reporter craig kaplan on twitter. stay with c-span c-span radio and c-span.org for your best access to congress. >> on this tuesday morning he is a sin is about to gavel in. lawmakers plan to begin the day with a moment of silence. been senators will spend about an hour on general speeches before the take up the bill to disapprove the epa rule onthe present pr carbon emissions.der. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. eternal god, who formed the mountains and hills, give our senators strength for this season of challenge. provide them such wisdom
courage, and integrity that they will cause justice to roll down like waters. above the noise and din of human voices, may they hear the whisper of your guidance. inspire them to do what is right, as you reveal the right to them. thank you that your love and mercy are from everlasting to everlasting. and, lord, continue to bless the people of france as they find strength in you. we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag.
i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order the senate will now observe aempt mo of silence for the victims -- a moment of silence for the victims of the paris attacks.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president the obama administration is trying to impose deeply regressive energy regulations that would eliminate good-paying jobs punish the poor, and make it even harder for kentuckians to put food on the table. their effect on the global carbon levels -- essentially a rounding error. their effect on poor and middle-class families -- potentially devastating. and yet the deep-pocketed level wingers who increasingly call the shots in the obama white house don't seem to care. just like with its decision on keystone last month the obama administration putting facts and compassion to the side in order to advance their ideological agenda.
higher energy bills lost jobs maybe a mere trifle to some on the left, but it's a different story for millions of middle-class americans in kentucky and across the country. senators from both parties are saying that we should be standing up for the middle class instead. that's why we joined together to work toward overturning these two-pronged regulations. i'm happy to report that the bipartisan measures we filed last month to overturn these repressive regulations have now been made available for consideration by the full senate. the first measure pertains to regulations on existing energy sources while the second pertains to regulations on new sources. together they represent a comprehensive solution. senator capito has been a leader in this effort. i want to thank her for her hard work.
that hard work will continue as the senate and house both take up the measures and pass them. that's the right thing to do for middle-class kentuckians and middle-class americans who've suffered enough under this administration already. now, mr. president on another matter, on several occasions this year i've come to the floor and noted that this year's burmese election would represent a crucial test for the it un's path to political reform. the lead-up to this november's election was marked by a number of discouraging structural developments: the disenfranchisement of the rohingya population and the defeat of commonsense constitutional reform proposals back in the summer. yet despite these setback i'm pleased to note that last week's election in burma seems to to have been a success. i would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my friend aung san suu kyi and her national league for democracy party, for their overwhelming
victory. it was a truly remarkable achievement. at the same time i'd also like to commend the burmese president for his gracious remarks following the n.l.d. victory and for his commitments to abide by the results of the election. the same should be said of the commander in chief who has pledged his support to support the n.l.d. during its transmission. the key test for for a democracy is not the first election but the first election in which there was a transfer of power from the ruling party to the opposition. the trans-fir of authority in burma will -- the transfer of authority in burma will therefore be pivotal. i would urge the chanders in chief to continue on the course
they have charted since the election. the n.l.d. now has a mandate to govern and has sufficient strength in parliament to choose a president and one of the two vice presidents, although dalsu herself is prohibited from these positions. the prohibition itself react ins one of the many challenges that lie ahead. others include addressing the problem of the military's quota of seats in the parliament, promoting reconciliation among ethnic groups, and healing the divide among those of differing religious faiths. but for now -- for now -- it is worth acknowledging the good news last week in burma. the road to bring the bilateral relationship to where it stands today has been a long, long one indeed. the transition of power has the potential to be a watershed in burma history. it provides the opportunity to re-invigorate the reform effort in that country. finally, mr. president
president obama recently announced the list of individuals he plans to honor with the presidential medal of freedom. one of them is our colleague from maryland. i know she was honored by it. i know that someone she mentioned on the floor yesterday, her great-grandmother, would feel a similar sense of of honor too. this is a woman who played an important role in our colleagues' lives one the senator speaks of often. she emigrated from poland when she was 16 years old with little more than a few pennies in her pocket. she couldn't even vote when she arrived. she never thought, our colleague said that her own granddaughter would one day be a united states senator. but then it's only in america where my story would have been possible. that's something all of us can appreciate. we recognize our colleague from maryland, the longest-serving woman in congress, as the president's choice to honor her
in this way. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: the clean power plan that has been promulgated by the president will avoid 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays in just the next 15 years. it will also lower power bills by reducing wasted energy. it is the right thing to do. and the president will protect this. because it is the right thing for the health of america. president obama has announced to our gratification that our own senator barbara boxer -- i'm sorry, barbara mikulski -- we've
got a lot of barbaras here, excuse me -- barbara mikulski will receive the presidential medal of honor. she is an inspiring figure. she and i came to the senate together, and we will leave the senate together. she's been a friend, an ally, an just one of the most -- one of the most articulate people i've ever served with. she has a way with words as just barbara mikulski way of speaking. i so add admire her for that and all the other things i mentioned. she spent decades in the congress. it will have been 30 years in the senate. and during that period of time she -- this social worker -- that's what she did by profession -- has focused on the poor and middle class and the disadvantaged. she's unexpired a generation of -- she's inspired a generation of women and been a mentor to members on both sides of the aisle. we're all happy to see this
great woman -- and these she is a great woman -- receives the recognition she so rightly deserves from the president of the united states and the country. we should all congratulate senator mikulski on receiving this honor. mr. president, at 11:00 a.m. -- 15 minutes from now -- a number of us will be down in s. 117, which is the foreign relations room and at that time receive ambassador gerrard arnar, the ambassador of france. we are going to express our condolences to the people of france. we'll sign a book of condolences, and i look forward to doing that. i would hope my colleagues would join us in doing that sometime during the day.
mr. president, for the first six years of the presidency of barack obama republicans have tried to block nearly every nomination that's come to the senate. the report backlog of nominees, republicans abdicated their constitutional ponts to provide their advice and consent regarding these nominations. in fact, republicans blocked president obama's nominees more than all the other presidential nominees in history combined. think about that. they have blocked more of his nominations -- this one president -- than all the preceding presidents in the history of our country. 71% of our cloture motions filed on nominees during the history of the country are the president obama's nominees. 73% of cloture motions on judicial nominees were for obama
nominees. and 97% for district court judges were on obama nominees. when republicans assumed power of the senate in january some may have expected that their obligation to govern would bring an end to their obstruction but it didn't. we all know what happened the last year. we all know that they were holding up all nominations that they didn't like. not all of them but all they didn't like, and that was most all of them. that's something that has been traditional in this country the national labor relations board -- theyrefused to allow us to have a vote. they filibustered every one of them. which meant that the national labor relations board, which is so important to workingmen and women in this kurntion couldn't go -- in this country couldn't go forward. they didn't even have a quorum. the second-highest court some say the most important court in the land, the d.c. court of appeals, they refused to allow any votes on nominees there.
they filibustered every one of them. we had five vacancies. well, something had to be done, and it was done, and it was done for the right reason, and it was good for the country. those people have been now confirmed. we have a better country as a result of that. but when the republicans were -- when they assumed power they kept talking about they were going to get the matter is back to work. sadly, we all know that has been an absolute joke. we have had more vietnams than in the -- we have had more revotes than in the history of the country during the time they have been in power. we've done less than any senate in the history of the country. so getting the senate back to work has been just not very, very honest. sadly, those who were hoping that the republicans would get serious about governing have been terribly disappointed. republicans are still doing
everything they can to block even the most qualified nominees. many of these nominations are vitally important to our national security. listen to the people that have been blocked from having a vote here in the senate. and they've even gone one step further. they're not even holding hearings on them a how them to come to the floor. here are some we can do it on and should vote on: secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. secretary of defense for our national security, under secretary of the air force secretary of the army, under secretary of the army. those positions are unfilled. secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial crimes. think about that. secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, they're not even bringing that to a vote. as the u.s. continues to fight
isis and its terrorism shouldn't we confirm the person in treasury that is responsible for terrorism and financial crimes? how about secretary of the army, do you think that's important? from my republican colleagues, all they say is a resounding "no," but this is part of the republican trend of grinding the nomination process to a halt. so far this year republican senators confirmed 100 fewer civilian nominees than it did during the most comparable session. take 2007, that number lags behind any other recent session. judicial emergencies are triple than they were at the beginning of this year. trim pell. what is a judicial emergency? it means you have a judge that has more work than he can handle. jury trials are not allowed to go forward especially civil
jury trials. hearings on important issues, issues,restraining orders and other important issues are not held. in 2007 at this same stage we confirmed 34 judges. this year, 10. consider the nomination of a man named strep strep -- if i phillip restrepo the seat has been vacate since july 2013. as judges have said, we may do the work, but we're not doing it the i way we should be doing it. because we're so busy on
everything. that seat has been vacate since july of 2013. he's an american success story. he was born in colombia, came to the united states as a toddler in 1983 became a united states citizen. graduated from the university of pennsylvania, one of the ivy league schools worked as a public defender, started his own practice in civil rights criminal defense issues. since 2013, he served with distinction as allege district judge in the eastern district of pennsylvania. the senate confirmed him in his current district judge position unanimously. more than a year ago senator casey, senator toomey -- a democrat and republican -- jointly recommended judge restrepo for this appointment to be a circuit court judge. senator toomey said at the time -- quote -- "i believe judge
restrepo will make a addition to the circuit court. despite this the republican district of pennsylvania refused to hold a hearing on his nomination by refusing to turn in something called a blue slip -- because it is blue -- it's been the tradition in the senate forever that you need both senators to turn in their blue slip. he won't turn his in, which has delayed confirmation of a qualified man that has been recommended to the president. he could advance mr. restrepo by signing a piece of paper but he's long refused to do so. kind of baferlg when he makes -- kind of baffling when he makes public statements about what a great guy this is. the junior senator from pennsylvania told the huffing post -- and i quote -- "no i'm not blocking him but i've got to run to lunch." close quote. the junior senator from pennsylvania couldn't wait for
his lunch but this judge and the people that he's responsible for taking care of are waiting. this third circuit is overwhelmed with work. it's a judicial emergency. other judges are doing more work than they should be doing. they need him. so even though he couldn't wait for lunch he's making millions of americans wait for a judge they desperately need. in july his nomination was finally voted out of committee by voice meaning there was no controversy showing, of course he should be voted on now immediately. that was in july. remember, that was a year after he was nominated. we're in november. why has a qualified nomination sat on the floor since july waiting for a lunch that's never been completed? it's past time to confirm judge restrepo. senator toomey should demand the majority allow us to vote on mr.
restrepo before we recess for thanksgiving and in the process sign that paper. we'd be happy to work with republicans to vote on this good man today. unfortunately, it's not just the junior senator from pennsylvania. they should also help us confirm judge mary floes. her nomination has been held up due to the same tactics toomey used to stall restrepo. this nominee is being delayed by one of the many senators running for president the junior senator from florida. it was jointly signed and recommended that he become a judge for the southern district of florida. he was nominated -- she was nominated fair -- eight months
ago. since then the junior senator from florida is running for president. he doesn't have time to mess with a judicial emergency. the miami-based seat is a judicial emergency. has been without a senate confirmed judge for more than a year. like her counterpart in pennsylvania she has an impeccable record. she is a familiar face to many in the legal community in south florida and serves on the 11th judicial circuit in florida for more than a decade. prior to that she worked as public defender for 13 years. but any measure she's well qualified and deserves a hearing in the judiciary committee. senator nelson indicated his support eight months ago but the junior senator from florida refused to sign off on her and is the only obstacle stopping the nomination from moving forward. it's puzzling. senator rubio is delaying a judge he helped recommend to
president obama. without his approving the judiciary committee can't schedule a hearing on her nomination. even with his busy schedule traveling around the country -- i recognize he doesn't vote here. he doesn't like to be in the senate. he said so. he does not like the senate. that's why i said he should resign. he talked about other senators who missed votes. any senator that ran for president during my time here in the senate loved the senate. they may have missed votes but they never never denigrated the senate. senator rubio has done just that. so even with his busy schedule running for president and missing votes here, he should be able to find a few seconds to sign this blue slip that will allow judge flores to move forward with the hearing. the junior senator from florida needs to sign a piece of paper to advance a qualified nominee he recommended to fill a
judicial emergency in florida. like the junior senator from pennsylvania he refused to do so. his constituents are paying the price, a big price. sadly, republicans' strategy of obstruction for obstruction's sake is not limited to them. republicans are blocking important state department nominations. the junior senator from arkansas is preventing three ambassadors from getting a vote here on the senate floor. the junior senator from texas is blocking one of the most qualified nominees before the senate gayle smith nominated six months ago as the next administrator for international development. with this refuge problem we have -- refugee problem we have facing the world wouldn't it be nice if we had someone whose job it was to oversee this for our government? but, no, there's some extraneous
issue, the junior senator from texas also running for president, is more concerned about than this important agency. i spoke at length about senator senator -- the senior senator from ohio, his obsession with blocking more than 25 qualified state department nominees. the nominees that he's blocked mr. president, are people who are -- people who have worked as foreign service officers for a long, long time, different periods of time, and it comes time that they get automatic changes in their status. they get a few more dollars and get a different title. he's blocking these. that is so sad. there's no need for it. if republicans were serious about governing, they would change courses about blocking these nominations. every moment the republicans delay, they're hurting our country in many different ways.
our justice system, our foreign policy system, our ability to respond to havoc that's being -- that's taking place in the middle east right now. let's put an end to all this obstruction. let's move forward with votes on these qualified nominees as we've done historically. it wasn't until this republican crowd arrived here in the senate that they started doing this. we've never done this before. we have held somebody up for awhile. but they basically put a stample of -- stamp of disapproval on anything obama wants to do. we aren't going to stand by silently and allow these nominations to linger in the senate. we'll continue to demand to allow these public seforts -- servants to work. would the chair announce the business of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate will be in morning business until 1 # 1:00 a.m. with
senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic whip. mr. durbin: mr. president earlier in this session we observed a moment of silence to exhibit our solidarity with the people of france. i want to add my voice to others here today in sharing my deepest condolences and solidarity with the people of that great nation. as a result of the barbaric violence that occurred over the weekend, we are finding this solidarity coming together from across the world standing behind the people of france in their hour of need. these events that occurred in paris were heartbreaking and infuriating. america knows well from the tragic events of september 11 this kind of savagery is a challenge to the civilized world, one which we must collectively stand and defeat. as french president hollande said to a joint session of the
french parliament, when france is attacked in such a manner, the whole world is attacked. i agree. people of russia are also victims of such violence. in the recent downing of their airplane departing egypt another tragedy which isis has claimed credit for. the people of lebanon and turkey have suffered horrific bombings in their capitals in the last few weeks from the same terrorist groups. and the brave reformers in tunesia, one of the few countries to emerge from the arab spring with an inclusive and inspiring democracy have faced similar violence against innocent people at their museums and tourist destinations. the perpetrator of all of these monstrous acts is isis, which has filled the void created by the wars in iraq, syria and the broader political chaos of the arab spring. these murderous hench men have conducted the most heinous of acts beheadings, mass rape,
torture, and the murder of innocents. in a sick attempt to intimidate the civilized world and to feed their own warped ideology. i have supported president obama's leadership in organizing a global coalition to defeat isis and i applaud secretary kerry for his efforts to negotiate an end to the syrian civil war. but we must do more. when france is attacked, when president hollande reaches out to his allies he is reaching out to the north atlantic treaty organization nato, of which the united states is a member. he should reach out as well and we all should reach out to russia, which as i mentioned earlier, has been victimized by this terrorist group in the downing of that aircraft. and then reach out to saudis and muslim leaders around the world join us in a coalition to destroy isis. first in their occupied territory in syria and iraq and then in their murderous web of
recruitment and hate around the world. mr. president, several people have reacted to the tragedy in france and the united states by calling for us to suspend refugees coming to this country. many of these people have not reflected on the refugee situation in our country. each year the united states of america accepts about 70,000 refugees from around the world. these refugees are each carefully investigated, reviewed, and vetted. that process takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months before a refugee from any part of the world is allowed to enter the united states. we do everything humanly possible and take extraordinary efforts to make certain that dangerous people do not arrive on our shores. that vetting process must continue, and when it comes to suspicious circumstances must be
doubled in its intensity to make certain that our nation is safe. but for those who are focusing on that as the answer to what happened in paris, they are very shortsighted. one out of four of the refugees coming to the united states in the last fiscal year came not from the middle east but from burma. in addition to that, we find many refugees coming to the united states from iraq. it turns out that over 3,000 refugees came from iran. in each and every instance, we should apply the standard of strict vetting and the highest standards of investigation. i certainly stand by that. but those who say we should turn away refugees in the united states have forgotten the lesson of history. mr. president, it was may of 1939. a ship docked in florida. the ship was named the s.s. st. louis. 0en that ship were almost -- on
that ship were almost 1,000 jews from europe who were trying to escape persecution. sadly, the united states turned them away and they had to return to europe. they were afraid for their lives. the nazis had engaged in kristallnacht and violence against jewish people, and they were coming to our shores seeking refugee status. in may of 1939 we turned them away. they returned to europe. over 200 of them died in the holocaust. since that time, the united states has taken a different approach to refugees. we have been a country sensitive to the relate that i in many parts of the -- reality that in many parts of the world people are living in fear of death every day and can only find safety on our shores. over the years we've accepted 750,000 refugees from vietnam. we've accepted over 500,000
cuban refugees, including the fathers of two united states senators one who's running for president. we accepted over 200,000 soviet jews who were escaping persecution in the former soviet union. we've accepted refugees from around the world from somalia from bosnia, the list is long. that is an indication of who we are and our values. now, we need to be careful when any refugee comes to the united states. we should give them a thorough investigation. but for us to step back and say we are going to stop being a refuge for refugees from around the world is really a retreat from america's values. let us make sure that the process of refugees, immigrants, and visitors is the very best. let us carefully follow through on each one of them, but let us not it unour backs it turn our back
on many from around the world who are looking for the safety of the united states. it has been part of our hair -- of our heritage for over 60 years and it should continue. we know we have an obstacles to keep -- we know we have on obligation to keep america safe. for more than 14 years with the exception of the boston marathon involving lone-wolf terrorists, with that exception we have kept america safe. it has been through the good work of our men and women in the intelligence community, in the military, in the f.b.i., in so many different aspects of our government. so what can we do in the united states senate to make sure they're able to do their job effectively? why don't we do our job in the senate. why don't we pass the appropriations bills for these agencies. imagine, here we are over a month into this fiscal year and the united states as soon as has not passed the appropriations for the f.b.i., atppropriations
for the department of -- the aeption pros for the department of -- the aappropriations for the department of homeland security. this week if we want to fight terrorism and protect the united states, let us pass the appropriations bills for all of the agencies of our government. it is time to do it and to do it now. secondly, we need to make sure that our country has the tools to fight terrorism, the kind of terrorism that we've seen in paris, france. we know that we need to change the approach when it comes to the encryption of data in communications so we have access to the communications of terrorists. technology is leaping ahead of our capacity. we are told by our agencies in government that to keep america safe, we have to deal with encryption standards today. that is the reality of the challenge to the united states. some would dwell on refugees.
i think we ought to be careful with every single refugee that comes to this country. but there is more we can do. pass the appropriations for the agenciesagencies that keep us safe. put in new standards so we can deal with the encryption where would-be terrorists terrorists are hiding their communications from our surveillance even under court order. and, third, we need to come together -- france, the nato nations, russia, those muslim countries that abhor this extremist that is exhibited by isis -- come together and wipe isis off the map in iraq and syria. we need to rely on local forces there who have been so effect tirveg like the kurds -- effective, like the kurds, who are willing to fight the isis troops on the ground and defeat them. eliminating them is no guarantee that they won't continue their efforts around the world but let us have a common enemy in isis and come together in a large global coalition to stop them -- to
fight them and stop their efforts. my wife and i for years have visited frangs. -- visited france. we consider it to be a great country with great people. we have had our differences on foreign policy from time to time but any student of of history knows that the frencht stood -- the french stood us when it came to our revolution. the french have been impi our side time and again and we have been by their side. mr. president, i will conclude by saying from the birth of our nation to this day france has always been one of our close of the -- of our closest allies. america stands arm in arm with the people of france. i yield the floor. mr. heller: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: mr. president thank you.
like the speakers before me, i rise today to offer my condolences to the nation of france. as the previous speaker said, she's one of our oldest allies and the people of america stand proud with her during this tragic time. mr. president, i rise today to share my concerns with the devastating impact of the affordable care act the cadillac tax. the cadillac tax is a 40% excise tax set to take place in 2018 on employer-sponsored health insurance plans. in nevada, 1.3 million workers who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans will be hit by this cadillac tax. these are public employees in carson city, service industry workers on the strip in las vegas, small business owners and their retirees across the state of nevada. my colleagues from across the country have heard the same concerns that i have.
this 40% tax will increase costs, significantly reduce benefits or result in employers getting rid of employer-sponsored health coverage altogether. mr. president, is this what we want? is this what swreeted voted for? is this what the other side voted for? this is precisely why senator martin heinrich from new mexico and myself have sponsored the this piece of legislation to fully repeal this onerous tax. my bill has 19 bipartisan cosponsors. and over the summer when i committed to take taking a leadership role to fully repeal this act i waited for months for a sign that my colleagues across the aisle would work together to repeal this tax. boy, there was a lot of talk, mr. president, but there was no action. and to date, there is still
little action from these same colleagues, which is why i ask them once again to join me in repealing this bad tax. this shouldn't be a bipartisan issue, and yet my colleagues across the aisle have turned it into one. that's why i commend senator heinrich for joining me in working together in a bipartisan manner to fully repeal this tax. and this repeal needs to happen and happen quickly for the employers to be able to plan for the future. whether it is through our bill or any of the must-pass measures that the chamber takes up in the next six weeks before the entdz of this year -- for example tax extenders -- the cadillac tax needs to be fully repealed. this is something i've engaged my colleagues on and will continue to do so, especially as we hopefully look to move tax extenders before the end of this year. this is not just something that needs more bipartisan support in the senate. there are over 218 cosponsors in
the house of representatives nearly half of them democrats. and 83 organizations have endorsed our efforts to repeal the cadillac tax. it's very rare these days to see this much agreement in washington d.c., and organized labor chambers of commerce, local and state governments, large and small businesses have come together with a bipartisan group putting forth a solution to fix a problem affecting so many hardworking tax-paying americans. the cadillac tax doesn't officially go into effect until 2018 but the impact of this tax is being talked about more and more because employers are starting to make major changes today -- now -- to their workers' health benefits in order to limit the impact of the tax or avoid the tax altogether. i've heard from large companies. i've heard from small businesses organized labor such as the culinary union in nevada,
and they're all saying the same thing -- the cadillac tax needs to be fully repealed. we're talking about three things here, mr. president. we're talking about reduced benefits, we're talking about increased premiums, we're talking about higher deductibles. is this what we want? all of these lead to more money being taken out of the pocket of hardworking, tax-paying families. according to the nonpartisan kaiser family foundation, employees who have job-based insurance have witnessed their out-of-pocket expenses climb from $900 in 2010 to $1,300 in 2015, on ancht average. that is almost a 50% increase in the last five years for their insurance coverage. employees working for small businesses now have deductibles over $1,800. kaiser also notes that deductibles have risen nearly
seven times faster -- mr. president, seven times faster -- than workers earning since 2010. kaiser's president said, "it's quite a revolution when deductibles are rising self p times faster than -- seven times faster than wages. it means that people can't pay their rent, they can't buy their gas, and they can't eat." unquote. as deductibles rise, another way employers are planning on avoiding obamacare's massive new tax is by eliminating health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts sms accounts. over 33 million americans use f.s.a.'s or flexible spending accounts, and 13.5 million americans use health savings accounts for h.s.a.'s. and they may see these accounts vanish in the coming year, as the companies scram to believe avoid the lost 40% tax hike. they're using useed for hospital
services, child care, dental care physical therapy and access to mental care -- mental health services. access to these lifesaving services could all be gone for tens of millions of americans if the cadillac tax is not fully repealed. every day there is a new article in the national press talking about how tax-paying americans are going to be hit by this tax. towers watson, a management and consulting firm, did a survey of large businesses who typically offer the most comprehensive coverage. they found that more than half of the employers in 2018 are planning to significantly cut what they provide to ensure america's families and children. the ups is one of those companies that has already said they plan on limiting plan eligibility for spouses of employees. sean o'brien assistant director
of the afl-cio said recently that employers are coming to the table asking for cuts in benefits based on their preliminary projections around the 40% excise tax. to make matters worse the chief financial officer of a waste recycling company action environmental, recently told "the wall street journal" that his company would consider getting rid of its employer coverage altogether because of obamacare's cadillac tax. and he said -- and i quote -- "i'd be lying if i said we haven't already had that discussion." unquote. delta airlines expects obamacare will cost it $100 million per year. one reason for the new cost is a 40% excise tax on delta's c employee health benefits. as if americans don't already have enough issues with airlines these days and out of all the news we see from the cadillac
tax, none of it -- zero -- is positive. the goal of health care reform should be to help those who do not have coverage and lower costs for those who have insurance. this does not achieve either of these goals and everyone knows it. i will do everything i can to see that this tax is fully repealed. this is a real urgency that we get this done, and i will work with anybody in this chamber to see that the cadillac tax is fully repealed by the end of the year. once again whether it's my bipartisan bill or a year-end package like tax extenders we need to repeal this very bad tax. fully repealing the tax is an opportunity for republicans and democrats to join forces to work together to repeal a bad tax for one purpose and that is to help 151 million workers keep the health care insurance that they like. thank you mr. president. a senator: mr. president?
the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president i rise today to join all of our senate colleagues in sending our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims in the attacks in paris. our hearts go out to the people of france. the united states stands firmly and united in solidarity with france just as france, our nation's oldest ally, has stood in solidarity with us. and we must work to find those responsible for those attacks and bring them to justice. we remain steadfast as a country talking to people in my own state, i know this -- we remain steadfast in our resolve to defeat isis, to root out this evil from those planning these attacks in belgium to those training camps in syria. our military, our strong and mighty united states military,
has already provided critical leadership with france in escalating the airstrikes in syria and iraq, and we must continue to do that. in the coming months, we must focus on building this international coalition against isis as well as providing critical intelligence in going after these perpetrators. just yesterday russia announced that in fact it was a bomb that brought down that plane over egypt. isis has claimed responsibility. not all the facts are known yet but they have claimed responsibility. so there is no limit to what these people will do. that plane was filled with innocent families, children coming back from vacation. just as that concert hall in france was filled with young people just there to see some music. they now lay maimed in hospitals
all over paris. or worse their families are burying them in the ground. that is isis. what does our country do? well, first of all we must have a unified agenda to keep america safe and to stand by our allies. first, as i mentioned we must do all we can to build this coalition and to fight this evil at its root with resolve. we have unprecedented technology that should allow us to fight this fight. we have biometrics. we have ways that we can do this and assist other countries. secondly, we must do all that we can to enhance our own security. we know that our first responders throughout the last decade have done amazing work in thwarting attacks. we must continue to support them. and if we do more in terms of legislation, we must make sure that we are doing something that will actually make a difference.
we're having a security breaching with all the senators -- security briefing with all the senators tomorrow and we must listen to our security and intelligence experts to make sure that what we are proposing will make a difference. third, we must give our first responders and our military on the front line the resources that they need. i know that senators shelby and mikulski are working hard with our counterparts in the house of representatives to craft a budget bill, and we must take that bill up as soon as it is completed. of course we've had some positive success in reaching a budget that didn't make deep cuts into our military or our homeland security capabilities. that was positive. and now we must bring it home with a budget. the fourth and final action that i'll mention today as part of this unified agenda to keep our country safe and to support our allies is to make sure that we have our own front-line
positions filled. this included, as was mentioned earlier, the treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, a position that must be filled. military positions including positions within our own army. we have a judiciary that has to take on these terrorism cases. and i can't comment about what's going on in every jurisdiction in the country but i know that minnesota has one of the highest caseloads. we have a well-qualified applicant named wilhelmina marie wright who is a former prosecutor who passed through the judiciary committee without dissent, thanks to the good work of senator grassley, the chair of that committee and senator leahy. her name is one of the names that is coming up before the senate and i would say that given that we have 15 indictments out of minnesota alone with that number i think even growing against isis homegrown terrorist people that were trying to go and fight for isis abroad that our great law
enforcement in minnesota on the federal and local level were able to track down and our aggressive u.s. attorney's office was able to make the case and bring those cases. we need judges to handle those cases. and we have one of the highest caseloads already in the country, and i appreciate the work of the judiciary committee on a bipartisan basis in bringing this nomination to the floor. and it is one of several that need to get done. again, front-line positions. front-line positions dealing directly with the terrorism that we're talking about. finally in terms of positions we have to fill the state department positions that are open the usaid critical assistance to our allies, to our friends who are taking on these fights. and the fact that we don't have anyone confirmed in that position is very disturbing. we have, again someone that i know senator corker is supporting that we'd like to get through and we must get through ms. smith. we also have open ambassador positions. again, noncontroversial nominees
in the european continent countries that have not had an ambassador for years. i bring up one because our nominee is from the state of minnesota and that is for the country of norway that has been a critical ally. norway is one of our country's strongest and most dependable international allies. it was a founding member of the nato alliance, an alliance we will be relying on heavily as we look at fighting isis. and its military has participated in operations with the united states in the balkans and in afghanistan. norwegians work alongside americans in standing up in the ukraine, and they have worked with us in countering isis. yet, we have not had an ambassador for over two years. part of this, i recognize is because the initial nominee ended up withdrawing someone that was put forward by this administration. that happened. and now we have a nominee that is noncontroversy along with a nominee for the country of
sweden the nominee for norway is sam heins for the state of minnesota, that has gotten through both nominees, sweden and norway, through the committee, approved by voice vote. no one raised any questions about mr. heins' qualifications for this position. so i would say given that europe is on the front line of these isis attacks that we must join with europe and make sure that we not only have our military positions filled, our state department positions filled, our usaid positions filled, our judiciary at home with the nominees that are before this senate so we can have this strong united front, we also have to make sure that we fill positions for these ambassadorships. again, i am not pushing controversial nominees. these are people that will be serving in this position for the remaining year. but i ask that the senate take up these nominations as well as
get the budget done, which queer well on our way to do -- which we are well on our way to do as well as come together with commonsense solutions for our own security as well as making sure that we put together and lead in america with our allies in an international coalition to root out isis. with that, mr. president i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
objection. mr. mcconnell: pursuant to the provisions of the congressional review act i move to proceed to s.j. res. 24, a joint resolution providing the congressional disapproval of a rule submitted by the e.p.a. mr. mcconnell: morning business is closed. the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of s.j. res. 24, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, united states code of a rule submitted by the environmental protection agency and so forth. the presiding officer: the motion is not debatable. the question occurs on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the joint resolution. the clerk: calendar number 294, s.j. res. 24-rbgs a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, united
states code, of a rule submitted by the environmental protection agency and so forth. the presiding officer: pursuant to the congressional review act, there will now be stowp hoursupto ten hours of debate between those opposing and proposing the joint resolution. mrs. capito: mr. president i rise to speak in support of my rtle of disapproval under the congressional review act against e.p.a.'s greenhouse gas regulation targeting existing power sources. i'm so proud to be here today with my colleague from north dakota senator heidi heitkamp. we have 47 cosponsors on this bipartisan effort to stop the existing coal plant rule. we've had a lot of discussion about this. it affects all of our states differently, but i think it is important to talk not just about
what does to our individual states but what this is going to do to us as a country. if the administration's proposed clean power plan moves forward hardship -- hardship -- will be felt all across the country. fewer job opportunities higher power bills and less reliable electricity will result. west virginia and other coal-producing states like kentucky and wyoming are feeling the pain of prior e.p.a. regulations. nearly 7,000 more notices -- or informations to employees -- and let me just say. does anyone know what a warrant notice is? if you've got gotten, you'll never forget it. it says you could be laid off within the next 60 days. in west virginia 7,000 of those notices have g.n.p. out gone out to west virginia families. and more than 2,600 of those were just issued last month alone. our neighboring state of kentucky the state of majority
leader lost more than 10% of its coal jobs during the first quarter of this year. kentucky's coal employment now stands at the lowest level since the 1920's. the energy information administration's most recent annual coal report for 2013 showed that the average number of coal mine employees dropped by roughly 10% in other coal-producing states like alabama, utah, and virginia. according to the mine safety and health administration, coal mining employment nationally has dropped by a massive 31% in just the last four years. and if you travel to the state of west virginia, particularly, our coal area, it doesn't take you long to see that. the impact of this where on coal extends far beyond the coal industry. these regulations are affecting all aspects of lives. last month the west virginia govern announced that most state agencses would have to endure 4%
cuts. for the first time in many years, the governor cut our education budget in the state of west virginia because of this war on coal. that means less money for roads for scoocialtion and forehealth care -- for schools and for health care services. but the terrible impact that prior regulations have had on west virginia and the nation would get far worse if the e.p.a.'s plan goes into effect. the clean power plan is the most expensive regulation that the e.p.a. has every proposed on our nation's power sector. compliance spending is estimated to total between $29 billion and $39 billion per year. household spending power the money that american families have in their pockets, will be reduced by $64 billion to $79 billion by this rule. and a new study by nera, a respected economic analysis of the firm, of the final rule found that electricity prices in west virginia would increase
between 13% and 22%. but certainly west virginia will not be alone as we're going to hear through this debate in enduring higher energy prices and job loss. nera projects that all of the lower 48 states will see their electricity prices go up under the clean power plan. as many as 41 states could see electricity prices increase by at least 10%. that's just from this regulation. and i'm sure my colleague from north dakota is one of those affected states. 28 states would see electricity prices that would increase by at least 20%. what does that mean for our economy? the national rural electric cooperative association found that a 10% increase in electricity prices could mean a loss of is.2 million jobs a. cross -- 1.2 million jobs across the country. half would be in rural communities in rural states, like west virginia, north dakota.
the national black chamber of commerce found this plan would increase poverty among blacks by 23% and poverty among hispanics by 26%. affordable energy matters especially to those living on fixed incomes. households earning less than $38,000 a -- or $30,000 a year, spend an average of 23% of their income on energy costs. these families -- these children these workers these elderly -- they are the ones who have suffer most under this administration's policy. energy reliability also matters. coal is a source of our baseload generation and the administration wants to replace coal with intermittent sources. what does that mean? well that means that hon a hot day when the air conditioning is running and factories are operating, we can be confident that a coal-fired power plant will be supplying the energy needed to cool our homes and
keep our businesses running. in the cold winter of 2014, when the demand for electricity surged, coal was the energy source that utilities relied on to keep people warm. renewable sources -- and we want more; we want more variable ones and frequent ones -- renewable sources are an important part of our country's energy mix. but there are always going to be days when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining and it is critical that we re-serve more re-reliable resources to meet the demand of powering our economy. where i'd like to see us go is innovation. innovation not across-the-board regulations, should be our focus. but these regulations will not spur innovation. the clean power plan sets a standard for new plants that cannot be met by the most commercially available technology we have today. that not only flies in the face of the clean air act but also
makes gradual improvements in technology that would improve our environment impossible to implement. the effect will be to instead choke off our most reliable and affordable source of energy and devastate the livelihoods of many folks around this country. prior to this administration, our country did a laudable job in protecting and improving our environment while promoting economic growth. last week marked the 25th anniversary of the 1990 clean air amendments which were signed into law by george h.w. bush. our air is now the cleanest it has been in decades. thewe continue and we must continue to reduce harmful plew pollutants like sulfur dioxide. since 2005, u.s. carbon dioxide -- excuse moshings carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by
13%. according to the e.i.a., west virginia has emitted 19% less carbon dioxide since the year 2000. we should continue to protect our environment but not at the expense of our families, our communities, and our economy. i'm serious when i say, if you come to west virginia, you'll see this easily. with this rule making, the e.p.a. is attempting to pass the same type of cap-and-trade system that congress rejected five years ago. having failed its attempt at cap-and-trade, the administration has taken a second bite at the apple by claiming authority under the clean air act to impose a regulatory cap-and-trade program. that's not the way it should be. this raises an obvious question: if e.p.a. had cap-and-trade authority, as the administration is asserting now why did the administration go to such lengths to try to pass cap-and-trade legislation? the answer is clear. the clean air act does not authorize a mandatory
cap-and-trade program. with its clean power plan, the e.p.a. ignores 40 years of history and prior regulations that consistent with the law always based standards on controls installed at an existing plant. let me be clear. in the 40-year history of the clean air act e.p.a. has never issued an existing plant program quite like this. as one e.p.a. official summed it up to "the new york times" -- and i quote -- "the legal interpretation is challenging. this effectively hasn't been done." end quote. rather than regulating existing plants using the best technology e.p.a. -- yes e.p.a. is instead attempting to regulate the entire energy grid. thisthis has not been done before because the clean air act does not authorize e.p.a. to do this. both states and the private sector are doing what they can to fight back over this overreach. west virginia is one of 27 states that has filed lawsuits to block this rule.
additionally, 24 national trade associations 37 rural electric cooperatives ten major companies and three labor unions representing over 800,000 employees are challenging the e.p.a.'s final clean power plan. in less than two weeks international climate negotiations will begin. the world is watching to see whether the united states will foolishly move toward -- move forward with costly regulations that will do virtually flog to protect our -- nothing to protect our environment. under the congressional review arctic the senate how has the chance to take a real up-and-down vote on whether the e.p.a.'s clean power plan can and should move forward. this is a legal binding resolution that if successful will prevent the clean power plan or car similar rule from taking effect. passing this regulation will send a clear message to the world that a majority of the u.s. congress does not stand behind the president's efforts to address climate change with
economically catastrophic regulations. passing this regulation will also demonstrate to the american people that the senate understands the need for afoocialg and reliable -- affordable and reliable energy. congress should pass this regulation and place this critical issue squarely on the president's desk. america's economic future is at stake here, and it is time to send a clear signal that enough is enough. i'm very privileged to be offering this resolution with senator heitkamp from north dakota. she's been a champion on this issue. she has a different energy mix in her state and different energy keynes, but i think it -- different energy concerns, but i think it goes to the heart of west virginians and north dakotans about the impact of such a far-reaching and untried regulation in an area that is just so far-reaching. so i thing thing her thank her for
her steadfast support. ms. heitcamp: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. ms. heitcamp: thank you mr. president. i want to express my great thanks for my colleague in west virginia, senator capito, who has been absolutely a champion 0en this but also a champion on looking at new technologies and also a champion to actually see what we can do move forward with the great innovation that is the history of this country. and really the history of coal kufnlt ifcountry. if you look at over the life of the clean air act, you will see literally billions of dollars of investment in cleaner energy, billions of dollars of investment in pollution control billions of dollars of commitment to the environment by the industries that we represent, whether it is, in fact a utility industry that has an interesting resource mix that includes coal or whether it is, in fact, those facilities
that utilize the energy looking at energy efficiency. and so the numbers that senator capito just gave you in terms of america's achievement on reduction of co2 happened without any involvement or any interference by the environmental protection agency. i want to -- north dakota's situation is unique, as it related to the clean power plant rules. that is why north dakota filed its own separate piece of litigation, because we have a different story to tell. i believe a story that involves lignite, which isn't the coal that's mined in west virginia but it's certainly for those of us in the center of the country has become an important fuel source for generation of electricity for generations. when you look at it and you think about where we are with fuel sources and you remember that there was a period of time when utility companies in this country were told you cannot use natural gas to generate
electricity, and, as a result, billions of dollars of investment was deployed to find a way to have redundant reliable and affordable source of energy. and that redundant reliable, and affordable source of energy was coal. it was coal in our mix. o'now things have transitioned. north dakota is truly all of the above as it relates to our energy resources in this country and providing the electricity and the reliability of our electricity in the region. and so when we look at where we are right now, we have -- we have created an incredible level of uncertainty for utility companies in this country. what do i mean by that? if your sitting as a member of the board of directors right now in a utility company and you know that you're going to have base load growth moving forward how do you build out your resources to meet the demand, which under a lot of our regulatory environment you're required to do?
you now are told, look, by -- by this year certain you in north dakota have to reduce your co2 output by 40%. guess what? the original rule, as drafted had an 11% reduction. now we're up to 44%. in what world is that an appropriate leap as we move forward in terms of looking at compliance with this new regulation? the e.p.a. is not authorized to issue rules that are impossible. that is the baseline and fundamental principle of both the clean air and clean water act. it's best available technology. what is actually there what's commercially available in that space. and i will tell you, i have sat down with utility companies in my state who tell me it is virtually impossible. so we have a rule that's impossible. but we have something that i think the good senator from west virginia talked about that is even more serious.
we have one agency of the federal government not empowered by any law in this country basically controlling our energy deployment our electrical deployment. we've ignored ferc, we've ignored all the other agencies that are responsible for transmission of electricity. and i will tell you if you look at the history of this country and you compare the history of this country with very many of our competitors across the world, the one thing that we do is that when you reach over to turn on a light switch in the united states of america the lights come on and is it doesn't matter what time of the -- and it doesn't matter what time of the day. and if you are building a new facility a new manufacturing facility you need new energy? that energy is made available to you that. is a miracle. having energy in this country deployed at the -- at the end of the mile in my state which can be things as remote as -- as another 20, 30 miles away from anyone else we deliver
electricity. that's a miracle is really a miracle of the commitment that we've made to make sure that we have power in america. this rule jeopardizes that commitment. this rule is wrongheaded. this rule is a -- is a dramatic change from the draft rule, especially as it relates to the state of north dakota, and this rule represents a -- an attitude that we don't care what the law says. we don't care that you've rejected cap and trade we don't care that you've rejected a carbon tax. we are going to unilaterally adopt those public policies as public policies in america. i don't think any of that should happen. i think that it is time that we push back at all levels. but as i've said many times on the floor whether it's waters of the united states or whether it's clean power plant rule the challenge that we have is trying to do what this congress is responsible for doing which is to legislate. it's not to have a fight about
whether we like e.p.a. or not not to have a fight about whether this rule is right or not, but what's the appropriate public policy. and when we simply leave it to the regulatory agencies, what we end up is with litigation and uncertainty for those people sitting in the boardroom who have a critical responsibility for delivering power in the united states of america. and so i gladly join my colleague from west virginia as we pursue this. i think we all know that this will likely pass. we also know what the likely outcome will be once it reaches the president's desk. and so we need to continue to have these conversations. we need to continue to talk about what the consequences are not just for the coal miners in west virginia and the coal miners in north dakota but for the redundant reliable and affordable delivery of electricity in our country. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: thank you so much, mr. president.
i listened to every word my friend spoke and i respected very much the words of my colleague from west virginia, but i just want to be clear. i could not disagree with them more. and why the majority leader and my friends would push for the overturning of a clean power plant rule which will, in fact, save lives -- that's a fact -- because when the air gets cleaner, you save lives. and we'll also protect our planet from the ravages of climate change. i don't know why they would take that stand. i really don't. because when we're sworn in here, we're supposed to protect the health and safety of the people of our nation above all. not protect one utility over another. that's -- you know, that's the private sector. we're here to protect lives.
we're here to protect the planet. and so i'm going to go into depth as to why i feel this is very wrongheaded and particularly i have great respect for our majority leader. senator mcconnell has the power to bring anything before the body that he chooses. that is his right and he has done this. but i would question given what happened in paris given the need to keep america safe why are we going after the clean air act today? it doesn't make sense. we should be moving to the omnibus budget agreement. we should be look at every part of that budget to make america safe. for example, in the e.p.a. budget, we could look at ways to improve chemical safety. we could look at ways to protect our reservoirs. we could look at the department
of homeland security at ways to step up security at our ports our airports our border checkpoints. our railroads. we could look at funding biometrics which could help us fight against homeland terrorism. in the state department, we could look at ways to enhance security at our embassies and our consulates. there's a lot of talk about been bendana gazy, benghazi, been bendana benghazi but we cut that last time. so how about we look at that? look at ways we could boost our cyber defenses after one of the largest data breaches in our government's history. at the department of justice we need to make sure the f.b.i. and local law enforcement have the resources they need to keep our
families safe. now, i compliment everyone who came to the table and got a universal agreement on the budget for the next two years. why are we looking at repealing a clean power plant rule instead of taking up that budget agreement and looking in a bipartisan way at every single agency mr. president that we fund to make sure they are doing everything to keep america safe. now, we know we've been doing something right because i was talking to one of my colleagues from new york and he pointed out that the terrorists have been after us since 9/11. so let's look at what we're doing right and let's see if there's anything we're not doing right and let's beef it up and make sure that our refugee
policy is the right policy. we have a lot of work to do. but, no, here we go again. just two weeks ago senate republicans led an attack on one of our nation's landmark environmental laws the clean water act and we defeated them. but now they're back again this time against clean air. clean air. they are attacking the clean air act and the president's commonsense proposals to address dangerous climate change. of course, most of them don't even believe that climate change is happening. they say well, we're not a scientist. that's right you're not. so why not listen to the 98% of scientists who know this is happening? the senate is considering at least one congressional review act resolution, and the one we're talking about now has to do with existing power plants.
and senator capito has introduced that and it would block the clean power plan for existing power plants from going into effect. this is dangerous dangerous we would be throwing out the first rules to reduce carbon pollution from power plants which emit 31% of our nation's carbon emissions. so if we're ever going to attack the problem of too much carbon pollution, we've got to go to our power plant side. and i commend the president for his courage and for doing the right thing. now, i've heard colleagues say oh the process wasn't good. what more do you want? the process used to develop these rules was extremely open and inclusive. e.p.a. met with state officials and a broad range of stakeholders. they held 600 meetings for the
clean power plan alone. 600 meetings. how many more meetings do you want, a thousand? e.p.a. received more than 6 million comments from the public on both the existing power plant rule and the new power plant rule. senator mcconnell's resolution to block the standards for new power plants and senator capito's resolution we're talking about now to block the clean power plan would not only toss out these extensive outreach efforts but get this, the hubris of this -- this resolution would prohibit the environmental protection agency from ever undertaking similar rule makings leaving no plan in place to address carbon pollution from this source. let me repeat that. not only does this resolution
toss out this rule that would clean our skies but they say you can never do it again. this is -- this is an attack on the american people. i want to remind my colleagues that e.p.a. is setting these carbon pollution standards not because they decided one day to go after the coal companies. they did not. they're doing it because under the clean air act, they have to do it. it's an authority that they have that has been confirmed by the supreme court. and i don't know that my colleagues want to hear it but i'm sorry, i will repeat it. in massachusetts v. e.p.a., the supreme court found very cheerl that carbon pollution -- very clearly that carbon pollution is covered under the clean air act. george w. bush fought it for eight years. he fought it for eight years.
but they wrote the following in their decision the supreme court -- quote -- "because greenhouse gases fit well within the clean air act's capacious definition of air pollutant we hold that e.p.a. has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases." so all that talk about e.p.a. is overreaching, carbon isn't dangerous, you don't have to fix it is so much baloney. the court found it straightforwardly in massachusetts v. e.p.a. in 2007. now, following that decision the obama administration issued an endangerment finding showing that current and future concentrations of carbon pollution are harmful to public health and welfare. now, once that was made, we have to act. we can't make-believe that this planet isn't in danger. we can't make-believe that
pollution from power plants don't cause problems for our people. we have to act. and so the administration is not only well within its rights, if they did not act, they would be sued and they would lose because they have to protect the people from too much carbon pollution. it is required under the clean air act and sustained by the supreme court in 2007. so the resolution before us today and if we go to a second resolution on new power plants, because not only do the republicans oppose standards for old plants they even oppose standards for newly constructed plants. both of these resolutions both of them, are harmful to public health and the environment and many groups oppose them. so i'm going to show you some of the groups that oppose this republican resolution.
and, america you decide who you want to stand with. the republicans who want to overturn the clean air act rule or these people? how about this. public health groups -- the allergy and asthma network the american lung association the public health association the thoracic society the asthma and allergy foundation of america children's environmental health network health care without harm, trust for america's health. now, that's as american as apple pie. these are the people who stand up and protect our health and the health of our families. who do you want to stand with? the republicans who are pushing this on us on a day that we should be making america safe from the terrorists or these groups? business groups -- the american
sustainable business council business for innovative climate and energy, environmental entrepreneurs. consumer groups -- center for accessible technology, citizens action coalition greenlining institute, national consumer law center ohio partners for affordable energy, public citizen, turn, the utility reform network virginia citizens consumer council, the washington state community action partnership a world institute for a sustainable humanity. latino groups -- why do they care? because a lot of times they live in communities that suffer from filthy air. the abc foundation green forum the citizen energy, the city project, common ground for conservation america. there's more latino groups. it goes on and on. emerald cities, green latinos ideas for us, latino coalition for a healthy california, national hispanic medical
association, national latino evangelical coalition solar four. environmental groups, i'll just mention a few -- alliance of nurses for healthy environments. could i just say if you were to ask people who do you trust more the senate or the nurses, dare i say dare i say the results? i would guess it would be 99 in favor, 99% in favor of nurses as opposed to us. and do you know what? why don't we listen to them? they don't want to see these rules overturned. appalachian voices, arkansas public policy panel, center for by logical diversity clean air task force clean water action, climate parents conservation voters for idaho conservation voters for south carolina, defenders of wildlife, earth justice, elders climate action,
environmental america -- environment america and 24 state affiliates, environmental advocates of new york. it goes on. it goes on. these are the groups that i am reading that oppose this action by my republican friends because they want clean air. they want to protect their families and they want to fight climate change. environmental justice leadership forum, environmental law policy center, health care without harm interfaith power and light and 28 state affiliates, league of conservation voters and seven state affiliates, maine conservation voters, montana environmental information natural resources defense council, new virginia majority, p.d.a. tucson, penn environment physicians for social responsibility protect our winters, rachel carson council sierra club, southern environmental law center, southern oregon climate action
now, union of concerned scientists virginia organizing, voices for progress, western organization of resource councils wisconsin environment world wildlife fund. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that all of the groups be placed in the record who oppose this rule. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: oppose this rule change. so we can see clearly -- and i think the letter from the american sustainable business council says a very important statement here. quote -- "history shows that smart clean energy policies are good for our environment good for our economy and business. we urge you to oppose both resolutions to disapprove the established safeguards." another letter from many of these leading public health organizations -- quote -- "please make your priority the health of your constituents and vote no on these congressional review act resolutions." i find it really hard to
comprehend that a majority of this senate led by my republican friends would side with the special interests above the people who simply want to breathe clean air who simply want to see us dedicated to the fight against climate change. these groups understand the importance of taking action to reduce carbon pollution. and when we reduce that dangerous pollution from power plants the clean power plan will deliver important health benefits and this is what i hope the american people will understand. mr. president, this is science. this is science. by the year 2030, if we defeat this republican effort, here's what happens to our community. we will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths. we will prevent up to 1,700 heart attacks. we will prevent up to 90,000
asthma attacks in children. and we will prevent 300,000 missed workdays and school days. why on earth does anyone want to vote to repeal a rule that will prevent 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays? why? the answer is special economic interests. that's the answer. it is a disgrace, a total and complete disgrace. we should be fighting for our families, not for the special interests. these are the cobenefits of reducing carbon. a lot of times you will hear my colleagues carbon isn't dangerous. you breathe it out. it's not dangerous. the fact is when you make these improvements to the power plans to reduce carbon pollution
there are cobenefits. these are the cobenefits. they are in fact articulated. the clean power plan will cut emissions from existing plants 32% below 2012 levels by 2030. now, the other thing it's going to save $85 a year on utility bills. so everyone who says oh, this is terrible, it's going to raise our energy bills doesn't know the facts. the clean power plan also includes help to low-income americans through the clean energy incentive program which prioritizes early investment in energy efficiency projects in low-income communities. so if you reduce your use of energy because you are conserving energy, you are using less energy, you're cleaning the environment and your bills go down. that's what we all low-hanging
fruit. conservation. the american people support efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution. according to a league of conservation poll in august, 60% of voters support the clean power plan while just 31% oppose it. so i have to ask my colleagues, my friends who i fight with them on this constantly, why do you side with the special interests against the people, the people who will benefit from longer lives, fewer sick days? fewer school days lost, fewer asthma attacks. why? and why do you turn against 60% of the voters who support the clean power plan? and the only answer i come up with is you're not really thinking about the majority of the american people, you're thinking about the special interests who call here all the
time and push us to do things to help them. i tell you, there was another report in january of 2015 by stanford university. you've heard of stanford university. it's pretty well-thought-of. a lot of you went there and graduated from there. 83% of americans including 61% of republicans say if nothing is done to reduce emissions climate change will be a serious problem in the future. and 74% of americans say the federal government should be taking substantial steps to combat climate change. look all of this furor against these rules doesn't go with the american people. it goes against where the american people are. 83% of americans including 61% of republicans say reduce these emissions. we have to stop climate change. we already see the ravages
around us. we already see climate refugees. we already see extreme weather. it's destabilizing. it's dangerous. 74% of americans say the federal government should be taking substantial steps to combat climate change. yes, the president has listened and he has put forward these rules that are substantial steps because the emissions come from these power plans 31% of the carbon emissions. so instead of just standing up here and demagoguing and saying this is horrible and frightening the american people, why not join hands with us and do this right? my state is a leader in clean energy. we are creating jobs hand over fist. we are doing great in california because we care about climate and we care about jobs, and those things go hand in hand.
when you put a solar rooftop on, you can't outsource that job. you've got to hire someone in your state. that's why we have so much strong support in our state because we see the -- the results of pushing forward aggressively for clean energy. people are happy about it. they're proud of it they're doing well. climate change is real. we have to take reasonable steps to reduce carbon pollution like the clean power plan. and all we see from our republican friends god bless them i'm very close with a lot of them, are attack after attack after attack on the environment on attack against the clean water act attack against the clean air act attacks against the safe drinking water act.
these resolutions that are coming before us ignore the long and successful history of the clean air act. you heard the same arguments mr. president, against the original clean air act that you're hearing today. in the 40 years since the clean air act was enacted our g.d.p., our gross domestic product has risen not 100% but 207%. now, if you go back to those debates, and i have gone back to them, you will hear the very same voices coming from the very same side of the aisle decrying the clean air act. oh, this is going to be a disaster. well it not only wasn't a disaster, it was a resounding success. and where we export our ideas to the world clean energy is an area where we are exporting those ideas.
supporting the clean air act makes good fiscal sense. the benefits of this landmark law, the clean air act amount to more than 40 times the cost of regulation. let me say that again. for every dollar we have spent complying with the clean air act, we get more than $40 of benefits in return. as i mentioned my state i'm so very proud of it, we are on a path to meet or exceed our goals of reducing climate pollution to 1990 levels by 2020, just five years from now. that is required in our state a.b. 32. and by the way big oil big polluters tried to overturn it on the ballot, and the people said go home, we're happy we like this, we embrace it, and they turned back the millions of
dollars spent by big dirty oil and we won clean air won. and we are on the path to achieving our ultimate goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. imagine. during the first year and a half of my state's carbon reduction program called cap-and-trade we added 491,000 jobs. so all this fearmongering about jobs lost is so much fearmongering because guess what? look at my state. 491,000 jobs added. and that job creation actually outpaces the national growth rate of jobs. california has been a leader in reducing its carbon footprint and the u.s. must take steps to address this threat. now, i'm just going to go back and read you the main prediction
of mainstream scientists made many many years ago about what would happen if we weren't aggressive on climate. one, temperature extremes they said would be more frequent. noaa scientists predicted that 2015 would be the hottest year since recordkeeping began and it will displace 2014. so the first prediction by the scientists said temperature extremes would be more frequent has been proven true. 2015 will be the hottest year on record. before that, 2014 was the hottest year on record. secondly they told us -- and this is when i took over the chair of e.p.w. committee which i regretted having to hand over the gavel to my friend jim inhofe which i did but i did hold it for about six years, if i remember rightly. is that right? a little over six years. i had the gavel but who's
counting. -- who's counting? the fact is we had the scientists before the committee. they said temperature extremes would be more frequent. that's proven out. they said heat waves would be more frequent. that's proven out. they said areas affected by drought will increase. and lord knows the west knows that's been proven. wildfires will be bigger and more frequent, they said, and we know in the west that's true. tropical storms and hurricanes will be more intense. just ask new jersey and new york. there will be more heavy precipitation and flooding events. we've seen that with our own eyes. we've seen cars floating down the streets in texas. polar sea ice will shrink. that is a fact. sea levels will rise. that is a fact. all of these predictions by climate experts have become a reality today. so i say to my friends why are you willing to gamble? why are he willing to take this gamble --
why are you willing to take this gamble and walk away from trying to reduce the ravages of climate change? that's just immoralmentmoral in the face of what we know from the scientists and in the face of what we know from reality. we see all of their predictions coming true. the fact is, climate change endangers the health and safety of our families and our planet. we cannot delay action to reduce harmful carbon pollution and i thank president obama for his leadership on this critical issue. these rules are an essential element of our nation's global leadership on climate change. there's no doubt about it. and at the end of this month president obama and other world leaders gather to reach an agreement on how all of the nations will work to reduce carbon pollution that is causing climate change. nearly 160 nations have reduced their plan. and i ask my republican
colleagues, if you don't like president obama's plan, don't just repeal it tell us how you would reduce harmful carbon pollution. tell us how you're going to save all these lives. tell us how. explain to us how are you going to prevent 3,600 prosecute mature deaths, 1,700 heart atalks 90,000 asthma attacks in children and 300,000 missed workdays and school days? where is your plan? don't just get up there and say it's going to cost more for electricity. because the fact is we have a special part of this rule that addresses the costs and will actually save money for consumers because we're going to push the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency. these resolutions take us backwards, prevent us from acting to avert to prevent the worst aspects from climate. this republican initiative is going to endanger the health of
millions of our children and families from dangerous carbon pollution and will stop the cobenefits to them from going into effect. so i really know we're going to have a robust debate. as i said at the start, i think we ought to be debating the omnibus budget agreement. i think we ought to be debating how to keep america safe from the terrorists instead of figuring out ways to repeal a law that if you're successful will in fact, mean adverse health consequences for our people. we should be debating how to keep america safe today. we're not debating that. i'm very sorry about that and a dwree with my colleagues on both -- and i agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who say they know the end result of this. yes, there's a majority of people here who are going to vote to repeal these clean power rules. we know that. yes, we know that will go to the president. and, yes, we know the president will veto that.
and, yes, we know when that comes back, we are going to sustain the president. we know the outcome. why not get to work on keeping america safe going to this omnibus budget resolution looking throughout the budget, seeing ways that we can make sure our people are kept safe from terrorists? and nor goodness sakes while we're at it, keep them safe from pollution. that is something we have well in our hand. and what is before us today will not keep them safe from pollution and i look forward to this thing being rejected at the end of the day. i thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? mr. coats: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president i do agree we should be debating what's happening in the world and particularly the issue of isil/isis and its impact not only on america not only on europe but on the world and that's what i intend to do. we've all witnessed the horrific attacks in paris and this
unprecedented form of evil that we have seen disrupt the lives of free people. and all americans republicans democrats, independents -- all americans -- stand in solidarity with paris and the french people. this isn't just an attack on paris. this is an attack on the free world the civilized world. and don't just take my word for it this conclusion, because isil has already made such a declaration; that is, we're coming after you. we're coming after all those who don't abide by our messianic message of our purpose in the world -- to destroy you because you don't agree with us. sadly the tragedy that we've seen in paris reinforces that the battle against terrorism and extremism will not only be fought in the middle east.
the united states and western nations are dealing with escalating security challenges that cannot be resolved through diplomacy and are not being resolved by the current strategy being used by this white house. the headline today in the "wall street journal" -- "pressure broazgrows for global response." we the united states, need to show the world that threats to our principal freedoms are entirely unacceptable and will not resisted. and, unfortunately, president obama continues to fail to provide the american people with the leadership that we so desperately need. just consider his response yesterday to the tragic events in paris versus the response of the french president. french president francois hollande said -- and i quote -- "france is at war. we are in a war against jihadist
terrorism which is threatening the entire world." i want to repeat that. "france is at war. we are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world." at the same time, virtually at the same time, president obama in a shockingly dismisssive tone doubled down on his so-called strategy to deal with this global threat. and what has his strategy on date accomplished? well isis has expanded into more than half a dozen countries. they're not contained as the president said. ask the people in paris if isis is contained. ask the people who have been subject to attacks inspired by isil across the world is isis contained. i don't think so.
mr. chairman, could i ask for order here. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. coats: time after time our president has shown that he just simply doesn't get it. in 2012, he boasted al qaeda so the path to defeat. in 2014, he dismissed the islamic state as the j.v. team, saying that isis is -- and i quote -- "is not a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into." last thursday he said, "i don't think the islamic state is gaining strength," and again saying "we've contained them." what will it take for this president to wake up and see what is happening around the world as a result of the ever-expanding threat of isis terrorism? well the president did say yesterday that if people have other ideas bring them forward he said. so what i'd like to do is offer a few suggestions for the president to consider.
in fact, you know, i actually brought forward suggestions over a year ago but of course none of them have been accepted or acted upon by the president that i'm aware of. when i first addressed this subject in the summer of 2014 i outlined several areas in which urgent action was required. first and more importantly i called for the administration immediately to articulate a comprehensive plan to defeat isis. you've got a problem out there you put a plan together to address the problem and do you it in a comprehensive way so you have a goal to achieve and a strategy to work out and achieve that goal. this comprehensive plan has been entirely absent from this congress and from the american people. what we have seen instead are incremental responses responses that contradict what the president had earlier said,
basically responses to events that have taken place behind the curve, not ahead of the curve; too little and too late. i called for efforts to reach out to nations across the globe to work together to defeat isis including working with islamic states and communities to oppose this outrageous isis perversion of the islamic faith. i want to say that again. for those who simply say, this is a decision that affects america only it's our boots on the ground, that's all that we're calling for. that is entirely wrong. the president should know it and i think he does know it. i, among many have called for efforts to reach out to nations across the globe to work together to defeat isis, including working with islamic states and communities to oppose the outrageous isis perversion of the islamic faith.
i called for a diplomatic effort to per wade saudi arabia, turkey, ga tar and other nations in the -- can dispar other nations in the -- qatar and other nations in the region to join with us to resist more willfully isis aggression. i called last year for much greater security assistance for our potential partners in the fight against isis. the u.s. should have moved quickly to provide more arms, training and other requested assistance to iraqis, kyrgyzstan perchpershmerga forces. they needed our support they needed weapons and training and guidance from us but they were ready to engage the fight. we also needed, i said, to find effective way ways to directly support and arm the reliable vetted sunni tribes and sunni leaders in iraq who are essential partners in imieght isis extremists -- combating isis extremists that ultimately
are sunni islam's greatest threat. now, it's true the question of where have they been, where are they? we need more than them just sending a check to cover payment for somebody else to fight a proxy war. we need their engagement. they're in the cross-hairs of isis and why haven't they stepped up? where is the flocking to the center square of town saying enough is enough? where are the imams standing up saying, this is a perversion of our relodge on? where are the people simply saying those in the cross-hairs of isis simply rising up together and saying, we need to address this? we also needed to find effective ways to support, as issue those sunni tribes and sunni leaders and those efforts have been slow slow indirect and insufficient. i called for us to provide lethal assistance to the free syrian army. the administration's effort in this regard was an absurd $500 million multiyear effort to train and arm 40 fighters, most
of whom were promptly killed or captured. and, yes i called for increased specialized military action by our own armed forces. i'm willing to stand here and say with many others, i have called for increased specialized military action by our own armed forces. intelligence surveillance, recognizance special forces. not massive invasion. this has to be a bloabal global effort, as i have just talked about. it has to include sunni nations. it has to include islamists who believe that their faith and their culture is being perverted brutally by isis. now, mr. president it's clear that isis cannot be defeated without u.s. participation. nations of the world look to the united states to either have their back or to work with them
and stand side-by-side. we have capabilities and capacity that other nations don't have. coalitions cannot be formed without our engagement. our bombing campaign, this strategy of bombing against isis targets, has been far from adequate. there have been an average of just a handful a day many of which have planes turning around with -- and landing back at the airfield with bombs still attached to their wings. because they simply haven't had the kind of targeting and directing to ensure that the rules of combat are -- are confirmed with. contrast this anemic bombing campaign the bombing campaign before the first gulf war with several thousand sorties a day. in bosnia, it was several hundred a day. clear÷ -- clearly our anemic air strategy is not defeating isis, and frankly military history shows that air action only
cannot achieve the goal of defeating an enemy. and lastly, i called on the obama administration and congress to reassess our border security and do whatever is necessary to make us stronger. one element of that effort is legislation that i introduced earlier this year, a bill that would enact changes to the visa waiver program and provide additional tools to enhance border security, changes that in my opinion are absolutely necessary to address to fill and plug a gaping hole in our border security. and let me talk about that for a moment. the current visa waiver program allows citizens from several dozen nations to travel to the united states without a visa. there are citizens of these states in order to expedite the travel process, we have entered into a visa waiver program. that works fine if you don't have a situation like exists today with isis and other
forces al qaeda and others, trying to bring people into the united states to plant people here to carry out evil acts against american people. my bill then would amend the visa waiver program by tightening existing pretravel clearance procedures and making them more focused on counterterrorism efforts. we have to now recognize the reality that exists here in terms of abusive of the visa waiver program or the possibility of abuse and inserting terrorists into the united states. the bill would ensure stricter compliance with information-sharing agreements by those countries who participate in the visa waiver program and suspend their participation if they did not come into compliance at 100% level. we can't afford any glitches. we can't go 99%. you've got to go all the way. the bill would also authorize the secretary of state to revoke
any passport issued to a united states citizen who is suspected of engaging in terrorist activities and update the definition of treason to include support of terrorist organizations. oh i remember introducing the response oh, that's too tough. nothing is too tough these days to keep americans safe. and we need to implement these provisions that i introduced some time ago many months ago because i believe it's a solution that addresses the real and growing threat of terrorist attacks carried out by individuals with western passports. unfortunately, these things that i have mentioned earlier and introduced earlier have not been adopted in any meaningful way and now a year and a half later we're in a much more difficult position. with isis stronger and expanded to new areas and new countries. the threat to us all is
comprehensive, multifaceted and nearly global. it demands a global comprehensive response. and so i would urge the president to seriously consider these and other proposals, and i would like to mention one other proposal this morning. in addition to what i have previously stated, i believe that it is now time to consider whether nato should take on a vital new mission. nato responded in bosnia in 1994 and brought a peace. it can do so again. when i served as ambassador to germany for four years i had direct contact with nato and nato nations and i know the accumulation of resources of training of capability is available through nato and is a nullity eye nation comprehensive coalition. it can play a vital role in dealing with this terrorist threat. we need a comprehensive realistic, articulate plan if
we're going to destroy isis and nato action should be part of that plan. whether or not france invokes the article 5 collected defense provision of the nato treaty, which i think they should do and perhaps that they will do, which requires all nato nations to come to the support of and do what is necessary to address a threat to one of the nations. if one of the nato nations is threatened we all stand together to deal with it. former nato commander admiral james starvitas had issued his own six-step plan for nato engagement and leadership to destroy isis, and we should look at it and take it seriously. he suggest that is nato should decide one of the major alliance commands to lead the operational planning for forceful military efforts against isis in both syria and iraq and bring all of the alliance resources to bear. in addition, he suggests our nato allies should be joined in this effort by other nonmember
european states such as sweden and finland who are similarly threatened by isis terrorism. and most importantly he said nato must work creatively to bring in the regional powers such as the kurdish peshmerga saudi arabia and other arab states in a broad coordinated effort against isis under nato leadership. this is a mechanism, this is an organization that is trained that has the equipment that has the capability, and this is the nation -- this is the organization that can form the coalition necessary with our arab friends and neighbors the saudis the sunnis, others that need to be a part of this if we're going to be successful. nato's efforts against isis, he says also should include assistance to turkey. after all turkey is a nato member to better secure their borders against the flow of
jihadists in and out of syria. this is nato at its best, and that is something that i think should be seriously considered by this white house as a way of moving forward to develop a coalition to address the great threat that we have. well let me now say one other thing, because admiral sarvitsa also suggests the possibility of forming a coalition of some type with russia. we have seen a strong russian response today last evening once it has been determined and proven that the russian airliner was brought down by a bomb and by isis. isis has taken credit for it. isis receives the wrath of the russian military as a result, in direct contrast to what we have done for attempts at our own
people. i'm not a big fan of putin. i'm not a big fan of russia. i spoke out strongly about russia's invasion to ukraine and annexation of crimea. i strongly advocated for russia's diplomatic isolation. in fact, i so strongly advocated for it, they put me on a list of several people who are banned from entering russia for life. well, i have been to russia and i don't need to go back, so it was no big deal, but apparently it was a big deal to them, but now we are facing an emergency situation. russia forces are deployed in syria. russian efforts need to be coordinated with nato efforts if we go the nato route. we're already coordinating in terms of some of our flights. as we've learned in 1941, national emergencies can create bed fellows. but whatever option is considered the irreducible minimum is real to determine
u.s. leadership. this tragic role and escalating terrorist threat have continued and grown much too long without an effective american response. oh yes, we have had a response, mostly rhetorical, but clearly a strategy that has not succeeded clearly something that is not deterring isis from growing stronger and spreading further. it simply has not been effective. so whether it's through nato, whether it's through a coalition of the willing vigorous american leadership is absolutely essential for the future of all of us. in conclusion, let me say this -- in 2014, the leader of isis abu bakar al-baghdadi said and i quote -- "our last message is to the americans. soon we will be in direct
confrontation. and the sons of islam have prepared for such a day. so watch for we are with you watching." this is the enemy that we're dealing with. this is not some vague threat. this is a direct threat. we've seen how they carry out their direct threats. and we stand in the crosshairs. and yes it is very possible and probably very true that they are with us here now watching, waiting, planning, contriving for another paris for another baghdad, for another attack, hopefully none but something that could be possibly much greater than what we even saw in paris. they have created their homeland
in syria but they have told us what we don't want to hear but it's probably true, and that is that they are here and they are watching and they are waiting. so the question is, as president obama grasped what we are up against, last year he laid out the goal of defeating isis, but president obama still has not put forward a comprehensive strategy to accomplish that goal. that's obvious. and yesterday he doubled down on the same policies that have led to our current foreign policy failures. the effort to defeat isis will only be successful with leadership from the president of the united states. let me say that. the effort to defeat isis will only be successful with the leadership from the president of the united states. so mr. president we as
republicans, we as democrats independents americans we as americans desperately need for you to provide that leadership at this critical time. mr. president, are you up to the job or do we have to wait another year to put a leader in the white house? mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president it's a pleasure and a privilege to follow the distinguished senator from indiana. his concerns for national security are well established and i have enjoyed working with him, particularly in the area of cybersecurity, but i would note in the wake of his eloquent remarks about our national security situation that we are not here on the floor to discuss national security. we are here on the floor right now because the republican leadership is taking a run at the president's clean power plan
paris has not recovered from the devastation of the other day and we have important bills that the chairman of appropriations has worked very hard on to get ready that would improve the capacity of our department of justice, of our f.b.i., of our department of homeland security to address this threat, and are we on those bills? no. the majority leader has decided that we are going to take a run at a climate regulation. now, with isis and terrorism being the issue of the day you might think okay, i can understand why we're going to climate change. we have known for years for years that our intelligence community, our defense leaders the men and women in uniform we count on to protect us have said that climate change breeds
terrorism. it creates the conditions, the quadrennial defense review and the intelligence reports have said that spawn the kind of despair that leads to terrorism. it is a catalyst of conflict. so you might say okay, sure, it makes sense that we should address climate change because it is a catalyst for conflict. you would find voices, i think the distinguished senator from indiana mentioned admiral stavritas. we love him in rhode island has he has been associated with the naval war college. he says the effects from climate change should cause global leaders to take stock. he said many other eloquent things on climate change, too. but we're not here to do something about climate change and help reduce it as a catalyst of conflict. what the majority leader has brought us here to do is to undo american leadership in this area. you might say okay, they have a
better plan. the republicans have a plan that they think is better than the clean power plan, and thfer they want to foul up the clean power plan so they can put their clean power plan of their own in place. there is no such thing. there is no republican strategy to deal with climate change. in fact, a majority of my colleagues athat side can't even admit that -- colleagues on that side can't even admit that it's real. so that's where we are. we're on a measure that clearly won't pass under the congressional review act clearly will go to the president, be vetoed and be sustained on the veto. so this will never become law. it is just a big exercise in time wasting while the smoke is still clearing over paris. we are still engaged in this big exercise in time wasting. why? to send a signal. to send a signal to the big coal interests, the big oil interests
interests, the koch brothers and the tea partiers that we're with ya. the american public isn't with ya. even republicans aren't with ya. if you look at recent polling other than the tea party -- and by the way, in the tea party 70% think global warming isn't happening. isn't happening! i don't know who they're talking to. they're not talking to fishermen in my state. they're not talking to foresters out west. they're not talking to farmers in the midwest. it's happening. you might want to go a little bit further as to discussing what to do about it. but the tea party is so irresponsible, they think in a strong majority it's not even happening. but they're not the ones you should be listening to. because 83% of americans including 61% of republicans -- and, by the way with the november elections coming up, 86% of independents say that if nothing is done to reduce
emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future. so we are now going against what 83% of americans including 61% of republicans and 86% of independents would direct us to do in order to keep the faith with the big coal and oil and koch brothers industries that fund so much of this operation here. 56% of republicans and 54% of conservative republicans say that the climate is changing and that mankind is contributing a lot or probably a little to the change. a majority of republicans now believe that there is solid evidence of global warming. again, 56%. and when you look at young republicans, this is where it gets really interesting. young republicans if you are under the age of 35 you think that climate denial by politicians in congress is -- and i quote from the poll -- "ignorant, out of touch or crazy
crazy." that's where young republicans are on this. and yet the majority leader has brought us here to interrupt any conversation we might be having over national security slowing down any progress on the domestic security appropriations bills that might go forward against the interests of young republicans and everybody else virtually across the country all to help out big coal, big oil the koch brothers and to cater to this small little tea party contingent that 70% doesn't even believe climate change is happening. i mean there's a point where you just can't take views seriously and frankly if this group by 70% thinks that it's not even happening there's a point where you've got to say run along fellas, we want to play with the grownups here who understand what is going on.
so here we are on this bill and i will say that -- i like to do a little research when there's somebody speak on the senate floor. i thought the senator from indiana was going to talk about climate change so i do home state, indiana university and climate change to see what comes up. well, what came up was an article published by the university of indiana that says "i.u., indiana university, experts comment on climate change report." that's the headline. the number-one lead under it is, "changing climate will affect midwest crops forests public health." that's the lead in indiana university. the second lead is "report signals need to move away from fossil fuels." so they get it at the university of indiana. here's the quote -- "climate change once thought to be a problem for future generations has moved firmly into the present."
and that was an article of may 6, 2014, more than a year ago. and still we're on the floor fighting about vain and doomed to failure efforts to attack the only climate change plan that's out there. i invite my republican colleagues if you have a better plan that the climate plan that the president's put forward less hear it -- let's hear it. but i'm here to say mr. president, they got nothing. nothing, zero. so bring up that subject if you want highlight for the american people that this is a party in toe to coal and oil and koch brothers' interests highlight for the american people that you're running in direct opposition to what the american people believe to even what young republicans believe. i don't get it but have fun with it. the last thing i'll mention is this because i'm from the ocean state. i'm about to be followed by my distinguished colleague friend from wyoming. rhode island has a little bit of a different situation. we're on the oceans.
this denial business really doesn't work for us because we can go down to narragansett way and measure that that bay is three to four degrees warmer, mean water water temperature than it was 30 years ago. and that's not just a statistic. that signals the end of the winter flounder fischery in rhode island. we used to catch winter floured. it was a robust crop. it is gone, more than 90% wiped out, largely because that warming has changed the ecosystem in which the little winter flounders grew. so it's gone. we paid a price for that. you can go to naval station newport and look at the tide gauge. it's up 10 inches since the hurricane 1938 came through. google a her dmain 1938,ry -- hurricane in 1938, rhode island. take a look at the images. we got smashed by that hurricane. and now there's 10 inches more water that can stack up with storm surge into an even bigger
cocked fist against my state. and that's directly related to the warming oceans. unless somebody wants to repeal the law of thermal expansion around here but i don't think we get to do that in the senate. that's one of god's laws. that's one of the laws of nature nature. and so our seas are warming our seas are rising we've virtually lost our winter flounder fishery. we are getting cloabered and you -- clobbered and you can't can bedeny this stuff. the fact that carbon is rising, you can replicate in a high school science lab. you ramp up carbon dioxide in salt water and sea water and it turns acidic. the ocean is turning acidic at the fastest rate ever since humankind has been on this flan et. -- on this planet. if you go to the western coast and look at a little tiny sea snail called the terapod urk the sea butterfly god's he evolution
has metamorphosissedded this little snail to have been a foot or wing that swims it through the ocean. it's one of the are gore species. if we had good ocean sense here, everybody would know what a terapod was. it's all over the place. it's a human food source. it's the bottom floor of the food pyramid. a study just done, more than 50% of the terapods in the pacific from california north had severe shell damage. more than half of the species had severe shell damage from acidification of those seas. people in oregon and people in washington have had their oyster farms wiped out as the acidified water came in and ate away the shells of these little creatures. you do not survive long in an environment in which you are soluble. and that is the predicament we are creating for these of god's species.
pope francis said something very simple -- we don't have that right. we don't have that right. those pteropods aren't this generation's species. they're god's spieshies they're the earth's species and it's not to us to tell our children or great grandchildren we don't care go ahead die right out. we're going to protect our big industry friends. that is just wrong. we should not be on this bill. this is a time waster. this is a disgrace. this has no business being here. the american people know better, and that may be the reason we're trying to get off it as quickly as we can. but i'm here to say it's not enough to get off trying to knock down our one plan for dealing with climate change. we ought to be thinking about how we enhance wind and solar in texas, wind and solar in wyoming, and protect the great forests of this country protect the great shores of this country, protect the species off
shore, that we are just changing their world on them by making the oceans more acidic than they have been in the lifetime of our species. with that, i know the senator from wyoming is here to take the floor and rebut everything i said but he has that right and i will yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that after i be recognized for ten minutes that then senator shaheen be recognized for ten minutes senator cornyn for ten minutes senator nelson for ten minutes finally senator manchin for ten minutes. following senator manchin's remarks, the senate recess until 2:15 for the weekly conference meetings and that the time in recess count against the majority time on the c.r.a. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you mr. president. mr. president, it's fascinating today to listen to my colleague and friend from rhode island because i just have the "national journal daily" printed today.
back-to-back pages talking about the terror, the horror in paris and obviously the thoughts and the heartfelt condolences of the people of this country continue to go out to our friends in france who have stood by us and we will stand by them. the one page talks about how president obama has continued to underestimate isis. they go back -- this is in today's paper quoting, president obama saying the analogy we use around here sometimes and i think is accurate, he says if a j.b.t. puts on a lakers uniform it doesn't make them kobe bryant. didn't has continued to underestimate isis. the other side of the page, isis versus climate change. it talks about the democrat debate saturday night. national television after the tragic events in paris the night before. the moth rater asks one -- the moderator asks one of the leading democrats running for president, running second in the polls now if that candidate has
a chance to back off on his claims that climate change is the greatest security threat facing the country. that candidate says in fact climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. that's the position i just heard from the senator from rhode island. it's a position we hear from a leading candidate for president of the democrat side of the aisle. i would wonder how many americans believe that, who if they heard that statement believe that that's true, and that's why i come to the floor today, mr. president to talk about president obama's plans his plans to tear down the american energy reliability american energy stability things that are important for our national security because he wants to remake energy into a form that he prefers. the president has a strategy to do it. he's made it clear. he said that when he was running for president in 2008. he bragged that his plan, he said if it went through that electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket and ever
since then president obama has been pushing to make that happen even though he couldn't get it passed. when he tried to get part of his plan through congress, even the democrats rejected it. they knew the american people didn't want it and that the american economy couldn't afford it. did president obama listen to the american people? absolutely not. did he accept the overwhelming judgment of congress, a bipartisan approach that his extreme attacks on american energy were a bad idea? no he didn't listen to that either. the president is much more interested in the opinion of far left extreme environmentalists than he is of the opinion of hardworking americans. he has done everything that he can to give his plans the effect of law without asking congress to actually pass them as laws. he has had his environmental protection agency draw up regulations, regulations that would shut down american energy producers and damage our own
economy. that's what the president's own energy information administration has said. the agency put out a report, a report that found that the e.p.a.'s new rule on carbon dioxide emissions would close coal-fired power plants, would raise electricity prices and would reduce the gross domestic product of our nation. that's just one of many rules that this administration has been pushing into force without legal support. every one of these rules would mean hardworking americans will lose their jobs, hardworking families will be paying higher electric bills. you put it all together and the price tag could reach hundreds of billions of dollars. well who's asking president obama to do this? who's asking to pay more in their electric bill every month? people don't want it, and the president doesn't have the authority to do it. that's why he's not asking congress to weigh in on his
plans. that's why he's pushing these rules by unelected unaccountable bureaucrats instead of going to the people and their representatives. the american people do have a voice and they're making their voice heard through us today. we're here talking about two rules in particular. these are the restrictions on existing power plants and new power plants, plants that haven't even been built yet. these are the core of what the president calls his clean power plan. and we're here to say today that these rules go too far. the obamas has tried it before. it's pushed through other regulations that people didn't want and can't afford. the administration has said that it gets to decide what's best, that it gets to decide what people should do, and the courts legitimately have said not so fast. this summer, the supreme court rejected a different e.p.a. rule
because the administration never bothered -- this is what the court said -- never bothered to take into account the costs of the rule. the supreme court said one would not say that this is even rational. this is the supreme court talking about the president's rules. isn't even rational, never mind appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health and environmental benefits. two courts have blocked the e.p.a.'s rules on waters of the united states. one of the courts said that the rule was likely to -- the result of a process that is inexplicably arbitrary and devoid of reasoned process. well all of these rules are suffering from the same kind of problems. the obama administration once again acting far beyond its own authority and far beyond anything that is rational or appropriate for our nation.
the same day that president obama put out the new rule on the so-called clean power plant 26 states filed lawsuits in federal court to stop the disastrous rule. 23 states blocked the rule on new power plants. 27 states have sued to block the rule on existing power plans. now, i believe these states are going to win in court because the rules are so extreme and this administration is so out of control. but president obama doesn't really care about any of that. he thinks that he still wins even when he loses in court. he thinks that if he can drag it out long enough, businesses will have to spend the money and comply anyway. that's actually what the president's e.p.a. chief said before the last regulation got rejected by the supreme court. she went on television a few days before the decision and said that it didn't matter what the supreme court said, didn't
matter she said, if the administration loses because she said the rule has already been in place for three years. that's exactly what the obama administration is counting on this time as well. that's why it's so important that congress act today to block these rules from taking effect. we're debating the two measures that will do that. the one measure by senator mcconnell and senator manchin this is bipartisan, would block the rule for new power plans. the second measure by senator capito and senator heitkamp, again a republican and democrat working together to block the rule for existing power plans. these are bipartisan resolutions of disapproval disapproval under the congressional review act. they are our chance for congress to stand up for the people that we represent. america can't afford these illegal rules to go into effect. it would be there for three years before the court got them
out. there is another reason the congress needs to vote to strike down these expensive burdensome regulations immediately. later this month, the president will be participating in international talks on climate change. this is a meeting of about 200 countries from around the world to limit the amount of carbon dioxide and other emissions that each country can produce. the president desperately wants his so-called clean power plan so people will say he is leading on the issue. but without these illegal regulations, he has nothing to offer. congress needs to make clear that the american people do not support these regulations foreign diplomats at the climate conference need to understand that these rules will not stand up in court. president obama's ego is writing checks that his administration can't cash. any climate deal based on these flawed rules is simply not worth the paper it's printed on. it's time for president obama to
be honest about what he can and cannot do, and he will only admit -- and if he won't admit that, then congress is going to have to make it clear so that everyone understands. the american people do have a voice. they will not allow these reckless and destructive regulations to shut down american energy production. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: i rise today to speak in support of the clean power plan and against the efforts by the majority to undermine the plan. the clean power plan is vital to the environmental and economic well-being of both new hampshire and this country. it is an important and historic step that will mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing carbon pollution from our nation's dirtiest power plans. power plans account for nearly 40% of all u.s. carbon emissions. that's more than every car every truck and every plane in
the united states combined. if we're to be successful in addressing climate change, we've got to reduce the amount of pollution that's coming from this sector, and we cannot delay. now, my home state of new hampshire is doing its part to reduce carbon emissions by making smart investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, but we do need a federal plan to make sure our country moves forward together. now, as senator whitehouse and senator boxer have said so eloquently, the verdict on climate change is in. it is a reality that must be addressed. study after study reinforces the overwhelming consensus that global temperatures are steadily rising and contributing to more extreme weather events and changes in our environment and we're seeing that firsthand in new hampshire where climate records show a steady increase
in yearly temperatures and annual precipitation amounts continue to grow. as a result, climate change is affecting new hampshire's tourism and outdoor recreation economy that is really so important to our state. tourism is the second largest industry in new hampshire. and each year, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and wildlife watchers come to new hampshire to enjoy our natural resources. hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation contribute nearly $4.2 billion to the new hampshire economy each year. but rising temperatures are affecting our fall foliage season which has just ended. we're seeing fewer snow days which impacts skiing and snowmobiling. and ice out on our lakes is happening earlier each year. we heard senator whitehouse talking about the impact on fisheries in rhode island.
we've seen that in new hampshire as well where cod stocks in the north atlantic and gulf of maine have been reduced so precipitously that it has devastated new hampshire's fishing industry. we're also seeing changes in our state's maple syrup industry. new hampshire produces more than 100,000 gallons of maple syrup annually. it's the third largest maple producer in the united states. and maple syrup production is entirely dependent on weather conditions. any change, no matter how slight can throw off production and endanger the industry. trees require warm days and cold nights to create the optimal sugar content and sap production, and the changing climate is putting more stress on sugar maples, affecting syrup production. according to a report by the new hampshire citizens for a responsible energy policy, current modeling forecasts
predict that maple sugar trees eventually will be completely eliminated as a regionally important species in the northeastern united states. so if we look at this chart we can see the red here is elm ash and cottonwood. we see the green is oak and pine and oak and hickory. if we look at -- this is 1960- 1990. this is a current look at what's happening with our freeze in new hampshire and new england. and this darker red which we see here, which is almost all of new hampshire, is maple beech and birch trees. so that's what things look like today. by 2070, you can see there are
no more maple trees left in new hampshire, in all of new england. very few elm ash and cottonwoods, a little bit in new york. they have all moved to the west and the north. so if we fail to act on climate change, we are going to lose these trees lose the industry, lose our fall foliage because maples are so important to the fall foliage. climate change is also a threat to our wildlife and their habitats. in new hampshire the moose is a vital part of our state's culture, and yet as a result of climate change, we've seen a 40% decline in the moose population. it's hard to see -- you can see that this moose looks very distressed, as does this one. those little -- look like little knobs on this moose's tail, those are ticks and those ticks
are because with the warmer winters, insects and ticks are not dying off and so they have infested our moose population, which is down 40%. so climate change is also impacting the health of new hampshire's families. new hampshire has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the country. rising temperatures increase smog levels, they heighten the effects of allergy season, and all of those things imperil the health of vulnerable populations in new hampshire, which is already the tailpipe -- new england is the tailpipe of the central part of the country. so all of the pollution that's being created in the midwest by those power plants that are spewing out fossil fuels is coming on the air currents to new hampshire and to new england. now, i'm proud to say that granite staters have recognized the effects of climate change
and new hampshire has been a leader in reducing pollution. we're one of nine northeastern states that are part of the regional greenhouse gas initiative and as a result, new hampshire has already reduced its power sector carbon pollution by 49% since 2008. and because of the initiatives of the state and local communities, new hampshire is on track to meet the clean power plan's carbon production goals ten years early. we'll be there by 2020 rather than 2030. new hampshire is investing in clean energy using proceeds from emissions permits sold at rggi auctions. the goals initiative is a cap-and-trade system that is working in the nine northeastern states. in 2012, new hampshire investigated 94% of those funds from the program and to energy efficiency and renewable energy
programs that directly benefit new hampshire residents. i had a chance last week to visit the western part of the state, a town named peterboro. actually our town, the play by thornton wilder is written about peterboro. they had built the largest solar array in new hampshire and they're using it to power their wastewater treatment selling excess power into the grid and reducing the town's other energy costs, they're saving between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. and what's so exciting to me is that when this project came up at town meeting for a vote, it passed unanimously. yesterday i had a chance to visit middleton, new hampshire. i went to le valley middleton lumber. it's a sawmill that produces pine boards for depresio lumber,
and they have installed back in 2006 a very large wood-fired boiler. they're able to use the by-products from the sawmill to fire the boiler using combined heat and power. not only are they able to heat their complex but they are also able to provide the generation that they need for power to run the mills. as the result of this, they're saving $700,000 a year on their power bills. so new hampshire has shown that we can take advantage of moving to renewable energy sources. we can make smart energy choices that benefit the environment and yet strengthen our economy. nationally the clean power plan is projected to cut carbon emissions by millions of tons per year and generate tens of millions of dollars a year in health and climate benefits.
it's good for the economy. that's why 81 major companies including four in new hampshire have signed a letter pledging to support new initiatives that may emerge from the global conference on climate change in paris in december. america's clean power plan is a powerful demonstration of our global leadership on climate change and it will allow the united states to lead with credibility and authority at the paris conference. we all know, or at least those people who are willing to acknowledge what the research shows, which is that climate change represents an enormous challenge, but solutions are within reach. if we put in place policies that allow for action. we have a responsibility to help protect our children and our grandchildren from the severe consequences of global warming by taking action now. it is time to move forward with the clean power plan without
delay. it's time to stop short-circuiting efforts to reduce carbon pollution in this country. i urge my colleagues to stop standing in the way of this important effort to reduce our against on fossil fuels. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: i'd ask consent that the senator from alabama be recognized to speak and following his remarks that i be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. shelby: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president the terrorist attacks that rocked the city of paris and the entire world on friday, i believe we all agree they were horrific and unthinkable. the people of france stood by our side after the horrendous events of september 11, 2001, and the american people will stand by them during this tragic time. cowardly and barbaric acts of
violence against innocent civilians absolutely should not be tolerated anywhere in our society and we must take any and all steps available to prevent a similar attack from occurring right here in the united states. early reports from the terrorist attacks in paris on friday indicate that the refugee programs in europe allowed at least one of the attackers to enter france. in light of these reports the u.s., i believe should take notice. we're now faced with an opportunity to make a commonsense, responsible decision that would put americans at ease and put an end to the risk of radical islamic terrorists infiltrating our nation through the refugee's resettlement program. i believe mr. president we simply cannot trust this administration to put in place the rigorous vetting system needed to ensure that the refugees who enter our nation will not be future threats to
our people in our own homeland. it is without a doubt in the best interest of the american people and the national security to immediately halt any plans to allow syrian refugees to resettle in the united states. mr. president, we know that we live in an increasingly dangerous world and the obama administration's lack of leadership on foreign policy, i believe, is exacerbated the problem. we cannot continue to let president obama's ill-conceived policies put america at risk. this administration is either asleep mr. president or out of touch with the danger lurking in the world. i ask you today the american people what is it going to take to wake up this administration? another horrific attack on our own soil, on our own people? i believe it's more than time to put an end to any plans to
relocate syrian refugees in this country. that's why i'll be working tirelessly with my colleagues in the senate to reverse president obama's extremely dangerous position that threatens the american people in our own homeland. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. these have been approved by the majority and minority leaders. i'd ask consent these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president on friday we all watched in horror tetra jibbing events that -- at the tragic events that unfolded on our tv screens and across the city of paris. we saw radical islamic terrorists brutally target innocent civilians in places that no one should feel unsafe. a soccer stadium a concert
hall a cafe. these attacks on our nation's oldest ally have struck us here at home to our very core. we know what it's like to be attacked in our homeland and we know therefore, what the french people are going through. so as we continue to keep the french people in our thoughts and prayers, we should do everything in our power to assist them. and though the facts are unfolding, if indeed isis did plan and execute these attacks as they have claimed then the united states and our allies have an obligation to join france in responding swiftly and forcefully. these attacks are a tragic reminder that the threat of isis stretches well beyond the middle east. isis is not a j.v. team nor have they been contained as the president of the united states has claimed.
more than a year ago i stood here on the senate floor and i said we would not vote to give the president a blank check in syria without a clear strategy with achievable objectives to gheit -- defeat the terrorist threat. nevertheless over the course of the last year the president has failed to come up with a strategy to deal with this threat. what we have seen and heard is speeches interviews and vague assurances that have attempted to distract the american public from the stark reality that the president's so-called strategy against isis is not achieving his stated objective of degrading and ultimately destroying isis. this whole idea that you can through bombing attacks defeat a threat like isis without anyone,
once the threat is cleared to hold that real estate, to hold that land is just a pipe dream. the united states and our partners are facing a robust enemy of more than 20,000 core and foreign fighters that continue to murder their way across syria and iraq, decimating populations there and elsewhere as their influence and power grows. and over the last year the administration's paralysis over how to defeat this terrorist threat has plunged syria deeper and deeper into violence and chaos. what started as a civil war in syria back in 2011 has now cost the lives of roughly a quarter of a million syrians. millions of people have been internally displaced within syria and outside of its -- borders into countries like it turkey lebanon and elsewhere and now we're seeing that wave extend to europe. and indeed some have now made
their way to our showers. by allowing isis to take over such a large portion of territory, president obama has neglected one of the key recommendations in the 9/11 commission which advised the u.s. government following that fateful day on september 11, 2001 that commission advised the u.s. government to -- quote -- "identify and prioritize actual and potential terrorist sanctuaries." close quote. instead the president has stood and watched like a spectator while this terrorist army over the course of many months has cash -- carved out its own safe haven in the heart of the middle east and in doing so erased the border between syria and iraq where they control large swathes of territory. but the capture of these swathes of territory and the threat of violent extremist ideology has not been the only consequence.
the civil unrest in syria has fueled the influx of nearly 500 ,000 refugees have flooded to eastern europe and elsewhere. under questioning in the house committee on homeland security last month f.b.i. director james comey was asked about the security precautions the federal government was taking in screening refugees. director comey confirmed that what many of us have feared, and that is if a syrian refugee was not already known though law enforcement and intelligence officials, it is difficult if not impossible, for us to vet that individual's background for potential terror ties to various terrorist groups. he complained it by saying -- and i quote -- "if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way that would get their identity reflected in our database, we can query that database until the cows come home.
but there will be nothing because we will have no record of that person." close quote. mr. president, i'm proud of our history of opening our doors to innocent people fleeing violence for religious persecution, that's part of who we are as a country. but following friday's attack, we should pause our syrian refugee program until we can be sure that the individuals are being fully vetted for potential terror ties, so we can ensure the public safety of all americans. our first responsibility. compassion for those refugees is important, as i said, or protecting our homeland and keeping the american people safe is the first order of business. and with the latest public threat from isis yesterday directed at us here in the united states, we must remain vigilant against the ongoing threat that may come from those already inside our country.
now, the attack in paris has drawn attention to the degree to which law enforcement and intelligence officials were able to track surveil and apprehend potential threats before they turned deadly. but with changing technology and damaging intelligence leaks that's becoming increasing little challenging. in that same house hearing in october the director of national counterterrorism center noted that potential homegrown threats were finding ways to communicate -- quote -- "outside of our reach" and therefore out of our radar. as law enforcement officials have noted this includes the use of internet service providers outside of the united states as well as the increasingly widespread use of encryption capabilities and new technologies. yet, as the threat of isis evolves and intensifies the world is looking toward the united states as an example of strength. so i would propose
mr. president, in the wake of this deadly attack, our administration and the federal government should do three things. first, the president needs to hit the pause button on syrian resettlement until the department of homeland security can verify with certainty that our processes are enhanced and ensure that applicants do not have ties to isis or any other terror groups. secondly the president needs to lay out a clear strategy for destroying perhaps the best resource best armed terrorist group on the planet. this has long -- this is long overdue, and his failure to do so is one of the reasons we find us where we are today. it is in the best interest of the syrian people to stay in syria if they can. but with circumstances being what they are, we can understand from a human perspective why they would seek safe haven wherever they can find it. but this refugee crisis is
directly related to the president's failure to have any effective strategy to deal with the situation on the ground and syria. it's destabilizing governments in the region which have huge refugee populations and deal with the economic and other challenges of dealing with that. so rrks it's important to see the refugee crisis, including the 10,000 syrian refugees who appeared in new orleans just this last week, that's a result of the failure of any strategy to deal with this conflict in syria. and there are suggestions that have been made that i think bear some consideration like safe zones, no-fly, no-drive zones enforced by the international community. i believe the the senator from indiana before i spoke suggested that maybe this would be be an appropriate region for nato. maybe so. we adjusted profit to talk about that and -- we ought to talk about that and reach some
decisions about that. finally, mr. president, the president of the united states has the obligation to explain to the american people how he's going to defend our interests and keep our people safe here at home. as i said, one of the biggest threats is homegrown terrorists radicalized over social media and the internet. perhaps even more concerning to me than the threat of a potential attacker entering the united states is a radicalizeed terror attacker already here. this homegrown threat i believe poses much more danger to our people a sad fact we learned the hard way at fort hood texas in 2009 or in garland texas earlier this year. in conclusion, i'd say mr. president, that all indications from the white house or the president will not change a thing. he's going to stay the course in spite of the gathering risk and
danger of terrorist attacks being exported or being insighted within our own -- incited within our own borders. now more than ever the nation needs the kind of strong leadership commensurate with the challenges we're facing. that's the kind of leadership that the american people expect and the kind of leadership that they deserve. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator florida. -- the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president thank you very much. mr. president, i will have more to say about the refugee crisis and the necessity of the considerable vetting of those refugees as well as any other refugees, as we protect ourselves here at home. and i will have more to say about that later. i wanted to bring to the attention of the senate that
last night the house passed the bill that we modified, the u.s. commercial space launch competitiveness act. it will now go to the president to be signed into law. this bill contains the language that we helped to negotiate as a compromise between two different bills that had passed the house and the senate earlier this year and this bipartisan legislation, which passed the senate unanimously, is a major effort that recognizes the tremendous growth of the commercial space industry. it's an industry that now represents more than 75% of the $330 billion global space
economy. $330 billion. and it's an industry here in the u.s. that will continue to grow as more companies enter into new and exciting space ventures such as launching thousands of small satellites that will provide worldwide internet access such as recovering valuable resources from distant asteroids, such as sending tourists on incredible journeys that one day may even include overnight stays in space hotels. now, these are the innovative kinds of commercial space activityies that this little country boy dreamed about years
ago when i had the privilege of helping pass the first commercial space launch act way back in 1984. and it's an industry where we are really starting to see a resurgence of activity here in the u.s. for example just 10 years ago there was only one american commercial space launch. compare that time to eight launches from russia and five from europe. but last year there were 11 commercial launches, accounting for nearly half of the worldwide commercial launches and earning $1.1 billion in revenue more than both russia and europe for
the very first time. and much of this growth has been ceded by a commercial industry supporting the needs of our space program. and, in particular, the international space station -- folks just do not realize we've got an international space station up there right now that's as long as from one goalpost on a football field all the way to the other goalpost. that's how big this thing is. there are six human beings up there on orbit right now. two american companies are now supplying the international space station with critical cargo and supplies, along with our international partners. and soon u.s. companies will
begin launching nasa astronauts and international partner astronauts to the space station. and that's why this bill is so important. it paves the way for nasa to begin launching government astronauts on american-made commercial rockets so that we do not have a to depend -- have to depend on our crews getting to and from the space station, just on the very proven and reliable russian soyuz. the space station is also being use ford medical research. and one company is even 3-d printing tools right now on the space station. and so the bill extends the operations of the international
space station to provide certainty to industry and to the international community that the station will be around not just until 2016, not just until 2020, but now as we put it in the bill, at least to 2024. and i think what you will see efforts later on, that that will even be extended beyond 2024. and that is fitting that i mention that because this month we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the i.s.s. 15 years we've had humans up there on around-the-clock basis. the commercial space sector is also re-vitalizing old government infrastructure, such
as the historic launchpads that line florida's space coast. it's been a privilege for me to spend some time there at the cape and at the kennedy space center and it is an amazeing transformation of cape canaveral into a bustleing spaceport. but i've seen how challenging it can be for commercial companies to get to do business out there on the air force territory. and that's why this bill requires the f.a.a., nasa, and the air force to work together to reduce the administrative burden on industry operating out on government property and to do that by streamlining the federal launch requirements and processes. and so, mr. president this bill
is a major update to our commercial space legislation and it will encourage the growing commercial space industry for many years into the future an industry of vital economic scientific, and national security importance. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the snr from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, i ask that ken kerne a fellow in my office, be granted floor privileges during consideration of the congressional review act legislation. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. manchin: mr. president i thank all of my completion who have worked with -- all of my colleagues who have worked with me on these resolutions to really stop the e.p.a.'s destructive new regulations such as the new source performance standard. they're truly unrealistic and
unreasonable and threaten our security and prosperity. i've always said that, you know, we're all entitled to our opinion, our views. we're just not expwield to our own fact -- entitled to our own facts. asgy throughas i go through this presentation, i'll show that you our facts will not be able to give us the energy we need if we go down this destructive path. the c.r. resolution that i have introduced with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell would disapprove and stop the e.p.a.'s rule for emissions from new coal-fired power plants. i want to thank senator capito and senator heitkamp for joining me in this fight by introducing a separate resolution to disapprove the e.p.a.'s rule for emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. it's time for congress to step in and stop these rules from harming not only hardworking hardworking virginians but the american -- hardworking west virginians, but the american consumer. i am proud that these measures
are being brought to the floor to a vote today. never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible -- until now. i've always said that if a regulation is obtainable, it is unreasonable. and that is a fact we have in front of us. the e.p.a. has based its final rule for new coal-fired power plants in the united states largely off of a still-developing power plant unit in canada, which is called the boundary dam c.c.s. project. the e.p.a. determined that the dam facility has been operating full carbon capture sequestration successfully at a commercial scale since october 2014. mr. president, that is found to be totally untrue. canadian press reports have recently disclosed that the boundary dam project has failed to operate successfully at full c.c.s. for any meaningful period of time.
the reports also identify the c.c.s. system of the demonstration plan as being a key issue in the delays for getting the plant up and running. after one year of operation the project was forced to replace certain important features at a cost of $60 million. they have also been nearly $23 million in nonperformance penalties and lost revenues. the plant's management company which is sasse power has acknowledged these recent reports and are now pushing back the project's operational date until the end of 2016. there are no guarantees this will prove true either. sasse power is also claiming that the project will neither lease a year of stable operation to improve the economics of the project. sasse power has atsnnounce tad it will the senate is not in order be able to make -- sas sext power has atsnnounced that it will not be able to make a
decision about carbon capture technology until the end of 2016. all the u.s.-coal fired technology industry implement this technology nowvment that's what i've said all along. if it is not obtainable, which it has not been, we have not spent the money trying to develop this technology and it hasn't worked. shouldn't we at least make sure is works before we force a complete overhaul of the system or people to meet standards that are unobtainable? these recent revelations revelations prove that c.c.s. is potentially damaging in a power plant application and therefore it is foolish for this administration to require it now for the new u.s. coal plants. last week i wrote a letter to administrator mccarthy about these reports because forcing coal to meet standards when experts know that the required technology is not adequately demonstrated on a commercial scale makes absolutely no sense at all.
instead, i believe that the e.p.a. should scrap this impossible-to-meet rule or amend it to require advanced technology that has actually been implemented would offer imriewftd improved environmental performance and is environmentally viable. this is more about desirability than feasibility with little regard for the rising consumer prices the effects on jobs and impact on reliability of our electric grid. this administration thinks the country can do without coal. i simply tell you this, mr. president: they are in total denial. they might not like it, they might not want it, but it is built into the plan for the next 20 to 30 years. they have flat-out ignored their own data that says that coal will produce more than 30% of our electricity through 2040. it is completely contradictory that the e.p.a. continues to impose unreasonable and unattain unattainable rules in teanlt to regulate coal -- in an attempt to regulate coal into
extinction. the people who suffer will hardworking west virginians and consumers across this great country. if these regulation goes into effect, no new coal plants could begin new operations. more americans would lose their jobs and economic uncertainty would grow. the nation's coal-fired power plants currently have an average age of 45 years. the average age of all coal plants in america today which produces close 240% of to 40% of our power. many will need to be replaced in the near-future and regulations that prohibit building new coal-fired power plants can become a serious issue for the nation's electricity grid. although the energy information administration the e.i.a., within the department of energy still projects 37% of electricity generation will come from coal in 2040. i remind you this administration, who's putting rules that are unobtainable, saying that they're still going
to need 37% of the electricity of this country by 2040 from coal. the currently operating plants, without new additions will average 65 years of age by that time. if nothing is done, you have these plants that are averaging 65 years of a inch age to produce the type of energy we need. we're told that coal plants at that age will not achieve the levels of hours of reliable operation required to meet the 2040 forecast. the coal industry must be allowed to add the new power plant additions such as the ultra super critical which we know is technology that works. we know it works. but there is not the direction they're going. they're putting something that is unattainable in place. that's why we need to block this plan the clean coal power plan, or the clean power plan that the president has brought before us, because it cannot be obtained and we're going to be in a
deficit. there is no doubt this president's energy agenda has already had a crushing impact on my state of west virginia and other energy states around the country. but you have to say enough is enough. in west virginia, we want clean air and we want clean water. we're doing everything humanly possible. we've cleaned up the environment more in the last two decades than ever before. and if you look around the world there is more coal being burned than ever before. the united states burns less than one billion tons of coal a year. over seven billion tons of coal are being burned elsewhere in the world. four billion tons just in one country of china. and i venture to say that nobody is meeting the standards that we're required to here for the technology that's going to be needed to be obtained. i will continue to explore all available options to prevent these unattainable regulations from impacting the state of west virginia and the u.s. but i would ask our president, i would ask this administration to work with us to find the
technology to develop the technology that would allow us to use abundant product that we have abundance of in this country, which is coal, and the cleanest of fashion. and then we could export that technology around the world to clean up the global environment to help the overall environment of the globe. but right now congress needs to move forward to stop these rules further crippling our energy production jeopardizing our energy grid and putting our workers out of good-paying jobs. i urge all of my colleagues to support these resolutions that are put forward today when we vote and i want to thank you. i notice the absence of a quorum mr. president. i would move my call for a quorum. the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate stands in recess until 2:15.
>> senate leaders met with the french ambassador today on capitol hill to sign a condolence book for victims of friday's attack in paris. craig kaplan was there and caught the moment in this tweet. this morning this and held a moment of silence for the french victims and then senate democratic whip dick durbin spoke about what congress should do in response. this is about 10 minutes. >> mr. president earlier in the session we observed a moment of silence to exhibit our solidarity with the people of
france. i want to add my voice to others here today in sharing my deepest condolences in solidarity with the people of that great nation. as result of a barbaric violence that occurred over the weekend we are finding this solidarity coming together from across the world. standing behind the people of france in their our of me. these events that occurred in paris were heartbreaking and infuriating. america knows well from the tragic events of september 11 this kind of savagery is a challenge to the civilized world and one which we must collectively stand and defeat your as french president will launch -- president hollande said when they were attacked in such a manner, the whole world was attacked. i agree. people of russia are also victims of such violence in the recent and other airplane departing egypt another tragedy
which isis has claimed credit for the people of lebanon and turkey have suffered horrific bombings in their capitals in the last few weeks from the same terrorist groups. and the brave reformers in tunisia, one of few countries to emerge from the herbst bring with an inclusive and inspiring democracy have faced similar violence against innocent people at the museums and tourist destinations. the perpetrator of all of these monstrous acts is isis which is filled the void created by the worst in iraq syria and the broader political cast of the herbst bring. these murderous henchmen have conducted the most heinous of acts beheadings, mass rape, torture, and the murder of innocents. it is sick to intimidate the civilized would and defeat -- to feed their own ideology. i support a president obama's leadership in organizing a global coalition to defeat isis
and ipod secretary kerry for his efforts to negotiate an end to the syrian civil war, but we must do more. when france is attack, president hollande reaches out to his allies. he is reaching out to the north atlantic treaty organization nato which the united states is a member. he should reach out as well and we all should reach out to russia which as i mentioned earlier has been victimized by this terror group in the downing of the aircraft are into and reach out to saudis and muslim leaders around the world come join us in a coalition to destroy isis. first into occupied territory in syria and iraq, and then in their murderous web of recruitment and hate around the world. mr. president, several people have reacted to the tragedy in france and the united states by calling for us to suspend refugees coming to this country.
many of these people have not reflected on the refugee situation in our country. each year the united states of america accepts about 70,000 refugees from around the world. these refugees are each carefully investigated, reviewed and vetted. that process takes anywhere from 18-24 months before everything she from any part of the world is allowed to enter the united states. we do everything humanly possible and take extraordinary efforts to make certain that dangerous people do not arrive on our shores. that process must continue, and when it comes to suspicious circumstances, must be doubled in its intensity to make certain that our nation is safe. but for those who are focusing on that the answer to what happened in paris, they are very shortsighted. one out of four of the refugees
coming to the united states in the last fiscal year came not from the middle east but from burma. in addition to that we find many refugees coming to the united states from iraq. it turns out that over 3000 refugees came from iran. in each and every instance we should apply the standard of strict vetting and the highest standards of investigation. i certainly stand by that. but those who say we should turn away refugees in the united states have forgotten the lesson of history. mr. president, it was may of 1939 a ship docked in florida. the ship was named the ss st. louis. on that ship were almost 1000 jews from europe who were trying to escape persecution. sadly, the united states turned them away and they had to return to europe. they were fearing for their
lives. the nazis had engaged in violence against jewish people, and they were coming to our shores seeking refugee status in may of 1939 we turned them away. they returned to europe, over 200 of them died in the holocaust. since that time the united states has taken a different approach to refugees. we have been a company -- country since it to the rally but in many parts of the world people are living in fear of death every day and can only find safety on our shores. over the years we've accepted 750,000 refugees from vietnam. we've accepted over 500,000 cuban refugees, including the fathers of two united states senators, one who was running for president. we accepted over 200,000 soviet jews who were escaping persecution in the former soviet
union. we've accepted refugees from around the world from somalia, from bosnia. the list is long. that is an indication of who we are and our values. now, we need to be careful when any refugee comes to the united states. we should give them a thorough investigation. but for us to step back and say we are going to stop being a refuge for refugees from around the world israeli a retreat from america's values. let us make sure that the process of refugees, immigrants and visitors is at the very best let us carefully follow through on each one of them but let us not turn our backs on many around the world who fear for their lives and are looking for the safety of the united states. that has been part of our heritage for over 60 years, and they should continue. but what can we do? we know we have an obligation to keep america safe, and we know that isis and terrorists like them or try to find ways into
the united states. first acknowledge the obvious. for more than 14 years, with the exception of the boston marathon involving lone wolf terrorists with the exception we've kept america safe. it has been for the good work of our men and women in the intelligence community, in the military, in the fbi and so many different aspects of our government. so what do we do in the united states senate to make sure that they're able to do the job effectively? why do we do our job in the senate? why we pass the appropriations bill for these agencies? imagine he we are over a month into this fiscal year and the united states senate has not passed the appropriation for the fbi. appropriations for the department of homeland security. what are we waiting for? instead we have vote after reload after we vote after old issue that been resolved on the floor of the senate months ago. this week if we want to fight
terrorism and protect the united states let us pass the appropriation bills for all of the agencies of our government. it is targeted and they do it now. secondly, we need to make sure that our country has the tools to fight terrorism, the kind of terrorism that we see in paris, france. we know that we need to change the approach when it comes to the encryption of data and communications so that we have access to the temptations of terrorists. technology is leaping ahead of our capacity. we are told by her agencies of government that to keep america safe we have to deal with encryption standard today. that is the reality of the challenge of the united states. some would do well on refugees. i think we have to be careful on every single refugee that comes in this country but there was more we can do. pass the appropriations for the agencies that keep us safe. put a new standard so we can do with encryption where would the
terrorists are hiding documentation from our surveillance even under court order. and third, we need to come together. france, a nato nations, russia those muslim countries that have extremism that is exhibited by isis come together and wipe places off the map in iraq and syria. we need to rely on local forces who have been so effective like the kurds who are willing to fight the isis troops on the ground and to defeat them. eliminating them from iraq and syria is no guarantee that they will continue their efforts around the world but let us have a common enemy in isis and come together in a large global coalition to fight them and stop their efforts. i come to the floor with some emotion did it because my wife and i for years have visited france. we consider it to be a wonderful country. with great people. we've had our differences in foreign policy from time to time but any student of history knows
the french stood with us when it came to our revolution. the french have been by our site time and again and we have been by their side in both world war i, world war ii, and so many other theaters. mr. president, i will conclude by saying for the birth of our nation to this day france has always been one of our closest allies. america stands on an armed with the people in france and i yield the floor. >> we'll be going to the pentagon briefing live at 1:30 p.m. the first attorney general loretta lynch was asked about screening series in refugees coming to the u.s. she told house judiciary committee that it will be challenging because they used data from several different agencies but she said the use of screening is better than europe's. recovered that hearing and you can see the attorney general's comments on c-span.org. meanwhile, house speaker paul ryan called for a pause in syrian refugees entry into u.s. limbered politics reports the
speaker wants a strategy to defeat isis before allowing refugees into this country. homeland security secretary johnson and fbi director director comey will brief members today. here's for the reaction to friday's attacks in paris. >> mr. president, i do agree we should be debating what's happening in the world and particularly the issue of isil, isis and its impact not only in america, not only on europe but around the world and that's what i intend to do. .. unprecedented form of evil that we have seen disrupt the lives of free people. and all americans republicans democrats, independents -- all americans -- stand in solidarity with paris and the french people. this isn't just an attack on paris. this is an attack on the free world the civilized world.
and don't just take my word for it this conclusion, because isil has already made such a declaration; that is, we're coming after you. >> we're coming after all those who don't abide by our messianic message of our purpose in the world to destroy you because you don't agree with us. sadly, the the tragedy that we've seen in paris reinforces that the battle against terrorism and extremism will not only be fought in the middle east. the united states and western nations are dealing with escalating security challenges that cannot be resolved through diplomacy and are not being resolved by the current strategy being used by this white house. the headline -- a headline today in "the wall street journal": pressure grows for global response. we the united states, need to show the world that threats to
our principle freedoms are entirely unacceptable and will be resisted. and, unfortunately, president obama continues to fail to provide the american people with the leadership that we so desperately need. just consider his response yesterday to the tragic events in paris versus the response of the french president. french president francois hollande said, and i quote: france is at war. we are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the entire world. i want to repeat that. france is at war. we are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world. at the same time, virtually at the same time, president obama in a shockingly dismissive tone
doubled down on his so-called strategy to deal with this global threat. and what has this strategy to date accomplished? well, isis has expanded into more than half a dozen countries. they're not contained as the president said. ask the people in paris if isis is contained. ask the people who have been subject to attacks inspired by isil across the world, is isis contained. i don't think so. mr. chairman, could i ask for order here -- >> the senate will be in order. >> time after time, our president has shown that he just simply doesn't get it. in 2012 he boasted al-qaeda is on the path to defeat. in 2014 he dismissed the islamic state as the jv team, saying that isis is, and i quote: not a direct threat to us or something
that we have to wade into. last thursday he said i don't think the islamic state is gaining strength and again, saying we've contained them. what will it take for this president to wake up and see what is happening around the world as a result of the ever-expanding threat of isis terrorism. well the president did say yesterday that if people have other ideas bring them forward he said. so what i'd like to do is offer a few suggestions for the president to consider. in fact, you know, i actually brought forward suggestions over a year ago but, of course, none of them have been accepted or acted upon by the president that i'm aware of. when i first addressed this subject in the summer of 2014 i outlined several areas in which urgent action was required. first and more importantly i called for the administration
immediately to articulate a comprehensive plan to defeat isis. you've got a problem out there you put a plan together to address the problem and you do it in a comprehensive way so you have a goal to achieve and a strategy to work out and achieve that goal. this comprehensive plan has been entirely absent from this congress and from the american people. what we have seen instead are are incremental responses responses that contradict what the president had earlier said; basically, responses to events that have taken place behind the curve, not ahead of the curve too little and too late. i called for efforts to reach out to nations across the globe to work together to defeat isis including working with islamic states and communities to oppose this outrageous isis perversion of the islamic faith.
i want to say that again. for those who simply say this is a decision that affects america only, our boots on the ground, that's all that we're calling for, that is entirely wrong. the president should know it and i think he does know it. i, among many, have called for efforts to reach out to nations across the globe to work together to defeat isis including working with islamic states and communities to oppose the outrageous isis perversion of the islamic faith. i called for a diplomatic effort to persuade saudi arabia turkey, qatar and other regions in the nation to join with us to resist more forcefully isis aggression. i called last year for much greater security assistance for our potential partners in the fight against isis. the u.s. should have move quickly to provide more arms, training and other requested
assistance to iraqis, kurdistan's peshmerga forces, proven fighters, proven fight ors that are willing to -- fighters that are willing to stand up and confront isis. they needed our support. they needed weapons from us. they needed training and guy dance from us, but they were ready to engage the fight. we also needed, i said to find effective ways to support and directly arm the reliable vetted sunni tribes is and sunni leaders in iraq who are essential partners in combating isis extremists that, ultimately, are sunni be islam's great threat. now it's true, the question of where have they been, where are they, we need more than them just sending a check to cover payment for somebody else to fight a proxy war. we need their engagement. they're in the crosshairs of isis. and why haven't they stepped up? where is the flocking to the center square of town saying, enough is enough?
where are the imams standing up saying this is a perversion of our religion? where are the people simply saying those in the crosshairs of isis simply rising up together and saying we need to address this. we also need to find effective ways to support as i said, those sunni tribes and sunni leaders, and those efforts have been slow, indirect and insufficient. i called for us to provide lethal assistance to the free syrian army. the administration's effort in this regard was an absurd 500 million multi-year effort to train and arm 40 fighters, most of whom were promptly killed or captured. and, yes i called for increased specialized military action by our own armed forces. i'm willing to stand here and say, along with many others, i have called for increased specialized military action by our own armed forces. intelligence surveillance,
reconnaissance, special forces. not massive invasion. this has to be a global effort as i have just talked about. it has to include sunni nations it has to include islamists who believe that their faith and their culture is being perverted brutally by isis. now, mr. president, it's clear that isis cannot with be defeated without u.s. participation. nations of the world look to the united states to either have their back or to work with them and stand side by side. we have capabilities and capacity that other nations don't have. coalitions cannot be formed without our engagement. our bombing campaign, this strategy of bombing against isis targets, has been far from adequate. there have been an average of just a handful a day many of which have planes turning around and landing back at the airfield with bombs still attached to their wings.
because they simply haven't had the kind of targeting and directing to insure that the rules of combat are confirmed with. contrast this anemic bombing campaign with the bombing campaign before the first gulf war with several thousand sorties a day. in bosnia, it was several hundred a day. clearly, our anemic air strategy is not defeating isis and frankly, military history shows that air action only cannot achieve the goal of defeating an enemy. and lastly, i called on the obama administration and congress to reassess our border security and do whatever is necessary to make us stronger. one element of that effort is legislation that i introduced earlier this year a bill that would enact changes to the visa waiver program and provide additional tools to enhance
border security. changes that in my opinion are absolutely necessary to address, to fill and plug a gaping hole in our border security. and let me talk about that for a moment. the current visa waiver program allows citizens from several dozen nations to travel to the united states without a visa. they are citizens of these states in order to expedite the travel process we entered into a visa waiver program. that works fine if you don't have a situation like exists today with isis and other forces al-qaeda and others, trying to bring people into the united states to plant people here to carry out evil acts against american people. my bill then would amend the visa waiver program by tightening existing pre-travel clearance procedures and making them more focused on counterterrorism efforts.
we have to now recognize the reality that exists here in terms of abuse of the visa waiver program or the possibility of abuse in inserting terrorists into the united states. the bill would insure stricter compliance with information-sharing agreements by those countries who participate in the visa waiver program and suspend their participation if they did not come boo compliance -- come into compliance at 100% level. we can't go 99, you have got to go all the way. the bill would also authorize the secretary of state to revoke any passport issued to a united states citizen who is suspected of engaging in terrorist activities and update the definition of treason to include support of terrorist organizations. oh i remember introducing in the response oh, that's too tough. nothing is too tough these days to keep americans safe, and we need to implement these
provisions that i introduced sometime ago many months ago. because i believe it's a solution that addresses the real, ongoing threat of terrorist attacks carried out by individuals with western passports. unfortunately, these things that i have mentioned earlier and introduced earlier have not been adopted in any meaningful way. and now a year and a half later we're in a much more difficult position with isis stronger and expanded to new area ands new countries. the threat -- and new countries. the threat to us all is comprehensive, multifaceted and nearly global. it demands a global, comprehensive response. and so i would urge the president to seriously consider these and other proposals and i would like to mention one other proposal this morning. in addition to what i've previously stated i believe that it is now time to consider whether nato should take on a vital new mission.
nato responded in bosnia in 1994 and brought a peace. it can do so again. when i served as ambassador to germany for four years, i had direct contact with nato and nato nations and i know the accumulation of resources, of training of capability is available through nato, and it is multination comprehensive combination. it can play a vital role in this threat. we need a comprehensive plan if we're going to destroy isis, and nato action should be part of that plan. whether or not france invokes the article v provision of the nato treaty -- which i think they should do and perhaps they will do -- which requires all nato nations to come to the support of and do what is necessary to address a threat to one of the nations. if one of the nato nations is
threatened, we all stand together to deal with it. former nato commander admiral james star vistas had issued his own six-step plan for nato engagement and leadership to destroy isis, and we should look at that and take it seriously. he suggests that nato should assign more of the nato alliance commands to lead the operational planning for forceful military efforts against isis in both syria and iraq and bring all of the alliance resources to bear. in addition he suggests our nato allies should be joined in this effort by other nonmember european states such as sweden and finland who are similarly threatened by isis terrorism. and most importantly, he said nato must work to bring in the regional powers such as the kurdish peshmerga, saudi arabia and other arab states in a broad, coordinate that ited effort against isis -- coordinated effort against isis under nato leadership. this is a mechanism, this is an
organization that is trained, that has the equipment, that has the capability and this is the nation -- this is the organization that can form the coalition necessary with our arab friends and neighbors the saudis the sunnis others that need to be a part of this if we're going to be successful. nato's efforts against isis he said also should include assistance to turkey. after all, turkey is a nato member to better secure their borders against the flow of jihadists in and out of syria. this is -- nato at its best, and that is something that i think should be seriously considered by this white house as a way of moving forward to develop the coalition to address the great threat that we have. well let me now say one other
thing, because the admiral also suggests the possibility of forming some type of a coalition with russia. we have seen a strong russian response today last evening once it has been determined and proven that the russian airliner was brought down by a bomb and by isis. isis has taken credit for it isis receives the wrath of the russian military as a result in direct contrast to what we have done for attempts on our own people. i'm not a big fan of putin. i'm not a big fan of russia. i spoke out strongly about russia's invasion of the ukraine and annexation of crimea. i strongly -- >> we've been waiting for the defense department's briefing to get under way, it looks like it's just starting now. we'll go there life.
>> i'll try not to let it happen again but again my apologies. your time is valuable as well, i know. a few announcements regarding the secretary's schedule. secretary carter received an update on the counter-isil fight from some of his military leaders. he received updates on the situation both in syria and in iraq. they discussed the tragedy in paris and the decision by the french government to expand its counter-isil efforts. as he mentioned last night "the wall street journal" ceo's council, the secretary hopes this tragedy will galvanize others to do even more as well. he's asked his commanders in the field to consider where the coalition effort can be expanded further with the help of our partners. also in this morning the secretary and chairman dunford met with pakistan's chief of army staff to discuss mutual security interests including security cooperation between our countries, pakistani counterterrorism operations in the federally-administered tribal areas and regional security dynamics. the secretary expressed his
appreciation for pakistan's ongoing counterterror efforts and condolences for the heavy losses incurred by pakistani security forces and civilians in this fight. the secretary underscored the importance of increased pakistan/afghanistan cooperation. the deputy secretary also toured the pentagon 9/11 memorial with the general this morning and the chairman held a separate discussion with the general and general austin will meet with him later today in addition. and finally the secretary this afternoon is attending a meeting with current and former military leaders of the department and with independent experts to discuss possible defense department reforms. this is one in a series of meetings being held to discuss areas of potential reform to the defense enterprise in the spirit of the goldwater-nichols act of 1986. the meetings will examine overlaps or redundancies and areas in which performance could be streamlined or improved within department. these meetings will determine the path forward to insure our continued strength, and the secretary tomorrow will touch on
one area of interest when he discusses his force of the future initiative at gw university, and you all should have received an advisory on that speech tomorrow. with that, be happy to turn to your questions. leta? >> peter one quick question on abboud. i'm wondering if you can tell us if there were efforts to strike him at some point by the military the coalition but i have sort of a russia, russia question. do you want to -- i can throw that out now or do you want me to wait? >> why don't you throw that out now, and we'll see if we can knock these out of the way. >> in the airstrikes, russia appeared to be striking areas in the same region as the u.s. and that oil infrastructure area. i'm wondering whether there's any further discussion or consideration of more cooperation with russia as it appears moscow is, indeed, trying to step up its efforts for airstrikes and also some cooperation with france.
>> yeah. on your first question, i'm not going to get into intelligence from up here at the podium, but i can say -- and we've repeated that leadership figures within isil are always a legitimate target but we're not going to get into the identities of anyone in particular who we may or may not have targeted. so that's the extent of what i can say on that first question. and on the second question, you're asking is there an opportunity here for further cooperation with the russians? >> an opportunity has there been any further discussion and does their russia's, latest efforts to beef up its strikes in a region that was actually near where the u.s. and coalition have been hitting and their effort to reach out to france also for some more collaboration, does that trigger any additional thoughts toward cooperating more with russia? >> well, right now we are, we are not cooperating with russia as you know. in this instance their most recent airstrikes, they did give
us advance notice through the memorandum of understanding that is in place regarding our efforts to try and keep the air space over syria safe. and so they did use the protocols there to notify us in advance. but at this point -- and those airstrikes, at least from our vantage point did appear to strike in isil-held territory. and as we've said from the start, that if the russians would like to focus their efforts on isil which is the thrust of our efforts in terms of the coalition we would welcome that. but again that's a decision that's up to the russians at this point and there's been no additional talk of further cooperation or coordination with the russians at this point. and, again we'll wait to see what the russians do next, and we'd refer you to them in terms of their intentions going
forward. but their policies of supporting the assad regime continue, in our view, to be counterproductive, backwards is the words that the secretary has used and so until they alter that policy, we don't see much of an area for further cooperation. >> well just as a quick follow-up, the secretary did mention yesterday sort of the need to sort of broaden the fight against isil and, you know looking for other partners to kind of do more. does russia not represent at this point an opportunity for that? >> again the secretary's always left the door open to the russians as he first encouraged minister show guy in their conversation some weeks ago to play a constructive role here and to not only take part in the campaign against isil and to target isil specifically, but
also to use their influence with the assad regime in trying to forge a political transition. and so we welcome any sincere effort on the part of the russians to play a more constructive role in syria. and, again the opportunity's there for the russians to accept that opportunity. >> peter -- >> jamie. >> -- if i could follow up a little bit. clearly, the united states and russia have many areas of disagreement. they also have areas in which they work together. russian president putin has directed his military to work with france to develop what he called a joint action plan to target isil in syria. if france can work with russia on a joint action plan why can't the united states? >> well, let me, first of all the french, i will leave it to the french to discuss the decisions that they're making, their relationship with the russians. it's not for us to comment on. they are a key and critical member of the coalition. we've seen what they've been
doing in recent days in the wake of the paris attacks so again the french commitment is clear and we feel confident that we will have continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with france in terms of this ongoing effort. the secretary has said all along that when it comes to russia, we will maintain a strong and balanced approach. there are going to be areas where we disagree with the russians, significant disagreements. in ukraine, for example. but there have also been areas where we can work together. one is the iran nuclear accord. secretary kerry has been working with minister lavrov on the political side of this equation the diplomatic side and we're supportive of that and encouraging of that. >> you seem to be making my point though. you cited an area where the u.s. and russia work together. >> but they're -- >> and the u.s. and russia have a common enemy in syria in the form of isil, so why is it so difficult to find an area where there's a common goal and to work together? >> well, we haven't -- jamie we
haven't ruled that out except that up to this point the russian actions have been largely in support of the assad regime which we believe is counterproductive to the end result of trying to end the syrian civil war. it has been like pouring gasoline on the fire, in the words of secretary carter. and in this instance these most recent airstrikes have appeared to have targeted isil-controlled areas. that's a good thing. and, again we -- if the russians would like to focus their efforts on not only targeting isil, but also pushing forward the diplomatic solution that needs to be reached in syria and using their considerable influence with the assad regime, we're supportive of that. and we would we would hope the russians would take advantage of that opportunity. >> just one more. can you just address the perception -- and, again, i'm underscoring talking about perception -- that russia is taking a much more muscular approach to confronting isil, stepping up its airstrikes
working with france. the russian president was seen today in a high-tech war room getting his latest briefings on syria while the united states' position, we are giving the position -- seem to be giving the impression that we're just going to do more of the same. the president made pretty clear yesterday he doesn't see a need to radically change the strategy. can you address that perception that maybe president putin again, seems to be winning the pr war here in terms of who's doing the most to battle isil? >> jamie we -- at this podium and elsewhere we've detailed our efforts in the fight against isil over the last year or so. more than be 8,000 airstrikes. you have secretary of defense up on capitol hill not too long ago talking about the adjustments we're making to our strategy, the prospect for a small number of special operations forces to go into bolster to fight. we're doing what we can to move this strategy forward. we're supporting local motivated forces that are going
to obviously, need to be in place to not only dislodge isil but to hold that territory. we are focused on this effort. we remain focused on this effort. and the notion that we are behind the curve here is a mistaken one. we are actively looking at a whole host of opportunities to further this fight against isil, and that's, that's what we're going to continue to do. and, again the secretary's talked about this. we welcome others getting into this game. but the united states has been in this game from the start and will continue to be. >> peter, one -- >> yes kevin. >> two questions. so the russians -- [inaudible] involved in taking down the airliner. has the u.s. confirmed that? it was a bomb and that isis was involved. second, i want to ask about secretary kerry saying today u.s. would work closer together with turkey to secure the border from smuggling. what exactly does that mean?
how is the u.s. going to help in that effort, and is it just for smuggling goods or is this also specifically aimed at keeping out foreign fighters and that flow that's so worrisome to europe? >> yeah. first of all, we have not reached any final conclusions. certainly heard the -- here at the department of defense. i'm going to defer to my colleagues in other agencies that are more focused on the downing of this airliner specifically, but we have not reached any conclusions here beyond what we've said to you in the past with regard to the cause of this -- >> communications with the russians about the incident? >> not between the department of defense. i can't speak for other agencies. so that's, we're in the same place there. we obviously took note of the russian con calculations -- conclusions. and with regard to the other issues, i'm not sure exactly what secretary kerry said but -- because i didn't see his comments directly, but we've been working on these border issues for some time, the issue
of foreign fighters remains of critical importance to the united states, to the department of defense. and anything that can be done to tighten that border, to deal with the issue of foreign fighters, we think is a positive and something that not only bolsters the national security of the united states, but also the national security of our coalition partners and those in the region and in europe as well. >> [inaudible] >> let me just go to jennifer. >> peter, you said the defense department has carried out 8,000 airstrikes. the russians say they've carried out 2300 in the last two days. that suggests an escalation in their efforts compared to ours. and secondly, it's still a little hard to understand why the u.s. 15 months after the air campaign began only just cut the road between raqqa and mosul near sinjar and also began airstrikes against these fuel tankers which, by the pentagon's own estimates are providing a
million dollars a month, i think it is, for isis. so can you kind of -- >> sure. you've got a couple questions in there. let me try and tick them off. first of all, i'm not going to comment directly on the russian -- the number of russianing sorties that sort of thing -- russian sorties that sort of thing. i can just tell you what we're doing. and our campaign continues to be effective. we are carefully selecting our targets. we've got other nations flying these missions, they have been effective in taking the fight to isil in limiting their operations, what they can do out in the open. it is very different to be an isil leader today than it was just a few months ago. they know the risks to their well being if they are out and be about. that is a direct result of our coalition air campaign. with regard to specifically what's happened in sinjar, this is something that required ground operations and ground forces. not necessarily just an air campaign. and this, in this case there are
motivated, local ground forces, the iraqi peshmerga forces, that have moved to take this, to cut off this vital supply line, as you pointed out. and this is, this is a significant step forward. and they should be commended for what they've done there. they've had the support of the coalition. they've had the support of u.s. advisers on the ground, and they've made progress in that one particular area. >> were the peshmerga not ready a year ago to do this? >> again, this is going to be a fight, jennifer, in which there are steps forward and steps backward. this was a step forward, and this represents progress since that area was lost, of course to isil some months ago. so this is an example of where the fight be has been taken to isil and where those local forces are making, making progress making advances. we'd like to see it in more places and there are going to be setbacks along the way as well. this is one particular instance in which these forces are succeeded -- have succeeded in moving to an objective, and they've had the support of the
coalition, specifically u.s. advisers, in conducting that. >> why did it take so long to go after the oil tankers? >> again, we look at the situation on the ground there and the targets very very carefully. and there's been discussion about ways to try and go after the infrastructure in such a way it's less of an opportunity for them to collect revenue. and there have been decisions recently that addressed the issue of these tankers and whether or not they were an appropriate target to go after and there were concerns and have been concerns, continue to be concerns about the potential for civilian casualties along the way. so every step was taken to try and reduce the prospect of that and that, those strikes 116 tankers were taken out and as best we can tell, there were no civilian casualties. so we consider that to be a success. let me move over here. yes. >> to follow up on sinjar, some reports on the ground from local yazidis who lived there, there
are concerns that the kurds and peshmerga have not allowed the ya yazidis to return after retaking that territory. i know that the process is still in the clearing stage but has the united states taken any role in helping to establish the local population's ability to get back into those retaken areas? >> i'm not sure of the exact situation in terms of how dangerous it is in that area right now. i'm sure that's a consideration for the, not only the peshmerga forces, but for others in the region. so i can't talk specifically to their particular situations, because i just don't have visibility on it. but you can imagine this is a place that's just had a fire fight, a pretty intense battle over the last couple of days and weeks, and i'm sure that's got to be one of the considerations. i'd refer you specifically to our folks in iraq who might have an exact understanding of the dynamics there. >> pick follow-up on the strategy. has the united states and the coalition heard from any other partners willing to join in
coalition airstrikes, and has the united states made any plans to increase efforts for airstrikes since the paris attacks? >> well, we've obviously got partners already within the coalition conducting airstrikes. you've seen the french step up what they're doing with regard to airstrikes and we think there are opportunities for others to do the same. i'll let other nations speak as to their own contributions and what they're willing to do moving forward. but as the secretary pointed out in his comments at "the wall street journal" ceo council he believes there are opportunities for others to do more in this effort. the united states has done a significant amount of those airstrikes and certainly, it would make the campaign more effective if others were to play a larger role. but, again, we welcome the contributions of the countries so far. we welcome additional contributions, and there are other ways where countries in the wake of what's happened in paris coulding play a constructive -- could play a constructive role going forward. it's not just in the form of
airstrikes, and we welcome any of those contributions. jamie? >> thanks, peter. just to follow up on something you addressed a little while ago on the russian airstrikes against isis versus hitting others. you know last month we heard from the state department saying that there was as much as 90% of the airstrikes that russia was doing were not hitting isis. i'm curious in the wake of today's announcement of them hitting inside raqqa, are you seeing that number come down a little bit? are they going after isis more the last few weeks? >> i can't characterize the last few weeks. i can just point to what's happened most recently as an indication that my understanding is the majority of these airstrikes, the most recent airstrikes were targeted in isil-controlled areas, but writ large it's pretty clear that up to this point most of the focus has been on areas that have not been controlled by isil and have been controlled either by the
regime or the opposition. and, but it does seem at least in recent days there's been more of a focus on isil and we welcome that. but in terms of the big picture again, i think i'll leave you to the russians to characterize what it is their intentions are and whether or not this is a change that's going to continue. >> and then if i could just follow up on the -- if you could just bring us up to speed on the efforts of the syrian arab coalition. we have reports this week a second delivery of the am mission was made to them telephone ammunition was made to hem. wondered if you could bring us up to speed are you seeing more tangible progress in their efforts? >> yeah. specifically in syria i can tell you that the syrian-arab coalition has my understanding made progress specifically in the al-hal area in taking that key town and as they move closer towards raqqa. this is again a sign of
progress by local motivated capable forces that have shown a willingness to fight. and so that's something we're monitoring closely and we consider that again, a step forward in this fight. there are going to be steps backward, but right now that seems to be an encouraging sign of progress right now. yes -- [inaudible] >> thank you very much. two-part question. going back to your statement on u.s./pakistan relations and also military-to-military relations with army chiefs here has the secretary discussed about future of pakistan/u.s. military-to-military relations in connection to working with civilian government in pakistan? [inaudible] nobody knows there is two governments or three governments. and, second, is there discussed that if pakistan still has any training centers in connection with isil and al-qaeda and others? and, finally, who is supporting
these isil or isis, and where they are getting financing training and arms? >> well, you've got a lot of questions in there. let me try and answer at least some of them if i can. first of all the secretary met with the general today. they talked about again the u.s./pakistan relationship, the military relationship going forward and the relationship our two countries have and our shared interest in seeing regional security in the region and, obviously, dealing with the terrorism threat not only in pakistan, but also in neighboring afghanistan and why a continued cooperation is so vital in that. he met recently with the prime minister as well had a positive, productive conversation with the prime minister, and the secretary again, believes that this relationship with pakistan is important towards promoting regional stability. and we're going to continue having our dialogue, defense dialogue with pakistan in that light and welcome their efforts
to trying to foster that stability to the extent possible. again, not only in pakistan itself, but also in afghanistan where they play such a critical role. and in terms of isil and who's supplying them again these are good questions. but this is a well-armed well-funded terrorist organization that poses a significant threat to the united states and to a host of other countries. and part of our efforts not only on the ground militarily to defeat them, but also to defeat their sources of funding their sources of resupply, and we mentioned the situation in sinjar and the prospect that this one particular operation could have in trying to strangle, if you will cut off isil in mosul from raqqa and cutting off a vital supply line. that's part of our line of effort moving forward, and we'll see if this one particular
operation does have an impact on isil going forward at least in that one particular region. >> we have so much technology now, and we don't know who is really arming them? >> well again they're getting arms from a variety of resources. this is a well -- >> [inaudible] >> we're going to -- this is just -- we understand that this is a well-armed, capable enemy and to the extent that we can identify where they're getting weapons from, we're going to make every effort to try and reduce that supply. >> now russia and the u.s.-led coalition has been sort of operating, as you point out, in separate air space with russia going after a different set of targets. if this latest round of strikes by russia does sort of represent a shift towards isis targets and more in the vicinity of isis,
will the u.s. and russia have to do sort of deeper deconfliction? because that air space could get more crowded if, in fact, russia does start moving more towards you know hitting isis targets in and around raqqa which is, of course, where the u.s.-led coalition is. >> we're not at the stage yet where we have to have that kind of conversation. we're confident that the memorandum of understanding we have in place and the protocols we have in place for our aircraft and their aircraft are sufficient to deal with the situation over syria right now and we're not going to hypothesize as to what happens in the future. but in this instance, those protocols worked. we did receive advance warning. we had our own missions conducted yesterday. they went out as planned. and we feel confident that we can avoid any sort of contact in the air, if you will, that could pose a safely threat tour -- safety threat to our pilots.
>> the coalition did not have to adjust any of its activities -- >> we did not have to adjust any of our activities yesterday. tara? >> as part of the mou how do u.s. and coalition jets safely maneuver over raqqa if there are russian long-range bombers conducting missions without knowing if these missions have -- >> there are protocols without getting into all the details there are protocols in place for the conduct of the pilots themselves in which case they might not even need to engage in communication with one another in terms of professional airmanship and in terms of their operations over syria but there are also these backup communication lines in the event of misunderstanding or perhaps miscommunication. and so we feel confident those protocols in place right now are adequate given our, in addition our own situational awareness for the safety of our pilots that we can conduct our missions
right now without concern immediate concern for some sort of accident involving the russianings. and, again if -- the russians. and again, if it turns out we need to adjust this in some form or fashion, that's a conversation we can have at that time, but we're not there yet. yes, jeff. >> the french have said they're very keen to find ways to collaborate more closely with the russians. would that create difficulties for you given you do have a robust intelligence-sharing relationship and other relationship with the french? >> we have a strong relationship with the french, and i'll met the french speak to -- i'll let the french speak to their interactions with the russians going forward. we feel confident that our relationship with the french will again, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the french. they're key members of the coalition. they were well before the events of friday night in paris, and we're confident that our interactions with the french will be shoulder to shoulder with them and will be as
professional as they have been and will continue to be going forward. we don't have concerns about the french in terms of their own interactions with the russianings somehow in any way affecting the coalition operations. >> do you think that the various attacks will bolster the role of france inside the coalition? >> i think we're already seeing the role of france bolstered within the coalition. they were doing a significant amount before. they've been a strong partner in the coalition, and judging by what we have heard from the february. government so far and the actions of the french government with regard to these most recent airstrikes, it seems pretty clear that they would like to expand their role, and we would like to do whatever we can to support the french in that effort, and we welcome others stepping up as well and providing more -- >> if you missed any part of this defense department briefing, you can see the entire thing on our web site at c-span.org. we're now going live to the senate floor for more reaction to the paris terrorist attacks and the fight against isis. escalated u.s. military
operations against it. the goal at that time, the president said, was to degrade and destroy isil. a year ago the goal was to degrade and destroy isil. it's impossible to look at where we are today and claim that the president's strategy is succeeding or that it is likely to succeed on anything approaching an acceptable timetable and level of risk. no one should take this as a criticism of the men and women in uniform as well as their civilian counterparts in the field, could doing the best they can under the strategic and operational constraints they face especially the white house's desire revisiting the vietnam war tactics that the white house is micromanaging thet we've done nothing against isil. it's that there is no compelling reason to believe that anything we're doing will be sufficient to destroy isil.
thousands of air strikes against isil's targets have conjured the illusion of progress, but they have produced little in the way of decisive battle effects. i noted with some interest that we provided some targeting for the french who carried out air strikes. i wonder why we hadn't done any of that in the last year. isil continues to dominate sunni arab areas in the world in both iraq and syria and efforts to reclaim major population centers in those areas such as most you will have stalled to say the -- as mosul have stalled to say the least. meantime, isil continues to expand globally. it's now operating in afghanistan, lebanon egypt. and other radical islamist groups like boko haram and others have pledged allegiance
to isil. this appearance of success only enhances isil's ability to radicalize recruit and grow. and now in the past month isil has commenced a new stage in its war on the civilized world by unleashing a wave of terrorist attacks across the globe. in england arrest a, -- in ankara isil detonated two bombs outside a train station killing 102 people and injuring 400 more. in skies over egypt isil destroyed a russian civil airliner with a bomb that killed all 224 passengers aboard. in beirut, isil conducted two suicide bombings that killed 43 people and injured 239 more. in baghdad isil bombs killed 26 people wounded more than 60 others. and finally in the streets of paris last week, as we all know, gunmen wearing suicide belts attacked innocent civilians at
restaurants, bars, a soccer stadium and a concert hall, killing at least 129 and wounding 352 other people. the american people have experienced this kind of terror before and we stand together with the people of turkey, russia lebanon iraq, france and nearly 20 other nations whose citizens were murdered by these brutal atrocities committers. these attacks reveal nothing new about isil's character. isil is the face of evil in our world today. it has crucified its enemies beheaded innocent journalists burned a muslim pilot alive in a cage. it's condemned women and children and girls to slavery and torture and unspeakable sexual abuse and when waging war on the living has failed to satisfy its savagery, isil has
desecrated and destroyed many of the monuments to civilization that remain across the middle east. isis's latest attacks also reveal nothing new about its intentions. everything that isil is doing is what their leaders have long said they would do. they have stated their aims explicitly and clearly. all we have to do is listen to their words. indeed, as one author put it, isil has toiled mightily to make their projects knowable. what these attacks have demonstrated and what now should be clear is that isil is at war with us whether or not we admit it that we are at war with them. what should now be clear is that isil is determined to attack the heart of the civilized world. europe and the united states. that it has the intent to attack us, the capability to attack us and the sanctuary from which to plan those attacks.
what should now be clear is our people and our allies will not be safe until isil is destroyed not just degraded but destroyed not eventually but as soon as possible. unfortunately, unfortunately almost tragically, this president, president obama remains as ideologically committed as ever to staying the course he is on and impervious to new information that would suggest otherwise as he made quite clear during his incredible press conference yesterday in turkey, according to the president the united states -- according to the president of the united states, anyone who disagrees with him is -- quote -- popping off. popping off. i guess michael morrell former deputy secretary of the c.i.a. was just popping off when he said recently the downing of a russian airliner, only the third such attack in 25 years the
attacks in paris the largest in europe since the madrid bombings in 2004 make it crystal clear that our isis strategy is not working. that comes from michael morrell a former deputy head of the c.i.a. under this president. i guess senator dianne feinstein, vice chair of the senate intelligence committee was just popping off when she said that isil is not contained isil is expanding and that we need new military strategy and tactics. i guess general jack keene one of my heroes, architect of the successful surge strategy in iraq was just popping off when he said -- quote -- "we are in fact losing this war. moreover i can say with certainty that this strategy will not defeat isis." this strategy will not defeat isis. that comes from the author of
the surge which succeeded which the president by withdrawing all troops allowed to go completely to waste and the lives of brave young americans were wasted. i guess hillary clinton, the president's former secretary of state and desired successor was just popping off when she declared her support for a no-fly zone in syria to -- quote -- stop the carnage on the ground and in the air. i guess general david petraeus was just popping off when he testified to the armed services committee that the president's strategy has failed to create the military conditions to end the conflict in syria and that isil will not be defeated until we do so. and i guess james jeffrey a career foreign officer and the president's ambassador to iraq was just popping off when he wrote in "the washington post" today that the president needs to send thousands of ground troops to destroy isil. what all of these national security leaders recognize is
the reality that is staring us right in the face. it is the president who is once again failing to grasp it. he fails to understand even now that wars don't end just because he says they are over, that our terrorist enemies are not defeated just because he says they are. and the threat posed by isil is not contained because he desires it to be so and that maybe just maybe, the growing group of his bipartisan critics might just be right. and why won't he listen to them? why won't he listen to these people of experience and knowledge and background? who does he listen to? who does the president listen to? it couldn't be anybody knowledgeable and make the comments that he made at that press conference. the president has had to go back on everything he said he would not do to combat the threats now
emanating from syria and iraq. he said he would not arm moderate syrian rebels because that would militarize the conflict. he was wrong. he said he would not intervene militarily in iraq or syria. he was wrong. he said he would not put boots on the ground in syria. he was wrong. now he says that his strategy is working, that all it needs is time and that no further changes are required despite isil's campaign of terror. let me get this straight. after the bombing in paris after the russian airliner, after the other acts of terror -- quote -- he needs time, he needs time, and that no further changes are required. does anybody does anybody believe him anymore? what the president has failed to understand for nearly five years is that unless and until he leads an international effort to end the conflict in syria and iraq, the costs of this conflict will continue to mount.
those consequences have grown steadily from mass atrocities and hundreds of thousands dead in syria to the repeated use of weapons of mass destruction to the rise of the world's largest terrorist army and its rampage across syria and iraq. to destabilizing refugee flows that have shaken the stability of syria's neighbors and now are potentially changing the character of european society. now we see the latest manifestation of this threat, global terrorist attacks directed and inspired by isil that has killed hundreds across the world. the paris attacks obviously should be a wake-up call for all americans, most of all for the president. if we stay the course, if we don't change our strategy now we will be attacked. i don't know where when or how
but it will happen. do we need to wait for more innocent people not to die before we address the reality that is right before us? isil has said it intends to attack washington, d.c. do we not take them at their word? do we think they're not capable of it? do we think time is on our side? it's not. time is not on our side. the lesson of the september 11 attack was that mass murders cannot be permitted -- mass murderers cannot be permitted safe havens, cannot be permitted safe havens from which to plot our destruction. do we really have to pay that price again through the blood of our citizens? for nearly five years we have been told that there is no military solution to the conflict in syria and iraq, as if anyone believes there is. in fact, one of the things that's most frustrating about the president's rhetoric is that he sets up strawmen.
he says we either should do nothing or the republicans -- the critics now democrats as well wanting to send in hundreds of thousands or a hundred thousand. we do not. we do not. we believe and i am convinced that we can send in a force composed of sunni arabs of egyptians, of turks and americans about 10,000, establish the no-fly zone, allow the refugees a sanctuary and make sure that no barrel bombing will be allowed in those areas and we can succeed. isis is not invincible. the united states of america and our allies are far stronger. we are the strongest nation on earth. and to say that we can't defeat isil is a matter of will, not a matter of whether it's capability or not.
so i say say to my colleagues, the american people, we can defeat isis and we wipe them off the face of the earth but we've got to have a strategy, and this president has never had a strategy. for nearly five years, we have been told there is no military solution, there are no good options, that our influence is limited, but that's not always the case. we won't succeed overnight because if our problem is one of time not policy, then we can't solve every problem in the middle east, as if that be a solves us of our responsibility to make the situation better where we can. this isn't a question of our capacity our capabilities or our options. we've always had options to address this growing threat, but the longer we wait, the longer we wait, the more difficult and risk of cost going is there. four years ago when lindsey graham and i came to this floor
and said we need to have a no-fly zone, we need to arm and train the free syrian army, we need once bashar assad to cross the red line, we could have done it then and it would have been a heck of a lot easier, but this president didn't want to do it and we are faced with a more complex tens of thousand -- couple of hundred thousand syrians dead, millions refugees later, and the president of the united states still won't act, still believes as he stated in his press conference yesterday that somehow everything is going fine. what delusion. after the attack on france, article 5 of nato's founding treaty should be invoked which states that an attack on one is an attack on all. that's what we did after 9/11. the united states should work with our nato ally and our arab partners to assemble a coalition that will take the fight to isil from the air and on the ground.
my friends, air attacks only will not succeed. it will not succeed. i'm sorry to tell you i apologize ahead of time. we need boots on the ground. not a hundred thousand but about 10,000 with the capabilities -- with the dmaibilities are unique to -- capabilities that are unique to american servicemen and women. and we can defeat isil. we have to step up the air campaign by easing overly restrictive rules of engagement. at the same time we've got to recognize that isil will only be defeated by ground combat forces as i said. those don't exist today. we must recognize that our indirect efforts to support our partners on the ground iraqi security forces, moderate syrian opposition force the kurdish peshmerga and sue my tribal forces are insufficient to outpace the growing threat we face. the united states must therefore work to assemble, as i
mentioned, a coalition and ground force that will -- a commitment on the order of 10,000 u.s. troops. in syria we must hasten the end of the civil war. we must accept that russia and iran are not interested in a negotiated solution that favors u.s. interest. russia and iran have entirely different goals than the united states of america in syria. russia wants to keep bashar assad or a stiewj in power. they want -- or a stooge in power, they want to keep their major influence in the region and they want to protect their base there. the united states of america has none of those interests. they want to prop up the guy who's killed 240,000. i appreciate that outpouring of concern of all my colleagues and all americans about these refugees. the refugees are the result of a failure of presidential and american leadership. they're not the cause of it. the cause of these hundreds of
thousands or millions of refugees is because our policy failed bashar assad slaughtered them with barrel bombs and we are now faced with the threat, in some respects, of whether -- of a possibility of one or more of these refugees having gone through greece and now are -- or could possibly, as the director of the c.i.a. said yesterday possibly ongoing operations to try to orchestrate attacks on america. it's often said that america doesn't go abroad in search of monsters to destroy but that doesn't mean there are no monsters in the world that seek to destroy us. the longer we wait to accept this reality the greater the cost we will pay. you know, one of my great heroes and role models as is the case
with many of our colleagues, is winston churchill. and never would compare myself with -- with winston churchill in any possible way except sometimes i do have some empathy with winston churchill who during the 1930's came to the floor -- came to the floor of the parliament and made comments and speeches that were very very moving but no one paid any attention to him. in fact, he was ridiculed. in fact, lindsey graham and i have -- lindsey graham and i have been rid sciewled from time to time because of our assessment of the situation -- ridiculed from time to time because of our assessment of the situation and what needed to be done. so winston churchill once said -- and i quote -- after the crisis had been resolved, to some degree and the family of britain and the world had
awakened -- quote -- and there is a parallel between the situation four years ago and what winston churchill had to say. and a quote -- "when the situation was manageable, it was neglected and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have affected a cure. there is nothing new in the story. it's as old as the cybaline books. it falls into that long, dismal catalog of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. want of foresight unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective lack of clear thinking confusion of counsel until the emergency becomes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong, these are the features which
constitute the endless repetition of history." i say to my colleagues, we are observing the endless repetition of history. what once upon a time was a manageable situation where the president of the united states said, it's not a matter of when bashar assad leaves, it's a matter of when. when the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and then the secretary of defense testified before our committee it's inevitable that bashar assad will go. when the president of the united states continuously said time after time, we have a strategy it's not anything to worry about about. we get out of iraq we draw red lines in syria and don't do it don't take any action after that red line is crossed. when his national security team composed of the secretary of state clinton, secretary of defense panetta and then-director of the c.i.a.
david petraeus all recommended training and arming the free syrian army, he rejected it. so now we find ourselves with 240 million dead in syria more children in school -- syrian children in school in lebanon than lebanese children, jordan, the very fabric of one of our best friends threatened and unstable because of the huge number of refugees. we find a very unstable middle east and we find isis spread now -- libya lebanon yemen and other nations. they've even -- isis has now established a foothold in afghanistan. and the iranians are doing the same. so it's not too late. it's not too late.
we have to take up arms. we have to tell the american people what's at stake here. we have to inform the american people that what happened in paris can happen here. mr. baghdadi, who was once in our prison camp, camp bucca for four years in iraq and said, i'll see you in new york when he left. he was not kidding. and there is no doubt that what isis has just proved is that contrary to what this president believed contrary even what our intelligence told us, they have a reach. they've had a reach to russian -- to shooting -- making sure that a russian jet was destroyed airliner. they have a reach to paris. they have a reach to beirut. and they have a reach in northern africa and other places in the world. and there's no reason why we should not suspect that they have a reach to the united
states of america. it's time we acted. it's time the united states of america acting with our allies, take out isil. we must go both to iraq and to syria and take them out. their total defeat is the only thing that will eliminate this threat to the united states of america. yes, after they're destroyed there's a lot to do. yes there's things such as building societies and economies and free societies and all that. but there's only one thing that mr. baghdadi and his legions understand and that is that we kill them. and we counter with everything we can this spread of this perverted form of an honorable religion called islam. and this is radical islam terrorists whether the president ever wants to say it or not. so my dear colleagues i hope
that working together -- and by the way i just -- one additional point. the refugees are a huge problem. obviously we have to pause until we are sure that nobody is doing exactly what apparently at least one of the terrorists that attacked paris did and that is go through greece and into france. but at the same time we need to understand that the refugee problem is an effect of a failed policy not the cause of it. so i would just like to finally say the president should do two things. one call together the smartest people that we know. i named some of them. general petraeus david -- general keane. there's a number of names of people general mattis, general kelly. there are a number of people who -- bob kagan.
the names are familiar to many of us who follow national security. these people are the ones that made the surge succeed. call them together over to the white house and say give me your advice. he must do that. what he's been listening to and what he's doing is failing. and finally i stand ready -- and i know that my friend lindsey graham, who is my partner and knows more about these issues than any other member of this body and certainly anybody who's running for president of the united states -- we'll go over we'd be glad to go over and sit with the president. i want to cooperate with him. i want to work with him. we need to do that. and i offer up my services and my advice and counsel and anybody else on this side of the aisle. this is a threat to the lives of the men and women who are living in this nation. they deserve our protection and they deserve a bipartisan
approach and a bipartisan action in order to stop that. so i stand ready but right now i have not been more concerned. i leave my colleagues with one -- two fundamental facts. one, there are now more refugees in the world at any time since the end of world war ii. two, there are now more crises in the world than at any time since the end of world war ii. we cannot sustain this failed policies that have led us to the situation that america and the world are in today. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the other senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president over the weekend france suffered the worst attack that it has seen since world twar two -- world
war ii. a day before that, beirut was rocked by two suicide bombings perpetrated by isil that killed more than 40 civilians. we just had it confirmed that the russian plane flying over the sinai was taken down by a terrorist bomb. again, isil has claimed credit. these attacks have followed on the heels of an announced -- an announcement two weeks earlier by the president that he's authorized the deployment of up to 50 special forces in syria. they will be there to support u.s.-backed syrian rebels in the campaign against isil. more than one year after the announcement of operation inherent resolve a mission to -- quote -- "degrade and ultimately defeat" isil this conflict has escalated dramatically. the facts on the ground in the middle east have changed dramatically.
russia is intervening militarily on behalf of bashar assad in syria. hundreds of thousands of syrians have left their homes and have left the country to escape isil and assad. precipitating a massive humanitarian crisis that has brought the european union under great strain. in addition to the deployment of u.s. special forces in syria news reports indicate that the u.s. will increase supplies of military weapons to u.s.-backed syrian rebels fighting isil. for all the changes that we've seen over the past year one thing has not changed -- the congress of the united states has not voted to authorize the use of military force against isil. that needs to change. that's why i've come to the floor today and senator -- and the senator from virginia, senator kaine who will speak in a moment, has come as well.
we need an authorization for the use of military force. now, the president maintains that the legal underpinnings of his authorization come from the aumf provided to our previous president in the 107th congress back in 2001. the 2001 aumf allowed the president the authority to use -- quote -- "all necessary and appropriate force" against those he determined who planned authorized or committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001 or harbored such organizations or persons." more than ten years later two provisions of the massive f.y. 2012 national defense authorization act expanded the 2001 aumf to include -- quote -- associated forces of al qaeda and the taliban. now, this is an expansion from what the administration derives its authority for today's actions to go after the islamic state in iraq and syria.
i'm not standing here today to debate the merits of the administration's arguments as to whether or not they have the legal authority. that's not what is at issue right here. what is at issue is the ease with which congress happily defers to old statutes and abdicates its authority to weigh in on what history will record as long, complex brutal conflict. this conflict hag going on for more than a year with very mixed results, and the consequences will change the geopolitical landscape in that region for decades. ten american service members have died supporting operation inherent resolve. one of them recently killed in action. five others have been wounded. with thousands of service members in support of operation inherent resolve and attacks happening all over the world the notion that a 14-year-old
statute aimed at another enemy is any kind of substitute for congressional authorization is insufficient. operation inherent resolve warrants its own authorization not just because of its size and duration, because americans are dying in pursuit of it or because it is directed at an enemy that is a threat to our security. this mission warrants its own authorization because we want it to succeed. we want the world to know that the united states speaks with one voice. nearly a year ago the senate foreign relations committee passed -- we pressed the administration to come forward with a draft aumf against isil. when it did not do so, the committee proceeded with its own aumf, which spurred the administration to take action. two months after that exercise, the administration sent up its own draft aumf. that was more than eight months ago.
but efforts to produce an aumf here in congress have since stalled. in an effort to break the gridlock, as i mentioned, the senator from virginia, mr. kaine, and myself introduced a resolution that we think represents a good compromise. it may not be perfect. it may represent only a starting point, but we need a starting point here and we need to move forward. this issue is far too important not to try to get an agreement to move ahead. i would urge my colleagues to consider the importance of this operation against isil, and the implications to foreign policies for many years ahead. specifically the implications to this body congress of the united states and the u.s. senate if we're not even willing to weigh in and authorize the use of force here, what does that say to our adversaries. what does that say to our allies? what does that say to the troops who are fighting on our behalf?
how much longer can we go without an authorization for use of force? with that, i'd like to yield time to my colleague the senator from virginia. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia is recognized. mr. kaine: thank you mr. president, and i thank my colleague from arizona for working so closely. this does not have to be a partisan issue. in fact, it should not be a partisan issue. my sense is in this congress, in both houses, 80-plus percent of the members believe strongly that the united states should be engaged in military action under some circumstances against this horrible threat of isil, and yet despite that overwhelming consensus and despite the clear constitutional command in article 1 that we should not be at war without a vote of congress, there has been a strange conspiracy of silence about this in the legislative branch for the last 16 months. the senator from arizona and i introduced a resolution in january to authorize military
force building upon previous efforts in the foreign relations committee, the president's authorization. we did it knowing it's not perfect, knowing not everyone would agree with every word, but we did it to show we can be bipartisan and stand up against a threat like isil. let's just review as the senator did, let's review what has happened since august 8, 2014. the president on that day started air strikes against isil and said he was doing it for two reasons. first, to protect american personnel who were jeopardized at a consulate in irbil and second to provide humanitarian support for members of a minority religious secretary the azidib es who were being hammed in. at that point in 2014 isil and their activities were limited to iraq and syria. 16 months later we have lost four american hostages who have been executed by isil, we have
lost ten american service men and women who were deployed to that theater, we have about 3,600 american troops who were deployed thousands of miles from home risking their lives every day. we have spent $5 billion, $11 million a day in the battle against isil, we have flown nearly 6,300 air strikes with american aircraft against isil. isil which was at first limited to iraq and syria now has presence in afghanistan libya yemen, somalia. they have undertaken attacks that they claim credit for in the sinai and egypt and in lebanon. this threat is mutating and growing, and at the end of last week on friday the 13th, we saw the horror of isil with the grim assassination of innocents as they were enjoying dinner or going to music concerts or watching soccer games in paris.
isil put out a video a few days ago threatening similar attacks on washington. isil's not going away. this is a threat, and the president started military action for a narrow and limited reason but the threat has mutated. like a cancer, it's grown and it is now affecting nations all over the world. and so the question is how long will congress continue to be silent about this? congress -- and i will say i think this is a malady that you can lay at the feet of both parties in both houses. congress seems to prefer a strategy of criticize what the president's doing and look, i'm critical of some of the things that the president's doing. the senator from arizona the senior senator's speech earlier laid out some challenges with the strategy. but it's not enough for this body that has a constitutional authority in matters of war to just criticize the commander in chief, but what we've done is
sat on the said ions and criticized, but we have not been willing either to vote to authorize what's going on, vote to stop what's going on or vote to refine or revise what's going on. it's easy to be a critic. it's easy to sit in the stands and watch a play and say well, why didn't the coach call a different play, but we're not fans here. we're the owners of the team. we're the article 1 branch and we're not supposed to be at war without a vote of congress. i will hand it back to my colleague from arizona and then perhaps i could say a few concluding words that would be more about the kind of emotional rather than the legal side of this as we're thinking about the challenges in paris but i think the events of last week, egypt beirut paris demonstrate that the voice of congress is needed. the voice of congress is needed to fulfill our article 1 responsibility. the voice of congress is needed as the senator from arizona mentioned because we send a
message by our voice to our allies, to the adversary and to our troops. the voice of congress is also needed because it has the effect of solving some of the problems that senator mccain mentioned earlier. to the extent that the administration's strategy is not what we would want it to be, they have to present a strategy to congress. when we ask tough questions of the witnesses and we refine it and it gets better and we do that all in the view of the american public so they can be educated about what's at stake. when you don't have the debate, you don't put before the american public the reasons for the involvement and that is desperately needed. with that, i want to thank again my colleague from arizona. i'd like to say a few words at the end about why this is a matter of emotional significance to me, but i would now defer to my colleague. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: thank you mr. president. i thank my colleague from virginia. let me just say i mentioned we both mentioned the importance of the message that needs to be sent from the u.s. congress,
article 1 branch. the message to our troops who are fighting on our behalf. second the message to our adversaries. they need to know that we are resolved that we speak with one voice. let me talk for just a second about the message to our allies. an authorization for use of force will dictate and will set the parameters for that use of force. our allies need to know if we're all in or if there are certain limitations. if we decide that this body, if the congress decides there are certain limitations of that use of force our allies need to know that. they need to know their role, what they're required to do. that will be a useful thing. if there are limitations, we need to spell them out. if there aren't, we need to let our adversaries know that as well. but whatever the case, we need to debate this and we need to authorize this use of force. we've waited long enough, we've waited frankly far too long.
we've asked the president for language. the president sent language up. i think it's lacking in a few areas, i like some parts of it, but it needs to be debated here. and if we have asked the president for that language, then we need to take it up and actually do something with it. it's our responsibility, we are the article 1 branch. we're the branch that is supposed to declare war. and we need to do that here. so i would again invite my colleague from virginia to close here and thank the president and just say that it's time, it's well past time that we move on this and hopefully the events of the past couple of weeks the attacks that happened in paris the bombing of a plane the other suicide bombings that have occurred, our commitment of new resources will convince us all that it's time to act here in congress. with that, i yield back. mr. kaine: thank you
mr. president, and thank you again to the senator from arizona for joining together in this important area. so i had a -- an epiphany that was kind of a sad epiphany on friday. i was thinking about senator flake and i have children that are about the same age. i was thinking about young people looking at our pages here thinking about young people. like many when the attacks happened friday, my first thoughts were to who do i know in paris? a lot of folks have relatives or have family or co-workers or former co-workers that were in paris, and like a lot of people, i got on the phone and i got on the text to try to track down my niece. i have a niece who is a student at law school, third year law student. she is in paris for a semester studying there. she was in the restaurant area where the shootings occurred, so close that she could hear them. she was not immediately affected but she and her
friends had to kind of barricade themselves in the restaurant for a while wondering what was going on. now, we were able to determine elizabeth was fine, and she assured all the family and the people who wanted to send her the plane ticket to come home, no i'm fine. but i started to think about over the weekend like how fine she really was how fine our young people really are because elizabeth was a peace corps volunteer in cameroon a few years ago and since coming home the village that she lived in was essentially wiped out by boko haram. the next door neighbor that was her protector and the protector of all the peace corps volunteers that came before was killed along with a lot of her other friends. and boko haram has now pledged allegiance to isil. so she has had the experience of losing friends in a terrorist attack in cameroon and now she has had the experience of being nearby near a terrorist attack
in paris. and it started to just kind of work on my conscience a little bit that this for now for her is a norm. you know, for me at age 57, these events are not the norm. they're the extreme. but for elizabeth or for my children, i have three kids, one in the military. they all came of age after 9/11. we're living in a world that for so many of our young people, the norm is not peace and safety and complacency. the norm is war or terrorist attacks all over the globe and if that can be said about american young people, it's certainly the case for young people in france or young people in syria or all over the region. i hate that we're living in a world where young people are starting to think that this is the norm rather than the exception. and it seems to me as an adult
as somebody in a leadership position, that part of what we need to do is rather than just allow us to drift without taking a position into the world where this is more and more normal, while acknowledging that we are humble people and we can't completely control our destiny we've got to take charge of a situation and not stand by and just lob in criticism but try to shape it to the best of our ability. i think that was the genius of the drafters of the constitution constitution. james madison a virginian, who drafted many of these provisions, was trying to do something incredibly radical. war at the time was for the king or the monarch or the emperor and madison and the others who drafted the american constitution said, we're going to take that power to initiative war away from the -- to initiate war away from the executive nobody else has ever done this, and we're going to put the power if the hand of the people's representatives so they can
debate and soberly analyze when you should take that step of authorizing military action. we're evenwhere even under the best of circumstances horrible things can happen and people can lose their lives. we've allowed this war to go on long enough without putting a congressional fingerprint on it. for our young peemg peemg people, for our troops for our allies we should take up that leadership mantle and try to shape this mutating and growing threat. with that, i yield the floor and thank again my colleague from arizona. mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president the obama administration's war on
energy isn't just a war on coal, it's a war on american jobs, on american families, and our national security. and that's why it's so surprise that the president's anti-energy yeandz isagenda is getting opposition from both sides of the aisle. i'm thankful for the bipartisan leadership by senator mcconnell and as well as senator heitkamp in standing up against the regulations against our nation's coal-fired power plants. i'm glad to join them to stop the e.p.a. from imposing its anti-coal regulations. the congressional review act resolution of disapproval we are considering today will block the obama administration's regulations on existing coal-fired plants. we're also seeing strong opposition strong opposition from more than half of the states in the country, including
my home state of montana that through three different lawsuits have requested an initial stay on the rule. the obama administration's wreckless agenda is -- reckless yeandz isagenda is shutting down coal-fired power plants across the united states. it is stifling investments that could lead to innovation to make coal even cleaner here in the united states. president obama calls it the clean power plan. that's not named correctly. it should be called the unaffordable energy plan. president obama's unaffordable energy plan will have a negligible energy impact on global emissions but it will lead to devastating consequences for affordable energy and these good-paying union and tribal jobs. here are the facts: the united states mines just 11% of the world's coal and consumes
about 10.5% of the world's coal. said another way 90% approximately, of all the coal that's mined and consumed occurs outside the united states. and global demand for coal-fired energy will not disappear even if the united states were to shut down every last coal mine and coal-fired plant. coal use around the world has grown four times faforts faster than renewables. 1,200 coal plants are planned in 59 countries. let meet say that again. 1,200 coal plants are planned in 59 countries about three-quarters of which will be in china and india. china alone consumes 4 billion tons of coal per year. compare that to the united states as 1 billion tons a year. in other words china four times greater than the united states. in fact, comien china is building a new coal plant every ten days for the next ten years.
look at japan, for example. after the great quake there in japan, they lost their nuclear power capability. japan is currently building 43 coal-fired plants, and by 2020 india may have built two and a half times as much coal capacity as the u.s. is about to lose. so the obama administration's reckless war on energy will have little impact on global emissions. but here's what it will do: it will devastate significant parts of our economy. it's going to cause energy bills to skyrocket. it'll be a loss of tax revenues for our schools, for our roads for our teachers, and it's going to destroy family, wage, union and tribal jobs. if this rule moves forward countless coal-fired plants like colstr power plant in montana will likely be shuttered putting thousands of jobs at risk, and
it also will make new coal-fired plants incredibly difficult to build. coal keeps the lights on in this country, and it will continue to power the world for decades to come. in fact, in my home state of montana, it provides more than half of our electricity. i've told my kids, we have four children that when they plug in their phones, odds are it's coal that powering that phone. and rather than dismissing this reality, the united states should be on the cutting edge of technological advances in energy development. we should be leading the way in powering the wocialtion not disengauge -- the world not disengaging. president obama's out-of-touch regulations take us out and people that can afford it the lead will be impacted the most. i join my colleagues to join us to stop the president's job-killing regulations on affordable energy. join us in standing up for
american energy independence. with what we've seen happen in the world in the last week, our in the security and energy independence are tied together. stand up for american jobs, stand up for hardworking american families. thank you, mr. president. ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the sphror massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president on friday isis terrorists massacred 129 people in paris. just the day before, isis terrorists massacred 43 people in beirut. while these are merely the latest in a series of horrific attacks launched by isis over the last few years these twin tragedies have riveted the attention of the world. these events test us. it is easy to proclaim that we are tough and brave and good-hearted when threats feel far away. but when those threats loom large and close by, our actions will strip away our tough talk and reveal who we really are.
we face a choice, a choice either to lead the world by example or to turn our backs to the threats and the suffering around us. last month senator shaheen senator durbin, senator klobuchar and i traveled to europe to see the syrian refugee crisis up close. i come to the senate floor today to speak about what i saw and to try to shed some light on the choice we face. over the past four years millions of people have fled their homes in syria running for their lives searching for a future for themselves and their families. official estimates indicate that 2 million syrians are now living in turkey, more than a million in lebanon and more than half a million in jordan. the true numbers are probably much larger. the crisis has put an enormous economic and political strain on those countries. in late 2014 i traveled to jordan where i visit add u.n. refugee processing strvment i
also met with jordan's foreign minister with u.n. representatives and with american military personnel stationed in amman. even a year ago it was clear that the humanitarian crisis was so straining these host countries and that there was no end in sight. in recent months, the crisis has accelerated. the steady stream of refugees fleeing syria has become a flood, and that flood has swept across europe. every day refugees set out on a journey of hundreds of miles from syria to the turkish coast. when they arrive, they're met by human smugglers who charge $1,000 a head for a place on a shoddy overloaded, plastic raft that is floated out to sea hopefully in the direction of one of the greek islands. i visited one of those islands last month.
lesbos is only a few miles but the risks of crossing is immense. these overcrowded paper-thin rafts are dangerously unsteady. parents do their best to protect their children. little ones are outfitted with blowup pool floaties as a substitute for life jackets in the hope that if their rafts go down ads a $1.99 pool toy will be enough to save the life of a small child. according to some estimates more than 500 people have died crossing the sea from turkey to greece so far this year. despite the risks, thousands make the trip every day. greek coast guard officials told us that when refugees see a coast guard ship, they may even slash holes in their own rafts just so they won't be turned back. i met with the mayor of lesbos who described how his tiny greek
island has struggled to cope with those refugees who have washed ashore. refugees are processed in reception centers on the island before boarding ferries to athens but greece plainly lacks the resources necessary to handle these enormous numbers. refugees pile into the reception centers, overflowing the facilities sleeping in parks or beside the road. last month a volunteer doctor in lesbos was quoted as saying, "there are thousands of children here and their feet are literally rotting. they can't keep dry, they have high fevers, and they're standing in the pouring rain for days on end." recently the mayor told a local radio program that the island had run out of room to bury the dead. greece is's overwhelmed
registration system is not only a humanitarian crisis but also a security risk. in meeting after meeting i asked greek officials about sciewsht screening for these migrants and time after time i heard the same answer. it was all greece could do simply to fingerprint these individuals and write down their names, before sending them off to athens and from there to somewhere else in europe. now greece's interior minister says that fingerprints taken from one of the paris attackers may match someone who registered as a refugee at a greek island entry point in early october. whether this ultimately ultimately proves to be true, there is no question that a screening system that can do no more than confirm after the fact that a terrorist entered europe is obviously not a screening system that is working. the burden of dealing with syrian refugees cannot fall on greece alone. greece and the other border countries dealing with this
crisis need money and expertise to screen out security threats. europe needs to provide that assistance as quickly as possible and if we are serious about preventing another tragedy like the one in paris the united states must help. we must build adequate procedures to make sure that refugees, especially those who have entered europe through this slipshod screening process can enter the united states only after they have been thoroughly vetted and we are fully confident that they do not pose a risk to our nation or our people. the security threat is real, and it must be addressed. but on our visit to lesbos, we also had the chance to meet with refugees processed at the reception center to see who most of them really are. and from the outside with its barbed wire and guard towers, it looks like a prison.
at the entrance, words "freedom for all" are etched. in speaking with refugees inside it feels more like a 21st century ellis island. we met doctors and teachers and civil engineers and college students young educated middle-class syrians seeking freedom and the opportunity for themselves and their families and seeking a safe refuge from isis, just like the rest of us. the most heartbreaking cases are the unaccompanied children much these boys and girls are separated from the other refugees in a fenced-off outdoor dormitory area. i met a young girl in that fenced-in area, younger than my own granddaughters, sent out on this perilous journey alone. when i asked how old she was she shyly held up seven fingers.
i wonder what would convince parents to hand a 7-year-old girl and a wad of cash to human smugglers? what could possibly possess them to send a beloved child across the treacherous seas with no more protection than a pool floatie? what could make them send a child on a journey knowing that crime rings of sex slavery and organ harvesting prey on these children, send a little girl out alone with only the wildest vaguest hope that she might make it through alive and find something, anything, better on the other side? well today we all know why parents would send a child on a journey alone. the events of the last week in paris and beirut drive it home. the terrorists of isis, enemies of islam and all modern civilization butchers who rape, torture and execute women and
chich, who blow -- women and children who blow themselves up in a lunatic effort to kill as many people as possible, these terrorists have spent years torturing the people of syria. and what about the syrian government? president bashar al-assad has spent years bombing his own people. day after day month after month, year after year, syrian civilians have been caught in the middle, subjected to suicide attacks, car bombings, hotel bombings at the hands of isis or assad or this faction or that faction. each assault more senseless than the last. day after day month after month, year after year, mothers fathers, children, grandparents are slaughtered. in the wake of the murders in paris and beirut last week, people in america in europe and throughout the world are fearful. millions of syrians are fearful
as well terrified by the reality of their daily lives terrified that their last avenue of escape from the horrors of isis will be closed. terrified that the world will turn it's back on -- turn its back on them and their children. some politicians have already moved in that direction proposing to close our country to people fleeing the massacre in syria. but with millions of syrian refugees already in europe, already carrying european passports, already able to travel to the united states and with more moving across europe every day, that is not a real plan to keep us safe. and that is not who we are. we are a country of immigrants and refugees, a country made strong by our diversity a country founded by those crossing the sea fleeing religious persecution and
seeking religious freedom. we are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of isis murderers because some politician doesn't like their religion. and we are not a nation that backs down out of fear. our first responsibility is to protect this country. we must embrace that fundamental obligation. but we do not make ourselves safer by ignoring our common humanity and turning away from our moral obligation. isis has shown itself to the world. we cannot and we will not abandon the people of france to this butchery. we cannot and we will not abandon the people of lebanon to this butchery. and we cannot and we will must not abandon the people of syria to this butchery. the terrorists in paris and beirut remind us that the hate of a few can alter the lives of
many. now we have a chance to affirm a different message a message that we are a courageous people who will stand strong in the face of terrorism. we have the courage to affirm our commitment to a world of open minds and open hearts. this must be our choice. the same choice that has been made over and over again by every generation of americans. this is always our choice. it is the reason the people of syria and people all around this world look to us for hope. it is the reason isis despises us. and it is the reason we will defeat them. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico.
mr. udall: thank you. let me thank my colleague senator warren, for those very eloquent remarks. she and the senator she traveled with have taught us a lot. we've heard her comments, and she's right. our values in the united states of america are accepting and open to refugees who flee violence and persecution. and that's the country we are. so i thank you very much for your remarks and as i've said, we all have learned very much from you and that trip that you took and what you shared with us. before i begin my remarks today in addition to the things that i've just said, i wanted first to pause for a moment and say a few words about the paris attacks last friday, mr. president. mr. president, the people of new mexico and the people the world
over are grieving for those who were killed and injured in the horrific attacks that have just been talked about by senator warren and others who have come to the floor today. earlier today we had a moment of silence to recognize them, and i just want to say that our thoughts are with the french people and we are united in our resolve to fight the murderous thugs of terrorism who thrive on hate and tolerance and fear. i met today with the french ambassador to give him new mexicans heartfelt condolences. all of us on the senate foreign relations committee today and the senate leadership met with the french ambassador to say to him, we stand together with you against these murderous thugs. now, mr. president, i would just ask consent that my remarks i'm going to give now be in another
place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: mr. president today because we were on this motion of disapproval, we're discussing the issue of climate change and global warming. it is one of our greatest challenges. and we have a choice. we can deny the reality. we can ignore the damage to our planet to our economy and to our security. that's one choice. or we can move forward. we can work together. we can find common ground with a diversified energy portfolio that includes clean energy, with an energy policy that makes sense that creates jobs, that protects the environment and that will keep our nation strong. that is the choice we should make. that is the choice we must make. and once again, that is the choice we are failing to make. this year is almost over. it will likely be the warmest
year on record. and the current record holder last year 20 h -- 2014. the impact is clear and people are seeing it all over the world. with rising sea levels and increased droughts, the southwest is at the eye of the storm. in new mexico, temperatures are rising 50% faster than the global average. not just this year or last year, but for decades. this has strained my state with terrible droughts and wildfires. and when the rain does come, it often brings floods as well. in 2011 we had the largest fire in our state's history the los conchos fire. then in 2012, a year later, we had a larger fire. the whitewater baldy fired burned 259 acres.
we've seen massive droughts. our crops and natural resources are at risk. through all of this, congress has failed to act. there have been many attempts in the past, and we've had many bipartisan bills introduced in the senate. the mccain-lieberman cap-and-trade proposal. the bingaman-specter cap and trade. the cantwell-collins cap and dividend proposal. the lieberman-warner bill. the kerry-gramm bill, and others. in the house of representatives i had my own bipartisan bill with representative tom petri. and in 2005, over half the senate voted on a resolution affirming the need to implement mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in the united states. but each and every time congress failed to make it to the finish line failed to pass comprehensive legislation in
both houses to curb our greenhouse gas emissions. meanwhile, the clock is ticking. time is growing short and we are going from bad to worse. so the president and the e.p.a. have used their authority under the clean air act to implement restrictions and control the pollution. they have done what needs to be done and with the support of many of us here in congress, and we know the support of the american people. the proposals are reasonable. they are critical, and they will make a difference to restrict emissions from new and existing power plants. some in this senate have argued these proposals do too much. and others argue they don't do enough. but instead of rolling up our sleeves and developing a comprehensive energy and climate strategy of our own, we are here today voting on a republican resolution of disapproval of the
clean power plan rules. what a waste of time. the american people's time, the time we have left to seriously address this very important problem. mr. president, i started this speech talking about choices and again we are making the wrong one. we are wasting time when we should be working together and developing proposals that would address global warming and help push forward clean energy jobs. there are now more solar jobs in the united states than coal jobs. there are currently more than 98 solar companies in new mexico, employing 1,600 people. renewable energy jobs and solutions are in abundance in new mexico. and this is true for many other states. a renewable electricity standards which i have long fought for would create 300,000
jobs. most of these jobs are high-paying, are local and cannot be shipped overseas. congress could be using this time moving forward. our country can lead the world in a clean energy economy. we have the technology. we have the resources. we need the commitment. instead the republican leadership in congress is doubling down trying to overturn the president and derailing the progress we are making. they do so knowing they will fail knowing that the president will veto and knowing the votes aren't there to override the veto. this is once again a lot of sound, a lot of fury, and a lot of wasted time. it makes a false claim that support for climate action does not exist in the united states and that it does so ahead of paris-climate conference.
we're at 153 countries mile understanding at this point are going to gather and sign on to positive climate proposals. mr. president, action on climate change is under attack here in the u.s. senate. that is true, make no mistake about it. but also make no mistake all of these attacks will fail. i have led the charge and the appropriations committee and subcommittee on the ranking member to fight against dangerous environmental riders. i will continue to fight them, and they will fail. my colleagues and i are here today in opposition of this resolution of disapproval. and we're also here to ask that we move on, to ask that we work together and face the very real threat of climate change. we will go to paris next month and we will get a solid strong, agreement from the international
community. the united states will continue to lead on this issue even if our republican colleagues continue to fight fight it each step of the way. and with that, i would yield the floor to my good friend from massachusetts, senator ed markey who's been an incredible champion in terms of working legislation and had a big part to do in a congress or two ago getting climate change legislation out of the house of representatives. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: i thank the president. i thank the senator from new mexico and i thank him for his historic leadership on these issues as well. mr. president, the consequences of climate change are evident around the world. temperatures are energying. sea level is rising. glaciers are receding. rainfall is changing. people's health is suffering.
and these impacts can worsen the tensions that are fueling terrorism and conflicts around the world. the pentagon and the c.i.a. have both issued reports that found instability from changes in the climate can contribute to conditions that breed insurgencies. as we look around the world, we can see hear, and feel how climate change is a threat multiplier and a catalyst for conflict today. and that's why partnering with developing countries so that they can grow their economies in a climate-smart way is a crucial part of our foreign policy. that's why we need to support the green climate fund and other financing and aid programs that will help countries increase their resiliency in the face of climate change impacts because those impacts are very real and scientists agree that it is humans that are causing them. 2014 was the hottest year in a
global record that stretches back to 1880. the first half of this year is now the hottest january to june in that same record, as temperatures continue to soar upwards on land, our seas are getting hotter as well. and while we have to deal with the consequences of climate change that are already gripping our nation and our planet, there is still time to prevent future catastrophes. that's why president obama has been using the tool he has in the clean air act to reduce carbon pollution. he's used it to further increase the full efficiencies of america's cars and trucks, and he has released the historic clean power plan. but republicans want to undo that plan with a congressional review act.
undoing the clean power plan would be bad for our economy for our national security, and for our health. the clean power plan captures the scientific urgency and the economic opportunity needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. the clean power plan provides flexibility to the states to find the solutions to reducing carbon pollution that work best for their situations. the clean power plan will be at the heart of a supercharge renewable renaissance in every single state in the union. it will create jobs and save consumers billions on their electricity bills. it will avert almost 100,000 asthma attacks a year and prevent thousands of premature deaths. the climate and health benefits of this rule are estimated to be
$34 billion to $50 billion a year every year by the year 2030. we can create wealth and health for our country with the clean power plan. in massachusetts we know firsthand that by cutting carbon pollution, we can grow our economy and save families money. it is a formula that works. we did it through the regional greenhouse gas initiative which is a model for the green clean power plan. since this program went into effect in 2009 in massachusetts the program has added to massachusetts on the order of $3 billion worth of economic value to participating states and it's saved consumers more than $1.5 billion. massachusetts now has nearly 100,000 people working in the
clean energy sector in our state. it's the fastest-growing job creation sector in our economy. all of this has happened just over the last ten years. as a nation, we have a choice: we can continue to pump harmful carbon pollution into our skies you and foreign oil into our cars or we can pump new life into our economy creating jobs and save americans money on their energy bills. climate deniers in congress call this plan a war on coal, but it is really a war on carbon pollution. the clean power plan is a signal to the marketplace to invest in clean energy, and it is a signal to the world that america will lead the global effort for climate action and to be the global leader. you cannot preach temperance from a barstool. if we want to be the leader, we
have toed stand up and say -- we have to stand up and say here is what we are going to do. by reducing united states carbon pollution, the united states will be the leader and not the laggard in the international climate negotiations beginning at the end of this month in paris. the united states' leadership has helped secure climate pledges for paris from more than 150 countries. we now have the opportunity to forge an international climate agreement that includes all countries doing their fair share for a global solution to global warming. we aren't tackling climate change alone. efforts are under way in legislatures around the world to enact laws and develop national responses to climate change. but without the clean power plan america would not be able to have any credibility in paris in two and a half weeks in
saying that ware we are going to reduce our greenhouse gases. you must as another sovereign country reduce our greenhouse gases. the fossil fuel industry may oppose acting on climate but scientific facts economic opportunity, and history are not on their side. today we're debating a resolution to overturn the clean power plan, and should it pass, the president will veto it, and republicans won't have the votes to overturn the veto. what the republicans are doing today is nothing more than a political kabuki theater. instead of wasting time tilting at legislative windmills, we should be passing extenders to build more solar panels in the united states of america. that's what we should be
debating out here on the floor of the senate today. and if republicans don't like the clean power plan, then i ask them what's their plan to counter climate change? that's the real question we should be debating. the reality is they have no plan. the reality is that as a party they are in denial that the planet is dangerously warming. the reality is that they want to keep the wind and solar tax breaks off of the books giving incentives for americans to innovate in this area. the reality is that the fossil fuel industry is still driving the agenda of the republican party here in congress. that's the reality. and that's why we're having this vote out here on the floor of the senate today because the republican party is siding with big coal, big fossil fuels, in
order to keep us on a pathway that does not allow us to unleash this renewable energy revolution. the green generation, the young generation in our country they want to be the leaders. they are innovators, and they can find investors to help them with their new technology. they are professors and they are producers who want to work together in order to unleash this revolution. the next generation already did this with telecommunications. they moved us from a block -- from a black rotary-dial phone to an iphone in about eight years. there was no innovation that was possible. the utility industry that was the telephone industry had a stake in everyone still renting a black rotary-dial phone. the utility industries, which are the electrical generating century, has a stake in slowing down the pace at which we move
to wind and solar and the new technologies of the 21st century that are the match for the iphone in the telecommunications sector. that's what we're debating out here on the floor the past versus the future. that's what we're debating out here on the floor the 19th century technologies versus the 21st century technologies. 245esthat's what we're debating out here on the floor the status status -- the status quo or the innovation. we did that in telecommunication telecommunication. it's branded google and youtube. we can do the same thing in the clean energy sector but defeating this clean power plan vote today that the republicans brought out here on the floor is the key to unleashing this potential, not only in our own country but across the planet.
i urge a "no" vote on this historic set of regulations that president obama is putting on the books. p it is whatit is what will giveus credibility when he goes to paris in the beginning of december in order to negotiate this historic deal. mr. president, i yield back the balance of my time. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my intern zachary fergus have the privileges of the floor for the balance of the day. the presiding officer: wowcts. mr. merkley: thank you mr. president. i rise to oppose the resolution. it was theodore roosevelt who said "of all the questions that can come before this nation short of the preservation of its existence, there is none that perils its existence than leaving this land an even better land for our decendants than it is for us." theodore roosevelt was at the doer of the conservation moment --
movement in the republican party. it is a republican party far removed from the party of that day. roosevelt's determination to -- quote -- "leave this land a little better" has been replaced by complete abdication of responsible leadership for the stewardship of our planet. the clean power plan that this resolution concerns is the single-most significant step this country has taken now or in the past to combat climate change. many citizens do not know that over the past few binged decades we have seen carbon pollution rise in the atmosphere and it is now up to the level of 400 parts per million. as this carbon dioxide concentrates it traps the heat
and that heat is producing harmful consequences. we haven't had this level for three million years long before humans walked this planet and when sea levels were as much as 80 feet higher than they are today. so this is no ivory tower issue. it's very real not only in the measurement of pollution in the air but of the effects on the ground. in my home state we're seeing the impact on our forests. we see it in the impact of the pine beetles spreading. we see it in fiercer forest fires, a season that has grown 60 days in 040 years. we see it in terms of the diminishing snowpack in the cascades which not only makes our trout streams warmer and smaller, but it decreases the water we have for agriculture
and we have a massive drought year after year -- three worst-ever droughts in the last 15 years in the klamath basin in the south. we see it in terms of our sea production, our oysters, which are strig struggling to create shells because the pacific ocean is 30% more acidic than it was before the industrial revolution. so the carbon pollution is really a war on rural america. it is a war on you are 0 forest century. it is a war on our fishing. it is a war on farming. and that cannot be allowed to stand. there is no question that we have the conclusive evidence of global. 14 of the 15 warmest years on record globally have all occurred in the last 15 years. they've all occurred in this century. and 2014 was the warmest year
ever again on a global basis and this year, 2015, is on course to be yet warmer yet. well this translates not only in damage to our rural economy in terms of our forestry and our fishing and our farming but also in terms of the economic impact that occurs from that damage. the damage that we see today is only going to get worse in the years ahead. these rural industries will suffer american livelihoods will suffer. it means it is irresponsible to continue business as usual. we need to dramatically change course. we need to pivot from a fossil fuel energy economy to renewable energy economy. now, the clean power plan sets a achievable standards to redues carbon dioxide by 32% by 2030.
strong standards but achievable standards. we have the technology today. do we have the political will? or is this body going to be ensnared by the powerful lobbying of the koch brothers and fossil fuel industry who have announced they're going to spend $1 billion in the next election to make sure their policies are the ones adopted in this room, that their policies will guide our future? well how about this? how about we have policies that are the policies related to the welfare of american citizens, related to the welfare of our farmers and our fishing industry our forest industry? how about we fight for rural america instead of being led astray by the koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry? we know that the clean power plan will have a powerful,
positive impact, that it will provide significant public health benefits, reducing premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90%. it will avoid 3,600 prematurely deaths lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks for children, prevent 300,000 missed work and school days. we know that this plan will create tens of thousands of new jobs for driving new investments in cleaner more modern and more efficient technologies. it will save the american family nearly $85 on their annual energy bill. fewer l deaths is a good thing. more jobs is a good thing. saving families money is a good thing. so let's fight for good things. let's not follow the path my republican colleagues are proposing in which they are
saying "no." they are saying "no" to reducing bills for families. they are saying "no" to creating good-paying jobs. they are saying "no" to improving public health. and they are saying "no" to saving lives. well let's say "yes." it has been said that we are the first generation to feel the impacts of glornlg and the last -- of global warming and the last generation that can do something about it. this is a moral challenge to our generation of humans on this planet on our beautiful blue-green planet. this responsibility rests not with some future generation or some past generation, but with all of us right now. and this resolution to try to torpedo the most effective measure that americans ever adopted in the past or in the present is in fact deeply, deeply misguided. let's turn back to the test president theodore roosevelt put before us when he said that there is no more important
mission than leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us. our children and our children's children are counting on us to act. they are counting on us to save jobs to save lives and to save our planet. mr. president, we must not fail this test. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak in support of the administration's clean power plan. and i think the first thing that must be said and said over and over again especially this week with so many critical issues facing our country with appropriations bills pending with a transportation bill pending, with perhaps a motion to go to conference on the education reauthorization is that we are wasting floor time. is that this piece of legislation has no chance, that
the threshold under the congressional review act is 51 votes, and it's very likely that that threshold will be met. but let's take this through the legislative process. this will eventually, if it passes the house when it passes the house reach the president's desk. and can you imagine that president obama is going to enact legislation that overturns his signature environmental achievement? whether you agree or not with the clean power plan, the idea that he's going to sign this into law is preposterous. so it faces a veto. and so then the only question is can you get 67 votes in the senate? and the answer is a resounding no. so let's put this in context. this is an important debate, but this is not likely to result in any kind of legislation one way or the other. and here's what this is about. the clean air act requires the e.p.a. -- it doesn't authorize
the e.p.a. it requires the e.p.a. to regulate airborne pollutants. okay so it doesn't allow the e.p.a. to pick among airborne pollutants. it requires that any airborne pollutant have limits. and in 2007, the supreme court of the united states determined that co-2, carbon, was in fact an airborne pollutant which is kind of intuitive and inconsistent with what every expert in the field understands. and so the only question is do you believe in the clean air act? do you believe there should be an exception in the clean air act for carbon pollution? do you disagree with the consensus among scientists that carbon is a pollutant? and that's what we're voting on today. so carbon is a pollutant and this is a pretty straightforward policy issue. it's a pretty straightforward scientific issue. the e.p.a. must regulate emissions. and let's also understand how
c.r.a. works. this vehicle is to overturn the clean power plan, and the way the statute runs is it doesn't give the administration or any administration or future administration any flexibility to do a different version of the same thing. it prohibits the administration from doing anything that is -- quote -- "substantially similar." and so the difficulty is of course that hasn't actually been tested too many times in court but the assumption that most attorneys on both sides of this question are operating under is that it would an validate this -- not just invalidate this clean power plan but prohibit the e.p.a. from regulating carbon on a going-forward basis. so if you have a specific question, if you have a specific objection to the way this thing is administered, fair enough. but you don't have the ability to tell e.p.a. to go and do this again and submit it again. it will actually be illegal under a c.r.a. and so c.r.a. is an extremely blunt instrument. it is an extremely radical thing
to do. and that's what we're con tending with. so why if all of that is true, is there a c.r.a. vote this week? and my instinct is that it is designed to create confusion to kick up dust, and to raise the possibility that the american government does not stand behind the clean power plan as we go into the final throes of the paris climate talks. now we have an opportunity here, we have 160 countries for the first time in history committing to different versions, and all executed from within their own governmental systems. but they're all committing to different emissions reductions. some of them have craidz. some of them have incentives. some of them have financing programs. but all of them are committing to various programs to reduce carbon emissions. this is a significant international achievement.
and in previous climate negotiations folks who opposed international climate action would actually go to these negotiations to create confusion, to imply that the american government was somehow going to not stand by its commitments. that's why i want to go through how the c.r.a. works and what the inevitable outcome of this legislation will be which means that it will be vetoed and that veto will be sustained. and the hope, i think among people who oppose international climate action is that there's enough confusion going into paris that someone can point to the american legislative national legislature and say well, you know, there's no consensus. that's true there is no political consensus but there is no way no practical way to overturn the clean power plan. and there is no going back. i mean, that is the most important aspect of this. this year, 2015, of all the new power generation in the united states, the majority of it was clean energy.
the majority of new power generation in the united states was clean energy. how exciting. i mean, i'm not exactly sure why people fear the clean energy future so much. i understand that we need to make a transition. the state of hawaii depends on low sulfur fuel oil for the vast majority of its electricity and i understand we can't make that transition overnight and i understand that there's going to be disruption and there's going to be difficulty as we make a transformation of this magnitude. but we're going to have to make this transformation, and it doesn't have to be a bad thing. it can create innovation jobs, it can attract investment capital, and it can be a new american economy. it's already happening. this is not pie in the sky anymore. this is already underway. the majority of new power generation in the united states is clean energy. let's keep the momentum up. let's support the clean power plan. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana.
mr. vitter: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: and i thank the senator from delaware for his courtesy in this regard very, very much. mr. president, i rise to strongly urge the adoption of my senate bill 2284 to stop the syrian refugee resettlement program, unless and until we have complete and adequate safeguards in place for the security of our homeland and all of our states. mr. president, it's very clear to me that we do not have those safeguards right now. and what my bill would do, mr. president, is stop the program for 270 days, demand a thorough review of all security issues related to the program demand that changes to that be made and brought before congress and that the program only continue with the consent
of congress after we are assured that the homeland and all of our states will be fully protected. again, mr. president it's very clear to me that's not the case now. i expressed strong concerns and opposition to this program from the very beginning from when i first learned of it in september, i wrote secretaries kerry and johnson regarding the real dangers of taking in thousands upon thousands of refugees from a country and a state of the world where enemies of the united states are all around them. and clearly it posed a danger of those terrorist enemies infiltrating the refugee resettlement process. mr. president, tragically we saw that happen, and we saw the horrible results in paris last friday. as we all know now, at least one of those terrorists in paris got
into france under the syrian refugee resettlement program there. and that is the same danger that's posed to us. now, mr. president i've looked at this. i've had briefings on this. it is clear to me that we do not have adequate safeguards against this. let me just give you one example of testimony in this regard. f.b.i. director james comey has testified that the federal government doesn't have the ability to fully vet 10,000 or more syrian refugees. recently during a house committee on homeland security, a hearing mr. comey stated -- quote -- "we can only query against that against which we have collected. and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the
cows come home, but there is, will be nothing that shows up because we have no record of them." close quote. that puts in simple, straightforward terms the real danger that we cannot properly vet all of these refugees. and this is not from any part of the world any country. this is from a hotbed of anti-american terrorist elements. now, mr. president, there is an additional grave danger with the program as it stands now and that is our complete inability to track these individuals once they're in our country. and unfortunately mr. president, i have an example of this right from my home state of louisiana. just last week a syrian refugee was resettled into baton rouge. as of today he's no longer there. he's gone missing. allegedly he on his own is
relocating to washington d.c. but from the briefings i've had from the state police, no one is in contact with him. no law enforcement or government agency is tracking him in any way. he may or may not check in to a social service agency in washington d.c. they have his information. apparently they're not in contact with him. now this is within a week of his being resettled into where he was supposed to be in baton rouge, louisiana which i object to as a louisianaan. again, he allegedly is coming to washington. by the way our nation's capital, under high security alert. and no one knows exactly where he is. no one is tracking him adequately at all. again, this clearly underscores the inadequacy of our current program. mr. president, we need to put a stop to this until proper, full,
aggressive safeguards are in place. my bill, senate bill 2284, would do that. i'm very happy the house of representatives is acting in considering similar legislation. i believe congressman gray is there, will be introducing my legislation in the house. and i believe the house may take up this matter as soon as thursday. i hope that they do because it's very time sensitive and our security is at stake. i hope that we do by considering this and similar ideas absolutely as soon as possible. we must put a stop to this, mr. president. we must put real security measures in place and we must not allow the flow to continue until we do. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. casey: mr. president, i'd planned to come to the floor just to address the issue of
climate change, sea level rise rise -- mr. carper:er: -- and the clean power plan that's likely to be before us later today -- later this week, at least in debate. but i -- i'm inclined to go back and just follow up on the comments from our -- our friend from louisiana who's just spoken. mr. carper: i -- as our presiding officer knows i'm no longer the chairman of the homeland security committee but i'm the senior democrat. i've served on the committee for about 15 years. and the issues of security of our homeland, whether it's from cyber attacks or terrorists or any number of other threats is one that i have thought about and care a whole lot -- a whole lot about. the couple of months ago i'm sure the presiding officer recalls, and all of us probably recall, that the other side of the capitol we had a special visitor and he addressed a joint session of the congress. and his name was frances.
the pope. it was a papal visit. and he addressed a joint session of the congress. i'm not catholic but i was moved and i know a lot of our colleagues were moved especially when he invoked in front of a national television audience the golden rule when he called on all of us to treat other people the way we want to be treated and also when he invoked the words of matthew 25, "when i was hungry, did you feed me; when i was naked did you clothe me; when i was thirsty did you give me drink; when i was a stranger in your land, did he take me?" did you take me in? and the prospect of a thousand or so syrian refugees coming to this country this year and more next year is -- when i hear that i think of the desperate plight of a lot of people that are trying to escape hellacious situation in syria. they've been living in some cases months or years in refugee camps.
what kind of moral imperative do we have with respect to them? what kind of moral imperative do we have at the same time to ensure that the folks that we allow to come and refugees as to this country that we're going to protect those of us who live here who's of us who live here, from possible threats that might be caused by that immigration? and this week i've learned a few things that, mr. president i didn't know before. there's a lot more i have to learn. but among the things i've learned this week is when folks who are are refugees, whether they're in turkey or in some place in that part of the world or whether they're on the other side of the aisle world in pakistan or any other place refugees when they come to this country they don't like to come just like this. it's not like i'm going to apply as refugee status to come to the u.s. and i would like to come this week or this month or -- or even this year.
the average wait for -- for folks who are in refugee status trying to get someplace out of a refugee camp -- and it could be here -- but if they're especially trying to come here, they could -- the average wait for those refugees is not a week, it's not a month it's not a year, it's a year and a half. and for folks who are of syrian dissent, the wait could be -- syrian descent the wait could be even longer. i'm not going to go, mr. president, through all of the hurdles that folks have to go through but it's a screening process that begins not with the department of homeland security in this country it's a screening process that begins way before that with the u.n. high commission for refugees. they first register refugees. they gather biometric data and they gather other background information. only those who pass the u.n. assessment are ever referred to the united states for possible resettlement. the -- in a case where we're
looking for maybe to accept a thousand syrian refugees this year the u.n. high commissioner for refugees may interview 3,000, 4,000 5,000 refugees or more to find -- trying to come up with a list of a thousand that we would even consider. those refugees are interviewed not when they get off a plane here but overseas before they ever get on to a plane before, they ever get on to a plane they go through any number of multiple background checks and vetting then use biographical checks conducted by the state department security advisory opinions from intelligence and other agencies for certain cases, national counterterrorism center checks with intelligence agency support d.a., department of homeland security and the f.b.i. biometrics checks, did department of defense biometric screening. and then when they get here, if they get here, after going through all of that then they have the opportunity to be interviewed again face to face by the department of homeland security folks who are trained to be interviewing people alleging to be refugees, could
be something else and then after they -- if they get approved to stay here as a refugee, then we continue to monitor them for an extended period of time. for the people in our country who are led to believe as we were a year or so ago if folks were -- remember a year ar so ago with ebola when there was great concern that, you know, we're going to let a lot of people come here across the border with mexico and they were going to have ebola and they were to infectious all and a lot of people was going to die? not one american ever died from -- from ebola contributed here. so i would have us just take a deep breath try to gather the facts and understand really what somebody's got for go through in order as a refugee ever to get here. and it's not an overnight or one-week it's not a one-month it's not a one-year deal. if i happen to be a bad guy over here wanting to come over here -- over there wanting to come over here and create
mischief i sure wouldn't come as a refugee. i wouldn't cool my swrets for a year and a half trying to get through that process. i'd find another way. i'd find another way. that's not what i wanted to talk about, mr. president, you'll be happy to know. i want to talk a little bit about one of our favorite subjects and that is climate change and global warming. i'll just also -- oil i'll start off with a map here. new jersey maryland, philadelphia and inbetween philadelphia and the delmarva peninsula my state the state deaf deaf. and there's a map here, mr. president that's hard probably to see from up there or on television but the outline of this map that is delaware today today. all right? a couple hundred years from now if we don't do something to reduce -- continue to make process on reducing carbon dioxide delaware will not look like the outline of that map.
it's not going to look just like the green but it will be somewhere between the outline of that map and the green that we see here that depicts delaware. for us, this is real. this is -- these are our homes. these are our farms the place where we live and raise our families. so for us, this is something that's serious. now, long before i ever moved to delaware, when i got out of the navy at the end of the vietnam war, i served as a naval flight officer in southeast asia and other places long before i ever did any of that, long before i went to ohio state and studied economics, long before i grew up in virginia, i was born in west virginia. i was born in a coal mining town called beckley, west virginia. my dad coming out of high school chaseman high school in beaver, west virginia, was for awhile a short while a coal miner. when i -- my sister and i even after we growing up and left west virginia, when i -- she was i think was a third grader, i was going off to the second grade, we'd come back and visit our grandparents, my mom's parents, in beaver, west
virginia, right outside of beckley and there is a coal miner who lived next door to my grandparents. and he had a big -- a field of about a two three four-acre field right next to my grandparents' house. and i remember, his name was mr. metters. mr. metters. mr. metters would come home from work about 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon and he would always have his coal mining clothes o. he was a coal miner. and he mined coal for decades. and he also owned a cow. and in that three or four or five-acre field he kept his cow in his shed. and my sister and i would come home, he'd clean up and he would come over and milk his cow. and he would let us milk his cow. mr. metters made -- you know, he didn't make his living off the cow, the milk from that cow. he made his living as a coal miner. and he wasn't the only person who n west virginia who made -- in west virginia who made their living mining coal. and there are still a number of
people in west virginia whose income is derived from mining coal. and they're one of the top five states in the country in terms of coal producing -- coal production. among the others are wyoming kentucky illinois and pennsylvania. so west virginia one of the top five coal produce states. and the number of people working in each those states today as opposed to when my sister and i were little kids running out with mr. metters to milk his cow, the number of people in the coal mining business, employed by coal mining companies, has come down a whole lot. but for these people who have these jobs, they're good-paying jobs and they're life-sustaining jobs for their families. and as we try to figure out how do we reduce the threat to all of us, not just in delaware, not just in america but around the world as we try to figure out how do we reduce the threat to all of us from high levels of carbon in our atmosphere. is there a way to do that -- is there a way to do that that's also respectful of the needs of people in wyoming and west virginia and pennsylvania
illinois and kentucky who are trying to make a living? and all they want to do is mine coal. that's what they've done maybe all their lives. they want to be able to continue to do that. is there a way where golden rule again -- golden rule -- we can somehow adopt a policy or policies that are mindful of their need to be able to sustain and support their own families and at the same time to make sure in doing that, that they don't endanger the rest of us? that's the dilemma that we're in. there's sort of a -- you know, we have a moral imperative to look out for them the coal miners and their families and the states i mentioned and we have a moral imperative to look out for everybody else, including the folks here and up and down the east coast the west coast others whose lives going to be changed if we don't do something and continue to make progress. we're making progress, but continue to make progress with respect to reducing the amount of carbon in our air. i think it's possible to -- to actually --ity -- i don't -- let me
say, i don't think it's necessarily true that there's no way we can try at least to maybe address both moral imperatives. to try to make sure that the folks who for generations mined coal can continue to do that in a way that's not just economically sustainable but environmentally sustainable. and do so in a way that actually looks out for the interests legitimate interests, of a whole lot of us who come from states where we don't mine goal kohl. one -- dined money coal. one of the -- don't mine coal. one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere continues to be coal-fired plants. you know, we generate explect it used to -- electricity and it used to be that 40% of the electricity in the u.s. came from coal-fired plants. maybe another 20% or so from -- from nuclear power plants, another 20% or so from -- from natural gas-fired plants, and the rest from hydroelectric and solar, wind and so forth.
that mix has changed a little, as the presiding officer knows. today coal is down to about 30% natural gas in terms of generating capacity is up to about 30% nuclear still in there about 20% adding a couple of nuclear plants in the next few years maybe building some modular plants, smaller plants. we are generating ever more wind -- electricity from wind and a bit more from solar and from geothermal and from hydro. but coal's down from 40% to maybe 30%. and the projection is that maybe by 19 -- no, by 2030, it will be down from 30% to maybe as low as 20%, 25%. and that's going to create some hardships for the folks in those states including my native state. is there some way that we can actually help them while at the same time we're helping snowrsz those of us who -- helping ourselves, those of us who aren't from those five united
states senate and for as long as i can remember, mr. president i've heard people talking about including from this floor for many years robert byrd, former majority leader the dean of the -- the dean of the senate, i think maybe may have been the longest serving person in the house and senate in history of our country. but he was a big champion of clean-coal technology. and we have pursued in this country, mr. president, since i -- i want to say since 1997, clean coal carbon capture and sequestration technology since 1997. we have spent i'm told, about just in this last decade we've spent about $20 billion since 20 -- maybe since 2005, something like that in the last decade. and we've got a success story. we've had a lot of disappointments but now we have a success story. i just want to share that with our colleagues today. and the success story on u.s. clean coal and a project down in southwest texas in houston where there's an n.r.g. -- n.r.g. is a big utility company
company -- and that project is a clean coal project generating electricity. it's going to come on-line sometime late next year. there are other projects underway and we're continuing to invest a lot of money in clean coal technology. we need to continue to do more. the last thing i want to say is this. we face many threats to our nation these days. isis is certainly one of those. there are terror threats with those. cybersecurity, those are certainly threats that we face. we have an obligation to our grandchildren and their grandchildren to be able to make sure we address those threats. this is not a battle that the u.s. can win alone on those fronts nor with respect to our climate change concerns. it's going to take a coalition of many nations and we are one of those nations. we are one of those nations that probably puts as much co2 in the air as anybody else. we have an obligation to try to figure out how to reduce that amount and reduce the threat. in short we need to be a leader. we need to be a leader. not just saying to other nations you should do this, but also
follow our example. and what we're trying to do is to lead by example. and my last words if i can are our church, mr. president you might appreciate this, but my favre, sometimes he will say i'm preaching to the choir the choir needs to be preached to. the other thing he will say from time to time i will rather see a sermon than hear a sermon. what we're trying to do over the next 15, 20 years is reduce our co2 emissions since 2005 by about 30% leave it up to the states not e.p.a. calling the shots, not micromanagement. leave it out to the states to make sure what works best to help us meet that national target. 30% reduction from 2005 to 2030. that's the goal. my hope is that we'll do our part we'll provide the leadership that's needed. not just by what we say by what
we do. thank you mr. president. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that at 5:30 p.m. today all time on s.j. res. 24 be considered expired and the senate vote on passage of s.j. res. 24. further, that following the disposition of s.j. res. 24, the majority leader be recognized to make a motion to proceed to s.j. res. 23. that if the motion to proceed is agreed to, then all time under the congressional review act be considered expired and that the senate vote on passage of s.j. res. 23. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent i be recognized for such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: this week's votes on -- not this week's. at 5:30 today the two votes are going to take place. on the two c.r.a.'s, one by
senator capito and one by senator mcconnell, as he just refused to. -- referred to. the congressional review act is something really good that's come along for a reason. a lot of people just don't understand the bureaucracy gets out of hand sometimes. i was listening very attentively to my friend from delaware, and when i see some of the things, the regulations that come through, i'm wondering how in the world could this happen? these are things that we have voted on over and over again in the case of cap-and-trade, which is what we're talking about now. our first one was the mccain-lieberman act of 2002. then again 2005. then the warner-lieberman act of 2008. waxman-markey which didn't even come to the senate floor because they knew they didn't have the votes for it. each one of these was rejected by the elected members of the united states senate. by a larger margin each year. now, it's kind of interesting what this president has done, he's taking the things that the
people don't want and he said well if we can't do it through legislation, we'll do it through regulation. so we've seen this time and time again that he has followed this. it's really going to come to a screeching halt this time because there are some things that are going on that people are not aware of. there are a lot of legal problems with obama's carbon rules, especially its power plan. right now, we have 27 states, 24 national trade association, 37 rural electric co-ops, ten major companies, three labor unions representing just under a million workers. they're now challenging the final rule in court. this chart shows you the states that are challenging the rule in court. and so a lot of these entities have requested a judicial stay which will likely put these rules on hold until early next year, and while the courts work through the numerous other challenges time is going to go by and time is certainly not their friend.
i was listening carefully to what my friend from delaware was saying. one observation i have is that the people have caught on. you know, back in 2002, it is very lonely handing here at this podium in this chamber and no one else wanted to be a part of that discussion. and yet, at that time something like the ranking of people insofar as what they thought about the legitimacy of the argument that the world is coming to an end because of global warming was either number one or number two. now, i'm talking about the polls that were across the nation at that time. now that same poll last march that said that global warming is the number one concern back in 2002 it's now number 15, so people have caught on, they have realized the cost is going to be exorbitant and they realize it's not going to accomplish anything. i don't have any doubt that once the courts assess the merits of
these challenges, that the obama administration's power plan, that's what we're talking about will not survive judicial scrutiny. president obama and the mccarthy are equally aware of their equal vote on abilities which is why obama's agency deliberately slow walked the implementation to try to prevent any c.r.a.'s or negative court rulings prior to paris. paris shows it's already begun over there it's going to get very active here in a matter of just a few days. "politico" had an article that was just a week ago that reported that the administration has asked the d.c. circuit to postpone decisions until after december 23. now, what does that tell you? it tells you that they don't want to go over to paris for the big show and then walk in and find out that nothing's going to happen over here in this country
and where the people are in terms of this issue. the agency's lack of legal authority is not only the reason for bipartisan opposition to the administration's carbon regulations. the president's power plan alone would cost $292 billion and result in double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states. now, that's conservative because we have run tests -- actually, we have documentation from m.i.t. from many of the organizations saying that the cost of this type of a cap-and-trade is somewhere in the range of between $300.000000000 and $400.000000000 a year. now, the presiding officer and i are very concerned about the state of oklahoma, the state of oklahoma. every time i hear a trying that talks about trillions or billions of dollars i find out how many families in my state of oklahoma were paid federal income tax and i do the math, this would cost similar to around $3,000 a family, an average family in oklahoma.
now, you couple that with the fact that nothing is happening only here, if you believed in all the dangers that you hear about with co2 emissions, if you really believe that to be true that would not be true in the terms of what we are talking about now because the -- the first administrator of the e.p.a. that was supported by president obama would ask the question if we were to pass regulations or pass the legislation on cap-and-trade would this have the effect of reducing co2 emissions worldwide? she said no, it wouldn't, because it would only affect the united states of america. if that's the case that it's not going to affect the other countries. in fact, you could carry it one step further. if we have very tight restrictions in this country where our manufacturing base is forced to go to other countries
then they are countries that don't have any emission requirements at all had the effect of increasing not decreasing the -- the emissions. we had a hearing in the committee that i chair environment and public works and we had as one of the witnesses harry alfred. harry alfred is the president of the national black chamber of commerce. he talked about how this is any type of a cap-and-trade scheme is unfair to the very poor people. he estimated that the obama power plan would result in an estimated job loss of nearly 200,000 jobs for black americans and more than 300,000 jobs for hispanics. the increased energy costs undermine global competitiveness for american small business and energy-intensive industries. so anyway, these companies will ultimately shut down here at home where the electricity bill becomes too unaffordable and
create jobs instead of our competitors like china. they are real anxious by the way -- i can remember talking to china at the various meetings like the paris meeting that's coming up at the end of next month. they are all just hoping that something will happen where we're going to restrict our manufacturing base because they would be the beneficiaries of that. so the e.p.a. has consistently acknowledged this point. the former lisa jackson says that the u.s. action alone is not going to have any reduction. her job didn't last too long after she made that statement. the current administrator gina mccarthy testified that the president's power plan is not about pollution control but rather about sending a signal to the rest of the world that the united states is serious about addressing global warming. so the minuscule benefits that might come would be hardly measurable to this country. and i'd lastly like to mention
something that people don't talk about very often and that is there is something good about the -- this process that we have that we have available to us as a c.r.a., that's the congressional review act. there are a lot of people who are of a liberal nature. they like overregulation. they don't mind it a bit. when they go back, i'm talking about senators and house members now. they went back to their states and they get hit by all the business community that says we can't compete because of the overregulation of the e.p.a., the response is always well, i have nothing to do with that. unelected bureaucrats are doing that. but that's not true because the c.r.a. -- you guys need to carry this message back with you. the c.r.a. is there so that a person cannot tell the people at home that he's opposed to regulations he's really supporting because what's going to happen is tonight i can tell you right now both of them are going to pass but they're not going to pass by a two-thirds
margin. that means they will go, they will go to the house and pass it, they will go to the president's desk and he will veto it. therefore, it's going to take two-thirds to override a veto. now they will come back for a vote and those individuals who have always rejoiced in not having to vote and getting on record are going to have to vote on them, so that's kind of a neat deal that's going to happen. that's what we are here and you are here in on right now. that reminds me a little bit of copenhagen back in 2009. i remember so well that they were all going over there. that was back when they had the democrat -- the democrats controlled the house and the senate and the white house and they made a real issue and they put on quite a show over there. obama went over, pelosi went over, john kerry went over, and they all talked about the 192 nations that were over there, we are going to pass cap-and-trade as legislation, this is 2009. and i went over at the very last conference and told them that
they weren't telling the truth we're not going to pass it. in fact, there aren't 30 votes in the united states senate that would pass it at that time. and of course that's what ended up being the case. there's a real setback that happened six days ago. you may have noticed mr. president, that secretary of state kerry made the public statement that this would not -- nothing would be binding on the united states that came out of paris. immediately the president of france and all the others up there were outraged saying that he must have been confused. they used the word confused. so right now the big fight that's going on is not conservatives and liberals. it's between those participants who are all for restrictions on emissions. so that's what's going on now. i think that the vote this afternoon is going to be very important, and i can assure anyone who wants to vote against
this can go ahead and do it, but keep in mind this is going to pass it's going to be vetoed by the president it's going to come back for a veto override and everyone's going to be on record. here it is, mr. president. these are the states that are currently anticipating and in the process of putting together action legal action to stop this -- this outcome. so it's very important -- a very important vote this afternoon. with that, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: thank you madam president. i want to begin by he can coag the condolences shared by millions around the -- condolences shared by millions around the world regarding last week's terror attacks in paris. our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those who dievmentd as a nation -- died. as a nation, we remain committed to supporting and defending the people of france in whatever way
we can. at tax in paris last week again remind us of the dangerous world in which we live. although paris has become the focus of the attention the day before the attacks in france, two isis suicide bombers in beirut blew themselves up, killing 40 people in a bustling urban area. our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of beirut and to all those who suffered loss at the hands of this horrific terrorist organization. madam president, isis remains one of the most brutal and indiscriminate terrorist organizations in recent history. its campaign of violence is not limited to a specific region, nationality or religion. as the events in paris have shown us, the threat posed by isis reaches well beyond the borders of iraq and syria. if it can isis will spread its campaign of violence to innocent people all over the world. madam president, the united states as a champion of freedom and democracy, has a duty to stand up against isis brand of radical islam and stomp it out
wherever it exists. isis represents a clear and present danger to the american people and our allies and it must be stopped. president obama when asked about isis the day before the paris attacks made the following statement. he said -- and i quote -- "i don't think they've" -- or i should say, "i don't think they're gaining strength. from start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them." that's from president obama. we've contained them madam president. those are his words. unfortunately isis does not appear to be contained. my colleague from california, the ranking member of the intelligence committee responded this week by saying -- and i quote -- "i've never been more concerned. i read the intelligence faithfully. isil is not contained. isil is expanding." then yesterday president obama unbelievably doubled down on
this failing strategy, stating -- and i quote -- "we have the right strategy and we're going to see it through." and when referring to the paris attacks, he called them -- and i quote again -- "a setback." a setback. madam president based on the number of casualties and population of france, this attack was the equivalent of a 9/11. i would hardly call such an attack a mere setback. when it comes to the u.s. strategy against isis, one thing is clear -- isis cannot simply be contained. isis must be defeated. and from what we've learned so far, most of the terrorists involved in last week's paris attack were individuals who already resided in france and belgium. that means that these are individuals who became radicalized at home, received training or support from isis and in some cases traveled to iraq or syria for training and then returned to france to carry out these attacks.
since isis first occupied territory in iraq and syria and began recruiting foreign fighters, the possibility of these combatants returning home has been a concern to the united states and to our allies. and this aknack paris demonstrates -- attacks in paris demonstrates the validity of that concern. as a nation, we must remain vigilant in defending our homeland against this type of attack by radicalized individuals holding u.s. or european passports. i also want to speak for a moment about the syrian refugee crisis, because it ties into everything that's happening in that region of the world. as we're all aware the regime of bashar al-assad is responsible for the civil war in syria that allowed isis to gain a foothold and to expand. assad used chemical weapons on his own people and hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost as a result of the conflict that he created. it's completely understandable to the peace loving people of
that country want out. just this week several of my colleagues sent a letter to president obama expressing concerns about the possibility of isis infiltrating the syrian refugee population and asking what is being done to thoroughly vet these refugees. over half the governors in this nation have stated that they don't want syrian refugees resettled in their states. i share their concerns. the u.s. should not accept syrian refugees as long as there are -- if there is a threat posed by isis. if we cannot be 100% certain that additional refugees from syria do not put americans at risk the president's plan to accept up to 10,000 additional refugees this year should be rejected. and if the president tries to act unilaterally, congress should cut off funding to prevent the president from taking any action that would put the american people at risk.
if we're really going to be serious about solving the syrian refugee crisis the answer is not deciding which countries are accepting how many refugees. the answer is to defeat isis and remove bashar al-assad from power so the peace loving people of syria can return home. and on that point, i want to speak about a realistic strat tbi for defeating eyes -- strategy for defeating isis. so far the united states has relied entirely on airstrikes. prior to paris france, they were the second coalition partner completing the most strikes. airstrikes are important but ultimately they cannot be a solution in and of themselves. it was president obama's politically motivated decision to withdraw troops from iraq that ultimately led to isis expanding into iraq to begin
with. president obama stated yesterday that boots on the ground would be a mistake but it was his decision to withdraw u.s. troops that is partially responsible for creating this problem. and now we're at a point where retaking territory from isis will require ground forces. there is no way around it. president obama is going to be realistic about defeating isis, he needs to form a coalition capable of taking the war to eyes sois the ground. that does not require the united states committing ground troops but it does require the u.s. leading by example and forming a coalition capable of fighting both in the air and on the ground. the president needs to stop talking about containment and start acting on a strategy that will root out and defeat isis wherever it can be found. thank you madam president and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: i ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president i have the honor of being the ranking democrat on the senate foreign relations committee and earlier today i had a chance to be with other members of the senate with the ambassador from france to express our solidarity solidarity our condolences about those who lost their life from the attack last friday night and to express america's resolve to work with our french to root out isil. let it be clear -- our policy is to degrade defeat and destroy isil wherever it may be any
place in the world. we will retake the properties and lands that they currently control and we will destroy their operation. that is our commitment. that's what we must do. and we will protect u.s. citizens our homeland. that's one of our most solemn responsibilities. we will do that by having the strongest possible security screening measures for those who enter our country. we will do that by enhancing our intelligence gathering capacity, not just here in the united states because we have taken major steps since the attack on our country on september the 11th but we need a seamless system with our allies in europe and our global partners to share timely information so that we can track those who want to do harm to us and that we can apprehend foreign trained fighters who have joined the terrorists and then come back to
europe or try to enter the united states. we need to know where they are and we need to apprehend them and we need to put them out of our community. madam president, let me just mention a couple issues that have come to light recently and that is our policies in regards to refugees. i want to make it clear that we have to have the most stringent security screening so that in settling refugees, we don't allow anyone with any association to terrorist organizations to be able to enter the united states. i also think it's that we -- i also think it's important that we understand the current procedures and process that's in place and how it differs dramatically from europe. in europe, they have millions literally of refugees that are fleeing syria that get into europe a border
country to the middle east through water. and then, of course, enter europe and can travel throughout that country -- throughout that continent. there's virtually no screening. in the united states, before we will resettle a refugee under the auspices of the united nations there's a requirement for in-person interview biographic checks interagency checks biometric screenings, including fingerprinting, initial case review by department of homeland security before an in-person interview and it goes on and on and on. madam president my constituents and your constituents want to make sure that those security screenings are strong enough to make sure terrorists can't get in the united states. and we have a responsibility to make sure that, in fact, is the case. but i also point out that millions travel to the united
states freely through our borders because it's a small world people travel. they travel here for vacation. they travel here for family. we have relationships with many countries known as the visa waiver program where individuals can travel to the united states without obtaining a visa. it's interesting that if a person had a french passport they could enter the united states without a visa so what we need to do is make sure that anyone who comes to america, that we know that if they are dangerous that we have that information and can prevent them from entering our country. i say all this because i hope that what happened in france will energize us in unity to carry out our most important responsibility to keep america safe and keep americans safe. we need to do everything we can whether going after terrorists
or protecting our homeland, to make sure americans are kept safe. madam president, i would ask consent that i could now speak on the pending business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president shortly we'll be voting on the congressional review act the regulatory review act which will allow us to vote on two regulations on the clean power plan rules that have been promulgated by the administration. i would urge my colleagues to reject these resolutions that would prevent these regulations from going forward. in other words madam president i would urge my colleagues to allow these regulations to go forward that deal with the clean power plan rules. there are four reasons i say that. first and foremost, the public health reason. we have responsibility for the public health of the people of this nation. clean air is critically important. the number of children who suffer from asthma will go up
dramatically if we don't clean up our air. premature deaths go up. there is a direct cost to our public health as a result of ignoring what we can do for cleaner air in america. and, madam president that has an effect on our economy. when a parent can't go to work because they have a child suffering from asthma, because the air is not clean to breathe that's a day lost from work. it affects our economy. we also know that if we rely more on clean energy and renewable energy sources that that's stronger for economic growth, creates more jobs. so for the sake not just of our health but for the sake of our economy, it's important that we take the appropriate steps to make sure that we have clean air. and yes madam president there is also the issue of our environment. climate change is real.
we should follow the recommendations of the experts not necessarily the politicians. the experts tell us that our activities on earth is affecting the rate of change of climate. it affects the stability of our world in which we live in, and that we can do something about it for a more positive outcome. the extreme weather seasons that we've seen all too often. i could talk about what's happened in my own state of maryland the impact it's had on the chesapeake bay. we know that. scientists are telling us that. and it's because of the carbon emissions are accelerating that. our activity on earth. scientists say we could do something about it. scientists have told us we can do better in a way that we generate power and reducing carbon emissions. this is not a heavy lift. it's something we can do. shortly, the world will meet in paris to come together, i hope, on a way that we can join as the
international global community with a strategy to reduce our carbon emissions. the u.s. must exercise leadership. part of that leadership president obama has done by the president obama you willgation of these power plan rules. and lastly, -- lastly, mr. president, this is a matter of national security. we know we have a limited amount of fossil fuels. we know that. we also know that renewable energy sources and becoming more energy independent is smart for our national security concerns. so for all those reasons i would urge my colleagues to reject the resolution that would prevent these regulations from going forward. i just want to give by way of example what's happened in my own state of maryland. maryland is well under way in complying with these rules. we're there. we'll be there. we have shown that you can make these types of investments, and by the way we created more jobs
in doing this. creating clean power generation will help your economy, as i said earlier. it helped the maryland economy. so we have been able to move forward in aggressive steps for cleaner energy production. but you know what? marylanders breathe air that's polluted by generation of power in other states. we need a national policy here. it can't be done just by a state. we need a national policy. and that's what these clean power rules do. so i would urge my colleagues to follow the best science allow america to continue to be the world leader, do what's right for the public health for our economy, for our environment for our future, and reject these efforts that would block these rules. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president?
the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you madam president. i rise to speak in opposition to the environmental protection agency's new rules on carbon dioxide, which i believe need to be rescinded. on august 3, 2015, the e.p.a. released its so-called clean power plan. the final plan will impose a 32% reduction nationwide in co2 emissions in the existing electric power sector, compared with 2005 levels. this is an increase from a 30% reduction outlined in last year's proposed rule. north dakota's mandated reductions however far exceed those levels. the e.p.a. originally proposed an 11% reduction but then in the final rule that went from 11% to a 45% reduction. let me repeat that. for our state the e.p.a. put
out a proposed rule that said north dakota actually reduced 11%. then without reissuing a proposed rule or anything else, the e.p.a. said in the final rule no, it's not an 11% reduction in the state of north dakota. it's a 45% reduction. not only does that create real problems in real terms as far as our industry addresses that level of reduction but i think it raises real questions as to whether the e.p.a. followed the law in regulations in promulgating the rule. it's critical to communicate the impacts that this onerous rule will have on our state and across the country especially in our electricity generation and mining sectors. people need to know that thousands of workers' families and communities across the country will be negatively impacted if this -- by this rule. on september 30, 2015, i hosted a meeting with north dakota's
coal industry and regulators to meet with janet mccabe, the e.p.a. assistant administrator in charge of issuing new carbon dioxide rules. we directly communicated our state's opposition to the rule. we also called on the e.p.a. to provide greater flexibility by recognizing the investments and advances made by industry in reducing co2 levels and north dakota's unique coal and geographic resources. as a result of the meeting e.p.a. officials agreed to provide flexibility for the state to submit its state implementation plan, its s.i.p., essentially instead of requiring a plan in one year, we will be able to provide a draft plan in one year with three years to submit the final s.i.p. we also received a commitment for the e.p.a. to send technical staff to north dakota so that the agency could hear firsthand from north dakota regulators and
officials about the challenges in complying with the agency's mandate. also here in the senate, i'm working with colleagues on several legislative efforts to repeal this rule. as a member of the senate appropriations committee i worked to include language in the fiscal year 2016 interior and environmental funding bill to block the e.p.a. from implementing this rule. we're working to include this priority in the fiscal 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that congress will take up in the coming weeks. i'm also joined with senator capito of west virginia to introduce the bipartisan bill, the affordability reliability energy now act or arena act. this legislation would empower state governors protect ratepayers from increases and ensure the reliability of the electric grid. at the same time, it would prevent the e.p.a. from
mandating unproven technology or withholding highway funds from states not in compliance with the rule. further, i am cosponsoring the resolutions of disapproval under the congressional review act to repeal the new e.p.a. regulation which we are considering on the senate floor right now and we will be voting on in little more than half an hour. the congressional review act or c.r.a. authorizes congress by a majority vote to repeal actions by a federal agency after they are formally published and submitted to congress. in north dakota, we have successfully adopted an all of the above approach to energy development. we have demonstrated that we can both utilize our natural resources or do it with better environmental stewardship. e.p.a.'s new rules on carbon dioxide neither reflect our state-led approach nor accounts for the significant investment that our industry and workers have already made to improve the
way electricity is generated in our state and that's true across the country. i encourage my colleagues to vote for senator capito's c.r.a. which disapproves the e.p.a.'s carbon rule for existing electric utility sources as well as leader mcconnell's c.r.a. to disapprove the e.p.a. rule for new sources. we can produce more energy with better environmental stewardship. the way to do it is not by shutting down power plans and destroying jobs as well as raising costs on hardworking families and small businesses. instead, we need to create a business environment that will attract more investments so that the industry can develop and deploy new technologies, new technologies that help us produce more energy more independently, more cost-effectively and at the same time produce environmental -- better environmental stewardship. that's the right way to do it. that's the way we are doing it
in north dakota. thank you madam president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: thank you. i rise today to speak about this battle in the regulatory war being waged by the environmental protection agency. just two weeks ago the senate considered two measures aimed at rolling back ill thoughtout rules by the e.p.a., the waters of the united states rule. this body did the right thing in stating our bipartisan resolve against the rule. unfortunately, here we are again, another week, another proposed rule to massively expand the e.p.a.'s power and another attempt by this administration to stomp out america's coal industry. that's exactly what the clean power plan is, a miscalculated
regulations aimed at keeping coal in the ground at any cost. this latest travesty known as the clean power plan requires states to develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions between 2022 and 2030 in order to accomplish interim and finale mission goals established by the e.p.a. let me clarify that, madam president. this is actually not one rule but three separate rules which taken together would be more aptly named the no power plan. the clean power plan includes a final rule to revise carbon pollution standards for new modified and reconstructed power plans. a final rule to revise carbon pollution standards for existing power plans and thirdly a federal plan for enactment enforcement of the other two rules. simple right? no.
under the guise of flexibility and cooperation the c.p.p. requires states to choose between two types of plans described by the e.p.a. as emission standards approach or a state measures approach. some states like my home state of wyoming will have some terrible choices to make under the c.p.p. under the final rule by the year 2030 wyoming's carbon emissions will have to be 44% lower than in 2005, which is the baseline year the e.p.a. uses for the plan. that's more than double the 19% reduction the e.p.a. imposed upon wyoming in the proposed rule which was released about 18 months ago in june of 2014. as wyoming's governor matt meade said recently when my home state joined 23 others in suing the e.p.a. to strike down the rule, the fact that the agency more than doubled the damage to wyoming in the final rule shows arbitrary and capricious action.
not only that, it puts the onus on the states to figure out how they're going to do it. that's so the e.p.a. can avoid a cost-benefit analysis that they are required to do. but not if they force the states to do it. of course if the states don't do it, then they'll have to do it which means they should have done their cost-benefit analysis to begin with. but they don't have a very good track record on cost-benefit analysis. one of the regulations, the mercury and toxins rule is going to cost $500 million over a ten-year period in costs. in benefits. hard to determine what the costs or benefits are. but the cost is $43 billion a year. couldn't we incentivize somebody to come up with a better system for a whole lot less than $43 billion a year? to save $500 million over, what, ten years? another arbitrary and capricious action. so how did wyoming wind up with
such a huge burden under the clean power plan? because the clean power plan supposes it will achieve carbon emugses reductions from electric generating units that burn fossil fuels -- coal, oil and natural gas. states that produce these fuels are the hardest hit. wyoming is the largest coal-producing state in the nation. wyoming produces 40% of the nation's coal and coal represents almost 40% of the electricity generated in this country. it's abun darnghtsabundant affordable, and clean and stockpilable. if the power plants that produce energy in fossil fuel like coal are forced to shutter their doors to make dramatic structural changes, it will have tangible negative impacts on fossil fuel consumers. that should alarm you because according to the national mining association, every person in america use 20z pounds of coal a day.
of course, when we're talking about co2 we're also breathing co2 and plants need co2. in wyoming a guy has figured out how to grow plants plants vertically. and wholefoods has some of his mechanisms to be able to do that and you actually pull your own groceries when you're in the store. i asked him why he's not doing greenhouses with this. he said, not enough co2. plants rely on co2 to live, and i suggested that he locate near a power plant where they could absorb that co2 and use the waste heat from any power plant and help feed america at the same time. we got to be more innovative in what we're doing instead of just traig to put businesses -- trying to put businesses out of business because we don't like the business. as i said, under the clean power plan, i would whrie have to reduce its carbon emissions by 44%.
these not just a problem for wyoming or the 27,000 people employed by the state's coal industry and the ripple effect it has on the people that work with the things that the people in the coal industry use. if you represent illinois or missouri you should be worried about c.p.p., too. because in 2013 each state ofs received more than 10% of wyoming's coal. wisconsin, kansas, arkansas, and michigan each got 5% of wyoming's coal. wyoming's coal was also distributed to georgia alabama colorado louisiana minnesota and arizona. and if i didn't list your state don't think this issue doesn't affect you. more than a dozen other states and foreign entities get smaller amounts of wyoming coal in 2013. according to the national mining association, which commissioned a report on the clean power plan after it was released, the plan will cost $366 billion and bring double-digit electric rate increases to 43 states.
yes, that's more than a 10% increase to 43 states. all of this because the administration's vendetta against coal and power plants that burn it to provide energy. just this week the e.p.a. held a hearing in denver to receive public comments on the proposed federal plan to implement the clean power plan. that's right. even though 24 states are suing the e.p.a. to block the plan's implementation the agency is going ahead with a rule to implement it. and at that hearing micky shelber, a county commissioner from wyoming also known as the energy capital of the nation, had a chance to speak. campbell county has 11 surface mines that produce over 340 million tons of coal every year. the majority of of which is delivered by train to about 030 states across the country for electricity generation. all in all campbell county coal provides about one-quarter of the nation's electricity every
year. that's one county. so when a campbell county commissioner gets up to talk about power generation, everyone should pay attention. as commissioner shul better pointed out the coal industry has traditionally stepped up and poingdzed out ever challenge thrown at it. if ness any way for new or existing power plants to comply with this rule, it takes time and it takes money. like the commissioner said, america's energy industry always rises to the challenge. but the e.p.a. isn't fighting fair this time. this rule needs to be scrapped in its current form and that's exactly what these joint resolutions of disapproval will do. we've given incentives of billions of dollars to solar and wind and wyoming produces a lot of solar and wind, primarily solar because denver is the