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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 1, 2018 9:59am-12:00pm EST

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eventually eclipsed the legacy of the opinion. and explore this with danielle howard walker, dean of a law school and a member of the u.s. commission on civil rights. watch landmark cases live monday at 9:00 eastern on c-span, or listen with the c-span radio app and for background on each case as you watch, get the companion book, available 8.95 plus shipping and handling at cases. for additional resources there's a link to the constitutional center's interactional constitution. the u.s. state is about to gavel in to continue work on judicial nominations, votes for set for 11:45 eastern toed and 1:30 eastern. senators are not expected to be in session at all tomorrow. the senate will be back on monday with confirmation votes on judicial nominations,
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starting at 5:30 eastern. now to live coverage. u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord our god, as our lawmakers take up the duties of this day,
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give them your wisdom and guidance. remind them that you already know their needs, motives, hopes, and fears. keep them from being awed by difficulties and frightened by problems, as you provide them with wisdom in their decisions and harmony in their interactions. may the work they do today on capitol hill have eternal significance. we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag
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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: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed.
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under the previous order the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, a. marvin quattlebaum junior dob united states district -- to be united states district judge for the district of south carolina. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand there's a bill at the desk due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill
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for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 1665, an act -- for the communications act. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. mcconnell: yesterday we welcomed the president, the vice president and the family of the late reverend billy graham as he laid in the capitol. this is a rare tribute, even rarer for an american without government or military service. but it perfectly suits the remarkable man whose preaching inspired millions worldwide who counseled presidents and world
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leaders across generations and whom an entire nation came know as america's pastor. his historical revivals brought so many closer to god because his work was not ultimately about him. the secret of my work, he explained, is god. i would be nothing without him. his personal strengths and talents were mighty, but it was his kindness, his humility and his faith to his family that defined his faith and his ministry. i'm glad that congress could honor the great reverend graham in this way. yesterday thousands -- thousands of americans packed the rotunda down the hall to pay their respects. and all across the country people are giving thanks for the extraordinary contributions of
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this good and faithful servant. now, mr. president, on another matter, it's been just over two months since the united republican government delivered historic tax reform to middle-class families all across the country. so how is it would working? -- how is it working? we've all seen the national news. wal-mart is giving raises or new benefits to more than a million -- a million hourly workers. boeing is investing $300 million in workforce development and corporate giving. apple is bringing hundreds of billions of dollars back home. but no less important are the stories making front page news in hometown newspapers all across our country. thanks to tax reform in north
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lima, ohio, shiley's appliance is planning to issue $1,000 bonuses to workers and expand the work area -- the sales floor by 4,500 square feet. ous in curbing, -- cushing, ohio, tax reform is allowing john anthemson to give pay bone whyuses -- bonuses at the farm store firm that his grandfather founded 118 years ago. i work every day shoulder to shoulder with everyone, he explained. when you work with a group of people, you know them and their family. they are the most valuable asset in any business. his customers will also likely be breathing easily. tax reform is allowing farmers
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across america to expense the cost of important expenses and is taking a big bite out of the death tax. senators heard stories like these during last week's state work period. ask senator toomey what tax reform is doing in pennsylvania. he stopped by new hudson facades, a manufacturer in lynnwood, tax reform earn abled them to in -- enabled them to increase pay by 5% and they are contributing to the 401(k). how about out in montana. the senator there went to pacific steel in great falls where sales are up 25%. sales are up 25% since tax reform passed. in west virginia, senator capito joined a roundtable at a hunting
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ton chamber of commerce where she heard about increased optimism. in nevada, 90% of the business owners that senator heller spoke with say they plan to increase benefits, hire more workers, or invest in their operations. now, mr. president, it's a shame our democratic colleagues still haven't been able to extract themselves from their lockstep opposition to this historic law. if they had gotten their way, none of this good news would have happened. none of it. only one of the senators from pennsylvania voted for the law that is allowing that lynnwood manufacturer to expand, only one senator from ohio voted for the new law that is helping those workers in lima. only one senator from nevada voted to give small businesses the flexibility to invest more in their employees, and only one senator from west virginia and one senator from montana voted to take money out of
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washington's pocket and put it back in the pockets of the middle class. so every single senate democrat, every one of them, did all they could to block tax reform. fortunately, every republican voted to pass it. and because congress passed tax reform and the president signed it into law, workers and small business owners are already reaping the benefits. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the
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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 for maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, on friday, i visited wild lake high school in columbia which is located in howard county, maryland, between washington and baltimore. i wanted to talk to the students about the tragic valentine's day shooting at marjory stoneman douglas in parkland, florida, which left 17 students and faculty members dead. this is the deadliest high school shooting in american history.
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i went to wild lake because one of their own teachers, laura wallin, was shot to death in september, 2017, and her former boyfriend is now on trial for her murder. i was extremely impressed by the passion of these students. they had a great deal of interest in the subject matter. they were extremely articulate, and they asked great questions. i found it extremely encouraging for the future of howard county, maryland, and this nation. these students are rightfully concerned about their safety and the safety of their classmates. it's been two weeks since a disturbed young man invaded marjory stoneman douglas high school. the reaction seems to be like clockwork after each shooting. there is bipartisan shock, anger, and horror. predictably, the question comes out will this time be different? the answer for the republican leadership in congress has always been no, as the outrage and call to act quickly falls back to n.r.a. talking points versus reality.
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this time, the students at marjory stoneman douglas high school and the students in maryland and across the country are not taking no as a final word. this time, the survivors are leading the way, speaking out in a forceful way like we have not heard before. students like ryan deich, a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school, wants to know why these students, the children, need to be the ones to speak out, just to save innocent lives, he said. he wants to know why the adults can't be the adults and do what is necessary to protect children. i think the students at marjory stoneman douglas high school have had a clear, articulate message that this carnage needs to stop. they want to feel safe in their schools again, armed with their cell phones and their stories, they have taken up the banner of hashtag never again and are changing the face of this debate to make this country safer from gun violence.
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alec wynd, another survivor from stoneman douglas, laid out the larger problem of why students are mobilizing. we're marching because it's not just schools. it's movie theaters, it's concerts, it's nightclubs. this kind of stuff can't just happen. you know, we are marching for our lives. we are marching for the 17 lives we have lost. we are marching for our children's lives. we're marching for our children's children and their children. so what can we do? there are several pieces of legislation that are ready to go. democrats and some republicans have been willing and ready to act. leader mcconnell could move any one of these bills right now. let me start by making it clear that weapons of war are not needed by civilians of any age. i have cosponsored s. 2095, the assault weapon ban of 2017 offered by senator feinstein. this legislation would ban the sale, manufacture, transport, and importation of
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military-style assault weapons, ban any assault weapon that accepts attachable ammunition magazines and has one or more military characteristics. and three, ban magazines and other ammunition-feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition, which allows a shooter to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. the bill also requires a background check of any future sale, trade, or gifting of an accept covered by the bill and prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines. it also bans bump fire stocks and other devices that allow assault weapons to fire at fully automatic rates. congress should also pass the background check expansion act, s. 2009, which i have cosponsored and is offered by senator murphy. this bill would expand federal background check requirements to include the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, just as licensed dealers are
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required to conduct checks for sales under the existing brady law. the bill requires background checks for sales or transfer of all firearms from one private party to another, even if either party is not a federally licensed dealer. this requirement extends to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their homes. according to recent polls, a record 97% of those surveyed said that they support requiring background checks for all gun buyers. 97%. so why can't we get this done? it's not a heavy lift. the americans are with us on this. we need to recognize that saving children's lives is more important than the national rifle association. congress also should ease restrictions on gun violence research and prevention efforts by removing onerous restrictions on the center for disease control research. we cannot improve states'
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sharing -- we can improve states' sharing of information with federal databases that screen gun buyers. at a town hall last week, senator rubio, when questioned by an audience of students and parents from stoneman douglas, said the problems we are facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone. with that i agree, but these gun laws will make a difference. yes, there's no single solution, but we should be united in our willingness to do what we can to save lives. i agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that we must devote more resources to mental health priorities to identify young people who may be about to cause harm to themselves or others. let's attack this problem from multiple directions. we cannot raise our hands in the air and give up because there's no one law that can solve the problem. sitting on the sidelines is not an option when our children are being killed. sometimes by other children. and surrendering to the false logic that the problem is too big to address falls well short
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of what the american people deserve. we want to send here to our nation's capital -- we were sent here to the nation's capitol to make the tough decisions and do the right thing. i believe with alex wynn that this problem we need to tackle is larger than simply school safety, but i would like to talk about that specifically for one moment. in an effort to turn the conversation away from assault weapon bans or closing loopholes of background checks, the president decided to launch on this idea that we should arm teachers and educators in our schools. mr. president, we do not need, as president trump has suggested, more guns in the schools. and we do not need teachers carrying guns. but we do know that teachers are hired to teach, not to be security guards. let's listen to our educators and say no to this proposal. the answer to keeping guns and gun violence out of our schools
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is not to bring more guns into the school. the students i talked to at wild lake high school in columbia, maryland, understood that. adding more guns would not help the situation and could lead to more problems in the schools themselves. they certainly want to see their buildings more secure but we can do that through infrastructure improvements, technology, and school resources. so why are these things happening here in the united states with such alarming frequency and not elsewhere around the world? gun-related deaths unfold in tragic circumstances across this country daily with more than 1800 people -- 1,800 people killed by guns this year alone according to the gun violence archive, a not for-profit group. mass shootings often shine in the spotlight in the united states and as a position of a global outlier. the number of firearms available to american civilians is estimated to be around 310
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million, according to the 2009 national institute of justice report. according to the small arms survey, the exact number of civilian-owned firearms is impossible to pinpoint because of a variety of factors, including arms that go unregistered, the illegal trade and global conflict. america's own nearly half of the 650 million civilian-owned guns in the world today, which is nearly one gun for every man, woman, and child in the united states. our nation is well armed. india's home to the second largest civilian firearms stockpile estimated at 46 million. americans own the most guns per person in the world with about four in ten saying that they either own a gun or live in a home where there is a gun, according to the 2017 pew center study. 48% of americans said they grew up in a house with guns. according to the survey, a
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majority, 66% of our u.s. gun owners own multiple firearms. number two country in the world for the largest number of guns per capita? yemen, a country that is in the throes of a 3-year-old civil war. and they trail significantly behind us. they have 54 guns per 100 in ye. when it comes to gun massacres, the u.s. is an anomaly. there are more public mass shootings in america than in any other country in the world. u.s. makes up less than 5% of the world's population, but holds 31% of the global mass shooters. in australia, for example, four mass shootings occurred between 1987 and 1996. for those instances, the public outcry -- opinion turned against gun violence and parliament passed stricter gun safety laws. australia hasn't had a mass
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shooting since. gun safety laws work. the public demands that we take action to make our communities safer. gun homicide rates are about 25 times higher in the united states than other developed countries. 25 times higher. the u.s. has one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world, according to the world health organization data. the calculations based on the oecd data show from 2010 that americans are 51 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the u.k. most american gun owners say a major reason they own a gun is for personal protection, according to the pew study. however, the majority of firearms-related deaths are attributable to self arm. gun-related suicides are eight times higher in the united states than in high income nations. thinking of stone hill douglas
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high school, we all wonder out loud what drove this young man to kill indiscriminately. there's no one single reason, but that is no excuse for congress and lawmakers and all of our states to remain frozen and fail to act to try to stop a future shooting from happening. if anything, it should be the impetus for us to move forward on many front, on many fronts and take many actions to support our children and support our communities so more lives are not lost in such a violent way. we cannot allow the stories of this shooting to end like all the others in recent history. we should have taken action after three students were killed and five wounded in december 1997 at a high school in west paducah, kentucky and we should have taken action in 1999 in columbine high school when 12 classmates were killed and a teacher and 26 others wound.
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we should have taken action on april 16, 2017, blacksburg. columbine, virginia tech, these names became a code for some of the worst killings in our history. nearly five years later it happened again. three students were killed and two wounded in a shooting on february 27, 2012, that started in the school cafeteria in chardon, ohio as students waited for buses to other schools. then there was sandy hook. we all remember a tben-year-old gunman -- 20-year-old gunman in december 2012 killing 20 first grade children and six educators inside sandy hook elementary school in new town, connecticut. elementary school students. these were first graders, for goodness sake. young children that should clearly have had us move to
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action. but, no, the killings continue because the republican leadership has been unwilling to budge to the n.r.a.-approved message. we have had bipartisan support for some of these -- for muscle of this legislation -- for much of this legislation as we do today. but too many are so afraid of the n.r.a. response that they lose sight of that fact that children are being killed right before our eyes. september 8, 2016, a 14-year-old girl died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting and killing another female student in alpine high school in west texas. just 20 days later on september 28, a 6-year-old boy was fatally shot on the playground on townsville elementary school in south carolina by a 14-year-old boy who had just killed his father. another child and a teacher was struck bip the bullets -- by the bullets but survived. some of you are thinking i never heard of these shootings. that's a problem in and of itself. school shootings have become so
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commonplace, so much part of our lives that children dying in schools might not even make it to the paper. we might miss it. we cannot let this become commonplace. it can't be the new norm. another incident you may not have heard happened last april. a gunman opened fire in the special education classroom of his estranged wife in north park elementary school in san bernardino, california, killing her and an 8-year-old boy and wounding another child. in september of last year in rockford, washington, a 15-year-old boy was killed at freeman high school and three female students were wounded when authorities say another 15-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun. december of last year two students at aztec high school in new mexico were killed by a gunman disguised as a student. barely a month ago in january, two students were killed and 14 wounded by gunfire when a student opened fire before classes began at marshall county high school in west kentucky.
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a 15-year-old -- a 15-year-old is being charged for this crime. this time the survivors are speaking out in a forceful way like we have not heard before. i think the students speaking out have had a clear, articulate message that this carnage needs to stop. i'm not sure i know any lawmaker or american who would disagree with the idea that our students need to be safe in their schools. it means that we need to act, really act this time. setting aside his outrage ideas of arming teachers has been heartening to see the president in the direction of legislative solution, like expanding background checks and banning bump stocks. the devil is always in the details as it will see how far the president is willing to stray from the n.r.a. and whether the republican leadership will back the president or remain on the sidelines of protecting the american people and especially our children.
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on valentine's day, february 14 when i heard about the shooting in parkland, florida, my immediate reaction was horror, pain, and outrage. how could we allow this to happen yet again. schools should be a safe harbor for our children, not a place of killing and terror. i was in my office thinking about how tragic this was not only for those who were killed but for all the children who were there. i'm as frustrated as the people across this country and i want to pass commonsense gun safety legislation. we shouldn't -- why shouldn't we get these military-style weapons off the street? it's hard to know what will motivate the congressional leadership to bring up this issue. what will jar them to action? i want action. we may not solve the problem entirely but we need to try. we need to do something. a new cnn poll released just this sunday finds that 70% of americans now back tougher gun laws. this is a huge jump from 52% after the tragic, horrific
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october shootings in las vegas. this number includes 49% of republicans which i think is encouraging. saving lives should not be a partisan issue. commonsense gun safety legislation should not be a partisan issue. public opinion polls may not be perfect, but they are generally helpful to show trends. americans are getting it. it's time that we do. and this trend towards protecting american people and especially our children is moving in the right direction. the american people are letting their voices be heard on this issue. thoughts and prayers macon sol the grieving for a -- may console the grieving for a moment but actions speak louder and will have a lasting impact. from my hometown of baltimore to the many towns across america that have -- had their names in the headlines because of gun-related tragedies or mass shootings, people are calling upon congress to act. i don't care what the reasons are for change of heart but let's get bills on the floor. what we are proposing are logical next steps to addressing the deadly problem that has been
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festering in this country too long. too many young lives have been lost. will this time be different? in the honor of the victims of marjory stoneman high school, mr. president, i'm going to ask that their names be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: and all victims of gun violence who have preceded them, let's make the answer a resounding yes. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, this morning i'd like to start off speaking about a very important day in the history of my state, a day that inspires pride in the hearts of all those who were born in texas.
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i'm here to commemorate texas independence day which will be celebrated tomorrow. on march 2, 1836, texas agomented its -- adopted its declaration of independence from mexico. it's worth reading. i would recommend it to anyone. this happened in the context of a struggle that's perhaps best remembered by the battle of the alamo, which laid some of the groundwork for texas' eventual victory. on february 24 of that year with his position under siege, an important figure named william barrett travis wrote a letter which i'd like to read. he was a lieutenant colonel in the texas army and during the battle his fellow soldiers were outnumbered nearly 10-1. by the forces of the mexican dictator antonio lopez de cente anna. both democrats and republicans have had the honor of reading the fable travis letter since
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1961 when then-texas senator john tower started that tradition. the letter was addressed to the people of texas and all americans in the world. fellow citizens and compatriots, travis wrote, i am besieged by a thousand or more of the mexicans under santa ana. i sustained a continual bombardment. the enemy has demanded a surrender, otherwise they are left to be put to the sword if the for the is taken. i've answered the demand with a cannon shot and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. i shall never surrender or retreat. then i call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism, and everything dear to the american character to come to our aid
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with all dispatch. the enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four,000 in four or five days. if this call is neglected, i am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due of his own honor and that of his country. victory or death. signed william barret travis. what a letter it is. it is a reminder that the 189 defenders of the alamo lost their lives but they did not die in vain. in fact, texans wouldn't be around today if it weren't for them. the battle of the alamo allowed general sam houston to maneuver his army into position for a decisive victory at the battle of sa ngento.
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i am honored that was first occupied by sam houston after texas was annexed to the united states in 1845. after that victory, texas became a sovereign nation, a republic for nine years. for nine years it thrived as a separate nation. then in 1885 it was annexed to the united states. many texas patriots went on to serve in the united states congress, sam houston being one of them. every single day i'm honored to have the opportunity to serve 28 million texans, a chance i wouldn't have had without the sacrifices made by the brave men like william barret travis 182 years ago. mr. president, on another matter, we have come a long way since the days of the texas
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revolution, but texas remains a place of optimism, fortitude and dedication to worthy causes. it is also a bustling state full of entrepreneurs, investors, and risk takers that have created jobs and opportunities for the people who live there. i'd like to mention briefly two iconic companies that are showing their devotion to texas in a much different but important manner. based tyler, they are spreading the good news of the tax cuts and jobs act, the law that we passed in december that overhauled the tax code. for those not familiar of where tyler is, it is in east texas, sometimes referred to as behind the pine curtain. but the tax cuts and jobs act has affected communities all across the country for the past two months and tyler is no exception. the first company i'd like to
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mention is greenberg turkeys, a family-owned operation that sells the thanksgiving bird to around 200,000 customers each holiday season. four generations of the greenberg family have worked for the company for decades and it has been featured as oprah winfrey's favorite things twice. as a result of the tax cut, the company will refurbish the plant and give its employees a rise. the owner says this is a good deal for businesses. it pays to treat people right and so we want to share this with our workers. i couldn't have said it better myself. the second tyler company i want to mention briefly is don's tv and appliance. the staff there has more than 150 years of combined experience. it buys products direct from
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manufacturers at the lowest possible cost in order to provide customers with prices that are competitive with national chain stores. recently the owner, don thedford and his son donnie announced they would give their employees raises in 2018 which they were not able to do it in previous years. they would not have been table to do it but for the tax cut bill. they have been able to provide employees with more take-home pay, and i'm sure they appreciate the extra money in their paycheck each pay period many they can use these savings to invest, to pay for their children's education, or prepare for their retirement. whatever way they find best. so i just want to say to don and other small employers who are making sure that are their employees see the benefit of the
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tax cuts and jobs act reform, thank you for paying it forward. i can't wait to hear more about that in the months ahead. i want to bring up one last topic that we've been discussing this last week and that is ways we can prevent mass shootings from happening in the future. of course, the most recent one occurred in parkland, florida, at stoneman douglas high school, but last fall my state had an insidious shooting in san antonio, texas. 26 people lost their lives that day worshiping in a small baptist church in sutherland springs. 20 more were wounded, including a 6-year-old boy named ryan ward who was shot five times. we're ecstatic that ryan survived and is now out of the hospital and has gone home.
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but what we all learned in the aftermath of that event is that sometimes these horrific crimes are perpetrated by individuals who should have never been able to purchase firearms in the first place. that's because under current law, convicted felons, like the gunman at sutherland springs, are prohibited from legally purchasing firearms. the problem was that his convictions were not uploaded in the national instant criminal background check system, what is commonly referred to as the nics system operated by the f.b.i. i've introduced a bill that already passed the house that would address this problem and i believe would save lives in the future. it's a bipartisan piece of legislation cosponsored by the junior senator from connecticut. he, along with his colleague senator blumenthal, come from a
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state that saw the horrific shootings at sandy hook. we added ten new cosponsors this week, bringing the number to 50 cosponsors for this legislation. it is rare in my experience, mr. president, to see a piece of legislation enjoy such broad bipartisan support -- 50 cosponsors. i've been saying all week that we need to pass this bill now. we should not wait. we should not go home empty handed. and we should not have to face the grieving families who lost a child or a loved one as a result of a future shooting that might have been averted had we acted. america's tired of the government response to these catastrophes which rip families apart, take lives, and pit people against each other. and the response of the -- of their government has been largely either silence or
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bickering with no outcome, no result. there are other proposals we can consider as we continue to grapple with the questions posed in parkland, questions about failures of local law enforcement, social media platforms, and the f.b.i. and yesterday the president hosted an amazing meeting of 17 members of congress on a bipartisan basis and brain stormed about other things we might be able to do, but right now -- right now fix nics is our best and only option to act in response. it's supported by the president, the majority and minority leaders are cosponsors, and it's supported by gun groups like the n.r.a. and every town for gun safety, which are at opposite end of the ideological spectrum when it comes to the second amendment. as i said, this bill has 50 cosponsors here in the senate
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and is ready for action having already passed the house of representatives. i pledged to myself, mr. president, after i -- my wife and i visited sutherland springs a week after the shooting there and attended a church service led by the pastor who lost his 14-year-old daughter in that shooting just one week before. it was a gut-wrenching, emotional service, but it was inspiring in its own way. but i pledged then that i would never face another grieving family with empty hands saying we could have done something that might have saved your child's life or loved one's life by fixing the broken background check system, but i would never fates them again by saying we -- face them again by saying we
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didn't try our best without passing bipartisan legislation like the fix nics bill. as i said, there are other things that we might do, but as we all know, the threshold for actually passing legislation is 60 votes. and what i don't want us to do is end up like we did on the daca debate where as we started with a neutral bill, a shell which really did nothing, and all of the various proposalles failed to get 60 votes, we ended up empty handed on the daca issue. i don't want that to happen again, and i'm not going to go home until the -- and tell my constituents from texas i didn't do my very best and didn't do something meaningful that would save lives in the future, and fix nics is the best way to do that and do that now. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, if i could inquire, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. kaine: i ask that it be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: thank you, mr. president. i rise to talk about the tragedy in parkland and the responsibilities of the united states senate to try to make our community safer. and i'm going to talk very personally about my own experience in confronting gun violence as a mayor of an urban area, richmond, virginia, and as a governor of the commonwealth of virginia. i will start by saying i'm a gun owner. i'm a second amendment supporter. when i was an attorney in private practice, i was the lawyer who worked with an effort to amend the virginia constitution to guarantee virginians the right to hunt and
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fish. the second amendment and private gun ownership is an important part of our framework, i support it, but i obviously believe that we can do things consistent with the constitution that will make our nation safer, and i ask my colleagues to join in that effort. when i was elected to city council of richmond in 1994, i was elected in richmond -- and richmond at that time was only on one top ten list that i'm aware of and it's not one you want to be on. we had the second highest homicide rate in the united states. we were not a high crime area generally if you looked at all crime, but homicides and aggravated assaults, assaults committed with weapons, we were unusually high, and the weapons of choice in these homicides and aggravated assaults were guns. i remember very early in my time at city council getting called to a neighborhood that was a public housing community in my city. there had been a gun crime that killed an entire family of five, adults and little children.
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over the course of my eight years working in local government, i just went to too many crime scenes and funerals and wakes. in some ways, the things that were the most memorable were the meetings in church basements of homicide victim families. we embarked upon a set of strategies to make our communities safer amidst all the bloodshed and the tears. we actually found strategies, some dealing with reductions in guns, some dealing with law enforcement strategy, some dealing with police community relations. we found strategies that over the course of about eight years reduced the homicide rate in richmond by about 60% and the aggravated assault rate by an equivalent number. so out of the pain, what we learned is you can actually take concrete steps that will make your community safer, that will reduce gun violence. you won't eliminate it. that's beyond our power as humble people to do, but you can
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reduce it. if you know you can, then you must. you have a responsibility to do what you can. i was elected governor of virginia in 2005, and i will never forget april 16 i had just embarked on a trade mission. i had landed in japan waddellgation to recruit business to my state. i had gone to the hotel and i got a call after midnight from my chief of staff that says there is a shooting under way at virginia tech. i said well, book me the next flight home. i was there for just a few hours on what was going to be a two-week trade mission but just let me fly back home. i flew back into what at the time was the worst shooting in the history of the united states. 32 people gunned down on the campus of virginia tech in april, 2007, by a deranged youngster who had been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous and was thus prohibited from having a weapon, but because of glitches and flaws in the background check system, he had been able to purchase multiple weapons, and
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he committed that horrible crime. i impaneled a commission. i told them, let the lawyers and the lawsuits be damned. i want to know everything that went wrong, and i want to make it public, everything that went wrong and everything we can do to fix it. over the course of a number of months, they produced a report with hundreds of recommendations. the recommendations were about campus safety, the recommendations were of mental health, but there were also recommendations about fixes to our state and federal gun laws to reduce the risk of this happening. i was able to make some changes on my own as an executive. i took other changes to my legislature that they rejected. but again, out of the painful situation -- and, mr. president, it's a funny thing to say about your own state, about my state of virginia, about a place i love like virginia tech. i always hoped it would be the worst. i would always have hoped that that would have been the worst shooting in the history of the united states, but the pulse
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nightclub hoog, the las vegas shooting now have claimed more victims and other shootings like that in newtown and now parkland if the number of victims aren't the same, nevertheless the tragedy is of equal magnitude. but we learned through pain that you can make changes and improve. when i fixed a piece of the background check system flaw, it made us safer. it reduced the risk of gun violence and gun death. and so my experiences as mayor and governor were painful, but i learned a lesson in both, which is you can take steps, including steps dealing with the rules about firearms that will make your communities safer. and that's a powerful thing. you can take steps that will make communities safer. mr. president, i dealt with sort of three lies, three falsehoods over the course of these efforts as mayor and governor, as i tried to help us take steps to make us safer. one was the first lie is it's
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not about guns. it's about mental health, it's about other things, but that's just false. equally false would be if we said it's only about guns. that would be false as well. but to say it's not about guns, this is a line perpetrated by an organization headquartered in virginia, the national rifle association, just turns out to be false. the key to reducing the homicide rate in virginia was ultimately we embrace strategies to reduce the gun carry right. that's a phrase that law enforcement professionals use for just the amount, the percentage of time where people in normal interactions with the police are found to be carrying a weapon. in virginia, the gun carry rate was unusually high. that meant when something broke bad or there was an argument, there would often be an aggravated assault or a homicide committed with a weapon. we undertook strategies that drove down the gun carry rate, and that didn't make bad people good people, but it made it more
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likely that when things broke bad, there wouldn't be an aggravated assault or a homicide. so it was about the guns. that's a first lie or halls food that gets perpetrated. it's not about guns. it is not only about guns, but it's definitely about guns. a second lie or falsehood that was perpetrated by the same organization is they would always say you can't improve. they would say well, that won't solve every problem. you can't solve every bit of gun violence if you do this. they would do this over and over again with any shooting, they would point out the number of things that wouldn't have stopped it, as if not being able to eliminate gun violence means you shouldn't do anything to try to reduce gun violence, and that's just a lie or a falsehood. i learned from my experiences, if you take steps, you can make communities safer. and the third lie or falsehood that we had to confront repeatedly from the national rifle association was gun safety rules violate the second amendment. that is just flat-out wrong.
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in fact, the second amendment is the only amendment whose text even uses the word regulation. a weg-regulated mill issue -- a well-regulated militia, the need for a well-regulated militia gives individuals the right to bear arms. what does the phrase well regulated mean? it's not a reference to a length of somebody's beard or the kind of hat they should wear. there is an understanding that firearms are dangerous, and if individuals are to have the right to have them, there also must need to be some appropriate level of regulation. and we're familiar with this in the rest of the constitution. i'm passionate about the first amendment. there should be freedom of the press, but you can't just liable or slander without a consequence. the framers, madison and others, who put these amendments together, understood that the amendments to the constitution included some limitations because we have to live together, not just as free agent individuals, but we have to live together in society. so those three lies, it's not about guns, we can't do anything
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about it, and that gun rules violate the second amendment are wrong. i came to the senate after the shooting in sandy hook and the first meaningful debate that we had after i came here was whether we would do something to respond to this horrible carnage of kids in an elementary school. and, mr. president, you were not yet in the senate. i know you followed this as a citizen, but i remember standing here in this chamber in april of 2013 casting a vote on a bill that i thought would have been a very good bill, to do background record checks, and being surrounded in the chamber by sandy hook families, many of them sitting next to virginia tech families who had come to be in solidarity with them, and feeling so despairing that with them around us like the great cloud of witnesses referred to in the letter of paul to the hebrews, we fell short. they were praying for us to succeed, and we fell short. and the aftermath of that horrible tragedy, this body did precisely nothing.
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well, now we have experienced yet another horrible tragedy, and there have been others, there have been others since sandy hook. but it is my deep hope that after this horrible shooting in parkland, something may be different in this body. and the reason that i think this one might be different is these students are standing up and challenging us. the children of our nation are asking adults to be adults. they are asking us to look in the mirror. they posed the question starkly. what is more important to you -- your children or campaign contributions from an interest group? and i think the advocacy of the children at parkland who suffer but not only their advocacy but advocacy of students all over the united states, i have done meetings with moms demand action in richmond and northern virginia the last couple of days, and many students are in these meetings. the advocacy of students and their challenge to us may show us a way.
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and if can i just conclude with a story that gives me hope and that suggests there may be some resonance to this moment. sometimes there is a movement but there isn't a moment. and sometimes the movement needs a moment to achieve a victory. 55 years ago, in the spring of 1963, dr. martin luther king was trying to desegregate public accommodations in birmingham, alabama, with the southern leadership christian conference. he had been going community to community. in some places, they were able to desegregate public accommodations relatively easily, and other places it was tough, but there was no tougher nut than birmingham. drugstores, department stores, dr. king and others would have adults go, sit in, african americans and their allies, and be arrested, and yet wave after wave of arrests notwithstanding, including the arrest of dr. king, the city leaders would not back down.
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they would not shed the discrimination that violated the equality provisions of the constitution. as this was going on, children in the birmingham schools started to come to dr. king and say we want to march, too. dr. king and his lieutenants really struggled with this. they were parents. they didn't want their kids to be arrested. they didn't want their kids to face guard dogs attacking. they didn't want their kids to face fire hoses directed at them. and they had a natural parental reaction that we want to protect you. the children kept coming and saying, we want to march, too. finally they said, isn't this about us? as much as it's about adults, isn't this about us, your children? and if it's about our children, why can't we march? and dr. king, after a lot of prayer and discussion, finally said, it is about you. mr. president, you know -- for our pages, especially, it was those children advocating, and
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they marched and they did have fire hoses turned on them and they did have guard dogs released at them. and the photos of those children braving that ugly face of discrimination landed on the front pages of papers all over the united states and all over the world. and it was transformative of the civil rights movement. adults in the u.s. knew there was discrimination, but they had become complacent to or indifferent to or even said i think it's wrong, but it will probably never change. but when she saw their children demanding of them, adults just be adults, adults you say you care about children. prove to us you care about children when the adults of america were confronted with the example of their own young people, they had to shake themselves out of their complacency and indifference and shoulder the burden that adults must shoulder. that's what these students had parkland are saying to us now. that's what these students all over the country are saying to
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us now. this is about your future. this is about your children. and they're asking us whether children matter more or political contributions matter more. i urge my colleagues finally, let's not produce another goose egg in this body. let's not come together after a horrible tragedy when there are meaningful steps like background record checks that we can put on the table to make us safer and fail them yet again. i ask my colleagues and especially the majority leader to enable us to have this debate on the floor so that we can take meaningful steps of the kind that we know will make our communities safe are. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you. mr. president, there should be no issue of more importance to members of congress than the issue of war and peace and when it is appropriate to send young
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people of our country into harm's way knowing that some of them will not return home alive. and it goes without saying that every armed conflict that the united states of america is engaged in must be consistent with the constitution of the united states and be lawful. and let us make no mistake about it. article 1, section 8 of the constitution states in no uncertain terms that congress, congress shall have the power to declare war. congress shall have the power to declare war. the founding fathers gave the power to declare war to congress because congress is that body most accountable to the people. for far too long congress on the democratic and republican
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administrations has akd indicated its -- abdicated its constitutional role in authorizing war. the time is long overdue for congress to reassert its constitutional authority. if you think that a military intervention makes sense, then let us have that debate here on the floor of the senate and in the house and cast a vote. but that is not what we have been seeing for a number of years. and what senator lee and senator murphy and i are doing with privileged resolution s.j.5 4 is demanding that congress once again takes its constitutional responsibility for war and peace
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seriously. and i want to thank senators durbin, senator warren and senator booker for coming on board that resolution. and i hope this bipartisan resolution will gain more and more support in the coming days. mr. president, many americans are unaware that the people of yemen are suffering today in a devastating civil war with saudi arabia and their allies on one side and houthi rebels on the other. in november of last year, the united nations emergency relief coordinator said that yemen was on the brink of, quote, the largest famine the world has seen for many decades. end quote. so far at least 10,000 civilians have died. three million have been
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displaced and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. 15 million people lack access to clean water and sanitation. more than 20 million people in yemen, over two-thirds of that country's population, need some kind of humanitarian support with nearly 10 million in acute need of assistance. more than one million suspected cholera cases have been reported, one million cholera cases have been reported representing potentially the worst cholera outbreak in world history. many americans probably are also not aware that u.s. forces have been actively engaged in support of the saudis in this terrible war providing intelligence and aerial refueling of planes whose
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bombs have killed thousands of people and made this crisis far worse. we believe -- i speak for senator lee and senator murphy -- that as congress has not declared war or authorized military force in this conflict, the united states involvement in yemen is unconstitutional and is unauthorized. and u.s. military support of the saudi coalition must end. without congressional authorization, our engagement in this war should be restricted to providing desperately needed humanitarian aid and diplomatic efforts to put an end to this terrible conflict. that is why yesterday we introduced a joint resolution pursuant to the 1973 war powers
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resolution calling for an end to u.s. support for the saudi war in yemen. the war powers resolution defines the introduction of u.s. armed forces to include, and i quote, the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular forces of any foreign country of government when such military forces are engaged or there exist an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged in hostilities. end quote. that is from the war powers resolution. assisting with targeting intelligence and refueling warplanes as they bomb those targets clearly meets this definition. this is not a partisan issue. support for the saudi intervention in yemen began under a democratic president and
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has continued under a republican one. senator lee is a conservative republican. i am a progressive independent who caucuses with the democrats. in november of last year, the u.s. house of representatives by a vote of 366-30, 366-30 passed a nonbinding resolution stating that u.s. involvement in the yemen civil war is unauthorized. every member of the democratic leadership voted for this. democratic leader nancy pelosi voted for it. minority whip steny hoyer voted for it. the ranking member of the house foreign affairs eddie engel voted for it as did the republican chairman of that committee ed royce. so here is the bottom line.
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if the president and members of congress believe that support for this war is in the u.s. interest and that we should be involved in it, let them come to the floor of the house and senate, make their case, and then let us have a vote. i believe that we have become far too comfortable with the united states engaging in military interventions all over the world. we have now been in afghanistan for nearly 17 years, the longest war in american history. our troops are now in syria under what i believe are questionable authorities and the administration has indicated that it may broaden that military mission even more. the time is long overdue for congress to reassert its
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constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war and i'm very proud to be working with senators lee and murphy and others on this vitally important issue. thank you very much, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i rise to speak about the mass murder in florida last month, and i rise to ask a simple
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question that millions of americans in every part of this country are asking at their kitchen tables right now. is congress finally going to do anything meaningful about gun violence? when will enough be enough? what will it take for this body to move beyond the same talking points that we hear after every mass shooting and actually do something to prevent more deaths? mr. president, will congress finally see what the vast majority of americans see? gun owners and nongun owners alike, that america's gun violence problem isn't going away unless congress musters up the courage to take it head-on. or will congress continue to give the lip service of thoughts and prayers and then do
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absolutely nothing? we have to act because once again, there was a massacre on american soil. once again it was inside a school. once again american children were gunned down. we keep living through a nightmare of gun violence that repeats itself in schools, movie theaters, churches, nightclubs, concerts, and every single day on the streets of the cities in every state around this country. sandy hook, aurora, charleston, san bernardino, orlando, las vegas, sutherland springs, and most recently parkland, florida. mr. president, we can help stop
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this. we have the power to help stop this. the question is whether congress has the political will to do it. whether this institution will finally put families first, our children first, and stand up to the gun manufacturers and the n.r.a.? i urge every member of congress to reflect on why they first ransom for office. we are here as public servants to serve the people who sent us here, not to serve the gun industry's profits, not to serve the organizations and companies and lobbyists that demand political retribution when we do the morally right thing. does congress have the will to act? does congress have the basic courage this country needs? i'm sorry to say that i don't
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know. but we can put it to the test. there has been a lot of talk, more than normal, even about our need to act in this chamber. so i will say this to my colleagues, let's make this time different. let's listen to the children from stoneman douglas high school. let's seize this moment. let's take action. i implore my colleagues to listen to what the country is saying about gun violence today. listen to the families. listen to the survivors from parkland and tune out all the other noise.
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i did. it is possible. ten years ago i had an "a" rating from the n.r.a., just like many of my colleagues today. but when i met the mother of naisha pryor yard, when i met her classmates, naisha was an honor student from brooklyn. she was dancing with her friends, having fun, loving life she was killed by a stray bullet in her community. now i have an "f" rating from the n.r.a., and i don't understand how after meeting with all these families, after meeting with all these children
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whose lives have been destroyed and torn apart by gun violence, i don't understand how any public servant would not vow to do what is necessary to make sure that never happens again it's what we do after a terrorist attack, rightfully so. it's what we do as a country, we come together. we say never again, and we do whatever it takes to protect our country. we have to have the very same sense of urgency now. plain and simple, it is a lie to say that we have to choose between protecting law-abiding gun owners' rights and protecting our children from
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being murdered by assault rifles. it is a false choice to say that we cannot end gun violence without violating people's constitutional rights. mr. president, it is time for members of congress to stand up for what's right for america and do what is right for our communities and say no to the n.r.a. i commend one of our colleagues in the house of representatives, a republican from florida, an army veteran who has seen this crisis -- who is seeing this crisis differently now too. he wrote, quote, i know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the army could put in my hands. i cannot support the primary weapon i use to defend our people being used to kill
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children i swore to defend. that is what leadership looks like. so i implore my colleagues in the senate to see our gun violence problem differently. see it with your heart. see it for what it is. it is a matter of national security, of public health, of public safety that will never go away unless congress does its job. so once and for all let's pass laws that actually are meaningful, that actually can do something. not just something simple so we can say that we did something and move on. and i strongly agree with my colleagues that we need to improve the mental health system. let's make those investments. but it should not stop there. we have to address the fact that
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we have weapons of war on our streets today. we have to address the fact that it is so easy for people to buy a gun, people who should never have that privilege. let's vote to ban semiautomatic assault rifles. congress has already banned them. congress has already recognized that some weapons have no place in the civilian world. a weapon of war that was designed for military use, that can fire up to 100 rounds in one minute or 100 rounds if you just add a bump stock, a weapon that could completely outgun a police officer, it has no place in the civilian world. so will my colleagues vote with me to ban semiautomatic assault
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rifles? and then let's vote to ban the high-capacity magazines that go with them. they are made for wars. they are not made to be in our schools, not in our cities. high-capacity magazines let killers fire dozens of rounds without having to frequently stop and reload. they're designed to let someone fire bullets at as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. so let's vote to ban high-capacity magazines and let's vote to pass universal background checks. that is something that is so commonsense, so obvious. too many people who should not get their hands on these weapons are easily able to get them, and there are so many loopholes. they allow people to buy
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semiautomatic assault rifles online where there are no background checks. they allow people to buy semiautomatic assault rifles at gun shows, where there are no background checks. it simply doesn't make sense that every person who buys a firearm doesn't go through a basic background check system. and you know who agrees with that? 97% of the american people. i can't think of any other issue where there is such near universal agreement across our entire population. so let's do what our constituents are demanding from us. not the n.r.a. is demanding from us. and vote to pass universal background checks. and when we do it, let's make sure that the effort is actually sincere. if we are only voting on
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universal background checks when it's tied to the issue of concealed carry reciprocity, then that is not a sincere attempt to fix our broken background check system. if congress is saying that we'll only pass universal background checks if we pass a new law that says a stranger from one state has to be allowed into my state or your state when he has a gun hidden under his jacket. that is an insult to 97% of the american people who want congress to pass universal background checks now. so let's finally vote to overturn the outrageous law that has banned the centers for disease control from even studying the issue of gun deaths,. the c.d.c. can study any other cause of death -- heart disease, cancer, car crashes, plane crashes -- unless it involves a gun. don't you think it's strange that when we debate this issue
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the two things related to gun violence that congress has actually banned in recent years are research, research on gun violence, and a ban on the a.t.f. from using computers to keep records. so let's vote to allow the c.d.c. to conduct research on gun violence, so we can finally have the information and the data we need to fight gun violence as effectively as possible. and let's also pass a law to finally make gun trafficking a federal crime. over and over again law enforcement officers kaoepl finding illegally obtained guns being used in crimes. numerous nypd officers have been killed by guns that were illegally obtained by criminals, and there is no federal -- there is literally no federal law to stop someone from loading his truck with guns in georgia,
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driving up the i-95 and selling them in a parking lot in the bronx directly to criminals and gang members. i have a bill that will make this illegal. it's called the hadiya pendleton and naisha pryor yard gun prevention and policy act. it is bipartisan because both parties agree that gun violence is a source of gun violence in our cities. this bill is named after naisha who i mentioned earlier, and another teenager from chicago who was also killed by a stray bullet. both guns in those crimes were trafficked. so let's pass this bill and finally make gun trafficking a federal crime. mr. president, if we're not trying to solve this problem now, then we are failing as
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elected leaders. congress must solve america's gun violence crisis now. it is urgent. our country is demanding it. americans deserve more from congress than just banning bump stocks, just fixing nics, which while i strongly support both of them, will not do enough on their own. so let us not fail our country again. mr. president, i would like to ask our colleagues to immediately vote to ban semiautomatic assault rifles and bump stocks, to pass universal background check system and close all of the loopholes, to allow the c.d.c. to research gun violence and cause of death, to close the gun show loophole, and to finally make federal
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trafficking a federal crime. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to give my remarks. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. two weeks ago the tragic incident in parkland, one of many that have impacted our country over the last decade and beyond, and both that community in parkland, the residents of the state of florida that i represent, and, frankly, the entire nation have demanded not just action, but immediate action. we know and anyone who watches this process is well aware that there are deep differences on how far and how much we should restrict the second amendment right of every american.
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we know that there are deep differences about whether or not some of those proposed restrictions work. and i imagine that those debates and those differences will not be easily resolved and will continue. but i also know that there is widespread support and agreement that we must act now as soon as possible to do everything we can to prevent another tragedy like parkland from happening anywhere else ever again. that is a consensus position. no matter where you fall on this debate, no matter how far or how restricted restrictions on gun sales in america should be, no matter what your views are on that, i don't know of anyone who is in favor of school shootings and i don't know of anyone who is in favor of seeing another one happen. there is common ground in that regard. and what i've tried to do overred the -- over the last
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couple of weeks is to try to determine what changes in federal law would not only prevented this attack but prevent future laws. i met with federal law enforcement investigators involved in not this case but gun law in general. i met with teachers and students from marjory stoneman douglas high school including two teachers injured in the attack. i met with school board administrators, the community at large including an appearance last week at a nationally televised town hall. i've been in constant contact with several of the parents of victims who lost their lives, and i've also spoken to experts in firearms sales. i've is spoken to a number of federally licensed firearms dealers that talk to you about some of the frustrations they have with our existing law and their inability to address people that ultimately turn out to be individuals who should not own any gun of any kind. and so based on these meetings, based on all of this input, based on all the other research that's out there leading to
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this, the first thing i want to say, i actually believe this attack could have and should have been prevented if current law had been fully enforced. this killer was a well-known danger. to the school district. he was a well-known danger to the broward sheriff's office. he was a well-known danger to his neighborhood. he was also the subject of two separate and specific warnings to law enforcement agencies, a call to the broward sheriff's office last november, a call to an f.b.i. hotline in january. in -- in essence, we're telling people, if you seeing is, say something. people saw something and they said something. other people saw it over a course of time, and yet somehow this deranged and violent individual passed a background check and purchased not one, but ten separate firearms and this deranged individual was able to
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walk right into school a few minutes before dismissal and take the lives of 17 innocent floridians. this tragedy is the result of a massive, multisystemic failure, a failure involving federal agencies, state agencies, local authorities who all failed to both identify the threat that he posed and coordinate a response to stop him before he took action. and it is this failure which i hope we will focus on by addressing the shortcomings and vulnerabilities in our current laws and in our current policies. we may still have a debate on the broader issues of gun sales, but irrespective of that debate, we still must and should do this. so today i wanted to come here and announce a comprehensive plan. not a simple bill that you just vote on and move on, but a series of measures that i believe could prevent these
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attacks before they happen and also help schools protect their students and their teachers. i believe these ideas should enjoy bipartisan support and, if passed, should and could help prevent the next potential mass shooting. these are details i outlined not just because they work but because i believe we can get the votes to pass them, 60 in the senate, and the majority in the house and signed by the president. these are ideas that i think will enjoy that widespread support. one of the things is that our schools are not prepared to prevent an attack. in my followup meeting with the teachers at the schools, i learned of changes to school facilities or practice that's could have stopped the attack or improved the response. therefore, i will join with senator orrin hatch and others to introduce the stop school violence act. if passed this will provide
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federal grants that will do important things that would have been helpful, strengthen security infrastructure, provide training for administrators, teachers, and even students to identify threats hand report them. something that would be helpful is school crisis intervention teams. there is a successful team in los angeles that does that. that is a team between law enforcement, other state agencies and the school district where they are talking to each other about students that may pose a threat of violence and intervene before they act. a second issue that we should identify is even if law enforcement, school administrators or families believes an individual could have an act of violence, they will be able to keep them from purchasing a gun or take away the guns they have. therefore i intend to introduce a few law, perhaps in
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coordination with others, that will lead to gun violence restraining order, something that will give family members an option to remove guns from individuals who pose a threat, and to be clear, the due process in such a situation would be on the front end, not on the back end. the third issue we uncovered is that federal law appears to discourage school systems from reporting dangerous students to law enforcement. i don't support criminalizing all school conduct or school misconduct, but a student who has threatened violence, who has exhibited violent behavior needs to be reported to law enforcement. a student that has qimentd a crime by use -- issuing a threat of death. that needs to be reported. under broward county school authorities, reporting a student, a dangerous one, to law enforcement is step six in their
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plan. therefore, i intend to propose changes to the federal youth promise program so that a school district plan under this program does not delay and does in the discourage law. from being alerted -- law enforcement from being alerted to dangerous or violent behavior. fourth, we need ton strengthen -- need to strengen background checks. fix nics will incentivize every state to fully report relevant information to the national background check database. because a background check is only as good as the information that is on it. and this deranged killer was able to buy guns on ten separate occasions because he would have passed any background check because none of this known about him was reported to that system. fifth, we must begin to prosecute the purchase of gun by people prohibited from doing so. next week i hope to be joining a
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bipartisan group led by senators toomey and coons in filing the lie and try bill. which will require the f.b.i. to notify states when someone who is not allowed to buy a gun tries to buy a gun and fails the background check so they can be investigated and prosecuted. in addition, we will provide a new law to go after straw purchases where someone buys a gun on behalf of someone else because that someone else could not pass the background check. there are additional reforms i'm open to, the possibility of looking the -- at the age limits of semiautomatic rifles, the notion of what could be done with high-capacity magazines. we will continue to explore and look at those. these do not enjoy the widespread support in congress that the other measures i have said do. these ideas will have to be crafted in a way that contribute
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to greater public safety but also do not unnecessarily or unfairly infringe on the second-amendment right of all law-abiding adults to hunt and participate in recreational shooting. but ultimately there are things that we can do that have widespread bipartisan support that we can act on, that we can get passed, that will actually make a difference. these are impactful things. i just urge the senate and the house, all of my colleagues here, do not hold hostage a piece of legislation that will work and that we all support because it doesn't have everything you want. there are things we can act on and do and there are things we can continue to argue over and debate and perhaps vote on in the future. but there are things that could have possibly prevented this attack and possibly future attacks, let's get it done.
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we owe it not just to the families and victims of parkland, but to all families. for this attack may have happened in southern floor but -- southern florida, but these attacks could happen somewhere else if we don't fix the laws and the way that they are enforced. we have learned from this incident what is wrong with this system and let us fix it and we have the opportunity to do so while we continue to debate and work on the issues that we do not agree on. that is what i hope we will do. that is what i hope and will do everything i can to achieve. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the question has -- has occurred on the quattlebaum nomination. there is a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk shall call the roll.
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