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tv   LIVE U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 3, 2017 2:15pm-6:27pm EDT

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>> thank you, leader. well, this is a difficult week for the country, obviously, with what happened in las vegas. we continue to see through all these horrible stories some of the very best of america come to the surface as well. i know we all want to keep, continue to keep them in our prayers. victims are sharing stories of their loved ones, and this is a process that's going to take a while for us to heal from. but as the leader said, we're continuing to work here on the issues that are important to our economy and to our country. one of which is tax reform. and, you know, we rolled out a framework last week that delivers tax relief to hard working american families through lower rates, through doubling of the standard deduction and through expansion of the child tax credit. it focuses on making our businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, allowing them to compete and win against other countries like china and
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russia and some of our other toughest competitors around the world. when our businesses compete and win, it means better paying jobs here at home, higher wages, bigger paychecks for americans. and so we're going to continue to keep focused on tax reform that delivers tax relief to hard working american families and that creates greater growth in our economy, better paying jobs and higher wages for people in this country. >> and the focus, of course, of tax reform is to improve the quality of life for american families. and you do that by lowering individual tax rates so people get to keep more of their hard-earned money. you also do it by lowering corporate rates so that businesses can have more money to pay higher wages and to increase the activities of those businesses. additionally, there is a lot of money in u.s. companies that is still sitting overseas that we'd like to get back here, but the tax code makes it a lot harder because those companies are
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taxed twice; once in the country where the profit is made and then, second, when they bring that money back to the united states. we are one of the few countries in the world that tax businesses that do business overseas that way. to the point there are now about $2.6 trillion sitting overseas that should be back in the united states. this is a problem that needs to be fixed. we need to level this out in a way that businesses in the united states pay tax one place, not two times, not overseas and then again when they bring it back to the united states. the bet's by doing that we can make sure there's more money in the country for higher wages, for more opportunities, to continue making our economy stronger, healthier, increase prosperity and increase paychecks for hard working families. >> thank you. the last time we passed major tax reform i had just returned from sixth grade camp, and i
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believe top gun was everyone's favorite movie at the box office. and all of my friends wants an atari 7800 for christmas. if that doesn't let you know the last time we did tax reform, i don't know what will. let me talk about some of these figures. americans spend six bill hours a year complying -- billion hours a year complying with our tax code. that's about $263 billion of cost to our economy or also the entire gdp of new zealand just to comply with our taxes. it's time we put forth a competitive tax plan, grow middle class jobs and wages and create opportunities for the american people. [inaudible conversations] >> could you support a ban on equipment that's used to turn semiautomatic weapons into automatic weapons? >> look, the investigation's not even been completed, and i think it's premature to be discussing legislative solutions if there are any. [inaudible conversations]
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>> when we have these mass shootings, democrats talk about different things they would like to have done. why do you think that they fail repeatedly are? they don't control the house and senate floors, but why that is in your mind -- [inaudible] resonated with people, they might -- >> yeah. i think it's particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this. it just happened within the last day and a half. it's entirely premature to be discussing about legislative solutions, if any. [inaudible conversations] >> mr. leader, bump stocks, should they be legal? >> as i said, we're in the middle -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> we're in the middle of the investigation. we'll see what that reveals. and at the end of that would be an appropriate time to discuss it. in the meantime, our priority is on tax reform, as my colleagues have indicated. we're going to press ahead with that in the budget committee this week, and it'll be out on the floor after the recess. thank you very much.
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[inaudible conversations] >> we return now to the senate floor back for debate on a dealing with u.s. immigration. s affected hundreds and hundreds of families. it's a tragedy which each and every one of us sends our prayers to those who have lost loved ones and to those who have family members who are now hospitalized. we send our prayers to you as well with the great hope that a full recovery is in their future. this was an unimaginable event that occurred in our country, and it is now time for us to talk about this issue. there are many people who say this is not the time to talk
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about it, but the truth is, the only thing the national rifle association wants more than to sell lots of gun side of the aislers is to -- gun silencers is to put a -- the only thing the n.r.a. wants more than allowing nationwide concealed carry laws is to conceal the overwhelming support for background checks. the only thing the n.r.a. wants more than to stifle smart gun technology is to stifle debate on gun violence prevention. so to anyone who says having this debate now is too soon, it's already too late for at least 59 people in las vegas and hundreds of others who were wounded. we should not wait another day. we need to pass commonsense gun
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safety legislation so that we can hold a moment of silence for the national rifle association stranglehold on american politics. that is what must end in our country. we need a debate on this floor on background checks. we need a debate in this chamber on whether or not we are going to do research on the relationship between guns and violence in our society. and we don't need to debate the issues of bringing silencers into our society that can be attached to guns that would have made it infinitely more difficult for the police to find where the shooter was and to
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have not given notice to those people that because of the sound of the guns they could hide, they could move to a more secure location. that would not have happened. we would not have had 59 deaths. we could have had 259 deaths, 559 deaths, 959 deaths because a silencer would have given less notice to all of those people that they should be moving and hiding and protecting themselves and their loved ones. concealed carry -- the republicans are moving a bill that allows for someone to conceal a gun under a law in one state, and because that state allows you to conceal a gun, to be able to move into any other state and continue to conceal a
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gun, even though that state's laws prohibit concealing guns. they want that law to move through. so when the republicans talk about debating gun control, what they're talking about is lessening the safety around these guns, lowering the standards that would protect, allowing for silencers to now being proliferating on these assault weapons, these weapons of war that should not be on the streets of our country, to have a capacity to be able to kill people without people hearing it. they say it's really needed because we need to protect people's hearing when they're firing assault weapons. well, it's more important that the police hear the bullets,
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that the people who might be hit hear the sound of those bullets as they are leaving the gun. that is going to provide far more protection. it's far more important that the police in a state in a city know that someone has a concealed weapon, critically important for police protection. but, again, the n.r.a., th the national rifle association, it does not want those kinds of protections to remain on the books. that's who they are. that's what they want. what should we be debating? we should be debating background checks. we should be debating whether or not someone should be able to buy a gun on instagram and turn it into an instagun without background checks. that's what we should be talking about out here.
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over 90% of americans want stronger background checks. and yet the republican leadership turns a deaf ear to the request of the american people because the national rifle association does not want there to be background checks on people who are buying guns in our country. more americans have died from gun violence in the past 50 years on the streets of america than have died in all of our nation's wars overseas in our entire history. let me say that again. more people have died from guns in our own country in the last 50 years than all of our soldiers, sailors, air force, marines have died going all the way back to 1776. that's how much of an epidemic
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this is in our country, an epidemic that now kills 33,000 people every single year in our country. but the federal government's investment in researching gun violence? zero. diabetes, 76,000 u.s. deaths annually gets $170 million from the centers for disease control. the flu, 57,000 deaths a year, they get $187 million in research. asthma, 3,600 deaths a year, $29 million of research at the centers for disease control. gun violence? zero -- zero. an epidemic is ravaging our country, and the republicans will not fund research to find this link between violence and the use of guns in our society, to do the research that can help
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us to reduce this carnage on the treats of our country. -- on the streets of our country. and because of an appropriations rider from the 1990's, the centers for disease control hasn't conducted research into causes of gun violence and how to prevent it. if 20 young children in newtown had died of ebola, we would have invested funding to study it. if 59 people in las vegas died of zika, would we study it? oh, absolutely. but our country is suffering from an illness, and we have let it spread because we refuse to write a treatment plan. the american medical association supports ending the ban on research. the american public health association supports ending the ban on roach. -- on research. more than 141 groups want to end
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the ban on this researching, the link between guns and violence in our society. the bill that i have introduced gives $10 million to the centers for diseascentersfor disease coe year. shouldn't we be studying how to stop people from firing guns, give them medical, the scientific and the public health community the resources which they need? we need also to develop new smartgun technologies that would improve safety and reduce accidental shootings. my bill would authorize grants to develop and improve personalized handgun technology to increase efficiency and decrease cost. if you can use a fingerprint to operate your iphone, you should be able to do the same thing for your gun to make sure that safety is ensured, to make sure that a jar thumbprint on that
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gun, that if your gun is stolen, that if your gun is lost, that no one else would be able to use that gun. does that make sense? well, your thumb can work for your smartphone. your thumb can also work for a smartgun technology. so this is where we are. we're at this critical point where some people are saying not now, inappropriate, we shouldn't be raising these issues. but what we should be debating is what the american people want us to debate. over 90% want background checks on anyone who buys a gun in our country, to make sure that they are qualified, to make sure that they do not have something in their background that should disqualify them from owning a gun in our country. our debate here should really be about one thing -- making the n.r.a. stand for not relevant
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anymore in american politics, and the task of the republican party is if -- and the test of the republican party is if -- will be whether or not they just kill these bills that would legalize silencers being put on automatic weapons in our country to kill the concealed carry law, which is moving through the house and senate, driven by republicans, and instead to debate the kinds of things that make our country safer, the kinds of things that poll after poll are showing that the american people want us to do. so that is going to be our challenge in the days and weeks and months ahead, but this is the time, this is the place. we are the people who must be conducting this debate to make sure we add an extra measure of safety that american families can rely upon.
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mr. president, i yield back the balance of my time. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, my colleague from massachusetts has referred to the tragedy that we all watched unfold late sunday evening in las vegas, nevada, and the tragedy, the horror, the shock to so many. alaska felt the brunt of that tragedy as well. we lost two alaskans at least, another was injured. mr. adrian murfitt from anchorage, lost his life that evening. doreen anderson, who is a mom, self-described hockey promoter,
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will not be returning to alaska with her family. and rob mcintosh, who is a realtor from the fairbanks, north pole area, was also injured. our prayers are with him. they are with all of our families, whether they are from alaska or around the country. the tragedy, the loss, just the shocking -- shocking emotion that has been brought to this nation is really horrifying at so many different levels. so i wanted to just express my condolences to not only the families of the alaskans that we have lost, but to all those who are suffering. mr. president, i want to speak of another matter here, and this is -- this is a tragedy related
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to a natural disaster that we have seen visited on our country. the devastating impact that hurricanes irma and maria have had on the u.s. virgin islands and puerto rico, the current relief efforts that are under way on those islands, and how we might help in their long-term rebuild, particularly as it relates to their electric grid and their power sector. as you know, mr. president, as you serve on the energy and natural resources create, i have the honor of being able to serve as the chairman of that committee, and that's the committee of jurisdiction for our territories. our committee's history dates back to 1816 when it was then called the committee on public lands. the acquisition of puerto rico, the philippines and guam in 1898
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through the treaty of paris led to the creation of the committee on insular affairs in 1899. the u.s. virgin islands was included in that committee's jurisdiction following their purchase from denmark in 1917. then in 1946, the committee on public lands and the committee on insular affairs merged to form the committee on interior and insular affairs. and then in 1977, the committees were again reorganized, leading to the current structure of the senate committee on energy and natural resources. and our committee has had the proud distinction of working with the nation's territories for the last 70-plus years, and certainly following hurricanes irma and maria, we are committed to upholding our responsibilities as well as to the people of puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands.
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and perhaps, mr. president, it's because i was born in a territory -- maybe i need to actually look this up, but it may be that i am the only member of congress or member in this senate here who was actually born in a territory, but i feel an affinity. one would not think that there is much connection between a small island territory like puerto rico and the large land mass that we are in alaska, but in many ways, alaska is also islanded in the sense that we are not part of the continental 48. and so i -- i do follow with great interest and care how puerto rico, as well as the u.s. virgin islands, are included. with the current focus almost entirely on puerto rico right now, it can seem just like a distant memory that only two weeks ago, before hurricane
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maria, we had hurricane irma that hit the islands of st. thomas and st. john as a category five hurricane, and one category five is bad enough, but then to have a second category five hurricane hit just two weeks later, this time impacting the island of st. croix, is almost unfathomable. the devastation that we have seen in both the virgin islands and puerto rico could just seem overwhelming. relief operations for the islands are different than what you have with the mainland, and when you recognize how you move to accommodate relief, everything has to be brought in by ship or by plane. you don't have the convoys of trucks rolling down the roadway from an adjoining state.
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you don't have the ability to take alternative routes to reach the affected area. once goods are delivered to ports, for instance, it's another challenge then to get them from the port for inland distribution. even under normal operating conditions, moving the amount of containers that have flooded into the territories would be a challenge, but then you -- you add into it the debris, the downed power lines, the washed out bridges and roads, the lack of power, the driver shortages, the challenges just become colossal. and then you have other limiting factors. you have competition for hotel rooms and other lodging as you bring in relief workers to go into the islands, but also those refugees who lost their homes trying to leave. so the logistics are again
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almost overwhelming, a logistical nightmare. but despite these considerable, very considerable hurdles, we do see that progress is moving forward. according to recent reports from the army corps of engineers, federal and local response crews have been working to reopen the ports and runways. in some cases, we have seen sunken ships that need to be removed before a port can begin operations again. in puerto rico, 13 of 16 ports are open or open with restrictions. in the u.s. virgin islands, five of nine ports are open or open with restrictions. in addition, 15 of 17 priority dams in puerto rico have already been inspected. in the case of guahatica, the dam, it's in the process of being reinforced.
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the dam's spillways continue to erode, rainfall has increased the water level in the reservoir. we've seen that the debris and the downed power lines need to be removed to allow helicopters to place 44 concrete barriers within the spillway channel. they have 900 supersandbags on their way. pumps and piping are being procured to decrease the water level, so there is a lot of hands on deck there. for electricity, as of october 1, 5% of customers in puerto rico have had their power restored, and the puerto rico electric utility expects to hav power restored to 15% of customers over the next two weeks. you know, i looked at this aspect of it, and recognize that paperwork is still pretty warm down there. i checked the weather this afternoon. it's 87 over -- 87, and over the
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next couple of days it's 90 degrees. so the capability for people to have ifs fans, to have air conditioning, this is critical. assessments show significant damage to transmission and distribution systems. so, again, a great deal of work is yet under way there. in the virgin islands, 15% of customers in st. thomas and 10% of customers in st. croix have had their power restored. this is -- this includes the airports and the hospitals. on the hospitals, i would note that both of the hospitals in the u.s. virgin islands, one in st. thomas and one in st. croix, have sustained heavy damage and may need to be replaguesed. -- replaced. so, again, long term moving forward, some critical infrastructure. we do know that in the immediate term, the primary relief that congress can provide is through our prooms process.
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we -- our appropriations proces. we will consider another bill so that food and recovery efforts can continue. other options increasing or lifting the cap on community disaster loans may also need to be considered as ways to get the islands back on their feet. another part of our responsibility, though, is to look at potential long-term solutions to persistent problems, and in the case of puerto rico, it is their antiquated electric grid and power generation system. i am concerned, and i have had many conversations with many colleagues in these past couple weeks, but i'm concerned that current disaster recovery rules may mandate that the damaged or destroyed entity be restored
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with similar material compared to its condition prior to the disaster, and what may seem like a good general rule of thumb in some scenarios like this one, i don't think it makes a lot of sense. why, why would we consider spending hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild what was an inefficient and unreliable electric power grid in puerto rico? so making sure that we do right going forward i think is important for us. i'm going to be meeting with officials with the u.s. army corps of engineers. they have been tasked by fema with rebuilding puerto rico's electricity grid. so i'm going to meet with the army corps and the department of energy to see if there is a way to modernize puerto rico's grid during its rebuild, whether by administrative or legislative action. i think we need to look at
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different considerations moving forward. there has been discussion about whether it makes more sense to bury transmission lines rather than rebuild towers. we need to look at microgrids and consider whether they should be developed to provide power to communities throughout the island, even if the islandwide grid is down. this is something our committee has been keenly focused on, is the application of microgrids and how they might be better utilized. i would note on this matter that the urban area of myagua is currently receiving power from the hydrogas plant that's located within its municipality. essentially its own microgrid. but the damaged transmission lines prevent the electricity from moving to other municipalities across the island. but there are other considerations. the role that distributed generation can play. can these federal entities work
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with the puerto rico electric power authority, prepa, to develop a demonstration project for the island that would make the grid more efficient, more reliable, reduce the cost of electricity for consumers? these are all things that need to be considered. we had a hearing in the energy committee this morning on energy storage technologies, and it was mentioned there that regional technology demonstrations might be particularly helpful for puerto rico at this time. i do intend to visit puerto rico and the virgin islands with other members a few weeks from now. we know that president trump is there today. we are going to wait until the situation has stabilized just a bit more to allow for these relief efforts to continue. but when we do have an
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opportunity to observe the situation ourselves, i think it's worth noting that we will on the energy and natural resources committee be holding a hearing on the impacts of hurricanes irma and maria on both puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. i anticipate we'll be doing that in the coming weeks. we want to look at not only the damage caused and where recovery efforts stand, but also lessons learned as well as opportunities moving forward as to how we can rebuild puerto rico's electric grid to better than it was before so that it does have a resiliency. it does have a sustainability that i think is imperative moving forward. we recognize that the islands have faced a real tragedy in this natural disaster, but from
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this can we, can we work quickly to stabilize things in the short term but allow this to be an opportunity to think about puerto rico's long-term energy future, an energy future that is more resilient and is more sustainable. so, mr. president, our thoughts and prayers are with all who were impacted by these incredibly powerful storms as they dig out, as they rebuild, as they restart their lives. just as we will take care of the people of texas, louisiana and florida, i want to make sure that the people of puerto rico, the people of the u.s. virgin islands know that we stand united with them during these exceptionally difficult times and that we will work with them as partners to make their islands stronger, more resilient and better prepared for whatever the future may bring them. with that, mr. president, i
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yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i'd like to start by thanking senator murkowski for her leadership as chair of the energy and natural resources committee on which i also serve, for her leadership in addressing some of the long-term needs of puerto rico. plbs, the american people are -- mr. president, the american people are relieved that the latest version of trumpcare went down in defeat last week. we won this battle because millions of people made their voices heard, but the danger remains. we cannot grow complai sefnlt the president and his allies in congress are hoping in our relief we'll move on and pay attention to other things. and with this president i have to say, and this administration, there's always a fresh outrage to contend with. after his latest failure, the president has turned to sabotage and neglect to accomplish his
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goal of denying millions of people access to health care under the affordable care act. the danger is real. the president's continued threats to eliminate cost-sharing reduction payments that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers under the a.c.a., for example, are already destabilizing health insurance in hawaii and across the country. this year hmsa and kaiser, two of hawaii's largest providers of health insurance, propose large rate increases for customers on the exchange in response to the uncertainty posed by the president's threats to eliminate the cost-sharing payments. these companies have been told to prepare to submit two rate proposals. one if cost sharing remained in place. the other if these cost-sharing provisions were eliminated. if the president eliminates cost-sharing payments, hawaii residents could see an 8% increase in their premiums on
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the individual markets. this translates into millions of dollars more that hawaii residents will need to pay. this is irresponsible, unacceptable and completely within the president's power to prevent. unfortunately the president isn't the only member of his administration intent on sabotaging the affordable care act. the secretary of health and human services resigned in disgrace last week, but the work he set in motion at the department to make it more difficult for people to sign up for insurance continues apace. the administration has already shortened the open enrollment period from 90 days to 45 days and proposed massive cuts for advertising and call centers during this shortened window. to make matters worse, they are taking healthkay.gov down for so-called maintenance at peak
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times on the weekend so people have less time to sign up for coverage. but the sabotage doesn't end there. the administration is also calling for a 40% cut in funding for navigators that help vulnerable communities find and secure coverage. in the past, organizations in hawaii, like we are oceana and the legal aid society have received and a half greater grants to help enroll low-income residents and other underserved communities and programs under the a.c.a. last week i had the opportunity to meet with josie howard, we are oceana's program director. josie and her team navigate a multitude, a multitude of language and cultural barriers to help citizens who have been unfairly disqualified from medicaid to enroll in the exchange. president trump's determination
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to sabotage the a.c.a. undermines the hard work josie and organizations like we are oceana are doing to expand health care access to underserved communities. we need to keep fighting back against the president's sabotage campaign, but we can also work together in congress to improve our nation's health care system and renew programs that millions of people depend on every year in our country. on saturday congress allowed funding for the community health center fund, chcf, to lapse without being renewed. c.h.c.'s across the country would be forced to lay off staff, reduce hours of operations, scale back investments, or even close, denying health care coverage or services to millions of people in need all across the country. and through the a.c.a., the chcf provided increased funding for community health centers across the country to modernize
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facilities, hire new staff, and expand services in underrepresented communities. if congress does not renew the program, community health centers will face a 70% cut in their federal funding. this will have a devastating impact for community health centers in hawaii. like moloma. thanks to chcf, it has been able to expand the services it provides and improve health outcomes for thousands of people particularly in the area of women's health. in the years following the passage and implementation of the a.c.a., it has worked to expand ob-gyn services at the clinic. with increased funding the clinic purchased new high definition ultra sound machines, hired new physicians and upgraded its prenatal care facilities. the center recently signed a new
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contract with the university of hawaii to provide overnight fetal medical services at the clinic instead of having to refer patients to large public hospitals on oahu. keeping these patients on maui not only reduces overall health care spending but allows low-income patients to stay close to home and their families. if congress does not renew chcf funding this program and hundreds of others across the state and country will be at risk. congressional inaction has also threatened the future of the children's health insurance program, or chip, which provides health insurance to nine million low-income children and mothers across the country and 27,000 in hawaii. we should act as soon as possible to pass the bipartisan reauthorization that senators hatch and wyden negotiated in the senate finance committee. it seems like every day the
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president tweets something new and outrakes to distract us -- outrageous to distract us from the issues that face the country whether it is the decision that faces hundreds of daca dreamers at risk for deportation. this is a tactic the president used to great effect during our debates on health care. the president hopes that we'll be paying more attention to his attacks on nfl players or demeaning comments about the mayor of san juan instead of his dangerous proposals to take health care away from millions in our country. we have to keep paying attention, keep our eyes on the ball, keep speaking up and fighting back. i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, after failing to throw 32 million americans off of the health insurance they currently have last week, the republicans are continuing their attack against the working families of
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our country with one of the most instructive budgets in american history, and i know the american people today for very good reasons are preoccupied with what horror -- the horror of what happened in las vegas, and people are horrified about what has happened in puerto rico, but i would beg of the american people, please pay attention to the budget proposal and the so-called tax reform ideas brought by the republican leadership here in the senate as well as in the house. this proposal would cause devastating economic pain for tens of millions of americans by, on the one hand, giving incredibly large tax breaks for the wealthiest people in the
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country while, at the same time, making it harder for our children to get a decent education, harder for the families of this country to get the health care they need, harder for families to literally put food on the table, harder to protect our environment, and harder for the elderly to live their retirement years with dignity. mr. president, this is the rob robinhood proposal in reverse. instead of taking from the rich to help the poor, this proposal makes massive cuts in programs desperately needed by the middle-class and working families of our country, preci precisely to give unbelievably large tax breaks to the people on top, the people who least need those tax breaks.
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mr. president, at a time of massive income and wealth inequality where we have more inequality today than at any time since the 1920's and more inequality than almost any major country on earth, where the very, very rich are becoming much richer, we have 40 million people living in poverty, and tens of millions of middle-class families are going nowhere in a hurry, this republican budget, according to the tax policy center, at the end of ten years would provide 80% of the tax benefits to the top 1%. right now, today, the very rich are doing phenomenally well. everybody understands that. middle class is shrinking. but according to the nonpartisan tax policy center, by the end of the decade, nearly 80% of the
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tax benefits of the republican plan would go to the tap 1% -- to the top 1%. under this plan, this republican plan, the top .1% -- this is the richest of the rich -- would receive a tax break of over $1 million a year. at a time when so many of our families are struggling to put food on the table, struggling to figure out how they're going to send their kids to college, struggling about had you they're -- about how they're going to afford to pay for trial care, we have -- for child care, we have a republican tax proposal that provides millions of dollars of tax breaks to the richest in this country. mr. president, this is a budget which would increase the federal
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deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. now, we have heard here on the senate floor my republican friends talking about how worried they are about the $20 trillion national debt we have, how high the deficits are. this proposal, designed to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country, would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade and, by the way, that is a conservative estimate. there are those who in fact think the deficit would go up a lot more than that. this is a republican proposal which eliminates the estate tax. now, what is the estate tax? republicans name it the death tax. well, let us be clear about what this tax is and who benefits from it. despite republican efforts
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trying to find farmers or ranchers who would benefit from it, this is not legislation designed to help farmers or ranchers. this is legislation designed to help the top .2%. 99.8% of the american people would not benefit one nickel from the repeal of the estate tax. only the wealthiest of the wealthy. if this republican proposal to repeal the estate tax would go through, the walton family of walmart, the wealthiest family in america, would receive a tax cut of up to $52 billion. does anybody for one second think that at a time when so many of our people are struggling, when we have a $20 trillion national debt, that we
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should be passing legislation that gives the wealthiest family in this country up to a $52 billion tax break by repealing the estate tax? but it's not just the walton family, of course. this is a budget that says that if you are the second wealthiest family in america -- the koch brothers -- and this, by the way, just coincidentally, no doubt -- i know it's amazing how these coincidences take place -- the koch brothers are a family that has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars year after year to the republican party to elect candidates who will represent the wealthy and the powerful. well, just coincidentally, that family would receive a tax break of up to $38 billion. so people say, well, why is the koch -- why are they contributing hundreds of
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millions of dollars every campaign cycle? that's a huge amount of money. yeah, it is a huge amount of money for normal families. but when you're the second wealthiest family and your family can get a tax break of $38 billion contributing a few million dollars each campaign psyche s&l a good investment. -- each campaign cycle is a good investment. mr. president, this is a budget that will cut medicare by $450 billion. now, right now in this country we have millions and millions of seniors who are struggling to make ends meet. they can't afford their prescription drugs, can't afford to keep their homes warm in the wintertime, and yet this budget -- republican budget -- would cut medicare by $450 billion.
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now, the republicans tried time after time after time, despite massive opposition from the american people, to repeal the affordable care act, and in every one of their pieces of legislation, they made devastating cuts in medicaid. well, they're back again. ostensibly, this is not a health care piece of legislation, it is a budget, it is so-called tax reform. there is $1 trillion in cuts in the medicaid program. so if you were worried last week and two weeks ago and a month ago what these horrific republican health care bills would do, stay worried because this bill will cut $1 trillion over ten years in medicaid, resulting in at least 15 million americans losing their health insurance.
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can you imagine a set of priorities which says, we're going to throw 15 million people off of health insurance in order to give tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest families in this country? unbelievable. it really is unbelievable. but this proposal not only adds to the deficit, not only makes massive cuts to medicare and medicaid, it also impacts the american people in many, many ways. we have a program in this country called the women, infants, and children program, and at a time when the united states has the highest rate of infant mortality, of any major country on earth, what we do to try to deal with that issue is provide help to low-income, pregnant women and their babies
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after the babies are born. this republican budget would make about $6.5 billion in cuts, the program eliminating nutrition assistance to over 1.2 pregnant women, new moms, babies, and toddlers in vermont and all over this country. here are the priorities. tax breaks for the walton family, for the koch brothers family, who are billionaires and cuts in programs for low-income pregnant women who want to have healthy babies. at a time when the cost of child care has skyrocketed all over this country, the state of vermont, very serious problem. families cannot find affordable child care. the republican budget eliminates head start services for 25,000
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children each and every year by cutting this program by about $3 billion. in total, the republican budget would cut more than $5 trillion from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, transportation, and other programs that the working families of this country desperately rely upon. and let's be clear about something else. this is not me talking. this is republican economists saying the same thing. what is the theory underlying this whole approach of giving tax breaks to billionaires? the theory is that when you give tax breaks to billionaires and large multinational corporations, somehow or another, they are going to start using the new revenue they acquire to invest in the economy and create decent-paying jobs. this is the so-called trickledown economic theory, and this is a theory that senate
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republicans and president trump have embraced with this budget. but the fact is that anyone who looks at history understands that that whole theory is a fraud, it has always been abysmal failure. since ronald reagan and george w. bush slashed taxes on the wealthy and deregulated wall street, trillions of dollars in wealth have been redistributed from the working class and middle-class families to a handful of millionaires and billionaires. that's what trumpcarealdown economics results in. transfer of wealth from the middle class to the people on top, and that is exactly what this republican proposal will do. mr. president, today we have more wealth and inequality than at any time since the 1920's. unbelievably, the top .1% now owns almost as much wealth as
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the bottom 90%. this budget would make a very bad situation worse, and it would increase the level of wealth inequality in america today. as the ranking member of the budget committee, i intend to do everything that i can to oppose this absurd set of priorities. and when i do that, i am speaking for the vast majority of the american people. poll after poll after poll tells us that the american people do not think that billionaires need more tax breaks. poll after poll after poll tells us that the american people do not agree with the republican leadership when they want to throw millions of people off of the health insurance that they have. this is a budget not for the
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american people. this is a budget not for economic growth. this is a budget paid for, fought for by the koch brothers and a handful of billionaires who will gain very handsomely if this budget were to be passed. and i would remind my republican colleagues -- this is not a very radical idea -- that we were elected to the united states senate not just to represent a handful of billionaires. we were represented to the -- we were elected to the united states to do our best for the middle class and working families of our country. this should not be legislation designed as payback for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. we need to pass legislation that
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protects the interests of the working families and the middle class and lower income. thank you, mr. president.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. i would ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: mr. president, i'm joined today by my colleague from new mexico, senator heinrich. we thought we would come down together and talk about senator domenici, our former colleague that passed away recently. he was born to italian immigrants in albuquerque, new
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mexico in 1932. he was the grocer's son, worked in his parents' store, attended catholic school. he graduated from our own university of new mexico, pitched in college on the albuquerque dukes farm team and taught high school mathematics. went to law school and built a law practice. he got his start in politics on the albuquerque city commission, was elected to the u.s. senate in 1973 and became new mexico's longest serving senator. he was a us bansdz, father, and grandfather. he married nancy burke right out of law school and his beautiful wife of 59 years was key to his long and successful career. she was a good friend of ours and we spent an hour with her in albuquerque a little over a week ago. she's very strong and is still very focused as one would expect
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as a mother and grandmother on her children and grandchildren. pete worked across party lines to find pragmatic solutions for the american people. new mexicans will always remember him as one of the strongest fighters our state will ever know. senator domenici and i belonged to different plift cal parties and we -- political parties and we didn't always agree on things but i always appreciated that he cared deeply about the issues and he put the nation and new mexico's interests first as he saw them. i join all of new mexico in thanking him and mourning his passing. senator domenici's math skills and his beginnings in local government served him well during his 36 years in the united states senate. anyone who has served in city government knows the importance of a budget. sifting as chair or ranking member on the senate budget committee for 22 years, he held the federal government to the same rigorous logical standard.
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he mastered the complexities of the federal budget and served longer in the leadership position on that committee than any other senator. he was a budget deficit hawk and a realist. he understood that supply side economics do not work, that big tax cuts will not result leading to a balanced budget and he went up against his own party and he went up against president ronald reagan on the same budget issue. in the 1990's, he worked with president clinton on a budget surplus, the first in our budget since 1969. his willingness to work with democrats, his pragmatism, his stature with his own party made it possible. on the budget committee, he understood how to align new mexico and national interests. he recognized the potential of
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our national labs, las alamos and sandia and that potential they had for our state. he understood their importance to the national interests. he championed their work for decades. our labs provide thousands of good jobs in central and northern new mexico, and the breadth and depth of their research and scientific contributions to our nation are nothing short of astonishing. pete domenici played a critical role in the labs' developments. he also had a key appreciation of the importance to new mexico and the nation of our military bases. in 2005, cannon air force base in southern new mexico was slated to close. this would have cost new mexico lots of jobs and would have had a devastating impact on the overall economy of the state. senator domenici along with the entire delegation and governor richardson worked to secure a different and critical mission
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for cannon air force base. today the 27th special operations wing is going strong at cannon, 6,000 men and women are employed, and rural roosevelt and curry counties benefit from the base's economic impact. senator domenici's fingerprints are not only all over the budget committee but all over the energy and natural resources committee, which he chaired for four years in the early 2000's. and the indian affairs committee which i'm fortunate to sit on today. he helped position the united states to be energy independent through energy policy acts of 2005 and 2007, the last time we really had bipartisan energy acts. and he was a strong advocate on behalf of tribes working to advance indian health care, resolve long-standing water rights disputes, protecting native art from counterfeiting
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and improving reservation roads. my uncle mo talked a lot about the importance of being able to disagree without being disagreeable and to work together when possible. senator domenici understood that while the delegation was divided by party, it was united in its love for new mexico. he knew that new mexico would be stronger if everyone worked together. it's partly thanks to him that our delegation continues a tradition of working together regardless of party. senator domenici's commitment to bipartisanship did not end in 2009 with his senate tenure. he continued to try to find solutions that worked for everyone as a senior fellow at the bipartisan policy center in washington. and the pete b. domenici institute for public policy at new mexico state university in lass cruses carries on his
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tradition through scholarship. the senator said and i quote, it's time for us to join together and take these partisan issues out of politics. the problems we face are so big, people from both sides need to sit down and say we can't approach this the normal way. some great leadership is needed. end quote. we could really use that commitment to bipartisanship in the senate halls today. senator domenici was in washington many years but he never was out of touch with everyday new mexicans. whether it was the repairs in the espanola valley, funding new fighter jets at kirtland air force base in albuquerque, establishing the petro cliff national monument, forming the hispanic cultural center and museum in albuquerque, pete domenici identified new mexico's needs and came up with
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solutions. he and nancy had a special passion for people who lived with -- live with mental illness. born from his own family's experience, this was something that he and i talked a lot about and that our two families shared. he worked across the aisle for many years to achieve pair di and -- parity it mental health care and medical services. any family who experiences serious mental illness understands the two should be treated the same and that adequate mental health care is absolutely necessary. in 2008 congress passed the paul wellstone and pete domenici mental health parity and addiction equity act. that federal law means that millions of persons with mental illness and substance abuse disorders have better access to the care they really need. senator domenici spoke passionately and personally about mental health. he also did so on immigration.
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his mother originally immigrated to the united states illegally. during world war ii she was taken in a raid aimed at, quote, italian sympathizers. those of us who were here during the immigration debates in 2006 remember his plain spoken and moving speech on the floor of the senate where he said and i quote, i understand this whole idea of a household with a father who is american and a mother who is not, but they are living, working, and getting ahead. i understand they are just like every other family in america. there is nothing different. they have the same love, same hope, same will, and same aspirations as those of us who were born here have. end quote. i couldn't agree more. pete domenici, my good friend, son of italian immigrant grocers, a great senator, a great american, and a great new
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mexican, thank you for your remarkable contributions. you leave an exceptional legacy for new mexico and for the nation. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. a senator: i would also ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heinrich: i am really proud today to come and join my fellow senator from new mexico, senator udall, to recognize the life and service of the longest serving senator from our incredible state of new mexico, senator pete domenici. senator domenici dedicated his entire life to the state and the people that he loved. he served our state in the senate for 36 years. his decades of service to new mexico left a lasting impact that will continue to be felt in every corner of our state for
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many years to come. many in new mexico called him st. pete because of how relentlessly he fought on the appropriations and the budget committees to secure resources for the people of new mexico. and you can still see the fruits of his labors at our state's national labs, at our military installations, at our colleges and universities and water systems and community centers all over our state. and that is because while he worked on the forefront of major policy debates here in the senate, pete domenici always put the interests of new mexico above all else. like myself, senator domenici's first public service experience came on albuquerque city council, then called the city commission. and at least in my experience i know that working at that local level was an invaluable way to learn how to hear from diverse
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viewpoints and stakeholders and find ways to build consensus and get the results for your constituents that you hope for. i've tried to bring that approach with me into the senate and i know that senator domenici was in part so successful because of the skills he learned there. i'm grateful for the example that senator domenici set for all of us here in this body on how to advance important and complex policy goals in washington with civility for our colleagues. republicans and democrats alike who worked with him on issues like the budget, on energy, on national defense, on nuclear deterrence and mental health parity still point to his dedication to bipartisan cooperation and compromise. although they didn't always see eye to eye, senator domenici, a republican and senator jeff
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bingaman, a democrat who served new mexico alongside him for the vast majority of his time in the senate always made a point of improving the lives of new mexicans by working together. it set a great example for people like me to watch how the two of them worked together. their spirit of cooperation across party lines is still present in our state's congressional delegation, and i believe that senator domenici's focus on putting policy results above party politics still resonates today. one of the greatest examples of this was senator domenici's work alongside two progressive democratic lions of the senate, paul wellstone and ted kennedy, to pass mental health parity legislation. senators domenici and wellstone didn't agree on many issues, but they found something that they had close personal experience with and a passion for.
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both senators had close family members who had experienced the great challenges of finding a way to pay for mental health treatment and insurance companies were not required to cover mental health and addiction treatment in those days. in the same way they covered treatment for so many other illnesses and diseases. because of that, most insurance companies simply didn't cover these essential services at all. it started in the mid 1990's, senators domenici and wellstone worked together with mental health advocates to advance legislation to finally change that. after senator wellstone was killed in a tragic plane crash, senator domenici kept up the fight for six more years with a new partner in senator kennedy, and the paul wellstone and pete domenici mental health parity and addiction act was finally
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passed in october of 2008, only a few months before senator domenici's retirement from the u.s. senate. that is the type of bipartisanship, of legacy and statesmanship on behalf of the american people that i hope that we will all remember for a long, long time to come. we should all try better to keep that spirit alive in the u.s. senate today, and i have to say i join all new mexicans, all americans in mourning the passing of senator pete domenici. our thoughts and deepest condolences, our prayers are with his wife nancy and all of his family and loved ones at this time of great loss, for their family and for the state, and i am certain that senator domenici's legacy will not be forgotten in new mexico and will not be forgotten here in the united states senate. thank you, mr. president.
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ms. stabenow: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator michigan. ms. stabenow: i would ask suspense of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you. mr. president, we need tax reform that helps small businesses, closes tax loopholes that are taking jobs overseas and instead be creating those jobs at home, and we need tax reform that puts money in the pockets of middle-class families in michigan and all across the country, and we need an american budget that shows what we value as americans. too often we think of budgets as sterile numbers on a spreadsheet. in reality, budgets are about people. they're about the middle-class
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parents who are sitting down to do their taxes and feeling like it's them, not the wealthiest 1%, who are carrying the heaviest burden. they're about helping small business owners in pontiac, michigan; family farmers in cadillac; and michigan companies who are creating good-paying jobs. and they are about ensuring that the most vulnerable among us -- our children, senior citizens, people with disabilities -- are valued and respected. we can't consider a budget without considering people. will it help middle-class families thrive? will it help small business owners grow? and will it help protect people who can't protect themselves? unfortunately, the republican budget and the tax plan that they suggest do not value people, plain and simple.
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47 million americans depend on medicare -- seniors, people with disabilities -- and the budget resolution that we'll be considering tomorrow in the budget committee will cut $473 billion -- billion dollars -- in medicare. and low-income children, parents, seniors in nursing homes, people with disabilities who depend on medicaid -- medicaid in that budget resolution would be cut by $1 trillion. and, mr. president, we just went through this debate twice on efforts to gut health care, to gut medicaid, to take away health care from tens of millions of people. the american people said no. and the senate said no.
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twice. and yet we're right back again. here they go again on the budget resolution, putting forward huge, even bigger tax cuts -- or cuts, i should say, in medicaid, and this time it's not just medicaid, it's medicare. which wasn't in the last two proposals that we rejected because they hurt too many people by taking away their health care. so now we have a budget resolution that will be coming to the floor of the senate -- i am assume they will have enough votes; they certainly won't have mine or my democratic colleagues. but if every republican in committee votes for it, we'll have on the floor a budget resolution that cuts medicare by $473 billion and medicaid by $1
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trillion. so why is that being done? well, it's being done to pay for tax cuts. -- for the wealthiest among us. in fact, 80% of the tax cuts would go to the top 1% -- 80%, who would receive a cut of about $200,000 a year. a cut. the majority of people in michigan don't make $200,000 a year. but this would be a tax cut -- but this would be a tax cut of $200,000 a year on average. this isn't what i was talking about before of helping small businesses and middle-class families and closing tax loopholes that are taking jobs overseas. this is a straight-up,
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trickle-down tax cut that has not worked before in creating jobs -- creates a lot of deficits but not jobs -- and people in my state are so waiting for it to trickle down -- are still waiting for it to trickle down to them. republicans are asking seniors, people with disabilities, children, families to give up health care in order to fund a huge tax cut for the richest 1% that will cost more than $2 trillion. to me, that sounds like backwards budgeting, for sure. i don't often quote my friend from kentucky, but senator paul was absolutely right yesterday. he tweeted this. this is a g.o.p. tax plan? possibly 30% of middle-class families get a tax hike? i hope the final details are better than this. i do, too.
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i hope the final details are a lot better than this. if it's going to be something that the people of michigan will support and benefit from. under the republican plan, a senior citizen in saginaw, michigan, who's making $20,000 a year will get a tax increase. a married couple with two kids and an income of $70,000 in gaylord, michigan, would get a tax increase. and a single mom with three kids in battlecreek who works really hard every day juggling, caring for her kids, who earns $50,000 a year, which never seems to stretch far enough, would actually pay $1,000 more in taxes. $1,000 more in taxes because under the plan, if you have more than one child, you will actually see your taxes go up. because the personal exemption for each child is taken away.
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senator paul is right. this is just plain wrong. i do have to give republicans credit, though. they keep upping the ante-. it wasn't even a week ago when they were trying to take health care away from people in michigan and across the country with a plan that would have increased costs and reduced health care. now they're trying to take health care away from people who need it most by raising taxes on middle-income families and cutting medicare as well as medicaid. we do need tax reform. i'd like very much to see the code simplified. but any tax reform proposal needs to meet three basic requirements to get my support. first, tax reform needs to be bipartisan rather than coming up with this proposal in the budget
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resolution which once again, just like health care, would be jamming something through on a partisan vote. it needs to be bipartisan. it needs to be thoughtful. those of us on the finance committee are thoughtful people. we worked for two years in bipartisan working groups on each section of the tax code, getting ready to have a thoughtful discussion and negotiation on real tax reform that would help small businesses grow who, by the way, are creating a majority of the new jobs as well as making sure families in america that are struggling would be able to have a simplified tax code and a tax cut. so i'm all for doing a bipartisan approach, but that's not what is happening here. it's not what will be put into
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the budget resolution tomorrow. and, unfortunately, it doesn't appear that's what's going to happen in the finance committee. the other reason for wanting to do this in a bipartisan way is that's the only way it to make sure it's permanent. if you use these truncated processes of reconciliation to try to jam something through, it's not permanent. and i know from businesses in michigan, large and small, as well as families to be able to plan they want to see some permanent changes. and doing it this way is not permanent. second, tax reform needs to help businesses create jobs here at home. over the last year i visited more than 125 small businesses in michigan, and i've seen for myself how they're driving our state's economy. i also know how challenging it can be for them to navigate the complex tax code.
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the owner of a small business shouldn't have to spend hours with her accountant instead of with her customers. we can fix that. at the same time tax reform needs to preserve important incentives for manufacturers who are creating jobs here, in michigan, in our country. i don't believe we have an economy, unless somebody makes something and somebody grows something. and we need to make sure that the tax policy that supports that, that supports capital intensive companies remains intact. and we need to close the loopholes right now, gigantic loopholes that incentivize our jobs going overseas. i have one simple proposal that's not everything, but it is a symbol of how bad this situation is that i've been trying to get passed now for over ten years here, and it keeps getting blocked and filibustered. it's called the bring jobs home
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act, and it's very simple. the tax code right now allows a company moving overseas to write off all their moving costs, so that the workers that are losing their jobs would help pay for their move through their taxes. the community would pay for the move through their taxes. it makes no sense to do that. my bring jobs home act would stop that and say you don't get to write off the cost when you're leaving our country. however, if you want to come back, you want to bring jobs home, werl happy to let you ride off those costs and we'll give you an extra 20% to help bring jobs home. but if you want to leave, you're on your own. that's what our tax code should say to businesses that are moving our jobs overseas. the third thing that i think is important in tax reform is it needs to put the money in the pockets of hardworking families, michigan families working hard every day trying to make ends meet.
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for too long working families, middle-class families have watched as all the benefits seemed to flow to the wealthiest among us over and over and over again. middle-class families are stretched to the breaking point, and it's time that they get a break. that's what the president originally said. this was going to be a middle-class tax cut. and yet when we run the numbers, it's just not true. for too many they're going to see a tax increase. and as i said before, 80% of the republican tax cuts go to the top 1%. and you can even break down that more with .1%, and it's shocking that those individuals on average get a $1 million tax cut. so when we're looking at the majority of people in michigan who work hard every day and
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don't earn $200,000 a year, to look at the fact that there would be a tax plan brought forward that would actually give a tax cut of $200,000 a year and someone with three children or four children would actually see their taxes go up? wait a minute, what's wrong with that picture. and unfortunately, this budget and tax proposal falls short in a number of ways. in a number of ways beyond medicare and medicaid cuts and what's happening in terms of families. as i said before, it's far from bipartisan, as with health reform, democrats have been locked out of the process. the republican leader is meeting in secret, no democrats
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allowed. convince planned to use the reconciliation -- republicans planned to use the reconciliation process to force something that won't be perfect. little reason to believe that this is going to help american workers. it's not going to close loopholes that are taking jobs overseas. and it doesn't benefit hardworking people, working families that are working really hard to make it every year, every week. it does not benefit them. the republican budget and tax proposal targets the most vulnerable. it isn't bipartisan. it won't stop offshore. it wouldn't benefit the middle class. but there is one thing that will it will do. it's one thing that those who have analyzed this agree upon. it will explode the deficit.
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independent analysis shows that these proposals would increase the deficit by at least 2.4 trillion dollars. $2.4 trillion. so $2.4 trillion in lost revenue that would go to increasing the deficit. our friends across the aisle scoff at that, but these tax cuts, they will pay for themselves, even though in our finance hearing today when we asked both republican and democratic experts that were testifying, no one said they would pay for themselves. no one. president trump said this huge tax cut will be rocket fuel for our economy. but when you look at 2001,
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those tax cuts, no rocket fuel there. 2003 tax cuts, no rocket fuel there. 2012, state of kansas, tax cuts almost caused them to have to go to a four-day schoolweek for children because of the huge deficits. no rocket fuel there. two things to remember about rocket fuel: it's unstable. and if you're not careful, you'll get badly burned. mr. president, budgets aren't about numbers. they're about people. they're about middle-class parents wondering why the wealthiest get all the breaks when they get the bill. they're about a small business owner wondering why she can't run a bakerry without hiring an accountant. about seniors, people with disability wondering if medicare and medicaid will be there for
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them while they watch the top 10% get another round of huge tax cuts. and they're about future generations being stuck with the bill. stuck with the bill for tax cuts that won't pay for themselves. budgets are about people, and this budget fails. it's time to work together across the aisle to do what's right, to make sure the budget that tax proposals work for everybody, not just a privileged few. that they help companies create jobs here at home and focus on policies to benefit hardworking families. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a
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quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, last week i filed -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. flake: i ask unanimous consent that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: last wyche i filed an -- last week i filed an
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amicus brief to overturn a decision-on-. i am proud proud to be supported by all 15 sheriffs biin my home state as well as the western state sheriffs association and the national sheriffs association much this is into the partisan issue we're talking about here. we have sheriffs representing both parts in arizona, every sheriff in arizona, all 15, have supported this amicus. this decision by the ninth circuit is just another example of a ruling that is well outside of the judicial mainstream. unfortunately, in this case, the ruling dramatically undercuts effective border enforcement and it creates a dangerous situation for law enforcement and the public. in this case, the ninth circuit ruled that it violates the rights of prisoners for marshals and other sheriffs or other
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courtroom personnel to employ commonplace, thoughtfully crafted courtroom safety policies in which prisoners appear before a judge fitted with appropriate restraints. this is a significant change from common practice, and it conflicts with two other courts of appeals. the decision has prompted public safety concerns for arizona and throughout the west. first, law enforcement will have no choice but to increase the number of officers needed to maintain the safety of individuals inside courtrooms. this means that more u.s. marshals and sheriffs will be spending their days in courthouses instead of pursuing violent fujitives or preventing street crime. even with these increased numbers, law enforcement officials have expressed concern that over the high threshold they're now forced to attain in order to get permission to fit dangerous prisoners with
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restraints. by putting these restraints on law enforcement rather than prisoners, this ruling limits the ability of sheriffs and u.s. marshals to ensure the safety of judges, lawyers, prisoners, victims, and members of the public inside these courthouses around the country. this decision also dramatically undercuts the federal court's ability to process legal immigration -- illegal immigration border crossing cases as part of operation streamline, the very successful border enforcement program that's worked so well in some parts of arizona. by establishing a zero tolerance approach to illegal border crossings, operation streamline has made a dramatic difference in the number of illegal border crossings in communities like tucson and yuma. this year the operation streamline program averaged around 45 individuals per
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hearing. 45 individuals per hearing. but even with these high caseloads the program could remain efficient thanks in part to traditional courtroom safety procedures, so they can take 40 prisoners at a time and process them if they were allowed to use the current courtroom practices. these new policies -- or these old policies allowed law enforcement to bring up to 75 individuals into the courtroom at once. but under the ninth circuit's decision to relax courtroom safety protocols, law enforcement officers are now forced to limit groups of prisoners before the court to no more than a handful at a time. this makes it increasingly impractical for judges to hear cases due to the amount of time required for law enforcement to move small numbers of prisoners in and out of the courtroom. there simply aren't the hours in a day. i take the independence of the courts very seriously.
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that's why when every sheriff in my state comes to me and said that there was a court ruling that is endangering their deputies and the public, i'm going to urge that that decision be overturned by the proper authority. this makes a difference in arizona for another reason as well. we have a lot of older courthouses. some of them are historic courthouses. these are not -- these buildings simply aren't built for today's needs in terms of access for prisoners and the public within these courthouses. sometimes they have to go in the same door ways, in the same hallways. and if the law enforcement and courtroom security personnel are not allowed to have standards in terms of prisoner restraint, then you endanger the safety of
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individuals visiting the courthouse and others. and simply unable to process the number of cases that we have in arizona, particularly near the border with regard to immigration cases. so i hope that the high court, the supreme court, will grant cert here and examine this ruling. it really makes a difference in a state like arizona. so with that, i yield back the balance of my time. i yield back. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, this week on an island nation a
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tenth the size of rhode island, more than 60 countries will gather at the fourth international our ocean conference. catalyzed by then-secretary of state john kerry, the u.s. hosted the premier international ocean conference in 2014 and 2016. secretary kerry's legacy continues with the malta conference now going on hosted by the european union, and that will be followed by scheduled conferences in indonesia in 2018 and norway in 2019. nations come to these conferences to share ocean conservation achievements and to pledge future efforts in sustainable fisheries, marine debris prevention, marine protected areas, maritime security, and climate change. at last count, conference
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organizers in malta are anticipating more than 150 separate pledges from governments, n.g.o.'s and the private sector. since secretary kerry started it, the our ocean conference has produced hundreds of commitments totaling nearly $10 billion and protecting nearly four million square miles of ocean. though the oceans cover more than 70% of our earth, they are often taken for granted. oceans drive our weather, cool our planet, provide food and income for billions of people, and absorb much of our carbon dioxide emissions. so for my 181st time to wake up speech, i will return to the topic of what we are doing to our oceans. the oceans provide a hard-to-deny reminder of what is
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happening, thanks to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change denial, and america's legislative paralysis. now physics and chemistry don't care about fossil fuel industry propaganda. it doesn't affect them at all. science measures how our carbon pollution continues to drive unprecedented change in the earth's oceans. the oceans have absorbed about a third of all the excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the industrial revolution. that's around 600 gigatons worth of carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean. the effect of absorbing all that carbon dioxide is chemical, making ocean water more acidic
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at the fastest rate in 50 million years. human kind's only been around on the planet for 800,000 or so years, so 50 million goes way back. this acidification is potentially calamitous for the ocean ecosystem, off washington, oregon and northern california, 50% -- half -- of ocean terra pods were measured to have severe shell damage mostly from acidified seawater. if that species collapses, the bottom falls out of the oceanic food chain. with a cascading effect up to us at the top of the food chain. ocean acidification is causing real economic concerns on coasts all around the country. it is affecting florida's reefs, for instance. rhode island's clamer and agriculture growers watch with
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real alarm the damage that acidified seas are doing on america's northwest coast. oyster hatcheries out there experience significant losses when new hatches were unable to grow their shells in the acidified seawater. those hatcheries now need to buffer ocean water to keep the p.h. at a survivable level for baby clams, oysters and other shellfish. you can do that for your ak culture lab -- aqua culture lab but you can't do that for the ocean, so it bodes well for the future of these shellfish. in addition to the co2 that the oceans have absorbed, 30% of that, they have also absorbed heat. they've absorbed over 0% of the excess heat that climate change has trapped in our atmosphere thanks to to the operation of the greenhouse
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gases we've admitted. the oceans have been a blessing. without them more than 90% of that heat, forget the 2 degrees centigrade cap that we worry about, we'd likely be already more than 36 degrees centigrade hotter. that isn't just life changing, that is species changing variation in our planet. when oceans absorb all of this heat, which is equivalent to more than a hiroshima-style nuclear bomb per second going off the principle of thermal expansion kicks in. as oceans warm, they expand. and as the world warms from the remaining heat, ice melts. so between the two, sea levels rise. noaa in january updated global
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sea level rise estimates based on the latest peer reviewed scientific literature. ice sheets are raising faster than expected raising global sea level rise estimates in this era. under the we do nothing under climate change scenario, by around 20 more inches on average. apply these findings to the u.s. coast and the news gets particularly harsh for the northeast atlantic coast, including my home state of rhode island. rhode island's coastal resources management council is now telling us that we need to plan for as much as 9 to 12 vertical feet of sea level rise by the end of this century. the refusal of the republican majority to do anything serious about climate change is going to have a big effect on the very map of my state.
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this is the present upper narrangansett bay, including providence up here, our capital city, down to gren niche bay down here, and warwick. that's on the west side. and over here we have bristol and warren on the east side of the image. and it still looks actually very much like it did when early explorers first came to rhode island in the 1600's. and it looked very much like that for centuries before when the narrangansetts and the wapanoids lived there. as climate change raises sea levels, all of this is changing, and rapidly. the coastal resources management council has developed something called storm tools, which is an online simulation to measure sea level rise and storm surge ahead
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so we can see how rising sea levels will affect my state. this is the same image as that one. put them one over the other so you can see the match. everything that's blue was land and is now submerged on these 9 to 12-foot sea level estimates. it all has changed quite dramatically. warwick neck breaks off and becomes warwick neck island. much of the town of barrington here becomes a new salt lake. this is a bedroom community with a lot of wealthy people living in very nice homes, and it all
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goes under water. down here, bristol and warren become an island. and off of them papasquash point becomes two islands. and this continues all the around the state. the map changes and we become a rhode island archipelago. look at newport, little compton, jamestown, point judith, flooded areas in my state represent billions of dollars in losses to rhode islanders. and of course, around the visibly flooded areas are the less visible areas where legal setbacks, flood zones, velocity zones and other building restrictions prevent construction.
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in those areas that are still above water, it's still unbuildable because the property has become uninsurable, unmortgagable or unsellable. that's a pretty hard hit to expect my state to take without objection. and it's not just rhode island. all sorts of changes are happening along america's coasts. up in the gulf of maine, ocean waters are warming faster than nearly any other place on earth. a study published in elementa last month found summer temperatures in the gulf of maine last two months longer than in the 1980's. longer, warmer summers benefit some species, but others get hurt including what little is left of the iconic cod. native villages in alaska and island communities in louisiana and maryland are facing tough decisions about abandoning traditional shore lands and
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islands and relocating. around the world, entire nations are planning for relocation as the ocean steadily rises over their island homes. layered on top of the sea-level rise is the risk of storm surge from hurricanes and other storms. the presiding officer does not need to be told about this. his state has experienced it firsthand. this satellite image is a snapshot of the 12017 hurricane system. from left to right we see hurricane katia and hurricane irma and hurricane jose down here. as recovery efforts continue for our citizens in puerto rico, louisiana, and florida, and texas, we look at hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster relief emergency spending.
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we might want to think here in washington about helping coastal states around the country get serious about predicting what's coming, shoring up our coastlines, fortifying coastal infrastructure, and preparing for what climate change has in store for us. climate change is not the only way we are damaging the oceans. each year around eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters our oceans from land. by 2050, we could see as much plastic in the oceans as fish in the oceans by weight. since plastics do not fully degrade in the ocean, they just break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, and those travel the globe on ocean currents. plastic is now everywhere, on our beaches, in our oceans, ingested and entangling our wild
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life. even in the tap water, salt, and other foods that we humans consume. plastic waste has been found on remote island, in deep-sea sediment, and sea ice. the arctic is apparently releasing frozen plastics back into the oceans. that is how badly we are polluting our oceans. an international research expedition to the north pole even found chunks of plastic littering that remote region. thankfully there is interest in solving our ocean trash problem here in the senate. at least year's our ocean conference over $1 billion was pledged to combat marine debris. additional commitments are expect this year. so our senate caucus ocean work parallels work around the world. the senate ocean caucus is a bipartisan group. there are 36 of us and we made
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marine debris our focus area. in august by unanimous consent we passed our save our seas act to reauthorize noaa's marine program and to deal with severe debris events. tsunmais wash large amounts of plastics into the oceans and ultimately on to our shores. the bill asks the president to reduce marine debris including international waste management practices and improving research on plastics that will biodegrade in the ocean. it asks that the trade representative consider marine plastic debris, much of which just comes from a few countries in dealing with them in the future trade agreements. we reinforced this piece of the bill recently in the national
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defense authorization act, which we passed just last month. this save our seas act garnered support from environmental n. go's, from corporations from chemical trade groups, but there's still much more work to do. we have abused and ignored our oceans for far too long. the oceans are warning us in every way they know how and we can't afford to ignore those warnings any longer. we must start taking serious action to respond to what we are doing to our oceans. i promise you, mr. president, anybody who knows anything about oceans hears those alarm bells ringing. it is time for us to wake up. i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: 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 that notwithstanding the provisions of rule 22, the cloture vote on the hargan nomination occur at 11:00 a.m. on wednesday, october 4. and that if cloture is invoked the senate vote on confirmation at 3:15 p.m. with no intervening action or debate. that if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. i further ask that upon disposition of the hargan
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nomination, the senate vote on cloture on the quarles nomination and that if cloture is invoked the senate vote on confirmation of the nomination at 10:00 a.m. on thursday, october 5. that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. further, that the time on wednesday evening be for debate on the quarles and cissna nominations concurrently. i further ask that the cloture vote on the cissna nomination occur on disposition of the quarles nomination and if cloture is invoked all time postcloture be considered expired and the senate vote on confirmation with no intervening action or debate. that if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. i further ask that following disposition of the cissna nomination, the senate resume consideration of the gingrich
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nomination with the vote on cloture at 1:45 p.m. on thursday and that if cloture is invoked, the senate vote on confirmation at 5:30 p.m. on monday, october 16. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: for the information of all senators we have now locked in the following votes scheduled. one vote at 11:00 tomorrow morning, two votes at 3:15 tomorrow afternoon, three votes at 10:00 a.m. on thursday, and one vote at 1:45 on thursday afternoon. this will allow debate on all the pending nominations and accommodate important committee hearings which will be occurring off the floor. now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the enclock consideration of the following nominations: executive calendar 351, 352, 353, 354, and 355. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the nominations. the clerk: nominations,
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department of justice, halsey b. frank of maine to be united states attorney for the district of maine, d. michael hurst, jr. of mississippi to be united states attorney for the southern district of mississippi, jeffrey b. jensen of missouri to be united states attorney for the eastern district of missouri, thomas l. kirsch ii of indiana to be united states attorney for the northern district of india indiana, with him j. powell of west virginia to be united states attorney for the northern district of west virginia. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the senate vote on the nominations en bloc with no intervening action or debate, that if confirmed the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table en bloc, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, that no further moaptions be in order and -- motions be in order and any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection?
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no objection hearing no further debate the question occurs on the nominations en bloc. all those in favor say aye. opposes nay. the ayes have t. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nominations are confirmed en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following nominations, executive calendar 357, 358. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the nominations. the clerk: nominations, department of agriculture, stephen censky of missouri to be deputy secretary, ted mckinney of indiana to be under secretary. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the senate vote on the nominations en bloc with no intervening action or debate. if confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table en bloc and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, that no further motions be in order and any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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without objection. the question occurs on the nominations en bloc. all those in favor say aye. opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. nominations are confirmed en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session and 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 that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn til 9:30 a.m. wednesday, october 4. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the 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 proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the hargan nomination with the time until 11:00 a.m. equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the
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the presiding officer: the he currently heads the immigration policy office in the homeland security department. senators may hold a confirmation vote tomorrow in later this week work on the 2018 federal budget. we will have live coverage when they return here on c-span2. on wednesday the senate budget committee will consider 2018 budget. i've covered starting at 2:30 eastern on c-span three. you can follow that online on c-span .org or use the pre- c-span radio app. former chair and ceo of aqua facts, richard smith, testified for several congressional committees this week about the
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company's data breach. tomorrow he will be set to appear before the senate banking committee. you can watch live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three. also online, c-span .org or using the c-span radio app. thursday mr. smith will answer questions on the house financial services committee. live coverage starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern also on c-span three. there's a we are live in frankfort, kentucky for the next up on the c-span bus with the capitals tour. kentucky senate president robert and secretary of state allison will be our guest on the bust during washington journal. starting at 8:10 a.m. eastern and join us thursday for the entire washington journal starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.

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