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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  May 17, 2016 2:15pm-8:01pm EDT

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on that progress. and so presumably there are a variety of ways to do that, and i think that will be part of the debate not just through the summer, but also into the fall. but these are the, these principles of insuring that citizens retain a voice in their government is something that's, that the president has made a high priority, okay? john. >> over the past week you've had some pointed words from the podium about -- >> we'll leave this briefing as the senate's about to gavel back in to debate the transportation housing military construction v.a. spending bill, votes coming up at 2:30. subcommittee's rankg member and the co-mearpg of this bill. -- and the comanager of this bill. the presiding officer: the senator rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. i rise, mr. president, in
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support of the zika supplemental amendment offered by senators murray and blunt, as well as the amendment offered by senator nelson. the threat of the zika virus is a serious public health issue and congress must act to help minimize its spread before we have an epidemic on our hands. it's been over two months since the administration asked for emergency funds for a comprehensive response to the zika virus and to speed up development after vaccine. this should not be a partisan issue, and inaction leaves us more success september to believe this serious public health emergency. this decease is spread -- this descreez idisease -- this diseas spreading rapid any other countries. we are flifg an interconnected world and we are not immune to the spread of these diseases. already there are over 1,000 cases of zika virus in the united states and united states territories, including over 100 pregnant women. we've only seen two cases so far in my home state of rhode island, but the virus is spreading, and it isn't going
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away on its own. we will certainly see these numbers increase as we approach the summer months. i had the opportunity to host a discussion in rhode island about this topic just a few weeks ago, bringing together officials from the c.d.c. and the national institute for allergy and infectious diseases as well as public health officials from the rhode island department of health, among other experts in the state. everyone agreed that more fund something needed immediately to ensure that we are prepared for zika. state and local public health departments will be critical to strengthening efforts to prevent a diagnosed case of zika, among other mosquito-borne illnesses this summer. while transmission of mosquito-borne illnesses has been limited in the united states so far, it is critical that state and local health departments have the resources they need in addition to on-going communication with the c.d.c. so that they have the most up-to-date information for
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scow borne illnesses. the n.i.h. also needs more resources to help fast-track research and development of a vaccine for the zika virus. the zika virus has the potential to circulate in the united states over the long term and we need to be prepared for the fact that we'll be combating this disease for more than just a few months in the summer. we also need more research on the virus. the zika virus has been around for decades, and there have been outbreaks in other parts of the world, but we didn't know that it could impact the brain development. we still don't knee the long-term impacts on the children and their mothers. i plan to support senator nelson's amendment. i appreciate his efforts to push this issue and help ensure that we have robust funding to help combat the threat of zika. while senator nelson's apostcloture is pleaserrable, i also plan to support senator
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murray and senator blunt's amendment to provide $1.1 billion in funding to address zika. this amendment is a bipartisan compromise and my hope is that no less than this funding level will move forward and be signed into law before we head into the summer months. it is so i didn't think cal that we move quickly on this so that our state and local health departments will have the resources they need to deal with the potential onslaught of cases in the coming months. senators murray and blunt have been working on weeks on this amendment, and i want to thank them for their commitment to get to this agreement. i will oppose senator cornyn's agreement which would make harmful cuts to the prevention public health fund. it is a classic case of robbing peter to pay paul. the prevention and public health fund makes exactly the kind of investments in our public health infrastructure that better prepare us to deal with emergencies like zika or ebola. the prevention and public health fund also helps fund disease
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prevention programs like cancer screenings and immunization programs that save us money in the long run. instead of cutting the prevention in public health fund, we should actually be investing nor these programs. so it is my hope that we reject a pproach and i stead pass emergency legislation today to deal with the zika virus. the funding that we've made available as a result of today's votes will be critical to the efforts to prevent outbreak of disease in the united states and hopefully the creation of a vaccine in the near future. there is still a lot we don't know about the zika virus. once we pass this passage, congress will still need to work together to continue evaluating needs and determining whether more resources are necessary. i look forward to working with my colleagues to protect americans from the potentially devastating impacts of the zika virus. thank you, mr. president. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, shortly the are senate will proceed to consider three
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alternative proposals to provide much-needed funding to combat the zika virus. i am deeply concerned about the rapidly emerging and evolving zika virus, which poses a particular threat to pregnant women and can cause serious birth defects. to learn more about this virus and other public health challenges, i recently toured the centers for disease control and prevention in atlanta, georgia, with my friend and colleague p, johnny isakson. i was deeply impressed by the team of extraordinarily dedicated public servants who work there. these scientists leverage an enormous range of knowledge to protect the american people,
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including through rapid response to infectious disease threats. c.d.c.'s experts told me that they called the mosquito that carries the zika virus to be the cockroach of the mosquito world because it is so difficult to get rid of. this mosquito, mr. president, can breed in water that fits within the size of a bottle cap. it is commonly found in the united states in areas like florida and our gulf coast. there are now more than 1,000 cases of zika virus in the united states and its three territories, including two laboratory-confirmed cases in the state of maine. you know, earlier, one of our colleagues showed a map of the states that are most affected by
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zika, but the fact is, due to travel, there are confirmed zika cases in virtually ever single state. but, of course, for puerto rico, in particular, that area has been especially hard-hit with the number of cases soaring. these statistics are even more alarming when you consider that we've not yet reached the summer months when mosquitoes tend to be more prevalent. recent studies suggest that zika might spread across the warmer and wetter parts of the western hemisphere. as many as 200 million people in our country live in areas where the mosquito that carries the virus could potentially thrive. now, you may have read what may
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seem like good news, that the zika virus is asimple to -- is n approximately 80% of those infected. but the virus causes microcephaly and a range of severe fetal brain defects. americans are justifiably worried about the zika virus, as the failure to prevent its spread could have devastating consequences for our families. in addition to the human and emotional toll, the zika virus may ultimately cost the united states an astonishing sum of money when you consider that we already spend more than $2.6 billion per year on hospital
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stays related to birth defects. so the investment we are doing today is not only the right thing to do from a humanitarian and public health perspective, it's also the right thing to do from an economic viewpoint. in addition to these serious birth defects, the zika virus has been linked to guillain-barre syndrome. that disease can cause paralysis and even death. mr. president, it is imperative that we take steps to combat the zika virus without delay. to that end, i support the bipartisan compromise agreement worked out by senators blunt and murray to provide an additional $1.2 billion to combat the zika
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virus, including $361 million for the c.d.c. and $200 million for the national institutes of health. we can and we should do more to plan for emerging disease threats through the regular aappropriations process so that we do not have to turn frequently to emergency supplemental funding. but in this case, mr. president, the zika virus is an imminent and evolving public health threat that cannot wait, that cannot be ignored. the c.d.c. has a very specific plan to rapidly respond to this very real threat, including by developing diagnostic tests that will help us identify the virus and helping to educate providers
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and the public about aappropriate prevention methods. i think it's important to understand that the c.d.c. is the interface with state and local public health centers and agencies. so it's role is absolutely critical in the education and prevention process. the national institutes of health is similarly prepared to conduct research into vaccines that might help us better prevent the virus and the conditions that it can tragically cause. l but again, mr. president -- but, again, mr. president, that requires funding. the c.d.c. has sounded the alarm in its warning about a serious zika outbreak in our country. it is essential that we devote
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sufficient financial resources to meet this new challenge. i'm convinced that today the senate will do its part to deal with this serious threat to our public health. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that christopher banks, a congressional detailee to the appropriations committee, be given floor priftion for the remainder -- privileges for the remainder of this session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: mr. president, parliamentary inquiry. how much time do we have remaining? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island has a minute and a half remaining. the senator from maine has zero time remaining.
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mr. reed: mr. president, i would yield back our remaining time by the senator from rhode island. the presiding officer: all time has been yielded back. the clerk will now report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 on senate amendment 3898 to amendment number 3896 to calendar number 138, h.r. 2577, an act making aappropriations for the departments of transportation and housing and urban development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2016, and for other purposes, signed by 1 senators. -- by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate on amendment number 3898 offered by the senator from kentucky for the senator from florida to amendment number 3896 to h.r. 2577 shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under this rule.
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the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 47. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having vote not voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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
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senate amendment 3899 to amendment number 3896 to calendar number 138, h.r. 2577, and act making aappropriations for the departments of transportation and housing and urban development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2016, and for ore for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sns of the senate that debate on amendment number 3899 offered by the senator kentucky for the senator from texas to amendment number 3896 to h.r. 2577 shall be beiru -- shah brought to a -- shall be brought to a cloture vote? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators present wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 52, the nays are 45. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 3900 to amendment numbered 3896 to calendar number 138, h.r. 2577, an act making appropriations for the departments of transportation and so forth and for other purposes. 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 numbered 3900 offered by the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, for the senator from missouri, mr. blunt, to
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amendment numbered 3896 to h.r. 2577 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: is there any senator wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 68. the nays are 29. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. ms. collins: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: madam president, i call up the blunt amendment number 3946. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from maine, ms. collins, for mr. blunt, proposes an amendment numbered 3946 to amendment numbered 3900. ms. collins: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. collins: madam president, i would now like to yield time
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to senator isakson for a statement. mr. isakson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: i thank the senator from maine for recognition. i want to commend senator collins and senator reed for their work on this bill. they've shown great leadership and for the senate for having the good sense to pass it this afternoon. if anybody in the audience or this room doesn't think this is an emergency, you should have been with senator collins two weeks ago at the c.d.c. in atlanta. we spent four hours looking at the depiction of what the zika outbreak will look like if it doesn't stop. there have been one million cases in the caribbean and central america and south america, 500 cases in the united states of america and it's going to grow. the faster we get our arms around it the better off the american people are going to be. this is a lot of money but it is only a pittance compared to what it would could have if the
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epidemic got out of control and we didn't stop it and defeat it. this money will go to labor-h.h.s., health and human services and other en'tis to provide -- entities to provide the education and training necessary to get control of this disease. remember what happened with ebola. when it outbroke, we finally got involved, only through c.d.c.'s ability to contain, educate and control the disease did we get our arms around it and stop the epidemic. the same thing is going to be true of zika. we need to contain and control and get the education as necessary. i commend the senate on passing it today. i commend these two senators on their hard work and i'm glad we're on the leading point of the spear. this is an emergency and had we not passed this bill today at month's end we would have a greater emergency because zika would have spread una abated in the southern united states. i want to give senator collins for the hard work she has done
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and on behalf of c.d.c. we're glad you came back with us. i yield. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: madam president, we have just passed the bill to deal with the funding of an incipient epidemic, an epidemic that has serious ramifications for our society, for our country, and it's right that we did that. i rise today, however, to point out the fact that we are in the midst not of an incipient epidemic but a real epidemic that since lunch time today has killed 15 people in this country. 15 people have lost their lives since we've been discussing these matters in the middle of the day today. the epidemic i refer to of course is heroin and opiate drug abuse and addiction. this is a crisis that is upon us right now. and a month or so ago we passed
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with great fan far the cara bill, the comprehensive addiction bill and it was the right thing to do but it had no funding. passing a bill like that with no funding is like sending a firefighter to a fire with no water. we cannot deal with this problem until we have the capacity to provide treatment to the people who need it. right now there is a huge shortage of treatment beds. there's even a shortage of detox beds, let alone treatment. and when a person finally gets to the point struggling with this terribly destructive disease where they're ready to embrace and take on the treatment to not have it available or to have it available at an exorbitant cost is just tragic. and we are losing lives every hour. 47,000 people a year, and it's expanding and exploding and it's tearing our communities apart. so i'm delighted that we passed
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the supplemental, the language that we just did involving the zika virus. it's important that we do so, but we also should be attending to this crisis that is staring us right in the face and is tearing our country apart. i hope that we can soon get to an amendment that will allow us to begin the process of funding this, the resolution of this scourge before it takes more lives and before it tears apart more families and communities. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. ms. ayotte: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: today the senate passed an amendment to provide more than $1 billion to help combat the spread of the zika virus. i support this effort. i think it was a good bill and i commend our leaders in the appropriations committee for reaching this bipartisan agreement. however, i join my colleague from maine, my colleague from west virginia, and all of those who are disappointed that the opioid epidemic is not being treated with the same degree of urgency.
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now some on the other side of the aisle have said it's their preference to deal with the opioid epidemic through the regular appropriations process. well, let me just say that i am not encouraged by the results so far. and with a -- all due respect to my colleagues, an extra million dollars here and there for a few programs, which is what we're seeing in the appropriations process, that is not going to address the nationwide crisis that, as senator king has said, is going to kill tens of thousands of americans this year. and while the h.h.s. appropriations bill is still being drafted, because of the tight budget caps that are in place for this fiscal year, i'm not optimistic that it will include the type of game-changing fund that we need to stem the tide of this crisis. unfortunately, we saw with the commerce, justice and science appropriations bill that it didn't -- it only included minor
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increases to programs to address the heroin and opioid epidemic, and that's why we need emergency funding, and we need it now. in march, the senate had an opportunity to provide $600 million in emergency funding to address this crisis, but despite strong bipartisan support, that amendment was defeated on a point of order. congress needs to rise to this challenge just like it has done during previous public health emergencies, just like we're doing right now to address the zika virus. just last year, congress approved $5.4 billion to combat the ebola outbreak which killed one american, but in 2014, 47,000 americans died from drug overdoses, and each day we wait, another 120 people die of drug overdoses. we're losing one person a day in new hampshire. now is the time to act. i urge my colleagues to
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reconsider. i yield the floor. mr. manchin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. be manchin: first of all, i want to thank my good friend from new hampshire, senator shaheen, for putting in this most-needed funding to fight this epidemic. and senator king from maine. we're all fighting it. my state has been hit the hardest of all states. new hampshire is right behind us as far as more deaths per opioid drug abuse than any other state. if you put this into perspective, what we are asking for, if you look at what we have done over the years, since four decades ago, the war on drugs, we have spent $1 trillion in the united states fighting the war on drugs, but we're fighting it the wrong way. we have all looked at this as a horrific crime, and we just kept putting people away. in that period of time, madam president, we have spent $450 billion to lock these people up in federal prisons.
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$450 billion, most of them for nonviolent crimes. now we're looking at we need to be able to treat this. this is an illness. to treat an illness, you have to have funding. no different than we just talked about zika, we have done ebola. i went clear back and checked what we have done with polio. do you know since we have eradicated polio, we have saved this country $220 billion. $220 billion. can you imagine what would happen if we hadn't? now about 2000, we're trying to eradicate it around the world. but the savings is enormous, but the bottom line is productivity. right now in west virginia i have the lowest work force participation in the country. a lot of it is because of the addictions that people have. you know what we have? let me give you this treatment. we have 42,000 west virginians in 2014, including 4,000 youth, who sought treatment for illegal drug use, but they failed to receive it. there was no place to go. they wanted it. they wanted to change their lives.
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they asked every way possible to do that, but we have no treatment centers. this goes a long way in helping basically treating an illness which is absolutely destroying america. not just in west virginia, not just in new hampshire or maine, but i'm talking in all 50 states. we have an epidemic that we're dealing with today, but yet we're not dealing with it because we have no treatment, and that's because no one has put their priority and the values that we have in this country and priorities to eradicate this horrible, horrible scourge that we have upon our country. so i would ask all of my colleagues to please reconsider the funding that's needed to fight opiate abuse with proper treatment around the country. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i rise to discuss the pending vacancy on the united states supreme court, and i do so on a very momentous day in american legal history. may 17, today, is the
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anniversary of the supreme court's decision in the pivotal case of brown vs. board of education. on may 17, 1954, the supreme court ruled that the promise of equality stated as paramount in the declaration of independence and then reaffirmed in the 14th amendment to the constitution passed in the aftermath of the civil war could not be denied to little school children based on their skin color. the brown v. board case was actually five cases consolidated together, one from virginia, one from kansas, one from delaware, one from south carolina and one from the district of columbia. while most of us know that the e in brown and what the case resolved, few remember that the brown ruling was in serious jeopardy because of the death of a supreme court justice and the deep divisions on the court among the remaining eight members. it was only through the prompt filling of a judicial vacancy that the court was able to come
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together and render a ruling in america's best interests. the brown case was originally argued in 1952, and the court that heard the argument was hopelessly divided. so divided, in fact, that they asked that the case be reargued in 1953. and then to make matters worse, chief justice fred vincent died before the reargument. by many accounts, his death left the court evenly divided, evenly divided, over an issue of the most fundamental importance. had the vacancy left by the death of judge vincent persisted, there is no way of predicting whether the supreme court could have even resolved the case. imagine how different our history as a nation would be if the supreme court had been unable to decide on that matter of fundamental importance. but president eisenhower nominated former california governor early warren to fill the vacancy.
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the senate did its job, held a prompt hearing and confirmed the appointment, and chief justice warren veteran used his skill to cut through the division and convince his colleagues that the court should speak unanimously and say that a child's skin color should not determine which school he or she should attend. because the senate did its job, the court was able to do its job and all america was lifted. i have listened to my colleagues and to virginia citizens about the current supreme court vacancy for three months, and i have come to this conclusion. i think the senate is treading on dangerous ground here. we are communicating, and i think the communication could be unintentional, but we are communicating a message to our public that is painful, and our actions in this high-profile matter are creating pain among many of my constituents, and i fear that a precedent is about to be set that could undermine all three branches of our
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government. so i offer these comments today because the senate can correct the dangerous message we're sending, and i hope that calm reflection will call us to honor the great traditions of this body. the death of justice scalia on february 13 created a naturally occurring vacancy on a court that is statutorily required to have nine members. within hours of justice scalia's death, the majority leader announced a blockade on the vacancy, declaring that no nomination by president obama would ever receive a hearing or a vote. this hastily announced blockade had been described as follows -- has been described as follows. the majority thinks the american people should decide on the presidential race and that therefore this nomination should be for the next president to make, even if that means a supreme court vacancy for more than a year. i want to examine the majority rationale.
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what has the senate done in other instances when a vacancy has occurred during the last year of a president's term? well, that's easy enough to find out. before justice scalia's death, more than a dozen justices have been confirmed during a presidential year. and for the last 100 years, with the exception of nominees who have withdrawn their nomination, the senate has taken action on every pending nominee to fill a vacancy on the court. in the past, some senators have suggested that a vacancy occurring during the final year of a presidential term should be entitled to less deference than other executive nominations, but that's related to the question of whether or not a senator votes yes or no. and of course senators are free to vote yes or no on nominees. but the refusal to even consider a nominee is unprecedented. beyond the precedent of previous senate actions, let's look at article 2, section 2 of the constitution that says that the
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president -- quote -- shall nominate and -- quote -- appoint by and with the advice and consent of the senate -- close quote -- various officials, including supreme court justices. while all agree that the advice and consent provision gives the senate the ability to affirm or reject a nominee, there is nothing in the clause suggesting that the senate can blockade the consideration of a nominee, and there is certainly nothing in the clause to suggest that the president's appointed powers or the senate's confirmation powers are somehow limited in the last year of a presidential term. finally, the meaning of the constitutional clause was extensively discussed as the constitution was drafted, approved and ratified by the states, and alexander hamilton's federalist papers 76 also discusses the provision at length. all understood that the advice and consent provision was an opportunity for the senate to determine whether a presidential
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nominee for a senate-confirmable position possessed -- quote -- fit character. that's the check against presidential power intended by the clause. the president, knowing that the senate would inquire into the character of a nominee, would not just nominate people purely for partisan or personal or regional reasons, wanting to fill up the court with people from my state, for example. instead, fit character would require that the president nominate somebody who could pass that scrutiny in the senate. and fit character is a phrase with some significant subjectivity to it, giving each senator the ability to decide what it means in a given instance. but this position that the character of the nominee doesn't matter at all, doesn't matter at all as evidenced by the majority's view that there would be no meetings, no hearings and no vote, regardless of the person nominated for the vacancy, is directly contrary, in my view, to the intent of the
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provision. so i look at this and i believe that the asserted rationale that we should not take up the garland nomination because the vacancy has occurred in the final year of a presidential term, is at odds with the text of the constitution, with the clear meaning of the texas explained during the drafting of the provision and with the clear line of senate action in previous cases. so what could explain the blockade of judge garland? i obviously don't know, and i can't comment upon motivations that i'm unaware of. but i do want to discuss how it appears a perception that we are leaving possibly unwittingly based on my discussions with virginians. the current senate blockade is variously interpreted as an opposition to the nominee, as opposition to the particular president making the nomination, or as some effort to undermine
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judicial independence. so let's look at those three interpretations that are very commonly held by virginians and others. the first interpretation, is it opposition to the nominee? i think we can dispense with that pretty quickly. the blockade status is not based on the character of the nominee, judge merrick garland. i can assert this safely because the blockade strategy was announced, no meeting, no hearing, no vote before the president even nominated judge garland. it was said, regardless of the character of a particular nominee, they would not entertain a nomination from this particular president. this is ironic. given that the nomination for a supreme court justice is fundamentally about the very essence of justice and that the essence of justice must carry with it a duty to consider each individual on his or her own
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merits, the position that we would refuse to consider judge garland on his own merit seems contrary to me to the very notion of justice itself. and now that judge garland has been nominated, we also know that the blockade is not about the character of the nominee. judge garland has an esteemed record as a prosecutor, private practitioner, federal appellate judge on the d.c. circuit court of appeals. he's the chief judge on that court. his judicial service alone is approaching the 20-year mark on a court that most believe is second in importance only to the united states supreme court. i have not seen any member of the majority assert any credible weakness in judge garland's background, integrity, experience, character, judicial temper or fitness for the position. indeed, the majority's senior member, a respected former chair of the judiciary committee, has praised judge garland as exactly the kind of jurist who should be on the supreme court. and in my recent interview with
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judge garland, i came away deeply impressed with his thoughtful manner and his significant experience as a trial attorney, a judge. this is no ivory tower jurist, but instead a man who understands the real-life struggles of plaintiffs and defendants, lawyers and juries, legislators and citizens, trial judges who depend upon the supreme court to give clarity and guidance to the rules that impact the most important issues of their lives. i think we should give president obama his due in proposing a nominee with such impeccable credentials so i reject the first possible explanation that the majority's position is about the nominee. in fact, a determination that merrick garland was not a fit character to even receive consideration as a supreme court justice would set such a high bar for appointees that it's hard to imagine anyone ever clearing it.
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since the garland blockade has nothing to do with the character of the nominee, many perceive that it is instead explained by the majority's use of this president. is there something about president obama that would warrant his supreme court nominee receiving second class treatment compared with past senate practice? could it be the circumstances of the president's election? some presidents have been elected with less than a majority vote of the american public and thus have been burdened with a notion that they did not have a mandate from the american public. but president obama was elected in both 2008 and 2012 with overwhelming majorities in the electorate college and his popular vote margins in both elections were also relatively strong in comparison with the norms in recent presidential elections. so there's nothing about the legitimacy of president obama's elections that would warrant treating this president's nomination different than previous executives. this makes extremely puzzling
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the majority's claim that they want to -- quote -- "let the american people decide." the american people did decide. they gave president obama the constitutional responsibility to nominate justices to the supreme court from his first day in office to his last. some may not be happy with the decision but it's insulting to the president and it's insulting to the american lek tore rat who chose him according to long-standing and clear electoral rules to demean the legitimacy of his election. could it be the unique unpopularity of this president? i think you could high pott size the -- high poght size the situation where a president in his last term is so unpopular that a senate might conclude that the public is no longer in support of the executive but that's not the case with president obama. the president's current popularity is actually quite strong compared with other presidents during their final years in office.
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so there's nothing about the president's popularity with the american electorate that would warrant treating his supreme court nominee different than the treatment accorded past nominees. so what could it be about president obama that would warrant the blockade of the nominee in a matter completely different in the way the senate has treated all other occupants of the other thannal office? in what way -- oval office. in what way is this president different to justify such treatment? i state again what i said before. obviously i don't know the answer. i cannot say why the senate would be so willing to break its historic practice and my reading of the constitution to refute consideration of a nomination made by this particular president. but i can say that it's painful and offer some thoughts about how it appears to many of my neighbors, to many of my constituents and also to many of my parishioners who i attend church with. they reacted with alarm when
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news came that certain leaders had declared soon after president obama was elected that their primary goal was to assure that he would not be reelected. they watched with sadness as some in congress raised questions about whether he was even born in the united states. they saw some in congress question his faith and his patriotism. they observed a member of congress shout "you lie" at this president during a televised speech to the entire congress. they noticed recently as the budget committee, of both the house and senate refuse to even hold hearings on the president's submitted 27 budgets, the only time a president has been treated in such a manner since the passage of the budget control act of 1974. in short they are confused and they are disturbed by what they see as an attack on this president's legitimacy. i'm not referring to attack on this president's policies.
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we should always be fair game for vigorous disagreement and i often have attacked this president's policies, but instead what people are worried about is some level of attack on the very notion that it is this individual occupying the oval office. and this latest action, the refusal to even consider any supreme court nominee afforded by president obama in his final year when other presidents were granted consideration of their nominees seems highly suspicious to them. when that blockade is maintained even after the president forwards to the senate a nominee of sterling credentials, the suspicion is heightened. and when the asserted reason is the need to -- quote -- "let the people decide" thus suggesting the people's decision to elect this particular president twice is entitled to no respect, they are deeply troubled. what can explain why this president, the nation's first
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african-american president is singled out for this treatment? again i don't know but we cannot blind your selves to how -- your selves to how actions are perceived. the treatment of a supreme court nomination by this president that departs from the practice with previous executives and that cntsz be explain -- cannot be explained due to any feature of the particular nominee under consideration feeds a painful perception about motivations. and the pain is magnified when it's in connection with an appointment to the supreme court whose very building proclaims in stone over its entrance the cardinal notion of equal justice under law. there is a third interpretation of the garland blockade that is also troubling. some see the blockade as just sort of power politics, as an attempt to slant the court. the death of justice scalia
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creates concern among those who fear natural transition on the court, and so there's an effort to stop that natural and lawful transition. the blockade on filling a naturally occurring vacancy in my view is harmful to the independence of the article three branch. even in the three months since justice scalia's death the court rulings have shown the challenges of an eight-member court. on four occasions already the court has been unable to render a clear decision in the case of great importance. and since the blockade if successful will probably maintain the artificial vacancy till the spring of 2017, it is likely to happen in other cases as well. so lower courts and all persons whose rights and liberties are subject to ruling by this court are deprived of the clarity on federal issues that the court was designed to provide. but it's more, it's more than just a hobbling of the court's ability to decide individual
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discrete cases. 70 years ago when winston churchill spoke at westminster college about the dissent of an iron curtain across europe, he defined the differences between free societies and those driven by tyranny and key to his description of free societies was an independent judiciary. it's an independent judiciary that serves as a bulwark against legislative power grams, protecting the liberties of an individual from the overreaching executive or from a majority tearian legislature that does not fully grasp the rights of minorities. that's what the legislature and judiciaries are designed to do. and i think we all know that this independence of the american judiciary has been one of the great hallmarks of american democracy. in my view the blockade of the garland nomination really undermines this independence. the judiciary act of 1869 sets the composition of the court at
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nine justices with life tenure and that statute has remained in force for 150 years. when president franklin roosevelt didn't like certain rulings of the supreme court in the 1930's, he tried to expand the court and elbow out older justices by proposing a forced retirement age and an expansion of the numbers in that judiciary act of 1869. everybody understood that f.d.r.'s actions were an attempt to attack the independence of the judicial branch so congressional leaders of both parties stood up to stop it. i think this current blockade is the legislative equivalent of what president roosevelt tried to do. refusing to consider an obama nomination in order to artificially maintain a court vacancy for more than a year is as much an attack on the judiciary as trying to expand it beyond nine members. and i hope we would agree with
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this, whether an independent judiciary is attacked by the executive or the legislative branches, we need to be equally diligent in repelling that attack. american diplomats work every day around the world trying to convince other societies of the virtues of the rule of law and the independent jie desh-year -- judiciary but the current blockade suggests we do not practice what we preach. by refusing to fill a naturally occurring vacancy, we send a message that the rule of law and an independent judiciary are ultimately secondary to having a more favorable or more compliant judiciary, even if we have to weaken it to attain what we want. madam president, i once lived in a country with a military dictatorship that held this view of the judiciary. the judiciary was not prize for its independence but instead was prized for its enslavish obedience to a few in control of society. about i refusing to fill a supreme court vacancy because a partial and weakened court is
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deemed more acceptable than a full and lawfully constituted court, we move away from one of our best traditions to become more like legal systems that we are working to change around the world every day. in doing so, we weaken the judiciary by leaving this vacancy that's already affected proceedings. we weaken the executive by hobbling the power to fill constitutionally executive and judicial positions but we also weaken the legislative body which has that important duty of checking these nominees for fitness of character and by doing it without even being willing to cast a vote, i think we really hurt our own institutional credibility. in conclusion, madam president, i hearken back to 1954. a matter of fundamental importance to our nation was before the supreme court. the death of a justice left an eight-member court that already shown it was deeply divided and likely unable to reach a ruling,
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but the senate did its job and filled the court and the court could then render a ruling that changed the course of american history for the better. we should learn from this history and do our job. persisting with this current blockade and sending these possibly unintentional messages is deeply dangerous. the refusal to carry out the commands of the constitution and the judiciary act of 1869 to abide by senate precedence, to fill a naturally occurring supreme court vacancy, to offer the advice and consent that is part of a shore's job description -- senator's job description and entertain a well qualified nominee even for a hearing much less a vote will not be viewed favorably in the objective light that history will shine on all of our actions. we can fix this. if the judiciary committee will hold a hearing, cast a vote, report judge garland to the floor and then ensure that the senate debates this nomination and holds a floor vote, we will
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uphold our responsibility. judge garland might be confirmed or he might be rejected, but in taking action rather than mounting an unprecedented blockade, we preserve the the of each senator to make the judgment about whether judge garland possesses the fit character necessary for the position. we act in accord with the constitution and the judiciary act of 1869. we follow the traditional practices of the senate, practices that have served us well as the case of brown vs. board of education shows. and we cure the painful and dangerous message that is communicated by the current blockade strategy. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. a senator: madam president, i rise to follow the eloquent remarks of my colleague from the state of virginia and to remark on 62 years. 62 years since brown vs. board was handed down by our supreme court. mr. coons: 62 days since judge
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merrick garland was nominated by our president to fill a vital vacancy on our nation's highest court. i just want to thank and commend my colleague, a very able attorney, someone who's argued cases passionately around a wide range of issues but none so much as civil rights. as he rightly pointed out, the history of brown vs. board a series of cases were brought together across several states, including his state of virginia and my state of dell care, -- delaware, argued before thurgood marshal and chief council to the naacp and ultimately decided in 1954. but initially after divided court was unable to render judgment because in spring of 1953, chief justice vincent had died leaving the court then in a similar situation as it is now divided on a range of vital and important issues. the good senator from virginia has reminded us that our failure to act now, our failure to do our job and to follow the
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dictates of our constitution, the language in article 2, the failure of this body to offer any hearing or vote on this very capable circuit court judge sends the wrong message not just here within this country to our citizens but around the world. he spent time that changed his life and perspective in central america as a younger man in a country where judicial independence was a fiction on paper. i, too, spent time in the 1980's in a country known as south africa where this same legal system that existed here under jim crow existed there under the name of apartheid, and it is to that country ghai in just two -- to that country that i go in just two weeks with congressman louis, with the children of kennedy to commemorate the speech given 50 years ago. it is a striking moment to reflect on the importance and power and centrality of brown
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v. board in wiping away the dark stain of plessy v. ferguson rendered in 1856 that separate by equal allowed us to square the horrible distension of justice in our country of a separation between the races with the words in ash constitution, the words above you, madam president, the words above the entrance to our supreme court, the words above the president's desk in our chamber, e pluribus unum db for many one. for importantly, the words above the supreme court: equal justice for all. we have this words in our foundational documents, in our most important governmental buildings that suggest that we will dispense justice equally, that we will be gathered from being differences and backgrounds intbackgrounds into. yet the reality in this country for its initial decades was anything but, and it was 62 years ago today that the supreme
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court of these united states issued a unanimous decision wiping plessy v. ferguson away. i rise briefly to comment that i grew up in a small town in delaware. and it was a so-called colored school that was the basis of one of these cases. there were actually two cases from delaware, belton v. gephardt related to the claymont high school and another related to the hokessen elementary school n both cases a famous lawyer from delaware named louis redding took their cases to the delaware court and a brave judge, judge collin sytes, found the discriminatory practices in the state of delaware illegal. it was that case that was affirmed of the five gathered in brown v. board and although delaware has a very troubled and checkered racial history, these cases are ones which i and my constituents can justifiably be
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proud. moments when the courts of this country have stepped up and wiped the stain of racism and of legal segregation from our books are moments of which we can and should be proud. and as my colleague from virginia pointedly reminded us, for 62 days the incredibly qualified and capable district court judge nominated by our current president has waited, waited for an answer from this body, waited for a hearing before the senate judiciary committee on which i serve, waited for a vote. and every previous nominee who has not withdrawn in the century that there's bln a judiciary committee of this body has received a hearing, a vote, or both. what are we so afraid of? in allowing this talented judge to come forward and to lay his views and his credentials and his experience before this body or a committee of this body, what is the concern? my colleague from virginia has asked and i ask, what is the
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animating concern that exists for 62 or 36 or 64 or more days judge garland must wait, throughout this entire year perhaps, into next year? how many cases will remain undecide i by a many in this chamber to have a hearing and to cast their votes? with that, madam president, i simply want to say that it is to me of grave concern that we haven't acted as a body, that we haven't acted collectively to provide a path forward for this talented, capable judge. many in this chamber may find him not to be capable or qualified, but without a hearing, how would you know? he has submitted a full response, thousands of pages, to the questionnaire typically expected before the judiciary committee of any nominee. his in order is before us, abundant, voluminous. he has more experience than any previous nominee as a district
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-- excuse me, as a federal circuit court judge. what is the concern that would prevent us from moving forward on this 62nd anniversary of the most important decision in my view in the history of the united states supreme court, brown v. board? i call on my colleagues to once again show the courage of louis redding, of judge syte snchts of justice warren and of all those who rendered central decisions in the history of this country that allowed our supreme court to operate, independent of political interference and exaivel making real the promise above our supreme court of equal justice for all. madam president, thank you. i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i am really honor ped and feel privileged to be a member of this body today as we commemorate the anniversary of brown v. board of education. i want to thank my colleagues,
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the distinguished senator from delaware, and most especially my very good friend and colleague from virginia for his very eloquent and powerful remarks and also for bringing us together in this colloquy today. 62 years ago on this day, the supreme court unanimously struck down as unconstitutional the segregation of schools by race, declaring that separate but unequal schools are inherently unequal. today that proposition seems so obvious as to be indisputable. and the fact of a unanimous supreme court seems inevitable. but it was hardly inevitable 62 years ago. and it is a triumph and tribute to american justice that it happened understand that it happened at all, given the
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staunch and implacable resistance that there was to that proposition 62 years ago. in fact, the united states supreme court courageously stepped forward to advance american justice and establish a milestone and reestablish the principle that is enshrined in our is that you every citizen is entitled to equal protection under law. the battle to upend years of racial and educational inequity remains unfinished today, and if we emerge from this colloquy with any message, it must be, the work remains unfinished and there is so much more work to be done in the spirit and letter of the law. the culmination of decades' long
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work and strategy by innovative lawyers, commun organizations, and organizers and other advocates of social change was that decision. and it is a tribute to their work as well and a reminder that individuals can make a difference in our system, can litigate to a successful conclusion, can advocate principles that are a matter of moral imperative. it took an act of the supreme court, of an independent judiciary, to declare educational session unconstitutional and integration the law of the land. as a law clerk on the united states supreme court in the 1974-1975 term working for justice harry blackmun, i had the chance to watch arguments -- some of them on pressing issues
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of the time -- but also to talk with some of the justices who watched or even participated in the brown decision, including justice thurgood marshall, the chief counsel for the plaintiffs in brown. anybody who thinks that that decision was inevitable should talk to some of the lawyers who were involved in the litigation that eventually advanced it to the supreme court and to its successful conclusion and to read the histories of the controversy within the court and the debates internally that took place about the proper role of the court and the principles to be applied. it was far from inevitable. but, it also shows how the branches of government, working
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together and collaboratively advancing justice in america, are important to the fundamental die nawmic of our -- dynamic of our constitutional system of the brown decision took enforcement, and president dwight eisenhower led that effort in one of the toughest tests amidst massive protests in little rock, arkansas, just three years after brown, ten years after brown congress expanded the logic of this great decision to pass the civil rights act of 1964 making segregation in public places, like restaurants, illegal as well. and one wonders, reading and reviewing the dynamics of the court at the time, what would have happened if there were only eight members? how history might have been different. just might have been delayed,
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and perhaps history changed for the far worse, just denied as a result -- expwruf justice deniea result of that dlaivment the group of justices that unanimously issued the decision was no intellectual monolith, with members nominated by presidents truman and eisenhower before the court came an issue of major significance which they came together to evaluate on principles of law that we all share; that discrimination is invidious and intolerable, and violations of the constitution will be held unacceptable in the courts. today congressional republicans, very frankly, ha hamper the abiy of the supreme court to answer important legal questions of our time, refusing to hold even a hearing or a vote for judge
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merrick garland. their doing so has left the bench of the united states supreme court with only eight justices. that lack of a ninth justice diminishes and in many respects even disables the court. as we saw just yesterday in a decision that might well have been decided otherwise if there had been nine justices to give the majority to one point of view or another. justice scalia warned against this very issue, stating that -- quote -- "eight justices raise the possibility that by reason of a tie vote the court will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issue presented by the case, even one unnecessary recusal impairs the functioning of the court." justice scalia's foresight was
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prescient. in two recent cases, even before the one yesterday, the court deadlocked, unable to reach a definitive pronouncement on the law because of a 4-4 tie. unnecessary circumsplits -- circuit splits cause uncertainty, which, in turn, hamper the activities of ordinary citizens, of small businesses wondering what rules will apply to them, whether it's banking rules or investment regulations hampering their ability to plan and create jobs. "the washington post" recently reported that the court's acceptance of new cases has slowed significantly, leaving crucial unresolved legal questions without definitive answers. that is not how our system is supposed to work. it is not how the founders saw
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it. it is not how the supreme court could resolve the brown v. board of education challenge. the supreme court must have a full implement of justices to -- complement of justices to effectively address these complex challenging, urgent issues faced by our nation today. i reject the notion that the senate's refusal to act, as laid out in no uncertain terms by our republican colleagues, fulfills our constitutional obligation. it's our obligation to advise and consent on the president's nominee. we shall do so. that's the constitutional mandate, not when its politically convenient, not when we think it's advantageous, but when the president nominates. whoever the president is, whether it is president eisenhower nominating earl
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warren, or the presidents truman and roosevelt, who nominated other justices on the supreme court that decided brown v. board of education, we cannot afford to weaken the federal judiciary's credibility. the trust and confidence of the american people in the authority of our judiciary. and its authoy depends on it being politics. what the senate alas is doing is dragging the united states supreme court into the muck of partisan bickering. brown v. board of education became the law of the land because of the united states supreme court's credibility. the supreme court had no police force to enforce it. it had no armies or mandatory physical force. it had its credibility and its
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authority, its moral authority because it was above politics in the minds of most americans, and that is the reason that president eisenhower was able to do what he succeeded in enforcing at little rock and presidents afterward have done similarly. most importantly, i hope we all take time today to reflect on the importance of the brown decision and recognize the grip and courage of the men and women who fought to end school segregation only 62 years ago. the best way of honoring their legacy is to do our job and our duty constitutionally, to fulfill that duty and their legacy by considering judge garland's nomination without further delay. madam president, i yield the
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floor. and recognize my distinguished colleague from new jersey. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. a senator: thank you very much. mr. booker: i rise today to discuss along with my friends and colleagues here on the senate floor also really what is a momentous anniversary in our country, the 62nd anniversary of the brown v. board of education decision is legacy and the work that still remains
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before us. i want to thank my colleagues for standing up and speaking on this anniversary and understanding that it was 62 years ago today that the supreme court unanimously affirmed that separate could never be equal, that under the law at the very least, every child born in america regardless of their -- of the color of their skin had the right to pursue equal -- pursue a quality education. the court found that separate coulding of children based on -- schooling of children based on their race was in direct violation of the 14th amendment of the constitution. the court's finding is perhaps best summarized by this excerpt from the justice warren's opinion when he said, we come then to the question presented, does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other tangible factors may be equal to deprive the children of the minority group of equal
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education options, we believe that it does. so were those historical words. this not only made clear at the time that the deep and profound illegal galty of segregation was real but it set a legal standard for generations in posterity that reflects on our deepest-held american values, that we as a nation believe in equality, we as a nation believe in our interdependency to one another. in the decades since the brown ruling, the implementation of the court's decision has contributed to a lot of progress. i stand here today, frankly, because of the progress and moment tum -- momentum that was exhibited by that decision. right before brown v. board of education, only one in seven african-americans then compared with more than one in three white, held a high school degree. today we've come so far. the census bureau reports that 87% of black adults have a high
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school degree nearly equal to that of whites which are at 89%. before brown only about one in 40 blacks earned a college degree. now more than one in five black students are going to college. this is extraordinary progress we've seen in our country, something we should all celebrate. under the law at the very least, the supreme court clearly affirmed all americans' right to a quality education and in doing so affirmed equal value, dignity and worth of our kids. it is also, however, worth reflecting on the anniversary of brown that our nation has struggled to live up to these standards in full. you see, brown advanced a civil rights movement that helped desegregate many parts of american society but we still have work to do. let us take this anniversary to recognize not just our progress, to celebrate not just that
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milestone, but to really understand that the work of equality, the work of recognizing the value and the worth and how much we need each other as a community still goes on. in fact, just yesterday, six days after the supreme court -- six decades after the supreme court and brown struck down the doctrine of separate but equal, a federal judge ruled that a school district in mississippi was continuing to operate a segregated dual secondary school system. one set of schools for whites and one set of schools for blacks. across the country right now, about 40% of black and latino students attend intensely segregated, really meeting more than 90% minority student body, the intensely -- they attend intensely segregated schools and white students are similarly isolated from their peers of color.
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too many of our schools continue to fall short of our low income and minority students. in other words, too many of our students of color and of low income students are concentrated in poor performing schools. more than 1.1 million american students are attending over 1,200 high schools, 1,200 high schools in our nation that fail to graduate one-third of their students. this do me is -- to me is an outrain. it's an immoral front to who we are. we still have work to do. our nation is still struggling to live up to the ideals and indeed the judicial standards set by brown in the realm of education. in many ways because of our failure to live up to the standard in so many other areas of our american life. there still exists in the words of dr. martin luther king that other america. dr. king spoke of this in the
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year before i was born, in 1968, about the other american. he spoke of the day quality that persist -- duality that existed, the disparities in housing, education, employment, and income. he spoke of what he referred to very pointedly as the myth of time, the misguided idea that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice, the idea that things will just work out for themselves. and so as happy as i am about the progress we have made as a country, i have to say that almost 50 years after king spoke those words that we still have so much work to do. time has not solved the problem. there remains challenges in our country. the duality is more subtle in some way thans it was in 1954 but there still exists injustice in america. from housing to education
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defacto segregation along socioeconomic and racial lines has blended together in many ways replacing what was then segregation. census data has shown very slowly residential segregation by race has declined but that whites still live largely in neighborhoods with low minority density, that people of color still live in neighborhoods with high minority density. many of these neighborhoods were designed through policies that were discriminatory against minorities, we still are seeing the legacies of those policies from red lining, to frchlts h.a. policy -- f.h.a. policies, to h.u.d. policies that were designed to create segregation. the legacy of that still exists in segregated neighborhoods today. while poverty rates among african-americans has fallen over the past half century, something we should be proud of, black poverty rates are still more than double of that than
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whites. that means the same for kids today. children of qlor are often twice -- of color are often twice as likely to be poor as white children. in fact, one out of three hispanic children growing up today are growing up in poverty. one in six african-american children live in what's called extreme poverty on less than $8 a day. this is not who we are as a nation. our children are our greatest natural resource in a global knowledge-base economy when we're competing against other nations from germany to japan. in this kind of economy, the most valuable natural resource a nation has is not oil or coal or gas. it's the jea genius of our chil. you see, many people think brown was about achieving greater justice for black people, but what we really understand, especially in retrospect, as we see african-americans now contributing in every area of
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life, the reality is this was about bringing justice to all of america. brown was saying that, hey, we as a country cannot stand if we are apart because a house divided does fall. brown was saying that the truth is we do better when we are together. the old african saying if you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far, go together. because we as a country need each other. it's like those words on the jefferson memorial written in our declaration of independence when we knew to make this country work, we needed one another, so much so that those founders pledged to each other their lives and their fortunes and their sacred honor. we cannot afford in this competitive nature to waste things. and worse than the gulf coast oil spill we're wasting the potential of our children when we leave so many squandering in
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poverty and lack of educational opportunities. children growing up in poverty right now have dramatically negative life outcomes compared to people who are not growing up in poverty. in fact, right now in america we're 20% of our children live in -- where 20% of our children live in poverty, only nine in 100 kids born in poverty will make it to college, often an inindice of being successful, manifesting your genius, finding greater ways to contribute to the whole. so we have work to do. we have work to do in particular in an area that drives so much of the injustice in our country. one of the great ways we are seeing injustice in my generation that was not the case in my parents' generation, that was not a reality in the 1950's, something that has happened and
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exploded injustice into our country growing like a cancer on the soul of our country has been the criminal justice system. the same supreme court where that great case was decided, where written above the wall is equal justice under law we now see a nation that has a criminal justice system that is not affording equal justice to all americans. unfortunately, we see that often falling among racial lines. we have this explosive drug war which has not been a war on drugs, but it has been a war on people and particularly the most vulnerable people in our society from people who are addicted to substances, from people who have mental illnesses, from people that are poor and, yes, disproportionately directed towards minorities. we now see a criminal justice system where we know based upon data analysis there is no difference between blacks and
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whites and usage of drugs. in fact, there's no difference in selling drugs between blacks and whites but the reality is if you are african-american in this country, you're 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for those drug crimes. and as a result of those arrests, if you are turned into the criminal justice system, just one arrest for a nonviolent -- and you are arrested for that then you find yourself in a world where the american bar association says you have literally 40,000-plus collateral consequences where you find it exceptionally difficult to fight employment when you're finished with your sentence. you find it incredibly difficult to get a loan to perhaps start a business, even attempt to get a business license or pell grant, ma many cases you find it hard if you can't feed yourself to even get food stamps or to find public housing assistance.
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we now live in a nation where we have so overincarcerated disproportionately some areas of our country that today one in 13 african-americans are prevented by law of even voting because they've lost their -- they've lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction. in some states the overincarceration for drug crimes is so great that we see in places like florida one out of every five african-americans has lost their right to vote. and this isn't just affecting those people who are churned into the system. it's affecting their children as well. today in america, one in nine black kids are growing up with a parent behind bars, which means it affects their financial well-being, it affects their ability to rise up out of poverty because they are being thrust down into it. in fact, a recent study has shown we as a country as a whole would have 20% less poverty if
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we had incarceration rates similar to those in other industrial nations. and so here we celebrate the anniversary of a momentous decision that took a huge step for our nation in the march towards justice and equality, but now we see in our country, because of staggering injustices like we see in our criminal justice system, that kids often struggle more in school because -- and are poorer and have fewer opportunities for success because of a broken criminal justice system. 62 years after brown, we know our schools don't exist in vacuums. they exist because of the communities that are around them. and when communities of privilege that have the same amount of violations of drug crimes as communities of poverty but yet the communities of poverty experience a criminal justice system that has so much
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more incarceration, we're often condemning children to having greater hills to climb, greater mountains of injustice in front of them. i stand on this day to celebrate so much a great decision but to remind us that we have work to do in this country. until we can begin to live up to this ideal of patriotism, which is love of country, which to me necessitates that we love each other. we don't always have to agree with one another. we don't always have to get along. but we have to recognize that every one of news this nation has value -- every one of us in this nation has value, has worth. we need our children to do well because if my neighbor's child does poorly, i lose. if they succeed, if they become a teacher, a biologist, an inventor, a businesswoman, then they contribute to this country
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and my children benefit. that's the story of america. we cannot afford to leave people behind as we as a nation strive for excellence and greatness. we cannot be a nation that is truly reaching its potential if we're wasting so much of that potential on the sidelines. i'd be remiss if i did not also speak to a process issue. while we are still working to expand the vision of brown, it is more urgent now than ever that we have a fully functioning supreme court. we were fortunate to have had a functioning supreme court in 1954. nine justices that were doing their jobs, a president willing to do their job and a senate all working in a time of great tumultuous change in our nation. people are focused steadfast, both parties, towards creating a greatest justice. we know that with people in their seats, in their jobs, i have a faith in america and our
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ability to get it right. we need to make sure that today we give every opportunity to get the job done, to do the work that is necessary. it's important that we fill positions and vacancies and the one on the supreme court now is clearly needed. today is an important day of remembrance, but history shows we cannot simply get stuck applauding our past. the glory and the greatness of ancestors who are truly worthy of our reverence, but if we are to honor those who struggled before, if we are to honor those milestones, if we are to celebrate the history that showed us at our best, when we came together, black american, white american, latino american, indian american, arab shank american, if we are to celebrate those great days of the past, we must celebrate them not just
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with cheers and remembrances, but by redoubling our work in accordance with those values. we must have a sense of urgency. time is not neutral. we must use it. we cannot just count the great days of the past. we must make this day count, as we continue the work of our nation, as we continue to be the country who we say we are, a nation of liberty and justice for all. with that, i recognize that -- with that, i yield the floor. thank you very much.
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mr. moran: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: madam president, thank you very much. i rise this afternoon in the middle of this debate on this aappropriations bill because of the 250eu78g of a -- timing after tragedy in our state and the relate that i this is a week of importance to reflect upon what happened in kansas just a few days ago. i want to honor the life of a police detective brad lancaster. he is a member of the kansas city kansas police department, and he was killed in the line of duty on may 9 this year. he joined the kansas city patrol officers in responding to a call about a suspicious person. when law enforcement arrived, the suspicious person fled into a field and -- where detective lancaster exchanged gunfire and he was hit twice and, unfortunately, ultimately he died from his injuries. detective lancaster gave his life to keep his community safe,
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and he deserves our highest respects and appreciation, our love and care for his family for his service and for his sacrifice. his friends, families, and neighbors remember brad lancaster's commitment to his community and its extension beyond his nine years of service to kansas city kansas police department. before joining the police department, brad served in the u.s. air force and completed two tours of duty abroad, including one in kuwait during "desert shield." neighbors say that he was a family man and one that was always there to offer a helping hand. detective lancaster is survived by his wife jamie and two daughters briana and jillian. i join the kansas city community and law enforcement agencies across the country in our prayers for detective l.a.n. castered and his family as we -- lancaster and his family as we mourn his death. this tragic loss occurred just prior to national police week, a time in which we celebrate those
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who leave their families and homes each day and put their lives on the line to keep our neighborhoods safe. so today during this national police week and especially in the wake of this tragic death in kansas stirks i want to -- kansas city, i want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to american law enforcement officers and their families. to thank them for work being tirelessly amid dangerous conditions for the sake of others, upholding the law, and for the burdens they shoulder and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. we owe so much to these everyday heroes. law enforcement officers perform some of the most difficult and hazardous jobs in america. a routine traffic stop can turn into a deadly gunfire, a shootout without a warning. members of this ledgive body angz -- members of this legislative body must do everything we can to protect the lives of those who protect us.
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federal efforts like the justice grant program and the bulletproof vest grant program help our law enforcement officers and congress' continued support of these efforts is important p. this body passed the fallen heroes flag act which was signed into law on monday. this week i hope the senate will unanimously pass a resolution to express appreciation to the police officers and honor each of the 123 who were killed in the line ever duty last year -- the lining of duty last year. support must be delivered not only in the communities where officers have been killed but to every officer every day. when we as americans commit to the safety, training, and support of law enforcement, we can help to secure our streets, strengthen our communities and hopefully reduce the number of deaths in the line of duty. may kansas city kansas police detective brad lancaster and each of those fallening heroes rest in peace.
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madam president, i yield the floor and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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with. mr. mccain: i ask that the call of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i'm here with my good friend from kansas and a dedicated member of the united states senate, an expert on national security, a person who served with honor in the united states marine corps, and has served in this body and in the other body honorably in positions of responsibility. and where we may have had a disagreement, my friend has shown he's a man of conviction
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regarding the detainees from guantanamo coming to the united states of america. but he also understands fully the importance of the position of the secretary of the army. senator roberts and i have worked closely together on this year's defense authorization act to ensure the administration does not have the authority to release or transfer detainees on the mainland. unfortunately, the administration's failed for over seven years to present a stub stan alternative plan on how -- a substantive plan on how they intend to close guantanamo bay to me, to my colleagues, or to the american people. thanks to senator roberts' efforts, this year's bill extends the prohibition to any reprogramming request to transfer our release detainees. these provisions confirm that president obama will not be able to move detainees to the
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mainland of the united states of america in the coming year. i want to point out that i understand senator roberts' emphasis and value that he places on fort levin worth. for the href -- fort levinworth is where general david petraeus spent two years developing a strategy for the service at fort levinworth. this is where the upand coming leaders of the united states army and other services as well, but primarily the united states army go to get their training, their intellect, and their ability to lead. and so i can fully understand why my friend from kansas would be adamantly opposed to the transfer of detainees to fort
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leavenworth, which would change the complexion and the makeup of that very important place in the past, present and future of the united states army. so i want to thank my colleague from kansas for his agreement today, and i would ask him to say a few words before i ask consent that his nomination be considered. again, i'd like to again appreciate my old friend, his passion, his commitment to the people of kansas is without equal, which also accounts for the fact that they sent him here to represent them on several occasions. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. roberts: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i thank my colleague and my good friend from arizona who enabled me to
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make a few remarks to address the nomination of mr. eric fanning to serve as secretary of the army. i have pledged to the people of kansas that i would do everything in my power to stop president obama from moving terrorist detainees to fort leavenworth, kansas. the senator from arizona has certainly described the situation very well. it is the intellectual center of the army. i believe today that i can tell kansans that the threat from this administration will go unfulfilled. i believe that because of last week in a private meeting with deputy defense secretary robert work, i received the shaourpbss shaourpbss -- shaourpbss i needed to hear to release my
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hold on mr. fanning. secretary work has assured me that as the individual charged with executing a movement of detainees to the mainland, where he would be unable to fulfill such an order before the close of this administration. practically speaking, the clock has run out for the president. as i have stated on this floor and to my good friend and colleague, the distinguished senator from arizona, my issue has never been -- let me make that very clear -- has never been with mr. fanning's character, his courage or his capability. he will be a tremendous leader as army secretary and will do great by our soldiers at fort leavenworth, fort riley and let me emphasize every soldier serving our nation today. i just talked to mr. fanning as of this afternoon and let him know i was releasing this hold and good luck on his speech to the graduates of west point.
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i look forward to voting for mrd my support for this position. so i'm happy to support his nomination today with his new assurances from the administration and from the chairman and ranking member of the senate armed services committee to work with me to strengthen provisions on funding for the transfer of detainees to the mainland in this year's national defense authorization act. i have worked closely with chairman mccain and ranking member reed. i look forward to completing work on an authorizing bill shortly. additionally the senate appropriations committee is committed to prohibiting funding for construction or modification to any facility in the united states for the purpose of housing detainees in this year's milcon funding bill currently on the floor. with the clock running down in the last months of the obama administration, it is
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increasingly improbable that this administration could bring high-value terrorists and their associated risks to an american community like leavenworth, kansas. the bottom line is this, we have run out the clock, and congress looks to prohibit this administration from moving detainees to the mainland at every turn. so as the secretary of defense and the attorney general have testified before congress, moving detainees to the mainland is prohibited by law and will remain so through the end of this president's term. i again want to thank my friend and my colleague, senator mccain, for working with me to work this out. my congratulations to secretary eric fanning, army secretary eric fanning, and i yield the floor. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: again i'd like to thank my old friend from kansas for his agreement and move
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forward and i look forward to continue our long many years' effort together to keep this nation safe. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination: calendar number 477 only, with no other executive business in order. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk shall report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of defense, eric k. fanning of the district of columbia to be secretary of the army. mr. mccain: madam president, i know of no further debate on the nomination. the presiding officer: is there any further debate? hearing none, all in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the nomination is confirmed. mr. mccain: i ask consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i ask to dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thanks, madam president. i rise today to speak in opposition to the lee amendment number 3897. i'd like to take a moment to thank senator collins for her terrific work on this bill and to for -- for senator jack reed of rhode island and how they have teamed up to manage this bill in pretty much exactly the right way. we're making critical investments with this legislation, our transportation, housing and community development programs. one in four families today in this country who rent -- think about this. one in four families who rent spend more than half their income on housing. we have been taught sort of our whole lives from young adulthood on that you shouldn't spend more than 25% or 30%, 35% at the most on house payments or rent, yet one fourth of americans are spending more than half their
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income on housing. i recently read the book "evicted" by matthew desmond, and in that book, renters who are living paycheck to paycheck, low-income renters, one renter was quoted as saying when her paycheck came, she said my rent eats first. she had kids that were hungry, she had bus tokens to buy so she could get to work. all of the challenges she had, she said my rent eats first. so we know what that means. in housing, whether it's in rural maine or whether it's in urban or rural ohio, we know that rental prices have tipped to go up and up and up. evictions are so much more common than they were a decade or especially two decades ago. that has to change. make it clear why we need to maintain our existing affordable housing resources. this bill focuses on improving the quality of federally assisted houses, removing lead paint hazards from homes, and we
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know the effect that has. we have learned from flint about water, but we know an even bigger problem is lead in paint. and in the city that i call homf cleveland, the zip code i live in, 44105, ten years ago in 2007, there were more foreclosures in my zip code than any zip code in the united states. we also know in cities like cleveland, in rural areas like appalachia or houses, most of the housing stock is world war ii or older, almost all of that housing stock has -- has toxic levels of lead paint. the bill pays particularly attention also to transit safety. the banking committee oversees transit. senator mikulski has worked with senator shelby and me as well as our colleagues representing the local areas. senators warner and cardin and kaine to make sure the f.t.a. has the resources needed to oversee the washington metro, something we have neglected for decades.
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i'd like to thank my colleagues for working with us to ensure that young foster care alumni don't have to choose between getting the education they need to be self-sufficient and to have a roof over their heads. i wish more funds were available for these important investments, particularly additional funding to address family homelessness, but i thank my colleagues for their work within the subcommittee's funding constraints and their attention to these critical issues. i especially thank the chair, susan collins, for that. unfortunately, madam president, senator lee's amendment will undermine some of the good we're doing with this legislation. it will prohibit the department of housing and urban development from carrying out a key component of the fair housing act of 1968. when congress passed that bill in the wake of the assassination of martin luther king, it made housing discrimination illegal in every state in the nation for the first time. for generations, redlining and restricting covenants and outright discrimination kept families of color locked out of entire neighborhoods and created segregated communities that
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linger to this day. these were tools of racial oppression as well as economic oppression, and they went far -- in far too many cases hand in hand. the fair housing act made these despicable practices illegal everywhere. congress included another important component in the fair housing act, a requirement that h.u.d. and its grantees administer their federal housing and urban development grants in a way that would affirmatively further fair housing. state and local governments, public housing authorities were required to use their federal funds in ways that would reverse rather than reinforce segregation in these communities, but today the outlines of decades-old discrimination are still too visible. i listened to a preacher on martin luther king day on a cold cleveland january morning two and a half years ago. he said something we all know but don't think enough about. life expectancy is connected to your zip code. whether you grow up on the east side of cleveland, whether you grow up in a wealthy suburb, whether you grow up in
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appalachia, whether you grow up in a prosperous small town. your zip code determines whether you have access to good roll call, to quality education, to the social support necessary to succeed. when where you live matters this much, we all have an obligation, a moral obligation to ensure that families can live in the neighborhoods of their choice and to ensure that communities are creating opportunity in every zip code. that -- but unfortunately in the 50 years since our country passed fair housing, h.u.d. has not provided enough direction to help communities meet that goal. a 2010 g.a.o. report recommended h.u.d. take action to approve its process for meeting its obligations, including three things -- establishing standards in format for grantees to follow, requiring grantees to establish time frames for implementing their plans, requiring grantees to submit their analyses to h.u.d. for review. h.u.d. developed a new rule that the finally, finally help local governments across the country
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support and foster fair family -- fair housing policies to create vibrant and integrated communities. the rule was developed through a two-year public process. 12 of my colleagues and i urge secretary castro to develop a strong rule after considering comments from stakeholders. senr lee's amendment would stop h.u.d. from responding to those g.a.o. recommendations. the rule would give clarity and the tools to meet their obligations and fulfill this duty that this senate has bipartisanly supported for now going on five decades. some of the questions communities will ask in these assessments may demand that they think in new way abouts how to create housing opportunities for all a the residents, regardless of race or religion or dispossibility or the size of their families. these are the types of questions this body told the country to ask when it enacted fair housing
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in 1968. we need to invest federal resources in ways that provide access to opportunity to all citizens in every zip code. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the lee amendment. madam president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent for the -- to put -- the ensuing remarks to put in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. last week athletes from around the world traveled to orlando to compete in the second invehicle tuesday -- invictus games. like all athletes they participate for many reasons forks comradely, for personal discipline, for the joy of the game but the invictus competitors are so much more. they're veterans who fought for our country and for our allies who were wounded or suffered mental injuries in service to a cause greater than themselves. the games were founded in 2014 by england's prince harry to bring active duty service members and veterans together to compete in international
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sporting events and to recognize their achievements. these warrior athletes have already given so much for our country. they've seen the horrors of combat. they spent months and years away from family. they've suffered injuries both visible and not so visible. they've been changed forever by the realities of war but as invictus shows, they've not been defeated. the name of the games comes from the poem of the same name by the 19th century british poet william ernest tenley. invictus means unconquered. a bit of personal note here, my father's favorite poem which we shared at his funeral was invictus and it made me even more interested in this game -- these games because it means unconquered. i ask unanimous consent to put -- to place in the record, madam president, the poem "invictus" by william ernest henley. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: the words have
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inspired men and women for generations. the spirit is alive in the athletes who represented their countries in oarlgd -- orlando. three people from my state competed, army captain is a mother, fierce competitor who grew up in my state. she brought home the gold for our country in the women's 400 meter dark. team usa included brian mcpherson, a marine corps sergeant from nash port east of columbus. he had battled traumatic brain injury sustained while deployed in iraq when a suicide bomber walked into his unit. he competed in both track and field and cycling competitions. he said i'm a son, brother, uncle, professional, marine, an athlete who proudly stands before you today after being ravaged by war. i was changed. i am changed by these events, but they leave me now to what i consider a greater path. those times have taught me much about myself while giving me the additional skills to lead the
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marines and integrate back into society. competitions have been so important to this journey. he said adaptive sports gave me the strength to be an example for fellow service members, civilians and myself. i learned of a passion i didn't know existed deep within me. sports have given me an outlet and time to sort through my thoughts and emotions. lastly, madam president, steven miller, retired navy officer from cleveland, competed in orlando in indoor rowing. he said training helps to remind me i'm part of a team and a family, that i got to share the same experiences, recovery and memories not only with u.s. athletes but also with athletes and comrades. he and sergeant mcpherson and all the invictus competitors embody william ernest henly's words. it matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, i am the master of my fate. i am the master of my fate. i am the captain of my soul.
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these athletes have mastered fate on the battlefield, on the sports field. they've overcome more trials than almost any of us can imagine. their perseverance serves as a test mants to the power of -- test meant to the power of the human spirit. we owe them gratitude. we owe them respect. we owe them opportunity to live a life that befits their service and their fak nice -- their sacrifice for our great nation. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i want to speak in support of the blunt-murray amendment. this provides $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the zika virus. now, mr. president, i ask that members might look at this map of the united states.
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it shows the centers for disease control's estimate of the range -- of the -- range of the two types of mosquito that may spread zika. you see it covers a very large part of the united states. it also shows that the -- this public health emergency is not like ebola or anything else in some far off land. it's -- it can end up in the back yard of tens of millions of americans. i want to mention that earlier this afternoon i voted for the nelson-rubio zika supplemental. that would have provided for the full $1.9 billion requested by the president months ago. it mystifies me that the republican majority in the house voted to defeat that amendment considering the zika is spreading faster in more ways
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than predicted, even when the president first requested those funds and the excuse we've heard for months, particularly from the house republican leaders, they don't have enough information about the proposed use of the funds. we have had so many briefings. i wonder have they attended any of them? or if the briefings weren't enough, why don't you pick up the phone and call the head of the c.d.c. or the director of the national institute of health or any of the other experts sounding alarm bells since last year. in a little over the year the zika virus has spread from brazil to almost every country and territory in this hemisphere. there is no question it's spreading faster, it's more dangerous than anticipated just a few months ago. as the map shows, more than half of the continental u.s., including my own state of
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vermont is now projected to be within the range of zika-carrying mosquitoes. and the virus can have devastating consequences for those who become infected, especially for children. i think we need to act. if there's one area where politicians should not second-guess the medical experts, it's how to respond to public health emergencies. it's nice to give speeches about public health emergencies, but let's at least include what those who are the experts, the medical experts say. now, that's not what the house of representatives did. first, they don't treat the zika crisis as an emergency, even though it's spread to 36 countries and territories in this hemisphere and has been declared a public health emergency by the world health
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organization. the house bill that was introduced yesterday would cut the amount requested by more than two-thirds. it would rob from the other programs like the funds that combat ebola and they limit the availability of zika funds the remaining four months of this fiscal year. we'll just fight for four months and it's going to surrender and go away? come on, this is nonsense. more than half a billion dollars in ebola funds have already been reprogrammed to combat zika. the administration had to do this because congress was dithering and dithering and wouldn't act and it would have been irresponsible for the administration to wait any longer. when congress failed to act as mosquitoes came north, the administration did act. but that's assuming -- it's robbing peter to pay paul.
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ebola remains a deadly threat. cases of ebola continue to be confirmed in west africa. we see now one ebola case today can become a dozen tomorrow, a hundred cases the next day. how quickly people here forget the fear that gripped this country after a single ebola-related death in texas two years ago. now, the funds we appropriated to combat ebola are being put to good uses, especially strong the capacity of african countries to address the future outbreaks of ebola and even worse. the emergency funding in this bill includes $258 million from the department of state and usaid to combat zika in latin america and the caribbean. the funds will support efforts to control the spread of zika but also insect-borne diseases,
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including to protect maternal health, expand public education and prevention, encourage private sector research for the development of vaccines and diagnostics. the funds will provide contribution to international organizations, including the world health organization and the pan american health organization. to reduce the impact of the disease on infants and their families but also to accelerate diagnosis. funds are also included for the department of state and usaid operations, to provide medical support for u.s. citizens, the state department, usaid and other government employees we have stationed overseas. we do after all have a responsibility to them. and if the zika virus is not controlled in latin america, the caribbean, you don't have to be a scientist to know that a year
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from now it likely will be worse than projected but it's also going to be more costly to control. and if we continue to rob ebola funds which are being used for the purposes congress intended, we simply shift the risk from one life threatening disease to another. that makes no sense at all. well, we'll spend this money to stop this disease but not this one. oh, this one is in the news. okay, we'll take it from the first one and take it in the second one. what happens? we have two life threatening diseases instead of none. mr. president, it's time for republicans and democrats, house and senate come together and agree it should be doing whatever is necessary to protect the american people from dangerous, contagious diseases.
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you can go anywhere in this country, ask anybody, i don't care what party you belong to or no party, they'll say if the congress can help protect us, we americans from dangerous, contagious diseases, why aren't they doing it? so i think it's past time to act. i urge all senators support the blunt-murray-graham-leahy amendment. i see other senators waiting to speak. i ask consent my full statement made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: with that, mr. president, i yield the floof. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. a senator: mr. president, i rise today in recognition of national police week to honor and thank the men and women in uniform, law enforcement officers in the state of new hampshire who do a phenomenal job every single day keeping us safe. ms. ayotte: i was honored when i worked as attorney general to
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work directly with our law enforcement officers at every level in our state. mr. president, we have the very finest law enforcement officers in the state of new hampshire and during this week i want to thank them for every single thing this they do and the difficult circumstances they face every day in making sure that our communities are safe in the state of new hampshire. and tragically last week we had an example of the dangers that our police officers face every single day when we had two manchester police officers who were shot in the line of duty early friday morning. early friday morning, officer ryan hardy encountered a situation on 2nd street where he noticed the description of someone who had robbed a gas station the night before.
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approaching this individual, officer hardy was shot multiple times at close range. this individual fled and then the suspect fired into a group of police officers and when he did that, he unfortunately also shot officer matthew o'connor in the leg. mr. president, both ofe police officers acted with great heroism, with tenacity, with courage in the work that they do every single day on the streets of manchester, and all of the police officers that responded that day did a phenomenal job. but that is an example of what our police officers are facing on a daily basis. they don't know whether the next stop they make of someone is going to go bad. and unfortunately, on early friday morning it did go bad. and we are so grateful for their
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service, for the service of officer hardy and the service of officer o'connor. and we are grateful and blessed that despite significant injuries, they are doing okay and that they did not get killed in the line of duty. and so i just want to say to them, i want to say to the manchester police department, i want to say to their wives, amanda and elise, because families serve too, we worry not only about our police officers, but i know from having served as attorney general of new hampshire, that every time we're home on thanksgiving or we're home on christmas or we're home on some other holiday or great occasion, guess what our police officers are out doing? they're out patrolling our streets and our highways, keeping us safe, making sure that we can enjoy that moment
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with our families. but their families worry, they worry when they're out that is my loved one going to come home. so i say to the families of our law enforcement officers, as we stand here in national police week, thank you. thank you for what you do in allowing your loved ones to serve in supporting our law enforcement officers because families serve too. and we are grateful, grateful for what officer hardy and officer o'connor did on that early friday morning and all who responded to that call. and we're grateful that they're doing well and they're recovering. and we wish them the very best. they continue to be in my prayers, in my family's prayers for a speedy recovery. but all the police officers in our state are in my prayers. when i was attorney general, two of the most difficult moments
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that i had was giving a eulogy at the funerals of two police officers that were killed in the line of duty during my time as attorney general. one of them, officer bruce mckay, had served the fran franconia police department for 12 years and he was brutally murdered in 2007 during a traffic stop. the other police officer, officer michael briggs, in fact on sunday i'm going to be going to the dedication of a community center in manchester in honor of officer michael brigs, and it's hard to believe that it's been ten years since he was killed in the line of duty. but it shows you the fact that they are having a community center in his honor, there in the center of manchester where he helped so many young people
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and so many people in how he served the people of manchester really is a testament to the kind of person that he was. i got to know the family of officer michael briggs very closely, his parents lee and mary anne and his wife laura and his sons brian and mitchell, and i want them to know today, i know that it's been almost ten years, but i will never forget and we will never forget their sacrifice and certainly what officer michael briggs did for the state of new hampshire, his heroism not only as he served as a manchester police officer, but i think about coming toward the tenth anniversary of his death, before he served as a police
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officer, he served as a marine, serving our country in the line of duty. he was, he served as a corrections officer also and did an incredible job. in fact, he received awards for saving lives, saving people's lives, running into burning buildings to save people in the line of duty. and i will never forget just he saved the life of the individual that murdered him. he had saved his life before unfortunately he was murdered by a career criminal in the line of duty. and that really, as you think about the heroism of our police officers, the service and sacrifice they make and their families, that really unfortunately says it all right there. so today, as i stand on the senate floor, i think about my time as attorney general. i certainly think about the
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families of the police officers that have been killed in the line of duty in new hampshire and the sacrifices that every single day our men and women in uniform make on our behalf. i know that in new hampshire soon on friday there will be a law enforcement memorial ceremony. it's a ceremony that i plan to be at, but it's also a ceremony where each year we read the names that are etched into the memorial there of those law enforcement officers that have been killed in the line of duty in new hampshire. and there have been far, far too many, far too many who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us could live our lives in safety and in happiness. and one of the privileges that i had as attorney general was to read the names of our law
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enforcement officers that were killed in the line of duty to recognize their service and their sacrifice with often many of their family members there, family members who would offer a flower in a beautiful wreath to recognize the sacrifice of their family so that we could remember their family member, their law enforcement officers that were -l killed in the line of duty. and so today on the senate floor i would like to read the names of these police officers that were killed in the line of duty in new hampshire. and to say that i know we'll recognize them in new hampshire on friday but i want to recognize them here on the senate floor. those are deputy sheriff john walk are sr., officer george prey of dover, police officer charles d p ollof.
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from manchester sergeant henry mccal ster. from exeter, officer albert colson, officer james roach. from carroll county, sheriff harry levitt. from the new hampshire state police remained elliot. from lancaster, chief andrew malloy. trooper harold b. johnson. from nashua, patrol man mike latvis. lieutenant ivan hayes. from north upl -- umberland joseph platt. from new hampshire fish and game conservation officer gary water house. from farmington, assistant chief lewis sheets. from berlin, officer robert duboyd. from berlin officer dorman
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wheelock. department of corrections officer robert precott. from nashua, armand rousseau. from durham, lieutenant robert hollis. from berlin, sergeant paul broder. from manchester officer ralph miller. from the new hampshire state police, trooper richard champy. from summersworth, donald colowsky. from hanover chief james collins, from the new hampshire state police, trooper gary parker. from the new hampshire state police, trooper joseph edward burty. from antum, chief of police ralph brooks. from east kingston, officer
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melvin allen ketty. from auburn, new hampshire, daniel eaton. from the new hampshire state police, trooper scott phillips. tpr-p epson, patrolman jeremy sherman. from manchester, officer michael brigg senior -- and from the brd steven arkell. as i read those names, it strikes me shocking how many names are on that wall in our state. having met and worked with so many of our law enforcement officers, they're incredibly brave. the sacrifices from their families are tremendous. most recently i went to two community events to recognize
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and really memorialize and also the maloney family and the arkell family, they have started foundations to help other police families to help have scholarships in the name of these two decorated officers. and unfortunately, those are the two most recent additions to this wall. i mean, chief michael maloney embodied the values of service, integrity and honor. and his leadership in the greenland police department will never be forgotten. he was admired by everyone in the community. and this is another example of the sacrifice that our police officers make. he was only a few days before his retirement. he could have stayed in the station, but he went out. he went out to the call with his fellow officers. and when a situation escalated,
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chief maloney did what he always did. he put his life before his fellow officers. and because of his sacrifices that day, other lives were saved. but unfortunately, we lost chief maloney in the line of duty just days before his retirement. that's not a hero, if that's not a hero i don't know what is and who is. but when i think about his family and having gotten to know his family, i know today, as we think about the importance of this week, i just want to say thank you to them and just let them know that they continue to be in our prayers. and we will not forget chief maloney's service and his sacrifice and his heroism. likewise like chief maloney, officer steve arkell was taken from us far too soon. he was an unsung hero. he went about his extraordinary work as a police officer very quietly and humbley, going above
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and beyond the call of duty not only as a police officer but as a coach in his community, as someone who helped so many other people and made a difference in people's lives. and during his 15-year career as a police officer, he really made a difference for the people of brentwood. he made us proud and he was another true hero. hero in his community. and today during police week, i want to say to his family who recently had the 5-k in his honor, to provide scholarships for others in the brentwood community, i just want to say to them thank you for your sacrifice. and we will never forget the sacrifice of officer steven arkell. during police week, as i stand here on the senate floor, one of the things that has really bothered me is that often, too
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often the rhetoric that we have been hearing about our police and our law enforcement officers out in the public discussion has been negative. it has been negative. it has been sweeping, it has been basically stereotyping our police, and it has been wrong. so today i just want to say in this important, important week, i want to say to our law enforcement officers in new hampshire, i want to say to the law enforcement officers across this country that keep us safe, thank you. we stand with you. we are proud of you. we have your back because we know that you have our backs every single day because we would not be a free and safe society but for the sacrifices that our law enforcement officers make every single day
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in new hampshire, in every state in this country. they are the thin blue line between us and those that want to do us harm and threaten our way of life. and so when we hear people who are making sweeping generalizeations about our police that are negative, i want the people of this country to think about what it would be like if we didn't have a courageous law enforcement officers who patrol our streets every single day, who go out on nights and weekends and holidays when we're safely home sleeping, who are out making sure that we are safe. and we should stand up for our law enforcement officers, and this we, of all weeks, as we are here for national police week, we need to honor our law enforcement officers, thank our
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men and women in uniform who patrol our streets and our highways and in every way protect us, whether as corrections officers, whether in our fish and game officers, whether our state police, at every single level in the state of new hampshire, we say thank you, we stand with you, and i thank you, mr. president, and i hope, as we stand here this week, that all of us will make sure that we thank also the capitol police for the incredible work that they do here keeping us safe and defending this capitol. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'm going to speak about an amendment that i'm going to propose right away. it's about fidelity to the constitution and the bill of rights. specifically, fidelity to the second amendment as it involves the department of veterans
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affairs. there appears to be a troubling trend within the v.a. as of december 2015, almost 99% of the names on the -- listed on the medal defective category for the national criminal instant background check system, otherwise known as the national gun ban list, are from the veterans administration. once a person's name is on that list, they're banned from owning or possess ago firearm -- possessing a firearm. their second amendment rights are completely null and void. now, why is this happening? once the v.a. determines that a veteran requires a fiduciary to administer benefit payments, the v.a. reports that the veteran --
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that veteran to the gun ban list, resulting in a total denyingal of a -- denial of a veteran's right to possess and own firearms. in other words, their second amendment rights are being denied. the v.a. has attempted to justify its actions by relying on regulations that grant limited authority to determine incompetence only in the context of financial affairs. so i quote, "rating agencies have sole authority to make official determinations of competency and incompetency for the purpose of insurance and dis-spursable of -- dispersement of benefits." it is clear, therefore, that the v.a.'s core regulatory authority applies to matters of competency for financial purposes.
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importantly, this financial fiduciary standard has been employed since way back in the 1970's, and it has nothing to do with regulating firearms. yet that is exactly what is happening. firearms are being regulated. federal law requires that before a person is reported to a gun ban list they be determined a mental defective. the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms created a regulation to define what "mental defective" means. it includes, among other requirements, that a person is in danger to self or others. granted, the v.a. regulation at issue and thea.t.f. regulation
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do share some of the same language, but the intent and the purpose are totally different. on the one hand, the v.a. regulation is designed to appoint a fiduciary. on the other hand, the a.t.f. regulation is designed to regulate firearms. now, this is a huge distinction. the level of mental impairment that justifies taking away the right to possess and own firearms must rest at a severe and substantial level, a level where the mere possession of a firearm constitutes a danger to self or others. that decision is never made by the v.a., the veterans administration, before submitting names to the gun ban list. as such, imposing a gun ban is a
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harsh result that could sweep up veterans that are fully capable of aappropriately -- appropriately operating a firearm for self-defense purposes. so how does this work then in practice? the daily caller interviewed a veteran who had been a victim of this v.a. process for an april 21, 2015, article. the veteran reportedly told a v.a. counselor, who asked about how he handles his finances, that on the mere suggestion of his wife, he now uses auto debit for bills so he doesn't have to go to the post office. the v.a. doctor put down that he doesn't pay his own bills and his wife handles his finances. the next thing he knew, his wife
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was appointed as his fiduciary and his name was placed on the gun ban list. whether or not he handles his own finances, what does that have to do with taking away a veteran's right to self-defense? after all, this is the core purpose of the second amendment -- self-defense. self-defense is a natural right of all individuals. it's a god-given right. it is a right that existed before the declaration of independence and the constitution were ever drafted. it is a sacred right. the supreme court has held the second amendment to be a fundamental right. so when the federal government erases that right for any given individual, it better have then
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compelling justification to do so. assigning a fiduciary is not a compelling justification. that is especially so when the v.a. does not even determine whether a veteran -- whether veterans are a danger to themselves or others before reporting the names to that gun ban list. further, the v.a. fails to offer adequate constitutional due process protections. the standard of review, clear and convincing evidence, is particularly low in light of the fact a constitutional right is involved. hearsay is involved in the hearing process, and the burden of proof is on the veteran to show that they are competent to manage their finances. in essence, it is the veteran
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that has the burden of proof of showing that they should maintain their second amendment rights, although again that isn't even the purpose of the hearing. that cannot stand. when constitutional issues are at stake, the burden ought to be on the government. and, finally, the hearing that does take place is before v.a. employees, not a neutral arbiter. with these significant flaws, it is clear that the v.a. regulatory scheme is inherently suspect. importantly, these v.a. regulations have been in place since the 1970's, well before even the existence of a gun ban list. the supreme court held the second amendment to be a fundamental right in 2010.
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asssociate justice alito, who wrote the opinion of the court stated, it is clear that the framers counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty." it cannot be sated sai -- it cae said that the v.a.'s scheme protects the right of the veteran. quite the contrary. the v.a. regulatory scheme is an example of the federal government, once again, going too far. as government expands, liberty contracts. there are just too many flaws in the v.a.'s regulatory scheme that result in a failure at ensuring constitutional demands are met, and there has been no
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update to the v.a.'s protocols since the supreme court's decision 28. during the course of my oversight of this issue, not even the department of justice can adequately explain why there has been no substantive updates to the gun reporting system. that is why i have introduced this amendment. my legislation is simple. it is straightforward, and it makes perfect constitutional sense. it simply requires that before the v.a. report names to the department of justice for eventual placement on the gun ban list that the veterans administration must first find that a veteran is in danger to himself/herself or others, and that finding must be done via judicial order. these requirements do three
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important things. first, it makes the danger to self or others standard applicable to the v.a. we all agree, don't we, that dangerous persons must not own or possess firearms? second, it shifts the burden of proof from the veteran and on to the government where it ought to be. third, it fixes the constitutional due process issues by moving the hearing from the v.a. to the judicial system. like i said, these are commonsense constitutional fixes. but, more importantly, it is what our nation's veterans deserve. our veteran population is sacred. they deserve the thanks of a grateful nation, not the iron fist of an out-of-control federal government.
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most importantly, the government must not unfairly target our veteran population simply because some may have challenges after returning home from war, like maybe having somebody handle their finances. the fact that almost 99% of the names in the gun ban list of the category that we call "mental defective" are from the v.a. raiseraises suspicion that our - raises suspicion that our government is unfairly targeting veterans. that is why the american legion and the veterans of foreign wars have expressed strong support for my amendment. there is nothing more offensive to the principles of liberty that when government takes away a person's constitutional
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rights, when it has no right to take away those constitutional rights. moreover, i have heard from iowa veterans that some veterans are even reluctant to seek care from the v.a. for fear of losing their second amendment rights. it's outrageous then that veterans are afraid to seek the care they have actuallyerned -- actually earned, earned by being in the service, service to their country, because the v.a. might deprive them of a constitutionally protected right without due process. this must stop. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation, support it on constitutional grounds, support it on fairness grounds, support it for the sake of veterans who may be wrongly targeted.
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to all our nations veterans, i say god bless you and thank you for your service to our great country. you deserve better than to have your rights violated by the very agency that is supposed to fulfill our nation's commitment to you. i urge my colleagues to join me in making this very bad situation right -- constitutionally right. before i ask unanimous consent, i want to place in the record a letter from the v.f.w. supporting this approach, and i want to say -- repeat for my colleagues that also the american legion supports it, but they couldn't get a letter to us. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: so i would ask unanimous consent to call up amendment 3925. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: reserving
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the right to object. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i hope there are several things we can agree on at the outset. the first is this -- we don't want someone who is a convicted felon or who is so mentally unstable that they cannot be trusted to own or purchase a firearm. i hope we can agree on that. good. i hope the next thing we can agree upon is that we want to make certain that our veterans are treated fairly, that they are given every consideration for having served our country, but we do not want to put them in harm's way, either by way of suicide or by committing a crime with a gun, and we want to have a process that respects that goal. and i hope my colleague and friend from iowa would agree with that. the problem we have here is the senator from iowa is amending an appropriations bill. now, the difficulty you face
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when you amend appropriations bills, most instances if you're not authorizing and strictly sticking with them the four corners of an appropriation bill, you can cut off funds. no funds shall be spent for. and that's what the senator from iowa's amendment does. no funds shall be spent at the veterans administration for, and he just described the process. here's the difficulty. this amendment as written doesn't solve the problem. it creates a bigger problem. i will concede at the outset to the senator from iowa, we should be sitting down and resolving a real serious issue between the definition of mental defect, mental competency, between the nix law and the v.a. there are plenty of reasons for us to sit down and find a reasonable way to deal with the situation. but the amendment offered by the senator from iowa just basically
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says unfortunately that we are going to weaken the law that prohibits people with serious mental illnesses from buying guns. currently, the department of veterans affairs information the f.b.i. nix gun background database when a veteran has been found in a v.a. proceeding to be mentally incompetent because of injury or disease. i want to make sure that that's clear on the record. here's what it says. in connection with an award of veterans benefits, the v.a. formally may determine as mentally incompetent, a person who, and i quote, because of injury or disease, lacks the mental capacity to contract or to manage his or her own affairs, including disbursement of funds without limitation -- end quote. so this is an adjudication, a hearing on mental competency which goes to the question as to whether the veteran is mentally incompetent because of injury or
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disease. under the amendment offered by the senator from iowa, v.a. mental health determinations would no longer count as prohibiting gun possession. tens of thousands of names currently in the nix system would likely need to be purged, meaning these people could go out and buy guns. last year, the v.a. told my staff they had supplied 174,000 names to the nix database because of diagnosed mental conditions. i do not dispute what the senator from iowa suggested, that some of these veterans may be suffering from a mental illness not serious enough to disqualify them from owning a firearm, but certainly many of them do. last year, the v.a. told us that this list of 174,000 names includes 10,168 individuals diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
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3,981 individuals with major depressive disorder. 2,825 individuals with bipolar disorder and many others who have been found to have very serious mental illnesses. allowing people with these serious mental illnesses to buy guns raises the very serious risk of suicide and violence. already we are seeing an average of 22 suicides by veterans every single day. now, that's twice, double the civilian population. the handguns over to people such as the 14,000 or 15,000 that i have just described who have serious mental illness is dangerous, dangerous to them, members of their family and to the public. now, the v.a.'s referral process is not haphazard. there are dupe -- due process safeguards to make sure the v.a. is not referring names inappropriately. the v.a. has set up a relief program for a veteran to contest a finding of mental
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incompetency. if we need to revisit that process -- as i said at the outset, i'm not arguing that we shouldn't. we need to do it in the context of substantive legislation so that we treat the veterans fairly, treat their families fairly and treat the public fairly in dealing with this constitutional protection. but simply invalue gating the mental health records of 170,000 people that the v.a. has supplied to the f.b.i., as this amendment would do, is dangerous, dangerous to the veterans, dangerous to their families and dangerous to the public. let us do this in a thoughtful, orderly way, not by an appropriations amendment, and i do object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: mr. president, first of all, we're not talking about convicted felons here, like the first thing the senator from illinois started to say. we're -- what we're trying to do is protect the constitutional rights of veterans, second
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amendment rights, and we're preventing the government from spending money to violate the constitutional rights. as i just made clear, the main purpose of the v.a. regulation is to appoint a fiduciary not to regulate firearms, but it has the effect of regulating firearms. this standard has been in place since the 1970's. it has nothing to do with regulating firearms. so don't you think that since the supreme court held the second amendment to be a fundamental right in 2010, there ought to be an update of this system? indeed, federal law made clear that the regulations prescribed by the v.a. secretary are limited to -- quote -- the nature and extent of the proof and evidence and the method of taking and furnishing them in order to establish the right to
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benefit -- benefits under such laws, end of quote, 38 u.s.c. 501. again, that provides that authority to regulate firearms, but it has that impact. just like the senator from illinois, i don't want dangerous persons to have firearms, but the government must first prove a person is danger because taking away their constitutional rights. so i am somewhat disappointed that members on the other side of the aisle would object to even considering an amendment that simply protects veterans from having a fundamental constitutional right taken away and doing it without due process. when we were in the minority, we were accused of being obstructionists because we wouldn't go along with the then-majority leader's efforts to block senators of both parties from offering amendments. now that we're in the majority,
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senator mcconnell has tried to restore the tradition of having amendments considered from both sides of the aisle. yet, we have these old tricks, still refusing to vote on amendments that show the american people whose side they're on. and i think this is an opportunity to show you're on the side of the veteran. veterans that handled -- probably handled guns in iraq and afghanistan not being able to do that here. i don't understand why it's so tough about voting on whether or not veterans' constitutional rights should be protected. it should be clear to anyone paying attention who is obstructing. they tried to destroy the senate as a deliberative body when they were in the majority. now they're obstructing to a vote on protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of those who have put their lives on the line for our country. shame on you. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, before my friend and colleague leaves, we have worked together for years. i respect very much your legislative capability and you and i were working on some pretty important legislation together. i am not a member of the veterans committee. i don't know if the senator from iowa is a member. he's not. this is a subject matter jurisdiction of that committee. let me just concede at the outset, reporting 174,000 names to the f.b.i. goes too far, but eliminating 174,000 names goes too far. we need to find a reasonable way to identify those suffering from serious mental illness who would be a danger to themselves, their families or others, and to sort out those that don't fit in that category. we can do that and we should do that in a reasonable way. so we're respectful of veterans and also respectful of the general public's right to be safe from the misuse of firearms. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i would just say a
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simple thing. i have already said we don't want dangerous people to do it, but the point is the v.a. is not identifying the people that might be a danger to themselves ordaining to society as the senator from illinois says. they are simply doing it because you can't handle your own finances, and that's where the constitutional rights are being denied, and the constitutional rights are being denied by a v.a. employee, maybe somebody that doesn't know anything about mental health, and that is wrong, and that's what we're trying to prevent. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk with amendment 3896. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: 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 number 3896 to calendar number 138, h.r. 2577, an act making appropriations for the departments of transportation housing and urban development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2016 and for other purposes signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk with the underlying bill h.r. 2577. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in cord dwans with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to
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bring to a low debate on calendar number 138, h.r. 2577 an act making appropriations for the departments of transportation and housing and urban development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september for, 2016 and for other purposes signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum calls under the -- with respect to the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session and consider the following nominations en bloc, calendar number 444 through 447, 467, 217, 218, 479, 480, 482, 484, 553, 554 through 558 with no other executive business in order. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection the clerk will
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report the nominations en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i no of no further debate on the nominati nominations and ask that the senate vote on the nominations be en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? if not all in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. mr. mcconnell: i ask -- the presiding officer: the nominations are confirmed en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask congress sent the notions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table en bloc, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the nominations just confirmed for the information of the senate. the clerk: nominations african development foundation, linda thomas greenfield to be a member of the board of directors, linda thomas greenfield to be a member of the board of directors, john w. leslie, jr. of connecticut to be a member of the board of directors, linda i. etim of wisconsin to be a member of the board of directors, united states advisory commission on public diplomacy, georgette bossbobber of new york to be a member. overseas private investment corps, todd a. particularrer of new york to be a member of the board of directors, devon perick of new york to be a member of the board of directors, department of state, robert hannan of florida to be ambassador total federated
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states of micronesia, reverend stewart of florida to be ambassador to the republic of the marshall islands, matthew john matthews of oregon to be ambassador, united states agency for international development, masella escobar of massachusetts to be an assistant administrat administrator, asian development bank, swate dondakar to be united states director, department of state, adam h. sterling of virginia to be ambassador to the slovak republic, kelly ceeterring franz of virginia to be ambassador to the oriental republic of uruguay. steven michael schwartz of in ready to be ambassador to the federated republic of somalia, ambassador to the republic of liberia, elizabeth holzo richard of virginia to be ambassador to the lebanese republic.
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i'm pleased to report that due to a lot of hard work on both sides of the aisle by senators and their staffs, the leaders and particularly my colleague, senator reed of rhode island, that we have another group of amendments that we are able to clear tonight. i, therefore, ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be called up en bloc and be reported by number: amendment number 3934 offered by senator king, amendment number 3918 offered by senator rubio, amendment number 3905 offered by
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senator heller, amendment number 3926 offered by senator rubio, amendment number 3961 offered by senator manchin, and amendment number 3941 offered by senator booker. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report the amendments en bloc by number. the clerk: the senator from maine, ms. collins, reports amendments en bloc numbered 3934, 3918, 3905, 3926, 3961, and 3914. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate now vote on these amendments en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i know of no further debate on
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these amendments. the presiding officer: is there a noter debate? -- is there any further debate? if not, all those in favor say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendments are agreed to en bloc. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. kirk: mr. president? i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be called up en bloc and reported by number. number 3914 by senator tester and number 3938 by myself and number 3948 by mr. heller and number 3954 by ms. heitkamp, number 3971 by mr. bennet. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report the amendments by number.
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the clerk: mr. kirk proposes en bloc amendments number 3914, 3938, 3948, 3954, and 3971. mr. kirk: i ask unanimous consent that we now vote on these amendments. the presiding officer: without objection. is there further debate? if not, all in phaser say aye. -- all in favor say aye. all opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendments are agreed to en bloc.
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the
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senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 468, national police week, which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 468, designating the week of may 15 through may 21, 20 1-6rbgs as national police week. the presiding officer: there objection to the measure? without objection. ms. collins: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i
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ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 405, senate bill 133567835. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 405, s. 1335, a bill to implement the convention on the conservation and management on the high seas fishery and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. ms. collins: i ask consent that the sullivan substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the title amendment be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be added as a cosponsor of senate
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resolution 468, senate police week. -- national police week. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, may 18. following the prayer and the pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, that following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business for one hour, with senators permitted to speak therein and with the majority controlling the first half and the democrats controlling the final half. following morning business, the senate then resume consideration of h.r. 2577. finally, that all time during the adjournment and morning
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business count postcloture on the blunt-murray amendment 3900. the presiding officer: there snooks -- is there objection? without objection, so ordered. ms. collins: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order, following the remarks of the senator from rhode island, senator whitehouse. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: than thank you, mr. president. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i thank the chairman for yielding me this time at the end of the day and congratulate her on the progress that has been made with my senior senator jack reed on this bill. this is the 137th time that i address this body, asking us to wake up to the threat of climate change. while we sleepwalk our ou
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atmosphere and oceans continue to suffer the damage caused by carbon pollution. as we do nothing, more and more americans demand action. look at the new findings from yale and george mason universities. despite years of industry climate denial propaganda, 75% of all registered voters, 88% of democrats, 78% of independents, and 61% of republicans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. 74% of registered voters, 88% of democrats, 74% of independents, and 56% of republicans say corporations and industries should do more to address global warming. and 68% of all registered voters, 86% of democrats, 66% of independents, and 47% even of
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republicans believe fossil fuel companies should be required to pay a carbon tax and the money should be used to reduce other taxes, such as income taxes by an equal amount. so why does this chamber sit idly by and not even have that conversation? thank the fossil fuel industry. for years, big oil and its allies funded outright denial of man made climate change. now they have shifted strategies from denial to dissembling, saying one thing but doing another. take exxonmobil. back in 2007, the oil giant
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committed to stop funding the front groups that promote science denial. hears what they said. in 2008, we will discontinue contributions to several public policy research groups whose positions on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner. this sounds like a step toward responsible corporate behavior. a casual reader might believe that exxonmobil would, in fact, stop funding groups with antiscientific climate positions. one might think that, but one would be wrong. according to publicly available company documents in 2014, exxonmobil funded several
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organizations that promote climate science disinformation, including the american legislative exchange council, which peddles legislation to state legislatures that include a finding that human-induced global warming, and i quote, may lead to possibly beneficial climatic changes. the hoover institution whose senior fellow is not a climate scientist argued that climate data since 1880 supports the conclusion that it would take as long as 500 years to reach four degrees centigrade of global warming. the manhattan institute of policy research where senior fellow writing about climate change said, and i quote here, the science is not settled, not by a long shot. furthermore, even if we accept that carbon dioxide is bad, it's not clear exactly what we should do about it -- end quote.
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the so-called national black chamber of commerce, whose president and c.e.o. harry alfred played the debunked denier card that there has been no global warming -- i'm quoting here -- detected for the last 18 years. that is over 216 months in a row that there has been no detected global warming -- end quote. by the way, nasa just reported that april was the hottest april ever recorded, just like every one of the past seven months with the -- was the hottest ever recorded for that month. and let's not forget our friends at the pacific legal foundation whose senior attorney attacked e.p.a.'s authority to even regulate co2 in part because it is a iew bick twus -- ubiquitous natural substance to life on earth. saying one thing and doing another. exxonmobil is publicly saying it separated from the climate
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denial outfits but it's still subsidizing their work to undermine public understanding of climate change. and this doesn't even count whatever they may be doing behind the dark money curtain, that retched citizens united decision gave them. the hypocrisy turns even worse in fossil fuel lobbying. an exxonmobil executive recently stated when governments are considering policy options, exxonmobil believes a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the most effective way to manage carbon emissions. well, mr. president, i have got a revenue-neutral carbon tax bill, along with senator schatz. i can assure this body that exxonmobil is not lobbying in support of it. every member of congress knows that all the massive political
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infrastructure of the fossil fuel industry is adamantly opposed to any meaningful action. shell oil issued a report just last week that states economy-wide carbon pricing -- whether through carbon trading, carbon taxes or mandated carbon-emissions standards -- provides an efficient and cost-effective way of aligning incentives and motivating action across the economy to reduce carbon emissions. top executives of six large european oil and gas companies, including shell, b.p. and stat oil, issued a joint letter calling on governments -- quote -- "to introduce carbon pricing systems where they do not yet exist at the national or regional levels. we and our senior staff, they continued, will seek to engage and share our companies' perspective on the role of carbon pricing in several
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important settings, which includes -- quote -- in our meetings with ministers and government representatives. i ask unanimous consent for that letter to be entered into the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: so the question is has anyone, has any member of the senate ever seen shell or b.p. or statoil or any other oil and gas company or any of their lobbying entities even once lobby members of congress on carbon pricing, other than, of course, to say hell no? my bill with senator schatz, the american opportunity carbon-free act, provides a market-based, revenue-neutral carbon fee, just like these companies say they support. it is built on principles espoused by leading republican
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economists and by republican former officeholders. despite the industry claims i have seen exactly zero evidence that any of these companies or their sizable trade associations are using any of their lobbying muscle to advance carbon pricing legislation. instead, exxonmobil and shell and the trade associations that help them continue to pump millions of dollars into political machinery designed to lobby against any action on climate change. they say one thing, but they do another. this chart from the nonprofit research organization influence map shows the streams of money
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flowing from exxonmobil and from shell as well as from the american petroleum institute, the western states petroleum association and even the australian petroleum production and exploration association. in 2015 alone, exxonmobil spent $27 million. shell spent $22 million. and the american petroleum institute spent $65 million on obstructive climate lobbying. this money deluge includes advertising and public relations, direct lobbying here in congress and at state houses and political contributions and electioneering. they say one thing, but do another to the tune of $100 million a year.
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as late as 2014, exxonmobil gave the u.s. chamber of commerce a million dollars for the chamber to propagate its climate message delivered loud and clear not only here in congress but in the courts of absolute intransigence against any serious climate action. the u.s. chamber is powerful, and in congress, all of us see everywhere around us its i am -- implacable hostility against climate legislation. the gap between exxonmobil's stated support for a revenue-neutral carbon tax and its lobbying activities in congress against any such thing is why representative ted lew of california and i repeatedly asked the american geophysical union, a top-notch scientific society, to reexamine its financial support from exxonmobil.
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the american geophysical union is made up of honest scientists. in their world, they likely expect that when people say something, it is true. in congress, sadly, we don't enjoy the same experience. the good-hearted folks at the american geophysical union appear to have been taken in by exxonmobil's false claims of support for a carbon price. since we actually see the fossil fuel industry's lobbying presence, we wanted to correct any false impression. what we see in congress, we wrote, is that their lobbying forts are 100% opposed to any action on climate. whatever position a.g.u. chooses to take, you should not take it
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based on self-serving representations by exxonmobil -- end quote. "politico" reported that in november, exxonmobil sent executives to capitol hill to try and convince congressional critics that exxonmobil is a conscientious corporation that supports -- quote -- sound climate policy, close quote. who did they think they were kidding? did they think that we don't know how they lobby? we are the targets of their lobbying. we know how they lobby. unsurprisingly, the exxonmobil executives left d.c. empty-handed after refusing to directly answer questions about whether exxonmobil had suppressed internal research that underscored the threat of
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climate change while publicly sowing doubt about public science -- end quote. given the fossil fuel industry's massive conflict of interest on carbon pollution, there is every reason for them to play a double game. trying to buy a little credibility for themselves with their public comments while at the same time using all their lobbying muscle to crush any threat of bipartisan action on the carbon pricing that they claim to espouse. sadly, in this double game they play, the fossil fuel industry has essentially no corporate opposition in congress. across the private sector, there are great corporate leaders on climate change. but from what i see corporate
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lobbying from the good guys net to zero. the good guys have given up the field and left the fossil fuel industry to have its way with congress unopposed, and the result is predictable. many good members of congress are frozen in place, often against their better judgment. i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record an article i recently wrote for harvard business review explaining this reality. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. it is time not just for us to wake up but for the good guys to show up. fossil fuel folks for years outright denied climate change and happily funded their array of denial front groups. that failed the tests of truth and decency, but at least it was consistent.
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this new hypocrisy to say one thing and do another, is playing with fire. first it opposes a local risk. it's never good to be saying things you can't truthfully say under oath, which may be one reason we see such histrionics from the climate denial front groups about investigations where fossil fuel executives may have to tell the truth under oath. second, it's a real reputation risk, especially among younger consumers who aren't going to love an industry that lies, and it's really hard to say that you're not lying when what you are saying and what you are doing are opposite. it's time for the fossil fuel industry to end this new double game. either put your money where your mouth is and start working with congress to enact a price on carbon as you say you wish or go
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back to your climate denial and your creepy front groups and see how that works out for you. but saying one thing while you're doing the exact opposite is just not sustainable. mr. pre floor. mr. president, i'm informed that there is -- that there was no title amendment to s. 1335, and i ask consent that that change be made to the consent with respect to the bill. the presiding officer: without objection white with that i yield the floor -- mr. whitehouse: with that i mr. whitehouse: with that i
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>> with that this amendment have that the other two, the minute by marco rubio and dylan nelson the john cornet amended why were those amendments blocked in the senate? >> guest: the republicans put forward by john cornyn was $1.1 billion.
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it was largely through cuts to obamacare through prevention of public health funds. gary commit there was that where preventing zika a prevention and public health measure that could be funded through obamacare money and obviously democrats were not going to support that one because they don't want to see the aca cut at all and then essentially the democratic amendment by bill nelson and democrat marco rubio a republican the full 1.9 million, billion excuse me that the white house had requested. >> host: what are the states we know teeing affected the most by this early on in the disease? >> so far there is no local transmission by public health experts expect that at the summer it will be happening in the united states and largely in the southern states. florida obviously bill nelson
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and marco rubio are from florida is expected to get it first and the southern states through the gulf, texas and potentially off the coast is where it's supposed to be felt first. from there there are some experts who say it could spread even further into the northern states. stack lets look at the house and as your headline pointed out they are calling for half of that. how rogers the appropriations committee chair to be from the committee on monday saying that the bill and that is provide 622 million to five zika. off funding is off set and will last for the rest of fiscal 2016 why is it important to house republicans to have that offset? >> house republicans are concerned about adding money to the deficit grade-a said that even zika which is a public health emergency and they wanted to be treated me to be paid for. .. set
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>> and reflecting some of the differences in the spending levels and how that is done in term of offsets here is statement from the office of management and budget, the president's veto threat from yesterday saying funding to fight zika virus should be treated as an emergency and not offset. senior advisors would rement the president veto the house bill. what do you think the eventually
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number will wind up? >> guest: i think it will wind up closer to the senate, the 1.1 billion. the house republicans are feeling pressure. i think especially lawmakers in the southern states where people are already worried about the zika virus and hearing about it. mosquitos season is coming and lawmakers are concerned about not having funded this money and if this virus is as bad as some people expect it to be they don't want to be responsible for voting against funding that could have, you know, gone to help control the mosquito population, help develop vaccines and better testing for it. >> host: more debate ahead in the house and senate on zika virus. our guest is jennifer haberkorn with politico and you can find out more on politico.com. thank you.
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>> our road to the white house coverage continues with bernie sanders at a campaign rally in carson, california on the campus of cal state. california's primary is tuesday june 7th. we will be live at 11 p.m. eastern tonight. our campaign 2016 bus travels throughout the country to recognize winners of the student catch and we visited massachusetts where all of the students in first through eighth grade attended a school ceremony honoring three seventh graders for their honorable mention. they stopped in lud luck to recognize honorable mention winners eighth graders whicker and her video veteran services and james elliot's video lgbt
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stop the discrimination. they received $200 dollars for their winning video. a special thanks to charter afo helping us this. >> host: joining us is economist and author steven moore. your relation to the donald trump campaign -- there is talk you and another person looked at his tax proposal? >> guest: larry, a famous reagan economist met with mr. trump about a month ago at his tower in new york and talked about his tax plan. he asked us for advice about how to, you know, improve it. so we have been working a little
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bit with him to try to made modifications on that plan. he has a pretty comprehensive overhaul of the tax system and people are starting to focus on it. >> host: give us elements of the current plan he has and as far as you can see the needs for improvement. >> guest: it is a pretty comprehensive plan. if you pay taxes now you will get a tax cut under the trump plan. he would reduce the tax rates. i am an old kind of pro-growth, supply side, i do believe tax rates matter and i believe donald trump does as well. if we can bring the tax rates down and broaden the base, you can make the taxes more efix -- efficient and pro-growth. most small businesses, pedro pay taxes at the personal income tax rate, but the corporate rate, so
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you will be helping small businesses. one of the most important changes donald trump would make, and i heard you talk a lot about it on your show, is the corporate tax, the united states has the highest corporate tax rate in the world right now. and almost all economist believe it is against job creation. we are seeing businesses with inversions. these are american companies that leave the united states and go to ireland, canada, china or india to look for lower tax rates. we are at 35% now and under the trump plan it would be reduced to 15%. i believe if you do that a lot of the companies leaving the united states i think they will come back and bring jobs with them. >> host: what we see on the website as far as his plan, is that the current plan? that is a story he has been making changes from the initial things he originally advocated
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for. >> guest: sure. mr. trump said something maybe we will have to raise taxes on the rich or something to that affect. i believe what he meant to say, because i talked to him, is he may not be able to cut the rate as much as he wants to. right now we have a 40% income tax rate and he wants to cut that to 25%. i think he was saying maybe not done to 25 but 28-29 percent. but it was taken out of context by the media. it will still be a reduction of rates just not as much. you ask why what is the problem with the trump plan. i love the trump plan. i think it is pro-growth and will bring jobs back to america but the concern is the ten trillion people say it will cost.
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i think that is an exagguration but we told trump you can do a lot of things you want to do; bring the rates down, make the program more pro-growth and pro-jobs but you can cut the cost of that in half by making modifications and that is what we recommended. i don't know at this point whether mr. trump will take advice, maybe he will take some of our ideas and some not. >> guest: how long have you worked on the plan? i have been working on tax reform for 25 years. i worked with a lot of candidates this year. i helped write the rand paul and ted cruz. i like the idea of getting the tax rates down as low as possible and getting rid of loopholes and deductions so if you make five times more money than i do you pay five times more. or if we live next to each other
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and have the same income we will pay the same tax. that is not the current case where so many loopholes and special interest provisions. you can take advantage of loopholes and i may not. i believe that is a fair system and i think that is the direction donald trump would like to go. he has not endorsed a pure flat tax. >> host: we will talk about proposals by donald trump and others. 202-748-8000 fo
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>> gues >> guest: we are talking about this strange election where people feel financially stressed out and i see it everywhere i go. mr. trump tapped into that frustration and i think there is a lot of fear out there. there is a lot of things you to do it. you need a pro-policy and we need fix the tax system. it is shame we have not done this already. there is low hanging fruit out there and i do believe we have been growing at 2% and the last six months we have grown at 1%. if we can get the growth rate back to 3.5-4 percent one statistic that will amaze viewers. if we could increase the growth
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rate by one percentage, given how low we are growing that is not a heavy lift, that raises three trillion because more people are working, businesses making more and people spending more. we can get the economy growing from 2-4 percent it is six trillion in additional revenue. put america back to work is the best way to do this. >> host: is that built on a lower corporate tax rate of 15%? >> guest: that would be a big part of it. but i think making the tax system more efficient. i talk to a lot of small businesses that say if you are cutting the corporate tax, big corporations pay under one system and small businesses they pay under the personal income, i think you have to cut the corporate rate and there trump is right. the rest of the world is laughing at us.
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just a reminder we have seen med tronics, johnson controls, walgreens talking about leaving. major american companies that employ tens of thousands of american workers that are saying we are leaving and going to ireland or china. it is not as if they are not telling us. they are saying look, the american tax system isn't competitive. we have to get in the game and fix that. >> host: is this pro-bono or were you paid? >> guest: we just want to make america great again and make the tax system as efficient as possible. there is so much finance stress out there. donald trump is really appealing to middle class, a lot of blue coller workers who feel the economy is not working for them and they are seeing their jobs disappear. one way of bringing those jobs
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back is by tax reform but another is by, you know, putting america first in terms of our energy production. i have a book coming out next month call stealing freedom and we estimate we could create a million new jobs if we use oil, energy, gas and coal and of course obama and hillary are trying to thut it down. >> host: this is terry, republican line, go ahead. >> caller: good morning. long time fan, mr. moore. let me make a quick correction. the republicans started the law against the transgender people in north carolina on taxes. i would like to know where the responsibility is on how our tax
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money is spent. $49 billion from the stimulus was allotted and i thought we used 825 billion in the stimulus. >> guest: there is a very inefficient ways.
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people are amazed by the matt. but if you do that for five straight years and at the end of the year, they get 95 cents not a dollar, you are saving trillions. we can save a lot of money and that gets to your question about how do we quote pay for this tax cut. we do it by cutting out inefficient spending. >> host: from full park, new york, democrat line, pat is next. you are on. >> caller: two things. you said getting rid of tax loopholes. what congress do you think will pass a law to do that? >> guest: that is a great question. i have to say, sir, you are right. this is the toughest thing to do. i have devoted my whole life to
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tax reform and it is very fickle. as noted, lobbyist defend the tax code and i really wish this could be done in a bipartisan fashion. i am old enough to remember when reag reagan did this. we got rid of the worst pollutants in the tax system and it worked out well. that was an amazing historical fact. back in 1986 when president reagan's tax reform was enacted and we got the tax rate down to 28% that passed the senate 97-3. when was the last time anything in the senate passed 97-3 so i cross my fingers we can do it again. doesn't make sense to have the special loopholes that allow some rich people to pay nothing.
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we have a lot of rich people not paying anything. >> host: tampa, florida, independent line, john, hello. >> caller: until 1965, the pult -- ultra rich paid 98% tax. americans had the greatest opportunities during the time when the tax rates on the ultra wealthy were the highest. 1948-1973 is when america did the best. after that, the wages dropped and there was divergeance from worker productivity and wages and increased immigration. trying to get tax rates for the rich at the expense of the middle class is what this is all about. >> guest: it is not just vote
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for the rich. if you are middle class you will pay lower taxes. we estimate $3-$5,000 lower for a middle class family and that is a lot of money. they could use that money to pay their mortgage or put into a saving accounts or pay for a tuition to college. i think the middle class needs one as well. remember the government was much smaller back then. we didn't have the gigantic welfare state we have today and medicare and other programs and the massive payroll taxes so the burden was lower then. and i think bringing the tax rates down will bring us back to the golden ages. the economies did well in the 1980s and '90s after the reagan
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tax cuts and the clinton years where he balanced the budget. -- we. the republican president and democrat president there. one other thing, my buddy larry, has a book coming out about the county tax cuts. people forget john f kennedy proposed one of the biggest tax cuts across the country and the economy exploded when the kennedy tax cuts happened. >> host: do you know who is behind the initial tax plan for donald trump? >> guest: i don't. that is a good question. my friend who ran the campaign had a hand in it. he is just starting to add more economic advisors. i know he reached out to senator jeff sessions, who is, i believe the senate budget committee chairman but i think he runs a
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different committee now and i think senator session had a big hand in this. i think essentially what happened is, i have worked on campaigns before, when you first start out, you are almost like a back of the envelope and then you put meat on the bones and describe it in detail how it will work. and that is the phrase mr. trump is pushing. >> host: is his plan different than the other republican candidates? >> guest: it is. but do i think the similarity in all of these plans is that republicans generally want to bring tax rates down. hillary and bernie sanders want to bring rates up. bernie sanders is recommending 70-90 percent tax rates and i think that would be a bad idea for the american economy and you would see every business in america that could get out would get out. i think this gets to the gentlemen's question about the
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economy in the '50s and '60s. there is a big difference between now and 50 years ago and that is the economy is so globalized now and wasn't so much then. people who are in michigan, you are not competing against people in ohio, california, maine and illinois you are competing against people in india, china, ireland. andt tha -- and that makes it difference. >> host: what about donald trump's trade policy and how that factors into your tried ideas? >> guest: i am a free trader and i don't like the idea of tariffs and mr. trump has talked about tariffs. that is one of the issues i disagree with him on. i will say that. but i believe, also, there is a lot of -- i believe he is right. there is a lot of unfairness in these trade deals. for example, china, the major
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trading partner we have, china is cheap. they steal. we take our technologies and producks over to china and we produce pharmaceutical drugs, computer software or other design products and what happens is we send them to china and guess what they do? they disassemble in, don't honor our patents or trade deals, and the idea to a lot of american workers is let's have somebody sitting across the table from china, japan, russia that will take a tougher stand with them. quite frankly, i find it somewhat appealing. >> host: darren on our independent line from washington, d.c. you are next. >> caller: good morning. thanks for taking my call. i kind of agree with that one last caller with some nuances about the economy. i don't believe in the trickle down theory. i think people that make three
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million a year should pay more than i pay making $50,000 a year. i don't agree with these companies leaving because they are saying the taxes is high. i think that is unpatriotic. you need to deal with it, lobby congress, try to figure it out and get it fixed. but to leave, i think the american people should take advantage. and you know, i myself perm personally go out and pay a premium for a product because i know it was made here in america. i wanted to add one other thing about inversion. you know, it is just -- it is just wrong. just wrong. lastly, the growth rate, you quoted 3.4% would be great. what would we be degreeigrowing
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producing to get 3.4%? one of the biggest differences between the republicans and democrats is one party doesn't believe in climate change and one does. i like committal even if you don't believe it you should believe in efficiency. we should have solar panels on every structure in this country to reduce our energy load. >> host: thanks, darren, appreciate it. >> guest: i lot there. let me start with the last point first. i believe we have an incredible opportunity in this country with our fossil fuel resources. we have more oil, more natural gas, more coal than any other country in the world. i live in virginia. we are a coal-producing state and i think what president obama has done to the coal industry and hillary clinton killing off the economy for whole areas.
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i will say this, even if you believe that climate change is the greatest crisis that faces the planet, the united states is not going to do anything by shutting down our own industries and this is why people are rushing to trump in large numbers, i believe. every time we shutdown a coal plant here, china and india build ten coal plants. all we are doing is taking jobs out of america. i do believe we should use our own natural resources and find other ways to reduce climate change but not by destroying american jobs. and mr. trump says, and i think he is right, whatever our climate change policy is we should put american jobs before anything else because american families are really hurting right now. >> host: christian is from
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oklahoma city, oklahoma on the democrats line. >> caller: this guy is a joke. george bush is the one who put us in this position and you want to talk about president obama? how many jobs did we lose under bush? reagan was a devil worshiper with his wife and then he goes to president obama. what about george bush? how many jobs did we lose a month under george bush and you have the nerve to open up your mouth about my president, barack obama, are you serious? >> host: let him ask the question. no need to insult the guest or any guest coming through. >> guest: i forgot to mention something about the american companies leaving. i hate to see that. i want american workers to be the highest paid workers in the world.
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i don't want to see the jobs going to china and india. i check the label, too. i want to see jobs here in america. i don't want to see our jobs leave. but there is an economic reality and that is we are in a global economy and the companies are telling us why they are leaving and they are saying they are leaving because of the tax code and we ought to fix that. i was listening to him talk, and i think this is why trump is gaining poplularitpopularity. trump is not running as a traditional republican. he shook things up in the republican party. i have heard conservatives and republicans on your show saying i am not voting for trump. so my point is that this gentlemen is right. the economy did not do well under george w. bush. it has not done well under barack obama. so for 15 years, i think a lot
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of these trump voters think it doesn't work under the traditional republican or democrat parties and that is an appeal of mr. trump. he is a business man. he has never been in politics. knows how to create great jobs and businesses. i think trump is going to win and i think the reason he is going to win is because a lot of people who have not voted will come out to vote. >> george w. bush's tax policy related to the economy at the time. is there a connection? >> guest: trump is harking back to the reagan-jfk area. trump wants to cut spending as well. i am a conservative republican. spending went up under george bush with the medicare expansions and big increases in
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the military so on. part of making this economy work is not just the tax cut but getting government spending under control, the deregulation, those things. you put the whole package together and one other thing. put it, making sure we have someone who is pro-business. people may shutter when they hear that. i am pro-business and pro-work but you cannot have jobs if you don't have employers. we need to treat our employers better or else they will leave and shutdown. a lot of small businesses had to shutdown in the economy. >> host: here is trade from charlotte, north carolina. independent line. >> caller: good morning. i want to talk about loopholes. it seems long donald trump has used every loophole so he doesn't pay a lot of taxes. so by running, he is doing a tax proposal to lower the taxes but you talk about china and
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bringing job back, why is he doing business there? if he is really going to do something different why did he take his own company to china? i am not understanding that. also, i want to know how this is going to affect the every day person? the person that has a mortgage or car loan? how is that tax proposal going to help me as an individual? why the corporations and not people with higher incomes? where do i fit in in this? >> guest: that is a great point. as i said, the average person who is in the middle class, between 40-75,000 a year, you will save about 4-5,000 on your taxes. for someone in the middle class, that is a big savings and has a big financial impact. this isn't just a quote tax cut for the rich. if you don't pay any taxes you will not get a tax cut under the plan. but if you do pay taxes you will get a tax cut. i believe one of the areas we
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have gone wrong in the last ten years or so is we just haven't been -- we have put forward policies that are pro-american business policies, you know? someone talked about the climate change thing. why do we want to shutdown our own industry? that doesn't make sense when the rest of the world isn't going to do that. our trade policies; we abide by the rules and countries like china don't. in terms of mr. trump, he is a business man. i think one of the things people say he takes advantage of the loopholes. everybody does. i do. you do. i will take any loophole to pay less taxes but the way to deal with them is get rid of the loop loopholes. they have nothing to do with economic efficiency but who has the most expensive lobbyist. here after year, 1986 was the last time we cleaned up the
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stables of the tax system, you put more in the tax road and after 30 years this is junk and looks like you through it in the attic and can't get rid of it. and now to is time to clean it out and start over again. >> host: people get deductions for children, for mortgages, would you kr those loopholes? -- consider. >> guest: great point. the two sacred collers of tax system are the mortgage deduction and the other is the charitable deduction. the child reduction would be retained. i don't consider that a loophole. if you have children you get a deduction for bringing up your kids. so the way we proposed, and i don't know if donald trump will embrace this, is put a cap on any amount of deductions and we spit out a number $50,000. the vast majority don't take
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$50,000 deductions. a lot of people don't have $50,000 in income. who does take more than that in deductions? rich people. millionaires and billionaires. warren buffet and bill gates take millions in deductions. if you cap them, they will have to pay whatever the rate is, whether it is 25 percent or 28 percent. we found in 1986 when we did this the amount of taxes paid by the rich increased. we had two tax cuts with reagan and in both cases when the economy did better and people didn't have ways to shelter income by taking advantage of loopholes they paid more taxes. i bet a lot of people don't believe that but if you look at the irs statistics they will so the percentage of taxes paid by the retch increased after the reagan and kennedy presidency.
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>> host: nick from new york. >> caller: thank you for c-span. i would like the opportunity to respond after your guest responds to me. but i don't think it is nice to check the labels. that is a nice idea but that is not going to cut it. the idea of having our guys sitting across the table from their guys when the comes to trade matters and be tough on them is not going to cut it. the asian traders are fair traders and don't call it taxes when we want to bring our products over there as your guest knows. they have fee schedules, fee after fee. they are often so complicated in many countries, especially the asian countries.
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they are unfair traders and we need the justice department to go into full effect and old these countries responsible. i am not a lawyer. if you cut down on unfair traders and stop them from the currency manipulation and fee schedule and fight fire with fire. not saying a trade war. but fight fire with fire. >> guest: those countries do violate the trade agreements and steal trade. i am sick of it. i am a free trader and want a system where goods and services can flow but it doesn't work
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when one country cheats and the other one doesn't. the question is why haven't we done anything? good question. why haven't we influenced these trade deals? that is what mr. trump is asking. why haven't the politicians in both parties, republicans and democrats, for 40 years have done nothing about making sure these trade deals are done in a fair way. this gentlemen is exactly right and i am not sure things would change under hillary clinton. i think she would continue with obama's policy and turning a blind eye. i think, look, i do think having someone tough at the negotiating table would be a nice change and then you have to get the justice department and to have the people at the trade office monitor and make sure these countries are paying fair. >> host: hillary clinton said when it comes to putting her husband to work she said she would put him in charge of revitalizing the community and
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in her words because he knows how to do it. what does this suggest about her approach to economic policies particularly taxes? >> guest: i think the economy did very well under bill clinton. there is no question about it. we created jobs, record-low unemployment, balanced the budget. that wasn't just bill clinton. we had a republican conference and that was a good combination. this is one of the concerns i have about the democratic party today. i am a republican so this is a partisan thing to say but bill clinton ran for presidents as a genuine new democrat. he was for trade, balanced budgets, the one who said the bigger government is over, remember that in the state of the union speech? he was for welfare and regulatory reform. my problem with hillary clinton is she has abandoned that agenda. most liberals i know don't even like bill clinton and think he was too conservative.
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if hillary clinton were running as a true bill clinton moderate centerist new democrat i would probably vote for hillary clinton. but shy has moved so far to the left and the democratic party unfortunately to its demise has moved to the left on issues like climate change, issues, like government spending. hillary clinton is not talking about a tax cut. bill clinton cut taxes. hillary is talking about a tax increase. that is what concerns me. hillary sounds much more like bernie sanders and a lot less like bill clinton. >> host: washington journal is live every day with policy issues that impact you. kentucky republican congressman is on to talk about the future of the libertarian movement and the impact on campaign 2016 now that rand paul is out of the
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presidential race. and michigan democratic senator gary peters joins us to talk about economic issues including the financial situation that led to the flint water crisis and dilapidated schools and other news of the day. and our spotlight on magazines we will highlight washington monthly where steven roads writes that the bygone days are largely based on myth. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal beginning live at 7 a.m. eastern on wednesday. join the discussion. our road to the white house coverage continues with bernie sanders at a campaign rally in carson, company on the campus of cal state. california's primary is tuesday june 7th. we will go live tonight at 11 p.m. eastern. and results coming in from the democratic primary tonight in kentucky as you can see about
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57% of the vote in. senator sanders with 46.8 percent, hillary clinton with 46.5 percent so a very close election. we will watch that all night for you here on the c-span networks. >> our campaign 2016 bus continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from this year's student cam competition. the bus stopped in massachusetts to visit several winning students from that state. they went to foxboro where students honored seventh graders for their honorable mention video called gunning for sate. the bus always stopped to recognize honorable winners for a winning vet video calls veteran service and james elliot won for his video titled lgbt rights: stop the discrimination.
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they received $250 for their winning video. a special thanks to comcast cable and charter communication for helping to coordinate the visits. you can view all of winning documentary films at studentcam.org. >> tonight the student passes a bill allowing 9/11 families to sue the saudi arabian government. and the debate on 1.1 million in emergency spending and zika virus research. and the national urban league released their annual state of the black union report. today the senate passed a bill that would allow the family's of 9/111 victims to sue saudi arabian members who support terrori terrorism.

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