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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 21, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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irk. the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 56, the nays are 42.
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under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: in a moment senator coats will call up his amendment, coats and toomey. i want to thank the michigan senators and others for making the schedule work today. for the information of all senators, after the coats amendment, the next vote will be at 1:45 on the franken amendment. that will be the last vote today. the next vote will be on the murray amendment on monday afternoon. the only other thing i'd like to say is, senators and their staffs have been very good about getting their amendments in. we think we have all the amendments. we have asked to have them by 1:00 this afternoon so that we can sort of by consensus finish up on monday and tuesday, giving everybody a chance to have your vote, if it is a germane amendment, and to speak on the germane amendments.
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so my request on behalf of senator feinstein and me, if there are any amendments still out there, we'd like to have them by 1:00. the presiding officer: there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on amendment number 3814 to be offered by the senator from indiana, mr. coats. mr. coats: madam president? i think you just called up my amendment number 3814. i ask -- it has been reported. two of five loans -- the presiding officer: senator, the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator indiana, mr. coats, proposes an amendment numbered 3814 to amendment 3801. a senator: to of five loans issued by the department of energy under the alternative vehicle program have failed costing taxpayers $500 million in loss. mr. coats: currently sits on $4 billion of unused money. it's time to wind down this program. this will not affect any
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proposals that are currently with the department of energy on this program but it will prevent any new programs going forward. we can save the taxpayers a lot of money. use this for other alternatives if we can adopt this amendment. i yield the balance of my time to the senator from pennsylvania. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: this is exactly the kind of program our constituents hate. it's the crony capitalism where taxpayers are forced to subsidize preferred companies' special interests. how many hundreds of millions of dollars do taxpayers have to lose? i understand there's some discussion that may be on some bill in the future. this gets phased out as part of another deal. who knows if that's ever going to happen. here's a chance to wipe out crony capitalism, corporate welfare and a huge loss for taxpayers. let's pass this amendment. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. a senator: thank you. i would certainly urge all of my
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colleagues to oppose the coats amendment. mr. peters: would this does is eliminate a program that basically pays for a very carefully crafted agreement on which we are working on to deal with the flint water issue as well as water infrastructure issues all across this country. this is part of the proposal that senator stabenow and i have been working on, building support. we're looking to move to this very shortly to deal with this broad issue. a vote against this amendment allows us to continue to move forward with a bipartisan plan critical for our whole country and i yield my remaining time to my senior senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: madam president, bottom line we have developed a bipartisan bill that phases out this program in a responsible way for the businesses that are currently involved and uses that to pay for water infrastructure needs across the country, not only in flint, jackson, mississippi, cleveland, ohio, across the country.
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and so we can achieve what the senators are talking about in a way that helps us with water infrastructure. i urge a no vote. the presiding officer: the question is on amendment 3814. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, on this vote, the yeas are 48, the nays are 49. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. flake: madam president, i have four unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: madam president, i rise today to recognize sandy leedy, a dedicated senate staff member who will retire after more than two decades of public service in my office. soon after being elected to the senate in 1994, senator jon kyl was wise enough to offer sandy,
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a standout campaign volunteer, a job hadn't otherwise staff. sandy was given two options. she was work as a staffer in washington, d.c., or she could stay in arizona and serve as jon kyl's military caseworker. sandy knew she couldn't pass up an opportunity to serve those who serve our nation. it was an easy decision for sandy and a fortuitous one for arizona's military service members and veterans and their families. sandy's genuine passion for our military men and women combined with her meticulous approach to her work made heran invaluable stafferrer. sandy is well-versed in all things military. her vast knowledge has ensured that arizona's military servicemen and women havin have nothing but the best assistance for more than the past two decades. her reputation preceded her and when i was elected as senator in 2012, i had an easy decision of
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my own, offering sandy a job on my staff. thankfully, she said yes. sandy is probably best known around the state as a point person for service academy nominations. her understanding of that process and what it takes for a student to be an excellent nominee has helped so many students fulfill their dreams of attending one of our prestigious service academies. her focus on preparation and attention to detail has turned what can be a very daunting task into a seamless production, resulting in countless nominations and appointments to the service academies. while we all marvel at sandy's meticulousness, it is her compassion and calm demeanor that make her such an asset. that was never more evident -- this is never more evident than when she is working with students and parents in the long and complicated process of applying to attend one of these service academies. the beyond her work on behalf of the military, she is an active
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and cherished member of her community in cape creek, arizona. she is a member of her church choir, regular member a cape creek museum and a swim coach. there is no better testament to sandy'ssandy'ssandy's example ac servant than her two children. she herself recently retired after a career in the military. joe served in the united states marine corps. they made her the proud grandmother of three and she's lookinlooking forward to spendia well-deserved retirement looking at those grandkids. sandy, thank you for more than 20 years of dedicated public service in the united states senate. and in particular for the four years of stellar service as a member of my staff. your knowledge and passion will be greatly missed. i wish you well in your retirement. i yield back.
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mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, i am here with my colleague, senator portman, to join him in urging that the house take prompt action on the comprehensive addiction and recovery act that passed with such a stunning bipartisan vote here in the senate. as senator portman has pointed out, years of careful preparation went into the drafting of this bill. five separate national hearings held here in washington with people from all over the country. this is a very polished and carefully developed piece of legislative work that has the support not only of the addiction and recovery community but of the law enforcement community and many others. senator portman has been very diligent about coming to the floor to press for action from
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the house of representatives. my view is that since the house of representatives is under republican control, they are more likely to be attentive to the urgings of a republican senator, particularly one who has served in the house of representatives, than they are to me. but i want to make sure that the record is clear that i fully support rapid passage of this bill, and whether it is something that's close enough that we can quickly get it through conference or whether it is our bill -- to which they're free to add things, as they wish, over time, to get to the president now -- and the reason it is important to get to the president is now because we are in the appropriation process. the ppropriators need to know what they're appropriating to. so time is of the essence, not just because of the lives that are being lost day to day and month to month, but also because our appropriators need to know. so i'd urge my colleagues in the
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house of representatives, democrats and republicans alike, to listen to the distinguished senator from ohio and let's try to get this done. with that, i will yield to senator portman and with my thanks and appreciation. mr. portman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: first i want to thank my colleague from rhode island who just spoke. we did work together over the past few years in putting together in legislation. we did it by the way with the house of representatives. so senator whitehouse and i took good ideas wherever we could find them. whatever part of the country it came from, including ideas from the house of representatives. we didn't ask who had the idea. we asked whether it was a good idea. we kept this entirely nonpartisan, not just bipartisan. and, therefore, we built something that makes sense for our communities back home to deal with this epidemic of prescription drug and heroin addiction and overdoses. i appreciate his partnership in this, and i appreciate the fact that he came to the floor today to talk about the importance of moving ahead with this legislation.
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after all, it is very rare around here to get a 94-1 vote on anything, and we did it on this bill because after two and a half weeks on the floor of the senate talking about this heroin and prescription drug epidemic, every single senator in here realizes this is a problem in their states and 94 senators stood up and agreed that this legislation will help address it. by the way, since we passed the comprehensive addiction and recovery act or cara as it's called in the senate on march 10, 42 days have passed. that's more than a month. every day we lose about 120 americans -- 120 americans -- to drug overdoses. that means in these 42 days we have lost over 5,000 fellow american citizens to drug overdoses. think about that. so i do urge the house to act and act quickly. these numbers keep getting higher and higher. this is not getting better. back in ohio this is getting
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worse, and i assume the same is true in your state if euro a senator here and -- if you're a senator here and if you're a member of the house of representatives in your district. since 2007 we have looked at these numbers and drug overdose have killed more ohioans than car accidents, now the number one cause of accidentallal deaths in ohios. we're now told 200,000 ohioans are addicted to opioids. opioids is prescription drugs and heroin. 200,000 ohioans. that's the size of a significant city in any state represented in this body or any district on the other side. in fact, it's the same size as the city of akron, ohio, where i was this week on monday meeting with their opioid task force because they are alarmed at what's happening and they want to be sure we're making every possible effort we can on the prevention side, education side, to get more people into
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treatment, to get them into longer-term recovery, to provide the police officers and other first responders with the narcan, this miracle drug they need to stop overdoses from turning into a death. they want our help. they support the cara legislation. they need it and they need it now. there was really troubling news last week. there was a story about a new poll out, a group called interact for health. they found in the poll in 2014, two of every ten ohioans knew someone who was abusing prescription drugs. a year later it's three in ten. so this is not getting better. this is getting worse. by the way, this is just prescription drugs. by the way, of the three in ten who knew somebody who was abusing prescription drugs, four in ten -- four in ten -- knew
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somebody who had overdosed thoepbs prescription drugs. these -- on those prescription drugs. these percentages are increasing. there is no demographic, no zip code, no city, no county safe from this epidemic. it is spreading and it's spreading everywhere. this poll is another indication we've got a lot of work to do. this should be a motivation for us. this should get us to pass this legislation. can we work on additional legislation? of course. i'm encouraged the house is taking up new bills and looking at this in different ways. that's good. but we know here in the senate and over in the house that this cara legislation will help and will help now. by the way, there are over 120 cosponsors of the cara legislation in the house because not only do we work with them and introduce identical legislation in the house and senate anticipating this day when we can pass it in one house, we want to pass it
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quickly in the other house and get it to the president's desk for signature, there are over 120 cosponsors over there. it's bipartisan. think of the impact we could have on the community if we could get this passed. if we can turn around just one life it matters. and we know that this can save many lives and make many people begin to look at this issue differently, that this is a disease. addiction is a disease. it needs to be treated as such. removing some of that stigma will bring a lot more people into treatment alone and that is part of, to me, what's important about this legislation. there is no issue. it's not prescription drugs and it's not heroin. but it's another issue related to it and than the fentanyl. fentanyl is being laced with heroin throughout the country. in cleveland, ohio, a couple of weeks ago we lost 12 people, 12 people in six days to overdoses. one city. and this was heroin but it was laced with this even more
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dangerous, toxic substance called fentanyl, that by the way, comes in the mail. drug dealers are shipping it in the mail. it's so toxic, 10 to 30 to 40 times more toxic than heroin that it's dangerous even to open up the mail if you're an inspector. we had a hearing on this this week and talked to the border patrol people. why can't we stop this stuff from coming in is our question. this is also increasing. ohio they say is one of the top states in the country in terms of fentanyl overdoses. but i will tell those who haven't dealt with this fentanyl issue yet, it creates even more issues because it is so deadly. after three years of work on this cara legislation, senator whitehouse and i and others, including other senators on both sides of the aisle, we did hold five forums on various aspects of this debate. we consulted with the experts in
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treatment and recovery, the experts who are focused on how do you keep kids and other people from making bad decisions in the prevention and education community. we met with drug experts in the administration such as the white house council on drug policy. we brought people in from all over the country including ohio. this is the third time i've come to the floor. i've come once every week we've been in session since we passed it to say to the house, let's move on cara. let's get it done. it will help immediately. the majority leader in the house has said that he wants the house to take on the drug epidemic and pass legislation soon. i believe him. he's a good man. i appreciate that. but i would ask him again to please work on the other legislation, that's fine. take them through hearings and markups. but we cannot delay. we know cara will work. we know it will work now. it's sitting over there. it's ready for action. it can be taken to the floor
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immediately under suspension. it can be passed. we're one vote away from having this go to the president and having it help in our communities. the chairman of the house energy and commerce committee, fred upton, who is a good friend and a man with a big heart and cares about this issue, has said that he'd like the house to move quickly. he says it's an all-hands-on-deck effort. good for him. the help subcommittee recently marked up a dozen bills. this happened yesterday. 12 bills were phrarbgd up. look at -- marked up. a number of those bills are part of cara already. they are small bills, none comprehensive like cara. one reason we have to get cara passed is this is a problem that needs to be addressed from all sectors. those 12 bills marked up yesterday, many of them are identical. others are very similar to the cara legislation. so this shouldn't slow us down. in fact, *eufts -- it's even
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more an indication that if these are the kinds of legislation good to go, let's get cara passed. i respect my colleagues, chairman upton, the majority leader over there; chairman p*euts, the chairman of the subcommittee, also a guy who cares a lot about this issue. but let's give cara a vote. 125 cosponsor is the latest numbers i have as of this number. that number keeps growing. it's bipartisan, bicameral. it's the right thing to do. i know there are other ideas out there and that's fine. we need to take those up as well. but let's go ahead and get this passed. put it under suspension, take it to the floor. it will pass. we're one vote away from having this help our communities. cara is not just comprehensive. it does the right thing in terms of focusing on what is evidence-based. in other words, we didn't just say let's throw more money at this problem. we said let's actually find out what's working and what's not working. i was in dayton, ohio, at a
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group called project cure on friday. i had the chance to visit with some of the administrators there, some of the recovery coaches, they call themselves. many of whom by the way are in recovery themselves. they're doing an amazing job. i talked to many of the patients who were there. they are people who are recovering addicts. some have been clean for two weeks. some have been clean for two years. but i asked them the same question i ask all over our state. what works? what doesn't work? how did this happen? most of them, by the way, told me the same story you hear time and time again. it started with prescription drugs. in fact, one story was from a man by the name of anthony. he dropped out of high school at age 14. he got into drugs. he made some mistakes in his life which he readily acknowledges. he ended up in prisoner. he had, he said, eight convictions, in and out of prison, in and out of the drug
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world. he decided to go straight. he made a decision. for him, a lot of it was faith-based and a lot of it was being sure that he was going to be able to take care of his family, be able to be a contributing member of his community. so he gave back. he had a good job, had gotten married, was on the right track. he was on his way to work one day and he got in a car accident. now for those experts who are listening to this today, you probably know what happened. i don't even have to tell you. but when he gotn the car accident, he was injured. they sent him to the hospital. what did they give him at the hospital? narcotic pain pills, percocet, prescription drugs. immediately, immediately he became addicted again. he's now struggling but he's back at the treatment center. he's getting his life back
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together again. but in the meantime he's lost his family because the drugs became everything. he's lost his job because the drugs became everything. we talk a lot about the overdoses, and it's horrible, and it's 120 americans a day. we don't talk enough about those who aren't overdosing but who have lost their ability to achieve their own god-given purpose in life because the drugs are everything. so they have lost their families, torn apart. they have lost their job. they have lost their ability to be contributing members much our society and those people who get into treatment and longer-term recovery like anthony is doing, they can, they can turn their lives around. there is hope. it can work. anthony's back for a second chance. having talked to him, i believe he's not just on the right track but that he will work through this. but this legislation is needed to help him. when i do meet with recovering
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addicts, i ask them to look at the legislation, look at the summaries and tell me what they think. and what they tell me is they like it because they're convinced that it will help others to be able to have the access to treatment that they have. probably only one out of ten of those people who are addicted are getting treatment. that's the best number that i have. maybe it's a little higher than that in your state, in your congressional district. but this is an issue where if we provide more resources for treatment and begin to remove that stigma around treatment and get more people into a system where they can begin to get their lives back together with treatment we know that works, our legislation supports veterans task forces and veterans courts because we know that this will help with our veterans who are coming back with ptsd, 20% of whom have this addiction. people say it's self-medicating. they have self medicated to the point they're now addicts. we need to get them not in a prison cell but into a treatment program. that's what these veteran courts do and they surround these
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veterans with other veterans. they do an awesome job. i've been to them in ohio. you have them probably in your state. if you don't, this legislation will help because it creates more veterans courts. we talked on the floor before about the fact that there has been a huge increase, 750% increase in the state of ohio in babies born with addiction. that's just in the last 12 years in ohio. go to any neap i don't see natar state, in your congressional district, you will see these babies. they are being lovingly cared for by doctors and nurses. they are taking these addicted babies you could hold in the palm of your hand, and they're taking them literally through withdrawal. they have to because these babies are addicted and showing the symptoms that you might see in an adult of addiction. we don't know what the long-term consequences are. we're having a hearing on this tomorrow in cleveland, ohio, at one of our great hospitals, university hospital, rainbow
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children's there, one of the best children's hospital in the country. their neonatal unit is doing awesome work. i've seen it. we're going to talk to the experts about how we can do better to help these babies. but wouldn't it be great if we didn't have so many babies born with addiction because the mothers knowing of the consequences dealt with their addiction problem to avoid it through prevention, education efforts. wouldn't it be great if we didn't have this 750% increase in chairman whose futures are uncertain because of being born were this addiction? there's hope. i've been to a women's recovery center in eastern ohio and columbus and athens, ohio, where i've met with women who are in long-term recovery with drug addiction. they're there with their kids. there is hope. we do have with this legislation the ability to give people more hope. getting rid of that stigma, not
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judging people, is part of beating this epidemic. and care will do that by treating addiction like a disease. madam president, there is an opportunity for us to move and move quickly to address this growing crisis we have in our states and in our communities, and that's to pass this cara legislation. is it all we should do? no. of course we should do momplet and i know the house of representatives will have some great ideas. there are some great ideas over here in this body. the help committee is working on some additional ideas on how to get more medicines into this area of addiction, science, and treatment. they're working on ways to ensure that we can provide more help to people. that's great, a understand we -d continue to work on that. meanwhile, we know that this legislation will help. we know if it is signature on a desk in the house of representatives, it is not going to help. if it can get off that desk and
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on to the floor for a vote, we are wiewn vote a-- we're one vote away from getting to our communities, to keep people from making the wrong decision. if they get into a drug addiction, to help them be able to turn their lives around and to achieve their potential in life, their god-given potential. that's what this argument is about. it is not about the fact that the senate has all the answers. by the way, we wrote this legislation with the house. they were engaged from the start. we introduced identical bills. they have 125 cosponsors. all we're saying is let's let this one piece of legislation go. let's allow it to begin to help right away. and then let's continue to work on other ideas. again, we've lost nearly 5,000 americans to drug overdoses sings the senate passed cara with a 94-1 vote. to begin to real estate verse this tide -- to begin it reverse this tide, this trend of addiction, of overdoses, we can
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and should act now. it's urgent. there is a crisis. there's no time to waste. madam president, i yield back my time. mr. toomey: mada -- mr. warner: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania -- virginia, excuse me. mr. warner: i want to thank my friend for his comments about addiction. i agree with the senator from ohio that we need to get this legislation to the president's desk so that people can get the treatment they need. i thank him for his leadership. madam president, i rise today to again express my disappointment that many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have continued to obstruct the consideration of an imminently
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qualified candidate to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. it's now been 36 days since president obama nominated judge merrick garland. that's 36 days that our highest court has been relegated to falling short of its full constitutional obligations. make no mistake, the senate's action is already having a tangible impact on the court's ability to function effectively. during the current session, we've seen our eight current justices end up in a 4-4 deadlock in three separate cases since justice scalia's passing, effectively muting the court's voice in consequential judicial proceedings. president reagan said, "every day that passes with the supreme court bea low full sprint
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impairs the people's business in that crucially important body." more recently, retired justice sandra day o'connor put it quite sum plirks as she always does. "i think we need somebody there now to do the job and let's get on with it." indeed, the supreme court has granted only three cases -- hearings -- since justice scalia died. a number, experts say, is extraordinarily low and an indication that eight sitting justices are acutely aware of the precarious position the court is in with a vacancy. many senators apparently believe that president obama shouldn't be able to are make an appointment under article 2 because he is in the last year of his term. now, let the record show thi ths nothing in the constitution that says the president is only president for three of the four years of his or her term.
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i don't understand that reasoning. under that reasoning, any of those same senators who've made that argument shouldn't be voting on any bill that comes before this body in the last term of their senate term. if we continue with that rationale -- whether it is with the president's office, the senate's office -- we lead to further dysfunction and, quite honestly, that is -- that logic is beyond pale. it's clear as well that the american people expect us to do our job. recent polls show that by a 2-1 margin, americans want the senate to hold hearings and vote on judge garland's nomination. again, why i remain so perplexed by the logical contortions that many of my colleagues are undertaking to justify their obstruction and, quite honestly, their failure to do their job.
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i had the chance to meet with judge garland last week. his qualifications and dedication to public service are beyond approach. he's received strong bipartisan support in the past, but what also stood out to me are his measured views of the role of the judiciary and his strong record on national security and commitment to keeping our country safe. this past tuesday marked the 21st anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in oklahoma city. on that tragic day in 1995, 168 people, including 19 children, lost their lives. to this day, the oklahoma city bombing remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in our nation's history. judge garland at that point was principal assistant deputy attorney general. he was the guy who led the criminal investigation to -- and
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supervised the prosecution of the bombers. merrick garland fought for justice for the victims and the families in oklahoma city. through his tireless efforts, deep understanding of the law, and attention to detail, he ensured that the prosecution had an airtight case, ultimately both bombers were successfully convicted. this is the highest profile incidence in which judge garland exhibited his commitment to making and keeping our country safe. but it's far from the only one. in my meeting with him, it was clear that the safety and security of our citizens is an issue that, quite honestly, keeps him up at night. what also stands out about my conversation with judge garland is his sense of humility. our conversation and his judicial record demonstrate to me that he is a moderate, thoughtful consensus candidate. as judge garland said in the rose garden on the day that he
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was nominated, "people must be confident that a judge's decisions are determined by the law and only the law. for the judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the constitution and to the statutes passed by congress. he or she must put aside his personal views or preferences and follow the law and not make it." quote -- "fidelity to the constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life, and it's the hallmark of the kind of judge i have tried to be for the past 18 years." these are not just his words. in my opinion, this is the kind of judge merrick garland has been. not a judicial activist, someone who recognizes the important role and the important balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial branch. now, i've been encouraged that my colleagues on the other side
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of the aisle have at least begun to give judge garland the courtesy of a meeting, but meetings alone are not sufficient. the american people deserve the opportunity to hear judge garland's qualifications, debated in a public hearing in the judiciary committee, and they deserve an up-or-down vote on the senate floor. that is all we ask. i urge again my colleagues to give judge garland the consideration other nominees have received. at the end of the day, if they choose to vote against him, that is their right. but, the idea that somehow they are interpreting our constitution to say that in the last year of a presidency a qualified judge should not even receive the consideration of a hearing and a vote is, quite honestly, beyond the pale. too often these debates end up going on and become
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extraordinarily complicated. what i hear from virginians, regardless of whether they want me to support judge garland or not, is a very simple message: do yor your job. i hope the senate will do its job. give judge garland the consideration of a hearing before the senate judiciary committee and then take up this imminently qualified jurist, this nomination on the floor and give him the vote he deserves. with that, madam president, i note the absence of a quorum and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: i rise today to recognize the importance of the signing of the paris agreement. tomorrow marks the 46th anniversary of earth day, the first reasonably day. -- the first earth day, the earth day that occurred in when i was in seventh grade and my teacher made a point of making sure all were aware of it.
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they made sure we had the dhoons take a field trip to the community college to learn about some of the issues related to stewardship of the plan e it realcy -- stewardship of the planet. it really is a day to appreciate the beauty of our blue-green planet but also to recognize, remind ourselves of the fact that we have a huge responsibility to be good stewards of this wonderful planet we have. it was theodore roosevelt who said, "our greatest central task is leaving this land even a better land for our decendants than it is for us." theation the definition -- that's the definition of stewardship. that's what earth day is all about. and this is why it is so fitting that tomorrow on earth day america will join other nations in signing the paris agreement. this international climate accord is a tremendous step forward.
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it makes clear that the world recognizes that global warming is a very significant, grave concern facing human civilization on this planet. it is, indeed, the moral challenge of our generation. and i'm proud and inspired by the global community's unprecedented commitment to avert global warming, to avert a climate crisis. we know what the stakes are. we don't need computer models to look 50 years into the future because the impacts are here today. we see it in our own communities. we see it in our own states. we see it through the impact of droughts, the impact of wildfires, the impact of heat waves, the storms, the hurricanes, the tornadoes. we see it through story after story after this year or this
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month being the warmest ever recorded by humans. these events have profound costs that can be measured in lost lives, lost homes, lost businesses, billions of dollars in disaster relief. and it's important to understand that global warming's major assault is on our rural communities, on our farming, our fishery, our forestry. you can see it across the world. you can see it across the country, but you can see it just inside my home state of oregon. we've had significant droughts greatly impacting ag call turl -- impacting the agriculture community in my state. we've had a loss in the cascades, a trend over decades impacting the availability of water for irrigation in farming.
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we've seen the impact on fishing with streams that are warmer and smaller than they were in the past. we've seen it on our oyster population on the coast where now the oysters are having trouble reproducing because the pacific ocean is 30% more acidic than it was before we started burning fossil fuels on this planet and that greater acidity is affecting the ability of baby oysters to form shells. that should frighten us off, the inability of shellfish to form shells being threatened. it's hard to imagine that we have burned enough fossil fuels to actually impact the acidity of the oceans, but we have and the problem is getting worse. and we see the impact on our forests. we see it in my home state of oregon through the red zone. that's the term give to -- given to the vast swath the forests killed by fine needles because the winters now are not cold enough to kill off the pine beetle so the infess station --
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infestations are much more aggressive, much more widespread. we see the impact on our forests from more vigorous wildfires and a longer forest fire season, a season that has grown by 60 days over 40 years. that's two months. in fact, we've even had forest fires in oregon in the month of january. a huge loss, huge impact on the ecosystem, huge impact on the economy. so if you care about rural america and our farming and our fishing and our forestry, you must care about carbon pollution and global warming. scientists agree that we must keep the warming of our planet under 2 degrees celsius in order to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. impacts much worse than what we're seeing now. but we have already warmed the planet by one degree so we're halfway towards that boundary,
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which is why an important component of the agreement is not just the stub assistance agreement itself -- substance agreement itself but the compact that the community will revisit every five years because the measures taken in the paris agreement are not enough, they're not enough to friend off catastrophe. what they do represent is virtually every nation in the world coming together and saying we understand the chat length to our -- challenge to our planet. we understand we must be part of the solution. to have more heads of state to come together in december for the paris agreement than at any other time in human history, that's very impressive, but the commitments made even if they're fully fulfilled don't go far enough. and we're going to have to come back together every five years to add to our understanding and to increase the speed with which
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we're pivoting from fossil fuels to renewable fuels. so at those five-year gatherings we will strengthen our pledges, we'll work to reduce emissions even further, we'll review the changing technologies, and there's so much investment going o. there's a program called mission innovation which is a number of countries coming together and private companies coming together and foundations coming together to develop the best idea, out of the box ideas to be able to take on the challenge of global warming. and those technologies are going to be a key part of accelerating our ability to tackle this challenge. and we have to keep working to drive down the cost curve on renewable energy so that it makes a positive contribution to our economy in every possible way lowering the cost of power while at the same time putting thousands or in some
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technologies millions of individuals to work. we have to make sure that developing countries can afford these options in solar and wind and other renewable strategies. together we must invest in paradigm shifting technology. one of those might be battery storage to make better use of solar energy when the solar energy exceeds current demand. or to capture wind energy when the wind's blowing strongly and our wind turbines are producing more than the current demand. it means we have to do things like invest in a broader grid to ship those amps of electricity around the country, those watts of energy around the country. and here at home we can't keep up business as usual. if we need to pivot from fossil fuels to renewables, then we
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shouldn't keep subsidizing fossil fuels. we can't keep drilling oil off shore and opening up drilling in new places like the arctic. the arctic nation should come together and reach a pact not to drill in the arctic and to put it off limits. and you and i as american citizens, we own together a lot of oil and a lot of coal and a lot of oil. and we must recognize that we need to keep those fossil fuels that we own in the ground because here's the size of the problem. for us to succeed in keeping the temperature of our planet below 2 degree below celsius above the preindustrial age, we have to leave 8 on% of the identified -- 80% of the identified provens for till fuels in the world in the ground. well, if we're going to do that, then it makes no sense at all
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for what you and i own as citizens to be pulling it out of the ground. it makes no sense to be doing contracts today, leases that provide a legal contract for extraction of our coal and our oil and our gas that you and i own as citizens, three decades, four decades, or five decades into the future, long after the world has to have pivoted off of fossil fuels. it said that when you're in a hole, stop digging. in this case we're in a carbon pollution hole, and we need to stop digging fossil fuels out of the ground. instead we must seize the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of the future, to spur a clean energy revolution, to build a green economy creating living wage jobs. it has been said that we are the
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first generation to feel the impact of global warming and that we are the last generation that can do something about it. that's a huge responsibility. the signing of this agreement consists of doing something about it, something major about it, something important about it, something that all the nations of the world have come together to do together to take this on, to recognize our collective responsibility. it is a breakthrough moment in the fight, the international fight, the human civilization fight to take on this moral, major challenge to our planet. while this deal is by no means the end of the work we must do, having the global community come together around a vision of action is a huge milestone on the path to averting climate catastrophe. this agreement should only strengthen our nation's resolve
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to build a sustainable future, to protect our beautiful blue green planet and to work harder to fight climate change not just on earth day but every day of the year. in fact, this agreement is very much central to the task that theodore roosevelt put before us, to leave our land a better land for our descendants than it is for us. let's get to work. thank you, madam president. i recognize 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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mr. franken: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: i would like to call up my amendment 3833. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from minnesota, mr. franken for himself and others proposes amendment 3833 to amendment number 3801. mr. franken: thank you. let me explain what this is. federal programs in indian country are chronically underfunded. i have served on the indian affairs committee for the last seven years, and i have been shocked by what i hear almost every week from tribal leaders about the challenges in indian country. tribes struggle with crumbling schools, dilapidated roads, inadequate housing and lack of basic infrastructure. many of the crises we hear about
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in indian country come from lack of opportunity, lack of hope. indian youth have the highest rate of suicide among all ethnic groups in the united states. suicide is the second-leading cause of death for native youth aged 15-24. indian suicide rate is 62% higher than for the general population. unemployment on indian reservations average 19%. some reservations, it's above 50%. senators murkowski, heitkamp and udall understand the needs of indian country, which is why they have cosponsored my amendment. and so does chairman barrasso, which is why he supports this amendment. they understand that we have to support economic development for tribes whenever we can.
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my amendment sets aside $9 million which can be leveraged into about $50 million to $85 million worth of loans for energy projects in indian country. developing tribal energy sources will, resources will help tribes bring power to the most remote parts of indian country, improving access through reliable and resilient energy and providing much-needed jobs. this is why congress authorized the loan program in the energy policy act of 2005 to help tribes access the capital they need to develop energy projects, but this program has never received funding. my amendment doesn't cost anything. we're simply putting $9 million of already appropriated money toward a new use. so i want to thank senators
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heitkamp and udall and murkowski for cosponsoring my message -- my amendment. i want to thank chairman alexander and ranking member feinstein for their leadership. finally, i'd like to thank secretary moniz who has been a champion for this program. i urge my colleagues to support franken amendment 3833 to bring jobs to indian country. thank you. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: madam president, i thank senator franken for the way he's worked with our committee. i'm going to vote for the amendment and i recommend others do too. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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