Senate Democrats

Republican Objection to S.1874, HUBZone

Senator Merkley asked unanimous consent the Banking Committee be discharged from further consideration of S.1874, the HUBZone Qualified Census Tract Act of 2011, and the bill be passed.

 

Senator Kyl objected to Senator Merkley’s request.  The unofficial transcript of Senators Merkley, Snowe, Landrieu and Kyl’s remarks is below.

 

 

 

11:00:51 NSP} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. MERKLEY: THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO ASK UNANIMOUS

CONSENT OF ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES, BEFORE I EXPLAIN THE UNANIMOUS

CONSENT REQUEST, I WILL GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND. THIS

IS SENATE BILL 1874 THAT SENATOR SNOWE AND I HAVE WORKED ON FOR

SOME TIME BECAUSE OF OUR MUTUAL INTEREST IN MAKING THE HUB ZONE

PROCESS FOR RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WORK BETTER. WHEN THIS

PROCESS OCCURS WITH EACH CENSUS, THERE IS A TWO-YEAR NIGHTMARE

OF RED TAPE BEFORE COMMUNITIES THAT SHOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS

{11:01:22} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO, AND

ACROSS THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT

ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BENEFIT FROM THIS MOST RECENT CENSUS. THEY

HAVE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATES. THEY ARE HIT HARD BY THE DROP IN

EXPORTS. THEY ARE HIT HARD BY THE COLLAPSE OF THE HOUSING

COMMUNITY. SAWMILLS HAVE SHUT DOWN, PAPER MILLS HAVE SHUT DOWN.

AND SO SO MANY FOLKS COME TO THIS FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT CUTTING

{11:01:55} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

RED TAPE AND TALKING ABOUT HELPING ECONOMY IN THE HEART OF

RURAL AMERICA. THEY COME TO THIS FLOOR AND THEY TALK ABOUT HOW

IMPORTANT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND JOBS IS, AND THIS IS A

LITTLE FIX THAT TAKES A YEAR OUT OF THE BUREAUCRACY, AND THAT’S

WHY SENATOR SNOWE AND I HAVE WORKED TOGETHER ON THIS PROCESS.

NOW, TWICE WE HAVE BROUGHT THIS FORWARD AND TWICE IT HAS BEEN

CLEARED BY EVERY MEMBER OF THIS BODY. NEITHER TIME DID IT MAKE

IT INTO A BILL THAT GOT TO THE PRESIDENT’S DESK. SO WE ARE

{11:02:31} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

COMING BACK ONCE MORE TO SAY LET COMMON SENSE TO FIX THIS

SNAFUS — THE SNAFUS IN THE BUREAUCRACY THAT ARE TAKING AWAY

OPPORTUNITY FOR RURAL AMERICA. LET’S PUT AN END TO THAT TODAY.

AND I WILL DEFER TO MY COLLEAGUE TO SPEAK AND THEN WE WILL ASK

FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT. I YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM MAINE.

{11:02:54 NSP} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MS. SNOWE: MR. PRESIDENT.

{11:02:57 NSP} (THE PRESIDING OFFICER) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MAINE.

{11:03:01 NSP} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MS. SNOWE: THANK YOU, AND I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM

OREGON REGARDING THIS CRITICAL ISSUE THAT WE HAVE BEEN WORKING

ON FOR A CONSIDERABLE PERIOD OF TIME, THAT WE THOUGHT WE HAD

REALLY CLEARED ON BOTH SIDES. THERE IS NO OBJECTIONS TO THIS

LANGUAGE, WHICH IS MIGHTILY IMPORTANT TO IMPROVING THE RURAL

ECONOMIES OF THIS COUNTRY, PARTICULARLY BECAUSE IT WOULD

EXPEDITE THE HUB ZONE DESIGNATION TO ALLOW SMALL BUSINESSES IN

THOSE HUB ZONES TO PROVIDE JOBS BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT THEY

{11:03:31} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

WOULD GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN THE CONTRACTING PROCESS. AS

WE KNOW, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS MORE THAN $400 BILLION

WORTH OF CONTRACTS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT SMALL BUSINESSES

AND PARTICULARLY THOSE LOCATED IN HARD-HIT AREAS OF OUR COUNTRY

HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE CONTRACTING DOLLARS AND ARE ABLE TO

PARTICIPATE ON AN EQUAL FOOTING. THIS WOULD CREATE JOBS. SO I

REGRET THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GET SUPPORT TO MOVE

THIS LEGISLATION FORWARD BECAUSE I KNOW THE SENATOR FROM OREGON

{11:04:03} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

HAS TESTED IT ON BOTH SIDES. WE HAVE RUN IT THROUGH THE

HOTLINE. THERE ARE NO OBJECTIONS TO THE LANGUAGE, AND I CANNOT

UNDERSTAND WHY WE CAN’T MOVE THIS VERY IMPORTANT PROPOSITION

THAT ABSOLUTELY WOULD BE CENTRAL TO CREATING JOBS IN THE AREAS

THAT NEED IT MOST THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE

GET SUCH A HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE. SO THIS ISN’T A DIFFICULT

ISSUE TO UNDERSTAND. IT’S VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. EVERYBODY

AGREES TO THE LANGUAGE. IT’S MAKING SURE THAT WE CAN IMPROVE

{11:04:35} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

THE LANGUAGE SO WE CAN EXPEDITE THE TIME FRAME IN WHICH THESE

DES NATIONS OCCUR FOR HUB ZONES, PARTICULARLY BECAUSE HUB ZONES

ARE THOSE AREAS THAT ARE SUFFERING MOST WITH RESPECT TO THE

DOWNTURN OF THIS ECONOMY. WHEN WE HAVE A PALTRY ECONOMIC GROWTH

OF 1.3%, .4% OR 2%, WHEN WE HAVE AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE THAT’S

8.6% BUT WE HAVE HAD 9% OR HIGHER FOR A GOOD 28 MONTHS OR THE

LAST 34 MONTHS, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, AND THIS

COULD HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AND IT COULD HELP THOSE PEOPLE IN

{11:05:09} (MS. SNOWE) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

THOSE AREAS WHO ARE CURRENTLY UNEMPLOYED. SO I WOULD HOPE THAT

THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THIS INITIATIVE.

AND I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM OREGON FOR HIS LEADERSHIP

ON THIS MATTER.

{11:05:24 NSP} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. MERKLEY: I THANK MY COLLEAGUE. AND THE THIRD SPONSOR ON

THIS BILL IS SENATOR LANDRIEU, THE CHAIR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS

COMMITTEE, AND I YIELD TO HER.

{11:05:32 NSP} (MR. KYL) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. KYL: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THE INDULGENCE OF MY COLLEAGUE.

IF MY COLLEAGUE COULD ASK THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST TO

WHICH I CAN RESPOND, THEN I CAN LEAVE. WOULD MY COLLEAGUE BE

WILLING TO DO THAT, PLEASE?

{11:05:46 NSP} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. MERKLEY: WE WOULD BE WILLING TO DO THAT, ABSOLUTELY. MR.

PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE BANKING COMMITTEE BE

DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S.1874, THE HUB ZONE

QUALIFIED CENSUS TRACK ACT OF 2011, AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO

ITS CONSIDERATION, THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND

PASSED AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH

NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO

THE BILL BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF

READ.

{11:06:12 NSP} (THE PRESIDING OFFICER) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION?

{11:06:16 NSP} (MR. KYL) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. KYL: MR. PRESIDENT, ON — THERE IS OBJECTION ON OUR SIDE,

AND I WILL OBJECT, BUT I DO WANT TO MAKE THE POINT THAT AS A

RESULT OF SENATOR SNOWE AND SENATOR MERKLEY’S INTERCESSION

HERE, OUR STAFF HAS TALKED TO SENATOR SHELBY WHO SAYS THAT HE

WILL TRY TO WORK TO GET IT CLEARED AND TO HOTLINE IT AGAIN ON

OUR SIDE TODAY. SO AT THIS TIME I CANNOT CLEAR IT, BUT THERE

WILL BE AN EFFORT TO ACCOMPLISH THAT RESULT.

{11:06:40 NSP} (THE PRESIDING OFFICER) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE SENATOR FROM

OREGON.

{11:06:43 NSP} (MR. MERKLEY) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MR. MERKLEY: I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM ARIZONA. WE APPRECIATE

HIS HELP. WE APPRECIATE THE — THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE

BANKING COMMITTEE ASSISTING IN THIS MATTER, AND I YIELD TO MY

COLLEAGUE FROM LOUISIANA.

{11:06:57 NSP} (MS. LANDRIEU) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

MS. LANDRIEU: THANK YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO ADD MY VOICE

TO THE STRONG WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE BY SENATOR MERKLEY AND

SENATOR SNOWE, AND AS THE CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE THAT HAS SOME

JURISDICTION OVER THE HUB ZONE PROGRAM, I WANT TO URGE THE

BANKING COMMITTEE AND THE STAFF AND OFFER THE STAFF OF THE

SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE FOR THE MAJORITY SIDE TO WORK VERY

HARD TODAY TO SEE IF WE CAN GET THIS CLEARED. IT’S VERY, VERY

IMPORTANT TO THE RANKING MEMBER OF OUR COMMITTEE WHO HAS WORKED

SO HARD ON THIS AND TO THE SENATOR FROM OREGON WHO HAS MADE

{11:07:27} (MS. LANDRIEU) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

VERY STRONG ARGUMENTS ABOUT THE EXPEDITING AND STREAMLINING

SOME OF THESE APPROVALS. SO I WISH THEM THE BEST. WE’RE GOING

TO WORK TODAY TO SEE IF WE CAN GET THIS CLEARED, AND IT WOULD

BE THE SECOND REALLY SUBSTANTIAL VICTORY IN SORT OF THE HOME –

IN THE SMALL BUSINESS SPACE, HAVING GOTTEN OUR SBIR BILL

THROUGH JUST RECENTLY, AFTER SIX YEARS OF VERY ACRIMONIOUS

DEBATE, IF WE COULD GET THIS FIX TO THE HUB ZONE PROGRAM, IT

WOULD BE TERRIFIC, AND I JUST THANK THE SENATORS FOR THEIR HARD

{11:08:02} (MS. LANDRIEU) { NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT }

WORK, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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