tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 9, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT
sample which is why last year we required additional data fields in the database, those who want to come here and then in august of this year, we identified a number of security enhancements we could obtain from countries in the program so that we have a much better idea of who is coming here from those countries. they include, for example, the requirement that these country make better use of ap and i pnr data, that they use the interpol database for stolen passports on a more regular basis. we increase the use of federal air marshals on flights from the countries. a whole series of security enhancements we identify and have obtained from these countries for exactly this reason. >> what more do you need? what more can we help you with? anything legislatively we can do to ensure we don't have these foreign fighters slipping into the country? >> hspd6, the presidential
directive, gives us a lot of authority in this area, and if countries want to be in this program, they should agree to these security enhancements. that's been the mechanism for our seeking greater assurances on that. but this is a concern of mine, and i'm always asking my staff that exact question. any legislative authority we could use -- >> let us know, and on the name recognition data my understanding there's concerns there. is there anything we can do to tighten that up as well? maybe we can get back to us with a specific answer. on the syrian refugees in general, as you know, spent time focus on the issue of special immigrant visas for enter thor serve with our troops in afghanistan iraq. we have had a hard time for interpreters to go through the citer process. i'm skeptical what i hear about 10,000 syrians coming into the country having an expedited process to screen them.
having gone through the experience with the interpreters. could -- so i would ask you today, and director comey, you expressed concerns about this as women in the public media. how are we going to deal with this? 1600 syrians by the end of fiscal year 2015 are going to be admitted. don't you think that always create others threat to the homeland, and if you do think that from your -- again, the comments from the public media you have a concern about that. what are you going to do about it? >> well, yes, senator. there is risk associated with brinking anybody in from the outside but especially from a conflict zone like that. from the intelligence community's perspective, as i said, think we developed an effective way to touch all of our databases and resources to figure out what we know about individuals. so that's my piece of it. i don't think that's a cumbersome process mitchell
process. my concern is there are certain gaps, i don't want to talk about publicly in the data available to us, but i can't speak the rest of the process that may be part of what you're talking about. >> well ex-think there's a significant gap but a our intelligence in syria is so bad wimp don't have the information we need to process these folks. i think we need to figure this out quickly, given the fact we have made this commitment. but i don't know, director, rasmussen, do you have more to add to that. >> the intelligence picture of this conflict zone is not as rich as we would like it to be so that would with us -- obviously when you screen and vet you screen and vet against available intelligence holdings. the more you have, the more likely you can catch derogatory information that would cause you to review potential case more closely. so we -- i think the director is absolutely right. we have a much more streamlined
and effective estimate to make slur -- sure our intelligencing brought to bear but you can only vet against what you have. at least we can identify where more questions need to be asked even if intelligence isn't available. >> well, my time expired. i appreciate it. i think this is a huge issue and before making these commitment is hope there were some dialogue with certainly the -- you three gentlemen and i hope we can come up with a screening process that is better than the ones we have had on the interpreters, particularly with less intelligence on the ground. >> senator langford. >> thank you for your work to protect the nation. it's extremely important, and i want you to hear from the folks in oklahoma. we appreciate the work you do. we understand very well, as jeh johnson was in oklahoma, director comey was in oklahoma
not long ago. we understand extremely well the threats we face. so i just want to hear from us we're grateful for what you're doing. i whatnot to ask you secretary johnson, about the cyber security bill. can you explain why that is so important right now? that the threats but the specific language and what you need on the cyber security bill. >> yes, sir. two principle things come to mind immediately. one, explicit congressional authorization for dhs's ability to monitor, identify, and block unwanted intrusions in other federal agencies through our einstein system. the very tour of the einstein system it has the ability to brock intrusions and is a platform for greater and better technology in the future. >> that's the federal system, not private systems. >> correct. number two, greater incentives through law for the private sector to share information with the federal government when it
comes to seiber threat -- cyberthreat -- those are the two principle areas. there's always the data breach notification requirement, enhanced penalties. >> voluntary congresses or mandatory -- >> we believe encouraging voluntary cooping with the private sector is -- cooperation with the private sector is the way to go. >> the private sector in that cooperation, has jim comey mentioned earlier, fbi doesn't come from mars. we're all american citizens and it's finding the way to work together. i want to shift to what some other folks talked about. we talk about the threat from isis. it's spectacular. we talk about a couple of dozen folks here that are major concerns that are here. last year we had over 10,000 deaths by heroin on the streets of the united states. hotel rooms, houses, on the
streets, homes, people quietly dying from heroin and narcoterrorrist moving into the boredders and distributing this incredibly toxic substance dues the nation. and whether it's heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, it's a very strategic move happening, and it's extremely aggressive and seems to be accelerating at pace we haven't seen before in many areas of certain types. we seem to have new locations these drugs are coming from at well. can you help me understand the coordinate it strategy deal withing isis and those threats on american spoil the threats from nark to terrorist around the world, budget both the distribution and the interdiction and new groups. how are we coordinating to take that on? >> senator, can start from the enforcement perspective. your description is completely
accurate, and i actually worry that our country is not getting it the way you described it. i recently -- the acting administrator of the dea, a great leader, sent over his team to brief my on their current view of the threat, and it is breathtaking. cocaine use has gone down since 2006. that's good news. all the rest is -- not just bad news, it's awful. and so the strategy from the enforcement perspective is, try to disrupt the traffickers. try to lob them up, the kingpins in mexico, and to disrupt the gangs and organized criminals they're using to distribute in the united states. go being with trying to drive up the price. heroin is so cheap and pure, it's a tidele wave watching over children and kill thing because they don't know how pure it is. so drive up the cost by looking up as many people as -- by locking up as many people as
can. >> on the interdiction front, i think the key is a working -- good working relationship with the government of mexico. my department and i personally spend a lot of time with my mexican counterparts itch bland to go there next week. this will be a topic. we have our joint task forces here, but working with the government of mexico, is obviously key, and i agree with you we need to do a better job in this respect because the problem is getting worse. >> it's accelerating. we seem to have supply from new areas as well. are you seeing new players internationally trying to get supply to the snot. >> uh-huh. >> mexico is obviously a very close neighbor. they're pushing through north america to canada. oar there locations you can say this is a new region but they're trying to transport to the united states? >> the big focus is mexico. what happened is the mexican
traffickers have figured out they can do better by instead of bringing crow almostan heroin they're growing it in southern mexico, and refining it themselves elm the just shorten their transportation routes and they can sell it at a lower cost and high are purrity. and the piece is methamphetamine. they're not bringing it from colombia. so the center, ground zero for the plague on -- across the drillings is mexico. >> let me give you a little good news. the united states coast guard, we sent the national security cutter, uss stratton, on a four-month mission to central america. while they were out four months they interdicted $1 billion worth of cocaine, including large seizures off of submersibles that the cartels
manufacture and rub in the high seas between south america and central america. so, we want to continue those kinds of missions. >> what is the -- to be able to continue that kind of enter knicks it's not coming from central america so trying to fine think police kaz. methamphetamine protection is going down in the united states but rising rapidly in mexico so we have found effective ways to limit the flux the united states. but now it's just being push out. so, how are we handling trying to limit production there and work through the process, visiting with the mexican counterparts is a good step but the fields continue to grow -- >> better coordinated law enforcement. >> -- the location to pick up supplies and do methamphetamine and international connections for those. how can we help? >> greater coordinated law enforcement between our two governments. that's the key. and we do that on a regular basis but we need to do more.
>> thank you. thank you for your work. keep your eye on that. we deal with that across at the country. you know that well the focus can't be off international terrorism, and their plans and intentional focus to penetrate the united states but the narcoterrorrists are penetrating us every single okay, and to be able to find a way to go through that. one other quick side note, mr. chairman, secretary johnson, your department has been very good working with the state of oklahoma and dealing with the real i.d. we're trying to work through the final details. you have again gone on a waiver on that. we have been addressing that as a state and i appreciate your waiver as we try to get up to speed. >> thank you. the thing i emphasize there, we're progressing in our efforts to enforce the law, and there will come a point where we have to set some real deadlines so i'm pleased at the progress that
we have been making in working with state officials in oklahoma. >> thank you. >> senator langford, director rasmussen, in your previous testimony you talked about the fact we have taken a number of these terrorists off the map. i want to get your assessment of the unfortunate reality is you take them off the map and they're repoliced. both leadership as well as the flow of foreign fighters seems to continue largely unabated. can you give me your sense how effective the people we're killing are being replaced? >> i'll do the best i can in open testimony, senator. mr. chairman. one of the ways we look at this as an intelligence community is try to identify who brings unique capability to the terrorist enterprise, whether that's prod a legallership level, high value leadership target, some of whom may have a very specific set of skills,
programs in the weapons of mass destruction felled or use of explosives, someone who has shown ability to organize and orchestrate significant large-scale plotting activities. those kinds of individuals will be worthy of focused intelligence collection and whatever disruption capabilities we can bring to bear. probably want to leave it there. >> what about the flow of foreign fighters. >> the flow of foreign fighters, there's nobody who is satisfied that we have yet turned the tide in terms of getting that flow to have crested. i will say, though, if there is a goodness story some in this foreign fighter story, itles that the level of information sharing that some of which secretary johnson was talking about, particularly with our european partners, is much more robust than it would have been if we had -- at the point we entered this crisis. >> the purpose of this hearing is laying out the reality.
the reality is we have not stemmed the flow. talk about the significance of the caliphate and the territori'. there's an excellent article written by graham wood that was eye-opening for many people in washington. we talked about that. can you talk about that significance, lay out that reality, and why part of our strategy that to be to deny them that territory to end this caliphate? >> there's a couple of different features of the isil's declaration of a caliphate that make it particularly concerning. one, as you yourself suggested, mr. chairman, it becomes almost a magnet to attract individuals who are seeking meaning work are seeking to participate in a global jihaddist enterprise and that is up like al qaeda, who was often running their enterprise as a clandestine movement with a very, very rigorous vetting process before allowing individuals inside the fold. i isil is issuing an open invitation on social media for
people to come to the caliphate and join so in terms of size and scale, the declaration of the caliphate gives us concern because it provides that magnet. beyond that somewhat amorphous effect, the creation of a caliphate and the control of physical space gives a terrorist organization the opportunity to gather resources, to operate potentially in a safe haven environment, and while they are managing other prositars they can pursue more aggressive storm operations. maybe of the sort al qaeda did traditionally. that is part of the caliphate that gives me the greatest concern, is the physical space in iraq and sir use that you pointed to with your question. >> so the goal of the strategy, with that in mind, needs to be to deny them that territory. if you're going degrade defeat isis you have deny them that
territory. >> i agree. >> i did immediate with this young woman who has had the courage to come forward and tell her story in terms of combating on social media these young women who are actually inspired to go to syria and iraq to join isis. that would be a pretty powerful way of doing it. just to economy. secretary johnson, we have held eight hearings on border security now. we'll hold or ninth in a couple weeks we'll issue the majority report of our conclusions from the hearings. i think we are in agreement -- because we talked about this -- i'm a manufacturer and always looking for the root cause, think we agree that the root cause of the unsecure border is our insash shabble demand for -- insatiable demand for drugs hat given rise to the drug cartels 'owho are combining we transnational criminal organizations, terrorist organizations and, that's what
we need to address. one reason i pointed out the fact that the general said we're only interdicting five percent of the drugs on the southern border women have to lay out that usually and harsh reality. i'd like to give you, secretary johnson, the opportunity -- you talked about the strategy you're trying to employ you want this congress, and a lot of this through the committee to help you codify. can you describe what your strategy is in kind of summary detail here, and i am completely committed to work very closely with you and your department to codify this in a step-by-step proof. find the areas of agreement that unite us and can you lay that out and give the priorities? we started with you need information to solve problem. so the border security metrics bill. we'll try to get that passed and on the president reside desk as soon as possible. then what are the next steps and what is your strategy? >> in termites pure border
security, senator -- in terms of ordinarier security, more tech knoll, more surveillance to pursue a risk-based strategy so we good after the threats where they know they exist. more surveillance, more technology, which is reflected in our fy16 budget submission. we need help in terms of speeding the process of deportations and asylum applications and immigration courts, more resources to accomplish that so that the time it takes to litigate is not as long as it is. but frankly, you mentioned the root causes in this country. i want to mention a root cause that exists in central america. last time i was on the bored are i talked to a seven-year-old girl who came all the way from central america, all by herself. to texas. and more surveillance is not going to deter a seven-year-old
who is fleeing poverty and violence in central america from coming up here. so, my judgment is that we have to address the underlying causes in the country. we talk about addressing the underlying causes for refugees in syria. we have to do the same in central america as well. and so the administration's asked for a billion dollars to invest in central america, and i hope the congress seriously considers that, as long as the conditionses in this countries are as bad as they are, we're going to have the types of numbers that we have coming from central america. and so i want to invest in a small, efficient, border strategy which includes surveillance and technology othe border and we have to address the underlying causes, too. >> if we do survey and deexpect we apprehend and process and then distribute, that sends a powerful signal to central america. if you get to america, regardless of what the laws say. if we don't sent people home
that's going to incompletion the flow. it's the problem right now with syria. we just have the president of germany in. the more europe accepts acceptse refugees from the compassion has people, the more they accept in, the more of the four million that are with placed outside will flow into europe. the more of the 7.6 displaced within syria will become refugees and flow into europe. so we have the examination in our countries to take people. but we have to recognize what insend advertise for illegal immigration and we'll be going to central america. are there governing structures, leaders like we had in colombia, that will actually take the money andite properly to improve conditions or basically wasting the money? we have to address as part of our border security strategy, assessing the fact of our
insatiable demand for drug, and every incentive in our law for illegal immigration, the number one is work. let's have a functioning guest worker program. so that there's a host of issues but we can control things here. i don't know how much we can control in central america. we're compassionate and want to help. so let make sure addressing the incentive inside the laws and ajude addiction process, incentivizing people coming to this country and end the incentives. >> i don't disagree with what you're saying but i do believe, having spent my 22 months also secretary of homeland security intensely focused on this problem, that a large part of the solution is addressing the conditions in central america. >> if we can make those economically prosperous zone north the havens for drugs andy,
i'd agree with you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. find out what works, do more of that. and if we go back and look at colombia, 20 years al, failed nation. we sported, funds, they had good leadership, and leadership from the privity sector and bit by bit they turned things around there. so somebody has done this before. i would say with respect to central america, the movement all have to folks to our country, especially last year, and there is a root cause. and you nailed it. what the chairman says, there's a lot of with come in that as well. it's not -- a lot of wisdom in that as well. it's not a choice of one or the other. we need to do both. the question is, can we back and chew gum at the same time?
i think we can. nick, i'm going to get wow you goo the game here. does the name jessica stern mean anything to you? >> yes, sir. she is a terrorism expert who in the academic world right now but she has former government service. >> her husband does, too. her husband, chet atkins, was a former colleague of several of us in the house of representatives for a number of years and she has actually testified here. i think at our hearing on jihad 2.0 earlier, and had a chance to meet with her and her husband a come months ago. she gave me a book bat isis, and win she had written a decade ago if the older book focused on what is it that causing estranged ailin nateed men to -- alienated in this country to -- faith-based organizations that are morphing into terror
organizations and the grew that into visits all over the world, palestine, afghanistan, iraq, all kinds of places, and what she was trying to do is drill down on root causes what is causing these mostly guys to leave their countries and go off and form an outfit or join an outfit like isis, and she concluded this. here's mostly men without much meaning in their life. people who are -- they think of us as a great satan, a lot of immorality. the prospect of adventure, real meaning in their life, the prospect of when they die, they go to heaven. before they die they have all these wives, and for people there's not much happening in anywhere life, she said, they're ripe for the plucking. did she have it right there?
the root cause, why all these people want to come from all over the world and to join us with isis. >> thank you, senator. she certainly has part of it right. the words you're using on her behalf i can co the same analysis our analysts across the community are engaged in. but i would -- i meant to add this win one of your colleagues asked earlier about underlying causes. if you look at each and every one of us around the world that are particularly fraught right now or where isil seemed to pick tag hold is sectarian conflict. when there are in those locations significant unresolved sectarian issues -- i don't need to go goo the details how that play odd nut iraq and syria between the sunni and shia communities -- that just creates a much more fertile ground for
the isil narrative to take hold. that, as you develop -- as you consider mitigating strategy, that add as layer of complexity what you're trying to do. you're not simply setting up a condition where you're good against evil or good guys against bad guys. if you're terrorist population of concern is enmeshed in a conflict which the answers were not easy or if they were easy they would have been seed upon by previous syrian or iraqi governments. all i'm saying that adds a layer of complexity to a somewhat more simple narrative of personal alienation, and i'm not saying simple in a derogatory way. >> they're -- they don't have a lot of money anywhere lives and
one thing hear is being paid to get some money out of this, and they -- can you give us an unclassified assessment of isis' finances? are they running a deficit? having trouble paying their bills? what are some of the facts and how do these impact they're ability to be successful in. >> that's a very good question. at a gross aggregate level we believe isis is a were financed, well-resourced organization. the early stages of the conflict we assessed at some some of the resource base in which they were relying was not necessarily going to be replenishable or a recuring. you can rob a bank or the central bank in iraq once but you can't rob it again and again and again simple think we had hoped that over time, isil's ability to generate additional resources would go down more dramatically than its.
to muster ways to use theatalalalal resources present in the territory they control, principally oil, and exploit that for financial gain. and actually developed their own manufacturing capability and in a sense run an organization like a state. and so i think unlike the al qaeda financial picture, which we were dealing with, where you were worried about specific fundraising activities in certain capitals around the world and money flowing to pakistan to fund terrorrivity hack 'tis. this is much more self-generational by isil as it functions like a state, including using taxation and also extortion, also criminal means as well. >> one last quick question, mr. chairman. this is one for secretary johnson. i understand you established a new office of violent extremism, and could you just take a moment and share with us what this office will do differently from
dhs's existing efforts? >> a couple of things. one, this office and this director will report directly to me. i'm consolidating all the personnel within the department in headquarters who work on cde, in that one office, under the supervision of that one director, and, three, we want to eventually use this office to extend its reach into the field so we have more reach in the field. when you imbed people in the communes you get good results. and i want this office to focus on taking our efforts along with the fbi other agencies to the next level, and is giving the counter-message a larger platform and encouraging leaders in the communities, along with the tech seconder, to get together and do that, encourage philanthropies and develop some of our own grant-making in this specific area. >> thank you.
thanks to each one of you. thank you. >> senator baldwin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member. i want to thank all three of you for your service, and i was here for your testimony. i had to step out and so at the risk of getting into some of the territory that has been covered in my absence, i apologize for that. but i wanted to dove tail on some of the requests senator carper asked in his first round relating to the syrian refugee crisis, and in particular a number of you testified that we are getting better at the vetting process over time, but we're not error-proof -- 100%
error-proof yet. there was also, i think, chairman johnson talked about prioritization in terms of family members, of syrian americans, et cetera. i guess in this public setting i'm wondering if you can outline for me how we make this process more efficient and swift without sacrificing the thoroughness and quality, and if you can talk a little bit, secretary johnson, about the prioritization process so the degree it exists, that deal with family members. i would assume the vetting for a child is different than a vetting for an adult, and other ties to the united states. recognizing that we are currently in a public setting, please tell me as much as you income this setting. >> yes. there are several agencies involved in the process. the uscis, state department, and
when a refugee is referred to us, they're referred to us by unhcr. so unhcr will have done some of its own vetting, not necessarily the security vetting that we would conduct, and in referring a refugee to the united states in particular, it's my understanding they do so because there are family connections to the united states, versus some other country. so by the tomb they come to us, unhcr has judged them to be a good candidate for resettlement in the united states. once they're with us the state department meets with the individual. miaouing someone will personally interview the refugee. there's a pretty extensive background check now that includes vetting against a lot of other databases and agencies, including law enforcement and
intelligence. it's better than it used to be. and the good news here is that unhcr has already identified a number of refugees that they believe would be appropriate for reset independent the united states. so we're not -- resettlement in the united states. so we're not starting from scratch. unhcr has identified a number that of suitable for resettlement in the united states. there's where we start. is there reference made to 1600 but we will finish the year close to 2,000 so we got through the ones we focused on in fiscal year 2015. we should be very naval the security reviews for each of these. i agree with the excessment expressed earlier that this is a population of people that we're not going know a whole lot about necessarily, coming from syria. so, we're going meet our
commitments with the resources we have, but we will do so carefully. >> thank you. mr. rasmussen, you talked in your testimony in your written testimony, about the increasing competition and conflict between the taliban, isil, and al qaeda, as a dynamic that you are working to understand more thoroughly. you also mentioned that the conflicts between these groups me a in some respect distract from their western targets. i would like to hear from you what are the questions that you're asking? you said you don't have all the answers. what are the questions your asking, and in some ways i've always worried that conflict between these groups could lead to a competition to be more
spectacular than each other, and that of course gives us great concern. >> the conflict plays out in a number of levels. first, there's an ideological level conflict and competition taking place between al qaeda and the affiliated grouped that still remain affiliated to al qaeda in yemen, al-shabaab. competition between them and isil for preeminence in the marketplace of ideas among global extremists. so that's a very -- at a high altitude. but on the ground in certain locations there's actual on the ground physical conflict between isil or isil-related groups, with the taliban in afghanistan,
for example, where actually there you have individuals who in other circumstances might even comrades in armeds but in this circumstance are fighting and engaging each other on the battlefield even as afghanistan national security forces and u.s. coalition forces are present in the teeter -- feet their as well. i take your point you don't want to create a competition for ever levels of violence, but the conflict on the batfield, it does tend to be all-consuming for a terrorist organization to fight a ground work against other extremist adversaries in a lace like afghanistan. so we're watching carefully to see if the isil province in afghanistan turns its attention from that effort, to gain ground on -- to gain on the ground against the taliban -- turns from that project to something aimed at us, particularly something with an external
focus, something looking at the west, akin to al qaeda over the last dozen years. so, i don't necessarily want to call it good news or that we are heart heartened, but we realize that terrorist organizations often have finite capabilities and don't necessarily have the ability to prioritize never equally. the more they're engage inside that kind of effort on the ground that is often very see source intensive, the less capacity they have to carry out the more -- >> in your verbal testimony this morning you talked about isil having overtaken al qaeda, and you pointed to access to resources and territorial control and control over basically more people. is there still a very sharp distinction between isil and al quite with regard to their aspirations to control
territory? and how does that relate to the risk that the organizations pose to our homeland? >> from al qaeda's perspective, isil's declaration of the caliphate is illegitimate and premature so they differ fundamentally on a central premise of the isil agenda. at the same time i wouldn't draw some huge distinction between the two groups as they look at the legitimacy or virtue of attacking the west in whatever way they can find the capacity to do so. now, they are not making common cause with each other because of the followal and leadership cleavages, but at the same time we worry and watch for individuals who might migrate across organizational lines to cooperate with each other for specific purposes driven efforts
just because someone is isil or al qaeda one day does not mean that is -- you're laminated badge from the organization may not lost very long. you may find yourself changing teams, changing sides, and that's why i say about the isil gaining preeminence, success proceeds success and more individuals have flowed in the direction of isis and isil for that reason. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i note i have exceeded my time already. i have one other question that i wanted to hear from the witnesses. i would ask unanimous consent to commit it for the record. >> that's fine. we'll keep the record open. so thank you, senator baldwin. it is another tradition of the committee, at least since chairman carper was chairman to give the witnesses to make a closing tent. things you want to remark after the questioning. so start with you, director comey.
>> i don't think i have anything. i thing we covered a comeplex set of topics in a good way. so i'm not sitting thinking there's something lingering. >> thank you. i appreciate that. secretary johnson. >> chairman, senator kearn, i have protected our constructive working relationship. i appreciate the tone you have set at these hearings and i appreciate your friendship. >> director rasmussen. >> the only thing i wish i could have more time. on the governmental affairs side of your committee's hat, think you would be pleased, as senator carper said, will wow howe well our organizations are working together. as many of you know, nctc is an organization that relies on contributions from other organizations. our life blood in addition tower permanent employees, is found in the contributions of other organizations, and just a couple of weeks ago i had the opportunity to host director
comey as he spoke to 60 or so fbi detailees who are doing trick work. so, jugs to say there's always room for improvement in the way we work together. we're constantly striving to get better but i'm proud of my work force and also the work forces that i get support from the dhs and fbi. >> thank you, director. ...
i thank you for your picture just him and your service to this country. >> i am tom carper and i agree with this message. >> this hearing record will remain open for 50 days until october to record at 5:00 p.m. so you have time senator baldwin for submission of statements and questions for the record. thank you all. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
in the loss of nine lives and injured many more. my heart goes out to the victims and their families who are struggling to understand this senseless act of violence and are shouldering incomprehensible greep. -- grief. roseburg, the navy yard, newtown, aurora, these are examples of tragedies that our
county has experienced far too often. madam president, the common thread that runs through all of these acts of violence is untreated or undertreated severe mental illness. the shootings in roseburg should serve as a wake-up call that it is time -- indeed, it is past time -- for a comprehensive overhaul of america's mental health system. madam president, a serious flaw in our current system is that it is simply far too difficult for families to get help for their adult children who are suffering from severe mental illness. over the past several months, it has been my privilege to get to know joe bruce from kerritunk,
maine. motivated by his own family's tragic experience, joe has become a powerful advocate for mental health reform. let me share with you and with my other colleagues joe's tragic story. in 2006, joe's 24-year-old son will, who had a history of severe and persistent mental illness, was discharged from a psychiatric hospital and returned home without the benefits of any medication. will had been advised that without his consent, his parents had no right to participate in his treatment or to have access to his medical records. will believed that there was nothing wrong with him and that he was not mentally ill, which
can be characteristic of some individuals with severe bipolar disorder or paranoid schizophrenia. will would not consent to his parent's involvement with his treatment and because he was an adult, his father, joe, and his wife, amy, were barred from all access to his treatment or his medical records. tragically, the fears that amy and joe had voiced to will's doctors that will would hurt or kill someone came true. on june 20, 2006, joe returned home to find the body of his wife amy. his son will was in a deep state of psychosis and believing his
mother to be involved with al qaeda, murdered her with a hatchet. because of that tragedy, will was committed to the same psychiatric hospital that had previously discharged him by a criminal court. he is now doing well because he is getting the treatment and care he should have had before. as his father says, ironically and horribly, will was only able to get treatment by killing his mother. joe also introduced me to a group of families from maine who are part of a group known as the families of the four percent, a reference to the segment of our population that suffers from
severe mental illness. all of them spoke of similar difficulties in getting needed treatment and care for their adult children suffering from severe mental illness. madam president, this group of parents were distressed, exhausted and so worried about their loved ones. one mother told me that she had made more than 60 calls seeking help for her son whom she believed was dangerous. another mother described her son , chasing her around the kitchen table with a butcher knife. a few of these families had more uplifting stories because they had finally been able to get needed help for their children.
one mother told me about her son, who is currently receiving treatment and is in stable condition after being hospitalized more than 30 times in 10 years and spending time homeless and in jail. another father told me about his son who had been hospitalized more than a dozen times but is now living in an apartment and able to hold a part-time job because he, too, is finally receiving the care he needs. madam president, while millions of americans suffer from mental illness, only a very small number engage in unspeakable acts of violence against themselves or others, yet many
of the tragedies that we have witnessed in recent years, these mass shootings, might have been prevented had the proper resources been in place to support a timely diagnosis, early intervention and effective treatment for those struggling with severe mental illness. and that is why i have joined with my colleagues, senator and dr. cassidy and senator murphy in sponsoring the mental health reform act of 2015. this bill is patterned on a bill that has been introduced by senate -- by congressman tim murphy, a clinical psychologist in the house of representatives. it will make critical reforms to address a lack of resources, to enhance coordination and develop
real solutions to improve outcomes for families dealing with mental illness. my hope is that this most recent tragedy in oregon will provide an impetus for the senate to consider our bipartisan bill, which has been endorsed by so many mental health groups, including the national alliance on mental illness, the american psychological association, and the national association of psychiatric health systems. passage of this comprehensive bipartisan legislation would help to jump-start the much-needed conversation in this country about how to better care for people living with severe mental illness and to help their loved ones. madam president, this bill
addresses one facet but a significant and ignored one of the problem of mass shootings. i will continue to support other actions, such as the gun purchase background checks proposed by senator manchin and senator toomey. i hope that we can come together to pass both bills to help lessen the chance that other families will have to endure the loss of a loved one to a mass shooting. madam president, i urge all of our colleagues to join senator cassidy, senator murphy and me in cosponsoring this important legislation to strengthen our mental health system, to help
ensure that others in this country do not suffer as far too many families have done because of adult children suffering from severe mental illness. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i know there's -- the president's traveling to oregon tomorrow and there's a lot of focus and appropriately so on the tragedy that occurred last thursday afternoon in oregon. and i want to start out my remarks this morning by offering again our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to the family and friends who've
suffered so much in a senseless -- what seems like a senseless act of violence. and perhaps stating the obvious, that it's terrible for our nation to experience yet another tragedy like this. and what i hope is that we don't become numb to hearing these reports and so we end up, we're frozen into inaction or dysfunction, but that we actually look for ways to try to work together to try to make some progress to deal with the root causes of incidents like this. for the family and friends of those who lost loved ones last week, like so many others who have lost their children and their friends and their siblings to one of these shootings, we know the emotions are still raw and real. so it is with great deference to those who have suffered this loss, i want to discuss what i believe to be one of the major
contributing factors to these seemingly senseless acts of violence that have occurred across the county. and i want to -- country. and i want to talk a little bit about some legislation that i've introduced which i think actually will help us address one of those root causes. the legislation i've introduced is called the mental health and safe communities act, and i believe it would bring real change to our nation and provide help to those struggling with mental illness. this bill would empower families with more options for their loved ones. i think, for example, about the mother of adam lanza, the shooter at sandy hook, and how she knew her son was suffering from mental illness but basically she didn't have any options other than to let him continue to descend into sicker -- and become sicker and sicker or to go to court and seek an involuntary commitment for a
temporary period of time. so to make sure that families like adam lanza's, like the mother of the oregon shooter, who said that her son seemed to be doing fine as long as he took his medications but when he quit taking his medication, he would become a real problem because he would get sicker and sicker and act out. so the legislation i've introduced attempts to strengthen the safety of our communities by providing families with more options when it comes to treating people with mental illness and to treat them differently than just common criminals. we know that the majority of inmates in our jails in america are people with mental illness. they may have committed some petty crime because of their mental illness and frequencily because of their -- and frequently because of their attempts to self-medicate with
drugs or alcohol that get them in trouble with the law. but rather than just lock them up, wouldn't it be so much better if we could divert them by getting at the root causes of their mental illness and the reason they show up there in the first place? so this is actually the goal of some very innovative programs that i'll meption in a moment. the goal of my program is to support families before it is too late and to provide a path to healing for the mentally el -- mentally ill. treating those that are mentally ill is a vital component in towns and cities across the country. this bill would help the whole community, includes families, as i mentioned, schools, certainly teachers and administrators at schools are privy to information, who know things or suspect things that could be very helpful in providing
assistance to those families and those suffering from mental illness. and then law enforcement, providing them training to support the warning signs of individual whose could become a danger to themselves and others. many of the provisions of this legislation are based on policies that have already proven effective in state and local jurisdictions around the country. just recently i was in a san antonio, my hometown, and where -- and where i first served as a district judge. in august i had an opportunity to visit with those in the area who had taken a leading role in coming up with new and innovative ways t to approach ts issue, including sheriff susan parmelo, who provided families terns to aalternatives to an e
cycle. the mental health program in bexar county, the county where san antonio is located, is now -- help those suffering from mental illness in our criminal justice system. the legislation i have a introduced will help institute some of these best practices at the national level. this legislation would empower families that struggle to help -- to help find help for their mentally ill loved ones and helps educators identify students with mental illness and provides them with the resources and treatment that they need. but it also includes specialized training for those on the front lines like law enforcement. i heard in san antonio recently because of the training law enforcement gets, they've been able to reduce if not almost completely eliminate the violence that occurs when a
police officer arrives at a call and encounters somebody who's mentally ill. by providing the specialized training, you can deescalate the violence and allow the officer to direct this person to a place where he can actually get some help. this legislation would also encourage state and local governments to create pretrial screening and assessment programs to identify the mentally ill offenders and provide need-based treatment and develop post-release supervision plans so they don't become a danger to themselves and others. this bill also strength ngs the current background check system by incentivizing information-sharing among the states so that law enforcement has appropriate information regarding individuals with adjudicated mental illness in the criminal justice system. one example that's pretty close to washington, d.c., was the
virginia tech shooter, who actually had been adjudicated mentally ill but the state of virginia will not uploaded that information on the national instant criminal background check system maintained by the f.b.i. and so when he prfd purchased a firearm, it did not show that he would be disqualified, as it would have been if it had been uploaded on the background check system. so trying to make it easier for the states to put information into the system is one of the goals of this legislation. so i hope my colleagues would view this as a commonsense attempt to try to make a significant step forward that will help not only those with mental illness et g get the hely need but also equip our law enforcement officers to perform their jobs. last week more than 20 mental health organizations sent willer
to members of the house advocating for mental health reform, calling the need -- quote -- "urgent to improve the lives of tens of millions of americans, their families, and communities." we need to listen to them and we need to act. now, i know that from reports that some of our democratic colleagues have said that they're going to introduce some gun control legislation that we all know has been tried before and cannot pass this chamber what we need instead is a broad consensus to try to get something done that can bring people together, and i believe my legislation can do that, by addressing the root cause of some of these horrific events. again, mental illness. so instead of calling each other names, as the minority leader did on the floor last week, i would invite our colleagues
across the aisle to do something constructive and to work together on this legislation. the mental health and safe communities act is, i believe, a serious proposal and will take important steps toward preventing additional tragedies across the country. i think many of us understand that mental health reform generally speaking is long overdue, and this is an issue that many groups in the mental health community support. i should point out that there are many other organizations that support this legislation as well, and just to make my point about this being consensus legislation, let me just mention some of the organizations that are supporting the mental health and safety communities act. the national alliance on mental illness, the national association of police organizations, the american correctional association, the american jail association, the council of state governments,
the treatment advocacy center, the national association of social workers, and the national rifle association. i dare say, madam president, that you won't find a group like that coming together on many issues, but on this legislation, which woul we worked very closey with them on, they've actually been able to meet each other on common ground in way that gives us hope that we can actually get some legislation passed and send to to the president and that will actually provide help to people like adam lanza's mother or the mother of the shooter in oregon, who had nowhere else to turn under the current state of the law, in order to get her son to comply with his doctor's orders to take his medication, and that medication, thanks to the miracle of modern medical science, there are miraculous medications that can help people
suffering from mental illness lead productive and relatively normal lives. so i encourage my colleagues to consider how we can move this conversation forward in a way that results in real positive change fou for our country, aboe the political gamesmanship that tends to characterize too much of what we do here in washington and certainly on this topic. president obama last week addressed the nation after this horrific incident in oregon, and i believe his emotions were real, but, unfortunately, he didn't offer any concrete solutions to the problem. he said, among other things, that making our communities safer will require changing our laws. and he went on to say that congress needs to put forward such legislation. and that's what i've tried to do. i'm glad the president indicated his interest and concerns, but the real question is, will the
president work with us on legislation that actually offers solutions or will it just be a matter of grandstanding? will our senate colleagues offer legislation that previously has shown it can't move in the senate and render us dysfunctional, or will they work together on a bipartisan way to try to find common ground and real solutions? i think that's the question. and i would ask our colleagues who are offering legislation, sort of relitigating some of these issues, which we've proven we haven't been able to find consensus on, which of these proposals would have actually gone on to address the root causes of some of these incidents in the past? i think that's a really important question, because if you're interested in demagoguing on issue, you can talk about
that and offer purported solutions which can't pass and which actually would not have changed the outcome. what i've tried to do is figure a way that, okay, given our differences on this issue, how can we find that common ground and offer solutions? so through this legislation, we would give families a way to help their mentally ill family members, we would help schools aproptly identify an respond to someone with mental illness, we would improve the response of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to make sure that mentally ill individuals do not become dangerous to themselves and others. we would work to help the states fix the national instant background check system and we would reduce the sigmassociateed with maintain tail illness by protecting due process rights of the mentally ill. madam president, i was somewhat taken aback and disturbed when i
saw this morning in "politico" a story reported "dems ready sweeping new guns bill." and one of the statements in the legislation jumped out -- in the bill -- excuse me, in the articledjournearticle jumped oue it says that democratic leaders are wary that their rank-and-file will de-effect and begin supporting the cornyn -- defect and begin supporting the cornyn bill. what is occurring is rather than looking to find consensus or to join together to support legislation that might actually help solve the problem, some of the democratic leadership are actively lobbying their own members not to get on legislation or support legislation that might actually pass and might actually work. that strikes me as incredibly cynical and not -- and doesn't demonstrate an interest in actually solving the problem but, rather, political
grandstanding. so i would encourage all of our colleagues, regardless of where you stand on this issue, let's try to figure a way to move forward. we have a real opportunity to address the common element found in most of these mass shootings and we don't have any time to waste. we can do better for the american people and get the mental health and safeup to thr. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, i come to the floor today to speak on an issue that hits far too close to home for far too many families in washington state and across the country. in roseburg, oregon, in blacks
burg, virginia, in newtown connecticut, in seattle, washington, where a student opened fire just a year ago. in mariesville, washington, where a teenager killed four students? -- students in a high school cafeteria. far too many to list. after the shootings in my state, the communities showed resilience and strength. but i can tell you, anyone who's been affected by gun violence understands all too well that all the strength in the world will never erase the pain of the parents who lost a child or the students who lost friends and teachers. so, madam president, today i echo the questions i've heard from so many people in washington state -- what will it take for this congress to adopt simple, commonsense reforms? why would this congress hesitate
at taking even the most basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals? why do we fail to act when children at school and young adults on campus and women in abusive relationships and so many others are so vulnerable to the threat of gun violence? i know this is a complex issue but that doesn't mean we should do nothing. it's long past time for us to improve background checks. it's long past time for us to end the illegal pipeline of guns that contribute to crime. and, madam president, i think it's also important to note that too often those who commit terrible acts of violence needed help and intervention they did not get. to be clear, they represent a very small minority of the many people in our country who struggle with mental illness. but when so many lives are truly on the line, we need a
comprehensive approach. and that should include strengthening our mental health care system that it is available to anyone who needs it. madam president, this issue isn't going to go away. i wish it would. i wish we never had to have this conversation again. i wish we never had to hear about the latest child killed, the latest school up ended. i think we all wish that. wishing will not make it happen. it is time for congress to listen to the american people and act. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you, madam president. madam president, congress has failed to protect the american people from the tragic gun violence that is plaguing our nation. the mass shooting in roseburg, oregon, was the 297th in the united states this year alone. that's more than one mass shooting per day so far this
year in our country. in fact, every year more than 30,000 americans are killed by guns, yet the republicans have blocked any legislation to prevent future tragedies. it is past time for us to act. it is time for us to listen to the american people who overwhelmingly support commonsense legislation on guns. 90% of americans background checks before someone can buy a gun. 90% of americans support background checks before someone can buy a gun. 90% of americans. so let's close the loopholes that allow on-line gun sales and
sales at gun shows without a background check. 90% of americans want background checks. let's close the loophole that allows already proven domestic abusers to buy guns. that is overwhelmingly supported by the american people. let's close the loophole that allows straw purchasers to buy guns and flood our streets with them. overwhelmingly americans don't want this kind of illicit sales with no background checks to be conducted across our country. and let's close the loophole that allows a gun sale before a background check is completed. at least let's complete it. and let's take our heads out of the sands on the causes of gun violence and how to prevent it.
we have, ladies and gentlemen, the power here on the floor of the united states national to pass legislation that pretty much all of america expects us to pass. it is time to end the n.r.a.'s vice-like control of this chamber. the n.r.a. says it's the national rifle association. well, our goal should be on this floor to say that the n.r.a. stands for "not relevant anymore anymore" in american politics. we should do this now. it is an emdemocrattic of gun violence in our -- it is an epidemic of gun violence in our country. it is preventable. and i am proud to join with my colleagues in support of these commonsense gun safety measures. i thaipg everyone ani thank evek
to the senator. ms. mccaskill: mr. president, i was born in a small rural community where deer season was as much of fall as football and falling leaves. i was raised in a household where dad taught us that hunting was part of our culture in missouri. but i don't know any of m.i.a. my dad's friend -- but i don't know any of my dad's friends. i certainly know that my father, were he still alive, would be shaking his head about the massacres. about school shootings -- 45 of them this year -- school shootings, 45 in one year. innocent children, innocent college students being mowed
down. it's horrific, and it's tragic, and the american people want us to respect gun rights but they want us to use common sense. they don't want terrorists to be able to buy a gun at a gun show. we should not be selling ak-47's to terrorists at gun shows. we should not be allowing someone who is convicted of stalking the ability to buy a gun. and that's the only thing we're talking about. the principles of common sense that run deep in my state. close the gun show loophole, make background checks more effective to keep guns out of those hands that should never hold them. no one is trying to do anything
other than protect the innocents. no one is trying to remove a gun from lawful citizens of the united states. but if we do nothing, if we shrug our shoulders and do nothing when an overwhelming majority of our country want us to try to close these loopholes and make background checks more effective, then we are part of the problem, and we really need to look in the mirror of the billions we're spending to fight terrorists who are not mowing down our citizens, our innocent children sitting in classrooms, and the billions of dollars we're spending to try to make sure illegal immigrants don't come in this country, when among us we allow terrorists to buy guns at gun shows and we allow convicted stalkers to get a weapon.
50% of the victims -- murder victims in domestic violence have been stalked. so i hope that ameri rises up and calls their congressman, calls their congress wornlings calls their senator, gets busy. because we have to take action. thank you, madam president. ms. klobuchar: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, i rise today to join my colleagues in calling for commonsense actions to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, people who should not have the guns, including domestic abusers, and to close loopholes in existing laws that are now being exploited by criminals who are prohibited by law from possessing guns. like your state, madam president, my state is a big hunting state. we are proud of that tradition. so whenever i look at any of these proposals, i think, would this somehow hurt my uncle dick
and his deer stand? would it take away the right of legal gun owners? and that's how i look at each proposal. and the proposals we are talking about today, madam president, would not do that. and i wouldn't be supporting them if i thought that they did. we know that no single policy can prevent every tragedy that has been caused by gun violence, but there is one area -- what i call the silent victims, the women and the children who are killed in their homes every single day due to acts of domestic violence. according to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives to their partners. more than half of those are killed are shot with a gun. this means that thousands of women, thousands and thousands of women in the united states were murdered by an intimate partner using a gun between 2001 and 2012 alone.
these crimes don't discriminate. they impact people across our backgrounds, ethnicities, income levels. they are crimes, serious crime, and the numbers tell the story of the work left to do. i'm a former prosecutor. before i came to the senate, i spent eight years running an office of 400 people. and we made prosecuting felons and possession of guns one of our top priorities. the i will tell you that some of the disturbing cases that came in our door that were murders and shootings did not always involve felons. but they involved criminals. they involved people who over a series of time, series of crimes had racked up a number of convictions. maybe in the misdemeanor area, maybe for re-strang for restraid other things. i remember one case where a woman was shot to death by her boyfriend. he killed her and then killed himself while bothhildren were
still in t house. it was the 12-year-old doter daughter that went to the neighbor for help. it could have been prevented. in the two years leading up to the murder-suicide, the police had been called to the residence at least five times. yet somehow this man managed to have a gun in his hand this day and kill his girlfriend. or the police officer who is called to a domestic scene. the guy there, mental health problems. in between -- thank you, i ask for 30 more seconds. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: the man there shot the police officer in the head. ho shot him in the -- shot him in the head. i will never forget the three little kids going down the aisle of that church after having been in that church a week before for a nativity play with her father. that's what the we're talking a. we are very glad that this proposal will be in the package of proposals along with the background check bills. thank you, i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator michigan. ms. stabenow: i would appreciate knowing when three minutes havminutes has been use. i am very proud to stand up and say it is sometime time to act. enough is enough. close loopholes that are being used by people who are not following the law, that are resulting, unfortunately, in deaths and injury to children and families across the country. now, like a lot of my colleagues, i grew up in a small rural town in northern michigan. my femm family are all hunters. we enjoy the outdoors and gun ownership. i have prfd and owned guns -- i have purchased and own guns myself. my family goes through background checks. we don't want people being able to use loopholes, not to have to follow the law. so this is simply about making sure the law makes sense and that we are enforcing it. i also think it's very important
to stress the fact that we know there are tremendous mental health needs in this country. and, in fact, senator blunt and i offered legislation, the excellent in mental health act, before this body that was passed as a pilot project to get started about 18 months ago. if we had the full support of our republican colleagues in the house and the senate, we could make comprehensive, quality mental health services available all across the country quickly. instead, because we've not -- and i hope we can get that support. i would love to see that support. if we had that support, we would have more than eight states that are going to have emergency mental health services available. 24-hour services available. so families or law enforcement or individuals have a place to
take someone or someone can go in themselves and ask for help. 24-hour psychiatric services available on an emergency basis. that's what's in the excellence in mental health act. we have now begun the process of making sure it's available in eight states. it needs to be available in 50 states. we need to make sure comprehensive services are available in the community for behavioral health, just like we have for federally qualified health centers. we came together in a bipartisan basis to extend funding for federally qualified health centers. we now have a new category called federally qualified behavioral health clinics, and funding will be available to comprehensively provide those services in eight states under our pilot project. it needs to be in 50 states. so i welcome colleagues coming
to the floor and talking about what we need to do in mental health. we have colleagues on both sides of the aisle -- if i may take 15 more h seconds. we have colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are working together on bipartisan proposals on a number of different issues. let's get that done, too. let's fully fund comprehensive community mental health services. let's work together on the other issues and it's time to pass commonsense gun safety laws. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: madam president, today democrats from the most moderate, conservative members of our kaw caus caucus to the mt liberal unielted around a series of principles overwhelmingly supported by the american people. over 90% universal background chec.
it's principles that are supported according to pew by 85% of gun owners. and it will save tens of thousands of lives without impinging on the right of any legitimate gun owner. the gun owners know it. that's why 85% of them support it. gun owners don't want felons to get guns. gun owners don't want people who have been convicted of stalking and abuse to get guns. we know that. and yet our colleagues on the other side of the aisle refuse to move on anything. senator cornyn -- i know senator stabenow and senator murphy and others have done great work on mental health. senator cornyn came to the floor tad and talked about mental health. first, we want to do things on mental health. we should. it is a huge problem. i'd like to see my good friend interest texas support the money that's needed. not a pilot program but the
money that's needed. but the more important point is this: doing things on mental health, which we should, is not a substitute for closing the gun show loophole. some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are feeling the heat. but instead of taking the action they should, supporting closing the gun show loophole, they say, let's knock on mental health, without giving any good reason why we shouldn't close the gun show loophole. so let's do both. now today, madam president, we are calling on the american people to create a groundswell. president obama was exactly correct. the gridlock on congress on guns which beif you hadless almost all american de--- befuddles almost all american people,
purple, red, blue, is because the overwhelming support of the american people is not translated into action here. we're calling on the american people to raise their voices. in the next few months. we are calling on the american people to write, we are calling on the american people to call, we are calling on the american people to tweet, we are calling on the american people to post on facebook, we are calling on the american people to march and tell washington, enough -- enough of these terrible shootings that we all grieve over, all of us grieve over. and, madam president -- i ask unanimous consent for an additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: and lelt us put the other side on notice, we will get a vote on this legislation. we will get a vote on this legislation. we will use all of the procedural means and our ability, once the groundswell occurs and people on both sides of the aisle have to study the
issue, they will have to vote on it. we will do it either towards the end of this term or early in the next term of this congress. and we believe we've chance to win. the american people have said, enough. a small group in the house and senate who are so unrepresentative of the views of their constituents will not hold things up. any longer. that is my belief. i hope and pray it becomes reality. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. democracy doesn't work like this. democracy doesn't work such that 90% of the american public can support the pretty simple concept that you shouldn't get a gun if you're a criminal and have congress ignore its will.
democracy just doesn't work like that. and so as senator schumer said, this is really about making sure that the american public are engaged at the highest level, are making it absolutely clear that silence in the face of these mass murders, silence in the face of young men and women, predominantly young men getting gunned down in the streets of our cities every day, isn't acceptable. and so we are hopeful that over the course of the next several weeks and months that congress is going to hear loud and clear that our silence has effectively become an endorsement for these murders. i know that's hard to hear, but the reality is, is that when the nation's most esteemed deliberative body does absolutely nothing in the face of this slaughter, we don't even hold one single public hearing,
then those whose minds are becoming unhinged start to think that those in charge have quietly endorsed it. because if they didn't, they'd be doing something about it. and so the outline that we have laid before our colleagues today is reasonable, common sense, exists side-by-side along with the protection of the second amendment. and we should adopt it as quickly as possible. but at the very least, we should get started on a conversation about how we can end our silence on this issue. i live every day with the memory of standing before the parents of sandy hook elementary school on that morning in which 20 first graders were gunned down. i live every day with the thought of a young man disturbed in his mind walking in with a military-style assault weapon and in less than five minutes
killing every single little boy and girl that he shot. 20 little boys and girls shot in under five minutes, every single one of them dead because of the power of that gun, because it was being loaded by cartridges of 30 bullets at a time. something that no hunter needs in order to enjoy his sport or his pasttime. i talked to my first grader this morning as he was heading off to school and i told him that i was coming to talk about keeping guns out of of the hands of criminals. and he looked at me with this vision of puzzlement. the presiding officer: the senator has used three minutes. mr. murphy: isk for one additional minute. he couldn't understand why it wasn't already the law of the land. a seven-year-old had enough common sense to know that criminals shouldn't be able to
own guns. and as he went off to his first grade classroom, not unlike the first grade classroom that those little boys and girls walked into in december of 2012, i was reminded of the fact that if little boys and girls in a quiet town in connecticut or young men and women in a quiet town in oregon are not safe, then my son is not safe either. and so that's in the face of political opposition, which is real, we are coming together to say that enough is enough. it's time for us to understand that without a change in the law, the reality on the ground for those that are being affected by this plague, this epidemic of gun violence, will not end either. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. we're saying today not only enough is enough but rise up, america. demand action from this congress which for too long has been
complicit, in effect, an aider and abettor of the mass killings that have taken place in virginia tech and columbine and charleston, sandy hook, newtown and now roseburg. if america rises up, congress will hear and heed that message. just as it would in any public health crisis -- and today we face a public health crisis as real and urgent as a contagion of flu or tuberculosis or, yes, ebola. and the same kind of urgency and immediacy in response is necessary. common sense, sensible measures to fill gaps, close loopholes, expand existing law to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. one of those principles should be no background check, no gun.
no check, no sale. let us close the gap that permits countless criminals from buying guns because the background check isn't complete within the required 72 hours. one of the 15,729 ineligible purchasers over the last five years, people who were barred by law from buying guns, was dillon roof in charleston. he used his gun to kill nine people in a church in charleston he wasneligible to buy a gun but the background check wasot complete within 72 hours. we are igniting and active aight the silent -- activating the silent majority in america. more than 90% of the american people want background checks on every gun buyer.
along with other commonsense measures, like a ban on illegal trafficking and straw purchases, a mental health initiative and school safety. let us give america its say. and this moment is one we should seize to say, rise up, america. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that mark mendenhaul, a detailee to the appropriations committee, have floor privileges for the remainder of the debate on the energy and water appropriations bill. the presiding officer:the presit objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you, madam president. madam president, it wasn't long ago that towns like columbine, aurora, blacksburg, newtown and now roseburg were unknown outside their states. but today these towns have
witnessed the worst kind of tragedy -- mass shootings, bodies torn to pieces, families shattered. the common element in each has been an unstable individual who had easy access to deadly weapons. i stood here 2 1/2 years ago to argue for restrictions on the manufacture, transfer and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. that vote failed. i stood here to argue for universal background checks. it makes sense that there be a process to ensure a firearm isn't purchased by someone who can't legally possess it, like a felon. even that bill, supported by the overwhelming majority of the public, failed. so here we are again, madam president, once again standing on the senate floor demanding action in the wake of another deadly shooting.
as frustrated as i may be, i've not lost hope that the american people will rise up and force their elected representatives to take real action to help stop these senseless murders. i hope they pick up their phones and call every senator, every representative, every presidential candidate and demand to know where they stand. president obama noted this week that the united states is the only country -- the only country -- that so frequently suffers these deadly attacks. let me quote some figures. last year we had 33,636 people killed by guns. in 2011, there were 146 gun deaths in the united kingdom, 698 in canada. in 2012, australia saw 226 gun
deaths. and last year, there were six in japan. our number is 33,636. we cannot let that continue. gun laws work in other countries and they can work here too. there are simple actions that congress can take to make a difference. an individual should not be able to buy any weapon they want on-line or at a gun show with no background check. an individual should not be able to purchase weapons then immediately resell them without background checks to criminals. and an individual who has committed domestic violence should not be able to purchase firearms. now, thesis are not drastic changes -- now, these are not drastic changes. in fact, all of these proposals are already law in some states.
madam president, congress simply must take some action. the longer we delay, the more innocent people, including children, will be killed in our schools, our office parks, our movie theaters and our streets. i'd like to conclude with a story written by blog writer glennon doyle melton. she offers up a powerful tale and i'd like to read a portion of it to conclude today. and i quote -- "two weeks ago, my second and fourth-grade daughters came home from school and told me that they had a code red drill. she recalled her daughter saying, the drill was in case someone tries to kill us, we had to all hide in the bathroom together and be really quiet. it was really scary but the teacher said there was a real man with a gun trying to find us. she'd cover us up and protect us
from him. tommy started crying. i tried to be brave. glennon continues, "my three-year-old nephew had the same drill in his preschool in virginia. three-year-old american babies and teachers hiding in bathrooms , holding hands, preparing for death. we are saying to teachers, arm yourselves and fight men with assault weapons because we are too cowardly to fight the gun lobby. we are saying to a terrified generation of amecan children, we will not do what it takes to protect you. we will not even try. so just be very quiet, hide and wait. hold your breath. shhhh. madam president, this is chilling. to hear what our children and grandchildren must endure even
next the house judiciary committee hears committee hears testimony about the practices of planned parenthood and considers whether the organization should be federally funded. his hearing is just over three hours. [inaudible conversations] c good afternoon. the judiciary committee will come will come to order without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. welcome everyone to this morning's hearing on planned parenthood exposed examining abortion procedures and medical
ethics in the nation's largest abortion provider and i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. before i go to the statement on bad i would like to take a moment to remember the life of former congressman william john edwards who passed away this month at the age of 100. don edwards was first elected into congress in 1963 where he had a distinguished career working on the voting rights act , the civil rights act and served on the house judiciary committee during the investigation of the watergate scandal. during this time don edwards served the former congressman caldwell butler who i worked for at the time. when don edwards left office in 1995 after 32 years of congressional service, he was succeeded by our own zoe lofgren and her 15 district that i rate i had the opportunity to serve for two years with congressman edwards myself and appreciate
his service. it's now my pleasure to ask a member to share a few words about our former colleague terry espymack thank you mr. chairman. members of the committee and our witnesses and all of our friends that are here in the hearing room, i knew congressman don edwards and worked with him and he has left a lasting legacy. he was a progressive sensible demands and never stop believing that the coercive power of the government should be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny but and i think we still carry on that tradition in the judiciary even now. he also wanted us never to forget that our government exists to the consent for the
purpose of preserving and not eroding our rights. i am grateful to have been a colleague of his daring his service and career in congress and we will miss him and remember him. and i thank the chair. >> mr. chairman? >> the gentlewoman from california is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. i briefly would like to join in the eulogy for congressman don edwards. in 1978 graduated from stanford university and came out to washington without a job and don edward tired me. i worked for him for nine years here in washington and also in the california office when we went through the incredible impeachment of richard nixon
>> i had the honor of serving with him for two years. i was elected in 1992. and i knew of him well before i came to congress, one of the leading defenders of civil liberties in the united states and i admired him from afar. when i came to congress and i told the speaker, i was asked what committees you'd like to serve on, i was told that if i wanted to serve on the judiciary committee i had to get mr. edwards approval is my attitudes on civil liberties. so i had an interview with him and i must have satisfied his interest in my attitude because he approved it and i became a member of the committee. such was the esteem, he was
giving it and he was a leading voice of civil liberties for many years and he served his country well and we should thank him and his memory for that. i yield that. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. now i will begin my opening statement. >> by the fifth week, her heart begins to beat pumping blood throughout your body and her arm and leg buds begin to grow in her brain begins to develop, her eyes and ears began to form, by the sixth week, her hands and feet began to form. during this time elites nine
through 12, the baby could begin sucking her thumb and then by 12 weeks, which marks the end of the verse trimester, she is capable of making a fist. upon any given day, her developing heart, including her heart and brain, may be harvested at many planned parenthood clinics to participate in this practice across this country and that moshe will be referred to as a product of conception. despite the horrific nature of these practices and planned parenthood has not been so much about harvesting of baby products for the people talking about them doing it on video.
planned parenthood argued that the video is released by the center of medical progress are highly edited. but it is noteworthy to point out that the group hired to review this video found that the analysis reviewed substantive manipulation. the second analysis commissioned reached a similar conclusion. according to that report, the recorded media files in the state of the video recordings are authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing. today's hearing is about the content contained within the videos, including admissions made i planned parenthood official is they raise serious questions about the treatment of our nation's children who may be born alive following a failed abortion. for example, the vice president of planned parenthood of the rocky mountains, babies are
being born intact in some instances. she said that sometimes we get, if someone delivers before we get to them for a procedure, then they are intact. but that is not what we go on. to ensure that babies born alive in such instances are given necessary care, the house passed the born alive abortion survivors protection act which were wires a baby surviving an abortion be given the same treatment and care that would be given to any child naturally born premature at the same age and that includes to prevent the killing of innocent babies born alive. these indicate that practitioners may have adopted new procedures to avoid the risk of violating the partial-birth abortion ban act. in the first video the