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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 17, 2018 9:29am-11:30am EDT

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i'm rather conservative about projectio projections, but the indicators are -- favor the democrats. there is an ingredient that no money can buy, passion in campaigns. and no one should ever forget that. it may even sound odd to you. >> we saw that even in the presidential. >> absolutely. the passion is on the democratic side. i see it not only in my congressional district, i see it throughout the bay area. i see it in california. i see it in places across the country, and some of the test cases, as it were, the special elections-- >> we are going to leave this event at this point and go live to the u.s. senate. our cameras do remain at this conference and we'll show it to you in its entirety in our program schedule.
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the u.s. senate about to gavel in to get the day started. lawmakers expect to work on a federal putting plan offered by kentucky republican rand paul and we may see debate and possible votes on gine haspel to be the next cia director. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. king of glory, robed with honor and majesty, enter the hearts of our lawmakers today and use them for your glory.
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fortify them with the knowledge that you will never leave or forsake them, lord, show them your ways, and teach them your path. leaning on your wisdom, may they make ethical decisions that will receive heaven's approval. undergird them with your might, enabling them to accomplish with your power what they could not do on their own. we pray in your wonderful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag
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of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., may 17, 2018 . to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable dean heller, a senator from the state of nevada, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 847, gina haspel. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, central intelligence agency, gina haspel of kentucky to be director. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules
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of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of gina haspel of kentucky to be director of the central intelligence agency signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motion be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, yesterday the intelligence committee took an important step toward confirming gina haspel to become the next director of the c.i.a. a bipartisan majority voted to report her nomination favorably to the senate.
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i look forward to promptly moving to a confirmation vote. the committee's confidence is indicative of the strength of miss haspel's testimony and her 30-plus years record of c.i.a. service. throughout the process, she demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach to the committee's questions. she displayed the talent and expertise that make her uniquely qualified to face america's biggest national security challenges, whether in the area of counterterrorism or renewed international competition among great powers. out of the spotlight, whether at langley or deployed abroad, miss haspel has quietly earned the respect and admiration of those who matter most. that's the men and women of the c.i.a. and distinguished current and former intelligence community leaders. the safety and security of the american people depend on capable intelligence, leadership. gina haspel is the right woman at the right time.
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senators on both sides of the aisle agree. so i urge each of my colleagues to rise to the occasion and swiftly confirm our next c.i.a. director. now, mr. president, on another matter, with republican policies shaking the regulatory rust off the u.s. economy, american job creators, entrepreneurs, and working families have been thinking big again. for eight years democrats pushed a one-size-fits-all agenda that heaped outsize benefits on the largest cities and left the rest of the country struggling to catch up. now, main street businesses across america feel the wind is at their backs so they're expanding their operations, buying more equipment, and hiring new workers. for too long taxpayers grappled with an outdated federal tax code that seemed to keep more of their hard earned income every year. now thanks to republican tax reform, working families are
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seeing paychecks grow, special bonuses hit their bank accounts, and will send thousands of dollars less to the i.r.s. next year. now that congress and the president have put a stop to the last administration's rampant top-down federal rule making, u.s. manufacturing is churning back to life as well. the new economic climate that's taking hold across the country has producers feeling more confident planting roots right here in the united states. new capital investment, new factories, new american jobs. novellus, a leading producer of rolled and recycled aluminum broke ground just this week on a new factory in guthrie, kentucky. the company is choosing the commonwealth to build a 400,000 square foot facility and create at least 125 new jobs. and they're not keeping any secrets about what's helping them make this investment.
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here's a quote. a favorable economic environment including the significant possible impact of tax reform in the u.s. reinforces novellus' decision to expand at this time. this is not just a kentucky phenomenon. according to a new sawyer vai data from the national association of manufacturers, more than 93% of u.s. manufacturing firms have a positive outlook. 93% of u.s. manufacturing firms have a positive outlook. already 77% of manufacturers are reporting hiring new workers and 86% say they're investing in plants and equipment. many american communities revolved around these manufacturing facilities. sadly, during the obama years, they were among the most likely to be left behind by the so-called recovery. but now that's changing. today manufacturing wages are growing at their fastest pace in 17 years. these are just a few signs of our nation's economic comeback
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under republicans' pro growth, pro opportunity agenda. remember, not one of our democratic colleagues voted with us to set this train in motion. not one. they voted against culting red tape for american -- cutting red tape for american manufacturers. they voted against the tax reforms that are growing paychecks and helping create new jobs. they voted against the newly lowered utility rates that benefit both families and employers. my democratic colleagues like to talk about supporting the middle class. well, these days it's looking more and more like that's all it is, just talk. but while they occupy themselves with partisan politics, republicans will keep on clearing the tracks and letting the american economy roll on ahead. now, speaking of tax reform, mr. president, i have to bid farewell today to an outstanding member of my staff. brendan dunn has been a key member of my office team for the
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last six years. he's made an outsized impact as a trusted counselor and friend. i actually stole brendan from the finance committee in 2012. i'm not sure if chairman hatch ever quite forgave me for it. if you've ever had the pleasure of witnessing brendan in action, you'll understand why he's a sought-after commodity. whether you need deep expertise on tax policy or the perfect movie quote for any occasion. brendan has been my trusted advisor on issues including tax policy, bank and trade and pensions so i'm just glad his last few months in office could be so calm and laid back period. all he had to do was play the leading role in crafting generational tax reform and help steer it across the finish line. oh, and then came dodd-frank reform for good measure. so this maryland native holds
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degrees from holy cross, fordham, georgetown, and notre dame but you wouldn't know that this unassuming leader and reliable source of comic relief holds a j.d. and p.h.d. in political philosophy unless you needed to. that's the kind of guy brendan is. his many contributions to my team have benefited this body, the people of kentucky, and the nation. i know everyone who has gotten to work closely with him are sad to see him depart the senate. i certainly am. but i have a hunch that his lovely wife, lee, and their children patrick, audrey, and mary won't mind seeing a little bit more of him. so i want to offer brendan my sincere thanks for a job very well done and wish him godspeed for what lies ahead.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i move to proceed to consideration of senate -- the presiding officer: the senate in a quorum call. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. mr. paul: i move to proceed to consideration of senate concurrent resolution 36. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 384, s. con. res. 36, concurrent resolution setting forth the congressality budget for the united states government for fiscal year 2019 and so forth. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 45 minutes under the control
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of senator from kentucky, mr. paul, or his designee, and 45 minutes under the control of the democratic leader, or his designee. the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: this year there will be no budget presented by the republicans or the democrats. i think that's a bad idea. i think the government should have a budget, should have a document that says how we're going to to spend our money. i think it is particularly important because we're incurring so much d you may remember that republicans campaigned against enormous spend by president obama and trillion-dollar annual deficits. now we're faced with enormous spending and trillion-dollar annual deficits from republicans. i think it is important that we have a discussion over this. do we have too much debt? now, some will say, well, i have debt for my house, and that's not bad. the country that is a lot of debt that they borrow against capital expenditures, things that don't expire. i think there's some truth to that. so you can have a manageable amount of debt, particularly it's against something that
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you're borrowing that doesn't go away. but if you're borrowing money for the grocery store or for your apartment, that might be a bad thing. it won't last very long. you'll do it a month or two, and pretty soon the bank will come calling. so there is a point at which debt is too cumbersome and there's too much of it. carl men reinhardt of the university of maryland did a study linking debt to economic growth. it was concluded that when a country exceeds 90% of their g.d.p., when their debt is almost equal to their g.d.p., that economic growth begins to slow and you lose probably one to two points just because of the burden of this debt. this is all of the debt. what does the government owe to the public at large and to their self? they say when it exceeds 90%, it is a problem. well, currently, our debt is at 105%. our gross public debt is 105% of
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our g.d.p. so we now have a national debt of about $21 trillion. historically congress had sort of a cover on this. congress would try to rein in the debt and there would be a big debate every time we raised the debt ceiling. congress has to lift it each time and there was some punishment out there for those who voted to raise the debt real ceilinceiling now we don't raise debt ceiling a certain amount because that became embarrassing and limiting and made them come back each time to try to raise the debt ceiling. so now what we do is we trays for a period of time. currently the debt ceiling has been raised and you can spend as much as you want for a little over a year. we did it, i believe, back in december. it is about a year and a half. the government can simply borrow as much as they can possibly borrow that that period of time. basically there is no limit. the debt ceiling vote has become a meaningless vote because we just raise it for a period of time. is the debt a problem?
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how much interest do we pay on the debt? we pay about $300 billion in interest. you say, well, is that a problem? well, yeah, interest crowds out other things that you want from government. so when people come to my office and say, i want this from government, say, well, part of the problem is we're paying $300 billion in interest. part of problem is we don't have to give you because we're borrowing about 25% of every dollar we spend. so every time the government spends a dollar, 25% of that is borrowed. and this is on current accounts of things that people want. so, for example, if i were to ask you, is it a good idea to borrow money to give to your church? well, people would say, well, my church is a good thing and i want to give money to my church. will it last very long if you go to the bank to borrow 25% of every dollar he spend and give 25 -- a tithe of 25% to your
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church? are there repercussions to having so much debt? we have a $300 billion interest payment at about 2% interest. the interest is manipulated by the federal reserve and there are those who report that the interest rates are kept low by the federal reserve is not necessarily to stimulate economic growth; it's to finance this enormous burden of debt. what happens when interest rates normalize? and many are predicting they will as economic growth begins to pick up, you're going to see ancel reagan administration in interest rates -- you're going to se see an acceleration of interest rates. people have looked at what the interest rate rates will be, any say within about a decade, interest rates will exceed all other payments in the government. the estimate is within ten years, interest alone will be about $761 billion, greater than national defense, greater than any other area of the budget.
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even now the second biggest item in the budget, after defense, is interest. so some say, but, we have to finance the military and the military needs more money. that's why you hear republicans now no longer caring about the debt is that they got more money for the military. but they had to make an unholy alliance with democrats and give them more for social welfare. so we got guns and butter. everybody gets what they want except for the taxpayer, those of us who care about the debt. so the debt has exploded now under republican control. you say, well, don't we need it for military? well, i think there are some arguments that we should probably engage in before we decide that. we have doubled the amount in nominal terms that we spend on the military since 9/11. in real terms about a 36% increase in national defense. we spend more on the military than the next eight countries combined. so there is an argument that isn't necessarily th the budgets
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not grown enough. it's that maybe the military mission is too large. maybe it is not that the budget is too small but our military mission is too large, that we're at war in too many places around the globe and we should reassess that. people will often argue, many republicans will say, well, that's all and go well -- good and well but really the culprit is entitlements. and entitlements are growing at 6%. social security, medicare, food stamps. there's truth to that, but watch closely the people who tell you that the problem is entitlements and ask yourself, are they doing anything to fix entitlements? ask them, have they put forward a bill onto the floor of the? the to rein in spending and entitlements? ask them if they've even cosponsored a bill or if they're agitating for a bill to rein in entitlements? no, they're petrified of looking at entitlements. everybody says they're for a balanced budget and yet when we
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have a vote in a few minutes 0en a budget that actually balances in five years, consistent with the balanced budget amendment, i think we'll get a couple handful, maybe a dozen or maybe two dozen. but the majority of republicans will say, oh, my goodness, we could never cut spending. so in the abstract they're for a balanced budget amendment. they all vote for it, they all come down here. i think we in a unanimous vote a few years ago. republicans all voted for the balanced budget amendment. just a month ago in the house, all the people who voted to bust the budget caps, all the people who voted for the extra spending, all of these republicans then voted for the balanced budget amendment which says you have to balance in five years. typically when they have brought forward a budget, they've tried to balance in ten years and struggled. so they vote for a balanced budget amendment that balances in five and yet they struggle to come up with a budget that's not fake to balance in ten. we passed a budget last year. it was a republican b i voted against it because i think it
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had fake cuts in it and it had fake reporting, and they weren't serious about it. i'll give you an example. the budget last year that republicans passed had about $4 trillion in entitlement savings over ten years. you say, well, did they enact any of that? zero. do they have any bills to do any entitlement for? zero. did we ever debate and vote on any bills that would have done anything to entitlement spending? no. in fact, in the first year of the republican budget last year, there was $96 billion. that's a big savings -- all in entitlements, and yet nobody had a bill that even went to committee. there was never a committee vote. there was never a floor vote. no one lifted a finger to do anything about entitlement spending, so it is a canard for those who say, well, the real problem is not military, the real problem is not nonmilitary discretionary. the real problem is entitlements. sure, entitlements are growing
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faster. but unless we're doing something about it, it is simply saying, oh, we got to keep spending over here because the real problem is over here, but we're not going tto do anything over here. that runs into the hypocrisy we face today. i've often said that the republican party is an empty vessel unless we imbue it with value. we say we are against big spending. we say we are against big government. we say we are for devolving ho g sending structure and money back to the states. democrats are sometimes more honest about wanting to grow government. they are going to say they are going to make government big enough to put a ham on every table, a chicken in every pot. they are a little more honest about it. republicans go home and say they believe in the free market and they go to the rotary club and say i voted for the balanced budget amendment. and yet the question is why won't they vote for an actual budget that balances?
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why won't they vote for a budget that is consistent with the balanced budget amendment? so what i have done is put forward my own budget. it's something that i have talked about for several years now. it wasn't originally my idea, but others have talked about it. it's called the penny plan. it says we will cut one pien out of -- penny out of every dollar the federal government spends, 1%. could we not get to a point where we could actually cut one penny out of every dollar? isn't there enough waste going on in government that we could actually cut a penny out of every dollar? but like everything else, people argued the numbers. there is a lot of fake math that goes on around here. what they will say, those on the left will say oh, but this will be cutting $13 trillion. when, in fact, it might not cut any. so, for example, if we were to freeze government spending for ten years, the left would say you cut spending by $15 trillion because we were going to increase spending by $15 trillion.
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so it's sort of fake accounting. if we spend $3.2 trillion and next year we spend $30 billion less or $32 billion less, that's a 1% cut. but the left will say oh, no, we were going to increase spending by 6%, and so you're really cutting spending by 7%. this enormous number comes up, but in reality, we're taking last year's spending, $3.2 trillion, we're going to cut it by 1%. $30 billion. we do that every year for five years, and the budget balances. you say well, some people might not get all their money. yeah, there would be some programs across government that would get less. i want any american, i challenge any american to call up my office and present proof that there is not 1% waste and fraud in any program going on. i'll give you an example. the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit are estimated to have 25% fraud.
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for years, you could get this credit without a social security number. you could simply say myself and my kids, we don't have one. the government would generate a taxpayer i.d. number for you and give you a federal refund. this is to the tune of billions of dollars. it's about $100 billion in the eitc, the earned income tax credit and the additional tax credit. many of those people who were going into our country illegally and had no social security number. there is waste from top to bottom in government. how would you ever find it? see, many people in this body on both sides of the aisle will say i'm for rooting out waste, and yet you never find waste if you keep giving them more money. if you reward government agencies with more money, you're never going to get less waste. so the penny plan, the penny plan budget that i'm presenting would cut 1%. does anybody in america think that government couldn't do with 1% less? many american families have had a bad year here and there and
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have had to deal with more than 1% less, but 1% of this enormous government, if it were cut each year, i think would go a long way towards making us a stronger nation. people say well, what about the military? i think if the government ran a balanced budget, we would have a stronger and more secure nation. admiral mullen said he thought the number one threat to our national security was actually our debt, so there are some, many realistic people, even high-ranking people in the military who are saying you know what? if we want to secure our nation, we have to make sure that we have a sound economy and that we have a sound government that is not borrowing so much money. how rapidly do we borrow money? we borrow a million dollars every minute. a million dollars a minute. in fact, it's a little bit higher than that now. it's about $1.5 million. the curve over the next ten years gets to about $2 million a minute. imagine how fast the money is
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flying out of here. how big is a million dollars? people have said that if you put $100 bills in your hand, it's about four inches high to get to a million dollars. but we're borrowing a million or more every minute. so if we said how would we get to $30 billion, how could we possibly cut $30 billion from the budget, i'll give you an example of where some of the money is. foreign aid is about $30 billion. you say well, i want to help the poor people of the world. i'm all for you. if you want to give out of your savings to help poor people around the world, all the benefit and all the accolades for being generous. but if you want to borrow money, you won't be able to do it very long. should the u.s. government borrow, we're going to borrow a trillion dollars this year, should we borrow money to spend it to poor countries or borrow money to send armaments to countries? i think it's a big mistake. that's about $30 billion. if you cut 1% next year, you could actually cut 1% by simply
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eliminating foreign aid. how much do we spend in afghanistan, building their roads, building their bridges, building their schools before they blow them up again and then we rebuild them again? we have rebuilt some buildings seven times in afghanistan. that's nearly $50 billion. that's about a year, year and a half of the penny plan right there. if you were to say guess what? we won the afghan war and we're not going to stay forever and we have some needs here at home that we're going to take care of and not send all that money to afghanistan. corporate welfare. rich corporations in our country, i'm all for them if they freely sell something to you and they make money because you like their product and they buy it, more power to them. but if they want money from the federal government, that's ridiculous. i don't think private business should be getting any money from the federal government. it's estimated that corporate welfare is over $100 billion. i know for certain we could find enough corporate welfare that we could actually by eliminating corporate welfare do one year of the penny plan.
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waste, our office loan has -- office alone has found $3 billion in waste. interest, $300 billion going up to $760 billion. there is a lot of areas of our government that we could actually look at and actually adhere to the penny plan and balance our budget. i'd like to go through a few items if there are everybody in america that believe your government is not wasting your money, i would like to show you a few areas where government is wasting you money. my staff recently went to afghanistan, and this is a picture of a luxury hotel that your taxpayer dollars went to build. your first question might be why would your taxpayer dollars be going to a luxury hotel in some third-world country? it's about 400 feet from our embassy. this is what it looks like. they have been building it for 11 years. it's unfinished. nothing was done to code. it's falling down. at this point, the hotel is so dangerous that we have to send our soldiers out to patrol it to
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make sure snipers aren't using the hotel to shoot at our embassy. it's not only a waste of $90 million, never having been completed, it's now a danger to our troops. the talk now, how they're going to fix their problem, does anybody in washington think we should spend less on afghanistan? virtually no one. both sides of the aisle, republicans and democrats can't spend money fast enough in afghanistan. no one is making a stand and saying enough's enough. it's time to announce that we won, and it's time to come home. the money just keeps going, good money after bad. $90 million for a hotel that will never be built. and to add insult to injury, you know what they're going to do now? they're talking about selling the unfinished hotel. who do you think they're going to sell it to? another branch of government. so government built this, u.s. taxpayer dollars built this. now they're going to sell it to the state department. do you know what the state department is going to do with this luxury hotel? they're going to tear it down.
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so $90 million flushed down the toilet. you can't tell me that this waste isn't rotting in our government from top to bottom and it's never rooted out. why? because we never give any agency less money. everybody gets more money. if you're running an agency or business and someone gives you more money, are you more likely to root out waste or less likely to root out waste? the only way they would ever root out waste is if they got a commandment, thou shalt do this from congress, from the senate to say enough's enough, let's declare victory and come home. $90 million flushed down the toilet. it's now a danger to our troops, and they're going to tear it down. never completed. also in afghanistan, there has been brand-new equipment that we send over there that's shredded. they have big, huge industrial shredders. my staff saw them. they found boxes of new equipment, electrical outlet
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boxes, all kinds of things being shoved into the shredder. so we buy brand-new equipment that's shoved in the shredder. $50 million of brand-new, never-used equipment has been destroyed. this doesn't even count the old stuff we're destroying. there are reports that $7 billion, b, seven with a b, billion dollars of used equipment, tax, humvees, et cetera, have been destroyed. why? our allies are so unreliable, we're afraid if we leave a tank or a humvee there, it might be taken by the opposition and used against us, so we have destroyed $7 billion because it's cheaper to destroy it than to load it back up on planes and bring it back over here. $7 billion. the department of defense loses $29 million of heavy equipment. what does that mean? can't find them. can't be accounted.
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don't know where the equipment is. $29 million unaccounted for in heavy equipment. they tried to establish an afghan equivalent for the army corps of engineers. they lost $20 million of heavy equipment in the process. there was $28 million worth of uniforms that are missing. some of them got paid. we can't find the uniforms. we can't prove that anyone ever got the union -- uniforms. even more troubling, there was $700,000 of ammunition missing. you think we could at least keep up with ammunition. you think that might be a danger and insult to our young men and women we send to afghanistan that we can't account for where the ammunition is? if you can't account for it, there's a decent chance that your enemy has the ammunition or rogue elements in the afghan government which could be anyone has sold it on the black market to make money. where does your money go? i want you to realize as americans where your money is
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going. $500,000 to study if selfies make you happier. so you take selfies of yourself smiling and then you look at them to see if that makes you happier. now, you may want to do is on your own time but $500,000 of taxpayer money where we're a trillion dollars short, this stuff has been going on with the national science foundation since the 1970's. william proxmire was a senator in the 1970's, a conservative democrat and used to do the golden fleece award. many of them came from the national science foundation. in 1972 he complained about it for ten years before he retired. i've been complaining about it for six years. what do the republicans and the democrats do? oh, it's science. you wouldn't know, sir, about science. we have to give them more money. you're not smart enough to know there's a lot of science in taking selfies and we can learn something really important that's so important for the future of mankind to learn whether or not selfies of people
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smiling will make you -- help the world in the end. n.i.h. everybody loves n.i.h. think they can do no wrong. n.i.h. did a $2 million study to see whether or not the people who sneeze on your food in front of you, if you're following somebody in the cafeteria line and the guy or woman in front of you sneezes on the food, are you more or less likely to take the food? really? i think we could poll the audience on that. how ridiculous is that? money like that, particularly when there are things the government needs to do and there's a trillion dollar deficit that we spend $2 million studying what your reaction is to people sneezing on the food? $356,000 was spent of your money studying whether or not japanese quail are more sexually promisous on - cocaine.
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they have great studies. this is once again the national science foundation. hurray for the national science foundation. i know i will get some hate mail from them. $356,000 to study whether japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine. you can't make this stuff up. and yet the reform take i have proposed is that we have a taxpayer advocate on the committee to determine who gets these grants. you know what they say? oh, we can't have any nonscientists. they wouldn't understand the science. all right. i want the scientist who did this to come forward and explain to me why do we need to do this study. there is no point to spending this money. there could have been something better. so i offer one thing to try to fix it. taxpayer advocate on the committee approving grants and i think we should have a scientist who isn't in that field. so this is sort of behavioral science for japanese quail, i guess. and so we need to have somebody there who studies diabetes,
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heart disease, cancer, aids, some of the diseases that affect more people. they need to be on the committee because they need to be scratching their heads saying we can spend it on japanese quail and their sexual habits or we could spend it on diabetes. then the taxpayer advocate could be saying we could spend it on japanese quail or maybe we could reduce the debt. maybe both could happen. maybe we could reduce the debt and try to do only better scientific projects. this one looks like something you'd really want your government to spend money on. $150,000 was spent to investigate supernatural events in alaska. they were to look at unexplained lights, animals with transformative powers, all kinds of different myth logical animals. landscape features that lad special powers and of course you wouldn't want to leave out sea monsters. so $150,000.
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people say what's $150,000? when they say that, that's the problem of government. milton friedman had it right when he said nobody spends somebody else's money as wisely as their own. why don't they care about $150,000? because it wasn't their money to spend. this is why government isn't good at anything they do. they're terribly ineffective because they're spending other people's money. it means government should be so small that they have less room to make errors like this. we should devolve most of the power back to the states what our founding fathers intended and try to say we're not going to tolerate this kind of stuff. this is $250,000 that was spent to send 24 kids from pakistan to space camp and dollywood. so my first question would be asking, is there anybody in america that didn't get to go to
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dollywood or space camp last year? i think when everybody in america has gone, then we might consider sending some pakistani kids. frankly, there's nothing in the constitution that says we should be sending pakistani kids to dollywood. now, there's nothing wrong if you want to send some kids from pakistan to dollywood and you have extra money. by all means give it to them. but you can't take and should not take the taxpayer money to do things like this. cool i ask the chair how much time i have remaining of my 45 minutes. the presiding officer: 19 minutes. mr. paul: thank you. this is here in washington. it's about a mile if here. we call it a streetcar named waste. $1.6 million to study the expansion of the d.c. streetcar. and this is a streetcar that nobody is actually riding on. if you ever see it, it's the ghost car. there's nobody on it. it also goes nowhere. goes about a mile from nowhere to nowhere. it's much slower than walking. because i've walked and i can't
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-- we thought about actually filming me in a race with the streetcar to see who wins, me walking or it driving. really, once again, you know, going back to some technology from hundred also of years ago that still requires wires to be running down the street and added, it's really not a use of government money. d.c. gets a lot of federal money. where else do you spend your money? oh, this is one of my favorites. i can't even imagine who spent this money. do you think when i tell you you'll say well certainly that person was fired. no way. he works for the federal government. nobody is ever fired in the federal government. $700,000 spent to study what neil armstrong said when he landed on the moon. did he say one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind or did he say one small step for a man. they wanted to study whether the preposition "a" was mentioned by
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neil armstrong or he said one small step for man. $700,000. where did the money come from? the grant was originally supposed to be for autism. we could debate whether the federal government should be involved in that because it sounds like a much more just study if it had something to do with autism than studying neil armstrong's statement on the moon. you can't make this stuff up. this is incredibly ridiculous but it should be insuperintendenting. there -- insulting. there should not be a taxpayer at home who say they're going to cut the budget to cut one penny out of every dollar, we spent $700,000 on what neil armstrong said or didn't say on the moon. you no he what the conclusion was? they don't know. it was inclusive. they listen -- inconclusive. they listened to the tape over and over. it should be a message to our body that we should be cutting some spending. instead we did the opposite. under republican control of the senate and the house, we busted the budget caps by $300 billion
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just two months ago. so part of what my plan would do would be to restore the caps. they're put in place for a reason, to try to control our proclivities to spend too much money. so we put the budget caps in place. then we cut 1% a year, about $30 billion every year for five years. then where the government would begin to grow again at about 1%. i know we could live within our means. would would happen is this guy would be fired and that kind of study would not happen where they have 1% less or maybe a program like the national science foundation would get 50% less or 75% less to really put them on notice that we're tired after 30 years of crazy research of them continuing without reform. this was also spent in afghanistan. this is your money. $850,000 to set up a televised
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crick set league -- cricket colleague. first problem? most people don't have tv's in afghanistan. a televised cricket league? they don't have tv's to watch it on. $850,000 to make them feel better about their national cricket league. boondoggle. nothing to do with national defense. makes us weaker by putting us further into debt. will this get better if we continue to increase money? no. it only get, worse. if you give them more money, they will spend it. in fact, we have studied spending at the end of the year. when you get to the end of the year, the government spends money four to five times faster than any other month in the year. in fact, the last 30 days of the fiscal year spending increases every day. in fact, on the last day of the fiscal year, you can watch spending accelerating as the sun sets in the west. as offices begin to close in the east, the spending shifts to the midwest. as the sun sets farther in the
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western sky and the offices are still open in california, they're spending money as fast as they can because if they don't spend it, they won't get it next year. use it or lose it. it's a ten -- it's a phenomenon of government that's been going on forever. as long as you get more money, they'll do t. as long as you're rewarded for doing the spending. we should be studying which agencies do it, which agencies go to las vegas and have their conference there for a million dollars and they're sipping champagne in the hot tub. that agency should get less money. i think those people actually did get fired. one of the few people ever fired. next. now, we could have a debate on another occasion about climate change but we ought to really probably agree that a $450,000 app for your phone so you can play a climate change game that will i guess attempt to convince you and ensure that you're
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convinced that we are having climate change, $450,000 for an app on a phone. apps are everywhere. people are developing them all the time. the government doesn't need to be spending what probably somebody spends $1,000 in their garage to develop for $450,000. remember obamacare when they tried to set up the website, millions of dollars, and then it failed? remember the i.r.s. just three weeks ago failing? you know, we need to be very careful about giving government more money. the budget that i'm producing is called the penny plan budget. cuts one penny out of every dollar. this is important for the country to see that we're having this vote. they're not that excited to have this vote. we're only having this vote because the senate rules basically mandate it. it can't be avoided because republicans didn't create a budget. democrats didn't create a budget. so i decided what the heck, i'll create my own budget. the penny plan budget has come forward. if we were to pass this, there
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are many good things. through a simple majority, we could do many good things that conservative republicans have wanted. make the tax cuts permanent. get rid of more regulations. do the rains act which would be to say new regulations that are very expensive have to be voted on by congress. we should cut out more waste. there are all kinds of things we could do. well, we've chosen in our budget to actually give instructions to expand health savings accounts. one of the big problems we have in health care is rising costs. costs are going up at about 25% a year. the answer around here has been i think lame, uneducated, ill informed and counter-- ilinformed, counterproductive. other than that, they're right on target. what they've tried to do, oh, your individual rate is going up 25% a year. here's some money you can pay for it. it does nothing to bring the curb down. it may accelerate the curb. if you subsidize something, it will become more expensive. you're subsidizing the demand
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for you. we ought to expand health savings accounts where people can pay their health care. you say you don't want to pay your health care. when you have skin in the game, you ask the price of things. when the government pays or somebody else pays, you don't ask the price of things and the price rises. competition is a fundamental aspect of capitalism but you have to have freely fluctuating prices which we don't in medicare, medicaid and mostly private insurance. so really we've never ever addressed the fundamental problem of health care which is we don't have capitalism in health care. what do we do? because we don't have enough cameism, we take more -- capitalism, we take more capital i'mway and it's even more broken since obamacare. one of the answers since many won't vote to repeal obamacare, one of the answers is this. let's try expanding the marketplace. my budget today could pass. if every republican voted for it, it passes, we could move on to doing something like expanding health savings accounts. this gets to an argument that is sort of an inside baseball argument that happens in washington. they'll tell you, young marntion
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you must vote for -- young man, you must vote for our budget because the budget is simply a vehicle to do other good things. i look back at them and say if it's a vehicle and you don't care what's in it, why don't we put something good in it. we always put something crappy in it that never woks, never balance -- works, never balance, and doesn't represent who we are as a party and they shove it down your throat but we have to do it because it's the only way to get to a tax cut. but the thing is, they can do it by voting for something they are actually for. everybody in our caucus is for the balanced budget amendment. if we put it forward on the floor, they're all vote for it. there won't be enough votes for it to be law, so it's a free vote. this would be the actual platform, the actual symbol of what we run on and what we do next year. and yet we won't have a chance to do that unless they're willing to do it. so they want the budget to be meaningless, they want it to be a vehicle, but then they want it to be their meaningless symbol, and i can't do that. i think there has to be somebody
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left in the republican party who says enough's enough. we're not going to tolerate the waste, spending, and the debt, and we're going to say the same things we did to president obama, that big government spending and debt are wrong. so i don't think we should change just because we're in power. you know, when the republican party is out of power, they are the conservative party. the problem is when the republican party is in power, there is no conservative party. what i'm arguing for today is we should be who we say we are. i argue for a yes vote on the penny plan budget, and i reserve the remainder of my time. if i could have an update of what i have left? the presiding officer: nine minutes. mr. paul: perfect. thank you. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. paul: i will reserve the bulk of my time that's remaining and then suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum
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be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent to use leader time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. before i get into the substance of my remarks, i always listen diligently to my friend from kentucky. there is a number that's missing in his charts. it's called 1.5 trillion. the reason we don't like government spending is because, he thinks, a lot of it's wasteful, okay. but the reason ultimately is also because there is a huge deficit. our side scratches at the heads -- at our heads, not only with our friend from kentucky but of everyone on the other side who rails about too much government spending and creation of the deficit when they created the deepest hole they could have with the tax break that could have been paid for by closing loopholes. and a group, a bipartisan group had put something together that would have reduced the corporate rate to 25%, brought the money
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overs at 8%, 9%, increased the child tax credit, left the individual side alone, and barely increased the deficit. so our side at least rankles when we hear these budgets that relate to deficit spending when on the tax side that doesn't seem to apply at all. i say that with due respect to my good friend who i know is sincere in his beliefs. and he will argue with me that cutting taxes increases the economy. i would say spending money on education and infrastructure also increases the economy. it's a slippery slope once you say we can cut all the taxes we want and the deficit doesn't matter. it would be like us saying you can spend all the money you want and deficit doesn't matter. we don't quite say that. anyway, i thank my friend. now, other remarks, madam president. yesterday was a good day for the future of the internet. democrats forced the senate to take an important step closer to
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restoring net neutrality. another step closer to ensuring that large internet service providers don't get to hold all the cards. another step closer to protecting equality of access to the internet. in doing so, senate democrats stood with the 86% of americans who oppose the repeal of net neutrality. i'm proud to say that senator markey's congressional review act resolution passed yesterday afternoon with the votes of every single democrat, as well as three of our republican colleagues. i thank senators collins, murkowski, and kennedy for supporting this fine legislation. here's what my friend, the republican senator from louisiana had to say after the vote. if you trust your table company, you won't like my vote. if you don't trust your cable company, you will like my vote. he's right. it's that simple. so you have to wonder why 47
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republicans voted no yesterday. do they trust the cable companies, the large i.s.p.'s to do what's level best for the average american family? do they believe that cable companies are really popular with the american people? i don't think so. now, republicans in the house have to take up this bipartisan resolution. we hope they will. this isn't some partisan stunt. absolutely not. it's a real bipartisan effort to right the f.c.c.'s wrong and protect the free and open internet. it's very crucial to the future of the country. house republicans don't have to choose the same path that the vast majority of republicans in the senate decided. speaker ryan should bring this up for a vote immediately. the american people have spoken, the senate has spoken. speaker ryan should listen and bring the net neutrality c.r.a. to the floor of the house. now, on another subject, the
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one-year anniversary of robert mueller. one year ago, former f.b.i. director robert mueller was appointed to lead the f.b.i.'s investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. of course the investigation began long before that. according to the "new york times," it began in the middle of 2016 as a result of information we received from the australian ambassador who told the f.b.i. that russian intelligence was working to share information with the trump campaign. at that time, we heard a lot about the f.b.i.'s investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails, but remarkably we heard nothing about this other investigation. now we know that one of those two investigations is much more serious than the other one. we also know that if it was a witch-hunt, as the president seems to think it was, if they were out to get them, they certainly would have leaked information about that during
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the election campaign. they didn't. the probe led by special counsel mueller, a republican and decorated marine veteran, concerns the campaign of a hostile foreign power to interfering and influence the outcome of an american election. there is nothing, nothing more serious to the integrity of a democracy than the guarantee of free and fair elections. founding fathers warned about foreign interference. when i used to read that clause in high school, i said what do they mean? that's not going to happen. well, they are a lot smarter than we are, as always. they knew this danger, and here it is 2018 and we see how real it was. it's what's the core of the special counsel's investigation. the investigation has already yielded multiple indictments and guilty pleas. yesterday, the senate intelligence committee in a bipartisan manner confirmed that russia sought to interfere with our elections to sow discord and
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tip the details against donald trump and secretary clinton. the trump administration itself has taken punitive action against russia's actions in the robert mueller investigation, and i salute the chairman of the intelligence committee, the senator -- the republican senator from north carolina for being straightforward about this. not so many on the other side of the aisle are. yet again this morning, president trump called the investigation a disgusting, illegal, and unwarranted witch-hunt, the greatest witch-hunt in american history. it's amazing the rhetoric this man uses. i would say to the president it's not a witch-hunt when 17 russians have been indicted. it's not a witch-hunt when some of the most senior members of the trump campaign have been indicted. it's not a witch-hunt when
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democrats and republicans agree with the intelligence community that russia interfered in our election to aid president trump. any fair-minded citizen, even the most ardent partisan should be able to look at the facts and say that this investigation is not a witch-hunt. the f.b.i. director christopher wray, appointed by president trump, a republican, said as much yesterday. so truly, we should all be aghast on this one-year anniversary of mueller's appointment at the smear campaign by the president and his allies. we should all be aghast at the relentless parade of conspiracies manufactured by the most extreme elements of the republican party and conservative media to distract from the special counsel's investigation. from deep state leaks to unmasking requests, phone taps at trump tower, uranium one,
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nunes midnight run to the white house and the nunes memo. these are all attempts to derail a legitimate and important investigation. now house conservatives are badgering d.o.j. officials for classified documents, hunting desperately for any scrap of information that would help them sully the investigation. and by the way, for all their ranting and raving and interfering, they haven't had a scintilla of evidence to support that this is a witch-hunt, that this is unfair, that it is politically motivated. the president and his allies don't quit with all these conspiracy theories, with all these ridiculous fomentations. frankly, because they are afraid of what mueller's investigation will reveal. every american who looks at the president's actions says he's afraid of what the mueller investigation will reveal.
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and yet, the volume of mistruth, the weight of all the distortion and fabrication is hurting our democracy. the double standard is enormous. the "times" article shows no leaks when trump was under investigation during the campaign. obviously, it was played public when hillary clinton was. again, if this was a witch-hunt, why didn't the f.b.i., which the president seems to feel is politically motivated with no scintilla of proof, why wouldn't they leak it? and one more point, madam president, before i leave the floor. the words of secretary tillerson yesterday, former secretary tillerson, i might say, the words of secretary tillerson were, quote, if our leaders seek to conceal the truth, will we as a people become accepting of alternative realities that are
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no longer ground in fact, then we as american citizens are on the pathway to relinquishing our freedom. he's exactly right. when distortions, lies, intimidation come repeatedly from the other side in some conservative news media and that becomes the accepted way and it's just he said, she said, when one side is blatantly distorting and lying and that becomes accepted, our democracy is at risk. we're a beautiful thing here. it's founded on fact, real facts. and what we have seen from the president and some of his allies makes you worry about the future of this democracy, the way they are behaving. now, ultimately i have firm belief that they will not succeed. the founding fathers were geniuses, geniuses, and they set
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up a system of checks and balances that we read about in our classes and study, but it's almost mystical. it always rises to the occasion. it will again, despite the efforts of the president, despite the efforts of some of his allies who have gone way overboard. and i might mention chairman nunes on the other side. the checks and balances of this country i believe will hold and we will eventually find out the truth, no matter where it leads. so today is a good day to remember that the special counsel's investigation is serious, it's nonpartisan, and it's critical to the integrity of our democracy. we must allow it to proceed without political interference, without intimidation to follow all the facts in pursuit of the unvarnished truth of such an important issue. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gilli mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, there is a bill at the desk. i ask for its first reading. the clerk:' 2872, a bill to amend the congressional accountability act and so forth and for other purposes. mrs. gillibrand: i now ask for its second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar, i object. the presiding officer: the bill will be read its second reading on the next legislative day. mrs. gillibrand: mr. presiden mr. president, 100 days ago the house of representatives voted unanimously to pass the congressional accountability act of 1995 reform act. the bill that would fix the way we deal with sexua sexual harast discrimination here in congress. the current system is broken.
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it makes no sense that a staffer who is sexually harassed or discriminated against has to possibly wait months for mediation, for counseling, for cooling off before he or she is able to even file a claim. this bill would also make sure that when a member of copping is sexually harassed or discriminated against someone on their staff, the taxpayers are not left holding the bag. that is what the bill does. there is no reasonable excuse for anyone to stand in the way. our constituents do not deserve to have their hard-earned dollars paying for these settlements. what they deserve is a vote on this reform now. but what we've seen since the house acted -- nothing but politics as usual, despite having significant bipartisan
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support on this issue. i want to thank my colleagues, the minority leader, chuck schumer, senator klobuchar, senator murray, for their strong leadership on this issue and all their efforts to pass this bill here in the senate. they have been great partners in trying to move this forward. it is long since time that we should be acting on this issue. we need to pass this bill and send it to the president's deck so he can sign it into law. because what we've seen so clearly after the several months and years that we've been talking about this is that sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace is far more pervasive and egregious than we previously might have recognized. we've all recognized harassment and discrimination. we've all seen what it actually does to society, whether it's happening in factories or in restaurants or in hollywood or
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in the halls of congress or right here in this building. but the difference is, while practically every other industry in the country seems to be taking this issue far more seriously and at least trying to make an effort to change their workplaces, congress is dragging its feet. once again, a problem is staring us right in the face, and we are looking the other way. enough is enough. we should do better. we have waited 100 days, and we should not have to wait any longer. so i urge my colleagues to do the right thing now, to support this bill. fix the system here in congress that is failing our staffers on this issue of sexual harassment. this is an easy as it gets. so let's have a vote an let's pass it. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you. i appreciate being recognized. i am going to talk about a budget proposal by my colleague from kentucky, senator paul, and to those who want to balance the budget, get us out of debt, count me in. how do you do that? i'd like to do it without destroying the military. i'd like not to open up the wound where we're trying to close when it comes to the effects of sequestration. unfortunately, senator paul's approach is devastating to the military. it creates unpredict being at a time we need it. it throws us back into the old system where nobody knows what's going to happen. and let me tell but how you balance the budget and get us out of debt n2008 this blue line represents discretionary spending. it's about 30% of overall federal spending. you can see from 2008-2028 it's
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been relatively flat. the budget agreement we entered into a few weeks ago, a month or so ago, we're spending less than nondefense discretionary spending by $2 billion than we did in 2010. this red line represents 65% to 70% in federal spending. it is called entitlements. it is going through the roof. you've got to deal with the red line. you can't take it all out of the blue line. sequestration has taken about a million dollars out of the military. i want to compliment president trump for entering into a budget agreement that will restore funding to the military at a time we need it the most. what did sequestration do to the military? according to secretary mattis, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readness of our military than sequestration. what a stunning statement. in other words, congress has sunk more ships, shot down more planes, taken more soldiers off the battlefield than any enemy. under sequestration, we're at
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the smallest level for the navy since 1915. the smallest armenians 1940. and the smallest air force in modern history. that's about to change with the budget agreement, $700 billion for the military to retool, to buy new equipment to have more people so that our soldiers and sailors, airmen, and marines can spend a little bit of time with their family instead of being deployed all the time. so i want to applaud senator paul's zeal to balance the budget. what i want to do is to expose what this budget actually does. and if you're a defense hawk, you should be against this approach because it does the one thing we can't afford to do. it creates unpredictability when it comes to our national defense strategy. at times like this, i miss senator mccain, because i know he would be here with me. let me tell you, under his proposal, we're going to cut $404.8 billion next year. how much comes out of defense?
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well, we'll figure that out later. we know $6 billion has to come out of it. but it effectively sets aside the budget agreement that pluses up defense. over the next decade, $13.358 trillion will be cut. of that, how much comes out of defense? well, we'll figure that out later. let me tell you what that means to the military -- devastation. here's what secretary mattis said 26 april about predictability. we need predictability so that we can actually put a strategy into effect. if you do not have a budget that reflects the strategy, it does not work. under the budget agreement, we've got predictability for the next couple of years. we are restoring the cuts and we've got to build on what we've done through the next two years through the next ten years. what does this budget proposal do? it destroys redictability. it requires $404.8 billion and it doesn't tell the department
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of defense how they're going to have to pay. we know $6 billion. here's what i would suggest. if the past is any indication of the future, our friends on the other side are not going to let us exempt defense. sequestration was half out of defense, half out of nondefense and left entitlements pretty much alone. senator paul says we're not going to deal with social security. social security is going broke. somebody needs to deal with it. ronald reagan and tip o'neill dealt with it by adjusting the age of retirement to save social security benefits. so when you take social security off the table -- and let's say magically that everybody agreed with me that we should not undercut the defense budget, we should actually toad it and give predictability -- how do you get $13 trillion if you take social security and defense off the table? well, we donate because you can't. so to those who claim to be defense hawks, which i proudly claim to be, this is a symbolic vote, yes. the symbolism here is that we don't care about predictability
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when this comes to defense spending, that we're undercutting the agreement we achieved just a month ago to give the military the funds they need to defend this nation. now, if you live in a world where the military is small and we don't have any troops deployed anywhere, it might work. on september 10, 2001, we didn't have one soldier in afghanistan, we didn't have an embassy, not one dime of foreign aid went to afghanistan. the next day we got attacked coming from afghanistan, because radical islam will not leave you alone just because you with aens to leave them alone. president trump is right to rebuild the military. he campaigned on setting aside sequestration. it was down. planes have been falling otoof the sky. what does this budget dot? it puts us balk into a level of unpredictability. it says six has to come to defense. after that we don't know. here's what i know.
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it's going to undercut everything we've done to provide predictability and at the end of the day, this budget puts everything, every defense person has been hoping for at jeopardy -- in jeopardy. it takes the efforts of president trump to rebuild the military and throws it in a ditch because if you take social security off the table, if you took defense off the table, then you can't get thereto from here. do you want to destroy the f.b.i., the c.i.a., the department of justice justice, the n.i.h.? this is a symbolic statement. these budgets don't usually get much vote. i am tired of simple bomb ism at the expense -- i am tired of symbolism at the expense of our fighting men and women. i will engage in entitlement reform. senator paul had an entitlement reform bill for medicare -- i joined with him -- social security. let's do something like simpson-bowles. let's go ahead and find way to deal with entitlement reform and
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deal with the discretionary budget not in a haphazard guessing kind of way. count me in for wanting to balance the budget. but you got to go where the money is at. you got to do what ronald reagan and tip o'neill did. we got to do things for medicare like the gang of six, simpson-bowles. what i will not symbolically lend my vote to is an approach to balancing the budget that doesn't give you a clue about how much money we're going to spend on the military for the next decade. that, by its very nature, undercuts all the gains we've achieved to rebuild the military, and i can tell you this, $404.8 billion coming out of the f.y. 23019 budget. if you believe we can do that without affecting the military, then the last years seem not to have meant anything. because for the last six or seven years we have been cutting the military a lot because of a budget agreement that everybody
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thought would never happen. nobody believed that the sequestration would actually hit, that we would do $1.0 trillion over a decade. the sequestration was to urge people to get it right. 50% of the sequestration cuts coming out of defense. the reason they put it on the table is because they thought congress would not be dumb enough to get into sequestration. guess what? we were that dumb. and according to general mattis, we've done more damage to the military than any enemy in the field since 9/11. what a title to claim as a congress. this budget throws us back into that situation on steroids. so symbolically, i stand for balancing the budget, doing it in a responsible way that has entitlement reform as the heart of the effort, in a bipartisan fashion, symbolically, i will not vote for a budget that does not give the department of defense the resources they need,
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the predictability they need to protect this country. that's what this budget does. so to those of us on the armed services committee, you should know better. you should know that the $13.5 trillion being cut over the next decade, a the love it is going to come out of defense, if it actually was a reality, if you take defense and social security off the table, it is a joke. now is not the time to be funny. now is the time to be serious. and i'm deadly serious about voting against any budget thatdon give the military the ability they need to defend this nation and this budget throws our military in a ditch, and i am tired of doing that. i am going to vote no, and i would urge everyone who cares about defense department funding and predictability in defending this nation to vote no. balance the budget, yes. throwing the military to the wolves, no. i yield. mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president,
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i'm pleased to be here on the floor in support of my colleague, senator gillibrand's bill, congressional accountability and harassment reform act. and i am pleased that so many members of the senate have supported the earlier version of the bill and are signing up to support this version as well. it's been 100 days since the house acted on a significant and substantive reform of the process here in congress on how we address sexual harassment. there's been plenty of stories about how unacceptable the current system is. now, in spite of how far women's rights and equality have come in america, too many women continue to face inequality, discrimination, and harmed day in and day o and our
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congressional workplace is not immune to that. the world is changing and the world is changing quickly and movements like the me too campaign are finally giving women a voice they need to stand up and say, no more. yet, in spite of this tide of change, the senate refuses to act and are unacceptably obscure, complex and difficult system for staff members to address sexual discrimination and harassment, a system that's difficult to navigate and void of transparency. it needs to change. it must change. and 100 days ago the house said absolutely it must change, and we have seen no bill allowed to come to the floor to address it here in the senate.
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the house did its duty. they put forward a vision of updating and strengthening procedures to protect women from sexual harassment and to address it should it occur. and now it's time for the senate to act, to hold ourselves to a much higher standard, to lead by example for here on capitol hill and for the rest of the nation, to give those who work on our team who have been victimized by sexual harassment or discrimination a fair and transparent process to tell their stories, to pursue justice, to be free from the fear of professional or political retribution. and that's exactly what the congressional accountability and harassment reform act does. it requires sexual harassment awareness training. it simplifies the process for staffers to file complaints. it eliminates a mandatory, laborious process of required counseling and mediation.
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it protects the victim's option to publicly discuss their claims. it prohibits members responsible for such behavior from using government funds, their office funds to settle the claims. and it requires all settlements be disclosed publicly unless the victim prefers otherwise. no longer would we be able to silence the victims or hide the misdeeds of the perpetrators from the american people. now, i understand that members here on the floor of the senate may say i want to hide from my actions. i want to pay off any settlement with my government funds. but being able to hide from your actions is unacceptable. and using government funds to pay off the situation is completely unacceptable.
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so action is way past due. and i'm glad to join with my colleagues, senator gillibrand, senator warren, senator harris, senator murray, so many who have come into this battle. equality, fairness, and fighting for those who have been victimized, that's what this act is about. and it's not acceptable that for 100 days we have sat on the leadership -- the leadership of this body has sat on this bill blocking it from being considered. so let us recognize that we have a responsibility to our team members for fairness, for transparency, and for accountability, and bring this bill to the floor immediately. thank you, mr. president. ms. warren: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i'm
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here today to skprez my strong -- r express my strong opposition of gina haspel to be the next director of the central intelligence agency. there are two reasons that i oppose this nomination. ms. haspel's support for torture and her willingness to destroy evidence of the c.i.a.'s use of torture. for years apologists for the c.i.a.'s program have tried to redescribe this inhumane practice to make it seem less appalling to the american people. they have even renamed it. torture has been rebranded as enhanced interrogation. there is no way to hide the basic facts. the techniques used by the c.i.a. were torture, waterboarding, so that the person had the repeated sensation of drowning. confining people to small boxes for hours on end. depriving people of sleep for days. forcing people to hold painful stress positions. the c.i.a. did not invent these
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tactics. listen to an american war hero describe what he endured as a prisoner of war in vietnam. i was forced to stand up continuously, sometimes they'd make you stand up or sit on a stool for a long period of time. i stood up for a couple of days with only a respite because one of the guards, the only real human being that i ever met over there, let me lie down for a couple of hours while he was on watch in the middle of the night. speaking about his captors, this former american p.o.w. said, they bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. after a few hours of that, ropes were put on me, and i sat that night bound with ropes. they beat me a little bit, he describes. i was in such bad shape that when they hit me, it would knock me unconscious. they kept saying you will not receive any medical treatment
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until you talk. i was getting about three or four spoon fulls of food twice a day. sometimes i'd go for a day or so without eating. i had learned what we all learn over there. every man has his breaking point. i had reached mine. i had been reduced to an animal during this period of beating and torture. these are the words of senator john mccain, our distinguished colleague, the senior senator from arizona, a decorated naval aviator who was beaten, broken, and tortured for two years after being captured in north vietnam. no matter how you dress it up, torture is torture, and it is wrong. it is inhumane. it is ineffective, and it is un-american. that was the conclusion of the 2014 senate intelligence committee report on the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation
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program during the bush administration. the committee drew a definitive conclusion. torture did not work. and in fact, not only does torture not work, it makes it more difficult for other agencies in our government to protect our national security. surely a person who is seeking to be the director of the c.i.a. in 2018 should agree with this assessment or be able to give a really good explanation of why not. as someone seeking to be the director of the c.i.a. should be able to state clearly that torture is wrong. but when repeatedly asked a yes or no question by my colleague, senator kamala harris, were the c.i.a.'s actions immoral, ms. haspel danced around the answer. these are not the answers of a person who can be trusted to administer the powerful c.i.a.
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that question of trust goes to my second objection. the director of the c.i.a. will make many decisions that will be held in secret and never reviewed by the american people. it is critical that we trust her judgment and that we have complete confidence in her honesty and willingness to submit to congressional oversight. i do not have that confidence in ms. haspel, and here is why. as we now know from the public reports, between october and december of 2002, ms. haspel oversaw a c.i.a. prison in thailand. under her leadership, at least one detainee was waterboarded and subjected to other torture methods. as far as we know, ms. haspel raised no objections. according to news reports, in 2005, ms. haspel recommended that the c.i.a. destroy 92
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videotapes of interrogations of detainees. c.i.a. officials remember at the time ms. haspel was one of the staunchest advocates inside the building for destroying the tapes. the staunchest advocates inside the building for destroying the tapes. she went so far as to draft the order for her boss, the director of the national clandestine service, to sign, urging them to use, quote, an industrial-strength shreder just to make sure that they were completely destroyed. ms. haspel destroyed these tapes despite federal court orders requiring the preservation of the c.i.a.'s records, despite the objections of members of congress, and against the order of the director of national intelligence, the c.i.a.
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director, two white house counsels and senior department of justice officials. and in a convenient coincidence for ms. haspel, the tapes she ordered destroyed reportedly documented the interrogation of detainees at the very same c.i.a. prison in thailand that ms. haspel previously supervised. even more conveniently, some of the tapes reportedly documented the interrogation of the very detainee who was waterboarded under ms. haspel's leadership. when senator angus king asked about her destruction of the tapes, ms. haspel could come up with no credible explanation. how can we trust her to be fully forthright with congress in the future if she cannot acknowledge missteps of the past? ms. haspel has numerous opportunities to question the
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directive she was given during this era. according to the senate intelligence committee report, other c.i.a. officers regularly called into question the effectiveness and safety of the techniques being used. but not gina haspel. it was happening right before her eyes, and she did nothing to stop it. while her colleagues questioned the legitimacy of the c.i.a.'s program, according to public reports, ms. haspel vigorously defended it. according to those same reports, the trump white house reviewed c.i.a. message logs that, quote, made it clear just how accepting she had been of since disavowed interrogation techniques. the fact is so far as the record indicates, the only action ms. haspel has taken with regard to u.s. torture practices has been to do her best to cover it
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up. why relitigate the choices that were made after those dark days of 9/11? because this matters, especially with a president like donald trump. as a candidate, donald trump said he would, quote, bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding, because even, quote, if it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway. and as president, donald trump pulled back from his plan to reinstate the use of secret c.i.a. prisons overseas only after overwhelming bipartisan outrage. the stakes are high. the use of torture is one of the darkest chapters in our nation's modern history. we cannot give this president any reason to drag this country back. we cannot allow any room for that mistake to occur again.
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gina haspel has spent 33 years at the c.i.a. she has a decorated career and has sacrificed for this country in many ways that americans will never know. i have no doubt that her current and former colleagues who praise her as a patriot are sincere. but patriotism and judgment are not the same thing, and someone who puts protecting the agency above following the law cannot be trusted. when announcing his opposition to gina haspel's nomination, senator mccain recently said that, quote, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world. i agree with senator mccain, and i urge my colleagues to reject her nomination.
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mr. president, i'd like to speak on another matter now, and i ask consent that my speech appear at an appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: mr. president, i rise today to honor the lives of six massachusetts police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. on april 12, our commonwealth suffered a terrible loss when sergeant sean gannon of the ya wr*mouth police department was killed while serving an arrest waerpbt. he was only -- war rent. he was 32 years old. sergeant graduated from bishop high school in north darth phugt and earned a bachelor's degree from westfield state university and master's for emergency management from the massachusetts maritime academy. a college sergeant gannon first served as a public safety
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officer and later becoming a police officer with the yarmouth police department where he served for eight years. sergeant gannon loved working with police dogs. he was the first full-time k-9 narcotics officer at yarmouth p.d. his loyal patrol dog, nero, was seriously injured in the incident that claimed sergeant gannon's life but he is expected to recover and return to the gannon family. sergeant beganon had a huge heart and spent his time volunteering with big brothers, big sisters, traveling the outdoors and working with his hands. law enforcement officers from across the country gathered to pay their respect at his wake, it shows the power of his sacrifice. yarmouth police chief frank
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frederickson called sergeant gun banon -- gannon was given a promotion to sergeant. i spoke to his wife and his parents to offer my condolences, my thoughts, my prayers, and i continue to hold them in my heart. next year sergeant gannon's name will be added to the national law enforcement officer's memorial, recognizing law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities. we owe sergeant gannon and all of them a deep debt of gratitude. they died as heroes. i would also like to recognize the five massachusetts officers whose names were added to the memorial this year. patrolman seth a.moise of the
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boston police department who died on october 18, 1870, from injuries sustained in the line of duty. he was 41 years old. sergeant john j. shanahan who died on november 19, 1928 when he was hit by a truck while directing traffic around the scene of a car accident. he was 54 years old. patrolman jeremiah j. o'connor of the laurence police department who died on november 14, 1950, when he had a heart attack after pursuing a subject. he was 61 years old. patrolman frederick a. bell of the newton police department who died on september 5, 1954, four months after he suffered severe injuries in a car crash. he was 39 years old. and sergeant raymond p.siminoe
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of chelsea police department who died on february 28, 1985, after suffering a heart attack. he was 44 years old. we honor their service. we honor their sacrifice, and most importantly we honor the life they led and the legacies they leave behind. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: shortly we will be voting on the penny plan budget. this is a budget that cuts one penny out of every dollar. as we have gone through time and time again, we've seen that there is so much waste in government from $700,000 studying neil armstrong's statement on the moon, did he say one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind? did he say a man?
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we spent that money looking at whether he said man or a man. does it get better? no, because we give people more money. some people come here to the floor and say this is an end-around attempt to cut military spending. we can't cut military spending. that's not true. the penny plan budget doesn't cut military spending. the penny plan budget says we cut 1% of the budgetary spending. where it is cut is left up to thing provisions -- appropriations committees. you could cut some from military or zero from military tvment is left up to the proiftors. some would argue it doesn't define. it is the job of the appropriator to decide that. for those who argue that spending for the military is good for our national security,
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they may want to think about whether there is a possible problem in that china has $1 trillion of our debt. let's say there was a conflict in the south china sea and we were somehow involve militarily there. what if china said we're going to dump your dollars, we're going to dump your treasury bills. could they wreak havoc dumping $1 trillion? yes. but it could be used as a weapon against the united states. our insecurity is an enormous debt. $21 trillion. in some ways the budget vote is symbolism, but it is whether is so we are as a republican party or the symbolism is that we are the same as the democrats. we don't care about the debt. we don't care that interest on the debt is the second biggest item. ask the defense department about
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that money, the next item is $300 billion in interest. what happens when interest rates rise? the federal reserve has artificially kept interest rates low. what will happen if interest rates go to 5%? yes. could it be precipitated by a foreign nation no longer buying our debt. if it goes up significantly, i don't know how we will do it. if we do nothing and the federal reserve is able to keep our interest rates in the 2% range, interest rates still will be about the same as the department of defense within 10 years. it is now $700 billion, but interest rates will be $761 billion within a decade. if that's not a threat to our national security, i don't know what is. but really what we have a threat to our honor as public servants who make promises to voarts.
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we -- voters. we came to power in washington because we said president obama spent too much and borrowed too much. and we said it over and over and over again until voters chose us. but what if when we come in power, we forget who we are. when republicans are in the majority minority -- what i'm arguing for today is to cut one penny out of every dollar. there is waste from top to bottom in every department in the government including the military. defense logistics, they build stuff. think have $800 million they say is missing. defense spending or military spending in afghanistan, $700 million in ammunition is missing and cannot be accounted for.
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$28 million in uniforms cannot be accounted for. they built a $45 million gas station in afghanistan, but it is for natural gas. first, they don't have cars in afghanistan, the second problem is none of them run on natural gas. so how do we fix that problem? we bought them cars that run on natural gas. they still couldn't afford it so we gave them credit cards. how moronic is it to keep flushing money down the hole in afghanistan, nearly $100 billion. we could cut one penny out of the military. is this done to pun esh the military? no, it is to make us stronger as a country. could the military suffer a 1% cut and actually become more efficient? absolutely. it's not a question of whether our military budget is too big or too small, it's a question of
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whether or not our military mission is too large. we're at war in a half dozen countries or more. we have 600,000 troops in africa and i would suspect there's not one person in 1,000 who knows why we're fighting or who we're fighting in africa. that's not what this is about. it's spending in every part of the government. it's about whether one penny is wasted. some say, i'm against the waste. i'm against the study on japanese quail to see if they are not sexually permissive on cocaine and the study on neil armstrong and whether he said man on the moon or a man on the moon. when the sequester first came into place, even though people didn't like it, people throughout government began finding savings. you cannot get rid of waste in
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government if you keep giving people more money. the national science foundation has wasted millions and millions and millions of dollars over a 30-year history. william proxmire first reported in the early 1970's, he said one of the first studies was $50,000, back then it is more than it is now, to study why men like women. really? this year we will spend $1 trillion we don't have. there will be nearly a trillion dollar deficit this year. that's what we complained about under president obama, it's trillion dollar deficits. are we going to be the party that is true to what we say that we are for, that we're fiscally conservative. can we not cut one penny out of every dollar? i ask my colleagues to think long and hard about the vote. think about what the people at home want you to vote. you go home and say you're for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
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the balanced budget amendment to the constitution that virtually all of my republican colleagues voted for said that we will balance the budget in ten years. we're serious or we're not. if you want to vote for a balanced budget that will balance the budget in five years -- mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to speak. mr. paul: in a second. it is a kennard to say it is coming from the military. it is $1.3 trillion spent and $32 billion cut. we spend $32 billion to foreign countries that hate us every year. we spent nearly $50 billion in afghanistan every year. if you were simply to look at the department of commerce, $14 billion, and the department of education, $17 billion, i think we could find $30 billion you would never know is gone. the bottom line is whether it is threatening the security and economic foundation of our
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current and i think without question it is. this vote is a litmus test for conservatives. are you a conservative? do you think we could cut one penny out of every dollar? i think it is a conservative notion we have long said we are for. now is the time to step up to the plate and vote for what you say you stand for. with that, i yield back my time and ask for the yeas and nays. mr. inhofe: would the gentleman yield for a moment for a unanimous consent request? the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there does not appear to be a sufficient second at this time. mr. inhofe: i ask for a unanimous consent request. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask that i be recognized for one minute. no, i don't. i ask that i be recognized at the conclusion of this vote to explain why the rand amendment would be damaging to our national security so that's my unanimous consent request. the presiding officer: is there
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objection? without objection. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the -- the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: would it be appropriate at this time for me to ask for a one minute prior to the vote? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from oklahoma is recognized for one minute. mr. inhofe: thank you, very much. i know the intentions are good. we voted on the same thing for the last five years. i can tell you right now what the vote's going to be because it's been the same vote for the last five years. no one has had a more
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consistently conservative record than i have, but i have to say that this is something that would undo a lot of what we accomplished with the last vote to allow us to start rebuilding our system. we got in a position where we didn't have the brigade combat teams that were adequately prepared to go to battle. we had 60% of our f-18's were not flying. all of these things we're trying to recover from. we have now started that recovery. and my concern is, and senator graham i think said it very well, that in the event we pass this -- it should pass, it won't, but if it should that's going to be a problem and a problem that we can't overcome. right now our number one concern should be defending this nation, and this is the opportunity to -- to at least let people know that there is a legitimate vote


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