tv U.S. Senate Approves 1.1 Trillion Government Spending Bill 79-18 CSPAN May 4, 2017 9:29am-11:30am EDT
candidate debate we have. >> -- the kind of debate we have. >> i need to work hard on non-united states policies. i don't know the answer. >> you know what this session was about. join in thinking robert. [applause] >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable-television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in to start their day.
one item on the calendar, h.r. 244, the o omnibus fiscal year 2017 federal spending bill. the measure which provides $1.1 trillion in government funding was approved by the house yesterday by a vote of 309-118. the senate must pass the measure by friday at midnight eastern pass the measure by friday at midnight eastern to avoid a government shutdown. now live to the senate floor on c-span2.
the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's prayer will be offered by chaplain patrick conray. conroy. the house chaplain: let us pray. eternal lord god, we are astounded by the bountiful flow of your blessings. we thank you for the gift of this day that we receive from your generous bounty. inspire our lawmakers to use these precious hours and minutes for your glory. help them to understand that when they have an awareness of the brevity of their days on earth, it will provide them with hearts of wisdom. bless also and strengthen the many staffers who provide the wind beneath the wings of our leaders. we pray in your holy name. amen.
the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 4, 2017. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable dean heller, a senator from the state of nevada, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the
leadership time is is reserved under the previous order, the senate will consider -- the clerk: an act to encourage effective voluntary investments and so forth and for other purposes. mr. blunt: mr. president, i want to talk for a few minutes about the business before the senate today. first i want to talk about what's happening at the white house today. president trump is expected to sign an executive order to protect religious freedom. many times during the last year the president has talked about his commitment and our commitment as a nation to religious freedom, but i expect that today he'll lay down specifically by executive order the policy of this administration to protect and to vigorously promote religious
liberty, not to vigorously promote religion but to vigoro vigorously promote religious ledbetter. reports are that the president will tell the i.r.s. that you can't look at churches and what they say and challenge their not-for-profit status just simply because of what that pastor or that rabbi or that iman believes in the message and how they live out their faith. it also tells federal agencies to stop forcing religious agencies to pay fines if they don't want to pay certain health care provisions that don't constrict with their views. we saw that in the third circuit the attorney general's office had said we want 60 more days for all of these pending cases
on this very matter and in the letter that senator strange and i sent to our former colleague, the attorney general, we're just pointing tout him that the president repeatedly said as a candidate for president that this sort of continued taking religious organizations to court who simply want the ability to practice their faith is going to stop -- has got to stop, and we hope it stops and we hope it stops now. lastly, i think this order has the potential to either be more specific or to really instruct the attorney general to look throughout the agencies of government and issue guidance so that in all of those agencies as they go about the work that they do, that one of the things that they want to be sure they're doing is promoting religious liberty; that religious organizations that have traditionally are hoping in the
future to be delivery services for adoption, delivery services for addiction, delivery services for other problems that people face would continue to have the ability to be competing to provide those services. we know that hasn't happened over the last several months. people that have had -- religious groups that have had contracts for a long time and the availability to provide those services even when they scored the highest on the scoring of the competitive bids for these contracts were not given the contracts because they were faith-based. well, if there's any country in the world that has understood the importance of religious liberty, it's been us. you know, religious freedom is the first amendment, the first freedom in the first amendment to the constitution, the first right in the bill of rights, and i don't believe that's by accident. no other country in the history of the world ever committed
itself to religious freedom as our country did from the very first weeks of the government under the constitution. no country ever held this as a principle tenet of what they would stand for as a country prior to the united states doing that. you know, we might recall how we come to the place today where the president has to issue an executive order protecting religious freedom. in 1993 president clinton signed into law the religious freedom restoration act, and that act really affirmed that the federal government shouldn't infringe on individual religious beliefs unless there was an overriding public purpose to do so. and if in fact you did have to infringe on somebody's religious beliefs because of that overriding public purpose, if you could justify that there was one, that you should really only
interfere with it in the least intrusive way; that you should do the minimum necessary to meet whatever that greater public need might be. it's unbelievable to me that groups like the little sisters of the poor or christian colleges or other groups that are traditionally providing services are suddenly having to find themselves in court defending who they are and who they hope to be. the order issued today would finally provide that relief in a case like the little sisters of the poor who i think their stated purpose, mr. president, as i've looked a few monthsing a at their stated purpose, the stated purpose for the little sisters of the poor was to receive older people without means, regardless of their faith, and treat them like they were jesus christ. now, that doesn't sound like a group that the federal government would have to crack down on, but the federal
government in recent years decided in fact you should make this group -- you should force this group to do things that violate their faith principles. there is no possible greater good to be accomplished by that. and hopefully this executive order makes it clear today that that harassment of religious groups is going to stop, that the religious freedom restoration act principles are still principles in our country and, more importantly, the first amendment is still a principle, a founding principle in our country. there's no question in any american's mind, i think, that the united states government should do everything in its power to defend and protect religious freedom. whether you are a person of faith or a person of no faith at all, you should be able to pursue those beliefs. when jefferson was asked in the
last years -- year of his presidency of our freedoms which freedom is most important, he said the right of conscience is the freedom that we should most vigorously defend. the right to believe what we believe and pursue what we believe, further defininged over years by if there are times when that creates a true hazard to others, others have a right to come in and explain that and the government has a right to see what can be done about that and still maintain in every way possible the essence of belief that people have. so i commend the president for the action that he is reported to be taking later today. i continue to be not only supportive of the president's view that religious freedom is a critical tenet of who we are but also look forward to working with his administration as they further put this executive order
into place throughout the agencies of government. mr. president, i'd also like to speak for a few minutes while i'm here about the bill before the senate today. i think the fact that we're moving forward with an update on how we spend our money and a prioritization of how we spend our money is incredibly important. i would have been and would be, if somehow we failed to do our job today, very disappointed if we think that the priorities of a year ago have to be the exact same priorities today. now, many of them will be the same but many of them won't, so awful these appropriating -- so all of these appropriates committees that have worked together have come together through a process where we will have 12 bills o, not debated as intensively on the bill as i
would have liked, but 12 bills where republicans and democrats came together and said, what should our priorities be? in the committee that i chair, the labor and education and health and human services committee, dollar-wise, after you take defense off the table -- that's the biggest of the committees and in some ways has the most challenging debates as to where we wind up in these areas -- but i think we've made good choices that hopefully can be improved on next year. but i'm absolutely confident are better than last year. and it's really important, mr. president, for the people who we work for to understand that we had to make choices. very little difference in the money that was spent -- that will be spent this year and the money that was spent last year, but there is a difference in priorities. i think in the labor, education, health and human services committee, we've either eliminated or consolidated in a
dramatic way 28 programs so that we could find that money and use it for what we now believe to be a better purpose. one of those better purposes would be the -- an increase for the second year in a row and the second year in the last 14 years in health research at the national institutes of health. 12 years with no increase at all, and now two back-to-back years trying to get us back to the research buying power we were at 12 years ago. and, again, programs that weren't performing, many of them wound up with a zero appropriation in both of these last two years so that the n.i.h. appropriations could increase. at a time when we're looking at precision medicine, when we're looking at immunotherapy, when we no longer look at cancer as just cancer and throw everything you want to throw at it but
instead look at the individual cancer. and where we're at a moment where you can look at the individual cancer and the individual patient and figure out how that patient has unique potential to fight that cancer in their body, to look at things that may not be required from people in cancer and other diseases and think, if we could figure out which people need this procedure and which people don't, not only do you not pay for the procedure for people who don't need it, but also people don't go through the physical challenge of procedures they don't need. alzheimer's -- one of the growing concerns in american families today, right up there now with cancer as one of the thinking that people -- as one of the things that people worry about in the future -- if we could reduce the on-set of alzheimer's by an average of five years, we'd be spenting almost 50% less in 2050 than we
will be otherwise. and the 2050 spending of tax dollars on alzheimer's care will overwhelm the budget, but research commitments can do something about that. the labor, health and human services bill puts us back to where in the school year that begins next fall we'll be back to year-round pell. what's year-round pell opposed to what we have now? right now we have two semesters where you can qualify for the pell grant. pell grant is given based on income and need. if you qualify for full pell, mr. president, i believe in your state and i know in my state, there is no community college where full pell doesn't pay for all tuition, all books, all fees if you're at that level of need where you qualify for the full pell grant. you have other things you have to worry about to sustain yourself, but school, paying for
school is not one of them. and if you're an adult going back to school, if you're someone paying for your own school with your own effort, if you're the first person in your family you hope to graduate from school, anything that disrupts whatever pattern you're in minimizes the chances that you achieve your goal. so if you have got things working in the fall and the spring and you can also stay in a summer term, not only do you get done quicker but you don't disrupt the pattern you found yourself in. for eight years now, we haven't had year-round pell. this vote we will take today allows that to happen, and it will make a big difference. it will also make a difference when you're in a program where you're being prepared to do a job that's uniquely available or available in your community. it's pretty hard to explain why, well, we could do this and we have got ways to pay for it up through the fall and spring, but
by the summer, we just have to take a break. that's not a very easy thing to explain to an employer who has come to your community because you have that training potential in your community. and the third major allocation of money that had to come from somewhere else is opioid abuse. this bill will increase by 430% our commitment on this issue, and it's not because we had $650 million in new dollars to spend on opioid abuse. because in many places in our country today, many states in our country, more people die from opioid abuse -- die from overdoses than die from car accidents. it's because many families are destroyed by the addiction to
prescription drugs that leads to other drugs when those prescription drugs can't be available, and, frankly, the abuse of prescription drugs in some cases where they are available. looking at new ways to deal with pain, looking at new ways to deal with this growing problem. in 2014 and 2015, in each of those years, more than a thousand people in missouri died of drug overdoses. if in my state and most states you're a fire department that also has a first responders unit, you're three times more likely to respond to a drug overdose than you are in the average -- in the average fire department than you are to a fire. and so there is a third area where this bill prioritizes what needs to be done. and the individuals with disability act, title 1 charter schools, all those things have a new focus as this bill passes.
the mental health initiatives, rural health care, head start all are benefited by a reprioritization of what happens here, as are veterans' work force issues and job corps issues. mr. president, i think this bill is far from perfect, but it's better than the way we're spending our money today, better than we were spending our money a year and a half ago, and hopefully it won't be quite as good as the way we spend our money starting october 1. so we need to get this work done and get started immediately doing the business of setting priorities, making difficult choices and spending people's money in a way that has a long-term plan to benefit them, their families and our growing economy, and i look forward to that vote later today and then to have, i would hope as i know the majority leader hopes, a
greater effort this year than ever before to get these bills on the floor, to have them fully debated. the best possible thing would be to pass them one at a time, put them on the president's desk one at a time, but the next best thing is to look at the bills and reach individual conclusions about these individual bills, and that's what the bill before us today does, and i urge its passage, mr. president, and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 48, h.r. 534. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 48, h.r. 534, an act to require the secretary of state to take such actions as may be necessary for the united states to rejoin the bureau of international expositions, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the matter? without objection, proceed to the matter. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i further ask that the committee-reported amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended
be read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: thank you. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to thank my friend and colleague from minnesota for working with us on this piece of legislation. people sometimes say that nothing ever gets done around here on a bipartisan basis, and this proves that that's wrong. while this isn't one of the biggest pieces of legislation to come down the pike, it is important because of the importance of state department rejoining the bureau of international expositions and in order to preserve the possibility in my case for houston's world fair bid to be
considered. and i know the senator from minnesota has an interest -- a similar interest in her state, and so it was a pleasure to work with her on it and i'm happy we're able to see this accomplished today. mr. president, if i can speak on another topic, yesterday the house of representatives passed the omnibus appropriations bill. of course this is the legislation that keeps the congress and the government up and running through the end of the fiscal year, the end of september. and actually represents the first demonstration of republicans and democrats in both houses of congress working with the white house in order to pass an important piece of legislation and keep the government up and running through the end of the fiscal year. over the last few weeks we've had many productive conversations and debates about how best to establish our priorities, how to -- how much
we should spend, particularly my concern about underfunding our military and our national security funding, but also to update our priorities because that's one of the things that happens in an appropriations bill when programs are obsolete or ineffective, there's no way to eliminate those operating under continuing resolutions. so it takes a positive piece of legislation like an appropriations bill, like this appropriations bill to eliminate those obsolete or no longer effective programs. i'm hopeful that once we pass this bill and after the president signs it, we'll continue to plot a course toward a long-term strategic budget that reflects the priorities of the american people. i firmly believe that we were elected to govern, not to shut down the government. that's an abdication, in my view, of our responsibilities. so i hope we'll continue to go
alone now after we've been able to accomplish this bicameral negotiation with the white house and we'll continue to govern and demonstrate our sense of responsibility to the american people for doing just that. this omnibus package includes a good blueprint for how we can order our priorities and take care of our country. yesterday i mentioned the increases in resource to better shore up border security. this is the largest increase in border security funding in ten years. that's a significant accomplishment. this funding will help the department of homeland security hire more border patrol agents and customs officials, to improve the infrastructure at our ports of entry and checkpoints and hire more immigration judges to process more immigration cases. it also increases funding for our troops fighting abroad and for our military in general, and
includes a pay raise for member in member -- member men and women e military, particularly an all volunteer military and one stressed by 15 years of conflict around the world. but this bill also takes a more strategic look at the threats we're facing, including resources to shore up technology and equipment that will help our military stay number one. after years of putting military improvements and readiness on the back burner, actually cutting defense spending by 20% during the two terms of president obama, this bill is a solid first step toward regaining our readiness and maintaining a capable and modern military. while i never will doubt the american people responding or our military responding to the needs or the threats to our security, i think we don't want to be roused out of our
complacency by a crisis occurring somewhere in the world, whether it's north korea, syria, ukraine, crimea or elsewhere. we want to be ready on day one, and some of that readiness has seriously been called into question by some of our lack of prioritizing defense spending and military readiness generally. in addition to those two important topics, many across the country have been impacted by severe weather, including violent storms and tornadoes. of course texas has been a part of that sad story. several in texas have lost their lives due to these storms and the flooding caused by them. of course we mourn for those who have lost loved ones and those who have been injured, but we have to do more than just grieve for them. we have to help them as well. this omnibus bill includes funding for previously approved
disaster relief which will help communities in texas and throughout the country rebuild and recover following a natural disaster. this legislation also includes money to help reduce the, reduce the rape kit backlog. this is a topic that maybe most people aren't all that familiar with, but years ago we passed something called the debbie smith d.n.a. backlog reduction act, named for an heroic woman, debbie smith, who championed the use of forensic evidence and the tracing of d.n.a. samples in order to solve sexual assault cases. the amazing thing about this great technology and d.n.a. testing is it's enormously powerful. so even as long as 20 years later we've had rape kits taken out of evidence lockers at law enforcement agencies and tested and it comes up with a hit on
the f.b.i.'s data base, which is the purpose of the testing. it also has the power to exonerate people who are perhaps falsely accused by excluding them scientifically from the possibility of being the assailant in a given case. so it's really important for us to fund important programs like the debbie smith d.n.a. backlog reduction act. i know at one point there was an estimate there were 400,000 untested rape kits in america. and the problem was we didn't really know how many there were because some of them were sitting, as i indicated earlier, in police evidence lockers, others sitting in a laboratory and not tested. the question arose when the identity of the assailant was known, what purpose could be served by testing a rape kit, which is not inexpensive? but what we found is that of course the assailant, even if
identified in a present case, is very likely having been engaged in a course of conduct or certainly assaults, and it helps us solve not only the present case but also other cases as well, some of them very old. that is important so that criminals can be brought to justice. this bill also funds the national space administration, nasa. it funds a federal study for gulf coast protection project and active shooter training for first responders, all priorities important to my home state of texas. this legislation also represents changes in washington since november. it's the first major piece of bipartisan legislation negotiated with the new trump administration. instead of pushing more regulations and rules that cripple our economy and disregarding the needs of our military and the stark realities at the border, this legislation begins to steer our country in a
better direction. i know that any piece of legislation is imperfect and perhaps the best definition of a negotiation is that both sides are dissatisfied because nobody gets everything they want. but i look forward to voting for this legislation because, again, i believe that we were elected last november 8 to govern, not to abdicate those responsibilities or somehow engage in the shutdown narrative which i don't think serves anyone well, certainly not the american people. so i look forward to voting on this legislation and encourage all of our colleagues to do the same. mr. president, i yield the floor and i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. flake are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. flake: i ask that it be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: those of us in this body need to ensure that federal immigration laws secure our borders from criminal and terrorist threats and facilitate effective interior enforcement to keep citizens safe. at the same time, our laws must also promote a system of legal immigration that encourages economic growth and opportunity, especially in border communities like those in my home state of arizona. but while we debate these policies here in the senate, local police officers and sheriffs around the country are serving on the front lines of
immigration enforcement. these men and women put their lives on the line every time they go out on patrol. for them, immigration policy is not a hypothetical exercise. it's part of the day-to-day -- or day-to-day and day in and day out reality of serving in law enforcement. and throughout the country local officers increasingly find themselves coming in contact with individuals who, after being apprehended for the commission of a crime, are determined to be in the country illegally. this is especially common in border states like arizona. once it is determined that an individual in their custody is in the country illegally, that information is relaid to immigration and customs enforcement, or i.c.e. i.c.e. can then send a request to local officials with instructions to hold that individual for up to 48 hours so that they can be transferred to
federal custody. this is called a detainer request. the partnership between law enforcement authorities at all levels of government leverages vital information and resources in order to keep dangerous criminals off of the streets, and the federal government has no better partners in this effort than state and local law enforcement agencies from arizona. but despite the critical role that these entities play in assisting their federal partners with immigration enforcement, current federal policy leaves them exposed with the cost of litigation. that's because third party groups have threatened local agencies that choose to comply with valid retainer requests. they are threatened with lawsuits. using punitive legal action to punish law enforcement for good-faith efforts to keep people safe is simply wrong. we can have this policy debate without jeopardizing public
safety and the ability of local law enforcement officers to do their job. that's why i'm introducing the support local law enforcement detainer indemnity act. this bill will require the department of homeland security to protect state and local law enforcement entities from lawsuits that uphold valid detainer requests from i.c.e. now, this is called indemnification, and it would allow officers to fulfill their law enforcement responsibilities without second-guessing whether or not to keep potentially dangerous criminal aliens in custody. mr. president, reforming our nation's immigration policies is no easy task. let me tell you, it is slow, frustrating work here in the senate. but as we continue the debate, local law enforcement shouldn't be left to shoulder the burden as a result of washington's failure to secure our borders and implement a workable enforcement policy. i urge my colleagues to support
this commonsense legislation and that will give state and local law enforcement the knowledge that the federal government mass their passage of the i also want to thank local sheriffs across the state of arizona who are really shouldering this burden and who came to me with this issue. they want to keep their communities safe. they want to do what's right. it pains them tomorrow have to release someone that they know is dangerous, but they can't expose themselves and their counties to the litigation that would come if something like this legislation is not put in place. so this is a response to a very real problem out there. i want to thank those like that i remember riff dannels, sheriff clark of navajo county, sheriff
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana is recognized. mr. young: mr. president, today i rise to speak -- the presiding officer: we need consent to dispense with the quorum call, please. without objection. and under the previous order, the senator from indiana will be recognized for up to 20 minutes. mr. young: thank you. mr. president, today i rise to speak from the floor of this proud chamber for the first time. my message today is at once a warning and an invitation. dear colleagues, as our senate grows increasingly more partisan and we move further and further away from the practical governance that our founding fathers espoused, and so today i'd like to talk about the principle of the common good in the hopes that this body might be reminded that that is our unifying principle for serving. two hoosiers exemplify this principle of working for the common good that i believe our founding fathers envisioned. governor ed whitcomb who was the
43rd governor from the state of indiana. a hero from world war ii, he twice escaped capture from the japanese by swimming through shark-infested waters at night. ed whitcomb pursued the common good during a time when there was a real rift in indiana's republican party. he successfully led indiana by investing in our state's highways, our mental health services and creating our state's first higher education commission. he bucked his own party frequently when he thought it would help advance the interests of hoosiers. governor whitcomb is regarded by many hoosiers as indiana's most amazing governor. he passed away this past year, and in tribute to his service, republicans and democrats alike acknowledged that ed whitcomb served all hoosiers well. coach john wooden was born and raised in indiana, and he learned to coach basketball there as well before heading west to ucla where he became one
of the most successful basketball coaches of all time. wooden understood the importance of working together as a team. in fact, he acknowledged this principle by saying that ten field horses couldn't pull an empty baby carriage if each of them was working independently of one another. he also said if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, you need a team. these two hoosiers remind us that, colleagues, we're not here to serve ourselves. we're certainly not here to serve our parties. we're here to serve the interests of all americans. can we perpetuate our founders' system for protecting our liberties by vesting power in the american people themselves? our charge is simple, but it won't be easy. for our republican system to endure, we must breathe life back into the notion of the
common good through the relentless application of common sense. now, i don't profess that hoosiers have a monopoly on the common good, but rather than allowing ideological labels to guide our policy-making decisions, we should instead be guided by what we in indiana call hoosier common sense. it's the notion we should be guided by facts, that we're open to change, to new ideas, regardless of ideology, when presented with results. the common good. i happen to know from personal experience that any young boy or girl who grows up in indiana has a keen sense of the thing. i was raised in a place where neighbor cared for neighbor. this is the common good in practice. i lived among people of character who made others' concerns their own concerns. this is the common good. i have benefited from the
selfless contribution of americans who invested their own time, their own attention, their own resources and talents into helping their fellow americans. this is the common good. i came to know rank-and-file citizens who quietly took the initiative to care for the forgotten hoosiers who needed a hand up. this is the common good. with respect, my colleagues, i note this outline of the common good with fully satisfy any ordinary hoosier. it would probably satisfy most ordinary americans. but sadly, in our modern politics, sometimes our most stubborn partisans resist even the most self-evident truths. and so forgive me, as i must demonstrate that what works in practice also works in theory. i will borrow from 18th century english statesman and political theorist edmund burke,
for it was burke who brightly illuminated this notion of the common good. burke argued that the common good can only exist where the rule of law exists, and rule of law, properly understood, requires a shared allegiance by which people entrust their collective destiny to others who can speak and decide in their name. this, said burke, is a partnership, a partnership between the living, the dead and the unborn. the common good requires compromise. it requires cooperation. burke noted that individuals aren't simply a compendium of human wants and individual happiness isn't realized by satisfying those wants. no, our happiness is linked to one another's happiness. so, colleagues, our purpose, our
duty in both our private and public capacities is to preserve a social order which addresses the needs of generations past, present and future. this is our duty, our duty. in the marine corps, i learned something about duty and practice. marine leaders of, frankly, every rank teach through the power of their example that every marine has a duty to serve a cause greater than themselves. marines learn to venerate sacrifice for the greater good. we're trained to refrain from self-indulgent behavior, to check our egos at the door, and to never let ambition interfere with judgment. for marines, our comrades' lives, our country's future depends on embracing uncomfortable facts and then i
am improvising, adapting and overcoming those facts, together. of course, in the marines, there's no red state, there's no blue state. every marine fights for red, white, and blue. and marines don't have the luxury of clinging to false doctrines, failed practices. neither do we. every day our men and women who wear the uniform, regardless of rank, they take up arms to provide for the common defense, come what may. so, colleagues, if we are to help them keep this republic, we, too, must remain open to fact-based conversations, to new information and to new, better approaches. now, look, i understand this is not the united states marine corps. we senators are issued pens. we're issued microphones, not
rifeless. -- not rifles. but nonetheless, like the marines, we should be working toward common goals. we should be trying to advance a common mission. after all, we, too, are trustees of the common good. now, please don't misunderstand me. as a marine, i like a good fight as much as the next guy. but let's resolve wherever possible to fight together, because i know most assuredly, we're fighting for the same people and we're typically fighting towards the same ends. i'm fighting for steve, a self-employed laborer from indianapolis. steve is in his 50's. he hasn't seen his take-home pay increase in decades. colleagues, you're fighting for steve, too. i'm fighting for whitney. a high school student from gary. whitney doesn't come from money, and she worries about the future. she is a hardworking student who
helps her family how she can through a part-time job, but whitney doesn't know how she is going to pay for her college education. colleagues, you're fighting for whitney, too. i'm fighting for david, an army helicopter mechanic from evansville who spent 15 years in the uniform. of course, david's exhausted by countless overseas deployments, and he prays his family will find relief from the stresses and strains of an overstretched force. colleagues, you're fighting for david, too. i'm fighting for carrie, a single mother of three young children from payole. carrie is addicted to opioids. her aging mother tries to make a bad situation better, but she is fearful the family won't find a way out of the crisis. colleagues, you're fighting for carrie, too.
i'm fighting for sherman, a trucker from fort wayne. sherman's quickly approaching retirement, and he's done what he can to put away a small nest egg, but in a few years, he and his wife are going to be dependent on social security and medicare to make ends meet. colleagues, you're fighting for sherman, too. i'm fighting for bob, a single father of two boys from south bend. bob has been able to pull together various forms of public assistance to -- to make it through life for he and his family, but you know what? bob wants a better life for himself and his boys. i hope we're all fighting for bob. i hope we're fighting for every single american. so let's resolve to fight for these people. let's renew our vow to fight for them more than we fight with one another. let's come together to grow our
economy by simplifying our tax code and reducing the burden of federal regulations. i ask you, colleagues, to join me in supporting the rains act which i championed in the house of representatives. let every proposed major regulation come before this body for an up-or-down vote before it can take effect, and then let the american people hold us accountable when those regulations kill jobs or constrain personal incomes. let's come together, colleagues, to help americans acquire the skills they need to meaningfully participate in this 21st century economy. if we cooperate, we can develop new solutions for financing higher education that liberate students from avoidable student debt like income share agreements. i.s.a.'s keep score with outcomes so people aren't punished if they have low incomes or are unemployed.
colleagues, let's come together to better serve the poor, the vulnerable, those striefers on on -- strivers on the margins of society. my legislation passed unanimously out of the house of representatives last congress. this congress, the senate should come together to pass it as well. we should allow private investors to provide operating capital to those social service providers around the country who have shown that they have the proven capacity to achieve measurable improvements to chronic social problems like homelessness and long-term unemployment. if targeted improvements are achieved, lives are improved, government money is saved, and we can pay back the initial investors plus a modest return on investment. colleagues, let's come together to restore confidence in our nation's foreign policy and to protect our men and women in
uniform. while we rebuild our military. let's ensure we're optimizing every instrument of national power. i know the american people won't tolerate wasteful or ineffective foreign aid expenditures, but they will continue to support investments in smart, effective diplomacy. so let's work with this administration to reform the state department and foreign bodies like the united nations. earlier, colleagues, i spoke of a former republican governor of indiana, ed whitcomb, but there was another whitcomb who served our state well. james whitcomb, a democrat governor, who also went to serve in this body before his passing. james whitcomb made his mark as governor by saving the state from insolvency, by establishing institutions for the physically
and the mentally handicapped, and by standing up our first system of common schools. but even more impressive to me is his dedication to those hoosiers who fought on behalf of our country in the mexican war. with indiana's budget broke and our credit in shambles, whitcomb took out personal loans to purchase arms and to send these hoosiers out in service of our nation. two whitcombs, one republican, one democrat, who served our state and our nation for the common good. in closing, colleagues, allow me to acknowledge that folks in your state probably feel a lot like those in indiana. they're frustrated by our failure, the failure of our federal government to live up to the high expectations that each of us has for other pillars of our
public life, our businesses, our not-for-profits, our churches, our state governments and so on. where good old hoosier common sense seems to enforce our work in those areas, here in washington too often common sense is crowded out by stale partisan battles and unyielding ideological biases. and so, colleagues, our charge, our duty is to advance the common good by identifying common goals and then using common sense to further those goals. in spite of our principal disagreements let's disagree without questioning one another's motives. let us dare to be principled in our believes but pragmatic in advancing those beliefs. let us adapt to new realities.
let us have the courage to change our minds. let us put results over rhetoric. let us find practical solutions to pressing challenges. and let us first and foremost never forget that we are custodians of the common good. my fellow americans, let us rededicate ourselves to remain one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. thank you. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i just want to congratulate senator young on his first major speech here in the senate. it was truly inspirational, and the colleagues who are here on the floor have had an opportunity to listen to a very important speech.
i also want to acknowledge in the chamber a former senator, richard lugar, from indiana, who also was an extraordinary representative of the people of indiana. so i congratulate senator young. mr. donnelly: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: thank you, mr. president. i also want to congratulate my colleague from indiana. he is a terrific partner the theme of his speech of working together and building on hoosier common sense couldn't be more important, couldn't be more timely and couldn't have been presented any better. so i am fortunate to work with such a good partner for our state and for our nation. and both of us have benefited from the wisdom, the advice and the counsel of senator lugar who in our state
has set a benchmark for all of us to aspire to in terms of decency, intelligence, ability, craftsmanship and leadership. and so for a maiden speech, it was an extraordinary effort, a terrific job, and i'm proud to be his partner from indiana. i yield back. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate will soon vote on the government funding bill the house passed yesterday and with it critical resources to address a number of issues facing our country. as i've noted over the course of the week, the bill includes a number of provisions that are important to our country, and today i'd like to take a closer look at the positive impact it can make in the lives of the men and women we represent. our country is suffering from a terrible epidemic, heroin and prescription opioid abuse is destroying
families and communities all across our nation. on average, overdoses from these drugs claim 91 lives every day. 91 lives every day. drug addiction can even devastate the lives of babies before they are born. states like mine have been hit particularly hard by this epidemic. i've heard countless stories from kentuckians who have experienced the heartbreak of addiction firsthand. here's one story that a grandmother from independence, kentucky, shared with my office. my granddaughter is growing up without a father due to this evil drug, she wrote. our children are the future of this country and they deserve all the help and support we can give them. unfortunately, her story is similar to thousands more all across the land. grandparents and other family members are increasingly taking care of children when parents fall into addiction. as too many families have experienced,
addiction can have a long-lasting and damaging effect on children and can be financially challenging for caregivers. a mom in florence, kentucky, contacted my office about her son who is is battling addiction and frequently runs into trouble with the law. there are so many lives lost and so many more headed in that direction, she said. it's an epidemic, not a crime spree. we took decisive action against heroin and opioid abuse last year with passage of the comprehensive addiction and recovery act and the 21st century cures act. but now this bill before us, when we pass that, will provide significant new resources to combat this crisis as well. these critical funds will go to prevention, treatment, enforcement programs that can help our communities heal from this scourge and help keep more families from ever knowing the suffering associated with this epidemic.
now look, there's still more work to do to get the opioid crisis under control, but this funding legislation will take another critical step in the right direction. that's why substance abuse treatment organizations support it, including one louisville group that recently contacted my office in support of the bill. this legislation, in their words, will help enhance the ability of front-line providers to more effectively deploy resources and tackle this epidemic within our communities. that's making a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of the men and women we represent. health care benefits for thousands of retired coal miners were set to expire across the country at the end of this week. men and women who dedicated their lives to providing an affordable and reliable source of energy to this nation would have lost their health care. many of them, when they needed it most. i met with retired coal miners numerous times in my office about this
issue, including one retiree from georgetown who worked as an underground miner for ten years. he suffers from diabetes and heart disease, and his wife is a breast cancer survivor. there's no question whether or not we need our health insurance to continue, he said. without it, we'd probably lose our home, which would be catastrophic, not to mention what might happen to our health care because we could not afford to get coverage for our medicine. these coal miner retirees clearly needed our help, which is why i've been fighting for their health care every step of the way. today i'm proud that using -- that this funding legislation includes my proposal to permanently extend health care benefits for thousands of retirees across the nation and in kentucky. now these coal miners and their families can live with the peace of mind they have been looking for. that's making a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of the men and women we represent.
for too long federal bureaucrats in washington imposed one size fits all educational policies on our children. bureaucrats dictated nationwide policies even though the needs of a student in kentucky are different from those of a student in maine or california. for this reason, we enacted the every student succeeds act education reform law last congress, which sends power back to the states, parents, and teachers. and this funding bill will support its implementation, giving our schools the resources they need to prepare our students. this funding legislation also supports school choice through reauthorization of the d.c. opportunity scholarships program and through increased federal funding for charter schools. both of these school choice provisions will help expand opportunities for parents to send their children to the school that best meets their needs. in my home state of kentucky, the increased support for charter schools will be very important as the new
republican majority in frankfurt passed a charter schools law. yesterday i met with a state representative and advocates who were key to shepherding this legislation into law down in kentucky. i want to thank them for their efforts on behalf of kentucky students and families and i look forward to working with them to support charter schools in kentucky going forward. by funding the implementation of every student succeeds act and supporting school choice across the country, this legislation will help parents and students achieve strong educational outcomes. that's making a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of the men and women we represent. but of course the bill contains other wins for the country as well. it includes the largest border security funding increase in a decade, allowing our country to better support border security agents, enhanced technology and update critical infrastructure down at
the border. it includes important resources to help us begin rebuilding our military, allowing our country to give service members more of the tools they need and fund a much-needed raise for our men and women in uniform. on the military funding, mr. president, we broke out of the year' long insistence by our colleagues on the other side that every increase in defense had to be met by an increase on the domestic side. that's no longer the law. and as i've outlined several times this week, this legislation includes other conservative priorities as well. importantly, it achieves these things while conforming to spending caps and reducing bureaucracy, even consolidating, eliminating or rescinding funds for over 150 government programs and initiatives. so because of hard work from both chambers and both sides of the aisle, we have a funding bill before us that can make many important and
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the time until 1:4y divided in the usual form and at 1:45 the motion to concur be withdrawn and the senate concur on the house amendment 2044. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
the presiding officer: jct -- democratic leader. mr. schumer: the house approved the omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the government through september. the bill is the result of weeks and weeks of bipartisan and the final product reflects the give and take of those negotiations. again, i want to thank the majority for his desire to come
to a good agreement as well as the house leaders and the leadership of the appropriations committees. it's proof to many that washington can work when we work together. in my view, this is a very good bill for the american people. not only does it explicitly preclude funding for an unnecessary border wall, it excludes over 160 poison bill riders, education, and infrastructure. the national institute of health will get an additional $2 billion, part of a cancer moon shot. pell grants will be restored for over one million students. cdbg and tiger will get an increase, the combat of the terrible scourge of opioid will be increased and 99% of the epa's budget was protected and in addition a permanent
extension of minor's health benefit thanks to the hard work of joe manchin and others. funding to shore up puerto rico to help finned its debt. and louisiana and north carolina to recover from natural disasters and it has a very good increase for nasa which i will talk about at the end of my remarks before my colleague from florida speaks about the hard and successful work he has done on the nasa budget. of course, the bill doesn't include all of the things we wanted. it doesn't include all of the things that our republican colleagues p wanted. that is the nature of compromise, but at the end of the day this is an agreement that reflects our basic principles and is something both democrats and republicans should support. the bill shows how bipartisanship in congress should work. both parties negotiating in good
faith in order to find consensus. it passed in the house with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 309 votes. i expect it will receive the senate's approval later today. more broadly, i hope this deal provides a blueprint for future budget negotiations between our two parties here in congress. if the four corners, the senate, the house, democrats, and republicans work as well on the 2018 as on the 2017 budget, we will have a product we can be proud of with no worries of a government shutdown. as the house perhaps to vote on their new version of trumpcare, i want to remind the american people of a few things. we are now on the second major attempt to pass trumpcare. while all of the focus in the media has been on the changes to the bill, we shouldn't forget the bad things that stay in the
underline -- underlying bill. under the new bill, as under the old, trumpcare would mean that premiums go up 20% in the first few years. average costs go up by over $1,500 a year on the middle class. it would mean if you're struggling to make it into the middle class with an income of say around $30,000, your costs could go up by $3,000 or $4,000. insurers could charge older americans fiefl times or more -- five times or more that it charges younger folks. as much as it raises the hackles of the aarp, 54 through 64, this bill makes that worse. it would devastate medicaid, a program covering 68 million americans and that affects poor people in the inner cities, but it also affects people in
nursing homes and the young men and women 45, 50 who have parents in nursing homes are going to have to face an awful choice, more money out of their pockets or their parents will have to find another place to live. it would still mean, worst of all, 20 fewer americans will have health insurance. all those things stay the same. this minor change made by the house at the last minute doesn't change any of those things. the same reason trumpcare won only got the support of 17% of the american people will mean that trumpcare two will have less support and all the while to pay for this -- to pay -- sorry. all the while all these cuts end up with a massive tax break to
the wealthiest americans, those making over $250,000 a year, multimillionaires, billionaires, even insurance executives who make over $500,000 a year get a tax break while middle class and older americans get the short end of the stick. here we are telling average americans they are going to get less coverage, pay more so we can give the multimillionaires a huge tax break. who would be for that? as more and more americans find out, the vote over there is going to be much less popular even than it is today and it's very unpopular today. 17% of americans like the bill. it's hard to get lower than that, but i think, as people learn more and more about this bill, it will get even lower. so the house republicans have added an amendment that makes the bill even more cruel. it would allow states to opt-out
of the requirements to cover folks are preexisting conditions for the services they need. god forbid if you have a preexisting condition and live in a state that doesn't keep the requirement, your only option might be a poorly subsidized high-risk pool. remember the scare tactic used against obamacare, the death panels, they didn't exist in obamacare, but they might in trumpcare. these high-risk pools with long lines, unaffordable coverage are the real death panels. that means an insurance company can charge an older american five times more than the amount under the current bill. it would take us back to the days when insurance companies could price sick people out of insurance and drive older americans to bankruptcy by
charging outlandish rates. that's what house republicans did with the bill to win more votes. it's unfathomable. we don't even know how the large, negative impact of these changes will be because we don't have a c.b.o. score. does anyone imagine this will result in more americans being insured, does anyone imagine it will provide coverage for americans with preerntion? i -- preexisting conditions? i don't think so. that explains why the republicans are rushing this through the house with no hearings, no c.b.o. score, this bill, they don't want the people to see this bill. the house republicans were panicked, if they didn't pass the bill today, their members would go home for two weeks and get beat up by their constituents who hate this bill
and they would back off. 17% of americans -- only 17% approved of trumpcare. the rest of them packed town hall meetings to demand their congress members reject it. they wrote and called, e-mailed, contacted their representatives on social media. it was the voices of average americans who stopped the trumpcare -- the first trumpcare proposal from even receiving a vote. so now republicans are trying to sneak through their second, even worse version, of trumpcare. excuse me. so now republicans are trying to sneak through their second, even worse version, of trumpcare without any debate. maybe it raises costs on working americans more. maybe it doubles the amount of uninsured americans.
the house won't know before voting on the bill. i since -- i sincerely hope that the senate won't mimic the house and try to rush a bill through without hearings or debate or analysis. mr. president, regardless of the process, trumpcare is just a breathtakingly irresponsible piece of legislation that would endanger the health of tens of millions of americans and break the bank for millions more. i don't know what my friends in the house would say to their constituents if they vote for this bill. what would you say to a 56-year-old in your district whose already struggling to balance the cost of medicine and rent and groceries when she has to pay five times as much health care than somebody who is 25 and healthy. what would you say to the mother
in your district whose daughter has cancer and that insurance rates could be raised so high on her family that she couldn't afford to get health insurance for her daughter and would have to watch her suffer, the agony a parent would go through. what do you say to that mother? i don't know how any of my republican colleagues here in the senate -- if we get this bill and now in the house -- can explain why they voted to rip away people's health care. if there were a hippocratic oath for congress, do no harm, trumpcare would never come up for a vote. it harms the american people in so many ways. it doesn't have to be this way. republicans could drop these efforts for repeal, drop these attempts which are undermining our health care system and causing insurers to flee the
marketplace and work with democrats. our door is open. i would make one final plea to my republican friends in the house. i know they rarely listen to senate leaders, especially democratic ones, but this is an issue where so much is at stake, i hope they forget party labels at the moment. i ask them to do what representatives should do, something very simple, think about your constituents, consult your congress -- your conscience before you vote for this bill. i believe if they truly do and consider what every independent expert and medical association is saying about this bill and what it will mean for our health care system, they'll come to the right conclusion and vote no today. now, on one nienl nish -- on one final issue, seeing my friend from florida about to take the floor, i would like to yield to him for a moment. but before i do, i want to recognize his outstanding efforts in securing additional funding in the appropriations bill for nasa.
nasa had actually been targeted for certain cuts by the trump administration in their budget that would have nixed the program to send a mission to a moon of jupiter, but thanks to the advocacy of senator nelson, nasa will get an increase of $368 million, enough to fund the mission. i know this is dear to his heart. he was the first member of the thousands to serve on a nasa mission aboard the space shuttle columbia. he has a passion for and deep knowledge of our space program. there is no one in the senate who has done more for it than bill nelson. he's worked hard ever since he's gotten to the senate and has had great, great success. once again he's had a success here today. his constituents in florida and all americans should be grateful that bill is a real leader on
both these issues, in our caucus and in the whole senate. with that i yield to my friend, the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, of course many, many thanks to the leader for his kind remarks, but also since the final bill was negotiated by the big four, the two leaders in the senate and the two leaders in the house, and it wasn't going to happen this way unless the leaders all agreed so my thanks, my profound thanks on behalf of the explorers and the adventurers of the united states, the can-do little agency nasa that is now on the way to mars on behalf of all of that nasa family, i want to thank the leaders and
especially the democratic leader and thanks personally for his very kind comments. now, i want to say that we have approached the nasa bill in a bipartisan way. as a matter of fact, i give great credit to both the chairs and the ranking members in the house science committee as well as the subcommittee in appropriations in the house that handles nasa appropriations. all of those leaders were absolutely key, and of course the same thing is true here in the senate. i have the privilege of sharing the leadership as the ranking member with our chairman john thune of the commerce committee. it was the subcommittee of which
that subcommittee chairman and ranking member as well as the subcommittee in the appropriations committee, the chairman and the ranking who we will hear from momentarily. and all of them, i am very grateful. and what it says is that nasa, america's civilian space program, should not be a partisan subject. what it says is that the leaders of nasa should not be partisans. as a matter of fact, they should even be more than bipartisans. they should be nonpartisans. and that has been their tradition of nasa so like the secretary of defense, you
consider that appointment nonpartisan. so, too, we consider the administrative nasa a nonpartisan. i think in this interim with the acting administrative nasa, that they're conducting themselves in a very significant way keeping all of the advancements that they have done now to be accelerated with this appropriations bill. i want to congratulate the whole nasa team. and it has been my argument to the vice president and to the president that in the selection of the next leader of nasa, that they need to again do it in a nonpartisan way so that we can keep us going for this human mission that is going to the planet mars in the decade of the 2030's. now, with the increase in nasa
funding, we now stand on the precipice of a new golden age of exmore ration -- exploration and discovery. in march of this year, several of us were at the white house when the president signed the nasa thore -- authorization bill. and what we had worked on for the better part of two years keeps nasa on a steady course with a balanced and ambitious mix of science, technology, and exploration initiatives and let's don't forget that the first a in nasa is aeronautics. it keeps all of that moving forward. so this additional $368 million of funding for nasa gives that little agency the ability to
build off of the momentum that is already there. so, for example, one of the things in the white house, and i have commended him both privately and publicly, the vice president, he is bringing about the reestablishment of the national space council. i shared with him that all of us look forward to working with him and the council to develop and carry out the ambitious civil commercial, and national security space agenda for this country. so the 1 $19.65 billion appropriation for nasa coupled with the nasa authorization bill that we already passed a month or two ago demonstrates our firm
commitment to one day putting humans on mars and permanently expanding our civilization out into the cosmos. we will soon have a regular cadence of missions that are launching to deep space using the space launch system, the largest rocket ever, a third more powerful than the saturn five rocket that took us to the moon. its spacecraft orion and other systems that will be assembled and launched and a lot of that being done at florida's space coast. the first rockets and spacecraft that will start the journey are being assembled right now at various sites across the country. and right now the space launch
system, the s.l.s. rocket, the orion spacecraft that sits on top of it, and the launch infrastructure at cape canaveral or more specifically the kennedy space center are all in the most challenging stage of their development. these complex systems are all very intertwined and it's vital that we make sure that nasa has the funding flexibility it needs to address issues as they come up so they can bring about these systems together for the launch in early 2019 of the largest rocket ever. we've asked nasa to look for new ways to expand commercial space activities in earth orbit, and
we're providing nasa the tools and direction it needs to expand our commercial space activity. and we're on a track to begin launching astronauts to the international space station on american rockets commercially made and that's going to start next year. people don't realize they thought the space shuttle was being shut down in 2011. they thought that was the end of the space program. no, no. all of is being developed aside from the robotic missions that have been gee whiz, the rovers on mars, all the pictures of the cosmos, i mean, it's just unbelievable. next year we're going to launch the hubble to replace the hubble space telescope which has peered back into the beginning of time. we're going to look back almost
to the beginning of time with the james webb telescope, and all of this is strengthening a flourishing u.s. space industry, especially in the areas where nasa centers are located arrange the country. and what's happening at the kennedy space center is it's being transformed into a commercial as well as government space port into a busy, busy civil military and commercial space port. so this appropriations budget allows us to continue all of this going on at the same time. we're going to put up gee whiz things like the wide fuel
infrared survey telescope and also additional mars rovers, the rovers that are up there show that mars at one point was warm and wet, and we're going to find out was there life there and if it was, was it developed and if it was, was it civilized, and if it was, what happened. these are lingering questions as we peer up into the night sky that we wonder. the funding included in this budget deal moves us ever closer to answering that burning question, are we alone in the universe. and this budget better helps us
understand our own planet by funding nasa's earth science program as well as funding aeronautics and education programs for our youth. and so the investments that we as a country make in our space program pay immediate dividends in our quality of life right here on earth. and, of course, the space program creates thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs for skilled workers to build the machines that help us explore the heavens. and jobs for the researchers to understand and interpret what we discover, and jobs for the engineers and the entrepreneurs to develop the new technologies so these public investments also stimulate complimentary
investments of private capital and the thousands of jobs that follow from that. and those are companies that will partner with nasa. so, again, i want to thank our colleagues in both the house and the senate for their continued support of our space program. in this time when we find ourselves far too divided in our politics, the exploration of space continues to be a powerful force that brings us together into our search as we explore the universe. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i call on -- comment my colleague from florida on articulating this powerful vision for humankind, that is, the ability to look into the night sky and
ponder the mysteries of the universe, the mysteries of life in the most complete way. america has led this scientific adventure, this scientific journey, and we must continue to be at the lead of this journey for all the reasons he's laid out today. so thank you for your -- i say thank you to my colleague from florida for leading congress in pursuing and advocating for this vision and developing the instruments on the ground and the instruments in space that will advance our knowledge. i rise to speak about a different vision, the vision articulated in our constitution, those first three words of our constitution, we the people. this vision of a nation founded on the principle of a government that would serve not the privileged, not the powerful, not the few, not