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[Congressional Record: July 10, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S6338-S6340]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr10jy00-116]                         



 
                           ORDER OF BUSINESS

  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, what is the pending business now?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Interior appropriations bill, H.R. 4578.
  Mr. LOTT. I believe we are working to go forward tonight on the 
Defense authorization bill. I see the managers are on the floor, the 
chairman and ranking member, and I presume that will be something we 
can do around 6:30 or 7 o'clock.
  I will check with the managers of the Interior appropriations bill 
and see if there is any further business they need to do on that bill 
tonight before we go to Defense authorization.
  I see the distinguished Senator from West Virginia on the floor. As 
one of the managers, does Senator Byrd know if there is further 
business on the Interior appropriations bill tonight?
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, in talking a little earlier with the 
distinguished Senator from Washington, Mr. Gorton, he indicated to me 
that we had completed our work today on that bill and we would be back 
on it tomorrow. I assume he did not anticipate anything further today.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, that was my understanding also, but I wanted 
to doublecheck. We will make one last check with Senator Gorton on 
that. We are hoping good progress can be made on the Interior 
appropriations bill tomorrow, hopefully even finish it tomorrow, if at 
all possible, and we will be glad to work with the managers on that.
  I yield to Senator Kennedy.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I thank the leader.
  Mr. LOTT. I yield to Senator Kennedy.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Just for a question.
  As I understand it, the majority leader is going to propound a 
unanimous consent request to consider the Defense authorization bill. I 
will not object to that. But I hope the leader would consider moving 
back to the consideration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
at an evening session following the disposition.
  I do not want to object to moving to this particular proposal, but I 
expect to object to going to other proposals if we are not given at 
least some assurance that we are going to revisit the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act.
  I commend the leader for having the night sessions. I think this is 
challenging all of us. I think we ought to be responsive to that. I 
certainly welcome the leader's determination to move the process 
forward in the Senate, but I hope at least the leader could work out, 
with our leadership, some opportunity for an early return to the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  I will not object on this particular request this evening, but I do 
want to indicate, as that debate is going on for tonight and tomorrow 
evening, I hope we will have the opportunity for the leader to speak 
with Senator Daschle and work out a process. If we are not going to do 
that, then I will be constrained to object in the future, until we have 
some opportunity, with certainty, of revisiting the elementary and 
secondary education legislation, which is so basic and fundamentally 
important to families in this country.
  I thank the leader for yielding.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, if I could respond to Senator Kennedy's 
question, first of all, I, too, would very much like to see us complete 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The committee did very good 
work on that legislation. The Senate spent a week, over a week perhaps, 
having amendments offered and voted on.
  With regard to the underlying Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
and other nongermane amendments that were offered, that delayed our 
ability to complete that legislation. But I feel very strongly about 
getting it done. I am very pleased with the condition the bill is in. I 
think it might be a good idea that we workout an arrangement on the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act for next week, perhaps similar 
to what we have done with the DOD authorization bill, hoping to work on 
that bill tonight and having votes on amendments, if any are ordered, 
in the morning; the same thing tomorrow night with votes occurring the 
next morning. We could do the same thing on the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act.
  But there is a key thing here. On the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act, some nongermane amendments were offered delaying our 
ability to complete our work on that, and some that were germane. But 
we reached a point where we needed to try to find an agreement to 
complete our work.
  After being abused severely by both sides of the aisle, perhaps, 
depending on your point of view--the Defense authorization bill had all 
kinds of nongermane amendments offered to it--after a period of time, 
there was an agreement that we needed to see if we could complete 
action on this very important Department of Defense authorization bill; 
it provides very important changes in the law, things that cannot be 
done just with the Defense appropriations bill, including improvements 
in the health care benefits for our military men and women and their 
families, and our retirees. We have to do this bill to get it done.
  Therefore, under the persistent leadership of the Senator from 
Virginia and the Senator from Michigan, the managers, we came to an 
agreement last week, a unanimous consent agreement, that nongermane 
amendments would not be offered any longer and all amendments had to be 
offered by the close of business Friday.
  While they have a long list of amendments they have to work through, 
I am satisfied they can get it done now that they are focused on 
amendments related to the Department of Defense authorization bill.
  I would be glad to pursue a similar type arrangement with the 
Democratic leadership, with Senator Kennedy involved, where we could 
maybe get a list of amendments by the close of business Friday, work on 
the bill at night but limit it to germane amendments that could be 
debated and voted on and complete action, hopefully, in a relatively 
reasonable period of time.
  Mr. KENNEDY. If the Senator can yield for a very brief observation?
  Mr. LOTT. I yield to Senator Kennedy.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I think that is a very reasonable request, with the 
understanding that school safety and security is also of fundamental 
importance to families and to schools. I think we have had good debates 
on class size, on afterschool programs, on well-trained teachers, new 
technologies, on accountability, measures about training programs and 
other programs. We can debate all of those matters. If we do not have 
safety in the schools as well, those matters will have much less 
relevance than they otherwise might.

  I guess we still have some differences with the majority leader on 
the issue of school safety. I think most parents in the country believe 
that is a relevant amendment. Under the particular procedures of the 
Senate, it might be declared not to be, but certainly I think, for most 
Members of the Senate, it would be.
  I, for one, would be willing to let that decision be made by the 
Senate, if we could have a vote up or down on that issue, about whether 
it is relevant or not relevant. I have not mentioned it or talked it 
over with the sponsors of the amendment or the leader, but I would 
think we could have a judgment made on that by the Senate itself in a 
very quick order and have that resolved and then move to the other 
amendments, if it is agreeable with the majority leader.
  Mr. LOTT. As I say, we will work with the Democratic leadership and 
see if we can work out an agreement similar to the one we have on the 
Department of Defense authorization bill.

[[Page S6339]]

  Let me make it clear. Being the son of a schoolteacher--in public 
schools, I might add--I know the importance of safety. I also know the 
importance of discipline because I have been the beneficiary of 
discipline from my mother, the schoolteacher.
  I also know Americans all over this country, in every State, would 
like to have our schools be safe and drug free. So the idea that we 
would have metal detector devices where that is called for in certain 
schools, and where we would have other efforts to make sure the schools 
are safer, that is something, certainly, we should all work toward. 
Hopefully, we could do that when we take up the legislation.
  I understand there was a suggestion earlier that there had been some 
delay in calling up the legislation referred to generally as H-1B 
legislation, that is, S. 2045, which would allow for certain high-tech 
workers to come into the country on a limited basis and for a limited 
period of time, and that, for some reason, had not been called up 
because of something that we had not been doing.
  Let me emphasize that I want this legislation to be considered. I 
would like us to move it as quickly as possible. The problem we got 
into earlier when we were trying to work out an agreement was we were 
told there would have to be numerous amendments--I don't know, six or 
eight amendments, that were nongermane that would be in order for us to 
consider this very important legislation that I think has bipartisan 
support and that many people in this country, in business and industry 
and high tech, say addresses a major problem because the number that is 
allowed is now being reached and we need this legislation. I want to 
make it very clear we are not only willing to move it; we are anxious.
  I ask unanimous consent the Senate now proceed to the consideration 
of Calendar No. 490, S. 2045, the H-1B legislation, and I further ask 
unanimous consent the committee substitute be agreed to, the bill be 
read the third time and passed, the title amendment be agreed to, the 
motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that any statements 
relating to the bill appear in the Record.
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. I say to my friend, the leader, I know how difficult his 
job is, but, in spite of the difficulty of his job, H-1B is something 
that we on the minority side believe should have its day in the Senate. 
I have been assigned by our leader to come up with a number of 
amendments on our side. We have whittled it down from 10. I think we 
could get back on six or seven amendments. We would have short time 
agreements on every one of those. Most of them would be relevant, would 
be germane. They relate to the subject at issue.
  I say to my friend from Mississippi, it reminds me of Senator 
Moynihan. He wrote a very nice piece called ``Defining Deviancy Down'' 
a few years ago, indicating although we believed some things were real 
bad, with the encroachment of time and change of mores, we started 
accepting those things that at one time were bad. That does not make it 
good that we are accepting it, but that is what Senator Moynihan wrote 
about, and I am confident he was right.
  I say to my friend, the majority leader, that is kind of what we have 
here--not defining deviancy, but defining Senate procedure down. We are 
not filibustering H-1B. We want to have this. We believe it could be 
completed in 1 day.
  If you look at the definition of ``filibuster,'' we are not 
filibustering anything. This is the definition from the dictionary: The 
use of irregular or obstructive tactics, such as exceptionally long 
speeches by a member of a minority in a legislative assembly to prevent 
the adoption of a measure generally favored or to force a decision 
almost unanimously disliked.
  We are not filibustering. We want H-1B to come before this body. We 
want to work with you. We agree it is important legislation, but can't 
we have a few amendments? We are going to have short time agreements. 
We are not asking that things that are not relevant be brought up. We 
have matters that relate to immigration in this country.
  As I say, I have been given the assignment by our leader to see how 
we can squeeze down these amendments. I feel almost as if we have lost 
by doing this. We do not like that, but we have agreed to work with the 
leader and have a number of amendments, have time agreements, to move 
this legislation forward.
  I hope the leader will allow us that luxury, and I say ``luxury'' in 
the sense recognizing what Senator Moynihan wrote. A year or two ago, 
we would never have considered this because that was not the way we did 
things in the Senate. We believe matters should be brought up and 
handled as they have for over 200 years in this body, unless someone 
else wants to speak.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. REID. Reserving my objection.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator be willing to go to H-1B tonight, ask 
consent to go without the restrictions? I certainly urge our Democratic 
leadership to go to it. If he wants to go to it, let's go to H-1B.
  Mr. REID. We have a number of amendments, I say to my friend from 
Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Let the Senate work its will. He indicated he would. 
After he objects, our Democratic leader will ask to go to that, will 
move to go to H-1B, put it before the Senate, and let's go ahead and 
consider it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I did ask consent, as a matter of fact. That 
is what the reservation is on: that we go to this bill, and we pass 
this bill tonight.
  I might also add, earlier I asked consent that we go to the bill and 
that there be five relevant amendments on each side of the aisle, that 
second-degree amendments be in order, which would have brought it to 20 
amendments, and that was objected to on the Democratic side of the 
aisle. Even the idea of 10 amendments with second-degree amendments in 
order was objected to.
  First of all, I assume this is not controversial. I assume it has 
broad support on both sides of the aisle. I assume it is something the 
Senate wants to get done. That is all I am trying to do. I heard today 
the Democratic leaders saying they want to do this bill; that we were 
holding it up. I am trying to find a way to move it. Let me emphasize 
this, too.
  Some people say: Why don't you just call it up and let it go the way 
Senators would like to handle it, amendments and everything else.
  Here is what we have to do this week alone: The Interior 
appropriations bill; we are going to be doing the Defense authorization 
bill at night; we are going to have a procedure to finally eliminate 
the death tax; we are going to have a procedure to get a vote on 
eliminating the marriage penalty tax. That is all this week.

  Also along the way, we are going to try to get an agreement to take 
up the Thompson nonproliferation language with regard to China so that 
we can find a time to go to the China PNTR bill. We also have to do the 
Agriculture appropriations bill, the energy and water appropriations 
bill, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans appropriations bill, 
the Commerce- State-Justice appropriations bill, and the DC 
appropriations bill.
  We should do all of those before we recess for the August recess. We 
have done six so far, and that has been with a lot of cooperation on 
both sides and a lot of pushing and pleading because every time an 
appropriations bill is offered, 100 amendments appear. On the Defense 
authorization bill, I think there are 200 amendments.
  As far as this job of trying to coordinate all these different 
interests being a problem, I do not view it that way. It is just we 
have to have some reasonable understanding of how we are going to 
proceed to get four major bills done this week, to get five more 
appropriations bills done before the August recess, to get the Thompson 
nonproliferation language considered, and to get the China PNTR 
legislation considered as soon as possible.
  We would like to find a way to work in among that, maybe at night, 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I would love to pass that 
legislation just as it is or even after some more amendments, but we 
have to find

[[Page S6340]]

a time. We can do that at night. We can work day and night for the next 
3 weeks.
  I would like to do the H-1B. I tried to offer an agreement that could 
have led to 20 amendments. That was objected to on the other side. I am 
trying to find a way to get all these good things done. I will continue 
to try and hopefully we will be able to work out an agreement to 
consider them all. These appropriations bills are high priority. That 
is the people's business.
  If we do not get the appropriations bills done, Housing and Urban 
Development is going to have a problem with housing in which they are 
involved. The energy and water appropriations bill has a lot of very 
important energy-and-water-related issues. Certainly both sides of the 
aisle would like to see us get to the Agriculture appropriations bill 
at the earliest possible date, hopefully next Tuesday at the latest. 
Those are all the things we have to do.
  I want to make sure--I am willing to go to H-1B right away, pass it 
or to get some agreement that will not take 3, 4 days on one bill in 
among all these other urgent bills we have to do.
  Mr. REID. If my friend will allow me----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. If I may make a statement on my reservation. Reserving the 
right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. We really should have H-1B passed. It does not mean 
everybody is in favor of it, but it is something that needs to be done. 
It is very important legislation. We need to have the matter debated. I 
hope the leader will take back the colloquy today. The Senator 
misspoke. He said 20 amendments. I think he meant 10 amendments with 
five on each side. Ten on each side would be a deal. We can do that 
this instant. I think the majority leader made a mistake.

  Mr. LOTT. Actually, it is five on each side, which would be 10, plus 
second-degree amendments would have been in order, which could have 
brought it to 20.
  Mr. REID. I hope the Senator will withdraw his unanimous consent 
request; otherwise, we will object to it. We first should see if it can 
be brought up and debated as any other matter. I think I know the 
answer to that question. Then the Senator should review his suggestion 
that we have five amendments per side and, of course, if relevant 
includes immigration-related and training-related amendments, we may 
not be able to do five. But I did indicate to the Senator, we were 
already down to seven. We are down to seven amendments on our side. We 
would agree----
  Mr. LOTT. Seven amendments on H-1B or seven amendments on estate tax.
  Mr. REID. H-1B. We should revisit this issue. If the Senator wants to 
reintroduce his unanimous consent request tomorrow, fine. Let's see if 
we can come up with something that will meet the timeframe of what the 
majority leader wishes. As I have indicated, this is not my preference 
in doing business, but this legislation is very important, and I want 
to spread upon the Record the fact we are not trying to hold up this 
legislation. The minority wants to move forward, as Senator Daschle 
indicated today. If the Senator persists in his unanimous consent 
request, I will object. I hope the Senator will withdraw that and see 
if in the next 24 hours we can work something out on this important 
legislation.
  Mr. LOTT. So the record will be clear, I am trying hard to find a way 
to get this considered. I won't insist on my unanimous consent request, 
but since we are working night and day and looking for ways to get 
these things done, if you are down to seven, if you can get it down to 
five relevant amendments, and we can continue to work on this, maybe 
this would be a bill we could do at night the third week, but we are 
willing to see if we can find a way to get it done.

  Mr. REID. I think this is Mississippi math because we started at 10 
and kind of split the difference.
  Mr. LOTT. No, no. It was 5 and 5.
  Mr. REID. No, but it was 10 on our side. We said 10; you said 5. But 
now I said we are down to 7.
  Mr. LOTT. You are headed in the right direction. Just keep working. 
You are making progress.
  Mr. REID. So I hope we can work something out on this. In the 
meantime, Mr. President----
  Mr. DORGAN. Reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. DORGAN. Reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. DORGAN. I am a little uncomfortable with the discussion here. The 
discussion is: Under what conditions will the majority leader allow us 
to consider this bill? I understand that amendments are inconvenient, 
but the rules of the Senate allow people to be elected to the Senate 
and offer amendments and consider legislation.
  The unanimous consent request offered by the majority leader was to 
take up this bill and pass it without any discussion or any amendments. 
Now there is a negotiation here saying: Maybe I will allow it to be 
brought to the floor if the Senator from Nevada would, on behalf of his 
side, agree to no more than five amendments.
  The fact is, it seems to me if we fretted a little less about what 
someone might do when they bring something to the floor and started 
working through it, it would probably take a whole lot less time.
  I happen to be supportive of the H-1B legislation, but I am not very 
supportive of some notion of anybody in the Senate saying: Here are the 
conditions under which we will consider it--and only these conditions--
and if you don't like it, we won't consider it.
  I hope the Senator from Nevada--if the majority leader insists on his 
unanimous consent request--will make a unanimous consent request 
following that similar to the one suggested by the Senator from 
Massachusetts, a unanimous consent request to bring the issue to the 
floor under the regular order at this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I now ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to morning business, with Senators permitted to speak for up to 
10 minutes each.
  Mr. REID. If the Senator would withhold, I do ask unanimous consent 
that the H-1B legislation be brought before the Senate at this time, 
that we be allowed to proceed on that.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I withhold that UC request I made, but I 
object to the one that was just made.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

                          ____________________





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