[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 19, 2013)]
[Senate]
[Pages S1915-S1928]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]


                   RECOGNITION OF THE MINORITY LEADER

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority leader is recognized.


                               The Budget

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, last week I noted that the Senate 
Democratic budget was one of the most extreme, most unbalanced pieces 
of legislation we have ever seen, one that would never balance, ever, 
and one that would have a devastating outcome on the middle class.
  I said that its centerpiece is a $1.5 trillion tax hike that would be 
the largest in American history. Some on the other side have argued 
with this $1.5 trillion figure. They say their budget only contains a 
$1 trillion tax hike, which is a stunning and telling admission in 
itself. Just months after Democrats got hundreds of billions in new 
taxes, they now freely admit their intention to hit Americans with 
another $1 trillion in tax hikes. But in reality, it would be more than 
that since their budget envisions $1.5 trillion in new revenue. While 
the Democrats' math may be fuzzy, their intentions are unmistakable. 
Their massive tax hike would cost average middle-class families 
thousands in lost income and lost opportunity. And despite that massive 
hit to working families, the Democrats' budget would still not ever--
ever--balance.
  But that is just one of the reasons this budget is so destructive to 
the middle class. Take spending for example. Americans know that a good 
way to create jobs and increase economic growth is to balance the 
budget and put our massive national debt on a path to elimination. Yet 
the Senate Democratic budget would actually increase spending by more 
than $\1/2\ trillion--increase spending by $\1/2\ trillion.
  Put another way, Democrats want to take another $\1/2\ trillion out 
of the economy, on top of all of the money they would take out with 
their tax increase, and put it in the hands of Washington bureaucrats 
and politicians to spend or waste as they see fit. And their budget 
would balloon the debt by 42 percent, increasing every Americans' share 
to a whopping $73,000. They want to grow the government at the expense 
of the economy, and that is not the way to create jobs or get the 
private sector moving. In fact, by some estimates, this budget could 
result in more than 600,000 lost jobs if enacted.
  Of course, the Senate Democratic budget won't prevent Medicare and 
Social Security from going bankrupt. It is not going to prevent 
Medicare and Social Security from going bankrupt.
  So here is what we would get with the Democratic budget: No. 1, a 
massive tax hike and thousands less for middle-class families--a 
massive tax hike; No. 2, $\1/2\ trillion more in big-government 
spending; No. 3, 42 percent more debt, with each American owing 
$73,000; No. 4, more than 600,000 lost jobs.
  Here is what we won't get: We won't get balance, just more and more 
unbalanced tax hikes. We won't get the kind of deficit reduction our 
country needs, just more spending to enrich the Washington 
establishment at the expense of Main Street. We won't get more jobs or 
a better economy or sensible reforms to prevent Medicare or Social 
Security from going bankrupt. And we certainly won't get a balanced 
budget.
  Not only does the Senate Democratic budget never balance--ever--but 
top Washington Democrats now say they simply don't care about balancing 
the budget anymore. They just don't care about that. Well, Americans do 
care. A party that once cared about hard-working American families 
seems to have gone off the leftmost edge of the reservation with this 
budget. DC Democrats' priorities are just so far removed from the 
actual needs of middle-class Kentuckians and Americans who continue to 
struggle in the Obama economy.
  I appreciate that the Senate majority has finally decided to put its 
ideas on paper. It took 4 years--4 years--to get a budget from them, 
and we now know why it took so long: because their ideas are so 
unbalanced and so extreme, so destructive to the economy Americans want 
us to fix.
  We can help foster the conditions necessary to make the economy 
healthier and create more jobs but only if Washington Democrats finally 
reach across the aisle to address America's real concerns in a truly 
balanced way. I hope that will ultimately happen because it is time to 
start making divided government work for the American people who 
elected it, and it is time to grow the economy, not the government.


                           Presidential Visit

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, this week President Obama will travel 
to two of our closest allies--Israel and Jordan. His visit will come at 
a moment of great importance for each of our governments.
  I join in conveying a message of congratulations to Prime Minister 
Netanyahu in having formed a new government, in restating our 
determination to use all available means to prevent Iran from acquiring 
a nuclear weapon, and in pledging to work with Israel to meet the 
regional challenge caused by civil strife within Syria. The fighting in 
Syria has produced refugee flows of at least 1 million people into 
Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Also of concern to Jordan, Israel, 
and other allies in the region is the flow of foreign fighters into 
Syria, especially the al-Nusra Front.
  During his visit, I hope the President makes progress in working with 
our allies to address these threats that have developed while Bashar 
al-Asad remains in power and to begin the important planning to address 
the challenges that will come with his fall, such as how best to secure 
chemical weapons stockpiles.
  None of these threats or challenges can be addressed with simple, 
easy answers, but I fully support America working with Prime Minister 
Netanyahu and King Abdallah to craft original strategy that serves all 
of our national interests.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss something of deep 
importance to me and, I believe, to our country.
  Last night the majority leader of the Senate came to the floor to 
speak on the continuing resolution, which is essentially the only bill 
we will consider this year to fund the government. It is over $1 
trillion in taxpayer money. He came to the floor and propounded a 
unanimous consent request that only contained a handful of amendments 
that could be brought to the continuing resolution. Many germane and, 
in my view, reasonable amendments that had been advanced and brought to 
the attention of both sides well in advance were denied an opportunity 
for a vote on the floor. Because of that, I objected to the 
consideration of the continuing resolution and the unanimous consent 
request.
  Frankly, I think that when we are spending over $1 trillion in the 
only funding bill we are going to vote on, essentially, this year--
appropriations bill--we should be allowed to have votes on amendments, 
particularly germane amendments, as many of my colleagues have had, and 
my own amendment, which is one that would strike funding for, 
essentially, a missile to nowhere, which will never produce a missile 
program or a product our military will ever be able to use.
  My amendment is very straightforward. The amendment would strike 
funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System Program, called the 
MEADS Program, by $381 million-- These funds were appropriated for this 
program--and would actually transfer the funds to the operations and 
maintenance portion of the defense budget so the money could be used 
for our men and women in uniform for things they actually need as 
opposed to $380 million for a missile to nowhere for which we will 
never get a result.

  When we are almost $17 trillion in debt, it is truly shocking that we 
would continue to spend money on a program the Army says it does not 
want. In fact, in the Defense authorization last year, the Armed 
Services Committee actually prohibited funding for the MEADS Program. 
This is something that was passed unanimously on a bipartisan basis 
last year in the Defense authorization bill that prohibited any further 
funding for this missile to nowhere. Yet it got included in the 
appropriations, in this continuing resolution, despite the fact that we 
are not going to get anything our warfighters can use from $380 million 
of spending.
  In fact, when Secretary Hagel was asked about whether the Pentagon

[[Page S1916]]

would comply with this law, he said: Yes. Let's just review where we 
are with this program. The Army has already invested over $2 billion 
for this program, and we are not going to get a result. It was 
underperforming.
  So according to John McHugh, the Secretary of the Army, in 2011, he 
said:

       The Army has invested over $2 billion and that's only the 
     partial cost of the program. Frankly, it was under 
     performing.

  What else has been said?
  Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and 
Technology, said:

       MEADS is a program that the U.S. decided not to procure a 
     year ago. . . .

  So why, when our country is facing sequestration, when our men and 
women in uniform need to make sure the defense dollars we are providing 
them are actually resources that they can use for their needs to 
protect them, to protect our country, are we spending $380 million on 
something we will not procure, for which we will not get a result? To 
me, this is outrageous. If we cannot cut spending for this, how are we 
ever going to deal with the underlying drivers of our debt, with our 
nearly $17 trillion of debt?
  In fact, this is what the chairman of the Armed Services Committee 
has said. I have great respect for Chairman Levin, and he said this 
about the MEADS Program:

       We feel strongly that it's a waste of money.

  I stood up on the floor last night because I have bipartisan support 
for this amendment. This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic 
issue. This is about making sure we do not waste money at a time when 
our warfighters need the money for support and training, at the time 
they are facing sequestration and we are facing real threats to our 
country. We cannot afford to spend more money on a missile to nowhere.
  So I am very proud I have bipartisan support from Senator Begich, 
Senator Shaheen. Yet it is shocking to me that I cannot get a vote--it 
is germane--that we cannot strike this funding or get a vote on this 
Senate floor to strike this funding from this continuing resolution and 
to make sure the funds actually go to the operations and maintenance 
portion of the defense budget so they can use this money, warfighters 
can use it for needs they actually have.
  I also want to mention that the Council for Citizens Against 
Government Waste supports my amendment.
  The CEO of Concerned Veterans for America has said: MEADS is the 
quintessential Pentagon program that lives on indefinitely despite the 
fact that it will never see the field of battle. With our Nation 
drowning in $16.7 trillion worth of debt, Congress must undertake 
serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal 
path that preserves American power.
  Concerned Veterans for America has supported this amendment.
  Basically, this is common sense. This is the kind of thing people see 
at home and say: How could you possibly spend $380 million on a missile 
to nowhere when we know our men and women in uniform can use those 
funds for equipment they can use in theater, for training they can use 
to be prepared?
  It is really unconscionable that we will not allow a vote on the 
continuing resolution for something that has bipartisan support, for 
something that was actually struck by the authorization committee on 
both sides of the aisle, both in the House Armed Services Committee and 
in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
  When the majority leader took to the floor last night, he said: Oh, 
we have made reasonable accommodations. I do not see what is reasonable 
about giving a handful of amendments with over $1 trillion of spending.
  On Wednesday, Senator McCain brought forth an amendment--last 
Wednesday, so almost a week ago--he brought forth an amendment to 
strike other unauthorized funds from the continuing resolution and to 
leave those funds for the military to use for priority items and for 
things our men and women in uniform actually needed. Do you know what 
happened? There was a motion to table brought against Senator McCain's 
amendment. Essentially what he was trying to do is what I am trying to 
do today--to stop money that has not been authorized, to stop spending 
money when our men and women in uniform need us to allow them to use 
these resources for the basic needs they have. That is why he brought 
this amendment to the floor. Do you know what happened? There was a 
motion to table filed against his amendment, and I think there was a 
real shock on the floor from both sides of the aisle because on a 
bipartisan basis that motion to table failed because both sides of the 
aisle realized that when we are facing sequestration, when we are 
facing a dangerous world, when we owe it to our men and women in 
uniform, we cannot continue to fund things that are not priorities, we 
cannot continue to fund missiles to nowhere. And that amendment was 
eventually adopted by voice vote. This amendment is just like that 
amendment.
  The American people are tired of us not allowing commonsense 
amendments to come to the floor for a vote. With $1 trillion in 
spending, if we had started voting on amendments last Wednesday, after 
the floor was shut down--and I think there was a shock among leadership 
that Senator McCain won his amendment on a bipartisan basis and was 
able to overturn the motion to table his amendment. If we had started 
voting on amendments then, we would have already passed the continuing 
resolution. So it is an absolute cop-out to say that we are somehow 
faced with a government shutdown, that somehow we cannot have votes on 
the Senate floor on amendments that are important, germane, and 
relevant.

  Before I yield, I wish to support my colleague Jerry Moran because he 
was also denied an amendment that is an important amendment. I am a 
cosponsor of that amendment. The FAA has notified 189 towers across the 
country that it is going to cease to fund the towers' operation because 
of the sequester. Senator Moran has a commonsense amendment that would 
make sure it restores 95 percent of this funding by taking money from 
other areas in the FAA budget that will not disrupt operations.
  Well, there is a tower in Nashua, NH, at Boire Field that was on the 
list of the FAA despite the airport's importance to both the United 
States and New England and despite a recent investment of over $24 
million by the FAA to upgrade the airport's runway.
  Senator Moran's amendment, which he is also being denied an ability 
to bring on this floor to have both sides vote on--he has strong 
bipartisan support--this amendment would ensure that towers like the 
tower at Boire Field in Nashua, NH, my hometown, would continue to 
operate. Yet we will not be given a vote on this Senate floor despite 
the strong bipartisan support Senator Moran has for his amendment, just 
as I have bipartisan support for my amendment.
  So I have to ask, what is the problem? Why can't we just vote on the 
amendments--start voting, keep voting, get it done? We can pass the 
continuing resolution. We can continue to fund this government. But do 
you know what. We can make improvements to the continuing resolution by 
striking money for the missile to nowhere, by making sure the air 
towers that the FAA is shutting down continue to operate in this 
country.
  I am sure my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have many more 
ideas as to how we can improve this continuing resolution, but the 
American people will never know about those ideas because we are on a 
Senate floor where we are not being allowed to vote, to vote on the 
amendments that matter to the American people, that strike wasteful 
spending, that improve this important piece of legislation.
  I think if we had started voting last Wednesday, we would have 
already allowed every person in this Chamber to have a vote on their 
amendment, as the Senate was intended to operate. This is intended to 
be the most deliberative body in the world. Yet, if you cannot bring up 
an amendment that is germane to strike spending for a missile to 
nowhere, it really renders the operation of the Senate at this point 
not what the Founding Fathers intended, and it puts a gag on the 
American people; that their elected representatives cannot come here 
and get votes on things that are going to strike funding like this, 
that are going to make sure air towers continue to operate in this 
country.
  I think we owe it to the American people that their elected 
representatives can come down here and get a

[[Page S1917]]

vote on amendments that matter, that make a difference, that can 
improve this continuing resolution. Frankly, this notion that we cannot 
have votes on it--obviously, people do not want to have votes on it. 
They want to continue funding missiles to nowhere, whether it is their 
parochial interests or whatever interests that are driving them. It is 
wrong. We have to stop it.
  Bring this amendment to the Senate floor. Let's vote it up or down 
now, and let's move forward.
  Mr. President, I thank you for the opportunity to speak today, and I 
yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                               The Budget

  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, we were originally looking today to 
begin the presentation of the budget that came out of the Budget 
Committee, produced by the Democratic majority. It passed on a party-
line vote. It was drafted by the majority in secret. It was produced 
and brought to the floor.
  I see the distinguished floor manager of the bill is on the floor 
today. I certainly have no intention of interrupting the Senator's 
debate, but I was using the opportunity to speak in morning business, 
if that is all right.
  Under the Congressional Budget Act, we need to produce a budget by 
April 15. There are 50 hours allowed for debate and an ability to offer 
unlimited amendments to that most important document. That is where we 
are. I had hoped we would start today. Now it looks as though we have 
floor disputes and things are dragging out.
  I want to say how this can be handled. If the floor debate is not 
shortened, I would suggest we could come back the week of April 8 and 
complete our work by April 15 easily. That would be my suggested way to 
deal with the most important issue we face as a Nation, our financial 
future and the debt course we are on. That would be the right thing to 
do. If the majority leader is determined to move forward even into the 
weekend, we will be here. We are not going to concede any of the time 
that is set aside for debate, because this is the first budget that has 
been to the floor of the Senate in almost 1,500 days, over 1,400 days--
4 years. We need to talk about where we are, where we are going as a 
Nation. So I want to say there will be no yielding of time on this side 
with regard to the opportunity to discuss the financial future of 
America.
  The American people need to know about this. It should be done 
publicly. They need to know the choices we are dealing with, how tough 
they are, but what an opportunity we do have to get the country on a 
sound path without doing damage to the programs we value in America. We 
need an open process. The American people need to be engaged with it. 
But I have to say, it has absolutely been the policy of the majority in 
the Senate to do just the opposite. Senator Reid said it would be 
``foolish'' to have a budget. He has held that view for 4 years now.
  The law requires us to have a budget by April 15. He has refused to 
do so because he did not want to be responsible for laying out a 
financial path for America. Those are the facts.
  The House passed legislation that said: No budget, no pay. Now the 
Senate is moving forward with a budget, at least to get it out of the 
Senate and pass it out of the Senate, and then probably we will get 
paid.
  It is important that the budget be moved. It should not be a pro 
forma act but a very serious evaluation of where we are. I want to say 
this to my colleagues as we confront the difficult choices facing our 
country: This is so important to me. I believe, based on a series of 
important studies in recent months, all of which having come to the 
same conclusion, that the debt level the United States has today is 
already pulling down economic growth. It is one of the reasons--maybe 
even the largest reason--that we have had such little economic growth.
  Our debt to GDP ratio--the gross debt to GDP ratio--is over 100 
percent. According to the Rogoff-Reinhart study that has been out there 
for a number of years, which was widely praised, which Secretary of 
Treasury Geithner told us was a very important study, and which maybe 
underestimated the risk our Nation faces, but has been universally 
praised--they say, when debt exceeds 90 percent of GDP, based on their 
studies of economies all over the world that have gotten into financial 
trouble, the result is a 1, maybe 2-percent drop in growth. The lack of 
growth of 1 percent represents 1 million jobs in America. So the 
difference between 2-percent growth and 3-percent growth is 1 million 
jobs. The difference of 2-percent growth and 4-percent growth is 2 
million jobs, people unemployed, not getting work. Why? Because of the 
debt overhang that is out there, for a whole lot of factors too complex 
for us to discuss at this moment, but which are out there that begin to 
pull down growth.
  So one of the reasons we need to decrease deficits in America and 
balance the budget is to create growth, create jobs, and create 
prosperity, whereas my Democratic colleagues contend the way to create 
jobs and create growth is to borrow more money and spend it on a 
stimulus package. In fact, they have got another stimulus package in 
the bill they passed out of the Budget Committee, another tax, another 
borrow-and-spend plan, $100-plus billion.
  This is a big difference in where we are. We cannot keep borrowing, 
to spend, to create some temporary sugar high. It all rubs off in the 
end. There are the studies out there. I mentioned Rogoff-Reinhart. That 
has been out several years and has been a topic of great discussion 
among economists and throughout the field. But in recent months, the 
International Monetary Fund, certainly not controlled by frugal 
Republicans, the European Central Bank, and the Bank for International 
Settlements, all have independently done studies. And those studies say 
that debt begins to slow growth. That is what they conclude--that debt 
slows growth.

  Now if that is true, we have a problem, because they say you can 
carry a certain amount of debt and it does not slow growth, but if your 
debt reaches 90 percent of your economy, at least according to Rogoff 
and Reinhart and the numbers they were using--and, by the way, they 
were using gross debt, it is absolutely clear in their papers, and not 
the public debt--then you have slow economic growth.
  Let us take a minute to discuss growth in public debt. The public 
debt is external debt of the United States and it is about 76 percent 
of our economy. The size of our growth of public debt amounts to almost 
the size of the economy--three-fourths of it. But if you take the gross 
debt of the United States, including borrowing from Social Security and 
Medicare and things like that, it is over 100 percent. What I want to 
say to you is that people have misinterpreted the Rogoff-Reinhart study 
over the last several years. They thought the debt figure they were 
referring to was the public debt.
  The $16 trillion we see on the debt clocks that show how it is 
increasing every year--the $16 trillion, almost $17 trillion now in 
debt--that is the gross debt, and it is over 100 percent of the 
economy. And they say growth slows every time--it slows relentlessly--
we as a Nation run up too much debt and it gets that high. So the 
International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the Bank for 
International Settlements may come at it slightly differently, but they 
all conclude that when debt levels reach as high as we have in the 
United States, growth slows.
  Jobs are lost when growth slows, tax revenue is lost when growth 
slows, and people are not going to pay taxes if they are not working. 
Businesses that are not making profits are not going to pay taxes. If 
businesses are not expanding, not growing, not investing, not hiring, 
the economy is hampered and the tax revenue to the Federal Government 
is less, as a matter of fact. But most importantly, people are not 
working, jobs are not being created, and more people are on welfare. 
More people are dependent on the government--unemployment insurance--
and that is not good.
  Are we making some progress? Yes, we are making some progress. The 
economy had virtually no growth in the fourth quarter of last year--a 
stunning development. They are predicting

[[Page S1918]]

a slow growth the first quarter of this year. Last year we were well 
below predictions. Last year our growth, I believe, was about 2.2 
percent. Two years before that, the Congressional Budget Office 
predicted growth for last year would be around 4 percent. They were 
predicting 2 years ago that growth for 2013 would be over 4 percent, 
maybe 4.6 percent. That is what the prediction was. But now, as we 
enter 2013, it looks as if we will be lucky to get much over 2 percent 
growth.
  I am not saying I know with an absolute certainty that the debt is 
the factor they have to consider when they calculate our growth out of 
this recession. I don't know for sure. But I am telling you that 
Rogoff-Reinhart, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central 
Bank, the Bank for International Settlements--all of those--have 
concluded when debt is as high as we have in the United States it will 
slow growth. So I ask: What should we do to get America on a sound path 
to increase growth at a time we are discussing the budget? We should 
balance the budget and get on a course to reduce the debt 
significantly, and we should do it now. If we get that back down, which 
we can do, we will see more growth. We will see more jobs.
  The idea that we should keep borrowing from the future to spend today 
in order to create growth only has to be said to understand how bogus 
it is, how irresponsible it is. Why don't we borrow three times as much 
and spend three times as much if this puts us on a sound path? It 
doesn't. It weakens us.
  The Congressional Budget Office said--when this Congress, and not 
with my vote, voted for $787 billion for the stimulus package--yes, if 
you borrow $787 billion from the future and spend it today, you will 
get economic growth for a few years, but it quickly goes away. The 
money has been spent. The little lift in the economy is over very 
quickly. What is left then? CBO now estimates that we are carrying a 
total of $830 billion, plus interest, from the stimulus, so now we are 
at $1 trillion in new debt that we have to pay interest on every year 
and the growth benefit is long gone.
  Now hear this, colleagues: Back when the President took office and he 
pushed through the stimulus package, they said over a 10-year period we 
would have less growth if we had a stimulus package than if we didn't 
have a stimulus package. Did you hear that, my colleagues? That is so 
important for us to understand. You cannot get something from nothing. 
Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could, as Julie Andrews sang 
in the ``Sound of Music.'' Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever 
could.
  So we borrow the money and spend it today and it is always with us 
unless we have a plan to pay down the debt, and we have no plan. So 
already we are about at the point where all the benefits of that 
stimulus of 3 years ago are gone and we are beginning to have the 
burden of carrying the debt indefinitely. I think the American people 
understand that. The people who don't understand that are the Paul 
Krugmans and the people who have been driving the agenda in the Senate 
and in this Congress to borrow and spend. We have to get our heads 
together on that subject.
  Finally, I will point out that the budget that has been produced is 
totally promoted improperly. This budget came out of the committee, and 
it claims it reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion, but that is not 
accurate. It took me a long time, and I had to stay on the staff people 
for the Democratic majority, but eventually, when confronted with the 
facts, they had to tell the truth and they told the truth. The 
sequester cuts--that 60 percent of the Budget Control Act we agreed to 
18, 20 months ago--is wiped out. Those cuts are eliminated. But they 
were really not cuts. They were reductions in growth of spending. But 
that reduction saved us about $2.1 trillion, and the sequester part is 
$1.2 trillion. So that is the $1.2 trillion that is wiped out. That 
means we are going to increase spending $1.2 trillion, and it is not 
scored in their budget as an increase in spending to offset the $1 
trillion in tax increases they have.
  When you consider all of that, you will find this budget, with other 
gimmicks included in it, barely reduces the deficit at all--at best, 
maybe by $300 billion. And over 10 years that amounts to about $30 
billion or $40 billion in deficit reduction a year, when last year our 
deficit was $1.2 trillion.
  So this budget plan increases taxes, it increases spending over our 
current rate, and it does nothing to change the debt course of America. 
We need a plan that can balance the budget. We can do that and still 
increase spending every year. It will balance in 10 years if we stay 
disciplined, but that is not the plan on the floor right now. Our 
colleagues need to study this budget and should not be voting for a 
plan that makes no change in our debt course, that does not create 
growth, but simply borrows more.
  I see my colleague, the Democratic whip, I will call him, on the 
floor, but I appreciate the opportunity to share these remarks.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Schatz). The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I thank my friend for yielding.
  Earlier today my colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Ayotte, came 
to the floor and spoke about the Medium Air Defense System known as 
MEADS. This is a program the United States has been developing for air 
defense with our NATO allies, so U.S. taxpayers are truly investing in 
this program, but our allies are as well.
  I am new to this assignment as chairman of the Defense Appropriations 
Subcommittee, and I don't take any pleasure in what I am about to say, 
but it is a fact and we have to put the facts out before the American 
people. As we started developing this system, we reached the point 
where we concluded, the Department of Defense concluded, it wouldn't 
work. That happens. Some of the greatest ideas turn out not to be 
feasible, and that is where we are at this point. The question that has 
been raised by Senator Ayotte is: Well, if it doesn't work, why do you 
want to finish the research on it this year?
  That is a legitimate question, and the vast majority of Americans 
would say: Of course, she is right, don't spend another penny on it. 
The problem is this: We entered into an agreement with our allies that 
if we terminated the program, there would be penalties assessed to the 
United States that we would owe to other nations that participated in 
funding the research, and it turns out the amount of money needed to 
finish the program is about equal to the penalties we would pay if we 
terminated it at this moment.
  So we have tried to make the best of a very bad situation. The 
Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2013 includes $380 
million--a reduction of $20 million from the original request--for the 
Department to bring an orderly close to the Medium Air Defense System 
by either completing the development program or paying the termination.
  This is a NATO program, as I said, that we jointly developed with the 
Germans and Italians. All of us thought this was a good idea and a good 
investment. It wasn't until we got into it that we realized it wasn't 
going to do what we thought it would do. The Department determined it 
would not procure MEADS but has requested funds for the rest of the 
year to conclude the program to live up to the agreement with our 
allies, who have also put money into this. The Department does plan to 
use the advanced technology we did develop here to upgrade other 
systems. So it is not a complete waste. And it shouldn't be because the 
taxpayers have their tax dollars on the line.
  I share the frustration of many of my colleagues that we have spent 
so much money and so many years and have reached this point. But I will 
tell you, we don't want to build a system that doesn't work. We don't 
want to create false security. And we do want some honesty from those 
who are developing these systems if, in fact, something we have spent 
money on is not going to reach its completion.
  The cost to finish the development of this program is almost exactly 
the same as the cost to unilaterally terminate it--a point not made by 
the Senator from New Hampshire.
  She argues about all the savings from these programs in terminating 
it but doesn't talk about the termination costs we are liable for as a 
result of that termination. It is unrealistic to assume that you can 
terminate a major defense program with our allies and walk away without 
some obligation.

[[Page S1919]]

  For example, when the Army's Future Combat Systems Program was 
terminated, the Department was legally obligated to pay over $500 
million in termination liability. In return, we received several 
technologies that were incorporated into other programs. The same 
applies to MEADS but only if we fulfill our obligations and pay the 
termination liability. The Defense appropriations bill is fiscally 
responsible by providing the funding to the Army to bring this program 
to an orderly close instead of levying another bill on the Department 
in times of fiscal constraint.
  I urge my colleagues, if the Ayotte amendment does come to the floor, 
to oppose it--not because I am asking them to vote for a program which 
we are in agreement is never going to reach the goal it was set out to 
reach but, rather, let's be honest about this. We are going to pay this 
money one way or the other. The Army has said, Give us the option to 
complete the program or pay the termination fee. That to me is a more 
reasonable approach.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record statements and 
letters from a variety of different sources, including the Department 
of Defense, on this program.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         Ministero della Difesa and Bundesministerium der 
           Verteidigung.
     Hon. Leon E. Panetta,
     Secretary of Defense,
     Washington, DC.
       Thank you for your continued support of the MEADS program. 
     As you are fully aware of the present situation surrounding 
     the MEADS Program, you will know that Germany and Italy have 
     grave concerns about the outcome of the MEADS funding 
     discussion in the USA. This is, unfortunately, not a new 
     situation.
       The results of the Design and Development (D&D) phase of 
     the MEADS program remain vital for both Germany and Italy as 
     they will be the basis for our future Air and Missile Defense 
     System Architecture. As such they are fundamental for the 
     German and Italian contribution to the ``NATO integrated Air 
     and Missile Defense'', which is a key element of the Defense 
     package agreed in Chicago by our heads of State and 
     Government.
       As Germany and Italy have been fulfilling their full 
     commitments under the MoU, we hope and we do expect that the 
     United States will live up to their MoU commitment as well. 
     If the US does not fulfill its funding commitment for 2013, 
     Germany and Italy would need to interpret this as a 
     unilateral withdrawal. Under the terms of the MoU, Germany 
     and Italy expect formal notification of the US intent to 
     withdraw from the MoU (while funding up to the effective date 
     of the withdrawal). In addition funding for all contract 
     modification and termination costs incurred as a result of 
     the US actions shall be paid by the United States.
       We assure you, that this is not negligible. In a first 
     estimate the current US position results in an economic 
     damage to Germany and Italy of more than 400 Mio. US$. This 
     is a result of development activities, which cannot be 
     executed due to the missing FY 2013 US funding and the 
     termination liability for terminating those contracts 
     earlier.
       In addition, there are wider implication of the US 
     withdrawing or breaking the MoU and this would set a bad 
     precedent for future transatlantic cooperation in principle. 
     In particular one result would need to be the reconsideration 
     of multinational cooperation in the context of NATO's SMART 
     Defense initiative. After the Canadian withdrawal from the 
     NAEW&C and AGS programs, the current US position would 
     represent the second evidence in one year of the lack of 
     reliability and as such would set a bad precedent for future 
     transatlantic cooperation in principle.
       It should be of common interest not to risk the prominent 
     and significant merits of continued transatlantic co-
     operation and collaboration between our nations. We rely on 
     your intervention to ensure the timely and full availability 
     of 2013 funds by the end of March 2013 (with no prohibition 
     on expenditure of MEADS funds) so as not to disrupt 
     harvesting of MEADS capabilities in order to enable future 
     meaningful European contribution for NATO Air and Missile 
     defense.
       The three Nations' investments have been very fruitful to 
     date, which included a successful 360 degree intercept 
     mission in November 2012. We are in the final year of funding 
     under this MoU and not funding this effort would put in 
     jeopardy all of the significant investment made to date by 
     our countries. After the restructuring MEADS has executed on 
     schedule and within budget for more than 4 years now, which 
     is remarkable in particular given the situation of the 
     program after the US decision not to procure MEADS.
       The successful completion of the MEADS activities should be 
     in our common interests for a large variety of reason. The FY 
     2013 funds of the US are a prerequisite to achieve this goal.
       Thank you for your leadership and support on this important 
     defense and transatlantic issue.
           Yours truly,
     Il Ministro della Difesa,
     Bundesminister der Verteidigung.
                                  ____

         Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, 
           and Embassy of Italy in Washington,
                                     Washington, January 29, 2013.
     Hon. Barbara A. Mikulski,
     Chairwoman, Committee on Appropriations,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Madam Chairwoman, First. let us warmly congratulate 
     you on assuming the chair of the Senate Appropriations 
     Committee. We wish you all the best in steering this 
     important committee through all the challenges that lie 
     ahead.
       Among the many issues and decisions to be taken is one at 
     the very center of transatlantic relationships, the future of 
     the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). This joint 
     development program has brought together three close NATO 
     allies to provide their forces with state-of-the-art 
     technology to meet future threats. The program has achieved 
     important milestones, including a successful intercept test 
     in November 2012.
       Italy and Germany have met their MoU obligations by 
     contributing more than 40 percent of the necessary funding 
     for the program since it has started in 2004. A final 
     decision by the U.S. Government to prohibit further funding 
     for MEADS at this advanced stage would lead to a significant 
     loss of technology for which we have commonly worked so hard. 
     It would also be perceived as a serious setback for 
     transatlantic cooperation in general.
       The U.S. Department of Defense has acknowledged this fact 
     and requested further funding for MEADS in fiscal year 2013 
     to meet its international commitment and also to put itself 
     and its partners in a position to harvest the technologies in 
     which we have all significantly invested.
       As the debate on an appropriations bill for the Department 
     of Defense in 2013 continues, we greatly appreciate your 
     consideration of these aspects.
       In concluding, we would like to stress that both our 
     governments continue to assume that all parties will 
     ultimately abide by the agreement.
           Sincerely,
     Dr. Peter Ammon,
       Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany.
     Claudio Bisogniero,
       Ambassador of Italy.
                                  ____



                                       The Secretary of State,

                               Washington, DC, September 19, 2012.
     Hon. Daniel K. Inouye,
     Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: I concur with Secretary Panetta's letter 
     of June 26 and support, within the Department of Defense 
     budget allocation, funding the final year of Medium Extended 
     Air Defense System (MEADS) development that includes key 
     demonstrations, completion of documentation, and an orderly 
     close of a program of significant importance to two of our 
     important European allies, Germany and Italy. While we are 
     encouraged by the recent Senate Appropriations Defense 
     Subcommittee action recommending $380 million in fiscal year 
     2013 funding for MEADS, we recognize this development will 
     need to be reconciled with other Congressional actions.
       Honoring our commitment for the final year of the MEADS 
     ``Proof of Concept'' would signal the U.S. commitment to 
     working with allies to cooperatively develop capabilities 
     required for the challenges facing the NATO Alliance. 
     Commitment of U.S. funds would enable and further encourage 
     our European partners to make additional contributions to 
     NATO missile defense. Failing to provide the final year of 
     funding when we are so close to completion would send the 
     wrong message to all of our allies and partners at a time 
     when the global situation requires more, not less, 
     cooperation.
       The United States relies on our NATO allies to share the 
     burden of defense of NATO territory and peacekeeping in 
     coalition activities. Difficult domestic budget and economic 
     situations make it imperative for allies to consider ways to 
     work together to maintain and build new capabilities to 
     defend against modern threats, like the proliferation of 
     ballistic missiles. These are vital capabilities that many 
     allies can only obtain if they work together to develop and 
     acquire them. We made a commitment to two of our closest 
     allies, Germany and Italy, to develop MEADS cooperatively, 
     share development costs, and realize integrated coalition 
     capabilities. It is critical that we honor our commitments.
       At the NATO Summit in Chicago, allies declared an interim 
     missile defense capability as an initial step toward 
     establishing the NATO missile defense capability that allies 
     agreed to develop at the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon. While 
     the United States is making a significant national 
     contribution to this system through the European Phased 
     Adaptive Approach, we expect and have requested additional 
     contributions from allies to make the capability more 
     effective and share the burden of missile defense protection 
     of European NATO territory, populations, and forces.

[[Page S1920]]

       Germany and Italy envision MEADS not only as an essential 
     basis for their own future air defense capabilities, but more 
     importantly as the basis for their respective contributions 
     to NATO missile defense. The agreement to deploy a 
     territorial NATO missile defense capability and its 
     implementation are major achievements of U.S. and Allied 
     policy. A decision by Congress not to provide or to prohibit 
     funding MEADS at this late date would diminish the consensus 
     reached in Lisbon and Chicago for this capability, discourage 
     allies from participating in cooperative projects in the 
     future, and ultimately, delay greater European contributions 
     to NATO missile defense.
       My staff is ready to answer any questions you or your staff 
     may have. Sincerely yours,
           Sincerely yours,
     Hillary Rodham Clinton.
                                  ____



                                         Secretary of Defense,

                                                   Washington, DC.
     Hon. Daniel K. Inouye,
     Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: In response to your inquiries, I am 
     writing to ask that you strongly support the President's 
     Budget request for FY 2013 funding to complete the Medium 
     Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) Design and Development 
     (D&D) Proof of Concept (PoC) effort with Germany and Italy. 
     The Department is seeking $400.9 million in FY 2013 funds to 
     honor the final year of our MEADS D&D Memorandum of 
     Understanding (MOU) commitment that will enable completion of 
     the MEADS development phase as it is currently planned. The 
     PoC effort enables all three nations to obtain benefit from 
     our collective program investment to date and will bring the 
     development program to an orderly conclusion, Failure to fund 
     our FY 2013 commitment will be viewed by our allies as 
     reneging on our promises.
       During the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20, 2012, NATO 
     Allies achieved a major breakthrough on missile defense--10 
     years in the making--by declaring an interim ballistic 
     missile defense capability as an initial step towards 
     establishing a NATO missile defense system. The European 
     Phased Adaptive Approach will be a major contributor to NATO 
     missile defense and is designed to protect the U.S. homeland, 
     U.S. deployed forces, and our allies against the increasing 
     threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles. 
     Where ballistic missile defense was once a controversial 
     subject within the Alliance, we have reached consensus to 
     operationalize this capability and have the Allies share the 
     burden of deterring and defending against those who could 
     threaten us with ballistic missiles. This is a major 
     achievement of U.S. policy; a decision by Congress to 
     prohibit any additional funding for MEADS at this late date 
     would diminish the consensus reached in Chicago.
       The United States relies on allies to share the burden of 
     peacekeeping and defense in coalition activities and the 
     development of effective defense capabilities that are of 
     direct benefit to the United States. In this context, I 
     believe that it is important to live up to our commitments to 
     our allies. We made a commitment to two of our closest 
     allies, Germany and Italy, to develop MEADS cooperatively to 
     achieve those objectives. Failure to meet our MEADS MOU FY 
     2013 funding obligations could negatively affect allied 
     willingness to join future cooperative endeavors, bilaterally 
     or through NATO, that have been strongly supported by the 
     Administration and Congress at a time when cooperation 
     through concepts such as Smart Defense is critical to 
     ensuring NATO and its members are developing needed 
     capabilities for the future.
       In addition, failure by the United States to provide 
     funding for FY 2013 likely would lead to a dispute with 
     Germany and Italy, both of which have indicated that they 
     would assert that the United States has unilaterally 
     withdrawn from the MOU. On the other hand, full funding of 
     the final year of the MEADS PoC would ensure that the United 
     States receives a return on its 8-year investment in the form 
     of a data archival package for future potential use on other 
     U.S. air and missile defense improvements.
       We must act now to avoid a situation that would cause harm 
     to our relationships with two of our closest allies. My staff 
     is ready to answer any questions you or your staff may have 
     on MEADS.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Leon Panetta.


                          Dietary supplements

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, almost 1\1/2\ years ago I sent the 
Government Accountability Office a letter asking them to examine the 
FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System for dietary supplements.
  Dietary supplements, vitamin pills, and mineral pills are common 
across America. There are shops all over Chicago and downstate Illinois 
selling these supplements, and many people--including myself--take a 
vitamin each day. Maybe it is good for me, maybe it isn't. I hope it is 
good. It is certainly not harmful. But there are thousands of dietary 
supplements for sale. They are not all made in the United States, and 
they are not all made to the highest specifications.
  So we said to the Food and Drug Administration, We want you to 
collect information from American consumers if there is a problem. If 
there is a dietary supplement that is being sold and someone has an 
adverse event--in other words, a health event--that could be serious, 
report it to the FDA. If we receive more than one, it is worth taking a 
look at to see if there is a pattern emerging and we should take 
something off the shelf.
  Today the General Accountability Office released a report assessing 
how the system is working on this adverse event reporting on dietary 
supplements, and they had some recommendations. This reporting system 
is an important surveillance tool the FDA uses to identify and respond 
to cases of serious adverse reaction, such as heart attacks, 
hospitalizations, and, in some cases, death.
  Over the years the types of dietary supplements sold have evolved 
from some very basic formulas such as simple vitamin C and calcium 
supplements to include products with potentially serious side effects, 
and even foods and beverages masquerading as dietary supplements that 
could pose a significant danger.
  Take a look at these energy drinks that are for sale everywhere. Try 
to get past the cash register at your local gas station without running 
into a 5-Hour Energy drink or Monster Energy drink. And for some of 
them, when you turn the container back you will see it is not being 
sold as a beverage; it is being sold as a dietary supplement--in other 
words, like a vitamin or a mineral. There is a reason for that: because 
if it is sold as a beverage, FDA has different regulatory authority 
over the product and its ingredients. If it is sold as a dietary 
supplement, the regulations are not there in the same way as they would 
be for beverages.
  Unfortunately, people are led to believe these products have all been 
approved by the FDA and pose no risk. In reality, unlike drugs or over-
the-counter drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed and tested by 
the FDA for safety or effectiveness before being sold to the American 
public. That will come as a surprise to a lot of people. Most dietary 
supplements today are safe and they are used by millions of Americans 
as part of their personal choice for a healthy lifestyle. That is not 
true of all supplements.
  In 2002, a 16-year-old boy named Sean Riggins from Lincoln, IL, just 
a few miles away from my home in Springfield, died after taking a 
dietary supplement containing ephedra. Sean was a high school football 
player. Before playing in a game, he went to the local gas station and 
bought something called Yellow Jackets. It was a form of ephedra, 
clearly marketed to children to give them an energy boost. How often do 
you hear that? Sean washed the pills down with a bottle of Mountain 
Dew. Sean was unable to finish the football game that day and died of a 
heart attack.
  Before his death, Metabolife--the largest manufacturer of supplements 
containing ephedra--claimed they had no ephedra-related adverse events 
to report. This was 2002. Under pressure, Metabolife later gave FDA 
over 13,000 ephedra-related adverse event reports that showed people 
taking their products with ephedra and getting sick.
  In 2006, I worked with Senators Orrin Hatch and Tom Harkin to pass 
the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection 
Act. The law requires dietary supplement manufacturers to report 
serious adverse events to the Food and Drug Administration.
  Today's GAO report shows that since the law was enacted, serious 
adverse events reported to the FDA have increased dramatically, from 
almost 400 reports of serious events in 2007, to 6,307 between 2008 and 
2011. The GAO report highlights commendable efforts by the FDA to 
improve the safety of dietary supplements. In 2008, the FDA only 
conducted 120 inspections in the United States. By 2012, that number 
was up to 400 inspections. Between 2008 and 2011, FDA took 19 
regulatory actions, including warning letters and injunctions, against 
companies that didn't report as required--such as reporting serious 
adverse events but omitting contact information on their labels. That 
is pretty basic, isn't it? When you buy a product like a dietary 
supplement, you ought to at least know who made it and how you can 
contact the people who made it. If

[[Page S1921]]

something goes wrong or if there is a question and you need to contact 
someone, that basic information should be there.
  In addition to outlining steps, FDA is taking steps to strengthen the 
Adverse Event Reporting System to protect consumers. The GAO report 
also suggests ways the FDA can improve this process. For instance, in 
some cases FDA has used these adverse event reports to inform actions 
to protect consumers. But the Agency could do more and develop ways to 
educate consumers about potentially harmful products.
  The GAO report encourages the FDA to issue final guidance clarifying 
the definition of a conventional food and dietary supplement. The vague 
distinction between a dietary supplement and conventional food or 
beverage has created a murky growing market where some companies sell 
products potentially dangerous with unapproved ingredients, products 
such as Lazy Cakes, a brownie marketed as a dietary supplement--not as 
a brownie, but as a dietary supplement, that contains roughly 8 
milligrams of the sleep aid melatonin, almost double the upper limit of 
the typical dose--and energy drinks sold in huge 16-, 24-, and 32-ounce 
cans right next to soda and Gatorade. Soda and Gatorade are regulated; 
the energy drinks are not. How would a consumer know?
  The GAO report also encourages the FDA to work with the Poison 
Control Centers to establish a data-sharing agreement. This is a source 
of real frustration, and when I describe the situation you will 
understand why.
  As you can imagine, when somebody feels sick after using a 
supplement, they don't usually call the Food and Drug Administration; 
they call a local hospital or the Poison Control Centers which are all 
across America. Between 2008 and 2010, Poison Control Centers heard 
from 1,000 more people who had experienced adverse events with dietary 
supplements than the Food and Drug Administration did. The Poison 
Control Centers information could be a meaningful contribution to the 
information the FDA is receiving about harmful products--information 
that can help us protect American consumers. I encourage the Food and 
Drug Administration and Poison Control Centers to work together to 
share this information. Sadly, the Poison Control Centers are demanding 
millions of dollars that the FDA doesn't have to get access to the 
basic information about dangerous products sold in America that are 
causing harm to Americans. Holding back this information is not in the 
best interests of keeping America healthy and safe.

  Moving forward, I am going to continue to work with the FDA to 
enhance the regulation of dietary supplements and ensure customers have 
the information they need to make informed decisions. Every time I come 
to the floor and say anything about dietary supplements, I can 
guarantee you that at some Web site somewhere they are saying, Here 
comes Durbin again. He is going to take your vitamin pills away. He is 
going to make it so you need a prescription to take vitamin C. Not the 
case at all. That is not what I am arguing for.
  Let me tell you the bill I will reintroduce this year, the Dietary 
Supplement Labeling Act, would do. It addresses the growing concern of 
dietary supplements with misleading information and the bad actors 
selling it. This bill would require more information on labels. People 
using dietary supplements have the right to know if there is a risk 
associated with the product. Some ingredients may be safe for the 
general population but risky for groups such as kids or pregnant women, 
or the ingredients included in there might be dangerous for people with 
special conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  The bill would also help curb the growing practice of foods and 
beverages with added ingredients masquerading as dietary supplements by 
directing the FDA to establish a definition for conventional foods. 
This definition would clarify for industry, consumers, and even the FDA 
what products are foods and which products are dietary supplements. 
Today you can't tell.
  If you have the time and good eyes, go into that gas station and take 
a look at some of these energy drinks, and then look at the bottle of 
Gatorade or soda next to it in the case. One often regulated as a 
beverage, the other--the dietary supplement--is not.
  Many people would be surprised to learn that the FDA doesn't even 
know how many dietary supplements are being sold in the United States. 
I will bet you the majority of American people are sure their 
government is testing those things that are on the shelves. Not 
necessarily. Most people don't know if a dietary supplement ingredient 
presents any serious health concerns. The FDA doesn't have the 
information to track down products containing these harmful ingredients 
in many circumstances. The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act which I am 
introducing would require dietary supplement makers to give the FDA the 
name of each supplement they produce, along with a description, a list 
of ingredients, and a copy of the label. Is that onerous? Is that the 
heavy hand of government? If you want to sell a dietary supplement 
product in America, isn't it reasonable that you at least register the 
name of the product, its ingredients, the name and address of the 
company that can be reached if something goes wrong? That, to me, 
sounds very basic, and I hope my colleagues will consider supporting 
it. With that information, the FDA would be better equipped to protect 
consumers' health and to work with supplement manufacturers to address 
problems as they arise.
  I visited dietary supplement companies in Chicago. I am impressed. 
They take it seriously. It looks as you would hope it would look, like 
a very sterile, professional environment with medical professionals on 
board. The same cannot be said of all the things we are importing from 
all over the world. If you take a look and see that the product was 
made in China, you may have some second thoughts about buying it or 
giving it to your children. We have had some scandals associated with 
adulterated products coming in from China. I would pause if that were 
the source of a dietary supplement. I would have more confidence if it 
is made in the United States, particularly by a reputable dealer that I 
have seen on the shelves in a local drugstore over and over again.
  Let me reiterate. Most dietary supplements available in America today 
are safe and are used by millions of Americans as part of a healthy 
lifestyle. As I said, I am one of the consumers taking that dietary 
supplement multivitamin every morning. But the GAO report confirms 
there is still work to be done to enhance the FDA's Adverse Event 
Reporting System, and to ensure that people who take these products 
have the information they need to make healthy, informed decisions.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a 
quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                               The Budget

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I am back on the Senate floor today with 
my favorite chart, one that I think is indicative of the fiscal 
dysfunction that is occurring here in Congress, particularly in the 
Senate, now marking 1,420 days without a budget. But people should be 
encouraged that as a result of the House passing a ``no budget, no 
pay'' bill, it has finally prompted our friends across the aisle to 
mark up a budget in the Budget Committee that will come to the floor in 
the next few days, and we will be having a lot of important discussions 
and debates about budgets, taxes, and debt ratios.
  I hope everyone remembers what this is really about. It is not just 
about numbers, it is about our obligation, our moral obligation to 
future generations of Americans.
  I would just footnote that the President in a recent interview said 
that we do not have an immediate debt problem, and to say: Mr. 
President, the debt is discouraging and retarding economic growth which 
we need in order to get Americans back to work.
  That is why unemployment is at 8 percent, roughly, with some 23 
million Americans either out of work or underemployed, working part 
time when they would like to work full time. It is

[[Page S1922]]

a national tragedy and why we need to get our fiscal house in order 
here so we can put America back to work and grow our economy and 
opportunity.
  Like many in this Chamber, my father was a member of what we call the 
``greatest generation.'' I think Tom Brokaw coined that phrase, talking 
about the World War II generation that fought and won a world war. My 
dad was a B-17 pilot, and on his 26th bombing mission over Mannheim, 
Germany, he was shot down and captured as a prisoner of war. Thank 
goodness that after 4 months he was released from captivity thanks to 
General Patton and his Army sweeping through that part of Germany at 
the end of World War II.
  My father and others like him fought to ensure that his children and 
his grandchildren would grow up in a country that had greater 
opportunity than he himself and my mother had when they were alive. 
Indeed, that is every parent's dream, that their children and their 
grandchildren will enjoy more opportunity, more freedom, and a higher 
standard of living than they themselves had. That is the reason why 
parents and grandparents sacrifice and why they work hard for their 
kids and grandkids--because of their hope and their belief in that 
dream. As a result, my dad and my mother and countless other members of 
the ``greatest generation'' left this country better off than they 
found it. The question for all of us today is, Will the present 
generation do the same? I certainly hope so, and I am doing everything 
I know how to do, as one Senator, to make sure we do.
  As a parent, I want nothing but the best for my two daughters. My 
wife and I want and hope and pray for the best for them. As an 
American, I want to see every child, everyone's sons and daughters, 
succeed and prosper. But right now we have, in effect, a war being 
waged against America's youth. I know some might consider that 
hyperbole or perhaps unnecessarily inflammatory, but let me explain to 
you why I do believe that you could logically conclude that we have 
been waging a war against America's youth.
  Consider the following: Our national debt is close to $17 trillion. 
That means every child born in America today comes into this world 
owing $53,000 in debt. Meanwhile, the Federal Government is spending 
more than $200 billion a year on interest payments alone. The Medicare 
hospital insurance trust fund--Medicare--is projected to go bankrupt 
within 11 years, and we are looking at more than $100 trillion in 
unfunded liabilities; that is, promises we have made to future 
generations, and we currently have no clue how to pay for those. That 
is what ``unfunded liabilities'' means.
  We know the younger generation has virtually no hope that Medicare 
and Social Security will be there for them when they retire unless we 
act--and we must act. But rather than reform and protect our existing 
programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, the President chose in 
his first year in office to create yet another new entitlement program 
funded by a $1 trillion tax increase. Of course, we all know it goes by 
the name of ObamaCare or, if you prefer, the Affordable Care Act, which 
I think, if you look at it, history will ultimately conclude was 
unaffordable--not the Affordable Care Act but the Unaffordable Care 
Act.
  One impact of ObamaCare is that young people under the age of 40 are 
going to have to pay higher and higher health insurance premiums. You 
might ask how that is possible since they are the healthiest people in 
America today. This is a phenomenon known as age banding, which says 
under ObamaCare that seniors can pay no more than three times what 
young healthy people pay for their health insurance. But it is no 
secret that older Americans incur higher medical expenses by virtue of 
their advancing years. Yet they can only pay three times what young 
healthy people pay for health insurance. That will lead to much higher 
premiums for young people in America. Indeed, one recent survey found 
that premium costs for young and healthy Americans ``will increase on 
average by 169 percent.'' I have no way of knowing whether that 
prediction will be entirely accurate, but I can promise that health 
insurance premiums for young, healthy Americans will continue to rise 
under the current law known as ObamaCare.
  Such a dramatic rise in health insurance premiums will come at a time 
when young workers and middle-class families are already struggling to 
make ends meet. After all, the median household income in America has 
fallen by more than $2,400 since June 2009. In other words, average 
households in America are not just treading water, maintaining their 
place, they are losing, they are taking on water, and they are $2,400 
poorer today than they were in June 2009.
  Not only will ObamaCare drive up insurance premiums for younger 
Americans, it also is destroying jobs. In fact, we already have 
evidence that many full-time jobs are being reduced to part-time jobs 
in preparation for ObamaCare's costs and regulation. In particular, in 
many places where young people get a start in their work life--working 
in restaurants, working in hotels, working for retailers--those very 
same employers are now replacing full-time jobs with part-time jobs in 
order to avoid the crushing costs of ObamaCare. So this will hurt 
younger Americans more than anyone else.
  Then there is this: While unemployment is, generally speaking, about 
7.9 percent--the Congressional Budget Office expects it to go up to 8 
percent by the end of this year--fewer and fewer people are still 
looking for jobs. It is called the labor participation rate. You can go 
online and look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they will show 
you that the number of people looking for work as a percentage of the 
population is as low as it has been for 30 years. So not only are 
people having a hard time finding full-time work, if they can find work 
at all, some have simply given up.

  A new study shows that the unemployment rate among teenagers is over 
25 percent now, and a new study shows that Americans in their twenties 
and thirties are accumulating savings at a much slower rate than their 
parents did. What we find among many young Americans and not-so-young 
Americans is that they are living off of their 401(k) or retirement 
savings now at unprecedented rates.
  I ask my colleagues, is this really the future we want to leave our 
children and grandchildren? Will this leave them better off than we 
were or will it leave them worse off? I know that no one in this 
Chamber and no American in this country wants to leave their children 
and grandchildren worse off than they are. That is why we have to do 
everything we can to reverse the Federal overreach of the past 4 years 
and to boost economic opportunity with policies that will promote 
fiscal health and strong, broad job creation and upward mobility. In 
other words, we need to embrace policies that expand our economy and 
not government. We do not need people more dependent on government, we 
need more people independent and prospering on their own because we 
have a growing economy that provides opportunities for them to work, to 
save, and to support their families and deliver to their children and 
grandchildren greater prosperity than they inherited from their 
parents. That is the future Americans want, and that is the future we 
must strive to deliver.
  I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss an amendment that 
has been filed by my friend Senator Moran that I am proud to support. 
This amendment would stop the Federal Aviation Administration from 
targeting air traffic control towers across the country, including the 
towers that are considered to be in the Contract Tower Program under 
sequestration.
  As I have said before on this floor and will continue to say, many of 
these problems will be resolved, I am convinced, if the Appropriations 
Committee does its work and that work is recognized and debated on the 
floor. And I hope we will not be having this same kind of discussion on 
October 1 when we begin the new spending year.
  But the impact of sequestration--cutting from this account--is real. 
Senator Moran's amendment is important.

[[Page S1923]]

It is something that could impact the communities served by these 
towers. This amendment tries to ensure that these communities are not 
impacted.
  In our State, there are contract towers in Missouri--in Branson, in 
Joplin, in Colombia, in Jefferson City and Saint Joseph. All those 
could be affected, depending on how the FAA administers this cut in the 
contract tower line. A number of other airports in Missouri, including 
Springfield, downtown Kansas City, and downtown St. Louis, could lose 
their towers in the after-midnight service, and those planes that now 
land there after midnight would either not do that or would do that 
without the support of the tower they have now that assists in landing.
  This amendment of Senator Moran would protect those towers as well as 
the federally funded portion of 16 cost-share towers, which also could 
be closed at the end of this fiscal year. Specifically, this amendment 
takes $50 million from one place in the FAA--in fact, it is $50 million 
in research and capital funds--that is money that could easily be set 
aside for this short period of time so that these towers do not close--
and then Senator Moran would add $50 million in the Federal Aviation 
Administration operations account. The amendment makes it clear that 
the Contract Tower Program and contract tower cost-sharing programs are 
subject to the 5-percent sequestration cuts but, again, would transfer 
enough money within accounts that there should be money to keep these 
important towers open in Missouri, in Kansas, in Maryland, in Alaska. 
Many States--almost every State has something that would be impacted by 
this contract tower section.
  This $50 million would be more than 95 percent of the estimated money 
necessary to be sure that the contract tower program and the cost-share 
program would stay in place. If someone was using one of these airports 
and bought a ticket to travel out of one of these airports, or if 
someone is a general aviation customer at one of these airports, the 
tower is one of the ways they would expect their tax dollars to be 
spent.
  What Senator Moran is trying to do is find a way to do that which 
still allows sequestration to occur and still keeps the spending below 
the spending cap in the law. It is exactly in sync with the spirit of 
the law as well as the letter of the law. This just tries to solve a 
problem.
  I wish to solve this problem in another way, by saying that Federal 
funds and employees who are involved in public safety have to be 
prioritized as people who show up, and we are going to move forward 
with that particular view legislatively if we cannot get it added to 
this spending bill which takes us from now until the end of the year.
  It is my hope we are not talking next year about how we get to the 
end of the year because we figured out how to get to the end of the 
year at the beginning of the year. That does not sound like an 
incredible goal for the Senate to have. But in a Senate that has not 
voted on a single appropriations bill for 16 months, updating the 
spending--5 of the 12 bills spend 70 percent of the money--in this 
continuing resolution is in the spirit of what our new chairman and our 
new ranking member want to do, and what the Senate should want to do, 
which is to deal with these things in the regular way.
  I would very much like to see Senator Moran's amendment included in 
what we are doing today. Just as importantly, I want to work with 
Senator Moran to see that as we look toward October 1, these kinds of 
issues don't have to become a regular part of our process, but the kind 
we look back on and say: Remember we failed to do our job the regular 
way and all the problems that created? Let's get back to regular order.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, before the Senator from Missouri leaves 
the floor, I wish to make a comment.
  First of all, I would personally like to thank him for all of his 
cooperation in trying to help move this bill forward within the Senate. 
It is characteristic of both him and the spirit in which Vice Chairman 
Shelby and I have undertaken this effort. We have tried to work 
together to get this bill disposed of in an orderly way in order to 
avoid a government shutdown. It is not the bill we like, but it is the 
bill that was presented to us. At the same time we are beginning to 
establish both a tone, a decorum, and a process so we can get back to 
regular order.
  I share the frustration of the Senator from Missouri in that we are 
dealing with a really big bill. The legislation that is pending here 
includes all 12 of the separate appropriations bills. It is very 
difficult to parse them out and to have rational conversations on 
matters of policy.
  I hope as we get to October 1, which is our fiscal New Year's Eve, we 
will have had an orderly disposal of all 12 of the bills. I truly 
believe we can agree on the process and procedure. We can and should 
have a debate on policy. There should be a debate on funding. I am not 
one who likes to contain debates or contain amendments, but the clock 
is ticking.
  We have two big issues before us. One issue is the funding for the 
rest of the fiscal year--fiscal 2013--and then we have the budget for 
fiscal 2014 which Senator Murray and Senator Sessions want to bring to 
the floor. I would like it if we could bring our bill to an orderly 
close and move to the budget debate so when we take our Easter-Passover 
break, if we do that, we will have shown the people of America that we 
can govern by disposing of two major policy considerations with 
decorum, dignity, civility, and pretty robust conversation.
  I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes 
as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I am here, once again, to sound an 
alarm about carbon pollution's damage to our oceans and to our climate. 
It is past time for Congress to wake up to our responsibility as 
elected officials and as stewards of this planet.
  The alarm has been sounded by the scientific community which 
overwhelmingly warns about the effects of our carbon dioxide emissions 
on our atmosphere and oceans. Our defense and intelligence communities 
warn of the threats posed by climate change to national security and 
international stability. Economists recognize the distortion of energy 
markets that overlook the true cost of carbon pollution, and government 
accountants now list climate change as a threat to our fiscal 
stability.
  Today, as we enter the Passover and Easter season and as Catholics 
the world over celebrate the selection of a new Pope, we turn to voices 
of faith. They too call upon us. They call upon us to heed the moral 
imperatives of protecting creation and seeking justice for all people. 
They call upon us to reflect on our faith, on our relationship to our 
world and each other and on our responsibility to future generations, 
and they call upon us, as President Obama reminded us in his inaugural 
address, to ``preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.''
  I lay no claim to religious authority, but I must believe this: 
Something that harms others, something that disturbs God's creation, 
something that stands on lies and greed--protecting that must not be 
consistent with God's will.
  In his 2010 World Day of Peace message entitled ``If You Want to 
Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,'' Pope Benedict XVI called upon the 
faithful:

       . . . [t]o protect the environment, and to safeguard 
     natural resources and the climate . . . while at the same 
     time taking into due account the solidarity we owe to those 
     living in the poorer areas of our world and to future 
     generations.

  In his inaugural mass this morning, Pope Francis said:

       Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of 
     responsibility in economic,

[[Page S1924]]

     political, and social life, and all men and women of good 
     will: let us be ``protectors'' of creation, protectors of 
     God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and 
     of the environment.

  As early news reports indicated, the new Pope chose his papal name 
Francis out of respect for Saint Francis's sense of obligation to God's 
creation. He noted in one of his very earliest comments that our 
relationship with God's creation is not so good right now. Of course, 
the Pope is not the only one.
  Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual 
leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, also reminds us to remember 
those most affected by climate change:

       Climate change is much more than an issue of environmental 
     preservation. Climate change constitutes a matter of social 
     and economic justice.

  In the United States, hundreds of evangelical leaders signed the 
Evangelical Climate Initiative statement which declares: ``Love of God, 
love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough 
reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change 
problem with moral passion and concrete action.''
  The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change affirms that ``the dire 
problems besetting our world will all be magnified manyfold by the 
predicted impacts of climate change.''
  Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama, urge both individual and 
institutional transformation to confront what they call ``the gravest 
challenge that humanity has ever faced: the ecological consequences of 
our own collective karma.''
  As Rev. Fletcher Harper of the interfaith coalition GreenFaith 
explains, all faith-based communities have a spiritual connection to 
the natural world. For example, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the internationally 
respected Egyptian Islamist, sees this connection as central to a 
faithful life. I will read:

       If we take seriously our role as God's deputies on Earth, 
     not just by benefiting from the environment, but by 
     preserving it and ensuring that other communities and 
     generations will have the same possibilities to drink clean 
     water, breathe fresh air, and live in a world that is in 
     harmony with itself and with ourselves, we may hope to be 
     among those who are beloved to God due to their care for his 
     creation.

  For many, faith compels work toward fairness and justice for all 
living beings, regardless of nationality or social status, and 
encourages us to consider the effects of our actions on future 
generations.
  For many individuals all over the world, the fight against climate 
change is a moral call. As Americans, we have a tradition of calling 
upon our own deeply held spiritual convictions to address our society's 
greatest moral challenges. People of faith are answering that call, 
from major denominational governing bodies down to local parishes and 
synagogues.
  Representative Henry Waxman and I, as part of our work on the 
Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, recently wrote to 300 groups to 
ask for their views on actions the Federal Government could take to 
reduce carbon pollution and strengthen our resiliency to climate 
change. A number of those organizations which answered are religious 
organizations.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record excerpts of 
letters from six of these groups.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and Jewish 
           Council for Public Affairs,
                                  New York, NY, February 20, 2013.
     Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse,
     Co-chairs, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change.
       Dear Senators Waxman and Whitehouse: Thank you for 
     requesting our input. The Coalition on the Environment and 
     Jewish Life (COEJL) and Jewish Council for Public Affairs 
     (JCPA) are pleased to respond to the Task Force's request for 
     input on federal policy responses to climate change.
       COEJL deepens and broadens the Jewish community's 
     commitment to the stewardship and protection of the earth. 
     COEJL has been an initiative at the Jewish Council for Public 
     Affairs since 1993. Through a network of 27 national 
     organizations (including all major denominations) and 125 
     community agencies, COEJL is mobilizing the Jewish community 
     to address today's energy and climate change crisis. Through 
     its role in the National Religious Partnership for the 
     Environment (NRPE), COEJL works closely with our colleagues 
     at the Evangelical Environmental Network, National Council of 
     Churches, and US Conference of Catholic Bishops. JCPA is the 
     public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community and 
     serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 
     14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of 
     Jewish community relations.
       Today, COEJL's priorities are to mobilize the Jewish 
     community to address the climate crisis through advocacy for 
     appropriate legislation as well as action to reduce our own 
     greenhouse gas emissions. COEJL challenges and supports 
     Jewish organizations to pursue sustainability in their 
     facilities, operations and programs in order to protect the 
     earth for future generations.
       COEJL's Jewish Energy and Environment Imperative, signed by 
     over 50 Jewish community leaders in 2012, states that ``the 
     need to transform the world's energy economy while addressing 
     global climate change is not only a religious and moral 
     imperative, it is a strategy for security and survival.'' 
     Next month, COEJL is bringing . . .
                                  ____

                                     Committee on Domestic Justice


                                         and Human Development

                                Washington, DC, February 21, 2013.
     Hon. Henry Waxman,
     Co-Chair, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Ranking 
         Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce.
     Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse,
     Co-Chair, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Chairman, 
         Subcommittee on Oversight, Senate Committee, Environment 
         and Public Works.
       Dear Representative Waxman and Senator Whitehouse: At the 
     request of Cardinal Dolan and as chairman of the Committee on 
     Domestic Justice and Human Development, I am responding to 
     your letter dated January 31, 2013. We thank you for your 
     leadership to address climate change and for the opportunity 
     to share our suggestions for effective measures to address 
     the moral and environmental challenges of climate change with 
     this Bicameral Task Force.
       Effective measures to address climate change are urgent and 
     necessary. Evidence continues to point toward significant 
     damaging impacts from climate related events in the United 
     States, across the globe, and particularly for the poorest 
     developing countries. Some poor nations and small island 
     states already experience these impacts as a matter of 
     survival for their people and cultures.
       People living in poverty in communities served by Catholic 
     Relief Services (CRS) already suffer the tragic consequences 
     of climate change. Increasingly limited access to water, 
     reduced crop yields, more widespread disease, and increased 
     frequency and intensity of droughts and storms all make the 
     lives of the world's poorest people even more precarious. 
     CRS, which supports projects in almost 100 countries, already 
     assists many communities to adapt to the consequences of 
     climate change.
       In signaling the moral dimensions of this issue and 
     advocating for the needs of the most vulnerable, the Catholic 
     Church brings a distinct perspective to this urgent matter. 
     Throughout his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI demonstrated 
     strong leadership on climate change in his teaching office 
     and through efforts to reduce the Vatican's own carbon 
     footprint. In his 2010 World Day of Peace Message, If You 
     Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation, he pointed to the 
     urgent moral need for solidarity with creation and those 
     affected by climate change. The pope insists, ``To protect 
     the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the 
     climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-
     defined rules . . . while at the same time taking into due 
     account the solidarity we owe to those living in the poorer 
     areas of our world and to future generations'' (no. 7).
       The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is 
     guided by the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and the 
     principles articulated in the USCCB's statement, Global 
     Climate Change: A Plea fbr Dialogue, Prudence and the Common 
     Good. This statement notes that, ``At its core, global 
     climate change is not about economic theory or political 
     platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group 
     pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the 
     one human family.'' As pastors and people of faith, we are 
     not experts on the science, technical remedies and particular 
     provisions of legislation or regulatory measures to address 
     climate change. Our efforts seek to link care for creation 
     and care for ``the least of these.'' As is noted in the 
     bishops' statement, ``Action to mitigate global climate 
     change must be built upon a foundation of social and economic 
     justice that does not put the poor at greater risk or place 
     disproportionate and unfair burdens on developing nations.''
       For the USCCB, a fundamental moral measure of any policy to 
     address climate change is how it affects the poor, in our 
     country and around the world. Well-designed policies can both 
     reduce the severity of climate change and protect the most 
     vulnerable. The USCCB supports strong leadership by the 
     United States in enacting policies that protect poor and 
     vulnerable people from bearing the impacts of climate change 
     and from the human and economic costs of any proposed 
     legislation to respond to climate change.
       The USCCB asks the U.S. Congress and the federal government 
     to consider the following principles as they shape policies 
     and measures to address climate change:

[[Page S1925]]

       Prudence requires us to act to protect the common good by 
     addressing climate change at home and abroad.
       The consequences of climate change will be borne by the 
     world's most vulnerable people and inaction will worsen their 
     suffering.
       Policies addressing global climate change should enhance 
     rather than diminish the economic situation of people in 
     poverty.
       Policies should create new resources to assist poor and 
     adversely affected communities to adapt and respond to the 
     effects of global climate change in the U.S. and in 
     vulnerable developing countries.
       Policies to address climate change should include measures 
     to protect poor and vulnerable communities from the health 
     impacts of climate change, including increased exposure to 
     climate-sensitive diseases, heat waves and diminished air 
     quality.
       Participation by local affected communities in shaping 
     policy responses to address climate change and programs for 
     adapting to climate change is essential.
       Technology should be made available to people in the most 
     vulnerable developing countries to help them adapt to the 
     effects of climate change (adaptation) and reduce their 
     greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation).
       We appreciate your commitment to address this urgent global 
     challenge confronting the human family. The USCCB stands 
     ready to work with you, members of Congress, and the 
     Administration to ensure that needed climate legislation both 
     cares for creation and protects ``the least of these.''
           Sincerely yours,
             Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire,
                                                         Chairman,
     Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
                                  ____



                            Evangelical Environmental Network,

                               New Freedom, PA, February 20, 2013.
     Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse,
     Hon. Henry Waxman,
     Co-chairs, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Capitol 
         Hill, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Waxman: On behalf 
     of the Board and staff of the Evangelical Environmental 
     Network (EEN) I write to thank you for your service to our 
     country, in particular for your leadership on climate change, 
     including your co-chairmanship of the Bicameral Task Force on 
     Climate Change. In your capacity as Co-chairs, you have asked 
     us to provide ``ideas for actions the federal government can 
     take to address climate change.'' This letter is our response 
     to your request.


                  A. The Great Moral Cause of Our Time

       We consider overcoming climate change by keeping the 
     temperature rise to 2 deg.C above preindustrial levels to be 
     the great moral cause of our time and the next great cause of 
     freedom. EEN has been seriously engaged on this issue for 
     over a decade, and it remains our top policy priority. We 
     believe overcoming climate change is part of what it means to 
     be a Christian today; it is part of loving God and our 
     neighbors as ourselves, of respecting the sanctity of life 
     given by God, including the unborn and those yet to be born.


                 B. Sowing the Seeds of Bipartisanship

       We note at the outset that one of the most important things 
     the federal government can do is to act in a manner that 
     enjoys or will eventually enjoy broad bi-partisan support to 
     ensure that whatever actions are taken will carry forward 
     into the future, regardless of which party holds power in the 
     legislative and executive branches. No one knows better than 
     we do how difficult this particular issue can be for the more 
     conservative members of our society, including many 
     Republicans. We know that bipartisanship on climate action is 
     not easy. But it is necessary.
       The simple truth is, those opposed to climate action have 
     done a good job of having climate change viewed as a 
     political issue, even a partisan one. We firmly believe that 
     the need to act to overcome climate change is a moral issue, 
     that it should be viewed morally rather than in a partisan 
     fashion. Science helps us understand that there is a problem 
     and the magnitude and urgency of the problem. The systemic 
     nature, the magnitude, and the urgency of the problem require 
     not only that individuals act in keeping with their values, 
     but that government at all levels must act--especially the 
     federal government. But the decision to act, both 
     individually and through our various levels of government, is 
     a moral one. This is a moral cause whose solutions require 
     government policies in keeping with freedom.
       As such, we implore you as statesmen to help move our 
     country forward in a manner that sow's the seeds of bi-
     partisanship to be reaped in the future. Let's work together 
     to stay out of the partisan trap set by opponents of climate 
     action.


                      C. We Must Act Starting Now

       Precisely because climate change is the great moral cause 
     of our time and the need for action is urgent, we cannot wait 
     to act until there is complete unanimity. Even in the absence 
     of strong bipartisan support today. actions must be taken now 
     to keep us within striking distance of avoiding 2 deg.C and 
     help us adapt to the impacts that will occur. But such 
     actions must always be taken with an eye towards eventual bi-
     partisan support, or that would lead to eventual bi-partisan 
     solutions.


              D. Action to Address the Causes: Mitigation

     1. Preference for Market-based Mechanisms
       As conservatives, we believe in using the least amount of 
     government power necessary to achieve the common good. Since 
     the issuing of the Evangelical Climate Initiative statement 
     in 2006, EEN has endorsed the use of market-based mechanisms 
     to put a price on carbon, thereby allowing the dynamics of 
     the marketplace to find the most efficient and least-costly 
     ways of overcoming climate change. As such, we favor cap-and-
     trade or a carbon tax as preferred choices over regulation 
     when it comes to addressing the causes, or climate 
     mitigation.
       But we are past time for serious action on climate 
     mitigation, and thus our country must move forward even if 
     Congress is currently unable to price carbon via a market-
     based mechanism.
     2. EPA Regulations, a Second Best Option
       Therefore, we strongly urge the Environmental Protection 
     Agency (EPA), under its authority contained in the Clean Air 
     Act (CAA), to issue a rule on existing sources that would be 
     finalized in 2014. We further urge the EPA to require strong 
     emissions reductions that keep our country's contribution in 
     striking distance of 2 deg.C, thereby enhancing freedom in 
     the future by reducing impacts. But, also in keeping with 
     freedom, we urge that states be given maximum flexibility as 
     to how emissions can be reduced.
       Strength of resolve, flexibility in implementation, infused 
     with freedom--these should be the watchwords for the EPA's 
     regulation of existing sources. Remaining steadfast on the * 
     * *
                                  ____

                                              Friends Committee on


                                         National Legislation,

                                Washington, DC, February 20, 2013.
       Dear Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Waxman: FCNL is delighted 
     that you have formed the bicameral Task Force on Climate 
     Change. We are thankful for your leadership on climate 
     disruption--the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced--
     and look forward to working with you to ensure that Congress 
     does its part to address it. We are honored to be invited to 
     respond to the questions you have posed.
       In recognition of the gravity and immensity of climate 
     disruption, the questions posed first merit contextual 
     background--much of which you know all too well--yet bears 
     repeating, for without it, the tangible paths of specific 
     negotiations and actions in present day circumstances can 
     turn in unexpected directions or end in inadequate places.


                                Context

       As you know, the scientific community feels the world is 
     unable to stay below the 2 degree Celsius target that the 
     global political establishment set in Copenhagen as the 
     maximum global temperature increase acceptable to avoid 
     serious and catastrophic disruptions of Earth's ecosystems 
     and in turn human societal systems. Some scientists, 
     observing and monitoring present day manifestations of 
     climate disruption, feel that this target is now too lenient. 
     Other scientists think it's too late to prevent catastrophic 
     consequences on human civilization even if world GHG 
     emissions halted right now.
       Yet human civilization is increasing global GHG emissions 
     in quantities exceeding the worst case scenario posited in 
     the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. The International Energy 
     Agency says we must keep in the ground \2/3\rds of the 
     world's proven fossil fuel reserves to prevent catastrophe, 
     yet some nations and corporations aggressively and 
     successfully pursue policies to the contrary. Few if any 
     national or international policies are in place to abate 
     these trends. Grim is the understated description of these 
     circumstances.
       What must be done?
       The ideal and mandatory goal is for the world to urgently 
     and dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions 
     (e.g., by transitioning to renewable energy sources, energy 
     efficient buildings and technologies, and protection of 
     carbon sinks like rainforests), and for significant resources 
     and expertise to be directed towards building the resilience 
     of human infrastructure and critical ecosystems to prepare 
     for and withstand the impacts of phenomena generated or 
     exacerbated by climate disruption. With regard to the first 
     aspect of this goal, some suggest reductions more ambitious 
     than that proposed in prior comprehensive climate 
     legislation, e.g., 80% reductions in global GHG emissions by 
     2025, not 2050. * * *
                                  ____

                                  National Council of the Churches


                                         of Christ in the USA,

                                Washington, DC, February 25, 2013.
     Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse,
     Co-Chair, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Chairman, 
         Subcommittee on Oversight, Committee on Environment and 
         Public Works.
     Hon. Henry Waxman,
     Co-Chair, Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Ranking 
         Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce.
       Dear Senator Whitehouse and Representative Waxman: The 
     National Council of Churches (NCC), on behalf of its 37 
     Christian denominations, is grateful for your leadership on 
     the issue of global climate change and the opportunity to 
     provide input regarding potential actions and legislation 
     that can respond to the global climate crisis. We are 
     appreciative of your continued commitment to bring this issue 
     to the forefront for both houses of Congress.

[[Page S1926]]

       The NCC, through its Eco-justice Program, has, for more 
     than 30 years, sought to address the issue of global climate 
     change with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 
     prevent the worst impacts of climate change, ensuring 
     economic protections for those living in poverty as we shift 
     to a low-carbon future, and preparing communities at home and 
     abroad for those climate impacts that we can no longer 
     prevent. In 2006, the NCC along with an interfaith coalition 
     developed its Faith Principles on Global Warming. This 
     document lifts up justice, stewardship, sustainability and 
     sufficiency as guiding tenets for our work and ministry on 
     climate change and has informed the following 
     recommendations.
       A central component of the NCC's efforts is focused on 
     minimizing our contribution to global climate change by 
     reducing heat-trapping pollutants both in our congregations 
     and at the national level. This is critical if we are to 
     achieve climate justice and prevent the worst impacts of 
     climate change.
       In order to effectively address climate change, the United 
     States must incorporate the principles of mitigation and 
     adaptation at every level and in every branch of government. 
     We currently have a number of administrative options 
     available to us through federal agencies that should be used 
     to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
       Currently there are a variety of policies that could be 
     both adopted and enforced by federal agencies would limit 
     greenhouse gas emissions. First, the Environmental Protection 
     Agency (EPA) should use its authority under the Clean Air Act 
     to address methane released from energy extraction processes 
     such as mountaintop removal coal mining and hydraulic 
     fracturing. Both processes release significant amounts of 
     methane, a gas often found in fossil * * *
                                  ____

                                          The Regeneration Project


                                     Interfaith Power & Light,

                             San Francisco, CA, February 20, 2013.
     Rep. Henry Waxman,
     Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse,
     Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Washington, DC.
       Dear Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Waxman: Thank you for forming 
     the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change and for including 
     Interfaith Power & Light in your request for ideas for 
     actions the federal government can take to address climate 
     change.
       As President Obama said in his inaugural speech, we are 
     ``commanded by God'' to preserve the planet. In his State of 
     the Union address he further said, ``for the sake of our 
     children and our future, we must do more to combat climate 
     change''. We are encouraged that the president sees this as a 
     moral issue. People of faith agree and support bold action. 
     The president's call for Congress to act opens an 
     opportunity, and we thank you for your leadership to advance 
     that action.
       In response to your questions we have listed some ideas for 
     your consideration, below.
       1. What actions or policies could federal agencies adopt, 
     using existing authorities, to reduce emissions of heat-
     trapping pollution?
       We urge Congress to support proposed EPA standards on 
     carbon pollution from new power plants and ensure timely 
     action to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants 
     and oil refineries.
       2. What actions or policies could federal agencies adopt 
     using existing authorities, to make our nation more resilient 
     to the effects of climate changed?
       A coordinated strategy involving FEMA, Department of 
     Agriculture, DOT, DOE, and EPA to help prepare communities 
     for the impacts of climate change could be productive. 
     Communities must become more resilient, more equipped for 
     storms and high heat events, droughts and transportation 
     challenges. Supporting local food infrastructure, cooling 
     centers for urban areas, and shelters with their own power 
     sources (preferably renewable) could help communities cope 
     with extreme weather events that disrupt food, transportation 
     and electricity infrastructure.
       Superstorm Sandy offered lessons in this regard, and could 
     be used as a case study to be better prepared for future 
     events. However, each community is different, and local 
     communities should be encouraged to come up with their own 
     preparedness strategies. A public campaign coming from the 
     government that declares the climate issue is real, and 
     response is urgent might move more Americans to understand 
     that we need to act. This should be framed as a moral issue, 
     not an environmental or scientific one.
       3. What legislation would you recommend Congress enact to 
     strengthen the ability of federal agencies to prevent and 
     respond to the effects of climate change?
       We suggest legislation to advance energy efficiency and 
     renewables and to upgrade the electrical grid which would 
     allow for more renewable energy to come to market. In order 
     to level the playing field between renewable energy and 
     traditional fossil fuels, we suggest legislation that would 
     limit the amount of subsidies to oil, coal and gas and 
     redirect these subsidies to renewables. Legislation could 
     also remove barriers to investment in renewable energy, so 
     that wind and solar and other clean energy development can 
     benefit from Master Limited Partnerships and Production Tax 
     Credits.
       The Department of Energy could also be directed to help 
     low-income communities and households, as well as nonprofits, 
     take advantage of energy efficiency and renewable energy 
     solutions by providing rebates rather than tax-credits. The 
     upfront cost is currently a major barrier to low-income 
     households, houses of worship, and other nonprofits that want 
     to weatherize, retrofit their facilities or install solar or 
     on-site wind.
       4. Additionally we suggest legislation to secure and direct 
     robust funding for international climate adaptation and 
     mitigation. The U.S. must maintain and increase our 
     investments in critical international actions to the impacts 
     that are already being felt, particularly in developing 
     countries and the most vulnerable communities. These 
     investments are essential to promoting global solutions to 
     climate change; protecting our national interests and 
     economic competitiveness, shared security, and development 
     goals; and enabling developing countries and vulnerable 
     communities to plan and prepare for climate-related disasters 
     and losses. In addition, the U.S. should ensure that all our 
     international investments promote low-carbon development 
     pathways and support climate resilience and preparedness, 
     especially for the most vulnerable communities. This is not 
     only our responsibility as a global leader, it is a moral 
     imperative.
       I want to assure you that our 40 state affiliates and 
     thousands of congregations view a swift and equitable 
     transition to a clean energy economy as our moral 
     responsibility, and are prepared to support your efforts 
     every step of the way. Thank you for your important work to 
     steward God's Creation and protect our children's future.
           With faith,
                                     The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham,
                                                        President.

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish life and 
the Jewish Council for Public Affairs wrote to us that ``the need to 
transform the world's energy economy while addressing global climate 
change is not only a religious and moral imperative; it is a strategy 
for security and survival.''
  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says:

       At its core, global climate change is not about economic 
     theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage 
     or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's 
     creation and the one human family.

  The bishops ask Congress to consider seven principles in shaping 
responsible climate change policies:
  No. 1, addressing global climate change means protecting the common 
good.
  No. 2, climate change will hit the most vulnerable communities the 
hardest.
  No. 3, we must seek solutions that enhance rather than diminish the 
economic standing of the poor.
  No. 4, new resources must be made available to poor communities to 
adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
  No. 5, we must protect vulnerable peoples from the negative human 
health effects of climate change.
  No. 6, local affected communities should have a voice in shaping the 
response to climate change.
  No. 7, technological solutions to reduce carbon emissions and adapt 
to a changing climate must be made available to the people of 
developing nations.
  That is from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  We heard from the Quaker Friends Committee on National Legislation. 
They wrote that climate change is ``the greatest challenge humanity has 
ever faced.''
  The Evangelical Environment Network urges immediate, bipartisan 
action saying:

       The simple truth is, those opposed to climate action have 
     done a good job of having climate change viewed as a 
     political issue, even a partisan one.
       We firmly believe that the need to act to overcome climate 
     change is a moral issue, that it should be viewed morally 
     rather than in a partisan fashion.

  The National Council of the Churches of Christ, representing 37 
Christian denominations, calls for a national policy that ``lifts up 
justice, stewardship, sustainability and sufficiency as guiding 
tenets.''
  Interfaith Power and Light, a national faith-based campaign against 
global warming, tells us that its ``[40] state affiliates and thousands 
of congregations view a swift and equitable transition to a clean 
energy economy as our moral responsibility, and are prepared to support 
[the Task Force's] efforts every step of the way.''
  These religious leaders and groups are, unlike Congress, not 
sleepwalking through history. Faith groups throughout America are 
acting on their sense of spirit, justice, and stewardship, and are 
mobilizing locally to combat and prepare for the effects of climate 
change.
  In my home State, Rhode Island Interfaith Power and Light provides

[[Page S1927]]

free energy audits, training workshops, and online information about 
implementing and maintaining energy efficiency programs for houses of 
worship. The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island's Community 
Relations Council is working to reduce the carbon footprint of Rhode 
Island synagogues by 14 percent by next year.
  In East Providence, RI, the Newman Congregational Church made some 
simple changes, such as installing occupancy sensors and better 
lighting, and experienced a 25-percent reduction in electricity costs.
  Last year, the Beneficent Congregational Church of the United Church 
of Christ in Providence undertook an ecumenical Lenten carbon fast. 
This spring, from Easter to Pentecost, the congregation will be taking 
part in the United Church of Christ's national campaign of volunteering 
and environmental advocacy.
  These urgent calls from religious leaders of so many faiths, and 
these conscientious actions by individual houses of worship, 
demonstrate the powerful connection men and women of faith feel to the 
wonders of creation and to our fellow humankind. For some, this 
connection derives from a connection to a higher power. For others, it 
is hope for future generations or a commitment to justice for all 
living things.
  I once heard a colleague here in Congress brush off the warnings of 
science about climate change saying: ``God's still up there,'' implying 
that there is no need to worry about climate change. Well, if God is 
still up there, what better use of the gifts of moral reasoning that we 
have been given as His people than to protect His creation--and one 
another--from harm?
  As we sing in the old hymn:

     Field and forest, vale and mountain,
     Flowering meadow, flashing sea,
     Chanting bird and flowing fountain,
     Call us to rejoice in Thee.

  We are each called in our own way to wake up and to do the right 
thing.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I want to comment on the comments of the 
Senator from Rhode Island.
  First of all, I know it is so heartfelt and so genuine, and I want to 
thank him for that. And I want to thank him for approaching it from a 
faith-based standpoint about this fragile ecosystem we live on called 
planet Earth. He has brought a perspective, with that chart he has of 
the Earth, that it is so beautiful and yet it looks so fragile. As a 
matter of fact, when you look at the rim of the Earth from the 
perspective in space, you see a thin film, and you realize that is what 
sustains all of life, which is the atmosphere. Even with the naked eye 
from space, you can see how we are messing it up.
  I could see, coming across Brazil, the color differentiation where 
they were destroying the Amazon. Then I could look to the east at the 
mouth of the Amazon and see the effects of the extra silt that 
discolored the waters of the Atlantic for hundreds of miles.
  So the Senator brings a great perspective, and I thank him for it.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, if I may respond by thanking the 
Senator from Florida for his kind remarks. He is the only Member of 
this body now or ever to have seen that view of our planet from the 
space capsule in which he looked down on Earth. He has spoken with 
enormous eloquence and passion about what that experience meant to him, 
both on the floor and to us in our caucus. I am very grateful for his 
kind remarks.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I want to say, first of all, we have 
had three astronaut Senators. We have Senator Bill Nelson, who just 
spoke so eloquently about the planet and the way he saw it, we have had 
our own very beloved and hero with the right stuff, Senator John Glenn, 
and also Senator Jake Garn, our wonderful colleague who retired many 
years ago but was also on the VA-HUD Committee. When I first came to 
the Senate, Senator Garn was one of the Members from the other side of 
the aisle who helped me learn the Senate and he gave me a tremendous 
introduction to the space program.
  In fact, we went, in a bipartisan way, to every space facility in 
this country so we could learn: what were the great assets we had, how 
we needed to fund them, and what was the future of the American space 
program.
  So we have had three Senators who were certified astronauts and 
actually went into space. We have had other Senators who have been in 
orbit. Some maybe still are out there somewhere.
  But I say to my two colleagues, with my feet firmly on the ground, we 
want to thank them for what they are doing to save the planet. Because 
of the advocacy talked about by the Senator from Rhode Island and the 
Senator from Florida, we, in the Commerce, Justice, Science bill, which 
I fund--which funds not only the American space program but also funds 
the National Science Foundation--we need to understand our great 
planet.
  Another great astronaut, Sally Ride--a very happy and blessed memory 
who passed away last year--was asked by NASA to do a strategic plan. 
What should NASA be looking at? Should we be going to Mars? Dare we go 
even further? Venus? What about, should we do it with human beings? 
Should we do it with robots?

  Dr. Ride came back with many suggestions, one of which was, she said 
we should study planet Earth as if it were a planet in our solar 
system. She said there was a great belief that there was even 
intelligent life on planet Earth, and we will continue to search for it 
from time to time here.
  But, really, Dr. Ride encouraged us to look at our own planet, and 
our own planet as if those from outside of our solar system were 
looking at us. Because she said that what every astronaut feels--and I 
have talked to many, along with Senators Nelson, Glenn, and Garn--is 
that when they go up and see the majestic universe that God has 
created, their greatest thrill is to look back on planet Earth, and how 
touching and how moving it is, and how we want to protect it.
  We need to protect it because there is life on this planet. There is 
the life of human beings, and there is the life of the bounty that God 
has given us in both the sea and on the land in agriculture or in 
others that help take care of us, and we are now called to take care of 
them.
  I pledge to them, if we can work together on a bipartisan basis, it 
is really not about global warming, it is about saving the planet. We 
need to look at all of our science across all of the subcommittees and 
say: What are the best practices that nourish us and nourish our planet 
and nourish the way we wish to continue to proceed in the 21st century?
  I believe science and technology leads the way. It is a great gift 
given to us: the gift of reason and the gift of discovery. So let's all 
work together, and I thank the Senators for what they said.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I thank the Senator.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, we are now a few minutes before we are 
going to recess for the luncheon hour.


                              Pope Francis

  I want to comment briefly to say for those of us of the Roman 
Catholic faith this is, indeed, a great day. We now have a Pope who has 
been formally invested as the leader of our church: Pope Francis.
  We know there are many Members of the Senate who would have liked to 
have gone to that investiture. But duty called and we are here bringing 
to a close our debate on the continued funding resolution to make sure 
we are funded through fiscal 2013 in an orderly, agreed-upon way and 
move to our big budget debate.
  But Pope Francis is calling us today, as he has in other sermons, to 
think about the poor, the elderly, the children, and the vulnerable in 
our society, as well as the very planet. So we say to His Holiness, we 
really wish him well. We wish him well in the ministry we believe he 
will provide to the world. But we should also take heed to this message 
about the children, about the elderly, and about those who are 
vulnerable populations.
  Again, we think what we have in here, our step, is an appropriations 
that will guarantee funding through fiscal year 2013. I do not want to 
link it to His Holiness's message. We wish him

[[Page S1928]]

well. But I also wish now we could do what we could in these closing 
hours. We have been guaranteed 30 hours of debate--we have used 
probably about 5--that we look at how we can bring this debate to a 
close in an agreed-upon way on both sides of the aisle so we can then 
move on to the budget debate of fiscal year 2014.
  I am sorry, I did not know the Senator from Kansas was here. We will 
not recess until the Senator has a chance to speak.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Maryland, my 
chairwoman.
  I spoke last night on an amendment I have continued to ask be made in 
order on this continuing resolution. As I indicated last night, we are 
going to spend in excess of $1 trillion in this bill, and I am hoping 
that my amendment, and perhaps others, could be made in order yet 
during this postcloture 30-hour period of time.
  One of the concerns that has been raised is whether, if my amendment 
were adopted, this would create difficulties in the House of 
Representatives for the final passage of the continuing resolution. I 
am pleased to be on the floor, particularly with the chairwoman being 
here, the Senator from Maryland, to indicate that I now have 
indications from the Speaker's Office that they would have no objection 
to the amendment I continue to offer, that I hope will be made in 
order, that I hope a vote will be taken on related to the air traffic 
control towers.
  Also in the period of time since I last spoke, we have numerous 
Members of the Senate who have now joined as cosponsors of this 
amendment. The number is now 14 Democrats and 12 Republicans. The 
number continues to grow. And I have had a number of conversations with 
particularly Democratic Members of the U.S. Senate who indicate to me: 
Why can't your amendment be made in order?
  So I am hoping, as Members of the Democratic Caucus and the 
Republican Conference meet during this 12:30 lunch period, that perhaps 
there is still an opportunity for this issue to be resolved.
  I would indicate once again that, while I listened to the suggestion 
of the majority leader this morning that we move to the budget during 
this 30-hour postcloture timeframe, in the absence of some agreement 
related to this amendment, I will object to moving to the budget until 
the 30 hours expire.
  I also have indicated publicly that I will object to the next 30 
hours--the next opportunity in which unanimous consent is requested as 
we get back to the base bill. It is not my nature to be an 
obstructionist. This is an amendment that matters greatly. It has been 
determined by the Parliamentarian to be germane and, in my view, ought 
to be made in order.
  Just as the chairwoman talked about bipartisan efforts, this is one 
that clearly is bipartisan and apparently bicameral. So I am hoping to 
utilize the rights as a Member of the Senate to see that there still is 
an opportunity for this amendment to be considered. I would say that 
the reason this matters so much in this timeframe is that I am of the 
view, and I think it is shared by many, in the absence of this 
amendment being adopted and included in this continuing resolution, and 
the continuing resolution being passed, that the control towers will be 
eliminated on April 7, and there will be little if any opportunity for 
the Appropriations Committee then to restore funding to, in a sense, a 
program that no longer exists.
  There are many of the topics I share with my colleagues here about 
the consequences of the sequester. I am willing to work with them to 
see that we move money from one place to another to solve that problem. 
In the absence of that happening, there is still an opportunity for the 
Appropriations Committee and ultimately the Congress in the 
appropriations process to solve those problems. But should April 7 
come, the 179-plus contract towers are eliminated. Then it seems highly 
unlikely to me that any appropriations process would include money for 
a program that is no longer in existence.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I appreciate the tenacity and 
persistence of the Senator from Kansas in being an advocate for his 
constituents. I would hope that during this noon hour--I can give no 
promises. There are leadership concerns on both sides of the aisle. But 
we have to acknowledge the Senator is a real fighter for what he 
believes in. We admire that. How that gets translated will be subject 
to further discussion during this noon hour.

                          ____________________