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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 11, 2015 10:00am-6:01pm EDT

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meant in terms of threats to life in africa, in the united states and around the world. and it was right that we focused on stopping the scourge of the ebola epidemic in africa. but there was a concern as well expressed over and over again just this last fall about how many americans would be victim to this ebola epidemic. it turns out at the end of the day that fewer than a hand full were actually affected by it. but every year in the united states and around the world hundreds if not thousands die from flu influenza. again, just to get to the point that the senator from nevada makes, we're penny wise and pound foolish by denying the money for research for universal flu vaccine that will save lives around the world a minimal investment in the united states can make a dramatic improvement in the morbidity and mortality of those who are affected by flu. and so i would say to the
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senator from nevada thank you for joining in this conversation this morning and talking about the biomedical research deficit which we're facing in the united states. i'd like to mention one or two other specific expeams in this field -- examples in this field. the research at n.i.h. treats multiple sclerosis. m.s. is an unpredickable december. symptoms range from numbness and tingling and there paralysis and no known cure. more than 2 million people have been diagnosed with m.s. worldwide including 20,000 in illinois. typically m.s. is diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 but between 8,000 and 10,000 children live with it in america. people like megan mag lone. in 2004 she was diagnosed with m.s. her symptoms began when she was in the eighth grade.
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she lost vision in her right eye for a few days. a year later her feet went numb while out trick or treating with friends. the next morning she couldn't feel her thighs and a few days later was numb from the waist down. her parents brought her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with m.s. she pan panicked thinking she was too young. but she is doing what she can to stay healthy. she changed her diet. she spends a lot of time exercising every day. she tries to think positive l since her diagnosis she has gathered friends and family to walk m.s. every may there is one in illinois. they have raised over $50 thousand -- megan has -- to fight the disease. she says i walk to give others hope for others diagnosed with m.s. i think i can help others find ways to be positive about their diagnosis. the multiple sclerosis has been
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sponsoring the walk since 2008. the national multiple sclerosis society and people like megan are doing their part but if the federal government is going to do something, it has to do its part. we've got to make an investment at the national institutes of health to complement the efforts by private citizens and generous people across america to fund research in these diseases. let me give you an example here. jonah khan and his team at the university of california at san francisco can tell us a lesson. dr. chan's team invented technology that led to the discovery that a drug normallied used for allergies has the potential to repair the nervous system in people with m.s. but this important discovery needs further federal investment in biomedical research to move these early findings to promising treatments. here's what i've done. i've introduced the americans cures act. it will increase funding at the nation's top four bol --
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biomedical research agencies 5% annual increase over and above inflation. national institutes of health, centers for disease control department of defense and veterans administration research programs. american cures will make funding for biomedical research projects less political more predictable. dr. collins at n.i.h. told me, if you gave us regular funding increases of 5% real growth a year for ten years, i will prove to you that that investment will come back tenfold in helping the improvement of health in the united states and reducing the cost of health care. i believe it. i have confidence in him. so why wouldn't we -- would we not do it? we should be making this commitment. cystic fibrosis is another example of federally funded research that improves people lives. the other day a sophomore at the university of illinois wrote about his brothers.
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john 12 years old fully functioning sixth grader. matthew, nine years old plays sports at school. on the outside you wouldn't know they are dealing with cystic fibrosis. john and matt take about 30 pills a day to help with their p basic digestive functions. this doesn't include over-the- over-the- counter-drugs and daiply therapy. they consider themselves lucky because 50 years ago people with cystic fibrosis didn't live long enough to attend school. life expectancy has increased over 800% and research funding continues to give john and matt hope for their future. their brother patrick wrote and said without this funding my two younger brothers might not be alive today. this funding is crucial to not only curing cystic fibrosis but other diseases as well. mr. president, that is the promise of the american cures act. it allows america's smartest medical research to continue to
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find treatments to stop the progression and one day god willing, find a cure for diseases like m.s., cystic fibrosis and many more. last week i joined senator bob casey of pennsylvania on his resolution to support multiple sclerosis awareness week. i'd like to acknowledge the work of the senators wyden hatch brown, markey and others on behalf of fighting this terrible disease. together along with the american cures act these efforts are improving people's lives. in order to leave to break through cures in these diseases we need as a nation, as a government. to take the lead. i look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make federal funding for medical research the true national priority which it is. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you mr. president. mr. president, we are debating a bill today that should be about something we can all agree on.
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eliminating human trafficking. this bill should be about protecting women's health and rights and about fighting back against the unacceptable presence of human slavery in our country. in other words if anything should be bipartisan, this bill is it. i know many of us were hoping this bill, are the justice for victims of trafficking act would be an example of republicans and democrats working together, because surely we can agree these problems need to be addressed and urgently and that the gridlock and dysfunction we see far too often in congress should have absolutely no place in this discussion. so mr. president, i am appalled that on a bill intended to help women, republicans actually have chosen to double down on their political fight against women's health. they tried to sneak in a provision that would hurt women and drag this bill into yet another partisan fight.
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they just can't seem to have to help themselves. the provisions that the republicans are hoping to sneak in again on a human trafficking bill would be a permanent extension of the so-called hyde amendment. it would move beyond the status quo, which only applies today to appropriated taxpayer money and expand it into the new nontax funding streams this bill would authorize. that means if this law passes, a law that is intended to help women who have experienced truly horrific violence and hardship, congress would at the same time allow politicians to interfere even more with the most deeply personal health decisions a woman can make. mr. president, trying to slip a woman's health restriction into a woman's safety bill is like slipping a tractor ban into a farm bill. it doesn't make sense. this isn't the first time republicans have tried this
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political stunt. again and again republicans in congress have picked completely unnecessary political fights over women's health. they threatened a government shutdown oamp -- over p planned parenthood funding in 2011. they tried to jam through reproductive health riders on appropriations legislation. they tried to -- it is shocking to see it happening again. the good news is the justice for victims of human trafficking act can still be a bipartisan legislation that it should be. democrats are here ready to work with republicans to fix this bill and move past this partisan debate over women's health, and we're very hopeful that once that happens, we can get this bill passed and take a step towards solving a horrible problem we all know needs a solution. mr. president, i hope my republican colleagues agree with me that women deserve better than one step backward for every step forward when it comes to
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their health and their rights. and i hope they agree that a bill to end modern-day slavery in the united states is not the right time to try to sneak in a political victory for their base. if they agree they'll prove that by working with us rather than focusing on political fights we've seen more than enough of in this congress. now, mr. president while i have the floor today, i also want to say a few words about the oral arguments in king v. burwell last week. like many of us here today, i was here when we fought to get the affordable care act passed. i know firsthand our top priority was to help all americans get more affordable health care coverage. that goal is clear in the history and the text of this law, and i'm confident the supreme court will reach the same conclusion that no matter how the health care exchange is set up in your state, if you qualify for tax credits, you should get them just as congress
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intended. unfortunately, mr. president many of our republican colleagues appear to be hoping for the opposite outcome. i want to take a step back and just note how appalling this particular situation is. right now republicans seem to be rooting for a ruling that would take away millions of americans' health care coverage. they seem to want a ruling that would put their own constituents' health at risk and that amounts to a tax increase on 6.5 million people of about $3,200 a year. working families should not have to pay the price for republican political games including the supreme court case that they pushed for. mr. president, if i were a mother who no longer has to worry about what happens if my child breaks an ankle or a struggling worker who now has a little bit more to spend on groceries because their health care insurance no longer costs so much, i'd have a a lot of
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tough questions for republicans right now. i would wonder why on earth republicans are so focused on taking apart a law that is helping families get quality affordable health insurance. mr. president, the affordable care act was a critical step forward in terms of making sure our health care system puts patients and families first. over ten million americans have gained coverage in the last two years. in fact, today the uninsured rate is at a near historic low. health care coverage is more affordable for families across the country and we're seeing important improvements nrt quality of care that patients are getting. we have a lot more work to do to strengthen our health care system but there's no question this law is doing what we set out to do, expand access to affordable health care for all all americans. and democrats want to build on this progress. so while we see republicans putting politics first ahead of families' needs democrats are
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going to be focused on building on the affordable care act with more coverage, not less. more affordability not less. and better quality not less. we know the work to put patients first didn't end when the affordable care act passed, and that's why we're going to keep working to move our health care system forward not backward, for our families. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president last month i came to the floor to launch what i called the waste of the week. we looked at how we spend the taxpayers' dollars and we all know that the biggest issue over the past several years now sort of fading into the ether and not being talked about very much is
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the fact that the government continues to spend the taxpayers' money in reckless ways not balancing our budget, going deeply into deficit spending every year, borrowing to cover the cost and increasing our debt limit from a staggering number when we came here, when i came here after the election of 2010 to a number that today is $18 trillion-plus and growing. my purpose to come to the floor was to highlight some examples of some of this waste but if i could step back for a moment and say this follows numerous efforts, many in a bipartisan way, to deal with a larger issue -- and that is dealing with our debt and deficit in a way that we can put a budget proposal together to get us out of this mess and stop loading up our children and grandchildren with responsibilities and costs that they probably will not be able to repay without significant sacrifice in terms of their means of living.
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having failed every one of those over the past five years because the president blocking every single attempt -- the simpson-bowles the gang of six the committee of 12, the super committee, the dinner committee which i served, seven arduous months trying to come to minimal agreement in how to deal with the debt and deficit the president rejecting every one. i thought the least we could do was look at the easy things to say we started with not such a small thing duplication of effort in terms of benefits that went to people that were actually illegal totaling $5.7 billion, the difference between social security, disability and unemployment insurance. last week i talked about duplication. 52 programs -- 52 programs through the federal government, through a number of agencies to
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provide assistance on economic development. do we need 52? can't we consolidate some of these down to three or four? why does ever agency in the government have to do you mean -- have to duplicate what's being done in other agencies? it is my understanding that the number one and two on the democratic side came down here and talked about in the budget we may be cutting funding for the n.i.h. and how tranlic it would be if we -- and how tragic it would be if we took away one penny from them. on the third week of waste of the week, i can give them one example of how they can better utilize some money through the national institutes of health. this is a study that i have to give credit to my former senator -- senate colleague dr. tom coburn. for years dr. coburn highlighted examples of government waste fraud, and abuse. he was a champion of
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transparency and made great strides in giving the american people a more accountable government and a means to a more accountable government. and so i come here today to share one of dr. coburn's taxpayer issues he brought before the senators and i think it needs to be brought here, and how timely it is when i was just preceded unknowingly by those who came to the floor saying we can't take a penny out of n.i.h. because it goes to critical research. i support n.i.h. i think it's an important agency. we need to do some of that research. but does n.i.h. need to do this? does n.i.h. need to fund a study to determine the benefits of massage by using 18 white rabbits from new zealand that receive 30-minute massages four times a day to approve out the fact that -- to prove out the fact that a massage helps get
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rid of some of these aches and pains that come from strenuous exercise? according to the comedical director of the ohio sports medicine center, "we tried to mimic swedish massage because anecdotally it's the most popular technique used by athletes." that study amounts to a cost of $387,000 of taxpayer money given give in a grant to ohio state university. why didn't they just ask the football team? why didn't they ask hey you guys have been beat up for 60 minutes. does a massage help? i think every one of us who have -- and we have all had aches and pains -- understand that a massage helps relieve the soreness. but do we need to spend $387,000
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on a study to -- and taking 18 white rabbits and giving them massages four times a day on taxpayer dollars to prove the point that massage is massages actually work? so once again once this while this is a small thing, we have to add to our chart showing that we continue to spend taxpayer money and waste taxpayer money on frivolous things that are not needed. so someone who comes down hey and complains -- comes down here and complains that someone is spending money and kantd make any chaiption, you can point out every agency and point out some of these egregious spending. having been frustrated by our attempt to deal with the larger issue and frankly until we are willing to have the political will to stand up and deal with the runare away entitlements,
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these discretionary programs continue to be squeezed and we will be talking about less money for them, even the most important functions if we don't deal with the larger issue. but having come to a load block under this presidency in terms of any effort left to deal with the larger issue of runaway spending and runaway debt, of the burden that's being placed on the future of america and the children and grandchildren of americans that is generational theft and that is irresponsible for this body to not take action. at the very least can we not at least do the most simple of things in terms of eliminating waste of taxpayers' dollars through duplication waste through putting it on studies of -- giving rabbits massages to prove that massage works to ease aches and pains? so now eliminating waste like this will not change
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washington's long-term fiscal picture but it does point out that it's important to that funding of pronls like this don't give the energizer bunny going and going and going and going. i hate to say this, but sadly after the 18 new zealand white rabbits were -- after the pronl was over, they were -- after the project was offer, they were iewj niced put to -- they were uthan iced, put to -- they were euthanized put to rest. mr. president, i see my colleague from arizona has come to the floor. i've just finished the latest waste of the week fl we'll be next week with waste of the week number four. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i'd like to thank my friend and colleague from indiana for his waste of the week although i wish it were the waste of the day event that
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we celebrate. but i want to thank him for his steadfast and long-standing efforts at eliminating government waste and mismanagement. if we are going to convince the american people this we need to make significant sacrifices, we have to start with an efficient and -- government that does not waste the taxpayers' dollars. so i thank my friend from indiana. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president last week senator graham and i introduced a senate resolution condemning the murder of my friend and a true russian patriot boris nemtsov. the resolution calls upon the russian federation to support an independent investigation into boris nemtsov's murder and to take immediate steps to end its oppression of free speech and justice. it also urges president obama to
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continue to sanction human rights 1r50eu89rights violators in the russian federation and to continue support to like-minded supporters in russia. i was devastated to hear of boris nemtsov's murder. with his death the struggle for free rights and human rights has suffered another blow. when the soviet union collapsed boris nemtsov was one of the earliest economic and political reformers. his leadership of russia's laboratory of reform eventually brought him to moscow where he served as deputy prime minister and was once a fasts for the -- and was once a favorite for the russian presidency. then russia took a dark turn when vladimir putin entered the kremlin. boris yeltsin was one of the
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first to warn of the coming putin dictatorship, even when many of hayesmany of his fellow liberals can't see it. after multiple arrests and countless threats on his life, boris never stopped fighting the corruption and lawlessness of the putin regime, never stopped seeking to advance democracy human righted free speech, free market reforms and the rule of law. in december 2011, boris nemtsov helped organize the largest anti-kremlin demonstrations sings the 19 -- since the 1990's leading thousands of russians to march. he stood up to harsh laws that vastly expanded the definition of treason increased government
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control over the media and limited the scope and activities of opposition parties and civil society organizations. the laws that vladimir putin and his cronies have exploited to intimidate the russian people into obedience. shortly before his death boris nemtsov was reported by planning to release a report on russia's military involvement in the ukraine. at the protest march scheduled two days after his murder, he was set to demand -- quote -- "the immediate end to the war and any aggressive efforts towards ukraine." he investigated and saw through the fabricated rationalization of putin's war. putin didn't invade ukraine to protect russian-speaking peoples or to establish a federal state. putin didn't invade ukraine because he's craze disiz or merely to re-assert russia's sphere of influence in the
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near-abroad. rather boris nemtsov wrote that the goal is the preservation of personal power and money at any cost a cold strategy for lifelong des despotism. putin was willing to sink his country into imperial hysteria for his own personal power and enrichment. as boris nemtsov knew, this is not russia's war; this is not ukraine's war; this is vladimir putin's war. that's why boris yeltsin -- nemtsov's murder was not just a tragedy for the people of russia but for the people of ukraine. he was one of the few brave russians who sought to pierce the van near of putin tion -- vaneer of putin. at the memorial march honoring his life in moscow and sunday,
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one woman held a sign that read, "the war killed nemtsov." i have lopping been concerned about boris' safety and said so publicly. i will never forget the last meeting we had in my office. i begged himed to be careful and boris told me that he would never give up the fight for freedom, human rights and rule of law for his fellow russians, even if it cost him his life. i am heartbroken that it has come to that. butthe boris nemtsov murder occurred on a bridge in one of the most secure parts of the russian capital and raises serious questions about the circumstances of his killing and who was responsible. in k.g.b. fashion, vladimir putin will round up all the usual suspects but i fear we will never know who really pulled the trigger that night. erputin's oversight of the
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investigation ensures it will be a sham. but we don't need any investigation to know who was responsible for boris' murder. vladimir putin may not have ordered boris' assist nags, but perhaps what is most frightening is that he didn't need to. bore sisboris is dead because of the culture of impunity that vladimir putin has created created in russia where individuals are routinely persecuted and tacked for their beliefs -- and attacked for their beliefs including by the russian government, and no one -- no one is ever held responsible. sadly, boris nemtsov is not the first and not the last of putin's oppression. the culture of impunity is steadily worsened, deepened by the increased surveillance and harassment of members of opposition and civil society groups and by the continued violent attacks on brave
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journalists who dare to publish the truth about official corruption and other state crimes in russia. according to one news report, at least 23 journalists have been murdered in russia for reporting on government criminality and abuse since vladimir putin came to power in 2000 along with several anti-kremlin political activists. in only two of these cases have there been convictions. igor come to any confirm a reporter writing about government corruption, was is severely beat non-moscow and died two months later. sergei ushemkov was shot and killed at the entrance of his applicant building. at the time he was serving on a commission investigating the creme link's potential role in the 199 apartment bombings in russia. another person was poisoned to
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death. american journalist paul clebnikov was investigating organized crime when he was shot to death in moscow. anna politskaya. was a fierce critic of vladimir putin's war in chechnya. she was murdered in the stairwell of her apartment building on vladimir putin's birthday in 2006. the lawyer who represented her family later survived a poisoning attempt. former f.s.b. officer alexander litvanyoko exposed the putin's ties to organized crime and involvement in an assassination murder. he was poisoned in 2006 with a radioactive eye sotope in a brazen act of nuclear terrorism.
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ivon sanrinov was investigating a secret sale of missiles to fighter jets and missiles to syria and iran. he was pushed to his desk from the window of his moscow apartment. he blew the whistle on tax fraud and theft by russian officials. he was thrown into one of russia's harshest prisons without trial beaten and tortured, denied medical care and denied in extreesh yaight pain. -- excruciating pain. even after his death the russian courts convicted him of tax evasion in a show trial. as orwell once wrote "in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." russia has fewer and fewer revolutionaries but boris nifsov was certainly one of them. boris told the truth and was willing to lay down his life for it. he told the truth about the putin's reign of terror and hatred. he told the truth about putin's
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kleptocracy rampant corruption and systematic theft perpetrated against the russian people. he told the truth about putin's illegal invasion of the sovereign nation of ukraine and russia's continued support for violence instability and terror. boris told the truth and we must honor his memory by speaking these same truths fearlessly. our nation and free people everywhere must draw strength from boris's example and continue to resist vladimir putin's dark and dangerous view of the world. last sunday over 50,000 russians marched in tribute to boris nifpov. still seeking to beat the odds and the footprints of the forgotten truth. at a funeral on tuesday thousands more waited in line for more than an hour in the
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cold to pay boris their respects. finally, as the hearst carrying him pulled away, mourners tossed flowers and chanted "russia will be free." as i remember my friend, boris nimsov, that is my most sincere hope and fervent prayer. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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s mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to call off the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of s. 178, which the clerk will report.
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the clerk: calendar number 26, s. 178 a bill to provide justice for the victims of trafficking. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: the senate is presentingly now considering a series of human trafficking bills that will help law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations take swift action to protect our most vulnerable populations and work to ensure justice, restitution and healing for victims of these most horrific crimes. human trafficking modern-day slavery is not a vestige of the past. it's an evil present here and now. children and young adults are being bought and sold in our backyard. this problem knows no borders. it's happening in communities across ohio. it's a particular problem in toledo northwest ohio, where several north south and east-west highways come together. it's difficult to even obtain accurate information on this
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depraved crime that happens in the shadows but we know as many as 17,000 individuals may be trafficked into our nation each year and some estimate that as many as 100,000 american children may be victims of trafficking within the united states each year. the justice for victims of trafficking act would give the department of justice additional tools to help victims and to crack down on this crime. when enhanced services for victims of human trafficking, it would expand victim restitution as well as provide additional resources to law enforcement to help improve human trafficking reporting and investigations. there is bipartisan and bicameral support for the tracking provisions of this bill. it's a bill about human trafficking. we should not let it become a fight about abortion. i hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will agree with this and strip out the hyde language that has become such a point of controversy. i know reasonable people can disagree about the hyde
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amendment, but now is not the time or the place to debate it. there's agreement broad wide, deep agreement on the need to address trafficking. americans from all walks of life have come to us asking us that we do something. we can and we should. these new tools would be essential in assisting the department of justice which has made combatting trafficking a priority. i would like to commend attorney general holder for his management of this issue. under his management, d.o.j.'s commitment to preventing human trafficking and bringing these criminals to justice has never been stronger. the first attorney general that has really stepped up on this. it will give our next attorney general, loretta lynch the tools that she needs to build upon holder's efforts. another area where we can do more to prevent human trafficking is giving law enforcement and our communities the resources to find kids before they fall prey to traffickers. i plan to introduce an amendment
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that will provide grants to local law enforcement for tracking down homeless and runarea youth that will include assistance for retired federal agents to assist local law enforcement in these investigations. we must find these at-risk children and teens and bring them home before their youthful rebellion becomes something so much worse. a group of retired f.b.i. agents in northwest ohio came to my office and asked for our help in creation of a pilot program that would allow retired agents to assist local law enforcement in finding runaway kids and teens. generally northwest ohio children who become involved in trafficking do so within about two weeks of running away from home. so finding them quickly is essential. about one-third of run-aways become victims of trafficking. one-third, think of that, become victims of trafficking. toledo has just one detective working on missing children's cases, both adult and -- both
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missing persons both adults and children. these retired f.b.i. agents want to help local law enforcement investigate the 18,000 run-aways in ohio every year but they need help. police don't have the manpower to track these children, but every city has retired agents who could assist the overworked departments. i'll be introducing a series of amendments mr. president, which i hope will be bipartisan including the rape survivor child custody act a bill i introduced in the last congress with senator ayotte. we know that human trafficking victims are especially vulnerable to sexual assault. women who give birth to a child conceived through rape can often face intimidation from attackers who pursue amazingly enough, pursue parental rights. my amendment would help protect these survivors by encouraging states to pass laws to allow women to petition for the termination of their attacker's parental rights if there's clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through a
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rape. these women have already been subjected to horrific crimes. they should not have to suffer a life of intrusion by the man who raped them. i was first moved to introduce this bill because of a case of ariel castro in cleveland. he was in trial in ohio for kidnapping and holding three women for nearly a decade. he asked the judge for parent 58 rights to -- parental rights to visit the six-year-old daughter he conceived through rape. while the judge denied his request, ohio has no law to prevent this and forcing victims to let these criminals into their children's lives. i hope this law encourages ohio and other states to pass laws making it clear to anyone that anyone who commits such a terrible act forfeits any rights to parent a child he forced on his victim. this amendment will help protect rape survivors ensuring their right to care for their children free from fear. senators klobuchar and corker
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and leahy also have had their own bills that they plan to offer as amendments that will help us work to stamp out this terrible crime. finally i'd like to commend those in my state who have helped lead the way on this issue. there is a history of strong bipartisanship on this issue that cuts across all ideological lines. state representative theresa fetter helped lead a fight for passage of the safe harbor bill in the ohio legislature three years ago. dr. celia williamson, a professor of social work at the university of toledo is recognized national and internationally as a leader in human trafficking research and act ivism she's been a tremendous force on this issue. with her help and leadership the university established a social justice institute. the university hosted annual human trafficking conferences the formation of this institute is a terrific next step in its commitment to addressing a problem that plagues toledo and too often goes unacknowledged
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and unaddressed. finally i'd like it to commend the members of the lucas county human trafficking coalition a diverse membership which has worked for several years to better coordinate and provide services to victims. human trafficking is a problem that knows no borders. it of course knows no political party. i hope we can continue to work together to combat this awful epidemic. i hope we'll be able to work through our issues to resolve the issues where the hyde amendment language. we must take swift and aggressive action to prevent these crimes and work to ensure justice and restitution and healing for its victims. mr. president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you. i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. toomey: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending allot and call up my amendment number 285. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. brown: i object, on behalf of a umin of members on this side. i -- on behalf of a number of members on this side. i object. the presiding officer: shoarksd. mr. toomey: so, mr. president it is hard to adequately express my frustration that we can't get moving on this bill. first of all the underlying bill that our friends on the other side are blocking progress on is a very, vincennes very sensible, important bill. i commend senator cornyn for having introduced this. i am proud to be a cosponsor. this is the justice for victims of trafficking act. let's be clear what this is about. we've got a huge problem in this country, in all 50 states. there are people who actually engage in the buying and selling
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of human beings, mostly women and young children in a sex trade. that's what's happening. and this is a bill that would enhance the penalties and thereby dis-kucialg this activity -- and thereby discourage some of this activity and take some of the penalties from these monsters and use those proceeds to help victims. i don't understand why the objection comes from, for a bill like this. and now we can't move ahead on my amendment. my amendment is is a little bit different but it is in a similar vein designed to help protect children from sexual predators in schools. and you just heard the objection. the folks on the other side of the aisle somehow object to legislation that would enhance the protection for the kids in our schools. let me explain why this is so important, mr. president. the inspiration for this
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bipartisan bill that i've introduced with senator manchin and which i just tried to call up as an amendment and i just would prevented from doing so, inspiration for this is an absolutely horrendous story. there was a schoolteacher for years was molesting boys in his care. he raped one of the boys. prosecutors discovered what was going on, but they never had enough evidence to actually press charges. the school knew what was going on so they decided why don't we make this monster someone else's problem? and that's exactly what they did. they wrote a letter of recommendation so that this animal could go across the state line -- which he did -- get hired by a school in west virginia -- which he did -- become a teacher eventually rise to be principal and along the way continue molesting we don't know how many kids, but we
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don't know in the end he raid and killed a 12-year-old -- he raped and killed a 12-year-old boy dozen dozen because that's-- -- because that's what these people do u it is a reality at some schools. some schools would like these people to become someone else's problem an they give them a letter of recommendation so they can go elsewhere. that's what i'm trying to stop here. that's what we're trying to stop. this happened with a teacher who left pennsylvania and went to west virginia and the little boy's name was jeremy bell. and so senator manchin from west virginia and i have teamed up on a bill that would make this practice of knowingly and will willfully aiding a known pedophile from getting a job somewhere else, we would make that illegal. you wouldn't think you'd have to do that because you wouldn't
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think anybody with a conscience could do it, but it happens we know it happens we've heard the stories time and again p. by the way mr. president this is not such an isolated event as we would like to think it is. the last year alone 459 teachers across america -- not only teachers but also other school employees -- across america were arrested for sexual misconduct with kids they're supposed to be taking care of and looking after. we all know the vast majority of schoolteachers would never -- it never would occur to them, they'd never do such a thing. er but there's a number of pedophiles monsters that prey on kids and they know where the kids are. the so they try to find their way into these schools so that they can prey on the victims. 459 were arrested last year. those are the ones we knew enough about to build a case that prosecutors felt they could prosecute, and so they made an arrest. how many more are happening but
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we don't know enough of the specifics, we don't have a strong enough case to actually make an arrest? so far this year, mr. president we're not off to a much better start. we're 69 days into the new school year and already 82 people have been arrested across america. so this isn't some isolated, one-time problem. this is a genuine problem that we need to do something to solve. so senator manchin and i have come together with a bill that addresses this. and the whole idea, the whole goal is very simple: let's make sure that schools are not hiring these predators and we're protecting our kids from them. so it does that with two mechanisms two simple proilingses that achieve this -- two simple provisions that achieve this. it requires background checks that will actually get the job done and screen out those that have a previous conviction, and it'll also make it illegal to have this terrible practice of passing the trash this terrible practice of recommending a
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deerch whorecommend teacherwho is a known pedophile. this almost identical legislation passed the house unanimously. the house is not exactly known for not having any partisan divides, right? and yet it passed unanimously. we've got members of this body who were members of the house in the last congress, voted for it then are now cosponsors of this legislation, and amazingly to me we're having this discussion -- i'm being blocked from offering this amendment. the language in my amendment is almost identical to the language that we had in the child care development block grant which this body voted for and all but one member voted in favor of that bill, which would provide exactly this kind of criminal background check on employees for day cares. so this institution this body, has voted to ensure the protection of really young kids, as it should have -- i fully supported that. why would we block providing
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comparable protection to kids who are just a little bit older? how can it be that we want to make sure pedophiles don't get into our day-care centers but it's okay for them to be in elementary and middle school and eye schools? -- and high schools? this makes no sense at all. and it is necessary because while every state has some kind of background check system, there are huge loopholes, there are huge gaps, there's huge inconsistencies that are allowing people to get through. so our legislation would require these background checks on all -- anybody who is hired by a school any adult who would come in un-soup unsupervised contact with kids anybody so that we'd be protecting our kids from pedophiles who actively seek the opportunity to prey on these kids. one of the thuption that we don't to make sure that the brac ground check would be thorough is we require that the school
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districts would check both the state and federal databases. let me give a little story about why this is so important. in alaska parents got a very, very rude awakening when they discovered this story. it was on august 29 of just last year. alaska state troopers arrested a middle school teefn in kiona alaska. the teefn had fled missouri four years earlier h. escape an -- to escape an arrest warrant. the teefn he had raped and starved his own children. these kids were literally burrowed. they heated the food up on a furnace just to survive. it is one of these unbelievable horror stories. while this monster was able to obtain a teaching certificate in alaska and teach there teaching
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kids for four years and when asked how could this possibly happen the alaska department of education explained that alaska's background check only checks the state's criminal registry. now, had our legislation been in force, they would have been required to check the federal registry and they would have learned that he is a fugitive with an arrest warrant and a criminal record in another state. that's the kind of ability we have to have to prevent these people from going across state and committee these kinds of crimes. the other provision i mentioned earlier is a provision that would preclude, make it illegal for someone to knowingly recommend a pedophile to be hired at another school. again, you'd like to think that something like that wouldn't even be necessary but it is. and another story that reveals this recently a las vegas nevada kindergarten teacher was arrested for kidnapping a 16-year-old girl and infecting her with sexually transmitted disease. now, that same teacher had
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molested six children, all fourth and fifth graders several years before when that teacher was working in the los angeles school district. now, the los angeles school district knew all about these allegations. in 2009, in fact, the school district recommended settling a lawsuit that they were facing because the teacher had molested the children. the nevada school district, to which the pedophile went, had specifically asked if there were any criminal concerns regarding the teacher and the los angeles school district not only hid the truth that they knew about this guy's predations, but they actually provided three references so that he could get hired in las vegas. so for people who say well, you know, the state can solve this problem themselves. i would ask you, what was that 16-year-old girl supposed to do? what could nevada have done about the los angeles school district's behavior? so mr. president i'm not going away on this.
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this is something that we need to do. you know, i've got three young kids and when -- when any one of us parents anywhere in america puts our children on the school bus in the morning, we have every right to expect that they are going to a place where they will be safe as safe as they can possibly be. and we know that there's more we could be doing here to make them safer. it's unconscionable that we don't act on that. so i'll be back, mr. president because we're going to have a vote on this one way or another and i'm have disappointed we couldn't have it this morning. and i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i would like to follow up and emphasize something that senator from pennsylvania just said on the process, not on the substance of his amendment. we're in a situation where we have a bill before the united states senate that has broad
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bipartisan support and it came out of the committee i chair the senate judiciary committee on a unanimous vote. and now we're stalled on proceeding. and i think i'd like to emphasize what's different and why the this bill should be moving forward in the year 2015 as opposed to the last few years that the other political party controlled the united states senate. and in the united states political system, elections are supposed to have consequences and as a consequence of the last election there's a new majority in the united states senate. and that new majority results from campaign positions taken in
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the lasty last election that if we had a new majority, the united states senate was going to be run in a way that james madison implied that it ought to run as a deliberative body, a body where every member could participate where you'd reach consensus and where you'd give very serious thought to legislation that comes before this body and do it in a way differently than the house of representatives was meant to do business and has done business for the 230 years under our constitution. so we ran on a platform that we would have the senate debate, be open for amendment and the leader announced that when this bill was going to come up that it would be an open amendment process.
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everybody could participate. and now we're in a situation where the minority is not allowing us to move forward on amendments because they have objection to a provision that was in this bill since its introduction and every member had not only days but weeks to consider it before it came out of -- before it came out of committee on a unanimous vote. and those provisions that were in this bill from introduction introduction -- and every senator knew they were in there and every senator's staff knew they were in there. and if they didn't know that this language was in there then they didn't read the legislation legislation. and there's plenty of people to read legislation around here even beyond the members of the
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committee. so this language deals with what's called the hyde amendment amendment, which for either 39 or 40 years has basically said that taxpayers' money should never be used to finance abortions. and so all of a sudden there's objection to holding -- or there's objection to that language in this bill that was in the bill when the very same members that are objecting to it now on the floor of the united states senate knew it was in there and we can't move forward because they object to the amendment. so i proposed to them that they offer an amendment to strike what they don't like and find out where the votes are. if they win they win. if they don't win we move forward. but you can't hardly hold up a piece of legislation that --
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over language that's in the bill bill that's been part of the law of this country for 39 or 40 years and then say that you didn't know it was in there when it was in there when you voted to get it out of committee. so senator toomey just gave a speech about his amendment. he asked unanimous consent to bring it up. the minority in the senate that has the same right to offer amendments that any other senator can offer refused to let him get a vote on his amendment. or even disputed the fact of laying an amendment aside to move forward on it. so we're at a standstill and i think statistically i'd like to
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show how the new majority is intending to operate the senate on a different basis than it had been operated on in previous years and use statistics of last year. and if the statistics are off one or two numbers i hope somebody will forgive me, but roughly we had 18 roll call amendments -- roll calls on amendments last year because there was every effort to be made to stall the senate so amendments couldn't come up for a vote. and already this year we've had approximately 40-some roll call votes on amendments. and the -- more than a majority of those have been amendments offered by the minority party in the united states senate.
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so the elections showed that people want the united states senate to work as a deliberative body where every senator can participate and we ought to move forward on that. and i would ask the people that object to moving forward on this amendment to offer an amendment to strike the provisions they don't like and move on so that the other several members of the united states senate that are stalled now on offering their amendments can offer their amendments and eventually we can get through those amendments and vote on a bill that got out of the senate judiciary committee without a single dissenting vote from either republicans or democratsmentdemocrats. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, of course i also would like to see the trafficking bill go forward. i'm looking around the floor of the senate.
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i think i'm the only person standing here on the floor who's actually prosecuted people for molestation or danger of children. i'm not going to repeat what i said yesterday. i talked about some of those horrible cases and i did mention how, having young children of my own at the time, how it hit so much so when i was preparing for trials on some of these things, i -- even before the night most cases when i could just work at home preparing for the trial i wouldn't come home, i'd work in my office. two reasons. i didn't want to take any chance that inadvertently one of my children would see any of the pictures or the exhibits we were going to have in the trials,
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graphic as they were. but i also, i didn't want them to see their father crying which i did as i'd read these files. and have them ask me why i was crying. i couldn't lie to them. so it was better just to stay in the office. i say that because we -- we have to approach this not just in the after-the-fact -- and i would express, i like having the $30 million to help those who've been hurt, the victims. i worry that as the house of representatives worried that if you put it in simply as money that would come from fines we're never going to see that. i know all the people i prosecuted on crimes against
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young people they went to prison. we could give them a $50 million fine or sometimes a $50 fine. they weren't going to pay it. they had no money. after their defense was over, they had no funds. so at some point we're going to have to correct that and say the $30 million is a good target. any fines would go into that fund but we should take funds -- taxpayers' funds to make up any difference. you know when we lock one of these people up we'll spend $35,000 or $40,000 a year to have them locked up. we oftentimes tell the victim, oh it's terrible what happened to you. sorry, we don't have anything we can do for you. but we also have to approach the things necessary to prevent what
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happened. i'm filing a leahy-collins amendment the runaway and homeless youth in trafficking prevention act. i've filed that. the amendment's going to help runaways like holly austin smith smith. she was just 14 years old when she was lured away from home by a man who promised her a glamorous life in california. instead, he sold this 14-year-old for sex. she told her devastating story to the senate judiciary committee last month. both senator grassley and i were there and others and heard it. i was certainly moved by her words and her call to action. she told us that to protect girls like her then we must say that policies on prevention should be one of our highest priorities. and i agree. that's why senator collins and i are offering this amendment.
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of course we should have the ability to go after somebody who's committed these crimes. but how much better off especially for the victim, if we can stop the crime from happening in the first place. if we can do things to help people like this 14-year-old we can stop it from happening in the first place. how much better off we are. and too many of the runaway and homeless youth in this country have no place to go, they have no place to sleep at night. they're alone on the street without resources or adults to protect them. human traffickers know that. they lay in wait at bus shelters or pizza places, anywhere homeless kids gather. one shelter surveyed found that 50% of the homeless youth had been solicited for sex by an adult within 48 hours of leaving home. i'd ask any parent or grandparent in this senate
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think what you would think if your children or your grandchildren were put in that. i mean, this isn't a republican or a democratic issue. this is a human issue. this is an american issue. so i hope that we can work around the -- what i hope is a momentary glitch in this bill so we can get to these things. and i would say again based on my own experience as a prosecutor based on everything i heard over years part of the time as ranking member, part of the time as chairman of the judiciary committee for the past 40 years in the fight against human trafficking we can't simply focus on ending demand and arrest our way out of this problem. we have to eliminate the conditions that make these children so vulnerable. the good news the programs supported by this amendment have
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helped thousands of young people get back on their feet by providing shelter and caring adults and guidance. the programs work. they keep kids safe. they save lives. a growing number of homeless and runaway youths are log be and many -- are lgbt and have been thrown out of their homes because of no they are. as a parent and a grand parent that's heartbreaking to me. we have to ensure these particularly vulnerable children who have been rejected once do not face rejection again. that's why senator collins and i included a nondiscrimination provision in our amendment. it will make clear any program accepting federal dollars must help care for all these children. they can't turn these young people away because they do not like the way they look or dress or who they love. no program that takes federal money should be allowed to discriminate period. the nondiscrimination language
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in this bill is nearly identical to the language that 78 senators, republicans and democrats alike supported in this body we passed the violence against women act last congress the leahy-crapo bill. it's the same language the house passed the republican-controlled house passed and the president signed into law two years ago. last year as chairman of the senate judiciary committee i moved this legislation through committee and senator grassley and senator cornyn to their credit and almost every republican on the judiciary committee voted for it. if these protections are is central for adult victims of domestic and sexual violence, why shouldn't they be for children? no one should be discriminated against, especially not these vulnerable children who have
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already faced more adversity than many of us will ever know. mr. president, we as senators lead a privileged and sheltered life. we work hard but it's still a privileged and sheltered life. we're not facing these children children scared, lonely, vulnerable child at a busstop or trying to get somebody to buy them a pizza because they're hungry or looking for a place where they can sleep out of the cold. we're never going to face that. but too many americans do. somehow argue this antidiscrimination language somehow threatens religious freedom. that's not true. no one's religious freedom is threatened by this language. this isn't about religion, it's about supporting all our children and they most definitely need our help. i understand their concerns, we've narrowed the scope of this
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provision so it applies only to these programs being reauthorized in this amendment. also clarify nothing in this bill stops organizations from providing the necessary sex-specific programs such as shelters for homeless, runaway or trafficked girls. and i've heard from dozens of service providers in my state of vermont but also across the country, these programs work. as cindy loper a longtime advocate for homeless youth wrote in an op-ed in "the hill" yesterday the time is to act is now because homeless youth don't have the time to wait until tomorrow. the time to act is now. because homeless youth don't have the time for us to wait until tomorrow. who's going to help these young people if we do not? these children are too often left behind.
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for too many being left behind means being trafficked. we cannot and should not leave them behind today. so i urge all senators when the amendment is called up to support it. i'd ask my full statement and the op-ed that was in "the hill" be included in the record. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. leahy: i ask it be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask the calling of the quorum comes off. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i have a short unanimous consent request. i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have been approved by the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and
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that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i yield the floor. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i rise to offer an amendment to senator cornyn's bill the justice for victims of trafficking act. under current law, there are many trafficking victims who even after gaining freedom from their captors have to live their lives stuck with a criminal record because of things they were forced to do in captivity. imagine being freed from the hell of sexual slavery only to find yourself unable to get a job or stable housing because the law considers you a criminal. my amendment the federal criminal procedure post-conviction relief for victims of trafficking act would vacate the criminal convictions of trafficking victims who were forced to break the law while they were
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trafficked. it would expunge the criminal records of trafficking victims and would give trafficking victims a chance to restart their lives without the stigma and without a criminal record. these boys and girls were snatched into captivity. they were forced into sexual slavery, and they were denied the freedom to make their own decisions, including the chance to say no to committing a crime. these victims are not criminals. their bodies are scarred their memories are shaken by trauma. the least congress could do is give them the dignity of a clean record and a new chance to lead a fulfilling life. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. i also want to urge my colleagues to support a bill that senator rubio and i introduced the strengthening the child welfare response to trafficking act. this bill would require each state to develop a plan to protect young victims of labor
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and sex trafficking from falling back into captivity after they have escaped. as it stands now many of the various services and programs that are met to -- meant to keep children from these dangerous oppressive cycles are failing to do their jobs. instead of being protected and comforted as victims of violent crime, young trafficking survivors are instead sent into a juvenile justice system and treated as criminals. if it were their own fault and their own choice that they were held in captivity and forced into exploitation. this is just not the case. this bill would give american children better trained protective service workers better lines of communication between victims and protective services and better data on where trafficking crimes are actually occurring how often and who the traffickers are targeting. i commend my colleagues for bringing this issue of human
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trafficking so boldly to the senate floor and i encourage everyone in this chamber to support these legislative efforts to solve our country's trafficking problem. thank you mr. president and i yield the floor. mr. grassley: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president i would ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. vitter: thank you madam president. mr. president, excuse me. mr. president, i would send a second-degree amendment to the desk vitter amendment number 284, as a second-degree amendment to portman amendment numbered 271 and ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from louisiana, mr. vitter, proposes an amendment numbered 284 to amendment numbered 271. mr. vitter: mr. president i ask for unanimous consent to waive reading of the whole. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. vitter: thank you mr. president. mr. president, this is the same amendment i presented -- tried to present discussed on the floor of the senate yesterday
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and it addresses a very, very serious problem with our broken immigration system and also a problem that leads to serious abuse and trafficking, which is why it is certainly relevant and pertinent in this ongoing discussion of the bill on the floor. first of all let me again compliment senator cornyn and everyone who has joined him on a bipartisan basis in support of his antihuman trafficking amendment. i think that underlying bill is very positive, very significant. i certainly fully support it, apart from how my amendment fares. obviously, i hope my now-second-degree amendment to the portman amendment is adopted, but i certainly support this underlying effort which is very very important. as i said, my amendment pertains
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to birthright citizenship and the fact that that now acts as an enormous magnet to increase and encourage illegal crossings into our country and it also has spawned an entire sub culture and industry, quite frankly, that has given rise to significant abuse often really dangerous and horrific conditions for the women and family who are caught in it. yesterday, as part of my floor statement, i submitted for the record several news reports that underscored these cases of abuse. this came to light in part because of the raid by federal agencies just within the last few weeks of these so-called birth tourism businesses, and those federal raids uncovered some really grisly situations in california and elsewhere that
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underscore my point. this ad, which is an ad on behalf of one of these birth tourism companies in china also underscores my point. mr. president, you know, you and i couldn't come up with a cartoon like this and call it fiction if we were challenged to but this is real. this is an actual cartoon ad enticing birth mothers in china to go to the united states, to come back with their baby having been born in the united states, and that baby wrapped in the american flag is an automatic u.s. citizen and that, of course triggers all sorts of significant benefits tiewntsd for the immediate family of that baby to in the future come to the united states and become citizens. this is clearly -- this
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birthright citizenship has clearly mushroomed into a significant problem and a significant form of abuse of our immigration system, and now according to the center for immigration studies every year about 300,000 to 400,000 children are born to illegal aliens in the united states, and under this practice -- and i underscore practice of birthright citizenship -- and i'll come back to that worth because it is not mandated by the constitution -- under this practice they automatically are recognized as u.s. citizens simply, purely because of the physical location of their physical birth now mr. president, i said practice for a reason. it is not mandated by the constitution, as opposed to what you hear on a regular basis. it isn't even mandated by
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statutory law. it's a practice of several administrations, including this one, and it's a very uncommon practice if you look worldwide. only canada, among advanced industrialized countries follows this practice, along with the united states. no other advanced or industrialized country, for instance no european country follows this practice of counting folks giving them citizenship based purely on the fact on the accident of the location of their physical birth. my amendment would change this, and it would simply say that you can only be a citizen if you were born in this country and -- and at least one parent is a u.s. citizen or a legal valid green card holder or a serving member of the united states military. that is a commonsense rule that
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i think the vast -- in fact, i know from public polling and other means the vast majority of americans of all stripes of all walks of life and of both parties support. so again let me make clear my amendment would say a child born in this country is a u.s. citizen. if you are born in this country and at least one of your parents is a u.s. citizen or a valid green card holder or a member of the united states military. if there is any policy reason why that rule is unreasonable, i'd love to hear it. i have been promoting this debate. i have been pushing this change of policy for several years now and i have never heard a real debate on the policy on the merits. there are lots of excuses that people don't want to bring this up don't want to have a vote,
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but i have never heard a real debate and objection on the merits. now, that being said, let me move to one of the excuses and the most popular excuse given is that somehow this is embedded in the constitution, specifically the 14th amendment and we can't change this absent a constitutional amendment. mr. president, i am absolutely convinced that that is not true, and i will explain why. the first reason i think we can glean that it is not true is the language of the 14th amendment. that's a good place to start right? we're talking about the 14th amendment. we're talking about a specific constitutional provision. let's start by going there and see what it says. does it say that everyone physically born in this country is a u.s. citizen period? no. it does not. so what does it say? it extends citizenship to --
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quote -- all persons born or naturalized in the united states and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, close quote. and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. that is the key phrase. now, mr. president as you know, our founding fathers including our later founding fathers who came up with the language of the 14th amendment chose their words carefully and it's a fundamental rule of either constitutional or statutory construction that any word there, any phrase there must be there for a reason. it's not there just to add extra words without adding meaning. so that phrase absolutely has to mean something. it has to be there for a reason, and when you look at the history of the 14th amendment the debate, the discussion and the congress it's very clear that it was there for a reason.
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it was there to exclude persons born in the united states who had allegiance, who had some calling to another country and specifically the folks participating in that debate, talking about this language, said we're not including american indians. they have an allegiance to the tribe. we're not including aliens. aliens. that word was broadly used. we're not including aliens. that certainly includes in today's language illegal aliens. they have an allegiance to another country, they're citizens of another country. we're not including the children of diplomats who the happen to be born here during their diplomat parents' stay. they clearly are citizens of another country. they have an allegiance to another country. this line of thought was further elucidated by court decisions
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and, in fact, there was a specific court decision with regard to american indians. and the court directly said in that case no, the 14th amendment does not make american indian children automatically u.s. citizens. based on the specific language i'm citing. and because of that, it wasn't until the indian citizenship act of 1924 was passed explicitly making those children american citizens that they became american citizens. and much more recently respected jurists like judge richard posner of the seventh circuit, he wrote in dikta in a 2003 case -- quote -- "congress would not be flouting the constitution if it amended the immigration and nationality act to put an end to the 'nonsense'"
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talking specifically about birthright citizenship. so i hope that we get through these excuses these flawed constitutional arguments these flawed arguments. really they're excuses to avoid the debate to avoid the issue to avoid giving any reason why we should not go to the rule i'm proposing, why we should, in fact recognize any child physically born in this country as automatically a u.s. citizen even if neither parent is a parent -- is a citizen neither parent is here in the country legally, neither parent is a green cardholder neither parent is a serving member of the u.s. armed services. madam president, as i explained at the beginning, this is a very real, in fact, exploding phenomenon. there is a whole industry an underworld, that is selling so-called birth tourism.
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and this ridiculous but true cartoon is an example. and this acts as a magnet, a potent, powerful magnet, growing in power by the year to lure more and more folks to come across the border in specific cases to have their babies here. 300,000 to 400,000 per year. in the last few weeks as i mentioned earlier, there was a raid by the relevant federal agencies on some of these underworld and trafficking operations related to birth tourism. it hit the news, it made significant news, as it should have. it was a significant law enforcement action. i applaud that action. it is a dangerous element, it is an underworld, usually criminal elements in the midst of that oftentimes abusing the women and
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children who have been placed into their hands. but clearly madam president the most effective way to put an immediate end to all of this is not simply conducting a law enforcement raid once every five years or once every three years or even once a week. clearly, the most effective way to end this is to end the practice of birthright citizenship. and that is what my amendment now a second-degree amendment pending to the portman amendment, would do. i urge all of my colleagues to put an end to this nonsense, as judge posner said in his dicta to set our policy straight, to adopt the commonsense position of the vast majority of the american people to adopt the same policy of every advanced industrialized country now save
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us and canada and to adopt this language on the present bill. thank you madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to talk about the bill that we're looking at now the justice for victims of trafficking act. certainly there's nothing more heinous, nothing more morally feighansivemorallyoffensive than the sexual exploitation of a human being. take that exploitation today at a level that happens over and over again with children, with adults. this is a modern-day slavery.
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it exists right here in our country and all over the world. slavery officially ended in the united states 150 years ago but worldwide, there may be more people involved in enslaved activity and the labor or in sex trafficking than at any other time. according to the national center for missing and exploited children at least 100,000 american children each year are victims of commercial child prostitution, child trafficking other children brought to this country and certainly this is not a tragedy that is isolated in the united states. in fact, it's worse in other places, but it's unacceptable, madam president, in all places. women and children, especially young girls are advertised on-line where buyers purchase them with ease with -- generally
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with anonymity usually with impunity. we're told this happens in most cities in our country and in every state in our country. but this fight against sex trafficking and labor trafficking isn't just a law enforcement issue. it's a human rights issue and we would take it -- we should take it as seriously as you could possibly take anything. that's why i was pleased to join senator cornyn and senator ayotte and others in cosponsoring and supporting the justice for victims of trafficking act. this act would provide law enforcement the courts and antitrafficking task forces with necessary tools to help them track down the traffickers and also help victims restore their lives. last year we were able to pass the victims of child -- the continuation of the victims of child abuse act which in our country we have 22 -- in our
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state, we have 22 senators, we have hundreds -- 22 centers, we have hundreds of centers in the country where the beginning of restoration comes with that first interview that first determination. we are putting this behind us and moving forward. that same thing needs to happen with victims of exploitation. this bill helps victims with trafficking who are often invisible often underserved often unknown by anybody in the community where they've been taken except the person who somehow has seized control of them and the people that that person deals with. this bill would create grants for state and local governments to develop a comprehensive systems to address these crimes and to provide services, again for the victims of these crimes. this legislation would allow
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wiretaps obtained through state courts to be used to stop child sex trafficking. this would train federal prosecutors and judges on the importance of requesting and ordering restitution. we just -- in the last few days passed a law that hopefully will wind up passed, a bill that will wind up on the president's desk, so that there could be some compensation for victims of child pornography. we need to have that same kind of restitution and seizing of assets of these criminals who use people in this way and this bill allows some of those things to happen. it trains law enforcement on the physical and mental services that are immediately necessary and necessary in the longer term for victims of trafficking. the justice for victims of trafficking act has been
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endorsed by over 200 advocacy groups. those would include the naacp the national center for missing and exploited children rights4girls, the national association to protect children, the fraternal order of police, the national conference of state legislators. we need to get this done. the elimination of sex trafficking has to be also focused on the demand side. without the buyers and facilitators, sex trafficking wouldn't happen. labor trafficking wouldn't happen unless there were buyers of that unwilling labor. neither of these things should be allowed to continue. this bill deals with the -- with this topic in our country. i know the foreign relations committee is looking at what we could do to encourage the elimination of this travesty and tragedy all over the world. we have to take a stand against
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this modern-day slavery. this is a problem that i hope we see senators on both sides of the aisle step up in the next few days and hopefully this week and figure out how to serve. madam president, one other topic i want to mention while i'm here. this is the first chance i've had to be on the floor since i attended a memorial service a week ago yesterday in our state memorializing the life of our state auditor tom schwike. tom schwike was very smart. he was very capable. he was very good at his job. he had a wonderful family. he had established such a record as state auditor that at the end of his first term tom schwike a republican, wasn't even opposed by a democrat. i think the first time in our state since the 1880's that the
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democrats hadn't offered a candidate for any state office. sometimes, madam president people with great capacity and great opportunity can face challenges that others don't see see. tom's family is missing him. his friends are missing him. missouri will miss him but certainly benefited from his good work. just thinking today as i have every day since i had the news of his death about the service he provided the lost opportunity of not having him with us any longer and madam president, thinking about his family. madam president, i believe there is an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. klobuchar: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: thank you very much. i first wanted to thank my
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colleagues who are continuing to work on this very important issue of sex trafficking. senator grassley, the chair of the judiciary committee and senator leahy the ranking member, who has long been working on this issue and has a very important bill of his own related to this, as well as senator cornyn. senator cornyn and i have worked together on the sex trafficking issue for the past year. we are cosponsors of each other's bills. we've worked in the past on other judiciary issues, including a successful bill on drug -- prescription takebacks where we just recently were able to get the rules out and got to work on that very important issue. and i thank him for his good work. we continue to work on the bill the justice for all bill. as we know, there's a major issue that's come up and we continue to look for a path forward on that issue. i do want to point out sometimes
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in all of the disagreements what gets lost is the good that needs to be done and why this bill is so important. it would support victims by taking fines and criminal assets from convicted human traffickers and directing them towards services and treatment to help these victims restore their lives. and we know -- i know as a prosecutor in my former job that if people get the help that they need if they can go to a shelter and they have an alternative to a pimp that they have a fighting chance of getting their life together again and not going back into that cycle of violence. they also by doing this -- we've done a lot of this in minnesota -- you give them the support they need and they will testify against the person that's running that sex trafficking ring against a perpetrator. we just got a 40-year sentence out of st. paul minnesota against someone running a sex trafficking ring because we were able to give the support the
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victims need and that's what senator cornyn's bill is about. it doesn't only help victims it also helps law enforcement and ensures that criminals including johns are brought to justice under our laws because a financial transaction should not mask a sexual assault a rape on a child. i think people often think of sex trafficking as something that is just happening in another country in another part of the world and it is, in fact the third biggest criminal enterprise in the world, first illegal are drugs, then illegal drugs and then illegal trafficking in people, primarily kids. that's going on in our world right now. what we'll don't always expect, in the u.s. when we have sex trafficking cases 83% of the victims are from our own country. 83% of the victims from the oil patches in north dakota, from the streets of minneapolis from the hills in west virginia. this is happening in our country right now and that's why this
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pair of bills senator cornyn's bill and then the bill that i have the safe harbor bill that passed through the judiciary committee unanimously last week is designed to focus on this domestic trafficking and it does have international implications because if we do our job and we show as a country that we take this seriously, it helps us to partner with other countries, senator heitkamp and cindy mccain and i went down to mexico last spring to focus on partnering with mexico. they've been an enormous help in some of the federal prosecutions for sex trafficking rings we've had in our country girls that are been brought across the border from mexico. we've met with the attorney general as well as the head of their federal police on more work that can be done. think about what's happening in our country. in the last few weeks, five st. paul minnesota residents were charged with running a multistate sex trafficking ring. one of the alleged victims was 16 years old. last month a man was indicted in
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federal court under the leadership of our u.s. attorney in minnesota. what was edited for? he was indicted -- indited for trafficking a 12-year-old girl in rochester, minnesota who got a tex that -- text that said come to a party. it's a parking lot of a mcdonald. see gets shoved in a car brought up to the twin cities, the man rapes her takes pictures of her the next you day she is sold to two guys and is raped by those two men. that happened that happened in minnesota. the average age of sex trafficking is 12 years old. not old enough to go to your high school prom, not old enough to drive. that's what's happening in our country right now. now, what can we do? i discussed senator cornyn's bill and the importance of that bill and the hope that we can work through these issues but also the other bill, the stop exploitation through trafficking
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act that would make sure victims of sex trafficking like the 12-year-old often eppser girl are treated as victims. this passed through the judiciary committee and i want to thank 26 of my colleagues for cosponsoring this bill and it's been an honor to work with them with senator cornyn as a republican lead. i appreciate the help of the national conference of state legislatures, the national center for missing and exploited children the fraternal order of police, shared hope international and the alliance to end sexual violence. this bill is different than the bill we have in front of us on the floor but with the same focus. what this bill does, it says look at some of these models that have worked across the country. one is my state called the safe harbor law. what it does is that when states do this, they basically aren't prosecuting these 12-year-old or 15-year-old girls or 16-year-old boy, they're seeing them as victims and give them the kind
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of services they need. a version of this bill let by eric paulson passed through the house last year, the presiding officer was there at that time. and so i feel good about this bill's chances in the house as well as in the senate. 15 states across the country already have these safe harbor laws and another 12 states are making progress in the direction that we need. so we're not starting from scratch here. what the bill does is simply give incentives for states to adopt these kinds of laws. it also creates a national strategy to combat human trafficking which would encourage cooperation among all the agencies who work on the problem, federal state tribal, and local. our law enforcement and prosecutors as i mentioned have to work together at this on all levels but law enforcement can't do it alone. we have to make sure we're giving them the right support and that's what this national strategy is about. other parts of the bill include allowing victims of sex
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trafficking to be eligible for the juniors corps program to help them get back on their feet and i'm pleased to have included in the safe harbor bill in the stop exploitation through the sex trafficking act a provision that senators whitehouse and sessions worked on that got included to clarify the authority of the u.s. marshal service to assist lom law enforcement agencies in locating missing children. i note senator leahy and senator collins have a very important bill the runaway youth and homeless trafficking prevention act, we'd like to be considered as part of this bill if we can work out these issues or on its own, a very, very important bill. i have been very impressed by the bipartisan work that we've done to date and i was excited when all the women senators including the presiding officer came together and asked for a hearing under senator grassley and senator leahy's leadership. we had a very good hearing and i
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think we can move from there. this is one of those issues that people haven't talked about a lot in our country for a long, long time and one of the reasons it'sdom to the forefront is because of the internet, something we love, more and more of these kinds of purchases can be made behind closed doors and out of the jurisdiction of any law enforcement officers if they don't see it happening. well that's what happened with that 12-year-old girl in rochester. she just got a text. this is going to take not only congress getting these bills done it's going to take the work of the private sector, i've been impressed by the work of our hotels and transportation companies, places like the radisson hotels and the -- our various transportation goes who have stepped up training employees because they're on the front line, they can report them to law enforcement and that's something we can't legislate. it's just happening.
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there are a number of amendments some i like, some i don't and i'm hoping we can work through those as well and i want to thank the presiding officer and thank all of those and especially thank senator leahy whose chair i am temporarily filling as he has spent a lot of time watching over this bill over the last two days and again senator cornyn for his good work. again i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: madam president i rise today to pay tribute to a gentleman from rose bud texas who has helped this nor from utah on occasions too numerous to count and in ways impossible to measure. for over four years brian phillips has dutifully served as my communications director. as he prepares to pursue new opportunities, i wanted to pause and acknowledge his service to me to my office, the people of utah and to our nation. the role of communications director in a senate office is
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not for the faint of heart nor is it for the arrogant or overconfident. many believe the job of a communications director is to rack up style points, political positioning and positive spin. i've learned from brian that a true communications director is laser focused on substance rock solid in his principles and devoted to creating a space for people to hear and understand a message. he's expanded my view of what communication truly is and what it can be, what it should be. brian brought to my office the grittiness of his texas roots his passion from years on the campaign trail the wisdom of one who has been tested in tough times and the vision of a conservative reformer who has seen the view from higher up. i'm certain there were times when brian wondered what in the world he had gotten himself into
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with a freshman senator and a ragtag team from utah. i'm also certain we're all better at what we do because he was willing to stand with us. brian is more than a communications director. he's a trusted counselor. i trust brian's assessment of complex situations and count on his counsel to navigate challenging circumstances and to maximize on seemingly hidden opportunities. no one has prepared me better to answer hard questions or deliver vital messages at critical moments. i would put brian's uncanny sixth sense his spidey sense as he calls it, about what lurks around corners up against any professional communication anywhere. brian is a master at leading people into strategic thinking. sometimes through heated discussions but always to the higher ground of meaningful
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dialogue. brian is comfortable with and capable of engaging people from across the professional and personal spectrum. i've watched him work with senators and staff with interns and individual utahans jaded journalists and passionate groups of grassroots activists. he sets everyone at ease, provides an honest assessment, pushes when needed, pulls when necessary. and through pushes, pulls nudges and shoves, gets everyone to the best possible place. to watch him work is extraordinary. there are many in this town who simply look out for themselves. there are many who judge their success by their own headlines bylines and story lines. i am most thankful that brian phillips put me and my staff along with the people of utah and the people of this nation ahead of his own interests
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because he put others first he has created a legacy that will last. thank you madam president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from is kansas. mr. moran: madam president thank you. i would ask unanimous consent to lift the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: madam president, we are here today and apparently this week to discuss legislation pending before the senate, the justice for victims of
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trafficking act. we have a serious problem in this country and around the globe in regard to human trafficking. this legislation is an issue that needs to be addressed and ought not be delayed. and, in fact, many across the country are asking us to do just that including hundreds of kansans who are concerned about the rights of individuals the rights of women and men across the country and congress has legislation now pending that seems to me to be very straightforward and commonsense in trying to eliminate this scourge from our country. i wanted to highlight what i think is, unfortunately developing in the united states senate and i would refer back to the elections of november, 2014 in which at least i thought tuft messages that the american people delivered us through -- to us through their votes was a desire to see that legislation
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particularly legislation like this be addressed that the senate consider it, that amendments be offered votes be taken and ultimately legislation be approved or disapproved by the united states senate. and, unfortunately we still find ourselves in a position in which we are unable to move forward on this legislation to consider amendments. and i would guess that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would indicate that when the plodges were in the majority they from time to time blocked consideration of legislation pending. i would tell you that in my view when i was a participant in that process, it was because of the belief that we would have no opportunity to offer amendments to legislation then pending. what i want to see the senate accomplish, what i want to see how the senate can process legislation and what i want is for every member of the united states senate to have the opportunity to offer amendments to have them considered, to be voted on,
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and there should be -- that right should exist for every republican senator every democrat senator. we should be in a position in which we can resolve our differences not by blocking the consideration of an important piece of legislation but by taking a vote on an amendment offered by a senator from a state here in the united states senate -- in the united states that the senators have the opportunity to present their case votes taken and issues resolved. unfortunately, we're in a position where we are unable to even consider this legislation and i would ask that that circumstance come to an end. again, in my view a message from november of 2014, the last time voters spoke in the united states was could we at least have a congress that can function can consider issues, votes be cast and decisions made. and we find ourselves one more time in which we're unable to even get to the bill to enable that consideration to occur.
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there is at least stated in the press there's an argument about a provision in this legislation, i would again say if there is a provision in the legislation, despite the fact it was unanimously approved by the committee every republican every democrat voted for it, now there's this claim that we're opposed to that if you're opposed to something, the way to solve that is not to block the consideration of the bill. the way to solve that is to allow the bill to be considered and if you oppose something in the bill, offer an amendment have the debate and let the votes decide on the united states senate floor whether that provision should remain in or be removed. that provision that people are indicating is causing problems is one that is related to abortion. it's related to the public funding of abortion. it's a provision that has been law since the 1970's. it was voted on many times in the united states senate. 23 democrat senators voted for that provision in a spending bill in 2014 just last year.
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and so it appears that we're manufacturing problems that don't really exist. this provision was in the bill when the committee considered it when the committee approved it and now as we bring this bipartisan bill to the senate floor there are those saying we can't consider it because this provision is included. and i would indicate that the idea of the public funding the use of taxpayer dollars to support abortion, is disapproved by seven out of ten americans. this is not a radical kind of issue or proposal, but my point being is that we should have the opportunity to debate this and every other item within the bill reach a conclusion and move forward on a piece of legislation that is important in trying to protect the lives and safety of people across our country, particularly women and children. and so my plea of my colleagues is could we again get to the
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point in which the united states senate functions in which we debate bills votes taken issues of importance considered and i hope that i learn later today that that's the case, that we can move forward in resolution of this legislation. i'm here to indicate that i oppose public funding of abortion i support the trafficking legislation now pending, but i'll never have the opportunity to demonstrate that because we are at a point in which no legislation is able to be considered. mr. president, i thank you for the opportunity to address the senate. i notice the senator from wyoming is on the floor and i'd be happy to yield to him. the presiding officer: the senator from i'm. mr. barrasso: thank you so much. i agree with my friend and colleague from kansas, i thank him for his leadership and his very thoughtful deliberations on this important matter. and, mr. president i'd like to talk for a moment to talk about
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this bill is that on the floor s. 178 the justice for victims of trafficking act as i have an amendment that i'm offering today, on human tracking in indian country. i will tell you that human trafficking is widespread in indian country, and we have to do everything we can to stop it. violent crime rates against women and girls in native american communities are far higher than the national averages. this amendment delivers help to trafficking survivors and gives tribes the resources that they need to battle human trafficking in their own back yards. i will tell you mr. president that this amendment has broad support and is a vital addition to the bill on the floor today. it would give tribes to access funding for especial training for local law enforcement in order to combat human trafficking specifically in
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indian country. mr. president, this amendment would allow for indian tribes to be able to compete for resources for programs to prevent human trafficking, it would provide for training for tribal law enforcement so that they would be better be able to detect trafficking activity. these trainings and additional resources will better equip the police officers to spot the signs of trafficking in their home units and act quickly to respond. it would be for programs to help survivors of sex and labor trafficking in their recovery. programs like these assist survivors of trafficking and enable them to begin to heal and restore their lives. so mr. president, the bill s. 178 would allow for more protections to victims of human trafficking in our country and my amendment would extend those protections to the tribes in indian country as well. thank you mr. president and at this time i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in
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morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i noticed earlier today the minority leader as well as the minority whip of the senate on the floor talking about the president's health care law. and i would like to point out that the congressional budget office released a report monday about the obama health care law, obamacare. i see the white house is actually championing the report as they call it great news for america. i'm here to tell you mr. president, let's be clear this report contains significant amounts of bad news for people. bad news for people who signed up on the obamacare exchanges for getting their health insurance coverage. in fact, the congressional budget office predicts that health care premiums will increase more than 8% a year this coming year for obamacare enrollees. now, they also predict it will
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increase 8% next year for obamacare enrollees through the exchange for the benchmark plan. and they predict it will increase another 8% the year after that. now, mr. president most americans can't afford to pay 8% more a year in premiums each and every year which is what the congressional budget office is proposing but you don't hear the democrats on the floor talking about that. wasn't it the president of the united states who said that premium rates would go down, down for families by $2,500 a year? isn't it -- many senators on the other side of the aisle came to the floor and said rates would go down, nancy pelosi said they would go down for everyone. why are the democrats not mentioning what the c.b.o. is saying that year after year after year the rates will go up 8% another 8%, another 8%. so we know the reality of what's happening to people all across the country. which is why this health care
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law continues to be unpopular unaffordable and unworkable. so i think it's time for the white house to stop celebrating and start thinking about the people who have been imacted specifically by this expensive and unworkable piece of legislation. so i found it interesting mr. president, that on monday, the secretary of health and human services held an event to celebrate the number of people who signed up for coverage this year. she said -- secretary burwell said she was pleased with the results to date. she repeated the administration's sound bite about the health care law working. well that's not what i'm hearing from people at home in wyoming. it's not what i'm hearing from my friends neighbors and patients, and as a doctor who has taken care of patients in wyoming for 25 years i talked to lots of patients every weekend at home, and people are very concerned. it's also not what i read in the paper. papers all across the country from east to west coast about
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hardworking americans who have been devastated by the impacts of this terrible health care law. it seems like every day there is more bad news about more ways that obamacare is hurting american families and failing to live up to the many promises that the president and the democrats in this body who voted for it, the promises they made. when you take a look at the congressional budget office new estimates of how many people are going to sign up for obamacare this year, they had originally said that there would be 14 million people who would sign up for obamacare plans by the end of the year. now they've dropped that number down to 11 million people. so it's not a surprise when fewer people by three million fewer people sign up that it's going to cost the taxpayers less than the very high number they were expecting to have to pay so that number has dropped but it's because fewer people are
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choosing to sign up for the obama health care plan. is the obama administration pleased that the president's health care law is so much less popular with the public than the president and democrats expected it to be? there was a story -- as i talk about some of the stories that are coming out from west to west coast, i'd like to start with a story in the press herald newspaper in portland, maine. february 27. the headline was "many insured under affordable care act taking a hit taking a hit at tax time." the article tells the story of diana newman who lives in southwest harbor. she had insurance last year. she went to file her taxes and got a $400 surprise. that's how much she owed on her taxes specifically because of the health care law. she told the newspaper that her tax troubles are just another stumbling block in which she
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said has been a long, difficult year trying to figure out how to use and how to pay for her new insurance. she said -- quote -- "at the end of all this confusion at the end of all this confusion, i was hit with hundreds of dollars at tax time." she said "it's frightening." frightening. that's how somebody who the president is claiming has been helped by the law is describing the impact of the law on her life. it is frightening. turns out she was one of almost a million people who got bad information from the government about their tax forms. that just made things more confusing for her. she said -- quote -- "at this point, i don't know what to think. i may owe more or less or about the same." is the obama administration and all the democrats who voted for this health care law pleased pleased about the way it is
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frightening this woman in maine? i don't hear the senate minority leader or the whip talking about that. does the administration think the obamacare -- that obamacare is working for diana newman? the tax preparation company h & r block says more than half of their clients, more than half of their clients have had their refunds reduced, reduced because of the health care law. now, on average h & r block says their customers owe the i.r.s. an extra $530. an extra $530. mr. president, that's an awful lot of money for hardworking taxpayers. a lot of people count on getting that tax refund to help them pay their bills this time of year. is the obama administration pleased to see the i.r.s. taking another $530 from hardworking american families? some of these people who owe money to the i.r.s. didn't sign
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up for obamacare insurance at all laos last year. now they're finding out many for the first time they owe a tax penalty because of the health care law's mandate that they buy health insurance. not just necessarily insurance that works for them and their families and their family's needs. oh no, the mandate that they have to buy insurance that president obama says works for them, even though it doesn't work for them. it may be too much insurance insurance they don't need, don't want can't afford and they don't even have the flexibility to even make the choice. president obama says he knows what's best for them because they don't. the problem is that by the time many of these people figured that out, it was already too late to sign up for obamacare insurance for this year, so they're getting taxed penalized. people who didn't understand the tax penalties feel like the obama administration has pulled a fast one on them. again, this law continues as we approach the five-year
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anniversary. it continues to be very unpopular with the american people. there is so much anger about the timing of the tax issues that the administration had to backtrack and allow extra time for people to sign up this year. the president made a youtube video saying the deadline is february 15. february 15 came, went. then the president said we better open it up again. this president, i will tell you is making it up as he goes along. we've seen it time and time again with this president and this law. making it up as he goes along. is the obama administration pleased with this confusion and england they're a lot of americans are feeling because of the i.r.s. penalties? and, mr. president it's not just washington that's causing troubles for people with the president's health care law. we're seeing bad news all across
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america. it started in maine. let's go over to the other coast. let's go over to oregon. the state tried to set up its own health insurance exchange. they did such an awful job that not one single person was ever able to sign up on the state web site not one. no one. people had to fill out paper applications if they wanted to try to buy insurance last year, so how much did it cost the state to set up this exchange that not one person was able to buy insurance on the web site? $248 million of taxpayer money. last friday, the governor of oregon officially gave up, signed a law dissolving the state exchange. oregon will just use the federal government's exchange and the federal web site. does the obama administration think that that failed web site
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and the wasting of $240 million in taxpayer money is a sign that the health care law is working? is this administration pleased with the way oregon's obamacare exchange wasted nearly a quarter of a billion dollars? that's one state alone. now, just next door in washington state they're having troubles of their own. there was an article in "the hill" newspaper here in washington on february 25 titled " state's obamacare overcharges 13,000," 13,000 people. they were overcharged in the state's obamacare exchange in washington state. according to the article the washington state obamacare exchange says that its web site -- said that it withdrew the incorrect amount of money from the bank accounts of 1,300 people. so think about that in reference to your own checking account
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where there may be an automatic withdrawal based on a cable bill, cell phone bill, whatever. well many people, 13,000 here in this case in washington state have a withdrawal from the washington state obamacare exchange. 13,000 incorrect amount withdrawn. it says that some of the people say that more than three times the correct amount was withdrawn for their monthly premium for health insurance. i mean, could you imagine if the electric company one of the utilities, your cell phone your cable withdrew three times the amount expected from your checking account for that monthly bill? for some people, that glitch in the state system probably meant their accounts were going to end up overdrawn. even if the states get the problem fixed right away, that's
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an alarming failure by that obamacare exchange. is the obama administration pleased with the anxiety the exchange is causing 13,000 people in washington state? these are just a few of the ways obamacare is not living up to the promises the democrats and the administration made to the american people. mr. president, later this month on march 23, we'll hit the fifth anniversary of president obama signing this health care bill into law. if monday's event with secretary burwell was any indication, the white house is going to throw a celebration. they will say once again they are pleased and they will say that obamacare is working. the obama administration shouldn't be pleased with its health care law. the obama administration and every democrat who voted for it should be embarrassed by it. it isn't what democrats promised. it's not what people wanted. people wanted something very
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simple when it came to their health care and health care reform. people wanted the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. that's what republicans in the senate are planning to give them. we could do it without a 2,000-page law. we could do it without all of the negative side effects of obamacare. that will be health care reform worth celebrating. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. p. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to join senator leahy the ramping member of the -- the ranking member of the judiciary committee, in explaining an
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amendment that we have filed amendment number 290 to the justice for victims of trafficking act. i would like to take this opportunity to thank senators ayotte murkowski heitkamp, and baldwin for also cosponsoring our amendment and for their strong support. mr. president, our amendment would reauthorize the runaway and homeless youth act amendment programs which expired in the year 2013. these three programs -- the street outreach program the basic center program and the transitional living program -- have helped thousands of our homeless youth meet their immediate needs and provided long-term residential services
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for those who sadly cannot be safely reunited with their families. mr. president, the street outreach program helps homeless and runaway youth find stable housing and connects them with the treatment counseling, and crisis prevention they need. a central goal of this program is to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. the basic center program helps community-based providers meet the basic needs of shelter food and clothing for homeless youth. and the transitional living program supports long-term housing services that help our homeless youth enter stable living environments and develop critical life skills.
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the amendment that senator leahy and i and our cosponsors are offering complements the underlying bill by addressing prevention intervention, and recovery services for the victims of sex trafficking. particularly among one of the most vulnerable populations and that is our homeless youth. according to the institutes of medicine and the national resource council homelessness is one of the most common risk factors for sex trafficking. without access to food, shelter and social supports, homeless youth too often turn to what is termed "survival sex," a way to trade sex for a place to sleep
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and other basic necessities. another recent report found that one in four homeless youth are victims of sex trafficking or engage in survival sex. approximately 48% of homeless youth have done so because they did not have a safe place to stay. our amendment strengthens the existing programs by ensuring that service providers know how to identify trafficking victims and give these youth the support that they need. in maine mr. president our homeless shelters are critical partners in the fight to end human trafficking. in portland, the preville street resource center has used runaway
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and homeless youth resources to connect people who need food, safe shelter health services, and educational support with those who can provide those services. the preville anti-trafficking coalition is currently helping currently 50 trafficking victims whose ages range from 15 to 42 start new lives. mr. president, there are more than 1.6 million homeless teens in the united states, an astonishing number. a growing number of homeless youth identify as lgbt, and it is estimated that up to 40% of runaway and homeless youth are
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lgbt. our amendment would also ensure that those seeking services through these federal programs are not denied assistance based on their race, color religion, national origin sexual identity gender identity disability or gender. all homeless homeless young people need access to safe beds at night and services during the day so that they will never have to choose between selling their bodies and a safe place to sleep. mr. president, the stand-alone bill the pending bill -- i'm sorry, the stand stand-alone bill on which our amendment was based was reported out of the judiciary committee during the
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last congress with an overwhelming strong, bipartisan vote of 15-3. it has the support of nearly 270 organizations, including service providers, anti-trafficking advocates, and many faith-based organizations that serve homeless youth each and every day. covenant house the largest service provider for runaway and homeless youth strongly supports our reauthorization of these programs. let me thank senator leahy for working so hard and for working to incorporate important feedback into our amendment such as supplying the nondiscrimination clause only to the runaway and homeless youth
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programs and clarifying the continued ability to provide sex-specific shelters and programming; in other words an all-girls shelter, for example or an all-male shelter. mr. president, let me take this opportunity to also commend senator cornyn and senator klobuchar for their work on the justice for victims of trafficking act a bill that i have proudly cosponsored. the policies and tools included in this bill are important pieces of the federal response to the horrific crime of human trafficking. congress must do more to provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to pursue, to end sex
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trafficking and to also support preventive programs such as the runaway and homeless youth programs that help those who fall victim to traffickers. in many ways, our bill is a bookend for the bill that is pending on the senate floor because it focuses on the service end in helping those who are most vulnerable our young people. by providing homeless young people with the support and services they need, we can help prevent them from ever being trafficked in the first place. the runaway and homeless youth programs have provided a lifeline in housing for america's homeless and for its
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human trafficking youth for 40 years. they are a vital tool in addressing these serious problems and i urge my colleagues to support our bipartisan amendment. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i want to thank the distinguished senior senator from maine my new england neighbor, for her comments speaking on the leahy leahy-collins amendment 290. she and i and others have worked on this for a very long time. i think of -- in her comments she talked about shelters for a homeless teen. i think how much better the whole country is if this
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homeless teen can turn to a shelter and not to a trafficker. as i said earlier on the floor these homeless within a very short time after they become homeless traffickers find them, they find them at bus stops they find them at pis did a pizza hut. they find them looking for shelter. in a couple of states like mine and the senator from maine's you need -- this time of year especially you need shelter or you die you literally die in a matter of a relatively short time from the cold. we see what happens. listen to the stories of the survivors who began as homeless
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or runaway teen, they're scared, desperate for sleep. our children or o grandchildren, they don't have to be scared or desperate for affection. they have affection at home. they have a safe place to sleep. they have food. but for a lot of these runaways, that's not the case. we can reauthorize the runaways for homeless youth act. we can ensure no child is turned away regardless of their religion their race or who they love. a child is a child is a child. they all deserve protection. we don't ask and say okay, you four homeless children, we take care of you but not you because you're the wrong race or you're the wrong religion, or you love the wrong person.
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you have to just stay out there and be prey to the traffickers who are bringing the others, and recount some of the stories i told before. the traffickers i prosecuted years ago and the horrible stories. i know the distinguished senator from maine has seen these shelters. she's seen and heard these stories. when you do, it tears your heart apart. i hope that the amendment that she and senator murkowski and i and others have written in support, i hope it will become become -- will be in the final bill as it's passed. again, i thank my friend from maine for her hard work, and i yield the floor.
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i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president i know the distinguished senator from vermont and from maine -- the presiding officer: senator, the senate is in quorum call. mr. cornyn: i apologize. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i was just going to say i know the distinguished senator from vermont and maine have been here talking about an amendment that they would hope to offer to this trafficking this antitrafficking bill. but the sad fact is no one's going to get to offer any amendments to this bill unless the democratic leader, senator reid decides that we're going to have an open amendment process, because right now there's objections that anyone setting any of the amendments for votes much less asking to set aside the pending amendment and making your amendment the pending amendment so it could be considered scheduled for a vote.
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and i just want to make sure our colleagues understand the rationale for this because i've had conversations with a number of members of the judiciary committee who voted unanimously to support this bill. that doesn't happen very often that we have that kind of unanimous support. and ten of our democratic colleagues are cosponsors on the original bill. so it might sound strange that after ten democrats have cosponsored the bill, after all of the republicans, all the democrats on the judiciary committee have voted to support this bill, and that the minority leader, senator reid, himself has agreed to dispense with the normal procedural process to get the bill on the floor that we would now have this unusual situation where this bill is
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being hijacked and being used to debate something that it really doesn't have very much to do about, and that is the subject of abortion. some of our colleagues raised this issue yesterday for the first time, and they were -- they said they were surprised to find some language in the underlying bill that limited the use of the funds in this bill consistent with the hyde amendment. the hyde amendment is a prohibition against the use of taxpayer funds for abortion, and it's been the law of the land for 39 years. 39 years. all of -- all our bill does is preserve the status quo when it comes to the hyde amendment. and that all of a sudden, some of our colleagues woke up, i guess yesterday morning and discovered this and said they were outraged and it was totally unacceptable. when we offered them an opportunity to offer an amendment to change that, they said no, we don't want an
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amendment. we don't want to change it by a vote of the senate. we just want to block the bill. we want to kill the bill. and that's what, unless something changes between now and the time we vote on cloture on the bill, is going to happen. because they don't want to amendment the bill. they don't want to allow others an opportunity like the senator from maine, the senator from vermont, an opportunity to amend the bill. they just want to kill the bill. so it really is baffling to me on a topic that we all ought to agree is an important one where some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society -- children who have been sex trafficked -- would be the beneficiaries of the bill that we are for some reason debating a provision in the bill that was in the bill when ten democrats agreed to cosponsor it, when all members of the judiciary committee, including those same democrats, agreed to vote for
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the bill, when the democratic leader agreed to bring it to the floor unanimously by a vote of the senate, and then all of a sudden we want to try to revisit a provision that's been the law of the land for 39 years. so i hope that something happens between now and the end of the week that causes some of our friends to reconsider this idea that they're going to filibuster this bill that many of them cosponsored and many of them voted for. it would be a real shame and a tragedy if something that was designed to help these vulnerable kids was killed here in the senate because this became a political football and that would be a shame as i say. i know the distinguished senator from utah is here and is ready to speak so, madam president i yield the floor.
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mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: let me speak for a few seconds on what the distinguished senator from texas has just said. it would be absolutely pathetic if this bill was stopped. a bill this important that means so much to our families and to our children was stopped because of the long-term language that has been, like i say for what, 39 years. i can't believe that this senate has become so political that we would raise that issue at this time on this bill that almost everybody with any brains at all would be for. i'd be ashamed of myself. the fact of the matter is, is that -- and then not be willing to bring up an amendment if they don't like the language and go through the regular order and act like the u.s. senate, and act like u.s. senators. it's pathetic. what have we come to around here that we're so doggone partisan that we can't even pass a bill
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to protect children? i think it's pathetic is all i can say. madam president, i ask that my following remarks be placed at an appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: madam president in my nearly 40 years in public service, i've become very concerned with the state of our national security. from the firestorm of terrorism that has swept syria and iraq to the looming specter of a nuclear iran our nation faces yet another potential catastrophe in ukraine where russian separatists and soldiers continue their drive to consume as much of that nation as president putin desires. it is particularly vexing that each of these catastrophes could have been prevented or at least greatly mitigated had the instigators of this offense believed the united states intended to use its national power to defer and if
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necessary, repulse those seeking to use aggression against our national interest. madam president, as i mention bfd, ukraine is the latest example, almost one year ago russian forces seized and then annexed the crimean peninsula. ever since then russian separatists and russian forces have snapped up large parts of eastern ukraine. until last year the areas controlled by russian separatists and russian forces could be into two areas along the russian border. specifically the northern area around the city of luhans and around the city of donetsk and between these two areas lies the towns of dabovila a vital transportation hub and by seizing this town russia can
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transport troops more easily between the russian controlled areas in the north and south. however, after weeks of fighting in and around the area a cease-fire was brokered called minsk ii. unfortunately it was not worth the paper it was written on. predictably less than 72 hours after the cease-fire was signed, russian-backed forces violated the protocol and ukrainian soldiers retreated from the town under heavy fire. adding insult to injury, president putin was quoted by "the new york times" after the fall of diboltsiva saying life is life, no need to respond. end quote. what is the response to this aggression? until today the only concrete action as reported by nbc news is that the administration has decided to send fewer than ten soldiers to western ukraine to
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provide combat medical training to ukrainian forces. madam president, this would not be so laughable if i did not believe the ukrainians will require far greater medical assistance if russian aggression continues unabated. but now that russian-backed forces solidified their control over swathes of eastern ukraine what comes next? will mr. putin be appeased and go home? i very much doubt it. recent reports indicate that both sides have moved some heavy weapons away from the battlefield. nevertheless, i believe this could just be a lull in the storm. as i mentioned earlier russian forces of annexed crimea, which is a peninsula between the black sea and the sea of azov, to supply their forces in crimea, russians must fly over, across a narrow strip of water between the black sea and the sea of azov calling the kirch strait.
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if russians control the land between crimea and the russian border, they could ship these supplies for efficiently and at lower cost. this stretch of land, of course, is ukrainian sovereign territory. therefore, it is very possible that the russians will move to conquer this region to establish a land corridor between russia and crimea. many military experts believe this is russia's objective since russian-backed separatists have intensified their military activities around the port city of maripol. "the new york times" reports the city -- quote -- "is a bustling port in a strategic location on the sea of azov near the russian border. maripol is the only major obstacle to the russians requiring a long-held goal of opening a land route between russia and crimea and taking complete control of the sea of azov and its rich storm system
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infrastructure." in addition, the highly regarded institute for the study of war has noted that a village approximately eight miles from the maripol has -- quote -- "become the most actively contested area" in the region. so what has been our response to this aggression? how has this administration preserving what is giewply one of the greatest -- arguably one of the greatest national security arguments? to be honest not much. until the last 12 months this administration's pollyanna policy towards russia was defined by the so-called reset. it was my impression to convince the russians we were not a threat and should work together for the common good. unfortunately the russians exploited the former and did not give a darn about the latter. then as the situation in crimea and eastern ukraine continued to
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grow more dire, we institute add series of economic sanctions. first against russian officials and then later against banks and businesses associated with putin's cronies. these economic sanctions have grown against a number of key russian energy banking and defense firms and to be fair, today the administration had aons nod a modest increase in the number of individuals to which economic sanctions will be directed against. however, madam president one would be hardpressed to call these sanctions robust. individualindividuals assets were frozen but they are hardly naff to make mr. putin think twice before proceeding to use force against his next objective. what about our diplomatic efforts? well as the congressional research service has stated, quote, the strags has appeared -- the administration has appeared to
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leave the p. it to france and germany ivmentz what about u.s. military aid? according to the congressional research srvetion the yaws has allocated $120 until security assistance so far. today our government announced a modest increase in aid of the aid previously announced funds were used for body armor helmets, vehicles, night and they are mall vision devices advanced radios, patrol boats rations, tents unilateral forth and first-aid equipment and supplies. glaringly absent from this list are the pieces of equipment that could tilt the balance of power and change mr. putin's calculations. specifically where are the intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance heavy weapons and logistics assets? and what is the administration's response? well just this week broi an mckeean stated, more than a
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year after the russian invasion of crimea, the obama administration is -- quote -- "still working on the interagency group on reviewing a number of options including lethal defensive weapons but i can't tell you a timetable on when we might have a decision on additional assistance." that's pathetic by any measure. madam president, i i'm flabbergasted not only by mr. mr. mckeean's comments or that anybody would see this as a legitimate answer. what about the deployment of more u.s. military units to europe to reassure our allies? while the u.s. has deployed some troops to the region that is not enough to convince moscow this administration is determined to give a resolute response to further russian agrogs. specifically the initial deployment of u.s. land forces were in company-size units. the company-size unit has less
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than 150 soldiers. an insufficient force to amount to an effective deterrent. then the administration announced that a single armored brigade which consists of less than 150 tanks will be deployed on a rotational basis. once again, this is a relatively small force to deter what historically has been one of the great land armies. madam president deterrence comes through strength. the world has changed since the fall of the berlin wall but it appears this has been lost on president putin. indeed it appears that president obama believes the world has changed more than it has, regardless the united states must take more forceful and dynamic actions. otherwise our policy of appeasement could result in more than just a loss of eastern ukraine. thank you, madam president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the officer sper without objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i thought i might just take a faux minutes during this -- a few minutes during this lull in our schedule where -- and if other senators are coming down to talk, i will yield to them -- but to talk a little bit about what's in this legislation, the justice for victims of trafficking act because while i'm on the judiciary committee the senator from vermont is on the judiciary committee, and he has worked with us, with me and others -- we've worked together on this piece of legislation i'm aware of the fact that there are many senators for whom this is a relatively new topic, who have
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not been as immersed in it. first, i would just say by way of major support that there are 200 victims rights groups and law enforcement organizations that have endorsed this legislation -- 200 of them. i'm looking forward to having a conference call with them this afternoon where i can explain to them how we are currently stuck and to solicit their help for us to get unstuck so we can hopefully move this legislation along, have an open amendment process and working with our colleagues in the house send this important legislation to the president. but more than 200 victims rights and law enforcement organizations have endorsed this legislation, including shared hope international rights right rights4girls the fraternal order of police, the national center for missing and exploited children the national association for the advancement of colored people, the national
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children's alliance, the national criminal justice association, the end child prostitution and trafficking organization protect alliance to end slavery and trafficking the national association of police organizations the national conference of state legislatures and the national district attorneys association. i read that rather long list of support from organizations to point out that there is nothing political about this particular bill. this is neither a republican bill or a democrat bill. this is, i think, in the best traditions of the united states senate and the united states congress when members of congress on both sides of the aisle try to work together to come up with a policy solution that makes sense and that will help. one of the key features of the
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justice for victims of trafficking act is the creation of a special crime victims compensation fund. it's called the domestic trafficking victims fund. when i was -- had the honor of serving as attorney general of texas, we had a crime victims compensation fund much like i suspect most states have where people who commit crimes, who pay fines and penalties that those are then paid into a fund and then distributed on a grant basis by the state to help organizations like the court-appointed special advocates groups, casa, which i worked closely with as attorney general, and a number of crime victims groups and other survivors of crime. what we do is use that same model here, and we take the money that's paid by people convicted of human trafficking
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sexual abuse child pornography child sexual exploitation, interstate transportation for illegal sexual activity, and commercial human smuggling and we require a special additional assessment of $5,000 upon conviction for anyone of this class -- these class of crimes. in other words one of the things that we are trying to do is move from this model of just dealing with the supply of a problem and dealing with the demand side. the and so what we're trying -- and so what we're trying to do is focus on the people who purchase these services, these illicit services, from trafficking victims and then to use that fund to try to do some good to provide grants to various faith-based organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the like that help treat the victims of child trafficking and then to hopefully help them begin to
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heal. -- once they're rescued from their abusers and their assailants. the other thing we do, sort of from a structural point of view, is we don't treat a young girl who has been trafficked as the criminal. in other words in the past i think there's been somewhat of a tendency to say we're going to arrest a 15-year-old girl and charge her for being a prostitute when in fact she has no choice in the matter. she is being compelled by either violence or some other coercive means to do what she is doing so it's not a voluntary act on her part. so what weigh do we do is we don't treat them as the criminal. we treat the purchaser of these services as the criminal. we fine them. we use that money then to supply services to help that victim get rescued and get better and to heal and to get on with their
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lives. so that's what's a little different here because we're not actually using tax dollars. we're actually using the fines and the penalties assessed against these perpetrators to help these victims heal once they're rescued. so that's one of the most important parts of this bill. we expect that there would be roughly $30 million a year available for that out of this bill alone. that would be in addition to other things that we are doing and other things that are being done at the local and state level. we also make sure that we clarify the benefits and protections offered to victims of domestic human trafficking. under current law u.s. citizens are sometimes placed at a disadvantage when seeking services to restore them to their well-being and to offer them protection.
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but now we would offer -- we would make sure that those services are available without regard to citizenship and to make sure that people who would otherwise not get benefits will get benefits. this disparity in certifications led to some confusion as you might imagine so that, for example, if you're a young -- a young person who has been trafficked from central america through mexico into the united states under current law you actually would be eligible for a temporary visa while you cooperate with law enforcement because that testimony would be essential to convict the person who trafficked them. but this clarifies that u.s. citizens and lawful permanent residents should never be depend services due to the fact that they have not received that kind of special certification. it's a little technical but it's an important area. we also provide child human
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trafficking deterrence block grants paid entirely through the crime victims compensation fund i mentioned a moment ago. and these funds would be granted to qualifying organizations based on their focus on victim rescue and restoration. collaboration between law enforcement social services, emergency responders, children's advocacy centers victim service providers and nonprofits would be encouraged in order to help communities and government work together to develop a holistic approach to figure out what works best to protect victims of trafficking and to serve victims. it also would create a new purpose area upped the victims of child abuse act to allow the 900 children's advocacy centers across the country that provide restore tiff services for victims of child pornography.
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it requires not less than $2 million a year be dedicated to this purpose. i might just add that in my experience in texas the children's advocacy centers are some of the most outstanding organizations that exist for the treatment of victims of abuse and trafficking. and one of the key features in the children's advocacy centers that i visited is that you can imagine a child that's been assaulted or a victim of human trafficking is not only going to be terrified by the experience, but they're also terrified by the law enforcement authorities who try to question them and who try to get evidence that they can use to be able to make a case and a conviction against the person who did harm to the child. but the children's advocacy centers have an amazing way of creating a more relaxed atmosphere where law enforcement and social service providers can work together in an environment where a child does not feel
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threatened and where the child can actually not only get better begin to get better, but also cooperate with law enforcement authorities and provide more reliable testimony and evidence can be used to convict the perpetrators. we also in the bill we would amend the human trafficking asset forfeit statute for money laundering and eliminating the need for prosecutors to show direct traceability to the underlying time and the targeted proceeds when they can show the assets were involved in the crime or used to conceal the source of criminal assets. this is basically another -- taking another provision of current law and i realize the whole issue of asset forfeitable when taken to the extreme and i know chairman grassley is interested in holding hearings about this, but i think the part of this is not controversial is to taking the
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very assets that are used in the commission of a crime and forfeiting that by the perpetrator and, again, using those funds in part to help their victims get better. we also have a provision in the bill that would allow for the streamlining of criminal investigations of human trafficking. under current law state and local law enforcement may obtain a wiretap warrant in state court upon showing that the investigation may provide evidence of murder, kidnapping gambling, robbery, bribery, extortion or dealing with narcotic drugs including marijuana or other dangerous drugs or other crimes dangerous to life limb or property, then punishable by imprisonment more than young year. we would provide additional
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tools for law enforcement to conduct the lawful wiretaps in order to get evidence that's important to convicting the perpetrators of these terrible crimes. we also would require better reporting of this terrible crime of human trafficking. part of the problem with human trafficking, i remember a few years ago when the super bowl was in dallas, actually working with local law enforcement there, where i learned for the first time that unfortunately at the same time that the super bowl is held in different cities around the country that there is a spike in the amount of trafficking that occurs in conjunction with these huge public events. that was quite an eye-opening experience for me. but part of what we need to do is to get the facts and to make sure that human trafficking is treated as the serious crime
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that it is for purposes of the f.b.i.'s uniform crime reporting program. and this legislation would encourage law enforcement to investigate and report human trafficking activity by classifying this as a part 1 violent crime and requiring it to be included in the calculation of index crime rates. again, making sure that we understand what the facts are because i think the fact is that so much of this crime and this sort of activity is hidden from public view. and so most americans probably don't know that this sort of activity goes on in their cities in their states, and across the country. and this would help us deal with that. we would also under another provision of the bill make sure that we use existing task forces to target offenders who exploit children and we would in particular target child predators. one of the things that you learn
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as you get deeper into this topic is the sad fact that somebody who sexually abuses a child is likely to do it more than once. in other words these -- these twisted individuals unfortunately are going to commit crime after crime after crime after crime until they're caught and taken out of commission. this is one reason why i feel so strongly we had to eliminate the rape kit backlogs around country opportunity and we worked so closely with a courageous woman named debbie smith to reauthorize the debbie smith act to make sure the money the congress appropriated for the rape kit backlog was adequately funded. because due to the pure of d.n.a. testing, you can identify people who commit these serial offenses and law enforcement can connect the dots
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better and in the same time exonerate people who perhaps have been falsely accused because they are excluded through a d.n.a. test through this rape kit backlog elimination effort. so trying to make sure that -- that we take these serial offenders off the streets is a priority under our bill. i just want to mention a couple of other things. as i said, we worked very closely with a a number of colleagues including the senator from vermont, the senator from california senator feinstein senator coons senator wyden senator klobuchar and the other side. on our side we've had a lot of great effort by senator portman, senator kirk, among others. the truth is senator collins has certainly made important contributions but i want to particularly recognize the
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contribution of the senator from california senator feinstein. we added a second title a title 2 in the legislation entitled combating human trafficking and senator feinstein was the person who made that major contribution to this effort. my point is that this has really been as i said at the beginning, this has been a bipartisan collaborative effort, something we don't see enough of here in washington, d.c. untainted by politics and ideology where we actually try to do some good for people who needed our help the most. so senator feinstein contributed much of the meat of title 2 including amendments to the runaway and homeless youth act a response to victims of child trafficking provision, creating an interagency task force on child trafficking primary
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prevention and requiring a general accountability office report to congress that includes information on federal and state law enforcement agencies to combat trafficking in the u.s. and that it include information on each available grant program intended to combat human trafficking or assist victims of trafficking. on our side of the aisle as i mentioned, one of the people who has been a relentless warrior on this has been our friend the junior senator from illinois senator kirk, who contributed the hero act to this legislation. that's title 3 under the hero act. under that important part of the legislation that makes up this overall bill, the justice for victims of trafficking act the hero act would provide express statutory authorization for the existing i.c.e. cyber crime center that's immigration and
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customs enforcement. recognizing so much of -- recognizing searching with what happens in terms of the marketing and solicitation for people to engage in these crimes occurs on the internet. the senator from illinois was on the floor yesterday afternoon where i had -- talked about this one particular site that has been responsible for the trafficking in so much human flesh, mainly in the form of minor children. and his efforts to combat that. but part of what the hero act does would be to make sure that we have this powerful tool in the fight against sexual exploitation of children and the production advertisement distribution of child pornography and child sex tourism if you can imagine such a thing. the hero act would also authorize the cyber crime center to collaborate with the department of defense and the national association to protect children for the purpose of recruiting training, and
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hiring wounded and transitioning military veterans to serve as law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. this child exploitation section uses sophisticated investigative tools to target violators who operate on the internet which is as i said one of the primary focuses of the senator from illinois in his efforts. targeting the use of web sites chat rooms email and child faring applications. major initiatives including things like operation predator, within the homeland security, isis flagship investigation -- i.c.e.'s flag schiff investigators. it includes the child victim identification system developed to assist law enforcement
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agencies in developing victims of child sexual exploitation and the alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to fight online child exploitation and abuse. so madam president i realize this has been rather lengthy but i thought it was worth making sure that all of our colleagues and anybody within the sound of my voice who cared to listen understood what was in this important piece of legislation the justice for victims of trafficking act. just to summarize 200 organizations across the country who are focused like a laser on the bane and the evil that child sex trafficking is have entowards this legislation. it is the original piece of legislation that had ten democratic cosponsors, about an equal number perhaps, i can't remember the exact number, of republican cosponsors, and it passed by unanimous vote of the
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senate judiciary committee in february. and coming to the floor we've had something that hasn't happened often enough in my view which was the democrats and republicans together agreed to bypass the usual cumbersome procedure to actually get a bill to the floor known as cloture and we all agreed that we should take up this bill together. that's when things went off the rails, sadly but i am an optimistic person, and i am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail. i've had some private conversations with a number of senators who are really very disturbed by the possibility that legislation as important as this is to the victims of human trafficking might -- might be kicked to the curb because of some phony diversion and
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argument about restrictions on funding. again, the provisions in this bill that limit the use of the funds for under the hyde amendment has been the law of the land for 39 years. it actually was originally started in 1976. basically, the hyde amendment says no taxpayer funds may be used for abortion services, and this has been one of the rare areas in an area of great controversy, the subject of abortion, where congress has come together on a bipartisan basis to say we're going to draw a bright line there saying no matter what your views are on abortion we're not going to allow taxpayer funds to be used for abortion. and again that started in 1976, and it's been the law of the land since that time. and every appropriation bill that's passed, including the c
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cromnibus, the continuing resolution omnibus bill that was passed last fall in the lame-duck session of congress, included a restriction known as the hyde amendment restriction in it. as a matter of fact, we specifically referenced that provision in the justice for victims of trafficking act. so you can imagine my surprise when -- i think it was yesterday that i got calls letters heard speeches that people were surprised, shocked that this provision was in the legislation when of course it was filed in january, i think january 13, and made public to the world. if anybody thought it was hidden, it was hidden in plain sight to anybody who cared to read it, and to me what was so surprising about some of the reaction is that this is -- maintains the status quo. this doesn't change anything that has been the law of the land for 39 years since the
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original hyde amendment was adopted. so my hope is that we can break out of this terrible psych -- cycle of dysfunction which i think frankly reflects congress in a very negative light. i certainly hear it back home in texas. people say well, can't you all get along? can't you do anything? i mean, they understand, they don't want us to compromise our principles and we won't. i don't think we should. but there are so many areas like this where we are hnida together and trying to do everything we can to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute human trafficking and to help the victims of human trafficking heal after they are rescued to heal to get better and to get on with their lives. and that's all this legislation does. i say that's all. that's a pretty big deal, and it
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provides $30 million a year of of -- not tax dollars. these are fines and penalties paid by the people who commit these terrible crimes. it provides $30 million a year of funds that can go as grants to faith-based organizations child advocacy centers you name it organizations who spend their lives trying to help these children get better and get on with their lives that money is available for them. but if we don't pass this bill this week, that's not going to happen. how tragic it would be if somehow we let the politics of the day and this feigned outrage over a provision that's been the law of the land for 39 years derail us from doing our job. i have every confidence that every member of this body's heart is in the right place when
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it comes to trying to help these victims of human trafficking. i just ask us to get our head screwed on right. i know our heart's in the right place, but frankly i'm a little worried about people's heads not being screwed on quite right. when it comes to focusing on a solution that is within our reach and one that is, i think, -- that has i think enjoyed so much support all across the country. as i mentioned more than 200 victims rights and law enforcement organizations across the country. i'm looking forward here probably in just the next ten minutes or so to joining a conference call where various members of these organizations where i can update them on where we are and basically ask for their help. call your senator. call your congressman. tell him we need to get this done because in all likelihood tomorrow we're going to have a very important vote in the senate. i said i wasn't going to get
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mired down in procedure but we do have an important vote tomorrow which is called a cloture vote. in other words, in order to get to a final passage of this bill, we need to have at least 60 senators, 60 senators out of 100 vote for ending debate on the bill. that's called a cloture vote. but if we don't have 60 senators vote to end debate on this bill, then basically we're dead in the water. so we have 54 senators on our side of the aisle and 46 on the other side of the aisle and you would think that on a bill that does as much as this bill does for the victims of human trafficking and that is so devoid of politics that we could get 60 votes or more. i wish we could get 100 votes to close off debate and finally pass this bill.
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if we did that, in short order i know we could work with our colleagues in the house of representatives that have passed -- already passed a similar although a little bit different bill to try to reconcile those two pieces of legislation and get them to president obama's desk for his signature. the sooner we do that, the sooner these victims of human trafficking will get the help that they need that this bill would provide. and so, madam president i hope that -- i hope that senators will think long and hard about their vote on closing off debate tomorrow and getting us to the finish line on this legislation. again, we don't need everybody we don't need 100 senators to vote to close off debate tomorrow but we do need 60, and if we don't get 60, this bill is going to be dead in the water. so i would just ask all of our colleagues to examine their conscience and just to think a
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little bit about what we are doing here and how much good we could do if we come together. i know from talking to some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they have had some sleepless nights. several of our colleagues said they just basically have had a hard time sleeping thinking about the human tragedy reflected in human trafficking and they are worried whether we will actually be able to get this bill over the finish line. so i hope and pray that we will. we'll find out tomorrow. but really, this is something that's in our hands. we can't control a lot of things in the world but we can control whether or not we produce 60 votes here in the united states senate tomorrow to close off debate to get to final passage by a majority vote in the senate and if we can then we're going to be able to expedite the help that these victims of human trafficking need, we're going to be able to make sure that the predators who prey on innocent children and other victims of
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human trafficking that they pay the price but that out of that bad comes some good when children are rescued and these victims begin the process of healing. madam president, i yield the floor, and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. reid: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is. mr. reid: i would ask unanimous consent it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, i was stunned a few minutes ago to hear the republican leader on the floor speaking about the trafficking legislation that's now before the senate. i'm glad he is speaking about the legislation. he has done that quite a bit. but as he spoke about the bill, he said that -- it's really stunning what he said. this bill is being hijacked and being used to debate something that is really -- that really doesn't have much to do -- i'm
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sorry. i will read it verbatim. this bill is being hijacked and being used to debate something that really doesn't have very much to do about and that is the subject of abortion. i totally agree with my friend from texas. this bill has been hijacked by an issue completely unrelated to human trafficking. i would suggest to the majority take it out. we can debate how it's in the bill some said by sleight of hand some said democratic staff should have seen it was in there. it's in there and has to go out. unless that language is taken out of the bill there will be no bill. we cannot have this legislation hijacked by an abortion issue. my friend, the president pro tem of the senate and the chairman of the finance committee, here's what he said -- "i believe this senate has become so political we would raise that issue at this time on this bill." raise the issue. he took the words right out of
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my mouth. i can't believe it, either. so i say to my friends the majority take the abortion language out of the bill, it has nothing to do with abortion. so i hope my republican friends will choose to do the right thing and eliminate this unrelated issue from an otherwise good piece of legislation. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: are we in a quorum call mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. portman: okay, i would ask to be recognized. i would like to talk about a couple of amendments to the legislation that we're considering this week which is
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the human trafficking legislation. this has been up to this point a bipartisan exercise. in fact, senator blumenthal from connecticut and i started a caucus here in the senate on human trafficking about three and a half years ago understanding that there was increasing concern about and awareness of this issue around the country wanted to bring our colleagues together to talk about the issue and we now have many other members of the senate who are part of that. we have met monthly having meetings holding up people who are doing great things around the country also describing the problem so that all of us, members of the senate and their staff, understand the seriousness of this issue and why we need to address it. that has always been nonpartisan. not just bipartisan but nonpartisan. i think it's time for us to move forward with this debate, to have these amendments offered and to actually vote on this legislation that would help to deal with this problem all around the country. unfortunately, it's everywhere. o people think this is an international issue that only
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human trafficking concern we should have would be in africa or asia or other countries but actually it happens right here. and it happens in my home state of ohio. i first got involved in this issue when a stool outside the city of toledo came to me and told me their concern these young people were getting involved and engaged in it and the more we learned the more i looked into it, the more i realized this is something that's very real in my communities i represent in ohio. and the same is true unfortunately, i believe in every state represented in this chamber. we have had an interesting debate so far sometimes we've gotten a little sidetracked on an issue we saw a moment ago but for the most part i've been pleased over the last few days we've talked about the scope of the problem we've talked about some of the solutions to it, some of the good legislation in the underlying bill, there are two pieces of legislation that i authored that are part of the underlying bill. i'm happy about that. they're both bipartisan. and then there's a couple of amendments that i think would be very helpful for us to include
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in the legislation. i offered those amendments earlier this week with the hopes that they would have already been considered. they have not been considered yet but again, i hope we can move forward with this. the longer we wait, the more difficult it becomes for us to move forward i believe so i hope we can reresolve whatever differences there are and move forward so we can actually help those victims of trafficking who are looking for our support and again, if we aren't going to act here in the senate and aren't going to move this in the house and get it to the president for signature every day more and more people are in danger particularly children, of falling into the hands of human traffickers. the amendments i want to talk about if i can the first is ensuring a better response for victims of sex trafficking. this contains a piece of legislation that i offered a couple of years ago with senator wyden of oregon. and senator wyden's legislation and my legislation called the
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child sex trafficking was enacted into law last year and that was the data part of the bill. in other words, the part of the bill that relates to how do we improve the information we're getting on sex trafficking so we can better address the problem. law enforcement officials have been looking for better information around the country they want to know what the best practices are and how to deal with it so the scope of the problem is important to understand the problem to come up with solutions. now we need to get to the second part of the legislation that was not enacted last year that's on the response portion. the amendment does just that. the response portion of the bill changes the way we treat victims of sex trafficking. right now many of these victims are falling within the cracks. children are only eligible for help through the child welfare system if they are abused by their parents. currently, because children are only allowed to be eligible for help in that category, some
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kids just cannot get the help that they need. this legislation ensures that all children who are trafficked are considered sexual victims. victims of sexual abuse. and can a be eligible for services as they go through what is sometimes a long and arduous process of recovery. the second amendment i want to include gets at some of the underlying problems that make it more likely that a child will be trafficked and we've heard a loot about it on the floor i've talked about it in terms of missing children, one of the elements of the underlying bill is a bill we put forward the last couple years on how to identify missing children, why, because those children who are runaways or go missing tend to be some of the most vulnerable to sex traffickers. so the idea, let's get the best information on those kids as soon as possible to find them. there has been have 67 kids who have gone missing in ohio in the last month and a half and yet we only have records for 20-some kids i think 26 kids in terms of photographs. so the legislation would require photographs or all these -- for all these kids so the kids that
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are not currently able to be found because you can't find a photograph of them, you can't get a photograph, can be easily -- more easily found not just by law enforcement but by citizens who are being diligent. there's another issue addressed in this amendment which is cosponsored by senator feinstein. the first one is out of a wyden-portman bill and this is out of a feinstein-portman bill so these are bipartisan bills. and it currently is true that there is an over narrow definition of homelessness by the department of housing and urban development. that's current law. we're trying to change that to expand that definition to include the children who unfortunately, many times are vulnerable to trafficking. let me give you an example of the scope of this problem. during this last school year, two years ago now 2012-2013 there were 24,236 kids in ohio who were homeless at one point
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during the school year. however, the federal department counted only 4,700 cases so you got over 24,000 kids who are homeless yet this department says only 4,700. in other words the very program meant to help these kids undercounted by a factor of five so the amendment simply updates the definition of homelessness to make sure these kids are not forgotten. we know this action won't end chimed i'mness but it will help put a roof over their helped prevent some of the long-term emotional and developmental effects caused by i'mness as well as keeping these kids off the straits streets so they're not vulnerable to being sex trafficked. we hope for a day when every single child in america is protected. where every child is able to follow their dreams, can live in a home with a family protecting them, watching over them. we know if we're going to see that hope realized we have to fight for it and in the meantime
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we've got important work to do here on the floor of the senate to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect these kids. these two amendments will make this underlying legislation even stronger. i hope my colleagues will support both of them and can get over whatever is holding up the movement on these amendments, get the amendments enacted into law, the bill over to the house of representatives where i believe they will pass it, get it to the president for his signature so we can beside indeed address this horrific practice of human trafficking. i yield back my time, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i thank senator cornyn for his leadership on this important issue. i want to thank senator klobuchar, who i have enjoyed working with on a related bill to stop exploitation through trafficking act which i hope will also be considered during the course of this debate. we must commit to eliminating all formed of modern-day slavery, forms of modern-day slavery and human trafficking these horrendous crimes undermine the human right of
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freedom. for too long we in the united states have assumed this is a president obama for others but not for ourselves. we've heard heartbreaking stories of the underground trafficking of humans but believe this was a tragedy unique to places in the world where a poor economy and weak rule of law allowed vulnerable women and children to fall into these unspeakable circumstances. this is no longer the case. reports and research have brought this crime out of the dark here at home revealing that trafficking in humans is a reality in our own states and communities. ignorance and denial are no longer options. i'm proud to support the legislation we're considering today which would improve services and restitution available to victims of human trafficking. it would make changes to our criminal law to allow law enforcement to hold accountable those offenders that perpetrate these heinous crimes and also better protect those at risk of becoming victims.
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i'm proud to say that my home state of arizona has been a leader on this issue. in april 2013, then-governor jan brewer launched a task force on which brought together law enforcement, nonprofits, think tanks and universities in arizona to examine the issue and explore ways to reduce trafficking and protect victims. the work of this task force led to these results. in 2014, the arizona human trafficking council was established to build on the efforts of the task force in the longer term by improving the state's awareness of human trafficking, protecting cooperation among law enforcement state agencies and the community and improving victim services. the task force yielded legislative accomplishments. based on recommendations of the task force, arizona passed a law in april 2014, that increased penalties for traffickers, makes it easier
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for prosecutors to hold accountable those engaged in prostitution with a minor and protects victims' identities in criminal proceedings. in an effort to equip those in a position to intervene the members of the task force have worked to improve training for social workers, health care providers, and probation officers among others. these efforts provide them with the knowledge and tools needed to stop this exploitation and connect victims with resources to help. and, mr. president i'd be remiss if i failed to mention the hard work of my wife cindy to bring attention to the suffering of those who are victims of human trafficking. she has dedicated herself to their cause and through her service on both the arizona human trafficking task force and council, as well as international efforts to combat trafficking, has become a well-respected and persuasive voice on this vital issue driving change both in arizona and abroad. america's leadership furthering human rights around the world
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means that we must hold ourselves to the highest standards when basic human rights are being undermined right here. i'm grateful for the senate's action on this, we must commit to continue efforts to restoring the freedom of those caught in the horrors of modern slavery and eliminating this crime wherever it occurs. finally, mr. president, you know here in the senate we have gridlock on numerous issues , there are differences of opinion and philosophies. how in the world have we got differences on an issue such as this? is the issue of right to life or abortion such an overwhelming issue that we can't address an issue which has the most egregious crimes against innocent women and children? this is -- this is really not
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an honorable time, or a laudable time for the united states senate. we should be taking up amendments and passing the legislation today. today. so we're letting the issue of partisanship and about really an issue that has been discussed and debated and will be many times in the future, prevent us from moving forward with this legislation. it's not honorable. it's not honorable. for us to hold up this legislation because we have a difference on the issue of abortion. and for my friends on the other side of the aisle i say to you, let's not let this issue prevent us doing the right thing here. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you very, very much. as the ranking member of the budget committee, i want to take a few minutes to discuss the budget situation. my understanding is that senator enzi the chairman of the committee, intends to have a budget committee markup on
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wednesday, march 18 and thursday march 19, and my understanding is that the resolution will come to the floor the following week during the week of march 23, and unless i am very mistaken, we will engage in what is called within the beltway a vote-a-rama. there will be a very significant number of amendments that will be allowed to be offered. mr. president, i think before we discuss a budget whether it is at the federal level state level or one's family, it is imperative to understand the conditions that exist as one prepares a budget. a budget reflects what our country is about. it reflects our national
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priorities. it reflects how we attempt to address the problems we face. it attempts to address how we go forward as a people into the future. so the first issue at hand when we discuss a budget is to, in fact determine what's going on in america today. what are our problems? what should we be doing and what should we not be doing? and i start off with the premise that i think is shared by the vast majority of the american people, is that the middle class of this country over the last 40 years, has been disappearing. that people today by the millions in vermont and throughout this nation are working longer hours for low wages despite a huge increase in productivity. that is the reality that face
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most people in this country but there is another reality and that is that the people on top in the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well. mr. president, today real median family income is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999 in inflation accounted for dollars. why is that? how does that happen? the typical male worker, that man right in the middle of the american economy made $783 less last year than he did 42 years ago after adjusting for inflation. how does that happen? you have got an explosion of technology huge increase in productivity. you have this so-called great global economy free trade all over the world and the typical male worker, the guy in the middle of the economy makes $783 less last year than he did 42 years ago.
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the typical female worker is making $1,337 less than she did in be 2007. today, despite the modest gains of the affordable care act legislation i supported 40 million americans continue to have no health insurance and we remain the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. and then we have today because many people were driven from the middle class into poverty, we have more people today living in poverty than almost any time in the modern history of america. how does that happen? despite a very significant improvement in the economy since president bush left office, real unemployment is not 5.5%. it is 11%. youth unemployment, which we
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never talk about is 17%. and african-american youth unemployment is much higher than that. throughout this country a significant number of young people have given up on the dream of college. here we are in a competitive global economy and you have bright young people from working class families, and they are looking at the cost of college and they are saying sorry ain't for me. i'm not going to come out of school $50,000, $60,000 in debt. what sense is that when we are engaged in enormous economic competition with countries all over the world? and then you have another group of young people graduating college or graduate school in debt to the tune of $50,000 $100,000. i talked to a young doctor in burlington vermont some months ago. she graduated medical school $300,000 in debt for the crime of wanting to be a primary care
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physician. does that make any sense? mr. president, while the middle class continues to disappear the people on top in the largest corporations have never had it so good. that's the other reality of america today. middle class shrinks a whole lot of people living in poverty people have no health insurance kids can't afford to go to college. people on top doing phenomenally well. today, the top 1% earns more income than the bottom 50%. and since the wall street crash of 2008, over 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. over 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. corporate profits are soaring. stock market is up. c.e.o.'s now earn 270 times what their average employee makes.
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mr. president, today the top .1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. top .1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90% and the wealthiest family in this country alone one family, owns more wealth than the bottom 42% of the american family. does that sound like the america that we want to see that we believe in? where so few have so much and so many have so little? mr. president, it's an extraordinary fact, between 1985 and 2013, the bottom 90% of our people lost $10.7 trillion in
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wealth that it otherwise would have had if the distribution of wealth had remained the same level as it was in 1985. we had the same distribution of wealth the bottom 90% would have had close to $11 trillion more wealth. meanwhile, the top .1% experienced an $8 trillion increase in wealth as the distribution of wealth became increasingly unequal. what a phenomenon. huge transfer of wealth from working people to the millionaires and billionaires. and now let me get to the budget because when you deal with a budget, you can't ignore that reality. if the rich get much richer and the middle class declines, it makes no sense at all to say we're going to give more tax breaks to the rich and we're going to cut programs for the middle class and working families. this is the robin hood principle
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in reverse. it is taking from the middle class and working families and giving to the very rich. but i worry very much, mr. president, that this is exactly, exactly what will be in the republican budget that we debate next week in committee. and i expect -- and i may be mistaken. i hope i am, but i don't think i am. i expect that the republican budget in the senate this year will be very, very close to what the so-called ryan budget did last year, which was passed by the republican house. there may be nuances of differences, i don't know, but i think it will be very close. let me tell you what the republican budget will be about.
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the republican budget will oppose ending tax loopholes for the wealthy and large corporations loopholes that allow billionaire hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than electricians and schoolteachers. i expect that the republican budget will continue to allow major profitable corporations like general electric, verizon many others to go through be a given year paying absolutely nothing in federal income tax. i expect that the republican budget will attempt to voucherrize medicare, end it as we know it to be, and i expect that will there will be mass -- that there will be massive cuts
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in medicaid, nutrition education programs, pell grants and the kinds of programs that working families absolutely depend upon. mr. president, we need a very, very different budget than what i believe the republicans are going to propose. we need a budget that stands for the working families of this country and not just the millionaires and billionaires, and let me tell you what that budget should include although i don't think the republican budget will do this. when real unemployment is 11% we need a budget that creates millions of decent paying jobs, and in my view and in the view of many economists, the fastest way to create those jobs and address a real national crisis is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure our roads our
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bridges, water systems waste water plants, airports, dams, levees expand broadband to rural america. according to the american society of civil engineers we need to address over $3 trillion to rebuild our infrastructure. we're not going to do that, but we need to make a major investment and when we do that, we make america more productive and safer and we also create millions of jobs. a serious budget needs to make our tax code fairer and to bring substantial new revenue into federal coffers. we need a budget that ends unfair tax loopholes and asks the wealthiest people in the largest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. today at the hearing we had in the budget committee a republican witness testified that he thought that corporate taxes should be zero, zero. well that does not make a lot of sense to me. mr. president, we need a budget
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that understands that the federal minimum wage is a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour. we need to substantially raise the minimum wage. we need to deal with the overtime scandal. we need to raise wages for low and moderate income families. at a time when large numbers of our young people have given up on the dream of higher education and college is increasingly unaffordable we need a budget that says to every kid in america that if you have the ability and you have the desire, you are going to get a higher education, regardless of the income of your family. at a time when corporations have shipped millions of decent-paying jobs to china and low-wage countries we need a budget that rewards companies for investing in america and for creating jobs here, not abroad. at a time when millions of people still lack health insurance, we need a budget that
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ensures quality affordable health care for all americans by supporting the implementation of the affordable care act strengthening medicare and medicaid and extending funding for the children's health insurance program community health centers and the national health service corps. mr. president, let me conclude by making the simple and obvious point. a budget is about priorities. a budget is about choices. and what we have got to determine is whether our budget coming out of the senate is a budget that represents the needs of the rich and large corporations and their wealthy campaign donors or whether we produce a budget which represents the needs of working families and the middle class and the millions and millions of families that are struggling economically to keep their heads above water.
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mr. president, i hope we make the right choice, and i hope we stand with the working families of this country. and with that, mr. president i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i rise for the purpose of a unanimous consent request. i ask unanimous consent that the senate stand in recess from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. today. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. so ordered. mr. grassley: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: mr. president i ask today that the quorum call be lifted e. the presiding officer: without objection. hiroshimamrs. shaheen: i'm here to discuss the legislation that i introduced last week to aid the recovery of survivors of human trafficking. this bill, which i've also filed as an amendment to senator cornyn's justice for victims of trafficking act will make important strides towards helping survivors of human
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trafficking free themselves from the social stigma that's associated with their victimization and help them rebuild their lives as productive members of society. and i just want to start by sharing the story of a young woman that was featured on npr cephal weeks ago. -- several weeks ago of of. she is a human trafficking survivor. her story is far too exphon. she was raped for the first tame at age is 1. at 13 she was lured away from her family and vauntsly forced into engage in commercial sex. she talked about the physical trauma she endured at the hand of her captor. her skull was cracked all of her ribs broken. she endured regular beatings and black eyes. her for roughly simplifien years, her -- for roughly seven years, she endured the worst kinds of physical and emotional torture. finally at age 20 she was
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rescued by a police officer nearly 1400 miles from her home. fortunately this young woman is now in the process of rebuilding her life. sheshe has moved home near her family has a young son and is hoping to go to school for nursing. but she is constantly confronted by the reality of the criminal record that she accumulated as a result of being a trafficking victim. every application she fills out every job interview she attends she is forced to relive and explain the most painful moments of her life. as this victim told npr "i'm not ever going to forget what i've done, but at the same time i don't want it thrown in my face every time i'm troig to seek employment." well mr. president human traffickers use force fraud and coercion to compel their victims to engage in criminal activity.
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but it's often the trafficking victims who are arrested, detained prosecuted, and convicted. my legislation is simple. it provides an incentive for states to enact laws that allow human trafficking survivors to clear their state criminal records of prostitution and other low-level nonviolent crimes that result from being trafficked. specifically these statutes how trafficking survivors to file a motion in court to exspunk their criminal record for crimes they can recently demonstrate were the result of being traisked. my colleague senator gillibrand has filed a are similar amendment that would address this issue at the federal level or in federal court. her amendment would ensure that victims charged with federal crimes have the opportunity to clear their record of the most serious types of charges associated with trafficking. my amendment would encourage states to provide a remedy for
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the most common types of charges that trafficking victims face. i urge my colleagues to support my legislation and my amendment and i hope that we can get trafficking legislation done in a way that will help the victims in the future. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 5:00 p.m. if
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you missed yesterday's hearing, go to c-span.org. joini us >> big senior fellow the brookings institution to talk about the war authorization isis war authorization, a debate over war powers. let's begin with the history. why have presidents gone to
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congress to ask for authorization to fight a war or to fight terrorism when they are the commander-in-chief? >> guest: it was a constitution that gives congress the power to declare war. so the war powers are shared between the president and congress. it makes a say the president the commander-in-chief. generally the decision to go to war is a shared decision. over the years since world war ii the declaration of war in the very formal census kind of lacked. we don't use them international affairs anymore. what's left of it is the authorization to use force which is a domestic law permission by congress to invoke the war powers of the presidency. in the '70s and the congress passed the war powers resolution which was an attempt to regulate the circumstances in which the president had to ask for an
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authorization. it has been a document of shall we say made success. >> host: how does a worked over the years? >> guest: the way it works over the years as the president always goes to congress to ask for permission to use force except when he doesn't. they always had a reason to about two because i don't have to. and often when he does he doesn't admit he has to. like this is a good situation, the president, good example of that situation the president have gone to congress and asked for resolution of authorization to fight i saw, all the while claiming that he has already all the authorization he needs from the previous 2001 aumf fight against al-qaeda. >> host: you are talking about the war powers act of 1973. the power of the president to introduce the u.s. armed forces into hostilities or in situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is
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clearly indicated by the circumstances are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or national emergency upon the united states. >> guest: right. the general rule is that the president as commander in chief has inherent authority without congress' involvement to repel an invasion or an imminent attack. so think of the execute circumstances in which you don't have time to get congress involved. you have to do something right now, congressional celebrations -- on the other hand if you're thinking about a conflict we've got some time to think about it it is always prudent and many scholars believe constitutionally or statutorily required to go to congress and seek an authorization. the war powers act tries to regulate and balance those two
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basic ideas by requiring that when the president introduced forces in a non-exigent situation he then can come back to congress within 60 days and seek authorization. >> host: when it comes to isis, where do you fall under those circumstances that i just read that are outlined in the 73 war powers act? >> guest: this is a very tricky move for the administration. the administration claims that congress already authorized the fight against isis when it passed the 2001 aumf in response to 9/11. and so they claim that they don't need to come back under the war powers resolution and get another authorization because i already have it. the problem is that they have come back anyway and so they're asking for what they think of as a supplemental authorization devoted to this situation in
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particular. >> host: what is the authorization? >> guest: it's as the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force to attack the person organizations or states, groups or states that are responsible for 9/11 and the persons groups and states that are responsible for harboring -- harboring those people. has been interpreted to refer to al-qaeda the taliban and their associated forces. and the initiation regard to isil as sort of a branch offset of al-qaeda and certainly and associated force part of the old al-qaeda in iraq. >> host: were showing our viewers the 2001, not the 2002 authorization. the 2001 authorization start subleasing its authorized use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons -- aid
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a terrorist attack on september 11. is this a declaration of war the 2001? >> guest: it is not in the formal sense a declaration of war which is an instant of international law that declares a state of hostilities between nations. it is the domestic law equivalent of a declaration of war. if congress is saying for separation of powers purposes you the president, have our authority to use the armed forces of the united states in pursuit of these objectives. >> host: why is not the word of war then used and what are the legal ramifications of using the word of war translate so the reason we don't ? >> guest: the user we don't use declaration of war anymore is sort of an international law history question that not sure i know the answer to.
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it has a lot to do with the creation of the u.n. charter which sort of changed the landscape in international law. but i'm probably the wrong person to ask that question. the significance of, but when you get rid of the declaration of war it doesn't change the domestic level separation of powers question. that changes the international law landscape here but what you're left with is the separation of powers issue, who has the power and under what circumstance to initiate armed conflict. is that congress? is at the president or is some shared responsibility between them? the way the system has evolved it's a shared responsibly in which congress' role is more than it used to be a not unimportant. >> host: the 2001 authorization written broadly, no limitations on it and so why then did congress go ahead and
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authorize force in 2002? >> guest: the to does into aumf was specific to iraq and to the in now completed inpatient iraq to depose saddam hussein and that was the purpose of that aumf. it was not come if you look at the test of the 2001 aumf saddam hussein was not one of the people who planned and carried out the 9/11 attack. so it wasn't covered to that goal was not covered by that aumf. so president bush went back to congress and said give me authority for what i now want to do, which is to invade iraq and take out saddam hussein. that aumf has been cited sometimes for the current isil fight because it does after all take place in iraq. but it's not particularly strong
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support for the current mission. and so the president has asked in the context of congress passing a new aumf to have that one revealed. >> the 2001 stands, then what what does it mean to? >> guest: this gets into a number of tricky boys but let me try to unpack it. so first of all if you leave in place the 2001 aumf, which remember the president claims gives him all the authority he needs for current operations, and you pass a new aumf with some restriction india, and the new aumf that the proposed as ground force restrictions. it has time restrictions. it sunsets after three years but a lot of people, and i'm one of them believe those restrictions are meaningless if you leave in place an underlying document that you claim give you all the authority you need for everything you are doing and
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doesn't have those restrictions. and so a lot of people, again i'm one of them have argued that you need to think about if you're going to restrict current operations in any way, you need to think about how the previous document interacts with the new authorization for those purposes. >> host: that will show the part of the debate up on capitol hill. when the 60th day john kerry the defense secretary action carter and the joint chief general martin dempsey appeared before the senate foreign relations committee to talk about the president's request or authorization for force against isis. will have coverage of that on c-span at 9:30 and we will end of the journal a little early to bring live coverage of that hearing. that is our conversation now with all of you and our guest here, benjamin wittes, senior fellow of government studies at brookings institution. here to take your questions and
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your comments about this debate. first before we get to call sluggishly what the president sent up to capitol hill. here are the limitations he wants to put on any new authorization defied isis. the authority does not authorize the use of the united states armed forces and enduring offensive ground combat operation. the use of military force shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution unless authorized -- reauthorized. democratic call it you are first. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i've got a question that relates to what you alluded to a couple of minutes ago and that is the united nations as you know when we joined the united nations drafted most of the charter we agreed to abide by the charter. in that united nations charter as you know well, they have codified and defined international law. which in effect in summary
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without going into any detail a military conflict must be authorized by the united nations security council unless a country is attacked. and, of course, they have a right to defend themselves, but they still must go back to the security council. so in summary i would submit to you for your comment that every military action the united states has taken since the korean war the korean episode was within the security council united nations rules, everyone since then has been in violation of international law. >> guest: so you're certainly correct that there are a great many u.n., international armed conflicts that are not sanctioned by the u.n. security council. it's not correct that no u.s.
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operations have been sanctioned sanctioned-security council. somehow, some have not. generally depend on how able the united states has been to get the votes it needs and persuade permanent members not to veto things. it is also the case that the question of whether you get militarily intervene on behalf of the country that has within its own territory, remember this is a military operation done in collaboration with a sovereign iraqi government, is not exactly the situation that the u.n. charter there is contemplated, which is a conflict between states. this is a set of operations done with state consent. but yes you are correct that
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many, the u.n. charter has not in fact governed a lot of states actions all the time, including the united states' action sometimes in the military sphere though most countries including the united states, spend a lot of time and energy trying to argue that their actions are fully in conformity with the charter at least as it has been interpreted and enacted. >> host: florida, bruce democratic call it. either bruce. >> caller: how are you doing? >> host: good morning to you. go ahead, quite what to point out is the all have a graphic on your tv that says isis war debate. they're not debating war. they're debating the use of force. and also this mini on tv a while ago said 2001 authorization was to go after saddam hussein.
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it was not to go after saddam hussein but it was to go after weapons of mass destruction. thank you. >> guest: so there is a difference, you are correct between uses of armed force which can be a sort of limited and less than full-fledged war and war. in fact, an international law we generally don't talk about war anymore. we talked about armed conflict. and there are a variety of pkm terminology distinctions. that said, whether congress is being asked to vote on an authorize is major military operations, particularly from the air. so i think for colloquial purposes it's not unreasonable for people in the press to talk about this as a war authorization rather than just a use of force authorization.
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>> host: here's a tweet from one of our viewers. is our plan a preemptive attack? has isis actually attacked us yet? >> guest: so isis has not attacked us. but it don't think there's anything preemptive about the attack. isis has these a lot of territory from the iraqi government and the iraqi government has requested our help in recovering that territory. i don't think is really anything preemptive about the attack, except in the limited sense that part of the hope of course of defeating isis now is that you do so before they then reached the level of strength at which they can and want to attack you. >> host: "wall street journal" front page this morning, dropping oil threatens the iraqis terrified. clobbered by falling oil price iraq is over fiscal cliff unable to make critical investments in
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order to keep its oil flowing and stupid the skyrocketing cost of fighting islamic state extremist. without a recovery -- cedarburg texas, democratic call it. >> caller: yes. i was listening to tom and hearing in his and his oath change the topic is will because i really could care less about quibbling over this iraq contract we made like 10, 15 years ago. right now i speak to all the men in texas because i am from texas, and i think all of y'all especially corn y'all are acting so juvenile. and what you've done is just ridiculous. i'm 53 i can speak authority to you. >> host: we don't know what you're talking about. >> caller: i'm going to finish. i will wrap it up. i am saying this. we are a unit and by jumping across and usurping powers is the most disrespectful thing and
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its dangers. and i state that i may have of what's right and what's true. and you know it. and i hope marco rubio, you pay attention. but this is not what you all need to do. yelled at -- post but i think you are referring to republicans writing the letter to iranian officials about this deal. what are your thoughts on that letter that was written, then saying this only last about 22 months? >> guest: right. so you know my colleague jack goldsmith on the website that we both run lawfare point out there was actually a constitutional error in the letter that purported to lecture for an leaders about the u.s. constitution, that the actually misstated the operations of the clause. i mean look, this was not a good idea to sort of have an independent foreign policy
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communication with essentially in any state. that said i think -- any state. i think his anger on the part of a lot of democrats about. it's probably a little overblown. it's just a letter from some members of congress. >> host: we're talking with benjamin wittes who, senior fellow at brookings institution governance studies but he also is editor-in-chief of cofounder of the lawfare blog. you can follow him on that website as well, a member of the hoover institute. we will go to darrell long beach, california, independent caller. good morning. >> caller: good morning. basically i see the united states of america has a tremendous amount of investment into the military, and it looks like no matter what happens we searched for situations and problems of which right now i notice in -- a commentary mode
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with senators, and some of the senators was referring to putin as a thug and a criminal even though our athletes went to the winter olympics and even though they are used to be nga. used to be. it seems like when world war iii starts with the united states be what, 50% responsible to you think? see what you say. >> host: let me throw in this headline on ukraine. the headline in the near times peter baker's piece, obama's addresses growing pressure from all sides armed ukraine. what do you make of his sentiment, the caller? >> guest: so you know, i actually am not a foreign policy scholar. i work on issues related to the law of conflict. and i often don't have especially strong views about what to write u.s. policy should be for example, with respect to ukraine or with respect to isis
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actually. i work with what is generally given as the policy. and right now it's a given with a posse with respect to isis is the president wants use military force. and the congress come if anything wants to be used more military force that he is inclined to use to answer the question that i confront is, if that's a policy objective, what should the law be? how should the law implement the policy objective that we set? but, you know, if the question is how involved should we be in iraq there are a lot of people who know more about iraq that i do honestly. and that's certainly true of ukraine. >> host: does the law exist on the books now to find isis the way the united states is fighting right now? and/or any future strategy. >> guest: the administration would say the answer is yes. i would say the answer to that
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question is fuzzy but probably not. and i think if you want a good authorization that's solidly on point for the fight that we are fighting now, rather than the fight that 12 years ago we thought were likely to be fighting, you need, congress needs to be involved and it needs to pass something that's more directly reflects our current reality in the 2001 aumf did. >> host: what language were directly reflect our reality? >> guest: i think the congress, we are currently fighting two classes of enemies. one is al-qaeda, the taliban and associated forces, and the other is isis and its associated forces. and we have one resolution that sort of speaks to the former, and no resolution that directly refers to the latter. and i would write a single
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resolution that referred to both classes of groups explicitly, build in some restrictions although not ground force or geographic restrictions, build in some restrictions and then sunset the whole thing every three to five years so that congress would not be able to do what he did last time, which is just let it sit for 13 years, but would have to come back and think about is the still the right documents for the war that we are fighting. >> host: similar what they did in 2002 that is addressed specifically the security concerns in iraq without authorization tailored to isis? >> guest: yes but also go back and look at the authorization, the 2001 authorization and say, is this still well describing what we are doing in yemen a country that we were not thinking about when we passed the 2001 aumf. in certain actions in somalia
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right? we are not fighting a war against osama bin laden anymore, or merely against osama bin laden. and we should have an authorization that reflects the conflict that were actually involved in. >> host: manchester connecticut democratic caller. thanks for any on the line. >> guest: great name. >> caller: how are you doing? good morning. >> guest: good morning. >> caller: i was just wondering the debate over the war powers, unnecessary is it to have all these laws about the war powers? >> guest: well, so you know the war powers resolution has been around for a long time. the executive branch has always had constitutional questions about whether it's a proper law. it has generally sought to comply with it in a limited sense on grounds of respect for
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congress basically without acknowledging that it's appropriate or constitutional. you know congress has always been frustrated that it doesn't get sort of more difference in this process than it does. on the other hand, congress doesn't exercise the powers that it has very robustly. so you know a great example of that is you passed the 2001 aumf and then you just sit there for 14 years and don't do anything. it's a great rule of american power politics that if you do not exercise muscles, they atrophy. and over time congress has not flexed its war powers muscle unusual is that executive branch's overtime have regarded themselves as the printable and sometimes the only actors in this space. my message to congress is if you
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believe you have a role to play in this play it. >> host: we've got about 10 minutes left with benjamin wittes of brookings institution to kias previewing a hearing that will happen on capitol hill in about an hour, a sect of state john kerry the defense secretary ashton carter, of the joint chief general dempsey will be before the foreign relations committee on the senate side talking about the president's request, authorization to find isis and will have coverage of that here on c-span at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. benjamin wittes helping us out taking her questions and your comments ahead of adhering to what are your thoughts on the president's request to go to have congress grant to grant him the authority to the isis? thomas in north las vegas and republican, you are up. go ahead. >> caller: yeah, the way iran is acting i wouldn't use any sources against isis right at them especially if you think
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about allowing iran to have nuclear weapons. i think isis is iran's enemy ambush and let them take care of each other. thank you. >> host: okay. illinois independent. >> caller: hi. i would like to ask the gentleman in the 2001 war powers authorization, set to go after people who committed the 2001 attacks against the u.s., how come the united states didn't go after saudi arabia? >> guest: you know, the u.s.-saudi relationship is extremely complicated, and the are all lots of factors in their other than one's sense of whether the saudi regime are a bunch of nice people what do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing. we have all kinds of strategic energy relations with the saudis, and i don't think the possibility of military action against saudi arabia was ever
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seriously entertain. >> host: we will take more of your phone calls here as we continue talking with benjamin wittes. lines are on your screen. the phone lines are open. continued to them. benjamin wittes, let's start with, want to go to a political headline recent this is no initially happy with this draft that the president sent up to congress. some say it's not flexible enough. what language would you need in it to be as basic flexible for the president? >> guest: well, so there are a few bases in that law or people's anxieties. so if you're somebody wants to authorize very robust presidential action, here are the things any you don't like. one, it sunsets in three years and so you are anxious that the law, if passed would limit the
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president temporarily. you get a new administration in office 18, 22 months from now and then all of a sudden they are authorization to use force is about to expire. number two, it has restrictions on ground forces. it does not authorize enduring ground operation. nobody quite knows what that means but you say hey, why would you tie the president's hands behind his back if you're sending in to do a fight right? on the other hand if you are somebody who wants and as many democrats do really to send a message that hey we want to authorize a limited involvement that we don't want to get involved in a long-term major new invasion of iraq and you look at this authorization and you say hey, it doesn't have geographic limitations. it's not limited to iraq and syria so it would authorize
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force anywhere. and you also say hey this enduring ground operation i do know what that means. maybe anything could be authorized if you just defined as not enduring. and so there's not really a lot of people who have read this authorization and said yes this speaks for exactly the policy objectives that i have in this process. >> host: charles, florida republican, you were on the air. >> caller: i would just like to remind benjamin wittes, -- [inaudible] >> guest: i'm sorry, i didn't hear you. >> caller: oh hello. i was just saying they killed four americans and that's skinning the cat four times to me. >> guest: look, there's no doubt and i don't think anybody on the hill who has anxieties about this aumf is arguing that isis are nice people or that
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they haven't don't have ambitions to attack americans in a serious way. you are correct. they have beheaded or murdered a number of people including americans. and if you look at the draft at aumf that the president had sent out, those killings are actually listed as part of a set of findings that congress if passed it about. you're right, these are not people who like americans and i have no doubt that that if given the chance it's an organization that would probably want to conduct significant operations against americans and perhaps against the american homeland. >> host: another tweet from south fork who says this when constitution was written, congress was in session rarely. president had authority to deal with sudden threats when
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congress was not available. >> guest: that is absolutely correct. >> host: what does that mean? why does that not then stand today? >> guest: well again many people would argue that it does stand today. and, in fact, the administration would concede that right? it claims out that it doesn't need authorization. it claims that it already has it. and so the reason in its view that it has the authority that it needs is not that the president has some inherent power to do this without congress but it's a congress already acted. >> host: rome io rocky mount virginia independent. go ahead. olmec i just had a question. i was born and raised in america, and i do like our freedoms here but i also -- sharia law. registries as to why you think
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that jihadists want to go first people here in america but it's not necessary for to want to kill various people versus leaders of foreign policy and people that are blind injuries political conspiracies strictly speaking it's the leaders of this vast global conspiracy that is trying to attack and destroy fundamental islam. you see that in the news and media all the time to registries why is there this war against the base of islam? >> host: that's not really your expertise. >> guest: it's a little bit on what i work on. i certainly, i'm just among the people i talk to none of them expressed a desire to have a war with islam. >> host: maryland republican. >> caller: that was an interesting call.
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he did mention the base which is kind of apropos. fighting against the 2001 described as al-qaeda, and it seems like the recession has this cake and eat it too mentality. if you're fighting a war on one front you change the name of it for your own purposes but then claim that the authorization still includes the new enemy. it does make a lot of sense. i guess what you're saying is don't have to rewrite the rules to restrict them to only fighting essential to any they want to fight. it's confusing because i don't understand how and authorization allowed them to find one enemy and then on choice they've changed enemy that they're fighting for no reason to think about. there's a reason had to change the name of the enemy because they had already proven that the 2001 enemy which lets i guess al-qaeda and the taliban, was in some way responsible for
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creating a mess in iraq and giving them, iraq, al-qaeda and iraq. it's just frustrating to hear our administration tried to change the words around but they are in the same country. like have their cake and eat it too. say, we don't want to continue funding the war in iraq even though -- [inaudible] it's kind of like contradiction and away. does that make sense? >> guest: so i think the contradiction is actually you are not on the part of the administration. the issue is that the groups fractured, split we joined them at that the groups that existed and that congress authorized force against in 2001 don't really exist in the same form anymore. so let me give you a couple of examples of that. we have conducted a number of operations against al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula which is a group in yemen that is
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reactive and that poses a significant threat. it did not exist at the time of 9/11, but it is sort of grown up and matured in the enron and so how does that fit under the 2000 aumf? the administration has decided that it does. another example, a harder example is what used to be called al-qaeda in iraq that is now called isil and this is a group that broke off. it was originally a sort of iraqi branch off of al-qaeda but it broke off and it now fights with syria and iraqi branch office of al-qaeda, the al-nusra front, and claims to be the authoritative caliphate. so again is this an example of something that's covered by the 2001 aumf? because it's one branch of the tree, or is it an example of something that is not covered because it broke with
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al-qaeda? there's no good answers to those questions and that's what you need a more modern document. >> host: benjamin wittes a is senior fellow for brookings institution, government studies. he's also out with a new book the future of violence, robots insurance, hackers and drones. that book out yesterday. he will be talking about it later on after brookings institution today go to our website c-span.org or our coverage of the. thank you very much for talking to our viewers. appreciate the conversation. >> guest: thank you for having me spent on tomorrow's "washington journal" david mcintosh who now heads the club for growth will talk about his groups advocacy for a limited government and their plans for the 2016 presidential race. and will marshall, president and founder of the progressive policy institute on his groups economic agenda for democrats. "washington journal" live
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today's headlines, your phone calls and tweet every morning on c-span at seven eastern. >> c-span2 providing live coverage of u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public the policy this comment of the 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 is in recess until 5 p.m. eastern time because republican senators are holding a closed-door meeting. today, the senate has been considered an anti-human trafficking bill. that legislation hit a roadblock because of a provision that would prevent the use of federal funds or abortion. democrats say the provision was added only recently. republicans say it's been in the bill all along. when the senate returns in about
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20 minutes, live coverage resumes on c-span2. until then a briefing from the pentagon today with defense secretary ashton carter and the british defense secretary. >> ready to go? well good afternoon. before i begin, as you know a uh 60 black hawk helicopter was involved in an accident last night near eglin air force base in florida. we know that on board there were four soldiers from a national guard unit in louisiana, and seven marines assigned to camp lejeune, north carolina. our thoughts and our prayers are with them and their families as the search efforts there continue.
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it's an honor to welcome my counterpart from united kingdom, defense secretary michael fallon, here to the pentagon. this is a first for both of us. his first official visit to washington, and my first visit to the briefing room as secretary of defense. and it's fitting that secretary fallon is the first counterpart with whom i'm holding a joint press conference here in the pentagon, and that's because 200 years ago this month, last month, i'm sorry, after a little upset in new orleans, we buried the hatchet and ratified by treaty of ghent, which restored as it said, peace friendship and good understanding between us. and since then the united kingdom and the united states have indeed become the closest of allies and closest of friends. we fly each other's aircraft serve on each other's ships and our soldiers have long served
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side-by-side. and our military collaboration in so many different areas from iraq to afghanistan reinforces the fact that our special relationship is the cornerstone of both of our nations security. and for me this special relationship as i told michael earlier today, is also a personal one. i received my doctorate from oxford university where i studied theoretical physics. and i have many fond memories of my time there. i not only earned a doctoral degree their but also studied a wealth of other subjects at one of offered most renowned institutions of higher learning, the pub immediately adjacent to saint john's college where i was. secretary fallon and i just had a very positive and wide-ranging meeting where we discussed the full scope of issues on which united states and the united kingdom are leading together
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around the world. we are leading together in the middle east where the uk has been a stalwart member of our global coalition to counter isil. contributing to strike a reconnaissance efforts in the air and training and equipment efforts on the ground. i told secretary fallon that we appreciate the uk's partnership in this critical campaign. as we continue to support local forces, the united states' fortunate to have our british allies by our sides. we are also leading together in afghanistan where since 2001 the united kingdom has stood steadfast not only with the united states but also with our afghan partners. i thank secretary fallon for the uk's continued contributions as we have transitioned to nato's enduring resident support mission. including hundreds of british troops to train advise and assist the afghan national security forces.
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their efforts will be critical to making sure that our progress in their sticks. we are also leading together to reassure our transatlantic allies and deter further russian aggression. the united states has been clear from the outset crisis in ukraine that we support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of ukraine. and we have been very clear that if russia continues to flout the commitments he made in september and february the minsk agreements, the cost to russia will continue to rise including and especially through sanctions in coordination with our european allies and partners. we will also continue to support ukraine's right to defend itself and as you know earlier today the white house announced the united states will be providing ukraine with an additional 75 million in nonlethal security assistance, as well as over 200 these --
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humvees. this brings the total of nearly 200 million with the new funds going towards unmanned aerial vehicles for improved surveillance, a variety of radios and other secured communications equipment, counter mortar radars, military ambulances, first aid kits, and other medical supplies. this new securities assistance is in addition to our ongoing training exercises in eastern europe to reinforce and reassure our nato allies. beginning this week and next come equipment and personnel from the armies brigade third infantry division, rock of the barn, will be in the baltics to train with our allies as part of operation atlantic resolve. and since russia's aggression begin last year the united kingdom has also stepped up militarily country bidding to nato's baltic air policing mission and serving as a
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framework for nato's very high ready task force. today i thank secretary fallon for these contributions and also for continuing to honor the commitment that all donations made in wales last year to invest 2% of gdp in defense. it's an investment we all pledged to make and it's an investment worth making, not just for ourselves but for our entire alliance. 70 years after we declared victory in europe, our nato allies and, indeed, the world still look to both our nations as leaders. and it's clear that the threats and challenges we face, whether they manifest in cyber attack isil's foreign fighters or russian aircraft flying aggressively close to nato's air space, all of us will continue to demand our leadership.
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as secretary fallon and i discussed today, leadership takes investment. investment in innovation and modernize capabilities and prudent reforms and in the forces necessary to meet our obligations. these are investments that both our nations and both our defense institutions must not only take but embraced in the months and years to come. i want to ask secretary fallon for his comments before we take questions. >> well, thank you. as i told secretary carter, our thoughts to are with the families of those involved in the helicopter crash. stark reminder of the risks that our armed forces face both in training as well as in combat. i am delighted to be here today with secretary carter to review the range of security risks that we face together.
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risks that pose a challenge to the international rules-based order on which we depend. i am reassured the strength of our shared resolve to address those challenges. ours is a defense relationship like no other, reflecting a shared determination to tackle those risks and those threats through a close and enduring partnership, whether it's russia's violation of international norms in europe whether it's the barbarous sectarianism of isil in the middle east, whether it's the brutality of the assad regime in syria or the danger of a nuclear-armed iran, or whether it's the continuing obligations on all of us to make that defense dollar go further. our choice is to work together. we are working together as
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secretary carter has said in europe, demonstrating our resolve through nato to protect all members of the alliance, and with the european union in delivering sanctions that show russia the cost of flouting international norms. we are working together in the middle east where we both recently visited, building the capacity of the iraqis, syrians and other partners throughout the region to tackle the scourge of isil. and we are working together as we have for decades to bring new technologies into our armed forces, to find innovative solutions to the national security challenges that we face now and will face in the future. britain remains america's strongest partner. i'm delighted to be here and to take your questions.
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[inaudible] >> mr. secretary this morning chairman dempsey thought of the syrian rebels need to have some assurances they will get some type of protection as they go in to the fight. i'm wondering, do you agree with that, that there needs to be some sort of assurance given to the rebels? isn't dependent on whether or not they are attacked by isil or assad? and what are the parameters that have to be discussed or being debated now that you think need to be considered as we look at this? >> okay. no, i do agree with general dempsey. the forces that we train in syria, we will have some obligation to support them after they are trained. we all understand that, and we
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are working through what kinds of support and under what conditions we would do so to include the possibility even though they're trained and equipped to combat isil, they come into contact with forces of the assad regime. so that's definitely something that we are aware of and something that we are discussing discussing, as the chairman said this morning. i completely agree with him. >> mr. secretary, your british forces in iraq appear to be operating at least under slightly less restrictive rules been some of the u.s. forces helping to call in airstrikes. i'm wondering if you think that is a broader unmet need in iraq? to other countries into step up and do more of that? and are you also considering any additional military support for
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the operations in this area? >> well, so far as the rules of engagement are concerned, each country sets its own rules of engagement. may vary slightly differently according to legal framework. we are playing i think the second part in the campaign over 170 strikes so far in support of ground operations in iraq, and we are now beginning in the next week to help train iraqi and kurdish forces in counter ied work, supplying counter ied equipment to them, which is one of the ied is one of the issues, one of the challenges they have and advancing up north and west and that will be the main thrust of her contribution upon building upon the capacity operations that are under way. so far as syria is concerned yes, we stand ready to help
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train moderate syrian elements to do so outside syria itself. we have dispatched trainers to the region to prepare for that task spent on the airstrikes, to expect to continue to do that? >> yes, we are flying missions every day, every night since six days a week with our tornadoes and other aircraft. and that's an effort we are going to sustain as long as the ground operation demands it. >> a question to you both, if i may. u.s. military officials have been expressing growing -- about budgetary pressures on the armed forces. one job going so far to say he believes soon it may be that british soldiers will have to fight inside u.s. units rather than alongside them. would it be better more candid
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to accept that budgetary reality rather than to deny it? and secretary carter, on a separate question, the iranians are playing with the iranian advisors are playing we believe pivotal role in the climax to the battle at tikrit. as we progress towards the even more significant battle for the liberation of mosul it seems that tehran and washington will not just be de facto allies but they may actually be fighting the same battle at the same time. how do you plan to choreograph that? >> all of us face budget constraints. these are not unique to any particular country but let me just make it clear we're still able to put a division in the fields with notice in the way that we used to and our global reach i think is well demonstrated issue. this year. we were able to just 10 days
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notice to send a ship and helicopters and 720 sierra leone to do with ebola at the same time as with 600 involved in the campaign against isil in the middle east and 500 more in support of the afghan forces and kabul and surrounding area. so we still have that global reach, and are able to support our allies where they are needed needed. >> on both your points, first of all, we have our budget challenges as well in the united states, and just to repeat what i said over the last few weeks. if we don't stuntry our own budget circumstances here, there is going to be an impact on this department and this institution in our military that's going to be very substantial. and so we need to end sequester.
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that's our issue. on the uk site i just want to say that we're very grateful for the commitment to the whales target of 2% of gdp, and say one other thing that i think aligns with what michael said, which is that power is not only measured in one number. one of the things that we have valued for a long time in the uk military is the ability to act independently to be a force of its own in the world. we need that because we need many kindred countries in the world as we can are capable of wielding their own influence independently. as a slap is usually we are aligned but that's important and that's tied up in the 2% goal that the uk as an this is a feature of uk military that we very highly value. get asked about the battle for
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tikrit and the presence of iranian advisors on the ground. that is something we're watching very closely. it is something that is concerning to us, in particular because the sectarian danger in iraq is the principal thing that can unravel the campaign against isis. that's why it's so important that none of these battles, you need one which is tikrit, there are several important battles going on in some of which the iranians play no role at all. but wherever they are is important that sectarianism not rear its ugly head as isil is pushed back outside of iraq.
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so are we are watching that very closely, very carefully, and it's a return to sectarianism that would concern us very much in iraq. >> mr. secretary and secretary fallon as well want to follow up on both syria and iraq. let me start with syria. mr. secretary, it seems that the president has ruled out combat forces special in the syria your language opens the door if the rebels under attack by a sides forces combined with how else to interpret other than you today have opened the door to u.s. and coalition air strikes in assad held territory which puts you in touch with -- some excellent have to first figure promising to protect the rebels against a assad attack? you have opened the door to u.s. and coalition air strikes in
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syria in this territory. and second on iraq -- >> can i just take that one first? just on that subject, that eventuality is one that we are looking at that is foreseeable, and we are still working through how we would react to that eventuality. so i am not -- >> we leave the last few minutes of this record event as the senate is returning following a recess. live coverage on c-span2.
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the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island.
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whitemr. whitehouse: white house is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is not. mr. whitehouse: then may i ask that at the conclusion of my remarks, senator isakson be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. there are a lot of scientists, doctors and health professionals, our military and security leaders the insurance and reinsurance industry, most of our major utilities even faith leaders who agree that climate change is a serious problem and an important priority. in the private sector, many corporate leaders see climate change as both a moral challenge and a financial opportunity. indeed as i rise today for now the 92nd time, to urge my colleagues in congress to wake up to the urgent threat of climate change, major american companies have already begun to take action. they're not waiting around for congress.
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series, for instance, is a non-frost organization that helps to mobilize investors and builders to build a sustainable global economy. series reports that nearly half of fortune 500 companies now have their own clean energy targets. institutional investors are all committed to fighting climate change of the. in 2003, there were just ten of them. ten years later by 2013, there were 110 holding $ed $13 trillion in assets. wal-mart uses about 25% renewable energy. google is at 35%. and apple nearly 75%. more and more companies are seeing the benefit of cleaning up their energy sources and investing in the future, and it's not just out of the goodness of their hearts; these are our most profitable
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corporations. they have made a successful business model of saving money by reducing their carbon footprint. coca-cola, for for instance, knows how disruptive climate change can be to the water supply, the most basic need of its bottling facility. v.f. industries understands the threat of changing conditions to agricultural commodities like cotton. and, yes these companies also know that four out of five americans support action on climate change. in other words climate-friendly corporate practices are a hit with consumers particularly younger consumers. well since consumers want climate friendliness, there are also companies who try to have it both ways. they try to look like good actors on climate change without really being good actors.
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it's called green-washing and the major oil and gas companies are classic green-washers. look at their puck public statements and ad campaigns and you might think they were helping to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. but what they say and do do not match up. look at the green ad campaigns that have been run by the big oiloil companies. some of these multimillion-dollar campaigns still run today. here's chevron saying, we agree. it is fipple for oil companies to get behind renewable energy. this campaign started in 2010, and it's still around. for years chevron said renewable energy was part of its business plan. it actually once built utility-scale solar and
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geothermal projects and even made money doing it. but, in the end chevron's core business of drilling up oil and gas prevailed. atlast year chevron sold off almost all of its renewable energy business. but they still pretend they're green. they still say "we agree." but, in real life, they don't. not too long ago b.p. styled itself "beyond petroleum" and toll us to "think outside the barrel." the company made industry-leading investments in wind farms and solar power in the billions of dollars but b.p. too has exited the solar business and has attempted to sell its u.s. wind farms in what a company spokesperson called -- quote -- "part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company." they were just pretending to be
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green. and here's their logo. look at this ridiculous little green and yellow flower sunshine thing. from oil extractors ... it is a total phony. the pick of the fossil fuel literate is actually shell. -- litter is actually shell. public announcements have been sensational. shell ads tell us of efforts to broaden the world's energy mix. in 2012, shell reported investing about $400 million into low-carbon alternatives, which seems like a lot until you realize that that was out of nearly $23 billion that year spent by shell less than 2%. compare that $400 million in 2012. shell has spent at least $5 billion in recent years to expand oil and gas drilling
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operations in the arctic. shell is one of the largest holders of filthy tar sands rights in canada. but here's the champ when it comes to climate doublespeak. exxonmobil excels. since at least 2008, the oil giant has run ads like these with scientific formulas and lucite molecules and all of these technological looking things. they had one i remember, with folks in lab coats. well exxon executives and engineers tell us about the need to protect the environment and to move toward cleaner more diverse energy sources like wind and solar as they have images behind them of wind turbines twirling in the distance. exxon does not report
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transparently enough. there is an inference that can be drawn that they spend more on advertising their green research than they spend on their green research. exxon's ads wrote the ads wrote "the wall street journal," are part of a growing effort by the industry to counter a political back lark against rising oil prices and global warming worries. well faking it is not a solution. and this campaign is still running. the latest ads are right there on exxon's web site where the public is watching. the exxon web site also tells us -- quote -- "rising greenhouse gas emissions pose significant risks to society and ecosystems." again, for public consumption. but when they file comments with the regulators in 2009, exxon wrote -- quote -- "support for the effects of climate change on public health and welfare is almost nonexistent.
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and engulfed in an extremely high degree of uncertainty." end quote. and for years exxon has been devoted to propping up climate denial and climate deniers. the union of concerned scientistsscientists found that between 2002 and 2010, exxonmobil contributed to and lobbied anti-climate change members of congress at a ratio of 10-1. even after vowing that it would no longer bankroll groups that denied climate change, exxon continued for years to fund the work of climate skeptic willie sun, an astrophysicallist whose research is under fission for failure to divulge his oil industry back. which exxon are we supposed to believe? well remember the words of the exxon vice president who testified before congress in 2008 -- and i quote -- "the
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pursuit of alternative fuels must not detract from the development of oil and gas." exxonmobil's ads boast that the company is taking on the world's toughest energy challenge. well mr. president the toughest challenge we face is finding a way to fuel the global economy without driving the climate to the breaking point with our limitless endless carbon pollution. exxonmobil is committed to an oil economy that has no future. if only exxon and the other oil giants would devote more of their advertising budgets to research and to the development of renewable fuels we might be better off. and if you don't think that the big oil companies are bad enough on their own once they get together, they are downright dirty. these companies -- chevron
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b.p. exxon and mobile -- are all part of the american petroleum institute the oil and gas industry trade association. as we all know around here, the american petroleum institute is dedicated to obstructing action on climate change and even to spreading false doubt about its existence and a.p.i., in turn, funds some of the worst and most irresponsible climate denial front organizations. chevron, b.p., shell and exxonmobil also support something called the american legislative exchange council or alec. alec is an organization which works to undercut climate science and undermine climate progress at the state level interfering in our state legislatures. alec has tried to roll back state renewable fuel standards and has handed out model state
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legislation to obstruct and tie up the president's clean power plan. so which way are they going to have it? the way they sell themselves in the ads with funny little sun-- sunbursts and molecules? or their real presence spending money to shut down the climate debate and keep pumping the oil? major companies like google, ebay facebook have dis-associated themselves from alec because of its destructive position on climate. google c.e.o. has said of alec, "they are literally lying." end quote. "they are literally lying" about climate change, but they keep getting funding from chevron b.p. shell ans exxonmobil. -- and exxonmobil. the relate city that these fossil -- the reality is that
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these fossil fuel companies are dedicated to a fossil fuel future that puts basic system les -- systems of our planet at risk. all these ad campaigns and all these public statements to make the companies look good are just a way to paper over that basic dirty continuing fact. it's a sham, it's a false front it is phony p.r., and all the green-washing in the world shouldn't be able to cover it up. but i'll conclude by saying it does seem to be having its effect. we have seen recently in the news in florida that florida department of environmental protection officials have been ordered not to use the term "climate change" or "global warming" in any official communications e-mails or reports. that's according to former d.e.p. employees d.e.p.
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consultants, d.e.p. roll tears and state -- volunteers, and state reporters. governor scott of florida has repeatedly said that he is not convince the that clung is caused by human -- climate change is caused by human activity despite evidence to the contrary. it is apparently a gabbing order about climate change -- a gag order about climate change that was well-known and distributed verbally statewide. i guess the goafn has told reporters that he had not been convinced about climate change and would need something more convincing than what i have read. i'd be interested to know what his reading list was. so here we are in a world of fantasy in which the big oil polluters put on this pretense that they are clean that they care about clean energy, that they're interested in a nonfossil future while they're supporting the very organizations that undercut that work here in here in congress and
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they're able to get behind people like the governor apparently in florida certainly his administration, who are so paralyzed about climate change that they not only won't say the words, they won't allow state employees to even say the words. that is a pathetic state of democracy. mr. president, i yield the floor and the floor will now turn to my friend from georgia. mr. isakson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: mr. president, i have nine grandchildren. seven of them are 11 or under. two of them are in college. those seven that are 11 or under represent the joy of my life and the life of my children. but tonight when you and i go to bed and each member of this senate goes to bed somewhere back in our state young women and young children the same age as my grandchildren would be bought and sold into slavery. they will be trafficked as human
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beings for sex workers for pornography workers and for workers themselves. it is wrong for the greatest nation on the face of this earth and the richest nation on the face of this earth to have a crime of human trafficking take place day in and day out. i'm so proud of senator cornyn and others in this senate who've brought forward the bill that's before us today and i want to appeal for a moment for those who are holding it up to go to cloture to ask themselves this question when they go to bed tonight. when you put your head on that pillow some child somewhere in your state is going to be trafficked for sex purposes or pornography. some young life, some life of innocence is going to be ruined. i think it's time for us to put aside any differences we may have on this legislation and move it forward so that we add for the first time the focus on human trafficking and the abuse of kids. this is a serious problem in my state of georgia. atlanta has one of the highest rates of trafficking of any city in the united states i'm told. our attorney general sam olens has said the found -- quote -- "human trafficking is a modern-day slavery plain and simple. it robs children of their
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innocence and their dignity. we must combat this evil. and it's appropriate that the most deliberative body in the world, the united states senate, began to put together a framework where we can confronted child slavery sex trafficking and the targeting of our children in multiple ways. we need to provide them with benefits to be able to be protected. a lot of that's determined of housing and safe havens but a lot of it is in other things. we need to increase the federal resources for victims of trafficking, number one. a lot of kids that are trafficked and get out of trafficking, get out of possession end up having serious problems with their lives in pstd and t.p.i. the problem of being abused as a child is as rough as the battleground in afghanistan or iraq. we must provide the safe haven andsand the therapy and the mental health help. i gave a graduation speech. she had dropped out of high school pregnant at the age of 15. she had come under the spell of a trafficker who took her in, made her a sex worker and she
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ended up having three additional children. she was almost lost for life. but finally some good person found her they brought her into the county school system, they found a way for her to go to the alternative school. she ended up graduating number one in her class and going to georgia institute of technology in atlanta. a life that was saved but only saved because people reached out to her. with he need need to encourage that and produce that. back in my home state of georgia in high hometown of roswell georgia, there's a guy by the name of dave mcleery. he's a rotarian who two years ago took this project on as a passion, to be a spokesman for those who are abused, trafficked and thrown into prostitution and pornography. he's made a major different in rotary clubs around georgia and now active aight themselves to active aight themselves to pay attention to this terrible disease and affliction. with he need to recognize child pornography as a form of human trafficking so victims have access to support. and we need to require that traffickers be treated as violent criminals to protect the victims and witnesses. mr. isakson: and most witnesses. and most important of all we
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need to get increased shelter law enforcement task forces and problem-solving cures for people with these problems. we also need to get to the floor for another reason. senator corker and the foreign relations committee has a bill which would be an amendment to this bill which expands our human trafficking response. we can't get to that until we get to cloture and we can't get to cloture until we get 60 votes. so i appeal to the members of the senate to find common ground to let this debate come to the floor so that when you lay your head on the pillow tonight instead of thinking about a child that's being abused, you think about an abuse that you're avoiding because the united states senate took action on human trafficking. mr. president, i'd like to separate my further remarks from the remarks i just made in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president two years ago on the 49th anniversary of the crossing of the edmond pettis bridge by a bunch of brave citizens who challenged the united states to do what was right and make voting rights equal for everybody i walked across the edmond pettis bridge with congressman john lewis from my state. john lewis is 75 years old this
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year and continues to be a leader for civil rights and for passion. this past weekend in selma alabama, he led the president of the united states, president obama, the past president of the united states, president george w. bush, and over a hundred members of congress across the edmond pettis bridge. for us to reflect and remember on the last 50 years and what's happened in this country where voting rights have gone from being a dream to a reality. from where equality for men and women and people of all races now exists. it would not have happened were it not for a few good men and a few good women who at their time in history responded to history's call. john lewis was one of those people. i am proud to serve with him in the georgia delegation to the united states congress and i'm proud of all that he's done to make america a better place to live. so on this year in which he celebrates his 75th anniversary and on the 50th anniversary of the crossing of the edmond petis bridge, i pay tribute to a great citizen of georgia, a great american and a great humanitarian, john lewis the congressman for the city of atlanta and the state of georgia. and i yield back the balance of
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my time. mr. isakson: the presiding officer:time. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president while the distinguished senior senator from alabama is on the. mr.the -- from georgia, rather, is on the floor floor, i wish to associate myself with what he had to say about congressman john lewis. he's been a friend and a colleague and a mentor to all of us on the issues on both sides of the aisle on issues of civil rights and is one of the true heroes. we sometimes when we're talking about people in political life, we sometimes overuse the word "hero," but i think -- i think the senator and i would both agree this is a man who deserves the word "hero."
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mr. president, you know, we're talking about the human trafficking and we've heard some of the horrific stories here. certainly those of us who are parents or grandparents have to think how horrible it would be if these things had happened to our children or our grandchildren. as i said, i'm usually the only person on the floor -- perhaps want distinguished presiding officer has -- but who's prosecuted child molesters. and i still have nightmares over some of the cases i prosecuted. i wish we'd never have another one. and so as we take -- as we consider legislation to combat human trafficking and exploitation, you know, we could take immediate action to show support for protecting our
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nation's most vulnerable from human trafficking by confirming loretta lynch to be attorney general. say this because miss lynch has a proven track record of prosecuting human trafficking and child rape cases. miss lynch's record on pursuing these cases is so well established that even prominent fox news hosts have praised her. mr.her. one host on fox news called her a hero for her prosecution of a child rapist, and others describe miss lynch as a straight shooter for her overall service as a federal prosecutor. and a third host of fox news has called for a vote on her nomination this week saying that there should be no more slowwalking by the senate and i couldn't agree more. as we go on this debate, i think about the fact that miss lynch was named recently one of the --
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quote -- "new york's new abolitionists" by the new york state antitrafficking coalition. why? because of her leadership? combating human trafficking. -- leadership in combating human trafficking. she's emphasized the antitrafficking program at the u.s. office she leads. over the course of the last decade her office has not just talked about why they oppose human trafficking, they have indicted over 55 defendants in sex trafficking cases. they've rescued over 110. mr. isakson: -- 110victims of sex trafficking. we can talk about what should be done. she did it. i'll give you a couple of examples. in one case her office obtained convictions against three brothers for sex trafficking. what did they do? these brothers were sentenced to double-digit prison terms for
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running a trafficking ring that enticed victims as young as 14 and 15 years old. they had them transported illegally into the united states. then they had them work -- forced them to work as prostitutes in new york city and elsewhere. to make sure they did it the defendants had beaten and sexually assaulted the victims to compel them to work and then to punish them for not earning enough money. in another case our office obtained a conviction against an owner of several new york bars for his role in sex trafficking and a forced laboring. the evidence at the trial established that the defendants recruited and harbored scores of undocumented latin american immigrants and forced them to work as waitresses at the owner's bars.
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and how did they compel them to work? he and his accomplices used violence -- beatings and rape -- as well as fraud and threats of deportation to compel the victims to work and to frighten them in to not reporting the illegal activity to police. because of loretta lynch this monster. mr. isakson: was arrestedmonster -- this monster was arrested and sentenced to 60 years in prison. that's one way you stop this. she's certainly prosecuted those who exploit children for sexual abuse to the full extent of the law. during her tenure, she's directed prosecutors in her office to bring 173 prosecutions for child exploitation and child pornography in coordination with the department's project safe
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childhood. in one case the office prosecuted and got a guilty plea from a pediatrician who sexually exploited three of his patients under the guise of providing medical treatment. mr. isakson: that child predator now faces 30 -- that child predator now faces 30 years in prison. i say this because no member of this body, republican or democrat no member is in favor of sex trafficking. no member is in favor of the exploitation of children in this fashion. but why don't we show we believe that in confirming this highly qualified woman to be attorney
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general, especially somebody who has shown that she's not just -- she doesn't just talk about being opposed to sex trafficking and child predators she goes out and gets the people she prosecutes them she convicts them and she sends them to prison. mr. president, i think of those who exploit children that i prosecuted. in the happy cases -- and there are no happy cases -- but in the better ones we could tell the child, "you're safe now. we've locked up the person who did this." but i also think of one of the very first cases i had within weeks of becoming the state's
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attorney a 26-year-old state's attorney. i remember that case. i'll never forget it as long as i live. we prosecuted the man. i convicted him. it went up on appeal to the vermont supreme court. i argued that appeal and convicted him. he went to prison for the rest of his life. but i can only go to the grave of his victim, of his 2-year-old victim, and say we victimmed the man who did this -- convicted the man who did this to you but we can't bring you back to life. let's take the steps we need to stop this. we can do it. we're stalled on one point now on this bill. let's find the way around that and let's get this done. let's give prosecutors the tools, not just to prosecute the people who do it, because we can do that. with we can prosecute the people when we find them but to take
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the steps necessary to stop this from happening in the first place. that 2-year-old boy if steps had been there to stop it from happening, he would have lived. we could prosecute him after he was discovered, after the fact and i did but there was no case i wanted to get a conviction on more than on that one, on that case, but it didn't bring him back to life. we think how -- for some, the victims are alive and how terribly scarred they are mentally and often physically. let's have a situation where these homeless kids instead of going with anybody who would offer them a warm place and food
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turned into a warm place -- the warm place and food turned into a hell on earth for them. let's have something. let's have the shelters. let's have the people. let's have the counselors who can help them. mr. president, i see other senators on the floor and -- i see our distinguished chairman. i'll yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: mr. president i rise to discuss what i've discussed earlier in this day. in fact, i think it was this morning, i spoke to the reason why this legislation is not moving along. i'm not going to repeat what i said then, but since then the majority leader came to the floor and gave reasons for this bill not moving along and so i want to once again bring up some
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important things about this legislation and rebut the other side on not moving forward with this bill. as we all know, this bill was unveiled in january after weeks of negotiation among our respective staffs. it has been in the public domain since it was introduced in january. since that time, we have followed regular order with respect to this legislation. we had a hearing on this bill. we scheduled a markup in february. amendments were offered to the bill at that markup. the ranking member offered an amendment to the very same section of the bill that included this lapping. numerous committee members took the opportunity to speak about the bill during the hearing and the markup. the markup offered a prime opportunity for any member, including the minority members
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of the senate, to ask questions and make changes to strip out language which they might have objected to. we promised regular order during floor consideration as well. just like we have on practically every other piece of legislation that's been before the senate since the new majority has taken over. the language to which they now object on the floor weeks after committee markup took place, and this bill passed i want to remind you without a single dissenting vote in committee, that language objected to is referred to as the hyde amendment. we are talking about language that is standard for the last 39 or 40 years. it is included in virtually every time congress appropriates taxpayers' dollars for health services. the hyde amendment has been and currently is the law of the
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land. the hyde amendment language has been added to appropriation bills every year for decades. we've heard well, it's added to appropriation bills but it hasn't been on authorization bills. that's not true, because it has been included in more than one authorization statute. i'll give some examples, including laws authorizing the s-chip program and programs in the department of defense. we negotiated this bill and this language in good faith. i urge the members of this body not to impede passage of a measure that over 200 groups have reviewed and endorsed. yesterday i put letters from some of those groups or maybe even all of those groups in the record so you could see the wide support that this bill not only has in the -- in the united
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states senate judiciary committee by being voted out with -- unanimously but also outside groups as well. the 200 outside groups that participated in the hours of helping us reach a consensus on this bill have made it clear that ending human trafficking is an important priority for all of them. we need to put aside partisan politics, we need to pass this bill for their sake, and the sake of trafficking survivors who are being subjected to degradation every day while we wait to act. and it's not something new that i'm asking about -- putting politics aside to get this legislation passed. those politics were put aside in the judiciary committee. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president i hate to see this over the hyde amendment, the house of representatives in somewhat similar legislation, the republican house of representatives wise enough not to put the hyde amendment in. i'll yield the floor as i see the distinguished senator from tennessee here, but today at test atest the alliance to end slavery and traffic to end all human trafficking and modern slavery released a statement. they urged the senate as i have to reach a bipartisan compromise on the justice for victims of trafficking act. they said -- quote -- "for well over a decade the work to combat
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modern slavery and human trafficking has been an example of congress' ability to put partisanship aside. in the interests of tackling a difficult and seemingly intractable problem. their willingness to be thoughtful balanced in approach has made tremendous contributions in the fight against this heinous crime. the debate emerging over the justice for victims of trafficking act s. 178, and the application of the hyde amendment to funds collected from perpetrators of human trafficking jeopardize this pragmatic balance in favor of partisan confirmation -- confrontation, rather, to undermine the achievement of our joint goal of ending modern slavery in the united states and around the world. for these reasons we urge all members of the senate to turn away from this divisive debate, find a bipartisan approach to
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this new initiative to protect the -- and serve the needs of survivors. mr. president, i'd ask consent their statement be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: because i agree we should get away from the divisiveness the hyde amendment has created and find a way to cover the basic legislation. i see my friend from tennessee on the floor and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from vermont and the senator from iowa. mr. president, i come to the floor to offer an amendment to the legislation which i've sent to the the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. leahy: i'm sorry. i did not hear what the request was. the presiding officer: is there
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objection to setting aside the pending amendment? mr. alexander: i sent an amendment to the desk. mr. leahy: and you asked to set aside the pending amendment? mr. alexander: i did not. mr. leahy: then i have no objection. wait a minute, mr. president. withhold that. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee has the floor. mr. leahy: then i would object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. leahy: would the senator from tennessee yield to me for a question? mr. alexander: yes. mr. leahy: am i correct the
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senator from tennessee is not asking the senate set aside the pending amendment but simply wishes to file an amendment? is that correct? mr. alexander: mr. president i would say to the senator from vermont through the chair the answer is yes. mr. leahy: then, mr. president under those circumstances i will not object. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from vermont. mr. president, i have sent to the desk an amendment entitled the stop sexual abuse act by school personnel the stop sexual abuse by school personnel act of 2015. it's sponsored by me and by senator kirk, the senator from illinois. in summary what deposited does -- the amendment does is the following. number one it requires the states to have a criminal background check for all school employees. helps them do it, enables them to do it, authorizes funding for them to do it, but it
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doesn't dictate to them how to do it. it allows states and local school districts to use federal funding authorized under the elementary and secondary education act to establish implement or improve policies and procedures on background checks for school employees. including the following provide states with the flexibility and resources to conduct searches of state and federal criminal registries as determined by the state. it empowers states to establish, implement or improve policies and procedures concerning the timely disclosure notice and appeal of background check results. supporting the development and implement or improvement of mechanisms for assisting in the identification of and response to indents of child abuse including by providing training and development of school personnel. and any other activities determined by the state to protect student safety.
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mr. president, in addition the alexander-kirk amendment adopts the 2014 general accountability office report which recommended establishing the united states department of education as the lead agency to inform states of best practices. it authorizes the u.s. education secretary to make reporting of student sexual abuse by school personnel a part of the annual secretary's report card. and finally mr. president it protects schools and school districts from being sued if in compliance with state regulations and requirements. mr. president, this is an enormously important subject and one of interest to every single member of the united states senate. there's at least one other amendment on the subject by the senator from pennsylvania, the senator from west virginia. i expect there may be more amendments on the same subject. they all have the same goal. trying to prevent sexual abuse
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by school personnel. for the 50 million children in our schools. in our 100,000 public schools. these amendments all are in the jurisdiction of the health, education labor and pensions committee of which i am the chair. and as chair of that committee i believe there is a right way and a wrong way to reach this laudable goal. the right way is for the federal government to help, to enable states and local governments to do a better job. the wrong way is for the federal government to set itself up as a national school board or a human resources department to override state laws and dictate how to hire and fire six million teachers or other school personnel. mr. president, we have 100,000 public schools. we have 50 million children. we have six million school
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personnel that would be affected by these proposals. and the wrong -- the right way to do it and the wrong way to do it are very important to the local school boards, the teachers, the principals, the children who may become victims. the question is, can the local school board or can washington, d.c. do a better job of helping make children safe in utah, in iowa, in tennessee or in vermont? senators toomey and manchin deserve our thanks and great credit for putting the spotlight on this issue an issue, as i said earlier every single senator cares about. but i am afraid their solution for background checks will try to accomplish this purpose the wrong way the overriding state laws in at least 46 states to dictate policies and procedures for 100,000 public schools. mr. president, their approach and their amendment if it is
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enacted, would be the most extensive federal takeover of local school personnel decisions in our country's history. let me say that once more. their amendment if enacted would be the most extensive federal takeover of local school personnel decisions in our country's history. now, i see on the floor the senator from iowa. i've spent some time in iowa over the years and i know what a good education system they have in iowa. in fact, iowans are very -- they are very particular about their education system. i don't know of a state that was more upset with no child left behind than iowa when it passed because they said what does washington know that we don't know? what about washington cherishes the children of iowa more than we do in des moines or in any other community in iowa? why do the people in washington think they can tell us what to do about how to educate our children better than we can do? and that's the issue here.
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whether it is washington imposing academic standards such as common corps or deciding whether -- common core, or deciding whether schools or teachers are failing or mandating a one-size-fits-all version of employee background checks on six million school personnels in 100,000 schools. i believe the american people are tired of this washington knows best attitude toward local schools, so i have this amendment, along with senator kirk the stop sexual abuse by school personnel act of 2015, which offers an approach toward this laudable goal in the correct -- and the correct way to do it. let me explain why i say it is the correct way to do it. first, it requires background checks. it requires every state to have background checks for its six million employees with access to children but it doesn't dictate to them how to do it.
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repeatedly, we have found that when congress tells the u.s. department of education to do something, it then proceeds to write a lot of regulations about exactly how to do it. i'll give you an example of that. in the no child left behind law there is provision about taking over low-performing schools and the law says when you take it over in utah or tennessee or iowa, there are six ways you must take it over and there are six ways you must fix it. i put in the law last year, two years ago a provision that said that the governor of the state ought to be able to come up with his or her own way to fix a low-performing school in tennessee, and the u.s. department of education secretary ought to say no more than i approve it or i don't approve it. but what happened was the department in its well-intentioned activities, defined what a governor of tennessee or utah or iowa could say about his or her own idea
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about taking over low-performing schools. that happens all the time, mr. president. it happens all the time. substituting the judgment of washington for local schools and in effect over the last several years what has happened, we have created in effect a national school board in washington, d.c., and achieving this laudable goal in the way suggested by the senator from pennsylvania and west virginia would only make that national school board bigger. in the words of one teacher i talked with, it would only make the u.s. department of education more of a human resources department for six million local school personnel. last year, the general accounting office found that 46 states required background checks for all public school employees. so mr. president, 46 states already do this, so my amendment would close that gap require them all to do it.
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it would also ensure that states keep doing background checks for all school employees including contractors who have unsupervised contact or interaction with children. the second thing it would do, it would help states afford access to more registries and help states afford more training. it would let schools and school districts use federal funding to expand their access to registries. since the cost of doing that can sometimes keep them from doing as complete a job as they might like. my amendment takes this broader approach because the general accountability office reported in 2012 found that background checks alone are not enough, not enough to prevent child abuse by school personnel. background checks are only as good as the databases used to conduct and understand sometimes
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those databases can have inaccurate or incomplete information. one report estimated that 1.8 million workers a year subject to f.b.i. background checks that included faulty or incomplete information such as the final result of the case. g.a.o.'s report also highlighted that those caught and charged with child abuse are only a fraction of those who abuse children. for example a risk management company told g.a.o. that few child abusers are caught the first time they abuse and many abused children -- many abuse children multiple times before they are caught. therefore, mr. president background checks alone are not enough to help protect children from abuse. experts say according to the g.a.o. report, that training to prevent child abuse is a key tool to help school employees recognize early warning signs of abuse, and they recommend that schools integrate training into their child abuse prevention efforts. yet, because of the cost, g.a.o.
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found that only 18 states required training. my amendment the one senator kirk and i are offering, would help more states and schools offer training by allowing states and school districts to use federal funding to do it. third, the alexander-kirk amendment would establish the department of education as a resource for states. the department of education mr. president, is not supposed to be the school board for utah or tennessee or iowa. it's supposed to be, if anything an enabling resource, an enabling resource. so another important way to prevent child abuse is to ensure schools are aware of information and resources that are already available to them by the federal government. according to g.a.o. again -- quote -- "the federal government through its existing resources and expertise is well positioned to assist states and localities and to help strengthen their prevention and response efforts." unquote. yet last year, more than 30 states surveyed by g.a.o. in
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2011-2012 were not aware of federal resources available to the schools to help address sexual abuse because no single agency was leading this effort and coordination among the federal agencies is limited. so as is typical of washington, you had a noble goal and three agencies in charge of it, and a lot of it wasn't getting done. a lot