Congressional Record: February 8, 2005 (Senate)
Page S1073-S1075                         


  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, in a few moments we are going to be 
moving to the class action bill. Senator Durbin is due to arrive to 
offer an amendment. In the intervening time, I would like to take a few 
minutes to discuss my decision to retain the chairmanship of the 
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education. The Appropriations Committee has been considering the 
formation of a new subcommittee on intelligence. Under my seniority 
position, I would have been in a position to take that subcommittee 
assignment. I have had a very keen interest in intelligence, chairing 
the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 104th Congress, being coauthor 
of the homeland security bill, and the fight against terrorism is 
obviously our No. 1 priority. So, I have been very strongly tempted to 
take on that chairmanship.
  It now appears that the status of that subcommittee is in doubt 
because the decision has been made to not make a disclosure of the 
total funding for the intelligence community. With the announcement of 
the President's budget, which is austere, we are facing major problems 
with the deficit and the President has come in with a very restricted 
budget, which impacts very heavily on the subcommittee that I have 
chaired now for many years.
  The Department of Labor, for example, has cut some $400 million; the 
Department of Health and Human Services has been cut by $1.8 billion; 
the Department of Education cut by some $500 million. So that the total 
impact on the subcommittee has been a reduction of $2.4 billion, which 
is very difficult when you are talking about education and health and 
capital investments. Those are not expenditures, they are capital 
investments--as are programs related to worker safety.
  The President has proposed some programs that are excellent. There is 
$45 million for a new gang youth initiative, which has been sponsored 
and spoken about by First Lady Laura Bush. There is $125 million for 
health care information technology, which is an increase of $25 
million. This is funding the subcommittee had started some time ago to 
enhance technology and information. We have had an increase in 
community health centers of about $304 million. There is a new program 
for high school risk initiatives, for high school students who are at 
  At the same time, there have been major eliminations. For example, 
the so-called GEAR UP program, which provides for the transition from 
the seventh grade on through high school, has been cut by more than 
$306 million. The vocational and technical education programs have been 
cut by $1.3 billion. Educational Technology State Grants have been cut 
by $496 million, and correctional educational programs have been cut by 
$26.8 million. There have also been major decreases in training; some 
$333 million is cut from employment and training programs; $29 million 
is cut from the Job Corps; $35 million from a program for ex-offenders 
has been eliminated.
  There has been a decrease in Healthy Start. The Centers for Disease 
Control has been cut by $555 million, which is a little hard to 
understand at a time when we are calling on the CDC to undertake so 
many new actions. The program for low-income home energy assistance--a 
very vital program, especially for seniors who have to make decisions 
on limited compensation as to whether they will heat or eat--has been 
cut by some $182 million. Graduate medical education has had a decrease 
of $101 million. Perhaps of greatest concern--and it is hard to 
prioritize these cuts--has been the budget proposed by the 
administration for the National Institutes of Health, which has an 
increase of one-half of 1 percent, which will not maintain the research 
program of NIH.
  I am joined on the floor by my distinguished colleague from Iowa, 
Senator Harkin, who has been with me as chair of the subcommittee for 
more than a decade. Senator Harkin and I have established what might be 
referred to as and others have called a model for bipartisan 
cooperation. We have had

[[Page S1074]]

changes in the gavel on the chairmanship and they have been seamless. 
Our efforts on many important items, which I will not detail at this 
time have, I think, been very important for the health and education 
and labor of Americans.
  We have increased NIH funding from $12 billion to $28 billion, which 
has provided for enormous improvements. There has been a march toward 
cures in Parkinson's, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other 
illnesses. In the context of what is happening with these programs, I 
have decided to stay and fight rather than switch.
  I am delighted to yield to Senator Harkin.
  Mr. HARKIN. I thank my leader and chairman for yielding to me. Again, 
I want to thank him for his decision to stay as chairman of the 
Appropriations subcommittee that funds basically all of our health, 
education, labor, biomedical research programs, preventive health care 
programs, such as the CDC, which are all underneath this subcommittee.
  Senator Specter and I have worked together, as he mentioned, going on 
I think almost 15 years. The gavel has moved back and forth. It has 
been seamless, as he said. I could not ask for a better partner and a 
better chairman to work with on this subcommittee. There are countless 
numbers of people in this country today--I think mostly of the kids--
who are maybe coming down with Parkinson's or diabetes, who have 
illnesses facing them that a few years ago were hopeless. But now they 
have hope. Now they can see certain lights at the end of the tunnel, 
that they will be cured, that they will be well.
  This is due in no small part to the great leadership of Senator Arlen 
Specter of Pennsylvania, who has doggedly through the years fought to 
make sure we put the money into medical research, into finding the 
causes, preventions, and cures of these illnesses. It was through his 
great leadership that we were able to double the funding for the NIH.
  There are also countless kids in America today who are getting good 
school programs, who are in Head Start Programs, as I mentioned 
earlier, and others, because of the leadership of Senator Arlen Specter 
of Pennsylvania. So I thank him for that leadership and for his 
friendship and, as always, for his willingness to work across party 
lines to get things done.
  Someone once mentioned that there are really two powerful committees 
on Appropriations: One is the Defense Appropriations Committee and the 
other is what is now called the Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education, which the Senator chairs and on which I am the ranking 
  Someone once said that the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee is the 
committee that defends America. The Appropriations Subcommittee on 
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education is the committee that 
defines America. I believe that really is true.
  Thanks to the leadership of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, we 
have defined America well in terms of providing good education, health 
care programs, job training programs, dislocated worker programs--I am 
not going to go through the whole list--the Centers for Disease Control 
programs and the public health service they do across our country. 
Under the leadership of Arlen Specter, we have defined well for 
  We have some tough choices, as he pointed out, in this budget, and we 
are going to have to work together to make it work. One thing I can 
say, having worked with Senator Specter all these years, one thing of 
which I am confident is that Senator Specter will be fair, 
compassionate, reasonable, and judicious in helping us work out this 
budget so that the poorest and the most needy in our society are not 
left behind.
  I thank him for his leadership. I thank him for his willingness to 
stick with it and to stay as the chairman of this very vital 
subcommittee. I say to him here on the Senate floor and in public, I 
look forward to his leadership and his guidance and working with him to 
help continue to define America.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from 
Iowa for those very complimentary comments. It has been very gratifying 
for me to work with Senator Harkin for these many years as we have had 
the seamless exchange of the gavel.
  I would not want my statement to suggest that there are not other 
areas of major concern as to the Administration's budget. The zeroing 
out of Amtrak is something which will have to be addressed by the 
Congress. There have been efforts made since Senator Baker, the then-
majority leader, convened a meeting in his office with OMB Director 
David Stockman in 1981, and we maintained Amtrak's funding. Veterans 
will have to be reexamined, and many other items. I know we are going 
to move ahead on the class action bill.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a statement in further 
explanation of my decision be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                    Statement of Further Explanation

       Since January of 1989, I have had the privilege of serving 
     as either the Chairman or the ranking member of the 
     Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
     Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations. Since that 
     time, Senator Harkin and I have fought to dramatically 
     increase funding for the NIH, replace deteriorating and 
     outdated laboratory space at the Centers for Disease Control 
     and Prevention, increase funds for elementary and secondary 
     education and aid to disadvantaged college students, and 
     provide for worker protection. These accomplishments have not 
     come without challenges. The Subcommittee's allocation has 
     limited our ability to increase programs as much as I would 
     have liked, and dividing funding among many worthy programs 
     has been a struggle. But I have enjoyed these challenges, the 
     all night conferences with the House, and balancing the 
     Congressional and Presidential priorities.
       This year when the Senate passed a resolution to create an 
     Appropriations Subcommittee on Intelligence it was at a time 
     when the policy position of the Senate was to have an 
     Intelligence budget that was unclassified. Subsequently, the 
     decision was made to maintain the status quo and keep the 
     budget classified. Since it would be difficult to create an 
     Intelligence subcommittee with a classified budget, it may 
     not be possible to do so at this time. However, discussions 
     are still underway and if such a subcommittee were to be 
     created, given my seniority on the Appropriations Committee, 
     I would have the opportunity to chair that subcommittee. I 
     have given serious consideration to taking that chairmanship. 
     I believe that heading the Intelligence subcommittee at a 
     time when this Nation's intelligence community is being 
     restructured is very significant and is something in which I 
     have great interest.
       I am reluctant to give up the Subcommittee on Labor, 
     Health, Human Services, and Education and the reasons for my 
     reluctance are many.

                     national institutes of health

       I have been on the Labor, HHS, Education Subcommittee since 
     I first came to the Senate in 1981. At that time the funding 
     for the NIH was something less than $3.6 billion. As I begin 
     my 25th year, the current budget is $28.6 billion. Senator 
     Tom Harkin and I have had a significant impact on this budget 
     and as a result of our leadership and persistence we achieved 
     our goal of doubling the medical research budget from FY'98 
     to FY'03.
       But doubling the NIH budget is not enough. One of the most 
     important reasons to continue my Labor-HHS Chairmanship is to 
     continue to increase support for the NIH. Science has made 
     great strides in extending life expectancy--in the early 
     1900s, 47 years was the average life span--today 77 years is 
     the norm. Polio, smallpox, and other infectious diseases no 
     longer kill or cause suffering to large numbers of people. 
     Deaths due to heart disease have been cut by more than half 
     since 1950. Cancer deaths in both men and women have 
     decreased and some cancers like multiple myelomas have been 
     reduced from a death sentence to a chronic condition as a 
     result of new drugs developed through biomedical research. 
     But there is still an enormous challenge. Heart disease 
     continues to be the number one killer and cancer is now 
     number two.
       Last year, I lost two of my closest friends as a result of 
     breast cancer--Carey Lackman Slease and Paula Kline. While 
     the best medical teams worked on their cases--no cure could 
     be found. Several times a week, I receive calls from friends 
     and constituents asking me to contact the NIH to see if there 
     is any cutting edge treatment for diseases that affect them 
     or their families. And while there are some successes there 
     are many losses--like Carey and Paula.
       We also receive many requests from constituents and 
     advocacy groups asking me to hold hearings to focus attention 
     on their particular ailments in the hopes of 
     receiving increased medical research for their disease. 
     There is a long list of maladies that people suffer from 
     where there could be cures: autism, Parkinson's, 
     scleroderma, muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis, cervical 
     cancer, lymphoma, prostate cancer, colon cancer,

[[Page S1075]]

     brain cancer, pediatric renal disorders, glaucoma, sickle 
     cell anemia, spinal cord injury, arthritis, a variety of 
     mental health disorders, hepatitis, deafness, stroke, 
     Alzheimer's, spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral 
     sclerosis--commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease--
     diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, 
     pancreatic cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, 
     multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, heart disease, 
     infant sudden death syndrome, schizophrenia, polycystic 
     kidney disease, Cooley's anemia, stroke, primary immune 
     deficiency disorders.
       The tragic aspect of these deadly diseases is that they 
     could all be cured, I do believe, if we had sufficient 
     funding. Continuing my Chairmanship will permit me to fight 
     for increased dollars to find these cures.

                               stem cells

       In December of 1998, I held the first Congressional hearing 
     on the issue of human embryonic stem cells. The Labor, HHS, 
     Education Subcommittee provides funding for biomedical 
     research at the NIH. At that time, no federal funds were 
     going to this critical research. As Chairman, I have been 
     able to focus attention on the promise of these stem cells to 
     alleviate suffering and save lives. In 2004, NIH funded $24.2 
     million in the area of human embryonic stem cell research. I 
     continue to lead the effort to provide additional funding for 
     stem cell research without arbitrary restrictions. To 
     continue to focus attention and provide resources for the 
     incredible potential of stem cell research to save lives, it 
     is critical for me to remain as Chairman of the Labor, HHS, 
     Education Subcommittee.

                             women's health

       I have long held a strong interest in issues related to the 
     health of women. As Chairman, I supported the creation of an 
     Office of Women's Health at the NIH to ensure adequate 
     research into diseases and maladies affecting women; 
     supported the funding of the first Healthy Start 
     Demonstration sites to improve the health of pregnant women 
     and their babies, now funded at $104 million; supported 
     increases in family planning programs, funded at $288 million 
     this year, that empower women to make healthy reproductive 
     decisions; and supported increases in rape prevention and 
     domestic violence prevention. These programs remain important 
     to me. To continue to nurture these programs, it is important 
     for me to remain as Chairman of the Labor, HHS, Education 

               centers for disease control and prevention

       In 2000, I visited the Centers for Disease Control & 
     Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, GA. I was surprised by 
     the dilapidated state of the buildings where you had eminent 
     scientists working in deplorable conditions. Expensive 
     scientific equipment was housed in hallways and under leaky 
     roofs. At that time, funding for facilities at CDC was only 
     $17.8 million. The Labor, HHS, Education Subcommittee began 
     to focus resources in 2001 to reconstruct the infrastructure 
     of the CDC, whose critical public health mission is to 
     protect the American people from outbreaks of disease. In 
     2001, we were able to provide $175 million and we have 
     provided over $250 million in each of the last three years. 
     This effort continues as several substandard facilities 
     remain. To continue to provide the resources for critical 
     infrastructure at the CDC, it is important for me to remain 
     as Chairman of the Labor, HHS, Education Subcommittee.

                           worker protection

       The Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Subcommittee has 
     jurisdiction over the principal federal agencies responsible 
     for protecting the American workforce. These ``worker 
     protection'' agencies include: The Occupational Safety and 
     Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health 
     Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board. The 
     jurisdiction also includes the Employment Standards 
     Administration, which is charged with enforcing minimum wage 
     and overtime laws, child labor protection, and administering 
     workers' compensation benefits. In addition, the Employee 
     Benefits Security Administration oversees private pension, 
     health and welfare plans, and would administer proposed 
     Association Health Plan legislation to assist small 
     businesses in purchasing affordable health coverage. Under 
     the leadership of Tom Harkin and myself, we provided $1.5 
     billion for these agencies this year. Continuing my 
     partnership with Senator Harkin will ensure sufficient 
     dollars will be available to protect this nation's workers.


       As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have a 
     longstanding commitment to crafting a legislative solution on 
     asbestos compensation, and once enacted, to ensuring that it 
     is expeditiously implemented. As chairman of the Labor-HHS-Ed 
     Subcommittee which oversees funding for the Department of 
     Labor, I will be in the unique position to ensure that an 
     administrative system is established promptly, and that 
     claims are processed fairly.


       In the area of education, I know from personal experience 
     the opportunities that are created through a high-quality 
     education. As a Senator, I have sought to make the American 
     dream a possibility for each and every American, whether it 
     means great public schools for America's children, affordable 
     alternatives at our Nation's outstanding colleges and 
     universities, high-quality career and technical education 
     programs, or investments in Head Start and other early care 
     and development programs.
       In my role as Ranking Member or Chairman of the Labor-HHS-
     Education Appropriations Subcommittee, I have helped increase 
     the budget of the U.S. Department of Education from $24.7 
     billion in FY95 to $56.6 billion in FY05, an increase of 129 
     percent. This was made possible by the strong, bi-partisan 
     working relationship I have with Senator Tom Harkin, my 
     partner on the subcommittee.

                          no child left behind

       Since 1995, the Subcommittee has increased Federal support 
     for K-12 education by more than 100 percent, and most of the 
     increases have been provided in programs that provide 
     significant flexibility to States and local schools so they 
     can direct funds to the areas that will best support improved 
     student achievement and to eliminate the achievement gap in 
     this country. Today under the No Child Left Behind funding is 
     $24.4 billion, up more than 40 percent or $7 billion, since 
     the Act was passed by Congress in December 2001. As Chairman 
     of the Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Subcommittee, I 
     am proud to have played a part in the many positive 
     developments in the area of education, but more work needs to 
     be done.
       I believe that the future of the United States will be 
     shaped by the minds, skills and abilities of today's 
     students, and it is my hope and intent to help make sure that 
     they are prepared to make that future even brighter than it 
     is today.

              individuals with disabilities education act

       We have made substantial progress in meeting our 
     obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education 
     Act. When the law was enacted in 1975, the Federal Government 
     promised to be a 40 percent partner in meeting the extra 
     costs associated with improving educational opportunities for 
     students with disabilities. For the first 20 years after the 
     law was signed, the Federal contribution hovered around 8 to 
     9 percent. I am proud to report that over the past 10 years 
     we have improved on that record by raising the Federal 
     contribution from 8 percent to 19 percent almost halfway to 
     the 40 percent goal. As Chairman, along with my partner Tom 
     Harkin, we will continue to ensure that the Federal 
     contribution continues to increase and that students with 
     disabilities are assessed with suitable tests, provided the 
     supports they need to achieve at the best of their ability, 
     and supported in their transition to employment and further 

                              pell grants

       During the past decade, the Pell Grant program has helped 
     millions of students with the cost of furthering their 
     education. By raising the Pell Grant maximum award to $4,050 
     in FY`05, up $1,710 over the FY`95 award maximum, millions of 
     low and middle income students have received more grant aid 
     that assists them with the increasing price of a post-
     secondary education. Appropriated funds have more than 
     doubled over the FY`95 level, and, as a result, more than 5.3 
     million students currently receive grant assistance to make 
     post-secondary education more affordable. As Chairman, I will 
     continue to make sure that every qualified student desiring 
     to attend college can afford to do so and work in a 
     profession of his or her choosing, without overbearing 
     student loan payments.


       Continuing my Chairmanship on the Labor, HHS, and Education 
     Subcommittee will give me the opportunity to continue to 
     target funds to programs and projects that are of great value 
     to the State of Pennsylvania. These dollars have created 
     jobs; increased the biomedical infrastructure of the State 
     making it more competitive; provided health care facilities 
     and supported seed monies for local programs related to 
     abstinence, mental health, education and bioterrorism.
       I have been contacted by 281 individuals or organizations 
     requesting that I continue my Chairmanship. The reasons for 
     their requests are many: labor groups are asking for my 
     continued support on worker protection programs; biomedical 
     research groups are asking me to once again champion 
     increased medical research dollars; women's groups are 
     requesting my continued support for women's health and family 
     planning programs; education groups urge me to continue to 
     increase Federal support for elementary, secondary and higher 
       The Chairman of the Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee 
     will face many challenges in this Congress. The most 
     difficult will be finding funding for the Congressional and 
     Presidential priorities within the current fiscal environment 
     and achieving the proper balance so that all priorities can 
     be met.
       Continuing my Chairmanship would afford me the opportunity 
     to protect the programs and priorities that I have long