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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 25, 2019 9:59am-2:49pm EDT

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a.m. eastern. as acting director of intelligence joseph mcguire testifies before the house committee chaired by congressman adam schiff democrat from california and congressman devin nunes the republican ranking member from california on handling of the whistleblower complaint involving president trump thursday 9 eastern on c-span 3. on-line at or list onnen 0 listen on the free radio app. >> there's a vote at 12 eastern on the border, this will be the democrats second attempt to determine nate the president's order. later work is inspected on the policy bill with several to negotiate on meetings with
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their counterparts. both of those motions are later this afternoon. and now live to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, thank you for your sanctifying truth. use our lawmakers to live your truth for the glory
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of your name. may your truth keep us from the things that can pollute our lives and dishonor you. forgive us when we are reluctant to submit to you with our bodies, minds, and spirits. make us all vessels of honor, prepared for every good work. we pray in your strong name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'd like to address the senate for one minute as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: we're getting towards the end of the year, and one of the issues i would like to get done, but it has to go through the house of representatives first is the united states-mexico-canada agreement. so if regard to that agreement helping agriculture, i start out
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by laying out the fact that there's a lot of anxiety in agricultural america even though the harvest is about to start across iowa. we had really difficult -- had a really difficult, tough spring getting the crops in. there is a crop to be harvested, however, and farmers will now be about that job, hoping that they cover their costs, and while they are doing that they are thinking about next year -- putting in next year's crop. passing the united states-mexico-canada agreement would inject some more certainty into the plans that the farmers have about this year's harvest and the plans they have for next year's crop. and passage of that would signal to the world that we here in the
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congress are very serious about passing new, modern trade arrangements, but we're running out of calendar days in 2019. so congress must step up and deliver for our hardworking farmers, as well as workers in america and small business in america, and in a sense by getting this dpreement passed, -- agreement passed, helping all america. the time for the united states-mexico-canada agreement is now. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, yesterday even speaker pelosi announced that the house of representatives will begin what she called an official impeachment inquiry. but, really, mr. president, we know that house democrats have
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been indulging their impeachment obsession for nearly three years now. a never-ending impeachment parade in search of a rationale, the very day president trump was inaugurated, "the washington post" ran this headline, the campaign to impeach president trump has begun. the day of his inauguration. later that year there were articles of impeachment introduced over the president's language. so, clearly, this has been an ongoing project for house democrats since practically the moment that secretary clinton lost the election. for months democrats insisted that special counsel mueller's investigation or the work of the senate intelligence committee would prove their theories about a conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia. it didn't happen. the facts disappointed them. but the impeachment parade kept
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marching along. and yesterday, even though bipartisan committee investigations into the new whistle-blower allegations are under way, and just hours after the president offered to publicize the details of his phone call with the president of ukraine, the dam finally broke. speaker pelosi couldn't hold back the farless any longer. before any of -- far left any longer. before any of us had the facts in hand, she caved to the left and announced an impeachment inquiry. if this all sounds familiar, that's because at the time one week ago, they were talking about impeaching justice kavanaugh. that was after a sketchy newspaper article that had to publish an enormous correction. one week later, here we go again, threatening impeachment
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without the facts in hand. senate republicans support proper procedures for considering this whistle-blower report. in the meantime while our friends across the capitol rush to judgment an dive deeper into their nearly three--year-old impeachment addiction, we will stay focused on the american people's business. on another matter. president trump led the government to recognize the insecure southern border for what it is, a national emergency, a humanitarian and national security crisis. congress had heard plea after plea for more border security funding. we heard from senior leaders and career border patrol officers. we heard about all the surging illegal crossings, the unprecedented numbers of family units, and the strain on our facilities. but washington democrats decided that giving this very real crisis the resources it required
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might anger the far left which wants them to oppose president trump at any cost. so the president tapped into long standing 40-plus-year-old presidential authorities and reprogrammed narrow sets of funds to address the urgent crisis. now i've never been shy about my commitment to the institution of congress and its unique authorities, not least being the appropriation of taxpayer dollars, but we're talking about 40-plus-year-old presidential shorties currently in law, unlike president obama who shrugged off the federal code when he established his daca policies president trump was was -- the senate voted to undo the declaration. their resolution fell far short of earning a veto-proof majority. now, still unwilling to work with the president and republicans on a long-term bipartisan solution for border
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security, senate democrats are making us repeat the same show vote again. i would urge my colleagues to vote for border security and vote against democrats' resolution when it comes up later today. now, i understand the democratic leadership would like to invent a false choice between border security and other important military construction projects. they want to tell the american people they could have border security or these other important projects, but for some reason we can't have both. there are two problems to that argument. problem number one is that it's a false choice of democrats' own invention. the only reason there could be any tradeoff between border security and these other priorities is their refusal to support commonsense border security. the only reason there's any tradeoff is that democrats have refused to work with the president. and problem number two of their argument is that congress has full power to ensure all the
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military construction projects are fully funded. work is ongoing on appropriations and the ndaa. it would be easy to ensure that these projects get all the money they need. so, mr. president, later today, the senate will vote on exactly that. we'll vote on several motions to instruct our ndaa conferees. and one of those motions will be a republican proposal that we insist on fully funding these projects for our own service members. with the kentuckians i represent, this is pretty simple. kentuckians want our nation to have a secure southern border. kentuckians want full funding for the middle school at fort campbell, funding they have been waiting on for years, fungi proudly -- probably secured in the first place. and kentuckians know perfectly well that with everything the united states of america spends money on, there is no earthly reason why democrats should force us to have one or the other. they don't want to be used as
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pawns in democrats' political games. even my democratic colleagues who don't support the administration's border security agenda should not take out their frustrations on our armed forces. every single member of this body should be able to support the measure to fully fund military construction. so i would urge all of my colleagues to vote yes on that motion later today. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 10:30 a.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 450. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. opposed no. the ayes have it. the ayes appear to have it.
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the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. morning business is closed. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of labor, eugene scalia of virginia to be secretary. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of eugene scalia of virginia to be secretary of labor, signed by 17 senators as follows -- mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: mr. president, is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will resume legislative session. s.j. res. 54 is discharged and
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the senate will proceed to the consideration of the joint resolution which rp p the clerk will report. the clerk: senate joint resolution 54 relating to a national emergency declared by the president. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. thune: thank you. readers of forbes might have seen an article earlier this month entitled russian navy to be the first to field cruise missiles on submarines. articles like this are a timely reminder of the ever-present need to invest in our military. it can be easy to take u.s. military superiority for granted, but our military preeminence did not come out of nowhere. our military is strong as a result of senior senator -- as a result of sustained investment in commitment. meanwhile, as the "forbes" articles reminds us other countries are busy investing in
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their militaries. great powers are investing in the weapons and equipment of the future. we need to ensure that our military is not falling behind. later today we will vote on additional measures related to the national defense authorization act, legislation that we take up every year to authorize funding for our military and our national defense. both the house and senate passed versions of this legislation this summer. now members from both houses are working on reconciling the house and senate versions of the bill. the senate passed national defense authorization act was a strong bill, and i hope that the final bill will look a lot like it. right now our military is rebuilding after years of underfunding and the strains of the global war on terror. in november 2018 the bipartisan national defense strategy commission released a report warning that our readiness eroded to the point where we might struggle to win a war against a major power like russia or china. the commission noted that we would be especially vulnerable if we were ever called on to
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fight a war on two fronts. here in the senate, members of both parties have been working to address the military's rebuilding needs and ensure we're prepared to meet any threat. the bipartisan national defense authorization act that we passed in the senate in june authorizes funding for our military's needs and the equipment and technology of the future. it invests in ships, combat vehicles, and planes, including development of the future b-21 bomber which will be based at ellsworth air force base in my home state of south dakota and continued procurement of the f-35 joint strike fighter which i hope will someday soon be based in sioux falls. it authorizes funding for research and development and advanced technology. it authorizes funds to maximum our deterrence caibts and focuses -- capabilities and focuses on ensuring we will meet new fronts in the space and cyber domains. of course, mr. president,
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while up to date equipment and technology is essential the greatest strength is our men and women in uniform. the senate and house versions of the act authorizes a 3.1% pay increase for our troops, the largest increase in a decade. this is not only something our troops have earned, it's also an important way to retain troops in our all-volunteer force when the economy is as strong as it is. both the house and senate bills also focus on addressing the recent significant health and safety issues faced by many families with private on-base housing. i hope house and senate conferees will produce a strong bill and both houses will be able to pass this legislation in the near future. mr. president, in a 1793 address to congress, president george washington noted, and i quote, if we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it. if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready
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for war. end quote. mr. president, the surest way of preserving peace is to be strong militarily. weakness is a tempting target for aggressive regimes and for evil men. strength, on the other hand, can and does restrain those who might otherwise pursue war with the united states or our allies. maintaining our military strength helps ensure the security of our country and her inhabitance and it also helps promote peace around the world. mr. president, we can't change the fact that there will always be bad actors who will threaten our freedom and security, but we can ensure that we are always prepared to meet any threat. i look forward to passing a strong national defense authorization act in the very near future. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: last night speaker nancy pelosi announced that the house of representatives would begin a formal impeachment inquiry of president trump. i have spoken to her many times over the past few days. i know she did not make this decision lightly and took no pleasure in making it. it is her carefully considered judgment that it is now in the best interest of our country and our constitution to proceed with an impeachment inquiry. i strongly support speaker pelosi's decision. if we don't reckon with president trump's persist entrance gregss, the -- transgressions, the very foundation of this great republic is at risk. the president kept pushing and pushing and pushing the constitutional envelope. finally the president's conduct
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made an impeachment inquiry unavoidable. the events of recent days have brought sharply into focus the question of whether president trump abused the powers of his office and betrayed the public trust for personal, political gain. in open defiance of the law, his administration has thus far sought to block the transmission of an official whistle-blower complaint to congress. the nature of that whistle-blower complaint has been deemed both credible and urgent by one of president trump's own senior level appointees, the inspector general of the intelligence community. according to public reports, this complaint may detail how the president of the united states corrupted america's foreign policy by pressuring the leader of a foreign nation to damage a leading political rival, an offense the president
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may have committed, whether there was an explicit quid pro quo or not. the president went on to admit on live television that he spoke to the president of ukraine about his political rival and about military aid to the country. the timeline of events that led to the whistle-blower complaint must be scrutinized. the nature of president trump's communications with president putin as well as ukranian president zelensky should be requested and provided with special focus on the phone call that took place with mr. putin a few days after the zelensky call on july 25. the timing of the departures of the united states ambassador to ukraine and the former director of national intelligence and his principal deputy must be investigated as well as the movements of president trump's personal attorney rudy
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giuliani, the correspondence between him and the white house, and his interactions with foreign governments. we must learn what actions president trump or his aides took to withhold congressionally directed security aid to ukraine and why. and more besides. the answers to these questions and others can be pursued by the house committees involved in the impeachment inquiry, and that is precisely what the inquiry is for. the release of the transcript of one of president trump's calls with president zelensky which just came out will not assuage our concerns or the public's concerns. based on early reports, it may heighten them. we must remember the president was reported to have several calls with president zelensky over the summer, and his administration has a well-earned
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reputation for dishonesty, altered facts, and incomplete disclosure in public releases. we need to see the complete unredacted whistle-blower complaint without further delay. the whistle-blower must be allowed to testify without fear of intimidation. and then we must pursue the many relevant avenues of inquiry that i just described. yesterday afternoon the entire senate, all 47 democrats and 53 republicans, agreed to my resolution calling for the whistle-blower complaint to be transmitted immediately to congress, a reflection of the seriousness with which these events are viewed on both sides of the aisle. this was unexpected. in the past when we've asked to look into president trump, our republican colleagues have stonewalled. but to their credit, they
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realize the seriousness of this situation and unanimously agreed to support our resolution. i hope, i pray it is a harbinger of things to come where we can look at the facts, not the politics, and come to conclusions. because, without doubt, the white house and the president's congressional allies will rush to call this effort a partisan witch hunt, no matter how serious the allegations or evenhanded the inquiry. i'll remind everyone just yesterday every senate republican agreed that the white house's decision to block the whistle-blower complaint from congress was wrong. there was unanimous bipartisan agreement in the senate on that point. not a single senator objected. but let me be clear, nonetheless, because i know accusations of partisanship are
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already being written. this inquiry was not taken up for partisan reasons and it does not prejudge an outcome. our framers, in their wisdom, assigned to one chamber of commerce the right to accuse, and to the other, the right to judge. the house of representatives will investigate and determine whether sufficient evidence exists to accuse the president of an impeachable offense or impeachable offenses. if it comes to that, the senate will be the scene of the trial, senators the jurors. we must take our responsibility with the utmost gravity. our framers, not trusting our liberty to one branch of government alone, afraid of the ever-present danger of tyranny of an overreaching executive, provided remedy to congress
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should the enemy subject to avert or violate the constitution of the united states. we are not yet at the stage where any judgments can be made one way or the other. but i remind my colleagues today that if the day should come when we are called upon to carry out our constitutional duty, history will judge whether we did so faithfully or not. history will judge if each of us acted as a solemn major of democracy who placed fidelity to the constitution and our system of government above the narrow considerations of partisan politics. now, on another issue, not directly related but with the same cause, with the same worry, with the same concern, and overreaching executive, the emergency declaration. the commencing of the impeachment inquiry in the
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house, while significant, is not the only significant action congress will take today nor is it the only action dealing with the president's overreach. today the senate will vote on president trump's national emergency declaration, which he is using to steal money from our military in order to fund a border wall. rather than accept the reality that a bipartisan majority is repeatedly rejected this idea, and after dragging the country through the longest government shutdown in american history when he didn't get his way, president trump deliberately circumvented congress. democrats universally oppose the president's outrageous decision to declare a national emergency. so let me direct my remarks this morning to my republican colleagues. there are two crucial reasons for my republican colleagues to vote to terminate this emergency. first, the vote today is the
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surest and likely the only way to restore funding the president has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country. president trump promised mexico would pay for the wall, not american taxpayers and certainly not the military, the men and women and their families involved in keeping our nation secure. president trump broke that promise and now over 120 military projects hang in the balance, a middle school for military families in kentucky, medical facilities in north carolina, a hurricane relief project in florida, an air force base in colorado, a fire station in south carolina, construction projects in indiana, louisiana, georgia, and more. a vote of these were carefully considered by the military and department of defense and put in
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the budget because they were very much needed. these are not frivolous projects at all. a vote for the president today is a vote in favor of cutting funding for our military and slashing support for critical military projects in red states as well as blue. and, second, and maybe even more importantly, my republican colleagues should vote to terminate the emergency declaration today on constitutional grounds. under the constitution, the power of the purse lies with congress, not the president. by declaring a national emergency, the president has trampled on that authority and is violating the constitutional separation of powers. we know what an emergency is. soldiers at risk, the risk of war, of course the president should have flexibility then but not on a policy decision where there's great dispute in the congress and in the country and
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when the president lost in the legislative battle that ensued. by voting to endorse the president's emergency, this expansive and political stretching of the word emergency in a way it's never been stretched before, republican senators will set a dangerous precedent that could embolden not just this president but future presidents to ignore congressional authority. so today my republican colleagues face a choice, whether or not to defend our troops, whether or not to defend their states, whether or not to defend this chamber's undeniable constitutional powers. last time we held this vote, 12 republican colleagues joined us in voting to undo the emergency. i hope more do so this time. because this isn't about republicans and democrats.
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we don't want any president, democrat or republican, to overreach and use the word emergency to overcome congressional will. this is about checks and balances, not about republicans and democrats, and the need for the senate to rein in an out of control -- rain in an out of control executive. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. blackburn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. we are in a quorum call. mrs. blackburn: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. yesterday evening i had the opportunity to invite 100,000 of our fellow tennesseans to join me in a telephone town hall. now, we have found that this is something that tennesseans love. instead of having to drive to a location, they are able to just pick up the phone and, as they
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are doing homework with children or preparing dinner, they are able to jump on the phone and talk about yishes that are -- issues that are important to them. and we covered a wide range of topics yesterday evening. we talked about nuclear power and gun rights and health care for our veterans. we even talked a little bit about an invasive fish species, asian carp, and how that is affecting our beautiful rivers of there was one thing that continued to come out through the course of this telephone town hall, and i bet you can get what that topic was that people continued to talk about. now, bear in mind that tennesseans are by and large dismissive of what i call the
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d.c.'s shiny object story of the day. tennesseans are much more interested in the story of their lives but yesterday's news, that breathless race to make news really had tennesseans talking. yesterday, house democrats, supported by their friends in the senate, gathered to announce their intention to begin formal impeachment inquiries against president donald trump. now, as you can imagine, this struck a chord with my fellow tennesseans. they may be far outside the beltway bubble, but they have been keeping a close eye on what the democrats have been up to for the past three years when it comes to president donald trump. and let me tell you, they're not very impressed with what's been happening. from their perspective, yesterday's announcement was the
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culmination of a three-year witch hunt borne of a grudge they have been holding against the president since their chosen candidate failed to win the 2016 election. in december, 2016, before the president had taken his oath of office, bear in mind he was president-elect at that time, in december of 2016, "vanity fair" published an article entitled democrats are paving the way to impeach donald trump. believe it or not, this was not just click bait. this was a published article in a major magazine, in december, 2016. the article details a bill that senate democrats wanted to use
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to exploit allegations of conflicts of interest between president-elect trump's business dealings and president trump's duties as president. bear in mind the bill was tailor made to transform conflict allegations into impeachable crimes. and bear in mind, this was conceived before president trump became president trump. he was still president-elect. he had not been sworn into office. and they were already writing legislation that would move to impeachment. it was the beginning of their mission toward impeachment, even if they had to fabricate the means to get there. let me tell you, they were
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determined to make it happen. the proof is in black and white. in 2017, a group of house democrats failed to muster enough political will within their own party to support a resolution to impeach president trump. the same effort failed again in 2018, and it fails again in 2019. their efforts to use the mueller report to whip the nation into an impeachment frenzy, it failed. how frustrating that must have been for a party and a movement that all but promised they would find a way to impeach the president because they absolutely could not believe he won that election in 2016. it's important to remember and to note the american people
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chose president trump and not the democratic candidates, but that didn't matter. democrats vowed to take him down anyway. they were going to make him pay a very heavy price by making him the victim of a campaign of personal destruction, and now conveniently a year before the election here they go again, and they're indicating that they think they have cracked the case. in november, 2018, house speaker nancy pelosi gave a statement to the associated press saying, and i quote, we shouldn't impeach the president for political reasons, and we should not impeach the president for political reasons, end quote. let me tell you, for the west tennesseans participating in that telephone town hall i mentioned earlier, it was painfully obvious that congressional democrats had finally given up and embraced
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politics as usual. they see this for what it is -- vitriol, anger, jealousy, spite. they know that president trump and a republican-led house and senate delivered much-needed tax and regulatory relief which was exactly what the american people wanted and precisely what tennesseans were telling us. get government off our back. get government off our land. get government out of our pocketbooks. you know, mr. president, we are a nation built on the rule of law, and a nation that believes in adhering to that law. tennesseans and the american people want fairness, they want equal treatment, they want justice, and they know injustice when they see it.
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what they do not want is a breathless revenge scheme orchestrated by a political party. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, today the senate is going to be voting on the motion to instruct conferees for the national defense authorization act. they're going to vote to, for instructions to backfill the military construction money the president stole from our troops to pay for his wall, a wall that he had given his word mexico would pay for. so he's taken this money. and i've looked at this as a very, very troublesome thing
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that they're asking for. and i say this both as dean of the senate, as president pro tempore emeritus. in that role i've arguably supported, i believe voted for more funding for our military and their families than each senator, republican or democrat, in this chamber. but on this one i will urge a no vote. as members of the senate -- there's only 100 of us -- we have to represent 350 million americans, we have a profound responsibility to support those who sacrifice everything for our country. we should not let this be a partisan issue. as i said, i voted for more funding for our troops than any member of this body. from the soldier we sent across the globe to the military family left at home, we all, 100 of us, no matter where we're from
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or no matter what our political affiliations, we have a responsibility to these men and women regardless of our politics and our ideology. it's that responsibility that's drawn me to the senate floor today. i cannot and will not support this motion. $6.1 billion -- let me say that again. $6.1 billion, that's $2.5 billion from the department of defense, $3.6 billion for military construction projects, that's how much money president trump has stolen from the men and women of our military in fiscal year 2019 alone -- just that one year -- to pay for his ineffective vanity wall. a wall last week he posted to the press was the rolls-royce of
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walls. just like having a rolls-royce in the middle of the desert, trump's wall is nothing more than outrageously expensive and completely useless. experts agree a wall would do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis along our southern border. families fleeing violence in their home countries, fleeing murder, rape, and other crimes are openly turning themselves over to border patrol officials. they're not trying to sneak across the border. they just walk up to the officials and say here i am. it's a lot different than objecg across the border in the middle of the night. what has $6.1 billion in funding purchased for the american taxpayers? here's the money that was taken away from our military. children continuing to go to a
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middle school in kentucky every day that pentagon officials have described as deficient, inadequate and buildings that do not meet military standards for fire safety, putting american lives at risk. we took money from that to pay for the wall. numerous cases of infrastructure problems that are detrimental to our military's readiness and d.o.d.'s national security mission. and that's not even to mention the military howtsing -- housing with mold issues and inadequate day care facilities for the children of military families, all the 127 military construction projects president trump canceled. not delayed, but canceled to pay for this rolls-royce of a wall in the middle of the
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desert. $6.1 billion for a rolls-royce in the middle of a desert, an even heavier burden for our military families. outrage does not even begin to describe how i feel about president trump's action. today we're being asked to somehow cover up the fact that he broke his word about mexico, cover up the fact that this is a vanity project. we're being asked to give our constitutional blessing to president trump contorting the law beyond recognition. i believe that the senate is being the conscience of the nation. in contorting the law to undo congressional funding, decisions by fiat is not following our conscience, and i will not stand for that. we're being asked to take the
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first step to prove $3.6 billion in emergency spending to replace part of what the president stole. let's make another thing clear. this spending is on top of the discretionary caps, on top of the discretionary caps agreed to by congress and the president. so we're being asked to finance this cover-up by our children and grandchildren through deficit spending. i would say this to the president, i believe you said mexico was going to pay for your wall, not our troops, not their families, not future generations of american citizens if this was not troubling enough, last week the press reported, "the washington post," that the trump administration does not even intend to use this funding to replace what they stole.
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and i quote, "the plan is to sell it as we plen nishment money -- replenishment money for the defense department for the $3.6 billion they took this year, said one administration official. the money they got from congress, quote, they would take it again. what is the saying? fool congress once, shame on you. fool congress twice, well, shame on us. congress got fooled once. are we just going to stand by idly and allow the congress to be fooled again? i've heard a lot of speeches on this floor, and politicians often wax poetic about their love of our troops. and yet this body, 100 members of this senate, the body that should be the conscience of our nation has done nothing to constrain this president's ability to continue to steal
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from those troops. we've done little more than shrug at this abuse of our constitutional authority. we just looked away from the egregious treatment of our troops as little more than a piggy bank for the president's political pet project. i don't stand for that. i'm not going to support that. i will not abandon our responsibility to support those who sacrifice everything for our country. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, our friends in the house led by speaker pelosi have adopted a new strategy for handling allegations of wrongdoing. it's a dangerous approach, one in which opinions count for more than the facts and politics trumps everything else, including the law. yesterday evening, speaker pelosi announced that the house is now moving full steam towards impeaching president trump. when the announcement was made, the only information they had at their -- in their hands was press reports. no report of the transcript, no facts, no evidence, no nothing. and that's really all they needed. any hook, any angle, any straw
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they might be able to grasp in order to justify this unjustifiable action, that was good enough for them. hearsay and press reports. house democrats began of this process of impeaching the president based on a so-called whistle-blower complaint that they hadn't even read which detailed a call that they hadn't seen a transcript of. meanwhile, we know the media eagerly reported that the, quote, whistle-blower didn't even have firsthand knowledge of the situation, something we now know to be true. in other words, the alleged whistle-blower doesn't legally qualify as a whistle-blower because he or she wasn't there when the conversation took place but rather reported something that somebody told somebody el else, otherwise known as hearsay. forgetting -- forget obtaining
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the evidence, giving people an opportunity to be heard, the facts considered, rather than looking into that, they decided on a result that they wanted to achieve and were looking at trying to backfill a justification for something that is unjustified based on the facts that we know now. of course, we know what this is. this is a continuation of the election in 2016 where our democratic friends can't believe that hillary clinton lost the election to donald trump. we know after that they claimed, well, hillary clinton actually won the popular vote. forget the constitution and the role of the electoral college. because of the constitutional requirement that the electoral college vote and who wins the majority becomes president, they
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said forget the constitution. and then there was the former f.b.i. director comey who leaked memos to a buddy of his and asked him then to leak them into the press because he wanted to make sure that the special counsel was appointed to investigate and potentially prosecute president trump. and we know that this investigation went on for years and cost millions of dollars and ended up with a conclusion of no obstruction, no collusion. and you can imagine the disappointment of our friends in the need dwra who -- in the media who have written about this assuming that president trump would be indicted, maybe convicted of some offense only to find out no collusion, no obstruction, no charges.
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so now we know that the speaker and her colleagues in the house have grabbed hold of this straw without knowing the facts, without even waiting for the evidence to be revealed. the speaker's decision to impeach the president says everything you need to know about their intentions. it doesn't matter what was said or what was not said. it's about relitigating the 2016 election, something that our democratic colleagues have never ever been able to accept. and they're trying to defy the voters who voted for president trump in 2016. now, does the whistle-blower complaint deserve to be examined and taken seriously? absolutely. in fact, the senate intelligence committee on which i sit and the
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presiding officer sits will do just that. we are in the process of doing that. before the speaker's announcement yesterday, the president had greed to -- agreed to release the full unredacted transcript ofle call and this morning -- of the call and this morning he did. we'll hear from acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire as well as the inspector general for the intelligence community michael atkinson to learn more about their role in this process. that's exactly how this matter should be handled, with care, by the rules, i would say by the book, and to make sure that everybody's rights are protected before people begin to cast unjustified and slanderous allegations. our friends on the house, the house democrats, aren't just fanning flames here.
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they've been pouring gasoline out for months through their baseless oversight hearings and all-out obsession with the mueller investigation which ended up with a big belly flop. yesterday speaker pelosi lit the match and there's no turning back now. the american people have made abundantly clear that this sort of partisan exercise is not what they want, especially when it comes at the expense of other important work that we are not going to be able to accomplish because of this obsession with eliminating president trump. in a poll this summer, only 34% of texans supported impeachment. while so much remains in the air, this move has made one thing clear. our house colleagues have zero interest in doing the jobs that they were elected to in 2018.
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and given the fact that the voters gave them the majority, they show zero interest in governing, in passing legislation. instead of working with both sides of the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation, to lower drug costs, to try to address the concern about mass shootings, to ratify the trade agreement known as the united states-mexico-canada and otherwise try to make life better for the american people, that is not the route they have chosen. they have chosen a partisan political path which will absolutely suck all the oxygen out of washington. it will be an obsession of the media and the american people until it is concluded. crowding out anything and everything else that we might do that might improve the lives of regular americans.
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democrats' decision to move forward with impeachment and toward removing the president from office will make solving these big challenges facing our country nearly impossible. house democrats aren't doing what's right and what's best for our country. they're driving an even bigger wedge between the american people to serve their partisan political interests and using the constitution to hedge a political fight. now make no mistake about it, when special counsel mueller was doing his investigation, it was an investigation to see whether crimes had been committed and if they were, to present that evidence to a grand jury and indict those that were more likely than not to have committed those offenses and then to try the case to a conclusion in a court. that's not what impeachment is. impeachment is solely a
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political exercise, and it's a political exercise to defeat president trump, even though the american people voted for him as the president of the united states. now, notwithstanding the gasoline that house democrats have been pouring on this issue and the fact that speaker pelosi decided to light the match to ignite it yesterday, one thing is sure, and that is that cooler heads will prevail here in the united states senate. we know bipartisan oversight is already under way. but house democrats' obsession with the 2016 election has gone too far and in fact they should be embarrassed by what they have done. meanwhile, we will carefully examine the record, root out the evidence, and follow that evidence wherever it may lead.
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but it's important to have a fair trial before you decide to hand out punishment, not hand out the punishment and then somehow look for justification for an already-reached conclusion. mr. president, on another matter, it's been four months since we passed the debbie smith act of 2019. this legislation sailed through the senate without any senator voting against it. and why would they? it is bipartisan, you might even say nonpartisan as they come. the debbie smith act, as members know, sends vital funding to state and local crime labs to test d.n.a. evidence. it authorizes training for law enforcement and forensic nurses and enables us -- enables law enforcement to identify violent criminals and get them off the streets. the benefit of the debbie smith act is wide ranging but it
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continues to deliver on the initial goal of reducing the national rape kit backlog. that's right. at one point there were as many as 400,000 untested rape kits sitting in labs or on evidence shelves in police lockers. and each one of those forensic citsz, these rape kits -- kits, these rape kits, held the keys to identifying a person who had committed a sexual assault or some other crime. in texas alone, the debbie smith act has helped us reduce the backlog of untested rape kits by approximately 90%. since 2001, we've gone from roughly around 20,000 untested rape kits to 2,000. that's still too many. we need to test all of them. but we've made serious progress, and i won't be satisfied until that untested rape kit number gets to zero. but to do that, congress needs
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to reauthorize the debbie smith act. it should be obvious but i'll say it anyway. this program transcends politics or party and allowing it to expire is a disservice to the victims and the advocates who've championed this legislation since it was first enacted 15 years ago. i introduced the debbie smith act of 2019 in the senate with my friend and colleague from california, a democrat, senator dianne feinstein which just demonstrates its bipartisan support from republicans, democrat, victims rights group, law enforcement, you name it. but despite all that, speaker pelosi has refused to bring this legislation to the house floor for a vote. and unless they pass it soon, this critical program will expire for the first time, expire for the first time in a week. there was absolutely no problem
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reauthorizing this critical program in 2008 or 2014 but clearly the times have changed. and our house democrat colleagues apparatus above politicizing something as noncontroversial as reducing the rape kit backlog. if house democrats allow this program to expire, funds could soon be taken away from crucial activities like prosecuting old cases or reducing the backlog or enhancing capacity efforts. it's simply inexcusable and shameful that speaker pelosi and the house leadership would allow the debbie smith act to expire when they've had a bipartisan bill in their hand for four months. well, just when you think you've seen it all around here, we've seen a lot of partisan antics in the house this year, but this one really takes the cake.
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mr. president, i would urge our colleagues in the house to quit the games and to pass this critical legislation to support victims of sexual assault without further delay. i yield the floor. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. the senate is in a quorum call. the presiding officer: i ask the proceedings of the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: mr. president, i'm here today because our elections are still not secured against the threat of foreign interference. after three years of our intelligence community, our congressional committees, and some of our closest allies sounding the alarm about foreign election interference, we're right back here where we started
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because this body has failed to act. to me it's pretty remarkable. no one in this body would think that the appropriate protections against foreign interference into our power grid should be a partisan issue. no one would advance the theory that protecting our financial system against foreign cyberattacks should be a partisan issue. so why would anyone think or allow the basic protections of the machinery and system of our most essential component of our democracy -- our voting system -- why and how has that in any way become a partisan issue? my hope is we can avoid that.
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now, some my point to the fact that additional money has been appropriated for state and local election authorities. funds that have been used to upgrade part of our election infrastructure. i'm proud to have been part of the initial efforts to secure these funds ahead of the 2018 elections, and i'm generally supportive of providing additional funding to secure the 2020 elections. but we need to make one thing absolutely clear. additional funding for election security is a necessary part of securing our elections, but it is not a sufficient defense against foreign attacks on our democracy. money alone will not solve these problems. moreover, the funding we're talking about in the c.r. comes with no guidance or direction from state and local election officials. listen, i have no interest in
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trying to federalize what has traditionally been a state and local function, but it is absolutely a tradition that this body sometimes makes voluntary federal funding available only to jurisdictions that meet certain criteria or guidelines. because the truth is, right now, with no guidelines, if a state or locality wants to use the so-called election security funds to upgrade their machines or systems to the latest, more secure models, they can do that. but they can also buy machinery and equipment that lacks proper security features, that could lap a paper ballot backup. heck, they can even use these funds to buy the vote here signs and those little stick theirs we all proudly wear on election day. but the truth, unfortunately, is
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the problem is not with our state and local election officials. in fact, the decentralized nature of our local election system is actually one of our best defenses against election interference. and the problem is, not a lack of policy solutions. frankly, i think a lot of us on both sides of the aisle, including very good work by folks like the presiding officer, know exactly what we need to do to secure our election infrastructure. we need a voter-verified paper trail for every vote. everyone should have the confidence that no matter where they vote in america, god forbid there was ever a hack into a machine or a machine doesn't work, there is a paper ballot backup so that every vote will be accurately counted. we need to make sure as well, just as in any major operation, that we have postelection
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audits. and we can and most do more to secure our voter registration systems. none of this is about democrat. none of this is about republican. it is about the integrity and mechanics of how americans vote. the problem, mr. president, is the lack of political will in the united states senate and a lack of interest from the white house to actually secure our elections. the truth is, until the majority leader allows this kind of bipartisan election security legislation to proceed, our elections will remain vulnerable to manipulation by foreign actors, and firmly believe that on these bipartisan bills -- for example, senator lankford has been one of the leaders on -- that this legislation would get 75 or 80 votes even in our divided senate. now, you don't have to take my word on the nature of the threat.
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every one of our intelligence agencies are continuing to warn us that russia will be back in 2020, and we're running out of of time about doing something about it. as a matter of fact, robert mueller led the investigation into the -- with the special counsel's efforts, testified under oath that russia is attempting to undermine the 2020 elections -- quote -- as we sit here. for almost three years senators from both parties have worked on legislation to make sure that we're ready for the threats our democracy will face in 2020. both from russia and unfortunately from other bad actors who are adapted russia's playbook because they saw how successful russia was in 2016, both successful in a relatively inexpensive way to disrupt our system in many ways pit us against each other. and yet the senate has not
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brought up a single piece of election security legislation, not a single vote, not a single markup. the bills we're proposing are largely bipartisan. we're talking about straightforward, low-hanging fruit that normal times would should overwhelming if not unanimous support. we need to pass legislation that secures our election infrastructure with the tools that i just laid out. paper ballots, post-election audits and enhanced cyber security for election systems. we're saying as well that the department of homeland security and local officials should be able to talk to each other in a classified setting so they can know the threats they're facing. we're saying that if local election officials have reason to suspect that a serious cybersecurity incident has occurred, they need to alert the appropriate federal officials. and if true, appropriate
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congressional officials need to know as well. i also believe we need online ads follow the same rules that tv, radio, and print advertising. if you're seeing an election ad that was produced or bought in st. petersburg and paid for in rubles, i think americans have a right to know. we're saying that if russia attacks our elections again or any other foreign power, they should immediately face sanctions. of all things, you'd think the president would be willing to punch back against an attack on the sovereignty and integrity of the united states electoral system. finally we're saying that if a foreign party reaches out to your campaign offering dirt on a fellow american, the appropriate response is not to say thank you. the appropriate response is call the f.b.i.
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the d.h.s. motto that if you see something, say something needs to apply in terms of interference in our presidential elections. the truth is what happened in 2016 will happen again in 2020 if we're not prepared. that's why we cannot allow election security to become a partisan issue. i spent a lot of time working with my republican colleagues on these bills, and i want to particularly recognize the presiding officer who has really been one of if not the leading voice on these bipartisan efforts to secure elections act. i know he's been working relentlessly to find a way to help get this legislation to the floor and i thank him. because these are common sens, substantive -- commonsense substantive proposals that will make our democracy more secure against foreign attack. we should hold hearings if necessary, offer amendments, and vote on this critical
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legislation while we still have time. that's what we were sent here to do, and that's what we must do if we're going to secure our democracy in 2020. now, mr. president, i want to switch subjects for a couple of brief moments and turn to protections for people with preexisting medical conditions because these protections are under threat by this president. under the pretext of so-called short-term plans, the trump administration is pushing health care plans that once again allow insurance companies to discriminate against americans based on their medical history. these skinny plans, how i refer to them as junk plans, also undermine the affordable care act's requirements that insurance cover things like emergency room visits, maternity care, and other essential
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benefits. let me be clear, the reason that this market has suddenly been flooded with these junk plans, in many cases advertising in low-income markets that these are a.c.a. or obamacare plans is not because congress passed any law. the president tried and failed twice to pass legislation ending these protections for folks with preexisting conditions. and since they couldn't get their way in congress, now they're using executive action to try to undermine the affordable care act. mr. president, i've introduced a resolution under the congressional review act which would stop this deliberative effort to destabilize the health insurance market and weaken protections that americans count on. and today i'm filing a discharge
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ppetition so that it will bring this resolution to the senate floor for an up-or-down vote. the truth is every member of this body knows someone either in their family or close relatives with a preexisting condition. and that's a fact of many members themselves have preexisting conditions. in virginia alone more than one million people live with preexisting conditions. before the affordable care act, an insurance company had every right to deny these individuals coverage, charge them unaffordable premiums, or when they got that condition, terminate their plan. i think we all agree we can't go back to those days. the administration knows perfectly well that these junk plans don't offer real benefits. they've been warned repeatedly by hundreds of patient groups, physicians, hospitals, and insurers, including the american
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heart association, the aarp, the american academy of pediatrics just to name a few of the organizations who have come out against these plans. all of these stakeholders are telling us the same thing, the trump administration's plan will weaken consumer protections and dispoe portion natalie hurt -- disproportionately hurt sick and older americans. my republican colleagues insist that they actually support protections for folks with preexisting conditions. okay. with this c.r.a., i think there's a chance to prove it. this resolution we are introducing today will force an up-or-down vote on these junk plans that explicitly undermine protections for preexisting conditions. if my colleagues truly support these protections, they should vote yes. it's that simple. instead of abiding or going along with the administration's effort to undermine the stability of the health care
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market, let's not do that. let's go back to the a.c.a. let's look at fixes where there were mistakes made. let's look about how we can work together on better access to affordable health care. i know the committee i serve on, the finance committee, has taken i think at least a first step. i hope there will be more in terms of putting some reasonable constraints on drug prices where it is not fair or right that americans pay more for drugs than anyone else in the world and in a sense subsidize the r&d for the whole world. there are a host of areas where we can find agreement, but let's make sure that the one part of the a.c.a. that i think everyone agreed to was this notion that folks with preexisting conditions should not be prejudiced against. i think this c.r.a. will allow the senate to go on record on this critically important issue. i look forward to the opportunity to have this voted on, debated when we come back
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from the break. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i have a very brief statement. i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to complete my statement before the vote begins.
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the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today in support of the resolution to terminate the emergency declaration, and i want to thank senator udall, the senator from new mexico, for his leadership. mr. president, the question presented by this resolution is not whether you're for a border wall or against a border wall. and the question is not whether you believe that the security at our southern border is sufficient or it should be strengthened. instead the question is a far more fundamental and significant one. the question is simply this.
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should the congress of the united states of america yield its constitutionally prescribed power of the purse to the president. and the answer to that question, regardless of who is in the white house and who is controlling congress, should be no. congress alone is empowered by the constitution to adopt laws directing money to be spent from the united states treasury. we must stand up and defend our role that the framers very clearly set forth in the constitution. congress must do that, even when doing so goes against the
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outcome that we might prefer. mr. president, i have consistently supported funding for the construction of fiscal barriers and for -- of physical barriers and for strengthening securing on our southern border. i will continue to support that's efforts, and i believe and understand that they are important. but i cannot support the president unilaterally deciding to take money that has been appropriated for one purpose and diverting those billions of dollars for another purpose, no matter how important or worthy that goal may be. my colleagues, irrespective of
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whether you support or oppose a border wall, i would urge you today to support this resolution and stand up for the separation of powers laid out in our constitution. in doing so, you are standing up for our constitution. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the clerk will read the joint resolution for the third time. the clerk: senate joint resolution 54 relating to a national emergency declared by the president on february 15, 2019. the presiding officer:
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question is on behalf of the joint resolution. ms. collins: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber that wish to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 54, the nays are 41. the joint resolution is passed. under the previous order, the clerk will report the resolutions to instruct. the clerk: senate resolution 330, senate resolution 331, senate resolution 332, senate resolution 333, senate resolution 334, senate resolution 335, and senate resolution 336.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. i ask consent that the senate recess from 2:30 to 3:30 today for a briefing. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, i have 11 requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. alexander: mr. president, if a few minutes, i want to speak about president trump's nomination of eugene scalia to be the secretary of labor, but first i want to introduce two speeches that i made in tennessee into the record. i notice the room nearly cleared when i observed i was about to make some speeches, but at least there are some people watching. the first speech was on august 26 of this year in clinton, tennessee. it had to do with the clinton 12. these were 12 students, some as
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young as 14 years of age, who walked down the hill and enrolled in clinton high school in 1956, 63 years ago, and became the first students to integrate a public school in the south. many of us remember what happened the next year in arkansas when the governor stood in the door and president eisenhower had to send in the troops to integrate little rock central high school. i remember those days very well. i was in high school myself then. it's hard to imagine the courage it must have taken for those children to walk down that hill and integrate that school. most of them were there in clinton, tennessee, when they were honored in the month of august, and i'd like to ask consent that my remarks on the clinton 12 commemorative walk that we took that day be entered in the record following my remarks about mr. scalia.
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the presiding officer: without objection. secondly, mr. president, there was a big event in novel, tennessee, held on september 26 which -- in knoxville, tennessee, which was held on september 26 which had to do with anything involved in politics in the county. it was an opportunity for me to make a suggestion to the people of knoxville about what to celebrate. many of us have been watching ken burns' country music special on pbs, and he reminds us that tennessee has a lot to celebrate in terms of country music. his first two hours were about bristol, tennessee, which was the birthplace of country music, really. it's where ralph peter of new york city went to bristol in 1927. put an ad in the paper and said hillbillies come out of the mountains with your music. here came the carter family, jimmy rogers and several others. one of the people on mr. burns'
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show this week was charlie mc coy, the harmonica player, a great musician. it reminded me of the time when i was governor and promoting the general motors saturn plant to tennessee. we talked about detroit and what to serve for dinner. we served them country ham. we talked about who to have play a piece after dinner. i invited charlie mccoy to play his harmonica. a nashville woman came up and said governor, i'm so embarrassed. i said why is that? you had all those fine people from detroit and then you had that harmonica player, she said. what will they think of us? why didn't you offer them chopin? i said why should we offer them average chopin when we have the best harmonica player in the world? the better people of nashville have resisted for a long time calling nashville music city, but nashville is a music city. it has a great personality.
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it's one of the reasons that nashville is such a celebrated city today. the same way knoxville has violated the biblical injunction about don't keep your light under a bushel because it really talks much about oak ridge. so the speech i made was to suggest that the sign at the knoxville airport which says welcome to knoxville, gateway to the great smoky mountains ought to say instead welcome to knoxville, gateway to the great smoky mountains and to the oak ridge corridor. there are nearly 3,000 scientists and engineers, technicians who work at the oak ridge national laboratory, the largest science energy laboratory in america and at the university of tennessee and at the tennessee valley authority, and that part of the personality of the knoxville area needs to be celebrated. i ask consent that following my remarks on the clinton 12 that my speech at the tennessee valley fair on september 6 be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, in my remaining time, i'd like to
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say a few words about eugene scalia and the president's nomination of him to be the secretary of labor for the united states. the senate will vote probably tomorrow on whether to confirm mr. scalia, and i certainly hope that the senate does, and i believe the senate will. we've known for two months that president trump intended for mr, he mentioned that on july 18. we had all of his papers since august 27. those are the government ethic papers and the committee papers that are necessary to have. they all came a month ago. he gave us a copy of all of his writings. he came to a hearing the other day, the presiding officer was there. he testified for three hours, senators could ask anything they wanted. he offered to visit with every member of our committee and did with all but two. and so we know plenty about
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mr. scalia. he answered another 418 questions that committee members had of him after his hearing. i think two years is long enough to consider him, to consider all of that information. i remember that when president obama's secretary of education stepped down in his last year -- in the president's last year of that term, i encouraged the president to nominate john king, whom the president wanted to nominate, but he was afraid he wouldn't be confirmed because we disaagreed with him, the republican majority. i disagreed with him. i said, mr. president, it's important for you to have a confirmed member of your cabinet and to have that person considered and confirmed promptly if they are going to be considered and it's important for the senate to have a cabinet member that goes through the process of questions and advice and consent. that's our most important
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function in many ways. we confirmed john king in two months. we considered scalia for two months. he is a lawyer in a major law firm in washington, d.c., and he spent a year as solicitor of labor, he left the firm to be assistant to the attorney general of the united states in 1992. academically he is well prepared, he went to the university of virginia, he was editor in chief to the law review. he was an adjunct professor at the clark school of law. he is well qualified. it is important for the department to have a well-qualified steady hand there. i liked the demeanor mr. scalia showed at the hearing. the members of the committee were there and vigorous in questioning, but i liked the fact that they were courteous to him. they didn't take the attitude that sometimes happens in the united states senate that you're
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innocent until nominated. they took the attitude he was a well-qualified person with whom they disagreed. they asked questions and he answered them and did a good job. i like the fact that the trump administration has created a more stable environment by having an employer standard that doesn't make it more difficult for american families to eend operate franchises. 7,000 americans have franchises. the way you get into the middle class in america. we need a steady hand to make sure that happens properly. i like the fact that the administration is having a more reasonable overtime rule. the overtime threshold needed to be changed but the last administration changed it abruptly, raised it too fast, it caused church camps in atlanta to lay off people and close in the summer and had unintended consequences. the administration announced yesterday, i believe, a more
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reasonable step. those are the kinds of steps that could be taken. association health plans. among the people in america who have the hardest time paying for insurance are those who make $50,000 a year and don't get a government subsidy. associated health plans help people who work for small businesses to be able to get the same kind of insurance the same kind of insurance that people who work for i.b.m. or big businesses do, insurance that covers for preexisting conditions, all of those sorts of protections. it has been estimated by avala that the health insurance rule that the department of labor put out would help 3,000 to 4,000 americans to save premium costs by several thousand dollars a year. mr. scalia can work on that. i received 32 letters in support of mr. scalia's nomination from small business owners, employers, industry groups, his
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colleagues. i would like to submit all of those, including my entire speech to the record. i will mention a couple. former obama administration official wrote, quote, his decency, meaning mr. scalia, is part of what makes him someone who goes case by case and end up where the facts and the law take him. he does not have an ideological straitjacket. and thomas susquan wrote, he is the kind of person that our country needs in the cabinet, experienced ethical, professional, open-minded, fair and brilliant. there are a number of other records from career attorneys, chicago law review editorial board members, fraternal order of the police members, and others. suffice it to say that the country is fortunate that the president nominated eugene
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scalia to be secretary of labor. he has conducted himself admirably in the two-month process of going through the senate confirmation. we have a chance to bring that to a conclusion tomorrow, and my hope is that the senate will confirm him and that he will be in office by the end of the week. i thank you, mr. president. i yield he the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. earlier this month, i went to joint base an andrew -- base andrews. it is where the president boards air force one. the mission at joint base andrews is broad. they do an incredible job and service to our country. i went there to take a look at the child development center. the child development center that i visited was first constructed in 1941, not as a
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child care center, but for other purposes. it has had serious challenges as the air force put in their request to put a new child care center, a new child development center. you see, i visited classrooms that had to be closed because of a sewage backup that happens regularly and flows into the kitchen area of this particular facility. i saw the results of a roof that had collapsed during a heavy snowstorm that now has been replaced but the use of that part of the building is compromised. i saw the concerns -- expressed the concerns about pest control, about an hva system that does not work. and not able to deal with the needs of our air force personnel. it is one of the reasons why the
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air force has made this a top concern to replace this 1941 facility. through the competitive process that is used under the department of defense, this project rose to a top priority and was included in the president's budget and approved by congress at $13 million for a replacement. ,000, let me -- now just let me read from the justification that the air force did in requesting these funds. it says, not providing this facility forces members to use more expensive, less convenient and potentially lower-quality off-base programs. these off-base child development centers typically cost 9,400 more creating a severe financial strain on military personnel. quality of life will be severely degraded resulting in impacts to retention and readiness because
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families will not have a safe and nurturing environment for child care. of that is the consequences if we don't replace the structure. so why do i talk about that? because, mr. president, this was one of 64 projects that was included in the president's emergency power transfer, taking this $13 million from the replacement of a child development centering and using it for his wall. it was one of three projects in maryland. we had $66.5 million. there was another project at joint base andrews dealing with the hazardous material place where they unload hazardous material. they want to do it away from where the president's plane flies. that makes abundant sense. that was cut and transferred over to the wall. and for those of you who vo been to fort -- have been to fort meade, incredibly important facility. try to get there when you have a
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traffic problem, it's almost impossible. part of the money was to alleviate the traffic. the president took $6.4 billion, including the joint base center at andrews to pay for his wall. now, he told us during the campaign that this was being done in an effort to -- to that -- that mexico would pay for it. we now know that the airmen families at joint base andrews will pay for this wall, $9,400 more per child because they don't have a safe facility. this facility has a hard time passing accreditation. it's not me telling you that. it's the air force telling you that. they took the money away. why did they take that away in because the president used the declaration for emergency power.
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i believe it was unconstitutional use of power. this is what the president said in announcing the so-called emergency. i'm quoting the president of the united states. i could do the wall over a longer period of time. i didn't need to do this, but i'd rather do it much faster. end quote. is that an emergency? is that contradicting the direct dictate of congress? let me remind my colleagues of the constitution, article 1, clause 9, it's the congress that has the power of the purse strings. we appropriate the money, not the president of the united states. he carries out our instructions, and yet he uses, byes his own words -- by his own words, something he wanted to do for himself rather than as a national emergency to transfer those funds. it's wrong. it's not just this senator saying it's wrong. let me just tell you -- we got
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at letter from 13 -- from several senators -- prior senators -- former senators and former members of the house, republicans who commented on this. i'm talking about the senators in this letter was senator danforth, nicky edwards, olympia snowe and richard lugar, respected republican members of this body. let me quote from their letter. our oath is to put the country and constitution above everything, including party politics or loyalty to a president. the power of the purse rests with congress. if you allow a president to ignore congress, it will not -- it will be not your authority but that of your constituents that's being deprived of the protections of a true representative government. mr. president, this is not about loyalty to a president or party loyalty. this is about exercising the constitutional responsibilities of the article 1 legislative
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branch of government. well, we just took a vote. we could do something about it. senate joint resolution 54, terminating the national emergency. we got a majority of the senators who voted for it, 54-41, so it will move forward. we expect this won't be the last word. that's why i'm taking the floor time now. we have another opportunity to do this. we may have the opportunity to override a presidential veto. we are going to need more support. i would urge my colleagues to please look at the constitution of the united states. we took the oath to uphold. look at members who have served here this the past who are warning this will come back to haunt our constituents in their constitutional background checks and balances of having the congress be the people's body here and not the president of the united states in passing laws and making appropriations. let us do the right thing.
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let us exercise the checks and balances that are in our system. let us see this joint resolution 54 become law. let's reverse the emergency declaration. let's do it for the constitution. let's do it for the united states congress. and let's do it for the men and women in our military service who are being denied the necessary military construction projects, including those service men and women at joint basis andrews who need a child development center that protects the welfare of their children. for all those reasons, i hope this becomes law. with that, mr. president, i will suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mrs. shaheen: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. mr. president, for the past couple of weeks new hampshire and many other states across the country have been flooded with millions of dollars worth of dark money advertisements. these ads have been all over tv and social media. let me just be clear, they're not running just again -- they haven't been running just against me in new hampshire.
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they have been running against democrats and republicans in competitive races across this country. we've also had flyers jammed into mailboxes across new hampshire. i even got several of the fliers myself. this is an example of one. i'll read it in just a minute. but i want to point out that the goal of this campaign has been to stop congress from acting to address surprise medical bills. for example, this flyer makes the dishonest claim that addressing surprise medical bills would lead to hospital closures and doctor shortages. in fact, it says you can see, imagine if the care we needed wasn't there when we needed it the most. rate setting is a health care nightmare. hospital closures, doctor shortages, windfall profits for big insurance. say no to rate setting. don't put big insurance companies in charge of our health care.
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stop surprise medical bills. and then you turn it over, and it says tells jean shaheen to stop rate setting. say no to putting big insurance in charge of our health care. say no to making it harder to see our chosen doctors when we need them the most. say no to big insurance profits. tell senator jeanne shaheen to put patients first. read that, and you think i'm all about trying to put insurance companies ahead of patients, and it doesn't tell you who's sending it, but you look at it, we did a little digging and we found out that the ads say they're paid for by an organization called doctor-patient unity. you read that and you think, well, they're worried about patients. you look at that, they're worried about hospital closures. doctor-patient unity, this must be someone who cares about patients. don't believe it. the truth is that these flyers
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and the ads that have been running in new hampshire and across this country are paid for by two private equity firms on wall street. they don't care about patients. they care about profits. they spent over $2 million in new hampshire. if you look across the country, they've spent tens of millions of dollars. just imagine if instead of trying to pad their own bottom line and worry about surprise medical billing, they had put those tens of millions of dollars into improving health care for the people of this country. but the public doesn't know this because they have been left completely in the dark because due to the supreme court's citizens united decision, special interests can spend unlimited amounts of money and they can stay anonymous. so the average person throughout the country who gets one of
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these fliers, they're not going to know who paid for these ads. they're not going to know who's getting the benefit of the costs from surprise medical billing. this ad campaign is not only confusing to voters, it's exhibit a on how our campaign finance system is broken. and the voices of granite staters who are struggling to pay surprise medical bills are being drowned out in this case by private equity firms on wall street who are making billions off of the status quo. so here's how these private equity firms are exploiting patients. first, surprise medical bills usually occur when a patient visits an in-network hospital. so i have insurance, my insurance says i can go to the hospital in my hometown. as part of their treatment, i go to the hospital, but the
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doctor who sees me is not a doctor who's in the network of my insurance company. so unbeknownst to me as i go into the emergency room, that doctor is what's called out of network. these doctors often are working for physician staffing companies that have gone out of network so they can aggressively pursue surprise medical bills. these physician staffing companies are also using these surprise medical bills to negotiate, to command in-network payments from insurers that are on twice as high as the average, which can result in higher premiums for everybody. so they have these surprise medical bills. you pay more for those. the insurance companies and the physician staffing companies go to the insurers and say, look, these doctors are getting paid
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this much from surprise medical bills, so you've got to raise your payments for doctors in your network. and everybody's going to pay more as the result of that. and again, this is frequently done at the behest of private equity firms that own the physician staffing companies. so surprise medical bills can be a tremendous shock to patients. this is what happened to donald and kathy cavelero in rye, new hampshire. don works at the portsmouth naval shipyard. when kathy needed emergency surgery, don's insurance could have had -- insurance covered their hospital costs but the doctor was out of the network. the result, they got a surprise medical bill for $5,000. now they're appealing that cost, but unfortunately what the caveleros are going through
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isn't a rare occurrence. one in six emergency room visits in new hampshire result in a surprise bill for granite staters who have large employer coverage. nationally the average cost of a surprise bill from an emergency room visit is more than $600, and the average surprise bill for inpatient care is over $2,000. so we can see what's happening as the result of surprise medical bills. surprise bills like these can easily put a family budget in the red, and congress desperately needs to put a stop to them. so today i strongly encourage my colleagues in the senate to move this effort forward. the special interests that are pushing these surprise medical bills, that are pushing up all of our health care costs, they have to be tuned out. this is about making sure that when a golan -- when a granite
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stateer or any american goes to the hospital they can have faith that their insurance is going to cover their cost, and we should not, we must not let private equity firms on wall street bully congress or derail the bipartisan efforts that are taking place in this body to address surprise medical bills. these advertisements should also serve as a reminder that congress has got to reform our broken campaign finance system. special interests shouldn't be able to hide behind nice-sounding front groups like doctor-patient unity. we know that these private equity firms are responsible for these ads only because of investigating reporting that was done by bloomberg and "the new york times" and some others. but sadly, this is the exception rather than the norm, because usually dark money never gets exposed.
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so in closing, madam president, i want to send a very clear message. i don't care how many ads these special interests run, how many mailers they send out, how many millions they spend, granite staters who have had their family budgets upended by surprise medical bills must be prioritized over the special interests who want to profit off of them. health care costs are out of control, and tackling surprise medical bills must remain at the top of the senate's agenda. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. right now historically black colleges --. the presiding officer: the is not will suspend. mr. brown: i apologize. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. right now hbcu's like
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wilberforce in central state and my state in ohio and other minority-serving institutions are facing a fiscal cliff if we don't act now, this week hbcu's and other schools will face crippling funding cuts. they are a critical part of our nation's higher education system with a rich legacy and proven track record of educating students of color and other underrepresented students. will better force founded in 1886, the first institution of higher education for black students this this country. an institution we're o so proud of in southwestern ohio. central state has a rich legacy of educating students, 1890 land grant institution. many of us worked on the last farm bill to right a historical wrong and make sure all -- that's all 1890 land grants to universities including central state have access to the funding they deserve. they foster generations of african american students.
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we know without h.b.c.u.'s, millions of black students would have been denied the opportunity to pursue higher education. they simply -- there was no place for them in many places in this country. careers in law, acadamia, so many fields would have been left out. our country owes an enormous debt to h.c.b.u.'s. key funding for minority institution, m.s.i.'s expires on september 30. without this funding, school budgets will be thrown into chaos. they will likely consider program cuts and layoffs. we need to pass a clean extension. the house has done its job, passed the future act. it seems, madam president, the house is always doing its job, passing legislation, dying in the senate graveyard. we've search it on -- we've seen it on issue after issue. this is as important as any of them. we much protect the hbcu's and extend the mandatory funding for all m.s.i.'s for two years.
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it's time for the senate to do the same. hbcu's and m.s.i.'s have to overcome enough hurdles every day to educate their students. the united states senate should not be one of those hurdles. we need to pass the future act now. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. cotton: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cotton: i'd like to speak today about an old friend and mentor, gene scalia. gene is a father and a fairmindd advocate for the law. gene has proven himself as a top legal mind in government and private practice. during the presidency of george w. bush, he served as the top
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lawyer for the dependent of labor, where he stood up for laborers by vigorously enforcing the law. when enron defrauded and bought bankrupted the company, gene fought to recover their retirement savings of employees and pensioners. gene fat out-of-control bureaucrats who threatened to undercut america's position as an industrial power. when washington bureaucrats tried to stop boeing from building its world-class dream liner in south california, he fended off the attack. as a result, thousands of south carolinians today are employed in good-paying manufacturing jobs and the world's best airplanes tip to be made right here in -- continue to be made right here in america. gene's resume tells the story well enough. it proves that he is a top expert in labor law who has devoted his life to ensuring that workers and industry alike get a fair shake. but his resume doesn't tell the whole story.
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i met gene early in my short career as a lawyer. he was one of my very first bosses, so i got a window into his leadership style and legal mind and have relied on his hard-earned wisdom and counsel ever since. gene was one of the very only lawyers i knew who discouraged me from leaving the law and joining the army. i think that is less a commentary on my skills as a young lawyer and more a commentary on his need to keep his lawyers on his cases. but he came around and introduced me to his brother matt who remains an army officer to this day and the scalia family has been good friends all along. gene scalia has been one of the most decent and capable men i know in washington. his dedication to the law and his just application is absolute. working folks in this country deserve a labor secretary of such integrity and conviction, and gene scalia will be just such a secretary.
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i urge all of my colleagues to confirm him as our next secretary of labor. madam president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, something happened in the last 48 hours or so that affects 40,000, 50,000 people in my state, affects literally probably a million people or more around the country. and these are people that are making $30,000, $35,000, $40,000, $45,000 a year. and essentially the president of the united states robbed them of their overtime, and i -- and this isn't histrionics. it's facts. here's how this works. if you're a worker -- if you're managing a fast-food restaurant and you're making $40,000 a year, if the company decides to call -- you are the night-shift manager. the management decides to declare you as management.
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it means they can work you 45, 50, 55, 60 hours a week and pay you not a cent -- not just -- they can't pay you time and a half -- they don't pay you time and a half. they even give you another cent for your 40 hours. if you are a he a moderate-income worker making $35,000, 40,000 a year, not enough to have a middle-class lifestyle like you could have had this in this country 20, 30 years ago, and management decides they're going to classify you as management, they can work you as many hours as they want with not a cent of overtime. now, that's been a problem for years. five years ago we fixed it. the vice president of the united states was secretary tom perez came out to columbus, ohio. i worked on this issue and we made this announcement at a small manufacturing firm. they supported this -- many businesses did and they supported this agreement. so this would have meant anybody making up to about $46,000 a
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year, if they worked those extra hours, they were management, they called management. they worked those extra hours. from then on they were going to get overtime, time and a half. that's what overtime pays about. that's what the overtime rule is about. so president trump takes off. president trump loves to say he's on the side of workers. but you can't really support -- you can't say you support workers individually if you don't support workers collectively. the president says i care about these individual workers. well, if he really cared about these individual workers, he wouldn't have in essence robbed 40,000 or 50,000 ohioans and i don't know how many million americans of their overtime pay. so when we pass that rule, when the obama administration sent the secretary of labor to columbus, ohio, and i was there and we made this announcement, we celebrated on behalf of 150,000 -- 150,000 ohio workers that were making $30 or --
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$30,000, $40,000, up to $46,000 a year, that they were going to get time and a half. if they were working those extra 20 hours, working 60 hours a week, they were going to take thousands of dollars in overtime pay if they did that week after week. this president says he's for workers and then he changes this law. he changes this rule. and in essence robbed these people. this new rule deprives millions of workers literally of the pay they've earned. it's as disturbing as anything i've seen -- i know the white house just like the republican leader's office down the hall, i know the while out looks like -- white house looks like a retreat for wall street executives and whatever corporate america wants, this white house does for them every single time. if corporate america wants to block the minimum wage, minimum wage hasn't been increased in ten years, the president of the united states blocks the minimum wage. if the white house -- if corporate america wants this overtime rule done away with or
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compromised or half obliterated saving millions of dollars for corporate america, the president of the united states does their bidding. if a renegotiation of nafta, the north american free 2r5eud agreement to do to right, to help workers, you enforce worker rules, you enforce labor rules, the president backed off his campaign promise and didn't do it. lots of tax cuts for the rich. 80% -- almost 80% of the corporate tax bill that president trump pushed through congress, almost 80% goes to the richest 1% of the people. it's a betrayal. it's a white house betrayal of workers every single day. people making $30,000, $40,000, $50,000, $80,000, $90,000 a year, this white house betrays them. it's pretty simple. it's pretty simple. you think about the dignity of work, whether you punch a clock or swipe a badge, whether you're raising children, whether you're taking care of aging parents, whether you're working on tips or whether you're working on
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middle-class salary, all work has dignity. but instead, instead the president has undermined that work but, mr. president, c.e.o.'s and we all know something about that, c.e.o.'s, you know -- they're making in this country -- when i was kid c.e.o.'s made 30-1 c.e.o. pay versus average worker. now it's about 300-1. yet who gets the tax cuts in this country? it's the c.e.o.'s. who gets hurt every time? it's moderate wage earners. then, you know, i hear this talk of pop lism, -- populism. the president is a populist. it's never racist or antisemitic. poit's what we've seen far too much of. in this overtime rule to me it was sort of the last straw. you give tax cut, massive giveaways to the wealthiest 1%.
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it encourages more corpses to move overseas. the president's tax bill says this and this is almost not even believable. if you have a company in mansfield, ohio or toledo, ohio, pay a corporate tax rate of 21%. but if you shut down the production in mansfield or toledo and move to qawt la harrah, it means more companies are going to move overseas as wages continue to be depressed in this country. now, i was the white house -- i was at the white house with the president during the tax bill. he told us, he said after he signs this tax bill, he said you're going to start seeing a lot more money in your paycheck. we know that was a lie. corporations reap the benefits. then spent their windfall not on workers' wages, not on growing the company, but on stock buybacks. so general motors, general motors got huge tax cuts. they moved more jobs overseas than they shut production in michigan and shut production in places like lords town, hook.
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he stacked his cabinet in the national relations board with corporate stooges who spent their whole careers undermining -- eugene scalia is a corporate lawyer who has fought over and over against workers' rights. the secretary of labor, whether it's a pretty conservative secretary of labor that republicans over here are likely to support or more progressive pro-worker secretary of labor that democrats are more likely to support, but usually the secretary of labor is somebody that cares about workers and worker rights. but you know what? the new secretary of labor appointed by president trump, he spent -- he's a corporate lawyer. he spent his entire career attacking workers, worker rights, trying to put bigs out of business, trying to -- businesses out of business, trying to come down every time on the side of corporations against workers. i said before you can't say you care about workers individually but don't side with workers
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collectively. and what does that mean? it means when workers have a union, they get better pay, they get better benefits, they have retirement, health care, they have more job security and they have more safety in the workplace. but if you say you care about workers and i care about individual workers but i don't care about, woulders collectively, it doesn't -- workers collectively, it doesn't -- you simply don't care about workers. it comes down, mr. president, to whose side are you on? on corporations' side or workers' sides? do you fight for wall street or do you fight for the workers and fight for the dignity of work? do you honor work, do you respect work, do you pass legislation that supports workers and rewards work or do you pass legislation to take literally thousands of dollars out of the pockets of workers who should be getting oversame but because of this new trump rule -- overtime but because of the new trump rule, they lost overtime. he's broken the promise over and over. if you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work. we don't see that over here. we don't see that in the
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majority leader's office and we sure don't see that in the white house. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i assume we're in a quorum call and ask unanimous consent it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i ask to speak as if in morning business for up
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to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i'm here for my 254th time to wake up speech i. in the time i have been giving these speeches, i have watched the shifting trajectory of climate denial. first climate change was a hoax. then there wasn't enough science. then the science is still uncertain. then solving this problem would hurt our economy. then innovation will magically save us. and now there's a new entrant in the climate denial lexicon, china. china isn't doing enough on carbon emissions goes the argument. so we shouldn't do anything at all. it is a talking point you hear all the time from the fossil
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fuel industry and it's array of front groups working to block climate action here in congress. now, china has done plenty to complain about. china has stolen our intellectual property, manipulated its currency, jailed its political dis senters, set unfair labor rules and more. i have been front and center with those complaints about china. but before we offer up china as the latest climate-denial light excuse for doing nothing, let's take a look at what china is really up to. for starters, china is still a party to the paris climate accord, and china's president doesn't say stuff like, wind turbines cause cancer. okay, low bar -- i concede. our president recently tweeted, which country has the largest
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carbon emission reduction? america. who has dumped the most carbon into the air? china. actually, not quite true. we've still dutched more co2 -- we've still dumped more co2 into the air than china, because we've been at it longer, and we still dump a lot more than china per capita. but china's people do put out more carbon pollution than us. they took over as the world's top emitter in 2007. so last year china accounted for about 28% of global co2 emissions and the u.s. 15%. cumulatively, china accounts for 13% of emissions, and the u.s. 25%. about twice as much. americans per capita carbon emissions are among the highest
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in the world. the average chinese citizen -- china is here -- accounts for less than half the per-capita emissions of the average american citizen. so we actually don't have lots to brag about on our emissions. but that's not where it looks the worst for us. forget the past. look to the future. at climate action. that's where china is blowing us out of the water. as the trump administration slavishly fronts for fossil fuel, even turning the agencies of our government over to this corrupting industry, china is leaning in hard on a green energy future. china is resetting their economy for a clean energy future. china began implementing a
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national cap-and-trade system, a price on carbon for its power sector in 2018 which will go into full force across the country next year. several provinces already run cap and trade locally. this year china is launching a mandatory renewables quota, requiring that 35% of its electricity be renewable by 2030 and it's energy plan seeks 50% of total electric power generation from nonfossil sores by 2030 -- sources by 2030. china is also investing to dominate clean energy manufacturing and technology. in 2017, nearly half of the world's new renewable energy investment took place in china, triple -- triple -- the investment in the united states. china leads the world in renewable power deployment with
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more than twice as much capacity as any other nation; almost 30% of the world's renewable power capacity right now is in china, including the most solar, the most wind, and the most hydro-. china dominates global deployment of solar panels. it has several times greater installed solar generation capacity than the united states. in fact, we virtually lost solar panel manufacturing to china. on this graphic, china is the yellow. that shows total capacity, china outdoing all the other countries. we are here compared to china there. and the the gray is a general category for the rest of the world. so china is even bigger than the rest of the world, not counting u.s., japan, and germany, and as i understandia. -- and india.
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so those china's lead in total renewable electricity deployment with nearly double -- double the installed capacity of the united states and nearly a third of total global renewable electricity capacity. here's the world total. there's china as 0404. then you've got to scale down the graphic to get over here to the united states at 180. 180-404. if you count nuclear power as clean energy, there is china. china has the largest nuclear power construction program. it has 37 nuclear power reactors in operation. 40 in planning and proposals for an additional 100. next-generation nuclear
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technologies originally designed in the united states are among those chinese proposals. if all of those reactors are built, china would end up with twice the u.s. nuclear fleet. now, in the transportation sector we feel pretty good in the u.s. we all see teslas driving around, chevy has they're bolt. their manufacturing is like riffian, who are proposing severely cool vehicles. coalmine is far out front in i would abouting electric vehicles and in deploying the infrastructure needed to run electric vehicles. china now requires that 10% of vehicles sold be electric or plug-in hybrids. this increases to 12% in 2020. by the end of 2018, 45% of all
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the electric cars on the planet were in china. last year china manufactured nearly half of all electric vehicles manufactured in the world. and in other asian it's china, china, china. china dominates electric markets for electricity buses. exxon fabulously predicted to their shareholders that there would be zero electric buses by 20 who. china is already operating 400,000. high-tech batteries will power transportation and balance the electric grid of the future. china is planning for three times as much battery manufacturing capacity as the rest of the world combined carbon capture will grow as an industry as soon as it has
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business model, which by the way , carbon pricing will provide them. andesine carbon pricing, there is china with 20 carbon-capture projects under construction or in development. more than any other nation. of course it's not all good news on climate out of china. the chinese continue to build more coal-fired plants around the world. the difficult truth for us is that china's progress on climate change is real and it's way more than ours. coalmine is not doing this to be nice -- china is not doing this to be nice. they are doing this to outdo us, economically and politically. if we keep kicking our own renewable industries in the
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teenage here in america, just to please trump's coal industry donors, while china invests in these new technologies, we are making a losing bet. china's one-party government has put economic growth above all else. chinese economists see the same economic risks this ours do. chinese businesses see the same threats and opportunities for their workers and their supply chains that ours do. china's cities see the same threat from sea level rise as ours do. but the chinese government chose a smarter path because they're not under the thumb of the fossil fuel industry. the chinese are acting out of self-interest. they are acting on climate because they want their country and their economy to succeed. they want to own these industries of the future.
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rather than compete, we are now helping them win, all to make some grubby political donors happy. the global commission on the economy and climate reports that small climate could deliver at least $26 trillion in economic benefits worldwide through 2030 compared with business as usual. a $26 trillion relative benefit. over that apparent these actions would generation -- over that period, these actions would generate 65 million new low-carbon jobs annually and avoid 7,000 premature deaths from air pollution, by the way. whoever acts swiftly will get the biggest share of these riches. last year stanford economists found that keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius as opposed it the riskier
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2-degree safety limit, would like lie save more than $to,000 in economic damages around the world by the end of this century. $20,000. the world power that positions itself to reap the economic benefits of a carbon-neutral technology and that helps lead the world away from runaway climate calamities will garner tremendous economic, strategic, and diplomatic advantage. in particular, china recognizes the diplomatic advantage to acting on climate, as the united states withdraws from our traditional position of international leadership much the last century, mr. president, has been called american century. we are fast handing over the next century to become the
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chinese industry. we are doing it to ourselves, and we're doing for the worst of all possible reasons. to kowtow to a corrupt industry. making sure that the next century is the american century as well is as good a reason as any for us to wake up, mr. president, and act on climate. i yield the floor. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i come to the floor once again to call for action in light of revelations that president trump
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appears to have no problem with seeking the assistance of a foreign government for his own political gain. today's summary of the telephone call between him and a foreign leader exposes this in black and white. given this white house's lack of transparency, i have little faith that this so-called transcript reflects the totality of the conversation. but what they did release was shocking enough. he clearly pressured the ukrainian government to investigate former vice president biden for his own political benefit, mentioning the attorney general of the united states or his personal lawyer six times, using the levers of state the president sought to weaponize the justice department to pursue a personal political vendetta. we now know that for more than two months the president urged ukraine to investigate a political opponent while holding
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$391 million in urgently needed security assistance congress appropriated to support u.s. national security interests. in fact, congress approved this security assistance including $141.5 million from the u.s. state department and $it h.250 million from the pentagon with overwhelming bipartisan support. indeed, for years now republicans and democrats have come together to offer america's support to ukraine in the face of relentless russian aggression. we have stood together with ukraine because we know what is at stake. our friends in ukraine sit on the front lines of a struggle against the kremlin's vision of a world that is not guided by democratic values or guided by the rule of law but instead ruled by putin and his corrupt cabal of oligarchs. together democrats and republicans have stood mind a free and independent ukraine
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because together we stand behind our shared values of democracy and human rights. we have stood in support of ukraine in pursuit of the our own strategic interests in the region. that's why we came together when russian forces illegally invaded crimea and worked to bolster support of ukrainian sovereignty. i was proud that we passed the ukraine freedom support act with strong bipartisan support. in an era of growing political divides, our support for a democratic free and sovereign ukraine inspired us to transcend partisanship and to work together in common cause. and i applaud my republican colleagues who have worked on these efforts, who have traveled to ukraine, who have been strong advocates for our partners standing up against kremlin aggression. that's why it's all the more puzzling that republicans have largely been silent over the
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past few days. whatever happened to solidarity with ukraine? whatever happened to standing up to russia? whatever happened to putting the national security of the united states ahead of petty partisan politics? we have found ourselves with a president in the white house who has now sought to manipulate aid to ukraine to advance his own personal political agenda. let's examine what we know. president trump admitted that he spoke with president zen i ask and raise -- zelensky and raised the issue of the family of vice president biden included in today's so-called transcript of the congratulatory call with president zelensky. after congress appropriated this funding the department of state sent a notification to the white house office of budget and management on june 21. we know that deliberations over this kind of funding typically just takes five days. instead, the white house sat on this funding for two whole months.
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my staff met with the state department last friday. we tried to glean what could be the cause for this delay. did the department have an objection to this money moving forward? no, they did not. did they know why the white house sat on it for two months? no, they did not. did the white house ask them any substantive questions on the security assistance to ukraine over these months? no, they did not. and neither did the defense department. in other words, the state department was unaware of any policy motivation that could have delayed the disbursal of urgently needed security funding to ukraine. there was no policy motivation. on the contrary, the revelations of the past few days suggest a political motivation. it appears that president trump's willingness to use the powers of his office for grossly inappropriate behavior on the international stage is pretty vivid. so we immediate to know
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exactly -- we need to know exactly who in the trump administration played a role in the improper withholding of congressionally appropriated funding for ukraine and how. that's why today, mr. president, i'm calling for unanimous consent for my bill, the ukraine freedom assistance integrity and accountability act of 2019. the bill would require an inspector general state department investigation into the office of budget and management's delay in obligating these funds. my legislation would require the state department to share all records in its role in facilitating the president's personal lawyers engagement with the ukranian government. it would require the administration obligate all ukranian assistance funds and offer additional funds to russia. it would express solidarity with the ukranian people by imposing new sanctions on russia. those sanctions would target russia's shipping sector, oligarchs and cyber attackers.
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i want to be clear that i'm an advocate of regular order in the senate but we are in a crisis. it is a crisis potentially of constitutional proportions, a crisis that goes to the heart of our democracy. and how we respond to it will forever define our willingness as a congress to defend the rule of law and live up to our article 1 responsibilities. president trump has once again stood in the way of congressional efforts to support ukraine and all of europe in the face of russian aggression. the administration has once again flouted the rule of law, this time when the acting director of national intelligence refusing to disclose to congress the whistle-blower complaint on president trump's conversations with president zelensky and we don't know what more as he is mandated to do so. it is time for this congress to stand up for its article 1 powers. we need to act quickly to send a message to the white house and to the kremlin. if there's anything we've learned from president trump, it's that lawlessness begets
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lawlessness. it's time for us to remind the american people and the world that the rule of law means something. we will not allow the corrupting of our national security assistance. we will not allow our relationship with the ukranians to become a political football and we will not let the foreign policy of the united states be corrupted for campaign purposes. so for that reason, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on foreign relations be discharged from further consideration of s. 2537, that the senate proceed to immediate consideration, the bill be considered read a third time and and passed the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: reserving the right to object, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: mr. president, let me say that i concur with the good senator from new jersey that we should follow regular order. he like myself has spent decades of service in the legislative
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body, and we both know that this system works when the committee system works. every legislative body is set up with a committee system. why is that? one of the reasons is because people develop an expertise in a certain lane, and they can use that expertise on the committee. most importantly, the issues regarding a bill, whether it's good or bad or whether it should be amended or whatever should happen to it is best handled in the committee system where people have an expertise on the area that the bill goes to. this bill goes to the foreign relations committee, which i chair, which my good friend from new jersey previously chaired. and it will be handled in the regular order by that committee. but it is a bad way to do a piece of legislation to draw it, drop it and then document floor and try to pass -- and then come to the floor and try to pass it unanimously. this piece of legislation was brought to the committee yesterday, and it is a piece of
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legislation that certainly deserves consideration, but not this way. i have not had a chance to even read it, let alone study it. and that is true with virtually every member of the majority party. i frankly don't know whether the minority party, the other members of the committee who serve in the minority party have had an opportunity to read it or to study it or for that matter to prepare amendments to it to make it better and to move it along. so given that, the committee system is really important here. i don't want to really go into the merits of all this. there's all of it being debated in the hallway right now with the national media and that sort of thing. what's happened over the last few days here is really a poster child for what's happened to the entire trump presidency. a fair amount, not all but a fair amount of the national
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media, a fair amount of the minority party here has done everything they can to delegitimize this president, not the least of which is taking anything that comes along and attaching to it some nefarious idea, some nefarious purpose. let me give you an example. my good friend said what happened to standing up to russia? this administration has imposed more sanctions on russia than the entire eight years of the previous administration. so what's happened to standing up to russia? we continue to stand up to russia. i think my friend from new jersey and i would be able to agree on the many, many sins that russia has committed starting with, starting way back. but if you go fairly recent history, their invasion of georgia and their then promise to back off and to get out of georgia. they still occupy two of the regions in georgia. of course the invasion and takeover of the crimea, their
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cause of problems on the eastern border of the ukraine, their interference in the ukraine, their interference in our elections, their interference in all kinds of the european elections. and it goes on and on. poisoning people in london, that is about as far out as you can possibly get. so we all need to stand together and we all need to stand up to russia. this administration has been doing it. they're going to continue to do it. we, i think virtually everybody here is urging them to do it. and we're going to continue to do it. look, any delay in the moving funds to the argument that there was some significant delay in moving funds to the ukraine is simply not well taken, and the reasons for it, with all due respect to my friend, i think are well known. in fact if you read the transcript of this telephone conversation, the president himself raises the important
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issue that he's raised with all of us from time to time, and that is that any time he sees the united states getting on the short end of the stick with whatever you're talking about, it's, it raises alarm with him. and in this particular case, he has been very distressed by the fact that we have been carrying the bulk of the dollars and cents for helping the ukraine. we want to help with the ukraine. senator menendez, i think, very clearly laid out many of the problems that had to do with ukraine. it's a serious problem. the country's got serious problems, not the least of which is corruption. but the first reason he had issues with the spending was the fact that europe just simply is not doing what they should be doing in helping to fund this. and that is clearly laid out in this transcript. but the second thing is the corruption itself. when money p goes in the ukraine, it is a well-known
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fact that there is tremendous corruption and graft within the country and a lot of money disappears. the most notorious institution within the country is the gas company. interestingly enough, the gas company on which senator -- excuse me, vice president biden's son sat on and was appointed to and received $50,000 a month to sit on after the vice president was tasked by president obama to look into the corruption and to do something about the corruption in the ukraine. but in any event, corruption is a big problem and funds get diverted. i'm just going to close by saying, look, every american that is interested in this talking that's going on back and forth about this call that the president had with president
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zelensky should look at that transcript and read it. it will take just a few minutes to read it, and it won't take long to figure out that the mischaracterization of this is off the wall. it is absolutely amazing to me that people would take this conversation, which was a standard, ordinary, regular conversation that a head of state has with another head of state, is being characterized the way it's being characterized. it was a congratulatory call. there was a lot of banter in it. my good friend knows -- he's met with a lot of heads of state as i have, sometimes we even meet together with heads of state -- there's common bipartisan meetings with heads of state, and i don't know whether people think these things are scripted and they're focused directly on issues. there's always a lot of banter. the banter can take the effect of having conversations about family, it can take the -- put on the face of talking about
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sports. frequently if one of the teams has done well or poorly, one part of the or the other will raise it and talk about it. these things are very informal as this conversation was. one of the frequent, in my experience, one of the frequent issues that is discussed in these conversations is local politics. what's happening in your country? what's happening in my country? and then also a discussion of mutual issues with friendly countries or, for that matter, countries that are not friendly. this call is, that the transcript was released on is very, very rare. if you're looking for a window to see what actually happens in these calls, this transcript is a really, really good characterization of what happens in those calls. this is not a good thing to be releasing these calls. i think people, the heads of state should be able to have these conversations. all of us should be able to have conversations with our
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counterparts, with a head of state, with ministers in the other countries without having to be thinking about every word that you say is going to wind up, going to be analyzed and pulled apart and taken by your political enemies and badly, badly misrepresented. don't take my word for it. don't take senator menendez's word for it. the transcript is all over the internet now. it's going to be published in every newspaper in america probably tomorrow. it takes just a few minutes to read it. read it and take away yourself the feelings you have about this. the president of the united states is tasked with being the front line of foreign policy. yes, foreign policy is shared by both the first and second. it's one of the things the founding fathers did not resolve to one branch or the other such as appointments or such as for the second branch or such as appropriating for the first branch.
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there's, there is sufficient authority given to each branch of government. but the head of state, in this case the president of the united states, is tasked with carrying on these relationships with other countries. and this phone conversation that he had is clearly, clearly part of that. and don't take my word for it. everybody make up your own mind on this. it isn't rocket science. as you can see, the english is very straight and forward. it can be understood. i think everybody will -- will come away with their own belief. p people hate trump, they're going to look at that and say oh, this is terrible, as a lot of the people in this town have done. i think most ordinary, good, straight-thinking americans are going to look at this and say what's the big deal here? it was the conversation between two people, talking about the various issues that they're interested in, and it isn't a problem. in any event, in order to preserve the regular order, in order to preserve the jurisdiction and the hard work of the foreign relations committee, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection
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is heard. the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: if i could have unanimous consent for two minutes. i understand we're supposed to be heading to a briefing on iran, but i would ask for unanimous consent for two minutes, and then i'll cease. i ask unanimous consent for my entire remarks to be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: number one, it's not unusual for -- there have been many a time when the urgency of the moment has had legislation come to the floor, and i think this is one of those moments, but i do appreciate the chairman suggesting that he will take up consideration of this issue, and that is something that i think is incredibly important. on russia, i just say it's congressionally mandated sanctions that the committee and the congress passed that gave very little flexibility to the administration that has been the driver on sanctions on russia, but there is a lot that hasn't been done that russia has done subsequently for which we should be ultimately pursuing, and i look forward to the chairman having a markup on desk and
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other related legislation to actually continue to fight russia. lastly, i would just simply say holding money from ukraine doesn't make other countries give money to ukraine. and that was money that was directed by the united states congress, and which was promoted as well by the state department and the department of defense. they had no concerns about corruption as it relates to this money. they understood the importance of this security assistance. and finally, on the question of the transcript, look, overwhelmingly, there wasn't banter there so much as there was a direct effort to get president zelensky to use his powers to investigate former vice president biden's son, and that is as crystal clear, and any plain reading will do it, and i do hope the american people will read the summary. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned -- the senate stands in recess until 3:30 p.m. today.
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