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Continuing Extension Act Of 2010 - Motion To Proceed - Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. I will consume the remainder of our time.

I thank Senator Johanns and Senator Sessions for being here.

We have heard the word ``emergency.'' The emergency that is in front of us is, we are a boat upside down fiscally, and there has to be a set of competing priorities for how we right that boat. But the No. 1 way we do not right the boat is to continue to add to the debt when we have programs that are not working and are wasting money, that are consuming precious resources we need to spend in other areas.

I am particularly interested in the very fast revisionist history that has been presented by the Senator from Michigan.

Let me tell you what happened here today. What happened here today was that a bill was offered and a motion to proceed on a bill that would accomplish this was totally paid for. That motion was tabled, with all of the Republican Senators voting against that, and some Democrats. We worked, through the next couple of hours, negotiating with the majority leader, with great help from Senator Durbin, the senior Senator from Michigan, and a compromise was reached that we would, in fact, make sure no interruption would happen over the next 2 weeks to those who are dependent on unemployment insurance. That was communicated to the House of Representatives and the majority there, and it was rejected.

Then the final thing that happened is we had an adjournment resolution, for which everyone on our side of the aisle voted against to stay here. Now, that probably was not a truly sincere vote. I would put that out to my colleagues. But the fact is, the Senate does not have to go home. And the reflection for this not passing should not fall on the Senate; it should fall on the fact that the Senate came together and agreed on a solution that was not acceptable to the leadership in the House of Representatives.

So if there is a problem with what we have done today, it is that when we compromised in the Senate, the House would not take it. And we did compromise. We compromised on spending. We compromised on time. We compromised on making sure the people who needed to have this extension were going to get it.

I started out the debate earlier today on the basis of, where are we going in our country and what is our problem? Our problem is that we are drowning in debt, that our foreign policy is affected by it today, our ability to borrow is affected by it, and the manipulation of our ability to stabilize our own economy is affected by it. But, most importantly, what we do today has dramatic impact on those who know us.

It is unfortunate that we did not work out a deal tonight. So we are going to have a week of exposure for people who actually need the help. It is actually going to be harder on the bureaucrats to handle this. But it did not happen.

But I think the bigger question is, Should we just lay down and add more money to the debt because we could not get agreement across the Capitol? And so what we are going to do, when we come back, the day after we get back, we are going to have a cloture vote, which I think will be very difficult to achieve, but it may be achieved, because the same principle is going to lie here.

With over $300 billion worth of waste, fraud, and duplication in the Federal budget every year, there are many of us who believe sincerely that it is time to stop spending money on lower priorities, time to stop calling things an emergency when we actually have the money in waste and fraud and duplication that we can use to pay for this.

We needed to start somewhere. The unfortunate aspect that we did not accomplish that this evening means some people will suffer. But I want you to contrast that with what the suffering is going to be in 2019 within our country when we have double-digit interest rates because we can no longer maintain our borrowing; when we are, in the next 9 years, going to pay $5.6 trillion in interest on $9.8 trillion we are going to borrow. Of that $9.8 trillion, $5.6 trillion is going to be interest payments.

What is coming is a tsunami to our country. So I feel a failure tonight because I could not accomplish both goals, both protecting our children and their future opportunity and taking care of those who need us right now. But the principle is still there.

We have to, in fact, start making tough choices. If we learn to do that together, the country benefits. And the future of our children is at hand. But we can no longer make the decision that we steal from our children to take care of things we are responsible for today. And I understand the resistance to that, but the fact is, our future depends on us starting today. It does not matter if you are liberal in philosophy or conservative in philosophy, the economics will be borne home to everyone. It has to stop. And we have to start with us.

I appreciate the congeniality of my friend from Illinois. Tough week for us all--probably more tough for us than you. I congratulate you on your victory on the yearlong battle with a difference in philosophy on how we fix health care. But I know that 20 years from now, the Senator from Illinois and I will suffer the same pain if our kids are diminished by our lack of action here. So I will say, let's let it not be so. Let's let it not be so. Let's start making hard choices. Let's start doing what is in the best long-term interests of our country.

With that, I yield back a minute of our time to the Senator from Illinois.


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