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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  September 14, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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those threats just as they did with the iran nuclear deal. the nuclear deal that this administration brokered with iran is putting taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the largest state sponsor of terrorism. let's look at some of the recent headlines that are centered on iran. cnn. iran continues to seek illicit nuclear technology. that's from cnn. reuters. iran test fires ballistic missiles. which, folks, is against international law. "the wall street journal," iran begins construction on second nuclear power plant.
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and "the new york times" -- "russia sends bombers to syria using base in iran." and how about this alarming headline? "the wall street journal" -- "the u.s. sent another $1.3 billion to iran after hostages were released." yet we continue to allow this. we are allowing this. just last weekend, iran threatened to shoot down our navy aircraft in the region. these are our men and women, and iran is threatening to shoot them down. what's next, folks? these actions will will only continue because this administration yields to their
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demands. from the start, i have spoken out against this deal with iran which not only threatens our safety but the safety of our ally, israel, and it threatens us here at home as well. as we remember the victims of 9/11 this past weekend, i am reminded of iran's link to al qaeda, the ones who carried out that horrific attack on our homeland 15 years ago. in 2011, the treasury department officially accused iran -- this is hour treasury department -- accused iran, as "the wall street journal" report put it -- quote -- of forging an alliance with al qaeda in a pact that allows the terrorist group to use iranian soil as a transit point for moving money, arms and
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fighters to its bases in pakistan and afghanistan -- end quote. it is astounding that despite all of this, we continue to broker a deal with iran. before more of these dangerous acts continue, we should scrap this ill-advised deal and hold iran accountable for all of their actions. senator daines, i am very, very proud that my republican colleagues are joining me here on the floor today to recognize that our country needs leadership, we need leadership, and i look forward to my friends on -- forward to the thoughts from my friend on the armed services committee, the senator from south dakota.
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mr. daines: i have lieutenant colonel ernst who proudly served in the iowa national guard. and to my left, i have lieutenant colonel united states marine corps reserve, dan sullivan, the senator from alaska. so it is an honor to be here between veterans who are speaking on behalf of our veterans about what's going on here in washington, seeing how broken it is. it's my honor now to introduce senator mike rounds. mike was the governor of south dakota so he had the guard report to him as the governor. so my good friend and my neighbor from south dakota, senator rounds, thanks for joining us. mr. rounds: thank you, senator. first of all, let me just thank you for putting together this discussion today. let me thank both the senator from alaska and the senator from iowa for their service to our country, although the senator from iowa is clearly too young
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to have retired already. i did have the opportunity and the true privilege of serving as the governor of south dakota and working with a number of members of the national guard. in fact, not only elsworth air force base in rapid city, south dakota, but the 114th air national guard out of sioux falls. both participating in the defense of our country time and time again. today let me just add a little bit of my thoughts in terms of what's going on here within the senate today, and i speak of this not in terms of partisan issues but rather statements of fact and finding a way to identify them and finding ways in which we can actually take our system and make it better than what it is today and trying to discover what it is that makes this system down here so difficult to work through in times in which we should find solid support for such items as a defense appropriations bill. south do -- dakotans have heard me say time and time again that the number-one responsibility of
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the -- of our government is the defense of our country. unless our responsibilities are fulfilled, our nation is in jeopardy. yet six times, six times this body has been blacked by senate democrats from considering legislation to fund the department of defense, funding necessary for our troops to accomplish their missions. it sounds partisan, but it is simply a fact. democrats have made a conscious decision to block, even debate of this appropriations on the floor of the senate. yet as we noted yesterday during our colloquy yesterday, the defense appropriations bill is not a partisan bill. in fact, it passed out of the senate appropriations committee unanimously, not a single vote against it. democrat and republican alike sending it out saying it's a good bill, and it is largely free of budget gimmicks and in line with the budget that we agreed to last december. i said since taking office that we must get back to what we call regular order. when it comes to the budget
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process by passing not only the defense appropriations bill but i think we should be passing all of the appropriations bills one by one. not as one single huge bill, but 12 separate appropriations bills in which we get the opportunity with a 60-vote agreement to debate the merits of each bill separately on the floor. leader mcconnell, to his credit, set aside 12 separate weeks to bring those bills down in order to accomplish this. we haven't gotten the job done. it's an important tool i think that if we were to go through these 12 bills, it's the one way in which we can actually fine tune part of the federal budget. but i guess there's another issue that should be discussed as well. even if we did all 12 bills in the united states senate or in the united states house, we would be talking only about funding defense and nondefense discretionary funding. nothing about the mandatory payments that our federal government is expected to put together. right now, even if we pass all
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12 bills, the only part of the budget that we talk about is about $1.15 trillion out of a $4 trillion national budget on an annual basis. how do you fix a $550 billion deficit if all you're going to talk about is 25% of the budget in the first place? and yet, what we're talking about is trying to balance that budget, half of which goes to the feds on the backs of the young men and women that stand up for our country. that's not right, and yet that's what sequestration does. now, all of my colleagues on the floor of the senate today with me, in addition to many of the others in the senate, both republican and democrat, they're united in an effort to try to attack this crisis. you see, here's the deal. the congressional budget office has already projected that within ten years, 99% of all of the federal revenue coming in, gas tax money, personal income tax money, corporate income tax money is going to go back out in
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two categories -- interest on the federal debt and mandatory payments on mandatory programs such as medicare, medicaid and social security. nothing left for defense, nothing left for roads and bridges, nothing left for research, nothing left for education. that crisis that occurs in ten years is not a crisis then, it's a crisis now. and how do we address that if we can't even start with the one item that we all seem to agree on, and that is funding our troops. that's the reason why we're here today. we need to start someplace, and so as freshmen, we're down here to say enough is enough. we want to change the way that the senate operates, and we're prepared to stand down here and to tell everybody else that there is a better way to do it. back in south dakota when you send young men who are in the national guard, you send them off and you wish them the best, you really mean it. their moms and their dads are there. and you tell them that you will do everything you can to see
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that they come home safe. we've got that same obligation up here in the united states senate. you see, i don't want our forces to go to war and have it be a fair fight. what i want is our forces to go to war with absolute certainty that they will crush whoever is in the way, that they will come in with the best strategic plan, with the best intelligence, with the best equipment and all of the necessary -- all of the necessary supplies that they need. they put their lives on the line. we should not be sitting here today trying to leverage republicans or democrats what we think is more important rather than simply agreeing that as americans that this is the most important thing that we do. we defend our country. that's what we got sent here for in the first place. that's what we have all committed to do. and yet we find ourselves today in a position to where once again for six times our friends
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on the other side of the aisle have decided it is politically expedient in order to get other things done, that they're going to withhold what has been in the past a bipartisan agreement to fund our troops on a regular basis and in a timely fashion. this has got to stop. if we're going to talk about the bigger pictures, fixing the budget, talking about all of the other items that should be voted on every single year, not just the defense and nondefense discretionary but the mandatory payments as well, we ought to at least start with something that we all agree on. either side, if you ask republicans or democrats, they will care you that they care about our troops, and i believe them, but let's put that into action. let's actually step forward before we leave on this break and make darn sure that our troops are taken care of and that it is no longer a partisan issue or being held as a chit to try to get something else done within this senate. and with that, senator, i appreciate the fact that you have put this together. i once again say thank you to our other members who have been
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members of the armed services. i am very, very proud to be a part of this very, very special body, but it's time we get back to work and that we recognize a crisis ten years from now should be addressed now and not in ten years. thank you for the opportunity to express this. i look forward to listening to my other colleagues as well today. thank you. mr. daines: senator rounds, thank you. we have heard from a lieutenant colonel, senator ernst, we have heard from a former governor, senator rounds. senator rounds, i can see the passion. this isn't just in your read. this is in your heart. you have looked in the eyes of the troops. you have punished them the very best as they have deployed going into harm's way to protect our freedom here in this country as the governor of south dakota. i'm honored to stand here today with you and push this institution to fulfill its duty on behalf of our men and women who serve in the armed forces who perform their duty. speaking of the executive branch and executive leadership, i'm honored now to ask senator perdue of georgia to share his
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thoughts on this. senator perdue served 40 years in the private sector, rising the highest level in the corporate world as a c.e.o. he brings that business experience, that focus on results, that accountability that washington, d.c. so desperately needs. and senator perdue has the naval submarine base at king's bay, one of the two submarine bases that support the sea leg of our nuclear triad. in montana, we have the icbm's, the land leg. senator perdue has the sea leg, one of the three legs of that very important deterrence that we have, our nuclear deterrence. senator perdue, thank you for joining us today. mr. perdue: senator daines, i'm honored to be here with the other freshmen, mr. president. i'm humbled by the emotion that i've heard here in the last half-hour. i'm humbled to be a part of this freshman class. by the way, we all ran on this issue. we ran on the fact that
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government was not functional. it was dysfunctional. what we see today, why we are here on the floor of the senate today is to talk about that dysfunction. let me just share a few highlights of what i have seen just in the press in the last few weeks. the obama administration again underestimates the islamic state as afghan affiliate grows into threat. d.c. transit police officer charged with aiding isis. isis increasingly using women and children to terrorize france. five u.s. troops wounded in combat with isis in afghanistan. vladimir putin's rumblings raise new fears in the ukraine conflict. russia holds biggest military drill yet in crimea. iran escalates high seas harassment of u.s. navy. iran threatens to destroy israel with 100,000 missiles. north korea conducts fifth nuclear test and has made
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warheads with higher strike power. south korea prepares for worst-case scenario with north korea. mr. president, these are just a few samples of headlines in the last few weeks alone. what we see right now going on in the united states senate is gridlock, the gridlock that is creating the backlash that we see in the presidential race right now. people back home know washington is dysfunctional and it's not working. we have a situation where the democrats are blocking these defense appropriations and yet again the senate has reentered in period of dysfunction. the world is more dangerous than it's been at any time in my lifetime, mr. president. and i'm a product of the nuclear age, the cold war. i grew up in a military town where at one point we had b-52's there and i remember the cuban missile crisis where k-135's, c141's were all throughing out of there in support of the blockade over cuba. and yet today i believe that the
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world is more dangerous than it's ever been. right now we face a global security crisis. i believe it's on several levels. first, the rise of aggressiveness in russia and china partly caused by our own intransigents, by creating power vacuums around the world and encouraging misbehavior. i believe isis is a product of our own creation in many ways. the early removal of our troops in iraq created a vacuum in which isis has grown. they need territory to validate their caliphate and we got that we face nuclear proliferation in iran and north korea. we have a cyber war. i personally believe we've been invaded which means we're at war today by nation states around the world. two brigades right now are being stood up in my home state in augusta, georgia. two cyber warrior brigades are being stood up right now, two of
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31 brigades in our united states army. i'm proud of those people. they're going to stand up to this threat but it's real. lastly, we have an arms race in space that nobody is talking about. mr. president, in my lifetime, i've never seen the sim metric threats and asymmetric threats we face in our country today. ensuring that our men and women in uniform, those protecting this freedom, our freedom around the world should never be open to political gains, least of all now in the face of all these myriad threats. but senate democrats in this body don't feel that way obviously. since i came to the united states senate, the members of our colleagues across the aisle, many friends, have blocked funding for our military six times. six times, mr. president, in my tenure here alone democrat members of this body have put their partisan gains before funding and the support of our troops. and that's after the appropriations because you just heard 30-0, 14 democrats, 16
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republicans got together, got in a room, argued the differences out and came to a bipartisan -- isn't that what we were sent here to do? and that's what they did. they passed this bill in committee. there's no debate here. everybody in this body wants this bill. but i just don't understand why they now are holding it hostage for other political gains, partisan political games that they're playing right now. mr. president, this is one of only six reasons why 13 colonies came together in the first place was to provide for the national defense. yet some 200 years later in the midst of a global security crisis congress can't even get that done. we can't fund our government and fund our military without drama. and what message does this send to our men and women in uniform around the world? can you imagine? they can't even depend on us here in this body to fund the needs that they have every day. this is a total breakdown in the
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system. democrats are endangering our men and women in uniform and they're not doing their job. i'm outraged by this, mr. president. georgians back home are outraged. people around the country are outraged by this. is anyone surprised that less than 20% of americans trust the federal government? i'm not surprised at all. as i've said before, democrats claim they want to support our military. they tell us all their heart wrenching stories. some of them have children in uniform, mr. president. they call for action and yet they're the ones blocking this bill and blocking us from debating this on the floor of the united states senate. i don't understand that. at a time when we should be united in the face of global threats, the brinksmanship and gridlock permeating in this body is quite simply disgraceful. america must lead again. it must lead in the world. i've traveled the world a lot as you have, mr. president, in the last year and a half, and the number one request i get from heads of state that we all get to talk with is america needs to
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lead again. they're not asking us to be the policemen anymore. they just need us to lead to common solutions against these same threats that threaten their countries just like they threaten ours. we've got to lead again but to do that we've got to have a strong foreign policy. to have a strong foreign policy, we have to have a strong defense. to have a strong defense, we have to have a strong economy. we know with the -- about the debt crisis. we can't fix our military. we can't recap our military without having a strong economy in solving this debt crisis. one of the biggest complaints i hear when we're doing continuing resolutions and that's what we do when we don't do our jobs, by the way, is it really hurts the military's ability to plan and to train. they can't look forward. they're so worried about getting funded today. and i've seen those shortfalls around the world, mr. president, as you have. that's what it's come to. my colleagues across the aisle believe that their political
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game in this presidential election season is more important than our men and women in uniform and more important than protecting our country. this is not a partisan comment. this is fact. i'm an outsider to this process and i have to tell you i feel the same outrage that the people back home feel. we can no longer take our security for granted. we can no longer take our military for granted and we can no longer take our men and women in uniform for granted. mr. president, i firmly believe our founders would be outraged by what's going on right now. senator william few was the very first person in 1789 that stood in my seat right here in the senate room just down the hall. as ironically as it is, a direct descendant of his was on my staff when i ran for this office. but i think that man would be absolutely apoplectic about us not funding our military. can you imagine somebody that put their life on the line back then log at what we are --
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looking at what we're doing right now, the nonsense we have going o. the stakes are too high for this nonsense to continue. democrats must drop this obstructionism. it's time for washington to fund our military, pass the appropriations bill and move on to fund our government. with that, mr. president, i yield. senator daines i can't thank you enough for the colloquy today for arranging this, what we did yesterday. senator sullivan is here to speak. i want to comment his leadership in this regard has been very encouraging to me as well. thank you. mr. daines: senator purdue, thank you. -your clear eyes and 40 years in the private sector is so badly needed here. i'm grateful for your love of our country and your experiencing fighting on behalf of our veterans in washington, d.c. you mentioned the world is more dangerous than it's ever been before. i was flying back home to montana late thursday night, delta ourlines flying --
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airlines flying through minneapolis to be at the air force base on friday. we have wie phi on flights off -- wi-fi on flights oftentimes. i'm watching my twitter feed and i saw the reports of the 5.0 quake that was reported in north korea because they had conducted their fifth test, their most powerful test yet of an atomic bomb. five weeks ago, six weeks ago i was in israel. we talked about iran, speaking about threats. we spoke to the israeli leadership, to prime minister netanyahu about the threat from iran. we crawled in the terror tunnels that came out of gaza that hamas had built, hamas largely funded by iran. we stood on the northern border of israel staring into lebanon at a hundred thousand plus rockets pointed at israel today from hezbollah that are primarily funded by iran. i agree with senator perdue, the
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world is more dangerous today than it was on september 11, 2001 as you look at the threats and as he pointed out the cyber threats as well. i'm now very prirnled and honor -- privileged and honored to stand with senator dan sullivan of alaska. my father is a marine, served with the 58th rifle company out of billings, montana, and to have a lieutenant colonel, united states marine corps reserve, lieutenant colonel senator sullivan, it's an honor to have you with us. thank you for sharing your thoughts. mr. sullivan: thank you, senator. i want to thank you for your leadership, all my colleagues. mr. president, you, the other colleagues we've seen here, your leadership has been outstanding on this, my good friend from montana. you know, it begs the question, why have we, the republican freshman class really for weeks, for weeks, we have all been coming down to the senate floor
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to talk about what's happening here. we've been coming down to the senate floor to counter the yrt leader's -- the minority leader's decision to filibuster our troops. as senator rounds mentioned six times. there's no other bill in the u.s. senate. since we've become senators, that the minority leader wants to focus on and filibuster than the bill that funds our troops. pretty remarkable. i think it's a disgrace. so we're here because we want to bring attention to this issue. what's happening here? sometimes it can be confusing. -- confusing. we have the press that sits above the presiding officer's chair there. they watch what's going o. we want -- going on. we want them to report this. we want the american people to know what's happening here because it doesn't matter where you're from, what state you're in, what party you're affiliated
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with in terms of politics. if you knew that your senator from your state was filibuste filibustering the spending that supports our troops when they're in combat all around the world right now, you probably would be pretty disappointed. you'd think it's a story that the press would want to write about. but they haven't yet but we're trying because it's a really important issue. and i believe the american people really care about this issue. that's why we're here. but i'll tell you another reason why we're down here, why we spent hours and weeks coming down to this floor talking about this issue because there's someone else who cares about this issue. it's called the men and women in the united states military. they really care about this issue. now i know there's this kind of sense in the senate when these
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votes are taken late at night and there are filibusters and procedural issues. i think a lot of my colleagues think that the troops don't know what's going on. somehow they don't know that the minority leader of the united states senate and his colleagues have been filibustering the funding for their mission and their welfare and their training six times in the last year and a half. but the troops do know this. they know it. they read about it. i guarantee you they're concerned about it. i think in some ways they think it's demoralizing as senator perdue mentioned. doesn't give the military leadership the chance to plan long term. so, mr. president, another reason we're down here and you know it is we need to let our troops know we have their back. there might be some in this body
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who think filibustering, spending for our troops six times is a policy that they can be supportive of. again, i don't know why the minority leader is doing this. i certainly don't know why my colleagues on the other side are blindly following him. but we need to be done here to let the troops know when they watch this and they hear about this and it confuses them, that we have their back, that we don't think that this is appropriate. now, yesterday a number of us when we were down here we talked about what we are asking, what the president, what the secretary of defense, what our generals are asking our men and women in uniform to do. and they're all over the world keeping us safe in iraq, in syria, in the south china sea, in europe, in many of the initiatives undertaken by the president in terms of our troops in these places, many of us are
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supportive of. but this is a lot that they're responsible for. they're doing so much and you come back to this body, what is this body doing? filibustering spending for our troops. they're certainly doing their job. it's time the minority leader lets them -- let us do our job to fund them. so just recently, mr. president, all the different things we're supposed to be doing, we learned about something new that they might be doing. the men and women of the united states military might possibly soon be conducting joint air strikes and sharing intelligence with the russians in a deal negotiated by secretary kerry recently. there was a "new york times" article today that makes it
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clear that our military leaders are very, very skeptical of this deal. so it's another thing that we might be asking them to do, share intelligence and joint -- and conduct joint operations with a country that we shouldn't be trusting, particularly in terms of military terms. here's a quote from "the new york times" today. "the result of this deal, potentially" --, which by the way, the state department has not allowed us to see yet the terms of it. we haven't been able to see. kind of sounds like the iran nuclear deal. "the result is that at a time when the united states and russia are at their most combative posture since the entd of the cold war, the american military is suddenly being told that it may in just a week have to start sharing intelligence with one of its biggest adversaries to jointly target
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islamic state and -- al news a forces in syria." this is general breedlove, a very well, well respected general who just stepped down. "i remain skeptical about anything to do with the russians. there are a lot of concerns about putting us out there with this kind of agreement." so that's, again, mr. president, what we might be asking our military to be doing soon. and yet we're not going to fund it. "the washington post" today in an editorial entitled "either way, mr. putin wins," about this deal made it clear that this is clearly a deal that's not in our interest. and yet that's what our military might be asked to do.
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we won't fund them. and the minority leader continues to filibuster them. mr. president, one of the things that we've been asking our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is to come down here and explain why you are doing this, why for weeks -- six times in a year -- year and a half -- why. now, to the senator from illinois' credit, yesterday he actually did come down here. senator durbin did. kind of had to because we moved on a unanimous consent request to move this funding forward. so somebody had to actually come down and say "no" and do a little explaining. but at least he did. but for those of you who saw it the explanation fell way short. it was kind of d.c. mumbo-jumbo
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processcratise. so it would be good if they could come down and explain it a little bit better. but here's what we know. here's what we know. we need to fund our troops now. they're working so hard for us. it's the right thing to do. the american people want it. our troops need it. and it's the solemn responsibility of our duties here in the united states senate. so, senator daines, i want to thank you again for your leadership on this. this is a critically important issue, regardless of whether the media picks it up. and we're going to continue to highlight it, because it is an outrage that the number-one bill filibustered by the minority leader in the last year and a half in the united states senate is the bill to fund our troops.
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it's an outrage. thanks again for your leadership. mr. daines: senator sullivan, thank you. i'm not sure whether to call you "senator sullivan" or lieutenant colonel of the united states marine corps sullivan." but your humility as a soldier, someone who served in the united states marine corps, he is bringing this voice of the troops as he is one, as a reservist, to the floor of the united states. we're making it clear today. senator sullivan, thank you, for bringing that voice to the floor. i also think about senator sullivan when you talks about russia. it is one thing to be a montanan speaking about russia. but when you have an alaskan speaking about russia, alaska is on the door p step of a -- on the doorstep of a resurgent riewrchlt i know this threat is particularly meaningful to you.
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now i'm looking forward to hearing from senator gardner. i think we're going to have senator sullivan go up and preside over the senate, so senator gardner can come and share his thoughts. senator gardner is a deer frefnltdz he also resides -- senator gardner is a dear friend. he also resides in a rocky mountain state. we share a common love of the west in our beautiful states and i've just been so impressed with senator gardner's leadership as a freshman here in washington, d.c.,. we served together in the howssments we came history of -- we served together in the house. we came here together. senator gardner passed a bill with strong bipartisan support as a member a member of the foreigforeign relations committ. so, senator gardner, i'm grateful for your leadership for what you're doing here for our country and coming down on the floor here today and speaking on behalf of our troops. thanks, senator. mr. gardner: thank you,
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senator daines. thanks for organizing this discussion today. the discussion we've had yesterday, to our colleague from alaska for his leadership on this matter for a number of weeks as we discussed why this funding bill for our troops -- pays our troops, gives our troops a pay raise, critical mission support -- is being filibustered, six times being blocked by a minority -- partisan minority that actually supported this measure out of the appropriations committee unanimously. and so thank you for bringing attention to this very important discussion, as we end the fiscal year and continue with our need to continue providing men and women in uniform with the resources they need to defend themselves, to protect themselves and protect this nation's homeland. it is not just critical to colorado, home to national guard reserve members and uniformed military members. it is home to a number of defense installations across the front range of colorado. you mentioned the important part of the triad that is in montana
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we also share a number of those icbms located in eastern colorado, a critical part of that triad. our efforts to make sure we have the ability to address threats to this nation, like as the senator from montana mentioned, the detonation of a nuclear weapon and kim jung un who wants to send a missile to the united states. these aren't sort of made-up problems. these aren't just hypothetical issues. these are real threats. to sit on the floor today and to hear from lieutenant colonel dan sullivan, who has served in nation in the armed forces, to hear from lieutenant colonel joni ernst, who served in nation, to hear from governor rounds, a unique perspective, a variety of backgrounds, a need to fund our troops, pass this bill, a governor who has called up members of the south dakota
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national guard, who has gone to ceremonies for national guard members who are going overseas, active duty, who has gone to funerals of people in south dakota that he lost -- they lost. and so this is a very important debate that we're having right now, but there seems to be a key question that's not being asked, and that key question is this. it stems from that 30-0 vote out of the appropriations committee for this bill. republicans and democrats alike voting for this bill. the 30 people who voted for this bill, no one in opposition, yet we can't get this bill to the floor. a partisan obstruction tactic known as the fiblg to stoch this from -- known as the filibuster to stop this from even being debated. they are afraid ford whatever reason -- you they are afraid for whatever reason to bring this bill to the floor. so i guess what the people of this country ought to be asking every member of this chamber, anybody, ask this very simple
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question: do you oppose this bill? it's a simple question that ought to be asked of every member of this body. do you oppose the defense appropriations bill? give the number of the bill. the fact is this bill passed 30-0 out of the senate appropriations committee. we heard when we asked for unanimous consent yesterday to move to debate of the bill, we heard a gloarg endorsement of the bill -- a glowing endorsement of the bill. we heard our colleagues on the other side of the aisle state hour supportive they were of this legislation, the policies contained smed that's why stloated for the bill. so the question is, do they oppose the bill? let's get people in the senate on the record. do they oppose the bill? right now we know of no one who opposes the bill. so the next question ought to be then, why are you blocking it? so if they don't oppose the bill, if people don't oppose the
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bill, then why are they blocking it? the answer clearly isn't policy. the sannes funding because they -- the answer isn't funding because they fund the funding. they support funding the troops. so there must be another reason, right? well, the reason is i am simply -- well, the reason is simply politics at its worst. the haven't a leadership decision to obstruct this bill. to obstruct the passage ever legislation that would fund our troops. now, again we heard from in the objection to our unanimous consent request to proceed to this bill, we heard our colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are voting to obstruct the bill that, look, they agree with the bill, they agree with it we just need different timing or we should wait until other bills are in place. we should basically sed to this body that we should -- we should basically stowed this body that we should do everything as one big chunk of omnibus
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appropriations. i don't think i could get away with this at home. if i told our 12-year-old daughter at home that she needs to take the trash out and her response to me was, look, i agree with you. i agree that the trash should be taken owvment i agree that that trash can is too full. but doesn't do it? that's a problem. that's doesn't tell me she agrees that its too full. that tells me she agrees to ignore the issues of her dad. the same analogy can be used here. mow the lawn. my wife told me to go out and do the lawn. i said, i agree. the grass is too long. needs to be mowed. i agree with you. the lawn never get gets mowed. all my neighbors know in the whole town, the grass is too tall. i didn't do my job. people can say think agree all they want with the funding of this bill.
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but when they vote to obstruct, to shoot it down, fail to even bring it up for debate, i guess the only way you can consider that is opposition to the effort of funding our troops. filibustering the defense appropriations bill endangers our military's ability to respond to the threats they mace every day and they face significant threats. let's just take a look at iran alone. we all need to look at the recent uptick in encounters widely reported in newspapers around the country between american sailors in the persian gulf and the iranian guard develops in the persian gulf to see what happens when our enemies sense weakness. in 2016 there have been 31 unsafe encounters between the u.s. navy and iranian vessels in the persian gulf. and in all of 2 2015, there were only 25 encounters. this year we've seen 31, far outnumbered the entirety of last year. less than two weeks ago seven iranian fast-attack boat boats e
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involved in safe encounters. the provocative maneuver brought the iranian boat within 150 yards of the fire boarkts a coastal patrol boat that carries a crew of about 30. this was unsafe, unprofessional and could have led to a collision. less than three weeks ago the u.s.s. squall had to fire three warning shots when an iranian guard vessel came within 200 yard of it. general joseph vogel, commander of the united states central command, has said the attacks are -- quote -- "concerning" and went on to say that he believes the unsafe, unprofessional behavior is an attempt to -- by iran to exert their influence and authority in the region. and so while this administration is paying iran billions of dollars, while they're giving that money to iran, billions of dollars, to the same country that held american sailors
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hostage, that is performing unsafe maneuvers, provocative maneuvers in the persian gulf, this body, the senate, as a result of a partisan minority, is holding the d.o.d. appropriations bill hostage. they're denying critical funds to those american sailors at the same time we're giving money to the army, the navy of those who would hold our own sailors hostage. through the money, the billions of dollars being given to the iranian regime. now remember, this bill is a partisan product. this bill is the result of extreme bipartisan collaboration, input from leaders of the department of dwefns, strategists, people who know what they're talking about, people on the armed services committee such as the president -- the presiding officer of the senate today. this is a product that had 30 people voting for it republicans and democrats, a bipartisan process. and yet it is being blocked every time we try to bring it
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up. now, if the presiding officer were on the floor with us today, i would ask him, do you think that's a rational reason that you could explain to the men and women in your unit? qusay, look, the u.s. senate has said they support the bill but refuse to pass the bill? would they say, i get that? that's not the reaction they would receive. and when you look at the need of the commanders to have certainty in their funding, it's real. they need passage of this bill. we can't wait until the last minute, cobble it together, put it together with other bills, for a couple of weeks and do it again and again in an uncertain matter. secretary james said a continuing resolution could unfund the air force by $1.38 billion. the delaying the of the appropriations bill could bring our fight to the enemies. correction of the joint attack mission used in the fight, the
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jdam against isil would be cut. upgrades would be cut to the unmanned aircraft c-130 cargo airex -- aircraft and b-52 bombers. yet that is what the other side are insisting by blocking this bipartisan legislation. to my colleagues from montana and alaska, thank you for continuing to shine a light on this, but i hope that the american people will ask that question to all of us. do you support this bill? and if you do, why do you refuse to pass the bill? a simple question, a simple answer. politics don't cut it. the american people deserve results and action. so to senator daines from montana, thank you for your leadership on this. i'm honored to serve with you and continue to highlight this failure of the senate to move beyond petty partisan politics. mr. daines: senator gardner, thank you for those great
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thoughts. it struck me, what if the members of congress were dependent upon the members of the u.s. military to vote whether or not we got our paychecks or not. maybe that would turn around this table. maybe we should halt pay in this body until our troops get assurance that they're going to get paid. put the accountability right back in this institution. i want to thank you for standing up on behalf of of the men and women who wear the uniform of the united states military, senator gardner. i spent 28 years in business before i came to capitol hill. i served one term in the house and now started a first term in the united states senate. you know, when i came here with my freshman class, january of 2015, we came in here with our loved ones, our friends and family. they were up in this gallery where we stand here and sit here today, about 30 feet from where i'm standing right here, we all stood. we all stood on that step and the vice president was right there, and he administered an oath to us that we raised our
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right hand and took the oath. and that oath that i was honored to give that day after i was elected by the people of montana, i swore under that oath and said i do solemnly swear or affirm that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic, that i will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that i take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that i will faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which i am about to enter, so help me god. what has happened? we all took that same oath. it's time we start acting like it. mr. president, i yield back my time.
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the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: i wanted to cover two topics today. the first is something that happened today, a revelation that was just made a few hours ago at a hearing in the house. let me give you the history of this. as we all know, after the president's' opening towards cuba, there was this increased travel to cuba, including now the opening of commercial travel to the island from the united states. back in may, the assistant secretary for policy, at the department of homeland security told the house homeland security committee that new scheduled air service from the united states to cuba and vice versa was not going to start until air marshals were allowed to be on board those flights. in august the t.s.a. provided the u.s.-cuba trade and economic council as well as reporters a
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statement, and they said that the united states and cuba had entered into an aviation security agreement that sets forth the legal framework for the deployment of air marshals on board certain flights to and from cuba. well, today at a hearing in the house, a top t.s.a. official divulged for the first time cuba has yet to agree to allow air marshals aboard scheduled airline flights meaning there have been no air marshals on board so far despite the fact that the administration said there would be. basically what we have here is an outright lie. last month to great fanfare the administration announced that the agreement had been reached that there was going to be air marshals on the flights to and from cuba, on the commercial flights. and today they confirmed that they weren't telling the truth. there was no agreement finalized on most if not all of these flights there are no air marshals, and this is endangering u.s. passengers.
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this is a startling admission from the administration. it's a startling admission by the t.s.a. and to the american people that they lied. they told us these flights would not begin until they had reached an agreement with the cuban government to have air marshals and other security measures in place, and today only because they were asked -- only because they were asked did they admit that this is not happening. it is incumbent upon the t.s.a. to lock down a federal air marshal agreement before these flights started taking off to begin with. that's what they told us they were going to do. that's what they said or implied was happening. and unless that question had been specifically asked today at that hearing, we would not have known about this. and my friends, this is the latest example of an administration that is so intent on burnishing it's legacy, on getting credit for this opening that they're willing to throw everything else out the window. they already are ignoring the human rights violations. we have one of the leading dissidents in cuba on the verge
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of death because of a hunger strike and this administration doesn't say anything about it. instead l they're celebrating and popping corks of champagne on these new flights they told us were going to be safe because they were going to have air marshals and today we find out it's not true. this is outrageous. the t.s.a., under the obama administration, has lied to us about the status of the security. last week i filed a bill that would stop all flights to cuba, commercial flights, until this agreement was in place, until adequate security is in place. and now we know for a fact that adequate security is not in place. these flights should be suspended until such time as this agreement is signed. and i want you to think about what this means if it doesn't happen. what it means is that these are now flights that are vulnerable. there's a reason why we have air marshals on flights, because of the experience of 9/11 that we just commemorated the anniversary of on sunday. and you now have flights 90 miles from our shores that could theoretically be
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commandeered and you could have a repeat of that, particularly in senator from --? south florida which is minutes wane from the -- away from the airport in havana. forget how you feel about cuba. they have lied to the american people and congress and they were caught today because they were specifically asked about the status of this. this puts us in incredible danger. it is important for everyone to remember years ago there were no metal detectors even at airports. up know why they started putting metal detectors at airports 35, 30 years ago? because of hijackings to cuba. there's a reason. and so now here you have this situation where theoretically some terrorists can travel from any country in the world into cuba and then try to come into the united states, commandeer an aircraft and i don't need to tell you what can happen next. this is an incredibly dangerous situation. i think we need to unite across the aisle and basically say no matter how you feel about cuba policy, we all agree that
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travel to cuba should be safe, no less safe than travel to the baptize, no less -- travel to the bahamas or dominican republican. why are we allowing the cuban government to conduct flights without the same conditions we have on allies of the united states? cuba is not an ally of the united states. the cuban government hosts intelligence facilities for the chinese and russians. the cuban government harbors fugitives of the american justice. and yet we have allies in this hemisphere who have to comply with all of this, but not cuba? this is absurd. the t.s.a. has lied. it leaves this nation vulnerable and those commercial flights need to be immediately suspended until such time as these security measures are put in place. and i hope that this is something that just broke hours ago, and i hope that we can come together here and actually deal with it irrespective of how you may feel about the issue of cuba. mr. president, on oo separate
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topic, the governor was here yesterday -- the governor of florida was here yesterday and again today to discuss zika funding. i met with him personally yesterday. we met with the majority leader earlier today to reiterate against -- let me reiterate again the statistics. there are now in the mainland of the united states almost 3,000 cases. in combination with u.s. territories, meaning primarily the island of puerto rico, there are close to 16,000 cases. in my home state of florida we are up to 799 cases. 70 of those cases are locally transmitted meaning they were not zika infections acquired abroad. they were either sexually transmitted or by a mosquito in the state of florida. infections involving pregnant women in florida, 86. that's combined both travel and local transmission. it has taken this congress far too long to act. the good news is, i believe, given conversations that are still ongoing that we are on the verge of getting something done in the fight against zika. i would remind everyone that the
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senate did act on this issue back in may in a bipartisan way, and i would also take this moment to point out that my colleague, senator nelson from florida has been great to work with on this and multiple issues, but on this one in particular, and i thank him for his partnership and hard work in this regard. i enjoy our partnership on many issues involving the state of florida including a water bill before the senate. but on this issue of zika, in particular. but it's time for the rest of us to come together in the interest of our people. i know that right now all the headlines are about the impact this is having on florida, but i want you to make no mistake, zika is a national problem and it requires a federal response, including funding to develop a vaccine that will eradicate this virus. so i do appreciate governor scott posts efforts at the state level to combat zika. but it's long past time that this congress follow suit. this is, by the way, governor scott's second visit to washington to address zika and i'm not aware of any other governor that's come here for the same purpose but if we fail
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to seize the chance to pass funding we're going to see more governors and more americans from every state and territory beating down the dears here in washington fairly soon. as i said earlier there are almost 20,000 americans now that have been infected and i think it would be a tragic and terrible mistake to ignore their plight. we have a chance here to help them to preefn more people from -- to prevent more people from getting infected but to do so we have to act now. i want to point to one of the aspects of this issue that isn't talked about enough. we understand the risk of microcephaly, what it means for unborn children. we understand the risk it poses to people in general. but i want to talk a little bit today about the economic impact of it. because you can imagine that as zika outbreaks are being reported around the world and for the first time ever the c.d.c. is actually designating areas of the continental united states as travel advisory areas that perhaps people should avoid, it begins to have an economic impact. i also don't need to tell peopld again -- how important tourism to the state of florida is.
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the evidence that this is having an impact on our economy is now far more than just anecdotal. i'm going to quote zen l civil from an article -- extensively from an article in the "miami herald." in august leisure air fare prices fell 17% year over year at miami international airport and fort lauderdale airports. fares at other airports rose by 4% over the same period of time. other airports saw a 4% in fares. leisure airport fell by 17%. people think that's good news for the consumer but this is reflective of something, that demand is down, that the number of people wanting to travel there is down. not to travel in general because across other airports it was up 4%. but in two airports in south florida it was down 17%. that's evidence that this is having an impact on travel both business and leisure. here's more evidence. hotel bookings in greater
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downtown miami fell 3% as compared to last year. as someone raised by parents who worked in the tourism sector primarily in hotels, if these numbers and trends continue not only are these hotels going to get hurt the people working there are going to get hurt. let me give you more, a couple more business aspects that you think go beyond simple tourism. this is not just about hotels and airports. there is a bexar bosch island island -- bayharbor island wedding planning. they said a couple planned for a designation wedding in miami and canceled it. instead they are getting married in california. a nanny service that provides baby sitting for families staying at hotels and resorts often because they are in town to celebrate weddings said the cancellations started coming as soon as the first travel related cases were discovered in february. and they said families told them that because their wives were
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pregnant they were too nervous to travel to miami. businesses plummeted 25%, she said. hurting her staff. phones have gone quiet. we used to get calls every couple of weeks from a mom coming to town having her baby and now we haven't gotten any in months. no calls at all. the rationale behind all this, perhaps, is the kaiser family foundation poll conducted in august which found that 48% of americans would be uncomfortable traveling to zika infection areas within the united states, including miami. so again, this is not just something that's having an impact on our health care system, which is dramatic in and of itself, but it's having an economic impact as well, which is why it's so inexcusable we didn't address this in april, we couldn't get final passage on this in may. i know the senate did its part. it's gotten tangled up in all this election year politics. all i would say to my colleagues is we fight about so many things around here, we have so many issues we could have a debate over. there are significant
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differences between our political parties. in election years, they become more pronounced. so let's have debates about those issues. but isn't there at least when it comes to public health and safety and say on this issue we're not going to play politics. let's put this issue aside and let's not entangle it in all the political stuff that is going on. in the end, this is not discriminate. this is an issue that affects everyone and anyone. we have taken far too long. can you imagine going back at the end of next week or the end of this month and explaining to people not just in florida but in america that congress once again couldn't get anything done on this. i would ask both sides to show a tremendous amount of flexibility. i know there are ongoing conversations going on now behind the scenes to get some resolution on this. there are so many other issues we could have an argument over. on this one, let's just come together, let's provide the funding. it's already less than what the president asked for. i believe we're going to need more in the future. let us come together once and for all. let's get this done in the senate. let's work on encouraging our colleagues in the house to do
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the same so we have at least some good news to tell the american people at the end of this month. number one, your government didn't shut down, and number two, number two that congress has finally provided funds not just to help states and localities deal with zika, not just to help health care facilities treat people with zika and not just to help people prevent zika, but to continue the research to develop a vaccine because once we have a vaccine, then i think this issue becomes very different. then we have an answer with permanency to it. so that's where i hope we're headed. that's why i encourage my colleagues here to continue to work on. let's get this done once and for all. it's the right thing to do for america. it's the right thing to do for our people. with that, mr. president, i thank you and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. carper: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you, sir. mr. president, today we have made, i think, important progress on a piece of legislation that we refer to with another one of those funny sounding names, in this case, wrda, spelled wrda. that stands for the water resources development act. do you want me to tell you what i thought it stood for the first time i heard that acronym all those years ago. it's the water resources development act. while the average american who might tune into c-span today has probably no idea what it means when we use its nickname, frankly they are likely confused with a lot of the other strange acronyms that we use here in washington as well, but the truth is the things that this bill, this wrda bill will accomplish will have a big
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effect on the everyday lives of a lot of americans, but many of them will do things that happen behind the scenes. there are many important functions of the federal government that require years of planning and action by congress and we as private citizens oftentimes sort of take them for granted. hearing our local senator, a member of congress talk about critical dredging projects might sound boring, but if ships carrying groceries into our country's ports can't reach their destinations, that prices continue to rise, in some cases by a whole lot. that means families struggling to put food on their tables must figure out how to stretch their straining budgets even further. for the neediest among us, that ship reaching its port isn't just a policy decision made in our nation's capital. it's the difference between a hungry child and a healthy one. but it takes a lot more work to
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keep our children healthy. in april of 2014, news broke of a horrendous drinking water crisis in flint, michigan. our networks, our newspapers were flooded with images of families holding up jugs of discolored water that came from their kitchen sinks and from their bathtubs. it was like we were watching a nightmare unfold overnight, but in reality it was years in the making. for decades, cities across this country have struggled to fund proper maintenance of their drinking water infrastructure. in flint, officials repeatedly cut corners with little regard for public health concerns in order to avoid investing in high-quality water systems. let's think about this. really, what is more important than investment in making sure that our kids aren't drinking
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water that slowly stunts the growth of their brains and the development of their brains? while the national spotlight has focused on flint, unfortunately aging water infrastructure is a growing problem faced by way too many of our communities across this country. this year, the guardian newspaper found that over the past decade, water departments in at least 33 large cities have chosen to test their weather with methods, get this, that would underestimate the lead levels in their drinking water, underestimated it. philadelphia, which is just half a mile up the road from my home state, the hometown of wilmington, delaware, has been accused of having some of the worst testing procedures of any city in the united states, the worst. congress banned lead water pipes some 30 years ago, but many of our pipes are older than that. in fact, we don't even know the
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full extent of the problem. estimates of lead pipes still in use range from 3 million to 10 million. that means that some parts of our drinking water infrastructure are poisoning unsuspecting families across this nation of ours. we're doing i think good bipartisan work here today by moving forward on authorizing programs that will begin to tackle not all but many of these issues, but this is only in truth the tip of the iceberg. the environmental protection agency estimates it must have been $400 billion between now and 2030. think about that. $400 billion between now and 2030 in order to keep our drinking water safe. but it's not only pipes that we have to maintain to ensure that our water supply is clean and that we have enough of it. the delaware river basin, for example, supplies drinking water for more than 15 million people,
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15 million. and people don't just depend on this water for drinking. this river houses the catches that our fishermen and fisherwomen depend on for their livelihood. this river serves as a shipping route to direct goods to and from our local businesses. it facilitates tourism that ripples through local economies up and down the eastern seaboard. today we have made important strides toward improving coordinated protection and restoration of the delaware river basin on which so many rely. with this legislation, it would also take important steps to strengthen our coastal areas which are the first line of defense against extreme weather and sea level rise. for communities near the ocean and delaware, a severe storm isn't just a day off from work or from school. it has the potential to wreak havoc on our cities and our towns, potentially destroying
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local businesses and causing irreparable damage to family homes as well as to our transportation infrastructure or waste water treatment systems as well. state and local governments that are already strapped for resources are then forced to scramble to help their residents rebuild. instead of trying to patch up the damage after every storm, maybe we ought to prepare ahead of time to make our coastlines more resilient. that will keep people safer and also save us a lot of money in the long-term. -- in the long term. i oftentimes say -- i think i learned this from my grandmothef prevention is worth a pound of cure, and no place is this saying truer than with regards to maintaining our local critical infrastructure. too often, we in congress neglect our responsibility to invest in the things that make life possible and better. we shy away from reminding
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people that things worth having are worth paying for, but we weren't elected to take the easy way out. that's what we come here for. we were elected to make the tough choices required of leaders. mr. president, i'm proud of the bipartisan work that has been done today to help make sure parents can feel confident about the glass of water they will give their kids to drink at the supper table or tomorrow or the week after that. i'm proud that we're taking action to address some of the often ignored businesses of running a nation like ours. i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me to continue this good work. let's remind the american people that with a little determination, a little more dedication, we can accomplish the responsibilities in which they entrust to us. and with that, mr. president, i see we have been joined by a friend from alabama.
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i'm going to yield the floor to him. thank you, mr. president. mr. shelby: thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. carper: i said alabama. so sorry. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. while i was traveling around arkansas during our in-state work period, certainly one of the top issues that i heard about from my constituents was national security. it remains at the forefront of the minds of arkansans. i'm sure my colleagues heard the same thing during their time at home. the message i received was one of concern, concern with how the administration's terrible iran deal is flushing the regime with cash and allowing tehran to continue its nuclear activities while rebuilding its arsenal and beligerantly bullying the u.s. and our allies. concern that north korea is
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ramping up its nuclear program to try to get the same sweetheart deal and concern that the threat from isis continues to grow despite the president's attempt to convince the public that radical islamic terror is not a problem. let's start with iran. earlier this week iran threatened to shoot down two u.s. navy surveillance aircraft for flying too close to iranian air space. yes, the country that the obama administration bent over backwards to appease -- once again. this is the latest in a long line of provocations directed by iran towards the united states. last month iran harassed our war ships in the persian gulf on at least five occasions. iran's beligerance has been matched by the nation's pursuit of weapons all of which is being enabled by the terrible nuclear
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deal president obama brokered, a deal that has -- a deal that iran has zero intentions of abiding by. earlier this month, the regime in tehran deployed a russian supplied surface to air missile defense system around its underground uranium enrichment facility. this potent missile defense system was part of an $800 million deal russia signed with iran in 2007. that deal has been voluntarily put on hold because of a 2010 u.n. security council resolution but that hold was lifted after president obama's weak iran deal signaled to russia that it's acceptable to sell weapons to iran. this news is shocking given that president obama said -- if that is the case, why does iran need this potent missile defense
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system to protect the scientific facility? and where did iran get the money for the system? well, the obama administration and its negotiating partners agreed in secret to allow iran to evade some restrictions in the nuclear agreement. this reprieve was granted in order to give iran more time to meet the deadline for its start to getting relief from economic sanctions. so for all of these concessions, what exactly did the international community get out of the deal? certainly not peace of mind. meanwhile iran gets concession after concession to build a peaceful nuclear program that no one outside of the white house believes will remain that way. but outside the white house walls the rogue actors of the world have a different perspective. what they see is a meal ticket, a way out of sanctions without
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really having to end the pursuit of nuclear weapons. case in point, north korea. they have seen the windfall that iran has received for agreeing to the president's deal and appear to be angling for a windfall of their own which is why north korea defied u.n. resolutions and detonated its fifth and largest nuclear weapon last week. after carrying out the test, north korea boasted that the warhead could be used to counter the american threat. make no mistake, north korea wants its own deal and will continue to try to provoke the u.s. will president obama cave in to north korea's demands in the same manner in which he did with iran? we certainly should not be granting sanctions relief to north korea nor should we be doing so for iran.
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in fact, we should be ramping up sanction -- ratching sanctions. we passed legislation to do that for north korea already. the chairman of the foreign relations committee has a bill to make that happen for iran as well. i'm cosponsoring a bill in hope that we can move it forward here in the senate. and while iran and north korea step up the posturing, isis just released a new gruesome propaganda video showing dozens of captured prisoners inside a syrian slaughterhouse. the video then shows isis members slitting the throats of these prisoners. the brutality of these terrori terrorists that president obama once referred to as the j.v. team is shocking and revolting. the president has never presented a strategy to congress for eliminating isis and our sporadic air strikes have done
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little to stop the terrorist group from pressing forward and attempting to strengthen its global outreach. as these events play out, senate democrats continue to block vital funding for our troops and our country's security and keep it from moving forward. this is why national security was the main concern that i heard about during the in-state work period and continue to hear about it now. the anxiety and unease by this administration's failed policy weighs heavy on the american people. we must change course. and with that, mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president, i ask that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: mr. president, after one of the longest recesses in modern history, congress returned last week to washington. unfortunately, it seems that some of our colleagues have been
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more interested in continuing to play politics with health and welfare of american people than in getting their job done. nearly 19,000 americans have been infected by the zika virus, including hundreds of pregnant women and yet congress has failed to pass an emergency funding bill to address the zika crisis. and as i discussed on the floor earlier this afternoon, thousands of retired mine workers, many of them suffering from serious illnesses, are still waiting for us to work on the bipartisan miners protection act. but this afternoon i'd like to focus on another area where unfortunately the senate has failed to do our job. an important job, part of our constitutional requirements, and that is to make sure that we end this unprecedented obstruction regarding the vacancy on the supreme court. it's now been a record breaking 182 days since president obama
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nominated judge merrick garland and yet 182 days later the supreme court is still focused -- is still forced to function one justice short. it's an example of washington dysfunction at its absolute worse. the senate has confirmed supreme court justices during presidential election years at least 17 times so there's no reason why this should be a partisan issue. until recently both parties have recognized the senate's constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on the president's nominations to the supreme court. president reagan himself said and i quote -- "every day that passes with the supreme court below full strength imappears the people's business -- impairs the people's business in that critically important body." the truth is judge garland's qualifications and dedications to public service are beyond reproach. so again today as i did earlier
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this year, i'm strongly urging my colleagues to do the job we were elected to. let's go ahead and vote on judge garland. if you don't want to support him, that's your right. but let's give him that hearing and take on that vote. let's make sure that we take on the very important health care crisis around zika. let's make sure that we don't leave the american people hanging in terms of the continuing resolution, pass that and make sure the government stays funded. again, mr. president, it's time for us to get to work. it's time for the senate to do its job and to make sure that we go back to our constituents as we continue the final weeks before the election and can look them in the eye and say we have done our duty. mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, i've been coming about every week --
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the presiding officer: the senate's in a quorum call. mr. manchin: i ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i've been coming every week and speaking about an epidemic that we have across our country, the state of west virginia has been hit hard. utah has been hit hard. there's not been a state spared, this opioid epidemic, prescription drug abuse ravaging our countries and a whole generation of our people, and we have come to crisis point. in west virginia, drug overdose deaths soared by more than 700% since 1999. we lost 600 to last year alone, more than any other cause in my state. of the 620 deaths in my state in 2014 most were prescription drugs. 199 were objection -- oxycodone related. we have a situation where people say how did we get to this point? we've got products being made by
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reputable companies we depend on for lifesaving medication every day. you have a reputable company, we have the food and drug administration, the f.d.a., who basically is our guardian, if you will. it's the gatekeeper whether things we're consuming are good for us and not be harmful. then you have the most trusted person next to the member of your family, the doctor prescribing it to you and saying this is what will make you better. we have a run away epidemic on our hands and have to get the genie back in the bottle. last year 31 per 100,000 people, 31 people out of 100,000 people died. the next closest state was new mexico. in west virginia providers wrotn to this figure. almost unbelievable. in west virginia, providers wrote 138 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 people. i'm going to repeat that.
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they wrote -- they wrote -- that means our doctors prescribed 138 prescriptions for every hundred people. that's impossible. you would think that is absolutely abusive, and it is. between 2007 and 2012 drug wholesalers shipped -- this is an unbelievable amount. they shipped more than 200 million pain pills to west virginia. the population in my state is one -- 1,850,000 give or take. the drug wholesalers shipped 200 million pain pills to my state of west virginia, 40 million per year. this number doesn't include shipments from the two largest drug wholesalers. every day in our country 51 americans die from opioid abuse. legal prescription drugs. the national drug abuse facts: drug overdose was the leading cause of injury deaths in 2013. among people 25 to 64 years
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old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle carriers. and crashes. there were 41,982 drug overdose deaths in the united states in 2013. of these, 22,767 or 51.8% were related to prescription drug doses. this is legal prescription drugs. drug misuse and abuse caused about 2.5 million emergency department visits, emergency rooms. in 2011. of these more than 1.4 million of these emergency room visits were related to prescription drugs. again, legal prescription drugs. among those emergency visits, 420,000 visits related to opiate and analgesics. nearly two million americans age 12 or older abuse or dependent on opiates in 2013. of the 2.8 million people who
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used the illicit drug for the first time in 2013, 20% began with a nonmedical use of a prescription drug. nonmedical, including pain relievers, drank liesers and stimulants. the united states makes up only 4.6% of the world's population. 4.6%. around 330 million. over seven billion people live on mother earth. we make up less than 5% of the population. yet we consume, the united states of america, we consume 80% of its opiates and 99% of the world's hydrocodone. 99% of the world's hydrocodone. opioid abuse jumped 287% in 11 years. in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers. enough for every american to have a bottle of pills. think about that, enough for every american to have a bottle of opioid pain pills. misuse and abuse of prescription drugs costs the country an estimated $53.4 billion per year
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in lost productivity, medical costs and criminal justice. talk to any law enforcement officers in your hometown, home community, your state, they'll tell you eight out of ten, a minimum of eight out of ten of the crimes that they're report ing are drug induced, eight out of ten usually are drug induced. currently one in ten americans with substance abuse disorder receives treatment. only 10% are receiving treatment. so many people over the years believe, and i was one of them 20 years ago believed if you fool with any type of drugs you're committing a crime, we're going to put you in jail. we put you in jail, we didn't cure anybody. so we better try something different. and it's been proven that addiction is an illness, an illness needs treatment, and there is no treatment. only one in ten could find it. since 1999, we've lost almost 200,000 americans. 200,000 to prescription opioid abuse.
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we lose 200,000 in any other arena and i'll guarantee you we will go into action. we will find a way to stop this. we haven't done a thing about this. in october, president obama came to charleston, west virginia, to talk to people on the front lines of the epidemic. following the visit, he called for emergency funding to combat the opioid crisis. now we have presidential candidates talking about prescription drug abuse. earlier this year secretary clinton was in west virginia talking about ways that we can work together to prevent and treat prescription drug abuse. the f.d.a. began making changes to the way it approves opiate medications. the c.d.c., centers for disease control, released much-needed guidelines for the prescribing opiates for managing chronic pain. we need serious culture change in america, and i mean serious culture change. to get to the root of the problem, we need to change the approval of opioid drugs at the f.d.a. we can't have the food and drug administration that's responsible for us getting products that are supposed to be good for us to consume not
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knowing what the effects may be. and i keep telling them, i say why do you continue to approve new opiates, painkillers coming on the market? why? don't we have enough? and if you do approve something new, don't you think something ought to be removed? rather than just keeping more products on the market. i'm going to read a letter. i read letters because i've always said this is a silent killer. the silent killer of drug abuse, of prescription drug abuse is, if it's in your family we don't want to talk about it. it's my son or my daughter, my mom or my uncle. my aunt. we'll take care of it, keep it within ourselves. it's a silent killer because nobody talks about it. nobody knew what was going on. nobody knew the heartache and all the absolutely devastating tragedies families were going through. they thought they could take care of it because we did not know it was an illness. we did not know it needed treatment. did not have a place to send.
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most families don't have the resources to send them to the treatment centers. they're very, very expensive. so we've asked people to start speaking out. i'm getting letters from all over the country. i'm going to read samantha frazier's letter. they are giving me names now. it used to be anonymous. they want you to know and put a real face with a real name and a real person. i'm going to start by saying i'm not from west virginia. i live in ohio but i felt like i could still share my story with you. my dad's family is from west virginia, and i have seen the devastation of the opiate epidemic there. it's just as bad here in cincinnati and all the suburbs surrounding it. i grew up in mason, ohio, and had a good life. we weren't rich but we weren't poor. my parents did everything they could to take care of me and my brother. i was very involved with the youth group in high school and just an all-around happy person. i went to a christian university and just started drinking a lot. that went on for a few years and by the time i was 21, i started
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using pills recreationally. stupid choice. that was in 2008. and heroin was just starting to creep in everywhere. i used for five years every day. once i staforted, it was like i made a decision i can never quit, that i would use forever. i was such an evil manipulative liar and thief that people couldn't stand to be around me. i ruined every relationship i ever had. finally i got in trouble. i went on a small car chase. stupid, i know. and was booked into jail on 11 charges which resulted in two felonies, and i was sent to monday correction institute in dayton, ohio. it was there that i was taught the skills i needed to survive. i had to dig deep and really figure out who i was and what issues i really needed to, would on. i also received letters from women at church i didn't even know. i corresponded with them over the months. these women made me feel a sense of being, surrounded even though i was in a lockdown
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facility. i spent five months there, got a job, became a manager and ran a pizza restaurant. about ten months after being released, i found out i was pregnant with identical twin boys. i had some complications with my pregnancy and was on bed rest and still dealing with issues. my boys are seven months old now. my boyfriend and i are almost three years clean and we're blessed enough to find someone to rent a house to us. i am currently involved in starting a nonprofit recovery home here in warren county, ohio, called the nest. we will help women after they detox with the recovery home. the other part of my story that i have also watched my family become crippled by this disease of addiction. my brother was using drugs. we couldn't find him help anywhere. waiting lists, insurance co-pays for thousands of dollars, flying to different states, nothing local. he ended up getting in trouble, and he now has a felony also. my aunt already lost one son to heroin overdose and three weeks
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ago we sat in a hospital with her daughter holding her down because she had alcohol poisoning and she was on a breathing machine. the pain, the hurt, i see it in everyone's eyes. i can't imagine what this is like. i look at my boys and pray that i will do everything i can to steer them away. it's in their genes and they have to be careful. my heart is big and i have spent nights crying over this. my friend pete's funeral is next week. he died of heroin overdose. every few weeks someone dies. or they are sent to jail and get no help. get released or go to prison and don't get help. spend their time with other people who don't want to change. they get released eventually and have no skills. everyone is set up for failure. this is affecting every single person in this community, and i know it's like this in so many other places. i hope to hear of a dollar amount attached to the cara act and that there are changes. we need recovery homes rehabs, different laws to encourage
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getting help, helping those in prison to want change to provide a reachable opportunity. it is 100% possible to get clean and i want everyone to know it is possible to share the hope that a successful life is achievable. i have a huge passion to change things and to help that change. i have sent letters, e-mails, web messages to all the congressmen, judges, prosecutors, city of mason, mason police department and warren county. i am doing whatever part i can. this is killing so many young lives and mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, everyone, and they need to change. this is a letter -- and i want to answer this by saying that we are trying. i have a piece of legislation that i have drafted, and this piece of legislation is going to have permanent funding that will go directly to treatment centers, directly 100% to treatment centers around this country, and what it does, it asks to be charged one penny per milligram, one penny per milligram for every opiate produced and sold in ari


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