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tv   U.S. Senate Democrats Speak Against Travel Ban as Acting AG is Fired  CSPAN  January 30, 2017 2:59pm-5:00pm EST

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the position i consider important were met. i respect mr. tillerson's experience and willingness to serve his country, but after our private meeting and lengthy public confirmation process i remain deeply troubled by a number of mr. tillerson's responses and beliefs. i am not convinced that mr. tillerson shares a worldview that the united states foreign-policy must be rooted in the values that strengthen us as a nation, championing democracy, upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights and as i said during his hearing, business dealmaking is not diplomacy. and i remain doubtful that mr. tillerson would fully embrace a wide-ranging policy to strengthen our alliances and forcefully confront our adversaries. it is not disputed the senate foreign relations committee went on for about 40 more minutes and wound up voting along party lines to approve that tell us the nomination to the second estate post. you can find the the online in
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our video library the full senate about the gavel in. there will be starting with speeches and turn to debate on the nomination at 5:00 eastern time. a vote on whether not to move forward with his nomination has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. live now to the floor of the senate. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, who inhabits eternity, whose throne is heaven and whose footstool is the earth, you have given us the gift of another day. and we will rejoice and be glad in it.
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may our lawmakers never forget that they borrow their heartbeats from you. continue to sustain them and give them this day all that they need to glorify your holy name. may your spirit move them that they will make concessions without coercion and be conciliatory without compromising. compel them to be just and honest in all their dealings. may they remember that our country is no better than it and no stronger than its commitment to righteousness. lord, bless our senators in their going out and coming in,
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their rising up and lying down, their labor and their leisure. we pray in your loving name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., january 30, 2017. to the senate. under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph thraoe, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable todd young, signed orrin g.
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hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: for too long coal communities in states like kentucky were unfairly targeted by the obama administration as part of its war on coal. we now have the opportunity to start providing relief to coal families whose only crime was working to support their loved ones. easing the pain of these regulations is a priority. i laid it out in a letter to president trump earlier this year. that hrer was -- that was to push back against the previous administration's assault on coal families. i'm pleased the president has already begun to take steps to provide relief from several
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different regulations impolessed by the former administration, regulations that, for too long, have stifled growth and held our country back. and together we can do more, including right here in congress through the congressional review act or c.r.a. process. one of the first regulations we are working to address is to the so-called stream buffer rule, a harmful regulation put into place by the obama administration at the 11th hour. one analysis estimates it could affect one-third of the coal mining jobs. that's why so many across coal country have called for relief against this harmful attack. we've heard individual voices against this regulation. we've heard union voices in opposition, like the united mine workers of america and we've heard from groups like the kentucky coal association who
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recently wrote to me about its negative impact. here's what they said: the undeniable truth, the letter read is that this rule will have a real impact on the real world. it will cause real harm to real people who support real families in real communities. this regulation is an attack on coal families. it jeopardizes jobs and transfers power away from states and local governments. today i'm introducing a bipartisan resolution to overturn it. congress will also continue acting to provide relief from other regulations that attack our economy and our constituents. in fact, the house will act on its own version of this congressional review actress hraoulgs and several others this week. i urge our friends to do so quickly so we can pass them here in the senate and provide relief to our coal communities, our
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national economy, and our constituents. now, on another matter, the senate will continue working to put into place president trump's cabinet and we will have a cloture vote on the nominee for secretary of state. this nominee is well qualified, he's been a leader at one of america's largest employers and has the type of international work experience that will serve him well as our next secretary of state. we're looking forward to advancing his nomination tonight. remember, it's in everybody's best interest to confirm each of the president's well-qualified nominees in a timely manner so they can begin the important work before them. on matters of national security, the economy, health care and so many others. it's also in our nation's best interest to confirm the next supreme court nominee which the president has said he intends to announce tomorrow, justice scalia was a towering figure on
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the supreme court. his unfortunate passing was not only a great loss to our country, but it came, as we all know, when our country was in the midst of a contentional presidential process. so in keeping with the biden rule, which states that action on a nomination should be put off until the campaign is over, i have stood firm on the principle that the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. i consistently maintained that the president would consider this vacancy. i held to that view even when everyone thought that president would be hillary clinton. our friends on the left may lack this. the principle we followed is not only known as the biden rule, but also the schumer standard. but there is one thing we won't
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expect the left to waiver, trying to paint whoever is nominated in apocalyptic terms. it doesn't matter who this presidential -- who this president in nominates, the left has been rolling out the same tired playbook for decades. when the republican president was george herbert walker bush, groups on the left said the record of his first supreme court nominee was, quote, "disturbing and very troubling. that his opinions, quote, threatened to undo the advances to women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups." that's what the left said about president bush 41's nominee. who was it? david souter. when the republican president
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was ronald reagan, groups on the left also said the record of one of his nominees was "troubling. they even called him a "sexist," and said he, "would be a disaster wore tpeupl" if -- for women if confirmed." the nominee in question, anthony kennedy. and when the republican president was gerald ford, the left said that they had "grave concern with his supreme court nominee and that the record of this nominee revealed an extraordinary lack of sensitivity to the problems women face." they said he was disqualified from being a member
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of the supreme court of the united states because of his consistent opposition to women's rights. who was the nominee they were referring to? john paul stevens. i'm serious. that's what they said about john paul stevens and david souter and anthony kennedy. so we can expect to hear a lot in-times rhetoric from the left. in fact, we already have. the same groups on the left who always seem to say the sky is falling when a republican president puts forward a supreme court nominee are saying it's falling again only this time they are saying it before we even have a nominee. we don't have a nominee yet. now, president trump has a list of about 20 americans who he is considering nominating to the supreme court.
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these men and women have different professional backgrounds, different life experiences. some have distinguished themselves in state courts, others have distinguished themselves in federal court. some are appellate court judges, other are trial court judges, some passed the senate without a single negative vote, others passed the senate without requiring a roll call vote at all on their nomination. the bipartisan support, the years of judicial experience, the impressive credentials -- none of these appear to matter to some on the left. they say things like, "we are prepared to oppose every name on the list." that's right, mr. president. every single name on the list. they've already announce --
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they've already announced opposition to. even more troubling, some senate democrats are saying the same thing. my friend from new york said it's hard for him to imagine a nominee from president obama who senate democrats could -- from president trump who senate democrats could support. we don't even have one yet. i hope we can get past that and get down to our serious work. the election is behind us. the president has been working on a nominee and we expect to announce his decision tomorrow. the senate should respect the result of the election and treat this newly elected president's nominee in the same way that nominees of other newly elected presidents have been treated, and that is with careful consideration followed by an up-or-down vote. we had two nominations in the first term of president clinton,
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beginsburg and brier -- gi nsburg and breyer, we had so the my kwrothe -- sotomayor. we have every right to expect the same -- same courtesy from today's minority when we receive this nomination tomorrow. mr. schumer: mr. president, i rise th-p afternoon, like much -- rise th-p afternoon, like -- this afternoon like much of america, angry and deterred and in opposition to the president's executive order. this executive order was mean
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spirited and un-american. it made us less secure, it put our troops in the field at increased risk, and it was implemented in a way that caused chaos and confusion across the country. it must be reversed immediately. let me give three reasons why. first, it ought to be reversed because it will not make us safer as the president argues, it will make us less safe. the president's executive order targeted seven muslim countries, not one attack has been on u.s. soil from one of these countries. not one. moreover, it could alienate and inflame communities we need most in the fight against terrorism. as my friend john mccain noted. it could increase the number of lone wolves which possess the
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greatest threat of terrorism, both san bernardino and orlando were done by lone wolves. this rule would have nothing to do with that. as my friend john mccain noted, it could increase the small number of lone wolves which pose the greatest attack, threat on terrorism. and as both senator mccain and graham expressed yesterday, this order is a valuable propaganda tool for isis. we saw that happen today. they predicted it yesterday, mccain and graham. it happened today. they want nothing more than to paint the united states as a country at war with all of islam. this order feeds right into the perception isis and other extremists want to create. the bottom line -- the policy will make us less safe, not more safe. second, while there's no way to defend the order, it was poorly constructed and even more poorly
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executed. the order was signed into effect without the consultation of the federal agencies that are responsible for enforcing it -- the department of justice, the department of homeland security or the department of state and possibly others. people across america saw utter chaos and confusion in our airports over the weekend that resulted. the people who were in charge of implementing it weren't even told about it. folks were caught in detention at airports around the country. young children separated from their mothers, husbands from their wives, green card holders and legal residents being denied the right to see an attorney. some folks were pressured into signing away their permanent legal status. we're looking into that right now. it raises serious doubts, mr. president, about the competence, the basic competence of the new administration when such an important order is so poorly vetted and executed, just
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like some of their cabinet nominations. such a far-reaching and impactful executive order should have gotten extreme vetting. instead, it was rushed through without much thought or deliberation. i could not disagree more with the intention behind the order, but the haphazard and completely incompetent way in which it was implemented made matters even worse. third, and most importantly of all, the order should be reversed because it is un-american. we are a nation founded by the descendants of asylum seekers. that has been constantly invigorated and replenished and driven forward by immigrants, many millions of whom came under duress, seeking a new birth of freedom here in america. the ability to find refuge from persecution, whether based on one's religion, race or
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political views, goes to the very foundation of the country, starting with the pilgrims and pilgrim rock. the executive order is antithetical to everybody we're about. president trump wants -- seems to want people to believe that all immigrants are terrorists, are criminals, but when you meet immigrants, you see that they are not the face of terrorism. they are families just like ours. yesterday, i met two. they were at my office. mr. hamin, an iraqi refugee. he worked at a local university department in accomplish literature. and because he loved our country and what we were trying to do, he chose to use his language skills to be a translator for american soldiers in iraq. he worked as a translator for the u.s. army in iraq for ten years. he endured death threats and harassment to himself, to his family. because he was helping us and
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our soldiers. so he began the refugee process about two years ago. he arrived on january 5. if donald trump had been inaugurated on january 1 and enacted his order six weeks sooner, mr. hamid would have had to stay in iraq. his life would have been threatened for cooperating with our military. what kind of message does this send to the untold millions of people just like mr. hamid throughout the muslim world who today will be less likely to work for and with our great country? then i met the elias family. they're a different type. they had four children. they arrived here a month ago. their journey to the united states began five years ago from war-torn syria. after surviving the brutal civil war, suicide bombs had been blowing up in front of their
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house, they were finally united with their family in the bronx. you see, the driving force that brought them here were two american citizens, their grandparents, mr. and mrs. elias came in around 1970. they're model americans, the ee lay ases. i -- the eliases. i enjoyed talking to them. mr. elias started out as a tailor, a skill that we don't have too many of left in america. but then he is an entrepreneur like so many immigrants, and he started a small business. he now refurbishes the interiors of boats, mainly on city island over there in the bronx. i have been there. it's a beautiful place. well, he wanted to bring his people, his kids here and grandchildren because their lives were threatened. they came again a month ago. i met the little boy, a beautiful little boy, a
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red-headed syrian refugee. i said what do you want to be when you grow up? a policeman. i asked the daughter. what do you want to be? a doctor. the elias family and their young children are not a threat to america. they are the promise of america. the same types of people, mr. president, as your ancestors and mine who came here seeking a better life and working so hard for it. it's my guess if president trump met these refugees, mr. hamid and the elias family, he wouldn't be so hardhearted. our country has a grand and proud tradition of welcoming families like these with open arms. america is at her best when she is a safe harbor in a world of stormy seas. so, mr. president, i urge my republican colleagues to help us
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overturn this wrongheaded, counterproductive, dangerous and un-american executive order. so many of you know it's wrong. i understand party loyalty. i do. but what this order does is go against the grain that there are higher values at stake. 11 of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have expressed reservations already. i urge them and others to back up the words with action. let's repeal the order, and then sit down and thoughtfully and carefully construct a better way to keep our country safe from terrorism. president obama toughened up vetting. if there is more vetting that has to be done, we'll be happy to look at it and work with you on it, but not something like this. so at 5:15 today, i'll be asking unanimous consent to call for a vote on a bill offered by my friend from california, senator
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feinstein, the ranking republican -- democrat -- i'm hoping we get republicans -- the ranking democrat on the judiciary committee to overturn the order, and i hope our republican colleagues will join us. mr. president, proponents -- as proponents of this order, we believe it shows strength. sorry. as proponents of this legislation, we believe it shows strength. proponents of the order say it shows strength, but it's not true, it's not true. let me explain why. my name -- my middle name is ellis, charles ellis schumer. i was named after my uncle ellis who was named for ellis island. my daughter's middle name is emma. we named her for the poet emma lazarus, whose timeless words adorn the base of the statue of liberty -- give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
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yearning to breathe free. the statue of liberty is a symbol of our nation. around the world, people recognize it, that mighty beacon that i can see from my home in brooklyn, and they know that we are a nation whose might comes not only from our great military but from our morality. whose leadership, our country's leadership is demonstrated not by projecting a fear of outsiders, but by inspiring them in a hope for a better life here in america. our country is a country whose strength comes from its values, and among them is a commitment to be that golden door that emma lazarus spoke about, a shelter, commitment to shelter the oppressed and the persecuted. and just as we faced down and defeated the threat of communism with our values, a respect for the rule of law, for equality
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under the law, for free markets and free societies, we must face down the twin threats of terrorism and jihadism. not only with military strength, as important as that is, but also with our values, religious freedom, tolerance, decency. our greatest weapon will always be our values. that's what makes us strong. they are a new colossus, as emma lazarus called us over 100 years ago. mr. president, the only way we will lose the war against terrorism is if we lose ourselves and retreat from our values. and not only will this executive order embolden and inspire those around the globe who wish to do us harm, it strikes against the very core of america, our values, our greatest strength.
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we are better than this. so i will fight with every fiber of my being until this executive order is gone. now on another matter, mr. president, on friday, the president reshuffled the national security council to remove permanent postings for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of the national intelligence agency and install a permanent seat for the white house political advisor, steve bannon. it's a disturbing and profound departure from past administrations. on the most sensitive matters of national security, the president should be relying on the informed counsel of members of the military and intelligence agencies, not political advisors who made their careers promoting a white nationalist web site. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is the president's
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primary military advisor and his voice, along with that of the director of national intelligence, and they are the only independent and apolitical voices. president trump's move to strip them of their seats is baffling. it endangers our national security and is contrary to the spirit and intent of the national security act. this morning, general michael hayden -- i couldn't think of a more respected general and intelligence leader. he served bipartisan, clinton, bush, obama administrations. said that the move -- this is his words, not mine. general hayden -- quote -- "puts ideology at the center over the professional kind of information that the d.n.i. and the chairman of the joint chiefs bring to the party. that's a deeply disturbing thought. it reinforces this administration's preference to propagate its own reality. rather than grapple with the
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facts on the ground, and if that continues, america's going to have real trouble. it's one thing when it comes over a dustup about the size of the inauguration crowd. it's an entirely different story when it's the most sensitive activities undertaken by our nation's government. mr. president, much like the muslim ban, this decision was poorly thought out and ill-conceived. it puts a filter on the information going to the president and like the executive order makes us less safe. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:00 p.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president?
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i ask unanimous consent that my ten minutes be extended to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, we -- we are introducing today a c.r.a. that's kind of interesting. this is something that has only been successful one time, but i think that everyone knows that during the past eight years, the obama administration, we've seen thousands, literally thousands of regulations that have come through that have been antibusiness, many of them anticertain businesses, such as the oil and gas industry. there is no secret to the fact that we have had a president in president obama who has had a war on fossil fuels, and that's something that's -- it's kind of interesting to me when i go back to my state of oklahoma. and one reason i go back all the time is because i want to be around real rational people. sometimes i get the feeling that there really aren't any around here. they will ask you a question, they will say tell me, explain
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this to me. if we have here in the united states of america, in order to generate power, 89% of the power that we're generating is either fossil fuels -- that's coal, oil or gas, or it's nuclear. now, if you do away with that and you do away with 89% of our generation capability, then how do you run the machine called america? and the answer is you can't, but you don't get that question here, and i'm sure that -- that most of us that go back, it's not just confined to oklahoma with people of that kind of a concern. i chair the environmental public works committee during the eight years, during the time that president obama was in. and most of the regulations actually were associated with that committee. many of the committees out there had regulations associated with those committees by not near as many as environment and public works. to give you an example, if you ask anyone with the american
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farm bureau or anyone who deals with farmers and ranchers, the number one problem that they have, they'll tell you it's nothing that's found on the ag bill. it is the overregulations of the e.p.a. just as an example. of course, the environment and public works committee is the committee that has the jurisdiction over the e.p.a., at least we're supposed to. during that time when the wotus came through, that is the water regulation, it has historically always been the state's jurisdiction to handles the water issues and not the federal government with the exception of navigable water and i think we all understand that. in fact, there have been several liberal members of the house and the senate that have tried to pass legislation to take that word "navigable" out and every time we have defeated them. in fact the last two that tried to do that, they were defeated at the polls. so this is something that really is significant. we know in our state of oklahoma -- i shouldn't say we know.
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our farmers know -- that if you put them in charge of the water regulation, in the western part of oklahoma which i is an arid part of the state, it would end up being wetlands by the time the federal government -- anyway, that's a major concern that they had. another one the clean power plan. the clean power plan was the plan of president obama. we all know how that came about. we know that way back in 1972 i was one of the bad guys who told the truth about what they're referring to, global warming, the word was coming to an end. so even though a lot of the members of this body didn't join in and agree with me every time without exception that they came up with a bill that would do something, we have the cap and trade bill for example, we defeated the bill. defeated by a larger margin as time went by. when president obama came in, he did with that as he did with a
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lot of issues. if you can't pass something and kill something or get something passed through legislation, then you try to do it through regulation. that's what he did. he called it the clean power plan. the same thing that's been rejected. of course that's another rule. i only bring out those because those are typical overregulations to put people out of business that actually came through my committee. however, i'm here to introduce this morning senate joint resolution 9, and this is something that did not come through my committee. this came through -- this was the provision that is in the dodd-frank bill. now, anyone going back to your states and you're talking to bankers or anyone in the financial industry and you talk about the dodd-frank bill, that's overregulation, the same as overregulation takes place on many of the issues that came
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before my committee. well, this thing has a section in it, the dodd-frank bill, section 1504, section 1504 of the bill requires the s.e.c., the securities and exchange commission, to develop a rule -- require, them to develop a rule that requires companies to report payments made to a foreign government or to the u.s. federal government relating to the commercial development of oil, natural gas, and minerals. now, that's a requirement. that's saying that -- and that is not found in our committee. that was found in the committee that handled the dodd-frank bill. and while that may not sound all that significant, it strikes at the heart of american competitiveness. it makes public our best companies, the information of our very best companies on how
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to win oil and gas deals so it requires companies to disclose and make public highly confidential and sensitive information. and this is information that foreign competitors don't have. now, they're not required to have it, but under this regulation, we would be required to have it. now, that means that we would have to disclose all of the background, all of the information that a company had on how they are competing to compete for some kind of an oil, gas thing. it could be with another country like iran. it could be with individuals over there that are not friendly to the united states. now, countries that don't wish to disclose the details of their commercial deals would now have a strong incentive to go with companies in countries that don't have that burdensome requirement. that's only natural. to make matters worse, the s.e.c.'s rule lacks an exemption
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for circumstances which disclosure under section 1504 would violate the laws of a country where the united states company is operating. so it leaves the united states' companies with the choice of complying with the u.s. laws or the foreign laws of other countries. and that's an impossible position to put our companies in. now, if that weren't enough, the cost of complying with this regulation is enormous. keep in mind the ones that are going to have to comply are american companies here in this country that their competition doesn't have to pay. we're talking about millions of dollars. in fact the s.e.c. came up with an estimate that the total compliance cost initially, this is the initial cost, would be up to $700 million. then afterwards the ongoing compliance cost would be as much as $581 million annually. again, those are our companies and our competition would not have to do that.
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now, the courts have already struck this rule down when it was officials developed in august 2012. the d.c. federal district court struck down the rule in 2013 because of two substantial errors, specifically the commission had misread section 1504 to mandate public disclosure of the reports and had arbitrarily declined to provide an exemption for countries that prohibit disclosure. the new rule finalized in june of 2016 doesn't look any different. it's the same thing, even though the s.e.c. was told by the courts that the rule did not affect congressional intent, they continued to put out a new rule that had the exact same problems as the one the court had vacated. it's the same rule as if the obama administration was rushing this rule out in hopes that they wouldn't have time or the opportunity for a court or congress to overturn it.
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but here we are in the process of overturning it. last week president trump issued an executive order to reduce the regulatory impact on american businesses. with this c.r.a., we have an opportunity to effectively participate in that. our focus should always be america first. as the congress always looked to protect the competitiveness of the american companies, they should not be subjecting their own citizens to lawsuits and that's exactly what this would do. by the way, we're going to get a lot of c.r.a. efforts coming fort. i think it's important for people to understand what that is. the c.r.a. is a congressional review act. a c.r.a. -- there are a lot of people, liberal people like to have the power concentrated in washington, like the wotus, the water rule. they would rather have it under the jurisdiction of the federal government instead of the state governments fl that's human nature.
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that's something not up for debate. everyone knows that. what we have tried to do it and individuals who are trying to controversialize power in washington, they'll go home and when they hear the complaints of all the people out in their states complaining about the overregulations of our society, their response, that's not us. that's some unelected bureaucrat. what a c.r.a. does is force the members of the senate and the members of the house of representatives, those who are accountable to the people, to take a position so that they can't go home and say no, this is just the regulators -- well, that's kind of interesting because it puts you in a position where we pass a c.r.a. which we're going to pass this c.r.a. which is joint resolution number 9. then this will come before this body and people have to say yes or no, should we do away with this rule that everyone back home is opposed to.
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and so it forces them to be honest. i think this is one of the c.r.a.'s that many democrats should be sponsoring and voting for, and i wouldn't be surprised we should be able to get some -- just one last thing to outline what this is about. there's one section in the dodd-frank bill, one section called 1504. in this section they put a requirement on companies that are competing for oil and gas deals throughout the world, that they're going to have to have their -- they're going to have to tell their competition what goes into their bid, how they're putting this thing together, and the other side didn't have to do that. that's what it's all about and that's what it is. so i do look forward to the opportunity to bring this in as soon as we get our initial 30 on here. you'll see this and have an opportunity to support this
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first c.r.a. that i'm very excited about. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. a senator: thank you. i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: thank you, mr.
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president. in just a few weeks our great country will mark the 75th anniversary of president roosevelt's executive order authorizing the internment of hundreds of thousands of japanese, german and italian americans during world war ii. they were rounded up with their families and held behind barbed wire like war criminals. but they had done nothing wrong. their crime? being japanese, being german, being italian. they were labeled enemy aliens. mark twain reportedly said that history doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme. and this seems to be the path that the president has pursued with his muslim ban. this ban has already harmed green card holders, students, business people, and those fleeing violence and persecuti persecution. remember, these are the people fleeing the violence, not the
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perpetrators of the violence. they are the victims, not the criminals. they have been pulled from their flights, left sphrandzed in the -- left stranded in the airports. they have been detainedded without the ability -- detained without the ability to talk with a lawyer. they're wondering if the united states of america is still the beacon of hope, the lamp by the golden door, the shining city on the hill. iraqis who risk their lives to serve our country as translators saw their visas revoked. an 11-month-old baby was detai detained. that's disgusting. it's un-american. it's contrary to everything that we stand for. we stand for providing refuge for those who want to escape their own awful circumstances and live in freedom and opportunity. it's my grandparents escaping ukraine. it's my wife's grandparents leaving china.
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it's the binders, it's th albert einstein. it's madeleine albright. this is who we are. we are people from all over the world who are united not by our ethnic extraction or religious affiliation, but tied together by our love for america. and here's the thing. it's not even as though we are trading liberty for security. we are getting no additional security. this is all about being cruel to muslims because it's good politics for some people. this isn't morley wrong. -- morally wrong. it's also guaranteed not to work. this ban is just ridiculous as a homeland security measure. first, zero people from the countries on the banned list have been involved in terrorist attacks in america. zero people from the countries on the ban list have been involved in terrorist attacks on america. it's almost as though the
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criteria for picking the countries is something other than the threat of terrorism. second, this ban has the poe teption to strengthen violent extremist groups by playing right into their hands. it encourages everyone to be afraid of people we don't know from other places. that's not america, and it won't work. when president gerald ford repealed the executive order internininterning japanese-amere asked citizens across the country d to make a pledge. "i call upon the me american people to affirm with me this american promise: that we have learned from the tragedy of that long-ago experience forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual american and resolve that this kind of action shall never again be repeated." that promise is being broken. it's broken for the american who came to this country as a lost
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boy from sudan and who now can't see his family. it's broken for the american married to an iranian who the government is splitting from her husband. and it's broken for the millions of americans, the majority of us, who want us always to have the moral high ground. the world is watching. history is watching. and we have to ask ourselves, what will they see in do they see lady liberty? or do they see something darker? the choice is ours. we can fix this. and we start by following the wise words of fred korematsu, an outspoken voice against japanese internment, an american hero whose birthday is today -- 98 years old. he said "protest but not with violence and don't be afraid to speak up." today i call on every member of the united states senate to
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follow mr. korematsu's advice. speak up and stand against this ban and fight pai paranoia as official government policy. i yield the floor. i suggest 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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the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you madam president, i ask that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. capito --. mrs. capito: the mine safety and health administration has estimated that at least 60,000
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coal jobs have been lost since 2011 and thousands of these jobs have been in my home state of west virginia. excessive government regulation and other factors have done more than cost jobs. these policies have imperiled our coal miner retirement benefits and they have left local governments struggling to keep up. to pay for education, to pay for public works and law enforcement. i can tell you story after story i've seen in our newspapers about this very thing. in october the senate environment and public works committee heard testimony from wayne county west virginia commissioner robert paisley. he said that the coal severance tax revenues in west virginia wayne county and west virginia in his county had dropped by 88% between 2013 and 2016. this drop left the county without a vital funding source that traditionally helped to pay for local volunteer fire departments, senior citizen programs and education.
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west virginia university economist john deskins told the senate energy and natural resources committee in august that six wmbgget -- west virginia counties were suffering a depression because of the coal downturn. last week the state of west virginia projected its annual state budget faces a $500 million shortfall. so what was the response of president obama's administration in the last days in power? yet another job-killing and anticoal regulation that would make a bad situation in my state worse. the department of the interior published its extreme protection rule on december 20, 2016, and it made the rule effective january 19, 2017, just one day before president obama left office. there's a lot of irony here and i don't think it's by chance. according to a national mining study, one-third of coal jobs could be placed -- one-third of
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remaining coal jobs could be placed at risk by this rule. and today i'm proud to introducn leader mcconnell as he introduces the extreme protection congressional review act. we're also joined by my colleagues in the west virginia congressional delegation, including congressman david mckinley and congressman evan jenkins and others. we'll be introducing a congressional briewmbl -- disapproval. once this resolution of disapproval is passed by congress and i believe it will be and signed by president trump, which i believe it will be, the extreme protection rule will be nullified and the department of interior will be prohibited from proposing a similar rule without permission from this congress. the extreme protection rule deserves to be eliminated through the congressional review act. despite its title you might say why would you get rid of
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something called the protection rule? despite its title, this rule will do little to actually protect our streams. but if left in place, this rule would cost even more coal jobs in my state and across the country that have already been devastated. west virginia's department of environment protection secretary randy hoffman told the senate energy and natural resources committee on which i served this last congress that the proposed version of the stream protection rule was -- quote -- "an unnecessary and uncalled for political gesture." i would like to say that secretary hoffman -- huff man was serving under a democratic governor in my state. the rule excluded state officials. of the ten states that began the regulatory process. people were asked to join together to begin this process working with the department of interior's office of surface mining, eight of those states eventually removed themselves from the process because of the
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department's unwillingness to actually seriously consider their input. in other words, they were just there for window dressing. ohio chief of mineral resources management larry erdos told the environment and public works committee last february that -- quote -- "o.s.m. has not provided for thought, for meaningful participation with the cooperating or commenting agency states." congress took action to instruct the department of interior to reengage with the states, realizing what was happening here, before moving forward with this rule making process. however, despite this direction from lawmakers in the congress, the department failed to address the state concerns. wiement -- wyoming director of environmental policy said the failure to engage agencies throughout the process is reflected in the poor quality of the proposed rule. he called on the office of surface mining to withdraw the rule and reengage with states
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and other stakeholders. last week west virginia's newly appointed secretary of environmental protection, again under a new democratic governor, austin caperton wrote to congressional leaders detailing our state's concerns with the stream protection rule. the scare gave three main reasons for west virginia's opposition to this rule. first, he said that the rule upsets the statutory balance between environmental protection and allowing coal mining to take place in the first place. second, the rule conflicts with the congressionally directive role of the states to the exclusive regulators of mining activities. and, third, the rule conflicts with the federal clean water act and state water quality standards. pretty broad-ranging concerns. the concerns from environmental regulators in mining states across the country explain why 14 states, including the state of west virginia, have already
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filed lawsuits to stop the stream protection rule. 15 state attorneys general led by west virginia's attorney general patrick morsi have written to congress asking that this rule be blocked through this congressional review act. state environmental regulators are not alone in their option to this rule. cecil roberts, president of the united mine workers of america, wrote just last week in support of this resolution of disapproval. he said that -- quote -- "the last thing america's coal-producing regions need at this time is another regulation that will have the effect of reducing employment even more and further stifling economic development." end quote. west virginia cannot afford another job-killing regulation that once again inserts washington, their one-size-fits-all standard into a regulatory process that is supposed to be effectively managed, and is effectively managed by our state agencies.
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the stream protection rule is a flawed policy that was born out of a flawed process. the rule deserves to be eliminated promptly, and i encourage my colleagues to cosponsor the mcconnell-capito resolution of disapproval and to vote to block the rule in the coming days. on another matter, madam president, the environmental protection agency which bears most of the blame for regulations targeting energy jobs is in dire need of a change of direction. the e.p.a., under the obama administration, was unwilling to engage the people of west virginia in public listening sessions or hearings about decisions that directly impacted our state's economies. and i have described what the result of that has been. this failure to effectively engage resulted in a number of job-killing regulations like the utility rule for power plants, so called clean power plan and the waters of the u.s. as you know, madam president, the waters of the u.s. rule is
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something that impacts not just mining, agriculture, construction and really has far-reaching implications. scott pruitt, who is president trump's nominee to become the e.p.a. administrator, has gone through a thorough review process by the environment and public works committee. at attorney general pruitt's confirmation senators were permitted to engage in as many as four rounds of questioning. some of them were pretty tough. after the hear attorney general pruitt answered 1,078 questions for the record. combining both the hearing and the follow-up questions, attorney general pruitt answered more than 1,200 questions from our committees. through the process, attorney general pruitt has shown himself to be a person who cares about applying our environmental laws as they were written and intended by congress. he has a strong record of enforcing environmental statutes
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in a balanced way and ensuring clean air and clean water without unnecessarily sacrificing jobs or economic growth. attorney general pruitt has been clear that he will work with state regulators and those who will be heavily impacted by the e.p.a.'s regulations. i believe attorney general pruitt will keep his word and keep in mind manufacturers and farmers and, indeed, for all of our communities that are struggling with the effects of overregulation. i look forward to supporting attorney general pruitt, his nomination in the e.p.w. committee will be coming before the committee on wednesday morning. i look forward to seeing him confirmed on the senate floor soon. with that, madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i ask unanimous consent to speak for 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: the resolution of disapproval that happen i'm introducing today via the congressional review act repeals a social security regulation that unfairly stigmatizes people
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with disabilities. it also violates the fundamental nature of the second amendment. the second amendment recognizes the god-given right to self-defense. in order to take away that right, the government must have a compelling interest. furthermore, the law of regulation to achieve that compelling interest must be narrowly tailored. in other words, the government better have one heck of a good reason for going against the second amendment. the justice department, the department of veterans' affairs, and the social security administration have not protected second-amendment
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rights adequately under the previous administration. our fundamental second-amendment rights were constantly under attack. for example, runs of thousands of veterans have been reported to the national instant criminal background check system without due process. and, of course, that system amounts to a national gun-ban list for those reported aoe rwandanerroneously.veterans werd without having a neutral authority finding a danger to themselves or others and thus have a legitimate right to deny them their second-amendment rights. according to the government, the
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veterans needed a fiduciary to manage. that is not sufficient under the law. needing help with your finances -- simply needing that help -- should not mean you have surrendered your fundamental right of self-defense, and it doesn't mean that you're a danger to the public. on may 17, 2016, senator durbin and i debated my amendment that would require the department of veterans' affairs to first find veterans to be a danger before reporting their name to the gun-ban list. during the debate, -- during the course of that debate, senator durbin admitted that the list broader than it should have been the senator durbin said, quote,
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"let me concede at the outset, reporting 174,000 names goes too far, but eliminating 174 names goes too far." now, for the record, that's -- that's the end of senator durbin's quote. for the record, it was 260,381 names from the veterans administration that has sent the gwynn-ban list for -- gun-ban list for allegedly being -- that was 98 and aeu 988 -- the veter' administration reported more names by far than any other agency. senator durbin's staff and mine have met over these issues since
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that debate. i appreciate and thank senator durbin for that outreach and i want to work together with him to solve these problems for the v.a., but now the social security administration is about -- is about to make the same mistake as the veterans' administration. now, that is unless we stop them right here and right now with that resolution of disapproval. and if we don't stop this, it could lead to hundreds of thousands of social security recipients being improperly reported to the gun-ban list. at its core, social security's new regulation allows the agency to report people to the gun-ban list if -- under two
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circumstances. first, the beneficiary needs to have someone designated to help manage benefit payments. sounds like the v.a., right? and, two, the beneficiary has an affliction based on a broad, quote, unquote, "disorder list. but the process for designating someone to help a recipient manage social security benefits is not a process that is very objective. but the process for designating someone to help a recipient manage their social security benefit should be objective. the former social security administrator inspector general said the following last year in testimony about this process that offends us here in the senate for the reason of this resolution -- quote, "it's not a
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scientific decision. it's more of a personal opinio opinion." end of quote. the personal opinion of a bureaucrat, then, cannot be the basis for taking away a person's fundamental second-amendment right to bear arms. further, the second elementing, -- element -- the so-called disorder list -- is a convoluted mess of afflictions that may or may not have someone considered dangerous. many of the listed disorders do not impact gun safety at all. for example, some afflictions deal with anxiety disorders, fear of large crowds, or a lack of self-esteem. the list is complex, the list is long, and the list is not
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designed to regulate first time. rather, the list is designed to regulate whether's person can manage his or her benefit -- beneficiary payments. in other words, can they handle money? but here's the essential question that the federal government is incapable of answering -- if they aren't dangerous, why does the social security administration, like the v.a., want to take away their guns? the national council on disability, a nonpartisan and independent federal agency, has come out against the social security administration's rule and in favor of the appeal that the resolution of disapproval will accomplish. the council has repeatedly stated its concerns about the agency failing to determine that
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people are dangerous before reporting their names to the gun ban list. it has been the council on disabilities', quote, "long-held position that restrictions on gun possession and ownership based on psychiatric or intellectual disability must be based on a verifiable concern as to whether the individual poses a heightened risk of danger to themselves or others." end of quote. the council has also stated that the rule, quote, "unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right. it increases the stigma to those, because of their disability, need a
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representative payee." end of quote. another organization, consortium of individuals with disabilities -- and that's a coalition of 1 hun national disability -- 100 national disability group is concerned about this. quote, the current public dialogue is replete with inaccurate stereotyping of people with mental disabilities as violent and dangerous and there is a real concern that the kind of policy change encompassed by this rule will reinforce those unfounded assumptions. end of quote. with that being said, even the aclu wrote a letter in opposition to the agency's regulations. madam president, i'd like to enter these letters in the
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record as well as other letters from disability groups at the end of my statement. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: simply stated, the agency rule uses a massive regulatory net that captures innocent individuals who should be left alone. just because a person is assigned a fiduciary does not make that person -- or those persons -- dangerous. whenever the government tries to eliminate fundamental constitutional rights, it is required to narrowly tailor its regulatory actions so that innocent people are not impacted. the social security regulation fails in that regard. that is why both the national council on disability and consortium of citizens with
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disabilities have called specifically for using this congressional review act to repeal the final rule, and that's what our introduction of resolution will accomplish. constitutional due process is holy loc lacking. for example, the agency does not have a beneficiary before his or her name is reported to the gun ban list. think about that. the second amendment, which recognizes a fundamental constitutional right -- right is being simply ripped away without -- without a formal dispute process to initially challenge the action. instead, the beneficiary must wait until their name is already on the gun ban list, and only then can the beneficiary appeal
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the decision by grace of the government. now, this process effectively reverses what should be a burden on the government. the government should not be able to strip a fundamental constitutional right without due process and then place the burden on the citizen to -- to try to restore it. a hearing should be afforded before the infringement of a fundamental right, not afterwards. and the burden must be on the government to prove its case. now, that simply is the american way. our constitution's way. the social security administration regulation falsely claims that it requires an adjudication before reporting names to the gun ban list.
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but there is no hearing afforded to the social security recipient before placing a name on the gun ban list, and of course without a hearing, that process cannot honestly be called an adjudication. in other words, the social security administration is blowing blue smoke when they say that. and without an adjudication, the process violates federal law. now, here's the kicker. in order for beneficiaries to remove their names from the gun ban list, they have to prove that they are not dangerous. so guilty until proven innocent, and the burden is on you to -- to prove your innocence. any way you look at it, that is totally unfair.
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violation of the constitution but common sense ought to tell everybody it's just plain wrong. the federal government under the obama administration treated social security recipients with contempt and disregard when this rule was put out, so with our resolution of disapproval, we can effectively terminate this unconstitutional government regulation which the new trump administration supports. i encourage all of my colleagues to support our efforts. i yield the floor and suggest 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 maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, shortly, we are going to be taking up the motion to proceed with the cloture motion in regards to the confirmation process of mr. tillerson to be the secretary of state for our country. i had the opportunity as the ranking democrat on the senate foreign relations committee to meet with mr. tillerson, have a chance to talk with him concerning his vision for america. i participated in a lengthy committee hearing where not only i had the chance to ask him questions but every member of the committee had a chance to ask questions, and then had the opportunity to present questions for the record and look at his responses to questions for the record. and i would say at the outset of this debate before the united
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states senate that mr. tillerson's a successful businessperson. i am certain that he has great negotiating skills, as he's shown as the c.e.o. of exxonmobil, and i think that's an important ability to have if he were confirmed as secretary of state. i do think he wants to serve our nation, and he has put forward his ability to serve as secretary of state for the right reasons. however, i have serious reservations as a result of this process, this confirmation process that leads me to the conclusion that i cannot support his nomination, and i will be voting against his nomination, and i wanted to at least start this debate by giving some of the reasons why i will not be supporting mr. tillerson to be the secretary of state. mr. tillerson's business orientation and his lack of moral clarity to questions that were asked during the confirmation hearing to me
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compromises his ability to forcefully promote the values and ideals that defined america's leading role in the world for more than 200 years. and when i'm referring to the values, the values of good governance, the values of standing up for human rights, the values of speaking up for a free press, the values of recognizing the importance of civil societies, which is lacking in so many places around the world. so when mr. tillerson was asked the question as to how he would characterize what russia is doing in syria in supporting a regime that has attacked humanitarian convoys, whether that would be -- should be considered as war crimes, mr. tillerson was less than clear as to how he would characterize russia's conduct in syria. when i asked mr. tillerson how he would characterize philippine
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president derte's extra judicial killings, this is a president that has authorized individuals to be killed on sight without judicial process, which has been well documented, whether that was a gross violation of human rights, mr. tillerson was less than clear as to whether that, in fact, would elevate to serious human rights violation. and when i asked the question whether under any circumstances we could have a national registry for any group of religious or ethnic minorities in america, his answer was not as clear as i would have hoped it to be. the answer should have been a simple no, but he did not give that answer in that moral clarity. so for all those reasons, i have serious concern as to whether he will speak with strong voice on american values or whether that will be compromised for narrow
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business interests or for other considerations that should not take priority to the values that have made america the great nation it is. and, madam president, i was concerned about this before what's happened in recent days, but when i take a look at president trump's first ten days in office and i look at the executive orders that he has issued as president of the united states, it's even more critical that the next secretary of state speak with moral clarity as to the values of america. the gag order that was reimposed by president trump, it wasn't the same gag order that other administrations have imposed. it is far broader and could prevent u.s. participation with health workers around the world to stop the spread of hiv-aids or to deal with the zika virus or to deal with issues
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concerning global health issues, maternal health. that -- i want someone as secretary of state to say that america stands for providing the leadership that we need on global health issues. or more recently when president trump announced his mexican policy, that it would build a wall, not only asked the taxpayers to pay for it once but to pay for it twice, to build a wall which almost anyone will tell you won't work. we do have tunnels that we already know can go under walls. it will be expensive. but he's also asking americans to pay for it twice because he's going to impose a tariff -- at least that's under consideratiot middle-class families will end up paying, starting a trade war with mexico. and why, why would you start this? mexico's working with us to stop illegal immigration, they're working with us to stop the illegal trafficking of drugs,
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they're working with us to build a regional economy that benefits both countries. why would we pick a fight with our neighbor? it makes no sense whatsoever. but, madam president, the last thing that was done over this weekend points out even more clearly why we need a secretary of state who will speak with moral clarity, and that was this outrageous, reckless and dangerous executive order that would ban certain individuals from coming to america. it would put a hold on our refugee program and would establish a religious test for people coming to america, a muslim ban. that's not what america stands for. i believe that executive order is illegal. i know that that executive order will put americans at risk. i would like to know from our secretary of state how he, if he is confirmed, would respond when
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other countries say why should we help you when you won't allow muslim countries the right to visit your country? why should we give you that information? how will americans who are traveling abroad be treated? it puts all of it at risk. and our next secretary of state has to have that credibility to deal with other countries with moral clarity. time and time again when confronted with questions, mr. tillerson was not clear. let me just give you one example that i think may sum up my concern on his moral clarity issues, and that's with russia. we had asked several times whether he would support the existing sanctions, whether he would support stronger sanctions. after all, the sanctions were put on because russia invaded ukraine. they're still there. they're still in crimea, they are still interfering with eastern ukraine. and unless they comply with the
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minsk agreement, our european allies are looking for america to say no way would we ever weaken our sanctions as long as russia's violating its commitment in ukraine. but since then, they've done other things. i already mentioned the war crimes that they're committing in syria, but they also attacked america. they attacked us through cyber, trying to bring down our democratic system of government, free elections. i would certainly have hoped that mr. tillerson would have shown some compassion for increasing sanctions against russia, but instead, we asked him a question about cuba, and mr. tillerson was very clear when he's talked about cuba. he said look, if we do business with cuba, we're allowing a repressive regime to have greater resources. why would we want to support a repressive regime? but mr. tillerson didn't show the same concern about russia. he has no compulsion at all
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about doing business with russia, even though that business is allowing the putin repressive regime to carry out their activities of attacks against our allies, attacks against us, interfere with what's going on in syria. and to do all the other activities that they're doing. i would hope we would have seen a greater sense of moral clarity from our secretary of state nominee. madam president, there are other issues that i am concerned about. i know tomorrow we'll have a chance to talk about it when -- if this issue is still on the floor tomorrow as i expect it will be. we'll have a chance to talk about issues about his i think quick use of military power versus diplomacy. we asked him several times about external events and how he would respond to that. his answer was too quick about using our military and not quick
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enough about using our diplomacy. the use of military must be a matter of last resort. i want to make sure that our next secretary of state is very sensitive to that particular issue. and then we get to the concern about the ethical issues. i need to mention this because when we asked him questions about his knowledge of exxonmobil, he was less than forthcoming to the committee, not aware of exxonmobil's lobbying on certain issues, very unclear about how its activities were in syria, iran and other countries that have horrible human rights records, and his willingness to recuse himself from anything affecting exxon for one year, not for the entire length of term that he would be secretary of state if confirmed by the senate. he should not deal with
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exxonmobil for the entire length of his time as secretary of state, as a person who has substantial wealth as a result of his working at exxonmobil. none of us criticize him on that but it disqualifies him from dealing with exxonmobil. so, madam president, we're going to be involved in a lengthy debate on the next secretary of state, as we should, but i just wanted to share with my colleagues my concern about mr. tillerson and why i'm opposing his nomination and just indicate that i think the events, particularly in the last -- over the weekend with this immigration policy really points out the need for the next secretary of state to be willing to stand strong for american values and i have serious questions in that regard on mr. tillerson. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. mr. corker: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i'm pleased to rise in support of the confirmation of rex tillerson to serve as our
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next secretary of state. the proceedings in the foreign relations committee for his nomination were fair, exhaustive, and in the best tradition, of our committee and the senate. mr. tillerson completed all of his required paperwork expeditiously, having met or exceeded the pace that by former secretary hillary clinton after she was nominated in 2008. he testified at a public hearing for more than eight hours and afterwards responded to over a thousand adivisional -- additional questions for the record for committee members. opinions on mr. tillerson may differ but there's no question that the committee and the senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility in carefully reviewing his nomination. as we proceed in ensuring the new administration has leaders it needs to implement our nation's foreign policy going forward, i have great confidence
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that rex tillerson will serve the united states well. in both my private meetings with him and in the hours of public testimony, he offered before the foreign relations committee, it has become clear that he will be an effective leader at the state department. mr. tillerson has led an exemplary and honorable life. he has been at the same company for over 40 years, an eagle scout. he has served as national president of the boy scouts of america. furthermore, the nonpartisan director of office of government ethics recently stated that mr. tillerson is making a clean break from exxon and is even going so far to say that tillerson's ethics agreement serves as a sterling model for what we like to see with other nominees. having managed one of the world's largest companies by revenue with over 75,000 employees, there's no doubt in my mind that rex tillerson is
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well qualified to lead the state department. i encourage all of my colleagues to support his confirmation and look forward to his service as our next secretary of state. madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, president trump issued an executive order banning muslims from seven countries. none of those countries was a source of ter -- terrorists who carried out attacks in this country. that order was un-american, arbitrary, is inhumane and actually will likely spur an increase in violence targeting americans. i'll have a lot more to say about it but i see other
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reckless acts by the white house in the days and weeks ahead. in the meantime, let me just say a few words about the desire back and forth between the trump administration and the news media regarding attendance at the inauguration, who's telling the truth, who's not. one might thing with all happening in the country and the world, the rush by the president to sign executive orders that would dramatically affect the rights and priorities of millions of americans that the question about how many people were at the inauguration wouldn't generate much controversy. but it turns out this is much more than that. it goes to the heart, the role of a free press in this country. and whether the american people can have confidence the president is telling the truth. now, we already knew the candidate, now


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