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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  November 30, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

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i as one who suffers from one of those diseases can tell you the more you learn from one you can help in another. i want to commend senator alexander in his effort to bring that forward so we have a neurological disease registry that works, we have an expedited review process for drugs for rare cancers for children and so that we do the things we need to do to cure the bad diseases of the 20th century so the lives of people in the 21st century are better and better and better. chairman chairman alexander is a unique individual, a great leader in health and education and labor and pensions in this senate and we passed this bill as a trademark to him next week. it'll be in large measure because in his belief if you give everybody a chance to be a part on the same team, whether democrat, republican, rich, poor, northerner, southerner, they'll do the right thing for the american people. senator lamar alexander deserves ash credit and appreciation. i thank him for allowing me as a member of the committee to work on the 21st century cures legislation. if i can, i had a like to
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separate my remarks for one second in the "congressional record" and pay tribute to a great american and great georgian who passed away last week in atlanta. the city of wilson, wyoming, and atlanta, georgia, losts a great american. carl noblak was a personal friend of mine and a unique inspiration to me and many others. he was a gentleman that went to hill school, then harvard, then yale. was a leading intercollegial fencer and one an international medal for his intercollegiate fencing ability. he went into business and his first business was a drive-in theater. his second business was an oil and gas business in africa. he went on to build businesses all across the united states dealing with natural resources, gas, oil. he was a specialist in taking companies that were failing and
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turning them around. he believed that everybody that helped him succeed ought to have equity in the products they succeeded in. when he turned the company around, they pr profited. that's a great leader of business. he also was a great subscriber to roosevelt's great statement which he made as president of the united states. "the nation behaves well if treats the natural resources it has as its assets and passes them to future generations. therefore, a great american businessman carl noblak formed the nonlak foundation and directed it towards saving the natural resorrieses of the united states of america. whether it is our oceans, beachfront, whatever it was, what he could save and conserve our assets, he d he put most of his lifelong earnings into that.
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he and his wife were great friends of my family. we'll miss hem dearly. i know america is a better country today because of carl. the environment is safer in america because of carl and the united states of america has lost a great patriot and a great friend. i pay tribute to my friend, carl noblak of wilson, wyoming, and atlanta, georgia. with that, i yield back the floor and note 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 south carolina. mr. graham: you'd like unanimous consent to terminate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. graham: thank you very much. aid like to address the body for just a moment. senator mccain is on his way. we're talking about a problem we're trying to solve that's an important problem for our nation as a whole, and i think eventually for all of those who serve our nation abroad. recently we passed a bill 99-1 dish can't remember the number -- that would allow victims of the 9/11 attack to bring a lawsuit under a claim act, basically against a foreign entity, a government for any complicity they may have had in the 9/11 attack. so i want people to understand basically here's the deal. sovereign immunity exists for us. it exists for sovereign governments. but it's waived if you get hurt by a federal government employee, even though sovereign immunity is available to the united states government, we've federal tort claim act where you can bring a claim. if a postal truck hit you, you
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can bring a claim. the same is true if you're in new york or washington and somebody drives driving a car working for a foreign government hits you, you can actually bring a lawsuit. there's a tort committed against you or your family by a foreign entity, you can see. what about terrorism? we're not talking about car wrecks. we're not talking about slip-and-falls. we're talking about something that nobody really thought of when they created the exception to foreign immunity. that is an act of terror. so here's what senator mccain and i come out. we want 9/11 families and other people who may be victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to take their perpetrator to court. what we don't want is our government or any other government sued for a
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discretionary planning function, an exercise of sovereignty in the normal course of business. let me tell why this is important. we're using drones all over the world to go after terrorists. we went inside pakistan to kill bin laden. sometimes these drone attacks are designed to kill terrorists and, unfortunately, civilians are injured and sometimes killed. the united states is not intentionally trying to kill these civilians. we're not joining with the terrorist organization to kill innocent people. we're actually exercising national security discretion and you don't want countries who are involved in making political decisions to defend themselves to be exposed in court. so what we've done to amend the law that was passed overwhelmingly is to create a caveat to the law. you can see a foreign state for
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torturous acts, but when it comes to terrorism, when a terrorist entity takes innocent lives, the only time you can sue that country is that the foreign state knowingly engaged in the financing or sponsorship of terrorism whether directly or indirectly. now, why is that important? that protects us as we go throughout the world trying to kill terrorists who are trying to kill us all, and sometimes we hit innocent people. it protects the united states in its efforts to defend itself in a very dangerous world. we don't want to be sued under those circumstances. we try to do right by innocent people. we don't want to expose the federal government or its employees to be hauled into foreign courts or international tribunals to be accused of war crimes. so we're trying to work with
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senator schumer and senator cornyn, who deserve a lot of credit for trying to help the 9/11 families. here's what we're asking. we're asking that we put a caveat to the law which just passed saying that you can bring a lawsuit, but if you're suing based on a discretionary function of a government to form an alliance with somebody or to make a myrtle decision or a -- a military decision or a political decision, the only time that government is liable is if they knowingly engage i with a terrorist organization directly or indirectly, including financing. i am okay with that because our country is not going to fall in league with terrorists and finance them to hurt other people. if we don't make this change, here's what i fear. that other countries will pass laws like this, and they will say that the united states is liable for engaging in drone
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attacks or other activity in the war of terror -- war on terror and haul us into court as a nation and haul the people that we give the responsibility to defend the nation into foreign courts. the fix is not the following: the statutes say that military members and could i officers -- and c.i.a. officers can never be sued or held liable. that won't work. i don't want any nation state, including ours, to be sued for a discretionary act unless that discretionary act encompasses knowingly engaging in the financing or sponsorship of terrorism whether directly or indirectly. you cannot fix this problem without making this change, and here's the problem. every time a drone is launched, every time americans going in harm's way, every time a
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diplomat edg engages in activity aprod, we are subjecting them on the one hand z and our nation -- we are subjecting them and our nation to lawsuits and potential imprisonment. we need to fix this. because if we don't gis fix thit will come back to haunt us. the right to sue exists. but when it comes to a discretionary act like launching a drone, the only way a country can be sued when terrorism is involved is if you can prove the country knowingly engaged in supporting that terrorist network directly or indirectly. that fixes the problem that we face as a nation. that would send a signal to the world that we're not opening a pandora's box. it would allow the 9/11 families to move forward but their burden would have to be that any government they sue knowingly engage.
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ed. i think this is the right compromise. if we don't change the law along the lines i've just indicated, we're going to create a new class of virnlings those who serve on foreign shores under the banner of the united states and that's not helping the 9/11 families. i hope these negotiations will bear fruit and we can get this fixed this year. if not, senator mccain and i will introduce legislation along the lines i've described next year and we're not going to stop until we have this problem fixed because it's a real problem for people serving the united states in real time. senator mccain. mr. mccain: well, let me thank my colleague -- the presiding officer: the senator arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with the senator from south carolina. officer withou the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: my friend is correct. he and i were both members of this body the day that 9/11
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attacks took place, as we fled the capitol and watched the pentagon and, of course, none of us will ever forget the horror and terror of that day. nor will we ever in our commitment to making sure the families of of those who sacrificed their lives and were wantonly murder on that terrible day are not adequately compensated in every possible way fou for the tragedy -- for h we can never fully repay them. but it is a reality and none of us will ever forget it. but that does not mean -- that cannot mean that we would endorse legislation that would hold the government of a nation responsible for an act that was committed from that country. we know today, as we speak, in iraq, in mosul there are weapons factories; there are chemical
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weapons factories designed to attack different places in the world. if there is an attack from mosul and lives are lost and, of course, the government of iraq doesn't know anything about it, is the government of iraq, i would ask my friend, now liable, held responsible for the actions of terrorists within their country? without them knowing that those activities are taking place? there are terrorist organizations in many nations, unfortunately, throughout the world, as al qaeda has metastasized and terrorism has spread throughout the regions. and acts of terror committed and innocent people are killed every single day. does that mean that the governments of those countries are to be held responsible? i think the answer obviously is no. so what we are doing with this
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well-intentioned legislation, which all of us are supportive of, but what we do not intend and should not intend is to hold a foreign government responsible for actions that were taken by terrorists or terrorist organizations. we know that some of those who committed the attacks on 9/11 were saudi citizens, but that does not necessarily mean then that the saudi government is responsible for the actions of terrorists. and unfortunately, this legislation does not define that. that's why it's so important, there are several aspects of this legislation that need to be fixed, but the most important aspect is the phrase that says that this nation has to knowingly assist a terrorist group. knowingly. and if you can prove that any
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government was behind a terrorist attack on the united states of america, that government of that nation should be held responsible. those who are injured or harmed should be compensated in every possible way. but to hold a nation's government responsible for acts of terror that were taken by individuals or organizations within that country without them even knowing about it, then that opens up a pandora's box of incredible proportions. for example, is the government of saudi arabia responsible for the acts that took place on 9/11? is the government of other middle eastern, citizens from other middle eastern nations or organizations that exist within, for example, i use again iraq and other countries
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where terrorist organizations exist -- and there are many, libya another example. the government of libya is not responsible for acts of terror committed by terrorist organizations that exist and are functioning today within libya. so all the senator from south carolina and i are saying here is we do not in any way want to prevent the families and the loved ones and those who have suffered so much agony and pain over this horrendous and horrific attack that took place on 9/11. in fact, i'm proud of our record of support for everything we could possibly do for those families. but we are going to invoke the law of unintended consequences. for example, if we are going to sue -- if a nation that has significant investments in the united states of america,
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whether it be in the stock market or investments in many ways, and that country knows that it is going to be sued and possibly have its assets frozen frozen, any thinking government is going to withdraw those assets so that they cannot be frozen as the court proceedings went on. that's just a small example. the other example here is my friends, our middle eastern friends doubt us. they doubt us because when the red line was crossed and we said we would act and we didn't, they doubt us when they see the rise of terrorist organizations and al qaeda and isis and their spread, they doubt our commitment. so if they believe -- if they believe that because of the actions of organization or citizens from within their country are going to be brought
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to court and prosecuted and sued for damages and held liable, i think that obviously their course of action would be to withdraw. we don't want our friends to withdraw from the united states of america. nor do we want to see long-drawn-out legal cases which frankly don't benefit them nearly as much as a trial lawyers. so the changes that senator graham and i are proposing, i think, are modest. and i think that logically, that you should not pursue or prosecute a government that did not knowingly -- the word isn't abetted or orchestrated, but knowingly -- knowingly stand by and assist a terrorist group
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that they shouldn't be dragged into our courts. if we don't fix it, our ability to defend ourselves would be undermined. and i just want to emphasize one more point that the senator from south carolina made. we have had drone strikes in many places in the world, in many countries in the world. pakistan is another example. and all of us have supported the efforts, and many of them successful, in destroying those leaders who were responsible for the deaths of american servicemen and women. and it is a weapon in the war against terror. but sometimes, as in war, mistakes are made and innocent civilians were killed along with those terrorists. does that mean -- does that mean that the united states of america government is now liable? i'm afraid that some in the tort profession would view this as an
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opening to bring suits against the united states of america. in fact, we are already hearing that that is being contemplated in some places. so i hope -- so i hope that senator schumer and senator cornyn will look at these concerns that we and our friends, especially in the middle east have and make these very, very modest modifications which are modest in nature but of the most significant impact. mr. graham: if i could add to senator mccain. the language we're talking about putting back into the statute was originally there. somebody took the discretionary function language out of the original bill. i guess a lot of of us missed it. and the more you think about what we're trying to do, we're trying to make sure that a foreign government who intentionally engages in acts of terrorism are held liable at every level in the courts, in the courts of public opinion, and could suffer reprisals from
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the united states. let's go back to libya. the lockerbie bombing. it is clear to me the libyan government orchestrated the downing of that aircraft and evidence over time was developed and there was lawsuits brought. i think qadhafi's people did that. but right now libya is just a mess. whatever government they have can't be held responsible for what isil is doing inside of libya unless they knowingly aided -- knowingly engaged in the financing and sponsorship of terrorism. so here's the point. we're supporting the y.p.g. kurds in syria to help destroy isil. they're a kurdish group who are sort of the ideological cousins to the p.k.k. inside turkey who are defined by turkey and most everybody else as a terrorist organization. i support trying to get the y.p.g. kurds to help us destroy isil with some reservations but i don't want that help to expose us if for some reason
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unbeknownst to us they fall in league with the p.k.k. and attack somebody in turkey. we didn't knowingly do that. we're trying to sign them up a discretionary function to get allies to go after isil. i don't want to be responsible for anything they may do in the future unless we were knowingly part of it. so here's what i want to tell senator schumer and cornyn. i appreciate what you've done on behalf 9/11 families. this was the original language that i think needs to be put in because here's where we stand right now. we're opening ourselves up as a nation to lawsuits all over the world. it will be not enough in this statute to exempt soldiers and c.i.a. operatives because down the road another country may not do that. once you expose yourself to liability, who can be sued is in the hands of another country. what i want to do is let the united states be clear in two areas. to any country who engages in acts of terror against us,
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we're coming after you not just through the courts but hopefully militarily. but to our allies and people around the world who are having to make hard decisions like saudi arabia and yemen, trying to form alliances to deal with houthis sponsored by iran, we don't want to open up pandora's box that when a country has to make alliances with people like we're doing with the kurds that we own everything they do. it has to be for liability to attach knowing. so in the case of 9/11, if the saudi arabian government knowingly engaged in the financing of sponsorship of terrorism, whether direct or indirectly, they could be held liable under the law we just passed. if you adopt our language. without our language, there is no knowing requirement. that's not fair to them. that's not smart for us. and we need to get this fixed while we still have time because as i speak, people are engaged
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in combat, diplomacy, the dark art of espionage all over the world. and if we don't fix this, we're going to create a new class of victims. we're going to put people at risk of being captured, killed, tortured, imprisoned abroad. that doesn't help the 9/11 families. the war started there. it's still very much going on. and as we try to make sure that we look backward to address the wrongs of the past and help the 9/11 families, which we should, we also owe it to those who are in the fight today not to unnecessarily expose them. and if you want allies, which we desperately need, we need to think long and hard about the exposure they have here at home because we could be in the same boat over there. so all we're saying to any ally of the united states, you can't be sued in the united states for an act of terrorism unless you
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knowingly were involved, and the same applies to us in your country. mr. mccain: because it could be interpreted that someone from that country or someone in that country that committed an act of terror, therefore, the government of that country is held responsible. that is not right. that is not what this should be all about. and certainly there are a number of government sponsors of terrorism, but the people who are affected by the -- the governments that are affected by this legislation are also not worthy, or not necessarily and certainly they will react in a rather negative fashion. and we will be opening a pandora's box, which we will have to close with great difficulty and certainly with great regret. mr. president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. a senator: thank you mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. a senator: i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mrs. fischer: thank you. i rise to recognize admiral cecil c. haney as commander of u.s. strategic command and his upcoming retirement from the united states navy. admiral haney has been an exemplary officer and he has been an outstanding leader. over the course of his 38-year career in the navy, he has made countless sacrifices for our country. i commend his service. the sacrifices of his family, including his wife, bonnie, daughter elizabeth, and two sons, thomas and joey. and i express our great appreciation for his leadership and devotion toll our nation's -- to our nation's security. i first met admiral haney in 2013 when he was nominated to succeed general calor as the
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commander. over the past three years it's been my great pleasure to work with him, and i'm grateful for his wise counsel and his firm resolve to always do what is best for our nation and for the men and women that he leads. secretary carter has pointed out on many occasions that our nuclear forces remain the bedrock of our nation's security, and as the commander of u.s. strategic command, admiral haney spent the last three years ensuring that this bedrock remain strong. every day our nation relies on its nuclear forces to deter strategic attack on the united states and our allies. admiral haney has ably led the forwards that comprise our nuclear deterrent as they perform this highest priority mission. he has also been a strong advocate for the modernization
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of our aging nuclear infrastructure. no small task in the time of capped budgets. his ability to work closely with members of congress and his cleareyed assessments such as the statement he delivered to the armed services committee last year that there is no margin to absorb risk in our plans to modernize our nuclear enterprise. those helped maintain congressional consensus on the importance of following through with those modernization commitments. admiral haney has also shown strong leadership and provided valuable advocacy with respect to the other capabilities for which the command is responsible. for example, he led the effort to establish the joint interagency combined space separations center which will become a crucial command and control node ensuring our nation
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has the ability to protect and defend critical national space infrastructure. admiral haney's selection as commander of u.s. strategic command was a fitting cap stone to a career of service that never strayed far from the nuclear mission. he began his career in 1978 as a distinguished graduate from the u.s. naval academy. rising quickly through the navy, he went on to command the u.s.s. honolulu, submarine squadron one, submarine group two, and become the director of the submarine warfare division and naval warfare integration group. in 2010 he became the deputy commander of u.s. strategic command after which he served as commander of the u.s. pacific fleet. in each role admiral haney has set a strong example for those under his command by faithfully
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discharging his duties with professionalism and dedication. mr. president, with nearly four decades of dedicated service to our nation, admiral haney deserves our most heartfelt gratitude and praise. so i thank the admiral and wish him the best and also the best to his family. thank you, 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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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i ask the controller be vitiated. mr. president, it was armando vallarez, dissident and poet who was imprisoned for 22 years under the castro regime who so powerfully observed in his memoir, my response to those who still try to justify castro's tyranny, with the excuse that he has built schools and hospitals is this -- stalin, hitler and pinochet also built schools and hospitals, and like castro, they also tortured and assassinated
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opponents. they built concentration and extermination camps and eradicated all liberties, committing the worst crimes against humanity. mr. president, this week we witnessed a powerful moment for people all across the country, and especially for cuban americans like myself. cuba's long-time oppressive dictator fidel castro is dead. let me be absolutely clear. we're not mourning the death of some revolutionary romantic or a distinguished statesman. we're not grieving for the protector of peace or a judicious steward of his people. today we are thankful. we are thankful that a man who has imprisoned and tortured and degraded the lives of so many is
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no longer with us. he is departed for warmer climes. this brutal dictator is dead, and i would like to pay tribute to the millions who have suffered at the hands of the castro regime. we remember them, and we honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the totalitarian communist dictatorship imposed on cuba. and yet at the same time, it seems the race is on to see which world leader can most fulsomely praise fidel castro's legacy while delicately averting their eyes from his less than savory characteristics. two duly elected leaders of democracies who should know better, canadian prime minister jiewfn trudeau and american
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president barack obama -- have been leading the way. mr. trudeau praised castro as a -- quote -- larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century, and a -- quote -- legendary revolutionary orator who -- quote -- made significant improvements in the education and health care on his island nation. tell that to the people in the prisons. tell that to the people who have been tortured and murdered by fidel castro. mr. obama likewise offered his -- quote -- condolences to the cuban people and blandly suggested that history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure. now he added we can -- quote -- look to the future. what is it about young leftists?
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what is it about young socialists, that they idolize communist dictators who torture and murder people? fidel castro and che go -- guevara and all of their goons are not the sexy revolutionaries in college dorm rooms on posters that make leftists go all tingly inside. they were brutal monsters, and we should always remember their victims. earlier this week, i publicly called that no united states official should attend castro's funeral until and unless his brother raul releases the political prisoners. first and foremost, those who have been detained just since fidel's death. unfortunately in this administration, my call went
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unheeded. two high-level u.s. government officials attended fidel's memorial service yesterday. this unofficial delegation included ben rose, assistant to the president, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, and jeffrey delaroches, a top u.s. diplomat -- the top u.s. diplomat in cuba. yesterday, when asked about a u.s. presence for the memorial service, white house press secretary josh earnest said -- quote -- "we believe this was an appropriate way for the united states to show our commitment to the ongoing future-oriented relationship with the cuban people." and -- "this is an appropriate way to show respect to participate in the events that are planned for this evening while also acknowledging some of the differences that remain between our two countries." i'm afraid i must ask mr. ernest
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were any of these -- quote -- differences publicly acknowledged while rose and delaurentes were commemorating the legacy of fidel castro? how exactly do you commemorate it? cheers to the tyrant? i suspect those, quote, differences were not mentioned in the funeral pamphlet. mr. ernest also claimed last night that -- quote -- no one from the white house and no other delegations will be sent to cuba to participate in any of the other events. well, that's comforting. mr. president, my hope and prayer is that these officials do not attend the funeral, although i must say it's quite convenient that rhodes had a preplanned trip to cuba this week.
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"mr. roads has played a leading role in crafting the policy that president obama announced about two years ago and that he has been the principal interlocutor with the cuban government from the white house in crafting this policy and embleming it successfully." well, i suppose it is appropriate that the federal government official who played an integral role in allowing billions of dollars to flow to could you boo, to flow directly to raoul and fidel castro, be there to commemorate castro's death. billions of dollars that have gone to strengthen the oppressive machinery, to strengthen the regime f an american company wants to hire a cuban worker, they can't do it. instead, you must hire the government. there is one and only one person you can hire. the foreign companies pay the
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cuban government and the cuban government in its ben leaf lens keeps -- benevolence keeps 90 cents of every dollar. 93 cents of every dollar, the billions that barack obama has funneled to castro, have gone to the government of raul castro and fidel castro to fund the secret police to fund the prisons, to fund the torture or our diplomatic brigade pats themselves on the back as to what enlightened diplomats they are. the life and legacy of fidel castro no cause for celebration or commemoration. his contributions consist of a ruined country and a broken people. cuba is almost like the land that time forgot. you can go and see cars from the 1950's. meticulously maintained, held together almost with rubber
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bands and chewing gum. it is not that the citizens there have a fondness for antiquities. that is the repressive communist economy has trapped them, has mired them in poverty where 1950's cars are all they've got. for the last -- where the last six years didn't happen other than the jackboot of the oppressive police state. i'll point out on this issue, i'm not a disinterested observer. my own family's experience has been acute. my father born and raised in cuba. fought in the revolution, initially believed in the principles of freedom that he thought the revolution was about, fought against batista, a cruel dictator, and was tortured and imprisoned by batista's police state. and then my aunt, my tiasonia,
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younger than my fathers stayed there and suddenly discovered that the revolution was based on a lie. the kids discovered instead an even worse tyrant than that who preceded him, a communist dictator who would line up dissidents and shoot them. my tiasonia participated in the counterrevolution. she fought against the castro tyranny, and i'll till tell you, when she was a high school girl, she and her two best friends were arrested, thrown in prison by the castro regime. and like her brother, she faced terrible treatment in a cuban prison. what they did in cuban jails to teenaged girls should not happen to anyone. this is the legendary figure that trudeau and obama
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celebrate. the night that the news broke that castro had died, i received a text from my cousin bebe, someone who i grew up with like a sister. she texted me, she said, fidel castro is dead. i am glad that i was able to make that call to let my mother know. i imagine when bibi called my tiasonia, it was an extraordinarily call. my aunt was asleep at the time. and bibi sent me a second text. "i can help to think about all the conversations at the dinner table with aulo and auwela, my grandparents, about the day that castro died." millions of texts like that that
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people sent all over the world, especially in the cuban-american community. people have dreamed for years, for decades about the day this dityrant would die and face eternal judgment. the betrayal, brutality, the violence experienced by my father, by my aunt were all too typical of the millions of cubans who have suffered under the castro regime over the last six decades. this is not the stuff of cold war history that can be swept under the rug sumly because fidel -- simply because fidel is dead. consider, for example, the dissidents farinas and alexander sanchez who came to the united states -- i had the opportunity to sit down and visit with them, interview them both. and they warned me in the summer of 2013 that the castros then on the ropes because of the reduction of venezuelan patronage, were plotting to
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cement their hold on power by pretending to liberalize, in order to get the american economic embargo lifted. their mott model was vladimir ps model, his consolidation of power in russia. sang chez called it untaistmo. and their plan was to get the dwriews pay for it. sadly you it worked. a year after i met with mr. sanchez, mr. obama announced his famous -- quote -- "thaw" with the cass strohs and the american dollar started flowing. as we now know, there was no corresponding political liberalization. simply american dollars funding a brutal dictatorship. last september mr. farinas concluded his 25th hunger strike against the castros' oppression. then there is the case of prominent dissident oswald paya,
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who died in 2012 in a car crash that is widely believed to have orchestrated by the castro regime. his daughter rosa maria has pressed relentlessly for answers on her father's apparent murder. and thus she's become a target herself. just three years after her father's death, the obama administration honored the castros with a new embassy in washington, d.c., and at the launch of that embassy rosa maria tried to attend the state department press conference as an accredited journal, but she was spotted by the cuban delegation who demanded that she be removed if she dare to ask my questions. -- to ask any questions. the americans complied in an act of thuggery more typical of
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havana than of washington. what does it say of john kerry and the state department? what did z -- what does it say f the obama administration when their police force says there is a dissident, a journalist who might ask inconvenient questions, will you silence her and muzzle her, the response from the obama administration is only too happy to comply. no inconvenient questions about the apparent murder of your father. we got different priorities. last summer i had the honor to meet with dr. oscar bise, an early truth teller about the disgusting practice of post-birth abortions. i want you to think about that concept for a second. post-birth abortions. otherwise known as the murder of
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infants. that are far too widespread in cuba. dr. biset has been repeatedly jailed and tortured for his fearless opposition to the cass strohs. -- to the skas strohs. -- to the castros. i asked him myself whether his ability to travel, did it stying signal a growing freedom on the island? he answered just as they did three years earlier: no. in fact, he said the oppression had grown worse since the so-called thaw. didn't we realize, he asked me, that all those american dollars were flowing to the castros' pockets and funding the next generation of their police state? that's the true legacy of fidel castro, that he was able to
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institutionalize his dictato dictatorship show that it would survive him. fidel castro's death cannot bring back the thousands of victims, nor can it bring lasting comfort to their families. for 60 years fidel castro systematically exploited and prosed the people of cuba -- and oppressed the people of cuba and now that reign has fallen to his brother raoul, every bit as vicious as fidel was. i was with my father shortly after he found out the news that fidel castro was dead. i asked my dad, what do you think happens now? and my father shrugged and said sadly, not much of anything. raoul has been in power for
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years now. the system has only gotten stronger. what obama has done in funneling billions of dollars to the castros is strengthened tyranny just 90 miles from our shores. and those billions, those american dollars are being used to oppress dissidents. in 2016, roughly 10,000 political arrests occurred in cuba. that's five times as many as occurred in 2010. what does it say about president obama's foreign policy that under him political arrests have increased to 500% where they were just five years ago? this tyrannical regime has gotten stronger because of a weak president and a weak foreign policy.
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and there's a real danger that will now fall into a trap of thinking that fidel's death represents material change in cuba. it does not. the moment to exert maximum pressure would have been eight years ago, when fidel's failing health forced him to pass control to his brother raoul. but rather than leverage the trank significance in our favor, the -- the transition in our favor, the obama administration decided to start negotiations with raoul in the mistaken belief that he would prove more reasonable than his brother, an unfortunate pattern this administration has repeated with jim jong-un, with rouhani and nicholas madur. they don't seem to learn the lesson about the brutality of high tyrants. the administration lifted the embargo that had been exerting economic pressure and having
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real meaningful effect. efforts to be diplomatically polite about fidel's death suggest the administration still hopes that raoul can be brought around. all historical evidence points to the opposite conclusion. raoul is not a different castro. he is his brother's chosen successor who has spent the last eight years implementing his dynastic plan. unlike cuba, however, the united states has an actual democracy, and our recent election suggests there is significant resistance among the american people to the obama administration's pattern of appeasement and weakness towards hostile dictators. we can, we should, and we are sending clear signals that that policy of weakness and appeasement is at an end.
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among other things, we should halt the dangerous -- quote -- "security cooperation" we have begun with the castro regime, which extends to military exercises, counter-narcotics efforts, communities, and navigation. all of which places our sensitive information in the hands of a hostile government that would not hesitate to share it with other enemies from iran to north korea. i hope all my colleagues will join me in calling for these alterations. the communist dictator raul castro is not our friend, and we should not be sharing military secrets in military cooperation with his military only to have those used against us. a dictator is dead, but his
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dark, repressive legacy will not automatically follow him to the grave. change can come to cuba, but only if america learns from history and prevents fiddle's successor -- fidel's successor from playing the same tricks. it is my hope and belief that with a new president coming into office in january, president trump and a new administration, that u.s. foreign policy not just to cuba, but towards our enemies whether they be iran or isis or north korea, will no longer be a policy of weakness and appeasement, but instead using u.s. strength to defend this nation and to press for change. this ought to be a moment where cubans are dancing in the street because they are being liberated. but instead if you dance in the
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street right now, you're going to be thrown in jail. obama is sending his condolences to the cuban people on the passing of a dictator who's imprisoned, tortured and oppressed them for 60 years. you know those are condolences they can do without. cuba is not a free society. you aren't allowed to speak or worship freely. they tear down churches. they repress the most basic liberty to worship god. we need leadership to prompt real and meaningful change in cuba. it was written in a member wore, the -- memoir, the maximum execution was ordered by raul castro and attended by him personally. nor was it an isolated instance. other officers in castro's guerrilla forces shot
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ex-shoulders en masse without a a -- ex-soldiers en masse without a trial, without charges of any kind lodged against them. simply as an act of reprisal against the defeated army. mr. president, i've never been to my father's homeland. i've never been to cuba. my father has not returned to cuba in 60 years, over 60 years. i look forward to one day visiting cuba, hopefully with my dad, my cousin bebe and see a free cuba where people can live according to their beliefs without fear of imprisonment, violence or oppression. but, mr. president, under the
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dictator raul castro, today is not that day. the people of cuba need to know that there are still those in america who understand that and who stand with them. not the corrupt and vicious crime family that has oppressed them for so long, that has enriched themselves, accumulating millions and millions of dollars in personal wealth, living like emperors and kings while they've oppressed the people of cuba. you know, those in hollywood, those in the academy, those in the obama administration, they think that communism is about equality. there is nothing equal about
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cuban communism other than equality of suffering, other than equality of misery, other than equality of hopelessness. the cuban communist regime, the army acts as the enforcers for the dictators who live op lent lifestyles while oppressing the masses. there's a word for that. it's called evil. it's not simply an interesting way to govern a society. it is the face of oppression, the face of dictatorship, the face of evil. let there be no mistake, fidel castro was evil. anyone who systematically murders and tortures and oppresses people for over six
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decades embodies evil. and i have no doubt that right now today fidel castro is facing the ultimate judgment. that is cause for celebration. but i look forward to celebrating the end of his dictatorship and his repressive regime and the return of freedom to cuba. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, our nation's -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call.
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mr. blumenthal: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, our nation's immigration system is broken. there would be scant, if any, disagreement with that proposition in this chamber. indeed, no disagreement among anyone who is familiar with this broken immigration system, and far too often that system is not only broken but violates the essential fundamental values and core conviction of the american people. values that are embodied in our constitution, in the daily ethics that we preach and live about fairness and welcoming people who are different from ourselves, people who have come here to escape persecution in their native land, much as my
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father did in 1935 at the age of 17. he came alone. spoke virtually no interest, had not much more than the shirt on his back and knew virtually no one. that is the way that people still come to this great country, the greatest country in the history of the world. but the immigration system that enabled him to come here is now fraught with strictures and failing and irrational barriers that work against not only the interests of people seeking freedom and opportunity but our national interests, because that interest is best served when we make possible the talents and
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gifts and energy of immigrants. we are a nation of immigrants, and we should be working to reform that immigration system in the national interest. no one exemplifies more poignantly and eloquently the flaws in our present system than young people known as the dreamers. for a while, not that long ago, i resolved that i would come to the floor every week with a photograph of a different dreamer, a dreamer from connecticut, who would demonstrate with a face if not a voice why some relief for our
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dreamers is essential to our national interests. dreamers are members of our society brought to this country as children, some before they even spoke, but now for almost all of them, english is their native language, this nation is the only home they have ever known, they pledge allegiance to the flag in school, at events, with their hand over their heart just as we all do and just as we begin every day the proceedings of this chamber. and many of them know and never talk for granted the gifts of living in the greatest, freest, strongest nation ever to exist on the planet. they know i

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