Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 16, 2015 2:30pm-4:31pm EDT

2:30 pm
guy? just two months, he shouldn't be doing this kind of thing. he's a very bright guy serves as an infantry officer in the army harvard law school grad clerked i think for an appellate court judge. knows quite a bit about constitution and i think that what is an intelligent letter. i'm glad to see the younger senators again leadership role. i say this in marco rubio ted cruz. they don't always agree on everything, joint first, and rand paul for that matter. republican party has been hurt for a while politically. they need to be the party of 65 year old white guys have been around forever. same ol' same ol' a little bit of the mccain, bush and all kind of party. they're all good men but it was importantly generational turnover in the party. i think cotton is at the cutting edge of that. tom is 37 to join ernst is in her early force of the. cory gardner is 39. uk bunch of new senators.
2:31 pm
-- you've got. these are republicans. the notion of the democrats are the party of the future the future is on the left. i think really? hillary clinton joe biden, nancy pelosi harry reid. that's the party. republicans i think have the interesting thoughtful aggressive young leaders of the lots more to talk about with bill kristol. first a call from karl also south carolina. independent. >> caller: how are you guys doing? mr. kristol, boy i tell you i have seen you on tv for years and years and years but i've got to give you credit and i've got to give the republican party could that's what i'm independent because you guys whatever you all fight for believe in you all stand up and fight for it. but i did see last week on tv and i noticed it was clear the. when you guys said the guys on
2:32 pm
the bus was on using the n-word because that's something they learn from rappers and stuff but i don't know why everybody wants to think that that blacks created that word. i mean we use that word but we got it from the original people. >> host: follow up on that story out of oklahoma aspect that was a back and forth discussion on "morning joe." i didn't mean to pretend that that word was invented by blacks or african-americans or the use of it by those students, caused by changed rapport anything like that. the discussion to distance themselves have been disciplined and who no one was defending to the broader question of pop-culture and isn't an awful lot of stuff after that corporations are profiting from that are pretty unattractive. i think that was the context
2:33 pm
that i can not just me but marc morial and everyone on the show is making this broader point. >> host: let me bring it back to iran. is a quote from michael gershon he wrote last week. i'm sure you've seen it. major policy director for george w. bush. he says in the post -- first it's obvious, the republican senators want to make the point that and i ran deal requires a tree. congress of the has no business conducting foreign policy with a foreign government econom, especially in adversary one. i think he went guess but i think mike is totally wrong. there's a long tradition of senators and senators to follow government leaders left letters to gorbachev requesting the release of soviet jewish dissident the letters to the
2:34 pm
chinese government about some of their air defense practices in the pacific as i recall. obviously nancy pelosi met with machar all of a sudden 2007. the idea that congress is supposed to -- bashar al-assad. but out is ridiculous. what's unusual about this letter is the republican senators are trying to toughen the american administration position is -- if obama was serious by negotiating a to do he would've taken this let's look, i got a bunch of hardliners back on. you need to give me more. that was invented to present obama, that letter. but they they were so does record you it's so hostile to republicans ably summit in own ability to charm the iranians that they took the letter as an impediment to if you're negotiating a just and hardliners at home they should help you in the negotiation.
2:35 pm
when the democrats and passive intervened have often done so in effect on behalf of the foreign leaders, the foreign dictators. the famously of the 10th democratic letters. i think was 1984-85. so the idea that this is unprecedented, is religious but i think it is important to assess of the foreign minister of iran said no this congress has no role. once the president signs and the u.n. security ask, is international law. secretary kerry then had to testify wednesday and said it's not really binding. well it is sort of biting. that's kind of important debate. it's a matter of form, an open letter. it could've been to obama, it could've been -- it took about four providing to the iranian leaders that was invoking an important debate. i think is well worth it house of representatives columbia, missouri you are on with bill
2:36 pm
kristol. good morning. >> caller: you just made a statement their that the republicans already are hostile to the president. they have been hostile to the president from day one. why don't you explain the million dollars that you donated to mr. cotton? >> guest: i'm happy to explain the million dollars. i'm chairman of a very small or position called the emergency committee for israel which advocates for april israel american foreign policy. we thought tom cotton would be a good senator, strong supporter of israel and so we raised some money and donated it publicly obviously, not to convert to an independent advocacy group on sender can't be have. people forget it was against an incumbent, senator pryor who had been in office a couple of terms and others have been in office. people.com would have a tough
2:37 pm
race we try to help them has been fully disclosed and unhappy, i don't think we played any role in his victory but if i had played a tiny will i would be happy to have done so. >> host: in iran should the deal happen at all in your view of? >> guest: i think it could do would be worth having. a deal that generally stops iran from getting nuclear weapons, not budget that puts iran on the threshold of getting nuclear weapons. >> host: brian massachusetts, good morning. >> caller: good morning. mr. kristol, i have two questions. you can answer either one. what do you think about the logan act i guess some 7099? and whether that has any teeth. the other question i have, do you think ms. clinton, hillary clinton has any boost from the show we see on sunday nights called madam secretary? i know know it's not about madeleine albright or jean kirkpatrick but i would just like your comments on any of that. thank you very much. >> guest: i've never seen the show so i'm the worst person to comment on that.
2:38 pm
generally i don't think these pop-culture things matter as much. somesome people think at the end of the fsoc election it will be serious about voting for the person they think to be the best resident. hillary clinton is well known after record is well known and she's been around a long time that people make up their minds whether they want her to be president or not. the logan act is a long let's never been enforced. it seems to prohibit private citizens from having contact with foreign governments but not any contact as private citizens often go, i was on a little delegation of a think tank and in japan about two years ago and the prime minister of japan had a meeting with us. he does this with people, liberals conservatives republicans, democrats. every prime minister does it. the logan act it doesn't prevent the. it's on sunday 98. i did about 20 seconds of research on it when the left
2:39 pm
decided to resuscitate this law. started screaming tom cotton and others, people like me who encourage common or prescott and should be posted under. no one has ever been prosecuted under it i believe. mr. logan, a private since it went to france, met with the french foreign minister, had a conversation, no real effect, came back, he got elected to the senate and served from pennsylvania for a term but it wasn't exactly he didn't get discredited from what he had done in france. this is one of those acts in normal times liberals and conservatives, would say it's kind of a bad thing to have that kind of act. i think it is a sign an unfortunate sign of the kind of mccarthyism of the left to people on the left now think they can evoke something like that fy shutting off debate. next they will be praising i do know, the palmer raids at the end of world war i or other things that of traditional been thought to be examples of unfortunate examples of american
2:40 pm
intolerance in the past. the left is now seizing upon apparently as models to be replicated why are they scared of a debate on iran? this is a huge issue how to do with this terrorist sponsoring nation which is been seeking nuclear weapons for quite a while. we had a bipartisan policy sanctions on it against iran. the sanctions will be relieved if there's a do. they already have been related to some degree. all kinds of other implications. and again bush and obama administration tried in the u.n. to get and it succeeded in getting support for resolutions that would say no nuclear weapons program at all in iran. we have backed off that position. recapitulate a lot of our negotiating position over the last 18 months which you seem desperate to get a deal. maybe there's a case for the. may be a bad deal is better than
2:41 pm
no deal. maybe we are in such bad shape in the middle east that we just have to give them a lot and tried something a deal and keep our fingers crossed things will get better in in iran to let people defend that policy instead of attacking others who criticize it. >> host: just under 30 minutes left with bill kristol. larry from philadelphia, independent. good morning. >> caller: yes. i want to ask bill kristol about this, i know that saudi arabia is supporting isis and you have you iran supporting the shia. so this proxy war that's going on, and then you have allies. you have american allies being saudi arabia and then you iran fighting next to america's, the
2:42 pm
american fighters, and then you have people going over there and they're fighting with that understand what's going on there. can you comment on this? >> guest: it's a very messy situation and there are bad guys fighting each other. i think is maybe not saudi arabia not supporting isis but they have supported sunni terror groups indirectly at least supported sunni terror groups in the past. i think what's happened in the east basically, the u.s. has withdrawn and the since the us is not going to stand behind moderate arabs, they were trying to set up regimes weapons in iraq, tried to set up she is a machine that wouldn't be sectarian and we had success with that, special with a surge thousand seven-2008. with the collapse of sort of the u.s. withdrawn the worst actors have been emboldened. they're somewhat i suppose you can take some solace in the fact that they're killing each other.
2:43 pm
hezbollah hates isis isis takes hezbollah, but at the end of the it's like having gangs fighting in a couple of neighbors away from you. they kill each other and you think, good riddance to them both. but then it turns out they gangs we can kill tell each other we can also print one instance in the neighborhood next door and then the neighborhood next to the meanwhile, there are no police around. individual city becomes a zone divider between horrible games are one game defeats the of again. that's what the middle east is getting to look like. it's what a terrible especially in an area that is i've been a hotbed of terrorism and where countries now a special iran of course seeking to get nuclear weapons. it's a very dangerous situation. >> is not limited to reaction to this headline. netanyahu says he may lose. this is the "washington post" headline. he is facing a tight reelection bid. first i'll do you believe that? if he were to lose what happens over their? >> guest: i believe it.
2:44 pm
he is behind a little bit in the last poll. might tighten a little bit and of course, the question putting together a coalition government. there's precedent for the person was behind ending up as prime minister if he can get more support or other parties for friendlier to the government, to the party than the first place part of the looks like a close election. netanyahu has been primed to six years. i was there in december and i was, i wrote this when it came back, how much people are just tired of him. just like happened here. i think he's been a good primer so that i'm not israeli, i don't get to vote. my sense is the economy has had some problems but really pretty amazing economic performance over the last 50 years, summit it is reforms. careful management of foreign policy, a couple of small wars on the board which they had to
2:45 pm
fight buddies managed to keep things under control without letting things go up while keeping israel strong. i don't think his speech made much difference one where are another. they don't like the cost of living. labor, labor's later is more moderate, seems less like a dovish type would give away a lot than the labour leader of the last couple of elections. that's helped labor so we could end up with some kind of coalition. i suspect, we could end up with all kind of coalition governments. to be an election results tuesday or wednesday and then too much for the party negotiate. it's amazing israel does this crazy parliamentary system with all these different parties and negotiations and coalitions is not limited to tony, maryland. i, tony. >> caller: hey, good morning c-span. i want to talk to mr. kristol.
2:46 pm
i'm so bothered by you i don't even know what to say. i've been in the service of 21 years active duty, and now reserve, inactive, over total 30 years i'm on the retired list. i am so sick of you trying to expand arlington cemetery. you did with iraq. you are trying to do it again. it amazes me, c-span, that you would have this man back on. this is constant. let me say this also. terrorism is a business. a lot of you guys benefit from the. you need to move to israel. you pledge your allegiance to is a more than this country and a lot of people of congress do. it doesn't make any sense house of representatives let's hear from our guests. >> guest: thank you for your service but i think it is unfortunate you plan people like me and as for allegedly allegiance to israel -- sonic
2:47 pm
look, i think we can do with iran without putting american troops over there. there have been american casualties and there are people buried in arlington who died at the hands of iran, people who died in lebanon in the '80s and saudi arabia in terrorist attacks in the '90s. and in iraq in the last war with iran was a major sponsor of the shia squads and export much more effective ieds. they could build locally. iran has a lot -- i don't think we need to fight some ground war with iran. we can you sanctions and sabotaged, they be the threat of military force. may be occasional airstrikes to try to keep the iranian nuclear program under control. iran does have americans blood on its and post the let's talk about hillary clinton and enough story. show a clip first from the u.n. up in new york where she met with reporters last week to talk about all this and we'll get bill kristol's reaction. >> the system we use was set up for president clinton's office,
2:48 pm
and it has numerous safeguards. it was on property, guarded by the secret service, and there were no security breaches. so i think that the use of that server which started with my husband certainly proved to be effective and secure. now with respect to any sort of future issues, look, i trust the american people to make their decisions about political and public matters. and i feel that i've taken unprecedented steps to provide these work related e-mails. they are going to be in the public domain. and i think that americans will find that interesting, and i look forward to having a
2:49 pm
discussion about that host bill kristol, trust the american people. >> guest: so do it all. shoe export having a discussion to go to for to say the. it's pretty amazing to honestly i was in government. i'm not surprised that much having been in washington for 30 years but she did secretary of state, you set up your own e-mail domain on your husband's server which now becomes your own, clinton's family server e-mail server. i guess some of the aides were on that to keep e-mail out of the normal chain and the state department in the obama administration to make them hard to access my immediate but others, by congress and others in the administration. she really wanted to keep it private even from people in the white house, perhaps other in the state department. it's just odd. they have a lot of cabinet secretaries. some of them a different, some
2:50 pm
of the made mistakes, use gmail where they should use the government e-mail. but none of them did anything like this. that's the bottom line. it's just unique that hillary clinton did this. bob gates, leon panetta, kathleen sebelius, they'll begin cabinet sectors in the which is to the people who run the tech operations and the general councils and so forth in all departments and this is what the e-mail account, here's how you do it. very standard. when secretary kerry took over right he deals with a lot of sensitive things but he's got a normal state department account as far as we know. it is pretty amazing hillary clinton in a premeditated way decide at the time i'm going to take many nails out of the public domain. that she seems to decide you elaborate which of the e-mails were on government related matters, which is a more private and just deleted apparently private ones which again is so
2:51 pm
outstanding. they want to just give over the government wants and said i felt the pride once but there's a lawsuit. there's a lawsuit where someone may have to go to the prevalence to make sure they really are private. she seems to try to delete them. >> host: linking this to politics, trey gowdy he says he has no interest in pursuing this well into 2016 to the after election but he says they've got to wait, the process has to go forward. you tweeted over the weekend as well about a "new york post" story that cost some attention. obama adviser the leak of hillary clinton e-mail scandal. they're talking about valerie jarrett, senior adviser to the president. this was in the near post. state farm said it wasn't really that way. are you surprised to hear about this story? link this to the election. >> guest: i was surprised. it's one of the things you published, we try not to others
2:52 pm
might publish. if you check you would find that it wasn't the case and you wouldn't publish it but i think it's hard to know it's unclear from the story what role valerie jarrett allegedly played in leaking the clinton e-mail story. anyway, i just linked to it. i do think here's what i said is interesting but i don't think the obama lost -- obama is administration loves hillary clinton. leaving aside conspiracy theory, the president and his team can play a role in shaping the democratic nominating process. and so for that kind of seemed to the state out of it. but i've got to think i thought this for a while anyone thinks on causing trouble when i say this, met i'm a republican, a conservative but i honestly think that hillary clinton is more vulnerable to the democratic primary than -- give elizabeth warren challenge her should have a pretty good chance of defeating or. probably not a favorite but want
2:53 pm
to throw a fortune to look at the polls. hillary clinton is at 55 58%. next person is a 12 and thinking. she is had by 46 points. that's not the right way to think about it. 55 sector than democrats right now what hillary clinton. it seems like 40% want anyone but clinton. i've got to think it would consolidate behind all malik warren what was the major opponent to develop against her. i just think she is weaker than people think that she's out of touch with the democratic party certainly on the kind of domestic policy message. i think she is vulnerable politically. >> host: we will dig deeper into the gpl and a couple of minutes. here to clarify, the state has refused to comment on -- they are referring folks over to the white house for agency pressed
2:54 pm
official told the "washington times" on sunday night, raymond arkansas, good morning. >> caller: good morning. i only have one thing to say. the people in discussion the want to join isis come why don't they just assemble their own -- son that give them a one way trip to syria or turkey to join isis? thank you. >> host: oklahoma, republican to good morning. >> caller: is our speak to you, mr. kristol. you already addressed a couple of issues. one being the rude treatment of county road and address the retreatment -- [inaudible] congressional officials. that was horrible. and second, my other question on this is what exactly do a lot of the callers think mrs. clinton was thinking when she doesn't even understand the
2:55 pm
technology quick she speaks about the server being protected by the secret service physically physically, by actual guards. that's not a danger, mrs. clinton. i hate to tell her, if you can hack into some of the higher level militant websites, servers things like that, does she really think a server in her basement is safe? so i will leave my questions were off the air. thank you very much. >> guest: technology and secretary clinton things into two different accounts, g. milliken and work account that you have two devices, which tens of millions of americans i think walker with one iphone or a blackberry or android and some and have two different or three different, for different e-mail accounts. it's not that hard to manage. and, of course, she didn't get there was plenty of staff who could've helped her with that. a little disingenuous. isn't going to destroy her
2:56 pm
future? i doubt it. how serious ultimately this becomes. but the actual explanation she gave was so lacking in credibility you're reminded of the whole problem with the clintons which is do you ever get the feel their playing it straight. straight. they are picking apartments which are absolutely difficult to prove and they can get through sort of just around the corner that they need to get around. you don't feel like you're dealing with someone is being entirely candid. on the first part of the question, i'm not sure all of it sector carries, the tom cotton letter, i was struck by this. cotton letter is to become deplorable. secretary kerry went on and on. he brings up the fact that the ayatollah has allegedly issued a fatwa ayatollah khamenei leader of iran, against iran getting nukes weapons. i don't think it was published. i think it's unclear that the servicing to be trying to get
2:57 pm
nuclear weapons. i don't think there's much question about that. nonetheless, in is bending over backwards to be polite to the iranians secretary kerry says we have the highest respect for these religious fatwa. really, this is about the iranian leader. it's iran that issued the fatwa against salmon rushdie. not just in iran obviously but abroad. and people were killed as result of the rushdie fatwa. this is what happens i think with this type of policy. you start off with a hardheaded way. they're not very good guys. the best thing to do is cut a deal with them. in any sort of get more and more desperate for a give and you start pakistan into maybe they're kind of not such bad guys. by the end of it you're justifying religious fatwa. the american secretary of state is justifying iranian transactions? its jaw-dropping. >> caller: what's going on? hello, mr. kristol.
2:58 pm
i was just wondering why you are so hard on president obama and and democrats in general? you have a lot of the same policy ideas. president obama expanded us on a lot of the bush era policies. i'm sure you're a fan of drones. neither of you have qualms about cause additional applications in that regard. i don't suppose you opposed him when he got $8.7 billion in footsteps last year? >> guest: no i mean i swear his search in afghanistan. i call this post as i see them. i am concerns like into a grid with the policy more than president obama. he spent a liberal policy. look i would come if we're still into getting people. i have no problem with killing
2:59 pm
people with american blood on the hand, the blood of innocents on their hands with drone strikes. if properly authorized by the u.s. government to we have a careful process to do that. it would be better to actually be able to interrogate but we world that out. i defend the national security agency which the president sort of halfheartedly defends. he is listening into calls to overseas. rand paul came out against that pretty thoroughly this weekend and i cannot believe that's going to be a lot of thank you he will have much support on the position either in congress or among republican primary voters. >> host: who is impressing on the gop side? we've covered a bunch of folks in new hampshire in the last couple days. got to see them turn up close but who do you like at this point speed we will leave this. you can find it online c-span.org if you watch it if you want to watch the rest of the conversation with bill kristol. the senate work on human trafficking bill today.
3:00 pm
they will be considering executive nominations for the department of transportation and commerce. and tonight around 6:00 eastern time senator tom cotton delivering his first floor speech. expected to focus on national security and funding for defense. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our conquering king, thank you for providing us
3:01 pm
with wings of faith to soar above life's challenges and vicissitudes. empower our lawmakers to use faith's wings to live lives that are lofty and laudable. may they stand for right and be willing to accept the consequences as they strive to please you in all that they think, say and do. lord give them the wisdom to follow your unfailing guidance, seeking to be patient even with difficult people. open their minds to discern your will, as you give them the courage to obey you.
3:02 pm
we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
3:03 pm
mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: life is really very simple. so said confucius.
3:04 pm
here's what he said: "life is simple. but what" -- i'm sorry "life is very simple, but we insist on making it complicated." that's very true, madam president. right now the republican senate leadership is insisting on making a good piece of legislation far more complicated than it should be. this human trafficking child pornography bill before the senate has wide bipartisan support. unfortunately, it also includes a previously unreported abortion provision that has brought us to a screeching halt on this legislation. but there is a quick and very easy solution: take the abortion language out of the bill. the republican leadership doesn't seem to be interested in a solution, though. the senate republican leadership they're all too anxious to shut down debate without fixing the problem. we can stand here all week and question how the abortion language got into the legislation. many believe it was by sleight of hand, but it doesn't matter.
3:05 pm
it's a fact that republicans included abortion language in this bill that is completely unrelated to human trafficking. and by doing so, republicans turned a bipartisan bill into a political fight. madam chair, madam president umai'm so sorry. republican congressman eric paulson of minnesota drafted the house version of the same human trafficking bill. he wrote the bill. it passed the house. even he believes that inclusion of the abortion provision in the senate bill is inappropriate. here's what he said, ann and i quote. "there is no reason it should be included in these bills. this issue is far too important to tie it up with an unrelated fight, politics as usual." this is his bill. and he says, take that language out. he is a republican. the path forward then is clear. take the abortion language out of the bill and we could pass it
3:06 pm
now -- right now. that's it. if hijacking the human trafficking bill with an unrelated abortion provision wasn't already enough, listen to this: the majority leader is now holding loretta lynch's nomination hostage also. it is hard to comprehend, but that's what's happening. just last tuesday the republican leader gave his word that he would bring up a vote this week on president obama's attorney general nomination. president obama's attorney general is well-qualified. no one questions her qualifications. now senator mcconnell is saying the senate will not confirm loretta lynch until we pass the trafficking bill. abortion language and all. loretta lynch was nominated by the president 128 days ago. since that time, senate republicans have found reason after reason after reason to delay her confirmation. first it was just wait until the
3:07 pm
next congress. in fact, the republican leader said last year, ms. lynch will receive fair consideration by the senate and her nomination will be considered in the new congress through regular order. close quote. but when this congress got under way, her nomination had to wait until the keystone legislation -- remember, a bill to construct a massive pipeline to import foreign oil to only then turn around and export it to other countries. then ms. lynch's nomination had to wait until after a new defense secretary was confirmed. then republicans on the judiciary committee needed more time -- just one more week, they said. then she had to wait until after the february recess. as i've said, delay after delay after delay. and now we're here in the middle of march and loretta lynch has yet to get a vote on the senate floor. why can't we give this incredibly -- why can't we get this incredibly qualified woman confirmed? she is waited 128 days. that's the longest any attorney
3:08 pm
general nominee has waited in some four decades. a vote on the lynch nomination has nothing to do with the trafficking bill, certainly nothing to do with abortion. the majority leader can choose to keep the senate stuck on this abortion provision but he does so at the detriment of so many other important bills that require the senate's atten. the -- attention. the majority leader gave his word that he would consider the lifnlglynch nominee in addition in this congress through regular order. that has not happened. he gave his word that we would vote on confirmation this week, but now he is hedging on that. there is no reason my friend, the majority leader, can't live up to his numerous commitments. loretta lynch's nomination is on the executive calendar, meaning the senate can consider her nomination and then immediately move back to the trafficking bill. any attempt to hold a confirmation vote hostage because of this abortion provision is a sham. the republicans really on loretta lynch are out of excuses. this congress is barely two months old. yet this is just the latest of
3:09 pm
of a growing list of examples approving republicans simply can't govern. the american people need a trafficking bill. the american people need an attorney general. let's vote to confirm loretta lynch as soon as possible. what is the business? the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president tomorrow this morning the united states senate will be casting a very important vote. it will be on a piece of legislation called the justice
3:10 pm
for victims of trafficking act which has currently 12 democratic cosponsors and virtually an equal number of republican cosponsors. in other words, this is genuinely bipartisan legislation. as further evidence of its bipartisan support this bill passed unanimously out of the senate judiciary committee just in february, and it enjoys the support of more than 200 victims rights and law enforcement organizations. but as everyone in this chamber knows, senate democrats have said that they will filibuster this bipartisan legislation that's designed to provide justice to victims of trafficking because it contains a particular provision that they have voted for on a number of occasions and indeed, have chosen to cosponsor. to me, it's really unconscionable and it's
3:11 pm
shameful and more than that, it's just simply baffling to me. the reason it is so shameful is because there are children waiting for our help. the average victim in the united states is a young girl between the age of 12 and 14. children are being abused and literally sexually assaulted while apparently some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have decided to try to make a political point. it's baffling because my colleagues have voted for essentially this very same provision in one form or another time and time and time again. apparently the democratic leader, who is pressuring members of his caucus to filibuster this bill, is -- well he says we need to take out the language that they object to.
3:12 pm
but i was standing here on the floor just a few days ago when -- i guess it was thursday afternoon -- the majority leader senator mcconnell offered them an opportunity to have an up-or-down vote to strip that language out of the bill, and they objected. so it is hard -- getting harder and harder to believe the sincerity of their protests, and it's appearing more and more likely that really what they want do is have the united states senate return to its dysfunctional nature it did under the last four years under the previous majority. so i'd like to pose several questions to our colleagues who insist on filibustering this bipartisan piece of legislation. first question: isn't it the case that only three months ago 50 democrats voted for the 2015 defense authorization bill?
3:13 pm
and isn't that a bill, a piece of authorizing legislation much like the underlying justice for victims of trafficking bill? so if 50 democrats voted for similar language with regard to the limitations to the use of the funding just a few months ago, 50 democrats how in the world can they filibuster this bill for including the same language they voted for more or less just a few short months ago? and, in fact, it's true that in 2009 senate democrats in a partisan vote all democrats voted to include this similar language as part of obamacare and groups like naral the national abortion rights action league protested that the language -- quote -- "went far beyond even the hyde amendment," but yet 60 democrats including the then-majority leader -- now
3:14 pm
minority leader -- voted for that in the wii hours of christmas -- in the wee hours of christmas eve 2009. and again, i would ask our friends filibustering this bipartisan piece of legislation designed to help the victims of human trafficking: isn't it true that in 2009, 58 senate democrats voted to reauthorize the children's health insurance program which like medicaid, is subject to the hyde amendment? madam president to each of those questions the record would demonstrate they should be answered with a resounding "yes." so time and time again our colleagues on the other side of the aisle who now find themselves in the inexplicable position of filibustering bills that -- a bill they are cosponsoring for which they have already voted for in the
3:15 pm
judiciary committee and which contains very similar restrictions on the use of the fundingfunding, how in the world have they decided to make the stand here and now denying even the opportunity they've been given by the majority leader to have an up-or-down vote to strip the language out that they object to? well despite the hypocrisy of their position, the question that this really boils down to is this. this is the question, the only question that really matters. to our colleagues who are filibustering this legislation are you prepared to turn your back on the thousands of people living every day in bondage and who are desperately clinging to the hope that someone someone will lend them a helping hand? are you prepared to abandon these children and these other victims of human trafficking who
3:16 pm
deserve a roof over their head, someone to lean on, and somehow some way to get a fresh start in life? do our colleagues who are filibustering this legislation really want to play politics with such a sensitive and vulnerable part of our population over an issue that some advocates have called a phantom problem? the reason why some advocates who support this legislation have called the objection of the democratic leader a fan tomorrow problem -- a phantom problem is because not only have they voted for similar provisions over and over again this has been the law of the land for 39 years since 1976. just in case our colleagues think that the examples i mentioned are exclusive, there are a number of other
3:17 pm
provisions 32 democrats voted for the so-called c.r. omnibus continuing resolution omnibus in december. 32 democrats voted for that and contained very similar language. and i mentioned several others. so i want to conclude with "the washington post" editorial for today. i don't know always find myself in agreement with the "washington post" editorial board, but this morning i think they encapsulated the democratic filibuster of the bipartisan antitrafficking bill perfectly. "in urging the senate to pass this legislation they wrote -- and i quote -- "this week the question will be whether senators can put the interest of scared abused children ahead of the chance to score political points." madam president, i couldn't agree more.
3:18 pm
so tomorrow morning an hour after we convene, we will have a vote that will decide whether this legislation goes on to final passage or not. we need six brave democrats six brave democrats to join all the republicans on this side to keep hope alive for these victims of human trafficking. we need six democrats who are willing to break away from the tyranny of their party's own leadership here in the senate and do what they know is the right thing to do. they know it in their heart and they know it in their mind and they know that they have supported similar language and legislation time and time again. we need six democrats willing to break away from the mindless, heartless filibuster of this legislation. i hope they will examine their conscience.
3:19 pm
i hope they will ask themselves, isn't this exactly the kind of vote that i came here to the united states senate to cast. i hope they'll pray on it. and i hope they'll think long and hard before saying no to the abused children and the victims of human trafficking. that's what this is all about. it's not based on any hyde amendment language in this legislation. it is based on a determination to render this, this institution disfunctional not because of any principled policy agreement because as i point out our colleagues on the other side voted for similar language time and time and time again. our colleagues on the other side realize that on november 4 the voters rejected the then
3:20 pm
then-majority and gave this side of the aisle the opportunity to serve in the majority because frankly, they were sick and tired of the way that washington operates and the dysfunction that prevailed here for so long. i had higher hopes that after the election that we would all learn something from what the voters were telling us on november 4 and thereafter and that we would take advantage of the opportunity to try to work together to find areas where we could agree on in a bipartisan way to actually move the ball forward and help people who needed our help. if we can't do that on an antihuman trafficking bill, what can we possiblely work together on? this whole phony issue of the hyde amendment provision in this bill is a joke. it's a sick, sad joke.
3:21 pm
after time and time again voting for similar provisions in other legislation, as i pointed out you have 12 democratic cosponsors of the legislation. you think they didn't read the legislation? that's ridiculous. you think their staff didn't tell them what was in the legislation? you think before the judiciary committee voted unanimously to pass it out that people didn't know what they were voting on? i don't believe that for a minute. i have too much respect for our colleagues and their professionalism to think that they missed it. so madam president our colleagues have an important choice to make tomorrow morning. i hope they will say yes to these victims of human trafficking and no to want kind of political gamesmanship that gives this institution a bad name. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
3:22 pm
mr. durbin: madam president i listened to the impassioned speech by the my colleague from texas on the issue of human trafficking. there's no dispute here. this is bipartisan. democrats and republicans are prepared to support the bill that's been offered on human trafficking by republican senator cornyn and democrat is -- democrat senator klobuchar. there are amendments pending one by senator leahy about runaway children. in fact, we're so prepared to do this that we have put together a comprehensive execute amendment to what has just dn described which could be quickly passed on the floor. i don't believe there would be a hand full of senators voting "no." i certainly would support the passage of the leahy version. what is the difference? senator cornyn has injected into this important issue a side issue but not an inconsequential
3:23 pm
one on the hyde amendment. henry hyde was a congressman from illinois who served in the house of representatives with me for a period of time. he authored the hyde amendment that said no federal funds shall be used to pay for abortion procedures except in very limited circumstances: rape, incest and life of the mother. and that has been put in appropriations bills every year since without question, without challenge. what senator cornyn is trying to do is to make this permanent law and make it part of the human trafficking bill. i don't doubt that this is an important issue. i know it is because i've served in the house and senate. but i do question whether or not we should make every bill that comes along a vehicle a carrier for debating abortion or other really controversial issues. this question of passing a human trafficking bill to protect the
3:24 pm
scores hundreds, perhaps thousands of victims of human trafficking is one which would pass in a heartbeat in the senate if the senator from texas would remove this controversial section. senator leahy has offered that substitute. i hope that we'll have an opportunity to vote on it and vote on it soon. as to whether this is a reflection of a dysfunctional congress well, most of the people back in ill and chicago that -- most of the people back in illinois and shoik -- chicago that i've run into have raised this issue from time to time. we now have a congress controlled by republicans the house and senate and a white house obviously with a democratic president. it is a tough political terrain under the best of circumstances and we certainly have not been facing the best of circumstances for a long time. there are just a lot of differences between the house and the senate and the president and the white house and many of those are manifest. what was the first bill that the republican majority in the
3:25 pm
senate called? number one senate bill 1 the keystone pipeline, a bill to authorize the construction of a pipeline owned by a canadian company in the united states. that was the highest priority for the senate republicans. the president said at the outset don't try to preempt my authority as president; i'll veto it. but they insisted. and we went through several weeks, two or three weeks of amendments and we cooperated on the democratic side. i think there might have been 30 or more amendments offered during that period of time. in the end the bill passed with six or eight democratic votes sent to the president and vetoed. so the first three weeks were spent on this politically controversial issue which at the end of the day the president's veto was sustained and it was wiped off the slate. then we went into a rather bizarre chapter here where the house republicans insisted that
3:26 pm
before before they would fund the department of homeland security -- you know the folks at the airport the people who are guarding our borders? before they would fund the department of homeland security to guard us against terrorism that we had to vote on five separate riders relative to the president's immigration executive orders. and they held up this appropriation, giving partial funding to it week after week after week until we finally said enough is enough. fund this agency that keeps us safe. stop playing political games with this issue. it went back and forth and back and forth. another three weeks were wasted on this issue before finally finally on a bipartisan basis we passed this measure funding the department of homeland security and said to the house of representatives, please stom putting extraneous issues on important matters like funding our government. i thought perhaps we would turn the corner and move in a morning
3:27 pm
business -- move in a more positive way but we're mired now. and then last week came a blockbuster issue. i didn't realize a week ago today that still a week later i would be going on chicago television being questioned about a letter signed by 47 republican senators which was sent to the tie tow -- sent to the ayatollah of iran, a letter signed by 47 senators to the ayatollah of iran telling him and his government not to negotiate with the president of the united states in an effort to stop iran from developing nuclear weapons. the author of this letter, senator cotton of arkansas, and those who signed it went to great lengths describing how they would in fact have the last word on anything negotiated by this president and that they planned on being around for a long long time, urging the
3:28 pm
ayatollah to not enter into negotiations with the president of the united states of america. madam president, there is no historic precedent for what just occurred. none. we have never had 47 senators of any party send a letter to a head of state and say stop negotiating with the united states of america. and they did it. the press reaction across the united states has been overwhelmingly negative to this action that was taken by these 47 senators. i could go through the long list here of what newspapers across america have said about that letter. the detroit free press said a blot on the 114th u.s. senate. the pittsburgh post, the senators who signed the letters should be ashamed. the salt lake tribune: cringe worthy buffoonry on the global stage is how they describe that letter. the courier journal in
3:29 pm
louisville kentucky, asked the question: has congress gone crazy when they reflected on this letter? the courier journal went on to call those who signed it, senate saboteurs. those are their words. not mine. the salt lake tribune said the foolish dangers obviously felonious attempt by the caucus of the united states senate. a kansas city star said was iran letter traiterrous or treacherous? "the los angeles times" called it insulting they said the republican senators are meddling in that irresponsibility, it is outrageous. it goes on and on. i won't read them all. it doesn't get any better. it gets worse. to think that 47 republican senators would try to preempt any senator of the united states. today in geneva switzerland former senator john kerry and secretary of state sits down at a negotiating table across from iran. on our side of the table are
3:30 pm
major allies trying to stop the development of a nuclear weapon in iran. they will struggle. maybe they'll never reach an agreement. but what the 47 senators said in a letter to the ayatollah of iran will not help. what is the alternative? if these negotiations fail, the alternative is iran develops a nuclear weapon and endangers not only israel but the middle east and far beyond, triggers an arms race in the middle east for nuclear weapons that is an outrageous unacceptable outcome. or military action. military action by israel, perhaps as prime minister netanyahu suggested two weeks ago. military action by the united states. is it worth our time to be negotiating? to try to find a peaceful resolution to try to find a way for iran to stop developing nuclear weapons with verifiable inspections? we won't take them at their word. there have to be inspections. or is it better, as these 47 republican senators insisted, to
3:31 pm
walk away from the table? i think it's far better to continue these negotiations. i don't know if they'll end up in a good agreement or not. but don't we owe it to our president our secretary of state our government, our country to at least see these negotiations through and then to read the agreement before 47 senators send a letter condemning it and rejecting it? it was a sad day but now let's turn the corner. the first thing we should do this week the absolute first thing we should do, is approve the president's nominee to be attorney general. loretta lynch appeared before our judiciary subcommittee. senator hatch was there and i think he may even concede what i'm about to say. no one laid a glove on this magnificent lady. a prosecutor with a spotless record an african-american with a life story about witnessing civil rights as they unfolded in this country in the 1960's. an extraordinarily good, good person.
3:32 pm
good family good background impeccable credentials. there wasn't a single thing said about her that would stop anyone for voting for her. and now she sits on the calendar 120calendar125 days. they've just set a record on the republican side. no nominee for attorney general has languished on the calendar that long in the last 30 years. if they had some legitimate complaint against this lady, let them say so. their complaint? she was chosen by president barack obama. that's not good enough. this week let us rise above the politics which have dominated the scene here in the senate since this session has begun. let us do something constructive approve this attorney general take the feighansive section out of this bill -- offensive section out of this bill and move this bill for passage. we could get it done in a matter of hours. i yield the floor. mr. hatch: hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president today we will again resume consideration of the justice for
3:33 pm
victims of trafficking act. this is an important bill to me. i've worked on it for many years. without a doubt this legislation is incredibly important. right now in this country there are thousands of human beings mainly young people living as slaves. men, women and children stolen from their homes stripped of their god-given rights and robbed of their human dignity. these individuals live among us. they live in our neighborhoods and in our suburbs our biggest cities and our smallest towns. they live in the world of silence, fear hopelessness and unspeakable suffering. the state department estimates that up to 17,500 individuals are trafficked to the united states in the united states every year. a majority of these are women and children. some of them are forced into a life of unpaid servitude. many others into sex work.
3:34 pm
worldwide, the international labor organization estimates that 4.5 million people are currently enslaved through sex trafficking. these numbers are staggering but they only illustrate the scope of the problem. the suffering of each individual victim should not be lost in a sea of statistics. for victims of human trafficking, the surreal horror of their lives bears testimony to the gravity of the driem. the -- of the crime. a number of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have worked tirelessly for updating our framework for fighting this scourge and i want to commend them for their efforts especially the senior senator from texas the senior senator from minnesota and the chairman of the judiciary committee. their efforts represent exactly the sort of work that should be the mission of this body working across the aisle to produce workable solutions to the most pressing problems facing our nationment nation. the majority leader also merits praise for his decision to take up this bill and his unwavering
3:35 pm
support for it. far too often his predecessor focused the senate's time and efforts on taking partisan messaging votes abusing the rules to score political points by prioritizing the consideration of important bipartisan legislation such as this and by restoring this body's traditions of fullsome debate an open amendment process and regular order through the system, our new senate majority is putting the senate back to work for the american people. and while the sailing has not been entirely smooth -- it rarely is -- the progress we have seen in restoring this institution to its proper role as a productive legislative body is both real and meaningful. given the progress that we have made thus far the logjam that is currently impeding our progress on this important legislation is extremely disappointing. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have claimed that we somehow supposedly snuck in a
3:36 pm
controversial abortion provision into an otherwise uncontroversial bill. madam president, this claim is unequivocally ridiculous. first, the language in question was by no means snuck into the the bill. it was in the bill when he was introduced at the beginning of this congress. it was in the bill when those of us on the judiciary committee took part in an extensive markup of the bill. it was in the bill when it passed unanimously out of committee. and it was in the bill when we undertook its consideration here on the floor. in fact, there were democrat cosponsors of this bill. moreover, not only was this language in the bill from the beginning but it has also been the law of the land for nearly four decades. democrats in this body have supported countedless other bills with similar language, including even obamacare. madam president, abortion is obviously a divisive and sensitive issue. while i am strongly pro-life i
3:37 pm
recognize that many of my friends passionately disagree with me on this issue. as members of this institution it is incunl bent upon us to respect the -- incumbent upon us to respect the sincere beliefs of our colleagues with whom we disagree and to work towards responsible governing arrangements. the hyde amendment represents such a sensible and appropriate arrange. it is predicated on the commonsense notion that while we may vigorously disagree on whether the life should be protected before birth we can broadly agree that taxpayer money should not be used -- should not be used -- to fund the pressure that many americans -- in facts a majority according to a number of polls -- consider to be murder. madam president the responsible way for each of us spo approach this bill, regardless -- to approach this bill regardless of our view of abortion, is to embrace this and focus on passing the underlying measure
3:38 pm
a bill that is so critical to our efforts of fighting human trafficking and help alleviate the suffering of victims. to hold up the passage of this bill to pick a fight over the hyde amendment represents an run ambiguous view of senators' duty to legislate. unfortunately that's what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have done. they are now threatening a filibuster unless we agree to their extreme pro-abortion position on this issue. there ought to be six of them who stand up and vote with us and get this bill passed. in response, the majority leader offered an eminently reasonable compromise an up-or-down vote on the amendment to strip. but the minority leader demands that the provision be removed. once again he's resorting to the outrageous my way or the highway tab tactic.
3:39 pm
it's a move out of the same playbook that he used to give us a calendar full of messaging votes last year, meant to produce political theater rather than meaningful legislation. this ploy plainly demonstrates the my in order leadership's desire to muck up the majority's efforts to exercise reliable leadership no matter the cost to the victims of human trafficking trafficking. by resorting to this sort of obstruction, they have demonstrated how desperately they want to derail our efforts to legislative responsibly and instead resort to their tired and discredited war on women rhetoric to win cheap political pointsmentpoints. madam president, let me me repeat a point i have repeatedly made about this impasse words that the minority has tried to manipulate to support his shameful gamut. for all my colleagues who are temped by this irresponsible strategy, it would be that they i can to hold -- pathetic to
3:40 pm
hold up this bill. this bill is absolutely critical to our families and our children. i can't believe this senate has been so political that this our colleagues would raise this tangential issue at this time after the same transparently clear language passed unanimously out of the judiciary committee. for my colleagues to hold up this bill in an either effort to seek to uphold this or to pick a false fight or try to embarrass the majority is itself embarrassing. i urge my colleagues in the minority in the strongest possible terms to reconsider their position and allow the senate once again to do the people's business. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call thewill callthe roll.
3:41 pm
quorum call:
3:42 pm
3:43 pm
3:44 pm
3:45 pm
a senator: madam president? mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the
3:46 pm
senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president i ask unanimous consent that the order of the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: i was looking around for somebody else thinking maybe we didn't need to do that. madam president, i rise to discuss what many believe is "the" most dangerous threat to our national security and that is a nuclear iran. over the past few weeks there have been a lot of discussions about the obama administration's ongoing negotiations with iran and what the role of congress should be. i believe the debate this past week in congress over how to best achieve and address this issue has distracted us from what i believe are the two key objectives in our effort to prevent iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability.
3:47 pm
first, iran must be prevented from getting the bomb. and, second, we in the senate must decide the best way to guarantee that result. for the past 10 years i've been working hard to find the most acceptable and best way to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons capability -- note that word "capability." for me, it has long been not enough to just announce that we must not allow iran to get a nuclear weapon, i am determined that iran must not get the technical capability to manufacture such a weapon. because a nuclear weapons-capable iran is as dangerous as a nuclear-armed iran, all because it throws up a cloud of am big ambiguity about its former intentions. there are many in the policy communities who find some mistaken sense of comfort from
3:48 pm
the intelligence agency's current view that iran has not yet made a former decision to develop a nuclear weapon. this is a delusion. iran's industrial strength uranium enrichment enterprise has gone from 600 centrifuges six years ago when the international community first expressed alarm to 19,000 today. and we know the ayatollah is on a quest for 190,000 centrifuges as soon as international constraints are removed. let's state the obvious here. the iranian pursuit of uranium enrichment is not being created to manufacture medical isotopes or reactor fuel for producing electricity. its purpose is to produce nuclear bombs. throughout my many years of involvement on this issue some as cochair of a task force at
3:49 pm
the bipartisan policy center, along with former senator chuck robb and a distinguished panel of experts, in the last four years here in the senate, i have called for using the full range of tools to prevent iran from reaching its nuclear goal. these include negotiations coupled with ever-increasing sanctions pressure and the credible threat of the use of military force if the negotiations and sanctions fail to lead to iran's commitment to cease its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability and this continues to be my view. i do believe in diplomacy. i would very much like to see the effective negotiations take place led by insightful diplomats, focused on the right results. i would like to see that lead to a settlement that brings security and continence.
3:50 pm
but we have every reason to fear that this is not now happening. i don't want to destroy the negotiations track but i do want to refocus it with a firm backing that it requires to achieve the goal that we need to reach. i don't want to demand everything from the iranians, but i do want to require enough to guarantee that they give up on their nuclear weapons ambitions. i don't want to torpedo the administration's diplomatic efforts, but i do want to require that congress have a final say on whether the results of the negotiations are acceptable and achieve the goals of preventing iran nuclear weapons capability. for me and i trust for the senate, this is our most important task of the moment, to force the president to accept a commonly role. he has said repeatedly that he will deny us that role when it comes to approving any
3:51 pm
agreement. we must not let that happen. the reason i did not sign the open letter to iran is not because i disagreed with the goals of the letter. all senate republicans and i believe many senate democrats are in agreement on the overall objective of avoiding a bad deal with iran, but the strategy we need to accomplish this essential goal is now in question and we are divided now in a way that makes this goal harder to achieve. there are two bills pending that would require the president to present any iran deal for us for review and action, and this is the course i believe we should take. one, which i have cosponsored has been introduced by both senators kirk and menendez, a bipartisan effort. the other co-authored by senators corker and menendez,
3:52 pm
also a bipartisan effort, i also support. the latter bill, which would require congress to approve any deal with iran, is very close to achieving the support of 67 or more senators needed to overturn president obama's promise to veto any legislation on this topic. lack of bipartisan consensus at this moment on this issue is likely to lead to a fatally flawed deal that destroys more than a decade of effort to bring iran to cease its goal of nuclear weapons capability. we all know now that the obama administration abandoned the core objectives at the very outset even before these talks began. four u.n. security council resolutions, frequent and constant demands coming from this chamber four presidents, two republicans and two democrats, saying a
3:53 pm
nuclear-capable iran is unacceptable. the firm position of apac and other friends of israel all stated, all stated the necessity that iran guff up and shut down all its uranium-en riffing -- enriching centrifuges. yet this goal was jettisoned before the talks even started. the obama administration spokesman, including secretary kerry himself have explained repeatedly that it was just too hard to achieve. we must be more realistic we were told. the iranians, we are told, can never be expected to agree to the demands laid down years ago by the security council. that was then, they said. this is now. everything's changed. we have to set that goal aside and we have to reach some reasonable agreement with a reasonable process, with a reasonable country.
3:54 pm
the word we need to question there is reasonable. madam president, it appears that my time is running out but i notice that no other member is here to speak so i would ask unanimous consent to speak for just three more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: madam president, i thank you. but even leaving that shocking capitulation aside that we can never expect that the ierns would negotiate under those -- that the iranians would negotiate under those conditions the now focus the focus that we should put now on our thoughts, in our thoughts on the key fatal flaw of this agreement, there is a key fatal flaw that now having done this, having gotten to this point we need to focus on. it's been simmering for months, but it's now boiled over onto the front pages of our national attention, and that, thanks to
3:55 pm
the presentation by the prime minister of israel, is the sunset clause. we now see that. even if iran is constrained by this agreement and even if, in the most unlikely of worlds, iran fully complies with the agreement, at the end of a decade or so iran will be fully liberated to pursue nuclear capabilities with no limitations or constraints whatsoever. a free hand a blank check. go forward in an iran that will have wealth, the technical expertise, industrial infrastructure the will and if given a sunset provision the international acquiescence to do whatever they like will pursue their goal without any ability of ours to stop them. they can do whatever they like. ten years. oh that's a long time out. ten years is tomorrow afternoon. it's a blink of the eye.
3:56 pm
such a sunset clause makes this entire enterprise unacceptable. any agreement that contains a sunset clause must be rejected, and any agreement with iran that does not impose permanent restraints on their nuclear ambitions is no agreement at all. we in the senate have it within our ability and the mandate to guarantee that happens but to do so, we need to reach consensus across this aisle. we need to work together as republicans and as democrats for the future security of our nation and for that matter all nations. yes, there are a number of issues here which we don't agree on. there are a number of things that we just have different thoughts about how to proceed but this is an issue of such historic consequence and such
3:57 pm
potential harm that we must find a way to work together to ensure our ability to undo what looks like it's coming our way. and so i plead with and i urge my colleagues, all my colleagues republicans and democrats, to rise above any political considerations and work together to ensure that this senate can prevent iran from getting the bomb. history and future generations and our children and our grandchildren will judge what we do here now and may that judgment be the right judgment for not just the future of our nation but for the future of the world. madam president, with that, i yield the floor. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
4:01 pm
quorum call: quorum call:
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
4:07 pm
mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from. vermont. mr. leahy: madam president i
4:08 pm
ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum are dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: last week the majority leader announced we finally schedule a vote this week for the nomination of loretta lynch to be our next attorney general. but today -- as of today there's no date that has been set. instead the majority leader is now saying may further delay a vote on this highly qualified nominee until after the senate is -- concludes its debate on the human trafficking bill. there's really no good reason for senate republicans to continue dragging their feet on scheduling a vote on ms. lynch's nomination. i've been here long enough to know we can debate legislation and vote on nominations at the same time. otherwise urges last thursday we voted on four other executive
4:09 pm
nominations while we were on the human trafficking bill we're telling going to vote on two more executive nominations this evening while we're on the human trafficking bill. it all serves to agree -- it's important to confirm loretta lynch as our nation's top law enforcement officer. she has a proven track record of prosecuting human trafficking and child rape crimes. this is not somebody who just talks about it, how much they are opposed to human trafficking, as though anybody's in favor of human trafficking. this is not someone who just says she's opposed to child rape cases, as though anybody here is going to say they're in favor of it. she has actually prosecuted them. over if course of the last -- the course of the last decade the u.s. attorney's office ms. lynch leads has indicted
4:10 pm
over 55 defendants in sex trafficking cases and risked over 110 victims of sex trafficking. we say here -- stand here talking about these issues, she actually does it. so i think she and the american people have waited long enough. president obama announced the nomination of ms. lynch four months ago. the judiciary committee reported her nomination with bipartisan support 18 days ago. by tomorrow, we talk about whether we move fast enough, by tomorrow her nomination will be -- have been pending on the senate floor longer than all of the past five attorneys general combined. take a look at this. here's loretta lynch. here's loretta lynch. she's been pending on the floor now for 18 days.
4:11 pm
this is -- the months she had to wait before that. now, attorney general holder, mukasey, gonzalez, ashcroft, and reno, had to wait a total of 18 days pending after their nomination came out so five of them one of her. she's had to wait as long as five of them had to wait for her to go. we also pointed out the amount of time -- i look at the amount of time it took for the -- well for the four men who proceeded her. all four of those men wept through so much faster than she has. they were he voted out of committee, janet reno took one day. john ash report who i helped get through the committee though i did not support him took two days.
4:12 pm
alberto gonzalez took eight days. michael mukasey took two days. eric holder five days. so this delay is an embarrassment for the united states senate. her qualifications are beyond reproach. but the senate republican leadership continues to delay a vote on her confirmation despite her impeccable credentials. now when she is confirmed we know that loretta lynch will be the first african-american woman to serve our country as attorney general. but instead of moving forward with this historic nomination, senate republicans appear intent on making history for all the wrong reasons. david hawk innings wrote in a -- hawkins wrote in "roll call" lynch is waiting to be confirmed after the longest wait ever -- ever -- to be
4:13 pm
nominated by a attorney general, likely by the closest vote to put a new person in charge of the justice department. we want to send a signal we're tough on crime that we want to get these traffickers that people will commit crimes, whether democrats or republicans should go to jail, yet we refuse to confirm the person who has actually done all those things. it appears that some want to simply refuse to allow a vote on her nomination, effectively circumstancing the -- shirking the duty of the senate to advise and consent. one republican senator tweeted about the need to block this historic nominee and then if you overlook why he was doing that, included a link to a political fundraising web site. we've always kept our law
4:14 pm
enforcement, the f.b.i. director, attorney general anybody in law enforcement out of politics. to send for a senator to tweet we have to block this person -- oh, by the way here's where you can contribute to a political campaign, that's wrong. seems like the senate will have to file a cloture to vote to overcome the filibuster of her nomination. that's unprecedented it's unwarranted. no other attorney general nomination in our history has ever been met with a filibuster. we have never needed to have a cloture vote on attorney general nomination. again, it seems that republican leadership wants to make history for all the wrong reasons. i mention this, madam president,, i'll give you an idea. president george bush last two years of his term, now a lame
4:15 pm
duck president, he nominated michael mukasey for attorney general. now, michael mukasey who -- the last attorney general had done a disastrous job even though he had been voted for i think by all republicans people will accept the fact now he politicized the prosecutors' office and finally the bush administration had to get rid of him. i had just become chairman again as the democrats had taken back over the senate. and i moved attorney general mukasey through even though i did not support him i felt the president should have a vote on his attorney general and i moved him through in record time. she has waited so many more times multiple times longer
4:16 pm
than mukasey. two weekends ago ms. lynch traveled to summit to honor the -- to selma to honor the 50th anniversary of the march across the edmund edmund pet us bridge. it was a weekend when both republicans and democrats came together. president obama stood there with president obama george w. bush, who had signed the last voting rights act and they honored the voting rights act of 50 years ago. i also felt it was a time to reaffirm our shared commitment to americans as americans and the ideals of justice and equality that so many of our predecessors have fought and bled for from our founding fathers to the foot soldiers for justice on that bridge in selma. loretta lynch embodies these
4:17 pm
ideals. she's devoted her career to making them a reality. it's time for republicans and democrats to come together to confirm this woman tube to be the next attorney general. it's time to stop delay and making excuses for how she is being treated. it's time to vote. this -- this is reflecting badly on all law enforcement. i hear from so many in law enforcement, why are you politicizing this nomination, republicans and democrats. they've usually kept law enforcement out of politics. why is this? i mean, it's been on the subject before us. earlier this month two florida members were charged with human
4:18 pm
trafficking. they drugged a runaway 16-year-old girl and forced her to have sex with up to ten men a day. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. senators are limited to ten minutesminutes each. lay are we on themr. leahy: are we on the trafficking act? the presiding officer: no, we are in morning business, sir. mr. leahy: when do we go to the trafficking act? the presiding officer: morning business has expired. mr. leahy:en this i seek recognition. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of senate -- s. 178, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 26, s. 178 a bill to provide justice for the victims of trafficking. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: if we're on this
4:19 pm
bill on victims of trafficking let kneel you as i started to say, earlier this month two florida men were charged with human trafficking. they drugged a runaway 16-year-old girl. then they forced her to have sex with up to ten men a day. they sold her to men in a gas station bathroom. they sold her on the street out of the back of a car. she is 16 years old. she had run away from home, was terribly vulinerm. they promised her food, then they beat herks drugged her and raped her. when she escaped they tracked her down, beat her and sold her again. all of us -- i think we should have agreement that republicans and democrats did we've been working for almost a year on bipartisan proposals to protect these vulnerable children, to help the sutervivors and then punish those who put them
4:20 pm
through this hell. the fight against human trafficking should not be made into a partisan issue to score political points. that's where we are today. everyone expected this legislation to move through the senate. i know i did just as it did through the house. instead senate republicans have turnedway from a comprehensive solution. i am deeply saddened by this partisan fight. it is destructive and unnecessary. it is destructive because it threatens to derail important legislation that makes a difference in the lives of survivors, like the 16-year-old girl in florida. this partisan fight is unnecessary because abortion
4:21 pm
politics have no place in this debate. congress as has a long history of passing legislation to address human trafficking. we've consistently done so without abortion politics being injected in the discussion. i know we've passed the violence against women act we included a trafficking amendment of mine in that. while i was disappointed that a number of my republican colleagues voted against the violence against women act which had the sex trafficking amendment in it, we still passed it by a bipartisan majority, as did the house of representatives, and the president signed it into law. so i was glad that we were able to get that significant piece of legislation passed, even though many in this body who say why
4:22 pm
aren't we passing this? votes against the violence against women act with the sexual trafficking amendment. i want to make clear to everyone that this partisan provision that's now popped up is nowing that survivors of human trafficking are asking for. it is not something the experts in the field who work with them every day are asking for. we should look at the experts who know what's going on in this ask them what it is they want. they do not want this. in fact, those who are closest to the damage wreaked by this terrible crime are asking us, always of us, democrats and republicans, to take a position now. they're asking us to put politics aside focus on the needs of those who have lived through a hell we'll never understand. holly austin smirnlings a surviervetion a girl of the age of 14 who was bought and sold
4:23 pm
for sex. she put it this way when she testified before our committee. "politics should not govern the options available to victims of sex trafficking especially when such victims often have had their basic human rights taken away by criminals who had only their own agendas in mind." so i think we have to stand with these human trafficking survivors and we have to put aside our agendas. they're taking us to take out this unnecessary -- they're asking us to take out this unnecessary provision and move forward with the bill to address their needs. i support the rest of senator cornyn's bill. that's why i included in the comprehensive substitute amendment i filed last week. also included in my substitute is a vital component to prevent human trafficking by focusing on runaway and human youth. if we're serious about helping thoseend this heinous crime, we
4:24 pm
should expand the protections for sex trafficking victims. we should come together and protect these vulnerable kids. that's why we're here. i'm confident if we remember these children, democrats and republicans will move forward return to the bipartisan path we've always walked on this issue. one of the reasons i have that amendment i talk about prefght is one thing -- and we should prosecute those people that do this but wouldn't it be that much better for the victims if we could prevent it from happening in the first place? madam president%, i've talked about of the nightmares i still have about some of the cases i prosecuted. i was 26 and the chief prosecutor for a quarter of our state.
4:25 pm
and i look at these victims, the age of my own children. all i wanted to do was to get -- and did -- the people who perpetrated and prosecute and convict them. i also thought how much better it would have been if we'd had programs that would have given these people somewhere to turn to before they became victims some way to protect them so we wouldn't see it afterward. i said on the floor the other night that i actually in preparing for these trials of the people i prosecuted i wouldn't bring paperwork home in the evening to do it. i'd stay in my office and prepare it. i didn't want to take the chance that one of my then-young children might see the photographs i was going to introduce in evidence. but i also didn't want to them to see their father crying and
4:26 pm
wonder why. because i always try to tell them the truth. i was not about to tell these young children the truth of what i was seeing. instead, i would tell the truth -- i would tell the truth to the jury and the jury would convict. but even the jury wishes that it never happened in the first place. the national network for youth they sent me a letter. they said. "the national network for youth is writing this letter with the hope that the u.s. senate will remove the partisan piece of the justice for victims of trafficking act. this legislation is desperately needed and we cannot let this moment pass us by because of the addition of partisan and divisive provisions." the national network for youth is saying, let's go back to why both republicans and democrats
4:27 pm
wanted this legislation: to stop traffic, to help the victims of trafficking, and not to score political points. just as a majority of this body voted for the leahy-crapo bill, the violence against women act which had a provision on sexual trafficking a majority voted for it, republicans and democrats, i wish that others -- i wish that everybody here in this body voted for it. i understand that some will now strongly support the partisan part of the trafficking bill voted against the violence against women act. each senator has the right to vote as he or she wants but i
4:28 pm
find it strange that they say let's go forward with this partisan provision when just a year or so ago those same senators who are now saying we should go forward with this voted against the violence against women act -- the very same senators voted against it. let's get out of politics. that was a good act. it had a very strong sex trafficking provision in it, which fortunately was also accepted by the house of representatives and signed into law by the president. senator crapo and i set aside politics so we could pass that bill. that's what we should do today. madam president i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the
4:29 pm
clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president i appreciate the work our colleagues have done -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i appreciate the work that my colleagues have done on this trafficking bill and it's an important issue that deserves debate and a vote. madam president i'll tell you why i believe the lynch nomination should not go forward. i think it is a very important reason and unfortunately it's
4:30 pm
one that i think congress has got to address. in their wisdom, our founders gave congress certain powers as a coequal branch of government, and one of those powers was the power to confirm our not confirm nominees. long before ms. lynch's nomination was announced i said that i couldn't vote to confirm any candidate for attorney general who supported the president's unlawful executive amnesty. it's a big constitutional issue that we have to talk about and understand and it relates directly to the powers of the executive branch versus the legislative branch. the attorney general is a top law enforcement officer in this country, the senior person. and anyone who occupies that office must have fidelity to the laws of the united states

19 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on