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Public Statements

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006--Continued

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I spend a lot of time on the floor on budget issues and on spending issues, and I am first of all appreciative that this point of order was brought up. One of the greatest problems we have is not thinking in the long run. We think in the short run. We think in election cycles. We don't think in generation cycles.

Here are some facts that we do know: We are on an unsustainable course as a country. We have approximately $70 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That is greater than our private net worth today. And we are going to transfer those liabilities to our children and our grandchildren.

What is important about this point of order is a reflection of one of the things we are going to be talking about in June in this body, and that is budget process reform. Because the instructions to the CBO are so arcane that they didn't really even look at the real numbers associated with this bill. They didn't talk about the discretionary costs associated with this bill. This bill actually costs $40 billion over the first 10 years. After that, at a minimum, this bill will cost in the next 10 years one-half of $1 trillion. That is $500 billion.

Let me put that in perspective for a minute, what a billion is, because we throw that number around here all the time. A billion seconds ago it was 1959. Three hours and 20 minutes ago, we spent $1 billion, over 3 hours and 20 minutes, this Government. The debt that we are transferring now is close to $27,000 per person; that is $8.3 trillion. That is 8,300 billions. So the fact is that the scoring by the rule says CBO has to say it costs in excess of $5 billion. The fact is, CBO didn't even look at this. The one thing that they did look at is that in one year, in 2016, the 10th year, the direct spending, the direct cost is at a minimum of $11 billion. That is not counting EITC. That is not counting figuring in the 12 million people who are here already in any of the numbers or any of the costs associated with this.

So when we use CBO scoring to say it is a net plus in the first 9 years, you have to ask, what does CBO say about where we would be on surpluses? What does CBO say about the cost of Medicare when it was started and the cost of Medicare 10 years ago when they projected it to be about 70 percent of what it is today, and the projected cost in the outyears of Medicare? They never get it right. One of the reasons they never get it right is because we are not honest with them in the legislation that we put through.

So if we are going to pass this bill out of the Senate, as I suspect we will, the American people need to know not only the four things that are in this bill that are inappropriate for a constitutional republic that is going to need to defend itself in the future--and I am not talking about anti-Hispanic or anti-immigrant; I am talking about the rule of law and how that will impact us as a future country--we have to be considerate about what this will do from a financial impact to the very perilous state that we will find ourselves in 10 years from now anyway.

In 2016, we are going to be close to having 81 percent of the budget--81 percent of the budget--consumed by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt. That means 19 percent is going to have to do everything else. So what you are talking about with this bill in the outyears is at a minimum of $50 billion in new expenditures per year starting in 2016. And probably the CBO scoring, because it does not reflect the direct costs of discretionary spending in this bill today for the 12 million who are here, this will be a net cost of several billion dollars over the next few years, up to $40 billion to $50 billion in year 10, and $50 billion plus after that. That violates the budget rules of this body.

We may not get the votes to win this point of order, but the American people should know, even if they agree with everything that is in this bill, that they are transferring again a lower standard of living, less opportunity, and less future to the Americans who are here today by passing this bill.

Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of my time.


Mr. COBURN. Will the Senator yield for a question?


Mr. COBURN. Is the Senator aware whether the CBO included in their scoring the disaggregated cost of the 11 million people who are here already in terms of the discretionary costs associated with them?

Mr. KENNEDY. The CBO has an estimate in there, what is necessary for border security.

Mr. COBURN. I am talking about the discretionary costs associated with the implementation. There are 11 million people here today. In fact, if the Senator will yield for just a moment, they do not consider that. That is just one of the flaws in the CBO's report.

I thank the Senator for allowing me to ask a question.

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