tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 12, 2018 9:31am-10:01am EST
love sustains us. be merciful to our nation, for you are our hope. lord, provide our lawmakers today with the music of your wisdom that they may bring hope out of despair and joy out of sadness. increase their faith, hope, and love that they may receive your promises. teach us all to celebrate, even in the darkness because you are the god who saves us. we pray in your sovereign name. amen.
please joig the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, december 12, 2018. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable rand paul, a senator from the commonwealth of kentucky, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, presidet pro tempore.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the end of the year is fast approaching. there are a number of important items left on the senate's agenda and little time to address them. we'll clear more judicial nominees from the calendar, consider legislation supported by the administration to address criminal justice, and we need to pass an agreement to fill remaining gaps in appropriations, including critical funding for securing our borders.
fortunately the senate took a major step yesterday by passing the farm bill. we got that much closer to delivering a big shot in the arms to farmers in rural communities across our country. along wildlife providing certainty to agricultural communities, i'm especially proud that the legislation will open a new door for farmers in kentucky and around the country to explore the full potential of industrial hemp. this is the culmination of a lot of work by a number of us here in washington but really the victory is for the growers, processors, manufacturers and consumers who stand to benefit from this growing marketplace. american hemp has a long and distinguished history. some of this very body's notable figures including thomas jefferson and henry clay are believed to have grown it. during world war ii the federal government encouraged hemp production to support the war's effort. unfortunately because of hemp's
illicit cousin, marijuana, the federal government banned it altogether for generations. in the 2013 kentucky agricultural leaders showed me hemp's incredible potential for the bluegrass state. we decided it was time to let america's farmers show everyone what hemp could do. first, i included experimental pilot programs for states like kempt in -- kempt in -- kentuckn the 2014 farm bill. hemp has become a booming success. its use includes foods, pharmaceuticals, home insulation and automobile parts. entrepreneurs opened businesses selling hemp-based products and consumers got to enjoy a whole new set of goods featuring american-made hemp. in my home state alone, farmers grew in excess of 3,200 acres of
hemp in 2017. this year the number of acres more than doubled. estimates show that once legalized, sales from hemp will soon surpass $1 billion. watching this remarkable success, we knew it it was time to take the next step. i introduced legislation to finally and fully legalize hemp, working with agricultural leaders and law enforcement in kentucky and here in washington, we built support. and as a member of the agriculture committee, i was proud that the legislation was included in the senate's version of the farm bill. i was proud to serve personally on the conference committee to ensure that the language stayed in place. and yesterday, the senate passed a conference report. the house will pass it as early as later today, and this provision and the rest of the farm bill will be on its way to president trump's desk to become law. so what exactly will this legislation do? the farm bill we passed yesterday both legalizes hemp as
an agricultural commodity and removes it from the controlled substances list. it gives states the opportunity to be a primary overseers of hemp production. it also allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the u.s. department of agriculture and made hemp eligible for crop insurance. together these features will encourage new opportunities for struggling farmers and their families. new products for use in construction, health care, and manufacturing, and new jobs in a broad range of fields. i've been honored to gain many partners throughout this process here in the senate thanks to the leading democratic cosponsor of our original bill, senator wyden. to my kentucky colleague, senator paul, congressman jamie comey sponsored hemp for years and in kentucky ron quarles has
been a sponsor. i look forward to passing this bill soon and sending it to president trump for his signature. i'd be happy to loan him my hemp pen for the occasion. on an entirely different matter, later today mr. president the senate will vote on an attempt by some of our democratic colleagues to undo a pro-privacy reform that secretary mnuchin and the treasury department implemented just a few months ago. as i discussed yesterday, there is neither any valid accounting reason nor a disclosure reason why the i.r.s. needs access to donor lists of the kinds of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations in question. the treasury department has said the i.r.s. simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this
area. in a climate that is increasingly hostile to certain kinds of political expression and open debate, the last thing washington needs to do is to chill the exercise of free speech and add to the sense of intimidation. the senate should take a stand for america's privacy and the first amendment and reject this misguided resolution. and later on the senate may consider a resolution by the junior senators from utah and vermont that pertains to the situation in yemen. effect, these members -- in effect, these members want to end the limited american assistance to the saudi-led coalition that is supporting the u.n.-recognized government in the civil war in yemen. i'll oppose the motion to proceed to the sanders-lee resolution and would urge members to join me in voting against it. now, mr. president, members of both sides have legitimate concerns about the war in yemen, about the u.s. interest, and
especially about the horrible plight of yemenis citizens caught in the cross fire. and where saudi arabia is concerned, i think every single member of this body shares grave concerns about the murder of khashoggi and wants accountability. we also want to preserve a 70-year partnership between the united states and saudi arabia and we want to ensure it continues to serve american interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region. this is the backdrop for today's debate. challenging circumstances that require the senate act with prudence and precision. but the sanders-lee resolution is neither precise enough for prudent enough. for one thing, i do not believe the resolution should be privileged under the war powers act. the united states is not involved in combat. it is not dropping ordinance.
it is no longer even providing air-to-air refueling. as i've stated previously, even if these activities continued, it's a far cry to equate them to, with hostilities. but regardless, the practice has already stopped. if the senate wants to pick a constitutional fight with the executive branch over war powers, i would advise my colleagues to pick a better case. second, their resolution is an inappropriate vehicle. there are more careful ways the senate could express its concern about the conflict in yemen or our partnership with saudi arabia without taking such a blunt instrument to the policy in this area. indeed, this resolution would threaten other support the u.s. is providing that is designed to improve coalition targeting and to limit civilian casualties. and finally from the senate's perspective, considering a war powers act resolution has the potential to present a lengthy
messy process when our calendar is already packed more than full with other important businesses, business to complete for the american people. now this resolution's shortcomings do not mean the senate must do nothing. there's a better option at hand. legislation introduced by chairman corker does a good job capturing bipartisan concerns about both the war in yemen and the behavior of our saudi partners more broadly. without triggering an extended debate over war powers while we hasten to finish all our other work. i cosponsored his legislation. it's a superior road to the outcome that most senators want. so i urge every member to vote against considering the sanders-lee resolution later today and join me in supporting chairman corker's responsible alternative.
now on a completely different matter, it's my bittersweet job this morning to pay tribute to an historic senate career that will conclude at the end of this congress. senator orrin hatch has faithfully represented the people of utah in this body for the last 42 years. that makes him the dean of our republican conference and of course president pro tempore of the senate. it also makes him the longest serving republican senator in our nation's history. so orrin's longevity alone would have guaranteed him a place among the giants of the senate. as i joked a couple of weeks ago, one of the most memorable
experiences from his early senate tenure was the confirmation process for justice joseph story in 1811. apparently it was quite the scene, orrin tells us. seriously though, the most impressive thing about orrin hatch is not the historic length of his tenure here but how completely filled with accomplishments that time has been. but let's back up for a moment. it wasn't always obvious that our friend would become a star u.s. senator. at one point it looked like another kind of stardom might be more probable, and i'm not just talking about the successful law practice he set aside to run for office. we all know about orrin's musical talent and his contributions to the recording industry. and i'm told that just a few years before orrin's first campaign in 1976, the lawyer and family man was moonlighting as band manager for a
groundbreaking mormon folk group called the free agency. well, it's fortunate for all of us that this free agent felt called to bring his talents here to washington. here is a famous story from that first campaign back in 1976. think about this. orrin had no political experience. a stranger running for office. but he had this sense that public service was his mission. perhaps he was thinking of his beloved big brother jesse who gave his life in world war ii when orrin was just 10. he started asking around. did his friends and family think he had a shot at a senate seat? few liked his chances in the primary. even fewer against the three-term incumbent, but the worst reaction of all came from his beloved wife elaine.
the story goes when orrin filed his papers to run, she cried for three straight days. i'm not sure whether that was unhappiness at the prospect of an east coast life they hadn't planned for or a fairly accurate assessment of his chances at that point. but orrin beat the odds. with the help of a big endorsement from a former california governor named ronald reagan, this young conservative upstart pulled off the upset. actually, there is a little secret surrounding this endorsement. few people know this, but i'm sorry to say orrin was actually the gipper's second choice. you see, our friend was so
unknown back then that reagan's first telegram offered a ringing endorsement of someone called warren hatch. so happily, the era was quickly corrected -- the error was quickly corrected. orrin earned utah's trust and found his way right here to this chamber. some of his new senate peers thought their new colleague should lay low and keep quiet about his principles. they had no idea what they were in for. the pittsburgh-born son of a metal lather was actually ready for action. now, remember, orrin was once an amateur boxer. he came to the senate ready to brawl. in his very first term, he decided he had to take down this far left labor reform law that
would have hurt free enterprise and future prosperity. so he took on a couple of heavy weights. robert byrd, george meaney, the whole machinery of big labor. so this freshman became the public face and private backbone of the opposition. it was an epic showdown. orrin worked 18-hour days. he taught his whole staff how to draft amendments. he gave pep talks to his rag-tag bipartisan band of brothers, dick lugar, howard baker, fritch hawlings from across the aisle, trying to keep everyone in the works. it worked. they won, and american prosperity was kept safe from a big power grab by union bosses.
it only seems fitting decades later the other end of orrin's senate tenure would also be marked by major hard-won, right of center accomplishments for prosperity for all americans. orrin might have chaired three of the senate's most distinguished and critical committees -- the help committee, judiciary, and most recently finance. and this congress, as finance chairman, he led the charge to deliver once in a generation tax relief to middle-class american families and tax reform to american job creators. more late nights. more painstaking negotiations. chairman hatch had to thread the needle, attending carefully to his colleagues' needs and keeping their eyes on the prize. and once again, he got it done.
so what about the decades in between these two bookmarks? first and foremost may be senator hatch's special devotion to the federal judiciary, to his essential role in our constitutional order, to its need for the highest quality personnel. well, over his senate tenure, orrin has participated in the confirmation of more than half, half of all the article 3 judges who have served in the united states of america in our nation's history. let me say that again. orrin has met with, studied up on, questioned, or at least voted on more than half of all the federal judges in american history. that includes all nine members of the current supreme court. when he supported a particular nominee such as justice thomas, gorsuch, and kavanaugh, orrin has been a leading champion of their cause, even in the face of unfair slights and smears. and even in cases when he's felt
compelled to vote against nominees, he has treated them and the process itself with the respect and dignity that it is due. the pile of orrin's legislative victories is almost as high as that tower of distinguished judges, and many of them are defined by one signature thread that connects much of his proudest work. his care for and commitment to serve the most vulnerable members of our society, the state children's health insurance program, the americans with disabilities act, hatch-waxman for generic drugs, some of the earliest work funding aids research, even his very recent work to designate 611 as the national sued prevention lifeline. so orrin has led a bit of a dull life here in the senate, and i mean that in the best possible
way. he has been every bit the principled fighter as advertised. he has led the charge often and hasn't flinched from the big battles. but at the very same time, there was orrin constantly working quietly behind the scenes and across the aisle to tick off victories for vulnerable americans who could easily, easily have been left behind. one perfect illustration of this was orrin's friendship with the late ted kennedy. for many of the years they spent here in the senate, it seemed like they managed to rank among each other's closest friends, top collaborators and most persistent sparring partners all at the same time. but that's orrin. he loves to give and take. he loves to discuss and debate. his colleagues and his staff can rely on him equally to sit down and talk at length if they see an issue differently than he does. he does not dismiss or overrule. he wants to learn, to persuade,
and to be persuaded. no wonder orrin's peers are so fond of him and his team is so loyal to him. i'm thinking especially of ruthie montoya, orrin's scheduler for more than three decades, a member of the senate family in her own right. but really, you can't but respect orrin because his own respect for this institution and for the dignity of every individual he meets is so evident. utahans know this better than anyone. they know they can run into their senior senator on the sidewalk or out shopping, and he will stop and listen carefully to their thoughts and concerns and life stories, maybe over a costco hot dog, and he will take it all to heart. and how could this be surprising? this distinguished statesman grew up modestly. his mother had her hands full raising seven children, and his father supported the family with his work as a metal lather. the hours were long, the work
was hard, but the life lessons were invaluable. orrin worked his way through college and law school. when his scholarship didn't prove quite enough to support a young family, he worked nights as a janitor and attendant and still graduated with honors. that education has carried orrin far, but not as far as something else he gained in college. it was in one of the b.y.u. classrooms that providence did orrin a great favor. with an assist from alphabetical order because hatch, orrin came right after hampton, elaine, he found himself seated next to this pretty young lady and struck up a conversation. that seating chart kicked off a blessed marriage of 60-plus years and counting. not every young husband would have left a successful law
practice on the east coast and started over in utah to be closer to his wife's family. not every wife and mother would tolerate let alone encourage and support half a lifetime of public service 2,000 miles from where they planned to call home. that loving partnership has brought six children, 23 grandchildren, and 24 great grandchildren. orrin has been known to refer to his brood as the hatch-lings. so it's our hope, mr. president, that the senate's great loss upon orrin's retirement will at least be this great family's loving gain. we're sad to bid farewell to our artist in residence and his platinum records, to this former all-star missionary and l.d.s. bishop who still practices what he preached, to this living example of the american dream at
its most extraordinary. the pittsburgh fighter who climbed up from working poverty and became the gentleman of the senate, where he dedicated his work to strengthening that ladder for the generations that would follow. orrin has been so generous to his colleagues, to this institution, to his state and the nation he served, he has given us so much. he retires with great congratulations on a most distinguished clear and our very warmest wishes for a peaceful and happy retirement.
the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, mr. president, let me add my words of fond farewell to the senior senator from utah. back in the good old days we worked on a whole lot things together when the place was a little less partisan, immigration, patents, so many things. he was a fine legitimator, fine craftsman, and i wish he and his entire, large, beautiful family the best as he retires. i'd also note that leader mcconnell talked about the good bipartisan work we created
on the farm bill, did something good for his state, hemp, something he cared about for a long time. i hope the leader, and i'll talk about this later, will use the same bipartisan spirit and help us deal with the appropriations bills that are still awaiting our agreement. now, let me talk a little bit about yesterday afternoon. yesterday leader pelosi and i met with president trump about funding the government past next week. we gave the president two options to keep the president open. first option, pass the six bipartisan appropriations bills and a one-year c.r. for the department of homeland security only. and if they don't like that one, a one-year c.r. for the rest of government. we told the president that both of these options would pass both chambers. it was his choice to either
accept one of those two options or shut the government down. yesterday, unfortunately, it was clear that the president is clinging to his position of billions of dollars for an unnecessary, ineffective border wall. president trump will soon realize that his position will not result in a wall but will result in a trump shut down. and he seems to relish the idea, amazingly enough. the president has called for a shut down at least 20 times since he came in office. you can add at least five or six more times to that number from our meeting. here's a direct quote from president trump yesterday. quote, if we don't get what we want one way or the other, i, president trump, will shut down
the government. he said -- president trump said, i am proud to shut down the government so i will take the mantle. i'll be the one to shut it down i'm not going to blame you, meaning democrats, for it. i will take the mantle of shutting it down. it was astounding that any president, even this one, would say that. no president should ever say that he or she would be proud to shut the government down. no president should so glibly use the american government and the millions of workers who work so hard as a bargaining chip. but that's what president trump is headed -- where president trump is headed. president trump made clear he'll hold parts of the government hostage to a petty campaign pledge to fire up his base. that's all it is.