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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I see my friend and one of the principal architects of this CHIP program on the floor. I know he desires to speak for some time. I am glad to accommodate him. I think I am going to speak on both of the measures that are before the Senate, both the CHIP program as well as the hate crimes. So I do not know what the desire of the Senator from Utah would be. But I will be glad to yield to him.

CHIP

Mr. President, as the instructions to the Senate said, later in the morning, we are going to have an opportunity for the Senate to express itself on what is commonly known as the Children's Health Insurance Program, a program that has effectively been in place now for some 10 years and has made a very significant and important difference in the quality of life for children.

It has been said, and I certainly agree, that the great test of a nation and a civilization is how it cares about its children. Some 10 years ago, the Senator from Utah, myself, others, were very much involved in the fashioning, the shaping of this legislation.

It has made a very important difference, which we will come to in a moment, to the quality of health care for children in this country. The Senate, later this morning, is going to make a judgment whether we are going to continue that march for progress for children and expand that opportunity or whether we are going to take a different course and say that is not a national priority.

Being in the Senate and voting is about priorities. Priorities. Members in this body express themselves in votes by indicating our priorities, both our priorities in the allocation of resources, our priorities in views with regard to foreign policy.

This morning, we are going to be making a judgment whether we think it is appropriate that we continue this real march for progress for children in this country with this Children's Health Insurance Program that has proved to be so successful.

First, I wish to show what President Bush himself has stated about the Children's Health Insurance Program. This is the quote of President Bush from the 2004 Republican Convention, not all that long ago, when he said:

America's children must also have a healthy start in life. In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the Government's health insurance programs.

That is what we are talking about, the CHIP program. Here is the President saying:

In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the Government's health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.

Well, that is the issue. This is the place where that promise and pledge is going to be tested later this morning. Many of us are going to say: President Bush was absolutely right when he made that statement. But since he has made that statement, he has come to a different position where he is urging opposition to that position today.

We can understand why the President came to that position because we can look at the record of the last 10 years. In the evaluation of the CHIP program, this is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it is an administration department, effectively known as CMS, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, this is in the Department of Health and Human Services. This is their evaluation as of September 19, 2007:

Over the past 10 years, the CHIP program has improved overall access to care.

Improved overall access to care.

Reduced the level of unmet need.

Reduced the level of unmet need.

And improved access to dental care, expanded access to preventive care.

Expanded access to preventive care. Imagine the parents who may have taken a little time this morning and said: This is going to be an important vote in the Senate today. I think I will listen to it. What is this program all about?

Well, here we have the President of the United States, who has endorsed this, said it ought to be expanded, and then we have the evaluation of the program, not by those of us who were there at the very beginning and who supported the program but by the administration's own evaluation. This is what they say--and who can differ with that? Those who have been opposed to it have been unable to challenge this: Improved the access to care, reduced the level of unmet need, improved access to dental care, expanded access to preventive care.

Every parent knows the importance of preventive care for their children. Anyone who cares about health care policy knows that it is enormously important at any time and particularly in a child's life. And ``reduced emergency department use.'' That is the final item that is mentioned in this chart.

But this has importance in a number of different ways. It means they are taking care of children before they need the emergency care, because their illness, their throat infections, ear infections, other infections have been addressed in preventive care, so they do not have to go to the emergency room.

What is the result of the emergency room visit when the child gets a great deal sicker? More often than not, the parents cannot afford to pay the bills. Or if the bills are there, they are out of sight. So the costs, in terms of the health care system, are dramatically enhanced when the children go to the emergency room. The costs, in terms of the parents' anxiety, are dramatically enhanced when the children have to go to the emergency room.

Last night, there were millions of parents who were wondering, when they were listening to their child cry in the night, whether that child was $150 or $250 sick, because that is what the cost was going to be in an emergency room. Maybe I will wait it out. Maybe I am making the minimum wage. Can I afford to dig deeper and pay those $250? So I am going to let my child remain without being taken care of during the night, to see if that child gets better, rather than having the preventive care. It is a moral issue, a defining moral issue, a priority issue, a moral issue for this country.

So that is the evaluation of the administration, the statement of the President. We can understand why the administration has come up with that kind of--those results, because of the extraordinary reduction in the uninsured rate for children.

If you look, going back to 1997, almost 25 percent of all children had no coverage. Look at this red line going down over the years as the CHIP program is reaching out through the States. This was worked out in these careful negotiations, which Senator Hatch was also involved in, to make sure it was going to be a State program, State-run, State priorities, States establishing the deductibles, the copays, States making the judgments about those items, States setting up the whole program. It is going to be effectively a private insurance program. That is what confuses me about the administration talking about a Government-run program. This is effectively a State-run program built upon private insurance.

The delivery system is very much like the administration favored with the prescription drug program. So we see this dramatic reduction in terms of children.

Now, what has been the reaction? This, for example, is one of the blessings of this program. Not only are the children healthier with the CHIP program--this is an evaluation of how the child does in class. Not only are we getting a healthier child. We are getting a more attentive child. We are all challenged here, and certainly we are in our education committee, as we are looking out across at the various education programs how we are going to try to deal with children improving in terms of their attention and also keeping up with the school activities.

This last week, the Secretary of Education announced the improvement of children in what they call the NAPE test, children are improving. I am so proud of Massachusetts being the No. 1 State, in terms of the results. That is basically because the State got started on many of these reforms before the Congress did.

But there is no question in my mind that a principal part of the improvement of children doing well academically is as a result of the CHIP program.

This is the proof: paying attention in class, from 34 percent to 57 percent; keeping up with school activities, from 36 to 61 percent. It is understandable. If children can't see the blackboard, if they can't hear the teacher, if they are sick, they are not going to learn. If they are healthy, they can learn. It is pretty fundamental, but evidently there are some who haven't learned the lesson.

We are constantly challenged, if we are going to be one country with one history and one destiny, about moving along together, moving all the children--White, Black, Hispanic--together. Before CHIP, you had important unmet health care needs reflected in disparities between the different races. Once we had the CHIP program put in place for the children, we effectively saw an important improvement in the health of children, and all the children moved along together.

This is for a typical disease. We chose asthma because it has been a disease which has been expanding over time, unquestionably, because of the relaxation of a variety of different environmental requirements and standards. In other illnesses and diseases, it is going down. The challenge with children with asthma is it has actually been going up. But even if the totality is going up, look what happens with these children with asthma as a result of the CHIP program. The number of children who are getting their health needs taken care of dramatically increased. Emergency visits were dramatically down, and hospitalizations were dramatically down. This reflects itself in not only healthier children but in savings.

This is basically a matter of priorities. This is a sound program. It is an effective program. It is one the President endorsed a few years ago. It has been tested, tried. The evaluation of the program has been that it is a great success. Now we have the opportunity to express once again the issue of priorities here in the Senate. What are going to be the priorities for this body? What do they think is really important in this country at this time? The CHIP program reauthorization, $35 billion? That isn't being paid by taxpayers or middle-income families or working families unless they smoke because this is going to be offset completely by those who are going to smoke. As we have pointed out earlier, that has a double positive value. We are not going to put an additional burden on ordinary taxpayers. But with the increased cost of cigarettes and tobacco, it is going to mean less use of tobacco by children and children are going to be healthier. So not only is the fundamental legislation a demonstration in improving health care, but the remedy and how we do that is also adding an additional dimension to the quality of health for children. More than 3,000 children start smoking every single day, and 1,200 of them become effectively addicted every single day. We can do something about this and, eventually, when we pass this legislation and we pass our other tobacco legislation that we have reported out of our committee, we will get a handle on protecting children from addiction to nicotine.

This is over a 5-year period, $35 billion; 1 year in Iraq, $120 billion--almost four times in 1 year what this is in 5 years. Don't we think we ought to be looking after the children in the United States? This is where it is, Mr. President. We have a choice to express ourselves. The President says: No, we are not going to have this for the children; yes, we are going to have this. Many of us believe that investing in the children in this country is where we ought to be invested and we ought to end the conflict and end this war.

That chart could be expressed in another way of what we are spending as, again, a matter of priorities, what we are spending per day--$333 million in Iraq versus $19 million nationwide on the children. So when the time comes, we have a very clear choice in terms of the Nation's priority.

Finally, this is a statement by Dedra Lewis, mother of Alexsiana, a child covered by CHIP from my State:

If I miss a single appointment, I know she could lose her eyesight. If I can't buy her medication, I know she could lose her eyesight. If I didn't have MassHealth, my daughter would be blind.

One parent, one child, one piece of legislation that can make all the difference in the world.

When we have a chance to vote, we will be voting for this legislation, and we will be asking ourselves, why aren't we doing more to help the children?

I reserve the remainder of my time.

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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I listened carefully to the Senator from Utah. I want to say that the 6 million children who today are covered in all parts of the country, including my State of Massachusetts, would not be if it was not for the Senator from Utah. There was a very important insistence that has been sort of lost in this whole discussion and debate.

At the time we had talked about this program, I was very interested in expanding the Medicaid Program and moving that up. Medicaid deals with the very poor. The real question was the working poor for these programs. Senator Hatch insisted we should not expand the Government program, that we have to let the States participate and involve themselves in it. This was a very contentious discussion in the debate which, eventually, Senator Hatch was successful in winning. Then we would establish the criteria, at least, of the kinds of services that were going to be provided within that kind of a program. That was a very contentious debate, but again Senator Hatch insisted the States should make the judgments on this program. Then we had the issues about trying to make sure about the inclusion, having it be more sweeping, and Senator Hatch stuck by his guns to make sure the States were going to be the ones that were going to do the outreach and set up this program.

So those issues--in terms of when we are talking about these cliches of socialized medicine or Cuban-type of medicine--for those who are really interested in the philosophical underpinnings of this program, of why it is different from other programs, if they go back and look and carefully read the bill, I must say Senator Hatch's position of insisting that the States be the full partner and be the ones that are going to have the prime responsibilities has been the fact.

I think to the credit of the Senator from Utah is the fact that so many of the Governors are in such support of this legislation--not only Democratic Governors but Republican Governors--because they have seen, they have both the responsibility and the opportunity to make a difference for their constituents.

So that is just a small ``factoid'' about the history of the development of this legislation but one that should not be lost when people are thinking about whether this is just another kind of a governmental program. The Senator insisted on principle on a number of these important philosophical issues, and the Senate, in a bipartisan way, came together to support the recommendations that eventually were worked out with members of the Finance Committee and Senator Baucus, Senator Rockefeller, Senator Chafee, and many other colleagues. But the underpinnings were from the Senator from Utah. I think history ought to reflect that. I thank the Senator.

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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, as we mentioned at the opening this morning, there are going to be two major decisions by the Senate this morning: one on dealing with the children's health issue, which we have had a good discussion of here this morning, and the other issue on the hate crimes legislation, which we have been attempting to realize for a period of some 10 years.

This is not a new issue to the Defense authorization legislation. We have passed it by more than 60 votes on the last occasion we had it. We passed it by a majority on other occasions. So for those who sort of suggest it is not appropriate that we deal with this, the majority--Republicans and Democrats alike--have overwhelmingly supported the legislation. But it has been a strong minority that has resisted it and refused to let it move on into law.

We finally are at a time and a place and a judgment where the House of Representatives now has moved in favor of the legislation. We have an opportunity today to do it. We haven't taken an unreasonable period of time.

The application of this legislation and why it should be here is a very simple and basic and fundamental one; that is, what the Defense authorization bill is about--dealing with the challenges of terrorism overseas and the support that our men and women ought to get in dealing with terrorism overseas. This is about terrorism in our neighborhoods--terrorism in our neighborhoods--and making sure we are going to fight it. We can talk about having the MRAP, which I support, in the Defense authorization bill. We are fighting overseas with all of our weapons. We want to fight terrorism at home with all of our weapons.

We want to be able to have a value system that is worthy for our brave men and women to defend. They are fighting overseas for our values. One of the values is that you should not, in this country, in this democracy, permit the kind of hatred and bigotry that has stained the history of this Nation over a very considerable period of time. We should not tolerate it. We keep faith with those men and women who are serving overseas when we battle that hatred and bigotry and prejudice at home. So we are taking a few minutes in the morning to have this debate and discussion.

I urge my colleagues to join me, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Senator Smith, and 31 cosponsors of the Matthew Shepard Act by voting in favor of cloture and our underlying amendment today. Hate crimes are domestic terrorism. Like all terrorist acts, they seek to bring fear to whole communities through violence on a few. Just as we have committed ourselves to fighting terrorists who strike from abroad, we must make the same commitment to swift and strong justice against homegrown terrorists. We have worked hard to ensure that all of our citizens can live without fear of victimization because of their race, religion, and their national origin. We have made progress over the years, but we need stronger tools to ensure that all Americans--all Americans--are protected under the law.

Hate crimes challenge us to recognize the dignity of each individual at the most basic level. When victims are selected for violence because of who they are--because of the color of their skin or sexual orientation--it is a crime that wounds all of us. Each person's life is valuable, and even one life lost is too many. No member of our society--no one--should be the victim of hate crimes. Today we can send a message that no one--no one--should be a victim of a hate crime because of their disability, their sexual orientation, their gender, or gender identity.

Hate crimes are especially heinous because they deny the dignity, the humanity, and the worth of whole segments of our society. They inflict terror not only on the immediate victims but on all their families, their societies, and, in some cases, an entire Nation. A hate crime against one member of another group shouts to the other members: You are next. You better watch your step when you leave your home, when you go to work, when you travel. This is domestic terrorism, plain and simple, and it is unacceptable as an assault from our enemies abroad who hate us just as irrationally.

At bottom, hate crimes strike out at our most fundamental, moral values. They deny the teaching that we are all--even those viewed as outcasts among us--members of the human family. They seek to divide that family by labeling some so unworthy that they should become objects of violence. They reject our great national motto, ``E pluribus unum''--out of many, one. Instead, hate crimes seek to divide us, to reject whole communities by terrorizing their members.

Centuries ago, Blackstone wrote:

It is but reasonable that among crimes of different natures, those should be most severely punished which are the most destructive of the public safety and happiness.

Hate-motivated crimes are the most destructive of the public safety and happiness and should be punished more severely than other crimes. That is why over 1,400--1,400--clergy from across the spectrum of religious traditions have come together to support the Matthew Shepherd Act. They write:

Although we come from diverse faith backgrounds, our traditions and our sacred texts are united in condemning hate and violence. As religious leaders, we are on the front lines dealing with the devastating effects of hate-motivated violence. Our faith traditions teach us to love our neighbor, and while we cannot legislate love, it is our moral duty to protect one another from hatred and violence.

These leaders of America's religious communities have called on Congress to stand united against the oppression imposed by violence based on personal characteristics and to work together to create a society in which diverse people are safe as well as free.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, The Interfaith Alliance, a nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 75 different religions, said hate crimes are an assault upon ``the belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions--that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth.''

This is what The Interfaith Alliance said:

Hate crimes are an assault upon the belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions--that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth.

Dignity and worth.

The simple fact is, hate crimes are different and more destructive than other crimes. As my friend, Senator Hatch, stated during our debate in 2000:

Crimes of animus are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes; they inflict deep, lasting and distinct injuries--some of which never heal--on victims and their family members; they incite community unrest and, ultimately, they are downright un-American.

The Federal Government has a responsibility to send a clear and unambiguous message that hate-motivated violence in any form, from any source, will not be tolerated. Hate crime perpetrators use violence to dehumanize and diminish their victims. This legislation fights back by reinforcing this country's founding ideals of liberty and justice for all.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers are fighting for freedom and liberty. They are on the front lines fighting against hate. We are united in our effort to root out the cells of hatred around the world. We should not turn a blind eye to acts of hatred and terrorism at home. We owe it to our troops to uphold those same principles at home. We should not shrink now from our role as a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world. When the Senate approves this amendment, we will send a message about freedom and equality that will resonate around the world.

If America is to live up to its founding ideals of liberty and justice for all, combating hate crimes must be a national priority. Now is the time for Congress to speak with one voice, insisting that all Americans will be guaranteed the equal protection of the laws. We must pay more than lipservice to this core principle of our democracy, and we must give those words practical meaning in our modern society. No American should feel they are second-class citizens because Congress refuses to protect them against hate crimes.

Far too many times, hate crimes have shocked the conscience of the country. Tolerance in America still faces a serious challenge, and we must have the courage to act. As the Reverend Sockman said:

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.

Most of us in this Chamber have lived our lives in the majority, and it is time for us to recognize the courage of those who have lived their lives in the minority and stand up for tolerance. When bigotry exists in America, each of us is diminished. Injustice inflicted on any among us is injustice against us all.

As Leviticus commands us:

You may not stand idly by when your neighbor's blood is being shed.

For too long, the Federal Government has been forced to fight this injustice with one hand tied behind its back. We know some crimes are motivated by a desire to harm whole communities. It is time those crimes were punished in a manner that is equal to their destructiveness.

The President has threatened to veto this legislation if it comes to his desk, but I urge my fellow Senators to display the same kind of courage that came from David Ritcheson, the victim of a brutal hate crime that scarred him both physically and mentally. Rather than living in fear, David bravely came before the House Judiciary Committee and courageously--courageously--described the horrific attack against him the year before.

We should fight to protect the rights of our fellow citizens such as David and not let a veto threat stop us from doing the right thing. With both the Senate and the House moving forward on this legislation, I hope the President will hear our call and that he, too, will support this much-needed measure.

Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel said:

Indifference is always the friend of the enemy--Indifference is always the friend of the enemy--for it benefits the aggressor, never the victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she is forgotten.

Today, we can take a strong stand against indifference and intolerance.

Dr. King reminded us all that ``our lives begin to end the day we become silent against the things that matter.'' Today, this body has a chance to break the silence. It has the chance to speak with one voice in support of the value of every individual in our society. Join me and my colleagues in breaking the silence. Make the fight to end violence driven by bigotry the high national priority that it should be. Now is the time because, as Reverend Martin Luther King reminded us:

The time is always right to do what is right.

Now is the time for Congress to speak with one voice and insist that all Americans will be guaranteed the equal protections of the law. I urge all my colleagues to support this amendment.

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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I listened carefully to my friend from Texas. We have spent more time in quorum calls around here over these last few days. We spent a good deal of time on a poster--expressing the will of the Senate on various posters. We spent hours on those issues. Talk about delaying paying for the troops. I didn't hear those arguments when we were trying to uparmor HMMWVs last year. So I have difficulty in giving a lot of focus and attention to it.

Quite frankly, I imagine the Senator is talking about the DREAM Act, which will permit children who have been in this country for 5 years--brought in by their parents through no fault of their own--that we either permit them to go through an education or join the military--join the military. That has something to do with the Defense authorization bill--when we find out that many units are not being kept up to speed. So we will move ahead.

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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I have listened with great interest to my friend from Utah describe this legislation. He has followed one of the great traditions of the Senate. That is, he has misrepresented and misstated my position and then he has differed with it. I know that technique because I have used it a few times myself.

I hope, for those of our colleagues who have been following this debate, to keep in mind very briefly--I outlined earlier the principal reasons for this--but with regard to what is happening in the local communities, and in the States, the fact is the National District Attorneys Association is supporting this legislation. Do you believe if we were doing all the things the Senator said, if we were violating everything local and State, the National District Attorneys Association would be supporting this? The National Sheriffs' Association is supporting it, as is the States Attorneys General of the United States. The principal law enforcement agencies in the States are supporting it. Do you think they would be supporting this if it was unconstitutional? You don't think they would have the opportunity to know what is constitutional or not constitutional? And you don't think they understand what is necessary to protect their citizens from the viciousness of hate crimes?

There it is. I ask unanimous consent the entire list be printed in the Record.

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Mr. KENNEDY. I will mention a few. They include the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Why? Because, as we know, hate crimes are increasing. They are not diminishing in the United States of America. They are increasing. All the statistics demonstrate it.

What is also demonstrable is what local law officials point out by their support. They do not have the tools or the will to deal with the most vicious types of attacks that take place upon individuals because of who they are. That is why they support this rather measured proposal that we have, that will give help and assistance in attacking the problems of hatred at home like we are attacking the problems of hatred abroad.

This is not such a strange issue.

Will the Chair let me know when I have a minute left, please.

My friend, Senator Hatch, pointed out during our debate in 2000:

Crimes of animus are more likely to promote retaliatory crimes; they inflict deep, lasting and distinct injuries--some of which never heal--on victims and their family members; they incite community unrest and, ultimately, they are downright un-American.

No one could say it better. He understands that is what we are talking about and whether we are going to battle that with both hands, not with one hand tied behind our back as exists at the present time. It is the local law officials who are stating that. Even the Justice Department said the same a few years ago.

Finally, on why this is such an extraordinary situation--this is what the Justice Department says.

Local authorities may not have the tools or the will to prosecute a particular bias-motivated crime fully.

We put this aside. This, basically, is a moral issue. It is a moral issue because of the viciousness and the motivational aspects of hatred and bigotry. Our Founding Fathers, as brilliant as they were, wrote prejudice in the Constitution of the United States. They wrote slavery in the Constitution of the United States. This Nation has been battling for 230 years to free ourselves from the stains of discrimination, and we are not there yet. We suffered the brutalities of the Civil War. We went through the period of Reconstruction. We have faced those issues on the floor of the Senate: In 1964, the Civil Rights Act; the 1965 Civil Rights Act; the 1968 Civil Rights Act. We went on to knock down the walls of discrimination.

When we knocked down the walls of discrimination on the basis of race, we also, history will show--we knocked them down with regard to gender, we knocked them down with regard to ethnicity, we knocked down a lot of them in terms of disability. We have not with regard to sexual orientation. But we have made remarkable progress. No nation in the world has made that progress--no nation.

That is one of the reasons I am as proud of this Nation as I am. But it is a continuing process. If we do not understand that out there, as the various statistics of the Justice Department and the Southern Poverty Law Center say, there are these centers of hatred and bigotry that exist out there, that are hating and demonstrating and killing our citizens on the basis of those definitions.

That is continuing, and the question is whether we are going to do something about it. We are not going to solve all of the problems with legislation, but if we do not solve this one, we miss a golden opportunity.

I finally say, to those who have talked about, we are adding this on the Defense authorization bill, we have had more time in quorum calls around here. We have not taken a great deal of time. We are taking 2 hours this morning on SCHIP and hate crimes. We have not taken up a great deal of time.

The majority of the Members have supported this. On three other occasions, a majority of Republicans and Democrats have supported this concept--on three other occasions. Let's get the job done. We have that opportunity this morning.

Finally, this is about the morality of our country, the values of our country. That is directly tied into what our men and women are doing overseas in resisting terrorism and fighting for the values here at home. One of the values that is here at home is the value of honoring the dignity of the human being and the individual. That is why all of those in the great religious faiths, the Interfaith Alliance, 75 different religions--the belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions is that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth. That is why 1,400 members of the clergy have pointed out: Our faith traditions teach us to love our neighbor. While we cannot legislate love, it is our moral duty to protect one another from hatred and violence.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 1 minute remaining.

Mr. KENNEDY. This is from the religious community.

So we have on that standard above the Presiding Officer ``E pluribus unum''--``out of many, one.'' We have a responsibility, to the extent we can, to eliminate division, to eliminate the hatred, to eliminate the bigotry, and to become one Nation with one history and one destiny. This amendment moves us on that road to the kind of country this Nation deserves to be. I hope our colleagues will support this amendment.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, we are willing to accept the Hatch amendment. It requires a study and requires some authorization for helping local communities. I would hope the amendment would be unanimously accepted. I intend to vote for it, and I would hope all the Members would vote for it. I understand we are going to order the yeas and nays now. I hope we will vote in favor of the Hatch amendment.

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