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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 12, 2021 3:00pm-6:28pm EDT

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>> we will leave the trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin who faces charges in the death of george floyd. you can watch the rest of this any time at c-span .org and we also will be air the trial beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern tonight right here on c-span2. now we take you to the floor of the u.s. senate to fulfill our 40 year plus commitment to congressional coverage. live coverage now of the senate here on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, creator of all things, thank you for your unfailing love and compassion. lord, forgive us when we have fallen short of your will. we have spoken when we should have kept silent.
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we have said nothing when we should have lifted a voice of concern. create within our lawmakers clean hearts, renew a right spirit within them may they permit humility to precede honor. give us the conviction that with your help, all things are possible. and lord, comfort all who mourn the death of united states capitol police officer william evans. also, continue to keep your healing hand on kenneth shaver.
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we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. and morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report.
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the clerk: nomination, department of transportation, polly ellen trottenberg of new york to be deputy secretary. the president pro tempore: the deputy majority leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, today marks the first day of ramadan. for the second year in a row, muslims around the world will be celebrating islam's holiest month in the midst of this pandemic. traditionally, ramadan is an opportunity for families to gather in prayer, break bread together after a day-long fast. but i know many people in the muslim faith will not have that opportunity this year. it's a painful reminder of all the sacrifices all of us have been called to make since the beginning of this pandemic. for all of those who observe, may this holy month be a time of peace for you and your loved ones, and i hope you will be able to break bread together soon. mr. president, today is also
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another day of mourning for the men and women of the u.s. capitol police force. i have spent much of my life working in this building, as a college student, law student, staff member, congressman, senator. this building has a special place in my life and in the lives of many americans. it is an enduring symbol of american freedom and democracy. it is recognized around the world. sadly, it is also a target for mean-spirited attackers and troubled souls. we saw that on january 6 when a mob invaded these halls and this chamber. we saw it on 9/11 when terrorists hijacked a plane with the intent of crashing it into this building. and sadly, we saw it again on april 2 with the vehicular attack on the north entrance
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barricade to the capitol, one of the most frequently used entrances. the men and women of the united states capitol police guarded the capitol 24/7, 365. they put their lives at risk to protect this building and those of us who work here and those who visit. they literally risked their lives for us. it is the clearest symbol of heroism that i can think. and on april 2, one of those heroes, capitol police officer billy evans, made the ultimate sacrifice. he was killed in the line of duty defending the people in this building. officer evans was 41 years old. 41. an 18-year veteran of the capitol police, he was a familiar, friendly face to many of us here at the capitol where he often worked at the north
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entrance. officer evans was a native of north adams, massachusetts, father of two children, logan and abigail. his family said that he was, quote, the best father, son, brother, and friend anyone could ever hope for. they went on to say the absolute most important thing in his life was his two children. he was always so eager to show how proud he was of everything they did. any opportunity to spend time with his children brightened both their lives and his. their dad was their hero long before the tragic events of last week. the loss of officer evans is hard breaking. i -- is heart breaking. i join in praying for his family and loved ones. we also send our prayers to officer ken shaver who was injured in the april 2 attack and wish him a speedy recovery. the u.s. capitol police have faced an incredible hardship this year with the loss of three years -- officer evans, officer
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brian sicknick and officer howard liebengood. 80 officers seriously injured in the insurrectionist mob attack on january 6. the debt that we owe capitol police officers like officer evans can never be repaid, and the same is true for capitol police officers brian sicknick, howard lebanonen goode, jason chestnut and officer evans. our grat -- gratitude for their sacrifice cannot be captured by words. this tuesday, officer evans will lie in honor in the rotunda where those he died to protect can pass by and pay their respects. every day it is incumbent for those of us who work in this building to remember this brave officer and thank him and the u.s. men and women of the u.s. capitol police who have given so much to keep us safe. and now, madam president, i ask to make the next statement, that
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it be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, on january 8, i think that most americans, most of the world, really, was still deeply shaken by what happened in this building on january 6 when the mob broke in. january 6 was an assault on american democracy. it was an armed insurrection, not just against this building but against the constitution and the government of the united states of america. the violent mob was sent to this capitol by a defeated president to try to cancel an american election. the mob overran and ransacked this capitol, smashing windows and doors. they built a gallos on the capitol's grounds and called for the vice president to be hanged for following his duties under the constitution, for refusing to join in the coup attempt. people died that day in this
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building, on these grounds. capitol police officer brian sicknick, who i mentioned earlier, suffered fatal injuries trying to hold back the insurrectionist mob sent by the president. two more officers who fought to save the capitol died by suicide in the days that followed. more than 140 police officers suffered serious injuries, many of them are still recovering. but the insurrection at the capitol, the attack on american democracy wasn't what alarmed the dark-money special interests who came together for an all hands on deck conference call just two days later on january 8. the conference call was organized by a group with the innocuous name stand together. the group that was run by the koch brothers organization, well known to anyone who follows american politics. among the participants on this private conference call was an advisor to the minority leader, senator mcconnell. we know these things because a
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recording of the conference call found its way to jane mayer, an investigative reporter for "the new york magazine" who has written a book on the koch brothers and dark money in politics. what alarmed the dark money special interests on that conference call wasn't the violent insurrection in this building two days earlier. according to miss mayer's reporting, the reason the special interests were frightened was because they could not find a way to turn the american people against a piece of legislation, s. 1, a bill known as the for the people act. the for the people act is a democracy defense bill. it would limit the influence of dark money and special interests on our politics, and it would improve access to the ballot box for american voters. we know that access is under attack today in georgia and 30 other states efforts are being made to suppress the american vote. the koch brothers groups spends its money freely to exert
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political control. they sent the pollsters out before this conference call to test every attack they could think of against this bill. nothing worked. let me read you a passage from miss mayer's article. it's a bit long, so bear with me. this is based on a recording on the call, quote, kyle mckenzie, the research director for the koch-run advocacy group stand together, told fellow conservatives and republican congressional staffers on the call that he had a spoiler. when presented with the very neutral description of the bill, people were generally supportive, mckenzie said. adding the most worrisome part is conservatives were actually as supportive as the general public when they heard the neutral description. in fact, he warned, there is a large, very large chunk of conservatives who are supportive of these efforts. as a result, mayer wrote, mckenzie conceded the legislation's opponents would likely have to rely on
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republican senators where the bill is now under debate to use what they called under the dome strategies, legislative maneuvers such as the filibuster to stop the bill because turning public opinion against it would be incredibly difficult. s. 1, the for the people act. a bill to stop billionaires from buying elections. you could see why charles koch who has grown accustomed to using his wealth to influence elections and dominate the national agenda wouldn't like that kind of a bill. and you can see why he and others, members of the dark money power elite would be alarmed that all the spin doctoring money can buy can't turn people against the bill. can't even turn conservatives against the bill. what's a poor billionaire to do? well, they said it right there in the conference call. they can't debate the bill because they don't have a winning argument.
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senator mcconnell is just going to have to kill it under the dome. senator mcconnell is going to have to filibuster it. one of the myths that defenders in the filibuster like to use is that it encourages debate and compromise. in reality, today's phone it in remote control filibuster is used to make sure debate never even starts. there's another myth that defenders of the filibuster would like us to believe. they say, and senator mcconnell has repeated it, the filibuster has nothing to do with race. history tells us the opposite is true. the filibuster has always been more creation of james crow than james madison. segregationists used filibusters to block anti-lynching bills in 1922, 1923, 1924, 1935, and 1938.
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segregationist senators filibustered bills to outlaw poll taxes in 1942, 1944, 1946. segregationists filibustered bills outlawing discrimination in employment, housing, and voting. they filibustered the civil rights act of 1957, 1960, and 1964. every time segregationists used the filibuster to block civil rights measures, they spoke of the tactic as nearly a sacred principle passed down by our founding fathers. now if voting rights under the broadest attack in more than 50 years with hundreds of bills being introduced in state legislatures to make it harder for many americans, especially people of color, to vote, we are once again facing a threatened filibuster of a voting rights protection bill in the senate. history repeats itself. largely under senator mcconnell's leadership,
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today's filibuster has been transformed into a weapon of mass destruction. in 2009, during the great recession, america was in a financial freefall, our economy teetering on the edge of another depression, millions out of work. homes, life savings at risk. senator mcconnell said and i quote, my number one priority is to make sure president obama is a one-term president. and the number one weapon he used to make good on his threat, the filibuster. now america has a new president. senator mcconnell wasn't able to filibuster president biden's american rescue plan because we used reconciliation, all 50 democratic senators and the vice president were prepared to vote to break the tie. not one single republican senator would vote for president
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biden's rescue plan. today america is getting shots in the arm and checks in their pockets because we passed that bill despite the intransigence on the other side of the aisle. we're beginning -- just beginning to break the back of this pandemic. there are still hotspots and worrisome reports but we're beginning to break its back. and we're helping the millions of americans hurt financially because of the pandemic shutdown. now the senate is ready to start work on the next chapter of our national economic recovery. president biden's american's job plan is a bold plan to invest in america, in our infrastructure in order to tackle not only the needs of transportation but climate change, job creation, and the growth with industries with good jobs, here in america, not overseas, not in china, but here in america. that is president biden's goal. it would rebuild our roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports,
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water systems. madam president, i learned during the break that until 1986, the city of chicago mandated in its plumbing code that the service line from the water main to the home be made of lead -- lead. we know lead is dangerous to everyone, certainly to children and yet we have 23% of the lead servicelines in america in chicago and the surrounding area. that is a public health hazard. some may not think that's infrastructure, but if you can't deliver safe drinking water to america, what else is important? we need to rebuild our 5-g broadband internet and expand it, renewable energy, advanced research and technology. we need to create millions of jobs and to lay the foundation for american prosperity for years to come. last night on 60 minutes, chairman powell spoke and was
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interviewed. he was encouraging. he really believes we're right on the cusp of moving this nation forward, dramatic increase of economic growth in this country. isn't it about time? don't we want a president that will invest in america to make that happen? senator mcconnell already said he opposes president biden's american jobs act. will our colleagues on the other side of the aisle really filibuster this once in a lifetime opportunity for america to reit gain the lead in the global economy for the 21st century. would they really filibuster america's ability to compete against china and competition for jobs and the industry of the future? i hope not. we're all sent to the senate with a job, fix the problems, not paralyze congress. despite what the dark money special interest might want, we should aim higher than killing good solutions than killing the
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filibuster. let's talk, meet, reason things out, let's negotiate and let's pass laws that protect america's democracy and our economic prosperity. on january 6, hundreds of police officers risked their lives to protect democracy. don't we owe them the right to protect democracy. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: on good friday, the united states capitol police were subjected to another violent attack. once again our uniformed heroes wound up in harm's way and officer billy evans, a friend
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and favorite of many here on the senate side, a faithful proctor of the capitol, was killed. investigators are still assessing what drove the perpetrator to attempt this attack on the capitol and whether domestic violent extremism played a role. it appears he was captivated by islam, an extreme group under the openly hateful leader louis far r are aka -- it stole away the life of officer evans from his wife, his children, his mother and all of his friends and family decades too soon. officer evans was famous within the senate for his friendly spirit and easy manner. he was the first face that many would see on their way to work here in the capitol every day.
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his particular post often meant he was the first line of defense of the congress. the interface between these grounds and the outside world. we could not have had a kinder, more likable ambassador at this juncture or a more faithful proctor to keep us safe. it will be with tremendous grief but tremendous gratitude that we will welcome officer evans to the capitol for a final time tomorrow where he will lie in honor in the rotunda. i think i speak for the entire senate when i salute all of our capitol police officers for the resilience they displayed the friday before last and which they display every single day. the senate and the nation are grateful for your selfless service.
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now on a completely different matter, the senate returns today from a state work period. we got to meet with constituents in our home states and hear first hand about their most pressing concerns. unfortunately back here in washington, democrats continue to roll out new reasons for the american people to worry. the week before last, the biden administration unveiled their latest misleading titled legislation, this time under the supposed veil of infrastructure. the white house has lumped together a motley assortment of the left's priceyest priorities. this plan would impose one of the biggest tax hikes in a generation when workers need an economic recovery. it would gut right to work -- protectioning for blue collar workers. they even want to include a special state and local tax
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division to benefit wealthy residents of blue states. less than 6% of this proposal goes to roads and bridges. it's not remotely targeted toward what americans think they are getting when politicians campaign on infrastructure. but instead of coming up with a better bill, democrats have decided it's the english language that has to change. they are embarking on a campaign to convince everybody that any government policy whatsoever can be labeled infrastructure. liberals just have to believe in it hard enough. these trojan horse tactics have become a pattern. many of our democratic colleagues are trying to rewrite election laws, and not a partisan takeover of the federal election committee but call it a voting rights bill, end quote.
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the white house claims about state election regulations keep getting disproven by fact checkers. but even so some of the wealthiest and most powerful institutions in our country have bowed down to the fake narratives and decided to amplify the misstatements themselves. so look, madam president, i'm a strong supporter of the first amendment and free speech as anyone in this body. i have been for many years. if people want to participate in debates through political speech, that's certainly their constitutional right. even if they fall for disinformation. but it's one thing to act like free speakers within a debate. it's very different to try to short circuit the debate to shut down the debate through economic bullying of american citizens. the last two weeks also brought more troubling signs from our southern border. last month custom and border
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patrol reporting the highest total for apprehensions in nearly two decades. while republican senators traveled to the border, learned from officials and reality on the ground, the administration has preferred to inaccurately blame the recent spike on their predecessors. finally, finally, last week the white house rolled out a new budget proposal. i've been a supporter of secretary blinken and other officials' tough talk with the people's republic of china and with putin again massing forces on ukraine's border, administration officials have been right, right to warn against further russian aggression. this budget outline was going to be one of the first real tests to see if the administration was prepared to walk the walk and put sufficient funding toward our military and strategic competition with china and russia, both of which have
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invested heavily in military capabilities that threaten our forces. unfortunately for all the rhetoric the president has asked congress to break from the positive projectry from the last four years and instead cut defense spending after inflation. that's going backward on national defense. this would undermine recent bipartisan progress, put the modernization of american forces in jeopardy, and help china toward their goal of overtaking the united states as the world's preeminent superpower. this budget proposal sent a clear signal to the rest of the world and unfortunately, it suggests to our alives from eastern europe to the south china sea that american resolve is far from guaranteed. on all these issues, there's broad and deep bipartisan interest in working together. infrastructure legislation that actually focuses on infrastructure. voting legislation that actually makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat, and funding
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legislation that provides the pentagon with what it needs to keep up with china, russia, and other adversaries. legislation on all these topics have a track record of earning overwhelming bipartisan support. all these issues are ripe for regular order, bipartisan work if the president and our democratic colleagues are interested in going about them in the right way. but if the administration decides to reprise their tactics from february and march, if democrats just declare our way or the high way, we know they have chosen to create political controversies rather than make progress for american families. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to withdraw the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tuberville: madam president, once again i'm here today to talk about the crisis at our southern border and the continued dismantling of our nation's immigration system by this administration. the border has been dominating the headlines but if you talk to the liberals, you would know it. -- you wouldn't know it. while we're back homeworking in our states, democrats focused on everything but the border.
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president biden released the so-called infrastructure proposal that's not actually about infrastructure. it's nothing more than the green new deal in disguise. and it races taxes on -- raises taxes on hardworking americans. additionally, large corporations and major league baseball decided to give in to the demands of the woke liberal mob based on nothing more than pure disinformation. i know president biden and democrats would rather talk about those issues than confront the dire situation at the southern border. they're trying to pull a con job on the american people. well, we're not going to let president biden distract from a crisis of his own making. in a recent house hearing, department of homeland security secretary mayorkas made a ridiculous claim that, quote, the border is secure. to say the border is secure is
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laughable. i recently joined senators cornyn and cruz and other colleagues on a visit to the southern border to see for ourselves. and i can tell you and the american people without hesitation the border is not secure. reports just don't do it justice. it is a disaster. as an american who believes in the rule of law, i was embarrassed. this is not a democrat or a republican problem. it is an american problem. this crisis is a stain on our nation. what we saw on our trip broke my heart. so many young, unaccompanied children sent on a dangerous journey north by their parents because this administration promised to take them in. the compassion shown by the border patrol agents was clear. these brave men and women are
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doing all they can to make the best out of a terrible situation, a situation created by our president and his administration. i've said it before and i'll say it again. the situation happening at our southern border was predictable and preventable. the border patrol folks know this will happen and it would happen. they told us how they asked the biden administration before the inauguration to give them time to prepare for any changes to the immigration policy. but president biden didn't listen. he was more interested in appeasing the globalists who demanded he immediately end president trump's successful border policies. on his first day in office, president biden reversed president trump's policies and signaled to the world that the american border was open.
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president biden gave border patrol little to no warning. the result has been a border that's not run by the united states. it is run by the mexican cartel and human smugglers. what's worse, it's not just people that are coming in illegally. while i was down at the border, i saw firsthand how criminals take advantage of the situation. cartels send migrants to specific locations along the border to preoccupy law enforcement while moving illegal drugs at other crossing points. on a midnight visit to the rio grande, these traffickers actually taunted us from across the river yelling and flashing their lights. they know the biden add manager -- the biden administration is unwilling to confront them and because the administration won't confront them, we've seen
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massive increases in drug seizures. in january and february alone, customs and border protections seizures of fentanyl were up 277% compared to the same time in 2020. cocaine seized at the border is up 62%. and remember, where there's people or drugs, these numbers only account for those we catch. there are many more drug runners that get through undetected. secretary mayorkas has said the administration goal is safe, legal, and orderly immigration system. well, so far he and they have failed on all three. the immigration system under the biden administration is not safe. by encouraging migrants to come to the border, president biden
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has empowered the drug cartels and coyotes who prey on desperate people. according to mexican intelligence assessments, it costs an unaccompanied central american minuter between $3,000 and $10,000 to secure across -- to be secured across the u.s. border. an open border also invites wolves in sheep's clothing. according to customs and border patrol protection, at least four people have been arrested in the last few months at the border who match names on the f.b.i.'s terrorist screening database. there's no doubt those who wish harm will take advantage of this crisis to infiltrate our country. the biden administration also is enforcing the laws -- is not enforcing the laws written by congress. that's why i join with 39 of my
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republican colleagues to send a letter to the nonpartisan government accountability office to investigate president biden's unilateral decision to seize funds for the border wall. congress specifically appropriated funds for the border wall construction. i believe the president's actions infringe on congress' constitutional power of the purse. i hope the g.a.o. will quickly look into this so we can begin to restore border security. finally, the immigration system under the biden administration is not orderly. in fact, it's chaotic. our border patrol agents are overwhelmed. in march of this year, border patrol arrested more than 170,000 migrants crossing the border illegally. that's the worst month in 15 years. to put that in perspective, for
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the folks back home, that means there are more illegal migrants rushing our border in one month than the entire population of lee county, alabama, where i live. last month more than 18,700 unaccompanied minors were taken into custody by the border pa tremendously. that's double the double the number they encountered in -- that's double the number they encountered in february. this is due entirely to president biden's foolish words and policies. the biden administration is intent to let all who come here illegally stair. that is a recipe for disaster. the result is a border catastrophe. i've spoken previously about commonsense actions to secure the border, such as continuing to build a wall and reinstating migrant protection protocols.
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here's one more. i recently introduced a bill that would require d.h.s. to issue a notice to appear, called an n.t.a., to every migrant that is processed at the border. we cannot -- we cannot continue to release illegal immigrants into our country without establishing some accountability such as a date for immigration court. at best, it hurts mo came to this country actually looking to plead their asylum case. at worst, it's given a free reign to those who enter our country illegally. the biden administration says they want humane and compassionate improvements to our immigration system. releasing someone without an n.t.a. is neath. my bill also requires the department of homeland security to revoke any status and work authorization from a migrant who
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doesn't show up for their court date. this mandate will curb the pull factors bedded in our immigration system and cut down on incentives for illegal immigration. it's a small but meaningful step. it's about restoring integrity in our immigration system. president biden has made weak attempts to turn back the tide of migrants, even telling them, quote, don't come. president biden's actions speak louder than those two feeble words. well, mr. president, as we say in alabama, you're a day late and a dollar short. my republican colleagues and i will continue to demand action from the president on this crisis on behalf of the legal citizens of the united states of america. i stand ready to work with the president and his administration
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on commonsense solutions -- secure the border, strengthen national security, and protect the american people. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. first, i madam president, i'd le to aassociate myself with the fine remarks of the senator from alabama. the senator from alabama and i traveled together along with senator cruz and senator cornyn just a few weeks ago. we had, i think, a total of 19 senators that went to see the crisis firsthand. and in fact it's not just one crisis, as the senator from alabama and i have both spoken about. it is a double crisis. it's a national security crisis as well as a humanitarian crisis. we went on a midnight patrol, and what did we see at midnight?
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well, we saw and we heard -- not just did we see the lights on on the other side of the rio grande, we heard the cat calls from traffickers who were taunting our u.s. border patrol agents, saying in spanish, you cannot stop us now. that is what we're hearing from the criminals and the traffickers across the rio grande. we saw signs on the ground directing migrants to the facilities where they will then turn themselves in. and we spoke to the border patrol agents. they told us that their jobs got an awful lot harder on january 20, which is the day that joe biden became president of the united states. president biden flipped over the sign and sent the clear message over the world that said the united states border is now wide open. because of that clear message,
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border patrol arrests have doubled since january. in march, border patrol took 171,000 migrants into custody. nearly 19,000 of those are unaccompanied minors. that's an all-time record in the united states. and the pace that we're on now is to get to two million aisle legal immigrants crossing our border this very year. according to the secretary of the homeland security nominated by president biden, this is the most in 20 years, the most in 20 years right now, this year, under president biden. the biden white house has essentially told the world anyone over 18 can cross our border an and we will let you in. so it is no surprise that today we are seeing an historic influx of children, of teenagers crossing our border.
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third of the border patrol agents -- two-thirds of them, can't do their regular job because they are too busy baby sitting these children or escorting adults to the areas where they will turn themselves in. more children today are in border patrol custody than ever before, and in a day of a global pandemic, i will tell you, as i was there with the senators in a location designed for 250 during coronavirus, there were 7,000 crammed in like sardines with the foil blankets to huddle under, no social distancing, none at all. this is a biden-created humanitarian crisis. under the law, children cannot only be in border patrol custody for 72 hours. we wouldn't want our own
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children there now 27 minutes in. yet there are thousands and thousands in custody for over ten days t and 10% of the young people being tested are testing positive for coronavirus. we watched the testing in the courtyard where i was. they were all together and then they tested some and they said, okay, you test negativement you go that way. you test positive. you go that way. but absolutely every one of them was exposed to each other, so the fact that 10% are testing positive, it's highly likely that the remainder will test positive as well. what's the biden administration doing about that? they're sending those young people -- either those people just exposed to coronavirus, just standing right next to somebody with coronavirus, sending them all across the country, exposed to whoever knows what strain of coronavirus it was. and so this is a humanitarian crisis. but you madam president, i will tell you, it is also a national
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security crisis. the department of homeland security has now arrested two men from the country of yemen who are on the terrorist watch list. border patrol says that we're apprehending people not just from central america and mexico, they have apprehended people from 56 different countries there at the border since president biden has taken the oath of office. last week border patrol agents outside san diego arrested a member of ms-13, one of the most vicious criminal gainings in the world. these are just a commof examples that we -- these just a couple of examples that we know about. imagine things we don't know about, people who haven't been caught, people who are roaming among us today in the united states. that's what i hear about in wyoming. i've just been home for two weeks talking to people. this is the number-one topic that i heard about traveling the state of wyoming.
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so we have two crises at the southern border -- the humanitarian crisis and the national security crisis. president biden has caused them both, and president biden can stop them. yet the biden administration is still in denial. it refuses to even admit that there is a crisis. president biden still hasn't been to the border. neither has the vice president. and she's supposed to be in charge of finding a solution to the problem. so once again today i call on president biden and vice president harris to go to the border and face the truth. today is the day. go to the border, face the truth. the president and vice president should talk to the border patrol agents. they should hear the stories that they heard -- that we have heard from them.
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it's the stories that they want to tell. they need to hear these stories. they need to face the reality. madam president, border patrol agents told me directly, finish the wall, bring back the remain-in-mexico policy because those are things that will make a difference. until we do those two things, the jobs of the border patrol agents will continue to get tougher and tougher every day. the vast -- vast numbers, vast majorities of american people support the border patrol agents. i know there are people on the other side of the aisle that want to eliminate immigration and custom enforcement, want to get rid of the border line and have people that are patrolling the border -- want to get rid of it all, have open borders fully and not without the kind of national security we need at our borders. but according to the associated press, only one in four americans approves of how president biden is handling the
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border situation. president biden should listen to the american people. we need change at the border. we need it today. we cannot wait. our national security cannot wait. the humanitarian crisis must be met and dealt with. republicans are going to continue to offer commonsense solutions that will make a real difference at the border. we want to finish the wall. we want to bring back the remain in mexico policy. we stant to stem the national security crisis facing our nation today. we stand for closing the loopholes that encourage i will eel immigration. we want to secure the border. i would urge president biden and all of my democratic colleagues to please face the facts. join us in our effort. it's time to bring this crisis to an end.
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thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, madam president, the senate returns to session in the shadow of tragedy. a week ago last friday a senseless attack on the capitol by a lone actor injured one capitol police officer and claimed the life of another, officer billy evans. all of us across the nation wish for the speedy recovery of officer shaver and mourn the loss of another fallen hero. to pay tribute, officer evans will lie in the capitol rotunda, a service in his memory will take place tomorrow morning.
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for everyone who works in the senate, his work is particularly painful. he was a familiar face who greeted lawmakers rorktsers, staffers and employ -- reporters, staffers and employees at the north entrance. whether you knew him or not, his wide smile was often the first thing you would see in the morning. this is an immensely difficult time for the capitol police force. senate committees are conducting bipartisan and comprehensive reviews to ensure the capitol is secure as possible while also remaining accessible to the public. that's a top priority. but also in this moment of profound loss, we need to comfort each other and support members of the capitol police who in four short months suffered a brutal attack by a violent mob and lost four of their friends and cherished
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colleagues. we must never, never take for granted the work they do day in and day out to guard the citadel of democracy. i am -- i'll have more to say tomorrow when we pay tribute to the life of officer ef evans. -- officer evans. for now i wish to extend my deep condolences to his friends and family, especially his two young children and everyone whose lives were enriched by knowing this incredible public servant. now, on an entirely different matter. as the senate returns to work this week, with we're going to pick back right up where we left off, aggressively filling the biden administration will well-qualified nominees and to meet the needs of the american people. this week the senate will vote on the nominations of polly ellen trottenberg to serve as secretary of transportation, wendy sherman to serve as deputy
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secretary of state, gary gensler to serve on the security and exchange mission and brenda mallory to serve on the counsel of environmental quality. each is well qualified for their position an each, i expect, will receive bipartisan support here on the floor. i'm particularly proud of polly ellen trottenberg who was my legislative director and legislative assistant for transportation for nine years and then served as commissioner of transportation in new york city and one of the things, of course, madam president, that i talked to her about regularly was getting gateway, our much-needed tunnel built under the new jersey. the senate will debate on legislation from senator hirono to address the surge of
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anti-asian hate crimes during the covid pandemic. over the past year we've read horrible accounts of violence and discrimination against asian americans spurred on by ignorance and the slander that blames chinese people for covid-19. slander encouraged and repeated, i so regret a president would stoop to that level. but it was encouraged and repeated by the former president who seems almost revel in advancing bigotry. sadly, the recent spate of anti-asian violence is not a new chapter in american history. from the chinese massacre, from the explicitly racist chinese exclusion act and the internment of japanese citizens, the
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asian-american community has long suffered the hammer blows of racism, bigotry. we cannot let this new surge, which contains echos of these violent chapters in our history go unaddressed. so this week the senate will vote on senator hirono anti-asian hate crimes bill. the bill does two things, i know, madam president, that you are a proud sponsor of that legislation. the bill does two things. first, it tells the department of justice they need to make consideration of these hate crimes a top priority during this pandemic. there's a scourge of abuse happening to the asian american community, shamefully aided and abetted by former president trump and it needs to be prioritized by law enforcement more than it is right now. and, second, it sends a very important signal from the congress of the united states to the american public. these crimes will not be tolerated and there will be
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consequences. this legislation is as commonsense and straightforward as it gets. it's as unobjectionable as it gets. i should expect our work on senator hirono's hate crimes bill should be thoroughly bipartisan. president biden has urged congress to swiftly pass this legislation and send it to his desk. let's get it done this week. i attended four or five, maybe even more, anti-rallies against anti-asian violence and i was heart sick to hear stories. an elderly man afraid to walk out on the street that he might be ridiculed, spat upon. a young lady who didn't want to travel the subways because of the glares and stares from some people at her because of her asian ancestry and the story could be repeated over and over
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again and unfortunately this bigotry often ended in violence. we must stop it as americans. we all know, every one of us, that racism against one is racism against all. we must stop it. and, again, i plead with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to let this legislation, it seems so unobjectionable, go forward and pass with strong bipartisan vote. again, let's get it done this week. on infrastructure. finely, over the last several months, the biden administration has said that it will push comprehensive infrastructure and jobs bill in coordination with the congress. this effort could not come at a better time. the american rescue plan is already delivering on its promise to lift the country out of the covid crisis and set our economy back on the path to recovery. over the state work period, i visited scores of restaurants like esse's in mount carmel and
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lussso's grill. i visited small and independent stages an venues like the bug jar in rochester which will receive grants. and i met with community organizations to hear about how new york families are receiving thousands of dollars per child through the expanded tax credit. it will be -- they will be receiving that and that's a policy that's going to lift millions of american children out of poverty during a time of economic hardship for so many. the american rescue plan is helping the country recover from the worst public health crisis in a century, the worst economic crisis in three-quarters of a century. now, not later, now is the time to build on that solid foundation to create jobs and cement a robust economy. the next big step is long
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overdue investment, a large and significant investment in our nation's infrastructure. we know that our nation's roads and bridges and railways and waterways and ports are in need of an overhaul. so too does our country need investment in modern infrastructure projects like our electric grid, broadband internet access and 5g to name a few. president biden's proposal will address both our federal infrastructure needs and invest in infrastructure projects that america sorely needs. again, this very important work should be bipartisan. this is an issue that affects all 50 states, our two parties used to agree on the need to reliably invest in infrastructure, we should be able to do that again. president biden is hosting bipartisan discussions about his proposal at the white house today and will continue to bring lawmakers and stakeholders together to find common ground.
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i know that the administration's going to talk to members from both sides of the aisle to incorporate their ideas. every day -- every day now millions of americans are getting the vaccine -- four million on one day over the weekend and we're closer than ever to defeating the covid-19 pandemic. the worst of covid-19 is hopefully in the rear-view mirror, the streets of new york city this weekend, as i wantedderred about, were more -- wandered about, were more alive than i have seen in months. soon we will work together to strengthen the recovery and create the jobs of the future. a big, bold investment in our nation's infrastructure is just the way to do it. i yield the floor. madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. schumer: as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of h. con. res. 27, which was received today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 27, permitting the remains of the late capitol police officer william evans to lie in the capitol rotunda. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the matter? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: madam president, i ask unanimous i ask unanimous consent that the concurrent resolution be greed to and that it it be laid on the table with no action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of h. con. res. which was received today, h. con. res. 28, which was received
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today. the clerk: directing the architect of the capitol to transfer the situation to the rotunda of the capitol for use for capitol police officer william f. evans. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the matter? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the concurrent resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you very much, madam president. i have one short issue and another issue of about ten minutes. over the easter break, i held a
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q and a in 24 counties to hear what's on the minds of iowans. it's my constituents' agenda, not my agenda that we discuss. from my cattle mark transparency bill to the second-amendment begun issues, covid-19 vaccines and the crisis at the southern border, iowans are always up-to-date on the issues most important to them. one prominent question, why can't you guys in the senate get along? in other words, why not more bipartisanship? it's a constant question i get. iowans want congress to work this a bipartisan way to enhance our nation's infrastructure through increased funding for roads, bribltion, highways -- bridges, highways, waterways and
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rural broadband, among many other infrastructure issues. unfortunately, what i've heard so far about president biden's plan is that it's everything but the kitchen sink and not enough focus on just the big, big issue and a long-term issue of infrastructure. iowans expect us to work in a bipartisan way, and i hope democrats will agree to work together with us unlike the passage of the $1.9 trillion bill. i recently spoke on the senate floor about the important issue of free speech. today i'd like to speak on the power of big tech to censor free speech. it's been 25 years since section 230 of the communications act was signed into law. this law grants wide-sweeping
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immunity to interactive -- to computer services that host third-party content. the goal of section 230 at the time was laudable. the internet was in its infancy. and content being posted to message boards by third parties was leading to litigation that threatened the spread of free speech and free expression. section 230 was enacted to encourage free speech while giving companies the ability to remove illegals and obscene materials. section 230 and the legal shield it offers helped to enable the internet to grow into what we know this very day. however, interactive computer
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services are no longer struggling companies but some of the largest corporations in the world today. would you believe when section 230 was signed into law, the words google, facebook, twitter and youtube did not even exist as words or companies. today they are giant, dominant tech companies. many argue that these private companies have their own terms of service and are able to enforce them as they wish and also that they're not covered under the first amendment. yet these platforms are now the new public square where it's important that all voices and viewpoints are able to be heard.
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with the immunities that these companies have and the importance of dialogue on their platforms, arguably they're in effect state actors and therefore first amendment protections should apply to user-generated content. the size and power of these companies also contributes to their ability to censure speech and undermine the first amendment. google controls 87% of search. face book has 2.8 billion monthly active users. 500 million tweets are sent on twitter each day. and over one billion hours of videos are watched on youtube every day. when a company has monopoly
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power, it no longer is constrained by normal market forces. if these platforms had competitors, consumers could choose alternatives when they disagree with the terms of service or moderation policies. however right now, the only choice consumers have is to take it or leave it. section 230 appears to compound this problem. big tech has no competitors and is impugn from liability. these companies are unaccountable to their customers, the courts, and the government. if not for their monopoly power and section 230 immunity, these companies might not be involved in the actions and the
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censorship that we see today. these platforms are where people communicate online and there are no real alternatives. this innovation has today mock tiesed our political system. i think that's good yet there are people who don't like that every person is able to get their views out and they want to interfere with and censure those views. we cannot stand for this cancel culture and the interference with free speech. entrepreneurs want to challenge these big tech companies. unfortunately the system is rigged against the little guy start-up. these companies can remove their website from the internet,
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delete your app from your app store, and permanently ban you from their platforms. these companies can also remove competitors are those that they disagree with largely with no recourse. millions of small business owners use tech platforms to operate their business. it's a big -- been a big boost to our economy over the last 25 years. many business owners have been censured, banned, and demonetized. this can be done without wor working, no explanation whatsoever, and many times without any meaningful due process. so our antitrust regulators need to take a harder look at the actions of big tech.
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i roontsly -- recently introduced legislation with senator klobuchar to increase resources the f.t.c. and d.o.j. antitrust enforcement. this legislation would provide an immediate boost to their -- these agencies' effective competition responsibilities. right now there are essentially five companies within just the united states that determine what can and cannot be viewed by the american public. it's becoming increasingly clear that these companies are more beholding to cancel culture and not to the free speech prin principles that this country was founded upon. when i talk about what these agencies, the f.t.c. and d.o.j.
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ought to be doing, i'm not excluding anything that this congress ought to be doing beyond what these agencies have a responsibility to do. so i get back to a famous quote by justice brandeis. quote, if there be time to expose through discussion the falsehoods and fallacies to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence, end of quote. it's time that we examine the need for section 230 immunity. that's beyond what we expect d.o.j. and f.t.c. to do. so examine the need for section 230 up -- immunity and to what
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extent these tech companies are abusing their monopoly power. it's time these companies stop arbitrarily deciding what speech is acceptable for our country and the 335 million americans. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i was grateful for the opportunity like i'm sure we all were to be back home for the last two weeks for the state work period and to talk to our constituents. some of my conversations and i suspect i'm not alone, some of these conversations were virtual, but most -- most of us
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are glad to get back to whatever the next normal is and have more and more human interaction rather than the isolation and, frankly, some of the anxiety that comes along with being kept apart. we're social animals, we home beings, and we thrive on and i believe we need that kind of interaction. but so far this year most of it has been virtual. i did have a chance to speak to the texas hispanic chamber members and the members of the u.s. hispanic chamber as part of their annual legislative summit. like many of the folks who do fly-ins at least once a year, we've had to forego that. so this was a virtual meeting. but i did get a chance to hear from many of the members and their -- particularly their board members on the importance of our response to the pandemic and the progress that they have in turn been able to make
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through things like the paycheck protection program. i also was able to join friends with the -- from webb county, that's loredo texas, the northern american development bank and their private prart nears to announce a $116 million investment in a new solar farm which they are very excited about. and i was glad to be able to visit with a number of texans in person with all of the appropriate safety precautions that we've all learned so well. i was able to kick off the national volunteer month at the san antonio food bank with a number of incredible nonprofits and people with big hearts who are volunteering, even amidst hopefully the waning days of this pandemic at the food bank. i hope texans and folks all across the country will continue to find ways to support one another by volunteering with local nonprofits this month and into the future.
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i also was able to meet with venue owners and operators at antone's in austin which is the live music capital of the world. on the day before applications opened for the u.s. small business administration shutter venue operators grant, this grant program was established through the save our stages act which senator klobuchar and i introduced and which was signed into law as part of the december relief bill. these small venues were exclude from the paycheck protection program and of course were among the first to close and will be among the last to open. but what we did in the save our stages act will go a long way to ensure that the marquees t of or most beloved live entertainment venues can shine bright once again and i'm eager for the funds to each texas venues. then in dallas i was -- i joined my friend congresswoman eddie
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better necessary johnson to announce bipartisan legislation we're introducing in response to the deadly winter storm that hit texas last february. this legislation will help build resilience in our electrical infrastructure throughout the country and will help ensure we're better prepared for whatever extreme weather mother nature sends our way. it was great, as i said, to visit with folks in person again, and i'm glad to see a gradual return to our new normal as more and more americans are vaccinated. even though the issues i'm -- i was discussing throughout my state were different, one common theme that i brought up everywhere i went was to continue to encourage texans to get vaccinated. so far nine million of us have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 5.6 million texans are fully vaccinated. obviously we're not out of the woods yet, but americans have every reason to be optimistic
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about the headway made in the fight against covid-19. unfortunately just as we're seeing progress on the pandemic, we're seeing another crisis on our border. in february customs and border protection encountered more than 100,000 migrants along our southern border. the highest total since 2006. last month things continued to trend in the wrong direction. they endownerred more than 172,000 migrants along our border which is the highest in two decades. put simply our immigration system cannot accommodate this many migrants coming at one time. we lack the personnel, the facility, the resources, and the policies to efficiently process these migrants to make sure those with valid claims are protected and to provide quality care to all of those in our custody in the meantime. that's true for adults and
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family units but especially for the alarming number of unaccompanied children. in the summer of 2014, we saw a similar spike in children arriving at our border which president obama called a humanitarian crisis. it absolutely was. between october 2013 and september 2014 is more than 68,500 unaccompanied children entered the united states. we're only halfway through fiscal year 2021 and are already reaching at that total, with more than 48,500 migrant children having crossed our border just in the last six months. nearly 19,000 of these children came last month alone, the highest monthly total on record. putting that in perspective, almost 19,000 children in one month. that's roughly enough to fill every seat in the at&t center in san antonio where the san antonio spurs play.
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there are grave, cascading consequences to this flow of humane coming across our border. it obviously impacts these children as well as the communities and organizations that care for them, and of course the criminal organizations that smuggle people into the country along with illicit drugs. they're getting richer in the process. over the last several weeks, i've spent time in these communities that are managing this crisis to learn more about the challenges that they face. last month my friend, henry cuellar, congressman transparent laredo, texas, and i visited the carrizo springs influx center which houses the boys ages 13-17. we heard from n.g.o. representatives about the
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mounting challenges of this crisis. i visited three additional facilities in midland, dallas, and houston during this last work period and i saw the incredible ways that these communities and nongovernmental associations are caring for migrant children k met me just say, madam president, we also recognize our obligation to treat these children and these migrants humanely while they are here in our country. but we also need to make sure that our laws are equally enforced on a fair basis and that people who come this way don't jump ahead of people who've been waiting patiently in line to come into the united states through legal means. just before the state work period started, senator cruz and i hosted 17 of our fellow republican colleagues in the senate down at the rio grande gentleladily, and i was pleased when i heard from my friend, henry cuellar again, that he had
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hosted joe manchin, the senator from west virginia, and jock hickenlooper, the senator from colorado. i'm glad that members of both parties are coming down to learn for themselves and listen to otosame experts that i dependent -- and listen to the same experts that i depend on to give me good information. we saw the facility in do in. a, where many of the -- we saw the facility in dona where many of the children are. for folks who don't live in a border state or haven't spent much time in 0 border community, it's important to see the situation firsthand and learn from the experts i mentioned a moment ago. i worked with folks in the rio grande valley dilute my time in the senate to ensure that these places are safe and vibrant. these communities have valuable insight into the policies that have led to this crisis and the ones that we need to put in place to turn things around.
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i appreciate these experts who spent time sharing their feedback with all after us, who have been interested enough to travel to otoborder, and the colleagues who visited there. i'm grad that our colleagues were able to see and learn pour more about the unique challenges facing our communities and our nation when it comes to uncontrolled, overwhelming masses of humanity. to read news stories about the thousands of children that are brought to the united states alone is heartbreaking, to see their faces, though, and learn more about the devastating circumstances in which they were brought here is also nothing short of heartbreaking. at the kay bailey hutchison convention center in dallas, which is now serving as a shelter for 2,300 young boys, i heard from one young boy arrived in the united states after a three-month trek from central america on foot. he told us he spent time hiding in jungles along the way and that food was scarce through
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much of their journey h as you can imagine, he was happy to be in a safe shelter receiving three square meals a day. he was understandably soft-spoken about his long and treacherous journey, and i'm sure he experienced hardships that you and i could hardly imagine; certainly circumstances we would never want our honor or grandchildren to experience. last week some truly disturbing allegations came out about abuse in one of the temporary facilities in san antonio. as i said, these children have arrived in our children after a perilous journey. many arrived sick, malnourished and having endured abuse, including assault along the way. the fact that any of these forms of abuse could occur while in the care of the united states government is despicable. i have called on the inspector general of health and human services to fully investigate these allegations of sexual
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assault at the joe freeman coliseum. i hope that the administration will support our efforts to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure that no child is ever subjected to any level of mistreatment while in our care. the real kicker in all of this is that, as all of this is unfolding, the kayo tees, the smugglers, and the cartels that bring these children no our border are getting richer and richer and richer. border patrol says it is common for families to pay thousands of dollars to the coyotes to bring children to america, with near the 19,000 caught last month alone, it is easy to see how profitable this business is. let's say that cartels charge $5,000 a head, a low estimate based on some of the figures that i have seen. that would mean these criminals brought in nearly $100 million in revenue in march alone just from smuggling children.
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these cartels, these transnational criminal organizations tactics include dropping children as young as three years old over the top of a 14-foot segment of the border wall or allowing a six-month-old child to be thrown from a raft in the rio grande river to avert border patrol. this has to stop, madam president. we can get into an argument about who is to blame. but that doesn't change the more important matter about who has the power to stop it. first, president biden needs to acknowledge the scope of this the crisis and commit to addressing it along with us in the congress. all we've gotten from the white house so far are statements telling migrant now is not the time to come, as though they will let everyone know when the time to come is appropriate. two and a half weeks ago the president tapped vice president harris to lead efforts to address this crisis, and i
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thought this was a sign that the administration was finally ready to take some informed action. but the vice president hasn't made a single trip to the border yet, and there's not even one on the horizon. and then she seemed to walk back that, no, her assignment wasn't at the border; it was to engage in diplomacy with countries in central america. simple statements urging people not to come are meaningless when all of the policies represent a flashing green light. that's especially true when central americans hear messages from their family and friends who have made it to america, that the door is wide open and they will be let in h the administration must take action and implement policies that discourage parents from sending their children on this very perilous and dangerous journey in the hands of human schmuck s&lars and criminals into -- human smugglers and criminals into the united states. and we have a big role to play, too, madam president.
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immigration reform hack one of my greatest frustrations throughout my time here. previous attempts to make lasting changes led to bills that were so big that they crumbled under their own amendment. i hope we can all agree that this is not the time to repeat that history. we need to take action to address the crisis at hand now without extraneous matters that could be and should be taken -- changes made down the line. i am working with some simplify our democratic colleagues to achieve this end, and i'm seeinger to share more details soon. republicans and democrats must work together to address this crisis and to bring order out of chaos and to protect the innocent children who are being harmed. legal immigration has been one of the cornerstones of our great country throughout our history. legal immigration is generous, it's safe, it's orderly, and it's fair. illegal immigration and the
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horrors that it brings along with it, some of which we've learned about on our recent trips to the border, are not humane; they are -- they dishonor the willingness of the people who want to come to the country legally to pay the patiently in line by jumping ahead of them in line. as i say, the cartels and human smugglers know our laws and our vulnerabilities better than we do and they're promoting it each and every day and -- and they're exploiting it each and every day and we've got to bring it to an end. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. portman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. ohio, sorry. mr. portman: close enough. thank you, madam president. i'm here on the floor of the senate this evening to talk about our shared national priorities for addressing the nation's infrastructure needs and my concerns, really deep concerns, about the plan the biden administration has outlined and specifically the way they intend to pay for it. i don't think there's a single member in this chamber who does not recognize the need to invest in america's infrastructure. our net wherebis of roads, bridges, ports, and railroads have played an integral role in our economy and yet according to a 2019 report, the most recent one we have, the us in only ranks 13th in the world on infrastructure based on factors like the quality of our roads, how efficient our trains are and access to electricity and water. so we can and should do more to
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improve our infrastructure. particularly as competitors like china make substantial investments in their own infrastructure every year. and we can do so in a bipartisan way, just as we have always done. in fact, last congress the senate environment and public works committee approved bipartisan infrastructure legislation by a unanimous vote of 21-0. that was just last congress, 21-0. this bipartisan approach last congress totaled $287 billion, a substantial amount, and one we had yet to figure out how to pay for. the current transportation bill that's in place, the so-called infrastructure bill from a few years ago, is about $310 billion. yet even as we have to figure out how to fund the bipartisan $287 billion package for roads and bridges from last year, a
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substantial amount in its own right, the biden administration recently introduced its own infrastructure plan that totals $2.7 trillion. almost ten times as much. at the core of this biden administration proposal is $620 billion in infrastructure broadly defined. it's a generous definition of roads and bridges and other physical transportation and water components that have traditionally been considered infrastructure. so a generous definition would be that out of the $2.7 trillion, $620 billion could be called infrastructure, based on the way democrats and republicans alike have always look add it. again, that would include water, electricity, other forms of transportation, not just roads and bridges. so about 20% of the biden administration infrastructure bill actually fits the bill.
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the reason the overall package costs $2.7 trillion is because they have included a broad set of liberal priorities that are a far cry from what has ever been defined as infrastructure, by either democrats or republicans. so i guess knowing the popularity of infrastructure -- and it is popular; people want to see their roads and bridges repaired -- the biden administration has simply redefined the words to include hundreds of billions of dollars of spending on priorities like health care, federal office buildings and other facilities, research and development, electric vehicle manufacturers and more. according to the biden administration, paid leave is now infrastructure. child care is now infrastructure. caregiving is now infrastructure. while many are worthy causes and should be debated and voted on separately, they don't belong in infrastructure bills. this approach is troubling to me and i know to many of my
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colleagues, some on both sides of the aisle, because it is a continuingation of the raw partisanship that defined the latest covid-19 spending package in march. temporary than find a good faith with republicans the biden administration and senate democrats apparently are once again looking into potentially using reconciliation to jam republicans. to pass another trillion dollar-plus spending bill with a simple 50-vote majority. and, like covid-19, infrastructure has always been bipartisan. so if you can't be bipartisan on covid-19 and you can't be bipartisan on infrastructure, what can you be bipartisan about? this partisan approach, by the way, is the opposite of what president biden pledged on the campaign trail and in his inauguration address. in his gnawing address, he -- in
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his inaugural address, he talked about the need for bipartisanship and unity. i agreed with thatcy assessment and said so at the time. unfortunately, he has apparently listened to the more strident voices in his party and has gone down the partisan path. as with the $1.9 trillion covid spending package last march, the end result could be another spending bill that is far higher than it needs to be at a time of record debt and deficits and another partisan bill that further divides us at a time when we are already too divided. in fact, about a quarter of the biden plan is not paid for at all. taking us further into debt. but even more troubling to me is that the democrats plan to pay for roughly $2 trillion of this plan with massive tax increases on american workers and consumers and by making us less competitive in the global economy. this would completely reverse the progress we have made over the past few years in making
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america competitive again. thanks to the 2017 tax reforms that the biden proposal would largely dismantle, in the couple of years before covid-19, we saw record growth in jobs and wages, with the lowest poverty rate since the federal government started keeping track of it 60 years ago. in promoting the biden tax increases, treasury secretary janet yellen claims we need to reverse the 2017 tax reforms because they encourage businesses to move jobs out of the country. the reality is just the opposite. the 2017 tax reforms stopped the so-called corporate tax inversions which caused american companies to become foreign companies and move jobs and investment out of america because of our uncompetitive tax laws. this happened to a number of companies in ohio and in every state practically represented in this chamber. the 2017 reforms also stopped the lockout effect that kept
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foreign profits of u.s. companies overseas. they weren't prig -- bringing the profits back. instead, $1.6 trillion in overseas earnings has come back to the united states and was invested right here at home. most importantly for working families, 70% of the savings from the corporate tax cuts went into workers' wages, contributing to 19 straight months of wage growth of over 3% annually that we enjoyed before the pandemic. this wage goat was really welcome in my home state of ohio where we had lower wages or flat wages for more than a decade. and by the way, who benefited most from this wage increase, 19 straight months of wage increases? lower and middle income workers. exactly what should have been happening. thanks to the 2017 reforms, the largest u.s. companies also increased their domestic research and development expenditures by 25%, which amounts to $707 billion more
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r&d, and they further increased capital expenditures by 20%, aided by this return of foreign profits. all of this u.s. investment job creation and new r&d would be put at risk by these proposed tax hikes. under the biden plan, which we've heard is raising the corporate rate from 21% to 28%, in actuality, the combined federal and state corporate rate would go from 25.8% where it is now when you include the state and federal. other countries like china don't have any state income tax under corporations. they just have the federal rate. so we would be going from 25.8% -- by the way, which is already above the average of 23.4% for other developed countries, so-called oecd countries. it would go from 25.8% up to a staggering 32.8%, the highest rate in the developed world. our tax rate would once again be
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higher than china's, and higher than any country in the developed world -- japan, europeans. this is exactly what we got away from in 2017, and it's what on a bipartisan basis there was a consensus for us to do. maybe not the exact rate but the idea was to make america competitive again. i cochaired a task force with a fellow senator, a democrat from across the aisle, chuck schumer, on the finance committee, and we came up with this idea of saying let's go to a territorial type tax system and let's lower the rate so that we can be competitive around the world, and that's what happened and it's working. and now for some reason, the biden administration says we want to reverse all that. these abrupt tax hikes, which actually would be five times as large as its corresponding corporate tax cuts in 2017, would make our workers and our businesses less competitive globally. at a time when our economy is just starting to recover.
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the biden plan goes well beyond making our tax rates uncompetitive again. it also doubles the tax on so-called global and tangible low tax income or glti, making it more costly to operate outside the united states, more costly than any other companies in the developed world. it unfairly punishes american workers who have their jobs here in america supporting international operations. in ohio, for example, we have procter and gamble. it's headquartered in my hometown. they rely on overseas production to serve foreign markets in an affordable manner. they are not going to ship diapers from here overseas because it's not cost competitive. so for the foreign markets, they will make diapers in those foreign countries. however, by doing so, they employ thousands of ohioans and others around this country who
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support those international sales. so all the back office work, the sales work, the research and development and so on is done here. the proposed biden tax increases would make such companies uncompetitive overseas, resulting in us losing markets there and losing u.s. jobs. remember, no other developed country in the world does this except us. no other country taxes these companies on their foreign profits. we got away from that on purpose, and we essentially established a minimum tax which, again, hardly any country in the world has but we wanted to have some balance here. now under this proposal from the biden administration, that tax would be more than doubled. it's going to hurt us. the biden administration also proposes to eliminate a provision regarding what's called foreign derived intangible income, fdii. in 2017, we put fdii in place
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for a very simple reason, and there seemed to be a consensus about that, which is to provide a carat to u.s. companies to do their research and development here in america. it incentivized companies to bring that research back and to keep that research here. it worked to create high-skill and high-wage jobs. for example, google, cisco, facebook brought all of their intellectual property home, all of their i.p. home. and we hear from other u.s. t.p.s. like intel and disney who kept their i.p. in the united states due to this tax law change. why would we want that to go overseas? the biden administration claims that it wants the united states to be more competitive, yet these proposed tax increases do just the opposite. it makes no sense that while china and other countries are increasing subsidies to businesses that innovate, the united states would be punishing our workers and global companies, making them less competitive. in what amounts to an astounding
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admission of how deeply flawed these proposals are, when treasury secretary janet yellen announced a proposal to increase taxes we have just talked about, she actually went out of her way to make a plea to other countries around the world. she asked them to raise their own corporate tack rates, to increase their own taxes to ensure, as she said, a more level playing field. understanding the nature of the intense global competition, our competitors are doing just the opposite. it's naive to think that because we're going to raise our taxes and ask them to do the same that they would do that. they want more of the jobs and investment in their country. in fact, just this past week, the finance minister of ireland, when asked about this, said no, they have no interest in raising taxes. ireland is one of those countries that's made themselves competitive and resulted in our tax law changes because they were taking jobs away from us. and now we were bringing this
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i.p. and these jobs back. ireland, china, these other countries, they are going to continue to lower barriers to attract capital in jobs. it's wishful thinking at best to think because we're going to raise our taxes, they are going to raise theirs. the biden plan would mean america standing alone atop the corporate tax rate chart among all developed countries, standing alone, leaving our businesses and workers to suffer the cost. a fact borne out from multiple studies, including from the nonpartisan congressional budget office that shows that it is workers who bear most of the burden of higher taxes in the form of lower wages and lost jobs. it's not the corporations. it's the workers. as i said before, there is a clear need for us to reinvest in american infrastructure. i think we can all agree on that. republicans and democrats alike want to do it, and right now in the key committee of jurisdiction, by the way, the senate environmental and public works committee, bipartisan
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negotiations are ongoing. this is the same committee that had a unanimous vote last congress on the transportation legislation. they're talking right now about how to put together a bipartisan package. that's the right way to do it. go through regular order, allow democrats and republicans alike to offer their ideas. there is also a group of republicans and democrats outside of the committee who have met and are looking for a more sensible way forward. among that group, there are others as well. the partisan approach by the biden administration looks to be taking us down the road of another trillion dollar-plus spending package jammed through congress with no support from the other side of the aisle. that's not good for this institution, it's not good for this country. it's not the way to get things done. instead of a $2.7 trillion plan that goes way beyond any reasonable definition of infrastructure and is mostly paid for with a devastating tax
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hike on u.s. workers and our economy, let's do what we know works. a bipartisan approach focused on what we have all agreed is infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, rail, broadband, other true infrastructure. i believe if we take that more targeted approach, we can build on the bipartisan framework this congress has achieved in recent years and work together to find commonsense ways to fund infrastructure legislation, including user fees, which is what we have always used in the past, without resorting to partisan tax hikes which reduced the competitiveness of u.s. workers, u.s. companies, and undermined investment in our country. i hope we take that better approach. i yield back my time.
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mrs. blackburn: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. we have just listened to senator portman, and you are hearing others of us on the republican side of the aisle talk about the elevated levels of spending and how our democratic colleagues have seemed to lose touch with the american people. this is something that appears to have happened at lightning speed. it really began on the very first day of the biden administration. it started with the stroke of a pen and a stream of executive orders. on day one, president biden made a decision that he would weaken our border and with that stroke of a pen, he destroyed hundreds, hundreds, thousands of good-paying union jobs right in
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the middle of a pandemic. and that was by eliminating the keystone pipeline. with every decision, he has made it abundantly clear that he came back to washington not to serve this country but to advance an agenda pushed by the most radical left wing of the democratic party. that being said, the white house has a problem because the american people have figured out what they are up to, and as i have been home for the past couple of weeks, i have talked to tennesseans from every political division. they're democrats, republicans, independents. they're unaffiliated. they're concerned citizens. and it bothers them what they
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are seeing from this white house. how could they not have, after seeing senate democrats spend $1.9 trillion on coronavirus relief, that spent just 9% of that price tag on testing and health care jobs. if that di -- if that didn't do it, senate president biden tipped them out when he nominated a health and human services secretary with no experience and a homeland security secretary who believes we should have unsecured borders. you cannot make this up. people are astounded with this. so when people back home in tennessee saw president biden's latest proposal for a $2 trillion so-called
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infrastructure bill, they weren't particularly shocked to see that very little of this legislation has to do with infrastructure. just three mobtses into the -- months into the new administration and already they know this is just another vehicle for the left's wish list. the most frustrating thing about it is tennesseans have repeatedly told me that a smart, targeted plan to fund infrastructure improvements would make a tremendous difference in local communities and in our state. they support that type investment. they want to see that, roads, bridges, waterways, highways, broadband, airports. they are for that. what they don't support is an administration that repeatedly promises one thing and then
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chooses to do the opposite. just like last month's over the top spending bill, this month's multitrillion dollar boondoggle isn't just a waste of taxpayers' dollars, it's a missed opportunity to rebuild parts of our economy that were struggling to keep up before the pandemic hit. here's a number for your talking points. less than 6%. and what is less than 6%? madam president, that is the amount -- that's the percentage of this $2 trillion bill that actually goes to infrastructure projects. less than 6%. tennesseans are asking me, how could this possibly happen?
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we've been talking about having an infrastructure bill now for about three years, and you bring a bill forward, the democratic leadership does, and less than 6% goes to infrastructure. now, this sounds like a familiar tactic. redefine your standards, put less than 10% of your funding toward your stated purpose and then throw the rest into yet another handout for projects that would not stand a chance. they wouldn't have a snowball's chance of receiving public support on their own, much less 60 votes here in this chamber. president biden's american jobs plan ignores rural tennesseans who have to navigate flood
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plains to get to work or to get to school. it bypasses crumbling bridges they can't avoid, but it sure does pay a lot of attention to green new deal policies that were nonstarters even before speaker pelosi lost ground in the house. climate change studies and union payout takes precedent over roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways. in fact, this absurd scheme spends more on taxpayers' money on electric cars than on all of those things combined. yes, you heard me correctly. this so-called infrastructure bill spends more money -- more of your hard-earned tax dollars
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on electric cars than on all of the roads, bridges, highways, ports, airports, and waterways. that is correct. another day, another power grab made worse by job-destroying corporate tax increases that will put american companies at a global disadvantage. it's no wonder democrats have been working overtime to stretch the definition of infrastructure past the point of reason. these days entire white house press briefings rely on the idea that the definition of infrastructure will continue to evolve. as they say, it's going to evolve to make it include whatever the democrats decide that it should include. it's a time-honored liberal trick that has run its course.
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they can tweet that lie every day for the next four years if they choose, but here in the real world, we're dealing with an economy still in recovery, major industries in crisis, and millions of families who are working terribly hard and long hours to just make ends meet. what we're seeing here isn't just a disconnect. this is an administration attempting to impose their socialist vision on a country that cannot sustain the cost. to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, i want to be clear. that vision of america that you have invented to fulfill this purpose does not exist. it's time to come up for air and talk a little reality. i know it's a popular thing here in washington to claim that elections have consequences, but
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on your first day back in power, the democratic power got together and marched right across the line that separates consequences from punishment. punishment, that's what they are all about. i would also encourage my democratic colleagues to remember that when they do this, when they put together these trillion dollar handouts for radical special interest, political pain for their opponents isn't the only result. they are punishing their neighbors, are their friends, communities that are in their states. they are making life harder, much more difficult for local businesses and small business manufacturers, and they are exposing our weaknesses to our
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adversaries. i will tell you, madam president, if president biden and the majority leader shove yet another blank check through this chamber, they are going to find out in a hurry, i really do believe, how little the american people have to give for their leftist agenda. i yield the floor. mrs. blackburn: madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 55, pollly ellen trottenberg of new york to be deputy secretary of transportation signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of polly ellen trottenberg of new york to be deputy secretary of transportation shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 81. the nays are 14. the motion is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. on friday, amazon, one of the world's largest corporations, successfully crushed the most recent union drive at one of their warehouses where workers are organizing for a voice on the job. let's be clear. this was never a fair fight. amazon is perhaps the world's most powerful corporation.
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they would not be raking in profits without the hard work and dedication of its hundreds, hundreds of thousands of american workers. yet amazon unleashed all that corporate power to fight those same workers. they harassed employees with antiunion propaganda. they sent misleading text messages and websites and flyers. workers reported they don't even get enough time to go to the bathroom, to get enough time for bathroom breaks in the warehouse. that's how intense the company's pressure is. and yet when they are able to use the bathroom during this union fight, even there workers are hit with antiunion propaganda flyers on the stall doors. amazon can he and -- demanded the u.s. postal service install a mailbox on site at the warehouse so they could monitor employees' mailing their union election ballots. it's all part of a pattern for amazon. in 2019 amazon fired a staten island warehouse worker who called for unionization.
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amazon monitors employees online communications. last fuel we learned the company planned to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new software to monitor threats like unions. amazon isn't alone. this union busting is standard operating procedure for most companies. a growing number of americans want to join unions. a recent poll found that about half of americans would like to join a union if they could. millennials are the most pro worker, pro union generation since world war ii. the center for economic policy and research reported that 75% of new union members are under the age of 35. i talked to one of those union workers at the end of last month. i spoke to kate from zanesville, ohio who joined uscw not too long ago. we talked about the work she and i and others did to save her future pension and the rescue plan, how her union had helped
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her learn about retirement security and helped her fight for her retirement security. so if all those workers, especially young workers, want to join a union, if they want to have a voice on the job, want to have more control over their work lives, why aren't more union drives successful? pretty important question to ask. pretty obvious answer. because corporations have so much power. one union organizer told a reporter when people hear there's an election, they think everybody gets to vote. there's a secret ballot and so on. what they don't understand, what the public doesn't understand about union elections is that the company has access to the workers. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has enormous influence over their lives if they care to use that influence and so often they do. here's what he said. they can threat. they can give a raise. they can demote. they can grant favors or they
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could not grant favors. every worker knows that. this is what workers organizing are up against. there's nothing close, nothing at all resembling a level playing field for american workers. that's why we need the for act, protecting the right to organize act. comprehensive overall of our labor laws to protect workers' right to stand together and bargain for fair wages and better benefits and safer workplaces. it would level the playing field finally, finally, mr. president, and give workers a fighting chance against corporate union-busting tactics like we saw from amazon. we know what's happened in this country. we know we've seen -- we've seen worker productivity go up. we've seen corporate profits go up. we've seen executive compensation skyrocket upward. yet worker wages are flat. passing the pro act would strengthen the punishment against companies that violate workers' rights to organize and retaliate against union organizers.
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it would close loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors to avoid paying their fair share and to avoid giving workers the ben -- benefits they have earned and that they deserve. a union card is a ticket to a middle class life. when you fight for economic justice by making it available for all workers. we just need corporations to get out of the way, to be neutral, to let workers organize and take control over their careers and their futures. we also need to empower all workers, whether they have chosen to join a union or not. that means paid family and medical leave for all workers. it means a living wage for all workers. means retirement security for all workers. it means power over your life and your schedule. it means overtime pay when you earn it. it means health care for all workers. it's all in the end, mr. president, about the dignity of work. remember what dr. king said, that no labor is really menial.
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no labor is menial unless you're not getting adequate wages. when you love this country you fight for the people who make it work. that's what union organizers do in the nation of overwhelming corporate opposition, like the billion theirs at amazon and it's what all of us must continue to do until all work pays off. mr. president, i ask that the following comments be inserted in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to honor a long time member of my ohio staff matt keyes. matt's last day in our office is tomorrow. before he moves on to a new opportunity, still in ohio, still serving the people of my state, still serving the state that he and i both love. matt's been with our office for seven years working with ohio reporters to inform the public, traveling the state with me to hear from ohioans. we've been to diners and drive-thrus, done press
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conferences in front of small businesses and schools and bridges. before the pandemic we spent hours in crowded union halls. matt has earned the respect of so many ohio reporters. he understands how important their work is to ohio communities. he understands reporters and their contribution to democracy. something we wouldn't have had to bother to say five years ago. he knows every news source in ohio. has built relations with the dedicated journalists who run them. he has a deep understanding of our state. matt knows ohio as well as anyone. he went to college there. he stayed in ohio. he dedicates his life to making our state a place where other young people want to stay. some of the memorable events have been rallies and meetings with workers and retirees around my state fighting to save their peptions. it's fit -- pensions. it's fitting matt ends his time in our office with a huge victory for ohio workers, literally tens and tens of
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thousands of ohio families benefiting from the work we all did together as activists, that matt did, that my staff did, the rest of my staff, that we did together in the american rescue plan to save the pensions that ohioans earn over a lifetime of work. matt got to know these leaders and activists over the years, people like realtime take lewis and mike walden and dana varga. he didn't just listen to their stories about what it would mean to their families to lose their retirement security. he lifted up their voices. that's what -- that's what matt keyes does. that's what good journalists do, communications people do. they listen to their stories about what this situation means to their families. then they lift up their voices. they share those stories with the media and with the country. it's how we got congress to listen. it's how we finally got that done. that's the lesson of matt keyes for young reporters, for young journalists, for young communications directors, for
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young people that want to make a living doing this. i'll miss matt when the road in -- on the road in ohio. i know he will continue to serve our state. i know he will continue to fight for the dignity of work in everything that he does. matt, we will miss you. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask thawct the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 12:00 noon tuesday, april 13. that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of
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morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of polly trottenberg to be deputy secretary of transportation. further, i ask that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. finally, mr. president, that the postcloture time on the trottenberg nomination be considered expired at 2:15 p.m. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. brown: if there's no further business, mr. president, to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until >> the senate gaveling out for the day they worked on the nomination of polly tron berg to be deputy transportation secretary.
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they continue to work on executive nominations and legislation to address hate crimes toward asian americans and pacific islanders. when the senate returns watch live coverage on c-span2. >> the trial for minneapolis police officer derek chauvin he is charged in the death with george floyd. watch tonight beginning at eight eastern on c-span2 or anytime on >> c-span2 is your unfiltered view of government created by america's television company, today we are brought to you by these television companies to provide c-span2 to viewers as a public service. >> joining us in washington lisa, the chief congressional correspondent for the associated press, lawmakers back in washington this week and that we intend white house to do with infrastructure bipartisan


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