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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 19, 2013 9:00am-12:01pm EDT

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can i encourage the prime minister to offer our resources and share our experience of peace talks in these islands to those who are beginning to tread this very difficult path? >> prime minister. >> i think my honorable friend makes an important point, and we do do that. it is a tangible example when you see the first minister and deputy first minister of northern ireland working together. i think we do have experience, and we should certainly share it, and we do that. >> >> [inaudible] gilmore. >> thank you, deputy speaker. i'd like to press the prime minister on the precise words of his statement where he says we will not take any major actions without first coming to this house. could he offer a definition of "major"? >> i think what i'd say is repeat what i said in my statement about major action but put in the proviso i gave to the honorable member, because if you remember in the case with libya or could be the case of other
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action it is sometimes necessary to act very swiftly in defense of the national interest or in the case of could be terrorist kidnap or in terms of not providing information to those that you are engaged with. it's sometimes necessary to take very swift action but, obviously, one would come to the house very swiftly after that as i did in the case of libya and explain. i think these are well known approaches, and i don't think there's anything to be surprised about. >> james morris. >> can i congratulate the prime minister on his approach to syria at the summit, particularly towards an international peace conference. but could i urge him to be very cautious on calls for iran to be involved in that peace conference? because, after all, the iranian regime has been funding its proxy, hezbollah, in syria and has been responsible and complicit with a lot of the atrocities that have been committed by the assad regime. >> i think my honorable friend make an important point, but the
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most important point, of course, is that, you know, for countries to be engaged in any way, they have to sign up for the geneva process. >> [inaudible] >> the g8 tax agreement opens the way to an international tax settlement that is simpler, more transparent, and does my right honorable friend, the prime minister, agree that it potentially benefits those countries that have dropped their corporation tax such as the u.k.? >> well, the point i would make and i think my honorable friend would agree is low tax rates are good for business, and there's nothing wrong with healthy tax competition. but it's important particularly when you set a low tax rate to say to businesses, we have a low tax rate, you now need to pay it, and i think this g8 agenda will help us with that. >> [inaudible] >> thank you, madam speaker. people in the northeast will marley welcome the dialogue on tax dodging. could the prime minister expand what effect this will have on future government tax receipts and the war on poverty? >> prime minister. >> are i think my honorable
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friend is actually right. if we can deal more effectively with tax evasion which as i've said many times raises serious moral issues, if we deal with both of those and garner more revenue, that can help us to keep taxes down on hard working people who do the right thing. that is what should drive us in this whole agenda, and we've recovered a lot of money from some of these territories and bank accounts. we should continue to do so. >> steven metcalf. >> thank you, madam deputy speaker. can i thank my right honorable friend for his recent speech at the london gateway port in my constituency and agree with me that such investment will stimulate world economic growth, encourage free trade but above all, demonstrate that under this government britain is a great place to do business? >> let me commend my honorable friend for standing up so vigorously for his constituency and for this extraordinary investment. i would encourage colleagues who haven't seen this giant port being built on the thames
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estuary, when when you're there, you think surely this must be happening in shanghai or in rio or is somewhere. actually, it's happening right here in the u.k. a massive investment that will cut costs, that will cut costs for consumers and really benefit our country. and they may be chuckling and, you know, they don't care about the important things that are happening in our country. [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> thank you, madam deputy speaker. can i congratulate the prime minister on the progress made at the g8 and particularly the leadership in signing up to the eiti in advance of the summit. >> can i thank him for this question. the eiti is important, and i think it's right that countries like britain should sign it as well as asking developing countries to sign it, and we should also go on and try to help developing countries to meet it because it does put obligations on them which they can't always fulfill. and i think it is a good step forward that so many advanced
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countries have signed this. >> david -- [inaudible] >> i welcome the prime minister's -- [inaudible] pressing for stronger relationships between the e.u. and u.s. vitally important. but does he not agree it's absolutely critical that we pressing if around unrelenting focus -- for an unrelenting focus on growth markets such as china, india and russia in the years ahead? >> my honorable friend is absolutely right about the need to win in this global race, and that's why the announcement i made at the beginning of prime minister's questions about ian living son who's run bt so effectively for the last five years joining the government as trade minister at the end of the year. i think to have secured, first, the someone who secured the services of such a successful business here in the u.k. but also as a presence in about 78 markets overseas, i think, is great for, great for britain and great for our exports, and i'm
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sure he'll be widely welcomed on all sides of the house. >> order. prime minister, thank you haven't. some 70 back benchers tock part in that important statement. if we could now come to the statement university college hospital -- >> vice president joe biden spoke tuesday about white house efforts to reduce gun violence. he announced that the administration has completed or significantly advanced 21 of the 23 executive actions ordered by the president in response to the sandy hook shootings last year. his remarks are 30 minutes. >> good afternoon. my name is steven barton, and i never expected to be standing in this room introducing the vice president. in the same way that i never expected to be a victim of gun violence. about a year ago, i was a few hours south of here on virginia
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beach dipping the rear wheel of a bicycle loaded with camping supplies in the atlantic ocean. i was about to embark on a cross-country bicycle trip that i had been planning for several years with my best friend, ethan. we both had ambitions to live and travel abroad after graduating college. but we realized we had so much yet to learn about our own loved country. beloved country. ethan and i decided the best way to do that would be to spend the summer traveling through middle america's patchwork of farms meeting everyday americans from all walks of life. and so we dipped our wheels in the atlantic one year ago. 43 days and 2,750 miles later, we arrive inside aurora, colorado, where we bought tickets to the midnight premier of the summer blockbuster we'd been talking about, the dark knight rises. i still remember that night vividly. i was hit in the head and torso by shotgun blasts before i'd fully realized what was happening. i fell forward into the aisle
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and listened to the steady report of an assault rifle as warm blood rushed true my neck -- through my neck -- out of my neck and through my fingers. i remember hearing ethan, who was not wounded, yelling at a 911 dispatcher through our cell phone. our host for the night who sat between us and whose ticket we bought out of gratitude for her hospitality had been shot in the head. a winding, unpredictable cross-country journey had led us to one of the worst shootings in america's history. i was 22 years old. i had just graduated from syracuse university. i had a fulbright grant to teach english in russia. if nothing else, i had a cross-country trip to finish. but it wasn't my choice to live that night any more than it was anyone's choice to die. for reasons i still struggle to understand, the shotgun pellets narrowly missed my brain, arteries and heart. the gunman's rifle magazine
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jammed giving me time to escape out the back emergency exit and get to an operating room less than 30 minutes later. ethan escaped without physical injury, and our host miraculously survived without serious damage to her brain. i woke up two doors down from her in the intensive care unit of the hospital a few hours after surgery filled with more than 20 pieces of lead and a renewed sense of vitality. but my optimism was tempered slightly. as i began to place my experience in the greater context of gun violence in america. i was shocked to learn that more than 30 americans are murdered and almost 50 americans commit suicide with a gun every single day. to say nothing of the uncounted sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, neighbors and wounded survivors left behind. i just spent a month and a half, experiencing the best our country has to offer and suddenly i was being confronted by the worst. gun violence isn't just an urban issue as i once believed, nor is it a gang or minority issue.
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it's an american issue that affects us all. i deferred my plans to travel abroad and began working for mayors against illegal guns last september. i had the great fortune of meeting vice president biden a few months ago in new york city hall where he joined michael bloomberg and several families to call on congress to pass legislation on gun violence. this legislation has been blocked, but the president and the vice president's commitment to this issue hasn't faded one bit. on behalf of the hundreds of survivors of gun violence i've met during the course of my work, i thank them for their continued leadership on this issue. today marks an important step forward in our national conversation about reducing gun violence. ladies and gentlemen, the man who's been helping lead that conversation, the vice president of the united states of america, joe biden. [applause] >> folks, thank you. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you very much. if you want reason for optimism, you're looking at it. and if you want a great education, go to syracuse. [laughter] they're the two -- but all kidding aside, isn't this a remarkable young man? absolutely remarkable. and i look forward to working with you and finishing this job. >> thank you, mr. vice president. >> good luck to you. folks, it's good to see so many, so many faces. i had hoped we would have assembled in this auditorium earlier. i had hoped we would have assembled here a couple months ago is celebrating the first in a number of victories that we will have in having the
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congress,44 of our colleagues or was it 45, voted no on a rational, simple, straightforward extension of an existing background check system that already exists and is constitutional permissiblement permissiblement -- permissible. but the first thing i want to say before i begin talking about the subject matter, the specific summit matter today is that we have not given up. janet napolitano has not given up. eric holder has not given up. richard blumenthal has not begin up. congressman elliot engel has not given up. congressman mike thompson has not given up. and speaker brandon sharkey of the connecticut house has not given up. i just wish we'd had the success you'd had up in connecticut with your governor and with your legislature. and mayor pam o'connor of santa monica hasn't given up. nor has carolyn maloney who is
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one of the leading advocates for gun policy who is not here today because she's fighting another fight. she's fighting a fight that we have her in our prayers. she's fighting lung cancer. she'll beat that just like she's going to come back and help us beat this gun lobby that has prevented the kind of rational action from happening. six months ago the president and i stood in this very room joined by the victims of gun violence, parents, teachers, members of law enforcement and many others, many others as we made a simple promise to the american people. we said we will do everything that we can, everything in our power to reduce gun violence in this country. at the time the shock and horror of the massacre at sandy hook was fresh in everyone's mind. only four weeks earlier, the entire country was turning on their television to learn that
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20 first graders had been killed in their classroom. six staff and education personnel had died trying to save them. the entire country, the entire country sitting at the television is a very personal means of communication. you sit there in your living room or your library or your den or your kitchen, and you associate directly with the person on the screen. everyone who watched what was going on sat there, and i'm confident if they had children, imagined, imagined what it would be like if they were getting the phone call. remember the parking lot scene, parents running around not knowing whether they'd go in or out, what was happening with my child? every mother and father, every grandparent in the country kind of felt it in your bones. wondering, what would you do had
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that been my baby? moms called their sons that night and daughters not because they lived anywhere close to newtown, because they just needed to hear their voice. just needed to hear your child's voice, even your grown child. it was instinctive. dad cans tucked their little baby into bed just a little bit tighter and sat there a little bit longer because they wanted to hear the rhythm of their sleep. you know, so i'm here to tell you that the most important be message to take from here today is the president and i, our team, we have not given up. our friends in the house and the senate, they have not given up. we push congress to pass common sense legislation and reduce gun violence, and the majority of the senate stepped up. the majority of the senate stepped up and said that makes sense.
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but because of the invocations of a -- ip vocation of a rule, perverted filibuster rule requiring 60 votes for everything in order to get a vote, we lost. 41 republicans and 4 democrats voted no. i'm confident some of them -- i know for a fact some of them wonder now whether that was a prudent vote. and so the president, when he stood here that first day, said he would do everything within his power, constitutional power, to change the ethic about gun violence in america. and it wasn't merely that he said he laid out we had put together the team i just mentioned, all of us sat together, we interviewed 128 different groups of stakeholders from gun owners to the nra to
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the brady group, police officers, etc. we came up with a list of the rational things that should be done. but that's not all the president was talking about. on that day six months ago, the senator said -- excuse me, the president said that he is going to do everything in his individual power under the executive power of the presidency to take those actions that did not require congressional authority to begin to deal with that problem. and although we have yet to succeed in the house and senate -- but we will -- he moved forward on what was within his power. what executive actions he could take. and today i can report that he announced 23 executive actions, 21 of them have been completed or there's been major progress made toward the total
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completion. and that we're on track to finish the job. for example, we've strengthened existing background check systems. one of the things everybody found out except for eric and i've been doing this, our career, is that there's an awful lot of people in states all around america who under the constitution are disqualified from being able to own a weapon and yet, and their names are held by the states in which they live, and those names have not been communicated to this national system, the national instant background check system. now, under the constitution we are not able to dictate a state take certain actions. so eric and i and others began to inquire why in those states, 17 of them by and large, was
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this information not getting into the system? already accumulated. why were those names not in the system? we got all kinds of reasons, one of which was was, well, the cost. well, the president's proposed $20 million to incentivize those states -- which is easily covering whatever costs they had -- to get all of those names, several million of them, into the background check system. nothing new. the names are already in a file. already in place. and so we're working on that system. we're making sure that law enforcement has the tools at their disposal to combat violence. we're calling on congress to provide the $10 million, for example, the president's already said that these restrictions on the ability of any federal agency to keep any statistics relating to gun violence and to
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study the issue, there's an absolute prohibition that existed. president wiped that prohibition off. and now says he wants to have $10 million to allow the center for disease control to restart the gun violence prevention research they had in the past been doing. why are we afraid of information? an informed society should not be afraid of the facts. we're also working to improve access to mental health care. how much did we read and hear about mental health as a component to this problem and part of the solution to the problem of gun violence? there are too many people experiencing mental health problems who aren't getting the help they need. you know, the most at risk cadre are people between the ages of 16 and 25. who need the most -- not just gun violence, but mental health needs going unmet. so here's what we did.
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we finalized the so-called affordable care act, i call it obamacare, so that coverage of mental health and substance abuse services would be available for 62 million americans for whom they are not available now. a big change. and we made it clear to every state official through direct communications that medicaid must treat mental health care coverage the same way they treat physical health care coverage. god knows how many moms and dads knowing they have a child with a serious problem, i mean, no notion about the abuse of a weapon, knowing but not able to afford, not able to afford to get the mental health care they need whether they're on medicaid or whether or not they have their own private health insurance.
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these are really important actions the president's taken, and time will tell how much positive impact they'll have on this whole issue of gun violence. and there's a number of other executive orders that the president has instituted that are near completion that i won't go into now in the interest of time. but there's one i want to talk about today, and that is the set of guidelines we're releasing today to give schools and communities the tools they need to protect their children. now, a lot of you are professionals out there. i'll bet you your police department was with contacted by about every school district, every school in your district. saying what do i do if this happened in my school? i personally, members of congress were getting calls from their district. i personally was getting calls from around the country. joe, what do we do if anything
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remotely similar to what happened, what happened at sandy hook happens in our community? and so the one thing the federal government can really do well, better than any single jurisdiction, is they can scour the nation and find out best practices. they are able to assess and gather all the resources to say what works best, what are the best evacuation plans, what are the best prevention plans, what are the best actions that could and should be taken in the event of a shooter in a school? we provided guidelines in the past, but different agencies sometimes had different messages. so under the leadership of our team, we brought in homeland security which includes fema, the single best disaster relief operation in the world, the fbi, we brought in the, in addition
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to the fbi, we brought in the justice department overall, we brought in, instead, we insisted that they sit down together -- not separately, together -- and make sure they were all on the same page as what were the single best recommendations that could be made. so there's a coherence to this. they all have had significant input in dealing with disasters. and so we put them together in one room with more than 100 experts from law enforcement to higher education, from k-12 teachers to first responders to emergency planners. and we said all of you come up with what you think are the best practices, the most concrete recommendations that you could give us that will enable us to
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teach or prepare or lay out a menu for the school districts and churches. the interesting thing is i think it surprised most people a little bit, remember eric and i sitting there, and we had the faith leaders. the faith leaders not only wanted to talk about making schools safer, they know, they're worried that their congregations are at risk. so they wanted to know what should they be thinking about when someone stands up in the middle of a congregation and decides to do something similar to what we saw in the schools? so we gave concrete direction. we are going to -- there are three documents that are being made available today, a guide for developing high quality school emergency operation plans, and that is for k-12, and a guide for developing high quality emergency operation plans for institutions of higher
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learning, and a guide for developing high quality emergency operation plans for houses of worship. so toward that end, we took a very, very hard look, and when a school principal gets in touch with the federal government looking for advice, as i said, they shouldn't hear from the justice department and then the department of education and the department of homeland security, we've got to make this bite-sized, we've got to make it understandable, and we've got to make it available. the best thinking in the country. and we made sure the guidance reflects all the lessons, all the lessons we've learned over the years to insure that schools, higher education, house of worship have an opportunity to share the latest and best knowledge as an advancement in emergency planning. all that work has been distilled down to the guidebooks i referenced. these books outline a detailed process that every school, every
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institution, every house of worship should go through to create their own plan within the framework of the best policies available. the guidebooks ask each school or house of worship to consider the fundamental questions that go into the kind of planning and to come up with answers to the questions in close collaboration with local first responders. so the practical impact is we're asking and suggesting in addition to the specific guidelines we provide is asking a school district or a school that wants to put in place the best emergency plan to call a meeting, call a meeting with their local government officials, call a meeting with the police officers, with the first responders, with the fire department, etc., and sit down and go through what are the unique aspects of their concern in their school. it details what information can and cannot be shared, for
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example. there's three pieces to this. one, what can we do through these guidelines to maybe prevent, prevent a shooter or disaster from occurring in a school? one of the things those of you who are in education know, my wife's an educator, is that there are a number of rules that are out there to protect privacy, the privacy of the student. so it can't be misused. so there's all kinds of federal regulations. actually, three big ones. and so school districts and school officials are calling in saying what am i able to make available? what can be shared about a student or an adult's mental health, past behavioral patterns? what can be shared about their background where i don't violate the law? what am i able to share? share with the parents, share with the law enforcement officials and share with those
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in the school system. so that we may be able to nip in the bud the threatening behavior that we see and is obvious in some students. it also talks about locks and barriers and walls that can be used to protect children. we make sure the planners are asking the right questions. what are you going to do if there's an emergency? how are you going to find out? who needs to know? what's your plan for alerting teachers and students? where should they go? how will you make sure the students with disabilities can be taken care of? if there's a fire, do you have an evacuation route? if route is blocked, what's the alternative route? if, god forbid, there's an active shooter, how are you going to alert the people? do teachers know what they should do? these books will tell you what to do, and they start with a conversation -- >> watch all of this at c-span.org. we'll take you now to the floor of the u.s. senate where they will continue work on the immigration bill.
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the measure would boost security and workplace enforcement allowing tens of thousands of new and high-skilled workers into the country. it would create a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. the number of amendments, including one from senator john cornyn today, requiring tighter border security. now live coverage of the u.s. senate. the chaplain: let us pray. god of our forebears, you have been our refuge in every generation. don't forsake us during these challenging days. lord, enlighten our lawmakers so that they will be led by your spirit as they trust you to guide them with your loving providence.
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give them the wisdom to walk on the road beaten hard by the footsteps of the saints, apostles, prophets and marytrs. may they not forget the glorious heritage you have prepared for those who love you. strengthen them, oh god, with your mighty arms, enabling them to serve your purpose for their lives in this generation. we pray in your sovereign name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america
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and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., june 19, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable william cowan, a senator from the commonwealth of massachusetts, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following the remarks of me and senator mcconnell the senate will be in morning business for an hour. republicans will control the first half. the majority the final half. following morning business the senate will resume consideration of the immigration bill. now, mr. president, we have in
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order a number of amendments that are now pending. and i would hope that the managers of this bill will work to get times set for these amendments, time agreements, and we'll work out a time to do these as quickly as we can. but we have to have an agreement to move forward on these amendments. and i would suggest i don't want and i don't think we should have to move to table any of the amendments or anything like that. i think we should be able to have votes on these. i look forward to the managers working out a time agreement on these amendments so we can move forward and move on to something else in this bill as quickly as possible. mr. president, a young woman by the name of ro xanna began an
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immigration success story. her family moved to cuba in the 1950's. roxanna was born in the united states. she is an american citizen. she wrote to me last month. here's what she said. "i'm proud to say this country has always been my home." close quote. when she met her husband, genarro, she saw a different side of the immigration system. he came to the united states 15 years ago and he didn't have proper documentation, proper paperwork. he left mexico for the same reasons roxanna's parents left cube. to try -- left cuba, to try hard to build a better life. he worked tremendously long hours when he got here doing odd jobs for a few dollars a day. then he got a job doing construction, did a little better and there he did real well because he met roxanna. they met in 2003 and soon
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petitioned to have his undocumented status adjusted. although they initially received a letter from the immigration officials that gave them hope, they have lived in limbo now for ten years. because he's undocumented, he worries every day of being arrested and deported. every day. and he has nightmares every night. that he'll be separated from the love of his life: house and -- e love of his life, his american life. here's what she wrote. quote, we pay our taxes. we've never been in trouble with the law. we don't stand on corners asking for money. we work very hard to make ends meet. we have friends and family who we love and who love us. yet we still feel like we're not wanted here." close quote. genarro is one of 11 million people in america without proper documentation. many of those are parents,
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siblings or spouses of u.s. citizens. some of them overstayed their visas. some crossed the border illegally. others were brought here by their parents when they were only children. as i recited two days ago, one example in las vegas, was seven months old when she came here, carried on her father's shoulders. irregardless of how they got here or why they lack proper documents, these 11 million people play a crucial role in our economy and vital role in our communities. mr. president, that was proven last night at 5:00 when the congressional budget office, this nonpartisan arm that we look to for direction with what things cost and don't cost here on capitol hill with our legislation, they issued a statement yesterday that this bill certainly, that's on the floor today, this bill certainly
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is good for the economy. as i will say a couple times during my brief remarks here, it's going over the next two decades, what's left in this one and the next decade, reduce the deficit in america by almost $1 trillion. of course as we've said here previously, previous to getting the report from c.b.o., this legislation is good for the economy and good for security. that's a good package. well, mr. president, these 11 million people need a pathway to get right with the law. a commonsense bipartisan reform proposal before the senate will help them do just that. it will reduce illegal immigration by strengthening our borders. it will fix our broken immigration system and crack down on unskraoup less employers -- unskraoup louse employers who take advantage of many of these people who are
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desperate. this measure on the senate floor provides a route to earn citizenship for 11 million people who are already here, and some have been here for a long, long time. the process for them is not easy. they don't go to the front of the lean. -- to the front of the line. they go to the back of the line. but they at least are in the line. they have to work, pay taxes, stay out of trouble and work on english. now, mr. president, this legislation will also recognize that the alternative to earn citizenship -- that is to deporting 11 million people -- is not sensible. we don't have the money. we cannot do it fiscally and we cannot do it fiscally. i'm sorry. we cannot do it fiscally and we cannot do it physically. and that's for sure. so, detaining and deporting
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every unauthorized immigrant would cost more each year than the entire budget for the department of homeland security. not only is mass deportation impractical, not to mention cruel, it's the wrong approach for our economy. again, mr. president, $1 trillion reduction in our deficit if we pass this bill, which we will, here in the senate. immigration reform that includes a road map to citizenship will boost our national economy, i repeat, and increase our security. helping eight million immigrants who are already working, of the 11 million that are here that are working, some as we heard from roxann, jobs aren't that great, but they're working. you know, just like she says, already working. they need to get right with the law. it will mean billions of new
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revenue for our country. it will mean every u.s. resident pays his or her fair share. that's one reason overwhelmingly the majority of americans support the legislation on the floor. not 51-49. an overwhelming number of americans. democrats, independents and republicans. but immigration reform isn't just an economic issue. mr. president, it's a moral issue. this bipartisan proposal will allow immigrants to stay with those they love, with their u.s. citizen children in many, many instances. it will allow genarro to stay with his american wife. this is her final plea in this letter she wrote. "i pray you will open your heart to millions like me. all we ask is a chance at the pathway to citizenship and a peaceful chance to live our
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lives like millions in this country." her country, our country, my country. mr. president, i urge all senators on this side of the aisle, as we say, and republican senators to keep her wish, her prayer, a prayer and a wish she shares with 11 million human beings that are here in america today. this prayer, this wish should be in all of our minds and in our hearts the next few days. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: last year president obama was asked about
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the lessons he had learned from his first term. instead of focusing on errors and judgment or policy, he seemed to indicate that he really just needed to do a better job, just a better job of telling a story to the american people. in other words, the policy was just fine. and if americans didn't get it, it was because they had a listening problem. well, that's an attitude that's really come to define this administration. and i would say that's why folks will be rallying on the capitol grounds today. they, like a growing number of americans, are losing faith in government. they think it's working against them, not for them. and for good reason. let's take obamacare. this law has been pretty unpopular for several years now, and it's not like the american people haven't been exposed,
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probably overexposed to the arguments on both sides of the issue. obamacare must have been discussed hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of times over the past few years. that includes political debates, more speeches than any of us care to count, issue ads both pro and con. and guess what? americans still don't like the idea of obamacare. not because they are unable to understand, but because they just haven't seen the right messenger. it's because most of them like their health care plan and want to keep it. it's because they don't want to pay more to the health insurance companies. and it's because they don't think the law's going to work as promised. and yet, the washington democrats' explanation for obamacare is enduring
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unpopularity still seems to be the law is just too complicated for their constituents to understand. and the washington democratic solution seems to be not to actually change the policy, but to spend millions in a campaign-style p.r. -- p.r. blitz. so the news flash would be this: if you still don't think americans are able to understand a law you passed more than three years ago, then there's something wrong with the law, not with the american people. instead of going around the country trying to convince americans why they're wrong, the administration could actually listen for a change. i think they should start over on health care and embrace the types of commonsense, step-by-step reforms that would actually lower the cost. i'm not holding my breath that that's going to happen. so at a minimum -- at a
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minimum -- they need at least to do this: the president and members of his cabinet and the congressional democrats, congressional democrats who voted for this law need to get out and explain to americans what's headed their way. do don't feed them a sunny picture. actually explain the reality of the situation to them. for instance, americans need to know about the coming wave of premium hikes. we've already seen projected double-dynel i thindouble-digite states. they need to know that we're likely to see more americans lose the health care they want to keep, just like the thousands of californians who have have to look for new plans after aetna pulled out of their state, almost certainly because of obamacare. and they need to know that they could lose their jobs or see their hours cut or struggle to find work in the first place. in fact, a recent survey showed
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that about 70% -- 70% -- of small businesses say the law will make it harder -- harder -- for them to hire. americans need to know all these things because neend t they neeo prepare for them. and it is unhelpful when the president claims that those who already have changes won't see - who already have health care won't see changes, as he did just a few weeks ago. he owes it to the country to be frank about that. it's time to get off the campaign trail, call off the p.r. spin mighters, put down the -- spin meisters, put down the -- it's time to level with the american people. it's been over 140 days now since we settled here in the senate the issue of the senate's rules. we settled it conclusively, not
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only this january but actually january two years before that. what happened this january is we had an extensive bipartisan discussion about what rules or standing orders we might change. in the wake of that discussion, we passed two rules changes and two standing orders, and the majority leader said -- well, this is what he stwied years ago. "i agree that the proper way to change the senate rules is through the procedures established in those rules, and i will oppose any effort in this congress or the next to change the senate's rules other than through the regular order." now, that was in january of 2011. this year -- what he said back in 2011 -- and the reason i put that up, even though that was a
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previous congress, he said this congress or the next congress, the congress we're in now. so this january i said to the majority leader, "i would confirm that the senate would not consider other resolutions relating to any standing order or rules this congress unless they went through the regular order process?" that was this january, just a few months ago, a little over 140 days. and the majority leader said "that is correct. any other resolutions related to senate procedure would be subject to a regular order process including consideration by the rules committee." now that's not ambiguous, mr. president. that's not ambiguous at all. and so the reason i and my colleagues have been talking about this repeatedly is this is a huge institutional issue. and the naive notion that somehow you can break the rules of the senate to change the
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rules of the senate for nominations only was laid out by senator alexander yesterday, in which he suggested a hypothetical series of measures that, if i were in the job the majority leader is currently in a year and a half from now, would be a very appealing agenda. -- to my side. things like repealing obamacare, things like national right-to-work, things like opening anwr. now, i would say to my friends on the other side that that's not something that they would be very excited about. but, you know, in american politics, things change. and there is a tendency when you are in the majority to be kind of arrogant about it and to
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think that the rules of the senate are unnecessarily inconvenient to what you're trying to achieve. well, the senate was designed from the very beginning -- george washington was actually asked during the constitutional convention, what do you think the senate is going to be like? he said, i think it's going to be like the saucer under the teacup. the tea is going to slosh out of the teacup 13w50 th onto the sad cool off. written right into the constitution is "advise and consent." the senate has a role to playe n nominations, which seemed to be the fixation of the majority at the moment, even though there's no evidence whatsoever that this administration has been treated poorly with regard to either executive branch nominations or judicial -- no evidence at all. this is a manufactured crisis. nevertheless, they seem to be focused on nominations. what do my friends in the
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majority think advise and consent means? apparently they think it means, sit down an shut up. do what i say when i tell you to. i don't think that's what the founding fathers had in mind. so there are a number of reasons why we shouldn't go down this road. number one, the majority leader gave his word, and your word is the currency of the realm in the senate. that ought to end it right there. number two, don't assume that you can just sort of surgically break the rules of the senate to change the rules of the senate for nominations only. and, number three, i think it would be appropriate, since the american people change their mind from time to time about who they would like to be in the majority in congress, and think about the consequences when the shoe is on the other foot. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first half. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, we obviously are talking about immigration this week and last week and next week. i am one of those who, after many years working on this subject, i hope we are successful in passing what i believe is good, credible immigration reform. i've come to the conclusion, like many americans, that the status quo is simply unacceptable. i've talked a little bit about some of the bodies and unmarked graves that i witnessed myself
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in brooks county, texas, where under the current broken system people come across the border from faraway lands only to die trying to get into this country and be buried in unmarked graves in places like brooks county. i've met with a young woman who was prostituted after having been brought into the united states from central america, where she worked in a houston nightclub, where she was basically held as an indentured servant or slave because she knew that she was vulnerable to deportation and so the person who brought her there and put her in that situation knew they had the power to keep her quiet and not disclose what was happening while she was living a horrific existence. those are just a couple of examples why i believe our system is broken and neither serves our economic interests
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nor represents our american values. so i want a good solution to this, but it's not just what happens here in the senate. this is -- that's not the end game. the end game is what happens when this bill goes to the house and once the house and the senate get together in a conference committee and reconcile the differences between those two bills to see if we can actually get a bill that reflects our values and that represents our economic interests. things like recruiting the best and the brightest minds from around the world to stay here in america and to create jobs here. those are some of the things that i think are positive things in the underlying bill that we need to preserve. but there are other issues we need to fix, and that's what i want to talk about right now. last night the congressional budget office released its longawaited report on the -- it's long-awaited report on the bungdz ed underlyinunderlying bf
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eight bill. the report is a blizzard of numbers and estimates and projections. but here are two i want to talk about in particular: you see them reflected 0ening this champlet i think thi chart. i think it is going to a shocking revelation to most people who thought this bill would actually fix our broken immigration system. it says "the number of new unauthorized immigrants in the u.s. by 2033" with the passage of the underlying bill -- 7.5 million; without it -- 10 million. so what we see reflected in the congressional budget office, which is the coin of the realm, the gold standard, whatever you want to call it around here -- love it or hate it -- and we all find ourselves on different sides depending on the issue -- but the gold standard, the congressional budget office, says this bill will not fixed
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underlying problem. in other words, despite all the promises and perhaps i might say the hopes and the dreams and the good intentions of the authors of this underlying bill, this bill will have only a minimal impact on illegal immigration. does that sound like the kind of solution that we owe to the american people to solve this broken system? does this sound like a solution to solve our long-term problem in this area? well, i want to take just a moment to discuss another portion of the bill that's gone largely unnoticed by most of the country. bibut first lebut first let me e remarks by my colleague from arizona, senator mccain, yesterday. i am going to agree, not disagree, with senator mccain much standing right here on the senate floor, senator mccain said he was absolutely confident -- absolutely confident -- that
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u.s. authorities can obtain 100% situational awareness and full operational control of the southern border. and he cited the head of the border patrol as his authority. i was glad to hear him say that, because i agree with him exactly. he's exactly right. but i was a little confused at the same time. he repeated a comment that the majority leader had made about my amendment, which is now -- will be pending soon before the senate and we'll vote on later today or tomorrow. he called my amendment a poison pill, suggesting that it would somehow kill the underlying bill. well, if the standards in my bill or my amendment are exact the same as those in the underlying bill of 100% situational awareness and 90%
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operational control, defined a -- defined as 90% of people crossing the border illegally captured, senator mccain thinks it is attainable, the border chief thinks it is ato intainable, i think it is attainable. so how could that be a poison pill? i don't understand it. as i've said numerous times over the last week, my amendment uses the same standards and many of the same metrics as the gang of eight bill. here's the difference: here's the difference -- my amendment establishes a real border security trigger before immigrants can transition from probationary status -- something called registered provisional immigrant status -- before they can transition from that probationary status to legalization. under the gang of eight bill that would occur after ten years
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of probationary status. but the problem is, contrary to initial advertisements back in january where senator durbin, among others, the distinguished majority whip said, back in january, that the pathway to citizen hispanic is contingent upon --- --the path way to citizenship is contingent upon border security. now they've delinked the pathway to citizenship from border security. that is what my amendment is designed to fix. here's the real tragedy. in 1986 ronald reagan signed an amnesty for 3 million people. that's not the trag dix the tragedy is in return, the american people said we're going to fix our broken immigration system. we're going to enforce the law. well, we all know what happened.
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the amnesty was granted and the enforcement never came. here's the tragedy: the underlying bill, without an amendment like mine that provides a real border security trigger, that realliance the incentives -- realigns the snisks for the right, left rs republicans, independents, democrats, everybody to be focused like a laser on how do we actually implement that operational control of the border, which senator mccain believes is attainable, i believe is attainable, the border patrol chief believes is attainable, without realigning everybody's incentives to focus like a laser on attaining that objective, this is 1986 all over again. all we have to do is look at the polling to tell us -- and i don't think we even need any polls to tell us -- that there's enormous skepticism across the country about washington.
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this bill says trust us. trust us. well, there is a trust deficit in washington, d.c.. and on immigration when so many promises have been made in the past that have not been kept, i think it's unreasonable to ask the american people just trust us. so we need an enforcement mechanism like my amendment which will guarantee that everybody is aligned and is highly incentivized to make sure those border security measures are upheld so we don't have what's reflected on the chart behind me as reported by the congressional budget office yesterday. 1986 was the year that congress passed amnesty for illegal immigrants without guaranteeing results on border security. ever since then members of this chamber have said we will never make that mistake again.
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and yet, the underlying bill would effectively be 1986 on steroids, and the c.b.o. report confirms it. that's why those of us who actually would like to see a good, credible immigration bill passed not only here in the senate but also in the house believe, as i do, that this legislation is dead on arrival in the house of representatives without a real border security trigger. it's going to be a challenge even if we put that in. but we have a much better chance of success if we deal with the problem that the congressional budget offices identify and if we deal with the experience we've had from 1986 and other times when we've made extravagant promises to the american people how we're going to fix the system only to find those promises have not been
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kept. that will be the real poison pill to this bill. and it will also be an unnecessary and lamentable tragedy if somehow we can't, working together, find a solution to our broken immigration system. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this week president obama and his allies are launching a big summer push to convince people that his health care law will not be a train wreck. we've heard in the senate from one of the authors of the health care law that he saw a train wreck coming, so now what we see the obama administration trying to actually sell the bill. not that it's good or bad; just trying to sell it in any way they can to make the american people think about it in ways
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that may change their mind, because the american people know this is a health care law that's not really doing what they wanted, which is what they were looking for, was trying to get the care they need from a doctor that they wanted at lower cost. that's far from anything that the american people are going to see. so what we seed today in phreut could -- what we see today in "politico" is the headline "selling of obamacare officially begins." selling of the law that was passed. not something that was good. just trying to sell the law itself. "the washington post" this morning, "pushes on to promote health law." push isn't on to promote better care, not more affordable care. no. just to promote the law. well, i believe, mr. president, it's going to be a tough sell. a new poll out earlier this month showed that only 37% of americans think that the health care law is a good idea. well, that's even fewer people than think it was a good idea when the law was passed three
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years ago. now remember, the democrats promised the american people that, well, the law would be actually overwhelmingly popular by now. well, there's nothing further from the truth because this law is more unpopular now than it was when it was passed. now we see the president of the united states pulling out all the stops trying to sell this horribly written law, a law that's bad for patients, bad for providers and nurses and doctors who take care of those patients, and it's going to be terrible for the american taxpayers. so what the president is doing is joining a new group, a new interest group. the group is called enroll america. well, this is a group, and who's running it? former obama administration officials moved from the white house to this group trying to sell this health care law. this is the group that, part of what we've known as the sebelius shakedown, the efforts by the secretary of health and human services who was asking health
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care businesses to donate to this organization. this group started rolling out a p.r. campaign trying to convince people to sign up for insurance under the president's health care law. i agree more people need insurance, but we have to make sure that the people not just have insurance but get good care. that is what this is supposed to be all about. the president keeps talking about more coverage. what we need is care for people, not just more coverage. so you take a look at that and say is it actually going to work? and according to this article in this morning's "washington post," it talks about the president of this group enroll america, former white house staffer, who said yesterday in a telephone interview that, she said the group's research shows 78% of uninsured people don't know about the changes coming in january. you have to say what kind of insurance are people going to be able to sign up for? what are they going to get to
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choose from? what choices will they have? what will they find in the exchange? and, by the way, the exchanges are running way behind time. that was a front had-page -- tht was a front-page story in one of the national papers today. first of all, for a lot of people in terms of trying to sign up on the exchanges, what they're going to find, it's going to be a lot more expensive than it would have been for them if this health care law had never passed in the first place. remember the president said that policies would actually be $2,500 cheaper by the end of his first term and now we're seeing policies a lot more expensive not by what the president promised, even more expensive than they would have been had the law never passed. here's an article from the ras scene, wisconsin, journal times, they wrote -- quote -- "despite ash shaourpbss -- despite assurances from the democrats
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that the health care plan will drive down costs the evidence is showing the opposite tale. this is a wisconsin. this is a state which recently elected a democrat to the united states senate, a state that went for the president. here's another headline that enroll america won't be talking about when they try to cite the president's health care law. this is from the mcclatchy news on tuesday. the article is entitled "obamacare's big question: what's it going to cost me?" that's what people want to know. that's why folks were interested in the health care law in the first place, because they were paying too much for health care and they needed to look for a care that was actually more affordable for them, right for them. the writer from mcclatchy under this headline obamacare's big question, what's it going to cost me writes, early rate proposals around the country -- around the country -- are a mix of steep hikes and modest increases. either way, insurance rates are going up everywhere.
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it's just a question of how fast and how high, so there's no surprise that the people across the country are disappointed and feel they have been misled by a president when he said rates will actually go down by $2,500 a family. so when we look at the states that have been putting out their numbers for next year, for a lot of people is the answer to the question what's going to happen to rates? they're going up very fast and very high. in ohio, the average individual market health insurance premium next year will be 88% higher than this year. that's according to the state insurance department. that's the state's official numbers. in california, for a typical 40-year-old man who doesn't smoke, rates in insurance exchange will increase by 116% next year. the mcclatchy article quotes one health care expert saying under the president's health care law, there are winners and there are losers. and i agree, mr. president, that's absolutely right.
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there are winners and there are losers, and we'll talk about some of them this morning. the problem is the president and democrats in congress who push this health care act into law, they never said, never admitted to the american people that there were going to be losers. enroll america is telling everybody to sign up for health insurance, but they aren't admitting that the law picked who wins and who loses. so let's take a look at that. another important point in this health care law, what's going to happen and what this new insurance is going to look like. well, it's going to be loaded on to the backs of young people. under the law, many young people, many young healthy people will have to pay a lot more for each older, sicker person who will pay less. the president's scheme to work, these young healthy people will have to buy high-priced government-mandated insurance they may not need, they may not
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want, that may not be right for them. here's another point about what enroll america is telling people and what it's not telling people about the new washington mandated insurance. this group put up a blog post recently talking about ways states can maximize their medicaid enrollment. that's one of the strategies that enroll america is pushing: get more people signed up for medicaid. a government medicaid card doesn't ensure patients actually get access to quality medical care for themselves or their families. according to one survey, a third of physicians nationwide are unwilling to accept new medicaid patients. other studies have concluded that some patients in the medicaid program do even worse in terms of health than people who have no insurance at all. the congressional budget office predicts that the health care law will put another 13 million people into the broken and failing medicaid program. even with the enormous expansion
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of medicaid, even after a washington mandate that everybody in america must purchase health insurance and even after enroll america's big push to sign up more people, the congressional budget office, people who research this, who study this, say the number of uninsured americans will never fall below 31 million. will not fall below 31 million people even over the next decade. so in spite of all of this revamping of a health care system, significant changes, much to the detriment of the american people because the president was focused on coverage, he still is leaving 31 million people uncovered and others paying much, much more. winners and losers. lots of losers, mr. president. this law will cost $1.8 trillion over the next decade according to the c.b.o..
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it still fails to help millions and millions and millions of americans. so then the question is: who is actually being helped by the law? because i said there are going to be winners and going to be losers. well, the "wall street journal" just the other day, page b-1, monday, june 17, "wanted: health care legal experts." legal experts. the lawyers are turning out to be winners under the health care law. not the patients. not the providers. not the taxpayers. the lawyers. the article says -- quote -- "some companies are warning that president barack obama's health care overhaul will cost jobs. it won't be in their legal departments," the article says. it goes on, "health care companies racing to comply with the affordable care act and other rules are calling in the lawyers, sparking a mini boom for specialist attorneys who can back stop overloaded internal
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teams and steer clients through an increasingly crowded regulatory minefield." the point of the health care reform should be to help the american people, not just to create more jobs for lawyers. the point should be to increase access to care for people, not just to send them medicaid cards and tell them that they're covered. the point of reform should be to help people get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. president obama doesn't want to talk about the ways his health care law picks winners and losers. he doesn't want to talk about the many, many losers under his plan. enroll america doesn't want to level with the american people to tell people that the health insurance that they get under the president's law might be one that is not the best for them. if we're going to truly reform our health care system in this country, the president and his allies should start by telling
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the american people how his law falls short. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is now closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 744, which the clerk will
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report. the clerk: calendar number 80, s. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. mr. lee: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to call up amendment number 1208. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from utah -- mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president, amendment number 1208 would require fast-track congressional approval at the introduction of the department of homeland security border security strategies. before the award of registered provisional immigrant, or r.p.i. status, and also before that status begins, before the eligibility for that status begins. and also at the certification of the strategy's completion, before those receiving r.p.i. status may become eligible to become lawful permanent residents, eligible to receive
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green cards. this would be a fast track vote, one that would have to occur within 30 days after the triggering event within the executive branch. it would also be subject to a 51-vote threshold and would not be subject to a filibuster. it is a basic function of congress to oversee the executive branch and to ensure that the executive branch is enforcing the law as enacted by congress. in the area of border security, the executive branch in both republican and democratic administrations has failed to fully enforce the laws passed by congress. just to give a few examples, the secure fence act, which was enacted in 2006, still has not been fully implemented and that the fencing requirement, the fence segments required by that act still have not been built. the u.s. visit entry-exit system
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which was put into place by legislation enacted in 1996 still is not fully implemented. it's worth noting here that 40% of our current illegal immigrants are people who overstayed their visas. and it's very reasonable to assume that there's a significant connection between our failure to implement this entry-exit system called for by existing law and the fact that a sizable chunk, several millions of our current illegal aliens are people who overstayed their visas: polls overwhelmingly show that americans do not believe the border is secure currently and that they also believe that we should secure our borders first before moving on to certain other areas of immigration reform. these are failures of the federal government. the american people cannot hold unelected pwraourbgts in the executive -- unelected
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bureaucrats responsible. in order to ensure that the voice of the american people is heard, congress must be able to vote on the border security strategy and on the certification of that strategy as a condition precedent to allowing these r.p.i. provisions to kick in, to allowing people to enter into the pathway to citizenship and advance toward citizenship in the coming years. to cut congress out cuts out the american people. and that's exactly what this bill without an amendment like this one would do. so it is important to remember that to cut out congress cuts out the american people and that's what we're trying to protect against here. opponents of my amendment have argued that they would be unwilling to rely on a majority of congress to approve the border security plan as a condition for allowing the
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r.p.i. period to open and to proceed. but has it ever occurred to them that it might be precisely because the majority of americans won't approve the border security plan, or at least that they might not approve of it? or perhaps it's not a good idea to move forward on sweeping new policies that will affect generations to come without the support of the american people. it is, after all, the american people who have to deal with the consequences of a dangerous and unsecured border. they will have to deal with cross-border violence. they will have to deal with the heartbreaking stories of human trafficking. they will have to deal with the drugs that are imported in to their communities. they will have to deal with the economic effects and the added costs of public services associated with an ongoing unsecure border. therefore, it is the american people who should be the ones
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who get to say whether or not the border is secure, not the elected unaccountable bureaucrats who have a long track record of failing fully to implement objectives established by congress embodied in law. my amendment would restore the voice of the american people to this process because, again, cutting out congress means cutting out the american people. i strongly urge my colleagues to defend the rights of the american people, to weigh in on this important issue and to support my amendment. finally, mr. president, i want to commend the house judiciary committee for passing the safe act out of committee last night. the safe act is an important step forward in improving interior enforcement, securing the border and strengthening our national security. it also demonstrates that we can effectively pursue significant immigration reforms in a step-by-step approach with individual reform measures. the safe act is by no means a
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small piece of legislation, but importantly it focuses reform on particular areas that should receive bipartisan support in both chambers of congress. first let's secure the border. let's set up a workable entry-exit system and create reliable employment systems that will protect immigrants from bureaucratic mistakes. let's fix our legal immigration system to make sure we're letting in the immigrants our economy needs in numbers that make sense for our country. once these and other tasks which are plenty big in and of themselves are completed, or at least in progress, to the american people's satisfaction, then and only then can we address the needs of current undocumented workers with justice, compassion and sensitivity. since the beginning of this year more than 40 immigration-related bills have been introduced in the house and in the senate.
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by a rough count i could support more than half of them, eight of which have republican and democratic kp -- cosponsors. we should not risk progress on these and other bipartisan reforms simply because we're unable to iron out each of the more contentious issues. so, again, with respect to this amendment, amendment number 1208, i strongly urge my colleagues to support this amendment because we were elected not to delegate the power to make laws to other people. we were elected to make law. identifying the precise moment at which the border is sufficiently secure, that it's a good time to open the pathway to legalization, the pathway to citizenship, whatever we end up calling it, makes a lot of sense to put that decision in the hands of the elected people precisely because that decision is one that's difficult to identify. it's difficult for us to identify exactly what standards will satisfy the american
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people. we can make a rough approximation, but we should require a vote by both houses of congress, in an act of congress submit it to the president for signature or veto before the r.p.i. period is opened. we were elected to make decisions like these and we shouldn't be outsourcing those to others who were not elected. those who were elected would be in power to make those decisions. they are well-educated people, they are well-intentioned people. it is not that i'm saying they categorically cannot be trusted. what i'm saying is those are people who however well educated, however well intentioned, do not stand for reelection at regular intervals as we do. they're not elected by the people. they don't stand for reelection at regular intervals. and for the most part, they are insulated and isolated from the electoral process which keeps all of us accountable to the
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people in whom the ultimate sovereign authority lies. for those reasons i urge my colleagues to support amendment 1208. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mrs. boxer: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: mr. president, a couple of us are going to come down here to the floor and talk about an action that was taken in the house yesterday with all the issues that we have to confront, whether it's continuing this economic recovery and job creation, dealing with immigration, like we're trying to do here in the senate, dealing with going to conference on the budget, which chairman murray has been pushing for day after day after day, you would think that the house would take up one of those matters. but, instead, what do they do? they take up an extreme anti-choice bill. clearly, house republicans have learned no lessons from last year when voters resoundingly rejected their efforts to defund
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planned parenthood, restrict women's access to birth control, and slash preventive control for women and families. so the debate that they had in the house yesterday echos of last year, when republicans talked about -- quote -- "legitimate rape or a pregnant from rape as" -- quote -- "a gift from god." the republican sponsor said, the instances of pregnant from rape was -- quote -- "very low" -- unquote -- a an assertion that s contradicted by the facts. i would ask senator murray if she needs to speak first. then i will complete and turn to her. i so thank her for organizing us this morning. in november, voters sent the message that they wantes to focus on -- they want us to focus on rea real concerns -- j,
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immigration, voter registration refume. but now they're back in full force with an even more extreme, antiwoman, anti-choice agenda. they should know this: the women of america are watching and so are the men who support them. this house republican bill that was passed by them yesterday is a frontal assault on women's health. it puts women in danger of becoming infertile, in danger of suffering serious implications arising from cancer, blood clots, kidney disease, or diabetes, just to name a few of these conditions. it is an attack on 40 years of settled law, and it criminalizes doctors. furthermore, there's no real rape or incest exception. it just bans abortion by a date certain with no real rape or
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incest exemption. let me explain this. the republican sponsors of the bill claim there is an exception for rape and incest. as a matter of fact, it wasn't in there, and they quickly added it. but, seriously, they don't fix the problem because what they do is say, yes, a woman can end a pregnancy if she's raped, but she has to report that rape, and it is true that many women choose not to report the rape for their own private and personal reasons. so when you tell a woman, who's been raped and who is too scared to report it, that she has to carry the rapist's child to term, that is not a rape exception. that's an outrage. and when you tell a victim of incest who is too scared to report it that she has to carry that child to term, that is not an incest exception. it's revictimmizing someone who has -- it's revictimmizinmizing
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someone who has suffered. there is no protection for those women in this bill. there is also no health exception. the house republican bill has no health exception at all. it is a reckless disregard for the health of women. for example, if a woman will face serious complications, even life-threatening complications, if they continue a pregnancy where they could suffer kidney failure, a worsening of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, there's no help for those women. so i would say, listen to the women who have suffered these problems. judy shackleford of wisconsin, four months in her pregnancy she developed a pregnancy-induced blood clot in her am. the only guarantee that she wouldn't die and leave behind her 5-year-old son was for judy to end the pregnancy. she and her husband made the difficult decision to terminate
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the pregnant, and those congressmen playing doctor over there are telling her what she should do for her family. they are not doctors. listen to christie brooks of virginia. she was pregnant with her second child. after a 20-week ultra sowrntiondz she found out her daughter would be found with a severe structural birth defect and would suffocate at birth. she made the difficult decision of ending that pregnancy at 22 weeks. then there's vickie stella. vickie i have met. she discovered months into her pregnancy that the fetus -- she was carrying suffered from major anomalies and had no chance of surviving. because of vickie's diabetes, the doctor determined that induced labor and ssess sarin was -- and caesarean were both
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risky. the abortion ensured that vickie could have more children in the future. those congressmen over there want to get into her life and tell her what to do and tell her family what to do. now, this bill is so extreme, it would throw doctors in jail for five years for providing women with the care they need. and they talk about this brutal doctor that is now serving two consecutive life terms over there for what he did. well, that's the way the system should work. if you break the law, as that doctor did, you go to jail. but don't change the law so that in a good doctor is trying to help a good patient, he or she risks going to prison. this bill is so extreme, a broad rey of groups oppose that bill. the american congress of obstetricians and gynecologists, they represent thousands of ob-gyn's nationwide, they said
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that this bill is dangerous to patient safety and health. a coalition of 15 religious groups oppose the bill. and here's what they said. "we believe and americans including people of faith overwhelmingly agree that the decision to end a pregnancy is best left to a woman in consultation with her family, her doctor, and her faith. our laws should not suppor suppd safeguard a woman's health, not deny access to care." so, in closing -- and before we hear from my colleague, let me tell you this: speaker boehner said last week that creating jobs is -- quote -- "really our number-one priority." and majority leader eric cantor 15eud "house republicans are focused on the one hand creating jobs and restoring faith in government." no, they are not. they are continuing the war on women. if this is what their agenda is, why are they doing that?
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why are they attacking 40 years of settled law? president obama has threatened to vietna veto this bill sayingt shows contempt for women's health and their rights. here in the senate, my friend and i are here and many others are going to block this dangerous and extreme bill. with that, i would yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i want to thank the senator from california for coming out today to let everyone know how extreme this bill is. and how important it is that we send a message today that this bill is going to be what most republicans know deep down already -- the anti-choice bill that they passed yesterday -- a bill that "the new york times" called -- quote -- "the most restrictive abortion bill to come to a vote in either chamber in a decade" is not going anywhere. is not going anywhere. the bill that they passed yesterday is a nonstarter here in the senate.
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and it is a nonstarter with the overwhelming majority of american women. it is an attack on women's rights under the constitution, and it is an attack on a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions. mr. president, it was a bill that was motivated by politics, pure and simple. and it amounts to little more than a charade designed to appeal to a dwindling base. but it's a charade that will end here in the senate today. mr. president, even more than reminding house republicans this bill has no chance of moving forward, i'm here today to provide a reality check. because, apparently, despite the one that millions of american women provided last year, house republicans need another one. despite the fact in states across the country voters rejected one candidate after
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another who politicized rape and ran on restricting a woman's right to choose, house republicans are now back at it again. despite the fact they had to bring in a paid polester to tell the entire republican house caucus to stop talking about rape, apparently the message hasn't sunk in. for many republicans, i.t. like 2012 all over again be, which is to say it's more like 1950 all over again. a time when an all-male house republican judiciary panel conjoined together, all male, just like they did last wednesday, to pass a bill that clearly ignores roe v. wade. at a time when the same panel could reject efforts to protect the life and health of a mother or even reject efforts to make exceptions for rape or incest, a time when one of those panel members -- a republican representative from arizona -- can even tritrot out the idea --
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can even trot out the idea that women aren't likely to become pregnant if they're raped. but it's not 1950 and that irresponsible and shameful claim has been debunked by doctors and experts of all stripes time and again. mr. president, it's been 40 years since roe v. wade put the health care choices of women in the hand of women. we're not going back. but just as house republicans need a reality check that american women aren't going to have the clock turned back on them, i also believe the american people need to know that house republicans and those on the far right targeting women's health care aren't going away anytime soon eemplet i wish i could say new restrictions on women's health care choices that the house passed yesterday were a surprise. or that i thought that after last fall republicans would magically see the light. i wish i could say, i bought the rhetoric from some republicans
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who've contrac criticized theirn because they believe we should be focused on jobs and the economy. but the truth is, attacks on women's health care have not stopped and parntsly they will not -- an and apparently they wl not stop. that is because they are a core part of that partes philosophy. all we have to do is look back at the moment the republicans took power. we all remember back to 2010 after campaigning by the way across the country on a platform of jobs and the economy, the first three bills that they introduced were each direct attacks on women's health in this country. the very first bill that they introduced -- h.r. 1 -- would have totally eliminated title 10 family funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention and included an amendment that would have completely defunded planned parenthood. and would have cut off support for the mlings of women who count on -- for the millions of
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women who count on that. another one of their opening round of bills would have permanently codified the hyde amendment and the d.c. abortion ban and the original bill didn't even include an exception for the health of the mother. and finally, they introduced a bill right away that would have rolled back every single one of the gains we made for women in the health care reform bill. that republican bill would have removed the caps on out-of-pocket suspensions that protect women from losing their homes or their life savings if they get sick. it would have ended the ban on lifetime limits on coverage. it would have allowed insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums. and it would have rolled back the guarantee that insurance companies cover congress tra acceptives. cover contraceptives. those were just their first three bills. since that time we have seen women targeted on everything
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from violence against women to stripping the new protections provided under the affordable care act. through economic peril, budget crises, record unemployment, the it atax deduction on women's health have remained constant. on capitol hill, in state houses across the country and in courtrooms at all levels, the fight against women making their own decisions about their health rages on. madam president, republicans have shown they'll go to just about any length to limit access to care. they have put politics between women and their own health care, they put employers between women and their health care, they've even threatened to shut down the government over this very issue. they've shown that this isn't about what is best for women or men and their own family planning decisions. instead, it's about political calculations. it's about appeasing the far right. and it's about their continued efforts to do whatever it takes to push their extreme agenda.
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but as we have seen with this latest effort, the deck is stacked against them because the constitution is not going anywhere. and because senators like me and senator boxer, we aren't going anywhere either because women who believe republicans shouldn't be making their health care decisions aren't going anywhere. and therefore, this bill is not going anywhere. mrs. boxer: would the senator yield? mrs. murray: i'd be happy to. mrs. boxer: i'd like to engage my friend in a colloquy. we are fortunate because we chair important committees here, of course, all the committees are important. you the budget committee, i the environment and public works committee. and both of us have worked hard to get important bills through the united states senate. you, the budget of the united states of america and for me, the water resources development
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act which deals with making sure that the infrastructure around our water, our ports, is sound. about 500,000 jobs go along with it. and yours is critical because you attack the issue of jobs and deficits and the rest. so it seems to me -- and i want to know if my friend agrees with me -- that there is an agenda that the plus, republican house can embrace to deal with what is concerning the american people, such as taking your bill, the budget bill, to conference, after they went out and campaigned all over the country saying we didn't want a budget, we passed a budget and now they're stopping the budget, picking up and passing the water resources bill or passing their own version of it, if they want. certainly dealing with comprehensive immigration reform, which is critical, and i was disheartened to see
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speaker boehner i'm not that interested in comprehensive immigration reform. why doesn't he look at the budgetary impact which is so positive for our nation of doing this, getting people out of the shadows, getting people to start businesses and to work. does my friend agree there is no shortage of important and critical issues facing the american people that they could take up there other than an attack on women and women's health? mrs. murray: madam president, let me just respond this way. when i go home and i go home every weekend, my constituents talk to me about this big word called sequestration and its impact on their lives, whether they've been furloughed and their paycheck is much smaller or whether they're running a violence against women center and having to close down facilities or whether they're sending their you kids to preschool and teachers have been laid off or whether or not their small little pizza shop is going to have to close because so many
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people have been furloughed and cut back because of sequestration, and what they want us to do, madam president, is to invest in our infrastructure, to invest in our education, to make our country strong for the future and to quit governing by crisis. which is why i've come to the floor, as the senator from california knows, constantly to say we've passed our budget. the house has passed our budget, to solve this and replace sequestration in a responsible and fair way, we need to get to conference but we're being blocked by handful of republicans on the senate floor. over in the house they're not appointing conferees and twhoant want to go to conference apparent because they want to take the floor time to attack women's health care. madam president, this is not what the country is telling us to do. they are telling us to do our job and get a budget done so they have certainty. the they are telling us to do our job and make sure we invest in the wrda bill senator boxer
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has worked so hard to do and the corps of engineers projects whether it's a dam or whatever projects that provides jobs and the economy they need is taken care of. madam president, they elect us to come back here and do the job of this country. so yes, it is frustrating to me to have to come to the floor one more time to talk about abortion when we should be talking about the investments that need to be made, when we should be passing a budget, investing in our children and their future and providing people with jobs and john training and research that's so important at universities across this country so that we can be a good place 30 years from now in this country and be competitive. madam president, i would say to my colleague yes, it appears to me that the country has an agenda that is vastly different than the house of republicans on the far right. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i think it really says it all here. we need to do our work on the issues that matter to people. we need to make sure this
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economic recovery gains steam. we need to make sure we look at the sequester and fix it. we need to make sure we have, yes, deficit reduction but investments. and we need to stand strong here in the senate and we will, and hopefully our house colleagues will change their mind. republicans over there set the agenda, get to the business of people and stop attacking women. and with that in mind i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending and call up my amendment number 1240. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from california, mrs. boxer for herself and ms. landrieu proposes an amendment 1240, on page 919 -- mrs. boxer: i ask the amendment be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: i rise in support of the boxer-landrieu-murray amendment number 1240 which is a very simple amendment, it has bipartisan support as well.
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it would require the participation of the national guard and the coast guard in new border protection training programs. the underlying bill includes language authorizing specialized training for federal law enforcement agents who will be tasked with securing the border. to update them on how the law will impact their duties and their responsibilities. the bill specifically requires customs and border protection, born and i.c.e. officers and agriculture specialist at the border to undergo training on such things as identification and detection of fraudulent travel documents, civil rights protections, border community concerns, environmental concerns, and how agents should annual vulnerable populations such as children, victims of crime and human trafficking. but the bill leaves out very two important groups of federal officials who will be key to further securing our land and sea borders. they leave out the national
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guard and the coast guard. the bill provides new authorization for the national guard to assist customs and board protection agents with border enforcement duties in the case of the coast guard the bill continues their large role with maritime border security but the new training language excludes both the national guard and customs and border. so we look at our bill as making a pretty easy fix. we don't think that it was intentional to leave these -- the national guard and coast guard out of the training, so we simply restore it and i noted that senator cornyn identified the same problem during arkansas consideration of the bill. -- judiciary committee consideration of the bill. this piece was tucked into a more controversial amendment so it didn't pass. so this bipartisan idea i think needs to be taken out, it needs to stand alone and it needs to pass and i'm very hopeful it will. in closing, i'll list who is
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supporting us in this, the national task force to end sexual and domestic violence against women, asian pacific islander institute on domestic, the national latina network for healthy families, jewish women international, national coalition against domestic violence, national congress of american indians task force on violence against women, national network to end domestic violence, national organizations of sisters of color ending sexual assault, national resource center on the domestic violence and the ywca. we have a big group out there that understands that these officers need that training. so with that, i would yield the floor and i thank everybody for their indulgence allowing me this time to explain the amendment. do i need to ask for the yeas and nays at this point? all right. thank you.
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the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: thank you. i ask unanimous consent that the pending be set aside, call up amendment numbered 1227. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. heller, for himself and mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 1227. on page 861, line 9 -- mr. heller: i ask unanimous consent for the reading to be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: thank you. madam president, the debate we're having in this chamber is incredibly important to our nation's future, and we simply can't afford to waste this opportunity to bring meaningful reform to america's immigration system. we have a chance to enact commonsense reforms that will help fix a broken system that punishes those who simply want
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to work hard and play by the rules. over the course of the next two weeks, we have an opportunity to enhance border security and to ensure that those coming to our shores company so in a lawful manner. in order to do that, we need to make sure that the underlying immigration bill actually addresses the issues and offers reasonable solutions that make sense. let me be clear. in order to fix the immigration system, we must secure our borders. attempting to bring about immigration reform while ignoring the problem at our borders makes no sense. i, makelike many of my colleagues, have repeatedly voted this week in favor of increasing border security. i think most americans would agree that any reform legislation must include measures that stops unlawful entry into our country. the underlying bill recognizes the serious need for greater security at our borders.
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and establishes a southern border security commission if state-based results are not achieved in a reasonable time. i for one hope that we secure our borders effectively and quickly so that no such commission is ever needed. the southern border security commission will be established only if a department of homeland security fails to achieve effective control of the southern border within five years of the bill's enactment. hopefully, we never recognize that scenario. but if for some reason the southern border security commission is needed and if we fail to change the status quo after five years, then the states that are most affected by these issues must have a central role in fixing these problems. let me be clear. my amendment, heller 1227, does not endorse the creation of the border commission. it simply ensures that should the commission be required, it will be fully representative of
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states' concerns and state obeyed recommendations on how to achieve control of the southern border. the commission is primarily come prietzed of representatives from southern border states, including arizona, california, texas, and new mexico. and is responsible for providing concrete recommendations to congress and the administration on how to achieve control of the southern border, should d.h.s. fail to do so. but nevada would not be guerin teedz a voice on the commission despite the fact that nevada shares contiguous borders with two southern border states and faces many of the same immigration challenges as these states. it's more than reasonable to argue that nevada, which is a short drive away from san diego, los angeles, and phoenix, should be included on a commission designed to improve border security in the southwestern region. if that commission is
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necessary, nevada should have a seat at that table. including nevada on the commission makes the underlying bill more effective, enhances this particular border security provision and ensures that it fully addresses the issues affecting the southern border and southwestern states. madam president, if we reject common sense during this amendment process we're going to end up right back where we started in years to come. and we're not going to give the american people the solution that they deserve in this immigration bill. it's common sense that if the federal government fails to gain control of the borders then the states most affected by the failure should be able to play a role in fixing the problem. and it's common sense that states like nevada that faces the same problems as other states in the region should contribute to the process as members of that commission.
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madam president, i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, i come to the floor with even more good news about the gang of eight's immigration reform proposal that is being debated before the senate. the nonbipartisan congressional budget office has confirmed that this legislation we are considering is good for the american economy. now, we in the gang of eight have spent months working on this bipartisan effort because we knew it was good for the united states. and now we have the official word from the congressional budget office confirming that it will reduce our nation's deficit
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and grow our nation's economy. as you can see in this graph, the congressional budget office's analysis shows that our bill will increase the united states gross domestic product by 3.3% in the first ten years after its enactment and 5.4% in the second ten years after its enactment. that means the bipartisan immigration reform we're debating in the senate will actually grow our economy, not harm it as some of the ardent opponents have tried to argue. i've been saying this all along. bringing 11 million people out of the shadows will increase our economic growth, and now we know by how much. the congressional budget office also tells us that we reduce the deficit by $197 billion over the
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next decade and by another $700 billion more between 2024 and 2033 through changes in direct spending and revenues. we're talking about almost a trillion dollars in deficit spending that we can lift from the backs of the next generation by giving 11 million people a pathway to productive citizenship. i've been saying all along bringing 11 until million people out of the shadows and fixing our broken immigration system will decrease the deficit and now we know by how much. the report found that revenue will come in payroll taxes, income taxes, fees and fines estimated to be about $459 billion in the first ten years and $1.5 trillion in the seconds ten years.
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it also found there will be fewer unauthorized individuals coming into the united states as a result of our bill. now, contrary to what my colleague from alabama has continuously claimed on the floor of the senate, the c.b.o. found -- -- and i quote -- "that the border enforcement and security provisions of this bill, along with the implementation of the mandatory employment verification system, would decrease the net future flows of unauthorized people into the united states." the bottom line of this report is clear. what the c.b.o. numbers tell us is that 11 million people living in fear and in the shadows are not as some would have us believe part of america's problem but bringing them out of the shadow is actually part of the solution and part of strengthening america's economic future. they are a key to economic
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growth and immigration reform will help save the social security and medicare trust funds. what we realize today is that giving 11 million people a pathway, and arduous pathway, nonetheless, a tough pathway, come forth and register with the government first every you all, let us know who is here, go through a criminal background check, have to pass that background check because if you don't you get cockpit voice recorder and -- deport -- you get deported and then pay your taxes, learn english and after more than a decade earn your way toward citizenship and fixing that broken system is in effect an rick economic growth strategy and exactly the right thing to do. frankly, madam president, the c.b.o. numbers negate any reasonable argument the opponents of this legislation have. every argument they have made is based on one thing and one thing only, that those people living
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in the shadows, those people trying to earn a living, those people trying to keep their families together are a symptom of american decline. and our history of immigration clearly con from tra dicts those arguments and the c.b.o. -- contradicts those arguments and the c.b.o. numbers confirm it. the opponents of this legislation couldn't be more wrong. giving 11 million people a pathway to citizenship while strengthening our enforcement efforts is not a symptom of decline. on the contrary, it is a symbol of america's hope, and a validation of american values. what we stand for as a nation and who we are as a people. and i believe a new generation of immigrants willing to work hard and contribute to the economy will help make this another century of american exceptionalism. i say to my friends on the other side, and i say to my friend from alabama who appears to have
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only gotten the c.b.o. score for the first ten years, not the second ten years, even though i understand he was the one who asked for the c.b.o. to score the second ten years, but apparently the second ten years holds an inconvenient truth for my friend. the good news in this analysis actually gets better in the second ten years. the c.b.o. reports that immigration reform will reduce the deficit by $700 billion, increase wages by half a percent, increase g.d.p. by 5.4% and increase productivity and innovation. as i listen to the senator from alabama make his remarks about the c.b.o.'s report on wages, i don't think the numbers say what he believes they say. he was talking about how american family wages would go down and the report explicitly says that's not the case.
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in fact, ezra klein wrote yesterday in the "washington post" that the idea that it would lower wages of working americans is actually a bit misleading. as for folks already here, the c.b.o., the congressional budget office, is careful to note that their estimates do not necessarily imply that current u.s. residents would be worse off in the first ten years and in the second ten years they estimate the average americans' wages will actually rise. in addition, in case my friend from alabama missed it, the report also says although immigrants constituted 12% of the population in the year 2000, they accounted for 26% of u.s.-based nobel prize winners. and they made up 25% of public venture companies started between 1990 and 2005. the fact is immigrants receive
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patents at twice the rate of native-born u.s. population. the bottom line, as ezra klein puts it -- quote -- "the bill's overall effect on the overall economy is unambiguously positive. this is encouraging news for the american economy and validates what many of us have known all along. i would only say let's not take a report from the congressional budget office and twist it for political purposes and then preach to the fears of those who would oppose this legislation no matter how encouraging and positive the c.b.o. numbers are. and i am already beginning to hear the voices who of course are rejecting the c.b.o.'s analysis. i find it interesting, i stand on this floor very often and listen to my colleagues who use the c.b.o. numbers when it inures to their benefit but reject it when it doesn't.
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you can't do that. you can't have it both ways. this is a reason to move forward, not a reason for further obstruction. the congressional budget office report is encouraging enough in my view to make this legislation part of an economic recovery strategy and a long-term competitiveness strategy. i ask the opponents of the legislation don't stand in the way of economic growth. don't stand in the way of economic recovery. let's say yes to immigration reform. even those voices who i normally don't -- i'm not in concert with, grover norquist, president of americans for tax reform, said yesterday -- "today's c.b.o. score is more evidence that immigration is key to economic growth. immigration reform will jumpstart america's economy and reduce our national debt. he went on to say i urge congress to fix our broken immigration system for the sake of the american economy.
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now, i don't usually agree with grover norquist, so the fact that we can actually agree on this issue means we have done something right in the gang of eight, something worthy of the support of even some of my most conservative colleagues. i think -- i think my friends on the other side are out of arguments. a good job of bottom lining the c.b.o. analysis. he says -- quote -- "this isn't just a good c.b.o. report. it is a wildly good c.b.o. report." they are basically saying immigration reform is a free lunch. it cuts the deficit by growing the economy. it makes americans better off and it makes immigrants better off. at a time when the u.s. economy desperately needs a bit of help, this bill, according to the congressional budget office, helps, and politically it forces opponents of the bill onto the ground they are least
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comfortable occupying. they have to argue that immigration reform is bad for cultural or ethical reasons rather than economic ones. so the good news in this c.b.o. report about the economic benefits of immigration reform is exactly one of the reasons why 70% of americans support it. it's good for the economy. once again, we realize the breadth of support for this legislation goes far beyond thrix or demographics or elections. it goes to our responsibility to the economy and to our country. we have an obligation to pass this legislation if we want to fix our immigration system and rebuild our economy. to those opponents of immigration reform who tell us that those people will come here and use services, demand more and bankrupt the system, i would point them to this graphic. the sizable deficit reduction from immigration reform in the first ten years is actually dwarfed by the amount of
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immigrants -- that immigrants, i should say, will continue to contribute in reducing the national deficit in the second ten years. this clearly shows immigration reform is good for america now and in the long term. people have long realized and the c.b.o. numbers show us that this legislation is without a doubt the right thing to do. it benefits all of us as a nation. these are people who have come here to work, contribute to our economy and our economic competitiveness, pay their taxes and be part of the dream. the c.b.o. report simply puts numbers to what that dream is all about and what we have known all along. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. as chair of the agriculture, nutrition and forestry committee, i rise today to speak about the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. i, too, along with the distinguished senator from new jersey, want to indicate that
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this is very good news that this is not only good in a number of ways to have a legal system that is -- is working for the economy but we're actually going to see deficit reduction. saving money as well as providing certainty in the economy for workers and businesses, a legal system that works for families and business workers is extremely positive. i want to congratulate all of my colleagues, friends on both sides of the aisle who have worked so hard. the leader of the judiciary committee, the leader of the immigration subcommittee, all of those hon both sides of the aisle who have worked so hard to make this happen. i particularly want to thank senator dianne feinstein, senator bennet and others who have worked very hard on a portion of the bill that relates to agriculture, because in agriculture, we need comprehensive immigration reform. it's critically important for
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farmers from michigan, wisconsin to alabama to california and everywhere in between. as you know, we passed our farm bill with wide bipartisan support a week ago, and in the debate we talked a lot about risk management and making sure that farmers have a safety net when they experience a disaster, whether it be a drought, a late freeze or other severe weather. but what about when the weather's good, the sun shines, there's enough rain but not too much and it falls all at the right times and the crops grow and ripen and then there aren't enough people to harvest it? which has happened too many times in michigan. when that happens, crops rot in the fields unpicked, unsorted and unsold. in california last year, peach growers saw much of their crop

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