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tv   U.S. Senate Approves 1.1 Trillion Government Spending Bill 79-18  CSPAN  May 4, 2017 3:29pm-4:33pm EDT

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mrs. capito: p mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: mr. president, i ask that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. capito: mr. president, earlier today the senate voted to pass the omnibus appropriations bill for 2017. this is the hard work that we have done with both parties. i'm encouraged that this legislation funds the government in a responsible way. i'm very pleased and i can't emphasize this enough -- very pleased that the bill includes a bipartisan provision that keeps the promise of lifetime health care benefits for 22,000 coal miners and their families, including 8,500 west virginians in my home state. bankruptcy's in the coal -- in
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the industry meant they would have lost their health care. we passed the extension for four months and it was set to expire this coming week. this appropriations bill provides certainty to these coal mining families. because of this bill, they will keep the health care that they earned through the years of hard work. i worked closely with my west virginia colleague, senator joe manchin, as well as representative mckinley, jenkins and moony to get this coal miner fix in the bill. i particularly want to thank our majority leader mitch mcconnell for his leadership on behalf of the miners in west virginia and his home state of kentucky. i would like to thank my fellow republican senator from the state of ohio, rob portman. most importantly, i would like
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to thank the miners from across coal country who came to washington to advocate for their health care benefits. i met hundreds west virginia miners over the last several years. last september miners came to the -- by the thousands to the west front of the capitol and stood for hours in excruciatingly hot conditions. they put a face on the issue. they are the reason this we have a suctionful result today. many of these miners have shared their stories with me through e-mails and visits. i want to share a few of their thoughts. brenda, a coal miner's widow, wrote that the health care coverage presented a life and death situation. she said i have medical problems that require prescriptions and i will no longer be able to see my
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doctors or afford the prescriptions should the health insurance be taken away. alfred, a retired west virginia coal miner wrote, we were not given the health insurance benefits as a gift. we worked hard in the mines every day for a long time and it was back breaking year to year. howard, another coal miner, wrote he worked in the coal mines for 31 years to earn the benefits. william, a west virginia miner, wrote he had several surgeries including one on new year's day 2017, said that he that the thought of temporary health insurance benefits left him so worried as to whether he could have followup medical care from his surgery. after learning that the health insurance would be included,
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janell wrote she will rest soundly knowing she will be able to pay for her medicine. for the thousands of miners and widows across west virginia and the country, this bill keeps the promise of lifetime health care. there's more work to be done to protect the pension benefits of our retired miners and to bring jobs back to coal country, to that area that was hit hard by the previous administration's policies. but the permanent health care in this bill is a critical victory for our coal mining families and the communities where they live. i would also like toll quote -- i would also like to quote a young man who sent me an e-mail. i met him at a chick fillet -- chick-fil-a on a saturday and we struck up a little friendship and the day he learned this was in the bill, he text police department me and said, senator,
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i met you -- texted me and said, senator, i met you in the restaurant and you have secured the benefits for my p apa. so there are a number of other important priorities in this bill. mining communities will be helped by tens of millions of dollars across different agencies to help retrain mines -- miners who lost their jobs. this will include benefits -- these funds will spur the development of new markets for coal to keep coal mining jobs for years to come. the appropriation bill also includes funding increases for rural broadband deployment, something i have been very concerned about and also continued funding for the appalachian regional commission. this is critical for economic development and improved access
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to health and education opportunities in our rural communities. we are sadly underserved. there is much work to be done, but this bill is a positive step. as chairman of the financial services general government appropriations subcommittee, i'm glad that we included increased funding for drug-free communities program and the high-intensity drug trafficking program. unfortunately, cascading across this country is a devastating problem of prescriptiondrug abuse. the health and human services portion includes a grant to included to fight opioid addiction. this will help states with their response to the crisis. it also gives us a better increase for medley assisted -- medically assisted treatment and for the programs outlined by the
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cara bill. we also have funded important enforcement and prevention aspects of the problem as well. $50 million is provided for the department of veterans' affairs for opioid and substance abuse, for the treatment of our veterans. this is a real problem for our returning veterans0 who have -- veterans who have addiction issues. these are funds to fund the jason sinkowski act. unfor the -- passage of the appropriations bill will make pa big difference for people who are struggling to overcome addiction and help our states who are financially strapped and our local communities combat this terrible problem. another area i think of significance it a lot of people in my state and across the country is an increase in the
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funding for the national institutes of health. there is a $400 million increase for alzheimer's research. something important to me as i lost both my parents who suffered from alzheimer's. this is a terrible disease. we need to not just find treatments, we need to find a cure and i think nih is where we will find it. there are many other reasons to support this bill. it has additional flood relief for the flood areas. i know the presiding officer had major floods in louisiana. we had them in west west and across the -- west virginia and across the country. we have a pay increase for those on the frontlines. the bill works on scientific research, something important to our yifort r university -- the universities in west virginia. i wanted to thank the appropriations committee to get this bill to where we are.
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in is a responsible bill, it's a commonsense bill, it sets our priorities. today the fact that we passed with the -- passed it with the support of both parties, i believe it will achieve a positive result for our country. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. lankford: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: i'd like to ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. lankford: mr. president, it's a busy day. it's -- there's a lot going on in washington, d.c. quite frankly at home, there's a lot going on in families and lives. but today is also a unique day for america as well. it's one day a year that we as a nation have called something called the national day of prayer. it started in 1988 with an
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official day, this day, the first thursday of may. but in the 1950's, harry truman started this process of a national day of prayer. it far precedes that. the nation has a rich and beautiful history in prayer. members of the house and senate as you know open the day every day with a prayer. it's been that way from the very beginning. even the first continental congress on september 7, 1774, opened in prayer. tonight americans will gather in statutory hall in the united states capitol to celebrate the national day of prayer. statutory hall was once the house of representatives. it's where the house gathered. it was also the largest gathering place in washington, d.c. and many churches for years met in statutory hall to be able to prayer. it was the common meeting place. in fact, for a period of time in the early 1800's, four churches a sunday used at that time the house of representatives chamber, what's now known at
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statutory hall as their place of worship. thomas jefferson attended worship there. in fact every president from thomas jefferson all the way to abraham lincoln attended church on sundays in statutory hall which at that time was the house of representatives chamber. interesting fact, i had folks talk about thomas jefferson's statement about the wall of separation between church and state. it was actually in a letter that thomas jefferson wrote saying they would not allow the state to go take over churches, that there would be this wall of separation between church and state. two days after president jefferson wrote that statement, he attended church in the house of representatives chamber on a sunday. even earlier in our constitutional convention in 1787, benjamin franklin stated, in the beginning of this contest with great britain, meaning our revolution, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for divine
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protection. many u.s. presidents have signed proclamations for national prayer since 1789 from george washington all the way to the present. the national day of prayer is a good day for us just to be able to reflect as a nation, to be able to remember well that there are many people of faith in our country that do believe that there's a creator god, and he's made a difference in our own personal lives and he's made a difference in our nation. if we go back to president truman's statement, he said in 1952, the president shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year other than a sunday as a national day of prayer on which the people of the united states may turn in god to prayer and meditation at churches and groups, and as individuals. then as i mentioned in 1988, president reagan even affirmed that. now, i don't think i could find very many americans that would say we're running out of things to pray for.
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debt, anger in the nation, conversation about hard, difficult issues that we face, terrorism, threats of violence from around the world. we're now out of things to prayer -- we're not out of things to prayer for, far from it. but people of faith believe that regardless of the obstacles that we face, there is a god that we can call out to who hears us and who cares about our daily lives. he's not a god that just created and walked away. he is a god who we can know and we feel confident knows and loves us. philipians chapter 4 says do not be anxious about anything but everything by prayer and supply indication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to god. i'm always encouraged when i travel around oklahoma and around the nation, even ran into some people this week who stopped me in the hallway and just said, hey, i want you to know i prayer for -- pray for
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you. i encourage americans to pray for the president, for the vice president, for their cabinets, for the supreme court, members of the senate and of the house, the staff that serve around us and with us that serve people around this country, for our military, first responders, the list could go on and on, of people that set aside their time and their liefs to -- life to be able to serve. it's not an unreasonable request to be able to say pray for them. ask god to continue to protect them. it's amazing to me how many christians i bump into of my own faith who found it easier to complain about government than it is to pray for those in government. i think that's an issue we need to fix. and today's a good day to begin that, this national day of prayer. i remember well for me personally i grew up around a church. my mom drug me to church and i mean it. she made me go. but i remember extremely well
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sitting in the balcony of church one sunday and actually paying attention to our pastor as he was reading through scripture probably for the first time in my life i started actually thinking about this one simple truth. there is a god and i don't know him. couldn't shake that reality. laying in bed late that sunday night by myself, i remember praying possibly for me for the first time in my life actually praying, and i prayed a very simple 8-year-old prayer. my prayer was god, i don't know you but i know i've done things wrong in my life and i need your forgiveness. would you come into my life and take control. it was the beginning point for me, just the most simple of ways for me to begin a relationship with god trusting in his forgiveness and his ability to forgive. i have in my office two paintings that hang. one painting is the hands of a potter at a wheel shaping the
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clay as they choose to. it reminds me of the sovereignty of god and below it as a painting of the same hands sitting at that same wheel -- or sitting at that same bowl holding it but this time the bowl is full of water and there's a towel in it and there are feet around the bowl and it reminds me of the call to serve we have, to be able to serve people in the most humble of ways. it reminds me there is a god and he has called us to task and part of that task is to pray. the national day of prayer is not a mandate from the federal government that all people should pray. far from it. it's just a reminder. it's a reminder for people of faith that choose to pray that this is a good day we could reset to be able to pray for our nation and for our leaders. it's an acknowledgment, quite frankly, that millions of people of faith believe in god and that those individuals believe that god hears our prayers in response on so that we should
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pray. culturally it's fascinating to me to be able to talk to people about prayer. i ran into some people that found it perfectly permissible in times of great struggle and anguish to pray but in times of thanksgiving it seems odd. let me give you a for instance. a couple of years ago a football coach in our country was fired from his job because at the end of a football game he would kneel down after the game was over and thank god for the safety of his players. for that he was released from his job because for some reason americans don't accept prayers of thanksgiving. but at those same football games, if a player was injured and the coaches and players were to kneel down, the crowd would see that as a good sign of respect, that we respect someone who's injured and it's entirely reasonable to pray when there's an injury on the field but maybe not if it's just a prayer of
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thanksgiving. it's an odd season for us as a nation, trying to figure out who we are and what we believe and if americans of faith can live their faith. i would challenge us as a country for those of us that have faith to be able to live our faith with integrity, with consistency and on a national day of prayer like this, to remind our nation that there are millions of people of faith but there are also millions of people that have no faith at all. they're also americans and they're also to be respected because many people are on a journey with god. there are many people that don't practice faith at all today, that consider simple things in their life, their financial house may be in order, their family life may be in order, but their spiritual life remains a vacuum and they're quite frankly trying to figure that out. i'm always interested about the
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stories about abraham lincoln. abraham lincoln in his earliest political campaigns was chastised that he was antifaith or he was secretly an atheist because he never attended church everywhere. he said he had respect for the bible and read the bible and had respect for faith but he just personally didn't practice it. in his earliest campaigns he was really challenged by that and only narrowly won at times. in fact lost some of his campaigns that he attributed to losing those campaigns because people challenged him that he was antifaith. but then we read his words when he was president of the united states. and we find a person that was on a journey with god, that wownts antifaith. he -- wasn't antifaith. he just didn't practice faith. listen to these words in 1863 from president lincoln. proclaimed the national day of prayer as every president before him had and he wrote this. we have been the recipients of the choices bounties of heaven. we have been preserved these
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many years in peace and in prosperity. we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown, but we have forgotten god. we have forgotten the gracious hand that's preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched us and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were by some superior wisdom and by virtue of our own. intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace. too proud to pray to the god that made us. it behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended power to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. it's a man who was on a journey with god, who came to the presidency as a person of no
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faith, and who understand the responsibilities and his heart dramatically changed. it's a good day for us to reflect on this national day of prayer. and i would encourage the nation if they choose to be able to watch and join in or to just quietly be able to pray on your own to remember again that those of us who pray for others should probably spend some time praying for ourselves as well. and at times as we criticize others, we should probably self-evaluate and ask the simple question, do we live the values that we demand of others. it's a good day to pray. later tonight i'll stand in that historic stat toar hall where presidents and members of congress and individuals have prayed for a long time and i'll read daniel chapter 9 to the group which reads now, god, hear
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the prayers and petitions of your servant for your sake. look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. give here, o god and hear us. it's similar prayers. as members of the house and senate and staff quietly find places in this building to pray. it's not a bad idea for the nation to join us. hear, o god, our prayer. we need your help. with that, mr. president, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: i note the absence
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of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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afees quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. 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 appointment at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 158 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 158 recognizing the cultural and historical significance of the sink demayo holiday. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection the senate shall proceed. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the motion be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so for the
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information of all senators, the comeback votes on monday night are on confirmation of heather wilson to be secretary of the air force and cloture on the nomination of scott gottleib to head the f.d.a. then we plan to move on to u.s. trade representative robert light hizer as well last week. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today it adjourn till friday, may 5, at 12:00 noon for pro forma session only with no business being conducted. i further ask when the senate adjourns on friday, may 5, it next convene at 2:00 p.m. monday, may 8. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks the senate resume executive session as under the
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previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator tester. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank the majority leader. i rise today to remember the life of a journalist, a husband, a father, a community leader, a guy by the name of don donwell. he was known for his thoughtful interviewing style, his creative story telling, his ability to connect with the thousands of viewers would entrusted him to deliver the news to them. it was common to find don teaching and mentoring young reporters about the ins and outs of journalism. he believed fiercely in the free press and the strong ethics that
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we require to be a trusted source of information. he never took his platform for granted and he used it to make montana and this nation a better place. outside the newsroom, he was a proud father to john working hard etch day to ensure his son had every opportunity possible. don was immensely proud of his wife mary anne who chartered her own path as a public servant. today we remember the life and legacy of don and aim to follow in his ever-fervent footsteps. don was 82 when he passed. he was bitten by a bug that made him look much younger than that, but he was a fine man and a good friend. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
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