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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SESSIONS. Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate Senator Schumer's remarks about the Iran sanctions. They are very important. It is an action by the United States that I think has helped in a number of ways with the radicalism in Iran, and we need to keep it up.

Yesterday, I heard Mr. Clapper--or maybe it was the day before--testify before the Judiciary Committee, and he said he had a number of people not working. Senator Grassley said: If they are not critical people, then why do you need so many? If you have a critical job, you need enough people to do the critical duties. How many do you need? You must not need all these people. You said they are not important to us. I don't think Mr. Clapper had a very good answer to that.

When someone raised the question of defense cuts under the Budget Control Act, and he expressed concern about that, which I would share. I think Mr. Clapper is right to be concerned about it. So I asked Director Clapper: Do you know the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Have you ever heard of the Commander in Chief of the United States?

The House--the Republican House, I must say--has a half dozen times or more, over several years, passed legislation that eases those cuts and finds other reductions in spending from other departments and agencies that have received no cuts and as a result reduces the burden on the Defense Department. Indeed, the Defense Department represents one-sixth of the U.S. budget and they are being asked to take one-half the cuts and don't think that counts in bringing down the war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan; that is entirely different. I am talking about the base defense budget that has taken half the cuts under the Budget Control Act. It is too much for the Defense Department. It ought to be spread around. The House has voted more than one-half dozen times to do that. It died in the Senate because I guess they want to utilize the military to threaten Republicans: If you don't do what we want, we are not going to fund your military.

My goodness, the President is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military. Doesn't he have a responsibility to make sure we are adequately funded? I have to say, I am just getting a little frustrated with that argument.

First of all, I don't think he is required to lay off that many people. He indicated he was reviewing it. He was going to bring back more people, as he could have been doing all along, but I think it did allow another example of disastrous complaints beyond reality. One more thing. Senator Schumer, and many of our Democratic colleagues, have been conducting a sustained and direct attack on the millions of people who supported and identified with the tea party movement. Make no mistake about it, they don't respect the people in the tea party movement. They demean them in every way virtually every day in this body.

The tea partiers believe in America and thought this U.S. Congress has turned into lunatics and are putting this country into bankruptcy by its spending too much and passing ObamaCare. Democrats passed ObamaCare in spite of the overwhelming objections by the American people. They did it without listening. The tea party spontaneously rose up, and it clobbered a bunch of Democratic House Members and Senators. It switched the whole majority in the House by a big number. So they don't like it.

Everybody who opposes them and says: You are not listening to us, they are now demeaning and attacking. I think the American people and the people who identify with and support the tea party, either directly or indirectly, need to know that. I know the people in the tea party. They care about America. They love America. They can't understand what is going on here and they think they are

moving us into bankruptcy and we forgot the entire concept of constitutional limited government.

We have heard a lot of talk about the challenges facing the government during the funding lapse we are in. All of us want to see the government return to normal operations, and I certainly do, but what we seem to be losing sight of is the permanent consequences--the debt consequences--of the Affordable Care Act. It needs to be a part of this discussion. The Democrats have refused to listen. They basically blocked any effort in the Senate to reform in any significant way the Affordable Care Act. It has been going on ever since it passed. Their goal is to put up a wall around it so if anything comes up, they will not listen to it. They will not consider it. They will not discuss it. It is a fact. It is a done deal. We can't even discuss it.

The House has a right to fund what they want to fund under the Constitution and not fund what they choose not to fund. They are trying to initiate and force a discussion on one of the most important issues facing America. One of the things that is so dangerous about this law has not been properly discussed, and I wish to talk about it.

A lot of us are going to donate our pay during this furlough to charity. I certainly will. I wish our friends would begin to be more concerned for the private sector workers. There are millions of American workers who will be permanently affected by the Affordable Care Act. They will be hammered by it. Eventually full funding will resume to our government. We know that. This furlough will end.

If this ObamaCare remains in full effect, the consequences for American workers are going to be lasting and damaging, as will the consequences to the United States Treasury and our financial condition.

In particular, as ranking member of the Budget Committee, I would like to focus on the huge and fundamental accounting manipulation that lies at the center of this health care law. I am going to make some statements, and if anybody has detailed objections or rejections to it, I want to see them, and I will respond to them. But I am correct in what I am saying, and I look forward to any discussion that anybody would like to have. So far people don't want to talk; they want to ignore the problem.

We have to deal with these accounting manipulations because it is a colossal blow to our Treasury. The Affordable Care Act was packaged and sold based on a promise that I am going to disprove. The American people knew it wasn't true anyway. Before a joint session of the Congress, the President of the United States said and promised this: ``I will not sign a [health care] plan that adds one dime to our deficits, now or any time in the future, period.'' That is a bold statement. It is as good as ``read my lips.''

As I addressed earlier this week, hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare savings to the hospital insurance, HI, trust fund were double-counted under the legislation that was passed--at least $400 billion over the 2010 to the 2019 10-year period. I asked for an analysis before the bill passed on December 23. We ended up voting on December 24, Christmas Eve. They rammed it through before Scott Brown, who would have denied them the 60th vote, was elected in Massachusetts--liberal Massachusetts--on the commitment he would be the vote to kill ObamaCare, but they were able to get it through before he was able to take office.

The night before we voted, I asked CBO about it. I insisted they give an answer, and they did. They said:

The key point is that savings to the HI trust fund--

That is Medicare--

under PPACA--

That is ObamaCare--

would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on the other parts of the legislation--


or on other programs. ..... To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings----

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to have an additional 2 minutes.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. SESSIONS. The CBO went on to conclude to say:

To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government's ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal position.

What a statement that was. In fact, CBO estimated that if Medicare savings were truly set aside to pay future Medicare benefits, the new health care law would not decrease but increase the deficit over the first 10 years and subsequent decade. They said it would increase the deficit.

But there is a lesser known, equally shocking, account gimmick that I wanted to mention today; that is, how it was done with Social Security. They have obtained another $100 billion over the next 10 years by double-counting Social Security money.

My time is up, and I could explain it in more detail, but we have to understand this. According to the Congressional Government Accountability Office--and I asked them not too long ago when they issued a report--that over the next long-term implementation of ObamaCare, it would add $6.2 trillion to the debt of the United States. That is almost as much as the liabilities that Social Security has and fully accounted for--my budget staff tells me that the ObamaCare legislation will be harder to fund and add more to the deficit----

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time is up.

Mr. SESSIONS. Than Social Security will under the current problems.

We need to stop digging the hole and we need to start fixing Medicare and Social Security and not adding other programs we can't pay for.

I thank the Chair and yield the floor.


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to speak for 2 minutes and to be followed by Senator ENZI for the normal time he was allocated.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, we share being attorney generals of our States, and I just wish to take a moment to express my sincere and deep thanks--and from all of us--to the men and women who protect us every day, the Capitol Police. We had a very serious incident yesterday. Our people rallied and responded in an appropriate way. I believe they conducted themselves in a professional way.

For example, I saw one young man. He said he had heard and responded immediately, was running toward the scene. We think: Well, that is OK. That is what they do. That is what they are supposed to do.

We need to understand, when one of our young men and women are responding to a scene of a firing, of weapons discharged, they do not know what is there. In this environment, it could be a very serious thing. Their very life is at stake every time. Everyplace they stand on our streets, everyplace they stand in our building, the Capitol, and our office buildings, they are standing there subject to a threat by somebody who could appear out of nowhere with deadly force, and they do it with professionalism and courage every day.

We have been very fortunate in seeing this Capitol be well protected, and I wish to express my appreciation for them and all who place their lives at risk every day to protect the operational functions of this government.

I thank the Chair and yield the floor.


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