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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 17, 2019 2:15pm-6:01pm EST

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a country that desperately needed our help in a war. >> we leave this program now to fill our commitment to bring you live coverage of the u.s. senate. earlier today at lawmakers passed the 2020 defense programs and policy bill. it now heads to the president for his signature. later this week they are expected to work on executive nominations and 2020 federal spending legislation. current government funding expires friday and benign. live coverage of the u.s. senate.
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a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, we are not. a senator: thank you, madam president. i rise today because it's my honor to introduce my colleague who actually needs no introduction but still for this speech today. mr. hoeven: i have the pleasure to introduce kevin cramer who
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will be thriferring his -- delivering his official maiden speech to the senate. i've known kevin for many years. he's always been incredibly diligent worker for the people of north dakota. and he served our state in many different capacities. he served as tourism director and did a tremendous job promoting our state, promoting tourism, and really promoting the beauty and the history of our state in a way that brought a lot of national attention and really made a difference in terms of tourism for our state. he also served our state as economic development director, something that is certainly near and dear to my heart. i've always believed that job creations are job one. to me that's the engine that drives the car. kevin serves as the economic development director under governor shaeffer, my predecessor. again, did a fantastic job.
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so he knows the importance of supporting our farmers and small business, energy industry and all the things that really make our state go. it's been a huge part of helping create an environment in our state that from a tax and regulatory environment has been very supportive of the growth and development of our economy and all aspects of our economy, as i said from ag to energy to technology to manufacturing and throughout the small business world. and like me as a true champion for small business, we are big believers, small business is what makes this economy go, whether it's north dakota or the united states of america, it is small business that makes our economy go. as governor i had the opportunity to appoint kevin to our state's public service commission in 2003. and he followed that and ran and was elected to the p.s.c. biff the people of north dakota and served as a public service
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commissioner for the state until 2012. and certainly in that role he was a big part of the growth and development of our state from back in 2000 when i started as governor we produced less than 100,000 barrels of oil a day. today we now produce more than 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. the only state that produces more oil than north dakota is texas. and kevin was a big part of building again that climate where the industry just developed amazing technologies in this whole shale play. and now the united states is the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. so he truly understands that you've got to help and promote that kind of economic development but at the same time there's a reasonable role for regulation and things have to be done right and well and with good environmental stewardship. prior to joining me in the senate, kevin served for three terms in the house of representatives where we worked
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together on many of our state's priorities and share the same belief in this -- not only our great state but this great country and certainly had a tremendous working relationship in the house and now i'm pleased to have him as a colleague in the senate. we both served as members of the farm bill conference committee years ago and were able to put in place a strong farm bill for our farmers and ranchers. we both worked to rein in regulation, to serve our military as a member of the armed services committee and also the veterans committee and has already passed a resolution supporting our veterans with his battle of the bulge resolution which has been passed by this body. and these are just a few of the things he's already done as a member of the united states senate. he's been a dedicated public servant for the people of north dakota. he's also a very devoted family man. he and his wife, chris, have
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three son, isaac, ian, and able, and two daughters rachel and annie and they're the proud grandparents of five. i got him by one. i have six. this is a competition so we'll see where it ends up. he's got a great family. and he's been a great partner in the senate and of course i look forward to continuing to work with him. so again i'm very pleased today to introduce senator kevin cramer for this speech and with that i yield the floor, madam president. mr. cramer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: thank you, madam president, for yielding the time and a very special thanks to my senior senator, my great friend, our former governor and senator john hoeven. as he went through much of my speech for me, i thought to myself, you know, this is kind of like when i played high school basketball, john, and we'd be ahead by 20 points and
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the coach would get me off the bench and tell me not to screw this up. that's kind of how i feel right now. but thank you for the kind introduction and most of it was true. you know, the idea of a maiden speech a year into your first term may seem a little odd but i actually kind of like the idea. it gives me a year's worth of opportunity to reflect which creates greater clarity about the future and vision. the first thing i want to say to all of my colleagues here is thank you for being so welcoming. and i mean all of them. what they say about the senate and the collegiality of it is very true. it's not just true. it's really important and it's something worth preserving. i can honestly say out of the 99 that i've met, i love every one, individually and collectively and appreciate all that they've meant to me. chris and i have been married for 33 years. we have five children together. and i'm going to talk about one in particular in a little bit. our children range in ages from
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12 to 38. that's too long of a story to explain, but we love and are proud of all of them. john has named them all. our five grandchildren, they're a little closer in range. they range from 1 to 7 and we love every one of them. lyla, chet -- with all the love our god has for us. i think it's important for people to know i am a child of god and a follower of jesus and it informs everything that i do, both at home and here and throughout life. i was raised -- i think it's important to know a little about where you come from. i was raised by loving parents. my dad was a rural electric lineman who never once complained about going out into the storm to get the lights back on for the farmers of our area. my mother who was an elder caregiver when she wasn't pumping gas at the local farmers' union station. they did whatever they needed to
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do to help us kids and to provide for our family and we never felt like we needed anything because we didn't. we were loved and we were well cared for and had great examples of culture and work ethic and values tha of north dakotans. i think it's important to understand where a person comes from. but i want to fast forward a little bit to this last year. and i said i was going to talk a little bit about one of our sons. it was a tough campaign. a lot of people think that north dakota is this bright red state that everyone that runs there that's republican wins. while that's certainly been the trend, i think it's sort of important for people to know i'm the first republican in my lifetime to hold the seat that i hold right now for the people of north dakota. in fact, the names of the previous senators in this lineage are in this desk that i stand at. so it was a tough campaign. i got into the race late.
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i really didn't aspire to be a senator. i liked the house of representatives and still do. but the call came and i answered it. but what made the year so tough, fortunately it was shorter than most campaign years for the united states senate. i got in late so it was a short year. but in the middle of the campaign in the early part of the campaign, our 35-year-old son isaac became very ill. he suffered from alcohol-induced liver disease. and we spent a good month and a half in the middle of an already short campaign at his bedside in intensive care, both in bismarck and rochester at the mayo clinic. i say that because it was perhaps one of the hardest six or seven weeks of my life, the deepest valley i ever walked through was also some of the most instructive, most informing, as informing as all those years in north dakota where serving in state office,
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helping senator hoeven, governor hoeven build this dynamic economy. those several weeks with my son probably prepared me as well for this job as i. -- as any. i got to see our health care industry up close. i got to know more about addiction and mental illness and how tragic it is, how devastating it can be, how consequential not dealing with it actually is. it robs people of life. not just inconvenience. and so it sharpened those senses. but more than that, madam president, i got to learn about our community. i heard from thousands of americans who watched this very public tragedy play out in the public arena because of the very public job that i was seeking. and my faith in mankind was enhanced. my faith in god was
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strengthened. learning that the sufficiency of his grace is more than adequate not just for salvation, but for life. and it makes everything, shall we say, clearer, i think, for me today. senator hoeven raises the issue of some of my committee assignments. i want to speak to that for a minute because he's a very important part, as you can tell, of my public life and career. and while i stand on the shoulders of former governor ed schaefer, former secretary of agriculture ed schaefer -- john and i both served with him in economic development when john was the president of the bank of north dakota -- it was john hoeven that cave me my first entree into elected office in the public sector of service in north dakota and worked with me, and of course i had the opportunity to serve with him, as he said, on the farm bill conference committee when i was in the house of representatives. but when i had that very first important meeting with leader
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mcconnell to talk about what committees i would want to be on in the senate, realize i was coming from the house where i only served on one. i served on the energy and commerce committee, an important committee, big committee, but it was only one committee. here i would serve on three or four or as it turns out five. the first thing i did is i looked at senator hoeven's committee assignments, and i wanted to assess how can i complement where he serves. he serves on the agriculture committee, he serves on the energy and natural resources committee. it made sense to me with my environmental background, my regulatory background to serve then on the environment and public works committee where both agriculture and energy development are greatly impacted, whether it's environmental policy, whether it's land policy, regulations that i think serve as a bit of a taking of a farmer's land or every bit as important as the revenue that they received through safety net programs. so i sought and received that. the banking committee. john talked a little about that
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and my role as an economic development director in the state of north dakota. i have always liked macroeconomics. it's always intrigued me how financial policy and economic policy go together. but as interesting as the federal reserve is to me -- and it is -- as important as the export-import bank is to me -- and it is -- it's really the community bank like the bank that senator hoeven comes from and whose family started and is building in north dakota. the local credit union, the farm lenders. that's what drives me more than anything in the banking committee. the veterans' affairs committee is a great committee and something that i could never have imagined aspiring to or holding, but i do know this muce veterans. north dakota's home to only 750,000 people, but 52,000 of them are veterans. in north dakota, patriots sign at a rate four times the national average to serve. so public service in the form of wearing the military uniform is
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really big, really important in our part of the country. i had the opportunity for a number of years to chair the roughrider armor flight in north dakota. where we raise the money and organize the trips for about 500 world war ii veterans to come and see the memorial built in their honor. and what a moving experience that was. but before service members return from duty, of course, they serve, and we should be working to give them the best resources we can, which is why today is an appropriate day for this maiden speech as it's also the day that we passed a very important, very impressive national defense authorization act, that provides those tools and the things that our military men and women need to be the dominating force for good in the world. and it's an honor to serve them. you know, i'm the very first member of the senate armed services committee from north dakota. i didn't know that when i sought
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that committee assignment to complement my veterans' affairs assignment, but i'm honored to do it. and the reason i sought that one is because, again, back to senator hoeven, he's an appropriator, he's a defense appropriator. i thought how can i best look out for north dakota's assets? and the armed services committee seemed like the right place to be. i also believed that north dakota's assets are perfectly positioned for the future of war fighting. and so i'm very grateful today for the passage of the national defense authorization act and for the opportunity to serve on the armed services committee. we have air force bases in both minot and grand forks. their histories are similar but their new missions are very different. in minot, we have two-thirds of the nuclear triad, in the b-52 bombers that carry those impressive bombs and of course the intercontinental ballistic missiles which are being replaced now by the ground-based strategic deterrent, the modernization of our nuclear triad in this ndaa is very
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important to our state, and i'm honored to have been part of seeing it through to completion. we also have a very important space radar station in cavalier, something very few people know about. very few people in north dakota really are aware of that space station at cavalier. yet it's a very important asset. now as we launch this sixth service, the space force, again, we can see very important things and opportunities for north dakota. we also happen to have a very excellent national guard. both army and air force national guard that does important work, not just locally -- and they do great work locally, but around the globe, as i think every member here can attest to the power of their national guard. their i.s.r. systems over in fargo, flying the u.a.v.'s, it's just remarkable what they do. it's remarkable what they contribute to the national defense in our air guard in fargo, the 119th, the happy hooligans. the grand forecasts air force
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base, as i said a base that was similar in its founding as minot is now a u.a.v. base, a global base where they do important i.s.r. work. again, the future of war fighting, the importance of good intelligence is so critical. and the airmen in grand forks are second to none in carrying out that mission. so the strategic pick of my assignments, again, designed to complement senator hoeven and serve the good people of north dakota. i will spend a little time talking about my service in the house of representatives because it is the people's house. i love that it's the people's house. senator thune served in the house of representatives from south dakota, and he knows what it's like to be the only member from an entire state. it's got its opportunities and it's got its challenges. i used to say to students who would visit if you want to know what america looks like, go to the house of representatives,
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sit upstairs, look down, and you will see 435 people just -- that are just like 700,000 others. 700,000 others just like each one of them. the diversity of our country is perfectly demonstrated in the house, and i loved that. but i also knew how hard it was because if i could get my colleagues from south dakota, wyoming, montana, and alaska to go along with me, i would have five votes. that's almost 10% of california. that's a lot of relationship building to get things done, and yet i loved it. there are still things about the house that i watch and i love. there are some things lately that i watch and i wonder. there are a lot of things i love about the house. the founders knew exactly what they were doing when they created it. but to come over here, to be one of two, to be a member of the united states senate, which is the equalizer for our legislative chambers. our founders really knew what they were doing. so to have that opportunity to work with you all to provide a level playing field for the people of a smaller state has
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been truly, truly marvelous. well, i'm not going to elaborate on my years as tourism director and economic development director, even on the public service commission, really, because senator hoeven has done a good job with that. i would just say this. the thing that i learned more than anything on the public service commission -- even though i carried the pipeline portfolio, sited the keystone pipeline, carried the coal portfolio in reclamation, worked with the department of the interior on those issues that are very important to our state. what i learned more from all of that than even big-time economics or engineering or energy security, as important as those lessons were over those ten years i served, the thing i learned the most was how important the people are, because in the wisdom of the midwest, the laws in north dakota require that whether you are raising somebody's utility
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rates, siting a pipeline, siting transmission lines, siting a coal-powered power plant, siting a wind farm, you had to hold a hearing in the community where the development was taking place. in other words, you couldn't hide behind the pillars of the state capitol. what i learned from the peoples of the prairies of north dakota about not just life in general but how to site a pipeline. it was a farmer in walsh county who said about the keystone pipeline at an open meeting, i don't know much about laying pipelines, but certainly i would try to avoid that quarry that you are going through, and so some very high-paid engineers moved the pipeline away from the rocks into better soil. it was the mayor of park river who came to me at the same meeting and said i don't know much about planes but you are going right through the aquifer that serves the municipal lines
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for my community. high-paid engineers moved it away from that i aquifer. the collective wisdom of the people of north dakota is something i learned is not to be taken for granted nor wasted. which is why in my service in the house and here again in the senate i spend so much time holding town halls of all types, so that i wouldn't rob myself of the value and the benefit of the collective wisdom of the people that i serve. so i'm just so grateful to senator hoeven. he is a skilled and accomplished leader. he works tirelessly, and you all know that on behalf of the people of north dakota, and he is relentless in his pursuit of things for north dakota. he has been a great, great friend and a great mentor. i'm thankful for his partnership now and his willingness to work with me into the future as he did when i was on the public service commission.
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but as we go forward, i do have a couple of thoughts about some challenges. as i talked about this accessibility issue, this opportunity that we have, particularly in small states, to know the people we work for really well and for them to have the opportunity to know us really well and to collect their wisdom, i fear a little bit that the lessons learned from being so close to the people are lost in this town, in this town. not so much by members of congress, but i am a fervent advocate of the administration and their officials getting out to our small towns and into the towns of north dakota and other towns throughout our country. it's an area where i think the trump administration hasexcelled beyond anybody. in fact, i believe this president to be the most successful president since abraham lincoln who used to hold office hours right in the
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whitehouse where people could come off the -- white house where people could come off the street and have an audience with him. i'm not just talking about rallies. i'm talking about a vice president who comes to our military installations to meet with the airmen. an agriculture secretary who has been to north dakota what? three or four times, john. not just to talk to the very important leaders at the farm bureau, the farmers union, but i'm talking about the farmers who get their fingers dirty. a commerce secretary who in the middle of -- of negotiating with china came to north dakota to talk to those farmers about the impact of terrorists on their markets, a veterans' affairs secretary who studies the alternative treatments being advanced and made available in fargo, an e.p.a. administrator who lets north dakotans continue to lead the way on promoting good waters of the united states policies, an air force secretary who understands the air capabilities because she has seen them firsthand, an interior
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secretary who came to listen to the concerns of farmers and actually change the direction of certain regulations as a result of farmers pointing out how their personal property rights were being stolen by a federal government. or a nasa administrator who observed the first-ever university space program, university of north dakota. the list goes on and on, and i will spare you from it, but i think it's an important lesson and an important testimony to how good this country can be and how much better it can be if we listen to the people in the heartland. and all of this is why, madam president, in addition to bringing people of influence to my home state so hopefully they can be influenced by it, i am concerned about the sheer magnitude of our bureaucracy. now, this week, we're going to hopefully pass a $1.5 trillion roughly discretionary budget -- or appropriations, but i worry about the people that are going to manage that $1.5 trillion being so out of touch with real
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everyday americans. you can call it whatever you want. some call it the deep state, out-of-control bureaucracy, misguided but well-intentioned public servants, power-hungry civil employees. i call it an unelected bureaucracy that has codified corruption in many cases. they've turned their own interpretation of guidelines into lies, placing the implementation of their policies an processes above the needs of the american people whom they -- whom we serve and the elected leaders that send them there. i've experienced it many times in the six years i was in the house, but i've experienced it multiple more times in the senate. whether this comes from a place of self-preservation or self-importance, i believe it has to come to an end. a defining part of my tenure since the day i arrived until the day i leave will be to take on a bureaucracy that i believe has run ham pant. and there are several cabinet
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officials and agency heads that can attest to that statement already. i'm not unreasonable about it. i don't think -- i don't intend to be. but i am passionate about it. as i have made clear, i do not believe in the abolition of government but i do think government needs to be more responsive to the people that pay for it. we ought to be giving the people a government that is worth their investment. and i aim, as my highest goal at the highest level, to return the focus of the federal government back to the people -- return the focus of the federal government back to the people. i have listened to so many well-intentioned bureaucrats explain their process, explain their system, explain their traditions, and rarely do they talk about a human being on the other end of all of that. and so i am committed to doing
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what's best for the people of this country with a very keen focus on the 750,000 north dakotans whom i've committed made life to serving -- my life to serving. their intellectual and collective which is come to along with their -- collective wisdom, along with their values, as old-fashioned as they may seem to some. they would want me to say to all of you, merry christmas and happy holidays. i yield the floor. mr. hoeven: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i would defer to -- i would just like to say how much i appreciate senator kevin cramer, the working relationship that we have, not just here but a working relationship that goes back many, many years. and, as you can tell, he speaks very well. but what comes through is not only his commitment to his family and his faith, but his commitment to the people of north dakota and his commitment
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to the people of this country. it doesn't matter what issue he's working on, he takes the time to listen to everybody, and i'd always willing to explain where he's coming from and why he comes to the conclusion he does. but there is no question, he loves his faith, he loves his family, he loves his state, and he loves this country. thank you, madam president. man madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from from west virginia. mr. manchin: i rise today to honor the founder of the first commander of the west virginia air national guard, a world war ii veteran, an american hero and a friend of both of ours,
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retired brigadier general james kent mclaughlin. born on december 7, 1819, kemp was a staunch leader with unparalleled patriotism and his devotion to god, state, and country was unmatched. i know you and your family. we're honored to call him our friend. i know i join so many when i say west virginia has lost a shining star. he is dearly missed. ever since the historic beginning of our state, we have never failed to answer our country's call. no demand has been too great and no trial too threatening. kent took part in some of the most important bams of world war ii. following his education at west virginia university, he joined the united states air corps shortly before the attacks on pearl harbor, the day of his birthday. he flew b- bombers.
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he led a 350-plane tac on a factory in germany, a raid that became known as black thursday. his planes would be so damaged that it was a miracle he made it back safe. his actions were instrumental in not only destroying nazi efforts but as one of the mighty eighth air force in europe. he was also instrumental in developing what is known as air superiority, a vital factor of the deciding outcome of of the modern conventional war. he paved the wait for all citizens, airmen who strived to follow in his footsteps. he completed 39 combat missions during world war ii and was awarded the distinguished flying cross four times his vast experience aided him years later when he was asked to lead the air national guard's 167th fighter squadron in charleston, west virginia w that squadron moved to charleston, west
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virginia it became the 130th airlift wing. throughout the rest of his life, he continued to pay homage to his comrades and serve his community. he served as county commissioner and as a member of the west virginia house of delegates. he is as legend in west virginia and was one of the most selfless people i have had the pleasure of calling a dear friend. as governor, my title was that of commander chief of the guard. i have seen firstshand how the air national guard protects the citizens of west virginia when we are in an hour of need and how they protect our country when called upon to serve at the command of the president of the united states. the integrity of our guard is due in part to kent's legacy of excellence and his commitment to seeing our guard in our home state flourish. when visitors come to west virginia, i jump at the chance to tell them we're home of the most patriotic people in the nation. we have lost more lives to the
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cause of freedom than almost any other state. we have done the heavy lifting and have never complained. we've forged the steel that continues to protect our country to this day. i am so deeply proud of what west virginians like kent have accomplished band they will continue to accomplish to protect the freedoms we hold dear. we have every listen to be proud and to stand tall, knowing that west virginia is the reason americans sleep peacefully at night. kemp is survived by his children laura, mary. he and his lovely wife of nearly 50 years are looking down on each of us with a smile. west virginia is great buse our people are great. mountaineers will always be free. we are tough, independent, inventive and honest. our character is shaped by the wilderness of our state, its streams, boundless blue skies and majestic mountains.
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we are west virginians and like the brave loyal patriots who made our state the 35th star on old glory, our love of god and country and family and state is unshakable. i know that 20, 50, or another 156 years from now that will always remain the same. that legacy laid the groundwork for heroes like kemp mclaughlin. now he serves as an inspiration to all who wish to follow in his footsteps and live a life filled with service and faith and family. there are so many of heroes left from his generation. it is our responsibility to ensure that their service and sacrifice is never forgotten. the sun will never set on his legacy of service, his general ross thank you, his love for his family, his devotion to god, and our home state and our beautiful country. and i know with the condolences of myself and you, madam president, that we will always remember and people him in our
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prayers. thank you, and god bless. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: today i rise to give thanks to the brave men and women of law enforcement in colorado and across this country. every holiday season i am reminded of the sacrifice that these brave officers make in order to make sure that everybody's holiday season is enjoyed safely and that every day is enjoyed safely and securely. across the united states this year, 115 law enforcement officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. in colorado, we honor those who lost their lives this year. master trooper william modane, killed earlier this year when he was struck by a vehicle as he was investigating a crash. he served with the colorado state patrol for 12 years. corporal daniel groves was also killed by a passing vehicle
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while assisting another drivers during the blizzard last year. corporal groves also served the state patrol for 12 years. unfortunately, i also come to the the floor to honor three other brave men and women seen here who have given their lives just this past month. sergeant joshua voth of the colorado department of corrections. he was killed this month when an issue with a boiler caused a explosion. sergeant vot had h was 28 years old and leaves behind his wife and children. served at the facility for three years and helped treat valuable trade skills. we also lost other beloved members of our first responder community. they need to be remembered and honored as well. ken jones, a member of the summit fire and e.m.s. was killed on december 7 while responding to a fire at copper mountain. ken served with that department
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for 20 years and was known as a firefighter's firefighter. travis davis, the deputy chief of operations for summit fire and e.m.s. remembers him as an oak and said is everyone in the organization learned something from ken's steady and calm demeanor. we thank ken and his family for two being dids of service -- for two decades of service and send our sincerest thoughts to all who knew him. i'd also like to recognize troy jackson, a former chief of operations with the fire rescue who passed away just yesterday morning after a battle with what is believed to be job-related cancer. chief jackson was first hired in 1990 and served nearly three decades before stepping away in 2016 due to his health. he was open about his battle with cancer in the hopes he could teach other firefighters how to a. void these -- how to avoid thesefication are. we thank him for his service and send our thoughts and prayers along to his wife and two
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children. each one of these officers and firefighters, extraordinary coloradans who gave hear lives to protect the communities. while we remember those we lost this year, we must also continue to celebrate those who continue to serve today. in august i was fortunate to award officer michael loman of the greely police department with the congressional badge of bravery for his actions apprehending the driver of a he will toen vehicle. while at the driver side window, the driver pulled a gun on officer loman who engaged with the driver to take the weapon. the driver pulled officer loman into the vehicle accelerating. the officer kept his cool and was able to pull the suspect from the while while it was still moving and to apprehend him with the help of other officers. these actions saved the lives of anyone and everyone in the past -- path of that vehicle. as well as the life of his partner when the gun was pulled. these actions give our community
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peace of mind knowing that heroes like officer loman continue to keep all of us safe. we know that every brave action doesn't get the recognition it deserves. every day there are law enforcement and first responders who act with complete selflessness. they do this not to seek recognition or praise but simply because it was what they were called to do. jamie and i would like to send our thanks to the families of our law enforcement and first responders. every day these men and women say goodbye to their loved ones. i'm -- unsure of what that day will hold for them. i'm sure these good-byes are much more difficult during the holiday season. the jobs of law enforcement, our first responders would be much more difficult. we thank them for their continued sacrifice. i would also like to say thanks to the men and women of the u.s. capitol police. they work long hours to ensure that members of the staff, members themselves are able to carry out their duties safely. on top of that duty, they also
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protect the public who comes to visit, to express their opinion, and to express their right to assemble in the capitol and beyond, not only to tour this capitol building but to make sure their thoughts are heard. i know every one of my colleagues will join us in expressing our gratitude to law enforcement and firefighters across this nation this holiday season. they will keep up time with their own families to make sure that others are safe. to all those who defend that thin blue line, thank you and god bless. you have my enduring support. may you all have a happy and blessed holiday season. i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mrs. hyde-smith: thank you, madam president. today i rise on the occasion for the opportunity to commend senator johnny isakson on his retirement from the u.s. senate. i'm a relatively new member to this senate, but i think we all remember the first time that we ever walked on the senate floor. i know i certainly do because that's the day that i met senator johnny isakson. with both of us being from the south, i knew that we'd probably have a lot in common, a similar view on life and a heart for the south, but it didn't take me long to learn that johnny has a universal heart. i'm guilty of the expression of nothing is special until you make it special. johnny has such a generous gift
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of making things special. he has the gift of making everyone around him feel special. his heart and his attitude sees the best in people, and yet goes further to let them know how much they mean to him. he exemplifies being a leader, an encourager, an investor of people. he's never too busy to ask how you're doing or to ask about your family. common courtesy sometimes isn't always that common anymore, but i assure you it is with johnny isakson. his brilliance is unquestionable. his ability to articulate what's important to him is just simply amazing. he can deliver a message that not only expresses his concern, but also has answers and solutions based on his experience and his tremendous wisdom. he's the gentle calm in a tremendous storm.
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he's the words of wisdom when so many are bewildered. he's the guiding light in the darkest times, and he providessed needed laugh in times of tension and the voice of reason in times of uncertainty. his love is deep and his compassion is true. he knows how to be a friend. he was a born leader and has the ability to capture opportunities and turn them into successes. my world has been enhanced and enriched by this wonderful and precious human being. johnny learned a long time ago that the joy of living comes in giving. you know when a person has in his heart that joy that wasn't put there by the world. when i think about the true statesman that i have met in my brief time in the senate, i will certainly have georgia on my mind. thank you.
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mr. scott: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: are we in a quorum
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call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. scott: i rise to speak again today about the crisis in venezuela. a defining human rights issue of our time. nicolas maduro is starving his own people and innocent children are dying. it's a genocide right here in our hemisphere. every day that passes the situation in venezuela grows more dire. the united states and all freedom-loving countries around the world must do more. as a governor, i strictly prohibited the state of florida, including all state agencies, from investing in any company that did business with maduro's oppressive regime. i'm grateful for the bipartisan support this bill has received but i want to specifically thank senator rosen for her leadership and for joining me in this effort. we must never give up on the fight for freedom and look forward to all my colleagues joining me in support of the people of venezuela.
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madam president, i ask ask const to continue in spanish. the presiding officer: without objection. [speaking spanish] mr. scott: i understand my colleague has an objection. i'm disappointed but i look forward to working with him to address his concerns. thank you.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, madam president. i rise today to highlight several key parts of the appropriations package that the senate will be considering later on this week. first, madam president, i want
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to point out some statistics. 92,000 of our coal miners are counting on us to protect their pensions. 13,000 coal miners are counting on us to protect their health care benefits, and this week we'll have a chance to do just that. i'm very proud to have worked with our leader, leader mcconnell, senator manchin, senator portman and others who introduce and clampon the bipartisan miners act. david mckinley has worked consistently and tirelessly on this bill in the house, along with our other representatives from west virginia alex miller and carol alter. and i thank those who advocated for their promised benefits and for their communities. i stood out at the capitol with thousands of coal miners and
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their families several years ago in seriously suffocating heat as d.c. can heat up during the summer to rally in support of those benefits. miners have come to washington in the snow and in the rain, their camouflage shirts have stood out around the capitol as they worked tirelessly to educate us about the critical need for action and you've probably seen them in the halls. but no one should be surprised by their dedication and commitment because our west virginian miners have answered the call throughout their careers. their hard work produced the electricity and the steel that powered our american economy and now it is time to protect the retirement benefits they have earned. the miners act will secure pension and health care benefits for those hardworking men and women. i want to thank the united mine workers of america and their
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president cecil roberts for his work and their work for advocating for our minors. more than 29,miners from all of west virginia's 59 counties will have received payments from their benefits last year. more than 156,000 west virginia miners are at risk of losing their benefits if we fail to act. almost -- most of it is paid into the fund from the west virginia economy. the loss of those funds certainly harmed the retirees themselves, no doubt, but also the local businesses that they patronize across the state and their communities. as onewest virginian wrote to me just last night, quote, my father is a retired miner from marion county who will be turning 80 in january. this will give him and my mother some long overdue and well-deserved peace of mind.
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they have been worrying unduly about this through the last several months. thousands of miners in west virginia and elsewhere in coal country will have a merrier christmas when this bill becomes law later this week. i ask my colleagues to join me in this critical legislation. there are a number of other important bills we will consider in the next couple of days and i want to highlight one that could have a significant impact on my state of west have have a. i was proud to ensure in the transportation and infrastructure title of the appropriations bill we fund the appalachian development highway system at $100 million. that will help us as we work to continue the last remaining enormous project in our state, quarter h. i also advocated for action to construct our deficient bridges. we've got a lot of hills, valleys and bridges.
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almost 20% of our west virginia bridges are classified as structurally deficient, but i don't think that statistic -- i think it's a universal statistic in the country. this bill takes the necessary step to provide funding for $ 1.15 billion to fund highway bridge projects of which west virginia is eligible for $50 million. roads and bridges have a huge economic impact on our communities and quality of life, everything we do every day. i'm proud we included these important investments. as chairman of the homeland security appropriations subcommittee, i want to address items included in our subcommittee's funding bill as well. a little over a year ago i stood here to talk about the increasing crisis at our southern border. when i spoke to you then, apprehensions in our southern border were 30% higher than they are -- than they were the year
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before, and they were much higher than they are today as i speak. and the crisis was not limited to the realm of illegal immigrants because fentanyl seizures were up 115% along with other illicit narcotics, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and because of this congress the situation has improved many we should recognize the improved coordination with mexico and partnerships with other countries that have helped curb the flow of those entering our country illegally. those things have improved, it is far from being solved and we are one ruling away from an activist judge that could create the flows of those trending upward again. as such i'm proud to say that the homeland security title in the package we are considering this week provides funds and resources to continue the good work we have been pursuing to
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stem the tide of illegal immigration. i've seen first hand on the border twice, the southwest border, the challenges we face and, yes, the progress that we made. this bill supports the work of the men and women of the department at c.b.p., ayes, -- i.c.e. and at the coast guard and those standing daily watch on our borders, coasts and on our networks. it will create a new position, border patrol processing coordinators. this was of particular interest of mine after talking to people while visiting the border describing the frustration they felt as agents and officers. this funding provided for the processing coordinators will return 240 of our border agents to the front lines to enforce our immigration laws, which is what they are trained to do. in regard to physical barriers, we provide the enacted level of
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$1.38 billion. the only thing similar last year is the amount of money provided because the flexibility we provide the department is a significant change and a significant improvement. the bipartisan fy-17 appropriations bill required our customs an border protection to -- and border protection to provide us with a comprehensive border security improvement plan. i was going to bring it here with me today, but i left it in my office. the funds we provide this week will enable the department to follow that plan. while passage of the senate bill would have been ideal, a continuing resolution would have had a devastating effect on homeland security. the bill we are going to pass will help us take another step forward in securing our border. i am so very proud of the men and women who work at the department of homeland security i've gotten -- and i've gotten to meet quite a few. the crisis they faced when i
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spoke here last year was a real one, but through their dedication and efforts, so much progress has been made and i look forward to speaking to you a year from now about what we've been able to accomplish with the resources and tools that we can provide them with this bill. there are many other vital provisions across our appropriations bill, including a 3.1% pay increase for our troops and significant increasing in funding for our veterans for the mission act, increasing funding for combating the opioid epidemic, expanding our role in broadband and researching cures for diseases. one disease hits many of us and has hit me personally, and that is alzheimer's so i think the research for alzheimer's is essential and we are increasing that. i commend all of my colleagues who worked to put together the bipartisan appropriations bills. i congratulate senator shelby in particular and senator leahy for
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working together and i look forward to voting for those bills later in the week. with that, i yield back.
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mr. thune: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: madam president, is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. thune: madam president, december 22 will mark an anniversary, the second anniversary of the signing of the tax cuts and jobs act. tax reform was a big priority for republicans. we wanted to help american families by reducing their tax burden and spurring the kind of
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economic growth that would result in better jobs and better wages. and so at the end of 2017, we passed the tax cuts and jobs act. we cut tax rates for american families, doubled the child tax credit and nearly doubled the standard deduction. we lowered tax rates across the boreds for owners of medium-sized businesses farmers and ranchers and were able to have businesses -- frees up cash that they can invest in their operations and workers. with we lowered the massive corporate tax rate which up until january 1, 2018 was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world and we brought the united states international tax system into the 21st century so american businesses are not operating at a competitive disadvantage next to their foreign counterparnts. over the last two years tax reform has done what we intended. it allowed american families to keep more of their hard earned
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money and helped spur wage growth and good jobs for american workers of for 2018, the average family of four with an income of $75,000 saw a tax cut of more than $7,000. on top of that company after company responded to the tax cuts and jobs act by issuing bonuses, improving benefits or increasing wages. 100 utility companies announced plans to cut utility rates for consumers. then, of course, there's the economic growlt that the law has spur -- growth that the law has spurred. a whopping 266,000 jobs were created in november smashing expectations and bringing the average monthly job creation for 2019 to a strong 180,000 jobs per month. job creation since president trump was elected has exceeded the congressional budget office's 2016 preelection prediction by more than five
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million jobs. the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low and has been at or below 4% for an incredible 21 straight months. 2019 has also seen record low unemployment rates for african americans, asian americans, hispanic americans, americans with a disability, americans without a high school diploma, and veterans. for 20 straight months there have been more jobs available than americans looking for work. meanwhile wages for american workers are growing steadily. wage growth has been at or above 3% for 16 straight months. before the start of this streak, the last time wage growth had reached 3% was more than a decade ago. income equality has declined. the poverty rate has fallen to a 17-year low. and, madam president, the list goes on. now that's a lot of numbers and percentages. but they all boil down to one
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thing, and that is that american families are doing better. thanks to republican economic policies, fewer americans are having to choose between a car repair and a doctor's bill. more americans are able to put away money each month for their retirement or their children's education. there are more good jobs available for americans looking for work. and of course, madam president, there are still more -- there is still more work to be done. our farm economy, for example, is not doing as well as the economy as a whole. in pass -- and passing policies that will bring relief to our farmers and ranchers and expand products is a priority of mine. but two years on from the tax cuts and jobs act, we can celebrate the fact that millions of american families are bringing home more money in their paychecks and have access to better jobs and better opportunities. preserving and building on those accomplishments is a republican priority. unfortunately, our democrat colleagues are more likely to
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suggest tax hikes than preserving the tax cuts that have brought so much economic progress over the past couple of years. democrats opposed the tax cuts and job act despite the fact that many of the ideas included were the product of both republican and democrat proposals. they did it. they objected to it. they fought it because they were determined not to work with this president. two years on democrats would still like to pretend that the tax cuts and jobs act didn't help american families, despite, despite, madam president, the reals of statistics on the economic progress we made and in fact an estimated 90% of middle-class families received a tax cut. after all, democrats acknowledged the tax cuts have made life better for families if they had acknowledged that, it would be even harder for them to defend the massive middle-class tax hikes that would be needed to fund their socialist proposals like medicare for all and the green new deal.
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it's unfortunate the democrats are so opposed to policies that have made life better for millions of americans. madam president, i'm proud of all that we've achieved for american families with the tax cuts and jobs act. and i will continue to work with my colleagues to keep our economy growing and to expand opportunities for americans even further. madam president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrmr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority bhip. mr. thune: -- whip. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent that the senior senator from south dakota and the junior senator from tennessee be authorized to sign duly enrolled bills or joint resolutions during today's session of the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, if we're in a quorum call -- the presiding officer: we are. mr. blunt: -- i'd move it be
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suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: i am glad to be here today talking about the final conclusions we've reached on the appropriations bill generally but specifically the labor and health and human services and education appropriations bill. we're now a bipartisan congress, democrats in control on one side, republicans on another. and on this side, of course, we always have to have 60 people to go forward on these bills, so we generally have had to have a bill here that would appeal to enough democrats or enough republicans to make this happen. but we've come to the conclusion on what is normally the hardest bill to negotiate. it is about 70% of discretionary. and this bill has 30% of that
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half. it has lots of things that you could decide you could argue about and frankly lots of things that would just say, if we can't all be happy about this, we won't move forward, which would move you wouldn't move forward. this is a bill where senator murray and i and congressman cole and chairman delauro on the other side had to decide whether we were going to have a bill or not, and we decided that we were going to have a bill. we decided that at the end of the process, with some help with others, that we wouldn't have things in the bill that hadn't traditionally been there. this is the place where much of the language that we debate in the appropriations bills of what can happen and can't happen, things like the hyde amendment has been in the appropriations bill for a long time, and it is in this one. other things that have not been there in the past are not there,
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and that was one of the things that allowed us to move forward. again, you had one body controlled by the different party. you had to come to bipartisan consensus, and i think we had. there are lots of competing programs, some of which we're all for but maybe not -- maybe our priorities are different. and, in fact, it could be that we just have more priorities on one side than the other. but these programs, range, madam president, from workforce range to early childhood education to infectious disease control. that's a pretty big span of things to try to come to conclusion on, and then from our colleagues we had 7,800 different requests, not necessarily requests that would be considered, i want you to spend this money in my state. but 7,800 requests that said, we think this program should be
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increased or this program should be decreased. so with all of those requests in that broad span, we came together with a bill that i'm going to vote for tomorrow and look forward to voting for tomorrow. it's not exactly the bill that i would have done if i'd have been doing it by myself, but by the very definition of both democracy and the congress, you don't get to do these by yourselves. and the bill that will reflect the priorities of both sides of the aisle and both sides of the capitol invests in those priorities. we expand medical research, something -- that's been one of the things that's been at the top of my list, as the chairman of this committee, to take this moment to where medical research is so critical, where we know so much more than we did about the human genome, so many more than we knew about immunotherapy just five or six years ago. this is a topic that wasn't on
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the radar screen of treatments. now for many cancers it's one of the first things you think about. does it work if we get this person's body focused in a way that it fights back this cancer that's trying to overcome it? and often that produces a great result now that wouldn't have been happening five or six years ago. so medical research. the opioid epidemic is one that we deal with in this bill. investing in high-quality, early childhood care and early childhood education and education generally in this bill. trying to make college more affordable with things like pell grants that not only work for people that don't have the income to do this without some help, our government has decided, but also now work year-round, where for about the third year where once you get started, you can keep on going if you've got a pattern that's working.
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and we spend a lot of time in this bill in the last year talking about what do we do in this growing economy where more people are -- more jobs are available than people looking for work. what do we do to better much people looking for work with the jobs available and even more importantly how can we anticipate that that will happen in the future? so for the fifth straight year, after 12 years of no increase, the national institutes of health in this bill gets a significant increase, an additional $2.6 billion, which increases them in the last five years over 40%. again, at a time when this investment can mean so much to so many people. we've specifically targeted the investment toward alzheimer's disease. alzheimer's and did he men sharks the thing that taxpayers pay the most on to help, and taxpayers don't pay nearly all of the costs that families have
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with alzheimer's and dementia. the president's childhood cancer data initiative is here. precision medicine combating foreign threats to research, addressing the facilities backlog on the campuses -- all those are here. our investments in n.i.h. are making a difference for families and making a difference, we hope, for the future. that n.i.h.-based research has helped raise like expectancy, has vastly improved the quality of life for many americans, has lowered health care costs, very much dramatically decided in some health care situations how either invasive you need to be or how much pain has to be involved and getting you headed in another direction but also, by the way, on the opioid front, understanding that the complete elimination of pain is not necessarily a good thing unless
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you're sure you're going to be able to deal with that pain medicine and that moment later. the bill fully funds the president's request to do everything we can in the next ten years to eliminate the h.i.v. epidemic. it would have been hard to imagine five years ago or ten years ago saying, we'll be in sight of sack seen and eliminating -- vaccine and eliminating h.i.v. as an epidemic problem in our country. we spend money on that, but we have fully funded what the president and others believe would be necessary to achieve that goal. we spend $20 billion a year right now in direct health expenditures on h.i.v. prevention and care. our goal in the next ten years would be to reduce the number of new infections with h.i.v. by at
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least 90% every year. third, this bill, the fy 2020 bill, continues our commitment to opioid -- the opioid epidemic, providing money to do that, providing money for prevention, for education, for research, and for treatment as well as recovery programs. in this bill, madam president, we put new flexibility in for the opioid epidemic to where those things that you may go to after you become addicted to opioids, like meth, can also qualify for the kind of help that people need who are trying to escape their addiction to pain medications or other things that they have become critically linked to. this bill includes new and substantially expanded investments in head start, in
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high-quality early childhood care, programs that provide more flexibility to school districts to use the limited resources they have, whether that's title 1 if you're a school person and knows what that means, or title 2 supporting effective instruction state grants, idea, the ability to help people with disability education issues, impact aid in communities that either have -- that have significant federal investments in military bases or a national forest or things like that. these are all things we deal with in this bill. we also target stem education, including a focus on computer science. this is a bill that we also are trying to bring focus for young people to more quickly understand what the options are out there. clearly, the college path that
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has been so pervasive in the last two decades isn't the right path for everybody, and even if it's the right path for everybody, if it doesn't hurt to go to college -- i'm the first person in my family to go to college -- if it doesn't hurt to go to college, it might not necessarily get you a job unless you know what job it is you're thinking about as you put your college life together. but even that might not get you the job that you really would like to do, what that job does. so part of what we're trying to do here is connect people earlier with the opportunity to do that. if they do go to college, we're increasing pell grants for the third year in a row bid about 2.-- in a row by about 2.5%. we're increasing programs, so-called trio programs with people who haven't had members of their family going to college before, helps you get ready for college, thinking about what you need to do to be the first person maybe in your family to
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go to college, helps you stay and figure out how to stay in college because nobody in your family can give you the exact advice you might need to have to stay and how you can get prepared to get a job out of college and not have the kind of loans you can't afford to pay back and then, madam president, there's something i call the lost decade. i've talked to so many people in the last two years who are about 28 years old and the story over and over again was so similar. went to college for a year or a semester and then a series of jobs that were not too hard to get but didn't lead anywhere. landscapers or uber drivers or bartenders or whatever else with no sense that that was a career and not the underpinnings that you'd like to have. and then finally in your mid-20's, somebody tells you or you figure out on your own, i've got to have something that can
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support me the way i'd like to be supported, can help me with a family, might have retirement, certainly has benefits. we're trying to do what we can to be sure that focus comes earlier as you begin to think about what do you like to do, what do you find fulfilling. let's talk about the jobs that are out there. whether it's stem education or health services. let's talk about the difference in being a nurse practitioner and being a doctor. let's talk about the difference in being a doctor and a specialist. let's talk about where the job opportunities are, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or a health tech. all those things are a way to a great career if you know what you're doing. and if you miss that launching point, frankly, if you miss that ten years, that lost decade, it's pretty hard to ever catch up like your seatmate at school
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who understood what they wanted to do and anybody had no more resources than you and no more capacity than you but they get an extra ten years on you in preparing for the career they had alike to have, the work they'd like to do, and where that might lead them. the president's really been focusing on apprenticeship programs. an apprenticeship, a good way to learn firsthand but also to see firsthand what you want to do, whether it's an apprenticeship program or a community college or a traditional college or skills you learn in the military that you should be able to immediately transfer into a private sector, nonmilitary opportunity, we need to spend some time on that and some money on that. and this bill does. the bill continues to try to do what we can to be looking carefully for reducing fraud, reducing waste, seeing that tax
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dollars are spent properly. and a lot of them are spent right here in this bill. we prioritize programs that really will provide benefit, we hope, to large groups of our country. the bill reflects compromises on both sides. but people send a hundred different people to the senate and 435 different people to the house to vote and to make decisions that reach conclusion. this bill does that. all 12 of these bills that we'll vote on in the -- sometime in the next three days, madam president, do that. it allows us to defend the country, to meet the obligations that people have asked the government to look at for them and hopefully to do that in a way that produces real results. and with that i would yield the floor and note the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: additionally, i ask unanimous consent that mary eileen manning, a state department fellow in senator sullivan's office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor today to mark the 75th anniversary of the epic battle of the bulge. it was an incredible battle in world war ii. to quote british prime minister winston churchill, this was the greatest american battle of the war. so it was an incredible privilege to join veterans this past weekend at the 75th anniversary ceremonies in luxembourg and belgium. it was 75 years ago so the
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youngest among these veterans if they went into service at the age of 18 would as of today be 93 years old. the world war ii memorial in washington pays special tribute to the 16 million americans who served, especially to the 400,000 who gave their lives for our freedom. there are two flag poles at that memorial. and at the base of these flag poles are the words americans came to liberate, not to conqu conquer. to restore freedom and to end tyranny. in winning world war ii, this generation gave their all to ensure that we continue to live in freedom. these heroes didn't return home until the war was over. this weekend we recognized a number of veterans who are still with us who helped win the
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pivotal battle of the bulge. but these soldiers, for those soldiers, the brutal heat of battle came in the bitter cold of winter. they battled the elements, wet snow, intense cold, and freezing fog. every one of them suffered from hypothermia, trench foot, frostbite, and illness. they shivered in their fox holes. she shivered from frigid conditions. maybe some from fright. i some with deep appreciation and admiration and awe for their efforts, their excellence, and their remarkable endurance. the battle began on december 16 of 1944. that's when germany launched a surprise attack on the allied forces in europe. the allied troops were generally outnumbered by more than 3-1.
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and in addition to the harsh weather, they faced treacherous terrain. still general dwight david eisenhower spoke with confidence. he said, united in this determination and with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight, he said we will with god's help go forward to our greatest victory. the germans sought to divide and destroy the allies, but it was the allies who ultimately crushed the german army. the bulge was one of the most punishing battles in the history of the u.s. military. most of the 650,000 allied troops were americans. from december 16 of 1944 to january 29 of 1945, the americans suffered 75,482 casualties.
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8,407 were killed. the brave soldiers who fought in this brutal battle saved the free world. every soldier was a hero and every soldier has a story to tell. my father corporal john barrasso was one of those heroes. he reported to duty to the pennsylvania army national guard in 1941. four days after the japanese attack on pearl harbor. he didn't return home for four years. he was a gun crewman in the 108th field artillery battalion of the 28th infantry division. he war on his arm the red keystone patch. the germans called the patch the bloody bucket referring to the ferocity of its fighters. he was one who landed at omaha beach but he was always clear to
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point out that he wasn't there on that very first day. that's how humble these men are. he landed in normandy in july of 1944. they beat back the german army through france and then into the fiercest battle of them all. in combat for nearly 200 days, they fought against 45 of the 90 german army divisions. he was awarded five bronze stars. i have with me my dad's dog tags from world war ii. along with his military prayer book. on the front it says, my military missil. on the back a cross and beads. you can work your way through the beads in your hands in your
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pocket in a fox hole praying the rosary as many of them did. madam president, i would point out that these beads are very well worn. my father was a man who always put his family, his faith, and his country first. so on this, the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge, we honor the heroic and selfless efforts of our allied forces. their triumph over evil speaks to the core strengths of courage, character, and commitment. we will forever give thanks for all of our world war ii veterans and their families. we will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we will always remember their valiant allied forces who saved the free world. madam president, in closing i want to wish everyone, especially our educated men and women in uniform, a very merry
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christmas, happy holidays and a happy new year. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. romney: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. romney: may we vacate the
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quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. romney: thank you. madam president, i rise today to honor the extraordinary service of one of utah's most dedicated county commissioners, mr. knewell howard. he has taken on responsibility well beyond that advocating for rural utah with honor and distinction as chairman of the six county association governments. he has had answer schemed career and life of service to family, country, and god. growing up on the family farm in lowa, utah, he gained an early appreciation for the value of community, family, and hard work. he also developed a spirit of adventure, later serving a mission abroad in scatland and joining the wayne county flying club. as the founder of reese corporation, he is also an entrepreneur whose craftmansship
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is built into utah's infrastructure. his county has taken on designs at lake powell to a new bridge. he is most widely known as a public servant elected to serve as wayne county commissioner. after four years he considered stepping down due to illness but he was undeterred. well a righting campaign, he was react willed in a landslide. in october of this year, the president welcomed him to the white house to recognize him for his lifelong advocacy on behalf of rural americans. a true appreciation for knewell's life. he has served in three bishopships as a bishop of a large ward and in the state presidency. as a loving father to kelly, lynette, sarah, sarah, shawna,
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and travis, a grandfather to 18 and a great-grandfather to three, newell has left an undelible mark on the county, the great state of utah and our nation. all of us who strive to live our lives as newell does, with an overwhelming love of family and community and enduring faith and aboundless spirit of adventure. newell, gloria and their family continue to be in your prayers as they fight health challenges with great courage. may god bless the harward family. madam president, i suspect the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i'd ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you i rise to discuss the bipartisan congressional budget reform act that i introduced with senator whitehouse and many of my colleagues. last month the senate budget committee approved our legislation -- that's the senate budget committee -- approved our legislation by a vote of 15-6, marking the first major legislation reported by the committee on a bipartisan basis in nearly 30 years. i'm pleased that 21 senators have now joined senator whitehouse and me as cosponsors of this bill. since i became chairman of the budget committee, we've had more than a dozen hearings on budget process reform.
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we've met with budgeting experts, including some outstanding state officials, and we've listened to insights and concerns shared by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. along the way we collected a lot of good ideas that we tried to incorporate into our bill, and i thank all those who contributed. now, this legislation won't solve all our fiscal challenges. it does, however, represent a good-faith, bipartisan effort to reform our budget process in a way that encourages long-term planning, realistic and responsible budget assumptions and an end to the brinkmansship surrounding our nation's debt limit. i think we struck a pretty good balance. the committee for a federal -- the committee for responsible federal budget says the bill will improve transparency and accountability in the budget
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process and would, quote, make the budget resolution into a more effective governing tool, end quote. according to the concord coalition, which was founded by some democrats, quote, this legislation would move the budget process in a very positive direction, end quote. i ask unanimous consent that the letters from the committee for a responsible federal budget and the concord coalition be printed in the record after my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: the reason i'm giving this speech is to clarify some misunderstandings of other groups who were commenting mostly on the original version of the bill before amendments from both parties were adopted in committee. i won't detail all the reforms in this bill now, but i would like to highlight a handful of key elements of the bill and hopefully clear up some misunderstandings about it. first of all, our bill tries to ensure that we have better information on which to base budgets. imagine this fora -- imagine
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this for a moment t would require better information on which to base budgets and more active engagement from the tax writing and each of the spending committees to ensure that every corner of the federal budget is scrutinized and that budgets are realistic. it would also require that the congressional budget office and the government accountability office to conduct portfolio reviews of federal spending and tax expenditures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs. here's what that means. it means grouping projects regardless of which cabinet department has jurisdiction. so we can see all that we're doing. use housing, for instance. we have 160 programs under 20 agencies. i can only see five reasons -- not 160 -- and they should all be under one jurisdiction. so currently, nobody is in
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charge of setting goals or seeing if they're effective. we're paying multiple administrators to argue over juris rather than results. 160 of them. now, secondly, our bill would reorient the budget process from a yearly to a biennial cycle. right now under the budget act of 1974, congress is supposed to approve a budget resolution each year that sets discretionary spending levels and provides fiscal parameters for legislation brought to the senate floor. the budget resolution can also provide special instructions through a process called reconciliation. what that means is that instructions are given to authorizing and tax writing committees to develop legislation to achieve hopeful and specific budgetary targets. for a variety of reasons, this process has not worked very well
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in recent years. congress instead resorts to passing a series of two-year deals that set discretionary spending limits rather than approving a budget. i need to explain that word discretionary. out of all the federal dollars spent, congress only votes on about 30% of the money spent each year. 70% of the spending is on autopilot. that's mandated to be spent. discretionary spending is the little amount that congress actually votes on. under our bill, congress would approve a budget resolution in the first year of a biennium that would among other things provide appropriators two years of discretionary spending totals. similar to a practice in recent years. leadership, not the budget committee, have been negotiating these two-year spending deals.
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thirdly, the bill would make significant reforms to the content of the budget resolution. discretionary spending totals would be included in the resolution text where individual members could amend them. mandatory spending totals would be broken out by budget function so that we could see trends in portfolios of spending. and here's something really new -- the budget resolution would also be required to include a target ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product, or g.d.p., which is generally viewed as the best measure of the country's ability to repay its debt. the hope is by focusing on our debt to g.d.p. target we could put our country on a glide slope to a more sustainable fiscal future. under the reform bill that glide scope could be cutting spending or raising revenue or both. fourth, the bill would provide a mechanism to conform our
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country's statutory debt limit to the levels in the resolution. this will help incorporate the debt limit into our fiscal planning and provide a powerful incentive to ensure that the targets set in the resolution are attainable. neither side relishes voting to increase the debt limit as it's easy fodder for political opponents yet there's nearly universal agreement that default would be nearly unacceptable. our bill tackles this issue in a way that maintains the debt limit as a tool to ensure fiscal responsibility while removing the brinksmanship surrounding the potential default. fifth, our bill would provide a means to initiate reconciliation in the second year of the biennium if congress isn't living by its fiscal plan. there's been confusion about this process so let me explain it. as i mentioned under our bill, each budget resolution would include two years worth of
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discretionary spending levels and a debt-to-g.d.p. target for the final year of the budget. that means each new congress would set its own spending levels and debt targets in its budget agreement and would not be bound by the targets established by its predecessors. if in the second year of a biennim the congressional budget office finds congress is not on track to meet its debt-to-g.d.p. target, a special reconciliation process is made available. this is akin to what can already be done under current law if you pass a budget resolution the second year of congress, but because we are giving appropriators two years of discretionary spending levels up front, we created a new process in the second year if congress misses its fiscal goals. now, contrary to a misconception that's been circulated, however, there is nothing automatic about this process. before reconciliation can proceed, the senate budget
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committee, which will be renamed the committee on fiscal control and the budget, would need to approve a resolution providing deficit-reducing reconciliation instructions to one or more committees. that resolution which would be amendable would then be considered by the full senate. we've added protections to ensure that senators have the ability to offer amendments and have built in flexibility for unforeseen realities, including economic downturns. we also apply the existing byrd rule to this process which means that it cannot be used to make changes to social security. senators could offer amendments to reduce the amount of the deficit reduction called for or they could decide they don't want to proceed with this process at all. if they do decide to move forward with this special reconciliation, each committee that received an instruction would then report legislation
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within its jurisdiction to reduce the deficit. the instructions themselves tbhot dictate what -- would not dictate what particular programs are to be included in the reconciliation legislation. that's left up to the authorizing and the tax writing committees that have specific policy expertise. one thing the instructions could not do is increase the deficit. after each committee approves its instructions, all the recommendations would then be sent to the committee on fiscal control and the budget where again they would need to be approved and reported to the full senate. after that step, the legislation would come to the floor where it would be subject to unlimited amendments, giving every senator another opportunity to support, amend, or oppose the legislation. each of these steps affords members the opportunity to have their ideas incorporated into this special reconciliation or to try to stop it altogether. in addition, a similar process
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would have to play out in the house of representatives, and the final bill would have to be signed by the president before any policy changes could be enacted. in general, our legislation does not attempt to prescribe house procedures. that's in deference to the house and the constitutional prerogative with each chamber of congress to develop its own rules. i've heard some concerns that this sets up a one-sided method that could dictate spending cuts over revenue increases because only the house of representatives can initiate revenue measures. that was never my intention. and during the budget committee markup of our legislation, a substitute amendment that senator whitehouse and i drafted was adopted that would allow the senate to deem a revenue measure approved by the house as a special reconciliation vehicle. i look forward to working with the house on addressing the procedural issues. the intent of our special
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reconciliation process is to force a conversation about our growing debt and deficits, not to dictate what the outcome of that conversation will be. as the committee for responsible federal budget said, the criticisms that this bill is somehow a threat to low-income programs is, quote, largely misplaced, unquote. as the group says, the tool would not automate any changes to spending or revenue but would instead establish a process to consider deficit reduction measures. these measures would have to pass the senate and the house and be signed by the president. a veto override is also possible. unlike current reconciliation rules which have been used to pass deficit finance tax cuts, this process is limited to deficit reduction and could help policymakers agree to new revenue and to reforms to improve health care programs.
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aing long-term deficit reductiom deficit reduction can coexist with near-term measures to counter a recession. finally, our bill would prioritize budget transparency. it would give the senate new budget enforcement tools and it would remove one of the disincentives to bringing the bblg to the floor by fixing the process known as vote-a-rama. developing our legislation, i specifically set out to establish a process that would allow us to be thoughtful and deliberate in our fiscal decision-making. while avoiding the automatic spending cuts of the last decade known as sequestration. under this bill, sequestration is gone. our bill would not tilt the scales toward one party, ideology, or policy. rather it aims to create a neutral process to help guide congress in making reasoned budget decisions. each congress will decide what fiscal policy changes may be necessary, whether that means
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less spending, more revenue, or a combination of the two. we cannot be content to bury our heads in the sand as our more than $23 trillion debt grows unchecked, swallowing the opportunities for future generations. if you, like me, want to see congress get back to actual budgeting and tackling the difficult fiscal issues that we all know need to be addressed, then please join me in supporting the bill. if you have suggestions on how to make it better, i want to hear them. we're always open to new ideas and i think we demonstrated it. with that, i recognize my colleague who helped to work on this bill and worked besides on this bill. he was on the special committee for the budget that was a joint effort between the house and the senate and many of the ideas he brought to this bill from that
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committee. so i yield the floor and turn it over. mr. whitehouse: thank you, chairman enzi. i'm delighted to join you on the floor today to talk about our bill. an enormous amount of work has gone into preparing for it, including i want to say more than a dozen hearing that chairman enzi led in the budget committee to build the factual proceed cat for the work that -- proceed cat for the work that we were doing and i will drop a word of appreciation to chairman womack and chairman lowey who gave us a chance to work through more of these issues. the fundamental problem that we're trying to address is that -- is that in the senate no committee actually looks at the deficit, the debt, and the borrowing in any kind of a comprehensive way. in theory, the budget committee
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is supposed to but in practice the budget committee has become two things, one, a vehicle for the majority to drive a political budget limited to appropriated spending through with no bipartisan compromise, and we've seen over and over again how that has ended up, never been any use. even if you get it done, you break through the budget by getting to 60 votes and we do most things around here by getting to 60 votes so it's a fence that is basically a line painted on the ground. it's a fence with no fence to it. moreover, we do reconciliation, and that's usually a way to bust around the budget. both parties have used it. republicans have used it for the so-called tax reform, we used it for one segment of the affordable care act. that's what the committee boiled
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down to, a partisan proposal on appropriations that means nothing and a vehicle for getting around the 60-vote filibuster on a regular basis through reconciliation. that's it. there's no serious look that's taken at the debt or at the deficit. what does this bill do? it does some things to which there is pretty broad agreement. first of all, it was pretty much unanimous, the way you look at debt is a debt to g.d.p. ratio and this takes us down this path, second, you have to do the arithmetic, and you can't get to a proper debt debt to -- debt to deficit without looking at revenues and tax spending much one quick word on tax spending, for 2018, the latest report i saw was that we spent $1.4 trillion going out the backdoor of the tax code. that is more than we spent on
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social security, that is more than we commend -- spent on medicare and medicaid and that is more on defense and nondefense discretionary spending combined, so you cannot look at tax spending and still have your math right. we addressed those. we provided a reasonable time frame to get to a reasonable debt to deficit. and some warnings. there was pretty much unanimous agreement among all of our witnesses in the committee and in the select committee that that was the logical way to address debt and deficit. there are also some sidebar things that are important that we get rid of here, like we move to biannual budgeting which has bipartisan support. we deal with the bear trap in the bedroom, the debt ceiling, which is a very dangerous thing if you should ever step on it and trigger it, and to disarm that bear trap is very valuable
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to our efforts and we do that. vota roama is -- vote-a-rama is one of the most humiliating, embarrassing spectacles that the senate presents, we solved, i believe, vota roama. and that is a good package of reforms to get us in the right direction. there is a significant concern, mostly on my side of the aisle, about whether or not the special reconciliation process in this bill, you go back and forthwith a reconciliation and a special reconciliation. and there is concern that the special reconciliation process might be used to jam things that we don't like through. things like cuts to medicare, things like very one-sided spending cuts that don't address the problem of tax spending. so we need to work to solve
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that. i pledge to chairman enzi that i will put my best efforts to try to come up with a way where we can get through that problem and move on to passing this bill, which i think will be very significant and very valuable once we iron out what i think is probably actually the last real gasp that we have in terms of -- of objection to it. i'll also add that the bipartisan pathway that we've been working on for when the two parties can come together and agree to those things, that's in there. so if we really want to do this in a bipartisan pathway, that's in this bill and i appreciate very much that chairman enzi included that in the bill. that provision passed the senate -- the select committee, the bicameral select committee unanimously, republicans, democrats, house members, senators, unanimously. so that's a pretty good base to work off of. i'll close by quoting a phrase that i've heard from usually from business folks from time to
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time and that is that in business debt doesn't matter until it does and then it's the only thing that matters. at the moment, with interest rates where they are and with the world situation the way it is, one can make the case that debt doesn't matter, but when the day comes that it does matter, when interest rates pop up and the cost of servicing our debt begins to squeeze out other priorities, it gets very hard to go back and try to solve that problem then. this is the kind of problem you have to head off in advance. to the extent we can solve a sensible way of dealing with our debt and deficit during the calm period when debt doesn't matter, we'll position ourselves to avoid the calamity that it come when it's the only thing that matters. so i pledge to use my best efforts to try to bring my side
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into agreement on this bill and to try find a measure that solves our concern about what i think is really the only point of significant disagreement in this bill which is what is behind the special reconciliation process, what mischief it might be up to and if we can defang this, i think we can move forward. again, much thank you to senator enzi for his leadership on this issue. i'm determined to try to get this done in this congress while he's with us to see it through. thank you. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president -- ms. ernst: mr. president, i stand proudly before this body in support of the debbie smith act. since its enactment, the debbie smith act has been renewed twice with overwhelming bipartisan
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support, and, of course, with the tireless effort of senators cornyn and senators feinstein, we will renew this vital piece of legislation for a third time today. and senator cornyn, i want to thank you very much for being such a diligent, diligent leader on behalf of this act. the debbie smith act removes one of the most substantial and burdensome roadblocks to survivors of sexual violence achieving the justice they deserve. and i have told many people about the time that i volunteered when i was a young woman at iowa state university. i volunteered for a crisis hotline and a woman's -- women's shelter, and the type i work i was able to volunteer at that time was responding with a beeper to crisis call at the hospital for women that had been through a rape, and that in itself is very difficult but the
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follow-on work that has to be done can often be just as difficult if evidence is not processed timely. so the debbie smith act does this by providing funding for crime labs that process d.n.a. evidence and by strengthening the national d.n.a. data basis. this bipartisan bill supports audits of evidence awaiting analysis at law enforcement agencies and charges the justice department with the task of developing national testing guidelines. we all know that the criminal justice system isn't designed to be fair to survivors of sexual violence, and it's not easy on them, and it certainly is not a comfortable process. coming forward as a survivor is
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not the end, it's just the beginning, and that's why it's so important that this congress, with your leadership, senator cornyn, and our criminal justice system support survivors of sexual violence by funding the availability of d.n.a. evidence to help bring these predators to justice. again, i thank you so much for your diligent work on this. the bipartisan debbie smith act helps bring us to the end that our survivors need and they deserve. thank you for your leadership. and, with that, mr. president, i'll yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, let me thank the senator from iowa for her leadership on so many issues, including this one. obviously through her work on the judiciary committee, where we both serve, where this important piece of legislation emanated from, this has been a long journey.
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unfortunately, the politics of the day has slowed almost everything up that we're trying to do. in particular i want to recognize the senator from iowa's good work on the reauthorization of the violence against women act. i'm a proud cosponsor of the legislation that she's leading on. my hope is that after the fever breaks sometime after the first of the year, i keep hoping for that moment, we will get back to the nonpartisan reauthorization of the violence against women act, but in the meantime i'm happy to join the senator here on the floor and really to talk about the importance of the debbie smith act and to celebrate its imminent passage. since 2004, the debbie smith act has been the guiding force between our nation's effort to eliminate the rape kit backlog. just so everybody understands, at one point there was a report that there were as many as 400,000 of these forensic kits that were used to collect d.n.a.
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evidence following sexual assault that 400,000 of them were sitting either in evidence lockers in police stations or in labs and remained untested. once we were reminded of the importance of this evidence and how powerful it is to enable law enforcement officials to identify an attacker with almost complete precision and accuracy, the importance of making sure that these kits were tested becomes all that more obvious. since 2011, the debbie smith act has helped texas, my state alone, reduce its backlog of unsubmitted rape kits by approximately 90%. the benefits don't stop there, though. though the primary goal of this program is to reduce the rape kit backlog and identify attackers, people who commit sexual sawments, process -- assaults, this could also
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process evidence in unrelated crimes because perpetrators leave their d.n.a. in other places other than the crime of sexual assault. once this evidence is tested it is uplopedded into the f.b.i. data base. this is similar to a fingerprint database and can help identify and fingerprint people who commit other crimes as well. or the civil libertarians among us, and i would like to consider myself one of them, this evidence is also very powerful in discounting or disqualifying potential perpetrators from suspicion because if in fact d.n.a. from some other person is identified it is by exclusion of the a person who is protected. according to the institute of justice 42% of hits are the
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direct result of debbie smith funding. mr. president, the benefits of this law cannot be overstated and it's time once again, past time really, to reauthorize this critical program. the debbie smith act of 2019 will reauthorize important funding that supports testing this d.n.a. evidence so we can continue to reduce and eliminate the rape kit backlog and ensure it will not grow again in the future. this legislation also supports important training for law enforcement, correctional personnel, forensic nurses who are the ones who actually collect the d.n.a. evidence using these forensic kits as well as other professionals who assist victims of sexual assault. the process of getting this legislation through both chambers of the congress has not been easy, and i have to say i appreciate all of the advocates who have fought tirelessly with us every step of the way to bring us to this moment. on the precipice of passing this
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reauthorization. i want to particularly recognize the folks at rain for consistently remaining above the political fray and always putting survivors first. but this legislation would not have been possible without its namesake, debbie smith, and the countless other survivors, people like lavinia masters, carl bart and others who continue to lend their voice to this fight. it's not easy for a woman to come forward and say i was a victim of sexual assault and i don't know who my attacker was, but i will go through this intrusive examination in order to assist law enforcement to be able to make an identification and to prosecute that case. because the fact is if we don't catch these predators, they will commit further acts of sexual violence over and over and over again until they're finally caught and kept behind
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bars. if you've not had the chance to meet a survivor and hear their stories, you must because the survivors i met and worked with over the years in texas, they are truly inspiring, and i am glad we can get this bill finally passed on their behalf. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 777 which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: an act to reauthorize programs authorizes under the debbie smith act of 2004. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: mr. president, 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: is there objection? without objection,so ordered.
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mr. cornyn: i have further remarks but i understand the leader is on his way here to file some important documents and help us progress with our work this week, so for the time being i will note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i understand the majority leader will be here soon, but when he does come i will be glad to yield to him. in the meantime, mr. president, i want to talk about last week's report from the inspector general of the department of justice on the f.b.i.'s counter intelligence investigation into the trump campaign and its contacts in russia, with russia in 2016. this is a very long report. it's more than 400 pages long, and it outlines a series of errors, 17 all counted, made by the f.b.i. under the leadership of director james comey. it's important for people to realize all of these mistakes were made in a previous administration and not under the leadership of f.b.i. director chris wray, and they don't
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reflect, in my view, the actions of the rank and file f.b.i. agents. but it is a serious matter and we need to get to the bottom of it and we need to take corrective action. the report details a pattern of concerning behavior by those who are charged with protecting and defending the united states, and it raises a lot of red flags. last week the inspector general testified before the judiciary committee. i told him at that time, and i think it bears repeating that as an ardent supporter of law enforcement and our intelligence community, i worry that the mistakes and the intentional misleading conduct undertaken by some leaders in the f.b.i. under the previous administration will undermine the public's confidence in what is a very sensitive but yet important area, like foreign intelligence surveillance. we rely on the men and women of the f.b.i. to identify and counter threats to our national
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security, all the while protecting incredibly sensitive information and the privacy of american citizens. it requires a tremendous amount of trust from the american people, and i'm afraid that some of the information that surfaced in this report puts that trust in jeopardy. the inspector general detailed a number of disturbing and alarming facts about how this investigation was conducted, especially when it comes to the foreign intelligence surveillance act, otherwise known as fisa. fisa is a means whereby f.b.i. agents can go to the foreign intelligence surveillance court and show probable cause that an american citizen is an agent of a foreign power. obviously these are very, very sensitive investigations, and the sort of authority that is given to the f.b.i. under these circumstances is very intrusive.
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in my view, it's entirely justified and necessary what in fact we are protecting the united states from very real counter intelligence matters. but the inspector general identified seven mistakes in the initial carter page foreign intelligence surveillance application and ten additional ones and three renewals. these were not typos or misspelled words. these were misrepresentations meant to deceive the court so they would issue, the court would issue a foreign intelligence surveillance warrant. to make matters worse, even as new exculpatory information came to light on carter page, this information was not shared with the foreign intelligence sante fe lance court -- surveillance court. information they would have found relevant in considering whether the f.b.i. and u.s. government met its required showing.
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i asked the inspector general if he believed the court knew what we know now whether they would have issued the warrant in the first place. he said he was not in a position to predepict what the judges may or may not do but said he knew they wouldn't sign a warrant if they were told all the information was not included and certainly not if they were lied to, as occurred here in the carter page foreign intelligence surveillance warrant. as a former judge myself, i think that's absolutely accurate. but that begs the question, what is the fisa court going to do about this? we know what we need to do because already the f.b.i. director has indicated there are a number of areas where he believes this whole process needs to be reformed in order to restore public trust in the integrity of this process. but i was interested to see a
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report in the new york times that is dated today at 4:55 p.m. entitled "court orders f.b.i. to fix national security wiretaps after damning report." mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that following my remarks that this letter be made a part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: if you take a step back from the scenario and think more broadly about how this type of behavior may play out in a criminal proceeding, for example, imagine you're a judge and you find out you were lied to by the prosecution. you were presented with information that was not only incorrect but intentionally fabricated to help build their case. what would you do? well, depending on the scenario, the court may hold that individual in contempt of court. the judge may decide to throw out some of the evidence or the entire case, and possibly, probably refer that lawyer to
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disciplinary proceedings where that lawyer would be in jeopardy of losing his or her law license. these are a range of remedies that exist if these sort of actions happen during ordinary court proceedings, and i believe they are probably available to the foreign intelligence surveillance court should the court decide to take that kind of action. now i note in this letter that i have attached and that i referred to earlier that the court has given the f.b.i. a january 10 deadline to come up with a response to what the court is asking about. and of course the court, i'm sure had to be troubled by what it saw as not only the sloppy work, but the intentional misrepresentation and outright lies used by the f.b.i. in this instance to get this foreign intelligence surveillance warrant against carter page, as well they should be concerned. but the foreign intelligence surveillance court is different from ordinary courts. it handles cases that are critical to our national
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security, full of highly sensitive, largely classified information, and these same sort of remedies that you might use in an ordinary court may or may not apply. but the way i see it, if we don't take corrective action, the f.b.i. doesn't take corrective action, if congress doesn't undertake a review of this whole fisa process, we're in danger of losing this ability to investigate or to collect intelligence to keep our country safe. the only way that happens currently is if the public trust s congress and the fisa court to enforce the law and rules to make sure privacy interests of american citizens are adequately protected and only based upon an extraordinary showing, he have den chair showing -- evidential chair showing by the government that a
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fisa warrant is necessary. all of that i believe is at risk unless reform is undertaken and whatever means is necessary to punish those who mislead it in issuing these four fisa warrants for carter page. this whole episode, i believe sets a very dangerous precedent. if these agents and lawyers are able to break every rule to investigate a political campaign of an american president and are facing no consequences, what's to stop others from doing that in the future? and if they can use the awesome power of the federal government to investigate a presidential campaign and someone who later became president, what chance do ordinary americans have to making sure that the rules will be applied to them and that
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their privacy will be respected? so we've got to have a lot of -- we've got to have accountability for these errors and these misrepresentations, we can't have people like that working at the f.b.i. who are charged with supporting our national security. we can't allow that to continue or to happen again. we need to see that adequate disciplinary measures are taken by the f.b.i. and perhaps by the court itself while congress looks at what we can do to reformer this whole fisa procedure to make sure things like this do not happen in the future. i was glad to see in his report the inspector general said that his office initiated a full audit to look into fisa procedures across the board. he noted that the f.b.i.'s national security division had sent a letter to the fisa court in july of 2018 outlining some
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of therrors made in the -- errors made in the carter page fisa applications and that d.o.j. lawyers will supplement that information based on the inspector general report that the inspector general testified on last week. as we look at ways to prevent this type of abuse from happening in the future, we need to hear from the fisa court what it believes is appropriate measures and appropriate measures they need to stop things like this from happening in the future. all of this is critical not only into finding out what went wrong and what congress does or does not need do with the integrity in protecting this process. fisa is critical to our national security. and we must not only protect the integrity of the process but restore the american people's trust in it. i know this isn't something that could be solved overnight but i'm committed to working with
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all of our colleagues here in congress as well as the justice department and the foreign intelligence court to try to do what we need to prevent this from happening again. mr. president, i know this year is rapidly coming to a close and we're anxious to join our families for the holidays, but impeachment frenzy has almost completely engulfed the capitol, particularly on the house side and made it almost impossible to get work done, hence the last-minute rush to get things done that we should have done weeks and perhaps months earlier. one of the issues has been the national defense authorization act and i'm glad finally we were able to pass that today. for the last 58 years, the ndaa, the national defense act, has passed with broad bipartisan
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support, but this year things took a little different turn. while we maintained historical norms here in the senate and passed the bill by a rollcall vote of 86-8, our house democrat colleagues took a different route. they managed to come up with a bill that was so partisan that not a single republican voted for it in the house. a party-line vote in the house may not be newsworthy but a party-line vote on the daschle bill is. after months of negotiations, senator inhofe, chairman of the armed services committee, senator reed, the ranking member, were able to work with their house counterparts to pass the bill. it is important because it will give our commanders the predictability they need as well as our troops the resources they have earned. it also authorizes $400 million for military construction
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projects in places like texas and 90 new f-35 joint strike fighters made in fort worth. overall the ndaa will benefit all of our service members and their families and our military bases, including those in texas. so i just want to say, mr. president, i appreciate the hard work of chairman inhofe and senator reed, the ranking member, and all of our colleagues on the armed services committee on both sides of the capitol and look forward to its being signed by the president, hopefully without further delay. this was a critical step to strengthen our nation's military, but it's only part of our duty to provide our troops with the resources and training the equipment that they need to succeed. now we need to take care of the defense appropriations bill which is now passed by the house and which will be coming over
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here it the senate soon and which i expect we will act on by thursday. sadly, though, this has also fallen to the wayside while our democratic colleagues in the house have worked tireless to try to remove the president from office. we're only in the posture of having to do that this week because the agreement that was made last august on spending caps was -- was walked away from by our democratic colleagues in the senate and it's taken us all this time to get back up to where we thought we were in the august time frame. despite the deal reached over the summer to keep the appropriations process free from poison pill riders, our friends across the aisle have tried to put in wish list items in the bill. it has largely been avoided. we also managed to avoid a
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government shutdown, but the process has certainly not been pretty. we've been forced to pass two short-term funding bills which have kept the trains running, but failed to provide the predictability that we thought we would get into the future once the two-year budget deal was agreed upon last august. so i'm happy in one sense that the deal was finally reached to avoid a government shutdown and i'm in the process of reviewing these huge funding packages that total about $1.4 trillion. let me just say that i appreciate also the hard work of our friend from alabama, chairman shelby, and our colleagues on the appropriations committee for their work to keep their doors open and to keep our commitments to our men and women in uniform. i'm hopeful we'll be able to act before this funding expires this friday. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president, i rise today to talk about the importance of the vote we took earlier on the fiscal year 2020 national defense authorization act. this bill delivers on the needs of our war fighter today and invests in capabilities we must have for the future. i also fought for and secured huge wins for the grand canyon state. as home to ten military installations arizona plays a key role in many missions critical to our nation's defense. our bipartisan legislation highlights incredible contributions at arizona bases, citizens, and industry make to are support our military each and every day. since i've been in congress, i led the fight to stop the a-10 from being month balled and this bill continues to secure resources to modernize the a-10. we also succeeded in funding a new hangar and barracks and additional f-35's for training and deploying the next generation of f-35 pilots. i also secured funding to
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upgrade the barry goldwater training ranges. the annual defense bill int about protecting the people who protect us and this year's bill reiterates to the men and women of our military that we have their backs. it provides the highest pay raise in a decade and protects military families from greedy contractors who provide their tenants dangerous and unlivable base housing. these contractors who act more like slumlords than landlords will now be required to implement a tenants bill of rights. we give military families more power in filing disbeauts and -- disbeauts and ensure that families have advocates on base. i'm particularly pleased to also see 17 of my 18 reforms to combat sexual assault in the military are included in this bill. earlier this year i disclosed that i too am a survivor of military sexual assault. after i did, i charged the top leaders of the pentagon to
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immediately identify ways to improve the investigation process and support to victims. my provisions increased the number of personnel investigating sexual assault cases and ensure a victim has access to a special victims council with -- counsel. these share the goal of getting justice for victims sooner. the greatest disappointment in and otherwise bipartisan bill is the lack of back fill funding for military construction projects. after unprecedented obstruction by democrats on border security funding, some resources were diverted to border security projects under authorities legally granted to the president by congress. i hear from my constituents all the time and are pro-military and southern border state. we can and must secure our border and fund our military. life is full of difficult choices. this shouldn't be one of them. for any member on either side of the aisle. the senate voted in a landslide
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bipartisan way 86-8 to fund affected military construction projects in the senate version of this bill. then, during conference negotiations, democrats refused to fully fund these projects due to political games surrounding border security. think about that for a minute. they didn't like the president diverting the resources to secure our border so they decided to take it out on our military by refusing the back fill funding. our military deserves better. the american people deserve better. nevertheless, one of arizona's fiscal year 19 projects was stalled for unforeseen environmental issues at the construction site. this funding would have been diverted to some other purpose in any other year. it could have been funded in fy-2020 but the democrats refused to support that. the earliest the project will be ready to start is next summer. the secretary of the army has
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assured me that this project will be in the budget for fiscal year 2021, which starts nine and a half months from now, following the completion of this environmental cleanup. i will continue to fight for the funding and work hand in hand with the army until this project is complete. finally, i have to note that this is the first ndaa that this body has passed in decades without senator john mccain. i think i speak for members of the armed services committee and this entire senate when i say we felt his absence deeply this past year. while he may not have been physically with us, it still has the fingerprints of his leadership, grit, and ultimate dedication to service members and their families. his memory has pro pes pelled -- propelled us to fulfill lasting reforms for those in uniform or those in a supporting role. this is the 59th consecutive bill that has been passed.
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it remains a symbol of what we can accomplish of protecting americans and supporting our troops. it was my privilege to bring home these massive wins working with my colleagues on the armed services committee for our troops and the great state of arizona. with that, mr. president, i yield back.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand the senate has received a message from the house to accompany h.r. 1865. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair lay before the senate the message to accompany h.r. 1865. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate the following message from the house. the clerk: resolve the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 1865 entitled an act to require the secretary of the treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the national law enforcement museum in the district of columbia and for other purposes with the following amendment to the senate amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 1865. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment.
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mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk on the motion to concur. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 1865, an act to require the secretary of the treasury to mint a coin and so forth and for other purposes signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 1865 with a further amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to condition occur on the house amendment to the senate amendment with an amendment owe further amendment numbered 1258. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on the motion to concur with amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there is. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment numbered 1259 to amendment numbered 1258. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to refer the house message on h.r. 1865 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back forthwith. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to refer the message to accompany h.r. 1865 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back forth did with with an amendment numbered 1260. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have an amendment to the instructions. the presiding officer: the
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clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment numbered 1261 to the instructions to the motion to refer. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment. the presiding officer: is there a suffer second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment numbered 1262 to amendment numbered 1261. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i understand that the senate has received a message from the house to accompany h.r. 1158. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair lay before the senate the message to accompany h.r. 1158. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate the following message from the house. the clerk: resolved that the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 1158 entitled an act to authorize
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cyber incident response teams at the department of homeland security and for other purposes with an amendment to the senate amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 1158. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to condition occur on the house amendment to the senate amendment. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk on the motion to concur. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to condition occur on the house amendment to senate amendment to h.r. 1158, an act to authorize cyber incident response teams at the department of homeland security and for other purposes signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 1158 with a further amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to condition occur on the house
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amendment to the senate amendment with a further amendment numbered 1263. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on the motion to concur with my amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 1264 to amendment numbered 1263. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to refer the house message on h.r. 1158 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back forthwith. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, moves to refer the message to accompany h.r. 1158 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back forthwith with an amendment numbered 1265. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have an amendment to the instructions.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 1268 to the instructions to the motion to refer. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 1267 to amendment numbered 1266. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session and consider calendar 550. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of state, steven e. e.beiguin of michigan to be
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secretary. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of stephen biegun of michigan to be deputy secretary of state, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask knack the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent 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. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the committee on judiciary be discharged from further consideration of s. 2774 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2774, a bill to direct the attorney general to establish and carry out a veteran treatment court program. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the
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measure? without objection, the committee is discharged, and the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent 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. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to consideration of s. res. 456 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 456, recognizing and celebrating the 200th anniversary of the entry of alabama into the union as the 22nd state. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent 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. mr. mcconnell: now, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, december 18. further, that following the
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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, morning business be closed, and the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the mcfarland nomination. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order, following the remarks of senator whitehouse. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. whitehouse: i ask any quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: madam president, we are rapidly running out of time to protect our future and that of our children and grandchildren from worsening climate upheaval. america ought to be taking any
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measure available to rein in greenhouse gas emissions from legislative action to legal action to diplomatic action to regulatory action, which is going to be a theme of this talk tonight. we're not doing those things, and frankly it's because of corruption, plain and simple. so regulatory action, that means enforcing the laws on the books. we have a clean air act that requires the environmental protection agency to stop dangerous pollutants fouling our air. the e.p.a. has found that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the clean air act and the supreme court has upheld that finding. that means we ought to be regulating methane. methane is among the most potent greenhouse gases. when released into the atmosphere, it traps about 30
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times more heat than it's chemical cousin carbon dioxide. oil and gas extraction release massive methane pollution. in fact, a growing body of research suggests methane pollution from natural gas extraction may completely offset the climate gains of switching from coal to natural gas. to fulfill its duties under the clean air act, as a matter of law, e.p.a. needs to prevent methane pollution. it's the law. it's not optional. but the corrupt trump e.p.a. won't fight methane pollution. this corrupt e.p.a. is run by the fossil fuel industry, which couldn't care less about methane emissions. within weeks of scott pruitt
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taking control of the agency, the corrupted e.p.a. withdrew its request that oil and gas companies even report methane emissions. the industry knew a true report on methane leakage would damage their case for natural gas as a less dangerous air pollutant. so they went to a line of attack taken directly from the big tobacco playbook -- silence the science. the fewer facts the e.p.a. has, the less action it immediates to take under law -- it needs to take under law. the corrupt trump e.p.a. deliberately made itself ignorant and stopped the reporting so it could avoid its duty. step two came in march 2017 with the corrupt trump effort to roll back existing greenhouse gas regulations, including methane regulations. trump's executive order reads
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like a fossil fuel lobbyist dream probably because fossil fuel lobbyists wrote it. he called on the e.p.a. to review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources. regulations to limit methane pollution were among those that trump's executive order singled out saying, as soon as practical, suspend, revise, or rescind then. -- rescind them. step three was to write a do-nothing replacement. of a lots of dawdling, trump's corrupt e.p.a. decided to draft a fake rule, a rule they could point to if challenged in court for doing nothing, but a rule that would the conveniently do nothing to limit methane emissions. the fake rule exempts a huge
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chunk of oil and gas production from regulation, leaving the industry with an effective blank check to pollute as much methane as it likes. as i speak, the corrupt trump e.p.a. is preparing to issue its final rule, and the corrupt fossil fuel industry is poised to grab everything it wanted. the final rule is one that industry stooges could have written themselves because, well, it looks like they did write it themselves. they bought that privilege the old-fashioned way -- by buying it. even before trump took office, the fossil fuel industry began showering him with money. trump raised a record amount for his inauguration, nearly doubling the previous record, and hess, chevron, b.p., citgo, exxonmobil, continental
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resources, murray energy, and valero all made six- or seven-figure donations. the oil and gas sector was the second largest source of donations providing more than $10 million to trump's inaugural committee. that money still flows as the 2020 election ramps up, fossil fuel companies are among the largest donors to the political groups supporting trump's reelection. a pipeline company is the largest single donor to the trump victory political action committee. more than $700,000 as of this november. the oil, gas, and mining industries account for more than $5 million to the trump victory pac. fossil fuel executives are some of the largest individual donors to the trump victory pac. one executive alone gave $360,000. these known donations likely
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represent the tip of a big, dark iceberg. dark money political organizations accept unlimited donations and provide no disclosure, and super pacs accept unlimited donations with little disclosure. so the bottom line is, we can't tell exactly how much fossil fuel money is flowing to groups supporting trump. but it's a lot. when you consider the $650 billion annual subsidy the fossil fuel polluters enjoy, they have every reason to buy control over government from a corrupt trump administration. money isn't the only way the fossil fuel industry exerts control. oklahoma oil king and scott pruitt patron harold ham set up a trump leadership council to advise trump. the fossil fuel industry was the
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heart of the council, with coal giants, alliance resource partners and murray energy. oil services company baker hughes and natural gas company devon energy all active members. and, of course, there was the national association of manufacturers, a trade association recently identified as america's worst climate obstructer. with all these obstructers and polluters on board, the fossil fuel friendly council fed trump a steady diet of talking points about slashing regulations and achieving complete american energy independence. these fossil fuel industry talking points became the executive order i mentioned earlier, an order to kill any environmental protection that, quote, unduly burdens the development of domestic energy resources. want know who the winners are
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from that executive order? check the list of attendees at the signing ceremony -- fossil fuel executives and fossil fuel industry trade association executives. come to celebrate the freedom to pollute that their influence and money had bought them. chevron has recently been identified as one of the companies that has done the most to damage our oceans. they are one of the top ocean-wrecking companies on the planet. in february of 2017, chevron wrote to the corrupt pruitt with a list of deregulatory proposals the company wanted to see implemented at the e.p.a. included was a request to, quote, refocus methane regulations, particularly those that impact existing sources to encourage voluntary approaches.
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for sure you can trust one of the world's worst ocean polluters with voluntary approaches. the corrupt trump e.p.a. was stocked with fossil fuel industry cronies ready to implement whatever the industry wanted. pruitt rose to political power on a wave of fossil fuel money and a demonstrated willingness to sell his office by putting fossil fuel industry asks verbatim onto his official letterhead. andrew wheeler, pruitt's successor as administrator, had been a leading lobbyist for the coal industry. the head of the e.p.a. air office, bill wheram, rose to prominence by helping bit to build an array of front groups for, guess what? -- the fossil fuel industry. and beyond pruitt and wheeler and wear rum, the e.p.a.'s
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leadership crawled with fossil fuel plungies, like the one who left to set up the fossil fuel dark money group energy 45 to help promote fossil fuel energy policies. or the lawyer lobbyists for energy interest dominion energy, and trans-canada and koch industries overseeing air office compliance, of all things. it has been an infestation. it's easy for the fossil fuel industry to spend big money to corrupt the e.p.a. because the corruption payback is so big. the dirty methane work alone is estimated to save oil and gas companies hundreds of millions of dollars. meanwhile, the american petroleum institute, the largest trade association for the oil and gas industry, announced a new seven-figure ad campaign
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called we're on it. we're on it. these ads on the internet and on tv and on billboards, they're all over the washington, d.c., airport, they're designed to fool the public and to fool policymakers that the oil industry is on its methane emissions problem. of course they're not. of course they are lying. it is what they do. the science tells us that methane emissions are far higher than the estimates out of the corrupt trump e.p.a. the investigative journalism group unearthed found that leading oil companies are emitting unprecedented methane pollution. in just three producing basins in just one year, oil companies emitted methane equivalent to the annual emissions of ten
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coal-fired power plants or eight million cars. there is a recent "new york times" article that you can link to showing infra-read imagery. it is really impressive to see actually if you click to it. infra- red imagery billowing out of fossil fuel facilities. a recent article described one methane blowout in owe oat leaking, quote, as much methane as the entire oil and gas industries of some nations release in a year. we're on it. yeah, they're on it. what they're on is a being of lying about emissions, corrupting our politics and blocking climate action. these massive polluting industries have a long track record of climate denial and deceit. it's how they roll.
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a top climate obstructer, the u.s. chamber of commerce, pays for a phony study claiming the paris agreement would cost jobs and economic growth, and trump pulls out of paris. oil companies lobby to gut auto fuel efficiency standards and pruitt and wheeler gut the standards. the natural gas industry objects to rules requirementing methane emission. the corrupt trump e.p.a. rolls them back, and just now -- just now on the senate floor -- we're looking at a tax extenders package that wiped out the tax extenders for so similar going forward, wind going forward -- it gave us one year looking back inquiredwards. great, thanks a bunch. electric vehicles, storage and batteries, all of that had been in a tentative agreement. and the fossil fuel industry and the trump administration
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kiboshed all of it. on it, indeed. will attorney general barr look into any of this? of course not. in the corrupt trump administration, fossil fuel money and influence puts that industry above the law. they can pollute and corrupt more or less at will. we cannot afford this self-dealing from polluters any longer. this is flat-out wrong. indeed, it is flat-out crooked. it's not only time to waning, madam president -- to waning, madam president, it's time to clean up. this behavior is a disgrace. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until
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floor how the impeachment trial should be conducted in the senate. here's a look at the remarks. >> they seem to suggest that later this week that the house democrats are going to deal they have foreshadowing for three years now, and impeach president trump. it appears that the most rushed and most unfair, impeachment inquiry in modern history is about to wind down averages 12 weeks and the work product will be dumped on us. in the senate. >> all that much more to see to our colleagues and the market people if and join t


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