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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 2, 2015 8:30am-10:01am EST

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honorable gentleman who i wish to commend on behalf of all of us in the house for the support of the campaign with all daesh, real name which is daesh and nothing else. >> thank you, and your entire party wanting to support me in this campaign when i first raised when changing the terminology to the defeatist evil organization. will he join me and urge the lead of the opposition to join his own foreign secretary to join his select committee, to join the treasury, to ensure we use of the right common object to defeat this terrorist organization? ..
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explicitly by concrete actions, besides air attacks on civilians. this is the point raised by honourable gentleman from the labour party. i believe all members in house support the the interinitiative on syria agreed in vienna to. we believe that these aims will only be secured through agreement on a serious long-term commitment into syria and this surely must be the key
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diplomatic priority for this government to make sure the time scale is as quick as can be delivered. the u.k. must step up its support for the international syria support initiative and other diplomatic efforts to secure sees fire in syria, political transition, combating terrorists like daesh and long-term reconstruction stability and support. i believe that the government has not answer the questions posed by the foreign affairs committee posed by house of commons. in fact neither do a majority who voted on issue in the rin affairs, committee. in these circumstance, mr. speaker, we can not support the government. it is important, however, mr. speaker, and this is very, very important, that a message goes out to our armed forces that regardless of the differences that we have in this place, we -- for their safety an we appreciate their professionalism. this is particularly ref haven't for me as it would appear most aircraft deployed to the region will be from raf in my
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constituency. the u.k. government, mr. speaker, is going to have a huge problem with legitimacy and mandates for this operation in scotland. it may well win the vote tonight but it will do so with support of only two out of 59 scottish mps. and opinion poll released today shows that 72% of scotts are opposed to the bombing plans of the government and under normal circumstance, in a normal country under these circumstances the armed forces would not be deployed. mr. speaker, i was cosponsor of the 2003 amendment to oppose invading iraq. and i am proud to cosponsor today's amendment opposing bombing in syria. i appeal to colleagues on all sides to make sure we do not ignore the lessons of afghanistan, ignore the lessons of iraq, ignore the lessons of
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libya. let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. let's not give breen light to military action without a comprehensive and credible plan to win the peace. >> dr. liam fox. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker it is very important for the whole house that in this debate today we're clear about what is hidden about. this is not about provoking a new confrontation with daesh. they have already confronted peace and decency and humanity. we've seen what they're capable of in terms of beheads, crucifixes, mass rape. refugee crisis they provoked in the middle east with its terrible cost. their willingness to export jihad whenever they're able to do so. it is also not about bombing syria per se being portrayed outside. it is extension of a military
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campaign we're already following in iraq. nonexistent border in the sand. unwillingness of leader of your position to answer question of my honourable friend will give clear impression he is not just against extension of bombing campaign in syrian territory but he is against bombing daesh at home. very serious position to hold and to understand the nature of the threat that we face and why require as military response. we need to understand the mind-set of the jihadists themselves. first of all, they take an extreme and distorted religious position. they then dehumanize the their opponents calling them infidels, hair rhett ticks, apostates. majority of them they killed are other muslims, not those of other religions. they tell themself it is god's work. because its god's work. accept no man made restraint.
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no laws, no borders. they deploy extreme -- self-appointed mission. we've seen that violence on the sands of tunisia. we have it in the screams of the jordanian pilot who was burned alive in a cage. we need to be under no illusions about the nature of the threat that we face. this is not like some of the armed political terrorists we've seen in the past. this is a fundamentally different threat. this is a group that does not seek accommodation. they seek domination. we need to understand that before we are able to determine what our response should be. i will give way once to my right honourable friend. >> greatful to my right honourable friend. he will know of concerns about daesh starting to leave syria to go to libya in growing numbers. does he agree with me, when we are tackling isis and-in syria
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we will have to confront them at some stage in libya -- daesh. >> he is absolutely right. we have not chosen this confrontation. they chosen to confront us and free world and decency and humanity. it is prerequisite for peace and stability in the future we deal with this threat wherever it manifests itself. there are two elements to this motion, mr. speaker. there are the military elements and political elements. all the military questions, will british bombing as part of an allied action in syria be a game-changer? no, it won't be a game-changer but it will make a significant and serious contribution to what the alliance is able to do. and the prime minister is absolutely correct when he says some of the weaponry we possess enables us to diminish civilian casualties. that is important from a humanitarian point of view. it is important in not handing a
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propaganda weapon to our opponents in the region. britain has contributed to this. we did it successfully in libya. minimizing civilian casualties. it is not an unimportant contribution to me. i believe we must be rational and cautious about wider implications. no war, no conflict is ever won from the air alone and the prime minister was right to point out this is only a part of the wider response. if we don't degrade the command-and-control of daesh territory will need to be taken and will need to be held. i believe ultimately we will need to see an international coalition on the ground if that is to be successful in the long term. there may be syrian fighters of a number that actually set out. they may be coordinating the international coalition. they may be capable of doing so but we have to recognize that there needs to be a wider ability to take and hold territory. but can i say to those who are
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opposing the motion. the longer we wait to act, the smaller that number of allies is likely to be and the less their capability is likely to be as part of a wider coalition. if we do not have stability and security on the ground in syria there is no chance of peace whatever happens in vienna. mr. speaker, on the political side, our allies simply believe that it is absurd for britain to be part of a military campaign against daesh in iraq but not in syria. it is patently militarily absurd position for us to hold and we have a chance to correct it today but we must not contract out the security of the united kingdom to our allies. it is a national embarassment that we are asking, asking our allies to do what we believe is necessary to tackling fundamental threats to the
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security of the united kingdom and this house of commons should not stand for it. finally, mr. speaker, on that, when we do not act it makes it much more difficult for diplomatically for us to persuade other countries to the airstrikes and peeling off of u.a.e., and saudi from the coalition attacking daesh is of great significance. we have a chance to revert that if we take a solid position today. mr. speaker, this vote on the action proposes will not in itself defeat daesh but it will help. alongside the vienna process it may help bring peace long term to the syrian people. without the defeat of daesh there will be no peace. we have not chosen this conflict but we can not ignore it. to do nothing is policy position which will have its own consequences. if we do act it doesn't mean we will not see a terrorist atrocity in this country but if we do not tackle daesh, at the
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source over there there will be increasing risk we have to face the consequences over here. that would be an abdication of the primary responsibility of the house of commons which is the protection and defense of the british people. that is what this debate is all about. >> the gerald kaufman. >> mr. speaker, there is of course absolutely no doubt that daesh, i-s, is vial, loathsome, murderous organization. the attack in paris, murder of 130 innocent people, could just have well as been in london and their choice of paris was retaliation against french activity in their region but that does not justify our taking
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activity if it were, appropriate, relevant and above all successful. they claim to call themselves islamic and the prime minister talked talked about reclaiming is lame from them -- islam from them. they do not own islam. hundreds of thousands of people around the world are appalled by their murders, beheadings, kidnappings, all the act bomb minutable things they do. mr. speaker our loathe of daesh, our wish to get rid of it, to defeat it, to stop it is not the issue here today. the issue here is what action
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could be taken in order to stop them, in order to get rid of them and i have to say that i don't see such an action. the prime minister spoke about getting a transitional government in syria. he spoke about the situation in syria. i've been to syria many times. i did it with some distaste as shadow foreign secretary and met leading officials in the syrian administration. murderers, i knew they were murderers. they murdered their own people. they murdered 10,000 people in hama alone. i would be delighted to see them got rid of but they're not going to go. and when there is talk about
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negotiations in vienna, the assumption somehow or another that will result in getting rid of assad, getting rid of the administration, is a delusion. putin, one of the most detestable leaders of any state in the world, will make sure that because they're his allies and because they suit him, action against them is not going to be successful. so what is the issue today? it isn't an issue about changing the regime in syria which would make me, very, very happy indeed. it isn't about getting rid of daesh, getting rid of daesh, would make me very happy indeed. it's about what practical action
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can result in some way in damaging daesh, in stopping their atrocities, in stopping the people who are fleeing from them, in stopping the people who are flocking to them including sadly some small number of people from this country. if what the government were proposing today would in any way not simply or not totally get rid of daesh but weaken them in a significant way so that they would knot go on behaving in the abominable fashion that we see, i wouldn't have any difficulty in voting for this motion today but there is absolutely no evidence of any kind that
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bombing daesh, that bombing raqqa will result in an upsurge of other people in the region to get rid of them. what it would do would, would, might cause some damage, it won't undermined them. what it will undoubtedly do, despite the assurances of the prime minister which i'm sure are given in good faith, it will kill innocent civilians and i am not going to be a party to killing innocent civilians for what will simply be a gesture. i'm not interested in gesture politics, i'm not interested in gesture military activity. i'm interested in effective military activity and if that is brought before this house, i
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vote for it. when the previous conservative government came to us and asked for our support to get rid of saddam hussein from kuwait, i, as shadow foreign secretary formulated the policy that led labour members of parliament into the division lobby to voight for that. i am not interested in gestures. i'm interested in effective activity. this government's motion and the activity that will follow, including military action from the air, will not change the situation on the ground. i'm not interested in making a show. i'm not interested in members of the house putting their hands up for something in their own hearts they know will not work.
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and for that reason i shall vote against the government motion. >> order. eight minute limit on back bench speeches will now apply with immediate effect. mr. christian blount. >> mr. speaker, people who have honorably opposed intervention on any occasion since 2003 including my honourable friend and fellow member of foreign affairs committee, who is the mover of today's principle amendment. part of strength of his case is that he was undoubtedly right over iraq in 2003 and prime minister ma facia on libya in 2011 which is the subject of a committee inquiry. however, it is my judgment that he was wrong last year to oppose our support for the government of iraq against isil. i don't know what he would say to the yazidi forces rescued from with british helicopters from the terror that isil
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brought. i'm satisfied our military effort in iraq over the last year has been to the enormous credit of our armed forces and the stabilization of iraq in the face of a rapidly advancing threat from isil, wholly justified, the strong majority that this house then gave for that intervention. the reality we should acknowledge, of course -- [inaudible] >> referred to me i will answer him as best i can. the reason i think a number of us opposed motion about airstrikes in iraq last year was very simply because we did not feel then, and i still have great reservations now that we had a comprehensive plan. we have not beaten isil in iraq despite nearly a million armed security forces on the government payroll. that brings us on to syria because we have nothing near that in syria and we still don't have that plan.
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>> the position in iraq was desperate. baghdad was threatened by the advance of isil. it was absolutely necessary that the international community went to the aid of the government and people of iraq. i -- >> talks about the desperation in iraq. i just had an email from someone who i will keep anonymous because they're working in raqqa. they say this. daesh are the death that is stretching from the ice. when you see them, it is if you are seeing the angle of death. they're in raqqa right now. howe can i carry on exposing my chide to severed heads and bodies on a daily basis. a mother in raqqa. >> well i agree with my honourable friend. the reality we have to acknowledge, whether we like it or not, isil is at war with us. we don't have to pretech some
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case about weapons of mass destruction nor is this a threat of citizens of country from their own government. these are about people at war with us and our values and our society. this is not a are with of choice. around i haven't spoken to anyone, mr. speaker, who demurs from the proposition that isil must be denied the territory that they currently control. and while the defeat of isil and its ideology will be the worth of many years, even decades, retaking of this territory is an urgent and immediate requirement. this, therefore is the mission. was while the civil war rages in syria it is virtually impossible to achieve that. that is the necessary first step. and finally, after the negotiations and the agreements of a syrian international support group in vienna on the 14th of november, a way can be seen to that transition. before then i don't believe the government was able to offer an
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answer to our question of which ground forces will take hold and administer the territories captured from isil in syria to the satisfaction of the committee. in the wake of that, i believe they can and did. and indeed the prime minister made the point today rather revealingly, when he mentioned the real plan. if the real plan is the ideal solution which is referenced on page 20 of the prime minister's response to the foreign affairs select commit tree. when he envies messages the political transition syria, allowing new syrian leadership and reform of the new syrian army to enavailable it to tackle terrorist groups in the defense of the syrian nation. the syrian army, fighting alongside the free syrian army ideally need to be the forces that reclaim syria for a new syrian republic but we should not imagine, for one minute, that this is a task they will be
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able to accomplish on their own. we need to influence the policy of our coalition partners and the policy of the whole international community to the face up to the reality this entails. this is the crucial issue. how would we, the united kingdom, exercise the greatest influence? everything i have heard in the last month taking evidence on this issue suggests that our role as a compromise and limited member of the coalition against isil operating only in iraq weakens that influence. now we can debate, now we can debate the efficacy of airstrikes and the additional capability that missiles bring to the whole coalition but the truth is we all know that those issues are marginal to the outcome. what is not marginal to the outcome is getting the international politics right.
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and it is not in the interests of our country or the people we represent for this house to deny the government the authority it needs today. i am now satisfied that the government, who along with the americans, helped block the transition process by our preconditions about the role of bashar al-assad can nowly play critically constructive role in the transition. indeed my criticism of today's motion that the government should be seeking wider authority from the house. limiting the targeting of isil and excluding al nusra and any future terrorist groups that will be listed by the united nations as envisaged by the security council resolution 2249 is a restriction i do not understand. if armed groups put themselves beyond in judgment of international syrian support group and security council then our armed forces should be authorized to act within the
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law. equally, the limitation on deploying uk troops in ground combat operations i believe shows a lack of foresight. we know that both syrian and iraqi armed forces are going to need the maximum possible help which arguably should include the embedding trainers in the fight against, fighting echelon capability that includes artillery engineers as well as comprehensive logistical service support, command-and-control and communications functions. where will these come from? and the truth is, that since this mission must succeed, if necessary, these war-winning capabilities may need to be found from beyond the neighboring sunni countries and the whole of the united nations with effective military capability may be required to provide that including us. however, if the government has
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chosen to -- i'm afraid, to my hon r honorable colleague and friend on the committee who made such an excellent impression on committee so far. i am time limited. if there is time at the end, i will take his intervention. however, if the government had chosen a path that is going to require it to come back to this house with more authority that is the government's choice. to my mind isil is such a clear and present danger to the civilized world that if all necessary means are endorsed by the security council, then so should this house. the foreign affairs committee will continue our inquiry into the international strategy to defeat isil and on behalf of this house to hold the government to account in detail. the right honourable lady who is
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sadly you know well and hopefully in recovery and we wish her a speedy recovery, hasn't indicated to me she would be supporting the government this evening. the honourable member from ilsford does not take much guessing which side he would be on this evening. and in my judgment this this will best discharge its responsibilities by giving our government the authority it needs. not just to act with our international partners against this horror but influence them to make the necessary compromises in their national objectives and insure the collective security of all nations. i give way to my onable friend from. >> i thank the friend and take honor to his work on committee. earlier on the member mentioned point where we would sit. i would like to make the point during our evidence, it said in a report, several of our
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witnesses suggested by participating in military action against isil and syria the u.k. would actually compromise(b this house should rectify this evening. mr. speaker, part of the prime minister's challenge is that we were both present 12 years ago, when another prime minister delivered an utterly compelling performance and we made united kingdom party to a disaster in the middle east.
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it's right, it's right we should be mindful of our recent history but we must not be hamstrung by it. >> margaret beckett. >> this debate centers on national security and on the safety of our constituents and there will be differences of view within and between every party in this house. so, in good faith and conscience members will reach different conclusions. anybody who approaches today's debate without the gravest doubts, reservations and anxieties simply hasn't been paying attention but we're sent here by our constituents to exercise our best judgment, each our own best judgment. this is a debate of contradiction. in terms of today's motion echoing the u.n. resolution are almost apocalyptic, the threat
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they describe as unprecedented threat to international peace and security but the proposal before us amounts as my honourable mr. gordan side only minor reaction to action we're already undertaking. we're being asked to agree in both iraq and syria, precisely that is what daesh do and their headquarters is in syria. we're being asked to make further contribution to international effort to contain daesh from extending the mayhem and bloodshed of that accompanies their every move even more widely across the middle east. serious questions have been raised that i respect those who raised them. there is unease about ground forces. there is proper concern about the strategy and endgame and about the aftermath about rebuilding.
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some say simply innocent people are more likely to be killed. military action does create casualties, however much we try to minimize them. so should we on those grounds abandon action in iraq although we undertake it at the request of iraq's government and it does seem to be making a difference? should we take no further action against daesh who are themselves killing innocent people and striving to kill more every day of the week? or should we simply leave it to others? would we make ourselves a bigger target for daesh attack? we are a target. we will remain a target. no need to wonder about it. daesh has told us so and continues to tell us so with every day that passes. we may as well take them not just at their word, but indeed at their deeds. they have sought out our fellow countrymen and women to kill
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including aid workers and other innocents and whatever we decide today, there is no doubt that they will do so again. nor is the consequence of inaction simply daesh controlling more territory, more land. we've seen what happens where they take control. the treatment of groups such as the yazidis in all its horror should surely make us unwilling to contemplate any further extension of daesh-controlled territory. inaction too leads that way to death and destruction. quite separately there are those, not opposed in principle to action who doubt the efficacy of what is proposed. a coalition action which rests almost wholly on bombing they say will have little effect. well, tell that to the kosovans. don't forget if there had been no bombing in kosovo perhaps a
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million albanian muslim refugees would be seeking refuge in europe. tell the people in kobani, pleaded international support without they felt losing control to daesh. them testimony in sierra leone, military action should always be avoided because there would be casualties. their state and peace was almost destroyed. it was british military action that brought them back from the brink. of course it took place in conjunction with political and diplomatic activity and i share the view it is vital that such activity is substantially have strengthened and i'm heartened what the prime minister told us today. our conference did call for united nations resolution before further action and we now have a unanimous security council resolution. moreover, that resolution calls
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on member-states in explicit and unmistakable terms to combat daesh's threat and i quote, by all means. and it calls to, again i quote, first he rad kate the safe haven they have established in iraq and syria. those are the words of the u.n. resolution. and though it speaks of the need to pursue the peace process, the united nations resolution calls on member-states to act now. moreover, our french allies have explicitly asked us for such support and i invite the house to consider how we would feel and what we would say, what took place in paris happened in london. if we had explicitly asked france for support and france had refused.
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these are genuinely, extremely -- i'm sorry, no. these are genuinely, extremely difficult as well as extremely serious decisions. but it is the urging of the united nations and of the socialist government in france that for me have been the tipping point in my decision to support military action. >> john baron. >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, i refer the house to the amendment in my name and that is of other honourable members. there are members on both sides of the house who feel extending airstrikes in syria is not a wise move in the absence of a long-term strategy, realistic strategy, both military and non-military. otherwise, we risk repeating errors that we made in iraq, in
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helmand, in libya and would have made only go -- two years ago in this house if we allowed the government interscreen on behalf of the rebels. that strategy must include comprehensively to the military plan. it must include thought given and plans made for the aftermath and indeed an exit strategy. but many of these questions we have asked remain unanswered but can i just say, we all accept that there are no easy answers in foreign policy nowadays. just a series of tough decisions. but as such there has to be respect on both sides to those views held. one or two people have suggested that one is playing politics or personalities with this issue. i would refer them to my voting record on iraq, my opposition to the extension of the afghan
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mission to helmand, my opposition to libya and indeed two years ago in this house when we were asked to support bombing the rebels and then extending, or striking assad. i have been called a pacifist and worse and i would refer, i would refer those people to my military record as a soldier where i have got the medals to prove i'm certainly not a pacifist and also to my record in northern ireland and as a platoon commander during the 1980s. [inaudible] >> i have huge respect for my right honourable friend. as military man would he agree with me in all military operations in history the first history that goes wrong on day one is the plan? however, however, that should not stop us from making the
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effort and hopefully succeeding at the end where we hope that a peaceful solution can be found in fact. >> i won't disagree with my h ho -- honourable friend at all that we think through the plans to make sure they're realistic and comprehensive as possible. otherwise i suggest we do risk repeating past errors. >> yes. [inaudible] >> i thank you forgiving way and i have respect for his military record. he makes eloquent points about the complexity of the situation and seeking of solution in the end, surely the protection of our people and safety on our streets have to come first. >> i completely agree with my honourable friend. there are many on both sides of this house who oppose the
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government on extending military strikes who believe that to be the case. don't forget some of us supported initial deployment to afghanistan in 2001 on that basis because there was a clearly laid-out strategy. what i don't see in this plan is a clearly laid-out strategy and that is why we have got to ask these questions and try to get some answers. but perhaps most damning, mr. speaker, most damning accusation against those of us who say we don't want to support the extension of military airstrikes is that we're sort of sitting on our hands, we don't want to do anything. we want to stick our heads in the sand and i would refer to that point that we do believe, or many of us believe, anyway, in the need to military action, to take on terrorists of the many of us supported that initial deployment to afghanistan in 2001 and we succeeded very quickly within a couple of years.
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where we had trouble with afghanistan, when the mission morphed into one of nation-building when we simply did not realize what we were getting into and simply did not have the resources to back it up but we need a long-term strategy. what should that be? what should that include? no good standing here if we don't have an idea what it should be. let me give examples. let me talk about the non-military side of this. we've been talking about disrupting daesh's financial flows and business interests in this place for at least a year, if not 18 months. there has been no, noticeable disruption of those business interests or financial flows. we have command of the skies in syria. why aren't we not disrupting those business and financial interests? there has been no real answer about that. why aren't we doing more to disrupt their prominence on social media? again we talked about it in this place many times but i do not
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see any evidence that there is actually disrupting that prominence. something we should tackle but perhaps above all, mr. speaker, we should being tackling the ideology and the sectarianism that feeds the extremism that these groups, including daesh, feed off. now that is a long-term strategy. you can't do it overnight. but again, i don't see much evidence of that. where are those awkward questions to our allies in the region about feeding this extremeism? we're not getting that message across. but i come back to the point that has been raised before courtesy of the foreign affairs committee recent visit to the middle east. we only managed to get back thursday morning in time for the prime minister's statement about these mythical 70,000 troops. we all know, we all accept, you can not arm, bomb, isil out of
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existence through airstrikeses alone. it will take ground forces. but everybody is having trouble identifying what those ground forces should be and who should actually supply them. we went, we visited various capitals. we visited tehran. we visited riyadh. we visitedded abu dhabi, spoke to a lot of experts over wide range of fields. there are very few moderates remaining in syria after five years of civil war. even if you believe the 70,000 figure, even if you believe they were all moderates, what the strategy doesn't address, and i haven't had an answer back and i have asked this question before, is, what is stopping these moderates once the common enemy, once they have been somehow miraculously told to swing around, stop fighting assad and
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take on daesh, what is stopping them splintering into 100 or even 1,000 militias as we saw in libya? we ignore the lessons much libya, speaker, at our cost, because what we were being told on the ground only last week, that they are a very splintered, very, not homogenous group by any stretch of the imagination and they're liable to turn on each other just as they are to turn on enemy if they are so set to do so. and we should, i made this point. i have allowed two interventions. i must crack on. we should draw lessons with iraq. we are struggling to defeat daesh in iraq and that is with, estimates vary but certainly 800, 900,000 security forces on our payroll. i mean one strategy you could employ is actually finish the
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job in iraq before we actually start thinking about any long-term strategy in syria. but again, we're struggling. that is one of the fundamental differences between iraq and syria. as for the issue about taking, about sitting at the top table, can i just address this point centrally? this is the strong message when we were visiting the middle east. we're already at the top table. china is not intending it intervene. yet set sits at the top table as member p 5. we would do so also, and quite clearly we're showing solidarity with our partners. in conclusion, mr. speaker, the short-term effect of british airstrikes will be marginal. i think most people accept that. but as we intervene, more, we become more responsible for the events on the ground and lay ourselves open to the unintended consequences of the fog of war.
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without a comprehensive strategy, airstrikes will simply reinforce the west's long-term failure in the region generally, at a time they're already too many aircraft chasing too few targets. and i suggest just as in previous ill-advised western interventions, a strong pattern emerges. time and time again they make a convincing case often with supporting intelligence sources and time and time again it turns out to be wrong. just a few weeks ago the foreign affairs committee produced a very reasonable, reasoned and thoughtful report arguing against airstrikes in syria the in absence of a comprehensive long-term strategy. returning from my travels, i and other colleagues still hold to that view. it was the decision of the committee last night that the prime minister had not adequately answered or addressed our concerns. so, mr. speaker, i will oppose this military action and will
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intend to move the amendment in my name and that of other honourable members. we stood at this very point before. we have no excuse for repeating our errors and setting out on same tragic, misguided path as before. >> mr. johnson. it. >> it is during my time in parliament that it has become a convention that this house authorizes military action whereas previously for a prime minister to do under the guise of wrong prerogative. sometimes they would involve the house of commons. most often they didn't. this new convention i believe place as responsibility on members of parliament to weigh up the arguments and vote according to their conscience rather than a parliamentary whip. i'm not sure if other parties are whipped on this vote or not but what i'm pretty sure about is that nobody on any side of this house would seek to justify
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their vote tonight by pleading that while they disagreed or agreed with the proposition the whip forced them to vote the way they did. on votes such as this, with the exception of the front bench, perhaps the whip is irrelevant. i'm grateful to the shadow cabinet for the free vote my party has been afforded i don't think it will make the slightest difference the way we make our decision. i intend to vote for the motion this evening for one basic reason. i believe that isil-daesh poses a real and present danger to british citizens and their dedicated external operations unit is based not in iraq where the raf is already fully engaged but in syria. this external operations unit is already responsible for killing 30 british holiday-makers on a beach in zeus. and a brittish rock fan who perished along with 129 others
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in the paris atrocity a few weeks ago. it's true that this unit could have moved out of raqqa but that is not what the intelligence services believe. in fact, the fact is, that just as al qaeda needed the safe haven they created for themselves in afghanistan to plan 9/11, and other atrocities, so isil-daesh need their self-declared caliphate to finance, train, organize, and recruit to their wicked cause. yes, there may be cells elsewhere but there is little doubt that the nerve center is in raqqa. just over 14 months ago this house sanctioned military action in iraq against isil-daesh by 520 votes to 43. nobody expected that action to bring about a swift end to the threat from isil. indeed the prime minister in
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responding to an intervention, said, i quote, this mission will take not just months but years. many honorable and right honourable members felt at that time it was illogical to have effectiveness of our action diminished by a border that isil-daesh didn't recognize. we were inhibited by the absence of a specific u.n. resolution. and so there was some justification for this house to confine its response to one part of isil-held territory in september 2014. there can surely be no such justification in december 2015. no such justification after paris. no such just if i given the requests for help from nearest continental neighbor and close ally in response to the murderous act that took place on the 13th of november. no such justification -- i will give way in a second.
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no such justification after u.n. security council resolution 2249. paragraph 5 of that resolution unanimously agreed, and i quote, calls upon member-states that have the capacity to do so, to take all necessary measures to eradicate the safe haven isil has established over significant parts of iraq and syria. i give way. >> i thank the right honourable member tore taking my question. for the point i would point to the honourable member from subject darby, a similar call from france, sending reconnaissance aircraft but refusing to bomb. >> mr. speaker, germany are constrained by their, by their history but, the point i'm making is that after recent
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events where we sit now in this parliament, having authorized military action by the raf in iraq we can no longer justify, not responding to that by extending our operations into syria. if we ignore that part of u.n. resolution 2249 that i have just mentioned we're left supporting only the pieties contained in the other paragraphs, unequivocally condemning, expressing deepest sympathy, reaffirming those responsible must be held to account. in other words britain, this country, will be expressing indignation whiles doing nothing to implement action. our motion as role of chair of security council we helped to formulate. furthermore there is no argument against our involvement attacking isil-daesh in syria that can not be made against our action in iraq where we helped
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to prevent isil's expansion and reclaimed 30% of the territory it occupied. as the prime minister set out in his response to the foreign affairs select committee -- i will give way in a second -- prime minister pointed out in his response, means the raf tornadoes with these special pods so sophisticated that they gather 60% of the coalition's tactical reconnaissance, in iraq, can be used to similar effect in syria, so long as another country then comes in to complete the strike. this a ridiculous situation for this country to be in. i give way. >> is the difference though in iraq to syria that on the ground in iraq is a long established ally which, in the peshmerga who actually want to work with us? we haven't got that in syria. what the prime minister is now describing as a patchwork. >> i thank my right honourable
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friend as always makes a very important point. i just read, reread the from that debate we had back in september of 2014. this wasn't raised by anyone incidentally. issues of what comes next. this is very important consideration and we've, we've expressed concerns on all sides how it mus'nt stop us responding to what happened in paris, responding to resolution it -- 2249 and request for all countries with the capability to act. now the u.n. resolution didn't say let's delay this. it said to act now. and i don't, i don't believe, as anybody in this house, that the believes that defeating this motion tonight will somehow remove us from the line of fire. that isil-daesh will no longer consider us a target for their barbaric activities.
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122 people murdered in ankara were at a peace rally. the seven plots foiled by the security services so far this year were all planned against us before this motion was even conceived. our decision today will not alter isil-daesh's contempt for our country and our way of life one iota but i think it could affect their plan to execute their attacks. if it doesn't destroy this capability in syria, it will force their external operations unit to move, and in so doing make it more exposed and less effective. the motion presents a package of measures which will be taken forward by the international community to bring about the transformation in syria that we all want to see and we're promised regular updates as part of this motion on that aspect. furthermore, mr. speaker, i believe it meets the standards that many members will have set for endorsing military action
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now that the convention applies. is it a just cause? is the proposed action a last resort? is it proportionate? does it have a reasonable prospect of success? does it have broad regional support? does it have a clear legal base? i think it meets all of those criteria. i find this decision as difficult anyone to make. i wish i had, frankly, the self-righteous certitude of the finger-jabbing representatives of our new and kinder type of politics who will, who will no doubt soon be contacting those of us who support this motion tonight. but i believe, i believe, that isil-daesh has to be confronted and destroyed if we are to properly defend our country and our way of life and i believe that this motion provides the best way to achieve this objective.
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>> dr. julian lewis. >> mr. speaker, honourable members are being asked to back airstrikes against daesh, to show solidarity with our french and american friends. yet a gesture of solidarity, however sincerely meant, can not be a substitute for hard-headed strategies. most defense committee members probably intend to vote for such airstrikes, but i shall vote against airstrikes in the absence of credible ground forces, as ineffective and potentially dangerous, just as i voted against the proposal to bomb assad in 2013. indeed the fact that the british government wanted to bomb first one side, and then the other, in the same civil war, in such a
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short space of time, illustrates in my mind a vacuum in the heart of our strategy. at least we are now targeting our deadly islamist enemies rather than trying to bring down yet another dictator with the same likely results as in iraq, and in libya. daesh must indeed be driven out of its territory militarily but this can be done only by a credible force which is ready and able to do the fighting on the ground. so who will supply this force without which airstrikes can not prevail? the failure of the incently-named arab spring in so many countries shows the two most likely outcomes, a victory
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for authoritarian dictatorship on the one hand, or a victory for revolutionary islamism on the other. moderation and democracy have barely featured in the countries affected and syria seems to be no exception. i am sorry to say, genuinely sorry to say, that we face a choice between very nasty authoritarian and islamist totalitarians. there is no third way. our government, however, is in denial about this. it does concede that airstrikes must be in support of ground forces, and has come up with a remarkable figure from the joint intelligence committee of 70,000 so-called moderate fighters with whom we can supposedly
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coordinate our airstrikes. it is very doubtful, however, that were such an alliance successful, the territory freed from daesh would cease to be under islamist control. yes, i think i heard the honourable lady first. >> thank you the honourable member for giving way. can he comment specifically on independent reports that the fry syrian army are currently giving east-west expressway to daesh in their fight against assad? >> it is certainly true there are well-documented cases of such weapons ending up in the daesh -- >> debate in the british house of commons on combating isis in syria will continue. we'll leave it here for live coverage of the u.s. senate though. speaker of the house there mentioned there was somewhat under 57 members who asked to speak in debates expected to
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last until about 5:00 p.m. eastern with a vote afterwards. of course we'll update you on that vote. u.s. senate about to gavel in to continue to debate on a bill to repeal the nation's health care law and defund planned parenthood for one year. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. oh lord, our god, mercyful and holy, clear away from our lives anything that would hinder your providential purposes. enter the hearts of our senators , guiding them with your truth. may your truth fill them with
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hope and faith even when they seem surrounded by exasperating experiences. supply them with what they need to persist and endure in spite of obstacles. lord, provide them with creative thoughts and energy to accomplish your will on earth even as it is done in heaven. give them the integrity to say what they mean and mean what they say. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore:
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please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class of our country. it is a partisan law that puts ideology before people. it hurts many of the very americans it was supposed to help. it resulted in millions of cancellation notices from hardworking americans who had plans they liked and who had done nothing wrong. it raised premiums. it raised co-pays. it raised deductibles and taxes for americans who were already
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struggling. it restricted choice and access to doctors and hospitals for patients in need. we see the pain and the hurt of this law all across the country. we see it where we live. in my home state of kentucky, health costs have spiked. obamacare first caused tens of thousands of kentuckians to lose the health care plans they were promised they could keep during the first year of implementation. then victimized 50,000 more when the commonwealth's much vaunted obamacare co-op completely collapsed. obamacare contributed to kentucky hospitals being forced to cut jobs, reduce wages and even shut down altogether. some in washington cheered when an administration in frankfurt
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poured money into obamacare's exchange or when our governor declared it an indies piewted fact -- undisputed fact that obamacare's medicaid expansion had added 12,000 jobs to kentucky's economy. but like so much of obamacare, it was just another broken promise. those jobs numbers were not an undisputed fact at all. they were just projections, and they failed to ever materialize. health care jobs have actually declined in kentucky. they didn't go up. they declined. today few of those obamacare cheerleaders are cheering anymore. nearly 80% of kentucky's enrollees were simply shoehorned into an already broken medicaid system and many of the remaining 20% found themselves stuck with an unaffordable obamacare coverage. listen to what this mom from
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breckenridge county said. my family is being pushed out. how can we pay almost 1,200 a month on health insurance? thrifn to -- listens to what this father from owns borrow said. before obamacare we paid less. it seems these days there's know incentive to work. we're punished for working hard and trying to provide for our children while others are encouraged to not further themselves because if they do, it would be -- they would be in our particular situation. what happened, he wondered, to being rewarded for working hard in america? what happened to the american dream, he said. this kentucky dad isn't the only one wondering this. americans across the country continue to demand a better way
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forward. americans made that clear last november. kentuckians made that doubly clear again last month. this, mr. president, is simply the reality. democrats can't deny it. they can try to deny it. the democrats again dismiss america's real-life experience as lies. democrats can continue to lecture americans about their supposedly inability to understand just how great obamacare has been for them, but americans are intimately familiar with the painful reality of obamacare. americans want a fresh start. americans want to see washington build a bridge away from obamacare and toward better care for them. this is what the bill before us would do. it's something every senator should support, republicans and democrats alike. democrats may have forced this law on the middle class.
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democrats may own the pain they've caused across the country, especially in states like kentucky, but it's not too late, not too late for our democratic colleagues to work with us to build a bridge to better care. this is their chance, and president obama's chance to begin to make amends for the pain and the hurt they've caused. for all the broken promises, for all the higher costs, for all the failures. this is america's chance to turn the page and write a new and more hopeful beginning. this is our chance to work toward a healthier and more prosperous future with true reform that moves beyond the failures of a broken law. now, mr. president, on another matter, in the past few days i've noted some of the achievements of a new congress that's back to work on the side of the american people. we passed bills no one ever
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thought washington could taught. we've made reforms that have previously languished for years without result. even more remarkably, we've often done so on a bipartisan basis. consider just the bills i've mentioned already. a landmark bipartisan education bill that would take decision-making power away from distant federal bureaucrats in order to empower patients and teachers instead. the pundits said we'd never pass it. we did, 81-17. a breakthrough bipartisan highway bill that would finally provide state and local governments the kind of certainty they need to focus on longer-term road and bridge projects. after years of short-term highway bill passed the new senate 65-34. a milestone bipartisan cybersecurity bill that would protect the personal information of people we represent,
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defeating cyber attacks through the sharing of information. the issue languished in previous congresses but this senate passed it with 74 votes. today i'd like to mention another important bill this new congress has passed. it's hard for many americans to believe that human trafficking, modern-day slavery, could happen where they live. but it does, right here in our country. all 50 of our states -- it happens of our states. in kentucky alone the commonwealth has been able to identify more than 100 victims since it began keeping relevant records in 2013. this kind of abuse often begins around the age of 13 or 14. the victims of modern slavery
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deserve a voice. they deserve justice. and after years of inaction, a new congress was determined to give them both. of course there was an unforeseen impediment, to put it mildly, to getting this bill done. but success was possible because the new majority kept its focus on facts, on substance, and on good policy for the people who have always remained our focus throughout the debate: the victims of modern slavery. the bill we ultimately passed with strong bipartisan support, the justice for victims of trafficking act, represents a vital ray of hope for the countless victims of modern slavery who need our help. victims groups and advocates told us that this human rights legislation would provide unprecedented support to domestic victims of trafficking. they urged the congress to pass it, and we did. the president signed it into law as well.
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it just proves that with unwavering compassion and unbound determination, something senator cornyn knows a thing or two about, justice can prevail. i'm grateful to him and so many other senators for working so hard to ensure that it ultimately did. the justice for victims of trafficking act is another important step forward for our country. it's another example of what we can achieve in a new congress that's back to work for the american people. now, mr. president, i understand there is a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for a second time. the clerk: h.r. 427, an act to amend chapter 8 of title 5, united states code, and so forth. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection not being heard, the bill will be placed on the
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calendar. mr. reid: mr. president? the republican leader comes to the floor virtually every day and talks about this great new senate. he talked about the elementary and secondary education act. mr. president, we tried to do that many times, and it was blocked by republicans. that's why it wasn't done before. highways, we tried valiantly to do something on highways, but all we could ever get, because of the structure of the republicans was short-term extensions. cybersecurity, my friend, the republican leader, comes to the floor and talks about we got cybersecurity done. we got it done. it's not a great bill. it's better than nothing. we tried for years -- five
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years. every time we tried, it was blocked by republicans. so, you know, one of the newspapers here has a pinocchio check, and they look at the facts and analyze them and then they can give up to four pinocchios meaning people simply didn't tell the truth. so i want to remind everybody here, i'm happy to have participated in getting something done with the elementary and secondary education act led by on our side the senior senator from washington. we were able to get that done because of her good work and others. but it wasn't because we didn't try before. we couldn't get it done before because obstruction of republicans. so, this is the most unproductive senate in the history of the country, and there are facts and figures to show that. so we're not going to be rewarding pinocchios here based
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on the statements of my opinion friend, the republican leader, but everyone should understand there are different ways of presenting the facts. it is always best to present the facts that are accurate. he said, for example, the bills, e.s.a. and highways languished in the senate. that's true, because of the republican filibusters. we tried to pass those bills in the last two congresses, they were blocked by republicans. we are now helping pass legislation, and that's our job. the job as republicans was to oppose everything that president obama wanted, and that's in fact what was done. now, obamacare. one newspaper reports fewer patients have been dying from hospital errors since obama
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started, obamacare started, i'm sorry. the report says about 87,000 lives have been saved as a result of that legislation. i'm not going to read the whole article. i will ask consent, mr. president, that it be placed in the record. if i could interrupt the chair from reading something else, there is business here on the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order -- without objection, the materials will be placed in the record. mr. reid: mr. president, among other things, this article says hospitals have cut down on deadly medical errors, saving 87,000 lives since 2010. according to a new government report. i'm not reading the whole thing, but it's going to be part of the record. many analysts think government initiatives within the affordable care act have played a significant role in the progress so far.
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in short, obamacare literally saves lives. a new report comes from the agency for roll call research and equality. on tuesday, a few days ago, the agency announced its latest findings on these hospital-acquired conditions. the rate is unchanged from last year but is down 17% from 2010 when it was about 145 out of every 1,000 patients died. that's not the case anymore. it works out to roughly 87,000 lives saved and $19.8 billion not spent on actual medical care, according to the report. a major goal of the affordable care act was to reduce and eventually eliminate the senate's -- poor quality care while rewarding the hospitals that get better results. today, for example, medicare pays less to institutions with higher rates of hospital acquired infection and
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readmission or injury. under an initiative called partnership for patients, the federal government provides extra funding to hospitals that agree to monitor patients' safety, implement schemes for improving quality. so my friend who continually berates obamacare, we have today an tomorrow an effort to show how wasteful, wasteful the time is trying to wipe out obamacare. the house has voted 46 times. republicans have, of course, lost every time. over here it's been i think 16 times, 17 times trying to repeal obamacare. each time it failed, as it will fail in the next day or two. mr. president, when americans elect leaders, they do so in good faith. our constituents want us to govern responsibly and work to embody american values. both elected officials and candidates must realize that our
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words have deep meaning. we can influence people far and wide. that's why i'm very disappointed that instead of talking about issues important to the middle class, republicans have turned to the politics of hatred and division. it seems no one is safe from this republican vitriol. republicans demagogue people seeking planned parenthood, republicans hurt women, infants and children seeking refuge from terrorism to fearmongering. even americans exercising the constitutional rights in support of black lives matter movement are all subject to republican insults and slander. over and over again, republican candidates have resorted to hatred, appealing to the highest sensibilities of the american people. we all know that on race and other controversial issues, republicans have long practiced subtle bigotry. the republicans now simply say out loud the many things which they used to merely hint.
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words have power when spoken by influential leaders. they infiltrate every corner of our society. in the wake of last week's murderous attacks on planned parenthood health center in colorado, a leading conservative activist said, and i quote -- "it's -- it really is surprising more planned parenthood facilities and abortionists are not being targeted. given the public light shed on the atrocities committed by planned parenthood and both the government and media turning a blind eye to it, it really should be no surprise that americans convicted of the need to stop the murder of children have not taken the law into their hands." that's what the quote says. and we know how exaggerated, how truthful and unfair the film that was put together as some b-grade movie is so -- has so
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maligned planned parenthood. one out of every five american women will go to a planned parenthood clinic during their lifetime. it's the only health care that women have in many parts of america. so is that the kind of language you want to encourage the united states of america, that there should be more violence in these health clinics? certainly not. it's all too common in the republican party of today. instead of recognizing the concerns riddled by decades of police brutality and racial injustice, republicans have vilified the blacks lives matter movement which has drawn attention to these disturbing inequities. rush limbaugh has begun so far as labeling the protestors a hate group, a hate group for trying to bring equality to our criminal justice system. just a few weeks ago, support for the republican presidential hopeful donald trump attacked a
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black lives matter protestor on a video at a rally. instead of condemning the vile display by his supporters, donald trump encouraged it. when asked about the incident, trump said, referring to the protester, maybe he should have been roughed up, close quote. that's really stunning. a republican candidate for president of the united states urged violence to silence his critics. last week, four masked men with apparent white supremacist ties opened fire on black lives matter protestors in minneapolis. i'm amazed that when the junior senator from texas had the audacity to say earlier this week, and i quote, the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are democrats. and the article that he quoted has been said to be quoted improperly. that's really quite stunning that someone who with the academic background of the
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junior senator from texas can't read a simple report. the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are democrats. think about that. fanning the fla intolerances is un-american. we're better than this. i'm disappointed republicans who should know better are not speaking out begins -- against this vile rhetoric. according to the "new york times" -- quote -- some of the highest ranking republicans in congress, some of the party's wealthiest, most generous donors, have balked at trying to take down mr. trump because they fear a public feud with insults-spewing media figure." close quote. this is a sad reflection of one of america's major political parties. the republican party once claimed to stand for american leadership in the world, but as millions of syrians have fled their country seeking refuge from death and destruction, republicans have instead used the humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to spread fear and
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animosity. republican presidential candidate ben carson described the syrian refugees as rabid dogs. mike huckabee referred to syrian refugees as a bag of poisonous peanuts. even more disturbing is the junior senator from texas went so far as to suggest a religious text for -- test for accepting refugees. he only wants to accept christians. the republican party used to stand for religious freedom, but they are now just pretending. ben carson doesn't think muslims should be allowed to become president. the junior senator from florida, also a republican presidential candidate, speaks of a clash of civilizations. those are buzzwords meaning crusade against islam. he's saying that isis extremists are representative of an entire religion. he doesn't stop there. republicans have targeted immigrants also. not just people who are seeking
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refuge. not just refugees, but also immigrants. the republican party wants to paint all immigrants as murderers and rapists. congressman steve king says all immigrants are drug traffickers. republicans only talk about deporting families. senator rubio, the republican establishment favorite, walked away from a single positive legislative accomplishment, comprehensive immigration reform, to please the party's extreme anti-immigrant base. he has gone from supporting citizenship for undocumented immigrants to wanting to deport dreamers. and even jeb bush speaks of anchor babies. with the way our democracy is structured, there will always be disagreement about the best way in which elected officials can serve our nation. as we debate and disagree let's do so responsibly. president bill clinton once said that those of us of influence must be mindful of our words because they fall on -- quote -- the serious and delirious alike.
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the venom that republicans continue to spew has consequences. history will judge those who stand idle as fear and animosity become a platform for the american political party. the simple fact is republicans are running on a platform of hate, and every republican fails to speak out against this hateful, dangerous rhetoric that is being spewed by their party is complicit. for the moral character of our nation, we must demand the republicans return to the values which our country was founded. mr. president, senator commonly and i have finished our remarks. would the chair announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3762, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 299, h.r. 3762, an act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for
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fiscal year 2016.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that the time spent in quorum calls requested during senate consideration of h.r. 3762 be equally divided and come off the reconciliation bill. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that for the duration of the senate's consideration of h.r. 3762, the majority and democratic managers of the reconciliation bill, while seated or standing at the manager's desks, be permitted to deliver floor remarks, retrieve, review and edit documents and send email and other data communications from text displayed on wireless personal digital assistance devices and tablet devices. i ask further unanimous consent that the use of calculators be permitted on the floor during
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consideration of the budget resolution. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. enzi: for the information of senators, this u.c. does not alter the existing traditions that prohibit the use of such devices in the chamber by senators in general, officers or staff. it also does not allow the use of videos or pictures, the transmitting of sound even through earpieces for any purposes, the use of telephones or other devices for voice communications, any laptop computers, any detachable keyboards, the use of desktop computers or any other larger devices. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the list of following staff from my staff and from senator sanders' staff that i will submit for the record be given all-access floor passes for the duration of the consideration of h.r. 3762. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. enzi: i yield the floor.
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mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i call up my amendment number 2876. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from washington, mrs. murray, for herself and mr. wyden, proposes an amendment numbered 2876 to amendment numbered 2874. mrs. murray: i ask further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i think we can all agree there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this congress. priorities like continuing to improve health care for our families, creating jobs, boosting wages, expanding economic security for workers and making higher education more affordable and accessible, just to name a few. but unfortunately, instead of working with democrats to focus

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