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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 19, 2016 10:00am-12:31pm EDT

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energy modernization bill which would modernize the nation's electric grid and approve energy standards for buildings. senators will also debate a number of amendments with votes on those and final passage later today. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal spirit, the splendor of your presence delights us. you have been our help in ages
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past; you are our hope for the years to come. thank you for leading us beside the still waters of your wisdom and through the green pastures of your peace. empower our senators for the task of this day. may they put right before expediency, others before self, principle before partisanship, and you before all else. lord, keep our lawmakers under the canopy of your care, sustaining them with your grace amid all sunshine and shadow.
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and, lord, thank you that america still stands with lamp held aloft as a beacon of freedom for our world. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: p later this morning the senate will have an opportunity to pass the f.a.a. reauthorization and security bill which aims to secure our airports and look out for american travelers. this legislation received bipartisan support from the start and it shows what's possible with a senate that's back to work. under the guidance of senator thune, the commerce committee chairman, and senator ayotte, the aviation chair, this f.a.a. reauthorization and security bill incorporated ideas from both sides as it moved through the legislative process. i also appreciate the work of
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ranking member nelson and ranking member cantwell in working with them to advance it. after seven hearings and nearly 60 amendments accepted the bill passed the commerce committee by voice vote. on the floor the bill managers continued listening and working with senators from both sides to process more amendments that members thought would make all this good bill even stronger. for instance, they worked to include a number of additional security measures in an amendment that earned bipartisan support. that amendment aims to enhance inspections and vetting of airport workers to improve security for international flights arriving in u.s. airports and to help ensure perimeter security is reviewed. in addition to these important security provisions, we accepted an amendment from senator heinrich to shore up security in prescreening zones which could be particularly vulnerable to attacks. we also adopted an amendment from senators toomey and casey
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that addresses the security of cockpit doors. i appreciate these and other senators who put forth ideas to make the final product something both sides can support. the f.a.a. reauthorization security bill will make important strides for our national security and for travelers. it does so without increasing fees or taxes on travelers. it does so without imposing regulations that can stifle consumer choice. i look forward to supporting this legislation later this morning. now, mr. president, on another matter, moving forward the republican-led senate will have another opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation, legislation aimed at modernizing america's energy policies. the energy policy modernization act is the result of more than a year's worth of work by our energy committee chair, senator murkowski and ranking member, senator cantwell. these senators know it's been
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nearly a decade since the senate considered major energy legislation, so they worked to do something about it. they also know that good policy results from good process as this bill certainly demonstrates. it's meant working through countless listening sessions and oversight hearings. it's meant numerous amendment votes and debate hours. it meant working to move this bipartisan energy bill to final passage. the energy policy modernization act aims to bring our energy policies in line with the demands of today and to position us to benefit from the energy opportunities of tomorrow. here's how it can help achieve that goal. it expands domestic supply and improves efficiency. it addresses aging infrastructure and enhances safeguards. it promotes accountability and cuts through needless red tape. this broad bipartisan bill does all these things. it builds on technological
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progress in order to strengthen and sustain america's energy advances. it protects our environment at the same time, and it does all of this without raising taxes or adding a dime to the deficit. here's what that means for our country: it will help americans save energy. it will help americans produce more energy. it will help americans pay less for energy. and like the airport security legislation i mentioned earlier, the energy policy modernization act will help keep americans safe. it includes provisions to bolster our national security by strengthening our cybersecurity defense mechanisms. this legislation will make significant strides for american energy policies and it wouldn't have been possible without the bill managers' leadership and dedication. so i want to thank them again for their diligence in advancing this critical legislation closer to passage. now, mr. president, on one final
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matter, i'd like to say a good words about police chief rick mccould he coven of the barts tn police department. we learned yesterday he'll be retiring. he led his officers through some of the most troubling times in the police department's history. he did so with rigor and resolve, with grit and with grace. nearly three years ago the barts town police department took a blow to its very core with the tragic assassination of officer jason allen who was killed in an ambush while driving home in uniform and in a marked vehicle. authorities have strong reason to believe the killing was a retaliation from drug traffickers against a police department that was making significant progress in rooting out trafficking and making drug arrests. chief mccullen was the leader of that effort to stamp out drug
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crime. he spoke out on behalf of the whole department about the loss of their brother jason who will never be forgotten. i know that. i know that while the case remains unsolved today, he has led the effort to see officer ellis's killers brought to justice. chief mccullen continued the fighting by seeing bart town county earned inclusion in the appalachia program we called hide-a in 2014. it is not another government acronym but a model that works. it kupls state and local -- it couples state and local tax forces with the technology they need. by getting them included in the hida program he brought power to fight drug trafficking and keep the citizens of barts town safe.
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it's been an honor to work with him over the years. he received an award in 2015 and i know the people of the county appreciate his diligence and determination to fight crime and to keep them safe. so i want to thank him for his service to barts town, to kentucky, and to the nation. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: mr. president, i appreciate the republican leader talking positively about the energy bill. we call it energy efficiency the last two congresses, when we tried so hard under the direction of senator shaheen from new hampshire to get this done. we tried so very, very hard. we had many runs at it. promises from the republicans. i don't need to mention names, but they know who they are.
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let's get back on this bill, we'll get it done. we only have three amendments. we only have two amendments. and we did that time after time after time over four years. and every time the obstruction would not go away, and we couldn't do the bill. now, i'm grateful that we have a bill now dealing with energy efficiency. the name's been changed but it's the same bill. and i hope that senator shaheen from new hampshire has some degree of -- i hope she's proud of what she started a long time ago. her name is not on the legislation anymore, and i appreciate the junior senator from washington and the senior senator from alaska working hard to bring it to the floor today. when we brought it here to the
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point we are today is the result of a very long struggle. sure the republican leader talks about the many years since the bill, since we've had an energy bill. the reason we didn't have one four years sooner is because they wouldn't let us. gridlock. obstruction. that's because republicans blocked energy bills any chance they got. they insist on offering amendments that weren't germane. they weren't relevant. so we're not acting the way they did. we want to get it done also. it's important for our country and it's a positive step forward. i just want to make sure there's a full understanding of the history behind this. 21 years ago today in oklahoma city, 9:02 a.m. oklahoma city time, timothy mcveigh detonated a bomb in a federal building in oklahoma city killing 168 innocent people, and
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19 of them were children. they were there with their parents on business that the family had. this was a work day, and timothy mcveigh detonated that huge explosion that people could see the smoke from miles and miles away. it was the deadliest terror attack on american soil before 9/11. i think we can all see -- i know i can see in my mind's eye images that were on television. this huge federal building destroyed. it had been ripped in half. i recall, as i'm sure people within the sound of my voice recall the images of chaos, bloody and disoriented victims trying to determine if they were alive, if they got their arms, if they got their legs, they've got their mind, they've got their eyes. and as soon as they got that straightened out, they started
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desperately trying to find and assist the injured. this was a heartrending day for our nation. people watched the aftermath and wanted to help in any way they could. one of those eager to help was a lawyer in the department of justice named merrick garland. his boss at the time, a well-known political figure, deputy attorney general jamie garlic. she explained garland's desire to go to oklahoma city and help with the investigation. here's what she said. it's a quote. "both of us had kids about the ages of the kids in the day-care center in washington. we were sick to our stomachs, and merrick said 'i need to go.' " merrick garland went home that evening knowing he would be gone for awhile. he kissed his wife, his children and arrived in oklahoma city
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less than 40 hours later. at this time merrick garland was a seasoned prosecutor, having served as u.s. attorney for the district of columbia prior to making, taking a senior role in the department of justice. those who knew him recall how competent he was having done some criminal defense work in my past, i know how difficult it is for somebody trying to defend somebody when you come up against a prosecutor with a reputation of garland. i mean, you say, oh, man, this is -- they have a way about them to make the case simple in the minds of the judge and the jurors even though it could be a complicated set of facts. those who work with him recall him as an unwavering as a commitment to the law. he followed the law.
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he followed the procedure. he was guided by an acute sense of fairness. as "the new york times" reported and i quote, "former colleagues also recalled that mr. garland insisted on doing the investigation by the book, like subpoenas even when truck rental companies volunteered to simply hand over the evidence. " he wanted to avoid any future trial problems. he also made sure there was a prosecutor responsible for keeping victims and relatives informed about the cases it developed. " in speech after speech, the senior center from iowa has insisted a nominee at the supreme court should be supreme, should be someone, and i quote him, "adheres to the constitution and the rule of law and decides cases based on wherever the text takes him or her."
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merrick garland is the person the senior senator from iowa described. with an entire nation wanting justice served immediately to those responsible for the bombing, garland and his team refused to take shortcuts. they did it the right way. they did it the garland way. they adhered to the law every step of the way. soism pressive was -- so impressive was mr. garland throughout the investigation and the prosecution, that steven jones, the attorney for timothy mcveigh -- listen to this. here's what the attorney from mcveigh said about merrick garland and i quote, "personally, he's above reproach. he has integrity. he has the skills." merrick garland was also devoted to the victims and their families. clawed why denny was the mother of two children in the building at the day care center. her children were critically injured, but they survived.
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they're alive. this is what she said of merrick garland and i quote, "early on we got invited to the u.s. attorney's office. they wanted all of our concerns. i think judge garland set thawp. we all got our -- set that up. we all got our voice heard." the oklahoma prosecution sended with convictions and guilty pleas for all who were involved. to this day oklahomans still revere merrick garland for his good work. frank keating, governor of oklahoma at the time of the attack, has now spoken in praise of judge garland. he told n.b.r. recently and i quote governor keating. "people don't understand when they're eating a good dinner on a friday night there's a chef in the kitchen that did it. in the case of what we saw after april 19, there was a chef in the kitchen that did it and it was merrick garland." the junior center from oklahoma recently praised judge garland saying -- quote -- "i do plan a meeting with merrick garland in
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my office in the weeks ahead to say thank you for what he did for oklahoma during the bombing trial." but that's as far as senator lankford has said he will go. he's made it clear that he will do nothing to help garland get a hearing or a vote. following his work in the oklahoma city case, merrick garland continued to work on other notable criminal cases. oversaw the prosecution of the unabomber ted kaczynski, this evil man who is now in prison. and garland ran the investigation on the atlanta olympics bombing. anyone that served with distinction in the circuit court of appeals where he now serves at the chief judge. supreme court justice john roberts once said of doorland -- of garland and his judicial expertise, -- quote -- "any time judge garland disagrees, you know you're in a difficult are area." it's time for republicans to allow the american people to see merrick garland themselves, not have me talk about him, see him
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yourself. this is a superstar. this is somebody that should be on the court. the republicans shall allow the american people to see this man for what the people of oklahoma and litigants in the courtroom have known for many years. this is a special man. last year as part of the 20th anniversary of the oklahoma city attack, judge garland and some of the fellow prosecutors were awarded their reflections of hope by the national oklahoma city memorial. the honor is awarded to those who exfly the belief that "hope can blossom amid chaos." that's the hope merrick garland brought to oklahoma in the aftermath of that vicious attack. we're reminded of june garland's contributions in securing justice. in oklahoma city and wherever he has gone. he's a brilliant man, brilliant
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man. he was academically brilliant and he is a man who wasn't given anything on a silver platter -- silver platter. in my meeting with him, i asked him how he held the situation at harvard. it's an expensive place. he said, well, among other things, i sold my comic book collection. mr. president, that doesn't sound like much to most people, but, you know, those coins, for example, my little brother, separated by 22 months, those coins he's been collecting since he was a little boy. they mean a lot to him. most of them aren't worth too much but some of them are. merrick garland collected comic books. i have probably my best friend's son has collected comic books. it's something they do. and it meant a lot to him.
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he had to get rid of them to get through college. he's inspired those around him through his hard working commitment and fairness always. that's why it's so disappointing that republicans are denying this man the common decency of a hearing so the american people can see him. why not let merrick garland speak for himself at a hearing? why not let him make his own case to the american people and their elected senators? there's no excuse to delay his nomination any longer. senate republicans should give merrick garland the hearings and the vote heeserves. republicans need simply to do their job. mr. president, i want to say just a brief word on another subject. last week marked another horrible anniversary, the two-year anniversary since the terrorist group invaded a school in nye year gentleman and -- nigeria and took away 300 little
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girls. they were girls. they weren't young women. they were little girls. the world watched as parents of the girls pleaded for help. people all over the world including first lady michele obama rallied behind the campaign. bring back our girls. despite the global outcry, most of these girls, the vast, vast majority of these girls are still missing two years later. but here's the horrible part about this. the shocking fate of some of these girls. it's been a couple of years. they're older, teenagers. boca haran is weapon nicing them turning these little girls who are now not so little into suicide bombers. according to the united nations children's emergency fund, unicef, in the four countries where they operate, the number of children used in bombing attacks has sharply increased
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from four in 2014 to 44 last year and that record will be broken this year. nearly one out of five bombers were boko haram. 75% of the child bombers are girls. as a father, grandfather of 19 children, i'm sickened by what has happened to those school girls. although two years has passed since the abduction, the world must not forget the evil of this organization. we must be resolved to fight terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head, whether it's isis or boko haram, we cannot stop. we must be vigilant. mr. president, would you announce the business that we're
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going to proceed with today. 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 for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. the senator from vermont. a senator: mr. president, today we're going to remember the victims and families whose lives were forever changed by the bombing in oklahoma city 21 years ago. mr. leahy: this terrorist attack, homegrown terrorism, the bombing shook our nation to its core. the fact remains the worst act of homegrown terrorism our nation has endured. the destruction and loss of life were overwhelming. this photograph i've never forgotten. it's a firefighter carrying the
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limp and bloody body of a toddler from the wreckage. those of us who are parents and grandparents know the joy we've had in caring to children that age. you can only imagine the sadness of that firefighter. it symbolizes the horror of the attack. 168 innocent lives perished that day, 19 of them children. the impact of course of the loss -- to the loss of the oklahoma city was enormous. the city emergency services, victim support resources were quickly overwhelmed. as the days went boy it -- by, it became clear the existing federal resources were simply insufficient to respond to such a massive attack. so to respond to the victims' needs i proposed and congress passed the victims of terrorism act of 1995.
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among important matters the legislation, i wrote, create an emergency reserve to serve as a resource in the wake of an act of terrorism or mass violence, even though every one of us, republicans or democrats alike, prayed there would never be another such act, we had in my legislation an emergency reserve. because without such a fund, state victim assistance programs are quickly overwhelmed. and this new fund was critical in ensuring the additional resources got to the field quickly. and last month i met with a former federal prosecutor that managed the investigation and the prosecution of the oklahoma city bombers. and we talked about the prosecution. that former prosecutor is now chief judge merrick garland.
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he was not named to the supreme court last month, but before he's a judge, the nominee to serve the highest court in the land, he was a prosecutor and a senior official at the justice department, and those of us who have had the privilege of being prosecutors, none of us have ever faced what he did. and immediately after hearing the news of the devastation of oklahoma city, merrick garland turned to the deputy attorney general. he said very simply, you need to send me there. the next day merrick garland became the highest ranking department of justice official on the ground in oklahoma city after the bombing. he helped to oversee every aspect of the criminal investigation and the response. and years later he still considers his work in oklahoma city the most important in his
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life. chief judge garland's commitment to fairness during that difficult period, his work with the citizens of oklahoma city, was formative for him. and i know in talking with him it left a lasting impression on him but it left especially a lasting impression on the people he served. last year the oklahoma city national memorial and museum honored merrick garland with a reflections of hope award for his work on behalf of victims. after his nomination to the supreme court last month, the oklahoma museum's executive director said, we are so proud that judge garland who kept the family members and survivors front and center during his work in oklahoma city has been nominated. we also heard from a team of former prosecutors, law
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enforcement agents, victims advocates that worked directly with chief judge garland. in the aftermath of the oklahoma city bombing they wrote -- they strongly support his nomination to the supreme court. the law enforcement team writes of chief judge garland, 20 years ago, the nation could not find a better lawyer to manage the investigation and prosecution of what was the worst crime ever committed on american soil. today our nation could not find a better judge nor a more honorable man to have included on the highest court. i ask consent that that letter be included as part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: the american people know that it is this dedicated public servant who is now being denied a public hearing by senate republicans. no nominee to the supreme court has ever been treated the way senate republicans are treating
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chief judge garland. since public confirmation hearings began in 1916, the senate has never denied a supreme court nominee a hearing and a vote. i say to my friends, the republicans, you have no good reason for your obstruction of merrick garland. americans by a 2-1 margin want chief judge garland to have a public hearing in thing judiciary committee. based on more than four decades of precedence, that hearing should take place in the judiciary committee next week. instead senate republicans continue to ignore the american people. neil segal, law professor at duke university, pointed out it does not matter constitutionally nor does it matter tradition whether a nomination is made in an election year. numerous nominations have succeeded during election years. without exaggeration, senate republicans have made up a
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distinction without a relevant -p constitutional difference. even schoolchildren know that presidents are elected to four-year terms and they have to carry out their constitutional duties each and every year right up until noon of january 20 of their last year. it's no different for we senators. we can't just sit this year out because an election will be held in november. today as we remember the victims, their families and the entire oklahoma city community, let's remember the good the senate has done and put aside destructive partisanship and come together to act for the good of the country. this body has done that time and again under both democratic and republican leader. and it's carried out its constitutional duty to consider nominees to the supreme court. so i hope the senate will carry out that duty for public
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servant, merrick garland, who has served this country so well. on another matter, mr. president, on april 12, the appropriations subcommittee and the department of state and foreign operations held a hearing on violent extremism in the role of u.s. and foreign citizens. we heard from four witnesses including bono, lead singer of u2 and cofounder of one. many may not know bono by name or have the privilege of listening to his music but their lives are better because of the profound impact his advocacy has had on the effort to combat poverty. at the hearing bono testified about what he called the three extremes: extreme ideology, extreme poverty, extreme
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climate. his testimony was powerful. it complemented the opinion piece he wrote that was published in "the new york times" on the morning of the hearing in which he highlighted the importance of investing in international development, a way that empowers local populations, including refugees and other displaced persons. i ask unanimous consent that a copy of b sp* -- bono's essay be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i see my distinguished colleague on the floor, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. a senator: thank you. i have the honor to represent the tip of america's sphere, fort bragg, north carolina. mr. tillis: it is the home to the most decorated forces in the military, the all-american
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division, the 82nd airborne. the 82nd is the subordinate command of america's global response force. whenever a threat occurs, units of the 18th airborne can be on top of any target in the world in just 48 hours. in the 15 months that i have had the privilege to represent north carolina in the senate, i made the readiness of the 18th airborne one of my top priorities. in fact, you'd think it would be everybody's top priority. but i've watched budget cutters in the air force slowly chip away at the abilities of commanders at fort bragg to adequately train their paratroopers at pope army airfield. this year the air force began dismantling the one air force tactical unit at pope, the 440th airlift wing, capable of providing daily and ad hoc support for fort bragg soldiers. i said at the time that the removal of the 440th created
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unreasonable risk to the readiness of critical airborne units. they must be prepared to respond to a range of contingencies in very short time frames. i pointed out repeatedly that the deactivation of the 440th comes at a time when the nation is facing growing uncertainty and increasing threats abroad that could require a military response, and it's a response that only forces at fort bragg can fulfill. over the last seven years the 440th provided the army with unparalleled support, tailor training opportunities without the tyranny of distance that comes through logistical bureaucratic and operational delays by having air force stations somewhere else. the air force leadership stated after any -l activation of the 440 itth out-of-state aircraft would support all airlift
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requirements at pope. the air force asked me to suspend disbelief. they told me to accept that it's more cost effective for units to fly from little rock, arkansas or mccord air force base in washington state than support fort bragg in north carolina rather than having planes stationed at fort bragg. i did my best to make sure the air force understood the army's requirements and i promised them that if they remove the 440th that i would be monitoring their progress and their ability to satisfy the army's requirements for as long as i'm in the u.s. senate. well, the first warning signs that the air force was in trouble came in december at the annual operation toy drop. operation toy drop is the world's largest combined airborne operation down at fort bragg. the drop is actually daytime nontactical airborne operations supervised by foreign military jump masters. they do it as a rare treat to
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participate, so that they themselves can get jump wings from a foreign country. this year's operation was purposefully designed by the air force to prove to congress, to prove to me that they could support the training mission at fort bragg. to prove the point, the air force reserved what so far as to reduce the 440th's role in the operation. when the air force planes could not get to pope because of weather, mechanical or other delays, the 440th had to step in and make up the deficit like they've done so many times before. this is the real world in action: bad weather and mechanical problems happen. the air force knew this exercise happens every year. they know it's highly visible. and they knew that they were under a microscope, and still they couldn't meet the requirement. in fact, during operation toy drop, the 440th provided for about 40% of the chutes and 43%
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of the lift for the entire operation. fort bragg leadership has been cleared to the air force in terms of their combat requirements, their training requirements at fort bragg. they told the air force that they have to drop 10,000 paratroopers a month, 8,000 drops a month is considered the bare minimum for the 18th airborne corps. sadly, the air force is not meeting those requirements. only 6,100 paratroopers exited from air force planes in march. that is 300 fewer paratroopers dropped in february, which is 77% of the 8,000 sustainable threshold, and 61% of the army's overall requirement. where i went to high school, 61% was a d-minus bordering on an f. they're failing. the air force has missed the army's minimum jump requirements every month this year. these numbers are illuminating and concerning because in the southeast, this is the best
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flying weather, january, february, march, best flying weather in the southeast. what's going to happen when the southeast thunderstorms and tornado season kicks in? if the air force can't meet bragg's needs when the skies are clear, how's it going to do when the storm clouds gather? i hope the air force knows that i have their back. as a member of the senate armed services committee. but in this case, this is about fulfilling the army's requirement. this is about me having the army's back. this is about making sure that the men and women who will be asked at a moment's notice to assemble on the green ramp at pope army airfield and go wherever they must go to defend freedom and save lives, that they're at their highest state of readiness. but the performance at this point suggests that the air force is failing its customer service commitment to the army. no business in america would be able to dictate to the customer how and when they're going to
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get their product, but that's exactly what's happening with the air force's relationship with the army, and they're failing. so, mr. president, i will ask senator mccain to inquire as to whether or not the air force expects to meet the needs of the global response force. they haven't done it in this first quarter. and this is the first quarter that they were trying to transition to a pope army airfield without the 440th. and if they can't answer the question, then it is time for us to consider other options. thank you, mr. president, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dak. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be sus spented. the presiding officer: -- suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, when republicans took the majority in the senate last january, we were determined to get the senate working again. by 2014 the democrat-controlled
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senate had largely ground to a halt. serious legislation had been replaced by political messaging. and the democrat leadership refused to allow votes on amendments. in short despite democrat control of the senate, democrats and republicans alike were shut out of the legislative process. well, mr. president, republicans were determined to change that. since we took control of the senate in 2015, we focused on taking up substantial legislation that addresses the challenges facing the country. we've made sure that bills get written in committees, with input from senators of both parties. and we've opened up the senate floor to debate an amendment. mr. president, why is that important? because in open legislative process in the senate means that all americans get represented. when legislation is written in the open using the committee process and senators have a chance to highlight their constituents' concerns, the
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final bill is a lot more likely to reflect the american people's priorities. mr. president, one of our most basic responsibilities as members of congress is to pass appropriations bills. appropriations bills give senators and congressmen a chance to take a look at where taxpayer dollars are being spent and how we can spend this money more efficiently and effectively. unfortunately too often congress ends up skipping the appropriations process and rolling a number of the appropriation bills into one giant spending bill. and that means that we lose the opportunity to closely examine our spending priorities and make sure that we're spending money wisely. since we took control of the senate, republicans have been determined to make sure that congress takes the appropriations process seriously. we've made sure that individual appropriation bills are developed in committee where senators of both parties have the opportunity to help develop the bill and make sure that their constituents' concerns are heard. mr. president, this week
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congress is taking up the energy and water appropriations bill. this legislation funds a number of priorities. rural water project, critical infrastructure projects, nuclear deterrence efforts, energy research, flood control, and environmental cleanup to name a few. i'm particularly pleased that this bill funds important projects, like the lewis & clark regional water system that will help provide communities with access to steady reliable sources. i'm also pleased that this bill invests in next generation high physics research including the deep underground experiment which can reeve liewgz -- revolutionize our standing of some of the most fundamental elements of our universe. this demonstrates continued u.s. commitment to a project that will help train the next generation of scientists and engineers, retain and attract the best scientific minds to the united states, and garner additional investment from global partners. i'm closed that the south dakota
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underground research facility will continue to play a leading role in this major scientific effort. mr. president, the energy and water appropriations bill passed the senate appropriations committee with the unanimous support, unanimous support of democrats and republicans, a 30-0 vote. i'm hoping it will receive the same strong bipartisan support on the senate floor. this bill will boost our energy -- our nation's energy security making our economy more competitive and promote energy innovation. it will help us produce more and pay less for energy. this legislation is an important first step in our commitment to restore order to the appropriations process, and i look forward to consideration of additional appropriation bills on the senate floor in the coming weeks. mr. president, i'd like to take a few minutes to talk about the two ride alongs i was privileged to take with rapid city, south
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dakota law enforcement officers at the end of march. we live in a climate where police officers are often made to sound like criminals, and criminals are often portrayed as victims. and the result of that, mr. president, is that we forget about the real victims out there, the people who have suffered crimes or are forced to live in crime-ridden neighborhoods. and we forget about the work that police officers do in making our communities places where we can live. three weeks ago i got to meet with law enforcement officers from the rapid city police department and the pennington county sheriff's office. and after our meeting, i got to take a ride through rapid valley with sheriff's deputy brandon ackley and arrive through rapid city with rapid city police officer jim hanson. mr. president, not very long ago some neighborhoods in rapid city had their share of challenges. law enforcement officers
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frequently responded to drug and alcohol abuse calls, domestic violence, break-ins, and other violent crimes. just imagine what it's like to live in a neighborhood like that, mr. president. coming home after dark is dangerous. it may not be safe for your children to play in the yard. it's certainly not safe to send them to the playground. your children constantly see things that no child should see and hear things that no child should hear. your property isn't secure. your car and your home are at risk all of the time. and there are no economic opportunities in your area because businesses don't want to locate in areas where it's not safe to do business. that's what live is like in some of these neighborhoods, mr. president. in one instance in rapid city, law enforcement officers responded to over 600 calls to one building over a period of a
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single year. by partnering with residents and impacted neighborhoods, rapid city law enforcement stepped in and conducted an aguessive -- an aggressive year's long campaign to rid this area of crime. today residents can let their children play outside without fear and new economic opportunities are opening up for residents as businesses move in. it's no exaggeration to say what that these police officers did changed the lives of countless rapid city residents. mr. president, every day in every community in the united states, the men and women who make up our nation's police forces and sheriff's departments put their lives on the line for the rest of us. they're first on the scene when someone is in danger. the first to come running when you call for help. and when evil threatens, they step in.
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i'm grateful to the men and women of the rapid city police department and the pennington county sheriff's department and to all the law enforcement officers keeping the peace in south dakota and around the nation. because of their service, we can live in safety. mr. president, i yield the floor. i 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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mrs. murray: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, i come to the senate floor today to once again urge my republican colleagues to do what they're elected to do, listen to their constituents, and give judge garland a fair consideration he deserves. madam president, as some of my colleagues have already noted, today marks 21 years since the oklahoma city bombing, an attack that shocked the world and took 168 innocent lives. i have the honor of meeting with an individual last week who was not only involved in the immediate aftermath of that terrible attack, but who went above and beyond to make sure justice was served on behalf of those who lost their lives. judge merrick garland, the president's nominee to the supreme court, was at the scene of that bombing within two days,
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with debris from the alfred b. murrah federal building still smoldering in the streets, judge garland was helping first responders and working with local law enforcement. and as a top official in the justice department, he led a massive investigation of the bombing and supervised the prosecution of timothy mcveigh. and he did all of that even if it meant more work, more time away from his family, with incredible delicacy and thoroughness. he called his work for the justice department following the oklahoma city bombing the most important thing he's ever done in his life. madam president, as we remember those who were lost on that day in 1995, and in light of last week being national crime victims week, we remember how judge garland honored those victims with his dedicated service. judge garland not only did his
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job with a great deal of heart working with families who lost loved ones but with vigor to demand that justice be served. his fairness and diligence earned him praise from members of both parties, from victims' families and law enforcement officers and even from the lead lawyer defending mcveigh. so, madam president, a person like that driven by the desire to help people and serve the public is someone who deserves fair consideration by all of us here in the united states senate. madam president, unfortunately that's not what is happening right now. we are 66 days into this supreme court vacancy, and so far republican leaders are still refusing to do their jobs. they won't say they're opposed to judge garland. they're just refusing to even live up to their constitutional responsibility and consider him. madam president, that kind of pure obstruction and partisanship is absolutely wrong.
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people across the country are not going to stand for that. last week i met with judge garland and talked to his background, his experience, his philosophy, his judicial philosophy. and what i found out -- and it would be difficult for any right-minded person not to come to this conclusion -- after meeting with him is that judge garland is highly passionate. he is highly respected and highly qualified to serve on the united states supreme court. now i'm very glad some republicans have started meeting with him. that's a great first step. but it cannot be the last step. families across this country deserve to hear from judge garland in a judiciary committee hearing under oath and in public. and then he should get a vote where every senator will have the opportunity to do their job and weigh in. if any member doesn't think judge garland should serve on the highest court in the land, they should feel free to vote against him. but give him a hearing, give him a vote and stop this
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partisanship and obstruction. madam president, evaluating and confirming supreme court justices is one of the most important roles we have in the united states senate. and it is this issue that actually pushed me to run for the senate in the first place. back in 1991, i was a state senator, a former school board member, and a mom. like so many people across the country back then, i watched the clarence thomas confirmation hearings. in frustration how the nominee wasn't pushed on the issues that i and so many others thought were so important to the future of this country. i saw how a woman who came to talk about her experiences, anita hill, was treat bid this senate, and i decided then and there to run myself for the united states senate, to give washington state families like mine a voice in this process. madam president, i've had the opportunity to hughes that voice here -- to use that voice here
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in the senate and to make sure washington state families have a seat at the table in supreme court nominations and confirmations over the years. i voted to support some of the candidates, including the chief justice nominated by a republican president. i voted to oppose others. but i always thought it was important that a nominee get the consideration that he or she deserves, and i always worked to make sure the people i represent got their questions answered as best as i could and that they could have a view into the process that should be above partisanship and politics. but, madam president, if republicans continue to play election-year politics and continue to refuse their jobs, my families in washington state will not have a voice. families across america will not have a voice. and the tea party gridlock and dysfunction that has dominated too much of our work here in congress will have claimed another victory. that is unacceptable. so once again i'm here today on
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the floor to call on my republican colleagues, just do your job. meet with judge garland, hold a hearing, give him a vote. we owe that to our constituents. it is our constitutional responsibility, and we should get it done. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. durbin: madam president, today, april 19, marks the anniversary of one of the worst terrorist attacks ever to hit the united states. on april 19, 1995, at 9:02 a.m., a rented truck filled with fertilizer and diesel fuel exploded in front of the alfred murrah federal building in oklahoma city. the impact of that blast was devastating. the third of that federal building was destroyed. 168 men and women and children lost their lives. several hundred seriously wounded. at that time it was the deadliest terror attack ever to take place on american soil. the oklahoma city bombing shocked america. in the days after april 19, americans mourned the lives that were lost and called for those who committed the evil to be brought swiftly to justice. it was in this context that u.s. department of justice sent one
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man to head this investigation and prosecution. his name, merrick garland. merrick garland was the principal associate deputy attorney general. he had volunteered to lead this investigation, telling his boss he had to do it. garland would stay in oklahoma city for a long period of time. by all accounts, he worked around the clock coordinating the efforts by law enforcement to gather evidence building the case against timothy mcveigh and terry nichols. every step along the way merrick garland was meticulous. he made sure no corners were cut in the investigation or the prosecution. there was so much at stake. one of the roles merrick garland took most seriously was to be in touch with the survivors and their families. keep them informed, keep them in
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the loop. he carried with him at all times a list of the names of the victims so that he would never forget the historic importance of his assignment. merrick garland would later call his work in oklahoma city -- and i quote -- "the most important thing i have ever done in my life." his work to help bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice earned him the respect and gratitude of those he worked with and served. that is the definition of public service. the record is clear that merrick garland has always done his job diligently and conscientiously. throughout his decades of public service at the justice department and later on the federal bench, judge garland has earned a reputation as a workhorse who leaves no task unfinished. it's instructive to hear what his former law clerks say about him. several dozen of them recently sent a letter to the united states senate. here's what they said about
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judge garland: unrelenting work ethic. they say judge garland -- quote -- "treated every matter before him with the same care and attention to detail, whether it affected the national interest or single ordinary life." judge garland's devotion to his work is admired by many. this is a man who has received extraordinary praise because he did his job and did it well. it should come as no surprise that when president barack obama announced that merrick garland was his choice to be the nominee to fill a vacancy on the supreme court, he dwelled on this experience in oklahoma city. unfortunately, merrick garland faces an historic blockade in the united states senate. the united states senate has never, never in its history denied a hearing and a vote to a
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presidential nominee to fill a vacancy in the supreme court. it has never ever happened before. the death of antonin scalia about two months ago led to an almost immediate announcement by the republican senate leader, senator mcconnell that there would be no consideration, no hearing and no vote for any nominee sent by president barack obama to this united states senate. senator mcconnell went further to say he would not even meet with the man. it's been more than a month since judge garland was nominated to the supreme court. it's been over two months obviously since supreme court justice antonin scalia has passed. why has the republican majority leader decided to ignore the precedent of history? why is he turning his back on our constitution? that constitution says
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explicitly, article 2, section 2, the president of the united states shall point a nominee to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. our founding fathers understood that you can play politics with vacancies, and they didn't want that to happen. so the president met his constitutional obligation, but sadly, this united states senate has refused to meet its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on that nominee. it's not automatic. there's no guarantee that any nominee sent by the president will be approved by the senate. but it is our responsibility to ask the questions of that nominee. people across the united states have a right to hear this nominee, merrick garland, under oath answer important questions about whether he's prepared to serve on the supreme court. and if he serves, whether he would bring integrity to that appointment. we've extended that courtesy to
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every presidential nominee to fill a vacancy on the supreme court until this moment. oh, the argument that's made on the other side of the aisle is we have to go through an election. we have an election coming up here. and let the american people decide, not the senate. let the american people decide whether it will be a democratic president or a republican president. what my friends on the other side of the aisle ignore is that president barack obama, when he was reelected, was not reelected to a three-year term. he was elected to a four-year term. he is the president of the united states this year and has the power of that office this year, not because of a pluraliy of five million votes the american people made that decision. five million votes cast for for
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barack obama, not for mitt romney. not for three years and two months but for four years. well, a lot of people say it's easy for you to say as a democrat in the senate that republicans should treat this democratic president a little better. but what if the shoe were on the other foot? well, we have a chance to take a look back and see exactly what happened when the roles were reversed. a republican president ronald reagan, 1988, in the last year of his term with a vacancy on the supreme court sends his nominee to the senate which was then controlled by the democra democrats. did we have an announcement from the senate democratic leadership that we will not consider any nominee sent by a republican president in the last year of his term? did we have an announcement by the democratic leaders in the senate? we won't even meet with this
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nominee? exactly the opposite occurred. anthony kennedy was given an opportunity of a hearing where he answered questions under oath and a vote which confirmed him on the supreme court. a republican president in the last year he was in office filled a vacancy on the supreme court with the cooperation of a democratic majority in the senate. well, the tables are turned now. it's a democratic president, a republican-controlled senate, and they are ignoring the history of the senate. they are ignoring the precedent of the senate. they plan on ig norring this nominee. there is -- ignoring this nominee. there's no basis in the constitution for the position taken by the senate republicans. this isen a unprecedented -- this is an unprecedented obstruction of a nomination to fill a key vacancy. i was across the street yesterday. it's the second time i've been honored to be included in a very small audience of about 250 to listen to the oral arguments in
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a case before the supreme court on a critical decision that will affect the lives of millions, millions of people in the united states. and i looked up to the nine chairs on the supreme court and obviously one was vacant. there are only eight. and if this court on this case or others cannot resolve it with the majority and votes 4-4 on the case, it invites confusion and chaos in one of the most critical branches of our government. it is confusion and chaos that can be avoided if the senate republicans simply do their constitutional duty, advise and consent. give to merrick garland a hearing, a hearing so that under oath the american people can draw their own conclusions about whether this man is the right person for the supreme court. and then a vote on the floor. you see, in the past even when the senate judiciary committee
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rejected a presidential nominee for the supreme court, the committee sent that nomination to the floor anyway for a vote so that the whole senate could speak to the worthiness of that nominee. merrick garland deserves nothing less. the senate republicans' refusal to do their job under the constitution has real world consequences. i ask consent for to additional minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: recently the solicitor general of illinois carol shapiro, came to the capital to talk to the senators about how the vacancy on the supreme court is actually hurting states by leaving important legal questions unresolved. i ask consent that her speech be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. as an example, solicitor general shapiro pointed out how right at this moment numerous states and federal circuits are governed by different standards on important fourth amendment searches and seizures. these cases are working their way through the courts but only the supreme court can finally resolve this issue.
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but the court may be unable. a 4-4 court with a tie does not resolve it. and unless the senate republicans do their job, the supreme court will be stuck with eight members for more than a year. when is the last time -- here's a trivial question -- the last time there was a vacancy on the supreme court for a year or more? during the civil war. it took a war between the states for us to leave a vacancy that long on the court, a vacancy which the senate republicans are creating by this obstruction. as we reflect on the anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing, i hope my friends on the other side of the aisle will take a step back from politics. i hope they will acknowledge that merrick garland stepped up for this nation, did the right thing, and proved that he could do his job. the senate republicans have no less responsibility. it is time for the senate republican majority to do its job. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, over this last weekend and through yesterday, large parts of central and southeast texas experienced torrential downpours. and in the houston region in particular experienced so much rain, it led to widespread flooding. i know many people have seen that on their tv screens or in the news reports or online. many will recall that last year over memorial day weekend, harris county where houston is located suffered from similar flooding. this year's rain seems to be even more widespread with some areas receiving as much as 20 inches of rain in a relatively short period of time.
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whole subdivisions were submerged. interstate highways were impassable. and power was knocked out affecting more than 100,000 people at one point. and tragically several people have died as a result of these floods. amidst this tragedy, texans have been quick to help one another. crews have performed more than a thousand rescues as of yesterday afternoon. even one tv reporter on location covering the story rushed to help rescue an elderly man from a flooded underpass. it's on youtube. i would recommend it to anybody to watch. it's really quite a rescue. this morning i spoke to county judge edmond of harris county and i'll continue to stay in close contact with him as well as the chief of the texas department of emergency management in the coming days. the one thing i do know is that
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texans are resilient. in the houston region in particular where i happen to be born -- happened to be born, we're used to storms that cause that kind of flooding. but the rebuilding effort will be a long one and with unthat will require sup -- one and one that will require support from officials at all levels. going forward i will do everything i can do to help mobilize federal resources for the houston area should the governor determine a federal disaster declaration is necessary. in the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of houston and other affected areas in texas and we hope and pray for their safety and for their fast recovery. madam president, on a separate note, i want to spend a few minutes talking about a piece of legislation that is bipartisan and deserves this chamber's consideration. last year around the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks action --
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attacks, i introduced the terrorism act or jasta. it makes minor adjustments to our laws to help americans who are attacked on u.s. soil get justice from those who sponsor and facilitate that terrorist attack on u.s. soil. when the judiciary committee considered this bill earlier this year, it was reported out without objection. i think the reasons for that are pretty clear. we should use every means available to prevent the funding of terrorism and the victims of terrorism in our country should be able to seek justice from people who do fund that terrorist act. we need to maintain diligence. and we must leverage all of our resources as many as possible to shut off the funding sources for terrorists. using civil liability to do so
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has been federal policy for decades, and jasta would strengthen that. it's my hope that this legislation will serve as an effective deterrent, and that it will make foreign governments think twice before spending money -- sending money to terrorist groups who target our homeland. our country confronts new and expanding terror networks that are focused on targeting our citizens, and we need to do everything we can to stop it, including passing this legislation. jasta is also important because it would help the vehicle tips of the 9/11 attacks achieve closure from this horrific tragedy. i mentioned this is a bipartisan bill and i'm glad to have introduced it with my colleague senator chuck schumer of new york, but unfortunately the president doesn't seem to share these bipartisan concerns about helping the victims of terrorism
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or deterring others from funding and facilitating it in the future. unfortunately the administration has worked to undercut progress on this legislation at every turn. the white house insisted yesterday that the president does not oppose jasta on behalf of the kingdom of saudi arabia, even though the administration has made that argument in private. and in light of his upcoming trip this week, it appears that the obama administration is pulling out all the stops to keep this bill from moving forward before the president's visit to riyadh. i wish the president and his aides would spend as much time and energy working with us in a bipartisan manner as they have working against us trying to prevent victims of terrorism from receiving the justice that they deserve. i was glad to see the president abandon an argument that i
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always found strange, especially coming from him. he didn't seem to care that much about our relationship with saudi arabia when he ran through his misguided nuclear deal with iran. running roughshod over serious concerns raised by the kingdom. and he didn't seem to care much about our relationship with saudi arabia when he contended that they should learn to -- quote -- "share the neighborhood with its mortal enemy iran." in a very real way, the president's opposition to this bill looked like in asking the victims of nine and their families to -- 9/11 and their families to pay some of the political price for the president's mishandling of our relationship with saudi arabia. well, yesterday the white house claimed it opposed the bill because it undermined the principle of sovereign immunity. the president said if passed, u.s. citizens could sue foreign
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governments, and the u.s. could get sued abroad. now, sovereign immunity is an important principle to be sure, but the fact is the white house is misrepresenting the law. we've had statutory exemptions to this immunity for years, for business conduct, for torts, for many things, including terrori terrorism. already had these exceptions in the law. that's been the law for decades. the only real change is allowing victims of terrorist attacks on the homeland to sue, even if the defendant is not designated by the state department as a state sponsor of terrorism. that's right. all this would do would be to allow victims of terrorist attacks on our homeland to sue, even if the sponsor of the terrorist activity was not a state department designated state sponsor of terrorism. so this is a narrow piece of
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legislation, and it would not upend traditional principles of sovereignty. yesterday a white house spokesman claimed that jasta would lead to liability for u.s. humanitarian aid workers. that's just false. that's just false. i'm confident senator schumer and i can make that abundantly clear to anybody who shares that misconception. the president's attempts so far to derail this legislation that would help the victims of 9/11 pursue justice under the law is completely unacceptable. unfortunately this shouldn't be a surprise. the president has steadfastly refused to declassify and release 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report that pertains to allegation of saudi arabia's support for the 9/11 terrorists. according to some news reports, president obama has vowed several times to release this
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information, but he hasn't followed through on that promise yet. and his actions to shield the saudi government instead of advocating on behalf of his own citizens rings much louder than his words. that doesn't sound to me like the most transparent administration in american history, which is something the president promised the nation at his inauguration. the good news is there is bipartisan support in this chamber for those who will stand up for these victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hold the people responsible accountable. i look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues to get this critical legislation passed. the president has his prerogatives under the constitution. if he wants to veto legislation passed by the congress on a
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strong bipartisan vote, he can do that. but 67 senators and two-thirds of the house can override a presidential veto. that's in the constitution too. so the president needs to step up. instead of trying to kill this conversation by private conversations over here in the -- trying to kill this legislation by private conversations over here in the senate, the senate needs to do its work, pass the bipartisan legislation and help the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hold those responsible. if the president wants to get in the way, he can veto the legislation and we can override that veto. that's the way the constitution works. madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president, i rise today to call attention to a dangerous complacency that threatens the health and the lives of our children. and i rise today to urge our administration to take long overdue action to protect our children. two years ago this month the food and drug administration, the f.d.a., released a proposed tobacco deeming rule a blueprint for a regulatory framework for e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. the administration officials believed and conveyed that the
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final rule would be out by the end of the summer 2015. well, the summer of 2015 is now history, and soon it will be the summer of 2016. and we wait. and we've been waiting a very long time. in total, it's been seven years since the family smoking prevention tobacco control act was passed by the u.s. senate, the u.s. house and signed by president obama. and this legislation gave the food and drug administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. this legislation was sponsored by senator ted kennedy. it was passed in the final months of his life. it was a tribute to his long advocacy for the regulatory control of tobacco, a dangerous,
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destructive drug widespread throughout america. the passage was part of his legacy. but now we are failing that legacy, and we are failing millions of our children. when the family smoking prevention and tobacco control act was passed into law, it was heralded as a major victory, giving the f.d.a. real power to crack down on the marketing of tobacco products to our children. after a year, no action. two years, no action. 2011, three years, no action. four years, no action. five years, no action. six years, no action. seven years, no action.
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and over the course of those seven years, a lot of young americans have become addicted to nicotine products. in seven years, the industry has had time to develop new, innovative products to entrap our youth, and they've utilized that time well. how much longer will this inaction continue while our children are addicted to products newly invented and aimed directly at them? each passing month thousands of children become addicted to these new products. each passing month the nicotine addiction industry becomes more deeply entrenched and determined to prevent the regulation that we authorize back in 2009. it has been said while nero fiddled, rome burned.
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in this situation, while the administration has failed to act, millions of children have become addicted to nicotine with profound consequences for their health. once the rule is final, the f.d.a. will be able to regulate new tobacco products in important ways, including minimum-age standards and limits on advertising and health warnings on the products and child-proof packaging and require the registration of tobacco manufacturers with the f.d.a. and f.d.a. approval of some novel products. it's time to get this done because lives are at stake. we all are familiar with the cycle. tobacco use leads to tobacco addiction. tobacco addiction leads to disease. the disease leads to suffering, and often to death. in fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable
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death in the united states. the leading cause. it imposes a terrible toll on health and lives and dollars, affects families and businesses and government. so the best way to improve the health of americans 10, 20, 30 years into the future or 40 years down the line is to stop the process by which this industry is targeting our youth because here's what they know. they know that after the age 21, very few people become addicted to nicotine. it's a product that people try in their youth, and with repeated use become addicted to and then ensue normally years and years. that makes for a very good customer of the tobacco industry, a very good customer of the nicotine industry, and very bad consequences for the health of our children who
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become our young adults, who become our middle-aged adults. very bad causes for health at each stage. according to a surgeon general's report released march 2012 tobacco use is a pediatric, and i quote, pediatric epidemic. but the thing is our children just aren't starting to smoke because of happenstance. no. they are aggressively targeted by the tobacco industry. big tobacco is working day and night to design products to appeal to kids, to get them hooked on this deadly habit so that they will be reliable consumers, or reliable customers. in fact, the industry calls them replacement smokers. the products we supplied before have resulted in a whole lot of our customers dying. we need replacement smokers. we need replacement consumers.
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this clearly is a product with great harm associated with it. cigars, cigarillos, cigarettes, tobacco candy, e-cigarettes, the list goes on and on. products cost often as little as 99 cents and are sold in colorful or cool packaging, and nowhere is that more true in the burgeoning e-cigarette industry. this chart shows very readily the strategy of using candy flavors, fruit flavors targeted at kids. we have everything here from cherry and watermelon. the list continues with all kinds of -- check this out gummie bears. youadvertise e-cigarette flavors
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gummie bears, you're not targeting those over 21. you're targeting our children. you're targeting with bubble gum flavor and candy apple flavor. these flavors are not for adults. they mask the taste of the product and make it more tempting, more exciting for our young people. madam president, i ask permission to use a prop. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. this here is an actual container, like these containers that are shown on the poster. this is called j-juice. they call it juice. they put juice in the title as if to imply it's healthy. this is liquid nicotine targeted at our children with all these kinds of flavors.
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now, this particular container was a response to the advocacy of myself and others to say that this targeting of our children is not okay. so the industry decided to create a senator's choice flavor, and they call this flavor -- quote -- "the greatest blend to date using the purest, highest quality, liquid essence of guava combining with with all natural, american made, raw ingredients." it's almost like a review of a fine wine, this senator's choice. and, again, they created this specifically to protest the fact that senators were standing up and saying that this targeting of children is not okay. it is immoral and it is wrong, and we have a law in place to end it. but the administration must act,
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or that law has no impact. what's actually in this? well, the ingredients list does not have essence of guava on the ingredient list. it has glycerin and glycol and nicotine and artificial flavorings, which somehow doesn't sound nearly as nice as the description on the web site. let's see the impact of this targeting of our youth, because unfortunately, big tobacco, nicotine addiction industry, their strategies work. that's why they're continuing to employ them. high school e-cigarette use tripled in just one year, from 2013, 4.5%, to 2014, 13.4%.
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and when we have the numbers on 2015, i'm sure we'll find that it's substantially higher. because of this aggressive marketing campaign aimed at our junior high and high school students. nearly one in seven high school students have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. that represents two million of our children, two million of our teenagers nationwide. an updated c.d.c. study released recently confirmed that youth tobacco use is continuing to grow. our children are not using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. they are using e-cigarettes to start smoking. so when the industry claims that all these e-cigarettes are about is improving the health of folks who currently use cigarettes, it is another tobacco industry big lie. big tobacco brings us another big lie.
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children are using these products to start smoking, not to stop smoking. and every day that we don't act, more of our children are at risk for a lifetime of tobacco and nicotine addiction. so the choice is simple. let's end this irresponsible inaction. let's stop enriching the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry by continuing to delay the regulations authorized back in 2009. let's do the right thing for america's children. let's assist our children in living longer, healthier, happier lives by ending the targeting by big tobacco. thank you, madam president.
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mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator florida. mr. nelson: madam president, i'd like to find out if -- how long the senator from north carolina wants to speak because i need to wrap up the matter on the f.a.a. bill, which we're voting on in 15 minutes. mr. tillis: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: through the chair, about five minutes, not more. mr. nelson: very fine. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. i've come to the floor today to talk about something that's very important to many of us in north carolina and people that go to the north carolina coast to enjoy our beautiful beaches and a group of of wild horses, called the yora will.
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la wild horses. they've been there since ships have been rest in had a we call the graveyard of the atlantic. these horses of spanish origin found their way to shore and set up a habitat on the east coast that is actually an traiks for tourists and it's something that always brings a smile to your face when you're out on the water. you'vthey've been there for almt 400 years. the problem we have, though, is with development over time, their habitat has slun -- has sk and as a result of that, we only have about 80 horses out in coralla. and to have a healthy population, we've got to figure out a way to provide them with genetic diversity or they're literally going to go extinct. and the entire herd is in grave danger as a result. the solution to the problem is to try and figure out a way to produce that genetic diversity,
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which is -- which is why senatos offered up a solution. the horses roam mostly on private land but there are some lands that they roam on that are managed by the u.s. fish and wildlife. the county philanthropic organizations are managing the dollars. but they do need some help and they need some relief for the amendment that senator burr has put forth. but to kind of give you an idea of what we're dealing with here, i want to tell the story of a typical example of what's happening out in coralla. this is a heartbreaking story, and it's shared to me -- i am going to read t it was shared to me by karen mcgalpin, the executive director of the wild horse fund who manages the horses now with no taxpayer dollars. when tieds were too high to
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bring a trailer up to the beach so we had to wait until the next day to bring panels and a trailer. we looked for him every day for four days after that. we went through wooded areas in marsh with no success. we finally found his harem on july 20, 2013. it was difficult to capture and the poor thing was just trying to run to keep up with its mother. we had to capture her as well. due to his young age and poor company, he needed his mother's milk as well as his company to relieve some of the stress. it became a -- cordero had to be iewj niced. this only requires a minimum amount of. we need to put an amendment forth that requires the u.s. fish and wildlife service to stay in north carolina and --
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the county wants to do this working with the corolla horse fund to establish a fund that would allow for the transfer of horses into the areas located at shake lbanks. this will allow the horse size to grow and provide better genetic diversity to prevent situations that poor cordero experienced. our amendment asks for no money. the amendment is supported by the humane society, the american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the animal welfare institute, the corolla wild horse fund and key animal welfare organizations. contrary to what some people have said who may oppose this amendment, it doesn't change the mission of u.s. fish and wildlife services. it doesn't require any taxpayer dollars. all it simply did is allow local government to solve this problem. madam president, i hope that later today or tomorrow when we can get on these amendments that we can convince our members that
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this is a very important asset, not only for north carolina but for the nation, and a simple gesture on our part can solve a very difficult problem on part of the corolla wild horses. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. nelson: madam president? er spher sph the senator from florida. mr. nelson: we're close to the vote on the f.a.a. bill. i want to underscore the importance for the senate because it contains some of the most significant passenger friendly reforms and airport security enhancements that we've seen in years. and to get to this point has been no small task, especially, as you know, in this era in which it's so difficult to find consensus in a bipartisan way to pass something.
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and we've been able to do it with the able leadership of the chairman, john thune. the two of us have felt like we needed to focus on areas where we agreed. and, as a result, the entire commerce committee came together to get this done. and now we're about to pass this and get it on to the house. now, in a complicated bill like this, it doesn't contain everything that everybody wants. but we hope that our counterparts in the house are going to take up and pass this bill without delay. we've given them a good bipartisan blueprint to follow and one that they ought to pass easily because, if they don't,
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by adding controversial or partisan measures such as privatizing our air traffic control system, something the u.s. department of defense is unalterably opposed to, that private controllers would be controlling our military aircraft ... well, if that path is taken down in the house, it's going to be a big loss for consumers and for the safety of the flying public. so when it comes to -- think about some of the irritations of passengers. a growing list of airline fees and charges. consumers feel that they're nickeled and dimed to death. this bill is going to require
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greater transparency and relief under it. building on a minority commerce committee report that was released last summer, it requires fee refunds for delayed baggage. it requires refunds for ancillary services like seating fees that are paid for by a customer and then not delivered by the airline. it requires new standardized disclosure of fees for consumers and increased protections for disabled passengers. now, safety important reforms. madam president, last night's national news was led by an
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international news report from london about an inbound british airways flight into heathrow that was struck by a drone. computer analysis has been done what would happen if the drone is sucked into a jet engine. it can certainly cause it to be inoperable and might start an explosion. remember what happened when two seagulls were sucked into the engines of a flight called "the h.u.d. song rive-- hudson rivern captain sully sullenberger was able to real it in because he had no power.
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that's seagulls, feathers and web feet and a beak. you can imagine with the metal and plastic of a drone being sucked into a jet engine. and so do we need any more reminders? so what we did was have in this bill a pilot program to test and develop technologies to intercept or shut down the drones when they are near airports. remember also the tragedy in brussels and remember the downing of an airliner, a russian airliner in egypt because somebody was on the inside and snuck a bomb onto the airplane. well, there are parts in this bill that will help reduce the
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insider threat the terrorists have previously exploited, including the soft targets out where you get the cues at the t.s.a. lines or the cue-ups at the ticket liners. this will improve the background checks and security screenings for airport workers and to prevent hackers from potentially gaining control of an airplane. this bill requires that the f.a.a. develop standards on how aircraft manufacturers can keep flight control systems separate from in-flight passenger entertainment systems. remember what we've seen on "60 minutes" about the takeover and control of a car by someone going on the internet and hacking into the car's entertainment systems. so, madam president, the bottom
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line is this: it's a good bill. it's the result of hard-earned, collaborative effort. i want to thank senator thune and his staff for their really good work and their good will in our negotiations. and i also want to thank the members of our staff who worked endlessly to get us to this point. afterwards, after the vote, madam president, i'm going to read a list of their names because i want them to be recognized. and to our colleagues in the senate, i want to thank you for working with senator thune and me on the creation and development and up to this point and now the passage of the bill, and i suspect that the senate will respond overwhelmingly, and
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i certainly urge that result. madam president, we've got just a couple of minutes to the vote. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: we're waiting to go -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. nelson: i ask consent that we obviate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: madam president -- i ask consent that i be permitted to speak for up to five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: madam president, we
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are trying to get clearance for a package of 26 noncontroversial amendments that we put together in a package. we, senator thune, myself. they're noncontroversial. they're amendments sponsored by a multiplicity of senators, a whole array of different things that are quite needed, but in fact we have one objection to proceeding with this package of 26 amendments. we're trying to get that objection removed. otherwise, we are going to be in a position of going to the bill which we will have the votes to
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pass but without these 26 amendments, amendments by senator hatch, mccain, thune, moran, brown, murphy, kaine, feinstein, johnson, leahy, inhofe, cornyn, markey, kirk, cornyn, durbin, moran, warner, sullivan, hirono, hoeven, heitkamp, isakson, murray, and tester, all noncontroversial but we have one objection with regard to this package that is noncontroversial. so, madam president, i will yield the floor and state that i call for a quorum call, suggest
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the absence of a quorum until we can see if we can work this out. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suended. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. thune: madam president, we have pending before us final passage on the f.a.a. reauthorization. we've been waiting to see if there weren't another 26 amendments that have been cleared on both sides that we could get added to the bill, but despite our best efforts, we have an objection to that. we've been trying all morning to get that cleared, but that hasn't been possible. so i would ask for the yeas and nays on the bill. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 636 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 55, h.r. 636, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to permanently extend increased expensing limitations and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 636, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to permanently extend increasing expensing limitations
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and for other purposes. mr. thune: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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