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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  March 7, 2016 3:00pm-8:01pm EST

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generalizations, it is stupidge and not every millennial is likely the portrait that i've described obviously there aree many differences within age groups as they are in cross age groups. however, there is a lot of data and we have a lot of ways to describe these cohorts by the racial characteristics, by the economic circumstances, either core political and social and economic values because we take a lot of service. so it is on that basis that i make some of these generalizations, or fair enough, stereotypes. lendor of creation, for the wonder of life and for the mystery of love. thank you for family and friends and for the love that surrounds us on every side. thank you for your work that demands our best efforts
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and for the satisfaction of a job well done. thank you also for disappointments and failures that teach us to depend on you. thank you for our lawmakers. endue them with courage and loyalty, inspiring them to glorify you in every action, both large and small. and lord, thank you for the influential life and legacy of former first lady nancy reagan. we pray in your holy name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting
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the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: nancy reagan was one of the most powerful first ladies in recent memory.
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sometimes she spoke out, for instance, on issues like substance abuse but more often nancy wielded her power with calm confidence and quiet steel. it was an attitude that helped guide nancy through so many challenges in her own life. getting an acting career off the ground. leaving it to raise a family. riding the ups and downs of a life in politics. watching her husband brave the bullet of a would-be assassin or face the threat of cancer and then confront the same reality herself. nancy reagan may have been a star in hollywood and a force in the rough-and-tumble of washington, but it was the challenges that come -- the challenges to come that would reveal her true strength. in 1994, former president reagan addressed a letter to his fellow
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americans. he said i now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. nancy shared her very personal experience with that cold and cruel disease, telling americans of the terrible pain and loneliness that accompanied alzheimer's very, very long goodbye. but she never gave in or gave up. nancy was strong for her husband. she was a rock for her family. she was an example for a nation that looked to her for inspiration. one day, after many long and difficult years, ronald reagan opened his eyes and looked at nancy. he hadn't done that in well over a month, she recalled. but he looked at me and closed his eyes and went. and that was a wonderful gift. we felt nancy's immense pain
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when she leaned over his casket, kissed it and mouthed her tearful farewell. from morning in america to a sunset in simi valley, the reagan love story was classic hollywood, but it was also unmistakably human. nancy said her life had only really begun after she met ronald reagan. now she joins her best friend to dance together once more. we in the senate join our nation in mourning the loss of nancy reagan. we offer every condolence to the family members left behind. and let us remember the rest of what president reagan wrote to the nation in 1995 -- 1994 -- "i now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my
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life," is what he wrote then," but, but i know that for america there will always be a bright dawn ahead." now, madam president, on the legislation currently before the senate, as i noted earlier, combating substance abuse was an issue close to nancy reagan's heart. it's fitting that we will have an important opportunity this afternoon to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic sweeping our nation. we can do so by advancing the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. just a few months ago, we appropriated $400 million to opioid-specific programs. we're glad that all those funds remain available to be spent today, and now we can pass comprehensive bipartisan legislation that will help build upon the progress being made in this fight. this cara bill would expand
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education and prevention. it would bolster law enforcement efforts. it would improve treatment initiatives. this bill has also received broad bipartisan backing and the support of nearly 130 groups dedicated to ending this crisis. we appreciate the work of the senior senator from iowa, senator grassley, who worked to move this bill swiftly out of the judiciary committee. we thank senator portman and senator ayotte along with the junior senator from rhode island and the senior senator from minnesota for all the work they have done to advance cara. we recognize the continuing efforts of senators on both sides of the aisle who put party labels aside to build support for this much-needed legislation. so let's continue that work today by voting for cloture on cara so we can take an important
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step forward to address this national epidemic. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., march 7, 2016. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable joni ernst, a senator from the state of iowa, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i join the republican leader in extending my sympathies to the entire reagan family. nancy reagan was a wonderful first lady. she was an incredible individual in her own right. she was always gracious and charming. the last time i saw nancy reagan, she was here in the capitol, in the rotunda, where
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we were dedicating a statue of her husband, president ronald reagan. at that time she was already well into her late 80's, but there she was standing next to the statue with a big smile on her face, her very presence brightened the entire hall. her and ronald reagan, standing together, he is in the form of a statue, she is standing next to him together, it really was a fantastic picture. nancy of course will be missed. i say, though, that when my mind returns to a different time, the years when ronald reagan was in the white house, a card-carrying conservative, yet very pragmatic, a pragmatic republican. we will miss nancy reagan and always lament and miss her
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partner, the president of the united states ronald reagan. madam president, in the "des moines register," two former lieutenant governors of the state of iowa -- i'm sure the presiding officer knows both of them, one a democrat, one a republican. here's what they said, among other things. "this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew." i again repeat two iowans, former lieutenant governors, joy corning, a republican, and sally pederson, a democrat. last week, they co-authored an op-ed in the des moines register talking about the senior senator from iowa not doing his duties by blocking the supreme court nominee by president obama. the op-ed reads, among other
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things, iowans are known for being hard workers and we appreciate that quality in our elected officials. we wake up every day ready to do our part and get the job done. we also understand the constitution and know when an elected official is more eager to find excuses than create solutions. unfortunately, senator chuck grassley is refusing to do his job as described in article 2 of the constitution which states giving advice and consents on the president's upcoming nomination to the supreme court. i continue the quote -- "grassley is threatening to use his powerful post as chairman of the judiciary committee while hearing any nominee regardless of how qualified he or she is. in a recent column, the vacancies on the court are troubling and harmful to our courts. moreover, this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew." close quote. this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew.
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madam president, i agree with these iowans. this is the -- this isn't the senator i have come to know over the last three decades. the senator i knew would not cede the independence of the powerful judiciary committee he served on for many decades to the republican leader. the senator i knew wouldn't have known ignored his constitutional duty for the sake of election year politics. so for whatever reason the senator from iowa made a fateful decision hours after justice antonin scalia's death. he is allowing himself and his committee to be manipulated by the republican leader for narrow partisan warfare. he is taking his orders from the republican leader and sadly donald trump. donald trump on this issue when asked about it, his words were three -- delay, delay, delay. senator grassley must have been listening. who in iowa are displeased and
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disappointed with their senator. the "des moines register" quoted one of grassley's disappointed followers as follows -- he seems to be doing what other people are saying, not what he thinks is best. that has recently colored my opinion of him in the past week. another iowan who supports the senator told the newspaper -- quote -- "i just think he is making a bad mistake. it is purely a political party play. there isn't any space in this situation." close quote. now as each day passes, the junior senator from iowa is trying desperately to justify his blind loyalty to the republican leader and to donald trump. senator grassley is grasping for an irrational, rationale, anything that will excuse him for not doing his job. that desperation has now taken senator grassley down a very dark path. last thursday, the senior senator from iowa addressed the conservative political action conference called cpac.
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that took place here in washington. in his speech to them, here is what senator grassley said, and i quote -- "i feel it's about time we have a national debate on the supreme court and how it fits in with our constitutional system of government." close quote. the chairman of the judiciary committee is suggesting that we re-evaluate the founder fathers' work, re-evaluate the constitution of the united states, change the constitution of the united states. why is senator grassley debating what the constitution makes clear? the senate must provide its advice and consent on nominees appointed by the president to the supreme court. think of the irony. justice scalia was a strict constitutionalist. now in the weeks following his death, senator grassley wants to throw out the constitution just because president obama gets to pick scalia's replacement. the former senator from iowa, tom harkin, said it best yesterday, and i quote -- this appeared in the "des moines
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register" -- "the position taken now by the majority leader and the members of the senate judiciary committee is simply astounding and not in keeping with the strict or even loose construction of the constitution." close quote. the constitution isn't some ball you pick up and take home just because you're still mad at president obama because he's the president. senator grassley and the republicans find themselves on the wrong side of the constitution. it's their policies that should change, not the nation's founding document, the constitution of the united states. if republicans are uncomfortable with not performing their duties, the answer i isn't to te an eraser to the constitution. the answer is to do your job. if the senator iowa wants to extricate himself from the situation he created, there is a way. all he needs to do is to wrest back his chairmanship from the republican leader and give president obama's nominee a meeting, a hearing, a vote. in short, he needs to do his job. it is that easy.
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no changes to the constitution are required. if he does his job, the people back home in iowa won't have reason to say, "this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew." madam president, on another subject, last thursday the department of health and human services in its updated statistics about the number of americans who now have health insurance -- this is obamacare -- the numbers are incredible. since enactment of the affordable care act, 20 million americans have gained health care coverage -- 20 million. 6.1 million adults ages 19 to 25 now have health insurance. remember, madam president, it wasn't long ago that everyone said they wouldn't sign up. now 6.1 million have. before we passed obamacare, some 50 million people in this nation were without health coverage. now, because of the affordable care act, 91% of americans are now insured. that's stunning -- stunning.
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and it's only getting better. every day more and more people who were previously without health insurance are now covered. that's true across racial and ethnic lines. listen to these stunning statistics: the uninsured rate for african-americans has dropped by more than 50%, the equivalent of 3 million newly insured people. the uninsured rate for hispanics dropped by more than 25%, representing 4 million newly insured americans. the affordable care act is working from nevada to kentucky. our constituents are getting the quality health care they were promised when congress passed the affordable care act. it's time for republicans to stop followin following donald s lead by clamoring for repeal. it's really nervy for republicans to come down here, as they're doing -- they do all
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the time in the senate; they've kind of been quiet lately -- and as they do on the campaign trail, this large number of republicans, which is narrow, and they all say the same thing. the american people should listen to what they're saying. we got to get rid of the affordable care act. we've got to get rid of it. how disappointing. it's time for republicans to face the facts. obamacare is helping tens of millions of americans and will continue to do so. madam president, i would ask the chair announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:00 p.m. with senators permitted to threespeaktherein for up to tens each. -- permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
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mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. a senator: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: as my colleagues in the united states just heard, the tantrums from the other side continue. mr. grassley: but i guess it shouldn't surprise anybody as everyone knows around here nothing makes the minority leader more mad than when his side is forced to play by its own rules. madam president, the american people are divided, and the divided government the american people delivered over the last several election cycles reflects these divisions. our constitutional republic is designed with a series of checks and balances.
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as any branch gets too powerful or exceeds its authority and tries to impose on the american people policies that they don't want, the people express their will through the electoral process. that is what we've witnessed during the last several election cycles. over the last few years, our current president has engaged in a systematic and massive, very massive overreach of executive power, way beyond what the constitution has ever considered and thank god for checks and balances. the courts have said so and that's why i'm here to today to tell you how the courts have interceded to curb this massive
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overreach of executive power. but as he has done so often as president obama has done so often, then the people have responded. since he is first -- he was first sworn into office in 2009, nearly seven additional republicans were elected to the people's house, the house of representatives here in congress. and there are 13 more republican senators today than there were january 2009. and in january of 2014, frustrated the people's representatives wouldn't enact his liberal policies. at that time, january 2014, the president said famously that he would use a pen and a phone and
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impose his agenda anyway, even though it's very clear in the constitution, the first article, the legislative powers of the united states shall be vested in the congress, not in the president of the united states. now, just a few months later, as you recall november 2014, the people spoke and sent nine additional republicans to the united states senate. now this is the beauty of our system of checks and balances, and our constitutional designed that way. our framers knew a thing or two about executive overreach because they had to deal with somebody called george iii. they had firsthand experience
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with that executive, george iii who imposed his will on the people unilaterally. so you wonder why our constitution has checks and balances. the president executive power, the congress making the laws, and the supreme court interpreting them. that's what we call separation of powers. and that's why our constitution is designed so that no president can appoint a supreme court justice with a pen and a phone, like he claims things to do when he has a pen and a phone and if congress won't. so as we continue to discuss what's at stake during this presidential election and whether the american people want to elect a president who will appoint yet another liberal justice, i want to take a few minutes to review some of this
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president's efforts to expand his reach of power and impose his will on the american people. this president has pushed the envelope at every turn. he has sought to impose the will, his will on the american people in ways and to a degree that this nation has never before witnessed. what is striking about this president's record before the supreme court is that even with a court as liberal as ours, the obama administration still has the lowest winning record of any president going back at least to the truman administration. now when presented with this undeniable fact, the president's
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apologists quickly grasp for the nearist bogus defense -- nearest bogus defense. most notably they claim the supreme court is more ied lodgeically hostile to this president than previous courts with two other presidents. now that's a very crafty argument, but it's what justice scalia would have called in his words pure applesauce leading supreme court and analysts declared the last term of the supreme court even with justice scalia on that court as the most liberal since the 196 0's. so the president's defenders can't blame the court's makeup for his rebuke -- for its rebuke of his expansive claims to power
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and of course this explanation fails to account for the fact that president eisenhower took office and litigated in a supreme court with eight juddss -- eight justices that were appointed by democrats or that president nixon's administration began with an even more liberal court than eisenhower's. no, this president hasn't lost cases because of the court's that's ideologically hostile to his policies. the court has rejected this president's power grabs because they're based on ideology and a nonwillingness to recognize that the law constrains his power, and of course all too often the president's claims are supported by an office of legal counsel
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and the solicitor general's office that seem very unwilling to tell the president that his impulses have expanded -- for expanded power is flatly contrary to the law and/or the constitution. so i'd like to describe a few examples. the president's lawyers argued he could ignore the senate's determination, this body's determination of when it was in session in order to make recess appointments. no president in history ever claimed that recess appointments were permissible in the situations that we've had around the senate here for the last seven or eight years where we have proa forma session -- pro forma sessions. we don't recess. we don't recess so the president can't make recess appointments but his office of legal counsel
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once concerned the crown jewel of the department of justice offered a tortured justification to sanctions that sanctions his assertion of power to make those recess appointments. in this view -- if this view of presidential power were allowed to stand, the president could bypass the senate with ease to install individuals in powerful government positions with no checks from the senate as the -- as a constitution invasion. now fortunately the supreme court disagreed 9-0. that means even this president's appointments to the supreme court said that he violated the constitution when it simply says, pretty common sense, that the senate shall determine when we're in session and in recess.
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now, this isn't the only example. the obama administration argued that the equal employment opportunity commission could resolve an employment discrimination case between a minister and the church that fired her. now this is all about whether or not the government can interfere with the freedom of religion. the argument they made, the supreme court found the obama administration managed to violate two different provisions of the first amendment and do it all at the same time. it violated the free exercise of religion clause because if the president's argument carried the day, the government could interfere with a church's
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doctrine. and additionally, it violated the establishment clause of the first amendment because if this president had his way, the federal government could get into the business of selecting a church's ministers. the supreme court rejected those claims 9-0. on the regulatory front in a series of rulings, the supreme court rejected the president's arguments that agencies can deny the ability of private citizens to seek relief against regulatory overreach. for instance, the court rejected the environmental protection agency's powers to force a homeowner through escalating fines to comply with an order while at the same time denying that homeowner the ability to challenge the order in court.
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the supreme court rejected obama's epa's claims 9-0. in another case the court held contrary to the position advanced by the army corps of engineers a landowner could sue in court for just compensation for a taking when the government caused flooding of his property is temporary and recurring. again the supreme court rejected the government's position 8-0. when the internal revenue service attempted to enforce a taxpayer summons while at the same time denying the taxpayer the right to question the i.r.s. official about their reasons for the summons, just questioned their reason for the summons,
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the supreme court rebuked the administration 9-0. and still another case the court rejected the equal employment opportunity commission's argument that its decisions aren't subject to judicial review when that agency concludes by its own estimation it fulfilled its duties to attempt conciliation under title 7 of the civil rights act of 1964. once again the supreme court rejected this claim by this administration 9-0. similarly, when a vet ran's benefits were denied -- veteran's benefits were denied and the appeal wasn't filed within a certain time, the department of veterans affairs turned around and denied the veteran the ability to seek
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judicial review. the supreme court rejected the department of veterans affairs' position 8-0. and when the federal communications commission changed its policies midstream regarding isolated examples of indecent language, the supreme court found 8-0 the f. crrchlts -- fcc violated due process. these are important rulings. far too often this administration imposes government power against the people while placing aside important procedural safeguards. remember the constitution is to protect the people from its government. something we learned from george
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iii. and justice frankfurter spoke to this point. he once wrote -- quote -- "the history of liberty is largely, has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards." consider as well areas in criminal law where the obama administration pressed positions that erode individual freedom. this president and these lawyers argued the police could install a g.p.s. device on a vehicle and then use that device to monitor the car's movements without a search warrant, under the fourth amendment. i don't know what would be left of the fourth amendment if the supreme court had upheld the president's claim that the government could operate in that manner. thankfully the supreme court rejected that argument as well.
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the vote tally was 9-0. the court blocked justice department's prosecution of a person under the chemical weapons convention because the convention didn't reach the defendant's simple assault. again, the supreme court rebuked the president 9-0. these are not the rulings of a supreme court that is ideologically hostile to the obama administration, as this administration claims. every one of these rulings was unanimous. every one. and there are still other supreme court decisions rejecting this president's power grabs where the vote tallies were much closer. the president and his lawyers made utterly baseless arguments for executive and regulatory
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power in case after case. in so many of these cases, the unifying thread underlying this president's litigating position is the notice that the people are subservient to the federal and of course subservient to its agencies rather than the other way around as the constitution implies. how often do you hear government is not master of people? the people are master of government. and when the president takes the position for authoritarianism like he has, so far the supreme court has not agreed. so during his presidential election, the american people should consider whether they want to elect a president who may nominate a justice who will
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embrace such a vast expansion of executive and regulatory power. and this is what i've called for in a lot of the speeches i've given both in iowa and here as well, that this is an opportunity for something that doesn't happen very often, to have, by letting the people decide, delaying the confirmation of a justice to the supreme court, to let the people decide the election. it isn't just about who the next justice on the supreme court is going to be. it's about the role of the supreme court and the judicial branch in our constitutional process. and you heard just a little while ago the floor leader of the minority party saying that somehow making fun of the fact that by making a statement like
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that, that i want to rewrite the constitution. there's nothing about rewriting the constitution. the constitution is pretty clear that the supreme court interprets law, not make law. and with the ap proval rating of the supreme court going down from about 50 to 28 in polls ever sints this person's been president, and the the tendency for both some republican appointees as well as democrat appointees, to kind of make the law the way they want it, that's just getting back to the basics that the supreme court is interpreter of the law, not a maker of the law. and so i think having that sort of debate pretty basic to what
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people learn in high school isn't a bad thing to do. now will -- will an election change what the supreme court, people that are on it now decide to do? i don't know. probably not. but it will have an opportunity to have whoever is elected president to choose which way they want to go. do they want a justice who's going to interpret the law or a justice that's going to make the law? and right now, before justice scalia, you had four conservative people, four liberal people, one in the middle -- justice kennedy -- that could go either way in some cases. pretty well balanced. we know what kind of judicial activist that this president puts on the supreme court. you want to tip that balance so that the second amendment rights of guns are in jeopardy, or like
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we saw attempts of this administration to say what a church -- who a church can hire or not hire, violation of freedom of religion, and thingdz like that that are at stake. it's pretty fundamental what's at stake. and i think having this debate is very, very important. and i think letting the people decide is very, very important. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i'd ask consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i've come to the floor several times to talk about the ongoing investigation and to the former secretary of state, hillary clinton's private e-mail server. while serving as united states top diplomat, she believed she could play by her own set of rules plainly. instead of using a government server with all of the intended protections from cyber attacks and intelligence gathering by our adversaries, secretary clinton paid a staffer thousands of dollars to set up a private,
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unsecure e-mail server at her home in new york. so it's pretty clear based on published reports that secretary clinton went out of her way, by paying money out of her own pocket, to avoid important laws that congress has passed to guarantee the american people actually know what their government is doing. and i'm talking particularly about the freedom of information act. i haven't heard of any other example of someone in the federal government accountable to the people of the united states setting up a separate private e-mail server just to conduct official business. not to mention the secretary of state. it is simply unprecedented. her actions also put our country at risk, as her private e-mail server was reportedly unsecure. we heard time and time again from those in the intelligence community that her use of an unsecure private e-mail server left her e-mails, some highly
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classified, vulnerable to hacking and cyber attack from our nation's enemies. we may never know the full extent to which her irresponsible actions have affected our military endeavors, our diplomatic efforts, our overall national security or the lives and safety of those who serve in the intelligence community or in harm's way trying to keep our country safe. we don't know to what extent her recklessness and irresponsibility jeopardized the lives of people who are engaged in keeping our country safe. we do know that it has jeopardized the security of our country at large. to this day secretary clinton refuses to accept full responsibility for her actions and denies the serious nature of the f.b.i.'s ongoing investigation, calling it only a security review. well, it's pretty clear that the justice department is doing an
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investigation. just this last week it was reported that the justice department granted immunity to the staffer who set up secretary clinton's server. so this further confirms that secretary clinton is misrepresenting to the public when this inquiry is dismissed as some routine security review. you don't grant immunity from criminal prosecution to someone in order to gain their cooperation to testify in a case where they otherwise would claim the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. that's why immunity is granted, so they no longer can claim a belief that they might be prosecuted for being a witness against themselves. that's why immunity is granted. so this indicates what i have said all along, which is this is a -- that this is a serious investigation that may determine , that classified information has been mishandled.
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a serious crime. the justice department should pursue this case as aggressively as it would any other case involving any other person where there's been concern about mishandling of classified information, because the american people deserve nothing less. but what's worse is that secretary clinton is not just some random citizen or former government employee. she is a member of this president's cabinet and secretary of state. in light of this extraordinary case and the unavoidable myriad conflicts of interest, i have called repeatedly upon the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to fully and fairly conduct the investigation. it is not just important that a thorough and independent investigation be conducted. it is important that the american people have confidence in and believes that a fair and
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independent investigation is being conducted, and you simply can't reach that conclusion given the fact that an attorney general who is the political appointee of this president and who serves at his pleasure is of course loath to have this investigation proceed, and i'll get to that in a moment. some of the comments that the president himself inappropriately made while this investigation is ongoing. now, i asked the attorney general last fall, she is the only one who can make this decision, to appoint a special counsel to give some semblance of independence and separation from the political operation at the department of justice or at the white house, but unfortunately now almost six months later, no independent counsel has been appointed, but i think the necessity for such a person to be appointed is even more critical than ever.
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separately, madam president, we will soon end the debate and vote on a bill known as the cara bill, a piece of legislation that will help restore communities and families across america who have been harmed by the addiction -- by addiction and drug abuse. this is a serious piece of legislation that's been done on a bipartisan basis, and this is a good illustration of how we in the senate ought to be doing our jobs as representatives of the american people. we identify a problem and we work across the aisle to come up with a solution, and we considered on the floor of the senate -- consider it on the floor of the senate so all 100 members can have the opportunity to discuss it. but an essential part of getting this legislation on the floor, considered and passed is the hard work that happens in the respective committees, and the comprehensive addiction and recovery act is no exception. it's not only the result of bipartisan work but also the
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leadership for the chairman of the judiciary committee, the senior senator from iowa. we would not be here today considering this important legislation without chairman grassley's leadership. so it's been particularly disappointing to me to hear the democratic leader and some across the aisle disparage this good man and say that he and other republicans are not doing their jobs. i think the evidence is to the contrary. it is our job to advance commonsense legislation that will benefit the entire country, and that's exactly what this legislation does and exactly what the chairman has been diligently pursuing. so i'd like to remind our friends across the aisle that the legislation we will soon advance is a bill that the chairman diligently guided through the judiciary committee, and i'm thankful, for one, for his leadership and look forward to moving this bill along. madam president, i see no other
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senator wishing to speak. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 524, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 369, s. 524, a bill to authorize the attorney general to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use. mr. cornyn: i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you, madam president, very much. madam president, as we continue to debate care remarks the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, i think that we'd just like to stop here for a moment and thank -- the presiding officer: senator, the senate is in a quorum call. mr. markey: i'm sorry. madam president, i would ask that the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you, madam president. madam president, i want to begin, as we discuss this comprehensive addiction and recovery act to take a moment to thank senator whitehouse for his role in developing the bill and bringing it this far. i also want to convey my gratitude to minority leader reid and the ranking member of the judiciary committee, senator leahy, for their excellent staffs and for urging that my amendments, which i will address momentarily, be a part of the discussion, and for managing the
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negotiations on this bivmen bil. i'd also lake to thank senator murray for her help and counsel on amendments. let us pause for a moment and consider the causes of the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic gripping our country, understanding the causes will help us focus on the right solutions. three distinct parties bear much of the blame for this public health crisis. first, there's big pharma. in the mid-1990's, the seeds of the epidemic were plangtsed with the -- planted with the aggressive marketing of the powerful opioid painkiller objectioisthere objectioncy cony purdue pharma. they claimed that it was not addictive and couldn't be abused of the neither of those claims turngdz out to be true. purdue inarm ma built a massive marketing and sales program from 1996 to 2000, purdue pharma's
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sales force doubled to almost 700,000 sales representatives. in 2001 alone, they gave out $4r0 million in bonuses to its burgeoning sales force. as a result of these sales and marketing effortsings from 1997 to 2002, oxycontin prescriptions increased almost tenfold from $670,000 in 1997 to $6.2 million in 2002. but purdue's marketing of oxycontin broke the law. in 2007 purdue pharma paid $600 million in fines and other payments after pleading guilty in federal court to misleading regulators, doctors, and patients about the risks of addiction to oxycontin and its potential for abuse. second, purdue's criminal wrongdoing did not occur in a
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vacuum. the federal government helped to enable this epidemic. the federal drug enforcement administration is responsible for approving the annual production quotas for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture oxycodone, the principal ingredient in oxycontin. from 1996 to 2016, the drug enforcement agency obliged big pharma and increase by almost 150% the amount of oxycodone authorized for manufacture. in 1996, the d.e.a. authorized u.s. pharmaceutical companies to make the equivalent of almost 6 billion 10-milligram oxycontin pills. by 2016, that figure had increased. today the drug enforcement agency is telling big pharma that it's okay to make 14 billion oxycontin pills to sell
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in the united states in one year. the federal food and drug administration has also complicit approving new opioid after new opioid. in the process, the f.d.a. charged with ensuring the safety of all prescription drugs on the u.s. market, began turning a blind eye to outside experts who were warning of the dangers these drugs posed. in 2013, an expert panel established a review the powerful new opioid painkiller zohydro, voted 11-2 against recommending its approval. but the f.d.a. approved the drug anyway. overruling the concerns voiced by experienceds physicians on the panel. in 2014, in the wake of the zohydro decision, the f.d.a. twice skipped the advisory committee process altogether when it approved two new prescription opioids.
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then in august of 2015, the f.d.a. did it again. this time it bypassed an advisory committee of outside experts on the question of a new use for oxycontin for children aged 11-16. the f.d.a. even ignored its own rules that specifically call for advisory committee advice when a question of pediatric dosing is vovmentdosing --is involved. it was quleer that the f.d.a. was intentionally choosing to forego advisory committees in order to avoid another yore whelming zohydro-like vote. recommending against approval of a prescription opioid and in order to avoid any impediments to new opioids being sold in the united states. and finally, the medical profession must bear its fair share of responsibility for this crisis. doctors are prescribing opioids at an alarming rate.
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in 2012, america's doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, enough pills for every single american adult to have a bottle of opioid pills having been given to them in the year 2012. and america's doctor rs dangerously unfortunatelied about the drugs which they are prescribing. a recent survey of 1,000 physicians nationwide found that only two-thirds correctly reported that the most common root of abuse was swallowing pills whole. it's unconscionable that our doctors are so ill informed -- ih-informed. nearly half of the doctors surveyed ear erroneously reported that called abuse deterrent formulations of opioids were less addictive than their counterparts.
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abuse deterrent opioids are supposed to be harder to crush so they are harder to snort or to mix with liquid and inject but abuse deterrent formulations of opioids are just as addictive as non-abuse deterrent opioids. whether an opioid is abuse deterrent or not hasn't prevented tens of thousands of people who have had their wisdom teeth removed or experienced lower back pain from getting addicted to these painkillers simply by swallowing them. so what is the result of the combination of big pharma's marketing of prescription opioids, the federal government's repeatedly approving them and ever -- in ever increasing numbers and our country's doctors writing millions of prescriptions for them. today the united states is less than 5% of the world's population, but we consume 80% of the world's opioid painkillers. we have become the united states of oxy. when prescriptions run out or
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the price of oxy pills on the street become too high for those who have become addicted, they turn to cheaper heroin which shares the same molecular structure as oxycontin. 80% of the people suffering from heroin addiction started with opioid pain medications approved by the f.d.a. and prescribed by doctors. in 2014 nearly 30,000 people died of an opioid overdose in this country. almost 1300 of those deaths were in my home state of massachusetts. i had hoped to offer amendments to cara to address both the causes of this epidemic and to provide treatment from those suffering from the results. first, one of my amendments would have required the f.d.a. to convene advisory committees for all prescription opioid approval questions. after i placed a hold on the
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nomination of dr. robert califf to serve as f.d.a. commissioner, the agency announced that it would only commit to convene advisory committees for nonabuse deterrent opioids. f.d.a. refused to agree to convene advisory committees to inform all of its opioid approval decisions. so we need legislation requiring the f.d.a. to seek expert advice about the risk of addiction before it approves any and all opioids. and i will continue to fight to require advisory committees at the f.d.a. we also need legislation requiring doctors to get and stay educated about the dangers of the pills they are prescribing in record numbers. stopping the overprescription of opioid painkillers is a critical step. we need to ensure that all prescribers of these opioid painkillers are educated in the dangers of these drugs. how easily individuals can
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become addicted and when and how to appropriately prescribe. the doctors say they don't want education to be mandated, that it should be voluntary. well, the f.d.a. has had voluntary education for opioid prescribers in place since 2013. and has been act iferl encouraging -- actively encouraging doctors to take these voluntary education programs. but in more than two years, only 12% of prescribers have actually completed f.d.a.'s voluntary education program. it is imperative that any provider who is applying for a federal d.e.a. license to prescribe opioids has completed mandatory education on the basis of opioid prescribing and the inherent risk of addiction. my amendment would have done just that. it would have required basic education as a condition of a d.e.a. license to prescribe these pain pills, and i will
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continue to fight to require prescriber education. and finally, we need to remove the barriers to effective treatment, including outdated federal restrictions on medication assisted therapies, like suboxone. medication assisted therapy for opioid addiction is cost effective, decreases overdose deaths, and reduces transmission of h.i.v. and hepatitis c. unlike other treatment regiments for any other disease, physicians are severely limited in the number of patients they can treat with medication-assisted therapies like subox yoanl. contributing to long wait lists and inability of patients to get treatment for their addiction when they need it. of approximately 2.5 million americans who abused or dependent on opioids fewer than one million received treatment for their condition partly because of the already existing federal restrictions.
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senator rand paul of kentucky and i have a bipartisan bill, the recovery enhancement for addiction treatment and treatment or treat act that has broad stakeholder subport including the american medical association and nurse practitioners. it emphasizes quality of care and closes this gaping hole in our addiction treatment system. we had hoped to offer treat as an amendment to cara. we will continue to fight for it and imee hopeful the help -- i'm hopeful the help committee will include it in the substance abuse legislation it will consider. my collaboration with senator paul shows that whether it's the commonwealth of massachusetts or the commonwealth of kentucky, this crisis is the same. it doesn't discriminate by geography or by age or race or social economic status or employment. it requires a bipartisan effort. 30 years ago nancy reagan told us to just say no to drugs.
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today we have to go further. we have to say enough is enough. we have to recognize that what has worked and what hasn't worked. in the past we believed we could incarcerate our way out of the problem. that did not work. so instead of ignoring and incarcerating, let us avow and act. let's destigmatize, not criminalize. let us treat, not retreat. let us have a comprehensive plan which we put in place that deals with the pharmaceutical companies, with the physicians, and with the kinds of treatment that patients need across our country so they get the help which they need. that's our job. and i continue to believe that we can do this in a bipartisan fashion as long as we understand the magnitude of the problem and what the causes of it were and continue to be and will be into the future unless and until we put these safeguards in place.
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so i'm looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. i compliment them for the work they've done so far in bringing this bill to the floor of the senate this week, but i do believe there is more to be done. as long as this many americans are addicted, as long as this much oxycontin and opioids are put into our system, then we're going to find that ultimately this heroin epidemic that we have in our country which is directly related will continue to spiral out of control. so i want to work with all of my colleagues. i thank you very much for all of the work that you have done so far, but again there is much work to be done in the future. madam president, i yield back the balance of my time.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i would like to talk for a few minutes about the crime problem we're having in america today, the dramatically increasing problem of heroin abuse. and over the last week we've had a lot of discussion about this crisis, which i'm afraid we're just on the cusp of. i think it's going to get worse based on my experience and my best judgment, but the effort to understand and address it has been going on for a while. in january we had a good hearing on this issue in the senate
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judiciary committee. and i want to mention a few things i think we ought to keep in mind as we address this very important problem. just as a background, i served 15 years as a prosecutor, 12 as a united states attorney federal prosecutor and two and a half as an assistant u.s. attorney. so that's really my background when i came here. i was very active and studied the drug and crime problem in america, and i learned some things. and there are cycles in it. and people wrote about it over the years. and i think we're unfortunately moving in another cycle, and we've got to be really, really careful. it is so painful to have a large prison population. we don't want to do that. everybody year after year wants to look for alternatives to prison, and we've tried. but if you go too far, you end
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up not having sufficient consequence for crime, not detaining dangerous offenders, and you end up increasing crime, increasing deaths of americans from murders and other things, increasing heroin and serious drug problems that destroy families, destroy lives, destroy communities, and result in violence and death. it's just a very real problem. a lot of people think, well, if you want to use heroin, so be it. well, these people can't function. how are they going to survive? they either steal or they get on welfare or they have to go to treatment and who pays for it since they don't have any money? and we have proven and seen no decades that drug use can be brought down. fewer people can become addicted.
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nancy reagan as president reagan's wonderful wife of the early 1980's formed the just so no program, and hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide in every community in america got together in their communities. they got the treatment community, the law enforcement community, the prevention community, the education community, the schools, and they worked and worked and crafted policies that would create a climate of hostility for the use of dangerous drugs. and the idea was to see -- to bring down the use. and the use of illegal drugs dropped by half. it took 15 or more years but it dropped by half steadily. what a tremendous victory. in 1980, half the high school seniors admitted that they'd used an illegal drug sometime
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that year. what an unbelievable number. it had been going up steadily. and it peaked and began to go down under this sustained effort. what i've been worried about for some time and have warned about it is that if you don't maintain that but start going in the other direction, you can expect drug use to increase. it's just that simple. and it is happening. lives and young people's lives will be destroyed by this. families will break up. children will be scared. drug use is no fun, innocent thing. it is a destructive policy. and if this nation is using half as much illegal drug as before, it's a better nation. it just is. and if we double the amount of drug use in america, it's a more dangerous nation and not as good
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a nation. well, according to the center for disease control, our official agency disease control and prevention, over 47,000 people died from drug overdoses in the united states in 2014. 47,000 died. that's one drug overdose death for every 12 minutes. 61% of these overdoses involve opioids. the rate of all opioid overdoses in the united states has tripled since 2000. overdoses have tripled since 2000. heroin overdose deaths specifically have increased six fold since 2001. 600% and have more than tripled in just the past four years alone. according to the national survey on drug use and health, there were approximately 169,000 new
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heroin users in 2013. according to the substance abuse and mental health services administration, in 2014, approximately 589,000 people in the united states had an opioid use disorder. we used to call that addiction. a problem that's affecting their lives. the drug enforcement administration's 2015, last year's national drug threat assessment noted -- quote -- "drug overdose deaths have become the leading cause of injury death in the united states ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms." this is a significant matter. as the d.e.a. acting administrator chuck rosenburg, a
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bright, young mind, appointed by president obama, noted last july -- quote -- "approximately 120 people die each day in the united states as a result of a drug overdose, while some argue the increase in heroin abuse is due to overprescription of opioids from prescription drugs to get addicted from a prescription drug and then you move to opioids. and i'm sure that has some validity. but according to the january 14 study this year, published in the "new england journal of medicine," one of the premier authoritative medical journals in the world -- quote -- "in the majority of studies, the increase in the rates of heroin use preceded the change in
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prescription opioid policies, and there is no consistent evidence of an association between the implementation of policies related to prescription opioids and the increase in the rates of heroin use or deaths, although the data are relatively sparse. alternatively the heroin market forces" -- please hear this, colleagues. "heroin market forces alternatively, including increased accessibility, reduced price and high purity of heroin, appear to be the major drivers of the recent increase rates of heroin use. so it's purity, price and accessibility. while treatment and accountability are critical to breaking the cycle of addiction, it's not the whole solution. we must also reduce the availability of heroin. we simply have to do that, and other illicit opioids.
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in december -- last year -- the centers for disease control and prevention directed -- director tom frieden said it is important -- quote -- "that law enforcement" -- a lot of people don't want to talk about this. we've got police officers, sheriffs deputies and drug enforcement agents, border patrol people. he said -- quote -- "it's important that law enforcement intensity efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl and other illegal opioids be accomplished. similarly, drug enforcement administration acting director rosenburg, in the d.e.a.'s national drug threat assessment stated in addition to providing treatment through addicted opioid abusers, law enforcement must continue to have the tools it needs to attack criminal groups who facilitate drug
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addiction. well, i've been there. i was part of the law enforcement effort. i invested a tremendous amount of my time. the coalition for a drug-free mobile, partnership for youth, bay area drug council, groups like that who were working on a volunteer baifsz -- basis to chang the use of drugs in the community. but law enforcement was always a critical part of it, and law enforcement does have the capability in ways that others don't to reduce availability, make the purity level less, and to otherwise restrict, raise the price of an illegal drug. so d.e.a. studies this and they study the price of the drugs. and one thing that tells you whether or not law enforcement is effective, interdiction is
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effective is to discover if the price is going up or down. mexican drug cartels are flooding the united states with cheap heroin and methamphetamine. when i was a young prosecutor, it was coming from turkey, the middle east. and that was pretty much shut off. president carter did some good things. i was an assistant u.s. attorney, came back two years later as u.s. attorney. during that time they somehow reduced the supply of heroin from the middle east. and as a result, heroin addiction dropped all over the country, and very little heroin was in the heartland of america, mainly in just the big cities. we're also getting cheap methamphetamine from across the mexican borders. wide open. the statistics from the d.e.a.'s drug threat assessment confirm this. from 2010 to 2014, the amount of heroin seized every year at the
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southwest border has doubled. every year it's doubled. so you say, are we catching that much more? no, we're not catching, i'm sure, any substantially larger percentage. we're just having a larger amount moving across the border because the price is falling, so we know we have more. and as these prices stay low, more people will try it. more people will try it more often. and as the purity level is higher, more people will get addicted sooner and often die quicker. so these drug cartels are partnering with criminal gangs and fueling violence in our cities, in our communities. according to d.e.a.'s threat assessment, mexican drug cartels -- quote -- "control drug trafficking across the southwest border and are moving to expand their presence in the united states, particularly in heroin markets." close quote. they import, transport and are
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now into selling it, actually selling it in our cities instead of just bringing it in across the border. in 2013, the heads of the chicago crime commission and the chicago office of drug enforcement administration both named el chapo as chicago's public enemy number one. a man in mexico moving heroin and methamphetamine into the united states and hammering chicago with it. chicago named him as the number-one public enemy. so it cannot be a coincidence, as the f.b.i. uniformed crime statistics shows. these are our official data. the murder rate in chicago increased approximately 18% during the first six months of 2015. at that rate it's a 36% increase in murders in chicago in one
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year. this is a dramatic, unbelievable surge in murder. another example is atlanta. the d.e.a.'s atlanta office reported an increase of heroin availability from a rating of stable in the first half of 2013 to high just a year later. according to the f.b.i.'s crime statistics, the murder rate in atlanta increased by approximately 15% in the first six months of 2015. this is an unsustainable thing. you know the old rule, a 7% increase, your money doubles in ten years. you get 15%, 18% increases in six months, well, that's 30% in one year. you're doubling the crime rate in three years. the murder rate. at a november hearing of the senate caucus on international narcotics, i asked d.e.a. deputy
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director jack riley about these drug distribution networks and the people in the local communities pushing the drugs, selling the drugs and collecting the money. this money eventually ends back up in mexico, in colombia, in l south and central america, funding the evil, violent drug cartels that are destabilizing whole nations. he responded that -- quote -- "it's almost as big a problem as the cartels themselves." close quote. when i asked him whether these drug traffickers are the ones causinged -- causing the violence and death on our streets, he responded that -- quote -- "they are the ones that regulate themselves by the barrel of a gun." so if you want to collect a drug debt, you can't file a lawsuit in federal court. you collect it by the barrel of a gun.
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by its very nature, drug distribution networks are violent crimes. it's always been so and it always will. they're conducting an illegal enterprise and they have to maintain discipline and they use threats and violence to maintain it and collect their debts. so we must not forget what became obvious in the early 1980's. that's when i was u.s. attorney. drug dealers and their organizations are not nonviolent criminals. they are violent crime. rather than enforcing the law and making it tough for drug cartels by keeping our borders secure, the obama administration has done the opposite. our unsecured borders make it easy for cartels to flood our country with cheap heroin, and the administration has made it clear that officers are not to deviate from the president's lawless immigration policy. they're blocked from doing their
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job and following their oath. and just last week -- and as someone who's worked closely with federal drug enforcement officers and immigration officers as a federal prosecutor, customs and border protection commissioner gill lakowsky testified before the house committee on appropriations -- quote -- "if you don't want to follow directions of your superiors, including the president of the united states and the commissioner of customs and border protection, then you really do need to look for another job." close quote. do you hear what he's saying there, colleagues. what he's saying there, if you want to do your job and you want to enforce the laws like the laws are written, which we have ordered you not to do, and you go on and do it anyway, look for another job.
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and one of the most amazing things that i've seen in my entire law enforcement career, i've never heard of this. the i.c.e. officers, immigration, customs and enforcement officers, who enforce drug laws along with immigration laws, these officers sued their supervisors. they sued their supervisors alleging that they were being ordered to violate their oath to enforce the immigration laws of the united states by these restrictive policies. it's hard to overestimate. it's hard to overestimate the destruction the obama administration policies, their executive amnesty, their refusal to sufficiently fund and man the border is doing to law enforcement. and a big part of this now is the openness to heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and
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other drugs that are being imported. so i take that statement by the commissioner of customs as a direct threat to officers who want to follow their oath and do their duty. in august 2013, a dramatic event occurred that was too little appreciated. attorney general holder, the attorney general of the united states ordered federal prosecutors not to charge certain drug offenders with offenses that carry mandatory minimum penalties that are in law. if you have so much drugs, you have a minimum penalty. you can get more than that but at least you have to serve this minimum penalty. he ordered them not to charge those crimes. so this is directing the prosecutors not to follow the law. it has contributed to a decrease in the number of traffickers being prosecuted and convicted. according to dat from the
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executive office of the united states attorney at the end of 2015 the six month average of drug prosecutions was down 21% compared to five years ago. and what are we seeing? a surge in crime. and particularly drugs. excluding prosecutions in the magistrate courts, the six-month average was nearly 32% lower at the he end of 2015 than five years ago. we haven't cut the number of drug prosecutors. we haven't cut the number of d.e.a. agents. this is policy that softens the enforcement of drug crimes against what we've been doing for 25 years, and it's having an impact. and i'm afraid it's going to continue. meanwhile, state and local law enforcement agencies are not girve the tools they need -- given the tools they need to
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continue taking drug traffickers off the streets. on december 21, 2015, the department of justice chose to stop all equitable sharing payments to state and local and tribal partners under the asset forfeit tour -- forfeiture program, these are moneys seized from drug dealers, big fancy cars, boats that they seize from them. and what we have been doing for the last 20 years is federal and state officers work together, the federal government h has a good system for forfeiting the money. and then when the foreif i tour is over it is divided among the agents. as a result, state and local people are willing to commit law officers to participate in these local task forces because it -- because they are helping clean up drugs in their community, helping identify and prosecute nationally significant drug
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dealers, and they get some compensation back from it when they find a trunk full of money. i have personally seen cases with a million dollars, half a million dollars, $800,000 in cash seized from these people. and some people think oh, this is wrong, you shouldn't take their cash. i mean, this is the ill-gotten gain of an illegal enterprise, and they should be able to keep it. they have no proof of any lawful source of this money. otherwise, there is evidence in addition virtually every time to prove it's connected to drugs. lots of times, half the time they don't even show up to contest the seizure because they know they have no defense to it, and this stops this sharing, and it's undermining -- you talk to your law officers all over america. it's undermining the unity of effort that we really need to be successful. a joint letter signed by the
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international association of chiefs of police, the national association of police organizations, the major county sheriff's association, the national sheriff's association, the national district attorney's association, major chiefs -- major cities chiefs association pointed out -- quote -- "the suspension of equitable sharing payments may cause some agencies across the country to reconsider their ability to participate in joint task forces with the federal government." in other words, they're going to stop participating. the efforts -- the effects of this decision are far-reaching and not only a disservice to law enforcement but also to the public they are sworn to protect, close quote. mr. president, i -- if there is a limit on my time or others are waiting to speak, i would wrap up.
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otherwise, i have about five minutes to wrap up. i see my colleague, senator leahy, the ranking member of the judiciary committee, and i don't want to block him if he would give me a few minutes. if my time is up, i will yield the floor. the presiding officer: there is no term limit in place at this particular time. mr. sessions: i thank the president. while law enforcement resources are being cut off, law enforcement officers are being blocked from doing their jobs and drug prosecutions are being reduced. the administration and some in congress want to push and advance a criminal justice reform bill, but these problems will have the -- a tendency, i'm afraid, of worsening the current problem by allowing for more reductions in sentences that is already occurring and early releases of thousands of
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dangerous drug traffickers and the weakening of penalties for those prosecuted under drug trafficking laws. further weakening. they have already been weakened. sending the wrong message at exactly the wrong time. i'm afraid, i really am concerned about it. i love my colleagues, and i know their heart is right on this, but i'm convinced that we should not be heading at this time in this direction. make no mistake, federal prisons are not filled with low-level, nonviolent drug possessors. according to the bureau of justice statistics, anybody who knows this occurs knows it already, but the number is even higher than i suspected. 99.7% of drug offenders in federal prison at the end of fiscal year 2012 were convicted of drug trafficking offenses, not drug possession. drug trafficking is an
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inherently violent activity, and it only served to fund the drug cartels while fueling violence in our cities. according to the f.b.i., violent crime overall increased across the united states during the first half of 2015 by 6.2% for murders and 17% in the larger cities for murders. the largest single year increase since at least 1960. already this year, homicides in chicago are double what they were all of last year. so i acknowledge -- this is a complex subject. it's too soon to know the total reason for this increase. it cannot go unnoticed that over the last decade, the sentencing commission who set standards for sentencing in the united states
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outside of the minimum mandatories set by law, the reduction for drug inmates currently in prison, that we reduce sentences for those be in prison, and they're getting out early. the most recent of which this reduction in sentences resulted in the release of more than 46,000 drug traffickers. not drug possessors. drug traffickers. which has been wholeheartedly supported by the obama administration. according to the bureau of justice statistics, 77% of drug offenders releaseed were rearrested within five years. hear this now. 77% of these drug offenders were rearrested within five years,
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with 25% of those rearrested being rearrested for violent crime. can be hurt, maybe dead. maybe that's part of the murder rate. take wendell callahan, a federal drug felon who was convicted of trafficking and cocaine and released early pursuant to the directive. upon his early release, he proceeded to brutally murder his ex-girlfriend and her two little girls, 7 and 10. he would have been deep into a 10 1/2-year federal sentence if it had been maintained. but they reduced it. so the judge granted his petition for other purposes an early release because of his -- quote -- good behavior in prison that led him -- led the judge to conclude that he did not pose a danger to the safety of the public, even though, even thougu have to have some controls on
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judges. i have been there. i've seen it before the sentencing guidelines were passed. even though in his background when he was convicted and got the 12 years, he had been previously convicted in connection with a shooting offense and another drug offense. shooting offense. a violent offense. to the federal prison population , colleagues, is at its lowest level since 2008. we are already on a downward course of drug -- of federal prison population being reduced, and only 160,000 inmates in actual bureau prisons today, well below its peak. the bureau of prisons has stated that this -- quote -- downward population trend is expected to continue into fiscal year 2017, bringing the federal prisons population to the lowest level
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since 2005. the population is up, crime is going up. the prison population is falling rather rapidly. admissions to federal prisons have declined every year since 2011. so you hear we're filling up prisons, we're doing more and more and more. actually, all the other things is already happening. it's happening in state prisons, too, where larger numbers are incarcerated than in the federal prison. and one of the reasons in state prisons we are having this large decline is not public safety but tight budgets, and they are just cutting back on the prison population to save money. we can be smarter, some people can be released early. i worked with my democratic colleagues, senator durbin four years ago i believe that we reduced the crack penalties more significantly than a lot of people know. i thought that was justified, but we're now proceeding well
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beyond that and it's causing me great concern. the attorney general has ordered the prosecutors not charge certain criminal offenses. reducing sentences and releasing felons is equivalent to reducing the costs to the criminal enterprise of their criminal activity. it reduces the cost, the risk. thus, crime, it's already rising, will further increase as a result of this bill i fear, this bill that would further reduce penalties. can we take a breath. let's think about this. i don't say that there aren't some things that we can do that will take some -- allow for some reduction in the federal prison population. some people probably serve more
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than is absolutely necessary, but in truth we've seen dramatic improvements over nearly 30 years, 25 years in reduction of crime. murder rates until this surge were half -- less than half what they were in 1980 when i became a federal prosecutor. drug use had dropped dramatically since nancy reagan started the just say no program and drug use began to steadily reduce. it's now beginning to steadily increase. you've got to have leadership from washington. you can't have the president of the united states of america talking about marijuana like it's no different than taking a drink. i used marijuana when i was in high school. it's no different than smoking. it is different. and you're sending a message to young people there's no danger in this process. and it's false that marijuana
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use doesn't lead people to more drug use, and it's already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal. so i think we need to be careful about this. what if this is the beginning of another surge in drug use like we saw in the 1960's and 1970's that led to massive problems in our communities? so the solution, well, we've got control of the board. all the heroin and a big chunk of the methamphetamine is coming across the mexican border. we need barriers. we need more agents. people need to be arrested. they need to be deported. they don't need to get to be taken to some city in the united states they would like to go to and released and asked to show up on bail, which they never do. that's an open invitation to illegality and illegal
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interests. and we need to enforce our laws and we have to take -- make the consequences of drug trafficking a deterrent. we can do this. we've done it before, and it's all part and parcel with prevention programs, education programs, treatment programs. all that has to be done, but it cannot be denied in my opinion that law enforcement plays a critical role in. so it means supporting, not blocking the evidence -- efforts of law enforcement to do their jobs and giving them the tools to arrest drug traffickers and be effective at the border, putting them in jail, not giving them early release so they can commit more crimes. in january, a woman from ohio named tonda duray testified before the senate judiciary committee on the hearing on heroin and prescription opioid epidemic. she shared the powerful story of her daughter who died from a
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heroin overdose. she said this -- quote -- "one of the things that i see happening in our little town that frustrates me is our officers that work so diligently to arrest people that they know are bringing in this heroin. i just -- i just have them go in front of our judges and our courts and have these people just be slapped on the wrist and to send them right back out the door. the boy that sold my daughter the heroin that killed her just recently went back in front of a judge for his fourth offense for trafficking in heroin. it was the fourth time he has been arrested for this, and he was given five months. how is that possible? well, we can talk about making sure that we have treatment and we should and recovery for people who have been addicted, although many people never, ever
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recover from addiction, except by the grave. that's the sad truth. and we should make that a priority, but we cannot hope to solve these problems by only treating people on the back end of addiction without reducing the availability of those drugs. and keeping the purity down and the costs up, not continuing to fall. we got to stop people from becoming addicts in the first place, and we can't let the fact that we have a heroin abuse epidemic cause us to forget that we have a drug trafficking epidemic, too. law enforcement is prevention. the price, purity, and availability of drugs, especially heroin, experts tell us that it fuels more consumption, more addiction, more crime, more death, and more human and family destruction. i wish it were not true.
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i wish there were more options, but law enforcement is a central part of this effort. histories proves it. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, it was interesting. today is the 51st anniversary of bloody sunday, a horrible, horrible abuse of american citizens that occurred in alabama -- selma, alabama. i mention that because under section 5 of the voting rights arctic the felg federal governmt has the authority to examine and prevent racially discriminatory voting practices from going into effect before those changes disenfranchise voter jurisdictions. unfortunately, almost every single democrat and republican
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in the house and senate voted for the voting rights act. in the house, by a one-vote march jirntion they drove a stake through the voting rights act striking down the coverage formula for its preclearance provisions in section 5. governors and state legislatures have exploited shelby county by enacting sweeping voter suppression laws, including in the state of alabama, which not only enacted a photo identification law, but then they made it even harder for many of its black citizens to obtain identification when the state closed more than 30 d.m.v. offices in mostly poor minority neighborhoods last october. it's hard to fathom that in 20
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2016, well over 100 years after the civil war and the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the constitution and after the transformative amendmenmoments like bloody sunt states would continue to pass laws and take actions that undermine black americans' rights to vote. i ask consent that my full statement be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, the senate will soon vote to bring us one step closer to passage of the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, cara. i had suggested last week that we stay in session and do our job thursday and friday and saturday and finish the bill, but i understand the republican leadership wanted to take a long weekend, so we didn't. but now we can. i am a cosponsor of this bill. it addresses the growing problem of prescription opioid and heroin addiction.
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that's a problem that's had devastating impacts on communities all over the country, including in my home state of vermont. the bill represents an important shift in the way we approach issues on substance abuse and addiction. it helps those who suffer from opioid use disorders to help them achieve recovery. perhaps most importantly, the bill reflects a consensus of this bill -- the scn success ofn success of this body that the nation can't arrest or jail our way out of this problem. since 2008 i have been inspired by how my fellow vermonters across the political spectrum have shaped the discussion about this public health crisis and how they've served as a model for communities across the
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nation. i certainly feel this bill represents important progress, but we'd make a mistake if we thought we should be satisfied passing this one bill. we also need a significant commitment of targeted funding so we can carry out the programs authorized by the bill. it is one thing to say, here, we're authorizing all of these great programs. we're not going to pay for them. but don't we feel good when we authorize them and go home and tell our constituents, see, we care. we've authorized it. we won't pay for it. but at least one senator stood up. senator shaheen proposed a bill that would do just that. her bill had a majority of support of those in this body but republican senators blocked it from being considered and
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adopted. it is unfortunate because her amendment would have provided the resources to strengthen both the law enforcement and public health components. it would deliver necessary resources to health care professionals all over the country who are overwhelmed by a need they can't meet. now, i believe there is bipartisan agreement that we have to stop the loss of life caused by opioid abuse. it should be bipartisan agreement to provide the money necessary to do so. and the there is an opportunity to make the bill better. many members have filed amendments to improve cara. the number of amendments -- a number of the amendments are filed by both republicans and democrats. unfortunately, the republican leader has not allowed us to have an open amendment process, contrary to what he said earli earlier. a number of senators have been blocked from offering their amendments. i tried to work -- and did -- in a bipartisan way with senators grassley and whitehouse and
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klobuchar to consider this bill and report it to the senate floor. we continue our bipartisan effort to reach agreement on a number of amendments that can improve the bill, and i hope those important bipartisan efforts will continue this week so we can consider these amendments, have final passage this week. let's have an open process. these amendments can be voted up or down or adopted by consent. it's one thing for us to talk about what we want to do. it's another thing to have the courage to vote for it. if we don't vote for it, we're just votin voting "maybe." our goal should be to make this the best bill possible. addiction is nothing less than an epidemic. cara treats it like one. the bill demonstrates that
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congress now sees addiction for what it is: a public health crisis all over our country. so we need to equip our communities with both the programs and resources they need to getahead of addiction. -- to get ahead of addiction. cara saved lives. that's something worthy to put the known there to make sure is it-- --to put the money in there to make sure it works. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to insert my full statement for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i see my colleague, so i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: i would like to thank my colleague from vermont, a deer friend of mine. as he knows, this is a problem. it is an epidemic all over this country. it doesn't matter whether you are democrat or republican. it eradicates all of us. it is an extreme hardship on all
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of the families. i know you know in indiana how tough this is also. i've been rising on the floor every week and speaking and reading letters from affected people of west virginia and other states. i have a letter from your home state of indiana, mr. president, i want to read from somebody. i have one from my state, too. this is something we have been fighting in the cara act right now. it is a bipartisan piece of legislation. it is not gimmick going t goinga cure-all, cure-all. it is an illness tha illness tho have treatment. politically we're accepting this and we're going to basically meet that needs of treatment which is so far and few in between. we have 51 people dying every day in my little state of west virginia, my beautiful state of
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west virginia. just last year we lost over 600,000 people. from 1999 to 2013 over 700% increase. so this is a product coming on the market greater than anything we've ever seen . we're hoping the f.d.a. gets serious about this. they're hearing us loud and clear. i am very hopeful -- dr. califf was not a person i had supported. but i am very hopeful and i will be supportive of him doing a great job there, because needs to. he needs to step to the plate and change the culture of the f.d.a. the f.d.a., i believe, has to take serious their role and not just approving drugs because it meets certain criteria but also the impact it has on the well-being of these families that have been addicted and families that have been affected. they need to consider the devastating public health impacts of its repeated decisions to approve all these drugs that don't need to be on the market. so we're very hopeful for that.
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the thing that brings that to mind is that it took us forever to get vicodin and lortab from a schedule iii to schedule ii. it took us over three years. once it did, it took a billion bills off the market. we know it can save lives, yet they came right back with zohydro, against the wishes of their advisory committee. we believe it is imperative they have advisory committees for every opioid they want to bring to market. they must listen to the advisory committee. if the f.d.a., the director and his staff wishes to go ahead and put a product on the market that's recommended not to be on the market from their advisory committee, they should come before us here in congress, tell us why they believe this potent drug, such as disco high droarks is needed against the recommendation of these experts and specialists.
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we've been flooded with these stories. i am going to read a story from their state of indiana first. the girl's name is dannell. e i live in danelle and i live n southern indiana. a customer left me his nowm. at the time he told me he was living in chicago for school. little did i know he was in rehab there. granted i didn't know about his addiction for photographer a year because we hadn't stayed in constant kafnlgt about a year or so ago i found out about his addiction. he still told me little about him. i do know it started out with prescription pills and later went into heroin when the pills became harder to get. he served a month in jail in michigan over a heroin-related charge. he came home immediately after an overdose -- later and overdosed that same weekend he came home from jail. luckily his dad saved him that
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time. now he got enrolled in college wad $and was going to an outpatient program. and he was doing much berkts or so we all thought he was. school let out for break and went down from there. he came to me last year telling me he had used a couple of times and wanted my advice. i suggest an inpatient program. he went to wellstone after he left my house. he set for several hours and finally was given a room waiting to get in. it is very difficult to find places to be treated. i went and checked on him two different times while he waited to make sure that he was still there. thursday i didn't receive any calls. fryer day, nothing either. then saturday morning the 7th of november his mother called me to break my heart. he had passed away that friday the 6th over in louisville and didn't know who to contact until that sat did i morning, i guess. he had checked himself out of wellstone, broke into his house, fobbing his x-box where he later
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pawned it or traded it for heroin. never did i think i'd become so close to anybody addicted to heroin. it can get ahold of anybody or everybody. never in my life have i been so depressed or heartbroken. he was my happy ending gone way too soon. that was from our friend danelle in indiana. met me tell but the lady we have, amanda, in west virginia. amanda says, "i walk into our new a although we only spent two nights there, it already felt like home. i was so excited to move in with nate. make the decision to move in together had finally settled years of unsefnlts ace tirned the corner, i was surprised to see that he was laying in the exact same position as when i left for my morning classes. i knew it had been a rough night of partying but i thought for sure he'd be up impi now and ready to start our busy day of
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painting and moving. i touched his chest to feel the rise and fall, something as a mother i have been doing to sleeping children for years. there's movement. he's breathing. i breathe a quick sigh of relief. i walk to the back of the apartment to sit down my things and that's when i realize that i needed to go get some things from my old a as i started to leave, mr. president, my hand was on the doorknob but something stopped me in my tracks. to this day i don't know why i turned around. i laid down beside nate and i put my arm across his chest. this time there was no rise and fall. he was not breathing. his eyes were wide open. it was obvious that he was not there. the paramedics removed him to the point that he survived in a coma for one week. at one point his eyes opened and i thought that our nigh nightmas open. on january 3, 2007, prescription drugs took the life of nathan
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keating dunn. an intelligent, witty, funny, kind, were the qualities seen by those who knew nate best. he was my best friend. we were inseparable. i began to experience an ache in my heart which nine years later still occasion little brings me to my knees. that's just who nate was too me. he was the older son of a brother who left years of abuse at the hands of her husband. she was a brother, too, and the only spot of a boy who had been hardening growing up on the streets after town outside of houston, texas. it seemed as if only -- it seems as if the only thing that ever kept him grounded was nate's life. -- love. they had the best and worst of times. nate was the instant crush of any girl who ever laid her eyes upon him. he was the best friend of anyone who knew him. i often wondered who and where he would be today but i guess i'll just have to wonder forever.
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i wish that was the end of my story about how prescription drugs have affected my life, but it's not even close to the end, mr. president, for longer than i can care to admit, drugs have been part of my everyday life. shortly after nate's death, i became addicted to prescription opiates. at first they were prescribed by my doctor. eventually i couldn't get through a day without them. i was referred to as a functioning addict. although it's fair to say such a thing does not exist. to the outside world i appear to be fine, normal. even i held a job. i cared for my young sons. i kept a tidy home. meanwhile my tolerance was building and i began to require more and more of the drugs just to feel normal, just to get through each day. can you imagine living this life in which you wake up each day wondering if you have enough of the drug you need just to be okay for that one day. so many people are facing this every single day. it can be the person sitting next to you. it could be your child's teacher, even worse it could be your own child.
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the first thing to suffer was my financial situation. every dime i had was spent on the drugs that would allow me to function today, tomorrow and if i'm lucky the next. then my relationships with friends and family began to fail. it was painfully obvious that i was stealing from them. next i couldn't keep a job. a record that still haunts me for the rest of my life. how could i go to work? how could i continue on? then i met a man, a very good man as he would become closer. i realized i couldn't bring myself to tell him i was a drug addict. the thing, mr. president, this is a silent killer. nobody speaks. they all keep it very quiet. and if i may have about one minute to finish up, i would appreciate it. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. manchin: thank you. mr. president. very few people know what's actually happen ng your life. in order to get help, you have toen willing to openly talk about your issues and most of us fear being harshly judged and rightfully so. trying to treat people with addiction issues by using
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medication or therapy only is like trying to extinguish a raging house fire with a garden hose. she said, i was fortunate to have found medication-based treatment program in my area paid for by insurance. she's going to move forward and she wanted this story to be told. and she said that she wanted people to know how difficult it is. what we need to know is policy make -- as policymakers is how hard it is for people in our states that realize they need especial and can't find it. what i ask all of us to do, this cara bill is a step in the right direction. and it's a piece of legislation that's much needed and as we move forward today on this piece of legislation, i hope we will find basically the support that people are needing to fight this opiate addiction. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to incloak cloture. the clerk: we the understeined senators in accordance with the
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rules do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment number 3378, the substitute amendment to s. 524, a bill to authorize the attorney general to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is it the sense of the senate that debate on amendment number 33778 as amended offered by the senator from iowa mr. grassley to s. 524 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will now call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senator wish to their vote?
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the yeas are 86, the nays ar na. the motion is agreed to. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, that's good news, because that indicates -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from ohio. mr. portman: you just announced the results of the vote. it meanings the senate has just taken another important step towards passage of care remarks the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. i see my colleague, senator whitehouse, is on the floor. i want to thank him. i want to thank colleagues on both sides of the aisle for moving forward on this legislation that would help us to save friends, family members, neighbors, communities struggling with addiction. this is an important opportunity for us to be able to move forward on legislation that is comprehensive, bipartisan, that has a companion bill on the
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house side, so there is a very good chance we can get this to the president's desk. this is the only bipartisan legislation that is comprehensive and evidence-based and it is critical we move forward with t in addition to senator whitehouse, who i talked about, i also want to thank senator ayotte, senator klobuchar and 42 republican cosponsors 0er their support. more important is the supporters on this legislation. this includes doctors and nurses, health care professionals, law enforcement, people who are in the trenches, dealing every day with treatment and recovery, those who are focused on prevention and how to ensure people cannot just be treated for addiction but try to keep people out of the funnel of addiction. we started working on this legislation about three years ago. we started by hearing from experts around the country. we had five conferences here in washington where we looked at all the issues, including criminal justice, women an addiction, the science f addiction, youth prevention, recovery issues, substance abuse
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impacting our veterans, a number of issues that enable enabled uo write legislation that will make a difference in our communities. these 130 groups around the country are focused on getting this bill passed because they know it's going to make a difference in our communities. if enacted, this will help states and communities develop and complement these evidence-based practices that we've looked frat around the country. it expands prevention and educational efforts to prevent prescription opioid abuse and the use of heroin, increases drug disposal sites to keep medications oust of the hand of yiewfnlt it also authorizes law enforcement task forces to combat heroin and methamphetamine and expands the availability of overdose reversal drugs like naloxone, which are really miracle drugs and provides not just naloxone but more training to our law enforcement officials, to firefighters to other emergency responders. in the criminal justice system, cara will help promptly identify and treat individuals suffering from substance abuse and expand
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diversion and education efforts to give individuals a second chance. frankly, it's is going to help to get people into treatment rather than going into the criminal justice system, locking people up. it hasn't worked. people are being arrested for possession alone, ph -- for usi. this legislation will help divert people into treatment to get them back on their feet. cara also authorizes resources to expand treatment, including medication-assisted treatment based on the research that's been done around the country. it allows veterans who are discharged for substance abuse disorder to use drug courts as they recover. it provides actual grants to these veterans treatment courts who are doing a terrific job. i have toured these in ohio, talked to some of these veterans who have been through these programs. and again it helps get our veterans back on the right track rather than ending up in jail. they understand up in a treatment program with other veterans helping them and supporting them where they can begin to deal with their addiction and mental health issues. cara supports recovery programs,
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including those focused on youth and building communities of recovery. this happens now at our colleges and universities increasingly. i want to support that. it also creates a national task force to improve ways to address the collateral consequences imposed by addiction. one of the most important aspects of this legislation expands drug treatment for pregnant women who struggle with addiction and provides support for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. recently my wife jane and i visited rainbow babies and children's hospital in cleveland, ohio. we toured the neonatal unit. if you haven't done this, it'll break your heart because you find an increasing number of babies who are born with this addiction, the neonatal abstinence syndrome. unfortunately, when you look at what's happened in ohio, we've had a 750% increase in the number of babies who are diagnosed with this nigh owe natal abstinence syndrome since
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2004. i'm told in some of our states now, 10% of the baby are being borng addicted. i've also been d other hospitals this our state. my wife went to nationwide in columbus. every single one of these children's hospitals is experiencing the same thing. what i've learned from these incredibly compassionate nurses and doctors who take these newborns through a withdrawal process, it's that the number of babies who have been exposed to heroin or plunges continue -- prescription drugs continues to grow. the problem is getting worse, not better. these hospital visits serve as yet another reminder that addiction is a disease. it's a disease that has to be treated like other diseases and it's a disease that can impact anyone. it's wonderful that these caring nurses, doctors and others are working to try to ensure that these babies become healthy. we don't know what the long-term consequences are. but we need to do more to avoid the addiction in the first place and better treat it when it
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occurs and that's what this legislation does. specifically the measure takes steps to help women and babies by expanding treatment for expectant and postpartum women, authorizing the department of health and human services to award grants to ensure these women have access to evidence-based treatment services. that's in this legislation. it also reauthorizes residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women struggling with addiction. there's a great senator in columbus, ohio -- center in columbus, ohio. the average length of stay is almost two years. they allow women to come with their babies, with their children to go through treatment together. so there is hope. there are treatment centers that are doing a great job. we want to hold those up and encourage more of that around the country. finally, the legislation also creates a pilot program for state substance abuse agencies that allows funds to be used to target women who are addicted to opiates and provide family-based services to those women in nonresidential settings. so it both helps on the
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residential side but also with the nonresidential outpatient side. helping these women and helping these babies is just one aspect of this bill, but it's a very critical one. and as we work to turn the tide in the struggle against addiction, it's one we should all be focused on. the good news is the bipartisan momentum we've seen here tonight is building and i think the senate is ready to move on this legislation this week. i know there are other amendments that have been filed. the deadline was today and i hope we'll have an opportunity to go through some more amendments as we did last week. but meanwhile we've got strong support and strong momentum as we saw tonight from both sides of the aisle. both republican and democratic leaders have lined up to support this legislation. we need to pass this bill. and we need to get it signed into law so it can begin to make a real difference in the lives of the people that we represent. it's a heroin epidemic in ohio and around the country has reached crisis levels. i look forward working with my colleagues to get this bill over the finish line, here in the united states senate and get it passed in the house where
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there's companion legislation. get it to the president's desk and enable this united states congress to play a role as a better partner with state and local government and our nonprofits around this country to be able to address this growing heroin epidemic around our entire country. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: thank you, mr. president. last week i met with rita, lewis in southwest ohio. she was here to testify in front of the senate finance committee in honor of her late husband, butch. mr. brown: butch worked as a trucker for 40 years with the promise that the pension he earned would be there to care for his family after he retired. i would also add that butch had been drafted by the pitszburg pirates to play -- pittsburgh pirates to play baseball some 45 years ago and instead enlisted to go into the u.s. army in
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vietnam. was injured and never could play baseball again competitively. he came back and became a trucker and joined the teamsters as i said, i worked as a trucker for 40 years with a promise that the pension he earned would be there to care for his family after he retired. but for butch and rita and thousands more ohio retirees, that promise is under threat. truckers and mine workers in ohio and across the country are both facing crippling cuts to the benefits they've earned. the multiemployer pension reform act that congress passed two years ago allowed pension trustees to propose massive cuts to the earned benefits of retirees when a plan is running low in funds. this is disgraceful. if a pension fund is in bad shape, it's our job to fix it, not break promises to american workers who have worked their whole lives to earn that pension. i believe that two years ago when i voted against that law that allowed these proposed
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cuts, i believe it more strongly now. that's why i'm calling on the treasury department to reject and to reject immediately the proposed cuts to the central states teamsters pension. i'm calling for us to immediately mark up and pass the miners protection act which would protect the benefits ohio workers earned over a lifetime of work. under mepra, the bill i talked about a moment ago, multiemployer pension trustees like central states are now able to propose massive cuts to the earned benefits of participants and retirees if the plans are -- quote -- "in critical and declining status." pension trustees for plans in critical and declining status may submit an application for proposed benefit cuts to u.s. treasury department. the central states pension plan trustees use the authority of mepra to propose cuts of as much as 70%, but in their own application, they admit even
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with these drastic cuts their plan -- get this -- still only has a 50.4% chance of remaining solvent. they're -- in other words, they're asking treasury to approve massive life shattering cuts to hundreds of thousands of workers for what amounts to a coin flip. treasury should immediately reject this application. put yourself, something we don't do well around here, put yourselves in the place of a worker whose plan for -- planned for her retirement with her family. she expected a $2,000 a month pension on top of $1200 a month social security. she all of a sudden finds out her pension is cult 30 -- cut 30%, 40%, 50%, 70%. that's the money she planned to live on. all that was calculated because it was a promise from this pension plan to honor -- to honor that commitment of decades earlier. as i said treasury should immediately reject this application. the mine workers pension plan and the others is too far gone
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to use mepra. united mine workers of america's 1974 pension plan covers 100,000 mine work erks, including -- workers, including thousands of miners in eastern and central ohio. it was almost completely funded before the financial collapse of seven years ago brought on by wall street overreaching greed but the plan was devastated by the recession. it has too few assets, too few employers, and too few union workers paying in. if congress fails to act, thousands of retired miners could lose their health care this year and the entire plan could fail as early as next year. there's a bipartisan solution proposed by senator manchin, senator casey, me and others and supported by leaders in both parties. if it were brought to the floor today, it would pass with an overwhelming majority. it's time for the senate to act. the finance committee should mark up this legislation this week. the senate should bring it to the floor immediately.
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miners work in dangerous jobs, dangerous that there may be a mining accident, an explosion or collapse every day when they go to work, dangerous in the sense that so many mine workers die early because of premature bronchial illnesses and heart ailments brought on by working in the mines. they've worked underground their whole lives to put food on the table, to send their kids to school to help power this country. truckers crisscross the state and the country to pay the bills, support their families, drive the economy forward. they all deserve the full pension and health benefits they were promised and that they worked a life type to earn. butch lewis left the southwest retirees pension committee's fight against cuts to earned benefits. he passed away on new year's leave due to a stroke which doctors attributed at least in part to the stress he faced over the proposed pension cuts, not just to him and his family but to the workers he was fighting for as a union activist. his wife, rita's widow benefits
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have already been cut. she faces an additional 40% reduction because of the proposed cuts put forth by senatorial states. -- central states. butch said the cuts being forced on retirees, his words, amount to a war against the middle class and the american dream. he's right. ohio's retired workers have earned their pensions and their retirement savings over a lifetime of hard work. it was promised to them, whether they work behind the desk, on the factory floor, down in the coal mines or behind the wheel. we should honor butch's memory by continuing his work. that means coming together to support a bipartisan solution to protect rita's benefits and the pensions of tens of thousands of retired teamsters and retired mine workers. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, tuesday, march 8. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further that following leader remarks the senate be in a period of morning business for one hour equally divided with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each and with the democrats controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. further following morning business the senate resume consideration of s. 524. further, that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly conference meetings. finally, that all time during morning business, recess and adjournment the senate count postcloture on amendment number 3378. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the
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senate stands a in the "des moines register," two former lieutenant governors of the state of iowa -- i'm sure the presiding officer knows both of them, one a democrat, one a republican. here's what they said, among other things. "this isn't the chuck grassley
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we thought we knew." i again repeat two iowans, former lieutenant governors, joy corning, a republican, and sally pederson, a democrat. last week, they co-authored an op-ed in the des moines register talking about the senior senator from iowa not doing his duties by blocking the supreme court nominee by president obama. the op-ed reads, among other things, iowans are known for being hard workers and we appreciate that quality in our elected officials. we wake up every day ready to do our part and get the job done. we also understand the constitution and know when an elected official is more eager to find excuses than create solutions. unfortunately, senator chuck grassley is refusing to do his job as described in article 2 of
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the constitution which states giving advice and consents on the president's upcoming nomination to the supreme court. i continue the quote -- "grassley is threatening to use his powerful post as chairman of the judiciary committee while hearing any nominee regardless of how qualified he or she is. in a recent column, the vacancies on the court are troubling and harmful to our courts. moreover, this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew." close quote. this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we knew. madam president, i agree with these iowans. this is the -- this isn't the senator i have come to know over the last three decades. the senator i knew would not cede the independence of the powerful judiciary committee he served on for many decades to the republican leader. the senator i knew wouldn't have known ignored his constitutional duty for the sake of election
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year politics. so for whatever reason the senator from iowa made a fateful decision hours after justice antonin scalia's death. he is allowing himself and his committee to be manipulated by the republican leader for narrow partisan warfare. he is taking his orders from the republican leader and sadly donald trump. donald trump on this issue when asked about it, his words were three -- delay, delay, delay. senator grassley must have been listening. who in iowa are displeased and disappointed with their senator. the "des moines register" quoted one of grassley's disappointed followers as follows -- he seems to be doing what other people are saying, not what he thinks is best. that has recently colored my opinion of him in the past week. another iowan who supports the senator told the newspaper -- quote -- "i just think he is making a bad mistake. it is purely a political party play. there isn't any space in this
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situation." close quote. now as each day passes, the junior senator from iowa is trying desperately to justify his blind loyalty to the republican leader and to donald trump. senator grassley is grasping for an irrational, rationale, anything that will excuse him for not doing his job. that desperation has now taken senator grassley down a very dark path. last thursday, the senior senator from iowa addressed the conservative political action conference called cpac. that took place here in washington. in his speech to them, here is what senator grassley said, and i quote -- "i feel it's about time we have a national debate on the supreme court and how it fits in with our constitutional system of government." close quote. the chairman of the judiciary committee is suggesting that we re-evaluate the founder fathers' work, re-evaluate the constitution of the united states, change the constitution of the united states.
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why is senator grassley debating what the constitution makes clear? the senate must provide its advice and consent on nominees appointed by the president to the supreme court. think of the irony. justice scalia was a strict constitutionalist. now in the weeks following his death, senator grassley wants to throw out the constitution just because president obama gets to pick scalia's replacement. the former senator from iowa, tom harkin, said it best yesterday, and i quote -- this appeared in the "des moines register" -- "the position taken now by the majority leader and the members of the senate judiciary committee is simply astounding and not in keeping with the strict or even loose construction of the constitution." close quote. the constitution isn't some ball you pick up and take home just because you're still mad at president obama because he's the president. senator grassley and the republicans find themselves on the wrong side of the constitution. it's their policies that should
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change, not the nation's founding document, the constitution of the united states. if republicans are uncomfortable with not performing their duties, the answer i isn't to te an eraser to the constitution. the answer is to do your job. if the senator iowa wants to extricate himself from the situation he created, there is a way. all he needs to do is to wrest back his chairmanship from the republican leader and give president obama's nominee a meeting, a hearing, a vote. in short, he needs to do his job. it is that easy. no changes to the constitution are required. if he does his job, the people back home in iowa won't have reason to say, "this isn't the chuck grassley we thought we kn other side continue. mr. grassley: but i guess it shouldn't surprise anybody as everyone knows around here nothing makes the minority leader more mad than when his
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side is forced to play by its own rules. madam president, the american people are divided, and the divided government the american people delivered over the last several election cycles reflects these divisions. our constitutional republic is designed with a series of checks and balances. as any branch gets too powerful or exceeds its authority and tries to impose on the american people policies that they don't want, the people express their will through the electoral process. that is what we've witnessed during the last several election cycles. over the last few years, our current president has engaged in a systematic and massive, very
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massive overreach of executive power, way beyond what the constitution has ever considered and thank god for checks and balances. the courts have said so and that's why i'm here to today to tell you how the courts have interceded to curb this massive overreach of executive power. but as he has done so often as president obama has done so often, then the people have responded. since he is first -- he was first sworn into office in 2009, nearly seven additional republicans were elected to the people's house, the house of representatives here in congress. and there are 13 more republican senators today than there were january 2009.
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and in january of 2014, frustrated the people's representatives wouldn't enact his liberal policies. at that time, january 2014, the president said famously that he would use a pen and a phone and impose his agenda anyway, even though it's very clear in the constitution, the first article, the legislative powers of the united states shall be vested in the congress, not in the president of the united states. now, just a few months later, as you recall november 2014, the people spoke and sent nine additional republicans to the united states senate. now this is the beauty of our
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system of checks and balances, system of checks and balances, >> madam president,ve overrea executive overreach somebody called george the 3rd, first-hand experience with that executive. provokes his will -- in boxes will of the people unilaterally.ion the supreme court interpreting. that's interpreting. that's what we call separation of powers. that is why our constitution s is designed so that nosi president can appoint a supreme court justice with a
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pen and a phone, like he claims to do. and if congress won't. during so, as we continue to discuss what is at stake ele during this presidential election and whether the elect a president who will appoint yet another liberal justice, i want to take a few minutes to review some of this presence efforts to expand his reach of power and impose his will on the american people. this president has pushed the envelope at every turn., he has sought to impose a we will on the american people and to a degree that this nation has never before
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witnessed. what is striking about this president's record before the supreme court is that even with a court as liberal as ours, the obama administration still has the lowest winning record of any president going back at least to the truman administration. now, when presented with this undeniable fact the presidents apologist quickly grasps for the nearest bogus defense, most notably the supreme court is more ideologically hostile to this president previous coursework to other presidents. now, that is a very crafty argument.tice but it is what justice scalia would have called your applesauce. leading supreme court analysts declared the last
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june for the supreme court other was justice going on the court is the most liberal system 1960s the presence defenders with the courts make up for his rebuke of his expensive claims the power. and of course this explanation fails to account for the fact that president eisenhower took office and litigated in a supreme court with a justices that were appointed by democrats. president nixon's administration began with an even more liberal court than eisenhower's.hower's. no. this president has not lost cases because of the courts. his ideologically hostile to
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the president's policies.esiden' the court has rejected thisr president's power grabs on because they are based on ideology and an unwillingness to recognize his that the law constrains his power. and, of course, all too often the president's claims are supported by an office of legal counsel and solicitor general's office that seems very unwilling to tell the president that his impulses have expended power is flatly contrary to the law and/or constitution. des so i would like to describe a few examples.rs the presence lawyers argued he could ignore the senate's determination, this body's determination of when it waser
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in session in order to make recess appointments. no president in history ever claimed that recess appointments were permissible in the situations that we had around the senate here for the last seven or eight years where we have pro forma sessions.a we don't recess. wewe don't recess so that the president can't make recess appointments.bu at his office once considered the crown jewel of the department of justice offered a torture justification to sanctions that sanctions his assertion of power to make recess appointments. in this view of presidential power or allowed to stand, the president could bypass the senate with ease to install individuals and powerful government
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positions with no checks from the senate as the constitution envisioned. now, fortunately the supreme court disagreed ninenine to zero which means even this president's appointments to the supreme court said that he violated theti constitution. when it simply says, pretty common sense, the senate shall determine when we are in session and in recess.nly now, this isn't the only example.ation the obama administrationue argued that the equal employment opportunity commission could resolve and on employment discrimination case between a minister and the church fired her. now this is all about whether or not the government can interfere with the freedom of religion. the
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with the argument they made, the obama administration managed to violate two different provisions of the first amendment and all the same time. it violated the free exercise of religion clauset's u because of the president's argument carried the day, the government could interfere with a churches doctorate. and additionally, it violated the establishment clause of the 1st busin amendment because if this president had his way the federal government could get into the business of selecting a churches ministers. tho the supreme court rejected this claims 920. front on the regulatory front and a series of rulings the supreme court rejected the presence arguments that agencies can deny the
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ability of private citizens to seek relief against regulatory overreach, for instance, the court rejected the environmental protection agency's powers to force a homeowner through escalating fines to comply with an order while at the same time denying that homeowner the ability to challenge the ordering court. the supreme court rejected obama's epa's claims 920. in another case the court held contrary to the position advanced by the army corps of engineers a landowner could sue in court for just compensation for when the government caused flooding of his property.
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no right to question the irs official, just questions the reasons, the supreme court t rebuke the administration 90.er there is still another casertunt of the court rejected, the equal employment opportunity commission argument once again the supreme court
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rejected this claim by this administration line zero. similarly, when a veterans benefits were denied and the appeal was not filed within a certain time, the department of veteransff affairs turned around and denied the veteran the ability to seek judicial review. the supreme court found a 20
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this administration imposes government power against the people harbor the constitution is to protect the people from his government. justice frankford spoke to the.the history of liberty has largely been the historync of the observance of procedural safeguards. consider as well areas of criminal law where the obama administration pressed positions that he wrote individual freedom. this president and his lawyers argued the police
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could install a gps device on a vehicle and then use that device to monitor the cards without a search warrant under the 4th am i don't know what would be left of the 4th amendmente cou if the supreme court had upheld the president's claim go operate in that manner. .. thankfully the supreme court rejected that argument as well. the vote tally was 9-0. the court blocked justice department's prosecution of a person under the chemical weapons convention because the convention didn't reach the defendant's simple assault. again, the supreme court rebuked the president 9-0. these are not the rulings of a supreme court that is >> to
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>>every >> everyone of these rulings are unanimous. vot and there are still other supreme court's letter rejecting this president's power grabs with the vote tallies when they were much closer.ve the president and his lawyers made baseless arguments for executive van regulatory power case aftert' case and in so many of these cases the unifying thread underlying the president's position is the notice that the people are subservient to the federal government. as of course, subservient to hear is agencies rather than the of their way around.dent
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so the people are the masteror of government. if the president takes the position so so far the supreme court has not agreed. so the american people should consider if they want to elect a president who may nominate a justice or embrace a vast expansion of executives regulatory power.this this is what i called for in the speeches in this is an opportunity for something that doesn't happen very often and to delay that confirmation of a justice
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supreme court to let the people decide. it is said just about who the next justice on the supreme court will be but the role of the supremeon court and the judicial branch in you heard just a little while ago of the minority party to say that somehow that by making a statement like that i will rewrite the constitution the constitution is pretty clear that the supreme court interprets law, not makes lot. down did with the approval rating of the supreme court going down to about 28 in polls ever since the person has them president, is the
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candidacy for the appointees republican and democratic to make the law the way they want, just gets back to theof basics. and that is a maker of the of lot. so that debate and to will that change? will they do? probably not but they will have an opportunity for fluid is elected president which way they want to go. befoe those that will interpret or make a lot? p
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right now before justice scalia you had for conservative son in the middle justice kennedy could go either way. pretty well balanced. court of the you know, what kind of judicial activist this president puts on thes supreme court? if you want to tip the balance so their rights of guns are in jeopardy or with this administration and who the church can higher or not it is pretty fundamental what is at stake having this mistake is very important and letting the people decide is very important.
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>> words like google is part of the culture today. to be created end one thing that we did do from analog to digital goal was to take away the lines of demarcation in the few cohabit those creative forces.
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>> think he is sorry been here for this city in force today we have the secretary
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of the air force in the chief of staff and as you have been told this is considered all on the record with the opening remarks then we will follow with q&a then once it is complete then the military deputies that will take questions in the detailed area. so with that we will open with your remarks. >> afternoon. thanks for joining us this afternoon. a few days ago i had the opportunity to attend a women's history month even and on capitol hill hosted by the first lady and second lady. also a airforce pioneer the first woman comptroller to
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become a general officer had recently retired president if you have not seen it the only major royal that tells the stories of diverse service women in their contributions in defense of our country and how far the military has come with respect to benin and service and of this real need -- easter remain strong and move forward for the future. we have all combat career fields into female four-star generals the last month we had the undersecretary of the air force confirmed the first time in history that one of our military services was led in the two senior
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civilian post by women. all in all it is of a good start for the month of march witches' women's history month misstated the air force is a little more than six months in what has happened. to launch the first airstrikes in syria and as well as lebanon and here at home also tied a landed in aircraft on a newly built runway in the south china sea and then installed a certain missile system than a few weeks ago ruth retested a nuclear weapon. meanwhile in afghanistan the taliban and other government groups continue to conduct attacks undermine security to create challenges as they work to develop a more
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secure and prosperous nation. and i'm sure you have heard on saturday we conducted an airstrike in somalia. , that strike was it in self-defense and in defense of our partners we did use the unmanned platform to ask for more information and as available we will look to provide that to you. that is the only information i can provide at this time. your air force has been extremely busy in an effective in all of that is accomplished with two moderate thousand fewer people than active duty during the days of desert storm. we have continued the fight against dash and we have upped the ante by flying more than 55,000 operations that is a threefold increase
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so the strike aircraft like the f-16 that 810 n. to be one deliberately into an ambling dash dynamically striking every day with the iraqi kurdish assyrian partners to recapture territory than the iso our aircraft developing targets and striking them then we have if the refueling aircraft that are supporting with iraq is a kerry at hand and all over the world where this 16,000 airmen are deployed working diligently to suspend operations that i have described to you seven days a week. as you know, this persistent effort is taking a toll on the aircraft and readiness and while we continue to meet the increased demand we must modernize and maintain the aircraft and i want to talk
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about the b-1. redeployed in cherry and then receiving much needed modernization with that similar capacity to meet combat and commander requirements. waiting for final approval but there was a recent infrastructure improvements to allow the necessary support to deploy a the b-52 in tudor. that ladies and gentlemen, don't forget our airmen serving in harm's way. over the last six months since we gathered those who were due to enemy activity.
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and on august 26, most of us hope are surrounded via complex at home. with a combat controller a world away in a sickening twist of fate that checkpoint two men camouflage their combined 12 years of service id in addition to the purple hearts to earn five bronze stars and very soon we will posthumously toward him with a silver star. in the only airman lost of
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that august address also a painful farewell to the technical sergeant in staff sgt another development since last met was the contract award. in no work has begun. to give the bader designations that share the artist rendering with the explanation and how to hold down cost with the arrogance and their families to the global strike command website to submit their ideas as well as get more information and with more transparency to remain a
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highly classified program and then to go forward with the appropriateness of oversight and then to share with you on the beach 21 specifically the seven major contractor partners who will join northrop grumman for the 21st century. east hartford connecticut, in st. louis missouri dayton ohio rockwell collins cedar rapids i was in wichita kansas. our injun provider the other
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six will work on the ignition systems in that is the totality of the information i can share at this time. as we conclude here today for those who are interested to go and be prepared of additional details on the contract incentive structure so we will defer those questions and finally going about with the f-117 budget be completed three of four hearings we had expressed appreciation for the stability of the bipartisan budget agreement also point out that agreement did the the somewhat short of the budgetary needs of 3.for herb billion to be specific for the airforce. we detailed the investments
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and the tough choices for budgetary reasons none of which are popular the and that is precisely what makes them tough. id remind congress to use sequestration and permanently so we can do a better job of the top priorities which is taking care of people to strike that balance while always making every dollar counts. we will now take your questions. >> i have a question for either view of the modernization to allow those pieces to fall from the air force in the focus with the standoff weapon former defense secretary said in to
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diminish deterrent and with the prairies and requirements and to be a replacement for the aging component and with that standoff capability it is very much needed for the future. in. >> established by u.s. strategic command and to have that combat commanders. in the discussion of what we can afford overtime. i think that is as fair question.
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>> but there is the criticism of the explanation. >> so why is it required? >> of logic is why you haven't heard a lot of debate but if you don't have that sufficient numbers of a campaign should that be required to hit the targets of the campaign. he probably one that capability to do both. so that is why it is important to complete. >> i want to ask you about the relations with congress. from the '80s into the '90s to have major battles what
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lessons do you take away? with those problems of john kasich what do you want to avoid? so that the 21 is a lot less contentious? what technologies could be deployed in the next two or three years? he talked about swarming. swerving drones. >> back to my memories from that period of time, with respect to the b-2 but there are many people questioning where is the threat. or perceived lack of a
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threat i go see it that way and think it is a different environment with substantial recognition with this capability. also the requirements changed that drove up costs increase and with the b21 having a specific discipline to keep that sable with that chief contrite -- require mitt officers and any proposed change with those stable requirements when it comes to the beach to everything was new the new airplane, a new components components, and the integration in the equivalent of a miracle of a day had to transpire.
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if it is a challenge as using that toward technology looking back the b-2 really did the shadows and it was classified too long but we are trying to be more transparent to do so. the other aspect is the information was finally revealed, it was sticker shock in terms of the dollars involved and that kept changing. in our case the cost has been built from the very beginning starting with secretary gates what he established and we will keep tracking with that. with the independent cost estimate which is higher than what we believe we will need in with an incentive
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structure and with milestones and performance in to say assuming that those seen as happened if they don't they will lose. and is back loaded to the point they are incentivize to get through that phase as soon as practical. you can get some more information. there is a lot of differences in but we are very committed. >> what about those dollars it if doesn't have relevance to most people? and then we can talk more about the dollar's.
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civic we're looking to find anybody who is interested. this is a key component with that massey fax and to be worried about capacity if it gives a chance to create more capacity. anybody that we can find to work with us. >> one question is that does not be if a lot of work. or that a top performance
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military engine? >> are you worried about the infiltration of people to go out to get that information? >> i will take the second part first. the company is required to have protection plans and that is why it until they're able to reveal them to show those protection plans are developed. a lot are always concerns to be more transparent with very important data. the first part of the question we are comfortable with the choices in the strategy we selected.
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>> to give that time line ahead but i was just wondering if you could elaborate why there is so much risk? and i believe that you mentioned one of the snags of the program and with those issues the radar risk reduction that there has to be done by the end of the share where we stand going forward we're confident this can stay on track to be
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executed we have the funding and the budget in the intent is where we are we can do whatever we can to accelerate the program. >> can you talk about those issues? >> to question is general can you break us up to date of your last discussion how you feel that drone inventory and the availability of active duty improves with the equivalent of a shortage of a completely different subject as a member of the joint chiefs. do you believe at this point there is any military
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utility to repeal the law of enhanced torture techniques? a question of national conversation inland water thoughts if you see that utility to reverse that lot to go back to make enhanced interrogation techniques legal? >> ed is the topic i am not qualified to comment it is not involved so the air force forces so from my perspective is acceptable and changes a very large debate it will execute as directed but on the other side of the house for the
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drone training the issues have not changed the we expect with fy16 we will train the aircraft attack pilots it we will break 300 this year if we can get to 384 to make that availability of pilots. with those operational groups those are still
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working but making progress. >> those that are constrained the air force says i'm sorry we just cannot. >> right now. we are in the process of those caps and this is one of the great things of that workforce to expand in the work as hard as they need to to get the job done. that is the problem they're working too hard. we have to get this right in the organizational structure.
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because they deserve that. >> with that acquisitions strategy deal have reassurances that we have not seen in the press yet? and as we are continuing to communicate with classified and unclassified sessions in we just continue to tell the story. i have no assurances other
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day in this is the capability for the country looking to both successes and crafted a strategy going forward. >> so it is possible to the terminate a contract and of course, that takes more money and time but we hope it will maya come to that -- not come to that. >> how much does maintaining strategic ambiguity govern the release of the b21 as opposed up to the security
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plans? i would assume you are let this out to the build against? >> it is important and technology is important. i don't perceive for years. and as mentioned earlier with the desire to share information with up publican and protect information with that way to connect dots we wish there not connected. ambiguity is part of this. >> imaging the carrier price is fair in eating you can
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have the clearance to talk about? >> data have anything else to share today on the bomber >>. >> we have heard when you first are out to as you come to the end of your tenure with is a problem to tell the year for story? with the legislative liaison? and how defects this problem? the periods of rising budgets as part of the budget is part of the
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general proposition then in tougher times when budgets are leveling or decreasing. in making it difficult for the tough choices. they all impact the national security different parts of the country and this is what we're facing. there is a real problem overall. >> it is you have and not the other services. >> that is the first we have heard that. it is to be more epithet it with my pets to tories. [laughter]
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-- toys. >> given the statements from north korea to be launched at the continental united states spitzer the actions of north korea is why we have everything from a presence in the pacific and why we have an alliance with south korea and work with the defense posture. it is a very big concern. and how to be sure to take that out. >> number three is not at that stage yet.
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with the russian aggression in syria has the will become a more dangerous place? >> i would say is certainly isn't more complicated of a lot of complexity, a lot of ambiguity, a lot of a situation is under different to not impact there is a lot of complexity. that is for sure. >> we have seen that in the headlines every day. >> there is uninterested in congress to potentially fund the be 21 programs and also
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what other options are you looking at specifically? >> certainly the fund for nuclear modernization is seems appropriate. in that is the approach for a joint fund but the key question is where will the money come from? we will have to have a national debate it will be settled this year but in the next few years will be modernized these forces in this so we need the resources to do it. if we have to live with the topline it will create problems talking about have many choices we put forth in the budget are not popular. and with that triad finca of
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the reductions. we have to get this settled over the next couple of years. and then we just have to get this cleared away. >> you discuss your desire giving everything in the world but of a caveat in then to use in rollout. so where will you be in with those opportunities for active duty?
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after 20 years of downsizing in order to grow we needed to reduce resources into the recruiting for san the training base to go out and attract that talent so we have to look at those training aspects. and with those types of incentives to retain at a higher rate. if you are recruiting and retaining more together is how you grow. so more than on the active duty side from 2016 and if
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we could get that we need to grow some more in fy17 in which we ask congress to consider a reprogramming action. >>. >> talk about the strain of those careers that you singled out. but what about these other career fields? >> one that we did mention was in the maintenance arena with aging platforms so we have thousands of maintainers that we need more going for word.
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>> with six fleets of airplanes it over 25 years old or 50 years old it is tough to keep them flying and we see that all over the airforce. and then those retention rates start to drop. >> could you give us a sense why was it important? for increased transparency with those possibilities. and with those balancing acts.
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>> my understanding is there was intelligence this was a training camp and a fighters would be embarking what would directly impact the partners. but this is simply we cannot defend. >> as an act of hostility those that are included in that activity we just heard this from though white house as well how this affects everybody in the department of defense it just don't know the answer. >> if you could focus more
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you hope to have 10 more contractors for the i sr can you give a set timetable? with the afghan troops and to the accelerate that? >> we will get an ad as soon as he can with the budget to use the money to help in this effort from oco. we will expand with the joint force commander in trying to get there as fast as we can. >> a.
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>> he will answer questions if he would like. [inaudible conversations] >> i thought the secretary would defer the question is to be but she answered them well. so we will start off with some simple things with the goal to get a bomber in the field and to support combat commanders of that military strategy in a cost-effective manner that is how we set up but we are trying to do. also we made a commitment to have another step. uphold the it is of balance
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between transparency for public trust them protection as the adversaries have less insight. i will not give you incentive value today those are just not going to be things that i talk about. but we are working through the process is to provide all of that information i will take any questions and let me finish up. in just to look at that incentive structure there
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are two components it edits based on schedule the contractor the navy had structured the incentives must focus on both of those throughout the program to capture the amount that turns into profit. the scheduled incentive is more heavily weighted of the two in focused on schedule in those scheduled incentives and meeting requirements if they don't make it on the expected or the set date the incentive fee or the profit goes down and tell it goes to zero and that is the way it is structured. but the next scheduled date
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is still out on the calendar and a half to march to that date and to deliver on those capabilities. additionally to schedule incentives increased to the end of the up program so the fee early on that schedule peace will be lower in dramatic the larger to the end as we deliver the aircraft. , without cost and schedule they will learn all those incentives with those formulas that the winner they are the headier waited of the two so it is delivering capabilities to
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meet those requirements. and to share more information with you going forward as we can and we will continue to be transparent with congress and we will continue to share information and i open that up. >> but this is not a fixed price contract with the billion dollars of losses so why would we do that so what is the thinking behind that? >> the program that many
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people focus with that effort is complete the different and they end up bomber. it is the derivative aircraft of a line that is hot producing 767 ince to provide as a tanker to keep a commercial writer opened to do commercial sales in on the 21 you do a have the possibility of commercial sales and at this time nor do we anticipate the ability to do foreign military sales. in you are integrating with your technologies into an never before build platform.
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when we got into discussions of contracts the milestone decision at that point decided it was based on the risk is more appropriate. that is technical in the ability and desire to continue to perform to make it through other means. but one of the lessons is more richer isn't it is much lower. >> that isn't what i said. pine she did say that did was correct i was a test pilot so i can relate back with more risk but we still have risk but i do not equate to that same level in
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this case we used church technologies to deliver that capability but we still build up a brand-new airplane so that carries risk into the never before built airplane that also carries risk. do believe that risk is low enough? >> can you get into some more detail with those contractors? >> that is a guy will not go into any more details but that is why i asked the secretary. and what you have talked about today the of what he will eventually you rollout.
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>> some people have asked about how we factor those life cycle costs from the beginning. we brought in operators and maintainers from the field to look at the maintenance and supply chains. we have reached out to the test organization to make sure we have the right structure set up in to put the aircraft in the field and those factors with those parameters to make sure we are focused on the life cycle costs from the beginning. and then to support in assisting them.
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and why the current contract makes sense. and from what i already explained weighing of a the risk with the one-size-fits-all contract type most of these have shown the end we can look back at some of the programs with the fixed-price development into apply those lessons learned there is no one-size-fits-all. we all have ideas what we are trying to do. >> did read the b-2 was
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originally integrated and read that will be. >> no comments. in the 20 '20s the capability date requirements to establish those criteria. it then why is this issue so contentious right now? >> we haven't changed our stride in -- strategy we
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have been very transparent for many years since the inception of the program is jinnah classified environment to the transparent over the last few years to have a strategy to be consistent with our message even before we release the request of the proposal to do source selection and contracts we have been very transparent and now we will communicate as we have us a discussion what type of vehicle to use. >> is a discussion similar to what we are hearing now? >> we didn't have anything to stop and change our course. >> please forgive me if it
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is a step ted -- stupid question but it looks somewhat like the b-2. hello there ben any changes? >> when you have a requirement if you go back and lick of those products the the late forties and fifties it is similar to the b-2. nothing special live has worked and it continues. >> a $23 billion contract spinnaker you're not telling
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you the contract but the service cost position it was 23.5 billion that is the number we gave you some dimity plan to give that? >> i believe so but that will be something. >> what about the incentive fee? if it is $2 million for 200 million is a different issues. >> it is considering it the contractor will pay attention.
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