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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 4, 2013 5:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president ? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. a senator: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i rise to speak about senate resolution 154. senate resolution 154 is a resolution i introduced last month with senator blumenthal, calls for fair and free elections in iran and points out
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that the ruling iranian regime is fundamentally illegitimate. americans believe in the power of elections. we believe voting means something. the rest of the world also understands and respects that elections are powerful events. most countries that hold elections want to channel the will of their people into the governing of their country. the supreme leader of iran believes in the power of elections, too, but he doesn't respect them. he himself has never been elected, and he knows that a free election might threaten his power base. so he ensures that a truly free election is impossible for the iranian people. in past elections, fraud has been rampant. the government has cracked down on public dissent and moved against media sources that aren't officially sanctioned.
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but most of all, iran's supreme leader has developed the unfortunate habit of selecting which candidates may be permitted to run for office. hundreds of candidates were prohibited from running for parliament last year, and hundreds more for denied the right to run for president this year. apparently the supreme leader believes there's too much at stake to risk other than hand-picked candidate to prevail at the voting booth. the striks on -- the restrikdz are so strict it would be easier for the supreme leader to cancel the elections altogether and just appoint a president. but the supreme leader wants the legitimacy conferred by elections as badly as he wants to retain full control of the iranian regime. there are lots of analysts in the united states and elsewhere who attempt to understand which way iran is going based on which
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candidates stand for elections and which ones prevail. some candidates are judged to be reformers. others conservatives. and so forth. but this analysis gives the iranian regime more legitimacy than it deserves. because dissent is stifled, because candidates are blocked for political reasons and most of all, because the supreme leader holds all of the levers of power, iran's regime cannot be seen to have legitimacy. consider that the current supreme leader came to power in 1989. he has never been held accountable to the people of iran. but he is in full control of the country. he controls the defense and foreign policy outright. he has a the power to veto anything that comes from parliament. he vets candidates for parliament, and he helps choose the members of the assembly of experts and the guardian council. the very governing bodies that
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formally oversee the supreme leader. simply put, power in iran begins and ends in with the supreme leader. and so on june 14 iran will elect a new president. much will be said about how who wins that election, we already know what the outcome will be. the supreme leader will continue to come nature iran, run roughshod over the rights of the people of iran and deny the iranian people the ability to chart their own future. for this reason, i urge my colleagues to join senator blumenthal and myself in supporting senate resolution 154. our resolution points out first that iran has a terrible track record of fraudulent and illegitimate elections. two, that iran crushes the right to free speech and to a free press. and three, that true power in iran remains firmly in the grip
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of the supreme leader. our resolution calls on iran to correct these injustices. it makes clear that the united states will not view iran's regime as a legitimate expression of the will of its people unless and until its elections are free and truly fair. until those at the highest level of power are made accountable. holding the government responsible is important not only to the iranian people but the people of the world at large. we face an enormous challenge trying to get iran to abandon its nuclear program and we would be dangerously mistaken if we believed that the winner of the june 14 election will somehow represent the iranian people. we must remember and remind the world that if iran continues to work toward a nuclear weapon, it will be because that is the
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course plotted and pursued by the supreme leader. the june 14 elections, unfortunately, will not change that reality. so i hope that my colleagues will join us in standing with the iranian people and against an unelected and illegitimate regime bent on a dangerous course of action. i hope we can pass this resolution to demonstrate that we are not fooled by elections that give voters false choices and install leaders determined to threaten the security of other nations. only true and fair elections that hold iran's leaders accountable to the iranian people will produce a government that deserves to be seen by the world as legitimate. i call on my senate colleagues to send that message loud and clear to tehran. i now would like to yield the
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floor to my esteemed colleague from the state of connecticut who has joined me in this resolution, senator blumenthal. i'd like to thank him for his support of this resolution, and for his willingness to not only to speak up but to stand up for the people of iran. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you. i want to thank my colleague, senator hoeven, for his leadership on this issue, for his dedication to this cause, his perseverance and persistence in support of democracy. this resolution, in fact, is all about democracy in a land that has been deprived of it for far too long. and lest americans think that this cause of democracy is far removed and inconsequential to their lives, americans know
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that elections have consequences. in this instance, the consequences have ramifications across the world because it is the authoritarian, undemocratic regime of iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons without regard to the well-being of its people. if it does not answer to its people, if it is undemocratic and authoritarian, it can continue to pursue this nonsense iblgal, thought -- nonsensical, thoughtless, lawless course of seeking to arm itself with nuclear weaponry and that is bad not only for the iranian people but for the american people and for the people of the world. so i rise today in support of the hoeven-blumenthal resolution calling for free and fair elections in iran, and condemning the government of the islamic republic of iran for its
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ongoing violations of human rights. on june 14 iran will hold what looks like to be yet another round of elections that are not fair, not free, not certainly not democratic, a sham, a charade that demeans even the pretense of democracy. on june 14 iranians will leactd a new president but they will do so in an environment filled with systematic fraud and manipulation. they will be faced with a ballot hand selected by the supreme leader because he and his aides have prohibited literally hundreds of candidates from running and they've accepted only eight, eight candidates for this election. and they are doing so in a country with severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly and without media freedom. we ought to note and as my
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colleague senator hoeven says so well, remind the world that the real power in iran continues to rest with the supreme leader who controls foreign policy and defense and can veto any decision made by the president or the parliament. the supreme leader has been in power since 1989, he has never been subject to an election or popular referendum of any kind and that's why senator hoeven and i are again offering this resolution supporting freedom in iran and strongly siding with the iranian people on behalf of the american people in their struggles for democracy. i want to thank him and really so many of my colleagues who have worked with us before when we sponsored a similar resolution last year condemning the 2012 elections which were neither free nor fair. and so we rise again to speak
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this truth to power, the iranian people are denied basic and fundamental universal human rights and continue to suffer a repressive leadership that denies the validity of their views. as a global leader on human rights, and a beacon to the world on democratic values, this body has an obligation to stand with the people of iran and demand accountability from their leaders. other countries around the world are struggling for democracy and our ally in the middle east, israel, exemplifies it is a shining model. i'm reminded of how many people in that region are denied rights and freedoms. but we should reaffirm at every opportunity our commitment to democracy and urge the iranian
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government to hold free elections, end arbitrary detention, stop harassing people who fight for basic rights and freedoms and reform their political process. i also want to commend president obama for tightening sanctions on iran's currency and auto industry which should prevent the government from procuring some equipment used in nuclear programs. i support continuing efforts to show iran that we are serious when we say they must halt their nuclear weapon development program. people look to the united states for democracy and freedom. they watch what we do and what we say on this floor of the greatest deliberative body in the world. and we must be unequivocal and remind the world how important it is to stand with the people of iran, which is what the
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hoeven-blumenthal resolution does. i thank again my colleague, senator hoeven. i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you. and i also ask unanimous consent that the senator from ohio, senator brown, have the opportunity to speak following me for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you. i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor today as millions of students in high school and colleges across the country have recently graduated. i had an opportunity to attend a number of commencements across wyoming, to speak to a number of students who are graduating, and i note that president obama has also been out giving graduation speeches this year. at ohio state university, the president criticized those of us
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who warn that government doesn't always have the best answer. the president suggested that anyone who thinks washington has grown too inefficient or too ineffective is somehow opposed to democracy entirely. that's what president obama told new college graduates. it's absurd but that's exactly what he had to say. he told them that he just wants to get everyone, as he says -- quote -- "a fair shake." what he didn't tell these young people, these young men and women, was that his policies, the policies that he has been promoting and passing, the policies have actually been hurting them and millions of other young americans. he made no mention of the heavy burdens that he's heaped on their backs or the damage that his policies have done to our economy. president obama didn't say anything about it but those graduates are actually going to figure it out very quickly. they're going to see that what they're getting from president obama is not at all a fair
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shake. the first thing that they'll notice is how difficult it is for them to find a good job in the obama economy. one of the things that the "wall street journal" had to say, and it was an article biden henninger -- by dan henninger, he said, in campaign 20 12-rbgs he said, "per ram obama promised the -- barack obama promised the youth a rose garden." what he said is "as far as the eye can see is an employment wasteland." according to a report by the center for american progress, the unemployment rate for americans under 24 is 16.2%. their study estimated that even when this group eventually starts earning a paycheck, these young americans, they will collectively suffer reduced earnings of about $20 billion over the next decade. it works out to about $22,000 for each one of these young men and young women.
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now, the center for american progress, who did this study and did this report, they're actually a very liberal think tank. here's what else they said. they said, unemployment prospects for young americans are dismal. this is what the liberal think tank is saying, the unemployment -- the employment prospects for young americans are dismal by both historical and by international comparisons. dismal. young people who do find jobs, we know that they're often stuck with part-time work. what they're really looking for, madam president, is a career. it's been nearly four years since the recession ended, and since then we've had a much weaker economic recovery than we should have. in the first quarter of this year alone, the economy grew at an annual rate of just 2.4%. wages have continued to stagna stagnate. the average work week continues to shrink. well, why would that be? why would we see wages stagnating? why would the average work week shrink? why are employment prospects so
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dismal for young snern -- young americans? one is the big weight of regulations on our economy. businesses want to grow, they want to hire but they've been buried under a mountain of new rules and washington mandates. just so far in 2013, the obama administration has released more than 32,000 pages of new regulations. all of that new red tape is strangling our economy and making it tougher for businesses to create jobs for these young graduates. now, one part of this -- and i warned about it before -- is the new mandate in the president's health care law. it says that businesses with 50 or more full-time workers have to provide expensive, government-approved health insurance. now, the law doesn't say expensive government-approved health insurance but the government-approved health insurance is turning out to be expensive. a lot of us on this side of the aisle predicted that the president's mandates were going
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to do terrible things to the economy. that's exactly what happened. it's one of the reasons that we've had such a weak job creation. the new jobs that we do get, well, they're concentrated in businesses that basically use hourly workers. well, i've come to the floor and talked about one small business after another that say they're keeping workers to less than 30 hours. that hits people that -- usually people without work experience, it hits them especially hard, people like new graduates just starting out. of course, the president didn't mention any of that in his graduation speeches. there's another thing the president hasn't told young people. it has to do with the sticker shock that a lot of them are going to have when they try to buy health insurance. one reason is because the health care law forces young, healthy people to pay more so that older, sicker people can pay less.
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another reason is because the obama administration has come up with a long list of things that insurance policies have to cover. none of these extras are free. they're just prepaid in higher premiums. young people won't be able to just get the insurance that they want that's right for them and that they can afford. no, now they're going to have to pay pour obama administration-mandated and approved insurance much it is going to be much more expensive and may actually do them no medical good. why should washington tell a single 23-year-old woman that she has to pay for a prostate screening? why should a young man pay for pediatric exams? they're mandated to buy them. again, president obama is making young people pay more for health insurance so that someone else might pay less. how much more are they going to are to pay?
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according to one survey of insurance companies, younger and healthier people can expect average premium increases of 169% next year. some people will get government subsidies to help cover part of the cost but not everyone. even with the subsidies, a lot of young people are still going to pay much more than they would have without the president's health care law. you know, you haven't heard the president talk much about that during these graduation speeches. young people and future generations have already been saddled with $6 trillion in new debt since president obama took office. washington's debt is now more than $53,000 for every man, woman, and child in the united states. these are people that are going to end up spending the rest of their lives paying higher taxes to cover that debt and the interest on the debt. president obama's latest budget called for young people to pay even more, by increasing the
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debt another $7 trillion over the next decade. that's something else that he didn't happen to tell young people about in his dpraduation speeches -- in his graduation speeches. that doesn't mean that washington democrats are keeping quiet. according to an article by "bloomberg," they're trying hard to sell the president's health care law. here's how they put it in the article by "bloomberg fl" "the white house has told call cabinet fishes to use commencement speeches for graduating college students and their parents the benefits they gained that allows young autilities to stay on their families' insurance plans until they turn 26. other democrats are trying to say the same thing. nancy pelosi sent out a 78-page booklet telling democrats in the house how to spin this unpopular health care law." i have a copy of it here. it is astonishing. it is called" roll call vote about it," an article entitled
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"democrats unleash a binderserful of obamacare messaging." one of the suggestions was to find one or two young adults in your district who are now on their parents' plan because of the new law." that's what nancy pelosi is recommending to the democrats. that's the sale pitch. the president wants young people to believe that they're getting free nuns. -- free insurance. he doesn't want them to see all the ways the health care law is going to hurt them. that's what he wants other washington democrats to tell people, too. kathleen sebelius is leading the cheers. she says she plans to travel around the country to "spread the word about enrollment." the enromment she is talking about is trying to get people to sign up for the health care laws' insurance exchanges. she especially needs young, healthy people to sign up for the exchanges like these new graduates. "the wall street journal,"
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ezekiel emanuel spelled out why in an op-ed. he was one -- remember, he was one of the president's top advisors creating the health care law. he is also the brother of former white house chief of staff rahm emanuel. this is what he had to wrievment he said, young people, "are bewildered about the health care reform in general and exchanges in particular." the title is "health care exchanges will need the young inadviceables." just yesterday "the los angeles times," "young adults a hurdle for health act." dr. emanuel' emanuel is concernt these young people won't see these changes as being in their best interest. well, of course they won't see it as in their best interest. that's because the exchanges are not in their best interest. that's why "the los angeles times" is right -- "young adults
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a hurdle for health act." now, the solution, he seek yell emanuel writes, "every commencement address should encourage young graduates to get health insurance." madam president, it is not going to be an easy toker this administration. a recent poll of college students found that only 42% approve of how the president has handled health care. young people are skeptical about the health care law. they're being told that they have to buy expensive insurance that they may not need or may not want. it is not right for them. because if they don't, the only people in the exchanges will be the old and the sick and the whole thing will collapse under its own weight. for the president, that would be a terrible political disaster. and apparently this administration is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid that disaster. according to "the washington post," secretary sebelius has
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now gone hat in hand to health industry officials in asking them to donate to nonprofit groups, trying to enroll more people in the exchanges much at best, the sebelius shakedown is a conflict of interest. this latest scandal will only make young people more skeptical of the president's sales job on his health care law. young people understand this they will have to pay more for health coverage so that older people will pay less. young people understand that they're being told to do something that is not in their best interest. and the reason they're being told to do it is to give the president a political win, not because they get better health care, but to give the president a political win. they understand the president's bad economy means that they may not find a job, but they're supposed to be okay with that because mom and dad are allowed to pay their bills for a couple of more years. they know that cabinet secreta secretaries shouldn't pressure
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organizationorganizations that e president's political agenda. they understand all of that, even if the president won't tell it to them during the commencement speeches. the president really wants to give young people a speech that they'll remember. he'll tell them the truth about how terrible these policies are for them. mabe maybe he'll have the spin on the campaign trail and he'll leave it out on the campaign trail and then come back to washington ready to sit down with republicans on policies that work. that work for our economy, that work for young people, that work for future generations, and that work for all americans. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the thor from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i thank the senator from wyoming for his unanimous consent request. and i would ask unanimous consent that after i conclude my remarks that the senator from rhode island, senator whitehouse, be recognized for up
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to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. today new u.s.-china trade deficit figures from april show a 34% increase since march. last month our trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy was more than $24 billion. i remember about a dozen years ago, madam president, when the senate and the house approved pntr. around that tiernlg the bilateral yearly trade deficit with china was barely $10 billion. today, just for last month it was $24 billion. it's persistently and consistently been over $200 billion a year in recent history. the trade deficit keeps this -- this kind of trade deficit keeps our domestic companies on the offensive. it means that workers in/owe, has mass, or rhode island,
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throughout the midwest and across america are prevented from unlocking their potential. our manufacturers are still the most productive in the world. our workers are the most skilled and the most productive in the world. their productivity continues to go up and up and up, in part because of globalization. however, their wages have been stagnant. that's part of the price that our country is paying for globalization. buand our workers can't compete when china cheats? how can we win when our manufacturers can't win contracts because china doesn't play fair? in many ways china and so many of our trading partners practice trade according to their national interest, yet we in the united states practice trade according to some economic textbook -- economics textbook that's been out of print for the last 20 years. despite universal agreement that china continues to manipulate its currently toy gain an
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artificial advantage over american-made goods, no action has been made down the hall by the house of representatives and no action has been taken down the street at the white house. no action has been taken by the house, despite white spread support for legislation in this chamber -- that this chamber passed in october 2011. that legislation worked on by many of my colleagues would establish new criteria for the treasury department to identify countries which misalign their currently six the bill would trigger tough consequences for those countries, which engage in such unfair trade practices. it would allow for industries harmed by currency manipulation to seek relief. the way they do for other export subsidies, which several industries in my state have sought, such as steel pipe producers in lorain and youngstown. we can solve this problem. some of the reason that -- major reason there have been new investments in the loralisrain l
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plant, the reason there have been those major investments in that stablization and jobs and growth in jobs is because we've enforced trade laws. we can solve this problem further with currency r reform. that's why senator sessions and i will join our colleagues, including senators schumer, stabenow and burr tomorrow to reintroduce this bill. why? because more nations are engaged in this practice and it's clear we don't have the tools to address it. it is no longer china that's manipulating its currency. it is a number of other countries, especially in east asia, who are engaging in this practice and we don't have the tools to address it. in 2009 as nations were seeking to restore stability to financial markets and respond to the global financial crisis, g-20 leaders met in pittsburgh to set a framework that was promote better, more evenly balanced trade -- better trade
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balances. among the steps to be taken would be a more market-oriented exchange rate, something china isn't familiar with, and a move away from the practice of adopting artificial, manipulated exchanges rates not based on market forces. while this appeared to be a step in the right direction, there's been too little to show for the good intentions stated back in 2009. here's what we know: that workers and manufacturers still face an unfair advantage from c.p.i.c currency manipulat. by keeping china's currency artificially low, corporations shift production there because it makes exports to china more expensive and it makes chinese exports back into the united states cheaper. it is only, madam president, then in recent history that a business plan from business after business after business, as they have -- as we've seen in the united states that a business plan is to shut down
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production in lima, ohio, mo of that production to beijing, and then sell back to the united states of america. never really in history have a -- has that been a widely adopted business plan in a country. shut down production in springfield, massachusetts, or springfield, ohio. move that production to wuhan, china, get tax breaks for doing it and then sell those products back into the united states. part of the reason for that is currency manipulation. this continued undervaluation has caused serious harm for this economy. it has cost american jobs. president bush the first said that in the 1980's that $1 billion in trade surplus or trade deficit could translate into some 12,000 jobs, meaning if you have a trade deficit with a country, it's cost your country -- our country -- 12,000 jobs. multiply that out by a $500,
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$600, $700 trade deficit. currency manipulation by foreign governments cost the u.s. from one to five million jobs and increased the u.s. trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion per year. think of that. impi addressing currency manipulation, we could create up to 5 million jobs, reduce our trade defici tens of billions of dollars. abc news doing so wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent. let's look in the last couple of minutes, look beyond the numbers. workers in my home state work hard and play by the rules. at american aluminum extrusion in canton, people who make coated paper n. and lightweight thermal paper in southern ohio, the ohioans who forge style into products we iewrks these men and women deserve chance to earn a
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living without other companies and countries dumping goods illegally -- or legally if we don't do anything about it -- on our markets. we can't afford to sit idly by whew while our trade deficit grows. by addressing manipulation, by addressing and fixing other unfair trade practices, we create american jobs, we position ourselves to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization. madam president, i look forward to continued debate and action on finally penalizing countries that cheat on trade. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i would like to yield five minutes to my friend, senator blunt, and then reclaim the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from missouri. blunt blueprints madam president, i would like to speak as if i was in morning business. i appreciate my good friend, senator whitehouse, for yielding the time to me. mr. blunt: i want to talk for
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a few minutes about senator lautenberg and what he brought to this body and what he brought to p -- and, you know, i represent missouri in the senate and in the house i represented southwest missouri, and many times in the last 2 1/2 years senator lautenberg wanted to talk about him going to basic training at camp crowter in missouri, as a young man barely on the edge of his 20's -- and i'm not sure which edge of his 20's it would have been -- but he was serving in world war ii, first as a teenager and then as a man barely in his 20's. and the -- what it was like to be surrounded by small communities, all of which were smaller than the enlisted men training at the camp, what it was like when they had some free time and could go into these communities where they probably outnumbered the community, and he always remembered that part
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of his training with -- with some pleasure. and the story was always different than the story before but i'm sure all the stories happened. but what he was really talking about to me every time was that commitment to service that particularly our world war ii veterans brought to this body. and we all know after the reflections of of the last two days that he was the last of the world war ii veterans to serve here and likely to be the last of the world war ii veterans to ever serve here. and the spirit of service that they all brought was reflected in senator lautenberg in lots of ways. now, all you'd have to do is look at our voting record to know that there were lots of areas at the end of the day we didn't agree on, but somehow we managed to do that and still appreciate the commitment to public service that he reflected and i think he appreciated that
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in me. one of the chances i missed here was the opportunity to serve with him on the surface subcommittee in commerce. he was going to be the chairman of that committee for this congress, i was going to be the leading republican and looking forward to that because this was one area where i thought we were going to find and would have found a lot of common ground. senator lautenberg's understanding of transportation, his understanding beyond most of us of the importance of passenger rail and rail generally and how you need to integrate this system so that it works the best and the most efficiently was clearly one of the areas where he -- he had spent a lot of time over the years. and remember, senator lautenberg was here as a senator and then he decided to retire and then call back into public service at a time when most people would have -- have made that decision and moved on, he came back and served here, as it turned out,
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for the rest of his life of service. and, madam president, i just want to say that it was an honor for us to get to serve with him, it was an honor for me to get to se him. it's a disappointment to me that i didn't get to learn more about this issue that he and i were about to -- to join hands on together. but his service and the service of that world war ii generation is -- there's a lot we should learn from that. and i hope that's one of the things we'll be reflecting on over the next few days as we reflect on this career of service, of that whole generation of service and we really do see that moment passing, with senator inouye and senator lautenberg and others who have served here just in recent years now all gone. but if we could look at the times that they could come together and in that spirit of world war ii, frankly, make things happen, we would all learn an important lesson from
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that. and i joined his family and his friends and his colleagues here in missing him and missing his service. and i'm pleased to yield the time back to my good friend, mr. whitehouse, who gave me the time to say these things. and i yield back. mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, american summertime is when we celebrate and commemorate the patriots who fought to establish and protect this great republic, from memorial day through independence day and on to veterans day, communities across the country turn out star-spangled bunting and gather for parades and cookouts but also wreath layings to reflect on the heroes and the events that embody our nation's great spirit. june in rhode island is marked by the annual celebration of gatsby days when we recognize and celebrate one of the earliest acts of defiance
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against the british crown in our american struggle for independence. most americans remember the boston tea party and i know the presiding senator from massachusetts certainly is well aware of the boston tea party when spirited bostonnians, in fact, literally spirited bostonnians, clamored on to the decks of the east india's ships and dumped tea bags into boston harbor to protest british taxation without representation. well, i'm sure that throwing tea bags into a harbor is a very big deal but there's another milestone in the path to the revolutionary war that is too often overlooked. it is the story of 60 braveririers -- 60 brave rhode islanders who more than 60 years before the tea party in boston risked their lives in defiance of oppression
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more than 240 years ago and drew the first blood in what became the revolutionary conflict. in the years before the revolutionary war, one of the most notorious of the armed customs vessels patrolling rhode island's narragansett bay imposing the authority of the british crown was her majesty's ship gasby. the ship and its captain, lieutenant william duddingston, were known for destroying fishing vessels, seizing cargo and flagging down ships only to harass, humiliate and interrogate the colonials. a 100-year-old report says, "this unprincipled ruffian had ruthlessly destroyed the rhode island coast destroying fishing vessels and confiscating everything he could lay hands on. the attack on the gasby caused
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the first bloodshed in the struggle for american independence and was the first resistance to the british navy." how did it come about? well, on june 9, 1772, rhode island ship captain benjamin lindsey was en route from providence to newport sailing in his packet sloop the hannah. he was accosted and ordered to yield for inspection by the gasby. well, captain lindsey had had enough of the gasby and he ignored the command and erased up narragansett bay, ignoring warning shots fired at him by the gasby. as the gasby gave chase, captain lindsey, who was a wiley rhode island ship captain, realized that his ship was lighter and drew less water than the gasby so he sped north towards patuxent cove, toward the
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shallows off of namquid point. the hannah shot over these shallows but the heavier gasby grounded and stuck firm. the british ship and her crew were caught, stranded in a falling tide and would need many hours before a rising tide would free the hulking gasby. captain lindsey continued on his way to providence and rallied a group of rhode island patriots at sabin's tavern. together the group resolved to put an end to the gaspee's menace to rhode island waters. they may have shared one thing with their boston compatriots, they may have been spirited themselves. in any event, that night the men embarked down narragansett bay in eight long boats with muscled ores. they encircled the stranded gasbe and called on lieutenant duddingston to surrender his
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ship. duddingston refused and order his men to fire upon anyone who tried to board. well, the rhode islanders forced their way on to the gaspee's deck and in the struggle, lieutenant duddingston was wounded, shot with a musket ball right there in the waters off warrick, rhode island, that very first blood in the conflict that was to become the american revolution thus was drawn. the brave patriots took the captive englishmen ashore and returned to the gaspee to rid narragansett bay of her noxious presence one and for all. near daylight on june 10 they set her afire. the blaze spread to the ship's powder magazine and the resulting blast echoed across narragansett bay as airborne fragments of this former ship splashed down into water. the incident prompted a special commission instructed by king george iii to deliver any
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persons indicted in the burning of the gaspee to the royal navy for transport to england, trial and execution. samuel adams, in a letter published in "the newport mercury" on december 21, 1772, and reprinted in the "providence gazette" on december 26 called it "a court of inquisition, more horrid than that of spain or portugal. the persons who are the commissioners of this newfangled court," he wrote, "are vested with the most exorbitant and unconstitutional power." a few days later he wrote that an attack upon the liberties of one colony is an tack on the liberties of all and therefore in this instance, all should be ready to yield assistance to rhode island. in a letter to a friend in rhode island, john adams, future president, summed up the tension felt across the colonies. "we are all in a fury here," he said, "about the commission for
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trying the rhode islanders for burning the gaspee. i wonder," he wrote to this rhode islander, "how your colony happens to sleep so securely in whole skin when her sisters are so worried and tormented." king george iii offered a handsome reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the burning and destruction of his revenue cutter. butteriryers are a -- but rhode islanders are a loyal bunch. the reward went unclaimed. the site of rhode island's opening salvo in the american revolution is now named gaspe point. the annual gaspee day celebration has grown to span several weeks each june and includes an arts and crafts festival, a walking tour with students playing the roles of colonialists, an encampment of local militia, a parade down narragansett parkway in warrick, and, of course, a mock burning of the h.m.s. gaspee.
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my friend, state representative joe mcnamara, and the gaspee days committee work each year to make these events the best they can be and to remind our state and nation of the bravery of those few dozen souls. and, indeed, this year another rhode islander, mark tracy, a peed on the rick neurologist at hasbro children's hospital, was able to acquire original news stories from 1772 that related this incident and gave them to the gaspee committee. and i will note that he was able to get them rather inexpensively because the auction house that sold them concentrated on describing the batches of newspapers -- i'm quoting here from our paper now -- "concentrated on describing the batches of niewmps -- of newspapers in terms of the coming boston tea party and other events, paying no attention to the fact that rhode
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island's greater act and prior act was actually enclosed and described in these newspapers." well, this summer will also mark another historic anniversary for rhode island because it was in july of 1663 -- 350 years ago this summer -- that king charles ii granted a royal charter establishing the colony of rhode island and providence plantations. to hold forth a lively experiment, it declared, that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with a full liberty in religious concernments. this charter provided in rhode island the world's first former establishment of freedom of religion. distinguishing us from the rigid theocracy of massachusetts, i'm sorry to say, where ideological
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conformity was enforced by the gallows and the lash. the charter has been called america's magna carta for it's the first former document in all of history granting the separation of church and state, along with extraordinary freedoms of speech to a political entity. this lively experiment in rhode island blazed a path for american freedom of religion, one of our greatest national blessings, and more practically, this liberty also allowed trading networks of quakers and baptists and jews to connect in newport and created their abundant wealth and commerce. that freedom of religion, that freedom of conscience was the great legacy of rhode island's founder roger williams who had been ban frished massachusetts for his beliefs about religious tolerance. williams established his new colony on the northwestern shore
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of narragansett bay as a shelter for persons, he said, distressed for conscience. his battle for freedom of conscience won and reflected in the king charles charter is the reason that his statue stands right out there outside the chamber of the united states senate. i know that these events and the patriots whose efforts allowed for their success are not forgotten in my home state, and this summer we will gather in these ways to celebrate rhode island's independent streak. we will recall the courage and zeal of these men and women who embodied those most american values -- freedom of conscience and freedom from tyranny, values that ignited a revolution in the summer of 1776. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. and i will note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent to enter inter into a colloquy with senator stabenow. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise to talk about an issue that is important to many oregonians, section 735 of the continuing resolution, also known as the monsanto protection act. i appreciate this opportunity to engage in a dialogue about it with senator stabenow who as the chair is doing a magnificent job guiding this farm bill through the senate. the monsanto protection act
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refers to a policy rider that the house slipped into the recently passed continuing resolution and sent over to the senate. because of the time urgent consideration of this must-pass legislation, necessary to avert a government shutdown, this policy rider slipped through without examination or debate. that outcome is unfortunate and unacceptable because the content of the policy rider is nothing short of astounding. it allows the unrestricted sale and variants of genetically modified seeds that a court rules have not been properly examined for their effect on the farmers and human health. and impact on human farmers can be significant. the current situation in oregon of g.m.o. wheat escaping a field test resulting in several nations suspending the import of white whees wheat from the united states underscores the fact that poorly regulated
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g.m.o. cultivation can pose a significant threat to farmers who are not cultivating g.m.o. crops. but equally troubling to the policy rider's allowance of unrestricted sale and planting of g.m. seeds is the fact that monsanto protection act instructs the seed producers to ignore a ruling of the court raising profound questions about the constitutional separation of powers and the ability of our courts to hold agencies accountable. moreover, while there is undoubtedly some difference in this legislative body on the wisdom of the core policy, there should be outrage on all sides about the manner in which this policy rider was adopted. i've certainly heard that outrage from my constituents in oregon. they've come to my town halls to protest and more than 2200 have written to me.
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in an accountable and transparent legislative system, the monsanto protection act would have had to be considered by the agricultural committee, complete with testimony by relevant parties, and if the committee had approved the act, there would have been a subsequent opportunity to debate it on the floor of this chamber. complete transparency with the full opportunity for the public to weigh in is essential. since these features of an accountable and transparent legislative system were not honored, and because i think the policy itself is unacceptable, i have offered an amendment to the farm bill which would repeal this rider in its entirety. to this point my efforts to introduce that amendment have been objected to and it takes unanimous consent. this type of rider has no place in an appropriation bill to fund the federal government, and a bill that interferes with our system of checks and balances
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should never have become law. ms. stabenow: thank you senator merkley. i absolutely understand your concerns about the issue and the concerns of many people about this issue. there has been a long-running understanding we should not be legislating on appropriations and i share your concern that the agriculture committee and other appropriate committees didn't have an opportunity to engage in this debate. as you know, this language was included in the continuing resolution, the bill that funds the government, and that bill will expire on september 30 of this year. i agree with my colleague that we shouldn't extend that provision through the appropriations process. we should have the same type of full and transparent process that both you and i have talked about today. i want to assure you that i think it would be inappropriate for that language to be adopted in a conference committee or otherwide adopted in a manner
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designed to bypass open debate on the relevant committees and this chamber. wblg do my best -- i will do my best to oppose any type of inclusion of this in the farm bill or otherwise extend it without appropriate legislative examination. mr. merkley: thank you very much, madam chair. i appreciate your commitment to ensure the monsanto protection act is not tucked into legislation in a manner that bypasses committee examination and senate debate. the farm bill is extremely important to our nation. you have worked with me to incorporate a number of provisions important to farmers in oregon including specialty crop research programs, improvements in insurance for organic farmers and low-cost loans offered through rural electrical co-ops for energy saving home and business renovations. it has been a real pleasure to work with you on those
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provisions and thank you for your support for them. and i thank you for advocating for responsible legislative examination of measures like the monsanto protection act. ms. stabenow: if i might add, madam president, and thank the senator from oregon for his advocacy on so many important policies in this legislation, we've worked together closely on forest fires, senator merkley and i have been on the phone many, many times with his making sure that i was aware of what has happened in oregon, what has happened to farmers, what has happened to homeowners, landowners in oregon. we've shared great interest in so many things as it relates to organic growers and rural development and what's happening in terms of energy efficiency and as you mentioned, rural electric co-ops and so on. i want thank you for you leadership on many areas and looking forward to working with you as we bring the farm bill to
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a final vote. thank you. mr. merkley: i thank equally the chair, and i know how much you do look forward to the conclusion of this process as we try to enable folks to have various amendments debated on the floor, amendments appropriate to the farm bill. thank you for your leadership. madam chair, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent -- first let me ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i ask to speak for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, madam president. the last week that we were here i gave my weekly time to wake up speech. as usual, it was a speech i had written well earlier, and in a truly unfortunate, indeed almost eerie coincidence, in my speech i talked about a variety
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of natural disasters, including -- and i'll quote my own speech -- cyclones in oklahoma. and i said that in the same hour that the cyclone -- the tornado touched down in moore, oklahoma. when people are suffering in the wake of a calamity like that, they need to hear one thing from washington, and that is how can we help? that's all that they need to hear. no one likes to be chided when what they need is help and comfort. j.e. reynolds of the "daily oklahoman" wrote "victims and survivors need help, not a sermon in the first hours following a storm. storm." i agree. i agree very much. my thoughts are with the victims of the oklahoma storms and with everyone's who's working to pick up the pieces. far from seeking to exploit
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their tragedy, i had no idea of the weather in oklahoma that was happening virtually at the time that i gave the speech mentioning oklahoma cyclones, among other examples of extreme weather. but the eerie was what it was and it did not send that single, simple message, "how can we help?" so i am sorry. i have apologized to my oklahoma colleagues for the unfortunate coincidence of timing of my earlier remarks and i, of course, stand ready to help them speed relief to their state. and it is, of course, impossible to say that any single weather event is caused by climate change and that is not something i have ever said. what is true is that climate change is altering weather patterns.
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scientists have studied these changes in weather patterns and they've modeled what's to come. and most are convinced that increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather will be a result of the megatons of carbon pollution we continue to emit. the way i've described it is that climate change loads the dice for extreme weather. you might not know which roll is caused by the loaded dice, you are going to get a 6 or a 7 or a 12 or a 2 sooner or later anyw anyway, but the extreme weather will come up more on which because of -- more often because of this. we cannot pretend that this isn't happening. we just hit 400 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere measured at the noaa
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observatory on mona laou in hawaii. what does 400 parts per million mean? well, look at it this way. for at least -- at least -- 800,000 years, and perhaps millions, we have been in a range on earth between 170 and 300 parts per million of carbon in our atmosphere. 800,000 years minimum. homosapiens as a species have only been around for about 200,000 years. but just since the industrial revolution and the great carbon dump began, we've blown out of the 170-300 parts per million range and have now hit 400. this is really serious. we already see the effects.
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in alaska, per m perma frost is milting and native villages once protected by winter ice are being eroded into the sea. in the carolinas, roads to the outer banks have to be raised as seas rise and storms worsen. coral reefs are dying off in florida and the caribbean. in rhode island, we've measured almost ten inches of sea level rise since the 1930's at our newport harbor tide gauges. rhode island fishermen going out to sea from point judith are reporting -- and i quote -- "real anomalies, things just aren't making sense." and all of this effect from climate change hits our farmers, too. since before the founding of this republic, our farmers have relied on the sun, the rain and the land to provide us their bounty. in 2011, farming and the
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industries that rely directly on agriculture, accounted for almost 5% of the entire u.s. economy. but growing conditions in the u.s. are changing. more and more of our rainfall is coming in heavy downpours. since 1991, the amount of rain falling in what scientists call extreme precipitation events, the amount of rain falling in extreme precipitation events has been above the 1901-1960 average in every region of the country. in the northeast, where i'm fr from, extreme precipitation has increased 74% just between 1958 and 2010. that matters to our farmers. the very seasons are shifting.
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during the last two decades, the average frost-free season was about ten days longer than during that period between 1901 and 1960. in the southwest, it's an astonishing three weeks longer. that matters to our farmers. average temperature in the contiguous united states has increased by about 1 1/2 degrees fahrenheit since records began in 1895. most of that increase occurred since the 1980's. 2012 was the warmest year ever. that matters to our farmers. this chart shows the extent of the u.s. drought in august of
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2012. the red and the dark areas indicate extreme and exceptional drought. these conditions lasted most of the year. that matters to our farmers. u.s. department of agriculture chief economist, joseph glauber, testified before the agriculture committee that -- and i'll quote him -- "the heat and rainfall deficit conditions that characterized the summer of 2012 were well outside the range of normal weather variation." that's precisely what scientists mean when they say that climate change loads the dice for extreme weather. climate change doesn't cause specific heat waves but the average temperature shifts to warmer weather and the extremes move with it.
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the new york botanical garden has seen apricot trees blossom in february. the audubon society of rhode island has reported cherry trees in providence blooming as early as december. this can affect farmers, too. jeff send, a michigan cherry farmer, explained to the agriculture committee that the record warm march temperatures brought his region's cherry trees out of dormancy early and exposed them to later freezes. michigan he said -- and i'm quoting -- "we have the capacity to produce 275 million pounds of tart cherries. in 2012, our total was 11.6 million pounds."
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potential 275 million pounds -- actual crop, 11.6 million pounds. less than 1/20th. all because of that early warming and that early bloom and the freezes that then stepped in to kill. these changes that i keep speaking about will continue if we go on polluting our atmosphere with greenhouse gases. as the harmful effects of climate change become more prevalent, our agricultural policies should reflect the threat posed to farming and food production by these changes. yet in the farm bill, climate change and extreme weather are not mentioned once. well, let me correct myself. they are mentioned once. the bill makes reference to an
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earlier law from 1990, and in the title of that 1990 law, the word "climate change" appears. so by referring to the 1990 law, the farm bill once mentions climate change. but with all this going on, that's the only reference and the reason for that is that our republican colleagues will oppose legislation if it even mentions the word "climate change." now, you can't get around using the name of a statute that passed 20-plus years ago if climate change is in the name, so that one had to go in. but otherwise, climate change is not mentioned in the farm bill, despite all of this activity and effect on farming. it's not that there aren't things that we could do. the bicameral task force on climate change, which i cochair
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with representative waxman, senator cardin and representative markey, asked stakeholders in the agriculture economy about carbon pollution and our resiliency to climate change. the national farmers union, which represents more than 200,000 family farmer, rancher and rural members, responded -- and i quote -- this is the national farmers union -- "mitigating and adapting to climate change is of significant concern to our membership and will be a defining trend that shapes the world." that's the national farmers union on climate change. it will be -- quote -- "a defining trend that shapes the world." cap and trade legislation, the farmers union said, would provide a boon to farming and forestlands that take the lead on reducing greenhouse gases. the national sustainable
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agricultural coalition encouraged a comprehensive approach. an effective policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, wrote the group -- and i quote -- "should have as its cornerstone the support and promotion of sustainable and organic agricultural systems throughout usda's programs and initiative initiatives." even the american farm bureau federation, which has at times opposed climate change legislation, expressed clear support for farming practices that keep carbon out of the atmosphere and for investments in biofuels and renewable energy. we are grateful to all of the scientific and industry leaders who have shared their ideas with the bicameral task force climate change. we need active and willing partners in the effort to ensure our farms can meet the needs of a strong nation. and they're not alone. responsible people across the spectrum want us to act on
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carbon and climate. responsible people, like the joint chiefs of staff of the united states of america, like the u.s. conference of catholic bishops, like dozens of our major scientific societies -- virtually every major one -- like the folks in the corporate sector who run apple and ford and nike and coca-cola. they get it. republicans like ronald reagan's secretary of state george schultz, former house science committee chair sherry bolard, former utah governor and g.o.p. presidential candidate, john huntsman. responsible people across the spectrum get it. the scientists at pass this i at and they're telling us to get serious, and they're the ones who took a robot the size of an s.u.v. and sent it millions of
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miles to mars, where they landed it safely on the surface of mars and now they're driving it around. do you think they might know what they're talking about? they get it. all across the spectrum, people get it. they're on one side -- getting something done about climate change. on the other side are the polluters with their familiar retinew of cranks, extremist ex, and front organizations. that's basically it. and for some reason, the republican party, the great american republican party, has chosen to hitch its wagon to the polluters. i don't get it. i don't see how that works out for them. every day, the pollution gets worse and every day the evidence that this is serious gets
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stronger. i don't know why the republican party of theodore roosevelt wants to paint itself as the party that went with the polluters and not the scientists. that went with the fringe extreme against the responsible center. it's got to be a bad bet. it's a crazy bet. to make that bet, you have to believe god will intervene and perform some magic in violation of his own laws of physics and chemistry. is that a bet you want to take? you have to believe that the market will work even though the market is flagrantly skewed. is that a bet you want to make? and you have to believe the
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people who have a vested interest to lie and disbelieve the people who have no conflict of interest, unless you're prepared to think that the joint chiefs of staff and the catholic bishops and all the major scientific organizations all have a conflict of interest. does that sound very sensible? does that sound like where you want to hitch the wagon of one of america's great political parties? well, let me close as we talk about climate change in the context of the farm bill by quoting our friend, senator tester, who recently spelled out the crisis facing our farmers in an op-ed in "usa today," and i ask unanimous consent that that
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op-ed be added at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: senator tester and his wife charla have been farming for almost 40 years the same land that his grandparents homesteaded, and this is how our friend from montana describes the changes he sees. "when i was younger, frequent bone-chilling winds whipped snow off the rocky mountain front and brought bitterly cold days that reached 30 degrees below. today, we have only a handful of days that even reach zero. changes in the weather are forcing charli -- charla and i to change how we farm. it's now more difficult to know when to plant, to take advantage of the rains. some might say the end of bitter
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winters would be a boon for montana's economy, but with milder winters, we've seen the saw fly come out earlier to destroy our crops before they can be harvested. montana's deep freezes also used to kill off the pine bark beetle which today kills millions of acres of trees across the american west. montanans, he writes, already understand the climate change is affecting our daily lives. the argument isn't whether the world is changing. it's how to respond." end quote. mr. president, i will say once again it is time, it is well past time for us here in congress to wake up to the
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urgent challenge of our time. there is a lot at stake here. there is a lot at stake here for all of us. there is a lot at stake for every state and there is a lot at stake for every generation, particularly for the generations that are to follow. so often i hear my republican colleagues expressing concern about what our debt will do to future generations. fine. what will a ruined climate do to future generations? what will acidified seas do to future generations? what will worse extreme weather and rising seas do to future generations? there is indeed a lot at stake here, and it is time to wake up. it is time to take action.
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i yield the floor. mr. reid: before my friend leaves the floor, i appreciate very much his doing his utmost to keep our eye on the problem we have facing this country. we have no more important issue in the world than this issue, period, so i appreciate very much the senator from rhode island keeping us focused on this. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada.
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mr. reid: i have a motion at the desk, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on s. 954, a bill to reauthorize agriculture programs through 2018, signed by 17 senators as follows -- mr. reid: i ask, mr. president, the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that it be considered as if the following motions to proceed were made. motion to proceed to calendar number 76, s. 10034, motion to
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proceed to calendar number 74, s. 953. further, that the cloture motions which are at the desk be reported in the order the motions were considered made. finally, that the mandatory quorum required under rule 22 be waived for these cloture motions and the cloture motion for s. 954. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: thank you, mr. president. i therefore ask unanimous consent that at 10:00 a.m. on thursday -- the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. mr. reid: except we were trying to speed up and not read the cloture motion. we have to do that. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to s. 1003, a bill to amend the higher education act of 1965 to reset interest rates for new student loans, signed by 17 senators as follows -- mcconnell, cornyn -- mr. reid: i ask further reading of the names be waived, mr. president. the presiding officer: without
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objection. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 74, s. 953, a bill to amend the higher education act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for undergraduate federal direct stafford loans, to modify distribution rules for pension plans, to limit earning stripping by expatriated entities to provide for modifications related to the oil spill liability and trust fund and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators as follows -- mr. reid: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that at 10:00 a.m. on thursday, june 6, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 954, that upon the conclusion of that vote and notwithstanding cloture having been invoked, if invoked, the senate then proceed to proceed on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to calendar number 76, s. 1003, that upon conclusion of that vote and notwithstanding cloture having been invoked, if invoked,
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the senate proceed to proceed on the motion to invoke cloture on the proceedings to proceed to s. 7593, and that the senate resume consideration of s. 954 postcloture as invoked on the bill. that upon disposition of 954 if cloture has been invoked on one of the motions to proceed, the senate then resume that motion to proceed postcloture. further, if cloture was invoked on both motions to proceed, the senate consider the motions postcloture in the order in which cloture was invoked. finally, the motion to proceed to s. 1003 is agreed to and notwithstanding cloture having been invoked on the other motion to proceed to s. 953, the senate resume the following motion to proceed postcloture upon disposition of s. 1003. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, in about a half-hour, i'm going to give you a little test on what i just did. written test.
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mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business now with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 161. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 161, relative to the death of the honorable frank r. lautenberg, senator from the state of new jersey. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the motion? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that we proceed to s. res. 162. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 162, expressing the sense of the senate with respect to childhood stroke and recognizing may, 2013, as national pediatric stroke awareness month. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the motion? without objection.
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mr. reid: mr. president? i ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that the committee on banking be discharged from further consideration of s. 993 and that the bill be referred to the committee on armed services. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. without objection. mr. reid: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:00 a.m. on thursday, day after tomorrow, june 6. that following the prayer and pledge, the -- following the prayer and the pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the farm bill under the previous order. that notwithstanding the senate not being in session, the filing deadline for first-degree amendments to s. 954 be 1:00 p.m. on wednesday. the filing deadline for the
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second-degree amendments be 9:45 a.m. on thursday. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: the senate will not be in session tomorrow to allow senators to attend senator lautenberg's funeral. i would just mention, mr. president, i just spoke to the sergeant at arms office, secretary's office. i'm really very impressed with the effusive output of respect for senator lautenberg. we have four airplanes going up there. it's just wonderful. i'm so impressed. so, mr. president, on thursday at 10:00 a.m., there will be three roll call votes, one on the farm bill, two on the motion to proceed to student loans. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that we adjourn under s. res. 161 as a further mark of respect to the memory of the late senator frank r. lautenberg of new jersey. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m. on thursday, june 6, and does so under the provisions of s. res. 161 as a further mark
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of respect for the late senator frank r. lautenberg of new frank r. lautenberg of new
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>> earlier today, white house spokesman jay carney addressed questions concerning president obama's d.c. court of appeals nominations. u.s. policy toward syria, freedom of information act and protests in turkey. this runs just under an hour. >> hello, everyone. i hope you are well. it's a glorious day outside. what's always a privilege and honor to stand before you come a today's difficult because i was just outside demanded that beautiful. [inaudible] >> i think there's logistical matters involved, but it could not be -- i had a rare gap in my schedule earlier today, so i took a walk around the ellipse, work and my blackberry is beautiful, spectacular.
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that's why i'm in such a good name. i put on a beard and sunglasses. [laughter] so before i take your questions, a fair word. before i take your questions come a couple of announcements. before departing for los angeles, present a bubble delivery statement san jose friday morning about the benefits of the affordable care act for working californians of all americans. he'll highlight the promising news that despite dire predictions of the early data competition in premiums in the state show that aca, the the affordable care act is creating quality affordable choices for californians who plan to buy insurance this fall. california is the largest state with the biggest insurance market in the country with nearly 6 million uninsured, the state is a critical part of the effort to sign up americans for
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insurance. more details released as they become available. second, as part of the bomb administration all the bad energy strategy to continue to expand, earlier today sally jewell announced the administration will hold a competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the u.s. outer continental shelf. the options scheduled to take place july 31st will offer 164,750 acres offshore, off of rhode island and massachusetts. the announcement comes on the heels of the interior department of three major renewable nevada and arizona, which went out deliver 520 megawatts to the electricity grid, enough to power 240,000 homes.
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the interior has approved 25 solar facilities, nine windfarms and a leather geothermal plant that associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect establish power grid paper bill, projects can provide more than 12,500 megawatts of power or enough electricity to power 4.4 million homes and sport an estimated 17,000 construction and operation jobs. all of these support the president's commitment to expand american-made energy, including renewable energy production come which doubled in the first term. in april: department hostility 21 linacre offshore oil and gas filled the gulf of mexico which builds on a 39 million acres sale in march in the 20 million acres sale held last november. gas production has grown each year that president obama has said an office of domestic oil production currently higher than any time in two decades.
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domestic oil production is currently higher than anytime in two decades. natural gas production at its highest level other renewable electricity from wind, solar and geothermal sources have doubled. combined with recent declines, foreign oil account for 40% at the lowest level since 1988. the third one is in an amount that, but i hope some of you are up early enough to get our press release reset now when the president announced he is taking five executive actions and making seven legislative proposals to address the problem caused by certain patent holding firm's, clog it with litigation come to strip innovation and competition. some people to track or is called those firms patent trolls
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and so to me, which is why we believe innovation and not litigation is the way to go when it comes to patent trolls. remember this pencils with the troll hair? without take your questions. >> you should go for a walk more often. [laughter] >> i'll tell you, there's days when i come in the morning and later that evening and realized that never left the west wing and we all need to walk more. there is a great article in "the new yorker" about treadmill deaths. seemed a little risky, but i was thinking -- [inaudible] >> walking is a good thing. >> is there any reaction to the french prime minister saying it's confirmed it is used in syria? >> what i can tell you about
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that is we've worked closely with the french as well as other allies as well as the syrian opposition to build on the information we have developed about the likely use of chemical weapons in syria and we continue to work with the french and the british and others in the syrian opposition to do that. the french report you are citing says more work needs to be done to establish who is responsible for the use and the amount that was used in more details about the circumstances around it. and that is of course what we said when we made that letter available that were sent to members of the senate, discussing the information we had and we need to build honestly investigate the chemical weapons in syria. we need to expand the evidence we have.
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we need to make a reviewable, how the call boy did before we make any decisions based on a clear violation of the use of chemical weapons would represent by the syrian regime. so we'll continue to not have her. >> how much longer for the u.s. u.s. -- [inaudible] >> at another timetable, but we are working assiduously on this issue with our allies, with the syrian opposition. we obviously have been pressing for the united nations investigation team to be allowed into syria to pursue that investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons. president as not having called for the investigation has consistently blocked are not allowed investigators then, but we continue to press for that.
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we are not relying on the united nations alone. we are aggressively pursuing other avenues to gather evidence required here and i can assure you we are working diligently snet frustration with allies in the syrian opposition on this matter. we would notice the u.s. delegation to the human rights council said yesterday in their statement that we agree with the n. korea session of serious concern for the unacceptable levels of violence perpetrated against the syrian people and i would note we are deeply concerned by the continued fighting in crusader and condemn the indiscriminate killing of civilians by forces on proxies including hezbollah fighters. the regime ch has created a dire humanitarian with food water and medicine shortages. were appalled by the regime seemed that they will not allow the international committee of
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the red cross to enter 28 civilians until its military operations are completed. we call upon the serious government and its attack on civilians to allow civilians to escape without threat of violence and allow immediate and impeded access for all humanitarian prison applies into caserta. were also concerned about the spillover violence into lebanon in the past and highlights the risk of regional instability from hezbollah's intervention on behalf of the assad machine. both hasan barnala and bashar al-assad have established publicly. they raise the security of the lebanese people in order to preserve someone's. we take active role fighting on behalf of the assad regime and policy at the association for the conflict and urged all
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parties to avoid actions that involve the lebanese people and the conflict. >> following up underlings question, do these two statements or reports of evidence of toxic weapons raise the u.s. concern about what's going on there in any way? >> reaffirmed the concerns being expressed, the evidence we have already gathered to the sun and into the public and they made clear that needs to investigate further and gather more evidence to corroborate the evidence that excess, the chemical weapons is to pin down when those weapons were used, by whom, what the chain of custody was an established a body of information that can be presented and reviewed upon which policy decisions can be
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made. >> turkey's deputy prime minister recently said the protest is excessive and unfair. he apologized to protesters. were there discussions between the administration of the united states and turkey in this regard and ms. vega's comments which differ those to the prime minister recently. the >> is useful to chat with the state department on conversations held between state department officials on the turkish government and i don't mean to suggest they were. i'm saying yesterday i had no conversations with the white house to report, but we are in regular contact with the turkish government on a range of issues and we've made clear concerns about the use of force that has been reported and called on all sides to refrain from provoking violent and we noted obviously
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the deputy prime minister. >> so the comment suggests the temperature in the way? >> we hope as we've made clear the turkish government will handle this in a way that respects the rights of free speech and assembly that are elemental to democracies and we welcome the deputy prime minister's comments apologizing for excessive force and we continue to welcome calls for these events to be investigated. [inaudible] -- the president found a heated talking about nominees. what did he hope to accomplish by expressing in public? is he trying to shame -- [inaudible]
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>> it is by no today carrying out. when it judges was nominated and confirmed to her court as the president made clear, figuration produced three times greater in his presidency than applies than its predecessors. both parties have prior is the slowing down of this process in the past, but it is irrefutable that situation has gotten out of control, that it is one that some have called a crisis and has to be addressed. every one of his nominees, once
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they overcome the obstacles have been confirmed. these are highly qualified nominees. the case of katelyn halligan is unconscionable. she was an enormously qualified nominee. the president is pleased by the confirmation, the overwhelming confirmation of srinath vossen, but there's still three vacancies on the court and the argument made that the workload has been reduced and therefore we should eliminate the seats on that court is spurring us on its face. the case that is higher now than in 2005 in the same republican senators were arguing for the necessity of confirming president bush's nominees. there are other cores for some of the same republican senators have urged for and voted for the confirmation of judges that have a lower caseload in the d.c.
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circuit. this is politics than it is not it is not helpful today carrying on of the constitutional responsibilities the president has or that the senate has. the president is nominating qualified candidates for these judicial pose. the senate has to do is to come out which is to consider and vote yes or no on this nominees and with the progress i noted for one seat on this court was welcome, we have a long way to go before the republicans in the senate demonstrated willingness to fulfill their cost to show responsibility in the way that they were meant to the fella, which is efficiently. the constitution doesn't say tyson can vent over two years after nomination has put forward of a highly qualified individual. these need to be a quickly.
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>> advocacy groups have been critical to the president -- [inaudible] >> the president's nominees have been qualified, have been supported on a bipartisan basis from the legal community and by individuals individual and democratic. some of them are delayed for months or years and is unconscionable and we have a situation where whatever the reason was, whatever the political reason behind the obstruction is removed, then the nominee is suddenly confirmed overwhelmingly cleared clearly there was never a problem fundamentally with the nominee in his or her qualifications. the fact is the president had a
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nominee and she was balked as the president noted for not constantly long period of time. he's a pill and responsibility by qualified individuals to these pose and the senate has clearly taken more than its time and considering his nomination senate needs to act and not sweat the president nominated three more candidates for the d.c. circuit court, d.c. district court -- d.c. district court in hopes that -- i'm sorry, the united states court of appeals for the district of columbia commonly known as the d.c. circuit which is how i refer to it. those thoughts have been open for years. wintry street in austin was confirmed, the seed had been filled as john roberts left the court in 2005. so we need action. >> fillet not as vital to carry an honor system of government.
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why is he doing this now if not sooner? >> is nominated for a variety of those in the record is clear when he nominates qualified individuals in a tape pretences ought to be considered by the senate, that slows the whole system down and there is no justifiable reason for it. the rather remarkable statements by some senators wanting to basically court packing reverse what was essential the supposed be filled, vcs be filled under republican president. the workload suddenly we cannot limit it to cease because there's a democratic highly qualified candidate. need to get on about the business of considering nominees. it's senators oppose them for substantive reasons, they should vote against them. that's how the process is supposed to work.
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>> of course the president said use of chemical weapons game changing now with more avidin chemical weapons were used in syria, what is the president going to do about it? >> as you're the president say, he wants to be sure we have collected not the evidence we had when we talk earlier and was discussed in a letter to the senators. we need more than eight to build on an established chain of custody. we need to establish the events themselves of these of chemical weapons and be able to have the evidence that can be cooperated and reviewed if we are going to make policy decisions based on the assertion of the bashar al-assad regime.
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>> all the evidence the u.n. has another salve, what does the president do about it? >> the u.n. report says there's reasonable grounds to believe chemical weapons had been used. regardie said there's reasonable grounds to believe they have been used. the french announced that is consistent with what we said a number weeks ago that there is evidence that it says that establish reasonable grounds and we've made clear they believe if chemical weapons were used in syria, they reused by the assad regime. were skeptical of the chemical weapons in syria we believe are under the control of the assad regime. we need more information. it's worth noting that case for saddam hussein having weapons of mass destruction was stronger than the case initially present
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mad for the use of chemical weapons in the area and it is essential in the american people expect we build on it until we know what we have a nice that the president is insisting we do. >> -- what he would do if the red line has been crossed via >> the president will make the announcement when he decides on action to be taken if we establish the evidence necessary. the >> the president made clear he would consider the use of chemical weapons by his regime to be a game changer to basically coming in now, a game changer is the phrase he used. is to be cause for an evaluation
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or reevaluation of policy options, but i'm not going to get into specific choices. i've said all along if he has than others that we retain every option available to us to address the situation in syria and that is certainly the case today. >> another subject the president gave to veto threats of the veterans appropriation bill, will do this for all the appropriations bills on reading it correctly. it's the president threatening a government shutdown if the republicans don't come his way on this? >> the president is making it clear the president is to make commitments based on the past about spending levels and it's not acceptable to change those levels in a way that does
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inordinate harm to average americans out there when there is a refusal by the republicans as far to agree with the basic principle we should find common ground if everyone's want to compromise when it comes to deficit reduction. i think you're overinterpreting miss in this statement is made about these appropriations bills are clear and i think they reflect the president's judgment that republicans need to honor commitments they've made. >> he's going to veto the spending bills, which means the government shutdown, right? >> you're extrapolating and a hypothetical about outcomes. [inaudible] >> exactly page suggests that leads to shut down but they've got a great deal of the legislative process works and has worked in the past. were making clear our opposition from either your predict
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outcomes that aren't necessarily the case. what we are saying is ready to honor honor commitments we've made and that's reflected in the statements of administration policy. i am not >> john was asking me to predict the outcomes of our republicans in congress will act -- he's making very clear for the statement administration policy is clearly stated, but it is not a broad statement about outcomes here. it's how we should responsibly fund our government in ways that keep the commitments congress has made in the past to the american people. >> "the associated press" story described a variety of administration of the shows and
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i'd like to ask you a couple questions. one, what is the standard of transparency in this administration going to use to request these things are disclosing his going forward and hasn't been the policy whenever there's a congressional inquiry about e-mail traffic at the established e-mail address in the secondary or secret on his given overconfidence. >> let's be clear. this is a practice consistently prior administrations of both parties and is the story itself made clear any foia request for inquiry includes a search in all the e-mail accounts used by any political appointee. the answer is all the information is provided as an alternate addresses for cabinet secretaries and other high-profile officials examine his son much as it does for columnist of major publications
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to provide e-mail address for readers but i've alternate or e-mail addresses if they are inundated in one account with public e-mails are spam that they continue to use their other account for normal work and that is the case for this administration in the previous administrations not just those on congressional inquiries as all the same addresses are included. >> the alternate e-mail address is -- >> i am talking about work e-mail accounts amounts of this article is talking about. let's not confuse this. it's obviously very clear we do not use and should not use private e-mail accounts for work. this is an issue about waltzed alternate work e-mail accounts, all of which are part of and
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included in his searches for foia requests. it's about having a public e-mail address as well as one for internal workings. the inquiries are conducted. >> you mention remarks in california. here is to be of the effort to empower the attorney general they are to sue any business, including health insurers if they in fact implement any of the presidents held care a lot in that state in that jurisdiction. which you have a general reaction to any state-level legislation which would operate outside of the litigious challenges? >> i would hesitate to offer an opinion except to say where much about the business of implementing the affordable character just provided benefits
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to millions of americans, whether it is the allowance two young american factories 26 to remain on the appearance health insurance for her event is free screenings for millions of americans assistance to seniors to pay their prescription bills. these are benefits injured because of the affordable care act and as we implement the bill further, millions more americans have access to insurance they did not have before them are very much focused on not and progress continues. >> in the context of senate consideration pending nomination, majority leader harry reid said there's a crisis on the d.c. circuit mentioning several opinions that the administration disagrees with. but some of the reasons for putting these nominees have today to address the crisis in
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not just the court itself, but recent polling that i've either been disruptive to her displeasing this administration? >> the president believes this court which is the second in the land should be fully staffed and that is a view consistent with the same sounders suggesting we eliminate seats on this court to the views they held a few years ago when they were promoting a nomination to this very court at a time of the workload was not similar at all. every president is supported by the constitution, to nominate judges and is obligated to nominate qualified individuals. the president is fulfilling that duty. the senate is to fulfill its duty in advising and voting yes
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or no, but doing so in a responsible way a reasonable timeframe. >> since he suggests a retain this, whether white house officials? >> as you know, the white house that congress is not subject to foia. but the point is i'm not going to get into people's individual e-mail addresses, but i will simply say -- that is how you a story would robert gibbs came out any mention by e-mail address. he changes i would meet inundated and give it out to all of you. i wouldn't be inundated with tons of e-mails and spam in the lake. it's actually my only e-mail address, but is not in the format that is traditional.
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but that's a reasonable thing to do. all i'm suggesting is the issue is that these work accounts secret? the answer is no because they are subject to congressional inquiry just like the public address. >> when "the associated press" said could you make a simple and not this routine, the associated press sent to foia three months ago asking for a list of various accounts of different departments and agencies. this is a routine thing. >> are referred to the agency -- this administration has made strides in including practices compared to all her predecessors. agencies improve processes for administering the foia and disclose more information invoked exemptions less fatally and answered my request. agencies increase disclosing information without waiting for a specific foia requests and i've got a ton of data to back up his statements.
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i think our record on foia compares favorably to every previous administration and reflects our efforts to be more transparent and provide more information. >> i understand getting it right in terms of the chemical weapons use. now when you have allies like france coming forward and is more time passes, is there not a lessening in the word strong last summer faction does not backup those words, does that not send a signal around the world? >> president believes it's highly important to get this right. the american people would expect the president and congress and military leadership and intelligence leadership to get this right and that's what he
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was instructed to do with the alleys and searing opposition. this is a very serious matter. it should be dealt with in a delivered in serious manner. >> the president and about as much time criticizing republicans to nominate the whispering airport today. this is happen by democrats and republicans alike. how does the present hope this helps and is the conversation forward? >> not criticizing on this work so effectively where they are now blocking nominees are obstructing nominees to pay three times greater than the previous administration. that's a rhetorical question answers itself. the event both announced these nominations, but specifically to take issue with the really
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absurd statements about the efficiency filling the seats that we've seen from some republicans just on the facts that they are using to make their arguments in the circuit the broader context of the slowdown we've seen for a president obama's time in office. it again, this is a constitutional duty of the president and of the senate, basic stuff here. presidents nominate individuals to the bench. they are obligated to nominate qualified individuals. the nominees the president has the universally judged by highly qualified by the american bar association, predecessors of republican and democratic administrations, the experts in the legal field. across the board.
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and yet, we have faced this problem that needs to be fixed an opportunity for the senate to demonstrate that we can come even as we disagree on some matters forget about the business of fundamental responsibilities. i could cite you statements by senator grassley and others that contradict what they are saying today. statements made in president bush was in office about the caseload of the specific corner. so i think it makes clear this is about politics and it's the kind of thing that frustrates the american people about the way washington works. at the very least, we have to go to get this done because the canon began when the hurdle is clear and the obstacle is
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removed that has held up an individual nominee, that nominee is confirmed, which suggest that nominee is qualified and usually confirmed overwhelmingly. it certainly makes clear that nominee if he or she was qualified hereafter be nominated, he or she was qualified three months or six months after being nominated. [inaudible] >> -- governor chris christie is in the unique position of having to fill a senate seat, now vacated by the loss of october. i'm curious the white house position is in terms of what it thinks governor christie should do in terms of nominate a democrat or whether it can be republican. >> that is a rabies or to the governor and the governor will exercise that right and we have no opinion on it. we look forward to working with her mother governor christie puts in that position. certainly not an opinion to
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express publicly. this is something that -- [inaudible] this is obviously something that is a right reserved to the governor and one that i'm sure you will exercise and work with whomever he appoints. [inaudible] puts the motives behind nominated in all three of these at once? what's the strategy they are? what does the president of the senate does to take up all three together or would he be satisfied? >> or seizure in the senate, strategy in the senate we generally believed to the committee chairman. i ask you to raise those with them. the president nominated these
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three individuals because having successfully send the confirmation of one enormously qualified nominee, which was very welcomed and having three nominees ready to be nominated for the three still unfilled seats to that court, the president decided that nominate them altogether and if you look at the qualifications of backgrounds of the individuals nominated today, you see in these nominees a reflection of the high standards the president has placed on all of his nominees and the nomination process. these are enormously qualified individuals of legal scholarship on the bench and practicing mom in private and public. they should be confirmed.
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they are qualified and have support from republicans and democrats said the president hopes as they made clear today we move beyond the politics of this process and get about the business of highly qualified judges on this court.
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we welcome chairman harkin steps in holding a vote on this, so that is the position we think is right, strategically when it comes to nakedness. yes, ma'am. >> do you think the choice will take on communication between u.s., turkey or is this just -- [inaudible] >> we've made clear our concern about the reports the use of excessive force and we welcome the comments by the deputy prime minister that apologize for that excessive force. we call on all parties to refrain from provoking violence and we continue to make known our opinion that these events should be investigated. we have a very important relationship with turkey. turkey is a nato ally. we are working with turkey on a
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range of regional issues that are obviously of great importance to u.s. national security and regional security and we will continue to do that. cheryl. >> he talked a little bit yesterday about the irs report. you see that now, do you have any other comments on a? >> i have not seen it. i would refer to comments made at the new acting commissioner of the irs, making clear the conference in question is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era that the actions taken to rein in such two d. half resulted in a drop in travel and training expenses of more than 80% in 2010 and i cited yesterday and will take time to do it again today, the action
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the administration has taken to do with this in keeping with the president straightman date that we all have to be careful stewards of the taxpayer dollar and he does not have tolerance for the waste of taxpayer money and that was evident in his response to the gsa report and in response to this. all the way up the back.
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conservative activists testified on capitol hill tuesday about problems they experienced while applying for tax-exempt status. the house ways and means committee chairman of michigan said the committee has begun interviewing employees from the irs taxexempt office in cincinnati. this is three and a half hours.


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