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Public Statements

Concurrent Budget Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, in Oregon we don't like the sales tax, and that is why we don't have one. It is regressive and more expensive to collect. What we hate even more is some State telling us what we have to do. I have heard people on this floor talking about States rights all the time, and now folks are standing up here and saying: We want your retailers to collect our tax, and we are not even going to compensate them for their time or effort. That is virtually a taking.

As my colleague pointed out, this is really about attacking business in America, small- and medium-sized businesses in America, which will just end up benefiting our foreign competitors. That is wrong, and we should oppose this for those multiple reasons.

I yield back time.

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Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 398.

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Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, this amendment increases the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy of the Department of Energy by $50 million. This is essentially what we know as ARPA-E. This is the most basic research to create breakthroughs in areas which range from renewable energy to energy conservation, so on and so forth. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. It is the lifeblood of putting ourselves in a position to be one of the nations which sells technology to the world, rather than buying it from the world. This is a huge leverage issue, and I encourage my colleagues to support it.

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The amendment (No. 614) was rejected.

Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote, and I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

AMENDMENT NO. 696

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Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, under the American system of justice where Lady Justice is blindfolded, there should never be a prosecution-free zone. But that is what the Department of Justice announced there is on Tuesday, December 11 of last year. They said they would fine but they would not indict and they would not prosecute Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation for laundering $800 million in illicit drug money; for laundering $600 million in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, Sudan, Cuba, and other countries against American law; and for allowing $200 trillion to bypass the sanctions and money-laundering filters.

As the New York Times reported, the Department of Justice decided not to indict HSBC "over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world's largest banks, ultimately destabilizing the global financial system.'' Our Attorney General repeated this justification on March 6, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying: I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large, it does become difficult to prosecute them.

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Mr. MERKLEY. Thank you.

Too-big-to-jail is wrong under our Constitution. It promises equality under the law. Let's send a strong message by supporting this.

I thank my Republican sponsors, Senators Grassley, Heller, Cornyn, and Shelby; and Democrats Tester, Warren, Begich, and Levin; and our Independent Senators, Sanders and King.

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