tv U.S. Senate CSPAN January 27, 2015 10:00am-6:01pm EST
jihad iran's sinking regional hegemony and revisionist powers, russia and china, capable of employing varying degrees of sophistication, disruptive methods of war that will severely test the united states military's traditional methods of projecting a sustaining power abroad. given u.s. defense budget projections, united states will have to confront these challenges without its long-standing decided advantage in the scale of resources, it is able to devote to the competition. indeed, the budget control act or sequestration, is not only irresponsible in the face of these emerging challenges it is downright reckless. let me briefly outlined the major security challenges and what we can do about them. radical islam as much as nazism and communism both political movements, ideologically driven with a major security challenges of the 20th century radical islam is the major sector challenge of our generation. radical islam as i'm defining it for today's discussion has three
distinct movements hoosier and radical fundamental ideologies using jihad or care to achieve objectives you compete with each other for influence and power. i provided some assets from behind my testimony that you can use and there's also some display maps here in the committee room which you may be challenged to be able to see. first, the shia-based iranian sponsored by the islamic movement that began in 1979 with the formation of the islamic state of iran. in 1980 iran declared the united states as a strategic enemy and its goal is to drive the united states out of the region, chief regional hegemony and destroy the state of israel. it uses proxies primarily as the world's number one states sponsoring terrorism. 30 plus years iran has used these proxies to attack the united states. to date the result is used troops left lebanon, saudi arabia and iraq while iran has direct influence in some control
over beirut lebanon gaza damascus, syria, baghdad, iraq and yemen. as you can see on the map. is there any doubt that iran is on the march and to systematically moving toward their regional image on the objective? iran has been iran has been on a 20 year journey to acquire nuclear weapons simply because they know it guarantees preservation of the regime and makes them along with their partners about the power in the region, thereby capable of expanding their control and influence. add to that their ballistic missile delivery system that iran is not only threat to the region but to europe as well, and they increase missile range eventually a threat to the united states. and as we know a nuclear arms race, because of their nuclear ambition, is on the horizon for the middle east. second, the al-qaeda sunni-based movement declared war on the united states in the early '90s, desires to drive
the united states out of the region, dominate all muslim lands and has the most ambitious movement eventually achieve world domination. as you can see on the map al-qaeda and its affiliates exceeds iran and beginning to dominate multiple countries. in fact al-qaeda has grown fourfold in the last five years. third, the islamic state of iraq and isis is an outgrowth from al-qaeda and iraq which was defeated in iraq by 2009. after u.s. troops pulled out of iraq in 2011, isis we emerged as a terrorist organization in iraq, moved into syria in 2012 and begin seizing towns and villages from the syria-iraq war all the way to the western syria from aleppo to damascus. after many terrorist attacks and assassinations in mosul and anbar province in 2013 to set
the conditions for follow-on operations of isis launched a conventional attack back into iraq beginning in 2014 with the seizure of fallujah and culminating in the seizure of mosul and many other towns and villages. is it possible to look at that map in front of you and claim that the united states policy and strategy is working? or that al-qaeda is on the run? it is unmistakable that our policies have failed and the unequivocal elimination is u.s. policy has focused on disengaging from the middle east. while our stated policy is pivoting to the east. u.s. policymakers choose to ignore the very harsh realities of the rise of radical islam. in my view, we became paralyzed by the fear of adverse consequences in the middle east after fighting two wars. moreover, as we sit here this morning in the face of radical islam, u.s. policymakers refuse
to actually name the movement as radical islam. we further choose not to define it no explain its ideology. and most critical we have no comprehensive strategy to stop it or defeated. we are reduced to a very piecemeal effort using drones in yemen and pakistan, a vital tactic but not a strategy, and air power in iraq and syria while insisting and unproven indigenous ground force, our partnering program with other nations is fragmented with no overall strategy. this approach almost certainly guarantees we will be incrementally engaged against one radical group after another with no end in sight. what can we do? to stop and defeat it, a global radicals islamist movement and iranian regional hegemony requires a broad, long-term comprehensive strategic approach
with its strategic objectives both near and long-term supporting that strategy. world leaders understood how formidable communist ideology and the soviet threat was to the world order and form political and military alliances. forming similar alliances today offers the opportunity by member nations to develop a comprehensive strategy to discuss and set goals for necessary political and social reforms, and to share intelligence technology, equipment and training. the alliance is mostly about supporting countries in the region to make internal changes and to assess comprehensively encountering radical islam. we should rely on somebody of leaders in and outside the region to assist in forming this alliance. this is not about major military intervention by the united states. it is about assisting alliance members with training their counterterrorism force and their
conventional military and counterinsurgency, and yes inducting counterterrorism operations as required. while killing and capturing terrorists is key so is the strategy to organize and a lightweight effort to undermine the radical islamist ideology, to counter its narrative, to counter recruiting, and to target outside financing. on iran, excuse me, iraq and syria, the isis advance the stalled due to effective air power with modest gains in retaking lost territory. however, a successful counter offensive to retake mosul and anbar province is a very we'll challenge. no one knows for certain how the indigenous force consisting of the iraqi army peshmerga, sunni tribes and shia militia will perform. the united states should plan now to have u.s. coalition advisers accompany frontline troops with the added capability to call in airstrikes.
direct action special operations forces both ground and air should assist by targeting isis leaders. u.s. and coalition combat brigades should be designated for deployment and move to kuwait to be ready for employment if the counter offensive stalls or is defeated. the alternative, we wait another couple of years and try again. the syria policy is a failure. isis is continue to advance throughout syria and is gaining ground, taking new territory. you can see that on the other map. and even approaching damascus and attacking south of damascus. the plans for training and assisting the free syrian army is not robust enough, 5001 year. i'm the receiver class i previously know more about than i. permitting assad to bomb new
members are trained makes no sense. the united states should keep the advice of soldering, uae, jordan and turkey established a no-fly zone and to shut down transcends air power and a buffer zone to protect refugees. iran, the long-term goal for any outlines that is form should be iran's regime change, or at least a collapse of the existing government framework similar to the collapse of the soviet union. and the reason is clear. iran's stated regional hegemonic objectives are incongruous with the peace, prosperity and stability of the middle east. iran cannot be permitted to acquire a nuclear weapon or a threshold capability allowing rapid nuclear development. sadly, we are already about there. congress should do two things not in reference to iran. one, authorize increased sanctions now with automatic
implementation if talks are extended or fail, and number two, legislative ratification of any deal by the senate. on afghanistan, the political situation in afghanistan has improved considerably with the reform leadership but the security relationship remains at risk of the security situation in the south result of a stable, the situation in the east is not. the problem is the area generally from kabul to the pakistani border is the domain of the haqqani network. haqqani network has not been rooted out of their support zones in safe areas in afghanistan your this is a series problem for the ansf. it follows that the ansf needs the funding support, to support its current levels of 352000 come and much-needed u.s. and coalition troops to conduct counterterrorism, and to advise train and assist the ansf beyond
2016. we also need to target the haqqani network and its sanctuary in pakistan in the vicinity of the five top. all we've accomplished in afghanistan will be at risk as it was in iraq if the troops have pulled out not based on the conditions on the ground. how can we not learn the obvious and painful lesson from iraq? the security challenges posed by revisionist eurasian nations russia and china. in europe, russia's recent behavior i think suggest that it is 2000 military campaign against george was not an aberration. but rather initial effort to overturn a prevailing regional order. by seizing the crimea, supporting trump of rebel forces in eastern ukraine and engaging in military deployments that directly threat all the neighbors, moscow has made it clear that it does not accept the political map of post-cold
war europe. i believe we need to realistically conclude that moscow is also willing to challenge the very existence of nato. what can be done? given the dramatic drop in oil prices, russia is beginning to suffer economically and is likely headed toward a recession if not already there. additional tough sanctions should be back on the table to coerce russia to stop the ukraine aggression. it is a disgrace that once again we have refused to assist the people being oppressed when all the asked for is the weapons to fight. we should robustly arm and assist ukraine. additionally, nato military presence in central europe -- excuse become nato military presence from central europe should be synthetically shifted to the baltics and eastern europe with plans for permanent basis. a clear signal of article v
intent must be sent to moscow. these actions will strengthen our diplomatic efforts which to date have failed. china's continuing economic growth has fueled a major conventional build that is beginning to shift the local balance of power in its favor. as a result, beijing has been emboldened to act more assertively towards its neighbors, especially in expanding its territorial claims which include not only taiwan but also most of the south china sea islands and japan's islands. china has embarked on a strategy of regional domination at the expense of u.s. interests as a pacific nation and decades a partnership with outlet countries in the region. what can be done? develop a regional strategy with our allies to counter china's desire to dom control and influence. recognize that kind of military strategy to defeat u.s. reliance on military information networks
which they believe alone made the united states militarily which is quite interesting, and they're exploding precision strike capability threatens ground and naval forces forward staging bases and air and sea ports of demarcation to the united states no longer enjoys a commanding position in the precision strike regime that it occupied in the two decades following the cold war. we should stress test u.s. region military defense to counter china's threat and recognize that a change in regional defense strategy and capabilities is likely. lastly, sequestration but it must be repealed and rasul resources restored to meet the emerging security challenges. all the services have a need to capitalize their investment accounts and to maintain readiness which is rapidly eroding. in conclusion, given the emerging sector to challenges and limited resources, the need
for well-crafted regional defense strategy and overall integrated national security and defense strategy posture is clear. more so now than any time i believe since world war ii. yet this is not what we do. what we do is qdr. every four years, which is largely driven by process and far too focused on the budget. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much, general keane. admiral fallon, thank you admiral fallon for being here. admiral fallon is a vietnam veteran who served 40 years in the navy including as command of u.s. central command. i get for being here today, admiral fallon. >> thank you, senator. madam chairwoman senator reed members of the committee, thank you first of all for your enduring support of our men and women in uniform, sort for the
many years in which i was honored to serve with them, and continuing today. and thank you for the opportunity to address this distinguished body and offer my perspective on current threats to national security, american foreign policy and national defense topics. there's certainly many areas of concern around the world. we see the most spectacularly highlighted regular by the media and shuford a long litany of these things mention already today. first of all i believe that a coherent national security strategy requires a long-term focus with well-thought-out objectives. we should resist reactive responses in attempt to buy near-term fixes of pop-up issues which are going to arise continuously, and can be for attention -- compete for attention which are the higher priority national interest. in shipping the world state today i suggest we focus on where we as a nation, want to be in the future.
my vote would be for improving world security and stability with more people around the world enjoy a better life conditions of their choosing with responsible elected leaders providing good governance and respect for human dignity. this scenario clearly in our better national interest is not going to happen without lots of hard work, informed and guided by effective national security strategy. the united states government has provided and must continue to provide leadership good example, an active political economic and military security assistance in working toward these desired objectives. the fundamental prerequisite for any successful u.s. national security strategy is a sound and strong domestic foundation. our credibility in the world is based on the example of our actions, and how people perceive we might act in current future situations. it's fair to wonder able in
other parts of the world take us seriously when they observe partisan political bickering that precludes agreement on fundamental issues like a national operating budget or cyber policy. seemingly ever-changing policies and priorities. our military capability is an essential element of national power, and one of many key tools which include diplomatic, development, economic financial political and certainly moral leadership. we face tough choices today about is win, and where to employ our military forces. we also face some tough choices on what to do, how to equip them and what capabilities out to be priority. we can't have everything. some people would propose an endless list of things that we could never afford. we've got to make the choices. as we contemplate the myriad challenges the world stability and u.s. security, we should first acknowledge the reality
that nuclear weapons and aspirations for them continue to proliferate. in this regard is discouraging to note that after more than two decades of counter come of nuclear counter proliferation progress, fueled in large measure by the nunn-lugar initiative rush and use cooperation appears to have ground to a halt in the wake of dangerous russian bad behavior. u.s. strategy in dealing with the potential use of these weapons of mass destruction has been heretofore successful with our national strategic deterrent force. but the critical component of this force have been aging without significant upgrades. modernization of force, particularly the survivability of the sea-based deterrent should be a top priority consideration for us to remain credible in deterring the worst case scenarios. in my view one of our most important strategic interests with huge invitation for national security and this vote of the vast asia-pacific region is our long-term relationship with china.
mutually beneficial in many respects, it has other dimensions noticeably, notably in the areas of cybersecurity, military expansion and region disputes with neighboring countries which are a cause for concern and need to be addressed. a key focal point of this hearing is conflict in the middle east and the spread of violent extremism in the region, and from it, to other places in the world. the middle east has been an area of high interest for us for many reasons. and continue to be buffeted by challenges which have asked years of use attempt to improve stability in the area. nonetheless, i believe we should continue to engage in this region. using all aspects of national power. with the understanding that we are not likely to be successful by mandating u.s. solutions. people in the region are soon on it going to step up and address the issues which divide them. we can and should assist but we are not going to resolve their
problems. some recommendations for addressing the current challenges from the so-called daish in iraq and syria from my perspective include first recognition that in iraq success will rest on the ability of a new government of al-abadi to convince the majority of his countrymen and women, particularly the sunni minority that they will get a fair sheikh going forward the absence of political foundation, nothing we do is going to be effective for the long-term. second, getting islamic leaders the elites of the arab countries, to actively counter the extremist ideology and to cut funding for daish and other extremists. on a positive note i would highlight the recent remarks by egyptian leader of the sec. third i think we should continues military efforts to work closer with the iraqi military to enhance their capabilities increase the
combat effectiveness, and support them with training air power as required to defeat the daish and to reclaim areas of our overrun last summer. simultaneously, pressing daish in rear areas to degrade and deny the ability to expand and sustain operations in iraq. no single one of these action is going to result in success. but collectively we have a chance to achieve our general objective. combating violent extremism worldwide will be a long-term effort requiring close cooperation with allies and willing nations especially in areas of intelligence sharing u.s. military training and assistance for a less capable colleagues. in summary strategic coherence than foreign policy and national security would benefit from strong, credible and consistent domestic policies and actions to return this great nation to the president of the sample rate leadership it has earned and kept for many years in the eyes
of people around the world. building on those position of domestic strengths are thoughtful focused and collaborative strategy formulation process to agree on a relatively few high priority national security goals and objectives should set us on a fair course. at the international level active engagement using all aspects of national power underpinned with a strong forward presence by u.s. military forces with credible capabilities is our best deterrent in response to security threats worldwide. thank you very much and i'm pleased to address any specific questions you may have. >> thank you so much, admiral fallon. i want to thank each of the members of this panel. and i would like to first of all start with general keane question to you about the fight we face against radical islam. you have said in your testimony that you believe that our policy has failed that essentially al-qaeda has grown fourfold in
the last five years. can you help us understand what you think would be the strongest strategy in terms of defeating radical islam? and also can speak to the situation in yemen and what you believe our strategy should be? >> yes. well, as you noted, radical islam is clearly on the rise and as i noted, as i said in my testimony, i think our policy of disengaging from the middle east has contributed to the rise. this is a very ambitious movement and they would be making moves in that direction because of our actions. given the scale of it which i tried to display on the map which goes from northern and western africa all the way to south asia as you look at all of that red on that map al-qaeda central does not control all of those affiliates
but what they have in common, what their connective tissue is is that they shared a common geopolitical belief driven by a religious ideology to dominate their host country governments, which they're conducting insurgency at and i indicated in my testimony has a very ambitious geopolitical objective, and that is to dominate muslim lands initially and then world domination. given that and given where they are and the swath of territory and countries that are involved in, there's no way that the united states in and of itself can deal with the scale of the problem, nor should it. so in my judgment that's why i would look to how do we do with timing is ideology which was a very similar movement, ambitious
geopolitical movement, world domination. and we dealt with it i think, in a very wise fashion. we brought countries together who shared values, who shared political beliefs and formed a political and military alliance. there is no other way i believe that you can cope with the scale of a problem without bringing the countries involved together, whether they're in the region are of interest outside of the region as many do because of the export of terrorism to their countries, and develop a strategy to deal with it. this isn't about the united states driving a strategy. this is about bringing countries together because much of what has to be done in the region with the radical islamists are growing has to do with those countries themselves. has to do with the countries that exist in those countries. the issues seminar and what the arab spring was about if you recall, it was about seeking
political reform social justice and economic opportunity. nobody was demonstrate in the streets for radical islam, but the radical islamists saw the arab spring as an opportunity, and he became an accelerant for them because they saw political and social upheaval and they could take advantage of it. so using that as a backdrop it drags you, those issues are still there. political reform social injustice and lack of economic opportunity. we have to bring those countries together to recognize some of those problems. those are long-term answers, and the near-term problems do with what general mattis would point out as well we have to share intelligence. we have to share technology. we have to share training. we can help a lot. we have been fighting this enemy for 13 years but we've learned a lot, and so have many of our allies. there's much that we can do if we take a comprehensive strategic approach to it as opposed to what i think is a
fragmentefragmente d approach now, and it doesn't get at the long-term problem. you have to see the long-term solution and then start approaching it with near-term and midterm objectives to accomplish it. that i think is the only answer that is possible, given what we are facing. otherwise we're just going to protect -- protract this thing and take these on, after isis will there be something after isis will have to do with? you betcha come if we don't take a comprehensive approach to deal with the. in terms of yemen, i mean it's refreshing to watch what's happened. we have been working with the host country government in yemen. we've been conducting direct action missions with them against an insurgency in their country. visit aqap as we well know. this is the organization even the pressure that the previous administration and this administration put on al-qaeda central. they knew that they no longer have global reach, and
al-qaeda central always always wanted to take the jihad to europe and to the united states so that they could drive us out of the region. and most importantly drive our ideas out of the region which are democracy and capitalism. the fact is they franchised out to aqap and they gave him some leaders to do it and this is a force that is not only conducting insurgency to overthrow a government, to put together capabilities to conduct out of region attacks in the united states, and most recently in paris, france. i think we have the big question mark on where we are going forward. this is going to have to play out in front of us. there are serious challenges in yemen, given what's taken place with the iranian imposed withdrawal of the governed. they are also opposed to aqap
but they also fundamentally opposed to america and its interests. so i think it begs the question whether they will have the cooperation with the new government in yemen that we had with the old government. .. and if we choose to use military, we have to as he said americans take ownership to this theory out. this is going to be a very serious war. that is still your ball i assume? >> yes, sir, it is. >> can you give nsn idl of the
force is on the top line? i think your point is well made. if we go in the something we go into it with the idea that it's going to be difficult and costly. >> senator what you just quoted was something i said in response to a question as you recall. i think in this case we have to get to a very detailed level of understanding. what is the political objective we are out to accomplish? frankly i don't know what it is right now. once we define that, i would say to a cheswick level of a very strict definition at that point, we've been allocate the mean-spirited music be covert, diplomatic, economic and military end if we work this correctly, as pointed out with the other members of the panel the clarity and commitment of the united states can draw in the full commitment of others.
we should not think that a tentative or halfhearted could not apart to say we are willing to go when and not willing to do the fighting to withdraw full commitment from others. they are going to be willing to match us but when you live right next to this terrible threat, they have to assume we are in fully or they will have to moderate their response. once we feel like at that level of commitment on our requirement can actually go down because others will be willing to comment all throated in our support. but it would be a serious operation no doubt, senator. thank you. >> general keane do you agree with general fallon point that if there is a cohesion in iraq that the government recognizes and integrates the very fact area groups that military efforts will be ineffectual? >> yeah, absolutely.
we can be a little bit encouraged by a body and his movements and some people from the institute of the study for just returned from baghdad meeting with government officials. a body is moving in the right direction. that is good news. but look let's be honest here. what maliki's malfeasance and nefarious character and the way he undermined political inclusion despite his rhetoric in iraq, especially after we pulled out of there, was tragic. the sunni tribes are key as was pointed out. right now while some of them are fighting against isis some are not to get them to move, to
take isis on, they have to be convinced that there is reckoning for a long-term political inclusion in this new government. it is a major issue for us. and where province will be largely sunni tribes with the iraqi army assisting to retake the river valley. passion murder while not participate. sunni tribes will also be needed to participate to retake mosul. they will need to be a supporting force because of the tribes up in that region. so yes, it is key and i think we have known not from the outside. >> so many facts, the politics would drive the military operations without effect is political reconciliation or signals from that dad, our military affairs, as strenuous
won't be particularly successful. >> yeah, i just -- it would eat hard to visualize a scenario with a successful counteroffensive to retake the territory that has been lost without significant sunni tribe participation in there. >> let me switch gears again to admiral fallon. thank you again for making yourself available. one of the points that was raised in the course that the testimony was the radical islam but one of the complicating factors is within this radical islam, you have sunni radicals jihadist and then you have sunni radicals and they have greater animosity towards other groups.
sunni, shia -- sunni believe the shia and how they reconcile that in terms of operations in the middle east, especially in terms of a. right now rainy and forces, shia militias i will say are paralleling our activities in rack and in terms of going after isil. that complicates an already complicated situation. any comments you have? >> piece of cake. >> yeah. >> we wish. i think the reality here senator is these things are really complex. there are a host of issues and interests to every one of these conflicts. you pick the country, picked her region and i think that we might consider a couple of things. first of all that in these really particularly vaccine
things that have so many acts that, we probably are to step back and take a look at again our long-term, large trace. so he ran has been a problem for us for decades. it is exacerbated by the fact that we have had no interaction to speak of until very recently for these many decades. we find that their activities are extremely distasteful. we basically detached many of the things they have done and continue to do. they promote a brand of radicalism that has spread well beyond their borders and we have been at our wits and to try to figure out what to do. my thought here is that sooner or later we are going to have to seriously sick down, as they think we are trying to start,
and have a dialogue with these guys. we could one option would be to invade iraq or iran brother. that has been proposed before. at what cost? does anybody here want to push that idea forward in a meaningful way? i doubt it. so i sometime, we have to figure out how to come to grips with this. so how do you do that? you recognize that everybody has a dog in the fight. they all want something. and we got to i think, decide what games we might accept some role for them in the region i would hang. but some things are not going to accept. we don't want any part of the nuclear weapons program that they seem to be embarked on. but their time i think it's been stretched right now. certainly the economic conditions. there has been apparently a
pretty notable effect of sanctions working against them and of course the people that usually take the brunt of this are the common folk not the leaders. nonetheless, they've had a germanic impact on the country. the price of oil clearly is a detriment and frankly they haven't been particularly successful in other places where surrogates are engaged in the region. i think we can't expect we will have one solution to solve all of these problems. so back to first things first. let's decide what we want for the long-term. can we expect a rant playing some kind of role in this region? if so, how do we get from where we are today today are. at the tactical level, allowing them to get away with instigation and then things like they have done in the past in iraq and afghanistan. other places we shouldn't permit. tactically we have to block those things when we can.
the fact that you have sunnis and shiites at each other's growth in many places here. something that we are not going to go wednesday that down stop days. we are not going to solve it. i think we act strategically to try to decide where we want our place to be in the region and then we work hard against those things at the tactical level that are real problems read sewer rat today is a real problem. to let it just go with it going to be acceptable. we have to continue to do what we are doing to take back the territory they lost. >> thank you. >> senator kearns. >> thank you madam chair. thank you for being here on this panel today as well as your many years of service to the united states. we are very grateful for that. i do agree that we have to have
a national security strategy. and this is very important. but we have seen, all of you have mentioned the sequestration, our effects globally has been diminished and we are reacting in a knee-jerk way as they become visible. so we don't have an overarching strategy and the way today. i think that is a great detriment to the citizens here in the united states. but what i would like to focus on base with what we have seen in iraq i served in iraq from 2003 to 2004. at a very low company level we invested so much effort in that region and we withdrew from that region before many of our military leaders believed we should withdraw and i do believe we are seeing that in afghanistan now also. these are areas, especially when
it comes to afghanistan that is not talked about so much in the media anymore. we think the focus on one issue at a time rather than looking at threats globally. with afghanistan we see that we have a proposed timeline and they date at that perhaps we won't you ready by 2016 to withdraw our troops. i just sent on saturday to fend off ceremony for the 361st medical logistics company. they are deploying to afghanistan and their mission is to assist in the withdraw of troops from afghanistan. how long, general keaton, do you believe that it will take for us realisticrealistic ally, forget the timeline proposed right now for the afghan national security forces to settle a role and be able to sit stating and keep
open lines of communication to maintain security within afghanistan. or are we repeating what is happening in iraq? >> that is a tough question. listen, i am very empathetic to the american people's frustration and maybe many of you here in the room today as well. you cannot inc. for 13 years. in 13 years, given the united states, we'd be able to resolve this on favorable terms of ourselves the national interest. it hasn't happened. policy decisions drove the 13 year war. it is policy that drove us to the war in iraq and put afghanistan on a diet for over eight years. we never got back to it until 2009 in the current president made a decision to increase the forces in afghanistan. but here is the problem we've got, senator. when we increase those forces in afghanistan, the so-called afghanistan surge, mcchrystal
and petraeus at 75% less than what they needed to do the job. as a result of that, we were never able to apply the forces in the eastern part of afghanistan as we did so successfully in the south. another policy decision pulled those forces out over the objection of general petraeus serving in afghanistan and our judgment prematurely and no application of forces whatsoever dealt with the economy network in the east. the facts are the haqqani network is in the safe havens in the east. they aren't added in their and the afghan national security forces my judgment does not have the capability currently to be able to deal with the harsh reality. but makes this so serious strategically inside afghanistan as couples government to the haqqani network. everything gave lit up in kabul is related to the haqqani
network. they write now have the infrastructures surrounding kabul. the only thing that we can do to change that dimension is increase the capacity of the afghan national security forces. i god, we've got a hold of the 352. anybody coming to you and telling you that we should put the afghan security forces on the decline on 2016 is absolutely foolish and irresponsible and that recommendation. so we have to hold that line in this congress has got to fun day. if not to fund it for at least four or five more years after we pull out of there. otherwise we really don't have a chance. secondly, we have got to step up to by two presidents have failed to do and that is deal with these in pakistan from which intelligence, support and training for operations inside afghanistan comes.
this is afghan taliban sanctuaries and specifically the haqqani network should be targeted just like al qaeda. and targeting them, we will disrupt the control and mr. their operations. then we began to have a chance. secondly, we cannot pull out our counterterrorism forces in 2016. these are the guys they chase down high-value targets. when we did that in iraq in 2011, it was a disaster. al qaeda began to rise the capability we couldn't see it and we couldn't hit it. if we do that in afghanistan, i think it is a death knell for afghanistan. yes, 13 years is a very long time to be there. to squander those games makes no sense to me. i don't know how long we would need to keep those troops there.
right now the plan is to pull them out after 2016. we are talking likely a number around 10,000 troops. most of that would unit train assist and advise troll being denied in combat. very small portion would be in combat and that is our direct action forces. if we educate and explain to the american people what this really is they could possibly support it and i would hope the congress of the united states would support it. what drives their departure should be conditions on the ground in the commander's assessment. >> we agree in many sacrifices have been made there. i think we're falling into those same mistakes. i would rather see us fully engaged in defeat these threats rather than halfstep which is
why we need an all encompassing national security. thank you very much. thank you not in chair. >> senator keane. >> thank you madam chair. thank you for the excellent testimony. a lot i agree with him a lot i disagreed with. that is why you are here to provoke our thinking. it seems that there is two very solid points of agreement among the three sets of testimony. first that we are taking a fragmented reacted approach to global challenges now and second that that fragmented approach may be driven or at least exacerbated by budgetary dysfunction and decision in the decision here in washington. ideally we would have a strategy and we would build the budget to support the strategy. secondarily, we would allow budget to drive strategy but it is by far the worst thing to do. so i appreciate your comments and i agree with you.
i think our approach is a fragmented one and i think it's exacerbated by budgetary indecision. we had an overarching strategy beginning with president truman deciding to support greece after world war ii and the truman doctrine and explained a lot of what we did, even creation of the peace corps race to the moon. you might like to strategy or not, but it was a unified strategy. when the soviet union collapsed went to reactivate case by case. after 9/11 we had the war on terror. over time the strategy was not a night not a submissive outcome of baking a strategy a nation like a we've devolved over 13 years of war back into the case-by-case approach that is react even hard for allies and the sense to understand. it seems like in the world now if you look at an analogy to the post-world war ii, it is not a bipolar competition.
they are the democracies of the world led by the united states but other democracies where the president is visiting now european nations, south american nations. they are the authoritarian nations with russia and china north korea, iran and other nations in that category. and then there is the jihads asked and many are nonstate areas and not is a new challenge. the competition today is between democracy and nonstate jihads is meant that makes the challenge of forging a strategy credible but is critical and you've raised important questions for us to grapple with. one of the things i would like to ask you in tackling the jihadist threat, each of you have been active in using military means, but we all understand that part of the accelerant is disaffected young people and the allure of young
people into a nihilistic jihadist because of their own opportunities. what should we be doing to counter the radicalization of young people in the region? how can we assist others in doing that so we can shut off the allure and the foreign fighters of groups like isil? >> senator, i think what you have to look at is a definition of the problem that is so rigorous that some of the solutions start coming forward. for example, to basic brand of jihadist terrorists. we know as lebanese hezbollah declared war, blew up our embassies, the marine barracks and we've seen them continue to march on a thickly unchecked by
the efforts. the other brand comes from the sunni. we know it as al qaeda and the associated movement. as we define is we don't lump them together. we don't give them any inadvertent support by giving them legitimacy and then we determined this is not in the best interest and political islam and how we support the countervailing forces. the president's speech on the first of january at al-azhar university where he said this has got to end. he's talking to his son lyrics. they've got to quit doing this to the world and dress it up in the guise of islam. there are people out there. united arab emirates which we call little sparta because they always stuck with us through everything. jordan. there are countervailing people in the region, leaders in the region thought leaders in the
region and we should be fully in support of. but if we don't do find this threat, break it out identify the countervailing forces and come up with a strategy that supports exact way what you are talking about we will continue to be spectators as this mutates and grows. >> me ask you this. you are all in the same page which is to you all agree that it is a mistake to use the calendar to determine the inmate over afghanistan he rather than the ground in afghanistan? are you on this imposition on that? >> i would like to -- certainly that is the case. i think we did a little click and death hessian to draw between the iranian inspired revolutionary did bubbas here looking for help.
so we talk about withdraw from afghanistan. i saw this at least from my view. we got it the same morass a few years ago. so this idea that we are in or we are out. we are going to withdraw or we are not going to withdraw. the reality is our best interests are not served by withdrawing from many places in this world, but continuing age meant you had so what we got to be talking about is the majority put in place are major combat engagements have seized and are not likely to be reengaged. however we have to be continually engaged with them in assisting them in training and supporting non-and in some areas using special forces in areas that we have capabilities than they do not what we see things that challenge our interests.
we need to be clear about this. we ought to be in our opinion should use the things to help this government move along. those things are not successful on iraq but that is what government may have a chance to actually be a long-term good outcome here. there is clarity blah blah bob. we did not in the media were somewhere. >> thank you. >> senator graham. >> thank you. i've really enjoyed this and you've given me a lot to think about. stewart media friends who are here thank you are coming. maybe if we had tom brady, we would fill up the room. but that is the world we live in. we are talking about consequential things that we have a couple reporters here. at the end of the day listing
the day let's see what we agree on. this is a generational struggle. do you i'll agree? somebody will be dealing with this law after most of us are done. in the long run we win they lose. >> if we come up with a strategy. >> let me tell you why i think they lose. what they are selling very few people want to buy. ladies and gentlemen, the radical islamic is not embraced by most people in the religion. we just need to provide them the capacity to fight back over there so we can be protected here. does that make sense? how do you do that? sequestration, do you i'll agree that it should be is not revealed replaced? all agree? if we don't replace sequestration, our capability to deal at the national security threats you describe is greatly
diminished. is that correct? >> yes. the enemy is on the rising capabilities are going down. is that a correct assessment? the nato allies are in the past to reduce capability, not increase it? >> yes. >> we at two things going on. and based on the rise, we've got our nato allies reducing layers. their budgets to help us as partners. is that a formula for disaster? >> be close. he is okay if you general mattis, you said if we cut state department funding in our developmental accounts of the foreign assistance you better -- you will need more ammunition. do you still agree with that? >> i do sir. we need a comprehensive approach. >> to prove that general keane? admiral fallon? >> at centcom, one of my frustrations with the ability to delegate enough time to engage in central asia.
what i saw back in those times about a half-dozen years ago was that we had people who are looking for something other than what they had to the soviet union. they were concerned about being in a squeeze between resurgent russia and china and we were kind of a lifeline and we had almost no engagement because we didn't have the resources, the interest the time to devote to things like telling people what they're really like. rheostat these kind of shops that use diplomatic engagement. that's all disappeared. >> i couldn't agree with you more. we have a very light footprint in africa. is that correct? >> very much so. >> the continent is in the air and how it will turn out in the 21st century. i want the members of the committee to know i'm the chairman of the foreign operations account and if you think sequestration is that for
the military coming you have to see what it does for a capability to engage the world peacefully. it absolutely destroys it, which is insane. we are on the verge of eradicating malaria. we are making great progress in aids and malaria and polio in all this stuff really does matter in my view. general mattis, how many marines that we have in the second title of falluja, do you remember? >> in the second battle would've been somewhere including supporting alleman probably around 10,000. >> soviet army personnel's. >> absolutely. >> volusia is one tent, is that right general keane? how when the world to the world to be going to volusia -- excuse me mosul. if the past is any indication of the future, if we had 10,000 marines and i think about 9000
actually engage in the iraqi security forces -- >> we are big in. at this point. it continues live online good also you can watch it in the c-span library at c-span.org. live now to the u.s. senate were some of those will continue in a third week of work on the keystone xl pipeline to authorize reconstruction of a pipeline from canada to the gulf coast. debate time on the bill will be equally divided between republicans and democrats. until 12:30 when senators will recess for the weekly caucus lunches. now lied to the senate floor. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord, our rock you are our shield in the time of storm. we give you our hopes and dreams
knowing that you know what is best for our nation and world. sustain our lawmakers. may integrity and uprightness be the standards for their conduct, so that they will not be put to shame. lift the light of your countenance upon them and be gracious to them. give them fresh strength and wisdom, as you renew the drumbeat of your spirit in their hearts, empowering them to march to the rhythm of your righteousness. we pray in your holy name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: today the senate will resume consideration of the keystone bill. this is the third week of floor consideration for this bipartisan jobs and infrastructure measure. senators from both sides have been able to offer amendments and get their ideas voted on, and i know that chairman murkowski is here and she is working with colleagues to get their amendments in the queue. it's now time to get through the remaining amendments and to vote up or down on passage of the bill. the keystone jobs bill is a bipartisan infrastructure project that the american people deserve, so the vote last night to filibuster was certainly
disappointing. the keystone jobs bill has been considered and reported out of the energy committee. it's been subject to weeks of open debate. senators on both sides have been able to offer and vote on amendments two dozen so far and counting. our democratic friends have had more amendments considered on this bill than republicans more amendments than all of last year combined. and just a few days ago we offered our friends the opportunity to have even more of their amendments voted on, and unfortunately they rejected that offer. so today i'm asking them to reconsider join us, work with the bill managers, senator murkowski and senator cantwell. let's get our amendments -- get your amendments processed and let's make progress for the american people. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president i want to commend the senators who are working on the amendments on
the keystone canadian pipeline. this is the highest priority of the new republican majority a pipeline that is being built on behalf of a canadian company. you would think there were a lot of other possibilities here to create jobs for america but the senate republicans have focused on this one. ultimately, it will produce 35 permanent jobs in america and this is their highest priority. had they taken up instead the federal highway bill, a bill which is looming in terms of a deadline this year, we literally could have created thousands of american jobs across america not just in one pipeline toax, but they chose instead to help this mexican company build this pipeline and sadly it won't produce products that can help america. we had an amendment offered on the floor here that said that any refined products that came
from this pipeline would be sold in america. it was defeated. every republican voted against that amendment. and then we offered an amendment that said this pipeline, if it's going to be built in america should use american steel. every republican voted against that save one. the notion that we are going to use foreign steel to build a pipeline for a canadian company so that the refined products from that pipeline can be exported overseas is somehow, in the eyes of the majority in the senate an american jobs bill. i don't think the american people would agree with that. they would understand if we were taking up the federal highway bill that that is an american jobs bill. we should production workers across the united states to work and create an infrastructure that would build on the economy creating more jobs in communities from arizona to illinois from florida to the state of washington. but instead we're focused on the keystone canadian pipeline, the highest priority of the
senate republican majority. mr. president, i ask consent that the statement i'm about to make be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, it was a little over a month ago that the department of -- pardon me. it will be a little more than a month that the department of homeland security in washington d.c. will run out of money. hard to imagine that the agency responsible for combating terrorism in the united states has its budget in question, but that was the design when the people sat down to write the omnibus appropriation bill last year. the republicans in the house insisted that if we were going to fund the rest of government, we had to withhold regular funding for the department of homeland security, and that's why the deadline of february 27 is looming. the department of homeland security more than any other single agency, is responsible for keeping america safe from
terrorism. they supervise and manage the t.s.a. officers and airports. they collect weapons that people try to bring on airplanes. hard to imagine that people still do. and they try to keep us safe at a time when we know that terrorism is a threat not just in the united states but in countries all over the world. and yet the republicans in the house and senate do not want to give regular funding to the department of homeland security. they have put it on temporary funding as the -- mr. johnson the secretary of this department has said, it puts them in a real disadvantage at the department of homeland security in keeping america safe, and yet the republicans have insisted on this. why? why would they withhold regular permanent funding for this critical agency? because they are exercised by the president's decision to issue executive orders on immigration. their anger over the president's action has led them to
jeopardize the funding the immediate funding of an agency of critical importance to the united states, and so they set out in the house of representatives to add five riders to this appropriation bill which they insist must be passed if we're going to fund this agency. and when you look at these five riders i think you can understand why many of us think this is nothing short of an outrage. one of the things which they have set their sights on is a program which i have worked on for 14 years here in the united states senate. i introduced that bill 14 years ago called the dream act, 14 years ago. the concept behind it was very basic. children brought to the united states by their parents who were undocumented deserve a chance, a chance to make a life in america if they have no serious criminal issues if they have graduated from high school, if they are prepared to step forward go to
college or serve in the military. the dream act introduced 14 years ago with a basic concept. don't hold children responsible for bad decisions or wrongdoing by their parents. give these young people a chance. well sadly, in the house of representatives, there is anger against these young people that is almost difficult to describe. we think there are almost two million of them in america. 600,000 have stepped forward to qualify for the daca program an executive order by the president that spares them from deportation while they are living in the united states, but the house of representatives has insisted that we repeal the daca program, not issue any renewals for daca protection and not issue any new daca protection for the million and a half who may still be eligible. that is one of their conditions before they will fund the agency that deals with terrorism to protect the united states from
terrorism. mr. president, this last weekend, there were several very unusual and important meetings involving the american political scene. one was in california, hosted by the koch brothers, which attracted three of our senators on the other side of the aisle who were at least considering if not aspiring to be president of the united states. the koch brothers called them in for a presentation, questions as part of the process of deciding whether the koch brothers would support them to be the next president of the united states. it's not the first time that's happened. others representing special interest groups, i'm sure, have called candidates before them, but this is a very overt effort by two very powerful men to spend almost a billion dollars in the next election cycle to control the political future of this country. as troubling as that is for most
americans to hear, there was another forum that i think was equally disturbing in my neighboring state of iowa. this was a forum called by congressman steve king. he called it a freedom forum. he attracted a large array of republican aspirants to the office of president. included in those were governor christie of new jersey, senator cruz of texas former senator santorum of pennsylvania scott walker the governor of wisconsin former governor palin of alaska, donald prump former governor perry of texas and former governor huckabee of arkansas. they all came to iowa to be part of this freedom forum. this freedom forum was sponsored
by congressman steve king. without question, congressman king has made some of the most outrageous statements about the dreamers that i described earlier of any member of congress. he has compared them to dogs. he has referred to dreamers as the deportables whatever that means, and he had one oft-quoted statement that for every valedictorian among the dreamers there were a hundred who had developed can't -- cantaloupe sized calves carrying illegal narcotics across the border into the united states. that's the kind of rhetoric that might cause david duke to blush but didn't stop these republican presidential aspirants from trekking out to iowa to pay homage to congressman steven king. i would suggest that the grand old party which i do respect
the party of abraham lincoln would be a party that would be embarrassed by the comments of governor -- pardon me, of congressman king rather than pay homage to him in the state of iowa. i want to tell a support about one of the dreamers which congressman king particularly would come to dislike because this is an undocumented person, and one of the dreamers who would be disadvantaged by the republican action in the house of representatives which would literally remove the protection which this young lady has from deportation. this is ola queso. her story is amazing. she was brought to the united states from albania in 1998 at the age of 5. she grew up in warren, michigan, and her dream was to become a medical doctor and to treat cancer patients. ola was the valedictorian of her high school class. she took every advanced placement class offered by her
school and had a 4.4 grade point average. she was treasurer of the student council and treasurer of the national honor society at her school. in 2011, i held a hearing on the dream act. ola a queso had just graduated from high school and she came to testify at the hearing. she was the first-ever undocumented immigrant to testify before the senate. in the fall of 2011, she entered the honors program at the university of michigan where she is a pre-med student. what has happened to her since daca was established in 2012? ola has become involved in public service. in 2013, she worked as an intern in the office of our former colleague, senator carl levin. she continued her studies and this thing sprinkle will graduate from with a double major in biochemistry and women's studies. she completed it without any assistance from our government.
she is not eligible for pell grants or student loans because she is undocumented. she has become involved in nan owe technology which holds promise for future breakthroughs. she is ducting research at the michigan institute for medicine and biological science. last year her work was published in the journal of physical chemistry. i want to read you the name of the article and i hope you'll spare me if i stumble over some of the words but to give her an idea. the article was veiled "atomic force microscopy, probing of nano sento interceptors, nano composites." that's a mouthful but gives you a sense how much ola queso has to contribute. next ola plans to attend medical school. but if the house republicans
have their way and we pass in the senate the language which was included as part of the department of homeland security appropriation bill, ola queso will never have a chance. she will be deported back to albania, a country she really doesn't know at all. she will be forced to leave the united states. we will basically give up on the investment we've made as americans in her education and her potential and tell her leave. in the words of congressman steve king, she's one of the deportables. one of the deportables. lover a sent me a letter recently. here's what she said about her dreams for the future. i aspire to ultimately become a surgical oncologist but more importantly intend to work for patients that cannot afford the fees accompanying surgeries. patients denied the medical treatment they deserve. my goal is not to increase my
bank account. my goal is to decrease preventible death. i wish to remain in this country to make a difference. ola isn't lien. there are so many dreamers across this country just like her who want to be part of our future. it's clear that this daca program works for america. that's why i'm asking dreamers around the country to join me, post their stories about what they've done with daca on twitter and facebook using the hashtag daca works. i want the american people to understand the human cost of the bill that was passed by the republicans in the house of representatives and is now pending here before the united states senate. if this bill becomes law daca will end. hundreds of thousands of dreamers will risk deportation to countries they can barely remember. will america be stronger if we deport ola queso and others like
her? young people who want to use their talents to give back to america, good deporting them to countries they have some loose connection by family ties to. of course not. it is shameless shameless, to play politics with the lives of these young people. they grew up in this country attending school in this country, putting their hand over their hearts in their classrooms to pledge allegiance to the only flag flag they've ever known. it's shameless for the house republicans to put funding for homeland security at risk in pursuit of punishing these young people. the house republicans people so strongly about supporting dreamers they are willing to hold our homeland security cunning funk hostage. they are telling the senate and the president deport the dreamers owe we will shut down the homeland security department. i hope the majority leader will reject this blackmail and bring
a clean homeland security appropriation bill to the floor of the senate as soon as possible. for our part, the senate democrats will insist that the department of homeland security be funded and that the president have the authority which every president has to establish america's immigration policies. mr. president, you were part of the effort as i was to try to resolve this issue in a thoughtful balanced, comprehensive way. the it -- the ultimate bill was not wasn't perfect parts i didn't like at all but we reached a compromise and over a year and a half ago we spent that bipartisan bill to the house of representatives asks them to caller for consideration and amendment. they refused. refused more than a year and a half to call that bill and instead what they have done is launch these attacks on young people like ola queso. is that what america is all about? is that the best that we can do? for the dozen or more republican presidential aspirants who made that journey to iowa to pay
homage to congressman steve king and his views about immigration, i would ask them when they return home, look around you. there are young people just like this young woman who are only asking for a chance to be part of america's future. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 1 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 1 s. 1, a bill to approve the keystone x.l. pipeline. mr. durbin: mr. president i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: today reholocaust remembrance day resulting in the genocide that resulted in the murder of six million jews by the nazi regime. in 18945 the allied forces ended auschwitz in nazi occupied
poland. they liberated more than 7,000 prisoners. auschwitz was made up of three main camps and 40 subcamps covering over 15 square miles between 1940 and 1945, nearly 1.3 million people were deported to auschwitz and at least 1.1 million were murdered. by january 1945, the allied forces were closing in. to eliminate witnesses to their crimes thousands of prisoners were killed at auschwitz and 60,000 were forced to march west days before the liberation. during these marchs, s. s. guards shot anyone who fell behind her couldn't continue. more than 15,000 died in that march. in the months prior to the liberation an elderly french inmate urged a junk shall jewish prisoner named olga to watch everything she saw and when the war was over to tell the world what she had seen. olga wrote her miami oilers in the years -- memoirs in the
years who followed. i.e.d. "the washington post" featured the horrific stories of four auschwitz survivors including those who suffered under the sadistic nazi doctor, joseph mengela known as the angel of death. dwight eisenhower also understood the importance of documenting what he saw. after visiting a recently liberated nazi camp, general eisenhower urged washington to send a congressional delegation to witness nazi crimes firsthand so that in the future there could be no attempt to dismiss these allegations as mere propaganda. with the remaining eye witnesses in their twilight years the responsibility to ensure that future generations never forget these atrocities falls to us. today i join senators murkowski, cardin and kirk and others introducing a resolution. this resolution calls on us to be witnesses to the 1.1 million
innocent victims murdered at auschwitz and honors the legacy of the survivors and the survivors of the holocaust. last congress i chaired the senate subcommittee on the constitution civil rights and human rights, although i'm disappointed that the republicans chose to change the name of that subcommittee under their leadership, i'm going to continue to focus on protecting human rights and civil rights. weichardt subcommittee i tried to give appellate form to voices not often heard and examine what needs to be done to protect human rights. our responsibility in congress is to focus on legislation not lamentation so we wrote legislation and passed bills to hold the perpetrators of serious human rights violations accountable for their crimes. in 2007, my genocide accountability act was enacted allowing prosecution of joined genocide committed outside the u.s. or by someone other than a u.s. national outside the united states. the following year president
bush signed the child soldiers accountability act which i also introduced and in 2010 the child soldiers accountability act was used to deport liberian warlord dr. george boli. i've authored the trafficking in persons accountability act the child soldiers prevention act the child marriage prevention act congo conflict minerals act, all legislation aimed at protecting human rights in terrible situations. all of which became law. our hearts go out to the survivors who mourn their families and the millions of others murdered in the holocaust. today many of the survivors will return to auschwitz. they will recall that moment when they first arrived more than 70 years ago and passed under a sign that mockingly read in germany "work makes you free." standing before them was joseph mengele to await their fate, turning left may have meant
survival for a few weeks at least. so many voices were silenced that now we have to tell their stories. as the memory of the holocaust passes from those who were there to the generations that weren't, we can't forget the importance of remembrance and speaking out against intolerance whenever and wherever it occurs. unfortunately, these horrible crimes still take place consider nigeria isil in syria and iraq and the barbaric systems of gulag in north korea. we cannot be silent. as ruth eglish said yesterday in "washington post," i used to be an optimist but the situation in the middle east has changed and the world does not notice anything. the bottom line is, it can happen again and it is happening again in many places not necessarily to the jews but to anyone. our promise to hold accountable those who commit the most un speakable crimes will ring
hollow unless we lead the world in punishing those responsible for the gravest human rights violations. i look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the senate to make progress toward ending genocide and human rights abuses wherever they exist and we should proclaim in one voice, never again. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. ms. hirono: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: mr. president i rise today on the important issue of funding the department of homeland security and to urge my colleagues to come together
and pass a clean appropriation bill with regard to this agency. the department of homeland security or d.h.s. is charged with border security and immigration enforcement. d.h.s.'s role extends far beyond immigration. the agency is also responsible for aviation security, emergency management and response, counterterrorism and cybersecurity. democrats and republicans have long worked together to make sure our hardworking federal officers on the border, in our airports and at our ports can continue their critical work that keeps us safe. now the republican-controlled house would irresponsibly risk shutting down the department of homeland security to score political points over the president's immigration actions. today, i object to the effort to shut down d.h.s. over the president's immigration executive action because it is
not only an irresponsible strategy from a security point of view, but it comes with a real cost in the everyday lives of students and parents. funding for the department of homeland security is set to expire february 22 -- 27. the president has been clear. he will veto any policy riders that undo his executive action and harm millions of students and their families. the house republican bill forces us to choose between shutting down the department of homeland security or deporting children and families. this is an untenable choice. looking at the votes in the house, it is clear some members of congress would on one hand say our immigration focus should be on securing our border while on the other hand they risk turning off the lights at border patrol stations because they
disagree with the president's immigration policies. last year, i led a congressional delegation to mcallen texas and to lackland air force base to see the humanitarian crisis on the border firsthand. my colleagues and i were heartbroken after seeing children as young as 7 years old in customs and border protection facilities. but what we also saw were hardworking border agents doing the best they could under difficult circumstances in an already stressed immigration system. these agents should know that we in washington are going to give them the resources they need to do their jobs, not irresponsibly shut down the department of homeland security for whom they work. instead of threatening to shut down the government's primary homeland security agency, we should be working together to once again pass bipartisan
comprehensive immigration reform. republicans and democrats agree our immigration system is broken. with his executive action, president obama took a step to bring millions across the country out of the shadows and keep u.s. citizens and their families together. congressional action that puts families first is needed if we are to permanently fix our immigration system. the president's executive action helps millions of people across america by allowing certain students and families to register work legally and pay their taxes. this action is rooted in the reality that our immigration enforcement officers need to exercise discretion on who to go after with limited resources and end a broken immigration system. those who oppose the president's action, which is reflected in the house republican bill, say that the president and
enforcement officers must act with absolutely no discretion. this position contemplates and in fact supports the removal of nearly 12 million undocumented people from our country. this is paramount to a policy of mass deportation. if mass deportation were enacted , d.h.s. would need an exponential increase in funding in resources billions in increased spending without any permanent fixes or reforms is not a viable option. even if we somehow had the resources to enact the policy of mass deportation doing so would devastate our economy removing millions of hardworking people that would be no longer working running businesses, buying our goods and products would lead to over $2.5 trillion
$2.5 trillion of economic loss to our country in just a decade. mass deportation is not a serious solution for immigration reform. it simply is not possible for d.h.s. to remove every undocumented person from this country. passing the house bill would just make life even harder for these people, many of whom are already living some of the hardest -- they are among the hardest working lives in our nation. as i mentioned, there are nearly 12 million undocumented people living in people across america. many have been living here for years or decades. they are parents, they are small business owners, and they are our neighbors and our children's classmates at school. they are people like bianca, a woman who lives in hawaii with her family. after moving to the united states on a visa over a decade ago, bianca met her husband.
they moved to the place they had always dreamed of living, hawaii naturally and began a family there. bianca and her husband's work visas were temporary and like many immigrant families, they faced a tough decision to remain after their visas expired and continue building their life here in america. bianca and her husband started with nothing. today, they have two small businesses on oahu and four american children, children born in the united states. their businesses employ american citizens. they pay their taxes and they work hard to provide for their families and be engaged in the community. because of the president's order, bianca and her family no longer live in fear every single day of being torn from the life that they have built in hawaii. the house republicans' mass
deportation policy is a serious proposal in only one respect. it would result in serious negative consequences for our economy, our government and millions of families in our country. in contrast, prioritizing deporting felons, not families and students, is simply common sense. that is what the president's executive order does. now is the time that we should be working together on commonsense and comprehensive immigration reform that the vast majority of americans support. comprehensive immigration reform is supported by 70% of the american people, and last congress nearly 70% of the senate supported our bipartisan immigration bill. our bipartisan bill was a compromise. it strengthened border security, modernized our system, addressed visa backlogs and allowed
millions of undocumented people to step out of the shadows get in line and work towards becoming american citizens. comprehensive immigration reform would have spurred economic growth in our country by over $100 billion per year while helping to bring down the deficit. the only thing that kept this bipartisan reform bill from becoming law was the fact that speaker boehner refused to give the bill an up-or-down vote in the house. recklessly shutting down the department of homeland security will not fix our broken immigration system. undoing the president's executive action will not fix our broken immigration system. we must work together and we must fund the department of homeland security so that they can continue to protect our country. and we must come together to pass commonsense reform that
americans support. both sides of the aisle agree we're a nation of immigrants and that our immigration system is broken. we don't need to shut down the department of homeland security or round up and deport millions of families and individuals. we can start that process with a clean d.h.s. funding bill, and i urge my republican colleagues to bring one to the floor quickly. i yield the floor mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: mr. president i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i rise this morning to join my colleagues in discussing the need for a clean full-year bill to fund the department of homeland security.
just 30 days from today funding for the department of homeland security expires unless congress acts. now, i know that sometimes in congressional time, 30 days may seem like a long time, but with a scheduled recess in a few weeks and the certain fact that the house-passed bill cannot pass the senate, we must act soon to prevent a shutdown and provide the resources to keep our country safe. luckily, there is a path forward to prevent a shutdown. we should pass the bipartisan, bicameral homeland security funding bill that was agreed to last december. just a few weeks ago senator mikulski then-chair of the senate appropriation committee and congressman rogers, chair of the house appropriation committee, negotiated spending bills for the entire government, including the homeland security
bill. this was a compromise measure. not everyone got what they wanted but the bill funded the department at levels that would ensure that the department can fulfill its mission to secure the homeland. then unfortunately politics came into play. some house republicans demanded that the homeland bill be removed from the larger budget because of immigration issues. and now the entire department is funded on a short-term basis through february 27. so now we face a fundamental question -- are we going to put the country at risk because of an ideological disagreement? since senator murkowski -- senator mikulski and congressman rogers reached that agreement in december we've seen mantlets threats to our nation and to our allies. the law enforcement community is on high alert for terrorist
attacks in australia in ottawa canada and in paris. recent an ohio man was arrested when it was discovered he was planning to blow up the u.s. capitol in an isis-inspired plan. now is not the time to be holding up funding for the department of homeland security because of ideological reasons. last week i had the opportunity to visit the cybersecurity center in arlington. the centers where officials are working every day to prevent prevent anot just against the federal government or against state governments but against the private sector, against u.s. companies like sony and against critical infrastructure like nuclear power plants and the electric grid. just last week in the armed services committee former national security advisor brent scowcroft said that he views
cybersecurity threats to be -- and i quote -- "as dangerous as nuclear weapons." we must continue to make important investments in our cyber defenses but if we fail to fully fund the budget, the clean budget that was agreed to by the house and senate, their efforts to identify the newest technologies and strategies to protect our cyber infrastructure will be put on hold. one of the things they talked to me about when i visited the center is two areas that i think are particularly important to our national security. one is the effort to identify a secure emergency response line, which is very critical when we have national emergencies. even times like the snowstorm we're seeing in the northeast in new hampshire we have several feet of snow that is being
predicted, and we need a secure emergency response line. so our first responders, the people there on the ground when an emergency happens can communicate with each other. that's at risk if what we pass as is a c.r. rather than a clean funding bill. the other thing at risk is the effort to identify the next generation of cyber threats. there are things being worked on that we don't even know yet and unless we're ahead of that curve, we're not going to be there to protect our cyber system throughout the country. so we need to give the department of homeland security the budgetary certainty so it can plan and prepare theory these kinds of threats. that's why a short-term continuing resolution should be off the table. we need to pass a bill that funds homeland security for the rest of this fiscal year. a short-term budget means that
the department is on autopilot. that would be extraordinarily bad for business and for our national security. if homeland security operates under a short-term budget, new projects and grants are halted, contracts and acquisitions are postponed, hiring is delegate, employee training is scaled back and grants to our first responders those people who are on the ground when something happens, those are not going to be awarded. congressionally targeted reductions those reductions that we want to make in wasteful programs they're also put on hold. yesterday i had the opportunity to visit new hampshire's fusion center. every state has a fusion center. this is a network of centers that's designed to serve as a focal point in each state to coordinate terrorism-related information and threats to our national security, to our state security to our municipalities. it's the place where first
responders local law enforcement, in new hampshire's fusion center in addition to our state and local folks being represented, someone from the f.b.i. is there on hand, someone from the department of homeland security. the fusion center identifies potential threats and relays that information up and down the chain of command. in new hampshire the fusion center has also been very critical in working to address drug interdiction and to help identify the heroin abuse epidemic that sadly we have seen not only in new hampshire but in northern new england. if we have a short-term budget, new grants to our fusion centers, which are on the front lines of protecting our states and municipalities against security threats the security grants to solve law enforcement -- state and local law enforcement new grants to the fusion centers they will not be awarded.
why would we threaten this important public safety and security funding for unrelated ideological reasons? secretary jeh johnson recently said as long as this department continues to operate on a continuing resolution, we are prevented from funding key homeland security initiatives. these include, for example funding for new grants to state and local law enforcement additional border security resources, and secret service resources to implement the changes recommended by the independent panel. other core missions such as aviation security and protection of federal installations and personnel are also hampered. so that's a direct quote from secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson. and in addition to what he lays out there i want to highlight just a few specific examples of why a short-term budget, a continuing resolution, is problematic for the department
and for our national security. immigration and customs enforcement, i.c.e., could not fund all of its current detention anti-trafficking, and smuggling requirements under a short-term budget. under a short-term budget, i.c.e. will not have the funding they need to meet their legal mandate to have 34,000 detention beds in place for immigration detainees, nor would we be able to fund a new family detention center. so for those people who are concerned about our border security concerned about people coming over into this country, why would we want to deny funding to address efforts to interdict people coming across the border, to interdict surveillance efforts to build a new family detention center so we can find out who these people are and whether they should go back to the country that they came from. it makes no sense. under a short-term budget, there's no funding to hire additional investigators for
anti-trafficking and smuggling cases, to combat the influx of unaccompanied children at the southern border. under a short-term budget, no funding is provided to address secret service weaknesses identified after the recent white house fence jumping incident and just yesterday again we saw concerns about how the secret service operates, this time i think everybody acknowledged that they could not have been expected to intervene in the drone that got dropped on the white house lawn, but it highlights again the threats that are there and why we need to ensure that the secret service has the resources to reform itself and to make sure that the president and officials are protected. a short-term budget would delay the contract for the coast guard's eighth national security cutter that we need for maritime security. now, in new hampshire we have a border so with the ocean, so we very much appreciate the work of the coast guard.
but i think it's critical throughout the country and one of the things that would would be put on hold is upgrading the coast guard's ice breaking fleet. just last winter alone when the great lakes froze $705 million in shipping was lost and 3,800 jobs because we didn't have a coast guard icebreaker that can open a channel on the great lakes. under a short-term budget, aging nuclear weapons equipment will not be replaced. that causes gaps in an area where mistakes are simply unacceptable and too dangerous even to comprehend. a short-term budget would delay upgrades to emergency communications for first responders something that i've already talked about as we think about how they respond to local emergencies. so the best way forward is to provide certainty and stability for the men and women who
fulfill homeland security's mission to protect the united states from harm, to ensure our local communities and our states that we're providing the resources that they need, we need to pass a clean bill, a clean bill that was agreed to last december. lurching from funding crisis to funding crisis is a terrible way to govern. it's an especially terrible way to govern when our nation is dealing with major threats. the clean bill that was agreed to by the house and senate last december provides a good budget that strengthens our nation, protects against known threats properly supports homeland security and those who serve on the front lines of protecting this country. the negotiated agreement includes critical increases in funding and support for border patrol for cybersecurity for other national security initiatives. it maintains strong maritime
operations provided by the coast guard. the agreement fully funds continueed cybersecurity advancements it invests in innovative solutions for border patrol for -- border security, for biological defense, for explosive detection. senators on both sides of the aisle have talked about the importance of border security and a clean bill that robustly funds border security requirements. the clean bill funds customs and border protections requirements to apprehend care for and transmit unaccompanied alien children while maintaining 21,370 border control agents on our borders and safely facilitating legitimate travel and trade. the agreement funds enhanced border security technologies as well as air and marine surveillance along our land and maritime borders to help the department better interdict illegal crossing of people and narcotics.
it allocates grant funding to train and equip first responders continuing real progress in efficient preparedness as was so evident in new england in the response to the boston marathon bombing. and fully funds known disaster needs and prepares us for the next disaster. so in closing mr. president let's support our national security funding by passing a clean bill to fund the department of homeland security for the rest of this fiscal year. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: today i stand in support of the keystone pipeline project. as an alaska credittian it's important to talk about this bill and the importance of
american energy infrastructure. i live in state with one of the largest pipelines. in 1973, after bitter debate, similar to the debate about keystone, congress passed a bill that led to the construction of the trans-alaska pipeline system, what we in alaska call taps. it almost didn't happen. the vice president at the time, serving as the president of the senate cast a tie breaking vote. then like now opponents howled. they said taps would be an environmental disaster. they said bird and caribou populations would be decimated. but none of that happened. in fact, birds and caribou flourished showing that we can develop energy infrastructure responsibly with the highest standards in the world and alaska proves this every day.
taps was completed in 1978. it has carried almost 17 billion barrels of oil to energy-thirsty american markets. it's a technological and environmental marvel, and a critical component of america's energy infrastructure. it's been a resounding success for this country and for my state. it's the engine of growth for alaska's economy and has proved the safest, most environmentally responsible way to transport oil is through a pipeline. i'm certain that keystone will also prove a success. mr. president, in supporting keystone i'm also standing for a larger, more important principle, the ideal that the federal government should be a partner in opportunity a partner in progress, not a obstacle. i'm standing in support of what
has defined this country for centuries. the idea of the american dream. mr. president, the american dream is still alive in my home state. yes, we have major challenges like all states, but in alaska we still have hope. we still dream big dreams, and taps helps fuel these dreams. in alaska, the very air you breathe is bathed in promise. the people still speak the language of bold ideas and rugged adventure and it's these people of all colors, all creeds who make up the tapestry of alaska that gives us our strength. and it's the enormous opportunities of our natural resources whether world-class fisheries or oil and gas reserves, that drive the economic engine of my state. but despite this promise and
opportunity, i also see anxiety and frustration and even fear in the eyes of my fellow alaskans. just as i know others are seeing this across the country and despite what we're hearing from this administration, americans have real reasons to feel this way. business start-ups are at a 35-year low as is the percentage of americans actually looking for work. more small businesses failed than were started this past year and over 3/4 of americans now believe that their kids' future will be less promising than their own. mr. president, believing that we will leave our children a better tomorrow is the essence of the american dream but for many, that dream is starting to fade. this does not have to be. we live in a state and a country
with so much untapped potential so many opportunities and so much promise that can bring limitless possibilities for our kids and our grandkids and yet in alaska and throughout america, people are feeling the heavy hand of the federal government is not working in their interests. the boldness of america is being bludgeoned by bureaucrats. with new executive orders and regulations arising everywhere and every time another one of those unneeded, often absurd regulations are promulgated a little bit of hope dies. a little bit of hope dies every time a doctor's office is shuttered or someone loses health care because of the complexities and costs of obamacare. a little hope dies when a rural community wants to build a road that will protect its citizens
and is told by the secretary of interior that birds are more important than their lives. and a lot of hope dies when the people in my state are told that the resources that are rightfully theirs can't be developed and their lands and waters can't be fished and hunted to put food on their table. mr. president, i support the keystone pipeline. it will create thousands of jobs. that's why it has the overwhelming support of american labor unions. it will enhance america's energy infrastructure and contribute billions to our economy. that's why it has the support of the american people. but just one bill, one pipeline, one project is not enough. it's not nearly enough. since the founding of this country, we have had important debates right here on this floor
about the role of the federal government in our lives and judging from what americans are telling us, the reach of the federal government has hit its limits. it's exceeded its limits. our citizens are telling us that their government -- and it is their government -- has gone well beyond deriving its powers from the consent of the governed. what the american people are telling us, what alaskans are telling me, is that they want a federal government that helps ignite their hope, not smother it. mr. president, we have a job to do. we must work to address the anxiety and frustration of the people we serve. we must work to once again unleash the great potential that is alaska and america and we must work to reinvigorate faith
in the american dream. how do we do this? let me suggest a few ideas. first, we must stop delaying economic projects that benefit our citizens. purposesful delay and roadblocks have been the hallmark of this administration's approach to infrastructure projects that benefit americans and alaska has been ground zero for such delays. bridges, roads mines that take years simply to permit, not to build. oil wells that cannot be drilled on federal lands despite billions of dollars of leases from the private sector to the federal government, a state-of-the-art clean coal plant that sits idle for over a decade despite the dire need for lower cost energy throughout alaska.
the keystone pipeline, a project that has been studied for six years, is just the latest example of the willful delay that has been the weapon of choice for this administration for killing projects that they don't like. enough is enough. we're americans. we know what we're capable of. we built the 1,700-mile alaskan canadian highway the al-can highway, through some of the world's most rugged terrain in less than a year. we built the empire state building 410 days. the pentagon, we built it in 16 months. mr. president, there is no reason that keystone should have been studied for six years. but the executive branch continues to dither on america's economic future, congress can and should act to expedite such projects. that's what we're doing with keystone and that's what i'll
be pressing the congress to do for alaska's and america's next great energy infrastructure project, the alaska l.n.g. project which will create thousands of jobs and provide clean and affordable energy to americans and our allies for decades. second we need more, not less, access to our federal lands. as americans these are our lands. we own them. they're not the department of interior's lands or b.l.m.'s, yet this administration is adamant on keeping us from responsibly developing them. once again alaska is ground zero for their efforts. through executive orders of very dubious legal merit this administration locked up half of the national petroleum reserve of alaska. this isn't a national park. npra is an area specifically set
aside by congress for oil and gas development and just this weekend, in another brazen action the obama administration announced that they are working to lock up millions of acres of land on alaska's coastal plain. some of the nation's richest oil and gas prospects. this is an affront to alaskans and americans who cherish security, energy security, the rule of law and the strength of our nation, and it's an affront to members of congress, regardless of party how we develop alaska's lands is an area where congress, not the executive, has preeminent authority. i think the obama administration needs a reminder of what article 4, section 3 of the constitution states -- the congress shall have the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and
regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the united states. this brings me to my third point. we must get back to the rule of law. the rule of law carefully built up and nurtured for centuries in america is a fundamental pillar of our great nation. most countries don't have it. we do. it's a gift. but if we continue to erode this rule of law we ultimately undermine what it means to be an american and it will get -- it will be hard to get back. but i hope, because there is still enough of us here who respect the rule of law and see the constitution not as a mere suggestion but as the foundation for the structure of our government and our individual libbities. -- liberties. there have been cracks in the foundation recently, but the
people sent us here to repair those cracks. fourth while i believe in a limited federal government, it is important to recognize where the federal government does not have responsibilities, it needs to carry out its duties with more efficiency and compassion, particularly towards the most vulnerable in society. this is especially true when it comes to honoring the sacred trust of responsibility we have towards our veterans, and that's why i have cosponsored the clay hunt suicide prevention bill. i'm confident that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will quickly vote on this important measure and move it on to the president's desk. it's also why i will support effective programs where the federal government and states can work together to address our problems throughout this country with regard to sexual assault and domestic violence. fifth and finally we must challenge the conventional wisdom that has existed in this
town for decades, that the federal government's power and intrusiveness should always be expanding like some inevitable force of nature. nowhere is that more important than reforming the overgrown regulatory thicket that strangles our future. according to the president's own small business administration, federal regulations impose an annual burden on our economy of close to $2 trillion. that's roughly $15,000 per year per american family. federal regulations are sapping our strength as a nation. so many of them don't make sense and others are not authorized by law or the constitution as they must be, and increasingly, those who promulgate and enforce them are showing less and less
restraint for the well-being of our citizens. the recent administration's anwr issue is the latest example and i will use all of my producer to protect the economic growth and prosperity of alaska. that is why i have already filed amendments with senator murkowski to rescind the obama administration's anwr order. i have also filed an amendment that seeks to check another abuse of federal power. mr. president, when the e.p.a. was initially authorized in 1970 no one thought it necessary to arm its employees with weapons but today, in a classic case of federal government power creep 200 armed e.p.a. -- close to 200 armed e.p.a. agents are roaming our country. it's a disturbing fact, but it was particularly disturbing for the small group of miners who during the summer of 2013 prospecting for gold in alaska
were swarmed by armed e.p.a. agents. this wasn't some huge mining conglomerate. this was a small mining operation in interior alaska. sluice boxes with flecks of alaska gold, and e.p.a. agents armed with rifeless, shotguns, body -- with rifles, shotguns, body armor helicopter overhead, looking for clean water act violations. they found none. and apart from terrifying, terrifying the miners, they accomplished nothing. mr. president, as alaska's former attorney general and commissioner of natural resources, i have worked with many fine federal agents, and i understand the importance of sensible regulations that are based on the directives of congress but problems arise when regulations become excessive, and big problems
arise when regulators are given guns tone force these regulations. it's our responsibility to say enough, to stand up for those we serve, and to roll back federal power when necessary. mr. president, i'm all for a country with an armed citizenry. as a marine, i've taken an oath to defend and fight for this critical constitution -- constitutional freedom. however, i am not for a country with an armed bureaucracy. let's give my state and the rest of the country a little hope that we are doing the jobs they sent us here to do. one concrete step in that direction would be to pass the simple amendment that i am offering to disarm the e.p.a. they can certainly do their jobs without having guns. they've done so in the past, and they should be able to do so in the future. finally, let me close with a few words about how i view my
mission here. i suspect it doesn't differ greatly from what most of us hope to accomplish. we all want the best for the people we serve and for the states that we represent. we want to be strong here at home which will help us be respected once again by our allies and feared by our adversaries. we want our children to be safe and secure, and we want the same for our neighbor. we want to live in a country of unlimited opportunity a country of alaska-sized dreams. we want a government that holds dear what our founding fathers knew that all powers are derived from the consent of the government. and i think most of us can agree that we must unleash our country's enormous economic potential once again. i believe our government should be helping us, not hindering us
to achieve these efforts and i believe that unlocking our country's vast energy potential is one of the best ways to reignite the american dream. mr. president, despite challenges despite big government's creep into our lives, despite even armed e.p.a. agents we continue to live in the greatest country in the world, in the history of the world. there is no doubt about that. the people who sent us here still have big dreams and big hopes. let's help those dreams grow and their hopes flourish. thank you. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president let me just congratulate our new colleague from alaska on his initial address to the senate and just comment that it
couldn't be more timely, as his state is obviously under assault by this administration. and his prescription for the way forward both for alaska and for america strikes me as entirely appropriate for our country and i congratulate our colleague. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: i want to thank the majority leader for his kind words and all the other colleagues who came to witness a new senator's maiden speech. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president may i also congratulate our new colleague from alaska. well said and welcome. the two senators from alaska have dominated the start of this new serks -- session and we're
glad because they're bringing very important legislation and decisions to this body. i congratulate the senior senator and junior senator from alaska for their efforts and look forward to working together to accomplish what we all want to accomplish: a growing economy, better opportunities for americans. and you're certainly an important component of that and leading the way to that goal. mr. president, this morning we received the announcement that after nearly two years of negotiations the state of indiana and the u.s. department of health and human services have reached a mayor breakthrough -- a major break through an agreement that agrees to indiana's 2.0 waiver application allowing it to move forward and to be implemented. this agreement is great news for hundreds of thousands of low-income hoosiers and a testament to the effectiveness to the current healthy indiana
plan and now an expansion of that will be made possible through this waiver. and it solidifies indiana's position at the forefront of innovation in medicaid reform and the advancement of consumer-driven health care. two key words here: reforming a current and dysfunctional medicaid system, and advancing consumer-driven health care, getting consumers into the role of making decisions about their health and not just having a government agency saying this is what you can get and this is what you can't get and this is what makes you healthy and this isn't what makes you healthy. it brings consumers into the process of determining what is best for their own health and provides incentives for them to do it. the healthy indiana plan was originally crafted under indiana's former governor mitch daniels who extended health care
coverage to lower-income residents who earned too much to qualify for medicaid but too little to afford quality health coverage. the guiding principle of the original plan was simple. individually owned and directed health care coverage has a positive effect for individual citizens and the health care system as a whole. we have proven that giving people a stake in their own health care decisions works. governor daniels put it well in a 2010 "wall street journal" article stating that -- and i quote -- "americans can make sound, thrifty decisions about their own health if national policy trusted and encouraged them to do so, our skyrocket health care costs would
decelerate. we have three objectives, individual control taxpayer approximate based on information that enrollment could not grow faster than available funding and disease prevention by incentivizing preventive care. in 2013 governor mike pence announced plans to reform and expand the original indiana healthy plan to cover more low-income hoosiers and today after over a year and a half negotiations healthy indiana plan 2.0 has the green light from the obama administration and coverage will begin on february 1 of this year. i applaud governor pence and i applaud health and human services secretary sylvia burwell for working together to move forward to continue indiana's successful consumer-driven approach that empowers members and provides access to quality care.
this agreement will expand an existing proven program to more than 350,000 low-income hoosiers and allow the state of indiana to end traditional medicaid for all nondisabled adults between ages 19 and 64 who will be transitioned to the new plan just approved through this waiver. the answer to our nation's health care problems is not that the broken status quo of obamacare. indiana has shown and will continue to show that reforming traditional medicaid and offering innovative health care solutions is the right way to empower individual citizens as they seek access to quality health care. once again inn is -- indiana is leading the way by creating state-based innovative ideas for governing. as i serve individuals and
hoosiers here in washington, i've often turned to what i call the indiana model as a blueprint for a more efficient and fiscally responsible federal government. i developed a legislative road map that i call the indiana way a ten-point plan that takes the model of indiana which it has put in place and proven over the last ten years and the ideas that i have gathered from hoosiers as i traveled about the state, ideas and plans that will make our state and nation stronger. innovative effective solutions like those put forward in indiana over the past decade are what is needed, desperately needed i would say today in washington to put our country back on a path to economic growth and opportunity. i want to congratulate governor pence and our state on this terrific news and look forward to continuing to highlight hugh
hugh -- hoosiers success stories and the indiana way. mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president i want to acknowledge my colleague from alaska and appreciate the comments that he has made this morning in his first speech on the senate floor, and in choosing to focus on clearly the opportunities that we have as a state the challenges that we face. i do think it is unfortunate that as a state it seems that our largest battle is against our own government. how unfortunate is that.
but i will state that i feel very fortunate to have him as a partner here in the united states senate as we take on these initiatives that have such impact such import to our state and how we fit with the other 49 states. we have no shortage of issues to take up when it comes to the federal overreach and the impact on our nation and our state and in how we will be able to develop our resources. so i look forward to working with him in so many of these different areas. i do have to comment that given where we are in the discussions here on the senate floor about the keystone x.l. pipeline and what benefit that infrastructure will provide to this country by
way of a resource that will help us with our energy security, that truly helps us with our national security, is it not better to be receiving oil from our friend and our ally -- canada -- than it is venezuela? to me, these are subjects that should not even merit that level of discussion because it's so common sense. and yet this president this administration has taken six years to get to a point where they may decide. six years to decide whether it is in our country's best interest to receive oil from a friend and a neighbor rather than those that would do us ill. and then in a stunning act on
sunday to take in literally one breath take an area that has been identified as the greatest source of oil potential we have in this country outside of prudhoe bay estimated mean average 10.3 billion barrels, it could provide a million additional barrels a day coming down that trans-alaska pipeline that my colleague has talked about, coming down to provide our nation with a resource that we need to help us from a jobs perspective, an energy perspective but a security perspective. so on the one hand, the president is saying, no, i think i'd rather continue to receive oil from venezuela and nigeria and all these other countries. and then on sunday just decide we're going to put off limits
the greatest source of oil that we have identified in this country to date. take that off limits. and just this morning -- just this morning mr. president the president released his five-year lease-sale plan that he's putting off -- not deferring but withdrawing areas in the bofer in the chukchi that will limit our opportunity for 20 million barrels of potential in the offshore there. then as my colleague has noted has taken off half of the national petroleum reserve the area that we have designated for accessing our oil and gas resources. and there is a move under foot right now where this administration, i believe is going to make the first production in mpra, the first production. they're going to push it to a
place where it will be uneconomic. so we've got a stunning situation. this administration says all of the above except maybe in alaska. can't do it in anwr, going to push you off mpra and offshore make it that much more difficult for you. so we're going to put the throttle on alaska's energy opportunities for this country. we're going to put the throttle on canada and say don't run it down through the united states. not down into the gulf coast where we've got these refineries. what is he doing? he's putting our national security at risk with actions like this. at risk sovment when we talk about keystone x.l., this is more than the piece of pipe, the infrastructure crossing the border. it goes to so much when we're talking about security, energy
security national security, and then these actions from this administration this week that choke off alaska's energy opportunities. this is why, this is why i need my colleague in this fight. and believe me, the alaska delegation is prepared for it, but boy it just -- it does just cause to you wonder why. what are they thinking? what about the security, the energy security and the national security for this country? because we have the potential to be secure. north american energy independence is not a myth. it is real. but we have to have the will to make that happen, because we have the resources. we just need the ability the opportunity to be able to develop them. so get out of the way and let us do that.
mr. president, my colleague from washington and i have been working back and forth all morning trying to see if we can't identify a series of votes that we might be able to move to this afternoon give colleagues a sense of how we're going to be advancing through these additional amendments, get some additional amendments up pending and really lay out that process. i think we have had a really constructive conversation thorpg and i am encouraged. obviously we have a few more things to work out. but i am hopeful that we'll be able to announce hopeful any the short term here a glide path that will give members a little more certainty. mr. president, i have five
unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. and i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
lens, loves to reason the cause and effect of consequences of actions are not preclude because the frontal lobes are not at the ready. they're not as readily accessible. i have frontal lobes. it's not that connections can be made as quickly for split second decision making. and also don't forget a lot of the hormones are changing a lot in the body of those young men and women and the brain hasn't seen this yet in life until you hit teenage years. so the brain is trying to learn how to respond to these new hormones that are rolling around and locking onto receptors synapses of different types. so they're trying to come trial and error. i think this contributes to sort of this very roller coaster kind of experience that we watch as parents. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. >> coming up the u.s. energy
policy and regulation of electricity, natural gas and oil hosted by the national press club with remarks by pitcher of the federal energy regulatory commission, cheryl lafleur. introductions will be made by the current president of the national press club and an editor with bloomberg news. and tell that it gets and we will take look at the current political influence of the tea party with cofounder jenny beth martin. this is from today's "washington journal." we will botch as much as we can. >> host: the cofounder president of the tea party patriots jenny beth martin joining us. thank you for joining us. >> guest: thank you for having the. >> host: how would you assess the current condition of the tea party? >> guest: the tea party is alive and growing. we still stand for the same things we stood for as we begin. we want more personal freedom more economic freedom and a debt-free future. we are working to achieve those goals and hold congress accountable and hold all elected officials accountable and make sure they focused on allowing us
to more personal and more economic freedom. >> host: how have you personally reached out to the new congress that is under republican control transferred we have reached out to some of the congressmen. the way we work with the tea party patriots is really more that we empower our local supporters to reach out to their own congressman. it's not about the people to work for tea party patriots going and talking to congressmen on capitol hill. it's about the local people going and reaching their own congressman and establishing relationships and holding the congressmen and senators accountable. >> host: if you leave it to the local people as a group or at least someone who represents the crippled would you like to see as far as accomplished? what are some the goals of your organization? >> guest: one of the biggest things we want to see happen is that we want a debt-free future for our country. we are $18 trillion in debt and we want to see this congress really work to show that there is a plan to get us to the point where we have a balanced budget,
and then we can begin working to pay down our nation's debt. one very simple way to do that is through the penny plan where congress spends 1 penny less out of every dollar. if congress would do that we would wind up with a balanced budget act of the spending levels a balanced budget in less than five years and we can begin to pay down our debt. >> host: the cbo says the deficit is going down even though it might increase over the next couple of years. what you think about numbers when you see the deficit going down? is that the result of the administration and? >> guest: well when the deficit is going down, it's easy to do when it increased so much in the first two years of the obama administration. the real number were looking at at the bottom line where are we at with a total debt at our debt is now $18 trillion but by the time president obama leaves office in this congress finishes we will likely be $20 trillion
in debt. $20 trillion. and people cross across the country average hard-working americans understand that israel money that someone will have to pay back. we don't want to see her children and grandchildren saddled with the debt our generation has incurred. >> host: we have four lines this morning for our guests. if you align yourself with the tea party and you have come want to talk to jenny beth martin we have a separate number. by now you know that the house speaker john boehner went on 60 minutes this week week to conduct interview asked about of a question, particularly members of the tea party coming up in that discussion. want to show you a little bit of the interview and get your response on it. >> mr. speaker, can you bring the tea party in line? there are tea party groups who
hold fundraisers under the heading of let's fire the speaker. they don't think you are very conservative. >> well, my voting record is as conservative as anybody here. the issue with the tea party isn't one of strategy. it's not one of the different vision. it's a disagreement over tactics from time to time. frankly, a lot of it is driven by national groups in washington who have raised money beating the dickens out of me. >> conservative groups raising money beating -- >> it works. they raise money. budget in the pocket and pay themselves big salaries. >> how many republican parties are there? >> well, there is one we continue to work to bring those members along and bring them along, and, but it's always a work in progress. >> host: a couple of things. let's start with you get there's one republican party. how would you respond? >> guest: there is one republican party that is a
political party. there are people across the country who vote republican and they expect republican party and those elected as republicans to live up to the republican platform. the tea party is nonpartisan or trans-partisan. we hold both parties accountable. and personally i used to be a republican. now i just consider myself an american who wants to have more personal freedom and more economic freedom and a debt-free future. >> host: that's the idea the tea party for these type of groups it up on john boehner for fundraising, is that a fair statement? >> guest: tea party movement started because we're so concerned about our government. our government is spending out of control levels. again where $18 trillion in debt and we want to see congress do something about it. we started because we're so concerned about the debt and the spending, and specifically about the stimulus bill. what we've seen now six years later is that congress and the administration continue to spend. congress and people who get
elected claiming to want to address the problem that exists today but they're not doing anything to address those problems. so our donors across the country donate to us so that we can help amplify their voices and hold congress accountable. at accountability isn't comfortable when you're not doing the job at you were elected to do. it's a lot easier to throw distractions out like complaining about the hard-working people who helped put speaker boehner in this speakership rather than addressing the fact that you're not solving the nation's problems, and we're still increasing our debt in this country. >> host: does the tea party take any position whether john boehner should be speaker of the house of? >> guest: i'm a tea party patriots instead of express that's okay. we did take a stand and we encouraged our members to call their member of congress and to encourage their member of congress to vote against john boehner as speaker of the house. >> host: did you use that for
fundraising purposes of? >> guest: there may have been a fundraising e-mail that went out about that but we were doing this because our members say to us, leading up to new year's day and even i was on the phone at 11:30 p.m. on january 2 talking to people working on this issue. they are concerned about and they wanted to see they wanted to at least make a stand and say this is not the direction, this is not the leadership we think should be in the house of representatives. >> host: jenny beth martin is joining us to take calls from you, tea party patriots. against the three lines for our political parties and if you identify yourself with the tea party come a special line for you. first call for you is from eric washington. democrat line. go ahead. >> caller: yes jenny benefit you are from georgia and are you aware that during the tea party the first person there was a black man named cypress. i would also like to say here in
georgia you are behind solar panel to guessing flight to me that the tea party does whatever it is to make some money from these big donors. what difference is there between the tea party, actually voting the same way and also are you for the police to stop this justice what they're doing to the black community? are you against that? remember the first person died at the boston tea party was a black man. thanks. >> guest: thank you. so i think that what you are asking is what is it that we stand for, and we want more personal freedom and more economic freedom. and we want a debt-free future. we want congress and our elected officials to work to find a way to reduce our nation's debt so that we don't we, our generation at our children and grandchildren are not saddled with our debt. and we also want more personal
freedom. we want the government to leave us alone unless we are harming others or infringing on their rights. and as far as energy goes we want energy policies where the government is getting out of the way and allowing allowing competition with energy. and i think you also asked about police. we will police to be held accountable if the act improperly it would also respect police and those who are enforcing our law, and we understand they have a very tough job and want to make sure that they are respected as well. >> host: from warren, michigan norm. >> caller: yes how you doing? we were talking about the deficit. i hear you talking about the deficit there. i think what a lot of americans don't understand is that under the world banking system they're coming out with what is called sbr, special drawing rights. and this economy the way it's
going now under u.n. agenda 21 they want to collapse this economy. they want to actually rebalance all the world economies so that america is brought down, and other third-world country economy abroad up. but my point in all of that is saying that was going to end up happening here is they will collapse the dollar, they will default on their debt like they did in 1971 under nixon and then they will restart over with sdr's. that's a sad testament for america but hopefully americans will wake up. thank you. >> host:. >> guest: thank you. we at tea party patriots have supported certainly auditing fair to find out what is happening exactly with the fed. and i take and one thing we've been doing in encouraging our supporters across the country to remember and take a stand on is the fact that we believe in the greatness of america.
and that means we believe in the greatness of the american voters. .. that means we support that greatness of american voters. so, when they get engaged and vote, great things can happen in this country. i don't have the same negative pessimistic view of what will happen in this country. instead, i get my inspiration from people all around the country who are holding their government accountable and who want to see good things happen. host: from a republican line, richard. caller: i'm not a member of the tea party, but i look at i look at the people that are running for president from the republican party, there's at least 10 or 12 people now, and any one of those people would be
100 times better than whoever the democrats are going to put up in 2016. i want you as a head of this tea party patriots to try to hold your membership together and if somebody's elected or nominated on one or two points does not agree with your philosophy, you hold your members together don't sutt out elections. i -- sit out the elections. i want all factions of republican people that have the republican philosophy of governing to stick together and elect a republican in 2016 to stop this democrat destruction of our constitution. >> guest: well, thank you, richard.
and i encourage you to get involved with tea party patriots which you can do at teapartypatriots.org. as far as the elections go for 2016, we are certainly looking at all of the candidates especially in the republican side but also in the democratic side to see who supports the penny plan who wants to repeal obamacare and start over with real health care reform in this country that will honor the doctor/patient relationship. and also who wants to address how we can have real economic growth in this country and address some of the problems that exist with our tax code. as far as supporting the republican nominee, i can tell you that tea party supporters around this country really did back romney when he became the nominee in 2012 and a lot of them did not support romney as the nominee at least in the primary. but once he became the nominee,
they were out working and volunteering and doing what they could to help see that he would become elected. and i think that you'll see the same thing or similar thing happen in 2016, especially if the nominee is going to embrace the values that the tea party stands for and the solutions that the tea party has. so i think that it would be good for each of the candidates to look at the solutions that the tea party -- >> we are going to leave the rest of ms. martin's comments. you can find this conversation in its entirety, c-span.org, as we head live to the national press club in washington d.c. for remarks on u.s. energy policy by the chair of the federal energy regulatory commission cheryl lafleur. introductions are being made by john hughes, the current president of the npc. >> the commission's job is to regulate interstate natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines. ferc plays a central role in the debate over how these industries should evolve in the 21st
century. there are questions, for instance, about what, if any, role ferc should play in epa's plan to curb greenhouse gases. should ferc insure that the epa plan doesn't harm the reliability of the grid? questions such as that show why the commission's profile has never been higher. in the center of the spotlight, of course, is our guest speaker today, cheryl lafleur. she was nominated to the commission by president obama in 2010. she has been acting chairman and then chairman since november of 2013. she joined ferc after a career as a senior utility industry leader in the northeast. she retired in 2007 as acting ceo of national grid usa which delivers electricity to 3.4
million customers. the first person in her family to go to colleger, she holds -- to college, she holds an undergrad from princeton and a law degree from harvard. according to our archivist, she is the first chairman of ferc to speak at a national press club luncheon. please join me in giving a warm national press club welcome to cheryl lafleur, chairman of the federal energy regulatory commission. [applause] >> well, thank you so much john for that very generous introduction, and hello to all the folks at the head table. i'm so happy to see so many familiar faces and new friends here in the audience. i am deeply honored by the opportunity to be the first ferc chairman or commissioner to speak at the national press
club. i see at least one former commissioner in the audience who we should probably call up, get her booked for next month -- [laughter] and i really would like to thank rod cooper for organizing this. when i was nominated to ferc five years ago i definitely learned -- if i didn't already know -- that it wasn't exactly a household word because i most of my time explaining to people what was this acronym to which i had been named. even though john did a bit of it, i thought i would say a bit of what our responsibilities are. we are responsible for -- because the energy world is very um, complicated in terms of the number of people who have responsibilities for different elements of this. and our duties are to the, um interstate transmission and natural gas pipelines. we do both rates and permitting of pipelines as well as liquified natural gas
facilities, and we also are responsible for wholesale rates, both gas and electric, and wholesale markets as well as the licensing of hydro facilities across the united states and the pricing of oil pipelines and the reliability and stability standards of the electric system. all mostly about interstate or wholesale work in the energy space. and i forgot to say that although we've already had the head table introduced, we have a whole passel of folks from my office and senior staff from ferc back in the back of the room and i would like to acknowledge them as well. now, i since i was in the industry for more than 20 years, i know in those days i did not read very many ferc orders. maybe 888 or some of the real
biggies. [laughter] so where did i get my information on what ferc did? from the people in the front of the room. what energy daily said ferc did was what they did, as far as i knew. [laughter] that's why press clips are the first thing i read in the morning because that is a record of what happens or any of our wonderful people who cover us. finish now -- now i'm not a washington lifer. i've been here a relatively short time compared to most of the people in the room, a little less than five years. but i am more or less an energy lifer because i've been in the energy world for more than 30 years, mostly in the northeast. and in that role i was able to be part of the major transformations of energy in the last few decades. i cut my teeth on the battles to get nuclear licensed in the 1980s and to build the first generation of utility conservation programs.
when we call them conservation instead of energy efficiency. i was very much in the midst of industry restructuring in the 1990s including the advent of open transmission access generation divestiture and merchant generation and competitive markets. and i've been closely involved this adapting to several generations of environmental changes at both the federal and state level. at ferc for the past five years i get to respond to today's energy issues. especially the growth of domestic natural gas and its increased use to generate electricity, the introduction of new technologies across the whole spectrum -- generation transmission storage and end use technologies -- new threats to good reliability and security from cyber and physical security to natural threats like geomagnetic disturbances. and the growing awareness of the
impact of energy on our climate leading to what i think is most challenging environmental issue we've yet faced together. now, what i've learned from everything i've looked at in the last 30 years is that all energy issues really come down to the same thing and that's balancing three values; reliability cost and the environment. no matter what the issue, they're usually buried somewhere in the discourse. and inevitably, there are trade-offs between the values. and because different people value different element differently, it's hard to get agreement on how to strike the balance. perspectives vary based on a number of factors; ideology, certainly, but also economic interest and commercial position and geography. as my homey, the late great tip o'neill said all politics is local, and that's definitely
true at ferc. so weighing these factors and trying to make decisions on each issue is complicated by the fact that our nation has a very fragmented and somewhat disaggregated system of decision makers which can make even finding a por rum a challenge -- a forum a challenge. there are lawmakers and regulators in 50 state capitols, numerous federal agencies. i know ferc is not the whole federal government, not even close. everyone is regulated by a myriad of other agencies as well and divided branches of government that work on the same issues. so there's a cacophony of different voices, and it often seems like they're not even having the same conversation. but making progress particularly on balancing reliability in the environment requires real conversation about trade-offs, about the real costs and consequences of our choices and about the effort that it'll take to get us where we need to be. and for better or for worse i
feel like little old ferc has been thrust in this position of being a forum for these discussions and for many of the pressing energy issues that our epogen ration is facing. whether they're in our jurisdiction a little bit or a lot, they're at our do you have step. they're at our doorstep. one of the most polarizing issues we're facing today is how our energy sector will respond to the epa's clean power plan under section 111 of the clean air act, and i'm going to devote the rest of my remarks to talking a little bit about ferc's role in that response, and hopefully they won't be too geeky so you'll invite ferc people back a. [laughter] over the past several months at ferc, we've had a steady stream of visitors to our door from groups across all segments and all regions who have a wide range of views on the clean power plan. from those who say that the lights will go out to those who think the epa did not go nearly far must have and pretty much
everyone in between. now, i'm honored to lead an agency that's bipartisan and independent by design and that built up credibility due to all the people that came before us over decades. because of that independence and credibility, people both for and against the clean power plan are looking to us to publicly validate their views. i've taken a pretty firm line that i don't think that's ferc's role. ferc is not an environmental regulator. blessedly, we're not tasked with writing the final rule this summer. epa is reviewing their millions of comments and they will put out the final rule. but make no mistake, i think ferc will have an essential role to play as the clean power plan and our response to climate is implemented. i believe that we as a nation can achieve real environmental progress including on climate
change but only if we're willing to bulled the infrastructure -- build the infrastructure, both gas and electric, and build the energy markets to make that possible. both infrastructure and market changes will be necessary if the values of reliability and cost are sustained as we make progress on the environment. and that's where ferc comes from in. i i -- comes in. i think we will have responsibilities across infrastructure markets and to be an honest broker for the discussion. starting with infrastructure i think additions to both the gas and electric infrastructure will be needed to carry out the clean power plan. and in the case of gas pipelines and gas compressor stations ferc is the one who does the environmental review, permits them and decides the rates. building plot two of the clean power plan, which is likely to account for the largest amount of carbon reduction calls for
substantially increasing the utilization of the natural gas plants that exist all around the country. that's existing plants. now, i believe based on everyone i've talked to that meeting the goals of the clean power plan will also lead to the construction of a lot of new gas generation because most of the people i've talked to have said that can be the most cost effective way to meet some of the goals, and epa has given people the flexibility to meet each state goal in the most cost effective way. we are very fortunate to have abundant and relatively affordable domestic natural gas. if we didn't, if we were where we thought we were 20 years ago, the gas was in the ground, but we didn't know it was abundant and affordable when we thought we were running out of it in the '90s, if we were there, our climate goals and aspirations would be much more difficult if not impossible to achieve with today's technology. but utilizing that gas to meet climate goals will require the
expansion and construction of gas infrastructure, both pipelines and come prosecution sor stations -- compressor stations, to get it where it needs to be to keep the lights on. but while gas is critically important to our climate goals and other environmental goals, it has issues of its own. pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. these groups are active in every ferc docket as they should be, as well as in my e-mail inbox seven days a week, in my twitter field, at our open meetings demanding to be heard and literally at our door closing down first street so ferc won't be able to work. we have a situation here. we take the views of all stakeholders seriously and try as hard as we can to thoroughly consider issues that are relevant to the decisions we're required to make, but ferc's responsibility under the natural
gas act -- because we're a creature of congress -- is to consider and act on pipeline applications after insuring that they can be built safely and with limited environmental impact. under ferc's regulations and policy its market demand and specifically contractual commitments for pipeline capacity that determine what pipeline infrastructure is needed. the days when ferc went in and said here's a certificate of need, we need it from are here to there, ended with order 63630 years ago. we evaluate based on market demand. do they have people signing up for the gas, and then we go in and look at the environmental and safety aspects in detail of the proposed project. we're blessed to have a wide range of engineers and scientists, and we look at a wide range of environmental issues; water, soil geology fish and wildlife and others.
and we also look at air quality including greenhouse gas emissions. but our review is project-specific and confined to the information in the docket. speculating about unquantifiable impacts is not part of that process. i think that our nation is going to have to grapple with our acceptance of gas generation and gas pipelines if we expect to achieve our climate and environmental goals. as far as ferc i think our work on gas permitting gas infrastructure's going to be essential to the successful implementation of the clean power plan and i'm dedicated to insuring that the process is fair clear, timely and transparent. because the worst place we want to be is closing down the old stuff and not being able to build the new stuff because we're not willing to do the work to get it there. we're also going to have a role to play on electric transmission that's built to support
compliance with a clean power plan. now here we're not responsible for siting. that's done at the state level. but we're responsible for planning and funding of interstate transmission. changes in generation requires changes in transmission. duh. the grid was built to support what's out will now, mostly you'd put a coal or nuclear plant an hour or two from the city build a lewin to connect them maybe an -- a line to connect them maybe an extension chord to your neighbor's -- extension cord to your neighbor's, you were down. that's not where we are anymore. building block three of the clean power plan is the increased reliance on generation like the wind that's on my cookie -- [laughter] and renewable generation is highly transmission dependent. you just don't put it convenient to a population center. wind and central station solar is best sited where the resources are most plentiful often far from cities. the lines that they require are
usually long, require a lot of coordination between a lot of different people to get planned and built, and they're expensive. although they benefit the grid, help reliability, facilitate meeting environmental goals, they don't always benefit every one they go by or the people who live right next to where the resource is. because of all those factors, transmission is very controversial. not only does it face landowner and environmental opposition -- the same as gas pipelines -- but sometimes rate payer opposition as well. one of the core responsibilities of ferc, we are working hard to help the transmission that the nation needs get built under our landmark order 1000. we are requiring broad, transparent, competitive transmission planning processes. not locally company by company, but across big regions so they can determine what the region
needs and what's the most cost effective transmission to be built. and we're explicitly requiring them to take public policy requirements into account like the state plans under the clean power plan when they decide what france mission they need. transmission they need. now, we're only a short way from fully achieving that, but we're also asking regions to sit and coordinate with each other because there are needs that aren't a specific region. and in addition to the planning, we are responsible for the transmission rates, and we're trying to insure that there's enough of an investment incentive for the investors as well as enough approximate for the consumers to make sure they're just and reasonable and that we strike that balance right. and while we're on it and i'm on this infrastructure bully pulpit here, i just want to add that power plants are not the only thing that need infrastructure.
the fourth building block of the clean power plan is energy efficiency what we used to call conservation load management. and also distributed generation like rooftop solar that's a becoming so pervasive as part of building block three. those distributed resources need infrastructure of a different sort. they need delivery like took us a long time in new england to build up the industry to deliver the conservation programs that have won national awards. they need delivery they needing a redivision technology, and they need support of rates and market rules. as someone who ran efficiency programs for a long time i can tell you they might be very very cost effective but they're not free and they're not self-executing. a lot of the work to make that happen is being done at those 50 statehouses, but ferc has a role, and we have to work to facilitate participation of those new resources in the markets that we have
jurisdiction over. and speaking of the markets that's our second big challenge. two-thirds of the nation's population is served by competitive region aleck trick markets. -- regional electric markets. i've tried to keep acronyms out of the speech, but they are rtos and isos, independent system operators, and i see some of them in the room. these are bodies that work over usually a mull the city state region -- multistate region to plan and operate the transmission grid independent of the owners and dispatch the power. they run regional capacity markets that incentivize investment needed for the future and realtime and day-ahead energy markets that dispatch the power. basically, they look out every five minutes and dispatch what's cheapest at that time. they dispatch by merit order according to cost. that's how it's been done since
before there were regional organizations when each company did it. those markets they operate are regulated by ferc, and we are worked hard and those markets have made some adaptations the support state environmental initiatives like renewable portfolio standards to try to adjust the markets to the environmental issues. hasn't been easy but we've made some progress. the clean power plant is a whole different ball game. now we're going to have 49 states coming up with individual implementation plans that, by their very nature under the building blocks will say what resource the state wants to use, more of this less of this little bit of that, do that, because that's how a state will build up its plan. that may not just automatically be compatible with the way the power is planned and dispatched now, the existing lease cost model. so we'll have to change the formulas if the markets are to
survive and they've done a good job for customers, we'll have to change the way they work to reconcile these two objectives. i think it's going to be a lot more than tinkering around the edges. so if you look at pgm which is the largest market operator in the country, they have all or some of 13 states. and if each of those 13 states have a different plan, then you can imagine as they're trying to to make shower they dispatch -- make sure they dispatch the power, it could require significant changes in the way we run our markets. now, of course, then the obvious -- your mind goes to the obvious solution why don't they all get together and agree what they want to do? then you don't have to run state by state. and the epa plan did give extra credit for regional cooperation. that was one of the comments we had made. and regional cooperation will help regional markets make adaptations to the clean power plan. but that itself will require considerable change and compromise. we've seen some success with
regional carbon markets like the regional greenhouse gas initiative up in the northeast and c.a.r.b. the california market. but putting those together -- ask and i was there when reggie was negotiated -- require voluntary agreement by states to come together and decide on the goals, who gets what allowances who puts what in, who gets what out. and the issue we have is the way the markets are if you have a map thousand and draw your markets, they put together states with substantially different portfolios and substantially different epa targets that might not naturally agree that will require a little bit of go to get there -- of go to get there as well as states like texas and indiana that are served by multiple rtos. you have two different dispatchers who have to make sure it's done right. we also, the markets themselves are going through a lot of
transition as the generation mix in the country changes and ferc is doing a lot of work that it needs to continue to make sure that the the market rules and the market designs are written to support the investment in resources that are needed for reliability. we put out a fuel assurance order earlier this year. that's one example of that effort. also been doing a lot on the capacity markets. working all this out so we can meet climate goals by keeping these big regional markets won't be easy, and it's going to require exactly the kind of open dialogue that i spoke of earlier in the speech. fortunately, this is the kind of hard boring, unsexy technical dirt-under-the-fingernails ferc does. when i interview interns they always say do you work on green energy? we work on the unsexy underbelly of every energy issue, and this is where our work is going to be
here, i think -- [laughter] on really making those markets work. because if we don't, we'll either lose the markets and take a giant step back in how we run our grids, or we won't meet our climate goals which is unacceptable in a different way. despite all our work, we still have reliability problems. letting the lights go out is not going to be ab option. so reliability -- an option. so reliability will have to be maintained by mechanisms like reliability must run contracts or extensions or keeping things on longer than they're supposed to stay on. that can be expensive or unpopular or usually both. so that's not plan a. plan a is to to get it right up top. our final job i think, is to serve as an honest broker as the work on the climate plan is finalized and implemented. i believe we did this effectively with respect to the mercury and air toxic rule over the last few years. now admittedly, that's a much more straightforward rule but i
think ferc did a good job helping to bring together the states and the federal agencies, the state regulators to help assure that reliability was considered and protected. with respect to the clean power plan we're getting started on that next month with four days of technical conferences in february and march, two here in d.c. two in other regions of the country. we'll be hearing from our state government partners our federal government partners like the epa, people from industry and environmental groups to help address the issues that ferc is going to have to tackle as this goes forward. our objective is to hear from a wide range of entities about how compliance with the rule might impact them and really start to dig into the things that ferc will have to do. now, based on how many people have asked to speak i think we could have a lot more than four days, and we do have other things to do but i think that's going to be just the beginning of the dialogue. we have to continue our
engagement with agencies, especially the epa but also the state regulators to share information, lend expertise and help develop constructive suggestions. and we have to continue to be an independent and honest broker. living within the wounds -- the bounds of our statutory authority but keeping alert to trends and, where possible get out in front of emerging issues. and we must be we can't be afraid to say unpopular things. with some people saying we need more gas pipelines is unpopular. saying we need more electric transmission is unpopular. but we have to say the hard things, confront the hard issues and make the difficult policy choices that won't please everyone all the time. sometimes i'd be happy to please anyone any of the time -- [laughter] but we have -- i strongly believe this is why this work has been assigned to an
independent, appointed commission of technical experts. i'm honored to have the opportunity to be part of ferc's work. i'm only going to be chairman for three more months, but i expect to be a commissioner for five more years working to balance and maximize reliability, cost and the environment. i am pretty sure that if i were here five years from now, the issues probably i wouldn't even know now. but i'm sure there'll be five years of change challenge and progress on the nation's energy and environmental aspirations. thank you, and i'll take your questions. [applause] >> if i put on my glasses, i can read them as you read them. >> thank you, chairman. starting with some questions related to the epa. epa appears to have held only a
handful of meetings with ferc staff about the clean power plan or 111b rule. given epa's extraordinary outreach effort when it was developing the rule and the huge changes it will require to the grid, were you disappointed to have not had more input? >> well recently in a letter that i sent to the hill on december 3rd, i really listed all of the meetings we had which i think are more than a handful. i was not disappointed. i think we actually had quite a lot of opportunity for input. i actually wish we'd seen the rule a lot earlier but that would have required that they had written it a lot earlier. but now we're in a whole different scene where we have a whole year or more before they finalize it, so we're still having input. >> do you think that aggressively implementing the clean power plan on epa's
proposed timeline might cause difficulties for reliability? >> well as i said i think that we need to build the infrastructure and adapt the markets to be able to have both the reliability we take for granted and the progress on the climate. the time lauren for the epa goals -- the timeline for the epa goals, particularly the first set in 2020, has been one of the most controversial things we've been hearing about. what should be the period over which the ultimate 2030 goals kind of are phased in. and i think the epa has been hearing about that as well, because in their notice of data availability where they asked for more comments last fall that was one of the main things that we heard about. so i think we'll have to get started early and really put our shoulder to the wheel to get the things done that we need to do. >> some of your colleagues on the commission think ferc should
sign off on state plans to comply with epa's rule. is that something that you can support? >> i'm not 100% sure that's how they would articulate their views. but putting that aside, i don't -- i'm looking right at the head of the state commissioner association -- [laughter] and i try to remember that our first name is federal. [laughter] so i think "sign off" is a bit strong. i think we should be engaged in the state plan because they all or not or, for the most part they operate as part of regions. but i think ultimately, the states will have the control. that's why i would love to see more regional solutions, so they can work together. >> so as the utility industry moves over time to retire coal plants and substitute in renewables are higher consumer
prices for electricity inevitable? >> i kind of divide prices into two dimensions. the long run price depends on the long run costs of these things. once it's built, nuclear renewables can be very affordable once the initial investment is made. the long run price of coal, gas and even oil plants which we use on the margin depends on the long run cost of those fuels that we don't know. if there's one thing that i know in my life, it's that i can't produce -- i can't predict gas prices since i've seen them go up and down and everywhere in between. so in the long run, i think that ultimately depends on the mix of cost between those fuels, but it's not at all clear to me that costs will go up.
we're seeing gas be very affordable and competitive with coal certainly nuclear and hydro and renewables are very competitive once they're built. the other dimension of cost is transition. change costs money, no matter how you do it. so i think will it cost to make this change? yes. it has to. when you're building something new, it costs money. in the long run will it cost more? that depends on the fuel costs. >> as we've seen this rapid transformation occur in the nation's energy sector, is it frustrating for you that congress has refused to consider any meaningful energy legislation or policies in this area? >> i used to have of a mug that said like something like the serenity prayer "god grant me the wisdom to fight the things i can fight and not fight what i
can't fight and the was.com to know the difference." you probably know, whatever it says. [laughter] i try not to spend too much mental anguish on what congress does or doesn't do. there's a whole blogosphere out there complaining about congress. i live by the rules they've given us. if they pass new legislation we'll live by that. but, um, i think we're doing a pretty good job hobbling around, hobbling through with what we've got now, so that's what we're working on. and if there's new legislation i think -- i'll welcome it. >> you mentioned the need for additional gas pipelines, yet we see so much public frustration and public opposition to these sorts of projects, so how can that immediate for more -- that need for more pipelines be addressed given the level of opposition that's out there? >> well i think not speaking of
any specific pipeline i would kind of put the opposition into different buckets. there's concern about the environmental impacts of the pipelines themselves and i think that has to be addressed by making sure that they're constructed, including the extraction and everything is done using the most current technologies environmentally correct and environmentally advanced as we can. nothing is free, but i think we have to really as a society make sure we do this right. the second set of opposition is local opposition where people just don't want it going through their town or county. sometimes for reasons that have to do with specific things about their town and county. i mean, people tend to not want infrastructure going right where they are. i think we need to site these
things as carefully as we possibly and try to make the best decisions. we definitely can't please anyone but that's what i think we do well is to consider those issues and try and make sure that environmental risks are mitigated. very few pipelines come out in the same route that they went in when they first came into finish. [inaudible] the third set of opposition are people that don't want pipelines at all, and i hi there the policy -- i think they're the policymakers, the state regulators, the state environmental people other regulators have to have the dialogue and really decide because i've said my view. other people have other views. but that's a bigger picture than a specific siting thing. >> fracking is such a significant issue in so many ways. last year ferc approved construction of a huge liquefied natural gas facility on the chesapeake bay and some critics
have said that the decision encouraged the environmental harm that they say results from fracking. how would you respond to that criticism? >> well, we don't regulate the extraction, and we don't -- the permitting statute, the nepa the national environmental policy act, that we use we look at the reasonable foreseeable what is actually from the facility that we're implementing. so we just try to make sure be you will that what we permit is done in the right way safe and environmentally sound. fracking is regulated at the state level and by the epa. i think it's absolutely essential that it be regulated and regulated closely, but it's not done at ferc. >> we were mentioning the level of protests that we've seen. has the level of protests and
activism at all surprised the commission or commission members, and this question wonders how that plays out as far as going through filing process, the level of protesting and activism and the effect of that then on the filing process. >> well the fact that people have things to say does not surprise us. these are important issues. our secretary's office does a great job handling thousands millions of documents that come in and getting them in the files. some of the things that have surprised me recently are a little bit more of the techniques. like when i first got the twitter account, i mean, i really thought i was cool tweeting out. [laughter] and then i come on and you have eight new entries. people are writing to me, awesome. [laughter] a lot of them were people tweeting about pipelines and dockets and so forth.
and that's just new. that's just new to the way i think about things. and a lot of the techniques people have used are new techniques. but the fact that they're in the dockets or at the public meetings does not surprise me. >> here in d.c. a coalition of environmental, political and consumer groups called power d.c. can has emerged to oppose the pepco exelon merger resulting in higher prices for consumers. are these concerns justified? why or why not? >> well ferc approved the exelon/pepco merger although i knew and i'm just reminded that it's still pending rehearing. [laughter] what we do in mergers is we look at under the federal power act the effect on rates are there protections for the wholesale rates that we regulate, the
effect on regulations can the state regulators still have their power? and thefect on competition -- the effect on competition, using formulas to see how concentrated the market is. that's what we do in our dockets. a lot of the other things, retail rate approximate rate freezes, where the headquarters are going to be, how many employees are going to have jobs, what kind of promises they have to make are done by state regulators, and those are still pending. >> so we've talked about wind and solar power but what about the oldest renewable resource hydropower? is there potential to significantly expand hydropower as a source of electricity? and if not, why? >> well, there's definitely the potential to expand the hydropower as a source of electricity. there are thousands of dams in
the country that are constructed, so the rivers don't have an electric generating is the attached to them. if you look on the web site of the national hydro association it'll give you the exact number. i try not to make up numbers if i don't get it right, but there's many thousands of opportunities. um, we have a couple potential applications in places like alaska for big new hydro. i will just say based on some of the early commentary they're not in the filing stage yet, and some of what we hear putting up things like grand cooley dam or the hoover dam can would be very difficult -- dam would be very difficult to do in 2015. but small hydro we have tremendous potential. also hydrokinetic and rivers quite a lot of potential to harness that. >> huge topic of discussion nowadays also is the rusk of cyber attacks -- the risk of
cyber attacks. how concerned are you that a successful cyber attack on a portion of the nation's power grid is inevitable? >> well, i'm vigilant. i -- there are people who attempt to hack into the bulk electric system every day. in fact, national cyber communications control center, it's part of the department of homeland security, more than half of the hacking attempts in the whole united states are on the lekking trick grid. so i know -- the electric grid. so i know that it's an important issue. part of what we try to do with first of all, the way all the owners construct the grid but the way ferc regulates the reliability standards is to make sure that the grid is constructed to be resilient so that there's redundancy and so that there's cyber protections built in; perimeter security,
password security and so forth. so if something happens in one place, it doesn't cascade to another place. i think we're -- the electric grid, as well as the nuclear feed, are the only two sectors in the country that have mandatory cyber roles and i think they deserve them. i think if there's anything you want to protect, it's definitely your electric grid. so those rules are designed so that if something happens that doesn't lead to a cascading outage. should we be vigilant? absolutely. >> would you say that cyber threats are far and away the foremost challenge or are physical acts of vandalism, terrorism enough of a threat that they reach the, sort of the equal level of the cyber concern? and how does the utility industry protect itself from these sorts of threats? >> oh, my gosh, this is like when you were kids. would you rather be boiled in oil to or would you rather be drowned? [laughter]
which would be the better thing to happen? [laughter] both sets of threats are important. i tend to worry more about cyber threats because i know i don't understand them. i don't think anyone over 50 does. [laughter] really understand what goes on in a computer. that's probably unfair. i'm sure there are middle-aged techies who are wonderful. [laughter] but i don't really understand, i don't understand how someone can be in north korea or someplace on the other side of the globe and do something at a laptop that e atexts the friday. -- affects the grid. and something that you can't see and you can't, like, readily sense and you don't actually understand the mechanism is always more frightening whereas physical security at least i understand it. it's frighten, but you have to be in the physical proximity of grid so i think it's a little better understood threat. but it's a threat as well. and what we did last year was for the first time mandate protections for the most
important parts of the bulk electric system when viewed by their ability to lead to a cascading outage, more physical protection so that we wanted to make sure that while we're worried about kind of 21st century threats, we don't forget old-fashioned threats as well. >> this questioner just passed up the question that says should fighting climate change be part of ferc's central mission? >> well, i think i said in response to a couple questions ago if congress changes our responsibilities they're the boss. but i think that we're well served by having the epa and all the state environmental regulators whose job is environment -- which we now understand to include climate -- and ferc whose job is reliability and pricing, because
i think that's sort of a healthy division of responsibility. >> industry people say that one of the biggest threats to the electric grid is the wave of baby boom retirements at utilities. [laughter] and these are now hitting in full force. are there enough new workers coming into the industry and if not, why don't young people want to work with electricity? [laughter] >> well, i was already a baby boomer in retirement age when i left the utility. they seem to have managed without me. [laughter] so no. this is a big issue across many sectors. you read this about -- i used to be on a hospital board, about nursing, about teaching other sectors. there's the big population spike of the baby boom and then kind of a valley and then the millennials, our children and their peers. i think it's of concern in the electric sector because we need
to train somebody to be a line match or a control room line person or control room operator so that definitely makes a will hot of retirements all at once a concern. i think a lot of important work is going on with the community colleges and others to really try to develop the -- there's always plenty of lawyers and is all. it's the people who actually work on the electricity that are hard to find to develop those trades and really get people interested. i think a lot of the companies are working on that. i also think i'll put in a plug, military hiring is just a natural for the utility industry and with so many veterans coming back now i know a lot of them are a wonderful source of tomorrow's energy people. >> have you herald from any grid -- heard from any grid operators or state regulators
that there will be difficulties in implementing the clean power plan? >> yes. [laughter] i have heard i have heard from -- we've met with almost all the grid operators. they have different levels of concern, but because they're the ones who are trying to keep the lights on, they're the ones who are working through some of these issues of as the generation fleet evolves, you know what transmission has to be built how the markets have to work, and i think they're focused on -- i can't speak for them, but some of the things i talked about in my speech. tate regulators -- state regulators, their views vary very much by what's the resource mix now in their state. some states have much more challenging goals for various reasons under the clean power plan, so we certainly haven't heard from all 50 state regulators, but some are quite engaged. >> do you envision a broader
role for ferc's enforcement initiatives in the implementation of the cpp, or will rulemaking be the methodology for addressing it? >> whoa that's an interesting question. i -- to the extent that the clean power plan changes market rules, enforcement is one part of making sure markets are fair. so and it's also part of -- although ferc only gets involved in the biggest reliability issues, most of them are are done by nerc under our oversight, it's a part of making sure reliability is protected. but i think -- i tend to think of the rulemaking either writing the standards or approving standards in our case or approving market rules as the first phalanx and then
enforcement then makes sure they're complied with. i don't really think that's what you lead with when you're changing something. you need to get the rule first and then enforce it. >> this questioner says that traditionally politics has not played much of a role at the commission even though there are appointees from both political parties. this person says, but that seems to be changing with this debate over the ferc role vis-a-vis the epa. does concern you? -- does this concern you? is ferc just like so many other parts of washington, becoming more political? >> well, the vast majority of work that ferc does does not divide along partisan lines. even when we have dissents or splits between the commissioners, they're not frequently along party lines and that i hi, is good. because -- i think, is good. because we're all looking at the law, looking at the record, but
they're not knee-jerk party views in any sense. and that's how ferc has been for a long time and i think basically, still is. i do think when it comes to environmental rules they tend to be very controversial, and so this area of our work has kind of become more ideological than some. and i think that's just the reality of what we see in washington. >> to what extent do you see distributed generation transforming and perhaps disrupting the electricity system? >> well, i i think that distributed generation is a huge trend marley the roof -- marley the rooftop solar which seems to have gone over kind of the barrier of affordability and ubiquity now and is just a big, big piece of the grid. it seems like i've within hearing even back in the '80s they said everyone was going to
have combined heat and power in their basements and most of those trends didn't ever manifest themselves the way they were expected. rooftop solar is different. it's here it's crossed the divide to being economic, and it's a big part of our grid. i think that i don't really personally see it as disruptive, it's just a new part of the ecosystem. i think we'll still need the transmission grid, but we'll also have a lot of distributed solar, and maybe some of the other technologies will become that much more economic. but that's the first to get there. >> i know that you put your ferc-regulated electricity transmission to good use at ferc headquarters because i'm sure you have many wonderful coffee pots -- [laughter] that keep the ferc staff alert and awake. and so, therefore it's my pleasure to present you with the honorary national press club coffee mug -- [laughter] and i hope it's of good use back at headquarters to keep
everybody alert and watchful. [laughter] over our power grid. >> i'm all about coffee. [applause] >> one more question before you sit down, and ask you've been wonderful answering so many questions. we want to wrap up with this one. everything in the energy sector this questioner says seems to be so male-dominated. [laughter] and what do you say to girls to get them to be to interested in careers in energy and what can we do to sort of turn that around to make it more of a career for more women? >> well, that's a great question. i think we are seeing more and more women in energy and i think that maybe as far as
getting more women in some of the blue collar jobs and the engineering jobs which is where it's lagged the most, a lot of it comes down to s.t.e.m. education, getting little girls interested early math and science programs for young girls. when i used to be at girls inc. at worcester, mass, trying to get girls interested in that. and i think those are important efforts, to really build up that piece of the work force. these are good paying jobs. you can support families, and we want more young girls to be interested in them. at the same time i'm living proof you don't have to be -- i'm a -- we're the parents of a physics teacher, but i am not a s.t.e.m. nerd at all. i was a politics major who went to law school and, look i'm in electricity. [laughter] so i think there's jobs for poem across the spectrum of interest. so it's not all about s.t.e.m.. it's we need people of all the
different disciplines. >> all right. how about a round of applause for our speaker? [applause] thank you so much for being first at the national press club. we hope that many future ferc chairmen follow your lead and come here and see us at the national press club so thank you. i would also like to thank the national press club staff including its journalism institute and the broadcast center for organizing today's event. and finally, here's a reminder where you can find -- that you can find more information not only about today's event, but all of our activities at the national press club at the national press club web site. that's press.org. also, if you'd like to get a copy of today's program, you can
>> and tomorrow live senate coverage on c-span3 for the confirmation hearing of president obama's nominee to be the next attorney general, loretta lynch. she's scheduled to testify before the judiciary committee. we'll have that live tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. eastern. ms. lynch is the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of new york. she was first nominated by former president clinton for the seat in 1999. she left the office in 2001 to be a partner at a law firm and she was renominated by president obama in 2010 for the district seat. if confirmed as attorney general by the senate she'd be the first african-american woman to hold the post. loretta lynch graduated from harvard law school in 1984. >> c-span 2 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 nonfiction 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 senate's expected back in about 15 minutes returning from party lunches and later this week a retreat. today continuing work on the bill to authorize the construction of the keystone xl oil pipeline. until then we'll take a look at the role of a grand jury in police shooting cases with georgia congressman hank johnson. he's sponsoring a bill that would change the process of investigating -- of investigations. this is from today's "washington journal." we'll watch as much of it as we can before the senate gavels back in. >> host: joining us now, representative hank johnson a member of the judiciary committee, also a democrat who serves georgia in the fourth district. representative, good morning. >> guest: good morning jose. >> host: so you have legislation coming up specifically taking a
look at grand juries, but this stems out of decisions that were made many ferguson and new york. could you explain not only the bill but those grand jury decisions and how it plays into what you're trying to introduce in congress? >> guest: thank you. i said jose i mean pedro. please excuse me. >> host: perfectly okay. >> guest: yeah. the recent cases coming out of ferguson and also new york were walk-up calls i think to americans that something needs to be done about the secretive grand jury process that seems to result whenever there's a killing by a police officer of a person seems to always result in a no bill or refusal to indict the officer despite what many see as clear evidence of probable cause to proceed with formal charges against the officer. so this grand jury reform act
would restore public confidence in the grand jury system and in the criminal justice system so that we can unsure that all people -- insure that all people are treated similarly when it comes to allegations of criminal misconduct. >> host: some of the elements of this act include public probable cause hearing before a judge. the governor would appoint a special prosecutor, he would appoint a state law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation. a special prosecutor would submit a written public report and the judge would provide a one public report as well with the findings. doesn't this talk the authority of a local government and give it to another agency? isn't that talking away from the power of the locality or state? >> guest: yes. it's necessary that we have an independent prosecute along with an independent law enforcement agency to investigate these allegations and then to submit the findings of the
investigation to a neutral authority, a judge, in an open hearing. and in that way, it helps to restore public confidence. now -- and it also is an insurer that justice actually will occur. there's nothing that undermines the justice system in this country more than allowing an injustice to go unpunished. and so i'm not in any way inferring that whenever we have a killing by a police officer that that killing is unjustified. indeed in most cases it'll be a justified or justifiable homicide. but there are those cases, and there seems to be more, it seems to be kind of an epidemic of unnecessary and excessive use of force that we are seeing unfolding in america.
it's a dangerous trend. and whenever those kinds of cases occur, it's important that people be able to have confidence that the justice system will work and will work when it comes to a citizen accused of being an offense as well as a police officer involved in an offense. but i will tell you once the once there's been an independent investigation and then a presentation to a judge and a public hearing and the iraq by sit -- requisite reports prepared, those are sent back to the local destruct attorney who then has the discretion whether or not to follow the recommendations or not. so we're not taking local power away from local prosecutors insofar as the ultimate decision making over these cases. >> host: the use of grand juries and the incidents of shootings by police is our topic with
representative hank johnson, democrat of georgia member of the judiciary committee. you want to ask him questions about his legislation or the topic, 202-748-800 for democrats, 202-748-8001 for republicans, and 8002 for independents. even as you present this representative johnson we're hearing headlines about a federal investigation taking a look at darren wilson over the shooting incident of michael brown saying in many cases not enough evidence being found to charge him. your thoughts on that? >> guest: well, that's exactly why i believe that there needs to be a lever for a federal prosecutor to be able to prosecute police officers who there's probable cause to believe committed the offense of murder. currently, we do not have or prosecutors, federal prosecutors do not have the ability to charge someone with a murder.
unless, of course, there's some federal, there's -- it happened on federal property, basically. but i've also filed in the last term and will refile in this term the police accountability act which would grant to the federal government the ability to prosecute local police officers for homicide or for murder and any offense that would range under that as a lesser-included offense. and in that way, we would get at instances where state prosecutors fail and refuse to prosecute police killings when there appears to be probable cause to believe that there is a crime that has been committed. so when we have a an
investigation conducted outside of the law enforcement agency that employs the officer who is under focus of the investigation and when that investigation is directed by a special prosecutor or a neutral prosecutor, we have a better opportunity to arrive at justice in that case. but just in case that does not happen, then the federal government would be able to step in with a murder charge as opposed to being limited the a civil rights violation which is what the federal government is limited to at this time. and in order to prove a civil rights violation involving a homicide, you would have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer involved took the
deadly action because of the person's protected class status. in other words, they were black or they were hispanic or they were gay or because of national origin. those, to get into the mind of a police officer is when these kinds of things happen is quite difficult. and so the civil rights laws are not sufficient to arm federal prosecutors with the ability to proceed as is necessary if states fail and refuse to proceed. >> have you received support more support for this legislation this time around because of events in ferguson, and is that just from the democratic side republicans? both? how much support have you received? >> guest: well, i think as this issue continues to be
demonstrated, in other words the growing use of excessive misforce towards civilians -- police force towards civilians, i think as these cases continue to be in the news then it does create more support for the grand jury reform bill. i'll point out the case of a gentleman right here in father fax county virginia -- fairfax county virginia, i believe the name is john gear who was standing in his door after the police were called to his residence on a domestic violence situation. they talked with the gentleman for about an hour, all the while the gentleman had his hands above the door sill of the house as if to be in the hands-up position, and there were no arms no firearms apparent.
i think he had on a t-shirt. it was during the day, is so there was no problem with there being inadequate lighting. and when the gentleman just simply put his hand down, he was shot in the chest and fatally wounded. that's been 16 months ago. no grand jury action. the police investigation results are just slowly being released, i think yesterday there was a release of information by the police department to the family of mr. gear. this was a white male in suburban washington, d.c., fairfax county. these incidents are not just limited to african-americans or hispanics. they happen across the country, and they're happening with, apparently, more freak
frequency, and it's alarming that we have not done anything on grand jury reform. >> host: we have folked lined up to speak with you. steve from new jersey you're on the line to speak with representative johnson. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i want to talk about an event that happened in orlando, florida, a couple days after ferguson. and what happened, there was a guy that was brandishing a weapon. two bicycle police officers showed up. one of them sprayed him down with pepper spray and tased him, and the guy, you know, kept threatening people. so the other police officer fired a warning shot hit a girl in the head and killed her, and then the guy was still brandishing the weapon so the police officer 'em the citied the rest of his -- emptied the rest of his five rounds into his chest. unfortunately, the guy didn't die, and i've heard nothing about this.
now, the difference was these were two white people, and the officer was a black officer. and when i go down to orlando i'm going to go march up to that black officer and i'm going to tell him how much i appreciate that he's there protecting my son who's a bartender in bar below the one that the guy was trying to get into. >> guest: well, thank you for your comments, sir, and i believe 98% of the police officers out there are doing a great job protecting the citizens and my hat is off to them. my beef is not with those law enforcement officials and officers who are acting lawfully. my concern is with the 2% who are getting away literally with murder. and i think you must admit, sir, that every incident that involves a police officer
shooting or killing an individual is not justified. but yet what we find is in just about every instance, the police officer goes unpunished. and so i support the police. i, like you, if this was a justifiable homicide, i would have to tip my hat to this officer. i'm not familiar with the case that you speak of, but, you know, i would have to tip my hat to the officer and say thank you for serving, thank you for serving and protecting the public. and my hat's off to to law enforcement in general. but my bills are designed to get at those cases where this appears to be an injustice that is happening. and also i think it's important for citizens to always have
confidence that their criminal justice system is acting fairly not just towards civilians but also towards the law enforcement officers who are also charged with acting lawfully. >> host: next up, kathleen from florida, democrats' line. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. >> guest: good morning. >> caller: i have a question. >> we leave this conversation now, you can find it online, c-span.org, take you live to the floor of the u.s. senate. many of the terrorist detainee transfer safeguards that were weakened in fiscal year 2014, the national defense authorization act as well as imposes a two-year bar on detainees to yemen. this legislation has been authored by senator kelly ayotte and its cosponsors include the chairman of the armed services committee john
mccain and richard burr as well as the senators preeminent expert on military law, lindsey graham. i'm honored to add my name to the list of senators who have cosponsored stage thing. the effect of this legislation is to preserve the ability of the united states to detain in our faults at guantanamo bay members of al qaeda and the taliban. the organizations responsible for the terrorist acts of september 11 2001. so why is keeping guantanamo open so important? simply put mr. president guantanamo affords our military a safe and secure location to detain those individuals held under the law of war or for violations of the law of war. if an enemy combatant is captured that individual can be held under the law of war. there is a generally accepted legal principle affirmed repeatedly by the supreme court that enemy combatants can be held at least until the conflict
is concluded. if an individual is held for a violation of the laws of war that means they are detained until they can be prosecuted for a war crime they are alleged to have committed or if convicted serving a sentence. mr. president, the detainee population of guantanamo contained battle-hardened terrorists. indeed the threat they pose is ample apply common straighted since 29% of detainees released so far are confirmed or suspected of rejoining the fight against the united states. mr. president, cliff sloan who was the state department's envoy for closing guantanamo bay recently wrote in "the new york times" editorial that this nearly 30% recidivism rate was deeply flawed, unquote. it appears mr. sloan only wants the congress and the american people to consider the confirmed rate rather than the combined confirmed and suspected recidivism rate.
mr. president, if congress and term are truly to understand the risks inherent in this administration's insistence on releasing guantanamo bay detainees, we must consider this combined number. how can that be deeply flawed? mr. sloan goes on to state that the level of recidivism is much lower since 2009. how often this lower rate if accurate does not include the five senior taliban leaders who were illegally released to qatar and whose travel ban is about to expire. less the qatari government prevents it, soon these terrorists will be free to go where they want to go. i'm also concerned this number might not incorporate the future actions of those detainees who have been transferred in recent months. one of the major advantages of locating our detention operations at guantanamo bay is that it is well settled law the united states can hold
individuals held under the law of war or for violations of the law of war at our facilities there. now, i personally believe current supreme court precedent would enable us to hold both law of war and violation of law of war detainees in the united states. however, if these detainees are moved into the united states, every attorney representing detainees would rush to federal court and file new lawsuits seeking their clients' release. indeed there exists a very real possibility that a court might release a detainee into the united states especially in light of the obama administration's unwillingness in some cases to defend against detainees' habeas petitions to the fullest extent. as such the risk of transferring these detainees into the united states are great. guantanamo guantanamo bay also affords us a better -- michigan much better environment to hold newly apprehended terrorists.
inside the united states the supreme court has mandated that trill suspects be read their rights including their right to remain silent and right to a lawyer. subject to only a narrow public safety exception. such limits on interrogation severely hinder our ability to gather information from captured terrorists. who have time and again proven to be the source of vital intelligence. consider how officials were only able to interrogate the boston marathon bomber for 16 hours before he was read his rights and immediately stopped cooperating. as the longest serving members of the intelligence committee it takes far longer to gather all of the important information we can from most of these terrorists. moving detainees into the united states presents serious domestic concerns. a number of terrorist groups such as al qaeda in the asian peninsula have become quite
adept at jail breaks, bringing a concentration of detainees into the united states therefore could create a particularly appealing target in the homeland for jihadist radicals whereas at guantanamo bay they are essentially isolated at a facility well secured by the united states military. mr. president, clearly there are ample and compelling legal and national security reasons to maintain our detention operations at guantanamo bay. there is why senator ayotte's legislation is so important. it ensures we will continue to use this vital facility by restoring the restrictions that have enabled us to keep these individuals in such a secure location. mr. president, a little over a year ago there was was a profound change in the laws governing transfer of dense overseas. before fiscal year 2014 legislation, not the congress had
repeatedly enacted legislation which all but prevented the transfer of guantanamo detainees. specifically these previous laws required the secretary of defense to certify in writing with the concurrence of the secretary of state and in consultation with the director of national intelligence that certain criteria had been met before the transfer of a detainee abroad could occur. in particular, that the foreign entity receiving a detainee has taken or agreed to take effective actions to ensure that the individual cannot take action to threaten the united states. unquote. as well as -- quote -- "taken or agreed to take such actions as the secretary of defense determines that the individual cannot reengage in any terrorist activity" -- unquote. despite this with few exceptions the law prohibited the transfer
of detainees to countries to which detainees had previously been transferred and subsequently reengaged in terrorism. yet the law did afford the secretary of defense a national security waiver that mitigated the requirements of other -- if other standards were met. so the bottom line here, mr. president, is that understand the old law it was very difficult as it should be to transfer guantanamo bay detainees overseas. but the obama administration bent on an ideological crusade to empty guantanamo no matter the costs lords lobbied to relax the restrictions. it permitted the transfer of the detainees as long as the secretary of defense determined that the individual is no longer a threat to the national security of the united states, unquote. this is, of course, a lesser
standard than requiring a certification that the individual cannot threaten the united states or reengage in terrorist activity. in addition under the fiscal year 2014 law the secretary could even authorize the transfer of a detainee as long as the secretary determined the transfer was in the interest of the united states and action had been or was to be taken which will substantially mitigate the chance of recidivism. while the statute does require the secretary of defense to take into consideration a number of factors before making this decision, the reality of the new regime is that the secretary has far more ability to transfer detainees overseas. the obama administration quickly seized on this new power. in the past year, the number of guantanamo bay detainees has been decreased 1 -- 155-122. despite this new transfer authority, the obama
administration has the audacity to violate halloween the relaxed transfer restrictions less than six months after the law's enactment specifically by transferring five senior taliban commanders qatar without providing congress 30 days of notification. since then the administration after a brief lull has continued an even increased the pace of detainees being transferred overseas. these deeply troubling moves by the obama administration demonstrate the vital importance of senator ayotte's bill. it restores the previous transfer restrictions, specifically it requires the secretary of defense with the concurrence of the secretary of state and in consultation with the director of national intelligence to certify that certain safeguards are in place and threat of recidivism is very small before a transfer can be undertaken. furthermore, this legislation also places a two-year ban on
the transfer of detainees to yemen. this restriction is especially important because approximately half of the remaining detainees at guantanamo are from yemen. mr. president, yemen is one of the most -- our most critical partners in the fight against terror and cooperate closely with the yemeni government in the fight against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. because of the presence of this menacening group within their borders, the security situation there is dire and it seems to be deteriorating as we speak. just last week rebels seized control of the presidential palace forcing the resignation of the president prime minister and cabinet. in town, aqab launched an assault that left 52 dead, not
to mention a number of jig breaks from yemeni correctional facilities which according to press reports numerous members of aqap were freed. the unvarnished truth is it will take many years and much effort to bring about the security improvements in yemen needed before we can be confident that detainees returned there will not return to the battlefield. that is why this section of senator ayotte's legislation is so important. mr. president, our policies must be based on defeating the real threats facing our nation, not pacifying the ideological passions of an extreme few. which is why i was so disappointed by a recent "new york times" editorial about this legislation. the "times" called senator ayotte "opportunistic" for citing the real threat of a
paris style attack on the homeland and our description of yemen as -- quote --"the wild, wild west"" -- unquote odd. i can't find a better way to describe the situation in yemen and based on years of evidence one can only conclude that senator ayotte is right. frankly i believe "the new york times" owes senator ayotte an apology and i hope they'll be big enough to do that. we need this legislation because it restores proper protections from the threats posed by the detainees. i hope the rest of my colleagues will join me in supporting this legislation and i thank you mr. president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i'd like to make a statement about the keystone x.l. pipeline.
this first became --this first came before this body some four years ago. i said at the time that the pipeline was a good idea. why? because it would create construction jobs, it would reduce america's reliance on middle eastern oil for our energy. i said also that that pipeline must be built right. what's that mean? two things. first, keystone must be built to the highest of safety standards. that only makes sense. we must have respect for private property rights when that pipeline is built. just like everything else in washington the keystone was eventually made into a political football and it has dragged on for four years. it has taken on a life of its own. had to be straight and level with you folks on both sides of the aisle have turned it into something much bigger than it really is. at the start of the 114th congress i was hopeful there would be enough momentum to finally get it done and begin construction.
since the swearing-in ceremony three weeks ago my faith in our ability to have a deliberative debate has been shaken. last week's political stunts were simply unacceptable. we can't tell the american people we're going to responsibly gofn when in fact we stop senators from even speaking on the floor about amendments that they've offered up. the majority cried decried these practices last congress. many of us agreed. but to start with this kind of actions in the new congress is discouraging, to say the least. so i hope that this week we can have an open debate, make this bill better, pick up a few more votes, and finally approve the keystone pipeline for building. 10 days ago an oil palestine burst in montana spilling about 30,000 gallons of oil into and around the yellowstone river.
6,000 residents in montana had their water cut off for five days after oil got thew the local oil treatment plant. cleanup crews are slowing making progress removing oil from an ice-covered river. this was unacceptable and completely preventable. the pipeline that burst last week was nearly 60 years old had not been inspected in at least two years. now, pipelines just like roads and bridges and railroads they get old and they wear out. and if we want pipelines to operate properly, they need to being arelytobe regularly inspected and upgreated. last november congress closed up the agency that does pipeline inspections. given them the resources to higher more inspectors. we also need to look how fmsa
spends those dollars and whether resources are adequate to inspect the nation's 2.6 million pipelines of -- miles of pipeline. despite the criticism pipelines are still the safest way to transport oil. they've been -- they have seen the headlines. we've all seen them in recent years of oil trains exploding trucks running off the road that carry oil. in 2013, one explosion in canada leveled an entire town killing 47 people. mond later another oil train traveling in north dakota burst into flames, caused an entire town to evacuate. in northwestern montana the resort town of whitefish is situated just miles west of glacier national park. the town is home to world-class ski hill and one of the world's
most pristine lakes. every day oil tank cars run past whitefish lake carrying thousands of gallons of oism the environmental impact of an explosion or spill on that railroad would devastate that lake. it would devastate that region. it's water supply and have serious impacts on the state's economy. in fact, in 19989 a freight train derailed and four cars splid into the watt and leaked out some fuel. just two years ago they finally finished the cleanup. imagine if those cars were carrying crude as they do today. pipelines are the fastest way to transfer oil and until this body can agree that climate change is real and start making smart investments in alternative energy sources our economy still needs traditional ways. i've said many times i still
power my farm equipment with diesel fuel. i don't have any options. so it is clear to me that we need a way to transport oil and key to enis that way. and, yes in montana, it will create jobs. according to the state department analysis, construction of the pipeline would create 3,700 jobs, over $700 million worth of construction materials and support costs would come to eastern montana and that's not to mention the tax base that would be increased. but safety must come first. we need the best materials we need more inspections we simply cannot afford another spill. finally, i want to talk about eminent domain. everyone in this body should agree that a foreign corporation should not be allowed to seize private property here in america. that's a fact. unfortunately, we couldn't agree on that last thursday. there was an amendment offered by senator menendez stating that
trans-canada can only acquire land from willing sellers. but there are members of the united states senate who put profits of foreign corporations above the constitutional rights of american citizens. if someone had told me in january of 2007 when i was first sworn in that my colleagues would one day vote against such an amendment i sumly would not have believed it, but that's exactly what happened. i am disappointed that that amendment faicialtiond but i -- amendment failed, but i don't believe that we can improve it by ensuring that this pipeline is built in a transparent way. senator cardin has an amendment to do just that, and i for one support it. private property rights should not be a partisan issue appeared i would hope that my colleagues would join me in supportingsupporting measure. so let's not race to cloture. let's not race to trample private property rights of americans. let's get this bill passed. let's do it in the right way.
mr. president, this pipeline is not a long-term solution for our energy problems. but it is one piece of the poz l. we must make meaningful investments in research appeared development so that we can -- and development so that we can make carbon-neutral energy sources more accessible and affordable. until we do that, the reality is that this economy still runs on oil. this pipeline helps get us to the next step. i still believe in this pipeline. i believe keystone can boost our energy independence and will create jobs in the short term and over the long haul. but we need to debate this bill. we need a chance to make it better to make the pipeline safer and send a message to the american people that we are serious about investing in our long-term energy future. if we don't do that, we won't build the keystone. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum.
x.l. pipeline. at the outset, this senator wants to say that the conclusion of this senator is that this is much to do more about politics than it is about energy policy, than it is about the economy of this country particularly so since the price of oil has gone for something in excess of $100 a barrel down in the range of $46 a barrel. likewise the fact that the united states is now the number-one producer of oil in the country in large part because of our brethren and
sisteren in the senate that represent those northern plains states as well as the southwestern states where they are producing all of this newly found oil from the shale rock, which has strengthened the economic position of our country. just think about it. number one producer in the world. that's us. and as a result, we don't have to be nearly as dependent on the middle east where we used to get at least 50% 60% of our oil from, or from other areas like nigeria or venezuela. now, i've just mentioned three very unstable parts of the world, and yet that's the position that we've been in. but that's changed. it's now the 21st century
and as a result of new technologies, we are the number-one producer of oil in the world. so back when we were not when we were still dependent on foreign oil, there was the discovery up in canada, western canada in these tar sands the ability to extract oil from the heavy tar. and the canadians wanted an outlet for that. it made it much more appealing to us as the united states back then when oil was over a hundred bucks a barrel and we were still importing a lot of it from abroad, but interestingly interestingly, the canadians they wanted and suggested a
pipeline that would come right through the middle of the united states from the north in canada through the middle of the united states down to the gulf coast to the refineries. why didn't they go west from the western states of canada to the pacific to have an outlet? well they had to cross the rocky mountains. and, of course, that was going to be expensive and it was also going to really rile up a bunch of the canadian environmentalists. so the idea of the keystone x.l. was born. what does x.l. stand for? extra large. well, if it was extra large it implies that there's an existing
pipeline and indeed, there is. i want to show it to you. this orange line is an existing pipeline coming from alberta northeast of calgary across saskatchewan into manitoba, and then it comes down through north dakota, south dakota, eastern nebraska and there it forks right at the kansas line, and one line goes east all the way into illinois, and the other line goes south through kansas into oklahoma. well i said at the outset this is much to do about politics as opposed to energy policy as well
as economics because this all heated up, x.l., extra large during the last presidential election. and, of course, those that raised this issue were trying to say unless you embrace this x.l. you were against the united states being energy independent. well an interesting thing happened along the way. from cushing oklahoma, there was no line directly going to the gulf coast where the refineries are at houston and port arthur. the president approved that. that has been constructed and i am advised mr. president
that that has just opened in the last few days. so the existing line all the way from alberta canada, through the heartland of america all the way to the gulf coast that is there. but x.l., extra large to carry more oil, was proposed. the route that is now proposed is here. well that looks like it makes sense, because it cuts off the dogleg and does a straight line but originally it had come much further to the west, right over the environmentally sensitive lands of the aquifer in central nebraska where so much of the water resources for
the entire midwestern united states come from. now, this senator said back in the presidential election in 2012, if you really want a bigger pipeline and you want to avoid all of the controversy over the environment which this proposed route certainly has since it's extra large why don't you just run it along the existing pipeline? the right-of-way is already there. indeed it's now complete all the way to the gulf coast. why don't you run it just right along and you'd have a lot less opposition. but no, and this senator comes back to his main point this is all about politics.
it's all about trying to make some look like they're anti-energy, and those others to be like they're pro-energy. but it is what it is, and it's two years later. and here we are. so now the proposal is to still come across parts of montana south dakota, further east in nebraska and join up with the existing pipeline. now, so what's confronting a senator like this that certainly wants us to be energy independent? well then if we're going to have additional oil supplies as a backup, maybe that would be a good consideration. so let's make sure that this new
source of foreign oil that we have a chance to use it in this country, since it's going to come right down the middle of america. no no. no can do. this foreign oil for those who are proposing on what we're about to vote on, this foreign oil is going right down the gullet of america right down the middle of america to the gulf coast and it's going to be exported to foreign countries. and so a little old country boy such as me wonders now wait, let me get this straight, you want foreign oil to build a oil big pipeline to run right
through the middle of america as a conduit to send right out to other foreign countries and not be utilized in this country. and sadly the answer to that is yes. that's what we're confronting. we had an amendment that you could not export it, you could use it here for american purposes. but sadly, that amendment was defeated by the purists who wanted to be exactly what they want it to be. a tool of foreign oil to send through the middle of america in a conduit to other foreign
nations. mr. president, this senator doesn't think that's in the interest of this country. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president i come here today first of all in celebration, in celebration that the united states senate is finally working again. in just 27 days, we have seen more amendments voted on on the floor of the senate than under the democratic majority in the entire year 2014. we once again have a senate where republicans and democrats can offer their amendments, can debate their amendments and can vote them up or down. one of the resounding
consequences of the election in november is the american people were tired of the democratic do-nothing senate, and we have a senate that has shown up to work. now, the bill we are voting on the underlying bill is an example of what the priorities should be in the united states senate the keystone pipeline bill ought to be a no-brainer. it ought to be an example of bipartisan cooperation indeed one of the very first things i did two years ago when i was newly elected to this body was join with 10 senators, five republicans, five democrats no sending a bipartisan letter to the president saying approve the keystone pipeline now. why? number one it will produce jobs. tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. number two it will increase tax revenue. it will increase revenue for the federal government for state and local governments that revenue can be used to pay down our national debt, to provide
for our vital needs. number three it will enhance our national security by allowing us to move towards north american energy independence rather than being dependent on foreign nations for oil, nations whose interests are very different and sometimes hostile to our own. and number four, building the keystone pipeline is unequivocally better for the environment. indeed i have joked if you are a bearded tattooed, birkenstock wearing tree-hugging greenpeace activist, you should love the keystone pipeline because if the pipeline is not built it means we will continue to bring our oil in on overseas tankers and on rail, both of which are far more dangerous for the environment than a pipeline, both of which we know to a certainty as long as there are tankers on the oceans there will be spills, as long as there is rail there will be spills.
moreover if the pipeline is not built north-south it's not like our friends the canadians are going to leave the oil where it is. they are going to build the pipeline east-west instead of allowing it to be refined in america where it produces high-paying jobs here upped and down the gulf coast the alternative, it would be refined in asia and china and far dirtier refineries that pollute the environment even more. so this ought to be a no-brainer this ought to be an issue where republicans and democrats come together in agreement. but it is not because the modern democratic party has made a decision between two traditional favored children of the democratic party. the modern democratic party has made a dishaition a decision that they care more about the campaign contributions from california environmentalist billionaires than they do about the jobs for
people. we ought to be fighting for hardworking men and women. we ought to be fighting for the union members all for the men and women who want a good, decent-paying job who want to provide for their kids, who are tired of the stagnation of the obama economy. just last week we heard the president give a state of the union address where he talked about how swimmingly the economy is going. well you know, he was right. if you happen to be one of those california environmentalist billionaires, if you happen to be in the top 1%, the millionaires and billionaires who the president demagogues then you have indeed gotten richer under president obama. today the top 1% earn a higher share of our economy than any year since 1928. those who walk the corridors of power in the obama administration have gotten fat and happy. and yet working men and women
union members their lives have gotten harder and harder and harder. we have today the lowest labor force participation since 1978. median income in this country has stagnated for two decades. yet, what is the democratic party doing? marshaling every vote it can to vote against union members to vote against hardworking men and women, to stand with the big dollars coming out of california. what a sad sad statement of priorities. so let me commend majority leader mitch mcconnell for bringing up an open process allowing democrats amendments. i'd be happy to vote on democratic amendment all day long and republican amendments on the merits. and let me commend the majority as well for focusing on the issues that matter to the american people -- namely jobs and bringing back economic growth and prosperity. i've introduced three different amendments.
one would get rid of the long-standing, acay chrono -- anachron onistic ban. a second would obviate the need for having this fight every time a cross-border pipeline was built. it would streamline the process for moving pipelines so we could move ahead with economic growth. both of those amendments are sound policy. i think they are supported by the interests of americans across this country and after long conversations with my friends and colleagues, senator murkowski and senator hoeven, we have agreed that we are going to have committee hearings in the coming months focusing on those issues, to make sure these are good whether they are a democrat or republican or liberty or independent if you want jobs and economic growth. these reforms are sound reforms
to bring back jobs and economic opportunity. the third amendment i've introduced which i'm hopeful we will vote on either today or tomorrow is an amendment to expedite exports of liquid natural gas. and that, mr. president is what i'd like it speak about for just a few minutes. the amendment that i am presenting will expedite l & g exportsexports removing unnecessary delays that have been caused by the department of energy approval process. currently countries under free trade agreements with the united states enjoy a streamlined expedited approval process to import our l.n.g. for projects to f.t.a. countries, current law deems those -- quote -- "in the public interest" and they get a permit -- quote -- "without modification or delay." yet those without such an agreement must instead submit to
an arduous case-by-case process that ends up discouraging l.n.g. trade and killing jobs. for projects to non-f.t.a. countries, right now there is no standardized process by which the department of energy determines whether or not the project is -- quote -- "in the public interest" for receiving a permit. the amendment i've introduced would open the doors of trade to more than 160 countries in the world trade organization to receive the same expedited treatment that we currently have in place for free trade countries. this is particularly important mr. president, not just for economic development not just for jobs, not just for growth, but also for the enormous geopolitical advantages that it will present to the united states. in the past several years, we have seen the consequences of the obama-clinton foreign policy, we have seen the u.s.
receding from leadership in the world, and we have seen other nations, foreign nations step into that void and use energy as a weapon, as a a cutting allowing expediteed l.n.g. exports strengthens our hands against those who would be enemies of america and it strengthens the hands of our friends and allies. here at home, according to a 2013 study, in the united states l.n.g. exports could create up to 450,000 new jobs by 2035. so we'll see mr. president. when republicans and democrats vote on this amendment we'll see where each senator stands on whether or not we should allow the private sector to create up to 450,000 new jobs.
every democrat that votes "no" can expect to go back to his or her state and face constituents, face the union members who would like to get some of those 450,000 new jobs and explain why he or she voted against that hardworking man or woman having a job. over the same time, g.d.p. growth could generate anywhere from an additional $16.6 billion up to $73.6 billion. by 2035, the net gain of manufacturing jobs could mean up to 76,000 new jobs. a the love members of this body -- a lot of members of this body like to talk about new jobs, the steel industry, the car descrirks used to be the backbone was the bluecollar job that you could provide for your families an kids. every senator that et voces "no" to l.n.g. exports because they want to continue receiving the campaign money from the
california billionaires, had better be prepared to return home to their states and look in the eyes of the manufacturing workers and explain why he or she vote against 7,000 new manufacturing -- 76,000 new manufacturing jobs. and geopolitically, let's take ukraine. you know, all of us sat not long ago in the house of representatives for a joint session when the president of ukraine addressed us both. we stood over and over and over again, standing quite literally along ukraine. if we want action to match those words then every senator here should vote "yes" on this amendment. ukraine right now relies on natural gas for 40% of its energy needs. more than 60% of the natural gas that ukraine gets and depends on comes from russia and russia uses that natural gas as as club
to extract economic blackmail on ukraine. last spring i traveled to ukraine to poland to estonia he's visited with our leaders throughout europe, friends of our that have said over and over again, help us free ourselves from energy blackmail from russia. as of today the department of energy has approved nine export permits to non-free trade agreement countries within the last two years. 28 applications are currently pending, stacked up on the desk going nowhere. the increased energy production from allowing us to export the resources we have to friends and allies who want and need it would spur investment and create thousands of jobs for americans. it would be a boon to countries like ukraine it would be a boon to europe, it would be a boon to the baltics, who are watching
what's happening in ukraine and wondering, are we next? it would be a boon to friends of ours like germany who likewise depend on russia for significant energy needs. today this body faces a pivotal question: will we lead the world into a new generation of american prosperity and energy prosperity led by the american energy renaissance we're experiencing, or will we instead shut off our borders, erect walls and allow our friends and allies to be dependent on ityrant tie rafntses like pute -- on tyrants like putin? we need to come together in a bipartisan manner to say we support jobs, we support economic growth, and we support standing united alongside our friends and allies in defense of freedom. mr. president, i would urge my colleagues both republicans and
democrats, to support this amendment. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president as we all know, there's a big game coming up this weekend and i wouldn't be surprise fundamental our friends from washington and from the new england area find themselves a little distracted beyond the snowpocalypse they call it, the big snowstorm. i'm told that 100 million americans will actually tune into the super bowl this weekend, but here's a shocking statistic: 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed.
1.25 billion chicken wings and of course millions of pizzas, celebrating what has become in many ways an unofficial american holiday. i'm still stuck on the 1.25 billion chicken wings. well while many of us will tune in to cheer our favorite team in the super bowl, unfortunately -- and what i'm they're talk about is really the dark underbelly of events like the super bowl that don't get the attention that they really deserve. now, most of us would perhaps prefer to avert our gaze or think about other more pleas and and positive -- pleasant and positive things. what i want to tbawk is the -- what i want to talk about is the practice of human trafficking. when many people hear about human traffic you think about something that doesn't happen here in america; it happens somewhere else. you might envision brothels in
foreign cities or girls being smuggled across other borders but the sad reality is, human trafficking is a problem all across the united states and at all times of the year. but it's especially a problem surrounding big public events like the super bowl. yes, human trafficking is happening right in our own backyard and more than 80% of sex trafficking victims in america are u.s. citizens. they're not some person who's been brought here from some other foreign country. 80% are u.s. citizens. and as a father of two daughters, i can tell you one of the most disturbing facts is the average age of a child who first becomes a victim of sex trafficking is 13 years old.
13 years old. as i said, recent years have shown an uptick in human trafficking surrounding large events like the super bowl. in dallas a few years ago there was a 300% increase in sex sex-for-sale internet ads. that was in 2011, of course. in 2012 in indianapolis, police made 68 commercial sex arrests and recovered two human trafficking victims. one of the worst problems associated with human trafficking is many of the victims don't actually consider themselves victims yet because they're so young and so vulnerable that they don't actually realize that they are being used and their future is literally being destroyed. well in 2013 in new orleans police made 85 arrests for suspected human trafficking and
of course, this year the super bowl is in phoenix and no doubt law enforcement in phoenix will have a vigilant in eye in an amendment attempt to try to crack down on the perpetrators. most of this is happening right under our nose. and we don't even see it. well we know police are trying the best they can but it won't be enough. it won't be enough to stop each one of these crimes. indeed staggering numbers of these crimes will be continued to be committed. and of course the super bowl will be done and gone next sunday but of course after the confetti is cleared up and the field and the fans -- from the field and the fans catch their flight home, the work to end this heinous crime known as
human trafficking must continue. as a matter of fact, january is national slavery and human trafficking prevention month. now, human trafficking is really a form of human slavery. we thought that that was eliminated from our history following the terrible civil war that took the lives of 600,000 americans. if you extrapolate the civil war to today in terms of population that would be like three million americans who gave their lives. so, we had a civil war in large part because of the bane and the scourge of slavery but the truth is human slavery still exists in the form of sex trafficking. well awareness is important because as we are driving around our city streets particularly people driving around in phoenix this weekend they may actually
see some underage girls or others who are actually victims of this crime and they need to be vigilant. they need to do what they can to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement and to call in suspicious circumstances. but we simply need to do everything we can to stop human trafficking by all means necessary. now, this is something that strikes close to home in texas where i come from. sadly, texas in part because of our proximity to the u.s.-mexican border, we see more human trafficking than many other states. one out of ten tips received by the national human trafficking resource center in 2013 involved incidents occurring in texas. one out of every ten tips. texas reported more than 1,000 suspected human trafficking
incidents in 2007. so this is a big challenge and a big problem and it's not going away. according to law enforcement authorities, sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. parenthetically, here's something i really don't understand. when we talk about the criminal organizations, the transnational criminal organizations that smuggle people across the border most recently in the context of these unaccompanied minor children who came from central america their parents pay human smugglers the cartels really these criminal organizations, let's say $5,000 a piece. but of course the parents have no knowledge of what really will happen to their children once they turn them over to these cartel members. and indeed, these criminal
organizations, they're engaged in the money business. anything that will make a buck, they'll traffic and children, they will smuggle immigrants, they will smuggle drugs. and these are the same criminal organizations, and somehow some way we tend to compartmentalize our brains and say sex trafficking is different. it's not. it's the same corridors funded by the same people operated by the same transnational criminal organizations. okay back on sex trafficking with that parenthetical comment. this is one of those bipartisan subjects where there's been a lot of really good work by members on both sides of the aisle. and one of the things we need the most is for many organizations, nongovernmental organizations -- these are faith-based organizations these
are local community organizations that are designed to try to help these victims of human trafficking escape with the help of law enforcement and then somehow to rebuild their lives. earlier this month i partnered with the senator from oregon, senator wyden senator clob klobuchar and senator kirk with a bill we call the human trafficking act of 2015 and i talked with the chairman, senator grassley and asked him to give this bill an early markup in the judiciary committee so it will be eligible to come to the floor as soon as we can get it here because i'm going to be asking the majority leader to schedule floor action so we can have a debate on and a vote on this important legislation. so what does it do? well it provides additional funds for human trafficking support victims for tens of millions of dollars of additional funds each year.
and it would be financed entirely by criminal fines and fees. this wouldn't be tax dollars. this would be taking basically the fines and the fees paid by people who plead or are convicted of other crimes and put that fund into basically a crime victims fund that could be used to help these organizations, these human trafficking victim support programs. and again, this would be financed entirely by fines on predators convicted of child pornography, human trafficking child exploitation and commercial human smuggling. this would also, this legislation would also assure that victims would have greater access to restitution by requiring the department of justice to use criminally forfeited assets to compensate them through a process known as victim restoration. it's no secret that the victims of this terrible crime end up with a lot of psychological
baggage and other challenges, and we need to help them get on with their lives and to address the terrible things that they've experienced. this legislation would also enhance law enforcement tools to target both sophisticated criminal networks that engage in human trafficking and the predators who increase demand for sex slavery by purchasing innocent children. this bill now has 20 bipartisan cosponsors so don't believe the cynics who say that nothing happens up here on a bipartisan basis. it's just not true. and there are some things -- and this is one of them, perhaps one of the most important things -- that happen on a bipartisan basis. and the good news is the house of representatives is voting on companion legislation today and so this legislation should be ready for senate action, i hope, soon and to work with our house
colleagues and get it to the president as soon as we possibly can. but the bottom line is we need to take a stand against this modern-day slavery and lift up the victims of these crimes, whoever and wherever they may be. again, this is not obviously not a political issue. this is something that we have the power to do and we must take action to combat this human trafficking all around the world, and the place to start mr. president, is in our own backyard. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president let me first commend my colleague from texas. we sit on opposite sides of the aisle but there are many things that bring us together and i certainly support what you said about the impact of human trafficking. in a hearing before the constitution subcommittee which you will now chair during this session of congress, we brought
in law enforcement victims and talked about some of the outrageous things which are occurring, exploict young people particularly young women. one of the points which you have made is we should consider these human trafficking victims as victims. many times sadly in the past they have been prosecuted as if they were complicit and many times they're children. they've no knowledge of their rights and are being exploited and as a consequence are very reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement if they feel they too will end up in jail. so thank you for your leadership. i look forward to working closely with your legislation and hope we can work together on that. mr. president, i'm going to speak briefly about a pending amendment here which troubles me and i don't know that there will be time for much debate should we actually consider this amendment, and i'd like to made
my feelings a matter of public record. this is amendment 67 offered by senator sullivan. this amendment would require -- would require -- the disarming of federal law enforcement officers who work for the environmental protection agency. there are currently about 180 law enforcement agents working for the environmental protection agency. they are trained professional officers. they're tasked with investigating and enforcing our nation's environmental laws. they conduct investigations and execute warrants and make arrests for miss deerns and felon -- misdemeanors and fellies under the laws of the environmental protection agency. this is law enforcement work and it is dangerous work. many times these officers face the same threats as all law enforcement officers face. coorgt the bureau of justice statistics there are 73 federal agencies with law enforcement officers ranging from the f.b.i. to the food and drug administration and nasa. e.p.a.'s criminal investigators were given law enforcement
powers in a law signed by president reagan in 1988. president reagan stated his administration actively sought this authority and he was pleased to sign it into law. now, senator sullivan's amendment number 67 would prevent these e.p.a. law enforcement officers from being armed while they're carrying out their law enforcement responsibilities. a lot of what these e.p.a. agents do is to investigate suspected cases of illegal dumping of hazardous materials. this can lead to dangerous confrontations. e.p.a. reports its agents have frequently encountered weapons and armed individuals when they've conducted their work. mr. president, i took a look at some of these cases. many people mistakenly believe the environmental protection agency is a group of government employees sitting behind desks and computers in washington and regional offices who don't get out and about to see the actual violations that are taking place.
they're mistaken. let me give a few examples for the record. in marathon, florida e.p.a. special agents along with local sheriffs deputies shot and arrested larkin bagget, a fugitive from utah after he pointed an assault rifle at him. bagget was originally arrested on pollution crimes in the state of utah. initially a knife and handgun was found on his person. mr. bagget was considered armed and dangerous. firearms recovered included an ar-10 assault rifle and ammunition. mr. bagget was sentenced to 13 years in prison. the sullivan amendment would say that the environmental officer who was trying to arrest this man had to be disarmed. in other words the
environmental law enforcement officer would have no firearm while mr. bagget would be holding an arsenal. that's what the sullivan amendment would do. during a mississippi search warrant, seven handguns and a sawed-off pistol grip shotgun were secured during a warrant. two shotguns were removed from one subject. another handgun was removed from another subject. the sawed-off pistol grip shotgun was found stored in the cabinet of a dresser and the gun was pointed at the agents of the environmental protection agency when they entered. mr. president, if you readed amendment offered -- read the amendment offered by senator sullivan he has removed the ability and right of these agents to be armed to protect themselves and to enforce the law, but he continues to require them to do the most basic things under the law. he requires them, continues to require them to they execute and serve any warrant or process.
under the sullivan amendment unarmed. he continues to require them, under the statute to make arrests without warrant for any offense against the united states including felonies. under the sullivan amendment they are to do so unarmed. i can go through a lengthy list here of real-life circumstances where people working for the environmental protection agency literally risk their lives and they did it at least with the comfort that they were trained appropriation law -- law enforcement officers equipped with firearms to protect the united states. senator sullivan wants them to enforce the laws but he doesn't want them to carry a firearm. that to me, is ridiculous. in fact, it's dangerous. it's dangerous to send these men and women with the responsibility of doing their job in to circumstances where they could literally lose their lives because of the vawnl amendment.
i ask unanimousbeing consent to enter into the record a from the federal law enforcement association. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: this letter says it all. this letter i'm putting in the record says it all. it spells out how dappingous this is if the sullivan amendment passes. to think for whatever reason a united states senator is going to take a firearm away from a law enforcement officer of a federal agency who is putting his or her life on the line every single day is just plain wrong. if senator sullivan wants to take away the enforcement authorities of this agency, so be it. we can argue and debate that. but to require this agency to execute warrants and to make arrests but to require that their law enforcement officials be unarmed is sending them into dangerous situations, even deadly situations. this sullivan amendment is not
well-thought-out. to offer this, i think is a serious mistake. the senator is offering it he says because of a 2013 incident in which e.p.a. agents were part of a task force that investigated a mining operation in alaska based on allegations of environmental violations. i don't know the particulars of that particular incident, but i'll tell you, there was a review of the incident commissioned by the governor of alaska a republican governor of alaska that found no evidence that these e.p.a. agents broke any laws during the investigation. isn't it odd that we've reached a point where when we try to introduce an amendment which says that you won't sell a gun a firearm to someone at a gun show who is on the terrorist suspect list, many argue against that saying even terrorist suspects have second amendment
rights and then turn around with the sullivan amendment this ill-advised amendment a and say that law enforcement does not have a right to carry a firearm. that is the sullivan amendment of i hope that we vote against it on a bipartisan basis. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: mr. president i rise to discuss the legislation before this body, the keystone x.l. pipeline act. i want to address thee issues that have been brought up as we continue this discussion. again, i want to start out by thanking the senator from alaska and the senator from washington, who are leading this effort to bring forward amendments from both sides of the aisle. i think they're doing great work. i know they're heavily engaged in trying to make sure people's amendments are brought forward and that we have a vote. and so i want to thank them for that and again encourage everyone to work with both these bill managers who i believe all
of us are doing an excellent job. and, let's get going let's get voting on these amendments. let's make them pending and have that vote. this is again after all an effort not only to advance this legislation but also to reestablish regular order in this body and move to an open amendment process, which is so important, again not just in terms of people being heard on this legislation having votes on their amendments, but for other legislation that the senators here want to bring forward for the good of this country to have the debate, to offer their ideas to get a vote and to get things done for the american people. that's what it's all about. and we have to keep that in mind and not lose track of that. this is truly about not just this legislation but really getting to regular order which i think is so important for the work that we do, to accomplish the work that we need to do on behalf of the american people.
let me touch on three aspects of the current legislation that have been brought up. one is that it's a canadian project or a -- you know, a bill for canada rather than for the united states. i want to talk about that because it's something that is very much in the interest of the united states. so i want to address that. i also want to talk about some of the environmental aspects from the standpoint that there are hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in new technologies by major companies in the oil sands in alberta canada, that are going to help develop, deploy, and develop things like carbon capture and storage, which can be used not only to reduce the environmental footprint and the greenhouse gas emissions of oil produced in the canadian oil sands but that's technology that will be adopted here in this country and around the world because it enables us to produce more energy with
better environmental stewardship. that's win on both counts and here's a place where it is really being developed. so let's empower that investment that produces more energy with better environmental stewardship as we go forward into the future. and then the third area i want to touch on for just a minute is pipeline safety because some of the recent spills have been brought up, and it's so important that we have the new infrastructure to replace older infrastructure. for example the pipeline spill in montana has been brought up. that's a pipeline that i think was originally built and put in place in the 1950's. so you're talking about a pipeline that's 50 years old. 50-year-old technology. whether it is roads bridges pipelines, any kind of infrastructure you know we need
infrastructure for that country but you've got to update them. think about building a road 50 years ago and then not putting in a new one to replace it and update it. and so with we talk about trying to get these new infrastructure projects going -- again paid 100% by private dollars; this doesn't take one penny of taxpayer money. this is an $8 billion state-of-the-art pipeline. but it is important for all the reasons we talked about but it also is the kind of thing that will replace some of the older technologies and give us that updated, new infrastructure that we need. so i think when you hear about a spill wherever it may occur, we want to make sure it is taken care of and fully remediated and take re-cautions so it doesn't happen again. but we have got to put the new infrastructure in place if we want to reduce the number of spills we have, as we continue to rely on infrastructure that's 50 years old when we don't make
or allow these new investments to be made. so let me touch on all of those for just a few minutes and again, i know the bill managers are hard at work. we're having great dialogue. if they come out and they are ready toarks i will yield the floor right away -- and if they come out and they are ready to go, i will yield the floor right away. because the process is to keep the process moving and get amendments up and have them votes on. so the first issue is that it is a canadian project not u.s.a. project. well you know, the first point that i would want to make hey here on its face is it's going to move domestically produced crude as well as canadian-made crude. everyone talks about it starts up in hardisty. it's going to move canadian oil and then they stop there. but it's not only going to move
canadian oil. it is going to move oil from north dakota light sweet bakken shale oil. so it is going to move both domestic crude swrls canadian crude. -- as well canadian crude. that's not true. that would be like somebody saying it is only a u.s. project because it is moving u.s. oil. so you know, for beginners it's important that people understand that it's not just canadian oil. it is oil that we produce in our country that needs to get to refineries. it is costas cost effectively and as safely as possible. because we're getting blocked from having these kind of pipelines blocked the oil that we're producing in this country as well as other parts of the country is all having to move by rail. so for example my state
produces is.2 million barrels of oil a -- produces 1.2 million barrels of oil a day second only to texas. that number has been growing. that growth will slow down right now because of i think price of oil coming down so much. but the point is, we're having having to move 700,000 barrels of oil a day by rail. 700,000 barrels of oil a day by rail because we don't have the pipelines and they haven't been able to get pipelines that -- like the keystone x.l. pipeline -- approved. so that creates other problems as well. we produce the tremendous number of ag products. we are the leader of 14 different ag commodities in the country, things like wheat, for example, and many other farm commodities as well. all of those things get backed up on the rail system because we're trying to move so much oil on the rail that we can't handle
all the congestion. so it is not just an issue in terms of energy for our country but it's affecting our other commerce our farmers and other goods that are trying to be shipped, and not just goods that originate from our part of the country but all the goods that go back and forth and are trying to get through that bottleneck. but maybe the biggest -- well, not maybe but the biggest reason that it's very much a u.s. project is because it's about getting to energy security for this nation, energy independence energy security for this country. right now the united states consumes about 18 million barrels of oil a day 18 million barrels of oil a day. we produce about 11 million barrels a day, which is up tremendously in recent years because of production on private and state lands in places like north dakota. so that means we still import about 7 million barrels a day
right? we use 18 million barrels of oil a day. we produce 11 million barrels of oil a day we import 7 million. the amount of oil we get from canada is increasing. we are up to more than 3 million barrels a day that we import from canada. so if you take the 11 million we produce plus 39 million we get from -- plus the 3 million we get from canada, that leaves us 4 million short of what we use on a daily basis. we get that from places like opec venezuela be, and other parts of the world that have different interests than our own. i think the american people very much want to get to a position where we don't have to rely on opec anymore for the oil that we use. and in fact we're getting there. we're getting there. like i say we're at the point now between ourselves and canada where we've got 14 million of the 18 million-a-day we use covered. if we can continue to develop
our energy resources and work with canada, we can truly have north america energy security, meaning we don't have to rely on opec anymore for our oil. that is a national security issue. it is an energy issue a jobs issue, an economic growth issue it is a national security issue. look at what's going on in the middle east. americans do not want to rely on opec for their oil anymore. and look at benefit as we produce more energy in this country and work with canada. look what's happening at the pump. look what's happening at the pump. oil prices are down more than $1 from a year ago because we're producing so much more. more supply, you know, basic economics, more supply helps bring prices down. so it is not just about energy independence and energy security for our country. it's about lower energy costs for consumers for small business. it is not only good for our
hardworking americans as they pull up to the pump, they benefit every day from the lower gas prices, but it helps make our economy go because energy is a foundational industry. when we have low-cost energy produced in this country that we know we can rely on that makes us competitive in every other industry sector in a global economy. so when somebody says, well, you know, this is just about a pipeline or it's just about a canadian issue ... it's not the case. this is very much about our energy future in this country and how we're going to build it, both to be energy-secure and to make our economy grow when we have to compete globally. the second issue i want to touch on for just a minute -- let me show one more champlet chart. i often show this because it makes the second part of that energy security point. if we don't work with canada so
this oil comes to us and we control our energy future, canada is going it make other arrangements. they will build pipelines to their west coast and the oil will go to china and we'll to inimport oil from opec. that's the way life wonchts you either take advantage of this opportunity with our closest friend an ally in the world or somebody else will. the other -- the next point i want to touch on for just a minute is the environmental. and we hear about this so much. the environmental aspects of this project. i've been on the floor here and i've talked about various aspect aspects of the project based on the science and based on the fact that the environmental impact statement produced -- well there's actually been five of them. three draft and two fine african-american the environmental-- andtwo final.
you'll be able to move that oil 830,000 barrels a day by pipeline rather than moving it either in 1,400 rail cars or sending it to china where the refineries have higher emissions than ours do. but i want to go beyond that and talk a minute in a broader sense about our energy future and how we really not only produce more energy more cost effectively from all sources from all kinds of energy, but how we can do it with better environmental stewardship. and the way forward there really is technology. it's the american ingenuity investment in technology, creativity in our companies and entrepreneurs, that's the real key to success in the future, in terms of producing more energy more cost effectively more independently and with better environmental stewardship, by leading the way forward with technology development. we can't export our regulations but as we develop and deploy
technologies those in effect get exported around the world because other countries adopt those technologies. so i want to talk for just a minute about the technology development that's going on up in the oil sands. since 1990, the greenhouse gas emissions on a per barrel basis in the oil sands has gone down by 28% almost a third. on a per barrel basis they've reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 28% since 1990, and they're engaged in major projects now to develop and deploy new technologies that will help them produce oil in the oil sands region with both a smaller footprint, which is what i'm showing here through in situ development but also carbon capture and storage. we talk so often about developing carbon capture and storage in this country that's being developed and deployed in the oil sands right now.
the quest project, which is a project that shell oil company is undertaking let me just read from a bit of a summary on their quest project. this is a project for carbon capture and storage they're developing right now. this is a picture of it. it's in situ, which means drilling to bring oil out rather than excavation, which is the old style. a much smaller environmental footprint. but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions because they capture the co2 and they store it. a point of inquiry mr. president, i'd like to ask the bill managers if they're ready to move forward or make announcements regarding amendments. if so i will gladly yield the floor for that purpose.
okay. mr. president, i'd like to yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president i thank the senator from north dakota. as we mentioned earlier this morning, we have had, i think a very productive morning trying to discern the universe of amendments that we may have before us. i think it is very clear that there is genuine interest on both sides of the aisle here to find that path forward so that we can come to a conclusion of senate bill 1 and do so in an orderly way a way that respects the legislative process and a way that allows members to have had their opportunity to advance issues that they feel strongly
about and issues that merit the debate on this floor. we have encouraged members over the past couple of weeks to present their amendments to us. to this point in time we've processed 24 separate amendments. we do have some amendments that are pending on the republican side. we have seven amendments that are pending. i do know that there are others that members would like to be made pending. i have one myself. i know that the senator from washington will be speaking to several of those additional democrat amendments that they would like to get pending on their side.
and so i think we've discussed a process here to get us moving in that direction so that we can get some amendments -- we can get the amendments pending and then hopefully perhaps as early as this evening -- i don't want to make any promises there -- but we can begin voting on these amendments. and so what i would like to do at this time is turn to my colleague to speak to not only the gentlewoman's agreement that we have insofar as a way forward, but to allow for a couple of amendments to be made pending on your side, and then we'll come back over here and provide that opportunity on the republican side. ms. cantwell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president i thank the senator from alaska for her work on this process and this legislation. and as she said, she and i have
a gentlewoman's agreement to move forward and we'd like to do so that we can finish business on this legislation. and we are working in good faith on that process. just as she said, we are going to work on getting the next amendments before us. i just want to thank her for her hard work on this. and i'd like to turn to my colleague from california to call up her amendment. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: thank you so much, mr. president. i want to thank both my colleagues working so hard. i've been trying to be a facilitator in this process as well as the ranking member now on the environment and public works committee. i want to remind my colleagues that as this bill is written it really deals with environmental law. and so i would ask consent to
set aside the pending amendment so that i can call up amendment number 130. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: thank you. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from california mrs. boxer proposes an amendment numbered 130. on page -- mrs. boxer: i ask it be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you. mr. president, i have a really simple amendment. i hope it will be unanimously accepted. i think anyone within the sound of my voice who cares about the health and safety of people would support this amendment because we know that this underlying bill which facilitates the building of a canadian oil project, all the benefits going to canada, none to america because we've established this 35 permanent jobs. we've established that it's possible we could have oil spills because we've already had
several serious oil spills. my colleagues said they will not vote to keep the oil in america. they voted against the amendment to make sure the steel was from america. this is a wonderful bill, a wonderful bill for canadian oil interests. frankly, that's not why i was elected. i was here to fight for california fight for american jobs fight for middle-class jobs and not sit by while we see what is happening here is the very first bill brought to us by this new republican congress turns out to be a bill for canadian oil. and one of my colleagues, i don't know if it's senator quell quell -- senator cantwell or senator markey who coined this, said it's basically a big straw that runs from canada and has potential to spill all the way
down and then it's refined here and all the dirt gets stored here and goes into the air and then it goes out to other countries. doesn't do a thing to help us. so all i'm asking for is a little bit of relief for the people of this nation. right now s. 1 says, this bill says that all permits -- and i quote -- "shall remain in effect for this trans-canada pipeline, regardless of any actions taken in building the pipeline even if the company violates the permit. so we know that this company had to go and get a number of permits. what this bill does, it says that once you get a permit trans-canada no one can take it away from you. now imagine we don't do that to our companies. they have to walk the walk, talk the talk. all we say here is if you violate your permit it can be revoked.
you cannot willy-nilly get permits from the commerce department e.p.a., other entities get corps of engineers permits, then violate them and know that the permit can never be taken away. i was stunned when i learned this. so this would very, very simply say that if in fact there's new information that requires a permit to be changed or modified that it can be done. we do not waive protecting the health and safety of the american people. let me give you an example. back home i have a bridge that was built unfortunately with foreign parts. and those parts failed. and it is a nightmare to try and fix it. if trans-canada violates their permit and uses the wrong materials -- let's say the materials rupture.
let's say the bolts rupture -- they still get to keep their permit. we're saying no, your permit can be revoked. another example is the handling of hazardous waste. we know this is filthy, dirty oil and we know what's in this oil. it's toxic. peer-reviewed research has found significantly higher levels of carcinogens. we know this. we met with the people who have had to breathe in that air who live in canada. data collected by the texas cancer registry indicates that cancer rates among african-americans in jefferson county port arthur are 15% higher than the average texan. they live right near the refineries. and we know that these permits are only as good as they are enforced. and then if they are enforced and we find that they haven't
lived up to their commitments on the handling of hazardous waste -- they also, by the way to get their permit from congress they have to put out a plan that dealt with a spill. let's say there is a spill and they don't live up to the permit. they still get to keep the permit. this is an extraordinary piece of legislation. i never ever in my time here or ever in history know of any american corporation getting a free pass in terms of the health and safety, the protection of the air and water that this company is getting. they could literally avoid following any of the steps they committed to in their permit, and this legislation gives them a free pass. and my amendment simply says we are able to revoke a permit if it is not followed. so with that, mr. president, i
would ask the senator from washington if i can at this point yield the floor. my amendment is pending and i appreciate the work of the senator from alaska in allowing this amendment to be offered. and i appreciate the work of my colleague from washington. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president i failed before to recognize the senator from california, than to say there is no way this legislation would be where it is today moving forward in the process without the the senator from california. she has been a great advisor all throughout this process and great protector and advocate in issues we're interested in on the environment on safety on 24 issue. i thank her for her leadership and look forward to supporting her on this amendment. i'd like to turn to my colleague from michigan. we're going to offer a couple of amendments on our side and then go back to the senator from alaska. at this point in time i would like the senator from michigan, who has had a very devastating
personal experience related to tar sands to talk about his amendment and let him call that amendment up. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: thank you. i would like to ask for a unanimous consent to lay the pending amendment aside and to call up amendment number 70, which is basically a very commonsense amendment -- the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from michigan mr. peters, proposes amendment number 7 to amendment number 2. at the appropriate place insert the following: section -- mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from michigan. mr. peters: i'd like to say a few words about this amendment which i believe is a very commonsense amendment based on the very simple premise that
before congress intervenes to approve this new pipeline that's before us, the pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration, the federal agency which oversees pipeline safety should certify it has the resources required to carry out its duties. specifically the amendment before the senate requires them to confirm they have the resources to oversee pipelines in the great lakes and provides recommendation for special conditions for pipelines in the great lakes just as it provided recommendations for special conditions for the keystone x.l. pipeline. the people of michigan know why it is so important that we ensure these pipelines are safe. we had a pipeline spill in kalamazoo, michigan, in 2010, that spilled over 800,000 gallons of tar sands into the kalamazoo river. cleanup has now taken over four years and has cost over $1.2 billion. a pipeline accident in the great lakes, where we have some of these pipelines located now
would be absolutely catastrophic and we have to remind folks that the great lakes now provide drinking water to over 40 million people and support 1.5 million jobs. it would be a disaster, not just for folks in the state of michigan but throughout the great lakes region and throughout the country if there was a pipeline break. we know it firsthand from what happened in kalamazoo the most expensive pipeline break in the history of this country. we have to ensure that our pipelines that operate in the great lakes particularly in the straits of mackinaw that connect the upper peninsula with the lower peninsula have the protections they need. that's why i would urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment to make sure we're protecting the great lakes not just for today but for future generations. i yield back. ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, at this time i would yield to senator collins from maine to bring up an amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from maine.
ms. collins: thank you mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that pending amendments be set aside so that i may call up amendment numbered 35. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from maine, ms. collins for herself and mr. warner proposes amendment numbered 35 to amendment numbered 2. after section 2 insert the following -- ms. collins: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you mr. president, and i want to thank the senator from alaska for yielding to me for this purpose and commend her as well as the senator from washington state for their extraordinary management of this bill. mr. president, i'm pleased to report that the amendment i have called up and made pending is actually a bipartisan initiative. it is cosponsored by my
colleague from virginia, senator warner and its purpose is to help school officials to learn more easily about federal programs and incentives that are available to improve energy efficiency and thus lower costs for our nation's schools. there are a number of federal initiatives already available to schools to help them become more energy efficient but in many cases, schools are not taking full advantage of these programs. the reason is that they are scattered across several agencies and difficult to access. so i want to make clear to my colleagues that senator warner and i are not proposing the creation of any new programs to help schools become more energy
efficient, but rather more coordination and a streamlining of those programs that already exist. our amendment would require the department of energy to be the leader of these programs and help schools identify and navigate them, and that in turn would be a great service to our nation's schools. mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that my full statement be included in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president i would request that the pending amendment be set aside so that i
may bring up -- i may call up amendment number 166. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from alaska ms. murkowski proposes an amendment numbered 166 to amendment numbered 2 that at the appropriate place -- ms. murkowski: i request that reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you mr. president. mr. president, the amendment that i am offering this afternoon is pretty extraordinary. it would effectively release wilderness study areas if within one year of receiving the recommendation congress has not designated this study area as wilderness. a lot of discussion in the news of late with the -- the president's announcement on sunday that he is seeking to put an additional 12 million acres in the anwr area, alaska's north slope into wilderness status,
including the 1002 area, the area that has been specifically designated for oil and gas exploration. but i -- i want to -- i want to make sure people understand that this is not just an anwr amendment. this is about the wilderness study areas that -- that we see that are currently on the books. according to the congressional research service as of the beginning of this year, congress has designated 109.8 million acres of federal land as wilderness. just over half of this wilderness is in my state of alaska. we have got over 57 million acres of land, of wilderness in alaska. 90% of the wilderness under the management of fish and wildlife service is in alaska. but as a practical matter, there is more out there, there is more acres that are proposed for wilderness designation. for example the bureau of land management manages 528 wilderness study areas
containing almost 12.8 million acres located in primarily the 12 states in the west as well as alaska. but you also have the u.s. fish and wildlife service who has a wilderness study process through its land use planning to identify areas to be proposed as wilderness. so there is some history as to how we got to dealing with these wilderness study areas. areas that are identified by agency officials as having certain wilderness characteristics as identified under the 1964 wilderness act were classified as wilderness study areas. b.l.m. received specific direction in the federal land -- federal land policy management act of 1976 to go ahead and inventory and to study its roadless areas for wilderness characteristics. then by 1980, the b.l.m. had completed field inventories
designated about 25 million acres of wilderness study acres. so then since 1980, congress has taken a look at some of these. some have been designated as wilderness and others have been released for nonwilderness uses. the b.l.m. has also taken it upon itself to designate wilderness study areas through its land use planning process. the point here, mr. president is that once an area has been designated under the b.l.m. or fish and wildlife service study regime it effectively becomes de facto wilderness. the designation then limits and restricts the ability to do just about -- just about anything for fear that it might impair the suitability of the area for preservation as wilderness. so until congress makes a final determination on a wilderness study area, the b.l.m. or the
fish and wildlife manages these areas to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness. so even though congress hasn't acted because it is congress' purview to do so, even if they haven't acted the agencies manage as de facto wilderness. so my amendment says we're going to change this, we have to change this. congress needs to reassert itself into this equation. and as the final ash trer of what is or -- arbiter of what is designated as or not wilderness, congress can make the decisions in a timely manner about the wilderness status. so what my amendment does is pretty simple. if congress doesn't act within one year to designate as wilderness an area recommended for wilderness designation is released. this goes back to -- to the multiple use. that way the agencies are not managing areas to preserve a
possible wilderness designation as an option for congress. instead, it can -- it can get on with looking at a broader range of options for how to manage that land with the local people, other interested stakeholders through the land use planning process that apply to each of the agencies. so some may argue congress needs more time on this. i would say we had plenty of time to review these areas. some of these wilderness study areas have been pending since the 1980's. that's plenty of time to figure out whether or not it should be put in wilderness status. congress needs to make a decision already. so i would ask my colleagues to support my amendment take a look at what is contained and not just think about the anwr situation but think about the applicability within your respective states. i know that senator sessions was
seeking recognition and as members are -- are seeking to come to the floor to get their amendments pending we would like to -- to allow them to have recognition. i think at this point in time time, -- some clarification from the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i will wrap up briefly in two minutes and then be happy to yield the floor to the senator from alabama. again, i'm talking about a number of different points, but right now i'd like to defer. i will be back on these issues again as we continue this debate. i just again want to thank the bill managers and also say that i'm very pleased to see that senators are coming down making these amendments pending. that's what we need to do now. so i want to thank senators on both sides of the aisle for doing that. and with that, i would gladly yield the floor to the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president i
thank senator hoeven for his hard work on this keystone pipeline bill. senator murkowski and others who have worked together on it on both sides of the aisle. we had a good bit of talk about global warming and climate change. i have been on the environment and public works committee for some time. we have had a number of good hearings on the subject and i just wanted to share some thoughts because so much of what's driving our energy policy in america today is entirely dependent on a fear of the impact of global warming in the years to come. we've had a number of votes on global warming. i got asked by a reporter today about you voted for the white house amendment and why did you do that. well i just would say this -- it does -- it is true to my understanding, the best science that we have, that the earth has warmed about a degree in the
last 100 years. exactly what is causing that, we're not so sure. and i would say if that were to accelerate into a significant degree it would be a cause for concern. it would be a cause for america and the entire world to really begin to evaluate what our future is and what action might be taken. that is what has happened, and the world has been engaged mightily in efforts that drive up the cost of electricity drive up the cost of gasoline, drive up the cost of the production of products that use energy divide up -- drive up the cost of transported items that you go to the grocery store and buy. and so the -- i would just say this -- the scare tactics that we have been hearing are not
coming to fruition over a time period they were predicted to come to fruition. they just are not. and as public servants, as americans who represent -- as american elected officials who represent 320 million americans we need to ask ourselves should we press down on the backs of working americans an excessive increased burden of energy costs to meet the fears that we have been hearing about? and how much can we afford to do? how much can we afford to ask them? we are reducing our co2 emissions in the united states and doing a pretty good job of it but the fear is, at least a concern from so many of us, is that we are now projecting, the president is projecting massive increases in regulations that will significantly and further
hammer coal and hammer the price of energy in america. many members of congress want to take drastic action that would increase the cost of electricity and gasoline from fossil fuels. it would do that, there's no doubt about that. and it would virtually end coal production in the united states a product we have a lot of. they claim that the science of global warming is settled but i suggest questions remain. global climate change advocates have over many years relied upon a number of climate models. these models are designed to predict the temperature over time and they have done that. and i'll show you the result of these models in a minute they predict not only increasing temperatures but increasing droughts increasing floods.
droughts and floods. increasing severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. and these models have long predicted this so we have a history of the models, how well they've performed over time. and an easy measure and critical measure of the validity of any model is how well does it compare to actual data. so the actual weather data, i would tell you is proving that the models have not been accurate. and there are other facts that we are dealing with that give concern for those of us who are less than certain about what the climate will do in the future. last week nasa goddard institute for space studies claimed that 2014 was the hottest year on record. perhaps you heard that. it was based on their analysis of 3,000 ground-based thermometers around the world. they backtracked on that claim the very next day however because the increase was so
small that the ground-based system fell within the margin of error. but there are other problems with those assertions. data gathered at the earth surface has limitations. limitations in measuring the earth's -- that measure the temperature. it is a relatively small sample influenced by human construction construction. instead, the best data i think most scientists agree for determining warming of the atmosphere is a method that can be -- that can objectively gather far more data and that's satellites. there are two research groups that track atmosphere data. one satellite and one balloon. they both show temperature data that has barely risen for 35
years. temperature data that has barely risen for 35 years. the balloons validate the accuracy of the satellites and the satellites tend to validate the accuracy of the -- of the balloons. so there's a wider and wider divergence over the years from what the models claim and what the actual temperatures are doing. it just is. other evidence can be seen in the earth's ice coverage. a few years ago former vice president al gore claimed the arctic might be ice-free in the summertime by 2014. that was last year. that was a prediction. another study said it would be ice-free by 2029. but this past summer the ice coverage in the arctic ocean was 43% greater than it was in 2012. that's an increase the size, senator murkowski, of the state of alaska, which is a pretty
sizable state for heaven's sakes. it has become well-known that antarctic ice coverage and artica is also at record recorded levels. so there have been dire predictions made about extreme weather events. you know, the weather channel and our tv, they love to talk about storms and it's exciting and people watch it and i've had people call from alabama and tell me have you gotten your food you're going to have a big storm, you're going to be shut in? well when temperature data stops supporting the applicant's claims for -- of warming they started claiming that storms and droughts would worsen. we would have more of them. we all heard that many, many times. and it's hard to know what to think about it when we heard that over the years. but it's now been nearly 3,400
days since the last major hurricane hit the united states. this is no little matter to me. i remember moving to mobile in 1979 and that year we had hurricane frederick that slammed the city. trees were down everywhere power was off for weeks. it was a category 3, i believe hurricane. we later had hurricane camille -- earlier hurricane camille had hit and that was in the 1960's. and then we had hurricane katrina that hit new orleans and went all the way over and hit my hometown of mobile a very significant blow. okay. but it's been nearly 3,4 you00 days since the last major hurricane hit the united states. that's a category 3 4 or 5. that's almost 10 years. i think that's the longest period maybe this century.
according to dr. roger pielke, a professor at the university of colorado-boulder, who testified before our e.p.w. committee last year hurricane seasons in the united states are 20% less intense and have seen 20% fewer landfalls than in 1900. we have received testimony in the environment and public works committee from dr. roy spencer. he said this -- quote -- "there is little or no observational evidence that severe weather of any type has worsened over the last 30, 50 or 100 years." in his testimony before the committee. the ipcc, international panel on climate change fifth climate assessment released in 2013 what did they say about these predictions? quote -- "current data sets indicate no significant observed
trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the last century." so i suppose they've acknowledged that prediction to be incorrect. that same report talked about floods. we've been told we'll have more floods. quote -- ipcc says -- "in summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus, low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale." and according to the palmer drought index, there is statistically insignificant -- a statistically insignificant decrease in global droughts from 1982-2012. so remember, co2 is increasing in the atmosphere. it's a small part of the
atmosphere. it's a clean gas. it has no damage to us. it is a gas that is plant food, if you understand photo synthesis. plants breathe in co2 grow and create carbon stalks and emit oxygen, which is good for us. so in itself, co2 is not an inherently bad product. but from 1982-2012 when we've had some of the greatest increase in co2 i guess the greatest period of increase in co2 in the history of the planet -- unless it was some val canevolcano or some event -- we have not seen -- we've seen actually a decrease in droughts. small but a decrease, not an increase. last july the budget committee the committee -- and i think ranking member on it -- we had a
hearing on the cost of climate change to the economy and the democrats called that hearing. the republican witness was dr. bjorn lomborg and david mangarmi. professor lomborg from the copenhagen institute in denmark said this. "while some warming may have occurred, it will not mean the end of the world. the total discounted cost of inaction" -- not doing anything on global climate change -- over the next five centuries is about 1.2% of discounted g.d.p. the cumulative cost of inaction towards the end of the century is about 1.8% of g.d.p. while this is not trivial it,, it by no means supports the on pock apock
apocalyptic predictions on climate change. it is equivalent to one year's g.d.p. growth. so last year we had what, 2% g.d.p. using an average 2.5%, 2%. one year's worth not a hundred year's worth. one year's worth. the equivalent, he says, of a moderate one-year recession. the cost of inaction by the end of the century is equivalent to an annual loss of g.d.p. growth on the order of .02%. .02%. not 2%. .02%. so professor londborg, who believes that human activity has contributed to some global warming -- he says that -- also pointed out that climate control policy based on current data will cost far more than the benefits it delivers. and isn't that the question we have to ask ourselves? when we impose a cost on the american people shouldn't that
cost produce more benefit than the cost inoccurs? -- incurs? he notes a slightly warmer earth means net benefits through the first half of this century until 2065. it will benefit america warmingerwarmertemperatures. after which these models and other projections -- he's taking them from the ipcc's own data -- find that costs do begin to occur. however, an aggressive government response to warming now, at this time, can wipe out the benefits we can expect to receive. plus higher taxes more spending, more regulations will cut jobs, reduce incomes hurt savings and thus, set us back more as a nation. as dr. david montgomery, who testified at the hearing
said -- quote -- "it is far from clear that recent weather events are anything more than normal variability in storm frequency and intensity and the nature, timing and extend of damage from climate change remains highly uncertain. this does not imply that no action is justified but it does imply that costs and avoided risk must be balanced carefully." and i think that's what our duty is so balance the costs and the risk. in sum the experts before -- these experts before the budget committee highlighted that climate change could be happening and it could be a part of human action but its cost in the near term certainly are not great. and this compares to the cost of trying to stop climate change by reducing human activity is very, very large indeed.
so congress considered legislation in 2009 and 2010 to put a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system that president obama supported. the cost was deemed too high. congress said no. the bill that passed the house would cost $161 billion. it was in democratic hands at the time. it would cost $161 billion in the first year. and it increased in additional years. how much is $161 billion? well, we're desperately trying to find $10 billion $12 billion a year for the next six years to fund the highway bill. that's $10 billion a year. this is $160 billion a year. the amount we spend on education in america is about $100 billion a year. this would be $161 billion a year. over a decade, you're talking $2 trillion hammered on to the american economy.
so this is a serious matter and fortunately congress did not yield. so this is -- congress rejected legislation. so the president decided to pursue the same results not through the elected representatives but through the regulatory process. in 2007, the supreme court sided with the state of massachusetts in a critical case. it empowered e.p.a., if it chose, to regulate greenhouse gasses. based on the clean air act of 1970's, when global warming was never dreamed of and nobody ever considered co2 to be a polluter. this was an activist supreme court decision, in my opinion and congress would never pass this law. there's never been one time in the last 30 years or certainly before that that congress would pass a law recommending huge regulatory powers to the e.p.a.
over co2. so so the court did not require e.p.a. to regulate clean air. this regulation will cost between $14 billion and $71 billion anhume annually, more than the road bill, almost as. as the education bill according to analysts. on top of this, consumers will have to spend hundreds of billions conserving electricity electricity rates are going to increase by double-dynel i think percentages throughout most of the country. these are the costs of only one of the regulations e.p.a. is pursuing. in total the heritage action expects the president's climate will cost $1.7 trillion in lost g.d.p. by 2030. the cost of action far outweighs
the cost of the inaction, it seems to me. and that's the basis of my concern about many of the extreme actions we're taking. the nation is chriscrossed with pipelines, colleagues. in my home state we're not having complaints about that. and this idea that we shouldn't have a pipeline to bring oil from our ally and friend canada to drive down further hopefully the cost of energy in the united states is a really erroneous idea and it's all driven by this global climate change idea. so i'm not a climate denier. i don't know what the truth is and what history will teach. i have assumed over the years that scientists are on to something when they claim that co2 will be a blanket effect in our atmosphere and tefn might -- and temperature might increase. and i do know that if you burn
fossil fiewcialtion if you burn plants it creates co2. i know that. and it increases it in the atmosphere. but the models swri predicted increasing tefns from this steady rise in a co2 levels occurred -- this steady rise has been occurring for over 100 years as the planet's population increases, have been wrong. let me show this chart prepared by dr. john christie, a former nasa -- worked at nasa and at the university of alabama. the red line represents from 1975 to 2025, a projection average of all of the models -- and there are many of them, i think about 30, people doing modeling of the tefns -- and the average show this rise. this is an alarming rise. it was based on those
predictions, those modeled effects that people have demanded that we change what we do with energy in america. and that we reduce fossil fuels thand we pay more for energy to avoid this trend. well we're getting not too far from 2025. that's a 50-year trend. look at the reality though. these are the numbers. satellite data and balloon data around the world. and we basically had very little increase since 1980 to 2015. and for 18 years or so it's basically totally flat. so what does that mean? i am ape not sure. maybe it'll start surging next year. maybe we'll see more. but at this point as reasonable congressmen and senators, i don't believe we can conclude that we should burden this
american economy weak as it is -- high unemployment, december wages dropped 5 cents an hour. president kept talking about how great things are doing. wages dropped five cents an hour in one month alone december. we've got the lowest percentage of americans in the working ages actually working in america today since the 1970's. things aren't going so well. we don't need to be driving up costs for our businesses, making them less competitive in the world marketplace making gasoline more expensive to working moms, making electricity more expensive for our elderly who are at home and cold. we just don't. and so who cares the most? i say we need to care about the people we represent. we need to care about their welfare. and mr. steyer with his hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions -- tens of
millions of dollars -- and demands that we pass -- don't pass keystone pipeline to carry out his theory, this billionaire that he is, and he doesn't care apparently about what's happening to jobs in america competitiveness in america and the welfare of the citizens of this country. so congress represents the interests of 320 million people and we need to defend their interests not i had lodge ideological activists'. it's almost a religion to them. we've got to be objective and realistic as we evaluate it. so there can be no doubt that this agenda will increase energy prices, it will shrink the middle class, it will eliminate jobs, it will increase costs across the board and it will reduce wages throwing -- and it
will throw millions of americans out of work. it just will, if we carry out this agenda. it's now beingit's not being done in china russia brazil. so it's of utmost importance much the american people know about these chambers and the effects of regulations -- these claims and the effects of these regulations before we tumble headlong into enact them. the debacle of keystone pipeline is an example of what's happening. we will be denying american citizens of another source of energy that will put pressure on down-ward energy prices. it will produce a greater supply and contain the price of oil. whatever the price of oil is, it will be less with the keystone pipeline than if we didn't have that source of the keystone pipeline in canada. this will make us more dependent on foreign suppliers many of which are not our friends.
canada is our friend, our best trading partner in the world. perhaps our best ally in the world. and it's already causing great frustration with our friends in canada. i met with the canadian parliament last year. i was surprised how deeply they felt about this. they were hurt. they cannot understand why we can't get this done, it's such a commonsense thing to them. so some of my democratic colleagues argued that our economy will not be affected by these -- the agenda of the president's climate action plan. others acknowledge the costs but justify this as a speed bump and not significant. wcialtionwell congress represents most closely the people of the united states and congress has never voted to give unelected bureaucrats and officials the power to regulate co2 and we are not close to doing that today.
it would never pass this congress. either house or senate. there is zero chance it would pass if actually voted on. and as long as congress had decided not to act how can e.p.a. act? and it is acting against the wishes of the american people and the interests of the country p. so it takes a consensus of the american people to move large and costly legislation like this this. hundreds of billions -- trillions of dollars. and that consensus is not formed. it's not there. on keystone and other key issues the consensus against -- is against government excess, not for the government to do more. talk to the american people. look at the polling data. someday maybe things will change. it is true, i will acknowledge temperatures could start to rise
significantly and storms could begin to worsen. but as long as the measured data fails to match the alarmist climate models, i believe congress should approve this pipeline and reject the agenda of the climate alarmists and conduct a policy that's beneficial to the people of our nation. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. ms. murkowski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, i know that the ranking member had intended to offer up an amendment on behalf of one of her colleagues, and she is off the floor right now. and i -- i want to respect the understanding that we had but i also want to respect that the senator from vermont is here, and i believe he is prepared to
speak to his amendment. i just want to acknowledge that senator cantwell did intend to offer up a couple of amendments, but i would dwreeld my -- but i would yield to my colleague. sant ed. mr..mr. sanders: thank the senator from alaska. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i call up my amendment number 23, the 10 million solar roofs act and it be made pending. the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection the clerk shall report. the clerk: mr. sanders for himself and others proposes an amendment number 23 to amendment number 2. after section 2 insert the following: session -- mr. sanders: i ask that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: madam president it goes without saying that i disagree with my good friend from alabama in terms of his
assessment of the climate situation. to my mind, the scientific community overwhelming majority of scientists have made it cheer that climate change is real, caused by human activity, is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world that we have a limited opportunity to try to transform our energy system so a bad situation does not become much worse. and one of the twhais we transform our energy -- and one of the ways that we transform our energy system is by moving to such sustainable energies as wind thermal geothermal and others what. this amendment does is propose to create over the next 10 years 10 million solar rooftops in this country a massive effort to expand solar energy in this country by giving a rebate on
new solar systems. as we all know, the solar industry is booming. we are seeing significant increases in the number of people who are using solar. in fact, today there are more than 13,000 megawatts of operating solar capacity nearly half a million photovoltaic systems. we have made real progress in recent years. but we have a long, long way to go and that is what this legislation would do. madam president i wanted to say a word about an article that appeared in several -- well, many of the papers today which i think is pretty scary stuff. and it talks about the koch brothers being prepared to spend almost $1 billion in 2016 in
order to bring forward their very right-wing agenda. -- right-wing agenda. we really, when we hear these numbers about one father the second-wealthiest family in america, an extreme right-wing family prepared to spend almost $1 billion in the coming elections, i think the american people have to ask whether or not the foundations of american democracy have been uprooted and whether or not in fact we are moving toward an ole gar or gashingic form of society. it is about when you have very wealthy and powerful people controlling what goes on. and when the history of america presumably has been about is that ordinary people determine what happens in our country.
o. ordinary people elect members of the house and elect members of the senate. and now what we have is one family where worth some $85 billion prepared to spend in the next election almost as much as obama'sobamaspent, almost as much as romney spent in the last presidential election. my guess is in the coming years what you're going to see is the most major and effective and powerful political party in america is is not the republican party, it is not the democratic party; it is the koch brothers' party. they already have assembled, as i understand it, a political database which has more information than the republican party database. and we have tbot got to take a very, very hard look at what's going on and determine whether or not this is what we believe our
democracy should be. a billionaire family with more power than either the democratic or republican parties. in the last election, madam president, the republican candidate for president mitt romney spent about $446 million million, about half of what the koch network plans to spend next year. president obama spent $715 million in 2012 from his campaign committee. the difference is that obama and romney raised significant sums of money from people all over the country people who may have contributed $50 or $100. and now you have one family preparing to spend almost as much money as either obama or romney spent and that, to me, is a frightening situation and it tells me loudly and clearly
that we must overturn this disastrous supreme court decision called citizens united. madam president, on another subject, today i introduced legislation which calls for a $1 trillion investment to rebuild our collapsing infrastructure, and that is our roads our bridges, wastewater plants, water systems dams, levies, rail airports. i think everybody in the united states senate and i hope everybody in america understands that our infrastructure is collapsing. we can't avoid dealing with this issue. we can't turn our backs on this issue. i'm a former mayor and what i can tell you is infrastructure does not get better when you ignore it. it gets worse and it becomes more expensive to fix. the most of our history the united states proudly led the
world in building innovative infrastructure from inland canals to transcontinental railroad. we implemented flood control projects and an electrification program. in terms of infrastructure, we were the envy of the world. sadly, that is no longer the case. today the u.s. spends just 2.4% of g.d.p. on infrastructure, less than at any point in the last 20 years. europe spends twice that amount and china spends close to four times our rate. we are falling further and further behind, and that is not where the united states of america should be. today we are 12th in the world in terms of of the quality of our infrastructure when we used to be number one. one out of every nine bridges in our country is structurally
deficient and nearly a quarter are functional obsolete. almost one-third of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition and more than 42% of urban highways are congested. urban and suburban transit systems are struggling to address deferred maintenance even as ridership steadily increases. no one argues about the need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. and when we do that, we get an additional bonus. because if we invest $1 trillion over a five-year period, we can create 13 million decent-paying jobs and that is exactly what we should be doing. real unemployment today is not 5.6%. it is 11%. youth unemployment 18%. african-american youth unemployment 30%. we need to create millions of decent-paying jobs, and the best way we can do that is by
rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. and with that, madam president i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: madam president i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendments be set aside and that i be permitted to proceed as if in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you madam president. madam president, in president obama's state of the union address last week, he outlined an agenda focused on what he called middle-class economics which he described as providing americans with the tools they need to go -- that they need to go as far as their effort and their dreams will take them. our country thrives when
hardworking americans prosper and the president was right to praise policies such as the g.i. bill and social security that have helped us to do just that. that is why madam president, i am perplexed at the president's proposal to tax the earnings of the 529 college savings plan accounts. rather than help american families meet the onerous costs of a college education this new tax would greatly diminish the benefits of a law that is helping millions of parents plan for their children's futures. the president's proposals undermine the very values that we should be promoting. families making sacrifices today
in order to better provide for their children tomorrow. the president's plan would also lead to more student loan debt for many young people at a time when concern over the level of debt is rising. i would also note that the president has proposed eliminating the tax deduction on interest on student loan payments. madam president, one of the first questions new parents ask themselves is how would they be able to pay for their children's education. for the past 14 years the 529 accounts have been an important part of the answer. they have allowed parents to save for their children's
education in tax-advantaged accounts. regular, affordable contributions made with after-tax dollars from their paychecks grow over time. when college years start those savings and the earnings from their investments can be withdrawn tax-free for educational expenses. these small sacrifices made from paycheck to paycheck can have an enormous impact, making real the dream of higher education. parents know that receiving a college degree greatly improves their child's future earnings potential. in fact, according to data compiled by the united states census bureau, in the year 2011, individuals with college degrees
earned approximately $1 million more over the course of their careers than do workers with high school diplomas. census data also show that people with higher levels of education are more likely to be employed full-time year-round. college graduates also tend to have access to more specialized jobs that in turn yield higher wages. now, madam president critics of the 529 plans assert that they disproportionately benefit very high-income families who could afford to pay for college without the tax-free growth in these dedicated savings accounts. data from the college savings foundation however countered this assertion.
according to the foundation, the average value in one of these 529 accounts is 19,774 dollars. additionally the average contribution to accounts that receive regular electronic contributions such as those coming from paycheck withholding is just $175 per month. that is clearly more in line with hardworking families trying to make ends meet than with affluent families who enjoy significant disposable income. madam president, my home state provides a great example of the benefits of the 529 law. after this law was passed in 2001 thousands of maine families established these
accounts but then came a powerful extra incentive. in 2008, the heraldalpond foundation which was established by one of maine's greatest philanthropist created a $5,000 contribution to a savings account of every baby born in maine. to date some 23,000 maine families have used this generous gift to begin planning for the future education of their children. as their parents' own contributions are added to the account, the future becomes even brighter for these children and for our state. as the children grow and make their own contributions from after-school and summer jobs, so
too grows their appreciation for financial responsibility and self-reliance. the president says that his proposal is driven in part by the need to simplify the tax code. our tax code certainly needs simplification, and i hope that that becomes a major accomplishment of this congress. but the question must be asked how does creating a difference between the 529 contributions already made, which would remain untaxed, and new contributions which would be taxed how does that simplify anything? and perhaps more to the point in addition to simplification, our tax code needs
predictability. madam president, before i joined the senate, i was employed at hussin university in bangor, maine, an outstanding institution that has a high percentage of students who are the very first in their families to attend college. every day i saw how hard parents and students worked, how many sacrifices they made in order to make higher education a reality. my experience at hussin is the chief reason why one of the very first bills that i introduced in this chamber was the college affordability and access act. that bill called for creating tax-preferred educational savings account the precursor
to the cover dell savings accounts. tax incentives for employer-provided educational assistance and a tax deduction for student loan interest. many provisions of that bill are now law but would also be harmed by the president's proposal. madam president, the 529 college savings plan program channels the determination that i saw while working at hussin university and that it says throughout our great country into a tangible benefit built upon the virtues of saving and planning for the future. changing the tax rules for the 529 accounts would break a promise to families across this country who are working hard to
save for their children's educations to help them attain a brighter future. i urge my colleagues to join me in working to make college more accessible and more affordable and to save the 529 college savings plan program. thank you madam president. and i thank the sponsors and managers of this bill. ms. murkowski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, i want to rise and thank my colleague from maine for bringing up this very important issue. i would like her to know that i join with her in the concern that has been raised with the president and this proposal. as a mom of two young men that, that are just finishing up their years in college, i had one that
graduated last year and i have one that will graduate in may. but as a family looking to get our kids through school, very early on we participated in the 529 plan that was offered in the state of alaska. in fact, in my early years as a state legislator, it was my legislation in the state house that set up the alaska -- university of alaska 529 college savings plan, and our boys were direct beneficiaries of that, if you will, because it allowed us as parents to begin the savings in a way that we knew that when it came time for them to go to schools, we would be as prepared as we could be at that point in time. i don't think any family is ever really prepared, particularly for the extraordinary costs of -- of higher education.