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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 1, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote the yeas are 53, the nays are 42. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the hazel nomination. does anyone yield back their time? is there objection? without objection. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question is on the hazel nomination. the yeas and nays have been
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ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any other senators wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the ayes are 95,
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the nays are 0. the nomination is confirmed. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. the senate will come to order. mr. reid: mr. president, we're going to have one more recorded vote. the next vote will be monday at 5:30. we'll have two votes at that time. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the clerk will report the snierd nomination. the clerk: janice marion snierd of new york to be assistant secretary. the presiding officer: there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the schneider nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays have been
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ordered -- is there objection? without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the schneider nomination. the yeas and nays have been ordered, and the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote the ayes are 64, the nays are 32. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the clerk will report the levine nomination. the clerk: department of state, suzang.levine of washington to be ambassador to the swiss confederation. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a
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vote on the levine nomination. who yields back time? is there objection? without objection. all time is yielded back. the question is on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate in a colloquy with the senator from south carolina as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, 19 months ago, a terrible thing happened in benghazi, libya. four brave americans were murdered, and the issue has never been not only resolved but as each of the last 19 months has ensued, the issue of how and under what circumstances this
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heinous crime was committed continues, and the senator from south carolina and i, the senator from new hampshire and some others have vowed we will never give up on this issue until the truth is known and the people who perpetrated it are brought to justice. we have seen another page turn in this chapter of cover-up and obfuscation by this administration by the belated 19 months later release of the following emails. first one we will not pay much attention to. this is from the benjamin rhodes, who is supposed to be the public relations -- public affairs office for the national security council. in fact, he is obviously the propaganda organ. the purpose, the goals as he states them to underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy. i tell my colleagues that that was not a fact. that was not a fact.
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there was no evidence that these protests were rooted in an internet video. in fact, the station chief before these talking points were made up sent a message, this is not a spontaneous demonstration. to show that we will be resolute in bringing harm to americans in justice, steadfast to these protests to reinforce the president's strength and steadiness, that's all about the presidential campaign. it's not about trying to find out who perpetrated this heinous crime. it's not about trying to respond to the people who committed these acts. in fact, because of the cover-up and the obfuscation and now 19-month delay, not a single person who was responsible for the murder of these four brave americans has been brought to justice, as the president promised that they -- that they would. so yesterday, mr. carney says
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well, that it was -- that this was not -- the release of this information had nothing to do with the attack on benghazi. my friends, i have seen a lot of strange things in my time, but that has to be the most bizarre statement that i have ever observed. this is all about a presidential campaign. this is all about an effort to convince the american people that the president of the united states had everything under control. the next day after the sunday talk show, susan rice said al qaeda has been decimated, false, that the embassy was safe and stable and secure, false, and of course the whole issue of blaming an internet video lasted on and on for a couple of weeks when it was clear that the evidence did not indicate it. i would yield to my friend from
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south carolina on this issue, and i will return. mr. graham: okay. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: this email -- to remind the body of what we're talking about, this email was released as a result of a lawsuit, not voluntarily by the white house. in august of last year, the house of representatives, the committees of jurisdiction subpoenaed all documents related to benghazi, and basically were stiff-armed. senator mccain, ayotte and myself have written enough letters to destroy a small forest to the white house with nothing to show for it virtually. there was a private organization called judicial watch who sued under the freedom of information act and an independent judiciary -- thank god for that -- ordered this white house to disclose this email just days
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ago. knowing that the email was going to come out, the white house provided it to the congress a few days ago. what does that tell us? that tells us that they did not want you to know about this email, and they talk about 25,000 documents they provided. it doesn't matter the number of documents you provided to the congress. you could have provided us the benghazi phone book. it's the relevance of the documents and the significance of the documents, and the reason they did not want you, me and anyone else to know about this email, because it's the smoking gun that shows that people at the white house level -- now, these are people that work for the white house, for the administration -- were very intent on shaping the story about benghazi away from what they knew to be the truth. and here's the problem for the white house. this was seven weeks before an election. president obama had said
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repeatedly bin laden's dead, al qaeda is on the run, the war is receding, my foreign policy is working. many of us were critical of president obama's foreign policy, particularly in libya because africa daffy fell, -- after qadhafi fell, we did nothing to secure the country. senator mccain and a couple of others and myself, senator rubio, went in 2011 to libya and we said in an op-ed piece if we don't get rid of these militias, libya is going to become a safe haven for terrorists. and you have got to understand this about the benghazi consulate -- it had been previously attacked in april of 2012. the british ambassador had been attacked in june of 2012. the british closed their consulate. the red cross closed their office because they had been attacked, and we have got email traffic coming from libya to washington at the state department level saying in
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august -- saying on august 16, we cannot secure the benghazi consulate from a coordinated terrorist attack, and al qaeda flags are flying all over benghazi. what they did not want you to know was the consulate in benghazi was very unsecured, everyone else had left the town and that the numerous requests for security enhancements going back for months had been denied. they didn't want to you know that because it would make the american people mad that the facility was so unsecured in such a dangerous area and people in washington constantly ignored requests for additional security. here's what they wanted you to know. to convey that the united states is doing everything we can to protect our people and facilities abroad. that, to me, is the worst of the whole email because they're trying to convey to the american people the families of the fallen that these things happen
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but we did all we could to protect your family and those who serve this nation. nothing could be more untruthful about benghazi than this statement that they did everything they could to secure the facility. and the question as to whether or not this email relates to benghazi was the most offensive thing coming out of the white house in quite a while. no one else died. there was an attack on an embassy in cairo with property damage. what do you think susan rice was going to be asked about on sunday, 16 september? everybody in the nation wanted to know how our ambassador and three other brave americans died. to suggest they weren't trying to prepare her to talk about the deaths of an american -- three americans, four americans is just insulting to our intelligence, but the document itself tells you it was directed
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toward explaining benghazi. to show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm americans to justice, that was part of what they wanted her to convey. no one else was hurt, other than benghazi. so within the document itself, they are talking about reinforcing the view that we will go after those who harmed americans. the only people who were harmed, the four people killed were in benghazi. so that's just a bald-faced lie, that's insulting our intelligence, and it really is disrespectful to those who died in the line of duty to suggest this email they would not give us without a court order had nothing to do with the death of four americans. it had everything to do -- mr. mccain: i might add that all of the emails were supposed to be given to the congress in return for the confirmation of mr. brennan as head of the c.i.a. they didn't do that. mr. graham: no. the bottom line here is the goals set out in this email are
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to try to convince the american people seven weeks before an election we had done everything possible to protect our people and facilities, to underscore that the protests were rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy. i'm here to tell you, and i dare anybody to show you where i'm wrong, there is no evidence of a protest outside the compound that led to an eventual attack. i have talked to the man in charge of security at benghazi. the only survivor i have been able to talk to. he told me that when the ambassador went to bed shortly after 9:00, there was nobody outside the compound that would not have let him go to bed if there would have been protesters and they would have reported up to the chain of command a protest. mr. mccain: and the next day, the station chief sent a message there was not, slash, not a spontaneous demonstration.
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mr. graham: that was the 15th, so i will get to that in a second. so this is in real time. people are reporting a coordinated terrorist attack. there was no protest. the video had nothing to do with this because there were no protests. why was this? they are far less culpable in the eyes of the american people and myself if, in fact, this was caused by a video we had nothing to do with, a protest that you could not see coming. the truth of the matter is this was a coordinated terrorist attack that you could see coming for months, and it was a result of a broader failure of policy. why did they not want to admit that. they are seven weeks out. it undercuts everything they were trying to tell the american people about their foreign policy. this is the smoking gun that shows they were consciously trying to manipulate the evidence to steer the story away from a coordinated terrorist
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attack of the security into the land of the internet video, causing a protest. that, to me, is unacceptable and is clear as the sun rises in the east for those who care. now i will go to this and turn it back to senator mccain. president obama after this attack said the following -- "but everything that -- every piece of information we get, as we got it, we laid it out for the american people." i am here to tell you that that statement has not borne scrutiny, that this administration did not live up to this statement. here's another statement. from jay carney. "i can tell you that the president believes that ambassador rice has done an excellent job as the united states ambassador to the united
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nations, and i believe that -- and i know that he believes that everyone here working for him has been transparent in the way that we've tried to answer questions about what happened in benghazi if you were trying to be transparent about what was happening in benghazi, why would you fail to provide the relevant information, the information that was provided was based on the available assessment at the time? i'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, they have not provided the relevant information. why? because the relevant information crumbles the story susan rice told on 16 september, crumbles the story of the president himself when weeks later he talked about a protest caused by video that never happened. the reason they haven't shared this with us is because it exposes the lie of benghazi. and i will end with this
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thought. you would not know today about an e-mail on 14 september setting goals for susan rice to meet on 16 september to change the whole narrative if it were not for an independent judiciary and a private organization. this white house has stiffed the congress. mostly the media has been awol. but the reason we haven't stopped is because we've met the families. to any member of the congress who thinks benghazi is a republican conspiracy designed to help lindsey graham or anyone else get elected, why don't you go to the family members and explain to them what happened? why don't you tell the family members that your government -- the government was upfront and honest and see if they will believe you. this e-mail that came from a
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court requiring the white house to disclose it is devastating. it's devastating because it shows that three days after the attack, their goal was not to inform the american people of what happened but to shape the story to help the president get reelected. and i hope and pray that matters to the american people, and i believe it does. and i hope and pray that our friends on the democratic side will start taking a little bit of interest, because i can tell you this about senator mccain and myself. when president bush's policies in iraq were crumbling, we did not have enough troops and john mccain, to his credit, said that publicly and asked for the resignation of president bush's secretary of defense because of failed policy. when we discovered the abuses at guantanamo bay and abu ghraib when it came to detainee policy,
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both of us stood up and said the system failed. don't believe it when they tell you this was a few bad apples. why did we do that? i've been a military lawyer for 31 years. it means a lot to me to adhere to the conventions we've signed up to. senator mccain, if there was ever an american hero in the senate, it's him, who's lived through a country that practices torture and he did not want us to go down that road. when we did those things, we were great americans holding the system accountable and doing the country a service. now all of a sudden we're just party hacks. i'm here to tell you, what drove us then drives us now. when you ask people to serve in faraway places with strange sounding names and to go out on the tip of the sphere, you owe it to help them if you can, give them the best ability to survive and if something bad happens, you owe their families the truth.
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just as in iraq, they tried to shape the story in a fashion that did not bear scrutiny. it wasn't a few dead-enders. it was system failure that led to the collapse of iraq. and thank god we changed tactics and we overcame our problems. this benghazi story is about a foreign policy choice called the lightfoot print that caught up with this administration. it's about an administration that said no to additional security requests because they didn't want to be like bush. it was a story about an administration too stubborn to react to facts on the ground, that kept a consulate open when everybody else closed theirs, unsecured, believing that ignoring the problem would solve the problem. we have now found evidence of
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their willingness, desire to change the narrative from a coordinated terrorist attack of an unsecured facility to something they really couldn't control and they did the best they could seven weeks before an election. and all i can say, if the shoe were on the other 23509 and this had been the bush administration, it would be front-page news everywhere and our colleagues on the other side would be up screaming. and it is sad to me that it hasn't been news everywhere and it's sad to me that my democratic colleagues in the house in particular have disdain for trying to find out what happened in benghazi. mr. mccain: and the fact is, i would say to my friend, the time has now come for a select committee. the time has now come because these talking points raise more questions than answers.
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it is time for a bipartisan, bicameral select committee to investigate the entire benghazi fiasco and tragedy and it needs to be done soon. the american people and the families of those brave ones who sacrificed their lives deserve nothing less. my -- my friend, lindsey graham, just mentioned -- senator graham mentioned that -- about the media. i'd like to say thanks. i'd like to say thanks to fox news. i'd like to say thanks to some in cbs. i'd like to say thanks to charles krauthammer and the handful of people who kept this alive when the -- quote -- "mainstream media" not only wanted to bury it but subjected it, of course, as senator graham just mentioned, he and i to ridicule. i want to go back for a stoked this e-mail -- i want to go back for a second
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to this e-mail. in return -- in response to questions yesterday by mr. carney, the white house press spokesperson, if you look at this e-mail and then look at what mr. carney said, it is an absolute falsehood. it's a total departure from reality. how does the president's spokesperson tell the american people something that is patently false? the president's spokesperson, in regards to this e-mail, that says that to show the internet and this protest rooted in an internet video, not a broader failure of policy. what was he talking about? do you know what he's saying? he said the rhodes e-mail is explicitly not about benghazi. well, then what was it about? then he goes on to say, the fact of the matter is, there were protests in the region. the talking points cited protests at that facility. they didn't. talking points did not cite protests at that facility; e.i., been gaz each. the connections between protests and video and the video turned
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out not to be the case. it turned out not to be the case because it was never the case and no one ever believed it. tut was aboubut it was based on the best information that they had. he had no information that there was no demonstration sparked by a video. that was manufactured somewhere. and we -- the american people and we need to know where those talking points that susan rice gave. if you look at that document, he goes on to say, that document that we're talking about today was about the overall environment in the muslim world. how cou could he say that and look at that email here, talking about events in the muslim world? he goes on to say talking about susan rice, she relied on her for her answers on benghazi on the document prepared by the c.i.a. as did members of congress. mr. morell has stated the deputy head of the c.i.a. at that time, that he was astonished to
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hear that there was reference made on all five sunday morning shows that there was a hateful video involved. so mr. carney is -- he is saying things that are absolutely false. the american people deserve better than that from the president's spokesperson whom he should they rely on for accurate information. when the bodies came home and it was a moving event, i was there, the -- then-secretary of state told members of the family and have told me that she said we will get these people who were responsible for the hateful video. that was a number of days later when it was absolutely proven to anyone's satisfaction there was no hateful video. and, of course, we still don't know what the final version of
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the talking points that susan rice used on all morning talk shows, who was the final arbiter of it. we know now that mr. rhodes played a very key role in that. and we need to know who gave her those talking points because they are patently false. and if someone gave her those talking points, then why in the world did that person manufacture out of whole cloth information that were told to the american people? mr. president, there's a lot of points here, we get into some of the details, but the fact is that this is a cover-up of a situation which was politically motivated in order to further the presidential ambitions of the president of the united states. that's what this is all about.
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and that's why comments and instructions were given in this email because the narrative was the tide of war is receding, osama bin laden's dead, secretary rice said at the time, susan rice said at the time, al qaeda is decimated, and the ambassador was safe and secure. none of those facts were true. but most importantly, we have five americans who were killed. it's very clear that that should not have happened, would not have happened if proper actions had been taken and most importantly now or as importantly now is the fact that for the last 19 months this white house has been engaged in a cover-up. it calls for a select committee to examine all of the facts and as always happens in these kinds of scandals, the cover-up is
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equally or sometimes worse than the actual fact -- the action itself, and the american people deserve to know the truth. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: with respect to the nominations confirmed today under the previous order, the motions to reconsider be made and laid on the table, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resumes legislative session. the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i'm here as regular viewers of the c-span network know now, for the 65th time. every week that the senate is in session, to ask my colleagues here in the senate to wake up to
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the realities of climate change that surround us. here's what we know. we know that the oceans and atmosphere are warming. by the way, that's measurement, not theory. we know that sea level is rising, again that's measurement, not theory. and we know that oceans are becoming more acidic. again, a simple measurement. the potential that these changes have to disrupt economic growth and to disrupt groabl commerce are the subject -- global commerce are the subject of my remarks today and it is those changes that make investors and corporate executives take climate change seriously. we may not take climate change seriously, but corporate executives do. a world of shifting seasons and extreme heat hurts their bottom line. the world of drought-stricken farms and flooded cities, raging wildfires and migrating
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diseases is not good for business. a recent article from the world bank conveys it this way, in corporate board rooms and the offices of c.e.o.'s, climate change is a real and present danger. it threatens to disrupt the water supplies and supply chains, of companies as diverse as coca-cola and exxonmobil. rising sea levels and more intense storms put their infrastructure at risk and the costs will only get worse, end of quote. earlier this month executives from major american companies came to washington for a roundtable discussion at the bicameral task force on climate change which i lead with congressman waxman. each of the companies present had signed the climate declaration of the business for innovate climate and energy policy or bicep. they see a low-carbon economy as
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a smart way to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. more than 750 companies, name plate american corporations like e-bay, gap, leave eye's, nike, starbucks and many others have signed bicep's climate declaration. kevin rabiovit gloanch is director at virginia based candy company mars company, makers of the famous m&m among other things. he told us mars has a goal of eliminating fossil fuel energy sues and greenhouse gases emissions companywide by 2040. in fact, mr. president, just today mars announced it will build a 200 megawatt wind farm in texas that will generate enough energy to power all mars' operations in the united states. i applaud this exciting step for
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mars and the bold vision that it represents. but he told the bicameral task force if other companies and governments don't adopt similar science-based based targets our efforts will have limited effect on climate change. we cannot do it alone. this is why the business community needs congress to get off the sidelines, to quit denying rudimentary science and abundant evidence. improving energy efficiency reduces climate-altering carbon emissions but also these businesses find reduces operating costs. colin dier of jones lang la salle, the second largest publicly traded brokerage firm in the world. cost savings alone represent a compelling benefit of sustainable design, construction, and management, he told us.
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they put smart building management technology to work for the consumer goods giant procter & gamble. according to dier, p&g earned back its investment in the technology in three months. and saw average energy cost savings of 10% annually. the program which is being expanded also improved building systems reliability, supported the company's broader sustainability programs and actually increased employee productivity. end quote. smart executives also understand how much their commerce care about this -- customers care about this. rob olson, the chief financial officer of ikea said this -- from talking to our commerce -- customers, we know americans are increasingly concerned about climate change as they experience events like hurricane sandy and the drought in california. they want to reduce the amount
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of energy they use in their home and they care about reducing waste and using less water. this is not a new message from america's corporate sector. last year the bicameral task force wrote to over 300 businesses and organizations about carbon pollution and climate change. the response was encouraging. coca-cola, headquartered in georgia, wrote -- and i quote -- "we recognize climate change is a critical challenge facing our planet. with potential impacts on biodiversity, water resources, public health, and agriculture. beyond the effects on the communities we serve, we view climate change as a potential business risk, understanding that it could likely have direct and indirect effects on our business." end quote. wal-mart, founded and headquartered in arkansas, wrote this, "we're committed to
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reducing our carbon footprint and working with our suppliers to do the same. this here's what wal-mart said in its 2009 sustainability report, i'll quote, climate change may not cause hurricanes but warmer ocean water can make them more powerful. climate change may not cause rainfall, but it can increase the frequency and severity of heavy flooding. climate change may not cause droughts but it can make droughts longer. every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as it can. currently wal-mart went on, we are investing in renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency in our buildings and trucks, working with suppliers to take carbon out of products and supporting legislation in the united states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. end quote. so serious business leaders are looking for serious answers to the looming economic crisis of
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climate change. an article this month in the harvard business review titled "how to survive climate change and still run a thriving business" outlines recommendations for companies looking to strengthen their supply chains and better understand their consumers. serious business leaders are also fed up with the denial apparatus that is run by the big carbon polluters. major utilities pg-and-e, the public service company of new mexico and exelon all quit the u.s. chamber of commerce after a chamber official called for putting climate science on trial like the scopes monkey trial of 1925. large tech companies like apple and yahoo also left the chamber. one of the companies that came in to the bicameral task force was north carolina-based v.f. corporation. you may not have heard of v.f.
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corporation but you've sure heard of their major brands. they make lee, wrangler, nautica, north face hand many other name brands. latisha webster is their director of global sustainability and they have a global perspective on climate change. their customers around the world are concerned about climate change, particularly their younger customers, and v.f. wants to meet those customers' expect aigdz for good citizenship. v.f. needs cotton for their clothing and they're worried about distruption to the cotton supply chain. quote -- "research tells us climate change will make it more and more difficult for farmers to manage cotton crops and for companies to manage their supply chains." v.f. also provides very high performance clothing and equipment for high performance outdoor athletes, the ones who
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train and compete in places where changes are already evident. those athletes see the same changes as the 100 winter olympic competitors from 10 countries who signed a letter warning about climate change. latisha webster mentioned in particular the ice fall which has closed mount everest to climbers for the first time. she's not the only one. here's what john awl, a climber, scientist and professor at western kentucky university told the atlantic magazines worst i'm atef rest base camp right now and things are dire because of climate change. the ice is melting at unprecedented rates and that greatly increases the risks to climbers. could you say that climate change closed mount everest this year, he added. tim ripple is a climbing guide
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and he blogged from everest base camp as a professional member of the kaine avalanche association, i have my educated concerns. the mountain has been deteriorating rapidly due to global warming and the breakdown in the kumbu ice fall is dramatic. ms. webster warned of the costs of inaction, saying to us -- quote -- "it's too expensive not to take action." this is a north carolina company, and i hope its message get through to elected officials who represent north carolina. senator hagan has already spoken passionately about the need to act on climate change. she gets it. but her colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they remain silent. i visited north carolina over the recess as part of a tour of the effects of climate change along the southeast coast.
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i through tout where sea level rise is gnawing away at south carolina's banks. i visited a center where scientists from duke university, university of north carolina, north carolina state, eastern carolina state, and, of course, noaa are studying various aspects of sea heavily rise in north carolina and the effects of ocean acidification on microbes that form the basis of the food web. these are some of the world's leading scientists. they all know that these changes are driven by carbon pollution. there is no doubt. unless north carolina's elected officials think that their own universities are part of the big hoax that some of our colleagues talk about, they had better pay attention to what is happening on the north carolina coast. i met with the north carolina
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coastal federation at their coastal education center in wilmington, north carolina. it was a bipartisan group, joined together in concern over the exposure of their coastal communities to the rising seas. the north carolina sea level rise assessment prepared in 2010 by the north carolina coastal resources commission's science panel on coastal hazards says this: "the most likely scenario for 2 ^1 00a.d. is a rise of 0.4 meters to 1.4 meters above present. that's 15 inches to 55 inches. and, by the way, that's what they call "bathtub measures. "that doesn't take into account what 5 inches of extra sea will do when it's heaped against the shore by storm surge from a big
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tropical storm or hurricane. so i hope that their congressional delegation in congress is listening. the biggest power producers in north carolina is charlotte-based duke energy. duke worked through the united states climate action partnership for climate change legislation. duke actually pulled out of the national association of manufacturers because of that organization's denial of climate change. quote -- "we are not renewing our membership in the n.a.m. because in tough times we want to invest in associations that are pulling in the same direction we are," said duke chief executive officer then jim rogers. he sthaid n.a. me, the u.s. chamber of comerks and commerce, and republicans ought to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a climate bill." duke energy might also want to consider whether north carolina
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politicians are pulling in the same direction e this is not implemented. implement complimented. load up carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and you load up heat in the atmosphere, we've known that since abraham lincoln was president. this is not a new discovery. load up the heat and the oceans warm up and that's not some theory either. you can measure it with thermometers. when liquid warms, it expands. unless my colleagues want to repeal the law of thermal expansion. and as the ocean expands and ice melts, up goes the sea level. up six inches at the tide gauge in wilmington, north carolina, since 1954. now, if my colleagues want to deny the six-inch increase in the tide gauge in wilmington, north carolina, let me explain
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to them what the north carolina assessment says about how you measure sea level rise. quote -- "sea level rise can be directly measured in a straightforward way. the longest record of direct measurement of sea level comes from tide gauges. a tide gauge is a device built to measure water level variations due to tides and weather and to eliminate effects due to waves. a tide gauge can be as simple as a long ruler nailed to a post on a dock. more sophisticated instruments like those used by noaa are usually placed in a stilling well -- a pipe -- that protects a float connected to a recording device from waves. as the tides rise and fall, the float's motion is recorded." not complicated. good luck denying that.
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when you fly over the north carolina coast, you see lots of investment along the seashore, lots of houses, lots of hotels, condominium, restaurants, an entire seafront economy that the larger nort north carolina econy very much depends on. what are my colleagues from north carolina going to tell them about climate change? don't worry? it's not real? good luck with that. they're already measuring the sea level rise. mr. president, those small businesses in north carolina want to protect their storefronts from sea level rise just as v.h. corporation wants to protect its cotton supply from drought. these north carolina companies get the economic threat that
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climate change presents. the frustrating thing here is that we can strengthen our economies and businesses by tackling the problem of climate change and sea level rise head-on. and we can leave things better, not worse, for the generations that will follow us, perhaps the simplest obligation that we hold and one, by the way, at which we are presently failing. but if we're going to stop failing at that obligation, if we're going to tackle this problem head-on, we have to wake up to reality. we've got to put aside for once and for all the toxic polluter-paid politics that infect washington. and i'll chose b close by say, e denial campaign that is run by these polluters is as poisonous
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to our democracy as carbon pollution is to our atmosphere and oceans." america is suffering as a result of congress being tangled in a web of lies and surrounded by a barricade of special interests. we have got to break through that. it's a matter of truth. it's a matter of honor. and it's a matter of being effective at these real problems. i yield the floor. i thank the presiding officer. and note note. -- 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: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that we succes suspend e quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: mr. president, it is often said that foreign aid from america is to project american power, to project the things that america believes in. unfortunately, over decades, the only thing consistent about foreign aid is that the money continues to flow, regardless of the behavior of the recipients. this is extraordinary, and we have seen this decade after decade. studies will show often that 75% of foreign aid throughout many continents is simply stolen, taken in graft. the mubarak family in egypt is an eangs example of this. the point that i would like to
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make today is if we are going to project what america stands for, that if we want our money to go to people who are supporting activities that america is for, we should write that into the law. now, we've made attempts at this in the past. senator leahy several years ago attached to foreign aid an amendment that says that countries need to be evolving towards democracy or showing an ability to go forward towards democracy. the problem is that every time we have restrictions on foreign aid, they're evaded. we always give an out. the president has always got an out. so this week in egypt, 683 people were condemned to death in one trial and yet your money still flows to egypt without interruption. we have another contingency that says, if a country has a military takeover, if you have an election and then you have a military junta or a military takeover of the government, then our aid should end.
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didn't happen in egypt. we had a military takeover. the only thing consistent about foreign aid is that it flows to all countries regardless of behavior. so it's the opposite of what many of the proponents say. many proponents say, we do this so we can modulate behavior, so we can try to improve and make things better around the world. and yet they steadfastly oppose restrictions on foreign aid. so i have a bill that i'm going to ask in a few minutes for the sna the tsnoot tosenate to unan. this should be an easy lift for most senators. this a bill to support our ally israel and to say to the palestinian authority that in order to receive american moneyen, imoney,if you wish to e -- and the american taxpayer gives hundreds of millions of dollars yeem each year to the
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palestinian authority, but there's always an out and they always get their money. so i am asking is let's have some restrictions. shouldn't they gray to recognizy agree to recognize the state of israel? we now have a problem -- and the reason this has become a more pertinent issue -- is you have hamas, a terrorist group, in ga gaza, now allying themselves with the people in the palestinian authority. are we going to send mean to a unity government? part of the charter of hamas is not only just not recognition of israel but actually for the destruction of i will rail. -- israel. so what i would ask to americans and what i would ask to those who will object to this bill -- because there will be an objection to my bill today -- i would ask to those who object, how can you object to something that calls for the recognition
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of israel as state? how can you object to and how can you continue to allow the flow of money to a group that calls for the destruction of israel? and they will say, well, we've got contingencies for that and we'll stop it if they become part of or control the west bank. when i was in israel a year ago, i asked everybody this question. i met with the prime minister of israel. i met with the president of israel. i met with the king of jordan. i met with the leader of the west bank, abbas. i met with them and asked, can there be a separate peace? can there be peace with the west bank and peace with gaza in they all said, no, it has to be one peace. they lobbed missiles at us a. they are at war with us. they don't recognize our right to exist as a state. not only that they openly advocate for the destruction of israel. but realize in the objection you
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will hear today, you will hear an objection that despite arguments to the contrary weal how money to go to a iewngtsy government that will include hamas. i'm simply asking that if we're going to send good money after bad, frankly money we don't have -- we're $1 trillion in debt; we got bridges falling down in our own country and your government is end ising hundreds of millions of dollars to palestinian authority, now going to be unified with hamas, and without restrictions. restrictions that have a hole so big you can drive a whole hole h the restrictions. this always happens. every contin yen circumstance -- every contingency that you would think would be practicable and reasonable always has an exception for the president to overcome. the president always does it. so the only thing consistent about foreign said that money continues to p.l.o. -- to flow. so, mr. president, i would ask
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unanimous consent that we pass my bill, senate bill 2265, stand with israel. i ask unanimous consent that the committee on foreign relations be discharged from further consideration of s. 2265 and that the senate proceed to immediate consideration. i further ask that the bill be read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: reserving the right to object to senator paul's request to discharge s. 2265, the committee. this legislation that senator paul has been referring to has not been considered by the committee. i mean, it was just introduced in the last day or so, i think. as chairman of the senate foreign relations committee and on behalf of the republican ranking member, senator corker, who had to depart to return back to tennessee but otherwise would have joined me in making
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remarks, i come to the floor to express our opposition to an effort to circumvent the normal legislative process and deprive the members of our committee the opportunity to decide whether to take up this legislation, the authorization to provide or cut u.s. assistance to the palestinian authority is clearly in the per view of the senate foreign relations committee, and it should have its members decide if it is appropriate to be fully and openly considered by the committee. the bill is a blunt force instrument that would risk the collapse of the palestinian economy in the west bank. that is not in israel's interests, and it is not in our interests either. the bill would shift the burden of dealing with a failed state on its borders to israel. that's certainly not my goal and i would hope it's not senator paul's goal either.
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our goal should be to get back to a process and a negotiation towards a two-state solution that will allow israel to live in peace and security. we need to allow the parties, particularly mr. abbas, the time to steer back towards a productive path to peace. to be clear, his time is limited. and unless -- i'm in agreement with senator paul. president abbas must ultimately choose between a future that envisions two states living side by side in peace and security or a destructive unity pact with a terrorist organization whose stated objective is to make sure there is no two-state solution. a unity government not a unity announcement, but a unity government between fatah and hamas has consequences that are clear under existing u.s. law. if mr. abbas definitely opens the door to hamas, exercising
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influence of the palestinian authority, i will encourage my colleagues to stand with me in exercising the existing legal authority to halt assistance to a government that includes parties that rejects israel's right to exist as a jewish state and continues to support terrorism. for those reasons, mr. president, i must object to the senator's request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, there has been a lot of criticism of ways that the majority leader of the senate, harry reid, for his discussion about the koch brothers, and i think that that criticism of senator reid is
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unfortunate because i think what he is trying to do is to educate the american people about what the disastrous citizens united supreme court decision has done in allowing billionaire families like the koch brothers, like sheldon edelson and others to pump hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process in order to elect candidates in the house, in the senate and in the white house who are working overtime against the best interests of the middle class and working families of this country, and at the same time are working to provide even more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and large, profitable corporations. and i think that it is important
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when we talk about the koch brothers not to make this discussion personal. it's not a personal discussion. it is a discussion about what the most powerful political family in this country believes. if they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars -- and this is a family worth $80 billion -- and they may end up spending, in fact, billions of dollars on campaigns, what is it that they want? what do they believe? what do folks like sheldon edelson believe when they invite potential republican candidates for president to come to las vegas for what has been called the edelson primary where he will listen to them and decide who he might support and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on in a presidential campaign. so i think it's important that we know what the koch brothers
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believe. and here's the best information that i have. in 1980, as it turns out, david koch, one of the two brothers, ran for vice president of the united states on the libertarian party. and what is interesting to me is to what degree the platform that he ran on, which in 1980 got him 1% of the vote on the libertarian ticket, to what degree that extremism set of positions has now become mainstream republican today. mr. president, what i want to do is just take a few minutes to quote exactly what was in that 1980 platform and to have the american people recognize to what degree ideas that at one point were considered extremist are now mainstream republican.
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this is what was in the 1980 libertarian party platform the day that cochran for vice president -- that david cochran for vice president on. we urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws and the immediate admonition of the despotic presidential commission." end of quote. what that means, mr. president, that the koch brothers and increasingly the republican party now believes there should be no campaign finance laws, that citizens united did not go far enough and that the koch brothers should be able to spend millions of dollars directly by giving that money to individual candidates. that's what the koch brothers said in 1980. that is what many republicans believe today.
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let me quote again, exact quote from the platform -- quote -- "we favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt and increasingly oppressive social security system." end quote. there are many republicans today who not only want to see cuts in social security but who ultimately want to privatize social security, who believe that it is unconstitutional for the united states government to be involved in retirement benefits for seniors. quote the 1980 libertarian party platform. listen to this one. this is really quite incredible -- "we oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes. we support the eventual repeal of all taxation." end of quote. repeal of all taxation? that's the government.
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basically what they are saying very boldly, straightforwardly, we have to respect their honesty, they don't believe in government. now, i have not heard any of my republican colleagues here say they want to abolish all taxation. that is not what they say and that's not what they believe, but on the other hand it is important to note that the ryan budget just passed in mid april in the house provides a $5 trillion tax break over a ten-year period, mainly by cutting the top individual income tax rates significantly. in other words, what many of our republican colleagues believe that at a time when the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, at the same time as the middle class disappears and more and more people live in poverty, what my republican colleagues believe is we should give more tax breaks
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to millionaires and billionaires. mr. president, the koch brothers position in 1980 were that they support, and i quote, libertarian party platform quote -- "we support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment such as minimum wage laws." end of quote. now, what does that mean? yesterday, we had a vote here on the floor of the senate which said that a $7.25 an hour minimum wage is a poverty wage, that people who are working 40 hours a week and are making making $7.25 an hour are living in poverty, that they cannot
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bring up -- raise families on those wages, and that if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, we could bring approximately 28 million americans out of poverty. on that vote to overcome a republican filibuster, one republican voted with members of the democratic caucus, and we lost that vote. now, what is interesting, mr. president, is not simply that almost every republican voted against raising the minimum wage. what is more significant is that many republicans believe that we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage. many of us know senator tom coburn of oklahoma to be an honest and straightforward guy. he tells it the way he sees it.
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this morning on the morning joe television show, this is what senator coburn said, and i quote from the transcript. i don't believe you ought to interfere in the market if there is to be a minimum wage, my theory is i don't believe there ought to be a national minimum wage. that's my position, end of quote. in other words, what senator coburn is saying today and, in fact, what many republicans agree with them on is we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage, something that the koch brothers were talking about 34 years ago. one of -- what are the implicats of that? if you do what senator coburn suggested, just let the market work. don't have government interfere by establishing a minimum wage that american workers should receive. what it means, quite simply, when you let the free market work is that if you are in a
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high unemployment area and you have many, many workers compete ing for few jobs, an employer will say to you well, i am prepared to hire you, good news, and i'm going to pay you $4 an hour, and the worker says i can't live on $4 an hour. that's a starvation wage, and the employer says well, that's okay because i got 20 other workers who are prepared to accept that wage. that's what happens when you abolish the concept of the minimum wage. mr. president, many of us -- and i think the vast majority of the american people have a very different vision of where our country should go. we don't believe that you should be abolishing the minimum wage. we don't believe that you should be cutting or privatizing social
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security or transforming medicare into a voucher program or making horrendous cuts to medicaid. what, in fact, the american people want is the federal government to start standing up for working families rather than million airaires and billionaires. and in poll after poll, what the american people have said is they want us to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of decent paying jobs. that's what the american people want. not tax breaks for billionaires but the creation of millions of jobs through rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. the american people, despite what senator coburn and others may believe, want us to raise the minimum wage. poll after poll suggests that the american people want us to


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