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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 10, 2020 10:00am-2:00pm EST

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defense programs and policy bill. tomorrow they're expected to vote on legislation to extend government funding past this friday's midnight deadline. now live to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will open the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. have compassion upon us, mighty god, for we are weak. we strive to do good, but too often miss the mark. without your strength we will surely stumble and fall.
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rescue our lawmakers from those things that aren't contributing to your glory. give them the good sense to listen to your guidance and obey your precepts. lord, use our senators to plant and water seeds that will bring a harvest of healing, hope, and humility. to our nation and world. thank you for hearing and answering our prayers, for you are always our refuge and strength. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to
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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. mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: one minute for morning business, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i want to remind people of how senator johnson
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and i have been attacked over the months of 2020 for some investigation we have been doing, and i want to speak to that now. for over a year senator johnson and i investigated the biden financial family dealings. we found that they engaged in potential criminal financial deals across the globe, including china, which created counterintelligence concerns. we showed our work and we made our findings very public, but the liberal media and members of the other political party chose to dismiss our work, even falsely claimed that our work was russian disinformation. and i think they did this in order to protect leaders of the
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other party. those same liberal outlets that disparaged our investigation now report that hunter biden's financial deals in china raise counterintelligence concerns. yesterday the biden transition team confirmed that hunter biden is under criminal investigation for his taxes and financial dealings. so you can understand why i think it's very outrageous that the fourth estate would choose to ignore facts when they are uncovid -- uncovered by republicans. senator johnson and i don't do oversight work just for the fun of it. oversight work is serious business. it shouldn't take subpoenas and confirmation from hunter biden
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himself to get the rest of the press to pay attention. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: we learned a few minutes ago that new unemployment claims just hit their highest weekly total since mid-september. it's the largest one-week jump since back in march, and the number of continuing claims, people struggling with joblessness on an ongoing basis which have plateaued for months but at least not increased, just ticked back up as well. our economic recovery thus far has been faster than expected. americans are tough and resilient. but our people need another dose of support as we hope to close out our battle with this virus. we should be doing everything we can to prevent layoffs, create jobs where possible, and race toward the vaccines that will end this nightmare. while democrats hold the
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paycheck protection program hostage over controversial state government bailouts, family businesses are closing their doors. while democrats resist the kinds of commonsense legal protections that we put in place during past emergencies, our reopening and recovery is threatened by, according to one estimate -- now listen to this -- so far 6,500 lawsuits have been filed and counting. 6,500 lawsuits filed and counting. here's what one litigator told one reporter a couple of days ago. these lawsuits are, quote, pretty common these days. i've seen ten like this over the last 30 days. the american council on education told congress in may -- in may -- that colleges and universities need temporary but strong legal protections. now our democratic colleagues want to pretend they're bravely
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fighting big corporations but they're really bullying small business owners and college presidents who have been pleading for these protections for months. our democratic colleagues have not even let us pass noncontroversial money to invest in vaccine distribution, not unless the two parties settle a whole list of issues that are controversial the way they want to settle them. so i hope our colleagues let congress deliver more help soon. a lot of americans simply cannot afford to wait. now in the meantime, madam president, yesterday we began moving the conference report on the national defense authorization act toward the floor. for the information of all senators, we should expect the potential for a late night tonight and the possibility of votes tomorrow. back in july, the senate passed our version of this crucial annual bill. now our colleagues on the conference committee have done their tough job and reconciled two different approaches so we do not leave our military in the
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lurch. on tuesday the house passed a conference report with overwhelming bipartisan support. now it's the senate's turn to make it an unbroken 60-year streak of passing this legislation to keep our military strong and our homeland safe. this ndaa will unlock more than $740 billion for the training, tools, and cutting-edge equipment that our service members and civilian employees need to defend american lives and american interests. it would give our troops the 3% pay raise they richly deserve. it will keep our forces ready to deter china and stand strong in the indo-pacific. and it will secure president trump's major progress at modernizing our capabilities, our toibltion and -- technologies and nuclear deterrent. it will secure wins on priorities that all of us share. it does not contain every policy that either side would like to
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pass, but a huge number of crucial policies are included and a lot of bad ideas were kept out. so i would encourage all our colleagues to vote to advance this must-pass bill. now one final matter, it's my honor today to pay tribute to a truly exceptional u.s. senator, someone who arrived in this body with a full head of steam, a determination to cram as much service as possible into every day he got it to wake up and serve his neighbors who sent him here. our good friend corey grd ner, the junior senator -- cory gardner, the junior senator from colorado has been a man on a mission. he already knew the institution. he was one of the energy, high achievers that anybody who knew him ever met. so he got to work and he spent six years delivering a dizzying list of accomplishments. if you heard about cory gardner's early days, you know
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this high speed, can-do attitude is nothing new. case in point, one evening when cory was a boy, he and his friends got tired of their hoops sessionsing ending -- sessions ending at sundown because the public basketball court lacked sufficient lighting. the group of friends considered how to remedy this. cory's dad happened to be a town councilman, so a little government relations took place right around the dinner table. well, no senator who cory ever pressed for a vote will be surprised to hear that the lighting infrastructure was soon adjusted and the kids could take their pickup games into prime time. so, cory was no stranger to persistence or to public service. but it was in high school that he scored an opportunity to taste a level beyond yuma's loabl government. -- local government. he won admission to the u.s. senate youth program.
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it brings promising students from around the country to these halls for a quick immersion experience. teenage cory gardener liked the looks of this place. he made a mental note. by the way, to this day, cory along with senator collins continued to make sure that special experience is paid forward. it didn't take cory long to come back and begin strolling these hallways for real. after earning honors at colorado state and a law degree from c.u. boulder, he wound up working for our former colleague senator wayne allard and rising quickly through the ranks. in the short order he developed a reputation as a highly effective advocate for coloradans. in fact he will so well liked, so effective and so thoroughly the proud son of yuma that folks started to wonder if it wasn't time for cory to put his own name on a door somewhere. so it wasn't long before the men and women of statehouse district
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63 found out firsthand what happens when you hire cory gardner to fight on your behalf. you get results big time. not much later his neighbors then gave cory a new assignment here in congress. again, congressman gardner didn't just meet the bar as one out of 435, he excelled, a powerful, energetic voice on the most consequential issues. he brought home one win after another when it really mattered. it didn't take long before another promotion came calling and so appropriately the freshman's class of 2014 included a new member from the land of 14er's, what colorado ans call their peaks higher than 14,000 peek. cory was already accustomed to
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altitude. in this upper chamber senator gardner hit the ground sprinting. he offered 11 stand-alone bills signed into law in just six years. without cory's tireless work and travels to the four corners of colorado and beyond the biggest conservation big in a generation, the great american outdoors act, would not have become law. there's been his key role in the supreme court confirmation of fellow coloradan neil guch, his mission -- neil gurn u -- neil gore is such. this not so junior senator has dived headfirst into his leadership role on the east asian subcommittee of foreign relations, his work with regional allies helped drive
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sanctions against north korea and the impact of the asia reassurance initiative should echo long after all of us here today have left this scene. the litany of cory's work just simply does not end. there's the new nationwide three-digit suicide prevention hotline. there's the fact that this freshman not only scrapped, scrapped over a national defense issue with our late colleague chairman john mccain, but that he somehow emerged mostly unscathed and with a win on space launch vehicles to show for it. but like i said, one of the best aspects of cory's operation is his almost obsessive focus on looking out for his people. one family, one story at a time. that's why it's impossible to give a speech on senator gardner without working your way to another name, don stratton.
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when dop -- don first met with our colleague, the navy veteran was living with his wife in colorado springs, but the story began 76 years earlier when he was among the fortunate few sailors to survive the bombing of the u.s.s. arizona at pearl harbor. ã at 19, don had survived severe burns, but insisting on returning to combat with the fleet. after the war, he raised a family and wrote a book about his experiences. but don's request to senator gardner wasn't anything for himself. it concerned a comrade who had saved his life that day 79 years ago this very week. at risk to himself, a sailor named joe george had literally thrown the lifeline that brought don and five shipmates to safety, but joe's lifesaving efforts had gone unrecognized before his death. for years, don didn't even know who had saved him.
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so once he found out, don stratton made it his mission to ensure our nation formalized our gratitude for his guardian angel. well, let's just say that the strattons picked the right state to retire in. colorado's junior senator was on the case. cory and his staff waded through tangles of bureaucracy. they appealed decisions all the way to the secretary of defense. and you better believe they secured that bronze star for petty officer first class joe george with a v for valor to boot. don passed away earlier this year. by all accounts, he and his family had come to regard senator gardner not just as an incredible advocate but as a true friend. now, in fairness, madam president, this same eagerness and almost maniacal problem solving can also get cory in the occasional pickle. i remember recently that just months after the senator was sworn in, he and i were on a codel together in the middle east. i think the itinerary was
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something like eight countries in six days. at one point, we were waiting to meet with a foreign leader. everyone else was just waiting patiently in this grand palace, cory spots what looks like a stray piece of paper lying on the floor. earnestly thinking he should leave the place better than he found it, cory bends over and picks up the trash. except it wasn't trash. just then, the monarch rolls in with a color guard, a color guard that is looking anxiously for the floor marker that was supposed to indicate where to stop marching. luckily, the only diplomatic fallout was a good laugh by all. actually, good laughs tend to follow cory in his wake. our colleague finds humor in the everyday like few can and shares it freely. i understand one of his favorite stories concerned a chat in the well with yours truly and former
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senator orrin hatch. cory was filling me in on his effort to legalize marijuana in states like his. orrin comes by and sensing an ally, i pulled him in. orrin, is this true? what the heck is going on out west? without missing a beat, our friend from utah, a member of the l.d.s. church, shook his head sadly and said first it was tea, then coffee, and now this. cory's version of this story comes complete with his finest hatch and mcconnell impersonations. believe me, he has got the voices down pat. so for six years, coloradans have been represented by this remarkable person who lives and works with relentless focus and infectious joy. globe-trotting diplomacy, a fixed stack of signature bills signed into law, and generational accomplishments that were only possible because he was here.
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and cory likes to say himself not bad for a boy from yuma, colorado. we know what he means, madam president, but i have to observe that cory's roots and his accomplishments are not in conflict. quite the contrary, it's only because cory gardner is exactly who he is that he's able to do what he does. cory, everyone knows darn well your transition is no, quote-unquote, retirement. this is a brief pause between great chapters. you will call it a victory if your wife, allison, thatcher, and kaitlyn can just get you to sit still, sit still and stay home through the holidays, but we all know it will take about five minutes before you have found a dozen ways to do big things, winning victories on behalf of others, and paying forward the ways in which you have been blessed. colorado and your country aren't
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finished with you yet, not by a long shot. so thank you for everything. we'll miss you badly around here, but we can't wait to see what course you chart next. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the conference report to accompany h.r. 6395, which the clerk will report. the clerk: conference report to accompany h.r. 6395, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2021 for military activities of the department of defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the department of energy to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the
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democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? no. thank you. well, with each passing day, we get another round of news underscoring how costly this pandemic has been. yesterday, over 3,000 americans, 3,000 died from covid-19, the highest single day death toll to date. if you were making a list of some of the deadliest days in american history, your mind would jump to gettysburg, antietam, pearl harbor, 9/11. you can now add to that somber list last thursday, last wednesday, last tuesday, last friday, and yesterday. each day, nearly 2,500 americans or more lost their lives to covid in the course of a single day. now time is running out for congress to finish our most pressing priority, passing an emergency covid relief bill to help american families in need. right now, there is one clear path to getting an outcome -- a bipartisan group of senators and
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house members who have reached an initial agreement on another emergency -- who have reached an initial agreement on another emergency relief bill. in the spirit of compromise and for the sake of getting something done for the american people, speaker pelosi and i have endorsed those efforts as a framework for a final bill. everyone knows that this bipartisan proposal is the only real game in town at the moment, the only proposal with enough bipartisan support to hopefully pass both houses of congress before the end of the year. everyone knows that, it seems, except leader mcconnell who continues to stand in the way of bipartisan progress and who seems to wake up each morning with a new round of outlandish reasons why democrats are somehow to blame for all the world's ills. as the bipartisan group of senators continues to work toward a final agreement, i want to address an incredibly false equivalency that has been drawn between two provisions -- providing aid to state and local
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services, essential state and local services, and granting sweeping immunity to corporations who put their workers in harm's way during the pandemic. you'll hear voices say democrats want to fund state and local services while republicans -- that is, leader mcconnell, want a corporate liability shield. each side wants something that the other side doesn't want to accept, but as i said, this is a false equivalency, incredibly false for two reasons. first, state and local aid has broad bipartisan support, totally unlike the republican leader's liability provision which is expressly partisan. let me say that again because it's important. there is strong bipartisan support for state and local aid. there is not the same broad bipartisan support for sweeping corporate immunity. second, the two policies are not remotely equivalent in terms of importance or relevance to what's going on in our country right now.
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when we talk about providing federal aid so the states don't have to cut essential services, we're talking about saving lives and we're talking about saving jobs. we're talking about boosting the economy. according to the congressional budget office, money for state and local government creates the best bang for the buck for the economy from any spending congress is considering. state and local aid is a policy with a nationwide reach. it would solve a real immediate problem. on the other hand, when republicans talk about giving corporate indemnity, they're talking about a solution in search of a problem. to date, there have been 20, only 20-some odd personal injury lawsuits filed in the entire country. the bottom line is one provision involves a real problem in our country. the other does not. the two sides are not remotely equivalent, and it's not a trade that makes any sense in terms of the well-being of the american
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people. now, i know the republican leader and senate republicans want to help small businesses and reup the popular p.p.p. to help prevent businesses from folding and american workers from being laid off. so do i. so do democrats. well, guess what? state and local relief is also about american workers getting laid off, too. if you want p.p.p. so small businesses don't lay off people, why wouldn't you want state and local aid so governments don't lay off people? they are the same people who need to feed their families, pay their rent, pay their mortgage, and get on with life. state and local relief is about american workers getting laid off. it's about firefighters getting laid off. it's about first responders getting laid off. it's about teachers getting laid off, bus drivers, sanitation workers, essential employees. men and women who have been
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working since the pandemic began and risking their lives to keep our country moving. it's impossible to imagine any community in this country functioning without them, and this morning, we learned that an additional 1.4 million americans filed new unemployment claims, a huge spike from the previous week. if you want to save jobs, if you want to make sure those numbers don't go up, we need p.p.p. for small business and we need state and local aid for our governments because both aid those entities and prevent people from being laid off and unemployment from going up. the liability provisions of the leader have nothing to do with that, and in fact only affect a very small number of lawsuits. so if we're going to be here on the floor and talking about saving jobs, we have to talk about saving the essential -- the jobs of essential public
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employees. they deserve our help, too. they're no different than anyone else, whether they're in a red state or a blue state. and make no mistake, right now, there's one person, just one person standing in the way, and that is leader mcconnell. now on another matter. despite the fact that the presidential election ended well over a month ago and that by now every single state in the country and the district of columbia have certified results, there is still many on the political right who refuse to accept reality. today amazingly enough, 17 republican attorneys general will meet with president trump to discuss their desperate and wildly irresponsible lawsuit which aims to overturn the will of the people on the grounds they didn't like the results. this has gone beyond ridiculous. no one has found any of president trump's widespread claims of voter fraud credible.
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no state official, democrat or republican, has found them credible. even the trump administration's justice department, so browbeaten into political activities over the past four years has not found a scrap of evidence that would affect tt final are -- the final result. rather than accept the simple truth that joe biden will be the next president of the united states, there are actually sitting senators and congress members who would like to indulge president trump's wild conspiracy theories. there are was an announcement that next week he will convene a hearing on, quote, election irregularities. when is this nonsense, detrimental to our democracy going to end? when? it's already deeply irresponsible for my republican colleagues, many of them, to stay silent about president
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trump's deliberate attempts to poison americans' faith in our elections. it's deeply responsible that there hasn't been -- it's deeply irresponsible that there hasn't been a full-throated defense of the validity of our elections by the republican senators and republican leader to call joe biden president-elect. but to use the senate committee to spread misinformation about our own elections, it's beyond the pail. so in conclusion, chairman johnson should call off the ridiculous senate hearing immediately and if he won't, leader mcconnell should intervene to ensure that they do not indulge such quack ri and conspiracy theories. he should acknowledge the results of the election. doing otherwise would add fuel to the fire that is undermining faith in our wonderful democracy. and, finally just a note, i too
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want to bid a fond, fond farewell to the senator from kansas, a wonderful guy and a great guy. i learned how good he was when we met on the basketball courts in the house. he set the best picks of anybody. he would quietly sneak up on you, you would be dribbling and moving, and, boom -- he knows. but as good as he was at picks, he was very fine at legislating and he's just a fine human being who i think just about every member on this side of the aisle will very much miss. patty, we wish you and your family the very, very best. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the distinguished senator from kansas.
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mr. roberts: madam president, my colleagues, first i thank the leadership on both sides for this opportunity to give the pat roberts adios amigos speech. as a fourth generation kansan, my great grandfathers on both sides of the roberts-patrick family, were pioneer newspaper editors who came to kansas as crusading abolitionists. to say i believe fourth generation printer's ink would be very close to the truth. the main influence that drew me to public service was my dad, wes roberts, who was a newspaper man and soon journalism led to politics.
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he served as chief of staff and advisor for several kansas governors becoming the state republican chairman. in 1952, my dad was asked to head up the citizens for ike campaign which was a genuine army of volunteers made up of legions of veterans, women's groups and republicans who wanted a candidate who could win, plus they really liked ike. at 16, at my dad's tow, i was a sergeant at arms at the 1962 convention back when the conventions actually chose the nominee for president. i vividly remember two lasting experiences, the renowned senator from illinois, everett dirksen was a key leader of the bob taft campaign. he was in the midst of his
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convention remarks when the entire new york delegation, led by former governor and presidential candidate tom dewey, marched in and with considerable noise they took their seats. dirksen paused and pointing directly at dewey and with his booming voice said this, you, sir, have led this party, this republican party, down to defeat in 1944 and again in 1948. don't do it again. where upon the entire new york delegation stood up and gave dirksen the raspberry, and i thought this is what adults do at a convention. one morning i was in a meeting with my dad with the top ike
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campaign brass, dewey, lodge, brownell and other g.o.p. movers and shakers. he told me to sit and be quiet. he was in the midst of suggesting the fair play amendment, given that the new ike elements from the solid south surprised the old guard and won delegate seats at the state convention only to be replaced by the old guard at later conventions. unlike mccarthy, old guards never die or fade away. my dad said there was no downside if they lost and he believed that they could win a majority of delegates and the fair play amendment passed and ike won on the first ballot. and i thought to myself, wow, my dad actually helped ike win. i met the general. i shook his hand and then again at the 1953 inaugural ceremonies when my dad became the
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republican national chairman. it was these reflections told to my great friend and medal of honor recipient senator danny inouye, he said, dan, i fought for ike, you met him. it's up to you to get this memorial done. after a 21-year effort we did just that with help from bob dole, jim baker, susan eisenhower and the eisenhower family and senator lisa murkowski who kept the commission going through those years. we have an appropriate, if not stunning memorial to the kansan who saved western democracy in world war ii and led america on to the world stage. with a final dedication of the dwight david eisenhower memorial at the end of my senate career, it is a full family circle accomplishment. if my dad helped to elect ike,
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the least i could do is leave a memorial on the mall to a great general and president a reality. eisenhower famously said the proudest thing that i can say is that i am from abilene. he was a small town kansas boy who served western democracy and led the nation for eight years with peace and prosperity. i too came from a small town in kansas. how did this boy from holton, kansas, become the longest serving member in kansas city. like father, like soon. i graduated from k state with a journalism. my dad saw -- i was joined in peace time -- i joined in peacetime and served on okinawa and was part of the first marine contingent to serve to iwo
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jimma. i dropped everything and drove to washington when senator frank carlson asked me to come and work for him. within weeks of leaving phoenix, i was the chief of staff for senator carlson, a highly respected senator who made his mark on kansas city as the only person to serve our state as congressman, governor, senator, u.n. delegate and the founder of the national prayer breakfast. life changed dramatically at that time. i always thought a bachelor was a man who did not make the same mistake once. then into my life came a tall, blond, blue-eyed magnolia blossom from south carolina. frankie and i have been married
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for 51 years and blessed with three children and eight grandchildren. i am who i am because frankie is my wife and we are parents to david, ashley, and wesley, papa pat to lorraina, patrick, siaka, lily, charlie, charlie bear, myles, oliver, and graham, my family is my crowning. -- crowning achievement. senator frank was a great mentor. he said there are no self-made men or women in public office, it is your friends and family who make you what you are. he taught me a great lesson. your true friends stand behind you when taking the bows and beside you when taking the boos. i worked for 12 years for the newly elected congress from the big district as chief of staff. keith sabelius was a wonderful
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man he was on the interior committee and had improvements and restoration of our national parks. upon keith's retirement, a group encouraged me to run. thought about it, talked to frankie. frankie simply stayed, well, this is what you always wanted to do. let's do it. so for nine months with no paycheck or health insurance and limited savings with three young children, dodge city became our home. most sane candidates would not attempt to go door-to-door in a district larger than most states. however, with with a lot of help, we won a tough primary and not so tough general election. the first -- the first of 24 straight victories. i was ranking chairman to
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lagarza. suddenly i was chairman. in 1996 we achieved a major foreign policy reform, changing 40 years of farm bill policy. to this day farmers still have the freedom to farm what they want. i have had the honor and privilege of representing kansas for 16 years in the house and now 24 in the senate. the pat roberts of 1908 was fight -- 1980 was fighting for kansas values and for issues that affected the daily lives and pocketbooks of all kansans. the pat roberts of kansas of 1996 i promised when washington spoke, kansas would listen. and i -- it's what happened during my tenure as chairman that i believe i have had the most lasting effects. it's not just having the gavel,
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it's what you do with it. taking part and leading eight farm bills in the house and senate, i have touched and improved many lives and mindful of what farm families do for our nation in a trouble and angry world as we crafted each bill. i was fortunate that my first committee assignments were to serve on the arms services committee as well as agriculture. strom thurmond was the very senior chairman who never even called me by my name. i was recognized as, quote, the senator who had the good sense to marry a fine, beautiful south carolina girl. my role on the armed services comoitd was simple. it was -- committee was simple, to collect the small change by the air force to continue to have the air corps as a the new war fighting lab. i had the privilege of being the
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senate intelligence committee chairman for four years during the iraq war and led the committee's investigation that exposed a worldwide intelligence failure and it resulted in a blueprint for the 9/11 commission and a better intelligence community that did keep our country safe. as chairman of the brand-new emerging threat subcommittee within the armed services committee, i traveled to cities of what remained of the former soviet union. and one of the soviet union's secret cities, we discovered a lab that had developed strains of pathogens that could do irreparable harm to our nation's food supply. talk about an evil empire. i cautioned my colleagues, that threat still exists. even as we endeavor to continue the worldwide fight against covid-19. it has taken over 20 years to respond to this threat with the
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biological containment and research lab, and we are still not done. i put a lifetime of work into end bath national bioand defense facility, home of kansas state university. it will soon serve as the first line of defense to protect american agriculture and the world's food supply. i have also been privileged to serve on the help committee. thank you to lamar alexander and to patty murray for supporting my amendments, especially with regard to rural health care. and finally, i have chaired the senate ethics committee for 24 years. i have tried to resign twice. i don't know what i have done wrong, but i have been a member of that committee for what i am
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sure is a record 24 years. i think they just want somebody there to say wait a minute, 15 years ago we tried that and it didn't work. maybe we ought to start over. as i move out of my office, formerly a veritable museum of pictures, awards and stuff that we all collect, all that remains are the barren beige walls full of memories and stories, all of which of course are classified. however, i still have my marine corps bumper sticker -- to err is human. to forgive is divine. neither is marine corps policy. marines never give up. we take the hill and the discipline and focus i learned in the marine corps never failed me in my toughest battles here in the senate. semper fi. semper fi, dan. and still in the office, of
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course, a framed statement with the advice of l.b.j., lyndon bains johnson. sometimes you just have to hunker down like a jackass in a hail storm and just take it. on that note, if you want to avoid a hail storm, get a good staff. you're only as good as your staff, andist best staff in washington. i know everybody thinks that, but i really do because they always, they always took the hill. my cheefts of staff, leroy towns, jackie patrell, d.c. deputy chief of staff amber hershkoffer, they led the posse and they always checked to make sure that the herd was still there. and we didn't ride in any boxed canyons. to the staff currently in this chamber with me and those watching on c-span, thank you.
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it has been an absolute privilege and an honor to have you call me boss. always remember you are a family. i couldn't have asked for a more loyal and dedicated or talented staff. now to be a member of this united states senate is a true privilege, a working family. it is the greatest deliberative body in the world. but today as compared to when i first came to the senate, it's the deliberative part that gives me great concern. i regret the loss of comity, the ability to work together, or just to get along. sadly, gridlock appears to be the new normal. however, it doesn't have to be this way. i am very proud, i have had the privilege of being chairman of a committee that does get along, and we do get things done -- the senate agriculture committee. and it's really not that hard. first we represent the best of
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our nation -- farmers, ranchers, growers, and the entire food value chain. we know that we have a collective job to do on their behalf, and we do just that. second, we convene in a small hearing room in pre-covid times, right across the table from each other. third, for the most part we actually know one another. i used to be the ranking republican when senator stabenow was the chairperson. we worked together on the 214 farm bill. in 218, this wasn't our first rodeo. we knew regardless of what each of us wanted passing a farm bill was paramount. we had an agreement, no surprises, no press the other one did not know about, and we held hearings together all over the country. i went to the campus of michigan state and wore green and white. debra came to kansas state and wore purple. we not only agreed to work
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together, we gave staff marching orders to do the same. we also became friends. i protected her. she protected me in conference, and we got 8 7 votes setting the record for a farm bill standing rite -- right there where our leader is sitting. i was trying for 90. he said what do you want? i said i want justice. he said no, you want blood. now ordinarily we do not vote alike, senator stabenow and myself, but we remain friends, and that's the way it should be. friendship and comity is the norm for the ag committee. it could be for the whole senate. and though things in this great country are rocky, i have a news flash. these really are not the worst of times. when i first came to washington in early 1967, our nation
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experienced the tragedy of the assassination of dr. martin luther king. within hours washington was on fire. marines on the capitol steps with sandbags, automatic weapons with live ammunition. advised to leave the beltway, i mistakenly thought i could get to my parents' apartment house. this was b.f. -- before franki. i wanted to take the rock creek parkway. no traffic was moving, tear gas in the air, random gunshots. i decided to jump the curb and drive on the sidewalks and eventually on the mall itself. i was in a little volkswagen. the police told me the parkway was closed. when they focused on the next drivers i jumped the curb and took off on the parkway. as bad as that period of time was it was not as bad as the military march with thousands of world war i veterans
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demonstrating on the mall and setting up camp. president hoover ordered them removed by the military, led by none other than douglas macarthur complete with a tank, horse calvary with swords and armed troops. fast forward, the 1968 chicago riots, kent state, the horrible shooting of students by untrained guardsmen. senator bobby kennedy running for president only to suffer the same fate as his brother. and then came watergate. those days were tough. it was almost impossible not to face the bitter splits over our political parties and even families. so today we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, and even that has fallen into politics. but it doesn't have to be.
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at home, kansas has been dealt its fair share of hardships, but in kansas, as jerry moran knows, we don't let disasters define us. we grab our bootstraps and get to work. that is our normal. jerry will remember multiple prairie fires that ravaged kansas farms and ranches. the anderson creek fire, the star bucks fire in 2017. these flames move at 60 miles an hour. those folks learned to adapt and build back with the help of the usda disaster programs. then wield the tale of -- we had the tale of creeks kansas, an extremely unhealthy place for folks to live. we will worked with the obama administration and its e.p.a. i mean really. no less, we relocated them to safer places literally and
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greener pastures because working across party lines is what we do in kansas. let's not forget about the e.f. tornado in 2007 that completely destroyed, wiped out the community of greensburg, kansas. i immediately called president bush. he was up at camp david. and i called from mcdonald's in the next town and asked for help. when i hung up, there were 25 people gathered around me listening. one old timer in his bib overalways said to me -- overalls said to me, pat was that the president of the united states? i said you bet. he turned to his wife and said i told you pat was talking to the president, we'd get help and fema was there the next day. in a fema issued tent i talked to graduates and told them you are the class of hope and destiny. the following year president
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george w. bush spoke at graduation in greenhouse gasesburg. the size -- in greensburg. i am reminded of the optimism of those speeches and the optimism that i have for our country. we endured these hardships. we came out the other side. we did it by changing the old normal and creating a new normal here in the senate only we can decide what our new normal is, and we ought to get to know one another. we don't know one another. we don't have to let the apparent gravitational pull of more and more politics and pursuit of power to change what our founders gave us -- the creation of a nation of liberty and freedom, the envy of the world, and to literally move the united states senate from the moorings of its historic and great path to simply be a rubber
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stamp for radical change. the beauty is that we can decide what our normal is. we don't have to let circumstances dictate our future. let us once again become a body of respect, humility, cooperation, achievement, and yes, friendship. that can and should be our new normal. the entire country could use a little bit of what we say in kansas -- to the stars through difficulty. so as my time in the senate draws to a close, i have done my best to improve the lives of kansans and all americans. for decades to accomplish big and small things so that this generation and future generations might live and achieve the american dream. to kansas, i say a humble thank you. thank you for the privilege of
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representing you in this great body. to my colleagues, thank you for fighting on behalf of our great nation and alongside me to preserve this chamber. it has been such a privilege. so as i ride off into the sunset to create a new normal for franki and me, i will be cheering for the senate to rebuild the bridges of comity that will create a new normal. my colleagues, my time is up. thank you for yours. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. senator roberts, thank you for your comments. i am nervous today and more nervous now that i've heard you speak because i'm concerned that this may be for the first time in our lives that i ever have spoken longer than you. that makes me nervous.
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i do solemnly swear that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic and that i will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, words spoken by pat roberts more than once, but on september 15, 1958, age 22. pat roberts joined the marine corps, and he has lived by his oath, by his promise to do exactly that every day thereafter and in every job he pursued, and here in the congress of the united states in the house and senate. he indicated he served as the chief of staff for senator frank carlson, one of those kansans who served in the united states senate, so highly regarded even today. he served as the chief of staff
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for congressman keith sebelius. i met pat roberts 50 years ago in 1969. a few years later, in 1974, i became an intern in the office of congressman sebelius. pat has been my boss for 45 years. and i describe pat as our -- when i describe pat, i tell people our most common conversation is never spoken. it's symbols. pat does this. come here, sit down. and every time i tell pat this, he in his jack benny voice will say now cut that out. but for 45 years, come here, sit down. and pat, while you discount that
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and i highlight it, it's been some of the most enjoyable time in my life where i have had the opportunity to be your friend and to listen to what you had to say. and i suppose if i thought long and hard, i might find something that wasn't good advice, but i can't remember it, so everything in those circumstances was something that i continue to value today. i learned something at every conversation. knowing pat for 50 years, i have told him that he just keeps me around, he puts up with me because i have at least heard of the people he knows. and he does know people. pat and i both grew up in times of politics in which your relationships with voters, your relationships with constituents, your relationships with kansans was paramount. pat knew the school
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superintendent in every community. pat knew the executive of the chamber of commerce, the newspaper editor. he knew the president of the county farm bureau. i don't know how many times i have heard pat say that i'm going home and talking to the coffee klatch in dodge city or i'm going to sit on the wagon tongue and i'm going to hear from kansans what they have to tell us. politics, as you heard from senator roberts, is in his blood and in his family. wes roberts, the chairman of the republican national committee, franki roberts, the staff person for strom thurmond. in his blood and in his family, there is not just politics, but public service. in 1980, pat roberts decided to be an officeholder, not an office staffer. the first letter i ever wrote to an editor of a kansas paper was to my hometown where his primary
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opponent lived, and i supported pat roberts in a letter to the editor when his opponent was somebody who was highly regarded and a friend of mine. but pat roberts' friendship and his commitment, who he is as a human being, and his sworn oath told me that pat roberts was the person i wanted to be my congressman, and the constituent in me said this is the guy i want serving me and my fellow kansans. he won that election in january of 1981 and became a house member representing the first district of kansas. known in our state as the big first. the geography of that district today and almost true when pat was the congressman is the size of the state of illinois. the largest city, salina, then
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population of about 35,000. it is a rural place. and it fit the pat roberts' mode of representation which was i know them and they know me. he was elected with a significant majority of voters. he won seven times to be elected to the house of representatives. he never received less than 60% of the vote. and in his last election to the house of representatives, he received nearly 78% of kansans' approval. sitting on those wagon tongues and listening in those coffee klatches had its consequence. and it is the kind of politics that pat described that i hope we return to in which it's all about taking care of kansans, taking care of americans, setting aside our differences, and finding common ground, just as kansans, particularly rural
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kansans, have to do in their community. on january 3, 1997, pat was sworn in as a member of this body. i asked my wife what it is i might say today. she said i remember in and it was pat roberts. and what he said was tell jerry to put his running shoes on. pat roberts gave me the advantage of knowing his plans well in advance of the public or potential opponents and set the stage in my life as somebody who you would look at and think no chance of ever being a united states senator, but pat roberts found value in me and gave me the opportunity to serve where i serve today. i never thought i would catch up with pat in the house of representatives. i never thought i would catch up
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with pat roberts in the united states senate. but because he and his friends took an interest in me and because this is america, that became possible. pat is only the 34th kansan to serve a term in the united states senate, and i like that number, pat will recognize that 34 is special to kansans. we are the 34th state admitted to the union, and he is the 34th senator to serve a term from kansas in this body. pat roberts told me to put my running shoes on, gave me a chance, and we have had those running shoes on for a long time thereafter. pat is that fourth generation kansan who knows us. i'd say one of his greatest contributions to our state, to the midwest, and to the country has been his distinguished career in leadership, in
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agriculture. the farm bills that he mentions that work with democrats and republicans coming together, fighting for competitive and fair markets for our producers and the support for crop insurance, there is no question but what kansas but american farmers, ranchers, and producers had a strong voice, has a strong voice in congress as a result of pat roberts being here. he is distinguished by being the first member of congress to chair both the house and senate agriculture committees. in the next congress, we will begin the process of writing another farm bill, and it will be the first farm bill since the agricultural and food act of 1981 that will be written without pat roberts' direct influence.
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the legacy and impact of pat roberts' farm policy will be felt as a result of his work in the 1996 farm act, the 2000 agriculture risk production act that modernized crop insurance, and many, many other pieces of consequential legislation. in his early years in the senate, as senator roberts indicated, he led the senate intelligence committee. this was during the time of the 9/11 attacks. under his leadership, the committee conducted a sweeping and exhaustive review of u.s. intelligence which led to critical reforms to put us in a better position to know more and to protect americans better. that work on the intelligence reform -- in intelligence reform earned him a spot in a very distinguished guest speaker program, the prestigious land and lecture series at kansas state university. combining his experience in agriculture and intelligence and in defense, senator roberts has laid the groundwork for the national bio and agro defense facility at his alma mater in
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manhattan, kansas. it brings great opportunity to our state, and we are so pleased to have pat's accomplishment benefit the country and our state for generations to come. pat roberts deserves great credit for the eisenhower memorial. i have been around this issue for a long time. it has been challenging from the get-go. nothing was easy and controversy apparently follows every new memorial on the capitol grounds, on the national mall, and i have no doubt but in the absence of pat's leadership, his bringing people together and perhaps, yes, his sense of humor, kansans' president eisenhower would never be seen, honored, and respected at the memorial we now have.
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he, nor roberts, advocates for policies he believes in, he compromises when necessary, and he always has a way of bringing everyone together, often with a joke, ready to ease the tensions when things get stressful. i used to tell him i saw that once again you became the funniest member of congress. you got an award. he always would correct me. no, i'm not the funniest member. i'm the most humorous member. so many times, he has been designated the most humorous member of congress. some of the most important work he's done for kansans won't be memorialized in laws passed or signed into law here in washington, d.c., but the meaningful change that he made back home among the people that he and i care for and love. how about in the rural hospitals, he fought to keep their doors open or the family farms that are still operating because of decisions and efforts he made. he has consistently, continuously fought to get
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farmers and ranchers, to get rural communities, the people of kansas the right resources at the right time. i have had the challenge of following in politics in my life in both the house and the senate those humorous people, pat roberts being one. the greatest challenge probably for both of us is bob dole. how have you ever follow bob dole in any way and how can you compete with his sense of humor and particularly his wit? so i asked senator dole what it is i might say on this floor to honor pat roberts, and as usual, he took my responsibilities away from me and said here, just read this. so these are the words of bob dole. one of my first memories of pat was when he worked for the late great senator frank carlson. of course, that was well over 50 years ago when pat was just a young child and i was, well, maybe a teenager. pat has the best sense of humor
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of anyone in congress. i'm not sure how he acquired it, but i know it serves him well today. pat, i honestly don't know what it's like to be retired, but people tell me it's great. be forewarned, though, the rest of the world doesn't operate exactly like the senate. if anything goes wrong or breaks at home, your trusted chief of staff isn't on speed dial to put out the fires, plus there is nobody to dial your calls for you anyway. put your alarm clock up for sale on ebay. one, somebody out there might want to buy a beatup clock once owned by a famous senator. and two, you don't need to make up early ever again in your life, unless you just want to go sit in the d.c. traffic for old time's sake. you'll have to brew your own coffee so go by one of those space-aged-looking contraptions or make friends with your local barista. you will have to share elevators with the rest of the world now, so just stop looking for that senators only sign. your grandkids are now your
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information technology department, so reward them accordingly, or if you want to -- your computer to be up and running, just ask alexia. but in all seriousness, pat, you have earned some time off for a job well done in congress over these past 40 years. kansas has benefited from your steadfast leadership. you care about the sunflower state and you care about our nation, and that's always been what matters most. your strength of character, plain-spoken optimism, and determination to make a positive difference in people's lives, that's what people remember about your legacy of public service here. you're a great american and a dear friend, and elizabeth and i wish you nothing but the best for you and franki from here on out. one important point of clarification, though. the filibuster simply doesn't work at home. god bless america, bob dole.
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i know that all of us and kansans have great regard for senator dole. i also know that kansans and all of us have great regard for pat roberts. his role model, the person he may admire the most is that kansan, dwight eisenhower, and in the book, "how ike led," which pat gave us all a copy of, i read that ike led as part of the sense of humor, part of leadership is getting along with people and getting things done and he also said the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity, without it, no real success is possible no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in the army or in the office. pat roberts, i have no doubt but
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what you lived up to that role model, that kansan that is esteemed around the world and you led like ike led. i thank you and your staff for all you have done for kansans and america, i thank you for what you have done for me and our team, your mom, your dad, your dad that you say got you started in this politics world. i knew your more. i never -- your mom. i never met your dad. they would be so proud of the service that you are completing this term. frankie and david and ashley and wesley, thank you for support, engagement. it's not pat roberts, it's the family, and they've all been engaged in his politics and his public service day in and day out. rob and i wish you and franki
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absolutely the best. i asked a kansas farmer, told him what i was doing, i didn't ask him for advice on what to say, his class last comment, this is a rancher from elcart. he said as a kansan, i would want to know that my senator fought for my values in d.c., that the senator did everything that he could do to ensure that our part of the world was a priority to the nation. to the rancher in elkhart, pat roberts is exactly that, a kansan who fought for our values at home in washington and did everything he could do to ensure that our part of the world is not forgotten in this part of the world. so, pat, i guess you said thank you to kansans, you said thank you to this senate. i think it's the time for me to say in return on behalf of all kansans, thank you for your
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service to our nation and to our state. a life being well lived, you are the example. thank you. ms. collins: mr. president. the presiding officer: the -- ms. stabenow: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to pay tribute to someone who has been more than a colleague. he's been more than just a friend. in fact, he's been a true partner here in the senate, and that has paid huge dividends for farmers and families and communities across our country. senator pat roberts has been here in the senate for a long time. some might even call him an institution. in fact, at a recent ad committee event i joked as a young man he advised george
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washington on farm police. that might be -- policy. that might be a bit of an exaggeration. he has left a lasting impression on farm and food policy. he has written a farm bill as both chair of the house and the senate aging -- -- agriculture committees and those who have been lucky to work beside pat on the agriculture committee, there's no other place like it. it's a place where we leave politics at the door and focus on how we can improve people's lives and livelihoods in rural america. we do that because we know that agriculture is not a red or blue issue. agriculture affects everyone and no one knows that better than senator roberts. senator roberts and i have never given up on farm bills and we never gave up in passing the
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2018 farm bill, even when it got tough. at the beginning of the negotiations, we made a commitment to work together. we visited each other's home states. in fact, twice we visited. i arrived in the middle apple of kansas, wearing k state purple, and i am wearing it today and robert came to michigan and wore an m.s.u. green tie. around this time we also made a commitment to each other to write a bipartisan farm bill. throughout the entire process i never doubted that pat had my back. even when negotiations got tough and he knew i had his back as well. thanks to this partnership we achieved the most bipartisan bill in history. as he said, the first time
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around it was 86 votes and then the final bill was 87 votes, and that was the most yes votes on a farm bill ever. we were able to do that because we have a unique partnership built on trust and mutual respect. and the outcome was a strong bipartisan bill that provided certainty for farmers, from wheat farmers in kansas to cherry growers in michigan. part of that certainty is scheduled crop insurance and nobody deserves more credit for the foundation of that important safety net than senator pat roberts of the pat is also a champion of food security and agriculture exports and agriculture research, which is why he and i worked together to establish the foundation for food and agriculture in the 2014 farm bill. he also understands the importance of protecting food assistance for children and for
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families. and i was honored to share the food research and actions distinction award with senator reports last year for our teamwork. above all, it's been an honor working with pat because he's truly one of a kind. from the moment i met him, it became abundantly clear that he was not the run-of-the-mill politician. some. say -- some say it is his unflappable nature some say it is his unique sense of humor. to me pat roberts is defined by his loyalty, integrity, and his dedication to the people of kansas. he started his career as a first lieutenant in the marine corps. it is clear that he carried that courage and conviction with him throughout his entire life. he was also, as he said, a newspaper reporter, which makes
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sense when you think about his dogged determination and for better or worse his ability to be exceptionally quotable. as a public servant, he is so beloved in his home state of kansas that he never lost an election, a record 24-0. if only his k state wildcats could be so lucky. senator pat roberts, it has been an honor to be your partner, even bigger honor to be your friend. so while your retirement is well deserved, you will be deeply missed in the agriculture committee and in the senate. thank you for all you've done for farmers and families, for the american people and i wish you only continued happiness and success as you and franki and
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the family move to this next piece of your life. i yield the floor, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent, first, that my entire written statement be made part of the record here today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. shelby: mr. president, my seatmate, pat roberts is going to be missed not just by the whole senate, not only by the people in kansas, but by a lot of us he keeps us going day to day. he has for a long time. i first met pat roberts in 1979. i had just been elected to the u.s. house of representatives. he has been chief of staff as has been said here today a famous congressman keith sebelius, and he was his chief of staff.
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i -- our paths crossed later when he was elected to the senate. we served on the intelligence committee together and other committees. he is unique. that wit of his, the humor, i think is genetic. he has a daughter like that, which is wonderful, i think, you know. and i told pat one time. i said that must be an inherited characteristic. he smiled. he understood. but pat roberts is a lot more than just a little humor to me, he's a serious person. he's had, as you know, a distinguished career, kansas state graduate, marine officer, staffer, congressman, chaired both committees of ag in the house and senate, 40 years of elected office, 40 years house and senate. we're going to miss you, pat. i'm going to miss you.
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i've sat here with you and i sat all over the senate with you and i'll tell you what, if you're feeling down about something or you're feeling bleak that day, pat will either straighten you out or make you think this is not all bad that america's coming together again. it's always coming together. so, pat, you've had a great family who are here with you today. franki has been unique for you, she's been a great influence on you. we're going to miss you. i'm going to miss that humor every day. godspeed. thank you. i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: thank you. i first met pat roberts when i was running for the u.s. house of representatives for the very first time. i had a friend who worked for
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pat and he got me a meeting with him, which at the time was a pretty big deal because he was the chairman of the house ag committee and i was in a republican primary where i was over 50 points behind. so the prospects weren't real bright that i was ever going to be somebody that would make it through and end up serving there, but nobody could have been more encouraging or kind. had a great meeting with him. we talked about agriculture and i'm grateful that i have had the opportunity to get to know him pretty well during my time in the senate. and one of the reasons we have so much common ground is that we both come from states where agriculture is incredibly important. it's the number one industry in south dakota and i've had the privilege of serving on the ag committee with pat now for more than a decade. i call him my chairman since he's been my chairman at the ag committee for so long. he calls me coop, a moniker he
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gave me earlier in my acquaintance because i look like gary cooper. i have to admit the first time he called me that, i had to look up some pictures to see if that was a compliment or not, but i know he meant it that way. whenever he introduced me, he would say, coop, you're up, it's high noon. it was a famous movie where gary cooper starred with grace kelly. pat roberts -- is very accomplished in talking about movies and stars in that era. he knows about a long of things, but i call him my chairman because, as i said, he's been there for an awfully long time and he never minds stories, the nicknames, they are quintessential pat. it's just the way that he conduction himself and somebody -- conducts himself,
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somebody talked about his sense of humor here this morning, i think that senator moran talked about pat being the funny guy in the senate and him not being a funny guy, he's a humorous guy. i would say he is a funny person. he is a comedian by nature and he keps us entertained with his knowledge of country music and story quotes. if you are around pat very long, you will have a few belly laughs. i always tell him and i think it's true and you kind of heard it today, when he gets up on the floor and speaks or speaks at a committee hearing, that if you close your eyes, you kind of hear paul harvey. senator moran said he sounded like jec bennie once in a while -- jack bennie once in a while. when i was growing up paul harvey was a voice on the radio pretty much every day when i was
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growing up and i hear that resident and common sense voice. i will tell you, mr. president, pat may have a great sense of humor. he does keep us constantly snielg around here which -- smiling around here which we don't do often enough, particularly these days, but he is also very serious when it comes to getting things done for the people of kansas and they couldn't have a better add voa kavment pat roberts' heart has always beat with the farmers of this country. his advocacy for american agriculture resulted in his serving as chairman of both the house and the senate agricultural committees during his career and has as already been noted, that is the first member of congress in history, first in history, mr. president, to have served in both, as both the chairman in the house ag committee and the senate ag committee.
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he's also the first member of congress to have written and passed a farm bill in both chambers. i think he's worked, as i said earlier, on eight farm bills in all, which is an incredible number. and i'm proud to have worked with him on three farm bills in the senate, including the 2018 farm bill which passed the senate with the greatest number of votes of any farm bill in senate history, a tribute to the hard work that pat and his staff put in to building consensus and to reaching out to members from all across this country who represent different areas, different commodities, different crops and bringing them together to write a farm bill. i've been around here long enough and been associated with enough farm bills to know they tend to be kind of controversial because some people represent cities and maybe don't have agricultural constituencies. so the fact that pat was successful in getting a farm bill across the finish line here in the senate with a record 87 votes is a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself.
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and of course pat's leadership, as has been pointed out, hasn't been limited to agriculture. he's also served as chairman of the senate intelligence committee where he helped, where he led a sweeping review of the u.s. intelligence apparatus and advanced a number of reforms to shore up our intelligence and our national security. then there's his work on biosciences, military issues, education, health care. mr. president, the list goes on and on and on. pat has proudly represented the people of kansas in congress for 40 years, 16 in the house of representatives and now 24 in the united states senate. but as has already been mentioned as well, mr. president, his public service began long before that, with his time as an officer in the united states marine corps. once a marine always a marine. and pat has proudly represented the marines here in congress. he is currently the most senior marine serving here on capitol
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hill. mr. president, the motto of the marine corps is semper fidelis, always faithful. pass has lived out that motto over his long career of service to our country, and i hate to think of the senate without pat roberts. he will be sorely missed, but he has more than earned his retirement and the chance to spend more time with his wife franki and his children and his grandchildren. i know how much they have contributed to his success here, mr. president. there aren't any of us who are here who don't have a supportive family, supportive spouses, and we are truly grateful for the many contributions that franki and his family have made to pat's accomplishments here, his success in the senate. and i know he's looking forward to spending more time with them in the future. pat, thank you for your leadership, for your friendship. may god bless you in your
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retirement. i will miss you. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: mr. president, i rise also to say farewell to a truly great senator, senator pat roberts, who's been a friend and a mentor of mine in the u.s. senate. he's been a leader. and there's no doubt we're hearing it all about all his accomplishments. certainly one of the great state of kansas' most accomplished senators ever. but i will say, mr. president, i'd be remiss to say if i didn't mention he's also a great senator for another group of proud americans, and that would be the united states marine corps, where senator roberts has taken care of the u.s.
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marines during his entire tenure here. the marines needed something, they knew where to go. the great senator from kansas. now, mr. president, as you know, most senators wear their senate pin here, indicating that they're a senator, proud to wear that. the years i've known senator roberts, he either wears his pin, but sometimes and usually he actually wears the eagle globe and anchor showing -- and i think he's got one on right now -- showing where so much of his loyalty lies, with the united states marine corps. so i know that the marines are certainly going to miss senator roberts. i'm certainly going to miss senator roberts. you know, just like in his remarks today, he's a man of great wit, great stories, and
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i have had the honor to hear so many of these stories, and a lot of these stories of course for me involved alaska and the late great senator ted stevens, who was also a very close friend of pat's and the seat in which i'm honored to hold here in the united states senate. and i learned so much from these stories that i heard from senator roberts. most important, mr. president, he has been a great example for me and so many other senators. a statesman, a marine, an optimist. you heard it in his remarks today. we need more of that. a family man, a dedicated husband for over 50 years to a beautiful, wonderful wife. a leader in the senate -- six chairmanships -- who gets things done for his state and for his country. and finally, mr. president, a man of integrity of integrity.
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the national ethics comd. one of the great qualities of senator roberts' tenacity. on a rainy night a few months ago, i attended the dedication ceremony for president eisenhower and watched as america celebrated a great american, great kansans.
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there is one person who really made that a reality -- senator pat roberts. so today we say farewell to another great kansan and a great american, my good friend, senator pat roberts. thank you, sir, for the example, for the mentorship, for the friendship, and your great service to the senate, to kansas, to america, and to the united states marine corps. semper fi. i yield the floor. of:
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. recognize the senator from kansas and the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i will sound a little redundant here because we have been talking about this bill for a long time now, for several months. people don't realize how long it
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takes to get a defense authorization bill all the way through the system. there is no doubt in my mind this is the most important bill of the year, every year, and the importance i think is pretty well demonstrated by the fact that we have had successfully passed a defense authorization bill every year for 60 years. and i feel we do the same thing. it could be today, it could be tomorrow, but nonetheless, it's a bill that has to pass. now, when president trump came into office four years ago, we had a problem. we inherited a military that had been -- had serious problems. in fact, during the last four years of his -- of the previous administration -- that would have been 2010 to 2015 -- the president depleted the budget or reduced the budget for the military by 25%.
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i don't say that really critically of president obama because he had different priorities. he was up-front about it and didn't consider this to be high enough of a priority. now, the sad thing about this is that at the same time that he was reducing our military spending by 25%, russia was increasing theirs threefold, and the -- and china was increased by 83%. so we dropped ours by 25% at the same time china increased theirs 383%. that's really serious. you know, people have this assumption that america has the best of everything and that we don't have a problem out there, but we do. we found several systems where they were actually getting ahead of us. so working with congress to pass the ndaa appropriations bill, we
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secured nearly $3 trillion in funding in our nation's defense. this year alone, the administration will provide more than $740 billion for the resources our military needs to keep our country and our troops safe. the fiscal year 2021 national defense authorization act cements president trump's hard work to restore our military to be the best fighting force. that's what we're supposed to be doing in america. the ndaa authorizes critical investments that protect our military advantage across all domains from the skies to the seas, and even now through space, a whole new program. and with the president's leadership last year, the ndaa created the space force. it's the first time there has been a new branch since 1947. that's happened this year. this year's ndaa makes sure that it's set up successfully.
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one of the things about the space force i think people who are somewhat critical of it, we were doing a good job in space before without the space force, but the fact that we can concentrate all of those efforts into one force and be on equal footing because that's exactly what our primary problem is out there with china and russia. they both have in their interpretation a space force, so it was important that we did, too, and that was the right thing to do. this also authorized the procurement of 93 f-35's, joint strike fighters, to continue the rebuilding of our overworked combat aircraft. it also includes authorizations for c-130-j aircraft which will modernize our fleet used for transportation, personnel, and also for refuelers and things that we have to do in the military. that's an upgrade of literally the old versions, but the j
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model c-130 is a great vehicle. we have to have it authorized and all of the priorities set. that's what this bill does. they also have the -- authorized the procurement of nine new battle force ships including the virginia class submarine. we talked about that for a long time, and now we finally are doing that. another area we have been doing it is our nuclear forces. our president has been a champion for our nuclear modernization efforts, and for good reason. our nuclear deterrent is the cornerstone of our national security. the ndaa ensures that our nation wields a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent by authorizing the resources needed to modernize. now, we didn't do this for a long period of time. we fell behind. this bill is reversing that, and we are getting back into the competition, the nuclear
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competition. that's where the real threat is. everybody knows that. i think having the best weapons an equipment is critical to be sure, but we also need the infrastructure and manpower to support it and over the past several years, congress has provided the military with significant funding increases and authorized to begin and continue the critical construction project overseas as well as in our country. these military projects can be found everywhere, i mean from arkansas to south carolina to missouri to massachusetts, all across the country and the investments that we built also in our -- improved family housing. a lot of people, i heard people complain about what we do with the military in this country and they try to say that we're spending more on military than both china and russia put together. yeah, that's true, but there's a reason for that, and the reason for that is that the most
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expensive thing in building a military is -- is individuals, what we're spending on individuals, on housing, on all of these things. now, when you're dealing with -- if you look at the communist countries, you look at russia, you look at china, they don't -- they don't take care of their people. they don't have that expense. that's why we spend more than they do. you know, just in the last two years, what we've done to improve housing for our troops and their families, other people don't do that, but we do it. so that's why it's so significant that we do this. i have a -- a concern that i'd like to share and i hesitate to do this because it will take a little bit of time, but people out there don't realize in a bill like this what all goes in a it and i look at the people that -- that are heading this thing up and -- and yesterday --
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yesterday senator reed talked about the -- the democrats and the republicans, the staff people that have worked so hard and let me say this. we could not have done this without the cooperation and the -- the love that we have for each other with senator reed. i mean, this is -- he and his -- he heads up the minority, i head up the majority and together we want to make sure that we have the best product in the world and can have the best of everything for our troops in the field. so i want to really single out senator reed for all the work he has done. he has been a great partner and friend throughout this process and we want to thank our colleagues in the house also, and congressman smith and congressman thornberry, we all worked together. a lot of these things, i've been involved in a lot of these things, and it ends up in the big four, you have the house
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republican and democrat in -- and the house and democrat -- and the republican and democrat in the senate. this bill has taken a lot of work. i know that yesterday senator reed got to mention the names of and show the appreciation of the democrats who worked in the minority and i want to do same thing for the republican in the majority. john bonso, i don't think there is a person who knows more than john bonzo. these are all experts. people don't understand. i'm talking about weekends, sundays times they have to work to get these things done and to get the bill in a position because you've got to pass it through the senate and then you have to go to the senate floor and then you have to go to the house and the house committee and the house floor and then you have to have a conference and there are some things in this
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bill that i -- that we avoided having that -- and i'm thankful that we did. quite frankly, that the house wanted and the senate didn't want, we were able to iron out these differences and get them done. but to do that we had to work long, hard hours. i can assure you that the staff worked a lot longer hours than i did. so i single these people out as really the experts and i wanted to show the appreciation and i'm going to read them off to you. john bonzo, with we know about john, we know what he's done. he's been with me since he was years ago stationed at -- at fort sill in my state of oklahoma. he's been with me and heading up this group and putting this group together. this group consists of john, tom, stephanie, greg lily, martha hernandez, rick berger, jenny wright, adam barker, adam
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patrole, brad patu, jason potter, katie sutton, eric trader, t.c. welcomes, otis winkler, gwenth bullwright, kenny magis, debbie sharello, tyler wilkeerson, john bryant, griffin cannon, care lynne m -- caroline muchoki, brittany amadore and germy scoafield. they have performed long and --
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jeremy scoafield. they have performed long and hard hours. more goes into this bill than at any time year round. i preachate so much, the hard work that's gone on -- i appreciate it so much, the hard work that's gone on there. if we don't pass it, we won't be able to provide them the safety and equipment -- we want to get to the point where we have the very best of everything out there and right now we don't. we're not -- china and russia are knocking at our door. we have to do a better job than we have in the past and i'm going to be working with the administration to do everything we can in the coming year. but right now we need to get caught up and go ahead and pass. this bill is the road map for the next year and that's why this is important. so i encourage all of us to do what we have to do to get this bill done, hopefully today but definitely by tomorrow. i believe that will happen
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because people do care about our troops. there's no one more deserving in america than our troops this are out there in harm's way and we -- we're going to make sure we do the right thing for them. with that, i yield the floor. suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator with hold his call? mr. inhofe: i will with withhold -- i will with hold. mr. barrasso: i come in support of the national defense authorization act. and i come to speak to that and i'm so grateful to the senator from oklahoma for his ongoing determined leadership in making sure that our nation remains safe and secure and free and it's because of the work done by senator inhofe and his committee and this body and this legislation that we'll be voting on that i've been so grateful
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for the leadership of the chairman and want to talk specifically about the reason why i think it's important that we do pass the legislation that the committee has worked so hard on. so, madam president, you know as a member of that committee that this critical national security legislation lays out america's defense and national security priorities as the senator from oklahoma just made up for the years to come. it sets the policies to defend our nation. and it supports america's service men and women here at home as well as those abroad. i was honored to spend thanksgiving again this year with wyoming national guard troops, members of our air national guard and they are serving at this time in qatar in the persian gulf. when i think of the national defense authorization act, this legislation before us today, i think of them. i think about the members there, charlie medd, doing medical
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transport. in terms of these wyoming soldiers who were there, if you are in need of medical care or medical transport, you would be in very capable hands. you also -- they also know they have what they need to do their job. i think of them, their families, and the sacrifices being made by the families at home because the families play a significant and important role in this as well. you know, it's interesting with so many deployed overseas right now, madam president, some of them have found that their deployments have been extended because of coronavirus, they are unable to do the transports of moving people back to the united states for the holidays and then back into the fields so that they have many of whom felt they would be home for the holidays are going to find they are not able to be home for the holidays. so i think that it is very important that the senate send a strong message that we have
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their backs just as they have ours. this is an incredibly bipartisan piece of legislation, one of the most bipartisan pieces of legislation every year when it comes to the floor of the senate. it reflects equal input from republicans, from democrats, the senate armed services committee adopted 229 bipartisan amendments before it approved the ndaa this summer by a vote in the committee, mad a.m. chairman, -- madam chairman, on which you sit, 25-2. it's also in line with the bipartisan budget act for 2019, it supports $741 billion in defense funding for the 2021 fiscal year. the ndaa is a proud institution for this chamber and the nation. it has passed this body every year. we need to make sure this year is no exception.
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the world may be distracted by other things that are going on, certainly the issue of a coronavirus pandemic, but make no mistake, china, russia, they still have global ambitions and they pose grave threats to our nation's security. the chinese military is actual -- has stepped up its aggression against our neighbors and we see it in the south china sea. russia is using energy as a weapon against its neighbors and it continues cyberattacks against governments and institutions around the globe. this legislation will help keep china and russia in check. it maintains our high-tech edge as the chairman of the armed services committee has just said. it modernizes our nuclear weapon system for funding for a ground-based strategic deder enter, it invests in
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biotechnologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity all of which are designed to help keep us safe and free. it implements the national defense strategy to promote a strong military deterrent and strive for lasting peace and it delivers a well-deserved pay raise for our troops, along with high-quality housing, health care, child care for military families at home as well as abroad. so i do want to thank senator inhofe and the ranking member senator reed of rhode island for their work in bringing this bill to the floor. democrats have a history of opposing defense funding, especially during the obama and biden years, this makes it more important to do what we need to do more to stand up against our adversaries. now, we can't afford to slow our nation's critical defense investments now. this ndaa will protect american
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leadership and values all around the world. and it will give our nation what we need to confront the aggressors that i mentioned like china and russia. this legislation is strategic and this legislation is strong. it's smart and it supports our troops. it stands up to our enemies. the senate needs to pass this, the 60th national defense authorization act. madam president, i'd now like to take a moment to discuss another topic and that's coronavirus relief for american families. increasingly we're seeing communities across the country asking for a clear path forward. a path forward to put the virus behind us and to help us grow our economy. i think we take away from last
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friday's job report is that we have no time to waste. for the first time since we passed the cares act, the jobs act showed signs of a slowing recovery, a recovery, yes, but not as fast. the sectors hit hardest at the beginning of the pandemic are hard hit again, retail, food services. the republican-led cares act secured the swiftest, strongest economic history -- recovery in our nation's history. it added more than 12.3 million jobs in the last seven months, it's been a great american comeback. at the end of this month, provision of the cares act are expiring, things like sick leave, unemployment benefits, tax provisions, we need to extend those. for small businesses, i believe we need to -- to re-establish and refur wish the pop -- refurbish the popular paycheck
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protection program. the money has gone. i talked to small businesses in wyoming, talked to county commissioners last night, talked to our wyoming stock growers, yesterday, we need to replenish the paycheck protection program. we need to reallocate unused funds for immediate needs now. republican priorities are american priorities in terms of relief from coronavirus. we want to make sure to fund the distribution of the vaccine, which is ready to go. we need to provide relief for individuals and small businesses, and we need to get back -- kids back into the classroom safely so they don't fall further behind. the job we need to do is significant, and it is serious. and relief is necessary. we need to get a bridge to the point where people have either received the vaccine or there is immunity in communities.
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and republicans are offering a path forward. we're doing it legislatively. but we've heard from the -- what we've heard from the democrats are hard lines. all-or-nothing demands. we've heard them for the last seven months. democrats have offered no new proposals for covid relief. they passed their $3 trillion fantasy island bill in may, never lifted a pen after that. in the last six months, democrats have blocked relief that we have offered on the senate floor four different times. and last week speaker pelosi said -- admitted that she had held up all those six months of coronavirus relief for the american public for a political game, for politics. we heard it from the minority assistant leader just yesterday, admitting the same, punishing the american people. that's a sad commentary on where
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that party has been, as the american people are asking for relief. democrats don't have a plan. they play politics with a pandemic. again, our path forward is to do the things that we know need to be done -- distribute the vaccine, provide americans with relief, and getting americans lives back on track. what we hear from democrats is more lockdowns, more taxes during a pandemic, more special projects for the far left. it's sad, madam president. the democrats' policies don't meet the moment. we need to get relief to the public now. democrats are ignoring where we really are in terms of the cost the americans were borne and the progress we've made in the recovery and they've done it for political purposes. scientists and researchers are within several days of approval of the vaccine and a distribution nationwide. the country is soon going to have several highly effective
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vaccines distributed to every state. in wyoming we're looking forward to 5,000 vaccines as early as monday, 15,000 by the end of the month. i talked to the head of the intensive care unit at the wyoming medical center just the other day -- the hospital where i had been chief of staff -- where there are an increasing number of patients in the intensive care unit, on respirators where the staff is exhausted and they say we need the vaccine for the taft, for the frontline workers, for the elderly and the nursing home patients so they don't end up in the hospitals on the respirators. these are the heroes. we're going to administer vaccines to them, to nursing home patients, to those at high risk, and over the next three months, over 100 million people will be vaccinate.
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you know, it's -- relief is necessary, madam president. in our state, we've lost 299 citizens to coronavirus, a number that i would have thought -- would not have occurred. and this is with people trying to socially distance, people trying to be doing the kind of things in terms of wearing masks, a behavior that we know with hygiene would minimize the spread, but still the disease continues to spread. the vaccine is the solution. but between now and time that the people can get vaccinated, help is needed, and it's up to this body to act. and we still have work to do on behalf of the american people, and i hope that the democrats will join us in this effort this holiday season to get that relief to folks in need. in the meantime, i say, let's continue to do the things that we know work so we can stay safe and our businesses and our country can stay open. with that, madam president, i thank you, and i yield the floor.
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madam president, i do have four requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of both the majority and the minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly note. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: madam president --,. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. sanders: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: madam president, this country faces an unprecedented crisis in terms of the pandemic and the economic meltdown. while i understand that negotiations are currently going on in terms of coming up with an
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economic package dealing with covid-19 relief and i applaud the very hard work that each of the negotiators are doing, democrats and republicans, but the truth of the matter is that the results up to this point of those negotiations are totally unsatisfactory, given the economic desperation facing tens of millions of working families all across this country. as i think everyone will remember, back in march of this year, at the beginning of the pandemic, the united states congress acted unanimously -- unanimously, democrats and republicans worked with president trump to come up with an economic package that went a long way toward preventing
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absolute misery and destitution for many of our people. through no fault of their own, covid-19 resulted in millions of our people losing their jobs and their income. that's what the pandemic did. nobody is to blame. that's what happened. and in response in march, democrats and republicans in this congress came together, worked with the president of the united states, and in a very significant way responded to that crisis. that is what we did in march. madam president, what i don't understand is that at a time when in many ways the economic
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and public health crisis is worse today than it was in march , i don't understand why we are not responding accordingly. in march, as us know, we passed the $2.2 trillion cares act, which included a $600 supplement to unemployed workers. and, my god, what relief that was to millions of workers who had lost their jobs. and, in addition, we provided a $1,200 direct payment to every working-class adult in this country, plus $500 for their kids. once again -- let me repeat this. once again, we did this unanimously, and we did it
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working with president trump, despite many of the enormous disagreements that a lot of us have with president trump. -- on so many issues. now, what i don't understand is if we could work together in march, if we could succeed, have succeeded nine months ago, why can we not do exactly the same thing right now? and that is why i will insist that any agreement, in terms of a covid-19 relief package, must include not only strong unemployment benefits but a $1,200 direct payment for the working families of this country , similarly structured to
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what was included in the cares package of march. and i will be introducing an amendment to the one-week continuing resolution to make sure that that occurs. that every working-class adult in this country receives another $1,200 direct payment, plus $500 for their kids. if we could do it in march -- and it was the right thing then -- now, at a time when the situation in many ways is even worse, we can and must do it today. madam president, every member of this body, i know, wants to get out of washington to get home to their families for the holiday season -- and put me at the very top of that list. but at a time when so many american families are suffering,
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when so many people don't know how they're going to feed their kids or prevent being evicted from their homes or how they're going to pay for a doctor's visit, we cannot leave washington and return to our families unless we address the economic suffering that so many other families are facing. when a national emergency occurs, the united states government must respond. and we are in a national emergency today. to get out of washington, to turn our backs on the suffering of so many men, women, and children in vermont and in every other state in this country would be immoral.
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it would be unconscionable. and we cannot allow that to happen. again, we must make certain that every working family in this country receives a $1,200 direct payment plus $500 for their kids. that is the least that we can do. madam president, let me be as clear as i can be. today as a result of the horrific pandemic and economic meltdown, the american working class is hurting in a way that has not bb experienced -- not been experienced since the great depression of the 1930's. in terms of public health,
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yesterday alone -- yesterday -- over 220,000 americans were diagnosed with covid-19. yesterday. and tragically, over 3,000 died from this horrific virus. we are experiencing now some of the worst states in terms of cases being diagnosed, in terms of hospitalization, in terms of death. that is where we are today. in other words, more americans were killed by the coronavirus yesterday than were killed on 9/11. madam president, tens of millions of our fellow citizens have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
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they have lost their incomes. they have lost their health insurance. they have depleted their life savings. let me tell you this, we deferred evictions. we prevented people from becoming evicted from their homes. but when at some points that deferment ends, all across this country people are going to be owing thousands and thousands of dollars to their landlords. they don't have the money to pay that. and tens of millions of people are in danger of being evicted. madam president, you may have noticed that there were reports out there that hunger -- this is the united states of america, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we're looking at numbers which suggest that hunger is at the highest level that we have seen
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in decades. children in america are going hungry. all across this country tenants are worried that they're going to to get a knock on the door from the sheriff evicting them from their homes or their apartments and throwing their belongings out on the street to join the other 500,000 americans who are now homeless. in america today, over half of our workers are living paycheck to paycheck while one out of every four workers in this country are either unemployed or earning an unanimously income of less than -- or earning an annual income of less than $20,000, and i don't know how anybody makes it on less than $20,000 a year. during the holiday season to come, over one-third of
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americans expect to lose income, and are already having a difficult time paying for their basic household expenses. madam president, i would be remiss if i didn't mention that at a time when so many people in our economy are suffering, it has been far worse for the african american and latino communities. during this pandemic, nearly 60% of latino families and 55% of african american families have either experienced a job loss or a pay cut. that is just an unimaginable number. so the general population suffering, even worse for the african american and latino communities.
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madam president, i should also add that in the midst of this pandemic not everybody is suffering. the people on top, at least some of the billionaires on top are doing phenomenally well. over the past nine months of this pandemic, 650 billionairesa whole lot of people -- have seen their wealth go up by over $1 trillion during this pandemic, and now own over twice as much wealth as the bottom 50% of american people. madam president, this is the united states of america, the richest country in the history of the world. no person in this great country
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should be going hungry. no person should live in fear of going homeless. no person in america should lack the health care that they need when they or their kids get sick, especially in the midst of the worst public health crisis in 100 years. can you imagine -- i mean it really is unimaginable, that when we're looking at 220,000 people yesterday being diagnosed with covid-19, with the virus, and you've got 90 million people in america who are uninsured or underinsured, they can't afford to go to a doctor. but that is exactly what is going on in america today. madam president, this is an unprecedented moment in american history, and the senate needs to take unprecedented action to
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protect the working families of this country who are facing extreme economic desperation. if we could act effectively in march through the cares act, we can act effectively today as we enter this holiday season. once again, i very much appreciate the hard work that has gone into the current $908 billion proposal being worked on by a number of democratic and republican senators. but simply stated, given the horrific extent of the current crisis and the desperation of so many of our people, this proposal does not go anywhere, anywhere far enough. in truth, rather than the $3.4 trillion which we on the democratic side called for in
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the heroes act, and passed in the house -- the u.s. house of representatives a number of months ago passed a $3.4 trillion bill. but what is being discussed and negotiated right now with democratic and republican senators only allocates $348 billion in new money. the remaining $560 billion are funds transferred from the cares act that have not yet been obligated. so what we're talking about now as opposed to $3.4 trillion passed in the heroes act is roughly speaking, $348 in new money right now. we're talking about roughly speaking, 10% of new money compared to what we passed, was
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passed in the house. that is absurd. that is unacceptable. i am prepared to negotiate, but i cannot negotiate in good faith when we are receiving 10% of new money compared to what was passed in the house in the heroes bill. unlike the cares act which we passed unanimously in march, the proposal now being negotiated only provides a $300 supplement for unemployed workers rather than $600 a week. further, unlike the $1,200 direct payment for every working class individual and $500 for each child, this agreement being negotiated provides absolutely nothing. zero. moreover, this proposal does nothing to address the health care crisis impacting tens of millions of americans who cannot
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afford medical care and has totally inadequate financial assistance for the most vulnerable. the american people need help, and they need help now. in fact, there has never been a time in the modern history of this country when the american people were in more economic desperation and a time when people needed help. and if a government means anything, it means that we cannot turn our backs on tens of millions of families who today are suffering. so, madam president, we have got to make sure that every working family in america, every working individual in america receives at least $1,200 in direct payment. that is what we have got to do.
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we cannot continue the status quo of simply coming in here to work and then going home and going back on the, for our holiday. so, madam president, i am going to do everything that i can to insist that we make sure that every working person in this country gets a $1,200 direct payment, and we're not going to go home until that happens. madam president, thank you very much.
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mr. paul: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: the best part of any debate is when you see people twisting themselves in knots, going into -- going against their own alleged principles to get their desired results. today the subject is war powers. the hawks and the neocons somehow want you to believe, in contrast to all logic, that the president of the united states has the unitary power to go to war anytime he wants, anywhere, free from interference from congress. that's their stated position. anytime war comes up. yet today in the ndaa they say they now want a president that cannot flee a war without -- not
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leave a war without their permission. when a president tries to remove troops, they say, oh, no, no, no. what we really want are 535 generals in congress to tell him he can't leave a war. how absurd is this a? it's exactly the opposite of what both the constitution and logic would dictate. when congress tried to impose time limits on troop engagements during the iraq war, the neocons swacked that it would be a mistake to have 535 generals. they said the execution of the war was a prerogative of the president -- until the president decided they wanted to leave a war during the bush administration, dick cheney and a team of legal apologists argued for something they called the unitary executive theory. professor he had l -- professor adelson describes this as an
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all-powerful commander in chief concept. this claimed to justify effectively unchecked presidential power over the use of military force, the detention and interrogation of prisoners, extraordinary rendition and intelligence gathering. according to the unitary executive theory, since the constitution assigns the president all of the executive power, he can set aside lawsuit that attempt to limit this power over national security. this is an enormous power. critics say that it effectively puts the president above the law. but this is the belief of the neocons. they say the president is all-powerful ... until they say, well, unless the president is trying to stop a war. then we must shackle the president with rules and regulations and make sure that he can not leave a war unless congress says so. that's what the ndaa will do this year. these same people who advocate for virtually unlimited commander in chief powers have put forth limits in this bill to
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restrain a president from removing troops from a country. effectively, these neocons put forth a belief that the committee has virtually unlimited power -- that the commander in chief has irrelevant i have will unlimited power to initiate a war but they are just fine with hamstringing the commander in chief from ending a war. hypocrisy, anyone? without a shred of embarrassment, these neocons happily constrain a president from leaving a war theater while they also simultaneously argue for a president that can start war anytime, anywhere across the globe without congressional authorization. our founding fathers would be appalled. primary among our founders' concerns was that the power to initiate war not be in the hands of one person. as madison wrote in "the federalist" papers, the executive is the branch of government most prone to war.
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therefore, the constitution, with studied care, vested the war war-making powers in the legislature. to our founders, initiation of war was the sole prerogative of congress. but a great deal of discretion was given to the president in article 2 to execute the war. the neocons forever believed in this discretion. they said the war shouldn't be fought by 535 generals in congress. we should give the president the freedom and power to execute the war. and largely they're correct. until they pop their heads up today and say, unless the president wants to stop a war, then we take it all back. what we really want is a president who can't execute a war -- or execute the end of a war without the permission of congress. likely our founders would have agreed with the common complaint that we don't need 535 generals in congress.
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in other words, success in war requires most decisions on executing the war to be in the hands of one person -- the president. even i, who have been opposed to most of the recent overseas activities and wars, even i believe that once congress initiates it, most of the decisions should be made by the president. so the decision to go to war requires the consensus, the initiation, the beginning of war requires the consensus of 535 members of congress. they debated it over and over. initiation, declaration of war should be done by congress. but the execution of the war would largely be left up to the president. many, many current and former members of congress have agreed. representative liz cheney has argued that the nature of military and foreign policy demand the unity of the singular executive and that the founders
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did not intend nor does history substantiate the idea that congress should legislate specific limits on the president's powers in wartime. liz cheney, who is also ironically the author of this amendment to the ndaa. she said we shouldn't limit the president of the united states' power in times of war and then she offers a limitation on the president removing troops from war. so which is it? i guess she's only for this unitary power, she's only to this all-powerful commander in chief when they fight war. but if a president wants to end war, oh, no, congress has to stopped them at all costs from ending a war. i think what comes out of this is that the neo-conservative philosophy isn't so much about a unitary executive. isn't so much about an all-powerful commander in chief. the philosophy of this people is about war and substantiating war and making sure that it becomes
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and is perpetual war. senator graham said the one thing he has been consistent on is that there's one commander in chief, not 535. these are his words. i believe this commander in chief and all future chiefs are unique in our constitution and have an indispensable role to play when it comes to protecting the homeland. if we have 535 chiefs, then we are going to be less safe. i guess except nor this bill, which actually created 535 generals in congress to tell the president, not just this president -- and some of it is anger. it is partisan anger. people don't like president trump. but this will biden to all -- but this will bind to all future presidents. if this is lindsey graham's belief, he should vote against this bill because this bill creates 535 commanders in chief.
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the late-senator mccain said it would be a very serious situation where we now have 535 commanders in chief. the president of the united states is the only commander in chief. senator inhofe, the chairman of the armed services committee, has said, we don't need 535 generals in congress telling our troops how to win this fight. except for we are going to pass a bill that i assume all of these folks will vote for that actually creates 535 generals in congress to say to the president, to this one or any president, that he can't leave the theater in afghanistan without their permission. it's a tragedy. it's hypocrisy. and it's a terrible bill. of course there's also former vice president dick cheney, who is adamant that the war powers regulation, which requires the president to simply report to congress on matters of war, was unconstitutional, an infringement of the president's authority as commander in chief.
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senator alexander has also said there's a reason why we don't have 535 commanders in chief or 100 commanding generals each saying, charge over that hill. i tend to agree. except it seems to be one-sided. these people seem to believe that we shouldn't have 535 generals in congress when it's about initiating war. but when it comes to removing troops from the battle, when it comes from finally coming home after america's longest war in afghanistan, they all say, oh, no, no, no. you're wrong. we're not going to let you come home. we're going to restrict the powers of the commander in chief because we don't want to end the afghan war. it seems that they really don't care about their theory of an all-powerful commander in chief. they care more about perpetuating the afghan war. until recently, this chorus of voices sang of nothing but the al mightily endless powers that
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presidents have as commander in chief. that is until a president arrived on the scene who wanted to reduce overseas troop levels and end america's longest war in afghanistan. then the promoters of a strong commander in chief suddenly jumped ship and began advocating the opposite. they began advocating that 535 members of congress should indeed become generals and should limit the president's ability to remove troops from afghanistan. which is it? are you for this unlimited power of the president to commence and execute war, or are you only for it when they are initiating war, when they are continuing war and against presidential prerogative if the president chooses to end a war? shouldn't we call out this hypocrisy? shouldn't someone stand up and express and expose this rank demagoguery? shouldn't someone cry foul that the advocates of unlimited
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presidential power wanted only to -- want it only to apply when that president advocates for war. but the moment a president advocates to end a war or lessen overseas troops and these deployments, he or she must be shackled by 535 generals. this defense authorization bill could more aptly be called a bill to prevent the president from ending the afghan war. we never actually give the real titles to the bill, but that would be an accurate title. a bill to prevent the president from ending the afghan war. as such, any serious advocate for ending the afghan war should vote against this monstrosity. the neocon advocates for unlimited presidential war powers should own up to their hypocrisy and admit that their love of perpetual war trumps their oft-stated executive
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theory. in reality, the neoconsequence are enamored of their theory of unbounded presidential power only when that power is used to foment war. the minute a president decides to end war, the neocons' true stripes are exposed as they beat their chests and proclaim, as 535 generals might, that the president will not be allowed to remove troops without congressional permission. this bill sets a very dangerous precedent for limiting a president's power to end war and should be vigorously opposed.
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a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator for missouri. mr. hawley: mr. president, july 19, 2018, is a date that we in missouri won't ever forget. 17 people lost their lives and 11 were injured in a boating accident on a lake. during a severe thunderstorm, a boat called duckboat 7 sank with 31 people aboard, including children. today marks 875 days since that tragedy. i'm sure that every one of those 875 days since has come with a new and painful reminder of the families' losses. i'm here to honor those who lost their lives, the 17 victims of that tragedy, a tragedy that
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should never have happened and also to honor the survivors who live with the memory of that tragedy every day. they deserve to be remembered. they deserve to be respected by this body. and i am here to do something about it. the time has come to act, and i'm here to ask this body to do its job and to finally pass my bill imposing tough, new security restrictions and mashes on every duckboat operation in america. this is a bill i introduced almost two years ago, and it has passed the commerce committee unanimously. now, truth be told, it's taken this body far too long to act. that's because the tragedy in missouri may have been one of the more recent duckboat tragedies, but it was far from the first. in 1999, 13 people were killed when a duckboat sank during a tour of lake hamilton in arkansas.
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in the years since, the death toll has claimed to over 30. in 200 is there was an accident in seattle, in 2010, a dug 13 boat in philadelphia collided with a duckboat. in 2013 is a duckboat caught fire in san francisco bay. and i could go on. now, the national transportation safety board has issued numerous recommendations to improve duckboat safety. they've issued many of these recommendations multiple times, and the u.s. coast guard, which regulates these craft, has recently concurred with quite a number of these recommendations. but to be frank, we need more than recommendations. we need more than studies. and surveys. we need laws. it's been 875 days, and we've seen investigation after investigation conclude the same thing -- that lives could have been saved if action had been taken, if this body had acted,
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if the security measures had been put in place. the time for the delay has passed. the time to act is now. in order to save future lives and to make sure that the tragedy that happened in branson is not repeated again. in missouri or any other state. my legislation would take those recommendations and put them into law. it includes provisions to ensure that duckboats remain buoyant during flooding. it requires dangerous canopies to be removed. it requires life jackets for passengers. my legislation would also ensure that duckboats don't go out during severe weather and also require the operators of duckboats to know what the weather is -- a commonsense provision but one not currently required under the lawsuit. -- under the law. i want to thank senator blunt, senator cotton and senator duckworth for supporting this legislation and their strong support for lifesaving provisions.
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i want to thank chairman wicker for moving this bill through the commerce committee, where once again it received unanimous support. now it is time to make it the law of the land. and so,mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee of commerce be discharged from further consideration of s. 1031 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 1031, a bill to implement recommendations related to the safety of amphib bus passenger vessels and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. hawley: i ask unanimous consent that the hawley substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hawley: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, is the? the in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is not. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as we all know, the clock is ticking down on coronavirus relief. both the senate and house were set to wrap up the work of the 116th congress in just a few days, but we don't appear much closer to a deal now than we did this summer. over the last few months, my colleagues and i on this side of the aisle have attempted to reach an agreement that could gain bipartisan support.
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we proposed a number of targeted packages which included funding for the most urgent bipartisan priorities, things like vaccine development, schools, the paycheck protection program. we tried to pass individual proposals that had near-unanimous support, like a one-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits, but at every turn in the run-up to the election, our democratic colleagues have simply stood in the way. and it's not just republican ideas they've rejected. the administration has repeatedly tried to negotiate with the speaker, with the latest attempt coming earlier in week. oddly enough, our democratic colleagues have blasted the offer as an attempt to obstruct negotiations. this is a parallel universe, mr. president. where up is down and down is up,
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apparently for our democratic colleagues. only in the democratic alter national reality is an example of obstruction. it appears they have no real interest in reaching a deal. and i only conclude that because they stood in the way of every attempt so far to come to an agreement and seem perfectly content to maintain the status quo, which nobody claims to like, even as the american people continue to call for additional support. almost every member of congress has said they want to pass another relief bill by -- before the end of the year, but as we stand here today, we are empty handed despite the fact that we agree on a majority of what should be in that package. republicans and democrats agree that funding for schools, vaccines, the paycheck protection program, and assistance for the hardest-hit
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americans is desperately needed. but there appears to be two hangups in the negotiations. liability protections and state and local aid. i think it's safe to say in all fairness to our democratic friends, they just don't support liability protections, whether it's for health care workers, hospitals, schools, churches, and nonprofits that could be hit with a wave of litigation unless we act. and we know on this side of the aisle republicans don't support hundreds of billions of dollars of new money to bail out cities and states that have been mismanaged for decades. with neither side willing to budge, leader mcconnell made the only reasonable suggestion i've nerd light of the stale -- heard in light of the stalemate, he said setting these two issues aside makes sense so we can do what we can do and all things we
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can agree on in the coming days. while we hold off the more controversial pieces until the start of the next year. our friends across the aisle apparently have never heard of the 80-20 rule, and that makes sense, i guess in this alternate reality where nancy pelosi said nothing is better than something. i've never heard anyone say that before. it's rather shocking to me. based on their reception of a long list of proposals so far this year, i'm sure it will come as no surprise that they basically rejected any entries that we have made. it's clear to me that they aren't approaching the negotiations by saying what's best for the 330 million people in this country. they are concern appears to be what's best for them politically, certainly in the runup to the election where they denied the american people the benefits of another covid-19
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relief bill or when it comes to liability protection, the trial lawyers. now, i'm a recovering lawyer myself. i don't hold a grudge against lawyers earning a living, but the fact is we ought to be concerned about the american people and not lawyers who i dare say are probably doing pretty well relative to those who aren't getting a paycheck or in lockdowns at home. so our democratic colleagues have employed the same all or nothing approach that's been in their hallmark. and as the american people have learned over and over again, it almost always leads to nothing. i mean, it's -- so much of this is so obvious, it seems to me, your almost embarrassed to say it. but when your attitude is all or nothing, you usually end up with nothing and that's where we are today.
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no unemployment benefit extension, no funding for schools, no money for vaccine distribution, no second draw on the paycheck protection program, nothing, zip, nada. our democratic colleagues have proven over and over again that they simply either they don't want to negotiate or they've forgotten how. they aren't interested in compromise which is the only way you get things done here, and it sounds like they are more interested in messaging than they are in actually achieving a result, making a law, something the president will sign after it passes both houses. so, mr. president, our colleagues need to make a decision and they need to make it quickly. are they willing to work with us and send a bill to the president that includes most of what they'd like to see in a relief bill, if not all? or are they willing to tank everything, funding for state
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and local government, vaccines, schools, small businesses, families who are hurting and anxious and in financial distress? are they willing to throw them under the bus if they can't get everything they want? well, again, the choice seems so orves to me -- obvious to me. i'm sorry i have to say it, but it's become obvious so far that democratic leadership has no interest in resolving these negotiations in a way that gives them most of what they want without taking the risk that we end up empty handed. mr. president, this morning during the remarks by the senior senator from kansas, i was stuck in the judiciary committee and so i wasn't able to be here, although i have read and heard reported back to me some of his -- the best moments of his
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remarks and i just wanted to come here to the floor and say a few words about our friend pat roberts as we prepare to bid him farewell. pat has represented the people of kansas for four decades, 16 years in the house and 24 years here in the senate. and i bet it seems like a blink of an eye. during that time he's established himself as a national leader in agriculture in particular, a dependable voice for rural americans and unwavering advocate for our nation's service members, as you would expect a former marine to be. but he's also been a source of great comedic relief in a place where people often take themselves too seriously. a few years ago, during a senate finance committee hearing, we heard pat's cellphone ringing,
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much to everyone's enjoyment, it wasn't a factory set ring tone, it was the song "let it go" from the disney movie, "frozen." when he was asked if he had seen the stage adaptation, he quipped, i might even be in it. well, his acting chops are not adequate for broadway, but they are certainly enough to impress most of us here in this chamber. he has a great marlon brando impression and an act for injecting quotes from the movie, "on the waterfront" at a perfect moment and we all know he is a great country music fan, particularly ray price. pat's happy to entertain just about anyone who will listen to his talent for story telling, and i know members-my staff have enjoyed learning about his time in the marine corps, at least
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those pg-rated moments. it's fitting that washington magazine has given him the title of funniest senator, referring to him as the senate's jay leno. you never know what pat's going to say, but it's invariably entertaining and always amusing. as much as we're going to miss his frequent jokes and clever one-liners, we're going to miss his steadfast leadership and friendship even more. as i said earlier, especially when it comes to his advocacy on behalf of farmers and ranchers and folks who put the food on our table and the clothes on our back, pat has had his hand and his fingerprints on every agriculture bill for the past four decades. those farm bills are tough, trying to marry up the interest of urban folks and food stamps and things like that, along with the needs of our production
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agriculture, our farmers and ranchers. he was the first person to chair the agriculture committee in both the house and the senate as well as the first to write and pass a farm bill in both chambers. he has been an unrelenting champion for our nation's farmers and ranchers and producers and texas agriculture has benefited too from his work to remove trade barriers and burdensome regulations that have threatened their competitiveness or in some cases their survival. while pat's accomplishments as chairman of the ag committee are among his most celebrated, his remarkable career in public service has led to a long list of wins for the american people. he led efforts to improve access to quality health care for all americans. he's helped keep taxes low and improve economic opportunities for families all across the country. and, of course, he's advocated for our service members and our
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veterans. pat even chaired the senate intelligence committee for a time and he helped identify systematic problems in the intelligence community in an act critical -- and enact critical reforms. and, finally, in a great labor of love, which seems like i'm sure it's taken decades to accomplish, a few months ago pat was able to see his decades-long fight come to a satisfying conclusion when the dwight david eisenhower memorial was completed. this incredible monument to our 34th president would not have been possible without pat roberts. he's worked on it for the last 20 years and most of it behind the scenes. and it seems like the perfect culmination of his service in congress. while pat's sense of humor and devotion to public service are often on public display, members
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of our senate community have also come to know of the size of his heart. he's got a big one. when a former member of pat's staff unexpectedly passed away this last year, he was there to comfort the family and friends and share wonderful stories about chris in a speech at his memorial service. because you know if you work for pat roberts, or i should say with pat roberts, you're not just a cog in a policy-making or legislating machine, you're family. you would be hard pressed to find a better friend to kansans, a bigger ally to farmers and ranchers, or a big k state fan or more beloved member of the senate than pat roberts.
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there's no doubt we'll miss him and the countless laughs he provided over the years but i know he's eager to spend more time in greener pastures with his wonderful wife franki. he has earned a well-deserved retirement and i know he's looking to spend more time with his an franki's children and growing numbers of grandchildren. pat, we wish you well. i yield the floor and i note the -- i with hold that request mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on health, education, labor and pension be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 1520, and the senate proceed to its immediate
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consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 1520, an act to amend the public health service act and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. cornyn: i now ask i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that the alexder amendment be greed to, the substitute amendment be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i now ask the cha lay before the senate the message to accompany s. 1342. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate a message from the house. the clerk: resolve, tt the bill from the senate, s. 1342, entitled an act to require the
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under secretary for ocean and atmosphere to update periodically the environmental sensitivity indexnd so forth and for other purposes do pas with an amendment. mr. cornyn: i move to concur that the house amendment --o concur in the house amendment and i ask unanimous nsent that the motion be agreedo and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 333, s. 1310. the presiding ficer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number33, s. 1310, a bill to strengthen the participation of elected national legislators and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will
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proceed to the measure. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported substitute amendment be withdrawn, the wicker-carden substitute amendment at the desk be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know of no further debate on the bill, as amended. the presiding officer: if there is n further debate the question is on passagef the bill as amended. all those in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill as amended is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon e tabl e presiding officer: without objectn.
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the presiding officer: the senator for wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i see that my colleague andlassmate is here on the floor. i got to hear his speech earlier today. i think it was one of the best speeches that he's given and the best instruction that all of us should listen to. he has far more experience than the time he was clamate with me, because he served in the house as well. he's mr. agriculture and has solved a lot of problems in those areas, and it's been a pleasu to be here with him. and i leave with him. outstanding job. we also like some of the same literature. but, mr. president, it's been an honor to serve as the chairman of the senate budget committee for the past six ars. there's nouestion that these have been challenging times.
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they've culminated in the current pandemic that we continue to confront. thughout all these chalnges, i'm proud to say that the cmittee has played a keyole in working to address the fiscal challenges facing our nation. we put in place policies that help grow our economy and improve the congressional budget process. now, i need to make a clarification for anybody that might be listening. the dget committee is nothe spending committee. that's the appropriations committee. the budget committee does a road map that' supposed to prode some discipline for the people doing the spending. that's where we need to do a lot more work. but i want to start off by telling you a little budget story. my youngest dauter and her family are strict budgeters. they followed dave ramsey's family participates in monthly
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allocation of their resources. and it's made a huge difference in their abity to pay o things and to enjoy life. but a year ago my older daughter picked up the, my granddaughter's from their after-school activity and said how would you like to go to and of course they were thrilled. and my dauter said maybe we ought to call your parents and see if they'd like it to, at which point the older daughter, who i think was 11 at the time, said who's paying? amy said, well, i am. and she said, oh, okay, because we've already used up our eating out budget. th's family participation in budgeting. as a result, i also had the youngest granddaughter who sav
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up for an apple watch. do you know how much restraint of spending that is, until you can reach the goal that you want and buy what you really need? that's good budgeting. we can do good budgeting, but we have to have good appropriations to follow it up too. the committee has had some real successes over the past six years. we passed four budgets, including the first baland ten-year blueprint approved by congress since 2001. we also played a key role in helping pass the most sweeping update of our nation's tax system in more than 30 years. the passage of the tax cuts and bs act started with the approval of the f.y. 2018 senate budget resolution. that resolution started the process to construct legislation that reduced tax rates for
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millions of americans and modernized our antiquated tax code. it also supported responsible energy development thatill keep energy affordable and provide a long-term supply for american energy. oversightas also a critical part of the committee's wk. during my te as chairman we worked to ensure the federal government was accountable to the public by boostin transparency, by improving federal financial management, by identifying dupcation of federal programs,nd by improving federal information technology. ineasing the transparency of our congressional budget process has also been a major priority. after becoming chairman, i restard the practice of publicly releasing regular scorekeeping reports which we publish on our commiee website. that shows how we spent the money. more recently we developed information on the budgetary effects of the vious covid-19
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bills. you can get those online. providing information like this on an ongoing basis is one more tool for comttees and taxpayers alike to see how the current law stacks up against th budget we're required to adhere to. scorekeeping reports operate just like regular checkups wi the dentist or doctor to help identify risks and find solutions before more serious problems emerge. in 2015 we began regular oversight hearings of the congressional budget oice. this was t first c.b.o. oversigh hearing in more than because of our efforts, c.b.o. now regularly publicly releases information tracking its foresting records, accuracy of estimates and projections and the dat it uses in its work. while we've had some successes, there are still many serious challenges facing our nation.
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even before coronavirus came to our shores, our cntry was moving down an unsustainable fiscal path. the pandemic has only accelerated with with congress approving relief. in the near term this spending necessary ast may have been, translated into an overall deficit of $3.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020, more than triple the amount recorded the previous fiscal year. c.b.o.'s most recent long-term budget outok paints an even more dire picture of deficits and debt rising to unprecedented levels. if currentaws remain unchaed --s represents the best case scenario. for decades c.b.o., the governme accountability office, and members of congress have been raising the alarm that
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ife continued on this course our debt would explode with potentially devastating economic consequences, leing us unable to fulfill the promises of the past. that day always seemed a long time away, but time waits for no o, and tomorrow is fast arriving. by 2023, barely two years away, c.b.o. projects that debt as a percent of g.d.p. will reach an all-time high of 107 by 2050 debt could rch 195% o gross domestic product. that's the amount of actual production we do in the united states. and the annual deficit would reach 12.6% of g.d.p. that's where the tax money comes from. spending as a percent of g.d.p. will rise to 31.2% by 2050 primarily due to -- this is
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very important -- due to rising social security, health care costs, and net interest spending. c.b.o. projects net interest spending willxceed all discretionary spending in 2043 and will exceed social security by 2046. by 2050 spending on interest will be larger than any single program. that's the interest on the debt. that doesn't pay down any debt. that's just the interest on the debt. by 2050 it will be the single largest program. now, that's assuming that we continue to get the extremely low interest rat that we get now. we're not even close to the national average. we're way below the national average. the national avege would be
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5%. if that were to happen, the only thing we'd be able to fund would be interest on the national debt. you didn't hear me mention social security or medicare or education or military or any of those things. that's why i've been mentioning this soften. interest will eat us alive. the amazing part of everything i just said is that this is the rosy scenario. increasing in spending or interest rates are higher than the low rates assumed by the c.b.o. means the outcomes are more severe than currently reported. c.b.o. expects rising deficits will have major negative economic consequences, including lower investmentnd output and a greater chance of a scal crisis. c.b.o. notes that high a rising debt would also constrain
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policymakers' ability to borrow in response to future unforeseen emergencies, leaving the united states vulnerable in the face of potential disasters while also risking our national security. c.b.o. is the congressional budget office, and it's a nonpartisan office that helps to makehe evaluations. and as i mentioned earlier, we're actually holding them accountable by having them come in and explain what they projected and how it matches up with what actually happened. so you should pay attention to them. i actually think that they come up with fairly low numbers. i don't want to leave this body with nothing but doom and gloom. it's not too late to turn things around. we can be successful if we work together. contrary to what most people believ about congress and know both parties can workia, i
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togeth. i've seen it firsthand as a member of the senate health, education, labor and pensions committee, in my work with senator ted kennedy and then again here on the senate budget committe with my work with senators wtehouse, kaine, warner, kg, van hollen and others. bipartisanship will be key as congress works to tackle our fiscal challenges, instilling the fedal budget process with regur action and predictability, active legislative oversightnd spending transparency, that's all critical to strengthening our democracy and reducing our nation'snsustainable spending and debt. since taking the helm of the committee, we've held more than a den hearings on the topic of budget process reform, soliciting expert testimony from a variety of sources, including ecomists, academics, state and local leaders, former chairs of t budget committee,
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and even people from other countrie this has been one of my top priorities as chairman, and we've had some early successes in this effort. this includes the committee's unanimous bipartisan approval of new budget rules that include budget process reforms which have led to more orderly meaningful transparent consideration of the budget resolutions in the committee. we followed those hearings by introducing and passing congressional budget reform act, which represented the first bipartisan budget reform approved by the senate budget committee since 1990. i want to repeat that. in a bipartisan way, we passed act, and it represented therm first bipartisan reforms approved by the senate budget committee since 1990. a key focus of budget process
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reform is to make congressional budgets easier to pass and harder to ignore. while encouraging regular order in the normal funding pross. if budgets are going to be a useful governing tool, they must matter. budgets be the town gaition by which we govern. the way we establish what matters most to our nation and where we agree limited resources should be focused we've seen time and again that when budgets a treated as an afterthought or as a wish list, our abili to legislate affectively and fulfill our mos basic constitutional duties is made more difficultf not impossible. to restore budgets to their proper role, they must be enforceable and they should increase fiscal accountability in congress. if lawmakers appro a budget, they should stick to i


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