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tv   U.S. Senate 12142017  CSPAN  December 14, 2017 11:59am-2:00pm EST

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man -- social security, medicare, medicaid and other vital programs in order to pay our bills. we know this is the road that this bill sets us up upon and the american people certainly see this coming so let no one who votes for this bill say that they did not know the consequences of their actions. this will not be remembered as tax reform but rather as a serious mistake to be corrected in the future. how do middle-class americans know that republicans did not write this bill for them? because they have watched republican economics rig the tax system in favor of the wealthy and corporations for years. even as income and wealth inequality have reached historical levels, they took the republicans at their word when republicans promised that the bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 which skewed tax relief for the top 1% over the bottom 20% of
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americans by more than 6-1 would eventually trickle down. that's what they -- trickle down. that's what they thought. even on the eve of the great recession after income tax -- after tax income to the richest 1% had soared while middle-class wages continue to stagnate, we are still waiting for the bush tax cuts to trickle down and to pay for themselves and they likely never will. these republican proposals make matters even worse by financing tax giveaways to big businesses and the rich on the backs of people trying to get by. economists relying on the federal survey of consumer finances recently determined that the top 1% of american households now hold about 40% of the nation's wealth, which is a 50-year high. this legislation overwhelmingly benefits them while raising taxes on 48% of american taxpayers by 2027. many of the families whose taxes will go up have already been
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through tough economic times during the great recession. productivity in the american workforce has been declining and wages have grown at an even slower pace than that. these families don't need numbers from the bureau of labor statistics to know that our nation's recovery was historically slow, but our middle class weathered the great recession as americans have always done. now, because of the lopsidedness and deficit-busting features of the republican tax bill, moody's analytics has warned that, in their words, this legislation is a fiscal policy mistake. and it could very well take us prematurely into an economic bust. middle-class families just emerged from the last crisis of republican economics still battered and bruised and they know if republicans force a plan like this on the nation again, it will be the children who are on the hook to pay for it. make no mistake, there are times when running a deficit is
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advisable or even economically necessary, particularly when times are tough and families need help to stay in the working class and get back on their feet. but regressive tax cuts just sit on our credit card with little to show for all that red ink, and the tab we are leaving the next generation is still running from 16 yearsing a. like many of my colleagues, i was here to take the tough votes and make the hard choices that led to the clinton-era surplus. the failed experiment turned that surplus into a deficit of over $10 trillion over the next decade. and even if we accept all the rosy assumptions of dynamic scoring and take it on faith yet again that wealth will trickle down and no recession will come in the next decade, all of which are assumptions on which i would wager anything the joint committee on taxation calculates that this bill will still increase the deficit by over $1 trillion.
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facts do not go away simply because we ignore them. if republicans continue to ignore the budget hole that their policies create, the fact of this massive deficit and the budget pressure that follow it will be their legacy for future generations. more importantly, however, i must ask what our national priorities will our colleagues on the other side deem too expensive after we have given a trillion more borrowed dollars to the wealthy? what choices will republicans try to force on the american people when they decide there isn't enough for the armed forces, jobless, sick and deadlier? the republican leadership is already vowing to take up entitlement reform next year, washington giving the top 1% everything they want and forcing practically everyone else to lose, losing their social security and medicare and medicaid.
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before republicans blow up the federal budget again it is worth reviewing the massive costs americans are already committed to pay. first, as i've discussed before, this bill essentially guarantees that we'll sphrug gel to meet the -- struggle to meet the needs of our national defense. our war deficits in the past are projected to add over $1 trillion to the national debt by 2023 and over $8 trillion by 2056. we all know we must modernize the nuclear triad which will cost $11.2 trillion over the next 30 years. excuse me, 355 ship navy would cost on average $102 billion per year through 2047. necessary additions to the end strength of the army, air force, army and marine corps will cost an additional $8 billion and $3.6 billion respectively. where will this money come from since we've already given it away to the wealthiest
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americans? this chart shows what happens to the defense budget when large-scale tax reductions are put in effect. starting in the reagan era, in the 1980's, president reagan, one of his first initiatives was to build up defense. this chart shows the percentage of g.d.p. devoted to defense spending. president reagan came up to make america strong, to actualize his feeling and his view of peace through strength. he built up the defense department budget significantly going from a little over 5% when he took office up to almost 7%. but in the mid-1980's, he also engineered tax cuts that lowered taxes on the wealthy in proportion to lower-income americans and eventually the tax
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cuts and deficit caught up to the spending. in the late 1980's to all the way into the 1990's, we had is except for one respite a declining defense budget. in the first year of the george herbert walker bush administration there was again another attempt to increase defense spending, so the line went up a bit. but after that of course with deficits increasing, with other pressures mounting on the budget, defense spending plummeted. then within the clinton administration, there was a conscious effort to reduce defense spending through so-called cold war peace dividend. that took place. at the same time, though, we were, because of the tough votes on tax reform that we took, building up a significant surplus. and you saw again here, with the beginning of the george w. bush administration, an increase in defense spending. once again that was a product of, one, the desire of the
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president to lower taxes, which he did. but, two, and more importantly, was the unexpected and catastrophic attack on the united states in 2001. that together with later decisions to go into iraq, to maintain our presence in afghanistan, led us to increase defense spending. but once again, once again a growing deficit with tax cuts, with no increase to pay for wartime operations, saw the defense budget peak and then begin to decline. and we're in that decline right now. and i think if history is any judge, when we pass these tax cuts, we will see further decline as defense spending is squeezed by an already acknowledged increased deficit. and by the difficulty to cut other programs.
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so we are not positioning ourselves well. and as i previously mentioned, we are already looking ahead at necessary expenditures totaling trillions of dollars over the future that if we don't make will leave our armed forces in a very, very precarious position. and our position in the world is a very precarious position. but the irany will be that we'lt we'll have many of my colleagues come down here and vote one day on a huge tax reduction for the wealthiest and including a $1.5 trillion deficit increase and the next day say we need more money for our military. that's the most important thing. well, if our military was the most important thing, we'd be voting on a bill to provide that type of financial support and relief to the military today and letting the tax cuts for the wealthy wait. this is one of the remarkable
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periods in history, probably the first time in our history that we have conducted a war for 16 years, and we have yet to go and ask the american people in any significant way to participate by contributing to the national defense directly. in fact, throughout this period we've, with rare exceptions, we've cut the taxes. and the cuts basically benefit the wealthiest americans. that's why all of this together caused former secretaries of defense leon panetta and ash carter and chuck hagel to indicate that this approach, this tax bill is ill-advised. following 16 years of debt-financed war, providing even bigger deficit-busting tax cuts doesn't make any sense for our national security. my comments, the comments of former secretaries of defense and others seem to have touch a
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nerve with speaker ryan because he when asked specifically took umbrage with these comments. in an interview with npr he said he could not understand where our comments were coming from. to put it bluntly i am comfortable with siding for the secretaries of defense rather than the speaker when it comes to the men and women of the armed forces. this is for the reason i outlined in my history of defense spending and tax cuts over the last 30-plus years. inevitably the tax cuts to the wealthy primarily, because we have a progressive system and because of the way particularly this bill is structuring corporate tax cuts as well as tax cuts to wealthy individuals, eventually the pressure gets to our defense spending. and what i don't want to happen again is have people down here two months from now pounding the desk about how we're not responding to the needs of our troops, we haven't made them the most important thing in our
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lives, we're neglecting our national defense. because, frankly, they have ignored this whole topic when they're committed to giving tax cuts and increase the deficit. that is the wrong priority, in my view. as the chart clearly demonstrates, these tax cuts eventually catch up with us. they produce defense cuts maybe not immediately. but we're not working on a situation we had in 2001. when president george w. bush instituted his tax cuts, we had a $5 trillion surplus on the books. that was because we had took those tough votes in the 1990's to increase taxes, to build up a surplus so he could operate off that surplus not only in
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response initially to 9/11, but also in response to other concerns. we don't have that pad any longer. we are already $10 trillion in the hole. so the effect of these cuts will be much quirk, much more dramatic when it comes to the situation we will face in terms of not only supporting our military but actually taking major steps to upgrade the platforms, the technology, the training, the readiness, and the quality of life of the forces. we don't have a $5 trillion surplus to dip into to sort of pay off the wealthiest while we try to fix defense. so we are in a situation where this advocacy for this tax cut, in my view, totally ignores and deliberately ignores the costs
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we're going to have to pay to protect ourselves. so as i said previously, we are now embarking on another tax cut. for the first time in our history we have conducted now almost 20 years of war. we've asked our troops to serve and their families to serve, but we haven't asked any other american to stand up at least with their financial support and help us deal with the crisis we face across the globe. but it's not just our armed forces that will be squeezed out and crowded out of the federal budget because of these republican proposals. the middle class and working poor will also have to do a lot more with a lot less. many of my colleagues have already pointed out that the c.b.o. has estimated 13 million americans will lose their health insurance because republicans will repeal the individual
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mandate to pay for tax cuts. now, they can try to spin this as an expansion of choices, but the bottom line is that more people will be sick and fewer of them will get the care they need. other middle-class american families can expect to lose access to critical tax advantages that allow them to remain self-sufficient during hard times. this approach promises to crush families on two fronts. it will force more families who are down on their luck to slip out of the working class. and then because of massive deficits, the social safety net will be weakened when these families need it the most. this legislation is likely to trigger already a $25 billion cut to medicare in 2018 alone. and with the republicans' entitlement reform on the docket for next year publicly announced by speaker ryan this may be the tip of the iceberg. if we pass this tax bill, we are, under our paygo rules in a
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position where we will be facing a $25 billion cut to medicare just next year, in 2018. so this vote really is not, for most americans, not about taxes. it's about medicare. what they thought they earned, what they thought and think they're entitled to, what their children believe they need in order to withstand the obvious health problems as one ages. and this does not even begin to cover the other struggles that we're seeing working americans face every day. we are in the midst of a historic decline in labor force participation that economists are struggling to explain, and many states that are buried in steep declines and labor force participation are hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.
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as you may recall, a few weeks ago, president trump declared a national emergency of opioids. where are the resources coming to face that national emergency? well, there won't be much left after this tax cut. and what we're beginning to see -- again, it's not cause and effect but it is a correlation, is that a lot of individuals who are leaving the work force because they feel displaced by new technology or because they're not competitive for a number of reasons, they seem to correlate very highly in those states with these large losses with this opioid epidemic. and in my own home state of rhode island, this epidemic is real. it is taking the lives of individuals. and on a national scale, it is something that has already been proclaimed a public health crisis and emergency by the president. but again, where will the money come from after these tax cuts? will the problem just go away? i doubt it.
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certainly, the money's going away but not the problem. we have to ask ourselves again, if we are in a national emergency, a national public health emergency, why are we not standing up and helping americans and providing the resources for this crisis? it just goes back to this crisis. if we are in our 60th, 70th year of war, standing up and saying we're going to put some money for the troops and their equipment and their families. no. what we're saying -- what my colleagues are saying is we're going to cut taxes to the wealthiest americans, corporations. we have to create pass-through entities that will allow money to filter through to equity -- private equity concerns, to legal firms, to accountants to be able to even avoid more taxes. as we look at these problems,
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millions of americans are sitting around their table, and they don't believe that we need to give trillion-dollar tax deductions to corporations that have international operations. they are more likely thinking about more mundane things closer to their lives, like what about our -- the roads and bridges in my community? why does this country have an investment backlog in transportation of $836 billion for highways and bridges and $122 billion for transit? why aren't we, as the president seemed to indicate in his campaign, why aren't we doing the big infrastructure bill now, which is going to cost real money? instead, we are giving real money away. and this makes a huge difference because it's not just the infrastructure. it's the jobs. and these are the middle-class jobs. these are not the private equity analysts. these aren't the sophisticated financial engineers.
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these are the laborers and the structural engineers and the -- you know, the people, the men and women who pour the concrete. if we invest in infrastructure, they get it. this tax bill, they're not going to get much out of it. at that family dinner table, they are probably wondering, too, about how can they afford to send their children to college? how can they continue to send their children to elementary and secondary schools that are in a horrendous state of repair? the department of education has estimated it would cost $197 billion to bring all public schools in the united states to good condition, and there is a $30 billion funding gap of annual capital construction and new filth funding. it's not a rhode island problem. it's a problem in every state of the union. public school buildings that are decrepit, dangerous sometimes, and yet we're sending children to those schools. and if this legislation passes,
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where will we find the money to help state and local communities deal with these issues? so that children can go to schools that are modern, up to date places where they can learn. once you get past the elementary and secondary education level, today everyone insists indeed the jobs of the future all require more than high school education. we have a generation that's racked up about $1.3 trillion in student loans and are facing a job market that provide little opportunities and not enough opportunities to pay them off. and they're worried. they're worried that their children, many of whom are still living with them after college, will never be able to pay off these loans. so where is the multibillion-dollar package of
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assistance aid loan forgiveness that allow this generation of americans to have the same benefits that my generation had, which is basically being able through pell grants and stafford loans to attend a good college and leave with little or no debt. that's not the situation today. and everyone in this chamber knows when they go home, they hear from parents who are wondering when will their child ever get out from underneath the significant debt they have? these are all real problems that working families face, and there is another problem that's looming that exacerbates these problems even more dramatically. according to the mckinney did i -- mckenzie global institute, up to 30% of the work done by 60% of the occupations
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today is vulnerable to automation. by 2030, 75 million to 375 million, up to 14% of the global work force will need to change jobs. we are facing, because of the advances in artificial intelligence and ought mitigation -- automation and technology, a huge erosion in the jobs that we need. so what are families doing? what should we be doing? frankly, we should be thinking of ways we can help people make the transition, prepare them for what we know is coming. we know there is going to be a huge loss of jobs, and we know also, too, that when people drop out of the workforce, when companies get smaller, their pension obligations don't get that much smaller, and we're also facing huge shortages in
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terms of pensions. and one of the ironies that i suggest will happen -- and irony is too gentle a word -- that these corporations are getting -- that are getting these huge tax benefits, they are not going to raise wages. they are not going to turn it over to their people who work for them. they will buy back their stock. and some of these companies will buy back their stock even though their pension plans are not fully funded. not only is that an irony, but that's an additional problem i think we're taking with this approach to this legislation. the interesting thing, too, about these job losses. it's not the entry level job. it's not somebody who has a pick and a shovel and they are displaced by a machine and they can go on to try to find something else. they are talking about jobs, for example, in radiology.
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with computers and artificial intelligence today, doctors will admit that they can read x-rays better than many of the technicians. they can do it in such a way that you don't need as many radiologists to review the records. they can be much more efficient. so we're talking now about jobs that are not poor entry-level jobs and they can just go on and do something else. we're talking about people who have master's degrees, who have years of training. and this is going to come very quickly, very quickly. and the displacement in the work force, again it will be throughout the ranks from the entry level worker to the trained nurse radiologist to radiologists themselves, one example where they are suddenly cast out. and what do they do? how do they compensate? where do they get a job? that is an issue we know is
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going to happen, we know is going to happen. and we're weakening ourselves financially from being able to respond. and as a result, the legislation that's being proposed is oblivious to what we know is going to happen. and part of being here today is when people come down -- and again, they will -- we need more money for national defense. why don't we do that now instead of giving a big tax cut and raise the deficit? when people come down in a few years or a few months and say this opioid crisis is out of control, it's even worse than it was when the president declared the emergency, let's do something, we don't have the money. and in a very few years when people come down and say we're losing hundreds of thousands of good, good jobs, let's do something, the answer will be
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sorry, we can't. and by the way, we don't have much of a safety net for those people who are being displaced by these machines because we have eroded that, too. we have huge challenges before us. the american people are watching us. they know these things. they are seeing in their workplace machines gradually replacing human beings. if you're a driver for u.p.s. and you haven't figured out yet that these big companies are buying autonomous vehicles, using drones to deliver packages, whatever, they get it. they understand what's coming. they see their children with huge debt living at home because they can't afford to buy a home, given their debt to school loans. they sense the fragility of
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their not only jobs, but the support for their parents in medicare and medicaid aspects. one of the interesting things which i thought was interesting when we're going out to entitlement reform, the biggest amount of money spent in medicaid goes to nursing homes, and it goes to individuals who are not the poorest of the poor. they're people, middle-class people, seniors, or people with long-term disabilities that have exhausted most of their funds. they have sold a house or they have mortgaged a house, et cetera, and they are the ones who are taking the bulk of the medicaid money in funding. so if we cut medicaid, what we're going to do is tell a lot of people, working, middle-class people you're out, you're out of this nursing home. or they're going to tell the
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sons and daughters, you thought you had a problem paying off your children's tuition. you thought you had a problem at work because you haven't had a raise in several years. guess what? your mother -- unless you come up with an extra $1,000 a month, she is out of that nursing home. that's a reality. that's what americans around their kitchen tables and at the coffee shops are talking about. they are not talking about big tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations and individuals. no surprise. if you look at any of the polling with respect to the tax bill, the american people are against it. my colleagues, particularly on the other side, are committed to getting something through that the american people don't want. they have said it. the polling has been extensive. we don't want this. we have real problems in our country. so i am here simply to say that
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i believe this is a grave mistake, and i don't think any of us going forward should be in a position of saying someone should have told me, somebody should have told me we need trillions of dollars to improve our defense above and beyond the current money we're spending. someone should have told me that hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs, good jobs are going away because of artificial intelligence. someone should have told me that young people are drowning under college debt, and we should fix that. someone should have told me that we are in a situation where working conditions and the prospect of work is so fragile for so many people. i think this is a grave mistake. i hope my colleagues would reflect on what we're about to do and reject it. with that, madam president, i
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would yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i ask unanimous consent not withstanding rule 22 at 1:45 p.m. today all postcloture time be yielded back and the senate vote on the confirmation of the ho nomination and that if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: madam president, i have five requests for committees to meet today during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. flake: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that jason smith, a coast guard fellow for the commerce committee, be granted floor privileges for the duration of the 115th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: madam president, i rise today because i believe that some here in washington are under the illusion about what
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would happen if we were to withdraw from the north american free trade agreement, or nafta. some people still inexplicably think that this would be a good thing. they believe that the relationship between the united states and mexico and canada is somehow a raw deal for americans. let's talk about mexico for awhile. in reality, mexico spends 26% of their g.d.p. purchasing goods from the united states while we spend less than 1% of our g.d.p- purchasing goods from them. again, for those who obsess over trade deficits with mexico, mexico spends 26% of its g.d.p. purchasing goods from the united states while we spend less than 1% of our g.d.p. purchasing goods from them.
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prior to and a half tour total trade with mexico was under $80 billion. now that trade approaches $600 billion. that's a good thing. that is good for us. it's good for mexico. trade is not a zero-sum game. there's a threat -- these folks also seem to think that terminating nafta will have no lasting impact on this nation or its economy. in reality, pulling out of nafta would have sweeping negative consequences for americans all over the country. let me briefly describe what america would look like without nafta. it would be an america with fewer jobs and higher unemployment. some of these jobs that are lost will not return for decades, maybe even a generation. other jobs would never return. it would be a poorer america without nafta.
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gross domestic product will have dropped. much of the positive growth we've seen recently may be erased. in the last year we've seen impressive g.d.p. numbers. we've achieved great growth through strong conservative policies, having a better regulatory environment in particular. i hope that the days of 1% growth are behind us, but if we scrap nafta, that may not be the case. an america without nafta is one crippled by subsidies. i agree with my colleague from kansas in the senate agriculture committee, senator roberts. he recently explained that withdrawal from nafta would add to farmers' demands for increased farm subsidies at a time when congress simply can't afford that. these farmers would prefer to sell their crops at reasonable prices but exiting nafta will certainly add economic
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protection, or they will ask for economic protection through increased farm subsidies. i believe that many of these subsidies are automatically added. these subsidies would substantially grow the national debt and dramatically curtail ability to rein in government spending. without nafta, we'll likely find ourselves in a less secure america as well. withdrawal from nafta will destabilize the mexican economy, creating a crisis on our southern border. terminating this agreement will seriously undercut the important progress that has been made over the past several decades. improving drug enforcement, stabilizing the mexican economy, efforts at privatization, criminal justice reform, modernization have been good for the mexican economy and in turn has been good for our economy as well. according to the department of homeland security, the number of people trying to cross illegally into the united states
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from mexico has fallen to the lowest level in 46 years. that is largely due to a better economy in mexico. if we pull out of nafta and allow mexico to plunge into chaos, into economic chaos and uncertainty, it will certainly drive up the number of those who want to come to the united states. these are the real ramifications to terminating nafta. an america of higher unemployment, lower g.d.p., more federal subsidies, particularly for agriculture, and increased illegal immigration. all of this comes before we would face the ultimate challenge if we exit nafta of negotiating a new trade agreement to replace nafta. anyone who suggests that this process would be quick or easy is sadly mistaken. in today's global economy,
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people and nations have more choices than ever. for evidence of this, look no further than the disastrous decision to withdraw from the trans-pacific partnership. canada and mexico, like other t.p.p. nations, could decide to move ahead without the united states. these countries have more choices than ever. it used to be that we were the only game in town. that is not the case anymore. these countries have and will move on without us. they could simply refocus their efforts on alternative markets and explore new trade partners. it's a dangerous game when we in america are no longer seen as a reliable trade partner. we'll have countries that are reluctant to enter into agreements with us and simply not want to renegotiate. madam president, let's not be swayed by those who would have us believe that the impact of
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exiting this trade agreement would somehow be minor or short lived. there are some who say we have to exit the agreement in order to negotiate a better agreement. as i've explained, just exiting the agreement will have real ramification. canceled contracts, particularly for those in agriculture, when you're dealing with commodities. let's not be misled by those who are under the illusion that negotiating an entirely new trade agreement, as i have said, would be simple or painless. it will not be. in closing, madam president, we have seen the limits to the philosophy of ethno nationalism, we've seen that politically, gratefully this week in alabama. let's not follow those who believe in that philosophy and
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are advocating an ethno centric or extreme nationalistic trade policy. that would be disastrous for the economy of the united states moving forward. i yield back my time. and 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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mrs. capito: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: i ask that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. capito: thank you. thank you, madam president. i come here today to again speak in support of comprehensive tax reform. for weeks i have worked to highlight the enormous benefits that our tax reform efforts will have for the economy. i'm really excited about the point where i think we are now because i know this will help our middle-income families and for businesses of all sizes. the tax reform bill principally -- not principally but i think should not be lost that the tax reform bill doubles the standard deduction. now my state, a small state, west virginia, 80% of the people who live in the state of west
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virginia don't itemize and they will use the standard deduction and that will be doubled. it significantly increases the child tax credit. again, that's great for families, especially for young families trying to make ends meet. it will make businesses more competitive around the world which i think will lead to higher wages and more opportunities for workers. i encourage my colleagues to join this effort on the senate proposal and as it works its way through the senate finance committee and again as it comes to senate floor for debate and then next week we hope to see the conference committee on the senate floor. last week i explained why i was proud to cast my vote for this critical legislation. i expressed my optimism that the senate and the house would come together, reconcile the differences between the two bills and settle on an agreement that would provide real relief
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and opportunity for the american people. today we are closer than ever to getting comprehensive pro-growth tax reform across the finish line. that's why i am here to explain why it so so important that we move it all the way through and pass these reforms. today i ask you to not simply take my word for this. throughout the process whenever i've been back home in west virginia, i heard from constituents, friends, strangers who are really rooting on this effort. and they are rooting for it because they understand what a difference it will make in their lives. whether i'm at a roundtable discussion or the grocery store, so many west virginians have shared with me what tax reform would mean for them and their families and they've encouraged me and encouraged us to get this done because they know what tax reform will do for our state in
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terms of jump-starting the economy. onewest virginian i recently heard -- one west virginian i heard from, don, he wrote to me on behalf of his sons and grandsons who said will reap the rewards of the tax reform bill. he wrote, and i quote, there are too many minimum wage jobs in west virginia and not enough higher-paying jobs for advancement. there is no ladder for the young people to climb anymore. end quote. don added he would be very surprised if the tax bill doesn't help solve this problem. i know we are going to see higher wages. and he said, i quote, i really hope the senate and house get this bill to the president's desk before christmas so he can sign it. this week similar support was echoed by a number of groups and organizations in west virginia. the west virginia office of the
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national federation of independent businesses -- we have a lot of small businesses in our state. both the house -- the nfib in west virginia said that the senate and house proposals recognize the need for small business tax relief which means that small businesses can reinvest in their businesses and their employees and create jobs in rural and urban areas of west virginia. end quote. i had to laugh when i heard urban areas of west virginia. i don't know that we have any truly urban areas, but we have great towns in west virginia. the nfib said we can't miss this opportunity to help main street businesses grow and create jobs. the west virginia chamber of commerce called this tax reform
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a real win-win, and noting, quote, by making tax rates more competitive, small businesses will be able to reinvest in growing their operations and creating more jobs and individuals will be able to determine how best to spend their hard-earned money, further stimulating economic growth. end of quote from the chamber. the chamber also pointed out this effort is expected to grow jobs in our states by roughly 5,000 new jobs. in some states 5,000 might not sound like a lot, but in a state like ours 5,000 jobs would be welcomed and welcomeled heartily. they highlighted that west virginians will -- are likely to see a deduction of $2,000 in the federal taxes that pay. that is a significant amount of money for hardworking families across our state to be able to determine how they want to spend their money.
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the state director of the chapter of west virginians for pr prosperity, and again i quote, this is a huge step for taxpayers. this will make americans competitive against. it will put more money in the pockets of west virginians. our west virginia manufacturers weighed in by saying, and i quote, manufacturers large and small know this reform would mean more jobs in america, more investment in america and more men and women making things in america. they continued, our elected leaders now need to seize this opportunity, get tax reform across the finish line, and send it to president trump's desk. i couldn't agree more. many of the folks i quoted represented numerous businesses and numerous people who work in and for these businesses. to get this economy growing is
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incredibly important and that's what we're going to do. it's time to seize this once in a lifetime and generation opportunity. this time -- it is time now to get tax reform across the finish line and it is time to send this pro-growth legislation to president trump's desk. families, workers, and small businesses in west virginia and across this country are counting on us. they are counting on us to do the right thing, to be big and bold to get this economy moving that will result in more jobs, higher wages, more investment and more opportunity and optimism about the future of our country. i thank you madam president, and i look forward to voting on this bill.
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mr. casey: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: madam president, i rise and ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, madam president. i want to cover two topics today. there's so much to cover between now and the end of the year, but i wanted to just focus today on two issues, one is the children's health insurance program and the second is the so-called deferred action for childhood arrivals, the so-called daca program, and in particular the individuals affected by this policy, the dreamers. i'll start with that issue. the dreamers, of course, are something in the order of
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800,000 young people who were promised that if they came forward and made disclosures their government would protect them. that's the basic promise that our government made. this is a -- a significant moment in their lives nn the lives -- and in the life of the nation as to whether or not we're going to keep what i would argue is a sacred promise to 800,000 young people. in my home state of pennsylvania, thousands, as many as 9,500 approximately. in this case we're talking about this -- this issue because -- because a promise was made and then in the -- in the transition from one administration to the other, a different approach was taken. in september president trump decided to end the deferred
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action for childhood arrivals program. this announcement required those whose daca waivers would expire within six months to submit a renewal application in just one month. not a lot of time to get that done. unfortunately many daca recipients were unable to meet this short deadline and others were -- others who managed to get their applications in time were still rejected due to postal delays. not because of something that young person did but due to postal delays. while the administration has said these individuals may be able to resubmit, many are immediately at risk of deportation. it's i impossible for me to
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imagine or maybe impossible for anyone in this building to imagine that you are an individual came forward because of this program because of a promise your government made to you that you would be protected if you came forward. you came forward after many years of living in this country but many years would be -- wouldn't add up to a long life because these individuals are obviously very young. some came when they were just a couple of months old. they know of in other country. in fact one individual that i met with around a big conference table of about 15 to 20 daca recipients, she said to me in this meeting a couple of months ago, she said the only country that i know doesn't want us.
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that was her assessment of what the ending of this program should mean to her. it's not just some theoretical consequence, literally at risk of deportation after living here all these years and not knowing any other country because of what their -- because of their circumstances. it's estimated that 12,000 daca recipients have already lost their protection. 12,000 young people. that number will grow to some 20,000 by march. why would our country break a promise to 12,000 individuals and then 20,000 and then potentially much, much higher numbers? so we can't wait one more day in my judgment to help these
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dreamers. dreamers across pennsylvania and the nation already are living in fear and feeling the consequences of this horrific decision. ice, immigration, customs and enforcement has already picked up a young dreamer whose daca waiver had expired during a routine traffic stop. this dreamer had been waiting to reapply for protection after its initial application was rejected due to -- i'll say it again -- postal delays while the administration has said they would allow these applications that were rejected to -- due to postal delays the chance to reapply, they've been silent -- the administration has been silent on what these individuals should do in the interim. for many dreamers, this means that they must choose between risking deportation and continuing to work and provide for their children and their
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families. depending on the circumstance. these dreamers have done everything right and their applications were rejected not due to any action they did not take. they were rejected for other reasons to a failure of our government and yet now they're paying the price. riskingice detention and deportation to countries within which they have never lived as adults is totally contrary to our values. dreamers are young people who have lived in this country since they were children. they're law-abiding residents who have learned english, pay taxes, gone to school, secured jobs that support themselves and their families. this program has enabled almost 800,000 young people to grow and thrive in america. these impressive young people provide enormous contributions
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to our society, paying an estimated $2 billion every year in state and local taxes. the economic loss to pennsylvania is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions to be stact by onest -- exact by one estimate, a $357.1 million loss to the state's g.d.p. how about the nation overall? by one estimate if this were to go forward and these young people deported and the numbers that -- in the numbers some are talking about, it's a national number that's in the hundreds of billions of dollars. by one estimate, north of $400 billion. that's the impact. so we have to get this done one way or the other. it would be a terrible failure of our government. worse than that it would be an insult to our country and it would be breaking a sacred
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promise. mr. president, just a few remarks rather quickly about a major program we're also debating. that's the children's health insurance program. we know chip expired on september 30 due to a total failure of the government to allow that to help. even as some are debating about the size of a corporate tax break which will be permanent, there's uncertainty, any uncertainty about the children's health insurance program is also an insult to the country. nine million children and their health care and the security of their family is on the line. so we need to get the children's health insurance program passed. the tragic irony here is that the finance committee of which i'm a member passed a bipartisan bill that kids -- that keep kids insurance and dependable act,
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the kids act of 2017 reauthorizes the chip program for five years. there's no reason why, no reason whatever why that -- why that kids act could not be voted on and passed on the floor of the senate this afternoon or tomorrow or monday without any impediment to getting that done. but it's being held up i guess as a negotiation tactic or as a way to get a deal on something else. children's health care should not be subject to any deal or any leverage or any engagement on other issues. we should get it done. if people can spend hours and hours and days and now weeks giving big corporations a permanent tax cut that exceeds $1 trillion, we ought to make sure that an existing effective bipartisan program for children gets reauthorized. mr. president, i'd yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. i wanted to speak for a minute on two subjects today. i don't have prepared remarks so i'm going to speak from the heart. let me talk first about the chip program. one of my favorite people in the united states senate is my colleague from pennsylvania, senator casey. and he just spoke very eloquen eloquently about a program called the children's health insurance program, which is part of our medicaid program. it provides health insurance for the children of america who are too pour to be sick. that bill will pass. the children's health insurance program will be removed. i want to look the american people in the eye right now and tell them do not worry, do not
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worry. this is an extraordinarily able program that has served the people in this country and our country well, and i don't want anybody to be unnecessarily frightened at christmas. if you're a mom or a dad or a child or a concerned citizen out there today and you hear that chip is in danger with all the respect i can muster, i want to say it's not. don't believe it. the chip program will be renewed. let me just talk a second about taxes. in a few days we're going to vote on a tax system and that vote will be a vote as much as anything on people's opinion about the current tax system. no reasonable person can look at
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america's current tax system and be impressed. for one thing, it's enormously complicated. it is ten million words. you can stand on it and paint the ceiling but i don't want to just talk technicalities because most americans, they don't have time to worry about section 807b. they're too busy getting up every day and going to work and obeying the law and paying their taxes. they just want to know what the bottom line is. we're going to pass a tax bill that's going to cut about $1.4 billion in taxes on the american people, and the american business women and the american business men over ten years.
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let me talk first about the impact on people, ordinary people, mr. president, like you and me. we're going to double the standard deduction. why is that important? right now about 70% of americans take the standard deduction. after we double it, probably about 90% will. the president is right. you'll be able to file your taxes on a postcard if you want to. for americans who have children, we're going to double the children's tax credit. we're going to lower every marginal tax rate. and i know you've been told that we're only going to help the wealthy. that's just not true. we're lowering every single tax
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rate. i'm very proud of the fact, mr. president, that this bill starts -- it doesn't end but it starts with helping our middle class. in my state a mom and dad working hard making $75,000 a year, mom makes 30-plus-thousand. dad makes 30-plus-thousand. they have two children. right now they pay about $3,500, $3,700 in income taxes. of course, that's not all they pay. they pay -- they pay payroll taxes. and they pay state taxes. and they pay local taxes. in fact, government taxes everything now. at all levels. government now taxes the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the homes we live in. government taxes us when we work. government taxes us when we play. government taxes us whether we
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die -- when we die. so when i tell you that a couple making $73,000, $75,000 in my state is paying $3,350 roughly in federal income tax, i don't want you to think that's all. but the point i'm trying to make, mr. president, after we pass this bill, that couple is going to pay about $1,500, $1,700, $1,400 in federal income taxes. that mom and dad that is, absence i said before, get up every day and go to work and obey the law and try to do the right thing by their kids and try to save a little money for retirement and try to teach their children values is going to have an extra couple thousand dollars in their paycheck. and that's a lot of money. it is to me, mr. president. i know it is to you and it's going to be a lot of money for that mom and dad. this bill is also going to help every businesswoman and businessman in america. yes, it's going to help our large corporations.
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right now we tax them at a rate of 35%. this bill is going to reduce that to 21%. but it's not just going to help large businesses. it's going to help small businesses as well. i'm talking about the subchapter s corporations and the l.l.c.'s and l.l.p.'s and the sole proprietorships. i'm talking about the family farms. i'm talking about the american who decided to take a risk to create some jobs, start a small business, went and took a second mortgage on their home, maybe employs four or five people. if she fails in her business, government is not going to be there to bail her out. she's going to lose her home. but she wants to take a risk to be her own boss, to create jobs in america. we're going to cut her taxes, too. the pass-through rate, the top marginal tax rate by my
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calculations after this bill is passed is going to be about 29.6%. right now, the top marginal tax rate for that businesswoman would be about 43%. and you say, well, the small businesses get 29%, 6% rate how come the big corporations get 21%? because the big corporations pay taxes twice. the same way they are going to pay 21% of our bill isn't the only part of it. they also when they declare dividends have to pay taxes again. so that's the reason for the disparity. now, let me tell you why this is important. so many of my colleagues -- in fact, every one of my colleagues in the united states senate says they are for jobs. we're all for jobs.
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but you can't be for jobs if you're against business. you can't. and businessmen and businesswomen need four things from government. they need reasonable regulation. not no regulation. reasonable regulation. they need a decent infrastructure. they need a skilled workforce. and they need low taxes. and that's what government is supposed to provide. and then in a free enterprise system like ours, government needs to get out of its way and let the free enterprise system work, which has lifted more people out of poverty than all social programs put together. our bill is going to provide the lower taxes. we have a lot of differences of opinion in this body. some of my colleagues, most of
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whom happen to be democrats, believe that it is possible to tax this country into prosperity. once again, i say this with all the respect i can muster. they are in good faith in believing that. this is america. you can believe what you want. but if they believe that, they were in the quad throwing the frisbee during economics 101, and that's just a fact. now, some of the opponents of this bill have suggested that tax policy has absolutely nothing to do with the economy, with economic growth. once again, with all the respect i can muster, i would ask them very respectfully what, what planet did you just parachute in from? average americans understand,
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ordinary americans understand, people who work for a living understand that when you tax something, you get less of it, and when you tax it less, you get more of it. this is a solid bill, mr. president. it's not perfect. if i were king for a day -- i'm not, and i don't want to be. -- i would make some changes. but reasonable people disagree sometimes, and i believe this body will come together. i hope we get some democratic votes, because i think in their heart, some of our democratic friends want to vote for this bill. they do. we'll see whether they do or not, but i believe they do. but we're going to pass this legislation, and the american people are going to be better off. and it's not going to add to the deficit. i would not vote for this legislation if i thought it would hurt us long term in terms of our deficit. thank you, mr. president. and with that, i will suggest the absence of a quorum.
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a senator: mr. president. mr. kennedy: our boss here is telling me that i shouldn't do that, that i need to do what? yield to my colleague from connecticut. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, i'm on the floor this afternoon to mark five years since the unthinkable, since 20 6 and 7-year-olds and six of their educators were killed in an elementary school in sandy hook, connecticut. it changed the town of newtown. it changed this country and the way that we think about gun violence. and it certainly changed me. so i want to just offer a few thoughts today as we once again memorialize those beautiful children whose lives were cut
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far, far too short. and it's easy to spend today, especially those of us who come from connecticut, who are very intimately connected to the tragedy and to those families, to drown in sadness. there is really no way to conceive of what it's like as a parent to lose a child that young in that manner, in five short minutes in a hail of bullets emanating from a tactical assault weapon, 20 kids who just walked into their classroom bright and cheery were gone. it's easy to hang your head, thinking of all of the things that haven't happened. i have been down to this floor over 50 times, often at my wit's end, raising my voice at my colleagues in frustration at our quiet and unintentional
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endorsement of the slaughter that happens in this country because we haven't passed a single piece of legislation trying to make sense of our nation's gun laws. in fact, to the extent we have done changes in gun laws, it's compounded the problem, not remedied it. but i want to spend my brief time here today not focusing on the sadness of today. it's there. it's inescapable. not focusing on what we haven't done, but focusing on so many miracles, big ones and small ones that have occurred in and around the lives of those that were affected in newtown, connecticut, over the last five years. first, there are just these individual miracles that have happened within these families. again, no one or few people understand the kind of crippling pain that comes with this loss.
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and while these families will never be the same, they have found ways to rebound. they have found ways to still capture joy in their lives. some have added to their numbers by welcoming new children into their family since then. they have rediscovered passions. they have made sure that the surviving children, the siblings have been able to live lives of optimism rather than live lives of perpetual fear. i have gotten to know so many of these families that the parents and the kids are now close personal friends of mine, and watching the rebirth of these families, it just instills a sense of faith in the human spirit that is hard to explain. those are small miracles, but they are important ones to remember on this five-year anniversary. the miracles also come in the ways that lives have been
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changed and saved through the efforts that have sprung forth out of this tragedy. so many of the families joined together with their friends and started up small charitable organizations in the wake of the sandy hook shooting to try to find a way to take the beauty of these kids and transfer it to others. they are almost too numerable to mention, but the anna grace project gives out a scholarship every year at western connecticut state university for incoming freshmen who are interested in studying music because anna grace her whole life was surrounded by music. the vicki soto memorial fund. it donates five books every year to every k-6 classroom in her hometown of stratford. she was one of the teachers, one of the heroes of that day. and kids have the opportunity to read and to learn to love
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reading, which is what she taught to these kindergarten kids because of her foundation. the charlotte bacon foundation pays for therapy dolls for kids and families in need, reflecting charlotte's love of dogs. the katherine hubbard foundation opened an animal sanctuary, 32 acres in newtown to help animals that have been rescued from abusive or negligentive environments because of katherine's love of animals. the list goes on and on. these are small, beautiful miracles that are happening all across connecticut and all across the country, trying to honor the memory of these kids and their educators. and then there are miracles that have happened in the context of
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public policy. i sat at the white house a year ago this week with a few of the sandy hook parents quietly in the back of an auditorium as president obama signed into law the 2016 mental health reform act that would not have become law without the input and activism of the sandy hook parents and many other survivors of gun violence. our gun violence problem is not a mental health problem, per se. there is no inherent connection between mental illness and gun violence, but there is no mistaking that the shooter in newtown, as has been the case in so many of the others of these mass slaughters, had deep mental health problems that went untreated. there have been public policy victories. and so today on the five-year anniversary, i hope that my friends here will celebrate
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these small but meaningful miracles that have happened over the last five years, and i hope that you will be reminded that we cannot take one day or one moment for granted. those moms and dads who sent their kids to school that morning, they never imagined that that would be the last time that they would be able to interact with their child. and so none of us should think that we will have another chance to say what we want to say to somebody that we care about. none of us should think that we can put off saying i love you for another moment. those small, small things that we do for each other, they matter desperately. and i think about one story that i'll leave you with from that morning. daniel barredon -- bardon is one
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of the young boys killed at that elementary school. his older brother went to school at a different time than he did. he went to the bus stop earlier than daniel would. normally they wouldn't see each other in the morning. for some reason, the morning of the shooting at sandy hook, daniel got up earlier than he normally did. he saw that his brother was at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus, and he ran out of the house, down the driveway to say goodbye to his brother, goodbye for the day. it was just a small, tiny act of kindness that daniel thought probably would be forgotten by his brother by the end of that day, but it has meant the world to that family, the idea that daniel got the chance to walk down the driveway and say goodbye to his brother before he went to school that day and never came back. don't ever think that you will have another chance to say what
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you want to say to a loved one, to someone that means something in your life. a few months ago, one of the sandy hook parents arrived unexpectedly in my office, and i got word from the front desk that she was there, and she just wanted to stop in for a few minutes. i said of course, send her back. the mom lost her child who i have come to know very well. she burst into my office and she flunk her arms around me, and she whispered into my ear keep going. she unclasped her arms and looked at me and said that's all i wanted to come and tell you. after a few pleasantries, she walked out the door. keep going. it's what newtown has done over the last five years. it's what those families have found the courage to do over the
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last half a decade. for those of us who believe that the laws of this country must change in order to protect kids like those who lost their lives in sandy hook, it's what we do. and so as we mark five years since the violence at sandy hook elementary school, we keep going. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from colorado.
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without objection. under the previous order all postcloture time is yielded back. the question occurs on the motion. the ho nomination, is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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