. it just kind of goes beyond the pale.

Tom Harkin

1:29:09 to 1:29:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: just a few weeks ago the president set up a new supplemental bill. we're going to be working on that, i guess this week, i don't know if we'll pass it this week or when we come back in december. but

Tom Harkin

1:29:29 to 1:29:47( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it's more than $196 billion mostly for iraq. the congressional budget office now estimates that mr. bush's war in iraq will cost a staggering $1.9 trillion in the next decade. $1.9 trillion. yet, he vetoed

Tom Harkin

1:29:47 to 1:30:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this bill, over $12 billion in funding for education, health, biomedical research and other domestic priorities. you say $1.9 trillion, $12 billion, what does that mean mean? well, look at it this way. do

Tom Harkin

1:30:07 to 1:30:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: away with all the zeros. it means that mr. bush is asking for $1,900 for iraq and vetoed this bill because we spent $12 more. $12 more than what he wanted. $12 more than what he wanted. but, $1,900 he's

Tom Harkin

1:30:24 to 1:30:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: willing to spend on the war in iraq. that just shows the misplaced priorities. $12 billion a month on the war in iraq. yet, he vetoed this bill, which is $12 billion for a whole year. for a whole year.

Tom Harkin

1:30:38 to 1:30:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: but i think what's most disappointing about the president's veto this morning is his total unwillingness to compromise. any time we work out bills, we promice -- compromise. that's the art form

Tom Harkin

1:30:50 to 1:31:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of democracy, is compromising these different kinds of things. no one around here ever gets everything he or she wants, but we make our compromises. and we do it in committee. we do it on the floor.

Tom Harkin

1:31:10 to 1:31:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we do it between the house and the senate. and then when all's said and done and we work i conference, usually the president will work with us when we go to conference to work out, saying here's where

Tom Harkin

1:31:24 to 1:31:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the white house is. where do we meet? the president never came to our conference -- i shouldn't say the president didn't. but his people never came to our conference to offer compromises where we

Tom Harkin

1:31:41 to 1:31:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: might meet halfway. well, i thought one way that we might meet halfway with the bill, when the president sent down his veto message, he mentioned two things about our bill. one, that it had the lifting

Tom Harkin

1:31:58 to 1:32:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of his ban on stem cell research. and secondly, it spent more money than what he wanted. well, i thought a compromise might be, well, okay, we'll take off the stem cell stuff, and you agree to the spending

Tom Harkin

1:32:13 to 1:32:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: priorities that we have. so we voluntarily, to try to meet the president halfway, said, okay, we'll take off the stem cell thing, even though senator specter and i both feel strongly about it. it passed the

Tom Harkin

1:32:29 to 1:32:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: committee with only three dissenting votes. and the senate has spoken at least twice in support of a stem cell bill, embryonic stem cell bill to take off the president's handcuffs that he's put on our

Tom Harkin

1:32:41 to 1:32:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: scientists. but even that wasn't enough. so then we went to conference, and we thought, well, okay will the president now kind of try to meet us somewhat on the spending part of it? the answer was no.

Tom Harkin

1:32:54 to 1:33:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it was his way or the highway. we either agree totally with the president or he's going to veto it, and the white house will put pressure on the house, because that's where the bill goes back to

Tom Harkin

1:33:13 to 1:33:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for an override, to keep them from overriding his veto. well, that's just, as i said, it's just sad that the president has taken that kind of a position. i don't kno under the constitution congress

Tom Harkin

1:33:24 to 1:33:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: does have the power to override a veto. it happened last week with the water resources bill. he vetoed it. both the house and the senate voted over two-thirds, as is constitutionally required, to override

Tom Harkin

1:33:37 to 1:33:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the veto. again, we could do it on this one, on this bill had a funds education, everything from -- on this bill that funds education, everything from early head start, elementary education with title

Tom Harkin

1:33:55 to 1:34:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: 1, with "no child left behind," elementary and secondary education, college, with pell grants, student loans, forgiveness of loans if you go into certain occupations like medically underserved areas,

Tom Harkin

1:34:10 to 1:34:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: legal services services or becoming prosecuting attorneys, that type of thing that don't pay a lot of money but are needed in our country. that's education. on health, especially all the biomedical

Tom Harkin

1:34:25 to 1:34:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: research that was in that bill for n.i.h., money for the center for disease control and prevention, for making sure we get more flu vaccine for this year stockpiled, not to mention all of the

Tom Harkin

1:34:42 to 1:34:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: efforts that c.d.c. is doing in stockpiling other vaccines in case of a terrorist outbreak, a terrorist, something that might happen. we hope it doesn't, but we've got to be prepared for it. well, that's

Tom Harkin

1:34:56 to 1:35:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in this bill too that he vetoed. i mentioned things like low-income heating energy assistance for the low-income elderly. well, any way, this is all in this bill. and now it's up to the house whether

Tom Harkin

1:35:12 to 1:35:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: or not they will vote to override a veto. it will be interesting to see. it will be interesting to see how many house members would vote to override the president on the water resources bill but who

Tom Harkin

1:35:29 to 1:35:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: won't vote to override on a bill that deals with health, education, community block grants, n.i.h., centers for disease control. it will be interesting. water resources development act was an important

Tom Harkin

1:35:46 to 1:36:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: bill. i was strongly supportive of it. it goes basically to meet one of the urgent infrastructure needs of our country. waterways. to make sure we upgrade our locks and dams and make sure that they're

Tom Harkin

1:36:03 to 1:36:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: adequate to the environmental needs and our river transportation needs for the next century. vital for this country. the education, health, human services and labor appropriations bill is sort of

Tom Harkin

1:36:18 to 1:36:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the counterpart of that in terms of the human infrastructure and making sure we have a, the best educated populace, to make sure that we meet the health care needs of our people, to make sure we

Tom Harkin

1:36:38 to 1:36:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: invest in cutting-edge research, to make sure we have good job retraining programs. we just had a case in iowa where may tag, maytag plant, after all these years has closed up in newton, iowa. we need job

Tom Harkin

1:36:50 to 1:37:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: retraining programs there. well, that's in this bill that the president vetoed. there's human infrastructure needs. it will be interesting to see how many house members would vote to override the president

Tom Harkin

1:37:03 to 1:37:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: when it comes to the physical infrastructure but who now will not vote to override the president when it comes to the human infrastructure of america. i hope it's very few. i hope we get the same number

Tom Harkin

1:37:19 to 1:37:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of votes to override the president's veto on this education, health, human services and labor appropriations bills as we got obt water resources bill. so, madam president, it's a sad day that the president

Tom Harkin

1:37:35 to 1:37:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: would veto that bill. we went out of our way to meet him halfway, but he said absolutely not. it's his way or nothing else. and it's just not the way we do things here. and, i think the president's

Tom Harkin

1:37:50 to 1:38:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: just not acting responsibly, quite frankly, in this area. so i don't know what we do. again, i hope if the house overrides the veto, i'm pretty certain we have the votes here to override the veto,

Tom Harkin

1:38:03 to 1:38:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: but we'd have to wait for the house to act first. so i hope we do. i hope we get it. i hope we vote to override the veto. but until then, we just have to see what the house is going to do. so with

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