tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 12, 2018 4:00pm-9:24pm EST
mr. sanders: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i ask unanimous consent to use an oversized floor display. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about one of the great humanitarian crises facing our planet, and that is the horrific war in yemen. in march of 2015, under the leadership of mohammad bin mohan constitutional solomon, who was therein the saudi arabian defense minister and is now of course the crown prince, saudi arabia and the united air be a emirates intervened in the ongoing civil war. as a result of the saudi-u.a.e.
intervention, yemen is now experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. according to the united nations, yemen is at risk of the most severe famine in more than 100 years. with some 14 million people facing starvation. in one of the poorest countries on earth as a result of this terrible war, according to the save the children organization, some 85,000 yemeni children have already starved to death over the last several years and millions more face starvation if the war continues. further, yemen is currently experiencing the worst cholera
outbreak in the world, with as many as 10,000 new cases each week, according to the world health organization. this is a disease spread by infected water that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and will only accelerate the death rate. the cholera outbreak has occurred because saudi bombs have destroyed yemen's water infrastructure, and people there are no longer able to access clean water. mr. president, last week "new york times" columnist nicholas kristiff wrote an article which i urge all members to read describing his recent visit to yemen, and i ask unanimous consent that the article be included in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: let me just take
this opportunity to quote some of what he said on that december 7 "new york times" article. and i quote -- some 85,000 children may have already died here in yemen, and 12 million more people may be on the brink of starvation. casualties, in part of the three-year-old-backed united nations war in a yemen. officials warn that this would be the worst famine the world has sandinistan a generation. quote, the risk of a major catastrophe is very high, end quote, mark lococh told me. in the worst case, what we have in yemen now has the potential to be worse than anything, any professional in this field has seen during their working lives,
end quote. mark lococh from the united nations. nicholas kristof continues, "what is most infuriate is that the hunger is caused not by drought or extreme weather but by cynical and failed policies in riyadh and washington. the starvation does not seem to be an accidental by-product of war but, rather, a weapon in it. saudi arabia and the u.a.e. backed by the united states are trying to inflict pain to gain leverage over and destabilize the houthi rebels. the reason the ruths are alive -- the houthis are alive with iran. kristof continues, and i quote, the problem in emwhyen is not so much a shortage of food as it is an economic collapse.
g.d.p. has fallen in half since the war started. that has left people unable to afford food. and, quote, kristof tips -- -- kristof continues, quote, we think of war casualties as men with their legs blown off. but in yemen, the most common war casualties are children like far a's who suffer malnutrition, end quote. continues, some will die. even the survivors may suffer lifelong brain damage. a majority of yemen children are now believed to be physically stunted from malnutrition. let me repeat that. a majority of yemen children are now believed to be physically stunted from malnutrition. 46% were stunted even before the
war, and physical stunting is frequently accompanied by diminished brain development. quote, these children are the future of yemen, end quote, dr. adolf hussein, a nutrition specialist, told me looking at fawaz. quote, he will be stunted. how do he do in school, end quote. the war and lack of health care facilities have also led to outbreaks of deadly diseases, like diphtheria and cholera. half of the country's clinics and hospitals are closed. end of quote from nick kristof of "the new york times." the fact of the matter is that the united states, with very little media attention, has been saudi arabia's partner in this horrific war. we have been providing the bombs the saudi-led coalition is
using, refueling their planes before they drop those bombs, and assisting with intelligence. in too many cases, our weapons are being used to kill civilians. in august there was an american-made bomb that obliterated a school bus full of young boys, killing dozens and wounding many others. a cnn report found evidence that american weapons have been used in a string of such deadly attacks on civilians since the war began. according to independent monitoring group, yemen data project, between 2015 and march 2018, more than 30% of the saudi-led coalition's targets have been nonmilitary. a few weeks ago in my office, i met with several brave human rights activists from yemen that had come to urge congress to put a stop to this war.
and they told me clearly when yemenis see "made in u.s.a." on the bombs that are killing them, it tells them that the u.s.a. is responsible for this war. and that is the sad truth. mr. president, the bottom line is the united states should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a dangerous and irresponsible military policy. some have suggested that congress moving to withdraw support from this war would undermine u.n. efforts to reach a peace agreement, but i would argue that the exact opposite is the truth. it is the promise of unconditional u.s. support for the saudis that has undermined the efforts toward peace. and we have evidence for this. just yesterday we received news
that the u.n. special envoy richard griffiths made a breakthrough agreement in the exchange for that war of some 15,000 prisoners, a significant development. this is an important step in building the necessary trust for a broader peace agreement. published today in t.r.t. world observes, quote, there seems to be a firmer willingness to reach an agreement than in previous talks as the yemeni government realizes that the international pressure on its back of saudi arabia is growing. our effort to move this resolution forward may have already made a positive impact, and i thank all of my 18 cosponsors and all of the many civil society organizations. progressive and conservative who have worked so hard to raise
awareness of this horrific conflict. mr. president, above and beyond the humanitarian crisis, this war has been a disaster for our national security and for the security of the region. the administration defends our engagement in yemen by overstating iranian support for the houthi rebels. let me be clear, iran's support for houthis is of serious concern for me and i believe for all of us. but the fact is that the relationship between iran and the houthis has only been strengthened with the intensification of the war. this war is creating the very problem the trump administration claims to want to solve. further, the war is also undermining the broader effort against violent extremists.
a 2016 state department report found that the conflict has helped al qaeda and isis deepen their inroads across much of the country. so this war, as i see it, is both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster. further, and i think it's important to state what everybody knows although we don't talk about it terribly often, that saudi arabia is a despotic regime controlled by one family, the saud family, one of the wealthiest and most powerful families on earth. in a 2017 report by the cato institute, a conservative think tank, saudi arabia was ranked 149th out of 159 countries for freedom and human rights.
for decades the saudis have funded schools, mosques who promote an extreme form of islam known as wahhibism. mr. president, in saudi arabia today women are not treated as second-class citizens. they are treated as third-class citizens. women still need, in the year 2018, the permission of a male guardian to go to school or to get a job. they have to follow a strict dress code and can be stoned to death for adultery or flogged for spending time in the company of a man who is not their relative. earlier this year saudi activist lujan al pathwa, a leader in the fight for women's rights in
saudi arabia, was kidnapped from abu dhabi and forced to return to the country. she is currently being held without charges. the same is true of many other saudi political activists. human rights watch recently reported that imprisoned women activists have been subjected to torture, including electric shocks and other forms of physical and sexual assault. further, as every member of the senate knows or should know, there is now overwhelming evidence that saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman was responsible for the brutal murder of jamal khashoggi, a saudi dissident who lived in the united states who was a columnist for "the washington post" and made the mistake of going into the saudi consulate
in turkey, never came out alive. and we believe that his body was dismembered and nobody knows where it is. unbelievably, president trump continues, despite the overwhelming evidence of the crown prince's involvement in the murder of a man living in the united states, a saudi dissident journalist, president trump continues to proclaim his love and affection for the crown prince and the saudi regime. but that is not how, in my view, the american people feel. mr. president, for too many years american men and women in our military have put their lives on the line in the never-ending struggle for democracy and human rights. and we cannot and must not turn
their struggles, their sacrifices aside in order to follow the military adventurism of a despotic regime. that is not what this country is supposed to be about. finally, an issue that has been of long concern to many of us, conservatives and progressives, is that this war has not been authorized by congress and is, therefore, unconstitutional. article 1 of the constitution clearly states that it is congress, not the president, that has the power to send our men and women into war. congress, not the president. the framers of our constitution,
the founders of this country gave the power to declare war to congress, the branch most accountable to the people, not to the president who is often isolated from the reality of what is taking place in our communities. but the truth is, and democratic and republican presidents are responsible, and democratic and republican congresses are responsible, and that is that for many years congress has not exercised its constitutional responsibility over whether or not our young men and women go off to war. and i think there is growing sentiment all over this country from republicans, from democrats, from independents, from progressives, from conservatives that the time is
now that congress cannot continue to abdicate its constitutional responsibility. mr. president, i believe 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 over 17 years, the longest war in american history. our troops are now in syria under what i believe are questionable authorities. the time is long overdue for congress to reassert its constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war. if you want to vote for a war, vote for a war. if you want to vote against a war, vote against the war. but we as a congress have got to accept our constitutional responsibility. that is ours, not the
president's of the united states. and this resolution, mr. president, provides that opportunity. it finally says that in this one war in yemen, this terrible, horrific war, that congress is prepared to act, and i hope very much that all of us will seize this opportunity. mr. president, for the sake of starving children in yemen, for the sake of what this country stands for in terms of democracy and human rights and not following the leadership of a despotic authoritarian regime, for the sake of the united states constitution and the fact that it is congress and not the president that has the authority to make war, for all of these reasons and more, mr. president,
i ask strong support for this important resolution. and with that, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator for most of the comments that he made. i think they were made very eloquently, and i share many of the same concerns that the senator has. i voted to cause this to come out of committee because i felt like this discussion on the senate floor needed to take place. the senator from vermont knows i've got concerns about using this vehicle to do it, but by causing this debate to take place many of the concerns that the senator has expressed will be expressed by others, and i agree with many of those. saudi arabia has not conducted this war in a manner, in my
opinion, that takes into account the great harm that is taking place with civilians. i agree with that 100%. i am more than nonplussed over the fact that i believe -- and i've sat at a re -- very detailed, very detailed, very detailed intelligence review of what happened with the journalist, the consulate in turkey. and i absolutely believe that if the crown prince came before a jury here in the united states of america, he would be convicted guilty, and under 30 minutes. i absolutely believe he directed it. i believe he monitored it. and i believe he is responsible for it. so i have had concerns about using this vehicle, and i have concerns about the fact that what this may mean as we set a precedent about refueling and
intelligence activities being considered hostilities. i'm concerned about that. and i think the senator knows that we have operations throughout northern africa where we're working with other governments on intelligence to counterterrorism -- counter terrorism and we're doing refueling activities in northern africa now, and it concerns me, he knows i have concerns that if we use this vehicle, we may have 30 or 40 instances where this vehicle might be used to do something that really should not be dealt with by the war powers act. now i will say the strong passage of the germaneness issue that we just dispensed with helps. it helps a great deal, so that now in the future if this particular vehicle is utilized, we now know that we set the precedent that only germane issues can be brought up. and i did have concerns, and
we've now solved those, that other issues might be brought up and all of a sudden the leaders would lose control of the floor. i would like to see members have more votes. i agree with this. but i think we've now narrowed this in a very appropriate way. the senator and i have discussed a resolution that is separate and apart from this. separate and apart from this. i have agreed with senators on the other side of the aisle that i will not introduce that resolution until this issue has been dispensed with. i do hope we'll have a unanimous vote on it to strongly condemn the crown prince of saudi arabia for the actions that he has taken relative to killing the journalist, the journalist who is a resident of the united states, has children living here in the consulate in turkey. that is a separate, separate
issue that i hope we will take up almost immediately after we dispense with this. but i want to thank the senator for his concern. i share many of those. we have some legal concerns right now about using this vehicle, and he knows that. and i am concerned about where this goes down the road, and we'll have some amendments that we'll deal with over the next day or so that may clear that up to a degree. but i just want to say to him even though we have legal concerns about this particular process, i thank him for his concern for the citizens there, for his admonishment, for his demarching of a crown prince in saudi arabia who i believe is out of control, doing things on top of killing journalists, but also in blockading qatar without even -- arresting a prime minister in lebanon. things that no one would think
a senator: mr. president, i rise today to discuss s.j. res. 54. mr. menendez: a pointed statement from the united states senate that the scenario in yemen is not tenable, that we will not stand idly by as the president lends our country's name to the calamitous military for as of another nation, and that our security partners across the world do not have a blank check. to my knowledge, this is the first time the senate has considered a joint resolution under this provision, which is directly derived from the war powers resolution. this is an important step to reasserting congress' role in authorizing the use of force. i was proud to see a strong show of support for the procedural vote to move this resolution forward, and i hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle continue to embrace that
moral fortitude. i am also pleased to support senator young's amendment to this resolution which i understand senator sanders also supports. this language would clarify that refueling operations definitive ly constitute u.s. support for hostilities in this context, and i know that he has been very focused on this issue of yemen and a critical voice in the senate on this crisis. some have -- may have been holding out hope that the administration would show a good-faith effort to hold the saudi coalition accountable for its actions in yemen or to hold the saudi government and the crown prince accountable for all of their actions. well, we haven't seen that leadership. on the contrary, i believe that in spite of concrete evidence, the trump administration is intent on doing nothing to hold the saudi government or the
crown prince responsible for their actions. as we debate a path forward to address the tragic humanitarian crisis in yemen and to hold the saudi coalition and the houthi combatants accountable for their actions, children in yemen continue to starve. people continue to die. and more reports about gruesome torture of detainees continue to emerge. sadly, we don't actually know the extent of the devastation. some humanitarian organizations on the ground estimate that as many as 50,000 people have died, with more than 14 million on the brink of starvation. save the children recently posited that as many as 130 children are dying each and every day. we may not know the act numbers, but we know enough to know that the conflict in yemen has produced the world's worst
humanitarian crisis. the saudi coalition must take responsibility for its actions, and likewise the houthis and their ukrainian backers also bear the burden of this tragedy. the united states can take concerted and strategic diplomatic steps to ensure that our involvement, any involvement promotes a net positive outcome for regional stability, for our own security interests, and for the yemeni people. we can invest in the u.n.-led talks in sweden. we can wholeheartedly promote diplomacy as a path forward to solve this conflict, which our own defense and diplomatic leaders concede has no military solution. but let's be clear. this resolution is very important, and i wholeheartedly support it and have worked so that it can be preserved with only germane amendments. but the resolution itself will not stop the war in yemen. nor will it somehow stop the
immense human suffering nor put an end to human rights violations. what this resolution does do, however, is send a strong message to the saudis about united states global leadership. it's a message that says the united states will not stand by countries, even those with whom we have important security relationships flagrantly violate international norms. the united states must assert moral leadership on the global stage. we must proudly embrace the immutable fact that our strongest relationships are those rooted in shared values, like respect for human life, like respect for basic democratic freedoms, like respect for international institutions and norms that we have shaped to promote a safer and more prosperous future. when we fail to call out egregious offenses, the slaughter of innocent civilians, the murder of american residents p resident and journalist jamal
khashoggi, the effective kidnapping of heads of state, just to name a few, we contribute to the steady erosion of fundamental freedoms and values that have driven us to a position of global strength. this resolution is a clear message that if the president of the united states will not stand up in defense of our values, we in the united states senate will. when this president selectively condemns some violations one day and then inexplicably ignoring condones them another day, the congress will act as an effective check and balance, as a co-equal branch of government, we will defend american values. we will work to promote our long-term security interests. at the end of the day, the saudi government must take responsibility for its actions, for this ugly war does not serve saudi arabia's own long-term interests. achieving a path toward stability and prosperity demands
the saudi government hold itself to a higher standard. it must treat its citizens with dignity and respect. it must engage its partners in the region in responsible efforts to protect its borders from ever-growing iranian threats. shortsighted, capricious actions will not serve saudi arabia's long-term interests, yet the united states has an important leadership with saudi arabia. but we must also be true to our own long term interests and that means we cannot sit idly by the waying for the crown prince and saudi government to act. it should be clear to everyone in this body the resolution we're considering today is just one part of this effort. i'm proud to have worked across party lines with senators young, reed, graham, and others in introducing the comprehensive saudi arabia and yemen act. it suspends weapon sales to
saudi arabia, prohibits refueling of saudi arabia coalition aircraft engaged in yemen, sanctions persons supporting the houthis in yemen, sanctions on persons responsible for the death of american resident jamal khashoggi. unfortunately, we would have not been able to get to this legislation in the time frame that we have but let me be clear, we will continue to work at it and we do not want to see a weak substitute that degrades the intent of tangible action from the senate. i hope that after we get through this important vote on this resolution, that at the end of the day, whether it be in this congress or the next, that the only thing that we do with reference to jamal khashoggi is not just simply an expression of our outrage. we need to do something far more than that if we're going to send
a global message of the time for waiting an posturing is over. this administration has made abundantly and disappointingly clear that it will not act unless we force it to. president trump has made clear over and over again the only way he takes the high road is if he is dragged up to it kicking and screaming. the saudi government sees no incentive to change their behavior. it's time for the senate to act. it's time to stand up for the values that define us as a nation. this resolution should signal to the world that the united states senate will hold saudi arabia accountable, including the royal family. we will continue to demand additional measures to make clear what we stand for as a nation. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator from new jersey for his concern about this issue and he
and i -- you know, i voted to -- to dispense with this out of the committee i have concerns about this particular -- the legal issues that are being created here. but i wanted this debate to take place on the floor and i thank him for his concerns about the way the crown prince of saudi arabia is conducting himself, about the war himself and how ham handed the saudis and others have been and so little concern for the citizens that live in yemen. and so i appreciate his efforts. i know that we're -- it's very unlikely to come to an agreement on the bill that he's offered, and i can understand why he'd rather start the next year with a bill that he feels is stronger. i have some operational concerns, but i like the thrust of it very much, and i understand that knowing we're not going to come to a conclusion this year, you'd
rather start this next congress out with the strongest message and bill that you can put forth, but i do want to thank him for offering it. and i hope that, again, with some operational concerns worked out from my perspective, i hope it becomes law. i hope the thrust of it becomes law. so i thank him for that. and i thank him for his concern for the people of yemen, and i thank him in particular for his tremendous disdain for what the crown prince has done relative to the journalist. and while you're right -- you're right that just expressing outrage in itself is not enough, i agree with that 100%, i do hope that once this is done so that we don't confuse that with what's happening here on this particular message, if you will, that's taking place. you're right, it's not going to change policy. the only thing that will change policy is a refined menendez-young bill that will be
dealt with next year. but i do hope that we will have the ability after this is over, after this is dispensed with tomorrow, i hope we can speak to that outrage. i think it helps us as it relates to the second letter that we sent. i think it helps reinforce the fact that we hold him accountable and i think there could be some good there and i also think as it relates to saudi arabia, a strong admonishment of the crown prince -- i think they care about that a lot -- a whole lot more than we might think. i hope -- i wish you well as you move ahead with this other piece. i'd like to seep some changes -- i won't see the changes. i appreciate the message that is being put forth now, and i do hope collectively before we leave here this year we can admonish strongly what we
believe the crown prince has been involved in, and that is the murder of a journalist. mr. menendez: if the chairman of the committee would yield for a moment. let me just say that, first of all, that your good intentions and commitment to having a process where the sanders-lee resolution could move forward to keep it within a germane sphere. i know that was one of the things that you said very early on, which i embrace, and i'm glad for your leadership in that regard. i think passing this will be important, and i would urge all of our colleagues to vote for it. i look forward to when you present the resolution that you have talked about with reference to the crown prince. i do think that if you bring that forward that it is likely something that i will support because i think it is important
to make it very clear that you cannot kill with impunity just because you're our ally and that human rights and democracy are still values that we, at least in the united states senate, believe are an interral part of our foreign policy. because countries that share our deepest values at the end of the day are our most reliable allies and less likely to bring us into conflicts. i look forward to that debate when the distinguished senator offers that. but i will reiterate, and i appreciate that your -- your somewhat endorsement with some reservations, it's critical -- i know senator young is standing, so i will cease in a moment, that we need to do more, even though i will probably embrace what the senator is doing, than
just say we are outraged that the crown prince of saudi arabia is complicit in the killing of jamal khashoggi. there's a long list of things the crown prince has already done beyond that, some of which i mentioned in my remarks, but at the end of the day, if all we do is express our outrage, than anybody in the world, any leader in the world, any country with who we have a relationship with, well, they'll publicly slap us on the wrist, but that will be the total consequence. if that's the total consequence, then at the end of the day, people will act with impunity, and when they do that, we go down a dangerous path, not just for those who live in those countries and may be subjected to that type of indiscriminate and, you know, executions and other gross violation of human
rights, we send a global message that is a downward spiral. that is what i know i and some of my colleagues, and i will talk about intend to pursue in the next congress want to see happen. i appreciate that you support that sentiment an look forward to continue to work with you until the very end of this session. mr. corker: mr. president, before yielding to senator young so he can make his amendment pending, i just want to follow up and say that, look, i -- i do want to go on record and say that i support the provisions of your bill that block for a period of time offensive weaponry sales to saudi arabia. i support that. i also support provisions of the bill that sanction people who are blocking humanitarian aid to the people there. the senator knows and his staff knows we've got some operational issues, and i know those are going to get worked out and i know that the way you start legislation and get it to where you really want it to be, you
start out strongly, and i know the senator knows he's not going to pass it this year. and if i was a senator from new jersey, i would be going about it exactly the way he's going about it. so i do appreciate the thrust, and i do hope that we pass those into law with some the other provisions so that there is a price to pay for what is taking place. with that, i yield the floor. mr. young: mr. president, i call up my amendment 4080. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from indiana, mr. young proposes amendment number 4080. on page four, line 21, add after the period at the end the following, for purposes of this resolution in this section the term hostilities include in-flight refueling of nonunited states aircraft conducting
missions as part of the ongoing civil war in yemen. mr. young: mr. president, i ask consent that the -- that's been taken care of. so, mr. president, i rise today to urge my colleagues to support amendment number 4080 to senate joint resolution 54. i introduced this amendment this morning and i am proud to report that the senate shaheen and collins and -- senator shaheen, collins and coons are now supporting this important bipartisan amendment. amendment 4080, would amend senate joint resolution 54 by simply defining the term hostilities to include inin flight refueling of united states aircraft conducting missions as part of the 0 -- on going civil war in yemen. it would prevent the refueling of saudi arabia coalition
aircraft in yemen that have been responsible for violation of human rights laws. it does not define the term hostilities more broadly for the war powers resolution or in any other instance many before discussing the amendment in more detail, allow me to zoom out for a moment and explain how i see the broader picture related to saudi arabia and yemen. the civil war in yemen is an unmitigated national security and human tairn disaster. and the -- humanitarian disaster. the longer the sieve -- the civil war continues, the more influential terrorist groups will become in yemen. nearly 14 million people are on the verge of famine and it is getting worse by the day. famine and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians by the saudi arabia will push civilians
it toward iran it will give a chance to threaten americans and our interest. it is essential to america's national security interest as well as our humanitarian principles that the administration use all available leverage to end the civil war in yemen without delay. the only way to end this civil war and make significant and durable progress on the humanitarian crisis is through an inclusive political process. everyone agrees on this. it's positive that the parties to the conflict are talking in sweden as part of the u.n. envoy led peace process. we want that process to succeed. i know that the administration supports these talks and i commend them for the encouragement of these talks. there are many potential pitfalls in the peace process, so we have to do all we can to support this effort here in congress. since march of 2017, i sought to
underscore the importance of the humanitarian crisis in yemen and to provide this administration leverage that it can use to press usual the saudis to support an urgent and good-faith effort to end the civil war and to stop using food as a weapon of war. in that effort, i've used every available tool at my disposal as a member of the senate foreign relations committee. that's included, for example, a resolution that was passed by the senate, legislation passed into law, subcommittee hearings, letters, even a hold on the nomination of our former secretary of state's top lawyer at the department of state. that was before the administration understood, as they do now, the importance of having a negotiated political settlement between all the parties. but as i have provided additional leverage to the administration over a period of
time, we have to acknowledge that the civil war has continued, the world's worst humanitarian crisis has deteriorated further, iran's influence has only increased, and the saudi crown prince has unfortunately been left with the impression that he can get away with almost anything. including murder. to be clear, with or without amendment 4080, senate joint resolution 54 may never become law. even in that case, i believe adoption of amendment 4080 today would send an even stronger message at a critical moment to our saudi partners that we expect them to do everything in their power to end this civil war. some may argue that no additional pressure is needed. i've heard that argument. i reject that argument, and here's why. on october 30, secretaries
pompeo and mattis called for a cease-fire in yemen within 30 days. those 30 days, for those who are checking your calendar, came and went on november 29. yet, the saudi coalition has continued air strikes. i have a hard time believing that if secretary mattis picked up the phone and told riyadh to knock off the airstrikes in jeem that -- in yemen that the saudis would ignore him. if that call hasn't occurred, there may be a problem. if it has and the saudis have ignored that demand, that may be a problem. either way, we may have a really big problem on our hands. it is not in our national security interest to sit idly by as the saudis ignore the clear demands of our secretaries of defense and state, especially when we are members of the coalition. our taxpayers are funding these military exercises that are exacerbating the worst humanitarian crisis in
generations, that are destabilizing a country where iran and al qaeda and isis have a foot hold. so let's support our secretaries of state and defense. let's support them in their efforts. let's give this administration yet more leverage vis-a-vis the saudis. the number of innocent people confronting famine is growing by the day. innocent people are being bombed. iran and terror groups are benefiting from the status quo. the saudis have ignored our secretaries' call for a cease-fire. so my question to my colleagues here on capitol hill who are still undecided about how they might vote with respect to this amendment that i'm bringing up is, what are we going to do about it? what are you going to do about it today? because you have an opportunity to do something about it. i'll say that today even if this resolution does not become law, we can take an important step and send the right message to
riyadh. there is no doubt that the houthis have engaged in absolutely abhorrent behavior in yemen, and then it takes two sides to negotiate. but we don't have much leverage over the houthis. we have significant leverage over the saudis, and we must utilize it. now consider if senate joint resolution, this senate joint resolution under consideration does become law, then my amendment would ensure that it accomplishes its stated purpose with respect to air refueling. now some may continue to argue that the u.s. is not engaged in hostilities in yemen. it's a war. our taxpayers are providing funding. there's intelligence support and logistical support and refueling of aircraft carrying bombs. but some will argue that we are not engaged in hostilities in yemen. in other words, the senate joint
resolution, absent my amendment, risks leaving the status quo in place in yemen. with my amendment, the legislation would ensure that the administration cannot resume refueling of saudi aircraft conducting missions related to this civil war. to those principled colleagues -- and there are a number of principled colleagues out here on this issue who are conversant in the issue, have been studying it for a great deal of time, i have great respect for them. so i know there is at least one who are concerned about any precedents we might be creating related to the war powers resolution or other situations. let me be clear, my amendment explicitly says that this definition for hostilities only applies to this resolution we're considering today, and only to this case. i would also reiterate that my amendment would not restrict
u.s. refueling on our own aircraft and would not restrict refueling of other aircraft for missions focused on al qaeda and associated forces. so we got it covered. either way, senators looking to send the right message today to the saudis and those looking to change the situation in yemen should support this amendment 4080. a very quick word on the war powers resolution, the underlying resolution. here again, principled and serious people are on both sides of the war powers resolution debate. and i see merits on both sides of that argument. the president is indeed the commander in chief. that said, the founders also establish clear article 1 constitutional war powers and responsibilities for congress. for me, today in this situation and only with respect to yemen, i believe a reasonable reading of the constitution leaves
plenty of room for a yes vote on this resolution. our humanitarian principles and national security interests require it. with that, i urge my colleagues again to support amendment 4080 and to support passage of the underlying resolution and send a message to riyadh. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: through the president, i'd like to ask the senator from indiana, then what you're saying is you're doing everything you possibly can to ensure that if your amendment passes, never in the future will your amendment be relied upon to say that if we're refueling, that means that we're involved in hostilities? is that correct? mr. young: i thank the chairman for clarification so that i can further clarify for the record. that this amendment only
applies for purposes of this resolution and in the section i offered it. let's say in mali, for example, our country in the future were involved in refueling operations of our partner or ally's aircraft. this wouldn't apply. this establishes absolutely no precedent. we've had national security legal counsel look at this. we've taken a belt and suspenders approach. no reasonable reading of this could construe this to establish any legal precedent that ought to cause concern to anyone concerned. mr. corker: mr. president, i would ask again to the senator, then for those of us, many in this body, including, i think, the senator from inn inn, that would -- from indiana that would worry that the mere refueling that may take place in mali where maybe we're supporting
french troops or refueling in other places, the mere refueling of another country or another, in another country, the mere refueling itself you're saying by voting for your amendment, you have no intention of ever creating the precedent that another senator could use the war powers act simply because of refueling taking place? is that your intention? mr. young: my intention is to only address the situation in yemen, and that is precisely what this amendment does. nothing more, nothing less. so back to the example of mali, and french aircraft, there would be absolutely no application of this amendment to that conflict,
to the refueling of those aircraft or to our own aircraft. that's why we have, frankly, taken -- we've doubled up on clarifying precautionary language so no one could conceivably construe in any legal analysis that makes any level of common sense that, or legal sense because the two don't always seem to be consistent, but we've had attorneys look at this, and it applies narrowly only to this context. i'm not sure -- i will entertain any more questions, but i feel as though i'm restating this. it's a very important matter, so i'm glad the chairman gave me an opportunity to answer. mr. corker: mr. president, i appreciate the senator from indiana answering those questions.
we are today, as you know, establishing precedent on numbers of things. number one, we overwhelmingly decided that if the war powers resolution is used in this matter that only germane amendments can be put forth. i think that was a big step forward as it relates to this type of debate and in using the war powers resolution as it is being used. i did want to get the record, the senate record to be very, very clear that the senator from inn inn, should his -- from indiana, should his amendment pass, is in no way trying to create a scenario that if we're refueling someplace that automatically means we're involved in hostilities. what he's trying to do is address this specific issue. and since we've been able to have this in the record and since hopefully future senates will rely upon the record to look at what is taking place today, i want to thank the senator for his amendment and tell him that i plan to support
it. mr. young: i thank the chairman. mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, this is centered a lot of discussion, and it is a little con confusing. i think there are a lot of things that everyone agrees with but how we're going to express ourselves has to come down on all possibilities of the options that are there. i want to start off by saying that i oppose the sanders-lee provision. i think it, the resolution would have us find that since march of 2015, members of the united states armed forces have been
introduced into hostilities in yemen between the saudi-led coalition and the houthis, including providing to the saudi-led coalition aerial targeting assistance, intelligence, and sharing in midflight aerial refueling. if enacted, lee-sanders could ultimately pull all u.s. support from the saudi-led coalition in yemen. the sanders-lee resolution is, i think, fundamentally flawed because it presumes that we are engaged in military action in yemen. we're not. we're not engaged in military action in yemen. there's been a lot of discussion about refueling. i don't see any stretch of the definition that would say that that is a, it falls into that category. the truth is that with the exception of the defense strike on october, that was in 1916, the u.s. forces are not engaged
in direct military action in yemen. the limited military support and intelligence sharing being provided by the united states to the saudi-led coalition does not involve the introduction of u.s. forces into hostilities, nor is the u.s. involvement in hostilities imminent, given the circumstances at hand. u.s. forces in support of the coalition do not currently command, coordinate, accompany, or participate in the movement of saudi coalition forces in the counter-hiewrgt -- counter-houthi operations. as of this year the united states led forces ceased support. that's no longer an issue. even if it were an issue this is not one that would constitute the category we've been talking about. the saudi coalition, the counter houthi organses in -- houthi operations in yemen, even though the counter support we were
providing, if that were going on today, it would not constitute involvement in hostilities. for that reason, i do oppose it. i don't know which of these resolutions is actually going to be on the floor for a vote and in what order they would be on the floor, but the resolution that's been put together by senator corker and our leader, i think is the best solution to the problem that we're confronted with right now. like many of my colleagues, i was deeply disturbed by the killing of the saudi journalist jamal khashoggi at saudi arabia's consolates in istanbul in october. i deplore everything in conjunction with that. and while it may not be a smoking gun as is much, i believe that saudi arabia's leadership is responsible for mr. khashoggi's death. those responsible are going to have to be held accountable and we must condemn this terrible and unaccepted event.
that's clearly what the resolution says. the resolution also acknowledges the trump administration's important decision to sanction 17 saudis for their roles in mr. at the same time saudi arabia is an important middle eastern partner. its stability is vital to the security of our regional allies and our partners, including israel, and saudi arabia is essential to countering iran. we all know -- we all know that. we don't have that many friends. we can't afford to lose any of them. while we must be frank with our partners and when they have done in our opinion, something wrong, we must be cautious to avoid steps that damages a strategic relationship that goes back over a half century. for this reason i'm hoping the resolution will be introduced, and in which case i will be supporting the resolution that
the leader and senator corker has introduced. it criticizes the saudi arabia government to redouble its reform efforts and respect the rights of its citizens and the right path to work toward a peaceful resolution in yemen. you know, i don't like any of the choices that we have. this is clearly the best choice that's out there. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to join many of my
colleagues in support of passage of the underlying resolution. i was pleased to be one of the original cosponsors, along with the presiding officer and with senator sanders, amongst many others, and this is clearly not the first time that i've been to the floor to talk about the crisis inside yemen and the broader crisis with respect to saudi arabia that has grown worse and worse, especially in the last several months. and i want to thank senator menendez and senator corker for taking this incredibly seriously, especially since the death of jamal khashoggi who was a resident of the united states here object stensably under -- object stensably under our protection, and i am hopeful that we are going to get another big bipartisan vote when it comes up for final passage. and so i want to reiterate some of the reasons why i think this is incredibly important. first, let me state what i hope
is obvious, even for those of us who have been critics of saudi arabia. saudi arabia is a very important ally of the united states. it is an important partner for stability in the region. we continue to engage in an important counterterrorism intelligence-sharing relationship with saudi arabia. they have helped us track down some very bad people, we have helped them track down vom very bad -- some very bad people, sunni extremists, which is separate and aside where they get the seed money is out to get the saudi extreme. now this is a long-term detente that has existed between the gulf states and israel. something that did not used to be something you could rely on many one of the most serious
foreign policy debates this senate had was on the sale of awax, the objection then was by empowering saudi arabia, you were hurting israel. saudi arabia has been a good partner this trying to figure out a way to calm the tensions in the region, and, of course, to try to -- to try to provide some balance in the region with the iranian regime on the other side continuing to this day to use inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric about the future of israel. and so this is an important partnership, and i have no interest in blowing it up, i have no interest in walking away from it. but you are not obligated to follow your friend into every misadventure they propose. when your buddy jumps into a pool of man-eating sharks, you don't have to jump with him.
there is a point at which you say enough is enough. now, i came to this floor three years ago and suggested that time had already come. mohammed bin salman who is the crown prince and the effective leader of the country has steered the foreign policy of saudi arabia off the rails. and folks seem to have noticed when he started rounding up his political opponents and killing one of them in a consulate in turkey, but this has been ongoing. look back to the kidnapping of the lebanese prime minister, the blockade of qatar without any heads up to the united states, the wholesale imprisonment of hundreds of his family members until there was a payoff the size of which was big enough to let some of them out. this is a foreign policy that is no longer in the best interest
of the united states and can't be papered over by a handful of domestic policy reforms that are, in fact, intended to try to distract us from the aggressive nature of the saudis foreign policy in the region. of course, the worst example of their regional behavior going off the rails is yemen -- is yemen. and i don't want to restate the case here. i think senator sanders did a great job of it. i have stood here before with posters of malnourished children with disextended bellies, 85 thowf them have died -- of them have died from malnutrition or disease, the worst outbreak of cholera is affecting them. there has been bombings or siege campaigns. about two-thirds to three-quarters of those are as a
result of the saudi side of the civil war, but let's make clear there's some really bad actors on the houthi side as well. part of the reason that the humanitarian aid can't get to where it needs to is bought some of the houthis are preventing it. the saudis bear the majority of the responsibility for the humanitarian nightmare, but there is enough to be spread around. i'm appreciative that many of my colleagues are willing to stand up for this resolution today to end the war in yemen. i wish that it weren't because of the death of one journalist because there have been tens of thousands that have died inside yemen, and their lives are just as important, just as worthwhile as jamal khashoggi's life was, as tragic as that was. but there is a connection between the two, which is why i've actually argued that this
resolution is in some way, shape, or form a response to the death of jamal khashoggi for those that are primarily concerned with that atrocity, and here's how i link the two. what the saudis did for two weeks was lie to us, right, in the most balanced face way -- bald face way as possible. they said that jamal khashoggi got out of the consulate alive and didn't know what happened. they knew that they had killed him, murdered him, and dismembered his body. we know that the crown prince had contacts throughout the day with the team of operatives that did it. they thought we were so dumb or weak or some combination of the two that they could just lie to us about it. that was ha an eye opener for a lot of us here for long-term supporters of the saudi relationship. they knew that we had troubles, but they thought the -- but the
most important thing that allies do with each other is tell the truth, especially when the truth was so easy to discover outside of your bilateral relationship. then all of a sudden the saudis lied to us for two weeks and finally came around to telling the truth because everybody knew that they weren't. and so it made a lot of people here think, well, wait a second, maybe the saudis haven't been telling us the truth about what they've been doing inside yemen. a lot of my colleagues have been supporting the bombing campaign in yemen. why? they said that we're hitting the civilians by accident. the water treatment plants that have been blowing up, we didn't mean to hit them. the cholera was -- we thought there were some bad guys in it that turned it there was. it turns out the saudis weren't telling us the truth about what
they were doing in yemen. they were hitting civilian tarts on purpose, they did have an intentional campaign to try and create misery. i'm not saying every one of those school buses, churches, or weddings was an attempt to kill civilians and civilians only, but we have been in that targeting center long enough to know -- to know that they have known for a long time what they have been doing, hitting a lot of people who have nothing to do with the attacks against saudi arabia. maybe, if the saudis were willing to lie to us about what happened to jamal khashoggi, they haven't been straight with us as to what's happening inside yemen. because if the united states is being used to intentionally hit civilians, then we are explicit in war crimes. and i hate to tell my colleagues that is essentially what the united nations found in their most recent report on the saudi
bombing campaign. they were careful about their words, but they came to the conclusion that it was likely that the saudi conduct inside yemen would amount to war crimes under international law. if it is likely that our ally is perpetuating war crimes in saudi arabia, then we can't be a part of that. the united states cannot be part of a bombing campaign that may be, probably is intentionally making life miserable for the people inside of that country. and so i would argue that this resolution is an appropriate response if you are only concerned about jamal khashoggi because it is a way to make clear that if you lie to the united states there are consequences. it is also a way to say to the crown prince that we are not going to be partners with you in your most important phone policy endeavor in the war inside yemen
if you are not being straight with us about this or other matters. if you care just about what happened to that journalist, this is still an important vote for you to cast, and i get it that some people have issues with the mechanism by which we get here, the war powers resolution. i understand that it is new. that it hasn't been tested before, but i believe that this is the right moment to have this debate and to have this vote. and so i'm hoping that we're going to come to a conclusion here as quickly as we can in which we maintain bipartisan consensus. i just joined several of my colleagues upstairs to express our desire. this isn't the beginning and the end of our debate about what to do with saudi arabia moving forward. i support senator menendez and senator young's legislation to take additional steps to halt arm sales. i support imposing sanctions on
the individuals that are responsible for this crime, but i would also hope that all of us take a little bit of time over the holidays to really think about how we reset this relationship in the region and how we send a signal to the world that there is no relationship in which we are the junior partner, certainly not with saudi arabia. and if saudi arabia can push us around like they have over the course of the last several years, and in particular the last several months, then it sends a signal to lots of other countries that they can do the same thing, that they can murder u.s. residents and suffer almost no consequence, that they can bomb civilians with our munitions and suffer no consequences. this is not just a relationship about the saudi relationship, it is a message how the united states will interact with lots of other junior partners around the world. saudi arabia needs us more than we need them and we need to remind people over and over again. spare this nonsense that they
are going to start buying russian jets or chinese military hardware. if you think those countries can protect you better than the united states, take a chance. if you think the saudis are really going to stop selling oil to the united states do you think that they are going to walk away from their primary breadwinner because we said we don't want to be engaged in this particular military campaign. i'm willing to take that chance. we're the major partner in this relationship. we need to act like it. and if this administration isn't going to act like it, we have to act like it. as senator graham said, sometimes congress has has to -- has to go its own way and reorient american policy when an administration will not. and with respect to this bilateral relationship, with respect to this egregious, unconscionable military operation inside yemen, it's time for congress to step up and
right something that today is very, very wrong, and i appreciate all of the great work that senator sanders and senator lee have done as partners in this. i thank the chair and ranking member for helping guide us through this debate as painlessly as possible. i look forward to coming to the floor again before final passage and look forward to another big bipartisan vote for this. i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. i take this time to support the passage of senate joint resolution 54. i commend my colleagues who have brought this resolution forward. the impact of this resolution would be to end the u.s. military engagement in yemen, and i believe that that military engagement should end for several reasons.
first, let me comment on what others have already pointed out, and that is that the humanitarian crisis in yemen is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the world. that's saig a lot because there's a lot of areas around the world where we're seeing humanitarian challenges. in yemen today, 10,000 people have been killed due to the war. 22 million-plus, 75% of the population of yemen are at grave risk today. it's estimated that there are 400,000 children under the age of 5 that are at the risk of starvation due to hunger and malnutrition. 85,000 children have died, according to save the children, from starvation. and the u.s. military engagement has really not assisted in ending this humanitarian crisis.
there are one million people with cholera, 8.4 million on the verge of famine. and we have been for a long time focused on the port of hugh -- huydadah. i think many of us thought that because of our military involvement in yemen at a minimum we could get the port open, and we find that we are not able to be able to have safe routes for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. so we have not through our military been able to impact the horrible tragedies that are taking place because of this humanitarian disaster. secondly i think most experts would tell us that there is no military solution to the war that's taking place in yemen that dates back to 2014.
the warring sides are not going to end as a result of military. it's going to take diplomacy, and our military involvement has not assisted a diplomatic answer. we have not made the progress that i think many of us would have expected. so, yes, i do believe america needs to be engaged in yemen, just not from our military. let's do an all-out press on diplomacy and bring the parties to the peace table, end this horrible conflict. yes, make no mistake about it, the houthis are not nice people. i understand that. but we're not going to win this by our military. so let's concentrate on diplomacy. i think many have pointed out, yes, we have been in this region since the end of -- since the attack on our country on september 11. nothing in this resolution would affect our ability to fight
against al qaeda and its associated forces. the resolution specifically exempts, specifically exempts from the withdrawal of american military our campaign against al qaeda and associated forces. there's also no question that the saudis engaged in this conflict, that there have been many violations of human rights. and, yes, we are facilitating and helping -- i'm not saying we are committing, but we are certainly part of the saudi effort. we are supposedly helping them with targeting. that means giving them intelligence information to minimize civilian casualties. and i am certain that american military is helping in that regard. but the bottom line is we're told that 61% of civilian casualties are due to coalition strikes. so there is tremendous civilian
loss as a result of this campaign, and the united states is one of the honest brokers in trying to minimize that. we have not been successful through the use of our military. the use of our military has never been authorized by congress. now this is a debate we've had many, many times, and i know the distinguished chairman of the senate foreign relations committee has been part of that debate and has really wanted us to come to grips with a congressional authorization for military use in yemen. i applaud the chairman. i'm very proud to be on that committee. and i think if it was left up to our committee, we may have been able to agree on a resolution. but it was clear we couldn't get it through the senate, couldn't get it through the congress. that was clear, so i'm not saying that we are culpable for not passing an authorization, but we have not passed an authorization. and there is no authorization for use of military force in
yemen, despite the fact that article 1, section 8, clause 11, of the constitution of the united states gives the congress the sole power to declare war. we're responsible for military, and you can't get that authorization, there should at least be a presumption that we shouldn't be using our military. if you can't get the support of congress -- if a president, commander in chief can't get the support of congress for the use of force, there should not be a sustained use. we know about emergency situations. we expect the commander in chief. this is not an emergency situation. this is a situation where there should be an authorization for the use of force if we are to remain -- i don't believe we should remain. now we've had our disagreements with the president on the use of force. the congress passed a war powers act in 1973. the president didn't like it. we passed it anyway. we believe that we, the president should not only notify
but respect the will of congress' power under article 1 to declare war and authorize our military presence. section 5-c gives the power to congress to pass a joint resolution to remove our troops where there has been no authorization. so what is being done here today, the resolution that's before us is the vehicle that we determined to be the appropriate way to remove our troops from unauthorized war. therefore, it's an appropriate action by the congress and probably the only action we can take in order to end the war in yemen with u.s. participation. i want to make a comment about the relationship between the united states and saudis. i heard many of my colleagues talk about it. i think it's a very important relationship, mr. president. i think saudis are a strategic partner of the united states. i've had many opportunities to
visit with the saudis. i know about a lot of things that they're doing. but make no mistake about it, that relationship is important to the united states but it is very important to the saudis. and it's more than just our military support for the war in yemen. it has a lot to do with security issues generally. it has to do with intelligence sharing. it has to do with economics. and our relationship should always be wrapped in our values. our foreign policy should always be based upon our values as americans. and our values in regards to what's happening in this war in yemen tell us that we should not be participating in it. and i haven't even mentioned the tragic death of jamal khashoggi. when you take a look at what happened there and the involvement of the royal family and the crown prince, that clearly cannot go unchallenged.
human rights violations and a military campaign, all that cries out for the united states not to be engaged in the military aspects of what is happening in yemen, and the passage of senate joint resolution 54 will in fact make that a reality. and i urge our colleagues to support that resolution. mr. president, i would ask consent that my following comments be separated from my comments in regards to senate joint resolution 54. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: and it's a related subject. i'm going to talk now about "time" plague diseen for their -- "time" magazine for their selection of the person of the year as the guardians of the war on truth. i say it's related because jamal khashoggi is one of the figures that's on the cover of "time" magazine as one of the guardians. in making their selection, "time" magazine wrote for,
quote, for taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out. the guardians are the person of the year, "time" magazine wrote. as we looked at the choices, it became clear it that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year's major stories. this ought to be a time that democracy leaps forward and informs citizenry being essential to self-government. instead it's in retreat, and the story of this assault on truth is somewhat paradoxically one of the hardest to tell. end quote. "time" magazine wrote in this week's issue in annapolis, married, staff of the capital newspaper published by "capital gazette" communications which
traces its history of telling readers about the events of maryland before the american revolution, pressed on without the five colleagues gunned down in their news room on june 28. still intact, indeed strengthened after the mass shooting, are the bonds of trust and community that for national news outlets have been eroded on partisan lines never more than this year. i can tell you this, declared chase cook, reporter of "the capital gazette" on that fateful day. we are putting out a damned paper tomorrow. cook's promise came a few hours after five of his colleagues were killed. the man charged with their murders had been obsessed with the paper since it wrote about his harassment of a high school classmate, part of a routine coverage of local legal proceedings. he made the office a crime scene. to put the damned paper out, they set up latops in the bed of
a pickup in a parking garage across the street. when the next edition arrived on schedule, the opinion page was blank but for the names of the dead. gerald fischman, rob ha is ssan, john mcnamara, rebecca smith, wendi winters. beneegget -- beneath their name, quote, tomorrow this paper will return to readers opinions about the world around them and that they might be better citizens. i must tell you, i'm very proud of what the "capital gazette" has done. they continue through very difficult times with the quality reporting and opinion pages that they have been known for for a long time, a real treasured institution in our state capital. one of the four "time" magazine covers include the journalist of
"the capital gazette," the annapolis, married, newspaper where five -- annapolis, maryland, newspaper with five employees were murdered last june. i spoke about the shooting on the senate floor last june and the senate unanimously adopted senate resolution 575 which i authored and cosponsored by members of the senate. it salutes the careers of the members of the shooting. honors the survivors of the attack and families of the victims and pledges to continue support for their recovery, thanks law enforcement officers and other emergency first responders for their heroic actions and reaffirms the commitment of the senate to defending the first amendment of the constitution of the united states. wendi winters was among the five "capital gazette" employees killed in the june 28 shooting. according to eyewitness accounts from survivors, wendi armed herself with the closest weapons
at hand, her trash and recycling bins, and charged the shooter shouting for him to stop. it is believed that wendi's action distracted the shooter enough to enable coworkers toes cape. we think as violence against reports as something that happens in war zones but not in the united states of america. all around the world reporters worked to gather facts, ask questions and report the news in the spirit of a free, open and transparent societies, and governments that all people deserve. too often reporters are harassed, jailed and even killed simply because of the nature of their work which often exposes cronyism and corruption. jason rezian, a reporter with the "washington post" falsely imprisoned in iran for doing his job as a journalist had this to say earlier this year. he talks about the attack i referenced in annapolis, and i quote him. mostly i've covered attacks on
the media taking place on the other side of the world. usually in countries where the flow of information is restricted or conditions are such that a sense of desperation or political or tribal affiliation can compel individuals to take heinous actions. writing about a deadly attack that happened less than 30 miles away in an idyllic towns i recently visited with relatives from overseas is a new experience for me, and i have to say that i don't relish the task. we americans have certain rights and responsibilities granted to us through the constitution, which established the rule of law in this country. freedom of the press is one of those most basic rights and is central to the first amendment of the constitution. congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. this press' freedom has often
been under attack figuratively speaking since our nation's founding. today attacks on the american media have become more frequent and more literal, spurred on by dangerous rhetoric that has created an open season on harassing the media for doing its job, asking the questions that need to be asked, investigating the stories that need to be uncovered, and bringing needed transparency to the halls of power, whether they are in annapolis, washington, d.c., or elsewhere. then-candidate and now-president donald trump's rhetoric, calling the media a stain on america and the enemy of the american people certainly has caused damage. the veterans of foreign war, the president said to the audience you are not to believe what you see and hear. the president of the united states told the crowd of veterans stick with us. don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. what you're seeing and what you're reading is not happening. that is the president of the united states saying those
comments again, meaning the press and the importance of the free press. why is the president doing this? earlier this year, cbs "60 minutes" correspondent leslie stahl, an icon in the news business, shared comments from president trump from interviews she did with him soon after the 2016 election win. stahl recalled that she said to donald trump about his attacks on the media, why are you doing this? you're doing it over and over. it's boring and it's time to end this. the candidate's response was straightforward and shocking. he said you know why i do it? i do it to discredit you, you all, and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you. let that sink in for a moment. a man who is about to assume the position of the president of the united states explicitly acknowledging he was purposely working to diminish the integrity of the free press.
after ""the capital gazette"" shooting, donald trump said that journalists like all americans should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job. how do we interpret his sincerity when more frequently he is calling the media fake news or totally unhinged or telling the american people and the world that reporters are truly bad people? donald trump's constant dismissal needs to end. he needs to accept the -- one of the press' most important roles is to speak truth to power. truth to power, including that to the president of the united states. here at home, we're left to wonder whether donald trump is more inclined to agree to russian president vladimir putin's view of the press where journalists are routinely jailed and attacked than thomas jefferson where he said were it fame left to me to decide whether to have a government without newspapers or a newspaper without deposit, i would not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.
journalists, like all americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job both figuratively and literally. the right of journalists to report the news is nothing less for all of us to know. medium pluralism and medium freedom are nothing less than ensuring respects for other fundamental freedoms and safeguarding democracy, the rule of law, and a system of checks and balances. every one of us in this body, democrats and republicans, have sworn an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states. as leaders of this great nation, we have a responsibility to defend the rights of our citizens, including the freedom of press. "time" magazine featured three covers in addition to ""the capital gazette"." one is jamal khashoggi, "the washington post" contributor who was killed at the saudi arabian consul in istanbul in october. i would note that this is the first time "time" person of the year is a deceased person.
the united states of america must stand up for justice and human rights at home and abroad. i agree that saudi arabia is a strong ally in a variety of important areas, but that should only strengthen their understanding of america's commitment to the rule of law and that we are as a nation cannot sanction extrajudicial killings. america's national security is harmed, not helped, when dictators and strongmen believe they can get away with such heinous actions as killing a journalist jamal khashoggi. congress must act to demand accountability for those responsible for jamal khashoggi's murder, and to send the right signal to the world that america will continue to be a beacon of justice and defender of human rights. another cover feetured two reuters journalists who were
arrested one year ago in miramar while they were working on stories about the killings of the roadway hinge a muslims. these journalists remain behind bars but their wives were photographed for the cover. from this floor, i stood in solidarity with the reporters who were detained in burma for shining lights on horrific abuses that occur in the royhingan state. i stand in solidarity for ethiopian bloggers who expose human rights abuses in that country. i have talked frequently about china, a country that engages in routine censorship and online blocking, harassment, reprisals, and detention of journalists, and visa delays and denials for journalists. another "time" cover shows maria risa, the chief executive of the philippine news website rapler who was indicted on tax evasion charges on president duerte's
administration as part of a crackdown on free speech and dissent. according to a committee to protect journalists, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom nationwide, more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last ten years while doing their jobs. of the member states for the organization for security and cooperation in europe, russia remains the deadliest country for journalists. turkey is the largest jailer of journalists in the world, and scores of media outlets have been closed since the attempted coup there. the heavy-handed measures used against media freedom in turkey both before and during the recent elections illustrate the length at which the government went to control the information available to voters. it also serves as a reminder of the central role of media for free and fair elections. mr. president, i have also worked in many other countries that have infringed on the freedom of press in my role on senate foreign relations committee as the ranking
democrat on the helsinki commission. i could give you examples of what we have done in malta, what we have done in slow volcano yeah, what we have done in belarus, and the list goes on and on and on. i therefore ask the trump administration and my colleagues in the senate to redouble their efforts to protect the freedom of the press both at home and abroad. we must lead by example as the very foundation and legitimacy of a democratic republic is at stake. america's leadership is essential to protect the freedom of press, an essential institution for a democratic state. we must lead by first setting an example by our commitment to the freedom of press here at home. we must demand that freedom of the press be a priority in our global affairs, recognizing it's important to our national security. mr. president, "time" magazine got it right by naming the guardians and the war on truth as persons of the year. with that, i yield the floor.
mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, the senate is currently considering senate joint resolution 54. i'm proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation, the lead cosponsor along with my distinguished colleague from vermont, senator sanders. he and i, along with senator murphy and a number of other members of this body, have engaged in this bipartisan effort. in a concerted endeavor to make sure that the separation of powers between our three branches of government are respected. mr. president, there is perhaps no more morally significant decision made in government than the decision to go to war. whenever we take an action as a
government that puts american treasure and especially american blood on the line, we have a sacred responsibility to evaluate and carefully weigh their relative risks, advantages of acting and the relative risks and advantages of not acting. to make sure that that kind of analysis takes place, the founding fathers wisely put this power squarely within the branch of government most accountable to the people at the most regular intervals. in the congress. this was a big break, a big distinction between our former national government based in london where the chief executive, the king, had the power to commit troops to war without going to parliament. alexander hamilton explained this principle in federalist
number 69. he explained that it was no accident that this power was put in the hands of congress. now, to be sure, the power congress has to declare war means more nonsimply to state something in the abstract. it's something that has to happen before we put american blood and treasure on the line. it's something that should never happen in the absence of some type of dire emergency, some type of exigent circumstances where the president must protect the united states of america from an imminent attack. it needs to be declared by congress. this isn't just a mere formality. this is the only thing that guarantees that this is a government of the people, by the people, and more the people. it's the only thing guaranteeing that we will actually have a debate about the relative merits of the conflict in question. there are a number of reasons why, in addition to the fact that there is an obvious economic expense associated with
it, there is a tremendous human cost associated with war, on our side, on the side of those among whom we might be fighting and on the side of those against whom we might be fighting. this particular conflict in yemen provides one of many examples of the moral perilousness associated with war, of the many moral questions brought about as a result of war. we're involved in a conflict half a world away. we're involved in providing targeting assistance, midair refueling, reconnaissance, surveillance. we're involved in this conflict as cobereligion -- cobell ij rants p rants. we are involved not only for american lives that might one day be directly implicated in this conflict more than they are today because we know how wars
go, we know how they tend to spread, we know how once we put the good name of the united states of america on the line, we're understandably reluctant to walk away from it because of what that might say to the rest of the world. but in order to make it legitimate, in order to make that decision authentic, in order to make it sustainable, it has to be done in the appropriate way, which means it first has to go to congress. now, many of my colleagues will argue -- and in fact, some of them have argued just within the last few minutes that we're somehow not involved in a war in yemen. my distinguished friend and colleague, the senator from oklahoma, came to the floor a little while ago, and he said we are not engaged in direct military action in yemen. let's peel that back for a minute. let's figure out what that means. i'm not sure what the distinction between direct and indirect is here.
maybe in a very technical sense or under a definition of warfare or military action that's long since been rendered outdated we're not involved in that, but we are involved in a war. we're cobelligerants. the minute we start identifying the targets, or as secretary james madison put it about a year ago in december of 2017, we're involved in the decisions, involved in making sure that they know the right stuff to hit. that's involvement in a war, and that's pretty direct. the minute we send up u.s. military aircraft to provide midair refueling assistance for saudi jets en route to bombing missions, to combat missions on
the ground in yemen, that is our direct involvement in war. now, if you don't agree with me, ask any one of our armed services personnel who are involved in this effort. i would imagine, mr. president, they would beg to differ. i would imagine, mr. president, that the parents, the children, the family members, the loved ones of these brave men and women who have been involved in this effort would beg to differ when told we're not involved in a war in yemen. regardless of how you define war, regardless what significance you attach to direct versus indirect military involvement half a world away, it's still -- it still triggers the constitutional requirement that congress, and not merely the president, decide that we're going to get involved in this war. now, look, i understand there are some competing powers in the constitution. it was set up deliberately that way. and there is some arguably gray
area between on the one hand the outer limit of the president's executive authority as the commander in chief of the armed forces and on the other hand the power enjoyed exclusively by congress to declare war. because there is some gray area, some matters on which people of reasonable minds might disagree as to where a war begins, congress several decades ago adopt the -- adopted the war powers act in an effort to try to delineate the respective powers of these branches. congress decided, among other things, it would be significant any time we got involved in who's tilts. now, -- hostilities. many of my colleagues have argued this very day, in fact, that we are not involved in hostilities in yemen and therefore the war powers act is
not triggered. there are a couple of problems with that argument. one, it is categorically untrue for the reasons i mentioned a minute ago. we're helping them get to the bombing site, we're telling them what to bomb, what to hit, what to take out. increasingly these days our wars are high-tech. our wars very often involve cyber activities. they involve reconnaissance, surveillance, target selection, mid-air refueling. it's hard, it's in many cases impossible to fight a war without those things. that is what war is. many of my colleagues in arguing that we're not involved in hostilities rely on a memorandum internal within the executive branch of the u.s. government issued in 1976 providing a very narrow, unreasonably slim definition of the term
hostilities. they define hostilities in a way that might have been relevant, might have been accurate perhaps in the mid-19th century, but, mr. president, we no longer live in a world where you've got a war as understood by two competing countries lined up on opposite sides of a battlefield engaged in direct exchanges of fire, one against another, at relatively short range. war encompasses a lot more than that. war certainly encompasses mid-air refueling target selection and surveillance and reconnaissance of the sort that we're undertaking in yemen. moreover, separate and apart from this very narrow unreasonably slim definition of hostilities as determined by this internal executive document from 1976 containing the outdated definition, we
ourselves under the war powers act don't technically have to be involved in hostilities. it is triggered as long as we ourselves are sufficiently involved with the armed forces of another nation when those armed forces of another nation are themselves involved in hostilities. i'm speaking, of course here, mr. president, with reference to the war powers act codified at 50u.s.c.1547-c. it is important to keep in mind what that provision is. it says for purposes of this chapter, this includes the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of and accompany the regular or irregular forces of any foreign government once there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become
engaged in hostilities. in what sense on what level on what planet are we not involved in the demanding and the -- commanding, coordination and the movement of or the accompaniment of the armed forces of the kingdom of the saudi arabia and the kingdom of saudi arabia-led coalition in the civil war in yemen. i challenge anyone to explain that to me how it is that we are not involved in the way described by 50 u.s.c.-1546-c. and because we are, we need to follow those procedures, and it's one of the reminders that we have that we need to respect the separation of powers. now, we first brought up this
resolution, or one like it, earlier this year, about eight or nine months ago. at the time we brought it up, when we got it to the senate floor, we utilized a privilege status accorded to resolutions like these in order to secure a vote on the senate floor to try to bring this bill out of committee. at the time, sadly, we received only 44 votes to get it out of committee. that wasn't enough. fast forward a few months, a week before last we voted on it again, essentially the same vote resulted in 63 members of this body supporting the idea of advancing it out of committee. then today, a move -- moved to consideration of this bill, and we got, if i'm not mistaken,
about 60 votes for that. imthrilled. i'm -- i'm thrilled. i'm ecstatic that we had that result. i look forward to my colleagues passing senate joint resolution 54 in the coming days. i urge my colleagues to vote for it. i suggest, however, it would have been even better had we done it sooner. what, you might ask, changed? what changed between when we vetted for this a few months ago -- voted for this a few months ago when we fell short of the votes we needed and when we brought it up the week before last to discharge it out of committee an voted today to move to -- and voted today to move to the bill? well, a number of things have happened. first, the war in yemen has continued. we've had a whole lot of people killed in yemen as a result of this civil war. we've had a whole lot more people in yemen die as a result
of causes related to that war. there's been starvation, there have been all kinds of atrocities that have accompanied that war. now, i know, this is war. war, inevitably, involves atrocities, war inevitably leads to some people dying as a result can he nettic attack, and it almost inevitably leads to other people dying as a result of starvation or subjected to other violent acts or tragic outcomes. i get it. that's what war does. and that is precisely, mr. president, why it is unconstitutional and morally bankrupt for us to get involved in a war without the people's elected representatives in congress voting to do so, without us having the ability to debate it, to discuss it, and to vote affirmatively to put our brave young men and women in harm's way to engage in that
war. what else changed? -- changed in addition to the fact that this war has gone on and on with a lot of death and suffering and misery by a whole lot of innocent people? we've also seen that when we pulled back the mask a little bit, when we pulled back the curtains and we look into exactly who we're fighting for and why we're fighting, people understandably got a little freaked out. the death, the murder of a journalist got a lot of people's attention. now, i -- i completely agree with the comments made by several of my colleagues that every life is sacred, every human soul has worth in the eyes
of god and should be respected by each and every one of us. it's therefore sad that it has had to take this long for us to care about it. it shouldn't be the case that we had to wait for a journalist to be murdered for us to care about this unconstitutional, unjustified, and i believe, immoral war. but regardless of how we got here, we're here. the murder of mr. khashoggi caused us to think long and hard with good reason about the fact that we've got somewhat blindly into war, first under a democratic president and then under a republican president where it's been continued. following somewhat blindly the leadership of the kingdom of saudi arabia. the fact that the crown prince of saudi arabia has been
implicated in the murder of mr. khashoggi, has caused a lot of people to say, wait a minute, maybe this doesn't make sense. wait a minute, perhaps this is a regime we ought not be supporting. at least at a minimum, regardless of the fact that we may have some interest, some interest to be aligned with the kingdom of saudi arabia in some ways, maybe, just maybe, this is a enough of a reason for us not to be fighting a war on behalf of the kingdom of saudi arabia, we know this to be true. those of us who serve in this body or who serve down the hall in the u.s. house of representatives know something very significant that if we went to almost any one of our constituents in any part of the country and we asked them, why
should the united states of america, the greatest military power, the greatest republic, arguably the greatest civilization the world has ever known, why should we be putting american blood and treasure on the line to fight as cobelligerents in a civil war half a world away in yemen? if we asked that question, we know that 99 times out of 100, perhaps 999 times out of 1,000, we know that would not result in a confident answer. we know that it would result in an answer full of uncertainty, ambiguity, grave concern and well-justified fear for the fact that we're involved in somebody else's civil war and a civil war this which we have no business fighting, in ale civil war in
which we have -- in a civil war we have blindly followed the kingdom of saudi arabia into conflict. this, mr. president, is our decision to make. that war, mr. president, results in bloodshed -- in the shedding of blood that will be on our hands if we fail to exercise our constitutional prerogatives under a system of government in which weef taken -- we've taken an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. i hope and expect that we will do our duty. i hope and expect that we will respect the lives of those who put their lives on the line to protect us. i urge my colleagues with all the emotion, all the passion i'm capable of summoning to vote for and pass senate joint resolution 54. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: mr. president, i rise today to condemn the saudi military campaign in yemen, which is causing the worst humanitarian crisis since world war ii. tens of thousands of young children have already died of starvation and millions more in yemen remain threatened by famine and disease. yemen is experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in history with over one million cases. in recent months, the crisis has accelerated, growing at a rate of 10,000 cases each and every week. the air campaign in yemen, led by saudi arabia, is now in its third year, and every day -- every day it makes the humanitarian crisis in yemen worse. bombs dropped by saudi arabia are killing women and children,
destroying roads and bridges, disabling electricity and water services and leveling schools and hospitals and mosques. meanwhile, the government of the kingdom of saudi arabia and crown prince mohammed bin salman stand creditably accused of ordering the murder of a united states residentern journalist known for his -- residents and journalist known for his critique of the regime. we are supporting a -- from who's tilts in yemen and -- hostilities in yemen and end the unauthorized participation in this conflict. i am proud to sponsor the resolution and bring it to the floor because the united states should not be providing aerial refueling to saudi jets bombing yemen indiscriminately. the united states senate should pass this resolution and send a
clear message that our military will not prolong and will not worsen a human taker -- human tearian led by a crucial regime. that's why i ordered more arm sales and more military support for saudi arabia and it's not how we are going to end this crisis. we need meaningful, diplomatic, and political solutions to alleviate human suffering in yemen. this isen a issue that is deeply personal to -- this is an issue that is deeply personal to me and many michiganders. i'm proud to represent a vibrant and dynamic yemeni american community in michigan and i share their heartbreak over the tragic situation impacting innocent yemenis. our nation must show real leadership and take action to ensure that food, water,
medicine, and all necessary humanitarian supplies are made available to those who so desperately need them. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting senate resolution -- joint resolution 54. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. i'm going to change pace. i'm going to talk about a couple of people on my staff that are going to move a to -- move on to greener pastures you might say and i want to acknowledge them. first of all, i want to acknowledge a man who has always been there for me when i've needed him, day or night, hell or high water, yes, even during the first few weeks of his fatherhood, my chief of staff aaron murphy has given himself to montana and to this nation. for years he and his wife and
their children have dedicated nights and weekends to ensuring that our state remains the best place to live and raise a family. dating back to my first u.s. senate campaign back in 2006, aaron has been an integral part of shaping my message, crafting political policy, and ensuring that every word matters. he takes a job seriously. but he never loses his ability to laugh at himself, the mark of a true leader. on july -- one july 4, he tasked his communication team to write a statement honoring independence day. my team wrote, and i quote, we cannot be consumed by our petty differences anymore. we will be united in our common interests. well, aaron was appalled by the hyperbole and he began editing the statement only to find out that his team had pranked him by copying, pasting lines from the hollywood blockbuster movie "independence day."
aaron's no nonsense style has kept us focused on what really matter, and that's the people and his ability to see the big picture and the end goal is one of his greatest gifts. his work ethic, well, his work ethic is second to none. he is the first person in the office in the morning. he is the last one out at night. he is rooted in his desire to create opportunity for the next generation. and his passion drives him to excel every day, never settling for second best. he has worked as my press secretary, as my communication director, and now he wraps up his time as my chief of staff. and i want to tell him on behalf of the entire family, my entire family, and team tester, thank you for your service. aaron has been at my side through three grueling elections, countless national media appearances, and i'm going to tell you i remember the first time i met this man.
he was working at a local tv station. and i was informed by my then communications director that we had this guy who wanted to work for my campaign. i said to matt mckenneth at the time, i said why would he want to work for me. he's got a good job. and matt responded with maybe he actually thinks you can win this election. and that is exactly what aaron murphy believes. he believes in the future of this country. he believes in the future of montana. another time back before the 2012 election, aaron was driving to my farm. he took the wrong road. and he ended up stuck in the mud. buried the car up to the frame. and fortunately he pound a -- found a spot where his cell phone worked, got a hold of me. i got the tractor and pulled him out of the mud. i was laughing at him at the time, making fun of his ability to navigate a muddy road.
but aaron saw an opportunity. he later told that story to a national reporter who used it in a story to show that i hadn't lost my roots. thanks for getting stuck in the mud, aaron. here's the thing about aaron murphy. he sees things differently. he has an can't to connect -- an ability to connect to people and drive an agenda that matters everyday americans. he's genuinely creative, full of passion and good for a terrible pun or a dad's joke. so aaron, i just want to say on behalf of my family, on behalf of the entire staff both here in d.c. and in state, i want to thank you for your hard work, your service, your dedication, and willing to come back to the political fray and help me for the last two years. thank you very much. i also want to talk about my state director who is also leaving for greener pastures. i guess that's what happens when you get reelected. my state director's name is dana
swanson. she's an incredible woman. she's a leader, a wise counsel, a friend. and anybody that knows dana knows that she is a package of dynamite. a few years back, dana bought -- she wanted to get an old pickup. so she looked around and she found an old pickup. she found a 1949 chevrolet pickup that had a pretty fresh green paint job. in fact, it was a paint job that also included part of the chrome bumper painted green. anyway, it looked good to dana and she bought it. needless to say it probably needed a little work. when you went around a corner, the doors would fly open. and sometimes it would start. sometimes it wouldn't. but i figured what the heck, you know. it's an old pickup. great parade vehicle. we had a homecoming parade coming up in missoula so i asked
dana if we could use her new 1949 chevy pickup in that parade. so we got in the parade with the vehicle. as per usual is what you would think. it overheated, blew a hose and the lieutenant governor was pushing the rig down the road with me driving it which was kind of nice. but that's dana. she's not afraid to take a risk. and she inherited it from two marvelous people, her parents butch and kathy. we come from different parts of the state of montana. we still have some things in common. i come from north central montana where agriculture is the business. it's turn there -- it's done there. we dig in there to make a living. she comes from just east of the continental divide where hardworking miners dig in the earth to find minerals. and coons wently able to -- and consequently able to put food on their table.
her irish roots define her as evidenced by her love of jamison whiskey. but it's her heart that makes her so special. dana has compassionately led my montana team in state guiding them through difficult times, overcoming government bureaucracy and putting some big wins on the board for the state that she loves, montana. when montana walks -- when she walks into my office, she goes to work to make sure the problem is solved. dana's team bends over backwards to get them the help they serve. her leadership skills literally saves lives. when i first got elected 12 years ago, dana designed our constituent case work process. she knew my number one goal would be to help the people of montana and every day since then, she's committed her heart and soul to that mission. she's ushered cabinet secretaries across the state showing them what rural america looks like. she's worked with county commissioners, state legislators
and everyday montanans to ensure that montana remains the last best place. she has flown in the dead of winter with me when it's been so cold, couldn't see the ground and when you did land, you could see that the wings were covered with ice. for 12 years she has been my eyes and ears on the ground in montana. we have spent hundreds of hours together, windshield time from places like libya and all along the way. we've shared countless laughs and worked to make the state a better place. while our time -- while her time in my office comes to a close, i know there are great opportunities on the horizon for dana and her partner denise who just took over as superintendent of schools in the seattle school system. she'll be heading out to seattle where she'll make seattle a better place just as she's made montana a better place. so in dana swanson's particular case, on behalf of my wife and
mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the speaker -- the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i ask unanimous consent to disregard the quorum call. officer without objection. mr. flake: last week i chaired a hearing of the senate foreign relations committee subcommittee on africa and global health focusing on zimbabwe. as a young man, i fell in love with the continent of africa and specifically with the country of zimbabwe where i deserved part of my mormon mission. the year was 1983 and the country had recently gained its independence. a man by the name of robert mcgab bewas serving as prime minister at the time.
i don't think anyone could have predicted back then that he would serve as leader of zimbabwe until november of 2017. nor could anyone have imagined the damage he would do to this beautiful country. jubilation erupted on the streets in november of 2017 when zimbabweans heard that he had been out offed by his own party and forced to retire. the people of zimbabwe burst into spontaneous celebration hoping that mcgawbe, with him out of power, the country might begin to move forward after his reign. i had the opportunity to visit zimbabwe in 2016 where i led a delegation to southern africa. his misrule of the country was certainly evident at the time. the devastation had taken its toll on the capital city.
yet somehow the people of zimbabwe had persevered and were looking for a brighter future. i was able at that time to reconnect with friends who i hadn't seen for 30 years, including one of my missionary companions, peter chia, who despite severe physical disability brought on by polio as a child, managed to raise four children and contribute a great deal to his church, to his community, and to his country. zimbabwe's greatest potential has always been with its people, and it's time for the government to take steps to ensure that this potential can finally be realized. i want to work with zimbabwe to make this happen, and that's why i introduce the zimbabwe democracy and economic recovery amendment act, along with senator coons last march . senator coons has been a valued
partner in efforts to bring better governance to zimbabwe and enshould you are that we play a constructive role. the zedara amendment act says in order for sanctions to be lifted, the government must restore the rule of law. it must have free and fair elections, and it must demonstrate a sincere commitment to land reform. but -- and this is different from the prior statute -- our changes sent a signal to the government of zimbabwe, to the on significance, and to -- to the opposition and to the zimbabwean people that the united states is interested in the improving the say the of our bilateral relationship including in the areas of trade and investment. the bill asks that the government of zimbabwe take concrete, tangible steps toward good governance in the enactment of economic reforms. it asks that all statutes inconsistent with zimbabwe's 2013 constitution are either replaced or amended to bring
them into line with that constitution. and finally, it underlines the need for robust civil society that's allowed to function freely without government interference. the conditions outlined in the zedara amendment act are reasonable and will not take too long to achieve. i urge the new president to move ahead and repeal troublesome statutes and engage in meaningful economic reform along the lines of what finance minister nube has already recommended. i remain concerned that the lack of momentum for reform in zimbabwe will is under the opportunity -- squander the opportunity presented by the former president's out offer. we can't expect zimbabwe to flip a switch and reverse nearly four decades of misrule in a few months' time but we should expect more urgency to reform the economy and expand political
space for the opposition. there is no more outward sign that zimbabwe has yet to turn the page than the government leveling charges against opposition figures like tin dibide and others. there is no purpose served by going after one's political opponents, especially in the wake of a contested election. the new government of zimbabwe bears much of the responsibility for forging a positive path forward, but the opposition party needs to play a constructive role there as well. the leader of the movement for democratic change, nelson chimisa, is young and capable. he has a long career ahead of him. it would be to his benefit and to the benefit of all zimbabweans to recognize the legitimacy of the new government and to help create an inclusive process moving ahead. as in any democracy, zimbabwe needs a loyal opposition in the form of an opposition party or
parties to hold the government accountable within the framework of the rule of law. there will be new elections to contest, more chances to make the case to voters. now is the time to unify the country. during these past few months, i've thought often about my friends like peter chia and others in zimbabwe who i know deserve far better from their government than they have received in the past four decades. they deserve a government that represents them, a government that provides an environment that allows them to follow their dreams and to realize the dreams of their children. zimbabwe deserves a government worthy of its people, and i would encourage my completion to flooring ways to engage -- my colleagues to look for ways to engage constructively with the new government. the new zidera presents a good, worthy framework. by next month my role will change, but i will remain
involved, and i will be still committed to a strong partnership between the united states and zimbabwe. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: mr. president, we've been debating for quite sometime on the senate floor the yemen war powers resolution introduced by my colleague senator sanders and senator lee, which would cut off support for the saudi-led war in yemen, support that began under president obama. surrounding this vote today, many of my completion from both sides of the -- colleagues from both sides of the aisle have expressed extreme frustration with the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman, especially regarding the death of jamal khashoggi, an american-based saudi journalist murdered in turkey. i have a lot of respect for the senators weighing in, making the arguments all day today, senators young, lee, corker,
paul, graham, murphy, menendez, cardin. many. we do need to understand what happened, what our government has surrounding this death. i'm glad the c.i.a. director came to the hill to brief members. but this debate has taken something of a much more complex turn. certainly the heinous murders need to be -- murderers need to be held accountable. there is no doubt about that. but what we've been discussing and what's really being implicated here on the floor, which hasn't really been talked about too much, is the broader issue of american presence in the region, not just regarding our current conflict in yemen but also our broader strategic relationship with saudi arabia and our national security interests in the region. my colleagues are justified in their frustration. no doubt i share it as well with
the saudis, with what's happed happening, but removing american leadership and oversight of this conflict through this resolution is not the way we should go about addressing this. we're trying to execute a policy that both reflects america's values and our national security interests. that's what's being debate ised here today. we need to send a strong message to the saudis, but that message cannot undercut our own national security or those of our allies. the message cannot strengthen what clearly is the biggest threat in the region, and that's iran. the largest state sponsor of terrorism, which almost nobody on the senate floor has been talking about over the last several weeks. i intend to. today's vote has meant different things to different senators.
i've watched and listened to floor speeches. i have participated in debates when all the senators have met in briefings. when we were briefed by administration officials. so i thought i'd tray to unpack a little bit of these different arguments and provide my views on these. generally, this debate is focused in three different areas. one about the constitutional authority, the war powers act that we have to actually be undertaking these kind of operations with saudis in yemen. the other is limiting and ending u.s. assistance to saudi operations, u.s. military assistance in yemen, and finally, there has been some senators who have been focused on downgrading the u.s. relationship with the saudis because of what's been happening, both in yemen and with the khashoggi murder. first, let me talk about the constitutional arguments under war powers. that the trump administration needs congressional authority either pursuant to the war
powers act or more important pursuant to article 2 of the u.s. constitution to conduct military operations. in support of saudi arabia's military goals in yemen. senator lee has done a great job of pressing this issue. he's a senator on many issues that i agree with senator lee of utah on. clearly one of this body's most knowledgeable and passionate members on safeguarding constitutional prerogatives. but in this case, i would simply disagree with him and the other senators whose views i view as way too restrictive on the commander in chief's ability to utilize our military. if we set the precedent that even an operation such as the refueling of aircraft of allied countries, not even occurring in a war zone, needs congressional authority either through the war
powers act or article 2, we would severely limit the executive branch's ability to direct international crises and safeguard our global national security interests. i believe it would be an unworkable precedent the notion that refueling allied aircraft constitutes hostilities. it's a stretch of the term. i've also been skeptical of senate attempts to vote to remove presidential authority on our military operations once those operations have begun. for example, we had a debate on military operations and the authority of our military to operate in afghanistan, which i believe sends the wrong message to our troops. it's a precedent that once hostilities begin, we don't have
the back of our forces, and i think that's also a dangerous precedent. it's not to say this is not an important debate. it's certainly an important debate. other members, senator kaine, come down here and talk a lot about the importance of this issue, military authority. but, mr. president, with regard to this discussion, i think it's too limiting. let me talk about the second major issue involved that most senators have been focused on, whether to vote to affirmatively end u.s. military assistance to saudi arabia and their actions in yemen and whether and how in doing so will either help end the humanitarian disaster going on there. for months, i want to compliment senator young, senator murphy. they have been making the case passionately on this topic with much expertise. clearly, they and this body have
been focused on two goals. we all want a peaceful resolution of the conflict in yemen, and we all want an end to the humanitarian disaster in yemen. the reason, mr. president, that i voted against the resolution today is that i do not believe that either of these goals will be made easier or advanced by less american involvement in the conflict. to the contrary, if the u.s. no longer has the ability to help guide the saudis militarily in yemen, i believe that these two important goals, ending the humanitarian crisis, bringing a peaceful resolution will actually be harder to reach. and that's not just my view. that was the view of secretary mattis, secretary pompeo when they came to brief all 100 senators two weeks ago, and these were someone in particular secretary mattis who knows the
region, certainly knows about how hostilities end and begin in the region. the basis of their arguments which i agree was first -- there is no doubt that the saudis have prosecuted the war badly, but both the obama department of defense and the trump administration department of defense have worked hard to minimize casualties. does anyone actually believe that the situation in yemen will improve without u.s. assistance and guidance? the question almost answers itself. having our military involved has helped the saudis improve their coordination, improve their targeting to minimize the civilian casualties. having our military involved has helped the saudis manage disagreements between them and their gulf coalition partners. these partners also play an
important role in helping to bring an end to this war. having our military involved has also helped provide critical leverage as we move into the hopeful peace negotiations under way right now as we speak in sweden. yemen's government and the houthi rebels have evidently agreed to a prisoner swap that could include thousands of prisoners and could be the beginning of a diplomatic breakthrough. i had the opportunity to talk to secretary mattis and pompeo this weekend. both said this would be exactly the wrong time at a key diplomatic moment to have the u.s. limit and end its military assistance to saudi arabia. mr. president, i know sometimes people don't like to think this way, but military strength and leverage is often critical, critical to successful
diplomatic negotiations. and for the first time there is promise, promise in negotiations in sweden. all of us want that to succeed. however, i believe we undermine our chances of success in these diplomatic efforts if congress forces the u.s. to end military assistance to the saudis. we also have an even more direct and real national security interest in the region. yemen is an important front in the war on terror. it is the home to al qaeda and the arabian peninsula aqap. they have attempted multiple times to directly attack our homeland and were responsible for the attack on the u.s.s. cole that killed 17 u.s. sailors and severely wounded 39 others. and they were responsible for the 2015 massacre at charlie hebdo's offices in paris.
limiting our military involvement in yemen could pose significant risks with regard to aqap that i believe would be unacceptable for the american people. mr. president, the third line of argument that we have seen on the floor and many have been discussing goes much broader than just the relationship between our military involvement in yemen, and it really implicates the entire u.s.-saudi strategic relationship. and it is a desire of a number of my colleagues to use this debate and the despicable khashoggi murder as an opportunity to fully downgrade this decades-old strategic relationship. the saudis are difficult partners, no doubt. they have been for decades. last week when i was presiding senator, senator rubio gave an excellent speech saying he believes the saudis are testing the limits of their relationship with the u.s. and that we should
look to draw some hard lines and recalibrate elements of our relationship while demanding improvements in other areas. i agreed with much of senator rubio's speech including his conclusion like mine that we should not be cutting off our military assistance to the saudis and yemen because it would do much more harm than good. nevertheless, some senators have argued for a much more downgrading of the u.s. relationship with saudi arabia. in fact, so much of this has been exclusively focused on the saudis with no other reference to any other country in the middle east that it seems as if debate on the floor has been in a vacuum. but as we know, mr. president, there are a lot more countries in the region, including the world's biggest sponsor of state terrorism, iran. which nobody's talking about, but we should be talking about
them. because, in fact, the war in yemen began when tehran-backed houthi rebels seized power in 2015. again, not a lot of discussion of how it began. tehran is trying to establish a hezbollah-like entity on the arabian peninsula in yemen, including with the increased capabilities to target cities in saudi arabia with ballistic missiles supplied by iran. this is all part of iran's broader strategy in the region to encircle our traditional allies, whether saudi arabia, gulf arab states, and of course israel with proxy fighters throughout syria, lebanon, yemen, and close relationships in iraq. and yet, mr. president, no one in this debate seems to want to talk about iran, so i thought i would do so for a minute.
let's talk about the humanitarian crisis in yemen. u.s. aid has totaled humanitarian aid almost $697 million in the past 14 months. saudi arabia, yes, they could do a much better job. they have invested well over a billion to try and end the suffering. iran, the country that started the war, the country that nobody on the senate floor is talking about, not a dime to relieve the suffering. sure, they have supplied weapons and ballistic missiles in the millions, tens of millions of dollars, but nothing to relieve the suffering. the u.s. military, if we cut off u.s. military assistance to riyadh in yemen, you better believe the one capital in the middle east that will be cheering the loudest is in iran, in tehran, again, the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. such an action would further
embolden iran and no doubt embolden its proxies while at the same time our allies, including israel, would feel less secure. so, mr. president, as this debate has carried on in the senate with no one talking about the largest state sponsor of terrorism, i've found it very, very troubling because the lens through which we need to view security in the middle east is through iran. although we have the satisfaction and frustration with some of our allies, we must remember that the most significant and serious threat in the middle east continues to be iran. there has been a lot of focus on the horrible death of
mr. khashoggi. any death is horrible. but, mr. president, let me talk about some other deaths. in the middle east, in iraq, we had over 500 american military members killed and almost 2,000 wounded by the improvised dloaf devices supplied to iraqi shia militias by the iranians. let me say that. 2,000 americans killed and wounded by the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and yet nobody seems to talk about that. yes, one death of a journalist, american-born journalist, horrible. 2,000 american dead and wounded is really horrible. where was the outrage about those deaths? where was the outrage about those murders? where were the editorials about those murders of american
citizens? well, the previous administration wasn't focused on those because they are focused on the iran nuclear deal. so, mr. president, all i'm saying is in this debate, when nobody is talking about the real enemy of the united states, it's the iranians who are watching this debate and smiling because no one's talking about them. so i thought it was important to come down and say some of us are. some of us know that you're behind the war in yemen. some of us know that you continue to say you want to wipe israel off the face of the earth. some of us know that the iran deal only emboldened you. and what we need to keep in mind is, yes, we have difficult partners. no doubt the saudis are difficult. they are not perfect by any sense of the word.
but this is a difficult region and these are difficult issues, and if we think we can debate yemen and our help there without talking about the saudi and the iranians who started the war and are trying to encircle our different allies, including israel, and think somehow that this debate is not emboldening them more, i think we're misguided. mr. president, i voted against this resolution because i still think it's important to keep in mind the lens through which we need toll assess our security interests -- to assess our security interests and those of our allies in the middle east is through what helps or undermines iran. and i am concerned that this resolution can help them. and that's not good for the united states. it's not good for the war in yemen. it's not good for the
humanitarian catastrophe in yemen and it's certainly not good for our allies like israel. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to begin by thanking a number of my colleagues who have contributed so much to bringing us to this point on senate resolution 54. i have been very pleased and honored to work with them in cosponsoring these measures in the past, most recently in march and now today to end all united states involvement in the saudi-led war in yemen that is killing innocent civilians and murdering children and
committing arguably war crimes. the united states should have no complicity in these actions that betray our values and our national interests. and so this resolution would direct the removal of all united states armed forces from hostilities. there are many to thank, senators sanders and lee, senator menendez and my colleague from connecticut senator murphy, but i want to thank some people who have been unmentioned during this proceeding. before yemen and before the killing of khashoggi, that is, before the civil war in yemen and the saudi involvement in it and before the brutal, heinous killing of the american
journalist jamal khashoggi, there was 9/11. the victims and loved ones of those victims are remembered by me. they are friends. they are heroes. they have fought relentlessly to hold the government of saudi arabia accountable for its culpability not yet proven in court but they are seeking to hold the mon are a i -- hold the monarchy accountable for its possible involvement. they have been largely absent from the discussion on this floor, but they are the original champions of holding responsible the saudis for any and all possible involvement in
supporting the 9/11 attack on our nation. make no mistake, their loved ones were victims, but it was an attack on our nation, on the twin towers, on our defense department, on a plane that was forced to crash in pennsylvania. i'm pleased that the united states senate is pursuing justice for jamal khashoggi. he's a journalis journalist, ann writer for an american newspaper with two young children who are united states citizens. the united states has a moral obligation to end support for a government that engages in this kind of heinous, murderous action. and there is intelligence that
points directly to the highest levels of the saudi monarchy, namely to the crown prince mbs mohammed bin salman. the united states ought to end its support for the humanitarian crisis caused by the saudi-led war in yemen. make no mistake, it was and is a saudi-led attack, and the kingdom is responsible for it. but this monarchy was doing bad things and engaged in bad behavior well before the yemen civil war and khashoggi's tragic death. the saudis have a long record of violating human rights and international norms. they have funded extremism that
led to the rise of terrorism. they may well have provided financial support and even training for the saudis who went to the united states and thereafter enabled and led and participated in the attack on this nation. we should never forget the survivors and the loved ones of 9/11. we should never overlook the saudi role in that horrific attack. we should never relent in supporting those 9/11 families. and fortunately, we have made progress in holding saudi arabia accountable for its culpability in 9/11. in 2016 this congress unanimously passed the justice
against sponsors of terrorism act, jasta, to allow terrorist victims their day in court, their fair opportunity to hold accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including the saudi arabian government. this september the senate unanimously passed my resolution to release all classified documents related to the 9/11 attack. these documents are absolutely essential to giving those families their day in court because they are the evidence that is needed to establish the link the united states has intelligence dating from those days, now seemingly long ago, that incall participates -- that
inculpates the saudis. we must continue the investigation into 9/11 by our intelligence agencies and we must support those 9/11 families to ensure that the facts are made public and the necessary individuals, entities, and governments be held accountable. the families of victims who perished on that horrific day deserve answers about those events and circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack. we know that their pain and grief are very much with them. we should respect their loss and honor it with action. we should recognize those heroes like break eagleson of connecticut -- owe and the
families of connecticut and new york and new jersey and all around the country. and so many are from our area of new york, connecticut, and new jersey. who continue to demand justice and have done so year after year after year well before this resolution came before us. and so i say to my colleagues today, we need to keep our resolve alive and well to never forget, never yield to hopelessness, never allow our support for these 9/11 families to diminish, never cease our quest for justice in the name of brett eagleson's dad and his family and every family who still suffers the pain and grief from 9/11. given the role offed saudi government in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks, the brutal murder
of jamal khashoggi, and the saudi-inflicted humanitarian crisis, this reevaluation of the united states relationship with saudi arabia is long overdue. the saudi-led war has consisted of an aggressive campaign. as brutal as the murder of jamal khashoggi, indiscriminately killing civilians and houthis alike day after day after day the humanitarian crisis of famine, cholera, other medical afflictions and simple trauma to those children trying to grow up in the midst of exploding bombs continues to get worse. the united nations warns that 14 million yemenis could face starvation, 14 million. 14 million innocent people
facing starvation. diplomatic efforts and coordinatation with the united nations and european allies are vital to establish a peace framework and ensure access to humanitarian aid. and in the absence of meaningful action from the united states, the humanitarian crisis in yemen will only worsen. regionable -- regional instability will be exacerbated. american standing in the global community will be further undercut. and enduringly diminished. in march of this year, i led a letter to the department of defense with my colleague senator jack reed of rhode island along with many of our colleagues on the senate armed services committee stating our concern regarding u.s. support for saudi military operations against the houthis in yemen and
asking about the d.o.d.'s involvement apparently without appropriate notification of congress in its agreements to provide refueling support to the saudis and the saudi coalition partners. we were concerned that the d.o.d. had not appropriately documented reimbursements for aerial refueling support provided by the united states. eight months later, just days ago, the department of defense responded to our letter and admitted that it has failed to appropriately notify congress of its support agreements. it has failed to adequately charge saudi arabia and the united arab emirates for fuel and refueling assistance. that admission eight months
after our inquiry is a damning indictment. these errors in accounting mean that the united states was directly funding the saudi war in yemen. it has been doing it since march of 2015. in november the administration announced an end to united states aerial refueling support for saudi military operations in yemen but we still must determine whether the department of defense was incompetent or disingenuous or both in failing to charge the saudis and emirates for previous refueling assistance. we need accountability, a full explanation from the department of defense. the department will be seeking reimbursement for its refueling
support, but i will continue to demand and conduct oversight to get to the bottom of this apparent negligence. i've made the d.o.d. aware of my concerns, and i will evaluate whether an inspector general investigation is necessary to determine the extent to which united states taxpayer funds -- potentially millions and tens of millions of dollars were used to fund the saudi war. and used to fund it without the legally required acknowledgment and approval from the congress of the united states. very simply, the united states should not be funding this war. we should not be supporting this war. we should not be providing intelligence or logistic support. we should not be complicit in the indiscriminant targeting of
civilians in yemen, the murder of children, the famine and humanitarian crisis that are ongoing right now. and that's why today we should pass this resolution. it is all the more important today as well that the senate take a stand, given the trump family ties to the saudis and the president's habit of undermining the intelligence community. in the absence of leadership from the president, congress must reassert its constitutional authority to authorize support. we must take action to uphold the constitution as well as american values and interests. intelligence assessments indicate with high certainty that members of the saudi royal family, including the crown prince, m.b.s., ordered and
orchestrated the murder of jamal khashoggi. both president trump and his son-in-law, jared kushner, have undermined these findings and tried to stifle the intelligence community's conclusions. they have undermined not only these conclusions but, more broadly, the intelligence community itself. president trump has debased and dishonored brave intelligence officialsst professionals by demeaning their fact-based conclusions as, quote, feeling." end quote. president trump has falsely claimed, quote, we may never know all the facts surrounding the murder of mr. mr. shelby:, end quote. of mr. jamal khashoggi, end quote. mr. blumenthal: and his secretary of defense and secretary of state,
unfortunately, have further demeaned those findings by saying there is no direct evidence or there is no smoking gun. the fact is that there is powerful and compelling evidence. we know from the public statements of my colleagues coming from the briefing by the intelligence community, and we recently learned that the white house middle east advisor -- i should put advisor in quotes -- jared kushner offered advice to his close friend, mohammed bin salman, about how to, quote, weather the storm, end quote, during warranted backlash against saudi arabia after the murder of jamal khashoggi. rather than assuring accountability, jared kushner is
inexplicably offering support. and there is stunning evidence that the saudi government lobbyists reserved blocks of rooms at the trump hotel in washington paying for an estimated 500 nights in a luxury hotel, just three months after president trump was elected, bringing veterans to washington to lobby againstafter is -- agat the bill i mentioned earlier, that bill that enables the 9/11 victims to have their day in court, that bill that upholds american interests and american values and american people. the effort of the saudi government to bring those veterans to washington and fund their stays in the trump hotel was a despicable irony and
insult to america. but it yielded the trump organization $270,000 and millions of dollars by the president's own acknowledgment, indeed, his boasting, go to the trump organization from condos, apartments, offices, rented or bought, in new york and chicago and washington, d.c., to say nothing of deals that may be contemplated by the trump organization now or after donald trump leaves office. these kinds of payments and benefits directly implicate the emoluments clause of the constitution. they are part of the reason that i have enlisted almost 200 of my
colleagues in the united states congress in a lawsuit called trump--- blumenthal v. trump. and i believe that this lawsuit, which clams that the president is violating the chief anticorruption provision of the united states constitution, will shed even more light on those payments and benefits from saudi arabia and other countries around the world. these friendships and conflicts of interest demonstrate the very flawed and likely corrupt basis for the trump administration's foreign policy in saudi arabia. american credibility is at stake. we must end all united states involvement in the saudi war. we must sanction the top levels of the saudi monarchy under relevant statutes, like the
global magnitsky act. we must ensure that the president removes u.s. forces from any hostilities against the yemeni people. there are countless reasons to vote for this resolution. i call on my colleagues to support it and to make sure that united states support for this unacceptable conflict in saudi, the aggression and attacks by saudi arabia on innocent civilians, is ended now. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask unanimous consent that my intern adam berry be granted privileges of the floor for the balance of the day. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. under our constitution, we have article 1 which addresses the powers of congress.
article 2, the powers of the presidency. our founders were so concerned that the president would take us into war without justification that they made sure to explicitly place the power to go to war with congress, with the house and the senate. but here we are debating the issue of how the president took us into war in yemen as a facilitator of saudi arabia, providing intelligence, providing advice, refueling planes, providing armaments. it is time for us to take a powerful and clear stand and change this and end this. well, here's what's been going on. for multiple years now, saudi arabia has been bombing the
civilian infrastructure of yemen, indiscriminately slaughtering civilians, destroying schools and hospitals and neighborhoods and water systems. and what's the result of destroying the water systems? the largest outbreak of cholera in the history of humankind. we now have well over 100 children under the age of five a day dying of hunger and starvation. we're told by the experts that 8 million to 14 million people are at risk of starvation. but many are already starving, and not just children under five -- the whole spectrum of society. we have been directly involved in ways that in my mind violate
the war powers act by directly facilitating the movement of armaments and assisting saudi arabia in this assault, an assault that must end, and we have to send a strong message, and we can do that through this vote we're facing ahead of us. that's one piece of the conversation regarding saudi arabia. but the other piece is that the saudi government has assassinated an american resident, an american resident who is also an american newspaper columnist. and what do we have as a response? we have the weakest possible response from our president, president trump. president trump saying, we don't know what happened. the saudi crown prince may have been involved, he might not have been involved. who will ever know?
we need a strong watchdog for american values. we need the president to stand up to saudi arabia. we don't need to hear that we are going to be weak in the face of an assassination of an american resident because they happen to buy armaments from the united states, and yet that's what we're hearing from president trump. weakness, selling out american values -- because they buy some american products. what more trouble can we invite around the world if we don't stand up for human rights and we don't stand up for our residents and don't stand up for our journalists, all tied in together here? so let's be forceful in how we vote on this resolution. let's send a strong message. this challenge of the president
ignoring the article 1 powers in our constitution, in which the power to be involved in war is vested in this body, congress, is not the only problem we have. we also have core corruption of our constitution in the form of gerrymandering and voter suppression and dark money, all of which erode the fundamental vision, the vision in our constitution, of a we the people government, one that serves as president lincoln so eloquently said to operate by the people, for the people. but instead, we have government operating of, by, and for the powerful in this country, the 1% in this country. it's certainly we saw in 2017 with a tax bill that took $1.5
trillion -- or call it $2 trillion if you include the interest on the $1.5 trillion -- $2 trillion out of our federal treasury and gave it to the very richest americans. boy, that's not a we the people action. we didn't invest in health care. we didn't invest in education. we need apprenticeship programs. we need better public schools, we need affordable colleges. but we didn't invest in education. we didn't make our health care system more affordable. we didn't take on the drug companies. we didn't proceed to invest in the challenge of unaffordable housing. we didn't invest in infrastructure and create living-wage jobs. in other words, the four foundations of a thriving family -- health care, housing, education, living-wage jobs -- we ignored all that and had government for the powerful
giving $1.5 trillion -- or $2 trillion, if we include the interest -- to the richest, government by the powerful. well, government by oppression is a key strategy in all this. and what did president reagan have to say about that you will? president reagan said for this nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any american's vote to be denied, diluted, or defiled. now, there's a statement by a man who understood that voting is the foundation of our democratic republic. a core right of americans. and he believed we needed to stand up and make sure that that core value remains fully intact. but so obvious in our nation we've -- but so often in our
nation we've seen those who wish to wield power for the powerful proceed to deny or dilute or defile the power to vote, particularly poor communities, particularly communities of color. we've seen everything. we've seen poll taxes, we've seen literacy tests, we've seen post-civil war good character tests, we've seen the use of felony charges to make it impossible for african americans to vote in the south, we've seen voter intimidation, and we've seen it sometimes through racist dog whistling political postcards. we have a long history of these types of actions to deny, to dilute, and defile the power to vote, and i'd like to say that
they're simplifying our past -- that they're something of our past, that we saw this with the 1965 voting rights act. but that act was struck down by the supreme court, and we're seeing all kinds of forms of voter suppression emerge in 2016, in 201. in 2018, thousands of native americans in north dakota living on tribal reserves and using their post office boxes for their mail address were kept from casting a ballot because of a law that came into effect in 2018 that said you can't vote without a conventional address. the north dakota conventional address effort to dilute or deny, obstruct the power to vote. in georgia, the then-secretary of state brian kemp who was himself running for governor, attempted to block 53,000
georgians from voting, 70% of whom were african american voters, because of minor differences in the wording of the way they filled out the registration form. if the name wasn't exactly identical or some other slight variation, he was sitting on those voting registration cards. the identical name gambit from georgia. in ohio, a county election board proceeded on the orders of secretary of state john husted to purge thousands of ohioans from the voting rolls. on the voting rolls, you -- if you're not on the voting rolls, you can't vote when the election comes. again, who was disproportionately affected? african americans, the ohio voting roll purge strategy of voter suppression. what did we see in north carolina? thanks to a law passed by the
republican state legislature, nearly 20% of north carolina's early voting locations were closed, forcing voters to travel longer or wait in long election day lines to cast their vote. i will give you one guess on who was impacted the most. how was this target aimed? well, it was aimed at african american voters. the long-line strategy from north carolina. and from kansas as well. in kansas, the county clerk in dodge city, citing construction, moved the only polling place in a town that's 60% hispanic from don't to an -- downtown to an arena built for rodeo and farming shows outside the city limits. a location that had no sidewalks. a location separated from the rest of the city by train tracks. make it as difficult as possible for voters to get there. targeted at a hispanic
community. we saw voting suppression named at college students, too. in iowa, the legislature passed a bill to cut 11 days off of early voting in year to make it harder to vote, but it also had a tricky little deal on an i.d. requirement, which won't now go into effect until next year, but it created a great deal of confusion about this year because it made people think they weren't eligible to vote, because it said that your i.d. had to have an expiration date on it. and why was this tricky little thing done? because college i.d.'s often don't have an expiration date on them. well, a total violation of the vision ronald reagan laid out and really the foundation, the vision of our constitution, the power to vote. and in new hampshire, a bill was signed into law this past july aimed at suppressing
college-aged voters as well. it says that students and other part-time residents have to become permanent residents, and how do you become a permanent resident in order to cast a ballot? well, you have to buy an in-state license, and if you have a car in another state, you have to reregister it in new hampshire, which means registration fees and fees for license plates. perhaps separate state and municipal fees. it's like a poll tax placed on college students. so there we have this 21st century poll tax coming back aimed at college students. now, why are all these voting suppression strategies aimed at poor communities, aimed at communities of color, african american communities, hispanic communities? why are they aimed at college students? they are aimed at these three
populations because those three populations vote primarily on the democratic side of the ballot. it is wrong for any official in this country to simply target voters of the other party to try to prevent them from vote. it's un-american. it goes against the essence of what our constitution is all about. it is wrong. and yet, since the voting rights act was torn down by the supreme court of the united states, we see it time and time again. we don't just see it before the election. we see it during the election day. in georgia, we saw hours-long lines to vote in minority-majority districts. the machines just didn't happen to be working or they didn't have the extension cords to turn them on. in arizona, one polling place didn't exist on election day
because even though people were told to vote there, it was in a building that was locked up. voting machines were inside. the doors were locked. the building had been foreclosed on. didn't bother to move it next door or somewhere close by and enable people to vote. in texas, we heard about the machines that were changing people's votes from a democratic candidate to a republican candidate. all the while, president trump was working to cast doubt on the legitimacy of our normal election process, tweeting out the balance coming after -- ballots coming in after election night shouldn't be counted. what was he talking about? what was he talking about down in florida about ballots that shouldn't be counted? he was talking about the absentee ballots from our soldiers overseas. but because the president was concerned they might change the outcome, he didn't want them counted. if only ronald reagan could spend a few minutes with president trump and remind him
of what our nation is all about, what our constitution is all about, how important voting is, and that it should never be denied or diluted. none of these efforts are unique. we saw these efforts back in 2016 as well. the first election after the voting rights act was torn down by the supreme court. that was the shelby county versus holder decision. and the court thought this wasn't necessary anymore. maybe they should ask congress whether it was necessary. now that we find out it was necessary, maybe they should reverse their decision. maybe we need to put a new issue before them. maybe we need a new voting rights act. maybe it should apply to every state rather than just the states that were in the 1965 voting rights act bill. you know, in 2016, that first election after the voting rights act was torn down by the supreme court, we saw 900 fewer polling
places open to voters than in 2014 two years earlier, and most of that change was in the states that previously were under the regulation, the oversight of the voting rights act. we saw that texas, louisiana, mississippi, alabama, south carolina, north carolina, you reduce the number of voting places in poor and communities of color, you create long wait lines, and you deny the vote. nearly 17,000 wisconsinites disproportionately minorities were kept from the polls because of wisconsin's voter i.d. law. the state saw its lowest turnout in two decades. now, this law had nothing to do with security. it had everything to do with voter suppression because it's a known fact that residents in low-income and minority communities are less likely to
be able to access the i.d.'s that are required at the polls. routinely targeted. in fact, after north carolina's voter i.d. law was struck down in 2016, the fourth circuit court of appeals decision noted that it targeted african americans -- and i quote -- with almost surgical precision. the state resorted that year after it was struck down to eliminating early voting days, severely curtailing the number of polling places, affecting their hours of operation in communities of color. by the way, the lead plaintiff in the case that challenged the voting suppression strategy of the voter i.d. law passed away this weekend at age 97. ms. rosanell eaton was once described by president obama as
a beacon of civil rights, and she was a lifelong devotee of and advocate for voting rights. now, that's a patriot. it's because of unsung heroes like her that our nation has come far, and it must continue pushing ourselves forward to ensure justice and equality for all. in a we the people nation, can any of these efforts to suppress the vote be allowed to continue? and the answer is no, not if we want the vision of government of, by, and for the people. how can any of us sit by and allow citizens of this country, citizens like rosanell eaton to be systematically denied the most fundamental right? so we have to work together, democrats and republicans, together to honor, to strengthen
the vision of the ability to vote. we need a fierce, a formidable voting rights bill for the 21st century, ensuring in every way possible that every single american can exercise his or her right to vote freely and fairly. we need a voting rights bill that bans the type of shenanigans, the types of deceptive strategies, the type of strategies targeted at poor communities, communities of color and college students that i've talked about today. but we also need a voting rights bill that requires preapproval to change voting procedures to make sure that they are not being changed in order to take away the ability to vote, to make it more difficult for some communities than for other
communities within a state. we need a voting rights commission with the power to ban new voter sup pregnancy practices as they evolve because surely people will try new strategies who do not believe from people who do not believe in the vision of our constitution. in the 15th amendment of 1870 that recognized african americans' right to vote to the 19th amendment of 1920, 50 years later, which recognized the woman's right to vote, all the way up to the civil rights marches of the 1960's and the 1965 voting rights act, america's story has been of expanding opportunity for every american to have a say in the direction of our government. but we are far from ensuring that today every american has
that opportunity, pause the -- because the strategies of voter suppression are rampant, they are extensive, and they are targeted. voter suppression and voter intimidation must end, and we need to ensure that every american has the unfettered right to have a voice in their government, that every american has an unfettered right to cast a ballot during the election. president reagan had it right back in 1981. he supported the expansion of the voting rights act, the expansion, and he said for this nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any americans' vote to be denied, diluted, or defiled. let's make it so. thank you, mr. president.
the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of calendar 1154 through 1169 and all nominations placed on the secretary's desk in the air force, army, marine corps and navy, that the nominations be confirmed, that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, any statements relating to the nominations be printed in the record, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the appointment at the desk appear separate any the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i understand there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title for the first time. the clerk: s. 3747, a bill to provide for programs to help
reduce the risk that prisoners will recidivist upon release from prison and for other purposes. mr. gardner: i now ask for a second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will receive its second reading on the next legislative day. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 3748 introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 3748, a bill to amend the removal and transfer procedures for the inspectors general of the library of congresses, the architect of the architect of the capitol and the government publishing office. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made
and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 489, s. 11589. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 489, s. 1158, a bill to help prevent acts of genocide and other atrocity crimes which threaten national and international security by enhancing united states government capacities to prevent, mitigate, and respond to such crises. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. gardner: i further ask that the committee-reported substitute amendment be withdrawn, the cardin substitute amendment, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed to, the bill, as amended, be read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 530, s. 1580. the presiding officer: the
clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 530, s. 1580, a bill to enhance the transparency, improve the coordination and intensify the impact of assistance to support access to primary and secondary education for displaced children and persons, including women and girls, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, senate will proceed to. mr. gardner: i further ask the committee-reported substitute be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i had know of no further debate. the presiding officer: there further debate? if not, the question is on the passage of the bill. -- as amended. all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes do have it. -- the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. gardner: i ask that the motion to reconsider be
considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 55, h.r. 1222. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 555, h.r. 1222 it an act to amend the public health service act to coordinate federal congenital heart disease research efforts and to improve public education and awareness of congenital heart disease and for other purposes. the presiding officer: there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed to. mr. gardner: i further ask that the committee-reported substitute be withdrawn, the durbin substitute at the desk be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 621, s. 3031. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
the clerk: calendar number 621, is $3031, a bill to amend chapter 5 of title 40 united states code to improve the management of federal personal property. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the calendar number 694, s. 2076. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 694, s. 2076, a bill to amend the public health service act to authorize the expansion of activities related to alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline, and brain health under the alzheimer's disease and healthy aging program, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the collins amendment, which is at the desk, be agreed to, the committee-reported substitute amendment, as amended, be agreed to, and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. gardner: i know of no further debate at this time on the bill as amended. the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none, the question is on passage of the bill as amended. all in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill as amended is passed. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 7120, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 7120, an act to amend the federal election campaign act of 1971 to extend through 2023 the authority of
the federal election commission to impose civil money penalties on the basis of a schedule of penalties established and published by the commission. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the message? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the indian affairs committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 444. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 444, recognizing the heritage, culture, and contributions of american indian, alaska native, and native hawaiian women in the united states. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. gardner: i know of no further debate on the measure. the presiding officer: is there further debate?
if not, the question is on the adoption of the resolution. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution is agreed to. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the preamble be agreed to and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the indian affairs committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 596. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 596, recognizing the 29th anniversary of the tribal canoe journey of the tribal nations of the pacific northwest and congratulating the payalupe tribe of indians for hosting the paddle to payalupe. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed.
mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on homeland security and governmental affairs be discharged and the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the following bills en bloc -- h.r. 6020, h.r. 5791, h.r. 5792, h.r. 6591, h.r. 6780. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measures en bloc? without objection, the committees are discharged. and the senate will proceed to the measures en bloc. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the bills en bloc be considered read a third time and passed and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, all en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following bills received from the house -- h.r. 6513,
h.r. 6405, h.r. 6655, h.r. 6216, h.r. 6217, h.r. 6831, h.r. 4326, h.r. 6428, h.r. 5395, h.r. 5412, h.r. 6621, h.r. 1210, h.r. 1211, h.r. 3184, h.r. 6628. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measures en bloc? without objection, the senate will proceed en bloc. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that the bills be considered read a third time and passed and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that at 1:45 p.m. on thursday, december 13, all time be considered expired on s.j. res. 54 and the senate vote in relation to the following amendments in the order listed,
with two minutes equally divided in the usual form prior to each vote, and no second degrees in order -- young 4080, cornyn 4096, cornyn 4090, cornyn 4095, cotton 4097, cotton 4098, sanders 4105. i further ask that following disposition -- that following disposition of the amendments, the resolution as amended, if amended, be read a third time and the senate vote on passage with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. gardner: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. thursday, december 13. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of s.j. res. 54 under the previous order.
this american nazi party had 20,000 supporters who came to the garden and as the footage shows storm troopers giving the salute with a swastika next to a picture of george washington and the rally was for george washington's birthday. there was an active movement in the 20s and 30s earlier than people think that it was associated with the phrase america first. at the senate armed services subcommittee hearing tv and marine corps officials discuss military readinesdiscussedmilite navy secretary richard spencer and representatives
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