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Mr. President, I appreciate the statistics the Senator from Montana cited about how long we have been debating this and how many amendments we have done. That is how few amendments we have done, actually. The Majority is now filibustering their own bill. I have no idea why that is happening. We have been calling for votes on both of these amendments that have been proposed so far and haven't been able to get the votes. I don't understand how they can talk about how many amendments are being done.

I also have to voice some other frustration. I don't know how many times I have heard the exact same speech by the Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, on this floor talking about the amount of hours that have been spent together working on these bills in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Gang of Six in the Finance Committee. It isn't about how many hours we spend together. It isn't about how many hours we spend on the floor. It is whether we are accepting ideas. I understand the other party won the last election, but somehow they will have to get over this attitude that they won the election, they get to write the bill, they don't have to take any ideas from anybody else.

In the HELP Committee, I keep pointing out that most of the things we turned in were kind of punctuation corrections and spelling corrections. Any ideas we actually had that appeared to be accepted to be in the bill were ripped out of the bill before it was actually formally printed, without talking to us. What kind of bipartisan deal is that?
Another thing with the HELP Committee, we have only had 10 days of debate on this. We did more than that in the HELP Committee when we were marking up the bill.

But we are having, in the words of Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again. When we were having that markup, the Majority withheld a significant part of the bill, a big part of the bill. It was the government-run option part of the bill. They wouldn't give us the wording on that. I think they were still writing it. Maybe that is what is happening right now too. But we couldn't get the text we were going to write amendments on so that we could deal with the bill. I think America noticed that in August. People said: How come everybody isn't reading the bill? You can't read what you don't have.

The point I am making is, right now the newspapers are full of information--well, speculation; it has to be speculation--about what this new Medicare expansion does. I haven't run into anybody who has seen the text of that. I have asked some of the media, and they didn't see the text. They got a briefing. We haven't even had a briefing. The majority side has had a briefing, but our folks who have talked to those folks said: Wow, that was pretty general. How could you make up your mind on whether you are going to support it based on the little bit of information you received? That is not the way to run any kind of an organization, especially if you want bipartisan votes.

You can't write the bill in secret, which is what was done with this bill. There wasn't a Republican involved in the behind-the-door stuff Leader Reid did to put together the bill we have now. That is not bipartisan. There hasn't been a single person from the Republican side briefed on this new proposal that is going to save the world.

Actually, I noticed that the American Medical Association suddenly left the bill and said: This will be the worst thing that could happen to us. The hospital associations, which have been strong supporters of the bill, have also said this won't work, particularly the Mayo Clinic, which we have been holding up as one of the prime examples of the way to do health care, saying: If this Medicare expansion happens, it will cost us millions. We won't be able to provide the kind of care we have been providing.

What is the deal around here? When are we going to actually get to see something? When is the Majority actually going to share with us this marvelous idea they have had? What kind of a way to run a business is that?

Are we going to recess for the weekend? I don't want to recess for the weekend. I am conscious of the 11 days we have been debating, and we have only covered 14 amendments. We have a lot of important amendments that either will be a part of the bill or will help the people in this country to understand what is being thrust on them. There has never been a bill of such importance as this one from the standpoint of how many people it affects. We are talking about reforming health care in America. That is everybody. That is every single individual, every single provider. Every single business will be affected by this bill.

We talk about 2,074 pages, which seems like a lot. It would be for a normal bill that you could debate in a limited period, which is what we are being asked to do. But 2,074 pages isn't nearly enough to cover health care for America.
So why is it only 2,074 pages? There are hundreds of references in there to how the Secretary of Health and Human Services is going to solve all the problems. The things we aren't able to put into detail in there we just assign to her, and she will magically be able to solve the problems for American health care. After all, it is her Department. But that is not going to happen. You can't give that many assignments to any agency, any department, any group of people and expect them, in a reasonable amount of time, to come up with solutions, solutions that ought to be decided on by this body, the elected officials--not appointed officials but elected officials. That is not going to happen with this bill.

The only way that could happen is if we took significant parts of it and put it up one piece at a time and solved it. That is what seniors are asking for. They are asking for us to take the Medicare part and give them some assurance that when we are through, it will work. We are not even getting to see a significant part of it. We have been pointing out how taking $464 billion out of Medicare will break it, will ruin it. You just can't steal $464 billion out of Medicare and have it come out good.

The majority recognizes that. That is why they put in the special commission that is going to come to us each and every year and suggest the kinds of cuts we ought to make to keep that solvent.

The biggest thing we ought to do is take these cuts that are provided and make them actually apply only to Medicare. But how are you going to fund the expansion of Medicare now down to age 55? How do you do that? I guess you charge a premium to those people. That is kind of the rumor that is out there. How big of a premium? How big of a premium are you going to thrust on those people? I suspect it is going to be the older and the sicker people in that 55- to 64-age category who are going to want to shift over to Medicare.

If it is a higher premium so the system stays solvent--having nothing to do, of course, with age, because we cannot do that under the bill, or sickness, because we cannot do that under the bill--and those are good ideas--but those better be up in that range of the high-risk pools that the States already have.

People come to me and say: You have to do something about health care because we cannot afford that high-risk pool; it is too expensive. Well, how much more are we going to expect the young people to pitch in in their paycheck? That is where the Medicare money comes from right now. They deduct a portion of the paycheck from every single working American, and that goes into Medicare, and gets paid out right away to Medicare recipients, none of whom or hardly any of whom are the ones paying into the system. They are hoping that system is going to be there when they get older.

What I am asking for is for the majority to show us the paper and give us a reasonable time to look at it and give America a reasonable time to look at it. I do not think it is unreasonable for that to be on the Internet. That is a significant part of the bill. That would be a significant bill all by itself. It was held from our view when the HELP Committee did it.

Incidentally, that HELP Committee bill--that was put together in 2 weeks without our help and put on us--parts of it were withheld, as this has been withheld, until the last minute and then thrust in.

That is what created this enormous outrage across America of: Did you read the bill? How can you read the bill if you have not seen anything in it, if it has not been given to you? I do not think it is intended to be given to us until we have to shuffle this thing through at the end.

The anticipation was to get this done by Christmastime, and the majority side keeps talking about getting this done by Christmastime. Will we have time to read it before Christmastime? Will we have a chance to do any amendments on it before Christmastime? I am willing to stay around and work through the weekend and keep doing amendments, but I would like to see this marvelous idea that is going to solve the whole problem. If it was that marvelous and that good of an idea, I think it would be shared already.

Mr. President, I yield the floor and reserve the remainder of our time.