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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 28, 2015 10:00am-6:01pm EDT

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the iran nuclear negotiations oversight bill. lawmakers will break between 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. for party caucus lunches. 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. o god our help in ages past and our hope in years to come, as baltimore, maryland, descends into chaos and the death toll in nepal rises, we come to you today in the assurance not of our feeble hold on you but of
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your mighty grasp on us. thank you for the beckoning glory and the fresh vigor of a new day. sustain our senators in their work. may they trust in your power as they strive to solve the vexing problems of our time. lord use them to ensure that justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream strengthen them with your might and fill them with the spirit of your love.
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we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: two weeks ago every republican and every democrat on the foreign reels committee voted to approve the iran nuclear agreement review act. that 19-0 vote cleared the way for its consideration on the floor today. this is an important debate in our country. at its heart it turns on a central proposition: do the american people, through the members of congress they elect, deserve a say in one of the most important issues of our time? for a long time the answer from the white house seemed to be "no." we've since seen a softening of that hard line. but that doesn't mean the fight for this bipartisan legislation has been won.
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i still expect to see a vigorous debate this week. i still expect to see a robust amendment process. and then at the end of the day the american people are right to expect their senators, regardless of party to stand up for them by supporting a bill that's as sensible as it is bipartisan. preventing the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism from et gaining access -- from gaining access to nuclear weapons should be the goal of all senators, no matter what party they belong to. the price of a bad agreement with iran could be catastrophic. iran's nuclear program is the only one -- is only one aspect of its efforts to confront the west across the full spectrum of warfare. through public diplomacy through its support for terrorism and proxies through its missile capabilities, and through a modernization of its conventional forces, iran is on
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the move in all of those areas. any sanctions relief from a nuclear agreement would give iran actually more funds to conduct these and other activities so congress needs to have a say. let's not forget, the american people were led to believe that the point of the white house negotiations with iran were to end iran's nuclear program and to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. congress and the american people were not told that this would be an exercise in dprantsing iran -- in granting iran international per mugs to become a nuclear -- permission to become a nuclear threshold state, just steps away from a nuclear weapon. if that truly is how things have developed since then the members of this body and the people that we represent need to be heard much heard. the american people, through the representatives they elect, have a right to review, to analyze and pass their judgment on any agreement reached to ensure
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americans are getting the kientdzkindof agreement they actually deserve. giving the american people a real voice on a topic of such vital importance should not be a partisan issue and by passing the bipartisan iran nuclear agreement review act, we can help assure that it isn't. among other things, this bipartisan bill would require that any agreement reached with iran be submitted for congressional review and for public examination. it would also provide the congress elected by the people with the ability to approve or disaapprove of any iran deal before congressional sanctions were removed. in short the point of this bill is to give the elected representatives of the american people the tools to assess any agreement reached by the administration before congressional sanctions are lifted. those crippling sanctions which include bipartisan sanctions
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authored by senator kirk that passed 100-0 over the white house's objections, are one of the most important reasons we even got iran to the table in the first place. so the united states should not give up this leverage now if it means bringing home an agreement that does not meet american national security interests or one that simply passes on dealing with the iranian nuclear program to the next administration. the point of these negotiations should be to secure an agreement strong enough on its own merits to pass muster with congress and with the american people. congress had the correct judgment to impose objections over white house sanctions a few years back. passing the bipartisan iran nuclear agreement review act is key to ensuring that that
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happens. in the process of doing so will ensure the voices of all americans are heard with the kind of robust amendment process i mentioned on the floor last week. in that vein we appreciate the democratic leader's comments about an open amendment process where no matter how a person feels about this bill they'll have an opportunity to offer amendments. i appreciate his supportive comments and we encourage senators to come to the floor today and to offer their amendments. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i want to express my appreciation publicly -- i have done so privately -- for the good work done by senators corker and cardin chairman and ranking member of the foreign relations committee. they have done remarkably good
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work and it's been exemplary work for us. mr. president, getting consensus on anything in the senate is very hard, but in spite of the monumental task they faced the chair and ranking member. foreign reels committee were able to do just that. these two good senators have worked very hard to find a middle ground. i think they've done -- the corker-cardin bill allows congress to vote on the final agreement and also provides for immediate re-institution of the sanctions, should iran breach the terms of the agreement. after weeks of bipartisan negotiations the foreign reels committee reported that corker-cardin legislation with a unanimous vote, 19-0. i along with many of my senate democratic colleagues support this legislation and in fact i think -- i think all democrats support this legislation. senators cork he and corker and cardin
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worked hard to strike a balance. now we must protect that delicate balance by working together to fight major challenges that could imperil the success of the bill. however, mr. president a number of my republican colleagues have stated publicly in their efforts to be a republican nominee for president what they want to do with this bill. i'm concerned that they and others want to use this good, bipartisan piece of legislation as a platform for their political ambitions. this bill is too important to be a pawn in anyone's political game. i've told senators corker and cardin i'll support their efforts to preserve their work. as we move forward hoping we all work together in a bipartisan spirit on which this bill was crafted. we should keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of preventing iran from et going a getting a nuclear
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weapon. i am very concerned about some statements made by my friend, the senior senator from texas. he said in "politico" -- and i'm not taking his full quote but enough to get the idea here, "some of them might pass. i think it's going to be an interesting dance. there are some that are interesting, that will be hard to vote against." mr. president, this this bill was brought to the senate floor on a bipartisan basis. we should continue on that basis. it shouldn't be up to democrats to kill these amendments. we should get some help from our republican colleagues. so i look forward to this debate. it is important for the country. it is important for the world. and i'm grateful for the work done by those two good senators. i just hope that it's not messed
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up and denigrated as a result of political posturing. mr. president, on another subject, when i first came to the senate and in fact when i served in the house conference committees were an important part of the business that we did here in congress. but in recent years very recent years, going to conference isn't what it used to be. going to conference on a piece of legislation used to mean there would serious discussions and compromises that generally produced a product that would be support theed by members of both parties. it was a real conference. democrats sat down with republicans in a public forum to determine what should happen on that bill. i can remember, mr. president going to those conferences. they were tough. they were long, and there was a lot of compromises made, but that's what legislation is: the
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art of compromise. but when we finished, we had a product that was supported by both parties. that's why mr. president we used to do appropriations bills like that. why? because, just as an example senator domenici and i for many years were the chairman and ranking member of a very important subcommittee, energy and water -- very important billions and billions of dollars. we did our work as a subcommittee but then we were able to meet and work these out in conference. that's why we came to the floor. we did the bill in a few hours because everyone had had their input. sadly under a republican house and a republican senate, there's -- that's no longer the case. here's an example. the budget conference resolution -- mr. president there's all the exeft-beating and flexing of
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muscles in the press. the republicans have a budget. they've worked and got it done. they finished conference. mr. president, the republican majorities in the house and senate don't even bother to show that there's a bipartisan consensus building. they just do it. any meetings that has been had on this bill with democrats has been strictly for show. nothing -- there's no discussion. there's no public debate. there's nothing -- nothing done. it's the republicans in the house and the republicans in the senate are meeting together. i would bet that the conferences, even between the house and the senate, was done mainly by the two chairs of the committee. not a word of input on this bill not a word of input on this bill from democrats. it's no conference. republicans only know what they want. they're not interested in our ideas. mr. president, "forbes" magazine
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is a very conservative news outlet. but listen to what they said. and i quote virginia bait i"the budget resolution conference report that will likely be voted 0en this week will solely be a product of the republican majorities in the house and the senate, what they want. there was little to no effort to involve democrats in negotiations because the leadership would have risked losing g.o.p. votes in both houses by doing so." they also would have risked alienating the g.o.p. base much of which believe the compromise between the democrats and the obama administration is the political equivalent of corroborating with the enemy." close quote. how about that? every word of this is true. and it's so sad for our country.
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working across party lines is considered corroborating with the enemy. i've said here on the floor many times and i'll say it again when obama was elected the first time, republicans gathered here in washington a couple of days days -- and it's been written up a lot of times -- and they came to two conclusions. number one we're not going to have obama reelected. they failed miserably with that. but the second one, they have been a success and that is they would oppose anything and everything president obama wanted. and they've done that now mr. president, for six and a half years. what a sad day for our country. is you mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my friend from south dakota be recognized the senior senator from south dakota be recognized as if in morning business for up to ten
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minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president prior to recognizing him, would you note what that business is for the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. mr. reid: you're not going to lay down the bill now so have it it. mr. thune: i thank the democratic leader. mr. president, on april 2 president obama announced a nuclear agreement reached with iran. if all goes accordingly this means that the white house would finish negotiating an agreement sometime in june. but the question remains as to what type of agreement the negotiations will finally produce. mr. president, any deal with iran needs to achieve one thing. one thing. and that's to permanently prevent iran from acquiring a
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nuclear weapon. but the framework of the president has unveiled seems unlikely to achieve that goal. far from eliminating iran's nuclear capabilities the framework does not shut down a single nuclear facility in the country. it doesn't destroy a single centrifuge. it doesn't stop research and development on existing centrifuges. it doesn't eliminate iran's missile development programs. and it allows iran to keep a substantial part of its existing stockpile of enriched uranium. mr. president, it's no surprise that members of both parties are deeply concerned that the final agreement will not be effective in preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. i don't need to tell anyone why iran's possessing a nuclear weapon is such a dangerous prospect. iran is well known as a state sponsor of terrorism. practically speaking, that means that iran provides support and
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funding to organizations that consider the slaughter of innocent civilians to be an acceptable negotiating tactic and that have kept millions of ordinary men women and children in the middle east from living in stability and peace. iran's plan for the middle east includes its stated goal of wiping our ally israel off the map, which should tell you all you need to know about that country's commitment to peace in the region. meanwhile at home, iran braces the same violence and aggression it spreads abroad. iran's government is hostile to freedom of any kind. thousands of iran citizens have been tortured, imprisoned and executed for daring to stand up for their human rights. this is not a regime that can be trusted with a nuclear weapon. mr. president, in addition to the danger inherent in a regime like iran having nuclear weapons at its disposal, iran's acquiring such a weapon can likely start a nuclear arms race
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in the middle east. right now we're witnessing a quasi proxy war in yemen with iran supporting the houthis in a saudi led coalition supporting the ousted government. imagine this scenario if both major parties both major parties had nuclear weapons at their disposal. there is the other great danger in iran's acquiring a nuclear weapon, a chance that it could give a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization. imagine a situation in which a nuclear weapon fell into the hands of such organizations. the consequences of that, mr. president, would be unthinkable. this week the senate is considering the iran nuclear agreement review act negotiated by senators corker and cardin. the iran nuclear review act would ensure that american
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people's concerns about a nuclear deal are heard by providing for congressional review of any agreement the president reaches with iran. specifically the bill would require the president submit any agreement to congress and prevent him from waiving any congressional sanctions on iran until congress reviews the deal. mr. president, congress passed sanctions that eventually brought the iranian economy to its knees and drove the iranian government to the negotiating table. the only reason -- the only reason iran is cooperating at all on a nuclear agreement is because it wants to see those sanctions lifted. this bill would ensure the sanctions can only be lifted after congressional review. the iran nuclear agreement review act would also make sure that any agreement with iran is verified and enforced. under the terms of this legislation, every 90 days the president would be required to provide congress with confirmation that iran is complying with the agreement.
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the bill includes reporting requirements on iran's records on reporting rights on domestic terrorism. i plan to introduce an amendment to this legislation to require the secretary of state to investigate whether the international atomic agency would have access to military bases if they were deemed to be suspicious sites. recent reports have indicated the iranian military is hostile to any inspection of military bases. general hussein salami deputy head of iran's military guard told the media -- and i quote -- "they, the inspectors, will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams." given that attitude, mr. president, are we really supposed to trust iran to fully comply with a nuclear agreement? mr. president, while i remain concerned about the framework the president has unveiled, one
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bright spot in this debate has been seeing democrats and republicans working together to ensure that any deal with iran is verifiable enforceable and accountable and promotes security and stability in the region and around the globe. this kind of bipartisanship has been more of the norm in the senate lately. the republicans were elected last november, we promised we would get washington working again for american families. mr. president, that was not a campaign slogan. that was a commitment. and we've been delivering on our promise. since republicans took control of the senate in january we passed 13 bipartisan bills legislation to approve the keystone pipeline, a bill to prevent suicide among venezuela reauthorization of the terrorist insurance risk tram legislation to give law enforcement new tools to fight human trafficking and provide support for trafficking victims and the first significant bipartisan
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reform of medicare in years. mr. president, even the media is paying attention. on april 26, cbs published an article entitled "some good news out of washington for a change." on april 24, npr headline asked "has the senate found it's more fun to be functional?" a "usa today" headline from april 20 noted "new study suggests a healthier congress," arguing that we are getting things done again and working again and functioning here in the united states senate. mr. president, the best way to solve the challenges facing our nation is for democrats and republicans to come together and to develop solutions. we've been doing that for the past four months here in the senate and that's what we're doing on this crucial iran legislation. a nuclear armed iran is a threat to the safety, security and stability of the globe. i look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that iran never acquires
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a nuclear weapon. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i'd like to ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 1191 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 30, h.r. 1191, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth and for other purposes. mr. corker: mr. president i'd like to call up the corker-cardin amendment that is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from tennessee, mr. corker, proposes an amendment numbered 1179 to amendment 1140, on page 2 line
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13 insert and specifically including any agreed persian tax of such agreement related materials and annexes after "and annexes." mr. corker: mr. president this amendment simply requires that alongside the english text of any final agreement the president submit to congress the official persian text of any final agreement including the related materials and annexes. we all have seen the controversy surrounding the dis crep san is is -- discrepancies. in order for congress to evaluate any agreement, we have to see what both sides believe that this agreement is, and that requires the persian text of the agreement. this is a commonsense amendment. i thank senator cardin for joining me in this amendment and not unprecedented in any way. in fact, we just recently
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received a transmission of the china 1-2-3 agreement which included the chinese text. and i yield to my friend, senator cardin. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president thank you very much. i want to thank senator corker on this first amendment that's being offered. we've used the same process that we used in the senate foreign relations committee. there are several members who have brought this to our attention, that it is important in reviewing the agreement assuming agreement is reached by congress that we have at our disposal the documents that are being used. we expect certainly we'll have an english version but there could be information in other languages, including farsi. so it's important we have the original documents that are being used so that we can review and determine ourselves as to what the -- all the details of the agreement. so that's the purpose of this. this is a bipartisan amendment.
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we believe it strengthens the underlying purpose of this bill which is to set up an orderly way for congress to review a potential agreement reached between the united states and our negotiating partners and iran have an opportunity to review and have the options of either taking no action or dealing with an approval or disapproval or dealing with the sanctions since we imposed the sanctions. so i think it strengthens the underlying bill but more importantly it's a process that we should use. mr. president, if i might the bill now is open for amendment but i would just urge my colleagues to understand how the senate foreign relations committee has brought forward a bill that got a 19-0 vote in the committee -- because we recognize stopping iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state is so important we cannot be distracted by other issues. so we focused on that issue. as i said earlier, we have a lot
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of other problems with iran. iran's a terrorist -- sponsors terrorism. iran has interfered with its neighbors and is continuing to do that. iran has a horrible record on human rights. so as i started to look through the amendments that were filed filed -- they haven't been made pending but have been filed -- a see a whole host of amendments that deal with issues that aren't really involved in this bill. in stopping iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. they would add certification requirements on iran not participating in terrorism or its ballistic missile program or its human rights records or its interference with the sovereignty of other countries or the return of u.s. citizens that are improperly being held. every member of this body agrees that iran needs to respond to those issues and we have tools available to deal with that. we have sanctions regimes that deal with human rights violations with terrorism --
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sponsoring terrorism for the ballistic missile programs. this bill deals with stopping iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. now, what would happen if any of those amendments were approved? if we had to have a certification? the president could not make that certification. so one of two things happens. it's a poison pill that kills this bill so we lose our opportunity to review or it blows up negotiations and then the united states is alone without any international support because we blew it up in stopping iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state making it much less likely that we stop iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. that's why senator graham said that the only people who will celebrate a poison pill getting on this bill will be iran. so i just urge my colleagues to understand what's at stake here. this is a very important bill and i -- what we urge you to do, senator corker and i if you have amendments you want to file, talk to us.
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that's how we did it in the senate foreign relations committee. talk to us. let's see whether we can't work out an amendment in an orderly way to consider those amendments. that's what we want to do. so that we can use our time on the floor in consideration of amendments in the most constructive way that will lead to a bill being approved by the same large vote that we had in the senate foreign relations committee so that we use the process for amendments similar to what this bill, s. 615 does for a congressional review of an agreement in the way the senate foreign relations committee did its work to get a 19-0 vote. and i thank my chairman for his extraordinary leadership. i thank the presiding officer who was very helpful in this process. and i hope that he'll be table to proceed in that direction. mr. corker: i want to thank my friend from maryland. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: thank you mr. president. i agree, we have reached out to numbers of people who have amendments and have asked them
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to come down to the floor and talk with us. we've -- i know a number of our folks are traveling around the country focused on other things at present. we've reached out to them to -- to get back with us and talk about some of the language. i want to say to my friend from maryland that i appreciate the way he's -- his openness to the numbers of amendments that we're now looking at. i know at lunch today he'll talk to his caucus a little bit about that. we'll talk to ours. but i look forward to a robust process. but again, we have to have people who -- if they want to call up an amendment they -- they need to come down, if they will and talk with us and let us work through the process. so thank you very much for your comments. and with that, 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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the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: i rise to welcome the prime minister of japan. toament tomorrow is a momentous owequation. tomorrow our country will welcome the leader of diswreap to speak before -- the leader of japan to speak before a joint session of congress. our nations have been linked by trade and commerce. in 1853 come ambassador matthew periawaited on japanese shores to deliver a letter from president millard fillmore to japan's emperor on november 13, 1852 which said in part, "i
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send you this public letter by come ambassador matthew c. per rirks an officer of the highest rank of the united states navy now visiting your imperial magistery's dough minions. i have directed commodore perithat i entertain the kindest feelings towards your majesty and government. i have no other object in sending him to japan but to propose that the united states and japan should live in friendship. and thundershowers nations embarked on a path and relationship that would change the course of world history. on july 29,1858 we concluded a treaty. japan dispatched its first diplomats to washington d.c. they were the first japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in 200 years. historians have often referred to our opening with japan as an extension of our nation's own manifest destiny which spread the american people's values
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across the west including to my home state of colorado. in 1911 president william howard taft further advanced our ties by concluding the treaty of commerce and navigation with japan. in world war i japan sided with the allies. on march 26, 1912, a gift of 3,020 cherry trees arrived in our nation's capital a symbol of u.s.-japanese friendship that we witness every spring as we walk by or drive by the tidal basin and other landmarks. we must never forget the dark pages in our history. we must never forget apparel harbor we must never forget god an canal and the bloody battles in okinawa. this war changed our nation forever. every day we must remember the sacrifice of the greatest generation that prevailed in that epic, that greatest civilizational conflict. without them, this nation would not be what it is today. without them, this nation may
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not have endured. we never lost sight of perspective of why we fought. as japan surrendered aboard the u.s.s. missouri, macarthur offered the following. "it is my hope and the hope of all manned condition that from this occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of manage and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish:for freedom tolerance and justice." japan's destruction following world war ii was nearly complete. out of that rub l of tragedy emerged the great partnership between our two nations. on april 19, 1951, general macarthur went before congress and declared in his farewell address the japanese people since the war have undergone the greatest ref formation recorded in history. with marked capacity to
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understand, they have from the ashes left in the war's wake erected in japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity. in the onsuing process there has been created a truly representative government dedicated to the advance of freedom. as japan took on the task of arduously rebuilding its society and economy our frirntion our relationship blossomed and perhaps helping in that relationship is a shared national past time: baseball. it was already a thriving support at the time of the post-war recovery had begun. joggy berry the new york jiang key's great visited expwreap. japan. his love of the game won the affection of millions and he traveled the country demonstrating his skills behind the plate. many of us may pause to wonder if this place a nation haunted
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by recent trials of war and a land struggling to regain its footing in the world a once powerful country desperate to turn a page in history we may wonder if this is the place where he once uttered his phrase "the future ain't what it used to be." with the united states affirmly at her side, japan rose again. japan today is the world's third largest economy and the fourth largest trading partner for the united states. millions of americans for generations have brought -- have bought iconic japanese products products from sony to toshiba laptops. former senate majority leader and layered ambassador to japan mike mansfield would describe the u.s.-japan relationship as the most important bilateral relationship in the world bar none. the u.s.-japan alliance remains the backbone of security and stability in asia. approximately 53,000 u.s. military personnel are now stationed in the japanese islands, both onshore and
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offshore. together with our japanese partners we work daily to confront the security challenges in the region and to ensure peace and stability. as the challenges in the region are evolving, so, too must the security relationship between the u.s. and japan. the japanese leadership is currently taking necessary steps to change its post world war ii defense posture. the revised u.s.-japan defense cooperation guidelines announced yesterday signify a new phase in our relationship and japan's emergence as security leader in the world. i want the american people to understand the importance of these developments. it's due to u.s. military presence and the steadfast commitment to our allies that we have avoided a land war in east shaish for generations. distinguished political scientist joseph nye put it best when he said "security is like oxygen. you tend not to notice it until
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you lose it. once that occurs, there is nothing else that you think about." our presence in the region has given our allies the breathing space to rebuild and stave off aggression and now they are stepping up to the plate by increasingly sharing that responsibility with the united states. this is also an historic economic moment for the asia pacific region. the united states and japan are leading the way on concluding one of the most ambitious trade deals ever undertaken: the trans-pacific partnership. 11 pacific nations from malaysia to new zealand are actively working to tear down barriers to trade. t.p.p.'s reach encompasses nearly 40% -- nearly 40% of all global trade and trillions of dollars in economic activity. t.p.p. will set the standard for a new era of economic relationship with asia and the united states and japan are leading the way. we must conclude this landmark
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agreement as soon as possible and i am encouraged by the progress we've made here in congress to advance this historic pact. but we must look at the t.p.p. as just one step forward as our commitment in the region, not the final solution. despite the crises of the day where the united states should play an important role, our nation's strategic future lies in asia. just consider the following estimates from the asian development bank. by 2050 asia will account for over half of the population and over half of the world's gross domestic product. asia's middle class will rise and increase to a staggering 3 billion people. per capita gross domestic product income in the region will rise to around $40,000 making it similar to the europe of today. we cannot miss the opportunity to be a part of this important opportunity and transformation. working with japan and other
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regional partners, we must ensure that our policies strengthen existing friendships and build new partnerships that will be critical to u.s. national security and economic well-being for generations to come. this administration's pivot to asia or rebalanced policy which builds on the work that began under previous administrations is a sensible approach to realizing these goals. but i'm concerned however with the pace and focus and the consistency of the rebalance. this administration and the next one must ensthiewr this important policy of engagement is pursued vigorously at always levels whether the military, diplomacy or civilian fronts. nard forfronts. moving in filths and starts is not good policy whether for the economy or foreign relations. every moment of hess station and idleness invites ever more challenges an missed
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opportunities. doubt is never the basis of a long-term, strong relationship. our partners in the region must know each and every day that the united states is here to stay. we still face grave threats in the asia pacific as north korea marches on with their nuclear program and belligerence toward the free world the growing challenges of nuclear proliferation, cybersecurity threats and the destabilizing territorial did the disputes in the south and east asia seas. this requires thand the united states and japan are vigilant and united with our allies' efforts to retain security. as the prime minister delivers his historic address tomorrow, it is my hope that he delivers the message that the promise of the future in the region bolstered by an alliance with the united states is a more powerful force than the painful history of the past. we must never forget that colonialism and militarism
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caused untold anguish and destruction in the region. but as demonstrated by the strength of the u.s.-japan reels following those dark pages of history, it is my sincerest wish that our friends in the region can establish a viable path forward and overcome this difficult past to focus on building a better future. mr. president, america's new century in the asia pacific has arrived. but as we welcome prime minister abe and celebrate our 23reu7, we must remember that this is only the first inning of this ball gaivment we must continue to work toward the goal that general macarthur stated state aboard the u.s.s. missouri. "a better world shall emerge without of the blood and quarn afnlgt past. a world founded on faith and understanding. a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish, for freedom, tolerance and justice." i kwr50e68d.
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yield the floor. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. cardin: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. and -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: i just want to thank senator gardner for his leadership as chair of the east asia and pacific subcommittee. i am still technically the ranking member of that subcommittee but under my new responsibilities have not had the same amount of time. i just really want to thank you for the work that you're doing doing the rebalanced asia. we know how important asia is the united states with the prime minister of japan mr. abe being here this week. it really is an opportunity to underscore the important relationship between japan and the united states. i just really want to thank you for the way that you have led the subcommittee. your work to point out the important issues that we have on maritime security and how we have to work together to make sure that responsible action
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taxi place and we don't have -- takes place and we don't have a circumstance that could get out of control that could affect not only the security of some of our allies but also the maritime shipping areas. there's so many issues that we are working with our ally japan and this week we have a chance, i think to strengthen those relationships and we'll have an opportunity to talk to the prime minister, and i look forward to continuing to work with you on this very important part of the world and with japan. i suggest the absense of -- the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york -- i'm sorry. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president it's been nearly one year since corinthian colleges incorporated began its death spiral, falling under the weight of its own wrongdoing. corinthian colleges defrauded students defrauded taxpayers lied to creditors lied to the federal government and on sunday this for-profit college corinthian college announced it would close its remaining 28 campuses campuses in california oregon, hawaii,
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arizona, and new york. so finally finally corinthian has collapsed. we reflect on this disaster and ask a basic critical question. madam president, i ask the senate please be in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. durbin: we ask a basic critical question: why did it take this long, given the long litany of violations to finally stop the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars federal tax dollars, ting -- to corinthian colleges? and equally important, how many corinthian disasters lie ahead for the for-profit colleges industry. there are questions we need to ask the department of education how it handled this case and for
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the future, to stop violations earlier, especially to prevent students at these for-profit educational institutions from suffering. there will be more to come on that in the weeks and months ahead, but today i want to focus on what's next for the students who attended these corinthian campuses. we know this for-profit college and university industry pretty well. ask any high school student in america to go online and to search with a word like "college" or "university" and watch what happens. as soon as you get to any kind of directory of web sites you'll start seeing the ads for the for-profit colleges and universities. some of the names are pretty obvious and well-known. the largest of all the university of phoenix. the next largest devry university out of the city of chicago. and next largest kaplan an
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entity that once owned "the washington post" is now on its own and these for-profit colleges and universities descend on students as well as those graduated from high school imploring them to sign up for an education online. sign up for a for-profit college. it's going to be so easy. you can do this online. you can get your degree. it will be a snap. that's what corinthian did for years. i know with the news of the closure here that students who signed up for corinthian and went to school there woke up wondering what's next. their college just disappeared but their student debt didn't disappear. they signed up for these loans to go to this worthless school, and now the school has disappeared and the debt is still there. there's a federal law that can help these students. the higher education act gives students who attended a school
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within 90 days of its closure the ability to discharge their federal student loans. i'm renewing my call to the department of education to reach out directly to the thousands of students who have been exploited by this corinthian college to provide discharge applications to these students and give them clear up front information about how transferring their credits to another school may impact their ability to discharge their loans. you see, if you transfer these corinthian credits which are of limited value to some other school you can't discharge your loan that you took out at corinthian. so a student has to make a choice. the notices that the department of education sent to students yesterday is unacceptable. it leaves students to navigate through a series of links to get more information and it glosses over the most basic right of a student to discharge the student loans from this bankrupt corinthian college. federal regulations state
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clearly, the secretary of education's responsibility when a school like corinthian closes. according to the law it says after confirming the date of a school's closure the secretary identifies any direct loan borrower or student on whose behalf a parent borrowed who appears to have been enrolled in the school at the closure date to withdraw not more than 120 days prior to the closure date. it goes on to say if the borrower's current address is known the secretary mails the bor roaring -- borrower a discharge application and qualifications for obtaining a discharge. the law is pretty clear. it's up to the secretary of education, the same agency that published an accreditation for this failed school, the same agency which sent in the loan forms for students to sign up for loans that same agency now has an obligation under the law to tell these students there's a
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way out. you know what the average tuition is for a two-year degree at this failed corinthian college? about $40,000. imagine if it is your son or daughter. they have gone through two years and they have $40,000 of debt, this corinthian college has gone bankrupt and now they find people laugh at them when they show a document from corinthian. what's wrong with this picture. for a young person two years out of high school, three years out of high school, 40,000 dollars in debt and nothing to show for it. now is not the time to show the taxpayers with the discharging of debt. the time for that was the last 12 months when the department of education kept corinthian alive by pumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep their doors open when they were headed for bankruptcy. now is the time to focus on the
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students particularly the students in the states i mentioned earlier. they need relief from the student debt. the department has also been doing something which i really want to call them out on. you know what they're suggesting to these students who have just gone through this miserable experience at this for-profit failed bankrupt corinthian college? they're suggesting they transfer to another for-profit college. what are they thinking? students should be warned if they use their corinthian credits to transfer to another institution they're not going to be eligible for discharge. and when the department suggested the schools they might transfer to, here are a few examples of the schools the u.s. department of education suggested that the corinthian college students transfer their credits to and still keep their debt from corinthian: i.t.t. tech. you see their ads everywhere, don't you? what you don't see in their ads is the fact that they're under investigation by the consumer financial protection bureau.
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16 different state attorneys general are investigating i.t.t. tech and they're on the department of education's heightened cash monitoring list. and our department is recommending that these students transfer to this school? what are they thinking? here's another one. cordon blue, international academy of design and technology. powerful names. what you don't see in all their ads, their parent company career education corporation is under investigation by 17 different state attorneys general and on the department of education's heightened cash monitoring list. and our department of education is suggesting that the students at the failed corinthian college, why don't you pick up a culinary school at cordon blue. maybe it will stay in business. here's another one: the art institutes; aogasy university.
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i ran into their science in chicago this past weekend and i couldn't help but think how many students are lured into thinking argasy university is more than it is. it is a for profit institution. the parent company is under investigation by the u.s. department of justice and 17 state attorneys general and they are also on the department of education heightened cash monitoring list. it's another school the department of education suggested the corinthian scholars transfer to. west wood college, one of the most infamous in the chicago land area being sued for deceptive recruiting practices recommended by the department of education for transfer. devry under investigation by the federal state commission and two state attorneys general. university of phoenix whose parent company is being investigated.
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kaplan under investigation by three state attorneys general. has the department of education learned nothing? how in good faith can they tell these corinthian students who just had their college disappear and are sitting on a pile of debt that these are viable transfer options for their students? last summer the department assured me they would not sell corinthian campuses to companies being investigated. they didn't want the students to be placed in double jeopardy. why now will the department accept that outcome for these students? a move like this leads me to the sad conclusion the department of education is out of touch with the reality of the danger of students signing up at for-profit colleges and universities. i want to say a word about the students who don't qualify for the clear relief i mentioned under the federal law. i've joined senator elizabeth warren and others in calling on the department of education to provide meaningful federal debt relief to all students who have been wronged by corinthian.
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we believe the fraud perpetrated by corinthian should constitute a defense for repayment to students. the department should provide clear guidelines of how students can assert their claim. these students need it and they deserve it. senator warren and i will be meeting with secretary duncan and under secretary mitchell later this week. while corinthian's fraudulent behavior left tens of thousands of students in financial desperate straits the company's leaders have been cashing in for years. the c.e.o. of the failed corinthian corporation which received 80% to 90% of its revenue directly from the federal treasury through student loans made over $3 million in 2013. vice presidents didn't do quite as well. they l only were paid a million bucks. and the list goes on. the consumer financial protection bureau in september of last year sued corinthian. this goes back a few months. they sued them for illegal
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predatory lending schemes luring students with false job promises saddling them with high-cost debt and harassing them when they were unable to repay their loans. it turned out only 25% of the students coming out of corinthian colleges were able to repay their loans. 25%. why? because the tuition is so high the diploma is so worthless. why are we complicit? why is the u.s. department of education not blowing the whistle on this school and every other school that's exploiting students all across america? at the end of the day the losers are not only the students who have wasted their time and ended up with debt, the losers are the taxpayers of america. the taxpayers of america who provide the funds for the student loans and unfortunately do not have the protection that they deserve in this situation. # madam president, i'm going to
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yield the floor at this point and call on the department of education to put as their highest priority the casualities and victims of this corinthian college, and i yield the floor. mr. corker: i'd like to thank the senator from illinois and i thank the senator -- i think the senator from indiana now has the floor. and i want to thank both of them for working together to cause this to go about in a timely way. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president i rise to express my support for the iran nuclear agreement review act the only measure now before us that will prevent president obama from having a free and independent hand to conclude a flawed agreement with the government of iran. the white house and the ayatollahs in iran must know that the united states congress will not tolerate a bad deal secretly struck behind our backs
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and without our approval. this bill, the corker-menendez bill now being managed by senator corker and senator car car -- senator cardin on the floor, this bill before us, needs our engagement and is the only vehicle we have to send that message. thus the passage of the review act is absolutely essential. its passage will send a message more important than any amendments. no matter how correct or well conceived if those amendments would doom the bill, mute the message and deprive us of this vital role. we have come to a moment of decision in this chamber. it is clear at last that we are finally close to imposing a vital congressional role in evaluating any deal something president obama previously had been determined to avoid. i have long been concerned that the president is determined to implement his version of a deal
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with iran on his own circumventing the congress. this is not acceptable. resolving this issue with iran is the most significant foreign policy and security challenge of our age. it cannot be pursued simply by the president overreaching -- potentially overreaching his constitutional authority longing for a legacy and desperate for a deal. if he fears that a supermajority in congress would reject the deal if it is presented to us, then he has struck the wrong deal. fortunately the right statesman like presidential support was finally provided after the foreign relations committee voted on an entirely bipartisan basis to give congress a role in this matter. the question's whether the president will accept the decision made by the congress as to whether the agreement with iran achieves the goal of
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denying iran nuclear weapons capability. the successful congressional strategy that brought us to that result in committee required the sponsors of this bill the iran nuclear agreement review act to keep the focus on its core purpose. and while there were many amendments considered or offered in the committee that could have improved the bill the corker-menendez bill passed by the foreign relations committee is a necessary first step in achieving the goal of congressional engagement in one of if not the most important issue of our time. it is now clear that the most important goal at this stage of this misguided and badly managed negotiations with the iranian regime is that congress must have a determining voice in accepting or rejecting any deal that is presented to us. with passage of the corker-menendez legislation we will be able to spell out with
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precision what sort of an iran deal might be acceptable what concessions may be going too far, and what the consequences would be if iran backs away from acceptable conditions. i want to emphasize and define the worst possible outcome that could happen. in our effort to impose a congressional rule, if that fails, if it -- if this bill is passed or the promised veto comes, iran will see congress is no longer a matter of concern for them. the iranians will have a green light to continue negotiations with a weak administration desperate for a deal -- any deal. the iranians can play their hand to maximum advantage without concern for the views of congress nor even the views of the american people that we represent. at the same time the administration would be free to
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give as much ground as necessary to secure a deal that apparently they so desperately desire. they will be constrained by nothing coming from this chamber or an impotent congress. to avoid that outcome we must focus on keeping the bipartisan majority on this bill solid and robust so i am cosponsoring, supporting and will be voting for the corker-menendez bill. this is a necessary immediate step as i have said, towards a much more crucial vote on the iran deal itself where our focus needs to be. once we have secured a congressional role by passing this bill, we then must use the next two months to analyze the outline agreement that came out of the negotiations in switzerland a couple of weeks ago identify its weaknesses and determine how we should best proceed. as it now stands as outlined by the so-called political framework i am profoundly
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unhappy with what has been agreed to by this administration. if this is what we see when the result of the final negotiations are presented to us i will vote against it and do my best to make sure others do as well. we in congress must make sure that the white house knows that we require if a deal is to be accepted. this is not a recent or uninformed position on my part. i have been deeply involved in this issue for the past several years and i have been concerned about the growing threat of iran since at least 2001. back then, when i was ambassador in berlin, the embassy's biggest challenge was to persuade germany to support the invasion of iraq. but the israeli ambassador to germany at the time, shimon stein, kept talking to me about the -- what they conceived to be the real ultimate threat. that threat, he convinced me,
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that an even greater threat would be coming from iran and that this threat would continue to grow until we took it seriously and dealt with it effectively. after returning to the united states i cochaired with senator chuck robb the original iran project at the bipartisan policy center. we focused deeply on the iran nuclear issue and offered detailed analysis and recommendations on how we believed it should be dealt with. our task force members included such experts as ash carter, now secretary of defense ambassador dennis ross, one of the key and most experienced ambassadors and foreign policy analysts, particularly in the middle east a number of key generals who had served with the military on middle eastern affairs and a number of other names including jack keen and others. and our reports covered all the
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elements of a deal that is acceptable and could best meet we thought our national security needs. these included all aspects of fissile material production and how that activity must be limited and controlled activities at the various nuclear facilities and the type of research and development that must be curtailed the issue of you're rainian stockpiles and -- uranium stockpiles and their disposition, nuclear weapons design activities in the past that need to be revealed and stopped missile defense work, the critical need of adequate inspection regimes and compliance verification measures and importantly the duration of any future deal. we also examined the requirements of a necessary and credible military option that must back up any diplomatic efforts and sanctions pressure to achieve the right result. it was a last resort and it was there to apply the pressure
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needed along with ever-ratcheting sanctions if iran continued to defy the wishes of the united nations the wishes of the united states the wishes of the free world and all those who had spoken up about the consequences, deadly consequences, of the iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons. since that early involvement and throughout that period, i supported negotiations as one of the essential tools to solve this problem. i want to state that again. this is not a rush to war. this is doing everything we can to prevent a war to prevent a conflict and i have supported ardently negotiations to try to achieve the necessary result combined with sanctions putting ever-increasing pressure on the iranian regime to achieve the desired result. with the backup -- not taking off the table -- the use of force, if necessary, but only if
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necessary, only if everything else failed. because four presidents, including our current president have stated that iranian possession of nuclear weapons is simply unacceptable. the united nations has passed numerous resolutions to that effect. other nations have said the same thing. and yet now we are looking at something that might allow iran to break all of those commitments that it had made and all of those assertions that we have made. we need a solution that guarantees our security and ensures that iran will never have nuclear weapons. if the white house cannot be persuaded to bring us a deal that does that, they should not bring us a deal at all. unfortunately, it is clear to me
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from the framework agreement and subsequent developments that these negotiations are off track and have been for some time. they do not begin to meet the minimum criteria outlined in our several bipartisan policy center reports. let me name five major problems that i see currently with the framework proposal that has been agreed to. first, the obama administration's negotiating tactics have been seriously flawed from the beginning abandoning central principles at the very outset of the negotiations. an agreement that builds on the outline emerging from the negotiations and trumped by the administration as a breakthrough will allow iran to retain a robust industrial capacity ability to enrich uranium, the core of nuclear weapons. this was never the intention of the international community
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until the obama administration negotiators took the helm and changed direction. the original intent -- to deprive iran from this nuclear weapons infrastructure -- was deemed to be -- quote -- "just too hard to achieve." the result is that iran can now assume a guarantee that it will have the right to enrich uranium the regime's fundamental demand from the beginning and one in which the united nations security council has firmly and consistently refused until this administration began these negotiations. in the wake of that fundamental concession we will have to rely on elaborate monitoring and compliance verification mechanisms to keep the iranian enrichment enterprise within agreed bounds. that directly leads to my second major problem with the outline agreement. on the surface, there's a lot of reassurance that we would be able to detect cheating and the
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president has emphasized this point repeatedly. well i've seen all this before. i served here in this senate when we were told our agreements with north korea could be verified and would lead to a safer world. we were misled by that illusion. today, 20 years after the nuclear agreement with north korea negotiated by the clinton administration that country now has an estimated 20 nuclear warheads and the chinese experts tell us that the north koreans will have more than 40 by the end of next year. and an effective icbm -- intercontinental ballistic missile -- to put those weapons on. all that work after developing such a huge, dangerous nuclear arsenal was done after we concluded a negotiated agreement to end korea's -- north korea's
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nuclear program confident that we would be able to detect cheating. let me repeat that. all that north korea has achieved in violation of the agreement that we made with them has occurred after that agreement. not before. and today they sit as a dangerous nuclear armed nation with over 20 nuclear warheads that can be easily and have been attached to icbm's. now i fear we're making the same mistake negotiating with another rogue regime. in recent days it's become difficult for anyone to maintain that the agreement under consideration by this administration with iran will provide the transparency that we need. senior iranian officials and authorities including the ayatollah himself and the chief of the iranian revolutionary
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guards have said repeatedly that there will be no international inspections of iranian military facilities. and we know that much of the nefarious nuclear weapons development work has gone on in such facilities. and barring access to them must simply be the end of any deal if that holds. the whitehouse has indicated that such hard-line statements by the regime are part of their negotiating tactics. i don't take comfort from that. if that's so, then it must be proven at the negotiating table not simply by declarations from our whitehouse. if the administration brings us a deal that does not include complete transparency and total ability to monitor iranian compliance anywhere in the country, then all members of congress must stand up and reject it. thirdly, i find there are many
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other nearly details that are hid engine this out line, hidden in the technical details of this entire matter. many show that the negotiators caved on key issues, some at the last minute to prevent iran from walking out. in fact, the entire negotiations process since it began six years ago has been a steady uninterrupted litany of concessions as we give ground on one issue after another. the out line agreement confirms that pattern and hints at more to come. one of the many examples of this agreement is the agreement to allow continuing research and development of the most advanced centrifuges within the site that is safely buried deep beneath the mountain. because there will not be uranium enriched there for the first ten years of the agreement, we're told to take comfort. in fact, the developments that will occur in that sheltered bunker will make a nuclear
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breakout capability certain and rapid once more -- once the agreement expires in a decade. even president obama recently admitted that in the final years of the period covered by the out line. i quote the breakout time would have shrunk almost to zero. that startling emission is a marty blow to this agreement in my view, and it comes from the chief advocate of the deal. a fourth problem with the outline is the essential issue of sanctions relief. initially after the outline was released the whitehouse fact sheet emphasized that sanctions would be lifted gradually in stages as the iranians showed a pattern of compliance with the terms of an agreement. the iranian negotiators and the supreme leader immediately refused that claim. they continue to say there is no such agreement and that all
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sanctions must be lifted immediately upon signing. it remains for them a nonnegotiable demand. president obama responded in a press conference last week that all of a sudden he was not very concerned about the phasing or timing issue or the way sanctions would be lifted. instead he said and again i quote the so-called snapback provisions that would reimpose sanctions in the event of noncompliance were more important. these presidential comments signaled publicly that once again the ayatollah has had his way. sadly, no one seriously gives any credibility to these alleged snapback provisions and their efficacy once the sanctions dam has burst. fifth, another more tall flaw in the out line is the issue of expiration dates sunset clauses. the out line in the white house talking points designed to sell and confuse this issue.
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various time frames have been mentioned, ten years, 15 years 25 years permanent. the fact is that the core limitations on iran's nuclear infrastructure if they are actually implemented over time, expire in ten years. others in 15. the sanctions against iran will have long since disappeared and iran will then have the technical ability the will and the wealth to sprint toward a nuclear arsenal as the president has acknowledged. ten years or even 15 years is tomorrow afternoon in this dangerous game for the world's future. again, the president in his own words tell us everything we need to know about the effectiveness of the deal he is pressing on us and i quote again. what is more -- what is a more relevant fear would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly and at that point the breakout times
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would have shrunk almost down to zero. this is indeed the most relevant fear presented by the negotiations with the iranian regime. namely the fear that iran will be given the path to nuclear weapons possession resulting in consequences that are not acceptable. we should all agree with president obama that that is indeed the most relevant fear presented by his negotiations with the iranian regime, but at this moment, it seems most probable that we will be called upon to consider a deeply flawed agreement, one that is worse than no agreement at all. but this is not entirely unavoidable. we still have time to press the negotiators on both sides to change the outcome of their talks. the iranians must know that the passage of the iran nuclear agreement review act congress has become an important player at the table.
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there will be no new constraints on their positions. if they want to deal now they must give ground. if not, they will face new more painful and relentless sanctions pressure. mr. president, this is a profound moment in our history. a nuclear armed iran would present a danger to the middle east, to the united states and to the world that is impossible to over state. -- overstate. preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons has always been at the heart of our nuclear strategy. more than that, it is at the heart of the future of the world. allowing iran to develop the capacity to develop those weapons ignited thereby -- igniting thereby a nuclear arms race among its neighbors and beyond must be prevented at any cost. there is nothing whatsoever
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partisan about this request. neither i nor most of my republican colleagues are attacking the president or trying to deny him a foreign policy triumph or wishing him ill in this important task. similarly, i trust our democrat colleagues will not be blindly supporting the president on this issue no matter what agreement might emerge from the iran negotiations. in many ways, the future of these negotiations is now in our hands. we must pass the iran nuclear agreement review act with as much bipartisan support as we can achieve in order to play a significant or any role in this process. we must not provoke a veto that can be sustained thereby depriving congress of our role and voice. we must all use the next two months to press the white house to demand an agreement that permanently halts iran's nuclear ambitions. we must then evaluate
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objectively and honestly the agreement that emerges accept it if we can reject it if we must. this is a solemn duty that the constitution requires of the united states senate and i trust that each of us will be up to the task and the challenge that we are facing. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i first want to thank senator coats for his -- just the manner in which he has presented his views. we may not agree on every issue that he raised in his remarks but i fully agree that we have a responsibility to work, continue to work in a bipartisan manner in order to achieve this review statute so that congress can have an orderly way to express its review. so i -- i just really want to thank him for the thoughtful presentation that he's made in
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regards to the legislation that's before us. madam president, if i could ask consent to proceed in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president i know everyone in this body, this country has been focused on the events in baltimore. i live in baltimore. it is -- it has really affected all of us in our city. we love baltimore. it's heart breaking to see the violence that has taken place over the last several days, particularly yesterday. baltimore is known for its neighborhoods. neighborhoods are our strength. people take great pride in their neighborhood. there's a lot of ethnic pride in baltimore. we have a proud tradition. we have a proud tradition of blue-collar workers who help build -- helped build this great country in steel making and shipbuilding and auto making. we have government workers who
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have helped provide the services to the people of this country. we have a high-tech work force that is the future of bulletin bulletin -- baltimore. baltimore's a great destination for tourists, our inner harbor. and i could go on and on and on. but baltimore is known for its people its friendliness and its real pride in the strong neighborhoods. that was shaken very badly during the events of yesterday as we saw violence. what happened to freddie gray is something that needs to be fully investigated. we want justice. all of us want justice. i was pleased that we will have that independent investigation done by the department of justice. thousands of protesters were out on the streets in baltimore exercising their first amendment rights expressing their frustration, and they did it in an orderly way, in the way that i think we would want to see people express their views about matters of importance including justice for freddie gray.
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there were a small number that decided to take to the streets in violence. it was counterproductive to the message. the family of freddie gray urged yesterday, particularly the day of his funeral, to be a day without protests, but these individuals decided that they would take matters into their own hands and what they did was hurt their community hurt their neighborhood and hurt the city i love. senator mikulski and congressman cummings congressman sarbanes and others have been in touch with the mayor of baltimore steffi blake with our governor, governor hogan, with the white house, and we are taking all the steps to preserve public safety in baltimore and ensure that justice is provided in regards to the tragic death of freddie gray. i would just urge all people to exercise restraint so that we can provide the safe communities
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for the people of baltimore that we will rebuild from this episode and we will move forward. so madam president i just really want to thank many of my colleagues who have contacted senator mikulski and myself to express their concerns. we know that these are very, very challenging times. we just urge all citizens of baltimore to exercise restraint but to continue their passion for justice as certainly senator mikulski and i and our congressional delegation will insist upon. with that, madam president i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cardin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask consent
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that the quorum calldispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, i see that senator coons is on the floor and is prepared to speak in regards to s. 615. i would like first just to thank senator coons for his extraordinary leadership in regards to s. 615. he is one of those individuals who worked very closely with senator corker and me to find a common way to resolve some extremely challenging issues that we had. let me take you back just a few weeks where most people thought it was totally impossible for the senate to get together on a bill that would pride an orderly way to review a potential agreement with iran on nuclear weapons. the senate foreign relations committee had scheduled a vote, there was a recess and i think most of us felt that the bill would come out of the senate foreign relations committee but would be a bill that the president would continue his veto threat and its future was
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anything but certain. and then the senate foreign relations committee went to work under senator corker's leadership and we were able to resolve these issues. but one of the key employers was senator coons and senator coons was traveling during the recess he was in africa doing important work on behalf of the senate foreign relations committee. i doubt if he got any sleep because i was getting calls from him at times when it was the middle of the night in africa, giving us very constructive ways to deal with some of the very difficult issues of the congressional view, the length of time necessary for a congressional review, how we can make sure we had the information we needed and that it gave the president the strongest possible hand. so i just want to thank senator coons for his extraordinary leadership and work on behalf of the legislation that we have before us and madam president i would yield the floor. mr. coons: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: first i'd like to thank senator cardin for his gracious remarks and for his
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real and strong and capable leadership. i come to the floor today to speak about the iranian nuclear negotiations and the need for congress to play a constructive, a meaningful role in reviewing any potential deal. this week the full senate will consider the nuclear agreement review act of 2013, which would -- 2015 which would ensure congress has the ability to consider any nuclear deal with iran before any congressionally enacted sanctions on iran's nuclear program are rolled back. this bill will also ensure that congress exercises its oversight over the implementation of any agreement through imposing rigorous reporting requirements and certifications on the administration. this bill passed the foreign relations committee of the united states senate unanimously after senators corker and cardin the chair and ranking member worked tirelessly together to ensure that it would receive bipartisan support. they carefully negotiated a deal
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that defeated amendments that would have prevented the obama administration from continuing to negotiate in good faith and in my view, it's a great testament to their leadership that we were able to come together on a bipartisan bill that passed the committee unanimously and that the president has now said that he would sign. for the last four years i have been hugely frustrated by the failure of republicans and democrats to come together in this senate to pass legislation for the american people. the republicans are now in the majority and have a chance to move past obstructionism and into leadership and to show that in this senate we have an opportunity to pass a bill that this senate plays a constructive role in protecting the united states national interest. leader mcconnell has said that he wants a functioning senate, that he wants regular order that he wants the senate to play its rightful role in foreign affairs. well, here is the chance.
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let's review what's happened with this piece of legislation. the republican chair of the foreign relations committee working well with his democratic counterpart crafted this bipartisan bill. it has today 44 republican cosponsors. it has passed the committee which has fully and thoroughly debated the bill and many potential amendments. a committee with views as broad as republican senators johnson and rubio and paul to democratic senators boxer and murphy, a very broad range of views on our foreign policy, came together to pass this bill unanimously. if that's not regular order, i don't know what is. if senator mcconnell wants a functioning senate, i believe we should respect the committee process that chairman corker and ranking member cardin led to achieve this compromise. that bill gives leader mcconnell million the opportunity he wants to ensure this senate exercises its role in protecting america's national interest. i particularly like what my colleague from south carolina,
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senator lindsey graham said recently "anybody who monkeys with this bill is going to run into a buzz saw. anyone who offers an amendment that will break this agreement apart that will merely benefit the iranians" -- end of quote. that's why i stand here as well today to urge my colleagues to avoid attaching poison pill amendments that are outside the scope of the current ongoing negotiations and pass this bill as currently passed out of the foreign relations committee and as is currently supported by a majority of senate republicans. madam president, over the last few years iran has responded to congressionally enacted sanctions by finally coming to the negotiating table to discuss and deal with its illicit nuclear weapons program. the obama administration and the other p-5 plus 1 countries have been engaged in difficult demanding negotiations with the iranian theocratic regime and after a few extensions that have effectively frozen and in some
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ways rolled back the parts of the illicit nuclear program the administration is in the final phases of their negotiations. earlier this month the president released -- released the parameters of a potential deal with the technical deals and a father -- details and a few gaps to be finalized by tend of june. this bill not a referendum on the president's decision to pursue a path of diplomacy with iran. this bill is not a referendum on the parameters announced april 2. the bill has a simple, clear goal. it's about creating an orderly process that allows congress to review any deal. as negotiations come to an end it would ensure that congress can play a constructive role after an agreement is reached by considering whether the deal is strong enough to warrant rolling back congressionally enacted sanctions. yet some, a few of my colleagues have insisted on making this bill a partisan customer size rather than keeping it the responsible
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bipartisan measure that's before us now. this bill is not about debating the merits of an ultimate deal now. we will have that chance when or if a deal is reached over the summer. it is not about, i hope, killing the negotiations before they have a chance to conclude. this bill is not about creating a list of complaints about iran's destructive behavior in areas outside its nuclear program. it could and should pass now in its current form without amendment. i believe i've been as outspoken as anybody about iran's destructive behavior but i'm troubled by some of the amendments offered to make iran's human rights record, support foreterrorism relationship with israel a part of these negotiations. yes, iran's human rights record is atrocious. its support for terrorism threatens the stability of its neighbors and has taken countless innocent lives. its continued threatening of israel and unwillingness to recognize the right of the
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jewish state of israel to exist is cowardly, dangerous and just plain wrong. iran must release the four americans it holds hostage. i think everybody in this body would agree that these are legitimate concerns for our consideration yet the truth remains they are outside the scope of the current negotiations around iran's nuclear program. and congress must resist the temptation to make them a sticking point in those negotiations by including them as amendments to this bill. let's be clear, there are already congressionally enacted sanctions on iran for its behavior in these areas. and the deal's parameters as published april 2 said -- quote -- "u.s. sanctions on iran for terrorism, for human rights abuses for its ballistic missile program will remain in place under the deal" -- close quote. no one is taking about removing those sanctions. the negotiations are about iran's illicit nuclear weapons program, and the critical importance of preventing iran from ever building a nuclear
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weapon. madam president, i have long believed a nuclear armed iran would would pose a grave threat to the region, to israel and to the world. the nuclear arms race it would set off would have horrible consequences for global security. that's why throughout the negotiating process i have remained adamant no deal is better than a bad deal and have closely consulted with the administration on that point and others. i've metropolitan with officials to discuss these recently announced parameters and been clear i remain concerned about closing the remaining gaps and the need to maintain pressure on the iranian regime to close any pathway to their development of a nuclear weapons capability. i support this bill as it is. it is responsible and focused on the issue at hand. it ensures that congress gets to weigh in if a deal is reached and it strengthens this administration's ability to negotiate the best deal it possibly can. every republican in the senate
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foreign relations committee voted for this bill, all ten of them from senator rand paul and senator are rubio and senator johnson, all nine democrats on the foreign relations committee supported this bill as well. all 19 senators on this foreign relations committee represent as wise arange of foreign views as could exist. so i would urge my colleagues on both sides to pause and reflect before supporting amendments that would make this a partisan exercise rather than a prudent use of congressional authority. if they want congress to play a responsible role overseeing any potential deal, this bill gives us that chance. the alternative to this bill is not a better bill, it is a deal without any meaningful congressional input. i've been as critical of iran and distrusting of its spending as anyone in this body but if unrelated amendments become attached to this bill i will not support its final passage. we have because of the leadership of these two senators
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a rare moment for the senate foreign relations committee and the senate as a whole to demonstrate its ability to move past what have been divisive and partisan fights over the last four years and come together and enact into law a measure that demonstrates our ability to give constructive and timely input on one of the most important national security challenges of our day and to restrain our sometimes extreme and divisive instincts in this body and instead demonstrate our ability to overcome those instincts and show our relevance. let us not miss this opportunity to work together in the best interests of our nation. thank you. and with that, madam president i yield the floor. mr. corker: i thank the senator --. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: madam president thank you. thank you. i'd like to thank the senator for his constructive comments and his work on the committee.
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madam president, i have 13 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. corker: thank you madam 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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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i came to the floor this morning to discuss the iran nuclear agreement review act. early this month iran and the p 5-plus one countries agreed to a framework deal to restrict iran's nuclear program and to intit it to international inspections. negotiators now have until june 30 to try to reach a final agreement. at the same time, the senate has been advancing legislation requiring the president to submit any final agreement to
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congress for review. that is the legislation on the floor before us today. congress is divided along partisan lines on many issues, but we are united in our conviction that iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon and that the people's elected representatives should have the opportunity to review any final agreement with iran. this bipartisan consensus was reflected in the senate foreign relation committee's unanimous vote in favor of the iran nuclear agreement review act and i want to thank chairman corker who's on the floor here with me today and ranking member cardin also on the floor for their statesmanship and for the spirit of bipartisan compromise that they exhibited in negotiating the act. they did a great job. according to the legislation the president must submit any
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final agreement to congress. congress would then have 30 days to hear from negotiators and outside experts and to determine if additional action is warranted, including a resolution of approval or disapproval. now, i believe congressional oversight is appropriate because the president, in order to implement any agreement with iran will need to set aside sanctions put in place by congress. i also voted for this bill because it reasserts the proper role of congress in providing oversight on the execution of foreign policy. as a member of the senate foreign relations committee, i believe that the best way to resolve this standoff over iran's nuclear program is a hard-nosed agreement that cuts off all paths iran could take to pursue a nuclear weapon. it was therefore crucial for me that the legislation considered by the committee not hinder our negotiators' efforts to reach a strong agreement. i believe that standard should
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be maintained as the full senate considers this legislation. and i believe it's also essential that the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship that was demonstrated by senators corker and cardin in forging a bipartisan bill continue this week as the full senate takes up the iran legislation. amendments that undermine the administration's negotiations or structurally alter this careful bipartisan compromise should be rejected by the senate, and while i supported this bill in the foreign relations committee if the bipartisan nature of the legislation is eroded on the floor, the bill will no longer merit my support. this is a serious matter that will require the senate to rise above the desire of some to force votes on poison pill amendments that would destroy the bipartisan balance. we have to rise above politics
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here because we're confronted by a dangerous and unacceptable status quo in iran. the benefits of a strong final deal could be significant. such a deal would stop iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that it cannot pursue destabilizing activities in the region with impunity. it would prevent a nuclear arms race in the middle east and advance greater long-term security for our regional allies. that's why even as congress reaffirms its role in reviewing any final agreement we need to give the administration and its international partners every opportunity to bring these difficult negotiations to a successful conclusion. with so much at stake for the united states, for israel and for the entire world, it is more important than ever that the senate rise above partisan politics and reaffirm bipartisan cooperation. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. and i note the --
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i note the absence of a quorum. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i want to take one minute to thank senator shaheen. she talked about the bipartisan way the committee operated. she was a large part in bringing us together in the senate foreign relations committee working over the recess. i really want to thank her for her input and the manner in which we were able to strengthen our negotiators and maintain the proper role for the united states congress. mrs. shaheen: thank you very much mr. president. if i could respond? i think one of the reasons for success of the agreement was because of your efforts senator cardin and your effort, chairman worker, to really solicit input from members of the committee to see what people could agree to and where we had concerns and to respond to that in crafting the legislation. so it truly was a bipartisan, very statesmanlike effort and i thank you both.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. some news from the region. the ap is reporting iranian control vessels have fired warning shots across the bridge of the marshall islands cargo those that was traversing the strait of hormuz. i was in iran territorial waters. is my pentagon official this morning. these are the cargo ships master had initially refused an arena in order to move further into iranian waters. after the warning shots were fired, a ship comply. the spokesman said the cargo ship has been boarded by a
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rating is that no one has been injured and no americans are involved. across the capital plus the suffering court has been hearing oral argument to begin with same-sex marriage. at issue the 14th in them and what it gives same-sex couples the right to marry and whether the same amendment covers recognition of such marriages by all states. we will air those oral arguments today at 4:00 eastern time over on c-span3, our companion network and you can listen early at 2 p.m. listen early at keeping eastern online at at c-span.org. the japanese prime minister is in town and later the white house associate -- post a state dinner in honor of tonight. live coverage about 7 p.m. eastern time on c-span3 and then tomorrow mr. ali will address a joint meeting of congress, both the house and senate will meet to hear his remarks. so now we go live to baltimore,
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maryland which is about 35 miles north of the capital where governor larry hogan has been briefing reporters about protests and rioting in the city. this happened just a short while ago. hello everybody. thank you for being here this afternoon. we moved the governor's office here to st. paul. we are currently one in the entire state operation out of your in conjunction with our emergency operations center at cap frederick. as you can tell we've got a lot of assets on the ground in baltimore. we been reaching out to communities all morning. we've met with volunteers met with community leaders. we just came from a meeting.
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with academy btg. we just came from a meeting with some of the faith leaders and community leaders throughout the city. we wanted to do some listening. we wanted to talk to them about their concerns. we wanted to see what kinds of news they had and how we could address those needs as quickly as possible. the discussion primary focus on the meat needs updating the city back under control, making the city safe, protecting our citizens and property. would also talk about longer-term issues and how this might be the start of an ongoing dialogue with community leaders to see what we can do to address some longer-term issues and problems. the vast majority of the people in baltimore who were protesting did so in a peaceful way. yesterday unfortunately, a small group of people acted out in a violent way. we see this as two entirely
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different groups criminal activity will not be tolerated. we are going to ensure, we're going to bring whatever resources are necessary whatever assets are necessary, as much manpower is necessary to let the citizens of baltimore know that the neighbors are going to be safe, but they're not going to be in danger, and that their property will be protected. we are not going to have another repeat of what happened last night. it's not going to happen tonight. i want to thank the faith leaders for their involvement. all throughout this they have been preaching peace. they been saying that violence isn't helping the situation. the people who have legitimate concerns and frustrations about the ongoing investigation with respect to what happened to fred a great are not served well by these violent acts. this violence isn't a couple should anything. it's counterproductive. we are going to make sure that
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we get baltimore back on track and make sure neighborhoods are safe again. be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> could you explain to folks how states of emergency work when you're state of emergency declarations were prepared and what happened in the next 48 hours what do you have to wait for the mayor -- saddleback. >> passion of the violent start at 3:00 yesterday afternoon. we had prior to that taken preliminary actions to prepare the state if in fact, violent did take place. if the city did call us and ask for the assistance. so it already activated our emergency command center as of last saturday. i had already talked to the national guard. i had already been in communication with the white house. we had been ongoing communication on a daily basis with the mayor.
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this violence toward i think about 3:00 yesterday. we were in constant communication. finally, i believe around 6:00 the mayor said, requested us to bring in the national guard and declare a state of emergency. we did so immediately because we prepared the order the week before. we already had called up the national guard had already been put on alert. they were ready to act. emergency command center was activated. we have representatives from every state agency. we had already called the local police and fire other services from around the state. it was about 30 seconds before we completely activated all of the resources we had to bear. it's been now us than 24 hours. easy with a couple of thousand more people on the streets in baltimore. to my knowledge there's been no incidents. this morning. we are still concerned about what might happen this evening. we continue to bring more people in from around the state and from around the country. we are going to put as much
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manpower editing resources as we can to make sure that we do not have that kind of situation again. satellite. >> once that? [inaudible] >> no. what i told you what we were to only can we prepare the national national guard, called up all the assets already activated emergency command center, and when they requested we brought them in. >> from 3:00 to 6:00 yesterday you could do nothing speak what we did quite a bit but we waited until the mayor asked for the coming. we didn't think it was appropriate to come in and take over the city without the request of -- [inaudible] >> who was ultimately to blame? >> i do want to place any blame. i want to focus on our response has been incredible. as i said we acted instantaneously and i'm very proud of the effort by all of the states and the local partners who have been working
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together. >> could you qualify to -- saddleback. >> our folks are intimidation with the federal government. i plan to talk to the president of the later. we're going to make sure we provide all the assistance we can from the federal, state and local level. we toured businesses that were burned and looted. we have met with citizens who lost their homes and we've talked to -- with a cabinet meeting before the committee leader meeting. our insurance commissioner has activated a rapid response to take care of the folks who have interest. we contacted small business demonstration of the financial system for folks who don't have insurance. whatever resources are necessary from the federal, state and local level we will provide. >> can you talk a little bit about -- soundtrack what resources that your department will bring to there? >> we need to restore calm and
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peace to see can make people feel safe. i think we're already well under way to getting that accomplished. there are no more fires burning no more looting going on. is a tremendous presence on the streets in which we didn't see yesterday. is also issues like emergency housing which we are providing from both department of human resources and housing agency. there's financial assistance. with activated 2000 volunteers to the governor's office and around the state. we're asking for volunteers and donations. we've been in can engage with other states to bring in resources. governor christie in new jersey has agreed to send in 150 new jersey state troopers and a lot of assets to help us. the guard is going up another 1000 who will be here by tonight, and we are going to make sure that the city is brought back to peace. [inaudible] >> we have a couple of thousand new police officers and guard on the street currently. and is going to continue to grow. will put as many as we need.
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[inaudible] what are you prepared to do to help with some of the systemic problems in baltimore? >> we met with the groups again today. we talked about some of those issues. i expressed to them my number one concern is jobs what i've been focus on creating more jobs and more opportunities it in baltimore city as a top work of art administration. today the focus is on the emergency actions. tomorrow we work on how we work together to create more jobs and opportunity. >> what can you do to get businesses to come back to the city what happened yesterday? >> it's not going to be easy. [inaudible] >> i called the mayor multiple times yesterday. [inaudible] >> at this point who is ultimately responsible for all the boots on the ground?
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>> welcome the mayor of baltimore had a police on the ground. quite frankly they were overwhelmed. all the rest of the boots on the ground came from us. >> is it fair to say you were in charge? [inaudible] >> sure it is a concern. i mean, this is not the baltimore we know and love. this is certainly not putting us in very good light. it doesn't help with the tourism. it doesn't help bring in businesses but we're going to be stronger after this is over with. it's very unfortunate and a sad incident. we are going to do everything we can to move on from here. >> could you talk about whether any conversations with the mayor about ferguson, what might've been learned in ferguson, when we decided to pull back are bringing in troops because of
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what might have been learned in ferguson? >> you know those are questions you should probably direct to the mayor. i didn't have discussions with her about ferguson or why she was holding back. we were just ready to get moving forward as soon as she made that decision. we got to work spent are the damage estimates at this point the number of businesses or homes that have been damaged or destroyed the? >> i know are injured commission is activated a team to come into work on assessments and made it a priority. i don't have assessments at this point. all right thank you, everybody. [inaudible] >> thank you. >> senate lawmakers are continuing their party lunch break right now and more work is expected on the bill on the iranian nuclear program. when they come back at 2:15 p.m.
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eastern you can watch that live on c-span2. the supreme court continued hearing oral our kids did with same-sex marriage. at issue is the 14th amendment and whether it gives same-sex couples the right to marry and whether that same dynamic governance recognition of those marriages by all of the state. we will air those arguments today at 4 p.m. eastern time on c-span3 education listen to them a little bit early, the first case was argued today you can hear it now at our website c-span.org. the japanese prime minister is in town today and later this evening the white house is hosting a state dinner in his honor. we will have coverage of his arrival to date at about 7:00 eastern time on c-span3. then tomorrow, they will address a joint meeting of the congress. that should be at about 11 a.m. eastern time over on c-span. and now senate judiciary committee chair chuck grassley
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outlines the committee's agenda. topics include improving programs for juveniles at increasing protection for whistleblowers. this event is about one hour and comes to us from the national press club. >> icom everybody. okay, if we are already. welcome to national press club when news happens and today will be no exception. i'm bob weiner of the national press club newsmaker committee and a we moderating today's news conference with senator chuck grassley of iowa, chair of the senate judiciary committee to discuss the committees agenda and actions. event is open to credentialed
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media and club members and what he thinks he spent under the media are committed and covering covering. in addition to chairing the judiciary committee, senator grassley serves as a senior member on the committee on finance budget agriculture and joint tax. he is chair of the caucus on international narcotics control and coach of the caucus on us to give. is also the founding member of the senate whistleblower protection pockets formed in this congress. senator grassley is pressed for whistleblower protection for judicial nominations alternatives to teens in jail courtroom cameras antitrust, drug control seniors rights, human trafficking protection oversight of, front and abuse in the treatment of american agriculture. just a couple of major pieces of legislation he has authored that became law. it was the protection -- kills director for not missing a vote of any senator in office. he was and still listens -- lissa zogby as a farmer and his son currently operates the family farm. he is known for his no-nonsense
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style and strives for bipartisanship. he served in the house from 1974-1980 when his first elected to the senate and the surfaces. he will be running for a second term next year, i guess. okay. the prez says his critics call him too conservative or too liberal. do this 30 or white house and congressional staffer that means he's one of the few does it just about right. delving into into the personal i approach those senator grassley today because when i was chief of staff under the unabashed liberal from florida senator grassley's a new house member and on the committee. one of the first things he did was to ask me to practice within a couple of times. i will never forget he said, you are liberal and i'm a conservative but we have a lot in common to work for. he and chairman pepper worked together to abolish mandatory retirement for seniors so older workers will be judged on quality not age. and that major senior rights
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bill passed 359-2 and ask him 89-10 innocent. despite the opposition of the big labor unions and the business roundtable xml is quite an accomplishment, senator. fast-forward 15 and 20 years when i was a spokesman for the white house drug policy office, i saw senator grassley, then and now in the senate, make methamphetamine trafficking a priority for law enforcement as well as prevention and education. methamphetamine abuse plummeted in america under his leadership on the senate narcotics caucus. he also supported the youth antidrug media campaign general mccaffrey that help because you've drug abuse to plunged 30% in three years, and general mccaffrey, back and forth yesterday since a warm hello for you and thank you for all you have done. we've all seen senator grassley expose waste and abuse in government including in military weapons systems. it's nonpartisan oversight at
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its best. and his going and going and going. we both run. a few years ago we are at the capital jobs three-mile and i said the right increases your lifespan by three years. he says i've already got that. but his staff did a great job in helping organize today's event told me he still running and the senator jesse months ago told he is still running. i think i want to say 10 years after your last run that you keep extending your life. i want to thank also penny barton who i've known for years and worked with on so may things. if you can convey that. i want to thank the chairman -- here's judges the chairman of the national press club. as soon as i'm done come and say hello. the chairman of the newsmakers committee, joanne booze, national press club staffer, bill mccarron to make six or director all of whom helped into this process.
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autumn kelly is a national press club senior assistant. autumn, if you would raise your hand. autumn will be taking the mic -- were is -- that will be used for questions by the audience. and let's see also is eric here do we know? nokia. daniel and hand if you guys could standard they've spent and several months at an internship have done a spectacular job. daniel wallace and hannah kunz. [applause] is tony here? no. as the senator knows, my wife is george washington university medical center is from old wine, iowa. senator grassley is at the center of the action having sent to the for the recent democratic the law and the attorney general loretta lynch nomination for starters and we just learned from your team to loretta lynch
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is being confirmed today at 10:30 a.m. sworn in. that's right. if time permits he can discuss the rationale for the alleged trafficking timing also the status of an essay bulk collection which the press recently reported that you are at the center of come and whistleblowers protection whether civil swirl of activity at the club today on debt. and maybe how that relates to edward snowden which is a very complicated thing and the congressional and court and executive actions that he did generate. what to do about police -- you will solve all of this -- what to do about police after american killings. the voting rights bill, overall minority disparities in the justice system, judicial confirmations, agriculture policy immigration you're okay, i'm out of breath and you did all that in an hour. when we started out we wanted to hear about your alternatives to teens and children with attention of some news on that and also asset forfeiture.
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senator grassley was speak for 20-forget that they will immediate and club members questions. i will moderate the question and we'll call on the question of. we have a mic to pass around and autumn will be doing the. please identify yourself and organizations. i just a quick note that on may 7 we will be bringing in at a newsmakers doctor hodes ma the corrective action institute on aging under the national institutes of health who will talk about a fascinating subject, why the human life span has expanded -- extended 20 years in our lifetime. and what does a look-alike in the future and what are the reasons for that. so that will be may 7 at 10 a.m. record of the national press club senator grassley come it's an honor to have you with us here today come in the floor is yours. i do want to mention by the wayside grass is a little under the weather today. there was a possibility that maybe he wouldn't even be able
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to because it is called so we all really appreciate him being here on databases. >> i seldom get sick so it's kind of surprising to me as well. well, thank you for the kind introduction. good morning, everybody. i'm glad to meet you again pat and be reminded you're from iowa. as most of you know i became chairman of the senate judiciary committee january. bindings made a big deal out of the fact that i'm the first nonlawyer in the history of the senate to be chairman of that committee. i'd like to thank of the fact that i am a nonlawyer but that's the way to inject a little bit of iowa commonsense into the chairmanship. what most people don't realize is that the judiciary committee is the one committee i served on continuously since i've been elected to the senate. many committees dived deep into a narrow set of issues that are
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important, of course, but not always on the forefront of the minds of all americans. by contrast, the judiciary committee has jurisdiction over a broad set of issues that are often fundamental to our national identity, issues that are so into the great and diverse fabric of american democracy and our culture. as a result, many of the topics we debate invoke deeply-held, passionate views. the committee oversees a judicial system that seeks justice for both the injured and the accused. it upholds america's reputation as the welcoming mat to the world by ensuring our immigration system is inviting to illegal immigrants who share our love of freedom and respect for the rule of law.
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it fosters ingenuity and innovations that grow our economy and improve our quality by deciding the rights of intellectual property. and the committee holds the key to the constitution a document that is the blueprint for a thriving democracy, and is the guardian of our individual rights and our liberties. the founding charter of freedom helps guide america through our darkest hours and paves the way to our most triumphant achievements. and arguably, quite like nothing else, our constitution's promise of justice and equal rights under the law offers hope to victims of injustice in our society. as chairman of the judiciary committee i believe our panel bears a unique responsibility to
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uphold that promise for all americans. for americans struggling on the downside of advantage. for troubled youth who wonder if the struggle to climb america's ladder of opportunity and to stay on the right side of the law is even worth it. for the innocent victims of asset forfeiture, who see the government as a great big goliath. for the poor defendants wondering if they truly have a chance when the appear before the court. i see my chairmanship as an opportunity to help secure america's blessings of freedom and liberty. because the words of we the people applies to all americans. i can't think of a better platform to embrace and expand opportunities for victims of
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injustice than from the u.s. senate judiciary committee. i plan to make the most use of the next two years of the 114th congress to make a difference in the lives of americans. let's start with the youngest of those facing the criminal justice system. the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act was originally enacted in 1974. and while it's been reauthorized several times since then, and has received funding through the appropriations process, it's not really been revisited and updated since 2002. this is a program that not only helps prevent at-risk youth from entering the criminal justice system, but also one that helps rehabilitate minors already in that system. i'm leading a reauthorization
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effort in a bipartisan way with senator whitehouse. we introduced a bill last congress to establish a starting point for negotiations in the new congress. just last week we held a hearing in the judiciary committee to focus on fixing issues within the juvenile justice grant program that whistleblowers had brought to my attention. the whistleblowers testified to widespread mismanagement and failures in the grant program. they cited instances of fraud and as will neglect of corporate requirements for these taxpayer-funded programs. the justice department's negligence relates to implementation of four criteria states must meet to receive funds.
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according to the whistleblowers, there are a few states that meet all of the grant eligibility criteria. but the office of justice programs which administers the program, turns its head the other way when states aren't in compliance. worse yet states know about this blanket amnesty, so apparently they don't even try to follow the law. after i wrote four letters on this issue the justice department finally owned up to some of these problems. they admitted to having a policy in place way back since 1997 that allowed states to obtain federal funds in violation of the law and they have assured me that they will end this practice. however, other issues remain. so we're going to start
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righting these wrongs this week. senator whitehouse and i plan to reintroduce a juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act this week. our bill respond to issues highlighted by whistleblowers at last week's hearing but increasing accountability and oversight in the offices administration of the law. the bill also seeks to improve the treatment of youth under the act by bolstering its core protections, improving conditions for detained juveniles, and incorporating new science on adolescent development. we're also looking to update the protections and programs already established by law and authorize funding for a five year period of time. another reform area that's been in the press both nationally and
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in my home state of iowa through the writing of the "des moines register" is asset forfeiture. investigations by journalists and civil liberties advocates have exposed perverse incentives that have nudged enforcement of these laws way off kilter with basic fairness. these laws are important crime-fighting tools that enable law enforcement to seize cash or property that's considered linked to illicit activity. the theory behind the system is to choke off the funding stream used to bankroll criminal ventures that could be drugs, human trafficking money laundering among other things. i agree that it's a worthy and important public policy to help thwart crime. however, it seems that sometimes
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this tool is increasingly being used as a funding source for the government with thin regard for people's civil rights. i'm working to draft bipartisan reforms to fix these flaws. for starters the direct quid pro quo between asset forfeiture and funding should be eliminated. a law enforcement agency's operations shouldn't be funded based on the assets they seize. in addition, real procedural reforms must be enacted for people whose assets are seized, including prompt timelines for government action and the ability to challenge the seizure promptly before a judge. and individuals who cannot afford a lawyer to guide them through the system should be provided one. part of addressing this problem lies in reversing the supreme
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court's recent decision that allows the government to prevent people from showing that they need access to their seized funds for the simple reason of defending themselves by hiring a lawyer. we also need to codify changes in the use of the program in structuring cases, where small business owners like iowa's carole hinders get unfairly caught up in forfeiture for depositing money in a bank without any indication of any underlying crime. a poor lady running a small restaurant that deposited, did everything cash wise deposited the funds, and she was suspected of laundering money i presume because she was near $10,000.
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i'm also looking at an area of law to help indigent defendants who are not being provided with counsel as the constitution sixth amendment requires. that amendment calls for any indigent defendant was charged with misdemeanors or faces a possible jail sentence to have a lawyer appointed to represent them. the supreme court has established this rule for more than 40 years. we're learning that states and localities regularly fail to comply with this requirement. as a result, potentially innocent individuals plead guilty to crimes. they also then accrue a criminal record which causes them adverse consequences including difficulty finding a job and a greater criminal history that would be considered in any future sentencing determination.
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some misdemeanors are treated as felonies in the legal system if a person becomes a repeat misdemeanor offender. if some of those earlier misdemeanor convictions were uncounseled then someone might be convicted of a felony who did not actually commit a felony. the committee will convene a hearing in the upcoming weeks to explore this problem and look at potential solutions. along those same lines let me explain another issue we're working to address. we're seeing studies that show 32% of american adults have criminal records if arrest records are included in that figure. that means a lot of innocent people are often put in unfair situations. that's because those records are sent to the federal government for inclusion in a database and searched during background checks.
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for instance if an employer uses the database for hiring purposes, the records can be inaccurate and old. and just as bad, the database includes arrest records that never resulted in a conviction. it's unfair that an arrest, not resulting in a conviction, is included in a criminal background check. and while there is a process by which people can contest their records being in the database there are flaws in that process that need to be looked and changed. over the last several months i've been accused of being a road block to sentencing reform. so let me be very clear on this point. i have told my colleagues and i've also had a discussion directly with the president of united states that i would like to sit down and talk about how
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we can move forward. i'm ready to address some of these issues. what i'm not willing to do is an across the board cut in mandatory minimums. i agree that some should be cut. but i also think that some should be raised. let me give you some examples. with a heroin epidemic strangling some of our communities, and white collar criminals getting paltry sentences, the last thing we need is to take away a tool that law enforcement and prosecutors use to get the bad guys. let me end with this. when i first became chairman i talked a lot about the dual roles of the legislative branch. our constitutional responsibilities don't just include writing laws. we're also responsible for ensuring those laws are faithfully implemented and carried out by the executive branch.
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it's something that i don't think we in congress give enough of. anybody who knows my oversight efforts understands why the judiciary committee has such a heavy focus on this vital function of the legislative branch. i think i have a reputation as someone who does equal oversight of both republicans and democrat administrations. so i want to make it clear this isn't about the current residents of 1600 pennsylvania. believe me, the previous administration wasn't fond of my letters and oversight, either. we need to keep the federal government working for the american people, not the other way around. after immersing myself in the legislative and oversight jurisdiction of the senate judiciary committee for the last 34 years, i look forward to
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championing these ideas and others i didn't mention and making a lasting difference in the daily lives of americans. now a happy to take your questions. >> and you will make a difference senator. thank you and especially as i said for coming under the conditions of your voice and and your cold come into degrade. >> thank you. >> why do we tackle the elephant in the room that c-span even said what sort of -- then we can get everything else. what's your feeling on the delay of the lynch confirmation until just today? was sort of annoying to you that national leadership decided they would play the politics of using one bill to force the other end six months of delay in the
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confirmation of the attorney general, what is your thinking on all of that? >> let me give you some history. some of this will be political pushback, ma of the other political party. i want you to know that that's part of this. first of all it was a long period of time come about let's subtract two months after that period of time. because this administration and the democratic congress in november and december could have decided to do the lynch nomination. now i also admit that we republicans said about to be held over. they had a bigger agenda that they were very glad to hold her own because they wanted to get 13 judges approved and a couple of pieces of legislation out of committee while they're still in the majority. and that's their choice. but i don't think republicans should be blamed for those first two months because they could have got the job done because there's no way you could have
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filibustered her with the nuclear option. then let's go to my roll taking over committee chairman. we would have her nomination up for consideration a second time because all these nominations go back to the house, or to the white house come back up. so senator leahy asked me when we're going to have a hearing. i sat on gender 27th. we had our hearing on gender 27. isomer going to be put on the agenda just as soon as all the written responses to our questions come back. and that was forget just which we do that was by then there was a week of congressional recess that came in between. but i said just as soon as we get back from recess were going to vote her out of committee. so we did that. so i think i kept my promise to the democratic leadership of the
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judiciary committee that we're going to move her when i said we're going to move or. that they get out to the floor of the senate and at that particular point it's not just crassly decides when the agenda comes out. if somebody else. i except the majority leaders decision on when things are going to come. i could object to it but he still going to decide when they come out. so we decided to it was going to come up immediately after the human trafficking bill came up. only, the human trafficking bill got out of committee 19-0 but then the democrats decide to filibuster a bill that came out 19-0. and as long as that filibuster went on we couldn't get to the lynch nomination. why would you filibuster a bill
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that came out of committee 19-0 i don't know but that's what held it up. that's all i can say. when it came up in the senate was somebody come other senators decision when it would come up, not mine. >> i'll go in order of a few meaty here and they will open to do. the "des moines register," chris, if you could -- ask a question if you would like. >> thank you, senator. chris with the register i wonder if you could comment on something they should have been happening in various minutes of house across the country baltimore ferguson, missouri? what is your general reaction and what you think needs to be done by either in congress or on the local level. >> at this point i don't have a very specific answer for you except to tell you that we're taking a look at it and see what would be appropriate. i'm not one of these people that would like to federalize everything. i would also use it as an
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example of what's wrong with people that are in law enforcement. most of them highly trained, you know, and it seems to me that common sense doesn't prevail in some instances but i'm not the guy facing some violent person or whether you know if that person is violent or not. and so i hate to second-guess what people i expect to protect me might be doing something right or wrong. but we are going to have some discussion at the staff level and see whether or not anything needs to be done, and maybe you can ask me in a month or two and i would be glad to respond to question more operably. and it may be that we would decide not to do anything but i can't see anything beyond that right now. >> is there anything you might be looking at, at least in the early stages? >> whether to federalize to
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give a presumption when a minority is killed by policemen, that that should institute a federal intervention. >> an interesting answer. okay. why do we go to bloomberg. is bloomberg still your? do you have a question? >> "bloomberg news." can you talk about any plans to reintroduce the political intelligence disclosure bill? you offered as an amendment to the s.t.o.c.k. act a few years ago, and was added in the senate taken out of the final bill. where is that right now? >> i still have conversations with congressman slaughter on
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that. sheikdom i think she's introduced a bill now to representatives. i didn't introduce the bill originally. it was an intimate to another those i don't think i have to it is about to show my interest in it but i think those people that are involved in political intelligence got a lot smarter now. and that doesn't mean that you don't need some legislation i think it's much more difficult to sort out what they are doing. it was very obvious when i got the amendment through the united states senate. >> do you mean it's more complicated to try to come up with legislation? >> not only that but you know, a lot of things get done in congress, particularly on oversight and this is an oversight. we've got a good working relationship between journalism and those of us in office, that really helps to get things done because it was highlighted quite a bit and wasn't difficult to
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sell that transparency ought to be involved here because transmit it brings accountability. and it's not quite as obvious now as it was then. >> okay. why don't we go to the "washington times." i know you were here earlier. "washington times." >> we will get omaha. >> absolutely. >> that's okay. >> just bouncing off what you said a couple of minutes ago you said you were coming to a preliminary stages of deciding whether to federalize when a minority is killed by a policeman from what should institute federal action. are you suggesting that we should do away with internal police investigations, that those can't be trusted? that's what i hear a lot on the street. >> well, my answer was just some of the things that's been thrown out there for consideration. and i wouldn't, i wouldn't i don't think that i would do a
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way with internal investigations, as long as there's a role of oversight for the justice department. and in most of these there is a role for oversight of the justice department. sometimes the justice department has stepped in. sometimes they haven't. so i think you already have federal oversight of that. >> i do agree. the department of justice jumping in and fairest spots across america. something else we also see is that there's a friction between police and the department of justice especially after comments that eric holder had made regard to ferguson. i ferguson the president of the federal law enforcement officers association as well. and speak to some of the frictions that exist now? is that something that can be better handled by the department or a new administration? >> listen, i don't think it's a question of doing things different. it's a question of being careful what you say and you don't throw gasoline on a fire.
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>> okay. the senator from omaha, you said? omaha i will? >> well, just about. >> pretty close. >> he just got engaged. >> congratulations. >> senator cummings imagined possibly after you guys look at this on the staff level one option might be doing nothing. how concerned are you that about sort of the level of anger out there over these incidents and the protest you see? how do you think it would be received if congress doesn't take any action? and who is it up to them? >> you're asking me to do exactly what chris has asked me to do. i can't be anymore specific than what i am. i just can't be. i think it's something you've got to think about and not have a state action. and that doesn't mean we're going to have to take action.
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but i think common sense among law enforcement. but i'm not one to pile on police because i expect them to protect me ma you know? and it seems to me you ought to have come and when you are not there when the decision has to be made but some of the stuff you see on television is very nerve-racking and very very difficult to say that common sense is used. even when you don't have murders of minorities but you got a policeman chasing somebody that's probably dead and misdemeanor. we've had these cases in iowa. someone ends up getting killed in an automobile accident. you know, you've got to do some common sense in your work as a policeman. >> okay. and please identify your name
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organization. >> herb jackson with the bergen record in new jersey. we mentioned s.t.o.c.k. act a little while ago. does in the part about this in the past which was raised to two parts beyond the services fraud had been overturned and the house took that out at the last minute. do you see that coming anywhere going forward? because i've been very close reading the indictment of senator menendez a lot of attorneys with them is difficult for the justice department to bring some of these cases to the courts narrowed on his services fraud and skinny. what are your thoughts because i think i spoke to in my opening remarks about white-collar crime is thing soft-pedaled, and some of the inequity in sentencing comes from the fact that judges have tended to treat white-collar crime different than other crimes. and that's an area we are looking at to make sure that
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there is more equity in that area. that's one of the areas i am suggesting maybe we need an increase in mandatory minimums. >> date with lrp publications. i was wondering do you believe that with the passage of the whistleblower protection act there's enough legislation on the books to adequately address those issues, as long as implementation is done correctly? for deeply additional legislation is needed to help protect government whistleblowers? >> i would not rule out additional legislation. if you're asking what i had in mind, i go back then too i think carrying out the spirit of laws we already have. it's pretty much like i told the people in judiciary committee last week.
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i said, you know perfect example, we had to whistleblowers testifying. and are they going to be punished for testifying? one of them is still in her position with nothing to do. i said to the assistant attorney general, this is exactly what's wrong. i said it reminds me of ernie fitzgerald, the grandfather of all whistleblowers. you know the wheels came off the c-5a and he was testifying before congress in the nixon administration. and nixon didn't like it. he said fire the s.o.b. then he got fired. 12 years in the courts getting his job back. then when he got his job back he was up in the attic of the pentagon. and just last week there's an example of somebody i think with the va but don't count the agency doesn't matter. his move from their own office
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to a closet, you know? the message out there is there is great deal of pure pressure going alone. don't make our organization look bad. all contrary to the principles involved in the whistleblower protection act. i've asked every president of the united states automotive rose garden ceremony honoring whistleblowers. from the top of government to the bottom whistleblowers is legitimate. republican president said, if we did that we would have 3000 whistleblowers come out of the woodwork. that's exactly what you want. that's what i was doing the assistant attorney general. you know, you've got all these employees. you can't know what's going on. and if you've got somebody tell you something's wrong, you want to do something about it. and if you don't do something about it then they come to us
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and then they get punished for coming to us in violation of the law. even a violation of a specific law that says you don't get punished for testifying before congress are contacting it. i said we all work for the same taxpayer. you know so i don't think you need any more law. i wouldn't, you know there some court decisions that may be got to override a court decision. that's a bad but you've got to have people that are in the bureaucracy just do their job. their job is if something isn't right change it. but whistleblowers are patriotic people. they just want the government to do what's right and what the law requires and how the money should be spent. >> let me jump back in for a second because it begs another elephant in the room if you don't mind discussing it. edward snowden considers himself
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a whistleblower and he considers himself vitriolic and says he went through the process and he knew that he would be prosecuted so he felt, he says and those who write about in say they couldn't do any other way. and as a result of what he did congress and the courts and even the white house have made significant changes in both collection although that legislation is still pending in terms of actual accepting or rejecting it. and the white house and in the white house press corps feel that it's not a matter of when you are to choose from is not the substance of the program is the listing of the people, your friends, your sources that are actually problem in the bulk collection. there's outside of the argument. so because edward snowden broke the law is he a whistleblower or is he somebody who actually simply anti-illegal criminal? it's a difficult question. i don't know the answer. >> right now will be the latter but not if legislation i got to
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the senate have been got through the house of representatives which would apply whistleblowing laws to national security people because they are exempt now from the whistleblower protection laws. then that would have taken care of it and he could have gone the whistleblower route. but when he didn't have that come he did violate the law and you suffer the consequences when you violate the law. >> okay. >> what are the prospects for getting legislation passed to address patent litigation abuse and did you see going sort of a two-pronged attack dealing with the letters and the actual post-filing kinds of issues of? >> well, it will be more comprehensive than just a with demand letters. and we're getting close to a final agreement maybe in two or
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three weeks we will be introducing a bill. maybe before that. it would be pretty comprehensive but it will not be like the house bill. it will have some of the house provisions and it but for instance, there will not be a presumption in fee shifting. .. your leadership introduced the
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patriot act. there have been questions on whether this no added safeguards could pass the senate. what you put alternative for your committee? at this point i know you were talking to the intel either semi-wonder there has been any progress? >> i will give you the same answer i gave you last week you asked me the same question. i'm still talking to members of the intelligence committee and for long period of time my staff and i were talking to the house and senators were involved in those negotiations. i decided not to go along with what the house has put in and maybe the house was going to drop that bill last week. they didn't drop it. maybe they are having second thoughts so i think i would have to say it's pretty much in flux at this point but i'm still seeing what we can do with a compromise between judiciary and intelligence.
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>> hi there. jc with world magazine. a two-part question on the same issue. number one can you talk about the prospects for possible immigration bill that may be coming coming through and part two would be in your prepared prepared remarks he talked about several other issues beyond immigration. is it fair to say those issues would take a higher priority than the immigration bill's? >> you know how it is in the united states senate. getting a bipartisan bill is pretty important and so on all the other issues you are talking about, we are trying to take off from where we left off last year year, things that didn't get done last year and moving along that line. juvenile justice reforms and others but i made i didn't make it very clear in my opening remarks but i did say almost from january that i was going to wait for the house to pass a bill.
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let me explain why it's a matter of efficiency. i shouldn't say pass a bill or bills as they are going to pass separate -- separate bills. they can pass one bill and it would trigger a to maybe do something that we worked for three months on that two years ago and the house didn't do anything. so i figured i want to use my time and the committee's time where we can accomplish something rather than spending three or four months on immigration and then have it die in the house. i want to know that the house is going to act and i think the house if they get it done before labor day i think the house may act that there is some feeling around town now that the house may not do anything. well then you can understand we have spent a lot of time that could be spent on things that we could get to the president and probably the president can find
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that. >> senator todd ruger with cq roll call. going to the voting rights act there was a thing last year introduced and again this year year. do you have any intention of bringing up the voting rights act fix to the committee and also now that you have got control of both houses what about cameras in the supreme court? >> it depends on what you want to fix. if you want to fix if you want to fix more minorities voting more minorities are already voting and the supreme court threw out the section of the voting rights act and if there is some other reason for being involved in the voting rights act that will take a look at it but it seems to me it's got to be different than the original intent of the voting rights act. in the last 50 years it's made great progress.
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i'm sorry. i guess i didn't hear that. well let's hope that the durbin grassley bill or the grassley durbin bill will get passed. i'm a firm believer in it. there are one or two justices that say they would rather over their dead body. if that happens i don't want those two supreme court justices to die but i believe that we could enhance people's understanding of the court system by having the supreme court tv, very much so. now i didn't mention that in my remarks because it divides republicans and democrats. you are going to have a bipartisan group to get it passed and you are going to have a bipartisan group against it. my point is that easily
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predictable. >> we are covering a lot of good questions. >> senator grassley thank you for being here and i have a question regarding whistleblower protection act. i had lobbied congress -- my name is jane rosen a u.s. journalist/scientist. we were working for the federal legislation on whistleblowers. one of the issues that came up and i implore you with your recent investigation with new york university universities are recipients of a huge amount of federal tax dollars, get it's the private university level or grant recipient to blow the whistle are not protected.
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i myself amongst another group of scientists lobbying congressmen we were disenfranchised lost our careers and lost their jobs. the government in today's dollars put 400000 to training me and because i stood up for fabrication and falsification of data and all that we lose our careers. there's nowhere to go in the private sector. >> if you could ask your question. >> can you tell us if there's any hope for translating whistleblower protection at the private university level where federal tax dollars are involved? >> will we have done that a lot of times with the private sector. whether it's nonprofit or for-profit it would make much difference. we have legislation it's not the general legislation because if we had general legislation we would be affected but a lot of times we get legislation passed
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say wall street reform you know where whistleblowers -- what so i would be willing to look at that. >> other questions? hands raised. media and club members please for questions. >> i am celia wexler with the union of concerned scientists and i do have another whistleblower question which is as you know the military whistleblower system is not as strong as it should be. there are some efforts by senator boxer right now to strengthen that system and as you know it would affect the public health service employees including scientists and also noaa employees and i wondered if you considered supporting efforts this year to strengthen the military whistleblower protection act? >> i will be glad to look at it, but i wonder if you can be any
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more specific than a member of the uniformed military as a right under law already to talk to a congressmen if they want to. can you do better than that? and obviously senator boxer has a way to do it but i can't speak to her specifically. again i think you get back to something are you going to accomplish something by passing more laws? to get these laws carried out the way we intended them to be carried out. >> other questions? hands raised. >> yes the very quickly in. i was just wondering president obama renominated -- to be the head of the federal labor relations authority and i was just wondering, i believe your committee has looked at that. is there any schedule she has
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been chairman and thank for a number of years and her confirmation on schedule? >> we are going to have a hearing next week but i don't know whether she is on that. we usually have four or five at one time and i don't know whether she is on that list are not that i want you to know we take them up the way they come up to us particularly that is true of judges for example. so the priorities are what we receive from the white house. >> hi senator todd ruger with cq roll call again. the pace of judicial nominations this year, what is your plan for judicial nominations this year and how fast do you plan on getting them to the floor? >> this year there is no change. but i suppose come july of 2016,
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probably there will be cutoffs and not approving any after july for sure. after the august break next year because that is just kind of a tradition that you allow those judges to be filled by a new president. now were you asking just judicial nominations? >> yeah, and democrats have said we have only done to this year and in 2007 there were 15. the numbers game that you guys do back and forth all the time but just in terms of pace up to that point next year how many do you expect to do every week or how are you going to handle at? >> we are going to handle them on the same basis we have handled them. but one thing you want to remember and this gets back to the question you asked me number one and the answer i gave there
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they decided that they were going to get those judges approved november and december and they did get them approved. normal process, those would have carried over going back to the white house they would have carried over and we have been voting them and they would have been approved by now. so they change the rules after election. generally judges don't get approved at that point. they go over to the new congress and so i kind of resent the fact that they are saying that we don't hold out the number of judges. if you look overall, just a few over 300 judges have been approved by republicans or under this president only to have been approved or disapproved so you
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are in a situation where compared to last year at this time 270 psalm as an example so i think the numbers that we can talk about are very positive. >> back in the back. >> i have a follow-up question. going back one more time to you are in the process of thinking about minorities being killed by a policeman, there are a lot of minorities killed by a policeman. i live in baltimore and their plenty so i'm wondering if you might struggle with that type of a large-scale undertaking? >> what was the question? >> would doj struggle with the undertaking of a large number of killings? is that your question? >> while you are talking about six or seven different states in the last eight months.
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the justice department has the legal authority to do it and they have the responsibility to do it if they feel a lot has been violated and they can investigate. they have already decided to get involved in some and some they decided not to get involved in. in fact i made application to the justice department for a lawyer for the ellingsen family in des moines who are not minority but their son drowned when he was arrested on lake of the ozarks and he wasn't properly tied into his lifejacket and a drowned. they would like to have a federal investigation and i can't make the decision for the attorney general and it's a lawful position he is going to have to make that i've been
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involved in promoting the federal investigations if it needs to be done. >> one or two more questions. >> senator i also wanted to follow up on reform. as you know senators booker and rand paul are pushing very hard for that issue and their argument is that the united states leads the country in people in prison and a lot of people are in there for nonviolent offenses. now you said that you wanted to talk to the white house. do you think this bigger issue of sentencing reform will be moving about the city or? >> it depends on -- i have told a lot of people that are for sentencing reform that i want to sit down and talk to them. there is some talk going on.
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i don't know how far it has progressed at this point at the staff level but yes, i'm willing to do legislation in that area. >> i think we will take one more question. if there is one. okay, final question. >> senator last year q. and i spoke about the need for a new ownership law as far as companies. since then the u.k. has passed a law toward that and. i just didn't know if you had any plans to try to push that or make that more of a priority? >> what is the law? >> i don't have the specifics in frenemy but basically it would create a registry of beneficial owners for corporations in the united kingdom. >> i think that i don't know whether the issue is the same for the united states but i think it's perfectly legitimate that you know who is running a
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company. transparency brings accountability. >> senator grassley thank you so much for a wonderful presentation and it was a lot of fun. cute covered some enormous ground. i think you covered every issue on that list and beyond. so thank you very much. we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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's japanese prime minister abe is in town and the white house will host a state dinner for his arrival. we will show you his arrival at 7:00 p.m. eastern on light on c-span3. earlier today president obama and the japanese prime minister josé joint time --
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good morning everybody. it is an honor to welcome my partner and friend, prime minister abe back to the white house and i'm told there's a phrase and japanese culture that speaks to the spirit that brings us together today. it's an idea rooted in loyalty and expression of mutuality respect and shared obligation. and it transcends any specific moment or challenge as the foundation of a relationship that endures. it's what allows us to say that the united states and japan stand together. with and for each other. this is the essence of the lines between united states and japan, an alliance that holds support of the world. prime minister shinzo -- abe had
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an opportunity to visit the memorial to president lincoln followed by reconciliation. shinzo on behalf of the american people i want to thank you for your visit to arlington national cemetery. it's a powerful reminder that the past can be overcome. former adversaries can become the closest of allies and nations can build a future together. across seven decades or nations have become not just allies the true partners and friends. that mutual affection will be on display tomorrow when shinzo becomes the first japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of congress. and we are to global partners who stand together for security and human dignity around the world, opposing rushers providing relief combating abol and promoting local health and now offering help to the people
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in nepal who are in our prayers today. this friendship includes my partnership with prime minister abe. since taking office i afford to rebalance american foreign policy to ensure we are playing a larger and lasting role in the asia-pacific. a policy grounded in our treaty alliances including our treaty with japan and i am grateful to shinzo for his deep commitment to that alliance. he is pursuing a vision of japan where the japanese economy is reinvigorated and where japan makes greater contributions to security and peace in the region and around the world. so shinzo thank you. i believe the progress we have made today will help to guide the u.s. japanese partnership for decades to come.
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specifically we first talked about transforming our security alliance. for the first time in nearly two decades we have updated the guidelines for defense cooperation to together our forces will be more flexible and better prepared to corporate on a range of challenges from maritime security to disaster response. our forces will plan, train and operate even more closely we will expand our cooperation including on cyberthreats and in space and japan will take on greater roles and responsibilities in the asia-pacific and around the world. our new guidelines complement our efforts to realign u.s. forces across the region including on okinawa in order to lessen the impact of our bases on local communities and i reaffirmed our commitment to move forward with the relocation of marines from okinawa to guam. i want to reiterate that are treaty commitment to japan security is absolute and that article v covers all territories under japan's administration
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including the islands. we share a concern about china's land reclamation and construction activities in the south china sea and the united states and japan are united in our commitment to freedom of navigation, respect for international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes without coercion. we also remain united in pursuit of peaceful denuclearization of the korean peninsula and addressing north korea provocations. we fully support japan's efforts to resolve the tragedy of north korea's adoption of japanese -- abduction of japanese citizens. i met with one of the mothers of one of those abductees and she described the awful pain she has endured so i know how important is this to the japanese people. meanwhile our growing trilateral cooperation with the republic of korea as well as with australia gives us new opportunities to enhance security across the region.
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with respect to trade we have reviewed the progress our teams have made towards the transpacific partnership. i know that the politics can be hard in both of our countries but i know that prime minister abe like me is deeply committed to getting this done and i'm confident we will. i often point out for example there are many japanese cars in america. i want to see more american cars in japan as well. ttp will help level the playing field and it will be good for the workers of both of our countries and moreover ttp will offer strong protections for workers and the environment and help us set high standards for trade in the 21st century. japan and the united states both operate with high standards and our companies and corporations. we tried to be responsible when it comes to corporate citizenship and high standards will be good for us and good for the region. based on the progress we have made prime minister abe and i
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discussed how japan and the u.s. as the two largest economies in the ttp will lead to our ttp partners to swift conclusions of the broader negotiations. we also agreed to continue close court nation on climate change. the two countries that have made the largest pledges to the green climate fund were committed to helping nations around the world sees the opportunities of transitioning to low-carbon economies and we discussed the importance of all major economies submitting ambitious targets to reduce emissions we can reach a strong climate agreement this year in paris. finally we agree to keep investing in our people so that they and our countries can reach their full potential. i want to once again commend the prime minister for his efforts to bring more japanese women into the workforce. i can tell you it is very much my view here in the united states and around the world that when women are given opportunity
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opportunity, when they are full-fledged members of a political community and economic community, when they have an opportunity those countries succeed. it's good for everybody. along with the initiative we lost last year in tokyo we are aiming to double student exchanges in the coming years and with the leadership of our better halves our wives the united states and japan are helping to lead our global initiative led girls learn to get more women and girls access to education. so these are just some examples of what it means to be true global partners and i'm confident with the steps we have taken today our alliance will play an even greater role in upholding security prosperity and human dignity not just in the asia-pacific but around the world. so prime minister sub five. mr. prime minister.
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>> translator: a rock thank you for inviting me to visit this commemorative year 70 years after the war. talking together with you at the lincoln memorial which is witness a path to democracy will be an extraordinary memory to be cherished. we have a dream that is to create a world abound in peace and prosperity. to realize this dream japan and the united states will together pave the way towards a new era. i was able to confirm this strong resolve with president obama in this milestone year of 70 years after the war. today, we turned a new page in
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the history of the u.s. japan alliance which succeeds half a century. that is this is an alliance in the context of the world. japan and the united states are partners who share a sick value such as freedom, democracy and basic human rights and rule of law. the u.s. japan alliance is characterized by the firmness of its bond is now indispensable to the peace and stability of not only the asia-pacific but to the world. we are united in our resoluteness and unilateral attempts to change the status quo in whatever form. any dispute should be resolved peacefully based on international law and not
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through coercion or intimidation. japan welcomes the united states policy of rebalancing which exercises the asia-pacific and president obama has expressed his support for japan's rentable of proactive contribution to peace through coordination of these two policies. the deterrence of our alliance will no doubt be further strengthened. against this backdrop we have reaffirmed our resolve to steadily move forward with the realignment of u.s. forces in japan. the dangers arising from the air station being surrounded by housing and schools should be eliminated by relocation as soon as possible. we will move forward with mitigating the impact of the
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base base and oh no was founded on the strong relationship of trust between japan and the united states. it is prosperity that brings peace. this makes is eager to see the early conclusion of the ttp. on the bilateral outstanding issues we welcome the fact that significant progress is made. we will continue to cooperate to lead the ttp talks through its last phase. we have confirmed that we will work together for their early success book conclusion of the talks. in addition with regard to the situation in east asia affection by north korea nuclear missile issues the situation in the ukraine, the nuclear issue in iran and the threat of terrorism and further more climate change communicable diseases, the u.n. security council reform.
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the world has a multitude of issues facing it. and on these sorts of issues we have had a frank and candid exchange of views and we agreed that we would cooperate. when it comes to the future of japan and the united states there are infinite possibilities possibilities. energy, infrastructure, science and technology space and in addition to this the empowerment of women. we agree that is between president obama and myself that we would cooperate and move forward in making investments for the future. i would like to express my heartfelt respect once again to president obama and the citizens of the united states who have committed to take on the multiple multitude of challenges of this world and the efforts you are making for the
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benefit of the peoples of the world. yesterday i visited the jfk library in boston. on television i saw president kennedy deliver his inauguration speech. it deeply resonated with me and it still has a lingering effects. i recall the following cote. my fellow citizens of the world ask not what america will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of mankind. now japan wants to be a country that can respond to such calls. hand-in-hand we want to work together with the united states to spread basic values throughout the world such as those of freedom democracy basic human rights and the rule of law and we want to be a country that can contribute to
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peace and prosperity in the world. in visiting the united states i have had a warm welcome interception by all citizens of the united states. lastly i would like to emphasize the following. as we stand here we will be starting a new era for japan and the united states. i think 70 years from now our children and grandchildren will look back on the talks we had as one of such historical significance. thank you very much. >> will take a couple of questions starting with andrew did he. >> thank you very much mr. president. first of all i wanted to know if you think there is a risk in this more assertive u.s. japanese security stance if you
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think there's a risk that there might be in propagation in beijing were heightened tension in the east china seas and for mr. abe if i may use up short of a formal apology for japan's actions during world war ii including with regard to the estimated 200,000 women killed by imperial forces. would you make an apology for that today? thank you. >> i think it's very important to recognize that the u.s. japan alliance hasn't just been good for the united states and japan. it's been good for the asia-pacific region and the world. the basic foundation of peace stability and sharing that territorial borders were
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respected, freedom of navigation navigation. at all that has underwritten the incredible growth that has taken place in the asia-pacific region. china has benefited from it. it's on that basis that china became an economic juggernaut that ended up being incorporated into global. trade and so no we don't think that a strong u.s.-japan alliance should be seen as a propagation. it should be seen as a continuation of the important work that we have done to ensure that we have a stable area where there are diplomatic conflicts healthy economic competition but largely we have been able to maintain forward progress for a
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whole host of nations and our treaty of alliance has been critical to that. the u.s. serving as an asian-pacific power has been critical to that and as i have said before, we welcome china's peaceful rise. we think it's an good not only because china is a booming potential market. we think it's good not only because it allows china potentially to share some burdens with us and helping countries that are not as far along developing but we think it's good that hundreds of millions of chinese citizens have been able to rise out of poverty at an incredible speed over the last few years. they could not have done that had it not been for a stable trading system and world order. that is underwritten in large part by the work that our alliances do.
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i think it is going to be important for us to continue to adapt to new challenges so part of the goal here is that the same principles that the alliance was founded on continually update to concerns about cyberthreats that we are number will and responsive to potential conflicts that may arise because of maritime disputes. but i think we have to do it in a way that brings in china and other countries into a common effort to maintain order and peace in the region and we are seeking to strengthen military-to-military cooperation with china even as we continue to upgrade our alliance efforts. obviously the republican -- is a
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critical part of our land structure as well and the trilateral work that we do is going to be also very important. i don't want to minimize though the fact that there are some real tensions that have arisen with china around its approach to maritime issues and its claims. but that's not an issue that is arising as a consequence of the u.s. japan alliance. it's primarily a conflict between china and various claimants throughout east asia and southeast asia in which they feel that rather than resolve these issues through normal international dispute settlements they are flexing their muscles and we have said to china what we would say to any country in that circumstance. that is the wrong way to go about it and we will continue to work with all countries in the region starting with our treaty
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allies, to make sure that basic international norms continue to be observed. >> translator: on the issue of women i am deeply pained -- as a result of the victimization due to human trafficking. this is a feeling that i shared equally with my predecessors. these abe cabinet upholds a statement has no intention to revise it. based on this decision japan has made various efforts to provide realistic relief for the comfort of women. throughout the history of the
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20th century basic human rights have often been infringed upon during wars. we intend to make the 21st century a world with no human rights violations against women. i promised at the general assembly of the united nations last year that japan would stand and lead the international community in eliminating sexual violence during conflict. for an international framework including the u.n. women, japan provided approximately $12 million in 2014 and decided it would provide approximately $22 million in 2015. in any case the 21st century
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should be an age where women's rights are never infringed upon and that this our strong resolve. thank you very much. i would like to address this question to prime minister abe m. president obama. in the east china sea and the south china sea, china continues to make forays into the oceans. the islamic state is still very active. how does the united states and japan intend to collaborate and what do you expect of each other in terms of actions taken by the respective countries in japan with regard to the acceptance of the exercise of self-defense and the new guidelines. there is strong concern that japan would become involved in america's wars. how does prime minister abe
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intend to dispel these theories and what is president obama's take on these concerns? >> translator: first of all on extremism and radicalism, which is on the rise, the world community should unite to counter such extremism. moderation is the best method. it is a speech i delivered in cairo. we have to face extremism. there are moderates who are at the very forefront facing extremism and we want to support this. with the rise of extremism there are refugees and support to
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these refugees and also to the influx of refugees there are countries who are faced with difficulties. to these countries, it's important that we provide support appropriately and to the moderate countries we need to tell them that they are not alone. they are not isolated. in the international society the moderate countries should be supported and we need to express that. i believe that is important. in the middle east, there are people who are living there improving the welfare and the likelihood that these people areas in which we would like to make progress. from such a standpoint the united states and japan would like to cooperate to respond to the challenges. another point, the guideline the defense guidelines with
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regard to the security legislation that we might he involved and get caught up in wars. people tend to label this in some cases. it's very unfortunate that labeling activities of this kind is not the first time it has occurred. in 1960 when we revised the security treaty some people said that we would be involved in the wars of the united states and that was the core of the criticism which was aired then. it has been 55 years since then. this criticism has been proved totally wrong and that is very clear and evident. history has proved this.
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our choice made at the time to revise the security treaty and in case japan suffers from aggression between japan and the united states, we would respond through cooperation and in the far east, to maintain security dependence facilities would be leveraged and u.s. military would leverage these facilities to conduct activities. through these activities japan's safeties was detected and prosperity happened and safety in the asia-pacific has been maintained. to further strengthen this trend, is provided for through the new guidelines and seamless response is made possible and by so doing the deterrence would be enhanced. japan and u.s. alliance would be more efficient and more
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functional. deterrence and response capabilities would be heightened as a result and this would lead to peace and prosperity in japan and regional peace and prosperity as well. this is my firm conviction. in streamlining of the laws i should like to explain to the citizens and the parliament in a detailed fashion. >> alternately the people of japan and their elected representatives will be making decisions about how best to approach their defense. but i think it's important to note as prime minister abe said that we have seen over multiple decades now that japan is a peaceloving country having
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absorbed some very difficult lessons from the past. japan does not engage in aggression on the international stage or in its region. and the alliance that has been built with the united states. >> we are going to leave the news conference at this point as the u.s. senate is back in session this afternoon. a quick reminder you can watch this in its entirety on line at c-span.org. live to the senate floor for more work on the iran nuclear negotiations oversight though. you were watching c-span2.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware is recognized. mr. carper: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: and i wish to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. frank: thank you. mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about the need for a safer and healthier workplace and to urge my colleagues to join me had and senator murray in supporting the protecting america's workers act which i am proud to introduce
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today. today april 28, is workers memorial day a day for our nation to remember and to focus on those workers who have died or been injured on the job. today is also a day to acknowledge the significant suffering experienced by families and communities when workers die or are injured and to recommit ourselves to maintaining safe and healthy workplaces for all of our workers. april 28 is also the anniversary of the occupational safety and health act of 1970, the osha act, which created the occupational safety and health administration. when the bill was passed on a bipartisan basis and signed into law by president nixon 45 years ago, 14,000 workers were dying on the job each year.
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now the bureau of labor statistics estimates that there were 4,405 worker fatalities in 2013 that's a huge improvement and it wouldn't have happened without the osha act. it also means that far too many workers are still getting hurt and dying on the job. our work force and workplaces have changed significantly in 45 years but our laws and our laws not have kept pace. we've made no real updates to our workplace safety laws even though thousands of workers die every year on the job many in large industrial disasters that they could be prevented. unfortunately, too often wore told me can't afford to strengthen our workplace safety laws but i believe that our country can't afford the economic and emotional costs
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incurred on middle-class families when workers lose their lives or their livelihoods on the job and it's not just those families. law-abiding businesses that invest in safe workplaces can't afford to subsidize the corporations that cut corners on workplace safety and leave the american public to pick up the tab. let me remind you of a few of the tragedies that have happened in just the past decade that show the cost to our country. on march 23, 2005, fire and an explosion at b.p.'s texas city refinery killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others. on february 7, 2008, 13 people were killed and 42 people were injured in a dust explosion at a sugar refinery in port
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wentworth, georgia. on april 17, 2014, 15 people were killed, 167 of them -- 17 of them volunteer first responders and another 200 people were injured after a fertilizer company in west texas exploded. the explosion leveled roughly 80 homes and middle school, 133 residents of a nearby nursing home were trapped in the ruins. and just last week, we recognized the five-year anniversary of the explosion and sinking of the deepwater horizon oil rig in the gulf of mexico in 2010. that accident killed 11 workers, and is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, costing millions of local economy and
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unprecedented damage to the environment. all of the reports following these accidents cited weak compliance and gaps in our safety laws. they all point to the fact that our workplace safety laws are -- enforcement is too weak. and it's so weak that it can't ensure the safety of american workers and that they don't level the playing field for law-abiding businesses who make sure that workers are safe. and these are not isolated incidents. since the bureau of labor statistics began collecting data on worker fatalities on the job in 1992, over 124,000 workers have died on the job.
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to put that in perspective on average in the united states about six times as many people die on the job each year as died in airplane crashes last year worldwide. and the fact is that many of these accidents could have been prevented. many of these workers could still be with their families today. but, unfortunately even after the reports outlining the details of these accidents and recommending commonsense updates to our laws to protect workers from these types of incidents there have been no significant updates made to the occupational safety and health act. we all rely on the sacrifice of american workers who are employed in difficult and often dangerous industries. we all depend on construction,
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manufacturing, natural gas production agriculture, to help build heat our homes put food on the table. the americans who work in those fields shouldn't have to choose between their health and safety and providing for their family, and we can do something about that. that's why today i am proud to reintroduce the protecting america's workers act with senator patty murray, who has long been a champion of workers' rights. after 45 years, this legislation will modernize the occupational safety and health act for the 21st century. this legislation will expand the number of workers in safe workplaces and make it harder to violate workplace safety laws. it will also protect
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whistle-blowers who bravely speak out about unsafe work conditions for themselves, their coworkers and their families. this legislation protects the public's right to know about safety violations and about osha investigations. it will also help us track and respond to workplace safety issues by requiring tracking of worker injuries. nothing can bring back the workers lost in texas city port wentworth georgia west texas, the deepwater horizon disaster or the many tens of thousands of other workers who have lost their lives on the job. but we owe it to those who have died and to their surviving families to learn from those accidents and try to stop them from happening so that other families don't have to suffer
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the same loss. good jobs are safe jobs, and i believe this bill will help us create safer workplaces. i urge my colleagues to join me and senator murray in supporting the protecting america's workers act. thank you mr. president. and i yield the floor to the good senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip is recognized. mr. cornyn: mr. president, today and for the next few days we will have the opportunity to consider a very important piece of legislation the iran nuclear agreement review act of 2015. a piece of legislation that like all the legislation we consider
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here is important but this particular legislation is important to our national security and indeed, it's important to the peace and security of our allies around the world. this bill represents a good, bipartisan effort passed unanimously out of the senate foreign relations committee by a vote of 19-0 earlier this -- earlier this month. the reason this legislation is so important is because it would guarantee congress the opportunity and the time necessary to scrutinize any agreement reached between the obama administration and the p-5-1 nations that are currently negotiating on the iranian nuclear capacity. it would also prohibit the president from lifting sanctions on iran during this period of review. mr. president, this is not
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important because we are united states senators, but this is important because we represent the american people and the american people need to understand what is in this agreement and what it means to their safety and security and to that of future generations. so i think it's critical that congress have this opportunity to completely and thoroughly understand any deal that is cut between this administration and iran and of course its implications particularly on a matter that's so vital to our national security. if the u.s. congress can have a voice on ongoing trade negotiations which we do, with many of our allies, how much more so should congress have at the very least a review of the final negotiated deal with one of our stated adversaries. as i've made clear before, i have serious reservations about the framework that has been
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announced with iran. this framework as it is called is right now very vague and it strikes me as somewhat convoluted. it also represents a significant departure from long-standing u.s. policy to prevent an iranian nuclear weapon and instead puts us on a path, a feeble path at that to try to contain an iranian nuclear weapon. such an outcome is irresponsible, unacceptable and dangerous. we simply cannot trust the iranian leadership with threshold nuclear capabilities, which is exactly what the president's framework would do at this point. the concept of good-faith negotiations between us and iran is a fantasy. iran is a rogue regime and the world's foremost sponsor of international terrorism and to
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trust them, to trust them would be laughable and also reckless. iran and its proxies have been attacking and killing americans and attempting to undermine our national security interests for at least the last three decades. unfortunately, iran's proxy war throughout the middle east is well documented. right at this moment, iran's regional adventurism continues to destabilize areas where american interests are at stake including war-torn syria yemen and iraq. even more worrisome iranian officials have publicly stated that even during this period of -- quote -- understanding while the details are being worked out, iran has made clear that its true intentions are to destroy one of the united states' most stalwart allies, israel and to further iran's
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aspiration as a regional hegemon and iranian empire. this is the kind of country and a country that has been on our own state department's sponsor of terrorism lists since 1984, and this is the administration that is being negotiated with by the secretary of state and the obama administration's representatives. that's why this bill is so important because we need a congressional backstop against an iranian regime that is well known for being deceptive and frankly, lying to international institutions and inspectors. so one thing this legislation does do, which i applaud is it guarantees congress the time and the opportunity for us to scrutinize and debate and judge this deal. if it's made by this summer. many of our senate colleagues have ideas about how to further
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improve the bill, which is admittedly not perfect. no piece of legislation ever is. so i look forward to a lively and healthy debate here on the senate floor. this will be an important debate on a serious matter of national security and one that has a clear ramification for generations yet to come. that is what the united states, the founders of our country designed the united states senate for. and i expect the senate will be doing what only it can do, having a lively debate, having a fulsome review of this legislation and then voting on the outcome. but i'm thankful to those who have produced this bipartisan piece of legislation and i'm glad that we are united in our strong belief that robust congressional review of any potential iranian deal is an absolute necessity. so on behalf of the american
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people america's elected representatives should be able to get any and every detail on this emerging deal. we should have the time and the space to review it and make sure we understand its terms and its implications. we need to be able to in this debate voice our concerns and ultimately have a timely opportunity to prevent this deal from being implemented if we conclude in the end that it is not in america's best interests. going forward i hope that the spirit of bipartisanship that has brought us this far so far is evidenced in this chamber over the debate that will ensue. and i look forward to discussing this legislation and providing a clear path for congressional review of any potential deal president obama may make with iran. mr. president, i yield the floor and would note the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: first i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. king: mr. president i rise today to speak to the bill that's before us with regard to the iran negotiations. i want to address two fundamental and major segments
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of this process one is process, and the other is the substance of the agreement which hopefully will come before this body at the end of june or july. first is process. we're operating mr. president in a constitutional gray area. there is no question that the constitution asigns principal responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy to the president. but it also asigns responsibility to the congress, responsibility with regard to treaties, with regard to funding the foreign policy of the united states, responsibility with regard to approving foreign policy officials. so there is an opportunity here for us to break in a sense new ground. new ground to establish a rational formal, predictable process for considering this important issue.
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if we don't pass a bill such as the one that's before us today we're in a kind of disorganized chaotic situation of what will be the congressional reaction, what is the congress' role, how will it be played out how will it work and i believe that it's very important for us to establish this process before before -- before the agreement is laid before the world and the american people. it sets forth a process whereby congress can weigh in in a meaningful way and determine the merits and the quality of the arrangement that's being set before us. mr. president, i can't imagine a more solemn responsibility for this body than the consideration of the this matter. this is a decision which will affect the united states, our
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ally israel, all the countries of the middle east, for generations to come. this is a consideration that must be taken on the merits, on the facts on the data, on the actual alternatives, and i'll talk about that in a moment -- on the alternatives that we have to the deal, the arrangement that's ultimately we hope brought to us later in this summer. let's treat it on the merits and please to my colleagues, let's not treat this as simply another partisan issue. we have a tendency around here for everything to become a partisan issue. a great republican senator of the 1950's said politics should stop at the water's edge. and that means that this kind of issue that involves war and peace, that involves ridding or
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preventing a major country from obtaining nuclear weapons and thereby destabilizing the region and possibly the world is the most solemn kind of issue that we can face. and i will that therefore -- i know there are people in this body who are not supportive of the president who don't like what he did in health care or don't like what he did in immigration, but this is not a place for partisanship politics. that doesn't mean that i'm saying we should just roll over and do whatever the president says. i don't mean that at all. what i am is this -- what i mean is this matter should be considered in the context of the facts and the merits, what will it actually do and what are the alternatives not on whether or not we agree with this president or whether or not we want this president to have an international accomplishment on his resume. we have to try to separate ourselves from that kind of consideration. now, let's talk a bit about the agreement itself. the first thing to say about it
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is it doesn't exist yet. it's not finalized. we don't know what it is. so i'm a little surprised frankly, mr. president when i hear many of my colleagues saying it's a terrible deal, it won't work. when we don't even know what it is. we have a framework that's true and interestingly enough many of the same people saying this is a terrible deal are the same people who said the joint plan of action a year and a half ago was terrible, a historic mistake. it turned out it was a very important step toward an agreement and essentially frozen's nuclear program for the past 18 months -- froze iran's nuclear program for the past 18 months. let's reserve judgment about whether this is a good deal, a bad feel or something in between until we actually see what it is see what is signed. hopefully there will be something signed. we don't know that for sure.
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clearly, the interim -- the framework agreement that was announced a few weeks ago is an important step in this process. it gives us some information but it doesn't give us the all-important details. so point number one is, let's do ready aim fire, not ready, fire aim. let's understand what it is that we're debating and talking about before we fill the airwaves with rhetoric about whether this is a good or a bad deal. secondly it has to be a good deal or we should not approve it. if deal is illusory, if it's structured in such a way that iran has a clear path to the bomb and wouldn't slow them down down and, in fact, would facilitate it in some way clearly we shouldn't approve it. clearly it should not be before us.
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start with the premise -- i start with the premise that, a, we should hold our fire until we see what it actually says and b it has to say the right things. it has to affirmatively stall delay, prohibit iran's path to a nuclear weapon, and it must be totally verifiable. ronald reagan, of course, said trust but verify. in this case, it's don't trust and verify to the nth degree. verify -- verification is the heart of the agreement i would submit mr. president, and it has to involve technology, people on the ground, it has to involve an openness to inspections that is unprecedented. because we have the experience
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of north korea where we had a kind of agreement it turned out it wasn't sufficient. and, in fact, they moved toward nuclear weapons by cheating. this we cannot make that mistake again. and verification is the heart of it and it has to be as vigorous and as intrusive as is necessary in order to assure us and the world that iran is not cheating and is not moving in any way shape or form toward a nuclear weapon. in this regard, mr. president i think we are extraordinarily fortunate in this moment of history where this particular negotiation is taking place that one of the president's principal advisors the secretary of energy happens to be a nuclear physicist. i don't know if we've ever had a nuclear physicist in that position before but he is
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uniquely positioned to understand the details and the implications and the alternatives that can help us to assure that this arrangement provides the protection that we believe-- must be the case. in assessing this arrangement whatever it is, i start with the premise it has to be solid verifiable and meaningful. it cannot be just window dressing. it has to stop iran's progress toward a bomb and create at least a one-year breakout period so that the other alternatives can be exercised if they start moving in that direction. but in order to assess that deal it's imperative that we also assess alternatives. we can't just say well, this is good or bad it has to be
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compared to what. and there are really only two alternatives that i can see. one is if we don't make this arrangement, one alternative is more severe sanctions more sanctions and some people throw that out as if it was easy as shakespeare would say it comes trippingly to the tongue, more severe sanctions. what's missed in this discussion though mr. president is we're not the only player here. this is not barack obama and the supreme leader. this is not the united states and iran. this is five other major countries, members of the security council of the united nations, major countries who were involved in this, whole discussion and this negotiation, but most importantly, mr. president they're engaged in the sanctions. our sanctions are important no doubt about it but it's not our
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unilateral sanctions that are necessarily providing all of the pressure on iran. in fact, an argument can be made that it's the reluctance and the participation in the sanctions of other countries in the world not only in the p-5 plus 1 but other countries as well that are not buying iranian oil, for example. we haven't bought iranian oil for 35 or 40 years. but people who aren't buying iranian oil are countries such as china and india and japan and it's their decisions that are contributing to the pressure that's brought iran to this negotiating table. now, if we decide -- if the world decides that this is a sufficient deal, that it does sufficiently restrict iran, that the verification is as vigorous as it needs to be, if the world decides that and we say the heck with you we're walking away, and they decide that we have taken that step unilaterally and against their
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best judgment of what this deal means for keeping iran from a nuclear weapon, then the sanctions regime starts to fray and indeed, it starts to unwind. and wreck do all we want. we can stomp our foot and do more sanctions but if the rest of the world is not with us, it's not going to be effective. so the idea that somehow in this body in this congress in this city we unilaterally can make the decision to impose additional captions that will bring iran to its knees and the rest of the world doesn't agree with us, that's not a valid observation. so it is not so easy to say oh, well the alternative here is if we don't like this idea, we'll just go to more captions. now you if the other members of our negotiating team -- group -- decide they degree agree twhaws it is not a good deal, then
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sanctions will continue and indeed probably strengthen. but i don't think we should feel that we have this kind of unilateral the heck with the rest of the world we're going do this ourselves -- i think that's a very important foints understand that we are part of an international community that's negotiating this deal and other members of the community what they're doing in the way of sanctions, are important as well as our sanctions. of course, the other alternative is military. the other alternative is some kind of strike some kind of strike. and there are very estimates estimate you've heard. the most common is that we could destroy their entire atomic infrastructure. we could level the buildings destroy all the seaningtory fuges, and we will have set back their nuclear weapons program by about two to three years.
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but what if we did that? we've set a it back by two to three years. we can't erase the knowledge that they have. we've simple plea erased their infrastructure. the infrastructure can be rebuilt, and two things will have changed. number one, they will have the knowledge and they'll never ever negotiate. and, number three, we will have created enemies of an entire new generation of iranian people. we will have alienated those people to the point where it will be impossible to negotiate and we will be in a situation of some kind of military intervention as far as the eye can see. the military option has to be on the table. the president has to retain that option and he has. but i think we have to be realistic about what that option means and the commitment that
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iten tails both from us and our allies. i'm not saying that it's off the table. i'm not egg that it would never happen. what i am saying is we have to assess the negotiated arrangement in light of the realities of either the deterioration of the sanctions regime or the realities of facing military action. finally, mr. president i know as this debate continues there are going to be series of amendments and lot of those amendments will be appealing. for example as part of the qun of the deal, iran shall recognize israel's right to exist, or as part of the negotiation of the deal, iran must force where terrorism. those are desirable but they'll never happen. iran will not agree to those.
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so when you propose an amendment like that, what you're really saying is, we don't want an agreement because that's never to be something that they're going to accept. i would submit, i think iran is a mischievous -- that's too thriet alight a word -- a dangerous country in terms of exporting terrorism. we see it throughout the republican. there's only one thing -- ricci it throughout the region. there's only one thing worse and that is iran that is supporting terrorism de-stabling the region armed with nuclear weapons. we can't solve all the problems of the region in this agreement. the purpose of this agreement is to keep iran from achieving a nuclear weapon. that's when we have to keep our eye on. and if amendments, no matter how
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desirable, no matter how good they sound no matter how politically appealing if those amendments will effectively eliminate, undercut, or effectively eliminate our ability to keep our eye on the main ball, which is to keep them from having nuclear weapons those amendments will not serve us our interests israel's interests, the middle east's trrks or the world's interests. we've got to focus on what it is we're trying to achieve. and what it is we're trying to achieve is incredibly important. a nuclear-armed iran is a danger to the region and the world. and right now i think it is a very pivotal moment as to whether or not we're going to be able a chief a realistic agreement that will make that less likely. it neighbor the agreement that
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we agree to, that goes into place doesn't work that they cheat. i would submit at that point we're right where we are now. we can then talk with the rest of the world about additional sanctions. we do have the military option. we're no worse off than we are if we at least try to achieve the resolution of this grave issue through diplomats negotiation, and working with the rest of the world to try to eliminate this one problem. we're not going to eliminate all the world's problems in this one arrangement or negotiation. but if we can keep iran through this process from achieving a nuclear weapon, from aspiring to a nuclear weapon, then we will have achieved something important for ourselves for the future jn reagan administrations
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not only of the middle east but of america and the world. mr. president, before i close, i want to at least share my thoughts on the role of chairman corker and ranking member cardin in bringing this matter to us in a thoughtful, responsible deliberative way. thls the way the senate is supposed to work. committee consideration debate, discussion review of amendments and bringing up bills to the floor for discussion and debate. and i want to acknowledge the work of the senator from tennessee who has taken this so seriously and who is doing it in the best traditions of this body. so mr. president i think we are embarking upon an important and solemn project here that could have enormous ramifications for ourselves and
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our posterity. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. and i suggest 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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a senator: mr. president? mr. president, i come to the floor to speak about the. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer:. mr. barrasso: thank you. i come to speak about the iran nuclear review act. i think it is an important debate very consequential. a nuclear iran is a global threat to everyone everywhere. the world deserves our best
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effort at stopping iran's illicit nuclear program. this doesn't mean we need to yield to iran on important points just to invade promises that they will give up their dreams of a nuclear weapon. i realize that. president obama says that he understands it would be better to have no deal than to have a bad deal, and i agree with the president. this legislation is about making sure that any agreement the administration reaches with iran is truly a good deal. president obama made it clear that he didn't want this bill. he fought tooth and nail to make sure this legislation would not succeed. he even threatened to veto it. the president wanted members of his administration to do all the negotiating in private and he wanted to decide for himself what's best. mr. president, that's not how things this important to our nation are supposed to work. when the stakes are high, the american people deserve a say.
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the vice president knows that. back in 2008, joe biden was the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. i served under him. he said -- quote -- "i have often stated that no foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the american people." well that informed consent includes allowing congress to review important foreign policy decisions like any agreement over iran's nuclear program. now, i have my concerns about the parts of this deal that have been made public so far. i'm also concerned about some of the confusion that there seems to be between the white house and the eye -- iranians. there is a disagreement about the lifting of economic sanctions against iran. iran as a final deal must remove all the economic sanctions on day number one. the administration has said sanctions will be lifted in phases and only if iran complies
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with different steps along the way. so if a final deal is ever reached, it's going to be very important that we, the american people, have a very clear airing of all of the terms and an understanding of what really is in the deal. we need to make sure everyone agrees on what the deal actually says. i believe iran is simply not trustworthy, and we cannot afford to take chances with something this important. any agreement must be enforceable. any agreement must be verifiable. and any agreement must be accountable. the president has now accepted that he needs to come to congress and to get the support of the american people before he goes to the united nations. under the bill, the president must certify a few things every 90 days. he has to certify that iran is fully implementing the agreement. he has to certify that iran has not committed a material breach. he needs to certify that iran has not engaged in any covert
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action to advance its own nuclear weapons program. the president has to confirm to congress that iran is playing by the rules. if the president can't do that, the bill creates an expedited process for congress to take action. now, the way this bill was originally written by republicans and democrats together the bill also said something that many americans believe is vitally important. it said that the president must certify that iran was not directly supporting or carrying out an act of terrorism against the united states or against an american citizen anywhere in the world. to me, this was a very important part of the original bipartisan bill a bill which had bipartisan support and bipartisan sponsorship. during the negotiations in the committee, this consequential part of the original bill was
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removed. congressional sanctions, i think, have been devastating to iran's economy. it's what brought iran to the negotiating table in the first place. once the sanctions are lifted, iran will have a lot of money that it didn't have before. i don't believe that iran is going to use that money to build schools or hospitals or roads or to improve the lives of the people in their country. iran is going to have access to tens of billions, if not over $100 billion that it can use to finance groups like hamas and hezbollah. will there be any meaningful part of the final deal that guarantees that they don't use that money to support terrorists? congress and the american people need to know if iran is directly supporting acts of terrorism against our country and our people. the iranian nuclear issue is absolutely intertwined, in my opinion, with terrorism. the two cannot be separated.
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so during the process of negotiating this bill, this was the only certification requirement that was left out. all the other parts stayed in, and the critical part about making sure iran wasn't supporting terrorism against our country came out. the president didn't want it there. why wouldn't the president want to tell the american people about the terrorist threats facing our country and our citizens? if iran is supporting terrorist attacks on americans then why would we trust them to keep their word on the nuclear program? so i propose an amendment that would restore the terrorism certification that was in the original bipartisan bill. that's all. i think it's very important that the american people hear from the president on this important point. now, i understand that some senators don't like the idea of the president having to certify something like this. some people have said that this requirement would compromise the
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ability of the united states to continue its negotiations. i disagree. my amendment simply says that if iran is supporting acts of terrorism against our nation and our people, then congress will have a more streamlined process to address it. it's all very simple. that same process applies to all the other things that the president has to certify. would those other things compromise our ability to negotiate? this amendment would not get rid of the rest of our agreement on iran's nuclear program. it would just allow a clear picture of who we're dealing with. it would make it easier for congress to act. it doesn't make it automatic. congress still has to decide what to do. it just makes it easier. that's what my amendment does. it's not the only thing that i'd like to change in the bill. i hope we can have other amendments as well. it's important for congress and the american people to have their say on any final deal.
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it is just as important that the oversight we provide be meaningful and that congress state clearly that we will not tolerate iran's support of terrorism. if our negotiators reach a final agreement with iran, i will be giving it very close scrutiny in the foreign relations committee and here on the floor of the united states senate. this is a consequential piece of legislation. it is an important bill and there are ways we can make it even stronger. my amendment is a start. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president first let me thank senator barrasso for his help in bringing this bill forward. he made valuable contributions during the committee's consideration in the managers amendment, and i know how strongly he feels about the certification issue. i just really want to point out -- and i know senator barrasso is aware of this --
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with his help and senator corker's help and all the members of the committee we've added very strong language in this bill that requires the president to report to congress periodically on the status of iranian activity in the areas that he is concerned about. for example the president must make an assessment of whether any iranian financial institutions are engaged in money laundering or terrorist finance activities, including names of specific financial institutions if applicable iran's advancements in its ballistic missile program including developments related to its long range intercontinental ballistic missile program an assessment of whether iran supported financed or carried out an act of terrorism against the united states or united states persons anywhere in the world and to the extent to which iran supported acts of terrorism including acts of terrorism against the united states or united states persons anywhere in the world all actions
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including international for or being taken by the united states for iran to directly or indirectly carry out acts of terrorism against the united states or united states persons the impact on the national security of the united states and the safety of the united states citizens as a result of any iranian actions reported on on -- in this paragraph. also we require an assessment of whether violations of internationally recognized human rights in iran have changed increased or decreased as compared to the prior period. i just point that out because senator barrasso raises a very valid point about congress having information in order to carry out its responsibilities. we made this bill very clear that our interests in iran go well beyond its nuclear weapons program. we are concerned about iran's sponsorship of terrorism. we are concerned about iran's human rights violations. we are concerned about iran's ballistic missile programs. and as the framework april 2 agreement points out nothing will affect the sanctions that
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are currently in place as it relates to terrorism human rights violations or ballistic missile programs. i understand the senator's concerns and i thank you for helping us develop a bill that i think is well balanced in the area of his concern. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i too want to thank the senator from wyoming for his continually constructive role and the tone in which he talked about this last issue. i will say that in negotiations with senator cardin, wee added all -- we added all kinds of reporting mechanisms and it is true the negotiations underway have nothing to do with alleviating any kind of terrorist sanctions or ballistic missiles testing sanctions. should iran conduct a test, sanctions should be the last thing they have have to be
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concerned about. ment i think we have in place mechanisms that allow us to know these things. you know, i got a feeling if iran commits any kind of act of terrorism against americans which is what is being talked about here, significant kinetic activity would be taking place. sanctions, to me, would be the least of their worry. but i'm glad we were able to clear up all of the reporting requirements but also to stipulate that again in this particular bill we're talking about the nuclear file, not alleviating sanctions on the other components. in the event there a deal -- and this is something i've tried to make clear from day one and i hope it's a good deal, i know the senator from wyoming does too, we know the best route for us is to have a negotiated good deal. but in the event we end up with a negotiated good deal and sanctions are relieved, these four tranches of sanctions that we've put in place since 2010
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are then available to us to reapply -- to reapply in the event we find human rights violations we find ballistic testings getting out of hand or we have terrorist activity to again add additional crushing blow to the iranian economy. so anyway, i thank the senator for his steadfast concern in this regard. i thank him for the way that he works with all of us. and i hope we're going to be in a process very soon to be voting on some amendments. i know we -- we think we've agreed to some language and hopefully that will begin very soon. but thank the senator very much for coming down. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mrs. warren: warren: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mrs. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. warren: mr. president, i rise in support of the truth in settlements act. this bipartisan legislation which i introduced earlier today with my colleague from oklahoma, senator lankford the president sitting here, will help the public hold federal agencies accountable for settlements they make with corporate wrongdoers. when companies break the law federal enforcement agents are responsible for holding them accountable. in nearly every instance, agencies choose to resolve cases through settlements rather than a public trial. they defend this practice by arguing that settlements are in the best interests of the american people and that sounds good but their actions paint a very different picture.
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if agencies were truly confident that these settlements were good deals for the public, they would be willingly -- willing to disclose publicly all of the key details of those agreements. instead, time after time agencies do the opposite, hiding critical details about their settlements in the fine print or worse, hiding them entirely from public view. ms. warren: consider copies of these agreements or even basic facts about them are not easily accessible on-line. many agencies regularly deem agreements confidential without any public explanation of why the public can't see what's been done in their name. and when agencies do make public statements about these agreements they often trumpet large dollar amounts of money recovered for taxpayers while failing to disclose that this sticker price isn't what the companies will actually pay
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since the number that's listed includes credits for engaging in routine activities and doesn't reflect massive tax deductions that many of these companies get. add up all of these tricks and you'll end up with a predictable result. too often the american people learn only what the agencies want them to learn about these agreements. that is not good enough. these hidden details can make a huge difference. below the surface settlements that seem tough and fair don't always look so impressive. for example two years ago federal regulators entered into a settlement with 10 mortgage servicers accused of illegal foreclosure practices. the sticker price on the settlement was $8.5 billion. now, that is a big number. but $5.2 billion was in the form of credits for what the agencies described in their press release
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as -- quote -- "loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments." that vague public statement left out a key detail. servicers could rack up those credits by forgiving mere fractions of large unpaid loans. for example, a servicer that wrote down $15,000 of a $500,000 unpaid loan balance would get a credit for $500,000 not the $15,000 that was actually written down. that undisclosed method of calculating credits could end up cutting the overall value of the $8.5 billion settlement by billions and billions of dollars. failure to disclose possible tax deductions is another way agencies can hide the ball. two years ago a federal court found that a company allegedly defrauded medicare and other
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federal health programs for years was entitled to a $50 million tax deduction for government settlements that it had made. that deduction came on top of earlier tax deductions the company had already taken in their settlement payment. the end result? a $385 million settlement that was touted at the time as the largest civil recovery to date in a health care fraud case was, in fact, $100 million smaller once taxpayers had picked up part of the settlement. at least in these two cases the text of the settlements was public allowing the american people the chance to dig into the fine print and uncover these unflattering details. but for settlements that are kept confidential, the public is kept entirely in the dark. recently wells fargo agreed to pay the federal housing finance
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agency $335 million for allegedly fraudulent sales of mortgage-backed securities to fannie mae and freddie mac. that's about 6% of what j.p. morgan chase paid in a public settlement with hf -- fhfa in very similar ways. in what ways did the actions of wells fargo differ from j.p. morgan. we'll never know because while the j.p. morgan settlement is public the much smaller wells fargo settlement is held confidential. the american people deserve better. these enforcement agencies don't work for the companies they investigate. they work for us. agencies should not be able to cut bad deals and then hide the embarrassing details. the public deserves transparency the truth in settlements act requires that transparency. it requires agencies making public statements about their settlements to include
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explanations of how those settlements are categorized for tax purposes and what specific conduct will generate that apply toward the sticker price. the bill also requires agencies to post text and basic information about their settlements on-line. and while the legislation does not prohibit agencies from deeming settlements confidential it requires agency to disclose additional information about how frequently they are invoking confidentiality and their reasons for doing so. if we expect agencies to hold companies accountable for breaking the law then we should be able to hold agencies accountable for enforcing the law. if we can't -- and we can't do that if we're being held in the dark. the truth in settlements act shines a light on these agency decisions and gives the american people a chance to hold agencies accountable for enforcing our
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laws. i introduced this bill in the last congress with senator lankford's predecessor senator coburn. the bill advanced through the senate's homeland security and government affairs committee by voice vote but was blocked on the senate floor. i hope that in this congress we can finally make this commonsense legislation law. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president i ask consent for five minutes in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i believe that we in congress should be working together to grow the economy from the middle out not from the top down, and we should make sure that our government is working for all of our families, not just the wealthiest few. an important part of this is making sure that workers have access to a safe and healthy
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workplace and the basic protection of earning a living without fearing for their safety. mr. president, that effort takes on special meaning today. april 28, today is workers' memorial day the day we remember those who lost their lives just for doing their job. when a worker is injured or killed on the job it has devastating impacts for their families and their communities. in 2013, more than 4,500 workers were killed on the job. that is more than 12 deaths every single day. so we need to do everything we can to make sure employers are taking the necessary precautions to keep their workers safe. so today let's keep the families and communities that have suffered from these losses in our thoughts and let's make sure this workers' memorial day is about recommitting ourselves to improving safety protections at workplaces across the country. you know, every worker in every
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industry should have basic worker protections. while workers are doing their jobs employers should be doing everything they can to protect them. in 1970, congress passed the occupational, safety and health act to protect workers from unsafe working conditions. that law back in 1970 finally gave workers some much-needed protections so they could earn a living without sacrificing their health or safety. since then, of course, american industry has changed significantly. businesses have become more complex. workers are performing 21st century tasks but we are still using a 1970's approach to protect employees. that doesn't make sense and it's time for it to change. mr. president, i support the bill senator franken introduced today called protecting america's workers act. i want to note that senator franken is the new ranking member of the help subcommittee on employment and work force
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safety. in that role, he will bring a focus and a passion for moving this legislation forward. i look forward to working with him to that end because the protecting america's workers act is a long overdue update to the occupational safety and health act and is a good step towards making workplaces across america safer and healthier. it would increase protections for workers who report unsafe working conditions, and adding these whistle-blower protections will protect workers from retaliation and this bill will make sure that worker have the option to appeal to federal courts if they are being mistreated for telling the truth about dangerous practices. that bill will also improve reporting, inspection and enforcement of workplace health and safety violations and expands the rights of victims of unsafe workplaces and makes sure that employers quickly improve unsafe workplaces to avoid further endangering worker health and safety. because we owe it to all workers
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to make sure they are truly protected on the job. mr. president, our economy is finally recovering after the worst downturn since the great depression. we're not all the way back yet and there's a lot more that needs to be done to create jobs and help our middle class and working families, but while we continue that work, we must also recommit to our bedrock responsibilities to workers and their safety. workers should be able to go to work confident that their employers are doing their part to provide safe and healthy workplaces and they should know their government is looking out for them, their families and their economic security. so mr. president today i urge my colleagues to reflect on the workers who lost their lives this past year, and i'm hopeful that we can honor their legacy by working together to pass the protecting america's workers act and make these commonsense updates to meet our obligations to the best work force in the world and continue our work growing the economy from the middle out not the top down.
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thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i'd like to congratulate the ranking member on the help committee on the outstanding occurrence last week where the committee on a 22-0 vote voted out the educational reforms that are going to affect young people throughout our country. i think it was a great undertaking and i think speaks to your willingness to reach across the aisle and to solve problems that matter so much to -- to all of our constituents, so i just wanted to say that, thank you for being here today and being a part of this debate. mrs. murray: mr. president if i could just thank the senator, i was really impressed with the work of senator alexander on our help committee to work with all of our members to make sure that we replace the no child left behind act which i think most americans agree is not working today with a bipartisan approach. i'm hopeful that we can bring it to the senate floor and move it
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through quickly because this is a law that does need to be fixed. mr. corker: mr. president i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set up the -- set aside the pending amendments and all you call up my amendment number 1150. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cardin: reserving the right to object, i just want to make sure i know which amendment the senator is calling up. is this the amendment that would be -- change this into a treaty obligation? mr. johnson: that is correct. mr. cardin: i have no objection. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from wisconsin, mr. johnson
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proposes an amendment numbered 1150. strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following, section 1 treaty subject to advice and consent of the senate. notwithstanding any other provision of law any agreement reached by the president -- mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: mr. president, i would like to speak to this amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin is recognized. mr. johnson: mr. president this deal that the administration is involved in making with iran has serious implications for not only america's long-term national security but really the peace and security of the world. it is true that at this point in time nobody knows what really is in the deal. we certainly have been given a framework in terms of what the
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deal is supposed to be, but what we do know is even in that framework has has been described to the american public there are serious discrepancies in the way this administration has typified that framework of a deal and what the ayatollah in iran, how they've described that deal. for example, according to our president, the sanctions will only be lifted once iran has complied with major components of the agreement. according to the ayatollah those sanctions will bely. ed immediately. that's a big discrepancy. according to this administration, we will have the right to inspect to ensure verification and accountability of any agreement. but the ayatollah disagrees with that. the ayatollah certainly says that there will be no inspections on military sites. now, if we want to enter this
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agreement to prevent iran from creating a nuclear weapon, surely we should have the right to inspect the military sites. another pretty serious discrepancy in terms of the administration's idea or understanding of what this framework is versus the ayatollah's, what's going to happen with the 10,000 kilograms of the enriched uranium. according to the administration it will be shipped out of the country, not available for any kind of nuclear program. according to the ayatollahs, no way. those are going to stay in iran. those are some major discrepancies in terms of what this agreement is all about. the types of discrepancies that need to be certainly fully vetted and the american people need to understand what that is. now, there's also been some real deceptions about this agreement. for example we've heard repeat edly in hearings that this administration will insist that any, any agreement will ensure that the nuclear program within iran will be for peaceful purposes.
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now, i just have to point out that there is no peaceful purpose for iran to have nuclear enrichment. if they want peaceful nuclear power they can do what a number of other countries that have peaceful nuclear power, they can purchase that uranium fuel, that nuclear fuel from outside countries. the only reason that iran would subject themselves to the sanctions, to the isolation to the economic harm, to their economy and to their people is because they want be nuclear weapons to blackmail the region and the world. and, of course, this administration talks about snapback of sanctions. that's deceptive because once these sanctions are relaxed once these sanctions are lifted it will be virtually impossible once tens of billions finance hundreds of billions of dollars of investment from the west from other countries start flowing to iran. it will be impossible to put those sanctions back in place or
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almost virtually impossible. we have had a sanctions regime starting back to the u.n. resolutions dating back to 2006. it took years for those sanctions to really take -- to take hold, to have the teeth that brought iran to the bargaining table. but, unfortunately, this administration in its negotiations relaxed those sanctions to the point and acknowledged -- basically acknowledged iran's right to enrich uranium and in that event basically lost these negotiations before they ever began. so there's an awful lot of deceptive tipifications of what this deal is and what it won't be. or what it would be. the purpose of my amendments are to bring clarity to what the iran nuclear agreement review act would be, and what it is not. now, i give the chairman and the ranking member of our senate
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foreign relations committee credit for trying to come up with some sort of deal, some sort of law that will give congress some kind of a role in this incredibly important deal. this is not congress' rightful role. this is not what the framers felt in article 2 section 2 of the constitution felt would be advice and consent. it is far from it. there are basically three forms of international agreements. there's a treaty, there's a congressional executive agreement and then there's just an executive agreement. there's really no set criteria what makes one international agreement a treaty, a congressional executive agreement or a executive he agreement. there's precedent. basically what is the final determination is how that particular agreement is ratified or proved by -- approved by congress or not approved by
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congress. i believe when you take a look at the considerations in the state department's own foreign policy manual consideration number one the extent to which this agreement involves commitments or risks affecting the nation as a whole. by say this agreement with iran certainly involves risks that affect our entire nation. consideration number three whether the agreement can be given effect without the enactment of subsequent legislation of congress. the whole point of this particular act is that we have placed sanctions -- weep put sanctions in place here by passing laws by congress. and congress does realize we have a role in any of the lifting of those sanctions. consideration number five, the preference of congress as to a particular type of agreement. well there can be some dispute and that's really the heart of what my amendments would do.
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is involve congress in determining what exactly this deal is, is it a treaty, is it congressional executive agreement, or it simply an executive agreement that really does not have long lasting effects? i would argue and that's really the purpose of the -- the point of my first amendment. i believe this is of such importance that this deal is so important to the security of this nation and to world peace is it rises to the level of a treaty. so my amendment simply strikes the act, strikes the iran nuclear review act and replaces it with a simple statement that this congress deems this deal, this agreement with iran is a treaty. the other thing my amendment does it does remove the waiver authority this congress granted
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the president as relation to those sanctions. that would then require this president upon completion of the deal with iran to come to this congress as was contemplated by our constitution in article 2 section 2 of the constitution for the advice and consent of this body so that 67 senators would have to vote affirmatively that this is a good deal, that basically the american public would be involved in the decision through their elected representatives. we're not being given that opportunity. the american public is not being given that opportunity right now. what is happening right now under this iran nuclear agreement review act is we have turned advice and consent on its head. we have lowered the threshold to what advice and consent means as relates to this iran deal. now, we're going to vote hopefully and sounds like we will vote on this amendment. i have a second one in case this does not succeed. i have a second amendment.
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if this congress or the senate doesn't want to treat this as a treaty we should at a minimum treat it as a congressional executive agreement and i'm willing to lower that threshold to a simple majority vote of both houses, 50%. i'd contemplateed not written an amendment to detail what this agreement truly is or what this review act really is. a low threshold congressional executive agreement. when i say low threshold i mean by what's going to happen here if we pass the iran nuclear agreement review act we'll get a vote of disapproval. if 60 senators agree this is a bad deal for america and they disapprove of it, we can pass that disapproval and it goes to the president for signature. he can veto that and if he vetoes that, that would take
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distinguished of this body to override that veto and two-thirds the federal government house to override that veto. that requires 67 senators. if we're unable to muster those 67 voters to override the veto, of our vote of disapproval on a bad deal between iran and america, what we in fact have done is given 34 senators the ability to approve that bad deal. and so when i offer that amendment to the parliamentarian that would basically show that in real clarity what this iran nuclear agreement review act really is a very low-threshold approval by this body, the parliamentarian i think very appropriately ruled that amendment out of order unconstitutional. you can't approve something with just 34 votes in the united
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states congress, the united states senate. i think that's my point. so hopefully -- and i appreciate the fact we'll be able to vote on my amendment deeming this deal between america and iran a treaty, so the american people have the ability to weigh in, to have a say in whether or not this is important enough to be affirmatively approved as our constitution contemplated with international agreement of this importance affirmatively approved by a vote of 67 senators and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator for his violence against women active involvement on the foreign relations committee. i appreciate his concern about this issue and i just -- know that he understands that this is an amendment that is likely not to pass and let me tell you why.
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four times since 2010 congress has put in sanctions that most people believe is what brought iran to the table. four different tranches. they began in 2010. in almost every one of these cases they've had huge bipartisan support. i know the senator knows this. but what happened was when those were done -- as a matter of fact this senator three of those four times voted to give the president a national security waiver on the congressionally mandated sanctions. and so i know the senator knows about this well. we've talked about this extensively. i know that he's had conversations with the former secretary of state condoleezza rice as i have multiple times and she agrees that this is an executive agreement. let kneel you why. the reason it is an executive agreement is right now the president has the ability to go straight to the united nations
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working with the other members and alleviate the united nations security council sanctions. he has the ability to do that with the executive sanctions that he himself put in place. and what congress has done -- and i know the senator participated, because he, too wanted to make sure that we sanctioned iran to bring them to the table as we have -- but i know that this senator has been here long enough that in three of those times he gave -- he gave the president the unilateral ability to waive these sanctions. i was very concerned about this and wrote a letter to the president about two months ago asking how he planned to do this and the president -- and obviously i got a response from the chief of staff and they made it very clear. they plan to go straight to the u.n. security council and it is my understanding that what they plan to do is use something called a nonbinding political commitment -- that's what they plan to do with iran, if they come to an agreement -- and then
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have that endorsed by the u.n. security council. so while i very much appreciate the sentiment of the senator who i love working with, and i'm glad that we have a businessman of his caliber here, i think he knows that what we're actually doing here is something that's unprecedented, and that is that we're taking back from the president authority that's already been given to him and causing him to have to bring this agreement to us. i know it's not to the level that he would like, candidly, not to the level that i'd like. i agree with that. but let me just say this: we know that in the event this amendment were to pass, it would be vetoed, and therefore, it is a substitute for the bill that's before us, and so what that would mean is, no limitation would be on the president's use of waivers to suspend sanctions that we put in place; no requirement that congress receive the deal at all never mind the classified annexes that we all know are a big part of this. and, by the way that the american people are never going
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to see without the bill that's on the floor the american people will never see it. we will see it on their behalf because we believe that on behalf of the american people somebody should go through this bill and -- this dealed in detail -- this deal in detail if there is an agreement reached. no requirement that the president certify that iran is complying, no mechanism for congress to rapidly reimpose the sanctions and no reporting on iran's support for terrorism ballistic missile development and human rights violations. now, look ... if i could wave a magic wand or if all of a sudden donkeys through around the capitol, i would love for us to have the ability to deem this a treaty. i really would. and i think the senator knows i mean that. i'd love for us to have to affirmatively approve this. but, unfortunately, a lot of us
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are article 2 folks and we think the president has the ability to negotiate things. we had no idea that this president would consider suspending these sanctions ad infinitum forever no idea. and i think even people on this side of the aisle were shocked. as a matter of fact, tim kaine in a meeting where secretary kerry was being i'm sore, one tick too cute, said you are going to have the ability to votetonvote on it. of course he meant after the sanctions regime has been eliminated. look, i have strong agreement with the sentiment of our senator from wisconsin somebody i love serving with, but let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. let's ensure that we have the ability to see the details of this deal that it lays before
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us. that the clock doesn't start until we get all the classified annexes on behalf of the american people, on their behalf we have the ability to see what is in this. and if we don't like it, yes there is a large hurdle in the senate. you know the way the senate operates. you have to have a 60-vote threshold. in the house, it is a simple majority. it is a simple majority in the house. so look ... i agree with the sentiment. this is one of the biggest geopolitical issues that will potentially happen if an agreement is reached in our lifetimes here in the senate. and i just hope that people, in spite of the fact that i agree with the sentiment will vote against the johnson amendment when it comes to the floor and make sure that we can pass the bill that's before us so that, on behalf of the american people, we have the opportunity to see it, to weigh in and, by the way one of the things that's very important that lives beyond -- lives beyond --
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is every 90 days the president having to comply that iran is -- or having to certify that iran is complying with the agreement. so again i thank the senator. i appreciate his sentiments. i yield the floor. i see that the distinguished minority leader is here on the floor. my sense is he has something to say. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: on a number of occasions i've told the senators how much i admire their legislative skills. what they have brought to the senate is a work of art. i will always be amazed at how they were able a ccomplish this 19-0 coming out of that committee. as i've said earlier today i hope that we can preserve the structure of this great piece of legislation by that the two fine senators were able to come up with. mr. president, on another subject, we're all saddened by p what we've witnessed unfold in
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the streets of baltimore. a man is dead who should not be dead. his name was freddie gray. freddie gray's name will not be forgotten. this young man's death is the latest in a series of disturbing and unnecessary deaths of young men of color at the hands of police and vigilantes. to be clear violence is never acceptable in any regard. it's nevada an acceptable response -- it's never an acceptable response, even in tragedies such as these. the rioting that we're seeing in baltimore is only further hurting the city. we should not letmillions of americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against them. it's easy to feel powerless when you see the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the opportunities to build a better
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life are nonexistent this their community. it is easy to feel devalued when schools in your community are failing. it is easy to believe the system is rigged against you when you spent years watching what president obama called a slow-rolling crisis of troubling police interactions with people of color. no american should ever feel powerless, no american. no american should ever feel like their life is not valued. but that is what our system says to many of our fellow citizens. no american should be denied the opportunity to better their lives through their own hard work. but that is really a reality that too many face. in a nation that prides itself on being a land of opportunity millions -- not thousands millions of our fell will he fellow citizens have little hope of building a better future, no matter how hard they try. we can't condone the violence we see in baltimore but we must not ignore the despair and hopelessness that gives rise to the kind of violence.
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this isn't just about inner cities. this is about the deep crushing poverty that infects rural and suburban communities across our great country. it doesn't matter if you live in searchlight, nevada, or the metropolitan las vegas area, which is now more than 2 million people. or in battle baltimore or rural maryland. when there is no hope, anger and despair move in. that's the way it is. we can't ignore that. so let's condemn the violence but not ignore the underlying problem. let's not pretend the system is fair. let's not pretend everything is okay. let's not pretend the path from poverty like the one i trailed -- like the one i traveled is still available, because it is not. for hard work to bear fruit there must be opportunity and there must be hope. i can't imagine what direction my life would have taken without the hope of the american dream. as a little boy, i had that. as a teenagers i had it.
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i had it in college. so instead of turning a blind eye, let's work together and take the probs problem seriously -- the problem seriously. there's bipartisan work being done on criminal justice. we need criminal justice reform. that's a good start but it is knoll a start. ensuring that populations are not unfairly targeted for incarceration will be a real positive step. but we also need to be investing in inner cities and rural areas and ensuring that jobs and training and educational opportunities are available where they're needed the most. looking out at the year ahead the only piece of legislation i see on the agenda that does anything to create jobs is a surface transportation bill. there's nothing else. look around. that's not enough. we need to do more. it's up to us here in this capitol to create these jobs. dellsdemocrats and republicans must work together to make sure that americans have the right to succeed, that opportunity continues to be available to all
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of our citizens. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: let me thank leader reid for his comments about the circumstances in baltimore. i spoke a little bit earlier today about baltimore. it is my home city, it is the city i love. it is the people i love. and we are really hurting from what happened, and i appreciate the leader's comments about it. we're going to get through this. we're going to restore order in baltimore, and there will be justice for freddie gray, and we're all going to work together. i appreciate the outreach we've received from the white house and from the federal state in helping baltimore restore the order in our city. mr. president, i just want to respond very briefly. i see senator isakson is here. i won't take too much more of his time. let me respond briefly in support of senator corker's concerns concerning senator johnson's amendment. i oppose that amendment.
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the determination of a treaty as an executive decision. the ratification is a legislative decision. when we go through a treaty, negotiations and ratification, we delegate authority. it would then be up to a different entity to make decisions. i know that my colleagues are very concerned about the treaty obligations and ratification of treaties. this clearly would raise some constitutional issues, this type of legislation. but let me just give you the practical problem you have here. in 2012 we entered into a treaty for disabilities. i don't believe it's controversial at all. doesn't change any of our laws. we have not acted on that yet. in 1994 the united states entered into a treaty of the law of the seas. most countries have ratified that treaty. not the united states. so if senator johnson's amendment became law, we would
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be -- the president would have no authority to implement this agreement because the waiver authorities would be gone, and it would require ratification to move forward. we can't pass a disability treaty in this body. we can't even pass a tax treaty in this body. so it would be beyond belief that this is really -- that this really would allow us to move forward with a negotiation on -- with iran. so this is what we call a poison pill. it would prevent this bill -- a quum things. -- a couple things. this bill would not pass, it would not pass or be vetoed by the president. if it became law it would kill guessing negotiations, the united states would be isolated because our negotiating partners would be wondering why we are withdrawing from the negotiations not iran. the united states would be
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isolated and the bottom line, it would make it more likely, not less likely, that iran would become a nuclear weapon state. that's why senator corker and i strongly oppose senator johnson's amendment and at the appropriate time will be asking our colleagues to vote against it. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: i would like to ask unanimous consent to address the senate and divide my remarks in two parts to be equally divided in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: and first senator cardin and the people of maryland senator mikulski, on batch of the people of georgia our prayers and sympathy go to your great state in a time of trouble. anytime there is violence in a city in america whether atlanta or baltimore whether it is washington los angeles, it is a problem for awful ution. you have our thoughts and prayers. we hope peace returns as quickly as possible. my purpose in rising, first is to talk about the legislation in
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front of us first in terms of the iranian deal being goshtded. i want to thank the ranking member senator cardin, and the previous ranking member, senator menendez and for senator corker's leadership as chairman. this is a most important deism i -- important deal. when i travel my state i have two great tests to stawfned the ver -- to understand the veracity of the deal. first is the tier and second is the nod test. i attended a celebration in a synagogue in atlanta georgia. i was asked to speech. in my speech i said one thing you can count on for sure. i thank god for the state of israel and it found a home. equally i thank god for the fact that i serve in the united states senate. i'm going to have a vote over a congressional review made with any deal with iran and no deal with the iranians will be mentioned or agreed to as long as i have anything to say about it, as long as the people of israel are not respected
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protected and honored by not only us but the people of iran as well. that is essential to me and i think this review gives us the opportunity to do that. a tear came out of the rabbi's eye. she thanked the united states for being their friend. the nod factor happened to me the previous sunday when i spoke to the association of county commissioners in savannah, georgia. when i stood up for that speech which was supposed to be about local trade instead i opened up by saying i want everybody to know whether you have an interest or not in the iranian nuclear deal negotiated by the president, there will be no deal unless we have congressional oversight, congressional review and congressional vote. the nods went all through the audience. farmers, county commissioners from all over the state an issue you would think would be removed from them but it's not. for the people of georgia, this is a primary issue for our country, for our security. and it is for a very good reason. the iranians have not proven to be a very trustworthy person in negotiations in the past. i want to thank senators cardin
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and corker for their agreement to put language in this bill that reports the sense of the senate in terms of the value of the hostages held by the iranian government in 1979 and 1980. a lot of people have forgotten what happened in 1979. in 1979 the iranian troops jumped on the american embassy in tehran. they captured american diplomats, held them for 444 days beat them, tortured them and harassed them. they finally let them go shortly before the swearing in of president ronald reagan as president of the united states. and when they did president carter negotiated the a engineeran accords which -- the algerian accords which said iranians would never be held accountable. he negotiated away from them and that is reparation from their captives. i introduced in the committee sense of the senate legislation which says the iranians should pay and the sanctions should be used to pay those hostages and
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families and survivors. 44 of them are left. some have committed suicide. some died of natural causes but all of them were tortured, beaten and badly abused in 1979 and 1980. we owe it to those americans to look out for them. we owe it to them to make sure they're exens sated and make sure it comes from the money that would have come from the iranians under the sanctions legislation. senator corker and senator cardin have done an outstanding job of crafting legislation that represents the best interest of the country of the united states and the best interest of our people. i want everyone to understand one thing. you can call it an executive order. you can call it a treaty, a wink and a nod. it is the single-most important any member of this senate is going to take in a long, long time because this one is for all the marbles. a nuclear armed iran is a danger not just to the middle east but to the peace and security of the entire world. giving the senate and the house oversight on this agreement is absolutely essential to the american people so they know that they have oversight.
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we are the eyes, we are the ears and we are the conscience of the people we represent. and i can tell you from the winking and the nodding theory i have and from the tears i saw shed by the people of israel sunday night this treaty is important to the united states of america. it is important to the world and it is important to see to it that the congressional review action takes place and this bill passes and i commend senator corker for his leadership and i commend senator cardin and senator menendez, the previous ranking member for the work he did to see to it that happens. in this point i would like to go to one other subject very quickly. the senate finance committee met until about 11:00 last thursday night and passed out t.p.a., trap trap. get this -- trap -- trade promotion authority get this, it is coming to the floor of the senate soon and going to promote trade and give the president the authority to negotiate trade deals and the senate the authority to approve them up or down. it's going to send a signal to the rest of the world we're open for business in america. when i first came to the congress of the united states in
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1999, one of my first votes was fast track for president clinton, a democratic president. as i served in the house i later voted for president clinton to have t.p.a. -- for president bush to t.p.a. trade should not be nor is it intended to be a partisan issue. it is about the well-being and jobs of the american people. a lot of us talking about managing expenses through cutting expenses. a lot of us talk about raising revenue through raising expenses. this bill does exactly that. fast track promotes american agriculture, american manufacturing and american innovation. is in 2007, i went to the nation of indian with mike enzi and with lamar alexandria, two members of the help committee. we went to follow up on a book called the earth is flat about the jobs being taken away from america by the indian people
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because of the ability to use the computer, change in time zones and put help desk overseas in india. a lot of people protested and sent us over there to find out what was happening. we went to visit mr. mirtri the president of emphasis. it is a tremendous success story. it's a high-tech engineering and technology company. in the board room we asked the question the american people asked us as members of the senate and the answer was when i started my company 20 years ago i drove an indian car drank an indian soft drink. today i drink coke-cola and bank with bank of america. that is what doing business with the world does. that is what trade promotion authority is going to do for america. it is going to expand trade and
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opportunity, empower us through jobs and work. we should make sure trade never becomes a partisan issue and when we vote we have the authority to vote for the president and best interest of our people. we should remember this, never choose isolation over innovation. trade promotion is innovation. we should never fear competition. we should always see that competition is rewarded by hard work. and we should never could could -- never cower in fear from those who lead us. trade promotion authority is good for america good for the world and good for the economy of the united states and good for the middle class in america and manufacturing and jobs around this country. there are those who fear it might prompt immigration increases. this bill gives the congress the authority to override any change in the law that's current in the united states made by the president in any trade deals. immigration will not be expanded not be broadened. the president will be given no more authority. the president will be going to the trade table making deals
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through higher engagement, more jobs and better work. mr. president, i yield backed balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: thank you for recognizing me. i want to, while senator isakson was on the floor commend him for always playing such a constructive role. i know he played a big role in the t.p.a. issue, which is as he mentioned, very important. i know from a geopolitical balance standpoint very, very important for us to be able to consummate the t.p.p. arrangement. i also want to thank him for the constructive role he's always played in foreign relations. for a couple of years he was off the committee. we missed him greatly. we're glad to have him back and very much appreciate his support of this iran nuclear review act. but his constant and vigilant effort to ensure that people who were have not been compensated properly end up being compensated properly. and i look forward to a markup
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on his bill in committee. i thank him for consistently and steadfastly pursuing this issue. and again for the many constructive ways in which he works to cause this body to function in a productive manner. and with that, i yield the floor and notice the absence of a quoirm. 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 missouri.
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mr. blunt: i ask we suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: and i'd ask to set aside the pinning -- pending amendment and call up amendment 1155. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cardin: just reserving the right to be on. is this the amendment that deals with the report date change? a senator: it is. perfect cardin: i have no objection. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from missouri mr. blunt proposes an amendment numbered 1155 to amendment numbered 1140. a senator: i ask consent the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. mr. blunt: this amendment suspends what would be the department of defense annual report on the military power of iran. it adds another 10 years to that annual reporting date. currently the law would end that annual report in december of 2016. this would extend the reporting time until december of 2026.
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i think this message sends this amendment sends a message to the american people that congress understands the lengths that iran's military is willing to go to promote instability around the world. pentagon officials today reported that the u.s. is monitoring the seizure by iran of a marshall islands flagged cargo ship which was reporting moving through the straits of hormuz. according to the pentagon, the iranian patrol vessels fired warning shots across the bow of the boat. just yesterday it was reported in ""politico"" that the -- reported in "politico" that the commander of iran's ground forces was of the opinion that america was behind the attacks on 9/11. we currently see iran extending its influence and its -- in a negative way into other countries yemen iraq and other
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countries. i think we need to continue to monitor the military strength and the military capacity of iran. this annual department of defense assessment on iran's increasingly destabilizing military is possibly more important now even than it was when these reports started. so every year the department of defense provides congress with a review of iran's military. there's no reason this report should expire at the end of 2016 it seems that this commonsense amendment would extend a report that we have been having through december of 2026. and, madam president i encourage a "yes" vote on this amendment. and 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 delaware. mr. carper: i would ask that we vitiate the quorum call, unanimous consent. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: i see the gentleman from pennsylvania, my old friend senator toomey, standing up like he wants to offer something. there are a couple of us that want to have a colloquy in a few minutes, senator durbin, senator blumenthal and myself on an issue involving the veterans, veterans of financial assistance for school. i don't want to get in the way of senator toomey if he has something to offer just as long as it doesn't take forever. let me ask a question through the presiding officer -- what do you think he has to offer and for how long, madam president? the presiding officer: i would direct the question to the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: i would assure you for the purpose of passing on to any interested senators that i in fact would not take forever. and in fact i think i can do
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this in -- but it probably will take 15 or 20 minutes. mr. carper: i just would ask if you could get closer to 15, that would be great. why don't we let you proceed. thank you. mr. toomey: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: madam president i rise to address two issues this afternoon. the first is amendment 1190, and i'll be quick as i can on this because i want to spend more time dealing with the johnson amendment, which i also will address. so amendment 1190 really arises because of the very unusual procedural circumstances we find ourselves in. madam president, as you probably know very well, for technical procedural reasons the senate has chosen to conduct the debate about the corker-cardin bill, the iran nuclear agreement review act on a house legislative vehicle that was sent over to us, but in order to do this, all of the language from the house bill gets stripped out and it goes away.
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that original house bill h.r. 1191, it was protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act. i want to talk a little bit about it, but here's my amendment. it's pretty simple. i just want to restore the language from the house-passed vehicle. it's pretty simple. i don't think it's controversial. let me just sum up what this is about. this is a bill that was offered in the house by congressman lou barletta from pennsylvania. it's a bill that would protect firefighters from some unintended consequences of obamacare. more specifically, it exempts volunteer firefighters from counting towards the trigger for the employer mandate. i don't think it was ever intended that volunteer firefighters would be counted this way but nevertheless the danger arises because of an i.r.s. ruling. so the i.r.s. issued a guidance back in 2013 that suggested that volunteer firefighters would
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have to count any benefits they got as income. it gave rise to the question of whether they would be counted towards the obamacare limit. they have gone back and forth. they have issued a ruling that says that volunteer firefighters would not be counted to triggering the number of employees that invokes obamacare, but that is just an administrative ruling at this point. it could change at any point in time. and if it were to change and if every volunteer fire department in america that had 50 or more volunteer firefighters had to be deemed to be an employer requiring a full obamacare coverage i dare say it would put out of business virtually every fire -- volunteer fire department in america because none of these volunteer fryer departments have the kind of money it would take to go out and buy health care for these volunteer firefighters, nor was obamacare ever intended to cover these folks. this would be a huge problem in
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particular in pennsylvania where we have 2,400 volunteer frierpts more than any -- fire departments, more than any other state in the union and we have over 50,000 volunteers in pennsylvania alone. but there's over 750,000 nationally. so as i said, the i.r.s. did give us a ruling that for now they won't deem volunteer firefighters to be employees for the purpose of triggering obamacare mandates, but i would like and i'm not the only one who would like to have this codified in law so that this danger goes away and that volunteer fire departments can continue to thrive. this passed the house unanimously. there is bipartisan support here in the senate. i want to thank the chairman of the committee and my ranking member. my understanding is there is no opposition from either of them to this amendment. it's very straightforward. and i would be delighted with a voice vote when the time is appropriate for that.
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i would be very grateful. and i've said my piece about the volunteer firefighters, but i think this is a great opportunity to get this taken care of. what i'd like to address though is the incredibly important debate that we're having now about the iran nuclear agreement review act. let me state very clearly i think the underlying bill that senators corker and cardin have produced is a very important good-faith effort to give congress some say in something that congress absolutely should have a say in, but i do think there's an underlying problem with the bill. the underlying problem with the bill is that the reality is that at the end of the day an agreement announced by the president with iran, should that come to pass, it could be opposed by a majority of senators. it could be opposed by a big majority of senators, and it would still go into effect,
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despite the provisions in this -- in this underlying bill. and specifically why i say that is in the first place, in order to prevent congressionally authorized sanctions from being waived we need to pass a resolution of disapproval and that takes 60 votes in the senate so any 41 senators could prevent that from taking place and then the deal goes forward the sanctions get lifted. if we have a supermajority more than 60, and we could pass this legislation, send it to the president, he could veto it and then it would take 67 votes to override the president's veto, so the math is pretty clear. any 34 senators in support of the agreement could permit the agreement to go ahead while 66 senators could oppose the agreement, and yet it would take place. it seems to me, madam president that this turns an important part of the constitution on its
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head and that is article 2 section 2, that says the president shall have power by and with the advice and consent of the senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators concur. so in my view, this certainly ought to be deemed to be a treaty because it rises to that level of importance. the treaty is generally defined as an agreement through negotiations signed by nations. i think that's what we're talking about here. certainly something of this enormous importance as arguably the most dangerous regime in the world, on a path that might very well enable them to obtain the most dangerous weapon in the world, it's hard to imagine things that are much more important than that, so i think it certainly ought to rise to the level of a treaty. we routinely treat matters of much lesser import as treaties, and this is not just a -- sort of an abstract theoretical
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question of presidential authority. there are very specific, very real consequences. it is my view that we're on a path toward a very bad a very dangerous deal, and the only way i can think of that we change the path that we're on is if there is a plausible credible possibility for congress to stop this which would then cause these negotiations to change their course, which is what i think has to happen to avoid a very dangerous outcome. let me be clear my goal is not to kill any deal. my goal is to get a good deal, one that provides for the security and safety that our country needs and i don't think that's the direction we're on right now. let me explain a few of the reasons why. i guess the simple summary was very aptly put by the prime minister of israel when he spoke to a joint session of congress and he said the problem with this deal is that it would not block iran's path to a bomb, it paves the path.
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and that's exactly what i'm concerned about ultimately. let me explain why i'm concerned about that. three big categories of reasons -- first the administration has already made too many concessions. second the iranian regime is a regime we cannot trust. and third while the administration says don't worry you don't need to trust them because we can verify and enforce this agreement and boy if they step out of line, we will snap those sanctions back in a heartbeat madam president that's a fantasy and i don't see that working. let me explain these three categories. with respect to the concessions first of all we ought to be concerned, i think about the concessions that were made before the negotiations even began. the concessions that we wouldn't even address the ongoing ballistic missile program that the iranians continued to pursue and make evermore sophisticated. we wouldn't address their active ongoing support for terrorist organizations throughout the middle east and
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around the world. that wouldn't be on the table. we wouldn't address their open declarations that they want to wipe stahl off the -- wipe israel off the planet, off the planet earth. these things were permitted to just be set aside. that's a pretty major round of con succession before we ever got to the table. my next concern is the way the administration is moving the goalposts during the discussion. the initial goal stated by the president in the fall of 2013 was that iran would not have a nuclear bomb. that was the right goal. the only problem is, that's not the goal anymore. now the goal is according to the administration that we'd have about 12 months' notice if the iranians decide to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. that's a huge, huge concession and i think a very, very dangerous one. finally maybe the most disturbing concession is it
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seems to me that the framework of this deal as it's been described by the administration allows iran to retain a nuclear infrastructure. actually an industrial-scale nuclear infrastructure. plutonium creator at arak. thousands of centrifuges for a country that doesn't need a single centrifuge if their purpose is peaceful energy, they can buy enriched uranium they don't need the centrifuges but it's already been conceded they'll have thousands. none of this, by the way is going to be destroyed. anything that's deactivated gets locked away but it's still there. and frankly i'm worried about the next round of concession. if you listened as i have to the way the administration has described the framework of this agreement, and then you listen to how the iranians have described it, there are some huge divergencies here.
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for instance, with respect to the sanctions the administration has said the sanctions would be lifted gradually only as and when the iranians comply with the terms of the agreement. the iranians have said absolutely not the sanctions get lifted immediately upon execution of the agreement. and with inspections the essential part of the enforcement mechanic mechanism the administration has said we'll have the ability to inspect any time, anywhere. the iranians have said no, you won't. you'll only do inspections by permission and military sites are off limits altogether. madam president, this is a very disturbing range of concessions that have already been made and the deal's not finished yet. the second point i make is we can't trust this regime. i think that's abundantly obvious. i think it's clear they have not reached the decision as a nation that they want to abandon their quest for a nuclear weapon. i don't think they have. and you look at their behavior.
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they've been killing americans since 1979 including nearly 1,500 u.s. soldiers in iraq from the sophisticated i.e.d.'s that they made, iran is the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, promoting radical islam in the middle east, plotting to assassinate the saudi ambassador by a bomb planted in the d.c. restaurant. they've repeatedly declared their intention to wipe israel off the map and have a history of cheating on agreements and violating u.n. resolutions. why do we think this time would be different? well as i said, the administration says don't worry, you don't have to trust, we'll have verification and enforcement and snapback sanctions. well madam president, i don't think that's realistic at all but it's not just my view, henry kissinger and george schultz wrote i think a very important essay about this and they mention among other things the difficulty we're dough to have in discovering that the
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cheating is going on and i quote from the kissinger-schultz article. they say in a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. only that it looks like we're in a way subbing out the enforcement to the u.n., populated i might remind my colleagues by countries that are often not terribly friendly to the united states. and there we will have the challenge of proving violations that we do discover, proving they are in fact violations. again kissinger and schultz point out when cheating for a breakout occurs, it is unlikely to be a clear-cut event. rather, it is likely to be the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions. so we discover these ambiguous evasions and we've got to go to the u.n., convince them -- i suspect the iranians will deny them. and how long will this process go on while this is
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adjudicated, and while the iranians remain in violation? and what are our chances we'll eventually convince the people we need to convince at the u.n. that we're right and they're wrong? but even if we're successful on all this, the administration says well, that's when we'll just snap the sanctions right back in place. how can that even be a serious notion when the sanctions regime is crumbling right now? it's already crumbling. and the russians are selling air defense systems now to the iranians. and why is the president -- why is the president so reluctant to have congress have a role in this in any case? if the president can make the case that america will be more secure as a result of this agreement, he should be able to convince the american public and the united states senate and get the votes and then he would have a much more enduring agreement a treaty is binding
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indefinitely. and it would have the approval of congress. it wouldn't have the temporary nature of the executive agreement. so madam president, i think it's a responsibility that we have to uphold the constitution a responsibility we have to maximize the safety of the american people to the extent we can and so i hope my colleagues will support the johnson amendment which will simply deem this agreement would be a treaty and require two-thirds vote of ratification a treaty requires. mr. corker: i would want to --. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: my sense is over the course of this debate there will be a pathway forward. secondly i want to thank him for cosponsoring the legislation that is before us. as to the deeming of a treaty, i would like to point out the
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senator has been here almost six years, which leads me to believe that at least on three occasions the senator has already voted to give the president unilateral ability to implement this by national security waiver. and that's why this now is an executive agreement and i think everyone here knows that what the president plans to do is to take what senator toomey and others have granted to him a national security waiver, and go directly to the u.n. security council and therefore, you know, -- as a matter of fact, if we had not granted that security waiver, it would take it would take a majority of people here to lift that. however, in butting these sanctions in place all of us who put these four tranches of sanctions in place since 2000, granted the president a national security waiver and a letter response to me, the chief of staff made it clear that they
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plan to go straight to the u.n. security council with this waiver in hand, they plan to waive these sanctions ad infinitum down the road, secretary kerry has testified to us maybe five years down the road after the sanctions regime has totally dissipated we'd have the ability to vote. so look, my sense is -- i agree with the sentiment that's being laid out but i just want to say again if the johnson amendment were to pass, ultimately this bill would not pass and let me just say there would be no limitation on the president's use of waivers to suspend sanctions that we put in place and brought them to the table, no requirement that congress receive the deal at all, never mind the classified annexes that go with it, no review period for congress to see the deal and vote before it's implemented no requirement certify iran is complying, no reporting on iran's support for terrorism ballistic missile development
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and human rights violations. so my sentiment is with the senator, i hope that his amendment will very soon become law and i appreciate his diligence there. i think he understands that this body, this body in putting the sanctions in place put the president and the ability to unilaterally do this and what this bill does is take back some of that authority. i hope we'll able to do that collectively. i appreciate the ranking member's efforts in this regard and with that i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the instant majority leader. mr. durbin: madam president thank you for the recognition. the presiding officer: the minority leader, i correct the record. mr. durbin: thank you for your good wishes. thank you for your recognition and i'm coming to the floor to join senators carper and blumenthal on a subject we'd like to speak to by way of colloquy without objection -- of my colleagues.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. senator carper, senator blumenthal and i have come to the floor to discussion discuss a terrible loophole in the federal law. it's a federal 90-10 rule that limits the revenue from the department of education title 4 for for-profit colleges that can receive 90% 90% of their revenue from the federal treasury. that -- the intent was to make sure for-profit colleges were not reliant on taxpayers for their operations, could survive without taxpayer colors colors. i think 90% is way too high to accomplish that goal. what's more the law doesn't count on title 4 programs as federal revenue when they calculate the 90%. the department of veterans' affairs post-9/11 g.i. bill and department of defense division tuition assistance and mica dollars are some of the biggest examples of those not counted in the calculation. it means some for-profit
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colleges get vastly more than 90% from the federal government. these are supposed to be private institutions in the private sector. no way. they -- if they were standing alone as an industry, the for-profit colleges and universities would be the ninth largest federal agency in washington. they get that much money. who are some of them? names you might have heard. everest college in newport news leverage. everest college in portland, oral oregon. if the names sound familiar it's because they are part of the now bankrupt and out of business corinthian college system that defrauded students and lied to the federal government and raked in $1.4 billion, $1.4 billion annually in title $4, another $186 million from g.i. bill benefits. ashford university in clinton iowa another notorious story of a for-profit school, received more than 90% of the
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revenue from federal dollars when the department of defense and v.a. funds are included. i know that one pretty well. a plast bloom big news article common straighted the depths they'll sink to ensnare service members. james long was reported to have suffered a brain injury when artillery shells hit his humvee in iraq. the recruiter came to a barracks for wounded marines at camp lagunes * june while long was recovering and pitched him to go to ash of the college this for-profit school. their parent company bridgeport education is under investigation by at least three states attorneys general. i could go through the list here but i want to yield to my friend from the state of delaware, senator carper, to say a few words as well. westwood college based out of colorado. in my state of illinois. under investigation by the illinois attorney general. i've been contacted by their
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students including veterans who have been lured into their worthless degree programs and use up their g.i. bills as a result of it. and many other schools. coyne college in my home state schools owned by apollo, the largest for-profit college university in the united states currently under investigation by two state attorneys general. career education corporation, i believe they own i.t.t. which is another notorious for-profit school school under investigation by 17 different state attorneys general. and schools owned by kaplan which used to own "the washington post" and now is on its own under investigation by three different state attorneys general. why we allow this to happen, these schools are targeting our veterans and our service members and members of their family. i'm listening to pandora the other day and on comes the american military university. advertising. they know it's
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washington, d.c., there are a lot of people in uniform in washington, d.c. the american military university is not part of any official part of our military. they just picked up the name. it's a for-profit school. raising questions again about whether they're providing our veterans and service members with any value for their g.i. benefits. so i'm joined with a number of my colleagues, senator carper, 18 other colleagues in writing the secretary of the department of education to publish its annual 90-10 data with all the federal education benefits including the department of defense and v.a. benefits. according to the documents we've discovered earlier the center on investigative reporting has produced data internally so it's there and it's time it's shared with the public. i want to say thanks to senator carper and i yield to him. many people have heard me come to the floor on for-profit colleges and universities and think there goes durbin again. this time i'm joined by a couple of my outstanding colleagues, one is a senator from delaware
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who helped me bring together 20 senators to sign this letter and i'd like to yield to senator carper. mr. carper: i thank the senator from illinois for yielding. madam president, i don't know about your family, my dad his brother, served in world war ii they both combat veterans one went in the navy one in the army. my mom's side, family, two of her brothers served in the navy. one w's killed, killed in a kamikaze attack on his aircraft carrier in the pacific. he never had chance to participate in the g.i. bill. but my dad did and later on this the korean war my uncle ed married my mom's sister, had a chance to participate in the g.i. bill. it was a great benefit. it was one of the things we look back in time and say that's one of the won wonderful things that happened in our country. it lifted us up. but as a turned out as the benefits were offered and taken
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advantage of by veterans, scam artists emerged. on the heels of world war ii. and the same thing happened after the korean war. it seems like every time when it renewed an extended g.i. bill for a new generation of vents the same thing has happened. i served on active duty from 1968 to 1973 in the vietnam war naval flight officer and served five years on active, another 18 years beyond that as a p-3 aircraft commission commander. ired ai had a chance to get a master's degree near the end of the vietnam war on the g.i. bill. and i think we got $250 a month. the g.i. bill today for men and women coming back from afghanistan who served three years of active duty including some time in iraq or afghanistan, they get tuition free. tuition free to pretty much any college or university, public, in their state.
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they get tuition assistance, not only tuition books fees, tutoring. they get that fee. they also get a $1,500 housing allowance. that is lucrative generous benefit, and if the g.i. doesn't use it today their spouses can use it. and if their spouses don't use it, it is transferable to -- it is a great benefit. not surprise beingly just like scam artists emergeed before, they've emrnled this time as well. appeared some ofages someand some are the private colleges. some are not. they are in this for money. and they see a rich benefit and one of their goals is to try to make sure that they cash in and in some cases that the cost of -- at the cost of the veteran and the taxpayers. putwe put in place in 1929, congress adopt ruled that said,
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do we want to combat this by injecting some market forces? since the beginning of 1992, no university college whatever, could get more thank 85% of their revenues from the federal government. from the federal government. no more than 85%. and we changed that the changed that in 1998 and said that no college university for-profit, whatever could get more thank 90% of their -- more than 90% of their revenues. and they had to raise 10% from other sources like people paid their own money or private loans to go to college. somewhere along the line, though we changed the rules to say that that 90% did not include the g.i. bill, that 90% did not include something for people on active duty, you get tuition assistance.
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so the 90% today is not a full picture. that's student loans and it is pell grants. it is not g.i. bill. it is not tuition assistance for people on active diewvment and if you put it all toct, we find out that today it is over 100 colleges and universities get almost all private getting way more than 90% of their revenues, way more, from the federal government. i don't think that's a good thing. i don't think that's a good thing. it is not a healthy thing. what was meant to be an approach that provided some market correction doesn't work anymore. for years senator durbin and i have introduced legislation. it is designed to restore the integrity of the original 85-15 rule or the 90-10 rule that said look, if you are a college, university, for-profit, private, public, the 90% should be all in. it is college longes, student
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loans. iters pell grants, it's g.i. bill. it's tuition assistance, the whole deal. and if you are a college and university you can go up to 90% of your revenues but not 150%. too many of them are doing today. he's talked about corinthian. it's gone down. corinthian has cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. for a lot of men and women who risked their life, served our country and sometimes in very dangerous situations, they've never go toen out of the military and they've really been put at risk again. and they have squandered -- put had in a position where they squandered their g.i. benefits. you ask sometimes why there's bad morale in some cases low morale, why some veterans take their own lives? sometimes it is because they got sucked into that's scams. we need to fix this. it is the right thing to do for our veterans, for our taxpayers. and i know senator blumenthal is here. senator blumenthal also a
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distinguished veteran and father of a distinguished veteran or two, and i'm happy to yield to him. mr. blumenthal: thank you senator carper. and thank you senator durbin, two of my most distinguished colleagues two of my colleagues who have fought seasfulsly ceaselessly for veterans. nothing is more important than this issue of measuring shiewk -- making sure 245 we keep faith with our veterans and protect them because the phenomena we have described here today often create incentives for schools to lure veterans into education deals, and they are often education deals that fail them, don't make sense for them, don't give them the education and the
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qualifications they think they're going to receive and so very often they are failed by these programs, and they fail to complete courses. they leave with mountains of debt but no degrees. the and so these kinds of abuses that bring us here today involve some for-profit schools, in in effect scamming our nations veterans. we all know that for-profit schools are prohibiting from receiving more than 90% of their total revenue from federal student aid but as my colleagues have so well stated, the department of defense and veterans administration education benefits are not counted toward that 90%. and that loophole causes the for-profit to target those service members and veterans, often with predatory marketing practices that lure them into those deals that make no sense
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for them. so we need to change that law. we need to change the law so that d.o.d. and v.a. benefits count under the 90% cap on federal revenue. that's really our ultimate goal. and i want to thank the president for including such a provision in his budget request for fiscal year 2016, and i hope and look forward to working with you and with him in moving that legislative effort forward. in the meantime, we need a more accurate picture of this problem because when it comes to for-profit schools and veterans, there are some things we definitely need to know, and they are -- and they, our veterans need to know. we know there there are a large number of for-profit schools that would be in violation of the 90-10 rule if we made this change today. in fact, a 2013 department of
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education analysis identified 133 for-profit schools that would be in violation. we also know that the current loophole -- that 90-10 rule creates those incentives for certain institutions to conduct aggressive relentless, often predatory recruitment of veterans. what we lack, what we need is a comprehensive, complete information on the exact scope of the problem. that part should be easy. the department of education already collects the information that we're asking them to publish. the simple task of publishing how much revenue schools receive from all federal education programs including the d.o.d. and the v.a., would bring accuracy and transparency to the debate over the 90-10 rule.
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disclosure and transparency are part of the battle. and most importantly this information and these statistics would be -- would provide veterans themselves and service members better data and information to make informed choices about higher education. let me briefly mention another tool that i think is very important because it encourages veterans to make informed higher education choices and that's the v.a.'s g.i. bill comparison tool. i am glad -- and i want to thank secretary mcdonald -- that the scrayvairv.a. has launched this in response to the president's executive order which established principles of excellence for schools that serve veterans. and i also think that secretary mcdonald can take steps to improve this tool by adding a risk index that would highlight
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unscrupulous bad actors in the industry u as our nation's veterans decide where to spend their taxpayer-funded education benefits their money -- taxpayer-funded -- they deserve to know if the school they're considering is under investigation for deceptive practices, what it's record is, what its graduates do, what the value is of education and courses there. they deserve to know if the school that they are considering has been placed on heightened cash monitoring status, heightened cash monitoring status is a specific status from the department of education. and they deserve to have this information. let me just finish by saying that for-profit schools have been problematic in many ways.
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the help committee on which i served during my first two years, conducted an investigation. i was very proud to be a part of the effort to reform for-profit schools. our former colleague tom harkin worked very hard on this issue. we should not tar every for-profit school with too broad a brush. we should note improvements that have been made. this problem is discrete, identifiable critically important, and i want to thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to talk about it and work with them on it. thank you. mr. durbin: i want to thank senator blumenthal and senator carter. i also want to thank my colleague senator lee hose a been waiting parablely wait patiently for the last 15 minutes or so. if i said that we were dealing with an industry of for-profit colleges and universities which have 10% of the high school
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graduates in america ad tending and 46% of all the student loan defaults it night raise some question. if i told that at least 90% of the revenue that these for-profit colleges and universities receive these is from the federal trash federal subsidies, sometimes more than 90%, the point we're making here and if i told you that many of these schools are literally exploiting our veterans and service members i think that is a clarion call for members of congress to stand up and do something to protect first the men and women in uniform and the veterans, second to make sure that taxpayers' dollars are well-spent. this corinthian college collapse is an indication of how we