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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  December 10, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm EST

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quorum call:
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mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: madam president, one of the great moral issues of our time is the global crisis of climate change. and let me be very clear about climate change. climate change is not a democratic issue or a progressive issue. it's not a republican issue or a conservative issue. what it is, is an issue that has everything to do with physics. it's an issue of physics. and what we know beyond a shadow
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of a doubt is that the debate is over and that is that the vast majority of the scientists who have studied the issue are quite clear. and what they tell us over and over again is that climate change is real, climate change is caused by human activity, and climate change is already causing devastating problems throughout our country and, in fact, throughout the world. and what the scientists also tell us is that we have a relatively short window of opportunity to bring about the fundamental changes that we need in our global energy system to transform our energy system from
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fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. we have a limited window of opportunity, and what the scientists are telling us very clearly is if we do not seize that opportunity, if we do not lead the world working with china, russia, india and other countries in transforming the global energy system, the planet that we leave to our children and our grandchildren will be significantly less habitable than the planet we enjoy. and my natur my nightmare is th, 40 years from now, our kids and our grandchildren will look members of the u.s. senate in the eye, u.s. house in the eye and they will say, "the
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scientists told you what would happen and you did nothing. why did you not react? how hard was it to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system away from coal and oil into energy efficiency and wind, solar, geothermal and other sustainable energies?" pope francis recently made what i thought to be a very profound statement in that he said that our planet is on a suicidal direction. suicidal direction in terms of climate change. what a frightening and horrible thought. how irresponsible can we be to
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ignore what the entire scientific community is saying? and i know that there are many of my colleagues who refuse to acknowledge the reality, and let me just simply say this, as perhaps the most progressive member of the united states. i have differences with my republican colleagues on virtually every issue. that goes without saying. but there is something very different, madam president, about this issue and that is i have been in hearings with my republican colleagues where heard doctors and scientists talk about cancer, about alzheimer's, about diabetes, about all kinds of illnesses and, yeah, i may disagree with my republican colleagues about how we go forward, how much we should fund into the n.i.h., but i've never heard my republican
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colleagues attack doctors or researchers or scientists for their views on cancer research or alzheimer's research. as i do, they respect that research. but somehow or another, when it comes to the issue of climate change, at best what we're seeing republicans do -- many republicans, most republicans -- is ignore the issue or claim that they're not scientists or, at worst, attack those scientists who are doing the research. now, why is that? why is that? why is it that my republican colleagues accept the research on cancer, on alzheimer's, on all kinds of illnesses, they respect scientists who are working in all kinds of areas. but somehow or another when it
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comes to the issue of climate change, my republican friends are in denial. and what i will say, madam president is this has nothing to do with science and it has sadly and tragically everything to do with our corrupt campaign finance laws which allow large corporations and billionaires to contribute as much money as they want into the political process. and the reality is, in my view, that any republican -- and i happen to believe that many republicans understand the truth about climate change. but i also believe that any republican who stood up and said, "you know what, i just talked to some scientists or i just read some of the literature. and do you know what? this climate change is reecialg it'is real,it's dangerous, we'vo
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something about it." i believe on that day, when that republican stands up, the money will stop flowing from the fossil fuel industry, from the koch brothers and there will be a strong likelihood that that republican would be primaried in their next election. according to the center for responsive politics, madam president, at the national level, where companies have to report what they spend on lobbying and campaign contributions, the oil companies, coal companies and electric utilities spent a staggering $2.2 billion in federal lobbying since 2009 and another $330 million in federal campaign contributions. that's just at the federal lev level. over $2.5 billion in lobbying and campaign contributions in
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just six years. even in washington, d.c. that is a lot of money and that's just the money we know about. and that is not all of it. that's not the end of it. as a result of the disastrous citizens united supreme court decision, which allowed corporations and billionaires to spend unlimited sums of money, we know that the koch brothers, who make most of their money in the fossil fuel industry, and a handful of their friends will be spending some $900 million -- $900 million -- from one family and a few of their friends in the 2016 election cycle. and clearly one of the reasons that they are investing so much in that -- this election cycle is because they intend to
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continue doing everything that they can to make sure that congress does not go forward to protect our kids and our grandchildren against the ravages of climate change. further, according to an eight-month investigation by journalists an "inside? "-- "inside climate news," exon -- now exxonmobil -- may have conducted extensive research on climate change as early as 1997, leading top exxon scientists to conclude both that climate change is real and that it was caused in part by the carbon pollution resulting from the use of exxon's petroleum-based products. in addition, the purported internal business memoranda accompanying the reporting asserted that exxon's climate science program was launched in response to a perceived
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existential threat to its business model. in other words, the scientists at exxonmobil -- who are scientists -- discovered the truth and, upon hearing the truth, what exxonmobil did was to pour millions of dollars into organizations whose main function was to deny the reality of climate change. madam president, the efforts to transform our energy system are taking place not only here in washington, the nation's capital, but at the state and local level as well. in states like arizona and florida, roadblocks are being put up to stop people from gaining access to renewable energy sources like wind and especially rooftop solar.
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in states like like arizona and florida, many of our southern states with huge solar exposure, there is huge potential for solar, and yet now you are seeing politicians, at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, put roadblock after roadblock to make it harder for people to move to solar or to wind. madam president, i have heard a lot of the arguments from the fossil fuel industry as to why we should not transform our energy system, and many of those arguments are repeated here on the floor by some of my colleagues. but here is the truth: the truth is that it turns out that transforming our energy
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system away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and sustainable energy will create a significant number of new and decent-paying jobs, and it will lower energy bills in communities all across this country in m. my own state of vermont participates in a cap-and-trade program for the power sector. since 2009, the program created more than 14,000 net jobs. carbon pollution levels have dropped by 15% at the same time that consumers, businesses, and other energy users saw their electricity and heating bills go down by $459 million. the majority of those savings came from energy efficiency. all the while jobs were created,
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not exported, and we relied on clean domestic energy instead of oil from the middle east. energy efficiency clearly makes an enormous amount of sense. it is clearly the low-hanging fruit, as we transform our energy system. i have been in homes in vermont that have been effectively weatherized, and you are seeing energy bills, heating bills drop by 50%, people in those homes living in more comfort, and jobs being created by those people who install the installation and the other energy-efficient tools, not to mention all of the folks who are manufacturing the insulation and thewindows and the efficient roofing. according to the american council for one energy-efficient economy, energy efficiency provides a larger return on
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investments than any individual energy source because for every dollar invested in energy efficiency, we see $4 in total benefits for all consumers. for every billion dollars invested in efficiency upgrades, see a creation of 19,000 direct and indirect jobs. these numbers are great, madam president, and they speak for themselves. but acting on climate change is also a moral obligation. while we will -- while we will all suffer all over our country and all over the world, the impacts of climate change, the sad truth is that climate impacts fall especially hard upon the most vulnerable people in our society.
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minority and low-income communities in the united states are disproportionately impacted by the causes of climate change. according to a 2012 study by the national association for the advancement of colored people, the naacp, the nearly 6 million people in the united states who live within three miles of a coal power plant have an average per capita annual income of just over $18,000 a year. among the people who live within three miles of a coal power plant, 39% are people of color while people of color compromise only 36% of the total population of the united states. bottom line here, madam president, is that when we talk about climate change and its impact upon our planet and its impact upon all people, we should bear in mind that not
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only in the united states but all over the world, the people who will suffer the most are low-income people and people living in poverty. madam president, i have introduced -- i will shortly introduce legislation called the american clean energy investment act of 2015. the prices -- and this legislation is built upon the fact that the prices for wind and solar power have plummeted over the last decade, cutting carbon pollution and creating tens of thousands of new jobs in the process. meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry benefits from permanent subsidies worth tens of billions of dollars each year. in my views fo for renewable eny
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and energy efficiency are temporary and are too often allowed to elapse entirely. my legislation permanently extends and makes refundable some of our most important renewable energy tax credits for energy efficiency and sustainable energy, including sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. permanently extending these incentives will drive over $500 billion in clean energy investments between now and 2030 and are an integral part of putting us on a pathway to more than doubling the size of our clean energy workforce to 10 million american workers. the cost for these incentive ins completely offset by repealing the special interest corporate
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welwelfare in the tax code for e fossil fuel industries. if we are going to be serious about dealing with the threat of climate change, we need to end the polluterre polluter welfaret subsidizes increased pollution from fossil fuels and instead invest those resources in clean energy solutions that reduce pollution. doing this will save lives, protect our economy, and reduce the threats from climate change at the same time as we are creating millions of good-paying jobs here in the united states. our legislation is supported by the solar energy industry association, the american wind energy association, and is cosponsored by senators merkley and markey. we have, madam president, a national responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the
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working families and communities who help power and build this country. we must act now to reenergize our manufacturing base, bolster our clean energy economy, and protect the livelihoods of energy workers and the communities they support. as a result of these concerns, this bill provides up to three years of unemployment insurance, health care, and pensions for workers who lose their jobs due to you ar our transition to a cn energy economy. in other words, we understand, as was very much the case with our moving away from tobacco farming in this country, that the people who do the work in coal, in oil, and in other fossil fuels are not to blame for the fact that the product they produce is causing so many
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problems in our country. our job is to protect them. our job is to transition them to other decent-paying jobs, and the government has a responsibility to help with that transition. madam president, based on what the scientists are telling us that we need to make very significant cuts in carbon pollution emission emissions ane need to do it as soon as possible, it is absolutely vital that we do what many economists tell us we must do, and that is put a price on carbon. put a price on carbon. it is the simplest and most direct way to make the kinds of cuts in carbon pollution that we have got to make if we are going to successfully transition away from fossil fuel to energy
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efficiency and sustainable energy. and that is why within the climate protection and justice act that i am introducing there will be a tax on carbon. directly pricing carbon is a key part of the solution of transforming our energy system. many experts support a fee on carbon pollution emissions, including liberals, including moderates, and even prominent conservatives like george schultz, nobel laureate economist garry becker who was mitt romney's former economic advisory, gregory mankiw, and a former reagan advisor art laffer, former republican bo bobeenless, and many others.
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thit is being supported by economists throughout the political spectrum. the nation's leading corporations, including the nation's five biggest oil giants, are already planning their future budgets with the assumptions that there will be a cost applied to carbon emissions. in other words, some of the very companies that have strongly opposed action to address climate change are recognizing the reality in front of them, and that is that the united states is going to -- hopefully sooner than later -- address the crisis of climate change and that there will be a tax on carbon. this tax works by setting enforceable pollution-reduction targets for each decade, including a 40% reduction below
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1990 levels by the 230's and a more than 80% reduction level by 2050. this legislation sets a price on carbon pollution for fossil fuel producer or importers. proceeds from this carbon pollution fee are returned to the bottom 80% of households making less than $1 coo,00 $100r to offset them for any increase that they might experience in increased energy costs as a result of this transition. wherfor an average family of fo, it amounts to a rebate of roughly $900 in 2017 and grows to an annual rebate of $1,900 in 2030. it would only apply upstream, meaning at the oil refinery, oil
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mine, natural gas processing plant, or point of importation. it would apply to less -- fewer than 3,000 of the largest fossil fuel polluters in this country. e.p.a.'s existing authority to regulate carbon pollution sources from power plants, vehicles, and other sources is reaffirmed, and if the united states is not on track to meet its emissions reduction targets, the e.p.a. shall issue new regulations to ensure that it does. importantly, based on lessons learned from the cap and trade law in california, a federal interagency council will oversee the creation and distribution of a climate justice resiliency fund block grant program to states, territories, tribes, municipalities, counties, localities and nonprofit community organizations. the council will provide
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$20 billion annually for these grants in communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for important -- for important programs that they are running. this legislation experiences -- strengthens our manufacturing sector through a border tariff adjustment mechanism which shields energy intensive trade exposed industries like steel, aluminum, glass and pulp and paper from an unfair international trade policy. the moneys raised by the green tariff are used to help improve industrial energy efficiency. farmers receive dedicated funding through the usda's rural energy for america program to improve on farm energy efficiency and to adopt on-site renewable energy. the bill includes incentives for farmers to adopt no-till
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practices and creates an incentive program to encourage the adoption of sustainable fertilizer application practic practices. finally, the bill includes federal electricity market reforms that reduce pollution, increase efficiency and reduce costs by ensuring equitable grid access for demand response programs. madam president, at the end of the day, the congress of the united states is going to have to make some very important and fundamental decisions. and the most important is whether or not we believe in science. we can have many, many disagreements on many issues but we should not have a disagreement about whether or not we base public policy on science rather than campaign
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contributions. and that really is the issue that we are dealing with right now. we are in a critical moment in world history. our planet is becoming warmer. sea levels are rising and communities all over the world who are on sea coasts are being threatened. the ocean is being acidif acidio an unprecedented level which has a huge impact in so many areas, including the ability of people to fish and gain nutrients from the ocean. we are looking at unprecedented levels of heat waves in india, pakistan, europe that have killed thousands of people. we're looking at forest fires in
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the west coast of this country that are unprecedented in terms of their duration and their ferocity. so, madam president, we have to make a decision about whether or not we stand with our children and our grandchildren or whether we stand with campaign contributors from the fossil fuel industry. climate change is real. climate change is caused by human activity. climate change is already causing devastating damage on this planet. our job is now to stand with our children, to stand with our grandchildren and make certain that they have a planet which is healthy and which is habitable. and that's what the legislation that i am introducing will do. thank you very much, madam chaii
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relinquish the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you -- mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. next week we will mark the three-year anniversary, for lack of a better word, of the massacre at sandy hook, connecticut. and senator blumenthal will be joining me on the floor momentarily. and i wanted to come here and speak to our colleagues for a few moments about what this week will mean to us in connecticut and the challenge that it presents to all of us. i want to open by talking about one of the young men who perished that day, a little first grader by the name of
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daniel bardon. daniel was a really, really special kid. i talk about him a lot when i'm speaking on sandy hook because i've gotten to know his parents pretty well over the years and so i feel like i know daniel. pretty well. now that i have a little seven-year-old first grader at home, too, i, frankly, feel closer than ever before to the families like the bartons, who are still grieving. daniel had this uncanny sense of empathy, that now as a father of a seven-year-old, i know is, frankly, not normally visited upon children that age. daldaniel just loved helping pee in big and small ways. he was so naturally outward in his sympathy for others.
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there's a story that his dad likes to tell about the challenge of going to the supermarket with daniel because when they would leave, daniel always liked to hold the door open for his family. but then he wouldn't stop holding the door open because he wanted to hold it open for all of the rest of the people who were leaving the grocery store. and so the family would get all the way to the car, they'd look back and they didn't have daniel because he was still holding the door open. it was just small things like that that made him such a special kid. his father, mark, wrote one day, "i'm always one minute farther away from my life with daniel and that gulf keeps getting bigger. his mother, jackie, in the months and years following daniel's death developed a habit of what grief counselors call defensive mechanisms. she would sometimes pretend that
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daniel was at a friend's house for a couple hours simply in order to give herself the strength to do simple household chores, like cooking dinner or returning e-mails. the only way she could do it, if she pretended for a small as soon asliceof time that daniel y still alive. and so it's hard to describe for my colleagues here today the grief that still, frankly, drowns sandy hook parents and the community at large. it's total, it's permanent and it's all-consuming. but for many of those parents and many of those community members, the grief now is mixed with a combination of anger and utter bewilderment, all of it directed at us in the united states senate and in the house of representatives. on december 14, adam lanza walked into sandy hook
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elementary school armed with a weapon that was designed for the military, designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. he had 30-round magazines not designed for hunting or for sport shooting but to destroy as much life as quickly as possible. importantly, he left at home his lower-round magazines. and the design of his weapons worked to a tee. in approximately four minutes, he discharged 154 rounds and he killed with ruthless efficiency. 27 people shot, 26 dead, including 20 first graders. rachel devino, 29. dawn hochsprung, 47. anne marie murphy, 52. lauren russo, 30. mary sherlock, 56, victoria soto, 27. and the students --
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charlotte bacon, daniel barden, olivia engel, josephine gay, dillon hochley, mad line sue, katherine hubbard, chase kowalsky, jesse lewis, anna marquez-green, james matiolli, grace mcdonald, emily parker, jack pinto -- it keeps going. noaa posner, caroline pervidi, jessica ricos, evial richmond, benjamin wheeler, allison wyatt. now, there are a hand full of hs that aren't on that list because there were children in victoria soto's classroom that were able to escape. likely, as investigators belie believe, when adam lanza had to reload his weapon to put another 30 bullets in it. and so three years later, as we grieve those 26, we are still having these awful, seering
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questions to ponder. what would have happened if lanza didn't have an assault rifle? would he even have had the perverse courage to walk into that school if not aided by the security of having a high-powered killing machine? would less kids have died? what if his cartridges had six or ten bullets instead of 30? would more kids be alive? would someone have been able to stop him while he fumbled with another reload? the facts of sandy hook are hard to hear over and over but they're important because they should have educated us on ways that we could come together to make another mass shooting less likely. but we ignored sandy hook and it happened again and again. this year there have been more mass shootings than there have been days in the year. nine in charleston, five i in
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chattanooga, nine in roseburying and 14 in san bernardino. and when i sat in that firehouse with senator blumenthal that afternoon in sandy hook as the news rolled into those parents that the children they loved wouldn't be coming home, if you had told me that day that we would do nothing, that our response as a congress, as a country would be utter silence, i wouldn't have believed it. no way. but if you then told me that it would happen again and again and again and we still wouldn't do anything, i would have collapsed in disbelief. and i'm going to tell you, that's how the families feel. whatever you think is the best way to stop this carnage, changing our gun laws, giving more resources to law enforcement, changing our mental health system to get more help to those who are becoming unhinged and thinking about
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settling their real or imagined grievances with violence -- do something to honor those children and adults. do something to show that there is an ounce of compassion as we sit here three years after the bloody massacre at sandy hook. our mental health system is broken. we've closed down 4,000 inpatient beds since the recession began. it's harder than ever for families to get the help that they need. and if you read the report on adam lanza, you will see a very troubled young man who was utterly failed by the behavioral health system that stood around him. stronger gun laws do work. they absolutely would have prevented some of those kids from dying. and the data is irrefutable. this mythology that you are safer with more guns has zero
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basis in fact. the data tells us that in states that have tougher gun laws, they have less gun deaths. in states that have higher rates of gun ownership, they have more gun deaths. stronger gun laws work. and, to be honest, the burden is not just on us, it's also on the administration. i've called with many of my colleagues on the administration to take some steps if congress won't to make sure that those that are truly gun dealers, though they might not have a bricks-and-mortar store, those that are selling guns with frequency at places like gun shows or on the internet, that they have to do background checks, a recognition that they're dealers just like people that have stores in your downtown are. and so my plea today -- three
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years after this tragedy that utter the transformed that community -- is for us to recognize that there is no other country in the world that would live with this level of sporter. there is no other nation in the world that would have 80 people dying every day from gun violence and mass shooting after mass shooting and not even try to fix it. that's what's so offensive to me. and three years later, that is what is so hard to understand for the families that we represent in sandy hook, connecticut. and so if you don't want to believe me, i'm going to close the exact same way that i closed a year ago on the one year -- two years ago on the one-year anniversary. and i'm kind of ashamed that i have to read this letter again because every single word of it
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still applies two years later after the epidemic of mass shootings in this country hasn't abated but simply grown. it's from a mom whose child survived. and i'll close with it. "in addition to the tragic loss of her playmates, friends and teacher, my first grader suffers from ptsd. she was in the first room by the entrance to the school. her teacher was able to gather the children into a tiny bathroom inside the classroom. there she stood with 14 of her classmates and her teacher, all of them crying. you see, she heard what was happening on the other side of the wall. she heard everything. she was sure she was going to
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die that day. she didn't want to die for christmas. imagine what that must have been like. she struggles nightly with nightmares, difficulty falling asleep and being afraid to go anywhere in her own home. at school she becomes withdrawn, crying daily, covering her ears when it gets too loud, and waiting for this to happen again. she is six, and we are furious. furious that 26 families must suffer with grief so deep and so wide that it's unimaginable. furious that the innocence and safety of my children's lives has been taken. furious that someone had access to the type of weapon used in this massacre. furious in a gun makers make ammunition with such high rounds and our government does nothing to stop them. furious that the ban on assault
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weapons was carelessly left to expire. furious that lawmakers let the gun lobbyists have so much control. furious that somehow someone's right to own a gun is more important than my child's right to life. furious that lawmakers are too scared to take a stand." she writes, "i ask you to think about your choices. look at the pictures of the 26 innocent lives taken so needlessly and wastefully, using a weapon that never should have been in the hands of civilians. really think, changing the laws may inconvenience some gun owners but it may also save a life, perhaps a life that is dear to me or you. are you really willing to risk it? you" -- speaking to us -- "have a responsibility and an obligation to act now and change the laws. i hope and i pray that you do
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not fail." i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i'm honored to follow my colleague and friend, senator murphy, in an effort that has involved both of us, our minds, our hearts from the day that we stood together that december 14, 2012, in newtown, sandy hook. we have stood together and worked together with the families and community that have so inspired us with their strength and courage. and if i have one overriding image and message in my mind and heart, it is those families, the families most directly affected by the deaths of the 20 beautiful children and six great
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educators and the families in the reverberating circle of people so deeply touched and hurt and harmed by the evil on that day. and the people who exemplify the good of that day, the first responders and the firefighters and police who saw things that no human being should ever have to witness. and emerged also deeply hurt and harmed. the courage and strength of newtown in that community and the families will always inspire me. i worked on gun violence prevention for many, many years a couple of decades before december 14, 2012. i was the attorney general in the state of connecticut and the
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state legislator, advocating for the assault weapon ban and other gun violence prevention measures. then as attorney general, i defended the assault weapon ban when it was challenged in court. i tried the case and then successfully argued it in the state supreme court. so i knew intellectually and abstractly why we need in this nation and in connecticut stronger measures to stop gun violence, but the experience of that day left a searing mark on my heart and on my conscience. so that it became for me the passion and priority that it is today. and i will not rest as a member of this body and as a human being until this nation does
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better to make america safer and to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw on that day. i will never forget being at that firehouse on that afternoon , but i will also never forget that evening at st. rose of lima church when the community came together to light a candle rather than curse the dark. and a conversation i had with one of the parents who lost a child, it was either that night or in the grief-filled days thereafter when i said to her at some point, "when you're ready,
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i'd like to talk to you about what we can do about guns." and she said to me, i'm ready now. that's the courage that we've seen in the last three years from those families. that's the courage we saw this morning at an event in the capitol. it's the courage that we've seen again and again and again from newtown, from all over the country, loved ones and victims of all of the places they've become kind of landmarks that we recite, but there are 30,000 deaths every year from places whose names we could never recite here because it would be too long and because they are the mundane places that all of
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us go. as my colleague, senator murphy, said this morning, all of us are just one second away from becoming victims. the fact is we're all touched by gun violence and we're all harmed and hurt by it. and i will never forget that evening. i will never forget also the day on the floor of this house when the senate failed to approve a commonsense package of gun violence prevention measures. background checks, ban on illegal trafficking, ban on straw purchases, mental health initiatives. and from the gallery someone shouted down, "shame." it may have been "shame on you."
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there's no record of it because we record only what happens on the floor. but on that day, the most profound and eloquent comment was those three words: "shame on you." shame on us in the united states senate. we are complicit by our inaction. the congress is complicit by its silence. and moments of silence have its place, but silence by inaction here is complicity. and it's not only the failure to act. it's also the obstruction that has been placed in the way of knowledge and research. the so-called rider -- nobody outside the united states capitol would talk about riders,
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an amendment that stops the government from doing research, literally research, fact-gathering, investigation on gun violence. the cause of 30,000 deaths every year in this country cannot be researched by the center for disease control and prevention. in fact, we face a public health crisis in this country. if it were ebola or influenza or polio and we faced these kinds of epidemics or feared epidemics in this country and we've reacted with drastic and effective measures, including quarantine and vaccines that mobilize a nation, the response of the united states congress to the epidemic of gun violence is to bar research by the c.d.c.
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and other public health authorities, the very same public health community that could help us understand and take action is gagged and straitjacket straitjacketed by the united states congress. even the author of that amendment restricting research, the initial author, former congressman jay dicky, republican of arkansas, says he has regrets -- quote -- "i wish we had started the proper research and kept it going all the time," he has said. the congress owes the american people more prks -- but this promise i can make which is we're not going away. we're not abandoning this effort. we will not be silenced.
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we will not be inactive. we're not giving up. 12 years were necessary to pass the brady bill after the prunts prunts -- president of the united states was almost assassinated just a few miles from here, and his press secretary, jim brady, was paralyzed. 12 years is what it took, with the support of the president -- reagan -- and we need to be prepared for that kind of marathon. not a sprint. president reagan said famously, "facts are stubborn thingdz." we cannot deny the facts that drive this debate, because laws do work. we come here every day with the presumption that what we do makes a difference. the laws we pass make a
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difference. gun violence prevention laws do work. when the shooter at sandy hook had to change magazines, children succeeded in escaping. if he had been barred and that assault weapon had been banned from having it and bringing it to that site of horrific tragedy , it might have made a difference. if the 27 -- if the 72-hour rule had been enforced against the shooter in charleston -- that is if there had been no -- the presiding officer: the senator has used ten minutes. mr. blumenthal: may i have consent for one more minute? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. blumenthal: if the shooter in charleston had been barred,
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as he should have been because he was ineligible, rather than having the opportunity to purchase a weapon as a result of the 72-hour rule of law loophole -- it might have made a difference there. we can't say for certain. we know there's no panacea, no magic solution. but the families of sandy hook, charleston and san bernardino ask us to make a difference here. honor with action is what we should do. inaction is complicity. we owe the american people better. we need to keep faith with its values and keep faith with america. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa.


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