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Thomas H.
Former Democrat IA
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    Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act—Motion to Proceed

    by Former Senator Tom Harkin

    Posted on 2014-01-08

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    HARKIN. Mr. President, first I want to thank our leader and our assistant leader for their great leadership and for their eloquence here on the floor today and for correctly stating what the issue is. It is not rules; it is justice. I am going to speak about that myself.

    Mr. President, 50 years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson came before Congress and spoke these bold words: ``This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.'' Lyndon Johnson, as we all know, was born and raised in stark poverty in the Texas hill country, coming of age during the Great Depression. From hard personal experience, he understood how poor schools, empty stomachs, and bad health make a mockery of America's promise of equal opportunity for all.

    When President Johnson delivered that historic State of the Union address, our Nation was enjoying unprecedented post-war prosperity. We had become, in John Kenneth Galbraith's famous words, the ``affluent society.'' However, in the midst of this Nation of prosperity and plenty, there was also ``the other America'' as author Michael Harrington told us.

    Fully one-fifth of our population was trapped in poverty. Across Appalachia, in urban ghettos, in large swaths of rural America, millions of American children were being raised in shacks and slums, going to bed hungry, attending grossly substandard schools. Worse, experts described this poverty as ``intractable.'' Experts warned that despite the Nation's overall prosperity, poverty was growing more widespread, because as one study put it, the poor were ``not part of the economic structure.'' A report then by the President's Council of Economic Advisors asserted that, ``future economic growth alone will provide relatively few escapes from poverty.'' Economic growth alone, they said, will not solve the issue of poverty. Of course, I must add, it is very much the same today. Economic growth alone will provide few escapes from poverty for people today if 95 percent of income gains are going to the top 1 percent, and if the rewards of productivity gains go to shareholders and not to the workers.

    So it was in this context that President Johnson--keep if mind, less than 2 months after he assumed the office after the terrible assassination of President Kennedy. It was in this context that he summoned the Nation so that the unconditional war on poverty could be waged.

    For LBJ, this was both an economic challenge and a profound moral challenge. It was about doing justice. In his speech to Congress he said: Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper, in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities and a lack of education and training and a lack of medical care and housing, and a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

    President Johnson continued: Our chief weapons will be better schools and better health and better homes and better training and better job opportunities to help more Americans, especially young Americans, to escape from squalor and misery and unemployment rolls, where other citizens help to carry them.

    In the months that followed this State of the Union address, President Johnson proposed specific programs to attack poverty and inequality. He articulated his broader vision for what he called a Great Society. There is no better place to appreciate the boldness and accomplishment of this era than at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, TX.

    My favorite part is a room--I have been there several times-- commemorating the Great Society with plaques and signing pens all along the wall, listing the incredible array of legislation that President Johnson had passed into law. Listen to these: The great Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Job Corps, VISTA, Upward Bound, the Food Stamp Program, legal services for the poor, the Community Action Program, community health centers, Head Start, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, Public Broadcasting, the National Mass Transportation Act, the Cigarette Labeling Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Wilderness Act.

    It takes your breath away, to think about all that was done. These Great Society programs have defined the modern United States of America as a compassionate, inclusive society, a genuine opportunity society where everyone can contribute their talents and abilities.

    Last month, on December 4, in his landmark speech on inequality, President Obama noted that these and other initiatives have helped to reduce the poverty rate by 40 percent since the 1960s--have helped reduce the poverty rate by 40 percent since the 1960s. President Obama said: ``These endeavors didn't just make us a better country, they reaffirmed that we are a great country.'' However, on this 50th anniversary of President Johnson's great address to Congress, I must acknowledge that there are some who profoundly disagree with this assessment on the war on poverty and the Great Society. They insist it was a great failure. Indeed, I have heard this claim from many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle since I first came to Congress in 1975. This supposed ``failure'' of the war on poverty, this failure of the Great Society, has indeed become almost an article of faith and dogma among conservatives. It is truly the triumph of belief over reality.

    As President Reagan said on May 9, 1983, ``The great expansion of government programs that took place under the aegis of the Great Society coincided with an end to economic progress for America's poor people.'' Wow. That is quite an assertion by President Reagan. So allow me, on this 50th anniversary, to take a few minutes to point out many of the ``failures'' of the war on poverty and the Great Society. Perhaps a good place to start is by pointing out the ``failure'' of Medicare. At the bill signing ceremony for the Social Security Amendments Act on July 30 of 1965, President Johnson enrolled former President Harry Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card.

    These days we talk about life after 65 as the golden years. I tell you, life after 65 used to be the nightmare years, with tens of millions of Americans unable to afford even basic medical care, condemned to live out their senior years in the misery of untreated or poorly treated illnesses.

    In 1959 the poverty rate among older Americans was 35 percent. Since the Great Society programs started, the poverty rate among seniors has fallen by nearly two-thirds. What a failure. What a failure. Medicare is especially personal to me. I remember my father, who was then in his late 70s, and never had access to any regular health care in his life. My father only had a sixth-grade education, worked in coal mines most of his life, and suffered from what they then called ``coal-miners lung.'' They always called it ``coal-miners lung.'' He would get sick all the time. If it were not for the compassion and the generosity of the Sisters of Mercy who would take care of him when he got sick and nurse him back to health, I do not know what would have happened to him. But I can remember, coming home from the military on military leave in late 1965, and my father had his Medicare card.

    For the first time in his life, for the first time in his life--and now he was approaching almost 80 years of age--he could go see a doctor without paying. Without taking charity. It gave him the dignity and the security of knowing that he could see a doctor if he needed to.

    The Great Society also gave birth to community health centers, as long as I am talking about health care. Community health centers provided essential medical care to the poor. The first two community health centers were opened in 1964, one in Boston, MA, and one in rural Mississippi.

    This model of providing basic health services to the uninsured and underserved was an enormous success. Listen to this. From that modest beginning of two in 1964, community health centers have expanded to include more than 1,200 community health centers in more than 9,000 locations serving more than 22 million patients annually. What a failure. What a failure.

    [[Page S119]] I guess another failure of the Great Society was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We call it ESEA. Since Brown versus Board of Education, the decision of the Supreme Court in the mid 1950s, Americans acknowledged that we had two school systems, one for the middle class and the well off and a grossly inferior one for the poor.

    ESEA said that all children, regardless of their background and their circumstances at birth, can learn, and the Federal Government will provide resources to help create equity--equity among our schools.

    Educating children of poverty will always be challenging. We still have large achievement gaps that still persist. But Title I assistance to America's neediest schools has made a dramatic difference for the good of millions of low-income children.

    If it has been such a great failure, I would ask any Senator who wants to repeal Title I and defund it, please step forward. Speak up here on the Senate floor.

    Will any Senator who wants to do away with title I and defund it please step forward and speak up? I doubt there will be any takers.

    What about the failure of the Higher Education Act? In 1965, it was rare for young people from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds to go to college. So President Johnson and Congress passed the Higher Education Act, creating need-based grants and loans with reduced interest rates.

    Today, Pell grants, created in the later version of the Higher Education Act, help more than 9 million low-income students gain access to higher education. The Higher Education Act has swung open the doors to college for countless Americans, creating new opportunities and access to the American dream.

    Again, I suppose some see this as another failure, another government handout that prevents people from standing on their own two feet. Decide for yourself if vastly expanding access to higher education constitutes a failure.

    But before we do, talk to a lower income student, striving to become a doctor, the first in her family to go to college, thanks to the TRIO Programs, Upward Bound, thanks to Pell grants, thanks to low-interest college loans. Ask her if she feels as though she is an undeserving taker, unwilling to stand on her own two feet.

    In August of 1964, again only a few months after declaring the war on poverty, Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Food Stamp Act. Prior to that act, hunger and malnutrition were shockingly widespread in America, particularly in our rural areas and urban ghettos. Today we still have millions of food-insecure people in America, but thanks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the new name for the food stamp program, abject hunger in America is rare. Tens of millions of Americans, more than half of them children, are ensured a basic nutritional minimum.

    Is this another failure, food stamps? Apparently many Members of this body think so. In June of 2012, 33 Republican Senators voted to block grant the food stamp program and slash the funding by over $300 billion over 10 years.

    I ask Senators who voted for those cuts, have you ever talked to a first grader who is finally able to concentrate in class because she had a breakfast paid for by food stamps? Has anyone asked her whether she would prefer to tough it out without a meal to start the day? In 1965, Lyndon Johnson's Office of Economic Opportunity created 269 local Legal Services offices across the country, providing legal assistance to low-income Americans. This later evolved into the Legal Services Corporation.

    As a proud former Legal Aid lawyer myself, I know firsthand what a difference this can make in so many circumstances for a struggling family facing foreclosure, a battered woman trying to leave an abusive marriage, a senior citizen victimized by a financial scam. I know that without access to an attorney the poor are often powerless against the injustices they suffer.

    Is the dedicated work of Legal Aid attorneys a failure? I vigorously disagree. The American Bar Association vigorously disagrees. It strongly supports Legal Services.

    Every Federal judge and Supreme Court Justice, in their oath of office, swears to ``administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich''--to do equal right to the poor and to the rich. It is Legal Services, and Legal Services lawyers, who helped to translate that ideal into a reality for poor people in courtrooms all over America.

    Our frontline soldiers in the war on poverty are the dedicated professionals and volunteers in Community Action Agencies, another Great Society program. These are funded by the Federal Community Services Block Grant. In 2012, these locally driven agencies served nearly 19 million low-income Americans, including more than 5 million children, more than 2 million people with disabilities, and 2.5 million seniors served by community action agencies.

    These agencies equip people with skills to return to work. They provide food, clothing, other emergency assistance. They administer Head Start Programs, other preschool programs, and do a lot more.

    People can decide if the Community Action Program, Community Action Agency, and Community Services Block Grant have been a failure. But before they do, drop in on a Community Action Agency in your State. See for yourself the amazing work they do in relieving poverty and helping people to escape.

    Speak to members of a local Community Action Agency board and people will find that they are local business people, bankers, lawyers, as well as people who receive the services. They will tell you how these agencies do so much with so little, performing indispensable services in their communities. Talk to them.

    I can spend hours citing some other Great Society initiatives, but let me mention just one more: the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Prior to that act, African Americans faced open, legalized discrimination and segregation. We had our own American version of apartheid. In many parts of our country, including in Washington, DC, African Americans could not eat at the same lunch counter with Whites. They could not use the same bathrooms, the same swimming pools, the same water fountains. They literally were consigned to the back of the bus.

    Because of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, those Jim Crow laws and practices were ended in the United States of America. It became illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Some apparently call that a failure--one of the Great Society's many ``failures.'' You may decide for yourself whether America is better off today, whether we are better as a society, stronger as a nation, because we did away with segregation. You decide.

    President Reagan, in his State of the Union Address in 1988, said that the Great Society ``declared war on poverty, and poverty won.'' It was one of President Reagan's catchy one-liners. But with all due respect to President Reagan, it simply is not historically accurate, not even close. From the time President Johnson took office in 1963, until 1970, as the full impact of the Great Society programs began to be felt, the number of Americans living below the poverty line dropped from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent--almost cut it in half. The poverty rate for African Americans fell from 55 percent in 1960 to 27 percent in 1968. The poverty rate among the elderly, as I said earlier, fell by over two-thirds.

    The great shame is that this progress, this war on poverty of the Great Society, was cut short. The war on poverty gave way to the war in Vietnam. Then it gave way in retrenchment later on in later administrations, which cared less about giving a hand up to the poor than about giving handouts to the rich in the form of giant tax breaks and other advantages. What was started as a percolate-up economy under the Great Society became a trickle-down economic society under later administrations.

    On this 50th anniversary of President Johnson's great address to Congress, let me state unequivocally and factually--historically factually--the Great Society has been a historic success.

    However, I must note that 50 years later our Nation confronts a new set of economic challenges, societal challenges, challenges that are every bit as [[Page S120]] dangerous to our democracy, every bit as daunting and intractable as those confronted by President Johnson and the Congresses of his time.

    Our economy is still struggling to recover from the great recession. The sluggish recovery has left us with chronic unemployment and a middle class in crisis. Social mobility, the ability to work your way up the economic ladder, is now lower in the United States than in Europe. For the vast majority of American workers, incomes have been stagnant for decades, but the rich have grown fabulously richer. Think about this: Since the official end of the great recession in 2009, 95 percent of income gains in the United States have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent in the last 5 years--95 percent of income gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.

    Unlike President Johnson's day, today it is not only the poor who are at risk, our great middle class is endangered. Millions of formerly middle-class Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, their hopes for a decent retirement. For too many of our citizens, the American dream has become hopelessly out of reach. This is the crisis. This is the challenge of our day.

    Are we rising to meet this challenge as previous generations of Americans have done? No, I am afraid we are not. Inside the Washington bubble, too many of our political leaders have persuaded themselves that the biggest issue of the day is the budget deficit. Ignoring chronic unemployment and a struggling economy, this 113th Congress and the previous Congress pursued policies of relentless austerity, slashing budgets, defunding research and investment, destroying jobs, and even refusing to extend Federal unemployment benefits for long-term jobless, 1.3 million of whom lost their last lifeline of support only 3 days after Christmas.

    I am disturbed by the apparent shift of attitude by many elected leaders toward the ordinary people who do the hard day-in and day-out work that makes our country strong. I said it before, and I say it again. We are seeing an attitude of harshness. We used to agree that if someone worked hard and played by the rules, they should be able to earn enough to support their families, keep a roof over their heads, put some money away for a rainy day, and have a secure environment. We used to agree that if someone loses their job through no fault of their own--especially at a time of chronic unemployment--they should have some support when they are looking for new work. We used to agree on both sides of the aisle that no child in this country should go to bed hungry at night. But in recent years these fundamental principles, values, and agreements have come under attack in our public discourse. For instance, recently on a Sunday talk show, the junior Senator from Kentucky said it would be a ``disservice''--a ``disservice''--to the long-term jobless to extend Federal unemployment insurance. I have his exact words right here. Senator Paul said: When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. And while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help.

    When there are three people looking for every job; when in some areas, some States, unemployment is even worse than that, you would cut off their long-term unemployment insurance? Where are they going to get a job? Maybe what the Senator doesn't understand is that before you can even get unemployment benefits, you have to be actively looking for work. A disservice? I guess our new attitude is, tough luck. You are on your own. If you struggle, even if you face insurmountable challenges, well, it is your own fault. Tough luck. You are on your own. If you are a kid born into poverty or a single parent working for minimum wage, struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, tough luck. You are on your own. If you are a 55-year-old worker who lost her job due to outsourcing or technological change, tough luck. You are on your own. If you are a person with a significant disability struggling to find work and independence and dignity, tough luck. You are on your own.

    Mr. President, there is a harshness among too many in powerful positions toward those Americans who have tough lives, who are ill- educated or marginally employed or who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own--a harshness among too many people in powerful positions toward these Americans. President Johnson would rebuke this harshness and this callousness, as he said in remarks 3 months after his war-on-poverty speech. Listen to what President Johnson said: God will judge his children not by their prayers and their pretensions, but by their mercy to the poor and their understanding of the weak. I tremble for our people if at the time of our greatest prosperity we turn our back on the moral obligations of our deepest faith.

    That was President Johnson.

    So today, 50 years later, I remind my colleagues that we are still a nation of great prosperity. We are the wealthiest Nation in the world. We are the wealthiest Nation ever in the history of the world. Our problem is this prosperity and wealth is concentrated at the very top. The workers who have created it are not getting their fair share. So on this 50th anniversary of President Johnson's war-on-poverty address, I cannot agree with those who say the budget deficit is our No. 1 priority. I am concerned about far more urgent and compelling deficits: the deficit of jobs and opportunity, the deficit of research and investment, the deficit of early education for all our children, the deficit of basic human understanding and empathy for those in the shadows of life.

    I am also concerned about the deficit of imagination today in Washington. I am concerned by our failure to confront today's economic challenges with the boldness and the vision that earlier generations of Americans summoned in times of national challenge. Indeed, our Republican friends reject the very possibility that the Federal Government can act to spur economic growth and create good middle-class jobs. This is their ideological position, and they are sticking to it. But this flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary across our Nation's history.

    One can go back to President Lincoln, who insisted that every American has a ``right to rise.'' To that end, he created the land- grant college system, provided for the transcontinental railroad, and established the Department of Agriculture with the mission of helping farmers boost their production and income and raise their standard of living.

    President Teddy Roosevelt fought for safe workplaces, the 8-hour workday, and busting up the trusts that were strangling opportunity for ordinary Americans.

    Think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who put to work millions of unemployed Americans, including my father, in the Works Project Administration, building roads and dams and bridges and schools, many of which still exist today. Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security to end the scourge of poverty in old age.

    Think of President Eisenhower, who championed investment in our infrastructure, beginning with the Interstate Highway System, which has expanded commerce and opportunity for nearly six decades now.

    As we are doing today, let's pay tribute to one of our greatest Presidents, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the enormous achievements of his war on poverty and the Great Society.

    Mr. President, I have not come to the floor today just to look back fondly and nostalgically or to try to correct the record about the achievements of the Great Society. I am here at the beginning of this legislative year to urge my colleagues to look with fresh eyes at the urgent economic and societal challenges confronting the American people today. We need to think more broadly and with more ambitious vision about how we in Congress can come together to create a greater society, an America of greater opportunity, greater economic mobility, greater fairness. We need to create what I call a new America.

    Let's dare to imagine a new America where every child has access to quality early learning.

    Let's dare to imagine public investments to create a truly 21st- century infrastructure, modernizing our roads, our bridges, ports, and canals, building high-speed rail systems from Maine to Miami and Seattle to San Diego--a new infrastructure for a new America.

    Let's dare to imagine retrofitting all of our buildings to make them energy [[Page S121]] efficient, making wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewables the main sources of our energy--yes, a renewable energy basis for a new America.

    Let's dare to imagine doubling our investment in the National Institutes of Health, making possible a real war on cancer and Alzheimer's and other devastating diseases. Think of that--a cancer- free, Alzheimer's-free new America.

    Let's dare to imagine a true health care system where wellness and prevention and public health are the first priority, keeping people healthy in the first place in this new America.

    Let's dare to imagine a new retirement system where every worker builds a private pension that can't be touched until they retire and a stronger Social Security System--solvent, secure--with increased benefits for the next 50 years. Think of it--a secure retirement for every citizen in this new America.

    These are the big challenges we in Congress should be addressing.

    I know that by all means there are issues demanding our immediate attention--again, beginning with the need to extend Federal unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless. We will be voting on that motion to proceed within the hour. As I said earlier, some 1.3 million Americans were cut off just a couple of weeks ago. Another 3.6 million Americans will be cut off over the course of 2014. These benefits are not much, but they make a critical difference for those with no other lifeline. So this is an immediate concern and must be our immediate priority in these initial days of this session.

    In addition, the Senate will soon take up my bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and to link it to future cost-of-living increases. Get this: Since the minimum wage peaked in 1968 as part of the Great Society, it has lost one-third of its buying power. So if you were making the minimum wage in 1968 compared to what you are making today, you could have bought one-third more than you can buy today.

    Over the decades, the minimum wage has become a poverty wage. Think about that. People go to work every day. They work hard, sometimes at two jobs, and they are still below the poverty line. No person in America who puts in a full day's work ought to have an income below the poverty line.

    These two are the immediate moral and economic issues we need to address. Yes, I say moral and economic issues. Today we do confront huge economic challenges. As Americans, we pride ourselves on our robust free-market system. Some say the unfettered free marketplace will solve all our problems. Just let it go. They glorify the ideas of Ayn Rand and academic theorists who say that greed is good, extremes of inequality are necessary, and poverty is deserved, which reminds me of the words of the philosopher Bertrand Russell nearly a century ago. He said: The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy--that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    I remind my colleagues that it is precisely the unrestrained, often run-amok free marketplace that has created so many of the problems we face today. Financial and real estate bubbles. Who suffered because of that? Ordinary Americans. Chronic unemployment. Who is suffering? Ordinary Americans. Stagnant wages. Who is suffering? Ordinary Americans. Gaping income inequality. Who is suffering? Not the few at the top. Disappearing pensions. Who is suffering? Ordinary working Americans. On and on.

    Like a busy highway system, our free marketplace only really works for all when all the players obey essential rules of the road--rules put in place by government to avoid crashes and bubbles, to rein in wasteful and dishonest money manipulators, and, yes, to provide for social and economic justice. And there are some things--big national undertakings--that the private sector simply is not capable of doing.

    At critical junctures going back to the beginning of our Republic, Congresses and Presidents have acted decisively to spur economic growth, foster innovation, and help create jobs. No question, that is where we are falling short today.

    Members of Congress and elected officials across America can learn from the successes of the war on poverty and the Great Society. We need a new generation of leaders with Lyndon Johnson's passionate commitment to improving education, expanding opportunity, and fighting inequality and discrimination. As I said, we need to come together to create a greater society, a new America. We need to act with boldness and vision.

    The war on poverty and the Great Society initiatives have defined the modern United States of America as a compassionate, inclusive society, a genuine opportunity society where everyone can contribute their talents and abilities. We see the Great Society all around us today--in cleaner air and cleaner water, young people from poor backgrounds attending college, seniors and poor people who have access to decent medical care, and people of color exercising their right to vote and to live in the neighborhoods of their choice.

    We see the great society in Head Start Programs, quality public schools, vocational education programs, college grants and loans, all those rungs on the ladder of opportunity which put the American dream in reach of every citizen, even those from humble, hardscrabble backgrounds like Lyndon Johnson himself.

    We might notice I said a ladder of opportunity. I didn't say an escalator. I think a lot of times my conservative friends say we just want to give everything to everybody, give everybody a free ride. I always talk about the ladder of opportunity. I don't talk about an escalator. An escalator is a free ride. With a ladder you still have to assert energy and initiative to get up. But there is one thing necessary: The rungs have to be there on that ladder, many of them put there by government and society acting together, things like affordable child care programs, early learning, quality of public schools, Pell grants, job training, and on and on. They provide those rungs on that ladder, and sometimes people fall off the ladder through no fault of their own. They lose their job, they become disabled or they contract a terrible illness. In those cases, it is the moral duty of government and society working collectively to provide a hand back up. Things like, yes, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, job training, and many others.

    Up until 1990, we looked around America and we saw that no matter how hard they tried, they could never climb that ladder of opportunity. These were Americans with disabilities. So in 1990 we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Again, we built a ramp of opportunity. We didn't build a moving walkway; that is a free ride. I have often pointed out, not one dime in the Americans with Disabilities Act goes to a person with disabilities. What we did is we broke down the barriers. We built the ramps to accessible buses and trains, provided accessible workplaces, widened doors in accessible bathrooms. We broke down the barriers so people with disabilities could exert their own energy and initiative to get up that ramp.

    Like every great leader in our Nation's history, Lyndon Baines Johnson brought us a giant step closer to achieving our highest ideals as a people. He fought passionately for social and economic justice for all Americans. He fought to put the American dream within reach of every citizen, and he saw this as a moral imperative. That is why I consider him one of our greatest Presidents. This is the legacy we salute today. This is the lesson we should learn as we move forward in this country. As we move from this 50th anniversary of President Johnson's great address to Congress, it is this spirit of ambitious public purpose that we should strive to emulate in the legislative year ahead and the legislative years to come.

    Fifty years ago today, Lyndon Johnson spoke to our deepest moral underpinnings. He didn't just couch it in terms of an economic solution. It was justice. It was making sure the American dream really was alive for all. We can't in our time become small-minded, looking upon just what is good for today or what are the economics of things. We have to think about it in terms of what our commitment is for moral, economic, and social justice for all Americans. That was the lesson of President Lyndon Johnson. That is [[Page S122]] what we should take from this 50th anniversary.

    Mr. President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Brown). The Senator from Connecticut.

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