tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN December 4, 2019 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
the presiding officer: any senator wish to vote or change their vote? the yeas are 88. nays are 4. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. first i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor today having just spent thanksgiving day with our troops serving in afghanistan. it was an incredible honor to join president trump in a surprise visit to the soldiers stationed at bagram air force base. we served thanksgiving dinner to our dedicated service members,
those are individuals who serve us every day. you know, our troops were absolutely thrilled to receive the thanks of our grateful nation directly delivered from the commander in chief. they know that president trump has their back. the photo shows a number of members of the wyoming national guard, the cowboy calvary, my father-in-law bob brown from wyoming was a member of this group when he served in korea. madam president, it was such a privilege to introduce the president to some of my home state's wyoming national guard members. we actually had two of them up on the stage with him. they're doing a tremendous job on behalf of wyoming's largest deployment overseas right now in about a decade. we told all of our service members how grateful the nation is for their service and their sacrifice and their dedication, but meanwhile here back in washington, madam president, democrats continue to block the
bills that we need to have passed to keep our nation secure. incredibly, they're blocking both the defense authorization and the defense funding bills. well, defense funding bills, the whole funding of our national defense expires in two weeks. but still the democrats continue to waste time, precious time, legislative time on their partisan obsessive approach to impeachment. their holiday season impeachment is hurting the american people and especially it is hurting our military. the defense funding measure includes a well earned and well deserved pay raise for the troops. the president told the troops about that on thanksgiving evening after serving dinner and after eating with them. it makes you wonder, madam president, why on earth democrats would block the pay raise right before christmas. it is amazing.
they seem to be blocking all of the things that need to be done for our country to move ahead. the truth is they're so focused on gift wrapping an impeachment process from the far left that they have left the rest of us in this country out in the cold. besides they're slow walking so many of the pro-worker, pro-farmer usmca trade deals that are so critical for our nation. it means certainly a lot for the breadbasket of america. means for so -- means so much for us in the rocky mountain west. they're preventing us from lowering drug costs. above all people expect us to support our troops. but one thing after another after another the democrats continue to obstruct. the republicans are fighting to fully fund the military. democrats are in the process of waging war against the commander in chief. remember both parties came to the table and they completed a
bipartisan budget deal this past summer. the democrats went back on their word. and in doing so, they broke faith with the troops and with all americans. democrats, they filibuster, they impeach, they neglect the troops. really they're hurting the american people, not the president. the president is busy doing his job. this week he's attended nato's 70th anniversary summit. also meeting with the u.n. security council members. u.s. forces meanwhile are facing heightened threats with last year's funding levels. while necessary the stopgap spending resolution that we have right now is taking a toll on the military. and here's why. the short-term funding means that a $22 billion cut has occurred from the summer's bipartisan budget deal. it's harming military readiness. it's harming the training of our troops. it has delayed and suspended weapons systems and programs.
now, that hasn't stopped house democrats and the senate democrats from blocking the full-year defense measures they continue to obstruct. republicans need democrats' support to pass these bills. these need to be bipartisan bills. the national defense authorization act has a long history of strong bipartisan support. yet house democrats continue to delay the final passage. let's not forget our troops in harm's way are far away from home this holiday season. they're on the front lines. they're defending our freedoms. they sacrifice 365 days a year. they do it to protect our nation. u.s. service members never complain, never quit, and republicans won't quit supporting them. yet democrats remain too obsessed with impeachment to finish important business. the question is why are democrats fast-tracking impeecht and fill bust -- impeachment and filibustering defense legislation?
their impeachment production is choreographed down to the final curtain call. it is simply a costly, chaotic waste of time. i believe most americans know it. that's certainly what i hear in wyoming. democrats turn out to be the party of no, no positive ideas, no positive vision, no positive agenda for america. all they want to do is focus on impeachment. some ran on it. others didn't. whether they ran on it or not, that's what they're doing and they're neglecting the american people and the wishes and desires of american families for jobs, for strong and healthy economy, a growing economy, for infrastructure, roads and bridges, all of the things that are important, for lowering the cost of medical care, lowering the cost of drugs. they are ignoring it all. and certainly they're ignoring national security. so, madam president, it's time for the democrats to stop stonewalling. it's time to pass the defense bills. it's time to give our troops the rise that they have earned and
they deserve. let's send the right message to our troops as well as to our adversaries. it's time to pass these defense bills now. madam president, i also come to the floor today to talk about another issue, and that is that there is a climate conference meeting right now in europe. the united nations climate conference and earlier this week house speaker pelosi and 14 other democrats traveled to europe for the conference. to me they went there to undermine the president and to push their radical green new deal. they told the international group that the united states is committed to the paris climate deal. madam president, that's just not true. as secretary of state pompeo said, the paris climate deal posed an unfair economic burden on american workers, on american businesses, and on american taxpayers. president trump began formally
withdrawing from the paris climate deal last month. now, it may appeal democrats liberal lead to talk about climate in europe. republican, however, are goarg to stay focus -- are going to stay focused on the work ahead of us at home. we have a packed year-end agenda here in congress. americans expect us to continue the progress that we've made on jobs, on the economy, incredible success, madam president. this means passing better trade deals, funding the government, improving our road, the things we were elected to do. the speaker is nowhere to be found, certainly not on this continent. rather than pass american priorities, the speaker is sidelined in spain. republican pro-growth policies have led to a worker boom. wages are up. unemployment is down. unemployment is down to a
50-year low. think of that, madam president. it's a result of republican tax cuts, regulatory relief and unleashing american energy. right now today we have the lowest african american unemployment in history. people have more take-home pay, more money in their pockets and costs are low because of the regulatory relief. and we've seen this with the shopping over the thanksgiving weekend, in terms of people feel that confidence in the economy and in their futures. democrats' regulation message which is more regulation, higher costs lead to fewer jobs, it's not going to work at home, madam president. it's certainly not going to work in wiep. maybe they think it -- in wyoming. maybe they think it will work in europe. but just to clear up any confusion, president trump has gotten us out of the paris agreement. republicans' pro-growth agenda has us producing and exporting more energy at home, and we're seeing millions of new jobs. republicans are going to stay clear-eyed and focused on the economy. we're going to continue to
deliver real results, tangible results, results that people can understand and see and hold on to. we need to do that for the people that elerkted us, -- elected us, and we will continue to do it, madam president. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. a senator: madam president, there's a wonderful guy who lives in maine named david mallot. he has a keen year and an eye for the rural parts of our country. one of his most famous songs starts out like this. inch by inch, row by row, going to make this garden grow. all it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground. the problem is what we have now is we have rakes, hoes and a piece of fertile ground. mr. king: we have seeds, we have crops, but we have an
administration that ties the hands of our farmers at every turn, particularly the blueberry farmers in maine. now, blueberries have been exported from maine since the 1840's. and the people who are in this farming business are tough, they're resilient, they don't want bailouts. they want to be able to sell their product on the market. and it's a wonderful product, by the way. if you ever have an opportunity to choose between blueberries and wild blueberries, choose wild blueberries. they're better for you and they taste better. but in recent years, the market for blueberries has been very difficult because of imports from canada and additional cultivated blueberries from around the country. so our farmers being entrepreneurial and doing what we have been telling them to do for years have gone big time
into the export market. where is a great place to export? china. i used to say as governor if we could get the chinese hooked on blueberry muffins, just one a day, all of our problems would be over. and the maine wild blueberries were getting to that point. two years ago two and a half -- $2.5 million a year of blueberries were going to china and half of the budget of the export commission, wild blueberry export commission was going to develop the chinese market, hours and hours, days dollars, a lot of effort went to develop this chinese market. and then all of a sudden came the trump administration tariffs. now surprisingly -- it seemed surprising to the administration but not surprising to anybody that's paid attention to 500 years of trade -- the immediate response to those tariffs was retaliatory
tariffs by the chinese and one of the first ones was an 80% tariff on wild blueberries. we were doing pretty well. in 2014 to 2017, exports to china quadrupled $2.5 million this year, $61,000. so, we have the trade war. we have tariffs. it's well known that we have tariffs that are replying to all kinds -- applying to all kinds of agricultural products. so what's been the response of the administration? a massive bailout, a bail justice which has now reached something like three times the dollar value of the bailout of the automobile industry back at the beginning of the obama administration when we almost lost that entire industry. we're now heading toward three times the amount, and a lot of the bailout to the automobile
industry was paid back. this is not a bailout that's going to be paid back. it's continued to be just paid out to various farmers across the country. now, farmers -- and i'm sure the farmers in the midwest just as the farmers in maine, don't want bailouts. they want sales. they want to sell their product in the market, which they have been doing. but what's happened is we've got this bailout, and i call it the farm bailout lottery. i don't have a spinner on here, but it's a lottery because we don't know and we don't understand and nobody can tell us why certain crops are in and certain crops are out. round and round she goes. where she stops, nobody knows. and that's the problem. what's in? well, let's see. cranberries are in. blueberries are now. zip, zero, nothing. soybeans are in.
wheat's in. apples are in. here's what else is in? tell me if this makes any sense. dairy, hogs, almonds, cranberries, ginseng, grapes, cherries. these are getting the bailout money. some farms over $500,000. hazelnuts, by cans, pistachios and walnuts but not blueberries and for some reason, not apples. so we've got a double whammy here on this proud industry from maine. first, the chinese tariff war, which -- of which we're collateral damage -- and, by the way, the same problem is going on with lobsters. they were one of the first products to be retaliated against by the chinese. we've lost that export market. and now the same thing is happening in these agricultural products. so it's a double whammy.
we got hit by the retaliatory tariffs. and number two, we're not in on the funds that are being distributed. nobody can he will it us what the rationale is. is it who has the biggest, most powerful lobby in washington? if you're from a that voted for the president in 2016? what's the rationale? we can't tell what that is. the president just said yesterday this trade war with china may go on for another year. that means another crop, that means people -- we have third- and fourth-generation blueberry farmers in maine leaving the land. it's heartbreaking. these aren't big enterprise. these aren't big operations. these are people with 100-acre farms. now, the administration knows about this because i, my colleagues from maine wrote them in july and asked this question
-- wild blueberries should be included in what's called the market facilityation program. didn't happen. and we still don't really know what the criteria is. just to put a fine point on it, if you're a wild blueberry harvester with a 100-acre farm, you get zip, zero, nada, zilch. if you're a cranberry farmer with a 100-acre barron, you get dollars. i've written today to the department of agriculture asking them, a, why we aren't in, and, b, how she is distinctions are made. i don't think that's an unreasonable question when you're talking about people's livelihoods going back generations. these are tough people. these are resilient people.
these are hardworking people. these are people that have given their lives to the land, and they deserve to be supported by their government, not undermined, not challenged, not undercut by their government. row by row, inch i inch, going to make this garden grow. all it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground. and a government that supports your right to make a living at your chosen profession. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i appreciate the senator from maine speaking about the virtues of wild maine blueberries. happen to be one of my favorite -- favorite foods, and obviously
the lobsters as well. i agree with him that there appears to be an arbitrary distinction between where these support payments that are supposed to compensate farmers for the trade war with china, which i think unfortunately is necessary to get china to conform to a rules-based system when it comes to international trade, but certainly in the interest of preserving the wild maine blueberry, i'm happy to offer any services i might be able to provide to support our colleagues from maine. madam president, over the weekend, we marked one year since the leaders of the united states, mexico, and canada signed the u.s.-mexico-canada trade agreement. this modern trade agreement will replace the national -- excuse me, the north american free trade agreement, or nafta, which has been the guiding force for north american trade for the past quarter of a industry.
-- quarter of a century. when nafta was created, it's goal was to remove barriers and provide economic benefits to all three countries. by any measure, nafta has been an overwhelming success, but a lot has changed in 25 years since nafta went into effect. and it's time to bring north american trade into the 21st century. that's precisely what the united states-mexico-canada agreement agreement, usmca, will do. it preserves the hallmark provisions of nafta, like duty-free access to mexican and canadian markets, and adds measures to modernize the agreement. the usmca provides strong protections for intellectual property, which is critical to protecting the incredible innovation that americans do right here at home. it also cuts red tape that is preventing countless small businesses from tapping into foreign markets and it accounts
for e-commerce and digital products, something unheard of 25 years ago, at a time when governments around the world are proposing all kinds of new taxes on e-commerce, it's actually the first free trade agreement with a digital trade chapter. that's why a lot of folks call this nafta 2.0. it's better, it's stronger, and it modernizes the original nafta. we've been told by the experts that the usmca will lead to an increased wealth and jobs here in the united states, about 176,000 new jobs. that's on top of the 13 million jobs currently supported by trade between canada, the united states, and mexico. it's expected to have a positive impact on every industry sector of the u.s. economy and a more than $33 billion increase in our exports, things we grow, things like wild maine blueberries, and
sell overseas, things we make and manufacture. this isn't just a win for our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers. it's a win for our entire country. and it coincidentally is also a big win for texas. our state has the tenth largest economy in the world and is the engine behind much of our country's trade. in 2018 exported more than $137 billion in goods and services to canada and mexico. with the passage of the usmca, that number will go up. i think the only question left is, when will we get a chance to vote on it? mexico approved the deal in june. canada is moving toward ratification soon. so the only remaining hurdle is the green light from speaker pelosi in the house of representatives. we heard early on that house democrats had some concerns with
the agreement, but we were told by the administration, ambassador light highser, for example, that he thought the negotiations with the house were going well and were being done in good faith. mexico has made commitments related to some of the labor provisions that were of concern to our democratic colleagues and president lopez obrador even wrote a letter to the speaker last week affirming that they will fulfill the promises they've made. speaker pelosi has said repeatedly over the last year that progress was being made and that we're close to a deal and that she hopes we will vote soon. we've heard that over and over and over but still no vote. so here we are, more than 365 days have gone by since this agreement was signed, and the house still hasn't had a vote.
rather than working to iron out the final details so we can get the usmca moving before christmas, the speaker kicked off the week in spain talking about the paris accord and climate change. unfortunately, our democratic colleagues seem to want to talk about anything and everything other than the priorities we should have here in the congress, whether they want to be absorbed by impeachment mania, they want to talk about climate change in london, in paris; they want to talk about anything other than the work that's right here in front of us that we need to get done. things like the usmca, things like lower drug prices for consumers, things like an infrastructure bill, improving our highways and bridges, reducing traffic, which we all hate on a bipartisan basis, addressing some of the root causes of some of the mass violence incidents, including
mental health challenges that many people face and are a danger to themselves and others, things like how can we get people who should be conducting background checks on firearm purchases, making sure that the laws on the books are being enforced. those are all things we can and should be doing. but apparently that's not the priority for the speaker. for an entire year now, house democrats have kept american farmers, businesses, workers, and consumers waiting. with each day that goes by while the usmca waits in purgatory, the american people are missing out. and we know that the longer this goes on, the closer this gets into the active election season of 2020, the less likely it is that we're actually going to have the bandwidth to get it done. i don't understand why our democratic completion are
putting american -- our democratic colleagues are put ping new american jobs on hold. they're saying we don't need this increased wealth this grade agreement will bring. is that really their argument? are they telling the american businesses that they really don't care about leveling the playing field? is that the message we're supposed to get from this lack of activity, this inaction? with the house democrats working overtime in a futile effort to remove the president from office and undo an election, they're squandering -- squandering -- what may be our biggest opportunity this congress. unfortunately, partisanship has broken out and obstructed bipartisan desire to get our work done, including the usmca. i mentioned some of the other things that we could and should be doing. a few weeks ago the minority leader, the democratic leader single-handedly blocked a
bipartisan bill that the senator from connecticut, senator blumenthal, and i introduced that would bring down prescription drug prices. this bill passed -- it sailed through the senate judiciary committee on a bipartisan unanimous vote. but when we brought it to the floor, our democratic colleague, the minority leader who called this a good bill and well intentioned, objected to its passage. and then there's the appropriations process that had been thrown into chaos. we had an agreement in august on spending caps for the next two years. we thought we had overcome the biggest hurdle to getting our work done to make sure our military was funded, to make sure that we're meeting the other financial obligations that the federal government has to meet, but our democratic colleagues walked back on that commitment they made in august over a .3% disagreement on
federal spending. that's right, .3% of what the federal government spends. that's what caused them to backtrack on their agreement. so now they've kempt our military -- kept our military waiting for the funding and the stability they need to keep our nation safe. they've defeated or at least temporarily a bipartisan, nearly unanimous prescription drug bill that would bring down prescription drug costs. and it's hard for me to understand why. i'd like to be able to head home for the christmas holidays with some good news, good news for the texans who are eager to see the usmca ratified. i'm generally speaking a glass half full kind of guy. not a glass half empty. but i'm losing confidence that we'll see this progress on the
usmca before christmas. and the longer this goes on, the less likely we will actually find the opportunity to get it done. madam president, it seems to me like impeachment mania has consumed this congress and rendered our colleagues on the other side incapable of focusing on anything else other than removing president trump from office. time is running out and i hope the usmca doesn't become the latest casualty to land in senator schumer's legislative graveyard. at some point we have to put politics aside and to do what we were sent here to do which is to make progress that will benefit the american people. let's hope we can do that during this holiday season before it's
over. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: madam president, i just came on the floor and i had to chuckle about my friend from texas deciding that it's the minority in the senate holding up legislation that needs to be brought up when we're coming to the floor every day after senator mcconnell indicated he was proudly the grim reaper and we indicated very clearly that he has turned this into a legislative graveyard. and so i have so smile when i see the words that my friend said. let me just set the record straight before i talk about what i came to the floor to talk about and that is the house of representatives amazingly, even with the challenge they have in
front of them that they didn't ask for, they didn't welcome. it was brought to them by the continued actions, abuse of power and other actions of the president of the united states while they are fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities. they've passed over 300 different pieces of legislation over to the united states senate. it's my understanding that 250 of those bills are bipartisan bills and yet we can't get any of them taken up on the floor of the senate. we come every week. i'm involved in efforts every week to come to the floor to say let's pass the bill that will protect people's pensions, people who their whole lives worked, put money in their pension, are close to retirement or maybe have already retired and in my state, some of them are getting 50%, 60%, 70% cuts in their pensions because they got caught in the financial crisis when wall street collapsed, the big banks were
bailed out. but when it came time to bail the pensions that were invested in those big banks or the i.r.a.'s or 401(k)'s, somehow we can't get republican support to do that. so i would like to see that bought up any day. bingo, we'll pass it. the other thing we could be doing is passing legislation the house brought across -- gave to us months ago on preexisting conditions to make sure everybody -- everybody says we don't want people to lose their preexisting coverage under health care. great. let's pass the legislation that came over from the house to protect that and make sure that that happens. the violence against women act which has been waiting for over 200 days, the efforts on gun safety, things we all agree to, gun safety issues on background checks that they're almost -- well over 90% of the american public agrees with. came from the house months ago. can't get any action on the
senate floor. dealing with what's happening with carbon pollution and the climate crisis. it goes on and on and on. over 300 different pieces of legislation has been passed by the house while they are also having to address what is clearly a constitutional challenge that is very serious for our country. now, we haven't had that in front of us. we could easily have been bringing forward every week bills that would make a difference in people's lives, lower their health care costs, lower their prescription drug costs, make sure people's pensions are protected, focusing on jobs and education and safety for their children while they are in school. so we welcome that. we welcome that. let's do it. today, tomorrow. let's go. we've got over 300 bills that the house has sent to the senate that there's been no action on. let me also speak today more
specifically about health care. i go to the floor -- i come here every week and have said the same thing which is health care is personal, not political for each one of us. that really is true in our own families. we want whatever it takes to make sure our child has what they need. our moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas have what they need, that we have what we need on health care. it's pretty basic. it's a common human need that we all share. and yet unfortunately this has become a political issue here, here in d.c. nowhere else is it a political issue. it's personal for people in michigan and around the country. if a senior can't afford their medication she needs for clms condition, that's person -- climate condition, that's personal.
if a parent doesn't have a trusted doctor to call when their child wakes up with a cough and high fever and they don't know what's happening, that is personal. and if a woman is charged more for health care coverage than she needs to be just because she's a woman and has detected cancer or she wants to have it detected early and doesn't have the health care to do that, that's very personal. health care for each one of us is something very personal. unfortunately, the law that helps seniors afford their medications provides families health insurance, covers life-saving preventive care and protects people with preexisting conditions is under political attack over and over and over. from the very beginning the trump administration has been undermining the health care of
millions and millions of americans. it's now open enrollment season. and unfortunately they're at it again. what they couldn't do here in this body when we voted no that we would not repeal the affordable care act, that we would not rip apart the health care system, that's what happened right here. when they couldn't achieve this through congress, the legislative body, the people's body, they are now trying through the back door to find ways to unravel and rip apart the health care system and have costs go up so they can se say , look, costs are going up because of what they're doing behind the scenes, to unravel. they're add it again. centers for medicare and medicaid services is using taxpayer funding to promote
third-party insurance brokers. you go to the website healthcare.gov. i would encourage folks to do that. you have until december 15 to do that. it used to be longer signup time. one of the things they've done is cut back the signup time. you have until december 15. when you go there now, it's now a little tricky, a little confusing because you've got healthcare.gov and depending on what button you click, it takes you outside of healthcare.gov, the government system, to a private insurance broker. and the insurance brokers are allowed to enroll people in quality comprehensive plans which is what the affordable care act provides. you know what is covered. essential services are covered. if they do that, they get paid. but if they sign you up for an insurance -- through an insurance company for what we call a junk plan that doesn't cover anything, then they get
paid up to four times more. so they get paid more if you get less coverage. and the problem is it's going to look good because it will probably cost less for many folks. and you won't know what it covers until you get sick. and i didn't know how many times i heard before the affordable care act passed someone call me and say i've paid interest my insurance plan all my life. i've never been sick. i got sick. and what do you mean it only covers one day in the hospital. what do you mean it doesn't cover the ambulance. what do you mean i only get two treatments. that's what we mean by a junk plan, a plan that does not cover what you expect to cover in terms of your care. so it's very important that you go to healthcare.gov if this is something you're interested in, if you need insurance or you want to change your plan but that you go in fact into the system where you're going to be
given quotes on comprehensive care where there's accountability for the coverage. late last month i released a report that outlined the many ways that the trump administration has been undermining health care. they've nearly eliminated the funding for what's called health care navigators who are people that can help you sign up, health insurance coverage. it doesn't matter what it is. a lot of questions. it's complicated so having somebody you can get on the phone to answer your questions, walk you through it is important. and yet the funding for the folks to do that, to help you to answer questions has been basically eliminated. they've slashed the budget for advertising so people don't know it's open enrollment now. they don't know where they can go to sign up or how many days they have to be able to do that and how to do that online. and as i mentioned before, they
cut in half the time that you have to sign up. and any day now the worse thing is that the fifth circuit court of appeals backed by the trump administration could announce a ruling that overturns the entire affordable care act, the entire affordable care act which would take away what we call healthy michigan, our medicaid expansion. it would take away the ability for your children to stay on your insurance to age 26. it would take away protections for people with preexisting conditions. it would put back into place or allow insurance companies to put back into place caps on a number of treatments you can receive. and all of the other restrictions that insurance companies used to provide on care that were eliminated with the affordable care act. and i have to say that recently
when we looked at how this impacts people and this possibility of eliminating the affordable care act and this court decision, we also realized that not only does it take away health care for millions of americans but it has the perverted result of actually providing a tax cut to the wealthiest individuals and to prescription drug companies and insurance companies who are each chipping in to help pay for the tax credits that average citizens have used in order to be able to get lower cost care. so tax cuts -- seems like it doesn't matter what it is our republican colleagues are supporting, this president always ends up with another tax cut for the wealthy. and unfortunately even the repeal of health insurance on top of all it would do to average families in taking away the capacity to get care and the confidence that you can get care
for your family, that, too, would provide another tax giveaway to the wealthy. so the court case and all that it would do in repealing the affordable care act would have life-changing consequences for millions of people in michigan. including someone i'd like to tell you about. henry. henry is an outgoing 9-year-old who lives in gross point, michigan. henry loves people. he greets everyone he meets with a big hug. he also loves performing. his favorite activity is dance class and he enjoys singing care ow-- singing karoke at home. i like to sing too. he is also living with a number of preexisting conditions, including down syndrome, autism,
and severe reflex. henry's mom, kira, explained why comprehensive health insurance is so foreign her family. henry was hospitalized at eight months for ann fection that nearly took his -- for an infection that nearly took his life. saving his life cost over $1 million. she added this, if we didn't have access to affordable health care coverage, we would have been bankrupt before henry was one year old. no family should face bankruptcy because their child was born with a genetic condition or hospitalized with a serious illness. and i just want to remind my colleagues, this could happen to any of us at any time. just almost four years ago my nephew and his wonderful wife had their first-born girl and she was born with only half a
heart and spent most of her first year of her life in children's hospital at the university of michigan. incredible care. she's now almost four years old. our miracle baby. but she came out with a whole laundry list of preexisting conditions, ongoing challenges, and a huge, huge health care bill that i know, if we hadn't had health care coverage, if they weren't able to get coverage, they would have done anything -- anything -- including losing their home and anything else in order to keep her alive and thriving. that's what we do for our kids. that's what we do for our families. and too many people have been put in that position. that's one of the reasons the affordable care act was put in place, to give you an option so that you didn't have to focus on losing everything in order to protect your child's life.
so that's what's at stake right now. and, unfortunately, this administration is trying to turn the clock back to a time when filing for bankruptcy or not being able to get your child the lifesaving medical care they need was all too common. all people with preexisting conditions deserve to know that their health insurance will be there when they need it, just like henry's was. and half the people in michigan -- half our families in michigan have someone with a preexisting condition, and they want to know, are they going to be okay? that their health care coverage is not going to be ripped away. i want that for them, too. i want that for all of us. health care isn't political. it's personal. it's time to stop playing politics with people's health
the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. over the past few months --. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. blackburn: i ask that we suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you mr. president. over the past few months we have watched as the pro-democracy protesters in hong kong turned the tables on beijing, and indeed we passed legislation and the president has signed that addressing the issue and hong kong's recent elections really were a stunning rebuke po
beijing. seven in ten eligible voters risked persecution to speak out at the ballot box, and the government's allies political control over hong kong collapsed hong kong wants their freedom. and we're proud of those freedom fighters. we continue to support them. but we also must recognize that beijing's crimes spread far beyond the world of cell phone cameras and fearless journalism. and the far west xinjiang region, chinese officials are perpetrating a different and even more horrific human rights crisis. xinjiang is home to 11 million uighurs and indig. nish -- indigenous minority that the chinese government tormented for decades.
although the uighurs bult their lives and a booming economy in china they feel more culturally and ethnically close to their neighbors living in central asian nations. much lieb -- like tibet xinjiang is a communist region but after the communists subjugated the area the central government increased control over the lives of uighurs by repressing commercial, religious, and cultural activities deemed inconsistent with state doctrine. think about that. the chinese communists said these activities are inconsistent with state doctrine. in the wake of 9/11, china seized on the actions of uighur separatists to create a propaganda campaign comparing the separatists to al qaeda. they've used these accusations
to blame the uighur population at large for unrest and crack down mercilessly on even peaceful protests. in 2016 the government ramped up further persecution of the uighurs under the guise of antigovernment activity. their current playbook really looks familiar. arbitrary detention of over a million uighurs and other ethnic minorities in concentration camps that they have labeled political reeducation centers, torture for those who fail to tell the communist party what the communist party wants to hear, compulsory, digital and physical surveillance, and the merciless eradication of free expression, freedom of religion and basic expectations privacy. the camps have garnered widespread international attention in spite of chinese
officials uncompromising repression of foreign journalists. but the government's pervasive digital surveillance programs are putting the communist party in a position to racially profile and persecute those who threaten china's plans for dominance. yesterday's "new york times" featured a story detailing how chinese government officials are forcibly collecting blood samples from the uighurs with the ultimate goal of using d.n.a. to improve facial recognition capabilities. although the government claims that these capabilities will place a new tool in law enforcement's toolbox, human rights watchdogs rightfully fear that beijing will use it to justify even more intense racial profiling and persecution. these violations all committed
by a member of the united nations human rights council. these are going almost completely ignored by the international community. the e.u. and the european academic institutions have supported china's research and development of facial recognition technology often without verifying that the necessary d.n.a. samples weren't forcibly obtained. unfortunately american technology companies have supported and profited from china's increasingly sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and tourist and corporate partners will once again flock to beijing for the 2022 olympic games, even though they are fully aware, fully aware that the chinese government will track them,
record them, surveil them, and analyze their every move. the trump administration's crackdown on tech exports to huawei and other chinese entities, that sent a strong message to beijing. and just last month i joined my colleagues in a letter to secretaries pompeo, mnuchin and ross urging them to sanction individual chinese officials responsible for ordering and coordinating mass internment and forced labor in xinjiang. but most leaders and executives even in the west failed to realize that china's bad behavior is an indication of their global ambitions. china thinks power and the almighty dollar, not freedom, rule the day. everything china does from their
military activity in the south china sea and the horn of africa to the flood of chinese-made products into the global market is done with the goal of exporting their destructive repressive ideology. what they are doing to the uighurs, to the hong kong people, and even to their own supposedly loyal comrades, they intend to do to you. the chinese surveillance state is an essential means to their end game of absolute control over thought, movement, and relationships with other global powers. how far must china go before we reject the notion that their influence will stop at our border? i ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to consider their answer carefully as questions will inevitably rise about the relevance of free
speech and the constitution or the importance of a strong national defense. we're in the midst of great power competition, and we do not have a national defense authorization act. it would be the first time in 58 years. i encourage my colleagues, work with us. let's get this complete, because the threats are real and the more we compromise our own values, the easier it will become for foreign influence to take hold in our society. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, atmospheric carbon dioxide just hit new records in our atmosphere, the highest in the
history of human kind, and i rise for the 260th time to call this chamber to wake up as we venture further into uncharted dangerous climate change, the national council for science and the environment issued this report. climate science research in the united states and u.s. territories. this report surveys climate research papers from public universities across all of our 50 states, every single one of them, to highlight the breadth and the depth of climate science coming out of our state universities and to showcase the climate science centers and institutes that they host. some colleagues pay no attention to the threat of climate change change, but their home state universities sure do. 10,000 peer-reviewed research
papers published out of 80 universities from 2014 through 2018, that is on average 185 peer-reviewed articles published on climate change in each state. the report says this, in every state, public universities invested scholarship and education to advanced fields such as climate modeling, climate impacts, adaptation and more. increasingly they go on climate science has been integrated into course work on sustainability, energy, engineering, architecture, business and even political science. won -- one wonders what is the hold the fossil fuel industry has over the republican party that causes colleagues to ignore the research from their home state universities. the report continues, climate scientists are studying a wide
diversity of topics. they're measuring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, studying carbon cycling and the impacts of a changing carbon cycle. they are studying the impact of climate change on the nation's food security, crop yields, heat stress, health impacts, soiling erosion, on water resources, including water quality, balance, river basins, drought, precipitation, mountain snow back, impacts to infrastructure such as sea level rise and coasts and subtropical islands, the impact of per ma frost thaw on arctic rivers. researchers are studying the social science on climate change including opinions, beliefs and impacts on framing in the media and on decision making. region by region in every state the report shows our state universities tracking climate change's consequences in fine
detail. quoting from the report, in the midwest agriculture is a major focal area for climate-related research, with more occurrences of the word agriculture and climate-related papers from the midwest between 2014-2018 than in any other region. in the southwest, a key focus of scientific research in the southwest region is on the impacts to people and ecosystems from heat, drought, wildfires and flooding. end quote. in the southeast, the impacts of climate change in the southeast are becoming most visible through the increase in flooding, temporal and geographic shifts that affect human health and growing risks of wildfires. end quote. in the southern great plain states, scientists in the southern great plains are studying climate impacts on food systems, sea level rise as well as impacts to unique ecosystems in this region such as the tall
grass prairie in oklahoma. across all these regions red and purple state universities are churning out climate research. in fact, conservative states universities are home to some of the most prolific climate science departments and institutes. i wish they were listened to by our members here. texas a&m university, the alma mater of climate change denying former energy secretary rick perry, produced 256 papers, 256 papers covering topics like shifting summer monsoons in the lone star state, local surface temperature increases, atmospheric changes, and climate adaptation strategies. north carolina state university produced 223 climate papers examining climate change and atmospheric chemistry, surface
ozone, regional water research and precipitation and it's home to the southeast climate adaptation science center which helps coastal north carolina grapple with rising sea levels, erosion, and flooding. go to idaho, researchers from boise state and the university of idaho issued 164 climate science papers covering threats like wildfires, bark beetles, shifting precipitation, rising temperatures and disruption to ecosystems in national parks like yellowstone. idaho also has two academic centers focused on climate change. the hazard and climate resiliency consortium and the center for resilient communities. for the staff at these two centers ever. let's look at what's happening
in the home state universities of republican senators on our environment and public works committee. here's what they'll find in their university backyards. the university of wyoming produced 124 climate change papers on wildfires, endangered species, yellowstone national park and other climate topics. 124. the university is home to both the state climatology office and an atmospheric science department which does modeling and empirical climate research. its faculty are working on subjects like, and i'm quoting the report here, the role of climate change and variability on vegetation and fire. using modern climate analogs to understand past environmental disturbances, developing web-based animated maps of climate, and development of 3-d climate visualization tools to
enhance learning approaches in the classroom. i wonder if our wyoming delegation has visualized that. the university of oklahoma and oklahoma state university published 183 climate change papers on things like southern plains grassland, rising temperatures, soil restoration, and much more. o.u. is home to the oklahoma university climate science center and the department of the interior's south central climate adaptation science center. here's what the dean of university of oklahoma's college of atmospheric and geographic signses have -- sciences have said. i quote him here. on the increasing strength of earth sciences we can now state that global warming is unequivocal. he has said the fact that the planet's warming and the fact
that co2's a greenhouse gas and the fact that it's increasing in the atmosphere and that it increases in the atmosphere due to humans, about those things there's no debate. i'm not sure the oklahoma delegation here has taken that in yet. wetion virginia and marshall universities -- west virginia and marshall universities have turned out dozens of climate change papers on precipitation and much more. they have a mountain high drol ji laboratory which reports on climate change's, and i quote, important implications for management of fresh water resources which include, and i quote again, the highlands region in the central appalachian mountains is expected to wet up as warmer air carrying more moisture leads to what they call intensification of the water cycle, what you and
i would call is flooding. the laboratory warns, and i quote them here, that the implications of this intensification are immense. university of arkansas contributed 51 papers and hosts the university of arkansas resiliency center. arkansas researchers warn of the need to reduce greenhouse gases, particularly including carbon dioxide and methane because these gases, and i quote them here, be a sorgs of -- be a sorgs of solar radiation is an effect of the greenhouse gas. these gases are trapped and held in the earth's atmosphere gradually increasing the temperature of the earth's surface and air in the lower atmosphere. a university of arkansas science predicts the spread of plant species in half the world's land areas could be affected by
global warming. and yet what do we hear from arkansas about climate change. gets its own regional chapter in this report. in alaska, and i quote, researchers at public institutions are studying changes in the marine environment, and the impacts that alaskan depend on. there are papers on therma frost, infrastructure, and habitat for official wildlife. there is research on what rapid ocean acidification and rising fish stocks mean for alaskan coastal communities mean and the indigenous people are fighting to protect their way of life in a rapidly changing landscape. alaska's home to not one, not two, but three climate
institutes. the alaska climate research center, the alaska climate adaptation resource center, and the ocean acidification research center. alaskan researchers have written papers titled permafrost is warming at a global scale and climate change and futurele wildfire in the -- future wildfire in the western united states, they don't minutes words -- mince words. considerable change will contribute to extensive infrastructure damage from thawing permafrost and increased frequency on rain on snow events and reduced soil recharge in the spring due to shallow end of winter snowpack. not hard to understand but where's the action?
in the dakotas, north dakota state and the university of north dakota are studying the effects of climate change. on the great plains, the mississippi river, land use and public policy. they are home to north dakota's agriculture experiment center, the global institute of food security, and the center for regional climate studies. south dakota state has issued dozens of studies on climate change, including what it will mean for the state's groundwater supply, maze and wheat crops and precipitation levels. heading south, the university of mississippi and mississippi state are studying what climate change will mean for sediment flows, droughts, watersheds, and water quality. they are looking at what climate change will mean for mississippi's vitally important rice crop, a crop that supports hundreds of rice farms in the state.
and they do good coastal climate work with the sea grant program. auburn, the university of alabama tuscaloosa, and the university of alabama-huntsville, produced 140 climate papers that are in the council's study here. you would never know that from the alabama delegation. auburn has an international center for climate and global change research, and university of alabama does climate change research at its earth system science center. iowa state, all by itself, is responsible for 117 papers on climate change. on agriculture, corn, grazing lands, yields, on weather, precipitation, drought, temperature, even on beliefs and behavior related to climate
change. last but certainly not least among e.p.w. republican states is indiana, home to two world-class universities doing extremely impressive work on climate change. indiana university and purdue combined for 289 papers. they are also home to the center for the study of global change at indiana university and perdue's -- and purdue's climate change research center. now, i hope it goes without saying that universities who study climate change and who publish scientific papers on climate change also teach climate change in their course work. maybe we should spend a week here in the senate getting a refresher on the home state climate change science.
it might do us some good. but we don't. we waste week after week here. as the danger looms, the warnings pile up, and the research keeps coming about climate change in our home states. we, mr. president, will be the most clearly warned body in history of disaster ahead, and yet we still sit here doing nothing. never has a political body been more clearly warned of a more present looming disaster than this one, and yet still nothing. the council's report on state university climate research has these web diagrams, which show how climate change research focuses more on climate effects as they begin to manifest themselves in the state, not just predictions and science any
longer. now it's measurement of actual events. but the diagrams also show the various areas of research about which these research papers are being published. so here's the web diagram for the topics that are addressed in climate science research in the southwestern universities. the 12 universities in arizona, california, colorado, nevada, new mexico, and utah in this study show real time effects of climate change being -- climate change like drought and wildfire and point to direct links between tree mortality, drought, and climate. we in this country depend on the southwest for more than half of our specialty crops, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, so we have got to pay attention when drought threatens all of those. here's another one, another topic web for the southeast, highlighting that the
university's research has been on sea level rise, on social acidification, on adapttation, and on management. now here's a slightly different web. this web is not a web of science and inquiry. no, this is the web of front groups and dark money organizations that the fossil fuel industry has supported, created, and used for decades to sow false doubt about all of the science, all of the science from all of our 50 states. their job is to lie about this science, and they have done it well. they have used this same web to
deploy political muscle and propaganda to block action here in congress. that's why, with all of this research being done in all of these states, nothing is happening on this floor. nothing has happened since citizens united gave the fossil fuel industry the equivalent of howitzers, where before then they just had muskets. i remember how bipartisan it was here, mr. president. you weren't here then. between 2011 when i was sworn -- between 2007, when i was sworn in, 2008, 2009, we had five different bipartisan bills popping up on the senate floor, five of them. all strong, serious bills. not little anybodily things just to make -- not little nibbly things to make people feel better.
real bills. then the fossil fuel gets its brand-new hardware, political howitzers, and they go to the other side of the aisle and say anybody that crosses us is dead, and bipartisanship died that january on climate change. and it's only beginning, only beginning to resurge now. but the decade that we lost would have cost us a lot, and it makes the urgency of what we have to do now all the more important. this web of denial, paid for by the fossil fuel industry, has stymied congress for a decade. and i hope i don't need to remind anyone here that the fossil fuel industry has a conflict of interest as to this question. indeed, the international monetary fund has quantified it as a $650 billion a year conflict of interest. for $650 billion in conflict of interest, you can pay for a lot of nonsense organizations that are phony front groups to put
out your poison and your political propaganda and your political pressure. is it not time at last that senators paid attention to the trusted science actually happening in their own home state universities and not to this corrupt web of denial that's propped up by the conflicted fossil fuel industry. this web of denial has done nothing but lie over and over again. they are proveably wrong over and over again. the things they say are false over and over again, and yet the industry behind them still controls the united states senate, and we can't budge despite the rest of the world moving on dealing with this issue. let me close with an anniversary that we marked this week. ten years ago, this friday, a
full-page ad ran in "the new york times." a full-page ad pointing out that the science of climate change was already by then ten years ago, to use the word in the advertisement, scientifically irrefutable. the science is scientifically irrefutable. and it goes on to say that the consequences of climate change would be catastrophic and irreversible. wow. the science irrefutable? the consequences catastrophic and irreversible? who could have signed this ad? i will tell you who signed this ad. donald j. trump and his children. donald trump jr., eric trump, ivanka trump -- oh, and the
trump organization. right there. ten years ago friday, that's what the trumps had to say about this. i conclude by saying to my colleague, the science is there for you to see. you don't have to go far. go to your state justicer -- university. it's right there waiting for you. turn to the researchers teaching your students in your state's own universities. they can tell you, just as donald trump and his family did ten years ago, that what we face is irrefuteable and its consequences will be catastrophic and irreversible if we keep monkeying around and failing to act. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to honor a cleveland native, a buffalo soldier and olympic legend, harrison dillard. mr. dillard died last month at the age of 86. his life included serving in world war ii, four olympic medals and world records. he grew up racing up and down the shared streets of cleveland with friends. when mr. miller was -- dillard was 13, he saw his hometown hero, jesse owens, in a parade. he told his mom, i just saw jesse owens and i'm going to be just like him. think how many mothers hear that. he was serious. he and his friends would take old car seats, put them in the street and jump over them for
practice. when he enrolled at cleveland's east technical high school in the east side of our city, owens himself gave harrison a new pair of running shoes. jesse owens, one of the most famous athletes in the country, won world records and won gold medals, he gave him a pair of running shoes. mr. dillard served in the segregated -- we segregated our armed forces in this country even in world war ii and just to add a little more to that history when those soldiers came back from serving their current, they came back to a segregated country. they had fought for human rights, they came back and didn't have human rights. think about that. after the war, general patton saw harrison dillard at an army track meet and patton said, pardon my language on the senate
floor, he said, that man is the best god damned athlete i have ever seen. he brought home two gold medals, he achieved his childhood dream and matched jesse owens respect olympic record time. he would later write, i can finally say i was just like jesse owens. plenty of people tried to hold harrison dillard back because of the color of his skin. he called out how after his military discharge, he was refused food at a restaurant. he was refused food at a restaurant because of the color of his skin. it's shameful how ee treated -- how we treated veterans in this country. but it's a testament to mr. dillard how he faced
society. he ended his career by serving the city that raised him. he worked for the cleveland public school system. now, i as -- i met him once, i met him later as an adult. but i met him when i was in boy scouts at camp aif aifry -- avery and he came out and we were there to listen to him talk about service, and i remember i didn't know a lot about him because i was not born when he won the olympics, and we got to listen to him. his legacy lives on in northeast ohio and it lives on around the country and through the young people he inspired. i ask all of my colleagues to join me in honoring harrison dillard, olympic gold medal
mrs. blackburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination. executive calendar 499. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, government publishing office, hugh nathanial halpern of virginia to be director. mrs. blackburn: i ask consent that the senate vote on the nomination with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question is on the
nomination. all in favor say aye. opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. mrs. blackburn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate resolution 4416 submitted earlier today. mr. president, excuse me. it is 446. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 446 authorizing the printing of tributes and other related materials in honor of the late senator janet k. hagan. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
without objection, the senate will proceed. mrs. blackburn: i further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 5277 which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5277, an act to amend section 442 of title 18 united states code to exempt certain interests in mutual funds, unit investment trusts, employee benefit plans and retirement plans from conflict of interest limitations for the government publishing office. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mrs. blackburn: 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. mrs. blackburn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. thursday, december 5. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour 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, morning business be closed, and the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the myers nomination. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: for the information of all senators, we will have two votes at noon and one vote at 1:45 tomorrow. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until