tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 3, 2020 9:59am-2:00pm EDT
we cannot answer with using churches as props and bibles as props, and inflaming violence. we must answer with action. that's what makes us lawmakers. for 13 years near in washington, change has come inch by inch when we should be miles ahead. i picked that time because that's when i first got here. that's we first started work on crack cocaine and the sentencing disparate and i've seen those changes, but it is inch by inch. first there needs to be justice for george floyd. there needs to be criminal accountability to the fullest extent of the law. minnesota attorney general keith ellison with whom i'm worked closely for years, has taken over the investigation. we are going to leave this recorded program to bring you live coverage. u.s. senate. lawmakers today are working on executive and judicial
nominations. votes are expected throughout the day. now, live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, ruler of the universe, we rejoice because you are near. lord, we are grateful we belong to you and you desire us to call you our father in good and bad times. we can face any calamity
with the knowledge that nothing can separate us from your love. death and life can't. our fears for today and our worries about tomorrow can't. whether we are high above the clouds or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation can separate us from you. may this knowledge of your abiding and indestructible love inspire our senators to trust you with all their hearts and depend upon your wisdom. we pray in your awesome name.
amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., june 3, 2020. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable shelley moore capito, a senator from the state of west virginia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: chuck grassley, president pro tempore.
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: our nation is caught within a number of grave problems at the same time. this week in cities all across america, the pain of racial injustice has been compounded by violent riots that have drowned out peaceful protests and hurt innocent people. millions of working families continue to face the historic economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, including unemployment levels not seen in decades. and lest we forget, madam president, the actual pandemic itself is still with us.
the virus continues to claim hundreds of americans of lives every day, challenge health care professionals, and paralyze schools, universities, and employers. -- that are eager to reopen. of course, there's also important business we would have needed to address even before the pandemic. so for all of these reasons and more, while the democratic house of representatives may be absent with no plans to return for weeks and weeks, the u.s. senate is here and working for the american people. this week we're filling more critical vacancies throughout our government. yesterday we confirmed the special inspector general for the pandemic response. this is a brand-new position born of immediate necessities and goals shared by both parties. yet our democratic colleagues said for week that cares act oversight was a top priority. our colleagues chose to delay
the nomination as long as possible. when the rubber met the road yet again picking small fights with president trump took precedence over urgent work for the common good. at the same time, madam president, we also hear from the very same democratic colleagues that wish the senate would spend less time on nominations. well, the good news is that senate democrats can change that whenever they want. but as long as they continue to visit delays and obstruction on even those lower-level executive branch appointments just for the sake of irritating the white house, the senate will continue to do our job the hard way. of course, in the weeks ahead, we'll also tackle significant legislation for our country. we will turn to legislation to strengthen the implementation of the paycheck protection program for the workers and small businesses who are struggling to weather the storm. we'll consider a bipartisan bill
from senators daines and gardner to safeguard america's abundant public land and for the 60th scek h. -- consecutive year, we'll take up an act to help guide the strategic and operational priorities of our nation's armed forces in the face of evolving threats. so, make no mistake, the foreign actors who seek to harm the united states have not let up while we attend to other problems. for example, in afghanistan, despite agreeing just months ago to engage in further peace negotiations with the afghan government and sever its advertise with al qaeda, the taliban has instead continued its violent campaign against the afghan people. president trump has expressed frustration with the taliban's failures and is reportedly considering withdrawing from afghanistan even more rapidly. as we weigh our options, we must
not forget the painful lessons of the last administration's mistakes. former president obama and vice president biden were intent on beating a hasty retreat from iraq, conditions on the ground notwithstanding, just as many of us at the same time warned that isis flourished. the rest is history. the resulting chaos threatened our interests and drew american interests back into the region. by contrast, the trump administration has seen a number of successes in this difficult region. the president's strategy has secured a territorial defeat of isis. it's put new pressure on iran and given the iraqi people a fighting chance which their new government seems inclined to take. but helping iraq stand up to iranian influence will not be an overnight project. iran wants to drive the united states from the region. china and russia would also be thrilled with a reduction of
american presence and influence there. so, madam president, as we struggle to clean up the broken pieces of one rushed withdrawal, we need to avoid repeating those mistakes somewhere else. so i applaud the trump administration for its approach thus far in afghanistan. the president has taken constraints off u.s. forces. we've helped afghan forces go after terrorists, ratcheted up the attacks on the taliban, and won additional international support for our mission there. and we've done all this with fewer resources and fewer personnel than during the previous two administrations. the president's strategy and diplomacy have helped create a path for discussion among afghans. the only thing they can actually secure the country's future. if these qualified successes continue, it would be appropriate to further reduce our american presence, as certain conditions are met.
but we must retain enough forces and influence to maintain our counterterrorism capabilities. given recent reports and our long-standing speeches, we cannot just trust the taliban will sever ties to terrorist networks. we need to be vigilant. we need to maintain enough presence to judge whether the taliban complies with agreements appeared help the afghan government impose consequences if they do not. we need to maintain enough presence to preserve our foothold against isis, the haqqani network and al qaeda. and we should maintain enough presence to help prevent a full replay of iraq or syria. a blood bath and a human rights collages particularly for generation -- -- collapse, particularly for generations for women. last year a majority voted for an amendment that i offered that
warned against precipitous withdrawal from afghanistan and syria in ways that could jeopardize the hard-won progress we've attained, embolden iran and russia. our enemies would be thrilled if the united states grew too tired to continue the hard work of standing with partners confronting our adversaries and maintaining measured leadership that projects our security around the world. our enemies would be delighted if we grow too weary to act in our own long-term interest. we must not give them that satisfaction. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of defense, james h. anderson of virginia to be a
mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the minority leader is recognized. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: well, madam president, this has been a very difficult week after what has been a very difficult few months. a nation beleagured by disease and economic depression has once again come face-to-face with the racial injustice that infects our society. the death of george floyd in police custody was a searing reminder of a long list of unarmed african americans whose lives have been taken in similar circumstances. breonna taylor, ahmaud arbery, and too many others, as well as a well of grief and loss and pain too deep to express.
it was a searing reminder of the bigotry and discrimination that african americans encounter as part of their daily reality. that's why so many americans of all ages and colors and faiths are out in the streets protesting right now. they are fed up with racial injustice in this country and want to see some change. here in the senate, member after member has come to the floor to share support for the same cause. yesterday our caucus held a somber, emotional and very personal meeting during which our members shared their own lived experiences of racism and spoke about what we need to do next, because the truth is while speeches and protests are vital, there will never be enough. we need greater accountability and trains -- transparency to police departments and reform police practices so these events don't happen in the first place. we need to reform a criminal justice system that is still too
short on justice, and begin chipping away it the racial disparities that exist in health care and housing and education and in the economy. these issues won't be solved in a week or a month, in a year. let's hope they can solve them in this decade. but i'll be damned if we don't at least try to make some progress. already my colleagues, senators booker and harris, cardin, klobuchar, duckworth, smith and others are working with the congressional black caucus in the house to develop legislation to address a number of issues related to police violence and racial justice. senate democrats will not wait to propose and push for bold, bold change. will our republican colleagues join us? leader mcconnell, commit to put a law enforcement reform bill on the floor of the senate before july 4.
now i've made this request for several days without an answer from the republican leader. even more disappointing, the republican leader blocked a simple resolution i offered last night that reaffirmed americans' constitutional rights to peaceful protest, condemn the violence and looting that's occurred in too many places, and condemn the president as well for having gas and rubber bullets used on a peaceful protest in lafayette park, one that had families and children protesting in the grand american tradition of peaceful protest. there was no partisan rhetoric in this resolution. it was three simple concepts. a recitation of the facts. but because senate republicans are so afraid, shivering at the thought of criticizing the president, even when they know his actions are way out of line, leader mcconnell came
and blocked this resolution. shame, shame, shame. we all know there are very few checks on the president, especially a president who believes that he can do anything he wants, and he said it. one of the most effective checks on president trump could be the caucus of republican senators for once standing up to him when he's way out of line. where are they? where are they? even a columnist like george will has shown his disgust at the republican senate, and he's a conservative, for their failure to stand up to donald trump on issues like this. all too often on thorny issues like gun safety, racial justice, and police reform, my republican colleagues sort of say what's necessary to get through the day when there's immediate crisis, and then wait for public attention to fade. leader mcconnell called us back into session in early may
during the height of the covid pandemic, but we still have not considered a single piece of legislation on the floor. now listen to this. yesterday when leader mcconnell was listing legislative priorities for june, he did not mention covid legislation. let me repeat for those of you who may have missed it in the swirl of news and events of the day. when listing his june priorities to reporters, leader mcconnell did not mention covid-related legislation. other republican senators have said that another relief bill might come in late july now. might. might. this is shocking. this should be a wakeup call to the american people. americans of all ages and races and creeds and philosophies, call your republican senators,
demand action. the recession will get deeper. it could develop into a depression if we don't have relief. we have not done enough in the eyes of every economist that i have looked at and respected. governors and mayors across the country in red states are slashing budgets in advance of the new fiscal year, which for most states starts july 1. states will be forced to cut millions of jobs and critical services. these cuts mean increased school class sizes, longer emergency response times, fewer services to keep the elderly at home and out of nursing homes. these cuts not only exacerbate the recession, but the wrath of the coronavirus itself. that's what's happening while senate republicans wait until july, maybe, to consider another relief bill.
america, look at what our republicans are doing. not giving the relief you need for your safety, for your schools, services that local government provides. the republican majority doesn't seem to have time to address a cascading series of national crises. no time. why is that? and where's president trump? where is his cabinet? they all know that we need more. they all know we haven't solved the economic problem, far from it. they all know that we have to do a lot more on testing. so a republican majority doesn't seem to have time to address the covid national crisis. but you know what it does have time for? chasing president trump's wild conspiracy theories.
it sounds like the death knell of the republican party as we know it. they can't deal with the two major crises of the day -- racial justice and the covid crisis -- and they're busy pursuing conspiracy theories, some of them emanating from russia, to go after president obama and vice president biden. this makes no sense. this again sounds like the death knell of the republican party. the republican party we used to know would have some principles, but not be afraid to run to every major issue, to any major issue almost. but that's what they're doing. today in the judiciary committee, the republican committee chairman has called in rod rosenstein to dredge up the president's favorite conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election. it's an egregious misuse of the
institution, the senate. nearly a quarter of our workforce is unemployed, over 100,000 americans are dead from a strange and contagious disease, americans are in the streets demanding racial justice , and shop-worn, discredited conspiracy theories is what the republican majority is focused on? what alternative universe do they live in? what alternative reality are they in the midst of, one detached from the real reality that the american people face. conspiracy theories to help president trump's reelection. right-wing judges, many of whom have antipathy to the civil rights we're talking about right now, the republican party in the senate has moved so far into a corner, the corner that donald trump is in, that they
can't address two of the most important and major issues that's affected this country in decades. the american people should be furious with the republican senate majority, and the american people and historians will record with sadness how this once great party, even though i didn't agree with them, has declined so. no courage, no principle, simply cowering for president trump and his crazy theories that even they know are crazy. and the american people of course should be furious with the president as well. on monday night americans watched federal officers, under the direction of the president and the attorney general, use gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of peaceful protesters in a public park so the president could stage a photo op in front of a church
waving the holy bible as a prop. last night americans saw an even more haunting image on the internet and their televisions. rows of camouflaged troops standing at attention on the steps of the lincoln memorial, like an occupying force defending a critical position. when you see the image of troops dressed for combat flanking the lincoln memorial, an altar to freedom, you cannot help but think of tiananmen square. this administration ordered federal officers to gas peaceful protesters and charge on horseback and p defend our monuments like battlefield positions. what is president trump doing to this grand democracy? what is he doing? and why r republican colleagues just going along? president's lincoln second inaugural address is engraved in
that building where armed soldiers stood. during a moment of extreme political division and civil strife, president lincoln urged malice towards none, charity towards all, and sought to bind up the nation's wounds. there there could be no greater contrast between lincoln and this president. this president, who seems to have malice towards all and charity for none. who seeks to deepen our nation's real wounds rather than bind them up. our nation is crying out for leadership, for correction, for some healing and some unity. will this president even try to provide it? i yield the floor.
mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip is recognized. mr. thune: madam president, are we in a quorum call in. the presiding officer: no. mr. thune: madam president, i want to speak here in just a moment to the issue of internet traffic and how that's impacted -- been impacted by the coronavirus. how it's impacted our lives during the virus vice.
before i do that, though, i want to respond to a few things that the democratic leader had just mentioned because he again pointed out that the republican senate isn't doing work here. hard to fathom how he can possibly come to that conclusion. the democrat-run house of representatives is out of session for the entire month -- the entire month of june. they're not even here. the democrat house of representatives isn't even in town. the senate is here doing work. and important work, i might add. you say, we haven't passed any legislation. well, the week before the memorial day break, we passed the foreign intelligence surveillance act reauthorization, a critical piece of national security and intelligence legislation that all our intelligence experts tell us is critical to fighting the war against terrorists. pretty important legislation, i would say. and he pointed out that the
agenda for the month of june doesn't include much. well, that's only if you don't think that the national defense authorization act is not important, funding the military, authorizing the weapon systems, paying the personnel, the technology, the intelligence, all the things that go into protecting the country seem to mae to be pretty important -- to me to be pretty important. so the national defense authorization act is a piece of legislation that the senate will process in the coming coming weeks in the month of june. that will probably take a good week to move across the floor of the senate. it typically does. there's mog more important or more critical to the national security of the united states thank the national defense authorization act. we're going to be passing a major parks bill this next week which will help fund the backlog in a lot of the our national parks, something that's been a loot priority for many democrats. i think out of the democrat
caucus, there are somewhere on the order of 43 of the 47 democrats who are cosponsoring the piece of legislation that will be called up later this week and be on the floor most of next week. so something that's been around here for a while. it's going to be a major legislative accomplishment. this will be a bipartisan accomplishment when it passes. so, madam president, i would just say that the fact that the democrat leader, we aren't doing the this i.s.p. that he wants to do -- the things that he wants to do doesn't mean the senate isn't busy. the things he talks about doing are things that we're doing. we're dealing with the coronavirus on a daily basis around here. i'm a member of the senate finance committee. yesterday we in a hearing in which officials from pentagon f.d.a., for example, a critical agency when it comes to particularly pharmaceuticals in this country, and the purpose of the -- the subject of the hearing was the pharmaceutical supply chain and what we need to do to shore that up, to make
sure that in future pandemics and lessons learned from this one we aren't dependent upon unreliable supply chains in places around the world that frankly may not be dependable. that's a pretty important issue when it comes to dealing with the effects and the impacts of the coronavirus. today in the senate commerce committee, another committee on which i serve, we're going to be examining the impact of the coronavirus on our transportation infrastructure and how important these transportation -- transportation has been throughout the course of the coronavirus and ensuring -- in ensuring that we keep commerce going, that we keep food in the grocery stores. going to be looking at both the highway aspect, the rail aspect. all those and how they are impacted by the coronavirus and what we might need to do to enshould you are that they continue to be able -- ensure that they continue to be able to provide the services they do going forward. so, madam president, we are consistently looking at on a
daily basis the coronavirus, the impact it's having on the economy, on the health of people in this country, the health emergency, and putting measures in place that would deal not only with that health emergency but also with the economic crisis created by it. in the meantime, we're seeing the economy start to open up again, which is i think is a very good thing, and i'm hopeful that we'll see, as the economy opens up, people will get out, consumers will spend, investors will inset of, and -- invests will invest and we'll see the economy start to come back, jobs will come back. we have very high unemployment rye u.n. a major concern. we also have a major unemployment insurance piece of legislation. folks through no fault of their own have had to go on unemployment. to suggest senator a moment that we aren't focused on the coronavirus is completely missing the point. and to suggest also that we haven't done a lot already, we
peaced four major pieces of legislation totaling almost $3 trillion. that's $3 trillion if you don't include the amount of leverage that we gave to the federal reserve and the treasury to extend credit, to create liquidity out there, with the power of that leverage that's somewhere on the order of about $6 trillion in assistance that we have put out there through different legislative vehicles to the american people. and so you're seeing that translated into the paycheck protection program, which is keeping people employed, keeping people -- keeping jobs in this country, keeping businesses functioning and operating. it's been very successful. you've seen it in direct assistance to state and local governments, $150 billion has been put out there, p of which hasn't been -- much of which hasn't been spent. that's on top of a lot of other assistance, which totals almost half a trillion so far that has
gone out to state and local governments. much of that hasn't been spent yet, it can be used, as the treasury has pointed out, given the state's flexibility for emergency personnel, first responders, police, all the things that the senator from new york talked about. that's flexibility that the states have now to be able to meet the needs that they have and to work with their local governments to meet the needs of the local of the goes. there is a lot of money in the pipeline, not to mention the money that we put out there for investment in therapeutics, in vaccines, in diagnostic testing, and all the money that's gone out to hospitals and nursing home providers, long-term care facilities to help them get through this crisis. -- in the form of direct assistance. so a lot of money in the pipeline, madam president, as i said, about $2.9 million -- or $2.9 trillion, i should say,
that's already been authorized. and i think about 40% maybe has been spent. so there's still a lot of assistance going out there. my friend, the democratic leader, would just want a put a whole bunch more money out there without knowing what the need is. i think at a time when we are already running a $21 trillion, now $25 trillion debt that we ought to be very circumspect and pay attention to what's happening in our economy, what the needs are, what is we need to keep the economy opening up and respondings, what we continue to need to do to help people who are unemployed, what we need to do to support families who are struggling through the crisis. but we ought to do that based on the need, not just somebody saying, well, let's just throw a whole budge more money out there. we have the flooded the zone with dollars. there is a tremendous amount of resources out there a the although of which is yet to be
spent. it strikes me at least in the eyes of most americans, they would view it as pretty important that before we spend more tax money, all of which i might add is going to be borrowed p money, that we see what we've done already is effective and having the desired impact. so there is so much going on around here dealing with the coronavirus, it just is completely -- it completely defies any sort of logic to what the democratic leader suggested was happening here in the senate. he made one other comment which i think you have to respond to, because he said that the senate is in the process of -- the republicans in the senate are processing right-wing judges that have antipathy for the very civil rights issues that are -- that we're dealing with right now. i don't know how you can make a statement like that.
i don't know how you can ascribe motive or intent to judges. you don't know who these judges are. you know, we got a judge we're going to be processing for the d.c. circuit a pretty important circuit in this country, he is a district judge from kentucky. and he's been rated as very well-qualified by the american bar association. the american bar association isn't a right-wing group at all. many on our side think they certainly drift the other direction. yet they say this judge is a well-qualified judges. you think they'd be saying something like that about a judge who had antipathy for civil rights? i mean, that's just a -- i would say a reckless and irresponsible statement, unless you have something to back that up and support it. so, madam president, i just thought it would be important to respond to some of the things that the democratic leader just said with respect to the agenda here in the senate, which as i pointed out earlier is a very full one. and if you compare it to the
agenda of our colleagues in the democrat-controlled house, which is zilch because they're not here for the entire month, it seems to me the senate is getting a lot of work done. so, madam president, what i came here to talk about i came down to the floor a couple of weeks ago to talk about how the coronavirus has the networks. with americans using the internet for everything from work to school to family dippers, u.s. networks that have held up tremendously well. americans have been able to enjoy the same speed and streaming quality that they typically enjoy, something that hasn't happened in a lot of other countries. that he is a direct result of the united states' light-touch control to internet regulation, which has encouraged american companies to invest in new technologies to make more efficient use of spectrum. our nation is currently preparing for the widespread
adoption of the next generation of terrentst internet technology, known as 5g. we need to make sure it will be as strong as our current networks but we still have work to do to get to that point. i come up down frequently to discuss that work, which includes paving the way for the cells and enhancing the availability of the mid-band spectrum and investing in a 5g workforce. there is a also another aspect we need to think about, and that is network security. with its incredible speed and connectivity, 5g will usher in a new era of innovation, advances in medical care, safer transportation technologies, 5g will bring all of these things, madam president, and more. but like any new technology, 5g networks will present new risks and because 5g will mean a
vastly greater number of connected devices, the risk will be greater. that's why an essential part of deploying 5g networks has been to be how we will deploy. we have to make sure that the component parts of networks like the cell towers are secure. a primary way to do that is by ensuring that 5g equipment comes from trusted vendors. currently one of the biggest suppliers of 5g equipment worldwided is a chinese company huawei which is supported by the chinese government. china's 2017 national intelligence law requires chinese companies to support the chinese government's intelligence activities. american security officials have raised concerns that much of huawei's equipment is built with back doors that give the chinese government access to global communications networks. we should be wary of china's
motives and china's interests are opposed to those of the united states. china's handling of the coronavirus an example of the chinese government prioritizing its own interest or pride over the public good. as a "new york times" article noted in february, the chinese government's initial handling of the epidemic allowed the virus to gain a tenacious hold. at critical moments, officials chose to put secrecy and order ahead of openly confronting the growing crisis to avoid political alarm and political embarrassment, end quote. whether it was driven by the hubris of the communist party or merely callous indifference, the communist state has for the well-being of its own citizens, china was not transparent about the grave danger of covid-19. they failed to release accurate information about the nature and spread of the virus, and it took active steps to make sure the truth did not get out in other ways. whistle-blowers were punished. the centers were censored.
journalists were expelled. and despite the fact that its negligence undoubtedly contributed to the global spread of covid-19, china still, still continues to be less than forthcoming about the virus. unfortunately, this is run of the mill governing in china as we saw with the sars outbreak in the early 2000's and as we have seen in many other instances. and not content with its role in aggravating the spread of the coronavirus, the chinese communist party has taken steps to strip hong kong of its freedom. china is hoping we are too occupied with this epidemic to undermine what should be hong kong's autonomy under the one state two systems construct. mr. president, we have noticed. as many of my colleagues and i have expressed, we stand with hong kong, and we must carefully consider an appropriate response, one that will rebuke the communist party of china without negatively affecting the people of hong kong, their well-being, and their democratic
aspirations. mr. president, we didn't need covid-19 or china's recent actions in hong kong to know that giving the chinese government a back door into american communications networks is a bad idea. but it certainly underscores the need to make sure that 5g infrastructure is not made by companies beholden to the chinese government. the united states has taken a number of steps to prevent equipment from huawei and other suspect chinese companies, e.t.a., from being used in u.s. communications networks. but these companies still pose a risk to the united states. for starters, some u.s. broadband providers often in rural areas still have equipment from huawei and z.t.e. in their communications networks. and a number of our allies and trade partners, entities with whom we regularly share information, including sensitive national security information, have used or are using technology from huawei and z.t.e. so what can we do? well, an initiative is already under way to replace suspect telecommunications components and u.s. networks with hoard wear from twussed companies.
in march, the president signed legislation developed by commerce committee chairman roger wicker, the secure and trusted communications networks act, to help speed up this process. this legislation which i cosponsored will help small telecommunications providers with the cost of replacing network components that pose a security risk. also in march, i introduced legislation to help address the other part of the problem, and that's the use of huawei technology by our allies and our trading partners. we regularly exchange information including sensitive national security information with our allies and trading partners, and this information can only be secure, can only be secure if networks on both ends are secure. that's why the u.s. has called for other countries to reject telecommunications technology from huawei and z.t.e. a number of countries have committed to using trusted companies to build out their telecommunications networks, but other countries are still planning to make use of huawei's technology. my legislation, the network
security trade act, would make telecommunication security a key objective when negotiating future trade deals. we should be using trade agreements to push for enhanced network security globally, which would benefit not only our country but every country with which we do business. we recently opened negotiations on a new trade deal with the united kingdom which has been using huawei technology to build its 5g networks. i'm pleased that it now looks like the u.k. is reconsidering its use of huawei components. i hope they will decide to reject this suspect technology, and i hope that trade negotiations will emphasize the importance of using trusted companies to build out the u.k.'s telecommunications networks. the security of our communications with our trading partners and allies, particularly those allies like britain, needs to be a priority. mr. president, as we move forward in the 5g future, we need to make sure our
technological advancements are matched with advancements in technological superiority. that includes with keeping quality and -- i will continue to do everything i can to ensure that we have not only the infrastructure but the security needed to keep american networks at the forefront of the telecommunications revolution. mr. president, before i close, let me just say one more word about china. as i said earlier, china's coronavirus deception is undoubtedly partly responsible for the fact this virus has now spread to every corner of the world. and china's recent actions with regard to hong kong underscore the hostility of the chinese government to the values that freedom-loving countries hold dear. china has a lot of work to do if it ever hopes to rebuild trust with other nations. at a bare minimum, we expect china to uphold its recent trade commitments which were critical to america's hard-hit farmers and ranchers. i will be looking and our entire
government will be looking to see if china's words on trade agreements can be relied upon. i hope, mr. president, that the chinese government will live up to its commitments. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that following my remarks, the senior senator from oklahoma is recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i note with some interest that one of my -- one republican colleague after another comes to the floor, they are protect the president at all costs colleagues, no matter what he does, no matter what he says, no matter how he acts, no matter how incompetent, no matter how divisive and continue to point the finger at the chinese for this coronavirus. god knows, china deserves heaps of blame for the outbreak in the early spread of coronavirus -- of the coronavirus, no question they deserve a lot of blame for
the outbreak and the early spread and their lying about it. but keep in mind that we're 5% of the world's population and 30% of the deaths from the coronavirus have been americans. this president continues to make excuses and point fingers, and the compliance, always obedient, sheep-like members of the republican caucus conference in the senate continue to stay quiet, continue to do nothing about this president's behavior and the 105,000 deaths from coronavirus in this country. mr. president, the protests around our state, throughout our country are an expression of fear and grief and frustration and of anger. black communities led the nation in mourning the killings of george floyd and breonna taylor over the last week. there are now leading calls for justice and long-term changes to
dismantle the systems of oppression that hold them back. but instead of listening to those calls from the people who built this country, instead of offering leadership and rising to meet this moment, as every one of his predecessors of both parties did in times of trouble for our country, president trump fails yet again. instead of uniting, he divides. instead of comforting, he stokes fear. he points fingers. he places blame. instead of healing, he rubs salt in the open wounds of black americans. on monday night, the president of the united states turned the arm of the state on peaceful protesters. we saw -- we saw the video. teargassing the citizens he is supposed to serve, all so he could walk across the street and stage a photo op at a church he doesn't attend and hold up a bible that he doesn't read. in my -- you choose the adjective. timid, cowardly, spineless
republican colleagues in this senate just remained silent. how offended they would have been if a democratic president had done what this president does and failed to do. the teargassing citizens he is supposed to serve, the photo op at a church, the holding up the bible he doesn't read, the excuses, the divisiveness, all of that. mr. president, people are tired, people are angry. more black sons and daughters and mothers and fathers killed by police officers, the very people who were supposed to protect all americans. more deaths when many are already grieving, so many in the black community already grieving the loss of family members and friends for the coronavirus, grappling with the economic stress this pandemic has caused. the pandemic has been the great revealer. we know black and brown communities have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. they are more likely to get sick. they have less access to health care. they make up the communities hurt by jim crow laws and
redlining and now the locking in of those rules and regulations by the trump administration. they disproportionately -- black and brown communities disproportionately make up our essential workers. it's not because they don't work as hard. it's not because of individual choices. mr. president, we all work hard. we're all trying to do something productive for our families and our communities. we all want to build a better country for our daughters and our sons. no, mr. president, it's because of a racist system that is making it harder for their work to pay off and putting at risk their lives for generations long before this virus appeared. a grocery store worker in cincinnati said to me, she said they tell me i'm essential, but i feel expendable. i don't feel safe at work, and they don't pay me very much. i feel expendable. long before this pandemic, millions of americans knew we had a system that treats them like they are expendable. their hard work isn't paying
off. for some it feels like the system is broken. for black and brown workers, it never worked to begin with. in the midst of the trauma and grieving,al millions of those same americans still go to work day after day, week after week. in grocery stores as delivery people, in drugstores, as bus drivers, the people that clean -- that do the linen, change the beds in hospitals, the food service workers, the custodians, the security people, the first responders. in the midst of the trauma and grieving, those same americans, millions of them still go to work day after day, week after week. our job is to show the victims of systemic racism at the hands of their own government, that the same government can and will protect them from this pandemic. we hear them, we see them, we fight for them. their lives matter. our response to this crisis must be to stand behind all the people who make this country work, all workers. whether you swipe -- whether you swipe a badge or punch a clock, whether you earn a salary or
make tips, whether you are raising children or caring for an elderly parent. whether your hard work is paid off now or whether it's never paid off the way it should. dr. king said one day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker. for the person who picks up your garbage in the final analysis is as significant as the physician, for if he doesn't do his job, diseases are rampant. all labor has dignity. it's black and brown workers who have too often, far too long, far too often been robbed of their dignity on the job. if we want to be a country where all people have dignity, we need to start by recognizing that all labor has dignity. but so far the response to the crisis is not the response of a government that believes that. this senate, this president can always find trillions of dollars for corporations, for tax cuts, for bailouts. when hardworking families need help with rent or to put food on the table, president trump and leader mcconnell say we can't afford it. the president and the
administration have already made racial and economic inequality worse and undone civil rights protections. they have been pretty clear they are willing to put american workers' lives at risk to reopen stockyards or just for the stock market. president trump and his administration believe that millions of americans are expendable. it's not a coincidence that many of the people they consider expendable are black and brown workers. since the president is unwilling to protect people, whether that's protecting their lives or protecting their financial future, we in the senate must fill the leadership void. as we do that, we work for change, we need to be clear part of leading is listening. the best ideas don't come out of washington. the solutions we need to fix the justice system, to address wealth and equality, to reverse disparities in health care, to help communities that have been hurt by redlining and jim crow and so much more. whenever we talk about this, whenever people bring up the ways the system has failed so many americans, on the senate
floor or at a protest march, they are always naysayers. almost always white, usually men, often pretty well off. they say how can you be so negative? why do you want to dwell on all the worst parts of our history? don't you love our country? my response, mr. president, to our country's naysayers and sunshine patriots is this -- how can you be so pessimistic as to believe that this is the best that our country can do? do you really think the american people, with our ingenuity and optimism and tenacity, do you really think the american people can't create a fair economy and a more just government? do you truly believe we can't have a society that work for everyone, black and white and brown, women and men, no matter who you are, no matter what kind of work you do. úoru country do better, those are some of the most patriotic things any of us can do. i love my country, mr. president. and if you love this country, you fight for the people who
make it work, all of them. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the chair would remind senators that under rule 19, it is provided that, quote, no senator in debate shall directly or indirectly, by any form of words, impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator, close quote. the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. inhofe: thank you, mr. president. i want to respond to the accusations that were made, and i worded that carefully not to violate answer rules. and i'm going to do that. i see kind of an active desperation that's creeping in on statements, things that are said about other people when right now we are experiencing some things that actually are
being a success. and i want to respond to some of the accusations that were made, but first i have something else to do that's kind of an awkward thing to be doing at this time because i'm going to to go back and talk about something that happened not yesterday or this week but back in 1983. and i think it's important that we do this. about every ten years i do this. we're going to be successful now because i have a commitment from the president that he's going to stay hitched on an issue, a huge issue in the past. in 1983 not much was known about iran's efforts to train the, and arm the radical proxies and to kill americans and to kill our partners and our allies, but people know now. in fact, only a few years earlier ayatollah khamenei led a radical revolution in iran.
khomeini's regime introduced himself to the l world by taking american deposits hostages for 444 days. 444 days, we all remember when that happened. that was something unprecedented, and it was all tied into khomeini. of course, he uses other people. nothing's changed since that time. nonetheless, for the next decade until his death in 1989, khomeini was the ruthless face of an iranian regime that applied a brutal version of religious law, murdered innocent people, suppressed religious and ethnic minorities and supported radical islamists. he hated western value and he hated the freedoms that we enjoy. and still do. almost four years into his rule, a supreme leader on october 23, 1983, 241 americans, both u.s. marines
and other service personnel, serving a peace mission in beirut were attacked at their barracks by a truck that was carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives by terrorists who were armed and trained by iran. that was in 1983. 241 died. now these terrorists later became what we knew as hezbollah. that's the first time they surfaced and are identified as they are today as an arm of iran. hezbollah struck. in 2003, 20 years after the attack on our marines, the united states district court for the district of columbia ruled in a civil suit brought by the victims, the families of the victims of the 241 who were killed that iran had used hezbollah as a proxy to bomb the marine barracks in beirut on that october day. not much has changed with iran.
unfortunately it's the same thing in the way they operate now. they don't play by the rules. they never have. they are terrorists. they're worse than terrorists because they are the ones who are training the terrorists. there are nearly -- that became even more apparent back when we began to learn more about their ties to islamist terror organizations and how they used proxy organizations with no true allegiance, but on behalf of a twisted interpretation of islamic religious text to murder and then sneak back into the shadows. that's the way they operated. that's the way they operate today. it happened under ayatollah khamenei and it happens under the current supreme leader as well. so nothing's really changed. a lot of years have gone by. a lot of people have died. as i speak here on the floor, iran is providing weapons and cover for the houthi rebels who are committing unthinkable
atrocities in yemen. they've continued to support terrorist groups that threaten our personnel in iraq. they've repeatedly attacked our partners across the region. now what's even worse is they seek a nuclear weapon capability , and president obama's iran deal would have ultimately let them have exactly what they wanted. fortunately we now have a president who takes a strong stance against iran, imposing sanctions and pulling out of the flawed iran nuclear deal that the previous administration put us in. and, by the way, i had a joyful conversation yesterday for half an hour with netanyahu. he was reminding me that i was in israel -- and he's the prime minister, and i was in the prime minister's office at the very moment that our president
trump pulled out of the iran deal, and i've never seen him so jubilant. we just talked about that yesterday. we go back to october 23, 1983. 241 americans killed by an iranian-backed suicide bomber. it was a terrible day in u.s. history and iran was responsible as a u.s. court ruled in 2003. in 2003 that suit brought by the victims' families, the families of the 241 who had died, brought by the victims' families against iran provided punitive and compensatory relief in the form of iranan assets. in 2007 the u.s. district judge awarded just over $2.5 billion to the families of the ones who were murdered in that atrocity. but our work isn't done now. you'd think that it would be but it's not because there's nearly $1.7 billion in laundered iranian assets in a luxembourg
bank named clear stream. we need to make sure that they stay there and don't get back this gnawing feeling that once something is over in luxembourg, a place like that that all of a sudden you wake up and you find out that iran has $1.7 billion they're not entitled to to spread out terrorism throughout the world. in last year's ndaa -- the ndaa is the largest bill we do each year. i chair the defense authorization. it's called the national defense authorization act. we pass it every year. so we included language that made those assets available to the victims' families, and the president signed it. i talked to the president, and he's anxious to do this. we have one obstacle we have to get by, and that is some activity by this second circuit where it's now being played out. so president trump has been a firm leader against the aggressive iran. and as i -- i certainly stand with him. and that's why this is a clear
opportunity to continue president trump's maximum pressure campaign against current iranian regime and ensure these assets do not return to iran where they would surely be used to help the proxy organization such as hezbollah. i trust our department of justice to play with this, and i'm glad that we have a president who's made that a top priority to make sure that the families of those 241 victims that were killed in beirut are going to be receiving this money as opposed to money going back. now just responding to a couple of things that were said a few minutes ago, we all know this is a really trying time for our nation. i want to begin with the obvious, and that's what happened to george floyd was a crime. it was a horrible crime. it has caused a grownd -- ground swell, people joining
together to stand against injustice and hate not just for george floyd but for so many others. these protests are meaningful and positive events, standing up for dignity and respect for all people. protesting is a cherished part of our democratic society, enshrined in the first amendment, and the rights of peaceful protest should be supported and celebrated, period. we understand that. but those protests are not the same as the dangerous, destructive activity we've seen in many of our cities just in the last couple of days. emotions are high, tensions are high. that's understandable. we need law and order if we're going to move forward, and i think every reasonable person agrees with that. we're trying to have tough conversations with the need that we have about in equality, but we're facing a lot of misinformation especially when it comes to our military. if we let this misinformation
spread, it's just going to make things worse. all of that, all the people out there, i'm talking about the hate trump people, they're using this to try to lie to the american people. so i'd like to correct the record, and i hope every american here understands and believes these words. this is very important. here's what's happening right now. right now the national guard has not been federalized for response. right now the active duty troops have not been sent into any city, including d.c. -- i was here last night. i was visibly looking around and making sure that that was the case, and there are no active duty troops in spite of things you've heard to the contemporary. right now -- contrary. right now local and state enforcement are being deployed by the national guard when requested by states. the department of defense believes that, and by and large they are doing a fine job, and
i agree with that. now our military is prepared to step in if the situation deteriorates dramatically, and only if our president finds he has to step in. and to be crystal clear, the president hasn't done that yet. i ask my fellow americans to slow down and understand what will happen if and only if the president does so. it doesn't mean that our streets will ultimately, immediately be flooded with uniformed and armed troops. there is a process that's got to be followed, just as it was in 1992 in the l.a. riots, in 1998 after hurricane hugo and every other time before that. first, this is the process. this is what has to happen. the president must issue a proclamation ordering any insurgents to disperse within a set period of time. that's really important because
that's the warning shot. this is going to happen, but you're going to have to -- only you can keep this from happening. so here's the president. he's got to issue a proclamation ordering any insurgents to disperse within a set period of time. it means that our nation's military and security leaders, including our commander in chiee president -- have determined that the situation is deteriorating in a way that local officials can't manage on their own. in virtually every case the local officials will agree with that. we're not there now. we're not there at all, and i hope we don't get there. this will only be as a last resort. if we do, i'm confident that this decision will be made with the advice of the top civilian and military officials who were all confirmed with wide bipartisan support and margins. i'd like to say a little something about civil military relations. this is something i care a lot
about as chairman of the senate armed services committee. in particular i want to speak about general milley. general milley is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. in his, this job, general milley is the president's top military advisor, but don't forget, he doesn't have any command authority over the military forces. this is important. this is not what you hear people talking about with -- misrepresenting the situation. this is very important. he's there as the advisor to the president of the united states. he doesn't have any command authority. now there's been a lot of criticism about him wearing his battle dress uniform, his b.d.u., as they call it, on monday when the president spoke, so here's another area i want to set the record straight on. general milley was getting ready to visit with troops around d.c. i know that. i was talking to him that day. the troops were also in their b.d.u.'s, that was the dress uniform for their function at that time. but then he was called to the
white house. we all know why he was called to the white house. he's the advisor to the president. i think everyone can agree that we want that voice at the table in situations like this, providing the best military advice as is his statutory authority and responsibility. on monday, after general milley walked outside with the president, he assessed the situation and immediately removed himself. this isn't just me talking. i know that he did because i was with him shortly before that and also after that. that was a fact. he also told me that he intends to honor his oath and uphold the delicate balance between civilians and military, and i fully believe him. he's always done that in the past. he always will do that. so the accusations against general milley are especially troubling to me because i know from working with him, his commitment to our nation, to the constitution, and to the american people to keep them safe and give his best military
advice. it's striking below the belt to make these accusations and try to scare the american people. it's my duty as chairman of the armed services committee to remain strong oversight over this issue. we have oversight over them. if what they're saying is true, we still have the oversight, and i assure you we're watching. right now our military is doing what they always have done, and that's their duty within the law of the constitutional limits. that's exactly what general milley has done and is doing. right now we're seeing a lot of finger pointing and blame going around. we owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to believe the very best in each other, not assume the worst. we need to recognize everyone's inherent value and dignity and treat each other with respect and dignity as christ calls us to do. only then can we listen to both -- with both of our ears and our hearts. that's what i'm asking the american people to do. now, the protests, many of them,
who they are and where they came from, some of them are in a group thats that been referred to as the ante take -- antifa. certainly george floyd's death was a tragedy beyond the unthinkable dimensions. but did any of them know who he was? i would suggest no, they really didn't. i would only say this. i think in answer to the accusations that were made, that i would only quote one -- two sentences out of a speech that our president made two days ago in the rose garden. and this is very self-explanatory and it does explain the situation and respond to the accusations that have been made falsely about him. he said, quote, we cannot allow the righteous prize and peaceful protests to be drowned out by an angry mob. the biggest victims of the
rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities. and as the president, i will fight to keep them safe. i will fight to protect you. i am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters. with that i yield the floor. mrs. blackburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. first i want to thank my friend senator leahy for allowing me to speak. we're all dealing with judiciary committee and i ask he be recognized as soon as he finish my brief remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. i want to say just a couple of things to tennesseans and to americans. everyone is expressing their rage and grief over the murder of george floyd in minnesota. i will tell you these events of may 25 cannot be written off as something that was a use of force or unfortunate or
regrettable. we all know that on that day george floyd was killed by a police officer while other officers looked on. they heard his begging for life in his cries for help. and the officers responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. and i do offer my prayers and condolences to the floyd family. just as so many other members of this chamber have done and support the president's call for the justice department to investigate this death. our country was built on the premise of dissent. and we have seen the power that peaceful protests and their ability to bring change at every level of government. unfortunately, over the past week we've also seen what happens when criminals and
shadowy professionals exploit these public expressions of frustration and pain. every single day americans are waking up to find that their neighborhoods have been destroyed and they watch news reports that are dominated by lawlessness. and many activists and members of the mainstream media have attempted to force us into choosing between solidarity and maintaining law and order. this is a false choice. it is one that we ought to reject. instead we should fight for accountability, compassion, and understanding and at the same time we must condemn racism, hatred, and the violence that has torn apart so many neighborhoods this very week. we should also celebrate and defend our right to peaceful disagreement in the streets, in the classroom, and online just
as well as in this very chamber. unfortunately, too often this right is not celebrated. over the years we have documented big text history of censorship and particularly censorship of dissenting conservative voices during the 2018 election cycle, a series of pro-life ads that i sponsored on social media were taken down for having content, the platform labeled as inflammatory. for years conservatives have been fighting a losing war against content moderation policies that act as a dragnet for dissenting opinions. last week twitter rolled out a new fact-checking feature and almost immediately they botched a fact-check on one of president trump's tweets. unfortunately for twitter, the
president was not afraid to point out how easy it is for private companies to make mistakes that turn moderation into speech policing. we know that social media companies have subjectively manipulated their algorithms to capture conservative opinions and conservative elected officials. they've been doing this too long for it to be just a mere mistake. these are not unintended consequences. last week president trump signed an executive order to bring some much needed attention to the issue, and we thank him for that. as head of the judiciary committee's tech task force, i look forward to working with the white house and the justice department to preserve free speech on-line for all americans. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, we know that america is hurting. it's reeling from a diddly pandemic that's taken more than a hundred thousand lives. and then witnessing the broad daylight murder, murder of yet another black man by an officer of the law. seeghting with rage -- seething with rage and about the racial injustices that still plague our society. america is suffering from unprecedented political divisions. routinely worsened deepened by a president whose utterance only tears us further apart. in my decades in the united states senate, i've never seen our country so in need of healing.
i was a prosecutor and when i first saw the video of george floyd's murder, a human being pinned down by the neck crying i can't breathe, desperately calling out for his mother, i was shocked to my core. and for millions of americans and for me, that shock swiftly turned into anger. how could a police officer who ihas sworn an october to protect and -- an oath to protect and swerve so casually take a human beings' life. and why did his fellow officers witnessing the murder that we all witnessed on video stand there doing nothing to stop it? how could this happen in plain sight when multiple onlookers begged the officer to relent,
stop his murderous conduct as george fellunconscious. i was left sickened and shaken. i do not know and did not know george floyd. imagine if he were your neighbor or friend, imagine if george floyd were your brother, your son, your husband or your grandchild. imagine if george floyd simply looked like your loved one sharing the same skin color. imagine the concern you would have for such a person living in constant fear of those who are responsible to protect us all. so it's no surprise that protests swept our nation in the wake of this murder.
communities of color and all those who have sympathized with them are fed up. they're sick and tired of the fact that african americans are nearly two and a half times as likely as white americans to be killed by police officers. no one of good conshengs can sit idly by while african american lives are treated with less worth this a country, our country that long ago promised equal rights and equal justice. now protesters are aching for real accountability for officers of the law who engage in lawless violence. and it's not simply justice for george floyd. it's justice for eric gardner or michael brown, tamara rice.
the list can go on and on, which is why the protests go on and on. too often people feel that police officers who take black lives are treated like they're above the law. they feel the justice system that's been fueled by a culture of impunity shield the same officers who abuse the public's trust. too often accountability comes only after incontrovertible evidence such as a damning video happens to surface and the public demands justice. i can say as one who has served proudly in law enforcement and has served proudly in the senate, ultimately accountability will require dismantling this culture of impunity as well as ensuring that law enforcement agencies have training and policies in
place to serve to rebuild trust in communities of color. the protesters demand more from our justice system. they demand more from a nation that promises that nobody is above the law. i stand with them. and congress has to, too. none of us condone and indeed i strongly condemn the looting and violence that sadly is taking place alongside peaceful protests. the extremists and opportunists who add times have been in peaceful protests don't serve the cause of justice. they're not going to bring the change our country so badly needs. as my hero, a dear friend who has called me his brother, represenrepresentative john lewa few days ago, looting and
burning is not the way. organizeorganize, demonstrate, , stand up, vote, be constructive, not destructive. i hope everybody will listen to what representative lewis said. i hope our fellow americans will heed his wise words. but i refuse to partake in efforts seeking to delegitimatize all protesters and create even more distress and division. demonstrators demanding accountability are not thugs, as president trump has called them. no one should threaten state-sanctioned violence against protesters as this president and some of his allies have. and i strongly oppose any efforts to invoke the insurrection act and unleash our
military against these domestic demonstrations as president trump has absurdly threatened. our military is one of our nation's most sacred institutions. it serves to safeguard our constitutional rights against enemies abroad. they should never be ordered to view american streets as the battlefield which would only incite further chaos and deprive americans of peaceful assemble. that's not the america we know and love. it's not the america i know and love. unfortunately president trump has proven that he is incapable of or perhaps he's uninterested in healing and uniting our nation. at every turn his instinct is to divide and escalate. during every crises he manages
to manufacture another of his own making. when americans are in desperate need of a consoler in chief, a role that i have seen every past president play during my years in the senate, every one of those presidents, republicans and democrats alike, president trump considered to be consoler in chief shows that he only knows how to be instigator in chief. he's real estatevealed himself really to be a president of this country in name only. i never imagined i would say that of any american president of either party, certainly of all the predecessors i've had the honor to know. so we must instead look to ourselves.
we have to look to each other. how do we heal our country? at the local, state, and national levels, we must carry on the cause of criminal justice and police reform. we must push for systematic law enforcement reforms. we must elect leaders who will prioritize racial justice and work tirelessly to achieve some measure of it. we must work to build bridges between communities, so we better empathize with the struggles faced by those who have been marginalized for decades on end. on monday, terrence floyd, george's brother, stood on the spot where his brother died. he made an emotional appeal to the hundreds of people watching and to the nation. he pled for the protests to remain peaceful.
he pled for those who believe they are marginalized and disenfranchised. not to give up hope that their voice matters. and he pleaded for justice. his brother died because he needed a breath. his family now asks we take a breath for justice, a breath for peace, a breath for our country, and a breath for george. we should honor his memory by healing their anguished advice. there's so much to do. congress must get to work. during my years in the senate, i've seen america in crises, but every time, without exception, i've seen america emerge a more just and stronger nation. the crises america faces today
feel overwhelming, historic, some would say existential. but if we stay true to the values that define our republic -- equality, justice, the rule of law -- i'm hopeful we will make it through a slightly more perfect union. mr. president, i weep for our country. i pray for our country. but i look for better days. i yield the floor.
mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, this week our majority leader is asking the senate to vote on the nomination of michael pack to serve as the chief executive of the u.s. agency for global media. mr. pack's nomination should trouble all of us in this chamber. it raises the question of whether the u.s. senate is committed to being the check and balance on the qualifications of those potentially vested with substantial responsibility into positions in our executive branch. his nomination draws this into
question, the challenge that we have, the responsibility that we have to ensure that only individuals of talent, of experience, and of integrity serve america in the executive. hamilton commented on this in "the federalist" papers. he said, to what purpose then require the cooperation of the senate? i answer, he said, that the necessity of there -- the senate's concurrence -- would have a powerful though silent operation. it would be an excellent check upon the spirit of favoritism in the president and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters. those words should resonate in this chamber now. the individual who will come
before us, michael pack, set up a nonprofit called public media lab, or p.m.l., apparently for the sole purpose to channel contracts to his for-profit operation known as manifold productions over a period exceeding a decade. he channeled $4 million from the nonprofit to the for-profit. not a single contract went anywhere else. no other contracts. utilizing a nonprofit to launder for-profit contracts in the process of which providing tax subsidies to your customers, an advantage over your competitors, raises both ethical issues and legal issues. the legal issues, including potential criminal conduct, have not been resolved. mr. pack is at this moment under investigation by the attorney
general of the district of columbia. mr. pack in tax filings, the i.r.s. in 2011 through 2018, did not accurately disclose a relationship between his nonprofit and his for-profit. when he was asked if in fact there were common officers between the two, he answered, no. when the answer was clearly yes. he did not disclose that his for-profit benefited from the setup of the nonprofit. now, mr. pack did admit to the committee, foreign relations, that he made oversights. well, this is a term he used, oversights. but he has refused to correct his tax filings. mr. pack, when he was renominated in 2020, inaccurately stated in the records to the committee that his tax returns were complete
and accurate. he has refused to provide critical documents to the committee, and in that sense to the senate, to examine these significant issues. he's refused to provide the agreements between p.m.i. and manifold, his nonprofit and his for-profit, to examine the propriety of the relationship. he has said simply that those documents are confidential and proprietary. but here's the thing we should realize -- serving the executive branch is a privilege. we ask for information so we can exercise our constitutional responsibility. an individual when confronted with substantial ethical and legal issues simply says, i will not provide them, and if the senate committee says, that's
okay, then we're failing -- failing -- in our constitutional responsibility to examine the qualifications of the individual. this is no light responsibility we bear in this chamber. this is a very significant check and balance of the u.s. constitution, which each and every one of us has sworn to uphold when we took our oath of office. mr. pack, when he was president of the claremont institute, directed significant funds to his for-profit company for fund-raising. now, his company is not a fund-raising company. his company is a film company. so we have asked him to provide the details and documents related to that work to see if there was an inappropriate transfer of funds from a position of responsibility to the personal profit of michael pack. but mr. pack has refused to provide details. he's refused to provide documents related to that work.
in addition, he prematurely resigned from his role at the claremont institute and it's shrouded from mystery. we do not know if the board found criminal conduct because he has not responded to our request for documents related to his premature resignation. given the gravity of these issues, it makes sense that when he was renominated that he reappear before the committee to help clear up these concerns and these mysteries. but we have not had such a hearing. to summarize this, when an individual makes false statements to the i.r.s. and refuses to correct them, when they make false statements to the committees, not on their first time before the committee but on their second time, when
they refuse to provide relevant documents to understand significant issues of ethical conduct or potential criminal conduct, when there is an active investigation into that potentially criminal conduct, then we should simply say to the president, send us a different name. this man may be well qualified, bus he does not wish -- but he does not wish to provide the information necessary for the senate to do its responsibility as a check and balance on potentially unfit individuals. to exercise advice and consent in accordance with the responsibilities charged to us, we must insist on upholding the standards for records and documents and truthfulness to the committee. we must insist that outstanding investigations be completed when they involve potentially criminal conduct. we must insist that verifiablably false statements be corrected. these are not high or
exceptional standards much these are fundamentals. these are basic, elementary responsibilities that we carry. that is why i have written a resolution declaring that the senate should not vote on a nominee that has made verifiablably false statements to congress or the executive branch and who refuses to correct those statements. until those statements to both the foreign relations committee and to the i.r.s. are corrected, michael pack's nomination should be set aside and we should simply tell the president, in exercising our responsibility, to which we have taken an oath of office, send us someone else. this individual is not prepared to provide the information necessary for the senate to proceed with his nomination. that is what we should be saying. and we should still be saying it at this late date. so i urge my colleagues to do the right thing by supporting this resolution. as if, mr. president, in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate
resolution 604, which was submitted earlier today. i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: plop, reserving the right to object -- mr. president, reserving the right to the object, mr. president and colleagues and the american people, what you're seeing here today is a pure un adulterated exercise in politics, in politics that are steeped with the difference of political philosophy between the two parties. this is a nomination that was made but the complaint that my colleague just canadian this hasn't been adequately vetted, this nomination was made two years ago tomorrow. june 4 of 2018.
mr. pack has been before the committee twice. he's produced numerous documents. due to the complaints of the democrats on the committee, it's been looked at by the white house. his business dealings have been looked at by the justice department, by the internal revenue service. and he's been cleared of anything. the u.s. agency for global media is an important agency because it's charged with supporting international broadcasting outlets around the world in the face of the kind of misinformation and things that are put out by other countries that are untrue. the real reason for the objection toss mr. pack's -- objection to mr. pack's nomination is that this maen is a patriot. this is a man who makes documentary films that portray the greatness of america. anyone who disagrees with that ought to spend the time to look at the documentary he just made,
which was run on public tv within the last 30 days, regarding clarence thomas and what he had to go through to get on the supreme court. it was a superb reputation of what happened in that. if you watch that, all you a see why the democrats are absolutely opposed to mr. pack. but, look, don't take our word for this. real clear politics after this whole thing started did its own investigation of this. and they noted that the business arrangements that mr. pack used to make these documentaries are very common fof documentary fill -- for documentary filmmakers. like pack filmmakers and television producers also use nonprofits to collect contributions from donors and then set up a nonprofit company -- excuse me -- a for-profit company to make these film. this is exactly what senator
merkley was objecting to. having said that, they went on to interview others, including attorneys and everything else. another producer who -- with no business ties to pack told clear politics, quote, he set up the same two-prong way of films last year on the advice of counsel and told it was standard operating procedure. it's been looked at. it's been reviewed. look, the committee has had this in its hands for almost two years. i have been really patient. every time i set this for a hearing and they wanted more time, i let that go. finally the last time i was really, really disappointed in the democrats' engagement of the plift cal -- political system and joined with it a potential criminal justice system to try to stop this. the night before the hearing, i get a letter from the attorney general for the district of columbia. obviously a partisan individual that says that he's going to look at this and, therefore,
he's investigating it. the democrats then said well, we can't go ahead with this because he's being investigated by this partisan person from d.c. look, i'm on the ethics committee. there are six of us. half of us sit on the foreign relations committee. we -- every instance i can think of on the ethics committee where the united states justice department has asked us to stand down because they were doing a legitimate criminal investigation we have done so. and in this particular case, it was a partisan agency of the district of columbia that noticed that they were going to do this investigation. i started my career as a prosecutor. i've always felt that the justice system and the prosecuting system should be above politics. but to get a partisan individual to send a letter after two years on the eve of the hearing that he was going to open an investigation and the other side
try to use this to delay the hearing again after many delays was just too much. but i did delay the hearing for one week. and after that one week, we had a hearing. the democrats made motion after motion to delay. again i was as patient as i could be. i said during these motions that, look, we were only going to go on so long with this. finally as was noted by some of the attorneys in the room that had this occurrence happen in a court of law, the attorneys would have been held in contempt of court for making repetitive motions that were obviously delay motions and done spuriously. so after the eighth motion i declared the motions out of order. and we went to what democracies do. we went to a vote. and to no one's surprise, it was a straight party line vote. 12 votes to confirm or send
mr. pack's confirmation to the floor. four -- for confirmation and ten votes against that. so, look, this is a democracy. the way we do this is we have disagreements, particularly when it comes to political matters such as this. but to try to engage the justice system in this i find just really, really disheartening. we're going to have a vote on mr. pack. it's very simple. if you don't want mr. pack to take this job, then you vote no. and if you do, then you say yes. but this has been investigated back and forth and regardless of the breast beating and the renting of garments over what an awful person he is and awful his businesses have been, keep in mind this is all politics. and if you see the kind of work that he's done, he makes america proud when he makes a documentary. so i would object to the
resolution that's been proposed, mr. president. thank you. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i ask to speak for up to five minutes before the vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i want to first of all thank senator merkley for his leadership on the resolution and for his thoughtful and substantive contributions as a member of the foreign relations committee and to express my deep disappoint that our republican colleagues are blocking his resolution which basically says that we should not move forward on a nominee, in this case this nominee, when there are false statements to the i.r.s. and to the foreign relations committee which he refuses to correct the record which would have consequences. those are indisputable. and it's abundantly clear that we need to formalize some standards that apply equally to all nominees, democrat and republican alike. and we should think of it as a
flawed belief which the senate should not fall. it's amazing to me that i know my republican colleagues used to care about tax issues. as a matter of fact, they denied a previous distinguished majority leader of the senate on some arcane issue, the opportunity to become the secretary of health and human services. and they've done it a bunch of times. this issue is a $4 million tax issue in which mr. pack took his nonprofit totally controlled by him, totally controlled by him, and had all the moneys that were solicited to the nonprofit then sent to his for-profit company totally controlled by him. totally controlled by him. and no other disbursements were
made from the nonprofit for anyone else for any other entity. now, i didn't hear until now that the justice department and the i.r.s. has reviewed this. it should be forthcoming then that they've cleared it, that this is now the course of business. we can create a nonprofit, go ahead, get moneys from people. they'll get their deductions. and then we can send it to ourselves fo for profit. that's one heck of a process. now, the chairman continues to say two years. well, two years ago there was a republican chairman of the committee. our colleague bob corker. he did not move this nomination two years ago. so this constant refrain of two years, i guess you want to blame former senator corker for not moving it during that period of time. at the chairman's request, i met with mr. pack. while he may not have been my
nominee, i agreed to have a hearing which is one of the standards we have in the senate foreign relations committee. there's an agreement between the chair and ranking. now that's been violated for mr. pack. he actually went to a vote for the committee without my agreement. so that comity has been violated for the future. and at the end of the day, we have someone who will not ultimately -- he says yes, i made a quote, unquote mistake. it's a $4 million mistake. yes, i should have answered differently. well why not correct it? if it's so timp pal, if it's -- simple, so benign, why not correct it? the reason you do not want to correct it is there are consequences that flee from that correction, including an i.r.s. investigation. finally, it's interesting. i guess when attorney general barr does something, it's not political but when the attorney general of the district of columbia does something, it's political. i didn't know we were going to
start choosing and picking which entities are political in this country. the attorney general and the district of columbia had an investigation that was preceding before any action of the committee, preceding before any action of the committee or any information brought to the attention of the attorney general. evidently, he considers it significantly serious enough potential i.r.s. violations and taxes. here's our republican colleagues who in the past railed against anyone who had violations of the i.r.s. tax code and saying they are not worthy of being a nominee to going ahead and ramming through someone who ultimately has some serious issues to the tune of $4 million and that's not a problem. under investigation. that's not a problem. so i urge my colleagues to consider what you're doing here. not only was there precedent set in the committee, but you'll set a precedent on the floor. and it will be very hard for you to get up and rail somebody's
tax liabilities and what they didn't do with taxes at the end of the day. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. sasse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: i have seven requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of both the minority and majority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. sasse: thanks. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 nomination of james h. anderson of virginia to be a deputy under secretary of defense signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question, is it the sense of the is that debate on the nomination of james h. anderson of virginia to be a deputy under secretary of defense shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory
the presiding officer: are there any members of the senate wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 74 and the nays are 18. the motion is agreed to. mr. durbin: mr. president, two weeks ago i came to the floor of the senate to ask for a consent on a simple, timely senate resolution sponsored by nearly
half of the members of this chamber. what did the resolution call for? well, it urged the united states to join global coronavirus vaccine and treatment efforts. that doesn't sound like a radical idea, does it? in the midst of a global pandemic causing so much suffering and so many deaths, it would seem that asking the united states to join other countries of the world in searching for therapies and vaccines is just common sense. we don't know where or when a vaccine will be discovered. we don't know if an effective treatment will be discovered in the united states or some other place. certainly with the respected medical and scientific leadership in the united states, you would hope that it would be here, but let's be honest, in a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus
is discovered in some other country, the united states wants to be there. part of the discussion about its production and distribution, wouldn't we? that's all this resolution says. why not team up with allies around the world since we're all looking for the same thing, a safe and effective vaccine, whether that vaccine is stamped made in the u.s.a. or made in some other country, to me is secondary. is it safe? is it effective? will it save lives? do we really want the american people to be left out of such an effort? the global efforts to eliminate smallpox, ebola, polio, and so many other deadly diseases, we took for granted. it was a global effort. we were all in it together. these viruses and diseases don't know any boundaries. people around the world have the same fear and concern that we
have in the united states about what we are paying in the price of suffering and death until we find a way to avoid it. so this resolution would just call on the united states to be part of a global effort to find a therapy and a vaccine. this resolution was blocked here in the senate. well, since then, since two weeks have passed we've lost over 100,000 american lives, and sadly the number still grows. 100,000 lives in just a few months, the same number of american casualties in the wars of korea, vietnam, iraq, and afghanistan combined. what was president trump's response? empathy or a message of national unity or healing during this tragic moment? no. once again president trump refused to take any responsibility for leadership during this crisis.
sadly, he has cast blame in every direction and ignored his own responsibility. amid a deadly global pandemic that is having devastating consequences on american people, sadly we lead the world in infections and death, president trump has decided now is the moment in history for the united states to pull out of the world health organization, the same body that's heading a global pandemic response. what is he thinking? that we would walk away from the organization that has called to the table countries from around the world in an effort to find a safe and effective vaccine? here we are on the 40th anniversary of the world health organization's historic achievement of eradicating smallpox, stumbling along with a president more interested in settling a score, casting blame, and finding ways to divide us. once again the majority of this
party here in the senate are not chiming in and joining us in this effort to pass this resolution. while we continue to have some of the world's best researchers and experts, it's plausible that the vaccine will be found and developed elsewhere. in a rush to research and validate a vaccine, ramp up production, address global allocation, supply needs, ensure affordability and access worldwide, make sure the united states gets its fair share of any safe and effective vaccine, where will we stand if the president insists that we're on the sidelines unengaged? with the united states -- when the united states pursues this trump go it alone approach while the rest of the world is working together, where does that leave us? pride cometh before the fall. just as with the smallpox effort, a global collaborative approach makes obvious sense and it will save american lives. joining forces -- joining forces with other countries
around the world will help speed the development and eventual distribution of a coronavirus vaccine that we desperately seek. do you want to know what one republican senator from tennessee said about this? he said, i disagree with the president's decision. withdrawing u.s. membership from w.h.o. could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials essential to the development of vaccine. no one knows where this vaccine will eventually be perfected or produced. god willing, it will be soon. but why shouldn't we be joining in this global effort? why? why at this moment in history, as president trump said, we are stepping away from the organization that leads this effort? given this president's, sadly, i hate to use the word, but obsession with blaming everyone but himself for mishandling the situation, maybe his dereliction of duty should come as no surprise.
but what a bitter, bitter disappointment. i return to the floor to ask consent on this straightforward resolution, simple resolution that should have passed without any fanfare by voice vote unanimously in the senate. this resolution calls on the united states to join in a global effort to find a safe and effective vaccine, something that we have done consistently throughout our history until this president took office. ultimately let's remember this is a pandemic that affects the world, and any solution has to be a worldwide solution as well. we cannot isolate ourselves from the international race to find treatments and develop a vaccine. doing so not only wastes time, but it risks the loss of life. mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the committee on foreign relations be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 579, a
resolution encouraging the international community to remain committed to collaboration and coordination to mitigate and prevent the further spread of covid-19 and urging renewed united states leadership and participation in any global effort on therapeutics and vaccine development and delivery to address covid-19 and prevent further death. that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and marker markers d. and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. is there an objection? mr. risch: mr. president, reserving the right to object -- the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: thank you, mr. president. first of all, let me commend my good friend from illinois for bringing this, and i know he's as frustrated as all of us are with what's happened with this pandemic that came out of china and has swept the world and
caused the grief that it has for america and for every other country on the planet really. and it's important to note, i think, as we start here that the united states has been the single most generous donor of global health assistance in the world. now, we do hear people from time to time criticize foreign assistance that america gives out, but probably the pandemic that we've just gone through from -- with this covid-19 from china is the best indication that there is why certain foreign assistance is so crucial. the foreign assistance we give in the health care area is given for other -- amongst other reasons, to keep those things from spreading to the united states. last year alone, we -- the united states of america -- we american taxpayers provided over
$9 billion in global health assistance to the state department and usaid. that does not account for the amount that the c.d.c. sent in global health efforts, so it is well over $9 billion that we americans as put out there. we strengthen health systems, train health workers, build supply chains, support cutting-edge research and innovation and, yes, develop and expand access to therapies and vaccines. which is what my good friend from illinois is addressing here when this comes to vaccines. i am going to talk about that in a minute. we led the international efforts to combat aids, malaria, tuberculosis, polio, ebola, and other of the viruses that came out of china. we are the single largest donor to the global fund and u.n. agencies including unicef. i hope that there is not a
suggestion here that we are withdrawing from collaborative efforts to develop a covid-19 vaccine because we did not directly participate in the conference. leadingpartners including the global fund and gabi where we are the major donors, so we will be participating in the collaborative effort to develop covid-19. i think it's also important to note that the president has made an historic -- an historic -- three-year pledge and is strongly supporting gabi's efforts, it stands for the global alliance for vaccines. it was essentially the brainchild of bill gates. he and melinda are in my mind on equal level with mother teresa. the president has made an historic three-year pledge to
that. look, i appreciate the feelings that the good senator from illinois has go the president of the united states and he did indeed put the brakes on w.h.o. because he hold that there were shortcomings with w.h.o. when it came to w.h.o.'s work with china and their failure really to get after china at the very beginning of this to do what it really should have done. i'm going to object to this resolution, not because of the effort by the good senator from illinois not being well-taken. it is well-taken. and we had a similar one two weeks ago, and i came out here and objected to it and the senator was frustrated because he feels that we should be doing more. well, first of all, during the two weeks we obviously were gone for a week, but let me tell you what was going on during that
week and the subsequent week. i promised you at that time that the foreign relations committee was going to take this issue on because it is of such importance that we don't go through this again, and there's more than -- there's a lot more that we can do than simply passing a resolution. it is my ambition to create a very significant piece of legislation that will be bipartisan that creates a vehicle to address a fast-moving virus like this. now, we can all argue about the w.h.o., what they did or didn't do, their connections to china and that sort of thing. that's not going to help us as we go forward. what we do know is, w.h.o. has done good would, in the past. -- good work in the past. they were a really good partner, as you know, senator, with us when it came to clementing
pepfar -- request implementing pepfar. this was a house on fire. and w.h.o. is simply not at this time geared to be a fireman. when the fire bell relationships, we need a vehicle to address a virus, and this is going to happen again because in the wuhan district there's a vast bat population, and they're carrying about 2,000 different species of virus. and, unfortunately, and frighteningly, we don't know what all those viruses can do. the-p help us if we -- heaven help us if we get one out of there that's worse than the covid-19 we had. but we need a fire department to address this. i hope we can engage this with
china. where is that vehicle going to be carried? is it going to be a part of the w.h.o., part of the c.d.c., a new international organization? i can't answer that. but i can tell you this. on a bipartisan basis, senator murphy, also a member of the foreign relations committee, and i have introduced a bill to address a number of these things, including the vaccine question and including working on getting a vehicle to do what i've described. i think everyone is working on this in good faith. the bill that we introduced is written on paper. it is not written on stone. we are wide open to suggestions as to what kind of a vehicle that is will address this like a fireman and not in a slowing fashion like other -- in a slower fashion like other health challenges have presented. so senator murphy and i have had a number of discussions on this.
we are both committed to reach the goals that i know you want to reach, senator durbin, and that i think this whole body wants to reach. we're going to hold a series of hearings as to how to do this, how best to do it, how it should be funded, how it should be organized, and how the management should take place. what it's not going to focus on is the finger-pointing for what happened after wuhan escaped from a bat into a human being in wuhan, china, and what happened after it left wuhan, china, and went around the world. we've got really good information on that already. it is -- there's going to be a lot of other investigations and hearings and that sort of thing. we want to talk about, what do we do when this happens in the future? how can we create an agency that, just like a fire
department, when the bell relationships, they put their poots on, they get on the truck and go put out the fire. i commit to you, senator, we will continue to work with this. my staff tells me and i'm glad to hear that your staff was working with them on the language on this technological. and i thank you for that. and i invite you and commit to you that we will work with you as we develop this new legislation and as we go through the hearings. so, again, please don't take this as combative. it is not. it is intended in the best spirit to help us all move forward to get to a piece of very significant legislation that will hopefully take us forward like pepfar did and like so many of those other monumental pieces of legislation that can address this incredibly, incredible bring difficult situation and hurtful
situation, not only for america but for the world. and i invite your participation, encourage your participation, and arizona sure you that -- and assure you that we'll work in good faith to try to reach these goals. so with that, madam president, i object for the reasons stated. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator is heard. objection is heard. mr. durbin: i thank the senator for his positive statement about work to be done in the foreign reels committee. there's nothing in this resolution that tries to have an impact on anything you've mentioned. the operative language is a few words, urging u.s. participation in any global effort on therapeutics and vaccine development and delivery to address covid-19 and prevent further death. how we do that, whether we create an agency or not, this is simply an expression of policy which i hope we can embrace. i'll be back if we don't move forward with alternatives.
lives are at stake and we should be part of the international conversation to avoid that. mr. president, i ask consent to speak on one unrelated item. mr. risch: will the senator yield for just a few minutes so i can respond. mr. durbin: sure. mr. risch: thank you. i appreciate those comments. there is nothing you said that i disagree with. one thing in passing this -- and i say this in the spirit of trying to get to the objective that i laid out, and that is, it is my intent to engage the second branch of government, not only the agencies that are responsible for this -- health and human services, homeland security, the state department, usaid -- but also the white house. the president has to have a role here. he's obviously undertaken the role. i've already spoken to him about this. i intend to have other lengthy conversations about this. i'm engaging him to assist us.
because this is not a partisan issue. as you pointed out, and rightfully so, this virus doesn't care whether you're republican or democrat, it doesn't care whether you're an american or not an american, it doesn't care whether you're the president of the united states or in the case of 10 many countries around the world, a member of the highest authority there is in that country. the virus just doesn't care. and in order for us to accomplish this, it's going to be a bill. itit is not going to be a resolution. and it's got to be approved by the second branch of government. they fully understand what we're trying to do here. they have committed their resources and their input to this. and i think they're working -- not i think. i am eight convinced they're working -- i'm convinced they're working in good faith, just as everyone here is, to try to reach these goals of doing something better in the future than what we've experienced just recently. senator, again, thank you for your attention to this. thank you for your input in it.
and i commit to you that we'll work together on this as we go forward. thank you, mr. president. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: monday, president trump stood in the rose garden and called for the united states of military force against individuals who have been gathering across the country protesting racism and police brutality against black americans. this call to militarize law enforcement on our nation pushes this president's reach for new executive authority to the most extreme level. this follows the president's tweets since last week threatening to turn vicious dogs -- his words -- on protesters outside the white house and quoting a racist phrase from the 1967 miami police chief stating, quote, when the looting starts, the shooting starts, close quote. bringing to mind sadly for many
shameful moments in our nation's struggle for civil rights. president trump said nothing to address the anguish felt by many in this country, particularly people of color. and instead called on governors to, quote, dominate the streets, as though the americans who peacefully exercised their right to protest are some enemy force. initially -- initially -- defense secretary esper went even further referring to cities as battle space. i'm heartened by the fact that today he has made it clear that he does not support the president's suggestion of militarizing the police forces across america. these calls by the president, though, to militarize cities across america ignore that for far too long the urge for law enforcement to dominate, as the president often says, rather than to protect and serve is exactly what has contributed to the challenge we face today.
the other night, 25 minutes before mayor bowser's curfew could go into effect, the president authorized law enforcement personnel to use tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful demonstrators in lafayette square. they even beat these peaceful demonstrators with batons and shields. there are conflicting reports as to whether the national guard participated in the violence. i have made a direct inquiry to the department of defense, and they have denied it. according to press reports, the assault began with law enforcement kneeling, not to express any solidarity with the efforts, but instead they were kneeling to put on gas masks to protect themselves from the weapons they were readying to fire. as soon as this gathering was dispersed, the president marched from the white house monday night across lafayette square to
st. john's episcopal church. the attorney general, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff all followed. only the battle that they were witnessing was against americans, using their voices to stop racism who got in the way of the presidential photo opportunity. i simply cannot understand what the president and each of these senior officials were thinking, if they were consciously deciding to be part of this. to stroll through the aftermath of violence in lafayette square and whether they approved of the treatment -- that treatment of their fellow americans. the right reverend marian budde, the episcopal bishop of washington, d.c., says she was not even given a courtesy call by the white house ahead of the president's action. in fact, the bishop was outraged by the use of physical force and tear gas in the shadow of her church to remove peaceful protesters so that the church
and the bible could be used in some photo opportunity. president trump has not acknowledged the agony of our country right now, she said in an interview. everything he has done is to inflame violence. president trump's actions violate the sanctity of our first amendment freedoms, and they represent abuse of his authority. we know this president well after more than three years. as shocking as monday night's events were, they represent through and through who this president really is. it's wrong. the american people will have the last word in november. but i'm encouraged to see in my home state of illinois officials have rejected the use of military force and committed to america's right to protest. governor j.b.pritzker says the president's call to send troops to illinois is ridiculous.
we need to learn from this moment and move forward together. in my hometown of springfield, illinois, on tuesday, three high school students, young african american women sponsored a black lives matter rally. 1,000 students in springfield, illinois, gathered peacefully to demonstrate against racism in law enforcement. no windows were broken. no one was arrested. they exercised their constitutional rights, and i am damn proud of them. they speak for me and for america, that we still have the right to stand up and express ourselves, and they did it so effectively. right now, those around the president need to look themselves in the mirror and ask whose agenda they are serving and whether it's the right agenda for america. the collective leadership of our military, civilian and uniformed alike, needs to decide what kind of leaders they want to be for
the men and women in uniform who they command and what legacy they want to be associated with. monday night is not the legacy that this country deserves. mr. president, i ask consent that the "washington post" article which quotes at length the statements of the episcopal bishop of washington be entered into the record after my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, i rise at a time of crisis. for several months now, our nation has been dealing with two
simultaneously crises -- a global health pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 americans, over 300,000 people across the globe. and an economic crisis that has cost over 40 million americans their jobs. and in the midst of these two crises, we are now faced with yet another crisis, a crisis of anger, a crisis of racial division, flames that are pulling this country apart. this crisis was precipitated by the wrongful death of george floyd in minneapolis, minnesota. at this point, most if not all of us have seen that horrifying video. mr. floyd in handcuffs, face down on the pavement, incapacitateed, not posing a
threat to anyone, and a police officer with his knee on the neck of mr. floyd, pressing down hard on the neck of mr. floyd, and keeping that knee there for eight long minutes. mr. floyd begs with the officer, pleads with the officer, says he can't breathe. he is an -- he is in obvious and serious physical distress. other officers are standing there, watching a defenseless handcuffed man pinned to the ground for eight long minutes with a knee pressing down on his neck. as we all know, those actions took the life of mr. floyd. and rightly, following what happened, the u.s. department of justice opened a civil rights
investigation into the police officer's conduct. also rightly, i believe, the local prosecutor opened, began a criminal prosecution, a homicide prosecution against the officer for his conduct. now, any time you have an officer-involved shooting, it's easy for people to let rhetoric get carried away. it's easy to jump to conclusions. and too many players in the political world, i think, quickly move to demonize the police officer and assume the officer is wrong in every circumstance. that's not how responsible leaders, that's not how responsible americans should behave. we should wait to see what the facts and circumstances are. but here we have a video and we can see what the facts and circumstances are, and there are zero legitimate law enforcement
justifications for what happened to george floyd, none. we witnessed police brutality and abuse of power, and that is why the officers are being prosecuted. those should be propositions that bring all of us together. watching the death of mr. floyd for so many americans brought forth the long history in this country of racial discrimination , a history that began with centuries of slavery in america, a history that has seen jim crow laws, that has seen the ku klux klan, that has seen overt and also implicit discrimination.
young african americans too often fear interactions with law enforcement, fear that their rights will not be protected, and our nation's journey towards civil rights has had many troubled stops along the way. but i for one agree with dr. dr. martin luther king jr., that the arc of history bends towards justice, and i also agree with the vision that dr. king put forth standing on the steps of the lincoln memorial to an assembled crowd in assembled protest that he wanted to live in a nation where we would be judged, all of us would be judged, not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. that is a vision that has animated america on our journey
towards justice, and outrage at what happened to george floyd prompted americans across this country to speak out, to exercise their fifth amendment right to speak out for racial justice, to speak out against police brutality, to speak out against abuse of power. all of that is legitimate. all of that is protected by the constitution. but then we saw things take an ominous turn, a dangerous turn. what for some was legitimate fifth amendment speech speaking out for justice became co-opted, became taken over by violent criminal radicals. now, let's be clear because so much of the news media does not like clarity in this regard. when i say that, i am not saying that everybody speaking is a
violent criminal radical. there are a great many people speaking out whose heart cries for justice, cries for the justice that has been the many centuries-long journey of this country. but there are radicals who cynically took advantage of these protests to sow division, to sow fear, to engage in murder, to engage in violent assault, to engage in looting, to engage in theft, to engage in intimidation, to engage in fear. the fifth amendment protects your right to speak. the fifth first amendment protes your right to peaceably protest. but none of us have a right to violently assault another person. none of us have a right to murder another person. none of us have a right to burn
the cars of police officers, to shatter the shop windows of shops throughout this country, to engage in acts of terror, threatening the lives of our fellow americans. and to those radicals who cynically tried to co-opt these protests, i will say their actions were profoundly racist because they were making a decision to take what should have been a unifying moment to say this will not stand in our nation, our law protects everyone regardless of the color of their skin, every american, african american, hispanic, white, asian american, it doesn't matter, our laws protect everyone. that should have been a unifying moment, and these cynical, violent, radical criminals decided to co-opt these protests
to turn them in far too many instances ?oo riots. violent riots terrorizing their fellow citizens. george floyd was a native houstonian. my hometown. i love the city of houston. george floyd was active in his church in houston. next week, mr. floyd will be coming back to houston for the last time, to be buried in houston. i'm proud that last night in the city of houston, thousands came out to protest, and there wasn't violence last night. that the people of houston demonstrated that you can speak, you can speak for racial justice, you can speak out against brutality without engaging in violence.
but there has been too much violence across the country. and sadly, too many politicians who are complicit in the violence. who have made the political judgment to turn a blind eye to rioters, to thugs, to murders, to those -- to murderers, to those terrorizing communities. the riots must stop. the violence must stop. the first responsibility of government is to keep people safe. and right now, in too many of our cities, government is failing in that task. across the country, we see the lives that have been taken. to date, six u.s. states and 13
u.s. cities have declared a state of emergency because of the riots they are facing. chicago police superintendent david brown said that over the weekend 132 police officers were injured. there were 48 shootings and 699 arrests. in las vegas on monday night, rioters shot a police officer who is right now on life support. over the past three days, las vegas police officers have arrested 338 rioters. in st. louis, four police officers were shot on monday night. fortunately their wounds appear not to be life threatening, but a beloved retired police captain, david dorn, was shot
and killed by looters at a pawnshop that same night. mr. dorn joined the st. louis police force in 1969. he was a dedicated law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years. his wife and the st. louis community are grieving his loss. mr. dorn was also african american. the phrase black lives matters has become fraught with politics it is absolutely true that black lives matter. we should be horrified at what happened to george floyd, but we should also be horrified at what happened to david dorn. and those with political agendas seeking demagogue and tear this
country apart, somehow david dorn, another black man, different black man who doesn't fit the political story they're trying to tell disappears from their narrative. it has become politically controversial to make a statement that every life matters. how far have we gone? our country was founded on that proposition, the declaration of independence tells us we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men, not some men, not just white men or white women, but all men of every race, of every creed, of every religion are created equal and are endowed by their creator by
certain unalienable rights, that among them are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. our country has not always delivered on that promise for every american, but that is the journey we have traveled towards that vision. and, madam president, david dorn's life matters. and for every reporter fanning up division who doesn't stop to honor david dorn, shame on you. his life mattered, and he didn't need to be murdered by violent looters exploiting the tensions and division. during protests monday night in buffalo, new york, three police officers were run over by a car breaking a leg and shattering the pelvis of one of the officers.
in new york city, almost 2,000 people had been arrested since the rioting started and 700 people were arrested just on monday night. at least two new york city police officers have been hit by cars on monday, and nearly 50 new york police department officers have been injured since the protests began. in salt lake city, 21 police officers have been injured over the weekend, including an officer who was hit in the head with a bat. on sunday during the riot that took place outside the white house, when the historic st. john's church was burned when arsonists burned the church, 14 secret service agents were injured. in san francisco over the weekend, at least 20 fires were set, 33 people were arrested
for looting, and two police officers were attacked. and on friday night david patrick underwood, an officer in the department of homeland security, was shot and killed during protests in oakland, california. and, madam president, david patrick underwood, like david dorn, was african american. george floyd's life matters. so does david dorn's, so does david patrick underwood's. and no elected leader should sit idly by while david patrick underwood or david dorn is murdered. if black lives matter, then all
black lives matter, not just those that are politically convenient for politicians. it's been reported that at least 25 cities in the united states have seen deadly, destructive riots in the last week. according to the claims journal which reports and analyzes the property claims industry, 75 businesses in madison, wisconsin, have been looted. 50 businesses in seattle, 50 businesses in pittsburgh, and 45 properties in chicago have suffered damages. in new york city, iconic stores up and down broadway and fifth avenue have been vandalized and looted. in atlanta, everything from big box stores to small businesses have been destroyed, looted,
damaged. in atlanta a black-owned small business, a clothing store, was completely looted in the wee hours of the saturday morning. to store owner chris shelby, the loss was devastating. mr. shelby told "the new york times" that, quote, as a black man -- and this is a black-owned business -- it's just sad. looting and destroying mr. shelby's business does not further the cause of racial justice. it is the act of a cynical, violent thief, and a thief willing to be a bigoted racist on top of it. in philadelphia over the weekend, nearly 250 businesses were burglarized.
over 370 fires set ablaze. pause, madam president, and think about that number. one city, philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, 370 fires. this is wrong, this is shocking, this is horrifying. you're not exercising your first amendment rights when you're lighting a police car on fire. you're not exercising any constitutional rights when you are burning and terrorizing and assaulting your fellow citizens. 18 law enforcement officers were injured in philadelphia, some hit by molotov cocktails, others by rocks and bricks. ross martinson, the owner of a small business called the philadelphia runner, told the philadelphia enquirer that, quote, what is left is mush.
after rioters attempted to light three fires in a store, stole clothes, stole shoes, smashed the windows, and left the store flooding from the sprinklers. in los angeles, the rioting and looting has brought back painful memories of the 1992 rodney king riots that resulted in 50 deaths and thousands of arrests and the destruction of over 1,000 businesses and buildings. one santa monica furniture store , the owner named roman, told the l.a. times that over the weekend, quote, we lost everything in ten minutes. roman said that ten minutes of looting resulted in $6 million of damages.
mind you, all of this is happening after months of small businesses on the verge of bankruptcy from the coronavirus pandemic and the economic catastrophe we're facing. now we have local politicians saying we're not going to let police officers protect your store. we're not going to let police officers protect your livelihood. everything you own can be taken and destroyed by violent criminals. in new york, according to abc 7 new york, businesses such as delis, pharmacies, beauty supply stores were destroyed in multiple fires set in fordham in the bronx on monday while the flagship macy's store and scores of other retail stores were burglarized, looted, damaged.
in downtown manhattan over the weekend and on monday. and throughout it all, new york police department officers are calling for the politicians to take the handcuffs off them, to let them actually protect their city and protect their fellow citizens. but too many politicians have a different agenda. if you're not willing to say what happened to george floyd was wrong, it was unacceptable, it was criminal, then you should get the hell out of public office. but if you're also not willing to say that what has happened to these store owners, what has happened to these police officers who have been, the stores that have been looted, the officers that have been murdered and assaulted, if you're not willing to say that is wrong, it is criminal, it is unacceptable and it must stop, then you need to get the hell out of public office. this ain't complicated.
protect people's lives. protect their rights. in minneapolis, where george floyd was killed, tawana jackson, an african american small business owner with an eyelash extension studio, told a business of fashion reporter that her store had been looted and vandalized during the riots. tawana said, quote, burning stores down, stealing things, how's that going to get justice for george floyd? she continued, it almost took my focus away on why this whole thing started in the first place, which was racism. in richmond, virginia, david waller saw the jewelry store that he runs, that his grandfather founded in the year
1900, ransacked by rioters over the weekend. waller and company is one of the oldest black-owned businesses in richmond. how is that justice? in washington,d.c., not only was the historic st. john's church burned, where every president we've had has worshipped, but the lincoln memorial was vandalized as well as the world war ii memorial was vandalized, the victims of communism memorial was vandalized. that's not standing up for justice. the lincoln memorial, abraham lincoln led this nation during the bloodiest war we've ever
encountered, the civil war. 600,000 americans died in the civil war, and abraham lincoln's vision, restoring this country and ending the abomination of slavery. that vision, i have to say the lincoln memorial is my favorite place in all of washington. to go and stand and read the words etched in stone, to read the gettysburg address, to read the second inaugural, the president who signed the emancipation proclamation, the president whose leadership it through that civil war, whose leadership to end slavery cost him his life at the hands of an assassin, and yet vandals defaced it. the united states park police reported that the protests on
the national mall and at lafayette park, across the street from the white house, resulted in 51 injured u.s. park police officers. 11 of those injured officers had to go to the hospital for treatment and three had to be admitted because of their injuries. my home state of texas, we've seen riots in austin, in san antonio, in dallas, and in houston. my hometown. the hometown of george flood. in austin over the weekend, protesters tried to block a highway and destroyed multiple businesses, including a gas station, a food mart, a hotel, a target, a foot locker, and other stores and businesses. in houston another group of protesters closed down highway 59 and rioters destroyed businesses and injured police officers.
this must stop. and there are host of tools that can be used to stop it. the first line of defense when it comes to violent crime are the brave men and women of our police departments who are risking their lives every night as they engage with rioters and violent criminals. just as it is a slander to say that every protester is a violent rioter, it is also a slander, an absolute vicious lie to paint every police officer as a racist, to paint every police officer as someone who commits abuse of power and police brutality like we saw with george floyd.
yes, there are some who break the law, and that is why the officers are being prosecuted. the rule of law extends to everyone. if a police officer breaks the law, he or she should be prosecuted. but when we are looking to protect our own families, when we're looking to protect our spouse, when we're looking to protect our children, people we call on to be our first line of defense are the men and women in blue. the local officials who have decided politically they're not going to let the police officers arrest the pra -- arrest the
rioters. they're going to release the rioters. the media who turns a blind eye and doesn't report on the police officers being murdered. the hollywood celebrities who virtue signal and raise money to pay the bail for the people being arrested for violent looting. every one of them is contributing to this problem. we also have federal resources. i've spoken with u.s. attorneys in the state of texas who are directing federal resources. there are federal laws on the books against rioting, 18u.s.c., section 2101 makes it a crime to travel in or use interstate commerce to incite a riot or participate in a riot. 18u.s.c., section 231 makes it a
crime to obstruct or impede or sweinterfere with a law enforcet officer purchasing his or her duties in any way that affects commerce. 18u.s.c., section 844 makes it a crime to maliciously damage or destroy or attempt to damage or destroy by means of fire or an explosive any building, vehicle or other real personal property used in interstate commerce. 18u.s.c., section 1962, the reco statue make, it a crime with anyone associated in enterprise to engage in racketeering activity where racketeering activity includes arson and robbery. 26 u.s.c., section 5861-d makes it a crime to possess a destructive device which is defined in a way to include a molotov cocktail. and 18 u.s.c., section 2314
makes it a crime to transport interstate or sell goods that are stolen. all of those are federal laws that are available for federal prosecutors that are available for the f.b.i. and the message that needs to come clear, loud and clear from every elected official, if you engage in violence, if you engage in looting, if you destroy shops, if you shatter windows, if you light police cars on fire, if you commit acts of violence, if you physically assault your fellow citizens, if you physically assault police officers, if you kill your fellow citizens, if you kill police officers, you will be prosecuted. you will be prosecuted and you will go away to jail for a very, very long time. and then there are organizations
that are promoting this, that are funding this, that are coordinating this, organizations like antifa. for two years i've been calling on the administration to designate antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. they've engaged in acts of violence all across this country. but this past week has been antifa's most shameful hour. this week the president rightly announced that antifa would be designated as a terrorist organization. that means we can use law enforcement resources to track down. if you are providing funding and organizing, you will be prosecuted. we will use the reco laws against you, the same laws that take down drug dealers. if you're handing out bricks to young african american men trying to incite them to commit acts of violence, that's a
criminal activity. it's also a cynical bigoted activity. this must stop. our first responsibility is to protect our fellow citizens, to protect their lives, to protect their safety, to protect their rights. the president has that responsibility. the attorney general has that responsibility. every u.s. attorney in the country has that responsibility. the f.b.i. has that responsibility. the governors of all 50 states have that responsibility. mayors have that responsibility. police chiefs have that responsibility. it's time for this to stop.
it's time for us to come together. and it's time for the demagogues who peddle division, who see personal benefit in fanning the flames of racial animosity to stop playing games with people's lives. if you're a hollywood celebrity and you want to make a contribution, make a contribution to a fund rebuilding the small businesses, the african american businesses, the hispanic businesses that have been looted and burned or destroyed. make a contribution to a fund for the families of the police officers murdered. don't pay to bail out the
criminals assaulting those police officers, burning those african american small businesses, looting those african american small businesses. you are not a social justice warrior. if you're lining up seeking accolades for your support of violent criminals who are deliberately targeting the african american community, i'll tell you right now you are not advancing racial equality if you're supporting violent criminals who are destroying far too many african american communities and hispanic communities. that is not helping the problem. we need to keep america safe. we need to protect every american regardless of your race, regardless of your skin color. we need to come together and keep america safe.
i yield the floor. ms. ernst: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. ms. ernst: madam president, for months as our nation has confronted this pandemic together, everyone in america, every single one of us has been asked to make serious sacrifices. whether that has meant working overtime in a hospital caring for the afflicted, temporarily closing a family business, euthanizing hogs and cattle, or forgoing important life events like a high school prom or college graduation, covid-19 has
brought with it very challenging times. and while we missed milestones and time together, americans across the country have stepped up to help slow the spread of this virus and its toll on the lives of our fellow citizens. while we cannot return to life as usual just yet, we are entering a new phase. step by step, state by state america is safely reopening. in iowa our governor kim reynolds has led our state with a steady hand during this critical time. under governor reynolds' thoughtful plan and guidance from public health officials at the local, state, and federal
level, iowa communities and businesses are starting to safely reopen, and many activities are carefully resuming. iowans can once again participate in america's great past time and play ball. places of worship are opening for services while taking smart precautions. and while they won't be as crowded as they once were, restaurants and bars are taking the first steps in opening again as well. as our places that we all grew up going to in iowa, our amusement parks, racetracks, outdoor performance venues, movie theaters, and museums all with important public health guidelines in mind. all of this is contingent, of course, upon having smaller groups of people and continuing to practice social distancing.
simple precautions that can make a big difference. while we all yearn for life to return back to how it was a few months ago, we must be smart about taking the appropriate steps. certainly we want to see our elderly relatives, gather with our family and friends once again and return to work and school. but, folks, the pandemic is not over. so let's take this one step at a time and keep in mind that while restrictions are being loosened, they're not eliminated. and there's a good reason for that. as this process moves forward, washington can make this transition more safe and successful. working in partnership with the administration, state leaders and the private sector, we can continue to increase testing and
ensure those who may be infected are following problem guidelines and getting the care and information they need to limit the spread of the virus. and we need to make sure our essential workers and others returning to the workforce have the personal protective equipment, the p.p.e., necessary to allow america to get back to work while ensuring the safety of our great workers. in addition, these frontline essential workers should absolutely be able to keep more of their hard earned paycheck, something i'm working on slowly with the administration and my colleagues. our small businesses must be protected from predatory lawsuits so iowa's mom and pop shops can continue toprovid paychecks to their hardworking employees. and of course we must continue to support