tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 22, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EST
>> i think we i would, i would consider that but i would not use air power to do it. i think there's some 20 airfields in syria. we could bomb the runways of all of them with missiles, and keep bombing them. and in effect ground and air forces. i would have no problem with that. spin doctor? >> i would probably have no problem but it don't think that solves the problem the larger problem. >> i think you. i think it's been a very important exchange. ..
>> and for reasons that i have mentioned, they have potentially exposed themselves and it would make it more difficult for the russians to simply sit on the sidelines and watch us get bogged down alone. they own part of the responsibility for the brooks in the middle east -- for the problems in the middle east. and much the same applies to china. >> and i would think that the russians would see this as in their own national interests. >> well, one would have to assume that's the case because
they have a national interest. >> a second question partially a statement, or partially a question. i was delighted to hear you general scowcroft, talk about the threat of cyber. i sort of feel like we're england before world war ii ignoring a threat that's right this front of us. in front of us. we had the sony -- what if sony instead of a movie production company had been the new york stock exchange or the gas pipeline? i have never seen an issue where we've had more warnings and we're doing less. i hope you would concur with me that this should be one of congress' highest priorities to deal with this cyber threat and to develop our cyber strategy. is that -- would you agree with that? >> yes i do agree with that. i think we're, we're still in step one. and i think we need the very serious analysis of what character the problem is, what
are our alternatives to take a more positive role can be and which one we should select. >> i thought one of your interesting suggestions was a kind of reprise of a mutually-assured destruction strategy of the '50 in the cyber area to create a deterrent not only to -- not only a defensive posture, but a deterrent posture. and could you elaborate on that a bit? >> well, i don't -- i i used that only to show how serious a threat i think cyber is. it is on the par with nuclear weapons. it doesn't kill people itself, but it can destroy the sinews of a country. >> well -- >> the banking system -- >> general i just hope what you've said today and that analogy is a headline tomorrow, because we've got to, we've got to deal with this issue.
one other area of concern, mr.-- dr. brzezinski i'm very interested in developing a strategy beyond ad hoc military intervention to deal with isis and the whole issue of jihad and extremism. could you talk about what you would think would be the elements of an antiextremist strategy beyond just military response? >> some form of cooperation with the more moderate and more established states in the region in creating viable outcomes that consolidate well being permit their political evolution and so forth. the list has been mentioned. it's turkey, it could be iran
under some circumstances, it could be saudi arabia which otherwise might face serious international problems, it certainly is egypt, and on a more limited basis it includes lebanon and jordan with the latter being close to an explosive situation given the number of refugees that have flown into the country. so there is some potential commonality of interest here. but it should not be focused primarily on american military action as such, though we have the right of self-defense, and we have the right to deal with threats that become sort of extensive enough to possibility of destabilizing the region. last but not least, if i may say so, we should be very careful not to proclaim our actions are somehow or other anti-jihadist.
you used the term. because we don't want to convey to that part of the world that we in any way are engaged in a religious war against them. jihad means holy war. and so is we don't -- >> anti-extremist might be a better term. >> yes, exactly. something along those lines. fanatics. >> well -- >> in some cases sadists like those beheadings. but certainly, avoid saying we're in a struggle against jihadist terror because that frankly are, attracts people to engage in what they say is holy war. >> well, that's a very good point, i appreciate that, and i think the other side of that is we have to be very, very careful in this country to not lump in the muslim world with these extremists. i think that, that also is a recruiting poster for them, if we do that. this cannot be a war between the west and islam. >> that's right. that's right.
>> thank you mr. chair. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you, mr. chairman. yes men, thank you very much -- gentlemen, thank you very much for your service to our country. i apologize for not being here for the entire discussion this morning. with several different committee meetings going on as usual it appears. i did have one question i would like to focus on perhaps in a little different vein than i've heard in the last 15, 20 minutes, and that has to do with the national security strategy that was last presented in 2010. my understanding is that normally that would be updated or had been expected to be updated in 2014. and the qdr was presented and completed based upon the 2010 strategy that was in place. i don't understand but i was hoping you might give us your
thoughts a little bit about whether or not that strategy that was completed in 2010 whether or not with all of the changes today -- particularly those issues in the middle east, changes in terms of russia and what's happened since 2010 -- whether or not the qdr that we currently operate with and the strategy that was proposed in 2011 that we operate -- in 2010 that we operate with today whether or not we're missing something here, and does it really matter? is it time for congress to take a different approach in terms of looking at the overall strategy when it comes to our national defense? >> that's a very difficult question to answer. i think -- my answer is both. the congress is responsible for
providing funding for a particular strategy for the military themselves. the president is this charm of the armed -- is in charge of armed forces. that's the kind of cooperation that is getting increasingly difficult. but it still is the way we have to proceed. and when you do unilaterally the kind of things like sequester it destroys what is needed which is consent between the congress whose responsibility is the armed forces and the president who runs the armed forces. >> i would only add to this, and maybe this is not what you have this mind, that i think there is
a bit of a problem in that the state department has a policy planning council that presumably plans for diplomacy, defense department has similar agencies in terms of defense capabilities and needs, cia has its own view how the world is changing. i'm not aware of any sort of large scale systematic effort in the national security council to define national objectives and to help the president think it through and eventually endorse it as a kind of overall national security planning mechanism. i think we could use that and perhaps that would be helpful in clarifying some issues. >> would you consider that to be new in terms of how we have operated? or is that something which you have seen, you've both seen the interactions between the administration and congress over a period of literally decades?
is this new? or, i mean is this something which people are looked at and simply said that's the way it is or is this something that clearly presents a threat in term t of how we do systematically the planning for the defense of our country? not been there before? >> look, i don't know if it's new or not but i think we ought to take a look at the existing system. my sense is we don't really is have in the white house as a service to the president when he makes his decisions a deliberate effort at creating what might be called a national security plan for the for years or whatever and the administration that is in office. the other agencies do that and i think that creates, perhaps some of the uncertainties as to what exactly we're doing. >> may i -- what i i -- just
one more thought on this. it seems to me when we talk about in business when we talk about those issues that we're concerned about as being important issues versus on a day-to-day business, and we tend to focus on the urgent as opposed to the critical or important, would you care to comment? right now today when we look at the defense of our country, we look at the issues that we face -- that our military men and women face on a daily bay ace around -- basis around the world today, those items that appear in front of us those urgent issues, have they clouded our ability to keep in front of us those important issues that we are losing sight of? >> well, i don't know how to answer that. >> i think the answer is, the answer probably is yes. but it is not an easy thing to to
do, to bring all the elements of the government together on such a thing as our national military strategy. we've tried different things. some work better than others. but it is, it is also a political exercise as well as a strategic exercise. and i don't think we have developed anything which is, goes beyond bureaucratic to genuine steps forward.
but i think we ought to keep trying. >> mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. look forward to working on this committee and continue with my colleagues, and i thank both of the witnesses for their presence today. what is each of your opinion about the need for congress to expeditiously work on an authorization for use of military force to cover the current war against isil which is now in its sixth month? >> i'm not sure how to answer that. i think we should not be more involved in the isis exercise. i believe that this is a case where the region is being
threatened, or and the powers of the region are being threatened. the states of the region are being threatened and we ought to encourage and help them to respond but not respond for them. and that's, that's a difficult line. but i think it's an important one because the middle east is, does belong to the middle east countries, and we ought to encourage them to behave responsibly. >> dr. brzezinski? >> in different ways i think we ought to strive to, first of all, engage the other major powers in the world to be involved. it shouldn't be our baby only. and i have in mind particularly and i have said this this morning, russia and china. secondly, i think we have to minimize the visual involvement in the problem of other powers who could be helpful, but whose record in the region is so
negative because of their involvement with colonialism that they, in fact be handicap the effort of dealing effectively with the region. and, third, we have to try to involve -- and that's a difficult process -- those states in the region that have both viability of sorts of some inclination to be moderate. >> you've each answered my question in the strategic and tactical sense, and i actually meant it in the institutional and constitutional sense. the president started a unilateral campaign against isil that is now in its sixth month justifying that based on the two previous authorizations that were done in 2001 and 2002. the president last night said congress should do an authorization and weigh in and vote ant whether this -- about whether this mission is, in fact, in the national interest. do you have any opinion on whether that is an important matter for congress to take up? >> well, if he asks -- and since
he's acting as commander in chief -- i should think that he's entitled to make that request. and probably congress should consider it. if for no other reason than it helps to consolidate national unity on the delicate but terribly complicated issue. >> i think as i understood your last answer on the tactical side -- let me do a follow-up question -- there's been much discussion about the role of ground troops as necessary in iraq or syria to defeat the threat of isil. ground troops broadly defined, the peshmerga, the iraqi security forces, syrian, trained syrian moderate. what do each of you think about the wisdom of using united states ground troops in the mission against isil in iraq or syria? >> except in very special, individual circumstances where the use of ground forces would be very limited in terms of its mission, i'm basically against what's called boots on the
ground so far as the united states is concerned. i think the political and historical climate is so uncongenial to us doing it that we'll simply become involved in a protracted conflict which will be extremely costly and which it will be very difficult for us alone to win. >> the president has announced a plan to withdraw u.s. forces completely from afghanistan by the end of 2016. should the u.s. actions with respect to its forces in afghanistan be based on a date on the calendar, or should it be based on conditions on the ground and whether there is sufficient stability to allow us to withdraw without plunging the country back into a chaos that could affect the region and the world? >> you can't entirely separate the two, but you have to take into account that at some point a prolonged engagement at the very least begins to create its own antithesis, and you begin to be stuck with a growing region
on the part of the -- resentment on the part of the people in the region it. so i think some end line is absolutely necessary. >> i think in the case particular case of afghanistan an end line right now is not the right way to go. it is my sense that afghanistan has made considerable progress, that the new leadership shows great promise and that what their military/security forces really need is the sense of a u.s. hand on their shoulder. we're back here, we'll give you some advice, we'll help you here, so on. we're not bailing out on all the effort we've put in citizen in past years -- put in in past
years. i believe i don't know how many thousand, but a few thousand forces would pay us back big dividends if afghanistan moves forward in the direction that it seems to be moving. and it is certainly worth a few thousand troops to be that hand on their shoulder. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, gentlemen. this has been very, very helpful. let's talk about russia and nato. when russia invaded georgia, about all we could do was talk about it and denounce it. when russia took the action that they took in crimea, a treaty ally of ours whose border we had promised to defend if they gave up nuclear weapons, military action was clearly off the
table. presumably russian action would not call for military action by the united states. but, dr. brzezinski, you draw a line when it comes to the baltic states, and i'd certainly want to agree with you there. let me ask you this, could you explain a little more your idea about working with nato on trip wires in the baltic state? general sew croft what do you think -- scowcroft what do you think about that idea as you understand it having been described, and what can we do to get our nato allies to take national defense and western defense responsibility seriously? we asked them to spend a mere 2% of their gdp on the military and, frankly it's only two or
three of those nato allies that actually do that. so if you'd comment on those and, dr. brzezinski, you can begin. >> well, first of all on your last question i think we should address that in nato and perhaps some device, some procedure could be formulated whereby nato members who, which fail to meet that 2% standard lose some of their sort of entitlement to participate in key decisions. i don't know precisely how to work that out, but it seems to me if you don't pay, you don't decide. that at least might make them a little more copps of the fact that -- conscious of the fact that collective obligations should be treated seriously. insofar as the guarantee itself to the baltic countries what i said earlier i'll simply repeat. i hi the russians really -- i think the russians really don't
know how active we would be in saving them for one reason or other. the leader of the russian federation decided that he can get away with seizing with a quick action which altogether at ors the situation -- alters the situation which he finds so abhorrent, namely the creation of independent states or the recreation of independent states in the place the soviet union occupied in the late '30s and early '40s. if you were to do that, we would be faced with a horrible situation. because we don't have the means to stage an amphibious warfare that results in the landing of our forces and in a gradual ground war presumably in the territory of the baltic states under expulsion. so the only sensible step that we can now take i think is to preposition some trip wire-type forces forcing putin to consider seriously whether he's
prepared to go into major conflict t with us. and if he does that then we have no choice but to respond not only in the baltic republics, but perhaps elsewhere. for example impose a worldwide embargo on the movement of soviet ships airplanes, other actions of semi-military type which would be a response designed to impose further costs and including perhaps some occasional military engagements chosen elsewhere if we couldn't do correctly -- >> if we wouldn't defend our nato allies this the baltics, i don't know what our word would be worth. general scowcroft, what do you think about this topic? >> well, first, i think that we don't want to recreate the cold war, and i don't think it's necessary.
i think if we want to do something, trip wires -- nato is the trip wire to me. and i think if we want to tell 'em what we will do if they do certain this thing things and they better not, i don't have a problem with that. i can see putin just trying to provoke us to spend more efforts. and i'm not sure it's necessary. i believe the contribution of some of the europeans to nato is deplorable, and i think the fact is there are two facts. first of all they don't feel threatened, and secondly, they're basically exhausted after two wars. and they're just happy to leave everything up to us, including paying for it.
there i think we tight to give it some thought -- i think we ought to give it some thought but my sense is we would get greater european support if we had ideas about how to use nato usefully now that, to me a threat of a march of russian troops into western europe is not a reasonable thing to happen. >> let me just ask you briefly if the chair will indulge, do you have any comments for this committee about the adequacy of our naval fleet at the present time? the chair in his opening remarks talked about the size of our military being roughly equivalent to what it was after world war i. do we have enough ships? are we didding enough -- are we building enough ships?
is our fleet adequate enough to protect national interests, dr. brzezinski? >> i have not looked into that so i can't give you a straightforward answer. >> i don't think any one of us has examined that kind of question or simply don't have an answer to that. >> thank you very much. >> [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you both for being here. isis has said that they are establishing a caliphate and their cally face that they want to -- caliphate that they want to establish is a whole lot bigger than where they are right now. so can we simply watch this? can they be left in place if this is their goal when their goal also if you don't share their religion, you either convert or you're killed? and they intend to expand. so how does the united states watch this when -- and i don't
want to get into exact historical references and i don't mean to by this but we've seen this kind of thing before. >> well, the danger is that if we get involved directly in opposing them, we'll make it easier for them to promote the whole concept -- >> well, i don't mean directly, i mean as a partner. mr. scowcroft, you were talking about not getting more involved in isis actions. with training an arab army or advising providing that kind of assistance, helping them to plan, helping them to train. do you think those are appropriate actions? >> i have no problem with training as appropriate action, but let's remember that isis or isil, whatever you want to call it, is down in the middle east. there are a number of our friends and allies who live in
the middle east. >> right. >> would they be happy to just sit back and have us deal with the problem? is -- maybe. but this is a problem which is a potential threat to other middle eastern countries. >> do you see us having a role, though -- >> i don't -- >> -- as a partner -- >> oh, yes. i think a role in doing the kinds of things that they can't do -- >> right. >> -- and encourage them in the things that they can, we can help them know how to do, yes, absolutely. >> certainly, i don't think anybody -- >> but that's training. >> right. i don't think anybody's looking at our troops being the ground troops, but being somebody who can help provide with the backbone the planning the training. does that make sense to yousome. >> absolutely. >> because it strikes me as no
matter what we hope -- and being from indiana where we have suffered from them already we've already lost citizens who have been kidnapped and killed by them and they continue to put plans together to cause other activities. and so with their stated goals of further establishment of this and causing taking activities elsewhere, it would seem to me that we'd have to be engaged in some form with partners because it seems that the goal -- it's not something that's going to stay static. it either grows or gets eliminated, would you agree with that? >> yes. >> dr. brzezinski? >> i also agree with that. >> okay. as we look at putin what do you think his end game is in ukraine? >> my own estimate is to reverse what has transpired a year or so
ago; namely the decision by the ukrainian people to associate themselves and their longer-range identity with the west. i think he views that as a major intrusion on historically significant component of the larger russian empire. i think he has this kind of general concept of imperial restoration as guiding him. you look at some of the things he has done to define the presidency the symbolism associated with it and so forth it has a lot of imperial trappings. and he's prepared to use force to make that happen. our position has been that we have no desire to intrude into russian sort of security aspirations, but that a nation has a right to define itself voluntarily.
and that's a very complicated issue, and as a consequence we now have this very serious problem between us and the russians regarding the future of ukraine. and he's clearly striving to destabilize ukraine. not risking an all-out invasion but to destabilize it from within. >> if he takes similar action in latvia, you know his little green men and all of those things going into latvian territory and nato does not respond, is that in effect, the end of nato. >> >> i would say so, because nato is meant to be a collective alliance. and the united states doesn't respond, that certainly would be the result. now conceivably we could let him do it, let him take latvia or estonia, and then we would mobilize nato to counter this somehow either on the spot or on a larger world front, but that would be a much more risky
enterprise than doing what i advocate which is simply to create a trip wire within latvia and estonia which communicates clearly to russia that nato will be involved that the united states particularly is present and, therefore the risks you are taking are much, much higher than you might calculate in the light of the ease of the operation in seizing crimea. >> dr. scowcroft, i'll end with -- would you also see that as that's the end of nato? >> oh, well, certainly it would be the end of nato if the soviet union moved into a nato member and we did nothing. absolutely, it would. but i don't see that happening. i don't see -- putin's a nasty piece of work. probably shouldn't have said that. >> that's fine. [laughter] >> but i don't think he is evil
incarnate, and i if we tell him quite clearly what we won't stand for in terms of nato members especially there won't be such an action. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> and the best way to tell him is to do something to make him think about it. >> [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. i appreciate your service very much. today we have talked a lot about isis in the middle east the fact that we do need partners in that region, we do need those arab allies to come forward. ask you've mentioned it both of you, as more of an aside comment, but i would really like to understand how welcome more effectively engage turkey --
which is an ally, which is a friend in that region -- how can we engage them more to combat isis and those other threats that exist within the middle east? >> well the turks are playing a role. it is partly worrisome a little, partly very help. helpful. the turks have a large minority in their country who are kurd. and so they have multiple concerns about what goes on. they also have very emotional feelings about, about syria.
but i think we can help the countries of the middle east -- turkey is one with great military capability. as i say egypt is another one. egypt is a large country in any part of world. and they ought to want to shape their own region in the right direction, and we ought to encourage that rather than taking their place in forming the region. >> thank you. i to agree, and i just would love to know more concrete methods of engaging them. they do have a hot to at stake -- a lot at stake in that region, and i think they could be very valuable partners. i just would love to know how we
do get them the to play a more prominent role in the middle east. but thank you very much, gentlemen. thank you, mr. chair. >> senator manchin. [inaudible conversations] >> could i say that i thank you both not only for your appearance here, but for your many years of outstanding service to the country and your wise and knowledgeable advice and counsel that you provide you have provided to many presidents, and you've proven again can today before this committee. obviously, there are some disagreements but i might make mention that the head of mi5 recently gave a speech a week ago saying that he believed that isis is planning an attack on the united states of america. i don't disagree with him. i think that would change the
outlook of the american people about the degree of our involvement if there was such a thing which we hope will not happen. but when you have thousands of young men who are going into this fight, will be returning from the fight i think that it's something that is not beyond the realm of possibility. but i would like to say that i'm very personally very honored to be in the company of two individuals who have served our country and continue to do so with such distinction. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. [inaudible conversations]
>> the senate voted on two nonbinding climate change amendments, the first from democratic senator brian schatz of hawaii said that climate change is real and that human activity is a major cause of it. that was narrowly defeated. another amendment from senator sheldon whitehouse stated that climate change is real and not a hoax. that passed, 98-1. the senate's back in at 9:30 eastern for more debate on the keystone xl pipeline. live senate coverage on c-span2. on c-span3 a house panel will look at an epa rule on the disposal of coal waste known as coal ash. officials from energy companies and the epa will testify. live coverage starting at 10 a.m. eastern. >> missouri governor jay nixon delivered the annual state of the state address to a joint session of the state assembly last night.
governor nixon is currently in the his second term. from the state capitol in jefferson city, this is 45 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. >> good evening. thank you, lieutenant governor kinder, members of the general assembly judges of the missouri supreme court, state officials, members of my cabinet and honored guests. i thank god and the people of missouri for the privilege to serve our state. it would not have been possible without the steadfast support of my family. here with us tonight is missouri's first lady can, my wonderful wife, georgeann.
[applause] throughout my life i have been guided by principles. i was taught as a youngster in desoto boy scout troop 559 do your duty to god and your country, help other people at all times and leave things better than you found them. following these principles, i became an eagle scout, a husband, a father a state senator, attorney general and now governor. these same principles remain touchstones for service to our great state. in nearly 30 years of public service, i've learned a lot about the character of people of missouri. we don't expect something for nothing, but give us an opportunity, we'll roll up our sleeves and get to work. give us a challenge, we'll rise
to meet it. i've also learned a lot about state government. if we are mired in partisanship, not much gets done. but when we aim high and work together there's much we can accomplish. so let's show the people we serve that we can rise above partisanship, unite and move missouri forward. let's do our duty to good and country to help others and leave missouri better than we found it. okay? and that means working together. [applause] now, i'm willing to do my part. rumor has it on some fronts that i don't spend enough time up on the third floor. [laughter] i hear ya. i'm going to be coming around a little more often. just be careful what you wish for. [laughter] one hour ago in my office i
presented a legion of honor to norbert girling of missouri. it is the highest distinction bestowed by the french government for service to the people of france. in the summer of 1944, mr. girling was a hellcat gunner with the 609th tank destroyerer battalion. he joined general patton's army for the drive through france and germany during the bat battle of the bulge. most historians remember 70 years ago on january 25th of this week is when the battle of the bulge ended. sergeant girling demonstrates men and women who had the grit, courage and unshakable on theism that made our country what it is today. sergeant girling, would you please stand? on behalf of all missourians, we thank you and all the men and women in uniform.
best care possible. that's why my budget includes the resources to modernize and improve our state's veteran homes so that their up to the high standards our veterans deserve. [applause] but, you know, we need to do more. nearly 2000 missouri vets are now on waiting lists to get the care they're learned. 2,000. that's unacceptable. and that's why i'm proposing the conduction of a -- the construction of a new veterans home for these proud missourians. [applause] these men and women did their duty to god and country so that our lives might be better. now we need to be there for them. let's work together and get that built. [applause] now, the spirit of optimism, that willingness to face any
challenge has always made us special as americans and missourians. in times of struggle and unrest like those we saw this past year that spirit has helped us find a new path forward. and it's the same spirit that has produced some of missouri's proudest moments over the past six years. together we led the rebirth of the american auto industry right here in the heartland. [applause] together we helped communities recover and rebuild stronger in the aftermath of floods, blizzards and the deadliest tornado in our history in joplin. and together we're moving missouri forward on a foundation of fiscal discipline and solid economic growth. now, here in missouri fiscal discipline is a value okay? we balance budgets. we keep taxes low.
and we continue to downsize state government while improving services through innovation. we trim the state work force by more than 4,000 positions, paid down debt and sold off property. at a time when pension costs or were dragging down other states, we worked together to shore up our pension system saving taxpayers more than $600 million over ten years. strict fiscal discipline has helped protect our aaa credit rating giving us the opportunity to make essential, long overdue investments in the future. last year the legislature took the first step by passing additional binding capacity s and that means this year we can move forward with a strategic bond issuance to fund improvements to our college campuses, state buildings, state parks and veterans homes okay in. [applause]
that means more jobs. that means better labs for more students. that means taking care of more veterans. quite simply let's just get it done. now, in the past six years we've made government smarter by embracing technology. from hunting permits to child care provider information missourians can now access hundreds of government services from their smartphones safing time money -- saving time money and aggravation. i thank the general assembly for supporting investments in 21st century technology to better serve our taxpayers okay? thank you, all of you. [applause] technology has dramatically improved the quality of our daily lives, but at the same time it has created some serious security challenges. and growing anxiety about the safety of sensitive information. from credit card fraud to identity theft to cyber terrorism, there are real and mounting threats to our personal information, financial and
medical records and even our power grid. hackers are constantly trying to crack security firewalls targeting government and private companies alike. this year we will ramp up our cybersecurity efforts by partnering with businesses, law enforcement and universities to identify best practice, educate the public making missouri a leader in cybersecurity will make our families and our personal information safer create more jobs in our tech sector and strengthen our growing economy. [applause] it will. [applause] and you know our economy is growing. let's take just a second to remember where we started. when i took office in january 2009 the state had lost more than 65,000 jobs in the previous year. the unemployment rate was 8.6% and rising. today we got the news that our unemployment rate just dropped
again to 5.4%. [applause] home construction's up personal income is up, and missouri employers created more jobs in 2014 than any year since 1997. okay? [applause] that's why we just closed out the best year for job growth in 17 years okay? [applause] and, you know, we're just getting started. the largest economic development project in our history is underway in kansas city. consumerrer in's $4.4 billion campus for 16,000 workers in high-tech health care. thanks to the work we did in the special session one year ago, boeing is bringing commercial aircraft manufacturing to missouri for the first time in its history putting hundreds to work in north st. louis county.
and more missourians are starting their own businesses than at any time in the last 20 years. [applause] another way we're creating more jobs at home, by selling more missouri products to brazil, china, taiwan, england, france, korea, canada and others. some of you in this room have joined me on these successful trade missions. we've signed agreements to sell billions of dollars of missouri goods to businesses and consumers alike. last year our exports hit $14 billion, that's $14 billion of made in missouri products going all over the world. [applause] now, a big part of that success is from our number one industry, agriculture. 2014 was a phenomenal year for
ag exports. from corn and soybeans to rice chicken, hogs and turkeys. and there are 11 million more potential customers for missouri's farm products just 90 miles away from the u.s. in cuba. for many in my generation, trade with cuba was unthinkable. but never underestimate the power of more than democracy to improve people's lives and open hearts and minds. once free markets begin to flourish, freedom will follow. two weeks ago i went to washington and stood with a coalition that now includes more than 40 ag groups calling for expanded trade with cuba baa. in march i'm -- cuba. in march i'm headed to havana to make sure that missouri is first in the door. [applause] >> because all we need is an
open door. and missouri's innovative, hard working producers or will do the rest. now, we're also working to bring economic opportunity to our small towns and rural communities by boosting our cattle industry. missouri ranks second in the nationing in cow -- nation in cow-calf production thanks to genetic research and the know how of our farmers and ranchers. but here's the beef: nearly all those animals leave missouri before they're full grown and are finished and processed in other states. that means missouri is missing out on more than $1 billion in value every year. now, we need to keep those cattle and those dollars right here in the show me state, okay? [applause] earlier this month we brought together hundreds of folks from around the state producers scientists packers corn
growers, legislators and others to develop a plan to do just that. and is we're also proposing $1.2 million to research new ways to make our cattle industry more profitable. with the right strategy on beef we can strengthen our rural economy and the families and communities that depend on it. now, getting more missouri goods to global markets requires the transportation infrastructure to get there safely. we've traditionally paid for roads and bridges through user fees like the gas tax. missourians believe it's only fair that folks who use the roads also pay for 'em. but with more fuel efficient vehicles, drivers are getting more miles out of each gallon of gas. so they end up paying less to fund our roads. as a result, money for our roads and bridges is drying up. missouri has the seventh largest
highway system in the nation. we rank 46th in how much we invest to maintain it. last week we heard modot lay out in stark terms what this means. on thousands of miles of state roads from lindbergh in st. louis to range line in joplin we'll barely be able to patch potholes. by 2017 we won't even have enough revenue to match federal highway dollars. so what do we do? one option is a toll road on interstate 70. the highway commission's recent report show that this approach could make i-70 better and safer and free up tens of millions of dollars for other roads around the state. trucks and out-of-state vehicles that do the most damage to i-70 would have to pay their fair share. that deserves serious consideration. here's another option the gas tax. missouri's gas tax hasn't gone up a penny in nearly 20 years.
it's the fifth lowest in the nation. with gas prices as low as they are now, this is worth a very close look. if we want to leave missouri roads better than we found them the only thing we can't really do is sit still. this is a major, long-term challenge, and this is the time to get moving. now. absolutely. now, creating opportunity for all missourians requires us to face some painful truths and tackle some difficult challenges. the events this ferguson following the death of michael brown sparked a national conversation about race inequality, education and economic opportunity, law enforcement and the courts. we've already taken some meaningful steps forward in ferguson. we've provided loans to help
small businesses recover. we'll invest $2.5 million to improve west floarson avenue. i created the office of community education and she is already doing great work including overseeing a summer jobs program for thousands of low income kids in st. louis and kansas city. [applause] last fall i created the ferguson commission which continues its vital work of listening learning and evaluating solutions. i look forward to receiving its final report this september. but make no mistake, the legacy of ferguson will be determined by what we do next to foster healing and hope. and the changes we make to strengthen all of our communities. [applause]
many of the broader systemic issues will require sustained effort by those of us in this room. we need to reform municipal courts so that all citizens are treated fairly. [applause] we need to update the state statute governing deadly force to be consistent with constitutional requirements and u.s. supreme court precedent. [applause] we need to support policies that foster racial understanding and compassion. [applause] we need to create greater economic opportunity and encourage personal responsibility. [applause] absolutely. we need to strengthen failing schools and provide access to affordable health care. [applause]
and we must recruit train and certify professional law enforcement that reflects the diversity of the community it serves. [applause] the men and women of law enforcement serve and protect in difficult and dangerous circumstances. they put their lives on the line to protect our lives. we are proud of our law enforcement officers. [applause] ..
they tossed a ball to neighborhood kids. [applause] back on the same street the next day, the troopers saw that a pick up game was underway. and they joined in. of course it was more than just a friendly game of hoops. t was an opportunity to ease tensions. to begin fostering trust. and to bring about the kind of change needed in communities all across america. [applause] as we search for long-term
strategies to promote equality and economic opportunity we don't need to look further than education. education is the great equalizer. when every child has a quality education, every child has the opportunity to succeed. [applause] and education is the best economic development tool that we have. [applause] that's why we have increased funding while also raising your expectations with more rigorous classes, tougher tests, and stricter accountability and missouri schools are rising to the challenge. over the past six years math scores have gone up, reading scores have gone up and we're starting to see solid progress in some of our most troubled school districts. tonight we're joined by
dr. tiffany anderson, the superintendent of the jennings school district in st. louis county more importantly bringingian gnaw parker a 7th grade student at college prep academy with a 4.0 gpa. [applause] listen to these numbers. more than 90% -- there you go. [applause] breyannah, is it nice to be in a room where everyone else got straight as? fellow travelers with you. more than 90% of the kids in her district come from poor families but the superintendent and her team aren't letting anything hold them back.
jennings students made big loop forwards over past several years with higher test scores and and higher graduation rates. please join me in thanking dr. anderson for her leadership and dedication to the success of students like these kids. [applause] visit communities across our state and you will get a sense for how strongly missourians support their local public schools and their teachers. last fall at the polls voters overwhelmingly reject ad wrong-headed attack on public school teachers with more than 76% of missourians voting against it. that initiative bankrolled by special interests lost in every single county of the state.
okay? in stone county and sullivan county, wayne and washington green and iron county, missourians demonstrated just how fiercely they stand behind public schools because missourians know we need to pay our teachers more, not chip away at their job security. [applause] while our public schools thrive our communities thrive and if we're completely honest where our schools stand, we still got work to do. because better isn't good enough. our kid deserve the best. my budget will invest in an additional $11 million in preschool so more children, regardless of their circumstances start kindergarten, ready to learn. [applause] and once again i am proposing
record funding for k-12 education with an additional $150 million for our local public schools. [applause] that means more technology in the classrooms smaller class sizes, more hands-on learning and also means better pay for the folks who do the toughest most important job there is, teaching our kids. [applause] i also appreciate the good bipartisan discussions we had about the school transfer law and i am confident the legislature will get a clean fix to my desk this session. we know that the fastest growing, highest paying jobs in the global economy are in science, technology engineering and math. but right now less than 20% of our undergrads at our public
universities are getting degrees in these demanding academic disciplines. we've got to expose kids at an early age to programs that bring science and math to life. like project lead the way. i've been to project lead the way classrooms where kids were analyzing dna and designing software. it is a real game-changer. we have more project lead the way computer science programs than any other state. [applause] but not enough schools are using project lead the way at the elementary level. we need to ramp that up dramatically. that's why my budget provides startup grants to expand project lead the way to another 350 elementary schools all across the show-me state. [applause] now when it comes to higher education we continue to be guided by core principles
quality, affordability, and accountability. since 2009 missouri has led the nation in holding down tuition increases at our public universities, number one. [applause] i'm proposing an additional $25 million for colleges and universities based on how well they meet strong performance standards. we're also working to provide state of the art facilities that will prepare our students for high-tech jobs for placing lab equipment more than 30 years old and upgrading engineering buildings with leaky roofs and poor lighting. we can't prepare students for 21st century jobs with equipment that was obsolete in the 20th century. in fact with your hard work last year one of these projects is already underway. long-due renovation at missouri college of engineering will add classroom space and lab space to
prepare more missourians for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of future. education and educating a competitive workforce is something we can all get behind. i want to thank each much you for you have done to help our colleges. thank you very much. [applause] now education is key to the economic future of our state and so our natural resources. missouri is blessed with an abundance from the fresh water from the mississippi and missouri rivers and clear-running owes sarc streams. we kind ever take it for granted. if you go upstream to the dakotas, to the headwaters of the missouri it is an entire different story. they are fighting for water. they want to divert as much water from the missouri river as they can would leave our farmers and shippers high and dry. take kansas. their latest hair brained idea
is the construction of a 360-mile aqueduct to siphon off more of our missouri river water. we can not let that happen. [applause] as long i'm governor i will not let states upstream divert first suri water we rely on for drinking farming, and industry. we also need to protect the amount of water we have in missouri and we need to protect the quality of the water we have in our state. all across our state, drinking and wastewater treatment systems, many built decades ago are starting to fall apart. have you ever had a pipe burst in your basement or cracked main in your subdivision you know how costly and annoying that can be. that is why my budget this year includes $70 million, fund already approved by voters and the legislature, to rebuild
these aging water systems now and insure that we leave missouri waters better than we found them. [applause] our rivers and streams are part of the priceless outdoor heritage that missourians can enjoy and our 87 state parks and historic sites have been recognized as the finest in the nation for camping, hiking, bicycling and paddling with millions of visitors every year. this is the year, this year, is our opportunity to update and renovate our state park cabins and lodges with special attention to preserving the historical structures built by the civilian conservation corps. one of the most iconic ccc projects at state parks is the bridge at bennett springs. one of the many special places we need to preso i for generations to come absolutely.
[applause] now i've spoken a lot tonight about some of the big challenges we must overcome to create opportunity and build a brighter future for our state. now i would like to talk about another challenge, but really a greater opportunity. strengthening and reforming medicaid. [applause] let me remind you a lot has changed since last year. since i stood here last year missouri taxpayers have sent $2 billion to washington. those dollars are being used right now in other states to reform and improve their medicaid system. that's 2 billion missouri tax pay are dollars and this year there's another $2 billion at stake. if we keep standing still that's
$4 billion missourians will have lost to other states during the year. in other states people are moving past the politics. republican governors in arizona iowa michigan new jersey new mexico nevada north dakota and ohio have already strengthened medicaid in their states. since last year even more republican governors have come forward with medicaid proposals. utah tennessee indiana, and wyoming. even the republican governor of alabama hasn't indicated he may join them. many states are pursuing innovative reforms demanding personal responsibility encouraging work absolutely. encouraging work and cracking down on fraud. and they're using our tax dollars to do it. where our tax dollars have gone,
health care jobs have followed. states that have strengthened and improved medicaid have had three times the growth in health care jobs than states that haven't. hospitals are often the largest local employers in our communities but jobs and health care which comprise 1/6 of the jobs in our total economy aren't growing like they should. in fact in the past year thousands of missouri health care jobs have been lost. hospitals and clinics have closed, and if we don't take action, more will follow. last summer, an official warn notice was sent to our department of economic development from the ceo at ozarks community hospital in springfield about impending layoffs. the ceo explained that his hospital was going to cut 60 jobs in missouri but hire 62 new workers across the border in arkansas. the ceo wrote and i quote the reason we are hiring in arkansas
and laying off in missouri is that arkansas chose to expand medicaid and missouri did not. i fear that missouri will never recover the ground it is now losing statewide as a result of political posturing. end quote. folks, this is real. the time to move forward is now. [applause] now it is also really important to remember that standing still on medicaid has a human cost. the 300,000 missourians who would get health care if we move forward, are your friend and
neighbors. 13,000 of them are veterans. 50,000 are people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. and tens of thousands more are working missourians who live below the poverty line, because they're working, they earn too much to get medicaid but they can't afford to buy health insurance on their own. let's work together. rise above the same old partisan fights of years ago and strengthen and reform medicaid this year. [applause] you know that when we work together we can make a real
difference. just look at what we've done to strengthen our mental health system. we passed landmark legislation to help children with autism. we're building a state of the art mental hospital in fulton replacing one that opened in 1851. we put mental health professionals in community health centers to work hand in hand with local law enforcement. together they're helping thousands of vulnerable missourians with chronic mental elness get the treatment they need and for the first time in 20 years there is no longer an agonizing wait of weeks, months even years for in-home services for low-income missourians with developmental disabilities. that is what happens when we work together. [applause] now those of us who state government understand its role in protecting the vulnerable
preserving the peace, fostering greater economic opportunity and educating our children. and yet many missourians have grown cynical about state government's ability to help them better their own lives. that's because they believe the system is rigged against them. they think the wealthy and well-connected while ignoring hard-working folks folks who drive trucks, wait tables, stock shelves, folks trying to make ends meet. like i said before missourians don't expect something for nothing. but they do expect a fair shake. and they deserve it. what good are we to people who elected us if they can't trust us to represent their best interests? that is exactly why we need ethics reform. okay? [applause] i talked about it right here every year i've been governor.
we have the weakest ethics laws in the nation. it's not fair, it's not right and you and i know it. every day we don't act the public's confidence in us continues to erode. no more excuses. let's get a meaningful ethics reform bill to my desk this year. [applause] now when we work together we can achieve great things for the people of our state. last week i was at the detroit auto show where missouri's award winning trucks and vans once again took center stage. today our automotive comeback may seem like it was always inevitable but back in 2009, it was anything but.
the national recession and competition from o rseas have dealt a crippling blow to our auto industry. by the time i took office, plants were closed or closing in hazelwood, south st. louis north st. louis and fenton. there were rumors that ford's kansas city assembly plant and 4,000 hard-working folks employed there might be next. i was not about to let that happen. as long as cars are going to be made somewhere, i was determined to make sure it was missourians who were building them. okay? [applause]
now the first executive order i signed was to create a automotive jobs task force. we also ramped up our invests in workforce training but to secure the next generation of automotive manufacturing in our state we had to do more. that's why when we couldn't get it done in regular session in 2010 i called a special session to pass strategic, fiscally responsible legislation, that would ultimately pull our auto industry back from the brink. when it passed i signed it right there in claycomo with the hard-working men and women of local 249 okay? [cheers and applause] it's no accident soon vehicle
cans will roll off the line at claycomo will more off the assembly line than any other ford plant in the world. okay? [applause] it is no accident that general motors plant in continues to expand and building the award winning chevy colorado and gmc canyon. [applause] while we're at it, it is no accident that "motor trend"'s top three trucks of fifth, are all built right here in the show-me state. [applause] ford gm and more than 60 automotive suppliers invested more than $2 billion in missouri since 2010. you think bringing auto
manufacturing back to the heartland was an easy lift? it wasn't. it required passage of two pieces of legislation during that special session. and one of them passed by just two votes. many said it wouldn't get done. they were wrong. okay? there were 24 members who voted for both bills who are still serving in the legislature today, including then-speaker ron richard. [applause] look at this though. look who are the other four are talking. four are now your leaders. president pro testimony dempsey senate minority leader keaveny, house minority leader hummel and speaker of the house john diehl. [applause] these weren't easy votes for everyone at the time. but it was the right thing to do. so the rest of y'all around
here, you want to get in leadership and get ahead? you got some good examples there, okay? do the right thing. reach across the aisle. together we can do great things for our state. [applause] but the real credit for rebidding our auto industry goes to the workers. we're joined by some of them tonight. please stand if you would members of the uaw. [applause] today the vehicles are not your parents trucks and vans. bidding them take as level of skill and craftsmenship that is just extraordinary. you guys you build the strongest, toughest vehicles in the world and you're making the show-me state the national
leader in automotive excellence and innovation. [applause] your work ethic is second to none, your product is the best in the world. quite simply you make the show-me state proud, thank you. think about it for a second. because of the work of the people sitting here just a few short years ago and the work we did together, these men and women have the dignity of a good family-supporting job. those paychecks cover more than a monthly bills. they help folks buy cars and houses. they pay for books and baseball gloves computers and college tuition and put something in the collection plate on sunday. [applause]
specific shoutout to representative pierce. and it was made possible by the decision made in this building. >> thank you. [applause] this my friend, is what public service is all about. this is why we're here. to create real opportunity that leaves no one behind. the fact is, our state work best when everyone has an opportunity to succeed. every college student in our state deserves the opportunity to earn a degree that prepares themuto compete in a global economy and into the workforce without a mountain of debt. every parent in our state deserves the opportunity to get a job that pays enough to provide for their families and save a little too.
every farmer who wakes up before sunrise and works past sunset deserves a chance to sell his crops, not just around the country but around the globe. and every missourian, every missourian deserves a government worthy of their trust. [applause] that's what's expected of us. we must demand it of ourselves and each other. i believe that we're all here for the same reasons, which brings us right back to the values instilled in me as a scout. to do our duty, to god and our country, to help other people at all times, and to leave things better than we found them. working together we will build a
stronger missouri for everyone and leave our great state a better place than we found it. our time is short. let's make the most of it. thank you, and god bless. [applause] >> c-span2 providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend booktv now for 15 years, the only television network devoted to non-fiction books and authors. c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to begin the day. more work scheduled on a bill permitting the construction of
the keystone xl oil pipeline. lawmakers are expected to consider and vote on several amendments throughout the day including one that seeks to prevent the use of eminent domain in relation to any lands used to build the pipeline. now live to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the leaders heart is in your hand and you turn destinies as you desire.
give our lawmakers wisdom to labor so that justice will abound and righteousness will flow like a mighty stream. lord, may our senators develop a clear vision of the light that leads to truth. enable them to make the differing approaches expressed by both parties contribute to better solutions to the world's problems. infuse these legislators with reverential awe that will empower them to be aware of your presence and to obey and accept your plan. use them as extensions of your power in our nation and world
and lord, please place your healing hands on senator harry reid. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this morning the senate will be in a period of morning business for an hour before resume consideration of the keystone bill. senators should expect votes on pending amendments to the bill after lunch today. votes are possible into the evening tonight as well as during tomorrow morning's session of the senate. we need to make progress on this bill and all members should expect a busy day. now, mr. president the senate, as i indicated will continue its work on the keystone jobs bill today. it's great to see a real debate on the floor of the senate again. i saw some action in the chamber yesterday, even some unpredictability. we saw how democracy in the
senate has looked many times in the past. it's great to see both sides able to offer amendments once more. i -- the assistant democratic leader said he welcomes our vision of the senate where members bring amendments to the floor, debate them, vote on them and ultimately pass legislation and that's what we're doing. another democratic colleague the senior senator from west virginia said he was -- quote -- very excited about the prospect of an open amendment process. he also noted it gave members of his party a valuable opportunity to pursue some of their own priorities through the legislative process. the senator makes an important point about the more open senate we're working toward. a more open senate presents more opportunities for legislators with serious ideas to make a
mark on the legislative process. it can give members of both parties a real stake in the ultimate outcome of a bill on the floor and because it does, it represents one of our best avenues to secure passage of sensible legislation centered on jobs and the middle class. that's something we should all want. so i hope members in both parties will help us continue our efforts to make the senate function better. that would be a good thing for our country. it would represent a change from the kind of senate we've seen in recent years. and it would represent a positive step forward not just for congress but for the people we represent.. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me join the majority leader in saying that i think we are in a healthy environment on the floor of the senate where we are
pursuing amendments and active debate, and it is great to see that happening. the only way that happens in the united states senate is when the majority and the minority both work for it to happen. the rules of the senate are constructed, as we both know, well so that literally any one senator can stop the process. but the goodwill and good-faith efforts of senators on both sides of the aisle have really brought us to a good moment here. i want to commend especially the leaders on the floor for this legislation. senator murkowski of alaska on the republican side and on our side senator maria cantwell and senator barbara boxer. the two of them in an extraordinary show of cooperation have been able to work together to process amendments. the fact is we voted on nine amendments so far on this keystone pipeline measure. we have eight amendments pending today. so there is a good-faith effort on both sides to call these important amendments with fairness to both sides of the aisle. i want to see that continue.
i hope that no one believes that we're finished with eight amendments. we're not. there are other important amendments to be considered. members have brought them to the attention of both sides and i hope as quickly as we can that we will schedule them for consideration and a vote and move forward. yesterday what was fascinating was the fact that we branched off from this conversation about the keystone pipeline itself and the jobs, 35 permanent jobs that will be created for this canadian corporation and started talking about some underlying critically important issues. we spent a great deal of time on the floor discussing the environmental impact not just of the pipeline, but of the canadian tar sands which are being brought, will be brought by the pipeline if it's approved into the united states for processing. it is interesting what we have learned so far in the course of this debate. when the democrats insisted that this pipeline's product the oil
that is refined and used for consumption, be sold in the united states, the republicans voted "no." the republicans voted "no." i have a lengthy memo on my desk of all the republican senators who have come to the floor insisting that the keystone pipeline was going to create more gasoline, more diesel fuel and help the american economy. yet when we offered an amendment, senator markey of massachusetts offered an amendment to say keep the products coming from the keystone pipeline in the united states, the republicans to a person voted "no" and then senator franken came forward and said well, let's agree that if this is about jobs and america that the keystone pipeline will use american steel. that seems reasonable to me, and i voted for it. the republicans voted "no." they defeated the notion that we would use american steel to build this pipeline. this pipeline is senate bill 1 for the senate republicans. it is their highest priority.
you would think if it truly is a jobs bill they would want american steel to be used to build the pipeline. let our steel mills build this pipeline in the future. create the jobs in america. and they voted "no." yesterday i offered an amendment as well. we know at the end of this pipeline if tar sands reach the united states through this means or otherwise it's a pretty nasty process taking the tar and sand out of the oil. and what's left over is a nasty product known as petcoke. petcoke is now being stored in three-story high piles in the city of chicago. i've seen it. and the city is trying to get to the point where it is at least contained and covered and yet the company that owns it, which incidentally is a company owned by the koch brothers. what an irony. this company resisted the idea
of covering these petcoke aisles and so this nasty black substance blows through the community in the city of chicago. the city of chicago is in a battle. i tried to put in an effort yesterday so that we would establish standards for transportation and storage of petcoke, and the republicans insisted it was a benign substance, it wasn't hazardous not dangerous don't worry about it. i hope some of the senators who voted against my amendment tomorrow god forbid, face this issue in their community. i think they'll have a little different view of expoak and what it can do to people, the impact it has on respiratory disease and asthma. yesterday i didn't prevail but over the years as i fought the tobacco companies and they insisted there was nothing dangerous about tobacco i heard those arguments from industry just as we're hearing the petcoke arguments from the petcoke industry. ultimately good sense prevailed public health prevailed and we moved toward regulation of
tobacco products. we should do the same, basic regulation to protect the public from any negative impact on their health relative to petcoke. the amendments continue today. some of them are extraordinarily important. i hope that we will continue to move towards the comiewtion of of -- towards the completion of this task in an orderly manner. i commend not only the leadership on the majority side but i commend my colleagues too. we found over the past many years that the process of amendment would break down when one republican senator would stand up and say "i won't let any amendment be considered until my amendment is considered," number one. it even reached the point where republican senators would say i won't let any amendment be considered unless you can guarantee my amendment will pass. when you take unreasonable positions and threaten filibusters, you break down the amendment process. we have tried now being in the minority to be more constructive and we've reached
that goal so far this week. i hope we continue to aspire to it and i hope we can wrap this bill up next week in an orderly manner. mr. president, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks around the world particularly in paris, the american people know that terrorism sadly, is a threat to us even this day. we count on one department of government as much, if not more than any other to protect us. the department of homeland security. this is the department which monitors the terrorist threats to our country on a minute-by-minute basis. this is the agency that provides the inspectors at airports and in many other places to try to thwart terrorism before it strikes. it is a critically important department of our government, one of the most important departments. and that's why it's curious to me that the house republicans insisted that the budget, the regular budget for the department of homeland security be held up until the end of
february. they need their department budget. they need to invest it to keep america safe, and yet the house republicans said no. they gave a continuing resolution to the department which basically lets them operate on a day-to-day basis with no certainty of the future. that's no way to run an agency, particularly one that's supposed to keep america safe. and then last week the u.s. house of representatives took another step and really revealed what was behind this strategy. they added five negative riders to this department of homeland security appropriations bill. they are riders on the subject of immigration. of course department of homeland security has a responsibility when it comes to immigration. and these riders were onerous and they threatened the very passage of this important legislation. so much so that the president of the united states has issued a veto threat. if the u.s. house of representatives republican riders are included on the bill when it passes the senate.
the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, the thing to do to protect america is for us to pass the homeland security appropriation now so that this agency has its money. remove the riders, these onerous riders unfair riders that were attached by the house of representatives. if we are to debate the negative aspects of immigration let's save it for another day and not put this department of homeland security at risk and the safety of america at risk over this political effort by the republicans in the house of representatives. one aspect of the house measure an amendment to the department of homeland security appropriation, i find particularly troublesome mr. president, it was 14 years ago when i introduced the dream act. hard to imagine it's been that long. but the notion behind the dream act was if a child is brought to america, a child is brought to
america by a family and is undocumented in this country and that child grows up in america completes hool, has no serious criminal -- completes high school has no serious criminal problems in their background they ought to be given a chance to enlist in our military, to go to college get on a path toward legalization. that's the dr -- dream act. originally it had some republican sponsorship, but over the years that melted away. yet many republicans have said from time to time i think the dream act is fair. we just haven't enacted it into law. and because of that, two and a half years ago many of us appealed to president obama to protect these dreamers, these young people. many of them completed school and had nowhere to go. being undocumented, they didn't qualify for a penny of assistance in going to college and many times if they completed college, they couldn't get a job because of their immigration status. so president obama back in 2012 created a program called daca,
and the daca program said that if these dreamers, these young people who might be eligible under the law i have described would come forward register with the government, submit to a background check and pay a filing fee they would be given temporary status to live in the united states without being deported, to go to school, to work. well we estimate some two million young people could qualify for this program. 600,000 have signed up. so far 600,000. 30,000 in the state of illinois have signed up. they have come forward. now, i have met some of these young people who have qualified under daca. they are extraordinary young people. i went to loyola medical school in chicago and at the medical school there, i believe there were ten perhaps 12 students who are daca-protected students who are now going to medical school. two things to be said. first, these are extraordinary students. they had no chance to go to medical school before daca, and now they do.
so they are well, well qualified to go to medical school. secondly, they have only come to loyola with the promise that after they receive their medical license, they will practice in underserved areas in illinois and across america. whether it's rural areas or inner city. so they're prepared to dedicate their professional lives to serving people who otherwise might not have access to medical care. that's just one example. well, let me tell you about some others. i want to update the senate on two people that i've come to the floor and talked about in the past. carlos and rafael roblis. they were brought to the united states when they were small children. they grew up in suburban chicago in my home state of illinois. they were both honor students, palatine high school and harper community college. in high school, carlos was the captain of the tennis team and a member of the varsity swim team. he volunteered for palatine's
physically challenged program where every day he helped to feed lunch to special needs students. carlos graduated from harper community college went on to attend loyola university in chicago, majoring in education. this is what one of his teachers said about him. "carlos is the kind of person we want among us because he wants to make the community better. this is the kind of person you want as a student the kind of kid you want as a neighbor and a friend a friend to your child and most germane to his present circumstance is the kind of person you want to be an american." so after he received daca protection, president obama's executive order carlos was able to work as a tennis coach at his high school to help pay his tuition. after he graduated from loyola with a major in education carlos works as a teacher at a public high school in chicago. i ran into him at a meeting last year and he told me his ambition to be a teacher but he's now attending graduate
school at the gerald r. ford school of public policy at the university of michigan, studying educational policy. he's a bright, engaging young man who wants to make our schools more effective. in high school, rafael, his brother, was captain of the tennis team and a member of the varsity swim team and soccer team. rafael graduated from harper community college and now attends the university of illinois majoring in architecture. one of rafael's teachers said rafael is the kind of person i taught about in my social studies classes the american who comes to this country and commits to his community to make it better for others. raffy roblis is a young man who makes us better. during my 28-year career as a high school teacher coach and administrator, i place raffy in the top 5% of all the kids i have ever come in contact with. since receiving daca, rafael has been a full-time student while also working at the studio gang architects, an award-winning architectural firm in chicago.
rafael will graduate this spring with a 3.8 g.p.a. in a letter to congress, the roblis brothers shared their thoughts about efforts to overturn daca. here's what they said. "we ask you today to see in your heart to do the right thing to listen to reward the values of hard work and diligence values that made america the most beautiful and prosperous country in the world and that we're sure got you as members of congress to where you are today in life. these are values we've come to admire and respect in the american people. we will continue to uphold these values until the last days of our lives. we hope eventually as citizens of the united states we will become part of a country we now see as home. these two individuals carlos and rafael roblis extraordinary dreamers brought to this country as children by their parents, undocumented with no future in america and look what they've done with their lives. one has dedicated his life to education, overcome the odds and
a graduate from loyola university without any government assistance. being undocumented, he doesn't qualify. and now is going on for a master's degree, again at his own expense. his brother pursuing a degree in architecture. mr. president, you know what house republicans say? deport the roblis brothers. that's what their amendment to the department of homeland security says. deport these two young men send them out of this country. despite the fact that they have worked so hard and succeeded in what they have set out to achieve, the house republicans want to deport the 600,000 just like them who have qualified under the president's daca program. and they have gone further. not a penny they said, for any additional young people to apply for the daca program. two million young people, many of whom like the roblis brothers just want to make america a better place the house republicans say deport them. and further they say we won't
pass the department of homeland security appropriation to protect america from terrorism until you deport the roblis brothers and young people just like them. what's wrong with this picture? have the members of the house of representatives forgotten who we are as a nation? this is a nation of immigrants, mr. president. my mother was an immigrant to this country. her naturalization certificate is sitting right behind my desk upstairs. i'm proud of it. she came to this one at the -- this country at the age of 2 from lithuania raised a family, proud american citizen. her son is honored to represent the state of illinois in the united states senate. that's my story. that's my family's story. that's america's story. that's the roblis story. so why do the house republicans have such a vengeance against these young men and women who through no fault of their own find themselves in america and have made the best of it, who only want to make this a better nation? it drives the house republicans into a rage to think that the roblis brothers might stay in
the united states and make this a better country. i don't get it. i don't understand their thinking. i really would encourage the house republicans meet some of the dreamers. get to know them. and when you do, the images which perhaps you have in your mind will be dispelled quickly. well, we have a job ahead of us. the senate needs to pass the department of homeland security appropriation, and the sooner the better. god forbid we're going to face another terrorist attack. let's not let it happen with this important department facing the restriction that is they have been facing because of this republican strategy. let's give them a full appropriation, tell them do their best every single day to keep us safe. let's not embroil their work in a political debate about immigration, which is what the house republicans insist on. let's do a different thing here in the senate. let's pass a clean department of
homeland security appropriation bill. take out the immigration riders, save them for another day. save them for amendments on another bill, but let's fund this department and let's get it done now. for the safety and security of this nation, we need to come together on a bipartisan basis and put this political tactic by the house republicans behind us. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: