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Public Statements

American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 - Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, after I speak, my side will speak relatively briefly: Senators Kyl, Thune, Coburn, and Senator Graham. I have had some kind of Orwellian experiences in the Senate over the years I have been here, but this one ranks up near the top in the word ``bipartisanship'' that is being thrown around as far as this package is concerned, this $1.1 trillion package. Let's have no doubt about that. There are 178 Members of the House of Representatives who are Republicans. They all voted against the bill, plus 11 Democrats. There are 40 Republican Senators here. We now have two--count them, two--who have decided behind closed doors, without consultation with the other 38, to come to an agreement, which you can call a lot of things but bipartisan is not one of them, unless you say that two individuals and possibly a third, but no more than that, out of 40 are in agreement.

I have been involved in a lot of bipartisan legislation around here, but I guarantee this is not bipartisan.

So let's make sure we understand that to start with.

Second of all, let's talk about how much it costs. There has been a lot said about reduction in the cost. The fact is, they say it is $780 billion. If you include the amendments that were already passed and are going to be included in this bill, it is now $827 billion. That is $7 billion more than the House of Representatives passed, the debt service being $348 billion, bringing us to a total of $1.175 trillion. Then you add that to, on Monday, the new Secretary of Treasury is going to announce a new TARP--$500 billion, $1 trillion. Waiting in the House is another Omnibus appropriations bill of $400 billion. We just spent $750 billion--or are in the process of spending another $750 billion--in the form of TARP I and II. My goodness, it is a moment in history of spending the likes of which this Nation has never seen.

By the way, let's suppose it is only $827 billion we are going to pass here. That only costs around, according to the Congressional Budget Office--and I urge every one of my colleagues to read it--on February 4 they said the bill, as passed and proposed, would have created between 1.3 million and 3.9 million jobs. At $827 billion, if you create 1.3 million jobs, that is $636,000 per job. If it creates 3.9 million jobs, which is the high estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, then you now are only paying $212,000 per job.

So let's have no doubt. As to the elimination of unnecessary, wasteful projects, I have already submitted for the Record page after page after page of porkbarrel projects which were put in on a partisan basis, not a bipartisan basis. Let's make sure we understand that.

Mr. President, there is $150 million for honey bee insurance. Some have said: $150 million, $200 million, that is not much. Mr. President, $300 million to bring USDA facilities into workplace safety compliance--the list goes on and on. This is a Christmas tree done by appropriators. And we proved when we tried to eliminate the earmarks that there are three kinds of Senators in the Senate: Republicans, Democrats, and appropriators.

The fact is, we turned down--although we got 44 votes--what would have given us at least some shred of confidence that we will be addressing
this terrible deficit we are laying on future generations of Americans, and that would have been a trigger that when we have two quarters of GDP growth, we would be on the automatic path to reducing spending and bringing us a balanced budget. That was rejected by this body. Why? Why in the world, once the economy recovers, wouldn't we want to put this country on the path to a balanced budget and stop laying--we have already done $10 trillion. Now there are more trillions coming, not to mention Social Security and Medicare.

So let's have no doubt--let's have no doubt--this is not bipartisan. This is two Republican Senators who decided to join after meetings behind doors, in which almost all of the rest of us were not present. It is as expensive or more expensive than the legislation passed by the House if you count the amendments that have already been passed, which we are told would be included in this bill. There is no provision--there is no provision--whatsoever, once our economy recovers, to somehow begin to reduce this multitrillion-dollar debt we have laid on future generations of Americans. If this legislation is passed, it will be a very bad day for America.

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Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, as we complete this part of the ongoing effort to address a truly terrible time in America's history, full of economic difficulties and woes and sadness, we also face enormous challenges abroad. Every time we see a news report, we see some new challenge around the world.

I hope we also have learned from this experience that maybe it is best to begin our discussions in addressing the challenges that face America on a truly bipartisan basis, and that everybody be allowed to participate; that it be the input of both sides and all points of view, and that we can then reach consensus and go to the American people in a united fashion.

The President of the United States, just a few days ago, said he believed we would pass this bill through the Senate with 80 votes or more. That, obviously, is not going to happen. I argue it is because of the way it began. People are saying: We won the election, so we will write the bill. They can do that, but I can assure my friends and colleagues the American people want us to work together. They are tired of the bitter partisanship. That is one of the major reasons we have such low approval ratings from the American people.

So I hope we can, the next time--and there will be a next time because TARP III will be coming up, and we will be addressing national security challenges, the Omnibus appropriations bill, and we will be addressing other issues. My urgent request to my colleagues is, let's not say: We won so we wrote the bill. I am not saying that wasn't true on this side of the aisle when we were victorious. Unfortunately, from time to time, we were guilty of the hubris that goes with victory. But I hope all of us understand that, in the view of many, including this Member, the challenges we face are enormous, and the American people and the world deserve an approach where all of us are included in the takeoff so that all of us will be included in the landing.

I have been on the Senate floor and I have not been in the ``negotiations'' that went on. I think it has been a good debate on the floor. There have been contributions from virtually every Member of this body. I think the American people who have observed that probably learned a lot from it. I hope next time we can show the American people we have come together at the beginning and have a truly bipartisan approach to the challenges we face.

I wish to say also that I believe the majority leader has allowed a large number of amendments and vigorous debate. Also, I think the Senator from Montana has managed the bill in a respectful fashion. I hope we do better next time, Madam President.

I yield the remainder of my time.

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