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USA Patriot Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006--Motion to Proceed

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I want to speak a few minutes after hearing the Senator from Michigan. I thought, first of all, her accusations have to be answered. First of all, she made a fairly serious charge on a friend of mine, the Congressman from Pennsylvania, Bucks County, Jim Greenwood, and implied that not only was his vote and his work in trying to secure prescription drugs for seniors part of a deal with the pharmaceutical industry, which I think there is no foundation for whatever, and I believe it also probably is in very poor taste for this Senate to start hanging out people who have left and demeaning their name on the basis of whom they go to work for. If we counted on both sides, we would find plenty of ammunition to do that. I think that is probably not the decorum of the Senate. I hope we will not hear that again.

I have lots of differences with former Congressman Greenwood in terms of social issues, but I have always found him to be an honorable man, above board and straightforward in both his intellect and the way he carried himself. To disadvantage his reputation the way that was done I find unconscionable.

No. 2, the Senator from Michigan did run a campaign on lowering prescription drugs. Her campaign was increased competition and reimportation, as well as Government control of every aspect of the pharmaceutical industry to lower the prices.

The program this country has I would not have supported. I do not believe it is the Government's role for us to supply to seniors in this country, but this program will supply drugs at half the cost of what most seniors who have been paying for their prescription drugs pay. To scare seniors into thinking they have a prescription drug program and they will not have one in 2 months or 2 weeks or 6 months is the type of tactic that undermines the integrity of this Senate and is one of the reasons people in this country are losing confidence in elected representatives. Quite frankly, the difference is going to be a lot of seniors today are having medicines they would not otherwise have.

I don't like it, but it is understandable, and we must recognize any program of this magnitude, when it starts, is going to have trouble. They are having far less problems now. The vast majority of people and the vast majority of pharmacists are not having a problem with the program. It will still have some bugs for the next couple of months. It will get better every month.

The goal of the program was to make sure those people who were choosing between food and medicine did not have to make that choice. Even though I'm not a fan of this program, it is accomplishing its goals. To scare seniors with this tactic, to try to scare seniors into thinking something they have now will go away, is unconscionable and is beyond the decorum of the Senate.

I yield the floor.

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