tv [untitled] December 8, 2015 2:16pm-7:07pm EST
democratic creed. yet many communities today across the nation, including my home state of rhode island, are still wrestling with how to address large achievement gaps based on wealth, race, ethnicity and disability status. underlying the achievement gaps we see gaps in opportunity. we need to ensure our students have our access to critical resources for learning, strong teachers, counselors and principals, a well balanced program of study that includes arts, humanities and environmental education and safe, healthy schools equipped with libraries and science labs. we need to support greater parental engagement. these are the issues that i have focused on for many years. i am very pleased that the every student succeeds act makes important improvements in all of these areas. this legislation will replace the badly flawed and increasingly unworkable no child left behind act with a new
framework, one that stays true to the transparency and focus on closing achievement gaps that were the hallmarks of no child left behind while eliminating the one-size-fits-all approach to school improvement and allowing states to develop more holistic and robust accountability systems that move beyond test scores as the sole measure of school success. increasing accountability for resource equity was the goal of the first bill i introduced this congress. the core opportunity resources for equity and excellence act. i worked with senators baldwin, brown and kirk to push for its provisions on the senate floor, and i am pleased that the conference report includes stronger measures to require that school districts address resource and equity in schools identified for our comprehensive support and improvement much more so than was indeed even in the bill we passed initially in this senate. the original elementary and secondary education act
recognized the vital role that school libraries play in supporting student success, and this is an area i have worked on during several of the past reauthorizations of this law. senator cochran and i introduced the strengthening kids interest in learning and library, or the skills act, to ensure that federal resources continue to support student access to effective school library programs. the every student succeeds act includes key provisions from our legislation, including authorizing grants for high-needs school districts to support effective school library programs and including support for such programs at school district level, title one and professional development plans. children need to have access to books in their homes from a very early age. senator grassley and i introduced the prescribe a book act to help address this issue, and i am glad key provisions of
that legislation are included here. we know that teachers and principals are two of the most important in-school factors related to student achievement. it is essential that teachers, principals and other educators have a comprehensive system that supports their professional growth and development starting on day one and continuing throughout their careers. senator casey and i introduced a better education support and training act to create such a system, and again i am pleased that the every student succeeds act includes many of the provisions of our legislation, particularly the focus on equitable access to experience and effective educators. i remain concerned, however, that the failure in this legislation to define inexperienced teacher could mask inequity and limit the usefulness of reporting and some of the provisions related to educator preparation could lower standards in our highest needs schools. soon i will be introducing
legislation to strengthen education preparation and ensure that teachers in our high-needs schools are professionally ready. the every student succeeds act also supports access for all children to a well-rounded education, including environmental literacy, as i proposed in no child left inside act. family engagement is another critical area this bill addresses. this legislation will support more meaningful, evidence-based family engagement, encourage school districts to dedicate more resources to these activities and provide a statewide system of technical assistance for family engagement. similar to the family engagement education act that i introduced with senator coons and whitehouse. chairman alexander and senator murray have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in crafting this legislation and in steering it through an open and inclusive process. this bill is an important step forward and i encourage all my colleagues to support it.
moreover, i hope that this spirit of bipartisanship and compromise will also translate to the appropriations process and result in robust resources to implement the new and vastly improved law. and with that, mr. chairman, i would also like to thank senator collins for graciously letting me go ahead and i would yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise in support of the bipartisan every student succeeds act. this is landmark legislation that would reform and reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act, also known as no child left behind. as a member of the health, education, labor and pensions committee, and as a member of the conference committee that resolved the differences between
the two bodies' version of this education reform bill, i want to particularly applaud the leadership of chairman alexander and ranking member, senator murray, for doing a truly extraordinary job in putting together a bipartisan, bicameral reform bill that is before us today. mr. president, congressional action to fix this serious flawh no child left behind while preserving the valuable parts of that law is long overdue, but that day has finally arrived. nclb was well intentioned and its focus on the education of every child and greater transparency in the performance
of our schools were welcome reforms. but some of the law's provisions were simply unachievable, and, thus, discouraging to teachers, parents, administrators and students alike. the current system of unattainable standards and a patchwork of state waivers has led to confusion about federal requirements. high states testing and unrealistic 100% proficiency goals do not raise aspirations. instead they disspirit those who are committed to a high-quality education for our students. the every student succeeds act returns much-needed flexibility
to state departments of education and to local school districts. the bill would remove the high- stakes accountability system that was simply proven to be unworkable under no child left behind. instead the bill would empower states to set the goals for their schools and students and design ways to improve student achievement. mr. president, the bill would also eliminate the burdensome overly prescriptive parts of no child left behind such as the definition of a highly qualified teacher. that's a perfect example of something that sounds great, but in fact proved unworkable in many small and rural schools in my state where teachers are called upon to teach a wide range of subjects.
the every student succeeds act would also reauthorize the rural education achievement program known as reap. i coauthored this law with former senator kent conrad back in 2002. students in rural america should have the same access to federal grant dollars as those who attend schools in larger urban and suburban communities. most federal competitive grant programs, however, favor larger school districts because they are the ones that have the ability to hire the grant writers to apply for those grants, even though that extra money may be needed more by a small rural school. as a result, rural school
districts often had to forego funding because they simply lacked the capacity to apply for the grant money. that is the problem that the rural education achievement act was intended to solve. and it has provided financial assistance to those schools and districts to help them address their unique local needs. this program has helped to support new technology in classrooms, distant learning opportunities and professional development programs as well as an array of other activities that benefit students and teachers in rural schools. since the law was enacted in 2002, at least 120 maine school districts have collectively
received more than $42 million from the reap program. and i will tell you, mr. president, when i talk to those small maine school districts, they have been enormously creative in using reap money to improve the education of their students. they have told me that without the law that senator kent conrad and i authored back in 2002, they would not have been able in many cases to introduce technology into the classroom, to further professional development for their teachers or to provide special enrichment activities for their students. that law has been a real success, and i'm delighted that this bill reauthorizes it. i also want to highlight that the final version retains a
senate provision authorizing a pilot program that i worked on with several of my colleagues to require the secretary of education to allow seven states to designate alternative assessment systems based on student proficiency and not just on traditional tests. such systems can give teachers, parents, and students a much fuller understanding of each student's abilities and better prepare them for college or the career path of their choice. the federal government should cooperate with states and school districts that are designing brand-new assessment systems, and this pilot project is an important step in that direction. mr. president, providing a good
education for every child must remain a national priority so that each child fulfills his full -- his or her full potential, has a wide range of opportunities and can succeed in an increasingly competitive economy. i know from having visited more than 200 schools in my state that this legislation will be welcomed indeed. the every child -- every student succeeds act honors these guiding principles while returning greater control and flexibility to states and local school districts where it belongs. i urge all of my colleagues to support this happen landmark legislation.
pays an unexpected visit to the construction of the new death star. of course it was behind schedu schedule, probably over budget. the commander in charge first claimed that there was no delay. then he said to darth vader that it would be impossible to meet the schedule without more resources. now, darth vader warned the commander that the emperor was -- quote -- "much displeased with the apparent lack of progress, noting the emperor is not as forgiving as i am." now, government projects being overbudget, behind schedule are just out of this world are not just a problem for the emperor in that galaxy far, far away. they're a problem right here on earth. our own space agency, nasa, can no longer even launch astronauts into orbit. yet nasa is spending $1.2 million to study the impact of microgravity on sheep.
nasa is also spending $280,000 to develop plans to build a cloud city on venus. now, it's strikingly similar to the cloud city that -- that was featured in "star wars wars: the emperor strikes back," where hans solo wasaptured in carbonite. the national science foundation is spending $2.6 million in part to design sculptures that would raise awareness of drought and harvest dew, much like the voise moisture vaporizing on luke skywalker's home planet of tatuine. the pentagon is spending $2 bill wron to teach robots thousand play jazz and $2.5 million in part to create a robot lobby greeter. these are not the droids that taxpayers were looking for. these are just a few of the
examples of projects featured in the wastebook, the farce awakens, which i will release today. this is a spoiler alert. so if you don't want the plot to be ruined, you may want to tune out right now. let's walk through some of these other wastebook entries. they include $1 million to put monkeys in hamster balls on a treadmill. now, senator tom coburn a couple of years ago famously found the example of the study of shrimp on treadmills. shrimp on little treadmills under water. but i think this outdoes it. now we have monkeys not only on a treadmill but monkeys in a hamster ball on a treadmill. $1 million near study. we're spending $5 million to throw party for hipsters. these party for hipsters are an attempt to keep hipsters -- now we define a hipster is quite a
work of art as well -- but to try to keep them from smoking. that admittedly didn't succeed very well so they ended up just giving out cash and trying to induce hipsters to stop smoking. good work if you can get it, i guess. $43 million to build a single gas station in afghanistan that dispenses a type of fuel, natural gas in this case, that very few aut automobiles in the country can even run on. now, despite all the public ballyhooing over budget austerity, washington doesn't come up on short on outlandish ways to spend and waste money in 2015. all the examples in the wastebook that we have here had to have money spent during 2015. unfortunately, there's a lot of talk about the gridlock in washington but no matter how bad the gridlock gets, no matter how bad it appears, there's always one area of agreement here
between the parties and that is to spend more money. for example, at the end of october -- end of october, congress passed a budget deal that cut $3 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies to private insurance companies that service federal crop insurance policies. that deal was sold, in part, on the savings generated through the spending cut. but last week this body voted overwhelmingly to restore all $3 billion of those crop insurance subsidies which, again, only go to private insurance companies. this was part of the highway bill that came to the floor. so spending that we had cut just a month ago in the budget deal was reversed 36 days later in an agreement that passed even before we passed the original bill to obliterate these savin savings. so it took congress only 36 days
to go back on these cuts. i'm sure the millennium falcon can pull a 360 with that kind of ease. i'm not sure that that could happen. washington equates caring with the amount of dollars spent but no amount of dollars and cents can make up for the lack of common sense in how millions of dollars of taxpayer money is being spent here. consider this -- we outline in this wastebook more than $2 million spent by the agency for international development, usaid, $2 million this year, to promote tourism in lebanon. now, lebanon is the same country that our state department has warned american tourists not to go to. what kind of sense does that make? suicide bombers have killed more than 60 people, injured hundreds
more in the last two years there. it's no wonder the state department is saying, don't go. but the agency for international development is spending $2 million to say, please go there for tourism. department of homeland security spent $3 million on party buses and luxury coaches to the playgrounds of the rich and famous. buses for the rich and famous, party buses being spent on the party -- by the department of homeland security. where does that make sense? this is one that just puzzles me. the department of housing and urban development is spending more than -- i'm sorry, more than $104 million a year subsidizing the rent of well-of, including those who make better than six-figure incomes, some who have millions of dollars in assets. while 300,000 low-income families are on a waiting list for housing assistance. so we're spending $104 million subsidizing those with six-figure incomes to live in
public housing while 300,000 people who are truly low income wait on a waiting list. somebody at one of the local housing authorities was asked why we do this, why we don't just kick those out who have incomes far too high to qualify. and the answer was revealing. he said, we can't do that because they serve as role models to those who are truly low income in those facilities. now, think of that. those who are fleecing the taxpayers are role models for those in public housing that actually have low income. as i mentioned before, the pentagon is spending $2 million to teach robots how to play jazz music. the department of agriculture spent $68,000 in foreign food aid to send a group to the great american beer festival to promote beer in vietnam. $68,000 in foreign food aid to have a bunch of people come to the great american beer
festival. national institutes of health spent about $1 million, as i mentioned, on the monkey on a treadmill study. the purpose of this research? to determine if other studies can be conducted of monkeys on treadmills. i think everybody will have to agree, this is totally bananas. i mean, we can't continue to spend money like this. many other taxpayer-funded science projects sounded like they were concocted in a frat house rather than a government research agency like this one. $103 million was spent by the national science foundation, this was a grant -- it's studying if kuzis really keep a cool drink in a can cool or if it's just wishful thinking. i think we've had plenty of studies on evaporation and condensation to know what really happens, but these -- these studies were conducted, you know, with a coozie in somebody's bathroom or laundry
room somewhere doesn't really qualify as serious science. yet we spent $1.3 million on a grant to do just that. you've got to watch the video. you've got to see it. the national institute for drug abuse spent nearly $1 million to prove pizza is as addictive as crack. the study's results will be a surprise to no one. the n.s.f. is spending over a million on dating studies, including why attractive people date -- why they date those who are not attractive and what makes those looking for love on-line swipe right and pursue a romantic relationship. now, how in the world we're spending money on dating studi studies, the n.s.f., to find out why people like my wife would date somebody less attractive, like me. i mean, some of these things we'll just have to let go i think and not spend taxpayer
money on. these price tags are pocket change to the big spenders in washington who collectively burn through $7 million a minute, as we all know. nobody can really keep track of how or why some of this money is spent. the purpose for wastebook this year is created to do our best to hold those accountable who are spending this money. in his farewell address a year ago, senator tom coburn, who created wastebook, challenged every member of congress to produce their own wastebook and start a real debate about national spending and budget priorities. while it's impossible to emulate or replace dr. coburn, he's given us a great example to follow. as a longtime admirer and former colleague and friend of dr. coburn, it's a great and heavy responsibility to join others like senator james lankford and john mccain to
try to carry forward the coburn legacy of stopping wasteful washington spending and to bring some kind of oversight to this. you can find the full list of a hundred wastebook entries on my web site as well. as you glance through it, ask yourself if the federal government is really being frugal and as underfunded as it claims to be. ask yourself, are we really cutting to the bone, is there no more fat left to cut? we hear that continually. sequester-level spending has brought to us the brink that there's just nowhere else to cut. it's my hope, my only hope, that this report gives congress something to chewy on the -- and the end of bad puns too, i hope -- before debt and deficit saddles taxpayers and they finally strike back at this lunacy. but i would commend this waste book to all
who can read it. you can reach it on our web site as well. with that, mr. president, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i rise in support of the every student succeeds act. we've had one vote on this today already and we'll have another vote to. i want to begin by applauding senators murray and alexander and congressman klein and scott for reaping across the aisle and working with their committee colleagues and the members of both bodies to fixing a long-expired and broken law. i think we all understand that education is de-both individual success and to our economic success. esea gives parents, schools, districts the flexibility to close the achievement gaps that the no child left behind helped us explore. esea maintains critical requirements but legitimacy requires -- will you also
requires schools to track the progress of every child while allowing states and school districts to set their own goals for improvement and determine which interventions are best. it invests in early childhood education and it prmtly authorizes the preschool development grant program of which virginia was one of the first states to receive a challenge grant. the bill recognizes that there are other factors than just test scores that describe students' success, and that's a significant advance pass n pasto child left behind. i rise because a number of provisions that i worked on on d you worked on were left in the bill. career technical education. senator mccaskill and i entered a provision that came out of a conversation that i had with students a year ago at the university of virginia. these students were members of a student organization calledee
less" which advocates for survivors of campus rape and sexual assault. there had been a story in the "rolling stone" magazine about the scourge of campus sexual assault. the story was controversial because it focused on a particular allegation of sexual assault that was later discredited abdz "rolling stone" retracted the article. i went upped and sat with a group of students, no faculty, press, administrators, to talk about the problem of campus sexual assault. it has been a long time since i was a college student and i wanted to hear them talk about the challenges they face. it was robust discussion. these students didn't all agree with each other, but the goal was to get a sense from them about what we could do that would be helpful and what were things we might want to do that would make us feel good but wouldn't be helpful. many great ideas came out of that discussion but there was one in particular that grabbed
my attention. students talked about the fact that they wished when they came to college for the first time in their life living away from home that they knew more about issues like coercion or consent to intimate behavior or especially where to go for help or what to do if you felt like someone was pressuring you. i naively said, diewf an orientation about -- don't you have an orientation about sexual assault? they say we dovment it's 15 minutes about sexual assault, then 15 minutes about don't get too much credit cards, then 15 minutes about don't drink too much. it is just not enough. then i asked, don't you learn about this in sex education or health ed classes in high school? and one of the young ladies said, we get a sex ed curriculum in high school, but it is about reproductive biology, not about behaviors and relationships and strategies. and sort of the right and wrong issues. and i thought that was really
interesting. so i came back after hearing from them -- and i honor these students because from the idea to now the passage hopefully tomorrow, it's been a year from hearing from them. now because of them there's going to be an important advance in public safety. what the students forced me to do is to come back and analyze the problem of sexual assault. we've been dealing with it in the military, on college campuses, we deal with it in the society at large. we can either have strategies that are specific to the military or college campuses or the workplace or society, or we can acknowledge actually campus sexual assault instead of focusing on where it hangars let's focus on when it happens. if you are a young person, you are most -- if you -- i mean, let me phut differently. the most likely time in your life when you will be a victim of a sexual assault is age 16-24. doesn't make a difference whether you are in the military, on a college campus or anywhere else. it is the time in your life when you are kind of new to adult
sexuality issues. many perpetrators of sexual assaults are in the same age range. the student said, what if we had better education in the k-12 space? snr mccaskill and i introduced a bill taking the campus sexual assault problem but trying to do something about it during the k-12 educational time, better education, and we called it the teach safe relationships act. the bill was rolled into the senate version of the rewrite of the elemen elementary and secony education act and the final compromise conference report includes it, provisions that are included so that title 4 federal educational funding can now be used specifically for instruction and training on safe relationship behave among students. many this should help us deal with the issue of sexual assault. i want to thank the conference committee for including it in the bill, and it is my hope that school systems will now take
advantage of this title 4 funding. most school systems receive it -- to prevent sexual assault, not just on college campuses but for anybody in that age -- 16-24 age range that is vulnerable. second, mr. president, you and i and senator baldwin introduced a number of pieces of legislation dealing with career and technical education that have been included in the bill. the provisions include encouragement to states to use more career readiness indicators in their accountability systems, to define what educational success is. this gives the states the opportunity to recognize schools that are successfully preparing students for post secondary education and workforce through tools like technical schools and college credits. it shouldn't just be about performance on multiple-choice tests. if you are getting a valid indicator of success, that should count. we encourage the development of a specialized teacher corps to help teachers integrate career
and technical education into your normal academic subjects. we allow students to use title 4 funds for career counseling training and for options for post-secondary and career pathways. and finally we include c.t.e. in the definition of a well-rounded education. you know, traditionally under child child, inochild left behit math, english, science. other subjects ought to be included in the definition of a "well-rounded education." c.t.e. is an important pathway to prepare for the workforce with land hand-on learning experience. i am the son of an ironworker and welder. i believe deeply in the power of c.t.e. i see it every day across the commonwealth of virginia, just as i see you see it every day in the state of ohio, mr. president.
carroll county has a state-of-the-art agriculture c.t.e. flam i visited this summer set up with virginia tech, as good as any college campus. not only helps students who want to be farmers but those students who want to be farmers suddenly find that when they're studying in a c.t.e. lab, their chemistry grades go up as well. in ashburn i saw a robotics program that was successful and in virginia beach a c.t.e. program helped students lrn to you to build houses, training tg them for construction careers and the houses they imild are pretty impressive. this year marks the 50th anniversary that president johnson signed the esea. our nation's prosperity is dependent upon student educational success and this rewrite of the eses a incredible -- esea. i want to thank senators and their staffs. let me extend a thanks to my wife. she is the secretary of
education of virginia and she came up and sat down with the committee staffs here in the senate to share some virginia experiences that then factored into the rewrite of the ultimate bill. it's my hope this is going to pass with a big bipartisan margin tomorrow. this is a tough, complicated area that was eight years overdue to be reauthorized because it's so controversial. and yelt we found a path afford that's bipartisan understand bis me we can do it on this issue and other issues as well. with that, i thank you and jeestled. yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday i spent a few minutes talking about the accomplishments of the 114th congress and what i've discovered is if we don't talk about them, nobody else does. people have become so cynical
about washington that -- and really distressed in so many ways -- and i can certainly understand why -- that it's important for us to point out a few of the simple facts, not that we've -- not that we've completely turned this battleship around but that we have made some incremental progress under the leadership that the american people put in charge last november. the republican leadership in the house and senate. obviously with the president of the opposite party. so under the constitution, the president still has a vote. he's got a veto pen and he's not irrelevant. but not withstanding the fact that we've got some well-publicized differences with the president and even among republicans and democrats, i think in fairness we have to acknowledge that we've had a pretty good run in the last, last 11 months or so. but i don't want to make this a partisan issue because, frankly, you can't get anything done in the united states senate or in the united states congress or in
the u.s. government without bipartisan cooperation and so you have on the bill that we are working on today, the fix for no child left behind, the ranking member of the senate, health, education, labor and pensions committee, senator murray who's worked hand in glove with the chairman, senator alexander. we've also had the pleasure of working with senator murray on trade promotion authority and on the first human trafficking reform we've seen in about a quarter of a century. those are all important pieces of legislation. i think about the intelligence committee and the work that's been done in this congress on cyber attacks, cyber protection. senator feinstein from california, the ranking member working hand in glove with the chairman, senator burr from north carolina. and then on the first multiyear
highway bill we've had in ten years, it would not have happened without the leadership of chairman inhofe and chairman hatch on the finance committee, but also i would say barbara boxer, the senator from california, and ron wyden, the ranking member of the finance committee. and we've worked together on a number of other things that have not yet gone to the president's desk, like criminal justice reform. i was invited to come to the white house along with a, really an ideological spectrum of senators from the right to the left to talk about criminal justice reform and how we can find consensus to deal with our criminal justice system and make our prison system no longer just a warehouse for human beings, but rather a place where if people want the chance, want the opportunity to turn their life around, they can begin that by participating in programs that will help them learn a skill,
perhaps deal with their drug or alcohol addiction or otherwise prepare them for reentry into civilized society. so while leadership is important and this agenda of trade promotion authority, anti-human trafficking, cybersecurity, highway bill, criminal justice reform and now education reform, none of this would have been necessarily on the agenda if our friends across the aisle had been in charge. the fact is leadership is important. and thanks to the majority leader and the leadership he's provided, he has set the agenda. but again, nothing happens here in washington on cybersecurity, on human trafficking, on trade promotion authority, on education, on highways or criminal justice reform without working together to find bipartisan consensus. and so it's important that we acknowledge and in fairness the facts of what has been
accomplished. that's not to say we're breaking our arm by patting ourselves on the back or that we think we've solved all the problems here. certainly many of the major differences that existed last year still exist. and we, frankly, have big disagreements with some of our friends across the aisle and with this president on things like national security, on the effectiveness or i should say ineffectiveness on the war to destroy isis and to deal with the terrorist threat both abroad and back home. but we ought to also pause and say where we can find common ground that we are trying to do this on behalf of the american people. and so tomorrow at about 10:45 we'll be voting on an impressive piece of legislation that will bring effective education reform to help our nation's children and the parents and their teachers. but it's really not just about education. it is, as we frequently like to
say, it's about an investment in the future of our country because we are talking about equipping the next generation with what they need to succeed in an ever-changing world and ever-challenging world. back home in texas, i have repeatedly seen how schools have created groundbreaking innovative programs for their students to thrive and benefit everyone involved. i know i mentioned some of these programs before, like a camp for middle school students that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, what we frequently refer to as the stem fields. and it included building robots. in other words, learning science can be fun too. and i actually think that's what the best teachers do. they make learning fun. or i saw a cutting-edge program at the united high school in laredo, texas, which took advantage of the proximity of laredo to the shale gas place in
south texas, and actually ninth grade students who were taking science courses were learning the basics of petroleum geology so that they would be equipped, after they graduated from high school, to get jobs in that field, jobs that pay far more than minimum wage. but they do that by starting their education and by exposing them to this field in high school and through nernships and other -- internships and other training programs. these programs are good examples of how the local community and some of the differences in the local economy, for example, the proximity of laredo to the eagle foot shale can benefit education in a way that benefits the students and the community or states in our country. but the important thing to realize is that not all good ideas emanate from washington, d.c.
in fact, the contrary is true. louis brandeis in a much often quoted statement, let's call the states the laboratories of democracy. but the fact of the matter is it's true. states are the place where innovation can occur. you can seed or fail as the -- you can succeed or fail as the case may be and we can learn what the best practices are in education and a whole raft of subjects. to my mind, that's the way we ought to legislate here in washington, is we ought to try things, try people's ideas out at the state and local level. and if they work, great. then we may decide that we need to be scaled up and apply more broadly. what we have seen and the mistake i think we've seen in the current administration is to take, make experiments
nationwide with the one size fits all. we've seen that in obamacare, for example, where all of a sudden the majority and the administration decided to transform one-sixth of the american economy. and of course making extravagant promises about what would work only to find that it couldn't work and didn't work, and, thus, those promises and those selling points ended up not being true. but again, back on the topic of education, many of the things that we realize do work have been created with the help of local teachers, leaders and parents. these communities were able to create programs that flourished because they didn't, they weren't operating under a federal government mandate. in fact, they were freed of federal interference in developing that curriculum and coming up with something that works. the bottom line is this local ingenuity and a community response to educational needs often can trump ideas coming out
of washington, d.c. because, frankly, the ideas emanating from here prove to be impractical or ideological in nature. the bureaucracy in washington, despite even their best of intentions, cannot meet the local educational needs of millions of children across a vast and diverse country such as ours. our country is just simply too big and too diverse to have a one-size-fits-all approach to anything, including education. so that's why i'm grateful to chairman alexander, ranking member murray, and everybody who's participated in producing this conference report to a bill that passed the senate this summer with more than 80 votes. it's called the every student succeeds act, and it returns control of education decisions to states and local communities and to parents and to teachers. and it does a pretty good job --
not a perfect job but a pretty good job of keeping the federal government out of the way. i might just add parenthetically, mr. president, i think it's important to make the points that i'm trying to make in these remarks today because i happen to have a social media habit on twitter and elsewhere where i see a lot of information being spread that simply is not true about this legislation and other things. so that's why i think it's important to stick with the facts and explain to the american people and my constituents back home why i intend to enthusiastically support this legislation. first of all, this bill allows states to decide the academic standards and curriculum for their own children. this bill ends federal test-based accountability and it kills the national school board, and it keeps the opinions of the bureaucrats, even the well-meaning opinions that are misguided, out of our children's
classrooms. common core has proven to be a very controversial topic. this legislation ends common core and affirms that the states have the responsibility to decide what academic standards they want to adopt and how to measure success. and so by giving responsibility back to local communities and the states and parents and teachers, the every student succeeds act will allow each state and their school districts the flexibility they need to design and implement their own programs and systems according to the needs of their students and to innovate and to help us and the rest of the country learn from their experience. states like texas can decide how to use federally mandated test results to understand how a student performs. this not only relieves the phenomenon known as teaching to the test, but it gives states the added freedom to provide
their students with the well-rounded education they need to compete in an increasingly competitive and globalized world. put simply, with that legislation states can decide for themselves what standards, what curriculum and what accountability measures they want to adopt. and i think we'll see as justice brandeis said how those laboratories of democracy work. and i dare say that those states and those school districts and those students who prosper and do well will raise the bar for everyone else because they will have demonstrated what is possible given the freedom and the flexibility to innovate. another important element of this bill is that it rightfully limits the power of the secretary of education. so with this legislation, the secretary of education cannot mandate, cannot direct and
cannot control a state or local education agency or require them to change what they teach in the classroom. that's up to the states and up to local school districts. and parents and teachers. so this bill will replace a law in need of reform. it will stop washington from imposing common core on our classrooms, and it will let those closest to our country's greatest asset -- our children -- decide how best to provide for their education. this final bill passed the house of representatives last week with a tremendous bipartisan vote, and i hope to see a similar level of bipartisan enthusiasm here in the senate as well when we vote to pass this conference report tomorrow morning. and i suspect we will. as i said, this is the product of a lot of hard work by the chairman of the health, education, labor and pensions committee, better known as the
help committee here in this senate. senator alexander, the senior senator from tennessee, has been the navigator and leader for this legislation, working closely, as i said earlier, with senator murray from washington in a bipartisan way to try to find consensus in an often contentious -- in an often contentious subject. and i know he looks forward to passage of this legislation tomorrow, as i do too, and to have the president sign it shortly thereafter. as i said at the beginning, you can't do anything here in congress or in washington without bipartisan cooperation. but leadership does matter, because leaders set the agenda and they set the tone, and they hold people accountable. and i'd say under the leadership of senator mcconnell, the senior senator from kentucky, the senate's been able to begin the process once again of solving real problems for the
mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call being dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, i i'm grateful for this opportunity to offer a few remarks on the every student succeeds act. to be honest, i wasn't sure we would ever reach this point, given the often contentious and sensitive nature of the educational debate. but it is only fitting that we have spent so much time and energy trying to get the best bill we can. after all, the future of our nation depends on it. our states depend on it. our schools depend on it. and our families and children depend on it. i credit the success of this bill to the different and diligent work of the chairman and ranking member of the senate help committee as well as the chairman and ranking member of the house, education, an and
workforce committee. i know how difficult it can be to strike a deal that is agreeable to both sides, but our committee leaders have done an outstanding job. i wish to thank them for helping us to reach out and reach a compromise. that's exactly what this bill is, a compromise, and while neither side considers it perfect, both parties can agree that this bipartisan legislation will significantly improve the quality of education in our country. i have met with a wide variety of local education leaders in utah, and each one i've spoken to supports this bill. this legislation helps fix a broken system that is failing our students. once we pass this reauthorization, our work will be far from over, but we will once again be moving in the right direction. for the past several years, my home state of utah has sought relief from unworkable provisions in the no child left
behind through the waiver process. but the waiver process is dysfunctional. it forces states to appeal to the federal government to fix a problem created by the federal government. as our state superintendent in utah said, "results of the waiver process have not been salutory for situation, education, for developments in administrative law or for the health of our republic. reforming and revising this deeply flawed statute has and must be the primary work of our federal delegates with respect to education." unquote. today we are answering his plea and the plea of many state and local leaders throughout the country. i am grateful for the opportunity that i've had to work on this bill. i'm also grateful for the opportunity i've had to help write many of its provisions, including the education and innovation research program which will allow schools, districts, nonprofits, and small businesses to develop proposals
based on specific local needs. funding for this program will be awarded based on demonstrated successful outcomes flowing from the project. this initiative will help us find our incubators of success. it will also remove limitations on flexibility in exchange for demonstrated outcomes. money should not be tied to what the u.s. senate or the federal department of energy thinks are good partnershippive ideas -- precippive ideas. it should be tied to innovation and tangible results. i've also worked to expand technology usage in the classrooms and to equip our teachers with the professional development they need to use technology successfully. too many of our schools are using outdated or ineffective technological methods and models that are missing critical components of teacher participation and support. educational technology allows us
to personalize learning for students, target where students are struggling, and provide real-time valuable feedback to teachers so they may adapt their instruction most effectively. i hope we can provide every child access to the same tools and resources and create the individualized learning experience and experiences that we know are critical to success. this bill equips bot both educas and students with the resources they need to succeed. as the chamber of commerce in utah said, "this allows willing states to improving. it also invests in our hardworking programs with more preparation programs including those designed to improve literacy and stem education." mr. president, this legislation is a victory both for i think
and for our nation. the sooner we send this bill to the president, the sooner we can empower our states to help our students achieve their full potential, the better off we are all going to be. i think this will be a major, major watershed bill and hopefully we'll pass it this day and hopefully our elementary and secondary education will greatly benefit from it. again, i want to particularly compliment the distinguished chairman and rank member for the work they've done be, the hard and effective work they have done. i'm grateful i had the privilege of working with them on the health, education, labor, and pensions committee. i want to thank everybody who has played a role in this particular bill. it is difficult for me to see why anybody would vote against this bill because it repairs what really has been a very pitiful system under no child left behind.
mr. lee: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president, later today the senate will vote on the every student succeeds act, a bill that reauthorizes the elementary and secondary education act, or esea, which is the legislation governing federal k-12 education policy. by all accounts, the senate is
expected to pass this bill with a bipartisan majority and president obama is, of course, expected to sign it into law. this would be a serious setback for america's schools, teachers and students, one that will have sweeping consequences for decades to come, because when we get education policy wrong, as this bill does and as we have done at the federal level for so many years, it affects not just the quality of education students receive as children but the quality of life that will be available to them as adults down the road. the problem is not just the particular provisions of this particular bill but the dysfunctional and outdated model of education on which its built. a model that concentrates authority over education decisions in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats instead inform the hands of
parents, teachers, principals, local school boards and state officials. for the past 50 years, this model has defined and guided the reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act, and the bill before us today is unfortunately no compensation. not coincidentalling, the central planning model has also failed to provide any meaningful improvements to ack sejm i can achievement -- academic achievement, especially for students from low-income communities. in fact, since 1969, test scores in reading and math have hardly budged for public school students of all ages, even while per-pupil spending has nearly doubled and school staff has increased by more than 80%. and yet here we are once again on the verge of passing another esea reauthorization bill built on the same k-12 education model
that has trapped so many kids across america in failing schools and confined america's education system to a state of stagnant mediocrity for half a century. this is not simply a failure of policy. it's a failure of imagination. our 1960's era top-down model of elementary and secondary schooling has endured essentially unchanged and unchallenged for so many decades that the education establishment has come to take it for granted. for many educates and policy-makers around this capital and state capitals around the country, this status quo model isn't just seen as the best way but as the only way to design a k-12 education policy today. even the most creative policy thinking is confined within the new narrow boundaries of the centrally planned status quo.
i you ththe only reform proposat are given today is to enforce uniformity across school districts and systemetize the way teachers he dispeech teach s learn in classrooms every step of the way. and so we insist the most important teaching decisions, about what to teach about, when to teach it and about how to assess learning are made by individuals outside of the classroom and are uniformly applied and reapplied regardless of the particular characters and composition of the class in question. we expect students of the same age to progress through the curriculum and master each subject at exactly the same pace. we assign students to their school according to their zip codes. we allocate public education funds to educate --
we allocate public education funds to education agencies and schools. never directly to parents. we evaluate teachers and determine their compensation not based on their job performance in the classroom but on standards that can be quantified, like the number of years on the job. student learning is assessed in much the same way, using standardized tests and age-based benchmarks. and we never let stagnant educational outcomes or a persistent achievement gap shake our faith in the ability of central planners to engineer and superintend the education of tens of millions of students in america. these are the fundamental pillars of the status quo hollings for elementary and secondary education. and the every student succeeds
act leaves them wholly, entirely intact. but schools are not factories. education can't be systemetized. learning, mr. president, simply can't be planned. good teachers are successful not because they're following some magic formula concocted by experts in washington, d.c., but because they do what good teachers everywhere have always done in order to advance the learning of their students. they work harder than just about anyone and they know their class material, the material they teach their students, inside and out. they communicate early and often with each student's parents so that they and their students can be held accountable. they observe and they listen to their students michael jordan to understand their -- their students in order to understand their unique goals and tailor each day's lesson plans accordingly.
and they evaluate honestingly and accordingly, assessing whether they've mastered the material, not just figured out how to take a test. so instead of imposing an obsolete conformity on an invariably varied environment, we should be empowering teachers and parents with the tools they need to meet the unique educational needs of their students and children. instead of continuing to standardize and systemetize education across the entire country, we should be trying to custom skies and personalize education for every single student. the good news is that we don't need to start from scratch. we know that local control over k-12 and even pre-k education is more effective than washington, d.c.'s prescriptive, heavy-handed approach because we've seen it work in communities all over the country.
for years education entrepreneurs in the states, including my home state of utah, have been implementing and refining policies that put parents, teachers, principals and school boards back in charge of education policy, back in charge of curriculum, back in charge of teaching and testing standards. perhaps the most popular state initiated reform is the movement towards school choice, which overturns the embarrassingly outdated and manifestly unfair practice of assigning schools rigidly based on zip codes. we know that a good education starting at a young age is an essential ingredient for economic opportunity and democratic citizenship later in life for each child. and we also know that america has always aspired to be a place where the continue of your birth doesn't determine the path of your life. so why on earth would we want to
prohibit parents from choosing the school that's best for their children, especially if, as is far too common, their local school is underperforming at the moment? school choice is one of the most important locally driven reforms aimed at resolving this fundamental injustice that our current assignment by zip code system has attached to it. but it's not the only one. there are also education savings accounts, or e.s.a.'s, which give parents control over the per-pupil education dollars that would have been spent on their child by the school system. there is the recent innovation of course choice pioneered within my home state of utah, which brings the same kind of education customization and a la cart choice that have spread on college campuses to elementary and secondary schools. and, of course, there's the
distinctively american notion that parents, principals, school districts and state officials have the right and should have the ability to opt out of the most onerous, restrictive, misguided federal commands. whether it's parents who don't want their children wasting dozens of hours each year taking standardized tests or state policy-makers who develop local education reforms that are more effective and less expensive than federal one-size-fits-all policies, we should support the rights of all americans to have a say in the education of their children. mr. president, the point isn't that there's a better way to improve america's schools but it is, rather, that there are 50 better ways or even thousands of better ways. in our increasingly decentralized world and our
increasingly decentralized complex american economy. there are as many ideal education policies as there are children and teachers, communities and schools. but washington is standing in the way, inherently if irrationally distrustful to any alternative to the stop-down education status quo. and on the every students achieves act, washington's outdated conformist policies will continue to be in the way. which is why i urge all of my colleagues to join me in voting against this bill. but even if most senators vote in favor of the failed status quo, i'm confident that i have the majority of moms and dads in america on my side. i often hear from utah parents calling or writing my office to express their support for local control over education. i recently received an e-mail
from kirsten, a proud mother of four and the p.t.a. president at her local school, who urged me to vote against this esea reauthorization. i thought i'd let her have the last word today. based on years of experience with the public schools and her community, kirsten warns maintaining washington, d.c.'s monopoly over america's public schools will -- and i quote -- "force my three incredibly different children who learn in very different ways into a box, where my daughter will be forced to learn things that she isn't ready to learn, my oldest who is ahead of his peers will be forced to slow down or help teach his peers in a way that they don't understand. and my third will constantly be in trouble for not sitting still and pes terg his peers because he understands quickly and is bored." close quote. we need standards. we need benchmarks kirsten
wrote, but we also need to allow children to learn at their own pace. we need child-centered education where children have the ability to go as fast or as slow as they need. please think about the children of utah. vote against the esea reauthorization. allow our kids the freedom to learn. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that my education fellow christine verison be given froorps for the remainder -- be given floor privileges for the remainder of this congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. we've been living under no child left behind or nclb for 13 years. during that time we've learned about how nclb works and a lot
of more about what doesn't work. students, teachers and parents across the country have been waiting for a long time for us to fix this law. as a member of the esea conference committee, i'm proud to work on the legislation before us today, the every student succeeds act, and to have helped to get it this far. i want to thank representatives john kline and bobby scott and senators lamar alexander and patty murray for building a bipartisan foundation that got this bill done and will help reform our national education system. the bill, of course, is not perfect, but it's a huge improvement over nclb. over the last 13 years we've learned that the one-size-fits-all approach to fixing failing schools just wasn't working.
that's why this bill is designed to find a balance between giving states more flexibility while at the same time still making sure that states intervene and fix schools where students are not learning. over the last several years, starting when i got here, i've been -- i met with principals and teachers, students, of course parents and school superintendents, other school administrators in minnesota, and these conversations have helped me develop my education priorities to help improve our schools, our communities and our nation's future, because that's what this is about. i worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground, and i'm pleased that many of my priorities to improve student outcomes and close the achievement gap are reflected in the legislation
that is before us today. these priorities include things like strengthening stem education, expanding student mental health services, increasing access to courses that help high school students earn college credit, and improving the preparation and recruitment of principals for high-needs schools. i also successfully fought to renew the 21st century community learning centers program which provides the critical after-school learning activities for students. another one of my priorities helps increase the number of counselors and social workers in our schools. and my provision to allow the use of computer-adaptive tests
will go a long way to improve the quality of assessments used in our schools. it will give teachers and parents mor accurate and timely information on their students' progress, on growth, measuring growth and not what nclb did in the beginning, which was just measure percentage of kids who exceed a certain sort of arbitrary line of proficiency. this will measure every kid and how far they've come. i've always thought that a sixth grade teacher who takes a kid from the third grade level of reading to a fifth grade level of reading is a hero and not a goat, as that teacher was in no child left behind. i was also able to include a new native language immersion program because i believe
language is critical to maintaining cultural heritage and helping native american students succeed. in addition, i wrote a provision to provide foster children who get new foster parents, that allows them to stay in their same school district, stay in their same school and not have to move to another school when that's in their best interest. because very often with foster kids, the one central thing, stable thing in their life is their friends at school and their school and their teachers. again, i'm very pleased that these priorities have been included in the legislation we are considering today, and i thank my colleagues for working with me on them. these provisions will help hundreds of thousands of students of minnesota and
millions across the country reach their full potential. at the same time i do have to express my deep disappointment that my measure to protect will- protect lgbt students from bullying was not included in the final bill. i'm going to keep fighting to get this critical measure passed into law because i think it is our responsibility here in the senate as adults to protect children. finally, i want to note that every student succeeds act, the every student succeeds act makes critical investments in early childhood education, which has been a priority of mine for a long time. the quality of early childhood education doesn't just start kids off on the right foot, it's also good for our budget. studies show that for every dollar invested -- and this is
study after study has shown that we get up to $16 back in the long run. a kid who's had quality early childhood education is less likely to be in special ed, less likely to be left back a grade, have better health outcomes. the girls are less likely to get pregnant in adolescence. they're more likely to graduate from high school and go to college and get a good job and pay taxes. and much less likely to go to prison. and that's why it is such a great investment. it's also a great investment because a three-year-old child is a beautiful thing. and after working on a bill to replace nclb for years, i'm very pleased that we've gotten this reform effort finished. i want to thank my dedicated staff both present and past who
have worked hard to move education priorities forward -- sheri lockman, amanda beaumont and gohar sidiky. once the president signs the every student succeeds act into law, i look forward to working to make sure that the new will you is implemented in a way that will benefit students and parents and teachers and schools in minnesota. i thank the presiding officer and, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i move to the quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to express my strong support for senate bill 1177, the every student succeeds act. this legislation sends the responsibility of educating our nation's students back to where
it belongs, with states and local communities. i'd like to commend chairman alexander and ranking member murray for their work to advance this legislation through a very ideologically diverse help committee. and they did it by a unanimous vote in committee. the full senate then had a vote. that was 81-17. and we had a conference committee. we haven't had many of these. it was with the house of representatives to iron out differences between the two bills, and that passed by a vote of 38-1. it's been a long time since we've had numbers like that around here. in fact, it's been a long time since bills went to committee and had the opportunity to be amended in committee and then went to the floor of the united states senate and had the opportunity to be amended on the floor. and, of course, even more unusual to have a conference committee then because it passed
both houses and come up with a 38-1 approval of the conference report, which is what's now before us. this is one of those instances where we get to vote for to vot. i'm hoping that almost everybody votes for it, just like in these previo votes. we in wyoming are very proud of our school system. we're proud of the way that we support our students. we support our educators. we support our staff. in fact, the constitution of wyoming says that there will be equal education for every child. we carry that to an extreme. in wyoming that means there even have to be equal buildings as well as opportunities and facilities and teachers, and that's run through the courts every once in a while just to make sure that it is observed. and it is, and we're proud of our students and our buildings
and the education that they get. we're really proud of the way that it helps to prepare our students for what's next and ensures that they have the tools necessary to succeed in a rapidly evolving society. this bill, the every student succeeds act, ensures thatool leaders have the power to taylor the education to -- to tailor the education to meet the needs of all students, even in the most remote communities. wyoming is the least populated state in the nation, and we have probably some of the smallest schools. we believe that kids shouldn't have to ride a bus to or from school for more than an hour, and, as a result, we have some schools that have o student or two students or three students. that's a little different kind of a school than most of the nation has. for too long now i have heard
stories from students, teachers, parents from across wyoming about the harm inflicted by the prep for the test system that's been in place. that ends with the signing of this bill. our nation's students deserve the opportunity to learn in innovative and creative ways that'll stimulate their minds and open their eyes to the countless opportunities we have in this great country. our nation's teachers and school leaders deserve the highest levels of support and training to help our students recognize those opportunities and help prepare the next generation. our nation's parents deserve the option to choose what educational opportunities are best for their child. this act ensures that all of that can occur by empowering states and local communities to make the decisions they think are best. this is a diverse country. there are a lot of differences between our states. we have some common policies, we
have common law, but there's still differences. i'm always a little riled when we're compared with some of the other countries around the world in how our students are doing. i've been chairman of the health, education, labor, and pensions committee before and did some research, visited some countries to see what their education system lik was like. one of the ways they get better scores on their tests is they kick kids out of school. in india, they guarantee a sixth-grade education. they say they guarantee a sixth-grade keasmtio education. they do a cleansing of the schools in fourth grade. they say these kids are not participating in their education enough and they cake them out of school. -- and they kick them out of school. and those kids will sweep streets at night and earn $1 a day for the rest of their life. that's it. no opportunity for advancement. that's in fourth grade, even though they're guarantee add
sixth-grade education. in sixth grade, they have another purge. those kids will wind up in jobs where they make $2 a day the rest of their life, no opportunity for change. they only allow 7% of the kids to go college. tremendous competition that probably makes some difference in their scores. but weeding out kids makes a different difference. thank goodness in this country we don't believe in that. we believe that every kid should have an opportunity and give them an opportunity as long as we can. local school boards are terrific examples of democracy at its finest. within those meetings, individuals in the community can come together to discuss and debate issues related to the education of their youth. it's in those meetings that students can voice their opinions a vndz a say in their own -- and have a say in their own educational experience much students and leaders can put forth what they feel is the best
course of action to teach the content in the best ways that meets the needs of the community. all of those parties can decide how they want to spend educational funds within the budget that the members of that community voted on. the every student succeeds act that we will vote on tomorrow gives that power back to the local school boards. it allows issues to be debated and decisions to be made in a room of parents, students, teachers, school leaders and community members who know best what works for the students. that's one of the purest forms of democracy that i can think of and certainly something i think our founders had in mind in their idea of america. in particular, our idea of educating our kids. i know that there are some people who are going to vote against this bill, and i've asked why. the most common answer is, it
doesn't go far enough. huh ... it goes further than anything that's been done in this chamber since the department of education was founded. this reverses things back to states' rights. now, i work around here under an 80% rule. i have found we can work productively 80% of the time. we both have things that we think are right and we've been fighting over them for decade. if we stick to the 80%, we can be productive. we can find something that we can have some common ground on. i found that we usually only have 80% common ground on any of the issues, because, again, there's t that 10% 0en each on e
that we feel is really right and we'd like to do. so the best way to get some legislation done is to leave out some of those things and go ahead and get what you can. this bill does that. i think it goes beyond 80% incidentally. but you can get the whole 100%. the way you have to do it is to get both sides together, keep them out of the weeds long enough. the old rhetoric that they have been working on, where they can hear a key word and not have to listen. if you can get them to sit down and listen and think of a new way to do it you'd get 100%. because when you come up with the new idea that both sides can grab onto, they both claim it is their idea and it moves on. we're not at that point yet on education, but i really commend the chairman of the committee, senator alexander, and the ranking member, senator murray, for coming together on 80% of
what can get done and working to get it done. tthe alternate is to get nothing done. people have been complaining about this and it's been out of authorization for years. this is the first chance we've had to actually move forward with education, to move it back to the states where it'll be most effective, where those diverse states can make up their minds on what best will work with their students. and,incidentally, most of those countries are astates are as bif those countries we compete with. but they're making decisions for their state when they're making their education decisions, and that's what this bill will do. there aren't any perfect bills, and i particularly don't like comprehensive bills. that was obamacare. that was a comprehensive bill. my idea of a comprehensive bill is it's so big that people can't
understand it, and it's so big that stuff can get shoved in there that nobody will notice when it's being done. this is one of those bills that's been worked phon a long time, it's been taken carefully in steps and put together so that we can move forward with it. the question is, will it work? yes, it will work. will it do everything that everybody wants? hardly anything ever does. this bill will come as close to doing something, lik -- like i , it is the most progress that we've had since we got a department of education, which is a whole nother debate. i've been proud to support this legislation from its very early stages, and i'll continue to support that today. the responsibility of education of our nation's students belongs to states and local communities. the every student succeeds act ensures that responsibility is given to those entities.
the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the senate is i not in a quorum cal. ms. murkowski: i would like to take a few moments to talk about where we are on the dark th cale end of the year for 20156789 a
lot of talk about wrap-up, a lot of talk about how we knit together some of the outstanding issues that are before us as a border, as a congress. there is much yet to be done, but i do think it is significant to recognize that there has been good work. there has been substantial and substantive work that has come out of the united states senate this year, as the republicans have led the senate in the majority. and as we think back on a year end and a series of accomplishments, i think it is important to recognize that the business of the congress has been productive. and sometimes we get so busy around here that we stop to even recall what it was that we have done yesterday, much less last week or the week before.
today we've had an opportunity to almost bring to a close the education reform measure that senator alexander from tennessee and senator murray from washington have been working so hard on over this past year. as a member of the help committee, i have been very pleased to work with them as we have attempted to advance meaningful and long overteu education -- overdue education reforms. before give to speak specifically to the every student succeeds act, i -- i'd just like to rattle off a few of the -- a few of the measures. of course, we recognize that it was just last week that the highway reauthorization bill moved successfully not only through the -- the senate but through the congress -- through the house and through the full bodies ready to be signed into law by the president. a five-year highway
reauthorization, the longest reauthorization period, the longest highway bill that we've seen in 17 years. that's significant. for a state like mine that is looking for some level of certainty for projects around the state, that's considerable. and that's a good accomplishment to -- to look back to and say, there's a marker of success. the vote that we had, again just last week, that would roll back some of the many harmful effects of the affordable care act. the not so aforwardable care -- the not so affordable care act that i stood on the floor last week and said for many alaskans for far too many alaskans, the unafford aablaffordable care act affordable. we are doing the work of the congress here. moving forward, the national defense authorization. the president chose not to deal with it first time around.
sent it a second time and that has been signed. we were able to move forward several measures as they relate to the regulatory environment that we're dealing with, whether it was the clean power plan or the waters of the united states, being able to push back on those very burdensome regulations that i think we recognize. while the goals for -- for clean air, clean water are something that we all want, we need to make sure that we move in this direction in a way that doesn't burden, doesn't weight down our economy. the first appropriations stand-alone bill that we've seen move through the senate five years when we advanced the milcon appropriations measure. that also was significant. in cerkin committees, the commis have been doing great work. in our energy committee, we
moved forward an energy bill, a reform bill that would help to modernize our energy grid access to all areas of energy. not only finite but our renewable resources as well, an effort that was very bipartisan, enjoying good, strong support within the committee. moved it out 18-4. but to have an energy reform bill before the -- the senate for consideration hopefully early in this next calendar ye year, we haven't seen energy modernization, if you will, or an energy reform bill since 2007. so again, long overdue and now teed up. we've got a sportsmen's bill that we have moved through the committee and i know the environment and public works committee is hoping to advance their portion of those very significant measures, measures that will allow for greater
access to our sportsmen and women, our families that seek to recreate on our public lands. so these are good things that we're seeing coming out of the committees, coming to the floor and moving forward. again, a level of governance that i think has been -- has been good for the body but even better, it will be good for the country. i'd like to speak just very briefly about the every student succeeds act. and i know that several of my colleagues have come down to the floor. just a couple of minutes ago, the senator from wyoming. to really talk about the good things that we have seen in this education reform bill and celebrate how it really ends the national school board by putting more control for our schools in our state and local hands. and i think that that is worthy of note and really for the schools, for the administrators,
for the teachers, for the parents, i think this is -- this is worthy of celebration. i am more than pleased that the every student succeeds act finally allows our states to judge our schools by more than just the test results and allow our teachers to do what they want to do. they want to be able to teach our kids. and -- and really engage in the art and the love of learning and not just prepare for a test. i -- i think we all know that our children are more than what can be described in some of these fill-in-the-bubble exercise tests and our teachers are certainly more than robots that just stand in front of a class and follow a script that has been orchestrate orchestratm elsewhere. i tell -- i tell many alaskans
and outside that i kind of got my political start, if you will, as the president of my son's p.t.a., our parent-teacher association in our local neighborhood school. and i came to understand firsthand and very upfront and personal what no child left behind meant not only for my son's school but for schools across alaska, an area where you have a lot of geography and not a lot of numbers in terms of your population. nclb did not work for us as a very rural state. the one-size-fits-all did not work. my son's school, our public school was deemed a failing school. a failing school in the first year that adequate yearly progress was the measure -- the standard of measurement. and we were dubbed a failing
school because we had one subcategory of students where the numbers were so small but we didn't have enough students show up to take the test on that day. and so we all know there were 31 different ways to fail a.y.p. and little government hill elementary in anchorage, alaska, failed that first year. that's tough as a neighborhood because you're saying, why, what's wrong with our school? what's wrong with our snaib -- s wrong with our neighborhood? and really there was nothing wrong with our school, there was nothing wrong with our neighborhood. what we had was a directive that came out of washington, d.c., some 4,000 miles away, and it just didn't work for us. so i am more than pleased to join with superintendents, principals, school board members who celebrate that federal bureaucrats will be prohibited
from dictating standards, assessments and school ability plans. no more federal control, no more waivers with strings, no more one-size-fits-all education mandates that really never, ever fit us in alaska. i also place a high value on the fact that this bill recognizes the rights of our american indian, alaska native and native hawaiian peoples throughout the country and makes sure that they know that they have a greater say in how public schools will serve their children. and also that this bill will support the revitalization of native languages by supporting native language immersion schools. this has always been one of my priorities and i'm pleased that we see this within the every student succeeds act. i a support of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. senator boxer worked with me on
this, to make sure that we maintained federal support for afterschool programs that allow parents to remain at work if they need to after the school day ends knowing that their children are going to be safe and engaged in -- in good activities, in enriching activities that help them learn in a fun way. and so making sure that we have that critical piece in the bill was important. i'm also grateful for the support for a number of alaska-specific provisions that will ensure that this bill, unlike the no child left behind act, will truly fit alaska's needs. and i appreciate a great deal the work that senator alexander put into working through some of these issues with us, understanding the alaska piece, recognizing that some -- sometimes we -- we have entities that are different than what you have in the lower 48.
and how you translate that when you're drafting language to make sure that it works is key. and his staff worked with mine to make sure that we really didn't drop the ball in these areas. those of us who are parents realize that this legislation will give us a stronger voice in our children's education and encourage parents to take the lead in helping our schools communicate better with parents rather than the other way around. and again, coming into the politics of schools knowing that your sprairnts a voice in what is happening with the schools is critically -- your parents haveg with the schools is critically important. over the years, we've all met with teachers, school board members, parents, principals, superintendents and students from our states who were really just so discouraged, very discouraged, sometimes just plain old fed up with the no child left behind top-down
control over every decision. but the every student succeeds act guarantees that our parents, our teachers, our tribes, our community leaders and principals have a seat at the table to design how our schools serve our children. it even guarantees our governors a voice while drastically reduce the role of the secretary of education near washington, d.c. i want to acknowledge the good work of the members of the senate help committee and their staffs. we all know that their staffs just put in amazing hours to get the bill to this point, working together, compromising, their ce for the priorities of their constituents. this bill, mr. president, is one of the -- of the great examples, a poster child, if you will, of how congress should be working around here. it's hard work but it requires compromise, it requires an open amendment process in committee,
which we absolutely had. we had days and days of process on the committee. and then here on the floor but also within the conference committee. we had a real, live, old-fashioned conference committee and it was an absolute pleasure to be part of a process where you could go in with your colleagues from the house on the other side of the table, going back and forth and further perfecting a bill. in just a few days, mr. president, the baton now on education reform will be handed off to the people of our states and i look forward to this. i'm encouraging folks back home, get involved, be aware, know what's going on. it will be a responsibility that every one of our constituents must take seriously. no matter what role they play in a student's life, what happens next in each our states will be determined by the people who show up, who share their
perspectives with their states, with their departments of education, with their school boards and i believe that coming together in this way, again at that local level, at that state level, together it will be a good job for alaska's children and for all of our nation's children. and with that, mr. president, i thank you. i yield the floor, and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. i am so glad that the senate is taking the last few -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mrs. murray: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, i'm so glad that the senate is taking the last few legislative steps to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act, or esea. our bipartisan bill, the every student succeeds act, will end the one-size-fits-all mandates of no child left behind. it will reduce reliance on high-stakes testing and it will help ensure that all students have access to a quality education regardless of where they live or how they learn or
how much money their parents make. and one of the best ways to help students succeed in school is by offering high-quality early learning opportunities for kids. so i'm proud that our bipartisan bill will also improve and expand access to preschool programs for more of our nation's youngest learners. preschool is actually how i got my start in politics back in the mid-1980's, and at the time i wasn't thinking about running for the united states senate or even the state legislature in washington. i just had one specific goal in mind: the state legislature at the time was going to close down preschools in my small community because of budget cuts. i knew the impact that that would have on my own kids and on the kids i saw in their classroom. but when i went to talk to state legislators about it with my kids, they wouldn't listen. they didn't think our voices mattered, and they didn't think preschool should be a priority. so i picked up the phone, started calling other parents,
we held rallies, we wrote letters. and when it was all said and done, we won. the legislature reinstated the funding for the preschool program. and more kids in my state were able to finally start school ready to learn. madam president, i still believe that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in our country. it's why i fought so hard to improve and expand the preschool process -- the preschool program throughout this process to fix no child left behind. it's why i worked across the aisle with senator isakson and many other colleagues in the help committee to design a preschool program in our bipartisan senate bill, and it's one of the reasons why this final legislation that we will vote on tomorrow will be such a strong step for students for the years to come. so i hope our colleagues join me and everyone in passing the every student succeeds act for students, for parents, for teacherrers and communities across the country.
madam president, early childhood education is so important for our children's future and really for the future of our country. let's go through the research. studies show before children ever set foot in kindergarten, they've already developed a foundation that will determine all of the learning, health and behavior that follows. high-quality, early-learning programs can strengthen that foundation. preschool is especially important for kids from low-income background. by the time an average child growing up in poverty turns 33 years old, she will have heard 30 million fewer words compared to a child from a middle- or high-income family according to researchers at the university of kansas. that is a serious disadvantage. and i should say by the time she turns three years old, she will have heard 30 million fewer words. and that is a serious disadvantage. by the time she starts kindergarten a few years later,
the deck will already be stacked against her and her future success. but many families across the country don't have the option of sending their youngest learners to preschool. today, in fact, just 14% of three-year olds in america are enrolled in federal or state-funded preschool programs, and 41% of our four-year olds are enrolled. if we are serious about closing the achievement gap in elementary and secondary education and if we are truly committed to making sure every student has the chance to succeed, we have to invest in quality early childhood education. so back in january i said right here on the senate floor that we should only pass a bill to reauthorize the esea if it expands access to preschool programs. and i'm very glad that our bill follows through on that commitment. the every student succeeds act will mark the first time that the nation's primary elementary and secondary education law
includes dedicated funding to make sure kids start kindergarten ready to learn, and it does it by establishing a competitive grant program for states that propose to improve coordination, quality, and access to early childhood education for kids from low-income and disadvantaged families. those grants will help states like washington build on the progress it's already made to improve quality and increase access to high-quality preschool programs. madam president, i'm very proud of the bipartisan bill that we have on the floor and all it does to improve and expand access to preschool, but we still have work to do. i will continue to work to do even more for kids and families in washington state and across the country. i'll continue fighting hard to make sure that if a family wants to send their child to a quality preschool program, there will be an open slot for them. because when all students have the chance to learn, we strengthen our future workforce. our nation grows strong.
our economy grows from the middle out, not the top down. and we empower the next generation of americans to lead the world. madam president, as a former preschool teacher myself, i saw firsthand the kind of transformation that early learning can inspire in a child. it's something i have never forgotten. on my very last day of teaching preschool, before i left to serve in our washington state senate, my students gave me this great big, large blue quilt. each square was dedicated -- decorated by a student in my preschool class, and that quilt now hangs in my u.s. senate office. it reminds me every single day that investing in young children is one of the most important things we can do to help them succeed. tomorrow the senate will have the chance to vote in favor of helping more kids start school on a strong footing. we have the chance to fix no child left behind with a bill that recognizes the importance of early learning and we have a
chance to make sure one of the smartest investments we can make in our nation's youngest learners is begun. i urge the senate to pass this bill for their future and the future of our nation. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, i rise to talk about an issue that while we are rivetted in our attention about a good education bill, which i intend to support and about the challenge of isil and terrorism both abroad and at home, i am concerned that in the midst of all of those challenges, iran is well on its way to once again defying the international
community in a way iesdz that i think is incredibly dangerous. we're told that iran is to be considered a trustworthy member of the international community and that we should be able to abide or count on it to abide by the international commitments they have made and by u.n. security council resolutions. well, on october 11 of this year, iran tested a precision-guided long-range ballistic missile in violation of u.n. security council resolutions, and now iran has carried out a new medium-range ballistic missile test in breach of t.u.m. security council resolutions. we are told by western intelligence that that test was held november 21. the first one was october 11. now a second one on november 21
near shabahar, a port city in southeast's iran volustan province near the border of pakistan the missile known as a gidar 110 has a range of between 1,800 and 2,000 kilometers or about 1,200 miles and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. the missile fired in november is an improved version of the shahab 3 and is similar to the precision-guided missile tested by iran on october 10, which elicited strong condemnation by members of the u.n. security council, but those condemnations were in word but not in actions, because what has happened as a
result of iran violating the u.n. security council resolutions as it relates to missile testing? absolutely nothing. we're still debating at the security council on how to respond to iran's last test in october. i truly believe that actions speak louder than words, and american and u.n. actions demonstrate to me that with no activity that is visible to anyone as it relates to finding some consequence for iran violating u.n. security council resolutions, iran can support terror, iran can develop its nuclear program, iran can foment sectarian conflict across the middle east. it can support assad in its
deadly regime against its people. it can test ballistic missiles. it can tell iraq not to accept u.s. special forces in our fight against isil. and yet, it will be rewarded with a multibillion-dollar sanctions relief this coming year. something is wrong because the silence is so deafening. now, back in october of this year after iran launched its first missile test in violation of security council resolutions, i wrote to the secretary of state. and i want to read excerpts of that letter because they are still more poignant today in view of the second test that has taken place against international will. i said, mr. secretary, the recent test launch of the precision-guided long-range
ballistic missile by iran was a violation of the u.n. security council resolution 1929. as we discussed during your july 23 appearance before the senate foreign relations committee, that resolution stipulates that iran cannot presently engage in activities related to ballistic missiles. but with the october 11 launch, iran has done so on several levels, whether it's through research, development, planning, concealment or launching reportedly new technology. as some of my colleagues on the committee reported out in separate correspondence to you, iran's violation of u.n. security bl council resolution 1929 have become common. the iranian regime is drawing a line in the sand that demonstrates, i believe with malice, that it will only selectively meet its obligations with respect to internationally
sanctioned weapons programs. so what meaningful steps will the administration take to respond to the latest iranian provocation? as iran is prone to do, i view this as a test of american commitment and resolve which i believe must be met with a decisive response in the language that iran understands, that for every action there is a consequence. and i went on in that letter to say i write to recommend to you that you use the administration's discretionary authority to tighten the full range of sanctions available to you to penalize iran for violating security council 1929. from your responses, i said at the july 23 senate foreign relations senate committee hearing, i understand tightening sanctions for nonnuclear related infrank tions would not --
infractions would not violate terms even if it were in its full implementation phase, which it is not. the administration should encourage p-5 plus 1 partners to respond with similar measures. does the administration plan to use its current authority through tightened available sanctions against iran? administration, it is also testing our international partners. the launch coordinated on the same day as iran's parliament approved the general outline of the agreement should send a clear signal to the united states that p-5 plus 1 and the u.n. security council that iran's nuclear program and its weapons are linked and the iranian regime has every intention to maintaining the status quo. the administration should lead the p-5 plus 1 and the security council to respond swiftly, decisively, and unapologetically. the tests -- the series of test
launches of iran's ballistic missiles have led us to the point as part of a larger weapons development proam that when taken together with iran's history of deception, its opaque nuclear capabilities, its past violations of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, its fiery rhetoric, destabilizing region, and well-documented maligned intent requires a strong international response. and particularly i know the time to act was then, and now again, before iran can exploit united nations 2231 because that particular resolution failed to incorporate the same mandatory language that security council 1929 had. so in 1929 the world said, you cannot conduct ballistic missile tests and work on the
development of ballistic missiles. when we struck the deal with iran, we went to a different language where we strongly called upon iran not to do so for the next eight years. but strongly calling upon a country from the security council not to do something is not prohibiting those threatening activities. so we do have sanctions that are in place in a security council resolution that is in place because the deal has not gone into full effect until implementation takes place where iran is already violating the international will, as expressed by those security council resolutions. and i would argue that in addition to the fact that they are defying the will of the international community, as it relates to their missile weapons program, which can carry a nuclear warhead, i think that they are testing the will of the international community when it comes to the question of how
serious will we be about violations of the nuclear agreement. and the sooner that we are stronger in our response to their violations of the security council resolutions on missile technology and missile weapons systems, the sooner that they will understand that we will not allow them to ultimately violate the agreement that we struck with them as it relates to their nuclear program and that if they do, there are serious consequences. iran has tested the world. i followed iran when i first was in the house of representatives, and it came to my knowledge that the united states was sending voluntary contributions to the international atomic energy administration, above and beyond our membership dues, and when i quired as to what was that for -- inquired as to what was that for, tended up to help the iaea
help iran create capacity at the buvment shehr nuclear facility. that was not in the interests of the united states and i led a successful drive to stop those voluntary contributions in the house. and from that day in my early beginning of my house career, i followed iran because i said, why does a country that has such huge -- i thinks the fourth-largest oil reserves and right up there as it relates to gas reserves - reserves need nur for energy consumption? it doesn't. the and i have followed iran since then and i have seen that by testing the international community's will at every step of the way they advance their nuclear program until it came to the point, almost like our too-big-to-fail banks; well this was too big to stop, so we tried to manage t and it.
and now they are testing the world it is as it relates to te missile technology and missile weapons program and again we see a lack of response. my letter to the secretary of defense on october 19, which also separately had -- there were a series of letters from my other colleagues about the same issue -- has not been responded to. so we are going on two months since this action took place, and there is silence. as a matter of fact, the only thing i've read is press reports about the latest violation, but i haven't seen the administration say a word about it. and so if the iranians get the sense that you can go ahead and violate the international will, as expressed in security council resolutions, and face no consequence as a result thereof, then, based upon history, you're going to face an iran that is
going to test the international community as it relates to its commitments in the iran nuclear program. and if we do not send a strong message now, we are only inviting attempts to violate that agreement. so i'm very much of the belief that, one, you 1r50*eu89 violateviolate-- that once you e international agreements, you have to had a conference just on that basis because we were told when we were having the great debate about the iran deal to ie nuclear program. that human rights violations, that weapons violations, that violations in terms of their activities to destabilize the region and their hegemonic interest, that we were going to push back on all of those things. well, i haven't seen that. i haven't seen that. and that to me invites a great risk p so i urge the
administration to act decisively to pursue both in the security council and apart from the security council with our p-5 plus 1 allies sanctionable items that can be outside of the nuclear portfolio, that can send a very strong message to iran, that don't think that you can get away with these types of action and have no consequence. and, secondly, i seriously believe that another example of why the iran sanctions act that i helped author and was passed overwhelmingly in the united states senate and expires this coming year needs to be reauthorized, because if there is a belief that there will be no sanctions in place as a result of any violations that take place, what are we snapping back to? what are we snapping back to? so i believe there is nothing
wrong with at least having those sanctions reauthorized and the iranians having an understanding that if they violate the agreement, there are sanctions to snap back to. what they're doing in their violations of security council resolutions as it relates to missile weapons programs is already a we wil bellwether of i believe will be what their actions will be if we do not ultimately meet the test of their challenge. and they are testing us. this is the same iran that i saw for years test the international will, being told they cannot advance its nuclear program, to the point that it got to such an extent that we struck a deal. that is the risk that we face here. so i look forward to pursuing a robust response to iran. for all of my colleagues to supported the agreement, this is actually something that we should be in chorus together on,
to ensure that iran has a very clear message that we intend to push back on you, you cannot violate the international norm, and by doing so, hopefully we will see the performance of an agreement that is supposed to control their nuclear program in a way that does not risk the world's security. that's what's at stake in this regard. i'll close by sumly saying, if you -- i'll close by simply saying, if you pass by the archives building, over its portal there is this statement: what is past is pro-bunk. i hope that that statement isn't the reality as we face the challenge of iran that feels stronger within the region, that creates greater instability through its support of hezbollah, that supports assad and continues a civil war in which thousands and thousands
are dying, creating the rise of isis at the end of the day by a state that is titer virtually a failed state -- that is virtually a failed state at this point in time and a that can put undue influence on its neighbor, iraq, a country for which we have shed so many lives and national treasure. something is wrong in that equation. i hope my colleagues will wake up to it and will join us in an effort to try to make sure we push back in a way that is not only appropriate and within the international order but necessary if we truly do not want iran to achieve nuclear power for nuclear weapons. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: are we under quorum call, madam president? the presiding officer: we are not. ms. stabenow: thank you very much. madam president, first of all, i want to thank my colleague who just spoke for his vigilance in reminding us how we have to being paying attention every single day to what is happening in iran and be smart and strategic and let them know that we are very serious about pushing back on them. madam president, this country -- in this country, one of our core values is that you can come here and build a better life for yourself and for your family. that is the american dream. our nation was founded by people who had that dream, people who dreamt of religious freedom, and many of our an ssess terse followed that -- an ssess terse followed d. ancestors followed that dream to our shores, from
the italian and jewish community and so many others. life was not easy for them. they faced discrimination, even violence by those who were suspicious of them. they saw them as "different," who challenged their right to have the american dream. but those americans worked very hard, built a life for themselves, raised families, became successful, they opened small businesses and large businesses, became doctors and lawyers, they served in our armed services, served as police officers, firefighters, ran for office, and they made amazing contributions to our nation's economy and culture. they helped make america great. madam president, that core value -- our american dream -- is being challenged today. donald trump, who is running for president of the united states
of america, has suggested that we ban all muslims from coming into our country based purely on their faith. on their religion. as someone who represents the most densely populated muslim population in america, i find this suggestion, this statement to be outrageous and absolutely un-american. because i know the rich history that people of muslim faith have created in my state and the contributions they make every single day to our economy, to our wonderfully diverse culture, and the quality of life in our communities. hundreds of thousands of people from muslim countries came to southeastern michigan in the early part of the last century, like so many others from the
south and around the country and the world, after henry ford offered $5 a day in a wage to work in america's first automobile factories. those muslim-americans were still working in those plants during world war ii, building the so-called arsenal of democracy, the planes, the ships, the tanks that won the war and defeated the enemies of democracy. many thousands of muslim-americans have served our nation during times of war and many thousands are serving our country right now. -- at this very moment. they're putting their lives on the line right now for the freedoms we all hold dear. take a walk through arlington national cemetery, and you will see many graves bearing the
crescent and star. how can anyone suggest the patriotism of those americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country? they have helped make america great. those men and women who defended us in the armed forces loved america. they died for america. because america is their home, their families families' home. of course they see isis as the enemy, just as every non-muslim-american does as well. it's their families who are on the front lines of the violence in the middle east. their families have lost their homes, their businesses, in many cases their lives because of the brutality and the violence of
isis. their families are the ones fleeing the violence to save their children. muslim-americans understand that isis does not represent islam. within every religion, there are violent individuals who twist the meaning of sacred text and symbols to justify acts of violence and murder. every religion. the k.k.k. used blessed symbols of christianity while terrorizing and murdering african-americans. just as the ku klux klan does not speak for christians, isis does not speak for muslims. furthermore, we must recognize
that our culture of inclusion, our tradition of welcoming people of different faiths since the beginning of our country is our greatest weapon in defeating isis. what isis desires more than anything else is to see our country discriminate against muslim-americans so that they can use that as a recruiting tool all over social media, which we know they are very effective at doing. they want muslim-americans to believe that america is not their home, that we do not value their leadership and contributions in our communiti communities, that america does not welcome their faith, that america hates them. they want that. that cannot be who we are.
that is not who we are. all of us are shaking by the -- all of us are shaken by the violence in paris and san san pn be -- and sanbernardino, but wet fear cannot be our guide in america. franklin roosevelt understood fear makes america weak. america is great when america is united, when we are not pitting neighbor against neighbor, which is happening in too many places in my state and across the country. we -- when we are united, we are great. when we are dedicated to our principles and freedom and liberty. and the first liberty of our constitution's first amendment is the freedom of worship.
when bing th i think about the muslim-american children in michigan today -- today -- who were afraid to go to school -- children afraid to go to school, of what would happen to them after hearing what donald trump was saying about them and their families -- it makes me sick to my stomach. i want those children to know that his words are not what america stands for. it is not what makes america great. it is not. it is those children -- muslim and christian and jewish -- all of whom are full of hope and promise for the future, who will make america great again.
and i stand with them. thank you, madam president. mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, it was just a few days ago here on the senate floor the senate democrat leader got up and said -- and i quote -- "one of the newspapers here has a pinocchio check and they look at the facts and they analyze them and then they give up to four pinocchios, meaning people simply didn't tell the truth. so this is the most unproductive senate in the history of the
country and there are facts and foigz show thafigures to show t" that was the senate democrat leader here on the senate floor on december 2. well, unfortunately for him, "the washington post," which runs the fact checker, fact checked his statement and it came back with three pinocchios, the most that you can get is four pinocchios. they gave him three pinocchios. so there are degrees of falsehoods and i think three pinocchios usually connotes a pretty big whopper. so the senate democrat leader, in suggesting that this is one of the most unproductive senates in the history of the country, was busted by the fact checker with three pinocchios for making what was a false statement. and the truth of the matter is, contrary to the assertions of the senate democrat leader, madam president, it's been a very busy year here in the united states senate.
from voting to repeal obamacare to passion the first long-term transportation bill in a decade and the first balanced budget, i might add, in 14 years, republicans have been working hard to fulfill our promise to get washington working again for american families. sometimes if you listen to the media you would have -- they would have you believe that nothing ever gets done in washington. but the truth is that we've been able to make progress on a number of important issues this year. one accomplishment i'm particularly proud of is the long-term transportation bill that congress passed this last week. the first long-term transportation bill in a decade. for the past several years, congress has made a habit of passing numerous short-term funding extensions for federal transportation programs. in fact, i think prior to the passage last week of this long-term highway bill, there had been 37 -- no fewer than 37 short-term extensions. madam president, that is an incredibly inefficient way to manage our nation's infrastructure needs and it
wasted an incredible amount of money. it also put a lot of transportation jobs in jeopardy. hundreds of thousands of jobs around the country depend on the funding contained in bills. when congress fails to provide certainty about the way transportation funding will be allocated, states and local governments are left without the certainty that they need to authorize projects or to make long-term plans for addressing various transportation infrastructure needs. and that means that essential construction projects get deferred. necessary repairs may not get made. jobs that depend upon transportation get put in jeopardy. the transportation bill that we passed last week changes all that. it reauthorizes transportation programs for the long term and provides five years of guaranteed funding. that means states and local governments will have the certainty that they need to invest in big transportation projects and the jobs that they create. and that, in turn, means a
stronger economy and a more reliable, safe, and effective transportation system. this new transportation bill will also provide much-needed accountability and transbearns where -- transparency about where taxpayer dollars are spent. as chairman of the commerce committee, i spent a lot of time working with committee members on both sides of the aisle to develop the bill's safety provisions. one portion of the bill includes a host of important safety improvements, including enhancements to the notification process to ensure that consumers are informed of auto-related recalls and important reforms that the government agency responsible for overseeing safety in our nation's cars and trucks. another important bill we passed this year is the cybersecurity information security -- or sharing act, i should say. cyber attacks are increasing and it seems that every week we hear of a new breach putting americans' private information at risk. according to the security firm symantec, last year alone more than 300 million new types of
malicious software or computer viruses were introduced on the web. that's nearly 1 million new threats every single day. in october, the senate passed the cybersecurity information sharing act which will help keep americans' data safe from hackers by increasing the exchange of cyber threat information between the public and private sectorsmen sectors. madam president, as members of congress, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our men and women in uniform and of our nation's veterans. this year under the new republican majority and the leadership of chairman isakson, the senate has worked in a bipartisan manner to advance numerous bills to serve our veterans. we passed the clay hunt suicide prevention act for america's veterans, which provides additional resources to help combat the tragedy of veteran suicides. we've improved the veterans choice act to better realize the intent of congress and that was to make sure that veterans don't
have to face significant wait times or travel distances of over 40 miles to receive the care that they need. and we expanded eligibility to permit more veterans to seek care close to home and increase number of the non-v.a. providers in our communities that can deliver that care. congress also continues to examine the issue of v.a. accountability to make sure that our veterans never again have to suffer delays in treerntle as we saw with the -- treatment, as we saw with the national embarrassment of falsified wait times that the v.a. revealed last year. i believe this oversight by congress is an important first step in make sure that the v.a. works for our veterans and not for the v.a. bureaucracy. congress also passed a defense authorization bill this year that incorporated a number of critical reforms that will expand the resources available to our military men and women and strengthen our national security. the national defense authorization act for 2016 tackles waste expin efficienc efficiency -- waste and inefficiency at the department of defense and focuses funding
on our war fighters rather than the pentagon bureaucracy. this bill also overhauls our military retirement system. before this bill, the system limited retirement benefits to soldiers who had served for 20 years or more, which means there were huge numbers of soldiers, including many veterans of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, retired after years of service without having accrued any retirement benefits. the national defense authorization act replaces this system with a new retirement system that would ensure that the majority of our nation's soldiers receive retirement benefits for their years of service to our country even if they've not reache reached the r mark. madam president, one thing republicans were determined to do this year as well was so send legislation repealing obamacare to the president's desk. 5 1/2 years after the so-called affordable care act was signed into law, it's become abundantly clear that the law's not work. it's not lowering premiums. premiums are going up. it's not reducing health care
costs. health care costs are going up. dramatically. $4,000 for the average family. and it's not protecting access to doctors or to hospitals. in fact, for some americans, obamacare has driven up the cost of health care to unimaginable levels. i heard from one constituent in hill city, south dakota, whose family's 2016 health care bill will be $25,653. $25,653. in the words of this constitue constituent, "how can a yearly bill of $25,653 be affordable to a retired couple?" the answer, of course, is that it can't be. $25,653, or $2,137 a month, is approximately double the average family's monthly mortgage payment.
people paying as much as two times for their health insurance what they're paying for their mortgage. the obamacare repeal bill that the senate passed last week starts the process of moving away from obamacare and toward the kind of real health care reform americans are looking f for. an affordable, accountable, patient-focused system that gives individuals control of their health care decisions. i'm also pleased that the obamacare repeal bill takes abc news to protect unborn -- action to protect unborn americans from fund funding of planned parenthood, an organization that performs over 500,000 abortions each year. community health centers pry fordable, essential -- provide affordable affordable he centers to our communities. these are in towns where there is no planned parenthood. so redirecting these funds makes it easier for whammy cross my
state -- it easier for women across my state to have access to essential, affordable health care services. madam president, while all americans agree that we should protect our air and water and use our natural resources responsibly under president obama, the environmental protection agency has run amok. during the course of the obama administration this agency administered one damaging rule after another from a tax that would hurt poor and working families the most to a new rule that would subject ponds and puddles in americans' backyards to a complex array of expensive and burdensome regulatory requirements. containing this out-of-control government bureaucracy is a priority for republicans and we have taken up multiple pieces of legislation this year to chip the e.p.a.'s overreach. while the president may have blocked our efforts for now, we're going to keep working to protect americans from damaging
new rules like the national energy tax. over the course of the obamacare, our national debt has gone from $10.6 trillion to a staggering $18.8 trillion. meanwhile, entitlement programs like medicare and social security are heading rapidly toward bankruptcy. if action isn't taken soon, our financial situation could end up crippling our economy. so while there's a lot more work left to do, this year's senate republicans took steps toward improving our nation's fiscal health. in the spring we passed a balanced budget, the first joint senate-house balanced budget in 15 years. every american family has to stick to a budget. congress should be no different. and this year's balanced budget needs to be the first of many going forward. entitlement reform is also essential if we want to protect americans' retirement security. this year we began the process of putting both social security
and medicare on a more stable financial footing so these programs will continue to be available to current and future generations of americans. madam president, i could go on and talk about the education bill that we're considering right now that will return power to states and local school boards, or the legislation that we passed to give law enforcement new tools to fight human trafficking and expand the resources available to victims. or the bill that we passed to expand opportunities for american workers and open new markets for goods made in the u.s.a. but i want to stop here and say that while republicans are proud of what we've accomplished this year, we know there's a lot left to do. wages are still stagnant. our economy is still sluggish. and too many families are still struggling under huge health care bills. and in addition to the challenges facing americans at home, we face a number of challenges abroad. for most among them, the threat posed by isis, which is responsible for the deadly terrorist attacks in paris last
month as well as the campaign of havoc and bloodshed throughout the middle east. even here at home we receive a grim reminder of the global influence of isis's twisted ideology last week with what appears to be an isis-inspired attack that took 14 american lives in san bernardino. our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and to their families. while the president should be playing a leading role in building a coalition to destroy this terrorist organization, unfortunately his speech sunday night demonstrated that he has little to offer beyond the same failed strategy that has helped us end up where we are right now, with an emboldened terrorist organization carrying out and inspiring mass casualty attacks far beyond iraq and syria. we are at a tipping point in the fight against isis, and if we don't come up with an effective political and military response in the very near future we'll be facing the prospect of even greater bloodshed in the middle east and more terrorist attacks here in the homeland.
madam president, while we succeeded in having a number of bills become law this year, unfortunately many others were stopped by the president. still others, like our efforts to protect unborn children capable of feeling pain from being killed by abortion, were stopped by democrats in the senate. but while we may have temporarily lost some of these battles, the debate will continue. republicans will not give up whether it's protecting families from the president's national energy tax or repealing obamacare, we will redouble our efforts to make sure that washington is meeting the needs of american families in addressing the american people's priorities. we plan to spend the second year of the 114th congress the way we spent the first, fighting to make our economy stronger, our government more efficient and more accountable, and our nation and our world safer and more secure. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president?
the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: thank you. i want to rise and share details about the climate talks that are going on in paris at this very moment. a number of us here in the u.s. senate were able to go over this last weekend and to be engaged in that dialogue. and what i was terrifically struck by was that 150 heads of state had come together to kick off these climate talks. that is the largest gathering of heads of state in human history. and why did that landmark event occur? it occurred because the challenge of global warming is the most grave concern facing human civilization on this planet. so heads of state wanted to be there to lend their weight to the fact that we must come together as a community of nations across this globe and work together to take this on for the good of our stewardship
of this planet. an additional, or larger number of nation have put forward pledges on efforts that they're going to make to reduce global warming gases. 186 nations have put forward those pledges. one of the issues that is embedded in these climate talks is how ambitious the international community should be. there is this broad goal of limiting global warming to two degrees centigrade over the court of this snare -- over the course of this century. we're almost halfway to that level that's been identified by scientists at its catastrophic level. but the pledges that are being made in paris are not sufficient to keep us to two degrees. so that is one of the points of discussion. how can the community of nations be more ambitious?
and one of the points being made is that we should come back together every five years to keep redoubling our efforts, that we know the pledges being made in paris won't be enough, so we have to keep coming back to this challenge. and we also have observed how dramatically the amount of information has changed over the last five years. we know that in another five years we'll have a lot more information about what is occurring in the world and how successful the initial efforts have been. and then there is a group that's saying we need to go even further and work to reduce the amount of damage that will be done, and that means limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees which will take a faster transition from a fossil fuel energy economy to renewable energy economy. so that is an area of conversation, how ambitious can we be as an international community at this point? and how can we improve on the efforts being put forward in paris in the years to come?
a second point is that there is a pro profound need for working together between developed nations and developing nations, between richer nations and poorer nations. poorer nations are saying we have a lot of folks who have never had access to electricity and we need to provide the cheapest pathway to provide that electricity. and often that's coal. then how do we make renewable clean energy as inexpensive as coal energy, so that nations can bypass establishing that utility scale fossil fuel infrastructure? so that is a key piece of conversation. a third point is about reporting requirements. in order for us to have good policy now into the future, we have to have good numbers on what's happening around the world nation to nation. and nations feel a little sensitive about this idea of
having international community kind of working to double check the way that they evaluate what's going on at home. but we need to convey the notion that these numbers, good numbers coming from each nation are essential for nations to be able to participate in this international effort that will lead to success in curbing run-away global warming. well, i think it's enormously clear that paris is a tremendous step forward. the number of heads of state that have attended, the number of nations that have put forward pledges, the intensity of the conversation at this very moment, people are recognizing that we are the first generation that has been impacted by global warming, and we are the last that can do something significant about it because,
unfortunately, as we go forward a generation from now if we have not succeeded in curbing global warming gases, co-2, the meth than gays will have such a -- the methane gas will be much, much harder to address. i'm pleased the administration is taking this so seriously, that nations around the world are taking it so seriously. second, i want to turn to the budget and spending negotiations underway right now. i came to the floor last week to note that there were conversations occurring about possibly taking away states' rights to be able to pass laws labeling food that is g.d. or g.m.o. food, that is genetically engineered or genetically notified food. and that to take away states' rights to do so would simply be wrong. wrong in the absence of a
cohesive, coherent, easy-to-use system of labeling at the federal level, which we do not have. it would be an intrusion on state rights. in one of the most sensitive areas to citizens, and that is the food that they put in their mouth. now this act of taking away states' rights and citizens' rights to know what's in their food, this is known as the dark act, the deny americans their right to know, the acronym "dark." isn't it ironic that there is legislators here who are not only pursuing the dark act but they're pursuing it in the dark of night. they are afraid to have a conversation in the relevant policy committee to address it. whenever legislators fear public reaction, fear addressing the pros and cons in a public forum, you can bet there's something wrong with what they're up to.
and so that is why we must all be vigilant in these coming days to make sure that this dark act is not inserted into the must-pass spending bill in the dark of night. i want to close to follow up on the comments i made yesterday about the proposal from donald trump to bar muslims from entering our country under any avenue. not as refugees, not as business men and women, not as tourists, not as students, and again say how absolutely wrong it would be. this is the single worst idea i have heard from a presidential candidate ever. we should all recognize that right now our men and women in uniform of every religion --
christian and including protestant and catholic and jewish and muslim and buddhist and who knows what other religion, they are working together to take on the terrorist threat known as isis. islam is not our enemy. isis is our enemy. right now we are working in partnership with nations that are islamic nations, and those leaders are islamic. and we are saying to them, we will work in partnership with you because islam is not our enemy. isis is our enemy. now i can tell you that isis has a strategy. their strategy has been to create their mission as the united states against islam. and the comments of donald trump played right into the play book of the terrorists.
making our nation less safe, increasing the radicalizeation of folks around the world who have been listening to the message from isis and now have some reason to believe it might have some foundation that america is against islam. well, we are not. and we have been hearing that from democratic voices. we've been hearing that from republican voices. we've been hearing it from senators here and from house members across capitol hill. we have been hearing it from legislators, and we've been hearing it from citizens. america standing up and saying, donald trump is wrong. and that is certainly something to be applauded, and i praise my colleagues of both parties. i praise our citizens of both parties who have stood up to say we stand shoulder to shoulder with all patriot americans, regardless of their religion, and we are united in taking on isis. thank you, madam president.
mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i rise today to speak about the education reform conference report that i think we'll be voting on tomorrow, and i think on balance this is a good bill, mr. president, for two big reasons. one, it restores a significant level of decision making power to states and local school districts, which is where decisions about things like curriculum really should occur. it diminishes the ability of the administration to pressure school districts and states into adopting the common core curriculum, for instance, leaving it to the discretion of the states and the school districts to decide exactly what
their curriculum will be. i think that's a sensible approach. but there is another big reason why i think this is an important bipartisan victimtory for kids in this -- victimtory for kids in this -- victory for kids. for the first time, the u.s. congress is acting to prk our kids from pedophiles in schools, pedophiles who infiltrate our schools and who have sexually abused children in the classroom. mr. president, i know that you were actively supportive of this effort, as many of our colleagues were, and i'm delighted that we were able to make it through the entire process, as painful and slow as that was, but this important provision survived this process, and we'll be voting tomorrow on the overall bill. i want to talk about this a little bit, but let me make it clear right up front that i understand, as i assume we all do, that the vast overwhelming majority of teachers and school employees would never harm a
child in their care. it would never occur to them. they would never do to. they care deeply about the kids and that's probably a big part of the reason why they pursued a career in education. but while that is a fact, it is also a fact that schools are where the children are and the pedophiles in our midst are very, very well aware of that, and they are attracted to schools for exactly that reason. and the number of pedophiles who are succeeding in abusing children in schools is absolutely shocking. it is to me. last year there were 459 school employees, mostly teachers, not all teachers, but employees of schools arrested for sexual misconduct with the children they're supposed to be taking care of. 459. that's more than one a day. and, unfortunately, 26 of them were in po pennsylvania. so far 2015 is almost oamplet
we've already exceeded the number for 20146789 we're on path to have well over 460 teachers and other school employees arrested for sexual misconduct with kids, and let's -- let's be honest. when an arrest only -- an arrest only occurs when there is sufficient evidence to make a criminal case in a court of law. how many more cases are occurring where we haven't had sufficient evidence to prosecute? the story that put this need on my radar, mr. president, is the absolutely horrendous story after child named jeremy bell. and this is a story that begins in delaware county, pennsylvania. one of the schoolteachers was molesting young boys. he had raped one boivmen boy. the school administrator discovered what was going on in time.
they -- the local district attorney didn't feel there was enough evidence to actually prosecute a case. it is hard to fire a teacher. so what the school did is it sat the teacher down and said, here's the deal. you had to leave. but don't worry. we'll give you a letter of recommendation so you can get a job somewhere else. and that's exactly what happened. this monster went to west virginia, got hired as a teacher, eventually became a principal. of course, along the way he continued to abuse children. in the end he raped and murder add 12-year-old boy named jeremy bell. justice finally caught up with this monster. he is serving a life sentence in prison, a we speak, but it was too late for jeremy bell. and as a father of three young children, this whole idea is so appalling, it is hard to talk about it, it is hard to think about it, and we would all like to think that a story like that
story of jeremy bell has got to be a freak occurrence, it's a once-in-a-million-years kind of thing. but that's not triumphant it's happened so frequently that it has its own name. it's called pausing the trash. the people who -- it's called passion the trash. the people who spend their lives helping victims of these horrendous crimes to cope with them, they know about this phenomenon all too well. just this year a wuvment sa news9 reported that the school district of montgomery county, maryland, had a record of passing the trash. elementary schoolteacher daniel pica accused children for 17 years -- 17 years. the maryland school district knew what was going on, and when did they do? the teacher's punishment was to be moved from school to school to school, re assigning him every time a problem emerged, as
though the problem is the school and not the pedophile. 17 years of passing a known child molester from one group of victims to another. or consider the case of las vegas, nevada, kindergarten teacher who was recent li a rested for -- recent a rested for kidnapping a 13-year-old girlfriend and inf.e.c.king her with a sexually transmitted disease in the course of abusing her. that same teacher had molested six children, fourth and fifth-grade children, just a few years before when he was working in the los angeles, california, school district. and the los angeles school district knew about the allegations, but when the nevada school specifically asked if there were any criminal concerns regarding this teacher, l. when he wa--when he was applying forb there the los angeles school district not only hid the truth, it provided three references for the teacher. so strong was their interest in making him become someone else's
problem. so these are examples that are all the more disturbing when you consider that according to a study by the g.a.o., the government accountability office, the average pedophile working at a school victimizes 73 children over the course of his lifetime. so, mr. president, we've got an opportunity tomorrow to say, enough is enough. this is enough, this has been way too much. no more. no more children falling prey to these monsters who have been able to infiltrate our classrooms. no more childhoods shattered, families devastated with grief, no more jeremy bells. the amendment itself is just a commonsense -- really, it is just common decency. it simply holds that if a state accepts federal education funds, it has to have a law that bans the practice of knowingly recommending a pedophile to
another school. right? i mean, is there anybody in pennsylvania or colorado who thinks that's unreasonable? i don't think so. so, as i said, i'm delighted that we've gotten to this point. there's a lot of people i'd like to thaifnlg i got to start with senator joe manchin from west virginia to joined me at the very beginning. we introduced this legislation over two years ago as a free-standing bill. it also, in addition to banning passing the trash, it would require background checks, rigorous background checks for any school worker who has unsupervised access to schoolchildren. that part was not included in this. i'm not giving up on that. we're going to have that fight again. but the part that bans passion the trash did -- passing the trash, that did succeed. i'd also like to thank the other
cosponsors of this legislation, senators mcconnell, alexander, capito, senator gardner, heller, inhofe, johnson, mccain, vitter, and wicker, and i particularly would like to thank the chairman of the help committee, chairman alexander, and the ranking member, senator murray. we spent a lot of time negotiating exactly how we would make this work mechanically, make sure that we had legislation that would in fact achieve the desired outcome. i also need to send out a huge thank you to all of the child advocates and the law enforcement folks around the country, especially in pennsylvania, who worked so hard to help make this legislation happen. they were invaluable. i hope they realize how much of a difference they made in helping to persuade our colleagues here to get this done. terri miller, john siriac of sesame fighting to protect children in the classroom for
decades. the national children's alliance and the many child advocacy centers across pennsylvania, most of which i have been able to visit and am impressed with the work they do for kid whose need it badly. the pennsylvania coalition against rape, the national center for missing and exploited children, the center for children's justice, mass kids, the american academy of peed a trirks the association of prosecuting attorneys, the national district attorneys association, the pennsylvania district attorneys association, the federal law enforcement officers association, the national shire riffs associations, the national association of police organization. every one of these group groups weighed in on this legislation and helped us to get this over the goal line, over the course after long, protracted series of negotiations. so, mr. president, tomorrow we're going to -- i think we're going to have an important victory in our ongoing effort to protect children from sexual abuse. as i say, it is a first -- it's the first time the u.s. congress
has acted to protect pedestrians in this way. there's more that needs to be dofnlt done. i still think we need to visit the states. there are states that do not have an adequate background system in place. if they are taking federal funding, they ought to have an adequate background check. i'm delighted we were aiblg to get here. i am grateful for the help of every senator who helped us get to this point. and for this reason, for the sake of this amendment as well as the general for us of the legislation, to move decision making power back to states and school districts where it belongs, i would urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the conference report tomorrow. and i yield the floor. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, thank you. thank you very much. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee, senator ben cardin, led a delegation of 10 senators to paris this past weekend. we went to support the high ambition coalition on an international climate agreement. it was truly impressive at the meeting to see so many nations represented, there active and trying to help. we all in the codel came aka way from paris -- came away from pair which is a good dealing about the prospects for a strong climate agreement. i had the chance to speak at oceans' day where people were keenly aware that the effects of carbon pollution on our oceans are undeniable. you can measure the warming oceans with thermometers. you measure sea level rise with basically a yardstick. you can measure acidification of the seas with simple ph tests,
and you can replicate what excess co2 does to sea water in a basic high school science lab. that's why the big phony climate denial apparatus the fossil fuel dry is running never talks about oceans. it is undeniable there. i also had the chance in paris to cheer on our bright young negotiating team staff who have been working late hours in their windowless common work space but were very enthusiastic and made me very proud. the delegation also met with todd stern, who is leading the u.s. negotiating team, and we visited the noaa scientists at the united states pavilion. the u.s. presence there was great. one thing was sad, and that is that our senate delegation of 10 senators was all democrats. the last political bastion of
the fossil fuel industry worldwide is now the american republic party. no republican was able to come with us. the fossil fuel industry would never let them. i will say the fossil fuel industry is behaving repre-hence civil. the power it exerts over congress is polluting american democracy. the spin and propaganda it emits through a ray of front -- array of front groups is polluting our public discourse, and of course its carbon emissions are polluting our atmosphere and oceans. these fossil fuel companies are sinning and on a monumental scale. remember what pope francis said in his article. "today sin is manifest in attacks on nature, a sin against ourselves and a sin against god."
so their behavior is truly reprehensible. they have a lot to atone for. but this is not exactly the american republican party's finest hour either. it is the world's only major political party so in tow to the fossil fuel industry that it cannot face up to the realities of carbon pollution and climate change. some city on a hill that leaves us. notwithstanding all the republican intransigence, we were able to tell the world that we would have the president's back. and we will. we will protect the clean power plan, we will protect the clean air act, and we will protect any agreement that comes out of paris. one nice thing in paris was the presence of american companies like pg&e of california, v.f. corporation of north carolina,
one of our biggest apparel manufacturers, citigroup of new york, kellogg of michigan, ben and jerry's of vermont, and facebook of basically everywhe everywhere. they were there to cheer on a good deal and so was the american sustainable business council. and they've been doing this for a little while. some of america's leading food companies took out this add in "the washington post" and "financial times" on october 1 urging a strong agreement in paris. these companies who've signed it include mars -- if you like m&m's, you know who mars is -- general mills, nestle u.s.a., unilever corporation, kellogg company, stonyfield farm and dannon u.s.a. and november 24, it was updated
with new signatories, including pepsico, coca-cola and hershey. "dear u.s. and global leaders," it says. "now is the time to meaningfully address the reality of climate change. we are asking you to embrace the opportunity presented to now paris -- presented to you in paris. we are ready to meet the climate changes that face our businesses. please join us in meeting the climate challenges that face the world." here's an ad taken out in "politico" by another group of well-known apparel companies, including levi as -- if you know blue jeans, you know levi -- gap,y line fischer, v.f. corporation again, which makes like timberland, northface, a whole number of well-known brands, urging a strong agreement in paris. this ad ran during the talks on thursday, december 3.
"to u.s. and global leaders. as the world gathers in paris this week for the 2015 united nations conference on the parties, we come together as some of the largest best-known global apparel companies to acknowledge that climate change is harming the world in which we operate. we recognize that human produced greenhouse gassy plitionz gas a key contributor to climate change. we support a strong global deal that will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy." and those industries are not alone. here's an ad from a coalition of about 70 major american corporations again urging a strong agreement in paris. they include coca-cola, adidas, intel , colgate-palmolive, the hartford insurance company, johnson&johnson, procter &
gamble, national grid, dupont, the entire outdoor industry association, and others. they say, "failure to tackle climate change could put america's economic prosperity at risk. but the right action now would create jobs and boost competitiveness. we encourage our government to seek a strong and fair global climate deal in paris." 70 major american corporations. every single one whose name you know. all saying "we seek a strong and fair global climate deal in paris." and finally, a financial sector statement on climate change from the financial giants bank of america, citi, goldman sachs, j.p. morgan chase, morgan stanley and wells fargo again calling for a robust global agreement out of paris. "we call for leadership and cooperation among governments,
for commitments leading to a strong global climate agreement." and they want one that -- "that recognizes the costs of carbon." "we are aligned," they say, "on the importance of policies to address the climate change chalg." challenge." it's time people started listening. and let's not forget the more than 150 american companies that have signed on to the white house's american business act on climate pledge. joining that call for a strong outcome in the paris climate negotiations. those companies on the white house business act on climate pledge have operations in all 50 states, employ nearly 11 million people, represent more than 4. 4.2 trillion -- $4.2 trillion in annual revenue and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion. and yet if you believe some of my friends on the other side,
they're all just part of a big ole hoax trying fool everybody. really? unfortunately while the world is listening to these strong corporate voices for a strong paris agreement, these companies own home-state republican senators - are right here in congress trying to undercut their home state companies' work. but the world listens to the companies, not the deniers. and one of their best voices is unilever, whose c.e.o., paul pollman, met with our delegation to express the growing support in the corporate community for climate action and to describe unilever's work to catalyze that support. we met with ban ki-moon, the secretary-general of the united nations, and heard about a meeting scheduled for may here in washington, d.c. for corporate c.e.o.'s to come to congress and let us know they
want climate action. the grip of the fossil fuel companies on congress will slip as other corporate leaders come forward to urge strong climate action. pretty soon it's going to be a very small island left of the denial and obstruction in a rising sea of reality. pretty soon there will be nobody left on the shrinking denial island but the fog i will fuel industry, the koch brothers and their front groups and the republican members of congress. oh, yes, and, of course, can't forget the republican presidential candidates who are so desperate to tody up to the fossil fuel industry that they won't acknowledge this issue. mark my words, as the rest of corporate america stands up, the
fossil fuel industry's fortress of denial and deceit will tumble down. paris sends a strong message of hope that echoes pope francis' strong encyclical on climate change. governments, corporations and civil society groups are a gathering force behind that message. vice president gore, who has labored long in these vineyards, met with us in paris and had a strong message of hope. against the gloomy falsehoods that the fossil fuel industry propagates, hope burns bright for this gathering force. the vice president observed to us that, things take longer to happen than you think they will and then they happen faster than you thought they could. from a man who has been through
really uniquely this all taking a long time, his confidence in fast happening was heartening. so, mr. president, not only is it time to wake up but the world is waking up. corporate america is waking up outside of the narrow selfish confines of the fossil fuel industry. wise republicans are starting to stir. and, mr. president, the sooner the better. mr. whitehouse: i yield the floor, mr. president. mr. courthouse: mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent that the -- mr. whitehouse: mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent that
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 306, s. 1719. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 306, s. 1719, a bill to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a national family caregiving strategy and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to and the bill as amended be read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i now ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 135, s. res. 207. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 135, senate resolution 207, recognizing throats freedom of the -- threats to the freedom of the press and expression around the world and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the casey amendment to the preamble, which is at the desk, be agreed to, the preamble as amended be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i now ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 331, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution
331, designating december 12, 2015, as wreaths across america day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to ther? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, as in executive session, i ask unanimous consent that the injunction of secrecy be removed from the following treaty transmitted to the senate on december 8, 2015, by the president of the united states. treaty with jordan on mutual legal assistance and criminal matters, treaty document number 114-4. i further ask the treaty be considered as having been read the first time, that it be referred with accompanying papers to the committee on foreign relations and ordered to be printed and that the president's message be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i now ask unanimous consent that when the
senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday, november . following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the conference report to accompany s. 1177, with the time until 10:45 a.m. equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senators sasse and senator warren. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. sasse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: i ask unanimous consent to speak for 15 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sasse: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to speak about san bernadino, about the decades-long fight that our free society now faces and about our dangerous unwillingness to tell the truth about the nature of this battle about who our enemy is. we are at war. the american people already know this. our enemy, obviously, already knows this. it is only this town where our so-called leaders dawdle and bicker, pander and misprioritize, it is only this town that seems confused. washington ignores what it cannot escape. and this is both a tragedy and a crisis, for it is impossible to win a war when one does not even admit that one is in a war. let's start by admitting that this war is different from most of the wars of the past.
this is not about borders or territory. this is not about gold or other material goods. we typically think about state actors, about traditional governments going to war with traditional governments. in this war, however, the enemy includes many nonstate actors, many armed groups who are developing global reach in this flatter technologically linked world. our enemy is merciless and barbaric. they are willing to kill people who are not on traditional battlefields, they are willing to kill noncombatants, they will kill women and children, they will kill at holiday parties and restaurants, at jewish delis and sporting stadiums. just as sad as the evolution of our enemies, though, this war is hard for the american people to get our heads around because right now we have so much confusion, so much drift, so much orphanhood, not just about our enemies but about exactly who we are, about exactly what we are fighting to defend.
this body, the congress, tries to do far too many things, and we do very few of them well. but when there are really important tasks that we should be tackling, well, then folks seem to be unable to muster the energy or the courage or the time or the will to focus diligently on the task before us. today, we have such a big task before us, and i would humbly suggest that before another person in this body or another member of the national media stands up to scold the american people about how they could possibly entertain voting for candidate x or y, perhaps we should look in the mirror at why so many of our people are running to demagoguing leaders. do senators really not understand what is happening? did anyone really not see this coming? i think it's obvious why the people are doing what they're doing, because they get so little actual leadership out of this town, out of either end of
pennsylvania avenue, out of either political party. make no mistake -- there were some genuinely dreadful things said on our national stage yesterday, but they were almost completely predictable. did anyone really not see this coming? and why is it that these words are so attractive to so many? why do they find many followers? because they are comforting to a people who are scared. they are food to a people who are starved for leadership. sunday night was a desert. monday night was a flood. neither are what our people need or really what they at their best want, but don't be surprised that a people being misled by a political class that is in denial about the nature of the fight we face, don't be surprised that these people come then quickly to desire very different, much more muscular words and utopian pledges.
this town's conversations are so often so completely disconnected from the people. do you want to know what people calling my office and stopping me at the grocery store since paris and since san bernadino want to talk about? they want to talk about what shah rea -- sharia law is and how many muslims actually believe in it. it's a fair question for moms to be asking. they want to talk about what american exceptionalism is. who are we? what are we for? what are we against? what do we unite around? we should talk more about these things. for a minute tonight, let's just step briefly beyond the media cycle and let's look at where we stand. this is a clash of civilizations. this is a fight between free people and a totalitarian movement. let me say clearly that recognizing a clash of civilizations is not at all to want one but recognizing one is
simply the truth in this matter. we are free and our enemies rate it. they hate that my wife leaves our house and drives. they hate that my daughters know how to read. they hate that we decided where we would go to church on sunday. they hate us not because of any particular thing that we have done biomission or by commission. they hate us because -- by -- by omission or by commission. they hate us because we are who we are. we have a constitution that enshrines our freedom and this is the constitution we should be uniting around to defend. we should defend the framework that has secured the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press and the freedom of religion for all americans for 200 years. not initially successfully judging every man by the content of his character instead of merely the color of his skin, but eventually guiding us beyond
this original american sin and toward a more perfect union. this weekend, i went to san bernadino. my wife and i laid flowers at a memorial that has popped up on a sidewalk outside the site where 35 of our neighbors bled this week, 14 of them ultimately dying in this massacre. we talked to our american neighbors there in a neighborhood that should not be part of a war zone, but that neighborhood will now forever be a battlefield memorial. some of the people grieving there wondered aloud to us -- why are our politicians so small, so mealy mouthed? one marine asked my wife if washington even really cares about the victims of jihadi attacks like this. one woman asked why no one in washington seems to be a full-throated lover of america. they are wrong, of course, about the caring and the loving. there's a lot of care and love.
but they can be forgiven for wondering why we are so unable to be full throated about the big things. we owe it to those who died this week and to their families to be clear, to be truthful about the nature of this conflict. we owe it to those 14. we owe it to their families. we owe it to the service men and women in uniform who today are abroad fighting right now to defend our freedoms, some of whom will come home in caskets, and we owe it to the families of those who have not yet died but who will in the next jihadi attack on our homeland, for it is coming. tulle adults know that the next attack is coming. you don't need to see the classified briefings that some of us see to know that the future is dangerous. the san bernadino 14 will not be the last americans to bleed and die in our homeland because we are a free society.
and so we should tell the truth about the enemy we face. we should tell the truth about them, and we should dig down deep to be honest not only about them but about who we are. we should now reaffirm our core values that unite us as a people. we are not at war with terrorism, which is just a tactic. we are not at war with some empty sociological label called radicalism or extremism as if it has no connection to belief or ideology. we are not just at war with isis, although we're obviously at war with isis, but there will be another group that will raise the black flag of death long after isis has been routed out of iraq and syria. this is not about workplace violence. this is not about global warming or gun shows. this is not about income inequality. this is not about some kid from a broken home somewhere in the middle east, as tragic as broken
homes are, both at home and abroad. again, against this whole load of hand-wringing mush, we need to remember that this attack and we need to know that the next attack are not because of anything we have done wrong. this is about who we are. this is about the nature of freedom. so who are we? we're a people, 320 million of us, who unite around the constitution, who unite around a first amendment that guarantees the free speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press and the freedom of assembly to all americans of every creed and every tradition. i am a christian. i am not a muslim. but i am also p in this life an american, and i have taken an oath of office to the constitution, and so as an american, i stand and defend the rights of american muslims to freely worship, even though we differ about thorn theological matters.
in america, we are free to believe different things and to argue about those beliefs. it matters what you think about the nature of god, about revelation, about salvation. it matters what you think about heaven and hell. in fact, it matters so much we think these things are so important that you couldn't possibly solve any of them by violence. america is about the right to argue about our differences with our neighbors, but to make those arguments free from violence. we in this land under the constitutional creed come together as a community of americans to unite around core american values -- freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. so now, as it is emphatically and indisputably clear that we are not at war with all muslims, let us tell the truth that we most certainly are at war with
militant islam. we are at war with violent islam. we are at war with jihadi islam. we are at war with those who believe in killing in the name of religion. this is in fact precisely what america means. it is about being free to raise your kids, free to build the corner store and free to worship and to assembly without the fear of violence. and so we can argue about religion because many of us do disagree, and then we come together as americans to protect each other and to defend each other against religious killing. there are many hand wringers in washington who refuse to name the enemy we face. they refuse to admit that we are at war with militant islam, with jihadi islam, with violent islam. they dance around platitudes and offer empty labels, hiding behind a worry, an understandable worry that muslims in america could face
backlash. i share this fear, and i believe that telling the truth about who is and who is not our enemy is actually the one sure way of avoiding that danger. i think that those who are refusing to tell the truth about our enemies, those who will nonsensically claim that the next jihadi attack is just another random case of workplace violence, are making the backlash far more likely, not less likely. here is how i think the backlash actually happens. the people who are supposed to be laser focused on defending the american people -- that is us -- mouth silly platitudes that show we're either too weak or too confused to keep our people safe. then a megalomaniac strong man steps forward and he starts screaming about travel bans and deportation and offering promises to keep all of us safe, which to some and i think
actually to many more than those of us in this body seem to understand, to some will sound much better than not being protected at all. you want to stop a backlash against american muslims? then stop lecturing americans that they're supposedly stupid to be frightened about jihadis who actually do want to bomber that kid's sporting evented and instead unite use your pen and e to start telling us what your plan is to tell us what up to the do? tell us what your actual plan is to have a middle eastern map that isn't generating more failed states year over year that become the terror training camps of next year. this country invented religious liberty. this is the most tolerant nation the world has ever seen, and our people need a little less elite sermonizing about tolerance in our communities and a little more articulation of the shared constitutional principles around which we unite and a lot more
articulating of an actual battle plan to win the war that is going to be ours for the next many decades. if you're worried about backlash, if you're worried about the obviously over over-tp rhetoric from presidential candidates, perhaps it would be useful for those of us who have the actual job of protecting the constitution to tell the truth. we should be clear about who we are and about the freedoms we stand for, and we should be clear about those who would try to kill us because we believe in these freedoms. we are at war with militant or jihadi islam but we are not at war with people who believe in the american creed, which includes the right of people, every people, every faith tradition, to friew freely wors, assemble and argue. we are not at war with muslim
families in lincoln or dee dear. but we most certainly are at war with those who want to spread a variety of islam that aims to motivate the killing and freedom-taking of other americans. this fight will be decades long and we will win it, but we will not win it by denying that the fight exists. we will not win it by being unclear about who we are and who they are. we will win it instead by being clearer about both who they are and who we are. we will win it by reaffirming our core constitutional values. we will win it because of who we are, a people that believes in freedom and a people that is willing to fight and even to die to preserve a free society for all americans. mcbeth includes that aching line, "life is a tale told by an
idiot full of sound and fury signifying nosmght the consteeks an aimless people drifting from who they are, signifying nothing. this should not be us. this cannot be us. for america does signify something. something special. america is the belief that everyone, christian, jew, muslim, black and white, man and woman, rich and poor, fifth generation, first generation, everyone is endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and our government is our shared project to secure those rights and our constitution, our shared creed, gives us a frameworframework for that ordef liberty. when politicians, whether incumbents who seem to have forgotten their oaths, or candidates trying to run merely on the bluesster of their personality, don't talk about the constitution, when they don't defend first principles,
when they refuse to prefer substance over sound bites, when they nonsensically say either that our enemy has nothing to do with islam or conversely that every muslim is to be prejudged guilty, then our national conservation crumbles into sound and fury. that is not us, for we are americans. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i rise today in support of the every student succeeds arctic the bill to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act. we have only one goal in mind: to give all our children the best possible education, to challenge the -- the challenge has been to figure out the right role for the federal government to do that. this bill, which will replace no child left behind, moves away from rigid standardized tests and it respects th respects vitt
our teachers do every day. i strongly support those changes. however, i voted against this bill when it was first approved by the senate a few amongsts ago because i felt that it lacked even the minimum safeguards necessary to ensure that states would use federal funds effectively to support teachers and students. i was deeply concerned that without stronger accountability, billions of dollars in taxpayer money would not actually reach those schools and those students who needed it the most. unlike the bill initial l initiy approved by the senate, the proposal before us today has significantly enhanced those safeguards. i argued that that it was essential that billions of dollars of federal funding a year must be accompanied by some minimum expectations for what states are going to do with the money. one of those expectations must be that states target her to efforts towards schools that are most in need of improvement and resources, and that is why i'm glad that this final bill
includes an amendment that i offered with senator cory booker to ensure that states address the 1,200 high schools in the united states where fewer than two-thirds of students graduate every year. you know, when one-third of a high school students don't graduate, we know we have a crisis on our hand. we can't just turn our backs. this provision will ensure that states can't ignore those kids and it will ensure that additional federal resources for those schools that clearly need it the most. this commonsense accountability provision had deep support across the board. it was supported by the obama administration, the civil rights community, the chamber of commerce, and the n.e.a. it wasn't in the bill i voted against a few months ago, but i'm glad to see it in the final bill before us today because helping schools with chronic dropout rates cannot be optional.
this bill also ensures that states cannot ignore any group of students who are consistently falling behind their peers. historically, states haven't always stood up for their most vulnerable kids, and this bill makes certain that those kids will not be ignored again. that is why we have federal education law in the first place, to ensure that when the federal government gives money tbuy a good education for kids that states have to use that money to support all of our kids, especially kids who need those resources the most. senator murphy and i offered amendments to achieve this goal when the bill came before the senate. they weren't included back then, but i'm glad to see that the final bill ensures that if states want federal dollars, they cannot turn their backs on vulnerable students. this has been a really challenging process, but senator murray and senator alexander
kept the door open for improvements, and i'm grateful for that. many allies stood together to ensure that federal dollars will actually be used to improve both schools and educational opportunities living in poverty, children of kol or, children with disabilities, and other groups of kids who have been underserved, mistreated, or systematically denied even the most basic opportunities to get a good education. and one final note: states and communities cannot address persistent achievement gaps if they don't have good data. with this bill, parents, researchers, and educators across the country will, for the first time, be able to analyze the performance of african-american boys or hispanic girls or low-income children with disabilities. the ability to analyze the interaction of race and gender or disabilities and income will help us bettered understand how
our schools are serving stiewntsd students and identify student groups that need more help. i am very grateful to my cosponsor, senator cory gardner, the president this afternoon, in helping make sure that this final bill includes this bipartisan data transparency amendment that we offered to achieve this goal. when president johnson first signed esea back in 1965 was landmark civil rights you la. at the time, he said, and i quote, "i know that education is the only valid passport from poverty, the only valid passpo passport. i believe deeply no law i have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of america. today the majority of our children in public school live in poverty. the majority.
think about that. this law is more important today than it has ever been. i'm voting for this bill today because i believe we have been successful in ensuring that it contains a minimum set of safeguards to protect our most vulnerable kids. i still have real concerns about what the states will do with the new flexibility it provides, and many of us here will be watching closely to see if the states deliver for our kids. i'm committed to keep fighting for our nation's public schools, and that includes fighting for more federal investments. ip i hope this legislation truly lives up to the promises made half a century ago to support public education, fully and fairly enough to create real opportunities for all of our children. but if the changes in this law don't move us closer to providing a world-class education for every single one of our children, then we'll be
right back here to fix it. we owe it to our students, we owe it to our teachers, we owe it to our history, we owe it to our future to get this right. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. mr. alexander: i yield the floor. mr. schumer: madam president?
the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: yeah. i ask unanimous consent that for the next 20 minutes, i be given four minutes, senator shaheen, four minutes, senator bloom blumenthal, four minutes, senator feinstein, four minutes and senator murphy four minutes concluding in a unanimous consent request. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. now, like so many americans, my thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected by the act of terror in san bernardino last week. our hearts go out to the victims and to their families. and as we learn more the suspects, it's becoming clear that san bernardino will serve as a sad but also a shocking reminder of what needs to be done to address what has become known as the terror gap. so, madam president, i rise today in support -- to support that most commonsense proposal
to bar individuals on the terrorist watch list from being able to legally get a gun. the g.a.o. found between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists attempted to exploit this loophole. now, people say, well, this never happens. listen to this. they tried to purchase guns, those on the terror watch list, 2,233 times and succeeded in 2,043 of those. 91%. madam president, it is -- it is absolute insanity that this is not already a restriction we have in place. given what happened in san bernardino, it is extra insanity that we're not going to move on this, we haven't moved on this already. it makes no sense. we can't let a small group, an influential powerful lobbying group make america less safe.
and yet, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are doing just that because the n.r.a. says no, they say no, even though terrorism is a scourge that we have to deal with on many fronts. and i appreciate my friend from texas. he says there are certain people on the terrorist watch list who don't belong there. don't belong there. this newly found sympathy for the civil liberties of those who might be causing trouble is surprising. we don't say abolish the criminal justice system because not every single person we convict is guilty although 99% probably are, some large percentage. why are we doing it here? are we saying if there are two or or three people on the terrorist watch list 20 or 30 who shouldn't be there should
have the right to appeal. that we should let the other thousands on the watch list who don't belong on the watch list to present a danger to america it makes no sense. why should terrorists like the one where perpetrated the heinous attack in paris or the one -- the ones who did in san bernardino be allowed to buy a gun? no red herring argument will work. this is plain common sense at a time when we need commonsense and it should not be a partisan measure. guess who introduced this idea? not barack obama but george h.w. h.w. -- george w. bush.
everyone is for it but the other side says no so i hope now that has become this unanimous consent the 30th additional seconds but now it's become clear since our last vote that the two in san bernardino had terrorist ties a help and senator murphy makes the unanimous consent request the other side will support it i yield the floor. >> mr. president i come to the floor to join my colleagues because i also believe we should keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. i think it applies to terrorists. i've been a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment. in new hampshire we have a rich
tradition of safe in lego firearm ownership. we have a rich tradition of hunting and sports men's activities, but like most i also said support pragmatic and sensible ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who would threaten this country while also protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens. that's what we are discussing here today. we have put forward commonsense legislation that appears to pretty simple principle. if you are not allowed on the plane because you are on a no-fly list, because you are suspected of threatening the country you should not be allowed to buy a gun. people don't think that this is real. if you are on a no-fly list he won't be able to fly again but according to the government
accountability office, between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists attempted to purchase guns from american dealers at least 2233 times that we know of and in 200043 of those cases, 2043, 91% of the time those suspected terrorists succeeded. that is just unacceptable and it's time we close the loophole that allows suspected terrorists to purchase guns. after the orphic tragedy last week in san bernardino that was carried out by radicalized individuals, it's clear that we need to be doing more to prevent violent attacks inspired by isis here at home. closings loophole in our gun laws is a common sense thing we can do today. i have heard concerns that the legislation that we have
proposed doesn't allow for adequate due process for those on the list but that is just not correct. the department of homeland security has a process in place for removing your name from the no-fly list. as senator feinstein the author of the legislation has noted, the f. ei office that handles the firearm background check systems must provide a reason for denial upon request. individuals who are listed then have a right to correct any inaccurate record in the background checks system so there's a process in place if people are wrongfully on that no-fly list to be able to remove their name. so i would just ask those who oppose this bill if the no-fly list is not good enough for keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, why is it worthwhile for protecting commercial airline flights from terrace? the reasoning is just inconsistent.
>> the senator's time has expired. >> it come to get in the interest of national security to pass this bill closing the tear loophole in our nation's gun laws. thank you mr. president. >> mr. president? >> the senator from connecticut. >> thank you mr. president. we talk in this chamber every day about the threat of terrorism and many associate terrorist threats with airplanes and explosives but we have seen in recent horrifying events in paris and san bernardino, how much tragic carnage can be wrought by a small number of people using firearms design for war. assault weapons that have the purpose to kill and maim human beings, no other purpose. for me and for the american people, and sense says a person
to dangerous to be permitted on a plane is too dangerous to be permitted a gun. no-fly, no gun, no checks, no gun. that ought to be the rule. it's a commonsense rule. whenever i talk to people in connecticut they say to me, why didn't the senate approved that rule? there is no commonsense explanation of the reason given by colleagues on the other side that there are some due process violation is nonsense. i hesitate to say it is that frivolous but it is because number one there is a right to challenge the designation on the no-fly list to the department of film and security which has specified reasons and an
opportunity to challenge it but also under senator feinstein's bill, there is an additional safeguard to constitutional rights because it can be challenged to the department of justice which is required to establish administrative process and then an appeal. a right of appeal to the federal court. anybody denied permission to buy a gun has the right of appeal and so the rule, no-fly, no gun, is based on common sense and legal constitutional rights. now write in fact is absolute whether it's the first amendment or any other right. there is the guarantee in the constitution that there will be reasonable restrictions when necessary to protect the public interest and here is a case of
the public interest clearly deserving protection. if there are problems with any individual being on the list, challenge it. but clearly having to wait 72 hours for that check and for the denial of permission to go forward is unreasonable, and so i urge that we move forward with commonsense protection for the public. i am hard pressed to think of a more clear and staggering example of the gun lobby's influence than the defeat of this bill. plainly the vote last week showed that the gun lobby unfortunately still has a staggering stranglehold on this
process. when it comes to long force in, they are on our side and i urge our colleagues to heed this reasonable request, no-fly, no gun. if you run that no-fly list and you are too dangerous to fly in to board a plane the constitution -- the senator's time has expired. >> at this reasonable restriction should be adopted. thank you mr. president. >> mr. president. >> the senator from minnesota. >> i ask permission to speak for three minutes. i understand it was the original request. >> without objection. >> thank you very much mr. president. when i was a prosecutor we had one straightforward goal, convict the guilty and protect innocent. to me that simple mission still holds true. we must make our world safer by
rooting out evil in our midst while still protecting the rights of people who mean no harm. those 14 people and san bernardino, the american aid worker killed in mali the innocent people killed a brief dip in the young people killed by terrorists deserve nothing less so that means of course taking out the evil at its roots, increasing our efforts in leading an international coalition against isis and it means keeping our homeland safe. part of that is taking the visa waiver program the work that must be done on encryption but there's one commonsense way to get at this terror that i join my colleagues in supporting today. close the dangerous loophole that allows suspected terrorists illegally by guns united states. a incredibly current u.s. law does not prevent individuals on terror watchlist from purchasing guns. it total of 2,029,002 in the
navy people on watchlist tried to buy guns in our country between 2004 and 2014 and more than 2000, or 91% of them cleared the background check according to the information from the government accountability office. i am a co-sponsor and have them before the tragic events of the last few weeks. i'm a co-sponsor of senator feinstein's bill to close this loophole. during last week's debate i joined 25 of my senate colleagues in offering an amendment that would also have stopped these dangerous individuals from buying firearms and explosives. passing legislation to ensure suspected terrorists cannot buy guns has bipartisan support in the house of representatives where republican congressman peter king of new york has long advocated for this change. as we work to fight terrorists abroad come as we work to stop the recruitment in our own country which i know well from my own state of minnesota where we have over a dozen cases,
indictments against those that were trying to go to fight with isis and others that were going to fight with al-shabaab in going after those cases and also in working to prevent this recruitment from occurring in the first place. this is all a piece of a difficult puzzle but to just close our eyes and say people on the terror watch list can go out and buy a gun is wrong. we need to do everything we can to ensure those suspected of terrorist activity cannot buy guns united states but i'm hopeful that the senate can come together to advance the commonsense national security measure to keep illegal weapons out of the wrong hands. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. tonight the senator from connecticut. >> thank you mr. president. i'm here to join my colleagues in our call to bring a debate about on the senate floor a measure that is supported i
would argue by probably 95 to 99% of my constituents and that is the simple idea that if you are on a terrorist watchlist and suspected of being involved in terrorist activity that you shouldn't be able to purchase a gun. and i will be asking for unanimous consent agreement in order to move this debate before the floor. but here's why it matters. what we know right now is over the last 12 months, isis has lost about 25% of their territory in iraq and syria. hopefully we will be able to join together to put even more pressure on the so-called caliphate to shrink it down eventually to elimination, but the growth of isis is dependent on two narratives. one, this narrative that the so-called caliphate is growing
and second the narrative that the east is at war with the west, that the muslim world is at war with the christian world and the first narrative is becoming less powerful than the second one because it's even more important. and so a shocking as paris was and is shocking and san bernardino was, it's not surprising in the respect that these attacks outside of syria and iraq are now becoming more important, more necessary to this terror organization in order to perpetuate the second set of mythologies around the islamic world being at war with the christian world. and so is the moment our republicans and democrats have to come together around hardening our country from potential attackers him potential attacks and to recognize that because these
attacks may be more important than ever before to the future expansion of isis, that we have to take steps to make sure that they don't occur. one of the simplest ways we can do that is embodied in senator feinstein's piece of legislation. let's just say together that those that are on the terrorist watch list, and this is a list that you get on if you have a reason for the f. b. i or other law enforcement to believe that you are affiliated in some way shape or form with a terrorist organization. you may not have committed a crime yet if you have had communications or affiliations with terrorist organizations. let's agree that the people on that list should be by default prohibited from buying guns. now importantly this bill has senate provisions that would allow those individuals to get off that list, to be able to say they were put on it mistakenly
but let's say as a default premise that if you are in a terrorist watchlist you shouldn't be able to purchase a gun. recent polling tells us the vast overwhelming majority of americans support this law and in addition the vast overwhelming majority of american gun owners support this law. in part because they have seen the statistics and it bears repeating. my colleagues at have talked about these numbers but they really are stunning. over the last 10 years 2223 time someone on the terrorist watch list has attempted to purchase a weapon and in 2000, 43 of the senses as they were successful in purchasing the weapon taking it home. that's a 91% success rate. now it may be that one or two of those 2000 shouldn't have been on that list but this legislation gives them the power to contest that and to get off
that list eventually as it should. but let's not live in a fantasy world in which the majority people on this list shouldn't be there. this list isn't foolproof but the vast majority, 95%, 99% on the terrorist watch list are there for a reason and they shouldn't be able to walk out of the store with a weapon. that's why -3/4 of gun owners, 90% of americans support this legislation. and while today it's become partisan republicans are standing almost in lockstep against the bill to stop terrorists from getting guns but historically it's been bipartisan. this was initially proposed by president bush and then it turn a general alberto gonzalez. that will so let's make a bipartisan again. let's today on the floor of the senate decide we are going to have a debate on this and we are going to bring up for a vote. that's where the majority of her constituents are. they want to take steps together to stop terrorists from getting
guns. mr. president i would ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 551 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration of the motion be considered made them laid upon the table with no winter evening action of debate. >> is there objection? >> mr. president. >> the majority whip. >> reserving the right to object with the center modifies requests include the corn and substitute amendment which is that the best? >> does a the senator so modifies requests? >> mr. resident reserving the right to object is my understanding that this substitute would require the federal government to go to court in order to stop someone on the terrorist watch list from purchasing a weapon. as a default we should all agree that if you are on the terrorist watchlist you can't walk out of the gun show with a gun and it
simply shouldn't be incumbent upon the federal government to go through court process in order to stop you from doing that. there are ways in which, if you shouldn't be on the list you can get off the list but there is absolutely no reason to delay the process of stopping one of these would be terrorists from getting a gun buyer requiring a complicated core court process every timezone on the terrorist watch list walks into a gun store so for that reason mr. president i would object to the motion to modify. >> the majority whip. c mr. president i'm astonished by the proposition of our friend the senator from connecticut that you can be on a secret watchlist by the federal government and just by virtue of this secret listing and an individual on a government watch list you can be denied some of your core constitutional rights
without the necessity of the government establishing probable cause or producing any evidence that would justify the denial of the core constitutional right and i guess if it's good enough to take the governments were by this list without proof or showing probable cause to deny a citizen their constitutional rights under the second amendment, then i guess that's good enough to deny your right to worship according to the cates of your conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of association, all the other rights enumerated in the constitution. it's an outrageous proposition and i would say to my friend, if these people are truly on this government watch lists are truly dangerous why isn't the obama administration and the obama justice department indicting them, taking them to court, trying them in convicting them
of a crime? instead, you have the secret watchlist without any proof, without any evidence. i would just say the senator has mischaracterized the amendment that i proposed last week in which i have now offered by unanimous consent to what would happen is an individual on the watchlist goes into purchase a gun there would be the national instant criminal background check system which would then access the watchlist and the department of justice was worried based on that the numbers that somebody was attempting to buy a gun than they could intervene for 72 hours to stop the individual from purchasing the gun if they were worried about this individual further they could go to court and produce before a federal judge evidence to justify the detention of that individual to take them off the
street. this is a complete response to the concerns raised by our friends across the aisle but i will tell you what's really motivating all of this. first of all the feinstein amendment which was offered last week was a complete substitute to the obamacare repeal bill that we voted on and passed last week. as such, this was a surreptitious means really to try to defeat our ability to repeal the abomination known as obamacare that only has a 30% approval rating and their colleagues across the aisle knew that. under the senate procedures to complete substitute to the reconciliation bill that we passed last week would have been accomplished at the feinstein amendment had been agreed to. but they went even further and
are trying to distract the american people from the fact that the president of the united states and commander-in-chief has absolutely no strategies to deal with the threat of isis here in the united states. i presume the immediate motivation was what happened in san bernardino, this terrible tragedy. my colleagues across the aisle are trying to capitalize on that particular tragedy in order to justify this unconstitutional attempt to deny american citizens their core constitutional rights without any proof and without any evidence. i would just add that if our friends across the aisle think that this watchlist is soap are faked and so infallible they ought to read an editorial that was produced by "the new york times" in 2014.
the american civil liberties union and others objected to the watchlist as being a secret government list without any evidence or any proof. they cited a 2007 audit of the 71,000 people on the watchlist, on the government watch list and noted that half of those 71,000 were erroneously included in the watchlist. so we'll understand what's going on here. this isn't about finding solutions to real problems. this is about trying to change the subject and to detract and distract the american people from the fact that president presidents administration has absolutely no strategy to deal with the threat of isis and the presidents tells us merely to stay the course.
so i understand what's going on. i also would say get the main purpose of our friends across the aisle other than to defeat our ability to repeal obamacare which we successfully did in the senate last week, this is to create a gotcha moment for senators and candidates that are running in 2016. already the senator from connecticut has appeared on national news shows and the present of united states on his weekly speech to the nation, the senate democratic leader has ardie misrepresented what was then the corn and substitute to the feinstein amendment last week, to suggest that people who voted against the feinstein amendment really wanted to make sure that terrorists got guns. that's an outrageous accusation and it's as false as it is outrageous.
so i think it's pretty obvious what's going on here. this was an effort to undermine our ability to repeal obamacare. it's an effort to distract from the fact the president of the united states in the commander-in-chief has no strategy to defeat isis. in fact the democratic leader yesterday said really what we need is an isis czar. an isis czar? i thought that was the job of the commander-in-chief, the president of the united states to fight and win the nation's wars and to keep us safe here at home. give me a break. and then this foolish idea that we ought to just simply take the federal government toward without any proof or any necessity of producing evidence in a court of law and meeting some basic memo standard before we deny citizens their core, and
rights is just outrageous. mr. president i think it's pretty obvious what's going on here and i think -- i'm happy to have the american people render their judgment. for that reason i object. >> the senator from connecticut. >> isu name is content to speak for five minutes. c is there objection? without objection. >> thank you mr. president. the senator is correct that last week senate democrats thought it was more important to talk about terrorism than it was to talk about the repeal of the affordable care act for the 16th time in the united states senate, 55 or 60 times in the house of representatives. we do think it was more important to speak to talk about stopping terrorists from getting weapons and by sorry we found that bipartisan consensus last week. when we are talking about today
the different threat than we have ever seen before and what they want to do is to stop terrorism before it happens. so the senator from texas is right that many of the individuals on the terrorist watch list have not committed a crime but in order to get on the terrorist watch list, you have to have been in communication with those that are trying to create radical g. hot here in the united states. so, by denying those individuals from getting a weapon you are serving to prevent a terrorist attack from happening. why would we wait until after the terrorist attack has occurred in order to stop an individual from buying a gun? it's too late at that point. this bill includes provisions to get off of that list if you are not on it. so it's perfectly observant of our tradition of supporting the right for law-abiding citizens
to buy and purchase a weapon, but to suggest that the only pathway to stopping an individual from buying a weapon is a criminal prosecution when we know there are people right now in the united states that are in contact with radical ideologies may be contemplating attacks against the united states misunderstands the way in which we are going to prevent future terrorist attacks from happening in this country. mr. president this notion that those of us who want to change the law in order to better protect americans are capitalizing on the tragedy, that's ridiculous and it's insulting frankly. .. talk about strategies to keep people safe,
then you'd never talk about people safe because there is a mass shooting every day separateway from the people who die from the drip, drip, drip, of gun values al violence all as country. i don't think any of us mean to suggest that those who oppose suggest that those who oppose that those who oppose this bill supported by three quarters of american gun owners, 90 percent of americans are rooting for terrorists. that is not what i'm saying. what i am saying is those who oppose this are more concerned with protecting the rights of potential terrorists than they are protecting this country. that is what we are talking about here. we are worried about the rights of people on the terrorist watch list what we
are talking about is a temporary inconvenience, if someone is on the watchlist you shouldn't be, and it is a small number then they have to this legislation a means to get off the list. they have to wait a couple days, maybe a couple weeks, tiny number of people is the cost protecting the country from potential terrorist attacks is the benefit. that isbenefit. that is a trait that my constituents would take in a heartbeat. i am sorry we are not able to proceed with debate on this bill, but i think i can speak for my colleagues that we will be back on the floor in the days and weeks and months to come to continue to ask for a vote on simple legislation to make sure the potential terrorists cannot
get there hands on dangerous life ending weapons. i yield the floor. >> the senate gaveled out, but earlier today they advance the house-senate compromise on k-12 education programs. that measure would replace the no child left behind act. a final vote on that schedule for wednesday at 10:45 am eastern. and the senate will need to pass some type of 2016 federal funding bill. funds are set to expire on friday. follow the senate live when members gavel back in. >> book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend on teetwelve. saturday nightc-span. saturday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern on afterwards teresa brown discusses her book. one nurse, 12 hours, for patients lives which gives
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