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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  May 9, 2016 3:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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they will continue work on a $37 billion energy and water spending bill. they will take a procedural vote for the third time to advance that legislation that is set for 5:30 p.m. ted cruz after losing the indiana primary last week stepped out of the race and will rejoin the senate tomorrow afternoon. live coverage of the senate here on c-spanthe senate hereon c-sp. 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. esternal god, the giver of every perfect gift. we thank you for the life and legacy of former senator bob
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bennet. lord, we praise you for his diligence, integrity, intellect, and courage for he has left exemplary footprints for us to follow. be with his beloved widow, joyce, comforting her and his loved ones and friends in their grief. lord, we also remember sergeant christopher eni, officer jacob chestnut, detective john gibson, and sergeant clinton holtz, u.s. capitol police who gave the last full measure of devotion. remind us that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
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today give our lawmakers the singularity of heart to seek, find, and follow your will so that their legacy will also be exemplary. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our 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: we return to consideration of the energy, security and water infrastructure funding bill today. as we do so, i'd like to remind colleagues of the importance of returning to regular order and working through the appropriations process. return to regular order means empowering senators from both sides to make more responsible judgments as to how taxpayer dollars are spent. it means allowing senators to better represent the voices of their constituents throughout the legislative process and beginning the process early means giving senators from both sides more opportunity to debate and offer ideas they think might make these bills even better. this is the way the
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appropriations process is supposed to work and with a little cooperation, we can keep it moving forward this week. the bill before us will support energy innovation and waterways infrastructure. it will promote commerce and public safety. it will help maintain our nuclear deterrence posture. these are priorities that would be important to all of us so let's continue to work today and move this bill -- move this bill forward. now, on an entirely different matter, tomorrow the democratic leader and i will have the honor of celebrating senator bennet's life at a memorial service. but i'd also like to say a few words about this dear friend and colleague now. bob bennet said there are two kinds of senators in washington. workhorses and show horses. it's clear to anyone who knew him which path senator bennet followed. this former chaplain,
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entrepreneur, and c.e.o. came to the senate with a long resume and a for middable work ethic. over his 18 years of service, bob typified the constructive player with a steady hand, the kind of senator who preferred the low-key work of legislative to the bright lights of the media. bob worked hard to develop rerelationships in both -- relationships in both parties and he approached everything he did with creativity, with substance, and with honor. senator bennett served as a member of our conference leadership team, sat on important committees, and pressed forward on a range of different issues. he also shared -- he also shared my interest in the first amendment. bob would be the first to tell you that he viewed his most important job as being a husba husband. i think his wife, joyce, felt the same way. in more than 50 years of
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marriage, the bennetts worked together to raise six children. they were blessed with 20 grandchildren as well. many of us remember the active role joyce played in the life of the senate family over the years. so we're thinking of her today. we're thinking of the entire bennett family, too. the senate honors the memory of senator bob bennett. we will miss him greatly. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. reid: just a few days ago, actually last wednesday, the senate lost one of its members. our friend and colleague bob bennett. he passed away at his home here in arlington, virginia.
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there's a whole lot i can say about bob bennett. he was my friend. i was close to him and his lovely wife, joyce. as senator mcconnell said, he was a three-term senator. he was a scholar, an author. a celebrated businessman. those little books that were so popular a number of years ago, he took over this company and four employees. when he left that company -- i'm sorry, not when he left. within seven years that company had a thousand employees and its income was a hundred million dollars a year. they had the franklin day planner, someone will remember, we all had because of senator bennett. when i think of senator bennett, courage comes to mind. he was one of the most
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courageous senators with whom i served. he was a conservative republican from a conservative state, utah. the majority of the time he voted that way. but bob also firmly believed that neither political party -- had a monopoly on good government and he spoke about this openly. this is what he said during his farewell speech here on the senate floor. "the democrats are the party of government, going back to their roots with franklin roosevelt. i've come to the conclusion in there's a problem, government should solve that problem. republicans are the party of free markets and they come to a conclusion if there's a problem this should be left to the markets to solve it. but they're both right. this is the thing i've come found here. there are some problems where government is the solution but not always. there's some problems where free markets do provide the solution but not always."
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bob bennett practiced what he preached in the fall of 2008, the global markets were in a free fall. the american economy was reeling. something needed to be done. president george w. bush turned to congress for help. where else could he turn? so we the congress passed the trouble asset relief program or tarp which prevented the collapse of one of our nation's largest institutions. despite pressure from his own party, senator bennett voted for tarp. he voted to save our country, our economy. he was -- it was perhaps the most courageous vote he ever cast here in the senate. it didn't sit well with the tea party who are very strong in utah. it's a very unusual procedure they have there. had it been any other state in the union, bob bennett would still be here in the senate. but bob in spite of all that was blessed with an unshakable moral
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compass. he knew what he did was right. he had no regrets. the economy had vindicated senator bennett's vote on tarp and other things. i count myself very fortunate to serve with this good man. i'll forever be grateful for him, this honorable, decent person who was my friend. so today my thoughts are with his family, his wife, joyce, who is an accomplished flutist. i always have trouble saying that. she is a professional flute player. -- i took with senator bennett, i remember one where we left here, we went to peru. we went to bolivia, to ecuador and over the great lands we passed, over the water we passed over, often she would come and entertain us with her flute. she is a marvelous woman.
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so i want her to know that senator bennett will be missed by the senate, the people of utah, our country, and me. i'd like this next different pln the record, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: a notable thing happened this weekend way across the atlantic. the people of london, england elected the first muslim mayor of their city. the mayor of the city of london is a muslim, a proud muslim. that election speaks to openness exhibited by england. let's not forget england is a protestant nation and according to the most recent census, the people of london are predominantly christian. when london voters went to the polls, they refused to allow his religion be the deciding factor. they refused to give in to bigotry plaguing american politics. instead voters voted for the
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candidate for whom they thought would best represent their interests. that happened to be a muslim. the election is an example of how a democracy should operate, independent of fear and prejudice. here's what he said yesterday. i spent my entire life encouraging minority communities to get involved in civil society and mainstream politics. i've been fighting extremism and radicalization all my life. you should conduct politics in a positive way to enthuse the people to get involved, closed quote. many of us here in the united states would do well to learn from his example. mr. president, i again ask and request that you would order this next statement appear in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, donald trump is the republican presidential nominee. so let's think about that. the party of abraham lincoln,
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theodore roosevelt, and many other republicans like ronald reagan, dwight eisenhower. the party of these great men dominate owe eand immigrant -- and immigrant ze zeophobe. the party nominated a conman who scams working people. donald trump represents everything -- that is rigged for the super rich. here is a person born into immense wealth but uses his father's fortune to rip people off and -- shady business practices. here's a person who is gifted the resources to make a difference in this word. he could be doing -- world. he could be doing many things to improve the lives of working
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americans. instead, he's only worked to build his own celebrity, his own brand, and he uses that fame as a bull cri pulpit -- bully pulpit to instill hatred and intolerance. donald trump is now the republican party's presidential nominee. he's no accident. his nomination is not some mistake. donald trump is the natural evolution of a party that spent eight years honing a platform that is anti-immigrant and antiwomen, antiobama and antiworking people. eight not that long ago the republicans engaged democrats to pollty. there was time we could work together on substantive legislation. i saw it. i felt it. it was wonderful. but all that ended when president obama was elected. senator mcconnell ordered a total blockade of any policy imposed by president obama and democrats. led by senator mcconnell, republicans abandoned the market place of idea, thoughtful policy for fair politics.
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it didn't matter from where these ideas came. it didn't matter if they came from republicans. republican leaders repeated their one big lie over and over again. here's what they said, quote, whenever president obama proposes, it can't help you -- closed quote. these aren't my ideas, mr. president that have been written about, confirmed for years.  for republicans it wasn't about helping the american people anymore. it was all about he can barsment and -- embarrassment and humanity of president obama. all the while donald trump is watching the republican party. he is watching them lose their identity and its moral compass. trump watched as the republican leader went through the darkest moments of the economy. trump watched as republicans in
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congress treat american women. he saw republicans block equal pay for women, undermine the women's health care law. planned parenthood became a swear word. donald trump treats women with disdain. he calls women dogs, pigs, defends rape. trump watched congressional republicans walk away from comprehensive immigration reform. so is it any surprise that donald trump now, the republican nominee, uses latinos and immigrants to generate fear, to be a fearmonger? he's called undocumented immigrants criminals, rapists. he's watched republicans deny the existence of climate change and he's following in the footsteps. donald trump would rather believe in crackpot conspiracy theory than accept climate change. it's real, but this is what he
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said about climate change. this is a quote, "the concept of global warming was created by and for the chinese in order to make the united states manufacturing noncompetitive." try that one on. that's a direct quote, which i end. that kind of harebrained thinking has no place in the white house, but sadly it's not far from republican party doctrine. on nearly every issue donald trump has adopted the issues of the modern republican party through obstruction of president obama politics, they obstructed his campaign and platform piece by piece. he's the nominee of the republican party but it's the nominee the republican leaders deserve. now the republican party is his. the republicans want trump to be their standard-bearer. they're scrambling to get behind
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this hate spieling nominee. there is no better example than the supreme court vacancy. the republican national kw-t is trying to bring -- committee is trying to bring their party committee by reporting this dangerous man will appoint someone to the supreme court. they say this miss sopblg -- misogynist to add someone to the supreme court. he belittles john mccain as not being a war hero. he mocks americans with disabilities. they want him to fill the supreme court. it's a sad day for this country when the republican party trusts the judgment of a vile, swindling billionaire. for anyone who has been paying attention to what the republicans have been doing for the past eight years, no one should be shocked.
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hillary clinton is going to be the democratic nominee. i support hillary clinton. i'm not hiding from that. republican senators need to stop waffling about donald trump. not going to the convention doesn't take away the fact that he's the republican nominee. i hear a number of republican senators say i'm not going to the convention. well, that solves the problem, doesn't it? republican senators need to say whether they're going to vote for this guy. the republican party's chickens have come home to the roost in the form of donald trump. mr. president, i would ask that you announce -- i see senator lamar alexander on the floor, the senior senator from tennessee. i would ask the chair to announce the business of the afternoon. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak
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therein for up to ten minutes each. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the president pro tempore. mr. hatch: i rise today to honor the memory of a statesman, adored colleague and dear friend, senator bob bennett. bob passed away peacefully in his house last week with his wife and children gathered around him by the bedside. in the wake of his passing, we have witnessed his outpouring of love as thousands of individuals from across the country have reached out to pay their respects to a man who served selflessly to the very end of his service here. to the many expressions of love and admiration that have already been offered in bob's honor, i wish to add a few words of my own. i had the distinct privilege of serving alongside bob bennett for nearly two decades as we jointly represented our beloved state of utah here in the united
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states senate. during many years of our service together, bob became more than a respected partner. he was a trusted confidante and a cherished friend. in this chamber, senator bennett was widely revered as a wise and thoughtful leader committed to finding innovative solutions to the most difficult challenges of the day. but above all else, he was a passionate fighter for the people of utah who were always foremost in his mind. i've never met someone so committed to his constituency as senator bennett was to the people of utah. it is no exaggeration to say that every utahan has benefited from bob's public service. you cannot ride the train, take public transportation, or drive on the freeway in our state without seeing the fruits of bob's labor in the senate.
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as utah faced unprecedented expansion and economic growth, senator bennett worked tirelessly to ensure that our state's infrastructure kept pace with the demands of a booming population. were it not for bob and the indispensable role he played in securing much-needed funding for these transportation projects in utah our state would not be the prime destination for business, entrepreneurship and innovation that it is today. i need not rehearse all of senator bennett's accomplishments in the senate because his legacy speaks for his self. the front-runner of public transportation systems in utah are perhaps the most tangible symbols of that legacy. but there are more. i join all utahans in thanking senator bennett for his loyal years of service to the beehive state. we love him and we will miss him dearly. mr. president, in addition to
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fighting tirelessly for the people of utah, senator bennett exercised remarkable prudence as an appropriator and provided principal leadership on the banking committee and as chairman of the joint economic committee. he was a talented lawmaker skilled at forging consensus and reaching compromise without sacrificing his core conservative values. over the 18 years senator bennett served in this chamber he consistently demonstrated sound judgment and strong leadership. in short time he gained the trust of his republican colleagues who considered him a trusted resource on matters of strategy and policy. after seeing bob's rapport with other legislators, then-senate majority leader bill frist asked him to serve on the leadership team. senator bennett also served in leadership positions alongside
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majority leader mcconnell with whom he shared a deep and meaningful friendship. while senator bennett was well known for his quiet, con tepl phra alternative demeanor, he was also regarded as an orator, a good one. he came frequently to the floor to engage his colleagues on the most complex issues of the day. he was exceptionally articulate speaking with an ease that reflected the brilliance of a well cultivated mind. whether he was giving a public address or holding a private conversation, bob could explain even the most complicated policies in simple, understandable terms. he was a preeminent communicator whose talents will be sorely missed. mr. president, up to this point, i've spoken at length about how senator bennett will be remembered as a public figure, but i also wish to speak about how i will remember him as a personal friend.
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bob bennett was one of the most humble men i met with a chamber teeming with outsized egos and self-importance bob stood apart. he always he is chewed the spot -- he always eschewed the spotlight. on some days you could even find him riding the metro into work. when a staffer asked him why he opted for public transportation instead of a personal driver, bob simply said -- quote -- "because the metro is more convenient." unquote. this anecdote is indicative of bob's character. he resisted the trappings of public office and truly saw himself as a servant of the people. perhaps more importantly, he never let the office of senator define him. maybe that's because he came to congress with such a rich and varied background. prior to his work here, he had
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already served as a mormon military chaplain, a congressional liaison with the nixon administration, a public relations director for howard hughes. and as the chief executive officer of franklin covey. for bob, being a senator was never something that was central to his personal identity. it was merely a job title that allowed him to serve others in a greater capacity. allow me to share a simple story that illustrates bob's humility and willingness to serve. many years ago bob befriended a blind couple in his local mormon congregation. every single sunday bob would pay the couple a personal visit, drive them to church and stay by their side for the duration of meetings, always ready and always eager to help.
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for bob, faithfully seeing this elderly couple was just as important as fulfilling his duties in the senate. that, mr. president, is heartfelt humility and love unfeigned. i often wondered what it was that enabled bob to serve so selflessly. i believe the answer is simple. it was his faith in and love for jesus christ whom he looked to as a model much -- of servant leadership. bob believed in the christian teaching that when you're in service of your fellow minimum minimum -- fellow men and women you're only in the service of your god. this belief remained his until the very end. for as long as bob was physically able, he was an active volunteer in his church congregation. in fact, just three weeks ago he hosted a doctrinal discussion with dozens of latter-day saints seeking to build their faith.
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in this meeting, bob bore testimony of jesus christ in his perfect example of love and sacrifice. the next day bob suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital for the last time. mr. president, both in public office and in private life, bob bennett was a model of selfless service. we were blessed by his work in the senate and will continue to benefit from his example of humble leadership. i pray that we might always remember bob's humility and kindness and seek to emulate these qualities ourselves as we work together to overcome the challenges facing our country. mr. president, having said all of that, bob was very fortunate to have joyce as his companion. she is a terrific human being, very, very talented. a flute instructor, a tremendous floutist. ep -- he has wonderful children
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each one of whom have made contributions to our society that are exemplary. his friends will always remember bob as somebody who really accomplished a lot in their lives as well as the lives of thousands of people around him. i personally as deeply grateful for the kindness he showed to me, the friendship that we have together, and the privilege i had of serving with him. mr. president, i will miss bob very, very much. and i think all of us who knew him well will miss him. he was truly a great example. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i'd like to make a few comments
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about senator bennett, and -l i will yield the floor to senator nelson, who has another schedule. for the information of senators and staff, i'll make some comments about how we're going to proceed on the energy and water bill, of which i hope we can wrap up pretty quickly, but i'll wait until senator nelson finishes with that. i'm glad i had a chance to hear the majority leader, senator mcconnell, as well as senator reid and senator hatch, all of whom were great friends of bob bennett, as was i. bob bennett came to washington with his father who was a united states senator, wall as benefit -- wallace bennett. he was in the senate when i first came here as a senate aide. i first met bob nearly 50 years ago when we both worked in effect for bryce harlow who was
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president nixon's chief of congressional relations. mr. harlow who was revered in washington still would have saturday morning meetings of all of us who have the job of being congressional liaison with members of congress, and bob bennett was in the transportation department and i was mr. harlow's assistant and telephone answerer in the white house at the time. we got to know each other then. we've known each other ever since. he and his wife joyce have visited with our home in tennessee. we have traveled with them. we have worked together on a variety of issues. they have become -- they have become very special friends. he was the chairman of the subcommittee, the energy and water subcommittee to which senator hatch referred that had so much to do with his home state of utah. he handled that with great diligence and great effectiveness for a number of years. that's the bill we're working on today in the senate. i will be at his service tomorrow as will other -- other
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senators, but i simply wanted to add my voice to those of the majority leader and the democratic leader and his colleague senator hatch in saying we all greatly admired bob. he -- he served our nation brilliantly and well and eloquently. i heard his farewell address. it's one of the best i have ever heard. i can remember one of the things he said. he said the great value of being a united states senator is you not only have a say, you have a vote. bob bennett had a lot to say. he cast a lot of votes, and a lot of us listened very carefully to what he had to say and greatly respected his votes. we have lost a great friend and utah and our country have lost a great public servant. i yield the floor.
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mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from in a. mr. nelson: mr. president, i want to talk about the zika virus, but i want to add a comment about senator bob bennett. a gentleman's gentleman. a legislator's legislator. a senator who would reach across the aisle in order to get the workable consensus in order to get something done. now, doesn't that sound like the type of person that we need in the congress today in order to confront these issues that we're facing? and i was saddened to hear the news that he had passed on. all right, mr. president, what i want to do is to give you an update. the zika virus is raging.
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it is certainly raging in puerto rico. it is expanding greatly in this country, and the state with the most affected cases is my state of florida. i have been on this floor many times asking for the president's request of $1.9 billion to attack the zika virus. about $800 million of that is, number one, to replace the ebola emergency fund that they have raided since the congress has not given them the funding in order to try to get at the problem to begin with. that's where around
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$550 million. they need another $225 million to increase medicaid in puerto rico where it is now estimated that by the end of the year 25% of the population of puerto rico, 25% will be infected because that's where this mosquito called the egypti mosquito that transmits the virus is raging. but beware the egypti mosquito, especially as we are going into the warm summer months, this mosquito is all over the southern united states. anyplace that it's hot, humid and where there is rain because rain water will not all
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dissipate. it may be a bottle cap. it may be a dish pan. it may be a bird bath where there is stagnant water. that mosquito will lay its larva. and that's the breeding ground to catch the egypti. now, back a week and a half ago when we were here before the recess, there were approximately a thousand cases reported in the u.s., and that included 570 in puerto rico and 94 in florida. but now here just a little over a week later, it's already up to 1,133 cases across the country. it's up to 629 and it's up now to 107 in my state.
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629 in puerto rico. now, just today, two more cases reported by the department of health in the state of florida. bottom line is the virus is spreading and it's spreading quickly. not only is it spreading but the c.d.c. confirmed that the first zika-related death was a 70-year-old man that died of complications in puerto rico. over the break, i met with a group of puerto rican readers in florida. puerto rico basically does not have the resources that it needs to protect the virus. i was just over here talking to the chairman of the senate finance committee, senator hatch, about getting the
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financial crisis addressed in puerto rico, but you see how that is spilling over into not being able to attack the zika crisis where it is raging out of control because the transmission in puerto rico by these mosquitoes. and indeed, out of the 3.5 million population of puerto ricans on the island, it is estimated by the c.d.c. that 800,000 of them can be infected by the end of this year. so as that u.s. territory and its citizens -- remember, they are american citizens. these are fellow americans that are in trouble. struggling under the weight of crippling debt in the financial crisis, and we hadn't helped
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them yet, and they have a medicaid program that is capped and it's running out of cash, and a physician shortage is getting worse because what's happening because of the financial problems, the professionals, the doctors and lawyers and nurses, especially those in health care, because they cannot get compensated, they are leaving the island and going to the mainland. as a matter of fact, it's estimated that something between 85,000 and 100,000 may be leaving the island this year, coming to the mainland u.s. and by the way, the benefit of those professionals coming, they're coming, a lot of them,
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to florida. but look at the gaping hole of health care that that is leaving on the island. and so it seems to me that it is our duty, as the senators, to protect our fellow americans and curb the spread of this virus now. and so i have introduced what the administration requested. i have had senators say that we have not given a plan for the 1.9. i have given the plan over and over until this senator is blue in the face. there is a specific breakout that i have entered in the record several times, the last of which was when we were last in session a week and a half ago. the bill has 35 cosponsors, but
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unfortunately there is not one republican senator that is a cosponsor, and it doesn't make sense because the spread of the zika virus is not a partisan issue. and yet, it seems to have been characterized that way. so i urge our colleagues to come together on this for the good of the american people, for their health and safety. let's approve this $1.9 billion emergency request. this is the same kind of emergency funding request that would be in the aftermath of an earthquake or a hurricane or some other natural disaster. it is now affecting the american people. it's an awful virus, and we need to get at it and stop it before
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it's too late. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, for the information of senators and staff members, i'd like to make a few comments about the energy and water appropriations bill that we will be moving to at 4:00 this afternoon. senator feinstein is in an intelligence briefing, and she will be here about 4:00 as well. we'll have more to say at that time, but here is my view of where we are. at 5:30 today, the senate for the third time will vote on whether or not it's time to cut off debate and finish the bill. the first two votes failed. they failed for one reason. they failed because of differences of opinion about an amendment by the senator from arkansas, senator cotton, that said that in the year 2017, the united states could not use tax
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dollars to buy heavy water from iran, as we are doing in 2016. so we'll vote for the third time today on whether to cut off debate and finish the bill. here is what i would suggest our goal should be. this is just my opinion, but i have talked with the majority leader and the democratic leader. i have talked to senator feinstein and a number of other senators. one, we should dispose of the cotton amendment the way we normally dispose of issues about which we disagree. we should vote on it. that's what we do in the united states senate. we vote. if you're in the grand ol' opry, you sing. so we have a difference of opinion about the cotton amendment. let's vote on it. it's relevant to the bill. it's properly filed. it's germane. senator cotton has been very flexible. he has offered to decide it in many different ways.
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he's offered to modify his amendment. he's offered to allow it to be considered separately. he's offered for us to vote at a 60-vote level and then he would withdraw it if he should lose. he's offered to vote at 60 votes on cloture on his amendment, so he's offered us an opportunity to vote on his amendment many different ways, he just wants a vote. in my view, mr. president, a senator who has a relevant and germane amendment is entitled to a vote, and i support his right to a vote. and once we vote on the amendment and dispose of it, mr. president, we should finish the bill. so i'm optimistic about that. i see no reason why today, tomorrow, and certainly no later than wednesday, we cannot vote on and dispose of the cotton amendment and vote on and finish the energy and water
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appropriations bill. so if i were planning my week, i would plan on there being a vote to the cotton amendment. you might say how do i know this? any senator has the right to file an amendment, like the cotton amendment, and on wednesday we'll vote on it, by 60 votes. since we're basically finished with the bill except for the cotton amendment, why would we not agree to wrap things up and do it tomorrow or even today, mr. president? we could finish the bill today with a vote on the cotton amendment. i.tit's 60 votes. with a vote on cloture and a vote on final passage. as much as i defend the senator arkansas' right to have a vote, i am going to oppose his amendment on the merits, which i will describe in just a minute. but it's time to bring this bill to a conclusion. i think most senators agree with that, and that's what we need to do.
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let me discuss just for a moment -- remind senators and those listening why this bill is so important. number one, as the majority leader says, it covers a lot of essential services in this country. for example, every time there's a flood in the midwest, 15 or 20 senators show up wanting more money for flood control. our inland waterway waterways if reconstruction. the harbors on the west coast and in charleston and mobile and savannah and many other places need deepening. we need to stay number one in supercomputing in the world. and about half of this legislation has to do with our nuclear weapons program, modernizing it and keeping us safe. all 17 of our national laboratories are in the national of science under this legislation and despite staying within strict budget limits, we've agreed to the highest level of appropriation for our
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office of science out of which comes so much of our economic growth of any appropriations bill in history. in addition to that we've gone through very careful process. about 80 different members of the senate have come to senator feinstein and to me with policy changes that they would like to see in the bill that are in the bill. 80 means about half republicans and half democrats. i know it is important to them because i've already heard reports of many senators being home last weekend taking credit for all these provisions they've gotten in the bill, which we haven't passed yet. i don't blame them for that. there are a lot of provisions in this bill that are important to the country and important to my state of tennessee. i'm just reminding senators that this is an important bill in which they've had a lot of say. in addition, on the floor we've already processed 17 different amendments. about as many democratic amendment as republican amendments. we did all of that in a matter of three or four days, before we
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reefed an impasse -- reached an impasse on the cotton amendment. so we're basically done. we're basically done. step one of our most basic constitutional work, which is oversight and appropriations, of about $1 trillion if spending. this is the first of 12 bills. this energy and water appropriations bill has not gone across the floor in regular order since 2009. it is time we do that. we're very close to doing t let- we're very close to doing it. let me say a word about the senator from arkansas. i have for the last week defended his right to have a vote, and i will have a vote. make no mistake about it, he will have a vote. but i gen intend to oppose it oe merits for three reasons. the first is this, and let me say this very carefully: if the united states is not allowed to buy heavy water from iran next year, as it is this
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year, it creates the possibility that iran will be able to sell that heavy water to other countries, including north korea, who might use it to make nuclear weapons. let me say that again. if we're not ha allowed to -- if we're not allowed to buy it by this amendment, someone else will buy it. heavy water is a distilled form of water. by itself, i.t. not hazard ar dorks it's not radioactive. it can be used in many -- for many peaceful purposes. the united states uses about 70 stones tons of it every -- the united states uses about 70 tons of it every year. this year the oak ridge laboratory is buying 32 tons from iran%, 6 million of it -- or 6 tongues of which we'll use -- 6 tons of which we'll use for its microscope. the rest will be sold to
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universities, hospitals, for medical research, for fiber optics, all for peaceful purposes. but, mr. president, this heavy water, this distilled form of water, can also be used to make plutonium to make nuclear weapons, which is why we do not want iran to have it. we want it out of iran. we want it somewhere else. so if we don't want them to have it and if we need it and we in the united states don't produce it and we don't buy it, what does iran do with its heavy water? well, it sells it to somebody else, perhaps. we don't know who, but it could be any one of a number of countries, including north korea. in a big meeting over there now with -- wcialg the biggest they've had in three decades -- talking about nuclear weapons. so, in my view, respectfully, this is bad policy. i oppose it.
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i support the senator's right to have a vote, and he will have a vote. but when twheaf vote, i will oat -- but when we have a vote, i will vote "no." the +sebgd weren' -- the second reason i oppose the amendment is because it doesn't belong on the appropriations bill. i hear a lot of lectures of senators from distinguished senators of our so-called authorizing committees, committees like foreig foreign relations, armed services, intelligence, saying you senators on the appropriations committee are making a lost -- a lot of decisions you shouldn't be maying. what is more of a policy decision than what to do with iran's heavy water? this isn't a debate about whether you support the iran nuclear agreement. i voted against that. i am opposed to that. this is a question about what do you do about the 200 tons of heavy water that can be used either for peaceful purposes or
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to make nuclear weapons? what do you do about that over the next few years? i would think there would be no issue that would be more suitable for discussion by the foreign relations committee or the armed services committee or the intelligence committee, nor can i think of many issues less suitable just to pop up as an amendment on an appropriations bill. if we can't decide issues like this that are filled with national security implications, why do we have a foreign relations committee? why do we have an armed services committee? why do we have an intelligence committee? it's not just the possibility that it might go to iran. you know, the issue cuts the other way as well. senator cotton or someone else who favors the amendment might say, well, if we buy more heavy water from iran, perhaps that creates a market the for iran; maybe that incentivizes them to make more had he have i have water, keeps them in production for a long period of time, then
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later on they misuse it. maybe that's possible. then there's the question of what does a decision by the united states not to allow our tax dollars to buy heavy water for our peaceful purposes, what effect might that have on other ccurrence that might produce -- on other countries that might produce heavy water, such as argentina or canada, which doesn't produce it but uses it? what are the implications? what are the national security implications at a time when there has nevada been a d. there has never been a more dangerous time in the world of what to do about iran's disposal of heavy water, water we don't want it to have, water we don't produce but which we need, and water that we do not want to get into the hands of other countries such as perhaps north korea, who could use it to make nuclear weapons? i cannot think of a more
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appropriate issue to be considered by the foreign relations committee. and then there is the third reason that we should make into account when voting on this -- the president says he'll veto it. i don't think we should stop the train, pull the cord and stop p -- stop the train just because the president says he will scree tow something. he -- the white house says they will veto something 85 times in the last year and a half and if we just stopped our work every time we did that, we'd only be meeting on monday afternoons or tuesday morning. but we ought to take into account the fact that the president might veto it and that placing this amendment on this bill would be a sign sear but -- a sincere but in my opinion a few fill gesture because we would end up with no amendment. we might end up with no energy and water appropriations bill for yet another year. so i have some differences with some of my friends on the other
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side. some of them think that whenever the president says "veto," we should stop. i think we should go ahead and if he wants to veto, he vetoes. but i think we should take that into account. some of them say that whenever a controversial amendment comes up, we should just not move forward with the bill. here's what we agreed to this year: after last year, i agreed, anyway, to make sure that we did not in our subcommittee, the energenergy and water approprias committee -- and i see the senator from california is here, which we worked on together. we kept controversial amendments 0 off the bill in our committee and there were a number o that tried to come on. we said if they're controversial, bring them to the floor. last year on that bill went the waters of the u.s. amendment,
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and it killed the bill. the democrats wouldn't move forward with it. i think you this should have. but they did not. so it was not on the bill this year. senator hoeven held it until we got to the floor. he offered the amendment with 60 votes and it doesn't pass. so we honored our word. we kept the controversial amendments off the bill in committee, but amendments that are relevant and germane when they come to the floor are entitled to be heard, entitled to be heard. and so we should dispose of the cotton amendment the way we dispose over other differences. we should just vote on it. especially since the senator from california is here, let me talk about another aspect of ourwork on the bill that's -- of our work on the bill that's important to the senate. that's a word called "restraint." senator feinstein, for example,is very concerned about the cruise missile. she could have offered an amendment in the subcommittee -- or she could today -- that would have made a major change in our policy toward the cruise
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missile. but she chose not to do that. she chose instead to have a hearing. and we'll do that and then we'll take the next step, whatever that brings out to be. i think she knows that if she had moved ahead with that, that would have been a very provocative thing to do, made it harder to pass the bill. she chose not to do t the senator from north carolina, senator graham and senator scott, very concerned about the plutonium mox facility in south carolina. the administration wants a different way of disposing of that plutonium. we could have tried to make that policy decision in this bill, or the south carolina senators could have tried that, too, but we thought it was policy decision that should be first considered by the authorizing committee, in this case the armed services committee, so we met with senator mccain and
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senator reed's reading of the rs and they've greed have a hearing. senator shelby from alabama is highly stirred up about what we call the georgia water -- the georgia-florida-alabamaful wars and he would like to have his amendment to resolve that pron this bill. but he has stepped back from that on this bill and allowed us to move forward. none of those senators -- none of those senators had to do that but they did that knowing that it's the basic constitutional duty of this body through its appropriation -- to do its appropriations work and they made it possible. i would have preferred that senator cotton not offer this amendment on this bill. but he did. and since it's relevant and since it's germane and since we did not deal with it in committee, i think the right way
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to approach it is to dispose with it the way we do with other differences of opinion. let's vote on it and move on. senator feinstein, before you came, if i may say, has said that in my view i wanted the senators and staff to know that we'd be voting today for the third time on whether to cut off debate or not. my hope was that we could dispose of the cotton amendment with 60 votes and then finish the bill. and i also said that while i defended senator cotton's right to offer the amendment and that he will get a vote because the majority leader has the parliamentary tools to file cloture and make sure there's a vote on the cotton amendment by wednesday, that i intend to vote against the cotton amendment because i think it risks the possibility that iran's heavy water might be sold to a country
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such as north korea that could use it to make nuclear weapons because i think first it should be considered by the foreign relations committee or the armed services committee or your intelligence committee. an -- and for those reasons i intend to vote against it. so i'm hopeful that when we get to 5:30, that maybe conversations would have continued and the possibility could even exist that we could agree today to vote on the cotton amendment at 60 votes, dispose of it, vote on cloture to move ahead with the bill and have final passage of the bill. but if we can't do that i see no reason why we can't do it over the next couple of days. i want to thank the senator from california for the way she has worked with me on this issue. we've gotten almost to the finish line. she and i would like to set a good example for the other 11
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appropriations bills that are coming up. there are other bills beyond that that we need to deal with. there's the 21st legislation on biomedical research. there's the zika legislation that many senators are interested in. so my hope is that we could find a way to resolve the only major remaining issue we have before we pass a bill that virtually every senator in this body has some interest in and will probably, probably vote for. so i'm optimistic and hopeful that we could move quickly on disposing of the cotton amendment and finishing the bill. ideally we'd do it today but certainly we could get it done by tomorrow or wednesday. i thank the president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 2028 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 96,
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h.r. 2028, an act to making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2016 and for other purposes. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask consent that all time until 5:30 today be charged equally between both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california fine thank you very much, madam president. i would like to address the dwrnd chairman of this -- dwshed chairman of this -- distinguished chairman of this subcommittee for whom it's been a very good experience to work with you, senator alexander. i think you know that we take great pride in getting things done. i appreciate you mentioning the standoff, nuclear cruise missile in some form of analogy but i would say this, that i've been
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in this body a long time. you've been in this body a long time. not everybody gets their vote. it just doesn't work that way. i can't remember year after year after year when i had an amendment on a bill and i've never gotten a vote for it. mrs. feinstein: so that's not an unusual thing to happen. what has been an unusual thing is for some person to take down a bill and particularly i an appropriations bill. and what we were hoping for is we could demonstrate that we worked out difficulties. you gave on some points. i gave on some points. as you were good enough to mention, one of the points i gave on i considered to be a very big issue not yet settled, and that is a standoff nuclear cruise missile which has not yet been demonstrated to me that it's necessary and that we do not have a satisfactory
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conventional weapon that can go through air defense systems. i believe we do. in any event, there is a strong constituency that feels as i do. and you have been good enough to give me a hearing and some report language which contains some questions which the defense department will hopefully answer forwith. and i appreciate that. and that was enough for me. so the standoff nuclear cruise missile is something that we need to look more deeply into. the amendment that our side is so strongly opposed to accompanied by the white house is one senator essentially hitting at the iran nuclear agreement. now, the iran nuclear agreement was not something that all of us don't know a lot about. a great deal of time was spent with it.
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a great deal of discussion took place both in subcommittees and on the floor and a vote was taken on it. so to a great extent, senator, in my mind it is very much a settled issue. the president has the right to go ahead with it. and i think that's very important. and more importantly, iran has kept the agreement and iran has lived up to the terms of this nuclear-related agreement. now, if one thinks iran doesn't know what's going on, one is wrong because some of us who went up to meet with the iranian foreign minister heard. well, what is happening now and there was concern. now having said that, you gave me a hearing and some report language. i certainly would have no objection to giving the senator
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from arkansas a hearing. and yet i would not stand here and say that we should not protect the sanctity of that agreement because i believe we should. i think the administration has done the right thing with the sale of this heavy water because we knew -- we know that if that heavy water is used in the united states of america, it will be used for peaceful purposes. a lot of it will go to a distinguished lab in your state as well as other places. it can be sold to licensed businesses who do medical research and other kinds of manufacturing carbon fiber, et cetera, where the nuclear component of heavy water is helpful. we know that if it goes on the open market, north korea, if
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they were to be a buyer would not use it for peaceful purposes. they would use it to help enrich plutonium for ap bomb. -- for a bomb. so it makes eminent sense to me and the reason i so strongly oppose what is happening is because it is a strike at the nuclear iranian agreement. it is seen that way by the administration. the administration has said they would veto the bill if this is in it. i don't want to lose the bill because of this, because of one senator who wants to strike out at that agreement. i think that's the wrong thing to do. you've been good enough to discuss this with me and i really do appreciate that. we have discussed it in our caucus. there are very strong feelings about not moving to cloture till
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this is a settled issue. i would certainly be happy to help settle it. it's my understanding that you are willing to oppose it from a conversation we had yesterday. i trust that's still the case. if through the chair i might ask my distinguished chairman a question and let me ask this question, madam president, directed to the chair of our subcommittee. is it correct that you would stand in opposition to this amendment? mr. alexander: madam president, the answer is yes to that. if i may continue my answer to the question, while i defend the senator's right to have -- senator cotton's right to have a vote, i see it a little differently than senator feinstein. she supports the iran agreement. i oppose it. this is not a vote to me about
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the iran agreement. this is a question about what do you do about iran's heavy water. and i will oppose the cotton amendment, one, because it creates the possibility if it were adopted that iran's heavy water might be purchased not by the united states for peaceful purposes but for countries like north korea who might use it to make nuclear weapons. two, i think it would be more appropriate for it to be considered first by foreign relations, armed services, or intelligence. so for those reasons i intend to vote against the cotton amendment. mrs. feinstein: i thank the chair and i thank the senator. and i think that's a very wise response. i think it's a correct response. i think it does belong in the foreign relations committee. we have worked so hard to get a bill that could set a standard for this body and that we could go back to regular order and begin to get appropriation bills passed in this house.
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and i don't want to lose that opportunity candidly. and i think we still have it. so, you know, hope still reigns eternal in my view and i hope senator cotton will see that this is not worth taking down this bill because i believe that would happen. i believe there are enough votes to deny cloture, and it's too bad. i don't want to see it because that means it's going to happen with other bills. it means that we're going to have other -- what are termed by some, madam president, as poison pill amendments. the administration views this as a poison pill amendment. we know in interior there are poison pill amendments. very chaired that committee. senator alexander has chaired that committee, and we know what happens. so we are trying to set an example on this floor of working things out.
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now, it would seem to me that a reasonable senator might say, all right, i'm not going to hold up this bill. i've made my point. i realize what's happening. i know this heavy water is going to be put to a good use in this country. i know that if it's on the open market, i know that iran has to limit its supply at 130 metric tons. we know that this heavy water is out of iran. as a matter of fact, it's in a storehouse and it's on the market. and the united states has said that they would buy it, we would buy it. that's the right thing to do, to set an example so that nuclear proliferation does not take place. and this is part of that. so it is my hope that we will be able to resolve that. you know, you're eminently reasonable. i'd like to believe i am
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reasonablreasonable, to my colli say. and i'm very hopeful that maybe before the hour of 5:00 we might be able to come to some agreement. otherwise, i think the cloture motion will be defeated. i yield the floor. thank you, madam president. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from california. she and i will talk some more. i think we've stated our -- the similarity in our positions which is our opposition to the cotton amendment and the difference in opposition, which is she sees it as integ gratly -- integraly related to iran which she supports and i see it as a separate issue because i oppose the iran agreement. i don't think we'll work that out in public the next hour and a half so i suggest we continue our conversations between us and it the majority and the
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democratic leader and see where we get by 5:30. my hope is that we can dispose of the cotton amendment, finish the bill, and get on to the other important business of the senate sooner rather than later. i thank the president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. a senator: madam president, i'm going to make some remarks about our wonderful colleague who passed last week, senator bob bennett. mr. wyden: and in beginning i want to note that senator bennett, to of senator bennett's favorites are here on the floor this afternoon, senator feinstein and senator alexander. and what senator bennett liked so much about senator alexander and senator feinstein is what we've seen this afternoon. the two of them have a difference of opinion with respect i gather to the iran deal. i happen to share senator feinstein's view, but the two of them are trying to find common ground here in the senate.
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that's the senate at its best, and that's exactly what bob bennett liked so much about both my colleague from california and my colleague from tennessee. so i think it's very fitting that i open my remarks about senator bennett having listened once again to the chair, the ranking member, talk about how the senate is supposed to do business. and, madam president, beginning my comments about bob bennett, there's so many wonderful things to say, but i thought i'd begin by talking about senator bennett's favorite subject because it's something he created and he saw it as a great opportunity for the senate and he called it the grand bargain. and whenever he had a chance to sit down and talk with them, i had joined the finance
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committee. he'd talk about the opportunities as it related to taxes. he talked with senator alexander and i about that often, as my colleague remembers. he talked to us about health care and taxes. he was very interested in innovation. by the way, i can he was one of the first senators to purchase a hybrid, you know, vehicle, close to 20 years ago. and he used that discussion to branch in to the kind of building connections that you have to really do when you're talking about how you're going to increase the standard of living for americans in a constantly changing world where you're really dealing with global economics. we don't just sell stuff to the people down the street. we're competing against economic
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forces from all over the world. and so when senator bennett talked about his idea of the grand bargain, and you could be sitting with him in the senate dining room, for example, and he probably took out a napkin if he couldn't find a piece of paper. but what he was interested in was what i call principled bipartisanship. in other words, no gets everything they want. but what you try to do is find principles that you feel strongly about, principles that the other side feels strongly about. that's what senator feinstein and senator alexander have been talking about this afternoon. and you find some common ground. it was very, very fortunate, as i look in my career in public service, that i had a chance, madam president, to work with bob bennett. and i will tell you the way i
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see it, there was no better grand bargain in life than a friendship with bob bennett. and we differed on plenty of stuff, just as i'm sure senator feinstein and senator alexander have differed on matters. bob would always say, ron is pro-choice. i'm pro-life. ron was against the iraq war. i was for the iraq war. but we didn't spend our time arguing about those kinds of things. what we were interested in is finding ways to solve problems. and i remember one that i think my colleagues on the floor remember as well. back at the time of y-2-k, the turn of the century, oh my goodness, you would have thought that western civilization was going to end. we were going to have this
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technology meltdown. it was going to be chaos around the world. well, there were two bills at the time, two pieces of legislation. there was a bill from our former colleague, senator dodd and senator bennett. and then i was a young upstart member of the commerce committee. senator mccain, knowing of my interest in technology policy, basically gave me a great honor to say, well, why don't you be my running mate, because he was the chairman of the committee. there were twaol -- two bills. one with senator mccain and i as the junior running mate. the other was bob bennett and chris dodd. everybody said there's going to be all kinds of tpaoegt between between -- fighting between of four of us. nobody can agree and nobody will pass a piece of legislation and the country won't be prepared. because of bob -- i basically
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was the newcomer to the senate and this was a big, important piece of legislation -- bob and chris dodd and senator mccain basically said we're not going to have any part of some bicker fest here in the united states senate. we're going to solve a problem, and they did. and you bet, it picked up opposition. there were some folks on the progressive side who had reservations about some provisions. there were some folks on the conservative side who had reservations about the legislation. and we passed a bill. i remember going down the y-2-k center that night, staying up all night. and i can't claim that our legislation was responsible for such a smooth-running transition, but we like to think that the fact that the senate decided to set aside partisanship and actually get something done was constructive. and the reality is bob bennett
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firmly believed that he was elected to do more than just get reelected. i think that was right at the core of how he worked in the united states senate. i have been in public life awhile. i was director of the gray panthers for a number of years when i was awe young man with a -- when i was a young man with a full head of hair and rugged good looks. i was always dreaming about being part of major health reform, so i put together a bill. i said i think my party's right that we're never going to get health care fixed unless we have universal coverage. otherwise there'll be cost shifting. there won't be prevention. but republicans have a valid point too, that there ought to be a role for the private sector. and so i was talking to republicans. senator alexander remembers these visits. and when i went to see senator
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bennett who i watched on the floor talking about health care, he sounded like someone who might be interested, but i still thought it was a long shot. i said my god, he's a really conservative guy, a conservative fellow from utah, and a progressive fellow from oregon, probably don't have much in common except for the fact they're both tall. and when i talked to him in his office, he later said to a newspaper person, i gave the closest thing that you do in the senate to convey that i really wasn't interested. because he said you never say "no," especially to somebody sincere. and he said that a number of times, and he thought about it, and he spent time talking to people. and i remember it like it was yesterday because his seat was over just a few seats away, and he and senator rockefeller were the tallest senators at the
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time. senator kerry and i kind of came in third or fourth or something like that. but he came bounding over and he said, "i want to do this with you." and i did a kind of double take because i thought i don't think i'm hearing this right. he goes, yeah, you're talking about how the democrats are right about universal coverage. i'm going to have to get my side kind of acclimated to that. but you acknowledged that there ought to be a role somehow, some way for the private sector. i said you bet, that was the point. and he said "i'm in." and so one of his newspapers, in looking at all the kind things that have been said, said bob bennett did so much good work, we hope that what his career stood for was that you could find common ground and that the senate would remember going
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forward that bipartisanship was not a death sentence. bipartisanship was a chance to find a way to solve problems whether it was y-2-k, which was exciting, or i thought it was worth mentioning, madam chair, because i did a stint -- madam president -- i did a stint as chairman of the energy and natural resources committee, and bob bennett put together a truly impressive public lands bill. it involved one of his fast-growing counties -- washington county -- several hundred thousand acres by the bureau of land management, national park service and the like. and suffice it to say, when i heard about it for the first time and senator bennett asked for my help i thought there is
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no way he's going to be able to move something like this because you had all the progressive environmental organizations. you had lots of people from the counties who of course resisted these sorts of things. we have lots of challenges in the west in putting together public lands policies, as we saw once again here recently in eastern oregon. but bob bennett pulled it off. he pulled it off because he pretty much just smothered both sides with attention. each side would have a point. he would respond. he'd send his staff out to talk to it. and people who normally wouldn't possibly agree came together, came together and found common ground on a public lands policy. and i remember because the president signed it in 2009, senator bennett and i were in
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the back, i guess largely because we were the tallest, and we talked about how unlikely that it was that we would be there and that we would have all of these opportunities to serve together. so as we remember bob bennett, my hope is that we'll understand much like today that senator bennett understood that neither side had enough votes to get everything it wanted. that was the case then. it was the case and continues to be the case today. and he understood that no single party had a lock on all the good ideas. but rather than just shrug his shoulders or go out and race from microphone in order to
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score some sort of quick political advantage, bob bennett and his career in the senate stood for what we calm principled bipartisanship. so i imagine there are going to be a number of farewells this week to a wonderful friend, a terrific senator, in my view, an even better person. and i just hope that apropos of what we've seen with senator feinstein and senator alexander here as they approach another big vote, let's put as much of our time and effort into finding common ground as possible. now sometimes it can't be done. i get that. and bob bennett did too. but certainly we can put vastly more time and effort into finding common ground, pursuing what bob bennett was all about,
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because he was a united states senator, madam president, who gave public service a good name. with that, i yield the floor. mrs. feinstein: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: madam president, if i may, i want to thank the senator from oregon for those remarks. you might be interested to know that i was chairman of rules, and bob was the ranking member, and this was during the period before the first inaugural of barack obama and so as we all know, the rules committee is in charge of making the arrangements for the occasion, and bob was really just a wonderful person to work with. in the first place, we worked really well together. we sat down, we went over the problems, we talked about solutions, and then came the subject of the senate lunch following the inaugural. well, i didn't pay much
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attention to it, and then i realized that this was a huge thing. it was in i guess statuary hall. there were decorations. we had to get a fine painting, which in this case i arranged for it to be a great california landscape by thomas hill, which came from a museum in new york. and to plan for it, there was something which had been traditional to be a tasting meal. and senator bennett and his wonderful wife joyce and my husband and i go up to the fourth floor, and the table is set as it would be set at this lunch. and we did a tasting from every culinary caterer who was bidding to do the lunch. believe it or not. and i think there were four of them. so there were four entrees and four salads and four desserts.
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and joyce and bob and dick and i sat there and we went through the motions and did it. but it was with great humor and the two of them together really were a very special couple. and you knew them in a different way than i knew him, senator wyden. but bob bennett truly was a man among men. he had a humility about him, but he also had a real can-do sense and really cared about his senate term. senator alexander, i know you knew him well. it was really wonderful for me on the rules committee because it was much like you are on energy and water appropriation appropriations. and also to have a chance to meet joyce and get to know her was really very, very special.
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i think we put on a very good inaugural, bipartisan inaugural, if you will. and i just want to say thank you, senator, because this really was a man in this house, and he didn't participate in any obstruction or any difficulty. he was always positive and always willing to be a part of and to help. and that's really very special. so i would just like to give my best to his family and to his friends. your state had a wonderful senator, bob bennett, and you will be missed. thank you, madam president. i notice 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 arizona. a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that it be done away with. the presiding officer: without objection flake mr. president, i take the floor to speak in support of legislation of -- the miscellaneous tir arrive benefit process. i'm pleased to help this legislation advanced. mr. flake: it's my hope this bill will soon be on the president's desk. as many will remember, a dark cloud hung over the united states congress with regard to the practice of earmarking in early 2009. the feeding at the earmark trough had long since expanded to the point of ridiculousness. earmarks exploded to their answer record of $29 billion in
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2006. now, they were long a problem before that, but it had gotten much, much worse at that time. congress had become accustomed to powerful members getting a large chunk of the earmark pie and rank and file members would fight over the scraps. we saw less and less true oversight as more and more spending was dolled out in congressional back rooms. it wasn't just spending on earmarks that we didn't have good oversight on. it was the entire federal budget, but it was largely a problem because so much of our time here in congress was spent doling out earmarks and making sure that every member got a few and they were scattered around, that we really gave up on the oversight that we should have been conducting. at the same time earmark opponents had ample opportunity to same the process by highlighting bridges to nowhere,
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tea pot museums and the cow girl hall of fame, for example, receiving these earmarks. but attention on the issue focused sharply in early february of 2009 when reports surfaced that a lobbying firm specializing in defense appropriations had been raided by the f.b.i. "the new york times" noted that the firm -- quote -- had set up shot at the busy intersection between political fund raising and taxpayer spending directing tens of millions of dollars in contributions to lawmakers while steering hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarked contract, back to clients. now, the cloud over congress darkened even further with suggestions of pay-to-play straw men contributions, the reimbursing of employees for political contributions and pressuring others for political giving. in quick succession, both the house and the senate rightly put in place a moratorium over all
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earmarks, a ban that has remained intact ever since. while we gladly said goodbye to the bad old days of congressional pork barrel spending, we soon found that several things that congress -- that several things that congress only knew how to do were through earmarking. this included the so-called miscellaneous tariff benefits or mtb's. mtb's are provisions that when signed into law provide tariff and duty relief for imports that are not domestically produced. the historic m.t.b. process benefited from a consensu consensus-driven process administered by the international trade commission that for the most part set it apart from the much ridiculed federal largess doled out by earmarking. now, unfortunately the original process also required an individual bill be introduced by a member of congress, a specific bill for specific tariff free --
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often to benefit a particular for profit company. i long held that doing away with these individual bills and establishing an m.t.b. process that relies on the i.t.c. to accept and review proposal, over which congress has final say would be preferrable. such an approach would both comply with the earmarked moratorium while providing taxpayers a measure of confidence that undue influence was not being inappropriately exerted. now, i'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with both house and senate leadership and members of the senate finance committee and the house committee on winte ways and mean moving such a proposal forward. to be clear, my goals of being an original cosponsor of the american manufacturing competitiveness act of 2016 and vocally supporting moving forward with legislation reforming the m.t.b. process is
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two foald. first and foremost -- two foald, first and foremost cutting tariffs is the right thing to do. in fact, i'd support permanent tariff reductions as a means of furthering the benefits of free trade and lightening the burden on u.s. producers. in addition the longer we go without being able to move forward with m.t.b. bills, the more threatened the earmark moratorium is. i wish i could say that all members of congress are willing to permanently walk away from this wayward process of congressional earmarking, but that is not the case and those wishing to go back to the bad old days will use any excuse to support ending the earmark moratorium. reforming the m.t.b. process not only provides a path for much needed tariff relief and a modicum of confidence for taxpayers, it's also good for the long-term survival of the earmark moratorium. so i'm pleased to be part of this effort moving forward. the house companion legislation
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passed with overwhelming support. i believe there were only two dis sending votes in the house. you it's my hope the senate will soon follow suit. i yield back my time. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: i have one unanimous consent request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. it has approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that this request be agreed to and
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that this request be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection so ordered flake i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. ms. heitkamp: i'd like to ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered. the clerk will now report the motion to the bill clerk. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment numbered 3801
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to n calendar number 8 h.r. 20828, an act making appropriations for energy and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on amendment 3801 offered by the senator from tennessee, mr. alexander, as amended to h.r. 2028 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will now call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote the yeas are 50, the nays are 42. three-fifths of the senators not having voted in the affirmative the motion is not agreed to. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i enter a motion to reconsider the vote. the presiding officer: the motion is entered. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i withdraw my amendment number 3804. the presiding officer: the amendment is withdrawn. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i offer the cotton amendment number 3878. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from
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kentucky, mr. mcconnell, for mr. cotton proposes amendment 3878 to amendment number 3801. at the appropriate place insert the following: section, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available -- mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk for the cotton amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment number 3878 to amendment number 3801, to calendar number 96, h.r. 2028, an act making appropriations for energy and so forth and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: object? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the mandatory quorum be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion for the alexander substitute amendment number 3801.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment numbered 3801 to calendar number number 96 h.r. 20828, an act making appropriations for energy and so forth and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the raoegdz of -- reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the mandatory quorum be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, we are saddened by the passing of conrad burns last month. senator burns was a big personality from a big state. he will certainly be missed by those who had the opportunity to
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know him. i our thoughts are with phyllis and the burns family then and remain with them today. the senate remembers this former colleague. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 457, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 457, relative to the death of conrad ray burns, former united states senator for the state of montana. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous
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consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 458 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 458, relative to the death of robert f. bennett, former senator of the state of utah. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:15 tuesday, may 10. following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, that following leader remarks, the senate then resume consideration of h.r. 2028. further, that the filing deadline for first-degree amendments under rule 22 to the alexander substitute amendment
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number 3801 be at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. finally, that the senate adjourn today under the provisions of s. res. 457 and 458. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i'd like to make brief comments concerning the status of the energy and water appropriations bill following the actions of the majority leader. i said most of what i had to say earlier. here's my view of it. tonight, for the third time, the senate voted not to end debate on the energy and water appropriations bill, even though we have virtually finished all of our work on it. we have one difference of opinion, and it's a big one, it's a provocative one. it's the cotton amendment that would prohibit the united states tax dollars being used next year to purchase heavy water from iran. what senator -- what the majority leader has done is
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filed cloture on the cotton amendment, which means that after tomorrow, the intervening day, we'll have a vote on the cotton amendment, on wednesday. we will dispense with it the way we usually dispense with issues about which we have large differences of opinion. we vote on them. sometimes we can work them out, sometimes we can withdraw them, sometimes we can't. so we're going to vote on this. senator cotton has said that if he should not win the amendment, he will withdraw it. that will dispose of the cotton amendment, and then we can move on and finish the energy and water appropriations bill. i said earlier today, and i will reiterate, that while i have defended senator cotton's right to offer his amendment, it's germane and it's relevant, i will vote no on his amendment for two reasons. one is i believe it raises the possibility that if the united states is not allowed to buy
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heavy water from iran, that p tax cuts it on the international market and it could be purchased by other countries such as north korea for use in making nuclear weapons. this is not a vote for or against the iran nuclear agreement. i'm opposed to that agreement. this is a question about what to do about the heavy water that iran has, which it has to get rid of, which can be used either for peaceful purposes, which we use it for in the united states when we have it. we use it for the neutron microscope at the oak ridge laboratory, we use it for fiber optics, we use it for m.r.i. imaging, we use it in a variety of ways. or it can be used to make plutonium and nuclear weapons. now is not the time, mr. president, to be increasing the possibility that heavy water from iran could be put on the international market and sold to a country such as north korea who might use it to make nuclear weapons. that's number one. number two, while the amendment
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is relevant and germane, this is an amendment that ought to be considered first in the foreign relations or the armed services committee. i get a lot of lectures sometimes at our republican lunches about appropriators making decisions that ought to be in the authorizing committee. well, this is one of them. if there weren't an issue that raises more such complex national security issues, it would be hard to think of one. might this heavy water be used by a country to make nuclear weapons? or on the other hand, if we purchase it, does it create a market or an incentive for iran to produce more heavy water? what happens to india that produces heavy water? what happens to argentina? what happens to the united states' own need for heavy water since we don't produce it at all yet we need it? iran produces it. we don't want them to have it. we don't produce it. we need it. we don't want north korea to have it.
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these are complex national security issues that really ought not to be decided on an amendment here. so i will be -- i will be voting no on the cotton amendment because of the fear that it might create the possibility that putting it on the international market would put this distilled water, which could be used peacefully in the hands of someone who might make a bond -- bomb with it, and because i think the appropriate way to handle it is to first allow the foreign relations committee or armed services committee to deal with it. this is a sincere amendment. i have defended the right of the senator from arkansas to offer his amendment. my friends on the other side don't like the amendment. they see it as provocative. they see it as a poison pill. that's a difference we'll just have to work out over time. but this is the united states senate. the right way to work out differences that we can't otherwise work out is simply to
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vote. the majority leader has made sure that we will have a vote on the cotton amendment by wednesday. my hope would be, mr. president, that as important as this energy and water appropriations bill is, that senator feinstein and i could work with the democratic leader and the republican leader and others to see if we might not agree tomorrow on a way to vote on the cotton amendment and finish the bill. this is a bill as i have said earlier 80 different senators have important provisions in the bill. i know that. i know they are important because many of you went home over the last week and took credit for passing them even though we have got a little more work to do. so while we have one difference of opinion left -- and it's a big one -- i think the majority leader has put us on a path to come to resolution by wednesday, i would hope by tomorrow. now, let me conclude by thanking senator feinstein. she feels as passionately about this as senator cotton does.
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maybe she feels more passionate about it. i respect and understand that. but i also respect the fact that she and i are the first appropriations bill up. that's our basic constitutional duty to do this. we haven't had an energy and water appropriations bill make it all the way across the floor under regular order since 2009. that's not the way the railroad is supposed to run around here. we need to show the american people that we can resolve our differences and come to a result, so we will do that. we will have a vote and then we will finish the bill. i would hope we could do it tomorrow, and i look forward to continuing my discussions with the senator from california and other interested senators to get a result. i thank the president. mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i rise just to thank the distinguished chairman of this subcommittee for his views and for his very constructive actions to move this bill to fruition.
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i think we both think it's an important bill. we know the subject that senator cotton has raised is also important. i think there has been a good discussion on it and understanding of the pros and cons. so i think now that we can wait until wednesday, an hour after we come in for the vote, and we'll see what the will of the senate is. but i just want the chairman to know that i'm very grateful for the actions that he has taken because this is enabling us to pass the bill and see it enacted into law, we hope. so thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. during our break, mr. president, last thursday, "the new york times" ran a story that was as
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heart-rending and gut wrenching as i have read in a long time. the headline was one week in april, four toddlers shot and killed, and i ask that it be included in the record without -- if there is no objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: it included harrowing stories like this one, and i'm quoting -- shaquille cornahay, 2 years old, was buried in a pink coffin, her favorite doll by herself and tiara strategically placed to hide self-inflicted gunshot wounds to her forehead. she had been napping in bed with her father late last month when she discovered the nine-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow in his kansas city, missouri, home. it was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like red lights on her cousin's sneakers. her father told the police he woke to see shaquille by his bed
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bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. a bullet had pierced her skull. on the night of april 20, kernicious shelton had placed her purse out of her 2-year-old son kayen's reach on the kitchen counter. when her phone started ringing, the boy apparently pushed a chair close to the counter, climbed onto it and reached for the purse. there was also a .380 caliber beretta pistol in it. just after 9:00 p.m., miss shelton heard a loud bang and rushed downstairs. there she found kayen lying on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. the police in indianapolis said such scenes were becoming more common. as someone who has advocated for
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commonsense protections against gun violence for decades and now as senator from connecticut where we know all too well the horrors of gun violence and the deep wounds and death they can wreak on innocent children and especially as a parent of four children who have been those ages, these stories for me are truly heart-rending and gut wrenching. my heart goes out to the families of these children and the families of countless other children who are lost as a result of these gun deaths. too many such families, tobacco often. so many of them preventable. last year, there were 278 unintentional shootings by young children or teenagers.
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most of them having no idea what they were doing. in the week at the end of this april when four toddlers shot themselves, at least five other children and teenagers accidentally shot themselves or other people, and in-depth investigations have strongly suggested that these shootings are significantly undercounted because of differing rules across the country and jurisdiction about how such deaths are to be reported. some areas designate any death in which one person shoots another as a homicide, even if the shooter is 2 years old and has no intent to kill. the gun lobby relies on these misleading statistics to oppose laws that could reduce and prevent these kinds of heart wrenching stories and deaths.
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safe storage laws or technology or trigger locks. how could they be opposed? the gun lobby argues that these deaths are vanishingly rare, outpaced by other causes of child mortality. and of course they perpetuate the misinformation by continuing to oppose any research, any fact finding into gun violence by the center for disease control and prevention, continuing even to block our ability to better understand how, let alone address it. i continue to have great difficulty understanding the antisafety advocacy of these groups. time and again in american history, we have recognized that products posing a risk to consumers, particularly to children, require regulation to make them as safe as possible, no matter what the product, no
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matter what the industry. that's been the american way. we put seat belts in car and require drivers to learn what they're doing and obtain a license. we have put childproof caps on medicine bottles and dangerous household products, even if they have the best of uses. if we've taken concrete steps to ensure that children can't open a bottle of aspirin, i'm baffled that we can't do more to prevent these violent deaths. why aren't we doing everything we can to make sure that children can't kill themselves or others or injure themselves or others with a firearm? there is no lack of ideas for how to remedy this situation.
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president obama recently announced that, as part of the white house's antigun violence initiative, he'll move forward to promote the development of smartgun technology, which is designed to ensure that no one except the owner can fire it, even if a gun makes it into the hands of someone who should not have it, whether a child or a criminal. the gun will not be accessible. like other steps the president has outlined in the absence of congressional, a which remains sorely needed -- which remains sorely needed, this smart gun initiative utilizes existing laws and resources to channel research, innovation, and enforcement toward more effectively cutting down on gun violence. surely we have a consensus among the american people, among gun
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owners, among anybody belonging to groups that seemingly oppose these commonsense measures that we need to do more and do it better to prevent these child deaths. on smart guns in particular, the white house will provide guidance for enhancing safety technology, he had to manufacture -- help to manufacture and test smart firearms and facilitate their purchase by state and local governments. working in partnership with private-sector unknow verities and -- innovators and local jurisdictions, this holds tremendous promise. even while smart guns that depend on advanced technology are being developed, existing mechanisms provide remedies as well. low-tech remedies, trigger locks, and indicators of whether a gun is loaded are in widespread use today.
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studies have suggested that a third of accidental deaths could be prevented by the use of childproof safety locks and a loading indicator. and our laws should encourage and even require their adoption. states around the country have also developed a variety of safe storage bills which prohibits storing firearms in place that are accessible to children. tragic experience has shown us that, as important as it is for families to discuss guns with their children, simply admonishing them to avoid going near guns simple will he won't -- simply won't work, particularly when the children are too young to understand what guns are, what they can do, and most especially when they are playing with other children in other families' homes where
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those guns may be accessible and loaded the answer is to insist that adults take responsibility. they need to be held responsible for keeping firearms off-limits, which is really the only realistic option to cut down these tragic deaths of children. laws requiring that kind of responsibility and accountability are supported by two-thirds of americans. unfortunately, the gun lobby has continually and constantly and insistently and consistently opposed progress in these areas. their steadfast opposition has also prevented the consumer product safety commission, which has a praiseworthy track record of success in keeping children
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safe from hazards ranging from lead in toys to dangerous cribs, has prevented that agency from regulating firearms. even issuing guidance will how they could be designed more safely for children. i've been coming to the floor of the united states senate for a number of years to speak about the need for legislation to address the gun violence epidemic in this country, clearly a public health crisis. if there were a flu epidemic or other kind of contagious disease causing 30,000 deaths a year, we would have urgent and drastic action. we need to do the right thing and stories like those reported last week of the unspeakable
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horror a parent feels when a child too young to understand what is happening encounters a gun and uses it, as shakil and kilan and hostan cole, a three-year-old boy, his pastor said, he loved singing "jesus loves me." he puts a gun to his head and unknowingly pulls the trigger. we can do better. we are better, and we must act. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: last week the world and the burns family lost senator conrad burns. there are thousands of reasons to celebrate the life of senator conrad burns, but i'll only mention a few while i hope you write down your memories to help
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fill the void. he made friends instantly and could quickly find a way to relate to anyone. he had a story for every situation. that's the most effective way to make a point. i particularly enjoyed his marital voice he learned in hudson, wyoming. his stories always had a location and a person. he said, hudson is where he spent a week one day. but it's where he bet a friend $100 that his wife phyllis could beat his friend's wife in a foot race. he wasn't able to talk phyllis into racing, but fortunately, the friend mustn't have had any luck with his wife either as he didn't show up. while he was an effective senator, his love for his faith and family and friends, he was a man who lived by example. he was willing to share by his life to help with our lives. he mentored me and many others
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with his plainspeaking and timely sort of abrupt suggestions. he didn't waste time or words. he always had time to help. he also probably never realized the difference he made. afntdz i know he -- and i know he never realized the difference he made daily as he worked with people on legislation, much of which he never got credit for but was effective at getting it finished. he had a special talent for speaking and presenting that always got people's attention. for example, he was able to take difficult issues involving telecommunications and make them understandable to his colleagues and hold their interest. that's an unmatched talent. he had a unique ability to sell ideas that came from his vast real-life experience in agriculture, in radio, and especially in auctioneering. he could get you to buy into his idea and you didn't even realize you'd bid.
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his experience in small business gave him the ability to make people understand the kind of decisions small businesses have to make, how decisions and how far in advance they have to be made and how critical all that was to how well the united states does. his staff did occasionally suggest other words or phrases he mightiewrks but it was -- he might use, but it was after the fafnlgt he recognized and made a case for how the small business was the engine of the economy. golf gave him an outlet and gave him. congress rad always made the experience enjoibled and memorable. his ability to sell is best note head with auctioned a special kenai handmade quilt and got $15,000 when the best previous price was $3,000.
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he made the $3,000 quote sale, too. i know that by now conrad has had a chance to have a heart-to-heart talk. that's the only kind of talk you could have with conrad and especially in heaven with his daughter kate who passed away many years ago and i picture him playing golf in heaven where he's learning firsthand that some of those stories about clergy playing golf are true. i'm even betting that he had a use for a saddle again and is still keeping up on the ag futures. yes, conrad, you've been missed and will be missed as your memory reminds and inspires us. your family is in our prayers as we grieve and celebrate your life along with them. unfortunately, last week we also lost another former colleague,
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senator bob bennett of utah. and there are a thousand reasons to celebrate the life of senator bob bennett, too. but i'll only mention a few. while he was the consummate effective senator, his love for his faith, family, and friends really made him special. he was a man who lived by example. he was quiet but effective. he mentored me and many others by giving gentle, timely suggestions. his presentations at prayer breakfast helped us to know him and his faith better. he demonstrated what he learned at church and particularly on his mission, and he was willing to share that with us to help our lives. but his life was a living example of his faith. he also probably never realized the difference he maude in people's live -- he made in people's lives with the franklin planner alone. he worked with people on legislation, usually not getting credit for it but being effective at making sure that it
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got done in a reasonable way. he had a special talent for speaking and presenting. he was able to take numbers from the joint economic council, which he chaired, and make them understandable to his colleagues. that's an unmatched talent. people go to sleep with numbers. his experience in small business gave him the ability to make people understand how small businesses operate, how they get their employees, the difficulties of buying things in advance that you don't know you're going to sell, and how critical that is to the united states economy. he recognized and made a case like no other person for how important small business was as the engine of our economy. yes, bob, you have been missed, and you are missed. your family is in our prayers and we grieve with them. i yield the floor and suggest -- oh, mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from i wyoming. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 155, s. 546. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 155, ^s*z 546, a bill to rebbe the railroad emergency services preparedness, operational neemeds and safety evaluation scheet and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. enzi: i further ask that the heitkamp substitute amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amed be read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 4238, which was received from the house and is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 4238, aen act to amend the department of energy organization act and a
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local public works capital investment act of 1986 to modernize terms relating to minorities. the presiding officer: there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. enzi: i further ask that the bill be read a third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 451, which was s. res. 436. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 451, senate resolution 436, the goals and ideals of world malaria day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the committee-reported amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble, a amended be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the example after quorum. -- suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. sasse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 25 minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. sasse: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sasse: thank you. mr. president, i rise this evening to read into the record a portion of the "new york times" magazine's profile piece
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yesterday on ben rhodes, deputy national security advisor to president obama. before reading the article titled the story teller and the president i want to explain why i think this piece is so important to consider in this chamber. we live if in a time of precipitous change. we don't admit it enough in this body but the congress of the last decade-plus is extraordinarily weak by historical standards. at the same time the media is rapidly fragmenting. these two vacuums are being filled by the executive branch in ways that are badly damaging both to the separation of powers and to the idea of a meaningfully engaged citizenry. there can be little doubt that our founders would be troubled by what is occurring in our time. washington is in the process of replacing self-evident truths with self-serving spin, and this is dangerous. for no one is entitled to his or
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her own facts. i sit intentionally in the desk of daniel patrick moynihan in this body precisely because he was committed to the idea of a shared set of facts before debates began. yet, this story makes clear that the executive branch feels empowered to proclaim its own narratives. this is bigger than republicans and democrats. this is about the legislature's check on the executive and it's about all of our accountability in the city to the people. to my democratic colleagues who supported the iran deal, does it trouble you at all that the white house displays obvious contempt of you and for your voters and for my voters? will you stand for this kind of fundamentally dishonest spin from future republican administrations? because i pledge to you that i will not, from any administration of either party. some will say that this is just one story of one staffer who wanted to brag and got carried
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away. someone who wanted to boast about how the whole world could be his canvas. but we should be clear that it is ultimately elected officials who bear responsibility for the ongoing evaporation of public trust in our time. i want to underscore this point. this, my comments tonight, are not about whether you share the president's view that the iranian nuclear deal was a prudent move or whether you share my view that it was a disaster. that is not the point at issue today. obviously foreign policy is critically important, but this story tonight is about whether or not we take truth seriously. it is about whether or not we care about the public trust. there is a widespread view around here that our chief job is to -- quote -- "pass legislation." that is incorrect. our main job and indeed the oath that we took is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, which is about limited government and about the separation of powers. our job is to ensure that the
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nation is well governed and that the public can believe, that the public can have trust and confidence that the nation is well governed. this necessarily means that oversight is at least as important as passing or repealing particular pieces of legislation. this horrific story should be a screaming siren to all of us, of both parties. news rooms are obviously still struggling to understand what vigorous and independent reporting will look like in the digital age, but it remains true that freedom, that ordered liberty will remain dependent on an informed citizenry and that requires a serious and a free press. good you journalism, serious journalism that takes actual facts seriously and then grapples with those facts honestly is an important and a high calling. i plan to read about one-fourth of this "new york times" piece into the record but please note that i will skip over many
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proper names for ease of audible understanding. picking up then about 40% of the way into the profile, the story continues, the job that he, ben rhodes, had been hired to do was namely to help the president of the united states communicate with the public and this job was changing in equally significant ways, thanks to the impact of digital technologies that people in washington were just beginning to wrap their minds around. it's hard for many of us to absorb the true magnitude of the changes in the news business. for 40% of all newspaper industry professionals have lost their jobs inside the last decade. in part because readers can absorb all forms of new news that they want from social media platforms like facebook which are valued in the tens of hundreds of billions of dollars and pay nothing for the so-called content that they provide to readers. you have to have skin in the game, that is to be in the news business or to depend on it in a life or death way on its
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products to understand the radical and the qualitative ways in which words appear in familiar face types but have been changed. rhodes was singling out a key example to me one day laced with the brutal contempt the hallmark of his private utterances, quote, all these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus, he says, but now they don't. they call us to explain to them what is happening in moscow or in cairo, and most of the outlets are reporting on their world events from washington. the average reporter we talk to is just 27 years old and their only reporting experience consists of being around a few political campaigns. that's a sea change. they literally know nothing, he said. close quote. in this environment, rhodes has become adept at ventriquilizing many people at done.
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as example, the easiest way to shape the news is from the briefing podium. we have our come padres. i reach out to a couple of people and you know i wouldn't want to name them. i interrupt him and say i can name them and tick off names of prominent columnists who often tweet in sync. price laughs. i'll say look people are spinning this narrative it's a sign of weakness and i interrupt again, but it's a sign of strength, say, chuck -lg with him. then i'll give them color, price continues and the next thing i know, lots of these guys in the dot-com publishing space they'll have their huge twitter followings and they'll be putting out this message as their own. close quote. this is something different from old-fashioned spin which tended to be an art best practiced in person. in a world where experienced reporters competed for scoops
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and were carrying water for the white house was a cause for shame no matter which party was in party it was harder to sustain a narrative over any serious period of time. now the phoeflt -- most effectively quote will almost always carry the day and it will be difficult for the reporter to know where the spin is coming from or why. when i visited david axelrod in chicago, i brought up the soft arrest wellan sraoeub of an -- orwellian sraoeub of an information space where hierarchies have been erased by silicon valley billionaires who convinced the suckers that information was free and everyone with access to google was a reporter. axelrod cied, it's tphos -- not as easy as standing in front of a press conference as past presidents have been able to do. the bully pulpit doesn't exist anymore he explained.
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more and more over the last couple of years there's been an investment in alternate means of communication using digital more effectively, going to nontraditional sources, understanding where on each issue your constituents sister will sister -- constituencies will be found. he said i think they find these as campaign challenges and they run campaigns and their campaigns have been very sophisticated. close quote. rhodes innovative campaign to sell the iran deal is likely to be a model for how future administrations explain foreign policy to the congress. note that. the administration is going to have a campaign to explain things to the congress and to the public. the way in which most americans have heard the story of the iran deal presented, that the obama administration began seriously engaging with the iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in iran which came about because of elections that brought so-called moderates to power in that country, this
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story of 2013 was largely manufactured, manufactured is their verb, for the purpose of selling the deal. even where the particulars of the story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading and false. obama's closest advisors always understood him to be eager for a deal with iran back in they have the and even since -- back in 2012 and since the beginning of his presidency. it is the center of the ark rhodes explained after the deal known as the joint comprehensive plan of action was implemented. he checked off the ways in which the administration's foreign policy aims and priorities converged in iran. we don't have to be in the kind of cycles of conflict if we can find other ways to resolve these issues, he said. we can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, aipac doesn't like this or the israeli government doesn't like this or the gulf countries don't like it. it's the possibility of improved
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relations with adversaries. it's nonproliferation. all these trends the president has been spinning, spinning for almost a decade, they all converged for us around iran. in the narrative that rhodes shaped, the story of the iran deal began in 2013 when a moderate faction inside the iranian regime led by rouhani, a regime so-called hard-liners in an election and then began to pursue a new policy of openness which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear weapons program. the president set out the time line himself in a speech announcing the nuclear deal on july 14, 2015. president obama, today after two deals of negotiations, the united states has achieved something that decades of animosity has not. close quote. while the president's statement was technically accurate, there
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had pw-rpb two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the jcpoa it was actively misleading because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with iran were from mid2012, many months before the rouhani cavern -- camp were hand-picked by the ayatollah. the idea that there was a new reality in iran was politically useful to the obama administration. by obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime and that the administration was reaching out to the moderate-minded iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with america, obama was therefore able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that the administration was making. i'm going to repeat that sentence. by misleading the public on the date with which negotiations began and therefore seizing upon this election that happened a year later -- quote -- "obama
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was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that the administration was making." by eliminating the fuss about iran's nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries which could create the space for america to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like saudi arabia, egypt, israel and turkey. with one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the middle east. the nerve center for the selling of the iranian deal to congress which took place in a concentrated three-month period between july and september of last year was located inside the whitehouse and is referred to by its former den i disens as the -- denizens as the war room. the whitehouse office of legislative affairs helped run the people which included four to six people from each of
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several agencies which were the state department, treasury, the american delegation to the united nations, that is samantha power, and at times the department of defense as well as the department of energy and the national security council. rhodes was -- quote -- kind of like the quarterback running the daily videoconferences and coming up with lines of attack and pairing. quote -- he was extremely good about immediately getting to a phrase or a way of getting the message out that just made more sense, staff members report. framing the deal is a choice between peace and war was rhodes' go-to move and that proved to be the winning argument. and just to be clear, that wasn't the choice. the choice wasn't between war and peace, and they knew it. they were spinning the public, the press and the congress. the person credited with running the digital side of this campaign, the director of digital response for the whitehouse office of -- white house office of digital strategy became known in the war room and on twitter as@irandeal.
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we developed a plan that was like the iran deal is literally going to be the tip of everything that we stand up online, we were told. and we're going to map it out under whatever we already know about the different audiences that we're dealing with, be it the public, the pundits, the experts, the right wing or the congress. by applying 21st century data and networking tools to the white glove world of foreign affairs, the white house was then able to track what u.s. senators and the people who worked for them and influenced them were seeing at different moments online, and to make sure that no potential negative comment passed without a tweet. as she explained how the process worked, i was struck by how naive the assumption of a state of nature must seem in an information environment that is now mediated less and less by experienced editors and reporters with any real knowledge of the subjects about which they are writing. quote -- "people construct their
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own sense of source and correct now, the staffer told me. they elect whoever they're going to believe, close quote. for those in need of more traditional forms of validation, hand-picked beltway insiders like jeffrey goldberg at "the atlantic" or laura rosen of" al monitor" helped retail the administration's narrative. laura rosen was our speed. she would find everything and retweet it. rosen's messaging campaign was so effective not simply because it was perfectly planned and a perfect example of a digital strategy but also because he was personally involved in guiding the deal itself. in the interest of time, i will skip out a few paragraphs that tell how jake sullivan and other players traveled to oman to secretly meet with the iranians in the summer of 2012. the white house point person during the later stages of the negotiation was robert malley
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who was currently running negotiations that could keep bashar assad in power. during the course of the iran talks, malley told me he always kept in close contact with rhodes. i would often call him and say hey, give me a reality check. he would say here is where i think the president is and here is where i think he will be. he continued, ben would try to anticipate does it make sense spolwise. but then he would also ask himself how will we sell it to the congress? how will we sell it to the public? what is our narrative going to be? malley is a particularly keen observer of the changing art of political communication. his father who was born in cairo edited a politics magazine and proudly provided a platform for fidel castro and arafat in the days where the leader's words might take several weeks to travel from cuba or cairo to paris. the iran experience was the place where i saw firsthand how policy, politics and messaging all had to come together, and i think that ben is really at the intersection of all three. he reflects and he shapes all
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three at the same time. close quote. as malley and the representatives of the state department, including wendy sherman and secretary of state john kerry, engaged in former negotiations with the iranians to ratify details of a framework that had already been agreed to, rhodes' war room did its work on capitol hill and with the reporters. in the spring of last year, legions of arms control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then they became key sources for hundreds of often clueless reporters. we created an echo chamber, he admitted, and when i asked him to explain the details in the fresh onslaught of newly minted experts who were cheerleading for the deal, he continued they were saying the things that validated what we had given them to say, close quote. when i suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed removed from a rational debate over america's future role in the world, rhodes nodded.
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quote -- "in the absence of rational discourse, we're going to discourse the expletive out of this, he said. we had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our messages effectively and how to use outside groups like plowshares, the iran project, and whoever else they needed to use. so we knew the tactics that worked, he said. he is very proud of the way that he sold the iran deal. we drove them crazy, he says, of the deal's opponents. yet rhodes bristles at the suggestion that there has been anything deceptive about the way the agreement itself was sold. look, he said, with iran, in a weird way, these are state-to-state issues. they are agreements between governments. yes, i would prefer that it turns out that rue -- rouhani and zarif are real reformers that will be able to steer this country in a direction i believe it can go in because the public is educated and in some respects pro-american, but we're not getting on any of that.
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you remember what we heard last summer when they were testifying before us. we never heard this. we never heard that this was the spin, that they didn't actually believe it, but now here is the guy thinking about his next step in life, we hear the real story. i will continue. in fact, rhodes' passion seems to derive, not from any investment in the technical specifics of sanctions or in centrifuge arrays or any particular optimism about the future course of iranian politics or society. those are matters for negotiators and for area specialists. rather, it derived from his own sense of urgency of radically reor orienting american policy in the middle east noferred to -- in order to make the prospect of america's involvement in the region's future wars a lot less likely. when i asked him whether the prospect of this same kind of far-reaching spin campaign being run by a different administration is something that scares him, he admitted that it does. quote -- "i mean i would prefer
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a sober, reasoned public debate after which members of congress reflect and then take a vote, but that's impossible, he concluded. mr. president, i will submit the entire article into the record, if i might. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sasse: mr. president, truth is bigger than talking points, and self-government deserves more than spin. does president obama think that there is such a thing as domestic propaganda? does he think that it's okay? do we in this chamber think that it's okay? thank you, mr. president. i yield back.
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mr. sasse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned as a further sign of respect for the former senators. the presiding officer: the
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senate does so as a further mark of respect to the memory of the late senator conrad burns of montana and the late senator bob bennett of >> democrats have presented the amendment from advancing that prohibits the purchase of heavy batter from iran. three procedural votes are expected tomorrow on whether to advance the measure. >> primary season continues in two states tomorrow. nebraska holds their gop primary and republicans and democrats go to there polls in west virginia. we will have light results in west virginia after 8 pm eastern
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on our companion network c-span. we will hear from both of the democrat candidates. hillary clinton holding a rally in lewisville kentucky scheduled on c-span3. and later, bernie sanders speaks to supporters in salem, oregon with coverage set to begin at 10 p.m p.m. >> madam president, we proudly give 72 delegate votes to the next president of the united states.
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>> back at the desk, serving as president and ceo of better markets and have viewers who might not have seen your segment, what is better markets? >> it is non-profit organizatiog based in washington, d.c. what we do is we fight for the economic prosperity, opportunity, and security of the american people by fighting for a stronger, safer, banking system. people think of us as a fighter for financialal reform, and that is true, as a wall street watch dog and that is true, but the core concern is over the long-term of economic security, prosperity and opportunity for american people. in 2008 we saw the financial sector crashing the economy and
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almost causing a second financial crisis. we are fighting for mainstream interest and those policies that rebalance wall street and finance so it actually works for the real economy to create jobs and growth rather than be a threat to the real economy. >> and better market founded in 2008? >> actually 2010. the crash was in 2008 and what happened in the summer of 2010 is the government, the president and congress, passed the financial reform law called dodd-frank. b we created better market in the fall of 2010 to fight the wall street lobby machine that was trying to bend policy and law and the new rules to advantage them, the too big to fail banks on wall street. what we did is provided them and now a counterweight.
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we have a seat at the table and a voice in every debate in washington, d.c. among policymakers where what is fundal at stake is ultimately the standard of living of the american people and their jobs and economic growth. that is where we are fighting for those interest. >> host: some viewers might have seen this headline of a five billion settlement for golden sacks and you call it a victory why is that? >> what we have is a charade of events over the years instead of
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punishment. and this illustrates the problem we have had over the years. five billion is a lot of money and a lot of partly sunny -- money -- to 320 million but it is not for goldman sachs so an let's go through why this was an a good settlement for them. in 2006, golden sachs was fructoch punished and illegal conduct. in 2006, their net revenue was almost 40 million, its bonus al pool in 2006 was almost $5 billion.
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what we have now is nine years later, goldman sachs gets to keep the revenue and prompt can received from 2005-2007 from its illegal conduct and inflating the housing and derivative bubble and contributing to blowing up the global economy. it pays the settlement nine years later. that is five billion. over half of that is tax deductible. right? so it is not five billion. it means the rest of us will sub-saharsu subsidize that settlement. banks don't commit crimes t bankers commit crimes. not a singer individual at goldman sachs or any of the t other wall street too big to fail banks have been punished in connection with the crime.he >> i want to give the viewers a chance to call in.
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202-748-8000 for democrats, 8001 for republicans and 8002 for ib independents. benjamin wagoner, eastern district of california, this is how he described the settlement: it is one significant step in an ongoing enforcement that gives fine and will deliver much-needed relief to consumers. they cannot deduct the portion of law and the tax treatments to other parties are matters of another tax bill and not ru anything to do with the settlement. p >> that is true. about half of the five billion was a fine. the department of justice can only impose a fine with knowing concrete illegal behavior happened.
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this isn't we didn't know what we were doing, or we did this and it hurt these people, embedded within the settlement g is a recognition of knowing wrongdoing over many levels that had to involve, hundreds, if not more, employees, executives, and supervisors at goldman sachs. i am not really good at matt but five billion and subtract 2.4 billion you end up with 2.6 billion and that is over half and that half is tax deductible almost certainly. if they have a corporate tax rate of 30%, almost a billion is deducted and not paid by them and paid by there american people who are doublely victimized. first they are ripped off with d the sub-prime mortgage and there
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derivatives that get distrub -- distributed and embed time bombs that blow up in 2008 and almost caused a second great people were victimized then and nine years later people act like we are punishing goldman and now the american people are going to subsidize this also. >> peter is live on the >> caller: mr. kelleher, thank you for your work. if anyone is interested in this they should read records in benjamin. it is a great non-partisan look at what is going on.
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second of all, the old chinese proverbs success has a thousands fathers. republicans and democrats are running away from this. they are all trying to blame somebody else and all trying to blame the banks. in a nutshell, in the 1990s there was a lot of pressure on the banks to lower their rates so they could get more mortgages and if the banks -- the clinton foundation expanded the man dates up to 55% of their purchases on sub-prime mortgages. in 1999 they got rid of grass siegel and any legislation on derivatives. unfortunately, president bush
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continued the same policy in the 2000s and that is when there was the crash. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you, peter. you are mostly right. de-regulation of derivatives in the 2000 and the removal of the protection of glass siegel separating commercial banking from basically gambling, investment banking, glass siegel was repealed in 1999 and took away that separation. so they came together and super charged to too big to fail banks and that laid the groundwork for the financial crash that happened because president bush, as you said, accelerated those policies. and gretchen did write a great book. reckless endangerment. seven deadly sins is another good book. it shows the public policy of trying to expand home ownership beyond the traditional narrow
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area was not responsible for the financial crash in any significant measure. and the underwriting scam is associated with what is called cra had nothing to do with the crash because none of institutions involved were subject to the cra. so that is built up by a wing that is well-funded in d.c. but this is a huge problem and l we are fighting still today. financi financial crisis was called by massive deregulation. what the financial law was ta intended to do was reinject modest sensible targeted reregulation so there are protections of what happened on wall street and there economic wellbeing on wall street. >> host: line for democrats,
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anthony, you are on washington journal. >> caller: i would like to point out to your guest in a prime case in 2008 the president bush had revoked the pardon of what was a bank developer who was putting people in houses over and over again with hud money or other types of money that would be available for first-time home buyers or what have you. it was revoked only after scrutiny by the press. and i do believe the attorney had sat, the attorney that handed the pardon, was on the bank system.
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it is an obvious attitude in the banking sector as well as the blue blood elites in this country that socialized dealings to the average common working man. if you are look at that presidential pardon, it was blatant. and that is why the one bankster and creditor who was bailed out. why didn't we investigate or go after these people if they just get a presidential pardon in the end? >> host: do you know the case? >> guest: i do. but the core issue you are ks making is right on the money. there are 6, 500 banks in the united states and only 30 have more than $100 billion in ast sets.
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there are only 11 referred to as the regulators by let's call them way too big to fail. we are talking about a small number of banks that pose a unique threat to the country anu foothe people of this country. t and you are absolutely right that socializes this problem. too big banks with too much barrowing and too politically connected to fail. so in 2008 and subsequently is before 2008 they got to take all of the gambling risks and keep the money, huge bonuses, historic bonuses before the the crash happens and there is no accountability. what happens is they get bailed out with no strings by taxpayer money. taxpayers go on the hook, and they suffer the consequences
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because of the economic crash that crushed this country. so in september of '08, way man crashes and by october of '09 the under employment rate was 27%. 27 million americans were out of work or working part-time because they could not find full-time work. so the economic catastrophic event didn't fall on the too big to fail banks who were failed out and socialized their lossesg as you said, anthony. and that is what better markets is trying to do and has been for five years and that is put backe in place the sensible rules that prevent losses from being shifted to the american people.
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>> host: lonnie from texas. >> caller: are you familiar witr na. naomi prince? >> guest: yes. >> caller: how accurate is she? >> guest: she is terrific and very smart. i don't want to endorse -- i have not read everything she has written or gone to youtube to ha see what she is saying. but naomi prince has been a strong voice calling out and identifying the fundamental faultlines in finance for a number of years and she is informed because she worked in finance for a number of years. she gets to the fundamental issue many others are raising and that is how do we do two things: how do we rebalance a financial system that is completely out of balance.
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by 2007, 44% of all corporate profits were being consumed by finance. if you think about finance, the support structure for the real economy, they produce goods and services that people want and need. it is tangible. finance is supposed to be the fuel in the economy that enables businesses to identify those wants and needs and produce products and services. if the support structure for the real economy is consuming 44% of corporate profit, it is no longer supporting the economy but a parasite sucking the blood from the economy. finances have taken 20% of corporate profits and we need to get it rebalanced so it is back to the traditional role of 20% of corporate profits supporting the real economy. the other part, as i said earlier, is we have to end too big to fail. we have to end the ability of
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this handful of too-big-too-fail and non-bank financial firms that pose a direct threat to the economy. so we have to rebalance, and we have to reregulate those banks. >> host: we direct the viewers to our website to check out our video library and you can watch full appearances on this net wok. maverick on twitter is trying to understand better markets and asks if it is in alignment with elizabeth warren? >> guest: we have a non-partisan organization and that puts better markets in a unique position.. we criticize and praise people u based on the merit of their position. you might be a republican, might be a democrat, might be an il d
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independent. we were tough critics of the obama administration and equally tough of the republicans whether they tried to roll back central reform. senator warren has been a clear, strong, really important voice shining a light on some of the gross abuses of finance and shining a light on some of the important things that have to be done in financial reform. we have done that in better markets from a non-partisan perspective but our interest and goals >> host: paul from california you are on the democrats line. >> caller: good morning. i would like to follow up on what anthony spoke up. occupy wall street movement was made up of a lot of people coming together and organizing to see that justice prevailed and that something was done. because of the media coverage,
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there was a bunch of left wing nuts and so forth. basically, swept out of that park. and then as a result -- >> host: did you participate in occupy wall street efforts? >> caller: no, i was an engineer of what took place in los angeles. as a result of the media doing it the way the did, there was s nothing done in the way of justice for the criminals.. the money went to the bank and gm and different bailouts instead of helping the people that lost jobs, homes and retirement and everything else. the media played a terrible role in helping to enable this. it is a paracytic thing.
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it is rob and bear age all over again. >> guest: you make a number of great points, paul. first of all, on the media you are absolutely right. it is one of the disappoint c-span is a notable exception reporting well and covering the issues well for a long time. dean starkman, the columbia journalism school and a terrific reporter for the los angeles times wrote a book called "the dog that didn't bark" on the failure of the media covering the buildup of the crash and what happened afterwards. on occupy wall street, the media likes to polarize things, create fights and put them in categories and dismiss some and not others. saying that will cause criticism because what do you mean by the media and they don't act
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together and i get that but reat the book. "the new york times" did a profile on better markets and referred to us as occupy wall street's suit wearing we are in policy debates and fighting everywhere from the regulatory agencies to congress to the executive branch to the media trying to provide a countcount counter i want wave to the ind where policymaking is made. the cost of the american people is another thing and better markets did a report on the cost of the crisis, which i will hold up, you should go to our website,, and this report shows the cost of the crisis to the united states alone, the crash of 2008 is going to be more than $20 trillion. you are absolutely right when you talk, paul, about the issues
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affecting the american people and the fact they haven't broke through in the media. >> on whether the american people are ready to forgive the banks. we started talking about the five billion fine with the justice department and last week news of golden sachs is getting? into the retail banking business. how is that going to go for them? >> guest: first, let me say is not so much for giving banks but there are 6500 banks in america and we are talking about this handful of incredibly large and fngerous banks. citi bank is an example, morgan stanley, goldman sachs. and it is interesting goldman sachs faced five billion, a slap on the wrist and they can move on. a
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they want to be your local community bank with your saving and checking account. the interesting thing is two very important parts to the story. the first part is believe it or not that is evidence that is financial reform is working. goldman was one of the highest risks and high flying investment banks before the crash. it's core business was making huge bets and gambling in finance. of course when the crash happens, they got to keep the upside and shifted the downside to the taxpayers of america. what financial reform is meant to do is require goldman sachs and the citi banks of the world going to bear the downside as well as the upside of their business models.he >> host: retail banking looks more profitable all of a sudden now. >> guest: it is. because the old rules when there
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were not any rules, their businesses were subsidized by the american taxpayer and we are trying to stop that show they have to look for profits elsewhere. so they are shifting from the investment and gambling model to be diversified into commercial banking where they do savings and lending accounts. it will be a fascinating litmus test to see whether or not the incredibly reputation these handful of too big to fail banks in the country, and goldman in particular, is going to be overcome the correct perception of their behavior and get people to give them their money. >> host: kelly you are on the independent line. >> caller: thanks for alerting
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folks to the problems of dodd-frank. i am confused about one point. when you talk about goldman being able to write their settlement off their taxes. the way i understand thing is that goldman is, you know, was understood to have dots and gains on the balance sheet and e paid taxes on that and the government is requiring them to fo forfeit them. how is that avoiding double taxation?? they no longer had the income they once had so why would they not be able to write them off their taxes? i understand the upset with goldman but not being able to write it off. >> guest: first of all, when you settle the case, you know the terms and conditions of the settlement are entirely between the parties. we argue in the case of these handful of too big to fail banks there is a public interest and the settlements should be required to go to court and
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there should be a public vetting of what happens. the department of justice has made sure there is never any independent scrutiny. the issue you raise is kind of somewhat a complicated tax issue of what happened in '05-2007. it is true they were taxed on the their corporate profit and the funds paid out in 2006 were taxed. but nine years later, when and m goldman sach settles a case, cases are ordinary and normal business expenses that are traditionally written off their saxes in the year the quote unquote business expense was inc incured. currently the business expense occurs in connection with the settlement so they get to write
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it off currently. there is no reason that the department of justice didn't write in the settlement and you have to agree you are not going to write it off in your taxes. >> host: have they done this in any of the settlements? >> guest: no.a it is shocking. five billion settlement. people think that is a lot of money. how much ill gotten gains did goldman get from '05-'07? how much did investors lose from that time period? nobody knows. the department of justice colluded with wall street to n conceal the information. they put out a statement of fact which is designed to conceal than reveal. there is almost no information in it.
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that prevents accountability for goldman and the department of justice. let's say goldman made one billion from its illegal behavior and it paid five billion. we would think wow, that is a penalty. but what if they made a hundred billion and paid five billion? we would think not much of a penalty. why didn't the department of justice tell the american people how much money goldman sachs made? why don't we know where those m people are now? not only did they get to keep all of their bonuses from the
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illegal conduct and goldman and jp morgan chase and the department of justice didn't require the banks to tell anyone in connection with any of those settlements. >> if you want to look up the statement of facts you can find them at here is the release from the april five billion settlement with goldman sachs. just about 15 minutes here.fa john is from ohio, independent line. >> caller: could you touch on the fact the rating agencies haven't been allowed to change their habits and it is so weak . they are getting away with
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murder. goldman sachs set fire on both ends of the grease and the world. >> guest: you are right about t the rating agencies. hopefully some of your viewers saw the movie the big short. it was terrific. it has been criticized because it didn't provide a full story. it was meant to tell a story to the lives of these five individuals. one -- the rating agencies have gotten off scott free and this goes back to if the banks have been punished or the american people have been informed about what they did. when you look at what goldman did in the derivative deal it was so-called punish for or what citi group did, there was a
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corruption and collusion with the rating agencies and other so-called gatekeepers. it is shocking when you look at those cases why it is the department of justice couldn't find a single individual. not one person at a major too big to fail wall street bank that it could hold criminally libel or civil libel. and eric holder said don't you think if we could find someone t to prosecute we would? and my opinion is we have the a crash that almost causes a second depression and the department of justice don't find one individual, on any major politically connected, wealthy
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powerful wall street bank to prosecute criminally or civilly? either you are not looking or you are incompetent. >> cliff is on the republican line. >> caller: there is a third option.was gove it is that this crash was government incompetence. if there wasn't a place to sell the mortgages the banks would have never made the mortgages. fr freddie and franie found all of them. alan greenspan came to congress two years out, there is a housing double, four years out there is a housing bubble. people knew this was coming. a but there it was.
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as far as the big bank bailout, that was forced on the banks because of -- i don't know why. but they paid all that money back. it is not like the taxpayer were on the line for this. the reason nobody is being prosecuted is if it ever went to jail the government collusion and responsibility for this crash would be apparent to everybody. and you are supposed to be a watchdog group so why don't you point out how government incompetence where mortgage-backed bonds were rated at 75% as opposed to stock and bonds 50 and cash at 100 helped force these banks to use mortgage-backed bonds as capitalization. >> guest: thank, cliff. better markets is not only a wallstreet watchdog but a government watchdog. if you look at our record we
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have been critical of the government, both republicans and democrats. in terms of government causing the problems on the one hand you are right. in the late '90s when they repealed glass steigal, similarly the government deregulated derivatives. it w -- they passed a law prohibiting derivatives and the use of derivatives went from nothing to trillions. in terms of the bailout being forced on the banks, i assure you if you are given the choice, you are a bank, citi bank faced a choice just like aig faced a choice. they could come to the government for money or file for bankruptcy and lose all of their money, net wealth, jobs,
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reputation, and their r shareholders would get zero and their creditors would get hair cuts and their debts not paid off depending on where they were in the debt structure. it is a myth to think these banks were forced to be bailed out so they would not have to go into bankruptcy. they were dying to be bailed out. >> host: we are talking about goldman sachs so much dog cannon on twitter has a question: how much bailout money did goldman take? >> guest: i don't know off the top of my head but the point isn't the degree they were bailed out but the amount of illegal conduct they engaged in. goldman, not in dollars but er goldman and morgan received the biggest banks because they were unregulated before '08. when leeman brothers crashed, morgan stanley and golden sachs
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by that friday were going to go bankrupt. we have an e-mail that reflects a phone call made to the new york fed and it said we are probably not going to omen on monday and if we don't open goldman sachs is toast. quote unquote. the federal government allowed morgan stanley and goldman sachs to become a bank holding company with an application that was written on a napkin and the fastest time in history they were aloud to be a bank holder company. why is that important? only regulated bank holding companies had access to the fed facilities including the discount window, you can call them bailout programs, rescue programs, support programs, all of those programs immediately
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became available to goldman sachs and morgan stanley. imagine if the government was that creative in helping homeowners forcing fore closer, her or helping the american people who were unemployed. >> host: thomas in holidlywood, florida. >> caller: thank you for your help, mr. kelleher, i have a hundred percent faith you are b doing everything you can to shine a light on these i would like to know your ag thoughts on what part john boehner played with the bailout? in my mind he has been involved with the banking since reagan
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got lynch involved in the white house and i remember when reagan said he was quote unquote setting the referee and mr. boehner was standing there along with the ceo of mariyl lynch. thank you. >> guest: i encourage you to go to our website to see more of what we are doing. in terms of former speaker boehner, i think i would like to talk broadly about the concerted effort of this too big to fail, to politically connected banks on wall street. they have masked enormous economic power and they have used that to buy enormous political power. they are always the biggest spenders on lobbying and campaign contribution. senator dick durbin said on the
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senate floor the banks own this place close quote. that is a huge problem. the finance industry and lobby industry in the city is funded by wall street and that creates undo political influence. it is one of the things better markets is attempting to be a counter weight on. if i could quickly, say in terms of whether or not illegal behavior was part of this, the cost of the crisis report, on pages 78 and afterwards spell out why we believe there is ample evidence for the department of justice, prosecutors and regulators to go after hundreds of individuals at these banks for their illegal conduct. there is no question there was massive years long illegal conduct and that is starting on
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page 78 with the cost of the crisis. >> host: ray is in new hampshire, a republican. good morning. >> caller: hi, thanks for taking my call. i will try to make it quick. stepping back to the previous guest about conspiracy theories turning conspiracy. i would like to see if you could touch on country wide home buyers which is owned by bank of america and the friends of ng ag angelo program which gave mortgages to senators like chris dodd received 75,000 kent conrad, the son of nancy pelosi, you know, and my thought is that, you know, there is dirt on
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these people and skeletons in the closet. do you think they are not going after these people because of high ranking senators and congressman are going to take the fall also? >> host: only a minute or so left so i want to give you a chance to respond. >> guest: the former ceo of country wide have a friends list and helped out politicians and their bodies and families for many years. i don't think that was unique in the industry. we have the problem of the revolving door and that is former officials and staff working on the public interest, getting paid in government jobs and quitting and going to work for the industry to lobby the government to do what the industry wants whether than the public interest. then you have the campaign finance system that conspires to give the too big to fail banks a
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leg up and get their way in washington, d.c. which is what better markets is dedicated to doing and that is being a counterweight to the industry across the board. >> thanks so much for your time this morning. >> nick gas writes donald trump is still in battle mode. he is joining us on the phone. thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> as your piece points out, donald trump is essentially lashing out at everyone including those within his party. how does he unite the gop or is that not a priority for him? >> it would not appear to be a concern for him. he even said it may not be necessary based on the interviews he gave on sunday. he is indicating what he is doing is working and he would not deviate from what he is doing.
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interesting to keep that in mind considering what is going on. >> let's follow up with paul ryan who said he would step down from the convention chair if the nominee asked him to do so. there is a key meeting on thursday what is the agenda on that? >> they will be talking about that and the differences of speaker ryan splitting with donald trump on their policies. it will be interesting to see what sort of unity, if there is any unity, that comes out of that meeting especially given the remarks trump made over the last few days saying he is blindsided by paul ryan going on cnn saying he wasn't there in supporting trump as the party's pne
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nominee. >> do you think it is possible speaker paul ryan will step aside as the convention chair? >> i think that is what he indicated. we will have to see what comes out of the energy that could be just speaker ryan indicating he is willing to listen to mr. trump's viewpoints, willing to just sort of see what happens at the meeting on thursday, and sort of wanting to set the right tone going forward especially with this meeting coming up and wanting to seem a little more unified than the party is right now. >> and your story points out the comments of sarah palin saying he will support the candidate running against speaker ryan in the upcoming primary and donald trump's reaction, what has it been? >> he was asked about that on cnn this morning and he said that palin is free to say whatever she wants but he would not go so far as to say that. i think both of them, trump and
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ryan, are holding their fire in that respect as they try to feel each other out. they don't really want to make an overcorrection one way or the other that could undermine the negotiations of their future meeting. >> bill crystal said he will not vote for the republican nominee and has been pushing for an independent candidate and meeting with mitt romney. how serious do you think a third party candidate is? if so, have you heard any names? >> it is hard to gauge how likely or serious it would be. the deadline is approaching for independent candidates to be on the ballot so not sure how realistic a plan would be. i heard romney's name, and paul ryan is thrown around and ben
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sas has disinvowed, the nebraska senator, any push for him to run for president. those are the sorts of names we have seen on the conservatives that have been more or less taking a stand against trump are conservatives who feel they would better represent them than donald trump. >> nick gass, what concerns do sources have within the republican party of trying to bring together the party in cleveland and moving ahead to the general election? >> i think the main concerns are the ones that chairman pree talked about and that is making sure the trump campaign is on board with their proposal and platform. they want to present a united front as possible given the circumstances they have a candidate who is fairly different from what most republicans in the establishment like but they don't want to
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completely throw him out or do anything that could harmful to him in terms of rules because that would not reflect favorable on the party as a whole. >> donald trump pivoting to the general and lashing out of everyone. thank you, nick gass, for being with us. >> thank you. >> and this week on the "the communicators," fcc commissioner michael o'reilly, republican. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. i want to start with an issue the fcc worked on and that is the charter-time warner merger. why were conditions put on the merger? >> that item is still before the commission so i should be careful. i can tell you i have personally voted on the matter but it is before us so i have to be careful on exactly what i say about such a proceeding. >> host: when you say you have voted on the matter, how did you vote?


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