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Transaction Account Guarantee Program Extension Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Tennessee for allowing me to make a couple points. These are very well-made points about having the opportunity to actually debate and try to improve a bill on the floor. One of the things that disturbs me is that I see a pattern that is playing out today, and this is not the first time. This is just part of why we have not had a budget resolution for 3 consecutive years. The majority party does not want to have to come down and actually cast votes.

If there is a budget resolution on the floor, there surely will be amendments. We all come from different places, have different ideas, and we want our constituents to have a chance to get their say. The majority party apparently does not want to have to cast votes. I think that is part of why there has not been a single appropriations bill on this floor, and that is just a shocking abdication of our responsibility.

Here we are in mid-December, and while the committee has voted this out--if not every appropriations bill, the vast majority of them--not a single one has been brought to the floor. We have seen this happen on bill after bill. I hear the criticism that Republicans will not allow the body to get on the bill. The motion to proceed passed; the cloture motion passed. We are on the bill. Despite that, there is no opportunity to have a meaningful, substantive debate about ways this could be improved and changed. It is not possible because the distinguished majority leader refuses to permit it. In my view, that is the dysfunction of this body; it is a pattern, and it is a problem. I too had a couple of amendments I would like to have had an opportunity to discuss.

I wish to make one other point. On the few occasions when the majority leader has actually permitted an open amendment process--the farm bill, postal reform bill, and Defense authorization come to mind--we would start with a huge, long list of amendments. Then people say: There are too many. I will give up some of mine. We got to a manageable amount, we dealt with them, and actually all three of those bills passed. The process works when it is allowed to take place, but this is not a very good function.

The last point I will make is to urge my colleagues to remember when we are running trillion-dollar deficits as it is, the last thing we ought to do is increase the size of those deficits with a taxpayer bailout of banks, and that is what this ends up amounting to.

I urge my colleagues to sustain this point of order.

I yield back to the Senator from Tennessee.


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