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Public Statements

Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2003

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
SENATE
PAGE S999
Jan. 16, 2003

MAKING FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2003

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I commend my colleague from West Virginia for his leadership in providing the resources needed to enhance our national security.

    One of the most important aspects of the Byrd amendment is the additional resources it will provide to protect America from the threat of bioterrorism. The anthrax attack of a year ago has made all Americans aware of the grave threat posed by biological weapons. We know, for example, that terrorists bent on savage destruction may well have access to the smallpox virus, one of the deadliest plagues ever to threaten humanity.

    Faced with this obvious danger, it is essential for Congress to provide adequate funds to our hospitals, medical professionals, and communities. They need to act now to prepare for this threat.

    In a few days, thousands of health and emergency workers will be asked to roll up their sleeves and be vaccinated against smallpox. There is a cleave need to inoculate health care workers, so that they can quickly vaccinate millions of Americans in the event of an outbreak, as a CDC advisory committee has recommended to the White House.

    We need to protect the safety of those who receive the vaccine. We need to provide financial assistance to the communities that will bear the expense of giving the vaccine to thousands of workers. We need to provide compensation to those who are injured by the vaccine and guarantee their medical care.

    Smallpox vaccination must be coupled with effective education and safety programs to minimize the risks to those receiving the vaccine and to their communities. The health of those receiving the vaccine must be closely monitored. Recipients of the vaccine must be educated about its risks and potential benefits. All of these essential elements cost money.

    The Nation's health departments and hospitals should not have to implement the smallpox plan by taking from other vital health priorities or risking their financial viability.

    Just this month we've seen new figures that the current death toll from the flu has surpassed that from HIV/AIDS. Senior citizens around the Nation may have to go without flu vaccinations if local health departments are spending their immunization budgets on smallpox. Women may not receive needed screenings for breast cancer because scarce funds are being siphoned away. Certainly, we must enhance our homeland's security, but we must not purchase security at unacceptable price of missed immunizations or reduced care for those most vulnerable.

    The cost of implementing the smallpox plan should not be reducing efforts to enhance our preparedness for other forms of biological attack. Public health organizations report that many communities are thinking of following the example of Seattle and Arlington, VA, where almost all other bioterrorism preparedness activities have been suspended in order to free up funds for smallpox vaccinations. The Massachusetts State Laboratory Institute has had to divert $110,000 from preparedness planning, $165,000 from epidemiology, $125,000 from expanding disease tracking networks, and $261,000 from health education and information, all to fund the new smallpox plan.

    These diversions of funding may be just the tip of the iceberg. Although the direct costs of the smallpox plan are large, the indirect costs may be even larger. Even with the best safety measures, some individuals will be injured by the vaccine. Military personnel receiving smallpox shots can rest assured that anyone injured by the vaccine will get the best of medical care. We should do no less for the civilian heroes who put their lives on the line to safeguard our security. It would be shameful for the Federal Government to encourage any American to receive the vaccine, and then deny proper care for the consequences.

    Yet this is just what the current plan would allow. Instead of assuring medical care to vaccine recipients, the plan relies on the uncertain coverage of the private insurance market or workers' compensation programs to provide care. If a health care worker who volunteers for vaccination has no coverage or has inadequate coverage, they are out of luck, and that is wrong.

    Nor does the plan provide an assured system of compensation for those who are injured by the vaccine or for health workers who must take days away from work to protect their patients from the risk of accidental transmission of the live virus in the vaccine. Instead, the plan forces claimants to sue the U.S. Government in Federal courts, where they face the arduous task of proving that their injuries were due to negligence.

    The Byrd amendment takes the steps that are necessary to deal with these problems. The distinguished Senator from West Virginia provides almost $1 billion to help communities around the Nation implement the administration's smallpox plan. I urge my colleagues to approve the Byrd amendment and devote adequate resources to protecting not only safety of the Nation, but the health and safety of those who defend it.

 BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

SEC. __. RESTORATION OF FUNDING FOR EDUCATION.

     Section 601 of Division N shall not apply with respect to programs funded under title III of Division G.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, as all of us in this Chamber understand, and perhaps those American citizens who are watching this debate do not understand, this matter that we are considering is also the instrument by which we are going to fund the support for educational programs. The amendment which we offer is directed primarily at the title I parts of the educational programs. It also has an important addition in terms of the Pell provisions which make such a difference to children who have considerable ability but lack financial support.

    I wish to review very briefly where we have been in terms of the funding of education. The Federal role in the area of education has been limited but very important. It goes back to the early mid-1960s when the Congress and the President at that time made a decision that it was in the national interest to try to provide some help and assistance to the neediest and poorest children of this country, recognizing that education was a local and State responsibility. And they continue to remain the responsibilities for the localities and the States. But, nonetheless, the issue of very poor children in our society was a matter of national interest and national concern, and so we tried to fashion an educational program to provide assistance so those children would not be left out and left behind.

    That was, basically, the reason for the development of the title I program in the mid-1960s.

    In the 1960s, as that went through the Senate and eventually went to the House of Representatives, the formula for the implementation of that program spread those resources far and wide. Rather than being really targeted on the neediest children, it was spread among a broader area. The actual resources that went to aid the neediest children was very little, sometimes $100 or $200, but essentially small, generally speaking.

    In the review of the effectiveness of title I, we have seen over a long period of time that hasn't produced the kinds of results that many of us had hoped would be achieved. We have seen a number of different steps that were taken during the Clinton administration where we had a variety of different pieces of legislation, for instance, the Goals 2000, which provides help and assistance to localities through the States. That was the legislation that helped develop the concept of standards which has been so important and embraced in the No Child Left Behind bill, with the idea that States would develop the kinds of standards they thought necessary for each grade in that particular State.

    What No Child Left Behind tried to do was say these are the standards established by the States, this is the curriculum for teaching those standards, and these are the tests to try to make sure those children are learning what was intended they should learn, and then these are the supplementary services to try to help those children who are falling further behind.

    That was the concept in the No Child Left Behind bill. Nonetheless, the good work of the Goals 2000 made an important downpayment.

    There was also the efforts of the School-to-Work Program to assist some of the children who might have been dropping out. We have close to 500,000 children a year who drop out of school, who think they can not make it academically. This program provided help and assistance when they went from school to work. We have had strong success in a number of different areas, and continue to, even though the legislation has expired.

    We had additional educational funds in the AmeriCorps and in the direct loan program to try to provide help and assistance to children in higher education—a whole range of HOPE scholarships, and lifelong learning scholarships for educational efforts during that period of time.

    Nonetheless, if we look back over the focus and attention of where this institution has been in funding educational programs, it is not a strong record.

    I wish to review very quickly as we put into perspective the needs of this amendment, which adds some $6 billion to the overall omnibus bill, meaning we would have $16 billion in the title I program and which effectively is what our conference committee agreed to when we reported out and accepted the No Child Left Behind bill that the President signed.

    In my opening comments, looking at the figures, I mention to the body the amendment that was offered by my friends and colleagues from Connecticut and Maine. During authorization of the No Child Left Behind bill, we took the time to consider the Dodd-Collins amendment which would have provided $18 billion. That was agreed to by 79 Members of this body. It had 29 Republican votes supporting that increase of $18 billion as the total amount in title I. This is $16 billion. We are going to find out this afternoon whether there is that kind of commitment so clear from the debate and discussion and vote that we had on May 3 which provided 79 votes in favor of that, with virtually no Democrats voting in opposition to it.

    Now we have a chance for real money. This is real money. That is the authorization. Now we have the chance to implement what we voted for some time ago in terms of the No Child Left Behind bill.

    As we look over the last years in terms of where we are and what the record is in this body on various educational funding, the reason this is so important is that we find there has been a strong element in this body that believes there is no role whatsoever for the Federal Government in the field of education. I understand that. I respect that. I differ with it. I think most parents want to see their children learn. They want to see smaller class sizes as we have seen in recognizing the distinguished Presiding Officer's State of Tennessee which has moved to get smaller class sizes. They want well-qualified teachers. They want afterschool programs to help and assist the students who are falling further behind. They want that certainly. They need that kind of a program. They want some help and assistance for limited-English-speaking students to help and assist those individuals. They want to make sure when these children, who may come from limited resources, also have an opportunity to continue their education in terms of help and assistance with either Pell grants and loan programs. They work hard during the course of the summer and they may want to take out some loans to continue their education. I think that is what the American people expect.

    There should be no mistake about it. In this body, we have had a long, hard battle in getting adequate funding in education.

    In considering the No Child Left Behind bill, we have a great sense of expectation for the children in this country. No Child Left Behind said to the young people in this country: We will do our best to give you a well-qualified teacher, smaller classrooms, and help and assistance when you need it. And we are going to be committed to trying to assist you to continue your education.

    We put strong responsibility on the children. We put strong responsibility on the schools that if they are failing, they have to reorganize or restructure themselves or there will be action by the States. We put responsibility on the parents with the report card to inform parents how their children are performing. We have even involved the parents in a variety of educational alternatives, all of which have been recommendations and experiences which we have found to have benefited the children left behind.

    We have to ask ourselves today, who is failing in meeting their responsibilities? It is right here in the Congress of the United States that we are failing the children of America. This omnibus bill is failing the children of America. With this amendment we have an opportunity to provide the kind of assistance to the children all across this country that the No Child Left Behind bill was intended to provide.

[Page S1025]

    This has been a long and continuing struggle. Many of us can remember, going back to 1995, when we had already appropriated funding in the area of education, and there was actually a rescission offered by the new Republican leadership for moneys going to education of $1.7 billion. And we were able to get $1.1 billion restored with the Democratic support.

    The next year, there was a $3.9 billion reduction in the cut in the Republican House of Representatives. We, the Democrats, were able to restore $3.5 billion. It was repeated again in 1997. It was repeated again in 1998. In 1999, the Republicans authorized and appropriated $2 billion below what the President requested. And then, after tough negotiations, President Clinton was able to get the $3.6 billion. And the list goes on.

    I want to bring to the attention of the Senate, and our friends who are watching this debate, these figures. This is what was actually offered by the President of the United States. In the year 2000, he asked for a $2.5 billion increase, and we stood for, with the reform, $7.7 billion.

    We are going to hear a lot about increases over 2002. Let's remember theirs was $2.5 billion and this was $7.7 billion. Then, this year, they asked for $1.4 billion, which is 2.8 percent above what was asked for in the previous years.

    I want to say, right at the outset of this debate, money isn't everything, but it is a pretty clear indication of a nation's priorities. That is what this debate is about: a nation's priorities. That is what the omnibus bill is about: reflecting the Nation's priorities in the amount of moneys that are going to be appropriated by the Congress and Senate of the United States. That is what this debate is all about.

    When we talk about these figures, we are not just talking about dollars—hundreds of millions or billions of dollars—we are talking about making sure qualified teachers get in those classrooms. That is what money represents. It is not just spending; it is providing qualified teachers. It means smaller classrooms and afterschool programs and assistance to students with limited English.

    We do not have the construction money in here that we had in the previous administration. So we effectively made a contract with the American people. We said: Look, we will pass No Child Left Behind. We had made a contract with the parents, with the students, with the States, with the local communities, and we were signatories. The President was a signatory. Every Member of this Congress, at that time, was a signatory with their vote. There were a handful of Members who voted in opposition, but those who voted in favor were signatories to that particular proposal.

    So we are looking, effectively, with the report that we have before us, at an increase of $1.7 billion instead of the amount that was requested, $1.4 billion. We will hear a good deal on the floor of the Senate about what kind of increase this is, what kind of increase it isn't, that it is a large increase or that it is really just a small increase, as I have described it.

    I have here the Department of Education Fiscal 2003 Budget Summary. It says on page 2: The President is requesting $50 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education, an increase of $1.4 billion or 2.8 percent over the 2002-enacted level. So 2.8 percent over the 2002 level.

    That does not even take care of inflation. That is effectively a cut.

    Let me show you what has happened over the previous years in education. Let me just show you what has happened over the last several years in the areas of education funding. This chart includes total education. Going back to 1997, a 16-percent increase; 1998, 12 percent; 1999, 12 percent; 2000, 6 percent; 2002, 19 percent; 2002, 16 percent.

    Now, the administration's budget is at 2.8 percent—the lowest we have had over this whole period of time. This is when we have the most important education legislation before the children of America. That is wrong. That is wrong. And that is what we are attempting to address.

    This is, as I mentioned, under the Department of Education, 2.8 percent. I mention this because we will hear others talk about: Oh, we have the largest increase we have seen in recent times.

    Listen to this. I have here a page, which I will print in the RECORD, entitled "Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations." It says: "Republican House Appropriations Staff Document Accompanying [their bill] H.R. 246.]"

    If you look down at "Total: Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs," there is a cut of $89.655 million. So a $90 million cut right here in the effect of their program, a $90 million cut, because their funding does not even meet the education inflationary needs.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the item to which I just referred be printed in the RECORD.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, this is all against a background of what is happening out there in the States. Six months ago, we thought the States had about a $45 billion shortfall; now the best estimates are $90 billion. A conservative estimate is that a third of those budgets are education budgets, divided between higher education and elementary and secondary education. But that is $30 billion that is going to be withdrawn from the States in terms of education.

    We have an administration program which is effectively cutting back on the title I at the same time that we are considering the largest tax reduction in the history of the country—$670 billion now over the next 10 years. When you add on the costs of carrying that out, another $300 billion. So it is close to $1 trillion. And the administration cannot find $16 billion out of that $640 billion tax cut, much of it going to the wealthiest individuals in this country, to say: Let's invest in what America was proud of when the President of the United States signed the No Child Left Behind bill.

    How do you explain that? How do you explain that to parents in this country? How do you explain that? This is an institution of choices. We have choices. We have choices here this afternoon. And we have the recognition, when all is said and done, that this proposal before the Senate of the United States is $10 billion less than what was generally agreed to in the last Congress by Republicans and Democrats, reflected in a vote of 59 Senators but agreed to as being the target figure for the appropriators.

    This bill is $10 billion less. Republicans voted for that higher number. I am not asking to exceed it. I am just saying, instead of $10 billion, let's fund education including title I programs and the Pell grants and use up $6 of that $10 billion, which would move us a little closer to what we voted for.

    Is that so irresponsible? Is that so outrageous, when we have the kind of need and opportunity taking place all across the country? This is a matter of enormous importance to the children.

    I see my colleagues on the floor who want to speak. Let me wind up this phase quickly.

    We know that the earlier the intervention in terms of children, the better the opportunity that they will have a successful education. We are not talking here about early education, which I hope later in the session we will be able to address in a bipartisan way. Hopefully we will. But all of the Academy of Science's studies show that early education is absolutely crucial in terms of children. And that is effectively what the title I program is all about, trying to intervene in the early years.

    We have tried to coordinate the Head Start Program with the first year of education training and with the title I. We have made efforts and we will make more of an effort this year on reauthorization. We tried in the last Congress, with the last reauthorization, increasing and enhancing the quality of the Head Start Program, and we are going to try and bring this into greater conformity in the course of this year. But all of our efforts are going to be weakened dramatically if we are going to fail to meet even our minimum responsibilities to the children by investing and restoring this kind of commitment.

    The amendment which we offer today will invest $16 million in the title I program. It was passed overwhelmingly, in a bipartisan way, on the reauthorization. I am hopeful we can have bipartisan effort when we vote later in the afternoon. By doing so, we will live up to our commitment and meet our responsibility in the contract of No Child Left Behind

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield on that point?

    Mrs. MURRAY. I will be happy to yield.

    Mr. KENNEDY. I was listening to the Senator. I see my colleagues who have not spoken. I will only take a minute.

    I was listening to the Senator talk about opportunities for young children to go to college. I have here a chart which indicates the average requested increase during the Clinton years was $167. Last year, the Bush request was $100 in Pell grants. The Congress raised that to $250. This year it is zero. In the matter before us, this amendment raises it by $500. I want the Senator to know, as she talks about higher education, the administration request was zero. Last year it was $100, and we raised it to $250.

    If this amendment is successful, it will be $500. There will be 200,000 new Pell grant recipients, 4.5 million college students with Pell grants that on average are $300 higher, and it hikes the maximum Pell grant to these needy students by $500.

    As she was talking about the importance of higher education, after being the leader in this body on the issue of smaller class size and qualified teachers over the years, and I believe the only former member of a school board, as well as a teacher, it is wise that our colleagues listen to the Senator from the State of Washington.

Mr. KENNEDY. On this point, will the Senator give a reaction to this particular chart? This chart provides a tax cut for the top 1 percent versus the Leave No Child Behind. This is the point the Senator from Maryland made so eloquently. That amounts to a $180 billion tax cut for the top 1 percent versus No Child Left Behind.

    Mr. SARBANES. That is the top 1 percent of the income and wealth scale; is that correct?

    Mr. KENNEDY. The Senator is correct.

    Now, this is the choice for the Senate. We can fully fund No Child Left Behind, reach the 10.8 million children all across this country; we can provide for universal afterschool programs, provide the needed resources to assist those children who need the extra help and assistance in afterschool programs. We can make sure there is a qualified teacher in every title I classroom in America, and provide help and assistance for the English instruction to every LEP child, every child who needs language training in English.

    We have the alternative of funding the tax cut for the 1 percent, the wealthiest individuals, or all of these items of the No Child Left Behind. That is the choice the Senator from the State of Washington has posed to this body and that the Senator from Maryland has underlined, and I think it is important that our colleagues and the American people understand what this debate is all about.

    Mrs. MURRAY. The Senator from Massachusetts is correct, and I appreciate the comments of the Senator from Maryland. I think we should ask the millionaires in this country whether they want the tax cut or whether they would prefer to see no child left behind. My guess is many of them would prefer to make sure that the generation that follows them has the same opportunities they have had in this country.

    Mr. SARBANES. If the Senator would yield, hopefully many of them would be sufficiently enlightened to perceive that by strengthening our society through implementing the Leave No Child—actually, this goes beyond implementing the legislation because it sets out other priorities that we can accomplish to succeed in strengthening our society to the benefit of everyone. It is a clear choice of priorities, what we are going to put first.

    I think most of the American people would put education first, recognizing that it not only benefits the students who gain the education but benefits the society generally. We all draw a benefit from having a well-educated society with people who are able to work to the very limits of their capacities.

    Mrs. MURRAY. I thank the Senator from Maryland for his comments because I think they are essential to this debate. I also thank the Senator from Massachusetts.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield for one more observation and indicate whether she agrees, and I hope I have the attention of the Senator from Maryland.

    I will read these words. It will take less than a minute.

    The security of the Nation requires the fullest development of the mental resources and technical skills of its young men and women. The present national security emergency demands that additional and more adequate educational opportunities be made available. The defense of this Nation depends upon the mastery of modern techniques developed from complex scientific principles. It depends as well upon the discovery and development of new principles, new techniques, and new knowledge.

    We must increase our efforts to identify and educate more of the talent of our Nation.

    That was President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. Those words are the same words that we need today when we are talking about the defense of our country as well, and that had virtually unanimous support in this body at that time in 1958. That is the same principle we are trying to support with this amendment today.

Mr. KENNEDY. On this point, will the Senator give a reaction to this particular chart? This chart provides a tax cut for the top 1 percent versus the Leave No Child Behind. This is the point the Senator from Maryland made so eloquently. That amounts to a $180 billion tax cut for the top 1 percent versus No Child Left Behind.

    Mr. SARBANES. That is the top 1 percent of the income and wealth scale; is that correct?

    Mr. KENNEDY. The Senator is correct.

    Now, this is the choice for the Senate. We can fully fund No Child Left Behind, reach the 10.8 million children all across this country; we can provide for universal afterschool programs, provide the needed resources to assist those children who need the extra help and assistance in afterschool programs. We can make sure there is a qualified teacher in every title I classroom in America, and provide help and assistance for the English instruction to every LEP child, every child who needs language training in English.

    We have the alternative of funding the tax cut for the 1 percent, the wealthiest individuals, or all of these items of the No Child Left Behind. That is the choice the Senator from the State of Washington has posed to this body and that the Senator from Maryland has underlined, and I think it is important that our colleagues and the American people understand what this debate is all about.

    Mrs. MURRAY. The Senator from Massachusetts is correct, and I appreciate the comments of the Senator from Maryland. I think we should ask the millionaires in this country whether they want the tax cut or whether they would prefer to see no child left behind. My guess is many of them would prefer to make sure that the generation that follows them has the same opportunities they have had in this country.

    Mr. SARBANES. If the Senator would yield, hopefully many of them would be sufficiently enlightened to perceive that by strengthening our society through implementing the Leave No Child—actually, this goes beyond implementing the legislation because it sets out other priorities that we can accomplish to succeed in strengthening our society to the benefit of everyone. It is a clear choice of priorities, what we are going to put first.

    I think most of the American people would put education first, recognizing that it not only benefits the students who gain the education but benefits the society generally. We all draw a benefit from having a well-educated society with people who are able to work to the very limits of their capacities.

    Mrs. MURRAY. I thank the Senator from Maryland for his comments because I think they are essential to this debate. I also thank the Senator from Massachusetts.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield for one more observation and indicate whether she agrees, and I hope I have the attention of the Senator from Maryland.

    I will read these words. It will take less than a minute.

    The security of the Nation requires the fullest development of the mental resources and technical skills of its young men and women. The present national security emergency demands that additional and more adequate educational opportunities be made available. The defense of this Nation depends upon the mastery of modern techniques developed from complex scientific principles. It depends as well upon the discovery and development of new principles, new techniques, and new knowledge.

    We must increase our efforts to identify and educate more of the talent of our Nation.

    That was President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. Those words are the same words that we need today when we are talking about the defense of our country as well, and that had virtually unanimous support in this body at that time in 1958. That is the same principle we are trying to support with this amendment today.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. On this point, will the Senator give a reaction to this particular chart? This chart provides a tax cut for the top 1 percent versus the Leave No Child Behind. This is the point the Senator from Maryland made so eloquently. That amounts to a $180 billion tax cut for the top 1 percent versus No Child Left Behind.

    Mr. SARBANES. That is the top 1 percent of the income and wealth scale; is that correct?

    Mr. KENNEDY. The Senator is correct.

    Now, this is the choice for the Senate. We can fully fund No Child Left Behind, reach the 10.8 million children all across this country; we can provide for universal afterschool programs, provide the needed resources to assist those children who need the extra help and assistance in afterschool programs. We can make sure there is a qualified teacher in every title I classroom in America, and provide help and assistance for the English instruction to every LEP child, every child who needs language training in English.

    We have the alternative of funding the tax cut for the 1 percent, the wealthiest individuals, or all of these items of the No Child Left Behind. That is the choice the Senator from the State of Washington has posed to this body and that the Senator from Maryland has underlined, and I think it is important that our colleagues and the American people understand what this debate is all about.

    Mrs. MURRAY. The Senator from Massachusetts is correct, and I appreciate the comments of the Senator from Maryland. I think we should ask the millionaires in this country whether they want the tax cut or whether they would prefer to see no child left behind. My guess is many of them would prefer to make sure that the generation that follows them has the same opportunities they have had in this country.

    Mr. SARBANES. If the Senator would yield, hopefully many of them would be sufficiently enlightened to perceive that by strengthening our society through implementing the Leave No Child—actually, this goes beyond implementing the legislation because it sets out other priorities that we can accomplish to succeed in strengthening our society to the benefit of everyone. It is a clear choice of priorities, what we are going to put first.

    I think most of the American people would put education first, recognizing that it not only benefits the students who gain the education but benefits the society generally. We all draw a benefit from having a well-educated society with people who are able to work to the very limits of their capacities.

    Mrs. MURRAY. I thank the Senator from Maryland for his comments because I think they are essential to this debate. I also thank the Senator from Massachusetts.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield for one more observation and indicate whether she agrees, and I hope I have the attention of the Senator from Maryland.

    I will read these words. It will take less than a minute.

    The security of the Nation requires the fullest development of the mental resources and technical skills of its young men and women. The present national security emergency demands that additional and more adequate educational opportunities be made available. The defense of this Nation depends upon the mastery of modern techniques developed from complex scientific principles. It depends as well upon the discovery and development of new principles, new techniques, and new knowledge.

    We must increase our efforts to identify and educate more of the talent of our Nation.

    That was President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. Those words are the same words that we need today when we are talking about the defense of our country as well, and that had virtually unanimous support in this body at that time in 1958. That is the same principle we are trying to support with this amendment today.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield on that point?

    Mr. HARKIN. I am glad to yield to the Senator.

    Mr. KENNEDY. As the Senator remembers, the legislation actually is a guarantee that all of those children, the whole 10 million, will reach what we call proficiency.

    Mr. HARKIN. That's right.

    Mr. KENNEDY. That means they will have the basic kinds of educational skills over a 12-year period. That was the national goal. That is what had the support of the President, Republicans, and Democrats alike.

    Can the Senator possibly explain how we are ever going to have those 6 million begin to even reach proficiency when, year after year, they are left out of any kind of coverage, any help—a qualified teacher, smaller classroom with supplementary services, which is guaranteed in the legislation?

    Mr. HARKIN. I respond to the Senator, it is a promise delayed. We promise these kids and their families we are not going to leave them behind, that they are going to have good teachers, good education—but not these kids, not this year, maybe not even next year but sometime in the distant future. But in the distant future these kids will be out of school and they will be ill-educated. They will not be fully productive members of our society. A day lost in education today is a day you cannot make up. A year lost to these students is a year that cannot be made up. That is why we have to put this money back, to make sure we meet our commitments.

    The bill before us would add just 289,000 students. We have 4.1 million out of 10.3 million needy students. The Republican bill would only add 289,000 students to that total. That does not even keep pace with the growing number of needy students in this country. They are falling backwards.

    This amendment would make it possible to serve another 2 million students—not 289,000 students, 2 million students—by funding title I at $16 billion. That is the level we committed to, if I am not mistaken, in the bill last year.

    Mr. KENNEDY. That's right.

    Mr. HARKIN. I ask the Senator from Massachusetts, is that not the level to which we committed?

    Mr. KENNEDY. That is the figure that came out of the conference. That is the figure the President agreed to and signed to. That, actually, is $2 billion less than was voted on by 79 Members of the Senate in the Dodd-Collins amendment, which would have added $18 billion. This is $16 billion. That's what came out of the conference.

    Mr. HARKIN. That's right.

    Mr. KENNEDY. So the Senator is absolutely correct.
    
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT NO. 19

    Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I send my amendment to the desk. I hope we can enter a time agreement for a vote on these two amendments. I ask the Senator from Massachusetts if he feels we can enter such a time agreement.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I have yet to see the Senator's amendment.

    Mr. GREGG. It is being brought to the Senator at this moment.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Let me have a chance to review it.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. I thank the Senator. I want to have a chance to review the amendment.

    Mr. President, we have had a very good discussion with seven or eight of our colleagues who have spoken. Senator Reed wants to speak. Senator Clinton, Senator Corzine, and Senator Stabenow also want to make comments.

    This has been an important debate. I agree with the Senator from New Hampshire that the issues of ensuring protection at home and education are the Nation's top two priorities. We do not differ, evidently, on those issues. We have important differences on how to assist in education. I will mention a couple quick responses to the Senator.

    My first response is about the unspent figures, about $4.5 billion. Most agencies, not all, but most agencies have unspent funding. The reason the funds are not spent is because we are in the middle of the school year. Do we understand that the funds that will be in this omnibus bill will be for the next year, for July? That is when they will be committed.

    We have unspent money because we are only halfway through the school year. The districts have already obligated these funds. Anyone who does not believe that there are severe fiscal challenges in local school districts has not talked with their local school board, principals, students, or the teachers in communities across this country. That is number one.

    Second, I welcome the fact the Senator from New Hampshire wants to effectively take credit for the increases we were able to agree on in the No Child Left Behind legislation. As he remembers very well, when the bill was first introduced, it was $500 million. It ended up at $1.5 billion because we insisted on it. I am glad we worked that out in a bipartisan way. I am glad he is prepared to say that is part of the Bush commitment at this time.

    We ought to understand exactly what the history has been. When he talks about the increase over the last 2 years, he is talking about the increase which the Democrats were able to get, with the agreement of the Republicans, in the last year of the Clinton proposal.

    The Senator makes a fair point in terms of the funding of Title I under the previous administration. I would have liked to have seen this funding higher, but it was not higher. We have to recognize all that was being done in the area of education during that period of time, which was extremely important, to respond to many of the challenges in the areas of title I.

[Page S1037]

    Under the previous administration, what did they have? They had no school left behind. To do what? To provide funds at the local school level. To do what? To establish standards, which were eventually adopted in the No Child Left Behind legislation. There was basic school reform in the good legislation of Goals 2000 that was passed. We had the school-to-work program, that has not been referenced, but has been very important in terms of opening opportunities for students moving out of high schools.

    There was expansion of the TRIO program, which also is a program which targets the disadvantaged. We also had expansion and improvement of Head Start. We had AmeriCorps, which was a new educational opportunity. We had the GEAR UP program, which built upon the concept that rather than just looking for individuals whose education ought to be furthered by special individual help and assistance at the university, to look instead at the idea of helping a whole class, moving a whole class forward. A very interesting and new concept, particularly to tie universities to school districts with disadvantaged children. A great deal was done in that time.

    There was also the HOPE scholarship, the lifelong learning scholarship. There was a lot of educational activity during that period of time. I think it is fair to say that we did not see the expansion in Title I that we have seen in recent times; but in the area of prioritizing education, no administration can compete with what was achieved in the Clinton administration, quite frankly. Many of us are proud to be a part of it.

    Nonetheless, when we take all of that apart, let us get to what the facts are. I have in my hand a report by the Center on Education Policy. This is not a Democratic report. This is not a Republican report. This is a board of some of the most distinguished educators across the country, and this is what it says, effectively: We have found that the fiscal crisis in most States, coupled with the prospect of limited Federal aid, threatens the successful implementation of this ambitious law, the No Child Left Behind Act.

    There it is. At this time, we have more than 6 million children who qualify for assistance under Title I who are not assisted without this kind of amendment. With this amendment, we would include 2 million more of those children. Without this amendment, maybe 354,000 of those children are helped. So are we going to try to reach out to children who are being challenged educationally in every community, as the Senator, my friend from New Hampshire, Mr. Gregg, has pointed out, which is a major kind of reform in terms of advancing teacher training, involving the parents, developing good curriculum and working with afterschool programs, or are we going to cast them adrift?

    We have the framework. We will lose the opportunity. Those are the facts concerning the number of children who still remain to be covered. That is the essential part of where we are in the funding.

    Now I will say a word about the Gregg amendment, and then I will yield. This puts $5 billion in a block grant which will go to the States. As far as we are reading it now, it is not directed toward the title I program. If I am wrong on that, I hope to be corrected because we just received this amendment.

    What our amendment does is, it deals with the title I program. It also deals with Pell grants, but it is primarily for title I, the neediest children. The primary purpose of President Bush's program was title I, but the Gregg amendment is not a title I program, it is basically a block grant to the States. It does not focus on or require that it be spent on title I.

    It provides for a 1.3-percent across-the-board cut in addition to the 1.6-percent cut, which is almost double the amounts that previously would have been cut. If this program is supported, this will mean 248,000 women, infants, and children will be turned away from the WIC program. It eliminates 8,600 children from the Head Start program. It means 250,000 fewer veterans being treated, 1.6 million fewer visits by veterans to outpatient clinics. Eighty-eight thousand fewer families would receive housing assistance. And the list goes on.

    This omnibus bill is $10 billion less than what was basically agreed to in the previous Congress. My amendment says $6 billion of that will be used now. It will still be $4 billion less than what was agreed to last year, even with this amendment. It is effectively replicating what 79 Members of the Senate voted for.

    Some say, well, that does not really make much difference because it was an authorization. It evidently made a difference to the Senators from Maine and Connecticut who offered the amendment and to the 79 Members who voted for it and went back to their constituents and said they voted for it, said: This is what we believe in.

    I take their votes seriously. That was for $18 billion. This would be a total of $16 billion. I hope the Senator's amendment will not be agreed to.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

    Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield on that point? I yield myself 2 minutes on this.

    Is the Senator saying as we are considering the omnibus bill and the money which is going to be expended on that—of which $10 billion was generally agreed to last year by Republicans and Democrats—that we would take $6 billion of that $10 billion—and there are those who are opposing it—that we are still going to say we can afford the $670 billion, and a great percentage of that will go to the top 1 percent of the wealthiest individuals, and that is a higher priority than meeting what President Bush and a bipartisan group pointed out were the needs of children in many of the poorest areas of this country?

    Mr. CORZINE. The Senator from Massachusetts is, as always, using common sense. We are saying this tax cut is more important than investing in our kids, investing in our schools, fulfilling the promise that we talked about and debated and worked, on a bipartisan basis, to provide. Improvement and flexibility—all the things the distinguished Senator from New Hampshire talked about in principles—we are all for that, but we are saying this darn tax cut is a lot more important than the priorities of educating our kids.

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    Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I yield myself one more minute.

    Is the Senator, therefore, suggesting, as we look down the line in terms of the national budget—and what the budget is going to be—that we have the choice of having the $6 billion to take care of 2 million more children, who we promised we would take care of in title I, and perhaps reducing the President's tax cut by $10 billion this year?

    That could be done, as the Senator said. We could say: Look, we, in the Senate, say, OK, we think it is more important to provide funding for the children and to reduce the President's tax cut by the $6 billion that would be affected this year. We have that choice, do we not?

    Mr. CORZINE. I think it is absolutely in the hands of the people who sit in this Chamber to make the decisions. We are elected to talk about priorities. Where are the priorities in this Nation with regard to homeland defense, and certainly with our longrun health and security—that American promise that we hear and we all embrace?

    We are making a choice that a tax cut, which is going to promise those who are already doing really well—that 1 percent, that 5 percent, or 20 percent; however you cut it—they are more important than our kids in making sure that everybody has access to the American promise.

    Mr. KENNEDY. I thank the Senator again and appreciate his comments. I hope he will continue.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, how much time do I have?

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts has 5 minutes 45 seconds.

    Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I yield myself 2½ minutes.

    I ask unanimous consent that Senators DAYTON, DURBIN, EDWARDS, KERRY, CORZINE, and LANDRIEU be added as cosponsors of my amendment.

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

    Mr. KENNEDY. We will have a chance to vote in a few minutes. One will be for the Gregg amendment. And I hope our colleagues will vote against it. Then we will have an opportunity to vote for the amendment I have introduced with a number of our colleagues that will add some $6 billion and achieve what the President had actually committed; that is, to begin the real downpayment in reaching all the children who need the Title I funding.

    If you accept the Gregg amendment, that will result in reducing funding for Head Start by $104 million; NIH by $410 million; highways by $501 million, NSF by $64 million.

    I see our ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. He talked about a 1.3-percent cut. I have indicated what the 1.3 percent would be over the year. But as the good Senator from West Virginia knows, we are talking about a budget that is only 9 months. So the 1.3 will mean deeper cuts in each and every one of these programs. If you vote for that, that is what you are voting for in the Gregg amendment.

    Secondly, on the Gregg amendment, it is basically the block grant program that will go for any education purposes. I remind my colleagues what the President of the United States said, and I agree with him. This is in his report from the Department of Education: President Bush emphasized his deep belief in public schools, but even a greater concern about too many of our neediest children being left behind.

    That is President Bush.

    That is what we are trying to get at. The Gregg amendment doesn't even address that issue. It doesn't say, look, I will take $5 billion; I will just put it toward title I. He says it can be used for anything.

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    President Bush says he is concerned about the neediest children being left behind. Then this amendment really makes very little sense.

    I see my friend from Florida. How much time do I have totally?

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts has 3 minutes 22 seconds.

    Mr. KENNEDY. I am glad to yield a minute to the Senator from Florida.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I have 2 minutes. I yield myself 1½ minutes.

    I have difficulty in understanding the argument of my good friend from Pennsylvania. We debated the No Child Left Behind legislation for 7 weeks. On May 3, the Senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Specter, voted for an $18 billion increase in No Child Left Behind. This is $16 billion. This comes as no surprise to any of the Members who are debating the issues of Title I.

    President Bush galvanized the Nation in giving attention to the neediest children in this country. He recognized that there are 11 million children who have been left out and left behind. He talked about a partnership between the Federal Government, the students, the States, the local communities, and the parents; that we were going to work together to enhance academic achievement and responsibility, and that there was going to be tough accountability. We supported that in a bipartisan way in this Senate, in the House of Representatives, and all across this country.

    All this amendment does is make sure we are going to have a real downpayment to that commitment by ensuring that at least 2 million more children will be included in the No Child Left Behind legislation. Four million will still be left out. Four million will still be left behind. This amendment is just a downpayment on that pledge made in the No Child Left Behind Act.

    If my colleagues support this amendment, we are still under the overall caps that were agreed to. For anyone worried about the budget, I say this is a better investment in the future of our country than the $670 billion that the Republicans and the administration are supporting in tax breaks. This is what the American families want: Invest in their children, invest in education. That is what our amendment does.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, the overall budget figure we are considering is $10 million less than what was effectively agreed to last year in a bipartisan way, and which the Appropriations Committee marked up. This would take $6 billion of that, which is the amount the President signed into law under the authorization. This figure was effectively supported by a 79-vote majority here in the Senate when we debated the authorization. It had strong bipartisan support.

    With all respect to the previous amendment, it is not targeted on the neediest children in this country. President Bush, to his credit, aroused the Nation to give focus and attention to the neediest children in this country, that they should not be left out and should not be left behind.

    We made a commitment with the No Child Left Behind Act that over a period of 12 years, every child in this country would reach proficiency. Now, unless we are going to pass this amendment, we are going to only include 354,000 more children—and not meet what the administration had committed itself to, and what the President had committed himself to, and what I think the bipartisan membership committed itself to. That is to include the 2 million children. We will still have a long way to go.

    Mr. President, this is about education. This is about teachers. This is about parents. This is about local schools. This is about local school boards.

    This is needed across the country. There isn't a school district in this country that does not have a financial crisis. This will be a lifeline to those children who are going to need these resources. The States are $90 billion in debt. A third of that comes from education. So we are seeing enormous cuts in the support of children, and the neediest children. This will continue the strong commitment we made to accountability, to reliability, to better teachers, smaller class sizes, and afterschool programs. I hope the Senate will accept the amendment.

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