Monday, May 01, 2006

Senate Live - May 1, 2006

I'm just reviewing last Thursday's Congressional Record for tidbits, mostly to lay out what is scheduled to happen tomorrow. Wyden's filibuster occupied the vast majority of Thursday's action, with Senate Republican's holding firm to refuse his amendment to be put in queue for "a fair, up or down vote."

68 . ORDERS FOR MONDAY, MAY 1, 2006

We have a lot to do before we complete action on this crucial funding bill. In order to make sure that we can get the bill finished in a timely manner, I filed cloture a few moments ago. That cloture vote will occur on Tuesday morning.

I expect cloture will be invoked.

As we all know, there will be a number of other amendments that will be dealt with.

We will also be voting on Monday at approximately 5:30. Several district judges have been reported by the Judiciary Committee, and we anticipate voting on at least one of those on Monday.

H.R. 4939 - Supplemental Appropriations bill

The amendments tend to stack up on the day they are voted on, and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), I don't have a current list of the regular order.


Selections from Congressional Record

5 . SCHEDULE

FRIST: ... I remind all Senators that I filed a cloture motion on the bill [H.R. 4939] last week and that vote will occur tomorrow morning. In accordance with that cloture motion, all first-degree amendments should be filed at the desk by 2:30 this afternoon. We already have a large number of pending amendments that will need to be disposed of. If we are able to invoke cloture on the bill tomorrow morning, then it is my expectation to finish the bill no later than Wednesday of this week. Therefore, we will have rollcall votes each day of this week as we complete work on this appropriations bill.

Our first rollcall vote this week will occur this afternoon at 5:30. We will have a vote on a district judge who was reported by the Judiciary Committee last week. This week we may also consider the tax relief extension conference report, if that conference report becomes available. There is a 10-hour statutory limit on that measure, and we will begin debate under that time limit as soon as that conference report arrives from the House.

6 . ENERGY

FRIST: ... Last Thursday, we unveiled our proposal to offer immediate short-term relief for American consumers, as well as a broader strategy to increase America's energy supply and to reduce our demand for oil.

We propose giving taxpayers a $100 gas tax holiday rebate check so their hard-earned money goes back into their pockets instead of into their gas tanks. ... Our proposal includes strong Federal antiprice-gouging protection. ...

The package we have introduced promotes the development of alternative fuels in the use of hybrids and other advanced technology vehicles. It also gives Secretary Mineta the authority to issue a rule looking at fuel economy standards for passenger cars. ...

We need to open a portion of the Reserve to environmentally sensitive exploration and get that oil to the market. There is no question that tapping into this domestic resource will bring down oil prices.

We also need to expand our refinery capacity. ... We presented a strong package that will give consumers relief at the pump and will bring down the high cost of gas. I am hopeful we will vote on this package in the coming days.

10 . SINGING OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

ALEXANDER: ... And that is why today I will introduce, along with Senator Frist, Senator McConnell, and Senators Stevens and Isakson and Roberts, and I hope others, a resolution that affirms that statements of national unity, especially the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, ought to be recited in English.

By Mr. ALEXANDER (for himself, Mr. FRIST, Mr. MCCONNELL, Mr. STEVENS, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. SHELBY, Mr. BUNNING, Mr. SANTORUM, and Mr. TALENT):

S. Res. 458. A resolution affirming that statements of national unity, including the National Anthem, should be recited or sung in English; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

11 . MAKING EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS

[I see that Wyden got his amendment added to the bill. LOL. Here is the list of amendments as of yesterday afternoon, and it should represent nearly all, if not literally all of the pending amendments to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill.]

A bill (H.R. 4939) making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.

Pending:

McCain/Ensign amendment No. 3616, to strike a provision that provides $74.5 million to States based on their production of certain types of crops, livestock, and/or dairy products, which was not included in the administration's emergency supplemental request.

McCain/Ensign amendment No. 3617, to strike a provision providing $6 million to sugarcane growers in Hawaii, which was not included in the administration's emergency supplemental request.

McCain/Ensign amendment No. 3618, to strike $15 million for a seafood promotion strategy that was not included in the administration's emergency supplemental request.

McCain/Ensign amendment No. 3619, to strike the limitation on the use of funds for the issuance or implementation of certain rulemaking decisions related to the interpretation of ``actual control'' of airlines.

Warner amendment No. 3620, to repeal the requirement for 12 operational aircraft carriers within the Navy.

Coburn amendment No. 3641 (Divisions IV through XIX), of a perfecting nature.

Vitter amendment No. 3627, to designate the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita as HUBZones and to waive the Small Business Competitive Demonstration Program Act of 1988 for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita.

Vitter/Landrieu modified amendment No. 3626, to increase the limits on community disaster loans.

Vitter modified amendment No. 3628, to base the allocation of hurricane disaster relief and recovery funds to States on need and physical damages.

Vitter modified amendment No. 3648, to expand the scope of use of amounts appropriated for hurricane disaster relief and recovery to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Operations, Research, and Facilities. [Passed at close of day] Wyden amendment No. 3665, to prohibit the use of funds to provide royalty relief for the production of oil and natural gas.

Santorum modified amendment No. 3640, to increase by $12,500,000 the amount appropriated for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to increase by $12,500,000 the amount appropriated for the Department of State for the Democracy Fund, to provide that such funds shall be made available for democracy programs and activities in Iran, and to provide an offset.

Salazar/Baucus amendment No. 3645, to provide funding for critical hazardous fuels and forest health projects to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires and mitigate the effects of widespread insect infestations.

Vitter amendment No. 3668, to provide for the treatment of a certain Corps of Engineers project.

Burr amendment No. 3713, to allocate funds to the Smithsonian Institution for research on avian influenza.

Coburn (for Obama/Coburn) amendment No. 3693, to reduce wasteful spending by limiting to the reasonable industry standard the spending for administrative overhead allowable under Federal contracts and subcontracts.

Coburn (for Obama/Coburn) amendment No. 3694, to improve accountability for competitive contracting in hurricane recovery by requiring the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to approve contracts awarded without competitive procedures.

Coburn (for Obama/Coburn) amendment No. 3695, to improve financial transparency in hurricane recovery by requiring the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to make information about Federal contracts publicly available.

Coburn (for Obama/Coburn) amendment No. 3697, to improve transparency and accountability by establishing a Chief Financial Officer to oversee hurricane relief and recovery efforts.

Menendez amendment No. 3675, to provide additional appropriations for research, development, acquisition, and operations by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, for the purchase of container inspection equipment for developing countries, for the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, and for the training of Customs and Border Protection officials on the use of new technologies.

Chambliss/Isakson amendment No. 3702, relating to the comprehensive review of the procedures of the Department of Defense on mortuary affairs.

Murray (for Harkin) amendment No. 3714, to increase by $8,500,000 the amount appropriated for Economic Support Fund assistance, to provide that such funds shall be made available to the United States Institute of Peace for programs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to provide an offset.

Conrad/Clinton amendment No. 3715, to offset the costs of defense spending in the supplemental appropriation.

Levin amendment No. 3710, to require reports on policy and political developments in Iraq.

Schumer/Reid amendment No. 3723, to appropriate funds to address price gouging and market manipulation and to provide for a report on oil industry mergers.

Schumer amendment No. 3724, to improve maritime container security.

Murray (for Kennedy) amendment No. 3716, to provide funds to promote democracy in Iraq.

Murray (for Kennedy) amendment No. 3688, to provide funding for the covered countermeasures process fund program.

Cornyn amendment No. 3722, to provide for immigration injunction reform.

Cornyn amendment No. 3699, to establish a floor to ensure that States that contain areas that were adversely affected as a result of damage from the 2005 hurricane season receive at least 3.5 percent of funds set aside for the CDBG Program. [Community Development Block Grants]

Cornyn amendment No. 3672, to require that the Secretary of Labor give priority for national emergency grants to States that assist individuals displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

Murray (for Byrd) amendment No. 3708, to provide additional amounts for emergency management performance grants.

--- Amendments ADDED during the day ---

[97 amendments were offered, Nos. 3728 to 3824, and only the following 3 were not "ordered to lie on the table."]

SA 3769. Mr. DOMENICI (for himself and Mr. REID), hurricane reconstruction
SA 3774. Mrs. HUTCHISON (pork for Mississippi - agreed to on a voice vote later in the day)
SA 3791. Mrs. HUTCHISON (for herself, Mr. CORNYN, and Ms. LANDRIEU), education in hurricane damaged parts of the country - agreed to "in empty Senate at the end of the day"


[Looks like Mary-Mary (Landrieu) is getting a gig chunk of money for NOLA levees, at President Bush's request. So don't be blaming the DEMs for this increase, it's a GOP initiative. It may represent money well spent, but I am sure there is difference of opinion on that point.]

AMENDMENT NO. 3769

DOMENICI: ... On April 25, the administration requested an additional $2.2 billion for the following:

$1.6 billion for replacing I-walls with T-walls or L-Walls in New Orleans--roughly 30 miles. Replacing the I-walls with stronger T-Walls or L-Walls is necessary to improve the performance of the levee system due to the failure of the I-Walls during Katrina;

$495.3 million for t he Federal share of raising the levee height in New Orleans to the newly determined 100-year flood plain level. The current cost share mandated by 33 U.S.C. 2213 requires a 3 5 percent local cost share;

$215 million for incorporating certain non-Federal levees by replacing or modifying these existing levees on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Incorporating, replacing or modifying these non-Federal levees will provide a hurricane protection system commensurate with the level of protection authorized for the Federal New Orleans to Venice hurricane protection project in order to protect the evacuation route. This is an increase above the original February request of $155 million.

The President's original $1.46 billion request will provide critical storm protection to New Orleans and is still necessary despite the new request.


[All too-typical speeches by Senators Reid, Kennedy, Boxer and Durbin. Useful in that they captures the essence of the objections to the War in Iraq, albeit without fleshing them out into detail taking points.] HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES

Mr. REID. ... I mention our troops and these fallen Nevadans for a reason. Today, our country marks an unfortunate anniversary: the 3-year anniversary of President Bush's donning a flight suit to declare ``Mission Accomplished'' in Iraq.

President Bush's dramatic landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln will be marked historically as a public relations stunt gone horribly wrong. ...

On that day 3 years go, President Bush also said ``a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld--that America is grateful for a job well done.''

Three years later, the debate is not whether Rumsfeld has carried out a job well done but whether he is even the man for the job. Eight retired generals and millions of Americans have called for him to be replaced as Secretary of Defense.

We are now spending more than $10 billion a month in Iraq for operations, and people have seen more than a 100-percent monthly increase from when the war began. After passage of the supplemental, our commitment to Iraq will stand at far more than $300 billion, and it is moving higher faster and faster and faster.

Americans have come to accept what Bush said 3 years ago was wrong. It was false. And they understand that President Bush's refusal to level with them over the last 3 years has made the mission of keeping America safe even more difficult.

But 3 years later, Americans are still counting on him to accomplish the mission. This is not a matter for future Presidents, as he has said. This is President Bush's war, and we need to hear him explain how the mission is going to be completed. The mission has not been ``accomplished.''

In the months ahead, President Bush must give the American people and our warfighters what he failed to give us on May 1, 2003--real answers and a real plan.

He needs to step up and explain his strategy for bringing the conflict to an end so our troops can begin to come home. As Congress and the American people have demanded, and Congress has passed into law, 2006 must be the year of significant transition in Iraq. ...

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, the Senate is currently debating an appropriations bill that provides $59 billion to continue the Bush administration's failed policy in Iraq. This funding will bring the total bill for the war in Iraq to $320 billion and still counting. ...

I have offered an amendment with Senators BIDEN and LEAHY to provide $96 million so that the U.S. nongovernmental organizations can continue their important work of promoting democracy in Iraq.

Organizations such as the National Democratic Institute; the International Republican Institute; the National Endowment for Democracy; the IFES, formerly known as the International Foundation for Election Systems; the International Research and Exchanges Board; and America's Development Foundation are well respected throughout the world. Each has substantial operations in Iraq, and their work is essential to the administration's goal of building a stable democracy in Iraq. ...

[Check out these organizations. Do it. click here for an example, and read on. Kennedy is hip deep with the forces of globalization, American style]

Mrs. BOXER. ... But I have to say this war, as we know today--and the President said 3 years ago ``Mission Accomplished''--this is not exactly an emergency that he didn't know about, and the war should be paid for in the budget and not in an emergency supplemental. ...

[An interesting rant, and without looking up the facts, I can tell you that Boxer is misrepresenting the facts of history to make a point the facts don't support ...]

Now we look at what is happening in the refinery business, and we see they are not building any new refineries because they are monopolies. They do not want to increase the supply. They like it the way it is.

How do I know this? It is pretty clear. California has changed its rules. We have a streamlined procedure now put into place by the Governor and the legislature. Please come in, please build refineries, please do them in an environmentally sound way. Nothing.

How do I know what is happening? This is it. Shell Oil announced that they were closing down a refinery in Bakersfield about a year ago or more. We were very upset, Senator Feinstein and I, the congressional delegation, across party lines, the Governor, everyone asking: Why are you closing down a refinery that produces 2 percent of California's gasoline?

The answer came back in a letter to me: Senator, we are not making any money in this refinery. We are losing money. Senator, no one wants to buy it. We have put it up there for sale, and we are closing it down, period.

We did not believe it. We had learned the lesson of Enron, which is to reduce supply, so we dug around, and we went to the FTC, this Bush administration FTC. Do you know what they did for us, despite all their talk? Nothing. They did nothing. Zero.

So we went to the attorney general of the State of California, Bill Lockyer. He said: Let me see what is going on. Guess what he found out. The refinery that they said was making no money was making record profits. Yes, there were many people who were interested in purchasing it. Guess what. It has been sold, and it is still operational.

So when I asked the oil company executives from Shell about this at the Commerce Committee hearing, they did not tell the truth. They said: We are so delighted we sold this. They never told the truth.

MARIA CANTWELL and I tried to get them sworn in to take the oath, to swear to tell the truth, but Senator Stevens said: Not on my watch; we are not swearing in these people. So they got away with lying to the committee. ...

[And something for her weak-sister comrades, Snowe and Collins ...]

Finally, another piece of legislation, and I would love to have it in the bill if I could, is to say that in the future if any oil company gives a salary, a bonus, a retirement package in excess of $50 million, they have to make a like contribution to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program because we know that many people depend on that LIHEAP program. Even though LIHEAP deals with home heating and cooling costs, not with gas prices, that would be a fair thing to do.

[Durbin's speech appears later in the record, at 17 . STRATEGY IN IRAQ]

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, as we reflect on the Presidency of George W. Bush, there were moments of high drama. Certainly, the moment of highest drama in my recollection was when the President visited the site of the 9/11 attack. When he went to New York and walked through the smoke-filled rubble with the firefighters and the workmen still digging through, it was a moment that I am sure will endure. It will be remembered.

If you had to then select another moment in his Presidency that will be remembered, it was a moment 3 years ago today when the President of the United States boarded a Naval fighter plane and flew to land on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln. ...

We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our Nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it.

General Newbold is joined in this call for change by GEN Anthony Zinni; MG Paul D. Eaton; MG John Batiste; MG Charles Swannack, Jr.; and MG John Riggs, all retired.

If you look at the résumés of these men, you will find the very best in service to our country. General Eaton, who headed up training for the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004--what did he say? I quote him:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America's Armed Forces. ...

Recently, Secretary of State Rice stated the United States has made thousands of ``tactical errors.'' Secretary Rumsfeld challenged her, and said: ``I don't know what she is talking about.'' ...

After 3 years of war, Secretary Rumsfeld does not know what the Secretary of State is talking about when she says that thousands of mistakes were made.

We need someone who can recognize the reality before him and acknowledge that we need to change course in Iraq.

Last fall, the Senate, by a vote of 79 to 19, declared calendar year 2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces.

What does that mean? It is time for the Iraqis to stand and govern their own nation. It is time for the Iraqi people to stand and defend their own nation. How many years have we been promised that Iraqi soldiers and police were this close to replacing American soldiers? You have a right to be skeptical because we have yet to see the first American soldier replaced by an Iraqi soldier taking their place, standing guard for their own country.


[These amendments passed with little or no debate.]

The amendment (No. 3676) was agreed to.
The amendment (No. 3711) was agreed to.
The amendment (No. 3774) was agreed to.
The amendment (No. 3702) was agreed to.
The amendment (number 3644) was agreed to.

Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, that concludes the list of amendments that had been cleared on both sides of the aisle.

[Later on (15 . MAKING EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS), more amendments were agreed to]

The amendment (No. 3597) was agreed to.
The amendment [3661], as modified, was agreed to.
The amendment (No. 3663), as modified, was agreed to.

[Later on, (45 . MAKING EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS), some of the above amendments were passed on a voice vote, and two additional amendments were taken off the table, and passed by unanimous consent "in a near-empty Senate"]

Amendment 3630 To require the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to report to Congress on the status of its 2006 Atlantic hurricane season disaster response plan.
Amendment 3631 To require monthly reporting regarding the Disaster Loan Program of the Small Business Administration

40 . TEXT OF AMENDMENTS

[Most of the 97 amendments offered were ordered to lie on the table. The "Text of Amendments" section in the record is lengthy, and contains a substantial amount of political posturing.]

SA 3766. Mr. KERRY submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 4939, making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM IRAQ

Sec. __. (a) The President shall withdraw the United States Armed Forces from Iraq at the earliest practicable date if a national unity government is not formed in Iraq by May 22, 2006. ...

45 . MAKING EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order to resume the supplemental appropriations bill; provided further that the following amendments be considered and agreed to: Nos. 3791; 3648, as modified; 3630; and 3631.

I further ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table and the Senate resume a period of morning business.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

48 . MEASURE PLACED ON CALENDAR--H.R. 5020

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I understand there is a bill at the desk that is due for a second reading.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

A bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the U.S. Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes.

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule XIV, I object to further proceeding.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard. The bill will be placed on the calendar.

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