tv U.S. Senate CSPAN July 14, 2015 2:00pm-8:01pm EDT
later, there are stages in other countries and stages that continue, and after determination of the stages on a day that is that they don't as the day of agreement. in fact it was the date of a joint statement. several days later when the u.n. or the unsc endorses the statement, that would be the day of finalizing the agreement after almost approximately two months. we will reach the agreement and the day of agreement is a day when the eu and the u.s. will openly announce and declare the lifting of all sanctions. they will announce the
decisions. and then from that day iran's measures will begin and these measures will be accompanied with executive actions for the lifting of the sanctions. and that's going to take up sometime. that may also take two months. that will be the date of the implementation of the deal. so several months from now we will have a date for the full implementation of the deal. we have the stages before us and, of course, this is the most important day in the past 12 years. today is a day that historically speaking major road countries
and powers have recognized iran's nuclear program. today is a day that after 12 years, the world towers -- the world powers have announced that regarding nuclear technology and modern technology, it will help iran. candidate is the day that world power has announced all sanctions will be lifted and all tyrannical resolutions will be annulled, and a normal situation will prevail in relations with iran. today is an end. today marks an end to acts of
tyranny against the great nation of iran, and at the same time is a starting point for a new trend in order to command new cooperation at the global level. speaking of -- >> we leave the last few minutes of this statement take you live to the capital. presage candidate bernie sanders. >> crazy and dangerous world, to create an agreement with iran which prevents iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. this is a huge breakthrough obviously the devil is in the details. all of us are going to study those details but this is clearly a major step forward. let me also welcome secretary clinton back to the united states said, where she served for eight years.
i very much look forward in this campaign to a serious debate about the very serious crises facing our country. i don't like negative campaigns. i've never run a negative ad in my life. i believe the american people are entitled to serious discussion about serious issues. secretary clinton and i disagree on a number of issues. there are issues where we come from the same place. some of the areas that we disagree on trade. i happen to believe that trade agreements that have been past year over the last three decades, nafta, cafta, of the chinese trade agreement keep bp, have been disastrous for american workers and it led to the loss of millions of jobs. secretary clinton, i believe, has a different view on that
issue. i strongly oppose the law in iraq. and if you go to the marks i made one of the number of the house, sadly, tragically most of what i predicted in fact took place. i voted against the so-called u.s.a. patriot act because i fear very much that while we have to be vigorous ever taken this country against terrorism we could do it without undermining the constitutional rights or the privacy rights of the american people. i happen to agree very strongly with pope francis, that climate change is the great planetary crisis that we face. i've held opposition against the keystone pipeline. i don't believe we should be excavating or transporting some of the dirtiest fuel on this planet. i think secretary clinton has not been clear on her views on that issue. when i was a member of the house, i helped lead the effort in opposition to the deregulation of wall street. i happen to believe that wall
street has far too much power, much too much concentration of ownership and wealth. i believe that we should break up the major financial institutions, and certainly go forward with restoring last eagle financial regulations. to the best of my knowledge those are ideas that secretary clinton does not agree with. i have been very specific in saying that when we have millions of people in this country who are working for disastrously low wages $7.25 an hour minimum wage is a starvation wage. we need to raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. we need to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding our infrastructure creating up to 13 million jobs. it's a very specific ideas that have. i think the sector has not been quite so clear on those issues. lastly i believe if we are going to rebuild the american middle class we need to make public colleges and universities tuition free and pay for it through a transaction, tax on
wall street speculators. dissectors position i think is unclear on that. >> what do you think of the iran deal? >> i think it is the devil is in the details. clearly and unstable dangerous world i think this is a significant step forward and i congratulate the president and secretary kerry for their incredibly hard work on this. >> -- the current law -- [inaudible] >> it's not only the iran deal. i think one would be naïve not to understand that of all the issues i talked about out of all the issues that face the american people from climate change to health care to the iranian agreement, this disastrous and corrupt campaign finance system that we have impact all of them. i would specifically talk about climate change. i do not believe that my republican friends do not
understand the science. i think they are afraid to come out and take on the koch brothers, take on exxon mobil and say you know what, maybe climate change is real maybe it's a real threat to this planet, maybe went to do something. and if they say that the next day they would be challenged in primaries with huge amounts of money coming from the big energy companies and from the koch brothers. [inaudible] did you speak with each other? >> i have known the secretary for 25 years. i never as first lady. obviously, i knew her when we're together innocent. i like her, respect her and hope we can run a campaign where we can express the differences of opinion that we have and do it in a way that is straightforward. is not necessary i think for people to dislike each each other or to attack each other just because they are running for office. let me take one more.
[inaudible] >> thanks everybody. >> vermont senator bernie sanders, one of five democratic presidential candidates seeking the democratic nomination in 2016 speaking giunta stakeout area, called the ohio clock area on capitol hill during their weekly party lunches. we will take you back to the senate when they travel back in. first let's take look at what a couple of the candidates have been saying about the iran deal. a couple tweeting. one is from politico and he's his bernie bernie sanders tells me know, he did not get a call from president obama before the iran deal was announced. hillary did. "national journal" saying hillary on the iran deal, this is an important step. jonathan allen the same senator sanders says about the iran deal this is a victory for
diplomacy over saber rattling. and i'll keep with the "washington post" has a couple of tweets from jeb bush signed this isn't diplomacy. it's appeasement. a new agreement, a dangerously dangerous deeply flawed and shortsighted deal. also for bush, a conference at the grid should require iran to verify the abandoned not simply to let its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. and also in the hill, take a look at an article here. bernie sanders insults and he needs to see what's in this deal. here's a couple of summaries from the hill. what's in the iran nuclear deal? it talks about the 150 page document waiting deep into the technical steps iran will left to take to win sanctions relief. here's a summary. nuclear disarmament, one of the big points in the agreement as well as international monitoring, ways the p5+1 and other countries can see whether
or not iran is keeping up its end of the bargain and also sanctions relief, a big point for iran and its leader rouhani. we heard from him earlier. you can find his firstname.lastname@example.org as well as all of the lawmakers we have been hearing from and the presidential candidates that we've gotten on camera so for. let's take a look now. this is house speaker john boehner. he had a couple of remarks as well about the iran deal. this ism speaking earlier today. >> -- this ism speaking earlier today. >> the outset of the iran negotiations, the obama administration said that a good deal would affirm that iran does not have the right to enrich. but also said that keeping sanctions in place until iran met concrete verifiable since. and they believe that they had
to stop iran's drive for a nuclear bomb for the president has abandoned all of those goals and that's why the deal that we have out of their come in my view from what i know of it thus far is unacceptable. it's going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear iran. this isn't about democrats or republicans. is not a partisan issue at all. it's about right versus wrong. we are going to do everything we can to get to the details and if, in fact it's as bad a deal as i think it is at this moment we'll do everything we can to stop it. >> the president announced this morning an agreement with nuclear weapons with iran. history has always proven peace without freedom is meaningless. congress will have a role. we will look at every detail. we look at the future. we look at the criteria and we will have a say.
there's another bill that will be on the floor this week that brings a great interest to many throughout the country. the deal is with the water issued to the west of want to congratulate -- wincing after looking out if you are from california, the challenge that we have. the challenge does not have to be as great as it is. the last two congresses, republican control, we passed the bill. they would be great resource to be able to deal with the traffic unfortunately the the senate never took a do. the president felt this issue is so great that you took air force one and he flew to california. he walked the air to land, the dry land of the farmers and he said he would do something about it. but nothing has been done. now is their moment that they can come to an agreement dealing with an issue that affects all. and in california this bill is very simple. it does for things. that allows water to flow through the delta ticket
provides greater storage for those we promised in used in the past that just stayed in a stalemate. increased the reservoirs we have today. for the last 30 years you have built no new ones at the population has continued to grow in california. protect the water rides and a state project. it's simple, common sense and david has led the charge to make a real difference. >> it's clear that the administration wanted to do with a rant any cost and unfortunately, they got a deal with iran at a dangerously high cost. i think history will look back if this is able ethical forward on this bad deal as a sanction the beginning of iran's path to a nuclear weapon. and that's dangerous not only for america but for all of our allies throughout the middle east especially israel. we will fight hard to reject this view using every tool that we have.
>> we are a little over six months into america's new congress, and on issues after issue, what you have seen it is we are promoting solutions 21st century solutions to the challenges that americans face all across the country. we trust people to make better decisions for themselves and the federal government ever will and our goal is to empower people and our families, empower our families, and our communities together make the best decisions. look at the student success act which is about empowering local leaders, parents, teachers and students. last week we passed a big bipartisan -- >> we will be this now. the senate coming back from its weekly party lunches 2:15 p.m. eastern time. what possibly voting more on some of the no child left behindo amendment. roceed. ms. mikulski: thank you very much. well mr. president i'm here today to stand up for maryland and for all of the students that could lose resources under an
amendment offered by the gentleman from north carolina, senator burr. now, there's much that i admire about senator burr, but his current amendment is really -- really would cause maryland tremendous problems. the burr amendment would punish states that make significant investments in those students who need extra help. this amendment would not do one thing to lift kids out of poverty or to close the achievement gap. in fact, it makes it worse. the so-called hold harmless provision that is in the bill does not hold maryland harmless. it doesn't prevent any of the maryland school districts from losing money. under the burr amendment maryland would lose $40 million. let me repeat, under the burr amendment, maryland would lose
$40 million. now, maryland knows that i've always been on the side of students of teachers, of those who run programs, and the taxpayers who pay for them. we in america believe in public education, where one generation is willing to pay taxes to fund an education of the next generation. title 1 and the elementary- elementary-secondary education act was created to lift children and to close the education gap. and let me tell you what the burr a.m. would do. right -- the burr amendment would do. right now every county and baltimore city would lose money. there are 24 school districts in maryland. 400,000 public school students. 170,000, or 45% of our population is eligible for something called title 1
funding. if the burr amendment passes, every single one of those boys and girls would lose academic resources that they currently get. let me give you the numbers. baltimore city, 12%; baltimore county 23%; garrett county in western maryland, 20%; somerset county on the eastern shore $15%. for my schools in urban schools in the baltimore-washington corridor to rural schools on the eastern shore every single one loses resources and if you lose resources, you lose opportunity. if we believe in an opportunity ladder then don't cut off the wrongs. it's not the -- then don't cut off the wrungs. it's not the schools that lose. it's the kids that lose. i've heard from school
superintendents across maryland. they tell me the same thing over and over: don't cut the money for title 1. dr. henry wagner of dorchester county over on the eastern shore says that the rural schools on the eastern shore will be impacted, and he would have to eliminate teaching positions reduce reading and math services and the very services to bring in parents would go by the wayside. over in washington county, the gateaway to the eastern shore dr. wilcox the superintendent of washington county schools described how a rural school would be harmed. in his letter, which he describes title 1 he said, "senator mikulski title 1 allowed us to create hope. it enabled us to provide extra instructional support in literacy and math. it opened up windows and doors
often shut to these boys and girls. without title 1 dollars washington county would have to cut this instructional support in literacy and math." he writes, "senator barb senator burr's amendment is bad for children, and it's bad for all of the children in maryland. and battleclose quote. and baltimore city, where we've certainly had our share of problems recently, would be deeply cut. right now baltimore receives $50 million. it will lose 10% of that funding. $5 million in baltimore right now sure means a lot. if we cut that money we're going to shrink pre-k access. the after-school and summer learning programs will go by the wayside. they go by the wayside you not only have kids with time on their hands but they will fall behind in reading, in the very
things they had gained over the schoolyear. and the professional development for teachers, especially those new teachers that we were bringing in, will be eliminated i am so proud that maryland allocates more of its title 1 dollars to schools that need it the most. for example 85% in baltimore. those kids live in poverty. it has the lowest wealth per pupil in maryland, so states allocate more of its resources in this area. maryland actually gets penalized under the burr amendment for putting the money where it will do the most good. and, in fact, maryland gets penalized for making education a priority. well, i thought we believed in state determination. and if a state determines it's going to make a significant investment in public education and make the funding of the closing of the achievement gap a
priority why punish them for states that cut taxes cut opportunity, and now we want to change the formula to reward their behavior when we should be rewarding the good behavior of states like my own? this amendment is bad for maryland, it's bad for other states and most of all it's bad for children. 58% of the students who benefit from title 1 funding will get less resources less opportunity. title 1 certainly does need to be reformed and refreshed. senators murray and alexander should be congratulated in the way they led the committee through a civil cogent process. but we can't make changes based on the needs of a handful of states that essentially have penalized their own children. last time that congress reauthorized the elementary-secondary act was in 2001.
during that reauthorization congress clearly stated that it shall be a national priority that title 1 should be a priority. in that bill, congress committed to steadily increasing funding for title 1 but congress never fully funded the promise. it never provided the adequate funds. the major effort that was done just two weeks ago was in the appropriations bill of labor education, and human services. senator murray offered an amendment to increase title 1 by $1 billion. every single republican on the committee voted against it. we can't keep doing this. we need to fully fund title 1. this isn't about statistics. this isn't about numbers. this is about human beings. the genius of america was that we believe -- we believe in the
education of our people. that we truly believe that the way we lift all boats in our country is to have a public education system that works well and is funded adequately. we've had a formula that has worked for title 1 because it rewards those states who are willing to make public education and the next generation a priority. let's keep the formula we have. let's reform where we need to be and let's make sure that our focus is not on bottom lines but helping more children get to the head of the class. mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
research shows that for every dollar spent the benefits of early childhood kation to society are $8.60. around half of that reflects increased erption for children when they grow up. early childhood education can also lower involvement with the criminal justice system and reduce the need for real estate medial education. clearly, early childhood education such as pre-k is crucial to better preparing each generation for the academic and professional challenges ahead. and there is no doubt that families play a critical role in achieving academic success. when families are involved in children's learning at a young age, it better prepares them to succeed in school. research shows that when parents and families are involved in their children's education our children are more likely to succeed. for example children whose
parents read to them at home recognize letters and write names sooner than those whose parents do not. it is because of the importance of recallly childhood education and parent and family involvement in that early education that i worked on language that is now included in the every child achieves act. i want to thank my colleagues, chairman alexander and ranking member murray, for working with me to include language allowing funding for programs that promote parent and family engagement in a new early lerpg and improvement grants as a part of the every child achieves act. this effort was also supported by the national p.t.a., the national center for families learning the national education association, and the american federation of teachers. the competitive recallly lerpg alignment and improvement grants with a provide funding to states that propose improvements to
coordination quality and access for early childhood education. the language i worked on would allow states to use funding from the recallly learning alignment and improvement grant to develop, implement or coordinate programs determined by the state to increase parent and family involvement. encourage ongoing communication between children, parents and families and early childhood educators, and promote active participation of parents families and communities. i thank my colleagues again for working with me to get this included in the substitute amendment because parent and family engagement in those early years is critical to each student's success as well as to our country's future. i am committed to working with partners in indiana to ensure that hoosier children can take
advantage of these important programs and i stand ready to continue working with my friends on both sides of the aisle to further invest in recallly childhood education so we can provide brighter futures for more hoosiers and more additional american children. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
you know, obviously i'm the senator from colorado, but as i rise today i'm speaking more as the father of three girls in the denver public schools. it was a great privilege of mine to have been the superintendent of the denver public schools for almost five years. i can't begin to express as i'm standing on this floor my gratitude for what i learned from our teachers, principals the parents who were sending their kids to what was then a school district that had seen declining enrollment over many, many years. it is now the fastest-growing urban school strict in the united states of america. and, of course the students from themselves, who day after day after day after day inspired all the adults around them to want to deliver a high-quality education. but i also was struck when i was
superintendent about the barriers that we have accepted as a country as a society that we would never accept for our own children. we'd never accept them for our own children. the first barrier i've talked about on this floor before is the fact that, if you're born poor in this country you show up to kindergarten having heard 30 million fewer words than your more affluent pearce. there-- affluent peers. there are many other challenges that we have included, we've made it harder and harder as the years go by for people to afford a college education shackling themselves to a mountain of debt. in the face of all that, we have been very slow to change. we have been very slow at every level to change the way we deliver k-12 education or early
childhood education through higher education. and let me just give you one example that this bill addresses today. in part. we have done almost nothing in this country to change the way we attract teachers, recruit teachers inspire teachers, train teachers, reward teachers since we had a labor market that discriminated against women and said the only job you can have is being a teacher being a nurse. those are your two jobs. so why don't you come to the denver public schools and teach julius caesar every year for 30 years of year life for a really low compensation. but if you stick with us for 30 years, which you won't anymore but you used to, we'll give you a pension that's now worth three times what social security was worth. that sounded like a pretty good deal back then because you were likely to outlive your spouse.
you had gate that pension at the end. we have done nothing to change -- that's the offer. that's our offer. and i can tell you -- and again not speeblging speaking as a politician but speaking as a school superintendent somebody who has never done anything but substitute teach that it's the hardest job a person can have, especially when you're teaching in at a high-poverty school. it is much harder than the job that any member of the united states says it has. yet we have an over that belongs to an era that no longer exists. we used to subsidize the public education system in this country through that discrimination in our labor our aprofess approach to labor. because even though the deal wasn't a good deal, we might have been able to get the very best british literature student to commit to being a teacher of
british literature because she had no other options except for perhaps becoming a nurse. fortunately that hasn't been true in this country for 30 or 40 years but we haven't updated the offer. and we haven't changed the way we train our teachers once they get there. and that's why this bill is important in some parts because it makes some important steps in the right direction. we are not going to teach children from washington. our kids that today are in systems all across this country in their schools and classrooms are never going to remember who here worked on the new england version of the -- the new version of the elementary and secondary education act. that's not going to be of concern to them. what they will remember is a third grade teacher who made a huge difference for them, 0 fourth grade teacher who made a huge difference for them, a
college advisor who took a special interest and made sure somebody who didn't know that college was for them was for them. and our job, it seems to me, is to do what little we can to try to help put people at home in the position to do that job. that's why it's critical in this bill that we raise the quality of professional development by encouraging ongoing training in education that actually tracks the specific strengths and areas of growth for each individual teacher instead of group workshops that we know are ineffective. for instance, teachers who need help in classroom management will receive training in that specific area. if a school distributor -- district or school would want to do that. we promote collaboration and the use of planning time so teachers can work together in groups as teams, each of who may have a different view of each kid but together can figure out how to get the child in each school to
their potential. one of the things i heard all the time from the teachers i worked in denver was they felt they faced a binary choice when it came to their profession, that they loved to teach they loved being with the kids. but the only other option besides teaching was becoming a principal or going to work in the central office. we've worked very hard in that school district and across the state to think differently about career ladders for teachers to give more opportunity and options for people to give back to be able to help perfect their own craft as teachers by learning from their peers but also serving as master teachers. this bill for the first time allows funding to be used for hybrid roles that allows teachers to serve as mentors or academic coaches whiem -- while remaining in the classroom. it creates options. encourages teacher-led and
colleague-to-colleague professional development among teachers. i may have learned it the hard way, but i know that nobody knows how best to improve instruction more than our teachers do. but the struggle is how to figure out how to break out of the old roles to give people the opportunity to be able to have the chance to mentor their colleagues. and also, significantly, have the time in the school day and in the school year when the press of other business makes it hard to do to create the time for people to be able to work together for our kids. in this bill, we recognize the work that's happening in cities like chicago and denver, boston around teacher residency programs an alternative approach to bringing teachers into the profession, not relying anymore solely on higher
education, understanding that maybe what we need is content matter experts who can learn how to teach by being last to master teachers in a school district like the denver public schools who bring their content their substance from their undergraduate degree but can acquire a master's as they're learning on the job, in the classroom, like a teacher resident, like a medical residency program. we allow funding to be used for that. these programs that provide critical clinical experience to teacher candidates. there's funding to train in place effective pradges -- principals to meet high need in low-performing schools. you cannot have a good school without a good principal. you can't have a good working environment for a teacher without a good principal. it's impossible. we've skipped over that in our
efforts of implementation across the country. when i had the good fortune to be the superintendent of the denver public schools my chief academic officer a gifted school leader, he and i would start every single day for two hours with a group of 15 principals in one of their schools. and it wasn't about broken boilers, and it wasn't about who got left on the bus. it was about teaching and learning in the denver public schools. and we do the same thing for three weeks and then we start over again which meant that i got to see every principal in the school district once every three weeks. and they got to see each other and they came to understand that they had a reciprocal obligation to each other as we thought about the obligation we had to the kids in denver. and i'll give you an example of one of the sessions.
it was hyma would bring a one and a half page of student writings to these meetings because it's important for teachers to look and analyze student work to be able to differentiate their instruction to meet the individual needs of kids in the classroom. it's easy to say that. it's easy to have professional development where a bunch of people sleeping in an auditorium listening to really boring stuff. it's another thing to get people to actually really want to do the work. and in the beginning it was hard. we would pass out that piece of student writing and you'd hear sort of crescendo as people were talking about it. they would say i can't read this. i don't know what this is. this looks like a foreign language to me. and then hymay would say based on what you've read, what are nancy's strengths as a writer? she turned out to be a typical fourth grader in our school district. they would say she writes from left to right. she has a sense of story
structure. she spells high-frequency words correctly. hymay would say why is that? they would say maybe she had a vocabulary test. well maybe. maybe she had a word wall and she's using them to scaffold her instructions. over time the principal saw what their role was as leaders and how reliant we were on them. and i can tell you firsthand that school leaders have a powerful effect dramatically improving the quality of teaching and raising student achievement. and we've skipped over them. this bill no longer skips over them. we also update improve the teacher incentive fund in this bill. we encourage districts to redesign their systems for recruiting hiring and placing teachers. we incentivize districts to think about teaching -- paying different teachers differently. in denver, we have a monopoly of wisdom. but if you're working in a
high-poverty school, you get paid more for that. it's harder to find you. it's a harder job. we recognize that. if you're teaching a subject it's hard to find people that will teach. we pay a little more for that. if you're driving student achievement we pay a little more for that. through this incentive fund, we promote school autonomy over budgeting, staffing and other school-level decisions. incentivize folks to change hiring schedules so high-needs schools can hire earlier in the year and select from the best and brightest teachers instead of the reverse. we've done some good things here on teachers, and it's one of the reasons why i am supporting this legislation. i want to thank chairman alexander and ranking member murray who are both on the floor today for their exceptional leadership bringing this bill out of committee. the people who are watching this on television know that this body can't seem to agree on
anything these days. and because of their work, we were able to produce a bill that got unanimous support in the help committee. every single member in the committee supported it. imagine that. imagine that in in place. and you know what? there are no ringers in that committee either. that committee has the junior senator from kentucky on it senator paul. and it has the junior senator from vermont on it, senator sanders. and everybody in between. that's a rare case of unanimity among a very diverse set of senators, which i think augers well for getting this bill through in the senate and hopefully in the house. i see my colleague is here. if i could just take two more minutes, i wanted to mention a word or two about the title 1 formula because i've joined my friend from north carolina in supporting this amendment to
change the title 1 funding formula, a formula i think that we're trying to propose today is sensible. it eliminates the overly complex and opaque formulas that we currently have. it creates one formula that's targeted provides more funding for districting with higher concentrations of poverty. i'm extremely sensitive to the arguments that others have made, my friend from new york and i also agree we need to invest significantly more in our kids. but this formula change is good for my home state of colorado. i think if you're a poor kid in alamoso or in woodrow colorado, you deserve every chance at getting a great education including an equitable share of federal wrowrtses. -- resources. i see my colleague from utah is here and with that i will reap lent -- relent and yield the floor and come back at a later time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to call up and
make pending the lee amendment number 2162. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from utah, mr. lee proposes an amendment numbered 2162 to amendment number 2089. on page -- mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to suspend additional reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent that senator paul be added as a cosponsor to my amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president parents and teachers all across america are frustrated by washington d.c.'s heavy-handed, overly prescriptive approach to public education policy. i've heard from countless moms and dads in utah who feel as though anonymous federal government officials officials living and working 2,000 miles away, have a greater say in the education of their children than they do. one of the most frustrating issues for parents is the amount
of standardized tests their children are required to take, particularly the tests that are designed and mandated by the federal government. and it's not just the frequency of these tests that's frustrating. too often parents don't know when these federally required assessments are going to take place, and they don't even find out until after the fact. mr. president, it's important to recognize that this is not a partisan issue. the notion that parents should not be expected to forfeit all of their rights to the government just because they enroll their children in the public school system is not a democratic idea, nor is it a republican idea. it's simply an american idea. that's why several states, including states as distinct as california and utah, have passed laws that allow parents to opt out of federally required tests.
but there is a problem. under current law states with opt-out laws risk potentially losing federal education dollars if a certain portion of parents decide opting out is best for their children. because schools are required to assess 95% of their students in order to, and as a condition of receiving federal funds. the bill before the senate today, the every student achieves act does not fix this problem. my amendment does. here's how. my amendment would protect a state's federal funding for elementary and secondary schools by removing the number of students who opt out of federal tests from the number of nonassessed students. in other words the number of students opting out of federally required tests could not threaten a state's eligibility to receive federal funds. my amendment would also give parents more information about
tests mandated by the federal government ensuring that parents are notified of any federally required assessment that children are scheduled to take. and it would allow parents to opt out their children from such assessments. it's important to note that this amendment would have no effect on assessments that are required by the state local education agency school or teacher. nor does it prohibit a state from expanding their parental opt-out laws to apply to a broader set of assessments if they choose to do so. this amendment would not jeopardize a state's law but provides parents the opportunity to opt out their children and would allow the state to continue to use its own process that allows parents to take such action. whether or not ubility bill before the senate -- you believe the bill before the senate today strikes the appropriate balance between federal and state control, i think all of my colleagues can support this
amendment. i believe all of us can agree that parents should have the final say in their child's education and should have access to information about the testing that is taking place before that testing takes place. and they should be able to decide whether or not their child will be part of that testing. mr. president, i urge all my colleagues to support this amendment. thank you. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from utah for his comments. we'll be voting on the senator's amendment this afternoon at 4:00 and i wanted to just make a couple of comments about it. i have a little different view of what his proposal is. he talks about our being opposed to washington's heavy-handed approach. the way i understand his
proposal it's even more of a heavy-handed approach than the bill that we're voting on today and this is why. his proposal is that washington tell utah or oklahoma or tennessee or washington state what to do about whether parents may opt out of these federally required tests. they're not federally designed. utah has its test. tennessee has its test. they're designed by the states, and they are required. and there would since 2001, and this continues that, for example two tests for a third grader. the testimony would be that it might take two hours for each test so that would be two hours for a math test, two hours for a science test. then again in the fourth grade two hours for a math test, two hours for a science test. i don't think anyone believes that those tests are a great
burden on students. it's all the other tests that have seemed to be required as schools prepared for the tests i just described. what we've done in this legislation, which is to restore to states the -- the power to decide how much these standardized tests count. so the legislation that senator murray and i have proposed and that came out of our committee unanimously for the first time authorizes states to decide whether parents may opt out may allow their children to opt out of these tests or not. let me say that again. the legislation that senators will be voting on, hopefully tomorrow for final passage allows states to decide for itself themselves whether -- whether parents may vote to opt out of the no child left behind
tests. the senator from utah's proposal is a washington mandate that says to states that washington will decide that. so our proposal is local control his, the way i hear it, is washington knows best. mr. president, the proposal that's on the floor that we vote on tomorrow says washington may not mandate to any of our states what its academic standards should be. that ends the washington common core mandate. why should in the same bill we put a washington mandate about whether you can opt out of your tests or not? why don't we allow states to make that decision? so i say to my republican friends especially, do we really believe in local control only when we agree with the local policy? i don't think so. the great economist art laffer likes to say states have a right to be right the states have a right to be wrong. so i have a different view. i'm going to vote no on the
senator from utah's amendment because it takes away from states the right to decide whether and how to use the federal tests and -- and whether or not parents may opt out. why is that a problem? well, in the following states, states use these tests as part of their state accountability system. they don't have to do it, but they do use it, and i'm told by the state of tennessee that if we were to adopt the utah proposal federal mandate that the state would have to come up with a different accountability system. so which states on their own have decided to use these tests as a part of their state accountability system? florida has georgia idaho indiana, kentucky, louisiana north carolina, ohio, oklahoma, pennsylvania tennessee and texas. so i would urge my colleagues to vote for the alexander-murray
proposal because it reverses the trend toward a national school board and specifically allows states to decide whether parents may opt out of tests while the amendment goes the other way. it's a washington mandate that takes away from states the ability to make that decision. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: i ask being in a knack to set aside the pending amendment and call up the isakson amendment 2194. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from georgia, mr. isakson proposes an amendment numbered 2194 to amendment numbered 2089. on page -- mr. isakson: i ask to suspend the reading. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: thank you mr. president. i want to begin my remarks by commending ranking member murray
and chairman alexander on a tremendous due diligence effort to see to it that we finally answered the question that states have been asking for seven years and that is when are you going to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act when are you going to end the day where 82% of all public educational systems have to get waivers from washington to teach children the way they want to teach them? when are you going to see to it that money can flow to the states and flow to the student from those states, not everything flow from washington to the student? it's about time we fixed the elementary and secondary education act. and, mr. president in my lifetime, i have been in elected office for 38 years. i have been in every legislative body i can legally be elected to and i have served on the education committee in the georgia house the georgia senate the u.s. house and the u.s. senate. i don't know a lot about a lot of things, but i know a little bit about public education. in fact, in 1996, zel miller whose seat i now hold in the united states senate called on me to take over the state board of education as its chairman
when georgia had a major crisis, so i learned under fire. i learned the following thing -- children rise to expectations. in an absence of expectations, children sink. that's why gangs attract kids who are from broken families because they seek some kind of recognition and the gang gives it to them. we need to make sure that education gives them that recognition and that expectation and that goal to reach higher and higher standards. but that happens closest to home not in washington d.c. it happens where the parents and the children are. the more opportunities the parents have to engage with their children the children have to see the expectations that their local students and their local citizens, the better off they will be. which is why in the committee i offered the amendment which is included in the body of the alexander-murray bill which allows parents and states that approve it to opt out of any testing they want to opt out of. a parent's right to see to it they can opt out of required tests if the state allows them to do so. amendment 2194 which is before us now makes sure that provision
is in the section of the bill that calls for the parents' right to know. so every parent has the right to know whether or not the state allows an opt out or not. it already lets them know whether their teacher's child's qualifications are what their level of achievement in school is know if their child is being taught by a teacher not meeting the standards of an english language learner. the bill has all those specific things telling the parent it's your right to know we have an e.s.l. program it's your right to know if we allow an opt out and if we don't allow an opt out, it's your right to go to the board and make sure we do offer one. in other words we're opening the door for local control the way all of us planned on it being for years and for years and and for years. it is time we look the being shackles off of public education, the washington weight that's dragging it down. it's time our school systems never had to still come to washington for waivers. instead, our title one our poorest, those kids most in need
of help and our idea kids where the federal government has a role besides those two kids it's time for the local systems to be seeing to it they are meeting the needs of those kids, the parents know what the systems are doing and the parents have a right to inquire and if the parent doesn't want the kid to be tested the way the state is doing it and the state allows it, they should be able to opt out. that is the ultimate of local control. it's also the local -- the ultimate of expectations for the child through the parent and the school not through some washington mandate. you know, the old saying robert branning once said education makes the people easy to govern and impossible to slave easy to build and impossible to drive. education is the power that leads our democracies to discoveries. just today in america -- or just sometime today in america pluto was discovered by an american satellite that was launched nine years ago. it's been traveling hundreds of thousands of miles a second to go there. that manpower was done in the educational system of the united states of america. there is no dream that can't be realized in this country but it has to be based on education and
knowledge. it has to be based on a country that relishes education and a state that embellishes education and a parent that's involved with their child. so i want to commend senator murray and senator alexander for their work, for including the optout provision in the base of the bill. i ask -- i hope the senate will adopt my amendment to require that in the parent's right to know that provision is made available to every single parent in terms of what the state does and does not require when their kids go into the public school system. so we have a better informed parent better local control less federal mandate and a child that has expectations that are raised for them by the parents and the teachers closest to them not by a bureaucrat in washington d.c. we live in the greatest country on the face of this earth. you don't find anybody trying to break out of the united states of america. they're all trying to break in. and when you ask them why it's because it's a country of opportunity, education hope and promise. today and tomorrow, the senate has the ability to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act which has
languished for seven years without a reauthorization. i hope we will do it and give local systems local boards of education and parents the choices they need to make the decisions that are right for their children. i urge every member of the senate to vote for the isakson opt-out amendment and the parental right to know amendment, and i yield back my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: the senator from washington is going to speak in just a minute, but while the senator from georgia is on the floor, i want to thank him for his huge contribution to this bill that would fix no child left behind. no committee member has been more valuable than he has. he's worked with senator murray to include within the provision an important step on early childhood education. he's used his experience as chairman of the georgia state board of education and as a member of the education committee in both the senate and the house to help us know how to do a better job here.
he's the champion of giving parents the right to know whether or not their state gives them the opportunity to opt out of the federally required tests. that's his amendment today. and he was the sponsor of the amendment that appears in the alexander-murray bill, which gives states the express authority to decide whether children -- whether parents may opt their children out of the tests. so the isakson amendment says -- gives states the power to provide the opt out and it gives parents the opportunity to know enough information to be able to do it. so that -- that's -- that's consistent with this legislation which requires the important measurements of achievement so we can know whether children are
achieving or not and whether schools are achieving or not but then restores to states and local school boards and classroom teachers and parents the decisions about how to help those children achieve. that's the kind of local control of education that i think most of us on both sides of the aisle, whether it's the senator from montana speaking this morning or the senator from georgia speaking this afternoon that's the spirit of the consensus that guides this bill and senator isakson's contribution has been enormous to the -- to the right of parents to provide an opt out of federally required tests for their children if they and their state choose to do it. thank you. i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president i rise this afternoon to speak in favor of the franken amendment which we will be voting on shortly. i want to start with the story of chandler, who was a ninth
grader in arkansas who experienced daily bullying and harassment. at school, his classmates harassed him based on his perceived sexual orientation. his mom described him as a good kid. she said all he wanted was to fit in. but chandler couldn't walk down thal hall -- the hall between classes without kids harassing him. he wrote to his school counselor saying he couldn't handle -- quote -- being an outcast for four more years. while the teachers knew about the bullying, the school district never put a plan in place to address his concerns. and one day in 2010, chandler took his own life after enduring endless bullying and tormenting at his school. chandler's story is more than a tragedy. it feels like an all-too-common trend for students across the country. as a mother and a grandmother and a former educator and really as a citizen i believe congress has to act to protect kids like chandler. when students do not feel safe at school, when they are
relentlessly bullied because they are different when they endure harassment simply because of who they are, we have failed to provide them with the educational opportunities they deserve. we have failed them. as we debate our nation's k-12 education bill, we need to do everything we can to prevent bullying and harassment and discrimination and provide students with a safe learning environment. today we will consider an amendment to address the unique challenges that lgbt students face. now, i want to thank senator casey for his work on the safe schools improvement act. it's a bill that we won't be voting on but we'll continue working on, and i want to thank especially senator franken for his tireless leadership on the student nondiscrimination act. on the help committee, i have been a proud cosponsor of this legislation for years and today i hope all of our senate colleagues will join us in protecting students from discrimination based on their actual or perceived sexual
orientation or gender identity. mr. president, discrimination and bullying and harassment at school leads to students who feel unsafe. it leads to kids who skip classes so they avoid harassment. and some students drop out of school because they don't feel safe there. if students don't feel safe there is little else we can do to improve their education that will matter. this type of harassment can be severe particularly for lgbt students. the straight education network did a survey on the experiences of lgbt youth in our schools and in that survey six out out of ten lev-and-an bisexual and gay students felt safe. mr. president, 85% of lgbt students report they have been harassed because of their sexual or gender identity. even though bullying and
harassment is prevalent for these students they and their families have limited legal recourse for that type of discrimination and i believe our students deserve better. the amendment we'll be voting on will help to tackle. this it would prohibit discrimination and harassment in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. the amendment would also prohibit any retaliation for lodging a complaint of discrimination. that would give our lgbt students who are suffering from bullying and harassment legal recourse and it would allow federal authorities to address discrimination. this amendment would offer lgbt students similar protections that currently exist for students who are bullied based on race or gender or religion or disability or country of national origin. so unless you think lgbt students don't deserve protection from discrimination the way these other students do this should be easy to support. this amendment is absolutely
critical for expanding protections for lgbt students and again i want to thank the junior senator from minnesota for his tremendous work on this. now, i know some of our republican colleagues have argued that taking steps to prevent bullying would only create lawsuits but i believe these students deserve justice and giving students and families legal recourse would help provide that. under this amendment the process for legal recourse would be similar to title 9 which has actually been on the books since 1972. and the majority of title 9 cases the school is more than willing to fix the problem so it no longer engages in discriminatory practices. after all school leaders want to do the right thing and end bullying and harassment in their classrooms. they want to make sure their school is safe for a particular group of students and make sure that students are -- that are discriminated against simply because of who they are. with this amendment this same process would be afforded to lgbt students. now, i've also heard some
critics of this amendment say there is no need to focus on lgbt students. they don't want to define who would be covered in an antidiscrimination amendment but that logic doesn't follow what we already know works. there is reason the civil rights laws of our country clearly define who is protected from discrimination. for example our civil rights lewis make clear it's unlawful to discriminate based on gender. a generic policy won't cut it and lead to years of litigation about who is and who is not protected and what legal standards should apply. making meaningful progress to prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination requires us to clearly define who will be protected. we know lgbt students are being bullied, they're being harassed they're being discriminated against and ignoring that fact with vague language doesn't help those students and it does them a real disservice and it's wrong. so i urge my colleagues to
support this amendment. the pain that physical and emotional abuse can cause is tragic. in ohio, a young man named zack is an openly gay student and since he was in the third grade he has been called names at school and that abuse has escalate since then -- escalated since then. when he was 16, zack was attacked and repeatedly punched by another student during his third period class. in a video from aclu, zack's mom said that it's not that zack attended a bad school. it's just not a good school for gay or lesbian children. but, mr. president it shouldn't matter what school a child attends. all students deserve a safe learning environment. bullying and harassment take that away from too many of our nation's students. mr. president, i want to take a moment to note the historical significance of this debate and the vote that we'll be taking on shortly. just a few weeks ago the supreme court settled the question that for decades has
been at issue of debate in our country. after years of fighting for equal rights, lgbt couples finally have the guarantee of marriage equality nationwide and the protections that all married couples enjoy. i'm proud of how far our country has come. since the court's ruling, this right now today, will be the first vote this body takes on legislation aimed at ending discrimination against lgbt individuals, and in this case discrimination against lgbt children in our schools. surely we can agree that a minority group of students who have long endured bullying and harassment and discrimination deserve the same protections that we afford other groups of students. there is no excuse for a school or for a united states senator to stand by as our kids endure harassment and discrimination that puts their academic success and emotional well-being in jeopardy. the country will be watching and i urge our colleagues to support
this amendment and give students across the country the assurance that we are on their side. thank you mr. president. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota is reminded that we are in a quorum call. ms. heitkamp: i'd like to ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. without objection. ms. heitkamp: mr. president i want to thank chairman alexander and ranking member murray for
their excellent leadership as stewards of this important bipartisan effort. in my conversations with parents, educators and advocates across my state one theme prevails -- we must reform this outdated law. this bipartisan legislation before us while not perfect is a step in the right direction. i'm glad my language was included in the substitute to address conflict resolution and crisis intervention services in schools. it will provide support and the ability of school districts to provide suicide trafficking trauma and violence prevention models. such models will assist educators as they foster positive school climates so that students can enter school excited and ready to learn. however, i hope that we can also advance my amendment number 2171 which would support those schools where such preventions are needed the most.
it would restore access and make improvements to schools and mental health support grants under existing programs in esea. unfortunately, the bill before us eliminates this program simply because of recent budget cuts. those budget cuts have allowed for the diversion of its funding to other priorities. this program however, i believe is more important than ever today. i'm not calling for a new or expanded funding or even a new program. the funding conversion should take place during the conversation -- conversation should take place during the appropriations process. but for these purposes, we must make sure the program's authorization is not eliminated as students across this country and students in my state critically need these intergrade services -- integrated services that help them deal with the effects of poor educational environments as well as toxic
stress and trauma. the need to address this problem is something i have heard repeatedly since becoming north dakota's senator and really previously in my role as north dakota's attorney general. through my personal experiences with affected children, school leaders, and tribal representatives, i have focused on making sure all children have the ability to succeed and overcome obstacles associated with suicide trauma, violence and stress on their mental health. in may of 2015, futures without voices -- without violence alongside partners such as the alliance for excellent education, national education association, and the national p.t.a. released a report entitled "safe healthy and ready to learn." that detailed how unhealthy school climates exposure to violence and effects of trama reduce academic success. as a result of such conditions, students with two or more
adverse childhood experiences are more than twice as likely to repeat a grade. students exposed to violence are at a greater risk of dropping out or having difficulty in school. students exposed to violence score lower on comprehension reading and math skills and overall achievement on standardized tests. as a member of the indian affairs committee i can attest nowhere is that more common than schools serving this nation's native communities and native american tribes. the suicide rate for young adolescents and young adults aged 15-34 is two and a half times higher than the national average. in south dakota from december, 2014 to may of 2015, the oak alaw la -- owing ogallala sioux
lost nine people between 12 and 24. at least 103 -- i want to repeat that number -- 103 attempts were made by young people age 12-24 can occurring just in those few months. north dakota has had a similar experience with suicide. five young people, three teenagers and two 25-year-olds, on the standing rock sioux reservation took their own lives within a two-month period. much like north and north dakota south dakota, wyoming and alaska's suicide rate has increased dramatically in recent years jumping 70% in ten years with large increases among middle and high school students. as populations have increased in the west, violent crime has similarly risen 121% in some areas. throw drug crimes, gang activity and limited capacity of
law enforcement, human trafficking has become he endemic. how can we expect children to learn when they face obstacles such as these? this is an injustice. we must make sure our schools have the means to partner with health systems and provide preventative measures and family engagement models for improving school environments and mental health stress. unfortunately, students are often the last line of defense for our country's most vulnerable students. my amendment would simply preserve a voluntary program that helps schools provide children's stability and the tools necessary to handle mental stress. i understand the call for federal streamlining and local flexibility. for north dakota, strengthening local efficiency is a top priority. however, this particular program should not be part of that streamlining.
this authorization is about updating a civil rights law based on helping all even the most disadvantaged student achieve and have access to a better future. for many states these disadvantaged students are also a federal trust responsibility. while this language would protect a grant program that is accessible to all the services provided under this amendment targets issues epidemic to indian country. as such, it would work to uphold the distinct trust responsibility of this government to provide educational resources to native children. much like the amendment from the senior senator from montana which the senator adopted last week i hope the senate will adopt this program by helping schools coordinate with wealthy professionsal addressing the effects of traumatic events and mental stress, we will secure our most disadvantaged the equal opportunity that they deserve the opportunity to learn and to achieve. just for a moment tell you a
quick story the first year i was elected i had an opportunity to visit with a lot of north dakota constituents who come into my office and i remember distinctly the day that the grade school principals came too visit me and i thought all prepared for this meeting that i would prepare on no child left behind. i shared a lot of their concerns and i was ready to talk about no child left behind. that's not what they wanted to talk about. one principal told me a story about two young boys in the third grade i think second or third grade who had ridden the bus that morning and beat up two little girls. and when they got to school, the principal asked them why they would ever do that, and they said, well, you understand last night my dad beat up my mom and he went to jail and i wanted to -- they wanted to visit their dad. how prepared is a school district to deal with that?
if we do not engage the mental health community our schools will continue to be those first responders ill prepared to deal with the trauma of that life. wref to begin to integrate these programs and we have to look at what is happening with trauma and stress and the effect trauma and stress have on learning and the ability to succeed. and so i understand and can completely appreciate and support the idea that we need to streamline programs. i think this is a program whose time has come. we should fund this program. that's a conversation for the appropriations committee but we have to begin to emphasize the conditions to which children live in if we are going to educate all of our children equally. mr. president, i hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this amendment. i also request that futures without violence report "safe healthy, and ready to learn" is entered p into the
"congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. ms. heitcamp: thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to thank my colleague from north dakota for bringing up a critically important issue. the need for counseling and mental health resources in our schools cannot be overstated. there are so many kids who appear to be slow learners and have problems that can be traced directly to these issues. i know that teachers aren't trained to be psychologists and psychiatrists. many of them are struggling just to teach. and so i think the resources you're talking about are absolutely essential and i hope that your amendment prevails. i would be happy to support t it. mr. president, we come together every few years to debate education. why does the federal government get into the conversation about grade schools and high schools? because 50 years ago we created programs sending federal money to these schools. in my state it's about 5% of
all the money spent on education comes from washington. the rest of it comes from state and local sources. but sending this money to schools was part of a program for accountability back in the 1960's. the problems we faced were largely twofold: problems of poverty and the resulting difficulties that children had in school and problems with racial discrimination. and so we tried to resolve these by sending resources to states and holding them accountable. if they received federal money to move toward improving test scores and performance for children and breaking down the walls of segregation. it is 50 years later. we tried so many different aprofessesaprofesses to this. and under president george w. bush there was no child left behind. a conservative republican president actually called far a -- for a bigger role of the federal
government when it came to education. president bush thought this we should hold schools and teachers accountable, that we should test to make sure they're making progress and frankly call them out if they're not. it was a pretty bold idea, a controversial idea, and now we come together years later in an effort to do it differently. this bill before us, every child achieves basically shifts the pendulum to the other side and says now we're going to give it back to the states to measure the performance and progress of schools and intervening where necessary. i think that this is a worthy effort. we may find that we've gone too far in moving it all back to the states away from the multiple tests that face school districts under no child left behind, but we are engaging in this new approach in the hopes that it will be better and fairer understand that more kids in america -- and that more kids in america will get a good education. i think that's generally what i
think we're about in this floor debate. but there's one aspect of it which i still think we should maintain and that's the question orb the or the issue of accountability. senators murphy of connecticut booker of new jersey, coons of delaware and wasn't rememberren massachusetts -- and warren of massachusetts filed an amendment, which i've joined with, to inssert meaningful accountability measures in this bill. including identifying the 5% lowest-performing schools high schools where less than two-thirds of the students students graduate and subgroups of students who are not doing well. there is a concern on the other side of the aisle and even from some of my friends and support eshes-- andsupporters that we're going back to the federal account blght -- federal accountability standards when schools are not succeeding. that's not the case with this amendment. it allows the states to still decide which interventions are warranted but it makes the information public as to how the
schools are doing. particularly those that are struggling really struggling, the low of the 5% of the schools. high schools where two-thirds of the students are not performing. we should know this, and we should hold the states accountable, now that it's their responsibility to intervening to make sure that they achieve this. to ignore it, to turn our backs on it is not fair. it is too ignore a half-century commitment by this government with the title 1 program in particular and other programs in our government to really help the states with federal resources improve. we've gone way from over-testing in no child left behind, but let's not reach the point where we ignore the results. let's hold states accountable let them come up with the interventions as required, but let's do it in a way that's transparent so there is accountability. i support this amendment and i hope it is called, soon. there is in our amendment that
will soon be before us by senator burr that will make changes in the title 1 funding program in terms of the allocations to states. title 1 is the single-largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education. it helps states and districts address poverty and the needs of low-income students. senator burr of north carolina has created a new formula to send money from washington back to the states. not surprisingly, his state does very well with that formula. others not so well. the burr amendment which we finally saw written last night would be devastating to low-income students in illinois. it would reduce my state's share of title 1 funds by $180 million a year. that's 28% of all the title 1 funds now coming into the state would be eliminated by the burr amendment. chicago public schools are struggling. mayor emanuel, who is in charge of these schools is trying to
resolve decades-old problems with pensions, trying to put the money into the schools and faces some extremely difficult choices. the chicago public schools under the burr amendment shall would lose $68 million. it's not just about the city of chicago, though. every district in illinois that receives title 1 funds for low-income students would see a cut. north chicago in and east st. louis, the two poorest school districts in my state would see a 24% cut in money for low-income students. east st. lou st. louis 18%. rockford would lose $5 million a 31% cut. rock island, a 43% cut, with the burr amendment.
carbondale 27%. springfield, $2 million or 26% of their total funds cut because the senator from north carolina wants to take more money home to his state. these types of cuts to illinois divided up among districts and other states isn't a responsible federal policy for making sure low-income kids in illinois get a good education. it isn't responsible and i have to say to my friend, colleague from north carolina, he's in for a fight. he may think he's chosen just enough states to get a little more money that he can get a majority together, but my colleagues at least on this side of the aisle realize that tomorrow someone else could come up with a little different formula that would be devastating to their own i thinksistates.this amendment is the most hurtful and danling amendment that -- damaging amendment that is before us. third there is an amendment from senator franken called the student nondiscrimination act.
i urge all my colleagues to support it. snda will provide critical protection for lgbt students by expressly prohibiting discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. a few years ago ago the supreme court had an historic decision when it came to same-sex couples having the right to marry. this is a major historical achievement. there is more that needs to be done. students horror are per seebed to be lesbian gay transsexual -- a 85% of these students reported harassment. the survey also found these students didn't perform well when they were subject to this harassment. that's no surprise. research also shows that these teenagers are four times more likely to attempt suicide. and 40% of the homeless students
and children in america are lgbt. i support senator franken's amendment. let's end this discrimination. and final lurks let me support the amendment offered by the senator from pennsylvania, bob casey, based on the strong start act to improve and expand high-quality early chierldhood education for more than 3 million low-income kids. the casey aempt amendment would help 100,000 kids get into pre-k. how important is that? well aim a grandfather and proud of it. we have two twin kids that are 3 1/2 years old and my wife and i spend a lost time with them talking with them, reading to them. these kids are doing just great. they have terrific parents and they're headed to pre-k in just a few months. and they won't even be 4 years old when they enter the pre-k program in the city of brooklyn, new york. we're excited about it. their parents have helped them reach that point.
but what bob casey and his amendment tried tries to do is extend that opportunity it a lot of low-income families that may not have the luxury of being able to spend time with kids. let's give them the pre-k education that gets them off to a good, strong start so they can learn and ultimately earn. i support the casey amendment. i hope my completion will join me in doing so -- i hope my completioncolleagues will snoin me in doing so. i yield the floor. mr. alexander: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. alexander: mr. president on behalf of the senator from
washington i ask unanimous consent that the 4:00 vote begin now. the presiding officer: without objection. question now occurs on the isakson amendment number 2194. all those in favor say aye. mr. alexander: mr. president -- excuse me. my fault mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i got -- mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president i got a little ahead of myself. i should have checked with senator isakson to see if he wanted to speak for one minute on behalf of his amendment. i see he has now appeared. why don't we let him do that. then i will ask for the yeas and nays. mr. isakson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snr from georgia. mr. isakson: thank the chairman. i want to re-i think ray a appreciation for what he and senator murray have done to bring a great bill to the floor. this is the ultimate local control amendment that says if a state allows an opt-out a parent can opt out their kids
from testing. parents know whether or not opght out is possible or not. it is a good amendment for local control. i encourage of everyone to cast a "yes" vote. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i support this amendment and i want to thank senator isakson for working with us on this. i encourage a "yes" voavment vote. the presiding officer: question is on the amendment. mr. alexander: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
there are now two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the bennet amendment number 2210. mr. alexander: mr. president the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. mr. bennet: thank you mr. president. as the father of three girls in the denver public schools and as their former school superintendent, i know there is a lot we can do to streamline tests, but the problem is not the federal requirement. that's not the real problem. the real problem is the way the federal requirement works with states as -- the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. the senate will be in order. mr. bennet: i thank you mr. president. the way the states have piled up on the federal requirement. that's why i think the states should establish a cap on the total amount of time spent taking assessments. this target would be state determined and subject to discussion among parents and
policymakers. if the district exceeds the policy cap it would be required to notify parents. this is an essential way to respond to concerns voiced by students parents teachers, principals across the country about overtesting. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. the presiding officer: is there further debate? mrs. murray: i yield back time. the presiding officer: yield back. if not -- the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to the vote on the lee amendment 2162. the senator from utah is recognized. the senate will be in order. the senator is recognized. mr. lee: mr. president my amendment would clarify that parents, not the federal government are the primary educators of their children. it would ensure that parents may
allow their children to opt out of federally mandated tests. now, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. alexander is right, that states should be free to make their own tests mandatory if they so choose. however, that is not what this bill allows. this bill mandates that states give these tests and requires them to get the content of such tests approved by the u.s. secretary of education. my amendment is silent on the question of state tests. it simply clarifies that tests mandated by this bill, mandated by this congress are in fact, voluntary and that parents not politicians or bureaucrats will have the final say in whether individual children take federal tests. it also ensures that the federal government cannot punish states by restricting federal funding for education. should parents choose to opt out their children from these tests. thank you mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president i urge a no vote. this bill is about reversing the
trend toward a national school board. the senator from utah's amendment is about more of a national school board. the alexander-murray bill expressly says that a state may decide whether to allow parents to opt out of these tests. the the senator's amendment says washington knows best, it will tell states what the policy should be. that's like common core. our bill says we're eliminating the washington mandate on common core he would reinstitute a mandate. i say to my republican friends do we only agree with local control when we agree with local policy? art laffer says states have a right to be right and a right to be wrong. a no vote is a vote for local control, a yes vote is for a national school board. mrs. murray: mr. president?
the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i concur with the remarks of the chairman of the committee and urge a no vote. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second for the yeas and nays? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
there now will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the franken amendment number 2093. mr. alexander: mr. president the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. mr. franken: thank you. thank you mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: mr. president the student nondiscrimination act would extend the same federal civil rights protections available to other children to lgbt children. i feel very strongly about this and let me tell you why. lgbt kids are facing an epidemic of bullying in our schools. nearly 75% of lgbt students say they have been verbally harassed at school. more than 30% report missing a day of school in the last month because they felt unsafe.
sometimes kids cannot endure the taunting. these boys, 11 years old 13 15 committed suicide because they were harassed relentlessly. and they are just three of the many tragic cases and in case after case, the parents begged the schools to do something only to be ignored. our laws failed these children, but we can change that. we have come very far on this issue as a body. we passed enda which protects lgbt adults, but this is about children. it's our job as adults, not just as senators, to protect children. think about the lgbt people you know your friends staff family. now imagine them as children just beginning to discover who they are but doing so in the face of taunts and intimidation. you can't get a good education if you dread going to school.
my amendment just says that schools would have to listen when a parent says, my kid isn't safe and then do something about t i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for committing to hold this vote. i strongly urge my colleagues to vote to protect our children and reserve the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president i want to thank the senator from minnesota for bringing up the amendment and the way he has participated in our debate and worked to make it possible for us to get a result. i'm going to ask for a "no" vote on this amendment. there's no doubt that bullying or harassment of children based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a terrible problem. and it has become in some parts of our country even accurately described as an especially dim democratic. -- epidemic. but the question is, is this an argument best drefd addressed to the
local school board for a national school board in washington d.c.,? we have 3.5 million teachers. no more set of issues is more difficult to deal with on an individualized basis in a rural area in alaska or the mountains of tennessee or the -- or in the middle of harlem than a case of harassment or bullying. teachers principals, school advisors deal with those every day. we do not know more about that than they do. the u.s. department of education cannot make regulations for that many different kind of instances. this substitute -- the judgment of the people closest to the people who cherish them styteds the judgment of washington bureaucrats for them. it allows the bureaucrats to dictate local gender policies such as those related to locker rooms and dress codes. it will lead to costly lawsuits. it is well-intentioned,
mr. president. it is a problem that needs to be addressed, but it should be addressed by the local school board, the state board of education, not by national school board in washington d.c. i urge a "no" vote. mr. franken: mr. president? may i ask -- the presiding officer: the senator prosecute minnesota. mr. franken: -- how much time i have remaining? the presiding officer: ten seconds remaining. mr. franken: i ask unanimous consent to speak for 30 more seconds. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: this isn't about lawsuits. this is about schools doing the right thing when the parents ask. it's the same protections granted to kids by virtue of their race. that wasn't a local issue. that was a federal right we had to pass. the same with title 9 for girls. that's why we just won the world cup. this is the right thing to do. we are adults here. let's protect children. let's protect children.
this is not about lawsuits. it's about adults calling about -- about a parent calling the principal and saying, my kid is being harassed. and then the principal will do something, because they aren't. they aren't. they aren't in many, many cases. thank you. mr. alexander: i am going to ask for 20 seconds to conclude the discussion. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator may proceed. mr. alexander: the question is whether difficult questions of bullying and harassment of whatever kind in 100,000 schools with 50 million children are best handled by the judgment of men and women close to the children close to the circumstances or by united states senators in washington and federal employees in the u.s. department of education. i believe this legitimate concern should be addressed to those who are closest to the children because they cherish the children more and they will care for them more.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president as the senate this week considers the first major reform bill to our nation's public schools in over a decade, i rise to talk about how we can ensure that every one of our country's children goes to a great school no matter his or her zip code or background. mr. president, our nation has long struggled to fulfill our fundamental promise of equal opportunity since our nation was founded. it's a struggle that despite many efforts continues today. 50 years ago as america fought to break down racial barriers in our nation's classrooms,
president lyndon johnson signed the elementary and secondary education act into law. this civil rights act recognized that without actively investing federal resources in educating america's underserved children, their dreams would remain tragically deferred. since then our country has continued to struggle with this fundamental civil rights challenge, and five decades after johnson's landmark law and 14 years after president bush revamped it with the bipartisan no child left behind act we still haven't found a way to ensure that as a nation we hold every school to the high standards our children deserve. this week marks the latest effort in this long struggle. the senate's reform bill titled the every child achieves act makes important strides to improve what went wrong in 2001's no child left behind. i'd like to start by commending senators patty murray and lamar alexander for accomplishing what
has eluded the senate for so many years a truly bipartisan compromise that deals with some critical but often divisive issues at the heart of america's public schools. they've worked tirelessly on this bill because they understand the urgency of our national education crisis. in the wake of no child left behind's federal micromanagement of schools this bill heeds an important lesson, that communities need to have some flexibility and some space to innovate and find their own solutions to their education problems. but i would urge my colleagues as we work together to fix many of the law's weaknesses that we not lose sight of some of no child left behind's important accomplishments. for all its many problems, it exposed uncomfortable realities in america's classrooms and empowered policy-makers with real data that simply did not exist before. most importantly it refused to lower our nation's expectations of any school and demanded that
every child in america get the education he or she deserves. mr. president, in our drive to decrease the law's rigidity and address its many other challenges we must maintain those high standards and continue to hold states and school districts accountable. unfortunately, if it passed today, the every child achieves act would turn back the clock to a time when local control too often meant national indifference. it would risk letting too many of our children fall through the cracks. mr. president, i myself have seen how this indifference can hurt america's students. for 20 years i was actively involved with the national i have a dream foundation which works to send some of our country's most at-risk students to college. and i had the opportunity to visit schools all over the united states in some of our most stressed and challenged neighborhoods and some of our most struggling and difficult schools. when i met with students during those visits and asked them
about their vision for their own future while many wanted to become teachers or doctors or scientists, too many others did not believe those kinds of careers could ever be within their grasp. this to me illustrated the twin tragedies of our public education system. the fact that for many students with big dreams, their schools will not give them the chance to realize them. while for too many others dreams long dead in their families and communities had taught them that daring to dream at all was futile. these students had fallen victim to what president george w. bush so accurately described as the soft bigotry of low expectations. they had internalized the failings of the system around them that they were not worth investing in them so they might as well give up from the beginning. there are two ways we might improve the every child achieves act to change that message to raise the expectations we communicate to kids from the day
they're born to the day they enter the classroom to the day they graduate. the first way is to pass amendments that strengthen accountability provisions and shine a brighter spotlight on the small fraction of our schools that fail our children. simply put, we cannot allow ourselves to lower our expectations for any of america's schools. i know for many of my colleagues and for teachers and students around the country, the very word accountability in the context of education is associated with high-stakes testing and unfunded mandates but it doesn't have to mean either of those things. accountability means holding every school and every child to the same high standards because our public schools must work for every student no matter where they are where they come from or how they learn. accountability means not allowing schools to maintain the status quo when they fail to graduate large segments of their students. accountability means refusing to lower our expectations even when the path forward seems hard.
mr. president, we have already seen what accountability can accomplish for our children. over the past decade, all students but particularly disadvantaged students have graduated at higher and higher rates and are performing in math and reading better than ever before. the national high school graduation rate is currently 81%, its highest level on record. since 2003, the reading gap between black and white fourth graders has closed by 16 percentage points. and over the same period, hispanic eighth graders have closed the gap in math by 24 percentage points. mr. president, federal accountability is a critical part of ensuring we invest in all american students as if they were our own children, and i urge my colleagues to support senator murphy's amendment which i am proud to join in cosponsoring. this amendment would strengthen accountability in this bill by requiring states to identify low-performing schools and
tailor interventions to help them improve their performance. it also ensures that schools set high goals for and pay attention to all students, including students with disabilities, low-income students, english language learners, latino and african-american students. now, the second amendment i'd like to talk about takes on another piece of increasing expectations of urging every one of our children to dream. that amendment is based on my bipartisan bill called the american dream accounts act with senator rubio and it would send the important message to low-income students that a college education can be within their grasp. for too long, college has been out of reach for the vast majority of poor americans but unlike in past decades economic success today is defined by college access. the new global economy americans with just a high school diploma earn literally a million dollars less over their working lives compared with those who go to college. yet too many of our students who
need it most are not given the tools, the resources and the information to complete a complej education. as the administration has -- complete a college education. as the administration has pointed out just one of ten children from a low-income family will complete a college degree by the time they are 24. just one out of ten. the american dream accounts are designed to address and break down many of the barriers to college access that our most at-risk students face in seeking higher education. they encourage partnerships between schools colleges, nonprofits and businesses to develop secure web-based individual student accounts that contain information about each student's academic preparedness, their financial literacy, that connects them to high-impact mentoring and is tied to an individual college savings account. instead of having each of these different resources available separately through separate silos, an american dream account connects them across existing separated programs and across
existing education efforts at the state and federal level and by connecting across these different silos it deploys a powerful new tool and resource for students, parents teachers and mentors. many of the kids i worked with over many years at the i have a dream foundation had grown up in schools, communities and families where almost no one around them had the opportunity for a college education. these kids took that to mean that college just wasn't for them that it shouldn't be a part of their plan for their future. as part of that organization, it was our job to change that perception and i saw time and again how sending the message that college was a possibility from elementary school on had a powerful and compounding positive impact on the students' idea of who they could be and what they could achieve. it demonstrated the exciting and engaging not just young students but their parents and their teachers and an array of mentors as consume la -- has cumulative,
powerful positive impact. the american dream accounts would expand on this idea and use modern social networking technology to bring together existing programs and deliver ideas that will work for more and more of our kids. and the good news is that by utilizing existing department of education funds this legislation would come at no additional cost to taxpayers. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment with senator rubio. it's amendment number 2127, which would authorize a pilot program to begin making the american dream accounts a reality. mr. president, we have an opportunity right now to build on the bill senators murray and alexander wrote to perform -- reform our public schools in a way that communicates to every child in every public school that they deserve a high-quality education, the kind of education that tells them not only that they should have dreams but that those dreams are within their grasp. 55 years, 55 years after u.s. marshals escorted first grader ruby bridges to school, the nature of and need for federal
intervention in public education has surely changed. while schools are no longer closed to certain races by law too many students are dropping out of school too early or just not receiving an education that prepares them for college and future success. so while educational inequality is no longer a story of deliberate legalized racism in need of federal intervention, it is unfortunately still a persistent and tragic national reality that afflicts classrooms from coast to coast. we have made significant progress in recent years due in part to a bipartisan national commitment to raising the bar for all of america's children. we can't allow ourselves to lower it once again. i look forward to continuing this important debate and working with my colleagues to make sure this bill strikes the right balance between federal oversight and local flexibility. we must work together to make sure this bill moves us closer towards the goal that president
johnson reached for when he first signed the elementary and secondary education act into law. thank you. mr. president, i now ask thak unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations -- calendar number 27, calendar number 28, calendar number 29, calendar number 30 and calendar number 31, and that the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate upon the nominations the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any related statements be printed in the record that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative action. the presiding officer: without objection. -- is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: reserving the right to object, and i will object, the reason we should not confirm the new judges to the court of federal claims has little to do with these nominees and much to do with the court itself.
it doesn't need new judges. we should keep in mind that the number of active judges authorized for the court of federal claims by statute 16, isn't a minimum number, it's a maximum. it's our duty as senators to determine if the court needs that full contingent to balance traditional needs in light of our obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. and what the caseload data show is that the court does not need all 16 judges. far from it. as you can see from this chart since 2007, the court's caseload has dropped dramatically and consistently every year. last year, the court had 2,528 cases on its docket. that's 51% fewer than in 2011. and at 68% fewer than in 2007 when the court had 7,815 cases on its docket. today, a full-time judge on the court is responsible for an average caseload of 180 cases. that is far less than the average caseload of 324 cases in
2011 and the average of 4878 cases in -- 488 cases in 2007. in light of the dramatic drop in caseloads at the court it's hard to justify spending more money to confirm additional judges. the court currently also uses a contingent of six senior judges who have retired from active status but can continue to hear cases, so while there are only currently 11 active judges, there are actually a total of 17 judges at the court hearing cases. furthermore, we should understand that senior judges receive a lifetime annuity worth a full-time salary, regardless of whether they handle cases or not. therefore, if the senate confirms the five nominees to the court, this will expand the number of judges receiving a salary at an extra cost of $800,000 every year. the bottom line is this -- there is no caseload crisis at the court of federal claims. if anything, there's a caseload shortage. it therefore makes no sense to spend more taxpayer dollars on
judges the court simply does not need. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. coons: mr. president i would ask my colleague from arkansas through the chair first if we cannot receive consent to take up these nominations which were made up over 15 months ago as a group. i'd like to briefly describe one of the truly exceptional candidates and if i might also, i think it is important for all of us in this chamber to recognize that the court of federal claims, while the actual number of cases considered may have decreased faces a steadily increasing number of complex cases which have a statutory requirement that they be resolved within a certain period of time, big protest cases which are subject to statutory case management deadlines drive the workload of the court and have roughly doubled in recent years from 68 back in 2005 to 113 last year and likely double that this
year. so the actual number of cases may be declining but the complexity -- their complexity and their workload because of the need for them to be resolved in a certain period of time has steadily increased and i would simply suggest to my colleague from arkansas that looking more broadly at the workload would suggest some of these nominees are worthy of consideration and confirmation. let me briefly reference one of the five pending nominees, jerry summers who has -- jeri somers who has been a civil division trial attorney u recently retired. having served the united states air force reserves as a lieutenant colonel. having spent two decades as a judge advocate and a military judge in the united states air force and the district of columbia's air national guard. she is a patriot a veteran a highly qualified attorney, and i would simply inquire of my colleague through the chair whether any of the five nominees might be subject to
consideration for confirmation today. mr. cotton: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: mr. president i have to object. again, this is not so much about any particular nominee but the fact that the court of federal claims is currently operating with 11 active judges, and when you include the senior judges who are ready willing and able to hear cases they actually have more than the 16 judges that are allowed by statute and those judges would continue to receive their salary even if we confirmed any of these new judges. furthermore, as someone who has practiced at the court of federal claims myself many moons ago when i was a lawyer, albeit not a very good one, i know that the caseload there has always been complex and i simply think the judges that are currently at the court are ready willing and able to handle the court's work. therefore, i must object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. coons: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: if i might just in conclusion, we have a range of highly qualified nominees,
armando bonilla who has spent his entire two-decade career with the department of justice and has an excellent record. thomas halkowski a respected partner at fish and richardson in delaware and who has a wealth of experience before a variety of different federal courts. i think all three of the nominees i have referenced today would make excellent additions. while my colleague from arkansas and i might view the caseload and its complexity differently i think the president has nominated able and capable nominees, and the court needs and deserves to not have to rely on senior status judges to meet its constitutional and statutory obligations. so with that, i will yield the floor, although i will not yield on the issue. thank you very much, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: thank you mr. president. i rise to speak in support of
the peters amendment number 2095. financial literacy has been defined as the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime in financial well-being. unfortunately, too many american families both parents and their children lack basic financial skills. recent studies have shown that future generations are likely to be less financially stable than those that preceded them, and just last year, the finra investor foundation conducted a survey that found that millen yells displayed low levels of financial literacy, engaged in problematic financial behaviors and expressed concerns about their debt. to address this issue a number of states have included financial literacy as a core component of high school education. a separate finra study found that credit scores significantly improved and delinquency rates
on credit accounts were reduced in states with financial literacy education. for example that study found that credit scores improved by 11 points in georgia, 16 points in idaho and 32 points in texas. there isú there is a clear need for practical education programming for parents and students and we should provide states with the flexibility to provide this programming. that is why i have filed amendment number 2095. the peters amendment will include family financial literacy programming as an allowable use for title 1 parent and family engagement funding. family financial literacy program can ensure our nation's parents and children with the skills necessary to properly utilize credit, finance an education, manage a household budget and plan for retirement. i believe that we must do all that we can to help our nation's parents and students succeed in every aspect of their lives. i would like to thank senator
murray and senator alexander for their leadership on this bill and their willingness to work with me on this amendment and i hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting the peters family financial literacy amendment number 2095. mr. president, in addition to my financial literacy amendment i was happy to work with the chairman and ranking member to include language in the text of the bill that will help us identify and assist our most vulnerable children. the term duel status use consideration dual status use comes contact with the juvenile justice systems. duel status youth experience poor educational performance higher recidivism rates and retention rates. they lack stable home lives and are funneled from the school-to-prison pipeline. i'm glad the every child achieves act now includes language that would encourage
states to identify duel status youth and include programs to reduce suspensions expulsions and referrals to law enforcement. mr. president, i was also pleased to join senator gardner in introducing an amendment to allow title 1 funds to be used to support concurrent and duel enrollment programs at eligible schools. this amendment would enable high school students to simultaneously receive college credit from courses taught by college-approved teachers in secondary education. with the cost of higher education continuing to grow, helping students get a head start on completing their college courses helps them save money and get ahead. i'm proud that this body approved the gardner-peters amendment last week. this provision will make the dream of higher education more accessible to students in michigan and across the country. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my remaining
remarks be placed elsewhere in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. peters: mr. president i rise to speak in strong support of plans to increase our nation's overtime payload for the first time in over a decade. and restore meaning. in 1938 congress passed the fair labor standards act and president franklin delano roosevelt signed the bill into law. in landmark legislation represents an important promise that is as true today as it was 77 years ago that if you work hard and play by the rules you will have a secure future. ensuring fair overtime pay for employees is one of the most critical components of the fair labor standards act. it ensures that hardworking americans are able to make an honest wage for their hard work. for middle-class families who are the backbone of our country and for those families working
hard to get there we must protect the important safeguards put in place by the fair labor standards act. i personally learned the value of hard work and the importance of protecting labor standards for all americans from my mother madeleine. born a french citizen she met my father during world war ii, married him and moved to this country. she later worked as a nurse's aide and while she enjoyed working with her parents she did not like the way she or her coworkers were treated by their employer. so she fought for a better workplace and ultimately to win union representation. she later went on to serve as a union steward. a strong labor movement nationwide has helped build economic opportunity for millions of americans just like my mother. standing together to call for fair wages safer workplaces and better hours american workers and their families helped build the american middle class and make the american dream a reality for regular
folks. the strong protections of the fair labor standards act help ensure that american workers have a minimum wage, a 40-hour workweek and overtime pay. unfortunately, we have allowed these protections to fall behind present-day needs and today growing income inequality and stagnant wages are a serious threat to our middle class to our economy and to our democracy. americans are working harder and harder only to fall further and further behind. receiving less and less pay for their long hours. middle-class families are struggling to stay afloat and those who aspire to be in the middle class are finding it more and more difficult to achieve it. today some employers are -- employees rather are required to put 50 or 60 hours or more in a week and are not receiving any overtime pay for their efforts. our nation's overtime pay rules are long overdue for an update. decades of inflation have outpaced the current overtime
pay threshold of $23,600 and eroded the value of the honest paycheck for millions of hardworking americans. this means a worker earning only $23,600 gets paid the same whether they are working 40 hours or 60 hours in a week. that simply is unacceptable. this is not a fair wage and it's not the american dream we fought for to secure for generations. if we are truly committed to building a strong american economy then we have to make sure that american families can thrive. raising the salary threshold for overtime pay will help nearly five million workers across the country and as many as 100,000 workers in michigan earn better wages for their hard work. the pillars used to build and grow our middle class and support our democracy are in jeopardy of crumbling if we do not stand up and protect them. the american middle class and those who aspire to be?
it are the heart and soul of our country and we have an obligation to help every family nationwide realize their version of the american dream. my home state of michigan is the birthplace of our nation's auto industry where american workers and their families helped build the middle class. and make the american dream a reality for millions of people. we owe it to our future generations to preserve this legacy. now, i know there are some who do not believe we should update the overtail payrolls, will oppose this rule saying it's an attack on our nation's business community. well i strongly disagree with this position. prior to coming to congress i worked in business for more than 20 years and i hired many people. i found that paying employees a fair wage is the best way to ensure a happy and produce work force. it is good business, and it is the right thing to do. providing a fair paycheck to hardworking americans so they can build their family and own a
home and save for their children's college education and enissuing a solid retirement is good for business and good for our country. workers who are paid fairly for their work are able to spend their hard-earned money in their communities creating new customers for local businesses and in the process help our economy grow. if we invest in american workers, the best and bright nest the world, we will get a strong return on that investment. enforcing the fair labor standards act gives american workers a fair wage for a day fair day's work and keep the possibility of the american dream alive. we must do what's right for our workers, updating the overtime pay rule will give millions of americans a wage increase that they have earned, provide economic stability and security for hardworking families while boosting our economy. i am proud to support these efforts and i urge my colleagues to do the same. i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i would like to begin just by taking a few moments to discuss the nuclear deal with iran announced this morning. while i'm still reviewing the deal i'm deeply skeptical this agreement will prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. the obama administration appears to have capitulated on -- capitulated on every red line it established at the outset. i have strong doubts whether the provisions requiring inspections are strong enough to be effective. another significant concern is the fact through removal of sanctions will give iran access to billions of dollars to fund its campaign for increased regional influence which includes proxy wars and material support for terrorist organizations. in fact, if you looked at almost anywhere in the middle east whether it's hezbollah in
lebanon or hamas in the gaza strip or the huthis or the shias in iraq, they trace their lineage back and are poxies for iran. -- proxies for iran. i'm deeply concerned it creates a timeline for lifting the embargo on ballistic missile weapons without requiring iran to not change its behavior in any meaningful way. given iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism the last thing that we should be doing is expanding iran's access to weapons. mr. president, in the lead-up to this agreement members of both parties expressed their concerns about the direction this deal was headed and the release of the final document has confirmed many of those fears. unfortunately, the president is apparently unwilling to listen to members of either party and in his speech this morning he threatened to veto any legislation that would prevent his deal from going into effect.
well that's very disappointing mr. president. in -- it lends credence to the concern that the president is more worried about his political legacy than he is about iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. he had members of both parties will carefully examine this deal and continue to do everything that we can to ensure that iran never acquires a nuclear weapon. mr. president, i want to speak as well this week about what the senate is currently doing and the senate is taking a huge step forward on education. nearly eight years after no child left behind expired congress is finally taking up legislation to reauthorize k-12 education programs, allow the law's focus on improving focus for education was laudable, no child left behind must be updated. the legislation we're considering this week, the private, will restore
control -- the every child achieves act will restore control to those who know best, parents teachers, local school boards. just 10% of education funding each year comes from the federal government. despite this, the federal government has a huge role an oversized role in education. every day teachers and administrators and students have their day shaped by a host of federal mandates from testing requirements to precisely what to do if a school is deemed failing. federal control of education has reached its peak in recent years with the federal government going so inform as to coerce states into adopting its preferred curriculum and educational standards. no child left behind demanded that schools meet a number of benchmarks to be judged as adequate. failure to meet these requirements would result in a school being labeled as failing. unfortunately, the rigid nature
meant many schools were at risk of being labeled failing. the response, states have made it a habit to apply to the federal government for waivers from the terms of the law so that they can avoid the burdensome requirements that come along with the failing label. the obama administration has generally complied, but with federal strings attached. essentially the administration informed states it's happy to grant them waivers as long as they agree to implement the the federal government's preferred academic standards don't the method of evaluating teachers and take the steps the federal government believes are appropriate to address failing schools. mr. president, neither congress nor the administration should be telling states and communities what to teach in their schools. decisions about education should be made by those who actually educate students, not by a group of bureaucrats or politicians in washington, d.c. as any teacher will tell you education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. even within a single classroom
students are likely to come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and have different learning styles. teachers are constantly adapting their methods to meet the needs of the students they have in front of them and that's a lot harder to do when washington is dictating those methods. the ladies and gentlemen we're considering today the private, will re -- the every child achieves act will revoke the authority to dictate standards to the states. specifically this legislation prohibits the federal government from tying funds to a state's adoption of specific education standards. in other words, the federal government will no longer be able to blackmail states into adopting its preferred academic criteria. this is a huge victory for students and for teachers. thanks to this legislation states and localities will have much more freedom to adopt the standards and curricula that will help their students achieve. mr. president, another one of the problems created by no child left behind as any teacher will
tell you is the phenomenon of overtesting. i have received hundreds of letters from teaches and parents concerned about the effect over-test something having on students' education. while nclb only required two or three tests per year, the law made these tests the primary indicator of a school's performance, which resulted in many schools deciding to teach to the test. the result: not surprising, instead of teachers deciding what's important material based on their knowledge of their subject, teachers' instructional priorities are often dictated by the material that they think will be required on the tests. as a result, students may never receive instruction in important topics or concepts simply because they're not covered on the tests. in addition, instead of the two or three yearly tests required by law students are often subject to months of preparatory testing in an effort to make sure a school preserves its
ranks by gaining acceptable scores on the mandated tests. it is true that tests including standardized tests can be incredibly useful both as a diagnostic tool and as a measurement of student progress. but problems arise when tests become the only measure of progress. the every child achieves act keeps the testing requirements of no child left behind but gives the states the option to give a single comprehensive test as they do now or break up the assessment into smaller components that could be given throughout the school year. and most importantly the every child achieves act removes test results as the primary indicator of a school's performance. in fact, it takes progress measurements out of the hands of the federal government entirely and gives them to the states. under this bill, states, not the federal government, low-income
-- will be the ones developing account blghtaccountability measures. each state will be able to identify the best ways to chart the progress of its schools and to measure student performance. in addition, the every child achieves act removes the federal government's national teacher evaluation requirements and allows states to decide whether and how to measure the effective effectiveness of their teachers. mr. president, i've offered several amendments to the every child achieves act including very important measures to address the tragic rash of student suicides that has beset indian country over the past several months. the first of these amendments would require the secretary of education to coordinate with the secretary of the interior and the secretary of health and human services to report on their federal response to these suicides compile and analyze available federal resources and make recommendations for improving federal programs. the second measure would strengthen the project's school
emergency response program for project serve to help schools prevent tragedies like youth suicide. i'm hopeful that the senate will pass both of these measures. i'm also pleased that the underlying bill contains improvements i champ oned to the federal impact aid program to make up for nontaxable federal activity in a school district. mr. president, the reforms contained in the every child achieves act have been a long time coming, and they have been greeted eagerly. this bill is supported by everyone from the school superintendents organization to the national governors' association to teach for america. and, of course, this legislation is strongly supported by both republicans and democrats here in the senate. one big reason a no child left behind reauthorization has moved from legislation no member of congress wanted to touch to the
bipartisan bill that is before us today is republicans' commitment to restoring regular order to the united states senate. we've restored the commit process and ensured that members of both parties are able to make their voices heard through amendments. the result is legislation like every child achieves act a bill with bipartisan authorship and strong bipartisan support. mr. president, i hope we'll have many more achievements like this in the republican-led senate this year. we need to get control out of the hands of washington bureaucrats. people have never been to south dakota much less a south dakota school they shouldn't be telling south dakota teachers what to teach. the legislation before us to help strengthen education in this country by putting education in this country in the hands of those where it belongs: in the hands of state and local school districts. i look forward to the senate passing this bill later this
week. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. burr: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president i thank my colleague from north dakota for highlighting the real benefits of doing away with no child left behind, breaking down the national school board saying to states and localities across this country we're going to put you in charge of k-12 education. that's where the responsibility needs to be. that's where we've got decisions closer to students. and i don't think there's a disagreement between members of the united states senate or congress or republicans or democrats or somebody from the north or the south that we want to make sure that k-12 education
works, that every child should get across the goal line to graduation and that every child with that did diploma should be marketable either to higher education ar to a job with a -- or to a job with a skill that has a paycheck. and i will say that the federal government's role is not to micromanage the education system; it is to be a financial partner to k-12 education. and to be that partner without strings, and to be a partner that provides equity across the board. so i'm here to talk about the full educational opportunity act of 2015, which i hope will be an amendment to this bill. title 1(a) is the federal government's central financial assistance to 21 million poor children in america. they attend school districts with high levels of poverty and
the kids come from low-income families. they define exactly what the federal government should be focused on. it has served as the krng the cornerstone for the federal government's education funding since elementary and secondary quags was first signed into law. at the bill's signing the president said that the snangs provided under esea would serve to assist in the full educational opportunity of low-income students and to provide financial assistance to school districts serving areas with concentrations of children from low-income families. that summed it up in two sentences. that's where the federal government's funding source was designed to meet. so what's happened since 1965? like every other funding formula in the federal government, as the population shifted somewhere
else in the country the money never seemed to follow it. we had this debate several years ago on h.i.v. aids when we waterboard up one day and realized how much we were invested in the war against hiv/aids. the hiv/aids population had gone down. and throughout rural america we had an explosion of hiv/oids, primarily in african-american women. and we worked and we worked and weigh worked and we finally changed the legislation to find out what the intefnts was and that was what the money followed the population it was inthendz to help. and today--and today there are individuals in rural america that are now getting the drugs that they need to either hold in check the disease or in hopes slow its progression down. i am here today because lyndon
johnson in 1965 said that's the federalfederal government's role, to make sure we target low-income families kids in poverty. despite recognizing these formula funds were not fully targeted at high-poverty asian congress has just simply taken the easy route and just added more formulas to title 1(a) in hopes that by putting more formulas out there eventually it would help the people that were affected. well what it's done is it's compounded the problem. the inquo's sis inadequacies in how we target poverty just aren't right. my amendment seeks to create a simple highly targeted program towards poverty with a new formula. first, what does it do? it's important to make clear that this amendment only addresses title 1 formulas. it's not the overall funding. that's for appropriators to determine.
but it's to structure the formula. now, i'm a strong support of title 1 funding and i believe regardless of the amount at which title 11 funded, it should be distributed fairly and targeted to its intended population, which is kids in poverty. low-income families. sumly adding more--simply adding more funds still allows the inequities in the formula to persist. that's why i'm attempting to fix the formula and i might say once and for all. this amendment consolidates all of title 1's formulas into one simple formula called equity grants. let me say this: it service 1(a) so that the calculation, put very simply, is equity grantings equal the state's number of poor children times the national average of educating each child. it ends a policy that rewards a
wealthy state with title 1 money simply because they're able to spend more on education and therefore, they get a higher allotment as a result. for decades this has penalize poorer states who spend high shares of their tax revenue on education but don't spend as much in absolute terms as wealthier states. this change ensures that poor children born in a poor state aren't penalized because of their zip code and for not lives living in a wealthy state. why will equity grants work and where are they targeted? is hevery simply, this formula takes the number of low-income children in a state multiplies it by how equitable a state spends its own money on helping low-income children, then sends the amount to the school district in the state while placing heavy weights on school districts that exhibit the
highest levels of poverty. embraced in the 1965 initiative of president johnson. current law rewards states to spend a higher amount than poor states. essentially as long as you are above the national average in spending you get a very large title 1 bonus payment. for example the national average per pupil education spending in the country is $11,014 for states like pennsylvania it's $13. mass marks $14,515. in connecticut $16,631 per pupil. this has been a pretty good deal for them. for states like mississippi
$8,130. north carolina, $8,090. in utah, $6,555. not so good a deal. who gets cheated? kids in poverty. kids from low-income families. rewarding wealth over poverty is also contrary to the original purpose of title 1(a) funding. this has a real impact on how much a formula child will receive based upon the state in which he or she lives. for example a child in guilford county, north carolina, is only worth $1,128. a poor child in albuquerque, new mexico is only worth $1,158. a poor child in seattle is only worth $1,240. but, on the other hand, a poor child in philadelphia is worth $1,986. a poor child in newark, new
jersey is worth $1838. a poor child in boston is worth $1847. this is a highly inequitable and unfair formula to poor children in most states. because of the changes in this amendment, these disparities go away. they're almost completely eliminated eliminating this provision has been suggested by organizations like the center for american progress, the formula fairness campaign, the rural schools and community trust and others. let me assure the president these are not conservative groups. these are very left-of-center groups who've said, equity is important. no state should get a bonus payment just because they spend more or they're wealthy. the focus since 1965 was supposed to be kids in poverty. and if you have a he got more kids in poverty you should receive a larger federal share.
this amendment also addresses the bonus very large districts who might have small numbers of poverty have enjoyed. under the current larks a district must receive -- must meet a $f 6,500 formula child threshold to receive concentration grants. this has typically resulted in purely large and not necessarily large high concentration in poverty districts receiving large grant awards. this hurts smaller mostly rural with higher percentage of poverty but not necessarily high numbers. to fix this we impart a 20% poverty test within the equity grant for large districts to show they have a concentration of poverty. now, this is a novel approach. we've got a program a formula that's targeted to be a federal partner in money targeted at kids in poverty and all of a
sudden we're asking them show us that you've got that population. under the current law districts also receive title 1-a dollars for merely meeting a small threshold of ten formula kids or 2% of their overall population being poor. this has meant that schools in loudoun county, virginia -- and i'm sure there are some in here that might have graduated from loudoun county schools or have kids in loudoun county schools today -- it only has 3% poor children. it's one of the wealthiest counties in america. receives about $1 million as part of an overall nearly $1 billion budget. this is about half the entire spending of the state of south dakota the previous speaker is from. should he be cheated because they don't spend as much as
virginia? though he's got kids in poverty low-income families, individuals that in 1965 the congress and the president said this is who we should target, we, the federal government, on behalf of taxpayers. well this hurts smaller rural districts with large percentages of poverty but not necessarily high numbers. under current laws, it's not going to change. we should do our best to send the money to districts and states that are truly in need. by focusing the formula on poverty. now, sometimes it's easier to see than it is to listen. this is the amendment. full educational opportunity act. what do we do? it treats all lower-income children the same. i think that's what the federal government is supposed to do. targets the poorest communities.
that was the s the 1965 law. prioritizes equity, meaning everybody should be treated equal. but you shouldn't disadvantage a poor child in one area to advantage a system in another area. is it fair? title 1 child versus a title 1 child. denver colorado, $1,218. boston massachusetts 1,847. miami, florida 1,226. albuquerque, new mexico, $1,1858. portland oregon, 1292. seattle, washington, 1,240.
new york city, 1,3839. if i'm over here, i think this funding formula is awfully good. because we're getting rewarded whether we have poverty kids or not. over here, who's being hurt? it's not the states. i mean, people is have come down to the floor and they have beat me up on this amendment for the last few days. oh, how could you do this? how could you take away something that we've already got? it's real simple. you don't have low-income poverty kids, or at least you don't have as much as here. if you did you'd qualify under the new formula. but it gets worse mr. president, fair? florida, the same number of low-income students. $690,000 as new york, $686,000. what's the distribution of title 1-a funds $774 million. $1.1 billion.
same population and new york receives $400 million more than the state of florida. how can that be fair? now, you can be greedy and say we deserve it. that's what the formula said. you can't punish us because this is not equitable. well maybe we can't. but for once congress can do the right thing and fix the formula. that's all i'm on the floor attempting to do with my amendment, is to fix it. since 1965, we haven't had the backbone to do it when we figured out it was wrong. well when you see this, if it's targeted for low-income kids and they've got the same numbers they ought to get the same money. but, no, some believe that $400 million is worth it because they've all gotten more.
new mexico versus massachusetts 107,000 low-income students in new mexico. 80,000 low-income students in massachusetts. new mexico receives $116 million massachusetts receives $116 million. the same amount of money 27,000 more low-income poverty kids in new mexico. what do you say to a child in new mexico that just happened to grow up in a poor family? you don't get to get as good an education. you should have been born in massachusetts. and this is the federal government doing it with taxpayer money and we don't have a problem with this? my god, this is at the heart of what the federal government is supposed to do. and there are individuals that come down here and talk about equitable treatment all the time. this is the most unequal thing that can exist. yet, some would block this
amendment from coming to the floor. is this fair? title 1-a allocation per poor child, florida 1,284. new york, 1 611. minnesota, 1189, massachusetts 1453. maryland 1585. connecticut, 1447, new mexico, 1093 pennsylvania 1517. it doesn't matter how you slice it they get more. they get more but they don't have the population to support it. so who's getting more than their fair share? boy, pictures speak louder than words. look at that. the green states get more money. the white states, even though they've got kids in poverty
they don't get an equitable distribution of federal money through the title 1-a program. it's embarrassing. it's embarrassing to congress that we haven't changed this a long time ago. poor children who lose under the current formula. it's the reverse. now it's the kids that live in the states that are red that get cheated. they get cheated based upon the 1965 initiative under lyndon johnson's signed into law after congress passed it early childhood program. elementary and secondary education. i don't think i've ever seen,
mr. president, an issue that broadly affected america where with this much disparity in equitable distribution of federal dollars. as a matter of fact, i would say it couldn't happen. but not only did it happen, people argue that this is fair. well all i can say is that if you say this is fair, then you're not focused on what this formula was designed to do. and that's to target low-income kids in poverty. but you know, it doesn't stop there. let's go further. let me take my state of north carolina. 391,000 low-income students. we had $417 million title 1-a money. pennsylvania they've got 357,000 low-income students.
they get $542 million in title 1 money. so i've got 34,000 more low-income children, but i'm asked -- i'm asked to be satisfied with $125 million less in money to target low-income kids in poverty. i think i'm being pretty diplomatic when i come down here and show things like this. this is what america hates. this is what make them sick. this is what they think is a great example of, that we don't have a sense of reality. what do you say to a kid in north carolina who struggles through k-12 when you say you're worth $125 million less if you're in poverty than the investment we're going to make in pennsylvania?
well it's only appropriate that the president would be from colorado. 143,000 low-income students, receives $150 million. maryland 124,000 low-income students. $196 million. 19,000 more low-income students in colorado, but you get $46 million less. you have the same hard time i do going back to colorado and saying don't worry, this is fair. ness fair because it's -- this is fair because it's been this way for 25 years. the money is supposed to follow the population we're targeted to be invested in. and in this particular case, it's the most at risk in our country from getting the tools that they need from getting a job to get a paycheck. fair? nevada, the minority leader's
state, 102,000 low-income students. they get $116 million. connecticut, 80,000 low-income students. they get $116 million. if i was from nevada, i'd be furious at this. you'd think if you get the same amount of money, you should at least have the same number of kids in poverty because that's what the formula was designed to do. but, no. wealthy states have found ways to gain it by getting bonus payments. fair? indiana the last presiding officer before this one 235,000 low-income students. they get $256 million in indiana. 228,000 low-income students in new jersey. they get $331 million. 7,000 more low-income students in indiana and somehow new jersey gets $75 million more than indiana.
as i said when i started mr. president, this is sort of embarrassing. some find no shame in this. we're just out for as much money as our state can get. well let me just say to my colleagues, i don't know what the outcome of this amendment is going to be, but let me ask you for one minute put the windfall your state's getting aside and ask yourself do we have an obligation based upon how elementary and secondary education was perceived and conceived in 1965 to actually make sure that the money follow where kids in poverty are? if not don't come down here and talk about equity on every other funding formula. don't say that money should follow people when you've got the most at-risk population, kids in poverty and we're talking about educating them to where they can function in
society, to where they can get a job and a paycheck, and not be a ward of anybody where they can be independent and enjoy every opportunity this country has to offer. well you can't be for that and be against this amendment. you can't be for those kids and not fund them where every state is red. it can't happen. but over history this like other things, creates winners and a lot of losers. but let me suggest to you that you take these lines away and you just see the united states of america. who should be the winners? every kid in poverty. every kid born into a low-income family should be the recipient of title 1-a money in an equal capacity because they should have as good an opportunity at a
future an economic future, regardless of the state they live in, regardless of the zip code regardless of whether they're in rural america or urban america. there shouldn't be a dis crep is i:: -- there shouldn't be a discrepancy. this rights a really bad wrong. this makes it work for all kids in poverty. not some kids. not school districts that are wealthy. all kids in poverty. let me just say for my colleagues, it's not going to happen unless we have a backbone that's strong enough to actually bring an amendment up and vote on it. i'm willing to do that. i'm willing to roll the dice. look at the number of states that benefit from this. and i said that wrong. look at the number of kids that benefit from this change. this isn't about states, it's not about parties. this isn't about kids.
it's what this act was created for in 1965, and i can't find a reason as to why congress didn't fix it before 2015. but the fact is that we're talking about reauthorizing the elementary and secondary education bill. it happens about once every ten years. we have an opportunity to fix this inequity now. i don't want to look back and say i had an opportunity to fix it but you know, that was hard, it was difficult it meant that there were winners and losers. everybody can't be a winner when some take advantage of the system like this has. well there's only one way to make everybody a winner, and that's to fix the formula regardless of how long it takes us to work out of it, we can fix it from this point forward. i urge my colleagues if -- if given the opportunity to vote on the burr-bennet full educational opportunity act i encourage my
colleagues to support it. i can't believe i'm in the united states senate saying if, if if we're given an opportunity to actually bring up a germane relevant amendment that affects every kid in poverty in the united states. i can't imagine the senate not willing to debate and vote that amendment. i thank the president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i'm not sure what the intentions are of the chairman of the energy committee. as chairman, i would be delighted to yield to her. if she is going to take some time on the floor right now i plan to make about ten minutes of remarks. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, it was my understanding that i was next up in the queue. if i'm incorrect i would be happy to get this squared away. i, too have about 15 minutes.
mr. whitehouse: i'm more than happy to yield if you want to, are prepared. i thought we went back and forth from side to side ordinarily. i know the chairman is a very busy person. ms. murkowski: i thank my colleague. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: i thank my colleague from rhode island, and i thank him for the opportunity to speak directly to this bill this afternoon. before i do so, mr. president i would ask unanimous consent that the following individuals who are interns on my staff for the summer be given privileges of the floor -- steven murphy, gwen ranneger christian escalante taylor sheldon max bluse kaitlyn bowers. thank you mr. president. mr. president, i would like to speak briefly about the measure we have on the floor today the every child achieves act the bill that we have all been
waiting for for about 15 years to fix the flawed one-size-fits-all no child left behind act and i want to start my comments by thanking senator alexander, who is the chairman, as well as senator murray, the ranking member, for how they have managed this legislation from the very beginning. i think we know that there is a little bit of inside baseball that goes on around here, that perhaps isn't interesting to many but i think it is important to note that chairman alexander and ranking member murray have led this bill in a way that has fostered consensus building and i think very, very constructive negotiations. and more importantly the process that they allowed allowed the voices of the american people, of alaskans to be heard and i think that was one of the reasons why you saw this legislation move
unanimously through the help committee in april and i think that's one of the reasons that you're seeing us move through a series of amendments on issues that are considerable, but in a very constructive manner and certainly respectful of one another. and so i want to acknowledge and recognize the masterful work that they have done in guiding this bill forward. i'd also like to recognize the work that my staff karen mccarthy on my staff has done yeoman's work in working with so many alaskans, educators administrators the like. that has been an effort that i think has yielded benefit to folks in my home state but i also want to recognize the work of -- of those on both senator murray's staff as well as senator alexander's very
hardworking professional staff who are a credit to their senators and their state. so why -- why am i standing here today before you in support of the every child achieves act? when alaskans are visiting about the education bill that we know as no child left behind, it was clear that to a number whether you're an educator, whether it's students parents tribes, didn't make any difference, nobody was happy. the one-size-fits-all mandate poor tribal consultation, lack of state and local control over our children's education were clearly not working. i -- i say that one of the first immersions into politics that i had was when i was a p.t.a. president at my son's elementary school and that for me was my -- my first introduction to what it meant to the mandates coming out of no child left
behind when our school was deemed as a failure as a failure because we failed to meet a.y.p. because of the 31 different ways to fail, we certainly made it by not having sufficient sub groups taking the test on the day that the test was required. our neighborhood school was a failure. didn't seem to me that it made sense and still it does not. and so making sure that taking that experience as a mom and as a p.t.a. president and as one who no child left behind was not just some theoretical exercise, it was -- it was federal law imposed in my town, in my school that had a negative and a direct impact on those who were part of our school. so my top priority was to make sure that any rewrite of no
child left behind gave more power to make decisions about alaska's schools to alaska and to our local communities. the failed experiment of adequate yearly progress had to go. under the every child achieves act, that's done. the failed highly qualified teacher mandates that made little sense and did not work also had to go, and they're gone. states will again be able to decide what qualifications and skills to demand of teachers, principals, whether to have a statewide evaluation system, and if so whether those evaluations include growth in student proficiency. now, i am very aware that some across the country and in fact i have heard from some in alaska some are concerned that the every child achieves act does not do enough to return local control to schools that it perpetuates somehow the common core standards. and in fact, the every child
achieves act specifically and expressly prohibits the secretary from having any authority to, i quote mandate direct control coerce or exercise any direction or supervision over any of the challenging state academic standards adopted or implemented by a state close quote. now, i have also heard that some are concerned that the bill maintains secretarial approval of state plans with the implication then that the secretary will be able to deny or to change elements of states' plans, whether it's state standards, assessments or accountability systems as somehow a condition of approval. but the every child achieves act also places a number of limitations on the secretary's authority over the state's plans. the act prohibits the secretary from requiring a state to include or delete any element of its state plan -- state standards from the state plan,
use specific assessment instruments or items. it sets goals timelines waits or significance to any indicators of student proficiency, include or decleat from the plan standards measures assessments student growth benchmarks or goals of student achievement for school accountability as well as any aspect of teacher or principal quality, effective ns or ee value -- effectiveness or evaluation systems. there are similar prohibitions that are scattered throughout the every child achieves act. in short mr. president i'm confident that the act returns control of state standards curriculum instruction assessments, educated qualifications and school accountability to the state of alaska and that's where i want it to be. i also have other reasons for supporting the act that will directly impact students, parents, educators and communities across alaska in a positive way and with provisions that alaskans ask for
most specifically. i want to acknowledge the work that i was able to do with senator boxer. together we worked to craft and support the after school for america's children's act. she and i worked on this bill to update and strengthen the 21st century community learning center after schools programs across the country. and we worked with a number of other members here to make sure that this important program the program that keeps our children safe and engaged after school and during the summer works for all of our states. and we worked with the chairman and the ranking member and after a lot of good negotiation the after schools for american children act with some amendments was included in the overall every child achiefs act and this was done by unanimous consent in the help committee which i appreciate. on the issue of how we ensure that our native american
children are cared for and addressed -- children are cared for and addressed in a meaningful way there were several provisions that we were able to include in the act to better meet the needs of native children. at my request the act requires school districts where applicable to consult and engage with the american indian, alaska native or native hawaiian tribes and parents in creating state and local plans and implementing federal education programs that serve native students in order to meet their cultural language and education needs. these are our nation's first peoples with whom the united states has a constitutionally mandated responsibility to interact with on a government-to-government basis so i think it's time that our tribes and our native organizations throughout the country will be part of designing the plans and shaping the programs used to improve schools that serve our native students. senator franken and i working
with senator tester, were able to include a new program in the every child achieves act to help our nation's first peoples maintain and revitalize their native languages through the schools. this is a new grant program that will support the creation, the improvement and expansion of native language immersion schools in which alaska native, american indian and native hawaiian students learn their lessons through their ancestral languages. this opportunity will help preserve the fast-vanishing native languages of our first peoples. so what -- what we work to do within the program the native american alaska native language immersion schools and programs, will help the native language immersion schools develop curriculum and assessments provide professional development to teachers and other staff and carry out activities that will promote the maintenance and revitalization of these endangered languages.
this is a provision that i -- i really am quite proud of what we have been able to do, working with our colleagues, to make sure that we do not lose that focus in this important act. we also eliminate some technical red tape that makes it nearly impossible for alaska's rural school districts to claim impact aid dollars to which they are entitled just because nclb and alaska native claims settlement act didn't play well together. and while it's more than complicated to explain let's just leave it in saying that many rural alaskan school districts are no longer going to have to bang their heads against a brick wall of illogical and contradictory federal rules after this provision is enacted and that's always a good thing. i would only point out that fixing this problem started because a handful of school business officials and superintendents took the time to reach out to me to let me know we've got a problem here. this is really one of those examples where working together we're all building legislation.
i'm also quite proud to have helped include strong improvements to the alaska native educational equity program. we call it aneep in this legislation. for some years now alaska leaders have asked why do schools get all of the title seven indian ed money and most of the aneep funding and they explain that they are more than ready to take on more responsibility to help their children achieve in school. alaska leaders have an indispensable role to play in developing programs to help our children succeed. these are sound arguments. while alaska receives no funding from the bureau of indian education and our schools receive the title 7 part a funding, the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and alaska tribes and native organizations has not been fully honored under aneep. under the amendments that we include in the act an eep
funds will go either directly to tribes and organizations that have expertise running education programs or to tribes and organizations without such experience who partner with school districts. in addition tribes and tribal organizations may partner with the university and other nonnative entities if they so choose. this will not only honor our constitutional relationship to alaska natives but ensure they can take on more responsibility for helping their children succeed, which again is the right thing to do here. mr. president, in closing i would just say that the every child achieves act is a good piece of legislation and it's getting better, i think with each day as we consider additional amendments. it is far far better than what we ever had with no child left behind. and while i'm positive that each of us will have more thoughts about how this could be a better bill be a more perfect piece
of legislation if only one or two more changes were made, on the whole this is a sound improvement over the current failed law. i certainly intend to be supportive as we move through the end of this process. with that, mr. president i want to thank the courtesy of my colleague from rhode island in deferring and know that when i have a similar opportunity to yield to you, i shall do so. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i join chairman murkowski in my expressing my satisfaction and pleasure with this bill that we are on, and join her also in commending the leadership of -- our ranking member, patty murray and the chairman of the committee, lamar alexander.
as a result of their work, we have a really significant piece of legislation before us. it has received bipartisan support in the committee and i think the secret of their success was they knew how to let senators are senators and work on a piece of bill really on the merits of it without a lot of partisan gun slinging. as a result of the legislation before us represents -- gun slinging. the as a result the legislation before us represents an improvement over the failed no child left behind. the process that led to this was bipartisan substantive thorough and really listened to a wide array of viewpoints. and the result is this strong bipartisan proposal. as one of my senior colleagues on the committee said, this is what happens when you have committee leaders who really know what they are doing.
by now most americans certainly my constituents, are familiar with the failures of no child left behind. it overemphasized a peculiar form of testing a form of testing in which the student took the test but wasn't graded on it, the subject of the test really was the performance of the school itself, and so schools became frantic to heap up student performance to protect themselves. as a result, there was a lot of drama in the schools around these tests and if you did not do well, that then pitched you into a narrow one-size-fits-all approach to fixing the low-performing school. so neither part of that combination served students or communities well. the every child achieves act is based on a simple idea that i think has broad support in the senate less classroom time spent on this frantic test
preparation for the high-stakes exams means more time actually learning stuff. every child achieves allows states to take a whole range of factors into account to gauge how students are doing and how the schools are doing. not just one test. i call that the data dashboard. it can include things like graduation rates college performance rates afterwards, how many students are integrity a.p. classes and s.a.t. tests incidents of violence or bullying or it's something we've worked on in rhode island through our info works program a commonsense way of understanding school and student performance without creating this massive distraction and drama. less emphasis on this peculiar high-stakes testing regime means
more time for teachers to teach a more balanced, well-rounded curriculum giving attention to important subjects like history and the arts, which because they weren't covered on these high-pressure standardized tests fell out of the curriculum. so parents ought to see after we pass this bill is a much richer curriculum for their kids and ones that some kids simply need in order to stay interested in school. if arts are what a are your passion as a child if that's fallen out because of the testing regime, you've really been hurt. if history and what happened in olden days is really what gets you excited about education if that gets squeezed out so you can do the math and the reading tests better you've really been hurt as a student. so that has changed. i am really glad that we have language in this bill to support civics and american history education so that beyond just
reading and math and tested subjects the students who graduate from public education have a real understanding of what it means to be an american citizen. it means something to be an american citizen and we need kids to understand the trajectory of this country so that they can fill that role as american citizens better. the bill supports school libraries which is an issue my senior senator from, jack reed has long championed and which i was proud to support in committee. it includes an initiative i supported which was let by senator mikulski to provide support for gifted and talented students particularly those who are in high-poverty schools. it can be really hard to keep a high-ability child engaged and motived if they're not -- motivated if they're not challenged and i believe senator mikulski's language will be a help to these kids and their teachers and parents. when a school does fall short
every child chiefs rejects -- achieves rejects the punitive aspects of the no child left behind act. instead it allows parents and students to work together to improve their schools in ways that makes sense for the students and gives them the tools to succeed. in my experience, i have learned that the greatest unmet area at least in rhode island is in middle schools and when i talk to people from other states they see the same thing. those middle grades are a tipping point in the lives of many students, especially those at risk of dropping out. when i was rhode island's attorney general i saw hundreds of juvenile cases that had a common thread which was catastrophic levels of middle school truancy. in order to get a better handle on what was happening in the middle schools i adopted one the oliver has are a perry middle school in providence. we worked hard to create a really relationship between the police department and the school. we helped get truant kids back
in classrooms. gab a mentoring program between attorneys and kids p. we did a lot of different things. those years of working with middle school stakeholders helped me realize how much the middle grades bear on a child's future. it is an age when a child is beginning to make his or her own decisions which can be dangerously bad ones at that time. they can still be influenced by positive adults and by enriching experiences in their lives. many students who fail in high school showed the warning signs in middle school. we have got to be reaching reaching back into middle school to help them stay on track. that's why i'm so glad to have partnered with our friend, senator baldwin on a measure that requires states to identify and support students at risk of dropping out in middle school. not waiting until they're in
serious trouble in high school. i'm also proud that the bill includes key elements of the community partnerships in education act the house version of which was championed by my house colleague congressman david cicilline. the outstanding success in rhode island of the providence after-school alliance shows that schools and their students can thrive with help from strong community partners focused on sustainable and coordinated after-school learning opportunities. pasa is really a model and community-based after-school has long been underappreciated and i'm glad it's on an even basis in this bill with school-based after-school. the every child achieves act also makes progress educating students who have become involved in the criminal justice system. as with the juvenile justice
reauthorizing i'm -- reauthorization i'm working on with chairman grassley in the judiciary committee this bill tries to break the sickle of troubled kids who enter the juvenile justice system, get marginalized fall farther behind in their education leading to more trouble and ultimately to crime. this phenomenon is referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline and it's tragic and it needs to end. i also have seen and heard how federal, state and local regulations can get in the way of innovative reforms. over the last two years i've worked closely with rhode island educators who have told me time and time again that they could achieve much better results if not for the layers of professional education bureaucracy stifling innovation. at multiple levels. so i'm working to include an amendment to establish an innovation schools demonstration
giving teachers, parents and school leaders who have a unique understanding of the students and communities they serve the flexibility to turn those ideas into action. in rhode island i've heard from school leaders who would like to extend the school day for struggling students, to reboot their curriculum, to take ownership over their school's budgeting and financing or to better manage their school's human resources. but they can't because existing rules and regulations get in the way. and they're often daunted because if you try to go after the local regulations you still have the state regulations. and if you try to go after the local and state regulations you still have the federal regulations, and so they give up. well, my amendment establishes a fast fast-track progress to give students relief from barriers to innovation from local state and federal regulations.
here's what victimmor drapaone superintendent of the proposed schools told me, as a leader having nor flexibility to design the learning around the needs of my students and teachers and within the local context that exists and not based on old and fixed conditions makes all the sense in the world to me. overall, mr. president the every child achieves act returns more decisionmaking authority to public schools gives them tools to help every student succeed, and promotes greater flexibility in achieving high standards. as i prepaved -- prepared at home for this bill, i worked with a lot of rhode islanders to learn what was lead needed. i'm really grateful to the groups who gave me so much time. many of us met over and over to work through these issues and lay the foundation particularly for the middle school part of the bill and for the innovation
school part of the bill. there was a lot of good rhode island work that went into those and i really appreciate it. i believe this bill responds to the needs and concerns of the many rhode island teachers, reformers, students, school administrators and union officials i worked with, and i'm proud to support it. i'll close mr. president by saying one last thing. there are many issues we deal with where we experience a lot of confrontation and often we come into a situation thinking that we know what the confrontation is before we even get to it, we anticipate the confrontation. what i learned from sitting down and spending real time together with teachers who are in teachers' unions, with reformers who are determined to make schools better and able to innovate from administrators who work in public schools and from administrators who work in charter schools you put them all together, they agree on so
much of what is in this bill. if you treat people involved in this system with the with respect they deserve individually and if you listen to them, the agreement is far greater than the disagreement. so i'll close where i began: what chairman alexander and ranking member murray did was to create a process where we could be senators and as a senator, i was able to bring those voices from rhode island into this process in a meaningful way. and my ability to bring that voice in in a meaningful way empowered me to bring those voices together back in rhode island and find the kind of agreement that has enabled these successes. so i'm very grateful to them as well and with that comment, i will yield the floor and i note that we have no quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call bs dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president moi to proceed to calendar number 19, hfer 22. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of h.r. 22 an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to exempt employees with helmet coverage you understand tricare and so forth. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the cleche desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 19, h.r. 22 an act to
amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to exempt employees with health coverage under tricare or the veterans administration from taking in account for purposes of determining the employers to which the employer mandate applies under the patient protection and affordable care act signed by 17 senators ras follows: mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the readings of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i withdraw my motion to proceed. the presiding officer: the motion is withdrawn. mr. mcconnell: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 145, sed 1300. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 145, is $1300 a bill to amend the section 221 of the immigration and nationality act to provide relief for adoptive families from immigrant visa fees in certain situations. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the bill be read third time
and passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now mr. president, i just wanted to briefly say a few words about today's senate passage of s. 1300, the adoptive family relief act. the issue this bill addresses is of particular importance to me, and i'm proud to be a cosponsor of the legislation. more than 400 american families, approximately 20 of them from kentucky have successfully adopted children from the democratic republic of the congo, the d.r.c. however, due to the d.r.c. government's suspension of exit permits, which has been in place for close to two years now many of these families have been unable to bring their adoptive children home to the u.s. for example although i was pleased to be able to help the brat family from owens bore row with the return of one of their
adoptive sons last christmas their own son still remains in the d.r.c. to make matters worse many of these families have been financially burdened by the cost of continually renewing their children's visas while they wait for the day the d.r.c. decides to lift the suspension. in an attempt to help these families the adoptive family relief act will provide meaningful financial relief by granting the state department the authority to waive the fees for multiple visa renewals in this and other extraordinary adoption circumstances. the bill builds on congress' bipartisan efforts on this adoption issue including a provision in this year's congressional budget resolution to encourage a solution to the stalemate in the d.r.c. i strongly urge the d.r.c. government to resolve this matter. i truly hope there's a solution to it soon. but until then, i urge the house and president obama to help us
enact the adoptive family relief act. the passage of this bill through the senate today will help bring needed assistance to so many loving families across our country who want nothing more than to open their homes to a child in need. i want to thank the bill's sponsors senator feinstein and johnson, and the 17 other bipartisan cosponsors and the judiciary committee for their hard work and truly bipartisan commitment to solving this heartbreaking issue. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator withhold? mr. mr. mcconnell: i'm sorry. i suspend. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank the majority leader. i appreciate that. i ask unanimous consent mr. president, to speak for up to ten minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i -- next tuesday is july 21.
one, it is my wife's birthday. second, it is the five-year anniversary of the dodd-frank wall street reform act becoming law. two decades before that, bering, an international baipg was destroyed by fraud committed by a single one of their traders. in reality, there were no profits unbeknownst to many at the time. just big losses that this trader managed to conceal until the firm collapsed. when writing about his actions later in his memoir, this trader said luckily from my fraud there were too many chiefs who would chat about it at arm's length but never go further. they never dared to ask me any basic questions since they were afraid of looking stupid about not understanding futures and options. unquote. this -- this, mr. president helps illustrate how we got to that financial crisis.
wall street so often speaks its own language, one most americans can't understand, one that prevented consumers and taxpayers and sometimes even participants from asking questions and from challenging wall street. september 2008 was preceded by a decade of deregulation after furious lobbying by the financial industry, lobbying underscored beneficiary buttressed by obfuscation and deceit always underscored by greed. risky behavior -- risky behavior was rewarded with gargantuan profits for the firms and multimillion-dollar bonuses for the traders and the executives. questions were not asked people often looked the other way. so many were confused and tricked, if you will. regulators didn't do their jobs, congress was too -- putting it mildly -- bought and sold by wall street, and look what happened to the american public?
most americans didn't fully appreciate the connection between wall street and our lives until 2008. that's when the biggest bank's recklessness resulted in the loss of jobs. 5 million americans lost their homes, 13 trillion -- with a "t" -- that's 13,000 billion dollars in household wealth was erased. my wife and i for two years have lived in the city of cleveland in zip code 44105. i mention the zip code because that zip code in 2007, i believe -- it was around that time -- that zip code had the highest rate of foreclosure of any zip code in the united states of america. it wang because people in slavic village, cleveland ohio, were trying to game the system. it was not because -- that there
were all kinds of con men and women in the neighborhood. it was mostly because of job loss, because of the decline of manufacturers, also because firms that were rewarded by turning over homes and fees came into those communities offering something more than people could really think they would get and foreclosure happened after foreclosure after foreclosure. the financial crisis created 9 million people who wanted to work for a living, contribute to a society and support their families but couldn't and behind the millions of foreclosures were 5 million painful conversations. think about that. we in this body -- we talk about nulls, we talk about statisticked, we talk about foreclosures, we tuck about derivatives, we talk about banks, we talk about fees, we talk about all of this. but think about what a foreclosure means. we don't dress the way we do making good salaries and
benefits hanging out more with people of means than people without much means. we don't think a lot about what a foreclosure might mean to a family. think about this. mother and father both have sort of middle-income jobs, working-class jobs. the daughter is 12, the son is 13. the mother comes home one day and says i lost my job. the family scrapes things together, figures they can keep going. six months later the father comes home and says he loses his job. the kids and the father have this conversation. it's pretty clear they're going to have to move out of their house because they're going to be foreclosed on. the mother and father sit down with the 12 and 13-year-old son and daughter, and the mother and father try to explain what this is going to mean. the daughter says well, what school are we going to go to? the parents say i don't know, we're going to have to move out of this house and leave our school district. well, what happens to my friends, the son says? and the parents said we don't know because we're not going to move. then they have other painful
conversations. what happens to our -- what happens to our dog? we don't have the money to feed the dog anymore. in that new apartment, we will not be allowed to have a pet. think about that. they lose their home, they lose their neighborhood, they lose their friends. they even have to give away their family pets. they're cutting back. i mean, these are the stories that aren't really told around here what actually happens to these families when they're foreclosed on. those conversations happened -- i don't know how many conversations, but i know there were five million homes foreclosed on where conversations took place like that night after night after night as parents explained to their children what was happening to their way of life. parents sometimes telling their children you're going to have to share a house with relatives parents leaving neighborhoods leaving schools leaving friends behind, parents trying to find a new home for the family dog that the child has grown up with since the child was 3 or 4 years old. that's why we passed wall street reform. despite doomsday predictions from republicans almost all of
whom opposed dodd-frank reform, almost all of whom opposed dodd-frank because wall street opposed dodd-frank reform, despite those predictions it's been a huge success. 2011 the law was beginning to be implemented. you heard republicans running for president. people like newt gingrich, a historical figure that's by and large been forgotten now. newt gingrich who used to be the speaker of the house down the hall who used to be one of the most powerful people in washington who stood toe to toe with president clinton and shut the government down in the 1990's, newt gingrich said dodd-frank would -- quote -- kill small banks kill small business kill the housing industry. that's one of the reasons newt gingrich has mostly been forgotten, that he was wrong again on those but since dodd-frank has been implemented over the past five years the private sector has created 13 million new jobs. household wealth has grown by $30 trillion, 30,000 billion dollars. business lending has climbed
30%. wall street reform didn't ruin the economy. wall street reform stabilized and strengthened it. polling for the americans for financial reform released last week shows that americans agree with this assessment. they overwhelmingly support strong financial regulations they overwhelmingly support the goals of the consumer bureau. this month and for the rest of the year, we have seen republicans try to undermine wall street reform, try to do the bidding of wall street itself and try to do all they can to -- to weaken the consumer financial protection bureau. we've seen it in the budget committee. we've seen it in the agriculture committee. we've seen it in the banking committee. we see it in the appropriation process. last week in the senate banking committee, republicans held another hearing with representatives from the financial industry advocating for legislation to undermine parts of dodd-frank. week after week, it seems we hear people come in front of the banking committee people who
seem oblivious to the fact that wall street caused damage in our society, people doing the bidding for wall street banks people that have excused the greed and the overreach of wall street in what wall street has done to the men and women done to children, done to families, done to neighborhoods in our society. my zip code's doing better than it was but you can still see the ruin and the devastation brought to zip code 44105 in part because of wall street greed. you can see it all over this country. tomorrow consumer financial -- financial protection bureau director rich cordray who i proudly say is from my state of ohio will testify again in congress. this will mark his 54th appearance by someone -- either him or someone else from the cfpb. as republicans claim the cfpb is unaccountable to congress. hauled in front of congress, one, two three four-plus dozen
times, and then they still say he is unaccountable. figure that one out. it's all about the politics. again they are doing wall street's bidding. this past week, two republican commissioners in the securities and exchange commission and the commodities futures trading commission organizations agencies whose job it is to police wall street, to prevent another crisis, these two commissioners, republican commissioners wrote an op-ed denouncing regulation. they wrote one of the greatest potential risks to the financial markets is the work of the regulators themselves. they're not saying regulators should have been tougher on wall street. they're saying these regulators are overreaching, these regulators are not doing what they should, these regulators in fact -- these regulations shouldn't exist in many times. this is the attitude we're up against. we know they'll keep fighting to tear down this law just as hard as they fought to keep it from passing. now, when wall street -- when dodd-frank was signed back in july five years ago in 2000 -- 2010 excuse me, president obama signed the bill only a few hours
later the chief lobbyist for the the -- financial services, the top lobbyist in washington, proclaimed now it's half time. what did he mean now it's half time? it's okay, wall street lost that battle in congress with dodd-frank. now it's time to turn to the agencies and try to weaken, try to obfuscate try to blunt these rules, try to delay do whatever they can. 3,000 lobbyists during the dodd-frank act six lobbyists for every member of congress. even then they couldn't win because enough of us here had the guts to stand up to wall street and do the right thing. many of those 6,000 are back -- those 3,000 lobbyists are back. in 2012, lobbyists for banks outnumbered consumer protection advocates 20-1. one consumer advocate, 20 bank lobbyists spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to weaken the law. we must stand firm. we must push back on efforts to roll back the reforms. we should stand up for the cfpb.
nobody's arguing that we can't improve and strengthen dodd-frank. we want to do that, but if improve and strengthen means doing wall street bidding that's not what improve and strengthen should mean. there are enormous challenges we have to tackle. today's typical american consumer obviously has no union to demand -- to define pension or a fair wage. no dependable retirement savings account. the average borrower left college -- has left college with a diploma and $33,000 in student loan debt. nearly 60% of 18-24-year-old now live with their parents largely due to staggering student loan debt and staggering wages. five million americans have mortgages that are under water representing meaning they owe more than the house is worth representing nearly $350 billion of negative equity. that means those five million americans -- that means if you total up all of their debt, how much they owe on their homes and you subtract what their homes
are worth $350 billion of negative equity these five million americans have. one in five americans has an error on their credit report that might prevent them from accessing the traditional banking system. not a mistake they made. an error in their credit report that they for whatever reason haven't been able to fix. one in three american adults has debt in collections the majority of which is medical debt. 57% of americans say they are not financially prepared for the unexpected. financial crisis only makes these trends worse. where do we go? some sectors of our economy have done better than others. when times are good, we return to discussions about regulatory relief which i support for small banks which i support for credit unions. i think we need to make some changes in the mid sized regional banks the huntingtons to help make them competitive particularly with the large banks, the huntingtons in columbus or the fifth third bank in cincinnati or the key bank in
cleveland. but what about relief for the average american? all of us in this body need to broaden our focus beyond so-called regulatory relief. the answer from my friends on the other side of the aisle the answer to everything is cut taxes on the rich and deregulate weaken consumer laws weaken safe drinking water laws weaken clean air laws, weaken dodd-frank laws. that's their answer to everything but what about relief for average americans? what about increasing the minimum wage? what about helping americans who are making $30,000 or $40,000 but are denied overtime because they have been salaried, they are put in a salaried category or a management category, even though they are only making $30,000? they may be running the night shift at a fast food restaurant. they have been classified as bosses, as salaried workers. they don't get overtime even if they are working 60 hours a week. how about relief for that average american? how about relief for americans who don't have sick leave and go to work when they're sick,
taking the chance of infecting somebody else, because if they stay home, they draw no pay? or how about if their child is sick? do they send their child to school because they can't take a day off because they don't get any kind of personal leave day to take care of their child? so their child either goes to school doesn't do as well, may get other children sick, meaning less productive students or less productive workers. if the parent goes to work sick, all of those things. why don't we have relief for working class and middle-class families. minimum wage, overtime pay when they have earned it and helping those families get the kind of -- get the kind of sick pay sick leave that people that work here that dress up and that are well paid, that have the advantages of working in the united states, why are we not doing that? we shouldn't be afraid to ask questions that will lead to the reforms we need. we shouldn't be afraid to challenge the status quo. we should never be afraid, mr. president, to make wall street accountable. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the executive session to consider the following nominations en bloc: 133, 134 135 206 207 208 that the senate proceed to vote without ifntsvening action or debate the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nominations that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record that the president be moodily notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the
nominations. the clerk: nominations corporation for national and community service ramnoia s. dixon. victoria ann hughes, richard crispman of kentucky to be a member of the board of directors. eric p.lu of washington to be a member of the bored board of directors. dean a. router shamina sync of new york to be a member of the board of directors. the presiding officer: question occurs on the dixon nomination. all opposed say aye. all opposed no. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. *8z. mr. alexander: mr. president there is -- the presiding officer: question occurs on the hughes nomination. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confidence.
the question occurs on the crispman nomination. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have t the nomination is confirmed. the question occurs on the lu nomination. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question occurs on the roiter nomination. all in tariff say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question occurs on the singh nomination. all in favor say yea. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president i seem to have an unusual amount of power tonight and i'm -- which i am grateful for. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar
number 117 senate 756. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: a bill to require a report on accountability of war crimes and crimes against humanity in syria. mr. alexander: i further ask -- the presiding officer: is there objection? is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i further ask that the bill be read for a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 146, s. 1482. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 146, s. 1482 a bill to improve and reauthorize provisions relating to the application of
the antitrust laws to the award of the need-based educational aid. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. alexander: i ask consent the bill be read third time and passed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 134, s. res. 204. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 134, s. res. 204 resolution recognizing june 20, 2015, as world refugee day. the presiding officer: is there objection for proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 223 submitted he recallier today. -- he recallier today. officer the clerk will report. the clerk: designating september 2015 as national child awareness month and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president we've had a good day on our legislation to fix no child left behind. i thank the senators for their cooperation. we've worked through most issues. i think it's important to note that in our committee consideration we considered 58
amendments and adopted 29. so far we have considered 22 on the floor and adopted -- well, we've adopted 22 on the floor. senator murray and i the ranking member, have agreed to another couple of dozen amendments from both sides of the aisle. more of them are democratic than republican. and we're prepared to recommend them to the senate for adoption by consent. there are another two dozen amendments, morning more of them are democratic than republican, including several which are important to the democratic side -- the accountability amendment for example, the early childhood amendment, for example which i think deserve a vote. i don't support them, but i think they deserve a vote and we're prepared to recommend that the senate consider them. if we were to do that, we could finish the bill. we have one remaining issue. it's an impasse over a formula
funding question, which state gets more money from title 1. that's always very difficult. the dispute ants are two of the most distinguished members of the senate. i'm confident that they see the larger picture, which is that most americans expect us to finish this bill and most senators would expect us to be able to vote on the nearly 50 amendments that i just described. so my hope is that we can come to some agreement that tomorrow morning that even before the cloture vote scheduled we announce that agreement and we proceed to adopt by consent the amendments that remain to be adopted and then we vote on the amendments that remain to be volted on, all of which would permit us to finish the bill on thursday. so i thank senators for that. i continue to ask for cooperation and i think an excellent example of that cooperation was the senator from minnesota, senator franken who
withheld his amendment in committee, offered it on the floor in order to make sure that the bill passed. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, july 15. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of s. 1177, with the time until the cloture vote equally twieded divided in the usual form. finally, the filing deadline for all second-degree amendments to the substitute amendment 2089 and the underlying bill s. 1177 be 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. so ordered. mr. alexander: mr. president if there is in further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under
your thoughts right off the bat on the deal announced. >> all that's in congress are going to want to look carefully at it and we will have the opportunity to review it, but as someone who has been pretty close to these negotiations, meeting with negotiators and leaders from the white house, it seems to me as if this is a very strong and very positive deal and i am looking forward to studying the details but my reaction is that the world is safer today than it was yesterday. host: why do you think they are committed? guest: the have a self interest but iran is not in any way our ally but they want some sanctions relief they want the economy to grow and that is the main reason that they came to the table because we had strong u.s. and international sanctions. that were pretty devastating to their economy that brought them
to the table and it brought them to a deal that i think is really good all around. that is the goal from our point of view to make sure that they don't have, never have a nuclear weapon. forward.ran coulput >> i think that the transparency transparency that has been built into the agreement will make sure that we can see the full supply chain of the nuclear program from the mills in the minds all the way up to the centrifuges and their production and i feel confident. here is the thing. if iran decides to cheat, we can snap back those sanctions immediately and no options are off the table. if we eventually need to use
military or suppress it has made clear in his speech this morning that that is a possibility. we are hopeful that this will mean there is no nuclear arms race in the region and that the transparency will allow us to see everything we need to make sure that iran doesn't get that weapon. host: as chief deputy whip what is your jo est: we ll be d we will be having sessions learning more about that and once we feel confident once the leadership is confident we are going to seek support from the democrats to stand behind the president to support his deal and if in the end it is needed to helped to sustain a veto that the president may have to use. >> host: .
2,027,488,002 for independence. how would you say democrat are about this deal. >> guest: to look at all of the details of this agreement, i think that the end of the day we will have at least a majority among the democratic support or towards the agreement. >> guest: there are stories about nancy pelosi even in the lead up to the deal dealer for this skepticism about the deal. >> guest: of course i think the members of congress feel a certain responsibility to make sure that we know exactly. but again having seen the lead up to this i think that we will
see the democrats feel very confident. here is the reason because we have to ask ourselves what is the alternative and that is what the president was talking about at the very end after he described the way that iran has to not only freeze and dismantle its nuclear program right now. the consequence of not having to have the means there are no constraints that we do with iran. they could move quickly to words building a nuclear weapon. they could have the race in the middle east where other countries want to develop nuclear weapons and ultimately to use military force in the region. we have to master this agreement
these are persians and completely different people if you need them you like valentine's day you celebrate it it's like people like michael jackson, this is the greatest way to absurd the supreme leaders. >> guest: i have to agree. for the rest of the world they do like a lot of western culture and i think will be the future leaders of the country. >> host: jan jackowski 7,824,000 748, 8000 independent, independent phone co. stories in "the new york times" talking about the united states
role. talking about the length of time before we can even see the fullness of this deal come forward, what do you think is going to happen if this goes forward by congress? >> guest: it gives us 60 days to review this proposal. it's by the allies including signatures not only from the european countries that russia and china. and then it will need to be phased in. that is iran will not see sanctions released until the full deal is implemented. it will come in phases and so they have to fully come by. they will have to dismantle the heavy-water reactor in iraq. they will have to take all of
their stock centrifuges. there are so many things that iran is going to have to put into place before they see things. this will be a better situation now for them because there are aspects of this agreement including the supply-chain inspection the last 25 years. >> host: what is the role of the united nations going forward? >> guest: all of this will be ratified now into a resolution in the united nations. we expect that to happen quickly and so the un and our allies are all going to be involved in this and monitoring this. and even those who are not supportive, let's say our close allies in the middle east and
israel will also be watching very closely. supermall ias are going to be on iran not for just the next few years with the next few decades. >> host: when it comes to the inspections process who take the lead now? >> guest: the iaea, the international agency, the energy inspections will take the lead on those inspections. they are going to be meeting soon with all of their experts to make sure they have the total capacity to do that kind of intrusive and constant inspections and so they are well aware they've been part of these negotiations and they have signed onto the agreement. >> guest: here's our guest from washington, d.c., go ahead. >> guest: good morning, congresswoman. it is a pleasure only as to see some of the representatives working well. i just want to comment on the
deal that the president and the administration made. i think it is one of the most profound things that have been made because they are reaching out and that's good because we need that in the world, but there are so many right here in the united states that hate the administration that they will hardly do anything to downplay anything that is constructive. so, thank you congresswoman for being a ritual for to something that works into something that helps us as a people as a nation to go forward and reaching out because no come israel is not the only person in the world that has the united states this interest -- best interest. they see that international global connection. something got for the administration and the efforts, so congresswoman, keep up the good work.
it's about all of us, not just some of us. >> host: thank you caller. >> guest: i am certainly hoping that the reaction to the deal is based on the deal itself on the content come on the prospect of stopping iran from moving forward with nuclear weapons. and not about this administration because we all know there are those that would like to just this tiny the president and that shouldn't be the criteria moving forward. >> host: john from louisiana, go ahead. >> caller: i was going to say of course what iran did actually develop a nuclear weapon, and attempted to use it my problem is i don't believe they could use it maybe once and for united states would wipe them off the map and that would be no more iran and so i really don't see that they want to self-destruct.
>> guest: we want to assure that. the neighbors and the support of terrorism and adding to that if they were a nuclear power. the world is a more dangerous place. and again it could have set off other players in the region. having this proliferation throughout a very volatile region would have been extremely dangerous so i think that we have been very cautious and very sensible in signing this agreement. >> host: the leaders in the country's nuclear program was about its energy needs.
do you agree with that sentiment? >> guest: i usually don't see evidence that they are developing in iran. it's a domestic use of energy and i do think that we have enough evidence to date that iran was looking towards the bomb. again this was not based on trust. in fact, it is the opposite of being based on trust. this is going to be based on inspections. this is going to be based on the most intrusive verifiable strong inspections knowing what iran is doing. >> host: on the independence line from california, the representative jan jackowski. >> caller: good morning congresswoman. i have two observations regarding the credibility of some of the principal players in the middle east. iran supreme leader's have
publicly declared they are all weapons of mass destruction including chemical weapons against islam. i'm a libertarian and that is my default position. they brought a lot of credibility to the eight year war with saddam hussein's iraq. we have the chemical weapons on the iranian cities. the military leadership pressed him to develop nuclear weapons to counter iraq -- chemical weapons to counter, but to no avail. she insisted no weapons of mass destruction. to contrast that, the israeli prime minister then yahoo! has over the last 19 years predicted the imminent breakout of iran published throughout the 15 years ago, published a book with the great provision in three
years iran would have nuclear weapons. so it strikes me that the terms of credibility in the major players in the middle east that we have really kind of overblown this threat. may i have your comments please? >> guest: dot potential breakout time for iran developing a nuclear weapon would be two to three months. maybe you're right, maybe they wouldn't. but they do have the capacity and they do have the fuel that at this moment could provide for the president said this morning may be six to eight nuclear weapons. so there is certainly no reason for us to take chances with iran and what the deal would do is to with do is to make sure that the breakout time is about one year. now, in terms of the credibility of iran i think that most
doesn't want to rely on that because the centrifuges have been spinning in iran. and tonight sure this doesn't happen kind of a deal. >> host: how do we know that iran hasn't had in progress in places that they've cheated and blocked inspectors before. >> guest: well that's why the kind of inspections that we are going to have right now the most expensive and intrusive iaea da will be able to go anywhere and they will be able to see if there is any suspicion and be able to have access to those places and we feel the rest of the allies allies and the designer so confident.
if there is any reason to think that iran has something somewhere we will be able to look at it. >> some reaction to the iran nuclear agreement on the facebook page it's a great deal that historically the un has never backed up any of their deals with force. iran will continue to develop the technology while the economy recovers and when it's time they will shut out the un inspectors and faced nothing but a finger wag. wayne says no one wants war we just don't want iran to get a nuclear bomb. they are destructive attitudes towards the u.s. and israel will never change. and a few more comments. this is a good deal. it's the whole reason they put the sanctions on so mission accomplished. and john this is terrible deal in imperials israel, the middle east and the u.s..
candidates are scheduled to speak. c-span's road to the white house 2016. we take you there. >> tonight on c-span2 nasa unveils new close-up photos of pluto taken by the new horizons spacecraft and jeh johnson testifies at a capitol hill hearing on immigration and john alan talks about the militant group isis. nasa's new horizons spacecraft has taken over nine and a half years to reach pluto and is sending back the first pictures of the planet and moons and nasa revealed some of those photos at a facility in maryland. this is 45 minutes. >> good morning and welcome to