Skip to comments.Senate Coverage -- (February '06)
Posted on 02/01/2006 6:09:12 AM PST by OXENinFLA
Since "Free Republic is an online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America.", I and others think it's a good idea to centralize what the goes on in the Senate (or House).
So if you see something happening on the Senate/House floor and you don't want to start a new thread to ask if anyone else just heard what you heard, you can leave a short note on who said what and about what and I'll try and find it the next day in THE RECORD. Or if you see a thread that pertains to the Senate, House, or pretty much any GOV'T agency please link your thread here.
If you have any suggestions for this thread please feel free to let me know.
Here's a few helpful links.
C-SPAN what a great thing. Where you can watch or listen live to most Government happenings.
C-SPAN 1 carries the HOUSE.
C-SPAN 2 carries the SENATE.
C-SPAN 3 (most places web only) carries a variety of committee meetings live or other past programming.
OR FEDNET has online feed also.
A great thing about our Government is they make it really easy for the public to research what the Politicians are doing and saying (on the floor anyway).
THOMAS where you can see a RECORD of what Congress is doing each day. You can also search/read a verbatim text of what each Congressmen/women or Senator has said on the floor or submitted 'for the record.' [This is where the real juicy stuff can be found.]
Also found at Thomas are Monthly Calendars for the Senate Majority and Senate Minority
And Monthly Calendars for the House Majority and Roll Call Votes can be found here.
The Founders' Constitution
THE WHITE HOUSE
THE WAR DEPARTMENT (aka The Dept. of Defense)
LIVE DoD Briefings
NEWSEUM: TODAY'S FRONT PAGES
Wednesday, Feb 1, 2006
9:15 a.m.: Convene and proceed to consideration of H.R. 4297, the Tax Reconciliation bill. Thereafter begin a period of morning business.
Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006
FYI..HOuse meets at 10am today..might be interesting to see if any GOP member, in mornign speeches, takes a whack at Lynn Woolsey for giving Sheehan a ticket to the SOTU yesterday?
NO kidding...I might have to stream the House for a while today...thanks for the heads up!!
BTW...I for one thought the speech was great last night...
You know what was the best part..when he introduced the wife and parents of the fallen Marine hero...durign the thunderous appplause, W looked up at them, smiled, and WINKED at them..There is NOT one potential Dem nominee I can imagine doing that..
Kit Bond is nailing the leaking dems.
I don't know what bill the talk is in the context of, but it was an entertaining speech.
Hildabeast up talking about the NOLA leeves.....
COMMENTS ON THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS -- (House of Representatives - February 01, 2006)
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Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to take the time of the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).
[Page: H129] GPO's PDF
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, last night, Cindy Sheehan was evicted from this Chamber and arrested. Her crime? Wearing a T-shirt that highlighted the number of dead soldiers in Iraq and asking, ``How many more?''
Since when is free speech conditional on whether or not you agree with the President of the United States? In fact, isn't the whole point of the first amendment to our Constitution to protect dissenters? And how ironic is it, Mr. Speaker, that this outrageous suppression of peaceful protest should take place on the very same day that America lost one of the pioneers of civil disobedience, Coretta Scott King.
I will say about this episode what I said about the torture of prisoners, the PATRIOT Act, and the administration's illegal domestic surveillance program: How can we claim to be fighting on behalf of freedom around the world, making the world safe for freedom, when we are smothering freedom here at home?
Let us not forget also that Cindy Sheehan has given her child for this country and this war. She deserves the sympathy and gratitude of every American. No one who sat in this Chamber last night has the moral authority she does to express an opinion on the Bush Iraq policy.
But I might argue that it is actually a little misleading to classify Ms. Sheehan's views as ``dissent'' or ``protest,'' because a majority of Americans agree with her that the invasion of Iraq was a tragic mistake and a majority agrees with her that the President misled us about weapons of mass destruction intelligence in order to justify this war.
The President, meanwhile, represents a minority view, and he tried once again to sell that minority view to skeptical Americans last night. And once again he did so by employing a spin, misleading rhetoric, and outright deception.
Of course, he conveniently conflated the 9/11 attacks on America with the conflict in Iraq, exploiting a national tragedy for the umpteenth time. He talked about the importance of Iraqi reconstruction, but did not mention that the official in charge of reconstruction says there is not enough funding to complete key projects. He said that military commanders on the ground would make decisions for troop levels, but in 2003 he dismissed the general who correctly warned that keeping the peace in post-war Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of troops.
The President set up this misleading either/or proposition choice last night: you either support his militarism, or you believe in ``retreating within our borders and the false comfort of isolation.''
This is a false charge. We should absolutely be engaging the nations of the world, especially ones that are poor, underdeveloped, and vulnerable to terrorism; but we should be engaging the world with humanitarian support, not with bombs and missiles.
Yes, by all means, let us meet the challenges of the world, where too many suffer under economic and political repression. But instead of sending troops, let us send small business loans, let us send agricultural experts, let us send doctors, teachers, scientists and constitutional scholars. Let us engage, not invade.
This has been the core philosophy of my SMART Security Plan that I have discussed here many, many times: less brawn, more brains; less belligerence, more benevolence.
It is interesting that a President who has disparaged allies, rejected multilateralism, and ignored global commitments now talks about the dangers of isolation. The only way to promote peace and security to combat terrorism, to stop the spread of deadly weapons is to embrace a vision of global partnership, cooperation and diplomacy; and that is exactly what the President has failed to do.
He could start by abandoning his vision of conquest and bring our troops home. Only then can we begin the hard work of defeating tyranny and ensuring freedom and ensuring peace around the world.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kuhl of New York). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 4, 2005, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, as always, I profoundly appreciate the privilege to address this body and on a subject matter before us that we have not had the opportunity to debate and deliberate within this Chamber and one of the broader subjects that I would like to address in this upcoming 60 minutes, Mr. Speaker, is the President's State of the Union address last night. I have a copy in my hand here, the one I took notes on as he spoke in this Chamber last night.
Before I move into that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a couple of subject matters that were raised by one of the previous speakers and point out that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, this seems to be something that is debated across this country intensively by the mainstream media. It fits within the same category of the PATRIOT Act which we extended at least from this floor today.
I sat through in the Judiciary Committee at least part if not all of the 12 to 13 hearings that we had, and we asked continually, give us some names, give us some specific examples of someone who had their rights trampled or abused or usurped under the PATRIOT Act and I say also under FISA. The criticism continues, Mr. Speaker, but I still continue to ask, name the case, name the individual, give me the circumstances by which these laws that have protected us so well have been abused by anyone this administration or the opening by which that might be done. I have not heard that answer, and I continue to ask that question.
This country has not been attacked because we have been prudent in our surveillance. This surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been used by many Presidents and only challenged now after it was brought forward in the New York Times, the very morning that there is a PATRIOT Act vote in the United States Senate. I would question the motives of that newspaper that sat on that story for a year. We need to continue to ask that question and what was the motive of the paper, and by the way, what was the motive of the Members of this body and the other body when they had been briefed on FISA and those kind of foreign intelligence surveillance, they did not seem to have an objection when they were briefed. They only had an objection when they were briefed by the media. We have a larger responsibility than that, Mr. Speaker, and I would point that out.
Also, one of the previous speakers addressed the issue of ``our addition to foreign oil.'' I would ask those people, help us use this domestic supply of energy that we have. Let us unlock ANWR, let us unlock the Outer Continental Shelf. Let us develop these domestic supplies of renewable energies that we have. Let us join together in a bipartisan effort to grow the size of this energy pie.
So those two in response to the previous remarks that were made, Mr. Speaker, and then I would also address the idea, the President covered a whole series of subject matters last night. Our national defense is one. Energy is another. Education is another.
Of course, one of the key components to our national security is immigration, border enforcement, and here with us tonight to address the border security issue and border enforcement and I expect will have some kind words to say about our brave border patrol is the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Keller) to whom I would be pleased to yield to.
Mr. KELLER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for
Mr. Speaker, I have just returned from the Mexican border and I am here to report my findings.
We were 5,000 feet up in the mountains along the border California shares with Mexico at 2:00 a.m., freezing in 30-degree weather with the wind howling in our faces. Eight shivering young men, illegal aliens in their late teens and early 20s, sat on the cold ground in handcuffs, grateful to be caught. One of them pleaded with the border patrol agent to find his girlfriend Maria who was still stuck on one of the cliffs.
Illegal aliens, like the ones I saw in handcuffs, continue to enter the United States from the Mexican border at the rate of 8,000 per day. Today, we have 11 million illegal aliens in the United States.
Illegal immigration presents a huge problem. That is why I decided to spend a week along the southern border to see firsthand how bad the problem was and what Congress could do to fix it.
Last year, our border patrol agents arrested 1.2 million illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States from Mexico. Significantly, 155,000 of those arrested were from countries other than Mexico. They included illegal immigrants from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Our porous Mexican-U.S. border offers the perfect cover for terrorists, especially since tighter controls have been imposed at airports.
This poses a very serious national security problem, according to CIA Director Porter Goss. I personally spoke with border patrol agents who had apprehended suspects on the terrorist watch list.
One night while I was riding along with the border patrol two illegals from Pakistan were captured. One convicted sexual predator was caught trying to cross, so were wanted murder suspects, drug dealers and smugglers.
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I was impressed by the bravery of the border patrol agents who escorted me. I saw a border patrol supervisor get out of his vehicle, pull an illegal alien off of a 10-foot wall and arrest him despite his violent attempts to resist the arrest.
The border patrol agent I rode with told me he had been shot at on several occasions. Twenty-three of his colleagues have been killed in the line of duty since 1990. For example, border patrol agents Susan Rodriguez and Ricardo Salinas were gunned down by a murder suspect. Agent Jefferson Barr was shot to death by a drug trafficker.
If the job of a border patrol agent sounds dangerous, imagine the risk to people who actually live along the border.
I sat down in the living rooms of four different families who own ranches along the border. One couple, Ed and Donna Tisdale, documented on home video 13,000 illegal aliens crossing their property in one year alone. The Tisdales had their barbed-wire fences cut by illegals, running off the family's cattle. When their dogs barked to scare off intruders, the dogs were poisoned.
Another rancher told me about numerous break-ins at his home while his family slept, as illegal aliens tried to find food and clothing. One morning his daughters had gone out to feed their pet bunnies, only to find them skinned and taken for food by illegal aliens trying to escape to a nearby highway.
The economic impact of crossers who are successful is catastrophic.
Illegal immigration costs taxpayers $45 billion per year in health care, education and incarceration expenses. The cost of the estimated 630,000 illegal aliens in Florida is about $2 billion a year, meaning every family in my congressional district pays a hidden tax of $315 each year, and yet still faces depressed wages because of illegal immigration.
So how do we fix the problem?
First, we need to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. Jobs are the magnet drawing illegal aliens across the border, and the United States House of Representatives has acted to make it mandatory for employers to check the paperwork of new hires or else face stiff penalties if they do not. Now it is up to the Senate to act.
Second, we need to complete construction of the double fence for 700 miles along the border near populated, urban areas. San Diego saw a steep reduction in crossings, from 500,000 down to 130,000, when the double fence was completed there.
Third, where mountains and rugged terrain make completion of a double fence impossible, we need to have a virtual fence. Congress needs to appropriate more money for infrared cameras that enable agents to see the entire border.
Finally, we need more border patrol agents. Although Congress has tripled the number of border patrol agents since the late 1980s, more are still needed.
Mr. Speaker, one million illegal immigrants come to America legally each year, and my staff members spend the majority of their time helping those who want to come to our country to work hard and play by the rules.
We are protected from dangerous people entering the country at our airports. IDs are checked against the terrorist watch list and baggage is screened. Well, who is doing the checks on the 8,000 people who arrive here illegally every day? Who is our last line of defense? It is a Border Patrol agent in a green uniform working alone.
At 2 a.m. tonight, after all of us are asleep, he will be working somewhere near the top of a cold 5,000-foot mountain along the California-Mexican border. He will get a radio call telling him to approach a group of illegals who have been spotted by an infrared scope and are located near the top of that mountain. He will track their footprints in the dirt and make his way toward them. As he approaches, there is something he doesn't know: Are these illegal aliens a group of harmless teenagers who are scared and freezing, or are they heavily armed and dangerous drug traffickers, like the ones who have killed so many of his colleagues?
Either way, he will approach them, because it is another day on the job. Mr. Speaker, I have a message for that Border Patrol agent working tonight: the United States Congress knows you are there, we appreciate your service, and help is on the way.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida. I appreciate his travel down to the border. I have done that on occasion myself and traveled the border at night and flown in helicopters and had my meetings with the Border Patrol down there. It wasn't quite as eventful as yours appears to have been, Mr. Keller; but for those of us in the House of Representatives who have not gone down and had personal experience on the border to see how it functions and how sometimes it doesn't function, I think it is important for us to take that visit and do that.
The statement that was given that there were 1.2 million stopped at the southern border last year, of course we know that is a rounded number. The number in a little more precise term is stuck in my head: 1,159,000 illegals, and I say collared at the southern border in the last year. And of those, there were only 1,640 that were adjudicated for deportation. The balance of them, in summary terms, were released on their promise to return to their home country. Many of those who were other than Mexicans, the 155,000, were simply released into this country without an expectation of going back to their home country.
In that haystack of humanity, the Border Patrol has testified before our immigration subcommittee that they believe they stop one-third, maybe one-fourth, of those illegal crossers. So we know that that 1.2 million multiplied times three or four gets you in the neighborhood of how many actually came across and how many came in here and successfully completed their crossing and stayed. That numbers approaches, I believe, 4 million in the last year.
That 4 million-strong haystack of humanity includes people looking for a better life, but also in that are the needles in that haystack that are terrorists, drug dealers, criminals, rapists, and people who wish this country ill will, along with a pretty good sized portion of them that simply see the United States as a giant ATM, who come here seeking their fortune and then wire the money back, go back and withdraw that money from their banks and live happily ever after.
That number, in 2005, when the report comes in, will be very near, if it does not exceed, $30 billion wired south of our border, $20 billion into Mexico and another $10 billion into the other Central American states. That is a huge number. We say we cannot get along without this economy, but the illegal labor in this country is generating about $76 billion in wages. That $76 billion amounts to 2.2 percent of the wages that are earned in the United States, even though they are 4 percent of the labor force.
So the argument we cannot get along without the illegals is a specious argument and is just plain false. We will find a way in this country. There are 7.5 million people being paid not to work, on unemployment. There are another 5 million that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are still seeking work. So there are 12.5 million people in this country looking for work. And of the 11 million illegals in this country, 6.3 million illegals are in our workforce. So the 6.3 million that we have to replace if we shut off the jobs magnet could come from the unemployed and that 12.5 million that I stipulated.
Additionally, there are 9 million young people in America between the ages of 16 and 19 that are not in the labor force, even in a part-time job, for whatever reason. There are about another 4 to 4.5 million between the ages of 55 and 69 that are not working that might be if we didn't have penalties in there for their work. So you begin to add that up, and it is 13 million added to the 12.5 million. So there are about 25 million people in this country that would be sitting there to fill the 6.3 million vacancies if we shut off the jobs magnet. So one in four. And that doesn't include the 51 million between the ages of 20 and 64, between those ages, that are simply not in the workforce because they are retired, they choose not to work, or whatever the reason might be. That takes us up to 76 million in a potential workforce to tap into or to replace 6.3 million.
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I do not think we have examined those numbers or we wouldn't be having the debate we are having, Mr. Speaker.
I want to take this opportunity to yield some time to the gentleman from Texas, who had spoken to us a little earlier about the immigration issue. I appreciate his stance on the energy issue. In fact, we have stood on this floor a number of times and joined forces together. I joined forces with Mr. Poe of Texas in cosponsoring his bill that opens up the Outer Continental Shelf to both gas and oil drilling. So I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
Next Senate Meeting
Thursday, Feb 2, 2006
9:30 a.m.: Convene and resume consideration of H.R. 4297, the Tax Reconciliation bill.
Wednesday, Feb 1, 2006
The Senate convened at 9:15 a.m. and adjourned at 8:01 p.m. No record votes were taken.
Reid is up .. sounds like he's against the Budget Reduction deficit Act
Dingy up whining already. Awfully defensive considering they just got started.
I don't think I can stomach Boxer this early in the day.
True but at least she does not screech.
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