tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 12, 2018 2:00pm-4:01pm EST
mr. nelson: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: i ask consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: madam president, this is my farewell speech, and i thought it would do well to think back to the very first speech that i gave on the floor, my maiden speech. my maiden speech was about a couple of months after first
time being sworn in. i had waited back then -- this is 18 years ago. it was appropriate for freshman senators to wait a while. don't speak up right away. so i waited two or three months until it felt like it was the appropriate time. and i remember there was nobody out here. it was an empty chamber, and in the course of this speech -- and i picked the topic of the day. i think we were trying to balance the budget at the time, something that 18 years later we're still trying to do. and then in the course of the speech, i mentioned that it was my maiden speech. nobody out here except the
presiding officer. all of a sudden those doors swing open right there. and then in strides senator robert byrd. i was standing at a desk over there on the other side, and senator byrd's seat was either here or here. and so i finished my speech. and he says, will the senator from florida yield. of course i will yield. and senator byrd for 30 minutes gives an oration on the history of maiden speeches in the united states senate. so you can imagine that is nothing -- nothing i said was
memorable but it was certainly memorable to this senator that all of a sudden i would be treated to the corporate knowledge of one of th the lie - one of the lions of the senate in looking back at the history of this body. i want you to know that i'm a florida boy. my family came to florida from denmark in 1829. for those of you from the northeast, so many people come to florida from the northeast. well, my great, grea great-grandfather was a sailor, a teenager on a sailing ship, and he ended up in new york in a barroom brawl. he was frightened that he was going to be arrested. so he ran to hide. he ran down to the wharf.
he hid in a ship. and the ship cast off for port st. joe, florida, in 1829. so, you see, my family came to florida from new york also. five generations. another side -- on the other side of the family, i have a deed signed by woodrow wilson in 1917 to my grandparents after they had worked the land for the required four years, under the homestead act, the government would deed you 160 acres of land. it's the act that pushed the frontier so much further into the hinterlands and we especially think of it westward. that was also southward. that 160 acres of land is today
at the north end of the space shuttle runway at the kennedy space center. and i cannot imagine in that four-year period my grandparents swatting mosquitoes and fending off alligators and rattlesnakes, scratching out of the hard earth a land a living that they could survive. and yet that's the hearty stock from which this senator comes. grace and i have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. i stand before you today and i don't think anyone could have been more blessed. it's not easy when you take your leave from the people that you love and the work that you love,
and it causes a time of intention reflection -- of intense reflection. and so i reflected back to the time in late 1985 in a series of events over the course of the next few weeks, a tense time on the first launch attempt of the 24th flight of the space shuttle. we went down to t minus 8 seconds. i had braced my body for the ignition of the main engines at t minus 6.6. and all of a sudden i heard them calling over the intercom, we've stopped the count. we're recycling.
that launch was scrubbed that day. there was an indication by a sensor that a gam gimling motorn the thrusters of the solid rocket boosters was malfunctioning. and had that been the case, 9 seconds later we would not be going straight up. we would have been cartwheeling. so we were led off for christmas. came back into quarantine in the latter part of december and tried the next launch attempt only to go down to 31 seconds. and the count stopped and an alert supervisor on the consoles of the launch center had noticed that the lock slide was getting too cold. and they checked.
a mistaken override of the computer had occurred, and 18,000 pounds of liquid oxygen had been drained. and had we launched 31 seconds later, we would not have had enough fuel to get to orbit, and it would have caused the greatest of the ability of our commander, a navy now captain retired robert gibson to land a fully loaded spacecraft on a short runway at the car senegal or morone, spain. so we tried the third time. this time the count was called off for some external reason. each of these times we're in -- strapped in, ready to go.
and at this point i think it was the weather was not cooperating over in africa. so it's called off. what they found out that night when they drained the tanks, they found that a temperature probe on the ground support equipment had flowed through the oxygen line and flowed into the vehicle and was stuck in a prevalve right next to one of the three main engines. had we launched that morning, the fourth try, in this case the third try, we would have gotten to orbit, time for main engine
cutoff and one of the three engines would not have cutoff. it would have blown the rear end of the orbiter apart. so now, a few days later, it's a friday. we try for the fourth time. and this time we're in the middle of a driving florida rainstorm. we run from the crew van to the launch tower to get into the elevator out of the pouring rain. we're strapped in ready to go waiting for a hole to punch through and now the rainstorm has turned into a driving florida lightning storm. and we're sitting on top of all that liquid hydrogen. and so they finally call off the
launch the fourth try. and the fifth try sunday morning, it's a beautiful day, we launch into an almost flawless six-day mission only to return to earth and ten days later challenger launches and blows up high in the florida s sky. under circumstances of cold weather that almost exactly duplicated the first launch attempt back on december 19. intense reflection. why was i spared? now upon intense reflection, i think i'm beginning to see. because it has been the great
honor of my life to serve our country and the people of florida. first in the army. then in the state legislature. then in the congress, as state treasury and now 18 years in the senate. i've tried to serve our country admirably and with integrity. because i believe that a public office is a public trust. and through this journey i have been so fortunate to have experienced so many unique corners of this country that all of us here love. i've seen the sunshine through the pine trees, the oaks, and the orange groves of florida. i've hunted alligators and
pythons in the everglades. i've jogged the sands of just about every florida beach from pensacola to the keys. and, of course, i strapped in to a million pounds to launch to the heavens and to see our planet from a way that very few others have. you've heard me talk about that as i describe our environment and how beautiful this planet is from the window of a spacecraft. and of course these experiences in this country, it's the american people. it's every one of us. it's our fellow citizens, the teachers, the soldiers, the factory workers, the moms, the dads, the students, the farmers,
those are the ones that have inspired me to dedicate a life to public service. and those folks have been my strength. as they or of ten your strength. -- as they are often your strength. it's the person people who have kept me going for the past 46 years of public service. and while i have experienced the highs and lows of serving in the senate, it is often the small, unnoticed steps toward progress that have made this journey worthwhile. i am most happy with some of the work that's been done to help individuals. i want to mention just a few.
to christine levinson and her family, we've worked tirelessly to bring bob levinson home. i have come to this floor for 11 years and said that if iran does not have bob, they know where to find him. it's our responsibility to see that bob, a man who served this country and the f.b.i. for 30 years, is finally reunited with his wife and seven children and his grandchildren. another example, it's been a pleasure to work with rochelle of jacksonville and the family of crew members who perished at sea when their cargo ship sank while sailing into the path of a hurricane in 2015.
and as a result of that terrible tragedy, we're able to enact into law key maritime safety reforms, including requiring ocean-going vessels to be outfitted with distress beacons and equipment to locate lost seafarers. there are many ways to get things done around here. sometimes it requires the bully pulpit and confronting people to correct an injustice. and you notice, these, as i said, are often little things that people don't notice a lot. take the case of bob "peachhead" mitchell of tampa who was a part of the negro league of baseball, and he fought for years to get major league baseball to provide
compensation to former negro league ballplayers who were excluded from the majors balls of their race. and yet they were some of the best players. and when jackie robinson integrated the majors in 1947, the rest of the majors were not integrated until 1959. and all those negro league players were still playing, and they never got the compensation. it took three years of cajoling and had a -- and haranguing to get the major league baseball commissioner to do the right thing and give the elderly former ballplayers their due. then sam snowe comes to mind, who for most of his life had
paid a terrible price for the injustice done when the army wrongfully convicted him and 27 other black soldiers participating in a 1944 riot in seattle that resulted in the lynching of an italian prisoner of war. and when the army finally admitted its mistake some decades later, they refused to give those soldiers compensation for their lost pay and the time they spent in prison. and once i heard about it, i kept on the army until they paid the veterans their back pay, plus interest. so we all deal in legislation. so as for the business of legislation, think about some of the things that we wrote.
we in florida wrote legislation protecting florida's beaches. our tourism-driven economy, and our wildlife from the dangers of offshore oil drilling. we passed -- we, the democratic caucus, passed groundbreaking legislation that medically insured folks in this country, and that was 22 million americans in this country and in my state over 1.7 million people. we ensured that they had health care and health insurance. and, interestingly, because of the protection on preexisting
conditions, just in the state of florida alone, 8 million people have preexisting conditions, and they are now protected because of the law, and it also eliminated the lifetime caps on coverage. and know the fights -- and you know the fights we've had. ever since we started that day in the finance committee, after the dog days of august when you couldn't have a town hall meeting in 2009 because of the disruptions, and we came in inin september in the finance committee and wrote that bill and it took every member of the democratic caucus, 60-strong then, to be able to pass it. and now millions and millions of people have health insurance that never had it before. and untold millions more that have a preexisting condition are
protected. we wrote the blueprint that has reinvigorated our space program and brought new space companies and high-paying jobs to our country and to florida. in you are a lifetime -- in our lifetime, we are going to see humankind set foot on other celestial bodies beside the moon, and that legislation could not have been passed without a bipartisan effort. we fought to help folks get the resources they need to recover in the aftermath of major hurricanes that savaged people's lives and property, and we worked to make higher education more affordable by capping
interest rates for student loans, and we've secured billions of dollars of funding for projects all over america to preserve the environment and will help restore and is restoring florida's environmental treasure, the everglades. and the list goes on and on. but the setbacks temper the successes. we've seen constant attempts to disenfranchise voters and to make it more difficult for every american to have their voice heard at the ballot box. and then, of course, the court's 2010 decision opened the floodgates and allowed the wealthiest americans to spend unlimited amounts of money to
influence our elections and corrupt our democracy. and what has happened? what in the world has happened to civility and to humility in our nation's public discourse? where are our servant leaders who seek to serve instead of being served? so we still have much work to do. we need now, more than ever, to focus on building the kind of relationships here in washington that can solve the great problems that our nation faces. and i caution our colleagues and i caution those who will join this body to resist the pulls of
partisan acrimony and the forces that seek to divide us. tribalism is our problem. and if not corrected, it's going to take our country down. and i know i'm just another senator saying what a lot of senators that are departing are saying. as we all here remember right over at that desk there, john mccain in one of his last senate addresses that he could stand said the same thing. now, some of my fondest memories in the senate have been with those who sit on the other side of that center aisle, and because of this, i know that while republicans and democrats
may disagree on policy, we have a lot to unify us in our values and principles that we share. and so my parting words are that there's no greater challenge for this senate than to have the moral courage to choose country over party or over power, to choose justice instead of the few, justice for all, and to give others respect instead of condemnation. those of us who are fortunate enough to serve in this senate are also confronted daily by a set of obligations that we have when we take on this title of u.s. senator. we have an obligation to the
people of this nation to do everything within our power to uphold the country's democratic institutions and to insist that the truth guide our public discussions. even if doing so comes at the cost of short-term political loss. we as senators have been given unique -- uniquely given the responsibility to provide advice and consent to the executive branch, and we must take this charge seriously and with independence from another branch. we must uphold the rule of law, and in doing so we must affirm that no one person is above the
law. there are a great many challenges that our country faces, and i call upon all of those of you who serve in this senate to act with moral courage when these obligations come calling in the future. as i depart, i'm putting my trust in you. i trust you to work on behalf of the countless numbers who do not have a voice in this chamber. i count on you to give a voice for our brothers and sisters in puerto rico who are long overdue for representation. i trust you'll fight to make health care more accessible and more cost-effective, to keep rigs off of our coast, and to
make higher education more affordable for everyone. and i trust you'll work to protect our environment from pollution and to continue the restoration of our everglades. and, above all, i trust you act with integrity to unite americans for the common wheel. to the people of america, you in this senate must be a beacon of light in a time when it seems that darkness is increasingly gathering in our politics. you must remember that your voices and your actions will face and help shape the future. you have the power to make our
discourse more civil and to create change. now, to our staff both in the office and the commerce committee, you all are like family. you're like family to grace and to me, and i'm grateful for the work that you do day in and day out for the people of florida. you are all hard working, you're dedicated, you're loyal public servants. none of what we do around here would be possible were it not for each of you. madam president, i request a list of all staffers who have been a part of our senate family over these 18 years be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: to my wife grace and
our children bill and nan ellen, i'm so grateful for the support you've provided throughout the years. the journey has been a joy. i leave this senate today filled with hope for the future and the fondest memories of my fellowship with great friends here. but i admit, it is hard to leave the friends and the work that i love. i intend to keep fighting for all that i've talked about in this short final speech, and i intend to keep fighting for florida. when it comes down to it, i'm just a country boy who loves serving my state and our country for all of my life. it's been an incredible honor.
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: madam president, we just heard the words of the senior senator from my state, and i want to take a moment because it reminds me of a truthism that came to mind as i heard him speak and i reflect back on our almost eight years of service here together now. you know, political divisions have existed in our country since its very beginning. what has changed is that there was a time not so very long ago when americans knew each other, when americans had political differences but they also served on the p.t.a. board together, when we disagreed about who to vote for but we coached each
other's kids in little league or we were members of the same church and worshipped together or we lived side by side as neighbors. and so when all you know about someone is who they voted for or what their political positions are, it's easy to dislike them. but when you know them as a fellow parent, as a neighbor, as your children's coach, as someone you live side by side with, then you know them as a person. and it's a lot easier to dislike a political opponent than it is to dislike the whole person. and i raise that with you because i'm very proud of the relationship, the working relationship that we've had in our eight years here together. one of the things that made that possible is that i knew bill nelson as a person. if all i knew about him was that he and i did not always vote the same way on every issue, that's what most people know about us
who serve here. that's one of the challenges that we so often face. the men and women we represent in our respective parties and in our respective political leanings, they usually only know about our colleagues on the three minutes they may see them on a television interview. but we get to know each other as people. we get to know each other outside of politics. and i knew bill nelson, and i know bill nelson as a person and as a man. now i'm an enormous admirer of his knowledge of florida. he knows every nook and cranny of the state. i recall -- he'd probably remember this -- but we were together on a coast guard aircraft after one of our storms, and as we overflew the state from above, he was like pointing out and identifying down to the street level every corner of the geography of the state. and i remember thinking, you
know, i've been in florida politics for awhile. i know the state fairly well, and he knew it down to the street level. and so to try to keep pace, i went back and opened up the atlas and tried to replicate 25, 30 years of state service to try to at least be in the same neighborhood as he is in in his knowledge of our state. it was incredibly impressive. it wasn't something he memorized by looking at a book, though. it was back he had been to all of these places at some point during his service to our state. i would say that certainly in the last quarter century there has been no greater champion not just for florida's space industry, but for the space program. not just for nasa but for all of it. for the belief that great nations do great things, that they explore the heavens. and there has been no greater champion for it. and his leaving the senate will be a tremendous loss and will require all of us to work harder to ensure that america remains a
nation active and engaged in space. but above all else, i knew him and know him as a good man, and i emphasize the word man because i think oftentimes we have developed in our modern culture a warped sense of what it truly takes to a strong, good person. we live in an era in which we celebrate pride and arrogance. but i have learned through example, watching him up close that bill nelson is a man of the kind of humility that our common faith tries to instill in us. he's a man in a time when it's so easy to be indifferent to the suffering of others. bill nelson in his service years has been a man of compassion. he told you a handful of stories. there are so many more of real human beings who he has stayed engaged in cases involving them without cameras, without press, without bumper stickers, without
documentaries or any sort of recognition that so often people seek in the political process. we live in a time in which being crude and abrasive is celebrated as strength while decency is oftentimes ridiculed as weakness. but bill nelson has been an example of decency. i cannot recall a single time in our eight years of service together in which he did anything to harm me or embarrass me or in any way create unnecessary conflict, in fact any conflict at a personal level. in fact i would say that the worst thing he ever did to me was he once in front of an audience accused me of being a moderate. it goes further than that. our staffs would travel together across the state, and sometimes people would be shocked by it. they were aghast when my regional director and his
regional director would share a ride to wind up at an event together as if somehow republicans and democrats are supposed to be allergic to one another when in fact in the end no matter how we view our politics, we're all going to be in this nation for the rest of our lives so we better figure out a way to work together on the issues that will impact us all. and so i will greatly miss the opportunity to continue to serve with him, but i know that his service to our nation and our state is not finished. i know he will find new endeavors. i know this simply because he is not one that's going to sit back and rest and reflect. he's going to keep working, and i'm excited to see what god's plans are for the rest of his years. and i believe there will be many more, because despite the differences in our date of birtt he's old. i'm saying that he's older than i am. he can probably still beat me. in fact he probably can always
beat me in a pull-up contest or push-up contest. this is not an exaggeration. this is true, which is why i never challenged him to one. i will miss greatly working with him in the senate but look forward to working with him beyond it. this i think is no exaggeration. when the history of florida politics as it is written, the name bill nelson will be among the giants of florida political history. for few who have ever served at any level have done more for longer in the service to the people of the sunshine state than the senior senator who moments ago bid his farewell to a place and a chamber where he's done so much good for our state, for our nation, and for the world. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, i rise to honor our friend bill
nelson. as a member of the commerce committee, i've been able to see firsthand his leadership and have learned a lot from him. i think we all heard his heartfelt remarks about what he loves. he loves this service. he loves grace up there and his family. he loves his staff. and he loves everything about the state of florida. and service for him was of course service in the army and service as an astronaut and service in the state government, in congress, and in the u.s. senate. and i first met bill in minnesota. i'm not sure he remembers this but i do because it was like one of the first senators i met outside of a minnesota senator. and he came to help my good friend, paul wellstone. and i remember what struck me immediately about him was how kind he was and how warm he was. now part of that of course, the
warmth was that he was bringing from florida. and our states have maybe you wouldn't think a lot in common. but what you might not know, madam president, is that there are entire beaches in florida filled with minnesotans in the winter months, perhaps even entire towns. but in this point he had come to our state. so it was no surprise then when i first got elected and we got to washington that bill and grace were so welcoming to our family. they got me involved in the prayer breakfast which has meant a lot to me, through my years in the senate it has been such a comfort. and i've gotten to know so many people really because of their encouragements. i've gotten to know bill's leadership firsthand as i mentioned on the commerce committee. i was talking to his staff about all the things we did on that committee. i see senator mccaskill here who also served with us. senator thune, the chairman. i remember when bill took on all
kinds of consumer issues time and time again. 911 system, fraud and abuse, taking on the issues that matter to people in their daily lives. and then bigger things: modernizing our space program, our aviation policies, responding to disasters, climate change. i remember once he said this, i have seen the blue brilliance of the earth from the edge of the heavens, and i will fight on to save this planet. but what i most will remember bill by is his incredible marriage to grace. at a time when it's not easy to be in the senate and make sure you keep your relationship strong, and grace of course was in leadership in her own way in the senate spouse clubs. when i was down there a few months ago, grace told this really nice story when we were in jacksonville about how my
daughter had played piano at grace's encouragement when they had the senate spouse event, and they smartly decided to have kids of senators perform. i remember it a different way. i remember that the kids that were performing were of course their own daughter, nan ellen, who is a beautiful singer and sings "god bless america" to major stadiums. i remember trent lott's son who is a professional country western singer, performing. and then i remember that my husband had raised his hand and volunteered that our 13-year-old daughter would play piano when she's not even that good at it. we got to the event. all senators are there. and grace is just smiling like we're about to see, you know, liberace perform. and abigail is sitting there with her music with little post-it notes on and harry reid calls her up and says the next to perform is abigail. she has been playing piano since
she was six years old. and i wanted to say but she only practices a half an hour a week. she gets up there, pounds it out, stands up and says now i'm going to play a song that i made up. no. and she played this song, and it actually wasn't that bad. and the first one there to greet her was grace, and grace says that was so beautiful, abigail. perhaps tomorrow at the luncheon you'll just want to play the second song. grace was so sweet to her and to our family, and really, to call of the spouses and everyone that she worked with. so i think when we think of bill, we also think of grace. and it has been my honor to work with both of them and to respect both of them. and as senator rubio said, we know that there are many great things ahead. so, thank you, bill, thank you, grace. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i
rise today to thank and honor our colleague and the ranking member of the committee on commerce, science, and transportation, senator bill nelson. bill nelson has served the people of florida, as has been mentioned by some of my colleagues, for this nation spanning more than four decades. i've been horred to have bill nelson as a colleague from my first day in the senate, and for the last four years as a partner in an especially successful working relationship at the commerce committee. over this time we fostered a can-do spirit with committee colleagues that drove nearly 100 committee legislative accomplishments. together we worked on policy for our nature's future in technology, aviation, ocean management, surface transportation, scientific research, space, and many other areas. senator nelson exited an
especially extraordinary passion for prioritizing safety, the future of manned space flight, and unshakable belief that powerful companies should be held to account when consumers aren't treated fairly. certainly in the instances where we used the authorities of our committee to demand answers about cybersecurity failures, troubling privacy violations, and the scourge of illegal robo calling, i always knew that senator nelson had my back. we're both passionate about serving the people of our respective states, and i won't soon forget my visit with bill to the everglades where he clearly in his element introduced me to some alligators and some unwelcomed python squatters, who nonetheless love florida too, and i have a photo of bill holding on to one of those big snakes and makes our rattlesnakes in south dakota
look small by comparison. certainly in instances when we use the authorities of our committee to demand answers about all these other important issues, we worked closely together. and i was pleased not only to have senator nelson in florida, to join him in florida, but also to welcome him in south dakota to show him some of the issues important to our state. i had the privilege of showing senator nelson on a very cold october day mount rushmore. and i remember as we were walking up there the wind was flowing, -- blowing, as it typically does in south dakota, 40 miles per hour, and it was very cold and i know he spends a great deal of time in florida where many of my constituents, like senator klobuchar's spend their winters, that it felt especially cold to him. but we had a chance to go underground and look at some of
the tunnels of the gold mines tunnels that are part of the engineering laboratory. i remember thinking at the time that senator nelson is the only senator that has been in space, so he's been thousands and thousands and thousands of miles in space, now he's been 5,000 feet under ground too, and there aren't many people who can say that. but bill's work in the senate and commerce committee has left a legacy. i also want to acknowledge his outstanding staff team who have supported his efforts. he mentioned them. but my -- i and my staff have had the opportunity to work closely with his staff, and they are the very best and true pro be federals in every sense -- professionals in every sense of the world. i'm grateful for the work we've been able to do together, as your colleague from florida, senator rubio, pointed out, you will, as you not only leave this place, but continue your life in florida continue to impact that
state as you have so much in the past. i want to wish senator nelson and his wife grace all the best as they head to more long sunny days in their beloved home state. so, madam president, with that, i yield the floor. mr. cruz: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today to recognize my distinguished colleague and friend senator bill nelson. he has represented the people of florida in the united states senate for 18 years now. today it may seem that there's very little that unites people of different parties in this congress. it may seem a strange notion to say good things about your political rivals and opponents,
but this is america. i think the day will never come where men and women of honest hearts and good faith cannot come together and find common goals worth fighting for together. bill and i have served together on the senate armed services committee and on the senate commerce committee, but the principal area bill and i have had the privilege of working closely together concerns space. bill and i have worked hand in hand promoting and protecting america's program of space exploration, supporting the critical institutions in the state of texas, in the state of florida, and throughout the country that have made our country a world leader in space. and it has been a true bipartisan partnership. both bill and i believe that america is and should be going
forward the leader in space, that we have a responsibility and that there are great and glorious things to accomplish for mankind through space exploration. in this time of bitter partisan division, of nasty personal rivalries, we've been able to see true bipartisan cooperation. we worked together hand in hand on the 2015 commercial space bill, passed that into law, signed into law by president obama. we worked hand in hand on the nasa authorization act of 2017, worked hand in hand, passed that into law, signed into law by president trump. there are very few major substantive areas that have major legislation, one signed by obama and one signed by trump, and i think that's a reflection of the bipartisan cooperation we
have seen. we worked hand in hand on the space frontier act and we're working together to extend the operation of the international space station to 2030. that accomplishment, that cooperation is good for america, it's good for our leadership in space. i've got to say i'm still jealous, that unlike senator nelson, i haven't been on an actual trip to space for a hands-on experience, but i suppose anything can happen. and, bill, i promise you, our work will continue. america's leadership in space will continue. we will persevere and constantly show those who say that it can't be done, that there is still the will to drive to explore to create, to learn and search the unknown for answers. bill, you're right, i believe that in our lifetime a human being will step foot on the
surface of mars and that the first boot that lands on the red planet will be an american boot of an american astronaut planting the flag of the united states of america. there is still a will in our nation to tame the stars and behold the wonders of creation even closer. and i will say that spirit of exploration also inspires generations of little boys and little girls who look to the skies and wonder, what if? we cannot limit our gaze to the earth blow us -- below us, it isn't in our nature. i will say finally, in addition to his commitment to space leadership, and i would note in addition to bill's bipartisan cooperation, his team worked hand in hand with my team to pass meaningful legislation to find compromises that would make
it not just through the senate but through the house and signed into law. and the members of his staff were skilled and dedicated partners in producing those results. but i'll tell you beyond that, on a very personal level, bill is a good man. just a moment ago when i congratulated him on his farewell speech, he chuckled and said, i may have one of the only people who has taken you to dinner. and you, you -- and, you know, back in 2013, my first year in this body, it was a tumultuous time. we were in the midst of battles where more than a few bare-knuckled punches were thrown around and right in the midst of that, why don't you come out and have dinner with grace and me. and we went out and had a delightful relaxing and engaging dinner where we didn't talk
about policies, we talked as three human beings privileged to have a chance to serve our country. it was a gesture of friendship we all know harry truman famously said, if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog. well, that has not been the way bill nelson took on politics. we have had friendships and it has worked for florida and the united states. bill, it has been privilege to work with you and i look forward to continue to work with you in the years ahead in your next chapter. it's an honor to serve with you, and i yield the floor.
sawnd sawnd madam president. -- mr. sanders: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i move to proceed to s.j. res. 54. the presiding officer: the question is on the measure. mr. sanders: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
senator wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 60. the nays are 39. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the measure. the clerk: calendar number 682, s.j. res. 54, joint resolution to direct the removal of united states armed forces from hostilities in the republic of yemen that have not been authorized by congress. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: could we have order in the chamber. the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i believe there are problems with the law governing the consideration of these types of resolutions. one of the biggest is the consideration of amends. -- amendments. i have a series of parliamentary inquiries that i think will help clarify the problems with the statute. parm meantry inquiry. does this statute provide any guidelines for the consideration
of amendments on this resolution? the presiding officer: no, it does not. the statute does not set forth the text to be used in the joint resolution and this statute uses the expedited procedures from the arms export control act, a statute which does not allow amendments and so there are no parameters for the consideration of amendments built into the language. mr. mcconnell: i believe that most times the senate uses expedited procedures. we have either a germaneness requirement for amendments or they cannot be amended. can the chair expound on what sum of those are and what that concept means in the senate? the presiding officer: generally speaking when the senate considers a measure under statutory expedited procedures like the budget act, the congressional review act, the trade act or arms control act or even under the cloture rule, there are guardrails for the consideration of the measure and for amendments thereto. there are statutes and rules
with prescribed text, limits on debate time, jurisdictional offenses, filing deadlines and germaneness requirements or a complete prohibition on amendments. often there are points or waivers written into the structure as well. the senate trades its normal procedure of unfettered debate and amendment and need for 60 votes to end debate and consideration. far more predictable structured and streamlined procedure for consideration and a majority threshold vote. mr. mcconnell: in the opinion of the chair is the statute with no end point for consideration and no restrictions on text or amendments consistent with the other expedited procedures which the senate often uses. the presiding officer: no. this construct is inconsistent with the conseptembers embodied in other expedited processes, even those that are themselves flawed and the opportunity for abuse of this process is limitless. mr. mcconnell: i think the senate should speak to this
issue. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. a senator: i think it is important when using expedited procedures, especially on matters of national -- i'll repeat myself. especially on matters of national security, such as this. the senate limit consideration to the matter at hand. therefore, i raise a point of order that amendments offered under 50u.s.c., 15-46-a must be germane to the underlying joint resolution to which they are offered. the presiding officer: the laws governing the consideration of this type of resolution do not prescribe would type of amendments can be cshed. the senate has not previously considered this question. therefore, the chair submits the question to the senate for its decision. shall amendments offered under 50u.s.c., 1456a be germane to
the underlying joint resolution to which they are offered. the question is debatable for one hour. mr. corker: i choose to yield back time if that's possible. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: just wanted clarification. was it section'' you were right -- was it section -- you were right. thanks. the presiding officer: without objection, all time is yielded. the question is, shall amendments offered under 50u.s.c. sphaiz 1546a be germane to the underlying joint resolution to which they are offered. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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