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tv   U.S. Senate Meets for Legislative Business  CSPAN  May 3, 2017 5:29pm-6:32pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if none, the ayes are 50, the nays are 49. the joint resolution is passed. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair to lay before the body the message to accompany h.r. 244. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate a message from the house. the clerk: resolved, that the house agree to the amendments numbered two and three of the
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senate to the bill h.r. 244 entitled an act to encourage effective voluntary investments, and so forth and for other purposes, and be it further resolved that the house agree to the amendment numbered one of the senate with an amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 244, and i send a cloture motion to the desk on the motion to concur. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 244, an act to encourage effective voluntary investments, and so forth, and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment to
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the senate amendment to h.r. 244 with a further amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, moves to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 244, with an amendment numbered 210. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on a motion to concur with the amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 211 to amend numbered 210. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to refer the house message on h.r. 244 to
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the committee on health, education, labor and pensions with instructions to court back forthwith with an amendment numbered 212. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, moves to refer the message to accompany h.r. 244 to the committee on health, education, labor and pensions, with instructions being amendment numbered 212. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have an amendment to the instructions. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 213 to the instructions of the motion to refer the message to accompany h.r. 244. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
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the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 214 to amendment numbered 213. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, for the information of all senators, the omnibus appropriation bill is now pending. i filed cloture to ensure the senate can pass it and send it to the president for his signature before the end of the week. it is my hope that we can enter into an agreement to vote on the omnibus tomorrow rather than running out the clock into the weekend. i ask consent that following leader remarks on monday, may 8, the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of calendar number 38, the nomination of heather wilson to be secretary of the air force. i further ask that there be four hours of debate on the nomination, equally divided in the usual form, and that following the use or yielding back of time the senate vote on confirmation of the nomination and that if confirmed the senate be immediately notified of the
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senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate now proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions which were submitted earlier today -- s. res. 151, s. res. 152, s. res. 153. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the motions en bloc? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 60. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 60, designating may 5, 2017, as the
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national day of awareness for missing and murdered native women and girls. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and we now may proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m., thursday, may 4. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks the senate resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 244. finally, that at 10:30 a.m. senator young be recognized for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, if there is no further business to come
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before the senate i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senators hatch, white house and more ran. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to discuss the epidemic of suicide, a growing crisis that has devastated millions of families across our nation. over the past eight years the rating of deaths by suicide in our country has tripled. let me repeat that. it has tripled. and the problem is particularly severe among young adults. according to the centers for disease control, for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is now the third-leading cause of death. in other words, more of america's youth dies each year from suicide
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than from cancer, heart disease, aids, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined. and this crisis shows no signs of abating. consider that each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by young people in grades 7 to 12. in my home state of utah, the statistics are particularly alarming. every 14 hours a utahan commits suicide resulting in an average of 630 deaths each year. the problem is so acute in utah now that utah now has the fifth-highest suicide rate in the nation. this troubling trend is particularly pronounced among utah's youth. even though utahans from ages 10 to 17 comprise only 13% of the state population, they
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represent nearly 23% of all suicide attempts. suicide is now the leading cause of death among utah's teenagers. to stem the tide of teenage suicide in utah, i convened a round table discussion in salt lake city last december that included community leaders, health care professionals, high school principals and parents from across the state. there we discussed proven methods to de stigmatize mental illness. we discussed the links between bullying and depression. in the effort to prevent teen suicide, the effect of bullying cannot be overlooked. a recent study in the journal of the american medical association finds that kids who are bullied are more than twice as likely to consider suicide. in my home state of utah, dozens of
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community leaders have drawn attention to the pernicious effects of bullying. foremost among them is dr. greg hudlow, a nationally recognized expert in suicide prevention. dr. hudnaw found between 8% and 12% of all suicides are committed by young people who have been bullied. to discourage bullying and help our teenager suffering most, he has led in the development of hope for utah. hope for utah is a dynamic peer-to-peer program designed to empower students in groups called hope squads. hope squads identify warning signs of depression in teenagers and offer help to those in need. wendy nelson, the principal of utah's syracuse high school recently told me how hope squads have helped
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students at risk of suicide to connect with therapists that the school has made available on a regular basis. the high school has since partnered with a local community health center for help in addressing the need for help in this particular area. and of course the need for mental health professionals in schools. this shortage of mental health counselors is a serious problem not only in utah but in schools across the nation. it's a very, very serious problem. in our december round table discussion, we learned that teen suicide is something schools, parents, and mental health professionals cannot address individually. instead, a continuum of care must exist for each child from the first day of school to graduation. we must all work together to ensure that our children feel safe.
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educators play a vital role in maintaining an infrastructure of support for teenagers struggling with mental illness. because educators are often the first to identify warning signs in vulnerable students, hundreds of teachers in utah receive training in how to identify and respond to these signs. once we know a teen is suffering, parents and mental health professionals can step in to provide ongoing care. then in community partnerships that involve everyone and that focus on evidence-based practices can save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. my main purpose in organizing the round table discussion was to find ways i could help prevent suicide on a national level. increasing access to mental health care has been a fixture of my senate service. nearly 20 years ago i convened the senate finance committee's first hearing dedicated
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to mental health. more recently i focused my legislative efforts on fighting prescription drug abuse, an epidemic that has only accelerated our nation's mental health crisis. i played a leading role in passing the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. i helped draft the 21st century cures act which president obama signed into law in december. both bills take aim at the opioid epidemic that is ravaging entire communities across the nation. as the legislative body, we have set aside partisan differences in recent months to combat the opioid crisis as part of a broader effort to address growing rates of mental illness and death by suicide. but, mr. president, there is more we can do to help. to begin, we need to provide better and more immediate access to counseling and mental health services. this was one of the main
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take-aways from last year's round table discussion. so often we hear that those seeking help are just one positive interaction away from giving life another chance. as utah state senator daniel thatcher said, quote, if you talk to someone, they live. if you connect them to support, they live. unquote. warren lawburton, a utah mother who lost her daughter to suicide said that the day her daughter died she had attempted to make one last call to her therapist and could not get through. well, this is a complex problem with no simple immediate answer. there are steps we can take to help, and today we are taking those critical first steps to prevent future tragedies from taking place. in response to what i learned during the suicide round table in utah, i have joined
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senator joe done -- joe donnelly in introducing the bipartisan hotline improvement act, to make it easy for all ages to get the help and treatment they need when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. the current suicide prevention lifeline system and veterans crisis line are in desperate need of reform. our bill will require the federal communications commission in consultation with the department of health and human services and the department of veterans affairs to study the current national suicide hotline system and make recommendations to congress on how we can improve it. across our great nation there are millions of people, especially young people, who are alone and suffering in the shadows of depression. many of them are bombarded by suicidal thoughts and have no idea where to turn for help.
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to make matters worse, the national suicide hotline number, 1-800-273-talk is not an intuitive or easy number to remember, particularly for those experiencing a mental health emergency. fortunately, the success of the 9-1-1 emergency system provides a model for addressing this problem. my bill will require the federal communications commission to recommend an easy-to-remember three-digit number for the national suicide prevention hotline. i believe that by making the national suicide prevention lifeline system more user-friendly and accessible, we can save thousands of lives by helping people find the help they need when they need it most. and introducing this legislation, i wish to thank my fellow utahan, congressman chris stewart. congressman stewart has
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been an invaluable partner in offering some of the most important measures of this bill. additionally, i would like to thank the american foundation for suicide prevention. i also wish to express my appreciation for the support we have recruited or received from utah's state legislature. utah's attorney general, the utah department of health services, as well as several groups from the law enforcement community. mr. president, this proposal transcends party lines and stands to save thousands of lives. we cannot delay this effort to prevent suicide. and so i call on my colleagues of both the house and senate to act quickly to pass this bill. your support for this legislation represents your commitment to preventing future tragedies. i ask all of you today, regardless of your party
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affiliation, to cosponsor this legislation. in doing so, you can help us help those who need our help the most. there is absolutely no time to lose. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator withhold his request? mr. hatch: i withhold that request, yes. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, i come to the floor this evening to talk about winter storms that hit kansas and surrounding states over the weekend, destroying crops and killing livestock. we face many challenges, and the senator from utah just described a
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serious circumstance for many people in this country. and i applaud his efforts to try to find a solution. the challenges that we face in kansas after this weekend is another vivid reminder of the difficulties that each day our farm families and ranchers face trying to produce a crop or raise cattle. a farm family's economic situation can change in a moment's notice. what happened over the weekend was 17, 18, 20 inches of snow, high winds, with devastating blizzard and that was preceded by temperatures into the 20's and the consequence to the wheat crop is dramatic. a weekend weather event like this is often just an inconvenience for most people. however, it's the difference between having a crop to harvest or having nothing to sell. it's the difference between earning a living and not earning a living.
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it's the difference between staying on the farm or ranch and not being able to. while the extent of the damage is being assessed, and we don't know exactly what that will be, it's clear that many wheat producers will likely have lost their entire crop. we have br 7.5 million acres of wheat planted in kansas, and many of those acres, perhaps up to half, were harshly impacted by the snowstorm and winter conditions. having a bountiful production is important for farmers,, the price of wheat and corn are historically low. while the overall farm income, as a result of that, has been cut in half since 2013, manies -- many kansas producers were able to overcome that because of high yields, yet the
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number of bushels that these producers will have to sell now as a rul of these -- as a result of these storms is clearly in question. we need -- with low prices we need high yields and large har visit and we won't have that. those from ag states talk about crop insurance and farm programs for producers, and this storm reminds us the importance of that safety net. a farmer who lost an entire wheat crop over a weekend cannot continue to farm without crop insurance to help cover the losses. these farmers in kansas would either go out of business or require ad hoc disaster assistance, something that used to happen during my earlier days in congress. every time there was a snowstorm, freeze, or doubt that devastated a crop, congress was asked to provide ad hoc disaster assistance to make up for

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