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That is the tragedy of this particular charade that goes on. We brought up a tax bill in the Senate, and everybody knows under the Constitution that it has to resonate in the House. So it is not going anywhere. We put that up to debate it. We don't fund it. Then we put cloture on as if we are delaying something. We are delaying the nonsense. We ought to pull the bill down. The bill is nothing. It is not going anywhere, and everybody knows that. But we are supposed to fool the press upstairs. They report that we are going to have a cloture vote, and we are working, and everything else like that. The game plan here is the Presidential race. Don't do anything to upset the applecart. We have our candidate. We have given him the $70 million. We have another $70 million, and we are headed for the brass ring, and just do not have anything happen in Washington in the Congress to upset our pell-mell for the White House.
[Page: S787] GPO's PDF
It is a tragic thing. We have these trust funds. They talk about Social Security. These are just in trust for Social Security.
In fact, the ``other'' is on here. The Senator from Alaska is here. He knows good and well that we pay in there under ``other'' for nuclear storage and the waste storage fund. The private power companies have been paying into that over the years. We have $19 billion in there. But we can't spend it. We are supposed to spend it in trust only for that. We haven't put it at Yucca Mountain . So we have to hold up. That is part of this $59 billion ``other.'' We have the Federal Financing Bank held in trust.
When the day of reckoning comes when we can stop increasing the debt--everybody is talking about paying down the debt--if we can just stop increasing it, oh, boy, then we would have set a record in this particular Congress because the debt has been going up, up, and away with the consequent interest costs, which is like taxes. When I pay gasoline taxes, I get a highway. I pay a sales tax, and I can go ahead and get a school, or whatever it is. When I pay interest costs, or interest taxes, I get absolutely nothing. The Government and the economy thereby is in real trouble.
That is the state of the Union.
I thank the distinguished Chair for his indulgence.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. ROBERTS). The time of the distinguished Senator has expired.
The distinguished Senator from Alaska is recognized.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I listened to my colleague from South Carolina outline the state of the budget. I concur with his pointed criticism of whether or not we have a sound surplus, or whether it is somewhat realistic.
He points out the $19 billion that has been paid by the ratepayers into the nuclear waste fund, as an example. He and I both know that money has gone into the general fund. It is basically not in escrow. It is not in a reserve account.
When the administration or the Government ever addresses that responsibility, we will have to appropriate that money someplace because it has been spent. As an old banker, I can tell you that interest is like a horse that eats while you sleep. It goes on Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night. As a consequence, we often find ourselves in the position where the interest exceeds the principal. When that happens, you are broke.
I am certainly sympathetic to the points raised by my colleague.
(The remarks of Mr. MURKOWSKI pertaining to the introduction of S. 2098 are located in today's RECORD under ``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from Oregon.