Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 7, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

4:00 pm
contributor to another major threat that americans face, and that is a threat of an unrelenting, continuing drop deeper and deeper penetration into the debt hole. i have been engaged in everything from the major programs, hopefully done in a bipartisan way, support with the president, all of which have failed to address this and bring us -- turn us to a pact of fiscal health -- to a path of fiscal health to the small, almost ridiculous spending that has taken place here, for those who are looking at it from bottom up instead of from top down. so whether it is something that i have tried to identify every week now for about 22 to 23 weeks called the waste of the week, hopefully it will provide the kind of embarrassment to my colleagues and knowledge of the fact that we simply cannot keep
4:01 pm
spending money that we do not have. so these wastes of the week, some are substantial, into the tens of billions of dollars; some are just there to show the american people or describe to the american people the fact that there is a significant, significant amount of unneeded spending, of waste, fraud and abuse that occurs on an almost daily basis throughout all our agencies and throughout federal spending. and people are saying, given this kind of debt crisis that we're looking at, why are we spending hard-earned tax dollars to address this or that or whatever? now, today i want to address one small but yet another example of unnecessary federal spending. it involves the role of robots replacing humans for certain functions. those who've watched "the jetsons," and i'm not a really tuner-in there but my grandkids
4:02 pm
are i think, and perhaps wish that they, too, had a rosy the maid, the robot who cooks, cleans and told jokes to the jetson family. this obviously is a cartoon presentation. but it reflects -- it reflects a role for robots that obviously provides us interesting entertainment. the robot from "lost in place" who played the electric guitar or exhibited human emotions, or michael knight's robot sidekick "kit" on "knight ryder." this is a little bit of sufficient beyond my generation but i'm told robots are now part of the entertainment scene. and while this makes for good television and draws viewers, we all know that robots can never replace the care of a human being, the care of a parent, the efforts of a teacher, those who are reaching out to provide support and encouragement for young people.
4:03 pm
yet the national science foundation is currently spending $440,855 trying to do just that. the agency recently awarded a taxpayer-funded grant to develop the use of -- and i quote -- "autonomous personalized social robots in the classroom." now, first thing that came to my mind is what in the world is a personalized social robot look like and how do you personalize a robot to provide social interaction with children? the purpose of the grant, which began last month and continues until august 2017, is to create robots and to do the investigation and all the invention to create robots that can tell stories to children. now, this might be a cute thing to do. i don't know. is this something the federal government, at a time when we
4:04 pm
are in the middle of deficit spending, ever more borrowing, asking the taxpayer to send out their hard-earned tax dollars for this kind of thing? now, if a private industry wants to do this and can sell the product to schools, well, more power to them. but why do we have to go to the federal government to do a test case to see if this works? we know we do basic research here. we support that through n.i.h. and national science foundation. this is not basic research. so i'm questioning this. and let me quote from the grant description. "this will offer unique opportunities of guided, personalized and controlled social interaction," whatever that means "during the delivery of a desired curriculum. they can play, learn and engage with children in the real world physically, socially and emotively."
4:05 pm
so a robot now seems to be -- maybe the effort here is to build a robot that can physically, socially and emotively connect with children? that just -- that might work on "the jetsons," that might work on television. i can't believe how that works in real life. what parents want their preschooler to be read to by a so-called "social robot" with social interaction instead of the teacher or a parent? and why are we spending taxpayer dollars on reading robots? actual human teachers provide what robots cannot. they relate to our children, they understand their individual needs, and think tailor their instruction -- and they tailor their instruction to bring out the very best in our children and on a personalized basis. i don't think a robot can adjust emotively and socially to different children in the classroom, yet obviously --
4:06 pm
obviously the teacher is trained to do that. even the most advanced robot can't sense when a child's going through a rough time or provide the right touch to ensure a child's learning. and should the federal government, which is over $18 trillion in debt, be sending any money -- be spending any money, sending any money, let alone $440,000, on this research? is this something that the private sector could be conducting instead? certainly if that's what the goal is. my purpose throughout the waste of the week nesh active is -- initiative is to drive home the point that the federal government should be stewarding taxpayers' dollars for essential functions and in a way that truly helps people. let me be clear here, i'm not criticizing all federal research spending or the national science foundation. the government does play an important role, as i've said, in promoting basic science research that cannot be done elsewhere.
4:07 pm
but these are many -- but there are many private companies that offer products that use technology to help children learn. and is it really the role of the government to also perform this sort of research? just because something is interesting to do doesn't mean it rises to the level of priority, particularly at a time when we are continuing to spend more money and go deeper into debt each and every day. families and small businesses have to prioritize all the time. the federal government needs to do the same so i'm saying here, let's pull the plug or take out the battery and short circuit this funding for over -- for this grant. so today i am marking more money on our ever-increasing amount of waste, fraud and abuse. we're adding $440,855 to the nearly $117 billion that over
4:08 pm
the last 22 weeks we have brought to -- brought to this floor. mr. president, while i'm here, let me just switch here and for just a couple of minutes speak to something that i think speaks well of our state and something that is celebrating an important anniversary. in indiana, few things better personify the hoosier spirit of hard work and overcoming adversity, persistence and sportsmanship more than high school basketball. it is rabid in our state. it always has been. it defines our state. every year the high school basketball season -- during the basketball season, it culminates in february and march with what we call hoosier hysteria, the post-season tournament. now, half a century ago and from its beginning, the height of hoosier hysteria was before
4:09 pm
school consolidation and before the advent of class basketball. at that time, we had one single athletic class and crowned just one high school basketball team state champion each year. for the final game of the tournament, fans would fill butler university's historic kinkle field house to standing-room-only. and throughout those weeks of tournament, as the small, medium and large-sized schools worked their way through the system to that championship game, it captured the hearts and minds and -- of hoosiers in a way that nothing else does. this phenomena was immortalized by the award-winning 1986 movie "hoosiers," one of the -- my personal favorites and based on a truly improbable but true story. back in the 1950's, hundreds of small high schools existed all across our state but no small
4:10 pm
school had ever won the basketball state championship. then in 1954, myland high school, the rural school with an enrollment of only 161 students in all for four grades, 161, faced a much larger school, muncie central high school, whose enrollment was 2,200 students in the state championship game. the myland indians defeated the muncie central bearcats to win the state title. it's been immortalized by the movie "hoosier" which any hoosier and hopefully people outside the state have watched more than once. i watch it on a regular basis. it's a great story. even today, myland's accomplishment is widely admired and discussed by hoosier basketball fans. indiana high school basketball in this era produced not only, however, this david and goliath
4:11 pm
episode but also another truly inspirational team and this is their 60th anniversary. en route to winning the 1954 state championship, milan defeated the christmas at particular tigers in the state. no small accomplishment because that was a large school with an exceptional team. at that time, christmas attics was an all-black high school in indianapolis. and despite the loss in 1954, the tigers were back the next year, and on march 19, 1955, 65 years ago -- 60 years ago, excuse me, christmas attics upon the title 97-74 in the championship game. the next year christmas attics went undefeated, riding a 45-game winning streak to another state title. the attics finished the 1930's
4:12 pm
with a third championship in 1959. so christmas attics high school 1959 state title was one of several. not only where they it is first team from indianapolis to win the state title, they were the first african-american school in the nation to win an open-state tournament. through the perseverance and leadership of their coach, ray crowe, the players learned not just the game of basketball but also valuable lessons about discipline and patience and perseverance. these lessons resulted in back-to-back state titles, as i've said. on the court, the christmas attics teams of the mid-1950's were led by a future professional all-star, champion and hall of famer named oscar robertson. oscar robertson said of those christmas attic ss teams, "the way we played and won, we did it with a lot of class." the tigers' success on the basketball court helped tear down many lingering racial barriers of that time. this team inspired the state of
4:13 pm
indiana with their hard work, graciousness and sportsmanship. and so today i join my fellow hoosiers in marking the 60th anniversary of this milestone and honoring this team of champions. mr. president, thank you. i, with that, yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: mr. president, i ask consent that i be recognized for up to 10 minutes and that following my remarks, senator schatz be recognized for up to 10 minutes and following his remarks, senator whitehouse be recognized for up to 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you mr. president, very much. mr. president, the evidence and impacts of climate change are clear, they're undeniable. scientists can measure the increase in carbon dioxide in
4:14 pm
the atmosphere. they can measure the rising temperatures. they can measure the increasing level of the sea. they can measure the increase in extreme rainfall. all of this increases the risk for extreme weather events that threaten people and the economy. and while addressing the challenges of climate change will take a comprehensive approach, we have many of the policies, the work force and the technologies we need to address the problem already. to illustrate that point, i want to tell you a tale of two tax policies. one for wind and solar and one for oil and gas and coal. so let's look at the last decade of our tale of two tax policies. in 2005, we, the united states, we installed 79 total megawatts
4:15 pm
of solar in the united states. that little teeny 79 back in 2005. last year we deployed nearly a hundred times that amount, 7,000 new megawatts in the year 2014. look at that. nearly 100 times more solar. well, what happened? first, technology costs plummeted. you've heard of a moore's law for semiconductors. it stoled told us thatold us ths would be more powerful than the last generations' supercomputers. we knew we would move from this pocket phone to an iphone because the technology keeps getting more powerful. well, there's a moore's law for
4:16 pm
solar as well. every time solar panel deployment doubles globally, the cost of s solar falls by 18%. it is predictable and it's why we're seeing the cost of a solar panel drop 70% since the year 2010, and it's why costs will continue to fall. next, 30 states enacted renewable electricity standards. yes, now more than half of the states in our country have a standard to get a sizable portion of their electricity from renewable sources. and finally and most importantly from a national policy perspective, we passed an eight-year extension of the solar investment tax credit in 2008. we gave this industry and these companies certainty. we now have more than 20,000
4:17 pm
mega-watts of installed solar capacity in the united states, more than 60% of it added in just the last two years. and we are projected to double that installed solar capacity over the next two years. we are forecast to add 8,000 mega-watts this year and 12,000 feeing georgimega-watts next ye. that is because we put smart policies on the books seven years ago. you go from the beginning of the american revolution until 2005, we were still only installing 79 mega-watts. just a little teeny tiny amount of tow s.a.rsolar energy. but then you start putting state renewable electricity standard on the books and a new tax policy, and it starts to explode 100 times, 1,000 times more solar in america.
4:18 pm
this by the way, with all the experts saying, this can't happen. solar isn't real. wind isn't real. you -- you, senators, you house members, you've got to get real. well, this is the proof that it was bad policies that had stopped this explosion of these technologies. and, by the way, the same thing is true for wind power. we are projected to add 9,000 new mega-watts of wind power in our country this year, and we are projected to add another 8,000 mega-watts of wind power next year. so you can see what is happening with the combined totals of wind and solar once we put the new policies on the books. it was basically an era where almost no electricity in the united states was generated by wind and solar to next year fiv-
4:19 pm
5% to 6% of all the electricity in america will come from solar. it is like the explosion of cell phones that turned into smartphones. people didn't have anything in their pocket just 20 years ago. it was like the wind an solar industry. but we changed policies in the united states. we said, we can do it. we can untether ourselves from a telephone line in our living rooms. we can let people walk around with their phone. and we began to make the same decisions on wind and solar much we can untether ourselves from coal-generated electricity in the united states that emits greenhouse gases, that dangerously warm our planet. and we are now doing it. and it is accelerating. it is accelerating. that is the beautiful part of the story. and by the end of next year,
4:20 pm
there are going to be 300,000 people employed in the wind and solar industry in the united states. right now there are 73,000 people in the wind-energy industry in our country, making these wind turbines, building them. steelworkers, ironworkers. they're out there doing this work right now, and it generates clean, renewable, nonpolluting energy. we can do this. we are the united states of america. we are the innovation giant on the planet. we can solve this problem. and what has happened? what has happened in the wind industry? their tax break has now expired. has the tax break for the oil industry expired? oh, no. have the tax breaks for the coal
4:21 pm
industry expired? oh, no. those tax breaks have been on the pocketbooks for 100 years. -- those tax breaks have been on the books for 100 years. they'll never expire. there's too many people that want to help the fossil fuel industry here in senate and over in the house of representatives. but the wind and solar industry, their tax breaks, the ones that are showing the tremendous growth, the innovation, the products we can export around the planet, those are the ones that are expiring. now, if you look at the green generation, you look at young people within our society, which technology do they want us to invest in? do they want black rotary-dial phones and coal-burning power plants ambassador they wanplantw technologies of the future? do they want future clean energy? it is not even close.
4:22 pm
this is a choice which has to be made by this generation, the green generation expects us to be the leaders on this. now, the oil and gas industry, they get $7.5 billion a year in tax breaks. now, the oil industry, they don't need a subsidy to drill for oil. anymore than a bird needs a subsidy to fly or a fish needs a subsidy to swim. they're going to do it anyway. what they do, though, is they lobby to take away the tax breaks of solar and wind because they know that that will displace them. so our goal, of course, should be to have a massive ramping up of these energy technologies. want to hear an incredible number? the chinese government, while the pope was in town here in washington, announced that china was going to deploy wind and
4:23 pm
solar and other renewable technologies by the year 2030 that would equal the total of all electrical generation capacity in the united states of america. all coal, all natural gas, all hydropower, all wind, all solar. they're going to deploy that. again, i told you earlier that every time there is a global doubling of the deployment of solar on the planet, the price of solar drops by 18%. so china is going to be doing that, india has now announced last week they are going to have a massive, massive increase in their renewable energy resources as well. and, unfortunately, the tax breaks in our own country have already expired or are going to expire for the wind and solar industries. our country -- we're supposed to
4:24 pm
be the leader. we're supposed to be the technological giants on this planet. so all i can say is, if we want the jobs, this is the sector where the jobs are being created. 300,000 by the end of next year. if we want to reduce greenhouse gases, this is the sector. it can make it possible for the united states to be the leader. if we want to be the leaders to ensure that we've acted on the message that pope francis delivered to the congress just two weeks ago, we have to move towards these technologies. the pope asked us to use our technological capacity in order to solve this problem. the pope pretty much said three things. number one, the planet is warming dangerously. the science is clear. the second thing the pope said: the cause of the warming is
4:25 pm
largely by human beings. the science is clear. and, third, we have a moral responsibility. so, ladies and gentlemen, this is a huge day because we have members coming out here on the floor to talk about this revolution, the solution, the way we can deal with this issue in a positive, affirmative, job-creating way. we can engage in massive job creation in order to save all of god's creation. we can do it. but we have to decide that we're going to be the leaders in this sector. and all i can tell you is that in the end we're going to win, because technology always triumphs -- always. you can' can hold it back for a while, but in the end it is going to ultimately change our world and by the year 2100, people will wonder why we concen rated electricity by the use of fossil fuels on our planet.
4:26 pm
so, i thank you, mr. president, and i see senator schatz and senator whitehouse have arrived, and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. mr. schatz: mr. president? thank you, mr. president. i thank the senator from massachusetts for explaining to the public and to this body what we all are becoming increasingly aware of, which is that the technology is there. this is not any longer pie-in-the-sky. this is not hopeful ecological utopia thinking. this is real stuff. these are real jobs. they're gettings financed by banks and financial institutions. this is already upon us. and i'd like to he will i tell y of hawaii's clean energy transformation. a clean energy revolution is taking place across the country, but it's especially true in hawaii. for decades, since the demise of the sugar plantation, hawaii relied on imports of fossil fuel for our energy needs.
4:27 pm
as recently as 2010, we derive nearly 90% of our electrons from burning oil. in just four years we've driven this number down to around 80%. and we're on our way to a 100% clean energy target, a 100% clean energy target. hawaii's reliance on imported oil is bad for economics. we have the highest electricity rates in the country, three times higher thank th -- than te national average. we're paying higher prices than anywhere in the nation. so something had to give to bolster our own economic energy, we made the decision to transition away from fossil fuels to solar, wind, and geothermal. clean energy is hawaii's future, but it is important to point out that in the beginning we had naysayers on the left, the
4:28 pm
right, and the center, much like the current debate in the congress. there are those that think that what we do in the clean power plan or the carbon fee about not be enough and there are those who think that we're doing too much and too fast, and i remember exactly this conversation in hawaii in 2001. in 2001 we started small and passed a voluntary, renewable portfolio goal that encouraged utilities, didn't mandate, encouraged utilities to generate 9% of their electricity from clean energy by the year 2010. the target was frankly unambitious. it was voluntary and it was unenforceable. it was a start. for some it was too little. for others it was too radical. but it was a start. so we kept pushing. in 2004 we replaced the ornl goal with a requirement of 20% clean energy by 2020. two years later we added incentives for compliance and established penalties for
4:29 pm
noncompliance. in 2008, hawaii partnered with the u.s. d.o.e. preventing the state from reaching its clean energy potential. this partnership was crucial to helping hawaii realize that a 100% clean energy goal was was actually realistic much the state increased its cleefn energy standard to 40% by 230 and establishing an energy efficiency standard of 30% enshrining into law the requirement to reduce emissions from the power sector by 70% by the year 2030. and i want to give context here. people thought this was totally unrearealistic and that we would even at the first two or three-year increment already miss our goals. but what happened was the opposite. we started exceeding our interim taughts and then ratcheted up our goals. the progress towards these goals
4:30 pm
demonstrated that an even more am by news, audacious goal of 100% clean energy was a real possibility and so this year governor igai in hawaii signed a law requiring utilities to generate all of their electricity from renewable sources by 2034567845. we're currently meeting or exceeding our targets thanks to big increases in wind power and in distributed generation, especially solar rooftossments rooftops. it's important to say progress towards clean energy goals hasn't impeded growth. hawaii's unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation,. strengthening this law required consistent efforts by advocacy groups, businesses and government agencies to bring about the change. it also showed the importance of taking those first steps down the road to a low-carbon economy. whether they seem too small to
4:31 pm
make a difference or too large to be possible, you have to start. once you do, ambitious goals are more within reach than they may have originally seemed. hawaii is blessed in a number of ways, including with ample sunlight, steady winds and volcanic energy. but hawaii is not unique in its ability to generate substantial quantities of electricity from clean, renewable resources. the national rerenewable energy lab analyzed clean energy potential across the country and found renewable generation from technologies commercially available today is more than adequate to supply 80% of the total u.s. electricity generation by the year 2050. that's with technologies available today. as these l technologies improve and the cost of clean energy continues to fall, wind and solar power will be increasingly competitive with electricity generated from fossil fuels in
4:32 pm
states across the country. as my home state of hawaii illustrates, you just have to start. and this is a lesson that we must take to the international context as well. as the world meets in paris later this year, i urge representatives from all countries to think of hawaii's experience moving towards a zero carbon energy system. the climate negotiations in paris are shaping up to be at least a moderate success. but whatever agreement emerges from paris will likely be a political roar shack test, which is some will say we're promising too much. others will say we should be offering more. whatever your predisposition about climate, paris will prove it to the world. but what truly matters is not exactly what the particulars of each agreement in paris are, but what happens next. it's doing the work. it's power purchase agreements. it's public policy. it's tax incentives. it's permits, it's public utilities commissions.
4:33 pm
it's actually getting the work done across the country and across the planet. when something as consequential as climate change is on the table, it's going to require global capital, technological breakthroughs and political will. and that political will will only occur if people understand that, yes, this is a problem. it is real. yes, it is urgent. and, yes, it is caused by humans, but most importantly we can in fact fix it. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i'm delighted to join my colleagues from massachusetts and hawaii to talk about the tax credits for wind. we have had a remarkably exciting new thing happen in rhode island this summer. from time to time i'm able to get out on narrangansett bay, and over and over again, whether driving on the bridges over in
4:34 pm
narrangansett bay or actually out on narrangansett bay, we saw the sights of these enormous barges traveling down the bay, bringing these huge structures that were carried out, located off of block island, and sunk to the ocean floor to provide the platforms for the first steel-in-water off-shore wind energy in the country. now, you can go over to europe and you can see wind energy all over the place. we're behind them in developing it. but rhode island is the start. and whether you saw these enormous structures that were the legs, the frames for the pylon and the turbine. or whether you saw enormous pilings that get carried out there and in the same way you drive a nail through the hole in a hanger and put it in the wall, they take these enormous pilings that reach way up into the sky
4:35 pm
and drive them through the hollow legs of the framework and down to anchor them in the ocean floor. and so, this is under construction right now, and it's big. you'll see these barges coming by you, they are enormous structures, hundreds of feet in the air. it's exciting to see this happening, and it's part of the wind revolution that senator markey and senator schatz talked about. so there's a conflict in my mind between this exciting sight in rhode island, these big yellow structures coming down the bay and the bright light and then coming to the darker halls of congress and moving from that exciting sight to the tedious fight that we have over and over to protect the wind production tax credit. over and over we have to go through this fight. why?
4:36 pm
why? i'll tell you why. it's because opposition to the wind tax credit is one more little wriggling tentacle of the fossil fuel industry. they have huge tax subsidies, tax credits and tax advantages baked permanently into the tax code, and they sit on those and they defend them, and they're merciless about anybody who tries to take those away. but let little wind come along and try to get a competing tax credit of its own, and they try to crush it. over and over and over. nobody runs for office to come to the senate and say, you know, the thing that drives me, the thing that motivates my candidacy is to make sure that our wind energy in the united states gets knocked down. let's take their little tax
4:37 pm
credit away. nobody runs on that. in fact, if i recall correctly, the presiding officer ran for the office with a picture of a wind turbine in colorado. so it's not as if there aren't friends to wind in this chamber. but once you get here, the oil and fossil guys, they are very powerful. they are very remorseless. they have made immense threats to squash any action on climate change. and as a little side bar, they always try to beat the little wind energy subsidy. they'll never give up their own, and their own are much bigger. we have probably $50 billion over ten years in cash tax benefits to these companies which are the most profitable companies in the history of the planet. they're the last companies that need any help. if you look at people like the international monetary fund, not
4:38 pm
exactly a liberal green group. the international monetary fund estimates that if you put in all the subsidies that fossil fuel gets, around the world it adds up to more than five trillion-trillion -- dollars. i'm from rhode island. i think $1 million is a lot of money. i'm starting to get used to talking about billions around here. trillions is what the fossil fuel industry gets around the world and just in the u.s., $7 billion in a year. and yet greedy, big corporations that sit and defend that benefit to the last trench, they also want to go and crush the poor little wind benefit. it's just not fair and it's just wrong. but i think we're going to be able to prevail. we have seen some real progress here.
4:39 pm
bloomberg just published an article that wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce, cheaper than anything else in both germany and in the united kingdom. it's a powerful industry in states like colorado and in wyoming, where they have so much wind that they export wind energy to other states. iowa is probably our leaders. iowa generates nearly 30% of its electricity from wind. t.p.i. composites is a rhode island company. it builds composite materials in warren, rhode island. they've got a facility in iowa, where they manufacture wind turbine blades. and in the last decade, they've manufactured 10,000 -- 10,000 -- wind turbine blades. there have been a maytag factory in a town called newton, iowa, and the maytag factory went bust because we're offshoring jobs,
4:40 pm
offshoring jobs to china. but guess what? they came in and started building these wind turbines. and they're really too big to ship from china. so it's been a boom industry. it's put little newton back on its feet. and if we don't pass the wind production tax credit, states like wyoming and colorado and iowa that depend on this are really going to be hurt. this is bipartisan in these states. i don't know why the fossil fuel industry primarily runs its mischief through the republican party here in congress, but it doesn't work in iowa. in iowa a year ago the iowa state senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting extension of the production tax credit. unanimously. so we have a really strong case to make that this is the technology of the future. we have a fairness case to make that the great big, brutal fossil fuel lobbyist organization shouldn't be
4:41 pm
allowed to hold on to all of its subsidies, depending how you measure the measuring into the hundreds of billions of dollars and at the same time try to squash poor little wind when it wants to get some subsidies in order to compete with this massive and malevolent incumbent. and then i think we have the practical politics of this, which is in state after state after state wind has become real enough that it's going to be very hard for some of our colleagues on the republican side to go home and say to their home state wind industry, sorry, we put you under the bus. we put you under the bus. we protected your competitors in oil and gas. we absolutely would never touch them. we protected them. they're sacrosanct on our side. but we put you under the bus. that's going to be a little hard to explain. so i hope very much that as weiss come together and pull together the continuing
4:42 pm
resolution or the omnibus that avoids, i pray, another shutdown and that puts our country on a sensible budgetary footing going forward, that this tax credit is a part of it because we need these jobs. people are working in rhode island. and i tell you what, when you're building a ginormous big frame offshore, you are paying good wages. you are paying good wages to the people who operate the barges. you're paying good wages to the ironworkers and steelworkers and electrical workers. you're paying good wages to the stevedores who help load it up. these are big, strong businesses and we want to support them. and with that, i will yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:43 pm
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
4:44 pm
senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are in a quoirk. mr. hoeven: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i ask to speesh on the issue of the 2016 energy and water development appropriations bill, the bill that now in fact is before the senate. we just voted at 2:00 this afternoon on the ndaa, national defense authorization act. and that's very important because we need to pass that legislation for our military, and in fact we did. and we passed it with 70 votes. that's incredibly important because the president has threatened to veto on the national defense authorization act. and this is legislation that's passed the house. now it's passed the senate. it's going to the president. and if he vetoes it, we need to have the votes to override, because we've got to get that legislation done for our men and
4:45 pm
women in uniform. not only, as i spoke earlier on the floor, is it about making sure that we're doing our job on behalf of our military, but also on behalf of our nation's defense. the other thing i mentioned in regard to that legislation is we also need to pass the companion bill, which is the defense appropriations bill. and so very soon here, we'll be taking up the defense appropriations bill, which is the funding that goes with the national defense authorization act. so we authorize those programs, those military programs, and then we have to fund them, and that's why that partner bill, the defense appropriations bill, has to be passed, along with the defense authorization act, in order to get the job done for our military. i make that point because until we have done both those things, we have not funded the military the way that we need to. and i make that point as part of a bigger point, and that is
4:46 pm
this -- the appropriations committee -- and i'm a member of the appropriations committee -- we have passed all 12 appropriations bills out of committee, and they're waiting -- they are awaiting action here on the floor of the senate. and those bills have been passed with strong bipartisan votes, and instead of having each and every one of those bills filibustered, we need to take those bills up, we need to debate those bills, people should offer the amendments that they have, we can debate those amendments, and then we can vote, and that's our job. that's how the senate works. that's what the people of this great country send us here to do. that is the work of the senate. that is regular order. and so as we talk about authorizing programs for men and women in uniform, we also have to pass the defense appropriations bill, and that will be coming before this senate. and i make that point because what we have been facing is a
4:47 pm
filibuster of all these appropriations bills. and so we'll have another test here. we'll have another test now, this week. and this is on the energy and water development appropriations bill. this is energy and water. this is corps of engineers. this is vital fundamental infrastructure for this great country. and so we'll see -- will our colleagues join us? can we join together in a bipartisan way and advance to this appropriation bill, have the debate, offer the amendments, have the vote and get this work done? and i hope the answer to that is yes. and we'll find out. we'll find out over the course of today and tomorrow if our colleagues will join together and get this work done for the american people, and then on we go. we may have to deal with a presidential veto on the defense authorization act. if so, let's do so. let's do so in a bipartisan way. and then let's take up the
4:48 pm
appropriations bill that goes with that defense authorization, and let's make sure that all 12 of these bills, all of these appropriations bills are brought to this floor, people have their opportunity for the debate, people can offer their amendments, and we'll have our votes. and if something can get 60 votes, it passes. that's the work of the senate. that's the work of the senate. and if it's not done, it will be -- the reason it won't be done is because of -- they will be an ongoing filibuster. it's very important that the american people understand that because this is the work of the senate, this is the work of the congress, and we need to be clear about whether we're getting that work done or whether we continue to face a filibuster that does not allow us to bring this legislation forward, to debate it, open, transparent debate, put it out there in front of the american people, make the argument, offer
4:49 pm
the amendments, vote. that's how it's done. that's how it's done in this democracy. that's how it's done in this senate. so today i rise to talk about the merits of the energy and water development appropriation bill. this measure appropriates funding for the u.s. department of energy, including national nuclear security and energy research and development, as well as critical infrastructure projects administered by the corps of engineers and the bureau of reclamation. the senate appropriations committee approved this bill in may. i'm a member of this -- not only the appropriations committee but this subcommittee, and we voted out of committee 26-4. so there's 30 members on the full appropriations committee, 30 members, republicans and democrats. by a vote of 26-4, we voted in favor of this legislation. now, that's about as bipartisan as it gets. it was supported by all of the
4:50 pm
republican members of the committee and ten of the democrat members. 26-4. as a member of the senate appropriations committee on energy and water, i thank chairman alexander and ranking member feinstein. they have crafted a bipartisan bill within our budget framework that balances our energy priorities and our national security imperatives. i also commend senate appropriations chairman cochran and ranking member mikulski. they brought the measure up in regular order, allowing amendments and debate, and they advanced this bill out of the committee, as i said, with very strong bipartisan -- with a very strong bipartisan 26-4 vote. in fact, this is the first time in six years that the appropriations committee has passed all 12 appropriations bills, all 12 have been passed in bipartisan -- in a bipartisan manner, awaiting action on the floor. now, as i said, while this legislation is within the budget
4:51 pm
guidelines, the senate energy and water bill includes $35.4 billion in overall funding, which is $1.2 billion more than last year's funding level. the energy department's nuclear security programs are funded at $12.3 billion, which is $856 million more than last year. and the department's energy programs receive an additional $270 million. so this is important because our nation has significant infrastructure needs, and that's what we're addressing here, infrastructure, basic infrastructure needs of this country. the longer we wait to improve america's infrastructure, particularly our waterways, the higher the costs will be, so it is very important that we get this legislation moving. one of the ways that we can cost-effectively improve the nation's infrastructure is by using public-private partnerships, public-private partnerships, p-3's, to fund
4:52 pm
water projects. i worked closely with senator alexander, the chairman of the subcommittee, the energy and water subcommittee, to include support for p-3-style projects in this legislation. i see that our chairman has joined us. again, i want to commend him for his -- not only for the overall legislation, but for his support for the p-3, public-private partnerships. by leveraging the resources of the private sector, we can accelerate construction and reduce overall project costs. this creates a win for citizens who benefit from the project and a win for taxpayers to save money with projects that are constructed on a more cost-effective basis. i look forward to passing this legislation so we can advance this p-3 concept. in fact, we have a project in fargo, north dakota, that is perfectly suited for this type of an approach. a p-3 project could save the
4:53 pm
federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs, but we need to get this legislation passed so that the corps has the ability to start these types of projects and get them constructed for our country. i'm also pleased that the legislation permits the army corps of engineers to begin a handful of new feasibility studies. mother nature doesn't wait on the united states senate, or the united states congress, so we have to keep it looking at areas where we need to upgrade infrastructure and respond to things as they occur. for example, some of the recent events, as the presiding officer knows, which occurred in colorado, the animus river. one area that i'm very familiar with that needs better flood protection is minot, north dakota, where we had a devastating flood in 2007. we need to do a feasibility study to determine how best to
4:54 pm
make sure that permanent flood protection is put in place. finally, i am strongly in support of funding included in this legislation for improvements to water infrastructure across this country, whether it's our ports, whether it's communities large or small. this is basic infrastructure that we need for quality of life in this country. this is a long-term investment in the future of our country and quality of life and the welfare of our people and the ability to grow our economy. let me touch on just a couple other areas before i turn the floor over to our chairman. in addition to the corps of engineers, this legislation provides funding for the national nuclear security administration. the agency that develops and maintains the nation's nuclear warheads. nnsa provides the funding -- depends on the funding provided every year in the water bill to provide the nation's nuclear
4:55 pm
deterrent. it is critical that this legislation move forward. i'm particularly pleased that the legislation meets the f.y. 2016 budget request for funds to rebush issue the w-80 warhead, which is the warhead that goes on our nuclear cruise missiles. the w-80 warhead is aging and needs to be refurbished so that it can move to the new cruise missile being developed by the air force. the w-80 is critical to the air leg of the nation's nuclear triad. i'm glad that this legislation provides the funding that helps keep our triad intact and in fact modernized. the bill also makes advances in our energy security priorities. it increases funding for the energy department's energy research and development, which will help provide the research for technologies that will advance coal, natural gas, oil and other fossil energy resources and innovations. this is important.
4:56 pm
in order to pursue a true all of the above energy policy that enables our country to produce both traditional and renewable energy with better environmental stewardship. the bill also provides support for the coal advanced energy systems program to research the efficiency of coal-based power systems and enabling affordable, commercially viable co2 capture technologies. it continues for many -- it continues funding for many other research and development programs that will strengthen our energy future, not only by enabling us to produce energy more cost-effectively and more dependably but also with better environmental stewardship. mr. president, i'll start to wrap up here and turn the floor over to our esteemed colleague from the other side of the aisle the outstanding senators who are members of the committee who are here and looking to speak in support of this very important
4:57 pm
legislation. but i want to finish on the aspect that i started on earlier. have passed all 12 appropriations bills out of committee. this is the fundamental work of the senate, making sure that we fund the government, that we fund the enterprises that we're talking about, and we do so within the budget that was duly and properly passed by this senate and by this house, by the congress. this is the work that we need to do, and that means that we have to proceed to these bills, that we have to offer the opportunity for debate, the opportunity for amendments, debate those amendments and vote. that is our job. that is our responsibility. that is how we get the work done for the american people who sent us here to do just that. this is good legislation. these bills were passed with bipartisan support. as i said in the case of this
4:58 pm
bill, 26 in favor, only four opposed. so let's get going. let's get -- let's get that work done. that's what we were sent here to do. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: thank you, mr. president. you know, this week, i was pleased to hear some good news about a very special place in the great lakes. on the bottom of lake michigan, right off the shores of wisconsin, lies an incredible collection of shipwrecks. people across the great lakes region, especially in wisconsin, but also in my home state of michigan and elsewhere, recognize that this stretch of lake michigan is a national treasure because of a historical -- because of the historical significance it has plus its great beauty. through a bottom-up community-driven process, many people teamed up to put together a proposal to protect this area as a national marine sanctuary. the obama administration listened, and just this week, they announced that they will be moving forward on establishing a
4:59 pm
wisconsin lake michigan national marine sanctuary. a marine sanctuary designation, as michiganders know from firsthand experience, helps to improve access and resources for special maritime places in order to enhance visitor access and preserve irreplaceable resources for future generations. the wisconsin lake michigan sanctuary proposal would preserve an 875-square mile area of lake michigan with waters extending from port washington to two rivers. as michiganders watch a pure michigan sunset over lake michigan on beaches from ludington south to muskegon, the sun would set over this new sanctuary directly across the lake. the new sanctuary has 29 known shipwrecks, 15 of which are listed in the national registry of historic places, with many of those wrecks almost completely intact. a very rare occurrence. research shows that the proposed
5:00 pm
sanctuary includes 123 reported vessel losses, so there are many more wrecks to discover in these waters. local community leaders in wisconsin deserve much of the credit for building the support needed to move this proposal forward, but it would not have made it to this point without the tireless work of my friend and colleague, senator baldwin of wisconsin. in 2013, senator baldwin urged the national oceanic and atmospheric administration or noaa to reopen the public nomination process for the first time in 20 years, and she continues to have advocate, be an advocate for additional funding for national marine sanctuaries through her role on the committee. earlier this year i was pleased to introduce a bill with senator baldwin and my good friend, senator stabenow called the great lakes maritime heritage assessment act which would require noaa to review heritage
5:01 pm
in the great lakes and suggest areas worthy of designation. in addition, i teamed up with senator baldwin to introduce the waterfront community revitalization and resiliency act which can work hand in hand with marine sanctuaries to boost the local economies of waterfront communities across the great lakes and the country. the bill would improve areas along the water to increase access to public space, grow business development and create a new vision for water fronts that can boost tourism, recreation and small business. the administration also identified another new potential sanctuary. the mall lows bay potomac river, a 14-square mile stretch of the tidal poavment -- potomac river with one of the most ecologically valuable water scape and landscapes in maryland. these two sanctuary proposals if
5:02 pm
finalized would be the first sanctuaries established since 2000 and would be the 15th and 16th additions to the national marine sanctuaries network. the last addition to the network was in 2000, and that was michigan's very own thunder bay national marine sanctuary and underwater reserve located in luke huro -- in lake huron. it is a national maritime treasure. it is known as shipwreck alley. throughout history it is one of the most highly traveled and dangerous parts of the great lakes system. nearly 100 shipwrecks have been discovered within the sanctuary with a wide range of vessel types that make the collection nationally significant. the fresh water of the great lakes keeps shipwrecks in excellent condition and the archeological research conducted at thunder bay is world class.
5:03 pm
pictured here is the helm of the ft-barney, a two masted schooner located at a depth of 160 feet near rogers city. on october 23, 1868 the ft bar anywhere was on route from cleveland to milwaukee with a cargo of cool when it -- coal wn it was run into by a schooner. the ship sank in less than two minutes and the wreck is one of the most complete you'll find anywhere with mass and deck equipment still in place. another impressive wreck lying at a depth of only 18 feet near alpena is the wooden steam barge monahonset. on november 23, 1907 the ship burned at the water's edge on thunder bay island. today the wreck lies in three sections. the stern portion has hull features, propeler and shaft all in place and the boiler is
5:04 pm
nearby. you can still go up to alpena and take a glass bottom boat to tour these wrecks and see the crystal waters of lake huron and senator cel or scuba dive -- and snorkel and scuba dive and it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. not only is thunder bay the only fresh water marine sanctuary among the 14 marine protected areas, at least until these new two proposals, but it is a unique in that it is also a state p underwater preserve and it is jointly managed by noaa and the state of michigan. a joint management committee makes major policy, budget and management decisions and an advisory council represents the community's interests. it is part of the local community up north and it is refreshing to see local, state, and federal officials all working together to protect a national treasure. the thunder bay sanctuary is a major tourist draw, an economic driver for the area.
5:05 pm
and the great lakes maritime heritage center in alpena attracts out of the state visitors and school groups. over the last decade the benefits of preserving thunder bay were widely recognized and a process was set in motion to expand the boundaries of the sanctuary. in september of 2014, after holding many meetings and completing a thorough environmental impact statement, thunder bay was expanded from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles, driven by a strong public and congressional support. this map shows the original boundaries and the new expanded boundaries. the process was successful in part because of the work of senator stabenow and my opinion predecessor, senator carl levin who was a champion for the great lakes every day during his long service here in the senate. as we move forward to protect the great lakes and other valuable marine resources in the
5:06 pm
great lakes and across the country, we must devote robust resources to these deserving places. many agencies including noaa are operating on shoestring budgets. and while their work is impressive as they stretch their funding the benefits these designations bring to communities like alpena and the surrounding area are sustainable and provide a foundation for the local economy. as a member of the commerce, science and transportation committee with jurisdiction over noaa and the national marine sanctuary system, i am committed to working every day for protecting the great lakes and the fantastic waters and marine places within the boundaries of the united states of america. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you, mr. president. there's an immigration program that's out of control, not conforming to the reason the
5:07 pm
program was put into effect in the first place, and it needs to be reformed or needs to be eliminated. so i come to the floor to talk about this immigration program known as eb-5 regional center investment program and the serious concerns that i have about continuing this program without reforms. the program was just extended in the continuing resolution to keep the government funded, but i want to talk about changes that need to be made before and if it is extended again. the eb-5 program was created in 1990. a foreign national under this program can invest $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that creates ten full-time jobs, and then in turn that person receive
5:08 pm
lawful permanent residence and then if they want to, citizenship. the required investment amount is only $500,000 if the investment is made in what's called a targeted employment area defined to be a rural area or an area with high unemployment. the eb-5 regional center program allows investors to tool their investment for a project, and they can meet the job creation requirements by providing evidence of not direct jobs but evidence of indirect jobs. in previous speeches on the floor, i have talked about the national security and integrity issues associated with the program. i have detailed the risk and i've expressed concern about the lack of oversight by the
5:09 pm
administration. today i would focus on one particular abuse of the program and how this program does not fulfill the intent of the law passed in 1990. perhaps the greatest violation of congressional intent that has evolved over the years is the manner in which so many, so much of the investment money coming into targeted employment areas has been directed towards lavish -- and i mean lavish building projects in well-to-do urban areas, not in the areas of high unemployment and not in rural areas as the 1990 law implied. four-star hotels and commercial office buildings are being built with foreign investment dollars in very affluent urban
5:10 pm
neighborhoods rather than these high unemployment and rural areas which congress tended to benefit. this has been done by gerrymandering the boundaries of the targeted employment areas to include at one end the affluent census track in which the building track is located and at the other end, perhaps many miles away, a census track with high unemployment. in other words, the word gerrymandering is the same word that's used in forming some congressional districts that are very strangely ranged so somebody can be reelected to office. the same approach being used here to form a targeted employment area to get all this money into urban areas that are not -- that are very affluent. one of the most notorious
5:11 pm
examples of this gerrymandering to push the boundaries is the hudson yards project, a group of luxury apartment buildings and office towers in midtown manhattan. in midtown manhattan meaning new york. even "the wall street journal," which never met a business project it didn't like, reported on how this program has been abused. the "wall street journal" explained how the hudson yard project qualifies for the lower investment threshold despite the affluent midtown location of the project, because the boundaries of the targeted employment area were manipulated, or let me say gerrymandered to include a public housing project in upper
5:12 pm
manhattan. another project that flies in the face of congressional intent, meaning the intent of the 1990 law, is located in lower manhattan near wall street. as "the new york times" reported, the battery maritime building has been classified as being located in a targeted employment area based on a gerrymandered area that -- quote -- "snakes up through the lower east side, skirting the wealthy enclaves of battery park city and tribeca and then jumps across the east river to annex the farragut houses project in brooklyn." end of quote. in other words, the developers did everything they could to include the farragut houses project, which is a public housing community, to come in at
5:13 pm
the lower investment level. "the new york times" went on to say that -- quote -- "the small census track that contains the farragut houses has become a go-to area for developers seeking to use the visa program, its unemployed residents have been counted towards three projects already." end of quote, "new york times." watchdog.org, a national watchdog group that has followed abuses of the program closely over many years, has also identified another problematic gerrymandered, targeted employment area. they reported that a 21-story residential building project that included trendy restaurants and shops was built with foreign investment despite its location
5:14 pm
in an upscale neighborhood with only 0.8% unemployment. these are just a few examples, yet they point to a clear problem with this program. when it was created by congress, we set two different investment levels and clearly tried to steer foreign capital to high unemployment and rural areas. and obviously i'm showing you that that has not been fulfilled by the way this program has finally evolved. "the wall street journal" reports that at least 80% of program money is going to projects that wouldn't qualify as being in a targeted employment areas without -- quote -- "some form of gerrymandering." end of quote. mean while the journal adds people wanting to raise money for projects in rural areas and
5:15 pm
low-income parts of cities say that they find it increasingly hard to compete. even "the washington post" has become fed up with the way in which the intent of congress has been violated. in a september 6 editorial, after discussing the program's numerous economic and integrity failings and suggesting that the program lapse, the post writes -- quote -- "the eb-5 program is supposed to favor distressed economic areas. but the definition of a needy zone has been stretched to include nearly the whole country , including hot downtown real estate markets. " end of quote. let me end by saying again that the program is in need of reform. in june, senator leahy and i
5:16 pm
introduced 1501, a bill that would substantially reform the program by improving program oversight, addressing national security vulnerabilities and restoring the program to its original intent, so i hope my colleagues will look at this very bipartisan bill and will take an opportunity to understand how this program is being used and abused and review the proposal that senator leahy and i have put out there, and i ask unanimous consent to put these articles that are referred to in the -- in my speech in the record. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. the material will be placed in the record. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. the rare blend of sole tide environment and availability of
5:17 pm
water makes arkansas an ideal location for rice to thrive and grow, making arkansas the nation's largest producer of rice. last year, production in the natural state accounted for more than 50% of total rice produced in the country. farmers in more than half of arkansas' counties grow rice. 96% of those are family owned and operated. as the number-one producer of this crop, arkansas has a unique role in the industry. that's why i'm proud to recognize the 25th anniversary of national rice month. i'm also proud to promote policies that enable our farmers to manage risk and ensure that high-quality u.s. rice remains a staple on tables throughout the globe. this industry is not only contributing to a nutritious and balanced diet, it's also an economic engine for arkansas, mississippi, louisiana, missouri, california and texas
5:18 pm
all produce rice. nationwide, this industry accounts for 125,000 jobs and contributes -- that helps. and contributes more than $34 billion to the economy. in arkansas, it accounts for more than 25,000 jobs. the rice industry stands to benefit from a change in policies with cuba because it's a staple of the cuban diet. the united states department of agriculture estimates that u.s. rice exports could increase up to $365 million per year if financing and travel restrictions were lifted. arkansas' agricultural secretary recently said the economic impact on the natural state's rice industry could be about $30 million. rice production is efficient. more rice is being produced on
5:19 pm
less land, using less water and energy than 20 years ago. as great stewards of the land, rice farmers are committed to protecting and reserving our natural resources. arkansas' location to the mississippi flyway makes it the duck hunting capital of the world and draws hunters from around the globe. i'm proud to support our rice industry and celebrate 25 years of recognizing national rice month. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i want to thank the democratic senators for their courtesy. we're running a little behind. allow me to go on and make my remarks. i'd like to ask the chair to let me know when 12 minutes have expired of my 15. the presiding officer: the senator will be so notified. mr. alexander: i thank the chair. mr. president, tomorrow we'll be voting on the energy and water appropriations bill, and i come to the floor to make two points about that very important piece of legislation.
5:20 pm
number one, if our democratic friends would allow us to vote on it, would allow us to debate it and amend it, to pass it, send it to the president and do the same with the other 11 appropriations bills that our appropriations committee has reported, we could easily say that this year in the united states senate is one of the most productive years in a long, long time. number two, the other point i want to make is the importance of this bill. ben bernanke, the retired chairman of the federal reserve board, wrote an article to the "wall street journal" this week in which he says you can't rely on the federal reserve board to create jobs in a growth economy in the united states, that what you need to do is have better educational opportunities and more research, and you need to have supercomputing, i would add to that, and you need to have
5:21 pm
infrastructure, and this bill, the energy and water bill, has all those things. it's a pro-growth bill for the united states of america. so let me take the first point first. mr. president, this is the first time in six years that the appropriations committee has reported all 12 appropriations bills. now, you might find that unusual because that's our basic job, as much as it is at the grand ol' opry to sing, our job is to pass the appropriations bills. that's article 1 of the constitution. the first time in six years, they're all sitting there waiting. most of them passed in a bipartisan way. the one that we're bringing to the floor tomorrow passed 26-4 on may 21. senator feinstein and i worked on it with most of the members of this body. it's a very good bill, passed in a bipartisan way. what would usually happen in a properly functioning united states senate is that we would spend the months of june and july dealing with those 12 appropriations bills. that would mean that not just
5:22 pm
the 30 members of the appropriations committee would have a chance to vote on them. it would mean that the senator from utah, who is not on the appropriations committee, would have a chance to make his points about the appropriations bill, which is a part of his job here, yet he's shut out of that. why? because democrats say we won't even let you bring them to the floor. it's an extraordinary thing to do. but despite that, mr. president, i want you to know what -- what this body has accomplished in the last seven or eight months. we have passed the keystone pipeline, the president vetoed it. we overruled the ambush elections rule from the nlrb, the president vetoed it. but listen to all the things that we got done with the cooperation of democrats on the other side of the aisle. then as i said if we could add to that the appropriations bills, we would have the most productive senate in many, many years. the trade authority law passed its law. fix no child left behind. we ended the common core
5:23 pm
mandate. we did it with 81 votes in the senate, a bipartisan bill. the highway bill, a long-term highway bill passed this body after we had had 34 short-term highway bills. a permanent fix of what we call the doc fix, the way we pay doctors for medicare payments. a long-term permanent solution passed this body. it's now the law after 17 short-term fixes. we've changed the way, it's now the law, we pay doctors, so we pay more for quality instead of fee-for-service. we've dealt with what happens when a terrorist calls from afghanistan international on the phone. that's the u.s.a. freedom act. it's now the law. the defense authorization bill. the terrorism risk insurance. the iron review act -- iran review act. and waiting in the wings is a chemical safety bill which has bipartisan support, which, believe this, 39 years since it's last been touched and a cybersecurity bill right after that. that is an impressive list of
5:24 pm
accomplishments for this senate. think of what we could say if we had spent june and july as we should debating the appropriations bills. now, let's move to the energy and water appropriations bill. may 21. it was passed by the senator from california, senator feinstein, and i recommended it. 26 senators voted for it, four voted against it in the appropriations committee. it stays within the law, the law that we passed and the president signs tells us what we have to spend, yet democrats said well, we're not going to let you bring it to the floor because we think you should spend more than that. well, maybe we should, but the law says we should spend what we spent, so we followed the law. now, when you block our bill and don't allow it to be brought to the floor, what do you do? you cut 70 senators out of having a say on the energy and
5:25 pm
water appropriations bill, and what does that mean they don't have a say over? they don't have a say over nuclear weapons. are we funding the -- half our bill is about national defense. are we properly funding nuclear weapons? they don't have a say over national laboratories. the laboratories where we're inventing new ways to manufacture that will help grow the jobs. they don't have a say over how much money we're going to spend on the missouri river floods. they don't have a say over how much money we're going to spend on our -- on the lox and the dams that we have. the panama canal is widening. if we don't deepen our harbors, the ships are going to go to cuba, so we want them to go to savannah and mobile and other places like that. they don't have a say over -- over nuclear waste. where do we put nuclear waste? so the democrats by blocking, bringing the bill to the floor have cut their own members out of having a say about this. half of it, national defense. half of it essential items. and all over, they say they
5:26 pm
wanted 3% more funding. what i said in the appropriations committee was, you know, this is really a pretty good way to budget. let's appropriate it as if p we had 97% of what you want, and if we get 3% more at the end of this discussion at the end of the year, then we'll add it. that shouldn't be hard to do. we could do it in 24 hours. the way the senate is supposed to work is this bill is posed to -- supposed to come to the floor, we're supposed to debate it, we're supposed to amend it, we're supposed to send it to the president. if he doesn't like it, he can veto it and send it back. that's what should happen. and if senators don't like the bill now, they can block it when it -- they can vote against it after we amend it. they can vote against it after it comes after committee. that takes 60 votes, too. they could vote -- if the president vetoes it, it takes 67 votes to override the president's veto. my friends on the other side say well, that takes too much time. what do you mean it takes too much time?
5:27 pm
that's what we're here to do. we're elected to have a say on these issues. this is a trillion dollars in funding for the united states of america's national defense and for its essential services, lox, dams, national laboratories. where do we put the nuclear waste, and the democrats are saying we don't even want to vote on it. we don't even want to have a say about it. we don't even want to send it to the president and let him consider it. let's take an example. the bill includes funding for inland waterways. those are the avenues that carry the commerce, that creates the jobs in america. they need to be in good shape. we've agreed on that in a bipartisan way. we've even asked the barge owners to pay more to go through the lox, which they've agreed. and our bill matches what the barge owners are paying and increases the funding for inland waterways in kentucky, the olmstead lock, chickamoga lock in tennessee.
5:28 pm
it also has $1.2 billion for the harbor trust fund. that means we will be spending more to deepen harbors in savannah, charleston, memphis, jacksonville, mobile, pascagoula, wilmington harbor. do senators not want to have a say about that? do you not want to support that or oppose that if you think it's too much? how about the national laboratories? the national laboratories are the source have the research that produces the jobs that gives us our family incomes. one of them is in tennessee, the oak ridge national laboratory. i was there the other day. they have a new thing called additive manufacturing where their 3-d -- they're 3-d printing automobiles. now, let me say that again. 3-d printing automobiles or parts of automobiles. it may revolutionize manufacturing in america and the world as much as unconventional gas and oil has revolutionized our national energy policy.
5:29 pm
do other senators, the other 70 who are not on the appropriations committee, not want to have a say about that, how much we spend for our national laboratories? how about how much we spend for nuclear weapons? we had a big debate in this body over the proper level of spending for nuclear weapons, and we had a big debate over something called the start treaty which regulated the weapons that we were getting rid of, and we agreed at the time that we'd spend a certain amount of money to make sure that we could defend the country. do senators not want to have a say about that? so why do we not pass appropriations bills that were ready in may, debate them in a day or two, send them down to the president. if the president doesn't like them, under the constitution, he can veto them, send them back. if we're spending 97% of what he thinks we should spend and he wants to veto it for that reason and then send it back to us, and if we decide after a negotiation to spend 3% more, we can add 3%
5:30 pm
in 24 hours, send it back to him, and that's the end of the result. this is not the way the senate is supposed to operate. so, mr. president, i hope that my friends on the democratic side will recognize that they would like to have a say in our nuclear weapons policy. they would like to have a say in how much we spend on our national laboratories. this bill has the highest level of funding for the office of science, as written, the highest level of funding for the office of science in the history of the country. you don't want to vote on that, you don't want to support that, you want to cut that, you want to stop that? i don't want to stop it. i want us to support research. i want to support national laboratories. i want to support national defense. i want deeper harbors all around our coast. i want inland waterways that aren't broken down. i want us to move ahead in this country. this bill is a pro-growth
5:31 pm
national defense bill. it came out of the appropriations committee with 26 votes for it, four votes against it. senator feinstein and i worked with almost every senator in this body for it. why should we not consider an appropriations bill that has that kind of support? now, we get on that path every time we change majorities here. then the republicans lose the election and they say, look what you did to us in the last election? we're going to block all your appropriations because we'd like to spend less. so we won't ever do any appropriations bills again in the united states senate because one body or the other blocks the amount of money. we're supposed to vote on that. the last congress the democrats were in control and they wouldn't bring the -- and they wouldn't bring the appropriations bills to the floor. thank you, i'll conclude within the next three minutes. i thank my democratic friends for their courtesy. in the last congress, when
5:32 pm
democrats had the majority and republicans had the minority, the appropriations committee in a bipartisan way completed its work on most bills. but the majority wouldn't bring the bills to the floor last year. or when it did, it wouldn't let the republicans offer amendments to it. they were afraid senators might have their say. now, this year we're in the majority for the first time in six years, in a bipartisan way we've produced 12 appropriations bills out of 12. we would like to bring them to the floor and they're saying no. we're not even going to vote on it. we're not even going to amend it. we're not even going to debate it. even though if they don't like the bill at the end of that process, they can kill it with 60 votes, they can kill it after it comes out of conference with 60 votes. and if the president vetoes it, he can take 0 votes to override. -- 60 votes to override. we don't have time to do
5:33 pm
appropriations bills here? traditionally we've always consumed june and july with the 12 appropriations bills. previously congresses have had time to do it. we should have time to do it. and let me conclude where i started. this has been a -- a very productive senate. most of that work has been because of bipartisan cooperation, whether it's the trade bill, the bill to fix no child left behind, the highway bill, the doc fix, quality for -- paying doctors for quality instead of fees, the freedom act, the defense authorization, the terrorism risk insurance, the iran review act. we've got the chemical safety and cybersecurity waiting. that's all the result of cooperation between democrats and republicans. why can we not do that on appropriations bills, which is our most basic responsibility? we did it in committee. i couldn't have a better person to work with than senator feinstein. 26-4 was the vote.
5:34 pm
it involves our national defense. it involves our growth, involves our security. i would hope every senator would want to have a say on those issues tomorrow when we vote. so i hope they will vote "yes" on the energy and water bill tomorrow, "yes" to considering it and then after we've considered it and debated it, why, we can send it down to the president or send it over to the house, come up with a conference and we can see what they think. that's the way the senate ought to work and i'm eager to see the senate get back to -- to that and i think so are the american people. i thank the president. i thank my colleagues for their courtesy. and i would yield the floor. ms. cantwell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i rise to come to the floor tonight to talk about something i'd like to see done in the united states senate, the passage of the land and water conservation fund. definitely the senate has -- and congress disappointed us in not
5:35 pm
passing the export-import back, something i'm a big proponent of, and now here we are with the land and water conservation fund. for the first time in 51 years since this program was created, it has expired. my colleagues are here on the floor to join me. the senator from montana and the senator from new mexico. to talk about why this is such a vital program to all of our states and why we should have it reauthorized immediately. the bill creating the land and water conservation fund was championed by senator scoop jackson at the request of then-president kennedy. why? because the american population was growing, there was a need for outdoor recreation, open space and public lands. and the land and water conservation fund was created to help and protect some of our most popular national parks, forests, public lands and iconic places. so for me, this is an incredibly important program. because it's provided
5:36 pm
opportunities for hunting, for fishing, for hiking and recreational uses that so many people use when traveling to the pacific northwest for vacation or just livelihood on public lands. those of us who are from states with large amount of public lands recognize the importance of outdoor recreation and nationwide, outdoor recreation supports more than 6 million jobs. this is an economy in and of itself. in the state of washington, outdoor recreation contributes more than $11 billion annually to our economy and it's clear that protecting our public lands is good both for our environment and our economy. the conservation fund has credited each year with funds from the outer continental shelf and gas and oil revenues and the success of that program has helped us authorize and spend
5:37 pm
for these investments on behalf of the american people, as i said, for more than 50 years. so we're here to remind our colleagues that we're going to put up a fight until we get the conservation fund reauthorized and to make sure that people in our states and all across the nation that enjoy public lands have access to them. the issue is important to us in the energy bill passed out of the senate energy committee, i worked with my colleague, senator murkowski, on a bipartisan basis to include a permanent reauthorization of the land and water conservation fund in our bipartisan energy bill, and it was -- i was joined by 31 senators when we introduced the american energy and innovation act that also permanently reauthorized the land and water conservation fund. so you can see from these two pieces of legislation that there is a lot of support by our colleagues for making sure that this vital program that is used
5:38 pm
by cities, by counties, by jurisdictions all throughout my state and many other across the nation, that this is a vital tool for helping us continue to thrive in our outdoor economy. we want to see this legislation reauthorized as soon as possible and i thank my colleagues again from new mexico and montana for being here and for their leadership on this issue. mr. tester: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank senators cantwell and heinrich for not giving up on the land and water conservation fund. and i need to point out, while there are three of us democrats standing here, we speak for our entire caucus. we -- we believe that the lwcf is something that needs to be reauthorized and, quite frankly, needs to be fully funded. we're not going to play games with this issue. we're working to get this bill
5:39 pm
passed. not for show, not for politics but because it's good for our economy. and i'll get into that in a second. there was a republican gentleman who served in the presidency of this great country some time ago teddy roosevelt, who called on americans to cherish our nation's vast natural resources and to ensure that we safely pass them on to future generations. after all, they are the birthright of every american. that's what the land and water conservation fund is all about. we take special pride in our public lands in montana. they are a part of our way of life. we have just over a million people in our great state but we lead the nation in the percentage of residents who hunt , fish and hike and enjoy our public lands. and the land and water conservation fund is a big reason for that. montana's outdoor economy brings in nearly $6 billion a year.
5:40 pm
let me say it again. the outdoor economy, which is supported by the land and water conservation fund, brings in nearly $6 billion a year. last week when i flew out of montana, there were several fishermen who were flying out with me. didn't live in montana. all the money they brought into the state while they were fishing were outside dollars that wouldn't have been there otherwise. they probably used some of the fishing access, sft 150- -- sft 150-plus -- some of the 150-plus in fishing access when they enjoyed our great outdoors when they were in more more. the lantd and water conservation -- the land and water conservation fund also supports over 150,000 jobs. we talk a lot about if we build our tax code, or if we build this piece of infrastructure or if we make this education program more affordable, it can have incredible impacts on our economy. but the fact is, do you want to
5:41 pm
talk on dollars for return, the land and water conservation fund is an incredible investment. to help preserve these lands and create these accesses, montana has received some $540 million from land and water conservation fund, money that has been very well spent. montanans use this land and water conservation fund to preserve more than 8,000 acres of elk habitat in mar county. montanans used land and water conservation fund to protect some of the most pristine habitat in the lower 48. from conservation easements on the rocky mountain front to acquisitions in the crown of the continent. while montanans certainly benefit from the fund, there are land and water conservation fund projects in nearly every county of the united states. yes, this fund is responsible for protecting prime hunting and fishing, but it is also responsible for building trails and improving parks, playgrounds
5:42 pm
and ball fields in every state in the country. and that is why congress must reauthorize the land and water conservation fund. to protect our best outdoor places and to reestablish this critical tool to build our communities in a way that will make future generations proud. with that, mr. president, if it's appropriate, i would like to ask my good friend from new mexico a question. senator heinrich, thank you for being here today. and my question is, is you come from new mexico. is the land and water conservation fund something you hear about from your residents? mr. heinrich: i want to thank my colleague from montana. i think one of the great things about new mexico and montana is we're both states that absolutely cherish the outdoors. and we have a lot of constituents who care about the activities that generate so much income in the outdoors.
5:43 pm
obviously i hear from an enormous number of my constituents asking us to reauthorize and permanently authorize the land and water conservation fund, to fund the land and water conservation fund and, in fact, one of the recently -- this letter which was sent to me but was also sent to the chair of our committee, the energy and natural resources committee, to the chair and to the ranking member, the good senator from washington, was signed by dozens of businesses saying, hey, this is important to our bottom line. please extend the land and water conservation fund. please continue to support this bipartisan legacy of standing up for our natural resources in this country. and my good friend from montana mentioned the scale of what that means in his state and it's not a dissimilar story in new mexico. and, in fact, over $6 billion
5:44 pm
annually comes from outdoor recreation activities. 68,000 jobs in our state directly related to outdoor recreation. and, in fact, when i go home this weekend, we are going to be celebrating the vias caldera national preserve and it's managed by the national park service. that was a property that for decades my constituents could not access. they could not hunt, they could not fish. it was private property. and it was because of the land and water conservation fund that this place that had really been on the radar screen of the national park service since the early part of the last century, probably since the 1930's, could come into public ownership and be now one of the true gems in the entire nation of our public lands.
5:45 pm
we're going to be celebrating that with our constituents on saturday. the secretary of interior is coming out. literally 100,000 acres of some of the most spectacular high-elevation grasslands and confer forests and trout streams and elk habitat that you've ever seen. and there are businesses that rely on that. tourism is an enormous part of our economy in new mexico. so this is something that has been absolutely crucial to our state's economy and especially in the midst of the last decade and the challenges that we've had economically. and i know one of the groups that'll be there on saturday are people who care about th -- the sportsmen who care about utilizing the outdoors. so i would ask my colleague from montana if in montana he hears from people who hunt and fish, like i do in new mexico, about the importance that this particular legislation has had
5:46 pm
in protecting habitat and protecting access to the places that regular blue-collar folks can go to hunt and fish. mr. tester: absolutely. we hear from sportsmen and women nearly every day, if not every day. and here's where the problem is, and this is why we need to get the land and water conservation fund authorized and funded -- and funded at $900 million, i might add. if you want to go hunting and fishing in this country today, things have changed from what they were 30 or 40 yeempletion you used to be able to access private lands before. now you can, but it is much fewer acres. so the real opportunity to go hunting and fishing in this country are on public lands, whether state or federal. there are some in this body and some in this country that don't think the federal government should own one stitch of land.
5:47 pm
well, i'm telling you, without those opportunities in our outdoor economy, number one, our way of life would change for every in a state like montana, and number two, our economy would be severely distressed. i hear from sportsmen and women because when they want to go hunting and fishing, it's those federal public lands where they g that's where the good ha habit is that they can access and that's where the good fisheries are that they can access. so this is very, very importanters and i can tell you that for those in this body that want to see this program go away, you are literally driving the nail in the coffin of rural america's economy. mr. heinrich: i would ask my colleague from montana, you know, we've heard a lot about reform. but when we had it the hearing in front of the energy and natural resources committee, we heard from people on both sides of the aisle talking about how
5:48 pm
well this program works. do you think the opposition that's holding this up, that's holding back the majority of this body and a bipartisan majority, i would add, do you think that reform is really what this is about or is it about a more basic, more ideological opposition to public lands and the current efforts to either sell off or transfer those public lands that our constituents rely on for access to go camping, to go hunting, to go rock climbing, to recreate, to spend time with their families? mr. tester: it is hard to say what the agenda s i do know that earlier this year there was a proposal put out to use the land and water conservation fund for fighting forest fires. now there's a proposal put out to use the land and water conservation fund to manage forests. the fact of the matter is, the land and water conservation fund works, and it works to create habitat, and it works to access
5:49 pm
that habitat. it also works for playgrounds and parks and ball fields all across this country. if you take a look at our overall budget and what we spend on a lot of stuff around here, $900 million for a nationwide program that impacts so many people that impacts our economy in such a very positive way, there are must be some agenda out there that i cannot see to do away with this fund. it makes no sense to me. and it is particularly frustrating to see folks from the other side of the aisle come down here to the floor and bring their friends in and say, now i'm going to make this glorious speech about the land and water conservation fund and then i want you to stop the unanimous consent. the bottom line is, things get done in here when we work in the middle, and as i told some folks the other day in montana, we need to bring these folks around who think this is just excess government spending. because, quite frankly, there
5:50 pm
are a lot of places there's excess spending in our budget. this is not one of them. this is a good program that helps promote a great way of outdoor life and also helps promote our commitment of. mr. heinrich: well, and ironically, the money in the land and water conservation fund is not tax dollars. it is literally a deal that goes back five decades now where we opened up large swaths of our natural resources, our oil and gas offshore, and took a percentage of that and invested it back into protecting our natural resources. and obviously those are natural resources that are one time. you know, you only get to drill for oil or produce natural gas one time. so the idea was you would invest that in something to protect our environment, to protect our conservation lands, and to make a permanent contribution to that level of conservation.
5:51 pm
mr. tester: no, that's absolutely correct. and one of the things that makes it moment in time so important when it comes to land and water conservation fund is we are losing habitat, we are losing fisheries every day. and there will be limited opportunity to keep these pristine lands available for hunting and fishing in the future. but the ha habitat will be gone. that's why it is very important not only to reauthorize the land and water conservation fund but to fully fund it so we can take care of these landscapes that help support incredibly great elk and deer and trout fisheries. it is very, very important, plus a whole bunch more opportunities in our great outdoors that the land and water conservation fund really helps people enjoy life and have quality of life. and i'm not just talking about the folks who have incredibly
5:52 pm
thick wallets. i'm talking about everyday, average americans who work for a living around work darn hard for a living and want to be able to enjoy some of the great things this country has to omplet. mr. heinrich: you know, that's absolutely right. i can tell you, i hear from constituents all the time who will never be able to afford one of those $5,000 or $10,000 private lands but who do enter the lottery every year and oftentimes really rely on that to get their family through the winter and to also just pull their family together in a tradition that they've had as part of who they are for years and years. and i can tell you when we go to celebrate the valles caldera natural re-serve, i'm looking forward to make sure that
5:53 pm
resource is there again and again and again. and that's what this land understand is water conservation -- land and water conservation fund is all about. mr. tester: mr. president? i yield the floor, mr. president. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, two weeks ago i inaugurate add series of speeches about religious freedom. in the first speech i said that the rights of conscience and religious exercise go to the very heart of who we are as human beings and how we make sense out of this world. no decisions are more fundamental to human existence than those regarding our relationship to the divine and no act of government is more invasive of individual liberty than compelling a person to violate his or her sincerely chosen religious beliefs. this is why religious freedom in and of itself is so important
5:54 pm
and must be specially trek protected. last woke i spoke about religious freedom -- last woke i spoke about religious freedom in practice here in america. at no time in world history has religion been such a part of character. as congress said, when we unanimously enacted the international religious freedom act in 1998, the right to freedom of religion undergirds the very origin and existence of the united states. professor michael mcconnell, director of the constitutional law center at stanford, describes how by the time the bill of rights was ratified america had -- quote -- "already experienced 150 years of a higher degree of religious diversity than had existed anywhere in the world." unquote. now, together, those spu two speeches told some of the story of religious freedom in america. today, mr. president, i will build on that foundation and examine the status and the
5:55 pm
substance of religious freedom. more fully understanding these three aspects of religious freedom, it's story, its status and its substance will help us better evaluate where we are today and inform where we should go in the future. the status of religious freedom can be summarized as inalienable and as preeminent. james madison repeatedly identified the free exercise of religion according to conviction and conscience as an inalienable right. to america's founders, as they expressed in the declaration of independence, inai inalienable s have two dimensions. they come from god, not from government. and these rights are endowed. that they are inseparable from us and part of our very humanity. government did not provide them and government cannot take them away. when virginia developed its constitution in 1776, george
5:56 pm
washington -- excuse me, george mason's draft of a declaration of rights said that the exercise of religion should receive the fullest toleration by government. madison objected and offered language that became section 16 of the virginia declaration of rights, settin setting what oner calls a new standard for freedom of conscience. here's madison's language. let me just refer to the chart here. he said "that religion, or the duty which we owe to our creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of the conscience." this understanding of religious freedom did not end with america's founding generation. in 1853, the senate foreign forn relations committee approved a resolution assertinsserting than
5:57 pm
treaties with foreign nations, the united states should care for our citizens residing abroad "the right of woreshiping god freely and openly according to the dictates of their own conscience." the committee report on this resolution described religious freedom as fundamental, allowing -- quote -- "the utmost latitude and freedom of conscience" -- unquote. so that each individual -- quote -- "is absolutely free is act in conformity to his own convictions" -- unquote. the fact that religious freedom is inalienable leads to another aspect of its status. in his 1785 memorial against religious assessments, madison explained that religious exercise -- quote -- "is precedent both in order of time and in degree of obligation in the claims of civil society." supreme court justice arthur goldberg once wrote that to america's founders, religious
5:58 pm
freedom was preeminent among fundamental rights. presidents and congresses have similarly identified the status of religion freedom as preeminent among rights. in his 1941 state of the union address, for example, president franklin roosevelt included religious freedom as one of four essential human freedoms. just four years later the united states signed the universal of declaration of human rights which asserts that religious freedom is an inalienable right universal to all members of the human family. the last several presidents have issued annual proclamations declaring january 16 to be religious freedom day. those proclamations by presidents of both parties have said that religious freedom is a correspondencore valve our demot it is essential to our dignity as human beings and that no freedom is more fundamental than the right to practice one's
5:59 pm
religious beliefs. turning to congress, the house foreign affairs committee in 1955 approved a resolution -- quote -- "re-a firming the rights of the people of the world to freedom of religion" -- unquote. the committee said that this resolution -- quote -- "recognizes that the basic strength of the united states is spiritual and that all races, people, and nations of the world share with us a dependence on such strength" -- unquote. i mentioned earlier that congress in 1998 unanimously enacted the international religious freedom act. this body passed it by a vote of 98-0. 21 senators serving today, 12 republicans and nine democrats, voted for this legislation. so did vice president joe biden and secretary of state john kerry when they served here. that law declares religious freedom to be a universal human right, a pillar of our nation,
6:00 pm
and a fundamental freedom. in subsequent speeches, i will explore the responsibility of government regarding an inalienable and preeminent right such as religious freernlings but i want to note two things at this point. first, as the declaration of independence asserts, government exists to secure inalienable rights. second, if a right is preeminent, it must be properly accommodated when government takes actions such as enacting legislation and issuing regulations. the status of religious freedom is that is inalienable and preeminent. let me turn now to exploring the substance of religious freedom in terms of both its depth or what religious freedom is and its breadth for those to whom religious freedom belongs. first, depth.

9 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on